OCTOBER TRICKSTERS 110 – Short Story Contest

THEME: Deception

SETTING: Don’t let your character get fooled by a trickster. You decide if your character will fall for a trick or temptation. The trickster could be a quack psychologist, a health care worker, gold digger, business shyster, restaurant jester, neighborhood prankster, human trafficker coyote, property fraudster, or some other kind of trickster such as a demon.

3 HIGHLIGHTS: (include): A trickster, a trick, and a bell

SUBMISSIONS: Post your story below where it says POST YOUR STORY OF 750-1,500 WORDS

WORD COUNT: 750-1,500

AWARDS: Each story will receive an award!

DEADLINE: Always due on the 25th of each month.

PRIZE: Winner receives a book!

SUBMISSIONS: Post your story below in the section provided while the contest is open.

3 OPTIONAL PROMPTS TO GET YOU STARTED:

1.) Your character notices that one of his or her keychains is missing. It was a special keychain from a collection. Your character has collected quite a few keychains from places where he or she vacationed. The only suspects are a friendly neighbor boy who cuts the lawn, a nice cleaning lady, a responsible dog walker, and your character’s own family member. Who is the trickster?

2.) Your character is a teenager with two younger siblings. Their parents have died. You decide which long lost relative arrives to take care of them. After a series of unusual pranks from the relative, your character must find a new caretaker. Will they ever trust anyone?

3.) Your character used to be the mayor of a town. The town attorney wrongly charged him with obstruction of justice. The county judge banished him to live in the forest. He began to build tiny homes and sold many to people from faraway places, gaining wealth. The attorney and judge fear he will return with vengeance to rule over them. You decide if your character can win his hometown. You decide if the main trickster is a barber, banker, realtor, or landscaper.

WINNER(S) and AWARDS will be announced on November 1, 2021.

OPTIONAL RESOURCES:

You can find additional optional conflicts on pages 128-129 in “Writers 750 Emerald Workbook” written by H.M. Schuldt.

ITEMS THAT MUST BE INCLUDED

1.) Trickster

2.) Trick

3.) Bell

Loveable Tricksters

How lovable is a trickster? It varies from one to another. Some of the more lovable tricksters include Tinker Bell, Puck “Robin Goodfellow” the prankster from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Cheshire Cat, Willy Wonka, Bugs Bunny, Eddie from Leave It to Beaver, Fred and George Weasley from Harry Potter, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Jacob who pretended to be his win brother Esau, deceiving his father, Isaac, in the book of Genesis.

Mixed Tricksters

Other tricksters might have a mixture of good and evil. Stanley from The Mask is an example of a normal person who becomes terribly mischievous, inspired by the ancient character, Loki from Norse Mythology. Mixed tricksters might start off as a terrible rascal, but somewhere deep down inside, they have a good side such as the Grinch. A mixed trickster has a deeper level of evil tugging in his life. He is sometimes nice but sometimes a bully. He uses his evil ways to hurt feelings, rob victims, ruin relationships, or live with a vindictive spirit. He might want to be good, but he isn’t.

Evil Tricksters

Some tricksters remain evil and never change their ways such as the Joker, Satan, and other antichrists. This trickster does not care if he or she has to use violence to carry out evil plans. He has an enormous amount of hate, revenge, or complete destruction driving his life. He is “full of himself,” which means he is a narcissist. He does not want to be good. He wants to be bad all the time. He won’t stop until he gets caught. Even if he does get caught, he is mad about getting caught, and still does not want to change his ways. He is bad to the bone and likes it that way.

CONTEST GUIDELINES – Skip over this section if you are familiar with the Writers 750 Program.

GENRE: Fantasy, Thriller, Sci-Fi, Mystery, Crime, Comedy, Romance, or a mixture (No erotica)

PURPOSE –
The main purpose of this contest is to practice the skill of writing fiction, explore conflict and character development, write a new short stories, and receive good feedback.

RULES & DIRECTIONS –
• Type in English – a minimum of 750 words; a maximum of 1,500 words

• Post your title and word count total in the first line of your story posting.

• Writers are responsible for their own copyright. Authors keep all rights. PRIVACY POLICY IS ENFORCED. COPYRIGHTS AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS BELONG TO INDIVIDUAL AUTHORS. THIS CONTEST DOES NOT GRANT ANY PERSON THE RIGHT OR LICENSE TO COPY OR USE OTHER STORIES. EACH STORY IS PROTECTED BY THE COPYRIGHT OF THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR.

• ONE entry per person, must be the writer’s original work, a final revision, and a new piece of writing. Please do not delete and re-post since this becomes confusing to the readers. Make sure to post your final revision.

Post your story in the comment section below.

4 replies on “OCTOBER TRICKSTERS 110 – Short Story Contest”

Paul Ahnert
Devil’s Moon Pt1
1398 words

DEVIL’S MOON PT1

Benny sauntered up to a group of Freshmen and threw down his challenge. “Hey losers, I bet none of you can beat me in a softest punch contest.” Benny, a Junior, was known for being a trickster and a bit of a bully around campus, but the newest group of Freshmen had not been around long enough to know about Benny’s antics. Sean, the smallest of the group, asked, “What is that?” Benny said, with a leer, “We see who can throw the softest punch, shoot, I’ll even let you go first.” Sean, looking excited to connect with an upperclassman in his new school said, “Sure, why not?” as he walked up to Benny, who probably outweighed him by at least a hundred pounds. With the gentlest of jabs, Sean’s fist barely made contact with Benny’s arm. Benny reared back and punched Sean in his arm with everything he had. Sean landed on his side about a foot and a half away, clutching his arm and using all of his will power to not start crying. Benny laughed, “Congratulations kid, you won!” and headed off to his next class.

Sean’s humiliation was almost Benny’s undoing. By lunch time, word of Benny’s little gag had gotten to the Dean of boys, Jack Carlton, who was waiting for Benny outside the school cafeteria. Mr. Carlton placed a hand on Benny’s shoulder and with a painfully firm grip directed him to the administration offices. Benny did not scare easily, but at the moment a sheen of sweat appeared over his brow. “What’s the problem Mr. Carlton?” Benny asked, attempting to sound innocent of any possible wrongdoing. The fact of the matter was this little visit may have been prompted by any one of a half dozen pranks and misdemeanors Benny had orchestrated, or at least participated in, the past several days. Mr. Carlton remained silent until he escorted Benny into his office, where two police officers stood waiting. “Have a seat Benny”, Mr. Carlton said as he walked behind his desk and took a seat.

“I understand you assaulted a student this morning.” Benny’s mouth dropped open as he attempted to wrap his mind around the accusation. “No sir, I never assaulted anybody, there must be some misunderstanding!” Benny knew there were plenty of things he deserved to answer for, but being accused of assault took him completely by surprise. Mr. Carlton leaned forward and looked Benny in the eye, “Well, Benny, there was a hallway full of witnesses, who will happily testify in court, that they saw you punch Sean Prescott so hard you almost broke his arm.” “I was just fooling around with the kid, I swear, I don’t even know him!” Benny protested. At that, one of the police officers stepped forward and told Benny, “Stand up, turn around and place your hands behind your back.” Benny complied and felt the cold steel on his wrists as the police officer handcuffed him.

Now sobbing, Benny asked Mr. Carlton if he could call his mom. “We’ll get to that, Benny, I want to explain something to you first.” Mr. Carlton stepped to the front of his desk, crossed his arms and asked Benny, “How old are you?” “I’m seventeen, sir”, he mumbled. “When do you turn eighteen, son?” Not for another eight months, Sir.” Mr. Carlton looked hard at Benny and asked him, “You like how those handcuffs feel?” “No sir, I don’t like it one bit.” “Good, you got eight months to get yourself together and figure out what you want life to look like for you. Once you turn eighteen, if you so much as lay a finger on another kid in this school, I will have you arrested and believe me, I don’t care how tough you think you are, an eighteen year old kid in jail will not fare very well, you understand me?” Benny could only nod his head as snot and tears covered his face.

Mr. Carlton nodded his head to the officer who cuffed Benny and the policeman removed the cuffs. The two officers nodded to the Dean as they took their leave. Benny’s mom, Wanda, who had been in another room listening, entered the office, staring daggers at her wayward son. Dean Carlton stood up and walked next to Wanda. “You will be suspended for one week and you will be expected to keep up with all your school assignments during that time. I will be keeping my eye on you Benny. We can be the best of friends or bitter enemies, that is completely up to you.”

“Go wait in the car Benny,” Wanda directed as she turned to face Mr. Carlton. Carlton rubbed his face displaying his weariness, “Of all the kids in this school he could have picked on he had to go after a Prescott.” Wanda’s eyes grew large, “When did a Prescott start coming to this school?” “He’s a first year freshman, just got here at the beginning of the year. I guess I should have warned the Pack.” “Ya think?” Wanda spat out. “It’s because of a Prescott I have been raising that kid by myself for the last ten years, so, how good did he give it to him, anyway?” “Well, he gave him a pretty good shot, actually, kid’s stronger than he realizes. It’s odd he is such a late bloomer.” Wanda looked toward the window, “Oh I don’t think it will be too long now, he’s been growling in his sleep, so I’d say he’s probably only a moon cycle or two away.”

“I hope you understand why I took such drastic measures with Benny, we have to maintain the truce and I wanted to make sure the Prescotts understood this was an unfortunate coincidence. I have no doubt we could eliminate the Prescotts once and for all, but it would surely expose us and we’d be hunted to the ends of the earth. The truce is the only thing that keeps us alive” Wanda sighed, “I understand Jack, I just wish that superstition didn’t keep us in the shadows.” “Well,”’ Carton said as he walked Wanda to the door, “it looks like the Prescotts are keeping up their end of the truce because I don’t think that kid has any idea about any of this, and hopefully he never will.”

Two weeks later, on the afternoon before the night of the full moon, Benny heard the sound of a bell, faintly ringing from the direction of the mountains outside town. Inexplicably, the sound called to him, drawing him like a siren song. Benny stepped outside and began walking toward the sound of the bell, slowly at first but soon, he was running. A car pulled alongside him as he ran. “Hey Benny, where are you off to in such a hurry?” It was the cop who had handcuffed him in Dean Carlton’s office, but he was not in uniform. “Uh, I’m not really sure, uh, I guess I am just out for a run.” Benny was confused and couldn’t explain to himself what was happening, nevermind trying to explain it to a cop.

“You hearing the bell Benny?” the off duty policeman asked. “Um, yeah, do you hear it too?” the boy responded. “Yep, every month, since I was about your age, come on, get in, I’ll drive you up there, your mom will be up there too.” Bewildered, Benny got in and within fifteen minutes the car pulled into a clearing at the end of a steep mountain road and drove through an open gate.

Wanda’s face lit up with delight as she saw her son get out of the car. She ran to him and threw her arms around him sobbing with joy, “Welcome to the Pack son! I thought this day would never come!” Bewildered, Benny just stood there hugging his mom wondering what in the world was going on. Mr. Carlton walked over and put his arm around Benny, “Since your dad isn’t here to share this special moment, I would be honored if you ran with me tonight, Benny.” “Sure, I guess, Mr. Carlton, but I really have no idea what’s going on.” Mr. Carlton and Wanda both looked up at the rising moon as the final wisps of daylight faded, fur sprouting from their faces, “You will soon,” they both said simultaneously.

Monster Spa
by Glenda Reynolds
(771 Word)

The earth had made another trip around the sun leaving us once again in the month of October. Amid the chaos of the world, food shortages, and masses of laid-off workers, there are ways to tune it all out. I can always count on some “me time” at my favorite spa. To my delight, there was a full moon this evening. Perfect! I arrived at the spa in which the sign on the establishment read

Monster Spa
We Take The Trick Out of Treat!

I parked in my usual spot out front in my black, shiny T-Bird with leopard upholstery and white walled tires, just like Elvira’s. The bell jingled as I opened the door to the establishment. The gang was all here. Alice was on the massage table getting a work over by a masseuse named Teddy that looked like Lurch from the Addams Family. Alice is a goblin with dark facial features. Teddy’s skillful hands were making her giggle with delight. He finished off with a toilet plunger on her back, and she loved this even more.

I checked in at the desk.

“You want the usual, Ms. Wulf?”

“Of course, yes please.”

“Right this way.”

I was pampered by a staff person named June who was born in the month of October. Go figure! She applied a mixture of Indian kama oil and sea salt to exfoliate my skin. June noticed excess hair being exfoliated. She had a worried look on her face.

“Don’t worry. I grow a new batch every full moon.” She was okay with that.

I looked over and saw Meritamon, an Egyptian mummy friend being unwrapped. She had just had a full body makeover. She had special magical herbs applied from head to toe that regenerated her dried up mummified skin. It was necessary for the regiment to be wrapped completely to work. Now for the big reveal. The staff person handed her a mirror to see the results. Meritamon was so happy with the results that one of her eyes popped out. She promptly poked it back in and thanked the staff person.

Three witches named Allison, Tasha, and Jessica were already in the hot whirlpool known as the Creepy Caldron. They were gossiping no doubt. Maybe they were discussing the latest, greatest spells.

After I was done with me body treatment, I sat reclined with green Rotten Egg treatment on my face and cucumber slices on my closed eyes. Spooky, gothic musicals played in the background.
Kora the Greek vampire was one of the staff people. She made her rounds to the patrons to give each person a hot cup of herbal tea. When she got to me, I was none too happy.

“Really? Wolfsbane? I could smell it from across the room! Get that away from me!”

My claws immediately grew three inches. I made a swipe to claw the tray of herbal tea out of her hands. The tray clattered on the tile floor. Immediately Kora was on all fours on the ceiling above me. She bore her fangs at me and hissed. I knew that Kora didn’t like me, but this was taking it too far. In my rage, I fully wolfed out in response to her attempt at giving me wolfsbane. My primal growl startled both guests and staff. I stood there with my feet apart, fangs extended, and fur from head to toe.

“Come now ladies. Let’s not make a scene,” said Mr. Drexel , the ghoul and owner.

“Too late for that, I’m afraid,” I said with disgust in my rough voice.

“I apologize, Ms. Wulf. Your spa treatment is on the house today.”

“Thank you, Mr. Drexel. I appreciate it.”

After I calmed down a bit, my claws retracted and my wolf hair vanished. I returned to my humanoid self looking like a regular brunette lady. The Thompson zombie twins Hugo and Hermie had just had a shave and garg-oil treatments. They were both shirtless and wearing only towels around their hips.

“Ms. Wulf, sorry you had to experience that. Let’s have a good time over at the Creepy Caldron,” offered Hugo.

“Do, let’s relax and join the others,” suggested Hermie as he offered me a glass of wine.

“The exfoliating herbs and oils are doing wonders for you both. Less dead skin,” I offered.

I slipped my hands around each of their arms as the three of us joined the others at the whirlpool. The Thompson twins dropped their towels. To everyone’s horror and delight, the twins were missing flesh due to their zombified condition. But still – we all had a spooktacular time.

BROWN EYES
by terry turner 817 words

While following the humanoid Robot down the blue and yellow striped concrete hallway, I mull over the question; ‘Do Robots need a license to do the work that people should be doing?’

The humanoid in front of me looks as human as I do with the Classic Pompadour haircut, the perfect olive-colored skin, his lucid speech, and swimmer’s build. Although he could pass for my brother, his blue eyes lack a certain sense of passion that should be required to work in a facility like this.

I have noticed lately, the World News has been covering a movement by some independent groups to grant citizenship to humanoid Robots which is causing outrage among many humans. Some people are upset because they believe Robots will have more rights and take high-paying jobs. Their concerns might be justified, despite the assertions to the contrary from the Scientific Robotics Guild. But as the Robot evolves physically and in binary code, many are afraid of where it will lead.

We soon come to the confinement area and walk past several cubicles.
Those inside are watching us with great interest. Some silently; others not so silent. But the noisemakers hush when the Robot rings a small bell retrieved from his pocket.

I watch as one dog pushes its way through the pack and moves close to the wired partition that separates us. The Robot motions for the dog to move back but not before two big brown eyes shoot an arrow straight into my heart.

I try to turn away but it is too late. Her spell has been cast. She knows what she is doing and will not relent. Her powerful gaze holds me steadfast.

“See something you like,” asked the guide behind me?

“I… I’m not sure, Do you have others,” came my reply?

“Of course we do, Yorkie, Terrier, Chihuahua, Akita, Shepherds, Bullies, you name it, we have it. Follow me please.”

But I do not follow. Those eyes; those big brown sad eyes
hold me fast.

The Robot turns around and says, “I believe this one is for you.”

“Yes.” My words come out slowly. “I will take this one.”

“Excellent. You have chosen a fine-looking, full-blooded, Beagle. This dog is even-tempered, loyal, and will make a great companion. I need your signature on this form and she is all yours.”

“What will happen to the others,” I ask while signing the form?

“This animal shelter has a high adoption rate,” he says proudly.

“And those that are not adopted?”

The Humanoid ignores my question and instead, looks down at the release agreement I just signed, tears off the form, and says, “take this to the supervisor at the front desk. I will meet you at the loading dock with your dog.”

The Android departs but I stand looking back at the cages. It seems all eyes are on me. I wish I could take them all home but that would be impossible. I whisper a prayer before heading to the loading dock, that they all will be adopted soon. At least today one dog will get a forever home.

“Your name shall be Sadie,” I say to her as she sits in the passenger seat staring at me with her tongue hanging out. The Humanoid has tied a pink and yellow scarf around her neck which accentuates her dark eyes and long lashes. The sadness I saw in those eyes earlier is replaced with a spark of excitement. I lean over toward her and she covers my face with wet kisses.

I notice a vehicle pulling into the parking lot. A middle-aged woman gets out and follows a Robot down the blue and yellow hallway. I smile hoping another lucky pup is about to be rescued. I give thanks that my prayer was answered.

As I drive away, I ask myself the question, ‘where do all these dogs
come from in this year of 2230. Why have we not, by now, addressed the issue of homeless animals?’

Arriving home, I open the gift package the supervisor gave me after checking out at the front desk. I expected to find a sample of dog food or treats but what I find surprises me. A battery charger and a one-page letter that reads:

We hope you enjoy your Android Robot Dog. No need for food or water therefore, no little surprises to clean up. The battery pack will last up to five years at which time you will need to bring the dog back to our facility for a replacement. The dog has already been registered to you and you may download software updates at: Datadog.com Thank you for adopting.

I feel I have been tricked by the facility but then I smile. So this is how we have addressed the issue of homeless animals in the year 2230.

Ask Not For Whom The Bell Trolls

(840 words)

The front door bell rang, which surprised me as I don’t actually have one on my house. I prefer my old brass knocker. The sound this device made was loud, piercing, and deeply annoying.

Naturally I was keen to get to the bottom of the mystery so I opened the door. A medieval jester stood there, three pointed hat, Chequered Harlequin jacket, pig-bladder-stick and all. He introduced himself. “Greetings Guv’nor. Blodo, of Pull The Other One It’s Got Bells On. I’m here to sell you a brand new doorbell.”

I looked around for the hidden camera thinking I must be caught up in one of those one pranking shows like ‘Got Ya That Time’, or ‘U Gotta Laugh Haven’t U.’

“I don’t need a doorbell,” I growled. “Please go away.” I tried to slam the door but a size thirty blue curled toe winkle-picker boot wedged it ajar.

“Prithee Sire,” the Fool continued blathering. “Surely you see how effective the bell we peddle happens to be. You answered it right away.”

“I’d have come to investigate even if you’d used the door knocker.” I snarled in honesty and what I took for inescapable logic.

He looked at me quizzically. “What door knocker would that be, Squire?”

I went to point to where my lion-faced knocker was supposed to be only to see a viscous crude tear in the wood panelling where it had been. The knocker lay on my doorstep surrounded by splinters, chiseled out.

I grabbed the scroat by the throat. “Did you do that?”

He grinned as if utterly unthreatened by my aggression. “Indeed. As you can see, I have already taken the liberty of fully installing your new bell. I am so confident you will happily purchase the goods I have set them in place for you. The bell is operated electronically. Welcome to the twenty-first century.”

“Says the creep dressed in medieval clown rags,” I said. “What joke shop did you rob to get that outfit?”

“A gimmick,” the salesman said. “Nothing more, nothing less. So many door to door peddlers dress in suits and ties. Wilie Loman might not have died if he had my sense of fashion and my sense of fun.”

“Wilie who?” I asked, and ignored his efforts to tell me about Arthur Miller’s famous play. “Get your dumb bell uninstalled and fix my door before I call the police.”

“Ah, the Filth would be more interested in your efforts to strangle me than my vandalism your Lordship. You have painly assaulted me in the course of my duties. The tiny webcams in my cap-bells have recorded the incident. You could go to the dungeons or the stocks for such insolence.”

I wondered if he was joking or just totally insane. “What do you want from me?”
“Why, payment for your bell and its installation of course, and then I shall trouble you no more.”

I had a dinner date that evening. A dear lady friend was coming for a candlelit pasta-surprise. I wanted this mess putting right urgently before her arrival. I had to get rid of this cretin right away. I asked the irritating buffoon what his price amounted to. He proved to be remarkably cheap, so I paid him in cash on the spot. He insisted only on my signature on a scroll-roll of parchment, much of it in some weird kind of calligraphic Latin. I felt like I was about to deface a beautiful rare monastic illuminated manuscript.

As he rummaged in his codpiece purse-bag for a feather-quill-pen I bent to pick up the wood-splinters from my door’s knocker-panel. There was a slight bee sting-like sensation where one sliver of the wood pierced my thumb. It was a minor ache and produced just a trickle of blood. It was still dribbling as I signed the bell contract and a crimson dot of the red stuff hit the document. That was when it clicked with me what was going on, but I was too late. My soul shrivelled with a cry ominously akin to the sound of the door bell I’d just swapped it for. Then I was no longer on my doorstep at all. The smell of brimstone around me was overpowering, as was the shrieking high pitched sound of the other damned pressing their assistance bells to request and beg desperately for mercy that never came.

How long I languished in the searing flames I have no idea. But one day the roasting hot poker was finally removed from my…. Well, you know. Beelzebub came to me, barely recognizable from the day he ensnared me as now he was in nothing but his bare supporating scales. He offered me a way out. Naturally I snatched at the opportunity on the spot.

So, here I am, in cap-a-bells, knocking on doors, but only after tearing out the doorbells and replacing them with antique brass knockers which I then pounded on to draw the attention of my victims.

“Gadzooks, did I get you out of the bath Sire? Humblest apologies. May I interest you in this fine Gothic looking lion-faced….. “

Arthur Chappell

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