|# ? Mar 8, 2016 05:09|
|# ? Dec 6, 2021 09:12|
I'm a glutton for punishment. In.
Thanks kindly for the crit QPQ. Might ask you for a little more in IRC tomorrow.
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 05:15|
I wasn't a judge so these aren't full crits they're just
When I Got Bored
*Rathlord: Third sentence. Overly, unnecessarily descriptive all the way through. This is more of a set up to a bad punchline (she’s a hooker how scandalous how amazing he didn’t realize before) than a real story.
*sparksbloom: First sentence, honestly. Then I push past that and I have too many names and nothing to care about. I stopped reading entirely at “You went to that bookstore again” because I don’t care about anything so why should I keep going
*flerp: Man, lot of ghost stories lately. I got bored at “I hit the table hard.” Up to that point, nothing new has been brought to the table. “dad ur a ghost” “so?? lol.” Okey dokey. I skimmed over something about sticking a finger into water but I didn’t really read past where I got bored.
*Killer-of-Lawyers: Woo buddy that opening paragraph is a doozy to figure out. Is Brigid also a sorcerer or is that a different character? Is Devin the sorcerer? Who is the queen? I dunno. I’m not reading anymore.
*Guiness13: “So, that’s it, is it? You want him to die so you can live?” She rose to her knees and leaned over Death. “That is not going to happen!” I don’t know why this girl is important enough for capital D Death to talk to her nor do I know why Death is such a… what’s the word? “Little bitch?” Maybe. You opened strong.
*Ironic Twist: Read the whole thing.
*newtestleper: “He’d told me before that glacial runoff sinks.” I have no idea what the gently caress I’m supposed to be reading here.
*hotsoupdinner: “I stare at it for twelve minutes before one time I blink and then it’s gone” is a weird sentence and feels like a tense shift in your story (even though it’s technically not). “The me that lived here rises and takes control of my body” is where you lost me. I read your whole story though. I liked the idea. Disliked implementation.
*Grizzled Patriarch: Read the whole thing.
*crabrock: Read the whole thing.
*Bird Tyrant: “I am alone, harsh wind blowing away my cries for help, so that no noise comes out at all.” I’m getting sleepy.
*Carl Killer Miller: “In spring, they'd had (fraternal) twin assemblies. The boys watched their gym coach yell about just how much their things had changed and would change…” Easy enough to read but nothing is happening. Describe less scenery. Include more doing.
*ghost crow: I read the whole thing. But I like futuristic sci fi stuff so don’t sprain your wrist patting yourself on the back. Did you try and throw in as many asiany metaphors as possible? Also, major Ghost in the Shell vibes at the end. Not in a good way. Is this secretly fanfiction?
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 06:07|
I want something to do while bored out my own rear end in South Carolina so I'm judging this week or whatever
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 06:35|
If there's already three judges then I'm in
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 06:35|
im an insomniac
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 14:10|
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 14:52|
When I got bored crits is good crits
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 15:19|
When I got bored crits is good crits
Yep! Thanks for that!
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 15:55|
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 16:38|
Insomnia is a wicked mistress.
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 16:45|
Week 187 Crits of various size
Let's preface this by talking about names. Use them. About half of the stories this week did not name their protagonists. Many of those did not name a single character. Now, sometimes a first-person narrator can do without a name and no particular harm is done, but less so when in third person and when every character doesn't get a name. Going nameless makes a story that much more impersonal, and there's only one story in this batch that feels like it was doing that on purpose (and that story had a lot of other problems besides.) Also, when you do have named characters, get those names down early and clearly.
Rathlord: Baby (Prompt in wrong place)
Case in point: One of the few advantages third person narration has over first person in flash fiction is that it allows the author to unobtrusively name the main characters. It's always a shame when this is just thrown away. The impersonality caused by naming no one is a liability. Second graf, too much description in the negative, too much past perfect, especially the last line.
Not much there there, not an auspicious start to the week. In my Low pile, but not low enough to DM.
Sparksbloom: Don't Give Up
Another crushing narrator, but much better done in this opening than the last. There's a very annoying on-the-noseness of the fake titles in this one.
The narrator doesn't get named until very late, seven paragraphs in, which is okay in and of itself. In first person narration the narrator can't be confused with anyone else and ought to have enough internal voice that lacking a name shouldn't hurt too much. The problem is that when you name late, you're also gendering the narrator late-and this is a problem you had in the last story of yours I critted as well. Keeping the action in your story in a limbo between two different sets of social gender dynamics, or, worse, leading your reader to make the wrong choice and then have to go back and revise their model, well, that's something that, if done really really well, might be the entire point of a good story. But when it's not the main point of the story, it's just going to get in the way.
I didn't like this one. I mean, it's written competently enough, but the ending doesn't work for me. It seems to be erasing the stakes of the story. I don't hate it either, it was on my No Mention list.
Flerp: A Talk With The Dead Over A Glass of Cold Water
More nameless characters. “whenever he picked” is awful. Both the narration and the characters are using the word “like” way, way too much. Another story in which very little happens, but in this field “very little” is at least better than “nothing at all.
Killer-of-Lawyers: For Want of Pulp
Finally, some named protagonists. But it's done awkwardly. In the second sentence, It's impossible to guess immediately if Brigid, 'the sorceress', and 'the knight' are two or three people, and if two, which of the others is redundant. Not a good thing in an opening. By the end of the paragraph, it looks like the 'petrified' was literal and definitely not Brigid, but we introduce 'the orc', 'Devin', and 'the Queen' and could be dealing with 2-5 active characters plus a stone knight.
Should be 'adventurers' not adventures after the break. This story is in a classic TD failure mode, attempted comedy with only homeopathic amounts of humor, another pile of nothing, bad enough to DM. Avoids the loss mostly by virtue of actually having the basic elements of a plot.
Guiness13: All that Remained Were Ashes
When Death is first described in this story, he's wearing a sweatshirt, which is interesting, tonally off enough to make this Death not quite the standard model. Then, later in the story, Death is wearing a sweater instead. This inconsistency is annoying enough, but the real problem is that that's the most interesting thing in the whole story. When will someone show up with a story with some actual story in it? No mention.
Ironic Twist: Agoraphobe
Interesting opening; holding 'second person narrator' to the end of a long sentence like that is a weird choice, but maybe the good kind of weird? This is another story in which very little happens, but at least it's little rather than nothing and it is well written enough to overcome. My clear win candidate for the week.
Tyrannosaurus: Wild Bears Do Not Smoke
Takes a bit too long to resolve whether these are literal bears or children playing at being bears. Otherwise, another very strong story. Things actually happen, the comedy beats work, the shift from them to the tragic is the right kind of jarring, which is sometihng very, very few td stories have managed. HM candidate.
Newtestleper: In The Old Slow Water
And we're back to the land of the nameless, with a very short piece. And a strange, multi-fruit tree. And next to nothing happening. And more than a little bit of overwrittenness/purple prose. I had his right at the DM/No Mention border.
Hotsoupdinner: A Tree
More nameless characters, although at least the central character gets one. Tenses don't quite work. You know how the typical editing advice in irc is “remove the first paragraph”? This is a story that should have taken that advice. The second paragraph is just so much stronger, as an opening. I'm not sure you need any of the details in that first paragraph, but if you do, they can come out later. This was on my HM list, and I think that the version that started in the right place might have actually gotten it.
Grizzled Patriarch: The Kindness of Strangers
Sadly, my first thought is Streetcar! (from the Simpsons) rather than the original looking at the title. Namelessness! The title doesn't really go anywhere. Things sort of happen in this one, but there's not enough character or agency to call them a plot; might work as part of a larger work I guess. Another story on my middle list.
Crabrock: The Unlikeness of Two Identical Snowflakes
You know what would make two identical snowflakes distinguishable? If you gave at least one of them a name. Just saying, here. Also if something happened in the story, that would be nice. Another no mention.
Bird Tyrant: Time is Nothing
This one makes the other second person narrative's late introduction look positively prompt. Very dark. More nameless characters (although this is the one where the namelessness is deliberate and serves some purpose), more very little happening-abused girl plans to run off with ghost when she's of age, by which she means she will drown herself in a lake. But we don't even see her making the decision here, or any interactions with the second person ghost, just a tiny slice of a miserable life in which literally nothing happens. This was on my DM list from the start, and my opinion of it kept on dropping.
Carl Killer Miller: Missive:
Starts way too slowly for a story of this size, I think. I resent being made to decode for the story, especially a line with a wrong-seeming unaprostroped 'itd' in it. There's a lot of excessive detail early on, which eats up your wordcount to the point where the ending is rushed and doesn't work. Speaking of wordcount, I don't see Russian culture here so unless this is someone with week 100 bonus words at play this should be a DQ. I had it down for the rare DM/DQ.
Ghost Crow: Aware
Another story that is making me spend more time on it than it is worth, causing resentment. I eventually managed to make some sense of it by assuming that it's out of order, maybe, that the virus was earlier and ruined her life, that the major was part of her recovery from that, and that the suicide in the middle of the story is successful? Can't make much sense out of it any other way, and beyond that is little more than a pile of cyberpunk/80's scifi stale tropes. Was originally my Loss pick.
A Tin of Beans: Tingo
Alex collapses onto the couch, staring up at the ceiling for several minutes. There’s a spot up there that looks like dried blood. It’s been there ever since she moved in. She tried to clean it, once, but when she looks up while standing on a ladder she gets horrible vertigo, so she’d given up.
The tenses in this paragraph are causing me physical harm.
Very similar to the other story with the same word, but not nearly as good. The ending is rushed, and that's where what's happening passes from believable to absurd, the place where you really need to sell it, and you don't. In the other story the supernatural element makes the idea actually work. Here, all you have is a nearly superhuman degree of spinelessness in the narrator to carry it. Probably would have been on my no mention list had it been submitted on time.
Thranguy fucked around with this message at 19:59 on Mar 8, 2016
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 18:36|
i will write you a story goons. in.
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 19:24|
Week 187 Crits of various size
Thank you for the crit
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 19:27|
Week 187 Crits of various size
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 19:49|
In with a
E: link the loser in your goddam judge posts you loving mongoloids
sebmojo fucked around with this message at 20:16 on Mar 8, 2016
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 20:11|
And also thanks for all crits.
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 20:33|
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 20:38|
In with a
I'm sorry! Somebody even told me to do that and I still forgot
I am in.
|# ? Mar 8, 2016 21:01|
aware by ghost crow
the opening sentence is kind of cliche, but the problem is kind of the whole idea of the first paragraph. we all kind of have an idea of how, like, a future internet would work. it would just be a more immediate thought stream, in yr head, or whatever. so once you start describing it, the reader sort of checks out for a while. hes like, whatever, its a future cyberpunk internet. the point of cyberpunk isnt the tech, its how that tech sort of collapses on people (consult resident legit cyberpunker sebmoji to verify this.) so all i really get from the first para is that shes dreaming about being on a spaceship and something about patterns, and everything else is just frosting on the beater. but!! its an interesting situation.
i think what youre doing is called "purple prose."
but yeah probably the main thing that sticks out to me here is that your character wants to be annoying, even in death. and then in the end she tries to die and doesnt. who is major sato and why does she care about yr protag? what makes Go important other than its a stereotypically japanese game? ultimately this starts with the illusion of depth but ends up culturally shallow. i also dont get the title other than its yr prompt.
time is nothing by bird tyrant
this is ambitious. child abuse is serious stuff and its cool to get poetic imo but you have to completely nail it. otherwise its just, like, way too distant to feel. this just feels way too cliche to me and it kind of hurts. but it hurts because holy balls do i understand some of the character traits and if you got them perfectly right id totally feel the story. int he end though the whole thing feels hopeless and the parents slide off the deep end into grotesque caricature, which is probably why you lost. ultimately child torture is not a fun read.
|# ? Mar 9, 2016 02:11|
|# ? Mar 10, 2016 01:54|
|# ? Mar 12, 2016 02:45|
Tramontate, stelle. All'alba vincerò.
|# ? Mar 12, 2016 05:01|
f l e r p b r a w l
“Dropped,” Lilith says, “like a bad habit.”
“You are a bad habit,” Inanna said.
“Wrong,” Lilith says. “I mean, I don’t know. I think I’m good for people, just misunderstood.”
Inanna doesn’t say anything then, because she’s too busy growing. Her tendrils are already burrowing under Lillith’s feet, helping her keep her balance, but as Lilith watches she sees them burst through the ground, a cobweb of roots, a protective canopy. God is beginning his bombardment, a hardcore meteor shower, and she knows that it’s Adam at the pulse of everything.
“My roots are strong,” Inanna says, “but my branches are weak. You can’t stay here forever.”
“I just need a bit longer,” Lilith says. “I’m homeless now.”
But the meteors are falling. They crash into the sap-hardened tendrils, scraping off to plummet into the void, leaving Inanna’s bark scorched, blackened. Inanna grits her teeth, so hard that Lilith can hear it.
“Okay,” Lilith sys. “I’ll go. I'm not toxic, though.” She waits for a sympathetic smile.
Nothing comes. Instead, as meteors smash into the slowly collapsing folds, the tendrils behind Lilith curl open. Lilith stares at Inanna’s teeth, shades of frosted glass, closes her eyes, and falls backward into space.
So Adam climbs further and further away.
His choice, Lilith thinks. But it doesn’t need to define me. I’m stronger than he thinks I am. I don’t need him.
And she falls towards Tartarus, his black smoke spilling forth, his shadows massing to catch her, enfold her, and float her down towards him. If Adam tries to follow me here, Lilith thinks, then he truly is evil, and he’s wrong, not me. I’ve done all I can. She thinks this as Tartarus begins to speak, and in order to hear him Lilith needs to freeze, to trance out, and then the speech fills her head and there’s nothing but his speech and the void, and when his speech is gone there will only be the void. So Lilith listens.
She’s been there before. She knows that already. She zones out when Tartarus tells her how many times it’s been. She gets the gist. She leaves, comes back. Leaves, comes back. It’s her fault. It isn’t her fault. She needs to listen. She needs to assert herself.
But, Lilith thinks, I know who I am. Objectively I’m the first, and I’m sent away. Read the arc, it’s all there. I can only be the problem, and nothing else.
She thinks this, and her thoughts radiate out into nothingness, are nothingness. It all blurs together, and she’s just with Tartarus, and he settles into a rhythm. His words are slow, measured, and she gets it. He’s getting more and more descriptive, fleshing her out a bit, and then she sees her name and jumps on it, floats away on it, and she’s herself again, zooming through time, watching as Adam spreads his lame seed. The seed radiates outwards, into space, hits the edges of the fabric, and then collapses back, and it’s just her and Adam again. He’s clutching his side in that familiar way, and he looks like he’s about to blame her for something.
So before he can she rockets away, hair streaming behind her, igniting the air. She twists and turns and scampers. When she looks she sees him following, so she stops looking. Then she’s found a crescent shaped depression in the ground and she falls into it, and then all she can hear is her breathing. Then all she can hear is her heartbeat.
After a while she stands up, shakes off the leaves, and looks for the caves.
The caves of paradise are only there when you look for them. Otherwise they’d add a bit of darkness to your day that maybe you weren’t ready for. But Lilith needs them now. So she steps into the maw, overgrown with moss so that it blends with the rest of the landscape.
gently caress off, Tartarus, she thinks, but he isn’t there. It’s just her, by herself.
What is Adam doing now, she asks herself. Is he already bitching to God? This one didn’t work out, get me another. And while you’re at it, sweep her away, because I don’t even want to remember her.
But, she thinks, it’s because I terrify him. In the end, you’re terrified of what you create. And his mistake was never creating anything with me. Because I have nothing to be scared of.
One day, she thinks, I’ll write God out.
|# ? Mar 12, 2016 07:56|
I just sent a request for a thunderdome archives account but I figured I'd make a post here so its easier to find my username / send me a message. Kudos to everyone who took time to set that up and to the people who have done such a great job of keeping this now venerable Something Awful institution alive, you guys are awesome. I hope I have time to re-enter the Dome again soon.
|# ? Mar 12, 2016 19:40|
S P E C T R E S B R A W L
Potatoes Aren’t Like Gold at All
A god was very cross one morning. He called down from the heaven, his voice booming and heavy, and I hear them when I was in the field. I dropped my potato and it landed deep into the dirt.
“Where are the sacrifices?” the voice from the sky asked.
The sunlight strengthened and gave the potatoes a golden gleam. I picked one up, and put it up in the air. “Does this work?”
“Do not play with me mortal. One mere potato will not be enough.”
I grabbed another potato and lifted it up. The heat seeped through my shirt.
“Neither will two,” the voice said, his voice strained and annoyed.
I put the potatoes into my sack and asked “Well then, how do many you want?”
“I don’t want potatoes!”
“Well, it’s all I got.” I reached down and grabbed the potato I dropped and wiped some of the dirt off it. Most people didn’t appreciate my potatoes.
“Talk to your elders. We demand reverence.”
I scratched my head. “That seems like a hassle.”
“Do it, or your potatoes will not grow this season. Or any season.”
I looked down towards the ground. All the potatoes shrunk into the ground like an army of moles had grabbed a hold of them. My field was empty and I held my potato sack deep to my chest.
“Ok, ok, I’ll do it.”
“Mortals! I have control over the winds, over everything. Listen to me!” the voice boomed in the conference hall, but all the suited men were just staring at me.
“I, uh, don’t think they can hear you,” I whispered to him. The mayor shifted and glared at me, thinking I was whispering to myself. I didn’t think explaining to him that I was talking to a god would make me any more sane looking.
“Then you shall act as my envoy. Tell them I demand a sacrifice.”
“What’s that specifically?”
“Sir,” one of the men said, “Can you please leave? This is a private meeting.”
“I demand gold.”
“Sir, if you don’t leave, we’re going to have get security.”
“That’s a bit…” I started.
“Now, or the potatoes are gone!”
I held my breath and looked out over the board room table. People were shifting in their seats, some biting down nervously on their fingernails.
“Ummm, I’m here for uhhh, gold.”
A couple of them blinked rapidly, then there was a shuffle as people leaned in next to each other. One guy in the back pulled out his phone and rushed to dial something.
“Sir, we’ll get you all the gold you want,” he said, nervously grabbing at his shirt. “Just, wait here for a bit.”
“Yes!” the voice boomed. “Penance! Finally, some respect for us.”
I tried to smile, but the door slammed open and a security guard reached over and grabbed my wrist tight. “Let’s go,” he said, jerking me hard out of the room.
“No, let him go. Bring me my gold!” the voiced echoed in the room and I gave me a splitting headache.
“We must go back,” The voice said.
“Look,” I said, sitting over the edge of the sidewalk outside city hall. “I don’t think they’re going to listen to me.”
“But, the potatoes, everything will stop growing!”
“Well, most of our food is imported.” I rubbed my butt, sore from being thrown out.
“Then I’ll stop growing all the food in the world.”
“They still won’t listen to me. They’ll just call it like global warming or something.”
The voice was silent for a while and it was nice not having a deep and heavy voice ringing in my ear.
“I just miss having all that gold,” he said finally, but his voice was quieter and soft.
“I’m sorry,” I said and it was kind of true.
“I just wanted a beautiful pile of shimmering gold on a sunny day.”
I remembered how my potatoes looked this morning. It was a bit of a stretch, but they looked a bit like gold, at least to me.
“Well, I can’t really give you gold, but I got some potatoes.”
“Mortal, you are very stupid,” he said, then he paused. “No one ever gave me gold,” he said finally.
“If I killed them all, then how could they give me gold?”
I stacked up all the potatoes into a big mound. The sun was setting, and they didn’t look anything like gold, but it was good enough.
|# ? Mar 13, 2016 06:06|
12 hours until deadline.
|# ? Mar 13, 2016 22:59|
For Old Times' Sake 1,499
I’d just put my feet up and opened my book when someone thundered on my door. I sighed and snapped the book shut. Tig stood on my porch wearing a tattered denim jacket. He hadn’t shaved in weeks, and the smell of him bowled me over.
“Jack!” He grinned, revealing blackened teeth.
“Christ,” I said. “I thought you were dead.”
Tig snorted a laugh and pushed past me.
“And you didn’t come to the funeral?” He collapsed into my chair and plopped his shoes on the coffee table.
“What the hell are you doing here?”
His grin sank, and he sat up and buried his face in his hands.
“It’s my ma. She’s got cancer. She’s laid up back home and I got no way to get to her, man.” He stood, paced the room. “I didn’t know where else to go.”
I crossed my arms.
“You want me to just drop my life and drive you to Pittsburgh, I got that right?”
He shrugged. “Yeah, pretty much.”
I stared at him for a moment, remembering the face of an 11 year-old boy as he flew his bike down the street; the way his mother had always greeted me with a smile and a glass of lemonade. It was the latter that made up my mind.
“Okay,” I said. “Just let me grab my keys.”
Three hours later I pulled into a rest stop outside of Toledo. I hauled myself out of the car and stretched while Tig waved and headed inside. My head ached from being cooped up with his reek.
I bought coffee and a burger and sat down, keeping an eye on the johns and wondering what the hell I was doing. I finished the burger with no sign of Tig. I downed the coffee and made for the men’s room.
At first glance, the place was empty. I took a piss, washed up, and was heading for the door when I heard a groan. The sound echoed off the bare tile. I winced and pinched the bridge of my nose.
He sat on the toilet in the last stall, propped up against the tank. A fresh track mark marred his right arm. Tig’s head leaned back and his jaw gaped, his eyes staring at nothing. I didn’t know how he could lay like that and not breath in rasping snores. I slapped him.
He didn’t react, so I slapped him again, harder. This time, he slipped sideways and reached out time to catch himself before he hit the wall. He looked up at me with blank, unfocused eyes. I grabbed him by the collar and yanked him to his feet. Fabric ripped and his smell filled my nose, but I pulled him close.
“You dumb gently caress!” I shook him. “You dumb gently caress! Is this how you want your dying ma to see you?” I shoved him out of the stall. He lurched in giant, cartwheeling steps until he caught himself on the counter.
“I’m sorry, man.” His shoulders shook with sniveling sobs. “I couldn’t help it.”
The rage slipped away. My knees wanted to let go and plop me down on the toilet he’d just vacated. I shook my head and squeezed my eyes shut for a beat.
“Don’t apologize. Just wash your hands and lets get outta here. You need to eat.”
I sat and watched as he downed two or three chicken nuggets and a handful of fries, and then we were back on the turnpike. I gripped the steering wheel until my knuckles ached. I didn’t see the headlights flash on behind me.
We sat in silence for a couple hundred miles. Tig revived a bit, though. His eyes flit back and forth and his knees bounced constantly.
“I gotta pee.” I jumped at the sudden sound.
“Congratulations.” I gritted my teeth and refused to turn and look at him.
“There’s a rest stop in two miles, man. We gotta stop.”
I let the silence drag out.
“Come on, Jack, next one is 20 miles! You want your car to smell like piss?”
“That’d be an improvement.” I took a deep, dramatic sniff. “In case you haven’t noticed, you reek like year-old poo poo.”
He laughed. I sighed and flicked on the blinker. I pulled into the closest spot and Tig flung open the door and bolted. I snatched the keys and chased after him. I’d be damned if I let him shoot up in the men’s room again.
Sure enough, he was bee-lining for the stalls when I walked in.
“Nope!” My voice echoed, and Tig stopped with his hand on the stall door.
“You said you had to take a piss. You’re staying where I can see you.”
“Man, what if I gotta take a poo poo?” Tig hadn’t moved.
“Either hold it or go in your pants. You’re not getting any alone time.”
He stared at me, his lips a thin, white line. Then he deflated and stepped over to the urinal.
A moment later, we stepped out into the cool air and three guys straightened from around my car. One of them held an aluminum bat. The guy closest to us grinned. Tig sucked in a breath and froze.
“Well, look who it is!” He stepped up onto the walk. Something bulged in his right jacket pocket. “Thought you’d just leave town, Tig? Where you goin’?”
“Oh, hey Tommy. Didn’t expect to see you here.” Tig dropped his eyes to the cement and jammed his hands into his pockets.
“I bet not,” Tommy said. He turned to me. “The gently caress are you?”
I sharp, white-hot shard of metal seemed to be churning in my gut. I tried to remember how far back the door to the rest stop was, and the family restroom beyond that. Not that it’d matter if he had a gun.
“I grew up with this rear end in a top hat,” I said, jutting a thumb at him. “I’m taking him home to see his mother. She’s got cancer. Who the gently caress are you?”
Tommy turned back to the other two guys and all three of them laughed.
“Yeah, I bet she does.”
Tig shuffled his feet. I could hear him mumbling. All three of the guys were staring at me. Great. I grabbed Tig and pulled him close.
“Who the gently caress are these guys?”
“I owe Tommy some money. He gave me some stuff to sell, and, well...” He sniffed, and a fat tear rolled down his face.
“Hey!” Tommy stepped closer, his face red. “You two can whisper sweet nothings later. We got business to discuss.”
“Look, I don’t know what he did to you three, but if you want him, you got him.” I shoved Tig towards Tommy. His foot caught the cement, and he stumbled head-first into Tommy’s nose. Tommy reared back, screaming and clutching his face. A gout of blood poured between his fingers.
“Ah, poo poo!” I grabbed Tig’s elbow before he fell and hauled him toward the car. The guy with the bat stepped up, and I dropped my shoulder and plowed into him. All three of us went down, and I heard the guy’s rib pop. I clawed to my feet and shoved Tig into the back seat. I slammed into reverse as the third guy opened the passenger door. The door swung wide and then thundered shut as I spun the wheel. I heard three sharp pops and the rear-window exploded. I floored it, cut off a semi coming off the ramp, and saw it twist and jack-knife behind us. I watched it tip in the rearview mirror, covering both lanes and the shoulder. I hoped the driver was alright, but I couldn’t help but feel relieved.
I caught the next exit, made a few random turns until the turnpike was buried behind trees and hills, and parked. Tig stared up at me from the backseat, panting. I got out and stalked away. I heard the door open, his footsteps rush up behind me. When I figured he was close enough, I spun and shot out my fist. His head snapped back and thin trickle of blood ran over his lips.
“What the gently caress was that?” I took a step toward him and he scrambled back.
“Take it easy, Jack! I didn’t know they’d follow me. I’m sorry!”
“Who the gently caress are they?”
He collapsed to the blacktop and blubbered. I stepped over and squatted in front of him.
“Is your ma even sick, Tig?” My voice was gentle, but he flinched like I’d screamed.
He paused, sniffled.
“She died two years ago.”
I was on the turnpike in five minutes. I never looked back. I pulled into the drive just as the sun peaked over the horizon. I dug an old box out of the closet and found the picture in moments; two young boys sitting at a table, candles still smoking on the cake before them. I traced their grins with my eyes, sighed, and shredded the picture in two.
|# ? Mar 14, 2016 01:57|
I'm going to fail this week because I'm a moron who can't remember to save his draft before leaving the computer.
Per tradition, I will toxx the next time I sign up and post a redemption when I can.
|# ? Mar 14, 2016 02:11|
|# ? Mar 14, 2016 02:17|
"Phurba, for sealing demons." Tomas said, placing the golden blade with an odd, circular pommel on his waist. Fingers sliding over the pouches as he reached for another tool, checking what else he had to place.
The young man craned his neck to look back down at the table, nodding to a row of long, thin obsidian rods. "And those?"
"Glass bolts for errant spirits," Tomas replied, placing them in a small pouch on his back. Checking again, making sure he had everything before he headed towards the door. Behind him he could hear the soft footfalls of sneakers on hardwood.
"So, is this what you do all the time?" He asked as Tomas took the cloak off the coat rack, throwing it around his shoulders and clasping it closed.
"Nope," Tomas said, opening the door. "Only when I need to pay rent."
A soft steady hum filled the car, mixing with the tap tap tap from Devon's smartphone as they headed down Main Street amid the early evening traffic. The street lights blended with the storefronts and headlights that crisscrossed through traffic, reds and oranges and whites pushing back the darkness, driving it to the alleyways.
"Mom told me you had a weird job," Devon said, putting the phone back in his pocket. "She didn't tell me you were an exorcist."
"We're technically called Spiritualists. The Catholics have their own exorcists, and their own lawyers," Tomas replied, taking a right turn out of traffic and down another street.
"How does that even go to court? 'My client, Father O'Leary, is suing Mr. Kirk for ghostbusting under trademark'?"
Tomas shook his head. "It doesn't. We just settle it out of court. And for your information, Mr. Collins has been pretty gracious for letting us work on what is, technically, his beat." The car slowed down, Tomas sliding it into a parking space in front of a high rise. "We're here."
Devon looked up at the drab brick building, following Tomas as he headed up to the doors. "Who'd want to haunt this dump?"
"Not their choice, usually," He said, watching an old, plump man make his way towards the door. "We can't all die in a fancy mansion."
They stepped inside, the older man raising an eyebrow at the teen. “I thought it was just you.”
“Scheduling conflict,” Tomas said. “What's the issue?”
“I've had this apartment that I can't sell for about two months now. Old lady kicks the bucket in her bed, no one noticed it until the stink got through the door, so we call the cops. Natural causes, they said.”
“And she's still in the apartment?”
“Well,” The man said, pausing at the foot of the stairs. “Something like that."
Devon scrambled behind a table as the floating lamp shot forward, shattering on the wood with enough force to push it back an inch. The ghostly wail echoed and grew at the denied bloodshed, Devon covering his ears as he looked over at his uncle. "Why is it so pissed off?!" He shouted over the noise, watching Tomas reach for a pouch.
"Don't care!" He shouted, pulling out a black egg that he tossed to Devon. "When she reappirates, hit her with this!"
He felt the heavy thing in his hands, let it roll around his palm, nearly dropped it when another lamp slammed into the table with jarring force. He gripped the thing light in his hand and poked his head up into a whirlwind of dust and debris. Find the ghost, simple enough. just find the floating, horrible spirit that threatened to eat his soul...
There! A mouth too wide with too many teeth, eyes a fetid green, gray skin just barely translucent and three feet off the floor. Devon hurled the egg at the creature's feet and a cloud of sparking dust filled the air. He watched the dust that sprang up cling to her form, weighing her down, slowing her thrashing and silencing her screams as it crept up her chest to her arms and neck.
Tomas stood and threw something, and the ghost was gone. All that was left was the discarded eggshell and one of those glass darts, a sickly grey light fluttering through it. Tomas sighed in relief, stepping over a broken chair to pick up the bolt.
"And that takes care of that," He said, putting the bolt away in a pouch, turning to look at Devon.
“What was that stuff?”
“Powdered stained glass, treated with holy water. An old trick from Mr. Collins. So, ready for the next one?”
"There's more?" Devon asked, all color drained from his face, gripping the upturned table for support.
"In a city this big, there's always more." Tomas said, heading towards the door.
The clock on the wall clicked past three as the waitress brought over their food, shoulders slumped. Tomas dug in to his pancakes, leaving Devon to poke at the sandwich and fries on his plate
Silence. It was a blessed change from a banshee wail or a ghostly moan, and the coffee helped take the edge off the night.
"Hey, Uncle Tomas?"
He raised his head, fork still in his mouth.
"Thanks for looking after me. I know it was kind of short notice..."
"No problems. I haven't been that good of an uncle as is," He said, laying into his pancakes again. "Alicia and I just don't have a lot in common."
“She talks about you, though,” He said, shifting his tone to an impersonation. “Says she's proud of her baby brother. Owns his own business, has a nice place, could do to find a nice girl.”
Tomas laughed. “Yeah, imagine that first date. Dinner, movie, exorcise a ghost causing the walls to bleed.”
Devon smiled. “I don't know, there's probably a girl out there whose into bleeding walls.”
Tomas shook his head and waved for the waitress. “Stranger things have happened. Excuse me! We need a to go box, please.”
He hit the highway, the hum of the tires picking up as the dark blue mixed with the morning orange, Devon taking a sip from the thermos.
“Hey, Devon. I'm sorry about work and all,” He said, stifling a yawn. “It was supposed to be my off week.”
“Yeah. One of my friends was on schedule, but he had to go out of state for some family business. By the time Alicia told me that you'd be staying he'd already headed back home.”
Devon looked back at the thermos, screwing the lid closed. “Ah. Sorry I've been getting in the way.”
“You've been a great partner, Devon, trust me,” Tomas replied, stretching his neck."What time was your Mom coming to pick you up again?"
"She's out for the week," He replied. "I thought she told you."
Tomas sighed. "Well, I don't mind. But I'm going to be busy with work."
Devon grinned as they took the exit back home. "Fine by me."
|# ? Mar 14, 2016 02:58|
anime was right fucked around with this message at 04:50 on Apr 14, 2016
|# ? Mar 14, 2016 03:58|
sparksbloom fucked around with this message at 23:34 on Jan 1, 2017
|# ? Mar 14, 2016 04:07|
Bring Me Down to the River - 1336 words
It’s sometime after midnight I notice Mama isn’t breathing no more. She had been snakebit four days past. The woods are so alive tonight that I don’t even hear her passing, although I feared it for some time now. She stopped talking shortly after dusk and she told me plenty of times that was the final sign. That leaves just me and Alice by the fire. I gather my dress, pull my coat around me, and check on my sister.
Alice has been snakebit three days. The fire doesn’t give off much light now, but I can see the black lines of her veins as the corruption spreads through her body.
“Feeling strong?” I ask her.
“I feel cold, Cora,” she says. “And so, so tired.”
I touch her forehead to gauge her fever. It’s gotten worse and I’ve nothing with which to assuage it. I am not gentle with Alice as I check her for new sores and marks.
Alice leans over and retches. She gasps for air. I drum her back to loosen her lungs.
I know that if Alice falls asleep the fever will overtake her. I know if she falls asleep she will choke on her own sick and die. So I try my best to keep Alice awake. I sing to her and make her sing back. The night is cold, but Alice feels hot as flame.
I don’t know how much longer Alice has even if she stays awake. She’s always been small. I fear the sickness will travel through her quickly and devastate her. She needs to get to the water if she is to be healed. The doctor told us if we go to the river all will be well.
Mama told me it was too dangerous to move at night. Between brambles that could snag at our ankles and break our bones, to critters which hunt the night, there was a hundred dangers waiting to eat us up in the dark. But Mama is gone and Alice is burning up. She needs relief soon. Even Mama would seen that.
I take my blanket and wrap it around Mama’s body. It’s still warm and very heavy. She is just weight. Not living, not breathing. I wonder if in that weight is all her self. Are all the songs she would sing to us when we were scared somewhere in her still?
The blanket isn’t big enough to cover her whole body. I am not strong enough to wrap it welI. I hope the wolves won’t be able to get at her. I don’t want to think about her reaching that end.
I put the fire out like Mama taught me. No water, which ruins good firewood, but I cover the coals with soil. That way when we stop back to bury Mama we have a fire ready to be built and nice dry tinder with which to build it.
I try to remember what the doctor told Mama and me. I know it’s only a matter of time before I get the fever myself. Doctor says it spreads through the air like fire and once one person is exposed, the whole town might well be. He spoke through a cloth which covered his mouth. His words were muffled, but his message clear. It was only a matter of time before I was snakebit too.
The doctor didn’t call the sickness being snakebit. He called it by another name. He said the name came from a dead language called Latin. He did concede that the sores look remarkably like being snakebit. The only way to heal the sickness, he said, was to find the river and have faith.
I scoop Alice into my arms. She is shockingly light. I think of how heavy Mama was and how light Alice feels and I wonder how much weight the soul carries. Mama would know.
“We’re leaving Mama behind,” Alice says.
“Yes,” I say.
“We can’t leave Mama behind.”
“She told us to go on ahead. Mama’s gonna catch up with us later.“
That quiets Alice for a moment, but I know she isn’t satisfied with my lie. I can feel her fears in the way she burrows her head into my chest. The sweat of her brow dampens my coat.
I walk away from our camp into the brush. I don’t look back. I can’t look back. I remember Lot’s wife who looked back in regret at her past and turned into a pillar of salt. We must always move forward without wasting the energy of looking back.
I follow the moon. Its light filters through the trees, broken and scattered. I pray for a break in the trees, but I get none. My pace is slow in the darkness. My eyes drink up what cold light of the moon they can.
I know I travel in the right direction because I can hear animals around me in the underbrush. They travel to the water to fish, or drink, or wash. The woods are alive around me. Nothing sleeps. Nature gives me a wide berth. They know I am unnatural, an invader in their space. Or perhaps they can smell the sickness and pain that clings to me.
I carry Alice for an hour before silence falls over the forest. I know my eyes, my ears, my nose are not as keen as the woods around me and Mama told me to take my cues from nature. If the forest is silent and afraid, I must also be silent and afraid.
I crouch down and Alice whimpers in her fever. I hush her. I feel Alice’s breath, shallow and ragged. I hold my own.
I hear a soft padding moving towards me. My muscles tense. I want to bolt, but if I do, I am dead. The wolf approaches me. It sniffs me to assess me. I can not fight it off. Even if I could, I will be caught by the pack. I can only stay perfectly still and pray the way Mama taught me to. I pray for safety and protection. I pray for enough grace to get Alice to the river.
The wind changes. It carries a howl from far off. The wolf at my back answers and it sends chills through my bones. Prey has been found by the pack. The wolf trots off.
It is when I again hear the buzz of the insects that I move.
Dawn is close at hand when I draw close to the river. I make Alice sing to me to keep her from sleep. Her voice wavers and grows weak.
The river is ahead and I can hear something large splashing at the bank. I wait at the treeline.
It’s a black bear, not a grizzly, which is a small comfort. I try to hide, but it looks right at me. It rears onto its hind legs and seems to decide if I am a threat.
After a while it returns its concentration to fishing in the water.
I can feel Alice slipping from me. I must act now.
I wade into the water. It’s cold. It soaks my dress and weighs me down. But I keep walking. The water gets higher until it buoys Alice’s body. The water is no longer a hindrance, but helps me carry my sister. I shiver and I feel Alice shiver as well. She gasps when the cold hits her back. A sharp intake of air that is the strongest sign of life she’s shown in hours.
She turns and looks up. Not at me, but past me.
I look up. Now, at the end, I can see the moon. The sky is turning purple in a clear band that follows the path of the river. Like a tear straight through to heaven. The stars start to wink out.
“It’ll be dawn soon,” Alice says.
“Yes,” I say.
“That means a new day,” she says.
I cradle Alice in the water. “It sure does.”
|# ? Mar 14, 2016 04:13|
Thranguy fucked around with this message at 04:02 on Jan 1, 2017
|# ? Mar 14, 2016 04:30|
Come Hell or High Water
"I wish I could be more charitable to you stranger, but I got my own to look after. When them flood waters come nipping at our heels I got one eye for my woman and one fer my boy."
"Sheriff, I didn't do nothing to that little girl. That shop keep... It's not what it looks like. You can't leave me behind these bars with them waters coming this way."
"Even if you is innocent an' honest, I can't see ya sticking around after the flood to get yer neck stretched come dawn. I wouldn't. If you ain't honest, I wouldn't want you near my kin or anyone else's."
Jericho pounded his fists on the wrought iron bars of his cell. They rattled loudly, echoing inside the old dry interior of the sheriff's office. The noise was underscored by the sound of rain and distant rushing water coming from his window. "Just shoot me now then and be done with it. Civilized like, not like a lost mangy hound."
The sheriff shook his head mournfully. "Sorry son, I ain't the hangman. That would be unlawful."
"God drat it!" Screamed Jericho as he futilely pounded at his cell before giving up and slumping his head against the bars.
"I wouldn't be cursing god if I were in yer position." said the sheriff, "It's not that I ain't got sympathies fer ya, there's just nothing I can do. But I'll tell ya what, I'll leave the lamp on the table. It should last the night if this place does."
The sheriff knocked on his desk with the lamp on it. He stood thoughtfully for a moment, then slowly opened a drawer and pulled out a pistol. Jericho's eyes followed it with interest. The sheriff pointed it down and spun the cylinder, causing the small round lead pellets to fall into his other hand. He tossed the weapon at the cell.
"Just in case, here's my old powder pistol. I can't give ya no lead, but that pistol still has the powder in it. If ya hold it to yer head tight, it should do the job. Try an last the night foremost, if only fer your immortal soul."
The door slammed shut behind him. Jericho rubbed his face and reached between the bars for the weapon.
He walked to his window and stared into the rain. The moon peered between the clouds, it's full face trapped in horrified expression. He was just passing through. Something tempted him to stop in Brimbleton a day back but he pushed on to Fiddler's Crossing. Stopping early wasted time. Home was a ways away yet. He looked down at the water lapping at the sheriff's office. Getting further all the time.
The water began lapping at the edge of the building, seeping in through cracks and edges in the wood. The old dry wood underneath him creaked and groaned as the moisture soaked it's old bones. He sighed as the water began splashing at his boots and stepped on to his wooden bed bolted beside the window.
He had just stopped at the general store. All he needed was some food. The sun hadn't shone itself all day, a pale colour washed over everything and turned the dirt into mud. A small stream lazily trickled down main street. It was quaint then. The shop was closed, but nothing a good word and a coin couldn't solve. He remembered the faint notes of a child crying almost drowned out by the rain.
The water was much higher now, it was almost at the top of the bed. The current slammed the door hard to and fro. The flowing water shook the sheriff's desk and his lamp, sending the shadows of his bars flickering across the room. Turning the gun over in his hands, maybe there was a way to open the lock with it. He hopped down into the knee high water, pushed the pistol against the lock, and pulled the trigger. There was a thunderclap. When Jericho looked back, he found scorched iron but little else. He checked his gun. Five shots left.
The door burst like a drat and water came pouring in furiously. The desk flew across the room and smashed into the far wall, smashing the oil lamp. The desk and the wall caught fire. The open doorway revealed a torrent. A small shack sailed down main street faster than any sheriff would've allowed. A large piece of driftwood flowed inside his prison with the current. The rafters of the office were still dry and the fire was spreading upward quickly in a race against the river.
That was when he noticed the driftwood was staring at him with cold reptile eyes.
Jericho's eyes fell back to the gun. The water was high now, past his waist, and it took vigilance to keep the weapon high and dry. He was running out of time. Drowning was no way to go, nor as foodstuffs for an alligator. He could just end it all now. He closed his eyes and held the gun to his head.
The girl flashed through Jericho's mind. Broken and bloody. Her cries were no more, swallowed by a pale pallor. The way her father calmly put his clothes back on as he spun his lies. He had no weapon.
No man would take a drifter's word over a respectable member of the community and no god would judge him for deliverance.
No. He would not condemn himself to death. By man or beast, water or fire. Especially not by his own hand. His soul was clean and he wouldn't allow it to be tainted on passage from this world to the next. He eyed the crocodile's toothy grin with contempt.
"You're gonna have to fight for your meal." He snarled at the gator as he slammed the gun against the bars. It made a loud clang. Something was different. It was wobbling slightly. He looked down. The wood had swollen significantly and had began to crack and warp. He grabbed the bar and began to shake it vigorously. Smoke clouded his nostrils and burned his lungs. Water had risen to his chest. The fire crept into the top of the cell. The alligator watched him with it's crooked smile.
The bottom of the bar came out and it sunk to the floor of his cell. The gator lunged through the opening and before Jericho could react the beast snatched the arm holding the pistol dry in it's mighty jaws. Pain shot through his bones as soon as the jaws snapped shut like a bear trap. He dropped the gun in shock. He could feel the tip of the handle in the lizard's gullet. The water was up to his neck and leaving the tips of his toes struggling to find solid ground as the gator began it's death roll. His bones cracked and his flesh tore from his arm as the half ton serpent struggled to pull Jericho under. His vision disappeared under the water for a moment until he was able to push up with his feet again. All he could see was the gator's teeth intermeshed with visions of dark emptiness and hell fire.
With the last breath in his lungs and using all his might he stuck his thumb into the beast's eye. The demon recoiled in pain as the pistol slid back into his hand. He pressed the end of the gun barrel into the back of the beasts throat.
Five shots rang out in rapid succession. The mortally wounded animal spasmed and went limp. Jericho released his weapon, as did the gator. It rolled on to its belly and the current pushed its limp form against the remaining bars of the cell, it's blood mixing in the flood with his own.
Just as he was beginning to catch his breathe, the rafters began to crack loudly as the fire sapped their strength. The current was massive, he hung on with his good hand for dear life. He could feel the entire building begin to shift under the pressure. He had come so far.
"Okay, just a little more and you can go home." He said to himself. Jericho pulled himself out of the cell and along the wall against the current. The rafters buckled and tore great holes in the roof. Moonlight poured in with the rain. The walls started to tilt sideways under the current. He was close. All he needed was to pull himself through the submerged doorway with his one good arm. The rafters finally gave out and came tumbling down. He fought the temptation to yell. He stole a final breathe and pulled himself through in agonizing pain. The current mercilessly pummelled him, sending his vision spiralling. His vision began to darken. The last thing he could see was his prison being swept away and a tiny slice of orange peeking out above the river.
|# ? Mar 14, 2016 04:55|
What stood in front of me was more lock than door. They might as well have put up a huge neon sign proclaiming "Something valuable lies behind this door. Please take it off our hands". They seemed to be under the impression that the more locks you put on the door the more secure it becomes when in reality the opposite is true. With every lock you add to a door you weaken it and make it easier to break down. If a burglar were to try to pick every individual lock it would be tedious time consuming work but why bother when you could open it with a crowbar?. A crowbar is a skeleton key. It makes a hell of a lot of noise and it lacks the subtle finesse of lockpicks but there isn't a lock in the world that can withstand it.
I broke down the door with ease and entered the room. I threw whatever valuables I could find into my bag as well as the lockbox I had been hired to steal. As a finishing touch I threw a few random objects on the floor before making my exit, to make it look more like a random burglary.
My employer had requested to meet in a secluded back alley in a bad part of town. Knowing that this was a good way to get my payment only in the form of a bullet I insisted we meet at the bus station.
I hadn't slept for two days and every sound I heard felt as if it had a slight reverb to it. I could feel the night press down on me as I stared vacantly at the crowd. The sound of a car horn pulled me out of the trance.
By the curb in front of me was an expensive but tacky car. The window rolled down and a bony finger beckoned me near. In the backseat sat Francis Steiner, a weasel faced man in a ill-fitting suit that made him look like a high-school kid on his way to prom around his neck hung a few pounds of gold chains. Francis was a glorified middleman with delusions of being a big gangster. The driver was a giant seemingly made purely from muscle. He was fiddling with the radio trying to decide between talk radio and oldies.
"The box is in the dumpster with the giant penis spray painted on it." I pointed him to the alley across the street.
"Listen" he began. "We can either pay you now."
"Or you can do one more thing for us and we can double your money." he said with a greasy smile.
"I just wanna go home and sleep."
"This is a job you can do in your sleep." he said assuringly. "All you need to go into one of our legal operations and take a few items. The cleaning lady will have forgotten to lock the door and put the alarm on."
"Then you sell the loot and get the insurance money." I said, stating the obvious.
"Exactly" Francis said
"Sure why not?"
I stopped at a 24 hour grocery store for some coffee to keep myself from collapsing. The radio was blaring jungle sounds instead of music leading me to suspect that I might already be asleep.
Standing in line I heard a familiar voice behind me.
"Kid, is that you?"
I turned around to see Detective Jonathan Elihu, weathered and graying beyond his years with a mustache that hadn't been fashionable since he was a toddler. Elihu had arrested me seven times in the last ten years. The closest thing I had to a father.
When I was 14 years young I was running with a gang of older burglars. They taught me everything I needed to know from how to open any door to how to wear dark greens and grays instead of black since even the darkest night is never purely black and black stands out more. They'd force open a window and I'd crawl through it. I was rail thin and limber so I could easily squeeze my way through even the smallest of windows. One night I lost my grip while climbing through a bathroom window and fell face first into the sink loud enough to wake the neighbors. When the cops arrived the rest of the gang was long gone.. Elihu was a patrolman back then and found me lying on the floor with a huge gash on my face in a pool of blood. I don't actually remember it but he tells me all I said to him was "You should see the other guy." He drove me to the emergency room and let me off with a warning.
"You wouldn't happen to know about the B&E in the pawn shop on the Southside?" Jonathan said.
"No, sir. I've been in this line the whole night. The cashier is a trainee and works a bit slow" I replied
"I'll take your word for. Didn't seem like your style anyway. Way too sloppy. They threw so much random poo poo around the place that it was almost like they were trying to make it look like it was a random break in by some junkie shitheads that didn't know they were robbing an organized crime front." his tone of voice had gone from joking to deadly serious. "I mean if it was a organized job there might be a gang war and the first thing the people responsible would do would be to silence the burglar."
"Thank god it wasn't me then."
I paid for my coffee and Jonathan's as was customary. He figured I still owed him at least a few bucks for the clean-up bill for his squad car.
The door was unlocked just as Steiner had promised. I entered and closed the door behind me. The room was almost pitch black with a few tiny slivers of light seeping through the space between the blinds, as I made my way through the room I suddenly noticed that in the corner there was a strange spot of darkness that seemed to be slightly darker than the area around it, I stopped and stared it. Then the darkness leapt at me.
A huge fist smashed into my face like a wrecking ball and before I knew what was up I was on the floor. I could faintly see a huge mountain of a man standing over me clad entirely in black. I tried to scramble away but kicked me so hard in the side that something must have burst. I crawled towards my bag hoping to get my crowbar but the giant grabbed me by the hair and threw me into a wall.
I had walked into the most obvious set-up in the world. They send me to steal from their competitors and to tie up any loose ends they make me burgle one of their own joints. That way the thug currently beating me to death is a upstanding citizen protecting his property from a burglary and fully within his rights to kill me.
I was on the floor again. I could feel blood running down my face and I couldn't open my left eye. The giant bent down and grabbed my collar but just as he was about to pull me towards him I kicked him square in the nuts. He fell to his knees in agony as any many would in his situation. I managed to run to my bag but the zipper was stuck and as I fiddled with it I could hear the ogre start to move towards me, angrier than ever. The zipper came loose at the last moment and I grabbed the crowbar from the bag. I swung around and hit my attacker across the face. For a moment it rained teeth and blood.
The giant staggered but fell forwards onto me and pinned me to the floor. His eyes were bulging and his mouth oozed blood over my face. He reached into his belt and pulled out a knife, his hands shaking from adrenaline and pain. I felt something warm all over my lower body. I was convinced it was my own blood till I smelt piss. Detective Jonathan Elihu stood in the doorway and wires ran from his taser to the giant's back.
"You should see the other guy" I said with a smile.
A few hours later I was in a holding cell, for my own protection they said. My eye was beginning to bulge and was already a deep blue. Through the barred window I could see the first crimson light of dawn.
This wouldn't do for long. I couldn't be a witness for the cops or my career would be ruined but I couldn't just lay low because Steiner and his superiors would find me eventually.
I was going to fight them. I'd crawl out a window on the police station and take the fight to them. I'd steal their drugs and sell them to the competition, I'd send anything incriminating to the cops, and piss in their sock drawers.
But first I had to sleep. It had been a long night.
|# ? Mar 14, 2016 05:08|
“I haven’t slept in months,” Marica says.
“Scientifically impossible,” I say. I’m surfing. Waves on a glass beach. “More sugar water,” she says.
As I’m drinking it down I hear sirens. And my body starts contorting because they’re close. I’m drawn to them, twisting my body into a submissive position.
She’s pulling me off the street, bottle pressed to my scraped lips, my body still bent towards the bright lights, circling closer, impossibly. My veins are made of diamond.
I collapse against her as the sirens begin to fade. Just shades, she says. Like everything else. Everything is a shade, no matter how bright.
So, a different time. Later or before, it’s exactly the same thing.
I’m sitting with her on a rooftop overlooking the square. She’s explaining the rule. The rule is, you drink sugar water instead of non sugared water, and everything changes.
“So you drink it all the time,” she says. “Whenever you would drink normal water, drink sugar water instead. Don’t worry about your teeth. Teeth are an illusion. You learn that when you drink sugar water. You just need to keep drinking it.”
I forget whether or not I believe her. But I remember her saying it. I can remember her teeth. They’re white, but murky somehow. Like they’re losing their shape. I keep the idea in my head so I can match it up to reality later.
It’s later. I’ve been drinking nothing but sugar water. I can’t feel my body. But I can feel everything else. A bird lands on my shoulder and starts nuzzling my neck, soft plumes vibrating against my throat.
“The rules don’t apply to us now,” she says. “But sleep, that’s the big one. I mean, I was so sick of it. Having to pick the most strategic time to be unconscious for eight hours. Such a waste of brainpower.”
“So what?” I say. “We’re witches now? Demons? That occult stuff that was cool for maybe ten seconds?”
“We’re just things,” she says, and adjusts her carefully carved dreadlocks nervously.
I think I can hear sirens. If you listen carefully, you hear them all the time. I mean, they’re always going, just at different levels. They’re part of the background noise and because they’re musical, in their way, they blend into everything else. What this means is that they can get gradually louder, and by the time you register them, it might be too late. And all the while they’ve been slowly drawing you in, into the pulse of the city, where they control the blood flow.
We’re walking to the downtown core now. I ask Marica why. She sort of stammers, skips over the stammer hoping I didn’t hear. Just feel like it, she says, and when she shrugs there’s a bit of a tremor.
We stand out against the crowd, or at least she does. I’m sort of buffering her against everyone, but she’s too out there, too many symbols that are instantly recognizable to the unconscious. Too many wards that are indiscriminate, parting the crowd like an obedient ocean. So as we walk there’s a wide space around us, maybe filled with spirits but nothing that has presence, can do anything if all of a sudden these people just disappear completely, and there’s nothing, no one, just lights and sound.
“I’m thinking maybe a hairbrush,” Marica says. “Or a record.”
Those things are in completely different places, I want to say, but I’m too busy furiously swallowing sugar water. I feel it burn a little as it hits my throat, a little spark that drags down the inside membrane like a slug working his way down the base of a tree. This is too physical for me. I’d like it to diffuse into my essence, the apex of the sugar high. I’m addicted now, and at the periphery of my consciousness the fear is clamping my head into a nice tight ball.
“Maybe a sweater,” she says.
I’m trying to estimate my sugar to cell ratio when I start to hear the sirens. But of course they were always there, a buzz slowly resolving itself into a wail. The sugar in my ears softens it, but the wail scrapes through the spaces in between the molecules like silt through a sifter. So I’m hit with a fragments of noise that scatter my thoughts in all directions, furiously seeking sanctuary.
And I look at Marica, and she’s freaking out.
I can see it. She’s shaking so hard it looks like someone dropped the frames on a dying sprite. She’s moving her lips like she’s thinking of saying something. The perfect hex to smooth things out. But the sirens are getting louder, like she’s the source of them. But all this means, I realize, is that nothing’s coming out. She’s got nothing and the people around us are starting to move faster. The circle is expanding outwards, like suddenly everyone’s developed a healthy respect for our personal space.
I grab her arm and we start moving faster.
The sugar water is letting me see the ley lines between people, but the people are moving back and forth so violently that it’s impossible to keep track of them. And Marica isn’t mobile at all. She’s stumbling over her feet which have somehow developed the ability to sink into the pavement. She’s pulling them out, but it’s slowing her down. Every time they come out there’s a squelch which makes me think of stale gelatin.
The sirens get louder. Now the sugar molecules in my blood are catching the sound and spreading it through my body. Sucrose analogues, blasting in rhythm with my my heartbeat. It’s a glass ocean, endlessly refracting sunlight through my body. My skin is translucent and through it I can see white.
Come on, I say, or maybe think, and then I’m pulling Marica into the alley as the sirens fill the world.
The alley has a staircase that leads to an overhanging ladder, about elbow height. I don’t have that kind of upper body strength right now and Marica is practically dead weight.
What I hear next makes me turn on the jets. I’m expecting the sirens to hit a certain point and go into a steady stasis. Cops not bothering to turn them off as they roll out of their cars and draw their guns in a smooth ninja-like motion. But instead they change pitch and I hear a screech of tires and then they’re impossibly getting louder.
Then the lights splash against the shadows of the alley. Flashes that hit my sugar enhanced senses like paint splashed on a white wall.
The police car is pulling in after us.
I don’t think it’s dropped its speed. I can’t hear tires over the sirens but they are a steady wail and getting closer fast. They’re gonna run us over, I think, and I feel it. The sugar particles exploding in my blood, sending waves of granule through my bloodstream. Waves of sweetness, my body gasping. Everything is frosted.
Marica trips. She falls in slow motion and semi-smoothly I slide partly under her and fall with her. But I crunch on the gravel and even through the sugar it hurts. Like sugar spilled over broken glass. It feels ugly.
She half hits the ground and sprawls to the side.
I’m on my back. I look up.
The sirens are glaring. Inside the death machine things are stirring.
It’s a different time.
“So you’re on the bus,” Marica says, “and you notice some creeper moving towards you. He’s sliding into empty spots, keeping an even spacing, but he’s steadily getting closer. He’ll get up, yawn, stretch, and head in your direction for a bit until he sits down somewhere else.”
“Common situation,” I say.
“So what you do,” she says, “instead of living in fear, is bare your throat.”
“What if he’s a vaaaaampire,” I say in a dumb voice. I’m not really focused. I’m trying to figure out how much of the oversized off brand sugar water can is just air.
“That’s the point,” she says. “You slide down your collar, maybe tilt your head against the window. Close your eyes. You find out pretty quickly what kind of person someone is if he has a good, healthy view of your rosy throat.”
“Right,” I say. “You get stabbed like that dude on the news.”
“No,” Marica says. “He coughs and moves away. Every time. Have a little faith in people.”
Siren still blaring. Marissa’s breathing shallowly, quick gasps, oddly spaced. My whole body hurts. I can barely move. I hear loud chatter. A police band that I can somehow make out through the car. Incomprehensible, mechanical speech.
I tilt my head back, and force my neck up towards God.
|# ? Mar 14, 2016 05:34|
Listening to: Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 15:06 on Jan 2, 2017
|# ? Mar 14, 2016 05:35|
|# ? Dec 6, 2021 09:12|
Dust Dust Dust All Night
Joel Sterling waited around the block from the party at an opulent ranch home on the corner of Chief and Laredo.
He and Tabby Sterling had been married three and a half years. She'd been loving the guy who lived in the small mansion with the chrome carport for at least the past three months. Maybe longer, who knows?
But three months ago was when things started getting blatant. He opened the glove compartment, removed a bag of powder and took a small but forceful snort straight from it. Joel had his blend, Tabby hated it, and he was doing it right.He barely had to try to get Tabby's plans for tonight. She'd noted her man's address on her public calendar, as though either she or Joel needed a reminder of where this prick lived. "Tom Haywood".He'd heard Tom's message on the family machine that morning before work, just as he was out the door. The evening plans dripped through Joel's skull as he ate. At seven PM, quitting time, Joel hit up his regular dealer on the college campus and grabbed his weekly bag. He'd pulled another wad of cash from his pocket and bought five extras.
A hatchback pulled in. Tom had a Mercedes that featured in a their graphic texts. Reading the messages between their swapped pictures, he'd known Tom parked on the driveway to show the car off a little. That turned Tabby on.
He sat and watched cars pull into the drive, each depositing well-dressed couples and the occasional single. Joel could see Tom and Tabby open the door for each new guest. Joel squinted. Yes. It had to be her. The party was blooming and Tabby, his wife, was the hostess.
Joel had snapped then, but a real hard snap that leaves sharp edges behind.He cracked his bag again and almost took another snort, but stopped. No, couldn't get too tuned. Still, he pocketed his whole stash, leaving his personal bag in his breast pocket and loading the other five into his blazer just as planned.
At eleven Joel moved. Every door and patio was wide open for guest circulation but he chose the front entry.
"Heeeeeeyyyy! Late arrival?!"
Joel stopped short at the doorway and stared stupidly. "Hi." He paused. "I'm Joel." The inquisitive man's face burst into 'new-friend' delight. No questions about Joel's flushed, damp skin or his blown pupils. The man was shitfaced. A glance around the room showed Joel that was the party's general mood. Mmhmm. "Joel? I don't think we've met! I'm Larry, this is Sarah. How do you know Tom?" Larry gestured deeper in, at Tom on a leatherchair with Tabby perched on the matched ottoman. Joel, tempered by the snort, pushed on: "Through a mutual friend. He vouched for Tom!"
Larry, gin-reeking, threw an arm around Joel's shoulders and walked him into the kitchen for gimlets. Larry talked drunkenly aboutwomen ruining lives while ignoring Sarah. Firmly in tow, Joel stared around the room.
His heart seized as he locked eyes with Tabby. She looked casually at him and given him a crisp smile, then gone back to conversation with Tom. Joel turned as he was tugged into the kitchen. Larry was holding two very full tumblers and still rambling about women. Joel's mind swapped to the crack track while Larry's misogyny unfolded. "Can't live with em, can't live without em!" Joel yelled, the situation decoded. Larry roared in agreement.
Joel's rich, booming laugh at his own joke echoed through the house.Joel and Larry, now bonded, moved into the family room through a crowd. As they passed by Sarah, Joel gave her a solid pinch on the rear end and a wink. She giggled and winked back as Larry shuddered. Joel owned the balding man with the shaky smile.
Larry was a crate of TNT sweating volatile thoughts of infidelity and waiting for the right kick. To Joel, this was the first seed he'd laid.
He patted the zip-top in his breast pocket. His dealer mixed it for him weekly. MDPV for a slow burn, Mephedrone for the long run, and a dash of K for the up and hole and the wake, all finished with a healthy dollop of brown chop angel dust.
Joel turned to two friends of Larry's, Arji and Maria. Arji's eyes flashed to each drink in the circle's hands over a diet coke. Joel waited until Arji dropped a boring anecdote, then roared in prepped laughter.
"I've gotta make Arji a cocktail for that poo poo! A diet coke?!" Joel began to muddle a handful of mint leaves from the nearby bar. He finished the cool, sweet mojito, and held it to Arji.Arji drained the glass, the circle cheered. Joel backed away as he catalogued the room. Lots of murky mulled wine and drunk partiers. He gave a quick, cranked-out look around: not the small corner wetbar or the buffet table. Nothing. The center bar, though: A retro-Americana crystal bowl, less than a quarter full of mull.
Joel worked the room and waited for the mull to be refilled:
-Three of Tom's subordinates became upset about their 'promised' promotions being straight bullshit.
-Two wives and a husband were now suspicious with their partners' long hours, which involved less filing and more loving.
-Tom's supervisor learned of his involvement in socialist pro-union work.
-An elder board member was near-apoplectic about Tom's fictional new race-based hiring plan.
When the maid grabbed the punch bowl, Joel had swiftly swept it away, explaining that he'd make Tom's favorite mull as a surprise to get things festive again. He winked and patted his breast pocket as if he had a secret ingredient or two, which he absolutely loving did. Joel ladled the warm stock mulled wine into the punch bowl and emptied all five packages of sweet chemical fury into the bowl. He left a huge jug of warm drug mull with the kitchen staff.Joel dropped more terminator seeds as he walked back to the punch table. He'd paid attention:
-A man who'd bragged about his concealed carry permits heard about a local anti-gun politican mouthing off about regulations at the kitchen bar.
-A Honduran waiter was called over just as Tom's cousin spoke his mind about the leechlike nature of immigrants.
-Maria was shown Arji slamming sixth cocktail and pouring a seventh.
-Larry saw Sarah, the CFO's arm around her waist and snaking down her rear end.
-Tom bragged about how he could cheat the 'help' from fair wages as his maid served him a tumbler of mull.
Joel placed the punchbowl at the center bar just as Tabby finally spotted him. Upon seeing her, he played the drunken suburban party trump card:
"I want to dedicate this to our hosts, Tom and Tabby! What a beautiful couple!"
Joel grinned, completely disabling any defense Tabby may have had. He began to pass the hot-shot mull around as guests drunkenly clapped and hooted. Soon, there were two rapidly emptying glasses per person, three for Arji and even one warming Tabby's hand.
Tom drained his second glass and filled a third. Tabby was deluged with drunken well-wishers as two men had begun shoving and kicking each other about store credit. Joel crept to the upstairs bathroom. He locked the door, turned off the lights, laid facedown, and listened. After a minute, he opened his breast pocket bag and took a hard, long sniff and flushed the rest. His nose dripped blood.A half-hour later, shouting and thuds had begun. He'd heard Larry pounding on the door, yelling that there was a tiger inside his neck as his words dissolved to a hard rippling gurgle.
It sounded like a window burst every half hour or so.
Joel had heard gunshots two hours in. They were followed by a brief silence, then an animated yelling and pounding on the bathroom door, followed by a wet, choked scream. There was a steady, slow scratch at the door until it stopped too.The bellows below intensified and crested for a few hours, a voice dropping from the chorus every few minutes, maybe Tabby's in one of those. Joel laid, wide-eyed.
No one's sleeping tonight.
|# ? Mar 14, 2016 06:33|