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 Challenge 7: Once Upon a Time

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Dodger

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Join date : 2016-05-23

PostSubject: Challenge 7: Once Upon a Time   Sun 5 Jun - 4:52:38

Andalasia

(899 words... 1 to spare!  Not counting the title... you didn't say the title factors into the word count/that was mentioned as a separate thing)

The Perpetual Time Being of Anya and Laelaps

Once upon a time, in a land long forgotten, lived a young woman named Anya and her dog, Laelaps.  Anya found Laelaps as a stray in the forest, near a creek overflowing from the spring rain, while bathing herself amongst snakes and otters alike.  When Anya saw her, she pulled from her bag a piece of venison to offer Laelaps.  And she spoke in a language long forgotten, even in Anya's time, but divined by a rare few.  And this is what she said: "Hello, dear.  My name is Anya."

Anya was born with a tail, not surgically removed until the age of eight.  As a child, Anya learned of the rise and fall of empires to come, of the pantheons of gods yet to be born, and of all of creation yet to exist.  She would sit on the shore and stare out to sea, imagining discovering the shores of Lyonesse, or of living long enough to see lions roam the African plains.  As an adult, Anya would still do this, but with Laelaps by her side and beside her in her prophecies.

A man named Sextus was fond of Anya.  Sextus would often force himself upon Anya, hoping to one day make her his wife by any means of coercion, and Anya would tolerate this for a price.  And when she could, Anya would ignore Sextus and sneak off with Laelaps, to reaffirm where they first met.

One night in the forest, Anya and Laelaps came upon a strange beast with claws and gnashing teeth.  As Anya questioned this beast, she discovered he would become a sailor, and would not die until the Crimean War, as a soldier.  She questioned the beast about this purpose, and he spoke in a language only Anya and Laelaps could understand, and this is what he said: "I live by moonlight; hear me! for the day is haram".  And Anya whispered something in his ear, then she and Laelaps left.

And Anya and Laelaps came upon a merchant making his way to a village.  As Anya questioned this man, she discovered he would become a clergyman, and would not die until the Vietnam War, as a politician.  She questioned the man about this purpose, and he spoke eloquently in the language of the time, and this is what he said: "I offer you luxury for a price; assam and darjeeling, and the finest in ersatz feelings and myrrh." Anya turned away, and they continued to the creek where they had first met, to bathe amongst snakes and otters alike.

The following evening, Sextus called upon Anya; Anya agreed.  She walked up the stairs and his place was a mess; he closed the shade, walked toward her, and took off her dress.  As Sextus penetrated her, Anya stared at the wall.  She imagined an age of cars, with headlights casting shadows. She imagined the shadows forming graceful shapes, like the fluid paintings of 16th century Japan.  And she longed for the first telling of The Rape of Lucrece, and the birth of a heroine with whom she could relate.  Sextus came, and then pulled out.

That night while she slept, Anya had a dream, and this is what she dreamed: She witnessed the pygmy tribes of Africa hiding their secrets, in expectation of discovery by the West.  She witnessed the rise and fall of Rome.  She laughed at the false prophecies of Nostradamus, and she guided the hand of Luis Ponce de León.  She watched Memphis fall into night, while Elvis stepped onto a stage.  She saw dinosaurs come and go, as beautiful ephemera.  She watched the world overcome with water as she and Laelaps held their breath amidst festivals to celebrate the rising waves.  A wise man turned to her and said, "you are a friend", and she blushed.

Anya awoke, left a farewell note to Sextus, and went home.  Anya sat on her bed, with Laelaps sitting behind her, and stared into a mirror.  Her features seemed to blur.  But she saw Laelaps clearly, both behind and in front of her.

It was that evening that Laelaps died.  Sextus broke in and demanded that Anya marry him.  He beat her and he broke every possession she cherished.  But seeing that he couldn't break her, he saw the one being she truly loved, Laelaps.  He pulled out a knife, and without hesitation slit Laelaps' throat, and stomped on her skull until she stopped moving.  Anya wailed, picked up a vase, and smashed it into Sextus' head.  She picked up Laelaps' body, and she ran.

Carrying Laelaps' body, Anya ran past the gates of her village, past the graveyard, past the Elysian Fields.  She ran through the forest toward where they had first met, periodically stopping to listen for another breath from Laelaps, for any sign of life.  Anya reached the creek and collapsed.

Anya awoke to find Laelaps' body gone.  Yet to her surprise, she felt her tail had regrown and her feet and hands balanced equally on the ground.  And Anya saw a young woman walking toward her.  The young woman pulled from her bag a piece of venison to offer Anya, and she spoke in a language long forgotten, even in Anya's time, but divined by a rare few.  And this is what she said: "Hello, dear.  My name is Laelaps."  And they lived happily ever after

The End


Cast

Anya/Laelaps (human) - Lola Créton
Laelaps/Anya (dog) - the dog who plays Bossy in Neighbours, I guess
Sextus - Gethin Anthony
The beast - voiced by Tom Waits
The merchant - James Franco
The wise man - Chiwetel Ejiofor

Cameo/nonfiction characters:
Nostradamus - Daniel Day Lewis
Luis Ponce de León - Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Elvis Presley - Rafi Gavron

Character bios and all that crap:

Anya (also Laelaps) - Hero

Physical description:  Modestly pretty, if in a slightly awkward way, but certainly not "stunning".  Mousy brown hair, medium-long, wavey, and usually slightly tangled.  Lithe frame.  Pale complexion, vaguely Meditteranean features.  

Character biography: It is unknown whether Anya was born to her parents, or if they adopted and raised her from a young age.  It is known that she was born with a tail, much like that of a dog.  At 8-years-old, Anya's parents opted to have her tail surgically removed.  However, the tail did not bother Anya, nor was she an outcast for it.  Quite the opposite... Children would playfully pull it, and she'd wag it to smack them in return.  She and the other children would often play in Isidora's garden, and she'd wag it when happy.  Isidora herself believed Anya's tail to suggest she is another kind of being entirely, thus enabling her to talk to animals in a forgotten language.  Anya was 19 when she found Laelaps, and she is 25 at the time of the story.  Anya lives in a primordial world (or maybe a test-run), which may or may not quite be the physical world, but rather a foreshadowing of the physical world.  In this world, known creation has yet to happen, and all that will happen is known through prophecy that's learned in school (albeit some are more adept than others).  Anya and others in the world are acutely aware of this (and sometimes even try to recreate what they see, through prophecy, in their world).  However, Anya - by whatever means - has the ability to change the fates of others (hinted at when she whispers in the beast's ear, when her visions while staring at the sea change from just her to her and Laelaps, and when she's guiding some other moments), as they will exist and transmigrate after creation (and probably during creation, and for all time after).  Anya is only marginally aware of this... she suspects it sometimes, but does not *know* it.  Anya and Laelaps are both one and two beings (plural and singular), and eventually universal creative force, to reverse roles for all time (albeit with different experiences each time), bonded through their complete love for one another outweighing all of creation's tangents to come.  This story is the tale of how Anya and Laelaps first met, or rather how they started to realize what they are.

Sextus - Villain

Physical description: Modestly handsome, certainly not "dashing", but with a high-foreheaded, classically dignified appearance.  Well-groomed hair and beard, brown.  Average build - neither muscular, lithe, nor overweight.  

Character biography: Sextus (yeah, I ripped that directly from Sextus Tarquinius) was born and raised in a different village, not far from the village Anya grew up in.  Sextus is somewhat peripheral in the ongoing story of Anya and Laelaps, and functions of as a catalyst for them.  Sextus did poorly in school (and is slow to understand, or even see, prophecy), but was born to a respected family.  He has a sometimes violent, and usually insecure, nature... compensated for by arrogance from his upbringing.  He moved to Anya's village to try to establish a coastal trade route with other villages, and is a few years older than Anya.  He, as long as others in the village, has some vague idea of what Anya is (or might be), which just makes him more insecure, feeding the desire to "claim" her for himself.  However, in a weird way, he does care for Anya, and for that wants her respect and devotion (and tries to seize it through force and basically turning her into a prostitute, albeit for him alone, in an attempt to keep her close to him).  Generally respect in the village for his status.
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Neal Cassidy
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PostSubject: Re: Challenge 7: Once Upon a Time   Mon 6 Jun - 16:00:12

10/10

A+
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Dodger

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PostSubject: Re: Challenge 7: Once Upon a Time   Mon 6 Jun - 18:52:32

Laughing Thank you. I'm curious to read the other stories and judges comments on all them when the game is over. Probably my favorite challenge yet. Good one to have as a tradition.

Alright, I'm working on responding to everyone and figuring this out now. I'm gonna try to post nominations in about an hour, but I want to try to figure out who might have the veto first (probably Mulan).
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Dodger

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PostSubject: Re: Challenge 7: Once Upon a Time   Mon 6 Jun - 20:38:57

Just a couple minutes, I swear. I want to re-read something first.
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