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  • Locked thread
newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

by Nyc_Tattoo


edited out.

newtestleper fucked around with this message at 10:37 on Jan 7, 2017

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Mr Gentleman
Apr 29, 2003

the Educated Villain of London



Subways eat fresh

Marshmallow Blue
Apr 25, 2010


Ok this week, I tried to fix some tense issues, as well as better descriptions of things.

--------

The Other Side of the Wall (1198)

Alex leaned against the bullet drenched wall and took a long draw from his cigarette. The tail of ashes formed and floated away once they couldn’t support their own weight. Death was everywhere, feasting on the revolution that was just taking hold. To the right, a spirited rebel, slumped over on the ground in a pool of their own blood. On the left, his young love who had hidden him from the authorities. The punishment for both was a front row seat to the firing squad. Commissar Viktor Kyvol was death’s right hand man.

Every day was the same. Find rebels and their sympathizers, line them up for the firing squad, and leave their lifeless corpses as a message for the rest of the rebels to see. There was no trial or jury. Just Viktor, who would shoot ten civilians if it meant killing one rebel. It’s that kind of dedication that made Alex wonder if he was on the right side of things.

But it’s better to be on the wrong side of things than on the business end of the firing squad Alex thought. He took another draw from his cigarette and shifted his stance.

Not everyone died so quickly. After hundreds and hundreds of killings, Alex had seen it all. Slow deaths, quick deaths, people desperately running with their hands bound for just a few more breaths of life. After a while he became numb to it all. The only absolute was once Viktor declared you a rebel, you were dead.

Alex finished his cigarette and flinged the butt to the ground. It landed in the pooling blood and expired with a hiss. Perhaps they are the lucky ones, their souls now at rest.

“Alex.” Viktor called from around the corner. “Break is over, there is a rebellion to crush”. It was time to kill again.

The line was set, and nine other riflemen stood waiting for Alex to take his place one the firing squad. There were no rifles loaded with blanks on Viktor’s line. From his perspective, there should be no emotional despair over killing a rebel, less you are a rebel yourself.

Only three rebels stood against the abandoned building. Alex believed it was lucky to be in a small group. You were dead either way, but there were more bullets with your name on it, and that meant quicker death. Alex took his spot on the firing line and aimed his rifle towards the rebels. They all looked angry, ready to die for their cause. He couldn’t look at their rage filled eyes. At first he had tried, but he couldn’t. Alex was numb to the blood and bits of brain and flesh that painted the walls. He was numb to the lifeless corpses that lay about, but not the life still residing in those soon to be corpses.

“Fire!” Alex heard Viktor’s signal, and a round of gunfire echoed in his ears. Alex still thinking about the souls in those bodies fired significantly late. Alex came out of his daze to see bodies dropping to the earth and screams of pain. Blood sprayed from the left and right onto the center rebel. So much blood Alex thought.

“Alex!” Viktor said while approaching from the side, reaching for his pistol. “Wake up. Finish that one off.” He said as he motioned his pistol towards the rebel in the center who had been grazed twice, but not fatally wounded. Viktor placed the pistol in Alex’s hand.

Alex walked over to the rebel, who was curled on the ground, drenched in his own blood and the blood of his comrades. No problem he thought. Alex was numb to the gore. He pointed the pistol towards the man’s head when suddenly he looked up towards Alex. His face and clothes were red with blood, and he laid on a ground of shimmering red. His eyes were a bright penetrating white. Alex stood frozen with the pistol aimed square at the rebel. His eyes pierced through Alex like the coldest of winter winds. Alex’s soul was naked for all to see. He tried to pull the trigger, but his fingers wouldn’t listen.

The rebel swung out his leg and took out Alex’s knees. He sat up and ripped the gun from Alex, then pointed it at Alex’s head as they both rose to their feet. Three soldiers on the firing squad had reloaded their rifles and aimed them at Alex and the rebel.

The rebel switched between aiming the pistol at the soldiers and Alex’s head. “Nobody do anything. Nobody move. Lower your rifles.” The rebel said frantically, trying to limp to a safer vantage point with Alex as a shield.

“Nobody lowers their rifle.” Viktor said.

“I’ll shoot him.” The rebel said pointing the gun at Alex again.

“Fire” Viktor said.

Almost immediately, three gunshots rang out as one. One hit the rebel square between the eyes. The both fell. One bullet took a large portion of flesh from Alex’s shoulder, and the other hit his leg. Alex closed his eyes as he heard footsteps splashing towards him through the blood pooled street.

-----------------------------------------

Alex woke up in the military hospital. Pain radiated on his entire right side, pulsing like rat trying to gnaw its way through his flesh to freedom taking short breaks between bites. He tried to lift his arm to ring for a nurse, but was only met with resistance and more pain. Alex sat motionless as Viktor walked into the room.

“Always pay attention in the field Alex. I hope you learned a valuable lesson yesterday. You always have to be aware of your situation. You’re lucky to be alive. The good news is the rebel is dead, and we got you to the hospital before you bled out.” Viktor continued.

“The bad news is…” Viktor paused with a look of concern “You will no longer be able to serve. You’re receiving a medical discharge, as well as facing five years in prison for insubordination.”

Viktor handed two sealed letters to Alex and left the room. Alex let out a slight smile. No more killing. No more blood. Alex felt the heavy burden of all the death he caused fall away, and he cried tears of joy. His body hurt as the tears came in shudders; but no pain could stop the relief he felt.

----------------------------------

5 Years Later:

Alex walked from the prison with a slight, but noticeable limp, carrying all of his possessions in a gray duffel bag. The rebellion had come and gone as quickly as it erupted four years ago. The sky was sunny, and Spring was overflowing with new life. Alex smiled at the sight of rebirth from another dark Winter.

Alex walked down the street and leaned against a one of the many fateful walls of his past. He lit a cigarette. Children played in the street, men and women carried out errands, and others worked on planting flowers in garden boxes. He took a long drag from his cigarette. The ashes grew and floated away when they could no longer hold their own weight, just like the burden’s he once carried himself. Death was nowhere.

Marshmallow Blue
Apr 25, 2010


Marshmallow Blue posted:

In it not not lose it.



Also my pic

Chernabog
Apr 16, 2007






Grim callings - 1185

Death appeared before the watchtower with a musket resting on her shoulder, she raised her hollow eye sockets to meet my gaze. She did not need speak a word for I knew the purpose of her visit. I nodded and lowered the bridge. The gate's steel bars bent to the sides as she passed through, reforming their shape afterward.

The first time I stood watch I had hesitated: Who in their right mind would let Death through? I thought I'd stand up to her, that I'd stop her. But it was the others or me – she had made that clear. To oppose her was certain doom.

Despite everything she stood for, I respected her. Not out of fear, but out of responsibility. She had a thankless job which she fulfilled dutifully. Not like a soldier who did as commanded, no. More like a force of nature that simply did what it was supposed to, what it was meant to. She didn't pick or choose, treating noblemen and beggars alike. She acted and got results, made things happen.

A gunshot broke the silence of the night. Death hovered back though the gate a few minutes later.

“Why do you need the bridge?” I asked.

She turned her bony head towards me. It was impossible to read her emotions, if there were any whatsoever, she had no skin or muscles to display them.

“I do not. Just seems right.”

“Why the musket? I thought you'd use something more... classic,” I said.

“Times change.”

She shrugged, then glided into the woods.

***

“You are burning up!” I said.

Anna pushed a bucket towards me. I submerged a towel in the cold water and wrung it over Maxim's forehead. A plague had hit the town a couple of weeks before and people began falling sick left and right. Death's visits had increased ever since.

“Thanks Yuri, but you two should stop wasting your time. I'm as good as dead,” he coughed.

I sighed and shook my head.

“We won't give up on you brother. Anna will take care of you while I work.”

She nodded.


The streets had never been particularly lively at those hours of the night but there had always been something going on: drunks brawling, a beggar playing the guitar or a couple kissing in a dark alley. Now they were completely deserted. I strolled through the empty road until I reached my post, then sat by the edge of the tower like I always did. It was a calm night, mist floated slowly over the ground. Hours passed and the skeletal figure finally appeared.

“You're late today,” I said.

“Never late,” Death answered, “where I need to be, when I need to be.”

“Are you here for Maxim?”

She shook her head.

“No. Not yet. Soon.”

“Can't you let him live? At least for a bit longer, he's still young.”

She shook her head once more.

“Cannot. Where I need to be-”

“Yes, yes. When you need to be,” I interrupted, then lowered the bridge, “go on then.”

She glided towards the gate but stopped before crossing.

“You can though.”

I raised an eyebrow.

“Southern caves. Purple mushroom. Beware of beast lest I take you next.”

She entered the city and the all-familiar gunshot echoed through the distant mountains. She returned and placed her musket against the wall.

“Take this,” she said, “bring back, one piece.”

***

Alek the town mayor twirled his beard as he thought.

“I will not put my men in danger Yuri,” he said, “This is madness! How can you trust Death? She comes and takes our people every day.”

“That's what she does. We can't blame her for that.”

“Bullshit! We have enough problems as it is, I can't risk more people.”

“Fine. I'll go alone then.”

Alek shook his head.

“You are mad son, completely mad. But do what you must.”


Making my way through the woods was difficult, the mud slowed my progress and every so often I had to stop and hack the branches with the bayonet. The rocky entrance appeared beyond the trees. With torch and musket in hand I descended, the thick air and darkness threatening to asphyxiate me.

A brown and furry silhouette breathed deeply at the bottom of the cavern, slumbering. I held my breath and moved as quietly as I could manage, circling the cavern to pick up as many mushrooms as my pouches could hold. They were easy to spot, their bright colors stood out against the dark rocks.

The bear growled. I turned to see her raising up and fired the musket instinctively, getting her at the side of the neck. The shot nearly left me deaf but it managed to injure and stun her momentarily. I reached for more ammunition but the bear knocked the musket out of my hand with her powerful claws. While the torch posed no real threat for the beast I attacked anyway hoping to scare her away. She retreated but then pounced, knocking me down. I twisted in place and retrieved the musket. As I turned back the bear bit my shoulder, the pain nearly rendering me unconscious. I gathered all the might I had left and rammed the bayonet on the side of her head, causing blood to rain over me while her body slumped limply to the side. My vision got blurry, I passed out.


I woke up in the cave still. The torch had died but Death's unearthly glow illuminated the chamber.

“I guess I failed,” I said with difficulty.

Death ignored me. She lowered the musket and fired at the bear. There was no physical reaction, no wound or blood-spray. Instead, a blue mist-like substance emerged from the would-be wound and was sucked into Death's eye sockets in a whirlwind of motion.

“Here for her. And this,” she said, raising the musket.

“Why did you help me?”

“You not afraid, you asked. Most people do not dare,” she paused, “I take lives when they need to be taken. My purpose. All lives, eventually. Life duration inconsequential, to me.”

Her lower jaw opened slightly giving the impression of a smile.

“Next time friend,” she said, then vanished.

***

Anna sutured the wound on my shoulder, I winced after every stitch.

“Fantastic! Now I have to take care of not one but two sick brothers,” Anna said.

“Leave the complaining to me. I was almost eaten by a bear.”

“Stop it both of you. The plague is under control now and we are all alive. That's what matters,” Maxim said, still resting in his bed.

Anna mumbled something but I was unable to make out her words, she finished suturing. I frowned.

“It wasn't that bad. Was it?” She said.

“It's not that,” I said.

She crossed her arms and grimaced.

“What then?”

“I'll miss her.”

“Death? Are you serious?” She paced back and forth inside the room, then stopped, “I guess you will see her again someday. At least once. But I don't want to think about that, not now.”

She was right, we had the rest of our lives ahead.

ZeBourgeoisie
Aug 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME
LOSER


Chili posted:

Sweet. This place is magical.

It certainly is. May the best man win.

:toxx:

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


a friendly penguin posted:

Also, thanks for the words, Sitting Here and Titus.

Don't lie to me, you harlot.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning




SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

:siren:MEGABRAWL ROUND 1:siren:

That's right - your piece in this inaugural round of the brawl must not have a story, narrative or any sort of forward arc. Make it evocative, and beautiful.

Rhino vs Thranguy

-----------------------------------
http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/brawls.php?story=410

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at 08:50 on Jun 20, 2016

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Megabrawl vs. Carl Killer Miller

Fugue
Words: 785

When you discover Gavin hanging from the shower curtain rod, you almost laugh. His head is tilted just slightly askew, and his expression is pursed and bug-eyed, like he’s trying to restrain a torrent of guffaws at a very funny prank. Even when your brain does the math and the rush of shame, horror, and shock comes flooding in, the giggle is still there, threatening to emerge. Because you just had to pee, and now your mousy little roommate is hanging in the bathroom.

You’re still forcing the laughter down when you’re checking his pulse on his wrist, and it only quells completely when you notice the blood’s already pooled in his hands. You struggle with the noose. You struggle with the knot he used on the curtain rod. They’re too tight and it’s taking way, way too long.

But eventually you get him down on the filthy linoleum tile and you tap into your first aid training. Hands clasped on his chest. Rapid compressions. This what you’re supposed to do, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

You get through a couple cycles before remembering: 911. You forgot to call 911. That’s what you should have done first. But you didn’t. You almost laughed and then you tried to be a hero, but you didn’t call anyone who might actually help.

Your phone is in your bedroom, so you leave the bathroom, and you close the door behind you because everyone deserves privacy. You call 911 and give your best impression of a calm collected person who is reporting on a dead, cold, roommate in the bathroom. You ask if you should keep giving CPR.

“It’s okay,” the dispatcher says, after a beat. “Take care of yourself, honey.”

You still have to pee. That’s why you were in the bathroom, after all. You couldn’t get back to sleep until you peed. This is a double sticking point. Because you’re not going to use Gavin’s bathroom. And, number two, the fact that you’re experiencing this very real visceral feeling means that this is not a nightmare, it’s not a chunk of primordial trauma your subconscious mind reheated for you.

It’s real.

You feel like you don’t belong in the house, so you stumble downstairs and collapse on a rocking chair on the front porch. The sun still hasn’t risen, and your eyes are bleary with sleep. Maybe it’s like those moments when you’re not quite asleep but you’re certain that impossible things are true – witnessing the mundane real world of your bedroom through smudged funhouse glass. You’re still clinging to the belief that soon, the pane of glass will shatter and you’ll discover that this morning was all a cognitive distortion. That Gavin was playing a funny joke. That’s why you wanted to laugh. His joke was just that funny.

Behind you, a florescent light flickers on, and you make out the silhouette of your downstairs neighbor through her blinds. She’s rubbing her eyes and squinting at you through the window.

You knock on her front door and opens it in her bathrobe. You and Gavin would sometimes catsit for her. That’s the one thing you remember about him: he liked cats.

Eulogy material.

“You’re up early,” she says, in a groggy contralto.

“Can I use your bathroom?” you ask. She looks nonplussed, but she shrugs anyway. Go ahead.

Her bathroom’s different from yours. It’s cleaner. There’s a litter box. And it feels like the emptiest bathroom you’ve ever been in. You relieve yourself, and at first you feel better, but with the physical urge gone, there’s room for so much more to sink in. Like the cold skin of Gavin beneath your hands. The signs and signals you must have missed, these past few days, weeks, months. And your own disgust – you sick, broken fucker, you almost laughed.

The bile rises to your throat.

You’re too tired. You close your eyes shut tight, hoping maybe you’ll fall asleep on this toilet seat, but the daze is cut by sirens and they remind you this isn’t even half-over.

“Just a minute,” you say, but you stand up, flush the toilet, and the flustered mess you are, you forget to wash your hands before you open the door. When you do, your neighbor’s cat leaps at you, sinking his devilish teeth in your exposed leg.

And then you’re not in your body. You’re watching yourself yelp, then moan, then giggle through the moan, as your kindly neighbor looks at you like you’re an alien. Maybe you are. Maybe that’s the best-case-scenario. Because you’re looking at the flashing lights out the window, and you are hoping beyond hope that they might take you back to a more familiar planet.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




Megabrawl entry, vs The Saddest Rhino

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/brawls.php?story=411

Thranguy fucked around with this message at 04:09 on Jan 1, 2017

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


Megabrawl entry vs oxxi

It's Nothing
990 words

I don’t like bringing up Schroedinger’s cat. It’s that cookie-cutter thought experiment people talk about when they want to feel smart without having to go through the effort of being smart. Gives me the urge to nuke my brain with alkaline just thinking about it. That said, I’m 50% certain that my cat is dead.

It’s hard to tell sometimes with him. But if he was just sleeping he’d be doing it in the sunlight, like a respectable kitty. Next to me, there’s still ample space under this hot light blanket, there’s still room for more eyes staring up and down into the endless blue square above me. It’s nice. But he’d rather fester under my desk. Unmoving. I think. Shame on him.

Did I remember to feed him?

Tsk, tsk, goes Grandfather Clock, leaning in his corner like a smug rear end in a top hat. He frowns, probably because it’s 4.40, but it could also be 8.20, or maybe he’s just genuinely pissed off because he’s been standing in the same place for two years now and he never gets any sunlight. His pendulum swings side to side like a nagging finger. Tsk, tsk. Tsk, tsk.

Didn’t feed your cat.

Tsk, tsk.

Didn’t clean your room.

Tsk, tsk.

poo poo everywhere. Pizza boxes and dirty laundry and white dust scattered all over the place like someone had popped a bag of sugar and rolled in it to become the world’s most thoroughly glazed rear end in a top hat. Rolling in it, like a pig, shrieking and grunting, a sexual kind of intercourse, except only the bad bits, only you. What a disgusting little--

Tsk, tsk.

“Shut the gently caress up.”

Sometimes clocks get uppity. It happens. You rely on them so much they get used to having their opinions heard. But you can’t let them gently caress with you. Never let a clock gently caress with you. Time is money.

There’s a ringing in the distance, and the tsk, tsk, flares up again.

A specter slips between me and the sky. It takes away my blanket, my warm and fuzzy blanket, snags it from me, like I was not allowed even this little bit of warmth. It throws me into darkness.

Something cold bubbles up inside me. I think it’s fear. Breathing gets harder to do. Like I’m trying to huff a solid concrete slab. The light dims, dims, disappears, a bag over my head or blinds before my eyes or just a dreadful fog, a nebulous darkness that can’t be defined, can’t be escaped from. I claw at my neck. Fingernails tear into my skin.

“Please,” I say. “I’m sorry. Sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry.”

It’s cold and dark, a coffin of a room. Grandfather Clock’s tsk, tsk, grows louder, more annoyed. Shadows appear from every corner, every direction, their long tendrils reaching out for me and for the cat’s corpse as if trying to extract our souls and drag us back to whatever hellhole they’d come from. I swat at the air around me, but it doesn’t register. My shadow remains glued to the ground. There’s nothing--

Grandfather Clock screams. Once, twice, three times, again, again. “IT’S ONE O’ CLOCK.” “NO WAIT, IT’S TWO O’ CLOCK.” “NO WAIT--” Every shout is another assault on my ears, quaking my head as if Grandfather Clock was repeatedly falling onto my temples. The ringing from before returns, or maybe it’s just still here, mixing with the noise and the shadows, laughing at me from all sides, and I thrash around, trying to get some peace and quiet, I want quiet, no specters or noise or torment, and I don’t know if there’s a button in this apartment that turns all that poo poo off but if there is by god I will hit it eventually.

My limbs begin to slow. Something else takes hold of me, freezes me, a cold and heartless hand that pins me to the ground. My entire body is pulse, pulse, pulse, the constant ebb and tide of adrenaline. Freefalling through the void. Bungee jumping inside an active washing machine. Swirling and tumbling and screaming. But only on the inside. I don’t have it in me to scream.

Then the clock grows quiet.

The specter moves past, allowing sunlight back into the room, and fresh air elbows its way back into my lungs. There’s a final beep. My own voice speaks to me.

It tells me to leave a message.

“Hey Daniel, how are you?

“We… haven’t spoken in a while. I hope you’re doing alright.

“Look, I know it’s tough on you. And if you ever want to talk… I know you need your time, but Sarah… she’s just nine. You mom’s gone and now she doesn’t see you anymore either. She keeps… asking. Like she thinks you also--”

Dad starts choking. Quick ragged breaths, a pained grunt.

The specter got to him too.

Mom and dad have a chandelier in their living room. Mom loves it because it always glitters, and it goes so well with the round ornate mahogany table and the twisted glass vases and it ties the room together into something that looks fancy without succumbing to kitsch, like a tiny ballroom for your closest friends. A specter could hide well up there. Nobody ever looks up, and the gleam would blind anyone who tried. It could rappel down the chandelier, swing, land on the Turkish rug, crouch up on dad from behind and strangle him with the phone cord (that’s what they get for not going cordless in 2016).

“Watch out dad,” I say, and something about ghosts. But he’s already talking again, staccato words pushed out from inbetween his teeth as if he was trying to quickly throw them in my face before he was being tortured to death. And then he says goodbye and the answering machine clicks.

Tsk, tsk.

I should probably do something.

Tsk, tsk.

My cat’s still lying under my desk.

Tsk, tsk.

Now I’m 60% sure.

dmboogie
Oct 4, 2013



Megabrawl vs Ironic Twist

Old With The Sea
879 words


The ocean births them, crawling naked and fully formed onto the rocky shores, and claims them at the end. Between, there are centuries of labor and love and invention and inspiration, but the sea surrounds and swallows both extremes of life.

-

As autumn decays into winter and leaves drift to the now-barren earth and rot, the drunken choruses in the tavern begin to take on a melancholic air. The oldest patrons, skin still as smooth as the day they washed up on the coast, sing wistful songs of the gray ocean tides while the younger folk scoff and toast to eternity.

The bartender idly scrubs her counter, watching those who have imbibed too much spirit and song. She has no intention of losing paying customers to the westward call of the sea, the call that sends those who answer stumbling blindly into the rainy night, never to be seen again if not caught by caring eyes. It whispers to her, too, as she lies awake during the quietest hours, but it had begun a mere ten years ago and remained only a nuisance.

The elderly do not trouble her this night. A swaying young braggart, supported both figuratively and literally by those around him, tells all who will listen of a genius friend of a friend, an inventor who has spent his life perfecting a means to conquer the end itself, a vessel to at last discover what lay beyond the ocean. All he needs are brave souls to lend him labor. The bartender laughs. Most don’t. By week’s end, seven men and women leave.

Decades pass. Leaves rot, drunkards sing, braggarts boast of new breakthroughs, new geniuses. She laughs, people leave. The bartender hopes, wherever they go, whatever they find, that they are not afraid.

-

The scholar makes his centennial visit to the coastline, steps leadened by packs full of equipment. The rope is tight around his waist, the other end held by the shaking hands of his assistant, who staunchly refuses to face the sea. No matter. The scholar takes his measurements, treading carefully to avoid touching the water. This close, the cry is almost deafening, but he is determined to see things through, the eternity words carved into his skin a faithful reminder.

An hour later, his work is done, and the scholar leaves with his relieved assistant. The road back to the university is long, and the scholar ponders his findings. His last visit, the sea had risen by a single foot. This time, it had been six. He fears the implications. His ears fill with crashing waves, the truth on his flesh itches, and he knows his work is not yet done.

-

They will not die.

Thus preaches the caravan leader as their small party trudges ever eastward. They all carry the memory of someone who has succumbed to the ocean song, someone who had once whispered eternity words like “love”. They all fear the power that can break such an oath. The great cities are years behind them, replaced by explorer’s outposts and secluded hermitages. Sometimes, they come across one of a like, desperate kind, and they are welcomed to the procession. Most who watch simply pity them. Still they march, repeating their only promise.

They will not die.

As they reach the dark sands where none other dare to tread, their leader shrieks and claws at her ears, ripping out bloody chunks of cartilage before her followers subdue her. Come morning, she is smiling as she rips their waterskins to shreds and stabs countless holes through their barrels. The caravan continues into the unknown, even as their eyes dry up and they shrivel and become shrunk-skinned. They are secure in the only truth that matters.

They can not die.

-

The lighthouse keeper decided long ago that he would grow old with the sea. He does not flee the ocean, nor does he seek its embrace. Instead he grows uniquely gray and wrinkled along the coastline as years refuse to pass him by.

His is not a lonely existence, the light atop his tower sees to that. The newly formed collapse upon the shore, only to see a warm glow in the distance, and are drawn to it. They find the keeper waiting with a fire, soft clothing, and friendly advice to help them find their way. “The world is beautiful,” he encourages them, and they listen. After they leave he paints portraits of them and hangs them in his lighthouse, hoping to preserve their wonder.

The light also draws those who seek the ocean, one last curiosity before they wade into the deep. The keeper greets these with a fire, warm food, and a sympathetic ear, hoping to convince them to remain landlocked souls, at least for a while longer. Some listen, and thank him. Most don’t. “There’s no more beauty in this world,” they tell him, speaking their final eternity words with the assurance of centuries. They bid him farewell, each humming the same melody he has grown to loathe, and melt away into the waters. After they are gone, he paints portraits of them and hangs them in his lighthouse, in memoriam.

He cries, sometimes, staring at the two lines of portraits side by side, and hopes to find answers.

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:




Muffin's megabrawl entry:

Our Home in Pune (986 words)


My parents tell me that the return to our motherland was a tradition born out of the diaspora of the 1980's, when our communities were afraid. There wasn't money, there weren't connections, and only as much culture as could fit in a suitcase. They worked hard and networked, but in their minds nothing could replace home. So, when they saved from their first paychecks, my mother as a bank teller and my father at a slaughterhouse, it was for tickets back to India. They bought one ticket at first, they tell me, just so one of them could hold me on the flight. They eventually afforded two. Pune was a small town in the then, a quaint village hours from Mumbai.

I went again when I was seven. It was the first trip I remembered. Aji and Baba's house was mortared stone next to a river river choked with mud. I'd heard all about my grandparents by then and had even spoken to them over scratchy 1980's phone cards. My parents asked my teacher for two weeks off, which was granted easily. I don't know what they said to her, but from her expression upon the approval, she knew about the importance of the timing of this trip. If I had known more, then, I'd have taken the sadness in her eyes to mean that she knew about Baba, too.

Baba, my grandfather, was built up as a strong man, a pioneer, a genius with two doctorates in philosophy. He was our family's bedrock and an avatar of wisdom. He was a role model I'd never met in a country I didn't know. When I saw him I bawled as only a hysterical child can. His eyes were milky and opaque, blind. He carried a cane, though Aji, my grandmother, had to put it in his hands. My father smelled of mitchum and gold bond. Baba's room stank of sickness. There was a reek of ammonia in the air and a crust around his eyes and nose. I ran up their stone staircase as the two of them struggled to follow me. Halfway up, I looked down. Baba was sitting on the landing, unsure of his direction. Aji tried to walk up, struggling on each step. I cried harder and continued up the stairs until I was out of their view and they were out of mine.

That was my first time upstairs. I saw a bedroom, perfectly clean, but without any use. A fine layer of India's choking dust had settled over everything. The sterility and neglect confused me even more until I looked down the steps. Aji had given up halfway and was rubbing her hip. Baba had been guided to a chair by my father and was rubbing his temple. They hadn't been upstairs in their own home in weeks, or months, or years. My parents were at a loss.

I walked down the steps and joined Aji, sitting close on the step where she'd given up. Without any words, she opened her purse and took out a small book of puzzles. There was an Indian-cartoon Nosferatu on the cover, asking his bats to fill letters in his word game. She turned to a random page. My face was still hot and red. She put an arm around me as everyone else shifted uneasily, except Baba. He sat, hunched and dejected. I would have cried again at what I had done to him if it wasn't for Aji's arm. We worked through those puzzles until I'd calmed. Then she made me fresh papadum, dried from potatoes she'd grown herself and accompanied by a green mango pickle, made from the tree that leaned onto their roof and shook down fruit with every rainstorm. Aji's personal selection of the mangoes on the roof was a point of pride.

Baba stayed in the corner, cane in hand, until late that night. He came to me shakily, arm around Aji. I could see the hurt in his face, but he told me he was proud. His grandson had a sweet heart and he thanked God for that. Our culture celebrated work and knowledge out of necessity. When we left Pune for home, Aji hugged me so close and gave me the puzzle-book for the journey. I hugged Baba, ignoring the smell and his hesitation. He held me close and cried softly.

Baba passed away a year after my visit, almost to the day. I came back to India at fifteen, back to Pune. My grandmother welcomed me there, alone. On my first night I went upstairs again for the American bathroom. Now, there was a thick layer of dust there. The next morning I walked out of the fire escape to the roof. It was littered with green mangoes from a tree that leaned over it. I recalled the large jar sitting on the mantle, British-made and still hard to find at the time, that had a crust on the rim from disuse. My grandmother had scooped from it the last time I'd visited. There wasn't a pickle anymore. I gathered a shirtfull of fruit and walked them down. My grandmother had started up the stairs after me, but had only made it to the small stone landing, five steps down from where she'd sat rubbing her hip years earlier.

That night, we cut the mangoes into eighths for a pickle. Then, we finished the puzzles I'd left in the book. She reminded me that 'color' had a 'u' in the middle and we laughed together.

Aji is still there and we talk every week. I can almost feel the softness of her saree and the scent of fresh jasmine over the phone. She is a strong woman, a role model, and the proof that while my parents left India, our lifeblood still pumped in that town, in that house, in our language, and in our love.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Oxxidation posted:

Megabrawl Entry vs. Entenzahn

No Witness (975)

When I first saw the scrub of Pleiades my hair was neck-length and tickled me with every twitch, and when I had drifted far enough to watch the asteroid belt’s promenade the strands brushed my spine, protein tendrils drifting in front of my eyes as if to wave hello. When the Milky Way opened up its iridescent corkscrew in full, that tangled mass was down to my knees, enfolding me like a gown, and that was when I stopped tracking its itch and squirm in this bubble of weightlessness that enfolds me like a mosquito in a raindrop.

This is me when I remember that I am – floating through dark matter, anchored to something unseen, body warped with atrophy and without hunger and thirst or need for breath but still alive in some ways, my hair continuing to grow under this stasis until it consumes me in a colorless anemone of dead cells. It parts for me like a curtain as the starry panopticon seeps in.

How I arrived. I remember soaked fields and petrichor and a screech of tires like a washing-board before a light swallowed me up and I became the guest of something incandescent that made my retinas writhe. It examined me, a curious sensation. Like being kissed by sunlight until you want to scream for it to end. Then I was here, naked and encased, watching the milky atmosphere of the Earth below shudder and rush to fill the hole I’d left in my passing. Brief struggle to escape. Days of spasm. But my fingers found no purchase in the airlessness and my voice was a pointless thing, so I waited for rescue to come.

It did not come when I’d left every familiar star and turned towards Andromeda, its radioactive curlicue blooming like a rose.

It did not come when a blue-white comet missed this invisible capsule by so little that I saw fragments of ice curve and bend around me and the space around me filled with a coppery taste plating to the roof of my gaping, wasted mouth.

It did not come when I drifted through the quartz fields, ten million shards of whirring glass that reflected the light of a pulsing sun until the air was clotted with rainbow and I smelled a smell like dusty wood, attics and toyshops, though I had not bothered to breathe since the time I felt my hair at last caress the soles of my feet.

I want to believe that there is some intent behind all this. A deliberate unspooling of these scenes. But they persisted before my arrival and continue after my departure; no doubt that, underneath my hair, my back is burnt zebra-stripe from stars that remain alight after I drift by. These objects in space need no meaning and require no witness but then I smell the coffeeground bitterness of an iodine-colored moon or watch yet another sun turn supernova and eat all the color around it like newspaper dropped into a gasoline fire and I wonder if it’s these sensations that are being collated, the memories of the life I knew. They drape over each new spectacle and give them significance, this one nostalgic, this one painful, this one a comfort but as light and fleeting as myself.

I too must have a witness. Something pulls me along through the expanse, weighty and indifferent as orbit; I feel it over my shoulder sometimes, or at least I want to wish I do. Sometimes my tinnitus takes a shape and I can almost believe I’m hearing the thoughts of others like me, all of us likewise concealed from each other, strung along like crystals in a candelabra and moored to this mute presence. Are some of them children? Were there children with me, when I was taken? Are they well, or are they here, likewise engulfed in their agelessness and drifting among the Geiger chatter of constellations?

Certain things escape me. I cannot remember my name, my face, my family if I had any; what home I had is reduced to baubles of sensation, the taste of lemonade, the underfoot crush of freshly laundered carpet. Possibly the memories are being peeled away, each recollection a flower in a belljar, and when they’re all used up I’ll be released and streak down to the embrace of some nearby atmosphere whose friction will turn me to cinder that smells like cinnamon and glimmers like a blurred streetlamp and soon becomes nothing at all. Possibly I’m dead, but if this is death then death isn’t so bad. I once saw two black holes, visible only by the absence they chewed in their wake, approach and touch each other with antimatter tendrils and there was a sound like a vase shivering on a pedestal and when it ceased the stars all around had winked out, everything consumed in a handclap of dissolution. I believe that this is better.

And possibly everything is really not so much. Every orbit has to close and if you think of home long enough then you might see it tomorrow. And while there is no longer any single sun by which to judge the days, I stare forward nonetheless, my bones puckered straws and my flesh chewed paper, waiting to glimpse it in the distance. That bluegreen marble smeared with fog. If I saw it then I would point out the exit wound where I left you all, and I would return with my companions who are not witnessed but still here, each of them bearing their own overgrowth; we would strum our mummified throats and recite all we’ve seen in a deluge of remembrance and in exchange you people down below might tell us of what we’ve left behind. If I returned, I would tell you. But it looks like I’m already gone.

I did a thing.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


Megabrawl
E: gone

Ironic Twist fucked around with this message at 21:29 on Jun 15, 2016

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


Megabrawl

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/brawls.php?story=418

curlingiron fucked around with this message at 01:49 on Dec 12, 2016

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







delete publish

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 11:23 on Nov 17, 2016

Maugrim
Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face



Brawl with Spectres

Merry-Go-Round
475 words

The merry-go-round nestles in the woods, and nobody knows why it’s there. It was broken once, but five years ago (forever, to the current batch of undergrads) a couple of engineering students made a project of it, and now it spins and warbles and flashes like it’s the sixties again. The trees have grown up around it and their roots have humped up through the soil to tilt it, just a bit, so when you’re riding round and round, rising and falling, there’s a gentler rise and fall in counterpoint.

Hugh sits on the unicorn and Arran sits on the dragon. They clutch the spiralling gold-painted poles that impale their steeds. The Painted Whore sits on the cockerel. She doesn’t clutch anything because she’s just a doll, but she’s strapped on with a couple of belts and her plastic smile shows childish anticipation. When the music starts and the beasts judder into motion she shakes with laughter, a joyful non-sound. Bottles rattle and spill old beer onto the creaking wood.

It doesn’t go very fast, this ride, and the years have used it hard. Each year the art students talk about making it beautiful again, but the sprawl of graffiti on every surface is discouraging. Even the Painted Whore has “zaftig” spidered down her skinny back. Each year the novelty wears a little, and fewer students come, but someone did replace all the broken lights, so even as the merry-go-round creaks and grumbles, it strobes a rainbow on the tree trunks in the evening gloom.

“Catch me if you can!” calls Arran, and Hugh tries, cheering, urging his pony on, but the surge of its will to chase thumps up against its fear of the dragon and it gains no ground. Up the hill, down the hill, round and round she goes. Arran is a big bear of a lad, but his dragon carries him effortlessly, as quick as the unladen beasts alongside it. Hugh is a tiger, tall and lithe, likes football and martial arts and big bear hugs that make him feel safe in a way he hasn’t since he was a child.

The hum of the generator dies away and the prancing creatures grow tired in concert. The Painted Whore nods gently to the slowing rise and fall. A beer bottle rolls off the platform, rattling on the steps to give an end-note to the music. Arran’s bass laugh is the coda. He steps down and kicks the rest of the bottles into the grass.

“Want to go another?” asks Hugh, hand poised on the lever, but Arran shakes his head. “It’s getting dark.”

Nobody ever asks me, says the Painted Whore, but she doesn’t really mind. She watches the boys depart, hand in hand, bear and tiger, ducking into the undergrowth. She smiles, and watches, and waits for her next ride.

Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005


Thank you all for crits and such.

I'm just home from Rome (the reason my last story was so hastily submitted), and I'm drunk on taxfree red wine and Cointreau.

Someone give me an image and a flash rule, I'm in.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

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


im in

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha
T O P


:siren: About four hours until the sign-up deadline! :siren:

Black Griffon posted:

Thank you all for crits and such.

I'm just home from Rome (the reason my last story was so hastily submitted), and I'm drunk on taxfree red wine and Cointreau.

Someone give me an image and a flash rule, I'm in.



Flash Rule: "Cowardice is the most terrible of vices."

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Good to see the brawlers are bringing their A-game. I am disappointed with none of you.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


As far as I can tell, we're still waiting on DocK and Titus. The deadline is when my exam today finishes, but if it goes well there might be an unofficial extension while I go out and get wrecked.

E: oh, I messed up the timezones. Pieces were due two hours ago. Mea culpa. In the spirit of generosity, the ill-defined extension stands.

SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at 01:04 on Jun 11, 2016

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006




In.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's time....to DIE!"


MEGA BRAWL

go away post

Dr. Kloctopussy fucked around with this message at 05:44 on Aug 9, 2016

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha
T O P


Sign-ups have long since closed.

Please write some good stories, everyone.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Megabrawl round 1 is well and truly closed. Results in the next 24 hours.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Had a foster kitten emergency, was going to finish my story now, but I'm at the emergency vet. Hopefully I'll be back in time to wrap up, but I may not make it in time.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Chili posted:

Had a foster kitten emergency, was going to finish my story now, but I'm at the emergency vet. Hopefully I'll be back in time to wrap up, but I may not make it in time.

thank god keep us posted were on the edge of our seats here

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


My apologies to Muffin and CurlingIron.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






sebmojo posted:

thank god keep us posted were on the edge of our seats here

This but unironically because everyone knows TD is an elaborate pretext for talking about cats and sharing pictures of cats

Blue Wher
Apr 27, 2010

The Smart Baseball Dargon Sez:

"Baseball is chaos!"

His bat is signed by Carl "Yaz" Yastrzemski


Sitting Here posted:

This but unironically because everyone knows TD is an elaborate pretext for talking about cats and sharing pictures of cats

A cat picture is worth a thousand words
1000 words

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







let's thunderdome that up a little

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


:siren: MEGABRAWL ROUND 1 RESULTS :siren:

There was gonna be a really fancy post here with crits and pictures and stuff but the internet ate it. Crits will come later, when I stop being sad over my fallen effortpost. The winners of round 1 are:

Autism vs Maugrim
Carl Killer Miller vs Sparksbloom
Rhino vs Thranguy
Twist vs Boogie
Newt vs Mojo
Oxxi vs Entenzahn
Morning Bell vs DocK
Curlingiron vs Titus

EXTRA AWARDS: Carl Killer Miller was the only person without an HM and win to his name, and drat near beat Sparksbloom. Honestly, it was one of the closest calls. Props, dude. Entenzahn won the round overall, and gets an extra 500 words in the next round. Morning Bell was very early and won their brawl, so they also get an extra 500 words.

Round 2 coming in the next day or so. Party on.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Oh poo poo, the deadline is tomorrow! I thought it was tonight. I need to learn to read.

The kitten ended up being fine, he turned out to just have gas, he's the one on my foot.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


thanks for the fartcat update

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


crabrock posted:

thanks for the fartcat update

this but unironically

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

crabrock posted:

thanks for the fartcat update


My pleasure :tipshat:

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

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




Ironic Twist posted:

this but unironically

emptyquoted ironically

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flerp
Feb 25, 2014

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




flerp posted:

emptyquoted ironically

  • Locked thread