The Unchallenge

I was invited to participate in a contest because they didn’t have enough people participating. I accepted, got to work ( I thought that I had 24 hours or so to get it in) and then someone else in the group threw a stink because it was unfair–TO HIM. Apparently, this person had turned it in the proper amount of time and everyone else hadn’t followed the rules and he’d wasted his family time and now that me and others were being offered an extra week (one I didn’t need, by the way) that was unfair to him, blah, blah, blah. He refused to back down (imagine a old man throwing a wall-eyed fit because that’s what happened) and long story short: I was asked to leave the contest to save the peace.

Well, by that time I had written my entire piece. I like writing so I didn’t mind. Seriously! I’m a pretty low key person. I could have thrown a wall-eyed fit just on principle, but we really only need one of those in the group and that position has clearly been taken. Ha!

The elements were: Burnt toast, synchronized event not found in Olympics, Old Country–not the USA, any emotion

Here’s what I created, I call it The Unchallenge:
Word Count: 515

We could hear the crowd humming–their voices indistinct but tense. Expectant. They were ready for us to win or fail.

I was hoping for a win.

I looked across the field, heard Q snort beside me. “Look at them,” she said. “Babies.”

It was true–they were all much younger than us–maybe second years, to our fourth. What were they doing here?

I knew why I was here. I’d tested highly on the PSAT, almost top of my class. I was here because I had the best chance of all of us now that Pietre was dead, to win.

Damn Pietre. He should have known better. He should have seen it coming. I mean they were Old Country folk–real meatheads, dangerous. Who challenges a group of them–alone–and expects to win? You don’t mess with Romania–everyone knows that.

No, events like this– The Push Events–this was where it was mostly safe to challenge. State sanctioned anyway, the only way to declare war. The only way to win.

Like today, we were up against Poland–bunch of Polish babies by the looks of it, all in laughable matching tshirts and shorts, but we were both dead serious about seeking to push our boundaries.

“If they don’t start soon, I’m gonna be burnt toast here.” K whispered, wiping her brow with a handkerchief. She wore her navy blue wizards robe, a crowd favorite.

“Q said we’ll follow the 5:1:5 formula, did she tell you?”

“Yes,. But at one min thirty, we switch to 2:5.”

I nodded. Yes, that was a solid plan.

We lined up, joined minds, faced our opponents. We spread out in a row of five. Our faces were tense, but ready; theirs were nervous. They were untested.

It was going to be a bloodbath.

The bell rang and we instantly felt the push.

The energy pulsed around us, the crowd roared but it faded to a distant din for us. We were in lockstep, slid into first position and I could feel us pressing them back, a few literally took a step back but that was just for show for the crowd. We slid back into 5th position and then I  relaxed. Our arms raised in sequence, falling. The power was steady.

I smirked; we got this. Our country would be proud.

Their faces strained and one fell to the ground, probably lifeless.

We switched to position 2 and then it hit us. From within their group one stepped forward and we knew our mistake right away. We felt it. Those baby faced liars were merely hiding this–this power–hideous in its force. We shuddered under it and Q fell beside me, breaking contact, leaving us even weaker under the onslaught.

I felt my brain heat up, tried to block it, body pressed instead to the ground. What devil is this? we thought, one by one of us losing consciousness.

The announcer cried out, “The border war goes to Poland, Germany loses ground.”


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