|# ? Jul 21, 2015 11:23|
|# ? Jan 31, 2023 17:48|
|# ? Jul 21, 2015 11:27|
I don't have time to write, but I will be handing out some random crits again.
|# ? Jul 21, 2015 12:01|
I have spent a lot of time locked in a hot car, so I am qualified to do this.
are you someone's pet dog
|# ? Jul 21, 2015 12:39|
are you someone's pet dog
Just behind "writing a good story," WLOTM really struggles with "opening doors."
Also, I'm in.
|# ? Jul 21, 2015 13:02|
are you someone's pet dog
*Sheds on the apholstery*
|# ? Jul 21, 2015 13:13|
|# ? Jul 21, 2015 13:53|
God help me.
|# ? Jul 21, 2015 15:08|
|# ? Jul 21, 2015 15:29|
Back in because this just made me really happy.
That said, from this point on I'm only writing about warm milk and shoes just to spite you.
|# ? Jul 21, 2015 15:32|
|# ? Jul 21, 2015 15:47|
|# ? Jul 21, 2015 18:19|
|# ? Jul 21, 2015 18:38|
hot pun that contains the word in
|# ? Jul 21, 2015 18:53|
|# ? Jul 21, 2015 19:18|
Something something, Hot in my pants!
|# ? Jul 21, 2015 23:39|
Something something, Hot in my pants!
May I suggest some baby powder to avoid chafing?
|# ? Jul 22, 2015 00:45|
I'll be in.
|# ? Jul 22, 2015 01:24|
in with a toxx I guess
|# ? Jul 22, 2015 06:58|
Week 154 Crits
So many basements and attics. So many grandmas/grandpas. Not enough Uncle Jebulons. So many bad episodes of the Twilight Zone and SCP experiment logs.
We did livecrits of this week. The recordings from those sessions are available in IRC.
Specters of Autism
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooo! SoA, I feel like in recent stories, you really worked to apply the critiques we've given you so far. But this entry felt like a step backward. You throw in a bunch of worldbuilding ideas, like the Eye of Zorthaz, the 'scapes, the artificers...and yet you never once give even a barebones description of where your characters are. You have all these actions happening in a void, and it's so abstract that I had trouble even summarizing the plot. I don't particularly know what these characters want, because it's not really clear who is under the Eye's influence throughout the story.
Next time ask yourself 1) who are your characters and what do they want? 2) Where are they and why are they there? 3) What unique aspects of your world help or hinder your characters?
The judges were all pretty familiar with your writing, so we were kinda bummed to see you go all abstract again. I like your writing when you focus on the more concrete aspects of your story, as opposed to spending your whole word count trying to describe abstract cerebral or magical stuff. You have big, cool ideas that I would LOVE if you could bring them down to Earth a little bit. Please keep trying.
I wasn't terribly convinced by any of the conflict in this story. The mechanic of the journal was cool enough, but I didn't really buy the conflict between the protagonist and his sister. She was annoying, I guess, but the whole "starting over" thing at the end wasn't satisfying because she wasn't terribly well-characterized beyond "vaguely annoying and insensitive". I don't think the plot did justice to the conflict. I felt like grandma was mostly there to explain the journal, and a lot of words were used on exposition-through-dialog. I would've liked to see the journal in action more, with a meatier conflict to carry the idea.
Most disappointing cold sore EVER. I was kind of hooked at the beginning. I thought it was going to be a mirror that could transmit STDs or something. But no, it was bargain bin Slenderman being creepy. Except there was no real payoff. The creepy pale guy is just there to be vaguely creepy. It wasn't clear if he was causing anything to happen beyond the protagonist's anxiety. I guess the implication is that Pale Guy caused the girlfriend to roll her car? But it's not clear how/why he did that, since all he does is hang around and then get CLOSER AND CLOSER TO THE MIRROR OH NOOOOOOOOO. This, like many stories this week, was a Twilight Zone episode. The protagonist can be characterized as "guy looking into a mirror with gathering jealousy and fear". The girlfriend can be characterized as "musician girlfriend who doesn't know she's being observed/followed." The ending was like....THE END DOT DOT DOT QUESTION MARK
I think, if you'd honed in one just one of the family members' time with the bottle, you'd have an interesting story here. ALL the judges wanted to see more of uncle Jebulon. A wacky uncle who uses the family's heirloom bottle of endless water as a bomb would be a pretty fun premise. But it's just this plodding family history with no real immediate action to draw me in. You could've even introduced a vague conflict by putting the whole family at odds with something, some battle for the bottle maybe. But it's literally Antiques Roadshow: SCP edition. Except no one gets paid at the end.
I know you know what I think about this already. I thought you took care to not make the rasor the centerpiece of the story. The centerpiece was Will and Jackson, who are about to be separated by divorce and a move. The problem was, there wasn't any urgency until right at the end re: discovering the property of the blade just as Mom is coming to take Jackson away. Lucille is rather sinister, and the blood pact between the boys is going to have consequences. That could've been a truly great read. What we have here is sort of like the prologue to the great story you almost wrote.
Good characters. I felt like they had a past and relationship outside of the text. I think you could've almost left out most of the beginning and reworked their background into the actual story. Then you could've spent more time with the
Doyle and his nurse are both fantastic, living, breathing characters. Doyle isn't perfect, but he is likeable. It's something you rarely see in short fiction. Nurse Romell/Talbot is nearly unflappable--nearly--but she has her soft and sore spots. And Doyle, in his absentminded tactlessness, pokes at them. But the nurse is obviously an old hand at dealing with patients like Doyle. The fact that I can say so much about these characters is indicative of how well you fleshed them out. The actual moment of crisis--the attempt on the scientist's life--is a little thin, but that's not the real conflict in the story anyway. And it's written well, keeping with the jaunty voice of the narrative. The most important this is, it signifies a significant change in Doyle and Talbot's relationship. The crossword puzzle is a neat little oddity, much like the presence of a scientist who ~knows things~, but it's not the centerpiece of the story. Instead, it works with the plot, giving Doyle an advantage over his situation. This was an easy, unanimous choice for the win, and you should feel good about yourself for writing it.
So, the judges were not thrilled by this story. Mostly because, it wasn't really a story. It was a buildup to the reveal. The only real conflict is vague, and has to do with the neighbor's judging the narrator's family because they're city folk. I think it's a fine thing to use elements from worlds like Oz, because it's so widely known and is kind of part of the collective imagination now, but there needs to be a unique story. The narrator was just there to tell us "grandma was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz". She didn't really have much in the way of wants or personality. She was just relaying information to us.
lol Inception. Did it have to be a top? Surely there are other things that could break physics through perpetual motion. But like so okay. I'm a little skeptical that no one other than John would be amazed/disturbed that this top can spin for an inordinate amount of time. Abrupt suicide endings are almost always a cop-out. Even moreso because it's a scientist who literally kills himself because he was confronted with TOO MUCH UNKNOWN. The tone shift is weird too. John and other generic name guy (Mike?) seem like total dudebros at first, but then John ends up being this obsessive scientist. It didn't really read smoothly at all in that respect. In any case, you set up two conflicts and don't resolve either. The first one is the strain on John and Mike's relationship because John took the top. The second is John being put on leave at work because of his obsession with the top. You should've picked one and developed it. Then maybe you would've have had to resort to killing John off at the end.
I think you have a career in YA fiction and/or light novels. You're pretty good at cute high school characters. I thought this was a great way to approach the prompt; in this case, your anomalous object fit the character's personality. They worked together to move the plot. I guess my only critique was that the ending was a little...happy-go-lucky? Like. "I want to die". *Has friendship and crepes* "NOW EVERYTHING IS GOOD!" But I was kind of glad they didn't end up as a couple, or whatever. I felt like, by the end of the story, the protagonist had changed a bit. Like, at first she seems a bit superficial, kind of a typical high school girl, but the pen forces her to confront something a bit darker and more serious. And she gets a friend out of it. It was a little anime, but a solid story. So good job.
This had a lot of stuff I really loved. It was well written and the imagery was gorgeous. I didn't really understand why Cat was so resistant to help, both from a doctor and her friends. Because I didn't understand it, I found it less than believable. I feel like it created this artificial conflict, which was easily resolved when Matt invoked her promise to paint him. I felt like you needed a stronger emotional component. The ending, where Cat and Matt go to dinner, didn't feel too cathartic or moving because like, they seemed to have a friendly, good-natured relationship the whole time. So it wasn't a huge surprise that they end up dating, or whatever. There was potential for some cool parity; she accepts her feelings for Matt at the same time as she finds the beauty in her Kaleidoscope eye. I guess I just with their relationship was defined a bit more.
While "trail of marbled viscera" is a great phrase, I wasn't really a fan of the car crash at the beginning. It just used up words that would've been better spent on the interaction between Philip and Number 7. This had your usual flare for the absurdly humorous, and the worldbuilding was kinda neat, but I feel like the story just did a full circle and not much more. And the more I read it, the more I wish you'd chopped out the entire first section and put those words to a satisfying ending. You need a word transplant. You should've gone straight to Philip eating the Porque No? and meeting Number 7, and developed a real conflict from there.
This didn't really work. The conflict is uh...Tammy is a dumb kid and doesn't know what Leukemia is? The whole "his friends Luke and Mia" thing didn't really work...why would he go to the hospital to visit Luke and Mia? I dunno. I guess this wanted to be a touching story about two kids playing pretend and dealing with a serious illness in a childish way. But it just came across as kind of cliche and saccharine. The titular fairybread didn't play an obvious role. The judges all thought the treehouse was the magical element of the story, but the title makes it seem that isn't the case.
We didn’t notice that my tree-house until just now.
DIDN'T NOTICE THAT YOUR TREEHOUSE _______???_________ UNTIL JUST NOW. The judges really wanted to know what that missing word or phrase was.
Why on Earth did the characters "borrow" a camera from DARPA??? And then continue to use it after some obvious weird poo poo started happening? What happened to Kiko and why was she even in the story to begin with? What the heck happened at the end? So, the camera clearly shows pictures of a different time. Presumably an apocalyptic or dystopian future. But why does all the frantic clicking at the end = nuclear winter? Or, was the camera just taking pictures of the immediate future, which happened to include a nuclear weapon going off? That I am so confused isn't good news for your plot. I didn't connect with the characters at all, and the detailed descriptions of Donna using the computer at the end were pretty bad and useless.
A piece of kitsch turns an unhappy cougar young and sexy again. Then the guy she grew up with/has a crush on shows up and doesn't want to bang her hot younger self. So she reverses the magic and goes to have a GILF hookup. The dialog with Bobby felt a bit...pointless? Like this should be a lead-in to erotica, not a standalone piece of flash fiction. Or it needs to be part of a longer trashy novel where Sandra has all kinds of semi-sexy antics with her kitschy driftwood. As a standalone thing, it feels like a vignette in the worst sort of way. Just, thing happened, the end. I guess Sandra comes to accept her older self, but only because of the implication that Bobby wants to spend time with her. But that's kind of a generous assessment. This really isn't a scenario well-suited to flash fiction.
This is cute and sweet! But the central conflict isn't too clear. The judges were pretty sure the problem was that the protagonist was a boy, and was being pressured not to sew. And if you'd made that more clear, it would've made the story a lot better. I didn't understand why the dog stopped moving when his mom first came into the room, then conveniently jumped up and started doing dog things a minute later. I felt like the mom's change in attitude is too sudden, and she's way too understanding of the whole "living yarn dog" thing. I liked the idea and a lot of the writing was nice, but the main conflict wasn't strong enough, so it was just a cute little vignette about a boy and his yarn dog.
This was precisely written, and the mechanic was really cool, but it felt like an experiment log from the SCP wiki. The plot is basically, Tanner discovers a family secret, messes around with it, gets trapped in a room because of unwitting interference by his girlfriend. This was another twilight zone episode. The characters exist to make the plot happen, and have little in the way of motivations beyond responding to the immediate situation. The dialog is sparse and banal. Not bad, but nothing special. It's just information being exchanged. Also, I felt like the sex dungeon was a red herring. Nothing truly interesting happened with the sex dungeon, it was just kinda there as a hook. I half-heartedly wanted to HM this because of how clear and unique the chess gimmick was written, but the weakness of the plot held it back.
Eeeeh, I'm not a fan of the whole investigator shtick. Just tell the story! Don't waste your tiny wordcount framing the story in an interrogation, or whatever. So, your anomalous item is this journal with schematics for some sort of rift to...heaven? And some angels come out and kill some people who, Daquan informs us, are very bad. They're rapists, basically. Of course, so is Daquan by his own admission (he mentions the two dudebros sometimes let him bang the girls they get drunk/drug), so why doesn't he get charred with the rest? And why did Cassidy die? She doesn't even have a line, and is apparently a victim of the two lovely dudebros. Why did Daquan still have the schematics in jail? Did he go through the door of his own volition, or was he taken? And why should I care?
Bad Ideas Good
The judges were thoroughly confused by this piece. If this had been poetic prose week, you might've escaped the chopping block. But virtually nothing was clear about this piece. The judges ultimately pieced the story together, but it was waaaaaaay too much work for a week where clarity was of the utmost importance. You had some big ideas, but you basically chucked them into a blender and hit puree. Then you threw the resulting slop against a wall.
I read this on judgemode, so initially I thought it was a metaphor for war and was angry. In our livecrits, I ranted about the inefficiency of killing puppies one-by-one and how it didn't really serve the story. But then I thought about it, realized it was you, and reread it with that in mind. Which isn't the best when we're trying to judge relatively objectively. But this story is way better when you know it's about a scientist who's sick of the repetitious, gruesome aspects of his career, and how everyone is like "wow you do science, ur so good and fancy". I wish you'd made that more obvious, so I could've appreciated it without knowing who it was by. I guess if I thought you were going to rewrite this, I'd tell you to make it clear this isn't a metaphor for ~the horrors of war~ or something like that. I'd say tone down the shock value and clarify the purpose of the piece. But really, I feel like this was you venting, and that's ok. Your words are still good, and this was actually pretty fun to read out loud during our live crits.
This had some good parts. It had some plodding parts. I'm not actually looking at the story as I write this, so here's what I remember about this piece: The protagonist inherits her mother's house, which is crooked from water damage and lack of upkeep. [Some stuff happens]. The protagonist finds a plastic Easter egg (which her mother was very fond of), inside of which is her mother's ring. The protagonist whispers into the egg (to her departed mother), and sets it rolling on the floor of the crooked house, which was a sweet gesture. Like giving the egg back to a ghost, or something. I know more stuff happened, but those were the things that were interesting enough to stick in my craw.
Okay, I just went back over the story. I guess I forgot about the conflict with the sister because it really just felt like a way to introduce the idea of the ring. It didn't reeeeally influence the ending in any way. Amy stomps off and isn't heard from again, and the protagonist gets the ring she was looking for. It seems like the egg would've shown up either way.
|# ? Jul 22, 2015 07:11|
I've got a new piece of technology to help me focus
|# ? Jul 22, 2015 07:18|
|# ? Jul 22, 2015 11:32|
|# ? Jul 24, 2015 01:44|
|# ? Jul 24, 2015 19:09|
|# ? Jul 24, 2015 22:35|
Roughly four hours to enter!
|# ? Jul 25, 2015 00:57|
Also, I was kind of sick and had a lot of poo poo going on all week, and I just looked up and went "...wait, I knew I forgot something." So I need judges! PM me, catch me in IRC, or respond here if you're interested.
|# ? Jul 25, 2015 01:45|
|# ? Jul 25, 2015 01:52|
I'm out for the night. Sign-ups close in an hour and twenty minutes.
E. I woke up. Sign-ups are closed.
docbeard fucked around with this message at 05:42 on Jul 25, 2015
|# ? Jul 25, 2015 03:42|
The man leans on the rusty fence, watching his little girl Lisa ride in a hollowed out pink aluminum dog with a non-functioning steering wheel. The dog travels around and around in a jostling circle. She barely smiles. He frowns, thinking of how little she talks, even at age three. How she looks sitting on their floor, watching television: mouth agape, eyes vacant.
“Oh!” his wife practically shrieks in mock surprise. “Hi Lisa!” It startles him from his worries and he joins in, presents the little girl with an exaggerated happy face. Big clown grin, excited, surprised eyes. The toddler raises a pudgy hand in response. Her expression doesn’t change.
His wife’s arm is skeletal, the skin overtanned and stretched across her bones like jerky. Her tank top clings to her back with sweat. Little beads of it rest on her upper lip, above a bridge of bright crimson. A bundle of department store jewelry rattles like plastic around her shaking wrist. She was thin, even a little too thin for his particular taste, back when they first met online. She was masturbating in front of a webcam in her childhood bedroom at age twenty-whatever. One thing led to another, as they say, and Lisa was born a little less than a year later. Shortly after the birth, she grew more obsessed with her weight. He watches her eat her fifth Jolly Rancher of the day. He hadn’t seen her eat anything else yet.
She says something, hands him the hefty diaper bag. He mumbles “Okay” and wipes sweat from the back of his neck and off onto his stained jeans. Then she’s gone. Bathroom, probably.
God, he wants a beer. Not just any beer, but one with foam running down the side of a frosted pint glass like you only see in commercials. Lisa’s dog circles to him again and he waves again. Fake exuberance again, but weaning now. Licking at his lips, he tastes seawater. A margarita would do, too. He shakes the waxy Pepsi cup. The last of the ice melted and it makes no sound. He drops it on the dusty ground.
A teenager bounds up from behind him somewhere and he turns to watch her plant a large, somewhat sincere “daddy I need more cash” kiss on her father’s cheek. Her father is only maybe five years older than the man. He says something to her in return, and hands her some cash from his wallet. He wipes at his brow with his forearm. He and the man make eye contact and exchange a brief glance. Like looking into the future, the man thinks. Christ, the money bleeding never ends.
He was doing dread-math in his head all day about this month’s spending: A hundred bucks at WalMart for clothes and diapers and whatever else. A hundred and fifty to run the AC all drat day to keep her and the kid cool in this heat. Another twenty-five for natural gas. What were they even using gas for in the summer? Before he met his wife, his utilities were half that. Plenty of money left over for beer, the occasional dime bag. Now he doesn’t have enough for the rent which is due by the end of the week. And the next paycheck from Scalezi Construction doesn’t come for another week after.
He hears the teenager thanking her daddy again. She’s wearing cutoff white denim shorts and a bikini top. Jesus, the man thinks, watching her walk/skip away. Her rear end is like rubber. He averts his eyes, quickly, unsure of whether or not the stranger had followed his gaze.
Some part of his paternal instincts reminds him: Your kid is here and there are crowds and pay attention, please. He turns back around, waves to his little girl who rides the ride and is looking down at her lap.
That vacant stare. He hates it because it reminds him of himself. How many times had the teachers had to practically shout his name to get his attention? How many times was he tapped on the shoulder from a classmate? How many times had a grounder gone right past him in little league?
Someone is on their phone near him but not the usual idle chit-chat. The voice is alarmed, serious. He looks to his left and sees it’s the teenagers father.
“Yes,” he says. “No,” he adds. “Kate … just. Kate, I’m at the fair. I’ll get Kylie and meet you there.” He grows impatient. He sounds worried. “Kate,” he implores, growing frustrated, annoyed, “they just said she fell. I don’t know. The basement, I think.”
That’s a man talking his wife, he thinks to himself, smirking. I wonder who fell? Probably his mother. Maybe she’ll die. Then he’d be stuck with his wife and his kid. I hope his mom is okay.
Then the stranger is off the phone and he’s away into the crowd, grabbing his daughter’s tanned tone upper arm with his large hands and pulling her away from a group of boys. His mouth is loudly saying “Just come on.”
The man’s own mother is in fine health. She goes to the gym twice a week, eats well, even does some yoga. She helps watch the kid a couple days a week. Not so his wife can work, no, because she doesn’t have any actual employable skills and it’s not like he’s going to let the mother of his child get off on camera for creeps on the internet. For better or worse, she is his wife. She’s not a bad woman. She cares about the kid, even takes pretty good care of her. The kid’s okay too. They’ll figure it out. Once the kid’s out of diapers, that’s about forty bucks freed up a month. Couple years after that, she’ll get her lunches provided by the school. Maybe even his wife can get a job at the WalMart or something. The kid will be talking by then at least, the kid …
He looks up at the ride. It is still. A new group of little children are being led or carried into the little dogs by their doting, sweating parents. He looks around himself, his head swiveling from side to side. Not there. He looks up, scanning the crowd, watches the other parents pulling at the bottoms of their t-shirts to fan themselves, holding sweating bottles of water up to their foreheads. Not there. He stands on his tip toes to see nothing. Then he’s on his hands and knees, like he’s looking for a lost contact lens on the ground, but he’s looking between a forest of sunburnt calves rising out of dusty flip-flops. Like trying to see a brown deer in a woodlot of dark winter trees when he goes hunting, but instead he’s looking for a not-quite-blonde and not-quite-brown head of thin hair among caucasian legs. Not there.
He begins to call out for her, actually opens his mouth, but then his wife is there. She’s already made one quick glance to the ride and then to him, and she’s asking him “Where is she? Where’s Lisa?”
“She was on the ride,” he says.
|# ? Jul 25, 2015 13:04|
|# ? Jul 26, 2015 01:31|
In the Heat of the Moment – 1255 words
“I have come to kill you,” said Junko. He stood defiantly with his hands on his blade’s hilt. His knuckles were ashen-white, his mouth a thin line. His chin wavered.
Osamu, master of the Iron Demons, rested on his knees. “You are angry Junko. Your anger will not help you,” he said. Oil lamps from the ceiling with soft flames barely illuminated Junko and Osamu. The flame reflected dully in the suits of armor which lined the wall of the room. Shadows reached past the wooden beams of the ceiling. The dry bamboo walls reminded Junko of bars of a cage.
Osamu placed his hands on the mat in front of him and leaned down. With his head against the mat, Osamu began praying. Junko breathed sharply and stepped back, his hands never leaving the hilt. Junko glanced between the suits of armor surrounding him and Osamu lying on the mat.
“What is the meaning of this? Stand and face me!” Junko said.
“We must recognize the spirits that surround us,” said Osamu, “especially when we may soon be joining them.”
Junko’s mouth opened, a question hid behind his lips. He did not understand Osamu’s humility. Where was the prideful master that had laughed down Junko’s sensei? The wrathful fiend who set fire to the peasant’s farmlands? The monster who slaughtered Junko’s clan?
“You prostrate yourself as if a monk. I know your true self, demon master,” Junko said.
Osamu arose from the mat. With one hand on a knee, he pushed himself up. He reached for the oil lantern holding the flame. “You believe me some terrible being. But we are warriors,” said Osamu. He blew out the light. In the darkness, Junko pulled out his blade. He heard iron scratch against iron and felt eyes searching for him.
Osamu drew his own blade.
“You come to my house and announce your desires. Does this bring you some pleasure? Did you expect to see me fear you?”
Hearing only a whisper, Junko felt sharp metal bite at his left forearm. He resisted the urge to bring his right hand off his blade, to clutch the wound. Warm crimson trickled between the raised hairs on his arm.
“When we ride against another, we do not do so pettily. Our blades are tools, our goals impassionate. We spill no blood lest others force us to.”
Another whisper, Junko raised his hilt with sword pointing down. Metal struck against metal. Junko’s hands vibrated, his grip was too tight. He barely loosened it and tried to remember to breathe.
“I know why you come here. You think it is me and my men that came for your clan.”
Junko felt air catch in his throat.
“You are wrong to think so, whelp.” No, Junko thought, who if not the Iron Demons? Another whisper and Junko’s blade flung from his hands as metal struck metal. A brief spark shot from the blade as it hit the stone floor. The suits of armor had moved, they now stood with weapons ready. In a moment, darkness returned to the room.
Junko heard the sound of iron rubbing against iron. He knew then why the suits were there. They held the Iron Demons, warriors who would ensure Junko would not see the light again. Junko reached into his robes, searching for some of his tools. Junko pulled out a small, black ball and waited.
Another whisper. Junko did not think, he only reacted. He slammed his hand, palm open, towards the sound. The ball exploded, gunpowder created a flash of heat and light. Junko’s hand stung badly.
“Awah!” Osamu grunted with pain and surprise. The calmness he projected disappeared. In its place was indignant anger. “You think your tricks will help you? Did they help your clan?”
Junko leaped towards the voice, hitting Osamu with the full weight of his body. Pushing Osamu to the ground, Junko jumped as high as he could. Osamu’s ribs cracked as Junko’s feet pushed against him. With his unburnt hand, Junko reached for the wooden scaffolding. His hand found architecture and he remembered to breathe.
“Grab him! He must not escape! No one challenges us and lives!” Osamu yelled. Junko heard the iron suits clanking clumsily. Junko raised his other arm and swung it around the wooden beam. His muscles tensed and blood poured from his wounds. He lifted his legs as swords cut only air underneath him.
Junko retrieved another bomb and threw it to the ground. The flash blinded the Iron Demons and they stumbled backwards. Junko paid little attention to them. Only one thought dominated his mind: escape. His looked to the path he took in, but too many of the Demons blocked the way. A sword cut into the beam beside Junko and he jumped back instinctively. He hit the chain holding the oil lantern. Junko’s eyes widened as a desperate thought entered his mind.
Grabbing the chain, Junko drew the lantern towards himself. Holding the lamp, Junko crawled silently towards a wall. Be calm, he thought, breathe. He then launched the lamp towards the wall.
“He’s on the eastern wall,” shouted Osamu, “Grab him, fools!” Junko heard the Demons rushing towards him and retrieved his final bomb. He threw it.
The Demons found themselves caught in an inferno. A huge flame erupted and crept across the dry bamboo walls. The explosion jettisoned oil on the Demons and they found themselves engulfed. Junko shut his eyes and thought of his sensei. He opened his eyes, looked towards the wall, and jumped from the beam towards the flaming bamboo.
The wall splintered then shattered against Junko’s weight. Flames licked at his clothes as he fell to the soft ground outside. His pupils shrunk against the sunlight. He lifted himself up and ran. A glance backwards revealed flames consuming the Iron Demon’s dojo. He heard men screaming as their armor became scorching ovens. Flames flew from one of their masks, a man transformed into a hellish dragon. Ancestors be praised, Junko thought, I am alive.
- - -
Junko, his left arm in a sling and left hand covered in bandages, sipped at his tea. He had run a day and night to escape the Iron Demons’ lands. Despite the calm breeze, tranquil pond, and beautiful hostess, Junko felt tense. The sun hung hot in the sky above the teahouse. Junko closed his eyes and breathed deeply.
It was foolish, he thought, to pursue the Iron Demons himself. It was foolish to go alone. It was foolish to leave his two surviving clan-brothers behind. I am a fool, he thought, but I am alive. He closed his eyes and thought of his clan, of his sensei. He wondered if his clan-brothers had discovered the true villains. The only honorable course of action left was to find his clan-brothers and join them in finding vengeance. Or, Junko thought, seek their forgiveness for abandoning them.
Junko opened his eyes and saw a man with burnt skin and boils across his face walk towards him. The stranger brandished a sword, slashing at the tables and chairs in his way.
“I have come to kill you,” said Onryo, the last of the Iron Demons. His eyes were wide with rage and his breath came in short, sharp bursts.
Junko stood up and let his sling fall to the ground. “You are angry,” said Junko. He stepped back and closed his eyes. His thoughts turned to his fallen clan. He opened his eyes and unsheathed his blade.
“This will not help you.”
|# ? Jul 26, 2015 01:33|
The five goblins could see the castle towers from where they had made camp for the night. Wye had planned on sleeping, but Jey, her father, was standing at the edge of the fire with his chest puffed out, so Wye knew that the next hour would be filled with the sound of her father’s voice.
“My family,” said Jey in as low of a voice he could muster. Ewe smiled over at Jey, a piece of skunk cabbage stuck between her teeth. Vee picked his head up from the roasted squirrel carcass he’d been gnawing. Tea continued scrubbing bits of bullfrog entrails out of the copper kettle. Wye closed her eyes.
“My despicable family,” Jey said, smiling and scratching himself. “We all ready for the big shing-a-ling heist tomorrow morning?” He turned to his left. “Ewe?”
“No reason for me not to be excited about gold, darling,” said Ewe in a thickly accented voice. “Tomorrow morning, right on shed-jull.”
Jey groaned. “Just because you’re green don’t mean you hafta talk like one’a them filthy Limeys.”
“Whatever do you mean?”
“F’get it. Vee, m’boy?”
“Yes, yes, complete and total yes,” said Vee with a mouthful of squirrel. “Ready to climb walls, ready to split heads, ready to chop knees, ready to eat ears, ready, readier, readiest.”
Tea rapped her green knuckles against the side of the copper kettle, making a soft clanging noise. “This will never work, you were a moron for taking the job in the first place, and we’re going to get slaughtered before we even reach the front gate,” she said, grinning.
“Love ya always, Tea. My good-luck charm.” Jey cocked his finger and fired off an invisible bullet in Tea’s direction. She caught it.
He turned toward the far reach of the firelight, where Wye sat. “Wye?”
She looked up at Jey. “Yeah?”
“Are you ready?”
She stared at him. “Ready for what? What am I doing?”
Her father frowned. “Wye—“
“No, let her keep talking,” said Vee as he threw the rest of the squirrel carcass into the fire. “Only time she talked this whole trip. Just a pretty face with nothing upstairs. What’s she gonna do, pose for all them guys with swords? Blow ‘em kisses?”
Ewe tittered to herself.
Wye stood up.
“What’s she doing? Why’s she even here? Why’s Wye. Hah. See what I did there?” said Vee, looking around at his parents and sister, his voice getting higher and higher. “See that? See?”
Wye kept walking off into the woods until the noises of the fire went away, until she could hear nothing but the sounds of night. Then she laid down on the wet grass and tried to concentrate, construct a dream that would keep her asleep until morning.
She could feel the magic building around the fire, held tightly within the bodies of her parents, her brother, and her sister. They were all born emanating magic, and had to constantly focus themselves in order to not let their special abilities seep out—like, as her father had eloquently described it once, they were all holding a noxious fart trapped within their clenched bowels for all twenty-four hours of the day.
Laying on the hard ground, the shadows of tree branches crisscrossing over her, Wye felt nothing trapped within. Sure, she was good-looking for a goblin—her teeth were filed to piercing points, her head was as oblong as a yam, and her skin was the deep green of algae floating on mosquito-choked standing water. But being mundane in a family of born magic-users was like being a flightless peacock in a flock of falcons.
She heard a voice slip through the dark woods. It was Tea.
“Wye, where are you?”
Wye rolled over into a clump of tall grass and plugged her ears with her stubby index fingers, thinking about simple syrup waterfalls and volcanoes overflowing with chocolate ganache, focusing harder and harder until she could feel the flowing warmth in front of her and her sister’s voice faded into her dream.
When Wye walked back into camp the next morning, no one spoke to her. Tea looked up at Wye, a question written on her face, but Wye simply looked away and packed up her knapsack.
They set off through the tall grass towards the Castle, where the Scepter of Valance awaited them.
It was noon before they reached the first hurdle: a massive wall of writhing, thorned briars. Jey stepped forward and grabbed one of the thick branches as it was about to swipe him off his feet. It shriveled under his hands, then fell limp, all the moisture sucked out of it.
“Follow me,” said Jey, pressing his hands against the side of the briars and creating a small opening as they shrank back from his touch. The rest of them followed single-file, Wye at the back, straining to see over her father’s broad shoulders.
Jey burst into the throne room, the rest of them following behind—and then Jey stopped in his tracks.
They had made their way through the castle defenses fairly easily, from Ewe infiltrating the two knights’ suits of armor with the smell of decaying gardenias to Vee incapacitating a few of the kitchen workers with the reverberation of hyperactive woodpeckers. The cupbearer was still keeled over outside the throne room door in a pool of his own vomit, where Tea had laid the taste of blighted gooseberries on his tongue.
The king was sitting on a gigantic silver throne, his monstrous folds overlapping the bejeweled armrests. He held up a turkey leg with one pale and flabby arm, biting chunks out of it absent-mindedly, grease dripping down his chins. Standing next to the throne was a wizened and bearded man in flowing purple robes. Jey’s eyes were locked onto the old man’s face as he surveyed the five of them.
“Welcome,” the bearded man said. “I believe we have something you want. That’s always the case, isn’t it?” The wizard made a grand sweeping gesture at the piles of gold and jewels lining the far wall, behind the throne.
Jey grimaced. “They didn’t tell me about no wizard, just some apple-shaped fat lard king.”
“Nobody told me they would send pickled runts to do a man’s job,” said the wizard, stroking his beard. “But I guess life’s that way sometimes.”
Wye began to back away.
“Whass goin’ on?” said the king, his small eyes sunken within his doughy mound of a face.
“Nothing to worry about, Your Majesty,” said the wizard. He held his hands out in front of him. “Just pest control.”
“RUN—“ Tea shouted, as a beam of energy surged out of the wizard’s hands, toward Wye and her family.
They scattered, flung themselves away as the ball of light erupted where they had stood.
Wye hid behind a pillar as the wizard continued ranting: “They don’t even send their best soldiers anymore, do they? Now we have to put up with a bunch of undersized grunts who only care about shiny objects. It’s a shame what this kingdom has come to…”
She concentrated, trying to block his words out, trying to think positive thoughts—yes. Yes. That was it.
She peeked her head around the side of the pillar and focused on the kings forehead as she swayed and mumbled to herself. Chocolate waterfalls. Steaming apple pie. Towering croquembouche filled with banana and cardamom cream.
The king stood up.
Spun sugar beards.
Lavender fondant robes.
The wizard turned his head to the left. “Hey, what—“
The king sang his teeth into the wizard’s bare neck. A scream reverberated through the vast hall, a scream that quickly turned into a gurgle as the king went in for a second helping. The wizard collapsed, a hole torn in his throat, blood bubbling out of his larynx as the king continued to feast. Wye and her family watched as the king ate and ate until a clump of cartilage lodged itself in his throat.
“So does that make us the new king now?” said Ewe as she hopped onto the throne, the king’s last rattling breaths in the background.
“Screw the Scepter, we have a whole kingdom at our fingertips,” said Tea, hopping on next to her mother.
“Hey, there’s room for me too! Scootch over! Scootch over! Daaaaaad!” said Vee, trying to hop on past Tea’s kicking legs.
“Now, children…” Jey said, looking at his family with admiration. Wye wasn’t listening. A crimson-bound tome had caught her eye amidst all the golden and silver treasures. She walked over to it, picked it up.
Mystical Mental Coercion, it read.
Wye smiled to herself, and began to daydream.
|# ? Jul 26, 2015 01:58|
MERCBRAWL #SOMETHINGSOMETHING (IT'S BEEN A WHILE JACKASSES)
Djeser fucked around with this message at 05:40 on Jan 1, 2016
|# ? Jul 26, 2015 02:58|
Monkeyshines or How I Learned to Stop Giving a gently caress and Start Breaking poo poo
This was a personal job.
I used my tail to grip the edge of the poured concrete wall and lower myself into the indentation of a window. There was a pipe running down the building adjacent to me, and with a nimble leap I latched on and rode it down. Before hitting the pavement of the alley below, I swung my back legs to shift my momentum and landed on the bright pink sign of a brothel. Through that amethyst hue, I identified Yori and Michi.
These were the men who betrayed me, two partners of mine from a neighboring clan now wiped and almost destroyed entirely, but somewhere deep within still scantly themselves. I would destroy them. Provide the relief that only death can; I owed them as much.
Still, it would be gratifying to eviscerate the men who liquefied my brain, infected it with nanobots, and left my body to be eaten by the wolves.
We called it Hereafter, a hidden retreat within a remote Mount Fuji southern basin that was founded shortly after the inception of the first Ani, a cyborg so deeply entwined with technology that separation was impossible. Back then, the idea of a human-botnet was only on the tongues of the mad conspiracy types who lived on the alleys in street corners. Thankfully, we listened.
While the outside world focused on integrating themselves down to the tooth with technology, we remained diligent in pursuits of the human realm: martial arts, physical fitness, meditation, breathing, intense study.
Eventually, other outcroppings began posting up within a wild human existence. More Hereafters began dotting the abandoned land between techno cityscapes.
When we began receiving reports of a botnet-virus spreading from human to human, we foolishly cast the thought of any threat to us aside; a human couldn’t be infected without a chip in his brain. That’s why we decided to aid them. That’s why I left the brothers of my Hereafter to assist in Fuji East.
When Yori sunk his nails into my flesh, I knew something was immediately wrong. There was a turning deep in my stomach and a weakness in my legs that forced me to the ground, and, moments later, I was vomiting silvery, glittering sparkles. We were returning from a run with sleds of medical supplies and food stores.
I could feel the commands running through my mind, whispering like nagging little thoughts on my consciousness. Self-replicating like the machines in my blood that I had been infected with.
“Destroy the Hereafters,” it said.
Michi stood over my hunched frame and toed my arms, testing them for weakness as one would the structure of an old, abandoned building. I pushed back with more force than he expected.
“The takeover is failing,” he announced.
“Withdraw the brain material,” Yori said. “We’ll infect the material remotely and inject it into a new host when we clear Fuji South.”
The last thing I felt in my own body was a needle plunging into my spine.
When I came to, I was not greeted with the frame of one of my slain friends, but the body of a macaque. I was in the central yard of the Hereafter, in the body of a monkey with a syringe jutting out from his potbelly. Yori or Michi, whoever was carrying my liquefied nanobot-brain-emulsion, must have dropped the syringe in the melee, an unexpected resistance, giving this little guy a chance to prick himself. Screams, originating from within the great hall, cut through the light, snowy air. Yori and Michi must have been finishing off the last of the them.
Movement came to me naturally. Scampering through the snow, I clambered to the great hall awning just in time to witness the last of the killing through slats cut into the facade. The two didn’t realize the syringe had been dropped until it was too late. It would be an embarrassing failure to report to the singularity-core.
I don’t know why I decided to tail them back into the city. There was nothing to be done about my transformation. I had learned enough about the neural integration process to know that. There was nothing to do, nobody to save.
I guess I only had revenge.
Back in the electric pink light of the brothel’s neon, I noticed the two enter a flashy pachinko parlor. Although most of the Ani populace had been affected by the botnet, the system wasn’t nearly powerful enough to run full takeovers of millions or even thousands of people at once. Instead, it simply redirected resources as needed amongst all of the infected and stuck to running background operations in the minds of the unneeded.
In the alley beside the parlor, I picked up a broken bottle with my cute little tail. There was a ventilation duct with a broken grate on the side of the building, and with a little effort, I was able to squeeze through. Navigating the aluminum maze was difficult, but I knew that I needed to head down, and with the reduced mass of my new body, I was able to handle the drops with ease. Finally, at the bottom of the labyrinth, I found a vent filter, wet and heavy under the smell of cigarette smoke.
I couldn’t hear anything over the sound of the jangling machines. Fortunately, the noise that kept me from identifying my target in the buzzing hall also kept me from being heard as I used my surprising strength to pry the vent cover from the wall. Rows of spasming machines filled the empty room. In the closest row, patrons sat with their backs to me while pushing mindlessly at the consoles. The men would have faced each other if it weren't for the tall cabinets and back to back machines obscuring their vision. With a little peek, I noticed Yori’s feet facing those of a stranger several machines away.
Attendants walked up and down the busy aisles, so I needed to move quickly. I scuttled under the the closest booth, navigating between and under the feet of strangers until I was beneath the man opposite Yori. Clutching the broken bottle in my tail, I moved in for the execution.
I grabbed the lip of the booth opposite Yori and athletically flipped myself up and onto the strange man’s machine. Time felt slower than it ever had before, in the way that an animal’s reactions will always beat a man’s. I leapt, grabbing the edge of the machine, and pulled myself over onto the console of the device Yori faced. There, in those seconds before his death, I saw a deadness in Yori’s eyes. His finger was pressed into a button on the machine and his lips were moving without speaking a word. I speculate that this was a method of communicating with the botnet, but I never had the chance to find out as I grabbed the bottle from my tail and punctured his chest and neck in a series of rapid-fire stabs.
By the time I wiped the blood from my furry face, all of the men in that parlor had been switched on, taken into full control by the net.
The attendant was closest. Immediately, he produced a switchblade and rushed me straight on. I sprang across the aisle to the opposite machines, kicking off the digital monitor and flying directly into him. I landed on his shoulders, and used my little claws to gouge out his eyes. Wildly, he stabbed in my direction, but I was fast and he was blind, so he only ended up placing the blade in the base of his own neck.
I plucked the knife from him as his body fell to the ground. I only stood about two feet tall, so I had to judge my aggressors by their footsteps. Up ahead, there were two sets of angry legs charging me, so I ran, quickly reaching full speed.
Ducking under the first’s legs, I was able to slice the tendons in his ankle, sending him falling onto the corpse of his friend. I also managed to dodge under the legs of the second, but he reared up like an angry horse and nearly caught my leg with a stomp. A stab in the back of each knee sent him falling as well.
As he toppled over, I zipped up the man’s back, using him as a ramp to get airborne; several uninfected men were fleeing, but there were still two out for my blood. Using muscles that I didn’t know I possessed, I rotated myself in the middle of my jump and rocketed the knife into one of the men’s chest.
Reaching the apex of my leap, I reared my teeth and began to screech the rage that I felt inside.
Then I began to urinate.
I landed on the top of another row of machines, wailing and pissing and making myself as big as possible. Then the man turned tail and left for the exit.
This was strange. Anis didn’t run, not even in the face of certain annihilation. The system must have deactivated his programming, sending him back into his dormant state. But why? It must have needed the power for something
That’s when a shot
blew through my body, hurling me across the room.
I was bleeding bad, but I managed to find the strength to lift myself onto the counter of the machines.
Michi stood in the frame of the open office door, kicked off its hinges by his mighty legs. He pointed his gun at me with his right hand, never wavering, and removed the katana on his back with his left.I stepped behind the extra large token cup that was lodged in the cupholder as if it would provide protection from a bullet.
I anticipated the shot, diving to the side as soon as I made it behind the plastic cup. The bullet ripped through the entire row of cups, sending the glittering tokens flying through the air and falling like snowflakes.
Suddenly, the lights blinked in a dim flicker, and every machine in the joint hit a jackpot.
The system attempted to use the machines as a series of bombs, sending shrapnel of glass and steel and silver hurling into me, while my strength failed with every drop of blood to leave my body. Charging at him and using the silver hail as a cover, I dove through the air, cutting through the reflective fog.
I landed on his gun with a thud, knocking the hot metal to the floor. Michi collapsed on top of me, but I managed to grab the pistol before he pinned me to the ground. He tented himself over me, trying to pound me between his fist and the concrete, but my hand was on the trigger, and I dumped the magazine into his face.
The crater of Michi’s head slumped on top of me, but there wasn’t much of it left. Fortunate, because it took the last of my physical will to escape from it.
I pulled the katana from his sheath.
The botnet would be sending more Anis soon. In fact, I understood that they were probably already around the corner, ready to put me down. In about two minutes this fight would be over, so I took a moment, appreciating the lull to pick viscera from my fur.
Reaching into the pocket of one of the dead attendants, I pulled out a pack of smokes and lit up. I hadn’t had a cigarette in decades, but it was just as I had remembered. The haze felt good in my lungs. I pulled the cracked sunglasses from another dead man, and slipped them awkwardly on my much-too-small head before lifting myself onto the counter. I dropped a blood-soaked token into one of the only machines in the place still running and pressed the button, wondering if I’d win.
|# ? Jul 26, 2015 03:17|
holy poo poo that was awesome
|# ? Jul 26, 2015 05:33|
Low Effort Bullshit from an idiot baby-man, 912 words
“The supply drone’s accelerating sir! It’s not responding to any frequencies!”
“Suits, now! Private, move the sector’s oxygen into holding!”
“Sir, there’s no-”
The drone tore through the station’s outer shell, thrusters igniting the streams of oxygen venting into space. She heard the sizzle of burning flesh as her shock-capsule slid out into the smoldering control room. She wasn’t conscious, not yet, but her body moved with animal grace. It would be a few minutes before the microchip would cede control back to her brain, well after her bloodstream was full of adrenaline analogues and synthetic endorphin. Until then she was on autopilot, one simple instruction controlling her every move: Kill.
Sirens blared, the station entered lockdown. The emergency bulkhead slid open. Crisis team headlamps cut through the smoke. The tiny chip at the base of her neck assessed the situation before the first beam of light even hit her. She thumbed a selector on her pistol and clicked off six shots in one fluid motion. The crisis team collapsed as a unit, jugular veins neatly severed by AP sabot rounds and blood filling their helmets. She took off running down the corridor
“As a doctor I’m supposed to tell you that this is a terrible idea.”
“I’m not paying you to lecture, no matter what your invoice says,” she answered, laying down on the operating table.
“Where do you even get a rig like this, it’s loving ancient. No one in their right mind uses a circulatory cooler anymore. You don’t even know if it
works. Do you even realize what “total neurological degeneration” or “stimulant psychosis” mean?”
“You seem a little wound up doc, and I’m not appreciating the guilt trip.”
“Guilt trip!? You find me God knows how, show up with this piece of kit and a bottomless cred chip and you’re surprised I’m wound up?”
“Heard you could do the work, doc. Heard you done it before. Kuiper belt, was it? Hostile repossession of an outpost that wasn’t paying its bills. They had you outfit the guys with rigs like these ones. Strictly off the books.”
He handed her a mask.
Sweet bursts of warm scented air filled her lungs, the world got a little fuzzy.
“You’re never making it up there. Security is just too tight.”
“Everyone needs spare parts, doc…” She trailed off into a deep sleep.
Her pistol was still warm when she came to. She’d just armed a shaped charged, suited bodies lay limp around her. Reams of information slipped through her mind: station diagrams, access codes, approach vectors. Everything was measured in microfragments, accelerated by the humming of her mechanical heart. Her actual heartbeats felt few and far between. The LCD readout quivered at 60hz, far too slow for her now. The first second ticked by, but she was already running. Delicate fractals formed in her vision as her brain filled each moment of consciousness with information that wasn’t there.
Two, three, four-hundred metres she counted off as she ran down curved corridor. The next airlock would lead to an access hatch, a maintenance tunnel to the AI cores housed at the toroid’s center. The door came into view. She stopped, unholstered the other pistol before the motion detector tripped. They were waiting on the other side. The door blew open, a machine gun roared to life. She ducked before the bullets left the barrel, kicking off into a backflip as the shaped charge severed the main power bus and dropped the station into zero-g. She raised both guns and fired, blowback sending her into a wall. She pushed off again, rounding the corner, looking for movement. Something flashed past her – that green jacket she knew too well. She turned to look.
Rounds tore through the air around her, one ripping through her suit and grazing the circulatory cooler. Warnings flashed across her HUD: system(s) compromised: internal temperature regulation.
“gently caress!” She emptied the clip in the direction the rounds came from, soft thuds letting her know she’d hit the mark.
“Keep it together Constance, you know this poo poo’s gonna make you loopy. That was too loving close.” Sweat dripped off her face and onto the visor, the suit’s tiny vent fan kicked into high gear.
Gliding she dropped the pistols and reached for the machine gun and fired a round. Inertia pinned her against the wall. She held the trigger down and shot the hinges off the access hatch. She was panting now, sweat pouring out of her every pore. Her teeth were clenched tight, vague pangs of pain reverberated somewhere far away.
“Tony! Hey Tony! Are you playing or what?”
Tony came to, another idiot story had taken hold of his imagination. The heat was unbearable.
“How come you guys don’t have A.C.?” he asked.”
“We do have A.C. you dipshit,” answered Tim. “It’s like the third time you’ve asked today you fat poo poo. You already ate all the popsicles too. It probably feels hot because you’re so loving fat you idiot. Now, are you gonna play Mario Kart or not?”
“Huh? Yeah I guess…”
“What’s wrong with you today, Tony?”
“I dunno Tim, I was just thinkin’ y’know like, what if we hung out at an abend er…abonded…abonened bunker? What if we like built bikes together n stuff? I could write lovely stories then and we wouldn’t have to spend all day playing Mario Kart.”
“Dude, you’re a fag”.
|# ? Jul 26, 2015 07:06|
It was the heat that made Daniel walk in. The “now hiring” sign was just an excuse. He would vaguely remember, later, thinking twice about it, before the thought was obliterated by the heat.
It was something about that smiling donut. What would a donut have to smile about, so creepily and so knowingly?
He was broke, so that he couldn’t afford a Triple Glazed Chocolate Love In, or even one of the plain ones. For him there would be no trippy mix of sweetness and nausea in that patented Groovy Donuts way.
“Yeah,” he said to the freckle faced girl behind the counter. “I’m here about the sign. Can I talk to the manager?”
“Sure,” she said cheerfully. “I’m the manager. Come with me into the back and I can show you what we do.”
He blinked in confusion, because she looked too young to be managing anything, and he was about to say something to that effect as she breezed through the door to the back and then he stopped, because as he stepped through after her he saw the terrible machine.
A male about his age was framed by a metal halo in the center of the room. Wires attached to the halo were burrowing into his skin. He looks, Daniel thought, like the Vitruvian man or whatever. The wires seemed to be extracting something from him, and as he looked he could see more tubes, leading from the machine to some sort of bubbling vat behind it The young man was naked and his hair was coarse and unkempt.
“You can start right now,” the girl said. Abruptly, she shouted, “release!”
The wires pulled out quickly, whipping around in a brief frenzy before collapsing. The naked man slumped to the ground, hitting the stainless steel floor with a squishing sound.
The girl walked up to him. “Joshua,” she said, placing a hand on his shoulder, “your shift is up. You’re free! Go to the front, I’ll be right outside to give you a Cinnamon Mellow.”
The man raised his head. Then, pushing the manager’s hand away, he slowly got to his feet.
“What is this?” Dan asked, more loudly than he meant to.
“This,” she said, “is the donut matrix. It’s where our groovy, groovy batter comes from. Come stand over here, right in front of it, where Joshua was.”
Without a backwards glance, Joshua unsteadily walked out the way they had come in.
“I don’t think so,” Daniel said. Then he stopped himself. It is, he thought, really hot out there.
The girl was staring at him expectantly.
“Never mind,” he said. “How does this work? That dude looked like he was unconscious.”
“The extraction process is too much for your conscious mind,” the manager said brightly. “Your body goes into a sleep state.”
Well, he thought, that doesn’t sound so bad. He was already imagining, or was it hallucinating, the taste of glaze on his tongue.
So he walked to the machine and the wires whipped around and drove themselves deep and he was suddenly somewhere else.
Bogus, he thought, because he was back outside. The sun was still shining and the sky was spotless. Worse, he thought, I’m thirsty.
He turned around, saw the donut, but it was sad now, mournful. Where it normally said “Groovy Donuts” he just read gibberish. The heat was too much to bear and he moved quickly towards the doors. They were locked, and it looked like it was dark inside.
Was it his imagination, or did it already feel even hotter?
“Look at the sun,” he heard someone say. He looked up.
The sun was growing steadily. It was already about the size of a beach ball up there and expanding fast. I’m going to cook, he thought, feeling it. I’m going to melt. As he watched stupidly it was still going, blotting out more and more of the sky, What was left uncovered was now tinted orange. His skin was blistering now, smoking, peeling. Everyone around him was screaming. The sun was swallowing everything and now there was nothing but fire and he was screaming too but he couldn’t hear anything because you needed air for that and it was all gone, burnt to nothing and now the flame was claiming him too.
He woke up with a gasp, felt the whoosh of air as the wires relaxed him. He fell the couple feet but managed to stay upright, his knees buckling but not giving way. I wasn’t in there for long, he thought.
“That’s no good,” the girl said crossly. “The batter is too tangy. What were you dreaming about? I’ll have to hook up Joshua again.”
“By now,” Daniel said, “Joshua has seen the sun too. There’s no escaping it. Hook yourself up, see what you dream about.”
“I don’t dream,” she said angrily. “You slackers disgust me. Get out of here.”
“You’ve got air conditioning in here,” Daniel said. “You’ve got soda fountains. Together we can fight this.”
“I hope the sun never goes away,” she said. Then, softly at first, she began to cry, until she couldn’t fight it anymore and sank to her knees, the tears cascading, falling to the floor and spreading out on the surface. He left her there.
He found Joshua in the front, staring outside. As Daniel moved behind the counter, he looked back. “What should we do?” he asked.
“Crank the A.C.,” Daniel said. “Full blast. Let everyone in.”
|# ? Jul 26, 2015 13:48|
|# ? Jul 26, 2015 20:10|
|# ? Jan 31, 2023 17:48|
I apologise in advance, I'm gonna miss the deadline this week. Still going to try and finish the story though.
|# ? Jul 26, 2015 22:53|