The Iron Writer Challenge #112

The Iron Writer Challenge #112

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements 

Challenge #111 Champion

TBD

The Authors:

Jaclyn Wilson, Neal Sayatovich, Tina Biscuit

The Elements:

love cactus

A love cactus

A carrier pigeon

Bath Salts

The Pyramids

The Love-Sick CactusJaclyn Wilson

Jaclyn Wilson

I have no lifespan.

I stand in solitude, surrounded by an endless stretch of barren desert. The dust and dirt encloses around me, dancing and folding like old paper turning.

I was once beautiful.

A small succulent stuffed in a red-clay pot, heavily decorated with strings of felt hearts that hung from my sharp spines. The love-sick girl added rhinestones around my pot and I was given to her ex-boyfriend, and abandoned, just like her.

He kept me outside a windowsill where I could see the buildings that rose high until I could no longer see them in the dense smog. They reminded me of the pyramids I had lived among centuries ago, except these buildings did not glimmer and they had a flat top that did not come to a point to reach the sun like the pyramids did.

The smog made my skin crack and my needles dull. I could feel the water that flowed through my insides dry up. The smog was a sponge and I was the dishwater.

The ex-boyfriend of the love-sick girl did not love her and I wasn’t accepted as a gift. It made me miss the girl and suddenly, I was love-sick for her delicate hands and the way she circled my pot with lavender bath salts and adorned me with her silly paper things.

The day I was taken to the desert by a carrier pigeon was the day the last paper stringed heart on my spines fell. It fell with last thought of ever being cherished again.

He swooped down from the muddy sky and landed next to me, his beady eyes examining me with curiosity as if I could either be his meal or his lost baby.

I had no time to think. He picked me where my fuchsia colored flower sat. The one that marked me as beautiful and now was starting to curl and wilt. I soared above the flat-topped buildings with the carrier pigeon, above the smog and above the cruel boy that abandoned me. I felt near the pyramids once again, where the sun ascended high and the sky was enveloped in gold.

We travelled for miles, the wind made me feel alive again. And just like that, the pigeon swopped down above a stretch of sand and dropped me in the desert.

He stayed with me until nightfall. The chill of the night desert bit my needles and the heat in the afternoon made the water in my insides flourish. The pigeon cocked his head from side to side and looked at me with his beady, crossed eyes. He had taken me away from the cruel boy and into the desert where I could see the open sky and the rise and fall of the sun every morning and evening.

He must have been alone also, love-sick for someone who had long ago cherished him.

He left at nightfall, but even now, as the sun begins to set, I wait for the pigeon to come visit once again so we can sit in silence and watch it rise.

Sad RemindersNeal Sayatovich

Neal Sajatovich

I sat alone in my home office. My house has not been the same since Kelsey walked out on me four days ago. I asked why she was leaving, what did I do wrong. At first she said she was tired of being poor, despite my six figure income. Eventually, it just came down to her yelling “Because I’m in love with your brother.”

That fact left me in tears. I didn’t leave my room for the first day, with the exception of restroom trips. I even tried a bath salt bath at the urging of my new age friend. Over the second day I tried to work on my different hobbies to see if the pain could be buried. Video games, music, art and an unhealthy amount of alcohol. All of my work culminated to a half drawn picture of a pyramid, which paled in comparison to my beer can pyramid.

Denial sunk in around the third day. She just had to be under a load of stress with her new nursing job, or maybe it was because her mother died last month. Either way I had a feeling she would be coming back soon. I even stocked up on the mozzarella sticks she loved. Hour after hour I sat in front of the door with a beer in hand as I waited for her to come back so I could apologize.

Day four is when everything became real. Everything became a solemn reminder of my deceased love life. The love cactus I bought her for our five year anniversary was a sharp oxymoron at this point. She always said as long as the plant was alive, she would love me… and now I needed to rectify that. I pulled out a matchbook, lit the matches and tossed it next to plant. In a matter of seconds the plant went up like the biblical bush.

I took the picture of us on vacation in Spain from above the mantle and removed it from the frame. That is where I proposed to her and gave her a very expensive ring sapphire ring. She never did give me the ring back and I doubt I’d ever see it again. I tossed the photo into the burning cactus and listened to the crackling of the picture and felt a little better. Next came the picture where we got to see live carrier pigeons in London. I let out a sigh and flick the picture into the dying inferno.

After watching the prickly effigy of Kelsey smolder for a half hour, I figured out a solution to end my pain. The soaks in bath salts didn’t solve any of my problems. Every memory from the carrier pigeon trip to the proposal in Spain meant nothing to her. So I grabbed my revolver and placed it next to my temple. Besides, that half finished picture of the pyramid I drew could use some color.

Prickly Pair

Tina Biscuit

Miriam pushed foam plugs into her ears; the splashing, and laughing, was quelled for a few precious moments. Standing at the window, she watched the sun shedding crepuscular rays over the half-weeded garden. She hadn’t noticed the crimson flower quietly blooming on her love cactus; everything dangerous, or fragile, was kept out of reach after the twins were born. She grasped the pot from the high shelf, bringing the plant close to her nose. The fragrance was subtle, reminding her of the first time it had bloomed. The scent of eucalyptus wafted medicinally through her airways, followed by a dull thud.

She pulled out the earplugs; a cactus spine pierced her nose as she hastily put the plant back. Calming Lavender and Minty Moments perfumed the hall as she ran through to the bathroom. Two wise monkeys sat facing each other in the bath – one with a mouthful of Cherry Babies, the other with stinging eyes full of Bubbly Bath-time Fun. The silence was almost over as they selected emotions from their limited repertoire. They chose happiness and hysteria – Miriam chose despair. A large jar of bath salts was upturned, the resulting pyramids dissolving the promise of a hundred soothing baths. The relaxing aromas bubbled from the water as she scooped a toddler under each arm.

They heard footsteps from the hall.

‘Daddy! Daddy!’

They slipped from her grip. Daddy was wearing his cream suit; a soapy sibling attached itself to each leg, transferring vibrant hues to the weave.

‘You’ve left the tools out, honey.’

‘Yes, that’s what we should be focussing on.’

‘Just sayin’.’

‘I’ll go and get them in. Make sure you rinse them.’

He looked at his trousers.

‘I meant the boys.’

Miriam turned, wiping the blood from her nose, mixing it with tears. The setting sun warmed her back as she gathered the tools. Something moved behind her. Just out of reach, a pigeon was cocking its head at her; it had pinkness on its breast, and looked healthier than the local birds. She reached out a hand, but it hopped away from her. She fetched a box from her shed, added a few grains of rice, and placed it under the bush where she had been weeding.

The next morning, she went to see if her guest was still there. The rice was gone, and the bird was waiting patiently. It stayed still while she put another handful of rice next to it. She left her hand out to see how close it would come. There was a tiny canister on one of its legs. When it came nearer, she gently cupped it in one hand and pulled a strip of paper from the tube. Her husband came out with the twins in tow; she slipped the paper into the pocket of her pinny, and they waved him off to work.

After breakfast, they were in full mayhem mode:

‘What are we playing today, mummy?’

‘Houdini.’

‘What’s Houdini?’ they shouted in unison as she wound the washing line around them.

Miriam put in her earplugs, teased open the message, and laughed out loud.

Four hand-written letters:

R.O.F.L.

2015 Spring Equinox Open- Preliminary Round, The Allen Ginsberg Bracket

The Iron Writer Challenge #108

2015 Spring Equinox Open

Preliminary Round

The Allen Ginsberg Bracket

 

The Authors:

Geoff Gore

Brett Paul

Tina Biscuit

M.D. Pitman

The Elements:

Artemis

Artemis
A Dilettante
Jello Wrestling
A Moon Rock

Artemis ReturnsBrett Paul

Brett Paul

Artemis made her way around the studio, taking care not to step on any of the piles of discarded clothes and trash. Her flowing robes snagged the corner of a pizza box, pulling it open to reveal sickly-colored crusts. She exhaled in disgust, tugged her robes free, and positioned her bow tight to her body.

She paused to look at sketches tacked to the wall at odd angles. There were women in various states of undress, with blotches of blue and red haphazardly applied.

These are terrible,” she said, glancing up at the ceiling. “You want me to play muse to a hopeless dilettante? How am I to do that?”

Over the insubstantial blare of distant drunken cheering, she heard the hollow sound of an empty can bouncing off the wooden floor in another part of the apartment. She sighed and headed down the apartment hallway toward the sound.

Though the studio she left was well lit, the rest of the apartment was in shadows. In the living room she located the source of the noise: the television. Here it was unbearably loud, the drunken cheering joined by distorted club music. Light from the idiot box flickered across the living room, and across the man sitting on the couch, alone, watching intently. He gulped from a can of beer, belched loudly, and cheered, vicariously joining the scene.

Artemis stepped into the room unseen, and crossed to see what was so enthralling. On the screen, the camera panned across the crowd of drunken revelers, then focused on two scantily-clad women in an inflatable pool filled with red and blue gelatinous chunks. They wrestled awkwardly against each other. Artemis turned away, disappointment showing deeply.

Is this pale imitation of a man why you sent me here? If I am to be his muse, this will take something extreme.”

With an arm reached skyward, Artemis concentrated. “Stone of Luna, come to me!” Light flickered at her palm, and she closed her hand around a summoned stone. From her belt she withdrew a sling, loaded the moon rock into it and spun it at incredible speed. With one last glance at the waste of meat and his drunken half smile, she loosed the stone and destroyed the television.

Sparks exploded out from the pulverized electronics. A buzz built up, culminating in a pop, and the room went dark. The man stood up from the couch, unable to comprehend what had just transpired. Into the silence, Artemis giggled at his Spongebob boxers. He spun around, trying to take in the whole room at once, trying to make some sense of what just happened. He looked near her, through her, but she was invisible to him. Then as though waking from a dream, he seemed to see the state of his apartment for the first time. He picked up the empty beer can and took it into the kitchen.

Remind me never to kill your prize buck again, father,” said Diana, looking up once more.

Zeus’s face appeared above her. He smiled, nodded, and vanished.

Shoot the Messenger

Tina Biscuit

Artemis pulled the bowstring taught. The feathery fletching grazed her cheek as she released the arrow. Deadly, and paradoxically straight, it thrilled skyward. Winged feet crumpled as her prey landed.

The clouds over Mount Olympus parted as Zeus awakened; scattering lightning bolts carelessly, he approached his child.

You’ve killed Hermes.’ He boomed.

What’s the message?’

Artemis teased the scroll from the messenger’s fingers, and unfurled the parchment.

It’s all about the mortals, sounds like the world’s gone to Hades in a handcart –while we were sleeping.’

We’ve been asleep for a few brief millennia, merely a nap. What could the mortals have done in such a short time?’ He threw another petulant bolt.

Well, Jello wrestling seems popular,’ Artemis was reading the scroll, ‘and the victorious Nike is selling sports clothing.’

Zeus took the scroll from his daughter.

Dad, can I take Pegasus? I’m going down there to remind the mortals who their true gods are.’

Zeus dropped the scroll, and thumped his mighty fist. The stars cascaded and converged; Pegasus emerged from his constellation.

Artemis adjusted her lunar tiara.

Every time you do that, my moon rocks ­– which reminds me…’

She packed some moon rocks into her saddlebags, and threw them on to Pegasus’s back. She mounted the stallion, and soared.

The sulfurous fumes burned her nostrils as she approached the underworld. The Styx was bubbling below her. She dropped four moon rocks; a hoof alighted on each floating rock. She passed Cerberus, who nodded three heads in recognition as she drifted downstream. Her loathsome host greeted her.

Ah, my beautiful moon. Have you come for eternity, or just a visit?’

Just a visit, Hades, you’re looking bad.’

Thanks. Who do you seek?’

A champion, someone heroic to wrestle with the mortals.’

Greco wrestling.’

No, Jello, they wrestle in big barrels of it.’

I’ve heard it’s a bit messy.’

Not to mention: immoral, and unchaste. Would Sisyphus fight for me?’

He’s a bit busy.’

What about Icarus?’

He can’t swim, but I’ve got some Italians in.’ He clicked his heels, and three figures appeared.

This is Debutante; she’s just arrived. And this is Vigilante, a law unto himself.’

What about him?’ Artemis waved her bow.

That’s Dilettante, a sculptor in the making.’

Could you organise a Jello wrestling match, Dilettante?’

Not my usual medium, but I did a weekend course in Event Management.’

Artemis nodded, realising that she was the only possible champion.

The next day, a large crowd gathered on the beach. A huge oak barrel was being filled with liquid for the challenge. Pegasus landed, his huge wings folded as Artemis dismounted; the crowd parted as she walked up the beach. She approached the barrel, caught sight of the lettering on the last container, and grabbed Dilettante by the collar.

What’s this?’ She pointed at the container.

Jelly. I got it from the quarry; I barely scratched the surface, they had loads.’

Gelignite: you’ve filled the barrel with gelignite. In the name of Zeus, you’re such an amateur.’

Zeus heard her taking his name in vain. The lightning bolt sparked as it hit the liquid.

The TestMichael Pitman

M. D. Pitman

Mary felt her stomach over her sweatshirt as she stared at the several options of pregnancy tests in the aisle of the convenient store. She felt the clerk’s gaze. She chose a pregnancy test and placed it on the counter followed by two crumpled ten dollar bills she from a jean pocket. She pulled her sweatshirt’s hood over her head, and swallowed as she kept her eyes down. She made sure to come to this store – an out-of-the-way store several miles away from where she lived with her parents.

The clerk looked down at the blue, pink and white box and at Mary. She didn’t ask the usual, “Is that all?” line most clerks give to customers, or offer any dilettantish advice – another clerk trait. She just smiled as if she’d been in Mary’s spot.

The clerk bypassed placing the box in the store’s semi-opaque plastic bag, instead pulled out a plain brown paper bag and gave Mary an “I’ve been in your position before” smile as she handed her the purchase. Mary flashed a sheepish smile at the 20-something clerk before jerking toward the exit.

She pushed open the door, ignoring the giant Jell-O wrestling poster on the door’s window pane.

With her keys in her right hand, squeezing the moon rock keychain, Mary sat in her car and stared at the plain brown bag as if it held her future. Mary noticed the clerk, straining her neck as if she was checking on her. The clerk raised a hand to wave. Mary returned the gesture.

In her room, Mary laid the bag on her dresser, avoiding the mirror that hung over it. Instead she looked at the poster that hung beside it of Artemis. While she was the goddess of childhood, she quickly averted her eyes remembering she’s also the goddess of virginity and childbirth.

She sat on her bed, but as she did caught her eyes staring at her in in the mirror. She was entranced by her eyes, her face, hoping to see a glimmer of her life with a baby.

In a burst of determination grabbed the bag and went into her bathroom.

The kit’s instructions directed to wait until the morning. She couldn’t wait. She wouldn’t wait. She took a test and then placed it on the sink. She leaned against a wall, gazing at the oval that will show either a plus or minus. At first she hoped for a minus sign, but a small piece of her wanted to be a mommy – though the thought quickly dissipated.

She imagined her entire pregnancy in that ninety seconds.

Mary looked away as the shape formed. She hyperventilated. Her mind flashed to one thought: “No plus. No plus. No plus.”

She took a deep breath, turned and looked at the stick. Mary clutched the white plastic stick tight in her hand. She inhaled and exhaled several times to stop herself from crying, though a couple tears escaped and flowed down her cheeks. She rubbed her face.

She opened the kit’s second test. Ninety seconds later an identical blue plus sign started to appear, as was the third test.

Ah, dammit!”

RejectionGeoff Gore

Geoff Gore

Artemis was awoken by the sound of parchment being slid under the door. Mercury had delivered the morning post. She glanced at the sundial. It was nearly lunchtime. Unlike her brother Apollo she’d never been much of a morning person. Lately she’d been in something of a rut. It had been Apollo who had suggested she borrow one of the muses and dabble in the fine arts.

Why don’t you take a break from hunting and do something creative?’

She’d been working on her manuscript late into the previous evening. That muse he had left was hardly any help at all, spending the whole time complaining about penal rates and meal money for working so late, but Artemis preferred it that way, she’d always done her best work at night. Nonetheless Mercury’s early delivery was something of an unwelcome intrusion.

She roused herself from the chaise and walked to the front door where she collected the papyrus. She glanced at the inscription on the outside, the mask symbol of Momus’ Publishing. Unlike her previous failed attempts at painting, perhaps this could be promising news.

She took a hunting knife from the kitchen drawer and slid it underneath the seal.

Dear Diana…’ She was already having second thoughts about sending unsolicited work using a pseudonym.

We regret to inform you that we are not in a position at this time to accept your work Jell-O/Goodbyethe story of one woman’s quest for gender equality in the world of jello wrestling.

While there was a degree of originality in the prose itself, we see little demand among readers for contact sport romances. The plot, based on an androgynous central character struggling with her own sexual orientation and ‘hilariously’ being mistaken as a young boy, was little more than a thinly disguised erotic fantasy, most likely born of the author’s own repressed desires that even Cyclops could see through. My dear, if we wanted elaborate social misunderstandings, we would’ve stuck to Jane Austen.

Were we to publish this manuscript in its present form we would risk alienating a significant demographic of our existing audience. Our recently published autobiography of Palaestra was hugely popular and it is almost certain that your poorly executed script would be deemed to be offensive by both the author and readers of this publication.

Also, for your future reference, we do not accept manuscripts formatted in modern fonts such as Times New Roman, but prefer submissions via papyrus only, in Hellenic script, double spaced.’

Regards

Momus

Artemis folded the scroll back up. Who did that Momus think he was? She decided not to take it to heart. He was known for it, after all he’d already been banished from Olympia for bad reviews. ‘Haters gonna hate’, she sighed. As for offending Palaestra? Please, she was a total diva.

Artemis took the scroll to her studio and placed on top of the pile beneath the moon rock with the others and consoled herself by compulsively scrolling reviews on Godreads.

 

Challenge 106

 The Iron Writer Challenge 106

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements 

Challenge 105 Champion

TBD

The Authors:

Tina Biscuit, Vance Rowe, Maureen Larter

The Judges:

Dani J Caile, Steven L. Bergeron, Christopher Liccardi, Tony Jaeger

The Elements:

tumblr_nbl3ga9Q8K1rvi7nzo1_500

Young Woman with a Book

If I were God

A terra cotta soldier from China

The last line must be: “Who do you think you are?”

Post your guess who will win in the comments

(and tell us why!)

 

MemoriesMaureen Larter

Maureen Larter

I wandered across the meadow, my notebook clutched in my arms. A tall piece of grass caught my attention, and I broke it off, fiddling with the stalk, not really aware of my reasons.

I walked over to the only tree beside a fence looking into the neighbor’s farm, and sat down, letting my thoughts travel as my body had travelled some 6 years before.

Xian is a magical city, in a magical country. I remember the feeling as a leant against the rail of the archeological wonder that has made Xian a tourist Mecca. There in front of me was the crowd of warriors that were dug from the ground. Neat rows, now two the same, all sheltering under the modern roof put there by the powers that be. The archeologists still worked at more excavation. However vast these discoveries were so far, there was even more to find.

We shuffled along the walkway, Chinese tourists as well as visitors from all corners of the world. I mused – If I were God, would I be game to make one of the statues come to life? Maybe then we would know the secrets of this place. Why so many soldiers? Why would an emperor commission such a colossal job? Why did he need so many men around him? Would the soldier appreciate arriving suddenly in the 21st century? Would he be manly and strong? Or would he wish to kill? Would he be someone I could respect and love?

I must have said something out aloud, because the man in front of me turned and glared, and then, in perfect English, spoke.

“This is a sacred site,” he said “Why would you want to ruin this perfect scene? Why would you want to steal the heart of a warrior?

I could do nothing but stare at him.

Now, sitting in the shade of the solitary tree, my back against its comforting bark, I opened my book. Once again I saw that terra cotta warrior that had entered my dreams. I began to scribble the memory down as the sun began to sink, and I pulled my cardigan closer around my shoulders.

I knew I would have to go home soon, as the chill of the evening air began to seep through my clothes and into my heart. As I wrote, I was back there again, and the Chinese man was near, almost threatening in his attitude.

His last words always haunted me, for when I tried to explain, he spat out a word which must have been obscene. I remember it well, because I have thought on it so many times since. How can we achieve peace and vanquish racial hatred when this is in the minds of others?

He looked me in the eye and said, with some disgust.

“You are white – you have no concept of our beliefs – Who do you think you are?”

Courage Under Fire

Vance Rowe

Annie woke up to the sound of her parents fighting…again. She grew tired of the yelling and screaming from the short twelve years she has been on this earth. Most of the fighting was about her mother who worked two jobs because her dad wouldn’t. He just drank whiskey all day.

It was the middle of the summer and as most kids were happy with this, Annie dreaded it. School was her only escape from the constant bickering and arguing.

With tear filled eyes, Annie looked up on her dresser and stared at the Chinese terra cotta soldier statue that her aunt bought for her when she went on a trip to China. The statue was made of terra cotta, and was pretty heavy. It was her only friend and she talked to it all of the time, although it never talked back, she was just glad to unload her feelings on it. She named it Zing Zang for no other reason than that name just seemed Chinese to her and was easy for her to remember.

She looked at the statue and whispered, “Please make it stop, Zing Zang. Please.”

Moments later, the arguing had stopped and she smiled at the statue, as if it had something to do with it.

Annie finally got out of bed, grabbed her journal and went downstairs into the kitchen and ate the breakfast that her mother had made for her.

The arguments soon began again when her father walked into the kitchen and ordered his wife to go to the liquor store to buy him another bottle. When she refused, he got angered and began berating her again. Annie grabbed her journal and bolted from the table and ran outside. She ran and ran until she came to her favorite place. It was a meadow surrounded by woods and she felt at peace here. She felt safe. She picked a weed from the ground and twirled it in her fingers as she walked through the peaceful meadow and began to think.

“I wish I was God,” she began to say to herself, “If I were God, I would make him go away. I would make him go away and never come back.” She then began to think of all of the things that she would do if she were God and this brought a smile to her otherwise forlorn face.

When Annie finally went back home, she saw her mother on the floor, huddled up in a corner with her father standing over her with a belt. She yelled at him to stop and ran over to him and pushed him away from her mother. The father then hit her with a big back handed slap that sent her across the room. Annie got up, ran up to her bedroom, grabbed Zing Zang and slammed it across her father’s head, knocking him down and just about out. Annie then called the police. When they arrived and handcuffed her father, he looked down at Annie and asked, “Just who do you think you are?”

Trouble in Paradise

Tina Biscuit

Helen looked down at the beach from the rocky promontory she had climbed. Cradling her diary in one hand, she teased a blade of grass through her cold fingers – too cold to write with. She thought of the entry that she couldn’t write:

‘Adam has brought me metal-detecting again. It’s his hobby, not mine. This is the last time. I thought it was interesting, it is I suppose – for him.’

She watched the head-phoned figure course the soft sand at the top of the beach. He turned and waved; she raised a numb hand.

He was lifting something, putting it on a pile next to where he was searching. He waved again, beckoning her.

She clutched the book, jumped down from the rocks, and slid down the dunes towards him, cursing her obedience.

‘I’m getting a strong signal, but all I’m finding are these pots.’

He put one on each arm.

‘Bill and Ben.’ He chirped.

‘I’m not old enough to remember them.’ Helen lied.

She tapped on one of the pots.

‘It’s terracotta.’

‘Like your cardigan.’

‘The colour yes, but I mean like a Terracotta soldier. The clay models they made in China to bury with their Emperor.’

‘To keep him company.’

‘Well, that, and to show their god how important their emperor was.’

‘If I were God, I wouldn’t be fooled by a bunch of flowerpot men.’

‘Well you’re not, are you?’

She rummaged through the pile; he put on his headphones and started swiping his beeping detector. He didn’t hear as the sand rushed from beneath her feet. He didn’t see her descend in a grainy vortex of pottery and peril. As the sinkhole opened, the beeping increased. He turned to share his discovery, to realise, too late, that he was also being sucked through the untimely hourglass.

Her blue linen dress was hitched up and crumpled; he landed next to her, closer than had been comfortable recently.

‘Wow, some ride.’

‘Really, this is all just fun for you.’

‘Kind of exciting, no.’

‘No. How are we going to get out?’

‘Get out. This might be my big find, the thing’s beeping for base metal. Could be gold.’

As their eyes grew accustomed to the dim light, they noticed an opening behind them.

‘This might be a way out, up to the cliffs.’ He squeezed through and Helen followed. Shafts of sunlight, from the rocky ceiling, polka-dotted the twelve clay figures, which now surrounded them; jeweled eye-sockets shone from each guardian. In the centre was a stone sarcophagus; a gold death-mask adorned the head.

‘Don’t you see, Adam? It’s a necropolis, a city of the dead.’

Precious eyes glared at him. Oblivious, Adam grasped his trophy. Helen turned back, just as the rumbling started.

The light changed as the figures rocked, sand closed the holes in the rocky canopy, dousing the light. Helen scrambled back through the entrance; a falling rock eclipsed Adam’s escape.

‘You have to help me.’ He pleaded.

‘You’ve made your choice. Treasure your prize, Adam, then ask yourself: Who do you think you are?’