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CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006

WORST WIZARD, THUNDERDOME
LOSER


Let he who is without sin cast the first stone: I judge as I am judged. I'm in.

Does anyone know of an android app that allows text editing and has a word count feature? At the moment I am using Jota+ and I will be travelling all weekend.

CancerCakes fucked around with this message at Feb 8, 2013 around 12:39

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Zack_Gochuck
Jan 3, 2007

Stupid Wrestling People


HereticMIND posted:

Hard and Deep (Word Count: 430)

It was sudden, swift, violent, confusing.

“RPG on the rooftop!”, “Where the gently caress is our backup?!”, “Tank in the alleyway! Take it down!”, “Sniper! Sniper on that balcony!”

It was if his body was on fire. Every nerve, every fiber, every synapse, every atom of his being suddenly became alive. As if it was here, right loving now, this very loving godforsaken mockery of an urban jungle in some rear end-end third world country was where he belonged. Where he had a purpose.


Brian was almost overcome by the noise of rockets and the smell of sulfur burning his nose and the sight of his comrades being mowed down and the screams of the dying and oh poo poo what the gently caress is that is that a loving TANK—

He barely got out of the way before the drat thing swung its gigantic turret around and bellowed an ungodly roar. He had to scramble, had to keep running, had to move dammit, move!

And then he heard the screeching of—Friendly Javelins. Firing. At the very tank that was on his white farm-boy rear end. He almost let himself breathe a sigh of relief. Almost.

He leaned against a broken wall of what used to be a towering skyscraper, a far cry from its previous form. He checked his assault weapon, swapped the mag, put a fresh one in, clicked off the safety, chambered the round, and started to run off anew towards the gaping maw of death before him.


The battle raged on, his trigger finger at the verge of falling off his hand. The fatigue was starting to gnaw at his legs, he was running and gunning so much. Every bone in his body ached and pleaded and begged for him to slow down, but he knew the battle wasn't over yet, just a few more minutes and it would all be over.

Every once in a while, an enemy would pop up and his assault rifle would bark at them, sending them down to the rubble-filled streets. It was almost like it was a reflex, really. It just...happened. No rhyme. No reason. Just...instinct.


Then...the enemies stopped coming. They just...up and left. Vanished without any trace. Brian slowed down his quick gait, concern flickering across his face. Something wasn't right. There was no formal surrender, no discussion of terms...

He looked up, and saw glistening silver careening towards the Earth, speeding as if it were thrown from the very hand of God Himself.


Then, there was noise. There was fire. There was dust. There was wind.


And then there was silence.


~~~~

Like I said, I go hard. And. DEEP.

Google Docs (added some fancy formatting; better looking): https://docs.google.com/document/d/...dit?usp=sharing

DL (if you wish): https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6G...dit?usp=sharing

Video games are art.

Zack_Gochuck fucked around with this message at Feb 8, 2013 around 13:17

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


Welp, the last time I entered I failed to produce anything, so my honor is forfeit.
Thus I return to reclaim my honor the only way I know how, by painting my useless blood all over the floor of the Thunderdome.

I'm in.

Zack_Gochuck
Jan 3, 2007

Stupid Wrestling People


I hate myself and I'm in.

Symptomless Coma
Mar 30, 2007
for shock value

HereticMIND posted:

Hard and Deep (Word Count: 430)
He leaned against a broken wall of what used to be a towering skyscraper, a far cry from its previous form. He checked his assault weapon, swapped the mag, put a fresh one in, clicked off the safety, chambered the round, and started to run off anew towards the gaping maw of death before him.


Yes yes, very clever.

supermikhail
Nov 17, 2012


"It's video games, Scully."
Video games?"
"He enlists the help of strangers to make his perfect video game. When he gets bored of an idea, he murders them and moves on to the next, learning nothing in the process."
"Hmm... interesting."


Motherfuckers.

Well, since etries are going full steam it appears there's still about 48 hours to submit. And I already finished, for fear that in 24 hours I'd still be at work.

STONE OF MADNESS
Dec 28, 2012

PVTREFACTIO


Entries are now closed.
THE THUNDERDOME THIRTY

Capntastic
Noah ✓
Benagain ✓
Canadian Surf Club
Bad Seafood ✓
Chairchucker ✓
SC Bracer
BlackFrost ✓
Etherwind ✓
Jeza ✓
CancerCakes ✓
Nubile Hillock ✓
Sitting Here ✓
Impermanent
Sebmojo
Swaziloo ✓
V for Vegas ✓ who must write in the style of Matthew Reilly
Echo Cian ✓
Sedgr ✓
toanoradian
steriletom ✓
SaviourX ✓ who must not attempt ironic SOIAF fanfic OR ELSE!
Symptomless Coma ✓
Heretic Mind ✓ (DUDE THE MINIMUM T'DOME STANDARD IS SOOOO LOOOOW AND YOU TOTALLY REACHED IT WITH THAT GEM)
Lord Windy ✓
Meis
supermikhail ✓
JuniperCake ✓
Zack_Gochuck ✓

WILDCARDS
Martello ✓
The Saddest Rhino with a beautiful post


supermikhail I wouldn't stress too much. as long as you've given it a polish or two I can't see that completing or submitting 'early' makes a difference - the real risk is in dumping your wordpuke and ONLY getting feedback saying how you need to edit. So good on you for writing something, hugs all round

e: in fact the earlier you submit the more time I can put into your crit (take your time if you need to though)

STONE OF MADNESS fucked around with this message at Feb 10, 2013 around 17:50

supermikhail
Nov 17, 2012


"It's video games, Scully."
Video games?"
"He enlists the help of strangers to make his perfect video game. When he gets bored of an idea, he murders them and moves on to the next, learning nothing in the process."
"Hmm... interesting."


I just realized that my current effort takes "action" in the very literal sense, so, since I managed to finish one thing in a day and I have the day off just before the deadline, I'll try to think of something more suitable.

CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006

WORST WIZARD, THUNDERDOME
LOSER


Unclean - Word stinkyhole: No idea, less than 1000.

I could hear the madman's wrench dragging against the metal walls of the corridor. The scraping made the tears vibrate on my cheeks and as he got closer I buried my face into my father’s Woolnex™ engineering jacket to try and hide from the sound.

BANGGG

The blow to the steel door resonated through us where we sat under the window and a whimper rushed out of me.

BANGGG

BANGGGGG

The blows were slow and steady, with the measured power of a man keeping his strength for a long task. My eyes wandered to the exposed wiring torn from the control panel. The sabotage had rendered the escape capsules useless, and without warning Captain Samuel had tracked down each crewman, family member, pet and passenger, and murdered them.

BANGG

"If he damages the seal we'll lose compression when we launch," My father whispered in my ear. I had heard some of the crew talking about what happened to people who were exposed to the vacuum of space, it made me shudder. "I have to stop him. You can fix this, I know you can. When I say, open the door." I nodded.

BANGGG

He moved into as close to a starter’s crouch as was possible in the cramped pod and waited for a moment in the rhythm when the attacker would be off balance on the back swing.

BANGG

BANGG

BANGGG
"Now!" he hissed and I pressed two wires together. My dad exploded out through the open door and tackled the captain in the waist, throwing him to the deck. The horrible, red encrusted wrench clattered against the wall and the captain grunted in surprise.

On top of the murderer knelt my father, punching him in the face: each blow made Samuel's head bounce off the floor. I went to work putting the control panel back together, the holo was cracked but other than that all I needed to do was splice the wires back together. I peeked outside when I heard a roar and my fingers fumbled as I saw the attacker slap my dad off him like he was slamming a door. Suddenly the hulking madman was standing over my small wiry father, blinking the blood out of his eyes.

"You cannot leave this ship," he growled, his muscles tense beneath once white blood soaked pilot suit.

Strewn around the deck were repair tools and sheet metal, and as the monster's fist descended my father wrenched a thick piece of plating above his face. The blow connected with the shield and flexed it slightly; the crunch of his ruined hand was almost covered by the captain's howl. Using the plating like a bat my father hit the madman’s knee, shattering the bone. The monster stooped, groaning and nursing his ruined hand and leg. Then dad stood up and struck Samuel across the head hard enough to kill a normal man –the massive captain just went down on his rear end.

I got to work again, and had managed to refit the tritium cells when I heard the whine of a hand welder starting up. I looked out a saw my father with his back to me, while the captain limped in half circles ahead of him. The laser from the welder traced a smoking line in the deck between them. Without taking my eyes off the two I fitted the parts of the console back together.

"I've fixed it!" I cried out and my father glanced at me for a second, and that was all it took. The prowling animal swiftly snatched the disgusting wrench from the deck and hurled it, connecting with my dad's head as he turned back to the predator. In an animalistic four pawed leap the huge man was on dad's back and grabbing the wrench.

"Close the door. Annie, shut the door." I could, the button was right there, fixed like he had taught me, as he had known I could. But I didn't. Instead I watched the first blow fall on the back of his head, saw his skull splinter and his chin smash on the cold deck. "Go," he gasped.

And then I shut the door. The madman's frustrated shouts welled through the metal, and as I pressed the launch button I heard another blow against the door before the rushing wind of decompression emptied the staging area of air, firing my pod away from the ship. As the capsule span lazily away and my home appeared in the bulkhead window I tried to ignore the floating, flailing shape nearby, and watched as the quarantine lights blinked away into the distance.

--

Apologies for typos, I wrote this on a tablet.

Symptomless Coma
Mar 30, 2007
for shock value

EPISTEMOLOGY. 874w

Jack saw the word SILENCE in serif letters, and old conditioning made him check himself for the briefest sliver of time - just long enough for the Stacey to slam the griot of Crime and Punishment into his temple. He might have laughed, but the officers of the Culture Praetoriat didn’t prize a sense of irony.
He stumbled back into a mobile shelf of discs, head flickering with visions of Raskolinov’s axe-blade buried in his skull.
“Sooka!” he found himself saying. He rubbed his eyes and looked up just in time to see the Stacey bearing down on him with another griot. He swung the shelf around him, sliding it across the library floor. It clattered into the assassin, and Jack heard a low, confused moan. He remembered his own first taste of physical pain in the field; how it had seemed like a revelation, how it had been edged with a sense of danger.

“You,” said the Stacey. “Kill you. Mis-sion.”

It sounded as though the words had been cut from an earlier time and patched together. Then Jack heard a whirring and saw the Stacey’s fist rise above the shelf. The air around the fist shimmered and a piercing tone rang out, making his eyes vibrate. He heard a crack and looked up. The glass lattice webbing the griot library’s ceiling rippled with thin lines, then fell away, sending the huge plates raining down around them. He rolled under one of the desks and covered his eyes as the glass splashed across the floor around him. Beneath the crashing, he heard the crunch of approaching footsteps.

“Mis-sion.”

The Stacey was moving gracefully across the debris. The paradigm had shifted, and Jack called up his latest combat philosophy. It was hopelessly out-of-date, so he used five seconds to consider the three facets of his situation. The Levers of Action were too simple to be useful - sending a Stacey, an assassin modified to half-comprehend cultural works, was a clever move. She could not be bent, bribed or outrun. The Self - well, Jack was currently under a desk, too enclosed to use weapons. Powering up his suit might be dangerous in a semi-methane atmosphere - and anyway, while the Stacey had been confused by physical assault, it had also brushed it off. The Environment, then? Jack’s foot brushed a stack of griots beneath the desk - and there it was. He slotted the venn of his three data points into place and the situation’s new combat philosophy became clear. Obvious, even.

He grabbed at the pile of griots and flicked through them to find something that might slow her down: Tom Sawyer, The Railway Children, American Psycho- he flung the green slice along the floor. It struck her legs and she grunted, falling to the floor. When she raised her head, her gaze was intense and angrier than before. She crawled across the broken glass towards him.

“Mis...Mis-sher. Fisher.”

Jack cursed himself for not thinking more about the book’s content, and scrambled out the other side of the desk on bleeding knees. He came up to find the Epic shelves in front of him. He looked down the hall, and the section he needed-

The propelled weight of the Stacey slammed into his back, producing a mighty crack. They crashed into the shelves, sending the plastic griots cascading around them, filling their minds with battle and glory. They rolled and scraped and scratched and punched, clawing each other as Gilgamesh and Beowulf and Aeneas. Jack’s training told him to get away, to fight at a distance, but on the plains of Troy one does not flee. Finally, the trickle of griots stopped, and Jack shook his head and kicked out at the Stacey’s face. Her grip loosened; he pulled away and stumbled down the aisles, looking for the section from his plan. The piercing sound rang out again around him, louder this time, shattering windows and sending powder-glass flying at him. The view of the library vibrated, but as he stumbled through the dust, the shelves of Romance swam into view.

The Stacey’s heavy footsteps were no more than a couple of metres away. If this isn’t alphabetised, thought Jack, I’m dead. He flicked through the rack, felt a strong hand on his throat spinning him round and he grabbed at the pink plastic blur on the shelf, the griot he thought would save him-

“Fin-nished.”

He slammed the griot into the Stacey’s face. She stopped, for a second. The last shards of glass dripped around them. The Stacey’s eyes narrowed, assessing her target. Then her face softened, as she spoke with a patched lilt:

“It is a truth-”

She sputtered, twisting her expression.

“A truth--marriage--miss-mission-”

And Jack took his gamble.

“Please, Miss Bennet, you forget yourself.”

Her knees sagged: “It is a truth universally ac-” and the Stacey sank to the floor, as the contents and themes of Pride and Prejudice colonised her neural net. She lay in a twitching heap, as Jack turned to leave the griot library.

On the way out, he logged a new combat philosophy: epistemology.

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'm out of town this weekend so putting this up now.

Flash rule - Written in the style of Matthew Reilly

Krakatoa 2: The Krakening. - 1000.


The world exploded around them as the super-volcano erupted.

Vance stumbled to his feet and looked through the shattered window of the research station. Where the mountain, only five miles away, had stood there was nothing. A million tons of rock vaporised in a second. Above the remains of the volcano, a mushroom cloud billowed up thousands of feet into the stratosphere.

Vance shook his head to dislodge the ringing in his ears the massive blast had caused. Kristen was still on the ground, her hands clutching her head. Vance grabbed her, pulling her to her feet.

‘Are you OK?’

She nodded. ‘I’ll be fine.’

Vance looked back out the window. ‘We’ve got about five minutes to haul rear end out of here. Once that plume collapses, a pyroclastic cloud of superheated ash travelling over five hundred miles an hour is going to rush down the mountain and destroy everything. There won’t be a living thing left within twenty miles.’

Kristen stared at the mountain. ‘We’re too close, we can’t out run it. What about the plane?’

Vance looked out the other side of the building at the runway. A couple of Mordred’s black armoured mercenaries were stumbling on the tarmac, recovering from the blast.

‘I don’t think that’s a good idea either. The air is going to be full of…’

A boulder the size of a small car crashed down on the runway, squashing a mercenary into paste.

Vance looked at Kristen. ‘I think I know another way.’

***

2 minutes to the pyroclastic cloud

The sleek black power sleds Mordred’s men had used to drive up the lava tunnels and infiltrate the station were still there.

Kristen stared. ‘These aren’t fast enough, they barely moved when they brought us up here.’

‘These are ATV ThunderCobras, designed by the US Navy for SEAL covert insertions. This hood on the back is a sound suppressor, like a large muffler, that reduces the throughput and makes them silent. But,‘ Vance bent down and released a catch at the bottom of the engine ‘you can take them off.’

Vance heaved the black bulky hood onto its side, unveiling the engine underneath. ‘Rolls Royce Ascot Mark IV Turbofans. They were hauling a couple of tons of gear up these tunnels, with suppressors, and they still made a good 30 miles an hour. Without the suppressor, and just the two of us, I’m betting these babies can get up to at least 150. Since we’re underground, we’ll be safe from the ash.’

Vance sat on the driver seat. Kristen paused while climbing up behind him. ‘Uh Vance,’ she said. ‘These tunnels, they’re old lava tubes right?’

‘Yeah’

A rumble shook the earth.

‘So please tell me that isn’t what I think it is’ said Kristen, pointing up the tunnel. In the distance, a bright spot of light had appeared in the darkness. Like a flash flood streaming down an old river bed, millions of tons of lava were being forced out of the volcano into the tubes.

‘poo poo, get on now.’

The engines roared to life and they sped down the tunnel. Kristen clutching to Vance.

The smooth black basalt of the tunnel surrounded them. Kristen couldn’t help looking back over her shoulder at the approaching wave of molten rock. They had barely gone a mile down the tunnel before she saw it reach the spot where the remaining sleds were parked, disintegrating them in seconds, as it roared onwards, completely filling the tube.

‘poo poo, it’s moving fast Vance, get this thing going’

‘What do you think I’m doing.’

The speedometer on the sled crept up to 150mph. The black sides of the tunnel whipped past. Vance racked his brain trying to remember if he had seen any cave ins on the way up.

As fast as he pushed the engines, the lava was moving faster. A maelstrom of molten rock over 2000 degrees rushing down the tubes like the wrath of an angry god.

Kristen couldn’t look any more and buried her head into Vance’s shoulders ‘oh god oh god oh god’.

The lava was only 800 yards behind them now. 700 yards. 600 yards. The walls around the tunnel were now lit up as bright as day, and the searing heat began to scorch their backs. Vance jammed down the throttle and the needle crept up to 180mph.

500 yards. 400 yards. 300.

Smoke began rising off the engines, the air was like hell’s furnace, the oxygen being replaced by thick sulphuric fumes. Vance couldn’t even hear Kristen’s screams over the tremendous roar coming from behind them. He didn’t dare to look back and focused on the floor ahead of them. He knew they weren’t going to make it.

Then ahead, a small spot of light appeared. Vance leant down low over the controls. From the light of the lava behind him he could see a small vent leading off the side of the main tube with daylight at the end. He had one chance at this, he wrenched the steering column to the left and the sled veered into the vent.

The boiling rock was only yards behind them now as they launched out of the vent into the air… and into a gorge that dropped out under them a thousand feet to a river running far below.

Vance yelled to Kristen ‘hold on to me’ and locked his arms around the sleds’ steering column as he hit the emergency brake.

With a ‘pop’ two parachutes shot out of the back of the sled, arresting its descent. Beside them only a few dozen yards away, a torrent of lava continued to poor out of the vent, like a massive golden waterfall steaming into the river below. Convection currents swirled the sled around, until it drifted down to the far bank, throwing Vance and Kristen face first into the mud.

Vance started to get up, spitting dirt out of his mouth when the distinct sound of the cocking of an AK47 made him stop.

‘Well poo poo Vance’ said Mordred. ‘Looks like you've plum fell out of the fire and into the frying pan.’

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


Up and Coming

words: 990

The sounds of heaving and vomit splattering in a tin trashcan with no liner echo through the locker room. The boy, a young man now, an adult, wonders if it’s the nerves, or the hormone supplements. Probably the nerves, he decides.

A man slaps him on the back, Bruce “Diesel” Williams. Oil flicks off their skin and they glisten in the pale locker room light. The boy looks up at his idol, forgetting the saliva coating his lips.

“Just like we practiced all week, kid. Take the cues, get the belt, that’s it,” Diesel says. Their eyes lock. Diesel cracks a half smile. “Congratulations, world champ.” The belt hangs limp over Diesel’s shoulder, he grips it tighter when he says it.

A man in a canary yellow polo comes into to the locker room. “Time to go,” he says, more into the headset microphone than to the boy. The boy checks his pads and adjusts his penis for modesty.

In the ring, he shakes out his legs to a crowd going insane. Hollers, hate, spit and empty plastic cups are thrown. The audience is ready for Diesel to chew him up and spit him out. They writhe out of control as the man stalks down the gangway. Diesel is thumping his chest and spitting like a mental patient let loose, the world champion belt across his waist.

Ref couldn’t look more bored. He knows the drill, he saw the practice. The boy wonders if Ref is annoyed at the upstart. A flash in the pan, jack the giant killer, david and – the bell rings.

Diesel is fast. So fast. Ex-pro footballer, the boy knew. Coming in low, but that means hurdle it. And he’s over, frog hopped, time to show off to the crowd. The boy walks to the ropes and taunts, Diesel will come from behind with a clothesline. Duck it, make him look clumsy, brutish, predictable.

Diesel’s arm sails woefully above the boy’s head. Ref is hanging back, but he’s supposed to be close by because Diesel is going to go for a choke. Ref’s gotta break it up. Meaty fingers seize the boy by the throat, he’s supposed to let go on a 5 count.

There’s a look in Diesel’s eyes, a hunger, he’s not getting a 5 count. Diesel’s fingers dig in, and the boy gets scared. The boy kicks out, making Diesel let go. The kick is wild, bounces off Diesel’s muscular leg. The crowd is one giant cry for blood. This isn’t according to script.

A surprise haymaker comes close to the boy’s ears, he dodges out of instinct. The boy shoots out a punch, landing it right below the armpit. Keep distance, his training tells him. Don’t take him to the ground, too much of a weight disadvantage. Diesel goes in low again for a spear, the boy raises a knee, catching chin. The boy darts sidelong as Diesel squares up again.

Rushing the boy, Diesel lands a kick that the boy lets through. He’s more worried about the follow up. A hammer strike comes down on the boy’s guard, bouncing off, but numbing his forearm. The boy comes in close to limit the arm strikes, but Diesel grabs him by the shoulders and tosses him against a ring post.

Diesel chops across the boy’s chest, like a blunt knife cutting below the skin. It aches immediately. The boy looks at Ref. Ref wasn’t bored, he realizes. Ref’s seen this before. How many other people have been in the boy’s place.

And it goes. The boy punches muscled stone and Diesel ignores him. The boy covers up like a boxer, and Diesel knocks him around the ring. A tackle catches the boy off guard, and they go down. It’s over, the boy thinks. Lie back and wait for the count. Ref slaps the mat twice, he’s rushing, wants this over too. Diesel pulls up on the boy’s shoulder and pretend argues with Ref.

The boy slings a fist into Diesel’s groin. The crowd loses it. Chants, curses, and rage. Diesel turns, a red giant, veins throbbing on his neck and head. He pulls the boy up and slams wild knees into every body part. The boy curls up.

Diesel lands another knee into the boy’s abdomen. His guard drops, he’s gassed. Diesel feels him go limp, and grips the boy’s trunks. With the boy’s head surrounded by meaty arm, Diesel lifts, in one smooth squat and thrust, the boy into the air, the boy’s spine and neck sitting heavy atop Diesel’s shoulder.

Legs bent over backwards, heads side by side, the boy starts to waver. He’s tired, but Diesel holds him aloft like a trophy. The boy can hear the breath whistle through Diesel’s teeth, spit lands on his ear. The boy opens his mouth for a deep breath, and bites into flesh. Diesel doesn’t budge. “That’s it,” he says. Blood fills the spaces between the boy’s teeth and desperation tastes like sweat and copper. Kill, the crowd shouts, kill him. Kill him.

Straight down. Not his signature, which puts a person their back. The boy hits the mat like a post in the ground and his neck cracks like a norse god popping a knuckle. For a moment the boy’s legs are stiff, sticking straight up, but they crumple. He can’t feel anything but he can see the arena lights. Bright stars, never twinkling, burning him alive. Diesel puts a foot on his chest and Ref does a slow count. It’s over, no need to delay, the boy thinks.

Medics are there before the last bell rings. Ref must have tipped them off. They’re doing something to him, he doesn’t know, just every so often his body and head wobble. Straps and questions, flashlights and a gurney. Up the gangway he doesn’t hear anything. Silence. But he sees everyone on their feet, watching him get carted away. They were acknowleding him.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Submitting even though I didn't enter cuz I can

My sub-par art at the bottom, an old drawing I never ended up writing a story for until now.

Cherry Job

1000 words

The contact was Gabe's, but all four of the boys were shooting so they agreed to split the score four ways, even. It was a Cherry auxiliary job, an out-of-jurisdiction drug bust for an NYPD narco Gabe knew from his time on SWAT. The narco, Harley O'Neill, had the good word on the stash house from a stoolie.

Gabe Martello, his cousin Bronco Halligan, and their friends Roger Morris and Tommy Galgano rolled to Hicksville from Hoboken in Bronco's silver '35 Jeep Trapper. The boys had their standard entry loadout, three assault rifles and Roger with the shotgun. All four wore plate carriers. Helmets were for pussies.

Bronco parked the Jeep in front of the small ranch-style house. It was 3 AM in a quiet neighborhood. The boys slid up the front steps, near-silent on softsoled boots. Roger took point, a breaching slug the first round in his Dearborn Reliant. Gabe, last man in the stack, squeezed Bronco's shoulder. Bronco squeezed Tommy's, and Tommy nudged Roger. Roger pointed his muzzle at the deadbolt and squeezed the trigger. The bolt and lock cylinder ripped from the door and frame, flew into the room on the other side. Roger shouldered through the door, angled right into the dark living room. His smartspecs, low-light activated, showed an empty room with a couple couches and a big OLED TV. Tommy hooked to the left, Bronco and Gabe took the center.

"Clear," Gabe whispered. The other three followed suit. In the silence, Gabe could hear voices on the other side of a door to his left. He pointed and nodded. Bronco moved to the door, taking point on the left side. Gabe fell in behind him, followed by Roger and then Tommy. The squeeze started with Tommy this time, went on down the line to Bronco. He kicked the door open, hooking left, followed by Gabe going straight right.

The badguys were out of bed and armed. The gunfire was immediate and thunderous. Bronco dropped one with three quick shots to the chest. Gabe physically slammed into another who must have been reaching for the door. Gabe's first shot went wide as the man went for his throat. Roger entered the room next, hooking center-left to back up Bronco. Another badguy fell, two rounds from Bronco's Valiant hitting him in the top of the chest, a single load of buckshot striking his gut. He was able to squeeze off one shot from his handgun, hitting Bronco harmlessly in a side plate. Tommy came in last, less than a second after Bronco first went in. He braced his P100 over Gabe's left shoulder and shot the guy trying to choke him, burst to the face. The back of the man's skull exploded, blood and shredded brains splattering the room.

Gabe winced from the overpressure of Tommy's gunfire, shoved the dead man away from him and watched him sink to the floor.

"Thanks," Gabe said as Tommy turned to cover the door. "Gotta be more people here, Harley said it was a big score."

Tommy opened his mouth to say something. A brilliant flash washed out his and Gabe's cybereyes, Bronco and Roger's smartspecs. The flash was followed a split second later by an eardrum-rattling bang. Tommy dropped to one knee, now side-on to the door. Gabe choked down a yell. He felt the blast pressure in his diaphragm, struggled to catch his breath for a few seconds. The flare compensation in his expensive Olympus 'eyes kicked in and he watched Tommy go over sideways, bullets ripping into his flank. The gunshots were like muted thumps to Gabe's damaged ears, but the splatter of blood from Tommy's side was unmistakable. Gabe watched Bronco turn and fire through the doorway, his teeth gritted.

Gabe pulled a flashbang of his own and threw it sidehand out the door. He screamed "FLASH" and turned away from the doorway, the bang still ringing in his ears.

All three of the boys still standing slid through the bedroom door, Bronco in the lead. Bronco went right, Gabe left, and Roger right again. Four more men were in the living room, still stunned from the flashbang. Bronco, Gabe, and Roger killed all four in less than two seconds, moving and firing in a ballet of death.

Far right, three rounds Bronco. Far left, two rounds Gabe. Mid-right, two rounds Bronco, one round Roger. Center, two rounds Gabe, two rounds Roger. Blood sprayed and spattered, men fell twitching to the floor.

"Living room clear," Bronco said. "Roger, check on Tommy and call Doc Chopra. Gabe and I’ll finish this place."

Roger acknowledged and turned back to the bedroom. Bronco and Gabe moved across the living room to the open door and another bedroom. This one had two bunk beds and was empty, now. The two cousins cleared the rest of the house, no more bad guys. The kitchen was the jackpot; stacks of money and foil-wrapped bricks of silverpaste covered the table. Paste refinery equipment covered the counters. Burners, metal pots, beakers, and centrifuges.

Four minutes had passed since Roger fired the first round. The Hicksville cops usually responded in twelve. Gabe had the Cherry paperwork for the bust, but he hated dealing with local cops on these types of jobs.

"Eight minutes," he said to Bronco. "Pack the poo poo, I'm gonna go check on Tommy."

Tommy was okay, only one bullet hit him in the meat. Doc Chopra was waiting in Hoboken. Roger helped Tommy into the Jeep while Gabe and Bronco carried the trash bags out. Hicksville cops were wailing up the block as the boys turned a corner and headed back to the City. Harley was very appreciative – turned out he had no plans on turning in the money to the station, just the drugs. Each of the boys was cut in for close to 20k.

“Pretty good score,” Roger said as they headed over the river to Jersey. “Who wants to come to Englewood and help me bang my wife?”

Martello fucked around with this message at Feb 9, 2013 around 04:05

STONE OF MADNESS
Dec 28, 2012

PVTREFACTIO


Blowing my load straight away like the doddering old man that I am, here I criticise those who came in early - your little reward for submitting. More will follow as events warrant.

JUDGEMENT STILL AWAITS, OBVIOUSLY

Jeza – The Blues

This wasn't too bad. You've constructed a tight little story that resolves well, but suffers from a few burdensome problems.

- Straight up, it's racist. You jump the shark with the 'greasy wops from uptown' line (and ensuing characterisation), after which it doesn't matter how many different words you use for 'friend of the family' because every instance seems gratuitous. Nothing wrong with your characters being racist or using racist language, but here there seems to be an unhealthy conflation of voices between protagonist and narrator – your perspective isn't quite close enough, in my view, to pass off descriptions of greasy, oily-pored guidos as Edgar's own thoughts (contrast with the description of the saxophone – it's not impossible for a person to have such a thought about themselves, but it would be unconscionably vain). The slurs are too generic and direct and the net effect is that your dialogue reads like the script from a Cannon movie.
What I'm saying is, tone it down a little. If your prot is thinking WOPS WOPS GREASY WOPS from the get-go I'm unlikely to take a considered view of whether he should get beaten up or not. Plus, race is not the only factor at play here. You could be taking issue with their crassness, their criminality, their class, but you're selling them short. Think of your Mediterranean readers. (Points for not using 'goomba' though.)

- You have thought of some pretty decent similes here. However, you're burying them (and perhaps the finer nuances of your characters and setting) under a clutter of unnecessary descriptors. This is a common problem, one that I'm as guilty of as anyone, and one that's best solved by judicious culling. Less is more, and you don't want to throw in a slew of adjectives unless you know you can't do without them. I have the feeling I'll be saying this a lot, but just because you have a great vocabulary, doesn't mean you have to use it all at once.

- Furthermore, try and avoid using the same construction for similar types of expression. In this case, most of your similes contain 'like a' or 'like when' (one outright begins with it) and while that's probably the most valid form for a simile, your poor reader is getting a lot of 'de dum te dum te dumty LIKE te dum te dum te dum'. If you can't reconstruct 'em, cut 'em altogether – a simile is rarely more than authorial cleverness anyway, and when it does contribute – as with the (slightly overdone, but definitely appropriate) funereal imagery that opens the piece – that's when you let it shine.

- I think it would have been beneficial to give the lead mobster some defining characteristic that allowed you to refer back to him without using 'the lead mobster' every time. You tried with the pencil moustache, but it wasn't enough to avoid 'the lead' which is akin to using 'street punk #2' like they do in Cannon films. poo poo, doesn't Edgar know the guy (if he's been around forever and has been paying protection/accepting Mob investment)? Why not give him a name?

- It's 'callused'.

quote:

“This the best you got?” the greaseball “Figures.”
- Fail to edit, fail to learn. Obvious typos/format errors/non sequiturs indicate that the writer hasn't gone over their work very closely. But that's exactly what writers should be doing, constantly, if they hope to improve.

Remember, anyone who doesn't (as there are more than a couple of you),
"Dialogue" he or she said "and then some more dialogue."

- Okay poo poo I haven't even talked about your ACTION SEQUENCE. I'm not feeling it, to be honest. The pace is marred by awkward, cumbersome sentences and laborious detail. Things take. A bit. Too long. To happen. Only slightly, but you need to avoid the stultifying effect of the colon; spice it up a bit with some other punctuation, see how you can improve the flow. Avoid 'and's.
As for laborious detail,

quote:

The man fired, three harsh guttural barks in languid succession.

pick one of each. Preferably, the simplest ones. No-one cares about your embellishments when there are facts to be had.

- And, be careful that your prot isn't transcending his limits. He's an ol', ol' man, and throwing mobsters around like he can't even believe it himself and manoeuvring with the deftness of a ninja may not be in character, or even necessary. To be honest, I would write him losing the fight – because that's plausible. He's shrewd enough to gain the element of surprise with the bourbon bottle – he's mean enough to hurt 'em good before he goes down. I like that Lead Mobster shoots him – that's cowardly, which is great for his character – and then Edgar gets them in the end. The reveal, by the way, was perfect – your language, as throughout the piece, could do with a bit of a polish but the pacing was great and with just enough foreshadowing.

The verdict: PAIN



HereticMIND – Hard and Deep

Well, this is crap. But it's very nearly publishable crap. I've skimread James Pattersons that are every bit this crap. In fact if James Patterson were to pen the Gears of War novels I would expect them to be this crap, and having skimread the Gears of War novels themselves (snidely), I can confirm that they pretty much are this crap.

Idiots love to read crap of about this level of sophstication; let's turn to Nietzsche for some understanding.

”Nietzsche” posted:

There will always have to be bad writers, for they reflect the taste of undeveloped, immature age groups, who have needs as much as the mature do. If human life were longer, there would be more of the individuals who have matured than of the immature, or at least as many. But as it is, the great majority die too young, which means there are always many more undeveloped intellects with bad taste. Moreover, these people demand satisfaction of their needs with the greater vehemence of youth, and they force the existence of bad authors.
-Human, All Too Human 201

You hacked your way through this and it shows, but it's reasonably competent. You've chosen to mess around with grammatical conventions in a way which usually works in this context, but you've overdone it a bit with the repetitive bite-phrasing, commas, etc. I'm a bit leery of the listed dialogue snippets, but again, in context it's hardly impermissible. The ellipses are entirely superfluous IMHO.
Yep. Cheap tricks, abundantly deployed. You can do better and with a better suited prompt (ie. a project you can respect), you probably will. Take your time next round, don't try to be ironic, and don't stoop to the uninspired and obvious.

The verdict: DEATH



CancerCakes – Unclean

On a tablet, you say?
An entertaining story. Points for writing clear, unmuddied action. It's important to tell us exactly which body parts are damaged, how, and to what degree – it's vicarious agony, not a report on mad combat skillz, that make a fight scene interesting.
Points off for cumbersome, ineloquent phrasing and sentence structures better suited to adventures 20,000 leagues below the sea.

quote:

On top of the murderer knelt my father, punching him in the face: each blow made Samuel's head bounce off the floor.
What a lovely sentence – I could read this kind of thing all day, but I doubt you or I could get away with it much were we writing action fiction for a living (post about 1940, anyway).
Word clutter is a bad thing, but you allow it to break the pace of the action, and this, unless it's going to massively increase tension, is very very bad. Especially when the superfluous words are generic, everyday qualifiers. Just cut 'em out. Consider

quote:

I went to work putting the control panel back together. The holo was cracked, but other than that intact; all I needed to do was splice the wires back together. I peeked outside when I heard a roar and my fingers fumbled as I saw the attacker The captain roared, slapping my dad off him like he was slamming a door (this analogy doesn't really work yet), Suddenly and now the hulking madman was standing stood over my small wiry father, blinking the blood out of his eyes.

One thing I'd like to stress is by this point in the narrative it's well established that you're using first person, past tense. Therefore it's a given that everything that happens in the story was seen or otherwise experienced by the protagonist. Your reader only needs to know that the prot has seen something in those rare cases that the act of seeing is itself pertinent – she saw something when she wasn't supposed to, or might not have noticed. It's like if she was served a meal. You could say 'I bit into the piece of steak and I tasted the rich spices that had been cooked into the broth', or you could say 'They served steak in a richly spiced broth.' When the situation requires that you're concise, as it does here, then word economy is everything.

More could be said. This

quote:

The sabotage had rendered the escape capsules useless, and without warning Captain Samuel had tracked down each crewman, family member, pet and passenger, and murdered them.
is a pretty clumsy bit of exposition. The first three words kill it; horribly passive construction. The sabotage hadn't done anything because 'the sabotage' is not an agent.
This sentence

quote:

"You cannot leave this ship," he growled, his muscles tense |beneath once white blood soaked pilot suit|.
needs to be far more succinct. As it stands, each additional term just weighs down the sentence. At the same time, you don't want to just throw away the fact that your bad guy is covered in blood (and by leaving it out there for your reader to trip over, you are throwing it away). If you absolutely must describe each detail, do it once only and pick your moment so that you're not hampering the procession of events.

So to conclude: an okay effort. Pick better words and be more picky about their arrangement.

The verdict: PAIN



Symptomless Coma – Epistemology

Very nice concept with some neat detail. A good story. I'll repeat some of my points from CancerCakes' critique above, although your offences are far less egregious.

quote:

It sounded as though the words had been cut from an earlier time and patched together. Then Jack heard a whirring and saw the Stacey’s fist rise above the shelf. The air around the fist shimmered and a piercing tone rang out, making his eyes vibrate. He heard a crack and looked up. The glass lattice webbing the griot library’s ceiling rippled with thin lines, then fell away, sending the huge plates raining down around them. He rolled under one of the desks and covered his eyes as the glass splashed across the floor around him. Beneath the crashing, he heard the crunch of approaching footsteps.

This passage suffers from word clutter, passive construction and the cardinal mistake of telling us the protagonist both saw and heard things, in a scene which the reader already knows to be shown from his perspective. You could correct all of these things in a single, attentive revision.

quote:

It sounded as though the words had been cut from an earlier time and patched together. Then (unnecessary, as we naturally assume the events of your story to be consecutive) Jack heard a whirring and saw the Stacey’s fist rise above the shelf. (Jack heard and saw the Stacey doing things and making sounds. Why not give us words about the Stacy actively doing things, rather than Jack percieving them? When the Stacey is acting, Jack can only do three pertinent or interesting things: he can react, he can think, he can emote. The act of perception does not warrant the reader's attention every time it occurs.) The air around the fist shimmered (this is constructed as reportage and would read better if it were linked to the sentence in which the fist rises) and a piercing tone rang out, making his eyes vibrate. He heard a crack and looked up(yes, well). The glass lattice webbing the griot library’s ceiling rippled with thin lines, then fell away, sending the (consider: 'its') huge plates raining down around them. He rolled under one of the desks a desk and covered covering ('they' say not to stack actions with a secondary 'ing' but I reckon it would work right here) his eyes as the glass splashed across the floor around him. Beneath the crashing, he heard the crunch of approaching footsteps.
A good, inventive story. Prompt deftly jiu-jitsu'd.

The verdict: PAIN



V for Vegas – Krakatoa: The Krakening

Exquisite pastiche. 10/10. Not much more to say except you must be pregnant cuz you missed a couple periods, and everyone who wishes to publish action/adventure stories would do well to look to this.

quote:

Vance sat on the driver seat. Kristen paused while climbing up behind him.
Line break/carriage return
‘Uh Vance,’ she said. ‘These tunnels, they’re old lava tubes right?’
(Don't bury your dialogue. You're making your reader hunt for it, and somewhat paradoxically, it's going to grab their attention immediately, forcing them to skim over the preceding action. That's why we separate the two.)

‘Yeah.

A rumble shook the earth.

‘So please tell me that isn’t what I think it is,’ said Kristen,
Oh, and

quote:

Vance yelled to Kristen ‘hold on to me’ and
See above. Immersion-shattering aberrations of this kind must be avoided.

The verdict: PAIN



Noah – Up and Coming

I wish you'd edited this more closely, because it's a really well executed blow-by-blow rasslin' story. You absolutely nailed the prompt. Robert E. Howard would be proud

Problems:
- 'the boy'. Way overused, clamouring for a substitute or two. Not a difficult thing to fix, which (along with the presence of typos) leads me to assume you didn't really go over your draft at all. You should do this, CC rules stipulate we all must and it's not out of bloody-mindedness. You'll get better feedback after a couple revisions.

- Some bland, unimaginative language. Don't get me wrong, most of your prose was clear, direct and appropriate, but I haven't really called out anyone on this yet and it's going to happen right now.

quote:

The sounds of heaving and vomit splattering in a tin trashcan with no liner echo through the locker room.

This is probably the only sentence I can pull out to exemplify what I mean. You are talking about a trash can with no liner, itself a great image – I can hear the puke spattering against the naked tin – but you've gone the economy route and as a result we have this ugly, cumbersome phrase 'with no liner' dangling in the middle of your sentence. If 'unlined' is too ambiguous (I think it is), why not describe, rather than simply report, the puke sounds in a way that shows us they're produced on bare, unprotected metal?
Again, not really your problem more than anyone else's, but this irked me. It's a question of Style.

quote:

They writhe out of control as the man stalks down the gangway.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylImuwPWLBo#t=40s

quote:

The boy looks at Ref. Ref wasn’t bored, he realizes. Ref’s seen this before. How many other people have been in the boy’s place.
...
Straight down. Not his signature, which puts a person ON their back.
Neither of these two reveals are quite clear enough. 'Ref wasn't bored' needs a counterpoint for emphasis – you may not want to spell it out directly, but 'Ref's seen this before' actually weakens our expectation of a twist because it sort of confirms the idea that he was bored.
ie. '...but straight down onto the roof of his skull.'

quote:

his neck cracks like a norse god popping a knuckle


The verdict: PAIN



Martello – Cherry Job

Most days the Jargon Train runs direct thru to Pastiche Island, and disembarking can be difficult. Too many gunspecs and suddenly it becomes very difficult to negotiate the maze of attributions – too few and we're back in preschool, playing with crayons. Action is a fickle mistress.

This

quote:

Bronco parked the Jeep in front of the small ranch-style house. It was 3 AM in a quiet neighborhood. The boys slid up the front steps, near-silent on softsoled boots. Roger took point, breaching slug the first round in his Dearborn Reliant.
is lovely. The details have a function, they complement each other, they carry us onward.

This

quote:

Gabe Martello, his cousin Bronco Halligan, and their friends Roger Morris and Tommy Galgano rolled to Hicksville from Hoboken in Bronco's silver '35 Jeep Trapper.
is an impregnable mesh. And this,

quote:

A brilliant flash washed out his and Gabe's cybereyes, Bronco and Roger's smartspecs.
in context, just litters the path. Too many particulars – it's alienating.

quote:

The back of the man's skull exploded, blood and shredded brains splattering the room.


Unless they're very common, I'd avoid using the same word more than once within visible proximity – narco, narco, covered, covered, paste, paste.

quote:

The kitchen was the jackpot; stacks of money and foil-wrapped bricks of silverpaste covered the table. The refinery in here, too - burners, metal pots, beakers, and centrifuges all over the counters.
or somesuch.
The verdict:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7C7sRIgTDU

STONE OF MADNESS fucked around with this message at Feb 9, 2013 around 09:27

BlackFrost
Feb 6, 2008

Have you figured it out yet?


Initially, I had just typed out the chase sequence with zero context to see how the action went. Before submitting I decided to add some semblance of a beginning and end, realized how awkward it flowed, and rewrote the whole drat thing. I still tried to focus on the action more than anything else. I hope I've created a coherent sequence, since I'm generally not very good at writing action. If anyone has advice on how to write it well (or can point me to some) I'd love to hear it, actually.

Mine - 1,000 words.

Emmett shivered as he returned to consciousness. He tried to open his eyes, but the lights overheard burned. He felt a pounding in his head. He rolled and planted his face on the hard surface—was he on the floor? He opened his eyes, and through the blur made out a dull gray.

Concrete.

He rose on all fours, blinking until his vision cleared. The light reflected on the floor and burned his eyes. He grunted as his head felt like it split in half, right down the back. He rubbed the back of his head, and felt a bump.

He paused, then tried to rise, managing to stand upright. He opened his eyes and scanned the room. To his left, he spotted an old, wooden desk. In front of him was a single, metal door. There was a switch next to it—for the lights, he assumed.

“Hello?” He coughed, and realized he needed something to drink. He made his way over to the desk and opened each drawer, looking for something useful. Nothing.

He planted both hands on the desk and studied the wooden frame. He tried to remember something—anything—about where he was. What was he doing before this? Was he attacked? There was something familiar about the small room. The empty room definitely wasn’t his office.

Office. Work. I work here. This is one of the unused offices.

The old mine had a lot of empty rooms like this one. Emmett figured what happened: he’d stumbled in here, slipped, and hit his head on the concrete. Simple enough, but there was still one question: Why had he come in here in the first place?

He remembered rushing down here. A digger went nuts on the radio, saying he’d found something, and urged everyone to come see. Emmett was on his way when he’d heard something weird on the radio, like a guttural roar. Then, he saw something—

BANG!

He looked at the door, unable to move his legs. Something sharp scraped against the metal. He thought he heard a voice, maybe a grunt?

BANG!

He snapped into action. In one swift motion, he flicked the light switch off, then made his way back to the desk. He tilted it, caught it before it hit the floor, and ducked behind it.

The door crashed open. He heard flesh thumping against concrete as something heavy moved into the room. He covered his mouth, forced himself to breathe through his nose. He realized that the light from the corridor might reveal his presence, and didn’t dare make a move to peek over the desk.

He heard a guttural sound—the sound he’d heard on the radio—and dug his fingers into his cheeks. The heavy footfalls grew louder—closer—and then stopped. He could hear breathing. He glanced upward, and though the light revealed what was standing before him, its main features were bathed in shadow.

The naked, pale figure looked almost like a regular person at first glance, but in just a few moments Emmett made something out—its arm, it seemed to dangle into many fleshy strands that ended in sharp points—and backed into the wall.

The creature seemed to poke its head forward, and Emmett realized it must’ve been looking right at him. It cried out—an awful, indescribable sound—and Emmett scrambled to his feet, moving for the door. He stumbled over the desk and fell, but was back up in moments. He flew out of the room and collided with the adjacent wall.

He turned left, saw another figure burst out of one of the other rooms, and almost slipped as he whirled around and ran. He heard screaming—definitely human—but didn't stop for a second. As he ran, he thought of running the track back in college, and how heavy his feet felt when he sprinted under the hot, unforgiving sun. Now, even in the cool, underground mine, his feet were heavy.

He tripped over something and fell to the ground. He glanced behind him, and in the dim hallway made out several figures shambling toward him. He was surprised at how much distance he'd managed to put between himself and the creatures.

He got to his feet, and glanced down the corridor. He saw a door just a few meters down, along the right-hand wall, and went for it. As he moved, a realization dawned on him, and he stopped.

I’m going the wrong way. I’m not heading toward the surface, I’m going down.

He had stopped for only a moment before springing for the door again. It didn’t budge. He grabbed the knob and shoved, even kicked the door. He realized that he wasn’t actually turning the knob, let out a cackle, and pulled the door open. He shut it behind him.

Another empty room with a desk. He coughed—Christ, his throat burned—and moved for the desk. He kneeled onto it, breathed, and pushed it toward the door.

BANG!

He cackled again, pausing to massage his throat. Door knobs sure are a pain in the rear end, aren’t they?

He slid the desk against the door, and collapsed. He turned and leaned back against the desk, rubbing his eyes. He felt tears, and realized that his hands were shaking. At that moment, the pounding in his head returned.

BANG!

No way out. His legs felt like jelly, his tongue felt swollen and dry. Even if he managed to slip by them, he wouldn’t get very far. He thought of the people he was leaving behind. His wife, his kids.

He heard the door open (it opens the other way, gently caress me, how could I forget that?) and tried to crawl away. He didn’t turn around, even as something grabbed his legs and pulled.

Emmett heard screaming as something sharp dug into the back of his skull. Then, he felt searing pain—like something splitting the back of his head open, down the middle—and everything went dark.

Jeza
Feb 13, 2011

The cries of the dead are terrible indeed; you should try not to hear them.


STONE OF MADNESS posted:

*mountain of crit*

I'll use my calloused British hands to throttle you old man, then beat you to death with your own stultifying colon.


Seriously though, this was some really decent crit to take on board. (True fact: Was totally playing with the idea of putting goombah in there.)


A lot of it I think I can chalk up to pastiche noir seeping into my brain, having just played Max Payne. Especially self-referential metaphors and overdone language.

Sedgr
Sep 16, 2007

Neat!


Went a touch long but better than nothing. Probably took the prompt a little overly literal as well. Seems like it would be better as part of a longer piece.

------------------------
Duel (1080 words)
------------------------

Corman drew his blade, careful of its razor edge, as he threw himself backwards barely avoiding the deadly sweep of Renault's two handed great-sword.

“You never should have challenged me boy,” Renault said as he fell into an aggressive posture.

Corman grimaced and held his sabre at the ready, its polished mirror finish shone in the dim morning light. His armor was heavy but comfortable in its familiarity.

Renault was probably right. He shouldn't have challenged him. As one of the Great Captains, Renault's skill almost legendary. And standing before Corman, in gleaming plate and mail, wielding that huge great-sword, he looked every bit the part.

But it was too late to back out now. The challenge had been issued. The ancient laws could not be ignored. Sweat dripped down Corman's brow and stung his eyes. He knew he was unlikely to survive this.

Renault rushed him, an avalanche of steel, the flurry of blows meant to wear down Corman's strength. Each strike from Renault's heavy blade sent a shock up his arms as he blocked the attacks. He fell back, catching his breath, the ringing of the swords echoing in his ears.

The men of the camp had gathered around them, though they remained silent. Dueling officers were something that a soldier avoided if he wanted to live very long. But still curiosity drew them in. They formed a loose circle around the two combatants.

The men were exhausted. They had held out for days in this small pass, barely keeping from being overrun. Much longer and there would be no one left alive.

It had been a mistake to follow Renault here. The man was consumed with revenge. Attacking an enemy ten times their number to avenge his fallen brother had been foolhardy to say the least. They had paid dearly for Renault's vengeance, and finally been pushed back to this rocky pass. Another attack would break them.

Renault backed off, and lowered his blade, circling Corman like a lion would circle prey. His black eyes burned with a fevered rage. The quest for revenge consumed him, clouding his mind. Blinding him to the truth.

Corman held his blade in a guarded blocking position waiting for the next attack.

“Why? Why challenge me for command now? Why throw it all away?” Renault demanded.

“We shouldn't be here,” Corman answered. “We'll all die if we stay.”

He set his feet and leapt toward Renault with a thrusting jab trying to surprise him. Renault swept Corman's blade away with ease and spun in a countering attack that caught him on the thigh, drawing first blood. Corman limped back, the cut was painful but not mortal.

“It is my right. It is my command!” Renault shouted. He pointed at the surrounding men. “Their lives are mine to spend as I see fit. If I demand they die in battle, then they will die and thank me for the honor.” Renault flicked his blade, casting droplets of Corman's blood onto the dry earth at his feet.

“I have to save them if I can,” Corman said quietly.

“So you betray your oath and honor because suddenly the bloodshed is too much for you. You've never been so sentimental before. You've grown weak.” Renault spat onto the ground and shifted his stance swinging his large blade overhead. He moved toward Corman with lethal speed.

Corman dodged to the right as Renault's blade fell towards him, barely escaping the blow. The gash on his leg had slowed him. While Renault was off balance he brought his own blade around in a sweeping arc and knocked Renault's great-sword to the side. It wasn't much of an opening but Corman managed to slice the mail at Renault's elbow landing a minor wound. The Great Captain grunted from the pain before recovering and falling back defensively.

“It doesn't matter anymore,” Corman said. “Either I die and they are slaughtered, or I take command and save what I can. There's nothing else left.”

Corman stormed forward, the wound on his leg momentarily forgotten. Like a berserker he brought his blade down upon Renault's again and again, driving the man back. The wound on Renault's arm would make the great-sword difficult to wield. He must press the advantage. The hail of blows drove Renault to one knee and knocked one of his hands free of the grip.

Corman stepped in close to make the most of the opportunity trying to drive his blade down into the man's armor.

Too late he saw the flash of the dagger that Renault had drawn with his freed hand. Quick as a viper Renault stabbed him in the side, through a gap at the edge of his chest plate, burying the blade deep in his flesh.

“I told you,” Renault whispered, “you never should have challenged me.” He pulled the dagger free, it's blade coated in blood.

Corman fell to his knees, clutching his side, as Renault regained his footing and sheathed the dagger. Corman could feel his lifesblood begin to drain away. It had all happened so fast, over in an instant.

“Last words?” Renault asked, his face flushed from exertion, his voice still filled with anger.

“The men are safe now. That's all that ever mattered,” Corman said while trying to staunch the wound. Flecks of blood stained his lips as he spoke.

“They live or die as I command. You've saved no one,” Renault said, his eyes wild.

“Fellinger will lead them home,” Corman said faintly. Fellinger was third in command, a good man, he would remember his promise. Corman's blood ran through his fingers pooling on the ground below.

“No one else will dare challenge me,” Renault sneered.

Corman nodded towards his sword where it had fallen beside him. “Poisoned,” he whispered weakly.

Renault looked down at Corman's blade and then grabbed at the cut on his arm. Already thin tendrils of black snaked their way through his skin outward from the wound. The blood drained from his face. He wouldn't survive more than a few hours.

Corman smiled and closed his eyes as Renault growled lifting the great-sword high for the final blow. He heard the blade begin to fall but it seemed so far away. He could already feel death's sweet embrace.

The men would be saved. He had done his duty. Nothing else mattered.

The world went black.

----------THE END-----------

supermikhail
Nov 17, 2012


"It's video games, Scully."
Video games?"
"He enlists the help of strangers to make his perfect video game. When he gets bored of an idea, he murders them and moves on to the next, learning nothing in the process."
"Hmm... interesting."


That's a low-hanging fruit, but I don't mind low-hanging fruits.

BlackFrost posted:

Mine - 1,000 words.

Emmett shivered as he returned to consciousness. He tried to open his eyes, but the lights overheard burned. He felt a pounding in his head. He rolled and planted his face on the hard surface—was he on the floor? He opened his eyes, and through the blur made out a dull gray.

Repetition of the same structure. The longer it went on, the more jarring it got, so that by the end I was counting "he"s. Which brings me to my second point, which is overuse of "he".

Concrete.

He rose on all fours, blinking until his vision cleared. The light reflected on the floor and burned his eyes. He grunted as his head felt like it split in half, right down the back. He rubbed the back of his head, and felt a bump.

Doesn't sound right. I would say your use of "as" suggests simultaneous action, while head feeling like... obviosly isn't an action. To make it semantically correct you need to replace "as" with "because", but stylistically this won't help.

He paused, then tried to rise, managing to stand upright. He opened his eyes and scanned the room. To his left, he spotted an old, wooden desk. In front of him was a single, metal door. There was a switch next to it—for the lights, he assumed.

"tried to rise" has a degree of suspense about it, and it's a clumsy way to resolve the suspense by just saying that he "managed it". A better way would be to describe his struggles.

“Hello?” He coughed, and realized he needed something to drink. He made his way over to the desk and opened each drawer, looking for something useful. Nothing.

He planted both hands on the desk and studied the wooden frame. He tried to remember something—anything—about where he was. What was he doing before this? Was he attacked? There was something familiar about the small room. The empty room definitely wasn’t his office.

Office. Work. I work here. This is one of the unused offices.

Another great instance of resolving suspence. Not. You should try to describe his process of remembering. What was familiar about the room? What gave him a clue that he worked here?

The old mine had a lot of empty rooms like this one. Emmett figured what happened: he’d stumbled in here, slipped, and hit his head on the concrete. Simple enough, but there was still one question: Why had he come in here in the first place?

He remembered rushing down here. A digger went nuts on the radio, saying he’d found something, and urged everyone to come see. Emmett was on his way when he’d heard something weird on the radio, like a guttural roar. Then, he saw something—

For some reason "he"s disappear almost completely. I am convinced that this bit was added by a later contributor.

BANG!

He looked at the door, unable to move his legs. Something sharp scraped against the metal. He thought he heard a voice, maybe a grunt?

You're doing it wrong. "He was paralyzed with fear" is the regular way. "unable to move his legs" sounds like Emmett had just discovered a spinal cord injury.

BANG!

He snapped into action. In one swift motion, he flicked the light switch off, then made his way back to the desk. He tilted it, caught it before it hit the floor, and ducked behind it.

I appreciate the effort, but you've already established your protagonist as a thriller regular joe instead of an action hero. Plus he's just been (to quote myself and countless others) paralyzed with fear, and now he's doing everything in swift motions. Additionally, you could mention that Emmett lowered the desk on the floor.

The door crashed open. He heard flesh thumping against concrete as something heavy moved into the room. He covered his mouth, forced (-ing? or "and") himself to breathe through his nose. He realized that the light from the corridor might reveal his presence, and didn’t dare make a move to peek over the desk.

It gets a bit confusing there. I can't visualize the positions of the characters. I also am not sure if "flesh thumping" is good. I get images of raw meat, and that normally slaps.

He heard a guttural sound—the sound he’d heard on the radio—and dug his fingers into his cheeks. The heavy footfalls grew louder—closer—and then stopped. He could hear breathing. He glanced upward, and though the light revealed what was standing before him, its main features were bathed in shadow.

The naked, pale figure looked almost like a regular person at first glance, but in just a few moments (makes it sound like a feat, while, well, you don't need to be a doctor to determine that something's wrong there) Emmett made something out—its arm, it seemed to dangle into many fleshy strands that ended in sharp points—and backed into the wall.

The creature seemed to poke its head forward, and Emmett realized it must’ve been looking right at him. It cried out—an awful, indescribable sound—and Emmett scrambled to his feet, moving for the door. He stumbled over the desk and fell, but was back up in moments. He flew out of the room and collided with the adjacent wall.

Yeah, let's leave it at that. If you're not going to describe it, then just don't.

He turned left, saw another figure burst out of one of the other rooms, and almost slipped as he whirled around and ran. He heard screaming—definitely human—but didn't stop for a second. As he ran, he thought of running the track back in college, and how heavy his feet felt when he sprinted under the hot, unforgiving sun. Now, even in the cool, underground mine, his feet were heavy.

Remember - action. Leave wild reminiscences for a different prompt.

He tripped over something and fell to the ground. He glanced behind him, and in the dim hallway made out several figures shambling toward him. He was surprised at how much distance he'd managed to put between himself and the creatures.

He got to his feet, and glanced down the corridor. He saw a door just a few meters down, along the right-hand wall, and went for it. As he moved, a realization dawned on him, and he stopped.

These details detract. I don't have a floor plan in my head and don't count how many steps the hero takes. You should try to appeal to imagination, which doesn't need more than "a few steps away".

I’m going the wrong way. I’m not heading toward the surface, I’m going down.

He had stopped for only a moment before springing for the door again. It didn’t budge. He grabbed the knob and shoved, even kicked the door. He realized that he wasn’t actually turning the knob, let out a cackle, and pulled the door open. He shut it behind him.

Another empty room with a desk. He coughed—Christ, his throat burned—and moved for the desk. He kneeled onto it, breathed, and pushed it toward the door.

BANG!

He cackled again, pausing to massage his throat. Door knobs sure are a pain in the rear end, aren’t they?

He slid the desk against the door, and collapsed. He turned and leaned back against the desk, rubbing his eyes. He felt tears, and realized that his hands were shaking. At that moment, the pounding in his head returned.

BANG!

No way out. His legs felt like jelly, his tongue felt swollen and dry. Even if he managed to slip by them, he wouldn’t get very far. He thought of the people he was leaving behind. His wife, his kids.

I don't care. Action! Also, show don't tell.

He heard the door open (it opens the other way, gently caress me, how could I forget that?) and tried to crawl away. He didn’t turn around, even as something grabbed his legs and pulled.

Emmett heard screaming as something sharp dug into the back of his skull. Then, he felt searing pain—like something splitting the back of his head open, down the middle—and everything went dark.

You're supposed to appeal to my imagination, which draws from my past experiences, and I've never experienced having the back of my head split open. Have you? What's it like?

Finally, you've tried to pass a sci-fi thriller as action. Unsuccessfully.

And in other news, having come to work an hour and half early, due to lack of attention, I wrote some of the trashiest words I've ever done in a café to the tune of a drunk man trying to make a waiter punch him in the face. I guess his failure at the task of creating some action was the main culprit of the lack of quality in my work. But now that I'm home it's getting better. Hmm... that's doesn't sound right.

Also, sorry, I guess such long crits aren't called for here, but I'm drunk with sleepiness.

Steriletom
May 11, 2009

My inability to write has angered the ghost of Thunderdome! Beware my example, lest you be haunted.


Bah.

-----

Getting Paid - 900 words

The bell clanged, silencing the crowd momentarily. The first fight of the night had begun.

Eddie dragged himself up out of the stool in his corner of the ring and made his way wearily toward his opponent in the blue trunks. I’m too old for this poo poo, Eddie thought for the hundredth time as he sized up his adversary. The man whose only goal today was to turn Eddie’s face into a hamburger patty was lean, muscled like a mountain lion, and twenty years Eddie’s junior.

One last paycheck, Eddie told himself as the two met at the centre of the ring with Blue Trunks bobbing and weaving, rhythmically switching his lead foot from left to right and back again as he tested Eddie’s readiness to fight. A quick left jab exploded from the kinetic ball of energy in front of him—Fernandez, right. That was the fucker’s name. The grizzled veteran already had his gloves up high and absorbed the blow. Eddie counterpunched with a straight right. He missed. Badly.

Fernandez had already retreated halfway back to the ropes by the time Eddie finished his swing. drat, I’m going to get my rear end handed to me tonight. Eddie pursued with solid, straight steps, only moving his shoulders left to right. He’d never been the sort for all that fancy footwork poo poo. The young buck waited for him. As Eddie closed with the latest in a long line of up-and-comers, Fernandez reversed his backward momentum and stepped forward with his right foot, throwing and landing two quick jabs and a crushing left hook to the jaw. Eddie saw stars. Eddie couldn’t hear anymore. Eddie dropped to one knee.

“One! Two! Three!” The referee yelled in the downed fighter’s face. It’s alright, you’ve been here before. You can still think straight. You can still fight. He rose to his feet and waited patiently for the referee to finish counting to eight. Why’d you have to go and get pregnant, Mandy? Only eighteen. The iron taste of blood seeped through his mouth. He spat crimson on the mat.

Time to show this kid a new trick, Eddie decided and as the ref reached the end of the count Eddie bulled toward Fernandez. The youngster stood his ground, unworried. Eddie feinted with his left and then again with his right. Fernandez didn’t bite on the first. The second hit, though, the kid thought would be true. He ducked to his right under the not incoming punch. The hard left uppercut Eddie delivered to the kid’s chin sent a surge of excitement through the crowd. Fernandez stumbled back into the ropes, grabbing them for support.

Eddie lumbered forward. Might be able to put on a show, after all. His full weight collided with Fernandez, fist first into the son-of-a-bitch’s ribs. The kid turtled and Eddie began methodically working the body. Left, right, left, right. Eddie felt the concussions reverberate up his arms as he slammed the little punk again and again, falling into a familiar lulling rhythm. Left, right, left, right. Eddie noted with satisfaction that the kid was finding it difficult to breathe now. He continued pressing the attack, imagining Ferandez had the face of the unemployed pothead gently caress that had gotten his baby pregnant. Just when Eddie felt that the kid was almost done, Fernandez surged forward at a gap in the rhythm of Eddie’s punches. He clinched with Eddie, entangling their limbs. Fernandez held on for dear life, knowing he only needed a few seconds to recover.

“Break it up! Break it up!” The ref yelled as he stepped in and pushed them apart.

Eddie knew that he had just lost his best, probably only, chance to win the fight. The referee stepped back and Fernandez launched himself toward Eddie, determined to use his speed to overwhelm the old timer. Jab, jab, jab, left cross, jab, right hook, left hook, right cross, feint, right cross again. Eddie fell back, absorbing most of the punches with his gloves. Not all, though. Eddie swore under his breath as Fernandez landed a stinging jab to Eddie’s chin. He didn’t even think of punching back. Keeping himself from getting knocked out was all he could hope for at the moment.

He was in one of the corners of the ring. How the hell did I get all the way over here? Fernandez closed in now. The kid ducked down and began working the ribs. Eddie appreciated the gesture. I liked it better when I was doing it to him a—Eddie felt a rib snap. He gasped. His arms drooped. The world turned into slow motion jelly. Fernandez took a step back and straightened his body. To the cheering crowd he hadn’t slowed down a beat but Eddie knew he was taking his time now. It was over.

The soon to be winner planted his weight on his leading foot—the left—pulled back his right elbow slightly and unleashed a right hook that bore all the power of a man trying to kill another. Before the punch’s shockwave had even completed rippling through Eddie’s face, Fernandez was driving a straight left into his orbital bone. There was a loud crunch. Colours exploded.

Eddie went down. He would not be getting up this time.

Why’s everything so loud and quiet now? Eddie thought to himself. Last thing, before he lost consciousness, Mandy, the baby is going to beautiful. Just like her mom.

Steriletom fucked around with this message at Feb 9, 2013 around 21:05

Zack_Gochuck
Jan 3, 2007

Stupid Wrestling People


Here's all I had time to get together because Nemo keeps knocking out my power.

The Ball

The ball is small and made of steel. For a long time it lay in a gutter, buried under dirt and leaves. It starts to rain, and the rain washes the ball free. The ball slowly rolls down a gradual incline. It rolls faster and faster. There is a storm drain ahead and the ball is headed straight for it. The ball picks up speed as it approaches the drain. It's going so fast that even the smallest spot of dirt causes it to wobble. The ball is running along the lip of the storm drain. There is a pebble ahead. The ball hits the pebble and wobbles closer to the edge of the drain. It continues roll forward and drifts closer to the abyss below, but the ball is back on the pavement before it falls off the lip.

The ball picks up more speed as it heads downhill. It reaches the bottom of the slope and starts to roll up another one. It loses speed. The ball goes slower and slower as it approaches the crest of the hill. The ball is within sight of the top of the hill, but it is going too slow. It is an inch from the crest and it has almost stopped. Gradually, slowly, it manages to roll over the top of the crest, and rolls down the other side. It picks up speed again.

A stray cat sees the ball. The cat chases the ball. If the cat catches the ball, it will pounce on the ball. It will stop the ball. The ball rolls downhill, the cat close behind. The cat runs fast and faster. It is slowly catching up to the ball. The cat measures the distance and pounces on the ball. The cat moves its paw to the side to take a look at its prize. There is nothing there. The cat fell short. The cat looks ahead and sees the ball, still rolling, well out of reach now.

The ball is approaching an three-way intersection. The traffic is thick today. The ball rolls out of sight, into the busy traffic. It hits the curb, bounces back, and comes to rest in the gutter.

STONE OF MADNESS
Dec 28, 2012

PVTREFACTIO


Jeza posted:

I'll use my calloused British hands to throttle you old man, then beat you to death with your own stultifying colon.

How did I say "colon" when I so clearly should have said "period"?!?! Highly embarrassing, evidently I need more dietary fiber...

HereticMIND
Nov 4, 2012


Man, all this talk of colons is making think of that one Weird Al song...

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

I thought this prompt was a good opportunity to kick around some characters and a setting I've had in my brain for a while. Also I have to leave my house right now so I don't have time to edit down those extra 23 words.

Mutiny
1023 words

Later, I would learn that I was onboard the Avid Ephemris, a ship of dreams.

But when I regained consciousness, the first thing I saw was someone wearing an emerald green crushed velvet dinner jacket with a matching top hat. That someone happened to be a pig, who stood on his hind legs and regarded me impatiently.

"It would be hilariously ironic if you were to ask me if this is a dream," he said just as I was opening my mouth to wonder as much. "And under ordinary circumstances I would be happy to indul--ack!" He went skittering on all four hooves as the room pitched one way and then the other. I tumbled out of the cot in a tangle of oversized nightclothes.

"What's going on?" I shouted over the din of falling crates and miscellanea. If the room had been a cramped storage space before, now it was a storm of debris.

"We got some nightmares on our tail and Pope is try'na shake them," the pig said as he fought his way to the door. "Best get up on deck. Hurry now, it'll make sense later!"

"The Pope?" But the pig was already out the door. I clambered after him, swaying with the tilting floor. The hallway beyond was dark and narrow, though thankfully clear of falling objects. I gathered up the nightgown, followed the pig's pink backside up a ladder and through a trapdoor style hatch, and almost fell right back down when I took in the scene above.

My first impression was that the ship was in outer space. More than a dozen sails snapped and billowed above as the ship turned hard to port, and for a moment I had a clear view of my surroundings. The light! Hundreds of millions of tiny stars drifted clouds through the black ether, above, below, and on every side of the ship. There was no water, though the sleek barque surged forward as if over rolling waves.

Then the world spun. There was no up or down, just wood against my cheek as I clung to the deck and the blur of spinning lights above. The ship corkscrewed forward with unlikely momentum, and after a few moments I realized that it was only fear that held me down. Some distance away, the pig stood at the bow of the ship beside a figure in a cowled robe which peaked in a headdress strongly resembling the pope's hat.

I pushed myself to my feet and made my way toward the bow and tried to ignore my brain as it balked at the sheer impossibility of simply walking in spite of the motion of the ship.

"I'm Sebastian, by the way," the pig shouted over the creaking din of the masts. The hooded figure stood as if rooted to the bow and made no motion to acknowledge me.

"Why is everything spinning?"

"Oy, that. I told you, we're on the run and Pope here has gotta keep the nightmares off our backs. They can't land if we're spinning," Sebastian said. "His name isn't really Pope, you know, it's just the--" A massive gust of frigid air knocked the top hat from the pig's head and took the breath from my lungs.

There was a sickening grating sound and the ship came out of its spin with a lurch that threw both Sebastian and I to the ground. "Pope" never moved an inch, and though I couldn't see his face, his posture was still one of meditative determination.

"Get ready," Sebastian squealed, and then the Nightmares were on us.

They swarmed down the masts and over the railing, shadowy, indistinct shapes that defied my ability to parse what I was seeing. I scrambled back toward the hatch on hands and feet and managed to get tangled in the damned oversized nightgown. The creatures had completely enveloped both the forecastle deck and the cloaked man in a writhing tableau of horrible shapes and darkness.

"Here! Here!" Sebastian had regained his feet and his hat and was waving frantically with one cloven hoof for me to come toward the horde. "We have to get them off of Melchior, he can't take this many at once and keep control of the Avid ."

"What the hell do you expect me to do about it?" I couldn't keep the hysteria out of my voice.

"Like this," the pig said and tore off his green velvet dinner jacket. He waded into the mass of nightmares with stubby pink arms swinging, but the creatures seemed to ignore him. "Bastards just want Melchior for now," he panted over his shoulder.

But me, I could only just stand there. Somewhere in the black void around us, the spinning of the ship and the monsters on deck, my mind had hit its threshold for the absurd. To say nothing of the talking pig who was courageously fighting to his companion's side; a companion, I thought, whose face I'd never seen.

So it was that I stayed where I was, which afforded a view of the huge creature that rose before the prow of the ship, all darkness and misshapen angles. So it was that I saw it sweep one long tendril across the forecastle and send tens of the smaller creatures overboard, and with them the man named Melchior.

The rest of the nightmares receded like a wave, and within moments the deck was empty except for me and a battered pig, who was crumpled against the foremast. All was silent, and the Avid was adrift.

"This is bad. This is exceptionally, terribly bad," Sebastian moaned.

"You need to tell me what the hell is going on right now." I'd rediscovered my faculties and all of them advised anger and suspicion.

"Well," the pig said, struggling to his feet. "The man you just neglected to save brought you here." He donned his hat and peered around for the dinner jacket. "It was a trifling matter, really. He needed your help to save your universe. Though I can't really imagine why."

At that, my faculties advised me to faint, which I did.

Echo Cian
Jun 16, 2011



Predator (1000 words)

My head snapped up from the rabbit spoor at the crack of a branch through the trees. The noise was muffled by snow, but something large definitely approached. I nocked an arrow to my bowstring and took a knee. My stomach rumbled at the thought of fresh deer meat. The last rabbit seemed a very long time ago. For that matter, it had been; Loth was a terrible month for hunting.

The noise got louder. I could almost taste venison - but as it neared, I had misgivings. A prey animal shouldn't be so loud. I raised my bow and took aim on the shape that lumbered into sight. Whatever it was, it certainly wasn't a deer.

Its figure resolved through the falling snow and my gut sank. A body double the size of a horse, lizardlike features like some ugly mockery of a true dragon.

Wyrm.

My breath caught in my throat. I had only seen one once, dead - but there were stories, oh were there stories. Faster than a horse, stronger than ten men, a thick hide that weapons barely penetrated. If I stood, my head might reach its belly. Its teeth, when it paused and sniffed the air, were as long as my hand. And this was a small one. What was it even doing here? They shouldn't be in this sort of climate.

I huddled in the brush, my heart pounding so hard it surely must hear it. I should run. Could I run? Was there any chance it could see movement and not think me prey?

No. And it would scent me the moment the wind shifted.

A short gust stirred the falling flakes and wafted a stench of rotten meat toward me. I bit back a cough and put arrow back to bow. I was a fool, to try to take this thing down alone - but then, I was always the fool. I raised the bow, took aim and a slow breath, and released.

It gave an ear-shattering screech as my arrow sank into its neck - barely deeper than the arrowhead, but it drew blood, which was better than I'd expected from the tales. I drew, nocked, fired again. Chest. This time it heard the bowstring snap and spotted me in the brush. Its pupils dilated.

Hellfire.

I ran.

It smashed aside the tree I'd left behind like a twig. I jumped a log and broke hard right into a small copse, whirled with my blood pounding and another arrow raised. It barreled headlong past me, spun with a sinuous grace; scrabbled for traction in the snow and shrieked at my third arrow. Left flank. It crashed in after me and I dove out before it could snap me like the unfortunate trees.

I chanced a glance back to see it savaging the small trees like toothpicks. It met my eye. I swallowed and ran with all I had. Three arrows didn't even slow it down. I needed broadheads, why hadn't I made broadheads? Damndamndamn.

It was seconds behind when I reached the bank. I threw myself over the edge and landed hard in snow to a crack of stream ice. Pain lanced my shoulder; arrows spilled from my quiver. The wyrm shot over me and landed in the streambed, splintering ice beneath it. The impact drove the arrow in its flank deeper.

I scooped up a handful of arrows and wrenched myself onto my knees. My fingers burned with the cold and my shoulder with pain but I drew and fired again. Right haunch, and this one buried in halfway up the shaft. The wyrm stumbled as it tried to rise. I drew another and loosed again. Left hind leg. Then it was back on its feet, hissing in pain. I drew again-

-gods-

-it was on top of me.

It batted me into the embankment like an insect. My bow jolted from my hand. The wyrm hissed again, louder, and I had the terrible feeling that it no longer only wanted to kill me. No, it wanted to kill me messily for the pain I'd caused it.

Too close for the bow. I drew my sword. And, since I was a stupid fool, now I charged.

I took it by surprise - only for an instant, but it was enough. It snapped at me but I twisted past teeth, past claws. It lowered its body and I crouched with it, slid under it, and drove my sword up into the soft flesh at the crook of its foreleg.

It howled and jerked away. My sword went with it. Its tail whipped toward me and I rolled with the impact, sparing myself fractured ribs; but a crack beneath me made me wince. My bow hadn't been so fortunate. The wyrm limped away with its leg off the ground to examine the latest thorn.

I dragged myself out of the snow for the third time and pulled out my boot knife. Hellfire, everything hurt. The wyrm kept a wary eye on me, but it was now defensive, curled around its leg. Blood spread in the snow, leaked into the stream. The water burbled over the beast's harsh breaths. We stared at each other for a long moment.

Then it faltered; stumbled and slipped on the ice, went down on its bad leg. Its screech as my sword drove in further was weaker. I moved in warily. It hissed and snapped, but the pain and blood loss had finally slowed it. I slammed the knife into its throat two-handed and darted away from its thrashing claws.

The great beast gurgled and convulsed, but its movements slowed; and finally it slumped to the snow. Cold had begun to seep through my furs and into my bones by the time I checked to make sure it was dead. My hands shook as I yanked the knife out. But, despite the cold and the pain, I smiled.

This would last much longer than a rabbit.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

I committed to something and I'm totally not sure how I feel about it anymore. I've read it too many times to make any (other) changes, so here it goes. 987 words.

Tensegrity

Kasey’s glance shot from his ruined bike to his watch and back. He was doing his best to keep it together but the plan was falling apart before it had even unfurled. All his thoughts ran together as he tried to cope.

He could see it: Claire’s train pulling in, the Customs officers hauling her off the platform. He’d be running, sweaty, covered in grit but still blocks away from where he had to be. Or maybe he’d be stuck in a crowded bus or getting maced by a cabbie after he stiffed the bill.

There was no time to cut the locks on the other bikes. He didn't even own a grinder. There was no time, period. He tightened the duffel bag across his shoulders, breathed in, and broke into a run.

Claire tightened her grip on her handbag, pain shooting across her molars as she realized she’d been grinding her teeth. Her heel tapped the cardboard box beneath the seat. She stopped when she remembered that she wasn’t even supposed to think about it. Thinking would give her away. Kasey’s words ran through her head as the click-clack of the train against the tracks slowed with every passing moment.

“There are three parts to any good plan: the Ruse, the Swindle and the Exit.” Kasey had seemed so sure of himself. She would never have agreed otherwise.

“They’ll never suspect you’re up to somethin’. You wear one of those sundresses a’yours, you get all nervous when they ask for your passport and you’ll be golden. You’re like so low on the watch list you’d get away with murder.”

For the most part, he’d been right. No one at the station gave her any trouble. No one really seemed to care. Now, outside, the suburbs grew denser. The streets were getting busier, there was less green. They were cutting towards the heart of the city. She checked her watch.

Kasey made it four blocks before zero hour hit. No more room for fuckups. Still running, he scanned the sidewalk trying to tie things together. Someone was plugging a parking meter, a beggar plucked at a guitar, a lady with a stroller stopped to look into a boutique, some guy was about to chain his bike to a pole. Kasey could almost feel the click as a plan fell into place.

“Hey! That guy stole my wallet!” He yelled and pointed behind the guy with the bike.

The guy turned but Kasey was on him, shoving him to the ground. Before the guy could pick himself up, Kasey was already weaving through traffic.

Everything was a blur now. He kept his eyes on the thin strip of pavement between the parked cars and the moving traffic. A rusted out Toyota veered in too close; he could feel the heat coming off the hood. He kicked at the fender and flipped them the bird. It was a costly mistake. Some old guy took the moment to open the door of his Lincoln just up ahead. Kasey pressed on the brakes. Nothing, they were shot. He’d never scrub enough speed. The old guy was leaning on the door, trying to pull himself out, his pace was glacial. There was nowhere to go. No free ‘crete anywhere but the sidewalks. Or maybe…

“gently caress it!”

Kasey pulled across the lane, hoping the Toyota was keeping back. Car horns went off all around him as he hauled rear end down the median, bent over his bars like he was winning the Tour de gently caress. He blew through a fresh red at the next lights, car horns going off again. He counted blocks now, redrawing the route in his head. No time to check his watch, but he knew it was going to be close.

Claire pressed herself against the window. He was supposed to be waiting on the other end of the bridge, and the locomotive was already disappearing into the arching steel latticework. Her mouth was dry, her heart was pounding. It had to work. She slid the window open and fished the yellow kerchief from her purse.

He ditched the bike and dove behind the sickly shrubs at the embankment’s base. Claire had said her car was somewhere near the middle. The scream of steel on steel let him know the train had cleared the bridge and was pulling into the final curve that would bring it into the station. He bolted up the grassy slope.

Hanging onto a girder with one hand, he leaned in as close to the train as he could. The smell of hot grease and diesel made it hard to breathe. He tensed as each car passed, the rush of air trying to knock him off balance.

There - a flash of yellow at the other end of the bridge. He blinked and it was gone. He fixated on that train car now. It was coming up fast. Everything seemed to stop as he kept his eyes locked on the one open window.

Close now. So close. He leaned over as far as he could, one hand outstretched. The tips of his fingers were almost touching the train as it shot by, he could run them across the rivets if he wanted. There she was, leaning out, the box in her hands and an uncertain expression on her face.

His fingers connected with the box, sliding across its surface and wrapping themselves around the twine that kept it shut. It was his. Gently, he put it in the duffel bag, hopped off the bridge and slid down the embankment. He left the bike where it lay and started the walk home without a second glance.

Back at his apartment Kasey cracked a cold one. Claire was asleep in his bed, and Mr. Whiskers had finally shaken off the sedatives. Well, enough to pull himself out of the box and over to a bowl of food, anyway.

autism ZX spectrum fucked around with this message at Feb 10, 2013 around 17:54

Benagain
Oct 10, 2007

Student of the principle art of posting

Fun Shoe

Lucky
761 words

“We are social creatures, Mr. Lee, and we are in large part defined by the web of relationships we build. Who we associate with does not just inform our character, it in large part defines it.” She tapped Lee briskly on the chest. “You’re not as stupid as you look, Mr. Lee.” She circled around him slowly.. “Yet you make some unfortunate choices in who you surround yourself with. Your company suggests you are an absolute poo poo.”

Lee grinned nervously as he felt the razor slowly begin to find some purchase in the zip tie binding his hands. Keep them focused on your face. “Can’t argue with that,” he said as cheerfully as he could. “She’s definitely been going out of her way to piss everyone off lately.”

“I resent that,” Stef said, her voice muffled by the bag over his head. “I haven’t been trying to hurt anyone, circumstances entirely outside of my control have been….motherfucker!” she yelled as one of their guards leaned forward and almost delicately backhanded her.

“Shut up,” Rex said, patiently.

The Dragon leaned back and regarded him coldly. “Light-heartedness in the face of danger is an admirable coping mechanism but it can be taken too far. Accept the reality of your situation and focus on the offer I'm making you.” She didn’t say “Because that’s the only way you’re walking out of here alive,” but on the other hand she didn’t really have to. Chen was idly playing with a knife right behind her.

Even if she kills me, I’m going to enjoy this. The last strands parted and his fingers automatically griped the plastic enough to keep it from falling. He slumped slightly into the chair and sighed. “Aright,” he sighed. “Promise me Stef lives and we both walk away from this. I’ll do it.”

“Don’t you loving …gaah! gently caress! gently caress!” Stef yelped as Rex leaned back.

“Told you to shut up,” he said, calmly.

The Dragon ignored it all. “Good. Good. I admire resistance but everyone should know when they’re beaten.” She leaned in closer. “Tell me, are you really so attached to her that you’d give up” and that was when he whipped his hands around and took her by the neck and threw her into Rex. To his credit Rex was already moving but the split second it took him to grab the Dragon was enough for to dive at Stef and knock her to the ground as the knife flew over them.

He sliced her bonds quick, but Chen already had his gun out and Rex was drawing his and all he could do was cover her with his body and hope the bullets would maybe slow down a little and that was when Pat decided to finally make her presence known by driving through the warehouse gate with a truck.
Give the goons credit, they reacted smoothly and scattered, Rex grabbing the Dragon and doing a fine job as a bodyguard while Chen whipped around and aimed his gun at the cab, squeezed out a few desperate shots trying to off her. She put the truck into a tight spin and managed to catch him with the better part of a truck bed, sent him flying. She poked her head out of the cab with an amazed expression.
“Holy poo poo, did you guys see that?!” she yelled enthusiastically.

“You were supposed to be here twenty minutes ago!” Lee roared as he picked himself off the floor and threw Stef into the back seat before diving in himself. “The gently caress happened to your renowned sense of punctuality!” Stef was in the middle of one her standard cursing tirades and had to interrupt herself to scream out “you were expecting this? you deranged fucks!” before going into further detail about their ancestry (poor) and the length of time they could expect to survive once she’d taken the hood off her head and managed to find a weapon (short.) Fortunately, by that time Rex was already trying to kill them and Pat floored it before he could get an accurate bead, sending Stef tumbling into the back seat as bullets whizzed just over Lee's head.

“Where the gently caress were you!” Lee yelled.

Pat just flipped him the bird in response. Stef continued to curse a blue streak in the back. Lee held on to the oh-poo poo bar as best he could. The night closed around them, and they were gone.

swaziloo
Aug 29, 2012


Two Thirty Lincoln to Third (839 words)

Cassidy propped her elbows on Eric's door. She felt ridiculous outside in her cheerleader uniform at two-thirty in the morning, but she wasn't going to refuse such a specific request.

"gently caress Jimmy Vu." Eric watched in his rearview mirror as Jimmy revved up his engine for the second time. "He won't shut up for ten seconds about that loving turbo all year."

Cassidy rolled her eyes and stood up straight. Eric's Charger sat motionless in the wrong lane, his bumper aligned with the thick, white stripe. Between taps at the accelerator, the Charger idled with its characteristic, supercharged whine.

Smoke poured from beneath his hood and a sickening squeal emanated from Jimmy's VTEC Turbo. All part of the plan, apparently. As the cloud dissipated, Jimmy rolled to the crosswalk and Eric's window slid shut.

Seven months of incessant auto shop poo poo-talking preceded this moment. "Jimmy v Eric Two Thirty Lincoln to Third" flew from phone to phone all afternoon and into the evening. The crowd that waited at the corner of Third and Main had climbed from their parents windows and slinked through the shadows to arrive downtown without alerting anyone.

Cassidy glanced down the street, confirmed a spotter flashlight shone at each block, and hopped to the middle of the crosswalk: a quarter mile of Main Street was theirs.

Jimmy inched forward and Eric remained motionless. Neither took his eyes off the road before him. Cassidy raised her silver and purple pom-pom above her head, the laser-cut strands glittering in the reflected lights, and both cars screamed to life. Jimmy's VTEC squealed in protest as he stood on both pedals at once. The Charger rocked to one side in anticipation, it's merciless howl ripping at the still night.

With a drop of her hand, Cassidy made it happen.

The Charger leapt off the line with a powerful chirp as Eric shifted in synch with the drop of the glittering ball and punched the accelerator just as the tranny caught. Jimmy snapped his foot from the brake and stood still for a moment as his tires burned into the pavement. The VTEC swerved past Cassidy before the wheels caught.

Eric dropped into second as Jimmy's differential finally got it right. The VTEC launched itself at the Charger and Jimmy shoved it into second gear. Eric had a significant lead.

Eric wound-up second, edging to the top of the power curve as he blasted past First Street. Jimmy held his foot against the floor and tried to drive the transmission, but just as he finally got everything under control, Eric tapped the Charger into third with a race-ending burst of speed.

They came up on the line much faster than either expected, and the planned photo-finish wasn't even necessary. Eric roared past the cheering crowd and checked the rearview just in time to see Jimmy swerve unexpectedly and hit the protruding curb on the far side of Third Stfreet. A wheel broke free and popped into the air. The VTEC crushed a divider and hurtled over the sidewalk, mowing down three parking meters before slamming into the front window of an intimate apparel store.

Eric's brake lights cast the disbelieving faces of the crowd in red. The Charger spun its wheels in reverse. An instant later Eric bolted around his car and dashed to where the crushed VTEC protruded from the storefront. An alarm system chirped inside and he could hear the whine of the turbo over the crunching of broken glass beneath his boots. Jimmy sat inside, slumped and bloody in his harness. Eric grasped the handle and yanked on the door with no effect.

In the distance a siren wailed. The crowd scattered, suddenly cognizant of the multiple levels of wrongdoing in which they had participated. A couple ran towards the wreck, but most simply disappeared.

"No loving air bag?" Eric slammed his fist against the roof of the VTEC. "gently caress you Jimmy!" He ran back to the Charger and popped the trunk. The other two were yanking at Jimmy's door when Eric returned with the tire iron. "loving move!" He bashed in the window with a single hit. He leaned inside, trying to unbuckle the harness but fumbling with the situation.

"I burned out." Jimmy muttered without moving his head. Eric knew something wasn't right.

"gently caress all that. We have to get you out of here." Eric hyperventilated and tried to focus. The sirens that brought the real help grew louder. The other two boys just stared. Something leaked from the VTEC.

"Nah, man. You better bounce." Jimmy caught Eric's eyes without moving his head. "No, man." He made it clear that Eric wouldn't be freeing him from his car.

"gently caress!" Eric glanced down the street. The flashing lights crossed Lincoln. "Hang in there Jimmy." He turned on the other two, "loving go!" and ran back to the Charger. He slammed the trunk on his way around.

Eric could lose the cops if they chased him, but he would never get away from what happened that night.

supermikhail
Nov 17, 2012


"It's video games, Scully."
Video games?"
"He enlists the help of strangers to make his perfect video game. When he gets bored of an idea, he murders them and moves on to the next, learning nothing in the process."
"Hmm... interesting."


Sigh... You're all so awesome, guys (although admittedly I lack the attention span to read all the entries).

However, Benagain, I resent the dialogue starting with "Holy poo poo, did you guys see that?", or mainly the dialogue tags, most of which could have been omitted without any loss of clarity. Then, a some stiltedness. "renowned sense of punctuality" is quite a mouthful to produce in the heat of the action. Neither does "deranged fucks" fly.

"before going into further detail about their ancestry (poor) and the length of time they could expect to survive once she’d taken the hood off her head and managed to find a weapon (short.)" is a rather weak attempt at humor. You'd achieve better quality with straight speech.

SaviourX
Sep 29, 2003

The only true Catwoman is Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, or Eartha Kitt.



This long and I already cut it down a bunch and it's suuuper late, so here goes!

Playing it straight, just for the chicks.



***
Suit on Suit (non-erotic)

It's about six in the morning far, far below, and the sunrise line cutting across the dark Serengeti is stunning. Unfortunately, I only have a moment to enjoy my spacewalk, as a swarm of shots shear past me and into void, fired by a madman on the station. I only notice how close they come because the EVA suit deigned to let me know.

Floating out at the nadir spindle, I can't get a good read on anything happening the hundred or so feet down at the station itself. I could have loosed the magnet tethers and went down, but I decided to keep safe up here.

Safe. gently caress, if being suspended out here trying to do repair EVA duty—by myself no less—could be anything close to safe.

At the start I had heard Trev shouting about sabotage, Gurpreet calling out about an intruder, but then the headset died, withered on the vine.

And now here he is, ravenous inside a stolen suit. I see the he's figured out the burst jets, fumbling toward me up the long, long spindle, scrambling past the huge letters spelling Canadarm II.

An errant bit of insight hits me and I realize that he's somewhat competent, and a cold wash hits, despite my suit's thermal underskin. gently caress me.

I move the tether and climb earthward from my spot, down around a mounting dish as fast as I can, which all things considered, is too slow. The vibrations of his clumsy rear end bouncing against the structure are getting closer.

There's a maintenance panel nearby, but there's nothing useful in it. I curse Lisbet for being too sick to come out on assist duty. I check the suit's welder and powerjack, both still hosed from skipped maintenance.

I use what little suit power I have left to burst down and around a forest of antennae, hoping the lunatic is out of rounds. Everything here is delicate and there he is, thrashing along. I wonder why he's fixated on just me, and the only thing I keep coming up with is too horrible to think.

I grab for some ladder rungs sweeping around the array and back to the main strut, but my gloves slip. I can feel the sweat pouring out despite my fine mesh weave. loving nerves. I grab again and hold tight, re-tethering.

Just in time, too, because a wild, primordial scream comes through my ears and freezes me, combines with the maintenance suit full of crazy as it barrels right into me from above.

Somehow he's managed to reverse burst and crash on through some of the antennae spires, grabbing hold at the tip of the spindle. The visor's polarized, but his mad breathing, the arrhythmic cadence of his panting, brings up old movie monsters, killers, psychos.

I've got the pneumatic tool in my belt, and a barely sharpened cutter attached to the suit glove, and I ready both of them. poo poo, the air's on reserve. Breathe normally, you can do it.

I tether in and grab hold of a rung, then another, and psycho boy comes sailing toward me, the backdrop of African morning outlining him from below. He almost comfortably lands in my lap. I swing, miss, swing again with the tool, try to invert and swipe with the tip of the glove's cutter. He just bursts away and bumps us up into the structure, both of us flailing, barely in control of momentum.

I connect with him just once, the tool, but it glances, poo poo I was trying to hit the neck collar, and he hooks up under my knee with one leg and reaches in to give me a grandma hug. Too close, too cl—there's a slight zip sound, then a sigh like a disappointed lover, and then the suit goes crazy.

Motherfucker had a knife. Somehow strapped it to the suit before putting it on, something sharp enough to—the readouts are going crazy, and all I hear is laughing, laughing, and decompression sim was years and years ago and the inner weave can only support so much imbalance and be calm, just calm, there's a minute or so before, before....

Achingly slow, I reach out to grab at his boot. I feint at the other, then disconnect my tether, grab a near rail with both hands, and try to get some force behind my kick. Up and under. I connect, but he barely moves.

I wind up again, but let go with one hand, twist, and come up into his face, knocking helmets, gazing straight into his visor. There's nothing there but a charcoal smudge of abandon, of something sinister.

Luckily he lets go for a second and despite my suit blaring warnings, I find some footing, aim and throw the tool at him, catching him off guard. He slips back a ways to the now-crumpled forest.

I look down at the station, slowly spinning on the axis, and think I can make it in about ten, fifteen, feeling the force of absolute nothingness pulling at my tissue, and then freak crashes into me again.

I adjust, fall-floating down the spindle, using the one good leg jet to burst me over and back to the access panel. A laugh over the comm comes out a garbled ghost-wail, and he's coming as fast as he can.

I pound at the panel as I re-tether, starting to feel the gasps come on, the discomfort, that slow gut punch feeling. One chance. The madman's grin is all I can see, despite the oblong white suit bearing down at me like a floaty cannonball.

The panel releases and I punch a few numbers. He's close. I check the display, wires leading back. Real close. I put my clumsy mitt up and into the crush of cables that I hope is near the quick solder I did last week. Tug. He's right at me, have to time this right.

I jet back to take some of the impact, my one hand grips his arm, the other pulls out of the panel, tearing free the cabling inside. We travel about a foot, him, me, my hand on the too short length of electric, snapping wires. I'm breathing so heavily and nothing's coming through my lungs, nearly full on gasping.

He shouts something in a demon tongue I doubt exists, and I use the last of my suit power to whip him in a balletic arc up and over. As he goes, I hit the emergency release seal on his glove, and by the time he crashes the suit into the panel, I expose a gap in his forearm. Letting go of the station, I roll, hard as I can, shoving his arm fleshfirst into the mangle of live cables, sending volts coursing, sending his body into minute convulsions.

He stays trembling like that for half a breath, more.

I grab the tether and haul myself up, kicking at the man savagely, and he comes off the panel, floats free, voice hitching on the comms. I kick him and his jets fire half-assed and directionless, coughing. I kick once more and off he goes, no resistance, carried off into the black and debris, a stranger.

I take as big a breath I can, look down at the station, un-tether, and push for home.

***

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

I only just bothered clicking the links about what timezone we're in today, and, hmmm, I guess we've got about five hours to go and not the 24ish hours I thought we had. I was really hoping I'd come up with an idea that wasn't the first one that came into my head but I should've figured out by now that that's not really how it works for me, so I guess I'll get this thing down and submitted in the next hour or so. Woo.

Sedgr
Sep 16, 2007

Neat!


Wow, never even noticed that myself. I was thinking it was GMT-8. Now I'm glad I submitted a bit early. Could be a lot of people thinking it was US West Coast time and miss the deadline. Submit people! Submit while you can!

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Have you ever felt like you were running on empty? Because that would be me.

Flight (325 words)

This is a story about love. True love, that once in a lifetime opportunity.

I knew it was love as we sailed through the sky, for no lesser force could have prompted my actions. The world hung in place as we swam through the air, a boy and his girl both suspended in shrapnel. She had blood on her hands and a place in my heart, and the whole thing really just stank of romance. Even so, I must admit, we could have picked a better window to leap through.

Her name was Danielle, a spirited sort. I'll never forget what she first said to me.

"Duck down you idiot, or you'll get us both killed!"

She was short for her stature in a green shirt and khaki, and produced a small pistol from the cuff of her sleeve. It carried two bullets, one for each of our pursuers, which is when I decided we should probably leave.

She cradled it now, that small German gun. Like a child with a doll. I couldn't hide my smile.

There the train passed beneath us, the five o' clock sharp. With a dull thump we landed and held on for dear life. She couldn't even look at me then. It was definitely the low point of our relationship. As the train carried on came the river to view. I knew in an instant what we both had to do.

"Jump."

"What?"

"Jump!"

"Are you insane?"

"Swam through the sky just a moment ago. Should be a natural in the water."

"Swam? We nearly fell to our deaths!"

"So how's two for two?"

I surrendered myself to the rush of the water. The train dropped away and the world seemed to turn. For the briefest of moments, I’d thought we’d part ways. Then I saw her drop as well as the train turned the bend.

"Knew she liked me," I muttered as I broke through the water.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning


HereticMIND posted:

Ah. My bad for misconstruing that, then.

And yes, my story did take some cues from vidya gaems. Blame this LP of MW3.


Besides, I come from a family with a military background, so it was only natural for me to write what I know. Plus, I think I may have OD'd on Tom Clancy and Warhammer 40k lore somewhere in my childhood.

I apologise for being hard on you for your Let’s Play Fanfiction. I won’t say I understand why you would address the “action” prompt and the requirement to be “hard and deep” by describing a scene in Medal of Duty: Modern Warfare 1. Although I’m not participating this week, I am in between sessions of heavy drinking to celebrate the Chinese New Year, so I’m all too happy to join you in this vidja game storytelling you have employed. I’ve also chosen to be very liberal in my editing/revisions as I need to drinky time later.

I had to make a few changes though for immersion reasons but I’m really happy with what it turned out. Your guy, Brian, had to be renamed because it is a fairly mundane name that isn’t Playstation enough so it’s Lieutenant Corporal Captain Barrett Thunderfuck of Team Sigma of the American SEALs.

The third person perspective is not popular with video game players due to the Hikayami Cover System Gaming Controversy of November 2011 so I’ve made it second person. In any event, you, Lieutenant Corporal Captain Barrett “gently caress You” Thunderfuck, are dropped in the shopping district of Islamkistan in the middle of a firefight. Although current SEAL tactics in Muslimazkthan strongly recommend soldiers be deployed several miles away to prevent unnecessary casualties, you are put on the X marker in the loading screen because it would serve to be a more exciting opening. An invincible AI NPC uses a rocket launcher at the chopper you just disembarked from. It explodes and your framerate drops, then it explodes again and crashes into a nearby café.

There are people running and screaming, and everything is chaotic, which is just right. The sky is that pleasing colour of turquoise like a Michael Baywatch movie and the lens flare are not distracting at all but aesthetic like a Selena Beiber music video. Gaining control of Thunderfuck, with a shake on your wireless controller you can move around Mohammedran and press a button to fire ALPHABET-ALPHABET-NUMBER-NUMBER-ALPHABET rifle. The insurgents (read: enemies) are all wrapped up in turbans and hijabs and things covering up their faces, and yell in gibberish as they run around and die. You pay little attention to the fact that these are done in order for you to Other these pixelised depiction of the people of a nation the victim of clashing political climates and economic greed.

As Lieutenant Corporal Captain of Team Sigma of the American SEALs, you are assigned a team of Team Sigma members you can give commands to. Your dialogue are canned and limited to instructions such as “go go go”, “let’s roll”, “fire in the hole” and “retreat”.

By the way, I have chosen at this point of writing to remove your original Counterstrike: Ghetto Offensive dialogue in the beginning of your piece, because although they were very colourful I would like not to infringe any copyrights of Valve Entertainment Ltd.

The game chooses to have General Sergeant Chen to be your partner. You pause the game to read up Chen’s bio on Call of Honour dot wikia, which tells you that he is in his first mission ever, and has a +5 roll initiative in sniper rifles and listening to your commands. At this point of time you also try to launch a video game trainer to cheat yourself infinite bullets, but your antivirus has a poo poo fit, so you just go to Options and choose Beginner difficulty instead.

Chen and you, Thunderfuck, run around the terrains of the ruined district shooting people and picking up ammo. Qurantown is not a very rich country, and therefore its economic district is composed of a few rundown shophouses and market stalls with pomegranates and spices in jars. The civilians are composed of innocent store owners who started their days packing up their stock to sell, even though they know they would not earn much in a warzone. Thanks to your efforts in keeping the peace, these people who have their own families to care and feed are now bleeding all over their products and sale signs. Some of them are lying in pieces. Those who are not bleeding and dying are burnt alive due to the helicopter crashing into them. As you progress the amount of dead civvies and insurgent will pile up and you find yourself practically standing in a mass grave in the middle of the street. You casually shoot another terrorist and find yourself dry. At this point, you discover that Chen’s AI is not programmed to give you ammo so you curse under your breath. By the way, Chen is developed to be a great partner AI so he praises your every kill and is subservient to all your commands. Interestingly enough they did not make him a half naked girl named Lydia, which someone undoubtedly has made a mod for already.

If you'd like to know, this is where your nuke appeared in your original piece, but I thought nukes are action-destroyers and not very emotional so I changed it to a person instead.

You and Chen enter one of the demolished houses and there is a little kid (I have been informed this child is named Balls Deepak Choke-Ya, which you will only know if you read the code of the game). He is barely eight years old. His hair is disheveled and his face dirty with soot. His eyes are large, deep and dark wells, eyes which have seen way too much bloodshed for his short, eventful life, eyes which have gone wiser beyond years, wiser than perhaps yours, glued to an HDTV set in a comfortable air-conditioned room in a first world country. He’s wearing one of those white dress-like things you always see the Other wears, and across his chest are enough explosives to blow up an apartment building.

“It’s a boy, sir,” Chen says.

Trailing from the explosives to his right hand are green and red and black wires with their copper entrails exposed. He is holding a device and his thumb is hovering above a button.

The boy is crying and wailing at you and Chen. As far as Chen is concerned, he is screaming “أنا ذاهب لتفجير لكم، المرتدين!”

Chen raises his gun and aims at the kid.

Barrett Thunderfuck understands Farsi according to Call of Warfare wikia. You turn on the subtitles.

The boy is saying, “They have my sister at the 74th District. I surrender. Please save her.”

“What the gently caress is he saying?” Chen barks.

You have no ammo and Chen won’t give any to you. The red dot of Chen’s laser-point rifle is trembling on the boy’s forehead.

“I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to hurt anyone!” the kid cries.

“I have a son his age, don’t make me do this!” Chen yells.

You are allowed to make a command. The white text FIRE is on the screen. All you have to do is press SPACE. A countdown appears and you have three seconds left.

Your finger hovers over your keyboard.

Three.

“Please don’t kill me!” the boy is screaming. “They are making me do this! I beg you!”

Two.

“Please don’t make me kill a kid!” Chen is screaming. “Sir, don’t do this!”

One.

OBJECTIVE UPDATED.

Betrayals gently caress! (1,200 words)



Cover with misleading title courtesy Surreptitious Muffin

E: Tables

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Feb 10, 2013 around 12:12

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

The Saddest Rhino posted:


Betrayals gently caress! (1,200 words)



Cover with misleading title courtesy Surreptitious Muffin


Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

Petitioning to have Rhino's masterpiece included for judging consideration for this week, I feel it hits the prompts perfectly.

Also here's a story of 873 words and I'm going to bed, laters y'all.

What’s For Dinner?

Work had gone a little longer than usual. Some files had gone missing. In the end they’d found them, but it had taken an hour that she would usually have used to make dinner. No time for what she’d planned; she’d make a very simple pasta.

The pot of water was on the stove, all she had to do was pour in the pasta. Maybe she had some kind of instant pasta sauce in the pantry somewhere.

And there was his car. She’d hoped to have dinner ready before he arrived; this was not ideal.

The door opened, and she heard him walk through to the dining room. Stopped, then called “Where’s dinner?”

“Just making it now.” Leave it at that. Stay at the stove, studiously looking at the pot. Willing it to boil faster.

“Why isn’t it made already, and on the table?” His voice was from directly behind her now. “I work hard all day to make sure all the bills are paid, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect dinner to be on the table when I get home.”

She turned around. “You’re not the only one in this house who works, you know.” What? No. Wrong thing to say. Why did she say that?

“What did you say?” He walked towards her, stopping less than a foot from her face. “I get enough smartarse comments at work, I don’t need them when I come home!”

He raised his hand. She should’ve seen it coming. Should’ve heard it in his voice. His arm swung across, hard, but she’d learnt how to move with the slap. She turned as she was slapped, his hand making a loud whack that would likely satisfy him that he’d put her in her place, but wouldn’t leave a bruise that she’d have to explain to a co-worker.

“You get home more than an hour earlier than me,” he said. “Plenty of time to have dinner on the table.”

“I had to work later than usual tonight,” she said. “We had to look for some files.”

“You don’t know when to just shut up and apologise for your mistake, do you?” She didn’t see it coming this time. He slapped her on the other cheek and she stumbled against the kitchen counter. The side of her face felt numb, but she didn’t have time to think about that; he was upon her, and his fingers were around her throat. “You know this is your fault, don’t you?” he said. She couldn’t answer. She couldn’t say anything. She couldn’t breathe. She wasn’t sure what she would’ve said if she could’ve spoken. Her vision was starting to blur.

She kicked out with what little strength she still had; her knee connected twice with the outside of his leg, then she somehow managed to bring it in towards her body, and forward once more, hard, into something soft and vulnerable. He released her throat as he stumbled back and clutched himself between the legs. His eyes narrowed. “You’re gonna pay for that.”

She felt behind herself as he advanced once more. It was a shame she hadn’t been chopping up vegetables; there was no knife for her to grab. There was only a chopping board; ironic, since she’d ended up opting for a dish that required no chopping. She grabbed it with both hands, and as he sprung upon her swung it around to meet him. Chopping board met human head with a crack, and he stumbled backwards once more. She couldn’t let him attack again. Advancing, she swung it at him again, this time on a downwards arc. Crack. It struck him on the forehead and he fell down onto one knee. Again and again, she swung the chopping board. Crack. Crack. Crack. Until she was confident she was safe. Until he stopped staring at her with those angry eyes, eyes that still told her she was useless. Until he couldn’t move at all. Until she couldn’t recognise any of the features of his face behind the red mess that coated his face, covered the chopping board, covered her hands.

She stopped swinging the chopping board, now using it to prop herself up as she stared at the floor and breathed heavily. Slowly she regained her breath, and looked down at her husband. He wasn’t moving. Good, he couldn’t attack her again.

He wasn’t moving.

She took his wrist and held it for ten seconds. Thirty seconds. A minute. Nothing. Tried at his throat. Again, nothing. She’d killed him.

What to do. Call the police?

She’d called them once after he’d fractured her wrist. Her fault, he’d told her, for putting her arm in the way when he’d been trying to punch her in the stomach. Not their business, they’d told her. It was a family matter.

No, not the police. She looked down at his body. What had they said? A family matter. Yes, not their business.

The stove buzzed to indicate that the water had finished boiling. She looked at the pot of boiling water, then back down to her late husband. She walked over to a drawer, opened it and pulled out a cleaver. Dinner could wait; first, she would make soup.

Lord Windy
Mar 26, 2010


Holy crap, there are a lot of good stories out there.

I spent from the 7th editing this and it has changed a lot! But it still feels really off.

Johnny - 856 Words

“What do you think of changing to med school?”

Trixxie picked out the right shade of rouge her makeup bag. “Love, you should have this worked out already.” Cassy snorted as Trixxie retouched the vibrant pink to her cheeks. She opened up a draw from the big french dresser and threw her application forms in. If she did finally decide to go she didn't want to risk a customer messing them up.

“Gorgeous. Try not to let the customers come all over your face like that Cassy, it’s a real pain in the rear end to fix up.” Trixxie rose to leave.

“Where is that loving bitch?”

Cassy turned to the door from her seat as she heard the slurred voice carry up the stairs. “Who is that rear end in a top hat?”

“It better not be who I think it is,” Trixxie moaned as she fumbled around her bag. Little beads of sweat starting to appear at the crown her head.

Dull clomps reverberated throughout the building as the man with the slurred voice trudged upwards.

“Yeah, call the police. I just know they’ll rush to your rescue.”

The door slammed open. At the frame were two girls franticly tried to pull the hulking brute back down as a third was quickly dialling emergency services. His face pulled into a vicious snarl and without a word began to walk towards Trixxie.

“Johnny, so nice to see ya.” Trixxie began, her face scrunched in disgust at the smell of the wild man. She took a step back still rustling with her bag. “Glad to see you can still walk straight after what smells like a vat of metho.” Cassy rose and stood behind Johnny.

“Yeah, that smart lip of yours. Always flapping.” Cassy gasped in horror as Johnny pulled Trixxie close by the scruff of her hair. “Stop it!” She screamed, thrashing the brute in the back with her fists in vain. “Don’t you hurt her!”

With a sharp kick to the gut, Cassy dropped to the floor. Bringing her knees up to her chin in absolute agony she could do nothing as Trixxie was slammed against the wall. “Big man Johnny, beating a poor little gal like me.” She spat, blood tinged spittle ran down Johnny’s face. Johnny’s bloodshot eyes bulged.

With a roar, Johnny threw Trixxie clear across the other side of the room. A sickening crunch reverberated through the room and the contents of her handbag spilled from the sky. Condoms, makeup and something shiny dispersed across the room. Cassy clearly heard it land with a dull thud behind her.

There was no longer any smart lip from Trixxie. Johnny furiously pummeled the body of Cassy’s friend, eliciting low moans from her. No more ‘smart lip’ was coming from that direction anymore. Tears rolling down her face, Cassy watched as the two girls fled. The third was still pleading on the phone for help. Cassy rolled over in defeat.

And then she saw it. A tiny revolver was staring at her right in the eyes. Grabbing it in both hands, she slowly stood up.

“Stop...” Cassy called out, still winded from the kick to the gut. Johnny didn’t even turn around; just continued to kick the fallen woman in front of him. Gun raised in her hand and more strongly this time, “I’ll shoot!”

Johnny roared with little veins on his neck rising, “You won’t even get the safety off you little slut!” He took a step towards Cassy, leaving Trixxie to cry meekly where she was left. She brought her legs in closer just as Johnny cracked his knuckles in anticipation.

“Don’t make me do this,” Cassy begged. Tears ran down her face as the gun was razed to eye level. The distance between the two shrank. She put pressure on the trigger; yet it wouldn’t go back.

“It’s the little nobbly bit on the side,” Trixxie gasped through Johnny’s laughter. Frantic fingers raced along the side of the revolver. He was close now, barely a step away.

Click.

“Shoot!” Trixie cried. Sweat dripped from Cassy’s head as the trigger pulled back. She felt Johnny’s hands fall over her shoulders. “I’m sorry,” Cassy apologised as the crack of a gunshot reverberated throughout the room.

Thud.

All three of them fell to the floor. The gun first, tumbling gently before clattering on the timber flooring. Than Johnny, hands to his chest as blood slowly seeped from the wound. Finally, Cassy to her knees openly weeping.

Trixxie crawled over to where the gun was laying. It was the first chance Cassy had to look at her, blood wept a large gash on her forehead and one of her arms was hanging limply by her side; yet she still had the same look of determination on her face she always did.

Revolver in hand, she pulled back the hammer, aimed and fired. Cassy flinched as a section of Johnny’s head exploded out. Blood and viscera covered the floor.

Cassy wept. With a listless smile, Trixxie tossed the gun aside and put Cassy’s head in her lap. Cassy grabbed Trixxie’s waist and shuddered in grief. “Thank you,” Trixxie softly whispered in her ear.

Lord Windy fucked around with this message at Feb 10, 2013 around 14:33

supermikhail
Nov 17, 2012


"It's video games, Scully."
Video games?"
"He enlists the help of strangers to make his perfect video game. When he gets bored of an idea, he murders them and moves on to the next, learning nothing in the process."
"Hmm... interesting."


955 words completely wasted,

In

They Are In The Walls!!1


They were coming to the end of the tunnel when Rowan almost heard a whisper of a whisper behind them. He looked around. There was a jagged hole in the wall where there hadn't been one just a few moments ago. While he gaped at it, two figures stepped through – a man and a woman, judging by proportions, although their bodies were covered by dark uniforms and faces concealed under helmets.

“Rainbow Ops,” Heather rasped, pulling Rowan by the arm. “Go, go, go!”

“What the hell are they?” Rowan said, catching up.

“Just move!”

Rowan glanced back. The figures were following at a confident jog a hundred yards away.

Up ahead Birch was climbing onto the lip under a door out of the tunnel.

“Hold them back,” Heather said.

Rowan removed the safety on his gun and fired over the pursuers' heads. The figures didn't slow down. Heather stepped beside Rowan and let out a burst straight at the woman, who flicked a bulky dark object in her hand, setting off miniature fireworks in front of her. The man slowed down.

“Ionizers,” Heather said sideways, firing at the man, which had the necessary effect on his partner.

Rowan hesitated.

“Go on,” Heather said.

Birch had already opened the door and was helping Iris up. Heather kept shooting. The figures dodged around at fifty yards. Rowan made up his mind and reached up for Birch's hand. Once Rowan scrambled onto the lip, Birch started shooting, too.

“Heather!” he shouted.

“Run!” Heather answered. “I'll hold them off.”

For a moment Birch kept firing. Then he stepped back and slammed his hand on the door controls. Rowan, who was already inside the passage, saw the male figure head for Heather, while the woman ignored her and went for the door. Heather snatched her pistol and threw it at the woman. Then the door shut.

“Come on,” Birch said dully. “Nature judge her.”

“Nature judge her,” Rowan echoed, trying to suppress his shock.

Iris met them around the corner.

“Where's Heather?”

“She stayed behind,” Birch said.

Iris frowned.

Birch took lead at a run.

“Rowan, stay behind me,” he said.

Rowan readjusted the backpack with his precious load and followed. Iris closed the rear.

“Use the device if you have to. You must get it to the base,” Birch said.

Rowan tried to remember the controls, and hoped it would come to him when he actually saw them.

A bright light appeared up ahead, but Rowan couldn't make out its source from behind Birch's body.

Birch glanced back.

“Iris!”

In a moment Rowan saw a jagged hole in the wall. Its border glimmered, but weakly now. Rowan sprinted past it into a junction.

Birch stopped, aiming his gun the way they came, and Rowan saw that Iris stayed next to the hole. She fired into it. A hand holding a dark object reached out and hit Iris's rifle which began to shimmer. Iris dropped the weapon. She shouted and pushed into the hole. There was a weak scream. Then a dark figure stepped out. Birch and Rowan started shooting. The figure held the dark object in the front, turning deadly bullets into harmless sparkles reflected in its helmet.

“Rowan, go!” Birch said.

With clenched teeth Rowan forced himself to stop firing. He turned around, started running, then froze. A spot on a wall in front of him lit up. As he frantically tried to decide what to do, it sprouted electric veins which spread around to human height.

“They're here!” Rowan shouted to Birch, at the same time realizing that he wouldn't be heard over the gunfire. After a moment's hesitation Rowan took off his backpack, and bent over it. He pulled open the zipper, freeing a bulky black device.

On the top it had two extensible antennas, on the front – a keyboard and an LED display. Rowan set up the antennas and pressed the “on” button, lighting up the display. He typed “Test”, then entered the code from memory. Taking a second to make sure he hadn't missed anything, he pressed “OK”. The device vibrated. Rowan saw that two steps away stood the man that had been following them, the one who had come from the new hole in the wall. Then the sounds of Birch's gun stopped, and the device flashed.

When Rowan reopened his eyes, he saw Birch nursing his hand on the floor, the woman standing in the mouth of the passage, and himself, Rowan. As he looked on, the image dimmed, wavered, and disappeared.

The woman approached Rowan from behind slowly. Rowan knew why. Just beyond the device, her partner lay on his back, with a big shining hole in his chest, still and silent.

The woman knelt next to the body and took off its helmet. The face beneath the visor was young and handsome, its glassy eyes wide-open in surprise. The woman took off a glove, then closed her partner's eyes.

Gingerly, Rowan reached for the device, closed the zipper over it, and lifted the backpack. The woman ignored him. He came over to Birch, who sat up on the floor now. Birch's hand glistened red. It looked like it had been very cleanly flayed.

Birch held onto Rowan with his healthy hand and got up.

“Have you got the device?”

“Yes,” Rowan said.

“Let's get out of here,” Birch said, glaring at the woman.

They heard running footsteps in the passage they came from, and first Heather, then Iris joined them, both bewildered, but safe, except for some flayed skin and torn clothes.

As they started off again, Rowan glanced at the woman. She sat, leaning against the wall, next to her partner, his face reflecting in her visor.

-----

vvv Not trying to be offensive, but are you by any chance dyslexic? Doesn't really look like you've proofread that a lot, otherwise.

Lord Windy
Mar 26, 2010


supermikhail posted:


-----

vvv Not trying to be offensive, but are you by any chance dyslexic? Doesn't really look like you've proofread that a lot, otherwise.

Me? I don't think so. I hope it wasn't that bad.

Etherwind
Apr 22, 2008
Probation
Can't post for 1944 days!


Soiled Meat

I am ridiculously unwell right now. 917 Words. (Edit: corrected word count again.)

Disquiet

The clicking of wheels on the railway reminds me of a typewriter. Duncan was a man of letters, and I take that from him.

The street lights were neon orange when he staggered out his house, but to him they appeared blood red, twisted by his lack of sleep. They made his skin look scalded, and to his fevered mind the sweat that rose from him in the cold boiled from him. Six nights without rest will do strange things to the world. He was aware of this as he stumbled down the steps outside the old tenement, stooped at the bottom with his fingers dug into his bald and angry scalp.

At first he had blamed the sleeplessness on his reading, on things that learnt to walk that ought to crawl and seals in precious metals cast in certain ways and for fell purpose, but on the second night the voices had stirred. As he had held his head - less frantic - they had crept under his skin, louder as their chorus swelled until he could faint tell which words were his and which belonged to others.

One of the voices had been louder than the rest. He answered it then, "Cuni jawemp rendth zuu numq, cuni jawemp rendth zuu hiv, why do you torment me so?"

The breeze rose as he spoke, words half truth and half glossolalia. On the wrought iron railings the wind chimes tinkled, but to him they were dolorous. "Ul jawemp mu hasic, why am I here alone?"

Overhead the stars were hidden by the scarlet haze, but the sky began to flicker and waver, choppy and distorted.

"Am I not faithful?" He continued to intersperse his questions with phrases that were not his own, unaware. "Have I not shown patience?"

Around him the chimes clanged, and one clattered as it flew free onto the steps. Somewhere in the distance he heard a car alarm shriek, and he raised his voice to cover it, begged, "Why must you make this so difficult? Why must you keep me away?"

Real heat flooded down from the sky, and with its arrival the lights shattered, one after another. He did not notice the change, for the colour was the same to him, but his neighbours started in their beds and ran to their windows in confusion.

"You hurt me!" His voice was raw, and the cacophony of alarms, shrieking wind and shattered glass drowned him out, just as it overwhelmed the cries of the others as they fled around him from the tenement. "You show me pain! And for what? And for who?"

A wave of motion swept down the street, rusted the cars and baked the stone, levelled out the road as tarmac melted and filled in its own cracks. When it came to Duncan he shielded his eyes, but his skin caught fire all the same, pain lost amid his emotion. "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only-"

The iron railings shattered one by one, the fallen chimes sunk down into the stone. A woman in the road writhed and crumpled, the ash from her pyre swept up by a living wind that streamed from the hole wrenched in the sky, and something patterned after her outline fluttered and wavered toward Duncan where he lay, pierced by molten shrapnel. I remember, the tarmac parted before it, and the presence bent over him, listened.

"All I do," his voice was a gasp, his broken arms outstretched. "I do for you."

Where they touched, the earth moved.

The conductor enters the carriage, and I find myself back in the present. He has not yet noticed me. In a little while, he will make his way down the rows of frayed fabric seats and rickety tables. Whether he will see me directly, or by my reflection against the swollen darkness in the window, I cannot say, though I know the inevitable outcome.

When the city refugees fled southward, I went north, walked beside the empty motorway and then through vacant towns that even the authorities had abandoned. In days to come people would return, but until then men who ought not to know the mysteries picked through the afterbirth and tried to reason what event could vaporise the ground. I left the site behind, stopped only to take clothes and money left in the flight of panic.

Duncan said it right when he spoke in the tongue of angels, even if he did not know what he said. His words were sharp on my mind in those early nights, that Hell is a country of marshes, cindery plains, burned cities, and how well they fitted the world into which he had brought me. There was no sentimentality toward him: he was not my father, just as the thing he had brought down was not my mother, though I wear the form he had inscribed for her in his waking dreams. I remember them both so clearly.

As I look upon myself in the window, I repeat more, know when they see themselves reflected they detest the image. But that all of them believe themselves handsome, or beautiful, and, at least compared to others, good.

And that murderers and their victims, if they were both evil, become at death one devil.


The conductor taps my shoulder, and I smile into the glass as I rise, and wonder if he is a good man.

Etherwind fucked around with this message at Feb 10, 2013 around 17:08

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JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


WordCount: 990 Terrible Words

Needs more editing but better than a blank page.

It's a Hobby to Some.
Francis scaled up towards the peak, precariously lifting himself up with the footholds studded in the slick frozen rock.

His hands were scabbed and his face scrubbed raw by the lashes of the wind. Francis would not be deterred, not after he had come so far.
He felt naked, even with nine layers of wool, hide and linen shielding his body from the cold. Slush, dirt and snow seeped into every nook and cranny of his clothes.

It wouldn’t be much longer. The years spent planning this trip would all be worth it.

Francis’ fingers latched on top of the overlook, more crooked claws by now than fingers. His stiff joints stretched his cold skin taut as he dragged himself up. He rolled up and over his shoulder and onto the top of the cliff-face. It was flatter here along these ridges and he could see that the summit was not far. He could rest a little before continuing on.

Francis pressed a hand to the trusty brass binoculars around his neck, and was reassured by their presence. He breathed heavily, letting his senses meld into the environment. He felt as if he could hear the pulse of the mountain, the quickening of its breath, that cold unending wind.

The wind shuddered deeply after a while, a guttural wheeze interrupting it. It was as if the very mountain itself had started to shake and groan with the steps of a titan walking the earth.

Francis turned to look at the mountain face and found a hulked mass of frost prickled hide, and stone-splintering teeth skulking out from its heart-depths. Its tell-tale horns were swept back and curled counter-clockwise. It was the dreaded Screwhorn Mountain Goatbear, which Francis knew was the fourth most dangerous kind of dire goatbear. .

Hate poured like breath from the beast’s smoldering face, its exhalations freezing in the air as it eyed him, inching closer. The snow was hopelessly crushed beneath its focused gait.

Francis scrambled up, off the ground, getting halfway up before the goatbear crushed into his side, sending him sprawling against the wall of the mountain. He lifted his arm reflexively to push it between the monster and his vitals and its teeth met it, clamping down as it pushed his skin into his bones.

Frantically, Francis kicked at the creature, his knee connecting uselessly with its thick stony hide. The goatbear shook its trunk-like neck, dragging his arm to and fro and Francis felt his head jolt violently from side to side. He punched wildly at its head, only to have the creature toss him aside with one great swing of its jaw.

Francis impacted the ground with a loud crack. His fall braced by the sharp rocks of the ground. Eyes widened through pain and realization. He looked to the ground to see that his trusty binoculars had one lens completely demolished against a stone, its glass entrails glittering in the snow next to his blood.

He howled, as he staggered off the ground and charged at the creature. He lifted the rock and brought it full bear against the great beast’s face, smashing it across the snout repeatedly. It tried to shake him off but he clung to it with all of his strength. It tore at his already dying arm, as its claws shredded through layers of leather and fabric as it peeled the many layers of leather protecting his torso.

En-coiled in a death struggle with the creature, Francis could only keep smashing the rock down against the creature’s face. Shredding its skin and muscle against the rock’s frozen edges. It shrieked its deathly beargoat sound as the rock popped its eye in an eruption of blood and sickly pus. It reared up on its hindlegs to knock Francis away. His body rolled on the ground like a tossed doll.

Francis winced through his teeth as he rolled himself onto his good arm and pushed himself up from the ground. He managed to live long enough to stand.

Oozing blood and hissing ragged breath the bear had stopped where it was. Francis clutched the sharp stone in his hands, shaking it weakly at it.

It was quiet now, with nothing but the sound of rushing blood in his ears. It looked at him for a while with its remaining eye, and then it turned and walked away. The goatbear vanished back into the depths of the mountain’s heart.

Surprised that he was alive, Francis could only move forward from here. Hurting everywhere, leaking fluids, starved and exhausted Francis inched his way up a long the path and up what remained of the mountain until he reached the very top.

All of the country was below him, and the heavens stretched above. This was the spot. Francis reached for the binoculars around his neck, one lens still good. Thank all that was holy. He put it up to his eyes and gazed up into the sky.

With the lens the clouds looked so close that he felt he could unravel them with a touch, uncoil them into long sinuous threads with his bloodied fingers.

He heard it first after a few minutes of bleeding profusely on the summit, even through the wind and his beating pulse. A siren’s song of happy chirping that was sweeter than anything he had ever heard. Bliss teased into the shape of a melody.

Then through the clouds a pair of wings erupted from the confines of cloud and a glorious body followed. Its feathers shimmered in the sun, reflecting in a magnificent array of cardinal reds, emerald greens and sun-risen oranges. The Shimmering Many-Hued Cloud Canary was out in its entire avian splendor. Francis watched as the masterwork of creation flew on into the distance, completely overtaken by its presence, even as fleeting as it was.

When it was gone, he marked the bird on his list. It had all been worth it.

JuniperCake fucked around with this message at Feb 10, 2013 around 19:43

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