Fresh blood. I'm toying with forces I don't understand most probably.
|# ¿ Oct 16, 2012 19:08|
|# ¿ Oct 22, 2021 13:29|
It's 2 AM Saturday morning PDT. So basically you have just over a day for submissions. Entries close in about 3.5 hours.
Think my entry slipped through the cracks on the last page. I am writing something.
|# ¿ Oct 19, 2012 10:59|
My Brother's Keeper - Word Count: 1450
Tempting black slumber laps at my heels, inky seductress. I pay her no heed - she is not what I have come for. I leave her and the sullen souls already swallowed by her clutches. Quick to anger in life, I am wiser now in death. Patience and temperance watch over me; steel my hand and hold my tongue.
See there! Already the city walls loom darkly ahead, rearing out of the gloaming like nightmares. The haunting majesty of la città. I am grimly pleased, enough to crack a crooked, mirthless smile. Behind those crumbling bituminous turrets and abyssal gates I can hear the groans of innumerate once-humans suffering their unending torment. I am used to it, I realise. I have changed much on my journey.
I pass unmolested through one of the city's many derelict portcullis'. I am unsurprised. You may enter freely. But you should not hope to leave so easily. Flailing hands reach out for me from inside infernal cages that flank my path. Their groans become wails and screams as they see me approach. Some even remember words, and they spit them at me in any language they can produce. Always I am accosted by such piteous pleas and sobs. When there is nobody to scream to or for, they only burble and weep. But visitors are rare and each one offers the tiniest glimmer of hope.
Heretics. Such benighted fools in life and still they cannot face the consequences of their actions in death. I almost pity them. No doubt the Fallen placed them near the entranceways with exactly this in mind. Still, they have a long time to learn.
It is not long before I leave behind the smell of searing flesh that fills my nostrils. I am beginning my descent now. I can hardly feel the decline but I see the way the ground slopes down beneath the umbrous horizon. The city stretches on. It is built in many tiers, each more massive than mighty Rome itself. For the most part it is devoid of life. Mockeries of cathedrals jut from the earth in varied states of ruination. There are things that might be streets and suburbs, twisted but recognisable. Close enough to spark wistful remembrance.
Sunny days fogged by time rise up from the ancient past and sing to me. Splashing in the La Terrina with my younger brother Riccio, laughing up and down the Aurelian Walls, lazy and languid fishing in the murky Tevere.
Signs of activity start once more. The Malebolge. The sin of violence, how well I know thee. A misspent, misguided youth. I had waited two long years, apprenticed to that cobbler Vittorio, waiting for my brother to be of age. I remember the day we got our first commissions together. The way our father wept tears of pride and embraced us both.
Soon my steps dog the progress of an unholy river. A gushing flow of never-clotting blood, that boils and fumes like brimstone. It casts a wicked light to reveal my path. There are people in the flow, writhing, forever scalding, over and over. A perpetual reminder that violence begets violence. The virtuous man never turns to retribution. The words of old Padre Giovanni as I broke down at his feet, unworthy. Forgiveness I begged and forgiveness I received. But never forgiveness from myself.
Overhead, harpies screech. I hear the sound of the Malebranche howling somewhere out of sight. I say a little prayer that they will not confront me, though I doubt whether He can hear me this deep.
After a time, I enter what might be a park. Only thorn trees grow from the crimson soil, unlike any I have ever seen. Some of them have people coiled around them, or as part of them. Somewhere among the crucified would be my first adjutant, whose name I cannot recall, poor fellow. After that battle at Brescia I had found him in his tent, dressed in his finest, having drawn his sabre across his own throat. He wrote me a note exhorting me to tell his family that he had died in battle
At the time I thought it was senseless, couldn't understand it. It had been a glorious and hard-fought victory. A time for celebration. I celebrated many more such victories in my time. In the end I had even the ear of the Pope, along with my brother. An unshakable bond of trust between us, sealed in blood – both that which ran in our veins and that which we had spilled together.
The further I walk, the darker it gets. Denizens of the night reside here, thieves and tricksters. Their punishment is ingenious and horrifying in equal measure. Their features are distorted. They mutate into monstrosities, extra limbs and extra eyes. Their pallid skin hangs off their impossible frames. Their minds erode. In place of that which they stole, their identity is stolen in return. Material possessions irrelevant beyond the grave it is all they have left to be taken.
A limbless, worm-like lump sloughs into my way. It is disgusting. Its skin is smeared in the offal-like mulch in which it wriggles. Somehow it senses me and curls towards me. There is a semblance of a face, though it has no eyes. It squeals at me and flails. I make to move around it.
From nowhere, a winged demon lands astride me. It has skin like black-dyed leather. It bares long wolfish fangs at me and hisses. In its thick clawed hands it holds some jagged implement. I am ready to fight; have fought my fair share to reach these levels, but it turns and slices the thing deep into the worm-man. It shrieks and tries to escape as fast as it can. With large, easy strides, the demon maintains pace with it and continues cleaving and adjusting its form according to whatever artistry it subscribes.
Once more, I am alone. Such grotesquery would have driven most men to madness long ago. Perhaps I am already mad. It matters little at this point. They called me mad when I gave up all I owned. When I had a chain of thirty silvered links forged into my flesh. Contrition.
Before me is a sheer cliff. I can just about make out the other side. It is a circular hole, a sinkhole to the deepest, most forlorn place that exists and will ever exist. A chill wind rises up from down there. Tartarus. Satan's domain, the heart of darkness itself.
There is no easy way down other than jumping, and surely there is no way back out. The sharp obsidian rocks are like daggers, nicking and cutting my fingers,. Still, I do not let go. The climb takes hours. How many I cannot say. At some point, my legs hang in empty air. I see no other way. I let go.
I hit ground a few seconds later with a painful crunch. My hands are ruined, blood dripping rags and ribbons. The first thing I notice is that there is light. A soothing blue light. I am on an island of black sand, like soft ashes. The light emits from a body of water which seems infinite. The liquid pastures of Hell, where Satan personally tends his closest flock. The lake of traitors.
It is bone-chilling down here, compared to the the blistering heat of all the Hell above. There is no noise here. It is almost peaceful. Only the sound of my chains dragging behind. In a surreal vision of normality, there is a rowboat moored on the island. I know that I must board it.
I push off and begin to move across the placid water. The boat fairly glides over its gelid black surface. I see little icebergs. Each one has a face, each bearing their unique rictus of remorse. The further I go, the more there are until at last they are so dense they form a vast sheet. I step off upon it, them. It creaks but no more, able to support my weight.
After icy miles of bitter progress, there comes a hole. Space for another. And I know that it is mine. I feel the ecstatic grin of Satan upon me, unseen. I take a deep breath. Forgive me O Lord and forgive me my brother. Such tender mercies I am not worthy of. I condemn myself.
The water takes me quickly, without sound. The ice reforms above. Only my bloodied hands are raised above the ice, a warning. It is blood that will not be washed off. My stigmata for thee my brother. For if blood should run cold as mine did, it should not run at all.
Apologies for having tons of pictures, I kind of took general inspiration from the art and then when I came to finding one that encapsulated the story I found them to be a lot more coincidental to details within the story. Probably helped that the dude has a massive body of work.
(If this many pictures is forbidden or unfair etc. I will remove.)
|# ¿ Oct 19, 2012 18:21|
Honoured to have such a case of beginner's luck against a really strong field out there. Was not expecting it, especially as I grew to have more and more misgivings about my piece. I read most of them and Imma shout out to Peel that his story was a great read, felt like it had serious heft behind it even in so few words. In comparison I was pretty much just riffing off Dante's Inferno.
Other two judges to PM a prompt with would be Sitting Here and Martello, right?
|# ¿ Oct 22, 2012 21:36|
Thunderdome Week XII
Crown nailed into my inch thick skull, blood still seeping thickly out, I return before you. The whispers susurrate among the crowd - he is unknown. A transgressor. An intruder. But he also has chainsaws for hands. They don't know what to expect.
With victory still fresh enough to be drinking the blood of the vanquished from their skulls like punch, I bring you a new challenge.
Prompt: I want a story with a villain. But not just any villain: we're talking full on atrocious monster. I want somebody who by the time the story is done, I hate. The villain can be an antagonist if that tickles your pickle, but I'd prefer if they were the protagonist.
The genre is anything you like, format is equally as free. Continuing last week's precedent, pictures are allowable if you think they add something. Writing a good villain without sounding strained is not easy by any stretch. Especially given the amount of space you have, which is...
Word Count: 1200 Words - The faster you are able to make the character hated, the better.
Judges-in-Arms alongside me this week are the esteemed Sitting Here and the juggernaught that is Martello.
Address any queries to either of them, or myself. You may also feel free to PM us for extensions, which we are equally as free to laugh in your face about. The timing is as follows...
Sign-Up: 25th October 23:59 GMT
Submission: 26th October 23:59 GMT
Fanky Malloons (For reals)
|# ¿ Oct 22, 2012 23:34|
Roughly one and a half hours remains to sign-up. Good luck to all those competing, the fact we have seen no particularly early submissions is a testament to the difficulty of this prompt. I know personally speaking I would flail and struggle in attempting it. However, even if you do not succeed, pushing your comfort zone as a writer can only make you a STRONGER WARRIOR.
|# ¿ Oct 25, 2012 21:28|
I have been sitting on a train to the arctic wastes of Scotland all day. Getting around to reading all the entries right now. Soon the hive-mind that is the judges will confer using terrifying brain-telepathy and score them through tasty extispicy. Stay tuned.
|# ¿ Oct 27, 2012 22:05|
Daddy, is the contest over yet?
Should be reporting back tomorrow evening. I've gone over all the entries, just waiting on combined judgement force.
|# ¿ Oct 29, 2012 01:10|
Thunderdome Week XII Results
This week saw a drop in the number entries and I daresay, a drop in quality also. The prompt, and therefore I, am partially to blame for that but regardless - there was some unquestionably good stuff this week, but much of it strayed far off prompt and was therefore not in contention, and there was also a bunch of stragglers who were consequently ineligible.
Moving onto brighter things, every contestant submitted something. So no total failures on that front, a trend that ought to be maintained. But enough chit-chat, without further ado, this week's undisputed winner is Fanky Malloons for her [cheeky male assumption edit] chilling rendition of a woman freeing herself from familial affection in a merciless fashion. Honourable mentions go to Black Griffon for his great but late poem about domestic abuse and toanoradian for his extremely unsettling Roald Dahl-esque CYOA about a little kid and earwax.
And coming full circle back to darker matters, this week's loser is Baggy_Brad for his attempt at a subversion of Jesus and the Devil that had potential but fell very flat indeed with awkward preachiness throughout, compounded by clumsy dialogue and slapdash characterisation.
+ve - Decent idea.
Hints of some decent dry humour.
-ve - Stilted dialogue.
Difficult to get a handle on the character's personalities.
Ham-fisted shoehorning of current affairs.
+ve - Actually sticking to the prompt correctly.
Pacy, mostly convincing dialogue in first half.
Decent painting of a narcissistic sociopathic character.
-ve - Listing exposition of the build-up to the suicide deflates the pace and involvement of the reader.
Some parts seem very abrupt.
Kind of contrived suicide note plot-device.
+ve - Personally I was fond of this entry. It sticks to the prompt while managing to twist away from our usual conception of a villain.
A great appeal to the inner-goon hatred of MRA/Neckbeard psychology.
Good use of internal monologue and italics to convey emotion successfully.
Nicely misleading opening para.
-ve - Perhaps the character straddles the line between hatred and pity a little closely.
Never really reaches a climax - more could be made of the brother's relationship I feel, to push the character into being more hateworthy.
+ve - I dig the unsettling vibe of the story. You already get the impression something is wrong, long before we see the reason.
Decent use of clipped sentences to convey character.
Pacing mostly good.
-ve - IT ALL FALLS INTO PLACE revelation is cliché and trite.
It fails to make me hate 'Parker' - spends too long on the protag.
Some truly teeth-grinding cringe insults. So bad they break connection to the story.
+ve - Good ol' fashioned decent prose.
Excellent toying with the imagination of the reader about kid's intentions.
Ballsy CYOA choice.
Knowledge of the ear.
-ve - Ballsy CYOA choice.
That ending where she knows he cleaned her ear and wasn't freaked the gently caress out. Really?
Failing to stick to the prompt. Where was the hate? Unsettling is not hateful.
+ve - Close contender for honourable mention with interesting and creative idea.
Paints compelling picture of a schizoid military nut, aided by appropriate use of language/terminology.
Decent writing, description etc.
Nice tension build.
-ve - The character is bizarre, but fails to inspire hatred.
Total failure of Chekhov's gun at the start. Why does he need lots of $1 bills?
Gotta say I wasn't convinced by the whole 'tempo' thing.
+ve - Actually attempting to stick to the prompt.
Some rather good use of imagery at points.
Frankie B/Christmas Tree rhyme.
-ve - Hulk-One/Two device tends to come off as amateurish.
Don't use caps as a cheapshot to come across as anger.
The context in the story is poor to non-existent. This makes it confusing to read.
Too many characters for 1.2k words.
+ve - Alternation between philosophical musing and external description achieved well with italics.
Fairly engaging consideration of the issues of liberty/security. I like the house of cards image.
-ve - I'll be honest, I've taken a long time reading over this story again and again, and even now I barely understand what the gently caress is happening. Honestly you're going to have to satisfy my curiosity and come out of the woodwork to say what is happening. This isn't poorly written in a purely mechanical sense, which saves you from double Thunderdome-loserdom, but my first impressions were along the lines of: There is a fire? In a newspaper building? Also Jews, Witchcraft trials, characters alluded to once then abandoned, the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, a torturer and some thin lady who takes drugs and may or may not be the WHORE WIFE who was feverish at the start. Help.
Some rereadings later, if I've got it right, there's a reference to an anti-slavery newspaper being attacked. Then Kristallnacht or something. Then back in time to witchcraft trials. Then the Manson family. Then the Spanish Inquisition? Then the Cuban Missile crisis.
Feel free to leap in and correct any of this. The writing is schizophrenic and it is very hard to follow your train of thought. I get that opposing values are meant to tie these threads together, but it fails big time. Don't worry though, your line breaks are fine.
+ve - Its funny!
Notation is a nice and underused tool in fiction.
Dialogue is nicely sardonic.
Best part is the effectively generated sense of universe-depth. That you could write more about it easily, but choose not to.
-ve - THIS IS NOT WHAT I ASKED FOR IN THE PROMPT. I come to love the character, not hate him.
7 notations is too many for 800 words, in my opinion.
I think we all know its Black 'Lagoonian'. Tsk.
+ve - Tight balance between description and dialogue.
Plot progression smooth without hiccups.
Elucidation through implication, not exposition.
Twisted ending. Also bonus points for circularity.
Takes the prompt and succeeds like a star, successfully creating a villain who the reader hates.
-ve - Maybe a little too unclear what the context actually was, but there isn't enough space to fit everything in, so perhaps that is too picky.
Words about horses are better spent about the vital characters/situation.
+ve - Short and sharp. Takes the idea of a villain and gets imaginative.
Nice use of repetition.
A maintained impression of wry, drawling inhumanity.
Imagery skilfully woven into the story.
-ve - The villain painted is far more mysterious than hateful.
Really not much to say, but there is always more to work on. Is it possible to be hit by a truck non-totally? The villain(s) is built up more animal than anything else - time is taken to illustrate its gaping maw and the way it finds the killing delicious, which then rings a little hollow with the professional killing, which seems more appropriate to a human assassin. And why hide the bits?
My vision of the killer wavers between Mieville's dancing, chittering Weavers, interdimensional spider-gods to whom time and space have no meaning, to some shadowy cult of time-travelling psychopath killers. Both are good, but it'd be even better if you could nail only one down.
+ve - Actually manages to characterise and make me hate somebody sub-300
Final stanza adds a new sinister level to the already unsettling air of the poem.
Nice dancing metaphor.
-ve - Not a fan of randomly missing punctuation.
Don't see the point in the random bit about Henning Mankell.
Motherfucking LATE AS BALLS. Dates are expendable, Thunderdome is forever. Priorities, man.
+ve - Makes a passable attempt at building a hateable villain.
Good plan to bounce naive and innocent characters off of him to show the contrast.
-ve - Damp squib of an ending, reliant on exposition.
LATEST OF ALL THE LATE.
Dialogue was very simplistic.
Borders on a kind of off-the-cuff Western racism.
On the whole, it was pretty half-hearted. Was not sensing much will to succeed behind this.
Jeeeeeeeeeeesus that took a long time to write-up. Hope that is even remotely useful to people who entered, or at least successful in massaging some egos or spurring on improvements in writing style. Congratulations again to this week's winner Fanky Malloon. Get thinking about your prompt for the upcoming week.
|# ¿ Oct 29, 2012 19:55|
Apologies for assuming general manliness. And she can probably not only lift more than me Martello, but also break my brittle writer's bones like twigs. I've edited in C+C, to pile on top of the great stuff you dogs have already got from my fellow judges.
And, to riff off Omniphile's vague accusation: how many of us actually are or were Eng Lit majors? Would be quite interesting to see. For the record, I am not.
|# ¿ Oct 29, 2012 22:02|
Haha, Creative Writing was my second choice of vague accusation, followed closely by Philosophy/obscure miscellaneous liberal arts major/went to college where you were free to make up your own major. I myself was Geology, for all the good it did me.
I'll put my hands up to being a Philosophy major (well, UK equivalent). But unless things are vastly different stateside, Philosophy isn't all wishy-washy humanities. Feast your eyes on my current light reading:
I get touchy about people classing my subject with other humanities sometimes
|# ¿ Oct 29, 2012 23:02|
Just shooting the poo poo 'til our winner graces us.
|# ¿ Oct 29, 2012 23:31|
Might do a 'sebmojo' and enter, on top of being a judge. Because gently caress you, that's why
|# ¿ Oct 30, 2012 21:32|
Not 100% on how phrase copyrighting works, but I'm taking the description 'muscle-rage lasagna' as my own, tia.
|# ¿ Nov 1, 2012 23:38|
Untitled - Word Count: 616
“Here it CoOmeSs MeeLISSa”
“HERE it CooooooooOOmesss~” His speech lilted back and forth like a see-saw. The pitch and volume went up and down, shrill and breaking one second, gutteral and wheezy the next.
His face was a mask – bloodshot, wild eyes peering out from a contorted rictus of emotion that swung from joy to hate and back again in an instant. Melissa, gag rammed in her throat, could only let out a terrified whine. Tears flowed freely from her eyes, pooling on the dank wooden table she lay atop.
“See see? SeeEeEee?” his body convulsed with a kind of excitement, from whatever perverse sexual pleasure he was getting out of this. And Melissa did see. With a magician's sleight of hand, there appeared in his hand a thick, rusty screw. It must have been almost four inches long.
She began to writhe against her restraints, but the tight leather straps held her fast.With his spare hand he began to stroke her smooth, pale calf. He had cut off that part of her jeans earlier. Over and over he trailed his fingers down her skin, until he reached her foot. She clenched her toes instinctively. His hand shot like a bolt and pinched her big toe. She let out a muffled yell of fright.
“ThiSs LITTle PIGgy weNt to MarKET...”
Her whole body was shaking in anticipation of what he was going to do to her. Then he burst out laughing. A laugh like a schoolgirl, piercing and uncontrolled. Sheer unadulterated glee. And while he giggled, he tickled her feet. He was frenzied. Her back arched and she strained against her strictures from the sensation, rocking as much from misery now as irresistible bodily response. His tickling was merciless, it only got more frenetic and she began to run out of air – unable to breath. It reached a climax – him laughing like a maniac, her nearly suffocating from the feeling.
And the tempo changed. His face soured, and he stopped cold. Coitus interruptus, it wasn't doing it for him anymore. She breathed in rasps recovering, emotionally distraught – nerves already flayed to shreds. He walked over to the counter and picked up the hammer. In the other hand, the screw flipped back into view from behind his fingers. He balanced it point first, pressing down ever so gently on the soft flesh beneath the ankle. He readied the hammer in his other hand.
“Oh god, Oh god don't. Please...no...” Even behind the gag, the words were just about decipherable. His eyes locked onto hers – unusually brilliant blue on white, stained red by the crying – and his, pitiless black pupils on murky brown. His gaze was withering. He brought the hammer down with a sickening thump. A solitary squeal escaped her lips. He stroked her leg again. She was beautifully tender, it had really gone through easily. He placed the hammer back gingerly on the counter and walked from the shed, leaving her to her mewling. There was so much silky white canvas left he was overstimulated, he needed some space to calm down. Fantasies coursed through his mind so fast he couldn't even keep track of the ideas. You shouldn't rush art, he knew, and what he was doing was art. The chunky, angular black screws against her deliciously glossy skin, the complimentarily manouvered crimson smears, the pinkish flush of fear and the gentle backing of wretched sobs. The ultimate in performance art. The critics would love this.
Yes, restraint; restraint was important, he needed to take his time. No need to enjoy her all at once, no need at all.
I'll be checking into a mental institution soon. Written after consuming a celebratory bottle of champagne for finishing my first book, so don't let me come back and try and salvage the mess it'll look like tomorrow morning.
|# ¿ Nov 4, 2012 02:13|
Yup, emailed. Now we're just waiting on slothy sloth Jeza.
Yeah, yeah. Just finished cooking. Will now commence concurrent eating/judging.
Edit: IT IS DONE. (Both eating and e-mailing.)
|# ¿ Nov 5, 2012 18:54|
I don't have time to give detailed crit this week, but congrats to Toaster Beef, Capntastic and Swinemaster - all worthy pieces and definitely the top three this week for me, with Sitting Here close in the wings.
Commiserations to Baggy_Brad, felt like your story was an improvement on last week's. No commiserations for you Chairchucker, you ultraloser you.
P.S Slothmonster, what the actual gently caress did your twist ending actually mean? Corn syrup? Does it give you nightmares? IS HIS WIFE A BOTTLE OF SYRUP?
|# ¿ Nov 7, 2012 02:37|
omg ru new stage blood is made of corn searup jeez some ppl
Lets not mince words, if she had been a bottle of syrup it would have been the best twist ending ever. Also looking back on my entry, the spelling is pretty phenomenal for a drunkpost I impress myself.
|# ¿ Nov 7, 2012 03:52|
Life-savings - Word Count: 864
"You shouldn't be here" Murdoch intoned again, shaking his head and backing away from the front door. His words dripped disbelief "I saw you die, man. I saw it happen."
"Never...the...less, Murdoch, here...I...am." his voice had the deathly inflection of the grave, husky and stertorous. His filthy leather jacket shed clumps of damp earth as he shuffled inwards. His ghastly face leered and he took great loping strides towards Murdoch across the threshold.
Murdoch shook his head vigorously, hand hovering over his holster "Get away from me man, I'm warning you. You need to see a doctor."
"But Murdochhh..." the voice effervesced into a hiss "What about my ssshare, Murdochhh...?"
He needed to divert Jericho's attention, try and make him realise what he had become. "That was weeks ago buddy. Me and Dan already split the loot. Spent your share. You're fuckin' dead. Look at you, there's no way you're alive. They filled you with so many holes they coulda used you as a colander, Jesus."
But that Jericho didn't stop advancing.
A bead of cold sweat trickled down the nape of Murdoch's neck. He realised he was afraid of his dead comrade. poo poo, zombies were so unnerving. You never knew what they would do next. You could usually talk at them sternly, get them to see reason, and hopefully they would shamble off to die properly. Hopefully. But it was like reasoning with the mentally ill, nothing was certain. As their brains rotted away, so did their cortical functions. Normally they just wound down aimlessly, getting dopier and more indolent until they just came to a full stop. They weren't really a threat to anyone. But you heard stories...
He fingered his pistol. He could shoot him, but that would cause a ruckus. He lived in a nice neighbourhood. Someone was bound to call the cops. There wouldn't be an issue once it was ascertained that it just an intruding zomb. But this was the cops - they would no doubt stick their nose into his business, ask unwanted questions. Too much risk. He needed another way.
gently caress. Jericho had been torpid in life and this was only compounded in death. He didn't listen when he ought to. That why he and Dan had set the job up that way. It wasn't like he had hated the guy but he had been a total liability. And of course, he wasn't averse to making a little more scratch on the side.
"OK, man. I've got your share. Its just back here, come on" he beckoned "follow me."
At the word 'share', a hungry light flickered in Jericho's sallow sockets. He wheezed and with a stumbling gait made to follow Murdoch.
They entered his sitting room. Murdoch pointed towards a cabinet on the other side of the room, making sure Jericho followed his finger with his cloudy eyes.
"See that cupboard Jerry? Your share is in there. Just in there."
Jericho's caterpillar eyebrows headbutted one another as he processed the word cupboard and the simple direction. Then he smiled a lopsided smile and lurched happily towards his prize. Murdoch slipped into the adjacent kitchen and grabbed the sturdiest and weightiest iron skillet he could find. It should do nicely.
He sidled back into the sitting room. Jericho was making unhappy groaning noises and tugging at the locked cabinet door. Perfect. Raising the skillet above his head with both hands he leapt forward and brought it down as hard as he could onto Jericho's distracted head.
Phwup. It connected with a wet smack and shudder-inducing feedback. He had partially caved Jerry's head right in. That should do i-
Jericho howled in a screeching voice that only the disintegrated vocal cords of the undead could produce and turned, face distorted in fury. Murdoch tried to move backward to allow for another full swing, but Jericho's hands shot out with unexpected speed and wrapped around Murdoch's neck. He dropped the skillet and struggled to wrench the dead man's grip from his windpipe. But you know what they say about the dead - they just can't let go. Jericho lifted Murdoch bodily up into the air, and Murdoch's legs flailed uselessly while he choked. Murdoch beat his hands pointlessly against Jericho's steely arms as the life was squeezed out of him.
"Jer...ry...wait..." Murdoch managed two solitary rasped words, but Jericho either didn't hear or didn't care. Again he rumbled in hoarse, gravelley anger and charged towards the sitting room wall, thrusting Murdoch ahead of him like a shield. The pair of them broke through the wall in a shower of plasterboard and dust. Broke right through, not into the kitchen as you might expect, but into Murdoch's intramural hidden stash.
Bars of bullion fell to the ground with heavy thumps and thick, banded wads of unmarked notes scattered all over in the dust. At the sight of all that money, Jericho's mouth opened into a gleeful gurn. He hurred and dropped Murdoch's lifeless body like a forgotten toy.
He fell onto his decaying knees and began to rake all of it into one big pile in front of him. He moaned happily. With all this money, well, he was set for life.
|# ¿ Nov 8, 2012 15:59|
This prompt brought home some good bacon. Worthless non-judge opinion that on top of worthy winner and honourables, I enjoyed the creativity in SaviourX's and toanoradian's pieces.
Also best line of the week "Doest ye even heft?"
|# ¿ Nov 13, 2012 18:38|
In like the icy dagger through my heart upon finding missing words and apostrophes in my piece. Also, I dig abstract promptage.
|# ¿ Nov 14, 2012 01:12|
Congrats! Is this some massive name coincidence or is this the namesake of this here Thunderdome as well?
|# ¿ Nov 15, 2012 04:31|
Just over a day for submissions. The longer you wait the less time I will have to pour over your heaping piles of genius.
But my essay...
|# ¿ Nov 16, 2012 19:14|
What was left unsaid. - Word Count: 719
Fine edged, distinct, acute or quick.
The property of sight, foresight, a mental image or something of exceptional beauty.
To calm or reassure emotionally, or truths.
Physical or mental strength, resilience or intensity.
A state resulting from stimulus or a tendency to revert to a former state.
Words can mean many things. We often say one thing but mean another. Sometimes we mean many things at once, sometimes we don't mean anything at all. People can embody words and words can embody people. Let me show you:
A poker table. Five players. Card sharps.
A politician. A body-builder. A psychic. A knife-thrower. A model.
The psychic is winning, considerably.
Another round. The politician bluffs, the body-builder calls, the psychic raises.
The others fold.
The psychic gets two sharp looks as the remaining two meet her raise. The knife-thrower can see a blurry reflection of her cards in the knife he stuck in the floor to cheat with. It doesn't look good for the other two.
Flop. Turn. River. Check. All-in. Call. The politician crumbles and folds. The cards are flipped. The body-builder is all-out. The dainty model reaches over and strokes his burly forearm, commiserating. He is not appeased. He can flip more than cards, and does so. The table is overturned in a hail of chips and cards and anger.
The model sighs. She had known something like this would happen.
The opinion of the body-builder is in sharp relief on his face. Distinct lines of friendship are drawn invisibly in the room.
"Don't give me this poo poo. I don't buy any of that soothsayer bull. You're a drat cheat, Ellie!"
"You say that because you are close-minded. I foresaw-"
That garnered a reaction.
He stormed forward.
With lightning reflexes, the knife-thrower left two bayonets twanging in the ground between him and her.
"Cool it, Bruce. Just let it go."
Knives still shivering in the ground, the pressure in the room was intense.
The politician chimed in, incensed at the wanton destruction of his sitting room.
"James, what have I loving told you about throwing your knives in my house!"
"Now of all times, Mike, really? Get a grip."
"Maybe you'd understand if you didn't live in a squalid one-bedroom apartment..."
"Quiet the both of you with your petty loving bickering!" roared Bruce "Somebody needs to teach this bitch a lesson." He moved as he spoke.
The room chimed in unison "Bruce!.."
Both James and Mike dived to try and contain the hulking mass of Bruce and Ellie made for the door in tears.
The pair of them were shrugged off easily by the larger man and he had covered half the gap between himself and her when someone's voice rang out.
She was a vision standing on her chair like that, wreathed in her stunning azure ao dai dress. Her voice was quiet but cut with commanding presence.
"Look at yourselves. Is this what we're reduced to? We used to be so close. Now if you put us all into a room together it's like a chemical reaction."
She looked pointedly at Bruce and Ellie, caught midstep on their way out of the room.
"Ever since you two broke up, you've been at each other's throats. You've got to talk it out. It can't go on like this."
"And Mike, you need to stop judging James for his lifestyle choices. James, the same is true for you. You both used to be inseparable. Does money really mean you can't still be friends?"
Guilt prevailed. The room hung its head in collective shame. Shame at the clarity and incisiveness of her words, shame at what they had become.
The acrimony melted away.
"Alison's right" nodded Mike "Why can't we just go back to the way we were before?"
Ellie pressed her head into Bruce's solid chest, her thin arms as far around his broad waist. He was struck dumb.
James proffered his hand and Mike clasped it in a strong handshake.
"Go back to the way we were before, eh?" James leaned in close and whispered.
"Easy words for a reactionary."
Mike's face went scarlet.
"You son of a-"
Did you find all their words? And what of what was left unsaid? Did you find that too?
Huh. That was some weird poo poo. Pretty sure I just wrote some kind of meta-slice of life. I was really pumped to make chickencheese to go with my entry but, alas, life conspires against me.
|# ¿ Nov 17, 2012 18:09|
I'm a maverick, a loose cannon!
|# ¿ Nov 17, 2012 18:22|
That awkward moment
When for years I've thought this line
Had eight syllables.
Looks like that whole bunch of haikus I wrote are all in excess one syllable
|# ¿ Nov 17, 2012 19:32|
Yeah gently caress it note me down in the Book of The Damned.
If there's any spare blood in the inkwell you can scratch my name in too I guess.
|# ¿ Nov 21, 2012 19:35|
Jeza-What Was Left Unsaid
Yeah, I was just experimenting and getting outside of my usual comfort zone. Probably a return to normal service with this prompt though. Conspiracies sound like something I can work with.
Each of the characters represented one of the words of the prompt. On top of that I tried to fill the entire story with every possible alternative meaning of the prompt words, with synonyms or events in the narrative. Like the card sharps, sharp reactions, sharp knives - that sort of thing. I imagine most of it was pretty opaque if you didn't live in my head though.
|# ¿ Nov 22, 2012 01:34|
Something in the Air - Word Count: 748 Lady at 00:25-27
I drew in ragged breaths through the essence soaked handkerchief. I was surrounded by it, the air was clogged so thick with it in these streets it stung my eyes. I walked as fast as I could, keeping my eyes to the ground as much was feasible. I could hardly restrain my disgust at what I was seeing. The mindless automatons around me drank it down in great gulps. Sucked it in past gormless lips and down credulous throats. They shambled to their pre-ordained destinations, thoughts preoccupied with government mandated vocations. They had no idea.
A rough-shaven, besuited businessman barged past without a word, almost knocking my 'kerchief from my mouth. That was close. Even a stray breath or two without the deactivation ions in the essence and I'd be finished. A government puppet like the rest of them.
I was one of the chosen few whose eyes perceived the truth. That haze in the air, that glassy shimmer. It wasn't pollution - nothing so pleasant. That was the lie propagated by the government to satiate the masses. It was a mind control toxin pumped up from the city's sewer system. Insidious and horrifyingly effective. One breath and you became woozy and indolent. Two, and your free will was eroded nearly beyond repair. Three, well, after three there was no hope for you. You were lost.
I drifted through the crowds, cursing my luck. Even if I had gotten off lightly compared to many of my comrades. I whispered a little prayer for them. The pigs had raided one of the bunkers that morning, kicked right through the essence proofed doors and thrown in toxin grenades. Some of us hadn't got to our filters in time, others had been grabbed before they could bite their capsules. In the confusion I had stuffed my handbag with some of the kerchiefs and run through one of the bunker's secret exits.
A solitary tear crept out of my right eye. Brian, Eleanor and even Raphael. They were probably strapped to interrogation tables in the precinct right now. Their mental fortitude was exceptional, but even they wouldn't last. Veins pumped with sodium pentathol and lungs saturated in toxin they would only last so long. And when they did, my identity and many other would be out in the open. And the plan, that would be set back years. We had been so close. The chemists had already synthesised an amazingly effective antidote. The dispersal devices had almost been complete. All gone.
But all wasn't lost. I still had a copy of the recipe on USB stick. I could still start again, meet up with other cells and rebuild. I walked down the steps of Herald Square Station, eyes erratic for police presence. They had eyes everywhere. For now I had to get out of downtown Manhattan. Somewhere the toxin density wasn't as chokingly thick. I pushed past the turnstile and made my way to the platform. Three minutes until the next train.
I would just take it to the end of the line and go from there. I paced back and forth down the platform, adrenalin still making my heart pound. I felt eyes watching me all over. There was a light from the tunnel and the screech of tortured metal. In my anxiety I walked right to the edge of the platform in anticipation. The train pulled into the platform at speed, leaving the braking far later than usual. The rushing wind it brought with it ripped the handkerchief from my hand.
I gasped. That was my first mistake.
I felt the toxin slip down into my lungs, poison spreading into my bloodstream, flourishing. I went weak at the knees, felt dizzy and light headed. I dropped my handbag. I scrunched my mouth shut and dived for it, scrabbling with feeble fingers at the zip. But the zip wouldn't budge, it was caught on the fabric. Every tug just compounded the problem. I panicked. I began to go red for lack of air. My body screamed for it.
And at last I had to relent. I let in one more deep breath and felt my body go numb all over. My arms fell to my side. Eyes glazed, I gave myself to the toxin and drew it into myself for a third time. I keeled forward onto the platform. I had joined them. A concerned passer-by walked up.
“Hey lady, you alright? Lady? You alright?”
|# ¿ Nov 24, 2012 21:07|
So I've been working all day but I managed to bang out a couple quickies. Sorry about the picture quality, I never did get the hang of those new fangled photoshops and tablets and other CG fuckery.
Looks like somebody took two scoops from the ice-cream bowl of talent
|# ¿ Nov 25, 2012 03:32|
The bottom? Christ, and I thought I felt some decent energy running through that piece, too.
Not read everybody else's yet but yours is probably the best piece that has lost since I entered the dome
|# ¿ Nov 27, 2012 02:36|
Being 'quite liked' feels like high praise indeed among those crits. You're a tough judge to please Chairchuck.
|# ¿ Nov 27, 2012 14:35|
Prompt looks cool. In. Prepare to maybe quite like something I wrote buddy.
|# ¿ Nov 28, 2012 01:10|
Shitsticks. Better get on this. Bleary eyed 3am desperation incoming.
|# ¿ Dec 3, 2012 03:13|
The Pale Fandango - Word Count: 899
His Lexus crunched to a halt on the gravel driveway. The bitter aftertaste of another wasted day clung to his tongue. He wended his way up the garden path, washed over by the sallow glow from the sodium streetlights. He turned the key in the latch with a familiar thunk and the door jolted open into his dreary home.
An empty house, fit for his empty life. He discarded his briefcase in the hallway, pulling his tie loose and unbuttoning his top shirt buttons. In the kitchen, he flicked the kettle on and waited in the darkness for it to boil. In the cold air, the steam from the boiling water formed an eerie fog. He threw a teabag into a mug and poured some tea. The sterile light of the refrigerator revealed no milk. He shut it with a sigh. Took a sip of the searing liquid regardless, inhaled deeply the hot fumes. The tannin taste was cheap reinvigoration.
He stepped through into the living room and sat down on the sofa. Grabbed the remote and turned on the television. He had left the sound muted and silent figures mouthed wordlessly at him. Celebrities with plastic faces and papier-mâché personalities failed to connect. In the pale flicker of the screen, their ghosts danced a dead fandango on the walls. It was that insipid lambency that caught upon something in the room, something not usually there.
In the chair beside the sofa, there was a person sitting. A young woman, with pallid and sickly skin. Her irises were great glowing squares. She didn't look at him, but simply stared transfixed at the noiseless figments on the screen.
He was not surprised. Had found himself incapable of that emotion some time ago. He was however, confused. He rose, and asked softly "Hello?". Paused. "Who are you?".
She said nothing, nor gave any indication that she had heard him speak. She merely continued watching the screen. Before he knew what he was doing, he picked up the remote and killed the TV. The almost imperceptible hum of the screen died with as the wisp of electrical discharge crackled and died. Now it was truly silent.
At that, the woman turned to look at him for the first time, her eyes lurid no longer, but now black on black on white. With inky black hair and crisp white dress, she was a vision in monochrome. Like she had stepped out of a 1930's black and white horror movie.
"What are you doing here?" he asked, voice hushed barely more than a whisper.
Her eyes bore through him and she retorted "What are you doing here?". She mimicked his own question like a child. Her voice was abnatural - twanged like a discordant guitar string, warbling and unsteady.
He was a tad affronted at that, and his reply was a shade pompous "This is my house, and I would like you to leave. Otherwise I shall have to call the police. You can't just barge into someone else's house like this."
She didn't blink at the threat, which was really more of a bluff. "I think I'd prefer it if you left."
"You heard me. I'd prefer if it was you who shuffled off. I don't want you here. Nobody else wants you here. I don't even think you want to be here, do you?"
Her voice grew stronger and more feral as she continued "How sad. To come home alone to an empty house and then to wish your only company to leave. Why do you even bother anymore?"
He had nothing to say to her accusations. Couldn't fathom the answers.
But she wasn't finished. "You know." she said conversationally "I wonder why it is you loosen your tie whenever you come home. Perhaps you could try tightening it? See how it feels sometimes. It might feel good"
Goosebumps began to crawl up his shoulderblades as she plowed forward relentlessly into his insecurities. "Say, you look like you have some pretty sturdy light fittings in here too. Is that why you don't turn the lights on? Afraid to see them? Afraid that they might remind you of something?"
He bit his lip, tears near his eyes. He stammered out. "P-please. Leave me in peace."
Something akin to pity reflected back at him from those black orbs of hers. "Don't you see? I offer you peace. Real, lasting peace. Not just turning the voices off so that you can't hear them. Making it so they never speak at all."
Her spindly, skeletal fingers rolled his little brown bottle of pills idly back and forth the arm of the chair.
"All it takes is a little courage..." she insinuated seductively.
He burst through the front door in a panic, leaving it wide open. He dashed down the garden path, and sped across the gravel driveway kicking up a spray of stones. The orange eyes of the streetlights dogged his every step, watching impassive as he fell apart at the seams. The bridge wasn't even a mile away. And the gorge was deep. Deep enough that even the voices couldn't follow.
The inane chatter, the excruciating days wasted, the empty house, the bottles of pill, the bitter tannins and the pale fandangos could all drown down there in the murky depths. All it would take was a little courage, cheap reinvigoration.
I didn't feel like that was terrible, but I do feel terrible. Bedtime I think.
|# ¿ Dec 3, 2012 04:32|
This is Thunderdome.
Feigning injury and distress is my way of lowering your guard before firing my hidden pneumatic wristdagger into your spleen. If anyone falls for it, it was their fault for showing mercy.
|# ¿ Dec 3, 2012 17:31|
I am in. The head to head duel looks like it could be good stuff.
|# ¿ Dec 4, 2012 22:55|
Gonna eat your bones and wear your skin as a stylish cape and cap combo, Jonked.
|# ¿ Dec 5, 2012 22:15|
Rebirth - Word Count: 1320
Zheng Lan had been a good man, once. In days long passed he had cared for his aging mother, loved his wife and sired three healthy children. He had ploughed the land and toiled to provide for them. On hot summer's days he had salted the earth from his brow. On freezing winter's evenings his sinewy muscles had split icebitten logs for the fire. He asked for little and received it.
One unremarkable afternoon, men in uniform had arrived. Lijuan, his wife, had run from the kitchen into the field he was tilling. He had looked up to watch her run. His eyes followed her the whole way, appreciating the ruddy warmth in her cheeks and her taut, elegant figure. She was beautiful to him still.
She informed him of their guests and he dusted the earth from his hands. Still in his overalls, he sat down at the table where his mother had served tea. Three stern men, two in the deep khaki and red of the military, rifles resting on their chairs. They sat impassively beside a bureaucratic man in spectacles and grey flannel suit who sipped, frowning, at his mother's tea.
Zheng Lan had bowed, inwardly perplexed. To see somebody so finely dressed somewhere this remote was unusual. The man did not reciprocate his gesture. Zheng Lan hid his offence. Nobody said a word. His eyes flicked to the floor, where he noticed they had neglected to remove their shoes. He saw his stooped mother wringing her hands, nervous. They had brought no gift. Zheng Lan declined to sit. The green tea in his cup steamed and grew cool.
The man in spectacles had spoken at last, to tell him that in the name of progress, and for the good of the people, they would be requisitioning a portion of his grain. Zheng Lan had smiled and had nodded. He had politely bowed to their backs as they departed.
The bespectacled man had never returned, but true to his words, soldiers had come every week to take a little more. At first there was less to go around, then there was not enough. They came for their little coal, their logs, their preserves in the larder. All he reaped, they repossessed. They came for their pots and pans. Every week a new small evil.
His elderly mother withered away and died. A small mercy, but she had eaten as much as a mouse. His dry, haggard eyes could find no tears. His wife could. She clutched his sturdy body at night to cry into his chest. She asked why but he had no answer.
A week after that, he buried the corpse of his old friend who had gone out to protest at the trucks loaded with his year's crop of yams. Days later he dug another grave beside it for his youngest daughter, who had perished during the night. He knew they could not stay. Then his son grew gravely ill, and his beautiful Lijuan with him. Bed-ridden and unable to travel, he had walked for a day and a night to the local doctor. But when he got there, the man said he could not help him. He had shamed himself and begged, but the careworn doctor still said he could not. Did not have the medicines nor the means to help them. Even still Zheng Lan persisted and the doctor, in his pity, gave him some herbs to boil up as a tea.
He walked back, clutching the herbs to his chest tightly, not once stopping for rest. With the dawn creeping over the horizon, he reached his home. He found his eldest, curled up in a pile of rags beside his wife. Lijuan lay there, white skinned and beautiful. He touched her forehead with the back of his hand. Beautiful but cold. He had been too late. Her dead arms curled around his dead son and sleeping daughter. He ground the dry herbs into dust in his fist. Zhang Lan did not sleep.
He went to the outhouse where he kept his tools. His spade was splintered and broken, the metal end taken to the furnaces. There was nothing left in there but splinters and cobwebs. He walked the hill where he had buried his daughter and friend. A cool breeze whistled down through the long grass and he felt the light touch of autumn on his skin. On hands and knees he dug his wife and son an unfit grave. It took hours, and even when it was done it was a shallow and pathetic effort. Blood trickled from his fingernails and his hands were so cold he could no longer feel them. He buried them together, arms intertwined like he had found them on the bed.
When he returned to the house, it was nightfall. He slept fitfully, with his eldest daughter's bony arms clasped around his shoulders. The next morning, he gathered what little food and money he had managed to keep hidden. He left his home and his life behind, hand in hand with his daughter. It was twelve days walk to Chongqing.
On the tenth day, she could walk no further. They had eaten all they had. He bundled her up and carried her in his arms. It began to rain, a bitter and chilling rain that would not cease. His every step was agony from blisters. He travelled alongside a retinue of ghosts. Depleted and empty men like himself, seeking better fortune in the cities. They exchanged no pleasantries, nor stopped to help one another. Army trucks drove down the road, carving muddy tracks. Soldiers aboard leered without emotion at the grey train of people heading towards the city, utterly distant.
On the eleventh day, the last breath escaped the lips of his last surviving family member. He kissed her on her rain-wet lips and laid her gently in a muddy ditch beside the road. He had not the strength to bury her. She joined the multitudes of dead that lined the roads, emaciated and sick. Only the rain kept the flies and smell away.
On the twelfth day he reached the outskirts of the city. He had nothing left to give nor anything left to be taken from him, save his life, and many said he had lost that too. He was in a hole deep enough that light could not reach him.
Zheng Lan the good man had died that day. He was also reborn. Zealot Zhang they whispered behind his back. A man whose fervour for change was unmatched, his ruthlessness unparalleled. He could not be bribed nor dissuaded and he feared no-one.
It was raining that day too, when he swaggered into that house. The meek woman at the door's protests had died in her throat when she saw his red armband. He tracked dirt from his thick boots onto the floor and barged into the room. A long table, full of the finest foods was set out. And at the end of the table sat a man, wearing spectacles and a crisp grey flannel suit. Zheng Lan walked over the table, boots crunching into the fine ceramic bowls.
He drew his truncheon. The woman from the door cried and ran over to him and he slapped her to the floor. The bespectacled man did nothing, remained sitting at the head of the table.
Zheng Lan spoke "I have brought no gifts and I wish no tea. I wish only progress and the good of the people."
He raised his truncheon.
It wasn't about what was good for him. It was about what was good for the many. He regarded the elederly man in spectacles through his haggard eyes. The man made to move and Zheng's sinewy arms brought the truncheon down with merciless force. Out with the old, in with the new.
I kind of extended this a little so the word count match-up wouldn't be so weird.
|# ¿ Dec 7, 2012 21:00|
|# ¿ Oct 22, 2021 13:29|
On the upside, if you lose, at least you won't be stuck with that anime avatar anymore.
Unless we change the losertar to be anime. That would be a punishment worth fearing.
|# ¿ Dec 7, 2012 22:41|