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  • Locked thread
CantDecideOnAName
Jan 1, 2012

And I understand if you ask
Was this life,
was this all?


CRITS FOR SHITS
Note: I haven't read the stories you guys mixed together. I'm seeing how these stand on their own merit.

Exmond: Coming Out
I had the pleasure of knowing that you had Satanic cannibals in your story in advance and you still let me down. This reminds me heavily of the story I lost with, where two (or three) people are talking about unsavory things in bland, cooler talk style. There were some amusing jokes but his fear doesn't seem real and neither does their disappointment. If this were a drawing, you'd still be using stick figures.

Uranium Phoenix: Once More Through the Breach
I like the reference to the name of a giant monster of mythology for a giant mech. I like the idea of a limited number of time loops they can do before they're out of energy. You lose me on the sudden action bit, so I can't tell who is firing at who or why, and solving it on the second try feels a little too tidy. But I like it. If this were a drawing, it'd be cool but kinda messy because there are lazers everywhere PEW PEW PEW.

Antivehicular: Cowardice
An interesting blend of classic Greek and modern day/WW2. Die as a human or live as a monster? Well written, self-contained, interesting voice and world. Mythology reference appreciated. I like this one, but if it were a charcoal drawing you would have needed to push the values a bit more and get some better contrast.

BabyRyoga: Emancipated
First off what the hell is Vicengo? Some kind of horse? An intelligent horse? A mentally handicapped intelligent horse? And then we have a time traveler...or not? Is the desert purgatory? Are they on Dune? This story raises more questions than it answers. If it were a drawing... I don't even know, but whatever it was you would have committed to it, so there's that.

sparksbloom: The Mushroom-Consciousness
I enjoy the idea of a malicious fungi using a human to spread spores and abandoning them once the mission was accomplished. The witch-hunt/murder is a little sudden but I know things can spiral out of control pretty quickly, so I'm torn on that. Not sure if this is supposed to be a horror thing where the mushroom starts taking over others, but it's still good. If this were a drawing, it'd be a well-done watercolor and the paper would be soggy.

Jay W. Friks: Witch Hunt 86'
Some stilted writing, but a solid idea. If this were a drawing it'd still be a sketch that needed to be cleaned up and inked.

Tyrannosaurus: The Good News
This is the quietest post-apocalypse I've ever seen. Refreshing. Lonely. Shows nicely how we humanize things like robots. I like it. The military-minded robots are a nice touch, only following their programming. If this were a drawing it would use a lot of negative space.

Fumblemouse: Secrets and Silence
In which man is the real monster and aliens have come to judge us and found us wanting. Interesting. I have no idea what the choice offered is, which makes the acceptance of it a little weak. Is Ratuarn offering to turn the narrator into what he is? Well contained story. If it were a drawing, there would be a lot of black, and probably a bug pinned to it.

Thranguy: The Messenger and the Message
I like the enchanted wood stuff. Don't know what revolution is going on or why it's important, but the magic of Leaftop is interesting enough to keep my attention. The unreliable narration bugs me, because people don't tend to lie in their internal dialogue, do they? Are the trust marks enchanted? If this were a drawing it would be of a tree, generic but with an interesting twist in the trunk.

apophenium: By and By
I've been told there's a trap in writing, where if two names are similar enough the reader will have trouble remember who is who. This is most obvious in the last bit of the story where I can't remember if Aaron or Anthony was the sex addict. If this were a drawing it'd be a nude male model gesture drawing without much detail, but good lines.

flerp: I Still Don't Sleep Most Nights
A tidy little story about obsession. Quiet and sad, and very relatable in wanting something you can't have. If this were a drawing, there would be eraser marks everywhere but the drawing itself would be quite nice.

Kaishai: Sing, Canary
I didn't expect the monster to be literal. That was an interesting twist. I'm not sure if I like it, though. It felt more clever when I thought it was a description of poison gas spiced up to frighten a child. It still works, with the younger brother seeking revenge for the older one. Ultimately I'm not sure what I think of it. If this were a drawing, it would be cartoony monster eyes on a black page. Maybe you drew the monster too but I can't see it.

Aesclepia: Breathe
A woman with virtual reality PTSD goes on the subway and get attacked. It's hard to tell if it's someone who has flashbacks from playing games or if it's real life flashbacks exacerbated by gaming, but the description is really good, enough to confuse the reader as much as it confuses Sharon. The jumps between first and third person are jarring in a less-good way; italicize her thoughts or something. Overall, a very confusing story. If this were a drawing, it would be one of those ones kids do where they scribble all over the page and find animals and people in the shapes.

SurreptitiousMuffin: Mercury Ascendant
Woof. Not much I can say here, since it's obvious you're working with bad source material and there's only so much you can do with that. I'm not so good with satire, either. This was okay, but very weird. If this were a drawing it would have “muffin age 6” in the corner of the page.

Yoruichi: Last Ride
She's dead and it's your fault and that's why you're going to hell. My first thought is that scene from the Matrix with the train station (at least, I think it's the Matrix). Other than that it's a good story, I like Nan telling him not to get greedy, good characterization there. If this were a drawing, it would be a meticulously drawn black and white checkerboard, well done but nothing new.

BeefSupreme: Take
She's dead and it's your fault. Who can give forgiveness when you can't forgive yourself? Heavy stuff. The word “interloper” in the first paragraph made me think this was a spy story at first, and then I caught on that things were wrong in a different way. A lover who had skipped out on him? No. A wife. A dead wife. That he killed on accident, driving drunk. The details slowly emerge, but not too slowly. A painful story, but a good one. If this were a drawing it would be a still life in gentle charcoal.

sebmojo: Facetime
Creepy and weird and vain. Like a cat toying with a mouse and saying cryptic weird things. A very effective punchline that takes Trent from a strange, possibly murderous recluse to a whackjob in an old mansion with a lot of goddamn time on his hands. If this were a drawing, it would be a realistic picture of a man in a suit but you put a butt where his face is.

Dr. Kloctopussy: Birthdays
Science fiction meets fantasy, a magic sword that god only knows why anyone would have allowed it on a terraforming expedition, and infidelity results in a story that starts off cutesy and quickly takes a sharp turn into horrific. I didn't understand the green lake until the second reading, that it chased after her and then left when she hid. The first sentence finally makes sense. If this were a drawing, it would be a kid's drawing where you slowly realize that something is really messed up but it's also kinda dumb?

Sitting Here: Ward
Aphasia. Nice once you realize what he's babbling about, one of those things that works well on a reread. Hard to tell what actually happens at the end; is Lumineus killed? Are the wards destroyed? Both? Neither? If this were a drawing, it would be drawn very lightly in pencil.

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steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016







In. I am bad at writing satisfactory endings.

Also, :toxx: because I am bad at submitting.

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

Aesclepia
Dec 5, 2013
Next verse same as the first.

Thank you for the crits, Sham and CantDecide! I'll take a line by line if you're up for it.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006



Assorted Crits for Disqualified Stories
Dreaming of Roses, No Longer Flaky, Systran, Crabrock, Lambeth, Paladinus, Grizzled Patriarch, Drunk Nerd, Chairchucker, BadSeafood, Capntastic, Ironic Twist, A Classy Ghost, and Saddest Rhino all signed up for Thunderdome during weeks in which I was judging, failed to submit by the deadline, and then decided at some point they should come back and submit a story. I don't know why.

Here are my crits for the stories that don't deserve them.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

sebmojo posted:

aw poo poo Candace Cameron and the setup was funny because having bad at starting before the last minute and having a rushed ending a good day and asked me to be on 6th and the setup was funny because having to keep track of two phones will tax my slender organisational faculties to be a shock twist on the bus now, I think I'm probably being optimistic about hiding say to yourself in

As this is a tricky one to judge, per se, you must provide a draft OR outline PMed to me before signups close (Saturday 6pm NZ time, I think) . Said preliminary work will be similar to (but hopefully worse than) your final entry post, so you can't just throw it out and start again at the last minute.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Attention!



If anyone wants to help me herd unleashed TD beasts by the sheer power of judgementalism, there's a couple of places free at the judging table. I'll bring the flensing knives.

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


gently caress it, I'm tempted to co-judge. I'm on board if you'll take me.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016


Got Out.


Grimey Drawer

Long time coming, here are some scanned crits for Week 236: Three Card Combo. I'll have more up soon.

Authors/Stories covered are: No Gravitas "Two Peas in a Pod", Okua "Change", Twiggymouse "You Can't Learn That On Youtube", Sparksbloom "Back to the Earth", Djeser "Or Something like it".

I put stars on lines that should be kept in rewrites and assigned stars at the end of certain tales on 1-4 rating how focused on your story I was from beginning to end, one-star being "Kind of" all the way to four stars being "Hooked and Sinker."

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1b8HoxHK3K_pkyapzqElwlGZilG0ErQ7r/view?usp=sharing

Jay W. Friks fucked around with this message at 06:36 on Dec 1, 2017

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




in

I'm bad at exposition. To be clear, I'm not talking about using too much (although something, yeah), I'm talking about not being able to deliver huge chunks of the stuff without losing/boring readers.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Deltasquid posted:

gently caress it, I'm tempted to co-judge. I'm on board if you'll take me.

Yes - you will be perfect for my experiments first course magical bean detonation squad judging table.

I don't think you have PM(?) so send me an email at my username at gmail so we can co-ordinate the judging bloodletting.

Much obliged, Deltasquid

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Thanks for the crits, Sham, Canty, crabrock, and Jay!

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016


Got Out.


Grimey Drawer

Three Card Combo Crits part two

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LnpB9mWo_j6H-ho1oSv425Ancy6AGT1j/view?usp=sharing

Covers: Kenfucius "Concrete Divide", Benagain "Interrupted", A New Study Bible! "The Sharing Economy", Uranium Phoenix "The Arena", Hawklad "God of War", Ironic Twist "Crystallization".

More to come soon.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give



Psst, FM:

Fumblemouse posted:

The Brave and the Bolded (thing that they suck at)

Crabrock - giving physical descriptions of characters and setting
Jay W Friks - being clear about the setting
Flerp - making setting meaningful and impactful
Jay W. Friks - omniscient narration / POVs that aren't stuck in somebody's head
SebMojo - starting before the last minute and having a rushed ending
Fuubi - getting to the point
Electic Owl - coherent structure :toxx:
Mercedes - endings
Sparksbloom - light, fun, but grounded
SteelToedSneakers - satisfactory endings :toxx:
Thranguy - delivering huge chunks of exposition without losing/boring readers

I seem to have become that Friks clone there in the italics

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Fumblemouse posted:

Yes - you will be perfect for my experiments first course magical bean detonation squad judging table.

I don't think you have PM(?) so send me an email at my username at gmail so we can co-ordinate the judging bloodletting.

Much obliged, Deltasquid

Sent you an e-mail.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016


Got Out.


Grimey Drawer

Antivehicular posted:

Psst, FM:


I seem to have become that Friks clone there in the italics

This clone looks nothing like me! WTF.

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Fumblemouse posted:

Attention!



If anyone wants to help me herd unleashed TD beasts by the sheer power of judgementalism, there's a couple of places free at the judging table. I'll bring the flensing knives.

You have my bad puns and anime sir! I shall co-judge if it is allright with you.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Antivehicular posted:

Psst, FM:


I seem to have become that Friks clone there in the italics

It was Gremlins!

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016


Got Out.


Grimey Drawer

Three Card Combo Crits Part Three.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1i7kAnrM-AMy1f_P5gEyE8TNY-go583PX/view?usp=sharing

Includes, Chili "Hard to blame Eve", Metrofreak "War Cry", Bad Seafood "Funerals are for the Living", Sebmojo "Last Orders Please", The Cut of Your Jib "Not Gone West".

That's all of them except for Flerps entry which I'm locked out of on the Archives and Muffin's Entry because I don't know what to say about it (other than it's pretty) as its poetry.

I'll be getting my Week#251 crits out next. Gotta print 'em up first.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Exmond posted:

You have my bad puns and anime sir! I shall co-judge if it is allright with you.

Bad puns and anime? You're on the squad, Exmond, and your tagname is 'Tryhard Stepdad'. I'll be in touch.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Nice Crit! Thanks Friks!

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016


Got Out.


Grimey Drawer

Grammarpunk Crits 1

Covers Tweezer Reprise "The Four Rs", Obliterati "Salt the Earth", QuoProQuid "Hunger"

https://drive.google.com/file/d/13zCSYxEcVYySRZg0facSuBNife41Qfdp/view?usp=sharing

More to come tomorrow.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







Jay you are a credit to your species (spiders)

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016


Got Out.


Grimey Drawer

Sitting Here posted:

Jay you are a credit to your species (spiders)



(Also: You're welcome Sparksbloom and Chili. Apologies you had to wait so long.)

Jay W. Friks fucked around with this message at 07:45 on Dec 1, 2017

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




In. Bad at writing characters that aren't just outlines of people.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


quote:

[13:12.17] <djinn> there's something great i'm bad at, which is depicting happiness/safety/comfort/love/anything other than the grimdark miserable slogging present

I'm in

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006



I don't know how to write nonfiction and I'm often over-dependent on sharp dialogue. So I'm going to write nonfiction and less than a quarter will be dialogue. In.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016


Got Out.


Grimey Drawer

Grammar Punk Crits 2

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FrDakcK4vbstR_tApXqLMnX9P-fek7VH/view?usp=sharing

Continuing my late crits with Thranguy "Like an Arrow", Hawklad "Something New", Fuubi "High Noon", Flerp "Snacks for Two", Kaishai "The Quality of Mercy", Sittinghere "Imperative"

More to come later.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


In. I have trouble keeping my stuff short and writing good characters, so I'm gonna do that I guess

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Week 277 Crits Part 2:

google docs link

Apohenium - By and By
Flerp - I still don’t sleep most nights
Kaishai - Sing, Canary
Aesclepia - Breathe
Surruptitious Muffin - Mercury Ascending
Yoruichi - Last Ride
Beef Supreme - Take
Sebmojo - Facetime
Dr. Kloctopussy - Birthdays
Sitting Here - Ward

final ratings:

crabrock fucked around with this message at 03:23 on Dec 2, 2017

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

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



Good job with crits T-Rex and Jay and crabrock as well I guess that is good critting well bye

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Time is fleeting, and indeed has run out for new entries.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


:siren: MEGABRAWL FINAL ENTRY :siren:

BRING IT CRIBRIKKKK

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016


Got Out.


Grimey Drawer

Grammarpunk Crits part 3

Finishing up with crits of SurreptitiousMuffin "Up-and-up-and-up", Dr. Kloctopussy "Mara's Private Diary", Fuschia_tude "The Revolution Continues", Uranium Phoenix "Sunstorm", and Deltasquid "The Dragon's Disqualification"

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-g0duie4Dk7-hQE_MqvZLRZe_kexFvBV/view?usp=sharing

Next week I'll be posting crits for "AMBROSE BIERCE SAW HIM FIRST", stay tuned.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


Nice crits, ty

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Going Forward, gently caress This poo poo
814 words


Hot blood runs over her hand as she rams the red pen deep into Charles’ neck. His scream is the loudest noise that anyone has ever made in this open plan hot desk corporate coloured white collar torture box.

“What the gently caress is this mess?” she shouts, brandishing a document with Fortnightly Report written in an ugly style guide mandated font on the front page. She yanks the pen back out of his neck and watches with satisfaction as he slumps off his grimy computer chair onto the industrial grade carpet tiles.

Today, somewhere in the middle of her 43rd year, had started just like every other day. Ruth had snapped awake in the predawn darkness, heart racing and mind whirring at a thousand miles per hour. Good morning exhaustion, anxiety, she’d whispered to her two constant companions.

The other office dwellers are frozen at their desks, staring at her open-mouthed. One or two are cautiously reaching for their cell phones. She realises, with a moment of perfect clarity, that she hates them all.

All day every day she struggles to breathe amongst these oxygen thieves. Listens patiently to their complaints, massages their egos, gives them lovingly made feedback sandwiches. And they take it all, and more, so that by the end of the day she has nothing left, nothing to defend herself with against the anxieties that sting her like wasps.

“Why do you expect me to do everything for you?” she yells at Charles’ corpse, kicking at it with her smart work shoes.

She understands now, it’s so obvious, that he hated her too. An angry red blush creeps up her face at the memory of the time she and Charles had eaten lunch together on the waterfront. They’d talked about his kids and she’d opened up about how much she missed her ex. Charles must have been laughing at her the whole time.

“Ruth, you’re late for our meeting,” says Jane, oblivious, appearing at the doorway to the boardroom. Jane liked to let her know, every day, in a thousand tiny ways, that she was a failure.

“ARRRGH!” Ruth screams, shoving over the orange container of civil defence emergency supplies that Sharon insisted on storing irritatingly and unnecessarily right behind her desk. She pulls out the sledgehammer. She’d always wondered why there was sledgehammer in there, nestled between the emergency food and foil blankets.

“gently caress.” Whack goes the sledgehammer into the ergonomic keyboard which nonetheless makes her wrists hurt.

“THIS.” With a satisfying whoosh she sweeps the sledgehammer horizontally across her desk, scattering computer bits and the pile of pointless reports awaiting her pointless approval across the floor.

“poo poo.” Ruth hurls the sledgehammer through the 14th floor window towards the view of the city’s harbour that they were supposed to be so grateful to have but could never enjoy due to their eyeballs being chained to their computer screens.

With a shudder the tightly clenched fist of her self control finally loses its grip. Righteous anger wells up from her feet, making the muscles of her legs swell, veins popping, until they rip through the thin fabric of her smart black trousers. The muscles on her back spasm horribly under her tastefully patterned shirt. Her fingers crack as they elongate, fingernails erupting into long claws.

Screaming, she runs towards the smashed window and hurls herself into the open air just as huge black feathered wings unfold from her back with the sound of snapping bones.

Her wings catch the wind and she soars up past the building’s blank glass face. The feeling of freedom rushes through her mind like a bucket of freezing water, washing everything clean and leaving her shivering and euphoric. She opens her mouth to laugh and is surprised by the huge gout of flame that bursts out, setting the air conditioning unit on the roof of the office on fire. It was always too loving cold in there anyway, she thinks.

She wheels above the thousands of other miserable bureaucrats in their high-rise prisons, trailing flames through the air as she laughs, tears streaming down her face. She turns her back on them, on the petty bullying and hopelessness, and lets her black wings carry her out over the deep blue water.

High above the harbour she spreads her wings wide and hovers on a warm updraft, looking back at the city. Cloying smoke curls around her face; the black feathers of her wings are alight. She closes her eyes as she feels the wind start to slip through the holes left by the flames.

With a final rush of flame her wings lose their grip on the air, and she drops from the sky. Like a comet she burns up as she falls, trailing a long tail of smoke and ashes. She hits the water with a hiss and sinks, peacefully, gratefully, into the quiet darkness.

Aesclepia
Dec 5, 2013
Next verse same as the first.

Crabrock, those are some fabulous graphs and good crits. Thank you!

(I forgot italics tags in posting my story. Proofreading is important! Mea culpa)

Aesclepia fucked around with this message at 16:59 on Dec 3, 2017

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


You never did have children, (942 words)

but thirty years after you die, a woman named Celeste drags her kids to a yard sale in Sheboygan. She calls it ‘yard sailing’ and they do it every weekend. The boy, Daniel, hates it. He hates having to ride in the back of the van with the dog, and he hates the way the yard-sale dads always try to interest him in lawnmowers. But it’s him, somehow, who finds your old bicycle in a pile of junk. Ten bucks. And no, they don’t know whether it runs.

It doesn’t, but after a month of elbow grease, it flies. Daniel reads the first book he’s ever read outside of school: The Art of Road Bike Maintenance. After a year, he’s gone from pudgy to whippet-lean. Daniel doesn’t know who you were. But he’s glad you looked after your bike.

--

In Daniel’s sixty-third winter, he comes home early one day. The driveway heating hasn’t come on yet, and the house is surrounded by a moat of snow.

Something is crying under the bushes. Daniel dives in, and comes up with a mewling puff of frozen, matted fur.

In time, Snowy grows fat and sleek and a little wall-eyed. On what would have been Daniel’s sixty-fifth birthday, she has her own litter of kittens under the neighbor’s front porch. The neighbor’s daughter, Aneesah, sneaks a kitten indoors in the pocket of her hoodie. By the time her mother discovers it, it’s too late to protest that animals don’t belong inside.

Aneesah dies sixty-eight years and twelve cats later, leaving everything to the animal shelter she built.

--

Jez has her AR glasses on and her hood up, drawing out the task of cleaning the shelter floor for as long as she can. She’s almost reached a state of Court-Mandated Community Service Zen. A cat headbutts her ankle, and she gently moves it aside with her mop.

The other kid has buck teeth and skin so pink and fine he’s almost translucent. He’s here mopping floors with Jez because he hacked an ATM. “Jez,” he says. “Jez, Jezzy, Jezzzzz,” drawing out the z between his teeth. “Come on, Jezzzz.”

She doesn’t remember his name. The glasses could tell her, but she’d rather pretend she doesn’t care enough to check. She heaves an exaggerated sigh. “Whaddaya need, Pinky?” she says.

He laughs. “What did you call me?”

“Pinky.”

“I like it.”

--

“Orion ‘Pinky’ Crane.” Bernie Crane sounds out the name from his great-uncle’s obituary. On the screen, a simulacrum of the old man—big ears, fragile skin—grins and waves at him. Bernie shakes it; on the screen, Pinky does an exaggerated pratfall and topples onto his behind.

“Mom. Why did they call him Pinky?”

“No idea. He went by that for as long as I can remember.”

“Was it short for Pinky Finger?”

“Go ask your aunt.” She takes the obituary out of Bernie’s hand and stashes it on a shelf out of reach.

Bernie’s Aunt Molly is out in the garage, painting the walls. The realtor’s coming to look at Orion’s house next week, and it has to look presentable. Molly doesn’t know where her father got his nickname, but she does ask Bernie if he wants to help.

Bernie paints great swooping spirals on the walls, then Molly follows behind him and covers them up with the roller. The job takes longer that way, but they both end up laughing, with paint on their shoes.

--

Bernie Crane moves to Orlando at age 94, and spends his last decade in a little apartment by the ocean, happily doing who-knows-what. Twelve years after Bernie’s death, a young couple stands in the living room of that apartment. It’s had half a dozen tenants since Bernie. None of them stayed for very long.

“Did the last people paint the walls this color?” Rhet says. They’re a dirty-looking grayish lilac.

The walls of this room were last painted eleven years and one month ago, on November 28, 2338, says the speaker. Moriah startles.

“Hey, it’s okay,” Rhet says.

“I know, I know. I’m just jumpy. It’s fine. I’m sorry.”

At first, Moriah wants to keep the walls the same. “We’ll learn to live with them,” she insists.

Rhet refuses. “No way. The place looks like a funeral parlor.” He realizes his mistake before he finishes the sentence. Moriah is already crying. It’s only been two months since they lost the baby.

--

The magnetic paint-stripper hums, and flakes of lilac paint crumble from the walls. The first color revealed is a brilliant yellow. A few more swipes of the wand reveal that the yellow belongs to a sunset gradient: orange, then rust, then a deep, rich red. Then Moriah uncovers a mountain range, meticulously daubed onto the walls. At the base of the mountains is an ocean. “It’s like a mural,” Rhet says.

“It’s gorgeous,” Moriah says. She hasn’t looked this happy for months. When the last bits of lilac fall away, she and Rhet sit on the floor, taking it in. Sunset over the mountains. In the bottom corner, just above the floorboards, is Bernie’s bombastic signature.

--

“We should paint the rest of the rooms like this,” says Moriah. She reaches out and squeezes Rhet’s hand.

“I can’t draw a straight line.” Rhet laughs.

“I used to be okay at painting,” says Moriah. “Back in the day.”

“Then we’d better get you some paint,” says Rhet.

--

And you? Well, you never did have children. The place where they buried you becomes a field, and then a forest. Then the ocean rises up and covers it, and nobody could visit if they tried.

But that’s okay. You don’t live there anymore.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Bloodline - 898 Words

The sun was just below the horizon by the time Dr. Crumb met with his last patient.

The last patient of the day is always late, he thought.

He leaned against the desk in his office waiting for her, looking through a window so big it spanned the entire wall. The window had a view of the forest behind his building. At the the edge of the woods, a mist crept through the trees in a way that always made him shudder.

When he was a much younger man he’d relocated his thriving practice to these offices, based almost entirely on the view. Back then it provided a soothing effect on expecting mothers and nervous fathers.

The once-landscaped meadow had a small pond that used to overflow with life: ducks, turtles, and huge speckled fish.

Now however — especially in these earliest weeks of winter — the pond was black and vacant. Dark clouds blocked any real sunlight. Bare tree limbs extended skyward, their reflection on the water resembling long, emaciated fingers that reached for him.

#

“Have a seat Miss Carmen,” he said, extinguishing a cigarette.

Is it still Miss? Missus? he worried. Did she plan to marry the father this time?

She apologized for being so late and promised to keep the visit as brief as possible. Her accent was thick, still, after all these years.

Her smile made him uncomfortable. It was forced the same way he’d smiled when the exterminator had come about all the rats. It was as if she had a hard time keeping the corners of her mouth raised, her disgust hiding just below the surface.

She settled into the overstuffed chair, her thin frame practically enveloped in the seat’s cushions.

As he reviewed her chart, his fingers ran along the cracked rubber tubing of his stethoscope: that antiquated device once used to listen for heartbeats or problems with breathing. He caught himself and stopped, hoping she didn’t notice.

She doesn’t need that anymore, he thought. Probably best to put it away during these visits.

He knit his fingers together. He focused on his arthritic knuckles while they discussed things like morning sickness, weight fluctuations, changes in her diet -- a question he immediately regretted -- as if her diet ever changed!

While they continued talking he rolled up his sleeve and gave her his wrist. She took it with claw-like hands; spidery fingers tipped with long, ratty fingernails.

Risking a glance at her face, he thought she resembled a frugal shopper considering a cheap steak: she didn’t want it, but it’d have to do for now.

He didn’t flinch at the pain — just a tiny pinprick — and when it came he was relieved that his voice didn’t quiver. He didn’t change in the slightest. He’d learned the hard way that during these encounters it was best to stay calm, to act as casual as possible around them.

They liked to believe they were no different, and drawing any attention to their differences caused problems for people like him.

He didn’t want any more problems.

While she had his wrist he asked her simple yes-no questions about the progress of the baby, to which she would nod or shake her head.

He continued his usual spiel for expecting mothers, albeit somewhat modified.

“Don't forget,” he said. “You're feeding for two now.”

She finally released his wrist and slid into her chair, using the back of her hand to wipe any spilled blood from her mouth.

Her claws are so old for someone who looks so young, he thought.

As he bandaged his wrist he said, “This is just your third baby, right?” A relatively low number, considering that for some of the others he’d delivered over a dozen babies.

Babies! he thought and stifled a grin at the absurdity. In another lifetime that’s what he did: deliver tiny bundles of joy full of life. These weren’t babies; these were tiny demons with talons and a full set of razor sharp teeth.

Regaining her composure, she nodded at his last few questions.

I guess feeding for two takes a little out of both of us, he thought.

Buttoning his sleeve, he glanced nervously out the window.

“The sun’ll be up in another fifteen minutes Miss Carmen,” he said. “I don't want to tell you your business, but you'd better go to ground soon.”

He pushed the same smile across his face that’d she’d given him earlier.

#

She left the way she came: through the woods, evaporating into the morning mist, her shape swirling and mixing with the translucent air.

Watching her go, he lit another cigarette. The lighter’s flame danced as his fingers trembled. He poured a drink to calm his nerves.

He flicked off the office lights now that the sun was almost up. His was one of the few buildings still allowed to use electricity and he was careful he didn’t abuse the privilege.

As long as he’d see them — treat their ills and deliver their hell spawn — they’d let him live.

The thought of sleeping in the ground disgusted him. Drinking blood, hiding from daylight, never seeing his reflection again, it all disgusted him.

He’d been eager to make that deal when they first arrived. But that was twenty seven years ago, and eternal life was starting to look pretty damned good, at any price.

Work harder at endings

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!







im bad at making setting meaningful and impactful

528 words

To be a bird

flerp fucked around with this message at 04:46 on Dec 7, 2017

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Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016


Got Out.


Grimey Drawer

(edited out)

Jay W. Friks fucked around with this message at 04:12 on Jan 3, 2018

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