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Dead Men Do Tell Tales · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
#1 · 4
This time, I’m in, whatever happens.
#2 · 3
I sighed and sat down to work, drawing up the sack full of tiny bricks.

I checked the requirements again; I could only use a few hundred bricks out of the many thousands in my sack. It sounded easy, but when the time pressure is on and the count is tight, it's harder to feel your way into something interesting.

I reached in and grabbed a handful of foundational blocks, rough and reddish, and started to array them on the dirt at my feet. There'd been a few organic ones, keratin in suggestive shapes, but I left these alone; nothing equine was in the specs this time.

I shuffled my blocks around, seeking the best arrangement, picking out others to round the lines and enhance the stability, then I picked out more blocks of smooth cool marble and laid them down. Some were squared off, some were segments of column, and I had to plan where these would eventually meet when I completed my tower. I scrabbled through my sack looking for casement pieces and started to lay the bottoms of windows and door sills. Some go for seamless monuments, but I prefer a structure that works, something where you could walk in and feel as if you live there.

From the corner of my eyes I saw the other towers going up, people with their bulging sacks rattling as they picked through their bricks. I finished the first tier of windows and extended more columns, trying to get a nice capstone over the door. I searched my bag for way too long before I found one; I had to apportion my time better. I only had until dawn.

I combined blocks and tested ideas; one grand room was so austere yet evocative. If only it could be made to fit! But the foundations didn't agree. In the end I had to set it aside; no time to rebuild. The clock ticked on and the sky darkened. There was always that temptation to add bricks of interesting and baroque designs, to build wider instead of taller, spending time on the details instead of planning for that next floor, and the next...

Through the night I wrought, my sack visibly depleting, the interesting bricks pushed to the bottom and the dull plodding structural beams and columns overlaying all. I stacked them in a half-dreaming state, trying to hold to the requirements my foundation imposed. If only I could change it, or start anew! But there was so little time left.

And then, the rosy glow over the hills. I tossed handfuls of bricks aside, searching for the right roofing elements, grabbing wall blocks in my haste but using them anyway, turned on their sides. I was so close... And there, it was time. I dropped the sack and sank to my knees, looking up at what I had wrought.

The red light of dawn shone over my work, showing to me how far I had strayed from my initial vision, the holes in the walls, the missing tiles on the roof, the wrong-colored panes of glass in the windows. It was only standing in the light breeze by some sort of divine dispensation.

I looked to the ground and shook my head, resisting the urge to dash it all to the ground. I cast my gaze about, where the shadows of other's towers were falling over me. They'd mostly built well, and their spires seemed to dance in the morning light with a grace I had foreseen but failed to achieve.

We were all pulling from the same pool of bricks, but somehow, someone else always built higher.
#3 · 4
Beware, I live.
#4 · 3
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony >>Griseus
Blugh, my entry is in, but I can't say I'm happy with it.
#5 · 3
We know that feeling.
For my part, some poor attempt at a structure has been built.
"He who would be a tower must not fear to be a toppling tower."
#6 · 2
I submitted a thing. Time to terrorize readers and fellow writers... with my writing.
#7 ·
Common theme you got going on.
#8 ·
All and all, all these stories I have something to learn from.