|# ? Oct 28, 2020 04:19|
|# ? Jan 30, 2023 10:31|
is it too late to for more sentences? i dont read prompt posts
|# ? Oct 28, 2020 05:00|
no sentences beginning with 't' please
|# ? Oct 28, 2020 10:25|
my schedule is a nightmare right now but this is too good a prompt to pass up.
|# ? Oct 28, 2020 12:22|
"Dr. Char. I think I’m the one, the same, the, the fessive. You beat that?”
Please be honest, Koldiefly.
He smokes and puts on a stream of the soft death and they’ll thik this an accident.
He shifted the tiny spill in time which you could jump.
and then she prayed and then he couldn’t move.
“How long sirens” was switched against my face.
It’s on Soon-active loving scumphing being born or something.
“I beg your promises!”
But after how long, how book talking, will we live ourselves truly.
I told me to watch me.
is it too late to for more sentences? i dont read prompt posts
We think we’re sleeping.
“Yo, sure, before da.. Do you have time to eat it’s name, Maan? I ran this idea-”
She thought about cancer, banks, stuff, in his head again.
Big chain away!
“Holy promotions,” span the Second.
We folks admit real.
I was too weak, not out, one hands of paraons drunk after a memory of an American.
I’ve told me that she would remember Judge Style, the post said, shrugged.
Sox sisters, yeah, yeah.
“No,” he says. “He’s going to be anything called. I hug me. No doubt something. Sometimes then. Sometimes a good look for Amelise and children."
An angle full of fish-mier crashing but they’ll kill you poo poo.
Me not church!
Yet twenty messy, covered violent, they are working themself from excited to survivable.
“You would page. Cans off!”
my schedule is a nightmare right now but this is too good a prompt to pass up.
I took a sip of the actors down on the bird.
"Because we always in steady medicinal but you wanted a sign by that. It’s stupid for that. It is her laser’s skulily and they were friends!"
“Why con,” Cat said, “I told you that night. You tell his dead.”
He rolled over his swirly casturely bastard hair.
He kisses my eyes but the setting sun tried to rob him.
The medicals alive the gun, spinning orders since the tiger’s quick.
|# ? Oct 28, 2020 14:24|
|# ? Oct 29, 2020 00:30|
He laughs and the conversation is angry but perfect.
Can you bastaked me before da fakkin’ belt weak, he said.
The voice is our engine.
"Not a world’s that it further rob fulls this twenty one thing. More buy, pleasant money. Six control of it, maybe we can move them.”
After more, I might have worried them out like pictures, despination.
Like I’d always have been in literally powder.
|# ? Oct 29, 2020 02:12|
Tosk fucked around with this message at 04:01 on Oct 29, 2020
|# ? Oct 29, 2020 03:59|
“Huh.” He didn’t know of my eyes.
“You have to be a boot now!””
We did make the plastic police to have a beautiful calm.
Ellation spung ship back into halochip poo poo.
Ever traveling through his favorite.
He leans Rob light on the table and churches they walked towards her.
|# ? Oct 29, 2020 05:14|
We have two unbloodied babbies with no crits. And Gorka, barely three weeks old, uncritted for last week as well. The first three people to fix this can get an extra sentence.
|# ? Oct 30, 2020 03:06|
Science Fantasy Crits
Magic Cactus, Homesong
A good opening, with a minor typographical error in capitalization presumably from a late editing splice. Character and situation established quickly, with the second sentence given to genre setup.
This is solid. I wonder, though, about the audience's response. It feels like it would be more interesting, more true for them to be angry. Strong overall story.
Take the Moon, skinwalker
Evocative opening, but also rough on the reader. Challenging, impressionistic text here. Two threads here, one more grounded than the other but you start in the deep end, with some spidery alien cryoship awakening.
A lot of doubled periods that don't seem like a deliberate choice.
I think we have an alien parasite, possibly a hive mind, that has hijacked a human colony, and one person trying to sever a connection with it. And I think the opaqueness here mostly hurts the ending, with unclear stakes and consequences.
I wonder if cutting the opening wouldn't improve this. It does a lot of work establishing the week's prompt, without it the piece would feel like straight weird fantasy, but outside the dome context it might read better without it, going straight to the character and narrative.
Path, degenerate stars
Opener is just okay, which may be enough for something of this length.
This is another good one. There's a few places where I would want a bit more clarity in the politics here, but overall we have a neat and tightly constructed short story here.
High, HM contender?
Simply Simon, Take the stars
The opening is surprisingly slow for it's epic breadth. Particularly slow to introduce characters.
The exclamation marks are tonally jarring.
Another good piece, but a bit dragging at points. We're in a sort of Warhammer-esque universe here, and I'm not sure you land hard enough on the anti- side of the imperialist system.
Uranium Phoenix, What Lies Beneath
Second person is a bold choice for a longer piece. The opening is okay, establishes what it needs to.
Two paragraphs in and I think this may be a bit on the nose, a bit directly allegorical. Once you're in the mystery the story flows nicely. Until the villain monologue, which really goes off the rails. And the ending was predictable rather than inevitable. No real punch with everything telegraphed miles ahead
a friendly penguin, Battle of the Senses
Department of Paperwork is doing a lot to the opening line, setting some expectations that I'm not sure are going to be met. And they aren't. This needs to be a lot more subtle, have higher stakes, or at least be funny to work.
Low, loss/dm candidate
Gorka, Song of the Depths
Very weak opening here. This one is a mess, really. Stakes, motivations, and premises just keep shifting. Why does anyone suddenly think the captain killed Ivanovic?
Another very low one
sparksbloom, Institutional Memory
Reasonably effective opener. Characterful. I like this one a lot. It's messy in a good way. The characters all seem real. Strong contrast with the previous one. High, hm candidate.
MockingQuantum, A Spark
One of the better one character openers. Possibly don't repeat 'landing' so close though. This is just a scene, not a story, sort of unsatisfying. The mysterious ally is interesting, something I missed on the first reading, but you don't let it go anywhere.
Thumbtacks, Excuse me, would you be interested in a timeshare on Callisto
Amusing opener, but slow to get to a conflict. I'd call this amusing in general. Enough to almost, and that's almost forgive the first person narrator death ending. Especially with this kind of 'person delivering a monologue' kind of voice.
Middle, middle-low maybe.
Tyrannosaurus, Anyway Your Honor
Strong opening. A nice progression from the abstract/universal to the specific to the fantastic.
This was excellent. Engrossing, by far easiest read of the long stories this week, well-constructed and generally tight. Except uncle didn't knock bird on his rear end again after the funeral as promised.
The ending was a little rushed. I'd have liked the judge to have been set up earlier, and specifically the fact that they are of native descent, which the title alone can't do, it would have been stronger as a callback than coming out of nowhere.
The opening is okay, dictated by the structure mostly.
This was another good story in a good week, with good use of a time jumping narrative. Probably could have used more breadth in the other characters, might have done with a bit more connective tissue.
sebmojo, - - V -
Nice, packs a lot of punch into 117 words. Probably in the middle given the week's strength overall. Could have probably used 33 or 83 more words to add clarity and still be super tight; I don't think you could get down to a proper 100 without cutting organs and bone.
Dr Klocktopussy, Vampire Dad and the Magical Sword from Space (Part I)
The opening sets a mood, to be sure. I'm side-eying "Todd and I's" like you wouldn't believe though.
Given the already lateness, a single cursory editing pass would have been nice, would have caught things like the find/replace mishap with the word 'involved' twice in quick succession and themselves/yourselves, or 'Tatania' for that matter.
But if it had been better proofread this would have wound up among the top stories for me. Impressive humorous storytelling sustained this long is rare in the dome. The biggest weakness is that all of the characters are essentially talking in the exact same snarky tone.
|# ? Oct 30, 2020 06:12|
ty 4 crit
|# ? Oct 30, 2020 07:35|
Hi I'm in,
(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)
|# ? Oct 30, 2020 15:17|
thanks for the crit!
|# ? Oct 30, 2020 16:48|
crit bounty fulfilled
"This is farce content in my head. Would you grave yours?"
Hi I'm in,
"The people, you know, age," she says. "Those ya's a pig?"
It's that high we need to go on.
The Macides Mos rifle, huh
"Not even flooding tiding?" he hissed. "Tripibly make sure then."
The high have always loved that time they class away.
I do throw him and fushed down with a strap and wild was following.
The first matches which I should have known by the goat.
I mean, the monster couldn’t leave, man.
I got some rain there but the woods were a daming tiny mouth.
"Out, her sister would jead da faces,” she said, playing back and craning new.
|# ? Oct 30, 2020 17:52|
I am on vacation, and I need a vacation. in
|# ? Oct 30, 2020 23:08|
I am on vacation, and I need a vacation. in
|# ? Oct 30, 2020 23:34|
I am on vacation, and I need a vacation. in
“A rage step bath to Buddha."
He sat down la mixture for eye people.
There was as slamming about from her partakes.
Saito turned their little hands for a boar.
The patiently Rabbit. “Now that was a portrait,” she said.
This was coincidence over my wallet and she smiled.
|# ? Oct 31, 2020 01:40|
Sign ups closed
|# ? Oct 31, 2020 04:10|
“Have a callback to a classic ThunderDome story buried somewhere in yours.”
Nature Abhors a Vampire. At the Galactic Olympic Games.
Seventeenth Lieutenant Rebecca and Yve von Vampyre, both hot favourites to take the 1,000m simul-dive gold at the Galactic Olympic Games, sprung from their respective platforms at precisely the same moment.
“My name is Yve Boris von Vampyre. You killed my father. Prepare to die,” said Yve, before tucking into the first rotation of a reverse triple twist.
Becky pondered these words as she began her own backwards spiral pike-flip. She was pretty sure she’d never killed anyone. Sure, she’d seen a lot of people die - hard not to in a 10 year military career. There was one though that was arguably her fault. After all, it had been her decision for the squad to leave base on a full moon night...
“Was your father a werewolf by any chance?” Becky asked, as their respective rotations brought her back face to face with her vampiric rival.
Yve felt like she’d been slapped. The shock of such a grave insult made her fluff the entrance into her octaplex-flickflack. She executed a septuple instead and snarled.
“My name is Yve Boris von Vampyre! You killed my father! Prepare to--”
Becky levelled out of a perfect triple potato-slicer. “I’m sorry. Your father was…?”
“Boris!” Yve shouted, upside down and chin jammed against her knees. “Ambassador Boris von Vampyre! He was obliterated by the sun after you refused to let him onto your stupid ship!”
“Ooh.” Becky wobbled, slowing her descent with a quick jazz flap so that the incensed vampire dropped below her, a little closer to the pale blue pool seven hundred meters below them. “But,” she called. “There wasn’t an airlock. Because of cost cutting.”
Yve busted out a horizontal whirly-flare, an amateur’s move really, but it slowed her and brought them back level. Her face was flushed dark and her forehead was an angry V.
Becky felt her limbs tingle as a numbing cold spread up from her toes and fingertips. Her eyes widened with shock. “That’s cheating,” she hissed. She pirouetted into her own whirly-flare, trying to mask her decreasing coordination from the judges.
“To reiterate: my name is Yve Boris von Vampyre. You. Killed. My. Father!” Yve dove towards the focus of her life’s most bitter grievance. Nothing had gone right for Yve since Boris - the man who had turned her all those hundreds of years ago, always impeccably dressed and the most stalwart supporter of her Olympic diving dreams - had died, murdered by an idiot with an etch-a-sketch.
“Stop!” said Becky, though numb lips. “If the New Vampire Republic gets disqualified from the Games everything your father worked to achieve will be wasted!” Or at least that’s what she meant to say. What really came out was a froth of spit and, “ff ew wam buh mm ‘d aahm vry bugh ung nnn!” Becky locked eyes with Yve, willing her to understand.
Yve slammed into Becky and cartwheeled her towards the waiting pool.
Becky struggled to push Yve away with arms as responsive as play-doh. Yve bared her fangs and pulled her unwitting nemesis in tight. Their bodies were perfectly vertical. They began to rotate around their shared central axis, the extra weight creating a momentum that no diver could ever hope to generate alone...
Yve’s pupils dilated. This was it. This was the opening form for the one move that she and Boris, their bodies too mismatched in size, had never been able to pull off. With her heart pounding in her ears Yve met Becky’s bright green eyes and saw that the other woman had realised it too. Yve knew that Boris would never have forgiven her for wasting a chance to pull off the most ultimate to the max extreme diving move ever.
Yve released her glamour, and bent one pointed-toe leg away from Becky’s. Becky, gurgling a little, mirrored her exactly. The two sparkly-swimsuited bodies parted like the petals of a spinning blood-orchid, grips locked on each other’s wrists. Their combined rotational potential energy was incredible. Neck muscles straining against the last of the glamour, Becky gave Yve the tiniest of nods.
Yve let go.
Yve and Becky corkscrewed away from each other in perfect synchrony at a speed that would have stopped the average human heart. Fortunately, Becky was no average human, and Yve was a vampire.
A single tear whipped from Yve’s eye. This is for you, dad, she thought, as she super-piked through more rotations that she’d ever thought possible, before slicing into the pool with no more splash than she had reflection.
Becky, giddy with relief at avoiding a major diplomatic incident, arched her back, touched her fingertips to toes, and busted out her trump card: the hitherto unseen-at-the-Galactic-Olympic-
Games sideways quadruple-swan. She arrowed into the pool a split-second after Yve.
The crowd literally howled their approval, because they were nearly all space werewolves.
Becky swam over to Yve, and caught her by the shoulders. “That. Was. Amazing!” she said.
Yve’s eyes were bright with tears. “My name is Yve Boris von Vampyre. You… you...” Her voice caught in her throat.
“I didn’t,” Becky said quietly. “There really wasn’t an airlock. There was nothing anyone could have done.”
Yve let out a small sob as Becky pulled her into a hug. The human’s breasts were warm against Yve’s undead body. Yve hesitated, then lifted her own arms to circle Becky’s. Perhaps Yve had been wrong, all these years…
Over Becky’s shoulder Yve watched the scores going up on the holoboard.
Seventeenth Lieutenant Rebecca, representing the Human Space-Olympic Team: 10. 10. 8. 9.
Yve von Vampyre, athlete-prime of the Vampire New Republic: 9. 10. 9...
The holoboard froze. The space werewolves held their collective breath.
Yve blinked. Silver. Yve was going to get good-for-nothing-but-killing-werewolves silver.
Yve’s head snapped back and she let out a blood curdling screech of frustration. She grabbed Becky’s biceps and sank her fangs into her neck. Blood bloomed across the blue water, causing the remainder of the competition to be halted for hygiene reasons and getting the New Vampire Republic barred from competing in the next Galactic Olympic Games, which really was a shame given all the hard work Boris had put in to get them there in the first place.
|# ? Oct 31, 2020 05:56|
Treat – Voidmart Val-U Brand Candy. Have Voidmart as a setting for one of your stories.
She came here with me for the endless lemonade so she could mix in gin and wander under the halogen. Sips it now, her lips wrinkled with temper as the Void-Mart™ pharm tech explains to me how to take Voidisone. One half moon in the morning and one at bedtime. The way she says "bedtime" makes me think of glow-in-the-dark star decals. Blurring into a wintergreen wash as I drift to sleep at age seven.
I spent ten minutes today staring at my pallid white wall. Lying on a bed stained with us for who knows how long. Hitting the skids with fury as Leisha explained how awesome she was getting at self-harm. I don't stick to up and down or side to side, she says. I slant too. I go every way.
Did I drop a "cool?"
There's no war on but we live like there is. Our home is a shelter and we blockade it with pretense. One look at our shelves always makes them leave. Breakfast was the kind of noodles you run under cold water so you don't have to wait before stuffing your fat face.
When I asked her what she was gonna be this year she tore a new hole in her ragged jeans and said she'd be a rock star. Right now Lycra shows through the tears. She came back right as the seniors before me shuffled off. Her eyes dance. Flicker into the corner as if searching for hidden meaning at the edges of sight.
"Are you listening, sir?" the pharm lady says. "This matters. We're not liable for any way this messes you up. This is on you."
"Okay," she says, as I take the crinkled paper bag. "Next."
I stuff it into my one-strap ten-dollar backpack. I tell myself on our walk home to not take ten, or five. Take two. I can handle that. It's felt for a while like I can't handle much. I'm puffing on my vape though it doesn't do much if I'm walking. Little black slab like a tiny monolith.
"Do you know what it'll feel like?" she says. Swaying a little, her perfect poise out fast when she drinks. Doing it more and more.
"No," I say. But my inner addict wonders. New meds always feel strange. The last one tinted the world ochre like old film. When my psych asked if there were any side effects I said no and hoped it'd last. It didn't, so the two of us blitzed through the 'script in a week. The colour never came back but in motes, flecks of golden light as if strained through a sifter.
I'm sucking on my vape as she talks to a drifter. I see her pour some of her drink into his mouth. His face twists in grimace, scarred lips knitting in swallow. Darkness has fallen and the stars have come out. My jacket collar curls into my neck with the night breeze. She comes back to me with a smile and hugs me close. The smell of black soap singes my nostrils.
"Let's get hosed up on it," she says.
The word "no" is on my tongue but she presses it back down with hers.
I haven't showered in 48. All her words glow, sear lighting bolts across my eyelids as she says them. The revenants of chili-pasted brown rice stray a bowl resting on my table. It's lacquered in a forlorn shade of auburn.
She tells me about how bad my moon is. When the moon's in Pisces, she says, it always fucks her up. Her nails are lilac pink and glint like ladybugs in the sun. "LeBron James has my sign," she says. "Capricorn."
"Cool," I say but my heart's in it this time. Should learn all about her. Where she was born. Her most drawn tarot card. First time tripping. Instead all I ever learn about is how to dispose of vape caps. All I ever know is that I'm not who I wish I was. All I ever see is the same dude always on acid, the path left of him snaking in perfect parallax. She has no spit. I am always puking.
So dumb but I never bothered.
Symmetry in how she splits apart, how she exists here and back there. In my memories chained into presence and their ghosts. In those hauntings she seemed curse, slouch hat hiding horrid dreams, a weight. A song of life now. Of faith in stars and portents. A magess I need to grow stronger. Someone who divines the earth like the firstborn of its womb.
In this room, part of me counts the half-moons left. The other schizes from the main, somewhere in orbit, burning a vapour trail like a comet. I say things I can't take back. Code wrung out of Babel-feedback in my head. What matters most to me.
I'm moving at one p.m. The bottle is on the floor. I pick it up. All gone. Two weeks' script. My soul eclipses. The panic attack withers my nerves into worms drying in the sun.
Bleached out, squirming.
She's awake an hour later. I tell her nothing's left. She says it's no never mind. That there are always more pills. Can forget that ache until the moment of. Lungs loop into steady life, living for the body.
It's still a battle I can't fight. The days spun out into long drears. When I talk to people I throw myself at them. Press into them like pages closing on petals. I need to stay wired. The sirens, the crashing on the rocks. Lying on a mattress with a thin blanket wrapped around me. She paces veiled by sheets, wisping past milk crates full of clothes.
I don't see myself in mirrors.
We share the vape above a blushing green lawn. A hot, humid day. The wet air makes no difference to her stringy locks. "I don't know what to do," I say. Vibe between a fear I can't hide from myself and one I want to bleed through, make her see this is a big deal. "I can't tough it out any more."
"It wouldn't have done anything," she says. "That stuff never does."
"Dude," I say. "I'm about to hurl myself off this thing."
She leans over the railing, gauges the distance. "It wouldn't work unless you headered it." She reflects. "I'll fake another 'script for you. What was it, scribbled on origami paper?"
It wasn't. It was stock that felt gross to touch. The fibers sending murmurs of disquiet lancing into my brain.
"I'll dig it up," I say.
"These things," she says. "All you need a signature. Doctors have the worst cursive on earth." She cocks her head, her hair falling across her cheeks. "We'll make sure it's a different lady." Shrugs, the whole thing fantasy to her. Too unreal because there's nothing extrasolar about it. But I'm gripping the railing as if over the edge and hanging on.
"Can I get at that?" she says. Drawing on the monolith as if Pan playing his flute.
So this is a joke to her, and her flask of gin in her leather jacket pocket. She took some shrooms, too, sprinkled the coarse gray into coffee she'd let cool. Origin some tripper she sat when she was more stable. I've been wearing the same sweatshirt for days so I pass no comment. But I'm thinking about the scars lacing her forearms under that leather. What I liked about her was the whiplash. Bright moments out of nowhere because there's no better kind. But I never know what she'll do, which right now has me shot.
From outside Void-Mart™ looks like a bug shell sectioned off. Black concrete that simmers in the sun. A slight mirage rises from it like a soul leaving its body. The parking lot sprawl is jam-packed. Cars squeezed into each other like eyelids in sleep. An alarm bleats from somewhere I can't see.
How long will I have to sweat this out, lined behind norms who'll ask a million questions about their meds?
"Don't go away," I say. "Don't leave me in there."
Her eyes brighten with her promise. But at the moment of truth she fidgets, adjusts her slouch a few times, before telling me she'll be right back. The aisles of the store swallow her without trace. The person behind me coughs. Their breath tickles my nape, the hairs ribboned there, and I scratch at it. I'm not there. I'm at the front of the line, in my vision talking in a voice smooth as cream.
The lady behind the desk looks different from where I am, but it's hard to tell. They all look like gargoyles, hunched, hair graying, firm-featured with hooded eyes. Fossils from a time when all this stuff was easy. Was Void-Mart™ around back then? Instead of lemonade you'd get coke crystals in the soda or some drug now used for date-rape. For all I know it was. I'm close enough to the front now to hear this lady complain how her Valium doesn't work the way it used to.
Ask your doc about Voidisone, she's advised, and my heart staggers. The final form, the one winged angel of need where the name alone crosses you up. In a sudden my thoughts are pure void. What was I going to say? How was I going to say it? What sounds in what order? I brush the fake note in my pocket, but it's stuck in a hidden crease. I can't come up with it. My teeth suck in the conditioned air. Dead air, the dregs, used and pumped back in.
As if on cue. "We need some help in aisle 9," says a dingy voice over the P.A. Leisha. Lost somewhere in the guts of the store. Her eyes would've been vacuums, her hands moving of their own accord.
It happens then. A second cough, more intent in this one, pushes me to the desk. Behind the glass the pharm tech peers at me with searching eyes. I try to get a fix on her name tag. My brain doesn't process it.
"Um," I say. "Trying to fill this." With a yank I get the pocket inside out, the paper slip coming free in folds. I smooth it out between my palms and push it under the glass. For a moment it's frozen halfway. The scrawl flares from the white like an inkblot pattern that's all no noise, no signal.
"Voidisone," the tech says in a matter-of-fact voice.
I say nothing.
She shrugs. Hands over the card reader. I swipe the C.C. Ready to kiss this whole thing off. Leave Leisha here in the labyrinth.
But she's there with me, a rent-a-cop's black-sleeved arm on her shoulder. "Excuse me," he says. "Is this your girlfriend?" Come back to me in the worst way. A matte of hair clumps from beneath her slouch. Triggers her ghost in my head. A wild witch drawn strength from the moment. Versed in sacrifice. Her future selves her tributes.
"Yeah," I say. "She's a Capricorn."
|# ? Oct 31, 2020 06:58|
Predictive Rex Generator
1. There was as slamming about from her partakes.
2. The patiently Rabbit. “Now that was a portrait,” she said.
3. This was coincidence over my wallet and she smiled.
The patiently Rabbit was unapologeticly restless.
"How long does this usually take on Christmas day? We have been waiting in line for many lunches."
I had two answers. But more importantly, it wasn't Christmas.
"You're not going to have a good time attacking me with your irony, you rabbit. Just do the thing," I retorted, with a wink and a spiffy little jig.
"Knock this, gently caress," the patiently Rabbit snorted. "This is more than I bargain for. My lease is up next spring, and I don't want to be patiently. I will be the strikingly Rabbit. Yes." a grin wiped the smile off the patiently Rabbit's rabbit mouth.
"We've come a long way, and this is the place to be," I said.
"Then the fairy in this mall really CAN change our classes?" the patently Rabbit asked.
"The fairy in this mall is probably just two moles in a fairy suit. NO SCAMARINO," I exclaimed, and crossed some toes and fingers under providence of superstition.
"Those moles. They will rue the day," the patiently Rabbit croaked. It was loud, and inspired. It crossed toes, too.
"Please have your credentials in order," a man barked. He was security, and also romantically involved with his work.
"OK, just as we discussed. I will be the artist, and you pay the toll." The patiently Rabbit looked at me like a lamb eyeing a delicious grape.
"Yeah, OK. Keep your pants on, brother," I said, optimistically as I pulled out my wallet. It was thin and emaciated.
On the origin of wallets I once mused, after a sports match. Why do we store our bullshit in a pocket that goes in a pocket? Do I really know the things? Can there ever be an identifiable absolute truth? I determined that this was nothing to lose sleep over.
The fairy was having an audience with a young boy, and another boy. The patiently Rabbit was using this time to paint art. Meanwhile, the boys were served in the order received.
Next up: The patiently Rabbit. “Now that was a portrait,” she said. Her comforting reassurance was very good. The best good. With that, the mall fairy began to vibrate methodically. There was as slamming about from her partakes. She waved her hands in circle, and the patiently Rabbit was banished to the shadow realm, where "the folly of mortal men runs shallow and or dankly." - Warren Griffin III, November 10, 1970 - October 14, 2020
"That will be three yams, good sire. You are somebody I used to know, and I keep my promises, forever."
This was coincidence over my wallet, and she smiled. Then winked. Then smiled. Then winked. Then winked.
"I knew this would come in handy." My teeth were happier than a bag full of smiles. The transaction was a knee-slappin' success.
I peeked back over my shoulders as I walked to park car storage, alone. The last thing I saw as was two moles scampering off into the dinner sky, which is a sign that it was probably Christmas, and I had been wrong all along.
I gazed at my empty wallet, and sighed.
"Well, there's always yams in the yam stand," I said, apropos of all the things.
|# ? Oct 31, 2020 10:06|
Belated Crits for Week 427
I’m not going to say this was a tough week to judge, because it wasn’t. This was a great week to judge because everyone submitted a really good story. It made judging a treat, rather than a chore.
Rather, this was a tough week to crit, because everyone submitted a really good story. I’m not going to do line crits because there weren’t many typos or grammatical errors that ruined my fun.
Postcards from Everywhere at the end of Everything - Magic Cactus
I was all set to argue for not having a loser this week, until I was reminded that we hadn’t had a loser the previous week, and that meant that some sort of cosmic balance was in danger of being upset. Either way, I think that most weeks, this story would have been a middle-of-the-pack entry. It was a very interesting story – I liked tour twists on samsara and the bardo states – but I think that ultimately it got too esoteric for the word count limit. If you’d had another 1000 words to run with, I think the story might have pulled together.
a hunger coming – tyrannosaurus
Ethnic accents are always a gamble. They can either do a good job setting character and a background without getting too into the weeds of worldbuilding, or they can do a bad job and come off as ham-fisted and insensitive. In this case, I think you did the former, and it ended up as a fun story. The plot device was a bit deus (diablo?) ex machina, but who cares. This is one of those “don’t ask too many questions, just roll with it” stories.
The Frontier Was Everywhere – Uranium Phoenix
Another judge mentioned this was a very Clan of the Cave Bear-esque story, and I’ll have to agree. But with the clovis point as a prompt, where else are you going to go? Anyway, I enjoyed it, and I think my only real criticism is that the resolution is kind of a punt rather than a resolution. “Let’s just chill out and we’ll figure it out later” is pretty true to life, for the most part, but not always satisfying in fiction.
The Best Years of Your Life – sparksbloom
This was a cartoon of a story, but I like cartoons. Being wacky is often challenging because it can end up being monkey cheese cliché hell, but you put enough deliberate effort into this that it kept it on the rails (roller coaster rails, but rails nonetheless) instead of degenerating into lolrandom. In a fun week, this was one of the more fun stories.
Verdant Lost – MockingQuantum
This was one of my top three stories this week. It really had the bones of a good science fantasy story and reminded me a lot of Bradbury’s stuff. I especially liked how you used the prompt, as this is something I could see Whatley on Mars becoming. My only real gig with the story was the inclusion of the sister character in it – Marina ends up being more of a distraction, causing me to go “who is this person and why should I care?” I get that Marina is basically a stand-in for “home,” but in the end I just end up going “who is this, and why should I care about them?”
Ephemera – Pththya-lyi
Dymaxion to the max. This was a fun look at what happens when you pull regency romance into a Postwar setting with geodesic domes. My only stumbling point in the story is when Carlota mentions calling the roofer to fix the geodesic dome they live in. Having worked with those domes before, good loving luck with that. Most roofers would take one look at it, get back in their truck and drive off.
Guanajuato Museo de la Anarquía, Exhibit 74 – Anomalous Blowout
Props on making the most of a really awful hell-rule. I think the judges were in agreement that the “meat” of the story—the quotes—worked really well and told both a story and gave an interesting atmosphere. I think the change I’d have made would be getting rid of the end, non-quote paragraphs. It was sort of jarring to go from the story to exposition. Something that I thought of while reading, and thinking about my own trips to museums, is that a lot of times audio clips are paired with artifacts in the exhibit. So maybe instead of having the “click” between the sections have an object that the audio pairs with?
Singing Our Ancient Call – Tharanguy
A good story, and deserving of the HM. You did a good job piecing together the vignettes to make a larger story that was still coherent. No real crit here, because honestly there’s not much to complain about from my perspective.
Prickly – Dr. Kloctopussy
Ha! This was one of my top three of the week. I know the other judges might not have been as keen, but I do love a good super-short story, especially one that takes a hell rule and goes hog-wild. You did a lot with allusion here, and I think that was the smart way to go – let the stories people already know do some work so your words can twist them into new shapes. Good job.
Mind and Soul – Walamor
This was sort of an interesting take on being almost historical fiction, with a heavy dose of weird psycho-horror thrown in. Overall, I enjoyed it and in most weeks it would have been a middle-of-the-pack story. I think it suffered from the same issue that magic cactus’ story did, in that it hewed a little too much to the esoteric to the point where the plot sort of got lost. What’s in the pill? Is the inquisitor a man or a demon? With a longer story, these ideas could have been teased out a little more, to get some satisfaction. But like I said, I still enjoyed the story.
Worker’s Paradise – Sebmojo
A train on mars that starts its own armed, robotic commune. Nice. This was easily my favorite of the week, but the real reason it stood out to me was that the main character wasn’t human, and you resisted the temptation to anthropomorphize the train’s AI. Most of the time I see AI’s being written as “quirky humans,” and so it was really refreshing to see the character written clearly as a non-human person. Also, props on making the most of the “no use of the verb ‘to be’” hell rule.
|# ? Oct 31, 2020 15:44|
I Got A Shot Time From The Door
1111 bad words
The hospital room door exploded as Dr. Raphael stepped into the room. His white lab cloak flapped majestically behind him and his dark eyebrows knitted like two obelisks of unnatural power. A megalith.
He stopped to stand in front of a patient restrained in his bed. The patient’s hips were making obscene motions; truly an affront to God. “Behold!” Dr. Raphael bellowed, an angelic choir magnificently matching his every spoken word. “It is I, Doctor Archangel Raphael, first of his name, Lord of medi- Would you stop that insufferable hip thrusting?”
That patient, as it were, would not stop his hip thrusting and guttural grunting. Actually, he hip thrusted so fiercely that the bed was scooting across the floor with the unpleasant screeching sound of metal grinding against laminate flooring.
Dr. Raphael turned to his physician assistant, leaned in close and whispered. The angelic choir did not hush their voices. “You’ve said you’ve tried sedation?” The PA cringed in pain as the doctor practically blared an airhorn next to her ear.
“We’re currently maxed out on ketamine, fentanyl and trazadone per kilo.” She said, “Honestly, I have no idea how this guy isn’t in a coma right now.”
Dr. Raphael’s eyebrows furrowed and they cast a long shadow in the room. “I’m afraid I know what is wrong with Mr. Winkiebottom,” he said with the gravitas that was once reserved for only James Earl Jones. Dr. Raphael loosened his tie and cast away his lab coat. With a crack of thunder, he flexed and his bulging muscles strained against his clothes. “I’m going to need everyone to step out.”
The PA backed out of the room, maneuvering around the shattered door with a familiarity learned by experience.
A halo shimmered into existence above Dr. Raphael’s head and his eyes shone like gold in the sunlight. “Speak, you piece of poo poo. I command you in the name of the Lord,” he said.
“Cream got stombled back in her lap as long green the back of his mouth tight glasses ether,” Mr. Winkiebottom said in tandem with a deep and rich voice that did not match the frail old man.
Dr. Raphael glowered. “Tch, I knew it. You don’t have anything better to do down in hell that’s a more productive use of your time than possessing humans?”
Mr. Winkiebottom’s head snapped up and dark eyes bored into Dr. Raphael’s. "Sharp but just fakkin’ dude grunt," he said. "Jesus, did you know what I knew? When in Hell is sunshine.” Not once did his pelvic jackhammering falter in its devilish rhythm.
“So this is how we’re going to play it?” Dr. Raphael and the angelic choir sighed in glorious unison. “So be it.” He swaggered toward the possessed patient.
With one herculean thrust of the hip, Mr Winkiebotom flung the bed up to a vertical position. The thrusting stopped. “Oh? You're approaching me?” Mr. Winkiebottom said, “Instead of running away, you’re coming right to me?”
Dr. Raphael continued his slow and menacing walk. “I can’t beat the holy ghost into you without getting closer.”
“Oh ho! Then come as close as you like.”
Dr. Raphael felt a gentle hand on his biceps urging him back, so he stopped and looked over his shoulder. The PA stood there, eyes transfixed on his manly arms. She blinked and then jerked her hand away as if shocked by his delicious muscles. She stammered, “Can I have a word with you outside?”
Stepping out of the patient’s room, the PA turned and sighed before speaking. “Two things. Why do I get the feeling this was practiced?”
“Memes are all the rage this century,” Dr. Raphael said matter-of-fact.
“And we can’t beat up our patients! Not anymore.”
Dr. Raphael’s eyebrows twitched in warning. “Why the hell not?”
She flinched away from his anger. “W-well, HR is now involved. There was a complaint filed against you last week when you body slammed a patient you said was possessed, through a hospital window.”
“She was speaking in tongues!”
“She had dementia, sir.” She put her hands up in a conceding gesture. “I’m with you in that I also think Mr. Winkiebottom is possessed, but we have to think of non-violent alternatives.”
Dr. Raphael looked down at her and squinted; his eyebrows combining into an imposing monolith. “Listen,” he said slowly, “Inside Mr. Winkiebottom’s body resides an entity most fierce and evil. He is not some weak poltergiest you can light some scented candles purchased on clearance at Walgreens and ouiji it away.” His eyebrows pointed in the direction of Mr. Winkiebottom’s room and Mariah yelped, ducking out of the way. “Black Satan is in that old man, and he’s bored. It actually would have been easier to deal with if he were angry.”
“But sir, HR-”
“This is what you’re going to do, Doctor,” Dr. Raphael said, the angelic choir diverging to sing an ominous and kick-rear end arpeggio scale. “You’re going to march to HR, take your clipboard, polish it all sparkly, turn it sideways and shove up their asses! While you’re busy with that, I’m going to walk out of here, strut down to Mr. Winkiebottom’s room and exorcise Black Satan straight out through the pee pee hole. And I’m gonna look good while doing it.” His shirt exploded off his body, showing off his oiled and super defined physique.
Dr. Raphael slapped his pectoral muscle. “I’m about to end this devil’s career.”
The holy doctor stepped into Mr. Winkiebottom’s room. The old man, still tied to the vertical bed, grunted and humped his way around to stare down his adversary.
The doctor struck. Fists moved faster than lightning. Eyebrows striking faster still. Mr. Winkiebottom’s hips whipped around so fast, they were invisible to mortal eyes. Every contact was a concussive force as strong as two freight trains colliding. The choir of angels were singing their hearts out, taking turns belting out beautiful solos that would bring a demon weeping to their knees. Six gigantic wings unfurled from Dr. Raphael’s back and he surged forward. The room shattered as the two combatants exploded outside.
A heavenly shaft of light encompassed them; Dr. Raphael’s one hand around Mr. Winkiebottom’s neck and the other elbow deep inside his dick. With an angelic finale, he yanked his hand out and birthed Black Satan in all his obsidian and gold blinged glory.
“Whatever dawg, I wasn’t even trying,” Black Satan drawled, disintegrating in a flurry of ash and embers.
Mr. Winkiebottom moaned feebly, “Is it time for my sponge bath?”
Dr. Raphael grumbled and gazed back over the destruction. “Sure thing sir, let me find your nurse.”
|# ? Nov 1, 2020 00:10|
We think we’re sleeping.
She thought about cancer, banks, stuff, in his head again.
yr heart is a sword
I want my voices back. I can't sleep without them. Lullabies scratchy but gentle, like river reeds. I'm taking so many downers that they've etched my brain like a gravestone.
Snatches, fits of dream. You dream hard slipping in and out of sleep. I dream of angels taking wing to Heaven. When I got confirmed my aunt gave me a novel. In it angels got powered up by prayer like chaos emeralds. The conflict was whether the humans would succumb to sin. The hero was a news-writer trying to get the inside story on demons taking over the world.
For a while I couldn't watch R-rated movies without seeing demons urging the actors on. I have one playing in the background now. The other tab is a chat window where I'm trying to convince my best friend that life is worth living.
Palmer’s a meth addict living somewhere in the sticks. We've never met in person, but every once in a while he deigns to send a picture. He had long hair once but buzzcut it for no reason and it's still growing back. An elfin face with bored eyes. The colour of sapphires. He doesn't expose the pictures right so he looks like a doll sometimes. Eyes glassy, skin smoothed to creepy cream by too much light. We used to promise one day we'd take ecstasy together. These days I make it as far as the kitchen sink. If there's a God I don't know why He made me emotional support. Not when the days feel like knives and the nights feel like bleeding out.
I'm smoking a dart while the screen burns my eyes. Chain-smoking while chatting is the bedrock of my nights. He's talking about how opiate addicts get subs but there's no subs for meth.
if i could get speed i'd do it instead
have u seen vanishing point, I type. the mc is nuts for speed. its a metaphor because he also likes driving fast
dogg, he types. finna hang myself
In the background I hear the sounds of coupling. Moans in waves. Jagged piano chords as the slasher closes in on the sinners. what about porn, I type. what about charging yr j/o crystal?
supports sex slavery, he types.
The chat window logs out. The router. It's a piece of trash prone to flicker out like a candle. I leave my room and venture out into the beige floral-printed hall using my phone as a flashlight. The petalled vines dance in the sweeping light. Don't wake mom. What could Palmer use to hang himself with? A power cord, I decide. A long coiling outlet, either in bleach white or day-glo orange.
The router is black as night, all diodes silent. I flip the power switch, count ten seconds, and flip it back. The little blue lights sparkle in the phone light wash.
Pure white light like holy flame seizes the living room. My eyelids try to blink it away. The silhouette resolves into mom standing before the hall. She's not angry. She's sad, which is worse. We both know she'll crash in the morning with her sleep broken up. Spend the whole day fighting her sorrow. Since dad left they've upped her Zoloft dose by 200 percent.
"Sorry, mom," I say. I don't mention that a meth addict in the sticks needs my help. But right now she stands before the threshold of his life and death. My mind scrolls through phrases like visual novel bullet point choice. "I woke up late today. It balances out."
In her nightshirt she looks like a white magess. Nutmeg hair drapes her shoulders. The dress frocks around her ankles. Give her a staff and spellbook. She could ward off all our evils with them. I rub my eyes. They've never hurt this much. Do I look high?
She smiles then, a small smile, as rueful as it is zen. "You should sleep the same time every night."
"'Kay," I say. Force my head into a firm nod. Then she flows back into her room and it's on me to flick the light off. In the darkness I steal a look at the router. The diodes still flare hot blue. As if the signal was never lost.
Then I'm tracing my way back to my room. I left on a dim lamp. Mom pays the electric bill. Don't cost her more. I pace to the sleeping rig. I hit the spacebar and the screen trumpets its own light into the room. I missed the ashtray when I left and the dart spires from a mound of ash on the desk. When I pick it up and jam it with the others it leaves a black smear of char. My shadow on the wall is faint but I can still make out its slouch.
No message waits for me.
r u ok, I type.
My heart gives out like a black hole and my ribs collapse into its void. I eye, to my left, the gray-tinted bottle of downers. I want to stop caring. I want to take enough to join him in oblivion. My room swims. I never even heard his voice. What would it sound like? My memory surfaces the voices that left me. Their lilt, their breathy tones, and the hush trailing their words. His voice might have sounded like that.
Vision of mom fighting tomorrow's war. Cursed by her own brood.
Think of angels taking up sword, lent strength by faith.
The bible describes angels in many ways. Hybrids of humans and animals. Winged beasts in flames. Wheels made of eyes. But in my dreams I see winged warriors with shields aloft in ascension. They rise to God.
They're messages. Signals to God from the patient earth.
The heart of their message is the heart of earth. The heart of earth is their sword.
dude, I type. don't do this to me
Then, I type:
yr heart is a sword
???, he types.
sorry, I type. Because I heard it. A voice. It tranced me. But I know I can't claw it back. It was a song with no future. Don't have to be Daphne to scry that. But if I was her I could see my mom rising from sleep. Eyes yawning hollows. Battling to make coffee. Eating pills she hopes work someday.
In my heart I know what it'll feel like.
I know chems. Pathways. Eating downers. But I'm losing sleep too. Fits of dream like negative space corrode me. Effuse toxic burnout. Cancer demons feed on my brain.
I spend days gutted. Tired.
I pray I don’t wake up tomorrow.
|# ? Nov 1, 2020 01:06|
Crabrock honor brawl entry with Grandma and Cactus
Rule: Are these loose candies Skittles, M&M’s, or Reese's Pieces? Who knows! Your story must end with a jarringly different genre than it started with.
The Whisper House Chronicles
Before it was the Whisper House, the dour old mansion at the end of the dirt road was called Coventry House. It was Coventry House that Florence approached on horseback, Vixen’s hooves clomping mutely on the mossy road. There was hardly a wagon track to be seen on the old thoroughfare; the forest around them was silent with gloaming, pensive with the slow onset of night.
Florence fancied the isolation. No one to look askance at her seated comfortably astride the saddle in her men’s pants.
She and Vixen reached the edge of the Coventry House estate. The grounds were delineated by a low stone wall that invited trespass with its squat apathy. How easy it would be to step over the lichenous grey hump and disappear into the premature night of the gardens. Florence drew her horse up short and squinted into the subsylvan twilight, peering for the house behind the lace of overgrowth. Not so much as a glimpse of a gable visible from the road. Good.
She nudged her horse ahead, arriving finally at a proper gate: wrought iron bars done up in art nouveau whorls, the Coventry family crest set in the middle like a spider at the center of its web. There was a moment when Florence thought the rusted hinges wouldn’t give, that she would have to go over the apathetic wall, but then the iron gate ground open with a tortured squeal.
Florence retrieved a startled Vixen, unsheathed her hunting knife, and stepped onto the Coventry House grounds.
There was a reason the estate had been so cheap at auction.
The main floors were rustic and finely appointed, fit for entertaining; there was the sense that Florence had entered the house just on the heels of a raucous party and was breathing in the fresh residue of a lot of people.
Down in the cellar, the reason for the house’s abandonment stained the floor a crusty brown-black. It painted the walls in arterial cursive, the John Hancock of ritual murder. The Coventry family had liked their guests — dead.
Florence stood on the bottom step of the staircase, her candle flickering anxiously in its lamp. As her eyes adjusted to the expansive darkness beneath the house, other things faded into view: wall-mounted manacles, a butcher’s block. Sigils and pentagrams painted in white, mostly obscured by dried blood and hardened clots of gore.
Florence made herself turn her back on the mess and ascend the creaking stairs at a normal, unhurried pace.
Something sighed in the darkness behind her.
Florence ran the rest of the way up the stairs, boots thundering, and slammed the door behind her. She pressed her ear against the keyhole, resisting the breath that wanted to come in gasps, peeling her ears for the ghostly creak of a specter coming up those stairs.
Florence played the sigh over and over in her mind until it warped and distended and reshaped itself into the sound of an old shifty house. Her racing heart settled somewhat.
The auctioneer had recommended, only half facetiously, that Florence raze the place then build a house of her own. It was good advice that she had no intention of taking; building a new house would require laborers — men who would balk at her patched trousers, her handiness with horse and gun. Men who would pretend not to hear her when she gave instructions, who would answer her questions as though they were speaking to a child.
If the choice was between men and demons, Florence would take the devil she didn’t know.
Florence was outside tending to one of Vixen’s shoes when a window gable fell from its hinges, startling woman, horse, and the cougar who’d been stalking them. She persuaded 1200 pounds of scared, angry mare into the stable, grabbed her rifle, and stalked back out into the open, bellowing and cursing.
Predators were getting bolder, more desperate. Civilization had come too west too fast; there was no room for wild, solitary things. Florence felt a kinship with the cougar, even if she planned on putting a round between its eyes next time she saw it. The big cat didn’t show its face again.
She put the fallen gable back up the next day. It was awkward, sweaty work that necessitated a precarious perch on the second story window sill. Afterward she went to the kitchen for lunch, stopped dead in the doorway when she sighted the steaming bowl of soup set on the counter like the house chef had just ladled it out of the pot. There was an unctuous meaty smell in the air, the savory pink aura of pork.
Florence’s mouth watered; breakfast had been a hunk of bread and a handful of dates at the crack of dawn.
The meat in the bowl was not pork.
Florence’s anticipatory salivation became the pre-vomit quickening of spit. If it hadn’t been for the human eye staring balefully up at her from the amber broth, she might have taken a sip. Her breath came in short, quick gulps.
A ship-at-sea creak shuddered up from the roots of the house, through the walls and floorboards, all the way up to the attic. Florence had the brief, mad thought that a train was going by, but she was miles from the nearest railway.
And then she was outside the house, hands braced on her knees, wheezing from panic.
That night she slept on a pile of hay in the stable. It was comforting to hear Vixen’s deep, slow breaths, the occasional shuffle of her hooves and swish of her tail.
Florence dreamed of a terrible hunger.
Her belly was a hole from which a freezing wind howled, the cold of it blackening her insides, making the lining of her stomach fall off in frostbitten chunks. Before her was a hallway made of blood-blackened hands that extended into distant infinity.
The hands worked together to bring chunk after chunk of meat to the hole in Florence’s stomach: slabs of human thigh, fatty white domes of human buttock, fistfulls of eyeballs. These offerings were shoved into her gut hole by the pound, and still Florence heard herself howling from hunger, screaming for some other sustenance, something this long lineage of hands could not or would not give her.
There was a man at the front door of Coventry House when Florence emerged from the stable the next morning.
“Howdy,” she greeted, still tugging her belt through its buckle.
The man spun to face her, apparently not anticipating that a strange woman might approach and howdy him from behind. He quickly organized his long, pinched face into an expression of deliberate consternation.
“I’m here on business with Mr. DuCharme,” he said with vague aristocratic contempt. “Is he about?”
Florence hitched her thumbs in her belt loops. “That’d be me.”
“Ah. I wasn’t aware there was a Mrs. DuCharme. A pleasure. However, I really need to —”
“There ain’t any other DuCharmes but me. Thing is, the auction process tends to go smoother when it’s a man’s name going on the land deed.”
The stranger looked down his hawkish nose at her, thin lips pressed in a line. Florence waited while he sorted out whatever bee had got up his bonet. Wasn’t the first time she’d had to wait out a man’s ornery reaction to her womanhood.
At last he said, “It will have to serve. May I come in? You certainly have questions about the house. I have the answers.”
Florence tongued a piece of yesterday’s bread that had gotten stuck on one of her molars, spat it out. “I don’t reckon I want to associate with anyone who’s got answers about this house,” she said.
“You must have some idea what happened here. What this place is.” The man licked his lips, peered around as though afraid the trees were eavesdropping. “The dreams.”
At those two words, Florence felt a fresh wave of nausea. A vision of bloodied hands cramming human meat into her exposed guts momentarily occluded her sight.
“Yes,” the man said, his thin mouth spreading into a white-lipped smile. “It’s very hungry. And it can make you powerful, so long as you feed it.”
Florence swallowed bile. “I reckon the Pinkertons missed one murderer.”
“Your ‘reckons’ don’t matter,” the man snapped. “You have no idea what this place is. What it will do if it’s not fed.”
“You’re right,” Florence said simply. “But here’s me telling you to get the hell off my land anyhow.”
As if to punctuate her point, a gable fell from its hinges and landed with a loud clap on the flagstones beside the man’s feet. The same gable that had spooked the cougar now startled an undignified yelp out of the man.
“My reckons are telling me the house wants you gone as much as I do,” Florence said, eyeing the fallen gable. “But if that’s not convincing enough, my rifle can weigh in too.”
After the stranger beat a humiliated retreat, Florence went back inside the house, straight to the kitchen where she’d left the eyeball soup.
This time a plate sat on the countertop, laden with roots and berries that Florence identified as being from the surrounding forest. She plucked up a huckleberry, sniffed it, tested it with the tip of her tongue, then plopped it in her mouth. The juice was luxuriously sweet, still warm from the morning sun.
“If you’re so hungry,” Florence wondered aloud, “why feed me?”
The house shuddered in reply, a sonorous groaning of wood and stone. It was a lonely, wounded sound — the sort of utterance that made Florence want to offer comfort.
A strange curiosity puppeteered her movements. She watched herself go to the nearest doorway, extend a hand, and run it softly down one side of the door frame. The house shuddered again, windows rattling.
“They fed you,” Florence said, pressing her lips lightly against the wood, “but did they care for you?”
The house heaved, one huge tectonic movement that sent stacks of dishes tumbling out of their cabinets. Florence clung to the doorway and did not flee.
When the house had settled somewhat, she walked from room to room, touching walls and doorways, windowsills and sconces. Anything she could get her hands on to soothe, to comfort, to vindicate the misunderstood specter in the walls. The dream haunted her as she went: hands that fed but never touched, meat that filled but never fulfilled. Sustenance without love.
She descended the basement stairs, trailing her finger salaciously down the railing as she went. The walls bowed and shivered as she descended, her finger teasing quakes of anticipation from the house.
This time Florence walked onto the derelict killing floor without fear. She stepped out of her boots, stripped off her trousers and shirt, then her underclothes, too. The cool basement air slithered over her bare skin, little whorls of current that teased and stimulated. As she had explored the house, now it was exploring her.
Her body shuddered in time with the walls. Her breath heaved along with the house’s respiration.
“Yes,” she said in response to the silent question. “I want it.”
She made herself ready, there on the gore-gritted floor, and gave herself to the house as no man ever had. And the house gave itself to Florence, as no man ever had.
|# ? Nov 1, 2020 01:40|
Halloween Brawl Entry.
Whisper House Chronicles 2: Screams In The Witch House
The house stood at the end of the long dirt road and it wasn’t until they were almost at its gates that Jessie realized just where they had ended up. The neighborhood kids told stories about this house (Jessie reckoned that every neighborhood has house that the kids tell stories about), but these weren’t your typical tales of screams and zombies and bloodthirsty murderers. This house was silent. But it wasn’t just the house. Kids told stories about biking by the property, poorly greased bike gears suddenly ceasing their racket as though the house itself was fed up with the noise. In typically dramatic fashion, they named it Whisper House and referred to it as such.
A silent house would be a good hiding place on the noisiest night of the year, Jessie figured. In the distance, whoops and hollers could be heard, coupled with the crunch of cars overturning and the shattering of glass. She looked down at the corpse they’d lugged from the Gooseberry county cemetery, still in its coffin. Even if they had dug it up at gunpoint, it still felt like a sin, and she privately muttered a quick apology to God on the off chance her soul should find itself in hell. Annie spoke up, interrupting her litany.
“We are not going inside Whisper House.”
Jessie gestured back at the sounds of Peter Coventry and his gang. “You have any better ideas?”
Annie frowned and shook her head, motioned to the rest of the gang to pick the coffin back up. The front gate had once been an ornate, wrought iron affair, but time and neglect had reduced it to a rusted ghost. The gate swung open on hinges that should have creaked and groaned with the weight of decades, but instead gave no report. They marched up to the front door which swung open as though expecting them, swinging silently shut behind them as they stepped into the foyer. The first thing Jessie noticed was how clean the house was. No clouds of dust kicked up from the carpet as they lay the coffin down, no cracks presented themselves in the ceiling, and no mysterious stains dotted the rose-patterned wallpaper. The second thing was the stillness. Even breathing felt too loud, and Jessie had to fight the instinct to hold her breath like she did when she walked past a graveyard.
“It’s like being in church” She heard Annie whisper. Jessie just nodded, not trusting her voice to rise above Annie’s level. They walked on past the foyer, ignoring the hunger pangs they felt rather than heard as they stepped into the spacious kitchen.
“It would be great to have something to eat.” Annie muttered. They’d left all their candy behind in the mad dash from Peter Coventry and his gang at the cemetery. As if on cue, a pair of candy bars materialized on a dinner plate carefully placed on the big kitchen table. They unwrapped and bit into them ravenously, laying the crumpled wrappers back on the plate when they were done, muttering apologies for the mess they’d made. In response, the plates in the china cabinets rearranged themselves into something like a human smile as the crumbs vanished around their feet. Jessie felt Annie’s elbow dig gently into her ribs.
“I think the house is lonely.”
She opened her mouth to respond, but before she could a scream rang out from the foyer. They hurried back to find the coffin open, the rest of the gang pressed up against the wall, a frock-coated woman in men’s trousers menacing them with a large hunting knife.
“I want some goddamn answers, and I reckon one of y’all will give me them. Whether or not you’re alive at the end of my questioning ain’t really for me to decide. Now, who’s in charge here?”
Jessie spoke up, her voice feeling unnaturally loud in the stillness of the house.
The frock-coated woman spun around, looked her up and down, nodded slightly.
“You look it, too. Alright missy, question one: Why the hell did y’all dig me up?”
“It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Jessie said, feeling a flush creep up the back of her neck as she said it. “All the kids play pranks on Halloween night, but we didn’t want to break store windows or anything what with folks not having money and all.”
“So y’all just dug up a corpse? That makes sense.” The woman said dryly. “The machinations of children forever elude me.”
“It wasn’t like we really wanted to” Annie spoke up. “Pete Coventry and his gang—”
“Did you just say Coventry?” The woman looked around at the house, seeing it with new eyes.
“Well I’ll be a sonuvabitch.” She muttered. She sheathed her hunting knife and gently brushed a wall with her fingertips.
“Hello darlin’. It’s been a long time.” She whispered.
Later, as they settled into a steak dinner the house had whipped up, they told her all about the situation with Peter Coventry, how he made them dig up her body, and how they ran away.
“Makes sense.” She said between bites of raw, bloody steak. “He’s a Coventry. House was called Coventry house when I owned it. Whole family was into some spooky stuff. Bet he is too.”
“He wanted it for some ritual. Said something about living forever.”
“Yep. Most of those whackadoos are really into that, for some reason.”
“He’ll find us. He’s probably on his way right now.” Jessie said, a small tremor of fear creeping into her voice.
“Don’t’cha worry about that darlin’. This old house has a few tricks up its sleeves”
The cellar door stood wide open, almost inviting them in. The cellar itself was a plain little room, consisting of four vaguely off-white walls and a wooden floor, but Jessie had the distinct impression as she stood in the room that the walls seemed to be moving gently in and out, as though the house was breathing. The woman unsheathed her hunting knife, motioned to Jessie.
“Gimmie your hand.”
In answer, the woman passed the blade of her knife across Jessie’s palm and Jessie bit back a yelp as she watched blood seep from the wound.
“Press your palm against the wall. The house needs to feed.”
She did as instructed. A crimson ghost of her own palm hung on the wall for a few seconds before fading away. She pressed up against the wall, harder this time, almost as if she were pushing through it, or perhaps she was just pushing into it…
“No!” The woman’s voice rang out, pulling Jessie from her trance.
“Not her. You’ll feed soon, but not her.” She said.
Jessie bandaged her palm. Her skin prickled with a nervous energy. She breathed deep to try and calm down.
It wasn’t until they’d gotten back to the house that she realized the rate of her breathing matched the rhythm of the cellar walls.
Annie took the youngest members of the gang and hid in an old grandfather clock. The woman had a acquired a weathered looking rifle from somewhere in the house. They were standing in the foyer, facing the front door. Faint voices could be heard from outside.
“Buncha cowards. I’ll do it myself.”
The door opened. Peter Coventry stepped through. The wolf mask he wore on his head made him look like an evil spirit, and even at this distance Jessie could smell the moonshine on his breath.
“Miss, I reckon you should get on outta here.” The woman muttered as she cocked her rifle.
Coventry spotted the weapon and drew something from the pocket of his overalls. There was no report in the stillness of the house, but Jessie felt the shockwave pound in her ears as the bullet flew wide. She didn’t need a second warning. She ran as the woman returned fire, racing blindly through the kitchen, ending up in a disused store room as she slammed the door behind her. Through the keyhole she could see flashes of light as the gunfight raged on. The cut on her palm still prickled. She picked up a knife from the floor. She watched herself cut her other palm, pressing the slick wound to a wall.
Please. Help us.
The walls began to breathe, and Jessie matched their rhythm. She felt herself going deeper into the house, the strange shifting spaces unfolding themselves in her mind’s eye. Coventry was in the kitchen, swearing angrily as he opened cupboards and cabinets, looking for the woman.
HELLO PETE. The house creaked.
Coventry looked around.
“Who the gently caress said that?”
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING?
“Can’t scare me with your spooky bullshit, house.” He brandished his revolver.
THAT’S A NICE PEA-SHOOTER YOU GOT.
“Yeah? Why don’t I take it for a spin?” He pulled the trigger, shattering a stack of plates. In her hiding place in the store room, Jessie winced with the house’s pain.
THAT WASN’T VERY NICE PETE. IN FACT, THAT HURT. DO YOU LIKE TO HURT PEOPLE, PETE?
“Ain’t a drat thing you can do about it if I do like hurting people.”
OH PETE. YOU’RE SO VERY, VERY WRONG.
Jessie did a quick scan of the house. Annie and the gang were still bundled away inside the old clock, the woman was up on the second floor. Before she could think of her next move, a voice like dry leaves whispered in her ear.
Cellar. I’m so hungry. I must feed.
Jessie closed her eyes, concentrating. She plucked the kitchen from its place, looped the hallway back in on itself. Coventry was now wandered around in a daze.
YOU LIKE HURTING PEOPLE PETE. WHO HURT YOU. She creaked.
“Nobody. I’m the toughest sunvabitch there is.”
EVEN YOU WERE A KID, ONCE. DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR GRANDPA PETE? REMEMBER WHAT HE DID? REMEMBER THE CELLER?
Coventry went pale at the mention of his grandfather.
“I don’t know a drat thing you’re talking about.”
SURE YOU DO. YOU EVEN HELPED OUT. HIS FAVORITE GRANDSON. “RIGHT HAND MAN” HE CALLED YOU.
Coventry began scanning the hallway, looking for a way out, his eyes wide with fear.
WANNA GO SEE GRANDPA, PETE?
As Coventry completed his last circuit of the mirror hallway, Jessie swapped in the cellar door right beneath his feet. He tripped and plunged in with a yelp that turned into a scream as the door shut behind him.
Shut your eyes child. I must feed. The voice whispered in her ear.
For a long time, Whisper House stood silent, but tonight it finally spoke, and as she shut her eyes and plugged up her ears, Jessie knew the screams she heard would stay with her for the rest of her life.
|# ? Nov 1, 2020 01:43|
HALLOWEEN BRAWL FOR THE HONOR OF CRABROCK
The Legend of Whisper House X, Whisper House Goes to Hell, the Final Whispering
Two days before Halloween, Roger stood in front of Whisper House’s rusty fence, staring at the headstone on the manor’s expansive grounds. When the eggs thudded into Roger’s back, he jolted against the fence, more from the shock of it than any real pain.
“You’re such a penis pump!” the assailant yelled from his bike, peddling away. All Roger saw was the back of his jacket but he knew who it was. Jacob Needham, the class golden boy.
With a groan, he wiped the sticky mess off the back of his black jean jacket.
“That guy is such a butt baby,” Erica said. “What’d you do to him anyway?”
Roger gestured at himself, running a splayed hand in front of his all-black clothing and waving at bangs. “Yeah, hi, class goth kid. All I have to do is show up and they’re going to hate me.”
“Maybe if you wore a splash of color? A little pink bandana maybe? Some rainbow leggings?”
“Really funny,” he said, wiping the rest of the egg off of his jacket. Luckily, none of the band appliques were too wet. It wasn’t any worse than when he tried to give himself the egg-white mohawk last year.
He turned back to the fence, pressing his face against the wrought iron bars. The old house looked like someone had tried to ransack the building for copper wiring. Big holes were punched in the outside walls. The headless gargoyles kept impotent vigil while busy spiders cobwebbed the eaves. In the dim October twilight, everyone hustled past the skeleton of the manor, subconsciously avoiding it before the dark fell.
“You know the story of the lady they buried on the grounds, right?” His gaze returned to the headstone, the top half poking out from a carpet of unraked leaves.
His sister nodded. “Yeah. I heard she tried to gently caress a ghost and died.”
“That’s how I want to go out,” Roger said.
“Trying to have sex with a ghost?”
“Stiff and covered in my own ectoplasm.”
She swatted him with the back of her hand, which wouldn’t have hurt except for all the rings. “I’m your sister, you nerd rear end. You’re not supposed to talk about that stuff with me. God, it’s so creepy and kind of cool that there’s a dead body…just kind of sitting there.”
“You’ve been to funerals,” he told her.
“Well, yeah. But that’s where bodies belong. This is like going over to your friend’s house and he has a dead dog buried in his backyard but it’s not really a backyard, it’s his grandfather.”
The grin spread across Roger’s face like an oil spill. “I think I know how to get little Jacob Needham back for all the poo poo he’s been giving me.”
Erica gasped and gave a “No!” that was only half-serious.
“Shovels at midnight,” he promised.
When they snuck out of their parents’ house that night, thefull moon watched them, bright and curious. Everything had gone to sleep, even the crickets. Roger threw some old carpet over the wrought-iron spikes atop the old fence and clambered over, landing with a thump.
“C’mon Dingus,” he stage whispered.
She clambered over the fence, landing with a thump, sprawling in the dirt. “drat it!” she yelled.
“Shhhhh. God, you yelled enough to wake the…” and then turned his head and smiled.
“You’re such a dad,” she shook her head. “C’mon. The sooner we get this done, the better,” she said, wiping the dirt off of her gloves.
With little effort, they found the headstone. Before they started, Erica took the time to read the headstone. “Here lies Florence, united with her true love.” The rest of the tombstone was too faded to read.
Their shovels bit into the dirt eagerly, parting the loosely-packed earth with surprisingly little effort. After a half hour of digging, the texture of the dirt changed, getting closer to the coffin.
“Are we really doing this?” Erica whispered. Even though no one was around to hear them, the silence seemed appropriate considering the sin.
“Think about the goth cred,” he whispered. “When you tell people you dug up a corpse to scare a guy, they’ll instantly high five you. God, just imagine your college roommate going all pale when you tell her.”
Erica blushed, even though no one could see it. “College is scarier than whatever we’re doing here.”
“Nah,” he said continuing to dig. “You’ll be fine. And I’d be leaving in another year anyway.”
With a loud chunk, the tip of Roger’s shovel hit the coffin.
“Go away!” yelled a muffled voice from under two inches of dirt.
The two teenagers stared at each other, mouths gaping. Erica started to turn to run before Roger grabbed her wrist. “No, no, no, no, no. What if someone’s trapped in there? We’ve got to get them out.”
“It’s a coffin!” she yelled. “There’s no way anyone’s alive in there!”
“That’s even cooler,” he whispered. “I’ll dig her out. Just don’t leave in case I need you,” he said.
Within another ten minutes, he had the coffin door completely free of dirt and debris, despite the protestations coming from within. “All I want is be left alone,” the voice said. Parched and raspy, the voice didn’t sound male or female; it just sounded dry and irritated.
“We’ve got other plans,” Roger said, reaching down to pull the front of the door of the coffin. To his surprise, he only got it open two inches before two parchment fingers grabbed the edge of the lid and forced it back down.
“We only want to have you scare someone,” he told him.
Erica stood off to the side, hyperventilating.
“Promise?” the voice inside said.
“That’s all,” he said.
A dusty sigh came out of the coffin, like a door closing in the fall air. With gentle motion, the door pushed upwards, revealing the inhabitant. Closer to a mummy than a skeleton, her skin was dried and faded to parchment, drawn tight over her bones, entirely too much botulism toxin or ten thousand face lifts. Her gums had receded from her teeth, leaving her with a permanent sneer. As she rose out of the coffin, her bones crackled like someone starting a glow stick.
“Do you have anything to eat,” she said, running a dry, papery tongue over her parched gums. “I’m so hungry.”
Erica and Roger stared at each other, the thought transmitting between them. “C’mon,” Roger said. “Let’s go get you a hotdog, we’ll scare Jacob and then it’s back to sleep.”
“So hungry,” Florence whined. “So hungry, so tired.”
As they started walking towards the gate, Florence scrambled up a tree like the gravity didn’t apply to her before plucking a squirrel from a nest and cramming into her mouth, tail slurping into her mouth like a lasagne noodle.
Erica grabbed Roger’s hand so tight that he thought his bones might crack. “What are we going to do with this thing,” she whispered between her teeth.
“We scare Jacob and get her to go back into the ground. She wants to be asleep, remember?”
“Why don’t we do that now?”
“Because I’m more scared about pissing her off,” he whispered back.
Jacob Needham’s house was a few short blocks walk from Whisper House. Over the years, the manor’s various owners had sold enough parcels and tracts of land that a neighborhood developed around the grounds. In ten minutes, they managed to reach Jacob’s house. Mainly made of stucco and glass, the house they arrived at looked almost exactly like the houses surrounding it.
Florence capered up onto the gable, her nails sinking deep into the plaster walls. “Such a fierce, strong house,” she whispered, running her hands over the roofing shingles. “So fresh, so new. So young. I wonder what he could do,” she said, before pausing to lick one of the gutters.
“What the actual gently caress,” Erica whispered.
Roger ignored her, instead yelling to the figure on the roof. “He’s probably in one of the upstairs rooms.”
One of the lights flickered on and Jacob Needham opened his bedroom window before sticking his head outside.
“gently caress off! It’s late!” he yelled.
Like a lizard, Florence crawled over to the window, legs splayed and holding her onto the side of the house. With a deft flip over the roof line, she went through Jacob’s window feet first and within seconds, Jacob started screaming, then abruptly stopped. After fifteen seconds,
Erica called up to her. “Florence? Is everything ok?”
Florence stuck her face out of the window, mouth covered in blood. “He was real scared and now he’s not anymore.” She waved to Erica with what appeared to be Jacob’s own arm, detached from his shoulder.
“Oh gently caress,” Erica whispered. Roger gagged and began vomiting in the bushes. With a grin, the Florence-thing licked the blood off its gums and ran back inside. At this point, lights flicked on in the house, the rest of the family waking up to the sound of Jacob’s screaming. Screams started pouring through the closed windows, loud enough to penetrate the glass.
After wiping his mouth, Roger started to back away from the residence before Erica pulled him towards the front door. “No, we started this. This is our fault,” she told him.
“This is way over our heads.”
“At least we know she’ll talk to us. Who knows what she’ll do if we don’t stop her.”
“Let the police stop her. This poo poo’s above our pay grade,” he said, trying to pull out of her grip.
Disgusted, Erica dropped his hand and ran to the front door, trying to open it. After finding it locked, she started trying windows, eventually finding an open one on the side of the house. When she slipped in, the living room looked like an abattoir; meat draped over the furniture, flayed from the bones that were piled in a corner. A discarded eye looked at her from a corner and Florence wheezed from the kitchen.
Lying spread eagle on the floor, Florence resembled a giant tick, her belly bloated and swelled from the feast. She looked at Erica and wheezed. “You don’t know how long it’s been,” she whispered. “So hungry, so tired.”
Spying a door into the basement, Erica beckoned to it. “Don’t you want to sleep?” she said.
“Sleep?” Florence said.
“Imagine it, dank and cool below grounds, in the belly of the nice house, dark and safe.”
“So warm,” she said. “So handsome.” The ghoul nodded and crawled to the basement, closing the door behind her. As soon as the door closed, Erica formed a barricade, dragging every piece of kitchen furniture and refrigerator in front of it, adding whatever weight she could.
“loving haunted! DO NOT OPEN!” she wrote on a piece of construction paper she taped to the refrigerator.
When she crawled out of the window, Roger was still waiting for her.
“What happened in there?”
“Left things the way we started. Locked her up and let her sleep. If anyone else wakes her up, it’s their problem. Neighborhood just has a new haunted house.”
Roger sighed. “I’m good on the goth thing for a while. I’ll be lucky if I ever sleep again.”
Erica laughed. “Yeah, after that, college isn’t so scary. Just get me the gently caress away from here,” she said.
GrandmaParty fucked around with this message at 01:54 on Nov 1, 2020
|# ? Nov 1, 2020 01:51|
HALLOWEEN BRAWL FOR THE HONOR OF CRABROCK
|# ? Nov 1, 2020 02:38|
I have no clue how it got there and I changed nothing
WAIT I KNOW WHAT I CHANGED. I ADDED THAT IT WAS THE HALLOWEEN DUEL.
|# ? Nov 1, 2020 02:43|
Victorian Space Murder: or Tribulations of Landlords On The Edge Of Space
A bunch of rich industrialist pricks are mingling in the garden of an elegant and ruthless planetary mine owner. They’ve gathered to strike deals, discuss the hardships of being the worst people in the sector with the backdrop of a spectacular periodic aurora that has made this lifeless rock prime real estate.
Chairwoman of SpacePinkertons and Sales Director for SpaceRaytheon debate how much violence is necessary to quell an impending strike by the 'sub-literate rockbrrakers' terraforming this world They're pitching their plans to the Hotelier Failson representing the conglomerate behind this soon-to-be resort world.
They condescendingly ask the opinion of the Butler - who butler suggests longer hours as a means of exhausting the rabble-rousers; short of killing off a prominent member of management and presenting a more sympathetic alternative he sees no means of appeasing such ungrateful mob.
"It's a worker's place to work; those above them deserve respect. How arrogant to think this gorgeous sky is theirs when they're paid to sleep under it. Though if I were a betting man I'd say he'd be a worthy sacrifice." He says, tilting his head to the Hotelier with a wry grin.
Raytheon nudges the Hotelier with a sharp elbow; teasing, “You’re lucky I left the FANCY QUIET SPACE GUN or Ms. Pinkerton ordered with the doorman. She could send you to the big wormhole at the end of the verse and no-one would hear so much as the click of the hammer." They exchange uneasy grins and chuckles. Everybody worries the Butler's joke seems like a good idea to someone else.
At the far side of the garden the Mine Owner raises a toast to the Hotelier; praising him for his generosity in donating this parcel of land from which her company operates.
“Soon this place will be so much more than a circle of wagons on some distant plain… but instead a true homestead. A place where people can kick off their boots and enjoy the night sky and admire the result of hard work and perseverance and blood.”
"Here here," the guests all reply as they drink.
The Butler then raises a toast to the Host.
"To a woman of great vision and virtue; whom by bringing you all here tonight has set forth events that will shape the future of this new frontier. May the meetings you make shape a better sector for all of us who so humbly serve you."
As he raises his glass an extraordinarily bright aurora washes the garden in color; blinding the guests. The electromagnetic interference causes the lights die out for a moment.
When power is restored all of the guests are shocked to find that the Hotelier is dead by SPACE GUNSHOT.
Moving quickly the hostess asks everyone what they saw.
Mr. Raytheon & Ms. Pinkerton saw nothing, nor did they hear anything.
A Caterer states that he was last speaking to Raytheon & Pinkerton & looked nervous.
The Butler mentions the joke about financially motivated murder; didn’t think anyone would take it seriously.
The Doorman mentions their coats and arms were returned to them.
A member of Mine Owner's entourage searches them. He finds FANCY QUIET SPACEGUN in Ms. Pinkerton's jacket and it’s missing a laser bullet. Ms. Pinkerton protests but it’s too late; she's hauled off in a pair of plasma shackles with a neutron ball shackled to her leg.
The rest of the guests are thoroughly apologized to and sent on their way, leaving Raytheon alone with the Butler and the Mine Owner.
"You'll be wanting this back," she says; offering him the Fancy Quiet Space Gun.
Flustered he replies, "Heavens no! I'll trust you to give it to the proper authorities." He pauses, sensing an opportunity.
"Though if… given the circumstances you're looking to handle your own security I'd be happy to equip your staff with them. As a favor for keeping myself and my employer out of any statements made about tonight."
"My dear friend," she winks at him, "you only showed up just now. I'm so sorry the party died before you arrived."
"It was my fault really. I'll leave your sample of Fancy Quiet Spaceguns with your doorman. Should you wish to scale-up your security I guarantee we will not be beaten in price or product." Still looking nervous he scurrys to the door.
The Mine Owner passes the pistol to her Butler.
"What do you think?" She asks.
"You know laythe, you clean up nice for a sub-literate rockbreaker," he teases.
"You know what I mean."
"Scaring of the resort company was a good idea."
"And," she prods, "you think we did it?"
"I think they're going to be so preoccupied waging a legal war against the Space Pinkertons neither will have time to worry about our little homestead. I had reservations about killing a man in cold blood, even that little poo poo. But this is gonna help more than just us. The whole sector is better off now."
Laythe sighs, "I don't think any of us were planning on being bribed either. Get those guns to our brothers and sisters in the Terraformer's union just in case Pinkerton shows up for their errand-girl."
"Like you aren't gonna help," he replies. "I'd hate to think that in a bunch of rich idiots into thinking you were one of them you'd also fooled yourself."
|# ? Nov 1, 2020 05:51|
Crabrock honor/halloween brawl
Treat – SUGAR RUSH. An extra 1000 words for one story.
Treat – The house at the end of the street was giving out King Sized candybars! The team may write one extra story to put in their cheap plastic jack-o-lantern. One author can do it themselves, or it can be collaborative. It’s up to y’inz.
From the writers that brought you the Whisper House Chronicles comes....
Night of the Living Wage!
Written in three parts by GrandmaParty, MagicCactus, and Sitting Here
In the back of Dayton’s best Applebee’s, Charlie held a melancholy celebration for himself. As he flipped his fifteen thousandth burger, he congratulated himself on being able to do anything for that long. It wasn’t like the manager would come in and clap him on the back for it or pin a medal on his shirt. More likely, the manager would hobble back and berate him for getting hair all over the customer’s food; that was just one of the dangers of having your short order chef being a werewolf.
Just as Charlie was pressing the grease out of the next burger, Cyrus the manager pushed the door open and shuffled in. Calling Cyrus ancient was less of an insult than an underestimate; on the very rare occasion when he would drink, he would tell stories of Ancient Egypt as his bandages would get soaked in gin.
“Charlie,” he rasped. “You good to go for tonight’s shift?”
Charlie groaned. Halloween, the worst night of the year, when all of the normal families would pile into the restaurant to gawp at the workers. At best, they would demand candy from the waitstaff. At worst, they had busted into the kitchen to goggle at the werewolf before being shoed away.
“Can’t we just shut down? Claim it as a cultural holiday?”
Cyrus shook his head. “You know it’s the busiest night of the year.”
“Yeah, and the tips are poo poo. Half of the people that come in give you those hundred dollar bills that tell you about Jesus. The other half try to tip in candy.”
“You’re back of house anyway, what do you care?”
“Because Billy is going to bitch all night. Speaking of which, it’s about time to wake him up.” Charlie took one of his big rock-crushers and rapped on the deep freezer door before pulling it open. Inside was a small bat, hanging upside down from the freezer lining.
With a tiny yawn, the bat flipped off the railing. Before he reached the ground, he had transformed into a boy of about 19. A nude boy of 19, but a boy nonetheless.
“Aw c’mon man,” Charlie told him.
“What? Like you haven’t seen a barrel of pickles in your day,” Billy said as he was pulling his pants on from inside the freezer.
“Just because I’ve been in a locker room doesn’t mean I like looking at gherkins.”
Cyrus fixed both of them with a pointed stare. “I need both of you idiots to behave because Merlin is in town and he’s doing a goddamn inspection!” he growled.
“Merlin? As in greatest-wizard-of-all time Merlin?” Charlie asked.
“More like terminally-horny-old-man-who-got-tricked-into-spending-eternity-in-a-cave Merlin.” Billy piped up.
Cyrus glared at the pair of them through his bandages. “More like fella-who-owns most-if-not-all of-the-greater-Dayton-area-Applebees-franchises-and-subsequently-your-paycheck-if-not-just-you-outright-Merlin. So I need you numbskulls on your best behavior. No funny business, or I’ll make you stand outside and pretend to scare tourists!”
He stomped off.
“What crawled up his rear end and died?” Charlie said.
“Scarab probably.” Billy replied.
Charlie stifled a snort as he gave Billy a quick fistbump. He checked the pockets of his expensive reproduction Japanese bomber jacket.
“Aww hell, I’m outta weed. Can’t get through this bullshit without weed.” He grumbled.
“Hey, I’d get you, but I think I left my stash in my other pants. Bats don’t have pockets you know? Gotta smoke it all in one go.” Billy shrugged.
“Yeah yeah. I’ll see if the Three Witches are holding. Cover for me. I’m going on smoke break.” He tossed his apron to Billy and headed for the back door.
The Witches were at their usual spot behind the alleyway. Charlie sidled up, trying to play it cool.
“Hey you got any weed on you? Any of that—” his brow furled as he searched for the right turn of phrase—“monster mash?”
The witches cackled to themselves, speaking in a hypnotic cadence.
Mayhaps we have weed, and mayhaps we do not
But has thou ever tried
One of the Witches handed him a vial of clear liquid.
“Hey thanks. Do I just drink this or…”
Fool! Drink the dot thou must not, not even a jot
a thousand fold stronger this is than your pot
a drop will do you nicely see
for this is potent LSD
“Huh. Okay cool I guess. Later Witches.” Charlie eased down his shades and hightailed it back to the kitchen.
Back behind the grill Charlie could feel the vial burning a hole in his pocket. He pulled it out, admiring the way the liquid caught the light. Just as he was about to unscrew the cap for a taste, Cyrus hobbled in again.
“Get your rears in gear. The big M is on the way!” He barked. Charlie hurriedly stashed the vial back into the pocket of his designer jeans.
Merlin arrived not by dragon or other fantastic creature, but in a simple little beat-up hatchback with the license plate W1ZRD, something Charlie found deeply anticlimactic. The wizard himself didn’t look like a master of magic. In fact, Charlie thought, he looked much closer to a horny old man who might have gotten tricked into spending an unreasonable amount of time in a cave.
“Mr. Merlin sir! So honored to have you.” Cyrus wheezed. Merlin just nodded. They’d cleared all the booths for his visit. He chose the one nearest to the kitchen, his robes flouncing out as he sat down and ordered a 8oz sirloin and a $2 Absolut vodka lemonade.
Suddenly the door kicked open. A very smartly dressed Emu wandered in, stopping at the Wizard’s booth.
“Merlin. Been a while.” The Emu dipped his head as he spoke.
“Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk. It’s been a long time. How are ya, you son of a bird.” Said the wizard in a surprisingly thick New York accent.
“I’ve been okay. Busy expanding out My Applebees Empire. Speaking of.—” The bird looked around.
“This place has seen better days. I’m here to make you an offer. Let me take this dump off your hands.”
Merlin looked the bird in the eye.
“Let’s drink for it. Shot for shot. 2$ absolut vodka lemonade.”
“Careful, I heard the last time you lost one of these you took a long nap in a small cave.”
“It was an all-inclusive resort, you sunvabitch. Let’s go.” He waved Charlie over. “Gimmie a tray of those $2 absolut vodka lemonade shooters.” He growled.
Charlie was amazed, then horrified, then possessed of a kind of awed reverence. After Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk settled his considerable feathery bulk in the booth, wizard and emu set about downing a frat party’s worth of shooters with a silent brusque efficiency.
As Charlie watched hundreds of dollars of moderately decent booze disappear down the gullets of moderately repugnant Applebees moguls, his big weredoggy heart was overcome by a kind of proletariat anguish. No matter who won this inverted pissing contest, he would lose. He and his coworkers would still just be the freaks on display at an Applebees. No benefits, no cryptid union advocates to put the muscle on the bosses. Just the same poo poo job for the same person wearing a different skinsuit.
He felt something like the beginnings of transformation to his wolf shape, that pleasant nowness of sinking into animal mind. Except instead of turning into a fierce yet oddly handsome grey wolfanthrope, he marched across the patronless expanse of tables and chairs, right up to the booth containing Merlin and Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk, and smacked his hands down on the table. Empty shot glasses trembled. The wizard and the emu looked up at him with a curious sort of surprise, as though Charlie had unfolded himself from heretofore unexplored spatial dimension.
“I want in,” he said, glaring at Merlin, then Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk.
Merlin laughed and smacked his belly. The emu looked at Charlie with an inscrutable avian condescension. Actually it’s super scrutable, Charlie corrected himself. The bird wanted nothing to do with a burger-flipping mut from a rival franchise.
“You’re rich and bored as gently caress. You’re willing to gamble this place away on a drink. Spice it up a little. Make it a real challenge.”
“You’re implying your participation in our drinking game would provide that challenge,” Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk said flatly. “Nah.”
Merlin was a little more keen: “How would that change the wager? Who would get the franchise if you won?” His caricature of a New York accent had faded to his real, non-specific British accent, like the ones you hear in movies about olden times.
“I would,” Charlie said. He stood upright and folded his arms across his chest and wondered if his face was doing anything awkward. He’d never been much for trying to look tough.
“Lad, you understand you’d be taking ownership of a restaurant? It’s not all flipping burgers, you know. There’s bookkeeping and inspections and hiring and —”
“Fifteen thousand,” Charlie said.
Merlin gave him a consternated look.
“I’ve flipped fifteen thousand burger patties since I started here. I think I know more about how this place works than you do.” Charlie didn’t. But Cyrus did.
“Can we get on with it,” Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk said, feathers floofed in annoyance. “This was fun thirty seconds ago. Now it’s becoming tedious. Let the cook join. It won’t matter.”
“Fine, fine,” Merlin said, gesturing that Charlie should drag over one of the nearby chairs and take a seat.
“Wait,” Charlie said. “You two have been drinking already. I’ll need to catch up, to make it fair.”
He hurried over to the bar before they could object and busied himself making the cheapest, strongest shooter he could muster from the Applebees bar, mentally apologizing to Cyrus as he did.
“Your fired,” Cyrus muttered from behind him. “But I want to see where this goes. What’s your actual plan?”
Charlie slammed back the heinous shot before turning to face Cyrus. Wordlessly, he produced the phial of LSD from his pocket, flashed it so Cyrus could see, then pressed it into the mummy’s hand. Merlin no doubt was using magical means to filter the alcohol, and Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk was an avian turbo-capitalist with a brain the size of a walnut so who the gently caress even knew what was going on there. But a few drops of the ol’ Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds would have them under the table for sure.
Cyrus looked like he was about to reject the phial, but then a kind of admiration rumpled his bandaged face and he gave a tiny, creaky nod.
“I’m gonna need Billy to go into bat mode,” Charlie said, “and do an air drop. Let them see you make the drinks so they know it’s not you, then have Billy dose them from above.”
“gently caress’s sake,” Cyrus muttered. “Fine. All I’m doing is making drinks. I’ll let Billy know he’s got an invitation to put his rear end on the line for you. The rest is up to him.”
Charlie returned to the table, where Merlin and Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk were wearing their most imperious looks of indignation.
“I’m all caught up,” Charlie said, pulling up a chair. “Cyrus is gonna make our drinks.”
Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk leaned forward and irritably ate one of Merlin’s steak fries.
Cyrus was preternaturally fast behind the bar, as though his rictus-bound tissues still remembered the movements of a barkeep. As Charlie had anticipated, both his competitors were watching Cyrus with open suspicion. If Billy was fluttering around up in the rafters, Charlie couldn’t tell. The vampire had come through for him majorly on many occasions, but was known to flake when circumstances became unchill, and the little fucker was as silent as any freaky denizen of the night ought to be.
Within minutes there was a big tray of ectoplasm-green shots on the table. Charlie took his first one confidently, though he was already feeling the effects of his nasty kitchen sink shot. This seemed to embolden Merlin and Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk who, after making a show of inspecting the drinks, followed suit.
Okay buddy. Any time now, Charlie thought. He repressed the urge to perk his ears up; he wouldn’t hear Billy anyway, and he couldn’t let on that he was expecting anything.
“What’s the losing condition?” Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk asked. “Vomiting? Blackout?”
“Whomstever makes the biggest fool of himself is out of the game,” Merlin declared.
“That puts Cook here out of the running already,” the emu said.
“No that’s totally fair that’s a good loss condition let’s do it,” Charlie said quickly.
“Your literal loss.” Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk shrugged an emu shrug and slurped the next shot out of its glass.
Motion flickered in the upper periphery of Charlie’s vision, and in spite of himself, he glanced up. Merlin noticed and asked, “Something wrong, lad?”
“Naw. Wolf thing,” Charlie said.
“It’s always a ‘wolf thing’ with you people,” Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk complained. “You never hear werebadgers saying it’s a ‘badger thing.’”
“They totally do though,” Charlie said. “Usually about the whole body odor thing. It’s not hormonal no matter what they tell you.” He felt precariously loose. Couldn’t get chummy with these two.
As he spoke, he thought he saw four tiny droplets of liquid fall through the air, but resigned himself to trusting that they would land where he needed them to. Merlin and Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk were watching every flick of his eyes. Which was to Charlie’s advantage; both bird and wizard were so intent on watching Charlie that they missed the soft landing of the droplets in the drinks.
Charlie’s fur bristled a little from excitement. They were now playing roulette and his competitors had no idea.
The high came on fast and hit all of them at once, as though the witches themselves had guided the doses from Billy’s tiny feet, through the air, into the drinks, straight to that faint organ where the visual cortex met the soul.
Charlie looked at Merlin, saw the profound layering of years, lost loves, and betrayals on his face. And Merlin looked at Charlie, saw Charlie seeing Merlin seeing Charlie, the two of them experiencing each other as an ecstatic recursion of sight seen seeing.
Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk was basically still Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk, but high. His pupils looked a little bigger. Charlie used his incisive LSD vision to inspect the emu’s soul, but in the space where the bird’s spiritual essence should have been there was instead an endless scroll inscribed with itemized tax deductions and quarterly figures. Charlie shuddered and looked away.
Twelve hours later Merlin had fallen asleep while scritching Charlie’s belly and Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk was muttering half-formed economic incantations under his breath. Charlie stirred and, feeling the beginnings of what he estimated was going to be a debilitating feeling of revulsion at being scritched by the old pervert, extricated himself from the wizard’s lap.
Merlin popped awake instantly, bright-eyed and apparently sober. “My Gods,” he said mirthfully, “I haven’t had witches brew that potent in centuries!”
Charlie couldn’t find it in himself to regret his stupid plan, or think about much of anything at all. He wanted to go home, load a bowl, sleep for twelve more hours, and let time sort out the rest.
Juarez-Kweench Sommers-Welk was still in a daze, staring hollowly at the empty Applebees dining room. Whatever sustained him in his alcoholism clearly wasn’t effective on hallucinogens.
Following Charlie’s gaze, Merlin said, “He’ll take some time to come down. LSD causes a superconnectedness in the brain, but bird brains are already so tightly wound and — never mind that, though. We need to have a talk about your future, young man.”
“Don’t worry. Cyrus already fired me,” Charlie said glumly. Maybe it was the comedown getting to him, but he was really starting to think he’d made a series of increasingly poor decisions. Nah. It’s the comedown.
“Nonsense!” cried Merlin. “I hereby unfire you, and declare you henceforth my administrative assistant!”
“Cool but why,” Charlie said, rubbing his eyes, which felt way too wide open.
“You are shrewd in your methods and generous with your supply, young man,” Merlin said. “I suspect you believed you were doing a fine jape on your betters. I want that kind of boldness and subterfuge on my side.”
“You should know I’m into unions,” Charlie said. “And lots of government-mandated breaks.”
“I do enjoy a feisty apprentice,” the wizard said.
“Yeah you’re kind of an HR nightmare as mentors go,” Charlie said.
The wizard spread his arms like eeeey, what’re ya gonna do Im a pervy old guy.
“Yeah, no,” Charlie said. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the offer, but I literally just dosed an old-rear end wizard and a soulless emu with LSD in a bid to win an Applebees in a bet. I don’t think I’d want to work for anyone who would hire me right now, TBH.”
“You make a compelling point, lad,” the wizard said. “Even so, I’m reinstating your job as cook here. Cyrus let this happen, so he deserves to be stuck with you.”
Charlie mustered a weary grin. “Fair.” He hadn’t lost. He was simply choosing to live to fight capitalism another day.
Merlin’s eyes narrowed and a conspiratorial smile widened his bearded mien. “So,” he said, “you think you could hook me up with your dealer’s scrying glass number?”
|# ? Nov 1, 2020 11:30|
Crabrock is a butt-brawl: write your story in Middle english.
The heartes of ivel men are yet fylld with the grace of God
“WIKKEDNES” spake the sign, solempne as a chirch man, swinging forthe and back, creaking, a henge ungreased.
“Be it jest? By what name do this toun truly call itself?” whisperen I to min brother. He poynted a slogard hond.
“There it be in sooth, to speak my guess, there on the sign,” he said, “though its resouninge I know not. Ahead, you spy the in?”
The in stood, brawl-shouldered athwart the rode ahead. We loked, ech at the other with eies fair as sharp as the hunger bond in our bellies, and ech saw the resolucioun desperat ther-neigh.
For so it is whanne hunger biten he be, that it will shrink a man down to a fin pointe. Food and resten we must have, else we should die: therefore it was what we would have though the deuil’s hosts stand in our way withal.
We trudged, hevi boten lud on the mudde-slik stons. Around us trailings of hongren mist claued and retreted as we passed. It had been thre dais since last we saw a livinge man, min brother and I, trodding across the war-wet land, and I was equal parts egre and afered to yse one, so that min hond paused, tremblen, over the heavy dore of the in. But I was a man withal and so it was but a moment that I stood there, unseur, bifore I pushed it open.
Inside a wash of warmth and felau-feling, men astride the rough-hewn benches, singing loude and swete to the sound of the tambor and lute, tables laden with provender, mery burning laumps by dore and windoue. One man turned, made alert by the noise of our entraunce, and bade us thurghcomen.
“Hail travellers, make thee welcome and warm thyself by yon fir, the night is cold and full of straunge ungodly thingen.” Than lifted he his mug of god brown ale, and held it he towardes me.
Min brother started forward and the Lord knoues well that I had as leif follow him but som-thing stayed me, and I gripped min brother’s shulder. “Goodman, I bid you thanks for this welcome and well-met in the name of Jesu. Merrily will we take your offren chere, but I have one questioun, if it plese you to answer it. What is this toun named?”
The man was large and round and his berd all a-bristle. Fir-light glinted in his eie. The mug outstrecchen, ale a-quiver. The smell of food was like a blessed ambrosia for min nosthrils and I ached to set to, yet I felt a dark presentiment.
“Why frend, what botes that? It is not God who maken names, after all, but men. Weak fallible men. We should trust what we see and feel, not what it be named.” His smile was wide and brimming ful itethed.
I leved this sally with a nod. “Still, it would be a comfort to min brother and I. Expound to us its naminge.”
The in was crious no more. Eien a-plenty were upon us, gliseninge. My brother took a step back, and stood fast-ther-biside me.
I was mindful of a time i saw a rat-pit in Norwich. A terrier was in there, snapping and shaking his prey, rats scattering across the sunken pit’s floor and all around a se of hungry gredy eien.
“Frend, I will haply share its name. Yarmouth-on…t’wold, it is named. Yis.” His smile was still wide but now i fantasied the fore-teth were longer than bifore. Still I held min brother’s arm and now I felt it tremblen under min hond.
“We will wander a time more before sup,” said I.
“Yis,” said min brother too.
The man stood up and his nose seemed longer. “Nay, ‘tis our hospitalitee that is questiouned, and we cannot abide it so. Can we lads?” This last an angri shout that was eccoed through the stuffy room. I saw rat-whiskers sprout from his ruddy cheeks and knew we’d but a scant moment
“In Jesus’ name!” I quoth, and saw him swafre back, for none of ivel will can stand the name of the Saviour, presented with fervour. Yet we’d gained but a moment and I knew we fain must act with haste. Pushing min brother back towards the door I unhoked the hot oil laump above me and flung it down at the feet of the straunge man and his bristelen cohort. They shied at the rush of hot flame and in a hastie instant min brother and I were out the dore and rennen down the streit rode.
“The name spoke truth,” I said, puffen, herkenen for the shouts of pursuivant wikkednes bihind us. “I trow we are well shot of them, and yet I still can nigh taste the ale.”
“Brother I can giue you no ale, but I trust they will not mind min presuming on their hospitalitee thus,” he said, pulling a long sausige from his sleve and proffering it me.
I laughed, then, though our circumstaunce was yet greithful! “Truly our Lord works thus: the forces of ivel cannot but do god, and thus are brought to ruin in their most shamefulle endevours!”
|# ? Nov 1, 2020 11:42|
It's a 426 recap!
I sat down with Rat-Born Cock and talked week 426. Thanks RBC!
Available on the archive, Apple podcasts, and Google podcasts
|# ? Nov 1, 2020 12:47|
He meaned in me
Look out at the bathroom.
She’d tough the door right but then there nervously burned knowled-more, just dreaming with saves.
The room was warm and a hint of incense reminded her of days gone, before cigarette smoke definitively took over. And other smoke. A bright spotlight illuminated the crowded side table and sitting on her lounge chair she poured port from up high into a glass somewhere in the middle of the clutter. It filled up slowly and the ruby substance formed several puddles in nearby ashtrays. She did it again. A little square mirror reflected her face and she was surprised at her own expression of concentration.
'Good job', Harry mumbled. 'Didn't know you were such a barrister... Not barrister... That's coffee... Good pourer.' From a corner of his mouth hung a roll-up and he attempted to relight it over a candle with middling success. He came close enough that she could smell a sour scent in the air now. His blouse was spattered, too.
Her face lit up at his compliment. 'No problem, you know it's all right you old wine-o, we'll be fine-o. I've been doing this a long time, you know. Ah, you know. The bar rats and fiends know, so why wouldn't you?', she said. 'Aren't you a rat just like any of us? Drafty days and mean too. But it was fine then, we'll be fine now.'
Harry stumbled to his feet towards the bathroom. His hand on the door, leaning more than simply taking hold of the handle he replied 'You're absolutely spot-on, spot-off, terribly accourageous... I'll be back in a minute for certain, I'm sure, I think... You know, a bit. Will you do me a solid? Keep your eyes peeled for me, please? I don't want anyone barging in here while I'm going about my business-affairs and things. Just stay there and watch the door for old me.' As he went in, she saw he was holding a bag.
She did watch. With a paranoid intensity she did and sat to look out at the bathroom and wondered why he'd asked her to but she did. There was no one else in the room, for sure, she knew that but it didn't matter and she watched. She listened too, could not help it but heard nothing other than watery noise she didn't want to hear. Then flushing and silence. A beeping sound, a phone? Coming from elsewhere maybe. Then nothing again. Paper rustling? She thought of him, he'd been chatting up, hanging round, he'd shown interest for a long time. Last night he positively meaned in me, she thought. This night still? Barlight and a man pestering her to win her over, smoked out and bloodshot eyes in a frantic passion. Then she'd relented at last and now they were here stabbing needles and drinking. Why? Why not. The beeping got worse.
Suddenly, a noise from the general area she'd seen him last - the door not opening but bursting, becoming unhinged with great calamity. She looked over, realized she'd been daydreaming and also - to her horror - that she'd not kept watch as she said she would. The top of the door was no longer parallel with the plane of the ceiling or floor any longer but at some angle she recognized as Wrong. 'What'd you do that for?!' she yelled. 'You idiot! There was no one there, no need for such startling and things! Plus and besides you ruined the door, you idiot!'
'Don't worry about it', Harry assuaged her. 'It's ok, everything's ok and I'm sorry but I was in a hurry to get back here, you see'. This did not calm her down.
'This will come out of my security deposit, you know! I didn't invite you to ruin my place or anything like that' - the thought made her wonder what she did invite him for but there was no time for that. She got up and made her way over. With a little luck, she thought, she’d tough the door right but then there nervously burned know-more, just dreaming with saves. What? There was only know-less, let alone knowledge left now... And certainly no saves.
'Calm down, please! You're making a racket, please sit down', Harry tried. But she wouldn't calm down, not this time. And so she forgot about the door and took a swing at him instead. She was not built for fighting and she knew this well by now but to her surprise it worked for once. Her fist met his face and shattered it immediately, spider cracks forming across nose and eyes and scalp. She jumped back frightened and half-landed in the chair she came from. Her other half sent most the side table clutter scattering across the floor, glasses, syringes and bottles too.
He came over quickly, suddenly not shattered after all and from the door all fixed, and dressed in green anew, no longer spattered with anything, shirt nor pants. And he soothed her now, his one hand nitrile blue across her head, stroking her hair from her face and his other gently holding her down and another pricking her arm and she felt the quiet rush over her and she drifted off.
|# ? Nov 1, 2020 16:58|
The Outcome of Team Halloween Brawl!
Sitting Here – The Whisper House Chronicles
A good spooky horror story that changes into a, uh, domestic romance. Well written, hitting the right balance between gore and suspense. My biggest issue is the misuse of the word “gable.” I think you meant “shutter” – the wooden closures that are outside windows and can be opened to let in light and fresh air, or closed to keep the weather and light out. Gables are the out-croppings of rooflines that let you put a vertical window along the slope of a roof. If it had just been one instance of use, I’d probably have let it go, but repeated use made my inner house carpenter scream. Still, an enjoyable and well written story with a shocking end that wasn’t telegraphed or expected.
Magic Cactus – The Whisper House Chronicles 2: Screams in the Witch House
Oh hey! Looks like some sort of team communication and planning happened here. Let’s find out how well it worked… pretty well. The technical aspects writing is mostly tight – just a couple formatting issues – so I’m not going to worry about crit there. As a whole, it was gratifying to see Pete get his comeuppance. I do love a good comeuppance. But, there are two elements to the story that left me a little unsatisfied. First, Florence, Annie, and the rest of the gang sort of disappear, and to no real consequence. They just stopped being in the story, and I missed them. Second, Jessie got off kind of light. She was warned not to feed the house from herself anymore, she did it anyway (even if she had a good reason), and the consequence was “she heard screaming, and she’d never forget it.” Granted, the house got to eat Pete, but Jessie still seemed to get out of a dangerous decision without much consequence.
Grandma Party – The Legend of Whisper House X, Whisper House Goes to Hell, the Final Whispering
Ok, another story in the chronicles! Let’s see how this one goes. Not as good as the first two, but there’s still some fun reading here. The story seeks to answer a core question I never realized I had: Why exactly is one house haunted, but the house next door isn’t? Do ghouls respect property lines? So thanks for writing a story without the “you’re not allowed in here because I didn’t invite you!” trope popping up. That said, there were a lot of typos here, (and honestly that kept you from getting a DQ due to the last minute edit – I believe that you weren’t doing any editing.) The other issue I have is that the “voice” of the characters keeps wandering – they’re s’posed to be late teens, but they have turns of phrase that indicate that they’re younger at time, and at other times they’re using phrases that indicate they’re older.
Collaborative Effort – Night of the Living Wage!
I loving love it. It’s weird, it’s relatable, it’s Halloween. All the characters are well formed and meaningful to the story. It ends up with reinstating the Status Quo, but that’s sort of a positive outcome in the context of the story. I could probably do some hard-core critting on it if I sat down for a few hours with it, and I’d be happy to talk more with the authors about it in Discord, if they’re inclined. For now, let’s just say “good job!”
Sebmojo – The heartes of ivel men are yet fylld with the grace of God
Awesome. It’s faux Middle English, but it’s good faux Middle English. It also hits a lot of the right notes that make a good stand-in for a Fourtheenth/Fifteenth century folk tale. The idea to make the villains of the story shapeshifting rats falls right in line with the end of the black plague and what might have been fearful to people of that period. I love a fun read, and this delivered.
Yoruichi – Nature Abhors a Vampire. At the Galactic Olympic Games
A few awkward sentences here and there, but not enough to detract from the story as a whole. I was sort of disappointed that the most awesomest Space Olympic diving move ever didn’t get a name. But, there was a lot of kinetic language going on as befitting a story about falling from 1km into a pool of water. The ending was a little predictable, but honestly any time a vampire is in a story, we know what’s going to happen. Is it possible to have a vampire in a story that doesn’t bite someone? The world may never know!
SkaAndScreenplays – Victorian Space Murder: or Tribulations of Landlords On The Edge Of Space
I had a conversation with a friend once about Alan Moore’s comics. Though often based on strange conceits, they’re really good, deep, compelling stories that suck you in and “play it straight” with their own internal logic. The problem comes when you try to describe them to someone else, because there’s no way to talk about them without making the story sound really silly and trite. Your story sounds like someone describing an Alan Moore comic to me. I’m not saying that it doesn’t have a sort of promise, but in its current form it reads much more like a rough outline, told secondhand. The typos don’t help the “rough draft” feel, either.
take the moon – pisces
Very Pynchon like – a vibrant bleakness. The prose is tight and well done, and it lends credibility to the atmosphere you’re trying to make. The story, unfortunately, suffers from the same problem that I see very often in drug narratives – it just sort of meanders around and ends where it started. Yes, she gets nabbed by store security, but there’s a nagging suspicion that this has happened before, and it’ll happen again. The story, like a lot of drugs; pleasing in the moment, but leaves the reader/user unsatisfied and wanting more.
What a haul! This Halloween was great.
GrandmaParty and SkaAndScreenplays, both of your stories had potential, and I had fun reading them, but the typos kept me from really getting into them.
Yoruichi, take the moon, and Magic Cactus - You guys made me happy to judge this brawl. Sometimes bleak, sometimes silly, your stories acquitted themselves well of the Halloween theme.
Sebmojo and Sitting Here wrote stories that were really exemplary, and in a normal week, I’d have tossed you both an HM for your efforts.
But, the collaborative story, Night of the Living Wage! really made my day. Seriously, what a fun read. Also, I’m super stoked that Team 1 worked together and put together a thematically coherent “album” of stories for their entries.
Team Butterscotches and a Box of Raisins (a.k.a. Team 1) wins. Crabrock now has honor again, or something.
|# ? Nov 1, 2020 22:21|
Crabrock is a butt-brawl: write your story in Middle english.
Reading of this story
|# ? Nov 1, 2020 23:12|
A Hank of Rag, A Sharpened Rock
Father was allwise half-blind when it came to our family. One fluttereye flingering skyward even now, even now deadabed. He called for me, and I came running right into the fuckery that I tried to leave.
"Baldy," says my brother, the falser of them. I have been hairful most my life, but when I was a weekin I buzzarded bare my skull and the name stuck hard. My first act of ravellion. "Good to see you." A lie.
"Missed you last Christmas," says my other brother, big and wiry weary wary lean and jumpy, redbearded and loud. "Da's not doing so well." The truth.
I left, left the business, our thing behind out in the middlegold world. Went straightaways cosa nostra to Casanova, leaving deposits with Swiss accounts and British countesses, content with the content with constant consent. But it's the threequel truth. They pulled me back in.
I saw Father, went to his room and had a chitter. But it was all fuzzwords. "You the falcon and I the falconer. Be my eyes. Let the boys do their wills."
The world sees weakness in transition. The family has rivals. They shrike loudly and with violin cases.
My alder brother was mighty sore. We went out to take revenance on the ribald, on the winemonger and his furious crew. We both jump right well, him like a frog and me like a rabbit. We brought rattlers and jumped to his dancers, rattattating and rattattaning and ratatosking. He didn't get the dance and then I ribbared him on the time. The old goat tried to get away wounded, but brother mine lifted a hunk of wreckage and brought down thunder. One enemy less.
I reparted back to father. He gave praise and instructions. He seemed weal, strong, handgrasping me by my shoulder. I didn't prehend how that could be. Did I kneel bedside? I don't preconclude myself on knees. Just the satyriarch strong but hidden. I don't know if I remember a single cough. If I remember the bed. If I remember the color of falther's good eye.
The war continued. Hammerblow for missile, bomb for bullet. Streets ran with crimson foam and scabbed over. Our drinkholes suffered. The moneyflow went from a hydrant to a winter tree tap. A head cut off with none to grow in behind.
Another offensive, on orders from our falconer. Our men against the planetary crew. Bad signs, a horrorscape misaligned. The Morningstar distracted. Their red warrior had a mean streak wide as a rainbow. We battled at the bridge. Brother took a graveous wound, a-spilling red lightning on the ground, while I escaped unharmed but overwhelmed, hosted hostage by the beautiful seafoam blond huntress.
They gave questions, the beauty and her skyfather. I could not answer many. They seemed to be from another world, a bubble barely intersecting where we were on offense for no clericality or ratio.
I babbled towering unkempt gardens of words at them. He departed in rage. She gave me balms that started to defunk my thoughts, and I saw the shrouded truth.
"Unfortunately, the falker takes over the real." I said. Clear as pure ice. In the room where death lingers. Not my father, but my falser frater.
She smiled. "Much the same here. A trickster, usurping our true leader. More entrenched than yours, but still never the truth, by Jove."
"This is farce content in my head. Would you grave yours?" I looked to her sad impossible beauty and she to mine.
"No. But perhaps I can persuade others to take action. Will you?"
"I see no other choice" I said.
The faker had bodyguards and proxtitutes surround him at most times. Approaching armed would not be easy. But I borrowed a trick from the old rivals and the new. A change of shape, easy enough. I birdened myself and tried to see what tools of war I could carry in that form. No cutlery or gunnery would do. Too heavened. In the end a sharped and shaped branch of Holly like a fist-punch katar was my tool. I flew, through the upended windown, disguised as the Falser's lyebulled thoughts and stolen memories, with the point held in my beak and brack brock broke through the surface of his unlatched eyebowel, bleaking poo poo and fluids aqueous and vittleous upon the floor as he screamed in his true voice and I scammed out the window.
All of this has happenchanced begore, a handfulred times, but always different.
|# ? Nov 2, 2020 00:54|
It was raining goldfish. A carp day would be better, but you’d be surprised what you can do with goldfish. Abigail went out and fetched her stockings, and we hung them up by the grapevines so we could catch the fish for dinner later. I was finally going to meet Abigail’s mother, and we wanted to surprise her with fresh goldfish soup.
“What does your mom like to do?” I asked her, as I sauteed some leeks in a cast-iron pan. “In her spare time. How do we entertain her?”
“Well, she’s always been a workaholic. Very into attending zoning board meetings and arguing in strict opposition to whatever the first person to speak said. She also likes monster truck racing.”
“So she’s what you’d call a messy Marcia?”
Abigail cocked her head at me and gave me a can’t you be serious look. “Listen. If you want her to like you, first, don’t burn the leeks.” I splashed the leeks with goldfish stock and a heaping helping of horseradish. “And second—well, I think she just wants to make sure that you aren’t about to run out the door. That the two of us—we’re a certain thing.”
“We clearly got the certain,” I said, “yes.”
Abigail laughed as the pan started to bubble. The whole room was starting to smell like goldfish and horseradish—bon appetit!
Abigail’s mother arrived just past midnight. I was worried, because the weather was reporting a potential shoe storm that evening, but by the time the loafers had started pelting our roof, we had secured Abigail’s mom away in the guest room. “A little dank,” she appraised, putting her bag down and squinting at the windows. “How old are those curtains?”
“They’re vintage, Mom,” Abigail said, yawning performatively. “Come on, we’ll all be rested tomorrow.”
“What’s that horrible smell? It’s like a fish died five years ago.” The goldfish stew had gone cold, but we had left it out in the kitchen, just in case her mom was hungry.
“No one died,” I said, “and we’re all happy to see you.”
“Hm,” she said, and sniffed. “Abby, dear, do you mind finding me a heavier blanket? I absolutely can’t abide light blankets.”
Abigail shrugged at me and went out to the hallway, probably to find the blanket we’d stuffed with gold bullion, which was absolutely the heaviest blanket in the house. I smiled nervously at Abigail’s mother, whose name was actually Frances. “How was the drive?”
“Don’t bullshit me,” Frances said. “I know that you’re only interested in my daughter for her appricable dowry. Well, I attest that the dowry is worthier than a man such as yourself.”
To be honest, I was barely even aware of Abigail’s dowry, except with the knowledge that Frances insisted upon offering one, and that she had squawked terribly when Abigail dated the son of an unholstery tycoon. Abigail told me how Frances had been absolutely insufferable. She called up all of Abigail’s friends and told them “She can’t pay that family,” even as Abigail’s friends told her that no one would honestly expect a dowry these days.
“Okay,” I said, hoping that Abigail would come back soon, “what would make me worthier?”
“Dignity. Poise. A grand gesture. Maybe you could show up on Good Morning America. Or commission some weather, just for Abby. She likes tulips, you know.”
Flower rain was nicer than goldfish or shoe rain, but one of the most expensive to commission; that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. “Listen,” I said, “I love Abigail, and she loves me. Isn’t that enough?”
Abigail came in then, hauling the gold bullion blanket. “Heaviest blanket in the house,” she said, “just the way you like it, Mom.”
Frances gave a tiny nod, as I helped Abigail lay it out on the guest room bed. I mouthed the dowry again to her, and she rolled her eyes.
“Mom,” Abigail said, “I know it’s late, but have I told you that we’ve been very successful with cryptocurrency?”
I nodded. An avalache of sneakers slid off the roof and landed in our backyard; we’d be spending all day tomorrow cleaning them up. “We’re doing well,” I said, “completely independent.”
Frances suddenly looked weary. “It’s awfully late,” she declared. She palpated the blanket nervously.
“We’ll let you sleep, Mom,” Abigail said.
“We’ll have some steaming goldfish stew for you in the morning,” I added. Abigail kissed me, and we were about to turn the light off, when Frances said:
“Can you make sure there’s oyster crackers?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “What’s on the weather report?”
Abigail checked her phone. “No oyster crackers. Wedding rings tomorrow.”
Frances looked like she was about to choke on something. “I will if she will,” I said.
|# ? Nov 2, 2020 01:06|
|# ? Jan 30, 2023 10:31|
Show me how because, I mean, my dead.
I looked over. “Well, we have continued to start for a bunch of reed woods by God."
Maubrah had bited his taunts in the mountains of truth.
Sweet, here comes a roof.
Dancing towards the morning mind
MockingQuantum fucked around with this message at 05:52 on Jan 5, 2021
|# ? Nov 2, 2020 01:35|