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10 Short Story From A Picture Challenge To Read Now – By Imgurians (4 Out Of 5)

10 Short Story From A Picture Challenge To Read Now – By Imgurians (4 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!

Previous parts – Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

IMAGE BY MANUEL CASTANON \ STORY BY MSTARRBRANNIGAN

The road was long and the night encompassing, but Sir Samuel trudged ever onward. Clouds masked the night sky and the new moon, hiding any light that may have found its way to him. There were no glowing dots of villages on the horizon, no torches of his comrades. The only light on his path came from a small jar of fireflies tied to his belt.

“You’ll need it.” The old woman had told him with a twinkle in her eye. She certainly wasn’t wrong.

As he continued forth, his ears were filled with whispers. He froze and looked around, but could see nothing but the faint outlines of trees. It would take more than whispers to unnerve him, he assured himself. He scowled and relaxed his shoulders before moving on.

He blocked the whispers from his mind and marched on. In time, the whispers melted away with the miles. His legs were weary, but his journey was nowhere near its end. He could sleep soon enough. In mid winter the night was too long to stop for.

As the witching hour approached the whispers caught up to him again. He fought them again, but to no avail. They only grew louder, and the night colder. His heavy breath trailed behind him as his pace grew quicker.

The whispers culminated in a deafening scream and he stopped and drew his sword, spinning around to where the scream came from. A feminine figure stood there, not a woman nor a creature. A walking forest, no bigger than he was, complete with grassy meadows and tiny trees. A magnificent glow emanated from where her heart should be. Samuel had never seen anything like her. There was a grotesque beauty to her that left him dumbstruck for a moment, though he quickly found his words again.

“Who are you?”

“I’d ask the same, Sir Knight,” she said in a rough voice, “Rarely is a trespasser so foolish to come through my forest. You can put your sword away, I mean you no harm.”

He lowered his sword but did not sheath it. “I’m a knight on a pilgrimage,” he said shortly, “And you?”

She ignored him. “Tell me, child. How did you come by that jar of fireflies?”

Samuel nervously thumbed the edge of the jar with his free hand. “Who are you? Or is what the better question?”

She smiled a wicked smile and strode up to him. The glow on her chest, he realized as she drew close, came from a nest of fireflies, hidden in the roots of her body. “Perhaps it is. I am the Queen of the Forest. A spirit some might say. My true nature is unimportant. I allow your kind to wander most of the forest freely, but not here. This is my home and you are not welcome in it.”

He thought better of telling her that he could barely tell one bit of forest from another. “You said you mean me no harm, and if I have intruded upon you I certainly apologize. Perhaps you could guide me back to where I may walk without bothering you?”

A wry laugh slipped from her lips. She grabbed the jar from his belt, freeing it. He made no moves to stop her.

“The old woman, she took those from you didn’t she?”

“Yes, she did,” a note of annoyance in her voice.

“How?”

“That is a very good question.”

“Why take them in the first place if she was going to return them?”

She didn’t answer immediately, turning the jar over in her rough hands. “Also a very good question.” She uncorked it and the fireflies flew out, surrounding them. “None are missing,” she commented then turned her attention back to him. “Well, dear Knight, there is no need for you to be here any longer.”

He tensed up, his grip tightening on his sword.

“Settle down, child,” she said with a laugh. “You asked to be guided to where you shall not bother me? Well, here you go.” She exhaled lightly, gently blowing the fireflies away. They formed a path away from the small clearing.

“Thank you,” he told her softly and without another look back he followed the fireflies. He just wanted to get back to his pilgrimage. Not get involved in some conflict between a so called ‘Forest Queen’ and a daft old woman.

As he passed each firefly, it flew forward, forming an endless path for him. With a stubborn stride, he was determined to get out of the forest before he stopped to rest. Hypnotized by his own footsteps and the tiny fireflies, he barely noticed the hours pass him by. As the sky cleared and and the sun began to crest over the horizon, the fireflies stopped moving forward, and as he looked around for them, he realized they were gone entirely.

But the forest had thinned, and he could hear the calling of gulls ahead. He took another step and his leg wobbled, and for the first time he realized how tired he was. The soft whispers picked up behind him again and he shook his head.

“No more of this madness.”

IMAGE BY ANDRÉ BALMET \ STORY BY THESTORYCHASER

“I’ll be right back, boy. Stay, okay?” The man’s voice seemed to grow and echo, taking on a life of its own in the vast space. The dog whined its discontent, adding to the sounds of bird song, hidden creatures creeping through the thick, lush undergrowth, and the emptiness that surrounded them. The canine companion didn’t know why, but he had a bad feeling about this place. He could feel something in the air, something that felt distinctly wrong. He whined again, gently butting his head against his owner’s hand, trying his best to dissuade him from walking inside. Since they’d come, he felt something powerful coming from inside the huge stone temple at his master’s back. He could sense nothing other than great age, and evil. He might have been a dog, but he wasn’t clueless.

He’d been trained to listen. But some instinct, deep inside, told him that he’d regret it if he let his master go into that temple alone. The man turned and began to walk into the temple, its dark maw swallowing him so quickly that his faithful pet almost missed it. He waited for a few minutes and then ran inside, the cold stone floor of the entryway biting his paws cruelly.

Never mind that his friend had left nearly all of their supplies outside; all that was on his mind was to protect his friend from whatever dark force he sensed resting in the shadows of this temple. He ran ahead of his master, barking sharply, wincing when the sound bounced back at him, as if there were a chorus of other dogs surrounding him.

“Hey, didn’t I tell you to stay put?” His master asked, but with more humor than anger; the dog could hear laughter in his voice. “Come here, you crazy, disobedient mutt,” He added, holding out his arms. He stopped in the antechamber, the center of the temple’s entrance, looking through the cold, velvet black. “Look at this, boy,” He murmured, and the dog returned to his master’s side, nudging his head gently against his hand, whining quietly. “This temple must been hundreds of years old!” The excitement in his friend’s voice tempered his unease, somewhat, but there was something frightening lingering in the moist, humid blackness, something that was telling him to take his master and turn back, before it could catch them with cold, ancient claws.

IMAGE BY E-WILL \ STORY BY BILINGER

“Some things cannot be done by day. The sun is an eye of god, bringing judgement onto our sins. And some sins may not be forgiven. That is why, we, the Night Shift, do what we do in darkness. It is not for secrecy, but for shame. God sleeps when we do, and perhaps in the dark of night we can escape notice and with it, judgement.”

“Shut up George.”

“Tonight we create an abomination. We tread upon God’s feet, the folly of humankind -”

“No more of this shit, George! If you want to go onto these fucking monologues, you should have been a fucking writer.”

“Screw you too Blake.”

Blake moved up to adjust the camera. It began to focus onto his scrubs and his surgical mask. He pointed it onto the podium where a mechanical sphere lay, connected by wires into the building.

“We’re copying a human mind. The wires lead over to our patient. Who isn’t being tortured by demons in the basement, like George’s monologue would have you think. Completely painless procedure, just tracking brain signals and the like. It’ll take a few hours or so to install.”

Blake pointed over to a human body made of chrome and silver metal.

“That’s the body we have housing the metal brain. Should be an exact replica of our patient, except a cyborg. Pretty damn cool, huh?”

He shifted the camera, panning to a rather smug looking Greg.

“INSTALLATION COMPLETE”

Blake hurriedly aimed the camera back at the brain and body.

“Well, that was a lot faster than I expected.”

“Yeah, Blake. You’re welcome. Turns out that my genius mind isn’t just good at monologues. Turns out I’m pretty good at a lot of stuff, huh?”

“Yeah, George, good work. Say, how do we put it in?”

“You don’t know? Is this another thing that I’m useful for?”

“Oh seriously? I’m a god-damned doctor and psychologist. You know I don’t work with machinery like this.”

“Then watch as we commit the ultimate sin of pride by recreating God’s own work.”

As George placed the brain into the body through the top of the skull, wires left small holes in the brain, exploring its new storage. They latched onto small connections within the head of the machine body.

George lifted his hands from the brain as the hole closed shut. Cameras came out of where its eyes should have been. It whirred, moving its hand in front of its face, as though making sure it were well and truly alive.

“It’s alive!” Blake shouted. The Frankenstein reference was ignored by George, who eagerly studied the robot. A speaker emerged and it spoke its first words.

“An abomination! Oh, never let me see the light of day, for it will melt through to the metal core of me! I was never meant to live!”

Blake paused, in shock. George stood by the robot, still smug as all hell.

“George…. You didn’t…” “Yup.” “Do you have any idea how much is at stake here?”

“Of course I do. I know my own intellect is far greater than our patient’s. Hence my actions.”

“George you little fuck! You just copied yourself into our only robot! The! ONLY! ONE! IN THE WORLD!”

Blake chased George as he dodged around the table in circles. The robot watched them passively before turning towards the camera.

“Ah, humanity.”

IMAGE BY CHRISTIAN HOPKINS \ POEM BY PACKOS130

In shade beneath the old oak tree
a shadow figure came to me
and told me that the time drew nigh
for me to bid the world goodbye.

But I told him I would not go
to God above or Hell below.
And maybe I was damned for pride,
but I, for now, have Death denied.

He would not pluck me out this world
before my life was full unfurled.
He would not take me ‘fore I do
each simple thing I wanted to.

So I told him I would not go
to God above or Hell below.
And though it was selfishly cried,
I for now have Death denied.

I had not been a saint in life,
I coveted my neighbor’s wife,
I angered, lusted, lazed, and lied,
and so by then I should have died.

But I told him I would not go
to God above or Hell below.
And for that I am damned to stay
upon this Earth for all its days.

I roam from field to field, and see
how many little old oak trees
beneath which I was offered peace
but chose to deny Death’s release.

So, tell him, when he comes, you’ll go
to God above or Hell below.
Allow your soul its final breath.
I warn you, friend: deny not Death.

IMAGE BY ANDREASROCHA \ POEM BY WISE_OLD_FOX

The sweat which showered my body in droplets was more from the flame above me, than the scorching sun.

I mean, who the bloody hell would set a flag on fire and give it to me? I was more likely to drop the darn thing amongst the field of dry grass and burn us all alive. For that reason, and that reason alone, the headstones of the dead which littered the field, seemed fitting.

I didn’t want to join them, the dead. That’s probably why Johnson gave me the darn banner anyway. I do think he took Flaming Wildmen a little too ‘literally’. But our enemies in the Garoldsdon Keep would see the flag and they would know. They would know that the Flaming Wild Men were here. They would have heard what happened to Bogdon and Merillsvale. Fear would scratch at their hearts and young boys would soil their knickers.

And we would ride through, take their woman and kill the rest.

Such was business on our end. You don’t keep your reputation by letting rich folk live. Oh no you don’t. A poor bugger here and there sure. But at Garoldsdon, we’d find nonna those.

I steadied the reigns and paused in front of the towers reinforced door.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

I heard shuffling behind. “Aye, you one of the Fire men?” A voice said.

“It’s the Flaming Wilds Men for heaven’s sake!” I smashed the banner onto the ground, and jabbed a finger at the peephole. “I’m sick of people getting it bloody wrong! Say it properly you bastard!”

My face felt hot.

And that’s when I realised, it wasn’t just of my own anger. The bloody banner had caught onto some dry grass. I told Johnson this would happen. I tried to get off and stop the flames. The mare noticed it then too, cause she right bucked me off and I hit the ground like a sack of bricks. My jacket did nothing to the fire, which spread from blade to blade.

“Come back here!” I hissed at the mare. She ran for the hills. Finally happy to be rid of me.

The heat scorched even more than the piping sun. I glanced back at our men, all slowly approaching from the opposite end of the field. It seemed fitting that our raid on Garodsdon would begin with a wild fire followed by wild men. And I guess this is the kind of fuck up that Bard’s sing about in their glorious tales.

I only hoped Johnson would see it that way. I didn’t ride half a mile on a horse that smelled like cuck, to have my ass kicked outside Gardsdon.

IMAGE BY JOHNSON TING \ STORY BY OPINIONSABOUTNOTHING

We did not stay in our sealed up coffins
To be cornucopias for maggots;
“Recover,” they whisper, “oh recover.”
Our spirits bent through the icy reaches of outer space,
Like children on water slides, to places
Beyond the greatest aspirations of Kennedy or Verne.
We awoke, kept in suits we did not build
And without faces, so we would not love each other
Above those who lost us.
“Recover,” they whisper, “oh recover.”
You play in my mind in sepia:
A kiss on my neck on a high Colorado ski lift;
Black lingerie and vodka with fresh persimmons;
“Recover,” they whisper, “oh recover.”
We killed creatures for their fuel
(Who were so peaceful against Hollywood depictions!),
Tore wet, fibrous entrails from skin and scales and plastics.
We followed foreign constellations
Like Visgoths falling upon the Eternal City,
Exploding unimagined wonders with spinning solariums,
Suspended over quiet, gassy planets.
“Recover,” they whisper, “oh recover.”
In each orbit I see every light from Philadelphia and Baltimore,
Yet I can discern your living room window,
How you read beside it and glance at stars,
How you try not to miss me too much.
After millenia, and so many human deaths
None beside this crew have made it so close to home.
“Recover,” they whisper, “oh recover.”
You will not like what I became
Or notice me in this grey-black metal.
“Recover,” they whisper, “oh recover.”

IMAGE BY MANUEL GRAD \ STORY BY MURMURUR1

“Leviathan.”

I let the word slowly curl from my lips into the brisk night air. It faded into the hazy mist hanging over the lake and was lost to the dark. That strange and beautiful word disappeared as quickly as it was uttered. I spoke it again, but louder.

“Leviathan.”

A soft rustling reached my ear and I turned to glimpse the men stirring in their blankets beside me, cold fingers clutching tightly to the wool. The temperature had dropped dramatically in the last half hour but I could not bring myself to retire just yet. My fingers held a battered old notebook under a small flickering lamp. The pages were torn here and there, and I could swear the paper was deteriorating before my very eyes and blowing away on the wind like embers from a fire.

“Leviathan.”

I spoke it softly this time, almost a whisper. As soon as the word left my throat a sudden gust blew my notebook shut and knocked the lamp from its perch. It crashed to the deck, but before the fire could spread I quickly unfurled my blanket and tossed it over the flames. It stifled the inferno but not the commotion. A young deckhand came running up behind me.

“Everything alright Captain?”

“Aye lad, the wind knocked the lamp from its stand. But I saw to it quickly.”

“Anything I can do to help Sir?”

“Not tonight. What’s your name son?”

“John Tho…”

Before he could finish, there was a quiet breaking of water off the port, and the ship rocked sideways. We both stumbled to balance our footing and crashed into each other’s arms. I held the young lad before me and could see his eyes now, wide with fear and innocence. He was trembling now. I suddenly realised he was not staring at me, but looking over my shoulder into the distance. I twisted around just in time to see a large fin sink under the ink black water.

“Quick lad, wake the others, and keep quiet!”

The young deckhand didn’t make a move. He stood still as if turned to stone. I took hold of his shoulders and shook him violently, trying to stir him back into action. I slapped him across the face and in as hushed a command as I could muster, I urged him to wake the rest of the crew. He startled to life with a jolt and turned on his heels and fled.

Where was the notebook? It had been knocked from my lap by the wind. Scuttling around on all fours, I finally ran my hands across its musty pages and retired to a dark corner of the ship as far from the crew as possible. I opened the book where I left off and read the rest.

“Leviathan.”

I commanded the word from my lips. The wind was gathering pace now, rocking the ship from starboard to port and blowing the sails in and out, as if gusting from all directions. The rest of the crew were beginning to gather at the helm, and I could hear them muttering to each other in frantic tones, their panicked faces darting from side to side expecting the worst.

“Leviathan.”

The word slithered from my tongue in an ancient dialect. The skies grew closer together, the wind roared around us and the water lapped over the edge of the ship. The men were calling to me from afar, but in the boiling storm their words were stolen away into the night. I used all my strength to hold onto the notebook and utter the final words. Standing now, I faced the open water and saw in the distance the great fins rise slowly from the depths. They climbed into the sky scattering birds from their path. A great roar rang out over the lake and the men turned as one and cowered at the sight before them.

“Leviathan!” I roared over the wind. “Take these men. Leave our town. Be gone with you!”

If the men could have heard me, they would have turned in shock at my utterance, but the sight of the rising mound of water and fins before them struck them dumb with fear. I jumped into the water and swam desperately away from the madness. The crew remained on board, rooted to the spot in awe and terror. Great arms adorned with huge fins rose from the deep in slow motion, throwing water high into the air and blocking the sky from view. It was then, just before the arms came crashing down, that I passed out and sunk to the deep.

I awoke on the shore the next morning, ragged and exhausted, spluttering water from my insides. The lake was serene. The sun was peeking out from behind the hills and birds cascaded over the edges in small groups. A man approached from down the shore as I staggered to my feet.

“It is done?”

“Aye. For another year.”

“Thank you, Captain.”

“How long must we endure?”

“For as long as he sees fit.”

I sunk to my knees with fatigue. The man moved to help me but I shoved him away.

“Best you start recruiting for next year’s crew.”

“We will start immediately Captain. I will have my runners post messages in the furthest towns.”

“Good. Our secret must not escape these shores. Our town will live another year.”

IMAGE BY PASCAL CAMPION \ STORY BY TIMELORD343

“Thanks for playing with me Wally!”

You stare down at your brother his eyes beaming up at you. Through the window your mom is helping your sister with homework.

“No problem bud! But why did you want to learn? Soccer isn’t your thing.”

Your question falls on deaf ears as you stop the ball with your foot. You kneel down to be face to face.

“Did something happen at school today?” A sullen nod tells you everything,

“It was those Brink boys wasn’t It?” You say with a concerned but angered tone.

“Yeah, they laughed at me because I couldn’t play and I fell down on my face.”

“Aww, hey bud, listen.. You don’t have to be great at everything! You know that pocket knife you got for Christmas?”

“Yeah.” He says giving it to you.

“Well, let’s see her, ah. See how there are scissors here? To be honest they aren’t the greatest scissors. But as a bottle opener,” you walk to the fridge in the garage and crack open a soda,”It works like a charm!” You smile and hand it back.

“What’s that supposed to mean?,” your brother says slightly annoyed.

“It means, just because you’re not so good at one thing, let’s say soccer, doesn’t mean your bad at everything. I bet you could whoop those guys in tag or capture the flag cause your faster!”

“Yeah!!” Your brother jumps as you stand.

“And you know what you’re the best at?”

“What?”

“Being my brother!” You say smiling, “Come on let’s head inside and see if Dad needs help with the Tv.”

As you walk into the kitchen your brother runs ahead and starts talking to your dad as your mom turns and smiles at you knowingly. The sun sets on a wonderful day…

IMAGE BY MARISA OH \ STORY BY AVENMAR

As the rift flickered and fractured around him, Gavan imagined, not for the first time, that he could almost hear the air hissing angrily at the blatant warping of reality’s laws. Cautiously, he poked his head through, wondering if this would be the time that reality decided enough was enough and it snapped shut on him, slicing him in half.

Fortunately, the magic held, and he hopped out of the rift, careful not to touch the edges. Then, he twisted the ring on his finger to seal it again, leaving him in the candle-lit laboratory. With practiced care the thief padded silently around the room, ears and eyes alert to both potential traps, and the bounty he sought. Seeing nothing of interest in this room he padded to the only exit door he could see, and leaned gently against it, pressing an ear to the wood to listen closely.

‘It’s going entirely too well so far,’ Gavan thought to himself as he took a knee, inspecting the door again for traps. Again, he found none, and wondered for a moment if he was even in the right place, but as he inched the door open he discovered immediately that he was. Count Halvas lay slumbering on the bed, and Gavan froze.

Count Halvas was a man of great power, and the prime example of the old adage “Power corrupts”. Though none would testify, rumors about that he snatched up beggars and whores, for use in unholy magics. Sacrificing them to devils, or twisting them into undead abominations were the current popular theories, but it couldn’t be denied that the Underbelly population had thinned somewhat.

When Gavan saw the man slumbering peacefully he carefully nudged the door open a little further, ever careful and listening for any hint of squealing hinges, but by some stroke of fortune he managed to keep it silent as the door opened wide enough for him to slip through the gap. It was equally silent as he gently closed the door, and started to slip out of the Count’s bedroom, breathing as softly as he could, trying to keep his heart steady.

Only when he was in the hallway did he finally breathe a soft sigh of relief, and start to move a little quicker. With nothing of import in the laboratory, Gavan now sought some hint of a basement, or wine cellar. A trapdoor in the kitchen, carefully tucked behind some barrels, gave him the access he sought, and with ears straining, he padded down the steps and gently closed the trapdoor over him.

Down below, he discovered that at least some of the rumors were correct; etched into the floor of the cellar in a dark groove, still wet with some fluids, was a magic circle. He didn’t know the exact purpose, but he could read enough of the runes to tell it was evil. And there, opposite the stairs so that those descending would see it as the head of the room, was an altar with a book resting upon it.

It was this book he sought, but in his haste to leave, he did not check for traps as thoroughly as he ought to have. Lifting the book, he saw too late the rune lying beneath…Explosive Word. A blast of concussive force threw him away from the altar, and as his head cracked against the wall, he heard a secondary rune activate the alarm…then, all faded to black…

IMAGE BY CHARLIE LAYTON \ STORY BY ANON

“Sorry man, didn’t mean to. I’ll buy you another drink.”

Sigh, “No problem”

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