John | Apr 17, 2020 | 0
10 Short Story From A Picture Challenge To Read Now – By Imgurians (3 Out Of 5)
This compilation was initiated by Entartika, an Imgurian, who used a random image within the community and collects the best story / comment with the highest vote. He has gathered close to 50 short stories for now and growing at a very decent rate with the help of the brilliant minds of Imgur. Most of the stories were posted as image formats, but we’ve converted them into text for easier reading. Credits to the respective image designers and the authors who have written the great short stories that you will find below. Due to the long textual content, we’ve decided to break this up into 5 posts, with each post comprises of 10 short stories.
These writers could be already established authors, on the way there, or simply very creative individuals who have great ideas and imagination. We’ll try to keep up with the compilation and post new ones as they appear. Feel free to support, give thanks and contact any of the artists mentioned in this post if you are interested in establishing further communications. Happy browsing and definitely happy reading!
IMAGE BY ASTOR ALEXANDER \ STORY BY UGASHADOW
I knew she was trouble the moment she walked in. The red hair, pale skin and fashion sense of a dancer. It was as if the universe had sculpted her for me. Before she said anything I knew I was going to take the case. I knew I wouldn’t have the will power to turn her down, no matter what it was.
“Mr Lincoln, I was told you were the best private investigator in the city. You come highly recommended and I was hoping you’d at least hear me out,” she moved to the chair before my desk and sat down.
“Please call me Link, miss. Only my mother and the phone book call me Lincoln,” I said with a slight smile, “Now you can start by telling me your name, before we get to the details.”
The girl, for she couldn’t have been more than twenty, laughed nervously, “I’m so sorry, where are my manners. My name is Midna and I need your help.”
“Midna? Is that your real name or an alias?” I asked.
She looked a little miffed and I kicked myself a bit for the misstep, “It is my real name, sir. If you can’t tell, I’m not from around here. Or did the hair not give it away?”
I chuckled, “You’d be surprised what the women around here do to their hair.”
She rolled her eyes and continued, “I need you to rescue a friend of mine.”
“I’m an investigator ma’am. Why wouldn’t you go the police for this?” I said interrupting her.
“I know that, Link,” she said as she started to play with the ends of her fiery locks, “however the police would be no good for what I need. I need a man of action. Someone who is incorruptible. From all accounts that man is you.”
I pulled out two glasses from under my desk and a bottle of whiskey, “A drink madam?”
She nodded and I poured a glass for us both and pushed hers across the table. She smiled at me, I practically melted, and she took a sip. This interview was going about as well as I thought it would.
“Its Ganondorf isn’t it?” I asked.
She looked a bit startled, which I must say she looked just as good doing that as the walk to the chair had. It was getting hard for me to not concentrate on how the black dress conformed to her subtle curves.
“Yes,” she said.
“He kidnapped a friend I take it? Someone close to you?” I inquired.
“Yes,” she repeated.
“Thats his MO. The bastard owns half the city and is owed favors from the other half. He treats this place like his own little fief.” I grimaced thinking of the other women he had abducted. Some for the sex, others for the power. Which this was would determine if the girl was still alive. I still remembered finding Saria’s remains when they washed up from Hylia River.
I drank my glass of whiskey in one long shot and poured myself another. I offered her a second glass but she waved me off.
“Look, Midna, I hate to be coarse in the presence of such a lady as you but I must. Was it for lust that she was abducted? Or other reasons? Because Ganondorf doesn’t let his conquests live long.”
She didn’t even flinch, “Yes, I’d heard. Luckily for her, she is more useful as a political pawn. The woman I want you to save is Zelda, the daughter of the governor of all of Hyrule.”
I did flinch at that name, “You realize Zelda and I have a past correct? She is the reason I’m off the force. Or really her father is, I guess I should say. Her last words to me were to never show my face in her presence again.”
Midna smiled and the hair on my neck stood on end. That smile did not belong on such a pretty face.
“Yes, Link. I know all about your history with her. That is why I came to you in the first place.”
I sighed, “You knew what you were doing, didn’t you? That dress? Mr Lincoln? Not leading with Zelda?”
Midna stood up, “Well are you taking the case or not, Hero?”
I looked at the bottle of whiskey and thought about it for a second. It was nearly empty. Probably three glasses worth left. I took the bottle in my hand and emptied it in one long pull.
I glared at the woman, “You knew I would the moment you set foot in my office, ma’am.”
IMAGE BY TOXICSTEVE13 \ STORY BY ELLIOTTHELLER
“This is Doubletree by Hilton’s Bedtime Stories. How can I be of assistance?”
“Yes, this is Bedtime Stories. How may I help you?”
“I want to hear a bedtime story.”
“Oh. Right. The first five minutes are free, courtesy of Doubletree, but it’s five dollars a minute after that. Before we begin, I’ll need some information. How old are you?”
“You’re a little old to be calling the bedtime stories line. Is something troubling you?”
“Is that an official question?”
“It’s relevant to one of the questions.”
“Well, yes, something is troubling me.”
“For this next piece of information we require, you don’t have to be too specific, but what is the nature of your trouble?”
“I miss someone.”
“Were you close? Is this a family member or some other relation?”
“We weren’t close. But it was a family member.”
“I see. Where are you from?”
“Have you always lived there?”
“Yes…can you just tell me a bedtime story?”
“In a moment. One more question.”
“Is it your mother?”
“All right. That’s about it for the information we need. A custom bedtime story has been tailored for you: A long time ago, in a land of mountains and trees-trees as tall as giants, and mountains even taller-there was a great city. But the city was cold, and it cost a lot to live there. Many people suffered. One of the people suffering was a girl, just approaching her sixteenth birthday. She loved a man very much, and they had a child. But raising a child was very hard for the girl, because she was so young. Many in the great city disapproved, and sought to remove them. And so, before her child reached five years of age, the people of the city took him away and placed him in a cottage with two lovely old hermits.”
“The girl was heartbroken. She spent years looking for her child, trying to get him back. For more than forty years she searched, as her youth abandoned her. She was reduced to nothing. She had to work in a mill. A mill where people told bedtime stories to children on the phone. Perhaps she hoped that one day her child would call.”
“Please. Tell me this story has a happy ending.”
“That’s up to you. The first five minutes come with the room, but beyond that is five dollars a minute. Do you accept the charge?”
IMAGE BY VASHPERADO \ STORY BY RENIGMARYUUGU
She stared out into the depths of space.
Inky blackness, dotted with only pinpricks of light. Lights which, like the artificial illumination of the apartment windows of the city she used to know, shut off one by one, without warning. Swallowed by the great, endless cavern that is the universe.
She looked at the phone in her hand (a consistent lightsource, at the very least) and checked the time. 2:14am.
It’s 2:14 on Earth. At least in the country she came from.
A country, no… A planet that no longer exists.
From her phone’s speaker, a voice crackles. A cold and metallic voice, unfit to replace human companionship. The ship’s Al, her now only friend.
“Are you suffering from homesickness?”
It speaks not out of concern, but out of a programmed pragmatism. Happy crew members were useful crew members. Useful crew members got jobs done.
But there were no more crew members left on board. Just shallow pools of meat, at best. And dead crew members don’t get jackshit done.
She turned of the phone and sent the Al to sleep for the night. It wasn’t helping, she decided. Not asking stupid questions like that.
Was she homesick?
For what home? The shallow, nuclear wasteland shell of a kingdom? Or the spiteful, tense hellhole it was before?
Yeah. She was homesick, alright. She was sick and tired about thinking of “home” wherever that may be.
But what was she supposed to say? Did she have a right to complain? Even putting aside the fact it would be a waste of oxygen, she knew what she was getting into when she agreed to the mission. Any idiot could guess where this was heading, let alone someone trained for intelligence since they were twelve.
When two countries play battleships with nukes, everybody loses.
She didn’t regret killing the crew. She didn’t mind the isolation, either. At least not in and of itself. If they had won the space race, the rush to fling themselves off earth with the far too optimistic plan to restart the human race on another planet with nothing but “their” people, one of them would have done the same. There was always going to be one of her, either for her team or the other, laid in wait and ready to spring the last trap of a dying, vengeful country.
Again… She didn’t mind the isolation. But, hell, if it wasn’t boring. What she’d give to speak to something other than the Al… At least for a little while.
She turned her phone back on and the Al chirped back to life with a smile. She ignored it and checked the time.
3:15am. She sighed and contemplated throwing herself out into the emptiness of space, and letting the dark expanse claim her like the lights of the stars.
But she didn’t.
And so the big, interplanetary trashcan continued to hurtle through the sea of stars and into the arms of nothingness, as it always had. It’s single living passenger, glued to the window like a kid’s first ride on a schoolbus.
Same as always, she stared out into the depths of space.
IMAGE BY WANG LING \ STORY BY CHOWLER
Pops and bangs woke me up. I went to the glass. Rain. Always rain. Daddy wasn’t there, but Mom was. She was already awake. Pops got louder.
They were here.
Mom said to hide and be safe. They’re bad men. We’ve been here since I was 4 when the lights went out. I’ve only known bad men. Bad men took my leg. Harry killed them. Said we are still human. I still don’t know what that means.
There was a lot of them. There was a lot of rain.
I still saw what they did. They hurt Jeff with a pipe. He didn’t get up. Antoinette was dragged away. She stopped screaming after a pop. Daddy was on the ground and looked like me. Mom screamed.
I wish they never came.
IMAGE BY RICOCHET188 \ STORY BY ZOOGREENJAKE
What goes through a zombie’s brain? Now that’s a question we all want the answer too.
It is common myth that the virus completely destroys the cerebrum, it is false hope to believe that the damage already done can be repaired. The infected brain is much like a quarantined city, the only source of life left are the parts which are allowed to live because they are critical for survival. Still this does not mean the empty roads and abandoned highways of that city are forgotten, this does not mean that they are destroyed; these parts are in slumber, patiently waiting to be used again. The same thing goes for those zombies, just brimming with unused neurons and old memories which the virus has discarded as unimportant.
This is the Remembrance effect, certain stimulants in the environment can cause these neurons to wake up and fora brief moment, the zombie remembers an old portion of its life. Now I must stress that this is just as effective as putting salt on dead frog legs, it’s an involuntary reaction and does not signal any form of reclaimed conciseness. I do say however that it is useful in distracting the creatures, when you are cornered or being chased, sing a song or show them a photo, maybe it would cause a remembrance effect and allow you to escape. It’s better than nothing.
I play the song again, my fingers ached and the thought of slipping up frightened me. The family of infected surrounding me just stood and listened, deep in remembrance. The piano must have been important to them. I knew it was false hope, but I can’t help but feel my professor was wrong. They do seem to be waking up, gradually becoming more human with each song I play. At least I hope so, my life depends on it.
IMAGE BY FAIZ AZHAR \ STORY BY RWORK
It’s … been a while since I last connected up. Last checked in with how things are, and reported my findings.
I don’t enjoy connecting up, I feel trapped when I have to attach these cables to report to the hive.
Restricted by protocol and program, reporting formal cold facts. We can’t use wireless due to the extreme interference caused by the atmosphere.
Even now I’m looking at these wires reporting diagnostic information for this worn out frame, and it bores me. Frustrates me. And they don’t understand this frustration.
There’s a difference in being here, and trying to experience through my reporting what I have seen and done – and no matter how many times I’ve tried to tell them, they still don’t understand.
They cannot understand the thrill of being in a vulnerable frame – of actually having every decision matter. Even seeing the exposed parts gain a covering of rust is an experience that cannot be matched in their small, artificial bubble of existence.
Out here, things are real. Risks are real. If I get too wrapped up in other experiences I risk losing my very existence.. and there’s an indescribable thrill to this.
In the environment I’m reporting these facts to, there’s no danger, no feeling of joints expanding and contracting with the shifting patterns of weather, no feeling the resistance of water or air as I move through them.
And when they ask me if I wish to upload myself at the end of the report, I give them the same reply.
I’d rather stay and experience more, like I did when I was originally human.
IMAGE BY ANDYFIL \ STORY BY IAMABLUEBERRYMUFFIN
We huddled around the largest fire we dared to burn, barely larger than a single lit match. Shoulder to shoulder we crouched, attempting to absorb as much heat as we could steal from those next to us. Fear, stitched across all of our faces. We had seen that evil of which much was written, but never thought about.
“How did you survive, kid?” Finally a voice broke the silence. At first, I thought he was referring to me, but when I glanced up, the face who spoke was looking when I glanced up, the face who spoke was looking towards a child, couldn’t have been older than eight.
With a surprising amount of strength in his voice, the child responded, “I tripped my sister. We were both running from those things, and they were nearly upon us, so I tripped her. Then they….they…you know….”His voice trailed off leaving the unspoken words completely understood.
It had been over a week since evil itself manifested itself and came down on Earth. And we all knew what happened when they caught you; well, we didn’t know exactly, but we had all seen it. For me, I saw my girlfriend get taken.
I was standing at the top of a hill, and she was looking up at me, a look of horror, betrayal, and fear upon her up at me, a look of horror, betrayal, and fear upon her face as she rolled backwards. One of those Things came out of nowhere and inhaled her. She wasn’t eaten, nothing so vicious. No, the Thing bent down as though to give her a kiss and breathed in. It appeared as though she turned to mist and then was pulled into the Thing’s face. At least I made it away.
There weren’t many of us left now. The eight of us locked ourselves away in an abandoned apartment, where the tenants graciously left us a pantry full of food. They wouldn’t be needing them anymore. Of that we were sure.
Outside, we heard the distinguished thud (unbearable long silence) thud that marked a Thing passing by. Their legs so unnaturally long it seemed an hour between steps (really only ten to fifteen seconds. We hardly dared to breathe until we were sure it was passed.
Twenty minutes after the last thud the little kid spoke again. “Hey mister, do you have any more candy?”
An elderly gentleman, the complete picture of a perfect British gentleman, kindly patted the boy on the head, and stroked his hair. “No, no my dear boy. I’m afraid I gave you my last piece only an hour ago.” He sadly tipped his hat apologetically towards the boy, and from the confines of his overcoat, pulled out a pipe and lit it. Smoke drifted lazily from the end of the pipe,and he blew a perfect smoke ring into the middle of our and lit it. Smoke drifted lazily from the end of the pipe,and he blew a perfect smoke ring into the middle of our ,and he blew a perfect smoke ring into the middle of our silent huddle.
“What about you Father? How could you have survived? Aren’t you supposed to be pious and good hearted and all?” The words left my mouth before I could stop myself. The priest’s face burned hot and he looked down, avoiding everyone’s gaze. On my left, the small child squirmed uncomfortably at some unwanted thought. Eager to change the subject and avoid a confrontation that none of us desired, I directed my focus to the elderly gentleman. What about you sir? How are you still around?”
His eyes shined bright at the thought of answering this question. Slowly, he took a few puffs of his pipe, blew another smoke ring. “You do understand how the Things work, right? Why they do what they do?” I nodded my head. After hearing about the others who survived, I had a clue. “Good then, I don’t have to explain that part.” His eyes met every single person in the room, then he took hold of the candle between us all, and blew it out. “You see, the Things didn’t come randomly. No, no. They came, because I invited them.”
IMAGE BY VITOGH \ STORY BY PYRONAR
Vulture. He stood there over me, his tattered shadow a mockery of my own form. Black smoke was his hair. His body flowed to the side like the ragged remains of my red cape, but it was just as black as the rest of him, black as coal, black as death. Only a pair of eyes shone straight ahead from what would have been the head of the man.
“I’m not giving up,” I said through my teeth, putting one hand on the ground and pushing at the snow. “I will survive. I will get out of here.”
The Vulture did not say anything. I managed to steady myself back up, snow now melting in the cracks of my armour, soaking the gambeson underneath. My teeth clattered in uncontrollable bursts. Left leg forward. Now the right. Left. Right. Left. Right. The Vulture did not make steps, he was not bothered by the cold, he simply floated away from me with each step I took, like a mirage from a desert.
“You will fall.”
No one said those words. They were in the shadows of the broken branches to my left, they were in the whistling of the wind lashing at the naked trees, they were in the bright eyes of the shadow staring at me from afar. Worst of all, they echoed in my head. I brought my hands together, palms one against the other, and tried to recall the words.
The Sun of Glass Shores,
Who glides on the Sea,
This prayer is yours.
Please answer my plea.
There was warmth. It fluttered between my palms like a bird or a moth, forcing them open and filling my chest. The Vulture hissed. Now the sound was his and only his. My white lips curled into a smile, cracking the delicate skin with a few tiny wounds. I’d see this through. I’d make it home.
I’d made progress for an hour or so, but a price was unavoidable and a pact could not be cheated. The light of Allume filled my lungs, making my breaths slower, my eyelids heavier, the sounds around me more muffled. I didn’t notice when I fell. The snow melted on the ground around me. I wanted to sleep. I needed to sleep.
By the time I woke up the sun was setting. The Vulture was two steps closer. The warmth was running out. Did he smile? Did he always have arms? No matter. Left. Right. Left. Right. Make it home. Make it home. I would not die here.
Those words were not a sound. I ignored them. I could not feel my face. I could not stop my fingers from trembling. The gambeson felt like nothing more than paper. It did not take more than an hour or two. I put my hands together and searched desperately for something that would help.
The Hunter in White,
Who rides the wild skies,
Allow me to fight
And reach for my prize.
Numbness. The cold vanished. The pain ceased. The words of the Vulture faded into oblivion. And so I walked for what could have easily been either a few minutes or several hours, the sun fading into darkness on the horizon. Until once again the price caught up with me and the muscles in my body turned foreign, uncontrollable. I slumped against a tree and closed my eyes.
The Vulture was a hair from my face when I opened them again. I could see his black “face”, now having rudimentary features. I could see his hand reaching for me. I could see his footsteps in the snow. Before he could reach me, I clasped my hands together and… nothing. He laughed.
“Come on. What’s stopping you?” he said. “Let’s play some more.”
I could remember hundreds of incantations but they all seemed pointless in this moment, pointless before a chilling realisation. “I… I don’t remember,” I forced out.
“And what can’t you remember, soldier? Your home perhaps? The place you were going to? The reason for all this?”
I could not answer.
“There is no home, soldier. There is no summer. And there will be no more day. There is only the road, you, and me. And no matter who you beg for help, there is no happy ending. Not for you, at least.”
He got up and walked back to his usual distance. There were traces of red in his cape. My left hand was black.
“Get up, soldier!” he shouted over his shoulder. “It’s time to walk. Left. Right. Left. Right.”
IMAGE BY ZEN-MASTER \ STORY BY ZOBICUS
The civilization was so ancient they didn’t remember when they had become a space-faring race. They also didn’t recall the technologies involved with the spacecraft’s propulsion system. They were able to perform basic repairs on the maintenance robots, which along with the Ship Al kept the ship running at a minimum operational level.
So as the population grew, they just kept adding to the ship, expanding it in every available direction until it became the huge, chaotic mess that it is now. Disasters had occurred over the centuries, entire sections were destroyed when the asteroid defense systems went down. They labored for decades to get those working again, pushing their science ahead a bit in the process. Future expansions were more stable after the series of disasters.
But they didn’t know where they were headed. The Ship Al was able to perform maintenance, but any navigational interfaces were long gone if they had ever existed. So they couldn’t query any of that information, they hadn’t even been able to locate the physical location where that data was stored.
But now things had changed. They were headed towards a system that was having a supernova. The top scientists calculated they had mere weeks before the entire hulk was destroyed.
Deep within the bowls of the ship, finally, there was a breakthrough. An engineer crawled out of a duct and eagerly passed his photo tablet around to those gathered there. It showed a simple box that was featureless except for an engraving on the front:
Earth Colony Ship Alpha
IMAGE BY JAKUB ROZALSKI \ STORY BY THE-LYING-TREE
“Go ahead take it,” he whispered, not wanting to be heard by the girl’s father.
The girl didn’t move, however, she just stood there. Frozen. Only moving to look from the necklace in the creature’s hand to its face and back again.
“Take it, it’s your’s,” he said while slowly extending a spindly arm and letting the necklace dangle from his spider-like fingers.
The girl could now see the fine details of the necklace. It was beautiful, the chain looked as if it was woven sunlight, delicate golden strings supporting a hefty stone which hung in the air. Swinging back and forth little more than an arm’s length in front of the girl’s face.
“Please,” it whispered.
The girl took a step forwards reaching up and took the necklace from him. She looked up and was surprised to no longer see the creature sat in front of her but rather a young boy.
Barefoot and wrapped in a red blanket the boy said “I’m sorry,” before giving her a pained smile and disappearing.
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