Featured Story, Week of March 4: "The Claus of War" and "Wedding Gift"
Each week we feature a story written by one or two of our group members at one of our meetings. For this week's featured stories, the group each wrote a last sentence of a story, threw them into a hat, and chose them at random. Then we had to write the story to that last sentence. We had 20 minutes to write.
The Claus Of War
By Erik Engman
Shane the Eskimo stood at the front gates of Santa’s mansion. This war had gone on long enough. It was time to end it.
He leapt over the fence with ease. Stupid. Santa made it to keep out elves. He didn’t bargain for a full grown man to be looking to get in. But frankly, he didn’t bargain for a man like Shane to agree to be paid in candy.
Shane approached the front door with caution. There was an eerie silence across the courtyard. Santa’s servants had all abandoned him. Not a surprise. He treated them like last year’s present’s, anyway.
Silently, he tried the door knob. It opened easily. This could only mean one thing. Santa was waiting for him.
Shane stood in the foyer, taking in the sight around him. Toy train tracks circled the room. The walls were adorned with garland. Pure gold, he surmised. Ornaments hung from the ceiling with care. Rudolph’s head hung on the back wall, his dead eyes blankly staring back at him.
Shane could hear the toy train coming. He held his harpoon up high aiming at the train tunnel, ready for the fat man.
But it was a ruse. The train appeared, but it was empty.
Shane heard a grunt behind him. He rolled to the side just in the St. Nick of time.
Santa – dirty, disheveled, and mad with power – swung at him, his arms barely missing Shane’s head.
Shane raised the harpoon, but Santa was ready. Santa grabbed some ornaments hanging in front of him and threw them. They exploded at Shane’s feet – red and gold glitter everywhere.
Stunned, Shane dropped his harpoon, which slid to the far corner of the room.
“Now I have you,” Santa bellowed. “HO HO HO!”
Shane backed up against the wall. He looked up. There were two large candy canes crossed like swords on top of Santa’s family crest.
Shane ripped one of the candy canes off the wall. And just in time as Santa, uttering a low guttural howl, charged at him.
Shane, summoning all the strength he could muster, raised the candy cane and plunged it deep into Santa’s heart.
Surprise crossed Santa’s eyes, then they went lifeless as he thudded to the ground.
Shane backed away. It was finished. The elves were free.
Shane dropped the cane, satisfied that he had made the right choice.
By Erik Day
The wedding was coming up: Mithra and Elderran were getting married. They were both young, Mithra the younger of them and having just barely turned two-hundred fifty. The village elders thought it absolutely scandalous that two children were allowed to get married. Everybody else rolled their eyes and looked for gifts for a pair of rebellious young elves.
George Stonegroove was honored to have received an invitation at all. Humans didn't often rate in the social strata of elves, being so short-lived and all, though George had the rare mark of being the oldest living thing in the village. Being the regional expert for potion brewing had it's advantages.
If there was one challenge: what did one gift a pair of elves that had practically everything? The answer: their own enchanted decanter. While George could fill that decanter with elixirs that nations would go to war over, he needed something worthy to put it in. It was time to visit Fleg Thurmrax.
A short carriage ride to the valley and George entered a shop of indescribable beauty and delicacy. There were glass creations that moved, some mechanically, some magically. It was magic alone that held some of these creations together – a clock made of glass snowflakes forever falling. Two glass dancers, looping the highlights of the Black Swan.Fleg was in the back, himself roughly the size of a tank, his fingers as delicate as bull hooves. And yet every creation in here was his.
George rang the bell. "Fleg, old friend! I'm here to place an order."
His voice rumbled from the back. "Good to see you from a distance, George. I don't have time!"
George nodded, noting Fleg was in a rare good mood. "Price is no object."
"When has price ever been an object?"
George looked at the hourly rate sheet. "I'd say most of today, yesterday, this year. Last year."
"You need to expand your business! Hire some people. Train somebody, Fleg! Heck, look at this shop! I mean, I've modeled what I do after you! Any advice on getting my MBA?"
Fleg moved through the shop with impossible grace, stopping an inch over George's head. "YOU'RE GOING TO DO WHAT?!"
"Was it something I said?"
"I've had two assistants stab themselves with glass, fatally, and one that managed to fall into the crucible. Do you know how bad incinerated elf smells? The dwarves can't hang on to glass because they're too goddamned drunk to stand up, and you humans just want to be accountants like it would break your puny little fingers to pick up a broom once a decade! I can TEACH that fucking class, but would anybody ever listen to me? NO!"
At that point, George realized That's why you don't ask a glass blowing troll for advice on how to earn a masters in Business Administration.