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Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Numbers Game
1086 words

We got the numbers, and at first no-one knew what they were about. Theories abounded, at various points in the paranoia spectrum - aliens, psychics, vampires, chemtrails, cosmic rays. Even after we worked it out, the theories were still there.

“It’s genius, really.”

Tonia didn’t look up from her computer. “Mhm,” she said. I liked Tonia, she was a solid 358 with the occasional fluctuation on Mondays or when a long weekend was coming up.

“If we could see our own number it would drive us crazy.” I paused. She was staring at a document on her screen, probably the quarterly exception report. It wasn’t due until the end of next week. “Do you think?”

Tonia leaned back in her chair and rolled her head around with a subdued crickling noise. “It drove my mum crazy once they worked it out. She had her money on the Chinese.” She darted a quick glance at me to see if I thought her mum was stupid, but I didn’t; I’d been an aliens guy. Still was, secretly.

“So who do you think it was?” Andy our boss was away on some leadership retreat, something about data mining people’s numbers to facilitate synergising with the paradigm or something, so it was quiet in the cubicle. Also, I suddently realised, I really wanted to know.

Tonia was looking at me, frowning in concentration. She had pretty eyes, green and brown with a dark ring around the outside. Then, she laughed. “It’s weird. I haven’t been asked that question for years. Do you remember how big a deal it was? And now it’s just like, yeah. Numbers, social capital. Let’s harvest that stuff. I mean hell,” she waved her hand at her screen. “It’s big business.” She was still leaning back in her chair, looking at the screen.

I thought that was the end of the conversation and was eyeing my latest ‘to do’ post-it when she spoke again.

“It was us. We did it to ourselves. It’s like all that other stuff, clothes, cars, laws, computers. Prosthetics.” She glanced at me, slyly, then reached out with a finger and pushed the power button on her laptop. “This poo poo really is beyond pointless. Shall we go to the pub?”

It was 4.15. I hesitated, caught by something in her eyes, a vulnerability. Her 358 ticked up as I looked at her, to a 360, and I nodded. “Absolutely.”

I pushed open the door to the bar, and a wave of boozy bonhomie washed over me. “Lots of poets in this arvo,” I called back over my shoulder.

“Is that … oh, right. Piss off early, tomorrow’s saturday? Hilarious. Get the beers in, captain.” I could hear her smile as she slid onto an empty stool.

When I got back from the bar there was a guy talking to her, a 600. His jacket was weirdly shiny, like he’d coated it in oil. I slid the pint over to her side of the table and smiled vaguely at him.

“... up in Raumati, we’re going up there this weekend. Give me a call if you want to come along!” He had a good smile, I thought, like he turned on a charm tap every morning and drunk deeply from it before hitting the streets.

Tonia picked up her beer and sniffed it, then smiled as she took a sip. “Will do.”

I pointed at his back as he threaded his way through the crowd. “So how’s it a prosthetic to him? He was probably charming before he got the number.”

“It saves time. Time’s the only real resource any more. You used to have to wait to get to know people, now it’s right there on their head if it’s worth bothering.” There was something atypical and sour about her expression.

“I know what you mean. It would be easier if you could ask what your own number was, so you could, I dunno, make more friends. Work on it.”

Tonia’s number ticked up another notch but she still had the expression. “Why can’t we ask people what our number is?” She took a gulp of the beer. “Who’s idea was that? You don’t know, do you. It just happened one day, like the numbers.”

It seemed, all of a sudden, strange to me as well. “I don’t know. I mean, it’s just rude. It’s not done. That’s obvious, I mean it’s private. Don’t you think?”

“It’s bullshit, is what it is. Look, I’ll, I’ll ask. Is that ok? Can I ask?”

She had the look in her eyes again and I felt it clutch at me, a feeling of this moment and the one to follow being important. I breathed in, and out, and felt the crowd of people in the bar, each with their own flickering number, recede a little. “Yes?” I said. “Yes. Yes, you can ask.”

She looked at me.

“Oh. You’re a 361 right now. Mostly a bit lower, up to 370 sometimes if you’re feeling sassy, sometimes down to… 355? That’s not very common though.” I was whispering, leaning forward. It felt almost unbearably dirty.

Her eyes were sparkling, locked on mine. “Thank you,” she said. “Are you going to… ask?”

There was a lump in my belly, a coiled knot of fear. What could go wrong? What if it did go wrong? There were numbers clustering at the edge of my vision, scratching for my attention, but I could only see Tonia’s eyes. “Yes. Tell me.”

“361,” she said. “Right now. It, you know. Fluctuates.”

I wanted to kiss her, right there in the bar, just lean over the table and run my hand down the smooth skin of her cheek and kiss her lips, but I didn’t. “Wow.”

“I know. What are the odds?”

Something was different about her, and it took me a moment to work it out. Her number was gone. There was a void there, a gap. I blinked, but it didn't come back, then I glanced around. Everyone else still had theirs.

“Did you know that…” I said, then stopped. Tonia cocked an eyebrow at me as she drained the last of her pint.

“We... don't need them, really? Do we. We actually don't. Look, this is, um, but... do you want to have dinner? With me?”

The lump in my belly was still there, but now it seemed pregnant with possibility instead of fear, and as she nodded, it uncurled a single tendril that touched me somewhere on the inside that made my whole body shudder, just a little, and I wanted to shout with the joy of things unknown and yet to be uncovered by our endless questioning minds.


Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005

The price of the public eye


If 1579 Secundus had just kept his head down, everything would've been fine. Instead, he had to be the idealist his father had taught him to be.

"Yes, I do believe that the medically insane deserve a shot at rehabilitation," he said, "Is it not our duty as a just society to provide for all men and women a chance, an opportunity?"

1579 Prime smiled, and the congress smiled with her. She cleared her throat, took a drink of water, and gave 1579 Secundus a long, uncomfortable stare.

"The insane," she said, "The murderers and and miscreants. The dregs of society."

Someone in the crowd hooted, the ushers sounded their klaxons.

"Number two here believes that people like Horace Hinth, responsible for the schnapps massacre of anno 1887 deserve, what, rehabilitation?"

Secundus hated that, 'number two'.

"No, no I do not believe that is the way of our great society. We have a place for the just, and a place for the unjust. That place is the furnace."

Secundus could feel sweat beading on his forehead. He had prepared for this moment for a long time. Ever since he'd been stupid enough to enter politics, ever since his number had become public. If he'd kept his head down, he could have lived the rest of his life as an anonymous. But activism had sounded that siren call he couldn't resist. Justice had been irresistible. He'd risen through the ranks of his party until the chairman had suggested congress, and he'd been happy at the prospect. He had wanted to make his father proud, follow in the footsteps of 2678, The Rebel of the Congress.

Then he'd gone public, and the unthinkable happened. 1579 Prime was a clerk, she had to go public to attain a security clearance, in most aspects she was anonymous. When Secundus had gone public, a record search found her the day before his ascension, and in the span of a few hours she had been boosted to elective status by the Traditionalist Party. She had wiped the floor in every debate, she had the crowds with her, she was charismatic, forceful and very talented.

But Secundus knew her secret.

He had prepared for this moment for a long time.

"Honored congress, " he said, "I have a slide for the projector."

The missive murders were something people preferred to forget about, but Secundus hadn't. He'd seen the leads by mere chance, and he used the few intelligence contacts he had to dig up more and more, until he found it. Prime's brother 7687 [REDACTED] had poisoned letters, sent them to over a dozen addresses, and infected innocent people with a plague long thought extinct. A hundred more had died by way of infection.

He had been judged insane, and sent to the incinerator.


Outside congress, Secundus smiled for the cameras. The press had taken to calling him 1579 Ascendant, he thought it stupid and unnecessary, but more than anything, he was happy to be alive. The torch truck, a grim reminder of Prime's inevitable fate, was parked a few blocks away.

He'd have to do something about that. Congressman 1579 had a lot of work to do, and he couldn't wait to get started.

Mar 21, 2013

Letting Loose (1050 words)
“What made you want to work here?”
Emily gritted her teeth, did her best to turn it into a professional smile, and her best to give a professional reply. Another bullshit step in the bullshit dance needed to get anywhere stable, or good, or that involved having to move back home to a place where -- while she wouldn’t have to worry about a place to sleep, or whether or not to order out or try cooking -- would feel impossible to bring anyone home, or do anything new without it being remarked on and then dissected by people who really only had her best interests at heart.
She didn’t want to smile and nod any longer, and clearly her body nor the universe wanted her in this room either, but the prospect of returning to that suburb and having every change she tried to bring upon herself commented on and questioned seemed to her like a coffin lined with feathers.
“...I’ve gone ahead and talked with this ‘Taylor Brown’ you’ve listed as a reference,” her interviewer said. Emily reminded herself to pay attention. “While he said you were a fine assistant to Mr. Goldluck, he wasn’t forthcoming about why you left. Could you elaborate?”
She looked up at Sophie -- she’d insisted they be on a first-name basis -- but before Emily could reply, Sophie interrupted. “Please relax, Emily. You’re making my shoulders ache, just looking at you.”
Emily jerked her shoulders back and took a deep breath, ready to launch into a series of vague, non-committal statements -- and then two things happened.
The first was that her body decided to really indicate the depths of its hatred for her -- even if Emily could convince herself that Sophie couldn’t possibly have heard the soft hiss of air being released, the brief flicker of Sophie’s gaze to the number above her head made it clear she knew what was happening. The second thing was that suddenly the platitudes in her mouth morphed and twisted into something entirely more sharp and edged on the way out.
“The reason I left Goldluck Offices,” she heard herself spitting out, “was that I found out that he had been deliberately omitting the overtime hours I’d been putting in from the payroll sheet. And when I confronted him about it, he --”
At this point, Emily’s brain caught up with her mouth and snapped it shut. She clenched her teeth, and was dimly surprised at how the anger in her words seemed to linger in the air. Sophie looked at her, with an expression Emily could only define as not unkindly, and nodded at her to continue. She looked down, and continued, “...he called me hysterical, said I was being stupid and making things up. Then he offered me an extra week of paid time off, then a raise, and then he -- he tried to threaten me. I ran out. And Taylor mailed me my things afterwards.”
Emily couldn’t bring herself to look directly at Sophie, but she could tell the woman was nodding slowly.
“That sounds rather difficult. I’m sorry you had to go through that.”
Emily wanted to agree, and then she abruptly remembered where she was and who she was talking to. What was she doing? She said, “That’s all in the past, though. Er, can we…”
She looked back up and trailed off. Emily could swear that something had flashed across Sophie’s face, but right now the woman’s face was carefully blank. Sophie nodded, and picked up Emily’s resume.
“I think everything else here looks fine, but I would like to ask a couple more questions. Is that all right?”
Emily nodded, thinking over what she’d decided her greatest weakness and greatest strength was -- a reluctance to ask for help and a strong sense of initiative, respectively -- and began arranging the words to form a sentence that would somehow convince Sophie that she should overlook the ranting of a few minutes prior.
It was unfortunate, then, that Sophie’s question didn’t have anything to do with that.
“What do you value in a workplace?”
“Er --,” she stuttered, “Well, competent coworkers, of course, a strong leader, a--”
“Emily,” Sophie said. “Please relax, and take a moment to think about your answer. I’m interested in what you truly value, not what you think I want to hear.”
Emily folded her hands and looked out the window of Sophie’s office. She took a deep breath, thinking, and felt something ease within her. And then she realized the feeling wasn’t entirely metaphorical, and snapped her gaze back to Sophie, ready to apologize, and then realized that the woman was still looking back at her. Sophie cocked an eyebrow, deliberately looked up at the damning numeral above Emily’s head, and then back down.
“I think… what I want in a workplace is, well -- not necessarily a family. But people who care about each other -- people who, if they see someone in hurt, will stand up for them -- not just believe them, or sympathize, but stand up and --”
A choked sound interrupted Emily, and she realized it came from her. She tried to continue, but couldn’t. She tried not to think about how Taylor had stepped away when she’d asked him to talk to Goldluck for her -- how he probably still viewed her as a friend even as she couldn’t help but feel like he’d simply watched her fall. Something -- someone grabbed at her, and Emily looked down to find her hands tightly clasped in another. She looked up at Sophie, who was smiling softly at her.
“It’s okay,” Sophie said. “Let it all out.”
Approximately fifteen seconds later, the both of them stumbled out of Sophie’s office, wheezing.
“Emily, what the hell did you eat yesterday?” Sophie gasped.
“Leftover refried beans,” she replied, miserably. “I’m so sorry, I’ll just --”
Laughter interrupted her apology and she looked up, startled. Sophia’s shoulders were shaking, and Emily briefly wondered if she should call for help before Sophia managed to say, “I did tell you to let it all out,” before she dissolved back into helpless giggles.
Emily glared up at the large zero now floating above her head, before she, too, sat down and laughed until she cried.


Mod edit: banned for this :toxx:

Somebody fucked around with this message at 12:03 on Sep 7, 2019

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012


Submissions are closed.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012


:siren: TD369 Judgement :siren:

I wafted my way onto the throne on some greasy and noxious fumes, and on the basis of this week’s entries it seems the air in the Thunderdome may need some time to clear. Of the seven final entries less than half, in the eyes of the judging panel, managed to clear the low bar of 1) engaging with the prompt in a meaningful fashion, and 2) delivering a pile of words approximating a story.

sebmojo wins this week, despite the truly pungent grammatical error of using “who’s” in the place of “whose”, carried by some well-crafted dialog and a genuine sweetness.

sparksbloom follows close behind with an honorable mention, digging into the interplay between internalized shame and externally visible metrics.

The stories at the low end of the week were each not without their saving graces, but generally suffered from incoherent plotting and a somewhat gaseous relationship with their core ideas.
Black Griffon and Pepe Silvia Browne were selected as dishonorable mentions, with kurona_bright lagging just behind with the loss.

Thank you to my co-judges, Antivehicular and Fuschia Tude. sebmojo, the throne’s all yours.

Crits to follow shortly.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012


Crits for TD369

Pepe Silvia Browne - Dr. Vorka, The Atmos, and Gus
The idea of the bio-camera and harvesting eyeballs to see the Atmos is a good thread, but it’s disappointing that it didn’t take that further. The stage is crowded with extraneous characters, and the focus on Gus’s hero-worship of Dr. Vorka takes up much of the air in the room, without any payoff. Dr. Vorka seems awfully delighted at the realization that his lifelong study of the Atmos has been largely invalidated. I think there’s some good potential here, but it needs substantial restructuring to bring out the more interesting facets.

sparksbloom - The Shrink
I like the setup here, especially with how the subjective nature of the perception of shame is interwoven with the conceit of an externally quantified label. I’m not entirely sure if I understand the mechanics of the transference of shame between Maggie and the doctor, as in why the doctor adopts the shame of the baby as Maggie comes to see her own shame in clearer light -- if the doctor’s previous patient unburdened themselves of the shame of the peanuts, and that’s not among the doctor’s five shameful incidents, it seems that it’s not always a one-for-one proposition. And the pressure on teachers to hold a number of zero seems like it’s undercut by the idea that shameless war criminals are also Zeros -- not that this is implausible or anything, but I think I might have liked to see Maggie rage against the unfairness of the system a little more. But still, there’s a lot to like here, and some very good dialog work.

Thranguy - A Definitive Classification of the Peoples of Boria According to the Numbers That Float Above Their Heads, Volume LXVI, pp 98-100
There’s a very Borgesian feel to the fleshing out of a world through a scholarly catalog of details, and I like this conceit very much. There are plenty of tantalizing details in here, especially those relating to ghosts, but it feels like a fairly shallow trace across the surface of the world as it stands -- I went in hoping to find the echoes of a story lurking in the depths beneath the details, but if it’s there I was unable to find it. Still, as a collection of details there is a lot to enjoy here, and the execution is quite skillful.

Anomalous Blowout - Born Sick
I get a bit of a Semplica Girl Diaries vibe from this story (which is one of my favorite stories, so that’s intended as a compliment). I feel like the characterization of Joe weaves interestingly between comedic bumbling and awkward creepiness, but I think you could push that further than you do here; I was hoping we’d see a bit more introspection from Joe about how, in his imagination, he might be contributing to Laura’s brushes with death. And I would have also liked to have seen a bit more of how Laura’s own high number -- which she’s presumably aware of? -- affects the way she moves through the world; she seems to carry herself in a way that’s almost oblivious to the effect that her high number must presumably be having on all of the people that surround her. But it’s a well-paced story that builds to its conflict in a skillful fashion, and I think there’s some good potential here for expansion.

sebmojo - Numbers Game
This is really sweet, and it’s carried by some very strong dialog. The number as social capital is a little obvious, I think, but it’s executed competently and serves as a solid commentary on the increasingly quantified nature of human social interactions in our modern times. There’s not necessarily a ton of depth here, and the last paragraph in particular feels like it’s trying to pull a bit more weight towards itself than it’s earned, but it’s a good and competent piece of storycraft.

Black Griffon - The price of the public eye
This felt rather undercooked to me -- it had a fair bit of work to do in terms of the setup and really could have filled out the wordcount a bit more effectively in order to do so. The groundwork leading up to the conflict resolution (i.e. Secundus’s knowledge about Prime’s past) happens off-screen, which is unsatisfying, and the overwhelming bulk of the story is exposition, as though it’s a wikipedia plot summary of a story rather than a functioning story itself.

kurona_bright - Letting Loose
The role of the number is never really clear here, and the fart joke doesn’t land; it feels like you either lost track of what you wanted the story to be, or never really had a strong concept to begin with. I wasn’t really sure where the stakes were in this story, or why this particular part of Emily’s life needed to be a story at all; the fart seemed more like an escape hatch from a story that wasn’t going anywhere rather than a pungence that enveloped the story elements in a cosy confit.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


369 week crits:

Dr. Vorka, The Atmos, and Gus

That's a boring title.

The whole physical underpinning of this idea doesn't work. Your eye is just an array of light-detecting sensors too. And you certainly can't understand something as an unbroken stream of information if it's moving and mutating too quickly for you to see it. Understanding is a conscious process that requires measured, thoughtful awareness and analysis of facts, not some idea slurry being pumped into your brain.

And the whole point of the story is... these characters realizing they actually don't know anything, and have more questions than they did when they started? This isn't a story, it's maybe chapter 1 of something. The ethical problems of sourcing "donor eyeballs" are mentioned and then dropped entirely, including all the original confederates who dropped out when they got in too deep. Nothing is resolved, the problems have only compounded, the end.


The Shrink

Number = number of shameful acts? Hmm

Trying to see if I follow the metaphysics here: outraging her to convince her into defensiveness that the death wasn't her fault is what dropped her number.

I like it. The hats as social signifiers make sense and seem well explored, and I like the details with the black smoke.


A Definitive Classification of the Peoples of Boria According to the Numbers That Float Above Their Heads, Volume LXVI, pp 98-100

Is there a reason the items are numbered in the 4200s but the texts keep saying 4300s? Besides that, on the technical low-level side, some typos and inconsistent use of terminal periods.

This is kinda interesting, but not a story, more of a fake encyclopedia excerpt. It's not even something you can read in sequence (or in any sequence) and assemble a story out of epistolarily, like those astrology column parodies where the punchline is one of the signs is going to kill the other 11 people or whatever.

I mean, I want to like it, and I'd be more lenient if there were some sort of metastructure or even anything clever underlying it. As is, it's just a long list of wisps and factoids, almost wholly unrelated and self-contained, not a story.


Born Sick

Eh. I kinda saw the twist coming. (Plus the title gives it away, too.) The metaphysics of the numbers are vague and the characters and events aren't interesting enough for me to care. Both main characters are at best distasteful, and the climax is not described in a way that makes her assumption seem reasonable.

I don't think the fact that he and his father (who really needs characterization imo, or at least explanation of how/where the ability came from/why he impressed this duty into his son. Maybe flashbacks with or remembered sayings from him, if you don't want any actual scene with him?) are the only ones capable of seeing the numbers should be hidden from the reader until the end. That really doesn't help the twist.

On the other hand, at least having an idea what the numbers are and how and why they change is good.


Numbers Game

I... don't think I get it. They have it figured out but don't actually say what it is. It's some sort of social capital, somehow? But then why does hers zero out suddenly?

But I like it anyway, even if the ending is a bit obvious and the whole not knowing the numbers' meaning and his going out into unknown possibility is an obvious parallel. It's well written.


The price of the public eye

I'm not sure I understand exactly what happened at the end of this here or why, either. Prime's brother was a murderer, he was killed for it, and therefore she needs to be killed too? What theory of justice is operating here?

Also what are the numbers, exactly? Just unique identifiers for everybody? But it turns out they're not unique after all? How do they determine who's primary and secondary? Are there more per number than just two? Why does campaigning make your number public and why is that bad?

The inscrutability of the climax hurts this.


Letting Loose (1050 words)

Double-space between paragraphs, my droog. This is HTML, not printed word. You can't tab off each graf. I pasted this in a text editor to format it because it was too hard to read.

I'm not quite sure what the numbers represent here, which is a problem when the end seems to revolve around it. Unease? Lies recently told? Suppressed responses?

Construction-wise this seems competent enough, it's the events of the story that aren't interesting. Something about the narration rubs me the wrong way, though. Like the descriptors are a bit hyperbolic, and some feel overused. I can't quite put my finger on it.

I just didn't care about these people or what happened.


Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Week CCCLXX: Seeing the wiring beneath the board

hi thunderdome. world is p weird right now. but do we even know how weird it really is?

write me a story about a person who finds out a truth they didn't want to know.

up to 1200 words.

due Sunday 2359 PST.

toxx for a hellrule.



black griffon Everyone in your story is balancing on one leg. No-one mentions this or finds it peculiar in any way / Your story revolves, like a cog or gear :toxx:

sparksbloom In your story, the simulation has broken down - your story must break down too :toxx:

thranguy Every sentence must end in an exclamation mark. :toxx:

crimea None of your characters has a head :toxx:

steeltoedsneakers Everyone in your story is running :toxx:

armack Your story takes place inside a hurricane. :toxx:

fuschia tude Everyone in your story has a fist size spider living in their brain. :toxx:


magic cactus Your story takes place back to front. And, upside down. :toxx:

simply simon only three things happen in your story, no more, no less. :toxx:

asap salafi Your story is set entirely in a burning house; noone may die :toxx:

anom amalg everyone and everything smokes :toxx:


djeser this story no verb :toxx:

baby ryoga no characters can understand each other :toxx:


sebmojo fucked around with this message at 12:09 on Sep 7, 2019

Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005

In :toxx:

Apr 30, 2006

In :toxx:

Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!

In :toxx:

Nov 16, 2012

In :toxx:

Jul 26, 2016


:toxx: gently caress me up, man

Jan 27, 2006



Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


in :toxx: weird me up

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Porpoise noise continues.


Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Everyone in your story is balancing on one leg. No-one mentions this or finds it peculiar in any way.

In your story, the simulation has broken down - your story must break down too

Every sentence must end in an exclamation mark.

None of your characters has a head

steeltoedsneakers posted:


:toxx: gently caress me up, man

Everyone in your story is running

Your story takes place inside a hurricane.

Fuschia tude posted:

in :toxx: weird me up

Everyone in your story has a fist size spider living in their brain.

magic cactus
Aug 3, 2019

We lied. We are not at war. There is no enemy. This is a rescue operation.

In with a :toxx:

Simply Simon
Nov 6, 2010

timeless Ned Flanders style

You give the best hellrules, so :toxx: for one

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Your story takes place back to front. And, upside down.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Simply Simon posted:

You give the best hellrules, so :toxx: for one

only three things happen in your story, no more, no less.

May 5, 2012

In :toxx:

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Your story is set entirely in a burning house; noone may die.

Anomalous Amalgam
Feb 13, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo

Doctor Rope

IN :toxx:

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Everyone, and everything, smokes in your story.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

I have in my mind a hellrule so demonic that only the strongest can step to it, yet I know there is one such among u

Reveal yourself

Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005

Sebmojo can you write hellrules every week please


Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Black Griffon posted:

Sebmojo can you write hellrules every week please


Your story revolves, like a cog or gear

Apr 11, 2012


Dog redemption

They brought the creature on the third day when the corpses stacked high. Tiny and white. Men in robes and infection everywhere. Fires turning the distant mountains rose pink. Far off screams of the murdered and bereaved all through the night. Plague everywhere and large men approached in darkness and placed the white and brown bundle on my chest.


Silence. Shifting. Rustling fur. Fifteen pounds on brittle ribs. I coughed. Blood dribbled from chapped lips and some of the sores felt as if they would tear open. One of the robed shrugged.

“The little lion and its optimism have brought luck to the stricken in the past. In truth, we feel it’s worth a try.”

“What? It’s a dog!”

“And yet.”

And yet what.

Silence. Air that smelled of sawdust and heat and blood. The dog with its white body and black eyes and mask of black and red upon its face unfurled and looked up. Tilted its head.

“It’s a good dog I guess?” gently caress. Talking burnt. The little creature stood with tail wagging fast enough to blur. Circled round atop my chest ignoring the grunts and gasps and curses and with trepidation settled on the mattress as it walked towards a gaping sore.

It licked it. Flesh sizzled and breath hissed and mouth filled with coppery blood plus the lingering pain of teeth digging into tongue. And then bare skin where the sore was.

The dog raised its head. Barked. Licked my cheeks and followed when I turned my head.

“What the hell? What did you bring into my room?” The sores on my hands vanished too as I petted the dog.


On the fourth day it returned with the robed ones. They measured and stretched me with cold hands and chattered among themselves while their instruments whirred and sang and it. The little lion pup skittered to and fro while they worked and jumped upon my legs.

I found with a gasp that I could rise from the bed. Breathe unrestricted. Even lift my arms. With each movement without an according cry of pain or shuddering cough the pup barked and hopped and spun.

“Good boy. He smells the disease leaving you.”

The only explanation offered by the robed ones.


They left it in the room at night. It would curl up by my pillow and dream dog dreams of running and chasing and fetching and whenever I shifted or grunted it woke in a flash. A streak of fur and it licked at wounds and sores and anywhere it thought hurt.

Each time it hurt less. Each time it curled in on itself atop my chest and lay there snoring and whistling until sleep claimed me.


With each touch colour returned to my skin and the blood slowed until it no longer came up at all and each breath proved easier than the last. Muscles grew dense and strong again and air tasted sweeter. Every cough brought the little bundle of fur charging and licking and jumping.

The robed ones named him Orpheus. I wasn’t the first he’d visited.


On the seventh day they had me walk Orpheus. A strand of rope looped around my wrist and his neck and the tiny creature doing its best to pull me about. Crossing before my legs and dodging around pits in the road and sniffing every blade of grass or shattered tree or burnt ruin. Walk and walk until my legs burnt and then more until the last houses fell behind and then around.

A new route every time. Longer and longer. And with each one I felt stronger and Orpheus grew more energetic still.

I wasn’t coughing anymore.


Every morning I woke to my face wet and the rapid movement of tongue over flesh. The warmth of fur and muscle shoving into me and dashing around batting hands. Every day I had to walk him and feed him. Every evening he curled up beside, so close he was nearly on my pillow.

Every day the illness retreated. Further and further it went until boils and sores were all gone. Until no blood came and no lethargy and no pain and no coughing. Soon the walks were faster and we added tossing games behind the house. Orpheus’ barks and whines and yipping were a reason unto themselves to get up. Every day until they all bled into one another and became one.

And the robed ones came one afternoon. One called to Orpheus and the little lion pup came yipping and barking to their side with joyful bounding strides that scattered fur all around. They made it a step towards the door and another.

“Wait!” I had thrown myself to my feet and my hand found one of the robes. Was there even anything under them? “Does he have to go? By now he’s more my dog than any of yours.”

They stopped and turned. “He must help others,” said one. “You are not the only one with plague. But perhaps when his work is finished.”

The speaker looked down at Orpheus panting gazing up with shining eyes. “I think he would like that.”

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




welcome back, buddy :)

Aug 16, 2014


Nap Ghost


Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

sebmojo posted:

I have in my mind a hellrule so demonic that only the strongest can step to it, yet I know there is one such among u

Reveal yourself

hi :toxx:

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

This story no verb

May 21, 2001


What the hell,

In :toxx:

Feb 25, 2014



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

I'll judge!

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

BabyRyoga posted:

What the hell,

In :toxx:

None of your characters can understand each other

Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

ok i should close it now but i have one more rule so beautiful it burns me, who will pick it from my smouldering brainmeats


Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Porpoise noise continues.

I would take it, but I legitimately cannot toxx myself this weekend.

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