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Debbie Metallica
Jun 7, 2001



SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Also, we need another silly prompt. These last few weeks have been too loving morbid by half.

I won't go morbid, then. I probably should have.

Quartz Palace (962 words)


The Haunted Hotel story is a sad little cliché, you know it and I know it, but it still pays dividends. My niece and her boyfriend drove all the way up to Estes Park last year just to see the Stanley Hotel and take their ghost tour. At the beginning of the whole charade, the tourguide lets everyone know that, if someone takes any 'unusual' photographs, they should be sure to send them back to the hotel. Imagine the luckless soul sorting through all those e-mails with giant, grainy photo attachments full of lens flares and blurred movements.

People like that, and plenty rely on it when they're here. All that Deadwood has going for it is tourism bucks so everybody here’s especially wild for it. By day, little old ladies park themselves in front of the slots with cups of and families bake in the sun to watch re-enactments of the shooting of Wild Bill Hickock. By night, all the saloon-slut-loving cowboy ghosts are supposed to leap right out of the hills and into your hotel room.

The Bullock Hotel got itself on “Unsolved Mysteries” for it once. Every hotel here is haunted except mine. Not mine-mine though, I’m just front desk manager. You’d think someone on the staff would start a rumor here or there just to liven it up but no one had bothered until I started up on the Paydays.

It’s a problem that came up a couple of years ago. I went to one of those membership warehouse places where you buy everything in bulk and there were boxes of ‘em. I loved them when I was a kid and thought I’d eat one here and there. Except I snarfed the box in a day at work. What to do with the shame over that? Or, more importantly, the wrappers. Do you think there will be any question as to who ate all the candy bars when a maid opens the dumpster in back and finds an avalanche of wrappers? Surely no one will suspect the 300lb manager who takes the elevator from the lobby up to the first floor. I don’t look like it now, but I used to be gigantic.

I hid the wrappers all over. You’re thinking that the smart response would just be to burn them or stuff them in my pockets to bring home, I’m sure, but I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone. A wrapper in the till up front, a wrapper behind the bar, in that terrible basement closet with all the cleaning supplies.
Find one in the elevator shaft or a potted plant and you start to wonder if maybe something funny is happening. Maybe they figured it was me all along anyway and played along but either way, they started talking about the Payday ghost and asking me if I’d seen the wrappers, too.

It caught on so much that they all had to have been planting them sometimes. I went on a diet and swore them off but kept smuggling in bars so I could start putting uneaten ones around, too. I’d set an uneaten one in the rafters of the breakroom and a couple hours later, there’d be a wrapper by the minifridge instead of a whole one. Sometimes they’d just disappear outright like someone just got hungry.

A Kevin Costner joke is especially bad here since his awful restaurant’s just up the street but it’s his movie that best explains the rest. It’s a “if you build it, he will come” sort of deal. If you say “Bloody Mary” at the mirror often enough something might come out just to keep up appearances. Guests started coming down in the morning to say that someone was flicking the lights on and off all night or yanking the sheets off their bed. Someone said they felt like there was a guy behind them breathing down their neck but when they turned around, there was nothing but the stink of peanuts.

It’s not "Unsolved Mysteries" worthy, definitely not enough to make it onto the official Deadwood Walking Ghost Tour, but enough to at least get a little bit of buzz going.

The lobby of the Quartz Palace has one of those pressed tin ceilings a lot of buildings have. Those are supposed to be worth a lot. Sometimes the screws holding in the plates come loose. We have a guy to fix that sort of thing but once I lost a bit of weight I’d start going up myself with the big ladder. It’d drive me crazy to see the loose tile otherwise.

I see one end of a plate sagging down one day so I get the ladder out of the closet and climb up. I’m holding it in place with one hand while I screw it in with the other when I hear a plastic-y sort of crunch. I push the plate a bit and hear it again, but I notice it feels almost hollow when I’m pushing it. Like there might be something up there. The plates are just flush on the ceiling, so that doesn’t make sense. I take out the second and third screw and that’s when the plate yanks itself out of the wall.

And out tumble the candy bars. I counted later on: there were 58 all shoved up through a hole in the ceiling and into some little bolthole. Some were old, too, you could tell by the dates on them. Stashed up there for as long as I’d been playing this trick with the uneaten bars. As if that’s not bad enough, while I was holding the plate before putting it back up I saw what was written in the dust on the back: Thanks.

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Sleekly
Aug 21, 2008





A Prisoner Swap
1000 words.

"You are to facilitate a prisoner exchange."

Phew. Being called in here was rarely good. Just a job.

"Sir."

"You will be transported to the Gaza Strip where you will meet this man."

He handed me a file.

"Sir."

Something in his stance suggested he was waiting for a reaction so, opening the file I glanced at the photo clipped to a wad of papers. gently caress.
I slowly looked up and he merely nodded. Down again. It was him. gently caress, it was him and we knew where he was. Worse, I was meeting him. In the Gaza Strip.

"0700. Two days. This address."

I looked into the Colonels eyes for a long moment.

"Yeah," he said, "I know. It's him. He's the only one who can help you move this prisoner. And I'm not cleared to know who that is. You, apparently, are. Gaza. 0700"

"Sir."

And there I went.

And here I was.

During the flight I had read what the State Dept. called their 'hard words', a mental condom they said. They left my mind reeling and fuzzy. Everything I saw and felt I still got in the usual detail but it felt clearer and somehow quieter. My eyes felt buggy whenever I tried to remember the words I saw. I fell into the hotel bed and slept.

***

I was at the address. A nice little café. Tea in front of me. And then, just like a normal everyday person, all of a sudden he enters and sees me. He smiles and sits down. Just like he isn't who he is. I look but don't see any bodyguards, curious glances, nothing. We were just two guys, sitting in a café and that thought, even now, scares the poo poo out of me.

"Relax," He says, "it's OK."

I look at him looking at me, and you know what? He was just a guy. Yeah he is who he is but he was still just a guy.

"You're the one they chose for the transfer. I see you've read the Words. They make you safer than they may have let on my friend. You really can relax."

He was right. I could. What was this after all? Just a job. We take some guy in a truck across some border. We sign some papers. We bring some other guy back. We sign more papers. And I'm out. That stuff about the words? Or 'Words' as he seemed to say though? Weird but whatever. Some people are flowery, especially powerful people. Still, those Words I read did seem strange. But then again flying through a billion time-zones at a minutes notice can make reading anything a little strange.

"OK," he said, "So, you meet me at the back of this place tonight. At 1:30. There is an alley, have a look on your way out."

I nodded.

"1:30. A van will arrive, seemingly a meat van, yes?"

"Yep."

"The door will slide open and someone in a red cap with a picture of shawarma on his shirt will lean out and say to you 'ptu#@#%# side?'"

"Sorry. He says what?"

The man laughed.

"Good! Good! They gave you the good Words. The man in the cap says 'pictures on the inside?' and you say 'ingrained'. Understand?"

"Pictures on the inside. Ingrained."

"Yes."

And that was that. It was over. He nodded, flipped some coins on the table, smiled and strolled out. Again, just exactly like he wasn't who he was. There was over 17 hours until the meet. I went to the hotel while a little part of me was quietly wondering why I didn't find this assignment loving weird.

***

The truck showed up as promised.

"Pictures on the inside."

"Ingrained."

The door slid wider to reveal a skinny looking guy in handcuffs sitting easily on some padded boxes. The prisoner. Shawarma shirt moved to the side and I stepped into the van.

"Hello again my friend!"

Hearing that voice had an oddly reassuring effect on me. I didn't realise I was particularly anxious until I heard it. Alert, yes. On guard, yes. But not in actual fear. All the same, I felt fear recede when he spoke and I looked at the prisoner again. He was asleep. I looked back to him.

"Yes," he said. "He is asleep. Not in any natural way, but as good as we can do. We have come to an arrangement with the others and we are swapping this one for his counterpart."

He looked at me patiently.

"Counterpart?" I asked, but already it was dawning on me. Being close to one, you feel it.

"Yes. They are tired of theirs. It serves them poorly. We have a better use for it. They too, can use ours. Ours is tired. Its honour is wearied. Perhaps we will both benefit from...a prisoner swap. After all, they are twins, of a sort"

It made sense at the time. It did. One archetype for another. It doesn't now. Perfectly sensible.

After a long drive we met some similar looking men in the desert. The robed people swapped our prisoner with the ones wearing the skullcaps.
Another long drive and we were back in Gaza.

***

"A success!" He was radiant.

I offered my hand and he took it, shaking jovially.

"They chose well my friend, well indeed," he says.

I didn't know what to say. On the same quiet level that bugged my eyes out, that place where things were quiet and clear, I could understand the last day or so. Like flowers understand the sun. On any other level it was notable only for who was involved in it. But something happened here. A restoration? It's big but somehow quiet. Those twins...

He smiled again at me.

"Take this," an envelope is put in my pocket, "they didn't show you all the Words. Give them the prisoner papers. And then, read the Words at home. Salaam, my friend. See you soon!"

I went home.

Baudolino
Apr 1, 2010

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I know i am over the deadline and disqualifed. But in the spirit of the thread i am reposting my story. If have cut it a little bit at the ending to fit the word limit. Hopefully the formatting looks more pleasing this time around. If it does not, well what can i say, this is the best i could do. ( The original formatting was actually intentional, to my mind it looked alrigth).

Renegotiation

(996)

Nevada,2055.

The research and production facility of AetherLogistics stretched out for miles almost the entire death valley. Located in one of the world’s most hostile environments it was the only known location where a stabile portal to hell could be supported. From there flowed the precious Aether that had made AL the most successful and powerful firm in the world. It was in everything from Sodas to skin cream ,tires, condom, clonebeef,fuel and much more. Aether in short was the impossible material that made all things possible.

The facility ran deep beneath the arid ground. At the very heart of the facility and the AetherLogistics empire was the flame room where the hell portal was located. A man and a women were talking the central control overlooking the flame room. Pierre Legarde the facility director was telling the new Security assistant Jenny Edgecliff a tall woman dressed in red-brown combat fatigues about how the Aether was produced.

This is where the magic happens facility director Pierre Duroche said to Jenny Egdecliff, his voice dripping with glee. She knew she should have read up on the science behind Aether , but when you offer 200.000 in global credits a year with full benefits no sane ex-soldier like herself could refuse. Even if did mean working in hell.

Pierre pointed eagerly to the windows to the left and right “Those large pipelike organs are our clonehatchers, from embryo to fully grown in just nine days! You can see the conveyor belt at the bottom . Those are for carrying our biweekly tribute to the flame room over here. As you can see we have just finished preparing this week’s offering.

He stepped forward to front panel and continued.” Any minute now the flame-door will open and the demons will take their tribute. It will be your job to go beyond the flame when that happens and find out what’s going on, why are’t` our off-world staff responding and why has there been such a drop in production”. Indeed as the director had said the bare metal room the size of basketball court in front of them was filled with little automated baby carries each carrying a freshly made clone. At the other side they could see a large blue flame flickering sometimes growing, sometimes fading but always there.

“What do they do with them” she asked, “Some say they eat their souls, all I know is that whatever they do it’ll cook your brain in seconds. We chuck the remains right back into the hatchers to recycle as many nutrients as possible” Pierre answered. Stopping only to hand Jenny her service pistol he continued “As soon the other side starts feeding you need to be ready, when they stop you have about 20 seconds to jump through the flame. Now when you get there remember…”
The flame suddenly widened considerably, a mirror like surface appeared and out from it poured red lightning which seemed to take the forms rabid dogs. A sound like nails scratching on a blackboard filled the air. Now! The director screamed, “run like hell!”

Jenny felt like a thousand hungry mouths bit at every inch of her body as the jumped through the flame. When her vision cleared a second later she saw before her a large red-brown plane stretching beyond the horizon littered with heaps of large armor-clad bodies. To the east and the west dark mountains pierced the deep red sky. From the great flame she followed the asphalt road the company had made long ago going towards the eastern mountain range. Normally automated tankers would be coming and going all the time but now it was dead silent. After a few miles she saw a burnt out vehicle, a small pool of yellowish liquid had gathered around it . Jenny recognized it as raw aether-juice completely unfit for consumption.

Suddenly to the left of her a large platoon of hooved, horned and heavily armored creatures appeared marching up from the plain. In there were 50 of them all carrying a long pike and a shield , they were unmistakably demons. Jenny called out to them” Are you with Chief Moloch”. No one answered and the flock of warriors started to run towards her. Jenny did not shoot, partly because they were far too many and partly because the company had made it clear how it disliked “Violent episodes”.

Just ten feet from her they stopped. A short white man bedecked in white colonial era gear stepped out from behind them. He would not have looked out of place standing alongside Dr Livington . The man gave a salute and said with an eager voice“ Hello mein Schone, my name is Gunther”.Jenny felt more than a little perplexed but managed to stay focused “You are a man” she asked, “I once was ” Gunther replied and stretched out a hoofed foot. “ But right now I am the new minister of Human affairs. And it is my duty to inform you that although the traitor Moloch has finally met his end” at this he pointed to the corpse laden field behind him “the revolutionary council bears no grudge towards AetherLogistics, despite the fact that several of your employees were found abetting Moloch in his struggle”.

Gunther clapped his hands and said “But there will a renegotiation of the deal Moloch made. No longer will our natural resources be traded away for a pittance just so a Babysoul-Junkie can get his fix . We demand proper payment in the form of education, technology and most importantly guns. Tell your superiors this and then maybe we will be able to craft a better future together”. Jenny could scarcely refuse when Gunther ordered one his warriors to piggy back her to the flame-door. As Gunther yelled out ”And make it Schnell you verdammte Arschlocher “ and the muscle-bound creature started to run she wondered to herself what the future would bring.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







An Indecent Swindler
1000 words

"Unwieldy little bastard," I muttered. "Gods-damned son-of-a-round-eared-ape." The baby in my satchel writhed against my back and whimpered in guttural human tones. I raised my head, sniffed the air. Big folk smells. Their machines. Their iron. I hissed between bared teeth. But then...there. The smell of unearthly flowers and the honey-and-wine scent of magic.

I swung the sack around and clutched it to my chest. "Hush, hush little one, we've come to take you away. Hush, hush little one, until 'yond the gates of Fae," I said in a sing-song voice. The man-child went still like a frightened animal.

I was crouched between two rubbish bins behind one of the garish, angular huts that humans used to lock away their children. Beyond lay a wide, rough path, with parallel divots gouged into it where the heavy-wheeled machines plodded every day. Beyond the path lay a patch of forest, young at the edges but old and dark at its heart.

And within and below, the path to Fae.

I waited 'til all was quiet but the idiot babbling of the breeze and then darted across the stony path and through the bushes. The edge of the wood remembered naught but the world of man, but the trees were bigger further into the forest, and the brush gave way to soft, open spaces.

The air was thick with the hush of moss, sounds muted in the way of sacred groves of old. Soon the quiet was so complete that I found myself tip-toeing over the earthen carpet, afraid my footsteps would break the charm of my song over the manling.

So meticulous was I that I failed to notice the human reclining on a bear-sized boulder, his back to an aged and leaning pine tree, until I was nearly at his feet. He regarded me with sagging, red eyes.

"Erm," I said. He squinted.

"Wots in the bag?" He asked. "Are you some kinda elf?"

"Nothing, and no, most certainly not," I snapped in the language of men, and made to summon a glamour. But the casting wouldn't come. Something glimmered at the edge of my ken, like a trinket half buried in a creek bed. Value. The lout had something of great value. I licked my lips.

He slid off the rock and glowered down at me, nearly twice my height. "That is," I said. "There's nothing in my bag for those who've got nothin' to trade."

"Crack yer head like a...Ants pouring and pouring...I could, I swear I could." He swayed on his feet like a mead-drunk troll, but I couldn't smell a whiff of the drink on him.

"Wots in the bag?" He said again. I clutched my sack close, like a djinn bottle or enchanted what-have-you.

"Something, ah, worth exactly what ye've got in your pocket." I could see it there, a small gossamer lattice of light surrounding his right hip. Protective of it, he was.

"What the gently caress you know 'bout wot's in my pocket," he slurred. "Tiny man."

"I'm no elf and I'm no man neither. I traded a fistful of magic beans for this treasure, and nearly got m'hiney skinned off in the doing." Which was nearly true. The babe had been sitting outside in one of those little wheeled contraptions, and his mother, the dumb sow, had gone inside for a tick. That was all I needed, and save for the little rat-dog nipping at my heels, it were a clean get away.

"Lad," I said, and willed an impish twinkle into my eye. "T'aint often a man gets a grab at Faerie treasure, is it?"

He stared down at me for a few more seconds, his look glazed and not just a little unsettling. Then he shrugged. "Alright then. Normally its four fer ten, Benzos and Morphine, but we'll call it even." He stuffed a grubby hand into his right pocket and revealed his own bag, a curious, clear thing full of smaller clear bags. Each of them had inside one or two smallish things, like little rounded teeth.

"No additives," he was saying. "So y'can eat em or bump em. Now lets have that magic sack of yours, yeah?" He tossed the benzos and morphines at my feet.

"Just one secret about t'bag, lad," I said as I hefted the babe up to him. "The magic is--it's that what's inside becomes exactly what your heart desires." As soon as his fingers closed around the sack I was off, scampering with treasures in hand deeper into the wood. I cast a sneak glamour just as I heard him bellow in surprise behind me, but he didn't follow. Still, I ran.

When I'd gone as far as my ancient knees could take me, I stopped for a sit and to inspect my acquisition. Eat em or bump em, he'd said. Well, I didn't know about no bumping, but eating seemed straight forward enough, and my stomach was nagging. Still, they were small things, so I tore into the whole lot and chewed up a dusty mouthful. I almost spat it out, so foul it was, but then I remembered m'granny's herb magic, which worked through the gut. So I clamped m'mouth shut and waited.

--

"You're under arrest," said the boot on my head. I tried to peel my face off of rough stone, but found myself quite immobile. My hands were bound behind my back, and something told me I was naked as daylight.

"Yer t'one bein' publicly indecent, you ape," I muttered to his accusations. Beyond the boot, the world roared with the rumbling of the heavy wheeled machines. Deafening thousands of them. A panic took me and I writhed like a fish, screaming. The loud, horrible world of Above, oh, how it pressed.

Hands took the boots place, and I was hurled bodily into one of the machines, into its very belly, and felt for all the world like a babe lost in a world of monsters.

MadRhetoric
Feb 18, 2011

I POSSESS QUESTIONABLE TASTE IN TOUHOU GAMES


Martello posted:

Ah, a PYF TV Tropes shitposter here to play. I'll be watching you closely. :frogon:

Everybody in that thread who wasn't discussing literature or contributing to Anime is the Tie that Binds Us was shitposting, bro. There's a reason the threads got gassed four times over :ironicat:

But you're not even judging this one so gently caress it. One order of style over substance, coming uuuuuup.

---

The Last Love Song On This Little Planet (995 words, including title)

I gave her my heart; she gave me a song.

We've met so many times I can't keep track; every time I see her it's first love. I can't remember when or where it happened; it could be Prague or Prussia or Perseus-8, but I remember how. I always remember how. The memory's an old broken bone that never set right, the only one I can keep straight. Me pushing through the market square, her floating through it like Moses parting the waves. Running as fast as I can, edging ever closer, trying to catch an illusion. Stumbling, falling, dirtying her. White. She's always wearing something white. Always humming that same tune too, bits and pieces of a song that never fits but never seems out of place. She stops every time I fall; never angry, never disgusted, just bemused. She must know that's the trigger, since she gives me a half-smile when she sees me. A sad, surprised half-smile; the smile that says we should've given up before we even began. It hurts, that smile, an ache that signifies the same old song and dance.

I chase her through time and space; an anthology of storybook romances collected by a schizophrenic. My past doesn't exist, my future is nonexistence. All that matters is the now, the moments that slip through my fingers. The collage of places and people who don't exist before her and cease to exist after her. It's always something different, so timeless to be cliche: star-crossed nobles, holy souls and harlots, forbidden love and boomboxes held overhead. Say anything: any pitch, any romance, any lonely dream of a lovestruck fool and chances are I've been there. It never ends and it never ends well. A parade of cliches and cuckoldry; a dagger in my back and sunlight on my face. One final embrace as hemlock melts our innards, as fire laps at our skin, as shrapnel shears our flesh. Our stories always climax sordidly, then restart as if nothing happened; our previous despair hustled out the door with morning's indiscretions. When it stops, when we die, she hums that same sad song again.

It sounds different every time.

I've almost got it, can almost sing it by heart. When I try, it sounds funny. Incomplete. Never like she sings it; her voice slides and swerves while mine stumbles and fall. But every time I try, I get a little bit closer; it gets a little bit righter. I've taken to humming it now, in the hopes that when I finally get it right I'll be able to stop. I'll be able to catch her, hold her, keep her safe while the bombs drop. It's a stupid wish; she's the one who knows her way around. She's the one who told me as we were atoms, fused together in heat and light, that she jumped as easily as breathing. That her other suitors had long since been lost to time, caught in the space between the agony and the ecstasy. That I was a fool, but a charming one.

I would have given her my heart right there, if she didn't already have it.

She holds my heart, the secret heart that makes love eternal, in a locket on her neck. I give it to her; it finds its way back to me after the credits roll. It never tarnishes, never breaks, never chips. It bleeds though, sloppy wet tears right before the curtains fall. Tears we no longer shed. Once, when we were in grunge, listening to it or covered in it, I asked why she didn't keep it in a box. She laughed and asked if I wanted her to. I shook my head no. We didn't say much after that; what we did then doesn't need to be said.

The next thing I remember is a palanquin going to the Moon one-way. She was wearing white silk this time, inlaid with gold and pink as badges of craftsmanship. Black hair fell about her shoulders and iron-wrought white face; black hole eyes threatened to swallow me whole without quarter or resistance. She took the heart I entrusted to a father I never had, and put it in a box. With that same sad smile and that same sad tune, she invited me into her palanquin. The mud from my blistered bare feet ruined the hem of her skirt.

I almost got the song right that time. I remember because the locket didn't bleed. I did, from the wound in my neck. I couldn't breathe, but I could hum it. I was off-key; blood and sinew flowing freely wreaks havoc on pitch. She smiled at me; not that sad half-smile, but the genuine article.

It was just us, now; everyone and everything was ash and parched earth. We had started here and we would end here. She hummed the tune again; I joined in. The clips and phrases rose to meet her; the tune that never quite fit found its groove. She began to sing, soft and wordless. I began to mouth words in tongues long unspoken, a choir answered me in Greek and Gaelic and Graal. She responded to their klaxons with clarion calls, strummed their pain with her fingers and sang their lives with her words. We played together; our songs synthesized sensuality. Our harmony was heavenly, our phrases Platonic. We took in vacuum and each other with each breath; the sun pulsed and grew fat off our music. Our memories roared back in fortissimo with a radiance that dwarfed all the stars in the sky. We knew our stories were phrases for our song; that our maze of love was written in notes and bars. The sun burnt out with our last note, the final coda to our brand new love song.

She asked, “May I have this dance?” and gave me her hand.

I gave her my song.

Brock Broner
Mar 15, 2011


999 words including the title.

Leprechauns Are Bad For Business

“Never gamble what you can’t lose you ginger gently caress.” The chips clank as I slide them across the poker table into my stack. “Here, stay one more night, but I want you out of this casino tomorrow. Don’t come back.”

I flip a golden chip across the table at him and nail him in the forehead. His eyes blaze bright green beneath his sunglasses as he begins to screech in his high chair. I scoop up the chips and leave the high roller suite. Part of my job is excising unwanted guests and taking their money is a quick way to pull it off. Customers like him are bad for business, I’m happy to run them out of town.

I’d watched him for days downstairs at the slots before inviting him up for a private card game. He’d hit jackpot after jackpot on the slot machines, spewing profanities, hissing, scaring the elderly around him as he bathed his stubby fingers in cascades of gold chips.

My ladies wait for me in the hall. Their black dresses rustle and murmur as the elevator glides up to my penthouse. I’ve earned it, been working this job a long, long time. Outside the elevator’s tinted window lights sparkle on the Vegas strip, glittering action waiting to bleed tourists dry. I spend the nights catering to them. I can’t remember the last time natural light touched my skin.

My door key slides and we glide into the suite. I drop the bag of chips onto a table, some spill across the surface. I pour wine and watch my ladies dance for me. I feel so old watching the young girls twirl and pirouette. Maybe I’ve stayed here too long. It’s been decades since I moved west from New York to take this mob promotion.

As the girls kiss I remember a time this would have inflamed my brain with desire. Now that I’m dead down there, things don’t work the way they used to. I have to take my pleasure where I can, the world grows tough as I grow old.

I overfill my wine goblet, sprinkling rouged dots on the counter and wander over to the window as the girls lap up my mess. I am the master, the king of the casino, the Victor of Vegas, they exist to do my bidding.

My pale skin shines in the glass as I step close. Always taxis arriving, new tourists deposited into the columned maw of my entertainment abyss. A city that never sleeps, always action, filled with freaks. I remember when even the thought of such a place was blasphemy and now they spread across the world like a plague.

The girls are disappointed when I dismiss them and tip them with chips. They float to the hall and disappear into the depths of the building.

A click of a button and the windows are covered by walls, miracles of modern technology. As I slide into bed thoughts of the Irish gently caress fly bout my head. Addicts are bad for business.

The snorts and grunts alternating with vile vocabulary won the short man no friends on the casino floor. He reeked like rotten apples, I could smell him through the security cameras, watching as customers flinched away from him, as he battered unsuspecting legs with his motorized scooter that he should never have been allowed. The man can walk. His scampering dancing disgusts me. The look on his face when I took his money made it all worth it. The pain, the rage, his cursed soul beaming pure hatred across the card table towards me. I felt it all and smiled.

As my sheets caress me, the clock ticking towards the disaster of another desert day, I hear a light tapping at my penthouse door. Drunken tourists at the wrong room would be louder, enemies of the mob quieter. Then it hits my nose. It’s him, after his loving chips, he can’t let them go. They never can.

A light click as the door latches shut again, the thunk of the deadbolt. I turn over towards the door to my bedroom and feel the cold spreading inside. I handle dangerous situations. I love my day job, but as a creature of violence, these are the moments I exist for.

He must have removed his shoes attempting to stay quiet. It doesn’t work. I hear his nails rasping on the marble floor as he crosses the suite. His chips remain on the table in the living room. The skittering passes them by, he wants not the coin but revenge, for the insult of appropriation, for the changing of hands holding those precious golden chips.

My eyes are nearly shut. I wait. His shadow darkens the door of my chamber and the stench poisons my nostrils. He smells old, old. It takes effort to stop my fingers from twitching.

My eyes snap open when his diseased hand grasps my shoulder. Our eyes sparkle Christmas light in the dark, his green, mine ruby red, and I see the fear flash across his face as his grip loosens. His hand jerks away as I pull my lips back and grin before snapping my fangs at his thieving little fingers.

Have you ever seen a leprechaun run? They are slow, awkward creatures unlike me. I glide behind his stumbling body, savoring the shrieks trapped in my soundproof lair. He runs into tables, chairs, falling and cursing in his Irish brogue.

I allow him to almost make the door before breaking his neck. Adrenaline turns the blood sour, besides I’ll not have the taint of a creature like that coursing through my veins.

I know by this time the sun is up, I’ll dispose of the body tomorrow night. With some snapped bones and twisted flesh the monster fits neatly in my bedside mini-fridge. A job well done makes rest easy. Leprechauns have always been bad for business.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Jagd (993 words)

Kurt Lindahl was a time bomb.

“It’s no use getting angry,” he’d say to himself, straightening his collar, fiddling with the cuffs of his sleeves in just such a way. “No use, no use.” For twenty years he’d said that. Every setback, every embarrassment, labeled, bottled, and stowed away somewhere deep and quiet.

“No use, no use.”

His girlfriend admired his stoicism about the whole thing. That’s what she’d liked about him, she supposed. So he needn’t worry, there’d definitely be someone else out there.

“No use, no use.”

His boss knew he’d understand, the economy what it was. A valued asset, yes, yes, but so sorry.

“No use, no use.”

His clothes were still damp from the freak rainfall that had lasted all five minutes it took him to reach his car, clearing up immediately with the turn of the key in the ignition.

“No use, no use.”

Kurt sneezed, rubbing his nose, as the ethereal deer rammed into the side of his vehicle.

“No use, noaSHIT!”

The car fought the breaks, skidding to a halt just short of a tree. Kurt’s breath came terse, his hand over his heart. After a minute’s protracted silence, he blinked, and got out of the car.

The deer stood shimmering, a skeletal white with black horns, looking down at him. A certain sympathy mixed with contempt brewed softly in the red coals that burned where its eyes should have been. Kurt reached out, without thinking, when a sound, loud and boisterous, pierced his ears. A hunting horn. The deer bucked its head, and disappeared into the woods.

Kurt turned to look at his car. The damage was hefty, but the car should live. Probably. He ran his fingers over the hood, the windshield; the side view mirror snapped off cleanly in his hand.

A brief search of his pockets told him he’d forgotten his cell phone.

The horn sounded again, accompanied by the distant sound of dogs and hooves. Then again, closer.

And closer.

They found Kurt standing alone in the middle of the road, fixing a non-existent cufflink, the remains of his side view mirror tucked under his arm.

“That yours?” he jerked his head slightly, clam and measured.

They were dressed in midnight, their own features black and smoky. They rode on horseback, and about their feet the hounds paced, murmuring, inches above the ground. Their coats were laden with provisions, and in their hands, across their laps, were hunting rifles, antiquated, as if stolen from a long lost century. There appeared to be several of them, yet as they slowed, assembling, a churning mass of mist and shadow, it was difficult to tell where one rider, one horse, one dog, ended, and the others began.

A HUMAN. DOES IT KNOW THE WAY?

“Oh yeah, your pet,” Kurt released his sleeve, taking the mirror in both hands, “Hit my car.”

IT IS CLOSE, THEN. THE TRAIL IS NOT LOST.

“Hey, hey, HEY,” Kurt stepped to the side, blocking their path. “Where you going? Don’t forget about me.”

A silent sigh spread among the riders.

IT WANTS SOMETHING. IT ALWAYS WANTS SOMETHING.

“Yeah, yeah, that’s right. I want something. What’s your insurance information?”

An entirely different silence now held the hunting party.

…INSURANCE INFORMATION.

“Uh huh. Insurance. Where is it?”

…WE DO NOT-

“Oh, no, no, no, you see this? You see this?” Kurt kicked his bumper, a little harder than had intended. “This sort of thing don’t pay for itself, no, no, I want to see papers. Some ID.”

A lone horse and rider splintered forth from the group. The horse was taller than any Kurt had ever seen, and the rider, taller still.

HUMAN. YOU WOULD DO WELL NOT TO FORGET YOUR PLACE.

“Forget my place?"

IT-

Kurt smashed the mirror against the highway.

“Forget my place. Forget my place, forget my, no, no, gently caress you. gently caress you, all you assholes. What is this? WHAT IS THIS? Dick around with the little guy, is that what it is, you piece of poo poo? You piece of poo poo motherfucker? You think you can just waltz on by like it ain’t a thing, while you and your little slumber party stay up all night, get drunk, terrorizing wildlife? I bet you do this every night, what is this, a fraternity? Some freemason bullshit? Where the hell do you get off? No, no, this poo poo does not, no, NO.”

Kurt pointed sharply to the rider in the saddle.

“I want your name. I want your name, your ID, your contact information, everything. You are not getting out of this, so help me God, you are not getting out of this.”

The rider stared at him, his hollow eyes tracing deep into Kurt’s soul. Then, without a word, he dismounted, reaching within the folds of his coat.

“Alright, alright, that’s more like it.”

Kurt spent several minutes copying down the papers, the numbers the rider had given him. “Berchtold, huh? Don’t get that one too often these days.” The rider stood behind him, expressionless, jotting down Kurt’s own information in a little book.

“Okay, that should do it.” Kurt clicked the pen a couple times in succession. “And you have mine.”

WE DO.

“Yeah, yeah, look, I… I’m sorry, I said a few things…”

IT IS NOTHING.

“No, no, it’s not, it’s... one of those days, you know?”

WE DO.

“Right, right, well,” Kurt laid his hand on the hood, “Car should move. I’ll be in touch... have a nice night.”

The rider had already mounted his horse, signaling to the party. Their numbers congregated, congealing. The hunting horn sounded, bold and true, and away they went, dwindling, merging into the darkness between the trees.

Kurt said a silent prayer as he started the engine. The car complained, but did as it was told.

Several minutes down the road, he realized he’d left his pen at the scene of the accident.

“No use, no use.”

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's time....to DIE!"


Lonely as the Million-Pointed Sky

Every Friday, Christine slipped out of the office an hour early. Eight new bankruptcy filings due by Monday crowded her briefcase, but she ignored them. She walked across downtown Abilene to Dan Malone’s antique store with her eyes half-closed, face upturned to the big, Texas sky. It was less lonely outside, under all of Heaven.

She smiled at the familiar faces in their albumen prints, but came for the telephones, each hiding its own secret conversations. Her hand lingered on the smooth Bakelite handset of an old rotary model.

“Got a real treasure for you today,” said Mr. Malone, softly. Malone sometimes faded into his merchandise, he was so soft and grey.

“I got it Tuesday, but I’ve been saving it.” He swept open the storeroom door to reveal a walnut cabinet gleaming in a sun beam aswirl with sparkling dust. Shining jacks studded the front panel in a perfect grid; a jumble of cables overflowed from the shelf below.

“It’s a switchboard,” Malone explained. “From the old Southwestern Bell Exchange at Ninth and Tyler. Every call in the county used to go through there.”

Mr. Malone demonstrated how the operators would plug the cables first into one jack, then a second to complete a call. Enchanted, Christine gently cradled the receiver against her ear. The faintest hint of “number please?” brushed against her ear.

“It don’t work, of course,” Malone said with an unsettlingly earnest look. “Can’t even plug it in no more.” Christine shivered and quickly replaced the handset. She bought it immediately.

By shifting a few piles, Christine made room for the switchboard in her dinning-room-turned-library. Glass of wine in hand, she caressed the old phone, connected the lines, and eavesdropped on imagined conversations. Stop being silly, she finally told herself, pouring another glass of wine and heading to bed.

The phone dragged her awake. She groped for her cell, knocking Wuthering Heights behind the bed again. The screen was blank, but the ringing grew louder. In the library, a light flickered on the switchboard. Shaking, she plugged in the cable.

“Number please?” said a clear, polite voice. Christine’s mouth opened, but a husky male voice answered first.

“Gladys, sweetheart, it’s Dan....” Christine drew in her breath. “How are things going tonight?” The voice did sound familiar. Could it really be Dan Malone?

“Dan, Darling! Things are slow as usual. I can’t stay on the line though—you know that.”

“Why not, if no one else is calling?”

“It’s my job; there might be an emergency.”

“You sound strange. Is someone there?”

“Of course not, Dan. We’ve been through this so many times….”

“Because you’re always talking to someone else! I’m coming to see for myself.”

“Please darling, no one is here, don’t—if you come again I’ll be fired! My shift’s almost over and I’ll see you then, alright?”

“No Gladys, I’m tired of you running around, and I’m going to put an end to it.” A click and nothing but a breath and a heartbeat.

“Oh Dan, please don’t,” Gladys whispered.

The light died and the old wires fell silent. Christine trembled her way back to bed.

***

Too much wine and stress, Christine told herself the next morning. She tried to read the filings, but Gladys’s voice kept tugging her away. With a sigh, she resigned to consulting her neighbor Lucille.

Christine spotted Lucille in her garden, bent low, singing to geraniums, mostly hidden by towering foxglove. Lucille was as old as they come in Abilene, as old as Dan Malone. Like all good elderly neighbors, she knew about everyone in town.

“Good morning, Lucille!” Christine called. “Say….” she paused, how could she ask about Gladys without sounding loony? “I bought a switchboard from the old exchange at Mr. Malone’s yesterday…”
“One of those old things? Ha!” Lucille said. “Must’ve had it in his basement all these years.” The cool lump in Christine’s belly caught fire.
“That’s odd. He made it sound like he just got it.”
“Dan bought up everything he could afford when they gutted the Bell building to install the automatic exchanges.” Lucille smiled, but it faded quickly. “Kind of sad, actually, but it’s how he started his antique business.”

“Why was it sad? Did it have to do with Gladys?”

Lucille gave her a sharp look, then sighed. “I thought so. It was awful. Not the kind of thing you’d think could happen around here. Gladys came from Oklahoma City, for personal reasons, she said.” Lucille raised an eyebrow, and Christine nodded comprehension. “She worked at the Exchange. Dan was real sweet on her, too, real devoted. But one morning Betsy goes into work…and finds Gladys at the bottom of the stairs…. Dead, you see?” Lucille tenderly wipes her eyes.

“Did they ever find out who did it?”

“No, police figured her past finally caught her. Some thought Dan was involved, he was a jealous thing after the war, but he was utterly heartbroken. When he bought up all that equipment, it was like he was trying to find a part of her.”

***
Christine dialed Malone’s Antiques, and counted twenty rings before hanging up. Finally, she lifted the switchboard receiver.

“Number please?” said Gladys. Catherine waited for Dan’s answer but only the soft, impossible hissing crossed the disconected line.

“Number please?” Gladys repeated, a bit impatient.

“Oh-oh hello Gladys,” Catherine stuttered. “This is Catherine. How’s it going down there?”

“Slow as usual,” said Gladys.

“Glady’s...about Dan. What happened?”

“Hmm? You mean that old accident on the stairs? Ancient history, Dan and I haven’t spoken of it in years. But then again, can’t take secrets like that to the grave.”

“You still talk to Dan?”

“Oh sure, nearly every night. In fact, here he is checking in on me again, I’d better go.” With a click, the switchboard went silent.

***

Catherine woke to the phone ringing again, but the switchboard was dark. It was Lucille calling her cell. Dan Malone had passed away last night.

Benagain
Oct 10, 2007

Can you see that I am serious?


Fun Shoe

To Market
791 words.

The alleys are long and dark and narrow, lined with stalls that are darker and narrower still. Rick walks through them staring straight ahead, not letting his eyes wander to either side even though he's curious about what's in some of those stalls, even though he occasionally catches a glimpse of someone he might know out of the corner of his eye. There are rules here, and one of the most important is that you don't concern yourself with things that aren't your concern, so to speak.

He comes to the end of a certain alley and stops, turns to the right and ducks under the awning of a stall with sign of a eye with five lashes, faded with age. There's a flap, and he pushes through into an interior that seems more spacious then it should be, crowded with shelves holding innumerable pots and jars, bags hanging from the ceiling filled with unidentifiable animal parts, filled with the smoke of burning incense. He doesn't cough, although his throat burns and his eyes water. It doesn't do to show weakness here.

Sitting cross legged on a pillow at the far end of the room is something that could be a human and could be something else but is most likely a bit of both. It's got two arms and two legs and a long narrow face, all covered in wrinkly grey skin that hangs in folds. It's got a hookah pipe resting in its mouth, and it looks at him with blank eyes that give away nothing. Rick looks back, meeting its gaze, and they stand there for a second among the various goods. Then it removes the pipe from its mouth and gestures towards a pillow sitting across from it.

Rick sits, mimicking the thing's posture as much as possible. It might have a few extra joints somewhere, he can't really tell. They stare at each other a bit more, then it offers him the pipe. He takes it and draws deep, sucking the smoke into his lungs as if it was pure oxygen and slowly exhaling a long thin cloud. He passes the pipe back. The creature nods, satisfied. “Why have you come here?” it rasps. “Surely a man of your stature has everything you desire. Surely my humble wares are of no interest.”

“I want a second chance.” Rick says firmly.

It cocks its head. “So does everyone, at some point in life. Most manage to find one on their own.”

“No, most people take another shot at the same objective. I want to attempt the same thing in the same way again.”

“You wish to travel back in time?” It chokes slightly, which might be its equivalent to laughter. It's hard to tell.

“No.” Rick spreads his hands palms outward. “I don't want to mess around with the time stream. I had everything set up just right and...it was ruined. Utterly. By a one time external event that I couldn't have forseen or prevented. I'll never again be in that kind of a zone, with everything set up just so. I'll never be able to make that attempt again.” He accepts the hookah again and takes a puff. “Without your help, of course.”

The creature studies him for a long time. Then it seems to come to a decision, nodding to itself. It unfolds from the cushion and rummages about amongst the various items before coming back with a small jar, which it sets between them.

Taking the pipe back, it inhales briefly and then begins to speak as if reading from a long memorized scroll.

“There was a monk, once, a student of Zen who meditated day and night in front of his shrine in search of enlightenment. One day, his eyes closed, he heard the sound of a single drop of water falling onto stone. This propelled his mind to the very cusp of realization.” Another brief inhale. “At that moment, he was slain by a wandering bandit, his head sent rolling along the shrine floor with one swift blow.” It nodded towards the jar. “That is a distillation of certain fluids in the poor monk's brain. Drink it, and it will take you to a moment of stillness and perfection within your soul. The next thing you attempt will be in harmony with the greater order of the universe.”

Rick nodded in satisfaction. “'I'll take it.”

“Of course you will. The price is two souls.”

***

Rick ducks out of the stall, tucking the jar into his pocket with a satisfied smile. This time, that souflee's going to be loving perfect.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Sublimation

I tapped out a few words, frowned, deleted them. The laptop screen glowered up at me. Outside the wind howled and thunder crashed, tree branches scratched against our creaking sash windows.

I glanced at the cellphone to see if James had replied to my last text, nothing. Probably still on the road. It was a nasty night to be out. Him coming home would be a perfect excuse to give up on writing this article and go to bed. But until then... Time for another cup of tea. I sighed and slapped the accusing screen shut.

I levered myself up, stretched, walked over and picked the kettle up. I shook it to check for water and put it on the stove. Just as I lit the gas the lights went out. The blackness was absolute apart from the faint blue glow of the gas.

“Oh, arse.” My voice was croaky, I hadn’t spoken for a few hours. I tapped on the wooden benchtop, considering my options. Probably a fuse, but the box was outside and hard to get to without a ladder. Especially in a storm. The kettle was starting to bubble, a gentle gusty exhalation of steam.

I opened the second drawer down and pulled out a candle, poked the wick at the gas flame. It caught flame, sending huge dancing shadows all over our small kitchen. I dribbled wax into one of the used coffee cups on the bench and pressed the candle into it as the kettle began to boil harder, its captive water eager to turn into steam.

I turned to put the improvised candlestick on the table and froze. Someone was standing silently in the doorway. White face, black hollow eyes, completely still. A pulse of sickening dread thumped through me. Then I recognised him.

“Jesus, James, I nearly shat myself. Did you just get in?”

There was a pause then he nodded. His high cheekbones seemed even more prominent in the flickering candlelight.

“Bad trip? How were the roads?” There was a hissing wail behind me, cloud of billowing steam over my shoulder. I held up my hand. “Don’t answer that. Sit down, I’ll get you a cup of tea. ” I put the candle on the table and hooked the kitchen chair out from under it with my foot for him to sit down. Turning around I pulled down a couple of mugs, dropped a tea bag in each, couple of sugar cubes from the bowl, hot water.

I turned back with the two heavy mugs and he was still standing in the doorway. Staring at me. I sat down in the other chair, put the mugs on the table. “James, are you alright?” Another pause and he nodded again, walked forward, sat down. He put his hands flat on the table on either side of the cup, stared at them. I picked up my tea, blew away the steam and took a sip.

James looked up. His eyes were black pools in the dim light.

"There was an accident. On the road. A car hit a tree."

I put down my tea. "Oh no. God. Was anyone hurt?"

"There was a man. The impact threw him through the windscreen." He stopped. He was still staring at me.

"That's terrible, sweetheart. Did you call the police?"

He shook his head. "He was... there was blood. He wasn't moving." I reached out, meaning to touch his hand. Something about the way he was looking at me made me stop short.

"The sky was black. There were grey clouds overhead. The clouds were moving fast and the wind was cold. Rain came from the clouds, gathered in pools in the ditch."

His hands were pressed hard on the table. The knuckles looked white in the dim candlelight. My throat was dry. I opened my mouth to tell him to forget the tea and go to bed, but he started talking again, forcing the words out.

"The light from the crashed car was bright white. One wheel was still spinning slowly. The sound of the engine cooling was like a clock. The man lay there. He was staring at the clouds, rain fell on his face. His face was covered in blood. He... he..."

His voice seemed to be coming from a very long way away. He leaned forward. There was a curl of steam coming from his mug. At the same instant I saw the steam rise up and through his head, the phone on the table started ringing.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's time....to DIE!"


Jesus Christ, I did that many rounds of edits and somehow didn't notice that I'd switched my main character's name from Christine to Catherine 3/4 of the way through? gently caress. Me.

bigmcgaffney
Apr 19, 2009


I am stuck at work until like 1030 ET, so I probably won't be able to submit in time. I hang my head in shame beneath the 'Dome. I'll try though. Don't take this as me giving up.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.



High Profile Clients
(976 words.)


I'm outside of a closed corner store digging cigarette butts out of the sand of a grimy ashtray stand. This isn't my intention, it's not why I'm there, but it's something I do subconsciously while I wait. I check my watch, and it's still four minutes until midnight. I line the butts up along the rim of the tray, ordered by length. I've just saved a complete stranger fifteen seconds. I flick the grit from underneath my fingernails out back into the ashtray and start walking to the end of the block. It's warm but I'm wearing a heavy jacket with lots of pockets, and I'm walking fast and stiffly to avoid creasing the large manila envelope I've got pressed against my heart. I'm smiling, in part because I love that pockets let you keep your hands free, but also that after this job, I've got an extra long weekend.

At the end of the block there's a bunch of traffic cones knocked over. They're next to a manhole cover, and I can't quite tell if they're still supposed to be there or not. The hole's covered up, but I put the cones around it in a protective triangle anyways. That's as near as I can imagine it's supposed to be like. If not, they'll be easier to pick up whenever the time comes. That's probably another ten seconds I've saved someone right there, along with the hassle of kneeling. I've got more than enough time to clear these things up, usually, but my watch tells me I've only got about a minute and a half to get to the place I need to be. I hustle to the end of the next block, clutching the envelope to my chest.

There's a four way intersection here, the designated meeting spot. There is a man at the center. As soon as I look at him, all of the lights turn red. That's the signal to approach, so I do. As soon as we're both standing at the center of the intersection, he gets down to business.

"Is everything in order?"

"Of course. My clients are reliable, and I'm that and more." I say.

I pull the envelope out of my jacket and hold it aloft.

"Everyone signed. Set, Anubis, Thoth, Osiris, and the rest. Bes was even interested in doing the voicework for himself, if your production schedule meshes well with his plans."

"Good." he says. "But we've got our own talent lined up."

His utter terseness makes me wonder how long he's been at this sort of thing. This sort of meeting, beyond discreet, was typically only comparable to fictional spies meeting and making a game of one-upsmanship. Regardless, I admire this sort of outwards professionalism, since I've abandoned all pretense of that decades and decades ago. I got the job done, but my clientele and the people I dealt with on their behalf didn't need me to be some robotic man in black. It never did, and it took me too long to realize that. This kid will figure that out soon enough, despite who he's working for.

I hand the envelope over, and he untwists the little red string sealing it. He slides the contents out, two thick sheets of papyrus, fresh and springy. He brushes a few grains of sand off of them, though some are stuck to the ink. This seems to surprise him, since I imagine he's used to the typical "printer paper". Either way, he's been taught what the signatures he's looking for look like. His eyes dart up and down the pages, which reflect the red stoplight up onto his face. Moments are ticking by for us, and I'm not compelled to rush him. We've both got more than enough time, and, again, professional or no, it'd just be rude. He places the sheets back into the envelope and does the string back up. He's placing it into his own jacket, and I tense up for just a moment, until he returns his hand to sight with a second envelope. I know immediately that it's a different one, firstly because it's stuffed with stacks of cash, and secondly because it bears a signature I've seen thousands of times before. As soon as he hands it over and I've peeked inside, I turn to walk away in deference to his style of professionalism.

"What do they need the money for?" He calls after me.

I smile, not just because of my long weekend coming up, but because his tone has some actual curiosity in it.

"Well. Jesus was a carpenter. Muhammad was a merchant. Everyone's gotta get paid, you know?"

This seems to sate him a little bit. He almost nods. I take this as a chance to return the favor.

"I gotta ask though, why the Egyptians? I thought you guys had a good thing going with the Greek pantheon. Couldn't get Zeus to re-up his contract, or something?"

He almost lets himself smile.

"Steve Buscemi, actually."

I'm laughing. The deal is done, and we both walk away. The light turns green, and within a few seconds the wind picks back up. As I get back onto the sidewalk, a car passes entirely unaware that time had stopped at all.

It's a slow enough walk back to my car. I stop next to a trash can, putting a can I found on the way into it. I empty the cash from the envelope into my glove box. I spend a considerable amount of time deciding if I should throw the evidence away face down or face up. In the end, I decide to leave the signature on it visible. Some little kid might pass by and get a smile from seeing the familiar scrawl that is known to represent "Walt Disney", even if it is in a trash can.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.



bigmcgaffney posted:

I am stuck at work until like 1030 ET, so I probably won't be able to submit in time. I hang my head in shame beneath the 'Dome. I'll try though. Don't take this as me giving up.

I spent all last night drinking beer with a dog and a pig, and didn't get home until 5am. If you can't power through and crank out 1,000 blood filled words on your phone, I just don't know what to say.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


removed

Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005


I still have an hour left, right?

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Black Griffon posted:

I still have an hour left, right?

Don't think so, unless my computer clock is way off.

Erik Shawn-Bohner posted:

Submission Deadline: 10:00PM US ET on Fri, Sep. 14.

Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005


What the hell, my clock says it's 9:00. Fuuuuuck.

Edit: This was provided earlier in the thread: http://www.thetimenow.com/est/eastern_standard_time

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


I'm in too good a mood right now to type vitriol and make this funny, but let's just keep it open until I get tired and go to bed. Go ahead and post them if you wrote them. That'll probably be in a couple hours, though. I'll let you know.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.



Black Griffon posted:

What the hell, my clock says it's 9:00. Fuuuuuck.

Edit: This was provided earlier in the thread: http://www.thetimenow.com/est/eastern_standard_time

Hahahahaha that's cruel, since it even says "Hey use the daylight savings time version"

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Black Griffon posted:

What the hell, my clock says it's 9:00. Fuuuuuck.

Edit: This was provided earlier in the thread: http://www.thetimenow.com/est/eastern_standard_time

Ha, which is extra confusing, because it should have been this one. Not that it matters since the Thunderdome Gods are feeling oddly benevolent right now. REVEL IN IT WHILE IT LASTS.

Edit: ALSO, if our stories are too similar, now I can blame Black Griffon because I posted mine first and before the deadline, aw yeah. (They are probably not too similar at all)

Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005


Fanky Malloons posted:

Edit: ALSO, if our stories are too similar, now I can blame Black Griffon because I posted mine first and before the deadline, aw yeah. (They are probably not too similar at all)

Ahahahaha, not at all.

Yeah, this got weird, and I'm pretty sure Cormac would bludgeon me for it.

The Changing of The Guard - 555 words

The gods met on Olympus, beneath the radiant whiteness in the tallest temple. The old guard came through the folds reality, from their abandoned domains, and Yahweh waited. Uranus stepped forward, with Chronus and Gaia at his side, and as they moved they did not touch the ground as much as the ground drew close around them. Chronus, free from chains, watched Yahweh as we see a lion watch a lamb. No arrogance or anger, but the pure white certainty of power which sits so deep it is only truth. Yahweh stared back, knowing a whisper could wipe him from existence, and accepted it without reservations. The other gods looked at the world below, aware of what would happen, and they possessed a certainty it was the right thing, a knowledge that fate bound them as much as they forged the fate of mortals. How strange that the gods in their limitless power and immeasurable immortality still have less freedom than the mortals with their blissful short lives.

Around Yahweh flitted the shadows of something else, other beings diffuse to Uranus. One amongst you will rule, he said.

I will rule, I alone.

Pillars shook and white turned to murderous red, and a thought passed through the ranks of Olympus that this was the turning of an age and the certain end of them. Reality would pass from them, and where the mortals would see the passage of time, the gods would see the death and rebirth of reality.

I will have two mortals, said Yahweh as the rumbling subsided, and without prompt, Orpheus and Eurydice stepped forward, united at last.

You could ask for none better, none purer, said Gaia.

Yahweh said to them; walk down from the mountain and into the world below. You will be my harbingers and take new names. Tell the rest of your people of my rule and let them know the one God has come.

They walked from red to pure white to the grey of the mountainside until they came to the green carpet with villages and cottages and the grandness of humanity and mortality. In this world, they would live a thousand lives and more, every life ignorant of the one before, with only the words of Yahweh in their hearts.

On the mountain, Uranus began to grip the seams of reality, an entire existence would turn over and the rule of all would pass from him to Yahweh leaving the gods of old only in the stories of men. There was no regret in this, no anger or hate. This was as natural and inevitable to them as death is to man. A fierce wind began to flow between the pillars of the temple, blanketing the gods in red and white and tearing skin and hair. Olympus crumbled and radiant white turned to black as Uranus moved existence to Yahweh, and in an instant too short for any words, the old gods were never there. The mountaintop lay bare and Yahweh stood alone.

By the small farmhouse where red brick covered the roof and the walls carried the graffiti of youth sat Orpheus and Eurydice, and Orpheus sang the only song he had left. The children played in the tall grass which stretched to a mountain none of them knew, and Orpheus sang of Yahweh.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Fanky Malloons posted:

And if you think my story sucks, gently caress you, I'll cut out your heart:

:allears:

P. much my fave TD poster right now.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Looking at Fanky's fitness log, I'm pretty sure she could deadlift me. Don't think she can't follow through on that threat.

I mean, I'm a little dude but the point still stands.

MadRhetoric posted:

Everybody in that thread who wasn't discussing literature or contributing to Anime is the Tie that Binds Us was shitposting, bro. There's a reason the threads got gassed four times over :ironicat:
Three times, actually. :v:

bigmcgaffney
Apr 19, 2009


A View of Mt. Fuji from Beneath the Wave (769 words)

I crash into the raging waters, my body flailing against the currents until I surface, sputtering and coughing. A wave rolls on top of me and I fight to keep myself from being sucked under.

We are three days out from Yokohama, tracking a pod of dolphins we tagged last summer. Against the dark sky our ship looms over me. I think I can make out figures rushing around on the deck, but I can’t be sure. My colleague Ryosuke or one of the crew members must have seen me spill over the railing during that last swell. I pray that they did. Another wave breaks on top of me, forcing me under the surface once again.

The lungs are a delicate organ. An inverted tree of ever-thinning tubes, each tiny branch ends in a cluster of filament-thin air sacs. These alveoli are covered in a network of blood vessels, allowing oxygen to cross into our bloodstream, sustaining our meager existences. At least for one more breath.

I take that next breath, coughing out water, the salt burning my throat and stinging my eyes. I strain to see the deck of the ship through blurred vision and sheets of rain. I still cannot make out any shapes, but I think I hear a voice calling my name. I tread water and try to stay afloat.

The storm came on quick, without warning. Ryosuke and I had rushed out to secure our expensive equipment, to make sure the waterproof tarps and cases were in place. Our hired crew told us to stay put in the cabin, but I had refused. If our equipment became damaged the entire project was over, the grants and university funding utterly wasted. We would not be able to stand that shame.

To my right I see another monstrous wave hurtling towards me.

I had always been infatuated with the sea and its violent beauty. In my tiny apartment I have but one piece of art, a full color reproduction of Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa. A gift from my girlfriend when I became a full faculty member, I had hung it in my sparse kitchen area. It reminds me of her, now my ex, the fire that burned with her despite the serene exterior. I had faced the brunt her fury many times, and I had survived. She was my own Great Wave, and I loved her.

I watch the wave as the crest breaks above me. My muscles grow weak fighting the current and the chop of the ocean. The wall of water buries me and I lose control of my body as I am violently jerked beneath the surface. I force my eyes open, hoping to orient myself, but everything is swirling, bubbling, frothing. I swim upwards – what I hope is upwards – my arms stretching for the surface.

My lungs burn. They ache, full of carbon dioxide, waiting for release.

My fingers find nothing but more water and I panic, not that I wasn’t panicking before but this time is worse, I thrash around in a panic, praying to the gods that I will break through, that Ryosuke or someone, anyone, will save me, will pluck me out of the water, shake me off, and give me a warm cup of tea.

My lungs burn. They fill with seawater, the brine rushing through the intricate system of tubes, filling the tiny sacs until they are about to burst. Each breath I take sends my oxygen-deprived brain into a new tailspin of horror, my body wracked with spasms, my fingers still clawing feebly for the long lost surface world, the world of the living.

I am sinking now, falling downwards into the darkness of the abyss, and my mind slows. The inferno raging in my chest has dulled. It is still there, but it feels as if it is happening to someone else’s body, that it is not me that is drowning but some perfect facsimile of me.

My vision is fading but I can make out a shape in front of me in the gloom. A person, perhaps a woman. She is pale, blurry, and beautiful, her dark hair flowing out in the current. I close my eyes. With the last of my senses I feel her embrace, her skin clammy but radiating warmth. Not heat, but warmth.

The rest of the world fades out. I can’t seem to remember who I am, what I am doing, but I no longer care.

The great wave has claimed me and I am at peace.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.



bigmcgaffney posted:

A View of Mt. Fuji from Beneath the Wave (769 words)

BLOOD! I knew you had BLOOD! in you.

bigmcgaffney
Apr 19, 2009


Capntastic posted:

BLOOD! I knew you had BLOOD! in you.

Blood and thunder, comrade.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


MadRhetoric posted:

stream of consciousness bullshit

You waltz into the 'Dome like you own the place, throwing down big words.

I bust your balls, and you respond with a really shameful defensepost misusing :ironicat: and making the wild assumption that since I'm not technically judging this week that means you're safe from my iron hand or summat.

Then, in the same post, something that only in the loosest definition of the word could be called "a story."

Champion material, for sure.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


Feel like about that time to me. Submissions closed.

Groghammer
Aug 10, 2011

On a lonely planet spinning its way toward damnation amid the fear and despair of a broken human race, who is left to fight for all that is good and pure and gets you smashed for under a fiver? Yes, it's the surprising adventures of me, Sir Digby Chicken-Caesar!

Y Kant Ozma Post posted:

I won't go morbid, then. I probably should have.
Quartz Palace (962 words)

This is really heartwarming in a weird way and I love it.

Debbie Metallica
Jun 7, 2001



Hahah thank you

JimsonTheBetrayer
Oct 13, 2010

Game's over, and fuck you Jimson. It's not my fault that you guys couldn't get your shit together by deadline. No one gets access to docs because I don't fucking care anymore, I hope you all enjoyed ruining my game, and there won't be another.


I can't wait until I can finally listen to the screams of those around me beg in agony for mercy. Not from me, no, no. From the cruel in-human judges.

Mercy? they will ask. You shall receive none here. Then they will point to the sign above there heads.

The words "No mercy for the weak, Also please put all chairs back up on the tables before you leave" Adorns the sign, written in blood. Also motor oil because that sounds pretty metal to. :black101:

MadRhetoric
Feb 18, 2011

I POSSESS QUESTIONABLE TASTE IN TOUHOU GAMES


Martello posted:

You waltz into the 'Dome like you own the place, throwing down big words.

I bust your balls, and you respond with a really shameful defensepost misusing :ironicat: and making the wild assumption that since I'm not technically judging this week that means you're safe from my iron hand or summat.

Then, in the same post, something that only in the loosest definition of the word could be called "a story."

Champion material, for sure.

Ooh, this is gonna be fun. Keep swinging nuts like you got some, I like it rough.

E: For real though, you bust my balls, I bust your balls back. This is supposed to be all hard man, tough guy blood and piss in your eye poo poo, right? So what if the rabble wants to throw some of that blood and piss back? If you didn't want it, don't sling that poo poo.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







Most of us had to earn that kind of sass in blood and tears :colbert: Best to just close your eyes and open wide when poo poo gets flung. No really, you think you've got pluck now, but they will break you, they will show you yourself in the mirror of their cold, dead eyes and you will see a beast reflected back by the time they're done.

You don't just waltz in and change the rules of the 'dome, man. The Thunderdome changes you.

bigmcgaffney
Apr 19, 2009


Once, in the grimy darkness of the 'dome, I pissed right into my opponent's eye and they didn't even blink.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


MadRhetoric posted:

Ooh, this is gonna be fun. Keep swinging nuts like you got some, I like it rough.

E: For real though, you bust my balls, I bust your balls back. This is supposed to be all hard man, tough guy blood and piss in your eye poo poo, right? So what if the rabble wants to throw some of that blood and piss back? If you didn't want it, don't sling that poo poo.
Holy poo poo, he actually grew a pair.

No really, this is a much better attitude. The thing everyone objected to was the unwarranted 'too cool for school' swagger.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Jimson posted:

The words "No mercy for the weak, Also please put all chairs back up on the tables before you leave" Adorns the sign, written in blood. Also motor oil because that sounds pretty metal to. :black101:
Dude.

The pens are like right over there.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's time....to DIE!"


MadRhetoric posted:


The Last Love Song On This Little Planet (995 words, including title)

Running as fast as I can, edging ever closer, trying to catch an illusion. Stumbling, falling, dirtying her. White. She's always wearing something white. Always humming that same tune too.

This tune?

Running just as fast as we can
Holdin' on to one another's hand
Tryin' to get away into the night
And then you put your arms around me
And we tumble to the ground
And then you say

I think we're alone now
There doesn't seem to be anyone around
I think we're alone now
The beating of our hearts is the only sound

Radioactive Bears
Jun 27, 2012

Creatures of horrid visage and disposition.


A high speed chase down my street ended when a guy plowed into the utility pole, knocking out the power until 6:30 AM. For the second time I have shamed myself in the thunderdome because I didn't get anything done earlier :saddowns:.

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Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


At least that's one of the more metal versions I've heard of "my dog ate my homework."