Creating Worlds Writing Camp Challenge 3

by - 10:44 PM


This is my entry for the third challenge for CWWC! I hope you enjoy :). I used all three prompts:

"Oh," I said sarcastically, observing the sign. "Merry Christmas to me."

It was a dry, dusty, hot day, the world an oven and me a cookie baking inside. I adjusted the backpack I'd slung over my shoulder, trying to alleviate the pain of the books digging into my back. I'd known I should have packed paperback - but didn't hardcover always last longer?

Should have packed paperback. Should have packed more than a few day's worth of food. Should have packed more water. Should have packed an extra pair of tennis shoes. Should have packed a map. Not that a map would have done anything to help my current predicament - standing where Flagstaff was supposed to be and seeing instead only empty desert and a sign that said YOU'VE ACTUALLY BEEN HERE BEFORE. WE JUST MADE SURE YOU FORGOT.

Unexplainable. But then, I'd been having to get used to unexplainable things these past few days.

I'd had a wonderful life - really, I had. A group of amazing best friends, almost all A's in school, loving and supportive parents - a life lots would kill for. But recently I'd started to feel a horrible, deep dissatisfaction with it, like a fish out of water. Suddenly, I felt like I was a stranger looking in on all my classes. I didn't feel like I belonged with my friends - I was awkward and shy around them, like we'd just met. My parents - I loved them, but distantly, like the love you would feel for two particularly kind strangers. I felt like I didn't belong in my life, and I never had. My mother told me it was all just growing up when I confessed this to her, my older sister Jess at college that it was a phase. But if it was a phase, it was a strong one - one strong enough to compel me to leave home with only a denim backpack filled with a hundred dollars, two bags of chips, a bottle of water, and my favorite books. And one strong enough to make me wander out in the general direction of Flagstaff - only to find this in my path and Flagstaff nowhere in sight.

I sighed and shifted my weight again. I was getting tired of all these tricks - really, I was. But no matter how hard I stayed up at night and tried, I simply could not will myself to go back. Like now, I could not will myself to go backwards, or sideways, or in fact any ways but towards the sign. So, sighing again and brushing my hair out of my face, towards the sign I went.

My green tennis shoes crunched on the gravel and echoed out into the desert silence as I walked past the sign. If you've ever been in a desert, you'll know the desert silence - it's a soul-sucking silence, a silence too still, a void when it's you out there in the middle of nowhere with nothing but sand and bushes around you. It feels either wholly unsettling or strangely peaceful - and, given the recent events in my life, I bet you can guess which one I was feeling.

A scream pierced the air.

Now, you must understand what kind of scream this was. This was not a girly, romantic scream, not an "oh-crap-I-dropped-my-textbook" scream. This was a high-pitched, blood-curdling, terrifying, nails-on-a-chalkboard scream.

My head snapped about to the direction it had come from - east, if I still had my directions correctly. It sounded like a human scream, and instinct had me pounding towards it.


I let out a little scream myself and skidded to a halt, my heels grinding into the dust. I looked down and gasped.

Two inched in front of me, the ground dropped away into a six-foot-deep pit. Backed up against the wall opposite me was a boy about my age, with long black fringe, but dressed quite peculiarly - in brown leggings, a long, richly-colored red tunic with embroidery on it, and grey armor. He held a long, thin white sword out in front of him, the metal gleaming brightly in the sun. His arms scrabbled against the tan rock behind him, trying to find a hold where there was one, to escape out of the pit - for what faced him was a monster I was sure I'd only ever seen in my nightmares.

It was a huge, long, tan lizard, spikes growing out of its neck and back and all the way down the tip of its tail, which it flicked menacingly as it crept closer towards the young man. Horns grew back from its head, and its black, beady eyes were fixed on what it was sure would become its next meal. It licked its chops hungrily.

I quickly backed up from the edge of the pit and surveyed it. In the corner the boy was trapped into there was no way to climb out. But across from him - behind the head of the beast - several boulders and rocks lay so that, with a bit of effort, he could probably pull himself out.

I did what will go down in history as probably the most stupid thing I've ever done.

I ran over to the other edge of the pit - across from where the boy and lizard were. Desperately, I began to try yanking off one of my Converse while standing. The boy watched me terrified, trying to mouth something probably similar to "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING GET AWAY FROM HERE" while the lizard snaked closer to him. Now it was only about two feet away.

Exasperated, I leaned down and, with trembling fingers, started to undo the triple-knotted laces. foot...

FINALLY, it came off, and I hurled it down at the thing. Me being a notoriously poor throw, it missed hitting him, but landed with a loud enough THUD close enough to its ear for it to whip its head around to stare at me.

"You!" I shrieked in a terrified, high voice, suddenly realizing I hadn't taken into account whether or not the thing could climb out of the pit itself. "Yeah - you!" I bent down to undo the laces on my other shoe with numb fingers as it hissed and started slithering closer to me.

The boy gasped and a horrified look spread across his features. Trying to make my gesture small enough the monster wouldn't notice, I jerked my head twice towards the boulders the lizard was slowly getting far enough away from. He nodded - he understood. I almost breathed a sigh of relief.

But the lizard still wasn't far enough.

My second shoe at last came untied, and I hurled it at the thing too. This time it only missed its head by a hair's breath, and the lizard snarled and began coming on at a faster rate.

....almost close enough....

"Come and get me!" I shouted, backing away from the edge of the pit as it reached the wall. I wanted to be far away - but not so far that it would lose interest in me and go back to the boy....

.....who, speaking of, finally had enough room and leapt lightly and quietly over the lizard's tail, just missing the ball of spikes at one end. He got a foothold on one of the boulders and began to clamber up. Just a few seconds longer was all he -

The monster lunged.

I screamed and leapt back as its neck shot up and jaws crunched the air where I had just been. It went back down, only to lunge back up again, this time with its neck extended.

I screeched again and attempted to jump back, but not before it grabbed hold of the edge of my jeans and yanked.

The world fell away from me -

"Take THAT!"

Suddenly, my leg felt light and free, and the hard edge of rock was digging into my back and I was yanked back up over the lip of the cliff, and I looked up just in time to see a white sword run clean through a lizard's eye.

The boy pulled his sword out as the lizard toppled back over dead into the pit.

I scrambled up to my feet and adjusted my jeans and t-shirt. He wiped his sword, now covered in a black film, on the edge of his tunic. Then he looked at me.

"Thank you," he said. "You must be one of us."

"I'm sorry," I said, "one of who now?" And then the real anger started to flow. "I was dragged here against my will by a compelling urge I could not control, I saw a sign that said 'You've been here before, we just made sure you forgot', I find you all decked out in some Medieval cosplay garb in a pit fighting a giant freaking lizard that shouldn't even exist, I help you and almost freaking die in the process -" I was yelling now "- and instead of making some sense out of all of this, you just leave me with more questions?!?!?"

"Um, yes," the boy said. "I was like you once - trust me, I get it. You'll be less confused after a while."

"Oh, great," I snapped, getting near in the mood to stomp off. "That just answers all of my questions, now doesn't it?"

"Please," he begged, holding out a hand. "Just - let - me - explain. I can, I promise. Okay?"

"So far all I've seen is evidence to the contrary."

"My name is Ajr," he explained, continuing on, "but it used to be Arnold."

"Did it, now?"

"You see, you and I - we're Asdins."

"Pardon? We're what now?"

"Asdins. The Asdin Empire used to exist here - long ago. Back when the witches were getting tried in Salem and it was only the occasional Spanish mission around here. No Flagstaff or Arizona state yet. We were an empire of the Medieval, the ancient, a spot of Western civilization in the southwest desert. We were like those fantasy kingdoms you hear about in storybooks. But the Spanish - they did not like us. They did not like the fact that we were a contest to the power of the conquistadors. So, knowing your history, can you guess what they did?"

I folded my arms. Under normal circumstances, I would have believed none of this. But then again, these were not normal circumstances. "They conquered u - the Asdins."

He frowned. "Er - partially. Sort of. Not really? Um. In order to escape the Spanish, legend has it a powerful witch cast a sort of spell that removed the Asdin Empire from this plane of reality and onto another one. But she could not do that while there were people in the Empire. You see, you cannot move people onto another plane - at least, she had not the power. But she could recreate a setting. And so on the population she cast a spell that, hundreds of years into the future, their descendants would return and cross the Plane Bridge into the Asdin Empire, and we would be safe again and able to flourish. You see, this is why we're supposed to be standing in Flagstaff, but we're not - we're on a different plane, one where Flagstaff never existed.

"Did you feel a call, a compelling urge that made it impossible for you to do anything but pack up your whole life and come here?" Seeing my nod, he continued, "Well, me too. That was part of the spell, you see. So we unknowingly crossed the Plane Bridge sometime in our travels, and arrived on the plane Asdin is on. We are home, at last. There is Karzaen, the new capital city, just a short ways from here. I arrived about -" he frowned, "- six months ago? And there you truly find home. You're taught sword fighting and elementary spells. You feel - you feel that sort of completeness you suddenly felt without a couple days ago? I was sent out," he added, "to look for more of us when - um - when I fell in that -" he cleared his throat, "- little scrape there."

"Little," I said dryly.

"Erm, yeah," he said. "So, um, thank you for rescuing me."

I was silent for a very long time, processing all this. "So," I said at last, "this is it. This is home."


I thought for a while more. "So I come with you to this capital city, and I learn how to be an Asdin - the culture, the language, etc. And then I live here."


I thought some more. "And - is there anyone else on this plane?"

"Oh, yes," he said. "The witch who placed us here didn't create the plane, you see. It's been here for a long, long time - available for the use of any magic-user with enough juice, so to say. So there are plenty of other kingdoms here - warring ones, warring with each other, and some with us."

"I see," said I. "Could normal people - non-Asdins - accidentally come here?"

"Nope. That was part of the spell, you se-"

"Yes, yes, I get it," I said impatiently.

The sun was even hotter than before, if possible. My face and Ajr's were both covered in a thin layer of sweat. I shifted my stockinged feet - suddenly, felt through just a thin layer of cloth, the desert sand felt hard and gravely.

"So - Karzaen," I said after a while. "How far is it, and how do we get there?"

He grinned. "Knew you'd come around," he said cheerfully, "they all do. Just about about five miles," he gestured beyond the pit, "that way. East," he added.

"Yes," I said sharply, "I know my directions."

He nodded, and then an awkward silence fell between us. "Shall we?" he eventually said, offering an arm.

I slapped it. "I'm not some impressionable fifties chick you can court," I snapped.

"Right," he said.

We started walking.

After a while, I said, "My name is Megan."

"Not anymore it's not," he said. "You have to pick an Asdin name."

"Well, give me some suggestions," I said.

He thought. "Well, if you're going for a similar feel as Megan - Mehandra?"

"Too girly."

"Markana, Magda, Methra, Marwen, Magayna, Mendene -"

"Mendene," I decided, "that's nice. Mendene." I tested out the flavor of the name on my tongue. Yes, just right. It felt more right than Megan ever had. I hadn't realized until just then how Megan had never completely fit.

Arizona had never completely fit.

My white clapboard suburban house had never really fit.

But this -



This was home.


*twiddles thumbs*

Whelp. That ended up longer than I thought it would be.

I'm actually getting kind of inspired to turn this into a longer story - maybe not a full-length novel, but something longer than just a single chapter. Hmm.

Hope you enjoyed! Comment below if you ship Arnold/Ajr and Megan/Mendene, have a wonderful day, and remember that you are all very beautiful pickles.


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    Idk if I ship them together. They don't really know eachother yet.

    and idk...megan/mendene seems a tad stubborn at the moment. too stubborn to be with someone like ajr, but maybe she'll come round. probably. they always do. ;)

      ahaha i see what you did there I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.

  3. Ooooh yes write more! This was very, very intriguing. I like how you describe things in such great detail, as in diffrentiating what kind of scream it was and how the main character viewed the parents.

  4. Oh. My. Stinkin'. Goodness. This was completely and utterly a-MA-ZING! I am like freaking out right now. YEEESSSSSSSSSSSS!! And pah-LEASE write more! I am BEGGING you. *puppy eyes*
    Hhhhmmmmmmm, Megan and Ajr? Idrk right now. I mean they might? They might not? I feel like it could possibly work, but it would take some time.
    But yes, MAKE IT CONTINUE.
    ~ Suzy

  5. I hugged Thorin.
    ~The evil emoji queen
    P.S. STAY AWAY FROM SAM GAMGEE YOU HEAR. HE'S MINE AND ROSIE's. :) So don't say anything against him. :D
    P.P.S. Poor Ajr! I think he fell for her and she is oblivous. (:Of course this could be coming out of pure imagnation but who knows. ;)
    P.P.P.S. Loved the story writing! You're a good writer! :D :) :D
    P.P.P.P.S. SERIOUSLY DON"T TOUCH SAMWISE. NO ONE HURTS THE SAMWISE. :) -OR they will be chopped liver.- ;( :)


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