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October 2016 Challenge: Spooky Atmosphere

Please accept your mods' apology for missing September!

Here is the October Challenge:

The October Challenge will have the theme "Spooky Atmosphere". Prompts will be some of Tolkien's creepier poems. These will be behind the cut. Choose lines, verses or whole poems to inspire you to write something with a scary atmosphere. Simply comment below this post telling what you have chosen.

The October challenge stories may be entered into the queue at any time this month, and will be revealed on Monday, October 31, Halloween. Please tag your story "challenge: spooky atmosphere" and "month: 2016 october". Please remember to use the following header template (also found on the community profile page), and to put the name of your story and your name in the subject line.




Prompts behind the cuts:

From The Silmarillion: The Lay of Leithian, Canto II, Verses 1-4


Far in the Northern hills of stone
in caverns black there was a throne
by flame encircled; there the smoke
in coiling columns rose to choke
the breath of life, and there in deep
and gasping dungeons lost would creep
to hopeless death all those who strayed
by doom beneath that ghastly shade.

A king there sat, most dark and fell
of all that under heaven dwell.
Than earth or sea, than moon or star
more ancient was he, mightier far
in mind abysmal that the thought
of Eldar or of Men, and wrought
of strength primeval; ere the stone
was hewn to build the world, alone
he walked in darkness, fierce and dire,
burned, as he wielded it, by fire.

He 'twas that laid in ruin black
the Blessed Realm and fled then back
to Middle-earth anew to build
beneath the mountains mansions filled
with misbegotten slaves of hate:
death's shadow brooded at his gate.
His hosts he armed with spears of steel
and brands of flame, and at their heel
the wolf walked and the serpent crept
with lidless eyes. Now forth they leapt,
his ruinous legions, kindling war
in field and frith and woodland hoar.
Where long the golden elanor
had gleamed amid the grass they bore
their banners black, where finch had sung
and harpers silver harps had wrung
now dark the ravens wheeled and cried
amid the reek, and far and wide
the swords of Morgoth dripped with red
above the hewn and trampled dead.
Slowly his shadow like a cloud
rolled from the North, and on the proud
that would not yield his vengeance fell;
to death or thralldom under hell
all things he doomed: the Northern land
lay cowed beneath his ghastly hand.


From The Hobbit: Down, Down to Goblin-town

Clap! Snap! the black crack!
Grip, grab! Pinch, nab!
And down down to Goblin-town
You go, my lad!

Clash, crash! Crush, smash!
Hammer and tongs! Knocker and gongs!
Pound, pound, far underground!
Ho, ho! my lad!

Swish, smack! Whip crack!
Batter and beat! Yammer and bleat!
Work, work! Nor dare to shirk,
While Goblins quaff, and Goblins laugh,
Round and round far underground
Below, my lad!


From The Hobbit: Gollum's Third Riddle

It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.
It lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills.
It comes first and follows after,
Ends life, kills laughter.


From The Fellowship of the Ring: The Barrow-wight's chant

Cold be hand and heart and bone,
and cold be sleep under stone:
never mare to wake on stony bed,
never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead.
In the black wind the stars shall die,
and still on gold here let them lie,
till the dark lord lifts his hand
over dead sea and withered land.


From The Return of the King: The Paths of the Dead


Over the land there lies a long shadow
westward reaching wings of darkness.
The Tower trembles; to the tombs of kings
doom approaches. The Dead awaken;
for the hour is come for the oathbreakers;
at the Stone of Erech they shall stand again
and hear there a horn in the hills ringing.
Whose shall the horn be? Who shall call them
from the prey twilight, the forgotten people?
The heir of him to whom the oath they swore.
From the North shall he come, need shall drive him:
he shall pass the Door to the Paths of the Dead.


The Mewlips


The shadows where the Mewlips dwell
Are dark and wet as ink,
And slow and softly rings their bell,
As in the slime you sink.

You sink into the slime, who dare
To knock upon their door,
While down the grinning gargoyles stare
And noisome waters pour.

Beside the rotting river-strand
The drooping willows weep,
And gloomily the gorcrows stand
Croaking in their sleep.

Over the Merlock Mountains a long and weary way,
In a mouldy valley where the trees are grey,
By a dark pool's borders without wind or tide,
Moonless and sunless, the Mewlips hide.

The cellars where the Mewlips sit
Are deep and dank and cold
With single sickly candle lit;
And there they count their gold.

Their walls are wet, their ceilings drip;
Their feet upon the floor
Go softly with a squish-flap-flip,
As they sidle to the door.

They peep out slyly; through a crack
Their feeling fingers creep,
And when they've finished, in a sack
Your bones they take to keep.

Beyond the Merlock Mountains, a long and lonely road,
Through the spider-shadows and the marsh of Tode,
And through the wood of hanging trees and the gallows-weed,
You go to find the Mewlips--and the Mewlips feed.


The Shadow Bride


There was a man who dwelt alone,
as day and night went past
he sat as still as carven stone,
and yet no shadow cast.
The white owls perched upon his head
beneath the winter moon;
they wiped their beaks and thought him dead
under the stars of June.
There came a lady clad in grey
in the twilight shining:
one moment she would stand and stay,
her hair with flowers entwining.
He woke, as had he sprung of stone,
and broke the spell that bound him;
he clasped her fast, both flesh and bone,
and wrapped her shadow round him.
There never more she walks her ways
by sun or moon or star
she dwells below where neither days
nor any nights there are.
But once a year when caverns yawn
and hidden things awake,
They dance together then till dawn
and a single shadow make.


I hope we'll have lots of participants for our October challenge!

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
blslarner
Oct. 15th, 2016 06:29 am (UTC)
my choice
From the Lay of Leithion

He 'twas that laid in ruin black
the Blessed Realm and fled then back
to Middle-earth anew to build
beneath the mountains mansions filled
with misbegotten slaves of hate:
death's shadow brooded at his gate.
His hosts he armed with spears of steel
and brands of flame, and at their heel
the wolf walked and the serpent crept
with lidless eyes. Now forth they leapt,
his ruinous legions, kindling war
in field and frith and woodland hoar.
mrowe
Oct. 15th, 2016 08:18 am (UTC)
I'm choosing The Paths of the Dead
lin4gondor
Oct. 15th, 2016 01:19 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure how good I am at "spooky" but I'll give it a go! I will take Gollum's Third Riddle.
aliensouldream
Oct. 19th, 2016 10:38 pm (UTC)
I'd like to give this a try.

His hosts he armed with spears of steel
and brands of flame, and at their heel
the wolf walked and the serpent crept
with lidless eyes.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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