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  • Locked thread
Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!


Flash rule: Your story must not be set after 1960.


Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Quidnose posted:


Flash rule: Your story must not be set after 1960.

I'll take that.

Flash rule: No death, murder, violence or crime. Or divorce.

Mar 21, 2010

sebmojo posted:

I'll take that.

Flash rule: No death, murder, violence or crime. Or divorce.
I'll take it.

Must include characters from your country's mythology.

Jan 3, 2007

Stupid Wrestling People


Flash Rule: Your entire story must be set on a tour of some sort.

Oct 3, 2005

My blade is unBENDING!


Flash Rule: Your protagonist has an STI.

Aug 2, 2002

Guess that one be mine. In.

Flash rule: your story involves a lost journal of great personal value.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


flash rule: Your protagonist is over the age of 70.

Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.


Flash rule: a pet has gone missing in your story.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.

Fumblemouse posted:

Judges: FumbleMouse and some other people who know in their hearts who they are, but have yet to openly acknowledge it.
How's tricks.

Oct 23, 2010

Obliterati posted:


Flash rule: a pet has gone missing in your story.


Flash rule: your story must include a verse from a country song.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

:siren:Sitting Beef Brawl:siren:

“the conspiracy does not provide an answer so much as it provides an interminable narrative stretching towards an answer that never arrives.”

Two tested, rangy combatants. A weird and gnarly prompt from an X-Files reviewer. And 1000 words. Who will be victor?

Ceasefire by Erogenous Beef is a tightly written wartime romance with a fine gritty precision and well-observed historical detail to what it chooses to describe. I could quibble with the decision not to assign names to any of the other people in it apart from the protagonist; I think making them people rather than faceless entities would have placed the two characters in better relief. But that's a minor point. As to how it addressed the prompt - middling. The conspiracy is between the two lovers, the answer never arrives but it's not as interesting as it should be that it doesn't. There's a whiff of a sense that the conspiracy is the war itself, which could have been brought out more, but that's also a minor point. The final line is killer.

Beef's competition, Sitting Here, current ruler of the Dome, enters the ring. Unfortunately her story is a weird 90s palimpsest of broken people and the overcomplicated lives they find themselves leading. There's juice in there, but this really doesn't squeeze too hard. The inserted capitals are unconvincing, there's no stylistic unity, the final line about the instructions is confusing; it feels like a story that was really, really hard to write. There's a nice seed towards the end of a conspiracist waking up to their real life, but it's too late to save the story.

Verdict: Erogenous Beef, by a knockout.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax

Fun Shoe

RoeCocoa posted:


Flash rule: your story must include a verse from a country song.


Flash rule: your story must include a Chevy truck.

autism ZX spectrum fucked around with this message at 04:44 on Nov 26, 2013

Mar 21, 2013


Grimey Drawer

Bad Seafood posted:

How's tricks.

Tricky, co-judge. Tricky.

Apr 12, 2006

Nubile Hillock posted:


Flash rule: your story must include a Chevy truck.

I'm in.

Flash rule: somebody needs to squeal like a piggy.

Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.


Flash rule: Someone ruins Thanksgiving. Again.

star eater
Jan 1, 2006

Fallen Rib

Mercedes posted:


Flash rule: Someone ruins Thanksgiving. Again.

I'll bite for my first.

Flash rule: Your story must include a stolen toilet.

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


Your Dead Gay Son posted:

I'll bite for my first.

Flash rule: Your story must include a stolen toilet.

I'll snag that one before Sweet_Joke_Nectar can get to it.

Flash rule: Your story must somehow incorporate a movie considered one of the worst of all time.

Nikaer Drekin fucked around with this message at 15:10 on Nov 26, 2013

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011

That rule was made for me. I'm on it.

Flash rule: Your main character is heavily medicated. The purpose and/or legality of said medication is none of my concern.

Bitchtits McGee fucked around with this message at 17:04 on Nov 26, 2013

Optimus Prime Ribs
Jul 25, 2007

Well that sounds like fun. I'm in.

Flash rule: Your story must involve a magic frog potion. Interpret that however you like.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart

Brawlsults for :gay: Fraction v. :whatup: Mercedes

gently caress the suspense: Mercedes by a mile.

Mercedes, while your piece was rocky in many places and has plenty of mechanical flaws, it had a huge redeeming feature: it was fun to read and immensely entertaining. The clincher, the reason you won this one, was that I actually wanted to read more, not only from the first line to the second, but from the second to the third and so on through the story. Hooking the reader and keeping the reader's attention is a difficult but VITAL thing in fiction writing, and you pulled it off.

Don't let this go to your head, as there were still significant problems, which I'll point out shortly.

Fraction, you tried to go for deep emotion, but the delivery was too flawed for me to actually empathize with any of your characters, and your opening was both slow and unclear. I was deeply disinterested for half of your story. These sins cost you the win.

You have better basic writing mechanics, and, once you drop the G-bomb, the emotion from the protagonist comes across as very genuine. Unfortunately, we don't know enough about her relationship with her parents for that bit to matter, and you seem to be leaning heavily on the parent-child interaction for this piece's weight.

Let's dive in.

Fraction posted:

A Chance Taken (724 words)


My mum’s walking ahead of me, pushing the trolley. She picks up an apple, turns it this way and that, and my phone buzzes again.

This opening doesn't work for me. It's essentially two characters arguing. We're on the end of the second para, and I'm not sure why I should be interested, other than that the protagonist and the unknown person with poor spelling ability have a shared secret that needs to come up.

TELL HER!! It buzzes yet again. ITS OK. U CAN DO IT.

Ben just doesn’t understand. I want to text back that it’s not his business, that I’ll do it when I’m ready. But I’ve already said that. He’s been prodding me for weeks now to tell her. Today’s just the first day he’s threatened to do it himself. And he’ll do it. I know he’ll do it. He doesn’t get that it would hurt her, to hear my little brother heard first. She deserves better than that – if only I can bring myself to tell her. He’s right. It’ll be okay. I’m sure it’ll be okay.

Okay, this is your first big sin. You're in the first-person perspective, which means, by definition, we're inside the character's head. This entire paragraph is deliberately obscuring what the shared secret is; I can see You, The Writer basically holding your hand over the character's mouth. When you are inside the character's head, you do not get this luxury of narratively withholding information. As a reader, I am now pissed off at the writer.

And I still have no tension. Also, this could be any generic kid/teen argument. It could be about a toy they broke. I have no reference for their age, aside from the brother being younger. I'm going to pretend the protagonist is named Sally and she broke her lil' bro Ben's Transformers.


Oh, okay, Sally is now Annie.


She holds up a pineapple. “Are you gonna make a fruit salad this week? It was nice, your last one. Wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, Mum.”

This exchange shows me nothing.

My phone buzzes once more. WHAT DID MUM SAY? I picture myself throwing my phone at the floor, watching it smash into a thousand pieces. Knowing my luck, it’d probably just bounce. That’d be embarrassing.

Wow, she really doesn't want to tell mom she broke Ben's Transformers.


I blink at her. “What?”

“Strawberries? For the salad? Are you okay, sweetheart?”

This does nothing.

She puts down the strawberries, comes around the trolley, and presses her palm to my forehead. I stare back at her. I do feel kind of hot. But she shakes her head, smiles her worried smile, and lets her hand fall.

The pressing-palm-to-forehead bit really makes me think Annie is like, eight.

“You feel okay. But what’s up?” She looks down. I look down, too. My fingers are clenched so tightly around my phone they’re almost white. “Annie? Is it boyfriend troubles? You haven’t mentioned anyone...”

A boyfriend at eight? drat, kids get started early these days. Okay, Annie is a teenager. This must be a teen pregnancy story.

I close my eyes. I don’t want to see her sad smile. We used to be so close. I don’t know when I started hiding my life from her. “No,” I say. “It’s not, it’s not boyfriend troubles.”

Definitely a teen pregnancy story. Also, you're basically telling us "we used to be close". Maybe showing us a catalyst for why she started clamming up? Something? More than just bare exposition?

“It’s too much, isn’t it, A Levels and your job all at once? I knew you should give it up. I said so. It’s okay. Your boss’ll understand.”

Okay, she's late teen. Definitely's preggers.

“No, Mum. It’s not that.” I open my eyes. I can do this. It’ll be fine. “It’s... I have something to tell you. Okay?”

Bun in the oven.


“I’m—” My phone buzzes. I want to smash it. My mouth’s dry. I lick my lips. Mum just watches me, just waits. She’s patient. She’s always been patient. It’ll be okay. “I’m gay.”


Her lips twitch. She looks away from me, then back. She swallows, licks her lips, swallows again. She turns away, snatches up a pack of oranges and thrusts them into the trolley. She pushes our trolley forward, practically at a run. I shove my phone in my pocket and follow her.

Okay, this is good. Good illustration of the reaction. Tells me a lot about the mom very suddenly.


She doesn’t look at me. “Get the shopping list, Annie.”

Still good.

I just need her to stop. I need her to see me. I grab the furthest end of the trolley and pull it around toward me. It slams into my stomach, and I stagger back. She doesn’t even glance back. She wrenches the trolley away and carries on walking. I wheeze for breath, and she’s getting further away.

Okay... so the mom's really a jerk about this.

I run forward and catch her at the end of the aisle. “Mum? Did you—please, Mum—did you hear me?” I grab the trolley again, but this time I grab the end she’s holding. It stops, and she stops, and she glares at me but that’s okay, at least she’s looking at me, and I whisper, “Mum? Please?”

Really a jerk.

She shakes her head. “No. You’re not – no. Stay with your dad tonight.”

Good reaction, but just tossing divorce down in the middle here? Jesus, foreshadow or set up some of this, please.

I step back. I lift my hands and I say, again, “Please?” She pushes the trolley forward. My vision’s all blurry. “Please,” I say to her back. She doesn’t turn around, doesn’t reply. She heads into the next aisle and I can’t see her anymore.

Okay, now the whining act is grating on me.

I sink down, crouching on the floor. There are people all around me, but nobody says anything, nobody comes near. I wipe my sleeve over my eyes and pull my phone out of my pocket. Two missed calls, five texts. I stare at the screen and a sixth text comes through.

OI, U OK???

I throw my phone as hard as I can. It strikes the floor and bounces up into the air.

What does this resolve? It's like the story just cut off in the middle to be dramatic.

And on to Merc...

Mercedes posted:

Black Magic 799 Words

“So you Jesus?” Dante asked the bearded man. “And you black?” his words slurred past the shiny grill over his teeth.

Well, that made me sit the gently caress up and take notice. Capitalize "his". The dialogue's solid, the description needs work, something like "He flashed a grill-gilded grin." Maybe less purple. I'd also change 'asks' to an action or sensing verb so you can illustrate something about "the bearded man". The grill shows me Dante's character, use the other opportunity to show me Black Jesus. Also, "Dante"? Is this Dogma fanfic?

Ralana shot up from her stool, knocking over cereal that swam in purple drank. “Nigga, prove it!”

Passable. "Drank" got me. I thought it was some kind of euphemism for soda until Seafood pointed out the proper slang.

Jesus grabbed an empty water bottle and slammed it on the kitchen counter, leaving a basket of fried chicken. The room erupted in a cacophony of hoots and hollers that turned to anger when a large black man attacked the miracle by shoving all the pieces of chicken into his maw.

:drat: And this is how you grab my loving attention. Black Jesus slam-dunks bottled water into a basket of chicken. Tone: established. Set phasers for fun.

I would advise losing "turned to anger when". Just cut that sentence in two. Also, lose "by". Total shift in narrative voice there, just use a comma: "A large black man attacked the miracle, shoving all the chicken into his maw."

“Jerome!” Ralana shoved him. “Share, stupid!”

Perfectly in-character.

“drat, nigglette!” Jerome said, half chewed chunks flying out of his mouth. “Why you always on my back like you a goddamn monkey?”

Hee, nigglette. Reminds me of Juggalette. You could cut the "said" here, and you need a hyphen in "half-chewed": Half-chewed chicken chunks flew from Jerome's mouth. Monkey line is gold.

“Call me a monkey again...” The air around Ralana shimmered and the purple drank on the counter evaporated.

Wait, is she about to go loving super saiyan "all up in this bitch", as the kids would say?

“Chill out, poo poo,” Dante said, grabbing Jerome by the shirt. “Black Jesus, don’t pay attention to these fools. We hungry.”

Same as previous, cut "said" and just show us the action. Dante grabbed Jerome by the shirt. (or "Jerome's shirt").

“Black Jesus, teach us how you teleport all dat food,” Jerome said, lifting his platinum necklaces off from his neck and presenting them. “Anything we got, it’s yours!”

Same as previous, cut "said". Rest of this is gold.

"There is only one thing you possess that I cannot summon myself," Black Jesus said. Light bounced from the rings on his hand as he rubbed his beard. His eyes landed on Ralana and he smiled, revealing a bejeweled incisor with spinners. "One night with Ralana and I’ll teach you. Girl, you need Jesus."

This... was a little disappointing. I was hoping for a joke here, but this comes off a wee bit tacky for me. I was hoping for juxtaposition between Black Jesus and the other characters. Still, it's not terrible and works in a campy, Saints Row kind of way.

"Hold on just a goddamn minu-”

Finish the word "minute", then add the em-dash for interruption. Keep your prose clean and clear unless necessary.

"Done," Dante interrupted, stepping between Ralana and Jesus. They sealed the deal with a complex sequence of fist bumps and hand slaps.

:( "interrupted" is unnecessary and "stepped" is a weak verb for someone breaking up a fight. The deal-sealer is great.



After hours of meticulous work, Dante finished up his kool-aid drawn Sigil of Ameth. Jerome gently placed a ripe watermelon in the center of the circle while Ralana lit all the candles in the living room.

First sentence is weak. I'd rather you show me something that says the Sigil of Ameth is complex and required care, rather than just dumping "meticulous" on me. It's not a word I expect from your narrator at this point. Drawing in Kool-Aid is good, but you either need to hyphenate "kool-aid-drawn" or, my preference, describe him pouring the last line of Kool-Aid, then in the next sentence or phrase, reveal that it's the Sigil of Amerh. Comic timing.

The Sigil's purpose here is kinda unclear. I never got the sense Dante's an occultist, nor did Black Jesus mention this. You need to set it up.

Watermelon is gold.

Dante placed his palms on the edge of the sigil and with a pulse of power, the living room stretched, warped and undulated until the world was a mess of lines and color. With jarring speed, everything snapped back into place and they found themselves in the middle of a grocery store.

First line: Dogma and Fullmetal Alchemist fanfiction?

I'd cut "with jarring speed" and, after "snapped back into place", end the sentence. "They found themselves" -> "They were".

"Fuckin’ hell, Hey-soos pulled through.” Ralana said in awe.

Heh, Heysoos

“What’s the matter with you? Be respectful!” Dante said.

“That nigga was Mexican. Ain’t no black dude got a tiny dick like his.”

Good line. Amusing juxtaposition.

In response to her blasphemy, a floating figure exploded into existence; the body of a man and the head of a dog . Red and blue lights shot out of the holes where his eyes should have been and a piercing siren wailed from his mouth.

The.. dog police. Okay, funny, but I'm not totally liking "in response to her blasphemy", man. That's pure tell. You could've hinted that a demon was coming earlier when Ralana first said 'loving hell' or something. Alternately, set up the police joke somehow, make a joke about them breaking in without no cops seeing, something to set this up.

“Oh hell naw, nigga!” Jerome jumped to his feet, and in a puff of smoke he grew to the same size as the demon. “I ain’t going back! Not today!”

Wait, what? The demon had the body of a man, and Jerome, who is already presumably man-sized... grew to the same size as him? Incoherent, rewrite.

Frozen in terror, Dante watched as chickens converged on Jerome before he threw his first punch. Jerome’s death screams echoed through the store among the crazed sounds of clucking.

.... what? You're going off the humor deep end here. The weird line of black-stereotype-based logic is fracturing. Interesting is waning.

Ralana burst into flames, lava oozed from the cracks in her skin and the air shimmered around her. She hurled a large glob of molten rock at the dog demon, but it broke uselessly over his skin.

Bitch did go super saiyan. I still need more setup here.

In retaliation, the demon waved his hand and an invisible force knocked Ralana through the air, crashing into a display of collard greens. She pushed herself back to her feet, but the demon waved his hand again. This time, the floor beneath her gave way and she plummeted, screaming, into an olympic sized pool.

Cut "in retaliation", unnecessary. Cut "an invisible force", unnecessary. Cut "this time". I don't get the swimming pool joke, your logic is definitely fractured here.

Steam plumed into the air and before long, the splashing sounds of a drowning person remained.

I don't like this sentence. "plumed" is a weird verb to use here, since "plume" would be the noun attached to a "steam plume". Doesn't work for me. Also, second half is passive. Rewrite or cut this.

“Black Jesus,” Dante said, “Please save us!”

Oh yes, bring back Black Jesus baby

Twin black cherubs appeared overhead as it rained dollar bills. Each angel held a microphone as they beatbox battled each other. Black Jesus rose out of the water with a coughing Ralana in his arms. “The nigga of man never leaves his flock behind,” he said, “Especially his fine honeys." Black Jesus walked across the water to dry land. “Demon, my people have sinned in ignorance. How do I make this right?”


Not all is 100% well. Why are the angels beatbox-battling each other? Both "Each Angel" and "They" in that sentence are ambiguous, as we know Black Jesus will be fighting the demon, and I could go with the "fallen angel" interpretation of "demon" to stitch that into a sentence about Black Jesus and the demon. "The cherubs held microphones and beatbox-battled each other." Or reuse this joke somewhere else, it doesn't quite fit here.

"The nigga of man" and so on, beautiful.

“A black man and a white man jump off of the same building at the same time. Who will hit the ground first? Answer this riddle, and I shall take your life instead of theirs,” the dog demon said, his alternating eye-lights dimming as he waited for an answer.

I'd rather have a cop joke here.

“Don’t do it Jesus!” Ralana said.

“Shh, Ray-Ray. Cherish the gift of life I will give you,” Black Jesus said, placing a finger to her lips. “Demon, the answer is ‘the white man’. The black man had a rope around his neck.”

Eh, this is a stale black joke. You can do better.

In a flash of light, Black Jesus and the demon disappeared.

“Come on, Ralana.” Dante said as he helped her up, “We have to shop. For Him.”

This would've worked better if they'd landed in the grocery section of Wal-Mart, as the Walton family are devout Christians.


V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004


Optimus Prime Ribs posted:

Well that sounds like fun. I'm in.

Flash rule: Your story must involve a magic frog potion. Interpret that however you like.

Frog me up.

Flash rule: Your story must be in reverse chronological order.

Feb 13, 2011

The cries of the dead are terrible indeed; you should try not to hear them.

V for Vegas posted:

Frog me up.

Flash rule: Your story must be in reverse chronological order.

Sounds like a nice challenge.

Flash Rule: Your story must be about something being "broken into pieces".

Aug 23, 2003


Jeza posted:

Sounds like a nice challenge.

Flash Rule: Your story must be about something being "broken into pieces".

I'd buy that for a dollar.

Flash Rule Your story must begin with the protagonist dying.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Helsing posted:

Flash Rule Your story must begin with the protagonist dying.

In with this.

Flash Rule: Your protagonist is mute.

Dec 31, 2006

Fork 'em Devils!

Kaishai posted:

In with this.

Flash Rule: Your protagonist is mute.

Alright, I'll jump on this grenade of a flash rule for the good of my TD brethren who may be still waiting to sign up.

Flash Rule: Your protag must be on an nontraditional vacation and your story must reflect that, not just be mere window dressing.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning

Walamor posted:

Flash Rule: Your protag must be on an nontraditional vacation and your story must reflect that, not just be mere window dressing.

Sure why not.

Flash Rule: Your protag is a rhino.

EDIT: That rhino is depressed.

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at 05:43 on Nov 27, 2013

Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

The Saddest Rhino posted:

Flash Rule: Your protag is a rhino.

EDIT: That rhino is depressed.

...right then.

Flash Rule: You must get your story's title from The Doctor Who Episode Title Generator and the title must be relevant to your story. (But probably don't write Doctor Who fanfiction.)

Lazy Beggar
Dec 9, 2011


Flash Rule Your story must take place in a kitchen. Or multiple kitchens. Also your protagonist has Alzheimer's. At what stage is your choice.

Edit: First title I got was 'The Cold Terror'. Fits nicely with the initial prompt.

Lazy Beggar fucked around with this message at 19:20 on Nov 27, 2013

Sep 22, 2005


Been awhile but I finished Nano and I want to run wild and free.

Flash Rule: No characters over the age of ten.

Aug 2, 2002

yay mag7 is back.

preemptive :rolleyes: to sheriff sebmojo when he tells me to stop chatting.

edit: :siren:Muffin BRAWL:siren:
I asked for a delay from DrK because of IRL crap, and she said it was due today, 500 words. I think. I didn't pay attention very well.

467 words

Samantha was the only one who still danced. There wasn’t much else to do since the storm had fried their electronics. Her twirling feet left intricate trails in the sand. The mercenaries--drunk with apathy and wine--whistled as she passed.

The black tower dwarfed everything else in the dunes, and reminded her of skyscrapers back on Earth. She moved around it, keeping rhythm with the fans that thumped overhead.

After another sweaty samba in the sun, she stopped at the front hatch. "I'd watch you all boil to death out there just to hear music one last time."

Simmons reclined in his chair and took another swig of wine. "That’s no way to talk to the only men on the planet. We’re going to be stuck here a long time."

Samantha looked to the plains where the ruined husk of their ship rested. “I’d rather die alone.” She ducked inside the hatch. Vines grew up the walls, thick with strange fruits.

The air was chilly: the biosphere was a natural air conditioner. Samantha shivered and pulled on her lab coat.

She climbed up the spiral ramp that hugged the side of the tower. At the top, Dr. Hüntger hunched over the still, tweaking his latest batch of wine. “Just because the magnetic shielding keeps out the radiation doesn’t mean you need to prance around with half your clothes off.”

Samantha searched through her notebook. “It’s only dancing.”

“You’re drunk.”

“A little bit.”

“I just want you to be safe.”

She rolled her eyes and showed him her notebook. “I was going over our initial analysis of the fruit, and I noticed this small blip in the spectrometer data. I suggest we stop distilling until we can sequence it.”

Dr. Hüntger slumped in his chair and took a cautious sip from his beaker. “That could take weeks. What do you suggest, we drink it raw? After what happened to Baker?”

Samantha shrugged. “There has to be a water source somewhere.”

“My decision stands.” He put his hand on Samantha’s shoulder. “Don’t take it personally.”

She recoiled from his touch. “I have to check the soil pH.”

After the sun went down and the desert went dark, the men started complaining about stomach cramps. They laid in their cots and cursed Samantha, who remained unaffected. They cried with pain and begged for a cure. Samantha did all she could, but the men suffocated on their own blood.

Samantha moped for the first few days, and then went numb. She worked without joy, fixed her equipment and reanalyzed the alien fruits. Evolved in the steady breezes of the tower: compounds stable and innocuous under constant motion, mutated into deadly poison when stationary. All she had to do to stay alive was keep moving.

But by then, Samantha didn’t feel like dancing.

crabrock fucked around with this message at 08:02 on Nov 28, 2013

Mar 21, 2010

crabrock posted:

edit: :siren:Muffin BRAWL:siren:
I asked for a delay from DrK because of IRL crap, and she said it was due today, 500 words. I think. I didn't pay attention very well.
Wait, didn't she say Sunday? Was going to write it tomorrow after work.

Aug 2, 2002

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Wait, didn't she say Sunday?

crabrock posted:

I didn't pay attention very well.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

crabrock posted:

yay mag7 is back.

preemptive :rolleyes: to sheriff sebmojo when he tells me to stop chatting.

Symptomless Coma
Mar 30, 2007
for shock value

magnificent7 posted:

Flash Rule: No characters over the age of ten.

In. Why not?

Flash Rule: Story must involve a list of arbitrary and slightly unnecessary rules.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards

missing journal of great personal value

Memory Problems 911 words

"Hannah, your mother's had a stroke. She's in the hospital," her father said.

"Good," said Hannah.

With a tap, she hung up the phone.

She sat naked in the dark. The last time she had hung up on her father was so long ago, she could remember slamming the landline handset into the cradle. Somehow, that had been far more satisfying. She sighed and fumbled for her bathrobe.

"Was that Frank?" her husband mumbled from his pillow. "Why's he calling you?"

"Go back to sleep," she said. "I'll deal with it."

Out on the balcony, she dialed her father's number. "Dad, I'm sorry. You woke me up, I was in a bad mood - "

"Can it, Hannah."

"Okay. Okay. What do you need me to do?"

"Well, it sounds like she's out of the woods, but she had some brain damage. She's going to be there for a while, doing rehab. They need somebody to get her insurance information, her medical records and all that." He paused. Hannah patted down her pockets, fruitlessly, for cigarettes. "The papers have to be in that house somewhere."

The way he said that house assured Hannah that he remembered it no more fondly than she did.


Eight years of deleting the house from memory, but her feet still knew to skip the rotted porch step.

Hannah stood in the ruined living room in her husband's rubber boots. The ammonia reek of rabbit piss was unchanged. Time to play hide and seek, she thought grimly.

It took her an hour to find the fireproof safe, buried in a heap of flattened liquor boxes. A fishtank, four fingers deep with mossy water, teetered on top of the pile. Her mother's insurance documents were tucked inside, under a paperclipped packet of Kool-aid points. And so was the journal.

It was a waterbloated brick of a book, with the ragged look of a family pet that should have died years ago. Hannah recognized it, although she hadn't known it was a journal, back then: her mother perched on the kitchen counter with a double Jack and Coke, resurrecting the book with her hair dryer after dropping it in the bathtub. "What are you doing?" Hannah had asked.

"Why, so you can judge me for it? Brat."

It's easy to be close to someone when they don't know that you're there. Memories can't swat you away.

She sat down on the sagging couch and began to read.


Her mother had recorded their life in dark domestic vignettes.

The kid finally left for college today. As for me, I'm sitting here rear end naked and tipsy at 11:00 AM. Sweet freedom!

Hannah laughed. She flipped back, scanning for further mentions of herself.

Crying today. The kid told me she wished I was dead.

What was I supposed to do? You told me you wished I had never been born.

The police brought her home today. She snuck out again. I don't know what to do. She said she didn't care if she got raped. I wish I hadn't said it, but I said fine, I don't care either.

The entries recorded the wounds and indignities that underpin a life. The damage done by proximity to others.

Hannah's teacher called today. She's been telling people I abuse her.

Hannah cringed in shame.

My mother keeps calling just to tell me I drink too much.

She had done her share of unwitting damage, in the combats of her childhood.

Frank called me today. Inviting me to his wedding, of all things. I told him to get hosed. He called me a failure.

She had never realized that it was possible to damage grown-ups.

Memory loss, Hannah thought, closing the book. My mother is awfully lucky, that she kept a diary. She'll be able to read it and know just how terrible we all were. Then in thirty years, we'll broker a peace - we'll get together at Christmas and joke about the past. Champagne, fruit cake, and "Oh, I hardly remember what we used to fight about, back then."

But then again, she thought, I could always be merciful. Tear it up, and we'll never forgive each other. But there'll be nothing to forgive. Less pain for everyone, that way, she decided.

She stood in her mother's cramped bathroom, flushing pages. Two hours later she tossed the flapping covers and battered spine into a grocery-store dumpster, very far from home.


Her mother grinned at her lopsidedly. "Hannah!" she exclaimed. "That's my daughter!"

"Oh, honey, she comes here every weekend," said her nurse, opening the blinds. "You've got a good daughter, you know." With a glance at Hannah, the nurse shuffled out.

"I had a stroke, Hannah," her mother said. Even with the lisp and the tremor, the lap blanket and the prescription socks, she looked younger now, and fragile.

"I know, ma, you told me last time."

"Oh, I'm sorry. I forget things. Because of my stroke."

"Here. I got you something."

"What's that?" Her mother squinted at the leatherbound book.

Hannah handed it over. "It's a journal, ma. You can write in it. I thought it might help you, you know, with your rehab."

"Ah!" she exclaimed. "Of course it is. Silly me." She fanned the creamy pages. "I think I like keeping a journal. Did I have one before? I remember writing, but I can't quite - "

"If you did," Hannah said, "you never told me about it."

God Over Djinn fucked around with this message at 01:21 on Nov 30, 2013

Symptomless Coma
Mar 30, 2007
for shock value

Right then.

magnificent7 posted:

Flash Rule: No characters over the age of ten.

Hide, Harry (842)

Ma and Da gave Harry to me when I swam twenty-five meters without floats, and how far is that you ask? Twenty five meters is the distance we have to walk one two three four five SIX seven eight times to where Harry is now when we want to visit him and talk to him through the little hole in his lid. I drag new best friend Tobias Finch out the back door down the brick steps around the stone frog under the climbing vines and round the rosebush that I used to think held fairies though that is a baby thing to think and not the attitude of a SIX year old never mind one who is halfway to seven.

Here is the Seeking place. There is a knack (a knack is a trick for grownups) to Hide and Seek and that is to Know The Terrain. I know the Terrain like the back of my hand which we drew in Art and then filled in with paints and since mine is now on the fridge next to other important pieces of paper (e.g. Shopping List and Faulkes Rise Funeral Parlour Invoice) then I know my hand. I know every patch of the garden from the beech tree where we let Harry stay because he always used to watch for birds under there to the bench where Nana would sometimes let me sit when I was being good though now she isn’t here anymore I don’t really want to because the bench is too big for one.

I cover my eyes and say okay Tobias ready steady GO and count from one up to twenty, then I keep going to forty because Fair Play and also it is nice to know that I can. Forty is the number of steps from one end of Nana’s I mean our house to the other. When we first got there for living rather than just visiting it seemed too big, with loads of creaking rooms filled with rocking horses and old books and no TV. I sat down on the creaky bed that was supposed to be mine and started to cry like I’d seen Ma do on the telephone the week before when she found out the news. That was when Harry jumped up next to me, and bopped me on the head to say okay Catrin, it en’t the end of all, and slinked out the door flicking his ginger tail which has always meant come and look at this in our language.

Tobias may have his own boys’ knacks for Hide and Seek, because he is not behind the shed, he is not under the brick steps, he is not even inside the fairy bush. When Harry played Hide and Seek with me he always went somewhere new and scary, in attics and bedrooms that Da hadn’t yet cleaned out. Once he meowed from under the stairs and I had to go in. I never would have gone but cause it was only a game I sort of could, and that’s how I made Nana’s House into My House, and why I can show new best friend Tobias Finch around and let him hide. But he is clever in a way that makes me have these memories, and so I have to explore further.

It is five times twenty five (one hundred and twenty five) metres to get to the tangle of thorns in front of the Secret Garden. The wind is cold, but I don’t have my stockings on because I’m being a boy today, so getting through will be difficult, but I straight away know that is what Tobias realised too: that sacrifices must be made to win. Da had said girl, you have to know when to let go, and he had pushed the box containing Harry into the flames and I had screamed so loud it must have gone twenty-five twenty-fives, then we sat on the bench for a long time watching the rain sink into the ground, and I knew somehow that things had to go back to where they came from when it was time.

I have a cut in my leg like a tiny road but it’s worth it because beyond the thorns there beside the beech tree is the defeated Tobias Finch and he is pointing at-
“I di’ent mean to-”
White dust cakes the toe of his black trainer. It streaks in one line from where he’s sitting, shaking, back to the tree, back into Harry’s upturned jar. The tiniest white sprinkle remains on the lip.
Tobias scrambles to put it back in, “I di’ent know, Catrin!”
But the cold wind blows through the garden, picking up ash and sprinkling it through all the trees, over the bench, out into the fields and maybe beyond forever, and when Tobias Finch sees my face he smiles, because I’m smiling and maybe he understands what I know, that Harry will be happy in his new home of a thousand hiding places.

drat, nearly sign-up and entry in one go

Mar 21, 2013


Grimey Drawer

Sign-ups are now closed. Actually they closed a couple of hours ago, but I was having a nap on the bones of those I crushed to attain the ThunderCrown.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax

Fun Shoe

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004


The Naturalist - 800.

flash magic frog potion

Day 344.

Sasak was hit on the head by a Durian today. We were about 3 hours out from the village when I spotted a what looked like a new sub-genus of the Kakatua. Sasak was trying to climb the tree to get a better shot at it when his clumsy shaking of the tree dislodged the fruit. Worse, the noise and movement scared the bird away. Fortunately I was able to observe it for some minutes beforehand. It looked very similar to the Australian sulfer-crested Cockatoo, however I have never seen one this close to Bali and the Wallace line. (cf. notebook XVIII plate 32 for the sketch I made this afternoon).

Sasak gave me the Durian. It is sitting on my table before me now. The spines that hit his scalp are turning brown from the blood. I must make sure to eat it tomorrow as they are at their best when they are ripe.

Day 345.

We returned to the Durian tree where we saw the Kakatua yesterday. Sasak looked quite amusing with his head swathed strips of banana leaves. I observed several Durian on the ground that appeared to have been ripped open by narrow beaks. I wonder if the Kakatua in this region have learned how to eat the fruit? They are certainly formidable plants (cf. notebook II, sketch 5). The fruit is slightly oval shaped, like a small Rugby ball, weighing approx. 4lbs. The hard skin is covered in strong, sharp spines. It is so heavily armoured that it is no small matter to even pick one up off the ground. The inside is made up of five cells containing a mass of firm, cream-coloured, edible pulp.

Certainly the Kakatua I observed were the only birds in this region with the tools necessary to break into such a well fortified fruit. Did they attack them while they were on the tree or did they gnaw at their stems to drop them onto the ground first? If the latter, perhaps the birds are Sasak’s true enemy from yesterday? I ate his Durian this evening - the taste really is indescribable. Hopefully some of the seeds I am bringing back will sprout at Kew.

Day 346.

Total waste of a day today. Sasak could hardly carry the equipment a mile before he collapsed. His head has swollen up under its banana leaf bandages to almost twice its size. The willingness of these natives to push their bodies to their physical limits really is remarkable but he is not going to be much good to me for the next few days.

Day 350.

Sasak was still in the local shaman’s steam hut so I returned to the Durian tree by myself. I arrived early and was greeted with a fantastical sight. Approx. 30 Kakatua’s were perched in the tree, flying around and emitting a tremendously high pitched squawking noise. Just as I had thought, the birds would grab onto the husks of the fruit with their claws and bite at the stem with their sharp beaks. The soft fibre of the tree would be cut away quickly and the fruit would fall to the ground some 30 feet below. Several birds would then descend on the fallen fruit, working on small fractures in the outer casing to get at the pulp beneath.

I observed at least half a dozen fruit dispatched in this manner. It was almost like a game to the birds, swooping in, ripping at the flesh and then scooting away before the next one could get in. But within 40 minutes it was all over. I stayed there for the rest of the day but the birds did not return. Hopefully Sasak is better tomorrow and can carry my equipment so I can make a decent observation.

Day 351.

Another interesting day, if no further observations of the Kakatua. Visiting Sasak in the shaman hut he had not improved. Although with the treatment he is getting I am not surprised. I observed the village shaman (cf. notebook IV, plate 55) make up a poultice to dress Sasak’s wound. It mainly consisted of some small orange frogs that are found in the jungle in these parts, ground up into a paste that he would spit in from time to time. He would then mutter some shamanic mumbo-jumbo over the repulsive unguent before smearing onto Sasak’s head. All I can say is I hope I don’t require his services.

Day 356.

Tremendous day at the Durian tree. cf. XVIII plates 35, 36, 37, 38 and 39. Specimens 156, 157 and 158. The only sour note was Dyak still hasn’t learnt to secure the cages properly so the live specimens we took such pains to capture escaped. We will try again tomorrow.


Mar 21, 2010

:siren: CRABRAWL :siren:

Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

Muffin: Ekhidna

This was the divine and haughty Ekhidna, and half of her is a Nymphe with a fair face and eyes glancing, but the other half is a monstrous ophis, terrible, enormous and squirming and voracious, there in earth's secret places. For there she has her cave on the underside of a hollow rock, far from the immortal gods, and far from all mortals.

There the gods ordained her a fabulous home to live in which she keeps underground among the Arimoi, grisly Ekhidna, a Nymphe who never dies, and all her days she is ageless.

Mother of Monsters, the Eel of Tartarus, Queen of the Dark Forest, Serpent Womb. Consort to Typhon, the Rotting Lamprey was born from the residual scum left behind after from the Great Deluge.

All the corruptions of the earth: mandrake, dark myrrh, seaweed, swampy moss, black pepper, pimento, opoponax, tobacco absolute, and tarry clove.

As always, inspirations may be interpreted loosely, but not totally ignored. Word count is 800. Deadline is next Wednesday at 9pm PST.

Why a wise man dies under clear sky

She went under the earth without a sound. Funny that; how everybody is listening on the one day you're least equipped to speak. Listening hard, as if you're to open your eyes at any second, tell them they were wrong, and let the ache release its grip from their ribs and throats. On the day they buried her, not a sound was heard – not even birdsong.

Only, she didn't die, as such. As a germ of her soul fell through the pine, it took into itself a mouthful of dirt, and another. Greedy, feasting on worms, bones and char as the world turned in the far-and-away. The part of her that left her body behind called itself Ophiadne; the snake woman, for she coiled and uncoiled around the roots of the world, choking or giving breath as she saw fit, drinking deeply of the souls that fell down through the cracks. With their joys and sorrows, she strove to fill the hole the silence had left behind.

From her came others, shat out and taken on forms of their own, to suckle at that monstrous teat, and fail to grow strong. There was Jula; the Empty, Sawat; the Cavernous, Egritta; the Blasphemy of Stars. All grand names, struggling in the shadow of the snake woman, feeding on the scraps she left behind until they were little bone twists topped with gasping mouths, ribboned with their many grasping hands, staring eyeless and screaming tongueless against the tyranny of the mud and stone.

All starved, but were denied death. The tendrils of their dreams twitched through the veil and into the dreams of mortals, who woke screaming about a wasteland of souls, and a baroness who ruled the roots of the tree of life. A painter woke one morning unable to paint, and took his hand in a fit of rage. A poet, truly lost for words, cut out his own tongue. There were more, but they matter no more than raindrops on dirt, run together in a shallow trickle of lost souls, a million deep. The draught of gods, or something like them. A draught of which there is no cup deep enough, nor will there ever be.

When they feed, the sky weeps openly, as if a great flood could wash them away. If you would die in the rain, hold on. There are things worse than death, as Ophiadne herself learnt so long ago.


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