John | Apr 17, 2020 | 0
7 Short Story From A Picture Challenge To Read Now – By Imgurians (5 Out Of 5)
This final 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 WLOP \ STORY BY KOMMUNASTY
Tarik did not care for this duty. Not one bit. There was nothing noble or honorable to it.
But it had to be done. And he had no more nobility or honor to care about.
The war against the Elves of Symmorack had gone poorly for the humans; thousands were left dead from the careless and greedy decisions of King Grell the Mad. Fields burned, more from the King’s command to scorch the earth than any elvish cruelty; the bodies of young soldiers still rotted in mass graves. The Kingsguard knew, as all Temerians did, that Grell’s madness had to end.
So Tarik had ended it. Though all of the Guard now bore the burden of high treason, it was Tarik’s blade that had plunged into the king’s back. He could still remember the madness in Grell’s eyes as his mouth frothed with blood. “May your families be cursed to the lowest hell for this!” he had cried, his last moments in this world ones of feebled rage. The Acting Regent, Guard- Captain Eralla, had shortly sent a message of capitulation to the elves who had been sieging the city for weeks. She sighed when the messenger had left the hall and turned to Tarik with a great sadness in her eyes. “We will all pay the cost of this deed,” she had said sadly to the young knight.
Tarik shook his head then. “No. Let your names go unsullied. The people must believe in something noble still; the Guard, if not the King. I shall shoulder this dishonor my own.”
Eralla had smiled and then embraced him as only a mother could. “My son,” she said with soft sobs. “You may be our youngest, but you possess more honor than us all combined.” And then she was gone, taking the King’s body with her to flee down the escape tunnels. To keep alive the heroism of the Kingsguard.
Which left Tarik to blame, the Great Traitor that turned Temeria over to the Elves. He remembered meeting the elf Lord Myrellis in the still-bloody throne room. He was thanked for ‘seeing reason,’ for ending this ‘nightmarish war that had engulfed both their peoples.’ Tarik ‘would have the honor,’ he was told, ‘to escort the new Regent,’one of the elf nobility, down the Blessed Promenade to the palace.
And so he was here, to do this ignoble and shameful duty. The sun was hot upon his armor; it was stifling. He was standing outside the city gate, wating for the imperious elf lord to arrive in one of their stag-drawn carriages. He bore no sword; it still lay in the body of his liege-lord. / would not bear to even look at it again. He carried only a greatshield, to protect his new charge from the slings and arrows of the already-furious citizenry. Or to hide my own wretchedness.
Would the commoners surge to attack? Might I be forced to kill more of my fellow men in the service to some elven overlord? His thoughts paused. Surely, I am the Greatest Traitor. Ancestors forget my name, forget my shame. If the crowd took his life today, perhaps it would be a blessing.
At length the carriage arrived, with a company of glaive-wielding warriors. They nodded obsequiously to him and filed into the city in turn. To police their new subjects, no doubt. The door opened and Tarik’s breath caught.
This was no elf lord, clad in shining gold armor and carrying a host of blades that could cut the wind itself. It was an elven woman, a girl if anything, in a delicate dress the color of the sky. A crystalline diadem shone on her head; her features were beautiful beyond compare. She gingerly stepped out of the carriage and curtsied to Tarik.
“I am Selina, daughter of Lorias of the House Sellyn, former Duke of Amaranth.” Her voice wavered with uncertainty and she looked up into Tarik’s eyes. She looks so troubled, he thought. She coughed daintily and continued: “I have been given the… The duty of serving as regent over this city, to rule until such a time that the humans can be trusted to live in peace once again.”
Tarik knelt. “Your Highness.” He stood and puzzled over the young woman. “A daughter of a Former Duke?”
Selina cringed and her pale face flushed red. “It was decided that my service to this task would be the least wastef—… The most effective allocation of governance.”She stared at Tarik’s silvered sabatons for a long time, swaying silently in the breeze. He felt a flush of regret and opened his mouth to apologize, but she looked up at him with a sad smile. “But it will bring some measure of honor back to my family, and so I will not waver from my duty. So, let us be on our way.”
Tarik nodded and donned his helmet. He held out his hand and Selina took it. It felt like porcelain, so delicate and fragile. They walked through the Promenade Gate together while the sun beat down on both of them. He heard the shouts as soon as he crossed the Gate’s threshold.
“YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO WEAR THAT ARMOR!”
The citizens of the capital had arrayed either side of the Promenade, shouting furiously. None approached the line of Elven warriors but they strained at it like hungry hounds. Tarik and Selina walked on steadily.
“YOUR ANCESTORS TURN IN THEIR GRAVES!”
“WRETCHED CREATURE, THE PLAGUE TAKE YOU!”
“NO DEATH IS QUICK ENOUGH FOR YOU!”
Then, he felt it. A tomato perhaps, something soft. It smacked into his helmet and it jarred him. Tarik heard Selina gasp as another fruit smashed into the ground next to her and he immediately fell onto his training. In one hand, he raised his shield to ward off the angry missiles of the crowd. In the other, he drew his cloak around the elven maiden to protect her entirely.
Protect your charge. His mother’s voiced echoed in the stifling helm. You will be a Kingsguard; this means your life is to be spent entirely in guarding the King. Protect him and his line with all that you are, for that it your duty. Live and die in service to your charge and you will live and die with honor. Tarik pictured Eralla’s warm smile as she held his shoulders. And you will make me so, so very proud.
“MY SON DID NOT DIE FOR YOU TO BETRAY HIM LIKE THIS!” Another tomato struck his shoulder.
“YOU WILL NOT SURVIVE THE NIGHT!” A stone struck his back.
“YOU SHAME YOUR MOTHER! SHE AUGHT HAVE SMOTHERED YOU IN THE CRIB!” A piece of melon hit the shield with a wet thud.
Tarik stopped walking and trembled. His eyes were hot with tears and he shut them tight. He stifled back a sob as the crowd roared in rage around him. / have shamed you, Mother… I have shamed my people… I… I am so sorry…
He suddenly felt something light upon his breastplate. He opened his eyes and Selina had laid her hand upon it, still wearing that same sad smile. She pressed her thin fingers against him: there was a surprising strength there. “You did what you felt was right, Sir Knight,” she said quietly. “There is no dishonor in that.”A tomato flew onto Tarik’s cloak and Selina flinched. “Some shame… perhaps. But never dishonor.”Somehow, even over the din of the crowd, her soft voice carried like cool wind to his ears. Her smile grew. “So let us bear our shame here together, shall we?”
Tarik blinked away the tears and nodded. Selina nodded too and took a deep breath. Together they walked down the promenade at a calm, steady pace; the hail of refuse, the screaming crowd, and the vicious sun no longer bothered Tarik.
It is my duty to protect my charge. And I shall do my duty.
IMAGE BY ANITA ANTI \ STORY BY FYREFLU
“Hey asshole!” She was walking so gracefully across the beach. Flowing silk dress and blonde hair, a slight spring in her step and the moon dragged along behind her. “Excuse me, I’m talking to you!” He smiled, she faltered a little this time. “You gonna put that back bitch?”
She turns. “I’m sorry?”
“I’d like to have the moon back up in the sky so I can fucking see where I’m going when I go back home.”
“Listen, I’m sorry for the incon-”
“Also, kind of need the tides to fish so I can feed my family. Do you have a problem with that too?”
“I sort of need this moo-”
“Why? What the fuck do you need the moon for?”
“Well, I’m not exactly a good moon thief if I don’t steal moons.”
“And the other high profile moons have already been stolen, so I have to make do with what I’ve got.”
“But why would you steal moons?”
“You ever snorted moon dust?”
“…don’t think so…”
“Then boy, you haven’t lived. C’mon, let’s go back to my place.”
IMAGE BY POCKETSS \ STORY BY @LITTLEMEGAMAN
Yelled the Birbarian.
“How many times should I tell you? Stay behind me! You’re the smallest among us for gods sake!”
They never cared much about Kevin. Between him being mute and useless, he was just there… Nobody minded his presence; most of the time he just stood there and watched them battle without saying a word or doing anything really.
Birbarian yelled while chopping a couple of Ducks behind Kevin. They were surrounded, but they were fearless and brave none the less. Crogue was hiding in the shadows as usual, throwing shirukens when he could. Gander, as the pacifist of the party, held behind while Swanderer did his best to fight alongside Birbarian.
After a vicious battle, they were here. Waiting for the boss to appear.
And there he was. Mighty and enormous, the infamous Godfeather!
“Look upon me and tremble, for I am the end!” Godfeather whispered but it was a thundering voice for our party.
“Now this is a worthy opponent” Crogue said to Birbarian and hid into the shadows.
Birbarian readied his axe and smiled “Today, either you or I will meet our ancestors Godfeather. May we meet in crowhalla if we both fail.”
“It’s been a privilege to travel with you my dearest friends” added swanderer.
“Good luck” was Gander’s final words.
And there was Kevin. Kevin sort of just stood there… yet again. With his red cheeks and stupid smile, no one was expecting anything from him anyways.
Five minutes into the battle, our heroes were close to defeat. They underestimated their opponent while overlooking a crucial point. Godfeather was blessed by the ancient mage Duck Norris. And unfortunately, the only way to hurt him was to use magic. Alas, none of them knew how.
They were slaughtered, save Birbarian.
He barely lifted himself up while leaning on his axe… he looked at Kevin one last time, and Kevin…. Kevin just stood there.
“Goddammit Kevin” Birbarian exhaled with his final breath.
Godfeather let out a warcry to announce his victory. His words were deafening.
“BOW DOWN BEFORE GODFEATHER!”
“Good bird. Now you know who is the boss around here” said Godfeather.
“Definitely not you” Kevin said with a deep voice.
Godfeather was surprised, he wasn’t expecting such a voice to come out of such a little bird.
“One more battle, alas I was expecting a tougher opponent, not a miserable one:”
He clapped his wings together and a sonic wave raced towards Kevin while destroying everything in its path.
Kevin…. just stood there.
As the wave was about to destroy him into bits, he removed his cloak, stood up with glowing blue eyes and blocked the wave with a force field.
He looked upon the soul of Godfeather and whispered “Ymg’ ahorna ngahnah ya little ehye 1111 Y’ ah syha’h!!”
Now it was Godfeather’s turn to be scared, this was the language of the ancient ones. Strong beings wiped from the face of the earth with the help of David Peckham and the order of the Talon.
“I really thought I finally found a worthy opponent” Kevin continued with a disappointed voice.
“Alas, you’re just another chicken who wants to be an eagle.”
The flesh slowly left Godfeather’s bones and his blood started boiling. He tried to struggle but it was useless. The final words he heard from Kevin was “n’ghft ymg’mggoka.”
After he was done with Godfeather, he looked upon the battlefield. His friends were all dead- torn asunder.
He wore his cloak again, picked up his stick and whispered “nog back hup n’ghft.”
They were resurrected. All of them stood up surprised; they looked at each other and the torn corpse of Godfeather, and then finally to Kevin.
And Kevin… Kevin just stood there.
IMAGE BY JP TARGETE \ STORY BY EXISTENTIALALLERGY
I’m a builder. I make things. The things I make are alive like me, but not like the green machines that grow outside. They don’t speak, they don’t move, they just stay where they are and grow in the direction of the orb in the sky. I always feel bad for them. They can’t move, they can’t talk. I feel they are probably very lonely. So I build friends for them. Their friends talk to them, protect them when the sky cries. I hope the green machines feel loved with their friends always by their sides.
The light outside turns yellow, then orange. I know the orb in the sky will soon disappear behind the mountains. I don’t like it when it disappears. My workshop is really dark when the orb disappears and then I can’t see. So I distract myself. When the glowing orb disappears behind the mountain, I make more friends for the green, motionless robots. Although I can’t see, it’s okay. I can work without seeing a lot. I made so many little ones that I know how to. But the little friends are often scared when they wake up on my workbench but they can’t see. They are scared they are defective. So I tell them that it’s okay and that soon an orb of light will appear in the windows on the other side of my workshop. And then they will be able to see and I will bring them to their new friend. Sometimes the little friends fall asleep because they’re tired. It’s sad when I have to replace them. So I keep their sleeping forms in boxes in the room above my workshop. I don’t put on the lid because I’m scared that if they wake up, they will feel lonely and afraid But the room they wake up in is nice. I like it. It was empty except a strange, soft workbench in the middle of the room with a small table on each side. On the walls, there are pictures behind pieces of glass. On them are robots — like me. But they don’t seem to be made of metal, and I can’t tell how they were assembled because I can’t see any screws.
Sometimes I wonder if the strange machines are still out there. Maybe they assembled the building I work in, and the strange strips of black stone with white stripes where the motionless green robots don’t live.
I look down at my newest creation. It turns its head inquisitively as it looks at me.
“Hello:” I say happily.
It waves at me hesitantly, testing its movement motors. I feel joy when I see that they work perfectly and nod happily. The new little robot knows what I mean and waves more enthusiastically.
“I will bring you to your siblings.”
I walk outside carrying the new little machine. Luckily the orb has not hidden behind the mountains yet. Excitedly, the tiny robots I created come running over to greet their newest sibling.
“When the light orb reappears, you will guard that green machine there,” I say as I point to one near the fence.
The little robot nods enthusiastically and I put it down. Its siblings surround it and start teaching it about life.
As I make my way back to the workshop, I see that one of the little ones has fallen asleep. I take a closer look but I already know it won’t wake up again. Carefully, I remove the arm that the green machine has protectively put around him and carry the sleeping little one inside. I feel sad. I prepare a box and line it with some of the soft material from the strange workbench upstairs. I cut a door and windows in the box, so the little one will not be scared or trapped if it wakes up, and carry it upstairs with the little one asleep inside.
“Rest well, you deserved it.”
I add him to the stack of boxes with soft insides. Twenty-seventh column, ninth on the current stack. I look at him for a moment and then return to my workshop. The green machine outside must feel scared and sad without its friend. I need to make a new one soon because the orb is about to disappear. One day I will make a companion for all the machines like the one who just lost his friend. But for now, I will help those within the fence around my workshop because there are so many. I know I will succeed, though. I will succeed at making all of them a friend, inside and outside of the fence. The orb has disappeared and reappeared many times, and I feel sure that it will always reappear. And every time it reappears, I will have built more friends for the motionless, green machines. Their friends will protect them as I protect their sleeping siblings. I’ll keep building. And one day, the green machines won’t need to be scared anymore. Because I’m a builder, and I will build for them.
IMAGE BY DOMINIQUE VAN VELSEN \ STORY BY @PLEASEALLOWMYSELFTOINTRODUCEMYSELF
Metropolis sprawled out below her, a glittering jungle of concrete, steel and light that devoured the night sky. The wind that whipped through the open door of the Dragonfly copter brought tears to her eyes and blurred her vision, and if she didn’t blink them away, it made the entire city look like it was on fire. Sometimes not too far from the truth she thought. “Cev, you ready?”Patch playfully called over the intercom. She looked over, caught her pilot’s eye, and with just a hint of a wry grin, nodded. She didn’t know how Patch had pulled a Dragonfly out of thin air, but by now she knew better than to ask, just as they knew better than to ask if she was ready. It was an inside joke because she was always ready. It was the reason she was here in the first place, and in fact, she sometimes wondered if she could ever NOT be ready. She was, afterall, what they called a Natural.
“Drop zone in 2 minutes:’ The city flowed beneath her, a golden sea of industrial decay.
She adjusted her form-fitting body armor, and rechecked both heavy pistols to make sure they were locked and loaded, then reached up and took hold of her dropline. Next to her, Blade stepped up and did the same. His size and heavy armor made the copter noticeably dip to their side of the aircraft. A flex of his wrist and his scythe-like claws slid out of his forearm. The metallic whir of his cybernetic eye focusing and refocusing let her know he was searching for targets already. That was Blade, always being efficient. Behind her, the Vandermark brothers were in one of their animated discussions again. This one was whether or not she could see the bullets that she dodged. Leave it to them to split hairs like that. She had a hunch on how she was able to do it, but most of the time she just chalked it up to being a Natural Besides, technically, she wasn’t able to dodge bullets. She could move fast, but not that fast. She had two bullet wound scars to prove it.
Patch’s smooth voice in her ear marked the time, “1 minute out.”
The Vandermark brothers. They were Dutch and the two of them argued all the time, but they were good in a firefight. Tint was an expert sniper, just as good as her to be honest, and had a knack for demolition. Wire served as their hacker and loved drones. Between the two of them, they were always looking for the next best implant or piece of cyberware to augment their bodies. They were so chromed up already that they were more machine than human, but they liked it that way. She supposed if they could figure out a way to be entirely metallic it would suit them just fine. Tint wouldn’t have to worry about blowing himself up as much, and it was common knowledge that Wire wished he could just insert his brain into one of his robotic pets. A glance behind her showed Wire had brought Kestral this time. Good choice. They would need the stealth and the extra set of eyes. “30 seconds. All scopes still clear.”
Personally, she thought being called a Natural was a rather ironic label, considering how unnatural her talents were. However, what the title denoted was that she was born this way. She wasn’t chromed up, didn’t rely on cybernetic implants or software, and certainly didn’t use the stim-packs and other drugs that were all too common among the public these days. She never really understood how or why she could do the things she could do, but whatever she was able to do, it was all, well, all natural. She turned to look back out the door. They were descending fast, and it was time to pay attention.
The drop zone was the helipad on the roof of Apollo Pharmaceuticals, which normally of course, was reserved for executive flights. Tonight however, was a different story. Tonight, they were to pick up Dr. Raveneau, co-inventor of the Ares virus vaccine. At least that was the story they were able to piece together. As usual, their contact simply gave them their extraction point, the drop-off point, and a picture of the person they were transporting. It was supposed to be a simple transfer job. But then again, if it was going to be that easy, her team would not have been hired.
The helipad rushed up at her as Patch dropped the helo towards the blinking red lights on the office tower roof. A figure was standing at the edge of the pad, hand on his hat, briefcase at his side, waiting to meet them. Twenty feet shy of the roof, Patch pulled the helo up abruptly. Kestral floated out the door. It was go time.
The whizzzzzz of dropping down the lines was always music to Ceventine’s ears. She landed lightly, in a slight crouch, sighting down her gun barrels before her legs had even fully absorbed the shock. The red laser dot from Tint’s sniper rifle wavered on the figure’s chest. Blade landed with a heavy crunch next to her, down on one knee, the concrete pad showing a spider web of cracks under his weight. Wire and Tint stayed with Patch in the chopper. Wire on the mini-gun, Tint training his sniper rifle out the door. So far so good she thought. There had been plenty of runs where they hadn’t even made it this far without a fight.
Holstering her pistols, she walked briskly towards the man with the briefcase. His head was down, and he was trying to hold himself steady against the buffeting downdrafts. She was 10 yards away when he looked up and she noticed his eyes wide open with fear. That’s when she knew the run was about to go horribly wrong.
IMAGE BY JAMES ZAPATA \ STORY BY EQOX
The old man used to tell me everyone died alone.
“Don’t matter who you are, son. Don’t matter if you the Queen of goddamn Eng-gah-land or Slow Donnie from just here down the road, ain’t nobody going to be there when God decides you’ve breathed your last. You gon’ be alone and that’s all there is.”
He was a lying sack of shit and I never believed a word that came out between those rotten, yellow teeth of his anyway.
I wasn’t alone. Pointing a gun at my head was Raymond. ‘Least, that’s what he told me his name was. He said he was a lawman but he wasn’t like no lawman I ever saw. Not in that fancy hat and those fancy boots he always wore. Never a scuff on them. Never seen a man treat a woman as well as he treated those boots of his.
Said his name was Raymond and he was a lawman from outta town. He needed help and he’d pay any man who would. Well, sure as hell, I signed up right there and then. I needed money. Any man who spent as much time as me in that bar did. He knew that. Didn’t realise at the time but he knew. He knew a lot, did Raymond.
He knew who to rob, who to leave right alone. He knew how to shoot a tin can at 50 paces. He knew how to use a set of cutlery better than any person I ever seen, including ol’ Mayor Price and his stuck up bitch of a wife. He knew how to dismantle a gun and put it back together before you could say lickety spit. He knew just what to say to a girl to make her blush in all the right kinda ways. He knew a lot, did Raymond.
As I knelt as his feet, I realised what he didn’t know. He don’t know what it’s like to die. I began to laugh.
“I ain’t alone,” I told him. A flicker of confusion danced across his face, replacing stone for a brief second. He shrugged and shot me in the head.
The man known as Raymond did not spare a backwards glance for the corpse bleeding onto the warm autumnal leaves spread across the ground. Everyone dies alone was his first thought. Autumn being a beautiful season was his second. The next job was his third.
IMAGE BY @ARTISTCALEBBROWN \ STORY BY BLIBBIDYBLAB
Two will enter, only one will leave.
That’s just the way it is with that place, the way it’s always been.
Nobody really knows how long the shack has sat there, falling quietly into ruin. It’s an old place though, real old. The sand basin it sits in rests uncomfortably between plains of green, but no growth dares go near it, no birds fly overhead, no spiders dwell inside.
In a sandy bowl of unknown origin it sits, pulling at the minds of those brave or foolish enough to be tempted by the bait. Can the mouse really make off with the cheese?
The wood itself is thick, and grimy Dust settles against it as it softens with the rain, and wind hammers into it, whistling through the cracks and lack of repair. But it stands there still, ever present, ever calling, ever there.
They always come; those adventurers spurred by the promises of gold and power. Sometimes in groups, or alone. They are always partnered when they enter though, either through fellowship, disdain or simply timing. That’s just the rule, the way it works.
Two will enter, only one will leave.
They know the way of it, and they take the risk. The nearby town running off the broken dreams of those wishing for a little fun before they take the plunge.
Only those that leave know what happens once they enter, but they never speak, eyes betraying a fear born of primal intent. Men with eyes that shine wetly, as they ask for another drink, and another vice. They leave rich of course, either cash or trinkets, but they never seem to advise others to pay the price.
I followed them once. A boy, not yet a man, slipped down behind them, quietly, as was my skill. I saw them enter, steely eyed with weapons drawn. I remember them well, those faces. One scarred, the other young, two men in the town at the same time and ambition. Partnered by a chance meeting of timing.
I saw them enter, and I heard it.
A scream so full, so high and so empty of hope, that my body writhed in fear around me. Not a single shot fired. I saw the younger man leave then, sprinting, with arms full of priceless stones. I stayed awhile, unable to move, like a rabbit shivering outside the foxhole I watched him run, that younger man. I watched him run away from me.
Then came something I’ll never forget, and a noise that stops me returning to that place. I heard shuffling and mumbling, sounds both deep and dark. As I crept away from that place, quiet as was my skill, I heard another noise. I heard chewing.
Two men enter, only one will leave. The other, must remain.
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