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Nettle Soup
Jan 30, 2010

Oh, and Jones was there too.


College Slice

The Real Thing, 145 Words.

He raised his face to the sky, the only survivor of the long battle. Around him lay the bodies of friends, enemies and monsters, all partially covered by the rapidly falling snow. If he didn't find shelter soon he might just freeze to death, and he badly needed to rest and regain strength for the next battle, for the real fight.

Wiping the blood from his sword, he took a last moment to admire the patterned steel. It had been a birthday present, along with a light mail shirt and a horned helmet; his friends and family had pooled their money together to get him the whole outfit.

Leaving the ruined garden, he didn't look back. Behind him, the Summer blooms wilted in cold air, snow hissed against the cooling barbecue, and the large paper sign slowly peeled from the wall.

Happy 50th Birthday, Gerald.

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Nettle Soup
Jan 30, 2010

Oh, and Jones was there too.


College Slice

In with Copper.

Nettle Soup
Jan 30, 2010

Oh, and Jones was there too.


College Slice

As Good as Gold
Element: Copper
Words: 1060

"I can't find the ring you bought me." Sophie appears out of the bedroom waving her hands, there's dirt under the fingernails and a slight green mark on one finger. "Have you seen it anywhere?"

"You probably lost it in the garden," Erik takes her hands in his, and smiles as she laughs and pulls away, "I'll buy you a new one, it was only copper anyway."

She shakes her head and turns towards the bathroom, still laughing, "Sometimes I think you don't appreciate me, next time I want gold!"

---

They're in the potting shed the next morning, planting seeds and searching for the ring, when he hears Sophie hiss with pain.

"Your drat rosebush bit me," Erik jumps back in alarm as she waves her hand at the rosebush that grows up the back wall, covering the benches with blood, "I'm going to go wrap this up before I bleed out." She pushes the door open and disappears.

Inspecting the seedlings later, he notices one has turned a pale yellow colour, over-watering maybe? He puts it to one side until Sophie comes back.

She runs her fingers over it and exclaims, "It's hard!"

He grins, confused, and she shakes her head, "The plant, you idiot, it's made of metal, are you sure it grew?" He nods, and she stares at it thoughtfully.

---

The metal seedling sits in the shed for almost a week, but grows no bigger. At dinner one night, Sophie is unusually quiet. "I've been thinking..." Erik looks up and sees her food is untouched, "It's metal, but what if it needs blood to grow. Blood has copper in it, right?"

Erik frowns, "I dunno. Iron, maybe? It's worth a go."

They finish their meal. Later on he watches as she pricks a finger and squeezes the blood onto the metal leaves. It sits there for a moment, before sinking in and swirling through the copper like water.

"I told you it'd work!" Sophie is surprisingly pleased, "I wonder how much it needs."

Erik blanches, "You're not planning to keep feeding this thing your blood are you? You could kill yourself, Sophie!"

"With one drop of blood a day?" she laughs and runs her fingers over the leaves, "I doubt it."

---

Several days later the copper plant has tripled in size, and Erik and Sophie have their first ever fight.

"I told you not to keep-" Erik starts, but Sophie interrupts him,
"You can't tell me what to do!"
"I'm going to get rid of it, I'm going to throw it out! I swear, Sophie..." He's never seen her angry before.
"If you do, I'm leaving with it!"

Hours later, Erik stands in the shed and stares down at the plant. Sophie has moved it into a bigger pot now. On a whim he uproots it, it has a normal root system but there's no sign of the ring.

He lays it on the bench, then switches off the light and heads back into the house.

---

Erik plants the other seedlings alone, and soon the shed is clear apart from the rosebush and the copper tree, which Sophie has replanted. Seeing it in the late-summer sun, Erik thinks it's the most beautiful thing he's ever seen; standing almost 3ft tall, the trunk and branches resembling twisted bronze wire, the leaves a bright copper-gold.

He's still staring at it when the door to the shed opens and Sophie comes in, stopping as she notices him. In her hand is a small knife, and as he takes it, he sees the cuts for the first time.

He reaches for her hands, but she refuses to look at him, pulling away and turning back towards the house. Confused and scared, he follows.

--

Awakening the next day, Sophie finds all the outside-doors locked, and all the knives missing from the kitchen.

Erik watches her search, "I called your work for you."

She spins to face him, and he hesitates at the madness on her face.

"Just stay inside for a few days, don't go near that, that thing, then-" he suddenly realises how this sounds, "-then I'll let you out?"

"You'll let me out?" Her mouth moves, but for a moment no sound comes out, "You'll let me out? We're not even married, you can't do this!"

He closes his eyes for a second, "Yes. If you can stand it for the weekend, then I'll let you out. I sold that drat tree to a scrap dealer anyway. It's gone, Sophie."

He watches her face change, the madness fading, leaving a strange emptiness in its place. She stares at him for a moment, before silently turning away.

---

The next morning she seems almost normal, chatting and laughing at breakfast, but there's a brittleness to her smile and her eyes are cold, her movements too precise. That afternoon she tears apart the house searching for the keys.

The second day is worse as she goes through each room, destroying. In the kitchen she pours bleach over all the food, then methodically smashes up each room, before collapsing in the remains of the bedroom sobbing.

On the third day she doesn't get up, and Erik puts the house back together alone.

The light is fading as he lets himself into the garden, lifts the tree from the shed and throws it into the bin. Returning home, he's startled to find Sophie in the kitchen, wearing nothing but a thin summer-dress. Her eyes are puffy, bloodshot, and very, very wide.

"You said you'd sold it."

He hesitates, and she lurches forward, grabbing the keys off him. Within seconds she's outside, running through the garden. He follows, but she throws open the bin and pulls out the tree before he can stop her.

Clutching it to her chest she turns and stares at him with cold eyes, and as Erik reaches for her, the tree lurches from her arms. He tries to grab it as it grows up and through and around her, towering into the sky.

Erik stares ahead blankly, one hand still outstretched, resting on the huge copper tree.

---

He never really got over the loss. Sometimes though, come late summer, he'd rest against the trunk and talk; telling Sophie about his day, what he'd done at work, what he fancied growing over the next year.

Eventually, he hoped, Sophie would answer back.

Nettle Soup
Jan 30, 2010

Oh, and Jones was there too.


College Slice

Yeah ok I'm in.

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