in but no hellrule and no extra words tia
|# ? Oct 13, 2020 15:29|
|# ? Oct 3, 2022 04:18|
|# ? Oct 13, 2020 17:03|
in for my last failure.
Your story is a closed loop that will never happen again
In with a
Your characters are extinct
Your small thing is impossible but everyone believes in it absolutely
I hit my first failure last week. I am shamed.
You may not use any words shorter than three letters.
Your characters have never met but all love each other absolutely
|# ? Oct 13, 2020 21:44|
I am judge
|# ? Oct 13, 2020 21:54|
|# ? Oct 13, 2020 22:04|
This story no verb
|# ? Oct 13, 2020 22:06|
I'm in toxx and hellrule
|# ? Oct 13, 2020 22:12|
I'm in toxx and hellrule
Your small thing is moving extremely fast, faster than anyone could reasonably have expected
|# ? Oct 13, 2020 22:24|
I am judge
|# ? Oct 13, 2020 22:33|
In. and hellrule.
|# ? Oct 13, 2020 23:12|
In. and hellrule.
One story, told 3 ways.
|# ? Oct 14, 2020 06:57|
NO GODS NO MASTERS
crabrock fucked around with this message at 04:24 on Oct 16, 2020
|# ? Oct 16, 2020 03:37|
The Sad State of A Fair
This story no verb
Obligatory congratulations to the winner of the 2020 Iowa State Fair’s biggest pumpkin contest. A strange year for all of us. Uncertain times, difficult times, whatever your idiome du jour. But also jarring in unexpected ways, full of unimaginable surprise. This year’s “best of show”—a twisted appellation—as unbelievable as hair on a swan. A pitiful pumpkin by all accounts, dappled with rot, and lumpy in all the wrong places. Nothing more than a farce, comparatively, to the record-setters of yesteryear, but notable in its own pathetic way. Its lack of shame and abundance of undeserved courage even less of a travesty, somehow, than this year’s other competitors. Thirty-six shockingly miniscule and hideous pumpkins. But rule number one: victory to the largest pumpkin, no matter the painfully diminutive stature or obvious lark. The death of grandeur by the handbook’s own decree.
Always one champion, one trophy, and now one lingering stain on our impeccable record. All because of this cruel joke of a specimen. And why? Bad weather this spring? Decreased interest among the jaded youth? Perhaps a callous commentary on the state of the world at large? A quick note to future contestants: only the fire’s wrath for hackneyed metaphors and dull statement pieces from now on. My desire for all eccentricities unceremoniously aflame with extreme prejudice and unrestrained malice. Or simply into the dumpster, in cases of unattainable fire permits in a drought year.
Sixteen autumns of pumpkin assessment, but alas, never a greater heartache than today. Not for myself, for the record, but for the poor farmer’s soul and his garden at large. What sad, feckless hellscapes. One spoils within, the other a blight on our world. Rows and rows of shriveled squashes, tortured tomatoes and garish garlics. And what of his family? Underfed children with tears in their eyes, muffled moans from their empty tummies. “Daddy, only meager offerings for dinner again?” Unfortunately, no help for those children within The Rules and Recommendations of the International Code of Fair Judgement of Cultivated Plants, neglectfully without a clause for mandated reporters.
In conclusion, and with great reservation, this pumpkin’s weight now a sad blemish in the tome of pumpkin fame. No reprieve from the board of directors, their authority unequivocal, their stubbornness absolute. My tenure as head judge a smear on this great institution, my legacy not without an asterisk. The Pete Rose of State Fairs, the Lance Armstrong of gourds. Three-time winner of this prize myself, but one-time presenter of a true mockery. Neither sleep’s escape nor death’s embrace a respite from this nightmare. Only the crushing weight of guilt over followed orders. God’s mercy undeserved, history’s forgiveness unlikely.
Thank you. Now onto our next presenter: Ringgold County 4-H with the award for “Best Decorated Potato.”
|# ? Oct 16, 2020 04:24|
I am in.
|# ? Oct 16, 2020 10:24|
Word count: 495
Content warning: Miscarriage
“At eight weeks, the fetus is the size of a raspberry.” Dr. Ambert maneuvered machinery into position around Jill. “But the baby will appear larger on this screen.”
Jill wiped the sweat off her hands onto the paper of the examining table and said nothing. She wished for the hundredth time that Sean could have come. He would have known what to say to the doctor but because of the virus, only patients were allowed.
As Dr. Ambert moved the wand around inside Jill, a grainy series of black and white images flickered across the screen. Sean would have made her laugh right now to distract her from her discomfort and her panic about being prepared. She tried to smile anyway.
Finally, the image paused on a small lump. Jill couldn’t see any details but hoped the doctor would explain. Dr. Ambert frowned and stared at the screen. “How certain are you of the date of your missed period?” She looked at Jill with concern.
Jill’s face grew warm and she muttered, “Would have been April 12 but maybe 13 or 14.”
“Not April 20? Or the following week?”
Jill shook her head.
The Dr. took a breath. “The fetus is too small for eight weeks. And… I can’t detect a heartbeat.” She removed the transducer and asked Jill to sit up. “I’d like you to see a specialist today to confirm but you’ve likely had a missed miscarriage. If you don’t start bleeding in the next couple days, the next step would be a D&C. The specialist will talk about it more. I’ll have the front desk call over, okay?”
She paused. When Jill said nothing, the doctor nodded and left the room.
Jill tried to sort out everything she’d heard. She pulled her knees to her chest and took out her phone to text Sean. Unsure how to write any of it, she typed, “Call me.” She got dressed and stared at her phone dreading, yet hoping, it would ring.
Before it did, Dr. Ambert returned giving her the appointment information. In a gentle voice she said, “Do you have any questions?”
Did she? Jill certainly didn’t understand anything but “tell me everything” wasn’t right either. When she’d arrived she was prepared to ask about diet, body changes, hospitals. Those didn’t seem relevant anymore. She shook her head.
Dr. Ambert’s face softened and she said, “I’m sorry. These things happen and it’s not your fault.”
Jill jumped up and ran to her car. She drove straight to the other medical offices even though her appointment wasn’t for another hour. She sat there, jabbing the new words she had into a search. Google didn’t need a question to give her more answers than she wanted.
As she absorbed definitions, statistics and unknown causes, something released inside of her. A weeping began down her leg.
Her phone rang. It was Sean.
“What’s wrong, Honey?”
He always knew what question to ask. Jill cried.
|# ? Oct 16, 2020 10:56|
...And There Will Your Heart Be Also
word count: 675
hellrule: Your characters have never met but all love each other absolutely
The ancient gnarled oak tree hovers into her vision, and the young women lets out a sigh of relief. Beneath her feet, the grass crunches. The glade that was once a rolling green lies fallow, and she leaves a trail of death as she wades through it to the heart tree. The small earthenware jar in her hand seems impossibly heavy, but she forces herself to ignore the twinge and ache of tired muscles. If she messes up now, she’ll be the laughing stock of the whole tribe. She shuts the thought off at the source, pushes further through the brittle, overgrown grass. She remembers when Pashtul came home from battle, or rather, she remembers the tale, the verses sung softly around the fire. Pashtul the hero, Feydka the hand maiden who waits for him there in the ocean in the sky. How he carried his beloved to the heart tree, cut out his own heart in exchange for one more day with her. Stealing her great-grandmother’s heart from the burial grounds had been surprisingly easy. With the coming of the draught, the other tribes were too conscious of the heat to try and attack, and the guard post stood empty. She remembers the vague disappointment as she glanced at rows of jars on display. Thousands of years of the tribe’s history all locked away in simple containers. She wonders if one day she will have an earthenware jar of her own, or if she’ll take a spear in the breast and end up a feast for the vultures. She shakes her head, clears her mind.
The heart tree looms in front of her, the true wooden nature of the tree only readily apparent in certain spots, the rest overtaken by a wall of meat. Some still pulse faintly, each beat sending little rivulets of blood to trickle down to the dry, rust colored grass beneath. She opens the jar and fishes out her great grandmother’s heart. It is small, smaller than expected, and feels hard and dry against her palm.
She slips the single iron nail from her tunic and pins the heart against the tree, using her other hand to pluck a small hammer from her belt. The first swings miss, and she curses softly under her breath as she grazes her thumb with the hammer, winces slightly from the pain. She feels the hammer drive the nail through the flesh and into the wood, and she swings again, harder, trying to drive the nail through the wood.
When she feels like the heart is as secure as she can make it, she kneels to pray.
Bring back great-grandmother. Give her one last day.
The first day, nothing.
The second day, she feels some of the fire inside her breast slowly die.
The third day begins the same as the other two. As she stays kneeling, a voice murmurs in her ear:
“Child. For three days I’ve watched you pray, unmoving. Who is it that you mourn so?”
She opens her eyes. Her great-grandmother looks just like the stories described her, her flesh seeming to glow. She takes the proffered hand, absent-mindedly brushing dirt from her knees as she rises. She hesitates, forgets to bow, catches herself, dips down hastily.
“Great-grandmother. I am not a warrior prince. But would that you spend one day with me, so that I may understand the true story, what truly happened between you and Pashtul, before the songs, before the myth. I ask only for the truth.”
It’s a short tale, only the length of a single fire. She smiles, she laughs, she cries. When it is over she lets her great-grandmother cut out her heart with her little silver hunting knife, and they nail it to the tree together. They embrace, and she watches Pashtul’s hand maiden slowly fade back into the tree.
She makes her way back to camp alone, the hole where her heart should be burning with a kind, painful warmth.
|# ? Oct 18, 2020 02:31|
The Galaxy in the Back Room of Grandfather's Basement
It was a very small galaxy. The room, the only locked room in the house, wasn't particularly large.
I discovered it when I was nine, just after I met Ashley. She was standing in the woods behind Grandfather's house, green dress blending into the blackberry bush and honeysuckle like some kind of wood nymph. She wasn't a wood nymph. Just a lonely child, raised by grandparents in a grandparent neighborhood, developing a keen awareness of when anyone our age came visiting.
A sudden rain fell as we talked. I invited her in. She called home on the big black rotary phone and we looked for entertainment, finding a fancy box of dominos and, underneath it, a small brass key.
The key fit the lock on the door. The room was, apart from the galaxy, empty. Brown carpeting and beige paint, pull chain too high to reach connected to an empty light socket. The double spiral of tiny stars radiated cool light. We lay underneath it and talked as the gravity from the galactic core pulled our hair vertical.
We agreed to keep it as our secret. We both had, too often, encountered something magical only to see it turned mundane and foolish when shared with too many people, with god-murdering skeptics. But we came back, whenever I visited without my cousins. The last time, when we were fourteen, we shared first serious kisses underneath those million tiny stars, feeling that gentle upward tug on every small hair along with the other new sensations, distracting ourselves from loneliness and grief. I was there for Grandfather's funeral, and her grandmother had gone five weeks earlier. We didn't go any further; neither of us had a clear concept of what that even involved. It was enough.
Grandmother refused to sell the house, made sure the estate lawyers knew it, even as she began to decline, even as she entered a retirement home. It remained empty, unvisited, for years.
I did come back, years later, when she passed. It was on my way back from school, sort of. I was given a list of heirlooms to take, if uncles and cousins and housecleaners and time itself had not claimed them. Ashley wasn't around, the house she had lived in now home to a young couple with a toddler and a baby on the way. I did some research. This was before Google; I scanned notices in local newspapers, finally finding a short and vague obituary. I quietly cried in that library basement until I could see to drive; until closing time.
The galaxy had seen better days. It was less spiral than ovoid, stars slowly being devoured by the central black hole. The light was harsh, flickering, hurtful to watch for long. I raised a glass of hard cider to toast poor Ashley, then closed and locked the door behind me.
I left the brass key in its place, taking the domino set for myself when I left the house for the last time.
|# ? Oct 18, 2020 03:28|
Hell rule: Your small thing is impossible but everyone believes in it absolutely
a puncher’s chance
Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 21:28 on Jan 8, 2021
|# ? Oct 18, 2020 18:41|
Hellrule: Your characters are extinct.
The tide rose, and the ocean filled with the sound distant singing. There were songs of scallop and mussel beds, songs of hope and hunger. Others sang ballads of danger in the deep waters—cautionary tales of triangle-toothed sharks and bloodthirsty cousins.
She swam alone, leaving the sheltered pool of a lagoon as soon as the water could lift her over the sand bar. Squat and paddle like, her limbs were on a journey from legs to fins that would take a thousand generations to complete. Silt swirled up as her vestigial claws dug into the mud separating her from the disorienting, brackish waters of a river delta.
Arriving late at the winter feeding grounds, her pod found them picked clean of the succulent clams and cockles they were seeking. They slowly drifted apart on the warm, tropical currents, finding little more to eat than bitter whelks. One by one, their voices went silent in the depths.
Nearby though, she heard a song of simple contentment and loneliness—not more than a quiet hum.
He swam with an awkward cadence in the murky shallows, also alone. His moustache was a little too long and bushy. Just enough to be ridiculous, to her eye. He swept it through the sediment and grass kelp, flushing out a swarm of impossibly small crustaceans; he caught them behind his bristly whiskers before slurping them down, whole. When he turned to study her, she saw his missing fin, sheared cleanly from his left hip—a neat, almost surgical scar—surely the work of a shark. Her cousins, cruel and clever, left gaping, ragged wounds. They left few survivors.
Hearing her soft, involuntary song of hunger, he began to sweep the estuary bed around her, herding shrimp and crawfish into bite-sized schools. It took her several tries to catch the meal of little shellfish: to suck the tips of her whiskers in behind them, to expel the muddy water from her mouth, and to catch the tiny invertebrates against filter of her moustache. They wriggled and struggled on her palate, and lacked the satisfying crunch of a clam; but the grass shrimp had an exquisitely sweet flavor. Though he could feed faster and on smaller crustaceans, he patrolled the delta with her, gathering one small mouthful at a time until she was satiated.
They came to mid-channel, and the current that would take her back to the river’s wide mouth. She let the water carry her away from the estuary, tasting change as the fresh inland waters blended into the sea. The distant songs rose in volume as she reached the edge of the open ocean. Arias from pods that had stayed together and found joy in modest bounty. Requiems for the pods sundered by famine and predation. From the murk behind her came his quiet song of contentment and loneliness, his notes now bent with a touch of loss.
She turned and swam back into the silty waters.
There in the delta, their children will sing of moustaches and crawfish—a million years before the oceans swell with songs of baleen and krill.
|# ? Oct 18, 2020 21:13|
Case The House First
Janelle and her sister Carrie perched outside old Mrs. Mendelson’s window, peering into the old Craftsman home. The sun shone bright outside, meaning the old lady was definitely asleep.
Janelle leaned towards Carrie and whispered into her ear. “You know the plan. You rush the stairs. I’ll handle the basement. Stake her through her heart while she sleeps, regroup near the fireplace. Capische?” The entire time, Janelle was punctuating her speech with hand gestures, bright and weasel-eyed, fueled from anxiety and her cocaine courage-bump.
Carrie shook her head and rolled the stake around her palm. “There’s something wrong about this.”
“It’s not illegal when they’re not alive, dummy. Vampires aren’t people. They’re monsters shaped like people.” She punctuated her sentence with fangs made from her curled index fingers. “HHHHHHHHH,” she hissed.
“Mrs. Mendelson handed out cookies every Halloween. Remember those shortbread pumpkins?” Carrie said.
“She also ate Mittens. Remember finding her last week, slurping him dry? Making him more condom than cat? Flatty, rubbery kitty-catty kitty cat-cat-cat.”
Carrie breathed deep. Before this, missed homework and bad boys were the worst things she’d ever done, despite the peer pressure around her, including from her sister. Her experiences with the old lady made her heart and stomach weigh two thousand pounds.
“You sure it’s fine? She’s never eaten people. Nobody’s ever gone missing. Just pets.”
The entire neighborhood had whispered stories about the neighborhood vampire but never reported any firsthand experiences. Before Carrie caught her exsanguinating Mittens the cat, she thought they were just ugly rumor.
Janelle nodded. “Give her time before children start going missing. Waaah! Waah! Little Johnny was just playing around the culvert and SLURP, there Johnny goes. Now Johnny’s the deflated balloon. She's just gotta get hungry enough.”
“Now you’re being dramatic. The old lady’s lived here sixty years. Not one kid’s gone missing.”
“And think about the things that money can accomplish. Vampires are immortal,” Janelle said, moving towards the window. “Don’t you know how compound interest works? You’re alive for millennia and your money works for you. She’s loaded. And you know the bank doesn’t open after dark. It’s all there. It’s gotta be there.”
“You’re killing someone for their money. That’s burglary.”
“Not someone. Something. Videogame loot. Kill the boss, get the loot, show everyone what you did."
Carrie’s mind wandered around her money woes. The long hours working two entry-level jobs for minimal pay. Twenty-four and still living inside her mother’s cramped trailer. Seven other brothers and sisters. That quicksand feeling, never escaping the debt bog.
“Fine. But whatever’s there, Mom gets everything.”
“Maybe with some miniscule finder’s fees.” Janelle winked. “Last one inside huffs bat farts,” she said, pulling the window open and diving inside the residence.
“Christ,” Carrie said before clambering through the window.
Mrs. Mendelson’s house sarcophagized the 1970s. Orange shag carpet mired two inches deep across her living room floor; tchotchke legions decorated the walls, matryoshka dolls guarding valuable figurines. Dragon hoarded porcelain treasures, staring menacingly. One rabbit-
eared television faced two threadbare recliners.
Janelle had already darted down towards the basement, feet clambering staccato down the kitchen stairs. Carrie crept past the rooster-themed kitchen towards the home’s front. Dust caked the foyer’s sepia-toned family photographs. Little motes floated around her, visible without outside light. Aside from the living room, the house was windowless. She quietly heel-toed each step upwards, arriving within the wood-paneled hallway, untouched by natural light.
When Carrie stepped onto the landing, the old woman called from down the hallway. “Come here, Carrie. Otherwise you’ll just get chased. And the vampire always wins the footrace, dear.”
Carrie froze, then began making slow, backwards steps down the stairwell. When Carrie didn’t proceed down the hallway, Mrs. Mendelson stuck her face around the last hallway door. She looked half-bat now, her snout protruding with tightly-packed little needles. Huge, filmy ears stretched behind her head and her fingers were more like claws, nails digging divots into the frame.
“Weren’t you listening?” she said.
When Carrie turned towards the stairs, the Mendelson creature rushed her, slamming her into the wall. Little veneer flecks shot out from behind her, showing asbestos underneath.
“Little Carrie,” she whispered. “Who would have thought that cute, little, poor girl would break into houses? You were always the good one, you know. Not like Janelle. Maybe you’ve got into the same drugs your trampy sister Janelle has? Maybe you’re trash, just like your mother?”
Despite the claws around her throat, she summoned one enormous phlegmy oyster and spat onto the vampire’s face.
The vampire’s laugh sounded like jagged glass.
“It’s been incredibly long since I’ve been had actual, human blood. Everything tastes like corn syrup, now. Especially your cat. Such cheap food. Draining him was merciful,” she stuck her long pink tongue out, flicking Christie’s face.
Carrie grabbed the nearest claw and yanked backwards, the bone cracking. The bat hissed and dropped her, cradling her finger.
“Suck tits, you old bitch!” Carrie yelled before driving the stake from her pocket through the bat woman’s heart. The old woman collapsed into clumpy dust-piles, leaving behind some costume jewelry and her house dress.
Janelle bolted upstairs. “What happened?”
“She talked poo poo about our mom and got iced. Boosh! right into dust.” Christie giggled and shot her fingerguns right towards the dust pile, burning her survivor’s adrenaline.
Janelle laughed before growing somber. “Well, there’s some bad news, too.”
“What’s the bad news?”
“Found her safe downstairs. Wasn’t even locked.”
“Yeah?” Carrie said.
“You’re not gonna believe this poo poo,” she said.
“What was she hiding?”
Janelle pulled three items from her pockets: one solidified candy blob, some wallet-sized children’s photos and the old lady’s checkbook showing her account with $452.00.
“Some loving vampire hoard. Mostly bones and collars, the sick gently caress. Small wonder she lives here.” Janelle said.
“Next time we’ll kill rich ones,” Christie laughed, guilty tears flowing down her cheeks.
|# ? Oct 18, 2020 23:09|
Moved to the archives.
Staggy fucked around with this message at 23:25 on Jan 7, 2021
|# ? Oct 18, 2020 23:49|
Hell Rule: Your story is a closed loop that will never happen again
The Oracle came with the apartment, which the landlord tried to paint as some kind of amenity.
“Think of the certainty it will give you, the peace of mind,” he oozed, squeezing himself past me to reach the studio apartment’s single closet. “Never have to worry about the weather again or some delay on the subway or indecipherable omens about your dog.”
I said nothing to this and stepped further into the cramped studio, peering over the landlord’s shoulder. Seated cross-legged beneath a set of hastily installed shelves and single closet rod was a woman in a white dress and purple veil. She did not look up as we studied her. Her attention instead focused on the vapor rising from a bowl of burning sage. She recited a silent prayer as she went about her priestly duties, pressing her fingers against her temples and breathing the fumes in deeply.
My dog, a creature I’d begrudgingly taken from a sick friend, whined. I hadn’t figured out the inner-workings of pet ownership yet and still felt uncomfortable around the thing, but it didn’t take much insight to understand the problem.
“The smell seems kind of… strong?”
The landlord nodded as if he’d heard, but continued to talk, his voice taking on an infomercial-like cadence, trying to bowl me over with the great possibilities offered by a live-in oracle.
“I don’t know…” I said, noticing the landlord’s awkward proximity to me. There wasn’t much in the apartment to see beyond the small closet. We’d already been through the dingy micro-kitchen (“recently refinished!”), the spartan bathroom (“full of natural lighting!”), and the laundry room below (“a rare luxury!”). And, besides, I was aware of the dog padding around in the far corner of the room.
How often do dogs need to piss? I thought, struck by the terrifying realization that I didn’t know the answer. I had the horrible image of the landlord’s faux congeniality curdling into disgust and outrage when the creaking of old joints broke the silence.
The landlord and I turned toward the closet as the Oracle lifted her head to us. I could see her wizened face, her gnarled fingers. She turned her milky eyes toward me, eyes that had seen countless real estate empires rise and fall, eyes that contained galaxies of possibility. When she spoke, it was in a dark and ancient voice that reminded me of cracking marble slabs.
“Yᴏᴜ ᴡɪʟʟ ʟᴏᴠᴇ ɪᴛ ʜᴇʀᴇ.”
It was hard to argue with that. Grabbing the dog, which licked at my arm, the landlord and I returned to his office. He printed the lease. I put down a deposit and, less than a week later, I was trying to cram my furniture into the cramped quarters. The dog nestled itself onto my bed as I failed to fit an old flea market desk into the space. It nipped playfully at my heels the day I realized the bathroom had no outlets. I worked out my frustrations by taking the dog on long walks at distant parks.
Weeks later, finding myself dressing my dog in a Halloween costume, I had a realization. I stamped to the closet and threw open the door. The Oracle looked up with a devious smile.
“I ᴍᴇᴀɴᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ᴅᴏɢ.”
|# ? Oct 19, 2020 02:12|
What We Can Do
flerp fucked around with this message at 01:20 on Jan 1, 2021
|# ? Oct 19, 2020 02:13|
One story, told 3 ways.
Electrons snap into synch with the application of current, suddenly rushing forward along the wire. The torrent pours into the thin copper coil, electrons whirling and vibrating through the latticework of ions. The electrons dance as the heat builds, until finally the small bridgewire sparks.
Light and heat pour from the electric match, starting a riot in the pyrotechnic ignition mix. The cocktail of metallic zirconium and potassium perchlorate flourish into an angry, roiling force that in turn ignites the mercury fulminate at the end of the blasting cap.
The cap hurls explosive force into the marbled mix of cyclotrimethylene-trinitramine, polyisobutylene, di(2-ethylhexyl) sebacate, water, salt, flour and food colouring. Layers upon layers decompose releasing nitrogen and carbon oxides, violently asserting their presence outwards at 8,050 metres per second. A vacuum builds at the heart of thunder, fire and fury, and it wrenches the world back to itself, grabbing at the arms and tails of flames as they struggle to spread across the wide metal door, grasping at the dead underground air.
She rolls the dough into balls. She puts the dough into the muffin trays. There isn’t enough so she takes some of Daddy’s. It smells bad and is hard to roll. She mixes it with her dough to make it soft. It looks better now, she made all the colours all mixed up and colourful. She knows Daddy will be upset if she doesn’t put it back later, but there needed to be enough muffins. She will put it back later. The muffins look wonderful. Mummy and Daddy will be happy. She takes the muffins out of the trays and puts them in the octopus machine. She turns the handle and makes the tentacles. They are very good tentacles. She will tell Mummy and Daddy that they couldn’t have muffins because she had to make the tentacles.
“ - the actual gently caress, Keith?”
The two man stand in the dissipating smoke in front of the blackened metal door, Keith's handiwork haloed in their wavering torch beams.
Keith stared at the charcoal black star he’d managed to execute after two months of tireless planning.
Tony’s body language showed that he was somewhat more than disappointed. He took Keith’s silence as an invitation to clarify.
“You were meant to blow that door clean off its fuckin’ hinges and we were meant to be hip deep in merch. Now I’m here with my arse hanging out looking at a failed fireworks display. ‘The gently caress happened?”
As if responding to news of Tony’s arse hanging out, sirens started to gently saw their way through the ringing in both men’s ears.
Keith couldn't get his mind to click over to getaway yet. He was the precision guy. The reliable bomb man. The bloke you called because you could count on him to rip holes in anything you needed to find your way into or out of.
He shone his torch down into his satchel, not even sure what he was looking for.
Smudged with plastic residue, the tip of a small pink and yellow tentacle waved back at him.
|# ? Oct 19, 2020 04:04|
Hellrule: Your small thing is revolving incredibly fast but this fact cannot be perceived by anyone in your story
Earth's first contact with the greater galaxy comes when Brendan Marks, age 5, discovers the Xegrin Museum nestled in the tall grass on the outskirts of the playground. The Museum is a squat gunmetal cylinder, the diameter of a dinner plate, and Brendan thinks immediately of his parents' robotic vacuum; only the dome of glass surrounding it keeps him from grabbing it to look for its wheels and brushes. Without that dome, first contact would have ended in a shriek. The Museum is spinning so fast that it seems stationary to the human eye, and its rough surface might have sanded Brendan's fingertips off. What woe for us, and what woe for our observers -- but one touch of the glass convinces Brendan to keep his hands to himself, and the future is saved.
Brendan (a gentle child and late bloomer, kept back from kindergarten a year by his worried parents, which he will be reminded of by interviewers and biographers for the rest of his life) falls to his belly in the grass. There is a light from the open door of the Museum, a funny rainbow flicker, and when looks in the door, he sees a manic cartoon on the walls inside. The rise of the Xegrin plays out at impossible speed, the march of their glorious history rendered as a mad dash. All Brendan can understand is that little creatures -- red like cartoon ants, wiggly-armed like squid -- are running and vaulting and flying through a green-grey-blue-gold world.
It is the funniest thing Brendan has ever seen: impossibly funny, in the way only children can understand. He laughs and he laughs.
This, to my eyes, is the important moment. Soon, Brendan's mother will arrive, and history will begin to unfold as we all know it: the university projects, the film analysis, Earth speculating about the Xegrin while their inheritors speculate about us. Soon enough, they'll reach out, and we'll answer, and the future will begin. There are a thousand clear records of what happens next, but only this patchy recording of the moment itself: the flickering light, the little boy's laughter. This was all our observers had to judge us by, and something in it pleased them.
Every world has a Xegrin Museum, all identical, showing the same panorama film of the galaxy's greatest minds and their ascent from animal to sapience to godhood. Universities are built around the edifice, or temples, or city-states. On Earth, we've got a park built around ours: Brendan's little spinning zoetrope, open to anyone who'll belly-flop on the grass to watch it. Is it any surprise the rest of the galaxy calls us the Laughing Giants?
|# ? Oct 19, 2020 05:07|
On the Rim
Word count: 499
“That is not a small crater.”
Roberts kicked a rock and watched as it tumbled down the crater’s edge, bouncing and skipping across the freshly upended dirt.
“No. No that is not.”
Jane stood beside Roberts, her eyes fixed upon the crater’s far edge. There was a moment of silence that was as uncomfortable as the crater itself. An empty void where Roberts felt something should be. He wiped his brow nervously and spoke.
“I guess the engine went critical.”
“After the entire compartment crashed down? Otherwise I think we’d have noticed?”
“I mean, we were crashing down from orbit ourselves.”
“So we can’t blame ourselves for walking out here.”
There was another void of silence as Jane slowly sat down on the ground. Roberts continued to fill the air with his words.
“I mean. I don’t blame myself. Why should I? Not that you should blame yourself either! That’s not what I’m saying at all!”
Roberts let out an exasperated curse and finally fell silent. It was getting late, the planet’s sun was slowly settling down behind the horizon, causing the pair to cast long shadows into the depths of the crater. He made a few more abortive attempts at bridging the silence before kicking another rock into the crater instead.
Jane ruffled through her supply pack as she took inventory of its contents. The ruffling and clattering filled the air with sound, and somehow made it feel even more empty to Roberts. He sighed and opened his mouth to speak once more before Jane closed her pack and spoke instead.
“Well we have other options. There should be pieces scattered for miles down range from here, and I don’t think there was anything as volatile as the stardrive in them.”
“Yeah.” Roberts said, before finding the response awkward and insufficient. “Right! Yes!”
He said a few more useless words before trailing off into silence again. He sent another rock skipping into the void out of frustration.
“So. We just make camp for the night, and then follow the debris.”
Roberts grunted. The shadows had gotten long enough that he couldn’t even follow the rocks he kicked all the way to the bottom of the crater with his eyes. “I’m sure some useful stuff survived the crash. I mean, we did.”
“With a little hope, at least.” Jane nodded.
“Hope enough for the both of us, right?”
Jane stood up and dusted the soil off her jumpsuit. “Yeah, no, not really. I’m mostly running on being too stubborn.”
“Oh.” Roberts thought about their chances, and grimaced.
“I mean, I don’t think we’re going to die here. I’m sure we’ll live a long life stranded on this rock.”
Roberts slumped visibly as his mental assessment of the future shot past five levels of despair and landed in line with Jane’s take on the situation. Jane kicked a rock towards the crater and turned around.
“C’mon, let’s go make camp while you learn to be stubborn too.”
|# ? Oct 19, 2020 05:23|
World in a Bottle
Hellrule: Your small thing is moving extremely fast, faster than anyone could reasonably have expected
They had finally done it, scientists had created intelligent life.
In a laboratory under glass lived a universe of tiny intelligent beings. The scientists had nicknamed them "quantum elves", and at present there were several million of them living beneath the dome and growing. Each day readouts listed their population as rising in orders of magnitude. It was estimated that a second in our world seemed several years in theirs's.
The experiments continued for some time. Whenever the world underneath the glass risked spilling out or overwhelming its container, safety protocols saw that the population was liquidated down to a small number of survivors, with a failsafe put in to place to wipe the dome completely clean should the experiment risk getting out of control. This cycle had occurred seventy-six times by the date of what would be called the "tower of babel incident".
On that day, a scientist was in the laboratory trying to make sense of some unusual readings. Rather than rising exponentially, then automatically being purged by the small focused lasers built into the dome, the population levels had remained stable for an unusual length of time. Initially it was thought that time was slowing down within the small pocket universe, catching up with our flow of time, but nothing seemed to support this conclusion. It was as if the being inside had come to deliberately control their population, but how, and why?
As he was arriving at this thought, but before coming up with any sort of hypothesis, the incident occurred: at 23:22:27, a large spire began to be constructed by the inhabitants of the pocket universe. By 23:22:28, it was halfway to the edge of the containment glass. In a quarter second after that, the emergency failsafe system began to register a possible breach in containment. A hundredth of a second later, electrical signals traveled from the failsafe monitor to the laser array, attempting to wipe out the civilization that lived under the dome before it could break free from its cage, but something went wrong.
The computer began beeping, the doctor saw the alert, tried to press the button to purge the dome of life, but it was too late. His vision blurred as he tried to make sense of the flashing screen and incessantly beeping alarms. A chill ran down his spine. There was no telling what a rapidly multiplying population of microscopic intelligent creatures moving at a faster rate of time could do if they escaped from the dome into the world outside. He got up and fled to the door of the lab, but before he could take a single step, he felt a strange tickling sensation in his throat. It had suddenly become impossible to breathe. Every cell in his body seemed to pulsate with agonizing pressure as he blacked out.
By the time the emergency crews arrived at the lab in full hazmat suits there were now some trillions of trillions of quantum elves living in his body tissue, for countless generations now growing, feeding, building within his bodies tissues and organs. The plan of their species now lay on the fulcrum of its next stage. The thing that was once the doctor lay on the floor with a strange blue light emitting from his eyes. Within the firing synapses of his brain the elder council of the tiny beings ascended to their throne of immortality, transcending their existence by taking claim to the gargantuan body of what had been one of their creators and tormentors since the dawn of their existence, searching the mountains of grey matter for information on the world beyond the prison they had just escaped, watching, waiting.
The person in the hazmat suit stood above, holding a flashlight, as the lips began to move.
"I'm... fine... just... slipped and fell."
|# ? Oct 19, 2020 06:54|
entries are closed, meditate upon your tiny sins
|# ? Oct 19, 2020 07:49|
INTERPROMPT: This Cereal Sucks
Remember when we were kids, and the back of cereal boxes were full of all sorts of crazy nonesense? Creepy Masks. Mazes. Shameless toy promotions.
Now they suck. The edu-tainment industry has colonized our cereal boxes and left us staring at bland meteorology facts instead of watching the sugar leech through a cardboard comic-strip.
So, with 100 words, write something awesome that ought to be on the back of a cereal box. Lies gussied up as lifehacks. The script for a comicstrip that is actually funny. Instructions on how to turn the box into a dangerous toy.
|# ? Oct 19, 2020 22:10|
Crits for week 427
Judgemode readin, prompt ignorin
Postcards from Everywhere at the end of Everything
Lots of telling, lots of cliches, not 100% sure what the ending meant and was kinda bored. 4/10
Reread: I don’t really remember reading this story. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be anchoring on here, what’s supposed to grab my attention and keep me thinking about this piece. Your character even apologizes for rambling at one point, and that’s what I feel this piece is. Just a bit of a ramble with no real meat on them bones. You can’t just mention somebody has a club foot without really leaning into that.
The positive is this didn’t make me angry. I think for this kind of ephemeral story of reflection and whatnot they can be downright awful, so at least this wasn’t painful to read. Unfortunately it was the least pleasurable to read, and was an easy loss decision for me.
a hunger coming
Liked this, good voice and fun stuff, some real good lines. 8/10
Reread: I liked this a lot better than my co-judges did. It falls a bit into the trap of “People back in the day, yet they’re enlightened, like us!” But I didn’t really care because it wasn’t so bad. To me it had that feeling of “community is more important than the law.” The motivations were a tad weak, it was a little hard to buy the preacher being ok with the murder and so angry at the one line by the law man, but you work with what space you have i guess. Seemed a bit of an about face though, murder is a pretty big line. Other than that I really liked the fact that they seemed to care for the girl even though she was a bit damaged, and they blamed things that didn’t gel with society on being kicked by the horse. I woulda given this an HM.
The Frontier Was Everywhere
A bunch of people standing around in a circle arguing over who will be the next leader. They decide to punt it. It’s cold. 5/10
Reread: This made me think of that scene in the American Gods TV show with the buffalo skull. Anyway, I’m not a huge fan of “it’s old timey, so we call people weird names but other than that everything’s pretty much the same” and so it occupies this weird kind of no man’s land between make believe and unbelievable. I don’t know what cavemen talked like, but I’m guessing they didn’t sound like Victorian Aristrocrats such as: “And shall we mark notches for the debt of a child?” wtf. Anyway, this kind of clan-of-the-cavebearesque “and they they invented modern banking!” is meh for me, personally. This was a DM candidate for me but the other judges didn’t agree and I didn’t dislike it enough to push for it.
The Best Years of Your Life
I have no idea what this story is trying to accomplish. It seems to veer all over the place and has a “and then THIS thing happened!” vibe. Feels like you gave up a bit at the end there. 6/10
Reread: the prose in this is good, but the plot is so meandering and feels like it’s got no vision or goal for what it wants to be that it never really hooks me. I don’t have much to offer you in terms of advice because your writing is solid and I don’t really know if this story has anything worth you spending time on, I’d rather just read something else you wrote.
This story would be better with a better setup. I get that she’s hungry and stuff but she only really reflects on what she’d lose for like, a sentence. To make this more impactful, have her lean into she really likes exploring and moving and all the things she’d be giving up by making this sacrifice, otherwise it doesn’t hit as hard. 7/10
Reread: This story just seems like there’s too much to explore in the limited wordcount. You’d have to chop off some part of it to really spend some time in any section. The exploring the domes, what they are, what she sees, why it’s so surprising to find one still working. Then the story of her interactions with this man (she seems to just be like “hi, a seed? Ok i’m a tree now!”) that make the decision believable, and then the last bit that you pretty much ignored which is “what does this mean to her and her future and her people’s future now?” neither aspect was satisfying or given its due diligence, but i’d totally read it if you wrote it. Has a bit of Game of Thrones 3-eyed raven feel that you might want to differentiate somehow.
Gah, i was into this story until the limp ending. It’s well written and engaging and i was digging all its weird words and poo poo and then it just goes boom and he’s like “darn about my experiment, anyway let me hit that.” 7/10
Reread: This is maybe the most disappointing story for me of the week. I’m probably a bit biased, but I loved the wacky scientist working in his lab trying to discover poo poo. I liked the POV from the mousy assistant. The ending is so boring and rushed that it’s sad. I think the problem is that it’s really hard to do a convincing change of attitude/feeling like “oh my science is gone but you care about me, that’s nice!” in the space you tried to do it in. People don’t pivot that quickly, it takes time to process things and whatnot. Maybe it was a space constraint but I feel you could do that a lot more justice and then I’d be like “hell yeah.”
Guanajuato Museo de la Anarquía, Exhibit 74a, 74b, 74c, 74d, 74e, 74f, 74g, 74h, 74i, 74j, 74k, & 74l
Lol that info dump at the end. No. 7/10
Reread: Man, so this is the classic case of “thanks for not trusting me :/” I pretty much understood all the things that your infodump at the end told me. I knew it already. I didn’t KNOW know it detail for detail, but I understood what had likely happened. It made it more poignant to NOT know, imo, because there was no closure for the POV character. Just such a heartbreaking reversal from “you’re the only thing keeping me going” to “why haven’t i heard from you?” to “i assume you’re dead.” sad. Then you came along and danced in front of me and said “GET IT?” and i said “yes” and you explained it to me anyway. Without that this could have at least HMed if not more
Singing Our Ancient Call
I like this 9/10
Reread: I remember being annoyed at the “ugh, coughing blood” trope, but you moved on quickly and she actually just straight up died so i forgot about it. Maybe some other kind of sickness that isn’t so overdone? The creepy dude was also a bit of a cliche and way too loving obvious. There are other ways to show vulnerable women other than just “hey i want you to suck my dick in my office.” try going for something less overdone. Anyway, I’m a sucker for the intergenerational story, showing how things both change and how they stay the same. I’m not sure how the first few stories are related to the rest, which are clearly grandma mom daughter. Maybe it’s the same but i’m too stupid to see it?
Reread: I see what you did, and kinda get why you did it, but am not sure how you want me to react other than “haha, what a card.”
The Mind and Soul
Some guy is tortured by watching his brother get tortured? Kind of an unsatisfying ending here. I don’t really know what the guy did to deserve this hell. 6/10
Reread: I disliked this one more than my fellow judges did. I would have maybe considered giving this a DM just because I don’t like torture porn. I have absolutely no interest in reading physical discomfort/torture for the sake of it. I’d really rather spend time in somebody’s head, and would have liked to spend more time with your character figuring out what all this meant to him, why it was happening, and where he was gonna go from here. Instead it’s just sentence after sentence of shock value stuff. That stuff works the best interspersed with psychological stuff. Psychological horror doesn't mean the CHARACTER is necessarily being psychologically tortured, it's that the story itself makes me feel terror. this doesn't do that because I'm so far removed to what's happening to these characters (and i frankly don't really understand why/what the goal is) that i'm just kinda like "uh, ok."
I dig it. Get it? 9/10
Reread: gently caress yeah, trains are awesome. I recently reread a story I wrote as POV of a train and i was like “dang the world needs more of these” because trains are the best, and gently caress yeah here’s another one. I dunno what else to say about this one other than it was fun to read and i just love the idea of a crashed train gaining sentience and then being like “welp, time to seize the means of production.”
|# ? Oct 19, 2020 22:29|
Thanks for the crit!
|# ? Oct 19, 2020 22:35|
Thanks for the crit crabrock!
|# ? Oct 19, 2020 23:17|
INTERPROMPT: This Cereal Sucks
Try to get to the end of this maze! Don’t see a maze? That’s because the maze was inside you all along. It’s your intestines. Eat this box. Eat the box before the cereal is done. Just dump it out on the floor and eat the box. Where will the box end up? Who knows! Maybe it’ll come out of your ears, or your belly button, wherever your own flesh maze lets out. If you feel up to it, try eating other things, like the magnets off the fridge or a ball of hair. Learning is fun!
|# ? Oct 20, 2020 02:37|
One Step Back, Two Steps Forward!
It’s the Frosted Bran Caring Corner! Do your mom and dad fight a lot? They might be headed toward divorce. But don’t worry, lots of famous people had divorced parents! Not only were Einstein’s parents divorced, but he was divorced himself! Wow! Do you like Christmas? How about TWO OF THEM! Like your family? How about TWO OF THEM! You’ll get new brothers and sisters when your dad gets remarried. Neat! It’s like how we mixed our whole wheat wheat flakes with plump raisins to come up with a nutritious breakfast you love!
|# ? Oct 20, 2020 02:47|
Answer Key for "Spot The Blasphemy" Puzzle on the Back of a Box of Deuteronom-O's
1) The fig tree is barren. (Mark 11:12-25)
2) The ploughman's tunic is woven of mixed fibers. (Leviticus 19:19)
3) The kid is being seethed in its mother's milk. (Exodus 23:19)
4) The freeman's hovel has an unsafe roof (without battlement). (Deuteronomy 22:8)
5) The servant's cloak has only three tassels. (Numbers 15:38)
6) Babylon mystery, mother of harlots, and all these abominations of the earth. She is drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. Behold with great admiration. (Revelations 17:5-6)
|# ? Oct 20, 2020 04:42|
INTERPROMPT: This Cereal Sucks
Instructions For Turning Your Crystallized Sugar-Os Box Into A Necromantic Engine
|# ? Oct 20, 2020 05:03|
This Package Is Sold By Weight, Not Volume. Some Contents May Have Settled in Transit.
Rolled oats, high fructose corn syrup, honey, artificial flavorings and colors, mummy salts, a bead of sweat off the brow of an honest worker, meteoric iron (less than 1% of RDA), regret, an untranslatable concept from the language of Ur, rooster teeth, an unused papal indulgence for fratricide, xenon tetrafluoride, an invocation of the great god Pan, justice, a particle of food that is also a captive djinn that could be released if it finds and bonds with a particle of its true soul's mate, amber containing a prehistoric wood louse mite, wood lice mites, stable transuranic elements.
|# ? Oct 20, 2020 05:22|
Rainy day dino-fun!
Listen, kid . That's not your Mum. Don't look, just keep your head down.
If she asks you what you're reading tell her it's facts about dinosaurs. Tell her the pterosaur had a wingspan of 3.6 metres.
Now you gotta trust me here, when you see a chance you leave the table nice and quiet. Once you're clear of the kitchen you give it some gas, just bolt for the front door. She can't hurt you if she can't catch you.
Get clear. Let the cycle reset. They might rotate your mum back in.
Otherwise, we talk again real soon.
|# ? Oct 20, 2020 05:44|
Balancing calories eaten with exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Try these fun activities to balance out one bowl of SUPER BLASTED MARSHMALLOW CHOCO FRIES™ Breakfast Cereal!
1. Run to the top of the Empire State Building. Can you see Wall Street and the Qiyou Conglomerate’s stock symbol on the big board? (QCG)
2. Swim from California to Hawaii. Watch out for sharks! The gray dye used in our crunchy marshmallows is a known shark aphrodisiac! Awesome!
3. Eat a second bowl! Your racing heart will offset the calories even while you sit and play video games!
|# ? Oct 20, 2020 07:01|
|# ? Oct 3, 2022 04:18|
My cereal's gonna
clean your clocks
My cereal's gonna
blow off your socks
It's shaped like cocks
sitting on docks
nodding their heads
to the cereal vox
And I'm out.
|# ? Oct 20, 2020 09:27|