Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Locked thread
Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



Okua posted:

Ash - 857 words
Weather: Tornado
Flash: Story must involve a small dog

(*Edited only because I forgot wordcount*).

I wasn't a fan of this. The clashes between my ideas of nature, wind and the air and the personification of them you wrote were too strong, this was further compounded by the writing not holding to one particular style. Overall I'd say the writing was unambitious rather than bad. You had an idea and played it safe with your language and directness rather than allowing an emotion or feeling develop, even if that emotion was just in highlighting how arbitrary the wind is (as an example.)

The language was direct and simple, with a few flourishes of style and some failures. "I soared and lifted all the things I had destroyed with me," this stood out as a lack of naturalness and awareness in the language you chose, a naturalness that should really be evident when writing about something that is a dominating earthly force. "I soared and lift with me all the things I had destroyed," might have given it that element of gravitas I really wanted to go with a story about something as profoundly large as the drive of air and its power on man, beast and land.

One of the big contrasts that occurred to me, that I didn't see you drive home was the relationship between the wind as a self-aware body but still working as part of a greater order. You wrote of how it is powered by the sun and sea, yet it still understands and takes credit for what it metes upon the world. This contrast between something with power to inflict, yet still controlled by other forces would have been great to see. It took credit for scattering the dog to the world, almost as a funereal rite but the passivity in how the story was written didn't hold against the pride the wind had in honouring his friend.

If you're going to write about a process as impacting as wind, something that's worn down mountains, and driven waves across oceans then I really want to understand why it's concerned about one dog, or the awesomeness of it's omniscience in knowing all, and inflicting it's desires.

For me this was too grand an idea for the writing you put to it. It's an ambitious story without ambitious language. I thought you almost had it with the direct style; detached and cold but you didn't hold it throughout the story so it didn't work. It was a brave decision to go with writing from the wind's perspective, making it a god but the language you used didn't reflect the grandness of such a thing, give it credence as a god like entity, or even humble it as simply another actor in an earthly dance.

I'd love to read this story, or another like it from you where you really strive to do justice with your prose. It might take risking a new avatar, but it seems like a risk worth it to do justice for the ambition you had in telling this story.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


Ironic Twist posted:



Next THUNDERTOME meeting on 12/16, 8 PM EST.

this is still happening, btw

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Sitting Here posted:

id like a burroughs flash rule please

:siren:As far as the eye can see, nothing but replicas,” he says, crawling around on his terrace and speaking in strange insect chirps. “I don’t have to skulk around like a nameless rear end in a top hat growing replicas in my cesspool and sneaking them out disguised as plumbers and delivery men…. My replicas don’t have their dazzling beauty marred by plastic surgery and barbarous dye and bleach processes. They stand forth naked in the sun for all to see, in their incandescent loveliness of body, face and soul. I have made them in my image and enjoined them to increase and multiply geometric for they shall inherit the earth.:siren:

hotsoupdinner posted:

Flash me please.

:siren:Distant rumble of stomachs…. Poisoned pigeons rain from the Northern Lights…. The reservoirs are empty…. Brass statues crash through the hungry squares and alleys of the gaping city….:siren:

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



The Jester's Sickness
833 Words

Were people entitled to a job, to earn a living, have a roof over their head and have money to buy Jenny another baby loving shower present? Jenny had offered to hire her for the eldest’s birthday, at half the rate on her website. “For a friend,” was the plea. Marie was tempted to take it.

She adjusted her red nose. A degree in the performing arts, two off-Broadway performances (Five Stars in the New York Times), and now she was adjusting her giant clown honker in her clapped out Toyota. She could barely manage to get bookings and all this to buy a charm bracelet for Jenny rich-bitch Murray’s new poo poo machine.



They were standing at the door.

“You’re late,” the mother said.
“We said three,” the father said.
“Four.” Marie knew it was four.
“We texted this morning, we told you this. Alton gets tired. We told you the time could change. You said you’d worked with children like mine before.”

A sick nine year old, and she’d hosed up the time. Marie could feel the heat beneath her cheap makeup. This was her fourth gig in eight months. Word of mouth hadn’t worked. She had to take the job. She knew she could fake it for an hour. But there were no phones allowed at the reading. It had a chance of going into production, even touring. It would pay her well while this clown gig would buy spoiled Jenny Murray a 13 carat gold bracelet for the newest vomit-monster she was only having for eventual child support.

“Alton is nine today?”
“He’s mature. It’s aged him.”
“How many children came?”
“Just one. He hasn’t spent much time in school to make friends.” His father said. “Sally, his little cousin.”

He put his arm around the mother who turned away. Sandra knew the dampness cloying beneath her layered makeup didn’t compare to what was welling in the father’s eyes.

“Go in, please. And be careful.”
Marie smiled. “It’s ok.”

The parents stepped aside. Passing the doorway a chlorine smell, sterility she associated with the elderly burned at her nose. She breathed deeply, clamped her jaw tight and turned towards the room that held the sick, young boy. Nodding her head side to side she passed a wave down her neck, through her torso and out to her limbs to loosen her body. She burst through the door, arched her neck with her head high and screamed like a demented penguin, “TICKLE ATTACK!”

His skin was a deep, rich yellow, and one of the oxygen tanks had tubes hooked under his nose. His eyes drooped and his head nodded.

“Tickle Sally.” He pointed with a half raised arm and curled fist. Sally looked scared.

“Clown tickle!” Marie grabbed her stomach, collapsed to the ground writhing and struggling against herself. “No arm! NO TICKLES!” Marie thrashed. “You’re my own arm!”

Sally screamed.

Parents came running.

Marie scrambled to her feet and started doing star jumps. The parents were all over their child.

What the gently caress was she doing here?

“She was sick,” Sally said.

Marie slumped as one last star jump drained from her. The parents were crowding Alton as he halfheartedly tried to fight them off. He was wheezing.

“I’m sorry...” Marie said.
“What’s wrong, Alton?” The mother asked.
“Did you fit?” The father asked.
“It was me. I think Sally thought--” Marie said.
“He’s tired.” The father adjusted the oxygen tap on the tank.

Marie stepped back towards the door and something solid cracked beneath her foot. Alton shouted out and pushed at his mother.

“My Medea!”

“Oh my god, I didn’t mean to.” Marie fell to her knees and picked up the Lego figure she had just destroyed. A chariot with dragons, and a woman were snapped in half. The chariot a dedicated model with thin, delicate parts. “I’m sorry, Alton.” She said it without even looking at him. Why did she say she could do this? She was a poo poo clown, never-mind performing for a death’s-door child.

“I wanted to read to Sally, Mom! Not a crappy clown.” He was really fighting now. His mother ignored him and walked to her handbag draped over the couch under a framed Wicked poster.

“We’ll write you a cheque." There was no urgency as she searched through her purse.

There were more posters; The Crucible and A Streetcar, Hamlet in London hung next to the Phantom poster.

“It’s not your fault, we shouldn’t have expected you to--”

The bookshelves were lined with plays; Euripedes, Beckett, Pinter. The child struggled against his father to get to his destroyed Lego theatre set.

“But, soft!” Marie took off her red nose as she rose from the child’s broken toy. “What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun."

The young, sick boy’s eyes rested as he sat back into his chair. "Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon."

Marie’s chest filled as she saw his breathing calm.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Mrenda posted:

833 Words

you had one job

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



sebmojo posted:

you had one job

I jumped back ten pages and there's a 1,170 word entry for a 1,100 word limit that isn't an issue. If that's not the case, and there's no 5/10% leeway thing going it's not an issue for me.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Mrenda posted:

I jumped back ten pages and there's a 1,170 word entry for a 1,100 word limit that isn't an issue. If that's not the case, and there's no 5/10% leeway thing going it's not an issue for me.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



c.f.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






SEBMOJO FIGHT ME

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







sitting here your poo poo is weak as the homeopathic exudations of 96 year old chartered accountant called barry

fite me :toxx:

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 08:51 on Dec 15, 2016

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






sebmojo posted:

sitting here your poo poo is weak as the homeopathic exudations of 96 year old chartered accountant called barry

fite me

:toxx: who will judge

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.



Sitting Here posted:

:toxx: who will judge

I AM JUDGING FOR WINABI.

Write a story where the protagonists are animals. Not anthropomorphic animals that wear clothes or whatever. Not animals who make pop culture references and foxes get on well with rabbits instead of eating them or whatevs.

Animals like the ones from Farthing Wood or whatever where they live in dens or wherever the heck animals live and they have every day actual animal concerns to deal with and whatevs you get the idea, and if you don't get the idea you MIGHT NOT WIN.

1500 word limit. Due Next Wednesday, 12 midday, by my own clock on my own wrist.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Erogenous Beef posted:

^--- This. Thank you (and hawklad) for the crits. If either/both of you want to have a Beef Literary Bile Bath (patent pending) of a past or future piece, you're welcome to one upon request.

p.s. If you're really burning to discuss stories/crits/the contents of your sphincter, join the IRC channel. Deetz in da OP.

beef would you crit this one?

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 01:08 on Dec 16, 2016

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?


Mrenda posted:

I jumped back ten pages and there's a 1,170 word entry for a 1,100 word limit that isn't an issue. If that's not the case, and there's no 5/10% leeway thing going it's not an issue for me.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


Chairchucker posted:

I AM JUDGING FOR WINABI.

Write a story where the protagonists are animals. Not anthropomorphic animals that wear clothes or whatever. Not animals who make pop culture references and foxes get on well with rabbits instead of eating them or whatevs.

Animals like the ones from Farthing Wood or whatever where they live in dens or wherever the heck animals live and they have every day actual animal concerns to deal with and whatevs you get the idea, and if you don't get the idea you MIGHT NOT WIN.

1500 word limit. Due Next Wednesday, 12 midday, by my own clock on my own wrist.

good prompt

Baleful Osmium Sea
Oct 31, 2016


In. Please flash me like the oscillating glint of a Steely Dan III, Dr Benway.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Baleful Osmium Sea posted:

In. Please flash me like the oscillating glint of a Steely Dan III, Dr Benway.

:siren: Master of the Hunt is Captain Everhard, who was drummed out of the Queen’s 69th for palming a jockstrap in a game of strip poker. Motorcycles careening, jumping, overturning. Spitting, shrieking, making GBS threads baboons fighting hand to hand with the Huntsmen. Rider-less cycles scrabbling about in the dust like crippled insects, attacking baboon and Huntsman….:siren:

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 00:06 on Dec 16, 2016

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



flerp posted:

1146 words

acid rain

Pray for Rain

The ending of this really helped bring it up a level for me. It wasn't amazing writing, but I did feel his loss. The first two thirds didn't convince me, and I was expecting a let down of an ending but you really up'ed the level of feeling with your final few paragraphs.

I think a big problem with it was how matter of fact it all was, and that could be purely because it's your style of writing. It really worked for the ending where he was making simple wishes, his love taken from him and with no real hope left, but it didn't work for the beginning establishing his connection with her. Despite that I did get a sense of the character of the woman. Her going out during the night to draw was a nice touch, even if the writing and their emotion and connection surrounding the "moment" didn't draw me in.

I would love to have seen some passion in here. It was all a bit too detached for me. It could be something as obvious as a call to a lustful spark (with a fade to black,) a morning exhausted from a driven night, showing his hopes for a future shared with her, or even by increasing the level of romance in the language.

There's two contrasting aspects that could be changed with the flat language. You could have his memories set in his current loss, showing how he's looking back on what's gone and how it seems so distant so that's why it comes across as flat. Or you could increase the amount of flashbacks he had, as the limited amount of memories didn't let me see any depth in their relationship.

The very beginning didn't work for me. I understand how you wanted to establish at the beginning his relationship with the rain but it seemed throwaway at that point (again could be a language problem) and it was confirmed as throwaway for me when you established the significance of the rain at other points in the story. You went a bit too far in including the weather, like you really wanted to make it the stand out feature rather than their relationship and his loss which is what I was more concerned about.

The ending lifted it and I did feel his loss but because you didn't establish a full relationship either with a progression of their love, or any passion it came across as somewhat hollow. Ultimately I was left with the feeling that he never really had her, or wasn't really into her. For me you needed to better establish he is always distant, and she was the only redeeming element to his life, or he has really lost his love. That you could get a connected feeling out of me after I went most of the way through the story without much engagement shows me you're close to what you want to achieve. Maybe a bit more analysis, some beta readers, or sitting on it a bit longer to read with fresh eyes would help you go back to it able to inject that passion because that ending really deserves the first two thirds to live up to what it managed.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?


In :toxx:

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


THUNDERTOME starts in one hour, meeting is in #thundertome on IRC

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


Mrenda you're cool.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016


Got Out.

Grimey Drawer

Hello all. I'll be subbing for Twist for THUNDERTOME for the next few weeks. With that in mind, if anybody still wants to speak about BURNING CHROME, the previous book to discuss, do so, perhaps when it comes time to discuss the book I have chosen for digestion from now till JAN, 6th, 2017: BARDO99 by Cecile Pineda.

I have already read the book and will provide a link to the amazon page for those who want to purchase or study it beforehand.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/0930324838/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It is a thin book and reads quickly. It is in the realm of surrealism, which you can guess from the synopsis, "Depicting the 20th century as a character, this novel explores what happens when that character, dying, passes through a Bardo state—an intermediate state of the soul between death and rebirth."

Come JAN, 6th, 2017, I will be in THUNDERTOME IRC to participate in a discussion of the book and any thoughts derived from it.

Be seeing you!

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






Jay W. Friks posted:

Hello all. I'll be subbing for Twist for THUNDERTOME for the next few weeks. With that in mind, if anybody still wants to speak about BURNING CHROME, the previous book to discuss, do so, perhaps when it comes time to discuss the book I have chosen for digestion from now till JAN, 6th, 2017: BARDO99 by Cecile Pineda.

I have already read the book and will provide a link to the amazon page for those who want to purchase or study it beforehand.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/0930324838/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It is a thin book and reads quickly. It is in the realm of surrealism, which you can guess from the synopsis, "Depicting the 20th century as a character, this novel explores what happens when that character, dying, passes through a Bardo state—an intermediate state of the soul between death and rebirth."

Come JAN, 6th, 2017, I will be in THUNDERTOME IRC to participate in a discussion of the book and any thoughts derived from it.

Be seeing you!

yes I will do this

steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016







:siren: Sign-ups closed! :siren:

Jagermonster
May 7, 2005

Hey - NIZE HAT!


Ride of the White Knight
780 words

Justin steeled himself for confrontation as the bus crawled through rush hour traffic. Too often Justin read about women being harassed or groped on public transportation. Justin knew what he would do if he ever witnessed some scumbag doing stuff like that. A palm strike to the nose would stop the assaulter dead in his tracks. Several jabs would send the shattered nose bone up and into the brain, killing them.

Justin gripped the hand rail as the bus made a sharp turn. He never sat. So many men sat, taking seats meant for women. Women deserved better. They deserved a good guy like Justin.

Justin's arm shot up a little bit as he imagined himself confronting some harasser. He stopped himself before he completed the full palm strike. He glanced around to make sure no one had seen him spasm around.

All it would take is one confrontation and Justin would be known for the hero he was. A palm strike straight to the nose - Bam! Someone would film it and it would go viral. Women everywhere would feel safe knowing Justin was out there.

And Justin would get so many blow jobs. He debated whether it would be ethical to accept one from the woman he saved. Other women would want to give him blow jobs too. Justin took a seat to hide his erection.

The bus stopped at Verring Avenue. Justin jumped up so she wouldn't see him sitting. The bus stood idling for a moment. Justin's hopes fell. Maybe he had mixed up her work schedule. Or it had changed. Or she was just running late. Then he saw the top of her golden head.

She handed her money to the bus driver and smiled. Justin would do anything to kiss those perfect red lips. Justin turned toward the window so she wouldn't catch him staring.

"Hey!" a deep voice yelled from the street. A guy in an Ohio State hoodie climbed onto the bus.

"I have to go to work, Kyle," she said.

"We aren't done talking!"

"Yeah, we are," she said.

Kyle closed in on her. Justin's hand tightened on the hand rail. With a jolt, the bus started rumbling down the street again.

Kyle grabbed her arm. "Don't just walk away from me like that."

"You better take your hands off me right now."

Justin took a step forward. "Hey!"

She looked back to Justin. So did Kyle and the rest of the bus.

Justin closed the distance between them. "Back off!"

"gently caress you, bro," Kyle said.

Justin stopped within striking distance. "I said back off."

"And what are you-"

Justin jabbed the heel of his palm up toward Kyle's nose. It stopped just short.

Kyle's fingers dug into Justin's wrist. "You just take a loving swing at me?"

Justin tried to tug his arm back. He jerked it forward and down like they teach in Karate. Kyle's grip wouldn't give. Justin panicked. He lunged forward, head first, aiming for Kyle's nose.

Justin ended up bent over, with Kyle's other hand on the back of Justin's neck. Justin slapped at Kyle's arms. They were as solid as the metal poles on the bus.

Kyle's knee shot up into Justin's face.

She gasped. "Stop it!"

“This guy attacked me!” Kyle said.

"Please," Justin managed to say before Kyle kneed him again. Something popped in Justin's face. His right eye lost vision. Pain coursed down Justin's spine into the pit of the stomach. His head felt like it would burst. Kyle kneed him again, then let go. Justin collapsed to the floor.

Kyle raised his foot. This wasn't how it was supposed to go. It was supposed to be Kyle's head punctured like an inflated balloon, not Justin's smashed like a watermelon. Justin was the hero.

Justin heard a thwack. Kyle's foot came down to the side of Justin's head. Another thwack.

Justin rolled over. Kyle covered his bleeding face. Her hand shot out like a cobra, striking him twice in the stomach. Kyle doubled over. She brought her first up and slammed it down on the side of his head. Kyle collapsed on top of Justin.

The bus screeched to a halt. "What the hell is going on back there!" the bus driver said.

"Please call the police," she said.

A woman in the front said she already had. "And an ambulance for the other one."

"Hey!" Justin heard himself say in a small garbled voice from somewhere behind him. "Back off!"

Someone laughed. "This poo poo is going to go viral!"

Justin closed his eyes and listened to himself getting kneed in the head over and over.

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



llamaguccii posted:

Unfinished Sketch

Weather Forecast: Overcast Skies
Work Count: 821

I actually quite enjoyed the writing in this. The flat tone really brought across his indifference, however it didn't translate over to an emotional connection for me of his malaise. He seemed dead to life, but it wasn't an emotional connection I was having with him, rather an intellectual understanding that this is a person who's given up on his past. This definitely contrasted with the presentation at the beginning of his time in the closet. A flashback doesn't seem right for someone bringing an emotional disconnect to a situation where he's about to leave for good.

Mostly I felt that I wasn't looking at any conflict. The decision for the protagonist already seems to have been made. He's leaving, he knows that, and there's no internal debate. With that in mind the whole the story comes across as very bland. There's no impetus for the reader to take anything from the story. If you had shown him engaging with his brother more, and his brothers kids and wife(?) and him debating the morality of playing along with their troubles and concerns knowing he wouldn't see them again it would have added a level of disturbance to his thought: of doubt.

There was no debate for the character, it was like he was passing through something and was placing no pressure on what went on around him. He didn't need anything, or want anything: he didn't want to make a mark on his soon-to-be-abandoned past. If I had seen that earlier in the story, if I knew his decision from the off I might have loaded his thoughts and actions with my own worry, possibly even anger at what he was about to do to his remaining family, and what he was about to do to himself by cutting something off. Instead I was waiting for the hook. At the end you put in the "twist." Ok, he's running away, I just don't care about that. I can't retroactively ascribe any mixed emotions, or doubt to what he's been through in his mind. It left me cold throughout, wondering the point.

In that sense I did see his distance. But me acknowledging his distance by the end doesn't turn it into an, "Aha!" moment, it just reinforces my thoughts that I didn't care about him, and even pushes me to think there's no reason I should care about him.

I liked the brother. That he did care for him, and was willing to take time off and leave his family to ensure his sibling would be ok. That's a great hook for the story. A brother looking to care for someone, something he's always done (or possibly only discovered since he had his own family, or via the realisation that their parental support is gone, whatever,) the protagonist knowing his brother does care for him but his past alienation being too overwhelming to acknowledge what his brother is doing for him. The history of his own experience not allowing him to engage with the very thing he's always wanted: a connection to the place he comes from, a connection to who he is.

I think the writing was quite good, at least by the standards of the (few) other stories I read. There was a nice even pace to it. The imagery wasn't amazing, and there were a couple of turns of phrase that seemed clunky but you definitely managed to capture the feel of "grey skies," and in that sense the piece was extremely appropriate in the spirit of the prompt. However you still need engagement from the reader. Grey skies (and thus your story) aren't and shouldn't be a neutral encounter, they can be foreboding, oppressive, or in the case with your story, and uneasy boundary between good and bad, hope and loss, and two different states that necessitate a choice. The choice seems to have been made by the protagonist as we start the story, and it's how he makes the decision to leave his past that makes this story interesting, not the grey feeling he goes through once the decision has been made.

Edit: I didn't mean to post this. I'm quoting the stories to get the BB Code markup and must have submitted it without realising. It'll go back up in a new post after judgement.

Second Edit: I did mean to post this. But I got yelled at on IRC and panicked.

Mrenda fucked around with this message at 04:42 on Dec 19, 2016

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


College Slice

FLASH RULE: All houses in the City are joined. Houses of sod — high mountain Mongols blink in smokey doorways — houses of bamboo and teak, houses of adobe, stone and red brick, South Pacific and Maori houses, houses in trees and river boats, wood houses one hundred feet long sheltering entire tribes, houses of boxes and corrugated iron where old men sit in rotten rags cooking down canned heat, great rusty iron racks rising two hundred feet in the air from swamps and rubbish with perilous partitions built on multi-levelled platforms, and hammocks swinging over the void.

Tribal Wisdom
793 words

All of humanity is jammed in the City because the Earth has turned to poo poo.

It was a mad rush at the end, before the virus finished everyone off. Scientists stuffed survivors and startled natives into glorified shipping containers along with last-minute cultural scraps and fired us into orbit until the rockets ran out. All in the name of preserving human biodiversity and art and history until we could return. Only that part didn't happen, did it? The virus is still down there, waiting, and it's got hooves and wings and flippers in which to hide while we rot away up here.

So we joined together, safety in numbers, a giant, spinning, swaying mass of aluminum trusses holding together a motley menage of habitats, solar panels, recycling stations, production facilities, and radiation shields ever tilting towards the horizon. Somehow we survive. But this place, what we call the City? Well, it's become poo poo too. It was never supposed to last as long as it has. What's left of humanity is more stratified and divided and distrusting as ever, only now we're crammed together, totally dependent on each other for survival. Maybe we were before, too, but we just didn't realize it.

At first everyone was worried about the indigenous tribes, how they'd survive up here, but in the end they were more adaptable than the rest of us. They made the City their own and now much of it is under tribal rule.

Which is why I'm currently in low Earth orbit, lashed to a waste conduit, facing four masked San Bushmen hopping and dancing around me, hooting and clicking, while their gnarled old chief looks on.

This tribe had recently taken over the Sector Nine Food Production Lab, and the UN needed someone to open negotiations to get it back. I'd taken a few African Studies classes in college and was itching get my first assignment so I volunteered. In retrospect, a bad decision.

Flaunting my expertise in exotic African languages, negotiations started with me calling the tribal chief's mother a "cock-starved hippopotamus." Talks broke down quickly after that.

So now I'm a prisoner. The San tribal habitat is enormous, nearly one hundred feet long, bamboo huts sprinkled across a dirt floor from which hopeful tubers protrude. The tribespeople studiously ignore what's happening with me and the chief and the warriors. Instead they go about their business planting seeds, cooking stews, and tending the fires that make their habitat hotter than the Kalahari.

My only hope is to try to talk my way out of this. "A deranged mountain goat approaches," I say in their language. I need to let them know I mean no harm.

Apparently I'm not convincing, for the largest warrior steps forward and sinks his spear into my right leg. Pain shoots upward, but only for a moment. My leg goes numb and a warm feeling starts to spread from the wound.

This recalls a tidbit of information from my college days: Kalahari tribesman favor a slow-acting but deadly poison derived from a native beetle larva.

"Hey!" I say. "Water my donkey!"

The old chief shakes his head. "No," he says in clear, precise English. "It's diamphotoxin. Slow, but quite effective."

They're all laughing now, dancing around me, thrusting their spears into the air.

"Look, you can't just kill me," I plead, switching to English myself. "I'm an envoy from the UN. On an important mission." The numbness has reached my groin and I feel the muscles there begin to relax.

"So why did they send you?" the chief asks.

"I have a minor in African Studies," I say. Two classes short, actually.

"And I have a degree in Civil Engineering," the chief says, "but nobody's responded to help me fix the oxygen feeds. We've got so much extra oxygen up here we're lighting fires to keep it under control."

"So that's what they're for," I say. "I thought it was just...ambiance?"

The whole lower half of my body feels like it's floating now. The chief stares the the puddle at my feet. "Well that's unfortunate. Looks like you've only got a few minutes before the toxin reaches your heart."

He reaches into a leather pouch at his waist and pulls out a cell phone, punches it with a leather finger, and puts it to my ear.

"UN operations division. What's your emergency?"

"Code six! Envoy in trouble!" I say, panicked. I report my location. The code will bring a rescue team to save me.

The chief sighs and pulls a horse needle of antitoxin from his pouch. He motions the warriors to cut my bonds.

"Maybe now I can get my drat pipes fixed," he says, and buries the needle into the side of my neck.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Someday, this poo poo may be included in a volume of bad stories.

Chili fucked around with this message at 07:19 on Jan 1, 2017

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?


But I smiled
794 words

Brian sat in front of the Christmas tree like he was some kind of puppet that nobody had played with in years. It was hard to watch him like that, chest lazily rising and lowering, not saying much through the festive music that played in the background. Here was a 12-year-old boy, and I’d tried my best to prepare a nice Christmas Eve for him, but I’d no idea how to do it, and it was never gonna be nice anyway.

It’d been about three months. Drunk motherfucking rear end in a top hat up in Reno smashing his ride into the sidewalk, taking people with him. Making an orphan out of the boy. You think being godfather is mostly a ceremonial gig. You hope. You don’t want to imagine what’ll have to happen.

I’d never decorated a Christmas tree before, and it showed, looking more like the Lucky Charms leprechaun had puked his guts out all over a firn. But I guess it didn’t matter. We were mostly doing it as a formality anyway. Chrissake, what was supposed to happen? I mean, you couldn’t just not celebrate Christmas. But there was no celebrating it either. Like you don’t want him to cry, but he sure as poo poo ain’t gonna laugh.

I’d never learned how the boy celebrated Christmas and I didn’t think he’d care enough to tell me in advance, but back in my childhood, I’d always gotten a gift on Christmas Eve. Now there were a few of them under the tree. I didn’t earn much, but I’d tried my best, and at the very least I was young enough to remember what I’d liked as a boy. That was probably the only thing I actually knew something about. I don’t just mean about the gifts, but that too. Running through the stores, past stacked-up boxes with bright, bubbly letters promising you some good family fun. What do you get a child that has nothing left?

There’s the same Santa Claus actor sitting in a display in the middle of the mall each year. Kid sits on his lap, whispers his Christmas wish into Santa’s ear, and then afterwards Santa tells his elves, and they slip you a note so you know what to buy.

I knew what it was going to say. Even before I’d seen their faces, or heard their I’m-Sorry’s.

“Thank you,” Brian said as he unpacked a stupid video game, and I caught myself holding him a bit too close. Stopped myself from apologizing. Didn’t want to make a drama out of it.

Of course he wouldn’t like it. He wouldn’t like anything. All the gifts under the tree were the same crap: plastic toys and digital entertainment stored on discs. Time wasters. Useless distractions for a boy who had a void to fill.

“I-- I got another gift for you.” I bit my tongue as soon as I’d said it, but there it was. A gift I’d hidden in the closet. Because I’d chickened out. Because I’d gotten scared it’d just make him sad. But there was no making him sad no more. That ship had sailed.

If there’s one thing I could do right as his godfather, I could at least try to make his Christmas wish come true.

The present was hidden on the top shelf, behind the paper towels and washing agents. Most of my gifts looked like a one-armed frat boy had wrapped them inbetween shots, but this one was especially bad: a crumpled, dark red wrapping so rough it reflected the lights in a Picasso pattern.

Handing it over seemed to take years, and then I instantly regretted it. But I smiled. It must have come out all weird. Least that’s what it felt like.

Brian carefully unwrapped a large photo album. On the pages there were pictures of his parents, memorabilia, written notes from their daily lives and other odds that gave you a glimpse into the kind of people they’d been: concert tickets and recipes and the old polaroids his dad had used to shoot.

In the back, there were some letters.

“They started writing to you when you were still small,” I said. “I don’t know when you were supposed to get them. I thought--” And then I’d run out of words to say and my throat had run out of space to fit them through. And the loving Christmas music kept singing along in the background while Brian leafed through the album with quivering lips on a stone face.

“Thank you,” he finally said. He set it down, carefully, almost as if putting a child to bed. Then he shuffled over to me, hugged my side, and breathed into it until I realized he’d started crying.

And I was right there with him.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


The Entertainment

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 21:41 on Dec 31, 2016

Baleful Osmium Sea
Oct 31, 2016


flash rule: Master of the Hunt is Captain Everhard, who was drummed out of the Queen’s 69th for palming a jockstrap in a game of strip poker. Motorcycles careening, jumping, overturning. Spitting, shrieking, making GBS threads baboons fighting hand to hand with the Huntsmen. Rider-less cycles scrabbling about in the dust like crippled insects, attacking baboon and Huntsman…
wordcount: 797

Turning Lock

The Supervisor's exoskeleton went haywire first. It backhanded the adjacent docker right in the face cage with an almighty clang. The other driver stared at her boss, too surprised to swear. Without her touching the control sticks, her own XO-Skel returned the favour by lifting an iron-and-cable-thewed leg and booting the Supervisor right in his metallic arse. One by one, the other machines began to fight each other, their human operators powerless. Mechanical graspers clamped down on mechanical limbs, pulling and bending, until they detached in a shower of sparks, uncovered human limbs wriggling like tiny worms. Unbalanced, the XO-Skels toppled over, still waving and kicking in spasmodic jerks.

On a balcony above the fray, Jackie stabbed at the red Override button that should have shut off her autonomy module. Down in the Docking Bay, the noise of metal against metal grew louder, punctuated by electrical explosions. Jackie raced to the central control desk, and initiated the dampeners. The lights went out, replaced by the dull red glow of the emergency bulbs, and an unnerving silence.

Jackie clambered down the Bay ladder. All around her giant XO-Skels and their sundered appendages lay in disarray. The Supervisor was clambering out of his harness of his horizontally compromised machine. Eventually he stood beside his fallen machine, surveying the carnage. His gaze reached Jackie, control pad in her hand and guilt across her face, and a screaming fit was thrown.

---

It was after midnight before Jackie finished re-attaching severed pieces of XO-Skel. She was grateful he hadn't been busted on the spot, but SkelTechs in this region, even amateurs, were rare. As she finished up the unit tests to make sure normal operation had been restored, she heard footsteps behind her.

"How's it going?"

She sighed, letting her shoulders sag a little. "All patched up. Testing's nearly finished."

"I kinda meant you, not these metal bastards."

Jackie turned away from the test readout but failed to look Linda in the eye. "I hosed it up this time," she said, staring at her feet. "Royally. The deployment protocols, somehow the pipeline isn't what I thought. The autonomy module got into production, and I hadn't figured it all out anyway, so…" She waved at the XO-Skels, standing like soldiers in an iron platoon.

"What did the Supervisor say? Gotta admit, I enjoyed booting his arse."

"He said I'm a 'goddamned useless bitch' and next time it's a one-to-one limb removal exchange, them and me." She slid to the ground by the control desk, and looked up at Linda. "I thought I was helping. After what happened with Jones and Simmons, I thought, if we could just automate them…. But i don't know enough to get them to behave intelligently." She hid her head in her hands.

Linda slid down beside her, resting on her heels. "Don't know how you do it. Fixing these pieces of crap for the hundredth time so some drunk docker can crash them into a wall. Can't you, I dunno, transfer out. Don't they have academies or something? So you can learn to do it properly?"

Jackie looked up. "I've asked the supe. He just laughed. Not enough local SkelTechs."

Linda patted her shoulder. "Let's get him to reconsider," she said, with a thoughtful look. "You can still do pre-programmed stuff, right?"

---

Jackie watched as Linda and the other dockers clambered into their gear, tying harnesses and flexing their augmented physiques as they ran through their preliminary tests. A hastily implemented green button glowed on her control pad.

She waited until the XO-Skels were lined up in two equal lines, ready to depart to the shipyard for pickup. Then she pushed "Go". A camera drone leapt into the air then slowly circled the machines.

All the XO-Skels turned 90 degrees, facing one another. Some grabbed their opposites by the mechanical waist, some by the shoulders, and then they linked their free graspers.

Somewhere a speaker blared out The Blue Danube. As one, the XO-Skels began to waltz. Jackie heard the Supervisor scream her name. She remotely guided the drone to shoot Linda waltzing him around the bay for a while before she approached, bobbing and weaving around the dancing giants as the drone followed.

"Yes, Sir?" she yelled.

"What the everliving gently caress have you done?"

"This? This is my video application for the engineers' academy."

"You're on report," shouted the Supervisor, his face red and upside-down as Linda dipped him.

"Thank you, sir. Now, about my application. I've got some great footage, lots of close-ups. Just needs your signature."

Jackie ducked as Linda's XO-Skel whirled the supervisor around. She caught a snatch of Linda talking about fixing servo-droids before enlisting.

"No close-ups," said the Supervisor when he next span past, looking decidedly green.

"No, sir," said Jackie, saluting.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


A Change of Mind (800w)

Samuel Slopbucket swished his ragged old mop in a wide arc across the floor of the storage bay, edging as close as he dared to the strange plastic pod that had arrived today. It was far away from the other cargo, and there was a big red circle around it — a sergeant had ordered Sam to not even think of setting foot inside, but there were bootprints Sam couldn't reach without entering. Two officers were watching, and Sam hoped he wasn't about to get more demerits.

Across the bay, the Captain eyeballed the distance between the capsule and Sam. Three meters separated a dopey private and the galaxy's last sample of sapiophagica unilateralis, the psychic murder-fungus. Even with a protective band of foil on his head, the captain still felt the thing tugging on his mind. He glanced at his XO. "I'd rather he wore a psychosafing cap."

"He's got a neurosuppressant pump; the fungus couldn't possibly tempt him, sir."

Sam rubbed the bump at the base of his neck and a warm sensation washed over him, like he'd just drank a cup of milky tea. The bump had itched when they'd first put it in, but rubbing it made him feel better.

The XO beamed at the captain. "See? Smiling like a cat."

The captain wished he had the XO's confidence. He'd seen sapiophagica in the wild: a woody stalk with a puff of hairy psi-tendrils atop it, like an oversized dandelion. Mesmerized, two platoons of marines had murdered one another before someone napalmed the fungus. He cupped his hands. "Private, report!"

Sam snapped to attention. "Sir, the private is cleaning, sir!"

"Would you rather be doing something else, private?"

Sam looked at the captain for a second. He'd never talked to an officer before. A lieutenant had spoken to him once, to say Sam's fly was down. Sam had cleaned a lot of johns after that.

The captain scowled. "Are you hard of hearing, private?"

"Sir, no, sir!"

"Then answer! Is there anything you want, private? Anything at all?"

"Sir! Uh… a new mop, sir?"

Twenty years of command saved the captain from snickering. "A mop."

"Yes, sir. The marines get alien blood on their boots, sir." Sam raised the mop's head; he'd been patching it with old socks. "See? Eats right through, sir."

"Back to your duties, private. Make this bay shine." The captain spun on his heel and motioned for the XO to follow.

In the hallway, the XO grinned. "Xeno blood is rather acidic—"

"Button it. You're right. Poor man hasn't a light on upstairs."

#

Sam leaned on his tattered mop. He'd scrubbed the entire cargo bay again, but there were still bootprints next to the plastic pod. The captain had said to make the bay shine, and a captain's orders overrode a sergeant's, right? Sam stepped inside the circle, keeping his back to the pod so he wouldn't have to look at it. What was in the stupid thing, anyway?

Fifty cartons of finest Denebian whisky.

Sam blinked. He hadn't drank in a long while, but he rubbed the back of his neck and the fleeting desire passed.

Aldebaranese lads' mags, where the girls have three tits.

Sam glanced at the pod, rubbed the back of his neck again and went back to scrubbing.

Is there anything you want private? Anything at all?

"A new mop," he said to the empty cargo bay, and glanced at the pod. Was there a mop inside?

The finest mop in the galaxy.

Maybe he should look inside. No one had said he couldn't have a peek. He laid his old mop aside and twisted the top off the pod.

Inside was a wooden rod with a thick cottony-white puff on top, jammed into a pot of dirt. Sam yanked his new mop free.

In the armory, the chief of security shot two ensigns dead. In the lounge, a dozen officers tore one off another's clothes and the captain declared a general orgy. On the bridge, the navigator plotted a course to Earth, locked her console and forgot the passcode.

Sam twirled his mop over his head, grinning. A new mop! And not just any mop. This mop felt like part of his arm. He could clean anything, anywhere!

Everywhere.

Yes, he'd go everywhere, cleaning dirt with his trusty new mop. He felt the mop thrum with excitement.

Where better to start than here? He dunked the cottony-white head into his water bucket, jammed it into the wringer and crushed sapiophagica unilateralis' delicate psychic tendrils to powder. For a moment, Sam felt his mop scream, and then he was holding only a useless stick.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

I DON'T ALWAYS
HERDY DUR MUR FLERP FLERPITY
FLOOPIN
BUT WHEN I DO
I YER DER FLERPITY
THURN DER DERMIN
BORK! BORK! BORK!




800 words

In some mythologies, the whole world is on the back of a turtle which is pretty cool

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=5338&title=In+some+mythologies%2C+the+whole+world+is+on+the+back+of+a+turtle+which+is+pretty+cool

flerp fucked around with this message at 21:04 on Dec 26, 2016

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






One-Sided Conversation
800 words

I steal the compact mirror--silver, studded with rhinestones--even though I know I shouldn’t. But it bears the light of the cipher, so I have to. If I wait until I have enough money to pay for it properly, it’ll be gone. Folks can’t usually see the light, because it’s a funny sort of light, like a golden lance of pure, melodic meaning straight to the back of the eye sockets. But they feel it, and they snatch it up without knowing why.

My hands shake all the way home, though the senile thrift store own most certainly hasn’t noticed the absence of one tiny little mirror. I walk quickly through the house’s moldering outer carapace.

The bedroom is alive with a light that is more sound and weight than luminescence. I’ve got hundreds of fragments now. Jewelry, padlocks, walking sticks, old books, bits of stonework from a nearby cathedral, and all manner of objets d’art. They are arrayed around the otherwise empty room, patterned like a rock garden.

I kneel down and add the small mirror to a scintillating region of the cipher dedicated to things with function and shimmer. Its neighbors are a bottle opener shaped like a turtle with an agate-encrusted shell and a belt buckle coated in sequins.

The compact mirror germinates almost immediately. I feel its roots extend outward, find purchase in the soil behind the world. The pieces are getting easier to find. They pass through thrift stores and garbage dumps and into my hands, as though I’m a part of the gravity of the cipher, which means taking them isn’t a crime. And anyway, who would charge a linguist for pursuing their study?

I swallow hard against vestigial anxiety, curl up on the floor, and let the play of preternatural light against my ears and eyelids lull me to sleep.


Over the course of the week, I find an amulet, a bracelet, a rusted wrench, a snowglobe, and a letter opener that all glow with urgent need. I smuggle them home. They’re coming faster and faster, now. I choose to interpret this as eagerness on the cipher’s part. It wants to speak to me, but I haven’t given it quite enough words.

I go out after dark to get beer and frozen pizza from the corner store. I pass by a man, and try to pretend the resonant glint around his neck is simply the play of light from a streetlamp, but the quickening in my chest tells me otherwise. He’s wearing part of the cipher.

I step into his path, run a hand through my long hair.

“Excuse me,” I said, “I really like your necklace.”

He stops and regards me, his face drawn and his posture wary. “I’m kinda in a hurry,” he says, and adds, “I’m sorry.” He fishes around in his pocket, pulls out a couple crumpled bills, and thrusts them out at me like a bribe.

I swat his hand aside. “I’m not a bum. I just want to see your necklace.”

He looks up and down the sidewalk as though scanning for reinforcements. We’re alone. “Sorry, you just looked like. I mean. Your clothes. Sometimes people dress like that when they’re in trouble," he says.

“I just really like your necklace, man, I’m not trying to ask you to fund my life, or whatever,” I say, trying to keep the hysteria out of my voice. The limpid gold light from his necklace, the tiny gravity of it, overwhelms my senses. This is a potent word in the cipher's lexicon, I'm sure of it.

“This is my necklace,” he says, like he’s talking to a child. “I don’t have to show it to anyone unless I want to.”

“Please,” I groan. My hand extends of its own volition, my fingers clutching at the light as though reaching for a distant star.

The man turns and runs. I follow.

He’s not hard to catch. I am light as bird bones, while his body is thick and cumbersome. I catch him and leap onto his back, exhaling frustration in a wordless shriek. He goes down and I am on him, my knees digging into his back, my hands clawing at the clasp on the back of his neck.

When I pull away, my fingernails are red with blood, but the cipher fragment is mine.


We’re almost there, I tell myself as I lay the necklace down to germinate, to plunge its roots into the stuff behind the world. This wasn’t the capstone I’d hoped it would be, but I must be close. Maybe it’ll be the next thing, or the thing after that.

The cipher wants to speak to me, I just haven’t given it enough words yet.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






oh and for archival purposes, my flashrule was

s far as the eye can see, nothing but replicas,” he says, crawling around on his terrace and speaking in strange insect chirps. “I don’t have to skulk around like a nameless rear end in a top hat growing replicas in my cesspool and sneaking them out disguised as plumbers and delivery men…. My replicas don’t have their dazzling beauty marred by plastic surgery and barbarous dye and bleach processes. They stand forth naked in the sun for all to see, in their incandescent loveliness of body, face and soul. I have made them in my image and enjoined them to increase and multiply geometric for they shall inherit the earth.

Farchanter
Jun 15, 2008


We've All Been There
Word count: 689

Tranquility was the pinnacle of human achievement. It travelled one hundred times the speed of light and carried eight thousand crew members. It didn’t explore new planets as much as deign them with its presence.

And, so, it was with an air of circumstance that Tranquility entered the Brontes system and set itself into orbit around the largest habitable-zone planet. It hovered above the world like a majestic eagle, motionless in the sky and yet lord of all it passed over.

Approximately five minutes later, with the press of a single button, Tranquility’s systems shut down, and the most expensive spaceship ever built was dead.

***

“Ah, Lieutenant Hereen?” Gary asked into his communicator, “I just dumped the reactor waste liked you asked, are all of the lights supposed to switch off?”

“For Christ’s sake, Steerage, channel eleven is main engineering. Ee-leh-ven,”

“Eleven?” Gary asked, looking down at the channel indicator. Twelve

“Yes, the one with two vertical lines, next to the one with the circle and—” Gary switched his communicator off as he fumbled with the channel selector, glad that he was the only one down in this part of engineering .

Gary had thought getting assigned to Tranquility was a huge honor. He had told all of his friends— bragged, a little, maybe— that he would be working on the best ship in the fleet.

But everything had been so much simpler in astroengineering college. Since joining the crew, Gary felt like he had been making one mistake after another, and falling further and further behind with each one, and no one in engineering was shy about reminding him.

Gary switched to the one with two vertical lines, and was greeted immediately by a cacophony. Main engineering was never quiet, but this was something else. This was panic, the first time Gary had ever heard the icy cool comic book characters of main engineering do so much as worry.

Gary had a growing suspicion that the lights were not supposed to turn off when he dumped the reactor waste. Hands shaking, he turned off the mute.

“Ah, Lieutenant Hereen? I dumped the waste.”

“Steerage, can you not do this right now? Since you apparently hadn’t noticed, we have an emergency up here,” a voice he didn’t recognize answered.

“Oh, great, I’ll call back later then… ah, I mean, that’s awful? Let me know if there’s something I can do to help. Always ready to help.”

“Wait, Officer Sterling,” the coolest voice in the galaxy said. Lieutenant Hereen. “I want you to tell me exactly what you just did.”

“I dumped the waste, like my orders said. Big button here that says ‘DMP,’” Gary said. All of the voices that had been shouting fell silent. Gary had not been previously aware that you could hear the sound of mouths hanging open.

“Sterling,” Hereen said, “the button to release the waste is large, green, and reads ‘open nozzle.’” Gary looked to his left, at the large button that said “ON.” Hereen continued.

“‘DMP’ stands for ‘disable magnetic protection.’ Would you care to tell me why, exactly, you have disabled the magnetic field around the reactor?”

“Ah,” Gary said, “well, I thought it meant—”

“No, it doesn’t matter. The manual restoration is on the outside of the ship. The airlock is around the corner from you. You have ten minutes before the reactor automatically jettisons. I am sure that you have been trained in walking on the hull?”

“Oh, I did do that, once,” Gary said, hoping he conveyed both confidence in himself and his abject terror at the concept of going out into space

“Good. Go. Now.” Gary hurried to the airlock. It was extraordinarily difficult to get the spacesuit on with his palms as sweaty as they were.

“Okay, Lieutenant, I’m at the airlock.”

“Excellent. Please let me know when you have reached the reactor console.”

“Yes, sir, I will,” Gary said, preparing to attach the atmosphere hose on his suit. Looking down at his chest, he saw two identical nozzles, one reading “O2” and the other reading “Oxygen.”

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




Empty

797 words

Flash: Several Meat Eaters lay in vomit, too weak to move. (The Black Meat is like a tainted cheese, overpoweringly delicious and nauseating so that the eaters eat and vomit and eat again until they fall exhausted.)

You cut a haunch of meat from my thigh. I scream, but do not die. The flesh, fully separated from my body and exposed to the air of this fallen world putrefies into a mass of greasy black rot and squirming maggots. You leave, disgusted, frustrated, nervous.

You return, with your employer, the sorcerer Zagras. You demonstrate the problem, using a far smaller piece.

“Do you know what he screams?” asks Zagras. You do. I scream in a language older than man, old as creation. You don't know a word of it, and yet-

“Empty,” you say. “The throne is empty.”

“Just so,” says Zagras. “The angel blasphemes, denying God. And yet it does not fall.” He fills a pan with corn oil, dips my left hand into it. “Only one possibility. It must be true.” He reaches for your butcher's knife and swings it, taking my fingers at the second knuckle. They sink without rotting. “You'll need to do the entire preparation under oil. I'll have a suitable quantity delivered.”

He walks away. You wait for him to turn, to chastise you for not knowing this already, for wasting meat, but he doesn't. Your deceit lives another day.

'The man who can cook anything'. At the start, all it meant was that you were willing to serve horse and cat and dog, but your reputation spread in dark circles. Lion. Panda. Orangutan. Easy enough to fake a skill for rich fools with no idea how these should be prepared. When customers arrived with butchered meat of provenience unspoken, you told yourself, perhaps an enemy's beloved pet. But you didn't believe it. Why else would you stop tasting while you cooked? Then came Zagras. For him you cooked yeti, cockatrice, mermaid, and whenever you balked he found your price and paid it.

You cut and slice the meat of my other leg, under oil, frying until tender. Zagras serves it to his guests. Billionaires, heads of state, and anonymous people of power, all in search of ultimate sensual pleasure, all convinced that they are strong-willed beyond addiction. It is everything they dreamed, everything they've missed in their lives. They cannot keep it down, spewing their stomachs across the table. Zagras's men recover the morsels, storing them in Tupperware tubs. They will to anything to eat their bite of me again, and again. He sends the tubs to his allies, those who helped him to draw me down, that they might gain power or money or fulfill specific humiliation fantasies. Zagras has no need for temporal power.

He tells you his plan, what you must do. My heart, liver, and lungs, wrapped in my stomach.. An angel haggis, to let him breach barriers between worlds and seize the empty throne. An ambitious plan. A plan that might have worked, even, had you known more of haggis than what a few furtive internet searches told. You, well, I cannot say you do your best. But you behave in accord with your nature.

You remove the organs, and still I did not die. My Creator did not provide for that mercy. You prepare them, and Zagras does his rituals. He looks on it and smiles. He lifts the hot pudding to his head. His smile grows wider than his mouth, and he unhinges his jaw like a serpent and swallows it whole.

Power pulses in him, glowing purple in waves from his gut. Then his face drops with pain as he starts to burn from the inside out. His gut implodes into incandescent red negative space, leaving legs and arms and head to twitch on the floor and die. A pocked of air, trapped in the lungs, and all was undone. You hear snapping chains as things no longer bound seek their freedom.

You could escape with them. Instead you return to me, to my bath of oil. You pluck out my eyeballs, sealing them in glass vials, then crack my skull and fill a sous vide bag with angel brains. You know how to reach Zagras' allies, know what they could pay.

And still, I do not die.

The future is usually not mine to see, but when things are inevitable, I know. And it is inevitable that you will make some small error: a nick with a knife, an absent-minded taste or licked finger. You will consume a piece of me, just enough to let me speak to you, show you these events from my perspective every night and inattentive moment. And I will tell you other things. I will tell you how the throne came to be empty, and you will fear death too much to contemplate suicide's escape. And that will be justice, and justice is all that is left to me.

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007


Mean Things

Removed. You can still read these crappy words right here in the archives!

BeefSupreme fucked around with this message at 08:11 on Jan 3, 2017

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012
Probation
Can't post for 17 hours!


Night on the Front
798 words
Flash rule: cooked in drained crank case oil

Sergeant Laurence Knight had joined the Army looking to die. A worthy death for an unworthy life. Instead he had a medal and a section of Tommies hoping to share his fortune. Early April 1918 found them clustered around a pair of fires in what used to be a French forest. Fourteen men were scarcely illuminated against the night around them; war had stripped the Earth of almost anything worthwhile as kindling. The rest, they’d collected themselves and prayed the Kaiser’s finest didn’t notice.

“Forget this stupid hill,” said Corporal Harston after an hour’s hushed arguments, glowering over strips of bacon in his pan. Fading orange light danced across long symmetrical features practically carved from Dover’s chalk, and he jerked his head west. “We should run for our own lines before Fritz remembers we’re stuck up here.”

Laurence forced down cold bully beef while the other man at the fire, Corporal Gattrell, stared into the darkness. But built like a stone wall and strong enough to heft around the Lewis gun at his side as if it were a slingshot, Gattrell tended to think of himself as the sergeant even while his superior sat next to him. While Laurence chewed, Gattrell contemplated.

“We move before dawn, we could make it,” the corporal mused. It was Gattrell who newsmen always mistook for Laurence. Each time, Gattrell would sheepishly correct them and they’d recoil in horror when they saw Laurence’s ratlike, lopsided form. The sound of his voice made Laurence want to stab him in the throat but he held back. Not worth the firing squad.

“Of course,” he said instead. His voice was the screech of a screen door caught in a hurricane, but he could still make himself heard. “Let the lads get a last bit of food and sleep in, then we’ll move. Harston, gather up some of the men and find us a bit more fuel so we can keep warm for the night.”

Silence. In what light remained he saw them stare. He might as well have suggested the King was a giant chicken. He repeated himself. Nothing. Well then. Laurence rose, turned and stormed off the crest of the hill. Behind him, one corporal asked the other why he was even sergeant.

“Ask Haig!”

It echoed through the night, more to show them he heard than to make a point. It hadn’t exactly been his call; a mad unarmed charge across no man’s land had been too mad for German tastes so what should have ended with a bullet in his heart instead had a whole line of trench deciding they had urgent business elsewhere.

So did anything that would pass for fuel. The silhouette of a slain Mark V stood among stumps and stripped bark. Trees were trees to him and these had been blasted and chopped to uselessness.

He reached the foot of the hill when the smell reached him, pungent and metallic. It hit like a punch to the nose but he followed it until it took him to the dead tank. An anti-tank rifle had ripped into its metal hide. The smell lingered, too strong to be old, and so Laurence stepped into the beast’s innards where his suspicions were confirmed.

The floor was black and slick with petrol, and in the engine compartment, the sump had been shot loose.

***

Gattrell stood waiting when Laurence returned and looked shocked the sergeant had actually found something.

“Where’d you get that?” Laurence nodded to the tank before he realised Gattrell, his back to the fire, maybe couldn’t see the gesture.

“That dead tank. Bit of petrol couldn’t hurt.” As he stepped up to the fire, Gattrell tensed and barred the way.

“Tank petrol? Are you mad?” Laurence tried to step around him, only to be blocked at every turn. “You can’t use that!”

“I don’t remember needing your permission.” Laurence shoved past but the corporal grabbed at him. The sump flew from his hands, petrol leaking from one opening. Too close to the fire.

The flames roared back to life, tall and bright, and Harston screamed when his trouser leg caught fire. A bullet from the night silenced him forever. Gattrell tossed Laurence aside and replied with a long defiant burst from his Lewis gun while below, the section raised the alarm and returned fire. Muzzle flashes nearly turned night to day.

In the dirt by the fire, the smell of smoke and petrol bit at Laurence’s throat. Oppressive heat tore at his skin, but he made the mad scramble to his rifle and did the only thing he could do. He turned on his belly, took aim, and held his ground.

Sergeant Laurence Knight had joined the Army looking to die. He would be the only survivor of his section.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


687 words

A Murder.

There was a steady knock at my door one night — I went and opened the door and there was a man in a brown leather jacket supporting himself against the doorframe. He was sweating down his forehead, and I noticed him clutching his hand to his abdomen. I asked him if he was O.K. and he could barely get out a “No”, so I ushered him in.

He groaned as he stepped through the doorway, and before both of his feet made it through, he collapsed and died.

I live in the city. I’ve been mugged twice, and I’ve called the police to this block more times than I can count, but I’ve never stuttered and shook so hard that the line operator had to make me do breathing exercises.

I don’t know what got into me, but as I was pacing around and waiting for the police, I noticed a phone in his hand. I grabbed it and put it into my coat pocket — I think I was just trying to be helpful to the police, that I’d give it to them so they could call whoever they needed to call once they got here.

The police came and told me it was a stabbing, and that they caught the mugger on their way here. The mugger had stumbled into their high beams and took off into a dead sprint, so they chased him down and caught him. The police were at my house for a few hours, and once the city detectives were done, everyone left. I brewed myself around four-and-a-half cups of coffee during the whole thing.

It wasn’t until later that night that I felt the phone from the outside of my pocket.

I remembered what the line operator said earlier:

“I’m going to need you to breath for me, sir.”

It didn’t help. I’d entered a full-blown panic and the coffee from before was not helping.

Looking back on it, there were two things that I could have done here — I could have calmed myself down and called the police to explain the situation, that I had taken his phone in the heat of the moment, and that I meant to give it to them when they got there but forgot. Or, I could do literally anything else.

I took out the phone. It was still unlocked and open on his messages. The contact on the top of the screen read “Mom”. There was un-sent text on the keyboard.

“I love you”

My thumb gravitated over it, like I was doing something instinctual that I’ve done a thousand times over. I hit send.

Jesus Christ, why did I do that?

The phone vibrated.

“David??”

gently caress.

“David is that you??”

I ran the phone to the kitchen, and then it vibrated a third time and jumped out of my hands. I picked it up, screen-down, and chucked it down my disposal. The sink rumbled and screeched until after a minute or so when there was nothing left to grind away.

I didn’t call the police, and they came the next day. I denied ever even seeing the phone. They told me: “Look, that phone had a GPS, we know it was here”, and I denied everything again, because seriously, what was I supposed to say to them?

They came back with a search warrant and found phone-dust in my sink. That was actually the first place they looked, which I guess means that this kind of thing happens a lot.

Well, not the “Crazy man texts dead man’s mother and makes her think he’s still alive” kind of thing. I mean that the sink disposal method must have been wholly unoriginal.

Anyway, it took a lawyer sitting down with me and explaining the situation before I was able to own up to it. There were two months of proceedings, and I ended up with just a $5,000 fine — getting off easy, the lawyer said.

The man’s mother did show up to the court, though. And good god do I still think about her scour.

  • Locked thread