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Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


I want to get into this thing. Sign me up!

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lambeth
Aug 31, 2009


In.

PoshAlligator
Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.


I'm in!

Back in the Thunderdome for the first time in a while.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

The first set of songs has been assigned, so entrants, check the prompt post to see which tune should haunt your nightmares.

Remember that the song is what matters this week. Videos don't count for a jot in terms of meeting the prompt. Some of you have static CD covers for video, and that's fine; YouTube is an easy source of links, but only the music and lyrics are relevant to your task.

We have more delights ready to hand out. Keep those sign-ups coming!

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


in

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


I'm in.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


I'm going in

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

You three have songs too.

Mercedes
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.






What song am I getting?

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


These are good songs.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Mercedes posted:

What song am I getting?
This one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0359hSerDeE

But rest assured, young Mercedes, you are not alone in the belly of the beast.

CommissarMega posted:

Oho, I'm in once more! And since I have nothing else to lose, I will give a flash rule to the judges: I want the most infuriatingly anime song/music video you lot can unleash upon me :unsmigghh:
Commissar Mega, your wish is my command.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80l6tvxTpTI

Let's positive thinking.

Blade_of_tyshalle
Jul 12, 2009

If you think that, along the way, you're not going to fail... you're blind.

There's no one I've ever met, no matter how successful they are, who hasn't said they had their failures along the way.



Sebmojo, please empty your PMs. :arghfist::sigh:

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Blade_of_tyshalle posted:

Sebmojo, please empty your PMs. :arghfist::sigh:

done, but irc is the best way to get hold of me

Mercedes
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.






You motherfucking motherfucker!!!!!

Edit: This was intentional, you bastards! Kaishai, you're dead to me!

Mercedes fucked around with this message at 23:16 on Jun 18, 2014

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Mercedes posted:

You motherfucking motherfucker!!!!!

Edit: This was intentional, you bastards! Kaishai, you're dead to me!

:allears:

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Another victory for the Dog Police.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Okay, I wasn't sure how I felt about entering this week til I read the song list to date. Now I'm sure.

But I'm still in.

(Also, expect this week's crits from me toward the week's end, or possibly the weekend. Maybe earlier, but I will not be held responsible for any incidents of lost consciousness as a result of breathholding).

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







in.

e:
who wants a brawl. i feel a breaking, in me.

Wungus
Mar 5, 2004



You gave me a song rife with geographic inconsistencies according to the aerial views Google Maps suggests this is some horseshit has John Denver even fuckin' been to West Virginia outside of that one wiggly dicktip of a section just by Maryland and Real Virginia where the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River actually exist in West Virginia I swear to gently caress

Lily Catts
Oct 17, 2012

Show me the way to you
(Heavy Metal)


Week XCVII Crits for FuschiaTude, Cache Cab, CommissarMega, BrilliantFool

This wasn't a hard prompt. Like docbeard, I expected to read about heroes, characters who try to do the right thing, no matter how hard it would be. Because I have a soft spot for heroic characters, I wanted to see firsthand how you people would tackle this.

Congratulations. Most of you hosed it up. You even had a generous time extension!

I'm wondering if you chumps even know what a hero is supposed to be. If you want a good, nuanced example, watch the 1973 film of The Long Goodbye. It's not really noir, despite being adapted from the genre, since they modernized the setting (in its own time, of course). It's a character-driven film (Elliott Gould's performance is fantastic), but the setting really shines, too, making it doubly hard for the main character to act on his values.

There are a few things that you should have paid proper attention this week:

Characterization

Just by reading the prompt, you should already know that this is a character-driven prompt. The only thing we required from you was a character who shone amidst the darkness, so why was it that so many flubbed this?

Who is the character in your story that fulfills this? There should be no doubt as to who she is. If we find ourselves looking for that person, then you blew it.

Why should we care about your protagonist? What's her personal stake in the story? (What happens if she fails?) Some of you forgot to answer these questions. (You have to answer them all.) Your protagonist should be our reason to keep reading.

Setting/Plot

Your setting should bite back on your protagonist--it should not make it easy for your protagonist to do good things. The harder your protagonist struggles against her environment to do good, the more her moral fiber shines through. Setting your story in, say, Equestria would make it hard to follow the prompt. (Thankfully none of you did this)

If it's easy to do the right thing, then everyone would be doing it. Show us what your character's made of. I don't mean that you should set your story in a crappy, grimdark world, you could simply put your character in a tight dilemma.

Morality

Your character should be good, period. A surprising amount of entries failed this. And this is just me, but your character should be altruistic. It's not enough that they do good for themselves (everyone does that!), they must do it for others. This doesn't mean that they have to be good to everyone all the time, but they should be good where it really counts.

###

Alright, let's start with the people who got special attention for writing terrible stories, because you guys need this the most:

Fuschia tude - The Climb

I want you to ask yourself why your story lost. While the other entries were offensively bad (look at the DMs), and some were trite or dumb, you wrote something that was a complete black hole of enjoyment. I've already forgotten most of your story because there's nothing worth remembering about it--Bad things keep happening to the main character, then he dies. The end.

Your opener gives me nothing to care about. It's a description of a fall. Who or what fell? Why should be interested in this... thing that fell? Who's the character we should root for? Be clear about the important stuff. The beginning of the story is important.

Where's the moral dilemma? Man vs nature isn't the best kind of conflict to bring that out. I didn't even know there was a time loop until another judge pointed it out. Because I stopped caring from the very beginning.

You have a lot of sentence fragments. While these could be used to great effect, you don't have the chops for it yet. Instead, your prose reads clipped and monotonous, like a robot coughed it out. Whether this was intentional or not, don't do this. Before you try anything fancy, strive for clarity first. If the reader can't piece together what's going on from the words, then you've failed as a writer. Your words have to stand by themselves--you're not going to be beside the reader, clarifying what's up with each sentence.

Cache Cab - When Judas Saved Jesus.

I don't know why you submitted this very early. Cut the Book of Judas excerpts. Nobody cares. If you want theme, if you want to link what's actually happening in your story to your pet concept, do it with story. Don't spoonfeed your readers, we're not dumb.

Your story had no characters worth giving a poo poo about. Lukowe is saintly because we're told so. Lukowe's journey into hell doesn't work, because there's no tension, no internal conflict that could make the temptations compelling. There's really no reason for him to help his crew, either. Nowhere in the text was he portrayed as fond or caring of them. It was all very contrived.

Also you really wrote "untarnished and unafraid" in this story which is just, ughhhhhh.

CommissarMega - Scapegoat

Your biggest offense is being unclear. You have paragraphs upon paragraphs where nothing of note happens, wasting your readers' time with incoherent scenes, building up to a wet fart. Who should we root for? Benoit or Lucien? You don't have the chops to pull that off. Where's the heroism? I see an glimmer, but it's buried underneath so much garbage.

BrilliantFool - The Whisperers

While CommissarMega's story was an incoherent mess, yours read like a rat ate half of the pages. It's clear that you were focusing on the grandma (gently caress the POV character) but you've given me nothing on how she lived, and why the neighbors don't like her. Maybe she really was a jerk. Or maybe you are, for hinting so much and showing ultimately nothing. Jerk.

Lily Catts
Oct 17, 2012

Show me the way to you
(Heavy Metal)


Week XCVII Crits for Meeple, Entenzahn, Broenheim, God Over Djinn, Nethilia

Meeple - Old Ways

The accents are a bit offputting, but generally understandable. I felt cheated when Malcolm, working alone, accomplished more than when he was with Shauna. When I think about it, the Shauna scenes are mostly fluff because she disappears after her part and her purpose is only to show Malcolm's goodness by contrast. It's also a total non-ending. What did Malcolm learn?

I also don't know why Malcolm is doing this. Why is he a hacker for hire? In this story he just seems to be nicer than the rest, but nothing to elevate him into a real do-gooder. What are the stakes? Why can't he just run away from it all? I want to know more about him, but you didn't give me much material to work on.

Entenzahn - The Bottom Line

Jackie is not a good person, not in the sense of the prompt. Robbing people is not in any universe I would consider "good", even if it's to feed a family. Seriously, what were you thinking? Untarnished and unafraid!

This story has an idiot plot, summarized by Gau in his crit. There's so many problems here. The wife appearing AT THE VERY TRAIN THEY'RE ROBBING is a whole new level of contrived, and the twist is really loving dumb. I'm too busy laughing to care about the ironic ending.

Broenheim - Small Town Justice

Bland and melodramatic. I didn't like how the resolution happened off-page and had to be told to the main character. Joey may have done the right thing, but having him vindicated by a faceless crowd is no way to end a story. Still, you're the first one to not utterly flub the prompt and tell a coherent story that isn't populated by idiots, which should count for a tiny bit.

God Over Djinn - Sarah, Underwater

I am not down with the use of italics for dialogue, but the words are good. Sarah's conflict was grounded and relatable, and points for using a mundane setting effectively. Setting the story in a camp makes Sarah's resentment of Caroline work--she's stuck with the girl and just seeing the person around makes it grate on her nerves.

I have problems with stories starring kids (seeing that most children are brats), but I didn't hate these kids. Maybe because I relate a bit too much with Sarah? I know that Caroline isn't really treating Sarah like poo poo, but she sure feels like that to Sarah's perspective, and Sarah wrestles with the thought. And she saves Caroline anyway, even when it's easy to just let her be, haha serves you right. She does the right thing instead of just dragging her feet about it, and that means a lot for someone who can't swim. (I can't swim either)

I really liked this story and voted it for winner, because it had that altruistic element that the winning entry lacked.

Nethilia - Sundown Towns

The plot is okay, prompt's followed without reservations, but I felt left out with how the story throws this and that (segregation, code-switching) and expects me to understand right away. Not sure where this story is actually set. Black people are oppressed and threatened with sexual assault but they could still own mobile phones? This might be a stronger story for me if I were American.

I also kept confusing Sally for Shanice. That wouldn't have been an issue if either had been more fleshed out. I didn't care very much for this. I think the setting was just a bit too ridiculous without explanation.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


I'll do two big line-by-line crits for last week's entries. First in, first served. Who wants 'em?

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.





SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

I'll do two big line-by-line crits for last week's entries. First in, first served. Who wants 'em?

I'd love one!

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

I'll do two big line-by-line crits for last week's entries. First in, first served. Who wants 'em?

Sure, crit me, muffin-man.

theblunderbuss
Jul 4, 2010

I find dead men rout
more easily.


I'm in.

Teddybear
May 16, 2009

Look! A teddybear doll!
It's soooo cute!




Been lax on this. Gonna have time to kill over the weekend, so I'm in.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Everyone in so far is all songed up.

Drunk Nerds
Jan 25, 2011

Just close your eyes

Fun Shoe

I have a favor to ask you, Kaishai

May I have a song to write about, even though I almost definitely will be entering late on Monday/Tuesday, and thus be DQ'ed?
I have trouble writing my best on Thurs/fri/sat/sun due to work/childcare obligations.
But I still want to write one because A. Everyone knows I need as much practice as possible and B. My wife and I have a running joke where we come up with offensive interpretations of mundane songs ("Did you ever wonder if `I Got You under My Skin' was really about getting an STD from a whore?" "YES! I've always wondered the exact same thing about `(You Give Me) Fever'"

If not, I'll self-assign a song so I can sufficiently humiliate myself, as usual. But, somehow, it feels more constructive if that song comes from the official.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

I'm inclined to grant your unusual request, but we need some stakes here. Russian roulette is not the same without a gun, and in the Thunderdome, without a risk there isn't fun. I'll give you a song if you agree to the following:

If you submit past the Sunday, 11:59pm EST deadline, you won't be eligible to win. You'll still be eligible to lose. If you should post a sufficiently terrible story after results are announced, I reserve the right to name you co-loser of the week and edit the results post accordingly. You can duck this by writing something that's not godawful, of course. (Hint: prioritize telling a good story over being outrageous.)

If you should agree to these terms and then fail to submit by Wednesday, you concede to Bad Seafood, Chairchucker, and myself the right to give you one flash rule apiece at any point in the future. That means we could pile three soul-curdling rules on you the next time you sign up. Have you seen Chairchucker's flash rules? I hope you like beards and Mariah Carey.

Are you game, Drunk Nerds? Shall we dance?

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

Crits, Part One

“These are stern words, but be not alarmed. They are only words.”

A few pre-crit words only, since Schneider Heim touched on a lot of what I wanted to say. The film of The Long Goodbye was suggested; I’d, as well, recommend reading the book. It’s one of my favorite novels, and I love it because of its portrayal of Philip Marlowe as a lonely, bitter man who does something noble and remarkable and foolish, for someone who clearly doesn’t deserve it, and for reasons that he doesn’t know (though he knows it's not for any of the noble, or otherwise, motives that everyone around him ascribes to him), but that we probably do. Because he is, whether he thinks of himself that way or not (he does not), a hero (to quote Chandler again) “by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it and certainly without saying it.”

(Okay, maybe a few more than a few words.)

Not all of you gave me heroes. Some of you gave me people who felt slightly bad about being terrible people, or about doing terrible things. Some of you didn’t even give me that much.

The best of you gave me characters who couldn’t have told me why they do the things they do, because it’s like explaining why you breathe, but where I knew anyway. The best of you gave me people who valued things the world didn’t have a clue about, who had struggles no one else would ever notice or care about, who pay a price for what’s important to them, and sometimes that price is pain, and sometimes that price is anonymity, or any of a thousand other things.

And some of you gave me people wandering around a cave for no goddamn reason.

Cache Cab - When Judas Saved Jesus

This one, I am sorry to say, hurt. Not just because it wasn’t a good story, but because I really dug the premise, and wanted it so badly to be a good story. And then it just plain didn’t deliver.

Your descriptions of Hell and the temptations it offered were clichéd, but you could have risen above that if not for this story’s greatest flaw, its paper-thin characters. You give us almost nothing about Lukowe, and a brigand leader who believes himself holy enough to pass into Heaven in the world you’ve created is a character that demands exploration. Of Mahdi we know even less. He exists, he’s Lukowe’s second-in-command, and...nothing. He barely rises to the lofty heights of “plot device”. This, I think, is at the heart of what robs your finale of any poignance, That, and there are no real consequences to Lukowe’s decision.

Were you trying to parallel your account of Judas’ betrayal with Lukowe’s forsaking of Heaven at the end? It didn’t quite work, but I see how it could have, and the story would have been stronger for it. But then, I could end so many sentences about this story with those words.

If you do revisit this piece later -- and I kind of hope you do, for all that I’m skeptical about how useful salvage operations are -- focus on strengthening your characters. Make them feel like real people, and it won’t matter if they’re in clichéd or unreal situations.

Finally, your use of the word “retribution” puzzled me at the end. Did you mean “salvation” or “redemption” or something similar, instead? Also, your blatant references to the mean streets quotation did you no favors with me at all.

CommissarMega - Scapegoat

I liked this story more than my fellow judges did, but that’s not to say I don’t think they have a point. It’s never quite clear what’s happening, and while I’m all for not hand-holding the reader, clarity will never hurt your story. Benoit’s practice of ‘sacrificing’ individuals to protect their families made sense to me; the deal he was talking about with the Nazi-hunter at the end did not.

It’s a balancing act, of course; too much exposition becomes dull, and too little leads to, well, the reactions you got this week.

I’d also have liked more about why Benoit was doing what he was doing; the mention that he’d been a soldier before the occupation of France gives me something, but it’s not enough. As I said above, maybe he doesn’t even know, but we should. Whereas I think the opposite is the case here; Benoit knows on some level exactly what’s driving him to act, but we don’t get to find out.

Honestly, I’d have liked more of Benoit in general; You established Lucien so much more clearly as a character, to the point where I thought that you actually wanted to make him your protagonist instead.

Meeple - Old Ways

I think you need some demonstration of why Shauna wasn’t just an rear end in a top hat, why her approach of endangering innocents to get their data might have been the smarter play than Malcolm’s approach of only endangering himself. As it is, Shauna just looks like a chump, and I don’t think that’s what you were trying to portray. Had the stakes been higher, had what Malcolm did at the end been presented as more difficult, or even impossible, the story would have been stronger for it.

It’s the dividing line between a good story and a great one, though, rather than between a serviceable story and “oh my sweet gently caress what did I just read”. Your characters are sketched out, but I think they fall on the right side of archetype vs cliché, and the accents and dialogue largely work. Malcolm’s at least trying to be a principled man in a world you tell me (but don’t really show me) makes that difficult, which is in the neighborhood of what I asked for.

Entenzahn - The Bottom Line

Jackie is a desperate man driven to crime by poverty, and that’s a fine, if well-explored, motivation, but it’s more-or-less the opposite of the sort of story I wanted to see this week.

Which isn’t to say it’s a bad story. It’s not a great story either, I’m afraid. I almost admire the audacity of “Goddangit Jackie, you brought your wife to a train robbery.” but it’s completely at odds with the tone of the rest of the piece and, I think, to its detriment.

I don’t have a lot to say about this one otherwise, except that it didn’t really get anywhere near the prompt.

Broenheim - Small Town Justice

This went to a more interesting place than I expected when I started reading it. “Man plays vigilante to draw public attention to a wealthy and connected rapist who can’t possibly be prosecuted” is a twist I like a lot more than the mere revenge porn I feared I’d be getting when I started reading this. You could polish this into something worthy with some effort.

But please, please, edit your work. There is no goddamn excuse for “shot” instead of “shoot” once, let alone the three times I saw before I stopped counting.

Oh, and I haven't forgotten that I owe you a line-by-line of your Mammoth story. It will still happen.

God Over Djinn - Sarah Underwater

I cannot emphasize enough how close you came to winning with this. It is a very solid, very effective piece of writing, and it’s an interesting take on the prompt. The meanness of a world that is indifferent to the Sarahs of the world in the face of the Carolines works as well as the more obvious idea of a cruel and corrupt world.

Sarah’s flirtation with resentment, and her decision at the end being both heroic and a little selfish worked really well for me. This is fine work, and you should be proud.

Nethilia - Sundown Towns

I think the exaggerated reality of this setting works in this story’s favor rather than against it, though I can see why people would think differently. Anyhow, this one sucked me in and kept me reading straight to the end, and you earn all kinds of points for that alone.

I was left a little dissatisfied by Sally. I think I was meant to believe that she was risking something by defying the local law/custom as she did, but it’s not really clear what, and I don’t know quite why she risked it. Again, she need not articulate why, but it should be something the reader can answer with some thought. And you know, if the answer is just “she’s not a racist rear end in a top hat like her fellow residents of Daytown”, then fair enough, but some exploration of that would be welcome.

But the unanswered questions didn’t feel overlooked to me, so much as they felt like things that would be answered in the inevitable later parts of this story. It feels like it wants to be a piece of a larger whole. That’s no bad thing.

More to come!

Drunk Nerds
Jan 25, 2011

Just close your eyes

Fun Shoe

Kaishai posted:

I'm inclined to grant your unusual request, but we need some stakes here. Russian roulette is not the same without a gun, and in the Thunderdome, without a risk there isn't fun. I'll give you a song if you agree to the following:

If you submit past the Sunday, 11:59pm EST deadline, you won't be eligible to win. You'll still be eligible to lose. If you should post a sufficiently terrible story after results are announced, I reserve the right to name you co-loser of the week and edit the results post accordingly. You can duck this by writing something that's not godawful, of course. (Hint: prioritize telling a good story over being outrageous.)

If you should agree to these terms and then fail to submit by Wednesday, you concede to Bad Seafood, Chairchucker, and myself the right to give you one flash rule apiece at any point in the future. That means we could pile three soul-curdling rules on you the next time you sign up. Have you seen Chairchucker's flash rules? I hope you like beards and Mariah Carey.

Are you game, Drunk Nerds? Shall we dance?

I love it, thanks.

Toaster Beef
Jan 23, 2007

that's not nature's way


This is too good to pass up. Count me in.

Toaster Beef
Jan 23, 2007

that's not nature's way


So, I had some free time. Here's mine:

Prompt: "Cotton Eye Joe"

If It Hadn’t Been

1,196 words

The rustle of his fields, swaying gently in the heavy evening air. Crickets. The creaking of the wooden porch under his subtly anxious feet. Just inside the cabin, a screaming newborn.

The moon loomed large and foreboding over all of creation tonight, and though its beauty was undeniable, on this night Jacob wanted nothing more than to see it fall.

Footsteps. The tired groaning of the back door. His wife, up and moving. The doctor had told her to get nothing but rest after delivery, and when she scoffed the doctor looked at Jacob as if to say, “This is your charge.” He told the doctor he’d do what he could, but she’d never been still a day in her life.

She walked to his side, leaving the door open behind her. He didn’t pry his gaze from the fields. When she finally spoke, it was barely above a whisper.

“Ain’t nothin’ out here.”

For what felt to her like a long time, he said nothing. Back in the cabin, their newborn had finally worn itself out and drifted off to sleep.

“Ain’t movin’.”

She sighed.

“I don’t know who went an’ filled your head with these stories about Bridgeton —”

“— ain’t stories.”

“But we ain’t in Bridgeton anymore, and you’re a grown man with a brand new baby girl needs takin’ care of. Now I was okay with comin’ out here and gettin’ away from things on account of what happened to our Paul, but I did it thinkin’ it’d put an end to this curse talk once an’ for all.”

That landed. He looked at her, into her, his eyes a mix of intensity and sadness she’d never seen before.

“Curse didn’t take our boy. High river took our boy. The curse don’t take boys, I told you that time and time again.”

He turned back toward the fields.

As frustrated as she was, the fatigue of being up and moving around so soon was enough to get her to yield. She sighed again and walked back inside, closing the door behind her. Its hinges groaned loudly, and the baby awoke once more. Its cries, accompanied by his wife’s attempts to quiet them, soon joined the din of the night around him.

She’d come from three towns over, a one-road deal almost fully surrounded by the waters of the bayou. To her, the curse might as well be a fairy tale — something passed around in hushed voices over dying campfires, something to keep a man awake at night. He knew better. He’d seen the effect firsthand: his slowly dying town, the rush of married couples to flee the area before trying to conceive, a pall weighing heavily on all things.

They’d chanced staying in town for their last child, the naivete of youth leading him to think the tale could never come true for him and his family. She, having not grown up in town, thought nothing of the story and thus didn’t do much to convince him otherwise.

When their first baby came out a boy, they celebrated. When that boy, at the age of ten, was taken by a high river and pulled out three days later, they mourned.

It was only a week after she realized she was pregnant for a second time that they’d moved clear of the Bridgeton limits. The curse may not have had anything to do with their boy, but Jacob would chance nothing with their second child.

Now, with his newborn girl in her crib, he hoped quietly they’d gotten out in time.

He could no longer hear the baby crying from inside the cabin. His wife’s efforts to quiet the child had also gone quiet. He couldn’t be sure if one, both, or neither of them were awake, and he opted not to check for fear of waking them with the door.

It was just then that he spotted something. There, out in the fields — a shifting, of sorts, a small spot of grain moving counter to the wind-induced sway. He stared, unblinking, wishing the moonlight would help him just a little bit more.

Its first movements were uncertain, almost drunken, but as it straightened itself out it moved on a direct line toward the cabin, cutting a path through the grains but leaving those behind it undisturbed, as if a large animal were crawling on its belly and somehow weaving its way around each individual stalk. Jacob was frozen to the spot, his arms out slightly, unsure what to do. The disturbance continued making a beeline for the cabin, growing more and more apparent until finally, less than ten feet from the edge of the field, it surfaced.

He felt his heart drop into his stomach. His legs lost their bones. Regardless, he didn’t move an inch. He couldn’t.

Free of the field and walking with a deliberate pace toward the cabin was a tall man with a long coat and large hat, his significant figure silhouetted by the moonlight.

Jacob wanted nothing more in the world than to run inside, to warn his wife, to gather his newborn child and flee, to run and run and never stop. He couldn’t move. He pushed with all of his will and effort, strained, screaming internally for even one muscle to cooperate. His eyes darted from side to side as he struggled to turn his head. It was no use. He couldn’t budge.

The man was now at the edge of the porch. Jacob was now able to see he hadn’t been silhouetted by the moonlight at all — he was, simply, darkness. As he readied himself to step onto the porch, he removed his hat, revealing the only part of him that could be said to be anything other than akin to staring into a void: his eyes. Human eyes, even if only in shape. They were a stained white, like those of an old man long blind, but they were very clearly capable of sight. They focused intently on Jacob’s frozen form.

The man in the coat nodded, then walked casually by and opened the cabin door. It groaned loudly.

Still frozen, Jacob could only listen as the baby began screaming again. So too, briefly, did his wife — but as quickly as she started, she was again silent. A few seconds later, the baby’s scream evolved into a cry, a wailing that pierced Jacob and would forever weigh on him more heavily than anything he’d previously thought possible.

And then: silence.

Jacob shut his eyes hard — the only movement he’d been allowed — and felt tears well in their corners. Internally, he screamed and shook with a mix of rage and desperation. Externally, he did absolutely nothing.

The man in the coat walked by once more, this time heading back toward the field. He stopped and nodded at Jacob, placed his hat back on his head, and sank into the grains like a foundering ship.

Jacob, finally able to move again, sank to his hands and knees.

His own sobbing. The rustle of his fields, swaying gently in the heavy evening air. Just inside the cabin, his screaming wife.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

If you'd like to join the horrible Thunderdome karaoke party, know that you have four hours to do so.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Hit me in the face with a song.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Kaishai posted:

If you'd like to join the horrible Thunderdome karaoke party, know that you have four hours to do so.
Not anymore you don't. Sign ups are closed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohkYgW3f3jI

Fleeting reminder we are looking for horror stories, not horrible stories.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



sebmojo posted:

in.

e:
who wants a brawl. i feel a breaking, in me.

I feel frisky.

Just make the deadline before Friday, I've got three consecutive ten-hour work days next Friday/Saturday/Sunday.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Djeser posted:

I feel frisky.

Just make the deadline before Friday, I've got three consecutive ten-hour work days next Friday/Saturday/Sunday.

Who will judge?

Drunk Nerds
Jan 25, 2011

Just close your eyes

Fun Shoe

After all that fuss, I actually managed to get this done on time.

Let's Dance

Clara had been through the painful steps so many times that her mind was as numb as her blood-soaked toes.

"Let's Dance!" Fritz's voice crackled through the tinny loudspeaker, "put on your dancing shoes!"

Clara looked in her cracked dressing room mirror. "What do you mean us?" she muttered.

She laced her pointe shoes around her aching, swollen feet. Once pink, the shoes had become dark red, stained by slowly seeping blood.

But she went into what was probably her thousandth rehearsal with a spring in her step. Today would be different.

As she approached the stage, "La bataille de Casse-Noisette et du Roi des souris" began playing from the theater's aging sound system. Once, the ballet had featured a full-orchestra. But that had been removed when dwindling attendance forced cutbacks, scrapped along with new equipment and their third daily meal. Clara slipped behind the curtain, helping Sergei get his mouse costume over his hump.

"Don't gently caress up the costume," said Sergei, his usual mantra for this routine, as he slipped into the full mouse suit.

"I think it's today," Clara told him.

This caught Sergei's attention, a rare smile broke out over his face, "when?"

"After... lunch," Clara winked, the man in costume nodded his mouse head.

"Mouse King!" Fritz's voice boomed through a megaphone, even though the fat director was ten feet away in the front row.

"My name's Sergei," his voice was muffled through the thick mouse costume.

"Your name is Mouse, king of the crippled actor assholes! If you don't get your rear end onto the trapeze, you're name will be Homeless Monkey!"

Sergei trudged behind the curtain, and began strapping on the harness. As Sam the stagehand grabbed the heavy ropes, Sergei whispered, "be ready."

The life-sized nutcracker marionette sat onstage. Clara had never felt so much hatred for an inanimate object as she had for that stuffed wooden puppet. The first night critics had openly laughed when it lifted into the air and "fought" the mouse king. Sergei had done his best to feign a good fight, grabbing the nutcracker's arms and whacking them against his mouse head, but the whole thing was a farce. Still, Fritz had insisted continuing with the oversized puppet, despite pleas from almost everyone in the production.

Today, she would get even with both of them.

Clara hurried over to the life-sized nutcracker marionette. It was onstage, in full view of Fritz's burning red eyes. But this was no time to start worrying about consequences. She reached deep into the torso of the nutcracker, pulling out an enormous amount of stuffing and shoving it in her mouth.

"What the hell, Clara!"

"It's a backstage tradition," she said, truthfully, through a mouthful of stuffing, "I call it `lunch'."

Fritz waddled onstage and looked in the nutcracker, "well you'll have to stop calling it that, because it looks like there's no more stuffing." He laughed, Clara knew her hunger made him happy. She also knew the round Nutcracker torso was hollow: She had removed the last bunch of stuffing, setting in motion the entire plan.

With a flabby arm, Fritz shoved her. Stumbling backwards sent bolts of pain through her toes and up her ankles. The thick black curtain barely broke her fall. "Into position!" he yelled. Clara slipped behind the curtain and waited. For the first time in months, she felt excited.

"And up!" The music started again. Sam pulled on two ropes, Sergei and the nutcracker flew in the air.

Slipping through the curtain, Clara entered the stage. She knew her blocking, it was ingrained in her thanks to Fritz's beatings. So it was hard for her to walk way off her mark, and begin her opening pirouette.

"CUT!" Fritz's spit flew from the front row onto Clara's face, "GET IN POSITION, YOU DUMB BITCH!"

"I... I don't know where..."

Spiking his megaphone onto his chair, Fritz stormed onstage. Grabbing Clara's wrist so hard she could feel it sprain, he shoved her to the wooden stage slats. "Here!" He moved into position, directly underneath the nutcracker, "put your skinny rear end here!"

Clara's painful grimace turned into a wicked smile. "Now!" She screamed.

Backstage, Sam released his grip on the left rope. The hollow nutcracker fell onto Fritz's head and shoulders. The stagehand released the right rope, and Sergei fell. He smashed onto the nutcracker, forcing it down around Fritz's stout body.

"I can't move" screamed the red-cheeked director. It was all he could get out before Clara wrapped duct tape around his mouth.

"Let's dance!" Sam said, right before shoving the nutcracker head down over Fritz's fat face.

That night, the ballet had its first rave review. Soon, audiences began filling the seats to see the small production that had somehow turned itself around. Of particular note to the critics was how lifelike the nutcracker puppet seemed during its epic battle with Sergei, the Mouse King.

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Mercedes
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.






sebmojo posted:

Who will judge?

Elementary Story Power Hour

Sebmojito


Djester


2000 words. One week. Young adult popcorn reads. I'm a child, entertain me. Go!

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