THE LOOGSLAIR WRITING CONTEST
OK, I've done three stories to lay down the ground work of my environment. Now I want you guys to help fill it out. I'm willing to put $50 of my own money, hard-earned by bagging groceries for 90-year-old ladies and cleaning men's rooms that nobody should ever have to see, to help make the world of ADS come alive.
I chose Role Call as the winner because as much as I didn't like the negativity that was in the environment of the story, I did admire the prospect of having a home of the future react to housing a werewolf and its effects on the security system. The little thing at the end about the girl's dad being a "werewolf hunter" seemed a bit out of place, given the way the story was gonig at the time. I did like the whole idea of a house being controlled by a PDA, though.
Human took second place, mainly because of two problems I had with the story. Although it took the universe in the completely opposite direction I was hoping for, that's not really my problem with it, since I never required the stories to be rosy and optimistic. However, I seriously doubt that given the themes of responsibility and aversion to anything that would label them as monsters, I highly doubt werewolves would go around infecting any and everyone who wanted to be a werewolf. Secondly, lycanthropy was not supposed to be curable through any means. (Sorry if I just spoiled the ending.) And even if it were, a werewolf's first dream would be nowhere near as coherent as the protagonist's was. It'd be one hell of a bad head trip, probably.
In third place I chose The Candidate, which ironically was the kind of story I was looking for when setting up this contest. Unfortunately, there's no way for me to know that this presidential candidate was a werewolf aside from him running under the Lycanthrope party; there's no signs of werewolf mannerism anywhere in the story, and the campaign takes place almost in a vacuum, since there doesn't seem to be any reaction either way by other candidates. Also, one bad showing by a minor party wouldn't automatically cause them to fold up the tent. Just ask the Libertarian and Green Parties.
Overall, though, I thank the three entrants for participating. Unfortunately, everyone claimed their prize, so I will have to give out all $50, but hopefully everything will be squared away by the end of the month.
To everyone else, feel free to continue writing stories in the Dreamless Sleep universe, even though you may not get paid for it now.
Your task is to create a story that fits into the "Dreamless Sleep" universe, using the guidelines below. You may set your story at (almost) any time, in any setting, using whichever characters you choose (aside from a few people who are off-limits), and put the characters in whatever plausible situation you wish.
Stories will be graded on the following:
At the end of the contest, I will award prizes to the three best stories. First prize is $25, second prize is $15, and third prize is $10. And no, the checks won't bounce.
That's the good stuff. Now, for the limitations. If your story breaks any of the following rules, it will immediately be disqualified:
The following items are simply suggestions. Use them or spurn them as you wish, but they're only here to help:
1. Submission deadline is Sunday, September 15, at 12:00 AM PST. NO LATE SUBMISSIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED. Contest holder is not responsible for any lost or undelivered submissions.
2. All submissions become the property of the contest holder, and the author gives the contest holder the right to publish the story on his website upon submission.
3. Multiple submissions by one applicant are allowed. However, only one prize will be awarded to any one person.
4. Each submission must include a real name, an optional "handle" (used instead of the real name upon publication), and a valid E-mail address.
5. Upon finding a winner, the contest holder will make two attempts to notify the winner via E-mail, no less than 24 and no more than 48 hours apart. Failure to reply to either notification will result in forfeiture of the prize money and an alternate winner being selected. Contest holder is not responsible for lost or undeliverable E-mails sent by the winner.
6. Winning entrant must live in the United States or Canada.
You might be thinking at this point, "What exactly is the Dreamless Sleep universe?" I'm glad you asked. First, to see it in use, I suggest you read the three stories I've written: A Dreamless Sleep, The Treehouse, and Closed Set. These will give you a frame of reference as to how I like my stories written. The other pertinent information is below.
Note: some background information has been changed to make the universe more realistic. If you only saw this page when it was first published, please read again.
The first known history of werewolves dates back to the 1500 B.C., as archaeologists in the 1980s unearthed fossilized remains of humanoid wolves that were carbon-dated to this time frame. Of course, at the time, little was made of this finding, as scientists wrote off the fossils as being a hoax. The truth is, werewolves had just gotten their start at around this time, although their origins are still unknown (see Sociology).
For the next thousand years, werewolves traveled north to the areas that are now Greece and Macedonia, where they manage to live peacefully amongst the humans. Ovid's collection of writings known as The Metamorphosis were actually derived from firsthand accounts of lycanthropes, although Ovid himself took creative liberties and used other animals in his stories, to help strengthen the mythology of those tales. At this time, werewolves made up about 2% of the world's population, with the island of Crete having the highest concentration.
The werewolf race had their first of many setbacks when the Roman Empire conquered large portions of Europe and Asia. Fearing persecution and slavery, they fled to unpopulated areas, where they began to create their own villages. Unfortunately, this led to a large amount of inbreeding, and genetic diseases took their toll on the lupine population. They would not begin reintroducing themselves to normal humans until the middle of the first millenium.
By the year 1300, werewolves had returned to the public eye, and now made up around 4% of the world's population. The areas that are now London and Berlin had the highest human to lycanthrope ratio. Sadly, the 14th century was also when the bubonic plague ravaged Europe. It claimed its share of lupine lives, and that along with the growing popularity of Christianity brought the number of werewolves severely down, dwindling under 1 million at one point.
At this point, werewolves realized that the only way they could survive is by keeping their lycanthropy a secret, and hiding themselves away during full moons. Using this tactic, the werewolf race began a slow but steady revitalization. Several werewolves stowed away on the Mayflower, bringing them to the New World. By the 16th century, they had once again reached the 2% mark, and could be found on four different continents.
An odd footnote takes place in the year 1778, when rumors begin floating among the armies fighting in the American Revolution about a creature known as the "Wolf of Liberty". It is said that a werewolf siding with the colonials has been found making midnight raids on British camps. The rumors are true - the Wolf of Liberty is a rebel soldier named William Halford - but nobody on either side is able to find the identity of this man.
The American history of the werewolf takes them across the Oregon Trail, to the California Gold Rush, and eventually throughout the entire country. Denver, Colorado became the werewolf capital of the world in 1973, and it has remained that way ever since. Lycanthropes made their way into all the major industries - there were werewolves in Hollywood, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and even the nation's capital. However, virtually nobody knew of their secret.
This began to change in the 1990s, as the introduction of the Internet to the general public helped bring werewolves around the country and the world closer to each other. Mailing lists began taking shape to keep them informed about important news regarding lycanthropes in society. In 1998, James Porter, an attorney in Kansas City, creates the ALR, or Association for Lycanthropes Rights. Their membership reaches over 5 million by the year 2000.
In the spring of 2001, word begins to make its way around the world of finding a date where the global lycanthrope population will reveal themselves to the public once again. After some debate, they agree on October 30th - the day before Halloween - to be the big day. Unfortunately, the terrorist attacks of September 11th force the ALR to push this even back a year, fearing that the climate would be too volatile for yet another shock to the system. On October 30th, 2002, at 12 noon EST, over 167 million werewolves - approximately 90% of the lycanthropes in the world - change into their secondary forms in public.
This day - labeled by the American media as the "Day of the Wolf" - made worldwide headlines. That night, a videotaped address by ALR founder James Porter was aired first in news stations in New York, then later across the country. Another ALR spokesman, late night talk show host Gary Bainbridge, makes several appearances on cable news channels. The next day, newspapers had headlines that read "WEREWOLVES EMERGE FROM HIDING" and "WOLVES TO WORLD: WE DO EXIST". President Bush speaks before a joint session of Congress, effectively welcoming the prospect of lycanthropes in society, although with some trepidation. Part of his speech goes as follows:
With werewolves now in the public eye, lawmakers now find themselves in the precarious position of making laws that will calm regular humans while not treading on the rights of lycanthropes. Congress passes a law in January of 2003 forbidding employers from discriminating against werewolves in the workplace. However, many towns pass laws forbidding werewolves to transform in public.
Lycanthropy, also known in the common vernacular as "werewolfism", is a permanent condition. It is transmitted through bodily fluids, such as blood, saliva, or sweat. Humans that come in contact with these fluids, and allow 1 mL or more of these fluids to enter their digestive or circulatory system, stand a 5% chance within the next 48 hours to contract lycanthropy themselves. However, as one's exposure to the pathogens increases in duration or intensity, so does the likelihood of becoming a werewolf. Bites, transfusions, and sexual contact with lycanthropes in their secondary form will almost guarantee the infection of the other party. However, if a werewolf is in human form, it is impossible to transfer lycanthropy.
Some people are born werewolves despite having no family background. However, this is incredibly rare, as there are 36 genetic traits that all must fit the lycanthrope genotype for this to occur. There are only 7 such werewolves in the U.S., and less than 30 worldwide.
Transformations occur both in compulsory and voluntary fashion, and begin as soon as the child is born. A compulsory change takes place, coincidentally, at night during a full moon. The change often begins within half an hour of sunset, regardless of the season, climate, geographic location, or visibility of moon. You could be a mile underground, and you would still change from the moon. Likewise, you could move from Australia to Italy, and your changing habits would adjust to the location. For those who have just become werewolves, the transformation often lasts under an hour; however, within 3 months the shift lasts until sunrise of the following day. Voluntary shifts can last any amount of time, but no less than 5 minutes.
Transformations take around 15 seconds. The secondary form is that of a humanoid wolf. There are only three physical differences between a werewolf's secondary form and an actual wolf: werewolves are bipedal, have two breasts instead of six, and retain a human voice box. Aside from that, werewolves look exactly like wolves, complete with a tail. Mentally, certain lupine instincts are also present during the transformation. Many werewolves notice an increased ability to anticipate others' actions, retain items in short term memory, and read others' emotions. Obviously, the wolf form grants lycanthropes with enhanced physical abilities. While transformed, a werewolf is about 5 to 10% stronger than in human form, and proportionally faster and more agile. A werewolf also enjoys more proficient senses of hearing and smell, but while a werewolf's vision becomes sharper, he also loses his ability to see in color.
An added side benefit to lycanthropy is that during the process of changing, the body in essence flushes out its system of most impurities. This translates to an incredibly low rate of cancer and terminal disease, and an overweight lycanthrope is almost impossible to find. Unfortunately, 85% of werewolves die from heart failure. Put simply, their hearts give out after hundreds of reconfigurations.
While in human form, lycanthropes do suffer a few side effects: Werewolves tend to have a shorter temper, develop a faster metabolism and hence a larger appetite (particularly for protein and carbohydrates on the day of a full moon or immediately after a voluntary transformation), and suffer an inability to experience REM sleep.
Prior to the Day of the Wolf, many lycanthropes feared how the human population would react to this new element of the population, especially considering the various horror-movie stereotypes people had about them. Surprisingly, the actual day went by quietly, as people were more in a sense of awe and shock than fear or anger. Within a few years, humans' comfort level among lycanthropes increased to the point that most people didn't mind if one was living next door or working in their office, although a token fear lingered about. Some groups were formed against the lycanthrope movement, most notably the LHP (League for Human Preservation), but they were taken as seriously as the Ku Klux Klan is now.
Werewolves did help their cause, however, by being model citizens: the werewolf crime rate was a fraction of humans, and people were 20 times more likely to be raped, assaulted, or murdered by regular humans than by werewolves. The reasoning behind this was that, before the Day of the Wolf, it was stressed that werewolves avoid causing trouble at all costs, in the fears that a slip-up would result in a massive backlash, worldwide withchunt, and possible extinction of all lycanthropes.
There have been three main theories as to the origin of lycanthropy. One such theory states that werewolves evolved as a branch of both the canine and primate orders. Another common hypothesis is that werewolves are an alien race that landed on Earth during the beginnings of ancient civilizations, perhaps beginning as lupine creatures and mating with humans to spawn lycanthropes. Both philosophies are met with different degrees of acceptance, although neither school of thought can explain the influence of the moon on transformation.
A third theory is that lycanthropy stems off a tribal ritual to a god of hunting to grant the tribe added hunting prowess, and the god responded in giving the men of the tribe the gift of transformation. Over time, the effects of the ritual have weakened, with changes occuring only during full moons instead of every night, and the predatorial skills of the wolf have waned as well. Of course, while this seems to be the most plausible theory, it overlooks the presence of werewolves with no family background, and is not popular with the scientific world.
Well, folks, there you have it. Be sure to E-mail me your stories once you're finished. Keep checking back here between now and the deadline for contest submissions. Good Luck!