In like something that rhymes with "in", I can't think of anything atm
A part of you has grown in me
|# ? Aug 21, 2015 03:28|
|# ? May 24, 2022 03:33|
YOINKS, because let's be honest, I'm going to do it way better than you could ever hope to.
What do I care about some rat scurring about looking for morsels? There is little to worry about from someone too chicken to write to their own flash.
|# ? Aug 21, 2015 03:55|
What do I care about some rat scurring about looking for morsels? There is little to worry about from someone too chicken to write to their own flash.
Oh, I'm going to write both, because the throne I slouch on is literally made of rat skulls.
|# ? Aug 21, 2015 05:12|
Curlingiron just asked a pertinent question about how you are being grouped into sins.
Yes! It is all planned. Have a look at the others in your group, and then have a look at yourself. Now try to work out how we've bracketed you.
|# ? Aug 21, 2015 08:38|
Have a look at the others in your group, and then have a look at yourself. Now try to work out how we've bracketed you.
Lust - Awful loving writers
Gluttony - Awful loving writers
Greed - Awful loving writers
Sloth - Awful loving writers
Wrath - Awful loving writers
Envy - Awful loving writers
Pride - Awful loving writers
|# ? Aug 21, 2015 09:06|
Lust - Awful loving writers
Really taking the piss with this one.
|# ? Aug 21, 2015 11:40|
Judgeburps. i'll finish up the burps and line by line a few as noted.
screaming idiot, a resistance doesn't start itself
a farrago of sub-cartoon level cliche and poorly thought-through ideas. lucky to avoid dm
lazy beggar, myopic misery
keenly evoked cyber weirdness and some nice words but it feels like the actual story was the fugitive couple
mons hubris, global business network
kind of endlessly ploddy. you're so visibly pleased by your corp speak you forget to actually have a story. what does the main character want, why can't they get it, why do we care?
theblunderbuss, the logical extreme
there's teh potential for a neat yarn here, and the absurd details of life with a robo-hubby are well-enough evoked, but amy is sort of a characterless wet noodle who just gets acted around and your clever idea isn't clever enough to sustain the story
afhb, war and piece
this is jampacked with good details and the relationship is genuinely sweet and pretty well done. trouble is the final bit is way too weak to bear what the story asks it to. gj with this, you took some risks and they paid off.
I liked this slab of tdome wacky, mainly because of your protag who is sassy, charming, and gets to accomplish a goal; but as kai said in irc it melts on contact with the slightest bit of thought like candyfloss in a rainstorm, which spoils the emotional impact it might otherwise have had.
tentacledate, no bueno
your sentence level writing is pretty solid so I hope you stick around, but this is fundamentally pointless as a story; the purple laser shootin' spain bots (why purple? why did you think people cared?) are nicely detailed but they're pointless as presented. i'll do a line by line for more detail, since you lost and all.
devorum, you know he throws a hell of a party
this annoyed the hell out of me when i first read it and i'd have been happy enough to have this as the loser, but i suppose it plods along in an adequate fashion, i'm left at the end finding it utterly impossible to care about all these characters you just whacked whcih is a flaw imo what do u think
spectres of autism, the sky castle
i'll line by line this, but I liked it a lot for teh way it hits an unapologetic old-school sci-fi weirdness square on; it takes itself and its deranged premise seriously and knits something weirdly sweet out of it. Ending is too abrupt, though; i'd like to see this at twice the length, though i guess there's always the chance you could gently caress it up and make me hate you still life is risk
Thranguy, Pretending you're lead
mmyeahnah. this is tight and chatty on prose level but there's no actual story and that scuppers it. if you'd used this as background and had an actual set of events that had actually happened in an organised order then maybe yeah but as you did not; nah. I liked the machine politics idea tho
broenheim, anime thing
lol, he typed, his face a blank mask
hrm. something about the trad fantasy stylings of teh initial fight really doesn't sit well with me - cf the paras after the ***, it's a completely different style and I think teh story as a whole (which is pretty good, if lathered with implausibility that it doesn't quite sell, on balance) woudl have benefited from a cleaner and maybe stranger on-ramp. how does a robot actually percieve what you're describing in the first few paras? dig deeper. I liked the ROBO IN THE REAL WORLD segment.
think i'll line by line this one, it's very well written but i sort of bounced off it a couple of times and I'd like to find out why. It's also rather similar to a famous robert silverberg story with a robot pope (good news from teh vatican!) but really robot popes are lol so why the hell not, eh?
docbeard, ain't no why to it
you're doing some nice steampunky set=up action here but the big shift really isn't adequately motivated so it gets rather squandered. the last para is 'AS A RESULT OF THIS STORY, CHANGE OCCURRED' which is p much a still-warm dispatch straight from the swirling vortex that leads to the Dimension of Tell and that is a bad, bad place. Frequent it not, docbeard.
ironic twist, pandora
nice job on this one geezer, you're balancing your usual good words, a nice propulsive through line that starts from word one and a corker ending that is both justified and satisfying. can't remember why we didn't give this one the win, possibly the slightly low-agency protag? i'll line by line it with obliteratis though, that might make it clearer
obliterate, thinkum dinkum
This wins by nailing the slow burning agency of its plodding protag and manages to squeeze both and into its 1k words
merc, zero hour
You've got solid line-by-line work here, but you don't really need all that stuff at the outset - you could have done it in a line, got to your brutally well-imagined family murder faster then had your protag actually do something. But defo not terrible.
dmboogie, We will be brave for the new world
this is a dull idea that's been turned into a dull and ploddy story. It's like how in a pearl a central piece of grit is the centrepiece of a beautiful shimmering orb but in this case your pearl just looks like a larger piece of grit
newtest leper, calculated consciousness
cut the pointless first bit and make the second bit more than an outtake from one of them animes you like to watch and have an ending that's not 'then they died' and I might like this story a lot
sadistech, the hard problem
I feel like the central image of the daughter is fatally under-imagined here, which is a pity as the rest of the story is fine golden age sci fi brain in a box fodder and your words are typically well-honed.
curlingiron, care and feeding
solid and effective emotional core with a ploddy intro and rote close-out. not terrible though.
auraboks, don't neglect your appliances
a pleasant and jaunty just-so tale of robot murder but it's super hard to find any way in to enjoy it with how hard it's enjoying its own cleverness
kurona_bright, shocking reunion
if you find your protagonist walking, walking, walking and thinking, thinking, walking and thinking and walking, maybe just fastforward to the bit where something happens. maybe have it involve sean and have it be interesting?
dockloc, Trojan horse
haha that first para owns. td heed. sort of falls apart in its clarity and precision as it goes on, though, which is a pity. I think the ROBOT LEARNS TO BE HOOMAN story is trite and cliché in a way that your gloriously self-absorbed sorority bitch protag is not, so the story as a whole suffers by their juxtaposition. Also where did that bomb come from eh, what's even up with that.
doof, duck duck goose
I think your key issue is that the wonderfully funny payload of your story is delivered in the first four paras. seriously you could end it there and it wouldn't lose much. so the burden is to take that expectation, and build on it. instead you just reverse it. good character work, but it's not really directed so it falls flat.
grizzled patriarch, a gift for Emily
smiled at THE DEVILS VENOM. and ed at the cleanly and precisely evoked hellscape of the rest of the story. this could have HM'd with a different alignment of the stars, so maybe clutch that knowledge tight to your breast as you weep yourself to sleep tonight? idk you may not sleep, follow your heart basically
swarm, andy alphie and robby
it's is only ever short for it is. an android is humanoid by definition. why is an android pacing, shouldn't it just stand there like a robot. why are your words so clunky and terrible why.
on the plus side you have an actual conflict, and there's some juice in the robo banter, but goddammit pay more attention to the word snot you're horking out of your brain-holes.
fuschia tude, maximum capacity
bland protag, out of nowhere knife murder, so what sort of robolution, baffling wgaf last line. prose is ok.
sebmojo fucked around with this message at 23:22 on Aug 23, 2015
|# ? Aug 21, 2015 12:08|
Lust - Awful loving writers
|# ? Aug 21, 2015 14:31|
I'm taking Swarm's rule and... um... you'll have to endure the horror of survival! And I'll be laughing! Laughing from my
|# ? Aug 21, 2015 21:04|
Here are the flashrules I will be taking. My allocated one, plus two more.
Do not mistake me only taking two extra flash rules as a sign of weakness. I'm only taking two because I want to be focused on dismantling these two "writers" as much as possible. Both of you guys have haunted me from day one. And I've had enough.
Fuschia tude, we both know why you got assigned that rule. And it's definitely not because you can make a decent story out of it. It's because you're a class-A sucker. You've got more DMs than me and that's saying something.
Martello, buddy, you're a pretty good judge. But I have to wonder if you just judge all the time because you don't know how to actually write yourself? I don't want to be too mean, because I really do respect your judgements -- but the results of this prompt are going to be so clear even you're going to have to judge yourself knocked out. You've not been entering TD so much lately, so I do hope you can take this loss well and come back.
Sorry pals, but that's just the way it is.
And if either of you fail to submit I will challenge you to a Brawl. There will be no escaping a loss at my hands.
|# ? Aug 21, 2015 21:55|
its loving bullshit that literally everyone else this week got a better flash rule than me, especially considering none of you loving deserve it
so gently caress you
im taking all of these
eat a dick
|# ? Aug 21, 2015 22:37|
Entries are closed.
If someone challenged you to a brawl you have until sub's close to accept, or there will be consequences.
|# ? Aug 22, 2015 07:27|
|# ? Aug 22, 2015 07:35|
I have been deputized to deliver toxx bans this week.
I've seen a lot of toxxes thrown around, and I want to give everyone fair warning that I have no mercy. The deadline is 11:59 pm. If you're toxxed and you post at 12:00 am you will be banned, and none of the lily-livered flower-children in IRC will be able to convince me otherwise.
If something really really terrible happens to you that justifiably leads to you welching - well then I guess the last thing you'll be worrying about is being banned from an internet comedy forum.
|# ? Aug 22, 2015 07:43|
|# ? Aug 22, 2015 22:14|
lol alligator your flash rule sucks, go ahead and try with mine too
thranguy i'm takin yours too, that's it, just gently caress the pigs and the bullets/beauty/sky/blisters
|# ? Aug 22, 2015 22:15|
"This is half what I asked for,” Cyrus’ hollowed face looked up from a leather pouch of coins.
“Hmph. There’s a war on, the Baron says you will be happy to have this much.”
Truth be told, Cyrus wasn’t surprised in the least to be getting paid less. He was, in fact, disappointed, and it carried in his voice, “You tell the Baron that if he wants anymore building materials, he’ll pay me up front, then. Plus what I’m owed!”
The servant shook his head, “I am sure the Baron will consider that when selecting Blacksmiths, then.”
“Remind the drat Baron that there was a good reason he came to me with this order. I would love to see what Steven would've come up with. Get out of here!”
“Very well then,” the servant pivoted, and walked out and away.
A small voice called out from behind a door, open only a crack, “You shouldn’t argue with them, Papa.”
“Haaa, c’mere, Dedove. They need to know that some people will stand up to them.”
She smiled and ran to hug him, burying her face in his thick beard. “I didn’t sleep very well, Papa! It’s very hot in here!”
Laughing, Cyrus stood up and set her onto the ground, “It’s been a long summer, Dedove. How long have you been awake?”
“Since you were arguing with that man!”
“We weren’t arguin’. Sometimes adults sound like they’re arguing when they’re merely discussing. Besides, comes a time where a man's gotta say enough. C’mon, get proper. We gotta go get some sundries.” Smiling, young Dedee ran off to get ready, and they left with the sack of coin.
* * * *
Three months later, it was the first breath of winter. Frost had just started to settle in in the mornings, and the first snow of the year was approaching. Outside the city walls, the War come to their doorstep. The faces of residents, beset on all sides by siege machinery constructed by hunger, fatigue, and sickness, had become mirror images of the city itself. Cyrus was no different, and he sat at a forge which was lit only for the sake of heat. Dedee, in silence, sat next to him.
“The miller must need something from me,” Cyrus stared into the embers of forge, “With some flour, we could make it through the week.”
His thoughts ended there, and he stood up “Dedee, stay inside today. Keep warm, I’m going to go scare up some work and I'll be back with food.”
She nodded and gave a half smile to her father, before returning her gaze to the floor.
Along the way, every house was dark and silent, quiet as a winter night. Upon reaching the Mill, he gave a knock that echoed through the empty streets. There was no answer. “Humphrey, c’mon, answer the door!” Another knock at the door, still more silence.
“They’re dead. Baron had them executed.”
“Ah! Wenda, what on Earth do you mean? Why would he have them killed?”
The young lady shook her head, “They wouldn’t give up their grain warehouse. So the Baron’s soldiers killed them all, took the warehouse.”
“It can’t be..”
“But it is. Go with God, Cyrus.” Before he could look up, Wenda had run off, a whisk of brown cloak dashing down an alley. Cyrus trekked back home and was surprised to find two of the Baron’s men outside of it, knocking on the door. They stopped as he approached. “Baron’s got an order for you. To fulfill immediately.”
“Baron and I had a deal – he pays up front, now.”
“You’ll do it now. It has been a long couple of months, but I have my orders.”
“What, are you going to do? Kill me if I refuse?”
“If you don’t participate, the orders are to take you into custody until you can stand trial, for treason.”
It was too much to bear, he could stand hunger and fear of a foreign army, it was nothing new. But to be threatened by the Baron? To hear that a family had been murdered in cold blood? Cyrus shook his head, and stepped forward. “I heard what happened to the Miller and his family. If you think I’m going to let you get away with this...”
“Cyrus, I don’t want to fight you. Everyone is on edge. But I will take you in if you don’t take this order.”
“No. I won’t do it.” Cyrus jumped forward, grabbed the helmet off the nearest soldier’s head, snapping the leather strap.
He swung wildly, and used it to smack the other soldier across the face plate, causing him to shout over the pang of metal on metal. “Are you kidding, Cyrus! We’ll have your head!”
Their fight escalated.
In houses nearby, other people opened their doors to watch silently. As Cyrus began to get the upper hand, the citizens began to come out armed with what they could. The soldiers, left with no recourse and no arms, taken as they were, fought to escape, and returned to the Baron. It was the next day that the royal guard was out in the streets on every corner. It was this day that Cyrus and the other citizens decided that enough was enough. It was better to be ruled by an outside force than to be murdered by their own inside their city.The roads ran red, and the anger of thousands of starving citizens washed over the castle. Though the struggle took many from the town on both sides, in the end, Cyrus was the one to open the gates. There was a feast that night, and though they were all sick from eating too much when it was done, their anger had subsided.
|# ? Aug 23, 2015 17:39|
smoother than silk
Hey, so if you’re trying to pick me up, you should know that I’m a spider bride. You know, like the folk stories?
I mean, my first memory is devouring some poor traveller with my brothers and sisters. Our tiny legs bumping against each other as we jostled for position. I don’t remember what part I got. I don’t think it was an eye. That would have really messed me up.
My mom picked him up in the traditional way, asking him if he could help take care of her baby. I think there’s a moment in everyone’s life when it turns out the baby you’ve been asked to help is actually a million spider babies. Metaphorically, I mean.
Mom picked guys up to feed us, but she would rather have been weaving. That’s what she did when my sisters got old enough to feed themselves. Just sat on her loom, picking and floating. By that time my brothers were all eaten and my sisters were out picking guys up themselves, but I would just hang around my mom, watching her work. But eventually she shooed me away, said I was breaking her concentration.
So I went to the city after my sisters, but instead of eating anyone I apprenticed under a weaver, and he let me sleep in the workspace, and he taught me how to weave. You know, I didn’t even have to charm him. He said he was scared the traditional ways were dying out and he was happy to pass them along.
It was slow going. Looming is an art like any other, and what makes something art is that it’s hard to learn. It’s a journey. Like the journey the thread makes before it even makes it to the loom, you know, it starts with the silk moth cocoons and how they’re soaked in oil water and stretched out. So I was only doing basic stuff at first, kanji and simple designs, and otherwise I did what I did before, just hung around and watched the master work.
He was really in demand. He had all these high-powered business guys coming in, commissioning him to do stuff for their office spaces. I think they wanted that touch of authenticity to distract them from the soul-crushing meaninglessness of what they were doing. I’m not a psychoanalyst, though.
And he’s married, you’d see her around the place, wearing a kimono that he’d woven for her, serving steaming tea. But one day she ran off with one of these business guys who asked for a commission. She said before she left that there was more to life than silk.
The weaver was heartbroken, right? But he keeps working on the commission the guy asked for. I couldn’t believe it. I asked him why he’d even bother. And he said that he had given his word. But later I realized maybe it was something else. That maybe art doesn’t depend on circumstance. You just do it because you love it, and the context doesn’t matter. So he has it all done by the time the guy shows up to ask for it.
And this guy, well, he’s a total tool. They all were, really, but this guy took it to the extreme. He just has this attitude, like he rules the world, like all he has to do is flash a smile and all the guys jump and all the girls line up. He was leering at me, eye-groping me, as he took the tapestry.
And I looked at him, and all I could think about was how succulent he looked. I thought about how easy it would be to get him alone. Then I could sink my chelicerae, that’s what our fangs are called, into him, pump him full of venom so that his eyes turn blue before they burst out of his head.
Instead I said, “hey man, my sister’s pretty cute and she loves guys with paper. Want her number?”
And he takes it like it’s his due. Which it is, of course, because I gave him the number of the one who was always talking about how it was her eating the eyeball and how it tasted like tapioca.
And I figured, I passed the test. Sort of. And I could focus on looming. I was getting better, moving up to more complicated designs. I stitched snakes, snakes eating their own tails.
But one day his widow showed up. And she just looked confused, she probably never knew for sure what happened. But she had a sort of grace to her all the same. And she asked for the weaver to make her a tapestry. And the weaver got this look on his face, and he turned to me and said, “she will weave your tapestry.”
And that was more than I bargained for, because at this point me and the weaver were alone, day after day. His wife was travelling to find herself or something. So it’s just me, and him, together, and he amped up the instruction. He would sit next to me while I’m on the floorboard of the loom, guiding me, and it’d be all I could do to do a basic spiral weave. So close that I was basically drooling onto the loom.
But the whole time I was thinking about mom, about how peaceful she looked when she was on the loom. I would just hold the image in my mind and I’d feel all zen. So eventually I’m just sitting there, picking and floating like she used to, and he’s nodding approvingly
And then it’s done. Snakes everywhere, but this time I coiled them around and around, stitched the tails to a point so fine you’d need a magnifying glass to see it. And some pandas, playing together, and I put them all in a lush bamboo forest. I put some kanji in there too, getting back to my roots.
And the widow came to take the tapestry, and she didn’t say anything, but she just smiled at me and left. And I felt like my body was humming, and tried not to think that maybe that was what it felt like for my sisters, too, every week, maybe every day.
The weaver told me that I’d learned all I could. He got me set up with my own loom, my own workspace. And I started to weave more tapestries, for families, mostly. Some tea shops. But it’s the last thing he said to me that got to me.
He said the old ways would never die. And I’m scared because I think he’s right. Me and my sisters are from an older world, right? They used to tell stories about us, were scared of us. And I think that we probably should’ve stayed in that older world, and not come to the city, where food walks right up to you and says hello. Sometimes I see a cute boy, and my heart starts beating faster, and my pedipalps start to pulse…
Um, sorry, I don’t think you’ve really been listening. You’re nice enough, but uh, you’re not really my type.
|# ? Aug 23, 2015 18:38|
Capitalism is the one true ideology of Freedom, 1088 words
Flash rules: That toy you wanted is back on sale; they'll probably never notice what I took; they never really deserved to have it; this one will be the one that changes everything, no more; investment is basiscally a love letter to your future self, he said; -100 words (self imposed)
The Indios wept and cried, begging for their lives and proclaiming their innocence. It had all become old hat now. Commander Marcos had pacified enough of the Maya Highlands to know - every communist claimed loyalty to Guatemala, every mother begged for her son's life. The civil war had been raging for years now, and long ago Marcos had realized. Mercy wouldn't end this war. Only a hard heart would save his Guatemala from a Cuban revolution.
He gave the order, and his men opened fire. The indios cried out to their pagan gods to save them, and were cut down. His soldiers pushed the bodies into the pit, and the bulldozers covered them up with dirt. Soon, the only sign of the mass grave was the mound of disturbed dirt, far from any town or village.
It was unpleasant work, but necessary. Marcos knew this was the only way his son could grow up in a free country. This was the only way to keep Guatemala free from the Communists. It was getting close to being over.
Alisa Rosenbaum inspected the toy in front of her. It was a doll of a little girl, with a beautiful face and a lovely dress. Alisa had named the doll Ivana, and loved it the way only a little girl could. "Mama," she asked, "Can I please keep four toys? Oh please, I promise I'll put her away when I'm done, and keep my room tidy."
Her mother frowned, and squatted to look the little girl in the eye. "No, Alisa. Only three toys, that's the rule. The rest for storage."
"But Mama!" Alisa screeched. "I love Ivana so much!" She hugged the doll tightly to her chest.
"No, Alisa!" Her mother glared, then softened. "They'll just be in storage. You can switch them out later."
Alisa blinked back her tears, and looked at her toys again. She had already set aside three: a train, a bear, and a ball. Ivana was her favorite, but she had plans for the other three. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad. I'd be like Chanukkah whenever she wanted - excitement and new toys at her whim. How much more beautiful would Ivana be, after not seeing her for a bit? Gently, Alisa placed the doll in her other pile. Mama had promised, after all.
It was time, young Alisa had decided. The first snow had fallen on St. Petersburg, and the ball wasn't much good inside the flat. She picked it up, and carried it over to Mama.
"I'd like Ivana back," she said, holding up the ball.
"What's that, Alisas?" her mother asked, puzzled.
"My doll, Ivana. I miss her so much, so I'd like her back now." She held the all up again. A tinge of fear tickled her at the base of her spine.
Mama looked to Papa, who merely shrugged and went back to his paper. "The doll you gave away, Alisa?" her mother asked.
"I didn't give her away, Mama," Alisa replied. "You put her in storage. I'd like her back now."
"Oh, darling, I'm sorry. You didn't want to play with those toys, so I gave them to the orphanage. If you wanted the doll, you would have kept her."
"I want to play with Ivana now. You said I could switch the out." Alisa was blinking back tears now, and her voice was louder and more forceful. "You promised."
"Alisa, listen to me. You have enough toys. The orphans don't have any at all. Don't you want those poor children to have toys as well?" Mama looked to her husband for help, but he maintained a laser-like focus on his paper.
The tears were flowing freely now. "I want Ivana. I want my doll!" She threw the ball as hard as she could at her mother. It bounced off Mama's knee, and at Papa's paper.
"Enough!" the man roared. "Go to your room, you selfish pig!"
Alisa screamed and slammed the door. She laid on her bed and wept, big fat tears full of sadness and betrayal.
Her mother came in a few hours later and gently rubbed her back. "Alisas, I'm hoping you'll understand. When you have more, you need to help those with less. The strong must help the weak, don't you understand? Besides, think of that little girl, playing with her doll. Imagine how happy she is - and you won't even notice the doll is gone. Doesn't she deserve that happiness?"
No, thought Alisa, as she looked up with red-rimmed eyes. She doesn't deserve it. She is a fat little cow who doesn't deserve anything at all. You foolish woman, don't you see? You stole that toy from me, so some useless maggot could be happy at my expense. Your beliefs are a joke - altruism is a sin!
Those weren't her exact thoughts, of course. It was more a instinctual sadness, anger, resentment that transcended words. But as she glared at her mother, the seeds of those thoughts formed. Years later, after she had become a famous writer under the name Ayn Rand, she described that experience as a pivotal moment in her development.
Juan Marcos stared at the statue in front of him. It was at the entrance to the business school of Francisco Marroquin University - a giant golden man, holding up a series of circles that represent the universe. "Atlas Libertas", proclaimed the plaque beneath him.
Just like on the cover of the book, eh?" The older man had snuck up on Juan. He was a tweedy professor type, with a wispy bald pate. "You must be Marcos' boy. Have you read Ayn Rand?"
"Of course!" Juan replied, shaking his hand. "I've read Atlas Shrugged in both English and Spanish."
"Von Mises? Hayek?" the professor asked, as he led him inside.
"Yes, yes. My father made sure I was educated. The best defense against degenerate philosophies is to learn about freedom from first principles. At least, that's what he'd say," Juan replied.
"Ah, how is the commander? He was a close friend of mine, you know."
"Fine. Worried, actually." Juan shrugged his shoulders. "There is talk about the UN setting up some sort of court, as part of the 'peace' process. Who knows what those foreigners will do."
"Ah, well, I wouldn't worry too much. Your father was just keeping us safe from the guerillas." The professor opened the dr to his office, and ushered Juan inside. "Now, let's talk about your future in business. It sounds like you've already have half our education..."
|# ? Aug 23, 2015 20:00|
Aptera 829 words
Flash rule: All my little somethings
edit: snipped for submission
HopperUK fucked around with this message at 00:07 on Nov 1, 2015
|# ? Aug 23, 2015 20:02|
(lust, "innocence remains", 1199 words)
Her Caged Song
The keep’s holding chambers had never much been to Asha’s liking; too sterile and brightly lit. The juxtaposition of what she thought a prison ought to be (damp, dark and grimy) and the reality always unsettled her whenever she kept watch there. Guard duty was tiring enough as it was, but she supposed that it wouldn’t do for any precious merchandise to come down with a venereal disease before delivery.
It looked like it would be an easy shift, at least. Their latest acquisition stared at her through the bars of its cell, the only occupant ever since a particularly insatiable duke cleared out their stock. Asha silently thanked it for not being a screamer. Accusatory glares were much easier to filter out. Asha did just that, focusing on sharpening her daggers until Rahul the jailer came to relieve her.
Several days passed before Asha returned to the cells and was greeted with the same glare, to her surprise. Most merchandise fell into a listless despair after the initial shock of captivity wore off. It didn’t speak up until Asha approached its cell in order to deliver its dinner. “You must be someone special. All of my other guards have been men.”
Asha snorted. “Like as not I’d be in that cell if I didn’t have the ability to kill them all without-” She cut herself off, cursing the moment of vulnerability. The woman’s voice had a refined, songlike quality to it that caught Asha off-guard. She’d have to make sure it didn’t happen again. When Rahul arrived, Asha requested that she be removed from guard duty for the time being. It meant she’d be assigned somewhere more dangerous, but anything was worth losing the risk of getting attached.
It soon came to be that Jaya, head of the slavers, personally requested Asha’s presence on a raiding team meant to acquire both supplies and merchandise. She gladly accepted, hoping that by the time she returned, the girl would be gone.
Weeks later, Asha berated herself as she sat in the prison once more, right arm in a sling. A caravan guardsman had played dead and taken her by surprise. She would have taken Asha’s head, as well, if not for the intervention of Jaya. The wound stung almost as much as the indignity of being fit for nothing more than watch duty until she recovered.
Apart from that, however, the raid had been successful, and the prison now held four new girls, along with the woman from before. None had ever remained in the holding cells for so long without being claimed, and none had ever remained even half as long without breaking from the isolation. None had ever remained long enough for Asha to become familiar with them.
Her name was Gita. She sang softly of hope to the others when they became despondent. Asha knew that it was forbidden for prisoners to make noise, but she couldn’t bring herself to stop the melody. Sometimes she found herself crying without quite realizing why.
“How is it that you can still sing?” Asha asked her one day, as she delivered her food.
Gita started, unused to Asha being the first to speak. “All my life, I have loved music. My parents were minstrels, part of a traveling show, and I wanted nothing more but to follow them as they traveled the world. They were the first to die when your friends attacked.”
Asha grimaced, angered at herself for asking. It was easy to work when you didn’t think of those who would mourn the man whose throat you just slit, when you couldn’t attach a story to any of the crying faces you see. Gita continued. “I know they would not want to see me cry, and my voice always brought them great joy. Thus, I sing. Wait,” she said as Asha began to leave. “It’s only fair that you answer a question of mine. Why do you remain here?”
Asha hesitated, then began to speak.
Asha’s parents had died when she had been too young to remember them, casualties of war. After that, with her older brother she lived on the streets. They were both constantly on the edge of starvation, and he one day succumbed; having given her every last morsel of food they could scrounge.
Even that had been barely enough to keep Asha alive. Soon after her brother’s death, a group of older and bigger children cornered her after she had successfully stolen a fresh loaf of bread from a baker, intent on forcefully taking the food from her. However, Asha had claimed a knife, hidden in the boot of a hanged man.
Asha still remembered all their faces, and the color their blood stained the filthy pavement. Jaya witnessed everything. He had come to the city looking for merchandise, but he saw potential in Asha and approached her with an offer of a home. Asha accepted without hesitation, and for the first time in her life she had a full stomach and a bed to call her own.
Gita remained silent all the while, giving her an almost pitying look, and Asha realized how pathetic she must sound, how little her story justified her actions. The prison door creaked open, breaking the silence.. Rahul gave her an odd look as Asha walked past, and she flushed with guilt, fearful of how much he had overheard. Another week passed without further incident. Asha now quieted Gita whenever she started to sing, and brushed off any attempts to talk.
One day, Asha surreptitiously checked the ledgers to see who was slated to purchase Gita. She, along with the other girls, had all been reserved by Duke Dhaval “to be transported when he was done with his current batch.” Asha shuddered. In the past, she had accompanied Jaya as a bodyguard as he met with the Duke, and the expensive perfumes he doused his private chambers in still could not mask the scent of decay. She trembled as she pictured Gita’s beautiful voice screaming in agony at his hands.
The next time Rahul came to relieve Asha, she greeted him with a slash to the throat. As he fell to the floor, gurgling as he desperately tried to cry for help, she grabbed the keys from his belt and quickly freed all the captive girls. “I can’t give you much, but it’s more of a chance than you’d have otherwise. There’s a door we don’t use in the back, take it. I’ll give you a head start. You’ll have to rely on your own strength after that, alright?”
Gita nodded. “Thank you.” With quiet words of encouragement, she spurred the other girls onward to freedom.
Asha gave her one last, wistful look. She wished that she could join her, but knew that she had no rightful place with the innocent. Years of sin couldn’t be righted with one good deed. The alarm sounded as a second guard came down the stairs to find Rahul dead at his feet. Asha clutched her daggers tight. Maybe, if she was lucky, she could make it to Jaya before she was struck down.
|# ? Aug 23, 2015 20:04|
Prompt: Gluttony; eat the pain away
"Sorry Jim, but this is for your own good."
The words cycled through Jim's mind while he glared at the sandwich in his hand. He gripped the strap of the ceiling with whitened knuckles, muttering softly to himself, mouth full.
"Lousy bastards," he grunted between bites, "I bust my rear end for you people, and you loving fire me?"
An old lady sitting across from him looked up from her book and glowered.
"Sorry," Jim said, cursing himself for not swallowing first. "Bad day at work."
"Talking to yerself's a sign of insanity," the old woman said, going back to her book.
Shame burning in his gut, Jim attacked the sandwich with renewed loathing. The worst part of getting fired was that it truly was his own fault; he was lucky that all he lost was a job. Stealing from work was bad, especially when the item stolen was an experimental weight-loss drug.
Dietary supplements, he corrected himself. Dietary supplements weren't rigorously examined by the FDA, and were thus cheaper to make -- a boon for the company. In fact, they cut costs everywhere, even to the point of paying Jim under the table to be a gofer/quasi-lab assistant. It suited Jim; easy work, friendly coworkers, decent pay, and free doughnuts and coffee in the break room.
That last point led to trouble in the end. While sneaking a quick snack-break, Jim happened to eavesdrop on two lab techs discussing their work.
"...can absolutely eat anything afterwards," Jim heard. "Causes the body's metabolism to shoot way up, burning through adipose tissue like crazy. This stuff gets in your system, you just run through the calories."
Jim listened in, pretending not to notice as the technician slipped the location and serial number of the stuff, and headed off the moment it was safe, which coincidentally happened to be when he'd finished two éclairs and a big cup of coffee heaping with sugar and cream.
Jim wasn't skinny. Jim wasn't fat. Jim was, in fact, disgustingly fat, and he knew it. His wife's affection had vanished, his legs and back constantly ached, and every time he saw himself he died a little more inside. That didn't stop him from eating; it only made it worse. Half the time he ate for comfort -- food pushed aside his loathing, for a while. The other half of the time he ate as punishment -- too cowardly to actually commit suicide, he hoped to dig his own grave with a knife and fork.
But just that morning, he'd had a wakeup call. While he readied himself for work, he'd found a used pregnancy test in the trash; it was positive. His wife was pregnant. His mind drifted to his own childhood, where what few memories he had of his father consisted of beatings from a morbidly obese alcoholic, followed by feelings of grief and guilty remorse when his father died.
I don't want that, Jim thought that morning. He'd avoided alcohol, thank god, but he more than made up for that with his disgusting appetite, and he knew if he didn't make a change, he wouldn't live to see his kid get through elementary school.
That's why he stole the drug. He didn't think they'd miss a single vial, and that's all it'd take, right? A single vial to get the wheels rolling and then he could eat right, start working out. He'd feel better, he'd look better, he'd be better. By taking the vial, he was doing everyone a service, right?
But at the end of the day, he was quietly, almost sadly dismissed. They never mentioned the stolen vial, they just told him that it'd be for the best if he sought employment elsewhere.
"Sorry Jim, but this is for your own good."
"What do you mean you lost your job?" Susan's glare dug at Jim's heart. "Jesus Christ, your job was to carry boxes and fill out forms! How could you gently caress that up?"
Jim didn't admit his theft. He merely mumble-repeated the last conversation, and handed over the envelope of money that constituted his last payment. She looked inside and huffed, shaking her head.
"You think this'll pay the bills? You think this'll cover the rent?" She slammed the envelope onto the table. "I know for a loving fact it won't cover the groceries. I'm going to bed."
"I'll be up in a bit," Jim said after her as she turned to leave.
"And when you haul yourself up the stairs you can grab a blanket and pillows! Your fat rear end is sleeping on the couch tonight!" she called back. "That is, if it can stand your weight."
Eyes watering, fat cheeks reddening with shame and impotent anger, Jim did what he always did when emotions overflowed: he ate.
There wasn't much in the fridge. Stale toast, mayonnaise, ketchup, and bacon bits made for a decent nibble while he searched the kitchen for more to eat, when a sudden thought came to him: the vial! By god, he'd almost forgotten!
He stared hard at the half-full container. He thought about what the tech said, trying to remember if there was any mention of dosage. After a moment, he popped the seal and drank it dry. He ignored its stinging, syrupy sweetness, smacked his lips, and shuddered.
Aside from a faint swelling and numbing of his tongue, Jim felt no different. He forced a laugh. Why would he feel different? This wasn't Dr. Jekyll's magic potion, it was an untested dietary supplement -- it probably didn't work. It was probably a dud-
Jim doubled over, groaned, and farted wetly. He half-ran, half-hobbled to the bathroom and had the worst diarrhea of his life. Then he felt much, much better -- he felt clean inside for the first time in years, clean and light. After a quick wash, he was ready to get on with his meal.
He had never felt so hungry.
Next morning, the phone rung until voicemail picked up.
"Jim? This is Frank, from the lab. Look, I wanted get some stuff off my chest. I didn't want to let you go, you were a good worker, but... well, you told me about your wife being pregnant, and with you becoming a dad I didn't want you to get caught up in what was going on."
Soft chewing sounds echoed through the kitchen. Frank's tinny voice carried on through the phone's speaker.
"We weren't making dietary supplements -- we were making bioweapons, designer viruses, but the loving FBI caught on. I figured I could at least give you a chance to get out of this alive. Delete this message after you hear it! Don't tell anybody what you heard while you worked here! And you and your wife get somewhere safe!"
There was a click as Frank hung up, but Jim didn't notice. Jim didn't notice anything, except for sweet, juicy meat grinding between his teeth. Not even Susan's whimpering bothered him anymore.
|# ? Aug 23, 2015 21:02|
My prompt and flashrules:
I hated my flashrule.
George gripped his tiny fingers around his dad’s bigger, calloused ones. They held it there for a moment, on his dad’s desk.
Slowly his dad lowered George’s arm down. “Tough luck,” he smiled. “Guess you’ve gotta do the final round with me after all.”
His dad pushed his chair back and grabbed his Security jacket.
“So this is your last day of work, Dad?” George asked.
“Last public day.” He strapped the baton and small handgun from the side table underneath the photos – a large selection all in different frames showing him in front of all the different aquarium animals.
“The people taking the building over are helping transport the animals out over next week.”
“Where are the animals going?”
“Back to sea I reckon.”
They did the circuit around the aquarium, saying hello to the handful of visitors that had come for a final look.
The biggest group of people was as always looking in at Osmund the Octopus. As usual his dad stopped here to tell the tourists the story.
“Osmund the Octopus was the star of the climax of Spy Dangerous VI: The Underwater Menace. Without any training Osmund seemed to be able to match the moves of the starring martial artist Kyle McCleery move for move, winning an Animal Oscar for his performance. And now he’s retired here.”
Anyone that listened to the full story would always gaze at Osmund again, eyes filled with wonder.
This time his Dad took even longer, explaining the intricacies of the octopus, and how it was so smart one time they caught it sneaking out to get food, so that he overran to closing time.
“I need to escort these guests out. Wait for me here and we’ll lock everything up after.”
George had watched Osmund a lot, floating freely around his domain, lazing about on the rocks. But this time it seemed that Osmund was more agitated than usual, skitting about from wall to wall.
From his low position George could see out of the water of Osmund’s tank to the metal gantries above the tank, for the staff to use.
A distorted, dark figure came into view. Osmund didn’t usually get fed at this time, thought George. But everyone was on different schedules today.
The doors behind him burst open, and George turned around.
The men in suits were pushing a trolley forward, filling the room with a horrible, rank smell, like a fish market. George stood up.
His dad rushed in after them. “You can’t do this,” he shouted. “This has to be illegal. I’ll call the council! The police!”
George could see inside the trolley now, it was piled up with fish. Their skin glistened in the blue light coming from George’s booth. Some of the ones at the top flopped about, but the lower layers were still.
“We are the council and the police,” said the man at the front. “We’re from the government. We need this building sooner than we thought, so cleaning it out is a priority.”
“But you can’t just kill all these creatures!” shouted his dad.
“We are authorised.”
A net was lowered into Osmund’s tank by the man above. Osmund kept darting out of the way, staying in the edges of the tank that were difficult for the inexperienced man to reach.
“Not Osmund,” his Dad whispered.
Osmund couldn’t avoid the net forever, and he was scooped up.
The man held him above the water, and moved the net over to the large bucket beside him.
A tentacle lurched out of the net, catching the man in the jaw. He stumbled and fell, the upper half of his body lying over the tank.
The men pushing the trolley ran forward, confused, looking up as close to the glass as they could.
Osmund picked himself up from the tangled net on the metal grating. He pulled himself onto the man’s body, walking himself over to his head.
The two men were banging on the glass. “Pull yourself together, he’ll get away!”
Osmund dropped himself off the man’s chest, looping his tentacles around so he was hanging on his back. Then he pulled. The man tumbled off the walkway, and splashed hard into the water, bubbles shooting to the surface.
“Did that octopus just suplex Dave?” one of the men asked the other.
The bubbles began to clear.
Osmund was locked over the man’s face as he struggled to tread the water. Bubbles streamed from his face.
“Oh my God,” said George’s dad. He moved his hand over George’s eyes.
“He’s drowning him!” shouted one of the men. “Stand back!” He drew a gun and shot the glass. It held.
The man in the tank stopped moving. Osmund turned to look at them. His eyes seemed to be blank.
The man shot again.
The tank burst and water streamed out. Small rocks, algae, and pieces of glass flew forward first. The still body of the man that had fallen in drooped over the ridged edge of the tank.
Osmund was beside him, his goopy body expanding and contracting.
“Let’s just waste him,” said the man with the gun.
“No ,wait, he’s just an animal,” said George’s dad, “he doesn’t understand.”
He moved forward to Osmund.
The man pressed down on the trigger.
His dad fell backwards. Osmund leapt forward, passing his dad. The man shot again, but Osmund still flew across the air. He landed on the man’s arm, pulling it up. He shot again, the bullet whizzing through the tank to the electric lights above, shattering them.
Sparks flew down on the water. Something caught fire above.
The man yelled, spinning. His gun went off again, hitting cleaning chemicals on the trolley. These caught light instantly, spilling down into the pile of fish, smelling like a barbecue, the thick smoke curling up to the ceiling.
The man tried to scream, but Osmund was on his face, his muscular tentacles squeezing the life out of him.
George crawled over to his dad, lying amongst the glass and water, holding his side and wincing. “Osmund’s too far gone,” he whispered. “He’s distracted. Doesn’t see you as a threat. You’ve gotta use my gun. Just point and shoot like we practiced, okay?”
“Are you gonna be okay, dad?”
“Only if we stop what started here.”
“I don’t wanna kill him.”
“He must be stopped.”
George began to cry.
The second man was trying to hold Osmund off, backing away from the still body of his friend.
His dad pressed the gun into George’s hand.
George pointed it at Osmund, now on the second man’s face, and pressed down. And again, and again, correcting his aim after each knockback.
The bullets seemed to hang in the air over the orange corridor, light flickering from the burning fish, illuminating up what had before been the sky of Osmund’s world in brilliant amber. Like meteors coming down from his sky each round impacted into him, flinging him off the final man.
He landed with a dull splash in the inch high water of the floor.
Once again Osmund lay still. But this time no credits rolled.
|# ? Aug 23, 2015 22:19|
This gets you a line-crit from me.
|# ? Aug 23, 2015 22:36|
anime was right fucked around with this message at 05:59 on Oct 27, 2015
|# ? Aug 23, 2015 23:18|
Saved by the Bear
Flash rule: Sloth - oddly pleasant cuddling
I woke up, having exceeded my sleep quota. The room was a mess, our queen-sized bed surrounded by empty cups of instant noodles with the chopsticks peeking out. I've done nothing but eat, brush my teeth, and sleep, discounting the bodily functions that no one wants to hear about.
Three days ago, my boyfriend left on a business trip. I had a week to myself, and all I did was lie in bed, cuddling with Shigeru's jumbo-sized, custom-made teddy bear. He had made it for the sole purpose of keeping me company on the nights when he was absent, and it was motorized to simulate his warm embrace. He's the kind of person who loves to tinker with machines.
Oftentimes I feel that I don't deserve him.
Two months ago, I quit my soul-crushing desk job, and Shigeru asked me to move in with him, so I did. A bunch of manuscripts were strewn on the floor, rejected manuscripts that my editor sent back with reasons different from each time. My story sucked, my art was too rough, or the premise didn't fit the overall thrust of the magazine (whatever that means).
I've always been good at drawing, and somehow it came to mind that I could become a manga artist, so I earnestly took it up, mooching money off my boyfriend to buy supplies. I managed to get a one-shot published in a well-known magazine despite being a complete newbie, but failure after failure simply turned me into a wreck. Getting serialized is no joke.
I thought about the dozen manuscripts that my editor had rejected--it was hopeful at first, since he told me I was an up-and-coming star author. My cellphone was filled with missed calls and texts that it became too much of a bother to delete them, so I let the battery drain instead.
The bear's grip relaxed, and the slight hum of the motor went to a halt. Its batteries were dead. I was stricken with the realization that I had to go out to buy replacement batteries for my cuddling companion.
It would only be a quick run to the convenience store, I told myself.
I tied my hair into the loosest, laziest ponytail mankind had ever conceived, and stuffed myself into jogging pants and a hoodie. I fidgeted in the elevator, already regretting my decision. I haven't spoken to anyone except my editor and Shigeru in weeks. Even my parents didn't know about my predicament.
I only had to walk to the convenience store, buy two sets of batteries (since the bear died on the third day of continuous use), and never have to leave the apartment again until Shigeru returns.
But not even my lowered hood could protect me from the piercing rays of the sun, and I flinched as if I had been physically struck.
I can't do this, I thought. I'll just lock myself inside again, and everything will be okay. I could simply cuddle with the bear, since Shigeru made it extremely fluffy.
But who will come to replace my batteries?
And the convenience store was right across the street. I looked at the empty road. The scene was so peaceful that you could hear birds chirping, so I simply dashed and crossed the distance.
My heart was pounding in my chest. Inside, I took a pack of four AA batteries, paid the cashier ("no points card, thanks"), and hightailed it back to my apartment.
I was left alone in the elevator to ponder the highlight of my day: Fujiwara Ayumi, a manga artist desperately aiming for serialization, went outside today.
I carefully opened the battery housing and threw the empty ones away, making a three-point shot at the waste basket.
A piece of paper fell. To Ayumi, it said in Shigeru's infuriatingly neat handwriting. I unfolded it and read it, of course.
Is it sunny in Tokyo? Summer's turning into autumn, but I hope you still get some sunshine, because I think that's what you need more than anything.
Anyway, if you're reading this, then you must have run out of batteries. I imagine it will be quite an ordeal to procure a new pair, but consider it a ploy to give you some fresh air, because you'd never leave the apartment on your own. You'll have to forgive me for my sneakiness.
I know that you're working hard on your next manuscript. I'm sorry that I can't be your assistant right now, even if all I can do is make you coffee and clean up the workspace. I hope you're eating something healthier than cup noodles, though!
I'll be back before you know it.
I had to put the letter away. I was crying, okay? What kind of idiot builds a cuddly toy in his spare time and schemes to send a delayed message? A normal text would do. Still, I gave him a lot of credit for it.
I looked at the bear, its light-brown fur cute and appealing. I inserted the batteries, turned the bear on, and hugged it as tightly as I could. For a few seconds it felt like Shigeru was home, and there was nothing wrong with the world.
But he so adamantly believed that I've been working hard. What would the look on his face be like when he comes home and sees this mess of a room, sees me helpless and unable to continue on?
I gathered the last dregs of my resolve and reached for my sketchbook. I picked up a fallen pencil and started sketching the bear toy. It'll be the main prop of my story.
Within an hour I was drawing a storyboard. I'm sorry, but I'm a hopeless person. I can't do anything anymore except draw manga. And I figured, if I've done this before, I could do it again, right?
And if I could focus on this one thing, for this one person, then maybe I could do it.
|# ? Aug 23, 2015 23:32|
Mama's Beautiful Boy
Flash rule: "beautiful beautiful beautiful skin"
A few months after the aquifer dried up, back when we could still live in the house, the government trucks came out to the farm and delivered hundreds of boxes containing jugs of water and cans of dehydrated food. Daddy helped the government men carry the boxes down to the storage room in the concrete shelter and locked it up with a heavy padlock. They told him it was enough to last us fifteen years if we stuck to two small meals a day. There were just three of us then, Mama and Daddy and me. They had Teddy after we moved into the shelter.
That first winter we discovered the furnace was broken, and Daddy left the shelter for replacement parts and never came back. Sometimes I’d carry Teddy to the iron outer door and bounce him on my knee and wait for Daddy to return. While I waited, I’d listen to the news reports on the radio -- broadcasts from some far-off city near the Atlantic -- speaking of bread riots and vigilantes and world leaders meeting to solve the global food crisis, until Mama caught me and made me turn it off. I hope he’s dead. Not out of bitterness, I just hate to think of the alternative.
Mama never once cried after Daddy was gone, but Teddy did. As the days and nights got colder, Teddy would shiver and wail no matter how many blankets we wrapped him in. “We need to fatten him up so he’ll survive the winter,” Mama told me. Every time he cried, she would run back to the storage room and come back with something for him to eat: sometimes baby food, sometimes applesauce, sometimes a tin of soft chocolate cookies that she’d mash into a paste. No matter what we put in front of Teddy, he gobbled it up greedily and screamed for more. He grew at an alarming rate, an unrelenting factory that turned dehydrated food rations into body mass. The rolls of fat on his wrists covered his hands up to the first knuckle.
At age two, Teddy weighed almost as much as me. Too big to bounce on my knee anymore.
“Mama, he eats too much,” I would tell her. “It ain’t natural for a boy to be so big.”
“Ain’t nothing natural about the times we’re living in. Your father’s gone, and we’re going to need a big, strong man around here one day. He’s got your father’s eyes,” she said, staring past me. “And his cute little button nose and thick black hair and beautiful beautiful beautiful skin. I gotta keep him safe and sound.”
“Okay, but... how much food do we have left?”
“Enough to last years and years, girl. Plenty to go around.”
“Can I see?”
By age four, Teddy was already 120 pounds. He was a good kid, but I worried about what his diet would mean for the rest of us. Mama enabled it - she fed him two cans of food every couple hours, and he never resisted. Whether he was presented with mushy beans, sticky slices of rehydrated banana, or -- worst of all -- bacon-flavored “textured vegetable protein,” it made no difference. Mama refused to cut back on his meals, even as she restricted herself to half a portion per day to compensate.
“My sweet boy is hungry,” Mama would say, “and he has to become the man of the house earlier than any boy should.” Teddy would affirm that he was hungry.
“But Mama, he gets so much more than me, and we’re going to run out-”
“We’re not going to run out of food,” she would tell me. “They’re going to fix everything above ground well before we ever come close to running out.”
“Then can I have some extra?”
The radio broadcasts stopped one day. Static on every station.
“Are you ok?” Teddy asked.
“I’m scared,” I said.
He waddled off to his room and came back a few minutes later with a picture he drew. “That’s you,” he said, pointing to a stick figure person, “and that’s me,” he said, pointing to what looked like a snowman. We were standing in front of a blue sky.
“How do you know what the sky looks like?” I asked.
“Mama told me. Said I’d get to see it one day.” I gave him the biggest hug I could.
That night, Mama fell asleep in the family room, and I worked up the courage to sneak into her bedroom and steal her keyring. I clutched the keys tight to avoid making a sound, and made my way to the storage room. It took a few tries, but I found the padlock key and the metal door opened with a creak.
In one corner of the room was a mountain of cans and broken-down boxes that reached all the way to the ceiling. Baby food. Applesauce. Bacon-flavored vegetable protein. Empty. In the opposite corner, a much smaller stack of cans, maybe a hundred. Peanut butter, blueberry pudding, some lentils. At the rate Teddy tore through them, maybe enough to last another two weeks. Next to the unopened cans was a tall, green, metal cabinet. It had a combination lock, but the door was ajar. Daddy’s hunting rifles were inside. I picked up the 30.06 Daddy had taught me to shoot with and some ammo, and threw the sling over my shoulder. Then I filled Daddy’s rucksack with all the cans it would hold.
Back in the family room, Teddy’s eyes went wide when he saw me, but I put a finger to my lips and he stayed quiet. I placed my hand on Mama’s bony shoulder and shook her awake.
“Mama, we’re leavin’. Do you wanna come with us?”
She was groggy, but jerked awake when she saw the gun on my shoulder. “What do you mean leavin’?”
“I went in the storage room. There’s barely enough food to last a month, even if we cut back. Unless somebody’s bringing more, we can’t stay here.”
“It’s not safe out there,” Mama said. “You’d be a drat fool to think you can make it outside this shelter.”
“We’d all be fools to think we can make it inside this shelter, too. I’d rather take my chances in the world than starve in here.”
“I don’t want to starve!” Teddy cried.
Mama bolted to her feet. “You ungrateful child,” she spat. “You go if you want to, but you can’t take Teddy. Not my sweet, beautiful boy.”
“He’s coming with me,” I said. “He’s got no chance in here.” I pulled the rifle over my shoulder and into my hands. I wasn’t gonna shoot her, but I’m not sure if she knew that. “Come with us, Mama. We’ll take whatever food we can carry.”
She sat back down, defeated and drained of energy. “Where will you go?”
“Maybe head west,” I said. “Closer to water.”
I went to Teddy and took his hand. He looked up at me with watery eyes. We might not make it far, but it was the best shot we had. “Come on, buddy. Wipe your nose. We’re going to see the sky.”
|# ? Aug 23, 2015 23:53|
flash rule: somewhere in your story is an actual no-poo poo tree sloth
Sleep, a Song, then Sleep Again
flerp fucked around with this message at 23:05 on Aug 27, 2015
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 00:21|
The Gentlewoman Caller
FLASH RULES: Mine - I got a letter this mornin, how do you reckon it read? It said, ‘Hurry, hurry, yeah your love is dead.
WeLandedOnTheMoon! - gently caress it; good enough.
WORD COUNT: 1176
*Snip*, heres the google docs instead.
Thyrork fucked around with this message at 20:47 on Jan 2, 2016
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 00:21|
Sins and Stones 1,179 words
Lust - whither the unsophisticated boner of the common man?
The wheels of the bloody uprising were set in motion at the church Easter crucession. Imagine: a spring evening, winter is far behind, and the sun sinks behind rows of thatched roofs and the kremlin towers, so half the sky is the deep blue of the ocean, and half still shines golden-yellow. Bearded men in robes march past the onion-domes of the church, bearing aloft golden icons - there goes Father Andrei flying Saint Nicholas’s pendant, and there’s his son Maxim, proud to be bearing a gem-studded cross, and behind him is Valentin Antonovich with an icon of Saint Cyril. You can smell the myrr and the incense, and you chant the lord’s prayer and the crowd echoes. Church bells chime. You soul sings.
Elena’s soul didn’t give a drat. Her betrothed Alexei clasped his sausage-sized fingers in prayer, and she was glad because she didn’t have to hold his hand anymore. Spittle flew from his mouth while he prayed and pudgy cheeks quaked with each “amen”. Elena looked over the crowd - toothless old men, dull-faced youths, country dullards everywhere. She rued the day that her family moved to Starograd, longed for her old Saint Petersburg palace, for opulent ballrooms filled with handsome men. But the fortunes of her royal house had faded, and all they had now was a decrepit rural mansion and a mountain of debt.
Alexei prayed as if in a trance, oblivious to the world. Elena saw her chance and took it. She slipped away, weaving through the crowd until she was gone from the ceremony and well away in the church gardens. She walked through the birch trees, head downcast, brooding about her impending marriage to the heir of the affluent House Zolotov.
And then she saw the man. He was shirtless and sweating, covered in mud, leaning on a rusted shovel. He ran a hand through a river of black hair and his piercing blue eyes found hers.
An intense desire seized her, as if the devil himself fanned the flames in her heart. He smiled and introduced himself as Vasily, the church gardener. They sat talked until a crescent moon rode in the sky. Alexei was probably looking for her, and here she was - a noble lady alone with an unsophisticated commoner - and the thought made her giddy and excited. Vasily reached for her hand. Elena let him take it. Her soul sang, then.
“How could you disappear like that? Poor Alexei's heart almost gave out!”
Father was furious, mother in tears. Elena had broken a crystal plate to make her unhappiness clear, but the family could no longer afford fine crockery, so she had to tone down the tantrum.
“You’re digging our graves,” mother sobbed, “and let that be on your soul.”
That night, Elena lay awake until she heard the rattle of stones against glass. She leapt of out bed and there was Vasily, perched atop an oak tree beside her bedroom. She opened the window and he climbed in. Her heart beat like the imperial army drum corp. After they were finished, he whispered words of love as he snuck out, but Elena was already asleep.
Alexei wasn’t happy either. “Elena,” he said on their excruciating daily walk. “You must obey me in all things. You will not leave my side when we’re together.”
“Of course, dear,” she said, and her lips smiled but her eyes didn’t.
Vasily came to her again and again. Elena’s days were monotonous, her nights full of passion, and she grew drunk on the thrill of forbidden affair. Then, abruptly, his visits ceased. He hadn’t come one night, nor the next, and Elena became restless and frustrated. On the third night, she could no longer bear it. She put on old rags, disguising herself as a commoner - an easy task, considering the sorry state of her wardrobe - and crept out into the darkness to seek her lover.
She found Vasily outside the church gates, carting a wheelbarrow. The street was dark and deserted. She ran to him and they embraced.
“Why haven’t you come?” she said. “I’ve been waiting every night. I cannot sleep. Where have you been? Oh, Vasily!”
He stammered apologies and she showered him with kisses. Footsteps came from around the corner, but they paid no heed, lost in each other, until a hacking cough caught their attention.
Alexei staggered towards them, unsteady on his feet. Elena could smell the vodka from where she stood.
“Have you no decency, commoners?” Alexei said, his speech slurred. “Why, embracing outside the church! I ought to…”
Elena turned her face away but it was too late. Alexei’s eyes grew wide. He drew a pistol from his coat. Vasily shoved Elena aside and faced her betrothed, chest puffed out, as if daring him to shoot.
Alexei pulled the trigger. There was a dull click. Misfire.
He cursed and fumbled with the flintlock. Vasily seized a hefty stone from the roadside and leapt upon the nobleman before he could fire again. The stone struck Alexei in the temple. He fell and did not rise.
Elena ran as fast as she could. Vasily stood motionless, stone still in hand, and watched the noblewoman disappear into the darkness.
Alexei’s funeral was well-attended. There were three fist-fights and a public flogging afterwards. His royal house was out for blood but the murder investigations turned up nothing. Eventually, the authorities had found suitable scapegoats and hung a tailor and a stable-boy for the murder. When their families protested, Alexei’s father ran them out of town.
The executed men were well-liked. Discontent spread throughout town and the seeds of an uprising were sown. The noble families of Starograd had raised taxes and increased militia patrols to quell unrest, but that only fuelled the fire. The town was a powder-keg ready to blow.
A funeral shroud fell over Elena’s house. Father and mother barely spoke. Elena locked herself in her room and her eyes were always red from crying. Whatever social clout her family enjoyed had died along with Alexei. They isolated themselves and refused to leave their home, and they did not learn of the rebellion until it was too late.
When the mob of villagers tore down the rickety manor fence and marched through the garden, father locked all the doors and hid Elena in a cupboard upstairs. Crouching there, she heard everything - the crash of the door, the peasants' coarse laughter. The sound of smashing glass. Father’s revolver, firing once, twice, no more. Footsteps on the staircase. Vasily’s voice.
Nobody knows what happened to Elena after the uprising. It took days before the Czar’s troops arrived to restore order to the town, and by then, her family numbered amongst the victims, but Elena’s body was never found. Some say she was slain and her body thrown into a river. Others say she escaped, aided by a commoner who loved her, but one well-respected merchant is adamant: the feared bandits that terrorise the trade routes around Starograd are led by a brash and beautiful lady who carries herself like a noblewoman.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 00:59|
a bottle full of gulps
The Kill. 1194 Words.
The gas station sign is pocked from ancient shotgun blasts. The windows are covered with lottery posters. Their security system is one camera, pointed at the women's bathroom. This should be easy.
And it is at first.
I show her the gun and she hands me the money without a word between us. She's cute; dirty blonde with poo poo brown roots. She's squeezed into her shirt and shorts like a red hot sausage.
She tells me the place is empty, and when the old man emerges from the back with a baseball bat, I almost shoot them both. But I look the girl over, and I get a better idea.
I put my gun to her head and the old man drops the bat; he begs me not to hurt Felicia.
To the girl I say, "That your name?"
"Yeah." He says, coming towards me, slow with his hands up. "She's all we got left, my wife and me."
I look at Felicia. "You said the place was empty."
She blinks like it slipped her mind.
I pop him hard with the butt of my gun. She peeps like a baby chicken and he collapses on me. Some of his blood ends up on my shirt.
I put the gun back on her and say, "I didn't hit him hard. He'll be all right when he wakes up."
She don't say anything at first, standing there, hands on the register.
"You're coming with me," I tell her. "Until we get far enough from here, and then—"
"Okay." She cuts me off.
"Grab some rope. And a gallon of water." I point the gun at the oven beside the register. "And two of them hot dogs."
She crumples her little rabbit nose, "You don't want nothing from the grill; we got rats."
I grab two bags of hot fries and lead her to the pickup truck. She don't put up a fight, she just comes along like we're going to the movies.
She says she's glad I took her.
# # #
"I'm hot," she says. "Can't you turn on the AC?"
"No AC in this car for twenty years. Crank down your window if you're hot."
She holds out her hands, wrists touching. "I could if you'd loosen my ropes." She looks out the truck's back window. "You didn't need to tie me up anyhow. I hated my step-father, glad you hit him."
"Thought he was your daddy," I say.
"Daddy died three years ago. Mama married Jackson before the life insurance check arrived." She scratches her nose with both hands. "I was gonna leave with Robbie, but he got scared. Robbie's my boyfriend. Ex boyfriend. He's chickenshit and if—"
I tell her to shut up and she does. I start thinking about how long before I can dump this girl.
# # #
The first bag of hot fries is empty, the gallon of water half gone. I'm wiping my hands off on my jeans when she asks, "Why you pulling over?"
"I can't feel my fingers. Loosen the rope a little please?" She calls after me. "Hey, mister? How far are we going?"
We're on a country road in the middle of nowhere. I'm beside the truck, my gun's on her while I'm pissing at my back tire. "You ain't coming with me," I say. "I ought to release you here. Give you back your phone, and your daddy'll come get you."
"Step-daddy. And I ain't going back."
"What?" I'm laughing and trying to zip my pants when I drop the gun. While I'm picking it up, there's a noise inside the truck. I come up and she's popped open the bag of hot fries, like she's at a picnic.
"You're not coming with me." I tell her, and climb into the truck. "And get out of my hot fries."
"I hate these things anyway," she says, holding out the bag like it's poison.
"Why'd you eat some then?"
"Hungry," she says. "I skipped breakfast, you robbed my place before lunch. You should've grabbed more food when you kidnapped me."
"First of all, It ain't kidnapping if you say you wanted to come. Second, you told me not to get the hot dogs because of the rats."
Her face crumples. "Whatever. I'm hungry now," she says. "And that's no way to treat a hostage."
"You ain't a hostage anymore."
Her face lights up. "So you are gonna take me with you?"
After a gulp of water I say, "Not sure yet. Still don't trust you."
Her smile don't waver at all. I expect her to complain, she don't. She just smiles, watching me gulp water.
I finish that second bag of hot fries. They're good and spicy but now the gallon jug is empty. I throw it out the window. "Well gently caress all. I'll get us some McDonald's. Don't try anything or you're dead."
# # #
I order the biggest water they've got at the drive through. The heat—and the hot fries—has made me thirsty.
On the road, I can't drink the water fast enough. She's picking at her fries, smiling at me. The drink hits my stomach, and it's not enough and too much at the same time.
"What're you wincing for?" She says. "It's only water."
"The heat, I guess." I rub my stomach. "I thought you was hungry. If you ain't gonna eat, I'll tie you back up."
She keeps nibbling at the fries.
"You're not the first one to rob us, you know," she says. "Last guy had the same idea, he took my sister. Daddy found the guy, but only after she was dead."
She doesn't sound sad; more like she's just stating the facts. "He let the guy go. Cops found him dead two days later."
My cup's empty. I take her coke and gulp it, but it turns to fire in my stomach.
"Hold up. I thought you said your daddy let the guy go."
"Wasn't no reason to keep him," she says.
Between gulps of her coke I ask her why.
"Daddy fed him rat poison. It takes a while."
Her smile peels around her face.
"The gently caress you talking about?" The cup's empty now and I'm thinking about getting another gallon of water somewhere. Another gallon at least, maybe two.
"Rat poison. It makes 'em thirsty. By the end, it's all they can think about.." Her hand massages her other wrist and she smiles at me again, but it ain't as sweet as it was in the gas station.
"Bet your stomach feels like a beehive about now," she says. "You ought to pull over before you kill us both."
It takes a second to understand what she's saying.
"You poisoned me? How?" My throat's so dry. The words click as my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
She laughs and kicks at the empty bags of hot fries. "Mixed it in with your spicy poo poo. I should've poisoned the first bag. I'd be farther down the road without you by now."
But I don't care what she's saying no more.
I've got to get out of the car and find more water.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 01:01|
WRATH: gently caress the pigs; this will be the one that changes everything after that, no more
July 2026, Sestercentennial Fireworks
The old man paused mid-pushup. The sitcom babble had stopped, interrupted by news. Another unarmed black kid killed by the police. About drat time.
It wasn't as if this was a rarity. But the other thing happened two days before, and the old man had been waiting for them to fall close enough together to make it work. Finally they had. He'd been planning this for twenty-five years. Twenty inside, five out. Tomorrow night, then. No need to contact the others. They'd see the news, too.
* * *
The first explosion was at ten in the evening, on the other side of town. Right in the middle of the police riot control deployment. The precinct garage opened up and vomited SWAT tanks. The tanks headed for Bergman Bridge. “The police have become quite predictable in their deployments,” said Nat. “I was able to use a simple IED there. For the rest, there is the new toy.” Nat drew twin phones from his pockets and spun them in his hands like a gunslinger. He speed-dialed one, then the other.
Nothing happened. “You sure those things are loaded?” said Donnie.
“Patience is the most revolutionary of the virtues,” said Nat, checking the time. “Behold!”
The real fireworks began. Two clusters of explosions. One was too far to see but close enough to hear: Bergman bridge. The tanks might or might not have protected their passengers, but they weren't going anywhere fast. Nobody would be crossing that bridge today. The other they could watch. A dozen homemade high-explosive precision-guided mortar shells obliterated the East wall of the West Island police station.
“Let's go,” said the old man. Donnie passed out the guns. They put on filter masks and thermal goggles and walked up to the smoking rubble.
Back in the day, the old man usually went for a more subtle approach. That was before Julie and little nameless. Brute force suited him fine now. Also back in the day, lots of people used enough cash to be worth robbing. Nowadays, only two groups ever held that much: drug dealers trying to launder it, and cops right after they bust those drug dealers. Of course, it wasn't only about the money, not to him. Not to any of them.
Even after all of their work to divide and conquer they were still vastly outnumbered. Probably forty pigs left inside. Some were probably already out of it from the blast. But plenty would be rushing right into the area, trying to help. His team had every advantage but numbers. Their eardrums weren't ringing or burst. They weren't choking or tearing up from smoke. They knew the battle was just getting started. The old man took down four before the enemy even started shooting back. He thought of Julie each time. The others did just as well.
The old man was surprised how well they worked as a team, considering Nat and Donnie's backgrounds. As they took cover and tossed grenades to stop the police from doing the same, he remembered what they'd said about that. “We're both separatists, so we're really got a common agenda for now,” Donnie had said. “Also,” Nat had said, “We have bonded over our mutual loathing of the blood-sucking Jew.” The old man could never tell when Nat was joking.
The old man had expected the three to be down to two by this point, but they were all standing and without serious wounds. There were likely more than a dozen pigs left, but they were staying in place, preparing ambushes and trying to get help. The room by room would be more dangerous than that first pitched battle. The pigs knew the terrain.
“Don't suppose the one what got your wife was here,” said Donnie.
“Nope,” said the old man. “Cancer took him 'round ten years back.”
“And the ones that let him get away with it?”
“Far as I'm concerned,” said the old man, “That's every last drat one of them.”
The first room was easy, four desk jockeys trying to surrender. They didn't know that this was a black flag situation. No quarter asked, nor given.
“Know what you mean,” said Donnie. “My brother got the one what shot our dog. He's up in the state prison. Say, I bet those mortars could make a prison break work real good.”
“Undoubtedly,” said Nat. “And inevitably. Now that I've shown what can be done with 3d printing, programmable lathes, micro-controllers, sensors and explosives, everyone will want to give it a try. And thus is born the first true first-world insurgency.”
Donnie wouldn't get to see it. One of the pigs managed to draw him out into the open in an ambush. He took a bullet to the head and that was that. Nat and the old man were also hit. Body armor saved them. Bruised or cracked ribs, though, which hurt like a bastard. Not enough to slow them down.
The biggest group was trying to make a stand at their final destination, the evidence lock-up. Not a good plan. The part of the room on the outside of the actual locks was tiny enough to crowd them all close together. A few grenades cleared the room. Also wrecked the locks. Not a problem.
There was another explosion, loud and distant. “If were are lucky,” said Nat,” Then that was my compatriots, taking down a police helicopter. If we are even luckier, they will respond by grounding the rest.”
“Only one bullet in that gun?” said the old man.
They quickly checked the area for survivors, then found the wall they wanted. The evidence room wasn't a true vault. The side walls weren't much tougher than ordinary walls. Shaped explosives. New entrance.
Nat and the old man split the cash roughly, by weight. “Donnie was the one who had the drug connect,” said the old man. “I've got no use for this.”
“Nor I,” said Nat. “So, time to go?”
The old man had been on almost a dozen 'one last jobs'. One of them had even taken, for almost a year until they came and shot sweet, innocent Julie in cold blood. Usually 'one last job' meant the money was enough to last through retirement. It never did. This time, it would have to. In a few hours he'd have trouble showing his face anywhere in the States. Or most other countries. This was the other kind of 'one last job', where you probably won't survive and don't care much either way. Still was; even getting off of the island was going to be dicey. Getting out of the country was at best a hundred to one shot.
But it wasn't about surviving, any more than it had been about the money. It was always about revenge. He thought about it. Did he feel even? Not even close. But maybe if Nat's revolution actually managed to get started, or if a thousand home hobbyists figured out how to make their own precision-guided mortar shells and launchers and settle their grudges...
That kind of mayhem might make a good start.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 01:19|
SLOTH: the moment between being asleep and waking up why can't it last forever
You have arrived at your destination, Marc’s phone announced.
“Really?” he said aloud in his empty car. The Englewood street terminated in an informal dead-end. No posted sign nor intersection, the asphalt merely crumbled away atop the original cobblestone. An anonymous brick building loomed over a decrepit home.
He double-checked the address his friend had texted him, scrolling past his rave reviews of the sort of designer drugs this Gallipot guy was known for. Neither building had an address. Marc considered that the little crack house, although probably not Gallipot’s house, would probably have at least some mushrooms, maybe even a little DMT, which his online research had implied would perhaps do the trick. However, this guy with the obviously fake name sold experimental drugs to the likes of Pfizer, Merck, Libby, et al; he certainly would have set up shop in a building like the big one.
Marc went inside. The first floor was desolate, enormous in its emptiness.
“Hello?” A mouse scurried away from Marc’s echo. He walked up to the elevator shaft in the middle of the room and took the elevator to the only other labeled floor.
There were no windows on this floor but it was awash in clean white light. A neat row of empty pastel plastic chairs lined the hallway to a half-circle desk. The elevator chimed a pleasant tone.
A receptionist looked up from her Macbook. “Mr. Pemberton?”
She gestured to a frosted glass door and Marc opened it a bit, asking, “Uh, Mr. Gallipot?”
“Charles, please,” Gallipot corrected him, not looking up from his computer. Marc stood silent for a moment. Charles finished tapping at his keyboard and instructed Marc to close the door.
Marc was given forty pages of legal disclaimers, drug interactions, and possible side-effects. As Marc pretended to give the documents serious consideration, he also pretended to give Gallipot’s questions their due credence. They were the standard fair, mostly; history of cancer in the family, nicotine, alcohol, and recreational drug use. Then a few non-standard questions.
“Recent death in the family?”
“Other recent trauma?”
“Mr. Pembleton, you’re positively certain that nothing bad has happened to you in the past few months? Loss of a pet, or relationship?”
“Yep,” Marc lied. “Just … you know,” he shrugged. “Need the money. It’s a paying research gig, right?”
Gallipot smiled, handing over an envelope. Inside were six thin stamp-sized translucent sheets like film stock.
Penelope had given up on Marc eleven months ago. They had been together for seven years, having met in highschool.
She received her undergrad in biology in three years. Marc worked at Target and got really, really good at Call of Duty.
She graduated from medical school cum laude a few years later. Marc got a pit bull and named it Boss.
Marc pontificated on the great distinction between laziness and apathy. TestYourIQFree.com proved him to have a 142 IQ. He had six (6!) unfinished novels on his gaming PC. All variations of great to tremendous, they were. He could always go back to school for something in the STEM field. He was great at hacking, he’d bragged.
But there comes a time when the flesh of potential rots away and all that is left is the dry skeleton of inadequacy. Shortly after Penelope had shared a rather lengthy rotation of eighteen-hour shifts at St. Elizabeth’s with Mr. Goddamned Interloper, she’d left Marc.
Marc lay in his unmade bed on his stomach, the pillow trapped tightly under one fleshy bicep. The lingering fizzy, soda and bubble-gum taste of the first sheet of Pomp faded on his tongue. A rectangle of twilight dissolved on the unswept carpet, blacking out chip crumbs and cat hair.
“You sure you want Pomp, not Gog?” Gallipot had asked him earlier that day.
“Pomp is the one for the period of lucid dreaming right before you wake up, right?”
“Pomp enhances and promotes hypnopompia, Mr. Pembleton. First page.” He had gestured to the stack of papers. “Gog is its analog, of course. The period right before you begin to fall asleep.”
“That’s the one. Hippo … pomp.”
Marc rolled over and stared at the blank dark ceiling.
Their breakup was beautiful. She had caressed him, held him. Had cared for him like a stray since he was a boy and she was a girl. Tears cut a shiny river on her impeccable makeup. Her hair dangled above him like the final curtain and she had uttered to him a promise: “You know that place between sleep and awake? That’s where you’ll find me. That’s where I’ll always love you.”
Having said this, she left, carrying the last box of her things and her wonderful clean smell with her.
He would text her from time to time, make routine comments of her trips with Mr. Goddamn Interloper. Rock climbing, skiing. “Looks like fun, Pen!” he wrote on a video she had posted online of the two of them snorkeling off the coast of Cozumel. He had nightmares of her being eaten by sharks, being caught in shipwrecks and drowning. No one ever drowned playing videogames.
She once said to him, shortly before it all fell apart, if he would just get a steady job like an adult, they could be together. She gave him every opportunity she could, she said. She loved him and would always love him, she had said, but she needed to love herself, to allow herself to have a full life. He was a boat anchor.
His eyelids fluttered, and he succumbed to sleep.
A great weight was upon him and his clothes stuck to him. He screamed and a flurry of great bubbles rose up from his mouth. An apathetic jellyfish ascended towards the ceiling light fixture. He tried to sit up and his body spun sideways in the buoyancy of the seawater that filled his apartment. His lungs were empty from his scream and he reflexively inhaled a glassful of brine. His eyes were those of a caught fish, flopping on a boat deck; utter confusion and panic and stark terror.
Marc swam to the ceiling of his bedroom only to find the water filled all the way to the plaster, not an inch of air. Something slick brushed his arm and he recoiled. He looked and saw an inky cloud of familiar hair suspended before him. Her.
Penelope, it worked, I’m here, the drugs worked, he thought.
Smiling underwater, he grasped her shoulders and spun her over but her face was slack-jawed and her eyes had been eaten by the fish and her lips were blue coral.
He screamed himself awake. His clothes were still wet but his Pomp-induced sleep paralysis had vanished and he realized it was not seawater but sweat.
“It worked,” he said to his empty apartment, raising his arms in triumph. She had been real, he had found her just where she said she would be. The next dose, hopefully, she would be alive on a sandy beach. In a bikini. And they could be together.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 01:30|
In the Land of the Blind
Diamonds in the rain on my windshield
The drafting pen hovered inches away from my good eye, ready to plunge if the whim struck me. It always felt heavier during my near monthly "special appointments" with it, almost as if the pen begged me to reconsider my thoughts. And yet, it whispered to me so invitingly, begging me to end my problems, that it would be just a brief period of pain before everything was better. Or, maybe it was just my cowardly and ashamed sides warring for control.
Either way, the result never changed.
I stared it down seconds longer before hurling it across the room, no doubt leaving another fresh scratch in my cellar’s walls. Sighing, I closed my eyes and listened to the sound of rain against the ceiling, listened to the last hurrah of the violent, destructive storm passing through town. Listened to the wet, splashing footsteps drawing closer.
“Graham? One-Eye? Hey, GRAHAM! Are you in there?”
Completely aware that hesitating would just have them splashing around forever, I threw open the cellar door and looked out at the two men kicking up water in my backyard. The sound of the door opening alerted them both, and they hurried over. I barely managed to bite back a laugh at how ridiculous they looked, a pair of violent splotches of clashing color rushing over. An entire goddamn city for the blind, automated to so many tiny details - and yet, nobody could figure out a machine to make sure people weren’t walking fashion disasters.
And why would they?
One-Eyed Graham, they called me. They snickered and teased behind my back, I was sure of it, just as they did when we grew up, just as they did every time I was around. Why did they think they could hide it? Did they forget, even as they made their fun, that I could see them conspiring against me?
I shook the thought from my head as we walked through the streets. To my dismay, the city managed to hold up fairly well through the storm. Only a few homes and businesses suffered any major damage.
We stopped in front of one of the most damaged houses, and I hoped that anyone inside hadn’t been in the way of the tree that fell through it. Being unfamiliar with the neighborhood we were in, I called over Matt - all too happy to trot over in his neon green coat and firetruck red hat.
“Matt - who lives here?”
I swore I could see the smug grin unfold on his face, reaching out to feel for the braille along the side of the fallen mailbox. Even if I had to guide his hand to it, he knew full well I couldn’t read it without his help. Why would they waste time teaching me braille when I could see?
“Maltin Residence,” he said, sounding so delighted, and I barely acknowledged the small talk he attempted. My mind was too busy elsewhere, thinking back to the spike I held not even an hour prior. I had little doubt how much it would hurt, how difficult the following days and even weeks might be - but would that be the price to finally be part of a world catered to me?
The Maltin’s home, just like any other building in our town, disgusted me. The angles, the colors all screamed madness, even if I understood the terrible logic behind it. So long as it all functioned, who cared about the form? At least my own home stood out as a bastion of sanity amidst the sea of architectural nightmares!
In my mental fit of design criticism, Matthew and Daniel took the lead, already looking around inside the house and calling out for anyone who needed help. Cursing myself and wishing that I blinded myself years ago, just to make it easier on myself, I hurried to catch up with them.
“Sheesh, does this place look as bad as I think it does?” Daniel said, as we explored the home. Nobody responded to our calls, but we had to make sure.
“Hey, ole’ One-Eye. Does this place look like a wreck or what?” Matt wheezed with laughter as we walked, with Daniel patting him on the back, or maybe elbowing him, I didn’t care. We made our way up to the second floor, navigating - or feeling, as the case was for them - with me calling out any step or spot I saw as unstable.
The second floor hadn’t fared any better, especially once the tree exposed the cozy little home to the elements of the storm. Splitting up, we went room by room, and our search found nothing but a desperate need for cleaning, renovation and rebuilding.
Until the last room.
I opened the door. A terrible stench assaulted my nostrils, and I knew something was wrong. I called out as I stepped inside, looking through the wrecked room. Praying I wouldn’t find something, I inched my way deeper, careful to avoid shards of broken window and nudging aside furniture. Peeking beneath a bed tossed aside by the storm, I regretted the decision immediately, but at least it drove home one thing.
I was done.
I ran out of the room, past a confused pair of clashing assholes, shouting as I fled the house.
“gently caress you. gently caress this. I didn’t ask for this poo poo. I’m done. Do you hear me? I am loving done with this!”
My drafting pen sits with the rest of my hastily gathered things in the trunk, the car set to drive itself in some random direction, away from the city. Daniel’s attempts to stop me, begging me, the only freak in a city of the blind, to stay. His words haunt me, but not nearly as much as their bodies do.
How do you tell a blind man about their faces, twisted and frozen in a moment of surprise? How do you tell him about their bodies crushed and brutalized by the debris of the storm?
I laugh as a single, bitter thought crosses my mind. The laughter doesn’t take long to turn to sobs, and eventually I doze off to the sound of rain growing louder and heavier against the windshield. I don't even realize that I've set the automated car straight toward the departing storm. Only one single thought stubbornly remains as I drift off:
Poor bastards didn’t even see it coming.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 01:32|
Diamonds in the rain on my windshield
All That Glitters – 1187 words
Ollie, the newest stevedore to the Portsmouth docks, swung his car door open as the last drops of an early morning rain fell. Greg, Ollie’s senior and self-appointed mentor, followed. It was a grey, grey day.
“No work yesterday, no work today,” said Ollie with a huff. He pulled off his leather gloves and threw them into his tan sedan.
“Yeah,” replied Greg, “You know, I’ve got some stuff you could do for a few bucks.”
“Nah, Greg,” said Ollie, raising his hands in polite protest, “I don’t want to get involved with that stuff.”
“It’s how all the kids get through the first year or so,” assured Greg, “Once you get some seniority, your card will come up more. Until then, come help me. I’ve got a guy coming later today. Stick around and I’ll see you’re paid good for some easy work.”
Ollie found it difficult to tell Greg no. “I should go take care of some stuff around the house anyways. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“Whatever you say, kid.”
Ollie merged onto the one highway that connected the docks to the rest of the city. The road rested above drainage ditches meant to keep the rainwaters off the road. They worked but the deep ditches, even in the slightest rain, always turned into a gulch of mud.
The highway was poorly maintained. The huge trucks most dockworkers drove handled them well enough, but Ollie didn’t drive a truck. This morning, Ollie hit the biggest pothole on the road with his tiny, tan sedan.
The bump threw Ollie. His seatbelt snapped and pulled him back to the leather seat but not before he hit his head hard against the top. He slammed onto the brakes. The seatbelt again caught too late and Ollie hit the steering wheel. He let out a gasp of air and tried to blink the blur out of his vision. His head ached.
He stopped the car, got out, and saw the ruined tire lying against the pavement. He kicked it and cursed himself for not having a spare. He called for a tow to a buddy’s auto shop and sat down next to the truck. He looked into the muddy ditch below.
He saw some tread marks in the mud. What was a car doing down there, Ollie wondered. Curiosity got the better of him and he carefully walked into the ditch. A slow but steady stream of muddy water ran past his ankles.
In the tall grass and deep mud, Ollie followed the marks to a black sedan. Mud had sucked in the rear side. The front tires had lifted off the ground and spun slowly in the air. The trunk was barely open and Ollie lifted it. Inside was a crate slowly filling with mud. Ollie opened the crate and saw a pile of glittering glass. No, wait, diamonds? All the air left Ollie’s lungs.
The tow truck arrived. Ollie breathed heavily at his sedan’s open trunk. Mud had caked his arms and legs. The driver attached the tow cable to the front of the sedan.
“You fall or something?”
Through shallow breaths, Ollie answered, “Yeah, had a little spill.” He slammed the trunk down.
Ollie and the driver said nothing on the ride to the auto shop. And the only words Ollie said to his mechanic were: “New tire,” “that’s fine,” “yeah,” and “thanks”. And, as the mechanic replaced the tire, Ollie only stared at the trunk while he waited. He didn’t overhear the news anchor on the television in the lobby telling the public to be on the lookout for two suspicious individuals who may be seeking aid after a car wreck. These individuals were presumed armed and dangerous by the police, warned the anchor.
Ollie went home and cleaned himself up. Every few minutes he would look out the window of his studio apartment and at his car. He bit at his fingernails and tasted the mud that was still under them. He paced, his mind running with thoughts. I have a box of diamonds. Who buys diamonds? Jewel store probably wouldn’t buy from me. Pawn shop? Don’t you have to give them identification though?
Ollie realized he was out of his depth. He needed somebody experienced with this kind of stuff. He took out his phone and called Greg.
“Hi, kid, what’s up?”
“I found something today.”
A beat, then, “What kind of something?”
“Something worth a lot. I think I can sell it but I can’t, I can’t-”
Greg interrupted, “Okay, kid. Just sit still, you at home?”
“Yeah, Greg, yeah.”
“Alright, just wait there, I’ll come for you at seven. Be ready at seven. You understand?”
“At seven, yeah.”
Greg hung up his phone and laid it on the table next to three pistols. He looked at the two bandaged up guys sitting across from him.
“I got a good feeling I know what happened to the merchandise,” said Greg, “I’ll bring it back to the docks and settle up with the boss. Just lie low here.” He picked up one of the guns. What a shame, he thought. Greg really had liked Ollie.
At six fifty, rain had returned to Portsmouth. At six fifty-nine, Greg pulled up to Ollie’s apartment. At seven, Ollie opened the door to see Greg walking towards him. Together they lifted the crate from Ollie’s sedan’s trunk into the back of Greg’s truck. Neither of them noticed the unmarked cop car sitting in a nearby alley.
Driving towards the docks, Greg offered platitudes to an inattentive Ollie: “Money isn’t everything. Why don’t you just let me take care of this and I’ll get you a cut later.” The offer was undermined by a police siren. Red-and-blue lights cut through the rain.
Ollie couldn’t quite hear the curse Greg shouted as he swerved involuntarily. The truck slammed into a water-filled pothole. The truck threw Greg into his door; Ollie hit the roof of the car. Ollie’s vision blurred for the second time that day. From Greg’s coat, a gun fell out and tumbled around the cab. The gun went off beside Ollie’s head and deafened him. Greg got the shorter end of the stick as the bullet ricocheted into his head. The truck flipped.
The truck launched the crate upwards. It fell back down and smashed into the police car. First the windshield cracked into a malicious web before shattering altogether. The officer driving pulled the emergency brake as fragments lacerated his eyes. The car skidded in the rain, eventually stopping beside the overturned truck
Ollie, dazed and deafened, crawled onto the road from the truck. The diamonds, his mind screamed, get the diamonds! On his hands and knees, Ollie inched towards the cop car. Rain and blood mixed in the street. Ollie could make out something reflecting the red-and-blue lights. He reached out with his hand, grabbing for what he felt was his. He indiscriminately collected anything that glittered. His hands bled as he shoved both broken glass and jewels into his pockets. He was oblivious to the police sirens and lights in the distance.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 02:07|
War Pigs of Mars
When pigs fly. People say that, meaning it will never happen.
Kinda pisses you off when you’re running across the Hellas Planitia in last decade’s cutting-edge power armor, dodging explosive rounds from two Bell Seminole scout choppers, piloted by uplifted porkers with imperial ambitions and murderous intent.
I loving hate pigs. I love bacon, sausage, salami. But I hate loving pigs. It’s not just that, as a wise man once said, they’re filthy animals. It’s those piggy little eyes. The way they look at you when you stand on the other side of the pen. It’s not like a mean dog or even a big cat in the zoo. There’s no posturing, no pacing, no barking. The 200-pound fuckers just stare at you with those little loving eyes. Like, yeah you oval office, come over here and see what happens. I’ll eat you right up. Not even gonna grunt, just look at you. Come over here. We both know what happens.
“gently caress!” I yelled as I vaulted over the lip of a crater and snuggled into a shallow cave. “Can’t believe we took this contract.”
Captain Julia Mitchell scowled at me through her faceplate. “The Chief took the contract, we just do what we’re told.”
The Chief was Hiroki Baker, commanding officer and managing owner of Baker’s Highland Grenadiers, LLC. Ex-US Army, just like Captain Mitchell and me.
“loving right we do,” I snarled back. The Seminoles buzzed overhead, kicking up clouds of red Martian dust. The sus sapiens had to eyeball us, since our Venator battlesuits had fantastic thermal masking. The cave trick fooled them pretty good. Apparently Caduceus Biomedical could only uplift the things only so much. Now it was time to bite the hogs back.
Mitchell and I tracked them with our General Atomics railguns. I squeezed the firing stud a half-second before Mitchell did. Even with the Venator’s sonic damping, the railguns were loud. There were no streaks of flame like on Earth. Mars doesn’t have enough oxygen for the friction to burn anything. Instead, the red dust just moved out of the way. We saw two lines of perfectly clear, perfectly unbreathable air as 15mm nickel-ferrous projectiles hit the Seminoles. Both birds exploded into beautiful white flame. They ran on magnesium-based fuel, which burns just fine without any O2.
“Smart hogs, smart bacon!”
Captain Mitchell laughed and shook her head. She called back to the Chief, at our base camp dug into the side of a ridge on the northwest edge of the Hellas. “Grenadier Six, this is Brutal Six, over.”
“It’s about time, Brutal Six. Go ahead.”
“Took down two flying pork chops. En route to Grenadier Base.”
“Sounds good, Brutal Six. Been working over that recon packet you sent us an hour ago with the intel weenies, and I want your input as soon as you get here.”
“Roger. Brutal Six out.”
We moved out.
Sounds crazy to do ground recon in 2117, on Mars. We tried orbital imagery. Too much dust, no dice. We tried using drones like civilized people. Bolo. The pigs had the best air-defense I’ve ever seen. Shot down every single one of our stealthy little ducted-fan buddies.
Caduceus Biomed shared Hellas Base with Tetradyne, Omnitech, and a couple other transnats. All research labs. Tetradyne was chugging away on some kind of ultraradar. They were about to go public with it when the loving murderporkers took over. Worse, Omnitech had an operational nanofax. If the pigs got that working, they could make anything.
After breaking free of the Caduceus uplift program, they killed everyone. Ate them, too. They sent a message to the UN, declaring their independence. Caduceus, Tetradyne, Omnitech and the two other transnats put out a contract to suppress the sus sapiens and recover the labs with minimal damage. The transnats took the Chief’s bid and we boarded a long-haul tin can for Mars. I heard Jaeger Landsknecht AG were a couple weeks behind us. Be nice to have those hardcases in hardsuits in our corner, but we couldn’t wait for them.
Six months later, our boots hit red dust. Didn’t take long to make it redder.
But it was mostly our blood.
While Captain Mitchell had her shura with the rest of the brass, I cooled my heels with a handful of other sergeants in one of our quick-up environment domes. We chatted about the current sitrep. Pigs were testing our outer cordon security, probing with long-range fire and the occasional rocket. They didn’t have indirect fire assets, no mortars or artillery. But they had plenty of pig-portable missiles and railguns. The death toll was five hundred and fifty six, out of just over three thousand Grenadiers who set powerboots on Martian soil a week ago. The initial skirmishing at planetfall killed the most, though we took plenty of pigs with us. The rest were from probing attacks and raids. The pigs knew the terrain after six months of exploration, and they used it against us.
Captain Mitchell came out of the powow and motioned me over.
“What’s good, ma’am?”
“Nothing much. The long-haul’s crew finally got something on their scopes. Movement on the surface. Towards us.”
“poo poo,” I said. “How many?”
“Looks like thousands. Maybe more. Lots of birds, more than a handful of armored vehicles. And they have battlesuits.”
My eyes widened. “What? We didn’t see any suits when we first hit the ground.”
She shrugged. “The intel guys figure the pigs finally got Omnitech’s nanofax running. We don’t know yet. Point is --”
A klaxon cut her off. The base defense officer’s voice boomed in my aural implant. “All Grenadiers to battle stations. We have enemy approaching our perimeter.”
Directional icons popped in my visor as I yanked my helmet on and sealed the collar. Mitchell and I moved to OP 6. We joined Sagitar and Dagwood up on the rise overlooking the plain. Our railguns complimented the 200mm coilcannon on the OP, a monstrosity that fired solid slugs or bundles of flechette at 4000 meters per second. I could see the pigs now. Walking, strutting in hardsuits, rolling in fighting vehicles, cruising in Seminoles and Oneida gunships. Dagwood started firing the coilcannon, but we already knew we lost. Intel reports were scrolling at the top-left corner of my vision, giving estimated enemy numbers. Ten thousand. We were hosed.
I selected a target, a pig in a softsuit taking a knee to fire a missile. Boom. Puff of ground pork. Next target. Boom. Black pudding, all over the rocks. Boom. Bacon bits.
Smartpig fire was landing closer to us now. Rocks exploded, missiles impacted along our battle line. Green friendly indicators winked out as good guys and gals died. Blood pounded in my temples. loving pigs! Boom.
Giant bullets fell from the red, blistered sky, impacted among the pigs. Kinetic drop-pods. The Landsknechts’ signature. Reinforcements were here. Battle-hardened vets in new Provacator hardsuits stepped out of the still-smoking pods. Fired as they walked in pulped pork.
Captain Mitchell looked at me, and raised an eyebrow. “Are you crying, Sergeant Titus?”
I nodded, not caring. Rage drained with the tears. “I’ve never seen anything so beautiful in my goddamned life.”
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 02:11|
1, 060 words
Right, so ready to settle in? Clean, deloused and defeated? Then welcome to my home. Our home. Oh, I know that look, it’s not so bad. You just sit down on the bunk, and I’ll tell you a story. We’re going to have a lot of time for stories, and we’ll say it’s kind of a tradition.
My first day, they threw me in this cell with a guy named Ed Stein, and he told stories too. He was in for robbery or larceny, one of those. Liked to make things his. And the stories were part of that. He’d talk about someone, and in that instant, their entire existence was in his control. They belonged to him. That was real important. And before long, you find yourself showing up in those stories. Just a little reminder that your own life was something he could snatch away in little bits.
Out in the world, he wasn’t a bigshot or a mover. In fact, in the litany of crimes he did and had done to him, you eventually got the impression he’d been kind of a small fry. One guy kept coming up, maybe it was his boss or maybe even his dad, but Ed just couldn’t get out from under him. Eventually, he gets tossed in here, and the guy dies soon after.
Funny thing was, this place is what made him start to take control in his life. He started to have his own routine, just to spite the place. Rearrange it to his will, just like the stories. Eat the same particular food in the same particular place in the cafeteria, at his same particular time every day. Walk a certain number of times around the exercise yard, things like that. Ritual.
He filched stuff, too. Sometimes I’d catch him stashing it. That he didn’t talk about. Nothing important, nothing that anyone but me would even notice, but strange. Like, bits of chalk. Old cigarette butts out of the exercise yard. Even toe tags out of the morgue. Like he was collecting little bits of other people’s lives. Sometimes he’d take them out, arrange them, move them around. If he saw me watching, he’d give me this look like he’d seriously mess me up if I interfered with that little world of his.
He brightened up one day, though. Grinned, even at me, like he’d finally managed something he wanted. Wouldn’t tell me a word about it, though, just brought up those same old stories about the dead boss of his. I leave it at that and he spared me the usual narrative dressing down that had become his daily reminder of who was in charge in this cell, in this life. For once, after lights out, I get to fall asleep to silence.
But sometime later, I do hear something. Mumbling or whispering. I freeze in my bunk, surveying the room, ready to spring in case Stein or anybody else is about to do for me. It’s one of those things you just find yourself doing in here, wait and see. But there’s nobody standing over me, or even moving at all. I sit up and see him sitting cross-legged on the floor, right over there, in fact. Eyes closed, talking under his breath. Everything else on the block dead quiet. Except... Except, and I only tell you this because you’re in here with me and you’re going to have to understand... somebody, somewhere was talking back to him.
Next day, I ask him what the hell that was. I’ve never been religious, but whatever went on the night before felt wrong. He just smiled and said “sometimes you’ve gotta go out of your way to make sure you have it all. Dyin’ doesn’t let someone off the hook. Just means no one comes knockin’. Not unless they know how. So if you do, they’re all yours.”
But once was never going to be enough for him. In the end, there are folks who, the more you take from them, the more they want. Put him in a cell, take away his name and purpose, and he just goes grabbing from everyone else. Before long, he was doing it every night. Me, him, and what sounded like a choir of dead voices in here. Anybody that had ever wronged him. Tried to cope the best I could, what else could I do? Tell anyone, that’s a one-way ticket to the psych ward. And let me tell you, that place makes death look like a real pleasant alternative.
But you know something? He was wrong. I don’t think you can’t just call up the dead and make them yours. They take their own fee, bit by bit. After the first few times, the balance shifted, the debt was due. But Stein, he just couldn’t stop. After a while, he just seemed to disappear. The long string of old stories dried up. Just about the only thing to keep him going were those little rituals. He’d drift to that same spot as always, eat that same food, make the same rounds in the yard. And still that same thing in here every night, like this time he’d win out. This time he’d beat the house and get it all back.
One morning I found him, right there, collapsed in the middle of his circle, barely breathing. I gathered up all his little trinkets, brushed the circle off the floor and hid it all in his little stash before I called the warden.
He didn’t last long in the hospital wing. Maybe that routine really was the only thing keeping him alive, and when he couldn’t do it, he just faded away. No one to subject to one final story.
Now why did I tell you all this? Just trying to scare the new kid? I can see you’re a little freaked out. But really, it was to get you ready. See, he was right about a few things. And me telling his story to you, that just makes him all mine. And here, here’s his old stash spot. All the little trinkets he used. So when you hear two voices in the cell tonight, you just remember that nobody can just take and take. Eventually, someone’s going to want to take back. And there’s a lot he owes me.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 03:02|
Sin: Lust. Flash rule: You will believe in me and I will never be ignored.
(In the archive)
docbeard fucked around with this message at 15:45 on Dec 28, 2015
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 03:17|
What’s Theirs is Mine
Cassandra admired the brand new luxury space liner from the dock, not the first of its kind, but the first that she would personally command. She turned to her right and smiled at Andrew, the ship’s first officer. He smiled back.
“All yours,” he said, waving his arm at the ship.
“Finally!” she replied, her smile widening.
They watched the crew and passengers file aboard, both groups attired in expensive clothing. Cassandra’s smile fell when she noticed the janitorial crew coming up, not wearing gilded coats but simple grey overalls, laughing and jostling each other. She narrowed her eyes at one girl in particular: Kelly Norman. Cassandra had been first officer on a previous ship where Kelly was also on janitor duty. She had always rubbed her the wrong way. Kelly smiled too much.
Andrew followed her gaze and let out a short laugh.
“Let it go already. Are you afraid she might be prettier than you?”
Cassandra blushed and glared at him.
Andrew cringed and said, “Sorry, just a joke.”
He touched her hand, but she pulled it back with a jerk.
Cassandra lay on an examination table in the ship’s medical facility, going through one of the last necessary procedures before they could launch. She waited for the machine working below her waist to finish extracting her ovum. Space travel could occasionally go wrong, and trips could end up lasting several hundred years more than planned and as such all members of the crew were required to have their sperm and ovum stored, to ensure the cycle of life on the ship continued, even if it was artificially.
The device finished its business. Cassandra stood and began to dress herself. Through the door’s window, Cassandra saw that Kelly was next in line.
I bet that bitch thinks her eggs are the best
Cassandra shut her eyes and rubbed her temple. She washed her hands thoroughly before leaving the room.
Walking down the hallway, Cassandra frowned when she saw a poster advertising a party organized by the janitorial crew in two days. Kelly was listed as one of the organizers. Cassandra ripped the poster off the wall, having never agreed for such a party to be thrown on her ship, but when she turned to confront Kelly, the latter had entered the room for her own procedure. Cassandra decided she could wait until tomorrow.
Cassandra and Andrew had just finished breakfast together in the grand dining room and were walking past wandering guests and crew shuffling to work as the two headed towards the cockpit.
“I don’t see why you can’t just let them have this party, Cass. It’ll help them be seen as equals by our guests, rather than servants.”
Cassandra turned to Andrew, her cheeks and forehead reddening. “Because this is my ship, and I was not consulted!”
“It’s because of that girl, Kelly, isn’t it? You’re obsessed.”
“This isn’t about her!”
They turned the corner and there Kelly stood, chatting and laughing with a fellow custodian who was busy mopping the floor. Andrew swore quietly.
there’s that bitch
“Ms. Norman!” Cassandra called.
Kelly turned around and smiled at Cassandra. She came forward, saluted and put her hand out.
Cassandra wrinkled her nose and looked at the hand, not making any move towards it. Kelly’s expression did not change, but she put her hand away.
“Ms. Norman, I never approved of this party you’re organizing.”
“Ah, sorry captain, it’s nothing really official so I didn’t think we needed approval.”
Cassandra took a step forward. “I would like to remind you that you are on my ship, Ms. Norman. Furthermore…” she began, and slipped on the wet floor on the next step.
Cassandra fell on her back, both legs high in the air. There was a pause, then people passing by in the hallway burst out laughing. Andrew hurried forward to help her up.
Cassandra couldn’t match Kelly’s gaze afterwards and left silently, Andrew leading her along with the tips of his fingers, being careful to only apply the lightest touch. He turned around and met Kelly’s eyes. She shrugged, biting her lip to hold back laughter.
Andrew took her back to her cabin rather than the cockpit. He didn’t say a word until the door was closed.
“Are you okay, Cass?”
“I’m fine. That bitch…”
“You have to leave that girl alone, Cass. She hasn’t done anything to you, and that wasn’t her fault. Here, I was saving this for later but I think it might cheer you up…”
Andrew took a slender velvet box out of his uniform’s pocket. Cassandra ignored the gift.
“You’re taking her side? Leave me alone. I want nothing to do with you,” she spat, and pushed him away.
Andrew looked hurt and opened his mouth to say something, then closed it. He pocketed the box and left without another word, his eyes watering.
Cassandra stood alone at the janitorial staff’s party, adorned in her best dress. Despite her efforts, the custodians looked even better than she did. The passengers were clustered around them, laughing and enjoying themselves.
She hadn’t been able to face Kelly again after the incident in the hall. She also hadn’t spoken to Andrew since then. People had been stopping by to greet her and shake her hand at first, but after she refused to do more than nod or grunt, they had cleared out. Cassandra preferred it this way. Shaking hands was filthy. The custodians were lucky, spending all day with their hands in soap. They did not have to worry about germs, Cassandra thought.
She did not notice Andrew entering the room with Kelly at his arm right away. When she did, her eyes were instantly drawn to the large sapphire necklace hung around her neck. It was the largest gem Cassandra had ever seen.
she has your man she has your necklace those are yours
Her lips tightened to a white line. She looked at the happy custodial staff, the smiling Kelly, the beaming Andrew, the laughing passengers, all ignoring her, the captain, on her own ship.
She stormed out of the dance hall. Nobody noticed.
Cassandra snuck into the medical wing, well after dark. Most of the area outside of the sick rooms was deserted at this hour. She entered the fertility storage and used its computer system to locate Andrew’s sperm and Kelly’s ovum.
they want to keep everything to themselves, but you’ll own something of theirs
She touched the medical device’s keyboard and launched the artificial insemination procedure, then took her place on the table.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 03:36|
|# ? May 24, 2022 03:33|
Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 19:32 on Dec 30, 2015
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 03:51|