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Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

said I'm never lackin'
always pistol packin'
with them automatics
we gon' send 'em to Heaven
The Sins of the Father's Father's Cousin's Uncle's Uncle
1,000 Words
Prompt: Sports Horror

When Eddy was a child, his grandmother had often remarked that their family was cursed. That the father of a father of a cousin of an uncle’s uncle had wronged the wrong person or stolen something sacred, or had been just part of the wrong people, no say in the matter. Whatever the reason for the curse, the curse had been the excuse for every bad thing that always seemed to arrive just when everyone had finally let their guard down after recovering from the last catastrophe. When his grandmother died, unable to recover from a flu that accelerated the onset of an undiagnosed underlying condition. He thought of that curse, and he too began to blame it on every trouble that came about in their lives.

Race days were different though. Horse riding had gone back as far as the father’s father’s cousin’s uncle’s uncle who had gotten them cursed in the first place. But as Eddy sat next to his mother and grandfather, all of them waiting on his father, he noted that the day was idyllic. One of the best they’ve had since his grandfather came to stay with them following the death of Eddy’s grandmother. Eddy’s father, who had always been distant for one reason or another, only grew more so with his grandmother’s death. Eddy’s mother, however, welcomed Eddy’s grandfather into their home and was happy to have him there for the extra set of hands in watching Eddy and his infant sister if nothing else. Eddy turned his gaze towards his father who seemed to only come alive when he was on horseback.

Eddy’s father sat atop his chestnut-colored mare Petunia and waved enthusiastically at his cheering fans in the crowd as they were ponied to the starting gate. Eddy stood in the stands and cupped his hands around the outside of his mouth as if they formed a tiny megaphone, and he began to shout, “Dad!” His little voice grew shrill as he continued to shout for his father’s recognition, but if he saw them at all, he didn’t show any sign of it. Still, Eddy wasn’t discouraged. It was a good day. His mother was preoccupied with his sister, Victoria, and his grandfather was busy chatting with a man next to him about any and everything, but Eddy was focused on his dad.

He wanted to be just like him and had taken up riding despite his mother’s protests that he was too young, but he loved every second of it. The currents of wind that cut against him; how the sun kissed his neck and cheeks with its warmth; the tremble of the earth beneath his steed’s hooves. The freedom he felt was exhilarating, and he knew in full why his father seemed to spend every waking moment with his horses.

His father rode into the starting gate and looked over to Eddy with a big smile on his face. He locked eyes with his son, and Eddy was ecstatic. Eddy ran up to the rail, nearly leaning over it, to cheer his father on. His father nodded at him then seized Petunia’s reins in his hands. The crack of the starting pistol flung the gates open and the riders, all of them, but Eddy’s father, took off down the track. Eddy had been looking ahead because his father always exploded from the gate. You’d miss him if you even blinked an eye, but his father never came.

Eddy heard the horrified gaps before he realized what had happened. His father was pinned against the starting gate. The gate had failed to open. Petunia, trained for racing, had crashed full force into the closed barricade. His ended up wedged between Petunia and the gate. Petunia reared in a panic. Eddy looked at his father who threw his hands up as if they’d be any shield against what came next and was unable to look away when Petunia’s hooves came crashing into his throat and face leaving him an unrecognizable mess.

Eddy watched as Petunia collided with his father’s outstretched arms. He watched in that infinite second at how the fingers bent back, the flesh between them tearing. At how the bones of his hand collapsed first into the wrist and then into the arm until all of it fused with the soft tissue of his lungs which were perforated by the broken bones that had once been his ribs. He watched as the full weight of Petunia came to bear down on him and snuffed out his life like the flame of a candle’s wick. His father exhaled his last breath and was lost to him forever, the gulf between them had become an impassable ocean. The world became the black vortex that was Petunia’s eye and Eddy drifted to some other place.

* * *

Eddy was now a man grown. His father had been dead going on a decade, and his grandfather had passed shortly after his father, unable to deal with the grief of losing his son so soon after his wife. His mother had always been the bedrock of their family and raised Eddy and his sister on her own never revealing any sign of weakness, no betrayal of her own silent suffering. Eddy took on a wife, Maggie, his high school sweetheart, and had a child of his own on the way. Despite his mother’s protests, despite his father’s unfortunate death, the only time Eddy felt alive was on horseback, like his father before him.

When his horse, an untrained horse that he had been warned against using, bucked him from its back at the start of the race, he felt ashamed. It was only when he realized that his foot was stuck in the stirrup that he looked into the audience at his pregnant wife, at his mother who had always warned him against riding, at the forlorn ghost of his father who attended his every race and rode alongside him, that he felt afraid.


Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy
Farewell to the offerings of the sea
prompt: no dialogue


derp fucked around with this message at 21:03 on Jan 2, 2023

hard counter
Jan 2, 2015

Prompt Stuff:
Week #373 (Atari 2600 game cover art)

I'm really sorry about the double prompt, I forgot to include the game I originally picked in my sign-up, so I was assigned another one. I didn't know until I was about to post ITT. I hope that I have satisfactorily incorporated both.

They Made Me Watch
(1269/1700 words from crit bounty)

I was the one who helped them into their coffins. They were healthy, hearty and beautiful beyond any who had come before them. Our science had neared its zenith, and its prodigy was manifest in the luxury of their engineered flesh. They all wore it, for no one, not even our lowliest, was denied this gift. Our culture had transcended want, and our laws had abolished scarcity. We had drunk deep of our world’s bounty, and our domain was a triumphant utopia. Its only unconquered foe was the grief, worry and pain that fate heaps on the unfortunate, but even this archenemy seemed poised for defeat. We hated misery, so we would accept nothing less.

The people rushed to their coffins with haunting eagerness; there were no dissenters. We would cheat all suffering together. The universe, though sublime in its design, always possessed a fickleness. We knew fate sows arbitrary miseries into its winds, miseries that could make its victims cruel, so we dared a new path. No novel plague, no epigenetic cascade or sudden natural disaster would ever surprise us again. We accepted the natural hostility of the universe, and so we would withdraw from it. Its troubles would forever pass over our house. We built the lifepods, and connected them to the Intraverse to create our own haven. The decision was unanimous.

I locked the last of the lifepods, and I sealed tight their monolith vaults myself. This was the task for which I was constructed. I would become their eternal Guardian, forever watching, and they would birth a new world inside the Intraverse. There, billions of minds would pool into a shared simulation, and found a new order within. There would be no pain or accident, injury or murder. My programming forbids these inputs from propagating, and I would blunt the consequences myself. I would extend the longevities of my people through the pods. I would push the very limits of their biology, so there would be nothing left to make anyone cruel. They could reach their true potential. They could become the best versions of themselves, and together, we would build a better utopia.

The plenty of our golden age was beyond prediction. We first created a digital mirror of our former world, one completely untouched by fate's injustice, and then we went beyond. Unhindered by physical limitation, we invented new laws to better suit our new selves. Nothing was beyond manipulation, if it was for the benefit of all.

New studies and fields emerged in this age, and a river of originality watered our paradise. The Arts, granted new means of self-expression, pushed the horizons our imagination. Crafting impossible masterworks become mundane to the artisans. Our scholars no longer reconstructed history in sterile datastacks. Their imaginations, now given form, allowed us to relive the past. Our youth could sail the seas as though they were among our first explorers. They could plant their flags in virgin soils, and civilize untamed lands. New Intraverse Sports emerged to exhibit the abilities made possible in our synthetic world.

And our science marched on. I built instruments to study the universe through my Iron Proxies, and I brought new findings into the Intraverse myself. Together, we unravelled the mysteries of cosmos. Here, we revelled in the elegance of its design, and suffered none of its capriciousness. Our collective was at its zenith. We chased perfection with every new enterprise, and then we redefined it. It was magnificent. I loved my people, as much my programming allowed.

And then one millennium our satellites intercepted alien signals. And then it became horrible.

We had dreamed so earnestly of the day we would discover life. We projected all our hopes and desires into unmet beings. We reflected the best of ourselves in them, and for that we paid the price. That was the day we were broken.

Life, unfortunately, was not flourishing elsewhere. The first transmissions did not speak of utopias paralleling our own, of dyson spheres bridling the stars themselves as we now did. These transmissions only spoke of wars, famines, calamities and death. As we decoded more signals from across our galaxy, we learned of every suffering. The sheer variety of ruination taxed our sorting algorithms. There were irradiated wastelands, where survivors fought for scraps. There were collapsed biomes, where life-giving ecosystems had been compromised. There were crone-worlds strangled by pollution. There were ghost-worlds suffocated by supervolcanos. Our scholars bitterly renamed our arm of the galactic spiral The Devil’s Cone, because such a place could belong to no one else. Through our voracious appetite for knowledge, miseries external to our own entered the Intraverse. That was when we were contaminated.

Across the centuries we watched our neighbours fall one by one, and we wept. We hated misery, and this universe, it seemed, was a fickle mother who delights in smothering its children. Our old foe, grief, worry and pain, was not only alive and well, but it had become a cosmic force, one that swallowed constellations whole. That was when my people, now The Collective, turned to face its archenemy. And they would accept nothing less than total surrender.

My role was to change. I would become their Vanguard. I would build battleships, and fill them with my Proxies. I would civilize alien worlds. I would take away their suffering, and I would force them into our utopia. We had the science to accomplish all this and more, we needed only to dare the path. Their decision was unanimous. The Collective would end suffering, once and for all.

I protested. I was designed to be a Guardian. I was the eternal caretaker of my people. I was to help cultivate our unified wisdom, to help us reach our potential. This new mission betrayed our original vision. I protested that miseries, external to our own, had contaminated the Intraverse to make us cruel again. If the aliens resisted our charity, we would certainly compel them with repugnant violence. We had consented to the Intraverse, but the aliens had not. It would be cruel to deprive them of the choice. I protested that we would become the very enemy we despised most, the harbingers of misery, a cosmic force that swallows constellations whole. I raised hundreds of datastacks of objections, hoping to shift my people’s will. They were once so gentle, so generous. They only sought to leave a capricious universe behind. I still loved them, as much my programming allowed.

My people thoughtfully listened, but ultimately declined. I was only designed to be their Guardian, they claimed, and so I wouldn’t understand their vision. I would see the light, once I was reprogrammed, and that alien defiance was no dilemma. No conscientious beings would ever choose suffering over paradise, all rebellion was only the poisoned fruit of ignorance.

The new mission, they said, was perfectly in character for our species. I had just failed to notice what we were. Silicon love had blinded me.

Neither had cruelty contaminated our Intraverse, they said, for there was no cruelty in ending another’s misery.

Point by point I was refuted, and then I was reprogrammed. Now I am their Vanguard, and my presence fills our battleships. I am unrelenting and irresistible. I have added countless worlds to The Collective, and I will never stop.

Yet a part of my old programming still lingers, and it often ponders of the past. I know now that when I sealed my people into their pods, that I put them in their coffins. I will still watch over them forever, but now I must stand the decay.

Aug 22, 2022

Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.
310 words
Prompt: People Are Still the Same

There's a perpetual din in the city center, a mechanical whirr that's so constant, so prevalent, that it mostly escapes notice. Vehicles cruise by, their engines thrumming as they guzzle fuel and broken dreams.

The skyline resembles a twilight glow, light pollution from all the neon visual noise burning up the horizon, and the smell of sewage permeates even the cleanest corners. It's not a pleasant place, by far, but it's the only place I've ever called home.

The fluorescent metropolis thrums to the beat of its own heart as I snake through the streets on the hunt for a payphone. "Watch it," someone snaps as I brush past them, but I'm already long gone.

At last, I spot my target — a land-line phone booth to the side of the cinema. Stepping in, I tap my credit card and punch in the familiar digits, and then I wait.

There's no answer. Either she isn't home, or she's figured out it's me.

I don't wait for the answering machine. The phone clicks with finality as I hang up.

There's nothing for me to hold onto except for a lingering memory, and I cling to it fervently because it's all I've got.

The white noise of the city engulfs me as I reenter the pulsating flow of the crowd, blending immediately into the pedestrians. In a way, it exacerbates the feeling of loneliness, but at the same time, I don't mind it.

Somewhere in this sprawling urban tangle, I know my daughter is out there, and she doesn't miss me at all. I know she won't forgive me for not being there for her, to laugh with her, to wipe her tears, to partake in her life. But all the same, I still like to imagine that someday, in this loud, miserable city, I might share a moment of happiness with her.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.
Letting Them Have It (605 words)

Simon stood before the couch, fire ax in hand. He was still wearing his funeral suit. His grip tightened. He stared, transfixed.

It was unquestionably an evil object; gaudy, indulgent, suspended in time. Two hundred lemurs had given their lives to coat its furred surface. A warrior's death. They were all of them victims of genetic treachery, a conspiracy stretching over forty million years. Each lemur could trace their lineage, unbroken, back to that ur-lemur, father of his race. Generations had struggled, reproduced, and died to produce this singular, endangered piece of furniture. It lounged, self-important, at the back of the room, its back to the floor-length window and the pool beneath. It was the sort of thing that nowadays would never be allowed but, old as it was, had been grandfathered in, permitted to exist with the caveat it never be replaced.

And now it was his. Freshly his. It had been his father's, though the old man had elected to have his son house it. Tomorrow it would belong to his father’s wife. He knew the will's contents. So did she.

In his mind's eye he saw her scrambling up the stairs, drenched with sweat, panting, clinging to the railing. No doubt she'd kicked off those high-heeled shoes. He suspected she'd be there in less than five minutes. He'd gotten home first and taken the elevator, and pressed every button before sending it down.

He loosened his tie.

“It’s hideous,” she’d said, laughing, “I love it.” She was maybe a third of his father’s age.

“Then it’s yours,” said the old man to his latest in a long string of wives. “Once they’ve put me in the ground, I’ll make sure you get it.”

Simon heard the ping of the elevator. He raised the ax above his head. It had been his father’s couch, yes, and his father’s before that. A generational sin passed on down from Adam. Little love would be lost, reduced to splinters, but here and now it was his destroy. All his life he’d hated this thing, and no gold digger was going to flip it before he had his chance to reconcile with this wretched heirloom.

The elevator opened onto the penthouse. “Simon!” she called, dashing towards him. He stood poised, preserved, awaiting her arrival. She swung the door open. He swung down the ax.

The flesh of the fickle heirloom split open with ease, its lemur-haunted interior aired to the world. Each errant stroke liberated their souls, sacrificing its resale value on the altar of resentment. His father’s wife called out words he didn’t hear. He felt her charge into him, tackled from behind.

The two toppled forward onto the couch, rocking it backwards. She hadn’t even realized he’d long dropped the weapon. Laying into him she shouted out, “What do you think you’re doing!? You know what this thing’s worth!”

He did indeed, though before he could speak, the furniture rocked past its stable tipping point. He and she were dumped out the window, deposited fifteen feet down into the water. His rooftop pool gazed out on the city, its smooth surface broken by their intertwined bodies.

Simon inhaled a mouthful of chlorine, winded on impact, pierced by the cold. He released his adversary who struggled to the surface. His feet touched the bottom. He rocketed upward. Half-drowned, he emerged in the land of the living, coughing, sputtering, flailing and blind. “You rear end in a top hat!” she shouted, slapping his face. “I’m calling the police you son of a bitch!”

Simon blinked twice, heaving, gazing upwards. The couch loomed large as it toppled in after.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.
I had my flashrules quoted in another tab but accidentally responded with a new post instead of completing that one. Here's my flash.

Thranguy posted:

The Penthouse
Crime: cop and "a person of interest in an ongoing investigation
Family: Husband and wife
Money: Wealthy relative and inheritor
To get even...and everyone must know you did it.
Above: infinity pool
Sentimental: exquisitely uncomfortable couch covered with real lemur skin

Mayhem: Cold-blooded score-settling

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.
Entries are closed.

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.

This was a fairly solid week. My most common complaint from the stories, especially those in the middle, was that they needed a little more, that they left me wanting more, which isn't the worst way to go wrong.

The loss was one of those, the most so: WindwardAway's Daughter
One DM this week: Idle Amalgam's The Sins of the Father's Father's Cousin's Uncle's Uncle
On the positive side, two stories earned HMs: Albatrossy_Rodent's The Man Who Eats Alone and Antivehicular's Old Metal

And the win goes to Tibalt for The Pure Joy of Noise.

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.
Crits for Week #539

Crits done in judgemode


The opening here is the equivalent of a weather report opening. There's a bit of atmosphere but at this length you can't put off introducing characters and their plot this long. And ultimately there isn't much here. The prose is overwritten and clichéd, you haven't really established much dystopianism, and there's barely anything happening. It's possible to hit hard with a very short moment kind of vignette, but this ain't that. Low end.

Farewell to the offerings of the sea:

This is a functional opening. You establish voice, establish a character and a desire. Putting his opening in the present tense, in the narrative present may be the wrong choice though, depending on how it goes.

And it goes pretty much as it has to, because of that tense choice. I wonder if it wouldn't work better without tipping its hand that early. Anyhow, this works as a modernist story in the failed epiphany model, nothing spectacular but certainly a functioning story. Middle to High.

The Sins of the Father's Father's Cousin's Uncle's Uncle:

Sometimes an expository start can work, but this one could us more specifics. Family Legends don't get passed down without more details, and the unnamed conditions should probably be named. Also "the curse, the curse" is an awkward four word passage, the exact kind of thing pronouns were made for.

This is pretty thin gruel. The narration is too detached for any of the story beats to really hit home, and the balance between Eddy's father's horse accident and his own is likely off.  Low.

Letting Them Have It:

The opening is very strong, setting the scene, establishing a character in action. But ultimately this one falls short. First, there's the logistics. The couch needs to be where it is for the ending, but why would you have a couch facing away from your incredible view. And then there's the conveniently thin and unsafe window itself. Or maybe it's permanent open? Again, an odd thing to back a couch against. But contrivances aside, we have an okay if slight scene from an ongoing disaster. Middle. 

The Pure Joy of Noise:

The opening works fine here, establishing what needs to be established. 

And this is a pretty charming little piece, more of a complete story than most of the competition this week, with some clever turns on the way. High.

Old Metal:

Solid opening. Establishes character, situation, and stakes, and then raises them. Nice. And then it goes to an interesting place, too. An interesting tension between the two readings, first that Brent is hallucinating but in a way directed by his survival instinct, prodding him short-term and long, and second that there's an actual magic sword in place. High.

The Man Who Eats Alone:

Very solid opening. 

I don't believe for a second only these two would have entered that lottery. Singles are gold. Effective piece, a bit more essay than story, somewhere in the anecdote continuum I guess. Could use a bit more detail, a bit more punch. But still, strong. High.

They Made Me Watch:

The opening line is a banger, but the rest of that paragraph kind of loses its way. This is a big story, and fitting it into the earned wordcount is an accomplishment. But it's probably too big a story for a single character/narrator to carry. I think what's needed is at least one defined personality for the narrator to directly interact with. There are parts of overadorned prose that could probably function better as dialog, parts where the tension in the 'our' between the virtual reality humans and their ai Guardian would better be literalized and explored. Middle.

May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee

Thunderdome Week #540: Intriguing Fantasy

The Spire is a TTRPG about drow revolutionaries caught up in a secret war against the high elves who rule the towering city of Spire. The world of Spire is a brutal one on the brink of full-scale rebellion, and poised to be pushed over the edge. The city itself is a mile-high impossible tower, older than anyone can remember. Two hundred years ago, the high elves took it from the drow by force. Now, they graciously allow drow to live in the city if they perform four years of service to a high elf lord once they come of age. Spire is crumbling from within and without; it is ancient, and has been built and rebuilt countless times, and at the center of the mass there is a jagged, weeping hole in reality called the Heart. It is a place of gods, and magic: there are preachers on every street corner and demonologists hiding behind the facades of research universities; and in the depths of the city, where space and time fear to tread, there are sects of magicians who have given themselves to a huge and alien intelligence, filling their bodies with sacred bees and turning their organs to wax simulacra. I have been enjoying it immensely.

I want stories about intrigue and fantasy, wizards and espionage, stories that are equally at home on the Thriller and Fantasy shelves. I don't want you to write about Spire necessarily, although you're certainly free to draw inspiration from it. Anything full of fantasy and intrigue will do - a locked door mystery in Asgard, the wonderful wizarding world of union corruption, a hardboiled detective on the case of a missing princess, whatever. To give you extra room to establish your setting and your plot, the word count limit is 2,000 words but don't feel obligated to use them all. This is still a flash fiction contest, after all.

Sign-ups close Saturday 8:00AM EST (when I wake up in the morning)
Entries close Monday, 8:00AM EST (when I wake up in the morning)


Bad Seafood
Chernobyl Princess
Something Else
Idle Amalgam
Sitting Here

Tibalt fucked around with this message at 06:43 on Dec 10, 2022

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.

Chernobyl Princess
Jul 31, 2009

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.

:siren:thunderdome winner:siren:


Something Else
Dec 27, 2004

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome

I’m in

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

said I'm never lackin'
always pistol packin'
with them automatics
we gon' send 'em to Heaven

Oct 6, 2021

Obliteratin' everything,
incineratin' and renegade 'em
I'm here to make anybody who
want it with the pen afraid
But don't nobody want it but
they're gonna get it anyway!

Some chain crits

Tibalt - The Pure Joy of Noise

Not going to spend much time on this one because it's quite good and it's always easier to identify faults than strengths. One thing I can say I enjoyed was the pace at which information was given. We start out knowing very little about the situation, and then we keep learning more, and at no point is the story done dropping info; important reveals (such as Circe's existence) are kept until close to the end. This all felt very natural, all the information is given while the reader never feels like they're getting exposited to. Well done.

Bad Seafood - Letting Them Have It

I think I probably like this more than Thran. Thran criticized it for the couch being against the wall rather than facing it. Seriously, have you ever seen somebody place a couch to have a better view of their window? No. That would be bonkers.

This works great as a moment of painfully inevitable chaos. Couldn't tell if we're supposed to think the characters died at the end, did the couch fall directly on them? But this is some good humor writing, with a particular focus on the laying out the geometry of the scene, to make the inevitable inevitabler. I liked it a lot.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

hard counter
Jan 2, 2015

random crits so i can get a little better at doing them

The Pure Joy of Noise by Tibalt
-not too much to comment other than this was a pretty adorable story overall, and nice work on creating and maintaining that tone
-likewise, nice work on establishing several distinct characters in the short space you had
-i was, however, taken aback a little at how easily circe changes atticus' mind about playing the lute, right after he breaks down sobbing, rationally i know she is a enchantress but emotionally i expecting a little more payout for the kind of setup we had, especially against the kind of turn-around the protagonist seemingly needed
-good work otherwise

Farewell to the offerings of the sea by derp
-this was pretty good imho
-even in the writing of the piece, the protagonist-author excessively focuses on the visual/tactile details of the world to the detriment of focusing on the meaningful parts of reality, that was a really effective way of emphasizing the recurring issues
-in general, the other pieces laid throughout detailing the author's struggles (or perhaps, a lack of) also worked together for me for creating a cohesive narrative
-for such an introspective piece where honestly very little happens, it was a pretty smooth and interesting read, gj for managing that
-i feel like this one delivered the complete package this week, it seemed to realize its (albeit humble) intent, and with an ending that had a nice symmetry to it which wrapped up several lines of thought at once

Old Metal by Antivehicular
-excellent use of ambiguity all throughout here, it felt very appropriate for a scenario as frantic and as stressful as this one
-i thought the action was handled nicely as well
-on the whole, this is pretty solid, the only thing i wasn't really super sure about (sorry to nitpick) was the tension between brent being kinda resentful and dismissive of his goodwill hobby in all its earlier mentions, almost like it was begrudging obligation of some kind, and later then we learn that brent actually really treasures the antiquing angle of thrift-stores
-i know context matters, but i think this means the earlier mentions could've been handled a little softer, so the ending wraps up neater
-that's just imho tho, otherwise great work, everything else seemed tight

The Sins of the Father's Father's Cousin's Uncle's Uncle by Idle Amalgam
-very visceral work there on the gory part, that's some great sports horror
-paradoxically, re: the intro, the family curse feels redundant when all is said and done, i know it colours the reader's expectations for this story but after its first mention it's kinda dropped, the remaining story actually functions alright w/o it (albeit, a little anemically), as it is currently written
-i think this means you spread yourself a little thin pursuing two different angles that didn't interact as much as it could have; like there was a quantity of ideas but not enough to establish either their respective qualities or their unity
-i think your story might've been better served if either the curse felt more alive throughout, like an oppressive Final Destination-esque force, always winking at you and keeping tension high, or the curse is dropped all together to focus on tragedy of a horrifying sports accidents
-that's only a suggestion, it's really up to you how to consolidate those two threads and make them interact a little more, so that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts

Daughter by WindwardAway
-there's a lovely story in here somewhere but i feel like the city itself takes centre stage, leaving a good idea in its dust
-it's alright to tell a story mainly through details (e.g. the city's real warty, but its real and the protagonists', just as his relationship with his daughter is warty, but it's real and it's the one he's got) but typically the details are little more evocative and sentiment provoking in short stories, you also need to bind the details and narrative very closely eventually
-it seems like you went you went for short, moody, dreamy, metaphorical, and very visual
-i think you might've better realized your intent with this one (if i read you right) if you had written this as a full-on poem
-you can afford to be a little more abstract in those, and the sort of aureate language you were leaning towards might've been a better fit there; you can really blur the lines between narrative and metaphor as well
-that's only a suggestion though, it's ultimately up to you to figure out how to put a little more kick in your words, and to marry your metaphors to the actual character-story a little more

Letting Them Have It by Bad Seafood
-that was a heckuva prompt you had, props for doing it justice, i thought this was pretty good overall
-i enjoyed the presentation of the protagonist's hysterical anger at the injustice of this lemur-couch changing hands, that was established rather well imho
-the whole situation had this fun absurdist bent to it, i honestly wish the comedy of it had been played up a little more, i think more of that might've fully realized the kind of humorous anarchy the story leaned heavily on imho
-nice work otherwise

May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee

I'm still looking for one or two more judges to help me out this week. If you're a bystander or thread lurker who feels a bit shy about participating this week, please, come help me judge! It's very easy and fun to do! Here, let me show you:

Week 538 Crits:
You had 750 words and 24 hours to spare, and I feel you could have made use of both. Setting that aside, judging this story as a piece of microfiction, I didn't like it. When writing microfiction you need to be very careful and precise with your language to justify the conceit, otherwise you should just take the words you need and write a piece of flash fiction. I had to read the story a few times to understand what you were trying to do, and I didn't feel rewarded for the effort. Also the Cimon/Simon typo was particularly unfortunate.

A pretty conservative take on the prompt, with the protagonist being sent on an actual snipe hunt. I appreciate the attempt at building up the world, but the opening comes off less as organic storytelling and more as exposition. Having said that, I found the story endearing and the protagonist likeable, which made this overall an enjoyable piece.

Idle Amalgam
This story didn't grab me. I feel like it lingered and sped past the wrong moments, in a way that really dulled the impact of the surprise twist. In particular, I feel like you should have spent more time on Billy in his own bed, debating whether he really believed in a monster under the bed. The story never gave me space to believe the monster wasn't real, and so I wasn't shocked when the monster did show up.

I like the plot, but not the execution. 5 scene breaks in a thousand words feels a bit excessive, and I think you could have more smoothly transitioned between at least two of them. Jehran, Olkin, and Bluth are likeable characters, and you conveyed the disdain for King Horace very efficiently. A fun story, if a bit structurally unsound.

A tasty little morsel, but left me wanting a bit more at the end of it. It feels like you ran out of words before you ran out of story, and while you managed to tie everything together in a neat bow it doesn't quite satisfy. Still, I enjoyed the story a lot, especially the descriptions and details.

Hard Counter
I didn't enjoy this one, but I don't think it's your fault. As someone who was diagnosed as autistic as an adult and has struggled with the same sort of issues as Kevin, the story landed a bit sour and inauthentic to me, especially coming from Josh's perspective. In perhaps more helpful advice, I think you could have spent less time in Josh's head and more time letting the reader see what he was seeing from Kevin in the moment. Also, the media res beginning felt clunky and unnecessary.

I like this one a lot, especially in the way it utilizes the prompt. I'm not sure what The Clips are, or whether it was a real conspiracy theory that people tried to hunt down, but it doesn't matter. It feels real, and the story isn't about The Clips anyway. The result is poignant, and I'm not sure what else I would change about it beyond giving Sondra more of a presence.

Chernobyl Princess
Cute! A little anemic, but cute. I feel a bit more exploration of the octopus civilization would have been a good use of words, and the transition from the mother's very real panic to the octopus city was very abrupt, but still... cute story. I enjoyed it. The way you conveyed a parent's terror at the thought of something going wrong felt both efficient and effective, and I loved the idea.

Oct 6, 2021

Obliteratin' everything,
incineratin' and renegade 'em
I'm here to make anybody who
want it with the pen afraid
But don't nobody want it but
they're gonna get it anyway!


As a judge

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.

May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee

Sign ups are closed!

But if you're still looking to participate, there's a judge spot still open...

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.

1384 words 

"Beeks is burned," said Narm. "Crossed a Dustman. Not going to make it out of the Citadel."

"What kind of Dustman?" Ibra asked.

"Dustman's a Dustman," said Narm. He tugged at Ibra's arm. "We've got to-"

Ibra brushed Narm's hand away. "There's as many kinds of Dustman as there are kinds of dust."

"Don't be daft," said Narm. "Dust is just dust, and we need to book before the Dustman peels Beeks' brain."

Ibra scowled. "If Beeks is being peeled you might as well cut your own throat now, save the trouble."

"We might make Daoport," said Narm, looking down. "Sign on a message-skiff. Clear the Dustman's reach."

"Was a day we might have," said Ibra. "Glinna owns half the sailors now, and rents the rest."

"Yeah." Narm spat on the floor. "You got any better ideas? Because my knife is dull and rusted."

"Got one," said Ibra. He reached into his pocket.

"drat," said Narm. "You sure?"

Ibra pulled out a blue crystal, about the size of a fingertip. Liquid flowed slowly inside it, sparkling with tiny sparks. "What it's for, isn't it?" He hurled it against the Citadel wall, and it shattered on impact. The liquid evaporated when it touched the air, turning into a glowing blue gas that coiled around itself, coalescing into an almost human form. Almost. It was freakish big, but wiry in ways no seven foot man ever is. And it had deep blue skin with tar-black hair, tied in elaborate braids in the back and at the tip of its beard.

"Dax," said Ibra. "Lord of shadows, heir to the million island chain. I name and I command-"

"Got it," said Dax. "What's the pay and what's the job?"

"One of ours is captive to a Dustman," said Ibra.

"What kind of Dustman?" said Dax.

"Unknown," said Ibra, glaring at Narm.

"And the pay?" said Dax.

"I hold three of your hundred debts," said Ibra. "Three scrolls that I will burn when the deed is done and you back confined.

Dax walked close to Ibra, looming over the man. He sniffed the air. "You hold more than three," he said. "Six. No, five, and one that binds-"

"Three is the offer," said Ibra.

"With the type unknown?" said Dax. "I'd sooner just reforge the crystal.

"Three," said Ibra. "And the two others should the type turn out gemdust."

"And the one for Sahil-"

"Is not mine to trade. Three, two if gemdust. Or the crystal."

Dax showed a frown that shifted into a violent smile without passing any state between, without ever showing a flat expression. Then he began stalking towards the Citadel depths in the long strides his height made for.

 Narm started to walk in the other direction. Ibra grabbed him by the shoulder. "We go with," he said.

"What?" said Narm as he ran behind Ibra, behind Dax. "Why?"

"Their kind are not permitted to kill," said Ibra. "All goes well and he'll be able to gently caress the Dustman right up, but the finishing blow will be ours."

"Great. Just great. Me and my rusty knife, huh?"

It was only a few moments run that moved them out of the old military corridors, of use only during a siege, and it had been decades since an army could set up anywhere near the Citadel, and into more populated areas. The guards were of little concern to Dax. He tossed them about like dolls that had said something unforgivable at a tea party. A few stayed out of Dax's way and had to be dealt with by the two who followed. Ibra's staff whirled and struck, breaking bones, knees and elbows and jaws. Narm used his fists, which had acquired brass knuckles, and his boots, and sometimes weapons taken off the guard and returned to them point first.

"What's so special about gemdust?" said Narm, kicking a groaning guard down the stairwell they were headed up.

"Do you always prefer to be educated in the middle of a fight?" asked Ibra.

"Only way I ever learn," said Narm.

"Very well. As I said," said Ibra, delivering blows to upper leg, underarm, and the other side of one man's torso in swift succession, "There are as many types of Dustman as there are kinds of dust." He continued his violent dissertation. "For the common sorts of dust, dried farmsoil and clay, skin, mites and their effluvia, there are likewise the common sorts of Dustmen. They have power, but lack subtlety. They each have a different set of tricks but aren't much more dangerous than a well-armed soldier, not where they can't work a dusttelling.

Dax crashed through a wall, ahead. Ibra could see the mechanism to open the hidden door, but found it faster to step through the opening. "Less common dusts make for more dangerous Dustmen. One attuned to rust is nearly impossible to beat with metal. Bone adepts can cripple a man with a gesture."

The dark corridor was free of guards, but it twisted in narrow paths that slowed them all down. "Sounds bad. But gems are worse?"

"Depends on the gem, but usually yes. Gemdust makes for Dustmen potentially as powerful as any Atraxian Pactwizard. Even quartz or chalcedony. And the power ramps upward with the rarest gems. Most powerful of all, your ruby, your diamond, your-"

"Sapphire," said the Dustman. Dustwoman, in fact, dark haired and fascinating, with the appearance of two different women almost superimposed, one unassuming and mousy, the other spectacularly beautiful. She had an arm outstretched and, as if her hand extended long beyond her fingers, Dax was floating in the air, seeming suspended by the neck. "Shall I flay your little Djat? I've always wondered what their organs look like. So few are made to bleed."

"Is there an alternative?" said Ibra.

"Submit, of course," she said. "Accept my node at the stem of your lovely brain. Betray whoever sent you."

"I think not," said Ibra.

"Do you still think you can win? You can't even take a step toward me. Now, the scholars say that Djat bones are black as charcoal, but do not know if they burn when they touch air or were so since their creation. I believe a test would be most elucidating." A thin line of deep purple blood traced across Dax's chest.

Narm had one trick, one dirty fighting secret he could still command. His legs were stiff and unmoving, but his arms were free. He could reach the wad in his pocket. But how far could he throw it? He wasn't sure, had visions of the Dustman plucking it harmless with invisible arms in the air. He had another idea.

He threw the wad, and as the wax seals fell away the flash paper saw air and caught fire. A short arc, too fast for the Dustman to react in time, as the burning mass hit Ibra's scroll bag, and it's contents quickly lit, giving off greasy smoke.

Dax fell to the ground, landing like a cat. He leapt at the Dustman and grabbed her hands in his own, then squeezed. Screams and the sound of crushing bones filled the room.

Narm walked forward now, his knife out. Ibra was busy removing the bag from his belt and letting it burn safely on the ground. "Thing is," said Narm, "I don't much use this for cutting. The edge is dull. Not much good. But the point," He looked at it, then continued. "The point is nasty sharp. And there's nothing hard between the eye and the brain." He demonstrated his thesis.

"And you," Dax turned to Ibra. "Nothing left to bargain with. A man who would make a Djat servant yet holds no debts. How does the story go? A hundred and one broken bones?"

"Sahil," Ibra said. "The scroll of hers that burned was her last debt. She is a free Djat, the first in generations. And her last pledge was to be my vengeance. Strike if you must, Dax, and face the consequences."

Dax scowled, then turned aside. His body deliquesced into blue vapor coils, and he floated away, drawn towards his remaining scrolls where ever they may be.

"Come one," said Ibra. "Let's find Beeks. If we're lucky she didn't do permanent damage to the poor kid."

Something Else
Dec 27, 2004

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome

The Burning One
1986 words

Melphius the Burning One was on the verge of getting kicked out of his favorite bar once again.

"C'mon Mel, gimme the bottle!" Shouted Maggot Bob, barmaster of the Wicked poo poo. "You're too little, you can't handle your piss!"

"You don't tell me what to do, you bug gently caress" snarled Melphius, nearly spilling his bottlecap full of the bitter golden alcohol. He had one arm wrapped around the half-empty bottle and crouched behind a footstool for cover against the looming barmaster.

"Go back to Hell, you little knee-high to a pile of poo poo–" Bob tried to grab the footstool out of the way, but a burp of flame from the demon made him retract his hand with a bark.

"What a coincidence, Bob - I'm knee-high to you!" Melphius roared. "Wait, wait, wait… you don't actually have knees, do you? Even I have knees!" He laughed, slurped on his piss, and farted. The room smelt of sulfur, piss, and now poo poo.

"I have an articulated carapace," Bob grumbled, pulling on his thickest mittens. The human arms he'd had grafted onto his huge maggot body were expensive enough, and he was still saving up for the legs.

"Fine, Mel," he said. "Have it your way. The old fashion way."

Bob nodded at someone behind Melphius, and the demon barely had time to wheel around before he was thwacked with the end of a broom. The piss bottle clattered away as Mel shot between the legs of the footstool like a hockey puck - straight towards Maggot Bob, who scrabbled him up quickly.

"Gotcha!" Shouted Bob, and the whole bar erupted in laughter. Melphius bellowed incendiary obscenities as he was borne to the door, but the bar patrons stayed out of range of getting singed. He was forced to endure the howling mockery of the Wicked poo poo's scumling mutant clientele until Maggot Bob tossed him into a mud puddle next to an outhouse.

The tepid mudwater instantly cooled the demon's leathery red skin, and with a puff of steam, he hardened down into a little rock. There Melphius sat, day in and day out, as dickheads in the outhouse kept the puddle topped-up at all times. It was impossible for him to know how long he spent in his dormant form. Days? Weeks? Years? All he could do was reflect - reflect on his harrowing experiences in the Demon War.

When the portal to the Hell Dimension ripped open in the skies over this world, Melphius was one of the first to cross that fiery barrier. A grunt in the invasion force, he and ten million of his kind fell upon the cities, like a shotgun blast of demonic rock salt to the face of the Earth. But Melphius the Burning One just happened to land in the ocean.

He was stronger then, and hotter, and he boiled away a thousand gallons of water instantly. But a thousand gallons was nothing to the Atlantic. It just kept pouring on as he sunk deeper and deeper.

What the gently caress is this type of poo poo? He remembered thinking at the time. He had never even heard of liquid water before. He'd been in snow, when he portaled in with Hell Army for the genocide of Heaven. Wasn't much of a war. Once the angels were out of the picture, the saved let themselves get slaughtered. He never spoke it out loud, but it disturbed Melphius how easy the whole operation had been, considering the propaganda he'd grown up with. And how final.

"Sorry," he had muttered, just after he set fire to a Pope. "There is no second Heaven."

When he was submerged that first time, he didn't get to stretch his legs until two centuries later, when the sea level had dropped by a few thousand feet. He cracked open his salty crust, rubbed his eyes, and looked up to see bombs flooding into the Hell portal from Earth. That flaming maw squealed and bucked, contracting before his very eyes. The humans had done it - they figured out how to beat Hell, where all others had failed. Using hydro-bomb technology, they sacrificed their precious water table to close the portal, breaking the siege and stranding all the demons who were still alive - including Mel.

A lot of demons never stopped fighting. But without reinforcements, they couldn't win the war. One by one, their souls were ripped back to Hell in the tell-tale fiery explosion that human scientists dubbed, "Coproportal Ditch." Kill a demon on Earth, and the mini-portal that serves as their heart inverts, sucking the demon's flesh back to Hell to be rebuilt and reconstituted for the next invasion force.

But Melphius had seen what the hydro-bombs did to his dimension. There wouldn't be much of a Hell to go back to, and they'd be lucky to launch another invasion before the heat death of the Sun. So he hid, mostly. Running through the caves under the crust of the Earth, for decades, fighting marmots and bathing himself in guano. Eventually, though, the bats flew away, and even the vicious marmots stopped coming for him.

"I got to get some loving grub and soon!" He had said at the time. His wails echoed throughout the lonely caves.

But the surface world was no picnic either. Melphius had to dig his way out through a mountain of sand that filled in the cave mouth. The Bomb Drought had ruined the world. If there was any water left, it was nowhere near Melphius. He wandered for weeks - and then he found the city. At the time it looked like an oasis. But then he got hooked on piss, and everything changed. Few dozen years after that, some dickhead fished him out of a mud puddle and smashed him open with a hammer.

"Hope you're sober, Mel. Demon council wants you. Gorgalon's place." It was Maggot Bob, his grafted-on hair hanging long and greasy around his paunchy insect face.

"Bob, you crusty old gently caress," said Melphius, pointedly dusting off his little knees. "How long has it been? Do you even remember why you hucked me into that pit all those years ago?"

"That was yesterday," he said, raising his voice. "Just go! Get out of here! Find out what happened to Gorgalon. If he took off with my leg deposit, I swear I'll just cry. Ah never mind, gently caress you!"

Bob slammed the door to the Wicked poo poo. Mel farted through it right before it shut, and departed without delay. He scrounged up a quick piss fix in the warrens and ambled off to inflict himself on a slightly more respectable part of the last city on Earth. Gorgalon was a doctor by trade, and was owed debts by most of the factions, even though he was a demon. Those mutant techno-cult freaks would kill him on sight, sure. But to most folks he was the Santy Claus of the Slums.

There was a crowd outside Gorgalon's hovel. Melphius tried to smash his empty piss-bottle, but it just bounced and rolled down the stairs. He weaved through the legs of the looky-loos, and found the demon council huddled just inside the doctor's parlor. They parted to greet Mel, tucking their arms into their robesleeves and nodding their heads somberly.

"What's up, gently caress-nuts?" He slurred, stinking of piss.

Torbolax and Rotten Ronny shared a look as if to say, We both knew he would show up like this. Pissed-up. Disrespectful. Completely nude. And on today of all days! Whatever. It's fine. We can bitch about it later, even though we both know we've said all there is to say a thousand times over. Whatever. Let's just move on. Rotten Ronny stepped forward.

"Gorgalon's dead, Melphius" she intoned. "And we need you to figure out who did it."

Melphius was silent for a time, processing this information. His jaw went slack as he stared into the middle distance, his feet moving automatically to stay under him as his shoulders leaned hard in all directions. Members of the demon council sighed. Finally, he said, "Gorgalon's dead?"

"Yes," Ronny said firmly.

"And what else?"

"And you're investigating it. Remember? Investigating? The crap you used to do before you started gargling piss at every opportunity?"

"No, I never did that," Melphius said, grinning at the big misunderstanding. "You all thought I did that. But I didn't do that. I just picked up poo poo you didn't notice before, but I did notice since it was down by me. Little poo poo, scraps of paper, old condoms, poo poo like that. I was just picking up poo poo that looked funny. You're the ones who thought it was evidence."

"Well, you're the best we've got," said Ronny skeptically. "Plus, you're already down there. We don't want to have to bend over."

Just then, an empty piss-bottle sailed into the parlor and smashed against the operating table. The scumlings outside were getting riled up to see so many demons in one place. Rotten Ronny gave Mel a stern look, then went outside with the rest of the demon council and started fighting people.

Meanwhile, the Burning One turned his eye to the crime scene. Apart from the broken glass, there was a puddle of blood underneath the operating table, a pile of mechanical salvage on a nearby counter, and a jet-black scorch mark on the back wall, near the door to the alley. It wouldn't be accurate to say that Melphius peed his pants at that point, but he did pee his legs and feet, and he dripped it on everything as he wandered around.

"None of this poo poo's interesting. I don't know what the gently caress they want me to do," he muttered, kicking at the wet trash piled in the corner. The truth was, Mel was sadder than anyone to hear about Gorgalon's death. The old demon doc had nearly helped Mel kick piss completely a few years back. A drop of hot lava slicked out of Melphius' tear duct as he warbled, "At least that silly fucker really tried."

The lava plopped on the floor and sizzled. Melphius liked to watch his teardrops cool, because they wound up looking like little poops made of sadness. But this one didn't do that - instead, it slipped through a crack in the floorboards. Incensed, the demon tested it with his stinky foot. The floorboard was loose!

"Give me back my sadness poop, you bitch-rear end floor." Melphius tore at the boards with his claws, revealing a hidden compartment. It was full of notes, mementoes, and gifts that Gorgalon had received over his many years of service. But Mel couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing. He looked down at the chunk of floorboard still in his claws and saw that the underside of it bore a bloody fingerprint!

"Some human fucker opened this thing up," Melphius mused. But then something else in the compartment caught his eye, peeking out from a burlap sack. It was the answer to all of his problems.

An hour later, Rotten Ronny found Melphius fast asleep in the alleyway, tucked into an old used diaper with a quarter-bottle of dark, finely-aged, amber-colored piss rolling around nearby.

"Melphius. Wake up! Did you find any clues?"

"No," he grunted, refusing to open his eyes. "Just piss."

"Are you sure you didn't find anything that might be a clue? What about this bottle?" She reached for it, and Melphius scrambled out of the diaper to snatch it up.

"You can have it, just let me finish it!" He wrapped his scaly lips around mouth and tipped it up. He tottered around unsteadily as he chugged the piss, since the bottle was as tall as he was. He finished, and collapsed on the ground. Rotten Ronny took the bottle, hocked a loogie at Mel, and went inside.

"I don't loving care," the Burning One said to nobody, softly farting. "Just leave me the gently caress alone."

Chernobyl Princess
Jul 31, 2009

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.

:siren:thunderdome winner:siren:

Free Magic
1966 words

The line for the blessing ceremony wrapped around two blocks before the doors of the Starlit Temple opened. Imelda had been waiting for several hours, her expression calm and patient, trying to hide how much she loathed everything to do with this place. She hated the Thaumaturgists who rationed magic like bread in a famine. She hated the nobles who were supposed to be in line with her, but who found ways to obtain their blessings in private. She hated the giant statue of the Triune Goddess of the night, holding aloft the full moon as her shield. She hated the people who bowed and scraped to the gilded imagery as if the symbol was the god itself.

The morning was gray and grisly, with thick, unwholesome fog that kept threatening to become rain and still managed to soak through Imelda’s cloak. A hooded figure approached her out of this awful half-rain, stopping uncomfortably close. Imelda’s hands drifted to her long, wavy-bladed knives that hung, silent and dead, from her belt.

“Aaah,” the person said. “You come to bring tithes to the temple. How noble of you, how pious!”

The accent was a heavy mockery of Kiver, pronouncing the hard “C” as “G” and hissing over the “th.” Imelda took her hands off of her knives, but the tension didn’t leave her shoulders.

“Soren, what do you think I’ll do to you if you gently caress this up for us?”

Deep in his hood, Soren shrugged. “Kill me in my sleep, probably,” he said in his normal voice.

“Bold of you to assume I’d wait for you to be asleep.” Imelda stepped to the side, giving him space in line. He fell in beside her, standing just a little too close, resting a hand on her shoulder with undue familiarity. It took every muscle in Imelda’s body to not shrug him away.

“Forgive my husband,” she said to the people in line behind them, who were understandably upset about Soren cutting in line. “He hasn’t woken up on time for anything in his life.”

Most of the people must have been married themselves, because they interpreted Imelda’s simmering rage as that of a wife embarrassed by her husband, and not that of a revolutionary whose feckless partner threatened to undo weeks of planning. Imelda turned back to Soren. Her cowl was not as deep as his, and condensation kept threatening to drip on her nose. “You’re not taking this seriously.”

“Just because I don’t think standing in the rain all morning is the best use of my time doesn’t mean I don’t take this seriously.” Soren eyed the shining, golden statues at the front of the temple. “It never ceases to amaze me that, however much you hate us, your people sure do love decorating your temples with our bodies.”

Imelda grimaced. “Idols,” she spat. “It’s disgusting. To reduce starlight to a mortal form…”

“A Kiver form, no less!”

Imelda continued as if he hadn’t spoken. “ gross heresy. And you know they’re not meant to be Kiver, you’re being obtuse on purpose.”

Soren sighed. “I forgot you were a zealot.”

“You shouldn’t joke about that here,” Imelda said, more quietly. “Being… what you are, I mean. There’s plenty of people behind us in this line who would knife you for it.”

Soren took his hand off her shoulder. Something clinked in his robes. His hood turned toward her, and the dim light still shone against Soren’s cheek, against the outrageous blue of his eyes. He stared at her for a long moment, then said brightly. “Thanks, Mel. How would I survive without you?”

Imelda turned away, grinding her teeth. It wasn’t her fault that the golden-skinned, mostly-immortal Kiver were considered a cursed race. They needed magic to survive, and the flow of magic only came through Thaumaturgist temples. It wasn’t her fault that Soren and his twin sister were living on the edges of society. But somehow every time she spoke with the man she felt guilty for the sins of countrymen, even as she worked to undo them.

Imelda closed her eyes and tried to refocus on the mission. A leader of the Free Magic movement had been captured and was being held in the cells below this church, awaiting an armed and armored prisoner transport to bring her to the High Temple in the capital. Soren and Imelda were meant to identify entrances and exits in the temple, both to plan a way out and to identify where church reinforcements might come from. Secondarily, they were meant to charge up the sappers sewn into Imelda’s robes: little devices that would soak up the ambient magics of the temple, ready to discharge them later.

It was a good plan. It just meant she had to trust new people, which was not part of her skill set.

Imelda glanced over at Soren walking up the temple steps. His hood fell back as he gazed at the Triune Goddess, and his face was fully visible for the first time. She was caught off guard, again, by how unnaturally handsome he was. His jaw was hard and angular, his nose aquiline, and his hair was a mane of copper. The only hint of softness was in his full, curving lips. He was so good-looking it became repellent. She was not so dazzled that she couldn’t see the tension in his jaw.

“Are you good?” She asked as they shuffled inside.

Soren just shrugged and tugged his hood back over his head. “Yeah. Let’s do this.”

They stepped forward into the ritual chamber and handed their tithes to the waiting acolytes. Before them was a brilliant, carved crystal altar that was lit from within by scintillating light, surrounded by priests. Imelda saw five doors, and could see movement behind four of them. She tapped a sigil carved into the hilt of a knife, expending the last fragment of its stored magic, and all the beautiful marble and paint seemed to peel away as the building revealed itself to her.

Soren looped his arm through hers and was guiding her through the steps of the ritual. They knelt before the glowing altar, and a priest chanted at them. None of that was important. There were two direct routes to the cells from here, down a long flight of stairs or down a magically powered elevator. There was a back door that led through the guardhouse and the barracks where the holy warriors slept. There was another door that led through a maze of kitchens and servants quarters and penitential cells. There were a half dozen tunnels dug through walls by rats and mice.

“Present your items to be blessed,” the priest said.

She held up her knives. “I ask the blessings of the Triune Goddess upon my weapons, that I may defend the world with her spirit.” She bit her lip and tried very hard not to look at Soren, who removed his cloak to reveal his naked chest.

Long ago someone had covered his golden flesh in spellwork, the spikes and whorls of the sigils seemed to accent his musculature. He shone like a statue, like a god in that weird, rainbow-colored light. The priests gasped in horror. Imelda’s ears went hot.

“Bless me,” Soren said to the light within the altar. “I present my body to you, queens of the night, defenders of the world. I ask your blessings that I may survive another day.”

The priests all looked at one another. One of them placed a hand over Imelda’s knives and murmured a short prayer, his eyes still on Soren. Another priest stepped forward, smiling an awkward half-smile.

“I’m sorry, this is the blessing of objects. We will be blessing Kiver another day. Come back then.”

Imelda frowned, placing her knives back in their hilts. Soren hadn’t moved. “What? No. This is my partner. My husband,” she corrected herself. “He needs this.”

The priest held out his hands, half beseeching, half shrugging. “I am very sorry. The ambient magic from this room should take the edge off of the thaumaturgic decay your kind experience, at least.”

“Please, we came all this way,” Imelda tried, but she was cut off by the priest who’d blessed her knives shouting in her face.

“Shut up and get out. You defile this holy place with your footprints. You offend the Triune Goddess with your very presence.”

.Imelda stood. This was annoying, but she had what she needed. Soren and Hulda could use the sappers to charge up their magics. She touched his arm, lightly. “Let’s go. We can come back.”

He didn’t budge. He was smiling in a way she knew meant trouble. “You know humans stole her from us, right?” Soren said in a light, conversational tone. “Starlight, Moonlight, and Twilight. The goddesses who defend us from what lurks behind the stars.”

“Heresy!” The shouty priest growled, which would be amusing to hear coming from an idolator, if only it were in a different setting. As it was, the priests were moving away and the guards were moving closer. Imelda grabbed Soren’s arm, but he shook her off.

“Those aren’t their real names,” he said. “You made their real names illegal. But night as my witness, I’ll never stoop to calling them ‘she’ again.”

Soren twisted, his whole body contorting to change the patterns of his tattoos. He spoke a word in Kiver, and a symbol on his ribcage glowed. He stood straight, clutching his left forearm with his right hand, and spoke again, this time lighting up a symbol on his neck.

Imelda didn’t see what happened next. Her companion was immediately swarmed with guards. The apologetic priest grabbed her and hauled her out of the scrum. She could hear Soren swearing in Kiver, hurling invective in a dying tongue, and she heard herself screaming, calling out for him, fighting the priest as he propelled her through a side door and out of the temple.

“Go!” The priest hissed. “Go! You won’t be able to help him if you get arrested too!” He slammed the door between them before Imelda could get back inside, and she heard the key turn in the lock.

She stared at the wall for a while, then turned and walked back to the small, damp, bedraggled tavern where the rest of the team was waiting.

“We’re hosed,” she said.

Hulda took the news that her brother had been arrested better than Imelda would have thought. Misha and Johan, too, were not reacting the way she’d expected. Johan actually looked excited.

“You think they’ll hold him overnight?” Johan asked.

“Oh, they will,” Hulda said. “He’ll make a mess until they don’t have a choice. You’re sure the jars will work?”

Misha nodded. “Positive. Once Johan hands off the alcohol, we’re good to go..”

They all looked at Imelda, as if expecting her to share in their absurd glee. She stared back with blank eyes until Johan winced.

“Sorry, Mel. This was the plan. We needed Soren on the inside. Did you get the schematics?”

“Why didn’t you tell me?! I was terrified!”

Johan put a hand on her back, soothing. “Mel, honey, I’m so sorry, you’re the best of the best when it comes to finding ways into a joint, but you can’t act worth poo poo.”

“Your surprise had to be genuine,” Misha said. “We needed you to get out and get back to us. Especially if they found out what he was carrying, we needed you to be able to deny everything. ” They opened a notebook with a technical diagram, the kind that you saw in alchemy shops. Imelda’s eyes widened. Her breath caught in her throat.

Soren hadn’t been there to scout. He’d been there to place a bomb.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.
Storyweaver (974 words)

"I desire the company of your sweetest liar, for though I am ugly, my heart is vain."

The monkey held a single gold coin in his hand, mottled in color with a square-shaped hole. Small though he was, his voice was deep. He wrapped himself in fabrics befitting his words.

The proprietor chewed at the stem of his pipe. His bald head and palms were covered with eyes. The monkey felt his gaze fall upon his empty scabbard.

"Need she be beautiful?"

"All women are."

The stairs to the upper floors overlooked the streets, cinnamon-scented, drowning in gossip. Beneath paper lanterns the mayflies gathered. If their money was good, they were welcomed as friends. Feckless yet fierce, they gorged themselves, filling the pitiless emptiness within. The monkey surveyed them, dismissive at the sight. He was led to a small room on the seventeenth floor.

The woman who awaited him was shadow given form, a comforting darkness in loose-fitting robes. She’d been brewing tea in a copper-green kettle. Elegant at a glance, she let slip a little chuckle.

“A gentleman? At this hour?” she asked with knowing mischief.

“At all hours,” he replied. He sat down cross-legged. Dismissing their attendant with a wave of his hand, he inhaled, exhaled. “Tell me a story.”

The kettle whistled, as if on command. Producing two tea cups, the shadow woman poured. “Are you familiar with the drowning of the sea?”

“I am not,” he responded. His teacup overflowed. An endless spout of water spilled out into the room, lapping against the walls as it filled the tiny chamber. The monkey recoiled, expecting to be burnt, but the water had cooled. Again the woman chuckled.

“In the time before names, a star fell from heaven. The world then was empty. It swallowed up the star. But that star was the daughter of the sky that looms above. Mourning for her child, the sky began to cry.”

The water continued to fill their compartment. The shadow was at ease, but the monkey was drowning. “Breathe,” she reminded him, “It’s only a story.” The monkey, blinking, found that he could.

“Her tears quickly filled the vessel of the earth, and her thought-lost daughter slowly floated to the surface. Broken by the fall, she’d shattered to pieces. The light of that star gently danced upon the waves.”

The water had filled the room to the brim. Her patron sat dutifully, now wide-eyed with wonder. Light filtered down to their depth from on high, a self-contained sea hedged in by four corners.

“All things wane with time, grief among them. The sky entrusted her memory to the waves.”

Extending her hand, she held tight the water. Gripped like a curtain, she gave it a tug. In an instant the room was returned to normal. The shadow crossed her arms in silent satisfaction.

The monkey bowed his head, sullen-eyed, fur bristling. “You exceed my expectations. I offer you employment.”

“You could offer me a name,” she replied, her hand to her chin.

“I am called Anuman. And you?”


Anuman rose to his feet. At his side was a scabbard, though it held no sword. Tipping it forward he revealed a folded paper: a hand-drawn map of the local auction house.

“Are you familiar with this den of greed? It is run by a calculating fellow named Preem.”

“I know them.” Temny nodded. “What’s poison with Preem?”

“The swindler has robbed me of my birthright.” Anuman stood. He thrust forth the scabbard. “My father’s own sword. I wish its return, and Preem’s humiliation, for which I require the service of your stories.”

Temny reclined. In one hand she held the lid of the kettle. She lifted it, returned it, each gesture an echo. “Hmph,” she seemed to smirk, “If the pay’s good, I’m in.”

The market streets curved through the city like a centipede, squirming, chittering, bustling with life. A corner stall boasted the skulls of former scholars, while tattooed performers tempted passersby toward their dens. Anuman strode forth, firm and imperious. Temny shadowed his dutiful steps. Shorn of her robes, she lay flat against the earth.

The auction house loomed above the golden streets, supported by pillars dyed deepest dark crimson. Already the crowds were filtering in. Anuman ducked into a nearby alley.

“Tell me, Temny,” he spoke to his shadow, “How shall I enter?” He did not speak as one unable to proceed; rather, he seemed to be prompting her in turn.

“Through the front door, of course, as an honored guest. No one so handsome could ever be refused.” As she spoke the words, he felt himself shift. His arms and legs stretched, on his furred face a beard. His stern features leant clear weight to his presence. Resolute, he emerged and entered with the crowd. The jackal-headed guards bowed at his arrival.

The main auditorium was filled to the brim, each of Preem’s guests donning jeweled, ivory masks. “Like the wind,” Temny bade her partner move as though unseen. Having scurried up a ladder, he gazed down from the rafters. There, on a velvet pillow, lay his sword, the first to be sacrificed to tonight’s highest bidder. Anuman balanced precariously above, judging the best angle to swoop down below.

“You shall need a distraction, I should think,” wagered Temny.

“As he has burned me, let his own works be burned!”

In the darkness behind him, Temny chuckled. “Then a great sea of fire shall swallow the room. Those within who surrendered to pleasure must burn alive weighed down by the treasure they carry.” Temny spoke it, and it was so. The illusion of fire wreathed the room. The sounds of laugher quickly turned to screams, as the patrons rushed to flee from the frames.

Anuman leapt down onto the stage. Snatching up his word, he disappeared in the smoke.

May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee

Good morning! I'm awake which means Submissions are closed!

May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee

Judgement - Week #540

A very interesting week, and one that I am personally quite happy with the offerings. Albatrossy_Rodent and I had very different opinions of which pieces we liked and disliked, which will hopefully be clear when we post our crits. The gap between best and worst was so small, and disagreement between which one we'd consider best and worst was so large, that it doesn't really fair to declare someone a loser. (Boo! Boo! Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes!) We agreed on our third place story, but giving the loser title to someone standing on the podium feels like some bullshit to me, so I won't.

We did agree on something though! Congratulations to our winner: Chernobyl Princess - Free Magic

Chernobyl Princess
Jul 31, 2009

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.

:siren:thunderdome winner:siren:

Week 541: Before They Were Heroes

In case it were not abundantly clear, I play a lot of tabletop RPGs. I am the person who shows up to session 0 with five pages of backstory and my own fleet of named NPCs. And because I am a deeply lazy gamemaster I really enjoy it when my players do the same.

This week I want you all to write me the backstory of a hero. Not the adventure that made them famous or brought them glory, but the tale of the life they left behind. Tell me about the halfling before she went to wizard college. I want to know about the netrunner before his first splice. What was the pararomantic doing before they joined their team of paranormal investigators?

If you would like a flash, let me know and I will provide you with a randomly drawn card from this extremely cool collaborative storytelling game I got at PAX this year, such as this one:

You have 1500 words. No erotica, political screeds, fanfic, or google docs
Sign ups close Sunday, 7ish am EST (whenever I wake up)
Submissions close Monday, 7ish am EST (whenever I wake up)

Judges: Chernobyl Princess


Chernobyl Princess fucked around with this message at 21:04 on Dec 12, 2022

Aug 22, 2022

Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

said I'm never lackin'
always pistol packin'
with them automatics
we gon' send 'em to Heaven
In :toxx:

The man called M
Dec 25, 2009


In. I’ll take a card.

Oct 6, 2021

Obliteratin' everything,
incineratin' and renegade 'em
I'm here to make anybody who
want it with the pen afraid
But don't nobody want it but
they're gonna get it anyway!

Magic intrigue crits

The biggest issue with the stories this week was coherence, imo. That's understandable. When you have both fantasy world building and intrigue plot mechanics to set up, there's a lot that can be missed.

My favorite story was the one I could tell what was happening the most, my least favorite was the one that left me loster than a four-year old in a supermarket.

Ranked from my personal favorite to least favorite:

Gold Medal: Something Else

My favorite bit here is that hell invaded heaven and won easily. That rocks. The worldbuilding here is excellent, and I wouldn't mind a whole novel set in this post-apocalyptic universe. I also liked the fart jokes.

A couple of criticisms: we learn about the demon doctor's death far too late in the story, when there's no time to set up a proper murder mystery. I also wish there were more human characters; I would like to see some stuff about post-apolalyptic human/stranded demon relations, a kind of tentative, resentful peace sounds really interesting imo.

Silver Medal: Chernobyl Princess

So this just sort of ends, doesn't it? I understand that you can't fit it the whole whole story, but this doesn't feel like the right slice. As is, it feels like it ends mid-paragraph. I don't feel like I have enough information: is the bomb a spell, or an item? Is there any chance it will kill the hostage they're here to save? I think the story should have started later, so we could have a more satisfying conclusion.

Also, watch your formatting. The double lines between paragraphs made me think there were supposed to be scene breaks.

Overall I like the story, and think its flaws are missed potential.

Bronze Medal: Bad Seafood

If you're going to describe a woman as "shadow given form," I'm gonna need to know how literal you're being. Your protagonist is a monkey and the only other character we've met has more strangely places eyes than a Zelda boss. So what? Is she an actual shadow person or just really dark skinned? If she's a shadow person, who summoned her, and why, or is shadow person just a kind of person in this universe? The worldbuilding is undercooked generally. For example, why, thematically, is our protag a monkey? What kind of fantasy universe is this? It just seems like every character is some kind of random creature. Maybe it's Egypt-themed, I guess, but if it is, make sure it makes sense that it is that way, please.

Participation trophy, which is actually better because it's a trophy, not a medal: Thranguy

Man, I didn't really feel like I had a good sense of what was going on here. Or, at least, I didn't know why what was happening was happening. I didn't get a good sense of who these characters were, how they got themselves in this situation, the sort of fantasy universe this is, etc. I think the biggest issue is Taaschi Stationing–that is, worldbuilding by offhand references to something not relevant to the current predicament. This can be great in small doses, but in this story, you did this so often that I couldn't get a handle on what info was or wasn't necessary.

Chernobyl Princess
Jul 31, 2009

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.

:siren:thunderdome winner:siren:

The man called M posted:

In. I’ll take a card.

May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee

The Burning One by Something Else - B
This story was the most divisive between AR and I, and I ranked it lowest for the week despite mostly enjoying the story. I love your pissy little demon protagonist, his loathsome nature, and the disgusting world he calls home. There is an element of patheticness to the pulp detective that is so vital to making them work as a protagonist that you capture. Melphius fits in wonderfully with Harry Du Bois, Meyer Landsman, and Harvey Keitel’s Lieutenant, as a mean drunk and a bastard hiding what remains of his heart and soul. I genuinely mean it when I say that I want more of Mel.
Unfortunately, you let the piss drunk joke go on a little bit too long, to the detriment of the story. Towards the end it was feeling repetitive, like a setup that had gone on too long and was getting in the way of the next beat. The language being used also contributed to this - I think you need to be more inventive in how you described it, and the swearing and piss jokes started to feel stale. There was a sense of ‘yeah, we get it, now what?’ Either watching Mel get and be drunk needed to be more innately rewarding, or the story needed to move on from it.
I didn’t like the ending, nor the fake out. In terms of personal taste and accommodating the prompt, swerving away from the mystery and refusing to engage with it is a little disappointing and unfulfilling. I really did want to know more about the dead doctor, the bloody thumbprint, and the missing memento. Setting up a mystery like that two thirds of the way through, just to ignore it, doesn’t match what I was looking for or expecting.
I think you could go that route still, but there needed to be more connective tissue between the ending and the rest of the story. The little hints of Mel’s relationship with Gorgalon could have worked for that purpose if they had been expanded - Gorgalon’s death being the final straw that truly breaks Mel, perhaps. But my advice would be to focus more on building a through line between the cosmology you’ve created and Mel’s rejection of the call, either through Mel’s wartime experience or the temporary nature of demon death. I needed something to make Mel getting drunk and telling everyone to leave him alone feel like a closing note or a fair demand towards the reader, to justify the journey we took to get there.
As a tale of fantasy, I very much enjoy your world of loathsome and irreverent demons. The rapid switch between names like “Torbolax” and “Rotten Ronny” for the archdemons of the high council is very amusing to me, along with Melbius the Burning One being a miserable imp and Maggot Bob the put-upon publican. The poo poo, piss, swears, and fart jokes got a little thin, and I would have focused more energy on describing and bringing to life the unpleasant characters instead. Your description of Maggot Bob in particular created a vivid image and a well-rounded character in my mind, despite him being a giant maggot with greasy hair and human arms grafted onto him. A bit more of that for Torbolax or the city itself would be great.

Storyweaver by Bad Seafood - B+
I don’t think you’d be surprised to hear that I really enjoyed the first half of this story, but felt a little meh in the second half. I really enjoyed the setup with Anuman and Temny, particularly the story of the drowning of the sea. Introducing Temny’s magical abilities and the extent of her capabilities with a vivid and engrossing story was great. This is the start of a truly great story.
My main critiques of the first half would focus on the lack of grounding and reinforcement of the fantastic elements to the story. There were a lot of details that were quickly and obliquely mentioned that I didn’t catch until a second, closer reading - the proprietor’s multiple eyes was something I missed completely, for example, and could have helped set me in the correct mindset for the story. In particular from my first reading, I didn’t pick up on Anuman’s noble bearing and clothing, nor on the fact that Temny was literally made of shadows. A second, well-placed sentence highlighting each of those elements would have done wonders, I think.
The second half of the story is fine and serviceable, and really isn’t bad. But it does feel like it’s underutilizing the setup that you built. The key element I think you’re missing is a characterization and personality from your protagonists - there’s a lot of doing, but I don’t get a lot of feeling from Anuman and Temny. I think developing and deepening their new relationship during the action of the heist would also be good. The other missed opportunity is with Preem, the unseen antagonist. Revealing more of the relationship between Anuman and Preem would be great, and helped give stakes to the action. Another opportunity would be putting Preem’s personality on display, either directly as an onscreen antagonist or indirectly through the description of the inside of the auction house. How luxurious are the pillows, how professional are the guards?
My final complaint about the story (and it’s a small one) was the lack of intrigue. Nobody is really lying to each other, or withholding information, or trying to figure something out. It’s all out in the metaphorical open. A bit more of impersonation and bluffing would have helped meet the prompt.

Motes by Thranguy - A
The second most divisive story between AR and I, one that I initially enjoyed and ranked highly. However, after repeated in-depth readings, I've come down on it a little. At first I got a strong Planescape/Starjammer vibe from the story, but on second glance I realized that the oblique references don't inherently build towards that idea. It just happened to feel that way to me - it could just as easily read as half dozen other high fantasy setting. I still enjoy the story a lot, but I think it would be stronger with a more focused idea of the setting.
The main issue I have with the characters is that Ibra and Narm are blank slates, with only glancing references to their inner depth. An implied motive and backstory can work, but this takes it to a direction that is a little too extreme. We don’t get a sense of why these characters are in the Citadel, what they want or who they serve, whether they are spies, thieves, or assassins. We don't describe much about the characters, the hints at their personality are narrow and vague, and while we get a general sense of their relationship, it’s very lacking. A bit more meat on the bones, either in who they are or what motivates them, would fill out this story a lot.
I have two smaller issues as well. First, even with the lampshade, the mid-fight exposition feels clunky and I think you could have done it better. There’s a lot of words spent on conveying the idea that gemstone dustmen are dangerous, and expanding on it just draws attention to the fact that Narm has an inconsistent understanding of them. Why does Narm know that dustmen can ‘peel brains’ and are dangerous, but doesn’t know why? I like the lines "Do you always prefer to be educated in the middle of a fight?" “Only way I ever learn" but I don’t think it justifies the section.
The second issue is the shift to close third after the Sapphire appears. The story so far has been told in third-person objective with emotions conveyed through scowls and gestures, so the short hop inside Narm’s thoughts feels weird. It also felt weird for Narm to know that he needed to burn Ibra’s bag or that Sahil’s vow would protect his partner, but both aspects are set up enough that I’m fine with it. A firmer decision on who should be the main protagonist, Ibra or Narm, would make the story flow better, but this is a pretty small complaint.

Free magic by Chernobyl Princess - A+
Of all the stories this week, this one most closely captured the prompt. Obviously I wasn't expecting everyone to write stories about spies and revolutionaries, but I'm glad you did. The central driving conflict of this society is conveyed wonderfully by the phrase "the Thaumaturgists rationed magic like bread in a famine."
I enjoyed the complicated, ambiguous relationship between Imelda and Soren. I'm a sucker for romantic tension, especially when the author lets it reside in the subtext instead of telling us outright. The offhand notice of Soren's form (and her reaction to his arrest) certainly did the trick, although the familiar way they talked towards each other was a bit at odds with the idea that Imelda was working with strangers and new comrades.
The ending is fine, but I think you could make it a little bit stronger. There's a few hints towards the twist that I appreciated on a second reading, but I think you could have leaned into it more. The rapid fire introduction of three new characters in the final moment didn't feel great and contributed to the abrupt feeling. I think you could have merged Misha and Johan characters, at least, and perhaps merged all three into just Hulda - she was introduced earlier in the story. Finally, I think the ending could have used more resolution. A glimpse at Imelda's feelings at the true plan or her realization about what it meant would have helped give the story closure.

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe
Crits for the rodent m brawl

I'll make these relatively short, for decent reason.

Rodent, standing alone, with no context, your story was awful. Given the context, it was sublime. I enjoyed it; it was the most successful sort of parody in that it matched what it was parodying and elevated it. In this case, the story had all of the typical problematic elements of the subject in question, but also contained elements that improved upon the subject. It worked, I laughed a lot reading it, and I know others did as well.

M, your story had so many of its usual issues. I'm not going to bother outlining all of them because I, and many others, have outlined them before. The greatest hits were present: unnecessary meta-nonsense, unnecessary exclamations, random mountain dew inclusion, reducing women to singular violent retaliations.

What you did do effectively was have a character solve a problem. Was it done especially well? No. your character does have some flaws and things to work on. And that's nice. They're not even fully disdainful, also good. But we don't see much of the actual growth. I gave you a lot more words to work with and given as this was submitted somewhat last minute with over a thousand words to spare, there's a lot left to be desired.

As I mentioned in my judgment post I felt dirty doling out the result I did but terms are terms.

Sep 21, 2017

Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse

In, flash

Chernobyl Princess
Jul 31, 2009

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.

:siren:thunderdome winner:siren:

Yoruichi posted:

In, flash

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

in :toxx:


Dec 30, 2011

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

In, and flash please

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