Stitched Saturday – This week’s challenge

Gentlefolk and horror fans! Here are this weeks inspirational pictures for your submissions for the forthcoming Stitched Saturday – as usual, please make your submissions as a comment to this post, remembering to state which picture (from the three) your story is based on.  No upper or lower word limits this week.

I’m away on holiday for a little while, but am leaving the Stitched Saturday reigns in the more than capable hands of the talented Tilby Noir.  As I’m venturing into sunnier climes, this weeks pictures are all beach related.  As ever, we look forward to reading your stories!  Catch you in a few weeks, and Stay Stitched!

David

DPW8771Cape-Hatteras-FB-Cape-Hatteras-Pier-Broken-BW-940x612

Picture One

bg-drowning

Picture Two

happy-end-31

Picture Three

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4 thoughts on “Stitched Saturday – This week’s challenge

  1. Neila & the Meglamech by Mike L Lane (Pic 3)

    “What the hell is that?” Carson asked pointing at the mangled wreckage. Half submerged, it rested spread eagle across the sand like a drowned man spat up by the sea.

    “It’s a plane,” Avery said. “Probably crashed somewhere out over the ocean and washed ashore. Want to go check it out?”

    “Sure,” the boy replied. “Race you to it!”

    Carson shoved Avery to get a better head start and ran down the beach. The push had little effect. Avery was much faster than Carson and caught him with ease. He returned the shove in passing and the stocky boy face-planted in the sand.

    “You suck,” Carson said, spitting out a mouthful of sand and wiping his face. Avery offered him a hand up, laughing. With a frown, Carson accepted the silent apology and came to his feet. “You still suck.”

    “Shake it off, matie,” Avery said in his best pirate imitation. “There be booty to plunder on ‘yon shore.”

    Carson tried to think of something witty to say in return, the embarrassment of the fall burning his cheeks, but was distracted by quick movement within the wreck’s shattered window. A man’s shape disappeared inside the plane, dropping an object in its hasty retreat.

    “Did you see it?!” Carson asked, moving closer to the wreck. The plane had washed ashore upside down and he bent over and cocked his head for a better look. “Something moved out of the cockpit.”

    Avery squatted onto his knees to look, but nothing stirred within. Water lapped against the broken glass and clouded it with seafoam before rolling backwards to start the process all over again. Among the debris, a black orb no bigger than a basketball floated back and forth within the cockpit. “It was probably just the water pushing that ball.”

    “It was a person,” Carson said.

    “Maybe it was a body,” Avery said with an excitement in his voice that Carson didn’t care for. Who got excited over seeing a dead body? “Maybe the waves pushed it up against the glass and then pulled it back again? Maybe it’s hung up somewhere in the hull.”

    “No, this was…” he said, searching for the right word, “deliberate. The waves didn’t move it. He… or she moved away on its own. It was like they saw me, dropped that ball and hid.”

    “Bullshit,” Avery said, punching Carson playfully on the arm. Carson absorbed the blow, his eyes locked on the window. “You’re pulling my leg.”

    “I’m for real,” Carson said. His wide eyes and stern response raised the hair on Avery’s arms. “There’s someone down in there. Hiding.”

    “Hiding from what?” Avery said, refusing to believe it. “No one could survive a crash like this and if they did, they wouldn’t hide from help.”

    “That’s what bothers me,” Carson said. He looked uneasily at the plane, took a few steps back and at a comfortable enough distance, laid down on his stomach for a better look. He could barely see past the cockpit. The rest of the enclosure was pitch black.

    “There probably weren’t more than four people in this plane when it crashed. Chances are, they bailed long before it hit the water. As a matter of fact, they were probably rescued years ago and the wreckage is just now getting pushed to shore. There is no one in that plane,” Avery said, walking towards the side of the wreckage. Carson stood up and brushed himself off before realizing what Avery had in mind. The boy had thrown off his shirt, waded into knee deep water and was about to climb into a hole in the side of the plane.

    “What are you doing?!”

    “I’m going in,” Avery said, matter of fact. “There’s no one in there and I’m going to prove it. Are you coming or are you chicken?”

    Every bone in Carson’s body screamed that he was indeed chicken, but he knew that Avery would tease him relentlessly if he didn’t go. He halfheartedly waded out into the water, leery of what they might find.

    Avery ducked his head beneath the wing, found something to grab onto and raised a foot inside. Satisfied with his foothold, he pulled himself into the wreckage. Carson slowly made his way to him.

    “There’s not a whole lot of room in here,” Avery said, checking his surroundings. “There is definitely no one in here that I can see, alive or otherwise.”

    “Cool,” Carson said, although his response sounded like the furthest thing from cool Avery had ever heard. “Let’s get out of here.”

    “You’re not even in here,” Avery laughed. Carson stood outside of the makeshift entry and had barely poked his head inside. “I want that black ball for a souvenir.”

    “This isn’t Disney World, Avery. Besides, maybe it’s the plane’s black box,” Carson offered. A strange feeling surged through his body like low level electricity and he suddenly wanted to put as much distance between them and the plane as he could. “We shouldn’t fool with it. I think they use those to locate crashed planes or something.”

    “I don’t think they would call it a black box when it’s shaped like a ball, Carson,” Avery said, slowly making his way into the cockpit. He grabbed the control wheel above him for support and ducked below the pilot’s seat. ‘Do you see it anywhere?”

    “I don’t see anything,” Carson said, leaning further inside. Wincing, he jerked back his hand.

    “Shit!” he said, holding his hand and steadying his feet in the passing water to keep from falling. Blood oozed from his palm and red drops tainted the blue waters around him. He squeezed the wound tight, afraid of how bad the cut might be.

    “What is it?” Avery asked, alarmed by Carson’s outburst.

    “I sliced my hand,” he said. The horrors of stitches and tetanus shots flooded his thoughts. The electric strangeness intensified with the surge of adrenaline and he couldn’t take it anymore. “I’m going back.”

    “Are you okay?” Avery called from the darkness.

    “Yeah, I’m fine. I just don’t want to get salt water in the wound,” he said with a half-truth. He didn’t care if Avery bought it or not. The antsy pins and needles sensation attacking his skin compelled him to leave, no matter what Avery might have to say about it. As he stepped foot onto the beach, the feeling slowly subsided. He turned back to look at the wreck, one hand firmly clasped in the other and wished he had never followed Avery in the first place. He could see his friend’s back through the busted glass, stooped over and searching through the water and debris for his souvenir. Behind him, the figure emerged again. “Avery! Get out!”

    He ran back towards the plane, screaming at the top of his lungs as the humanoid creature pushed Avery’s head under the water. Avery’s arms flailed wildly, but his attacker was too strong, easily pinning him down as he slowly drowned. Carson rushed to the side of the plane in an effort to try and save his friend, but as he reached the water’s edge weakness took hold of his legs. The pins and needles sensation pierced Carson like knives and he fell onto the sand in convulsions, losing complete control of his body. He could no longer see Avery. Instead, he caught a good look at the tail of the plane. The plane’s back end looked like a swimming snake, swerving back and forth beneath the waves. The wings folded down with the sound of crinkled metal, dug into the beach and pushed itself back out to sea. A black oil-like substance pooled around the plane as it submerged. For the briefest moment he could see Avery’s floating face in the busted windshield, locked in a silent scream. The plane disappeared into bubbling foam as Carson passed out.

    “Dude, are you okay?” the familiar voice asked. Carson blinked as the sparkles in his vision subsided and he pulled his face from the sand.

    “What happened?” he asked, groggily. His head pounded and his throat felt like an old dirt road in the July heat. Something strange had happened but he couldn’t remember what, the memory just beyond grasp.

    “You tripped on this steel ball,” Avery said. He was holding a solid black sphere and brushing sand from its slick surface. “Pretty cool, huh? I mean not you falling, of course. That was a nasty spill. I think you passed out.”

    Carson took his hand and the overwhelming sensation of déjà vu flooded his senses. This had happened before, but not quite in the same way. He looked out at the shoreline.

    “What the hell is that?” Carson asked, pointing at a massive pool of black oil floating in the waves.

    “Some sort of oil slick,” Avery shrugged. “Want to check it out?”

    “I just want to go home,” Carson said.

    ”Maybe we can crack this open and see what’s inside?” Avery suggested, offering the ball over so Carson could inspect it.

    “Sure,” the boy replied.

    Somewhere below the surface, Neila entered his daily audio log as he guided the meglamech further down the coast.

    “Solar rotation 459, mid sun. Encountered two fingerling land creatures. Both male. Subdued the larger of the two with a meglamech implant and held the thin one for testing. Subject was too small for incubation, but ideal for delivering larvae. It is in possession of the collection sphere and programmed to return after birth,” Neila said through a series of pops, clicks and gurgles of his native tongue. “Large implanted subject is an ideal host. Once the meglamech shard travels through its lower dermis and into the abdomen, fertilization can begin. Incubation should take no longer than two solar rotations and host will be ample sustenance for the newborns. I hope to have more test subjects by late sun and have set the next landing for 100 kilometers.”

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  2. Another haiku, this time for picture 3.

    Unbreakable

    Many constructs float
    On tearful oceans under
    All kinds of bridges

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  3. His oceans, his Gyres – David

    The pier, truth be told, had aged as badly as he had. It had once stood there proud and resolute, stoic against the relentless onslaught of the vicious and unforgiving ocean, but no longer. Once thick steel beams now hung there, rusted and fragmented. The ones that hadn’t already fallen into the sea, spearing the coarse sand, were in danger of snapping away and causing the whole decaying structure to collapse like a house of cards.

    They were both dying from without and within. The fractal patches of rust and sun-bleached barnacles that clung to the metal matched the cancerous patches and portents of imminent death on his own skin, and the veins of weakness that slowly crept through the heart of the metal echoed the cancer that spread through his nervous system.

    Mike’s legs buckled under him, the last vestiges of strength leaving with the tide, and he fell to his knees. He would go no further. His will to survive, to reach this final resting place, had been just enough.

    Hyrdemouth had been the place of his birth, and so many other of the inhabitants – even the rare few that sought their fortunes further afield – it would also be the place of his death. He pushed his frail fingers into the damp grey sand, imagining it to be the skin of something giant, something monstrous.

    Mike was surprised and disappointed at the state of the old pier. He’d expected it to last for ever, but after all a great many things were changing in Hyrdemouth. The sun, once vibrant and seeming close enough to grab, rarely made the effort these days. The azure blue seas of his youth were now grey and possessed of a torpor that barely registered as a tide. The bounteous gifts it presented them had dwindled, these days little more than twisted inedible abominations that spat and burned.

    Where did it live now, he wondered? The pier had been its temple, a cathedral of gleaming steel and brightly painted wood. Did it still reside in the nests of girders that scattered the base, or had it been driven into the sea?

    His voice had almost left him, his throat burning. He cupped a handful of seawater from a jagged scar in the sand, and sipped gently from it. The salt inflamed his throat even further, but gave him the briefest of voices to speak. Before something coppery burst in there, and he would speak no more.

    To chant, to beg. To pray.

    The sea, endless, patient and forgiving, answered him.

    Foam at first, bubbling grey and white forms. Shells and tiny pebbles cascaded in the turbulence, clicking and clattering noisily over the gentle languous tides. At the edge of the waters they began to connect, two vertical pillars of ocean detritus taking form. Dull green fronds of seawood spiralled upwards around each, through the innards like veins or knotting around the outer edge like muscles and nerves.

    It would have been majestic once, almost fully formed the moment it emerged. Now it assembled slowly, as though pained. A driftwood skeleton pierced the innards, stumbling steps becoming more confident. It had the beginnings of a body and arms now, a ribcage formed of coral blooming like blossom. A hermit grab in a black and white striped shell, caught up in the maelstrom of water, retreated further within the structure of the thing.

    Mike, the last of his strength gone, fell to his side. He missed the glorious conclusion of the thing restored, but heard the noises, smelt the acrid aroma of the brine and salt that accompanied its return.

    He had seen the thing a handful of times before. When he’d been old enough to understand, he’d joined in with the summoning ceremonies on the beach. As a young boy, he’d been convinced that the things gargantuan size was due to his own perception. As time had gone on though, he’d been forced to face the grim reality that the thing was dying. As the oceans shrunk, so did their totem.

    It stood above him now, crooked rather than towering. They were both old. Perhaps this thing they’d thought a bounteous deity was mortal too.

    That suspicion was what brought Mike here.

    It stared down at him with vacant eyes, dark holes embedded in the face of shell and stone.

    “I bring a sacrifice” Mike thought, lips and throat too parched to form words.

    A deep voice, echoing like the ocean captured in a shell, replied.

    “And none too soon, good Michael. I am dying. I will try to keep this painless.”

    And with that, the ragged silhouette collapsed onto him. His pained body fought instintively to push the mass away from him, but for nought. The brine filled his nostrils and throat, the sharp shells and stones burrowing into his aching flesh. The rowring noise filled his senses, and he tumbled into that void.

    The remnants of his stained clothes were taken by the townsfolk and tied around the thinner struts of the pier.

    The sun hung lower and the seas shone brighter in the Summer days to come.

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