Hello chaps it's that time again.
For the 92nd (that's a lot of contests) Character Creation Contest we were tasked with taking a character from one genre and placing them in the world of another genre. Westerns proved to be the most popular genre available being used in all of the entries!
We had three submissions this time from the regulars, all of which dropped a character off in the days of the Wild West. Might as well get the Wild Western group back up and running! :)
Time for the usual copy and paste!
- READ the stories, PICK your favorite one, and CAST your VOTE!
- If you wrote, you should vote! (It's just sporting)
- No voting for yourself. (Also sporting)
- Voting ends next Sunday on the 24th of November at 11:59 PM UK Time.
Remember: , and the winner gets to pick the next contest.
Here are the submissions!
Calpurnia begged me not to go, telling me she’d seen things in her mind. I kissed her and brushed off her fears.
I arrived knowing that something was afoot. Lucius Tillius Cimber came at me bellowing about a petition he had to recall his brother from exile. I waved him away but he grabbed me. I then noticed a swarm of men surround me and then Servilius Casca drew a dagger followed a dozen more as I was beset on all sides. As Jupiter as my witness I thought it was the end.
Suddenly, what I can only explain as a hole in the air, filled the foyer and from seemingly nothing strode Mars the god of war himself. His head was brown and odd shaped, his chest a red and white pattern and in each hand was metal sticks. Later I came to learn their name, Ghuns!
He yelled in tone from the depths of the Styx and each Ghuns barked like an erupting storm. Casca’s head flew back as blood gushed from his neck followed by Cimber’s head exploding in a shower of blood and thunder. Again, thunder rang out and two more of my would-be killers dropped like stones and the rest scattered like startled birds; the attack was over as quick as it started.
I looked at Mars as his hands smoked from the death he’d delivered, and I knelt prostrate before him. He laughed and helped me up. He said something I shall never forget that filled me with fear and hope simultaneously: “How dee!”
In the chaotic days that followed, I learnt much from the young god, or as he repeated Mark. He showed me his Ghuns, and spoke of something called Carlifauna which may be a woman or a place, I have still not worked out. His tongue has trouble saying our language and I have had sages, scholars and wisemen from Antioch to Hispania Ulterior with no success trying to decipher his. He is a baffling marvel to all.
I am grateful that the gods have stepped down to our side, tribute has flowed in to Rome mainly out of fear. But those beyond our borders believe this to be merely a trick, lies even. Which is why we march tonight to Parthia. We will teach Suren of Parthia that to defy Rome is to defy the gods themselves.
I stand very still in the darkest corner of the darkest room of this old plantation house- the library. It ain't much to look at these days. It's been pretty well looted by both North and South as troops come through looking for "hospitality" to resupply they needs. I think the sooner this war is over, the better it'll be for everybody- not just slaves.
The war ain't over yet though, and the South still trying to hold onto what they got, including slaves. And they trying to round up any runaways they can get they hands on. And if you a free black not working in they fields, then you must be a runaway. I ain't been a slave in a long time- since well before Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Not since... well, it was a dark night then too, pretty much like this one.
The moon is near full, but it's hidden behind clouds that have been threatening to storm all day, so it's no help to anyone for lighting the house. Which is good for me, since there are a dozen men inside looking for me right now. Not just because they think I'm a runaway slave, but also because they think I'm the one they've called The Midnight Cowboy. A marauder and a thief of slaves who comes and goes like a night wind. A killer with dozens of men's blood on his hands.
And they right. That's me.
Candlelight flickers at the doorway before one of the men hunting me stalks into the room. All but my eyes are hidden behind a bandanna that is the same dark blue as my clothes, hat, and boots. That's right, even the boots- it cost a lot to have the leather dyed, but when I started hearing what they say about me, I thought maybe it might help if I looked like what was scarin' 'em.
It helps me blend into the shadows too. The shadows that the candlelight's not getting very far into- not that it would matter. I'm beside the man before he has a chance to notice. I stick my knife through the bottom of his mouth, douse the candle with my hand, and watch the light go out in his eyes. I lower him to the floor quietly, and hope I can get done with all this before he get cold.
I move quickly through the foyer, breaking the neck of the man that was left to guard the door before he can see me since he don't have a candle. I pass into the parlor, walking right up behind a man who decided to sit on a couch and wait for the others to find me. I cover his mouth with one hand, and plunge my knife into the top of his head with the other. I push him over on his side like he sleeping, and pinch the wick of his candle so the light go out. I cross the room to the doorway leading to the dining room, and run right into another man searching without a candle. He shouts as we fall together to the floor. I scramble to straddle him, and punch him hard in the face, knocking him out before slitting his throat.
I hug the wall and blend in with the shadows as the other men head my way. I hear 'em on the stairs, across the ceiling from the second floor, banging through the kitchen, and even a couple coming in through screen doors from outside. "He's this way!" one of them shouts. I head toward them, drawing my gun.
I shoot two men on the stairs- one at the bottom, and one about midway down. A shot clips my hat from the right, taking a piece off the brim. I back into a doorway by instinct, and take a shot down the hall that catches him in the cheek and through the back of his head.
Another shot whizzes by me from behind. I drop to the floor and blend into the darkness. The gunman shoots in that direction, but when he doesn't hit anything he shouts, "Hey, boy! Where'd you go? You better come out!"
I don't answer. He listens nervously as he hears a man cry out in pain from a bedroom. He hears two more shouts as I end men in the hallway. And he shoots one himself when he mistakes him for me as he enters the room.
"Boy! Where you at? You come out now, boy!" he screams, clearly afraid.
From the darkness, I growl, "Are you sure that's what you want?"
He jumps and shoots in the direction of my voice. "We gonna kill you, boy!"
"What we?" I ask from another spot. "It just you, now."
He whimpers and shoots in my direction again. "You may as well give up, boy! There ain't nowhere else to run!"
From behind him, I whisper, "Who's runnin'?"
He whips around and fires, but I just smile beneath my bandanna. I club his hand with my gun, and he drops his weapon. He screams, and I knock him to the floor. As I drop on top of him to hold him down, he screams, "Who are you?"
I lean into his face, and growl, "You know who I am! Say it!"
"Ohhh," he moans. "You are him! You're that Midnight Cowboy! But I shot you! Why ain't you dead?" he pleads, plainly terrified.
"Mist," I answer, knowing he won't get my joke. Just then, thunder crashes, and the clouds finally let they rain go like they been bustin' to do all day. It's loud, and pounds the ground and roof hard.
For a moment, I'm distracted by the ferocity of the storm, and the light from the lightning flashing outside. I feel the man's body go limp under me, and I figure he done fainted. I look back at him though, and another flash of lightning shows me that his eyes still open. Died of fright right there.
I stand up off the man, and look around. This was over quick. I walk back through the house silently, making sure I haven't missed anybody. I get back to the library, and find myself standing over the first man I killed. I look at him for a few seconds, and kneel down so I can feel his face. Just like I hoped, this all got finished before he got cold.
I pull the bandanna off my face, and let it hang around my neck. I take a long, deep breath through my nose, tilting my head back as I take in the smells of blood, candle wax, and gunpowder around me. I roar as I let my teeth grow out, and I fall upon the man's neck to feed. I'll do the same with his friends, and then I'll sleep. And tomorrow night, The Midnight Cowboy will ride again.
Archibald walked through the desert. He was alone save for the feelings of guilt and sadness that would never leave him.
If there was one thing about the desert that Archibald hated more than the sand and the snakes and the spiky plants it would have had to have been the sun. The glowing orb's rays were somehow more intense out here than they were back home and Archibald could practically feel the steam radiating from his skin as it drifted off into the clear blue sky.
Taking a moment of rest he sat down, leaning against the sole sand dune in an otherwise empty landscape.
Never in his many years of service had he ever been tired, yet that had all changed since he'd left home. Previously exhaustion had avoided him like he was a homeless man begging for change yet now here he was barely able to move after a mere two weeks worth of non stop walking. The idea of being tired had never even occurred to him until just now and he was having trouble understanding it. As he pulled up his metal face to let the cool air hit his circuits an idea came to mind and stuck there like a bug on sticky paper.
It was the oil. The oil in his veins was probably cooking against his chassis to the point it was probably boiling. If he didn't cool down soon and refuel he'd probably end up a motionless statue just standing in the desert. Climbing slowly back to his feet he ventured to the top of the dune he'd been resting against and peered out into the great open beyond that surrounded him at all sides. The mechanical circuits that filled his body buzzed gently from the heat, yet that buzz turned to a loud hum as Archibald glimpsed what he truly desired.
In the distance, the far far distance were several shapes that seemed to resemble buildings. They were not the kingdoms and keeps that had filled the world Archibald had let but they were buildings none the less. Archibald stared at his discovery for a full three seconds before processing what he saw and a simple equation filled his head.
Where there were buildings there were people, and where there people there would probably be...
'Oil...' The word escaped him, and in an almost trance like state he headed off towards civilization.
Civilization wound up being a lot further away than Archibald had predicted. It took him a good hour or so to traverse the graveyard that was the desert and towards the end of his journey he was forced to resort to crawling, the joints in his arms and legs were paining him terribly. As he dragged himself towards the dark structures up ahead the sensors the composed his ears picked up what sounded like a voice, though his mind was far too flustered to hear what was truly being said.
He crawled into the shade of the nearest building and curled up into a ball waiting to die.
When Archibald awoke he was lying upon a bed, the heat that had cooked his metal body had mostly subsided save for the same ache in his joints. He raised his head and looked around the room he was in. Somebody's bedroom judging from the surroundings. The door to the room swung open and in walked a young boy who Archibald had never seen before. He was a young lad who had been designed to look under fed given his thin exterior. The black hair on his head was long and greasy and for whatever reason the boy had no face.
Where the boy's face should have been was instead a mass of wires and circuits accompanied by two red eyes that were fixed on Archibald. The boy stared at his guest for a brief time, perhaps intrigued by Archibald's medieval appearance. His eyes locked on the blue sword lying against the bed and if the boy had lips he would have surely been smiling.
'You're awake!' The boy said a full ten seconds after he'd entered the room. 'We've got tea done. Come and eat!'
Archibald let out a small sigh and rose to his feet, his mind puzzled. His fingers grabbed the sword on his way out and he returned it to the sheathe resting on his right hip. Due to the size of his body when compared to the door frame Archibald actually had to stoop down to squeeze through. He found himself inside a small kitchen, the boy who'd woke him already sat at a table with a woman who was presumably his mother. The woman merely regarded him for a moment, her face was also missing.
'Oh you're awake.' She said in a feminine tone that did not match her features. 'Come and take a seat.' She nodded towards an empty chair next to her and Archibald did as he was asked, the wooden chair shuddering under his weight. He quickly regarded the dinner plate that sat before him, lying upon it was a generous portion of cooked carrots, roasted potatoes and steaming sprouts, though he wondered how he was supposed to eat them.
'We found you crawling around outside.' The mother clarified. She moved a fork to her mouth, though there was nothing lying upon it. The boy did the same and Archibald realized they weren't actually eating, merely... miming. 'You were half dead.' She continued. 'You're obviously not from around these parts. Mind telling us how you got here?'
Reluctantly Archibald nodded. He removed the helmet upon his head and placed it by his feet, a calm quiet filling his body.
'I trust you are aware of how the humans have left the Earth?' He asked in his usual deep, pompous voice.
'Well before they left... the humans left us as a sort of diorama of their history.'
He paused and took a drink from his mug, refreshing his body with the sweet yet slimy taste of oil.
'I was created as part of their Medieval presentation. While I presume yourselves were made to represent the glory days of the Wild West.' The boy seemed to be transfixed on Archibald's words, his makeshift meal already forgotten. 'A few short months ago I became the last of my kind when a sort of virus turned my brothers and sisters rabid.'
He paused for a moment in reflection.
'I was left to bury and mourn for my brethren. But after that I began to wander. My kingdom was now deserted and I had become bored, so I traveled from my fields of green life to your sands of death.'
Archibald drank again. He knew deep in his soul that it would be for the last time.
'What are you searching for?' The boy asked, voice low. 'You've gotta be searching for something.'
Archibald rose up from his seat, helmet in hands. His joints had stopped their aching for the moment, and it was with some surprise that he offered a response.
'For whatever reason this virus left me unaffected, and me alone.' He donned his helmet and slowly began to turn towards the door. 'I wish to know why, and shall not learn that here.'
And with that, the metal knight ventured through the door and stepped out into the deep, gaping darkness.
He knew that he would not return.
And there's the submissions!
Happy voting everyone.