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Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Well dang I just found this topic and was all excited to write some fiction and now you're saying we've got to write poetry? Guess it's time to learn how to write a poem.

So put me in coach, I'll win one for the team! (I haven't seen Bad News Bears, the Thunderdome is the name of the little league, right?)

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Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Come now, that's not true. She invented zombies!

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



I worked really hard for days and ended up writing something stupid.


Through crypts beneath the city’s nomal shell
searching for cheese of sweet and nutty notes,
this Jarlesburg, monger’s rapture, we journey.
“Fetch for me this rich fromage and waking
elixir your reward.” Another quest,
another level, one more dungeon down.
And there, in catacomb, ‘midst skull and silt,
a chest. Vender trash? Rich reward? We rush
forward dispatching slime mold, mushroom man,
and clogging swarm of bat; to gather round
our prize. Cracking the lid, inside: a hat.
It’s brim is wide, too wide, and leather red.
A buckle fixed upon the crown, gaudy
and ill-considered. Worst of all, pompous
foliage thrust overt: the feather peaking.
“Not on my head,” I cry. Companions turn
beseeching eyes toward mine, imploring.
“It offers plus six shielding,” speaks Gn’nor,
“and boosts charisma by three.” “Give it over
to Kurt,” I avert, “he requires it more
than me.” Vonnegut shakes his curly brow,
mustached lip sneering. “Ruin to thieve or cut-
purse who wears such flamboyant clothing. No,
Gn’nor for whom this cap is destined.” Shocked,
the warrior holds out hands, pleading. “Not me!”
And seeing our unwavering gazes, screams “I.
Can’t. Even. Equip. It!” And so, night becomes
day above unseen and still our row
unceasing. Dire, that rat so vast, so mean,
infected scourge comes prowling. Us, invested
in our quarrel don’t hear the scratch stone scape
of plague claws or the rasping yellow wheeze.
The Dire-rat surging forth, we caught unwary,
incisors large as plows: gnashing, infecting.
Diseased, blood-soaked, raw, we fall. The rat,
keeper of cheese, and king of tunnel, sewer,
and vault, dines and we die. Adventure’s end,
lives lost. The curtain falls on hat unclaimed.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



I had a hard time figuring out stresses when I started writing mine. I would say a word and think "of course! it's this!" and then say the word a few more times and then think "no... it's actually the opposite..." and then keep saying it going back and forth until the word lost all meaning and who loving knows where stresses ever go anymore and how do you even know how to speak at all!

After watching a bunch of videos and visiting numerous websites on syllable stress I just gave up and used Dictionary.com's syllable breakdowns as a guide.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



My wife was pushing for me to do a fez because of Doctor 11. Dodged a bullet there (she was pretty surprised to learn that its was the secret bad hat).

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Bear Sleuth
Your meter needs some work

I figured, but I'm okay with that. This was the very first time I've written in Iambic Pentameter. Going in all I knew was that Shakespeare wrote in it and that it went "dum DA dum DA dum DA dum DA dum DA," but not why or how. So I'm still kinda proud that I met the challenge and I learned a lot.

I did scansion the poem out while I was writing, I can post parts of it if you're curious to see the thinking behind any of the lines.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



gently caress it I'm in.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Sitting Here posted:

please look over the list of participants to make sure you're on there

I'm not there.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



(1490 words)

Piotr brushed at the black motes that were congregating on and penetrating into his legs. They fled at the motion and sunk back into the ground. He thought about turning on the device he had scavenged off the dead man, but he didn't know how long it would last and was afraid of exhausting it forever. He only used it when he slept and was unable to brush away the motes. Already they were back, seeping up out of the dust and drifting gently towards his feet. He had been sitting too long. He stood and paced back and forth, the motes scattering. Walking made him weary. It had been two days since he had last eaten.

He looked back to the tent and the device within then remembered the first night he had spent in this place, waking to find himself covered in motes like thousands of tiny spiders, their tendrils flowing through his shirt and jeans and into his skin. Settled, they had been difficult to dislodge and only after vigorous scrubbing had they fallen away. He hadn't felt anything as they probed their way into him. But afterwards he spent the rest of the night vomiting. His joints were stiff and unresponsive for days afterwards and he hadn't gotten more than twenty minutes of sleep at a time. When he found the body with the tent and the device he'd crumpled in exhaustion. Though his watch didn't work in this place he suspected he had slept a day or more. He'd still occasionally jerk awake expecting to find the motes on his hands and face but whatever it was about the device that kept them away it worked, for now.

The corpse had a gun also--a long rifle of sorts--but it either did not work or Piotr could not make it work. It hadn't mattered. He hadn't seen any animals which to hunt. Except for the cautious birds which never let him get close, the scrub-like weeds that grew in desert, and the motes--if they could even be considered alive--he hadn't found any living things. Up until he had met the Bird Man at least. Piotr looked to the horizon, but saw nothing. The corpse also had been wearing heavy leather armor and a mask with opaque goggles that covered its face. He had started to remove the mask but the flesh underneath had stuck to and gripped at the inside he had refrained from pulling any more.

Piotr scanned the horizon again. Nothing moved. Just as the last hundred times he had checked. And the hundred before that. And before that. The Bird Man had been gone six days. The food the Bird Man had left was gone a long time now. If he didn't return in the next few hours Piotr would have to go down into the desert and collect more of the brittle weeds that had sustained him all these months. The likelihood that the Bird Man would return while he was scavenging was infinitesimal. Still, Piotr was terrified that the Bird Man would arrive at the camp to find Piotr missing. Then he would leave, abandoning Piotr to the desert and the dust and the motes. Already he feared that the Bird Man was dead or lost, or worse, that he had been a symptom of Piotr's loneliness: a delusion, as incorporeal as the motes. But the food had been real. Dried jerky of sorts. And the Bird Man had promised, in that broken guttural Polish, that if Piotr would show him where he had come into to this world The Bird Man would show him the secret to crossing back. And then Piotr would be back in Łazienki Park. And he would be home. And motes and the weeds and the dirt and dead body and sickening custard yellow sky in which there was never any sun or clouds and it never changed except in the morning and evening when it would be consumed by blood orange red from the setting or rising of that nonexistent sun would all be forgotten.

The pacing had exhausted Piotr and he slumped to the ground. He reached into the tent and pulled out the device. If the Bird Man was coming he wouldn't need it much longer anyway. He would turn it on for a few hours and then, somehow, find the energy to go down to the desert. Piotr pulled the device close, flicked the small metal switch, and looked to the horizon.

Piotr woke to the Bird Man standing over him. He looked the same as when Piotr had last seen him, covered in a heavy coat, wearing a wide brimmed hat and a googled mask adorned with a graceful avian curve. Piotr tried to rise but his body refused and he collapsed back into the dirt. The Bird Man set down his pack and pulled from it more of the jerky. Later, after he had eaten and drunk and recovered they had started up into the mountains. Piotr had considered resting through the night, but this was it, the Bird Man had come to show him the way home. He hadn't bothered to pack the tent or the device. Unnecessary now, they would be the only remnants to show he had been here.



Piotr didn't know if the mountains were natural and the rooms had been carved into them or if they were the corpse of a once great city. He had explored the rooms for weeks, exploring high and deep into their abandoned crevices. But all he ever found was dust and emptiness and after a while he stopped searching.

He lead the Bird Man through twisting streets and crags to the place where he had come through. It wasn't far into the mountains and the trip only took a few hours. The sky was still bright when they reached the place, a sandy canyon alcove like any millions of others in the mountains. Speaking for the first time since returning the Bird Man asked if Piotr was sure this was the right place. Piotr had been here how many times searching for the secret passage home? Exploring, praying, then finally throwing himself at the walls until he felt like his body would break. He was sure. The Bird Man nodded then reached into his pack. He pulled out what looked like a large pistol and for a moment Piotr thought that he was going shoot him. But instead the Bird Man pointed to the sky and fired a flare which left a trail of grey smoke before exploding with a dull bang.

For a long time they waited. Several times Piotr asked to be shown how to cross back. And each time the bird man replied that soon, he would show him soon. So Piotr paced in impatience, stamping to keep the motes away. The sky was deepening into the blood red that marked evening when the first of the soldiers arrived. They were heavily armored and masked like the dead man and each carried a long riffle. They looked to the Bird Man who pointed to the place where the canyon walls came together. Shouldering their rifles they marched forward. When the first of the soldiers reached the end of the alley he turned in a way that Piotr couldn't quite make out. And then he was no longer there. Without breaking their stride the other soldiers followed, disappearing into the space between worlds. Piotr started forward but the Bird Man placed a hand on his chest.

More soldiers entered the canyon and made their way to the end. And more. Piotr watched as columns of armored men disappeared into the space where the walls met. With them were large pack animals, lizards with pocked skin and long matted hair. They pulled huge armored carts crowned with a large turrets. The soldiers had to help the lizards turn their bodies to enter the space. Piotr watched intently but couldn't make out what the movement was. He imagined the army appearing in Łazienki Park, spreading out and firing those long rifles, bodies falling as the army moved through the city. How many people would die before the invasion was subdued? Would it be? Surely these soldiers couldn't stand up to the SZ RP and modern military technology, but this army was from an unknown world and who knew what force they might bring.

It was late in the night when the last of the pack lizards and its handlers had made their way through. Piotr stood shivering in the cold. "Now," he said "now show me the way through." The Bird Man settled his pack on his shoulders and looked directly at him. His dark googles reflected back Piotr's face. Then he walked to the end of the canyon, turned, and was gone. Piotr said nothing, just sank heavily to his knees, and did not move when the motes came.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



This prompt is great. So in.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Just a bit of Halloween fun.

One Eviscerated Evening - 831 words

Vladimir Sarcophagus waltzed through the crowd of draculas and mummies and other assorted monstrosities. Sure, there were some big wigs here1, but as the only dracula mummy in existence it was clear that his coiffure was the most colossal. Adjusting his dracula broach, Vladimir swept onto the dais at the front of the hall and seated himself at his throne2. Slowly the loose ends of his tattered wrappings settled into place as he gazed out at the assembled undead.

"Why have you summoned us here, Sarcophagus?" demanded a voice from the crowd. Vladimir found its owner, Phrond, one of the slug princes from the lesser bogs. He was known for getting rather boisterous when drunk and judging from the paper cups littered about his foot he had left sobriety long behind. Very well, if Phrond was so impatient to be started than he would be first. Vladimir nodded towards one of the wings of his great hall and from it emerged a zombie butler carrying a large glass decanter on a tray.

It didn't occur to Phrond what might be happening until too late. In his drunkenness he had no time to react as the zombie butler tossed the potent saline cocktail into his face3. The popping and sizzling was drowned out by cries of shock and outrage. Vladimir nodded again, this time in the direction of the balcony. A shot echoed around the hall as another zombie butler fired a silver bullet into a therian's head. There was more panic as the body fell, phantom limbs splayed grotesquely. Most of the crowd tried to flee but found they were held in place by Vladimir's mummy curse.

Vladimir watched with a small smile as two more were-whatevers were sniper shot. The cries of confusion and demands for explanation fell on deaf ears4.
At a gesture bright UV lights that had been installed in the celling were activated, filling the room with a painful glow. Painful, that is, if you weren't half sun-god6. As the screams turned from shock to agony and the room filled with the smell of crisp dracula skin Vladimir rose and stepped to the edge of the dais.

"For those of you still alive to hear," he said addressing the writhing throng, "know that this isn't a coup or bid for command, not that I, the unending scourge and lord of the two lands, would have any need for such acts." He raised a hand and a squad of zombie butlers charged at the frankensteins with torches and pitchforks. "Nor is this a plot to steal your shares of Spook Inc.7 In fact this is not part of a conspiracy of any kind." At this Vladimir strode over to a table which had been covered with a white cloth.

"I'm not doing this to fulfill a perverse sexual need," he said has he pulled off the cloth with a flourish. Underneath were several rows of mummified hearts. "You should be more careful with what you leave in your pockets at the coat check," he said in response to the gasps of surprise from the assorted Egyptian dead. "And this isn't for the sadistic psychological thrill," he continued as he began crushing the hearts one by one. "Though I must admit I do enjoy it," he added as an aside.

"No, all of this," he gestured to the writhing corpses, flaming bodies, and piles of ash, "is merely an exercise in power. An application of force to keep from getting rusty. A casual genocide," he said as a zombie butler put a harpoon through the last existing Black Lagoonigan. "And as modern medicine is so keen to remind us, it is important to exercise regularly."

The last of these words were voiced unheard, for by this time the entire assemblage had been eradicated. As the final act of the evening Vladimir ordered the zombie butlers to crowbar each other in the skull. Then he went upstairs and drew himself a bath.


1 Literally, in some cases.

2 Contrary to popular opinion most dracula thrones are not crafted from bones and skulls, that particular style being out of vogue for nearly 400 years. Indeed, Vladimir's throne only had one small skull, located near the back, and was only included for tradition's sake.

3 A note of caution: if you are a med-student or nurse's aide and find yourself accosted by a slug man with nothing but a patient's IV bag at hand, using it as a deterrent is unlikely to work as depicted here. The answer to why Vladimir's assassination succeeded is the decanter was magic.

4 Mostly because Vladimir's ears were buried under several tons of sand in a canopic jar of Senebhenaef5.

5 Traditionally, only the viscera were removed during mummification but there are no rules for preserving a dracula and the embalmers were playing it by ear.

6 And 1/16th unknowable space horror on his mother's side.

7 Vladimir, of course, already had majority control.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Noah posted:

Enough dickthumping about your stupid degrees, get with a new prompt.

This week's prompt: write about your english lit degree and also how much you lift. 5000 words.


Martello posted:

I can't pick it as winner because I don't hate the protagonist. I love the protagonist! I want to be friends with him.

Yeah, I was afraid that would happen. But I knew there'd be a lot of surprise sex, baby eating, and other serious business this week so I wanted to do something fun and lighthearted for contrast. Dems the breaks, but I'm glad you guys liked the story.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Martello posted:

Guess what, motherfucker? You're Judge #4 for this week. Way to cry about how you were trying to make me laugh and be cute and poo poo.

Cool beans. I should cry about stuff more often.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Fanky Malloons posted:

BONUS POINTS if anyone happens to write a story featuring my secret desired subject matter.

Yes, yes. Secret bonus points. This round will be like hats but more broad and less stupid.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Oop! I didn't see your edit. Judgements coming shortly.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Yup, emailed. Now we're just waiting on slothy sloth Jeza.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Critiques!

You're all terrible. None of you wrote about my secret bonus subject which was simply any kind of historical setting. From the stone age to the Regan era there's plenty of ripe horror to be harvested but you chucklefucks assumed that grounded in reality meant contemporary apartment blocks and neighborhood streets. The loving highlight was a trip to the beach. gently caress.

Following: your shame detailed.

It was all a (Teenage) Dream Chairchucker

Here's the thing: the gently caress? Let's put aside you went for stupid silly when you were asked for horror. I mean, I didn't get where I am today by not choosing to ignore the prompt for some laffs, but your story had plenty of other problems that cemented it as Worst in Show. First, this needs some serious editing. There's pronoun problems all over the opening paragraph, unclear action all over the place, you start the story way too early and waste our time with unnecessary information about Violet's mom, and there's a pervasive lack of control and refinement. Remember all way back to the OP when Martello said not to slam your hairy butt on your keyboard and post the results? Well your story is covered in rear end marks and lose hairs.

Second, it was all a dream? Really, man? Really? That's the cliche people use when they're describing what a cliche is! I was with you on your dumb as hell premise, I really was. Being trapped in a concert hall for 28 hours would be a horrible experience even with a band you liked, let alone one you couldn't stand. I wanted to see where you would take it, but when you popped the dream you lost all my goodwill. It didn't help that it was loving broadcast since the title and I could see it barreling down like a god drat freight train and the collision t'wernt no fun.


Ground Floor Apartment The Swinemaster

My pick for winner. I'm a big baby and there's been plenty of nights I've jumped at shadows. Your story captured that experience. Add the building suspense and a nicely subdued ending and it was all good times. If I must gripe it was that the fantasy sequence wasn't clearly defined as such. I see what you were trying to do but I felt it added an ambiguity that hurt the story.


Dogged Black Sitting Here

I liked the ambiguity in this--that we don't get a full picture of the inside of the shack or who the dude was--because the moment to moment action was clear. Seems that when people are trying to do a "style" they confuse the two, so yeah, appreciate that wasn't the case here. This story was up there but it wasn't scary. I didn't feel invested in the character's well-being. Still, good ending what with the lifelong trauma and all.


The Wrong Warzone Kleptobot

Here's what I mean by clarity of action. In each beat it's confusing to what's going on, not in a "what's really happening" sense (that part was clear) but in a "I can't follow this" way. I get what you were trying to do, put us in the head of the mentally unsound, but it just made the whole thing muddled and blah.


Caroline slothmonster

Man, this could have been a winner. The premise was great. Dude kills his fiance while sleepwalking. loving harrowing. I wanted to see what he would do, how he would handle this. I was putty in your hands but then you had to go and throw in a stupid twist. You totally undercut all the horror and drama and abandoned a really compelling set up for... what? A twist for twists sake? Disappointing.


Friend is Good toanoradian

I liked what this eventually became, especially the bit about the symbol popping up all over the place. Especially on the greeting card and email. Those were right creepy. But that old problem with first person raises its head: how is the narrator writing this after he got friend-zoned? Also, what did the candy at the beginning have to do with anything? That bit was confusing and started the story off on the wrong foot.

Megafauna Baggy_Brad

Little surprised to see this one lose as I thought it was okay. You defiantly nailed natural language and after some stilted exchanges up to this point I really appreciated that. Still, out of all the horrific places the premise could go getting attacked off screen by a something was pretty low on the give-a-poo poo meter. Also, the prompt was to ground in reality and an attack by a zombie saber-tooth tiger (as what was clearly the case here) isn't that.


Attendance Toaster Beef

Nice little tale of hosed up kids doing a hosed up things. I can dig it. I felt that if you had given us a little more detail at the climax, really nailed the horror, this could have been a very powerful piece. Still, very good. Congratulations.


Memory Lane Canadian Surf Club

Sad story, I empathized with the guy. You got me in his head and that was good. But this isn't horror. I imagine one could write a truly horrific story about a debilitating illness, but you didn't capture it. You're lucky Chairchucker was here chuckin his chairs and making a mess of things or it could have been your blood on the sand.


Untitled Jeza

loving hell it's a good thing you weren't eligible. This was the kinda thing I was expecting given the prompt. Just some straight up messed up poo poo. Given the start though I thought it was going to go a lot further. Ending with only a rusty screw in the heel felt like getting off easy.


Tan Capntastic

I don't know what was going on here, what the man's motivations were, but the moment to moment action was clear and that made it work. I really liked this. You invented a novel situation, really sold the experience, and didn't feel compelled to undo it all with a "twist." If it was up to me you'd be free of your losertar for this one.


The Flood Noah

Eh. The beginning wasn't clear. I didn't care about the characters. Was left uneffected at the end. Yours was the only entry to explicitly use the threat of surprise sex, so congratulations on that.


Insurance Black Griffon

What did the insurance bill have to do with anything, thematically? I'm afraid I didn't get this one beyond store shooting and empty sentiment. Also, the jump forward in time to the newspaper and then back into the action was confused and clumsy. And yet, I've got a two-year-old son and I'm an easy target for anything where kids get hurt. So this story ended up being effecting, in a lazy sort of way.


And with that I pass on the dead rat nailed to a plank that is the judge's scepter to Toaster Beef and look forward to mixing it up with all you next week.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Love the prompt. I'm in. I've got a great idea for a story about boobs.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



I'm biding my time to look like a big shot cool guy.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Atlas Benched (740 words)

Despite their best efforts the ship had got caught in the planet's gravity well. The crew tried to guide the ship down safely but there was no fuel left and the navigation systems had failed and one wing had torn off and when the ship slammed into the ground no one had survived. Certain procedures were still active however and from the wreckage crawled Poindextron. It rose to its feet, the brutal gravity making its already awkward gait more so, and began to document the new world.

It moved among the rocky landscape, snapping pictures of boulders and low-growing weeds. For each one it classified, documented, and stored the information in its databanks. Occasionally it would stop to gather some dirt or gavel for further analysis in the ship's lab. Poindextron had just found a particularly fascinating patch of grit and was photographing it from various angles when it walked right into one of the planet's native lifeforms.

It was a huge creature, vaguely reptile-like but bipedal and covered bulging muscles. Above its head it was holding a boulder nearly the size it was. Poindextron scrambled back thinking the creature was about to slam the boulder down upon it.

The reptile let out a primal scream as it brought the boulder to the ground with a heavy thud. "Yeah bro got my pump on! Looking big, looking good." Poindextron's FishChip™ identified the creature's guttural burps as a language similar to that of the slime chimps on Vurlax III and provided a translation. The creature looked down and noticed the cowering survey bot. "Hey bro, never seen you around before. You here to get your swole on?" The creature gestured around him and for the first time Poindextron made a wide sweep of its location.

It was standing in the middle of a quarry scattered with rocks of all sizes. Amongst them various other lizard creatures were lifting boulders, encouraging each other on, and arguing about who's body mass was the biggest.

"Look bro, you're not going to cut it around here unless you do something about those noodly arms," the creature said, nodding at Poindextron's appendages. He lead Poindextron to the center of the quarry where other creatures were starting to gather around. "We'll start with some isolation lifts, work your tri's then blast your delts. How much you bench bro?" The Creature seemed to expect something from Poindextron. It looked around and found a small stone. It lifted it to the creature and announced "Granite."

The creature's brow furrowed and it knocked the stone out of Poindextron's collection unit. "Look bro, we don’t put up with jokers around here. Now show us what you can do." The creature shoved Poindextron towards a thick slab. It looked at the circle of onlookers that had surrounding it. They were all yelling to lift the rock, so it gripped the slab with its claws and strained. Its servos whined at the effort and warnings blared in its processing unit, but it managed to lift the slab a few feet above the ground.

"Not bad, not bad. Good effort. Let's see what you're really made of. See if you can lift this big boy." The crowd moved to a solid looking boulder that came up to Poindextron's waist. "Just one rep bro, show us what you got."

Poindextron hunkered down next to the boulder, reached around it as far as it could, and gripped tight. It heaved but the boulder didn't budge. Poindextron pulled back on the rock and forced all its systems past their tolerance points. The warnings were blaring again but the creatures were yelling encouragements and rallying Poindextron on. It strained as hard as it could, servos were screaming, its appendages pulling at their sockets, surges of electricity racing through its arrays, its claws digging deep groves into the rock’s sides. Suddenly the warnings cut out as Poindextron's collection units were ripped from its body. Its legs buckled as their servos crumpled and a huge surge ran through its processors, scrambling circuits and melting connections. Its FishChip™ malfunctioned and began translating the creatures cries into a broken ancient English.

The original creature, the one Poindextron had bumped into, stepped into view of its failing visual receptors and began speaking. Poindextron's emergency shutdown procedures were already in effect though, and all it heard before power cut out completely was "Doest ye even heft, brother?"

"Doest ye even heft?"

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



It doesn't quite tell a story though, which for all it's excess verbosity Bad Seafood's did.

I got to say, I'm eagerly awaiting Chairchucker's 250 word opus.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Sitting Here posted:

but don't be a dick.

YOU don't be a dick!!! (I'm in)

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Holy crap you guys congratulations! Way to show them which dome thunders the hardest.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



At the ancient pond
chickencheese plunges into
the sound of water

--------------------------------------------------

Dinosaurus Hex (750 words)

I ran into the supply closet and slammed the door. Just in time too. It shuttered at the weight of the Balaur bondoc crashing into the other side. I braced against the door and held the latch as the Balaur tried to manipulate the handle. I guess its slippery claws couldn't get a good grip because a moment later the Balaur threw itself against the door again. After a few more attempts it must have realized it wasn't going to be able to break through. I could hear its footsteps slapping wetly against the stone floor as it went in search of other prey.

I stepped back from the door and the puddle of moulding agent that was seeping under it. The Balaur must have knocked off a good chunk of its mass with each assault. Probably not enough to seriously hinder it, but maybe enough to give me a chance to fight back.

While I tried to catch my breath I looked around the closet for something I could use. I had been in here just a little while ago collecting the last few ingredients I needed and so was familiar with the closet’s inventory. I had wanted to impress Journeyman Flepp who taught our alchemical chemistry lessons. Prove to him I wasn't the useless addition to the guild he seemed to think I was. So today in Laboratory I had prepared an Observation Tray.

This is a fancy bit of alchemical sibyllinism. What you do is mix up a moulding agent, kind of grey goop, slick and slimy but with a good bit of viscosity. It's a bit like the thin porridge the kitchen serves sometimes. You pour the agent into a tray or pan, anything that has a wide surface area, then add a sample from the place or person you want to view. The agent will then mould itself into the form of whatever the sample came from. So you could take a hair from one of your enemies and see what they were doing, or a bit of dirt from a far away country and view what history had occurred on it. The practical application is a bit limited, but it's showy and I was looking to impress.

I had planned on asking Flepp for a sample but when I was collecting the ingredients I had noticed a jar of powdered dinosaur bone labelled "Balaur bondoc." That would be much more impressive than a soupy mini-Flepp and so had snagged a pinch. When it came time to add the sample though I must have mis-measured my ingredients or added the wrong kind. Instead of moulding itself into a tiny prehistoric beast the agent had formed into a life-size monster, all scales and claws and feathers. It proceeded to attack some of the other apprentices before chasing me into the closet.

There were plenty of dangerous chemicals I could use to attack the creature but something was already wrong with the agent and I was afraid they would cause a dangerous or unpredictable reaction. Even seemingly harmless chemicals could be deadly if mixed with the wrong stuff. I desperately scanned the shelves but there was nothing here I could risk using. My head snapped around as I heard a scream from out in the Laboratory and out of the corner of my eye I noticed a stack of Fortune Quartz. These crystals were used in compounds that were purported to show the future, not that they ever worked. Still, I wondered... I grabbed a crystal, its surface shimmering slightly as it made contact with my skin, and threw open the door.

The Balaur bondoc was there, one goopy claw pinning Flepp to the ground. It was trying to bite off his head but its teeth kept mushing up against his face and skull. It looked up when it saw me emerge from the closet then began to charge. I snapped my arm back and threw the crystal as hard as I could. It landed with a sploot right in its chest. The effect was immediate. The Balaur started to slow, then stopped, laying down a few feet in front of me. As it closed its eyes its form dissolved back into a pool of the moulding agent. Both Flepp and I held our breath as it began to condense into a new shape. It took a moment before I could make out what, but then it couldn't be clearer: me, mopping up the lab.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



It's been a whole day
Tight ship you run here, Fanky
Chickencheese: so cold

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Congrats LordVonEarlDuke. I usually don't read other entries until I've posted mine and when I read yours I was like "welp!"

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Fanky Malloons posted:

I really don't know what a Balaur looks like. Let's face it, everyone is going to imagine a velociraptor or T-rex anyway, so you might as well go with that in the first place.

It's basically a velociraptor.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



This is going to be the biggest round yet, isn't it? (in.)

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Fanky I asked some people the best way to trash talk you and they said to just link the Glee version of Gagnnam Style so here you go.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Fanky your story is going to be so bad people aren't even going to want to read it any more. They will probably hold their noses like they smelt something that smells bad. This is because your story will be so bad that it will remind them of a bad smell. I am 100% serious about this.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Fanky Malloons posted:

I'm going to dig out your eyeballs with a rusty spoon and then eat them. And then poo poo in your mouth. You see if I don't.

Rusty spoon eyeball dig is such a cliche. You should probably avoid cliches if you want to write a story that doesn't smell bad FYI.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



The Dog and The Corpse (1014 words)
Based on the Russian folktale

A corpse walked towards Filon. He kneeled by the stone heap, his satchel of tools forgotten, the fragment of bone he had found ground into his hand. As the corpse came Filon noticed that its feet didn't touch the ground. It walked about a foot above the earth, moving over the rocks and scrabble grass and the turns of the labyrinth. Grey shall blowing in the chill wind, head listing to the side, its eyes turned upwards unseeing. A moan found its way from Filon's throat and he fell back onto the heap. Stones scattered and tumbled from its sides. The corpse was nearly upon him. It bent down, a decaying arm emerging from the shall. Filon could see the broken nails and sagging flesh of its fingers as it reached, feel the scratch of those nails across his cheek as it caressed his face, smell the reek of earth and rot as the hand began to tighten its grip.

Filon's head jerked forward sharply as the hand was yanked away. The corpse was pulled back by a dark shape on the ground. Polka had his jaws around the corpse's shall and was jerking it left and right. The corpse struggled with the folds as Polka pulled it to the ground. The corpse managed to free its arms and wrap them around Polka just as the dog got its jaws locked on the corpse's throat. Filon didn't see what happened next because he was already fleeing out of the labyrinth and over the hills and across Bolshoi Zayatsky Island back to the port and civilization.

He was standing on the deck of the ferry when he saw Polka trotting down the dock carrying the satchel in his mouth.

"Amazing dog you have there, to bring your bag all this way," said the ferryman as he helped lower a plank from ferry to dock.

"Yes, I was doing some amateur archeology in the labyrinths when I misplaced my satchel. I lost sight of Polka not long after. I was afraid I had lost them both."

"You're a lucky man then," said the ferryman as he petted Polka's side. But when Filon reached out to take the satchel Polka growled and his fur bristled. In the end the ferryman had to retrieve the satchel for him and for the rest of the trip Polka was distant and hostile. He even snapped at Filon's hand when he tried to offer a bit of food.

"I don't understand," said Filon to the barman back in Solovetsky. Why would he bring back my satchel only to treat me with such hostility?" Polka was chained up outside of the tavern and his barks could be heard over the music from the radio. "He's never been like this. I've never had to use a chain but he wouldn't leave with me off the boat and he's never barked like this. I don't know what happened." Filon glanced up from his beer, nearly meeting the barman's eye.

"You say you lost him on the island?"

"Yes, in a labyrinth. I was investigating one of the stone mounds that are all over the place and when I looked around he was gone."

"Perhaps he meet up with some wild animals. Got hurt."

"Yeah... maybe. I'll take him to the vet when we get back to the mainland." Filon looked around the tavern, but it was not yet noon and they were the only people in it. "Look. You're not going to believe me, but I saw a ghost." Filon waited for the barman to laugh or dismiss him as crazy or drunk, but the barman just waited for Filon to continue. And so Filon told him about finding the bones in the mound and the floating corpse and how Polka had saved his life.

"A bad piece of work. But that explains why your dog's acting up. It's disgusted at your not helping it. There it was fighting with the spirit--and you deserted it and thought only of saving yourself. It's got a grudge and you've to make amends."

"But why bring back my satchel if he hates me now?"

"Because that's a good loyal dog you've got there, and you should do all you can to show your gratitude."

And so through the rest of the trip Filon offered Polka rich meats and treats, though Polka would not take them from his hand. He took Polka on long walks through the town and up towards the monastery and back but Polka pulled on the chain and refused to walk with him. He even invited Polka to sleep on the bed but Polka would stay in the hotel room's furthest corner and glare at Filon throughout the night.

Back in St. Petersburg thing were no better. The vets could find nothing wrong with Polka. Filon pampered him with expensive visits to fancy groomers and luxury dog toys. But still Polka would growl when he got near. Before long the hostility was more than Filon could bear. He pleaded with his friends and relatives to take Polka in. But there was either no room, or no money, or they were allergic to dogs, or were weary of the way Polka would snap and bite at Filon.

In the end Filon took Polka to a dog shelter. He told himself that Polka would get adopted and live a long happy life, though he did not believe it. Without Polka around life became easier for Filon. He packed up all the expensive toys in a box and stashed it in the attic. He took the small piece of bone that he had kept from Bolshoi Zayatsky and put it on a shelf by his front door. His life returned to routine and he began to plan a trip to the Denisova Cave. Some nights he would lay awake and wonder if Polka had survived the shelter, if Polka lived the life he deserved. He would try to think if he had ever simply thanked the dog, but he could not remember.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



quote:

Bear Sleuth v Fanky Malloons Fanky Malloons.

I loved 'The Thing' premise. And Bear Sleuth you lost me with 'shall' as an article of clothing??

Obviously 'shawl' and I'm mortified that I missed it during my edits.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



If it's not too much trouble could I get a little more feedback on my story? I won't get better if I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Not a full critique or anything, just a couple lines about why it didn't work (aside from that typo) would be much apprciated. Thanks.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



^^^ That's a good point. The orignal story also seems to lack a point. In rewriting it I was trying to find that moral. It worked for me because I knew the original but I wasn't sure of how it would play to readers who didn't. Good to know that's where the main problem was.

Thanks for taking the time to do feedback. Getting in a regular writing schedule is all well and good but hearing what worked and what didn't is a huge help.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



You could cut the first two paragraphs and lose nothing. Thats 70 words right there. Too bad you already posted and dug your lovely rear end grave.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



ERGD Episode 76 (481 words)

"This game," said the Enraged Retro Game Dweeb before taking a swig of Michelob Ultra in his signature overly-rehearsed style, "SUCKS! It makes me want to puke in a bowl and then eat the puke. It's a fart from a fart hole. It's a lovely piece of poo poo called DuckTales. More like gently caress Tales!" The ERGD then mugged for the camera a bit, making sure that his collection of used games and Nintendo paraphernalia got ample screen time before slamming the cartridge into one of the six NESes hooked up to his TV.

"Okay, so the game stars this duck who has a top hat and a cane. Who does he think he is? Monopoly? More like SHITopoly. Then you have to pick a level like the game thinks its loving Mega Man. Way to rip off from a better company's series. You got levels like some African mines... racist much? Transylvania... oh that's clever. Or the moon. The Moon?! The loving moon?! Oh I've got to see this.

"Look at this poo poo. You're walking around on the moon without a space suit or anything. How is that even possible? Does this game really expect us to believe that you could just go to the moon and walk around? Talk about a poo poo on a poo poo! What a turd. This game is like if a donkey poo poo!

"Okay so you fight some aliens. Yeah right! What the gently caress? And then this robot blows up this wall. How are you even supposed to know to do that? And then you go in this cave and fight a giant mouse. What the poo poo?!? Why is there a mouse on the moon? Why doesn't the mouse have a top hat and a limousine? How come the duck gets to be rich but not the mouse? I should put a turd in a top hat because that's what this game is.

"Then you beat the mouse and your prize is cheese? CHEESE?! A big bowl of vomit poo poo would be a better prize. A can of crap with a poo poo on it would be a better prize! Why is there cheese on the moon? It doesn't make any sense! This game sucks a bowl of farts. It's an rear end in a top hat of poop! It's the king poop of rear end town. It's so bad that it..." the ERGD turned to the camera and shot it his winning glower, "makes me ENRAGED!"

Another episode in the can, the ERGD sat at his computer. It had just taken a few minutes to edit in some quick special effects and the theme song his roommate had written. The ERGD sat back in his chair, sipping his beer with a casual confidence that had none of the exaggerated showmanship from earlier. A smile played across his face. The episode was up on YouTube and the likes were rolling in.

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



quote:

Was it Satire? Maybe the satire here is the fact that there is no satire. I'm going to go lie down.

It reduced an established institution to its most extreme and stupid. How is that not satire?

Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Zack_Gochuck posted:

Yours read like a regular episode of Angry Videogame Nerd. No offense.

None taken, and I can totally understand that's how it reads. Which is a little disappointing because I watched a number of videos to catch the nuances and made sure to really dumb down, simplify, and exaggerate them. But it must be too subtitle to the non-initiated or non-fans because it looks exactly like its the thing it's mocking. I'm not trying to say the story was a work of misunderstood genius, I thought I was being overtly blunt and clumsy of anything, but either I didn't go far enough or assumed to much from a general audience.

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Bear Sleuth
Jul 17, 2011



Now do you mean the love between a man and a woman? Or the love of a man for a fine cuban cigar?

Also, in.

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