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  • Locked thread
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!

Bad Seafood posted:

Yeah, this is just not happening for me this week. I'm out.

Per tradition, since I can't say I'm fond of toxxing, I cannot re-enter TD until I've redeemed either this or my previous (still unclaimed) Bingo Night failure. That said, since this failure was due more to me wasting time playing video games in my spare time than anything else (go go Ethiopia), I'm gonna throw this out there as an extra layer of punishment for my procrastination and last minute panic: If I owe you a crit for any week in TD history where I was a judge and didn't deliver, I will provide late crits to the first ten people to quote this post and provide a link to their story from a week where I dropped the ball. Furthermore, if the judges call time and ten people haven't cashed in on their IOUs, however many slots remain will be opened up to any story by anyone from any previous week besides this week. :3:


Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Bad Seafood posted:

Yeah, this is just not happening for me this week. I'm out.

Per tradition, since I can't say I'm fond of toxxing, I cannot re-enter TD until I've redeemed either this or my previous (still unclaimed) Bingo Night failure. That said, since this failure was due more to me wasting time playing video games in my spare time than anything else (go go Ethiopia), I'm gonna throw this out there as an extra layer of punishment for my procrastination and last minute panic: If I owe you a crit for any week in TD history where I was a judge and didn't deliver, I will provide late crits to the first ten people to quote this post and provide a link to their story from a week where I dropped the ball. Furthermore, if the judges call time and ten people haven't cashed in on their IOUs, however many slots remain will be opened up to any story by anyone from any previous week besides this week.

A solid penance, Seafood. I'd be interested in your thoughts on my entry in Week 78.

Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha

Bad Seafood posted:

Yeah, this is just not happening for me this week. I'm out.

Per tradition, since I can't say I'm fond of toxxing, I cannot re-enter TD until I've redeemed either this or my previous (still unclaimed) Bingo Night failure. That said, since this failure was due more to me wasting time playing video games in my spare time than anything else (go go Ethiopia), I'm gonna throw this out there as an extra layer of punishment for my procrastination and last minute panic: If I owe you a crit for any week in TD history where I was a judge and didn't deliver, I will provide late crits to the first ten people to quote this post and provide a link to their story from a week where I dropped the ball. Furthermore, if the judges call time and ten people haven't cashed in on their IOUs, however many slots remain will be opened up to any story by anyone from any previous week besides this week.

I'd be happy to get your crit on my story from Week 100.

Apr 12, 2006

99 problems

I Have to Take Care of Everything
1400 words

--see archive--

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 15:05 on Jan 2, 2017

Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!

The Mob of Darts: An Oral History

1389 Words

M.I.A,.Paper Planes

Sarah King, Student

“I was picking my dad up from the bar–he had one of his early afternoon drunks on–and as soon as he walked out the door he looked up to the sky, stared right into the cloud of Darts hovering above and shouted 'Y'know what's wrong with this country today? Too many damned immigrants, that's what.' Obligingly, a dozen or so Darts broke off and headed towards him.

“It isn't even like he meant it. I mean, when he was like that he'd just say something offensive at random, not directed any anyone, never using the hard slurs. Just whatever he was sure would get him hit by a handful of those paper planes, let him feel something through the haze or prove that he wasn't intimidated or whatever. As usual, he laughed as the first two hit. Then the third one, grazing his cheek, drew blood.

“Paper cuts were a risk he always ran, but this was more than that, deep and bloody and painful. Another Dart slashed open his right arm and he started bleeding hard. Then two more came right at him and buried themselves inside his neck and chest. I started screaming and calling for an ambulance. It was probably already too late, even if one had shown up.

“It's a miracle nothing I said called down more Darts, coming at me.”

Elijah Carver, Infosecurity Consultant

“You have to understand that Smartpaper was a security disaster from day one. Hermetrix rolled it out as a free fabricator template right after the first-gen fabs hit the market, as part of some inscrutable startup business model, and the firmware was laughably insecure. Early hackers turned the distributed identification system on its head, making each piece erase the unique identification number of each other piece.

“The addressing code was the most innovative feature of the platform. While limited to a small number of characters, users could specify a name, a place, or a set of actions like 'anyone who says these words', and a powerful distributed network executed them almost perfectly. Then someone else learned that putting two ampersands after the address made the planes crash into the target rather than landing gracefully. So almost immediately after release they stopped being a novel communications medium and turned into a tool for regulating public language, and a powerful tool for anonymous personal harassment targeting anyone who couldn't afford an expensive block-box.

“The second set of hacks, years later, the ones that started the Riot, worked on even more serious security holes. One of the army of Smartpaper hobbyists managed to break through the virtual layer and directly access the hardware itself. They could greatly strengthen the Darts, ramp their microscale engines into overdrive, sharpen the edge to nearly monomolecular. And they could override the blocking signal.”

Melissa Chin, Social Activist

“As a publicly political woman without a block-box, I already knew plenty about paper plane avoidance. Some of my, ah, following were already pretty murderous, even before. One of them posted a video talking about how much he hoped his planes hit me while I was on my bicycle, in traffic.

“I've pretty much stopped riding the bike.

“I was in my car, with just enough window tints and a license plate I was pretty sure hadn't been doxxed yet. And when things went all to hell, when the planes started attacking people who surely had blockers up like cops and paramedics and just about anyone still out on the streets, I stayed in the car. When they started going for the tires on moving vehicles I stopped, got my head out of sight, and watched with the mirrors. So that's how I managed to see the Eyeball Gang in action.

“There were five of them, dressed head to toe in cloth covered with pictures of eyes, leaving not a single square centimeter without one, and the Darts left them alone. I hear it was a safety thing, so deep in the code that the hackers hadn't turned it off yet. Darts don't hit people in the eyes.

“I don't know–and neither does anyone else, no matter what they say–if they were part of the hack, or had inside knowledge, or were just really quick on the uptake, but they were taking full advantage, swaggering down the street, guns out, emptying drugstores and jewelry stores and armored trucks. Part of me wishes I'd been bold enough to come at them with a bottle of motor oil or something and put them back at the mercy of the planes. A bigger part of me wishes I had some of those eyeball threads and could have been out there smashing the system and taking my cut alongside them.”

Quincy Gull, Ethicist

“People ask me all the time if I was surprised by what happened. My best answer is that I shouldn't have been. I mean, almost everyone had their own little list of people who, as it were, would none of them be missed. People made clever utilitarian arguments on how supremely ethical it would be to murder the swing vote that would have put into power a party that would fight an unjust war, or lose a just one, and thought of them as strange contrarian facts rather than refutations of utilitarianism. Rhetorical deployments of firing squads,or tar-and-feather mobs with the lament that we do not live in a lawless or violently revolutionary time had shown no sign of ever going out of style.

“Darts couldn't be traced. Smartpaper famously didn't hold fingerprints or any kind of DNA-bearing debris. That realization, that until some technical solution was found committing a perfect murder took but a little more effort than sending a nasty instant message, hit hundreds of millions of people at once. Even if only a fraction of a percent of them were too tempted to resist, each one could launch a great many Darts. And so they did, and as the casualties mounted arguments of tribal self-defense pulled even more people in. The Eye Cloaks held things off for about a day, before someone patched in a more sophisticated visual filter that saw through the illusion. Glass-targeting Darts made indoor spaces unsafe. Wheel-targeting Darts stopped people from fleeing to unpopulated areas or those towns lucky enough to have thunderstorms displacing their cloud of Darts. By the end, the numbers were staggering, rivaling a World War or the Spanish Flu, even before accounting for the plagues and civil wars in its wake.

“How many were guilty? Was it really just a small fraction of humanity that were only not murders for fear of failure or punishment? I think we need to believe that. Let some future generation seek the truth, if it matters to them.”

Sarah King, Student

“I was out gathering food with some of my new friends from the shelter–literally, a cold war fallout shelter–trying to make good time while the rain kept pouring down strong enough to keep the Darts away. The rain helped with the smell, too. Not so much with the rats. Canned goods only, to be safe. There weren't enough people alive and willing to go out looting, even in the storm, for supplies to be scarce yet.

“On the way back, way to far from the shelter, the rain stopped and the sky opened up and I could see the sun and a rainbow and my heart nearly stopped. I could also see the white paper cloud of planes, silently cruising back into town too fast to outrun. Then Nikki–she lost both her parents on the first day too, and she's three years younger than me, so I'd been taking care of her–pointed to something in the other direction.

“It was another cloud of planes, not in white paper but red and blue. Not Darts. Harriers. The Darts were too small and agile for real fighter planes to fight, and they could and did defend themselves against helicopters, but against the new drones their own size, with actual weapons on that scale to use against them, they were defenseless. The final air battle of the Riot of Darts looked like fireworks, and the shreds of the enemy rained down on us like confetti.”

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012


Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 21:36 on Dec 31, 2016

Blue Wher
Apr 27, 2010

The Smart Baseball Dargon Sez:

"Baseball is chaos!"

His bat is signed by Carl "Yaz" Yastrzemski

Deliver Me From Fireflies
1065 words. Owl City - “Fireflies”

Another restless night. For hours I have been trying to sleep, but nothing happens. After more tossing and turning and trying to squeeze my eyes shut to induce sleep, I look around my room. My alarm clock reads 2:29 AM, the bright red digitized numbers burning my eyes that haven’t been rested in days, or maybe weeks at this point. I had always had sleeping problems, but the insomnia has never been like this. My life has been affected horribly. I had been recently employed by the local supermarket, but I was fired just three days ago because I kept walking into walls I swore were doors. My insomnia had gotten so bad, that the doctor he had seen just the day before - who honestly looked more like a minotaur than an actual human - told me that my insomnia was causing me to hallucinate. He gave me medicine and sent me on my way into the night (though that, too, was confusing as I could have sworn it was only 2 in the afternoon when I left thee office).

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the medicine is working. “Maybe it needs more time to do its thing,” I whisper as I toss and turn again, squeezing my eyes shut and hoping something comes of it. The hallucinations are disturbing. The day I had been fired, I could have sworn that my boss was a Lovecraftian monster, tentacles threatening to eat both me and my little dog final paycheck, too. When I went home that same day, I thought my garage was the Grand Canyon. I thought I was falling hundreds of feet to my death, and had been very confused when I realized I was inside my house, laying flat on the floor and sweating profusely. Going to and from the doctor, I thought that I was riding a screaming, flaming pegasus. It all seems so real… but it can’t be… right?

Small pricks of light dance on my closed eyelids, startling me from my sleep attempt, though I soon feel excitement. Finally, I had fallen asleep and woken up with the sun! I open my eyes, and the glowing red numbers on the alarm clock burn my eyes and only serve to disappoint me. 2:37 AM, it said. As I stare at the time with mournful red eyes, I see those tiny flickers of light in my periphery once again. I turn my head and body, aching with exhaustion, so that I can see the window.

Fireflies, a whole swarm of them flying just outside my window. It looks like there’s many thousands of them. I really should not be surprised by their presence; after all, I’d seen them buzzing about for the past week or so now. I try to close my eyes again, but the lightning bugs luminate my eyelids to the point of distraction. I roll out of bed, almost falling to the floor out of sheer, exhausted clumsiness. They are beckoning me. They wish to see me outside. I hear them speak. They wish to hug me. I throw on something simple to wear to go outside; a robe, probably, though I can’t quite make out what I had just thrown over myself to wear. My body still aching, I walk towards the front door, the groaning of the wood beneath my feet matched by my own exhausted moaning.

I open the door, and walk outside. My first step onto the grass feels weightless, and I wonder if I am flying. It feels like a dream. Am I dreaming? I feel like I can’t… feel anything other than those thousands of lightning bugs, who, in their swarming, are now flying into me and bumping into my body, their collisions feeling like tiny pricks on my skin. Is this what fireflies should feel like? I remember chasing them as a kid, but I don’t remember them feeling like this… and the fireflies are getting more painful as they keep running into me. The fireflies’ hugs hurt, each one scorching me. Is my skin about to burn off?

I moan. The opening of my mouth grants entrance to several fireflies. My lungs begin to combust. I walk more, and I see something brighter beyond the fireflies:


“It’s not even 3 AM,” I say aloud, and immediately feel the fire straining my voice. But still I speak. “Why is the sun rising?”

The newscast said something about this… right? Wait, that’s it! A rather boarish looking weatherman had reported that there was something very, very wrong. “The Earth will soon stop spinning. There will be no more change of seasons in just a month.” I can hear the voice in my head, prophesizing doom. “We had a good run, I guess,” I remember saying to the television. Looking back on it now, I no longer think that any of it actually happened. Had I even seen the doctor? The doctor told me I was hallucinating, but had he even been real? Do I see anything real anymore?

The sunrise disappears from view, occluded again by fireflies.

All I hear is buzzing.

All I see are their flickers of light.

All I feel is them burning me, inside and out.

In the swarm, I think I see red numbers. I can barely read them. 2:57, it looks like.

My apparent dream world shifts around me. The numbers disappear, and the lights of the fireflies burn out one at a time. I'm somehow able to count each one as their lights died. After one thousand lights had flickered out, I can no longer move. Another two thousand gone, I can no longer hear or smell, their buzzing gone. I count until there are no more. The number, over ten thousand.

Now, all my senses are numb. All I feel is tired. But now I can feel it… rest. I am going to rest. I am certain the fireflies helped me, saved me from the horror my body had been inflicting on me for far too long. I am relieved as a now unfamiliar restful feeling starts to overtake me.

Soon, rest is my everything. The fireflies must have taken me somewhere far away from home not just to rest, but to rest forever.

No more hallucinations.

No more pain.

No more life.

I must be in limbo.

I welcome the peace.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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

A Moment of Your Time
(1,375 words)
The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army

edit: snip

Archive Link:

Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at 06:51 on Feb 28, 2016

Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!

Night Drive
682 words

She asks me not to go for the last time. We both know that I’m not going to change my mind, but she is asking anyway, more for her sake than mine. I take her in my arms, hold her tightly. Then it’s time to go. I’m done waiting. The others will be there to comfort her if I don’t come back.

I probably won’t.

The city is as I remember it. The feeling of fresh air on my face after so long makes the hair on my arms stand up just as much as the cold or the fear. I pull my leather jacket tighter around me and make my way through the dark streets.

The streets are empty of human life, silent as a cathedral. The streetlights barely touch the darkness, which presses in on all sides. Neon lights flicker in windows, advertising products no one will ever buy again, their color leeched and verging towards monochromatic in the endless night.

I get lucky; the first car I try yields to me, the odd skills of my old like allowing me to start it without difficulty. Half a tank, too. A good omen when I needed one.

I drive towards the edge of the city, in pursuit of an escape I know is half-dream at best. Creatures loom out of the blackness that surrounds me, strange sparkling figures like television static on a dying set. Their mouths yawn wide in screams I cannot hear, and they stumble towards me. I swerve to avoid hitting one, only to pass straight through another. For a moment it is there with me in the quiet sanctuary of the car, reaching for me, and I can hear its howling, gibbering plea for release, and then it is gone, like it never existed.

The hills to the south of the city are ahead of me, then, and like a receding tide the creatures fall away. What feels like real hope begins to well within me, a dim light that I do my best to tamp down. I drive through the hills, ascending past the sprawling houses with their empty eyes, towards the starless sky above.

There is a man in the rearview mirror as I near the top, lounging in the backseat, his eyes the same static as the specters in the city streets. He meets my gaze, any my chest is full of writing fire as my heart tries to flee its cage.

You cannot leave this place, he says. I don't respond, and he says no more, although he does not take his eyes off me.

And then we are above it all, a sea of midnight below us, and the real night above. I step out of the car and look around me, wondering at the color and sound of everything. The stars are a shock, like pinpricks on my eyes, and I can barely look at them after so much time in the dark.

The dawn is coming, says the man, exiting the backseat, and I can see the halo of light pushing against the horizon. If you turn back now, there is still time.

I think of her, waiting for me in the rooms we shared, hoping despite herself. The others will have left by now, back to their own hovels, wanting to respect her desire for space. We were safe there, in hiding, living like animals underground; subsisting on scraps and surviving. In my mind I am walking back through the door, and she runs to me. We are together, we are safe. I will never see the stars again.

I can’t go back, I say, not taking my eyes from the horizon. There is no reply, and I know the man is gone.

The sun begins to rise, and I watch it with eyes like television static on a dying set. Light blooms along the horizon, and my body begins to dissipate. The static spreads through me, cutting through all that I was. I let my body go, and dissolve in the dawn above the city of night.

m83 - Midnight City

Aug 2, 2002

1388 words




“You look good today,” says your mom.


Your eyes keep focusing on your adaptive communication device, called the Whisper. You wish it would sense your eye movements as you look at each letter in turn, but your eyes don’t move, like the rest of your body. You try to focus on each letter. h.e.l.p.


Your nurse, Damian, rubs you on the shoulder. “We picked out a new outfit for our special news,” he says.

You didn’t pick out anything. He bought you the dress. It has polka dots and a stupid bow on the front, and it doesn’t cover enough skin. Your bare leg rests against the cold metal of your wheelchair. You wish you could shiver.



You would have protested over hiring a guy as your full-time, live-in nurse if the Whisper had lived up to its promises. Your parents left it mounted to your wheelchair in hopes you’d be able to use it someday to speak.

“He’s a professional,” they told you. “He comes highly recommended.”

Damian was professional. At first. You didn’t like him bathing and dressing you, but you tolerated it. His eyes didn’t linger and he was strong enough to lift you easily. Besides the essentials, he mostly left you to yourself. He’d play audio books and leave you to listen to them on the porch when the weather was nice, and near the fireplace when it was not. You almost admitted that your parents were right.

Until he saw the statement from your settlement account. You still remember the whistle from his lips. He disappeared into his room, and when he came back he was different. He spaced out while microwaving your soup, and poured it down your throat while it was still boiling hot. It dribbled back out of your mouth onto your pajamas, and he didn’t even stop to clean it up. He just stared out the window.

The next morning he skipped your morning bath and set you in front of your Whisper. Instead of his usual gentle strength, he was rough, jerking your hands and smashing your fingers into the keys. At first just gibberish came out, but as he practiced he got better at guiding your fingers to individual keys.

“It’s called ‘facilitated communication,’” he’d told your parents. “I can feel the tiny micro movements in her arms when she wants to type.” He showed them how you would finally be able to speak--always through him, of course.

“I love you, mom and dad,” he typed out with your fingers, and your parents clapped.

help, you said, but your whispers went nowhere.


“Oh, and what special news is that?” says your mom.

“Do you want to tell them, or should I?”

You try to will your eyes to dart back and forth. You want your mom to see. Back and forth: universal sign for no. no. no no no no.n.o no no. non. nonno no

Damian grabs your hand and smashes it adroitly into your Whisper.

“We’re getting married,” he says through your fingers.

no no nono help no hlp

He lets your hand flop into your lab and rests his hand on your knee. All the signals of the kick reflex trigger in your brain, but your legs remain motionless. You feel incomplete without the kick, like a lost sneeze, or a forgotten name to match with a face.

Your mom lets out a shrill shriek and runs over to hug you. She’d always pressured you to settle down and have kids. You were were her only baby, and she wanted grandkids. She stopped mentioning it after you got sick. After the doctor’s botched your surgery. After you woke up from the coma but your body didn’t. The twinkle in her eyes is back now.

You can’t even cry. Not on the outside. Your body produces tears, but they never get squeezed out of your tear ducts. They run down the back of your throat, tickling all the way down. You want to wretch and sob, but you just sit there while your mom hugs Damian, drowning on uncried tears.


“Have you two set a date?”

no no no nono nono non

“We don’t want to wait,” Damian says with his voice, and “next month,” he says with yours.

Your mom goes into the kitchen and calls everybody she knows. Damian doesn’t even look at you when you are alone with him. Not in a mean way, but how one doesn’t address a potted plant but to water it.

Your mom finishes her phone calls and gives you and Damian another round of hugs before leaving.

He gives you your bath. His eyes still don’t linger. You want them to. He is detached, impersonal. It’s still a job, you’re still a plant. You almost wish he would take advantage of you, rob you of everything, be fully evil. But he’s not. He’s not trying to steal from you more than raising a sunken ship is depriving the ocean of riches. Your settlement is just treasure he stumbled upon. There is no malice.

His girlfriend comes over, and he wheels you in front of the TV. He explains the situation to her in his bedroom while the the Teletubbies VHS automatically flips over and rewinds itself. The 30 seconds it takes will be the only respite you will get until Damian wants to watch, and stores you in your room.

Side B of the tape starts up, and Damian convinces his girlfriend that nothing is going to change. “She’s a potato, Jess,” he says. “We’ll have everything we want.”

You are treated to the groans of humping mixed with the dulcet tones of weird alien babies for the next hour. Your Whisper is still mounted in front of you, blinking, waiting for input.


Damian kisses Jess goodnight and carries you to your bedroom. He turns off the lights and closes the door. In the dark, your Whisper’s power button is the only light. It illuminates the room in red for a microsecond. Blink. Blink. Blink. You aren’t tired.

You used to lay in bed texting your friends.


They don’t visit anymore.


You lay in bed, trying to move your finger. All it needs to do is twitch. Just some sign that it will be better, that you can defy the doctors’ expectations and move, that you can recover, that you can speak again. You lay in the darkness, cursing your body, the apologizing, then cursing it again. Your finger doesn’t move, likes all the nights before.

You wake up and wait for Damian to get you out of bed. The room is dark, but there is a strip of light under the door. You watch the shadow crawl across the carpet.

He eventually stumbles into your room, reeking of beer, and drops you into your chair. You have to pee, but he sets you in front of the TV and goes back into his room.

Your urine soaks through your chair, and drips on the floor in an unsettling concert with Damian’s snores.





“Help,” says your Whisper.

Your eyes twitch.

“Help,” it says again. The voice is robotic, synthetic, the same as it has always been, but it sounds more beautiful than anything you have ever heard.

Damian’s snores stop. You close your eyes, praying he falls back asleep.

You feel his hand on your back. “Did you say something?” he asks. You open your eyes and look at the screen. In big, bold letters, it says “help” twice. Damian leans over and presses delete, and the words vanish.

“help” you type with your eyes. “Help,” says the Whisper.

Damian paces in the living room.

“I went to the bathroom,” you say. Finally, a voice. You can tell your parents the wedding is off. That you want a new nurse. You can text your friends. You can browse the internet. You can go to college.

Damian stops next to your chair. He reaches over to your echo, goes into the settings, and turns off the eye tracker.


He looks at you, and for the first time, you stare back at him.


He turns, retreats back into his room, and closes the door.


Blink. Blink. Blink.

ghost crow
Jul 9, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo


Sensate was the largest club in Max’s sector, ten stories of writhing bodies and copious amounts of chemical euphoria. Giant wallscreens throbbed with visuals keyed into the heart rates of and brain waves of the masses, a smorgasbord of horniness and hyped nervous systems.

Max pressed against Sera, music and alcohol thrumming through his body. At some point in the day she had gotten a mod, one of those animal print inspired skin ones. Leopard spots shimmered and emerged on her body, swirling lazily and then sinking away. Forms pressed in on him, sweat slicked bodies moving in time with the music.

“You know what time it is.” A voice boomed from the ceiling, and a shriek of primal glee rose from the crowd as the glitter fell. As the hallucinogens pierced through his skin Max’s everything bulged, forms becoming distorted and displaced, his vision cracking into a million shards of light.

He stumbled into the bathroom, his skin mods whirring with the rush of drugs and dancing. They were gears, something Sera always teased him about because he’d had them for so long, at least long in fad time.

He looked in the mirror and he saw her.

A woman, noteworthy in her total lack of mods, looking almost naked despite the fact that she was clothed.

And then she was gone.


Max woke up like he woke up most days, with a killer hangover and covered in Sensorium top grade hallucinogenic glitter.

He groaned, head throbbing, and rolled over. He groped for the HangX dispenser by his bed, pressing the bright red lever.

“Thank you for using Sensorium HangX. I hope you had a sensational time.” The dispenser chirped.

“Yeah, yeah.” The derm patch dropped into his hand, greeting him with a stamped yellow happy face on one side. He slapped it onto his arm.

A second delay, and then the pain in his head receded. Another second and a pleasant fizz started building up through his spine, lightning euphoria tracing his body. Then the uppers kicked in and he was wide awake.

“poo poo.” He laid there for a second, savoring the cocktail of chemicals coursing through his system.

“Mmm babe mind getting me a derm?” A slim arm emerged from under the covers next to him, nails covered with swirling fractal designs pulsing with her heartbeat. One of the new fads to hit the clubs in the last day or so, and probably would last about that long.

Max obliged. There was a gasp, and then a giggle, and the rest of Sera emerged. Her hair had been turned silver sometime the night before and glitter dusted her cheeks. He got up and padded to the window, opening the blinds.

An arm snaked around his waist, lips pressed against his ear.

“What are you thinking about?”

“Hm? Oh, something weird happened last night. I saw a woman in the bathroom but then she like, just disappeared. Vanished.”

He could feel a smile against his ear. “That glitter was good stuff huh?”

“No it didn’t feel like the usual, I mean-“ He trailed off, brows furrowed. Something nagged at him, something else weird that had happened…

“I think I saw something while I was sleeping too.” Uttering the words, he knew it for certain. A hazy memory of a strange building with strange people.

“Do you ever have that? You ever see things in your sleep? Like images and stuff?”

“No. But that’s be a killer mod wouldn’t it? Like if you go to sleep and it replays your night to you so you can live it all over again.” She said excitedly.


The woman visited again that night, in his sleep. She sat on the edge of his bed, watching him.

“Who are you? Why are you here?” He asked.

“You made me Max. I’m here because it’s time.”

“Time for what?”

She leaned forward.

“Time to remember. Where is your past Max?”


“Maybe something’s wrong with your brain. Like it got fried on something.” Sera speared another piece of cake on her fork. They were in one of the new fad love themed coffee shops, bots disguised as fat cherubic angels floating around dispensing cake and drugs.

“I don’t know. I’ve never heard that happening to anyone before.” Max frowned. “And that thing about ‘where’s your past’ I mean, that’s just so weird.”

“It’s pretty silly. I mean of course we have a past. Yesterday we were at Sensate and then the day before there was that new popup adventure course and bungee jumping.” Sera said.

“Yeah I mean you’re totally right.” But later on, lying in bed, Max realized that he couldn’t seem to remember what they did past the last couple of weeks. Beyond that and the past seemed to stretch into a dim distance, blocked from view, a vast and unknowable thing.


The woman’s words seemed to fizz into his brain like a bad derm, eating at the edges of his consciousness. Something seemed to have been triggered deep inside him, something terrible and unshakeable, unfurling inside his body.

“Doesn’t it feel like nothing really changes though? I mean we kind of just do the same things day after day.”

Max laid beside Sera. They had just gotten back from Sensate and he could still feel the hallucinogens pumping through his system.

“What are you saying you’re bored with me?”

“What? No, not at all. It’s just some things have started feeling weird is all.” His tongue felt thick and sour in his mouth. What was wrong with him?

“I’m sorry. Forget I brought it up at all ok?”


It ended up being something as simple as Max banging his hand against the counter that triggered it.

Max frowned as he looked at his hand. He had a vague recollection something was missing, something that should have happened when he banged his hand. And then it came to him in a terrible rush.

Pain. He should have felt pain.

He looked at his hand in horror. Why did he get hangovers but never felt any pain any other time?

And then it rushed into him, crashed into him. It was a joke. Something decided in a board meeting when planning features to be programmed into the Sensorium. He had suggested it. Let people have hangovers but make sure to program something that will get rid of it. He had programmed it himself. And then he had programmed something else, something secret when it became clear the Sensorium was going somewhere there was no turning back from, that no one would come back from.

He felt nauseous. He had to see, had to see for himself.

He looked at his hand. He grabbed his pinky finger and with a grimace snapped it back. There was a dull crunching sound as the pinky broke, and no pain.

He looked in horror as he broke each of his fingers on his left hand. When he was done the fingers looked grotesquely bent out of place, but there was no pain. No pain at all.

Mar 31, 2015


Ironic Twist posted:

skwidmonster- Elle King, "Ex's and Oh's"

Excerpts From the Journals of Dr. Lorraine Felt and Subject One
WC: 1400


The boy was kicked in the head by a horse. Luckily, there is no cranial damage. The offending hoof snapped his neck and severed the spinal cord eight centimeters below the necessary length for transplant.

This is a tremendous find.

The brain, aged twelve years and three months, is in the perfect stage of adolescence for accelerated growth. By inundating it with sensory information combined with a balanced cocktail of hormones, once activated, the mind should interpret information at a rate thousands of times faster than our current rate.

I believe I have all of the pieces now. I just have to calibrate and connect them to fabricate one unified apparatus.

The cadaver is more recently deceased. The "iron heart" machine my former partner left in my care is keeping it in operable condition. The boy's brain has been suspended in a conductive jelly and is connected to the smaller iron heart I finished last week.

Everything is going swimmingly.


I should be exhausted, but I keep finding myself out of my bed and on the stairs to the basement. His vitals are fine. Heartbeat is slightly accelerated, but nothing beyond normal. He is recovering nicely.

It seems my process is effective so far; at least, the first and most difficult steps have been.

Outside my orb of achievement and gratification, there is a pool of fear waiting to suck me in. I have artificially reinvigorated dead tissue with life. Whether it is a conscious and cogent life remains to be seen. And what will the old tissue retain? The cadaver has twenty-six years of neural impulses etched into every nerve. Research indicates the brain’s memory center will have atrophied slightly, but who knows what images remain buried in that grey matter?

Or will there be anything left of his humanity at all?


The subject has regained consciousness, albeit only briefly. His eyes can open and focus on their own, and he exhibits moderate control over his vocal cords. No finer muscular control yet, though the fact that the brain has perfected such control over the eyes is impressive.

The experience of watching him attempt to move his limbs was akin to that of watching a rabid dog overheat.

I sedated him.

Still no sign yet whether or not the subject remains sentient. The incision has healed fairly rapidly, leaving a fine scar around the dome of his skull. Hair will hide most of it, but he will always have a thin red worry line across his forehead.

Provided, of course, he recovers fully from death.


Physical therapy progressing as well as can be expected. Nothing to do about the rigor mortis, which seems to have set particularly heavily within the quadriceps and lumbar muscles. John seems to have a sunny disposition despite it.

The subject is not progressing as rapidly as I’d like in regards to his accelerated learning. After the first few iterations of my “information register helmet” failed, I’ve since resorted to hiring a schoolteacher for house calls. He is an average student, at best, despite the precise administration of hormonal supplements and mental stimulants.

It was funny, the other day he accidentally called me ‘Mother’.

There was something latently naïve in his eyes above those dark bags, something very sweet but disturbing from a face so weathered by adulthood.

I may have sounded stern in telling him off, but it’s important for his development that he doesn’t see his doctor as a parental figure. Nothing more than a guardian.

MAY 21

News of my venture has reached the medical world despite my best efforts to keep it secret. I cannot know how it happened, but have no one to blame but myself. Initial reactions were less than positive, ‘abhorrent’ and ‘desecration’ being a couple of the milder descriptors, but I have garnered some legitimate interest.

A group of doctors in the United Kingdom would like me to present my process under public panel. If accepted as legitimate medical practice, I could be presented as one of the foremost leaders in the field and accept my place in history.

I have yet to tell John about this. I think perhaps it’s best to wait for public reaction to finalize in our favor before I go raising his expectations.

He grows more and more curious about life outside my supervision. Even after months of observation and therapy, he is still reticent to discuss what he remembers of his life. I’ve encouraged him to start writing a journal so that he’ll not only improve his literacy, but also have another medium in which to organize his thoughts.

I leave for the panel in a month, but already the trepidation is overwhelming. Over the course of that month John will be studied by experts in the medical field and my process will be under the deepest of scrutiny. Then, I will leave him for London.

Who I’ll hire to watch him, I’m sure I have no idea.


England was a tragic mistake. They’ve accused me of fraud and say my process is nothing more than a sham, despite it being examined and analyzed several times over.

My second subject, exhibited for the public panel, did not survive the final stage of the process to horrifying results. With the final push of electrical stimulation to restart the heart, there was some sort of malfunction having either to do with the reliability of the instrument or the cadaver itself.

I just found a bit of retina from his vanished right eye in my hair, so I am somewhat distracted from the idea of whom to blame.

I am disgraced. I refuse to return to society. With that, I end this journal.

~ ~ ~ ~


Dear Journal,
Today I fell over and got rite back up agin by myself.

Legs were littel tricksters. I felt like Right Leg just did not want to walk any mor. He planted him self rite on the floor and staid their. And I just toppeld right over like a fool.

Doctor Lorraine is gone. She sed she was just leaving for a littel bit but I now she left for good. Nurs Roberts and Nurs Hilda ar really nice to me, but I miss Doctor Lorraine so much it makes Heart squeeze up in side my chest.

The other Doctors stoppd coming. I do not mind that. Their poking and jabbing and shining lites were not so nice.

I hav not told the Nurses, but I am going to run away tonite.

I can not stand these littel tweeks and twitches. Som times I will smell a thing in the air or tuch a thing outside and my nose or my finger will go all elektrik and I want to think of a thing, but I do not now wat that thing is.

I want Doctor Lorraine back so she can explain it to me. She under stands every thing.



Dear Journal,
I have walked and hitch hiked the miles to where Doctor Lorraine probly is. It is easyer than I thot to travel so far. The longer I go South the hotter the air gets.

I keep finding things about her. She is less and less in the papers since the London thing. Just by chans I found a man who saw her in a show in New Orleans. I will see her tonite.

Too exsited to rite. Will talk soon.


Dear Journal,
I do not now why she shot me. I will never under stand.

I watchd her in the show in the big tent. She was all dressd up and laffing and screaming. A big bolt of elektrisity shockd the man on the table and he got up and started moaning like a dim wit.

I went to ask her if that is how she thot of me, and she screamed and shot me and I hit the gun away and ran.

It dos not really feel all that bad. I can still run. I am not like other peopel. The others need food and shelter. I am stronger.

One day Doctor Lorraine will want me around, but I will be watching her until she knows it. I will watch her paint her face and witch doctor her fake Subject on a slab. And I will wait.


Lake Jucas
Feb 20, 2011


Candy Shop
1353 words

Marcus picked through the rubble until his hands found a broken piece of cement that was small enough to fit in his palm. He wound up, twisted his body sidways, and flung it across the water just like he'd seen so many times on auntie's TV, but instead of skipping across the sufrace the piece of cement plunked in and sank beneath the rush-colored puddle.

Marcus sighed. He'd wiled away countless hours by himself in this vaccant lot, trying to get rocks to skip, but not once had he succeeded. He had no one in his life who could tell him it was because the pieces of the cement he used in this lot were too rough, and the run off that collected here in wide puddles was too shallow.

Sure, he had his auntie, but he was getting old enough to realize that she didn't really want him around. It was why he spent his summers wandering Brooklyn, looking for it's hidden nooks, places where there weren't people to remind him how alone he was.

Thunder rumbled in the distance. Marcus looked up, saw the gray clouds pregnant with rain, and realized he'd have to head home. Reluctantly, he squeezed his way through the gap in the back of the chain link fence that bounded the lot, and made his way through the alley that rounded the back of the Chinese restaurant that emptied out onto Thompkins Ave.

It struck him how empty the streets were. Sure, it was a week day, but you'd still normally see people milling about. He thought everyone must have hurried inside because of the coming storm.

Half way home, something on the pavement caught his eye. He looked down and saw a twenty dollar bill. It was wet and sticky with-

It's not sticky. It's fine.

-he saw a perfectly crisp twenty dollar bill. He shot a quick glance up and down the street, felt his palms get sweaty. Twenty dollars was a big find for him. He almost never even got to hold that much money unless it was his birthday or Christmas. His auntie would tell him that the money wasn't his, that if he took it it'd be stealing, but auntie wasn't here, so he ducked down, scooped up the twenty, stuffed it in his pocket, and hurried round the block, looking over his shoulder just to make sure no one had seen him.

As he walked, his mind raced with possibilites. He could hop on the G and head straight into the big Toys R' Us in Manhattan, but he quickly dismissed that idea. Auntie would notice if he had a new toy. Then he thought of the candy shop, the one he passed almost every day, with the fading yellow sign that only said "Candy!" in white letters. He could buy more candy than he'd got on any Halloween and keep it stashed under his bed. It'd be gone before Auntie suspected a thing.

Rain had already started trickling down by the time Marcus reached the candy shop. He was so excited about his windfall that he didn't notice the lights outside the shop – and near every shop on that street – were off.

Marcus pushed open the front door but found the shop was empty. Not even Mr. Nguyen was there, and he was always there, even on Christmas. "Hello? Mr. Nguyen? Are you open?"

Marcus waitied, but there was only silence. He glanced around, frowning. The lights inside the store were off, but the hours the door said the store should be open. Also, the door was unlocked, and Mr. Nguyen wouldn't leave his store unlocked. Not in this neighborhood. "Mr. Nguyen?" he shouted again, this time at the curtain behind the counter, "Are you back there?"

There was a muffled sound from the back of the shop, then silence. Finally, Mr. Nguyen emerged. "I'm here. We're open," Nguyen said.

Marcus looked at Mr. Nguyen. The man was pale, with beads of sweat collecting on his brow. Another muffled sound came from the back room, and Marcus's eyes drifted towards the curtian, which Mr. Nguyen seemed to be blocking with his body. Was that movement he saw?

"Can I help you with something?" Mr. Nguyen asked.

"Yeah," Marcus said, turning his attention from the back room to the clear plastic wall with cubbies filled with more candies than he could name. He pointed, "Can I get some of them? And them? Oh, and some of them?"

Mr. Nguyen stared at Marcus for a long moment as the boy rattled off his order before he moved away from the back room, grabbed one of the white paper bags, and started filling it. When the boy was finished, Mr. Nguyen plopped the bag down on the electric scale with a heavy thud and read off the total. "That'll be...$19.47."

"Perfect!" Marcus grinned ear to ear as he slammed the perfect, crisp twenty on the counter.

Mr. Nguyen's eyes went wide and he recoiled in horror from the twenty.

"What's wrong?" Marcus asked, but Mr. Nguyen didn't respond. Instead he started stammering something in Vietnamese and reached around under the counter in a panic. Marcus blinked, not sure what was wrong. He looked at his perfect, crisp twenty and-

A sharp pain shot through Marcus's head, worse than any icecream headache he'd ever had in his life. He stared at the twenty and it wasn't perfect or crisp, but was caked with congealing blood.

Mr. Nguyen found whatever he was reaching for under the counter, and pulled out a baseball bat. Before Marcus could ask why Mr. Nguyen had grabbed it another explosion of pain errupted in his head.

The world spun. Images popped into his head. Lights in the sky, all the colors of the rainbow and more. Something crashing, sitting in a crater in the vacant lot. A world covered in, antidulivian marshlands, filled with creatures he'd never seen but seemed to know.

The world went white.


Patty Nguyen froze when she heard the from door chime, but it was only her husband that emerged through the curtain. "Thank god! You were gone for so long I thought something might have happened!"

"I'm fine, but we need to get out of here. It's worse out there than what they're saying on the radio. There's bodies everywhere," Mr. Nguyen said as he set down the case of bottled water he carried. "What happened to the radio?"

"It just stopped broadcasting twenty minutes ago, so I shut it off." Patty stepped forward and wrapped her arms around her husband, "This can't be happening. One boy can't be responsible for all this!"
"You heard what they said on the radio, he's not boy any more. Now hurry up, we have to get to the bridges before they close them-"

The front door chimed.

"You didn't lock the door!" Patty gasped.

"Hello? Mr. Nguyen? Are you open?"

Mr. Nguyen held his wife, "Maybe he'll just go awa-"

"Mr. Nguyen?" the boy's voice came again, this time closer. "Are you back there?"

"Listen to me," Nguyen whispered to his wife, "I need you to run. Use the back door."

"I'm not leaving you!"

"Patty, please! For me!"

Before she could respond he slipped away and vanished on the other side of the curtain.

Marcus sat up, head spinning. All around him was blood and viscera-

There's no blood. It's just the candy shop.

Marcus was sitting in the candy shop. It was dark, but there was a flash of lightning from the storm that was now raging outside, and Marcus assumed the power had gone out.

Marcus got up and spotted his candy bag on the counter. The bag was soaked red, and beside it was Mr. Nguyen's severed hand-

There's no hand there. Your candy is fine.

His bag was sitting there, perfectly pristine and white, filled to the brim with candy. Marcus couldn't help but supress a grin.

"Thanks Mr. Nguyen!" he called out, but there was no response. He was alone.

You're not alone, Marcus. I'm with you.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

And that's it, subs closed.

Lake Jucas
Feb 20, 2011


I'd like to offer three crits to the first three people who want them. I have a lot of down time at work tomorrow so I'll try to hammer them out quickly and post them sometime after the

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Bad Seafood posted:

Yeah, this is just not happening for me this week. I'm out.

Per tradition, since I can't say I'm fond of toxxing, I cannot re-enter TD until I've redeemed either this or my previous (still unclaimed) Bingo Night failure. That said, since this failure was due more to me wasting time playing video games in my spare time than anything else (go go Ethiopia), I'm gonna throw this out there as an extra layer of punishment for my procrastination and last minute panic: If I owe you a crit for any week in TD history where I was a judge and didn't deliver, I will provide late crits to the first ten people to quote this post and provide a link to their story from a week where I dropped the ball. Furthermore, if the judges call time and ten people haven't cashed in on their IOUs, however many slots remain will be opened up to any story by anyone from any previous week besides this week.

Since it's been quiet, and so all debts between us are paid, I'm claiming another of these for Week 85.

I'll forfeit that second draw if seven other people speak up!

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.

Bad Seafood posted:

I will provide late crits to the first ten people to quote this post and provide a link to their story from a week where I dropped the ball

Why yes. Yes I will.

Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!

Bad Seafood posted:

Yeah, this is just not happening for me this week. I'm out.

Per tradition, since I can't say I'm fond of toxxing, I cannot re-enter TD until I've redeemed either this or my previous (still unclaimed) Bingo Night failure. That said, since this failure was due more to me wasting time playing video games in my spare time than anything else (go go Ethiopia), I'm gonna throw this out there as an extra layer of punishment for my procrastination and last minute panic: If I owe you a crit for any week in TD history where I was a judge and didn't deliver, I will provide late crits to the first ten people to quote this post and provide a link to their story from a week where I dropped the ball. Furthermore, if the judges call time and ten people haven't cashed in on their IOUs, however many slots remain will be opened up to any story by anyone from any previous week besides this week.

Yeah, I'll take the fantasy week crit,

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009

A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly

Interprompt: Stories about ducks.

Feb 25, 2014


story about duck dicks

ducks have hosed up dicks. they're like corkscrews, like seriously, who the gently caress thought that was a good idea. also ducks rape each other. like, they evolved corkscrew dicks to make it easier to rape other ducks. jesus, if you think ducks are cool, i don't know man, you might have to reconsider. anyways please enjoy these duck facts. subscribe for more duck facts.

Aug 2, 2002

I whip out my duck and put it in my dresser drawer. "gently caress you," I say, and slam the drawer closed on my duck. Feathers fly, blood spurts, but my duck can take a beating. It's a bad duck, a dirty duck, and it must be punished. I cry as I smash my duck, realizing I'm only half-assing it. I wish I could really get into punishing my duck, but it just feels like I'm phoning it in. How many times have I been in this exact same spot, doing this exact same thing? It feels like hundreds. I let go of my duck, and it falls limp over the stained walnut. "You're free to go, duck," I say. But it doesn't leave. It will never leave. I'm stuck with my duck forever.

Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!

A Fable

"Duck!" screamed my friend Joe.

"Wait," I said, "Do you mean that I should lower my head, or are you pointing out a nearby corkscrew-penised waterfowl?"

Then the frozen duck hit me in the head and gave me a concussion.

Moral: Don't create ambiguity when you don't have to.

Mar 31, 2015


A Duck's A Duck

She walked into my life on those big webbed feet and swam away even quicker.

The first time I saw her, it was like I'd never seen a pair of drumsticks before. Saxophone music played in the back of my head. I lit her cigarette and she looked up at me with those sultry black eyes, giving me only a breathy "Quack."

"So," I says, "you here for a P.I.?"

She nods.

"Caught the drake with lipstick on his collar?"

She nods again.

"Who's the lucky duck?"

She waddled over and put a picture on my desk. It was the biggest duck in the dynasty- Mallard Malloy.

"A high profile case like this," I says, "might ring up a pretty big bill."

She flashes me a handful of cash. Looks like she's got a few bills of her own. I take the job.

Three days later, I got a gun in my mouth and Mallard Malloy's long face about 3 inches from mine. The dame who hired me is hanging off his wing with a coy little smile.

"Keep those sticky little fingers out of Mr. Malloy's business," the shrimpy little man on Mallard's other side sniveled, "and we'll have no trouble. Got it, gumshoe?"

"Got it," I says as best I can around the muzzle of the gun.

This is what I get for chasing a little tailfeather.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


You know those moments in a horror movie where characters inevitably make stupid mistakes that ultimately get them killed? That was almost every single story this week. Almost all of your stories went into the basement despite the protests of the audience, and then they had sex, drank, did drugs, and rubbed their ballsacks all over an ancient Indian burial ground. That was what this week was. It was a lot of easy mistakes and flaws that hamstrung stories that either could have been good or were never that good from the beginning.

Muffin, Thranguy, ghost crow, spectres of autism and CANNIBAL GIRLS all go down in a DM bloodbath and win special places under the garage for various reasons, but one lucky TD author gets to be buried with his head and body on opposite sides of the garage. BlueWher, unfortunately this was not good, not very good at all. It was barely a story, and it certainly wasn’t scary. You take the Loss this week.

And crabrock wins, in what may be the widest margin of victory that Thunderdome has ever seen. Seriously, this was not a close call for any of the judges whatsoever. This had legitimate terror, a definite arc, immediate intrigue, and a protagonist who was mostly a vegetable and still managed to be an active character at the end, something that should bring shame upon the rest of your heads. Therefore, crabrock is not only the lone survivor of the TD House of Horrors, he gets a Win for his troubles.

Crabrock, take up the TD Mantle. The rest of you, Rest In Piss.

Ironic Twist fucked around with this message at 00:29 on Feb 23, 2016

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

Also, once again :toxx:ing to have Week 185 crits done before the next results post.

Apr 30, 2006

Crits for TD Week 185

The South Sea Shuffle

I guess this piece is going for over-the-top violent silliness, but without even token efforts at characterization or plot, it just comes off as adults-only monkeycheese poo poo. Mister Mistakolophese and the egg-cooking scene feel especially gratuitous here. I feel like the creation of this was something like “gently caress it, I have no good ideas for this song and I can’t be bothered to edit, so here’s a stream-of-consciousness spray of the grossest stuff that comes to mind.” I’ll give the piece credit for making me kind of queasy and I thought the #needahand joke was amusing, but this just feels really slapdash and bad.

Lingering Things

A bunch of mechanical errors here -- Miranda is “Mirada” once, for example. I’m not sure what you’re going for with this one. The creature horror feels grafted onto this story about a lady who robs a bank to pay for a baby, but neither element really works for me. I like the voice you’re telling the story with, but I’m really frustrated by the lack of payoff. I was hoping for more insight into how Miranda feels about her husband’s career or having a baby with him, or at least some thematic connection with the horror elements, but I’m not sure how it fits together. Your first half of the story is all rumination and setup that just doesn’t get any payoff. I was especially hoping for more about the mysterious radio station that shouldn’t exist, but that just gets shrugged off. The tension with Miranda trying to get into the bank to safety works, but I got lost in the blocking when Miranda was being attacked by the chocolate arthropod. And while it’s very possible I’m missing something more profound, the ending feels like it’s reaching for some catharsis or some epiphany that hasn’t been set up at all.

A Stop Along Briarwood Way

I like the use of a desolate, snowy road as the setting for a horror story, but your pacing doesn’t need to be as glacial as the environment. The dialogue is pretty flat, and Toby considers some things that characters tend to consider in meeting-strangers stories. Then the monster attacks and I don’t really care, because I don’t really have a reason to care about the characters. I don’t know anything about Jenna because all she does is beg Toby to help her. And all Toby has as characterization is vague grumpiness and anxiety. At first I thought Toby was mentally ill and he’d end up attacking the lady, or that they’d be attacked by ghost deer, but none of these things happen: instead a monster appears and Toby runs away. But the lady gets eaten, and Toby just watches this and has no discernible reaction. There’s just not a lot here -- there’s no surprises except for the fact that there are no surprises, and there’s no character arcs to give this any substance.


I like this, for the most part. I have a good sense of what Gail wants, and I think the piece does a good job channeling the emotions involved here -- longing for a friend that’s slipping away, need for stability, that sort of thing. I even think you pull off the dual perspective, although in a few sections it’s confusing who “he” is referring to. There’s a lot of ambiguity here, and while I feel some of it works to good effect, like us not knowing exactly what happened to Gail, I’m still fuzzy on the effects of the drug. Theron’s music is more musical than before and he’s losing his self and ability to care about things, but he’s still able to desire to not be on the drug. But Gail is basically lobtomized at the end. The worldbuilding detail verges on too much, but I think you spend enough time on the emotions and the characters that it’s never that tedious. Is it horror, though?

Tuesday Night Lock-In

I really like the pacing and tension in this story. There’s hints of something creepy at the beginning, then there’s the incident with the girl on the dance floor, and only then does stuff fall into total chaos. The prose and sentence structure works well to convey the escalating tension, although I think the run-on at the end is overreaching a little bit. I also wish there’d been a little more characterization of the main character other than making him want to find Stacy and be marginally more empathetic than everyone else.

I’ll Never Be

I like the idea here of celebrity body snatching, and I like that it preys on a human desire to be admired and loved. But there’s a couple of things that bother me. First, our protagonist really has no family or friends? She doesn’t seem very broken up about that. And what’s Alice been doing before the protagonist comes in? She’s had to have made public appearances… was she inhabiting another body or something? Did she just get stricken by the creepy-broke-downs? The prose here is clear and readable, and there’s a clear arc, but I feel like a lot of stuff is glossed over here.

The Fate of the Animals

You don’t need a comma between “then” and the rest of the sentence. Howl howl howl howl sky sky sky sky star star star star claws claws claws claws. Maybe you’re using these words so often (at times several times in the same sentence) for effect, but it’s pretty distracting. I’m not sure what’s happening in this story, but it seems like some cosmic being has just stolen the sun, and one poor wolf pup has lost his mom. There’s real pathos to this, and the prose is often good, especially on the paragraph level. But I’m not sure what’s going on with the colors, and I’m also not sure I’d classify this as horror.

I Have To Take Care of Everything

The voice and dialogue is really enjoyable in this piece. The ending doesn’t work for me; the protagonist finds out about these pseudo-Dads and comes to terms with it awfully quick, I think, from when we last leave them hanging with their Dads. I think this is a fun idea and I enjoy the way you describe all the subtle variations on the fathers, and for the most part I feel this is a pretty good way to blend comedy and horror. I do think that the sub sandwiches (and it’s sub sandwiches, not sub-sandwiches) are a pretty weak framing device, and the protagonist’s snarky comment about the anti-drug stuff made me think this story would be far worse than it actually ended up being.

The Mob of Darts: An Oral History

Worldbuilding: the story! This reads like someone explaining their idea for their cool novel that’s coming out soon. The idea’s viable but so much of this story is just characters telling about what it’s like to live in a world with thought police paper planes and not a lot of people actually doing things in reaction to it. I got especially bored and annoyed with the story during the ethicist’s part, when it was clear we were more than halfway through the story and there’s still a huge block of text telling me more about this world.

Turn Forever Hand in Hand

In this story, John does such thrilling things as: eat breakfast, fall asleep on his couch, and look out his window. And get taken over by the happiness police. The townspeople are tired caricatures, as soon as the first guy talks about Dr. McGillicuddy I knew exactly where this story was going and I’m mad I had to read so many more words about John moping and the town being cheery. I guess it’s kind of a striking image to have the wasting kids beaming and kicking around a deflated ball, and I think you’re effective at building an atmosphere. It's just that the overall effect here is so beige and bland that I can't help but be bored by this story.

Deliver Me From Fireflies

What’s scary in this story, and for a moment you hit this pretty well, is the feeling of insomnia, of feeling like you'll never fall asleep again. What doesn't work is the constant raising of plot elements and dismissing them with "oh, that's just a hallucination." I laughed out loud when you suddenly introduce the weatherman saying the world is going to stop spinning... oh, but it's just a hallucination. Trying to make fireflies scary also doesn't work. Most of the story is just this character who doesn’t have much of a personality wanting to sleep and wanting the fireflies to stop burning him. It’s not interesting, and the story isn’t proofread. Please proofread your stories.

A Moment of Your Time

This was really great, actually. At first I thought this would be an over-obvious corporate satire, but the weirdness of the piece keeps intensifying. The specificity of detail about the oppressive corporate environment, and more importantly the narrator's legitimate negative reaction to this, helps sell the alienation that you end up making literal at the end of the story. There’s a couple of mechanical mistakes but overall this is a really creative, interesting, and refreshing piece.

Night Drive

“He meets my gaze, any my chest is full of writing fire as my heart tries to flee its cage.” There’s not a lot of other mechanical errors in this story but COME ON. I think this is a sort of effective tone piece but it suffers from a lack of specificity. It reads like a prose poem or a vignette and not a complete story. I'm also a little alienated from this story by the zonked-out reaction the narrator has to some pretty horrifying events. I think it’s kind of pretty, but it’s not much more than that.


Congratulations, you’ve written the only story that actually scared me this week. Genuinely creepy, a truly horrifying premise, and a tense, rewarding climax. I wonder if the second person is a little cheap here -- I don't think we have to be cajoled to relate to this character -- but I don’t find it distracting. The pacing is excellent, the prose is crisp and clear, and the banality of the villainy makes the horror all the more immediate.


I like some of the ideas you’re approaching here but the story sags under the weight of its worldbuilding. You’re trying to respond to a song, develop some characters, develop a world different from our own, and sell the horror at the same time, and the characters and the horror suffer for it. There’s not enough here to make me care about Max breaking his own fingers at the end, and I’m not sure why he’s so horrified that he can’t feel pain. I’m left at the end just thinking “okay… so?”

Excerpts From the Journals of Dr. Lorraine Felt and Subject One

Frankenstein fanfic. I don’t have much to say about this piece, because each part of it is competently told -- it’s just never surprising, emotionally trenchant, or genuinely horrifying. The stiff scientist prose and the misspelled Jack prose are both chores to read, and I’m left wishing that this story had been told in some other way than the letter format.

Candy Shop

I think the editing of the boy’s memories is a cool concept, and I like the juxtaposition of the boy's innocence with the cosmic horror that's inside him. I just wish we’d gotten more room to explore that a little more. I really hated the flashback here -- it tells us nothing that hasn’t already been communicated through subtext. As it is, the space it eats up keeps the scope of this story limited to that one candy shop when your premise suggests something bigger and grander.

Aug 2, 2002

:siren: Thunderdome CLXXXVI: Giving away prizes for doing f'd-up things :siren:

When I am not writing about mutilating genitals, I practice the long-lost art of science. A lot of scientists hope to discover something grand, earning themselves fame, fortune, and prestige by winning the Nobel prize. I have... less dignified goals.

The Ignobel Prizes are awarded to the year's weirdest loving science papers to come out. These aren't stupid claims from cranks and charlatans, but real science answering real questions... even if they seem a little obvious. And stupid. Or just downright impossible.

Sign up this week to be assigned your paper. You don't actually need to READ the paper, just base your story on the title/blurb. That's usually enough.

do NOT write about scientists discovering a thing. If that's the first thing that pops into your head, do what a scientist would do and beat it with a hammer until it stops moving. Then dissect it. Maybe there is an interesting story tumor inside.

Signups close: Friday Feb 26, 23:59:59 EST
Submissions close: Sunday Feb 28, 23:59:59 EST
Word limit: 1000
No: poetry, erotica, google docs, weird formatting, images, detectives, ghosts

Judges: crabrock, flerp, tbd

01. sparksbloom
02. Thranguy
03. QuoProQuid
04. Grizzled Patriarch
05. ghost crow - FAILURE
07. Benny Profane
08. Tyrannosaurus
09. Guiness13
10. Titus82
11. sebmojo - FAILURE
12. anime was right
13. D.O.G.O.G.B.Y.N. - FAILURE
14. Blue Wher - FAILURE
15. After the War
16. Meis
17. Schneider Heim
18. Pete Zah
19. Killer-of-Lawyers
20. Bird Tyrant - FAILURE
21. skwidmonster - FAILURE
22. Noah
23. newtestleper :toxx:

crabrock fucked around with this message at 05:40 on Feb 29, 2016

Apr 30, 2006


Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!

In, for Science!

Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha


Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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

Yeah I'm in.

ghost crow
Jul 9, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo

I'm in.

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009

A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly

Low wc means I have time for this.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012



Apr 12, 2006


Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.


Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005

This is a horrible week for me to do this... but gently caress it, I'm in.

Aug 2, 2002

MEDICINE: This prize is awarded in two parts. First, to Patient X, formerly of the US Marine Corps, valiant victim of a venomous bite from his pet rattlesnake, for his determined use of electroshock therapy -- at his own insistence, automobile sparkplug wires were attached to his lip, and the car engine revved to 3000 rpm for five minutes. Second, to Dr. Richard C. Dart of the Rocky Mountain Poison Center and Dr. Richard A. Gustafson of The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, for their well-grounded medical report: "Failure of Electric Shock Treatment for Rattlesnake Envenomation." [Published in Annals of Emergency Medicine, vol. 20, no. 6, June 1991, pp. 659-61.]

Thranguy posted:

In, for Science!

BIOLOGY: W. Brian Sweeney, Brian Krafte-Jacobs, Jeffrey W. Britton, and Wayne Hansen, for their breakthrough study, "The Constipated Serviceman: Prevalence Among Deployed US Troops," and especially for their numerical analysis of bowel movement frequency. [Published in "Military Medicine," vol. 158, August, 1993, pp. 346-348.]

ENTOMOLOGY: Robert A. Lopez of Westport, NY, valiant veterinarian and friend of all creatures great and small, for his series of experiments in obtaining ear mites from cats, inserting them into his own ear, and carefully observing and analyzing the results. [Published as "Of Mites and Man," The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, vol. 203, no. 5, Sept. 1, 1993, pp. 606-7.]

PHYSICS: Louis Kervran of France, ardent admirer of alchemy, for his conclusion that the calcium in chickens' eggshells is created by a process of cold fusion. REFERENCE: "Biological Transmutations and their applications in: Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Ecology, Medicine, Nutrition, Agronomy, Geology"]

MEDICINE: F. Kanda, E. Yagi, M. Fukuda, K. Nakajima, T. Ohta and O. Nakata of the Shisedo Research Center in Yokohama, for their pioneering research study "Elucidation of Chemical Compounds Responsible for Foot Malodour," especially for their conclusion that people who think they have foot odor do, and those who don't, don't. [Published in British Journal of Dermatology, vol. 122, no. 6,
June 1990, pp. 771-6.]


Low wc means I have time for this.

MATHEMATICS: The Southern Baptist Church of Alabama, mathematical measurers of morality, for their county-by-county estimate of how many Alabama citizens will go to Hell if they don't repent.
[Click here for additional details.]

PHYSICS: D.M.R. Georget, R. Parker, and A.C. Smith, of the Institute of Food Research, Norwich, England, for their rigorous analysis of soggy breakfast cereal, published in the report entitled "A Study of the Effects of Water Content on the Compaction Behaviour of Breakfast Cereal Flakes."

BIOLOGY: Anders Barheim and Hogne Sandvik of the University of Bergen, Norway, for their tasty and tasteful report, "Effect of Ale, Garlic, and Soured Cream on the Appetite of Leeches."

MEDICINE: Carl J. Charnetski and Francis X. Brennan, Jr. of Wilkes University, and James F. Harrison of Muzak Ltd. in Seattle, Washington, for their discovery that listening to elevator Muzak stimulates immunoblobulin A (IgA) production, and thus may help prevent the common cold.

Titus82 posted:

This is a horrible week for me to do this... but gently caress it, I'm in.

ENTOMOLOGY: Mark Hostetler of the University of Florida, for his scholarly book, "That Gunk on Your Car," which identifies the insect splats that appear on automobile windows. [The book is
published by Ten Speed Press.]

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

prompt me up beardo


anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


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