69 comments

Aug 27, 2020

Science Fiction


It is almost satisfying to watch as a person’s lifeblood is drained from them.

I have never cared for young people. I suppose I was once one myself, but I’m glad to have outgrown that tiresome stage in life. They are so full of the energy that comes from youthful dreams, that the effect is rather exhausting. Imagine all that energy just… draining away.

***

I can never forget the first day that I joined the Guild of Gentleman, not so very long ago. I strode into the room boldly, so as to impress them with the confidence that comes with age. They looked up at me with their beady eyes, as a convocation of eagles might regard a distant field mouse. There were eight gentlemen at the time, I believe, and I could feel a flush creeping up my neck as they looked me up and down.

Even though each man was different, they all possessed large, hooked noses and grizzled hair. Every one of them was clean-shaven and wore pressed grey suits with a dried yellow flower in every one of their lapels. They reminded me of a set of ancient dolls that you might find in the back of your grandmother’s cabinet, yellowing, faded, and dusty but still intact. Almost frozen in time.

I tried to ignore the horrible silence that filled the space as I strode across the great hall to my seat in the back. Slowly, the gentleman went back to their work, deciding to pretend I wasn’t there. An unwelcome guest.

It has never been clear to society exactly who the Guild of Gentleman are. They rarely leave their mansion-like building on the edge of town. The slate-gray building contrasts ominously against the bright skies of Arizona. As a child, I used to stand in front of it and stare up in wonder at its intricate designs and many turrets. There was always a shroud of mystery surrounding the place. Surrounding those men with their yellow roses. Society accepted them. Many assumed they were businessmen of some sort. Nobody asked any questions. Nobody knew what they really were.

But I did. And I made it my life’s ambition to join them. Their twisted power drew me in. It fascinated me.

That first day with the Guild, we were visited by a young man wishing to sell us his talents. He was bouncy, excited to be in front of such a respectable group of people. He was so pure, so untouched by the world. I almost felt bad for him.

He stepped forward, his eager face shining with anticipation. As he launched into his presentation, I saw the gentleman known as Dawson reach out, for the Color, the life. I watched the bright tones of the young man’s checkered shirt and rosy cheeks slowly fade as a satisfied smile played on Dawson’s thin lips. His yellow rose glowed a vibrant gold. I was spellbound. Color eaters. Men who live on the Color of those around them. It was incredible to behold.

The young man, who had introduced himself as Doug Dickens, began to sway on the spot as more and more of his color faded. I saw him shoot a confused glance at his shirt as though he was privately questioning whether or not he should visit his ophthalmologist. His bouncy curls had lost their shine, and the veins in his face became very apparent against his chalk-white skin. His face had turned a light shade of gray, and I’m afraid he looked rather poorly. Without warning, he turned and ran out of the room. The sound of violent retching filled the hall, and the Gentlemen of the Guild smiled grimly at one another. An unfortunate side effect of having your life slowly drained from you. Ah, well.

Mr. Dickens staggered back into the room, wiping a trail of vomit from his chin. “I’m… so sorry, gentleman. I seem to be feeling… a bit ill. My sincere apologies. Shall we continue?”

“Please, do,” whispered a bony man called Adams, leaning forward from the shadows. It was his turn.

Mr. Dickens rambled on, and I watched with great interest as Adams parted his ghostly white lips. Color began to seep from Mr. Dickens like clouds of Earl Grey in a mug of boiling water. Adams closed his eyes as though savoring a rick steak dinner, and a murmur of immense pleasure escaped him. My brow furrowed. The gluttonous man was taking a great deal more than his fair share.

At last, our Mr. Dickens gave a great shudder and broke down, collapsing over a chair and falling into a sprawl on the floor. Like a great cloud of bats, The Gentleman of the Guild rose as one to gather around the unconscious man. I stayed in my seat and merely gazed at the figure sprawled comically on the floor. His face had been drained of its youthful beauty. His lips were grey and cracked, blood pooling in the corners of his mouth. His skin, which had been stretched tight, revealed the angle of every bone that jutted from his face. But the eyes, the eyes were truly remarkable. Once a watery blue, jolly, and full of life, they were now a cold, dead, lifeless gray. It was rather a shame.

I was unable to tear my eyes away as the body crumbled to ash. Involuntarily, I leaned forward in my chair. It was fascinating in a horrible, distorted way. In so many ways, I was a child again, gazing in awe at the building that I now sat in. More than anything, I wanted that power. The power to drain a person’s life in mere minutes.

Almost as though he could sense my longing, Dawson turned to me and drew from his pocket a blossom.

A yellow rose.

The gentlemen closed in around me, pressing in on all sides as Dawson drew closer. He gave me the tiniest of nods.

When he pinned the faded flower to the front of my suit, its sickly sweet scent hit my nostrils, and a pang of hunger seized me. A wild urge to devour.

“Welcome,” he said, his gray eyes boring into me, swallowing me whole, “to the Guild of Gentlemen.” 


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69 comments

Amany Sayed
17:47 Aug 29, 2020

This was definitely one of your best! I loved it so much! All the descriptive words, the symbolism with the yellow rose, it was all so WOW. For real. Great job! It has a chance of winning, not gonna lie. Keep writing!

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Willow Byrd
18:51 Aug 29, 2020

Aw thanks! This made my day!

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Amany Sayed
18:51 Aug 29, 2020

No problem! :)

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Amany Sayed
15:32 Sep 09, 2020

I love your nickname! So cute!

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Willow Byrd
15:35 Sep 09, 2020

Oh, thanks! I'm a big fan of nicknames, but my name doesn't have a lot of good ones. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. :)

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Lily Kingston
15:43 Sep 02, 2020

The way you descriptive the character is so good! It sent chills down my spill. I love the themes of age in this. Keep up the good work and keep writing!!

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Willow Byrd
15:45 Sep 02, 2020

Thanks!

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S. Closson
22:14 Sep 01, 2020

Very cool story! I really enjoy your way with words, your descriptions are very vivid. If you wouldn't mind, I'd appreciate if you would check out my story, 'Stains of Shame'. Keep writing, and don't throw away your shot! :D

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Willow Byrd
22:18 Sep 01, 2020

I'd love to! ( and thanks for the Hamilton reference!! :)

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Anika G
15:29 Sep 01, 2020

Great job! This was a fantastic read. It pulled me in from the first sentence. Just one quick note : there are a few places where you need to replace 'Gentleman' with 'Gentlemen'.

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Willow Byrd
22:03 Sep 01, 2020

Thanks so much for reading, and for the edit. I really appreciate it.

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Christina Hall
15:52 Aug 28, 2020

Great work, I really enjoyed this. I hope you write more stories that include this guild.

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Willow Byrd
16:13 Aug 28, 2020

Thank you! I'm not sure if I will continue this or not yet... I'll just have to see if a good prompt comes up. :)

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Wow! This was so...WOW! A very creative take on the prompt, I enjoyed it! This story was very interesting—kind of sad but definitely intriguing. I like the name, ‘Guild of Gentlemen’, it’s a very onomouous title! Oh, and I love that yellow rose...idk why but I feel like it, the symbol of GG, really added to the story! Oh, and the title was *chefs kiss* PERFECT. Awesome job, Helen! Keep writing! ~A

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Willow Byrd
00:03 Aug 28, 2020

Thank you!! -Helen

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Lia Jett
22:36 Aug 27, 2020

Great job!

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Willow Byrd
18:59 Aug 29, 2020

Thanks, Lyds You gave me the idea :)

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Litlover 📖
19:14 Nov 16, 2020

This was a great story. I love the undertones that remind me of the Volturi from Twilight. This was great, and I loved the imagery. Could you check out my stories?

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Willow Byrd
19:17 Nov 16, 2020

Thank you for reading! I'd be happy to read your stories!

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Litlover 📖
19:18 Nov 16, 2020

You're welcome!

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Litlover 📖
19:19 Nov 16, 2020

What'd you like about them?

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Willow Byrd
19:30 Nov 16, 2020

I'm in school at the moment and will definitely comment on your work later on!

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Litlover 📖
19:32 Nov 16, 2020

Ok Thanks so much!!!!!

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Willow Byrd
19:33 Nov 16, 2020

No prob!!

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01:04 Nov 07, 2020

Great job! It was super beautiful and well written with all the descriptive words you used. I really liked it!

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Willow Byrd
02:22 Nov 07, 2020

Thank you so much!!

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02:39 Nov 07, 2020

Of course! :)

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Rhondalise Mitza
18:55 Sep 12, 2020

I do have to say, cult stories have always interested me, but only when they're well done like yours.

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Willow Byrd
19:10 Sep 12, 2020

Thanks for reading!

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Keerththan 😀
13:30 Sep 05, 2020

Wow!!!!!!! I loved this. Wonderful story. Keep writing. Can't wait for your next.. Would you mind reading my new one too?

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Willow Byrd
13:43 Sep 05, 2020

Thank you! Of course, I will definitely stop by!

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Keerththan 😀
13:43 Sep 05, 2020

Welcome. And thank you :)

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Willow Byrd
13:44 Sep 05, 2020

No problem!

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Keerththan 😀
13:45 Sep 05, 2020

I am glad to hear it :)

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Keerththan 😀
13:45 Sep 05, 2020

That was very fast. Did you read it??

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Willow Byrd
13:51 Sep 05, 2020

Yep :) I liked it about halfway through reading it, and then commented when I was done! Great job!

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22:28 Sep 01, 2020

Well, I want more...

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Willow Byrd
22:32 Sep 01, 2020

Thanks for reading! This is the only one of my stories that I could actually see myself continuing so stay tuned!

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Mustang Patty
23:37 Aug 31, 2020

Very interesting use of the prompt. Thank you for sharing and good luck.

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Willow Byrd
23:53 Aug 31, 2020

Thanks!

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Corey Melin
00:24 Aug 31, 2020

Loved the eerie story. Kept you reading. Suerb!

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Willow Byrd
13:18 Aug 31, 2020

Thanks!

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Kristin Neubauer
18:04 Aug 29, 2020

Wow, Helen! This is such a vivid and creepy and awesome story. I think it's really amazing that although you are a young woman, you were able to write such a brilliant story about a group of older men....and such a unique premise - the Color-eaters. How on earth did you come up with that idea? Brilliant! Btw, I too have a notebook problem - I can't resist and have far too many half-filled notebooks lying around....good to know I'm not the only one!

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Willow Byrd
18:57 Aug 29, 2020

My little sis actually gave me this idea when she was crafting. She has a bit of an obsession with slime, and she made a really pretty blue-colored ooze. She just commented in passing that she wished she could "eat the color it was so pretty" and it was like a giant lightbulb went off in my head. She thought I was crazy because I ran out of the room yelling about color-eaters. 😂Anyway, that was probably more than you wanted to know :) Thanks so much!! P.S. Haha about the notebook obsession. It's a serious issue... must be a writer thing cu...

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Kristin Neubauer
19:10 Aug 29, 2020

That's so funny - inspiration can come from anywhere. I'm so glad it opened the door to this story you wrote. Maybe we need a Notebook Obsession support group! 😂

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Willow Byrd
19:22 Aug 29, 2020

Haha yeah 🤣

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Amany Sayed
15:32 Sep 09, 2020

Oh my gosh yesssss

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Willow Byrd
18:02 Sep 09, 2020

It's a serious problem though 😬

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Amany Sayed
18:04 Sep 09, 2020

"Okay....So....I need you all to put in your notebooks into the middle of the circle...." "A-all of....them?" "All of them..." her eyes twitched as her tight grip tightened even more on the large bag of notebooks she was carrying. "Sorry but, um, I can't-really do that...."

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Karen Haggard
16:21 Aug 29, 2020

Very good!

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Willow Byrd
16:52 Aug 29, 2020

Thanks!

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Charles Stucker
15:25 Oct 06, 2020

Technically, I would call this more Horror than sci-fi. Solid prose and a chilling but classic concept- draining life from the young to sustain it in the old. The plot feels thin. You have a protagonist who joins this Guild of Gentlemen and then takes part in a mystical form of cannibalism. Then they give him the yellow rose which symbolizes membership. The protagonist does not undergo any trials to enter, nor seemingly have qualms. Sort of a slice of unlife story. Which would make an interesting title.

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The Cold Ice
04:18 Sep 08, 2020

Good story.Great job👍keep it up. Would you mind to read my story “The dragon warrior?”

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Willow Byrd
16:08 Sep 08, 2020

Thank you! I will definitely read your story!

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Willow Byrd
16:08 Sep 08, 2020

Actually, I just realized I've already read it! Great job!

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Pamela Abwao
17:21 Sep 03, 2020

You are an amazing writer. glued me to your story Superb

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Willow Byrd
17:25 Sep 03, 2020

Thanks!!

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S. M
00:21 Sep 03, 2020

I love the creativity

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Willow Byrd
01:58 Sep 03, 2020

Thanks!

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