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MELANIN

SHORT STORY CONTEST

MELANIN is looking for a new team member

 

Are you the missing piece of the creative puzzle?

 

Do you stand with the iron soldiers of Winterstorm, the cunning merchants of Rainfall, or perhaps you’re on the side of the chaotic creatures of Duskland?

 

Now is the time to decide where your allegiance lies.

 

Write a short story describing the life in one of the three nations until the 10th of November and send it to melaninthebrand@gmail.com

REWARDS:

+69 writing experience
+100 reputation with Melanin

1/9 uniquely crafted face masks with the emblem of the nation you wrote about

1 position in the Melanin team

The best stories will be published and become part of the Melanin story

scroll down to experience the story

The Story

CHAPTER I: ORIGINS

In a distant time, long before the world we know today, the Earth was split in three realms.

In the north there was Winterstorm where snow was the cradle of life.

Iron soldiers, forged in severe blizzards of a closed society had created their world from ice, and their garments – from long-frozen volcanoes. They named these clothes, 

“The White”.

To the south, another kingdom called Rainfall ruled over the middle lands.

Here, trees reached sky and eternal fog, as thick as liquid, covered everything.

Experienced craftsmen, wise scholars and cunning merchants inhabited the eternal rainforest.

They taught themselves how to combine mist essence and frog skin in order to create a rain and wind absorbing garment,

the “Mist Coat”.

Everything else belonged to a void kingdom of eternal darkness. All known paths ended there and people knew anything but a name, Duskland. There where no living things – only shadows haunting the ruins of this forgotten place.

The shadows envied the other two kingdoms for their garments and started a war. They killed everyone and destroyed everything in their way. All they kept was a few garments from Winterstorm and Rainfall.

After studying the technology behind these clothes for years, the shadows learned the craft of shadowing clothing and created their own piece,

“The Phantom Cloak”.

The art of shadow clothing lives on today as MELANIN.

CHAPTER II: MASKS

The long night taking over Winterstorm was hunting down everything it had not yet grasped in its nails.

Dusk had fallen.  Nareeh’s only protection against the shadow creatures was a white mask. “Frost”, as his people had named it, didn’t just hide Nareeh’s face, but also his white soul, a rarity in a world devoured by darkness.

The bitter memory of his people’s death had caused hatred in his heart which could only be redeemed with Lucious’ death. Nareeh stared in the endless black void in front of him, vengeance awaited there…

Lucious stared in the distance; the line separating darkness from light threw a sharp reflection in his eyes. Nareeh was there, on the border between life and death.

The shadow warrior put his mask on to hide from the approaching light. Lucious’ sword must be covered with the last light keeper’s blood. He took a step forward and entered a neutral place where darkness had no power; his only salvation was the “Grim”.

At the point where everything came to an end and nothingness began, Nareeh was hiding in the empty darkness. His eyes shimmered against the dusk and turned black at the thought of revenge. He squeezed the sword and covered his face with the white mask, held his breath and waited… 

Rumbling hooves echoed in the distant darkness. In-between the stifling mists, shadows unveiled their silhouettes. A sharp swing hissed through the air … Nareeh’s sword stabbed into Lucious’ chest.

 Time stopped …

Nareeh’s widely open eyes were trembling, his fists rejoiced in a tight lock… 

Lucious was dead… After so many years. 

But Nareeh felt no relief. His sins wrapped around his neck and started suffocating him. The mask that was protecting him was now stopping his air. Nareeh was struggling while trying to take it down as the mask blackened from all the sins he had done. Written words, emotions, and memories began appearing around his face, causing him unbearable pain with every next letter. 

Nareeh fell to his knees. He wanted to torn his heart out of this infected body. He stopped. The floating silence could be heard. Nareeh opened his hands – they were covered with black matter. His eyes turned black. 

He fell silently beside Lucious’s body.

CHAPTER III: PROTOTYPE

42 years later

Nareeh opened his eyes for the first time in four decades. During all these years of unconsciousness, his body was found by scientists and taken to a laboratory. His blood was now flowing through dozens of systems as numerous men surrounded him. His mask was attached to a black garment that did not look like anything he’s ever seen; then he remembered… Lucious’ death… it unleashed something. Dark energy which wrapped around Nareeh and changed him, made him better. This is how a new, special garment was born:

RAZOR (RZR13)

– Where the hell am I? What’s happening to my body? Who are these people?

Dozens of needles started going through my skin at once.

– What the hell are you wearing!? Which year is this?!

What…? What the hell have they done to my clothes…?

Nareeh’s DNA was extraordinary. He was multiple times stronger and way faster than any other being on this planet. The scientists were extracting and collecting his body cells in order to build a sophisticated soldier suit from two pieces. The upper part was meant to endure any form of physical pressure and grant the human body with abnormal strength. They called it:

COLOSSUS (CLS07)


– Let me go! Don’t you know who I am, huh?! The only damned survivor from Winter…

– That’s exactly why you’re here, Nareeh.

*Initiate operation: Separating soul from body*

*Injecting serum in 3… 2 …*

The lower part of the soldier suit was sewn with Nareeh’s leg’s muscle joints. The scientists created bottoms which would give its wearer abnormal speed and never-ending charge. By opposing all stereotypes, the trousers are a secure tool of escaping any life-threatening situation. The scientists named this garment,

FALCON (FLN10)

“BOOM”! A loud explosion blew up the wall.

– Quick, Ava! We don’t have time!

Ava … it can’t be.

– I… know you.

*ALERT… ALERT… ALERT*

– There’s no time, Ava! Free him and let’s go!

Can’t feel my body … Where the hell are they taking me…

CHAPTER IV: WASTELAND

“Ava, we’re approaching. Make sure he’s tied tightly!” the gruff voice abruptly wakes Nareeh up. He becomes dizzy and darkness surrounds him once again, yet his senses are heightened. He feels calloused hands on his arm and a sharp pain on his wrists. The sensation of those hands are familiar, as if they are from another life. Why did he remember the name Ava?  He shuts his eyes. His mind is in a fog and can barely make out the shape of a woman. The effort is great as he forces himself to remember. Then the vision comes clearly to him. Ava, his old comrade, weilding a sword with precision and slowness. Years of fighting are etched on her face. He knows that Ava saved him from the laboratory. He squeezes his eyes before slowly opening them. 

Despite the speed of the topless vehicle, Nareeh can see every detail around him because there are very few. The sandy, bare landscape is never ending. He can almost imagine the old trees touching the sky, the heavy rains watering the earth, and the dense fog surrounding his body. It all had melted away and seemed to have sunk in the jagged, dry soil of a lost kingdom – Rainfall.  He looks around at his saviors. They are survivors of that lost kingdom. They are the only ones lucky enough to have survived the shadows’ cruelty. Unfortunates, living in their past.

Nareeh:

– Water… please, I need water… oh, the thirst … the hell is this cage, shit, I’m not an animal!

Nareeh was looking around. He  didn’t know anything about the existence of deserts in the kingdom.

“Am I dead?” – he was thinking.

-Wait, what… fire! Who the hell are these people!? Where’s Ava!? Help! Water! I’m right here! Look at me for god’s sake!

Around the massive wooden cage, in which the occupants of the desert village held their guest, stood up the chief of Westland, a chief of ruins and sand.

“Give him water. We need him alive.” – commanded the chief.

-Yes chief! 

– Who are you? What do you need me for? Where is Ava!? – Nareeh was loosing his mind.

– Welcome to Wasteland, the land of nothingness. We are just a handful of modest believers in an ancient prophecy. We believe that you will defeat the beast protecting the REFLECTIVE ORE, our salvation of the shadows. And that you, Nareeh, will earn your nickname – The Bearer of Light! Not far from the village stretch miles of the Forgotten Mine’s deep sand tunnels. The only place where the REFLECTIVE ORE could be found. We need to wrap it around our sand uniforms and burn the shadows. 

Our only hope to make them perish forever. 

– What prophecy? What’s going on here? I want to talk to Ava now! Where is she!? – screamed Nareeh.

– We all know who you are. Everyone here knows Nareеh, the slayer of Lucious – hier to the Dark Throne! And we also know what’s been living in you ever since. The power that lies in you is a threat to all holly and saint. And if you want to survive, you must go through a test. If you win, we’ll let you go if you lose – you die.

– What is this test, what do you want from me?

“You’ll fight my daughter, princess Amira.

“You want me to fight her… to death?”

– Let the better fighter win!

Princess Amira is a warrior who spent her whole life training, preparing to face the creature protecting the Forgotten Mine. Her dark eyes could pierce a man. Her dark skin made her look like a desert puma, the perfect predator. Fully devoted to her cause, the princess had long ago forgotten her feminine nature. Now she was nothing but a warrior ready to kill in the name of power.

But before the chief sent her to the demons’ mine, he had to make sure she was the chosen one and not send his daughter to a certain death. Believing in her strength, and Nareeh’s desire to break free, the chief would understand if the prophecy was true very soon …

– Prepare the circle of the sand warrior! Give Nareeh water and find him a weapon! If he is what it’s spoken of him – he will win, if Amira is what she’s trained for, she will live!

-Where is my weapon, Ava? Did you take it from me?

– Keep quiet. This one will do the job. Not that it really matters. It won’t be long before the princess slices your throat. – Ava threw a short sword in front of Nareeh’s cage.

The sand under their feet was slippery, carried by the hot air of the dry wilderness. 

The savages gathered to see how Amira cuts Nareeh.

“There she goes. I must win or I’ll never leave this poor land …” – Nareeh couldn’t think clearly.

– Damn, is that the Warrior of the Light?! – Amira was laughing madly. 

– Is that why I trained my whole life?I won’t even use a shield. Let’s get done with it.

-Amira, Amira, Amira – the crowd was screaming.

Amira’s first stroke was quick. It fell direclt on Nareeh’s torso. The flesh slit made his blood drip on the hot sand. The smell of death wrapped around his mind.

Ha-ha! Get up and fight, you little cunt! – Amira mocked him.

– Shit… Lucious is taking over me! Run, Amir… – Nareeh choked on blood.

His eyes turned black. The blood stopped dripping. His veins seemed strained like a bow. His hands started swinging the sword as if it was part of him. 

Amira struck and stepped back. For the first time in her life – she was afraid. 

Lucious’s fury ruled Nareeh, and Lucious wanted death, and death only!

Nareeh’s last blow pushed Amira to the ground, her wounds were more than his scars. Drops from her blood slided on the edge of his sword. Nareeh swinged again. The fear in Amira’s eyes screamed instead of her. 

The blade stuck in the sand next to her head…

Tears made the sand particles on her face glitter… The chief watched in perplexity…

Amira crawled to the gate. She went out and hid in the dark disgrace.

This mercifullness made the demon in Nareeh’s soul start screaming and scratching the inner walls of his body. He collapsed on the bloody sand, feeling the same pain he felt when Lucious died. But this time, Nareeh’d slayed something inside him.

– Pick him up! – the chief commanded.

– Yes, chief!

– Well, Nareeh, it seems the prophets forgot to mention that besides bright eyes and white skin, the chosen one also carries pity and forgiveness in himself. – the chief gave him a strong, warm hug.

– Give him the Wasteland clothes, don’t you see his garment’s in pieces? Faster! These clothes, Nareeh, are the only ones left after our battles against the shadows. They belong to you now. You will need them in the dark mines.

-The garment I ran out of the lab with was torn apart, torn by Lucious. He  struggled to come out of me …

-Nareeh, it’s never too late to purify your soul!

– By completing the task we entrust you, you shall cleanse your soul. Our people’s lives are in your hands now! – the chief was on his knees.

Amira turned mad because of her loss. She losed her mind. Her shame pushed her to find shelter far from Westland. And she found one in the darkness. She found one in the realm of the sinners. The realm of Shadows. 

Nobody has seen her since that day but she was about to return, more fierce and bloodthirsty.