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Challenge: 200 Words to Add…

Last week we wrote the first 200 words to a story. Here is my beginning.

This week, we chose someone else’s beginning and added our own 200 words. I chose this one, submitted by boydstun215. I picked this one because even though it was one of the first submissions I read, I could not stop thinking about it as I read through many more. I decided to be a bit tame, hopefully building up to something crazy/exciting/insane? Who knows? Hopefully I’ll find out next week if/when someone takes this one up and continues it.

(Editing to add the beginning 200 words):

The soldiers carried the man across the narthex and through the nave. They lumbered along like some giant, wounded insect, three pairs of cold, stiff legs shuffling clumsily beneath a motley carapace of steel and leather. Close upon their heels, the master-of-arms was careful to avoid the hissing droplets of blood that the insect left in its wake. His sword was drawn.

At the end of the nave and standing at the foot of the chancel, the bishop held a gilded crosiers at arm’s length as if to thwart to advance of the shambling mass making its way toward the altar. In his other hand he grasped a large silver crucifix. Despite his advanced age and diminutive stature, the crimson-robed bishop made for an imposing figure. “No further,” he whispered. The soldiers stopped , unsure of themselves. One of the men looked down nervously into the pale face of the man he carried while the other two turned their heads in askance to the master-at-arms. For several moments the only sound was the steady hiss of the blood as fell from the lifeless man and met the cold marble floor.

“It must be done here,” said the master-at-arms. “Take him to the altar.”

And here is my addition:

The bishop moved aside, letting the soldiers scramble up the few steps to the altar. His crimson robes did nothing to shield him from the cold radiating from their frozen armor. The slick marble stairs proved difficult for the exhausted soldiers as they stumbled and fell under their heavy load. Grim-faced, the master–at-arms followed their procession, only sheathing his sword to offer aid in heaving the unconscious man atop the bare altar.

The soldiers scurried away, stealing a glance at the stone table before fixing their gaze on their snow-crusted boots. The master-at-arms moved to the side of the altar where the man’s head rested. His shallow breaths produced a faint mist in the cold air. Steady drops of blood from his mouth had already created a small pool that hissed quietly on the stone. The master-at-arms looked down at the man’s face, searching for any hint of the soldier he once knew, but finding only the thing he had become. A sharp intake of air through the pale, bloodied lips tore the master-at-arms away from his thoughts.

The bishop joined the master-at-arms. Two terrified altar boys carrying trays covered with vials, books, crucifixes, and various cutting tools followed closely behind.

“It is time.”

5 responses »

  1. Hi Adrienne:
    I love your addition! You do a great job building the tension and balancing your 200 words between the actions of the characters and the supporting detail surrounding those actions. And I really like the addition of “the thing” at the end, which really adds another layer of horror and suspense. Hopefully someone will pick up the narrative next week. Cheers!

  2. Pingback: Flash Fiction: The Third Two Hundred Words | We Love The Stars Too Fondly

  3. Adrienne, I really liked your addition as well as the first segment by boydstun215, so I added a third segment for this week. You can find it at
    Thanks for the great material to work with!

  4. Pingback: Flash Fiction Challenge: FIrst 1000 Words | The Padded Castle

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