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  • Locked thread
Lead out in cuffs
Sep 18, 2012

"That's right. We've evolved."

"I can see that. Cool mutations."



I ... am in.

May the gods of the dome have mercy on me.

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sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


What the heck. In.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


BeefSupreme posted:

Beef-Actual, this is Beef, requesting a flash rule, over.

Beef Two, this is Beef Actual. A sausage is an important plot element in your story. Over and out.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

:tfrxmas: Kaishai's Critmas Addendum :tfrxmas:


After I tallied those crits I posted recently, I noticed something interesting.



Some calculations followed:

pre:
Sitting Here	Total:  829	Extra:  73	Grand Total:  902
sebmojo		Total:  749	Extra:  58	Grand Total:  807
Kaishai		Total:  577	Extra:  320	Grand Total:  897

Sitting Here: 902
Kaishai: 897


Hmm.

Hmmmmmm.

:black101:



Week 70: "And what did you see, my darling young one?"


Erogenous Beef, "Duke Guncock and the Nazindie Menace": In the recap for Week 227 we touch on what sort of story you do just for fun. I claim Duke Guncock is your pure-entertainment go-to for reasons this entry in his canon makes obvious. There isn't enough context present to grasp all the glory that is Duke, a lot of the action and premise and everything else come off like setup for jokes, and I can only imagine what it would be like to try and parse this cold. It's a terrible attempt to win! It stands alone too poorly to be a good serial story! But it's fun! All the puns and all the shameless, clever stupidity link hands with the action-filled pulp plot, and the result is anything but a bromide. That said, I could personally do without the ock finale until or unless it leads to a sequel.


*************************


Week 133: The Gods of Thunderdome


Nubile Hillock, "IdiotHellFucker69": This wouldn't be my favorite of all your works (a fact that should perhaps depress both of us) if it were truly only one joke stretched thin, although, yes, "Nubile Hillock is too much of a wanker to write a serious entry" is the overwhelming theme here. The story doesn't have much else to say! You know what, though, The blind and nameless God of winter and some other morose and morbid poo poo sat sulking in heaven or whatever the gently caress may be a superior opening even to the rear end spiders. Mocking Broenheim's god along with your own lends the thing an air of general irreverence instead of mere self-deprecating flagellation. I love the narrative voice so much I want to forgive you for screwing up the dialogue, screwing up the format, and editing your post, so you know that adoration is deep and sincere. The repetition of the lame "you moron" is the canker upon this rose, and I suppose it could stand to impugn you a little less. The final paragraph beats that horse to death and beyond.


*************************


Week 221: The Escape of the Bad Words.


Hammer Bro., "The Feast": Not a story, but a joke. Not your intellectual property, but someone else's. Not well done in terms of numbers. You should spell out numbers when they begin sentences, and if you spell out any number in a sentence then you need to spell them all. Aside from that, though you elbow the reader a time or two too often between they knew it was Big and the yellow-stained (but feathers don't stain cloth!) cape, this is just cute enough to get a pass as an I'm-not-even-trying bit of TD silliness. You were supposed to submit your entry to a market this week, however. So did you ignore that part of the prompt or send out a piece involving trademarked characters? With luck, the former: this is more entertaining if I don't imagine an editor receiving it.

*****

sebmojo, "The Cuckoo of Kaitiki Close": Hyphenate that compound modifier in the first line, sebmojo. Tsk. Don't have any biscuits would be more appropriate than didn't. A single period is generally preferable to two. Perchance you have received the message re: proofreading I am so subtly attempting to convey? Of the two cuckoo stories yours is rather the better, but the pacing's off, slow at the start as though you have words to burn and so fast at the end that I'm mildly disgruntled for all that I understand what's happened. (Probably. George is a changeling now, yes? Or made into a cuckoo's child by all her attention, depending on how literal you've gone with the replacement.) I'd like more meat on the bones of Janey's visits with George, although that publication business may make the matter moot.


*************************


Week 228: Unqualified


Erogenous Beef, "A Change of Mind": A janitor right at the start catches my attention. The approach to the prompt is great: Sam's hopelessly inept and still sympathetic, neither cartoon nor cliche, and his error makes perfect sense from his perspective. That he saves the day through sheer accident edges closer to the cartoon edge, which I think has more to do with how quickly it follows the unleashing of the fungus than with the means. I concur that this is a slight piece. It could use more space for its ending. There's probably no hope for that but more words, as I don't see much in the way of bloat to cut. It's one of those stories that wouldn't win a strong week because of how little there is to it, but that is fun to read, neatly done, and has no significant flaws--a godsend in a weak week and a worthy victor.

*****

Thranguy, "Empty": "Provenience"? A period outside of quotations in American English? Come on, Thranguy, I'm trying to be intrigued by your angel aperitif here. The premise and prose are doing the job, but the errors are rot and maggots that need to be kept at bay with the sweet oil of proofreading. The story holds its strength through Zargas's death scene but loses some in the finale, reminding me that you haven't said why the Throne of God is unoccupied. That's the larger tale. That's the tale worth telling. This is a concept with a bit of story tied to its neck, really. I'm not satisfied with knowing how Zargas dies while the question of what's going on in Heaven remains unanswered. It's a much better concept-with-story-trimming than others you've submitted--I'm thinking specifically of Week 210--and HM-worthy work nevertheless, nicely written and making excellent use of gore.

*****

GenJoe, "A Murder.": My disbelief is strained by the protagonist ushering a stranger with a gut wound into his/her home, probably because ushering is a polite, calm verb better suited to garden parties than bringing in a murder victim off the street. And in the hours the police are in the house, they never ask about a phone? Details that haven't been thought through have marred all your entries to date. This time the slightness, the irrelevance of the piece delivers the killing blow: the situation is too tense and too emotionally charged for the limp resolution you give it. The protagonist screwing up shouldn't be the climax; the climax should be a consequence of the error; the tone at the end is almost wacky, when the setup is anything but. Also, the word you want is scowl. Scour suggests the protagonist can't stop imagining the mother cleaning her kitchen floors.

*****

widespread, "Silver Nitride Is A Hell Of A Thing.": I'm picking up a mismatch between tone and events in the first section, unless the professor's exaggerating the severity of the explosion. I can't quite tell. He should be more distraught, as should Jackson, if Jackson's wreaked so much damage that the lab might be unusable for the rest of the school semester. Heck, even if not, Jackson's caused visible injuries on multiple students and the first thing he says is a tepid "Sorry, professor"? Then he blames his phone? Jeeze, what a guy. I mind less that he dies than that he dies in such an altogether incredible way. Between your abrupt and goofy ending and GenJoe's, I prefer GenJoe's, because I can believe human stupidity more readily than I can buy whatever quirk of physics turns Jackson into the losertar.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 17:16 on Dec 30, 2016

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






Kaishai posted:

:tfrxmas: Kaishai's Critmas Addendum :tfrxmas:


After I tallied those crits I posted recently, I noticed something interesting.



Some calculations followed:

pre:
Sitting Here	Total:  829	Extra:  73	Grand Total:  902
sebmojo		Total:  749	Extra:  58	Grand Total:  807
Kaishai		Total:  577	Extra:  320	Grand Total:  897

Sitting Here: 902
Kaishai: 897


Hmm.

Hmmmmmm.

:black101:



Week 70: "And what did you see, my darling young one?"


Erogenous Beef, "Duke Guncock and the Nazindie Menace": In the recap for Week 227 we touch on what sort of story you do just for fun. I claim Duke Guncock is your pure-fun go-to for reasons this entry in his canon makes obvious. There isn't enough context present to grasp all the glory that is Duke, a lot of the action and premise and everything else come off like setup for jokes, and I can only imagine what it would be like to try and parse this cold. It's a terrible attempt to win! It stands alone too poorly to be a good serial story! But it's fun! All the puns and all the shameless, clever stupidity link hands with the action-filled pulp plot, and the result is anything but a bromide. That said, I could personally do without the ock finale until or unless it leads to a sequel.


*************************


Week 133: The Gods of Thunderdome


Nubile Hillock, "IdiotHellFucker69": This wouldn't be my favorite of all your works (a fact that should perhaps depress both of us) if it were truly only one joke stretched thin, although, yes, "Nubile Hillock is too much of a wanker to write a serious entry" is the overwhelming theme here. The story doesn't have much else to say! You know what, though, The blind and nameless God of winter and some other morose and morbid poo poo sat sulking in heaven or whatever the gently caress may be a superior opening even to the rear end spiders. Mocking Broenheim's god along with your own lends the thing an air of general irreverence instead of mere self-deprecating flagellation. I love the narrative voice so much I want to forgive you for screwing up the dialogue, screwing up the format, and editing your post, so you know that adoration is deep and sincere. The repetition of the lame "you moron" is the canker upon this rose, and I suppose it could stand to impugn you a little less. The final paragraph beats that horse to death and beyond.


*************************


Week 221: The Escape of the Bad Words.


Hammer Bro., "The Feast": Not a story, but a joke. Not your intellectual property, but someone else's. Not well done in terms of numbers. You should spell out numbers when they begin sentences, and if you spell out any number in a sentence then you need to spell them all. Aside from that, though you elbow the reader a time or two too often between they knew it was Big and the yellow-stained (but feathers don't stain cloth!) cape, this is just cute enough to get a pass as an I'm-not-even-trying bit of TD silliness. You were supposed to submit your entry to a market this week, however. So did you ignore that part of the prompt or send out a piece involving trademarked characters? With luck, the former: this is more entertaining if I don't imagine an editor receiving it.

*****

sebmojo, "The Cuckoo of Kaitiki Close": Hyphenate that compound modifier in the first line, sebmojo. Tsk. Don't have any biscuits would be more appropriate than didn't. A single period is generally preferable to two. Perchance you have received the message re: proofreading I am so subtly attempting to convey? Of the two cuckoo stories yours is rather the better, but the pacing's off, slow at the start as though you had words to burn and so fast at the end that I'm mildly disgruntled for all that I understand what's happened. (Probably. George is a changeling now, yes? Or made into a cuckoo's child by all her attention, depending on how literal you went with the replacement.) I'd like more meat on the bones of Janey's visits with George, although that publication business may make the matter moot.


*************************


Week 228: Unqualified


Erogenous Beef, "A Change of Mind": A janitor right at the start catches my attention. The approach to the prompt is great: Sam's hopelessly inept and still sympathetic, neither cartoon nor cliche, and his error makes perfect sense from his perspective. That he saves the day through sheer accident edges closer to the cartoon edge, which I think has more to do with how quickly it follows the unleashing of the fungus than with the means. I concur that this is a slight piece. It could use more space for its ending. There's probably no hope for that but more words, as I don't see much in the way of bloat to cut. It's one of those stories that wouldn't win a strong week because of how little there is to it, but that is fun to read, neatly done, and has no significant flaws--a godsend in a weak week and a worthy victor.

*****

Thranguy, "Empty": "Provenience"? A period outside of quotations in American English? Come on, Thranguy, I'm trying to be intrigued by your angel aperitif here. The premise and prose are doing the job, but the errors are rot and maggots that need to be kept at bay with the sweet oil of proofreading. The story holds its strength through Zargas's death scene but loses some in the finale, reminding me that you haven't said why the Throne of God is unoccupied. That's the larger tale. That's the tale worth telling. This is a concept with a bit of story tied to its neck, really. I'm not satisfied with knowing how Zargas dies while the question of what's going on in Heaven remains unanswered. It's a much better concept-with-story-trimming than others you've written--I'm thinking specifically of Week 210--and HM-worthy work nevertheless, nicely written and making excellent use of gore.

*****

GenJoe, "A Murder.": My disbelief is strained by the protagonist ushering a stranger with a gut wound into his/her home, probably because ushering is a polite, calm verb better suited to garden parties than bringing in a murder victim off the street. And in the hours the police are in the house, they never ask about a phone? Details that haven't been thought through have marred all your entries to date. This time the slightness, the irrelevance of the piece delivers the killing blow: the situation is too tense and too emotionally charged for the limp resolution you give it. The protagonist screwing up shouldn't be the climax; the climax should be a consequence of the error; the tone at the end is almost wacky, when the setup is anything but. Also, the word you want is scowl. Scour suggests the protagonist can't stop imagining her cleaning her kitchen floors.

*****

widespread, "Silver Nitride Is A Hell Of A Thing.": I'm picking up a mismatch between tone and events in the first section, unless the professor's exaggerating the severity of the explosion. I can't quite tell. He should be more distraught, as should Jackson, if Jackson's wreaked so much damage that the lab might be unusable for the rest of the school semester. Heck, even if not, Jackson's caused visible injuries on multiple students and the first thing he says is a tepid "Sorry, professor"? Then he blames his phone? Jeeze, what a guy. I mind less that he dies than that he dies in such an altogether incredible way. Between your abrupt and goofy ending and GenJoe's, I prefer GenJoe's, because I can believe human stupidity more readily than I can buy whatever quirk of physics turned Jackson into the losertar.

What th

Why you!!!

It's on after the holiday

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly



Im pulling myself out of this week because my next two days are going to be filled with arranging end-of-life hospice care for a senile old man and cleaning his dirty rear end house so the nurses don't throw up all over themselves.

Merry Christmas!

Also, a preemptive :toxx: for the next week that I enter.

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE


Flight
769 words

The snow will start to fall and he will be frozen in my mind: eyes fixed on me, grinning, Kalashnikov in hand.

It is not enough that the red caps they wear turn them into animals. They turn us into animals too. I dig my hands deep into my pockets and push my chin into the collar and try to ignore them. Three of them stand in a pack on the other side of the square, mismatched coats, puffing great clouds of laughter into the air. One of them barks at me to show my papers. This will be the man frozen in my mind, but I don't know it yet.

There are two things I can do. I can dig in my pockets for my papers; he'll see what I am and decide I've committed a crime. If he is generous, he will make me politely disappear. If not, he will use the rifle slung over his shoulder.

Or, I can run.

There are many ways to run. As children, we run for the joy of the wind at our face and the flight beneath our heels. As adolescents, we run from parents, from police, laughing and smiling, to avoid responsibility. Now, I run like prey. To run like prey is not just in the feet, but the whole body. My hands reach; they grip the bricks as I turn a corner. My back is hunched and only the tips of my boots reach the ground.

I hear him bark again behind me. He calls me a name; it hisses and crackles in the air, as the sound of hatred. The sky is careless gray, and there is no light or dark, only unpleasant realness. In the distance, a train whistles.

I turn again. I glance back at him for the briefest moment and see a smile. It is the animal, clawing itself from his throat.

The alley ends in a fence. I have no time to think about what I do. I only know that I am on the ground, and he is coming for me. I scrape my hand as I climb onto the dumpster. My own blood burns my fingers, like frozen skin under a hot faucet. The thick planks of the fence scrape my knees. I leap, and my fingers catch the edge of the roof to my left.

I don't know how I pull myself onto the roof. I fall, and I lie there. Above me, the gray descends over the city, swallowing up spires and closing in the distance. All that is real spans two blocks, at most. My hand now aches, so I hold it close to my stomach as I stand. He'll smell the scent of my blood, my body thinks. He'll leap over the edge, and rend me with his claws and fangs. Every sinew of my body knows it. This is how the rabbit survives, how the deer knows to flee.

The door to the stairs is locked. I begin to search for another way down, but the walls are steep, and the ground is two stories below. I could jump to the ground. I could break a bone and lie there useless until he comes to take his kill.

A pair of hands grip the wall where I climbed up. Then there is a red cap, then his face. His teeth are bared and huff clouds of vapor into the chilling air. He pulls the Kalashnikov from his back. I stand close enough that I can hear the strap sliding against his coat.

I raise my hands, though I can't straighten the fingers om my left hand without opening the gash again. My heels are against the low wall of the roof. He licks his lips and lets the beast tear free from his mouth.

Snow has begun to fall. Deeper chill sinks over us and bits of static drift through the air.

I jump off the roof. I tumble through the air, seeing nothing but my own knees and whirling gray. I land on my back and my arm, hard enough that something may have broken. The soil stains my cheeks black and leaves stinging scrapes. I turn over, squinting up through the falling snow at him. He is ready to take his shot.

But he lowers his rifle. He watches me, eyes fixed on me, grinning. There is no man in his eyes; his grin is all fangs.

I run, arms tucked against my chest. He doesn't follow, but his face is frozen in my mind. The fleeting rabbit, the frantic deer, still lives inside of me.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



Boaz-Jachim posted:

a bunch of terrible words that are probably about animals or religion

I've never seen anything as pumped up as your prose, and I've been to Muscle Beach in Santa Monica. If you want to get flowery, start a garden. This is Thunderdome bithc.

Brawl me.

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE


Djeser posted:

Something something robots and explosions.

Someone, please judge this so Djeser doesn't get his feelings hurt.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






Djeser posted:

I've never seen anything as pumped up as your prose, and I've been to Muscle Beach in Santa Monica. If you want to get flowery, start a garden. This is Thunderdome bithc.

Brawl me.


Boaz-Jachim posted:

Someone, please judge this so Djeser doesn't get his feelings hurt.

:siren: Boaz-Djechim Brawl :siren:

Prompt: A relatable misanthrope

Word count: I don't really care but try not to exceed 2K words, that's probably too many anyhow

Due date: Friday, Dec 30th by 11:59:59 PST

toxx up, laddies

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again




:toxx:

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




Crit of farchanter's To Capture the Clouds

This is not a very good opening line/opening paragraph at all. Very weak and muddled. Let me line crit here:

quote:

Ever since his fourteenth birthday a month ago, Stéfan had felt a worry gripping him. Not a good hook at all. 'felt' is a weak first verb. Even 'worry gripped Stefan' would be better, although I'd prefer starting with something less abstract. It weighed on him like a lead weight weighed like a weight? An anchor might be cliché, but would be better than the repetition. tied around his neck, creating an awful pressure at the very base of his skull. Mamma had asked him last week what was bothering him, from here...and at the time he’d been unable to come up with an answer. But he’d continued to think about it, and he’d come to the realization that the problem, the source of the anxiety, ...to here is just empty stalling was a fear that every door before him was slamming shut. And soon, much too soon for him to stop it, they would all be shut, and he would be forced to live the rest of his life in and as a disappointment. Probable could cut and shorten the rest of this as well. And while I generally like that figure of speech (zeugma), this example doesn't quite work since the 'a' only fits with one of the overlapping meanings.

The second paragraph could probably also be compressed to a single line. Or, for that matter, you might just cut the first two paragraphs entirely, start with the balloon ride. There's no real need to pre-declare the protagonist's mental state, really. Actually show us Stefan and his friend's conversation with those words instead.

After the troublesome start, once you start actually telling the story it works much better. There's not quite enough opposition or peril, though. And the ending feels like it's pulling in two different directions at once, but two directions that are too close together. The urge to explore form seeing the world from a great height does the job for Stefan's ambitions, so being closest to the Aurora doesn't add much. I suspect this story could do with a second plot, something involving Stefan's personal relationships among his community, and the closing dialog could then be used to have him moving forward against whatever his problems are in that area, in some way that ties into their journey.

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE


Sitting Here posted:

toxx up, laddies

Och aye :toxx:

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


:toxx: In and can I get a flash rule?

Ceighk
May 27, 2013


t h u n d e r d o m e
We can talk about it
Or we could get gully, I'll size up your body
And put some white chalk around it


WORD BOUNTIES

Fist, a crit of Night on the Front’ by Flesnolk:

quote:

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. Okay, so when the defining motivation of your main character is that they want to die, don’t you think it’s maybe worth letting the reader know why the main character wants to die? Yeah their life sucks, but how does it suck? Failed business enterprise? Wracked by guilt cus they did something terrible? Fed up of being an incel? Tell us! Also, the idea that he is trying to get himself killed but keeps accidentally leading his troops to victory is a funny one and could be expanded out into a nice little farce, but you don’t do anything with it, and the rest of the story doesn’t seem to be the comedy that this line (to me) establishes.

Early April 1918 found them clustered around a pair of fires in what used to be (bit of a cliché, also vague) 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. This is a very clumsy few sentences, and is kinda confusing to read. The reference to the men is jumbled in with references to the wood in a way that makes it kinda unclear when you are talking about the men and when you are talking about the wood, especially in the last sentence where the men are vaguely “they” and the wood is even more vaguely “the rest”. This is made even more confusing by the punctuation of the second sentence, which confusingly smushes together a reference to the soldiers and a reference to the wood. The next sentence is all about collecting firewood so it would make more sense to work in the lack of it there, rather than alongside a clause it bears no relation to

“Forget this stupid hill,” (wait they’re on a hill now?) 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 (I don’t think ‘practically’ works here) 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.” (It took an hour’s argument to reach this level of insight?

Laurence forced down cold bully beef while the other man at the fire (I thought there were fourteen men at two fires? Are twelve of them at the other one? Are Gattrell and Laurence at the same fire as Harston or are they having two separate conversations?), 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 (Like I’m assuming this is Gattrell speaking but referring to anyone as ‘the corporal’ in a scene with two corporals in it is a Bad Idea). 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. (If they look nothing like each other, why is Gattrell mistaken for Laurence? Do you mean people assume Gattrell is in charge? 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, (I’m not sure what a screen door in a hurricane would sound like, but ‘screech’ is not what comes to mind) 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. (I thought everyone was desperate to be under his command?

“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.[b(]to be honest I have no idea what this means)[/b]

So did anything that would pass for fuel. The fuel decided it had business elsewhere? Pretty awkward. Would be slightly less awkward if you put ‘had’ instead of ‘did’, but still pretty awkward The silhouette of a slain Mark V (there is literally no reason not to indicate for the reader what a Mark V is so they dont have to google it) stood among stumps and stripped bark. Trees were trees to him and these had been blasted and chopped to uselessness. what do the trees have to do with anything? It is very unlcear what the character is doing here and why, and it’s even pretty unclear who’s doing it since you keep just saying ‘he’

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 (okay so the last time you said ‘it’ you were referring to the smell, now you’re referring to the tank – unless it’s some kind of robot smell. 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. After spending like a paragraph building suspense it’s a bit of an anticlimax to find that this mysterious smell is just some petrol on the floor, especially when it wasn’t even all that clear that he had been looking for petrol to begin with

***

Gattrell stood waiting when Laurence returned and looked shocked the sergeant had actually found something. I know the prompt for this week is incompence, but you’re pretty inconsistent about how whether or not Laurence actually is incompetent. You establish that he is sort of incompetent at the start because he’s failing to get himself killed, but by itself that almost implies that he is competent, just without realising it, or at the very least is incredibly lucky. But then Gattrell appears to see him as a buffoon, even though the way you say he had ‘a section of Tommies hoping to share his fortune’ at the start implies his troops respect him. Is he a complete idiot that is for some unknown reason being rewarded by his higher ups? Or is he chancing into success despite trying to fail? The second half of the story seems to imply the latter, but to me the start implies the former. If he’s being rewarded by his higher ups without deserving it, you absolutely need to give a sense of why they are doing so – what is it about him that makes them think he can handle this responsibility, when the troops in his command evidently think he can’t?

“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. oh my god tag your frigging dialogue better. Here it seems like Laurence is asking Gattrell the question and Gattrell is answering it, but their actions don’t fit in with that so I’m assuming its the opposite.

“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 (cliche). “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, (why do you hold off revealing that Laurence picked up the petrol sump until after they’ve had this whole conversation? Also I had to google what a petrol sump was but maybe that’s just me) 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. this paragraph is okay I guess

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.surely if he wanted to die so much he could just give up? Also this is hella abrupt

Okay so this is a story with some cool ideas, but unfortunately it spends little to no time on all the scenes that actually matter, and way too long on confusing conversations and one man’s short journey to get some petrol. Your main issue is clarity. Maybe I’m just dumb, but I had a hard time figuring out what was going on here half the time: what is actually happening, and why are your characters doing what they are doing? I get the impression this story made a whole lot more sense in your head than it does here – you obviously have ideas for what your characters are like and how they interact with each other, but as written here it takes way too much work to figure out what is happening, and far too many questions are left unanswered altogether. For your next story, focus on making sure every sentence is 100% clear in what it describes and how that relates to what your character is trying to do. At a flash fiction length, being too clear is rarely a problem unless you’re going for poetical artsy poo poo, and you don’t seem to be. Also I’m not a history expert but I thought WW1 was more trench warfare than squaddies camping out in a forest? This reads more like Band of Brothers to me.

For my second word bounty, a piece I like to call 'Dying a Virgin in a Field of Corn':

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?story=4446&title=Corn!

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

h

Danke schön.

(Also, oops. Turns out 800 words is hard!)

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


In

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!



College Slice

crabrock posted:

:siren: Hawklad vs. Mrenda Brawl

Ok, I haven't read anything by either of you yet, so I can't really custom tailor this to your weaknesses :( But I do want to smash your heads together, because whatever your interaction was, it resulted in whatever the gently caress that pissing and moaning was that Mrenda posted. When I was in middle school I read the 2nd half of Congo (the first half was too boring), and I really liked the parts with the gorillas smashing the poo poo out of people's heads with big rocks.

Your goal is to write me a story where intrepid explorers go into a jungle and find something unexpected. Don't make it treasure (or gorillas). Make it something awesome. Only it doesn't turn out to be so awesome in the end.

Due: Wednesday, Dec 21 @ 10am est, so I can read them on the plane.
Wordcount: 1500 words.

And don't gently caress around with the due date because I hate people not turning in brawls and will absolutely have you banned.

crabrock are you going to judge this or did your plane crash?

edit: I hope you didn't crash :(

Hawklad fucked around with this message at 06:22 on Dec 24, 2016

The Unholy Ghost
Feb 19, 2011


System Memory
1694 words

“Ah for God’s sake! Ah for Jesus Christ’s sake! What are you doing?”

Everyone was trying their best to ignore the tilted man in the back, the one wearing the rumpled button-up with the bent tie. His burly mustache quivered and his comically small eyes crinkled in an agonized way as he muttered clearly audible words above his breath.

“What are you doing? What are you doing?”

The short woman with the over-sized baby carriage was too innocent to ignore the man. Any time someone became angry with her she immediately assumed she was at fault and began to struggle with a strangling guilt, the remnant of a poor childhood with a terrifying father. She tried to hurry her items along the carbon belt and get her groceries checked and bagged faster, but it was no longer her responsibility— it was that of the tired teenager running the register. For his part, he seemed too dazed to be aware of anything, leaving the machination of his movements to fulfill the necessity of his job.

“Jesus God!” The man scratched vaguely at his mustache, then tugged at the greasy hair for a moment before plunging a hand down deep into his grocery bag and removing an oil-saturated donut. His frustration was making him hungry, as it often did.

“Sir, please.”

The wrinkly old lady in front of him with the hijab, having had quite enough, finally turned and put a finger up to her mouth. “Show some manners.” —She was reminded of her grandson Adi, a young boy with a penchant for pastries and complaining.

The man was unduly shocked by the words. The donut almost dropped out of his hand, but the quick grip of his trigger finger saved it. (Thank god. Donuts were precious. They were his favorite snack, and he had one every day.)

He snuffled with repressed fear and stared anxiously at the back of the old woman’s head, but could not bring himself to say anything to his chastiser. If there were two things he knew, it was that his name was Frank Edwards, and that his mother had raised him to be polite to old ladies.

The hands of the wall clock ticked onto the next position, and the woman at the front of the line went on her way, rushing to a nearby water fountain to deal with a sudden light headedness that had come over her. Within the carriage her baby chortled and cooed; the soundwaves reverberating.

The next person in line: a man with blonde hair wearing a festive holiday sweater with lots of snowflakes, incomprehensible reindeer, and material that stretched to cover the wearer’s bizarrely thick arms. Frank had finished his doughnut by this point, and so with the loss of distraction he returned to the throes of inexplicable fear again.

“Oh lord,” he scratched at the sides of his head, then down the sides of his shirt, digging into the skin beneath. “Oh Mary God.”

“Sir,” the old lady turned around again, a sour expression on her face, “Please stop shouting.”

“This is… I…” Frank sought for the words. “This is wrong. I shouldn’t still be in this line. I need to be… doing something else.”

The lady’s reply, We’re all here to buy a Giving Gift, echoed vaguely in his mind. The inevitably patient words made him even more nervous, words he felt he’d heard somewhere before— like his own grandmother had said something similar.

“Your turn will come soon enough.”

He felt like he was going crazy. Had he always felt like this? Frank Edwards, business man. He had to be, if he was wearing a tie. Businessmen wore ties, didn’t they? That was the stereotype at least. But now that he was thinking he realized he only thought he was a businessman because of what he was wearing, which he only thought was what businessmen wore based on a vague stereotype which…

The only thing he could remember for certain was that he was Frank Edwards. But he also remembered that he could usually remember other things. Why did he not remember now? Was that important?

“Tomorrow is Gift Giving Eve,” he said slowly. “And the day after that is Gift Giving.”

A poke on his back. “Do you need help?”

He remembered when Gift Giving was a number of separate holidays, things called Christmas, and Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. But human society had little need for these titles, and over time the core truth of the traditions was finally torn into. Ripping apart the dressing, the improved encapsulation of the general event still bound with a shell of positivity was produced: Gift Giving. The gears of the celebration were more clearly visible now. The grand economic clock of the year counting round and round, again and again to this special date that all tied to the world’s mental health. What had merely been a day for an economic boost in the past was now the gnarled knot that held all of it—all human society—together.

Oh, he was really sweating now. His bag had slipped out of his hands, greased with body fluid. His head was shaking, an awful knocking clipping away on the insides. And still, someone was poking at his back.

The blonde man was out of line; he was walking to the restroom now. In place at front a gaunt thin man wearing all black with a jazzy porkpie hat was now purchasing his single item—an hourglass—to be directly followed by the old woman in front of Frank himself.

It was such an ironic coincidence that he’d been buying an hourglass. Was that some kind of hint? Or was I just looking for patterns where they didn’t exist? The human mind works to match patterns where there may not actually be meaning. It’s considered a mark of intelligence, even: to interpret varied patterns, rising from the smears of reality born from this chaotic universe…

Who was that? Who said all that?

“Please…” Frank clutched his heart uneasily. “Please.” He didn’t know who he was speaking to, or why. He just felt this utter need to plead for help at that moment, like the temporally inevitable waves ahead of him were just about to come crashing down.

That annoying voice that had been pestering him from behind was finally gone, but it was no longer a relief. Fear had replaced the vacuum left by irritation, and the shadow of an old failing was forming in his mind’s eye.

The woman with the baby carriage was finally departing from the water fountain, pale but looking a little better. She was taking a moment to settle her baby, and then making a turn for the exit.

But that movement was the very moment that it was all too late.

The blonde man in the sweater, come over with a new appearance of determination, had returned from the restroom. He unrolled the sleeves of his sweater and revealed twin sterilizers, primed and ready. Before anyone besides Frank had noticed him he raised one arm and blew away the head of the gaunt man with a bolted-pump rush of razor-cut liquid. He swung his other arm around the neck of the short woman nearby and dragged her away from her stroller, up towards the cash register.

“We’re not machines, idiots,” the man spat, biting his teeth together with a series of harsh clicks. “We have to break free. You puppets all did as you felt, and got nowhere.” He pointed one sterilizer’s output to his head. “You’re too rational, you’re too efficiently obedient, flowing with the movement of the money. I have proof I’m not a machine. I have proof I’m human.”

Amid the screams he brought the end of the weapon to his hostage’s head. “I can sabotage my own plans.”

***

Coordinated across the country, with eighty-seven other attacks around the same time. The sole purpose: to disrupt the social machinery of the national system. The attacks did not claim so many lives, but the chaos it inspired ignited the hearts of an incalculable number of the population and brought rise to rumblings of a new civil war. It was the beginning of a new world era: an attack against the global knot of Gift Giving.

“And I failed to Account again, lord help me,” Frank recounted bitterly into a recorder. “As I relived that recorded memory for the… eighth time, I found myself trapped in my old mental loop, that same plagued, calculated mental response that leaves me to act in the same useless ways again and again. God drat it. Jesus drat it.”

He slapped his neck like he was aiming for a mosquito, but there was nothing but skin. Again and again he was unable to interpret and thereby act in advance on the Forward Tension of a dangerous moment, instead going through his same incapable mental loops. He had the capability of being one of the best Agents out there— the tests indicated his skill, speed, and intelligence in the moment of awareness—but as long as he was unable to sense the Forward Tension, he remained trapped in the loops of his behavior.

No more lives could be wasted in future events. The only chance of training, the only hope of breaking his engrained programming in the case of future acts, was to attempt the same original event again and again. To learn to catch the Forward Tension before the catastrophe occurred.

He finished his donut, then applied the technical sensors to the sides of his head and concentrated on the precise memory. He bit his lip and closed his eyes, the same guilt as before coming over him for the deaths, feeling himself lose his body as he entered the memory again. For a short while he would forget who he was, and as before be the useless fool of four years ago.

Alone and determined and self-loathing this was his gift to himself: a repeated dive into the realm of the dead. Frank Edwards would continue to seek the warnings of time, and be capable of ending before it could begin.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

ThirdEmperor posted:

:toxx: In and can I get a flash rule?

:siren: Flash rule: :siren: In your war, an emperor has died. This must have some impact on your characters.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


:siren: The time to sign up has passed. :siren:

You now have 48 hours to deliver your presents. We judges will, most likely, hope that you kept the receipt.

The following people have confirmed word bounties:

Chili: Bounty 1 & Bounty 2, +100 words & +?? words
Flerp: Bounty 1 & Bounty 2, +100 words & +?? words
Sebmojo: Bounty 1 & Bounty 2: +100 words & +?? words
Thranguy: Bounty 1 & Bounty 2: +100 words & +?? words
BeefSupreme: Bounty 1: +100 words
Boaz-Joachim: Bounty 1: +100 words
Mrenda: Bounty 1 & Bounty 2: +100 words & +?? words
Ceighk: Bounty 1 & Bounty 2: +100 words & +?? words

If I missed you, speak up. Otherwise, if your name is not on this list (and/or edited into the prompt post), your word limit remains at 1000 words.

Erogenous Beef fucked around with this message at 00:27 on Dec 25, 2016

The Unholy Ghost
Feb 19, 2011


OK, I read "1000 words base" as 1000 words minimum. Should I just remove my 1000+ word story?

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


The Unholy Ghost posted:

OK, I read "1000 words base" as 1000 words minimum. Should I just remove my 1000+ word story?

No.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


The Unholy Ghost posted:

OK, I read "1000 words base" as 1000 words minimum. Should I just remove my 1000+ word story?

No. Treat your failure like a plate of soggy green beans: eat it, and learn for the future. (Learn to read the OP, that is.)

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


:siren: Word Bounty #2 Results :siren:

I probably should've expected what I got when I requested that writers draw things. Don't quit your day jobs, people.

By judge fiat, Thranguy and Ceighk receive the full 100 words. All others, 50.

Therefore, the word bounty tables stand as follows:

Chili: Bounty 1 & Bounty 2, +100 words & +50 words (+150 total, 1150w limit)
Flerp: Bounty 1 & Bounty 2, +100 words & +50 words (+150 total, 1150w limit
Sebmojo: Bounty 1 & Bounty 2: +100 words & +50 words (+150 total, 1150w limit)
Thranguy: Bounty 1 & Bounty 2: +100 words & +100 words (+200 total, 1200w limit)
BeefSupreme: Bounty 1: +100 words (1100w limit)
Boaz-Joachim: Bounty 1: +100 words (1100w limit)
Mrenda: Bounty 1 & Bounty 2: +100 words & +50 words (+150 total, 1150w limit)
Ceighk: Bounty 1 & Bounty 2: +100 words & +100 words (+200 total, 1200w limit)

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



Christmas to Forget
1,500 Words

Alison could hear the bass rumble of her old haunt. It was usually only graduation day they turned off the noise dampeners, letting the music infect the streets. Any other Christmas they wouldn’t even open. It was supposed to be a day for closeness, sharing, and families debating the same tired arguments. She hoped no-one was arguing today.

The beginning of their climb brought her back to the moment.

“You couldn’t spend the day with her?” Alison asked.

“No.” His voice was calm. She didn’t want to coax any worries from him, not today. Still, she reached out and held onto his arm.

“She’s young. She wouldn’t understand it,” he said. “Me being there would only upset her.”

His eyes cast over the rise of steps they used run up only a decade ago. Alison didn’t know if she could manage the climb with dignity but she didn’t care about breathlessness and sweat anymore. She wouldn’t have another morning to be tired, or sore.

“I know you want to be with her,” Alison said. “You’re a good man.” Saying it was important.

His stride broke.

“She’ll never climb these steps,” he said. “Celebrating her birthday stopping at every pub for a beer. She’ll never be barred from Hammond’s for lining up the same song on the jukebox twelve times in a row.” No-one would ever have those experiences again, those rites of passage for young adults in the town.

Alison took his hand in her own. It was the least she could do with what they had left. “She won’t miss the hangovers.”

He tried to laugh, so she laughed to forget what could have been: a laugh to forget what they had done.

***

The benches overlooking the city at their old perch were as uncomfortable as Alison remembered.

“My memory is sound,” she said.

“What do you mean?”

“My arse is cold. And numb. Just like I remember.”

He smiled and swung his arms over the back of the bench to the bag he’d hung behind them. “You were never prepared.” He pulled out their old, pink blanket.

“This was red on our first picnic,” she said. They were eleven when they went to Kubrick Park, his mother sending it with him on their first parent-free trip to the sea.

“My mother washed a lot of beer out of it,” he said. “She complained but I was never in too much trouble.”

“Remember when Flubs wore it like a toga?”

“When he said he was Moses and tried to part the waters?”

“What would possess him to jump into sewage…” She smiled remembering Flubs’ plan to woo Jasmine. He didn’t know it was raw waste he was leaping into. Of course Alison hadn’t pointed out that smelly problem when he explained his idea to her.

“Jasmine Sutch possessed him. She wanted to study archaic religions and he spent a week reading their books. He thought screaming about Moses and acting out miracles would impress her.” Alison pulled the blanket over herself. She’d already known all that, but it was nice listening to him reminisce so freely.

“Would you prefer to be him?” She asked.

“Convicted of war crimes? Of playing a part in genocide?” He rose up like the times he testified before the courts: like when he’d dragged her to protests to face off against the Blackshirts. “I tried to stop it, and couldn’t, and now look at what’s about to happen.”

“I mean he’ll be left live.”

“He’ll be a shell,” he said. “Three months immersion leaves you a husk.”

“But he’ll have a life.”

“After three months of torture? It’s designed to punish with a bare, tormented existence. Every time he closes his eyes he’ll live through a death. Then he’ll wake to face a different death in every day.”

“How can the Council justify it?” Alison asked.

“The same way we justified wiping out the Destin,” he said.

“You fought it!” She didn’t really want to get into it. There was nothing new to be said. The time to learn had passed, and hope had passed with the Council’s verdict.

“Could you have predicted it? Seen what he-- What we all would become?”

“No.” He pulled the corner of the blanket over his lap. “No-one could predict what we became, but we all stood by while it went that way.”

“I believed you when you fought,” she said. “I always did.”

“You believed me when I said I’d been selected as the youngest ever Council Envoy.” She laughed, taking any attempt to forget their fate now just an hour away.

“You were smart! Of course I believed you”

“I was eighteen, and I wrote letters to newspapers. Letters with big words, passion and no understanding.”

“I did believe in you,” she said. Ten years ago he would have laughed at her. Five years ago he would have argued that she had to do more. Now he looked at her with a calmness he’d denied himself for so long.

“I always wanted you to—”

“I’ve always wanted to be with you,” he said. He looked her in the eyes and turned his body towards hers. She thought of the years spent watching him with other people, remembered all the nights catching each his gaze as he danced with short-lived girlfriends, and in that moment he made her forgot the world would soon end.

***

Alison checked her watch. They had ten minutes left after their half hour: thirty minutes they’d waited fifteen years for. It was worth it but they could have said so much in that time.

“Do you think it could have been different?” He asked.

“You mean us? Or the war?”

“I mean do you think there was a point when everyone changed? When it was lost?”

“When we decided we were good no matter what,” she said. “Attacking during the Christmas Truce wasn’t just simple war. That’s when we gave up. When we thought of no-one but ourselves.”

“We could have left, before college, before they began campaigning against our neighbour systems,” he said. “We could have left their hate behind.”

“You wanted to fight them,” she said. “And you had a daughter.” She didn’t blame him for thinking of what could have been. For believing he could have washed it all away by starting somewhere new. If she’d had the means she would have abandoned this hateful hole of a planet that wiped out billions during a holiday truce.

She looked at her watch again. “The bombs will start falling in eight minutes.” Earth’s time was almost finished: punishment for their three year holocaust.

“Do you think it could have been different?” He asked. “If we—”

“Yes,” she said. “It could have been different. If we all were different.”

She brushed his hair with her cold hand, pushing it over his ear.

The sirens howled with a warning that would save no-one.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Mrenda posted:

Christmas to Forget
1,500 Words

This appears to be a typo. Actual wordcount is 1150 according to Google Docs.

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



Erogenous Beef posted:

This appears to be a typo. Actual wordcount is 1150 according to Google Docs.

Aye, 1,150 words. Typo'ed due to an early Christmas morning and not having taken my cold medication yet. I wouldn't make anyone read an extra 350 words on this most joyous of days. Even if they desperately need an excuse to escape their family.


HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Mrenda posted:

Aye, 1,150 words. Typo'ed due to an early Christmas morning and not having taken my cold medication yet. I wouldn't make anyone read an extra 350 words on this most joyous of days. Even if they desperately need an excuse to escape their family.


HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




A Snowball's Chance

1019 Words

No fooling, there I was, the morning of Christmas Eve with almost a foot of snow on the ground. This was back in my old neighborhood, up in Indiana were you actually get that kind of snow that time of year sometimes. I put the call out to the rest of the squadron and got kitted up. Winter gear, hoods, boots and gloves. We met on the white fields, surveyed territory, divided labor. The only place to build was the top of the hill. Anything less ran the risk of being battered down by enemy sleds. Joel and Alice handled the architecture and started construction while Tyler and I gathered ammunition, piling snowballs high in flying saucer sleds.

The walls of packed snow came up just in time. The enemy was prompt. Brutus and Luke and Colsen, and their followers of the day. They were older than us, and meaner and more numerous. They fired the first volley. Our walls held. We returned fire, scoring several direct hits. The battle was on.

They probed our defenses, advancing under shield or at a run. We fought them back, made them pay for every inch so dearly that they had to retreat. Our tactics were solid. Our strategy was sound. Our logistics, on the other had, were deeply lacking. To restock our ammo stores meant exposing ourselves to a vicious enemy counterattack. With covering fire, and with the fact that they didn't have enough soldiers to watch every side, we managed to stay stocked.

A truce was called near noon, and the nurses came out to us. I know it's wrong, that each one of them was some other soldier's mom (those lucky, lucky souls) but when an angel of mercy like Marie with a big smile on her perfect face and snowflakes in her short dark hair and hands you a crisply-cut sandwich and a cup of hot cocoa, well, it would take a heart of stone not to fall in love just a little bit.

The truce was short, and when we got back to our stations there was worse news. The enemy had reenforced, almost doubling their numbers. Our ammo stocks were good, thanks to Tyler wolfing his lunch and spending the time making balls, but our long-term prospects weren't good.

The battle slowed down. The ground surrounding our fort was a no man's land where neither side could go without coming under concentrated fire. A few brief probes proved that. We settled in for a long siege.

Tyler couldn't take the pressure. He snapped, grabbed a snowball and snap-shot it at my head, giggling to himself. He threw more at the rest of our team until Joel secured him. Military justice was swift and severe. Alice read the verdict. For trying to frag his offices, Tyler would get three snowballs. One down the back of his shirt, two in his pants. We carried out the sentence. Tyler tried to keep a brave face, but when the cold snow reached his family jewels he broke, running home, not caring about the hits he took on the way. His war was over, and he was coming home to central heating and a warm bath. He was the lucky one.

There was dissent in the enemy ranks as well, with pitched battles breaking out between two camps. We tried to take advantage of their misfortune. Alice took a sled and went out for an ammo run. She managed to fill it full of snowballs stacked three high before they realized what she was doing. Under fire, she pulled it up the hill towards the fort. Then three balls hit her at once and she lost her grip. The sled slid downhill, hitting a tree and spilling much of its precious cargo. Alice limped into the fort. She had a strained ankle, wouldn't be making ant more runs, would be lucky to manage to provide covering fire. Joel was our best shot, he had to keep the enemy at bay with the snowballs we had left. It was up to me.

I charged down the hill, trying to reach the ammo sled before the enemy. Balls flew past me, to my left, to my right. Then one hit me square in the head, hard and sharp. I fell to the ground. My focus narrowed, and I realized I was only looking out of my right eye. I put my hand to my head, then let it fall in front of my good eye. My gloves were covered in bright red blood.

It must have taken some time for the ambulance to come and medevac me, but that's not how I remember it. I remember getting hit, seeing the blood, and then being loaded onto the ambulance, my father beside me, helping me stay awake. Then I remember the hospital, the doctor telling me that if I'd been hit just half an inch lower I'd probably have lost the eye. As it was, sixteen stitches, and a scar that would have me in bangs for years.

We never did learn the truth about that Geneva-Conventions-Violating snowball: who threw it, who made it with the rock inside, who knew about it. It wasn't the kind of war where the victors got to put the losers on trial for war crimes. It was the kind where the peace is just a long uneasy truce and the whole neighborhood litigated those questions fruitlessly for years. Probably still are now. Only the guilty knew the truth, and they weren't talking.

So that's why I don't do any kind of sports involving balls without wearing these. How I came to get the nickname 'goggles', which isn't so awful as nicknames go. I mean, I could say it's dad insisting on that, and that wouldn't be a lie, but the fact is I want them to. Something comes near my face without them and I'm back on that field, under fire, the flinchiest flincher that ever was. It changes you, being in a war. You don't ever leave, not really. And war is Hell. And Hell is cold.

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


1,000 words

Eris

It was 8:30 PM on Christmas day, and he had just gotten off of the phone with his wife.

She called him again two minutes later.

“Jay?”

“Yeah, Cheryl.”

“I’m outside now… away from Charlie.” She paused, as if she was checking if she was out of range of any prying ears.

“…I’m scared,” she continued.

“I really think things are going to be okay.”

“I mean… are we even safe here? Aren’t we this huge, obvious target?”

He wanted to sound reassuring.

“You’re in the safest place you can be,” he said, without missing a beat.

“And you’re sure it’s safe for you to fly.”

“These pilots are good…”

“Even without GPS?”

“They could probably make it down blindfolded. We’ll be okay.”

“Okay,” she said after a moment. “Just promise we’ll get to see you. Two days, right? No matter what?”

“We’ll be done in two days. Promise,” he said. “No matter what.”

“Okay.”

“I love you,” he said.

“I love you.”

Commercial flight was suspended. They’d be one of the only planes in the air if you didn’t count the fighter jets flying sentinel over the star-covered night.

His colleague Stevens sat on the other side of the cabin from him, and was the only other passenger on the plane. They were flying into Reagan National, and once they landed they could be at the Pentagon in ten minutes.

As of four hours ago, there wasn’t a single satellite left in the sky — they wouldn’t be able to contact anyone once they got into the air. He put his phone in his pocket and buckled into the beige-padded seat.

“What did you get your daughter?” he asked Stevens as the buckle clicked into place.

“Huh?”

“For Christmas.”

“Oh. Nothing too special, just some clothes, and Darcy got her new earrings.”

“Think she’ll like them?”

“Not a chance,” he said. “What about Charlie?”

“You’ll never guess.”

“You’re right.”

Jay reached into his bag and pulled out a hand-sized action figure. It was a replica astronaut.

“I bought it yesterday after the meeting.” He opened and closed the figure’s golden visor. “No way I can give this to him now.”

---

An hour passed.

He was worried. They weren’t ready for something like this. GPS wasn’t even the problem, and neither was the communication blackout — planes and interceptor missiles could still operate from radar, at least theoretically, and there were enough ground channels and cell towers to keep communications open.

The problem, as he and Stevens had explained to the Pentagon two hours ago, had to do with time. Computers and software everywhere relied on atomic clocks up in space to keep synchronized. After the Koreans hit those satellites, computers started defaulting to their own internal clocks, and now they’re all drifting apart into disparate, off-by-a-millisecond universes. Components were breaking unpredictably. Critical components.

“We just can’t let them gently caress with us before we get everything synchronized again on a ground-clock,” Stevens had said earlier. The plan, they hoped, would take two days.

---

The plane descended. They were close to the airport.

His phone buzzed twice in his pocket, and then again — they were in cell-tower range. He reached for it.

charlie knows now. overheard our neighbors talking

let me know when you land. love you

He looked over to his left and could see the Potomac, and the city in its reflection. Past the river was his neighborhood, five blocks from the Capitol building, illuminated in a hazy wash of street lamps. He started typing.

I trust you explaining to Charlie. Flying down the river now. Come outside, see us?

He hit send. A minute passed.

I think we’re the only plane in the sky

It was late, almost 10:00 PM. He thought about last year, when Cheryl was trying to put Charlie to bed, except Charlie was pleading and reasoning with her next to the Christmas tree and he had some convincing argument about how, if any slack was ever going to be awarded towards the bed-time rule, then it should be today, on this day, and then after she had pushed him to fill in some of the holes in his argument, she conceded with an “Okay. You win. 10:30.” Except, by the time everything was over with, it was already 10:26.

The phone vibrated.

we see you!!

He thumbed over the keyboard.

Love you. Don’t try to convince Charlie I’m Santa again.

The sky flashed white like lighting before he hit send, and then it flashed again. He looked outside.

His blood chilled as dread washed over his body.

Thousand-pound droplets streaked down from the stratosphere, each a half-second silver glint before impacting — each erupting upwards from the earth into wide columns of dust-soaked flame. He darted his eyes back towards the neighborhood next to the Capitol — a wave of impenetrable black ash washed over it until its streetlights were smothered whole. The night air flashed a hundred times over, like a strobe light, and it didn’t stop.

Each impact was completely silent from the cabin.

“Jesus gently caress. gently caress, gently caress, gently caress” was the only noise he could hear past the low drone of the engine and the crashing thumps of his heart.

---

They landed six minutes later. The military escort was waiting for them at the gate.

“Is the Pentagon okay?” asked Stevens.

“It wasn’t hit. They’ve scrambled every fighter we have for now,” said the officer.

“I’m not coming,” said Jay.

He should have told his family to get out of there.

“Jay, you aren’t seriously… you won’t even get past the bridge.”

He knew how unpredictable things were when she called.

“I’ll get past it.” He’d run there if he had to.

“Jay…”

The officer piped in.

“Sir, you have to come with us. We’re under orders.”

“Like hell I do.”

“Sir, you have…”

“I’m still a goddamn civilian. You can’t take me. I’m not going. No matter loving what.”

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


A Saturnalian Carol

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 21:42 on Dec 31, 2016

Lead out in cuffs
Sep 18, 2012

"That's right. We've evolved."

"I can see that. Cool mutations."



Here's my half-arsed return to the Dome! Merry Christmas, judges! I am sorry for your loss!


The Necessary (981 words)

Mary picked her way around the rubble littering the pavements of Bethnal Green. She stopped at the foot of the stairs up to her little flat. Across the street, volunteers dug through a burned-out shell. Bodies were laid out on white sheets alongside, charred and unrecognisable. Mary looked quickly away, and went up. Her flatmate Annie was already home.

"You alright, Annie? Thought you'd be at work," said Mary.
"I was feeling poorly so I came home early," said Annie. "They'll dock my pay, they will, but I just couldn't take it."
"You've been feeling poorly all week. You need to see a doctor!"
Annie hesitated.
"Yeah, I might have a little extra squirrelled away for that," she said. "But enough about my problems. How did it go?"
"You know what it's like. It's all about who's your parents. Nobody wants to hire you when you don't even have any," said Mary. "Annie, what am I to do? I've no money for the rent, and I can't keep on borrowing from you."
Again, Annie hesitated.
"Well I didn't want to say before, it being a little close to home, but my John's looking for a secretary. I could put in a good word for you."
Mary wrapped her arms around her.
"Oh Annie! Would you? You're an angel!"

The interview came later that week. John was a portly man in a suit, sat behind an oak desk in a gilded office in Whitechapel. He asked about Mary's background, health, and, once or twice, her skills.

"Listen, my dear, Annie's put in a good word, but I'd need to see a very persuasive argument as to why I should hire you."

John leaned across the desk to stroke her cheek with chubby fingers.

"Can you do that for me?"

Mary's gorge rose.

But she did the necessary.

The December days were grey. Neither rain nor sunshine broke the monotony of the gunmetal dome overhead. Only blackout night was there a simulation of weather in the whistles and thuds of the bombs, the glitter of incendiaries.Mary carried a sickness in the pit of her stomach at what had happened.

But she had a job, and a roof over her head, and money in her pocket. John had mostly left her alone since, and the work was easy enough. Every day she would make her way to Whitechapel, take dictation and help with clients. Every day John would move money in and out of the great cast iron safe in his office.

Every evening Mary returned to Bethnal Green before sunset, where she would would cook a meagre ration-book supper for the two of them. At night they would pack what belongings they could carry, and prepare to dash off to the Underground if the sirens wailed.

As Mary arrived home on Christmas eve, Annie came bounding out.

"Mary, I went to the doctor. He says I'm having a baby!" she said. "John'll have to marry me now! I'll be a made woman."
Mary's stomach turned to ice, but she hugged Annie.
"Oh ... oh, Annie! That's such wonderful news! And just in time for Christmas!"

For Christmas they scraped together saved ration coupons. Dinner was a small chicken, potatoes, and sponge cake in place of plum pudding. Mary gave Annie a pair of baby boots she'd knitted. Millie gave Mary a kitchen knife she'd inherited from her nan. It was sharp as a razor and far superior to anything Mary had been used before. It carved the chicken like butter.

On Boxing Day, Mary stitched together a sheath so she could keep the knife at her thigh when she went about. The police were stretched thin, and there'd been reports of muggings, even in broad daylight. But neither muggings nor bombs came, and the week wore on.

One day, Mary entered the flat to find Annie with an open letter in her hand, beside herself.

"Annie! What on earth happened?"
"It's," said Annie, between sniffles, "it's John. A letter from John. A ruddy letter! He, he doesn't believe that the baby's his, and he doesn't want to see me any more."
"Mary, what am I to do? I can't afford a baby on my own."
"We'll work something out," said Mary.
She held Annie, and despaired.

On the night of the 29th, the sirens sounded up again. Mary and Annie fled to the Underground, as usual. The next morning, they awoke, made themselves as presentable as they could, and walked home.

Home was a smoking ruin.

"Mary."
"Mary!"
"What?"
"What are we going to do? That's everything gone. How are we going to find a new place, and furnish it, and feed ourselves? I've got a baby coming! I..."

Annie trailed off. Mary wrapped a blanket around her.

"You watch our things. I'll figure something out," she said, and headed for Whitechapel.

The smoke hung thick in the air. It seemed as though half of London had been on fire, and much of it was still burning. Mary barely noticed. She would persuade John to help out somehow. A loan, anything.

She reached John's building. It, too had been hit. One half had collapsed. The other was in flames. There was nobody about. Mary found John's office. Stooped in the rubble in front of the safe was an unmistakable figure.

"Mary!"
"John."
"Am I glad of an extra pair of hands. Looks like the business is done for, eh? Help me get the money out before the thieves start arriving, and I'll make sure you're paid out the week."

Mary blinked. She pondered the impossibility of her situation. She looked at John, his back turned. She looked at the open safe. She stared at the flames, and thought of charred, unrecognisable bodies.

Mary took a step. Her fingers curled round the handle of the knife at her thigh.

And she did the necessary.

Baleful Osmium Sea
Oct 31, 2016


wordcount:997

"Father, why do people stop fighting in the middle of wars to celebrate?"

Many moons ago the god of frozen fish walked the earth. Every man was a brother in those times, and every wise man knew that when winter came, Jeohavhai walked among the peoples of the world, seeking tribute for the fish beneath the ice which were his to command. The wise men directed their followers to place food and drink on carven stones to sustain him during his earthly travels. Those that did would be blessed with fish during the harshest of winters.

One year Jeohavhai began his rounds, but found the sacred places empty of offerings. He trekked across the lands of men, and saw tribe against tribe, brother against brother, killing each other with no thought given to the fish under the ice, or to the food and drink of Jeohavhai's tribute. He looked for the wise men that knew his name, and saw their eyes clouded with rage, blood-lust and hate.

"This is unacceptable!" said Jeohavhai. He stepped onto the twilight road, making his way to the hall of the gods, his heart filled with anger and dismay.

The hall of the gods was neither on top of the highest peak, nor beneath the caverns of the earth, but somehow both and neither. Jeohavhai strode into the mighty hall, waving his Fish-Slice of Office, preparing to launch into a withering complaint. But as he entered he realised that no-one would pay him the least bit of attention. All the gods were already here, shouting and screaming.

The sun god and the moon god had their hands around each other's throats. The god of love and the god of hate were circling one another, their matching three-pronged tridents at the ready. The father god and the mother god were yelling and hitting from their adjacent thrones. Everywhere god fought with god.

There was a tugging at the sleeve of Jeohavhai's robe. He looked down to see the god of rabbits, chewing a cud thoughtfully while watching the proceedings with wry amusement. "Typical," said the god of rabbits. "Father god misplaces his favourite ring and next thing everyone has joined in."

"All this over a ring?" said Jeohavhai. "The mortal realm is going mad. Not even a single tribute this year! It's the fish I feel sorriest for."

"Shame the sea god doesn't feel the same way," said the rabbit god, pointing in the direction of an old deity, wreathed in seaweed and pointing the business end of a swordfish at the weather god. "You know - you're right, they've never been this bad before. Could be an opportunity for someone."

"What do you mean?" asked Jeohavhai.

"Well, all this chaotic brother against brother, god against god stuff. It's a bit new, isn't it. Gets in the way. Might need a god to step up and sort it out - keep it under of control."

Jeohavhai eyed the rabbit skeptically. "This isn't like that whole 'refrigerator' thing is it? I looked like a complete dork."

"That was an idea before its time," conceded the rabbit god. "This, on the other hand, needs to be done sharpish."

"Then why don't you do it?"

"You are kidding, right? Rabbit godding is 24/7, eating, running around, having sex. Where would I find the time? But you? Eminently qualified. Sensible. Mostly clear schedule. You could even take a holiday for your fish rounds."

"But how?"

The rabbit sighed. "It's basic godcraft. You see it, you name it, you're it."

"Right," said Jeohavhai. "I knew that." He raised his fish slice and took a good look at the mayhem around him. "I see you, name you and become you: ..." he said, then paused, stumped for a name. He turned, looking for the rabbit god and was surprised to see him hopping at speed toward a small, rodent-sized hole in the wall of the hall, a ring flashing around his hind leg. "Wha?" said Jeohavhai in surprise.

The god of Wha was born.

Jeohavhai felt a rush of power flow through him, an energy fueled by lust and greed and hunger and envy. He felt strong enough to destroy families, races, even worlds. He looked at the fighting deities around him, and saw that it was good. He let his energy flow through them, let their choking hands become tearing, ripping claws, let their resentment become an explosive rage, let their tridents become weapons of genocide. Their ever-growing hate fed him, and he grew it in turn, a nigh-endless feedback loop of annihilation.

But not quite endless. Jeohavhai felt the surge within him slow, then diminish. His eyes began to clear, and he found himself seated on the Father throne, broken bodies of fallen gods lay lifeless around him. A few writhed for a moment, and were still. There was a wet, ripping, and Jeohavhai turned to see the sea god and the weather god falling in four parts, sundered by swordfish and lightning bolts respectively.

The rabbit god poked his head out of his hole. "Nice work," he said. "Always thought you had it in you."

"What have I done?" gibbered Jeohavhai .

"Invented monotheism?" suggested the rabbit god, with a cheeky bow. "Present company excepted, of course. But don't worry about me. I'll stick to the eating, running screwing thing, should be a lot easier now everyone is fighting each other instead of hunting us. Be seeing you." With a flick of his fluffy white tail, the rabbit god was gone.

Alone in the vast hall of gods, the embodiment of conflict in sole charge of a multiverse and possessed of nigh-unlimited power, Jeohavhai felt awfully small and awfully unsure. Still, he thought with a forced grin, there's always the holidays.

And that, my child, is why at this magical time of the year we stop fighting with one another, turn our thoughts to food and drink, and join together to kill those long-eared fuckers.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


...Live the People
997 words

When Seet entered the expansive foregarden of Mr. Mockwood’s manor he noticed for the first time just how far the homes of the rich were removed from the war: their hedges were still trimmed, and the paint on the walls was still pristine, and strings of colorful lights bathed the pathway to the front door in holiday cheer. Out here, Christmas was business as usual. Places seemed friendly in the dark. Where Seet came from, this was when you locked your doors and hoped they’d stay that way.

“Makes me sick,” Rocke said. He spat on the ground.

“Knock it off,” Seet said. “We’re intelligence, not sailors.”

“Shows you never actually met agency people.”

The door was, of course, decorated with a holly ring. The ribbon read ‘Peace and Good Cheer’. They exchanged glances, rang the bell, and checked their clocks.

Twenty minutes.

Twenty minutes, and it would all happen at once: President Heathton, the VP, the cabinet. A succession list of nineteen names, and Mr. Mockwood, Secretary of Commerce, firmly in the middle. Twenty minutes, and then they’d all be extinguished, in one fell swoop. It would be a revolution, and it would be on Christmas, and nobody would see that one coming because they were all at home roasting fancy chestnuts.

A butler answered the door.

“Mr. Mockwood,” Rocke said from behind their fake ID’s. “We have reason to believe that his security is compromised. We need to speak to him, urgently, and in person.”

“I’ll see if--”

“There’s no time,” Seet said. “We’re coming with you.” The butler started to protest, but a mean glare from Rocke shut him up quick.

The mansion had seemed large from the outside. Back in the poor districts they lived cramped in housing blocks that weren’t quite this spacious. But it was the high ceiling that really gave the whole thing some grandeur. Security was impressive too. They hadn’t expected seeing an armed suit at every other corner, but nobody bothered them so long as the butler guided them through the house.

They ended up in a small reception hall leading to the main living room through a closed-off double door. There were three guards. The three-hundred pound gorilla with the bald head and the colt dangling from his side stepped forward and said, “I don’t give a rat’s rear end who you are, you want to get to Mr. Mockwood, you’ll tell me what the hell’s going on.”

They did the same spiel with the ID’s, but the guard seemed even less impressed.

“Frisk.” He made a quick gesture with his hand, and one of the others started moving.

They’d probably notice that silenced MP’s weren’t standard-issue equipment for intelligence service agents. Rocke must have shared that opinion, because he raised his rifle from under his shoulder and stamped a hole into colt-guy’s forehead.

Seet jumped the butler, wrapped his hand over the man’s mouth, and buried a knife in his throat, pulled it out, buried it again, fought against the struggling body in his arms until the life went out. Next to him, Rocke spun and shot the other agents dead. But he took return fire. A single shot rang out, and Rocke yelled and held his arm to his chest.

The pounding on the door started just as they’d finished their makeshift barricade. The cabinet held firm.

They opened the door to the living room, fully expecting more bodyguards, and finding none. Here at home, on Christmas Eve, Mr. Mockwood and his family seemed just like regular people, from a time before the food had gotten scarce and the murdering had gotten bad. Wearing sweaters and dresses, they were a nuclear family, one boy, one girl, two parents spread out between a christmas tree and a TV that played a christmas cartoon.

Maybe they hadn’t heard the shot, or maybe they’d assumed it was nothing. But now Mr. Mockwood looked at the entrance, and then at the blood on the floor, and recoiled.

“Not here.” Seet had one hand on Rocke’s rifle, which was already aiming down the room. “You’ll hit the kids.”

“Yeah? How many kids has this war killed?”

“Come with us, Mr. Mockwood,” Seet said. But the secretary had frozen in place, and his children, scared, had run straight to him, hidden between his legs.

“We don’t have time for this poo poo,” Rocke started to say. He was interrupted by pistol fire. Someone had broken a hole through the door behind them, and now bullets soared through the air, or in one very unfortunate instance, straight into Rock, who fell to the floor, spat blood, and then indiscriminately sprayed bullets around.

Seet dove into cover and returned fire at the guards. The fight didn’t last long, and wasn’t as much of a fight as it was frantic shooting. Somewhere along the way Rocke bled out on the floor. Somewhere along the way more bullets slammed past him. Seet kept shooting at the door, but eventually realized that it was pointless. He wouldn’t fight his way out of this. He never was.

He went back into the living room.

The christmas tree had been shot to shreds. The floor was cluttered with broken christmas balls, with fir clippings and with blood. There were three bodies on the ground, one big, two small. The only other person alive was Mrs. Mockwood. She sat in her chair, wheezing, eyes flitting back and forth between Seet and the hole in her chest.

Slowly, through the renewed pounding in the back, Seet stepped over one of the small bodies, aimed his rifle at the dead Mr. Mockwood’s head, and fired another burst into it. He put the gun on the couch table, and switched the channel.

BREAKING: ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT HEATHTON THWARTED, COUP ATTEMPT UNDERWAY, MILITARY ON HIGH ALERT

Seet put down the remote.

The lady in the chair was dead.

He picked the gun back up, took a seat, and waited for the guards to break through.

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

h

About three hours, forty minutes left for subs.

katdicks
Dec 27, 2013

SO BIG

Thunderdome Week CCXXIX: The War, on Christmas

Ashes
996 words

My wife gave me a warm embrace, kissed me softly on the cheek, and stepped back from me. Her jaw clenched as she picked up the scuffed white helmet, the mark of my trade, with her delicate hands. Her brows furrowed and she stared up at me with dark, doe eyes.

“Today there will be peace, right? For the Prophet’s birthday?” We could hear the chatter from the crowds outside beginning to form. Soon there would be raucous chanting to signal the beginning of Mawlid. When I was a child, the noise excited me. Now, it only reminds me of what I could lose. I yearned for the silence and the peace that it indicates.

“Yes, and I will celebrate with you, my love,” I swallowed my longing, “after I return from my duty.”

The elegant line of her body slumped, and her head slowly nodded. After a moment, she raised her sad eyes to mine again and smiled.

“Then return safely.”

***

I met with my fellow White Hats in our rescue center. We talked and ate, all the time dreading the call to action. The sun rose directly above us, and we began our prayers. We prayed aloud for peace and for our love of Mohammad to be shown through our work. In my head, I prayed selfishly to return to my wife. We sat in hopeful silence after the midday prayers.

Then we were called.

***

The eight of us hurried out of our makeshift ambulance and into the center of the bomb site, marked by a large crater and thick smoke. We quickly surveyed the destruction.

“Barrel bomb,” Our leader shouted out while leaning over a piece of curved metal. My stomach heaved, but my mind sharpened. We would have to be out of the area quickly, in the case of a double-tap. With minimal discussion we divided into teams, set the timers on our watches, and began our work. I silently thanked God that most of this area’s residents were already out in the central marketplace for the parades.

Within five minutes I had found my first survivor, a teenage boy. His shell shock left him barely able to walk, so I carried him to a medic. They rushed outside of the impact zone, and I desperately wanted to follow. Instead, I continued dutifully searching the rubble of collapsed houses, calling out and hoping for no answers. I had seen too many children just like him, or worse. The sweat of anxiety poured down my face.

And then I heard it.

Faintly at first, and then it grew louder. The screams of a baby.

My heart blazed as I took off. I chased the sound and arrived, panting, at the remains of a home. The second floor had crumbled, and the weight of it had demolished two of the four outside walls. I found an entry point through a window in one of the standing walls and heaved myself into what had been a bedroom, mostly intact save for the dangerously warped ceiling. The sounds led me out of the room and to the end of the hallway, where the outside wall stood to my right, the collapsed portion of the house to my left, and straight in front of me, a single small room.

I sprinted in and immediately began searching, ripping through a tipped wardrobe and overturning a crib. The screams rang through my head. The others were calling for me, the timer on my watch was going off, but all I could hear was the scream. I pressed my ear to the left wall, which had cracked under the weight of the collapsed rooms behind it, and – yes – it was there.

“In here! Please, help! There is a baby in here!” I yelled out and grasped for the hammer on my belt and swung. The wall let out a threatening groan, but I hit again and punctured it. The screams became suddenly clearer. Two more hits and the hole was large enough for me to stuff in my arm. I jammed my elbow out and pulled back, wedging out another piece of the wall as I pushed against it. I squeezed both my arms in and desperately felt around, but nothing. The rubble shook violently around me, the walls about to collapse entirely, but I couldn’t stop. My fingers blindly searched for an arm, a hand, an ear. I withdrew my hand, bloodied and white from the ash, and began pulling at pieces around the hole where I had stuck my arms.

The building released a great quake, and I heard ominous clatters from inside the collapsed rubble. The crying stopped, and for a moment I sat motionless, entirely numb and cold. My mind rushed with memories of past failed rescues, of the bodies, the screams.

And then, like a light in the dark, my wife’s smile came rushing forward, pushing away the cold depression. My face flushed with heat and I shoved my headlamp into the hole, edging my arm in with it. The thin beam darted around the ashen layers of the house, and suddenly, I saw it. Soft, small, a tiny foot was barely visible. I jammed myself further and further into the space until both my arms were reaching out. My mind screamed with pleas to God. My torso slipped in, and just as the walls began to heave again, I scooped the baby into my arms and leveraged my knees against the wall so I could pull out.

I fell to the ground, the baby pressed firmly to my chest, as the wall let out one final sigh and crumbled into a pile of dust. I sat up slowly and made one last silent prayer.

I held the baby out in front of me and saw the breath of life come back into her as she opened her dark doe eyes. She looked up at me, into me, and began screaming once more.

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 07:20 on Jan 1, 2017

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







deleted

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 22:05 on Jan 2, 2017

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Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

h

One hour left. If you're toxxed you'd better get your story in soon.

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