Thursday, February 23, 2012
The YES, I WANT THAT Writing Contest!
Usual rules: write a story with 100 or fewer words. Post in the comment column of this blog post. (Comments closed until the contest opens). If you need a mulligan, delete your entry and enter again. Only ONE entry per person will be considered for the contest.
Use these words in your entry:
Contest opens at NOON on Friday (2/24) and closes at 6pm on Saturday (2/25). Winner receives an ARC of INSURGENT by Veronica Roth, the sequel to DIVERGENT which was voted Best Book of the Year by the readers at Goodreads.com (among many other honors!)
I purloined this copy right out from under the watchful eye of editor Molly O'Neill's protection detail (picture below) so, if you win, you might want to keep an eye out for anyone prowling around trying to retrieve it.
Tweet to me @janet_reid if you have any questions!
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My brother lay prostrate on the ground. A headstone loomed over him, a sinister omen. His death would destroy the evil that stalked my community. To let him live would spawn a sequel to the murders he committed as he appeased the demons that rode him.
Blood coated my fingers and made my grip on the dagger loose. Each choice was rife with risk. My mother raised me to value family allegiance above all else, and his death would kill our fragile bond. I had worked so hard to make our relationship better.
I was willing to make that sacrifice.
I present you with a choice: Give me the ARC, or I will destroy you. Ignoring this demand is your risk to take, but I'm warning you - I want/ this sequel. Allegiance with an Alot will not deter me from my ultimate goal; I fear no felt-covered grammatical error.
My choice: I swore allegiance to the shark but the risk I took was her ability to seek and destroy my core when I least expected it. As I stood shivering in the cold, baleful glare of her red eyes, she told me the sequel to my life was over. I begged, I implored but, to no avail. At some point I fell to my knees my head bowed. “The sentence is death, the time and place of my choosing,” she said. Now, I await the time of my demise. Choose wisely, my friends. Choose wisely.
The crown is so heavy, I can barely tilt my head to see my sister chained below. The weight of responsibility, father once said. I disagreed. The weight was gold and jewels-wealth that would be mine. But I didn’t say that. Even then I knew those sentiments could make my sister queen.
Do I execute her or let her swear allegiance? I ache to see her beg, destroying what little pride’s left. But can I risk a sequel to this war?
The choice: make her grovel or dead?
I smile. I’ll do both.
And she said I’m incapable of compromise.
“Zombie Hunters 2, the sequel! Action!”
Laughter. The camera shook, picture wobbling.
A quick cut. He was on screen now, wooden sword to another boy’s throat. “Do you swear your allegiance to Eltron, Lord of the Zombies?”
“No! I’ll destroy you first!” More laughter, the clank of swords as they fought.
Then she was on-screen, and he cried, “I’ll save you, Ashley!”
His foe demanded, “Would you risk your life for her?”
“I would die for her.”
“Then you’ve made your choice!”
She wiped a tear from her eye. He had.
She rewound the tape again.
They had no choice. They always walked in line. They owed their allegiance to it. Today was no different. And yet… They felt it in the air. Their pace quickened. And then they saw it. A white temple with archways all around. A gasp of amazement rolled like a wave down the line. Entranced, they kept moving forward. “Wait!” a feeble voice called out, “Don’t go in! It’ll destroy you!” The line leader hesitated for a brief moment, then replied with confidence, “I’ll take that risk, no matter the sequel.” He smiled and walked into the ant trap.
“Are you sure about this?”
“It’s a risk I have to take.”
“She’ll tear you apart. She’ll destroy you in front of the whole world.”
“It’s my best chance at making it better. I want this book published. I want the sequel published.”
“I think the sequel to this conversation might be, ‘I told you so; now let’s stop the bleeding.’”
“Everyone swears by her. I heard even the devil's pledged allegiance to her.”
“I heard they drink whiskey together.”
“What choice do I have? I haven’t gotten a single request. The Query Shark can help.”
“Good luck to you.”
“So this… scheme, it’s how I pledge my allegiance to you?” I tried not to roll my eyes.
Terry frowned. “You don’t have a choice.”
I erupted in peals of laughter. “Au contraire. A lady always has choices.”
“Not this time.” His face darkened. “You must destroy everything. Obliterate any sign we were there.”
I bristled. “Tell me ‘when,’ but don’t tell me how.” High-risk jobs meant cops with guns, screaming citizens, FBI agents. Maybe prison. Terry didn’t understand.
Last week, we’d robbed our first Amtrak train—and already he wanted a sequel.
“Got any C-4?” I hid my smile.
Chandler, the leader of the Nicias Resistance, stood at the edge of the river lost in thought. A choice between sending 1,000 men now to their death by destroying the Artaxias Military complex or risk the outcome of the war.
The allegiance of his men bore down on him. His devotion to his men could hinder them achieving their objective. The freedom of ten million women and children from exile. He did not want a sequal to their last major battle, 25,000 men gone in two days. Mitchell, his second in command, aproached. Time had run out.
"Destroy the evidence, or risk a sequel to last month's... visit."
Zaroff's voice was raspy but unmistakable. The line went dead. This was no choice; it was an ultimatum.
A sequel. Every movie buff knows sequels are worse than the originals. Last month's visit was only psychological torture, but Ellen still hadn't recovered. This sequel was going to suck worse than "Jaws 3." I knew Zaroff was testing my allegiance to the badge with a physical threat to my wife.
But he didn't know about the separation. Nor the million dollar insurance policy I had on the cheating b*tch.
On the morning of the eighth day it became obvious the rebellious march of weeds across the garden would not halt. Despite his former allegiance to the prohibition of a certain substance, he vowed to use whatever means necessary to destroy the encroaching growth.
He pulped, ground, and mixed the ingredients for the promising new deterrent. The sequel would prove or disprove the measure. The choice was his, but not the risk.
After all, as Adam saw the matter, the use of ground apple seeds was the serpent’s idea, not his own.
We were “The Donor 651 Club,” an allegiance of mothers, united by our choice of a sperm donor. We thought it would be fun, sharing milestones via message board. Turned out, we needed support:
“Anyone having a problem with lying?”
“She destroys everything.”
“He kills birds. What do I do?”
Soon, panic infected our group:
“What if 651 was a psychopath?”
I risked hiring a PI, who discovered 651 owned the sperm bank. Good God, he’d selected us.
“He’s making a real-life Boys from Brazil sequel, starring himself.“
“What else?” I asked.
“Sicko killed someone at 13.”
I met him in a stinking sticky-floored bar. He had come to kill me.
“You have a choice,” he said, “show allegiance to me or I will destroy you.” Opening his coat I saw the gun tucked tightly against his side.
“Why did you risk coming here,” he said as his hand reached inside my coat searching for my weapon; his fingers tracing the curve of my breast. Plunging the knife into his gut, I whispered,
“My death will be a sequel to yours.”
His gun...the last sound I heard? I survived. He did not. I am free.
I heard feet pounding on gravel. I crawled from my cot and hung my head over the railing. A thousand feet down the wind roared, just to remind me that I wouldn’t be escaping this ten-by-ten foot space without leaving just a broken sack of limbs behind. It was a simple choice: risk the wind tunnel, or pledge my allegiance to a mad dictator.
I laughed out loud. Here I was, my mother’s sequel. Her body was down there, too, destroyed by sand and time.
The door of my tiny room opened. I turned, climbed over the railing, and jumped.
I had the choice to destroy Marcus or redeem him. There was risk in both outcomes. If he failed, it stained my reputation. If he soared, I’d have to deal with that too. I’d never questioned his allegiance before, but his behavior had hardly been consistent lately. I knew he’d talked to Paramount behind my back. Even my assistant reported seeing him skulking outside Lowenstein’s office at Columbia. If he was sniffing around for a sequel to that direct-to-DVD smut he’d done two years ago, there was no saving him. I slid the contract across the desk toward him anyway.
My choice, therefore, came down to this: destroy, at much risk to my own life – for it would involve breaking in to Plaisance Manor during the dark fortnight – Lady Darlington’s Ming Dynasty vase; or else swear allegiance to her Aunt, the Witch of Broadstairs, and initiate a sequel to the dramatic events that had culminated in her murder trial, and would inevitably lead to mine. I chose Destruction of the Vase rather than my Soul.
Kari clung to the limb. If this storm brought high tides, it would destroy the village.
Kari hadn’t known her choice would have such consequences. She knew the revolution was dangerous, but manipulation of weather?
He must be stopped.
A voice boomed into the chaos of the storm. “You risk your village for a foolish allegiance?”
“Your killing spree won’t have a sequel,” Kari promised.
His reply was a growl of thunder and rushing water. Kari held on. With all his power, I am a threat to him.
That thought held her as the tidal waters rushed beneath the tree.
The aliens reconfigured what remained of the human race. Now, robotic slaves, remnants of their lives were long gone.
Still, it wasn’t my choice to destroy the world. Resistance fighters might be holed up in mountain caves, but I couldn’t prove it and my family’s safety was at risk.
Either I pledged my allegiance to the corrupt Dictator and pushed the button that would annihilate the planet, or my brothers, hostages on the Moon, would die in excruciating pain, one after the other in an unending sequel of death. Then I, alone, would be the last human in the galaxy.
The woods surrounding me are dead silent with only sparse shards of moonlight bleeding through the trees. Countless hours have passed, yet I’m still here crouching behind an old row boat, stuck to the thick mud which has completely destroyed my boots.
I exhale to warm my hands, watching anxiously for his silhouette to pass in the window again. I know coming here isn’t my best choice, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. My allegiance with Max is suddenly more than an obligation now that our promise has been sealed with a kiss.
Tonight, I’ve come for the sequel.
“It’s our family!” George’s voice was strong even as he weighed the choice: risk, or certainty. “Don’t you care about us?”
I looked at him and stayed silent as the first responses flew through my head. Of course I care, they’re getting closer, I swore allegiance to this community, let me protect you, I can survive this. Finally I found the words I wanted.
“I love you. I will not destroy you. They will. I want to help.”
Wordlessly, George handed me the knife. I helped him first. It was quick. Painless. Then, a nightmarish sequel, I helped the children.
Alone in the dark.
Striding by without a glance, your allegiance is always elsewhere.
Because I wear no leather, and can’t rock or roll anymore?
Won’t you please sit?
I heard you may destroy me – is there no other choice?
I helped feed your first, the sequel and now all three boys. I fed you when needed.
Puked, sat and farted on, I never gave up – you left me!
Sports coat on – the one I wore – you’re moving onward and upward.
I was your first risk.
I’ll wait forever.
Your old, brown fabric office chair.
Delaware took eleven minutes; New York is taking forever. Whose choice was that? Who made New York so long? Farm, mountain, lake, repeat. I heard somewhere that one of these lakes has a whole town underneath it. Funny, usually towns destroy nature, not the other way around.
Dad has made his musical allegiance clear: the most obnoxious music available from the renaissance that was the 1980s. This stuff threatens my sanity, so I insert earplugs, risk carsickness and read the sequel of my favorite book for the third time. When I resurface in the nonfictional world, we’re finally in Vermont.
“You have to make a choice. Me or him.”
Alice laughed. “Oh look, it’s Drama Queen: The Sequel. Didn’t we talk about this yesterday?”
“I’m your sister.”
“I know. Did the DNA test to prove it. Really had my fingers crossed that one of us was adopted. But, alas…”
“He’s trying to destroy me.”
“What a bastard.”
“It’s not funny.”
“I’m sorry, I’m being insensitive. You risk life and limb to get to me and I’m making jokes.”
“So, he’s out?”
“My undying allegiance is yours.”
“Of course not. The dog stays.”
Alice just managed to duck the pillow.
Wilted wings cemented the ground with wet. Seamus, their wall-eyed owner, giggled atop a garbage can, his dirty beard smelling of fish.
Two angels watched. “He seems quite content.”
“It wasn’t his choice, Adonis. He didn’t know the risk.”
Adonis shrugged. “The sequel was destroyed. End of story.”
“But why spurn his allegiance?”
Seamus dropped his beer. The bottle shattered green as he remembered…the angry lightning slicing through him, separating his wings…
Concealed from view, Adonis took the glass sequel out of his pocket.
Inside, a mosaic of Seamus’s memories crowded together. Adonis’s lips curled into a smirk.
You limp alongside the highway, with blood on your hands and your now three-legged best friend in your arms. That badger you rescued him from had a choice: let go or die. Badger tastes gamey, but Slowmotion destroys his supper like he might not eat again.
Not long after the sun rises, your insides begin to ache. Heat stroke, but you doubt it. Slowmotion’s allegiance to life seems sketchy at best.
The next morning you collapse at a veterinarian's doorway. Someone berates. You say, “Worth the risk.”
Your last thought is of the sequel to “All Dogs Go To Heaven.”
Friday night. And I had to watch my little monster…er, brother again. Normal kids were out but I was stuck here doing the exact same thing I did every weekend. Little Monster appeared and so began my messed up version of Groundhog’s day.
“Wanna play Risk?”
“Do I have a choice?”
Out slipped the first sigh.
“I’d rather say the Pledge of Allegiance.”
Exasperated sigh to match the glare.
“How about a movie? Any movie. A sequel? A prequel? 3-D???”
Insert defeated sigh here.
“Fine. But you know I always destroy you.”
“That’s why it’s called Risk.”
As the music swelled behind the vestibule doors, her father asked, “Are you sure you want to do this?” Her allegiance to him, nurtured for 19 years, utterly dissolved in that moment. Having asked, he could jettison her at the altar with impunity. The “choice” had never been hers. What would destroy her would set him free. Aware of the risk, inching down the aisle toward the sequel that would be long and hard, she smiled. She would walk this path until she reached the crossroad, where her happiness, predestined, awaited.
If I had the choice, I wouldn’t have made an allegiance with Shelly, but she was the only one who could get to the top of the electric tower to get my dad’s game-winning ball down. It was a risk I had to take.
"Better not look up my skirt." The curly haired brunette warned from up top.
"As if!" I replied.
Truth be told, I did sneak a peak.
“Lookout!” Penny crashed down on me, hell bent on destroying my hope no doubt.
“Got it!” She gloated, though I knew it wasn’t over. There’s always a sequel with Penny.
The outcome changes every time. Either I'm your temptress or you're my knight. Like the fate of Schrodinger's Cat, the sequel to our kiss is never knowable until we open that box. You could destroy my selfish insecurity or I could wreck your heart.
But we've opened other boxes before—when you came to the rescue of your Guinevere… when I made the choice to cut your hair.
So how will the story end this time? I hold my breath and take the risk. I pledge allegiance with the touch of my lips.
My lips form the forbidden words but your mouth kisses them away. I forget how to breathe. My heart screams your name. My soul calls for you. My entire body tingles when you whisper that you’re worth the risk.
I don’t control my movements. I don’t have a choice. I was programmed for this day; there won’t be a sequel for us. This is it. Because of my allegiance. Because of the blood running wild through my veins.
I turn towards your voice. My eyes widen at the gun in your hand. You fire first.
The memories give me nightmares, even when I’m awake. But I no longer scream. I’ve become numb, the sequel to emotional pain, because I refuse to comply.
White walls surround me. My tied hands cannot rip away the cords that replay the memories through my brain. Their screams. Their blood. I risk my sanity because of my choice to deny allegiance to those who killed my loved ones.
They say the memories will destroy me, but they’re wrong. The memories have given me the will to fight.
She had made her choice. She was inside with the rich asshole. He took a swig.
He had forked over for concerts, thrown a party, named his friggin’ ketch after her. But did he get any allegiance? Nada. Just bills and blue balls.
She wouldn’t answer her door, wouldn’t risk a scene in front of the neighbors that might destroy her public image.
There would be no sequel. He flipped the bottle into the back of the van and helped himself to another. He would destroy her. He just had to wait til near dawn, when she left for work.
My allegiance lies with this dystopian series.
After reading Divergent, I have so many theories.
I need this sequel like I need air.
There is only one choice; my book must become a pair.
I must destroy my competition; out of the water they must be blown.
I need an ARC in my hands to love and call my own.
I’d risk everything to get my hands on a copy.
Can’t you see how much I need it, even if my presentation is a little choppy?
The choice had been taken from me at birth: go through life with what God gave me, or remove what they thought didn't belong.
The surgery wasn't without risk, but there was no difference between God and Dr. Finlow, in my parents' eyes. Their allegiance to him was unwavering, their faith in his hands, absolute.
I didn't let their misguided decision destroy me. I made it through the perplexing, tortured novel that was my childhood. And then I sought out my own God to write the sequel.
She knew it was her choice, and she knew what she could destroy. Her life, spanned out before her, seemed easy and certain. But she just wasn’t satisfied. She needed to know more.
The door was in front of her. It was a risk, she knew, but after her uneventful life, she wanted nothing less than to invite a sequel.
She pushed the door open, and she felt her allegiances change. But it was cold. One step in, and she turned around. Perhaps the outdoors was a bit too much for a cat accustomed to warm naps by the fire.
The higher-ups call it a show of allegiance, proving our loyalty to the army that've spent billions making us more than human. We call it suicide: a 100-storey jump that could destroy us in a mess of blood, bone and steel.
It's not really a choice, unless you want to risk living your life as a deserter with 20 tons of limp metal fused to your back. Adrenalin and fear is the only thing the wings respond to. The intended sequel: the wings work, we survive.
We have to rely on our instincts to save us.
I shifted a foot, releasing it from the sticky floor.
"They had a choice," his voice boomed. "They could destroy the ties that bound them to what everyone else knew as normal and swear allegiance to The Family, or they could walk away and risk their lives, always looking over their shoulders and wondering if they were next on the list."
"Coming to theaters this summer, Family Business, The Sequel."
The voice faded, and the lights dimmed.
"That looks worse than the original," I whispered across the armrest to my boyfriend. "Where do they come up with this shit?"
When the moment comes and I need to make a choice, there is no other option but to risk it. And risking is my profession.
To get myself out of these bruise-inflicting shackles, these shackles that chain me to this dungeon wall of steel and stone, I need to destroy my allegiance – those people who have taught, trained, cared for me. Those people I looked up to for guidance.
Those people I call family.
This war needs to stop; a potential sequel abolished. For this to happen, I need to stand, obey, be strong.
“I agree to fight with you.”
When professed authorities of Literaryland declared many wordsmiths insurgents, endeavored to silence every divergent voice, declare their education a risk to genteel society, and destroy readers' freedom of choice, people everywhere swore allegiance to Empress Sharkreid to thwart a sequel to the dark days of censorship.
Like a diver, Emma took a deep breath before stepping outside. She took one clean breath before the wind shifted allegiance. Even after a year, the industrial stench made her retch.
Last week, her biology teacher trotted out a blackened lung, warning: “Smoking will destroy your lungs. It’s your choice.” As if it was anymore. The only lesson from that demonstration: no one had updated the curriculim simce Intercorp took over the government.
"Sequel to Camelot, my ass." Emma lit a cigarette and inhaled. She knew what her teachers couldn’t make themselves see: the only risk left was vulnerability.
Joe’s choice was simple. Destroy the pledge of allegiance to F.L.A.G. (Friends Lobbying for Access to Goodeats)—a united, state-sponsored organization of American, and two of the Republican, fourwichit stands. (Fourwichits are sandwiches with four pieces of bread in them.) Only then could he risk moving to that one nation under God that remained indivisible in its love of serving fourwichits the proper way, with sides of liberty latkes and justice juice for all … but only if they can sit through the movie “Twilight” and its three sequels in the same day without biting themselves.
The fate governing Sandy's life had a bizarre allegiance to near misses. So, since squandering all her bingo cards on one game would risk a premature end to her evening, she did her best to stretch out her luck.
Each game was a sequel to the previous -- each maddeningly close -- but the last was her Waterloo. The caller pulled a ball and read his choice, "N42."
But the sound of a fire alarm quenched Sandy's scream of triumph, and the ensuing fire destroyed the entire hall, including her winning card. She had finally won a game, but fate still won the war.
Maeve's brother died the week she was born; her parents never quite recovered. She traipsed through life as a ghost, the sequel to a book never written.
Only Rakesh had been there for her. To his people she held no allegiance, but she was indebted to him.
In the packed marketplace, the bulky vest weighed on her body, though not her mind. She knew her actions today would accomplish little -- you couldn’t destroy what was already ruined -- but still, better her than Rakesh. Maeve didn't regret her choice.
She risked a glance at her watch. Ten seconds.
I destroy myself. I prostrate, low. Oh, so low. Avoid risk, avoid offense.
The wool of my garments are a garish hue and disturbingly uncomfortable. Allegiance colors.
What am I?
My scalp stings from the razor; the locks of hair slippery at my feet. I made a choice; not easy, but the correct one.
Out of the many questions simmering in my almost assimilated mind, one rises above the others: if I am my own sequel, what happened to the first me?
If he had a choice-
"The risk… this book…"
"If you think this book will destroy us," smoke billowed from her sigh. The smell engulfed him. Her lips twisted into a smirk. "Then we'll give the sequel more care."
He watched the delicate twist of her fingers, the way each word seemed somehow unable to be contained within the page. He had no doubts.
His allegiance would be to her. Always.
They want me to make a choice. To give my stamp of approval to only one of the two sequels written after this whole debacle. But if I swear my allegiance to one, it will destroy the other, and that’s a risk I’m not willing to take.
Tarik was their final hope. The others—fallen. So many good lives lost. He would not destroy their sacrifices. A sequel would be unimaginable.
No choice but to risk it. Moving silently across the forest floor. Stopping. They were near. Their stench, unmistakeable. Knocking an arrow. Stepping forward. Too late. The trap sprang. Swinging upside down.
Whooping and hollering. Revenants, barely human now, crowd round. It was over in seconds. His throat slit, warm blood flowing.
He died unaware his fate was sealed from the beginning. Not champion. Sacrifical lamb. Tribute.
And the Allegiance endured.
Lee Child I ain’t. No Jack Reacher here. But stay with me. No real risk ‘cause my choice for a protagonist’s name is HIRAM P. GRABBER. Get it? Jack reaches. Hiram grabs. The first book of my projected series is: DESTROY THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE. I self-published it. Twelve copies already sold. (Thanks Mom)
I’m hoping to sell the sequel into an agent. Oh shit. I mean through an agent. Just correct that. Ain’t that what you’re there for?
Second book is: GRABBER’S BIG ERECTION SET. Complete at 300,004 words. Call me, dammit. Soon
They used to tell me I had a choice.
I didn’t have to kill. I didn’t have to risk. They told me you could’ve—you should’ve—you would’ve.
I wanted silence.
What they did not understand: I did not exist. I would never. But I could destroy and I could do it well. It gave me some meaning; I gave it all of my allegiance.
They told me my life was sad. Its sequel would be painful, pathetic, lonely. You will alone, they said. You will be alone.
Why don’t you choose?
I silenced them.
Breathless. That’s what this CHOICE has left me. I wasn’t sure I could survive a repeat performance of the last catastrophe, a SEQUEL to the madness. Why can't my mind find an ALLEGIANCE with my heart? A heart so utterly DESTROYED it’s left me gasping, longing for an abrupt wind to send me the air I crave, to heal this aching burn. Clutching at my chest, I force myself to finally take a gulp of the cool night air. Love was worth the RISK to my fragile heart. I exhaled my pain and took that leap into the unknown.
Forty years ago, I pledged allegiance to an idiot. I can’t say I was forced. The choice was mine. My lone memory from sentencing is the long-dead judge’s words: “The essential sequel to your brazen attack on society is your removal from society.”
Today I return to society, whatever that is anymore. I step outside expecting a cab but it’s him, barely aged. He risks everything being here. I breathe clean air beyond the walls. The man who destroyed lives, mine included, smiles.
I should flip around and demand that cab. But in his car, windows down, I’m free again.
Al Legiance has a choice; destroy the insurgents and risk global nuclear destruction or die at the hands of long-haired pink rabbits.
The Russians said, “Never turn your back on those rose-colored rodents,” but they had inadvertently pumped Al full of psychedelic LSD.
Al screamed, “Better to leave the Earth to the cockroach eating, ninja Twinkies than those red-eyed, nose-twitching, pink bastards.”
The President expects results from Al; should he save the world or blast it into rabbit pellets?
Al’s finger is on the button. Nuke the Rooskies or die, wearing pink fur?
Only the sequel can answer that question.
IMAGES of PROM
Mrs. Jenson’s eyes reel down my ultra-mini, stopping at my Mary Janes. She sees one thing painted across my allegiance with her ivy-bound daughter. Risk.
Addy squeals, spinning as she enters the foyer. Her knee-length dress ripples in perfect sequel to her homecoming gown. She Chaînés into James’s arms.
Mrs. J fondles her Nikan, singing, “Pictures!”
Two-hundred choice poses later, we depart. In the limo, Addy bends low, flashing her tiny boobs.
Oliver’s cheeks scarlet. “Sorry,” he whispers. His twin brother gropes Addy’s thighs.
Squeezing Oliver’s fingers, I smile. “Try that with me, I will destroy you.”
“You have a CHOICE. Pledge your ALLEGIANCE to me or Roxanne dies.”
“How do I know you won’t kill her even if I agree?”
“A RISK you must take.”
He looked over at the photograph of him and his wife. A voice in his head said, DESTROY him. Gun. Under desk.
His hand slipped under the desk but only felt smooth oak. A thunderous explosion filled the room, and remnants of his skull coated the walls.
Roxanne stood behind him holding the missing 9mm. “Sorry baby, but there will be no SEQUEL for you.” Evil laughter erupted from her lips.
I run, never losing sight of my prey. It dives; I leap. I begin eviscerating before I land. Flesh and sinew fly as I destroy my catch.
Provider! I can't risk him finding me!
I have no choice. I may be Queen, but the Provider calls. I gather up the bones.
"There you are! Want to go again?"
A sequel! Yes! Why did I hesitate?
"Give me the ball."
To show my allegiance, I drop the carcass at his feet.
"Aw, who's a good girl?"
I cover his face with kisses. Doesn't he know it's me?
What kind of choice was this? To destroy the only hope we'd ever found, or risk the end of both species?
There was no sequel to our story. My allegiance could be to the living or the dead, but not both.
Maybe we'd find peace on the other side. I held my breath, closed my eyes, and pressed the big red switch.
The office divided itself into five factions. After sixteen days on the job, Tris new she had to make a choice.
She locked herself in a bathroom stall. Sweat trickled, threatening a sequel to this morning's panic attacks. Should she risk joining her brother Caleb in accounting, or would that destroy her chance of meeting up with Toby, the cute guy who worked in the mailroom?
She shook her head, breathed heavily, and stood, her decision made: Allegiance be damned, I'll do whatever suits me.
She opened the stall door and gasped. "What are you doing here?"
Tobias smirked. "Diverging."
At risk, I cranked the press handle, and churned out more leaflets. My father, a reverend, could denounce and destroy my reputation as I blanketed our county with The Farmers' Almanac -wild weather predictions in print, rather than depending on God's will. However, I swore allegiance to this demented fat man who flew kites at night. I had no choice. Mr. Franklin held my lab key, tied it to the string. He paid well, taught science principles, and encouraged my scribbles. He was brilliant, promised a sequel - The Preacher Son's Prognostications.
Death has no sequel. Especially when it involves a cement truck.
However, if I had to make the choice again, even knowing the risk, even knowing if would destroy me, I would. Because friendship is more than an allegiance. It means everything to me. So how could do nothing, when I had the chance to save him?
No, when I saw that truck barreling towards him, I did the only thing I could. I ran into the road, scooped him up, and threw him towards the sidewalk.
I just hope that damn cat knows how much I love him.
I really want to read Insurgents, sequel to Divergent. But that dag-gum cat is guarding it. I can’t risk getting scratched, but I want to read that book so bad I can taste it. Taste it! That’s it!
I’ll get a saucer of milk and destroy his concentration.
It worked. We have formed an allegiance, me and that guard cat; we are now relaxing in my recliner. He is curled up and purring happily in my lap, and I am finally reading Insurgent. Found out that he cat is actually a she cat. Don’t that just beat all?
It was raining lead in beautiful downtown Baghdad. Ducking into a storefront, I risked a moment’s respite only to find the space already occupied.
He was my age, another modern-day Crusader bound by ancient allegiances and trained to destroy.
My Kevlar and his Keffiyeh framed tired eyes and harsh lines that sleep would never erase.
“Stop fighting and I can go home,” I said.
“Go home and I can stop fighting,” he replied.
Silently we made our choice. The sequel might end differently, but no killing today.
Nodding, we backed through our respective doors. Back out into the rain.
Mortimer Mouse paused, preening his fur as he weighed his next steps. This window sill was the fastest route, but the echo of his claws on metal might destroy the element of surprise. That sleeping kitty had a fierce allegiance to its editorial master, and the wrong choice of path would prevent Morty’s securing the sequel to a rather tasty nugget.
A bookworm at heart, the danger was never an barrier. Risk tail and limb for a nibble of that delicious word cheese? Indubitably. He slicked back his whiskers and grinned. Insurgent will be mine.
He claws at my skin as his teeth arrow toward my jugular. I chose to take this risk, knew the risk when I made this choice. Now I am committed. My pulse beats harder and I know I have only seconds left in which to destroy him. The insurgent. My allegiance is clear, even though the future has become a sequel in which I no longer exist. My breath rasps as I grab Mr. Skittles by the scruff of his flea-ridden neck and tear him away from The Shark’s precious books. A drop of blood trickles into my collar.
-- Sorry for the previous deleted comments. I can read over something a hundred times and STILL FIND TYPOS --
There once lived a girl from Abnegation, but her downcast eyes shadowed a seflish soul.
In her 16th year she learned the truth why. Anomaly. Divergent. So she made a choice.
Beatrice became Tris, became Six, became Dauntless. Born there was an allegiance of strength and respect, with a boy of Four who whispered, "You're worth the risk."
They redefined math. Six + Four = One.
One to be erudite against a deceptive Peace.
One to destroy fear with bravery.
One to lead a rebellion against the sequel's war.
So that tomorrow, Six plus Four won't equal None.
"Oliver." I said clasping my shaking hands to his.
"Choice? I don't have any!' He shouted.
"I know, I'm sorry." I muttered.
"The risk of getting seen is too high, it will destroy me, no us!"
"But..." I wanted to say more but around us lights shined.
"Quick, we don't have much time!" I said.
I dragged him around the blood stained rope. As the lights got brighter I realized that we had arrived.
"No, I can't do this!" Oliver shouted.
"But you swore allegiance to me to go watch Insurgence: the Sequel Movie with me!"
I shut the space door as I entered the room.
"We need to talk. They won't swear allegiance to me." I said.
"Approaching Earth." The robotic voice echoed in the empty steel room.
"It is a risk we have to take right? Wasn't that what John always said? The choice is yours." He said with a smirk as if he was testing me.
"The sequel won't be pretty." I said sternly.
"Who said it had to be?"
I waited as I followed the countdown on the computer screen: "Landing in 56 seconds, 55, 54...
"D.E.S.T.R.O.Y. Destroy them." I said fiercely.
He crushed the missive in his hand. It contained the words which would change-- or end-- his life.
Her allegiance had shifted. He had no choice but to destroy her. He must risk everything to fulfill his mission.
Killing her would be like cutting out his own heart. But hadn’t she done that already?
The weary warrior pulled in a tattered breath. 'If this were a novel,' he thought. 'There would be no sequel.'
It was a gamble. Only one would survive. And it had to be him.
We eye each other across the table. If I comply they win, but refusal may cost more than I’m willing to risk. It’s my choice.
I spare a glance at my plate, stomach churning. Their allegiance is strong but so is my will. They can destroy my TV time if they want, but I will not eat asparagus. They’re nothing like little trees. I’m six, not stupid. I push away the plate and lean back. Mom’s shoulders slump, and Dad swipes a hand through his hair. I’ve won this battle, but the sequel--kid vs. lima beans--is anyone’s game.
“So, Jako. Where does your allegiance lie?”
“Jako fight for Jako.” He pounds a fist to his armored chest. The crowd cheers.
“You risk your life in the arena and have no fealty to either kingdom?”
“It my choice. Jako born to destroy!” He clasps his hands and shakes them over his head. More cheers.
“Brawn, you are the reigning champ representing the Black Kingdom.” The fans boo.
Brawn sneers at them. “Yes.”
“Can we expect tonight’s joust to be a sequel to your last victory?”
He gives a firm nod. “My dragon will dine on Jako shish kabob tonight!”
“Tell me Desmond, why we meet here?”
“The view.” Even in his laughter, Des could hear the accent.
“You prefer Des or Desmond?”
“Des Troy? Nice name.” The accent chuckled again.
“So, I’m hired?”
“Hired? Am I Starbucks, Mr. Troy? You want me give you apron and little hat to show your allegiance?”
Des risked looking at the floor, wondering if its blood stain had a sequel.
“There is no hired here. Do what I tell you, I pay. Don’t do, I make your mother cry. Simple choice.”
The red dot fluttered then steadied on Accent’s temple. Des smiled.
I hereby cast my non-binding, unsolicited vote for Terri Coop's Baghdad Rain (as I've christened it). And for her very healthy fear of clowns. Seriously, check out her blog if you want to cry yourself to sleep tonight. (Shudders)
The monotonous tapping rang in my ears.
“No turning back now. I made my choice.” Saying it out loud made it more real.
I'd pledged my allegiance, now to prove my dedication.
They told me I was crazy, told me it was too risky, that I should just give up.
But I took that risk.
One more sip of cold coffee. The adrenalin rushing through my body.
With each word I destroyed, a better one took its place. The cycle of destroy, add, destroy.
My breath quickened, I typed the last period.
It was done.
Now to start the sequel.
I don't have much time. It's now or never, and the choice I make will determine the path my life will take from here on out.
I've always been told that I must be absolutely certain that this is what I want, that I must pledge my allegiance to this lifestyle.
What's life without a little risk, though? Isn't taking chances what it's all about?
The trouble with coming to the wrong conclusion is that it really can destroy you, totally break you apart. I guess this is where my sequel begins, the next chapter of my existence.
This is my final hour. It was over when I made the choice to return, but still I came. I knew the risk, but I have to tell their story. Because if I don’t, it will never be told.
There will be no sequel.
All allegiance to the people who shelter here has been abandoned. The soldiers shoot to destroy. For three weeks, shells have filled the sky.
I step out. The sky sparks.
Years ago I trapped a firefly in a jar. Tonight I remember. How its wings beat wildly against the glass until, finally, its light went out.
It started with a choice; it ended with a choice, a risk, a timely calculation, her decision to pledge her allegiance to their side, the forgotten of society, the left overs no one needed. The outcome could prompt change, maybe not all at once, but it would be a start. If not, then it would mean she had failed and alienated everyone in the process. There would no sequel, no do-overs. Pia stood gazing at the copious amount of research; it wasn’t even a hard decision. All it took to destroy it was a little gas and a match.
Mission: DESTROY IED lab.
Pulse racing, heart pounding, choosing my next move to ensure I wasn’t the next casualty scrolling across tomorrow’s evening news. I’d taken the oath to “bear true faith and ALLEGIANCE” to my country but after three tours in less than five years, was it the right CHOICE? RISKING and sacrificing so much of myself every day for something that I no longer believed in. I’d seen the light fade in the eyes of those too young, one being my brother. Would I be the SEQUEL to a story that ends the same all too often?
It was an eggshell-thin allegiance; to be expected considering it was forced. We’d tried to destroy each other dozens of times over the centuries, but now he possessed something I needed. So I’d had to make a choice. Accept his offer, or let the Goblin King keep a sliver of my soul in his collection.
I glanced at him over the glint of the Japanese katana in my lap. A huge risk, trusting him. But then, it was my soul on the line. Would there be a sequel to our tale? I guess we were about to find out.
Should I trust him? We talk all the time. I can tell him anything. But there’s something off. I feel it in my gut. He could be a 40-something predator, hunting down teenagers through chat rooms. Yet that assertion feels wrong too. It’s something else. I’m afraid it’ll destroy me.
I shouldn’t have returned to that Earth chat room. My job’s to gain human intelligence of her planet. What I’m doing is a risk. We need to invade her planet to survive. The sequel is hostile. It’s too late; I know I need to save her.
At the sound of his voice, she shifts her weight uncomfortably onto the other leg but doesn't look at him. He forges ahead.
"Pretend we are the last man and woman alive."
"It's World War Three. A nuclear bomb has destroyed everything except this elevator."
She rolls her eyes.
"Do you stay here and declare your allegiance to the continuation of the human race? Or risk opening the door to a sequel of Hiroshima?"
Ding. The doors open. She turns to look at him.
"Really?" she says. "That's my choice?" She walks out.
Worst pickup line ever.
Chalk, hairspray, cameras, action.
For those of you just tuning in, welcome! Don’t worry if you’ve missed the last sixteen years of training montages, this is the big finale. Where all the choices I’ve made, the risks I’ve taken, finally pay off. Or I face-plant off the beam, destroy my shot at gold and credits roll. Sure, maybe there’s a sequel, but I’m only a bit player in it. Coach to a new star, paying out my allegiance to team USA. Just not yet. For the next two minutes I’m the headliner.
Cue epic music.
I raise my arms.
She didn't know what the sequel to this battle would bring.
After his surprise attack, there was no choice but to run.
He seemed determined to destroy her with his continued onslaught, but she managed to hide in the woods.
The assault stopped.
She took a risk and peeked around a tree. There was a slight chance. Other potential victims distracted him as they walked unknowingly toward their doom.
She forgot any allegiance she had to him as, with a vengeance, she launched her counterattack.
And then, victory!
Her brother spluttered as the snowball hit him squarely in the face.
The Dominion Council denied Jord and her people, the Kunsgnos, the assistance needed to defeat the Kolbyrs. The Kolbyrs had made an allegiance with the demon world and had vowed to see her people unto their deaths. If they succeeded, it would be the sequel to the War of the Thousands, which had nearly decimated the Kunsgos population. Therefore she had no choice but to destroy the Council and Leader Magnor, who was known to be a Kolbyr sympathizer.
“I pledge allegiance...,” the voices murmured.
I wasn't given a choice, and now I was being asked to drink the kool-aid. I wasn't sure I wanted to take the risk. I was not ready to destroy all I had known and loved.
We were told to form a single line. They ushered us out into the hot humid air of the August afternoon. The light was blinding.
We made it back; no major incidents. I guess tomorrow would be a sequel to today.
“Hi sweetie, how was your first day of kindergarten?”
Dipshit behind the desk smiles at me like he’s won the Olympics. Not a medal. The entire fucking Olympics.
“Heard you have a problem.”
I remain silent. So what if our flagship product, never mind the sequels, resembles the hate child of a Neon and a Yugo?
“Look, it’s cute, affordable, plus we’ve secured a choice spokesperson.”
The entire fucking Olympics. Some people are Yoko crazy. Then there’s Dipshit. Guy’s got no allegiance to reality. I should say: “You’ll destroy the company.” Instead: “Spokesperson?”
“No risk, no reward. Go big or go home.”
Dipshit. “I’m going home.”
One choice. One chance. Should she take the risk?Truth could destroy everything. Could she live without knowing? Eyes clenched tightly, fists balled. Blood pooled in her palms as pressure wrecked her manicured nails. She held her breath. No allegience waited on the other side of the motel door. Moans of extasy filtered through the wall. Rage, sorrow. The door swung wide from the onslaught of her boot. Her vision filled with red and the room went black. Their would be no chance of a sequel for their love affair. Once you're dead, there's no comming back.
A mobster exercises his bull mastiff.
"Forget family allegiance. Kill every rat."
A choice '56 Lincoln convertible slows.
The 18-year old driver risks being destroyed.
"I'm late for my birthday party."
The car looks eerily familiar.
"A ghost? Theresa?"
She flashes a faded newspaper: "Socialite Tortured To Death"
"Theresa died eighteen years ago today in 1956."
She delivers a flesh-searing message.
"Sequel time: Theresa was carrying your child. You killed yourself."
He clutches his chest.
"Stop! I'm sorry I hurt her."
She fades away.
His bodyguard shouts.
Crimson stains the mobster's shirt.
"No! Those are holes."
That’s what they call me.
It wasn’t my choice to share my mother’s womb; nor did I ask to be born one minute too late. It’s not what Father had in mind, either.
Now here I stand, watching Mari enter the training of her birthright while I remain in the shadows—a nameless nothing. A risk not worth taking.
I raise my chin. My allegiance to my sister is strong. I will help her fight. I will help her fulfill her destiny and destroy the darkness.
And one day, she’ll understand why I have to kill her, too.
My fingers clutched the safety strap as the helicopter lurched sideways, black thunderclouds threatening to knock us from the sky. I didn't want to risk my life out here, but I’d had no choice.
I’d change my allegiance if it were possible, but it wasn’t. Men had been trying to destroy my species for years—they wouldn’t take me.
The helicopter leveled out, revealing the concrete monstrosity below—my destination.
This was the sequel to yesterday’s fight. I'd proved myself strongest; the only one powerful enough to free our captives from this prison.
Sucking in one last breath, I jumped.
The choice was mine, destroy myself or kill the one I love. I wanted to run, to flee this country with him, to avoid taking risks. But that isn't me. But one us must die. Because there cannot be a sequel to all the deaths in this city. There is only one thing to do, form an alliance with my greatest foes. When staring into the eyes of death get help from the undead.
Her eyes raked the display harshly. Rocky road? Pistachio? The wrong choice, and Sledge’s eyes would flatten like slugs, the door jingling on his heels as he stalked away. Coconut? Could she risk Rainbow sherbet? Would Strawberry destroy her chance to win Sledge’s allegiance before Leo made his move? There was a time when she could read his moods, know if Neapolitan or Cherry Chip would bring that molten smile to Sledge’s face, and his silenced gun to her service. But today—there would be no sequel. She bit her lip, and spoke.
“Three scoops of fudge ripple. With sprinkles.”
I shot him a glare, but he ignored it, a smirk trying to break out. “It is my choice.”
I looked back at the One. “You want me to destroy the chip, risk not only my life but several others so that there won’t be a sequel to this drama that you started? Isn’t there another way?”
“I am more than prepared to take this from her.” Zac inclined his head toward me, smirk out.
I tried to stomp on his foot and missed. I ignored him and looked at the One. “Fine. You have my allegiance.”
The One smiled.
The elephant’s trunk is raised high. There is risk in it. This belief in luck, strength, wisdom. But it’s the tusks that are valued above all. The white of their bellies. Not their intelligence, their weight, their memory. My father, too, faces the door, and has no choice as a faith-believing man and desperate father who needs neither prayer shawl, nor statue to whisper his pleas, nor his allegiance. The tumour would destroy me eventually. The elephant sits in my palm, its trunk, a sequel to all that remains.
I'm taking a great risk to enter my mistress' room. At first, I think the chamber is empty and I count my blessings. I'll be in and out without her having to know.
"You've already made your choice then, Adrian?"
I watch as she unfurls herself from the divan like a cat. She can easily destroy me with that same grace, but she doesn't. She's a cat playing with a wounded rodent. "You haven't offered many, Ma'am."
She offers a thin-lipped smile. "I've never questioned your allegiance until now. Is this how it ends?"
"Without sequel." I sketch a bow.
He had a choice: kill his best friend, or his fiancé.
Some might object to killing a loved one or two, but their allegiance obviously meant nothing to him, ever since she climbed into bed with the same best friend he trained his gun on. There was a sweet satisfaction in knowing they would be burning in hell without the risk of their ugly faces appearing in the sequel. So, logically, he chose to destroy both.
“You can’t,” she whispered urgently to him. “It could destroy you. It will destroy you.”
He didn’t need her to tell him: he knew. But it was worth the risk. Friends were doubting him, his family was questioning his allegiance…he refused to stand for it. He had to prove his worth.
“I don’t have a choice,” he said, glancing at her with none of the usual brightness in his eyes. “I have to do this. For me.”
Tears sprung to her eyes. “Do we at least have a sequel?” She was afraid of the answer.
He was gone.
Choice. Alliances. These words sit on me. My buddy, Sequel, is in the passenger seat in the process of destroying a six-pack while I push the Chevy up to 120. We had just robbed the 7-ll and the police are running for abreast behind us. They kindly cleared the highway for us, leaving nothing but open road. I risk taking my eyes off it to glance at Sequel. He's grinning from ear to ear, bald head and cancer gaunt features. He looks crazy as he finishes the last beer, nods, throws open his door and jumps out.
The Allegiance has been shattered. To take a life is to destroy it yet these people, if you could call them that, seem to feel no guilt, no remorse. And now I am one of them. The destroyer or the one being destroyed you may ask; the answer is I dont know. There is a scared man tied to a chair in front of me, the instructions were to kill him or my baby will die. It's my choice and my risk all at once. I sit here contemplating. My sequel has yet to be written...
“Allegiance without risk,” he grinned, back-slapping me and narrowly missing the jaundiced island of iodine and crude stitching. “Is, how you say. Winking.”
Winking? I thought groggily. He put his hands to his crotch and pantomimed something obscene.
“Wanking,” I coughed. But the grubby little man was right. He was the sequel to a dying order, where ‘state rule’ was replaced by ‘anything goes.’ And he knew that I had little choice. My Beretta, passport and left kidney were now missing. Either I would accept his help and fight to survive. Or this country would destroy me.
She could walk away right now. Her choice. Risk leaving her soul on the dung heap of 'I should haves'. Tempting. Get home to a long, hot shower, a glass of Pinot, couch time with a pile of dogs. The stink of this place made it hard to breathe.
Dogs. For the umpteenth time she wondered why she cared. Why she was born pledging her allegiance to homeless mutts when everyone else was happy with a flag. Half of these would need to be destroyed.
She sighed, swore, and dialed the Animal Control Officer.
“Yup. Me again.”
She hated sequels.
It had always been there, the Factory House that produced nothing. The walls were tight-lipped, heavy. Those walls could crush.
I’d sit outside and watch the eyes of passersby drop to the floor as if those walls dragged them, waiting to glimpse that other place.
One night, red hair with a boy attached was sitting on my watch-wall, face dirty with blood. Smoke drifted from the Factory’s roof. A thud reverberated like a heartbeat and a wall shattered, weeping rubble to the street.
His shining eyes looked at me. ‘Destruction is a hobby of mine,’ he grinned. I smiled.
“What kind of a name is Choice?”
It’s a name that makes me want to destroy every idiot who asks me that question. A name given by hippie parents who smoked too much weed. A name that forms an instant allegiance with the Apples, Blues, and Sequels of the world.
Yes, I’ve met a second born named Sequel. Life is twisted.
I decide the no-flight risk is too great so I withhold my verbal bitch slap. “One ticket to Louisville, Kentucky please.”
Then I’m on the plane headed home, to all the things I failed to leave behind.
The allegiance of my heart has brought me home across these frozen fields for one last glimpse of you.
The hunting party is closing in. Do you hear the distant yelping of the dogs above the crack and hiss of the fire and wonder where I am?
The risk is too great. If the dogs bring them here, they will destroy it all. Then there will be no sequel for either of us.
My choice is made. I should not have come and I must not stay. I turn back the way I came and run to meet my fate.
My fingers hovered over the keyboard, frozen with doubt about my choice. Thousands of “Team Adric” fans had clogged my inbox and twitterfeed and now, I was about to destroy all of their hopes. If the e-mails were bad before, I don’t want to think what my inbox was going to look like when this sequel hit the shelves.
It was their own fault, really. The whole Fleur/Cormac relationship was pretty clear from the beginning, especially when I posted the outtake where Fleur’s hand lingered longer on Cormac’s arm during the allegiance ceremony.
Time to risk their wrath… and write.
Mickey Mouse was having a bad day.
He had been asked to make a difficult choice. If he went one way, he would risk hurting a relationship. If he went the other, he could destroy the Clubhouse entirely.
“So, Mick?” said Pete. “Have you decided where your allegiance lies?”
Mickey sighed and weighed his options one last time.
“Fine,” he said, finally. “You can dress as a bee again in the sequel.”
But even as Pete began to celebrate, Mickey wondered if he made the right decision. Would anyone watch the second Mickey Mouse Clubhouse movie now?
“I pledge allegiance to the flag--”
Min jabs me and points. Two rows back, Stan ogles me.
“--one nation, under God--”
There’s ketchup on his shirt. From breakfast. Ewe.
“--and justice for all.”
Min took a big risk. Mr. Lloyd fought in the war. Destroy his pledge. Die. He clears his throat and suddenly I’m woozy. Stan grins, all braces and bacon bits.
I turn around and Mr. Lloyd looks right at me. He holds up our reading assignment. No choice thanks to me, it’s the sequel to The Winds of War. 1056 pages. Please, just feed me to Stan.
Mira clutched the dusty book to her chest, cradled it like a pregnant woman does her blooming belly. She should destroy it. If she had any allegiance to her family, to the Order, she would have to. Hadn’t her brother already died in pursuit of its sequel? Both books wove a dangerous tale of rebellion—the notion of choice. And it was practically whispering these things to her now, mouthing them against her shirt just loud enough for her heart to hear. Could she dare to open it? She let out a slow breath, steadied herself, and took the risk.
The choice seems simple. Risk it all; destroy who I am and be a better version of myself, or continue my allegiance with the weakest version of who I've become. What happens after 'happily ever after?' In the sequel we learn flowers stop being a symbol of love, and become an apology. The ashes of change fall upon us, not staining who we are until we brush them away.
“I don’t think you understand the risk you’re taking, switching your allegiance like this,” Perrilynn, the leader of the Montmoles, hissed at me.
“It is my choice to make,” I spat back as quietly as possible. “I’ve been shuffling weapons across the border of Ademia and Konclord in my father’s stead for almost a decade, and the perilous journey is threatening to destroy any chance for me to produce an heir.”
I turned and stomped off into the dark woods surrounding our camp.
“Then your death will be the sequel to your father’s,” Perrilynn’s threat echoed through the night.
Sheesh, and I replied to the wrong post. I would enter the contest in a New York minute in hopes the Guardian would come looking for the purloined book. Howsomever, since I am shipping out boxes of books to keep from moving them, I shall refrain.
My neighbors start fighting around 10:00 every night, as if they’ve scheduled time to batter each other with words, to destroy whatever remains of their love, their allegiance, their marriage.
Last night they argued about their movie choice. He wanted the latest superhero sequel, she wanted a chick flick. Two nights ago they fought because he wanted to invest their money in some scheme she said was too big a risk.
Every night they yell, they scream, they slam doors like overwrought actors in a crappy play.
The gunshot last night . . . that was new.
We were packed in the transport, sweating through our ACUs. They stared at the endless sea of sand.
I stared at Davis, the prick.
I frowned at his arm insignia. For him, it wasn't a badge of allegiance, it was a license to kill, to destroy men – kids – like some actor in a bad movie sequel. I wanted to shove it down his throat, but couldn't risk it.
The explosion threw the transport on its roof. Blood and body parts rained down on me. "Help." Davis gasped. I waited.
I could live with that choice.
"It's reality fiction," my agent tells me, as she hands over the script.
Like my current reality isn't depressing enough.
"Your character is a bit of a risk-taker," she warns. "And the antagonist is your ex-boyfriend."
"He tries to destroy you."
Been there, done that.
"But you stop him."
"And give him a choice: Life or death."
"On the last page, he swears his allegiance and vows to be your love slave."
Hmmm. Maybe this take on reality isn't so bad after all.
She grins. "Want to help write the sequel?"
A sequel? And destroy the fan allegiance the first film had formed? It wasn't a choice - it was a risk that following the money dictated.
I signed the contract and put the pen in my pocket. Always follow the money. And I'm keeping the pen.
“Present your payment,” Mr. Nein said.
The choice to steal for Nein came with great risk, but guaranteed my protection. Otherwise, Nein would destroy me. He didn’t like my kind.
“A sequel to yesterday’s?” He took the cotton-blend material, rubbing it along his face. “Your allegiance is promising.”
“Cay, it’s dinner time.” said Nein’s female companion.
“We’ll meet again tomorrow.” He took his newest gift, retreating into the night.
I snuck back home, making my way through the hole in the front door. Master looked across the table to the woman who had joined him, “Have you seen my socks?”
I watch him. I have no choice. Through the fingerprint smears on the glass, I plan --weighing the risk of making a break. He will be difficult to destroy. He has taken the food, the water and he acts as if it is nothing. Whistling, he leaves the room. The smell of lime lingers in the dim confines. I look at the window and daydream. I miss his return.
"There you go." he says.
He has returned my food. The bottle on the side smells cool. I taste it in the back of my throat. He has my allegiance until the sequel. I climb on the wheel to work up an appetite.
The chocolate soufflé was to be the sequel to the exquisite dinner. There was some risk involved in this choice. Her loping teenage son could destroy the soufflé as he pounded through the kitchen. The oven door could catch and land it in its place with a shudder, deflating her creation. A soufflé is as temperamental as a Hollywood starlet. She knew the danger, but her allegiance to this recipe overrode all common sense. When it was all over, she couldn’t decide if it had been courage or foolhardiness that had spurred her on.
Cut allegiance, no choice, destroy or risk sequel.
I never really planned on being America's Most Wanted list, but I really never had a choice. I had to take the risk, to destroy the man that destroyed my family. Now I am all alone, being hunted for something any one would have done if they had the chance. My allegiance with America was over; I was done doing what I was told. I would make sure there would be no sequel to the horror committed against my family. America used to be a free country, but no longer. I was going to make this country fall.
After walking awhile, we reach a fork in the road. I knew it would come.
The first path is wide, and full of light. That's the way he wants me to go.
The second path is narrow, full of twists and turns. This is the direction I want to take.
Stay with him, live sequels of this romantic movie.
Go alone, risk everything.
The choice is obvious. Staying will destroy me. Our allegiance is fake, I'm not in love, I just need money.
So I choose the second, knowing it'll be best for us both.
I never had a choice. I could destroy him, or he would destroy me. Either way, it meant the same thing.
I had to risk it. My life couldn’t become the sequel to a horror movie. Terror forever set on repeat.
I turned to face the officer. “I know who killed my parents.”
She waited, one finger poised to scratch her chin.
“It was me.” I glanced at my brother, silent on the couch.
My false confession wasn’t allegiance to him. Prison was the only safe haven.
And they wouldn’t have given the six year old anything worse than juvey.
You don’t always have a choice in who touches the depths of your soul. Lyrics are a tempting seductress. When you’re a fan, it’s death till you part. You pledge allegiance. You take risks. Even with the best heavy metal band of all time, there are haters.
“When Nigel went to eleven, it was like a metaphor for destroying all musical convention,” I said.
#1 Hater snorted.
“Dude. Spinal Tap isn’t even a real band.”
A common sequel to my devotion. Always trying to knock it down. Some people will never understand. I pity them.
Suicide has no sequel, but Caleb was now to learn that murder does. He'd never considered doing either, and he never felt he had a choice, but he found himself looking down the cliff at Rick's body, smashed and bleeding. The incoming tide would destroy any evidence of what he'd done, so there was no risk he'd have to account for it. The police would know this happens to drunks who clamber about the rocky coast of Maine, and since Rick's wife, Ellen, had mixed allegiance, to her husband, and to her lover, Caleb, she needn't know.
They say death takes you to a better place. The sisters stood in motionless reverence, staring down at the lifeless thing, its empty black form in stark contrast to the harsh white snow. It seems that nature favors pairs, and the twins grasped hands in wordless recognition of their own allegiance, and the chasm that could destroy, dividing this one from its sequel. The playground was abandoned - children called inside due to risk of bitter cold. The silent choice was made. They pulled the frozen mitten from its icy grave, and took it to the lost & found.
All Rand heard was the tympanic throbbing in her ears. Calm yourself, she hummed. There is no turning back. She studied the classroom and the hand-over-heart allegiance playing out before her. “You must choose one - a choice must be made.” The Chorus chanted its prophetic mandate. She stood before them only 24 hours before. “What if I choose unwisely?” But she knew the punishment. Choose a Sequel or risk destroyment. Rand once again surveyed the room. A pig-tailed blonde turned slowly and met her gaze. “I am the Worthy One,” the girl mouthed. The choice was made.
“Guess what we’re watching tonight.”
He eyed me suspiciously.
“Doctor Who. Season five. Episode seven.” I slammed the case down on the table. “Amy’s Choice.”
He looked at it, then back at me. “Don’t make me destroy your DVD player.”
“Oh, come on,” I said. “Amy’s Choice. It’s the best. There are these two companion worlds—no, sequel
worlds—no, alternate realities—and Amy has to decide which one is real and whether the Doctor or Rory has her allegiance. And they risk their lives and stuff because if they die in the world that’s not real—”
“Don’t bore me,” he said.
Allegiance to Katherine would destroy you. That’s what they whispered as she passed. To me it sounded like a bad movie sequel; until the day I needed her help.
Due to an unfortunately placed wet floor sign—and unfortunate means invisible—I was the newest Internet sensation. Video of me simultaneously wearing my lunch and sliding across the cafeteria was viral. It was even auto-tuned.
Yes. I, a lowly high-school serf, needed the high-school Queen’s favor. It wasn’t really much of a choice: Swear allegiance, or risk being known as ‘half-baked pancake slider’ for the rest of my high-school career.
My office was destroyed. She had been here, in feeding frenzy like bloodlust for excellent writing. My work was untouched. But Veronica Roth’s unreleased new draft had been ferociously devoured.
My friend shook his head sadly. “I really wondered about your weird allegiance to her. The wisdom of signing a whiskey-swilling shark as your agent…but it’s your choice. Your risk.”
I surveyed the wreckage.
ALOT of wreckage.
“That she’s been here, though. My agent! In this very room!” I said. “It can only mean one thing!”
“You’re going to have her arrested? Committed?”
“She needs me to do a sequel!”
The guillotine glints. Crowds hush. The prisoner is a sequel to the morning crunches, yet his is the choice execution to attend.
A ruddy youth risks a jeer. The audience roars agreement.
Black clouds hurry toward the show.
The prisoner sobs. His golden crown is tossed among the crowd. He is laid upon his deathbed.
The blade, the blur, the blood destroy allegiance.
Darkness enveloped me like a second skin, fear trapped in every pore. Pressed tight against the shadow of an oak, bark scratched a painful tattoo on my back.
I had no choice. Destroy him or risk a change of allegiance from my people. Last year I played by the game rules and lost. The sequel must be in my favor.
I needed one shot. Just one.
My skin prickled at his nearness.
Shadows hid me as I inched around the tree. An acorn dropped at my feet and bounced.
Glancing up, my heart sank just before the arrow pierced it.
“If I don’t take a risk now, who’s to say there will even be a first picture, let alone a sequel?” He said.
Moni didn’t want to destroy all the hard work and months of effort to be left with nothing now. I don’t really have a choice, and now Peter is pleading for my allegiance.
“OK,” she said “I’ll stay. I still think it’s a mistake, and it’s both our reputations at stake here.”
“I know. Trust me on this OK?” Peter replied.
That had always been Moni’s problem. She loved Peter, probably more than he loved her.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag . . .”
Their voices have a sing-song quality from not thinking about what they’re saying. They don’t realize you have a choice to say what you want. Instead, they say what they’re told. They risk nothing but, most likely, they don’t know they can.
Today is the sequel to Friday’s confrontation; Mrs. Jones strode down the hall to the principal’s office. He took my side when he heard I was not disrespectful. It intensified the dark spark in Mrs. Jones’ eyes. She wants to destroy me.
I stand up straight, silent.
The sky's white gift covered the forest floor, giving me the choice of walking under trees or risk my footprints melting my presence.
I didn't want him to find me, or did I?Would tonight be the sequel to our
The heat from that embrace gave me tingles and destroyed my strength against him. I jumped, landing softly below.
"I was wondering when you would come down my sweet Abby," his words reaching the hairs on my neck. I couldn't breathe. Before I knew it, his mouth consumed mine, my heart and its allegiance tethered to him now.
I tugged the body across the lawn, managing to destroy half the rose garden.
God, he had let himself get fat.
Hiding him out of sight behind the doghouse, I paused briefly. Married twenty years and this was how it ended. But he’d known the risk he was taking when he made his choice.
I limped back inside and collapsed into my recliner, glaring at the remaining players of Family Game Night. My having given birth to them wouldn’t help now.
“Time to declare allegiance, guys. Which sequel would be better? Fast and Furious 6 or Avatar 2? Choose carefully…”
"Should we really try a sequel?"
"Why not? We were wonderful the first time."
"Our ending wasn't. My baseball bat...hitting your car..."
"A risk I'm willing to take. I bought better insurance."
"Your words destroyed me--"
"To you only."
"When you look at me that way, what choice do I have?"
"To accept my apology. To let me back in and let me prove my love for you."
"When you kiss me that way, my choice is clear."
"You forgive me?"
Sepia Ring Tones
There is always a risk opening a box of her treasured memories - the ones she was willing to destroy. It was my choice to be the family historian. Hoping not to have another sequel to add to WWII I rifled through the old photos of the men who had pledged allegiance to fight for freedom. My father-in-law was one such soldier. Without words, tears fall from my eyes as I see my children in their grandfathers’ younger face.
My family begged me not to pledge my allegiance to the rebellion, but it was my choice alone. I knew the risk in joining them.
I tossed my handgun, extra bullets, water bottle, and another pair of socks into my backpack along with any remnants of fear.
We wouldn’t let them succeed. They’d taken our country and our freedoms away, but we’d take them back.
If you didn’t swear allegiance to the enemy, they would destroy you and everyone you love. The time for action was at hand and I wasn’t waiting for the sequel to their demonic plans.
She swore her allegiance to the only man she had ever loved. And like that, she was faced with a choice. The answer was clear, she would destroy anyone or anything that stood between them. Love like this only came once in a lifetime and she was willing to risk everything to star in the sequel to their love story.
Summoned by The Elders. There is no risk in answering the question of my allegiance to this quorum of old friends. It is my choice to appear without The Advocate.
I nod in and out of consciousness to the rhythm of the next room's hypnotic murmurs.
The Summoner appears. I limp behind. This, then a soft pillow.
I face The Accuser. The one they sent me to destroy? He smiles a Mona Lisa smile.
Riding a curl of panic, I gulp back the rising gall.
The Evaluators nervously study their papers.
I face The Sentencer and see my sequel...run!
"It's your choice, of course," the man says. He tweaks the curl of his mustache with thumb and finger.
"Of course," I repeat. I nod.
"Destroy the evidence," he suggests. "She'll never know."
"And what becomes of me?"
He tilts his head to one side, offers his palms.
"Risk nothing, gain nothing," I say, finally.
"Not everything gained is worth having," he counters.
"Allegiance to the devil?"
I hesitate. My finger hovers between the keys. Create or destroy?
I hit SEND.
"Brave man." He leans back.
"It's now or never," I reply. "I've already written the sequel."
Sometimes the only choice you have is the one that might destroy you.
I longed to discover the sequel to our kisses and recent declarations. But there would be no time. It seemed like just yesterday I was trapped in bottomless loneliness and shame. He helped free me and now I was leaving him. I mourned what I’d never know. What I dared not risk dreaming of until he entered my world. But my allegiance couldn’t be to a dream. Loving him meant choosing him. His freedom. His life. And with this next step my life would change forever...
I ignored my wobbly knees and pressed onward. My decision to destroy the New Alliance was the only thing that mattered now. They had been threatening to take out all erudite Federation members for months – after we discovered their sequel genocide plans.
But they never saw this coming. No one questions the allegiance of a sweet-faced, twelve-year-old girl. What they don’t know is that I made a choice long ago, when they killed my family: I would stop at nothing to end it all. Even risking death. No one thinks to check for explosives under a pretty flower dress.
An Angel came down and gave me a choice: he’d destroy all records of my allegiance to HIM, and risk eternal damnation but in return he wanted full billing on my life’s sequel. Yes, you heard right. "Niphilm turns Superstar against HIM", the headline will read.
The Devil is prepared to offer me more fame and riches than I’d ever known. The book will be an “How-To“ to lure more recruits.
I was speechless. Sure I’d heard selling your soul to the devil and all, but is he that desperate he'd go to such lengths for publicity sake?
The stick figures chalked into the concrete sidewalk had disproportionately wide smiles. Words beneath read: ‘Allegiance to the family.’
The young artist stood, coated with white dust. “Your choice risked destroying the family.”
“Too late for that.”
“If you go into the house, there’ll be no sequel for you.”
I steeled myself, tightened my fists. “Too late for that, too.”
“Then here’s your weapon.” She handed me a paper. An old test. A fat, red F.
I snatched the paper and marched up the walkway, aware that a panel of judges and an entire crowd watched every step.
You should know that I deserve this. I had my choice between eating Mom’s tofu loaf or going for sushi with Dad. Dad’s jaw clicks when he chews raw squid, so I chose to risk my life with the loaf instead of destroy my relationship with my father by beating him with chopsticks. Now I’m stuck watching the sequel to some cheesy vampire movie while Mom questions my allegiance to the family because I don’t want to go to Vassar. All Ashcombe women go to Vassar. All Ashcombe men have clicking jaws. That is just the way it is.
Engulfed in darkness she weighed her choice. A great risk was taken to destroy the demon god and to prove her allegiance to the humans. The blood dripping from her veins followed her shadow like a sequel. She knew her demise was the price of justice and vengeance, and there was no glory in it. It was this or nothing. The time for her sacrifice had come and fearlessly she ignited herself. Her human form burst into a burning ball of fire, Ra the sun goddess was born and the earth was blanketed by pure sunlight for the first time.
She smelled like peppermint, like things sticky-wet, when we went to the room. Our shared allegiance to risk a dangerous choice led us to the door. Craving a fresh sequel to destroy our stale marriages, we moved with naïve excitement toward a second act we hoped would be better than the first.
We were drunk.
In front of the bed, she crossed her arms. Her dress dropped. I wanted to hit pause, spare us the disappointment of subsequent frames, the dimming of the flare of blinding promise.
But we fell predictably together, and, later, slept, unspooled in the usual gloom.
Choice: it's the greatest lie, and freedom its mythological sequel. When the options are life—life in your kingdom, without sky or ocean or love—and lonely exile—raw and endless isolation—no, King, I have no choice. So send me to the lonely place where my defiance least risks your own allegiances, where I will be no threat to your comfort. There, I will feast on the hope of a greater kingdom: one that is not yours. Forget these lives you destroy, forget that you, too, are blood and bones and skin, and eat your fine cheese in peace.
Villainy is a choice. He’d chosen murder in trade for infamy. Not to do good. Yet he’d assassinated America’s greatest superhero—who’d incidentally been plotting human genocide. People tended to look on saving the world favorably.
His cohorts, the Nefarious Nine, didn’t doubt his allegiance, but his penchant to destroy shit. No true mastermind would bumble into becoming a hero by killing one.
Dejected, he threw a dog at a kid. No risk there. The kid ducked and the flying beagle hit a terrorist, knocking him out just before his thumb descended on a detonator.
Wonderful. Villainous Fuckery: The Sequel.
“There we go,” said Headmistress Crank, tugging one end of rope to secure the knot. “Can’t risk you running about free if you won’t swear your allegiance to the Institute. You should have cooperated. We’ll have to destroy you now.”
Miss Abernathy sighed and called down the pixies. They swarmed about Headmistress Crank and bit her with tiny sharp teeth.
“It’s your choice, of course,” said Miss Abernathy, and nodded her head toward the shadowy corner. A gnarled hand gave a vigorous wave.
“You should know,” she continued, over the yips of the Headmistress, “I have goblins for the sequel.”
The choice was clear: write the sequel, or break his contract.
He had to be honest: he hated his editor. And his agent. But his relationship with them was an allegiance – breaking it could destroy his career. It wasn't worth the risk.
He opened his laptop, and it knocked into the framed picture of Julia. Julia: heiress to the Milwaukee Light fortune, beautiful, and six months into the relationship, practically dripping with expectation. And only slightly vapid. Yes. If he did this, he wouldn’t need a career.
He shut his laptop, grabbed his coat, and headed for the nearest jeweller.
Palms stinging, Aiden pushed against the splintering wood of the doorway. Sparkling dust motes, water colored of cold metal, and slience swam before her. The elders lied, there was a place in this world where she could make her own CHOICE. To jump would mean to RISK her heart, but to stay would be to DESTROY her soul. Resolved, she refused to create one more pathetic SEQUEL to previous chapters of her life. Her body spun underwater and she embraced the cold liquid, wrapped it around her like sheets of silk and sighed, her ALLEGIANCE with her known world ended.
The choice is mine to make; I know that, but the sequel to this decision will either destroy the souls of those who love me or elevate them to servitude in the higher realm. Where is my allegiance?
I, the empirical ruler, shudder in helplessness. I must lead my people into an even greater place of glory than before, and the gods have offered me—Ania—their supernatural powers to make that happen. The risk brings loss either way: Eternal glory for all, yet slavery to the gods, or the living death of my people?
I must say yes.
Forty years ago I took a risk, revealing myself to the people of Verdan's Field. But I had made my choice long before, refusing to be a sequel to the tragedy of my forefathers.
When humans settled close to my rocky home, I didn't destroy their fledgling community. Instead we made peace - or so I thought.
Now they march up the mountain, bearing pitchforks and torches, anger on their faces, hatred in their hearts. They do not scare me - they move me to tears. If dragons had tears.
By tomorrow morning, Verdan's Field will be no more.
The priests of the Destroyer are coming for me - it is time to make my choice. Proclaim allegiance to Heaven's usurper king, Shiva, or risk everything to destroy the twisted mirror he has made of our world.
If I choose the latter, this life will be all they tell tales of. There will be no sequel. The Destroyers hounds haunt the Halls of Reincarnation now. None pass through without his say now.
There will be no rebirth for me.
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