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dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

CRABRAWL



Why a wise man dies under clear sky

She went under the earth without a sound. Funny that; how everybody is listening on the one day you're least equipped to speak. Listening hard, as if you're to open your eyes at any second, tell them they were wrong, and let the ache release its grip from their ribs and throats. On the day they buried her, not a sound was heard – not even birdsong.

Only, she didn't die, as such. As a germ of her soul fell through the pine, it took into itself a mouthful of dirt, and another. Greedy, feasting on worms, bones and char as the world turned in the far-and-away. The part of her that left her body behind called itself Ophiadne; the snake woman, for she coiled and uncoiled around the roots of the world, choking or giving breath as she saw fit, drinking deeply of the souls that fell down through the cracks. With their joys and sorrows, she strove to fill the hole the silence had left behind.

From her came others, shat out and taken on forms of their own, to suckle at that monstrous teat, and fail to grow strong. There was Jula; the Empty, Sawat; the Cavernous, Egritta; the Blasphemy of Stars. All grand names, struggling in the shadow of the snake woman, feeding on the scraps she left behind until they were little bone twists topped with gasping mouths, ribboned with their many grasping hands, staring eyeless and screaming tongueless against the tyranny of the mud and stone.

All starved, but were denied death. The tendrils of their dreams twitched through the veil and into the dreams of mortals, who woke screaming about a wasteland of souls, and a baroness who ruled the roots of the tree of life. A painter woke one morning unable to paint, and took his hand in a fit of rage. A poet, truly lost for words, cut out his own tongue. There were more, but they matter no more than raindrops on dirt, run together in a shallow trickle of lost souls, a million deep. The draught of gods, or something like them. A draught of which there is no cup deep enough, nor will there ever be.

When they feed, the sky weeps openly, as if a great flood could wash them away. If you would die in the rain, hold on. There are things worse than death, as Ophiadne herself learnt so long ago.




[400ish]

dope

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Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.


I will most certainly not be able to finish on time. Family over blah blah excuses.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

Carbonoserfatu [990 words]




“Colorado, I wanna come home,” Casey said.

“You wanna go home, y’mean?” Colorado said without taking his eyes off the frozen prairie.

“Naw, man. I wanna come home, y’know? I wanna come back to a place that’s warm, to a big fuckin’ dinner. Someplace like in those pictures,” Casey said.

“Dreamin’ gets nothin’ done. I think we’re about good to go, anyway,” Colorado said.

Casey walked over to the buggy’s big v-eight and primed each carb.

###

The call finally went through.

“Is this where I get paid for tips?” Sara asked.

A computerized voice replied “This datanet service will issue a reward to any information beneficial to State security.”

“I know two guys runnin’ hooch to the ports, should be on the north access road sometime soon,” she said.

“Please leave an active address after the tone,” the voice said.

She recited the string of sixteen numbers as though they’d been a part of her. Instead of digits, images passed through her head: her sister standing at a train platform. She held a tattered canvas bag; her loose sweater hid an ancient pistol. She nervously checked her bitcoin account through her phone.

“Thank you. A State representative will arrive at your residence. You may now hang up.”

She smashed the phone into counter.

“gently caress!” Tears welled up in her eyes. She thought where Casey was, just then.

“But he woulda never made the run, and besides, there wasn’t gonna be enough coin to pay for Tali’s tickets,” she told herself. But she knew that was a lie, just like she knew the cops were gonna stiff her.

###

Eight cylinders screamed when the buggy flew off an esker. Casey held onto the rollcage until they hit the ground. Snowy rooster tails shot out from under the tires. Colorado was grinning like a madman. He mouthed words, but they were drowned out by engine roar.

White lights and the sound of hornets; Colorado’s chest blew out in a flash of red. He slumped over, the buggy veered left. Casey saw the tie rod snap and everything went head over heels. His face connected with the cage and he blacked out.

###

Sara saw the cruiser pull up. Five knocks and she flung the door open, one hand reaching for her belt. Two men lay dead in the snow before she even felt the cold. She slipped her hand under the sergeant’s parka and found the bit-wallet with her reward. She slid the empty pistol into her jeans and went back inside. She took a sledgehammer and swung at a wall.

Her brother had hidden a compartment between the closet and furnace. She’d never known until the day he’d sold his organs.

“Don’t gently caress with these unless you’re sure it’s all over. It’s a snow-machine with enough gas to get ya to Big Grey,” he’d said.

She cleared the sheetrock, revealing a steel bracket and pulleys. She swung the sledge and smashed an eye bolt holding a chain.

Half a ton of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber crashed down to the floor. She gasped. A Yokosama 540. The last snow machine ever made before the fuel bans. Five point four litres exactly. The meanest thing winter ever saw. She opened the startup case.

Her hands moved quickly, emptying stabilizers and squeezing grease cans, pulling tabs and adjusting set-screws. She flipped the last few switches and set herself into the saddle, mashing the ignition. The machine roared to life.

She gunned it, not bothering to aim it for the door. The Yokosama blew through the ramshackle wood and sheetrock shack and landed heavy in the snow. The track dug in and the motor screamed in response. The town disappeared in a cloud of exhaust.

###

Everything hurt. He was pinned, his back was searing hot. The smell of burning whiskey filled his lungs. He heard heavy boots crunch over hard packed snow.

“No poo poo, figure we shoulda saved some’a this?” someone said.

“I wish. Chief woulda killed us. Or worse. You wanna end up like this poor fucker?” A slide clicked into place. He looked up at two men in dark uniforms; one pointed a pistol at his head.

He tried to scream, but a gurgle slipped free instead.

“Sara’s never going to get the money now” the words burned through his mind.

A single shot rang out.

***

It was dark before she got close enough to see Big Grey’s sat-lasers through the factory lights. She tried not to look at the fuel gauge and followed the cracked freeway into the Shin-zu Greater Industrial Zone.

There was a toll booth up ahead. Cars, more than she’d ever seen waited at the barrier. She split the lane and aimed for first in line, pulling hard on the throttle. The machine stood up on its track and popped the car like a kicker, clearing the barrier. Sirens sounded behind her.

She followed the nearest laser to its source and skidded to a stop at a pawn shop.

“BITCOIN TRANSFERS” the big yellow sign read. She kicked open the door, threw the bit-wallet on the counter and pointed the pistol at the clerk’s head.

“I need this transferred to a wallet. Now!”

“But…bu,” the clerk stammered. She put her finger on the trigger.

“You can keep the Yokosama. It’s yours. Now do it or I’ll vent your skull,” she said.

The clerk nodded and lowered his hands. She saw him hit the silent alarm, but it didn’t matter as long as he sent the coins. Digits spilled out of her again, she watched the clerk’s fingers tap them out at the terminal.

The sirens were just outside now. She snatched the confirmation slip from the printer and pored over the numbers. She dropped the gun and walked out into the flashing lights.

###

The train screeched to a stop, the station guards were already barking out orders. Tali’s phone lit up green. The bitcoins were in her account.

RoeCocoa
Oct 23, 2010



The Fish That Didn't Bark (821 words)

In the sacred master bedroom with its southern exposure, Henry said, “It's going to be a very short phase.” He shoved the bolster against the headboard.

“Ellen is just learning to use her imagination,” Doris said.

“Learning to misuse it, you mean.”

Doris smoothed the comforter on her side of the bed. “She's five years old. Didn't you ever make up stories when you were little?”

“Well, I never lied to my parents. Sure, now it's all a game for her, but where does it lead? Lies to get attention, lies to get out of trouble...”

Doris put a finger to her lips and cupped her other hand to her ear. In the living room, Ellen was talking to herself.

“I'm a mermaid,” said the girl-child. “I'm a big, green... mermaid? And I live on the moo-oon, live on the moon...”

Doris stifled a laugh. When Henry moved toward the bedroom door, she stopped him.

“I'm not going to say anything,” he whispered. “I'm just going take a picture.”

In the bright living room that smelled of fake orchids, Ellen leaned on the granite-topped coffee table. Her chin rested on her hands, and the tip of her nose brushed the side of the brimming, half-gallon fishbowl. Her eyes tracked Henry through the cloudy water, but she didn't see him.

“My pterosaur only eats crabs,” she said. “There are too many lobsters out here, up here, and my pterosaur, he only eats crabs, so...”

Henry circled around the couch to line up his shot. In the viewfinder, Ellen's face, her elbow and the fishbowl formed a perfect triangle awash in early morning light. He snapped a couple of frames. He would take a few more when the goldfish swam up into view.

Ellen twisted her hand into the shape of a beak. “Theshe crackersh are shoggy,” the pterosaur hand said.

The goldfish had not appeared. In fact, it wasn't even in the bowl.

“Ellen, where--”

Ellen jumped. Her eyes were wide and round and dark as a rat's, and the way she clutched at her hands was also very rodent-like. She could definitely see Henry now, but she wouldn't look at his face.

“Where is the fish?”

“Idunno,” she murmured.

Doris came down the hall at a trot. “What's going on?”

“I don't know,” Henry said. “I just came in, the fish is gone and Ellen's standing there with that guilty look on her face.”

“Did he jump out of the bowl again?”

The parents examined the rug around and under the coffee table while Ellen stood out of the way, silently watching. At last, Henry stood. Doris stayed on the floor and turned to her daughter with an exaggerated gesture of puzzlement.

“Where did the fishy go?” Doris asked.

Ellen pressed her hands to her baby cheeks and simpered, “I don't know.”

Henry rolled his eyes. “Look,” he barked. “Ellen, was there a fish in that bowl?”

Ellen nodded.

“And can little fishes just walk away on their own?”

Ellen shook her head.

“Then where did he go, Ellen? Where is the fish?”

Ellen began to cry.

“Bravo, Henry.” Doris held out her arms. “Come here, Ellen. You aren't in trouble. Mommy and Daddy just want you to tell us the truth.”

“I don't knooow!” Ellen wailed into her mother's armpit.

“Oh, for God's sake, Ellen!” Doris laughed nervously and held her daughter at arm's length. “What could possibly be so horrible, that you won't tell us?”

Ellen's face turned red as she thrashed in her mother's hands.

“What?” Doris chortled. “Did you eat him or something?”

She stopped thrashing. Her round little mouth worked silently, and she stared into space.

“Is that it?” Henry asked. “Did you eat the goldfish, Ellen?”

Doris glared at him.

“Yes,” Ellen whispered.

“You ate the goldfish?”

“I ate him up, in two big bites,” Ellen sobbed. “I wa-wanted, to see, if he tasted like... orange cheese.”

Ellen twisted away and bolted for her room and slammed the door so hard it bounced. The fishbowl shivered. Light danced on the coffee table and the rug.

Henry scratched his chin. “So, is this also a phase?”

“Don't; just don't.” Doris snatched the fishbowl and left.

Henry settled on the couch, almost sitting on his forgotten camera. Absently, he ran his fingertip along the circle of rime where the fishbowl had been. Then he stopped. He'd touched something nearly invisible on the surface of the table: a dried-up flake, roughly the size and shape of his thumb, covered in dull yellow scales. It accused him with one withered silver eye.

In the silent living room, Henry made the OK sign and flicked the tiny corpse away.

quote:

Flash rule: a pet has gone missing in your story.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


Nikaer Drekin posted:

Flash rule: Your story must somehow incorporate a movie considered one of the worst of all time.

My selection, for the record.

(edit - Forgot to include the trailer so you have a better idea what's being dealt with here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oM__nRVIn8)


Faye Dunaway (966 words)

Faye Dunaway has just told her Italian lover that she must cut short their affair and leave within 10 days, and now stares pensively over the lake trying to phrase a reason why without lying to him outright. “God, this is stupid,” I said. “What the hell is she even dying of, anyway, that she doesn’t even look tired?” I turned around to grab up at the couch. “That’s it. Just give me the drat bottle.”

“Ah-ah!” Deacon lifted the litre of Ten High past any hope of reaching it from my seat on the floor, trying but failing not to show how much he was enjoying himself. “That’s not how the game is played and you know it. Besides, it’s barely been fifteen minutes! How can you be giving up this early?”

“Are you kidding?” Of course he was, he was the one who’d seen it before. “The Amanti Challenge”, he’d called it: come up to his apartment to watch this movie, take a shot every time I groaned, and if I could still speak by the end of it, I could name my own prize. I’d had one already. “A four-year-old could see through this plot! She’s contracted a fatal case of Tragic Heroine Disease but doesn’t want him to know so she can feel like she’s running away from it! But then he finds out anyway and it doesn’t matter because he’s sooo-o-oo madly in love with this strange woman he’d only met once before at an airport! This is stupid,” I repeated, beckoning with my outstretched hand for emphasis, “and I have no desire to suffer through it sober.”

“You don’t have to suffer through it at all, you know.” His grin lessened to a smile, and the rest of his expression shifted more subtly. “You could just leave.”

I could? “I could…” As a matter of fact, the thought hadn’t even occurred to me. “But I don’t want to.”

There was a brief silence. Then, Deacon’s mouth turned to a frown, but the light of amusement came back to his face, as he made a show of unscrewing the cap from the bottle and pouring out another shot. “This little outburst still only counts as one, I’ll have you know,” he said mock-sternly, handing the glass to me, “and if you try to create any further disruptions, I shall be forced to penalize you!”

I paused with the glass at my lips. “Penalize me? With more drinks or fewer?

“Don’t pester me with details,” he said as he pressed the rewind button on the remote, “just finish what you’ve got now and hunker down. There’s still a long way to go.”

###

Faye Dunaway and the Italian fellow whose name I never have been able to remember properly (Maestro-something, maybe, it begins with an M anyway) have driven a jeep up a mountain and stop to marvel at two climbers making their way up the cliff in front of them. Faye was just telling Maestro how she identified with them when the door broke in. The bottle I’d brought with me was drained enough by that point that I hadn’t even noticed anyone pounding on it.

“Tea?” The sound of movement, then Deacon’s concerned face blocked the TV. “Tea, speak to me.”

I blinked and turned my eyes from him to the door and back. “Did you forget your keys again?”

“Tea. Talk to me.”

“I am talking to you, stupid,” I slurred out irritably, trying to push him aside with one hand. “Now get outta the way, I wanna see him pick the flowers.”

Tea!” He seemed angry for a moment, shouting and shaking me by my shoulders. Once my head stopped moving around, though, he was calm and concerned again. “Tea. We’ll get through this.”

Just that was enough to burn a hole through the bourbon haze I’d built between myself and that morning. “Get through what?” But I knew what. I saw the lines creasing on Dr. Mandalay’s face again, heard the patronizing tone in his voice, even felt the chill he always seemed to keep his office at for who knows what reason. All so clearly. “Say it.”

His expression didn’t change. He didn’t move at all for what seemed like a long time. When he finally did, it was to pull me up and move around so that he ended up on the couch and I ended up more or less on his lap, watching this stupid movie together again one more time. His arms squeezed me tight. “We’ll get through it.”

The haze settled back into place, Deacon-colored instead of booze. A thought came to me. “Suppose it’s the same?”

“What?”

I gestured at the screen, even though Faye wasn’t on it. “What she’s got and what I’ve got.”

A short contemplation. “Could be.”

###

Faye Dunaway has left Maestro behind, fleeing back to America for treatment in her final days, and is trying to call him to say good-bye from a payphone in an airport bar while a line of men march persistently back and forth behind her, singing loudly. Pretty soon he’ll run out of the house and apparently up the mountain to find her there. Ugh. I pour myself another shot of that same old cheap whisky.

I got through it in the end, and Deac… well, two schools of thought on that. He’s a part of me now. A part it turned out neither one of us could live without, so he decided it should be me. We may have had more than just 10 days together, and our story didn’t end the same way at all, but I think I understand the characters in this a bit better now than before. It is still a profoundly stupid movie, though.

Bitchtits McGee fucked around with this message at Dec 1, 2013 around 23:19

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


Your Dead Gay Son posted:

Flash rule: Your story must include a stolen toilet.

Porcelain Lost, No Reward
(961 Words)

This morning, I woke up to discover a gaping matter-hole in my bathroom, right where my toilet always is. By my thinking, the culprits were interdimensional travelers with a cruel streak. They're awful. They want to make innocent people wake up at five in the morning and dig holes in their backyards so that they can take a sanitary poo poo. I did just that, played into their grimy hands.

After my outdoor sanitary poo poo I took a shower. I turned over the scene in my mind, of the travelers tearing a dimensional hole in my ceramic-tiled bathroom wall, taking out little dark-matter crowbars and prying the porcelain throne from its resting place. I tried to will forward the dormant psychic powers lodged in my brain, so that I could psychically undo this heinous crime. I thought up the scene of my toilet reappearing, played it over and over in my head until I ripped the curtain away and there was still a pocket of air where my toilet was supposed to be. I gritted my teeth and called in sick to work.

The tavern was a good place to start, I knew. The lads there were always good to me. I pushed through the door and said, "Hello, lads, swell morning we're having, isn't it?" The one called Lou spat tobacco juice onto the floor. Big Ike asked me, "How is our resident dumbfuck enjoyable human being doing this fine morning?" That was our private joke, him calling me a dumbfuck enjoyable human being in front of the other guys. He did that because I wore a lavender bathrobe into the tavern, in order to ward off shadow brain parasites, who hate the color lavender. I knew Big Ike was in on the joke because his trucker hat was always pulled down, which was another, slightly less effective way to ward off the shadow parasites.

I winked at him so that he knew I got the joke. "I can't stay long today, Ike. My crapper's gone missing and I'm out looking for it." I used "crapper" as a show of coarse language in front of the lads. I wanted them to think I was one of them. Being semi-ascended, I was not one of them. It's polite to blend in as well as one can, though.

Big Ike raised his eyebrows. "Believe it or not, I've heard that, sport! I happen to have a clue that should help you out." He worked a finger under his shirt and swabbed it through his belly button. When he removed his finger again, the tip was coated in yellowish lint. "There you go, sport," he said. "My gift to you." He and the lads chuckled.

My third eye began to itch. I could see a wave of psychic energy encircling the lint, stretching away like roads on a map. I reverently scooped it up and slid it in my pocket. I began to tear up. "Big Ike, I don't know what to say. This means more than you could know."

I left the tavern and followed the psychic map-lines for nearly an hour. They led me across the city, weaving through the densely-packed streets, before dumping me in front of an alleyway that reeked of human waste. The universe did not seem to understand me; I wanted my toilet back, not some short-term solution and especially not one where homeless people could leer at me as I took a decidedly unsanitary poo poo. I walked down the sidewalk a stretch before reaching down and digging into my pockets. "How about a game?" I said.

I pulled out a pair of old, weathered dice. The universe likes playing with its creations. Sometimes, in playing, it will slip and let out a startling truth. "My roll first," I said. the dice clattered on the concrete: a two and a five. Some people think seven is a lucky number, but the universe doesn't like it. It craves order and sameness, so it would not think I had won. "Now it's your turn," I said, and gave up my hand as a vessel to the force of creation.

The force of creation rolled two ones. Snake-eyes. I smiled, congratulating it on a swift victory, but at the same time my mind probed into those black dots, striving to discover their meaning. I was hit by a wave of emotion; loss, oblivion, aloneness. But hiding behind that pain was a sense of renewal and rebirth. Of life going on. Interdimensional thieves or no interdimensional thieves, I felt like smiling.

I went to the nearest big-box hardware store, at first disheartened because all the employees seemed to be riddled with shadow parasites, but then I found Greg. The energy coursing through him was unbelievably pure and radiant. I could see right away that he was ascended, perhaps even higher than me. I asked to see the toilets, and straight away he led me to what I knew was to be my new throne. It was made of pink, glassy porcelain, a shade harmonious with my protective lavender bathrobe.

Most people don't believe in fate. I do, now. The universe is a puppeteer and a guide, leading us to where we need to be. Right then, it took the shape of Greg, standing at the checkout line and scanning my new toilet, the new, improved hunk of matter to be placed in the empty pocket of air in my bathroom. I put my hand on his, and suddenly I could feel my own imperfect energy connect with the source of everything, transcending earthly boundaries. And when Greg said, "Excuse me, sir, you're making me uncomfortable," I heard the voice of the universe; an ordinary yet resplendent melody. I did not let go.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Give me til Monday night or call me a loser. Dammit.

Jeza
Feb 13, 2011

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


All Fall Down - 1000 Words

V for Vegas posted:

Flash rule: Your story must be in reverse chronological order.

The Jenga bricks were well and truly spilt, and the whole house was suffused with the warm lull of a Christmas evening, but something was very wrong. Beautifully wrapped presents lay unopened beneath a tree, slightly off-kilter under an overabundance of tinsel and fairylights. A winter wind blew in through an open front door, and the storm door slammed against the wall with every stray gust. From windows framed by torn curtains, blue and red light poured in, rendering the scene sterile and eerie.

Grim faced silhouettes moved around the house, while white ghouls pored over everything in the kitchen. With a pair of tweezers, one slipped a torn and blood-stained envelope into a little plastic pouch and sealed it.

***************************

Jared staggered backwards, hands clutched to his stomach and horror written on his face. As he stumbled, his foot caught the Jenga tower and sent the wooden bricks scattering around the room.

Alice began to cry.

“It’s OK, Alice,” Marcus said with measured calm “We can build it again later, together. Don’t cry.”

Jared tripped on one of the stray bricks and fell, one hand flailing behind to find purchase, managing only to rip down one of the curtains.

“Oh God, oh my God,” Eleanor kept repeating, “We have to phone an ambulance. You’ve killed him.”

“Don’t panic. Nobody knows he’s here.”

But Jared wasn’t dead. He began struggling to get up.

“Alice, don’t you want to see what Daddy bought? Why don’t you open the box and have a look?”

With red-rimmed eyes, Alice looked down at the box still in her hand. She pulled off the lid with a popand fished out what was inside.

Marcus walked calmly over to Jared, who was now back onto his knees, but unable to gather the strength in his legs to stand.

“So what is it, honey?” he called out to Alice, as he loomed over the injured man.

“A neck-luss!” she shouted.

Jared slumped to the ground.

“Well I never!” he said jovially, standing back up.

“A beautiful necklace for my beautiful little girl. Isn’t it beautiful, Eleanor?”

He turned to look at his wife, who simply stood staring at him, paralysed by shock.

His tone turned serious.

“We’ll get through this - as a family.”

He opened both arms wide. Alice ran straight towards him, recognising a hug when she saw one, and he scooped her up in one arm.

Eleanor didn’t move.

“What’s the matter? Come on, Ellie - it’s when times are hardest that we have to stick together as a family.”

His eyes locked onto hers.

“Especially for Alice’s sake.”


***********************


“...the front door was open,” Jared said “I just thought I’d-”

His face hardened as soon as he entered the living room.

“What are you doing here?”

“Who’s this Eleanor? A friend of yours?” Marcus asked.

“Jared, wait! Don’t do anything, he’s-”

“Get your hands off her!” Jared shouted, his colour rising.

Marcus’ face was one of playful confusion.

“Take my hands off her? She’s my wife!” he laughed, “Why should I?”

“You bastard!” Jared roared, and rushed straight at Marcus.

Marcus loosed his hand from behind Eleanor’s back to defend himself. The two men connected fiercely.

*******************

“Well, we can’t open it in here can we? We have to do it under the tree right?”

Alice nodded vigorously.

“Well let’s go then.”

Marcus smiled indulgently at her, and put one arm firmly around Eleanor’s shoulder to bring her with him, one happy family unit.

In the middle of the living room, cosy with the gas fire cranked to max, a Jenga set was half-collapsed.

“Oh?” Marcus queried, “Who lost?”

“Nobody,” Eleanor replied, “We were building it together. Alice doesn’t like it when it all falls to pieces.”

“Is that right? Well, you can finish your game in a minute. You can go ahead and open your present now, Alice.”

She tore through the wrapping eagerly, while the both of them stood together awkwardly and watched.

The front door slammed.

A voice called out: “Hello? Eleanor? Anyone home?”

*******************

“Marcus! I told you not to come round here any more, the court already-”

“What? Am I not allowed to bring my own daughter a present for Christmas now, Eleanor?”

Fine...fine, just, leave it under the tree. Then go.”

“I want to see her open it.”

“Are you kidding me? Get out of here before I call 911, I mean it. You can’t just come around whenever you feel like it.”

Marcus sighed. He gingerly put the little ribboned box on the kitchen counter and pulled his other hand from behind his back.

Eleanor paled.

“Alice, honey, could you go upstairs to your room for Mommy?”

Alice stood in the doorway of the kitchen, saucer-eyed and chewing on her thumb, watching both of them.

“Wait a second,” Marcus’ voice cut in, “Don’t you want to open your present first, Alice?”

Alice’s eyes lit up. With one hand, Marcus pushed the present along the counter.

**********************

It had taken Eleanor several attempts to put into words what she wanted to say to Jared, but she thought she finally had it. She read the final line back to herself:

“If it wasn’t for you Jared, I don’t think I would have ever escaped. You saved my life, and Alice’s. I can’t imagine there ever being a man more kind, caring or loving as you.

Merry Christmas”


She paused for a moment, then smiled to herself, and added two little crosses at the end. It couldn’t hurt, anyway.

From the front door, the doorbell rang.

“Could you get that sweetie?” Eleanor called from the kitchen as she sealed the envelope.

Alice sped through the hall and reached up as high as she could to turn the handle. The door swung open. In the doorway stood a haggard looking man with a wan smile on his face, one hand outstretched, proffering a neatly-ribboned present. In the other behind his back, a knife.

“Daddy’s got a present for you, sweetheart.”

star eater
Jan 1, 2006



Fallen Rib

I'm retarded and didn't anticipate thanksgiving loving me so hard. Ughhhhhhh.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Ask me about being the most Magnificent Bastard in EU4 Multiplayer.

Go Forth and Sin No More (800 words)

When Father Donnelly finally got to his feet his problems remained, as he knew they would. Inchgivray still sat beneath that church on the hill, but tonight in St. Ninian's the only breaths were his alone, slow and tired.

He cursed his bones silently as he drew himself up. He had been a taller man in the earlier days of his mission, but as his flock drifted away to brighter temples, it was as if they had taken his straight back with them; a wee memento mori of his days before the pulpit.

Nae point in standing there now, of course, or in addressing the empty pews beyond. Even the choir had packed it in once there was no-one left to sing for. “There's always Christ, lads,” he'd joked. “He likes a good tune, you know.” It hadn't kept them, and in the end he could not find it in him to blame them.

The last candle flickered out, and he was left with the gloom of dusk shining in through the windows. Suddenly - there, a creaking – the door! Donnelly turned just in time for the cold sea wind to brush past him, and by the time the salt was out of his nostrils stillness reigned once more.

Out of that stillness came a voice.

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.”

Thank you, Father. “You wish to confess your sins - my son?”

“Aye, Father, I do.” On hearing the words, Donnelly made the long walk to the confessional. He could hear the man breathing as he took his place: heavy heavings of hot air drifted through the booth.

“Father, they say God forgives all our sins.”

“The mercy of our Lord is infinite, my child.”

“Well then, Father, has he forgiven you yet?”

The man laughed, and as the fell sound washed over Donnelly, the dividing wall sprang into flames. Burning, the wood peeled back and revealed the man, or what held one's shape.

“Sweet Mary - a deil!”

“It's 'devil', Father. Speak English. Don't tell me you've forgotten your theology-

“Away wi ye! Out, I say!”

“-ah, apparently you have. You have no power over me, soiled old man. Indeed, we could say it was the other way around.” As it spoke, Donnelly's chest tightened. “Don't tell me this comes as a surprise, Father! The old rulebook is pretty clear on the wages of sin, isn't it? I don't really know,” it grinned, his teeth stretching ever longer, “can't read it.” It clicked a finger, and the pain in Donnelly's heart exploded.

###

He awoke on the mottled ground of Hell with the devil standing above him.

“This is not a drill, Father; this is not a drill.”

Donnelly lay there, unmoving. “This is the day, isn't it?” The day that had to come. He kept his eyes firmly closed.

“Guess,” the devil suggested. It heaved the quivering Donnelly onto its shoulders, and as it stepped over the undulating ground every jolt stuck true in his bones. He knew for certain it was Hell when he forgot the Lord's Prayer.

“We've got something special lined up for you.” They descended into a cavern. The edges scraped against his skin. As they came to a steel door, he blacked out again. He didn't know what was coming to him, but he knew that it would.

###

As the room came into focus with a tang of seaweed, Donnelly realised he'd been tricked. He lay on the floor where the devil had dropped him.

“Sometimes I wonder about this sort of thing,” it said. “On the positive side, it's fun. The look on their faces is always worthwhile.”

“Ye mean it's not today? Just a devil's stratagem?”

“Your soul is already ours, you sad old fool. This is just perks.”

Donnelly slowly sat up. “Then I forgive you.”

“Forgive me? Maybe you're not quite aware of your position, old man, but-”

“I know my state, foul creature!” He drew himself upright. “I forgive ye nonetheless; it's all I can still do. You'll say three Hail Marys tonight and reflect on yer sins as well. Now away wi ye truly, and we'll meet again soon.”

It smiled at him. “A martyr to the end. How very noble of you.” At that, there was a bang, a hiss of smoke, and the devil had departed from St. Ninian's for the night.

Donnelly sighed softly. He took the steps to the vestry, where the robes of his ministry hung, shining their many colours. He picked up the phone and dialled, surrounded by them. He spoke into the mouthpiece.

“I'm sorry to call ye at such a late hour, sergeant: I just thought ye should know.

“I have a confession to make.”

FIN

Flash: Your protagonist must be over 70.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Passage Fare
(997 words)
(Flash rule: Your story must begin with the protagonist dying.)

Kenneth had time to realize he'd lost control of the car, time to see the gully waiting for him. He shut his eyes tight, he screamed his prayers, and metal and plastic and safety glass drove into his body just the same. The white flash of pain left him senseless; that was mercy.

Then he stood in a field of grey grass, under a grey sky, in no pain at all and so well able to realize what had happened.

"Well, poo poo," Kenneth said.

He hung around for a while, but his death remained a silent and empty country, and his restlessness ran soul-deep. He walked for God knew how long across the same terrain. Everything flat, everything monochrome except himself. He waved his hand in front of his eyes now and then to remember what color was.

He'd never known true black until the field broke on the bank of a river that made ink seem pastel. A boat sat half-grounded there, a man standing inside. "Hey!" Kenneth called. He jogged to the vessel, only to be stopped by the end of the boatmaster's pole in his chest. He staggered back. Message received: he wasn't welcome aboard.

"Hello there! Check your pockets!"

Kenneth swiveled his head toward the shout. Another man--a thin, grey figure--waved to him and pointed at Kenneth's jeans. Kenneth jammed his hands into the pockets; the right closed on a round object. He pulled out an Eisenhower dollar minted in something other than copper and nickle. It gleamed gold. Brilliantly so, even on that shore.

"Just one?" The colorless man stood at his shoulder. "I'm sorry. That's all many people save up, but the ferryman wants two."

Kenneth flipped the coin over and ran his thumb over the moon and bell. "I don't know where this one came from. How do I get another?"

The colorless man's chuckle had a hollow sound. "If I knew the answer to that...."

He produced a coin from his rough trousers. The features of the woman on its face had blurred from much handling. He turned it and showed Kenneth the obverse: 1 DOLLAR 1888.

"Yours is dated later, I expect," the man said.

Kenneth checked: 1973, the year of his birth.

"Holy hell," Kenneth said. "You've been here all this time?"

"I try to help the people who turn up. A few arrive with two coins. I'm always hoping to meet a soul with three, but... not yet. After a while, the wait is--tolerable."

Kenneth looked again at the man's grey clothes, grey skin, grey eyes. He shuddered hard. "Any chance you're a gambler?"

The colorless man smiled slightly. "I was, once."

"You can pick the game. I'll try anything. Winner gets both coins."

The man clasped his hands together as though in prayer, his coin hidden between them. "All right," he said at last. "My name is Christopher. How are you at skipping stones?"

Christopher went to the edge of the river. He stooped and took up a flat rock. Kenneth joined him, doing the same. "I was great at it as a kid," he said. "It's been a while now."

"I skipped them whenever I had something on my mind. Before my wedding. After funerals," Christopher said, and he sent his rock sailing: six, seven, eight skips, then it sank. "Best total after three stones wins, that's the game."

Kenneth launched his stone. It disappeared after four skips.

Christopher picked up another rock and weighed it in his hand. "How did you die?" Kenneth asked him. Distraction might be his only chance.

"Typhoid. It took my little girl first, so do you know, I didn't even mind that much. I've never found her on this side of the shore." Six skips. A solid plunk. "Who would you look for across the water?"

Kenneth threw before he answered and watched the rock bounce seven times. "I'd like to see my mother and tell her--" He broke off. "Well, what would you tell your mother? Your wife?"

"That I haven't forgotten them," Christopher said quietly. "That I'd be with them if I could. My brothers, too, and my sons. Did they grow up? Did I have grandchildren? I've been standing in this damned field for so long, and I might never know." He cast a stone over the water: it struck nine times before it fell.

Kenneth tossed his last stone from hand to hand. He closed his eyes before he threw. Six skips. Seven. He felt hollow under the ribs he didn't have anymore. Nine. Ten. He imagined himself turned thin and grey. But it was the twelfth skip that made him cold all over. A part of his heart sank with the rock.

Christopher held out his dollar. "If you would do me a kindness," he said in a steady voice. "If you meet a woman named Katherine Devine. Ask her about her husband, and if she gives you my name, tell her I'll be over someday yet."

Kenneth squeezed both coins in his fist. Would the other side have days as bright as the gold? Could he find his own love even now?

He grabbed Christopher's wrist and pressed the coins on him. "Take them and tell her yourself."

"No, I can't--"

"Don't make me think too hard about this, man, just get on that boat and throw these in the ferryman's face."

Joy brought color back to Christopher: his hair took on a touch of red, his eyes a touch of blue. "God bless you," he whispered. "I doubt you'll wait long." He ran to the ship to give the ferryman his due.

When the boat was almost out of sight, Christopher cupped his hands to his mouth and yelled, "Check your pockets!"

Bemused, Kenneth did. Each hand came out holding a shining coin, golden, dateless. He laughed and kissed them and waved across the water, then sat down to wait for the ferry's return.

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


Work priorities mean I have to drop it like it's hot.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

High marks for compassion, low marks for survival skills





WHAARG
631 Words
(Protagonist is a depressed rhino.)

“WHAARG!” Is that what a rhinoceros is supposed to sound like? I don’t loving know. I haven’t been one for very long, and no one’s given me an instruction manual. I just woke up with some fuzzy memories of playing cards with some old woman, a splitting headache, and a bad case of Being A Freight Train With Feet. Plus I’m an endangered species now, which is just loving brilliant.

Do I have to move to Africa? I don’t want to move to Africa. I don’t know anything about Africa, and how am I supposed to get there anyway? I’m not even sure how I’m going to get out of my apartment. Unless I fall through the floor. That would be painful. Better to just stay put.

I don’t deserve this. Maybe I do deserve this. I don’t know what I did, but clearly I deserve this, because it’s happened. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind, that’s how it works, right? Oh god.

Go out, get a little drunk, talk to some strangers. That’s what Rose told me to do. My so-called therapist. You’ll see it’s nothing to worry about. Call me tomorrow morning, tell me how it went. I’ll tell you how it went. “WHAARG!” is how it loving went. She probably doesn’t even speak Rhinoceros.

She’s calling again. She’s left three messages. She sounds worried. I’ll bet she’s not worried. Why would anyone worry about me? She sounds worried, though. Pretty good actress, I’ll give her that.

Someone’s at the door. Knocking. “Stan? Stanley?” It’s Rose. What’s she doing here? “Stanley, are you in there?”

“WHAARG!” I call out. Go away Rose.You can’t help me. No one can help me. I can hear my door opening. I didn’t lock the door. Rose is in my apartment. Oh god, what do I do? “WHAARG!”

“Stanley, what’s-” she’s in my bedroom. Staring at me. She’s going to scream. She’s going to scream and then animal control is going to come and my nose is going to end up ground up in someone’s tea, because that’s what happens. “Stanley?”

“WHAARG!”

“Oh, Stanley. You weren’t, by any chance, playing cards with an old woman last night, were you?” That’s not screaming at all. Why isn’t she screaming? I’m twelve feet long and weigh several tons. “That bitch. I’ve told her to stay away from my patients.”

I bob my head up and down. I don’t know why I bother. She can’t help me. No one can help me. No one ever could. This is exactly what I deserve.

Now she’s setting out candles and lighting them. What’s she doing? What language is that? What’s that smell? I feel funny. I feel kind of light-headed. “Don’t worry, Stanley. Everything’s going to be all right.”

No one’s ever said that to me before. I mean, people have probably said that to me before, but I never believed them. I’m not sure why I believe her. Maybe I’m just too tired not to. I’m really tired. I’m going to go to sleep now.

When I open my eyes again, she’s gone. I’m not a rhinoceros any more. I figure I probably dreamed the whole thing, but there’s a note on my dresser. “Stanley, I am so sorry you got caught up in this. That woman has been trying to ruin my practice with black magic for years now. I think I’ve broken the curse, though. You should be careful around the full moon for the next few months, things like this don’t go completely away, but with luck, you’ll be able to control the transmogrifications. We’ll talk more at our next session. Don’t let this discourage you. -R

P.S. Just so we’re clear, you won’t be charged for the curse-breaking. That’s on me.”

“Whaarg,”

Quidthulhu
Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!


Not gonna make it. MY FIRST THUNDERDOME BOWOUT

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

Fork 'em Devils!


Closure
902 Words
Flash Rule: Protag is mute

“You should know why I’m here,” said the woman as she closed the fence door that led to his garden. “You should have been expecting this day.”

Paul looked at the intruder. She was pretty, maybe 30 years old, her face covered with freckles and her red hair pulled back into a ponytail. However, he only had eyes for the green scrap of cloth wrapped around her wrist and the pistol in her hand.

“It looks like someone almost did my job for me,” said the woman. She examined Paul sitting in his chair. “I heard someone gave you the bullet that all Tans deserve, and a bash on the head besides, but I’m glad it didn't finish you off. Now I get to be the one who makes you pay for what you did, as it should be.”

Paul closed his eyes, his suspicions confirmed. Every day of his life he remembered his fear, the same fear that permeated every member of his unit, from that day in ‘69 when they were sent to West Belfast. He recalled the jolt of adrenaline when he saw movement in the shadows of the apartment building. He could still feel the vibrations of his machine gun when he opened fire. The terror and shame he felt when they found the body and discovered it was a nine year old boy had never left him.

Paul opened his eyes and reached down for his small whiteboard that normally hung off his wheelchair, but it wasn't there. Samantha must have taken it to draw when he wasn't looking. He’d never be able to tell this woman how sorry he was, how terrible of a mistake he had made. He reached one hand up to his heart and extended to towards the woman, the best gesture he could think of.

The woman looked unconvinced. “Really, that’s it? That’s your way of saying sorry that you murdered my brother?”

Paul shrugged and kept his hand extended, starting to slightly shake. He didn't have as much strength as he used to.

The woman shook her head. “Whatever, I don’t know what I expected. It’s time to go. I promise you that I’ll put this one into your head, not your spine.”

For many years Paul had wished that of the first bullet. But now that he had seen his son grow up and start a family he was grateful that wasn't the case. Every day was a gift, a reprieve from death, and now it had finally caught up to him. It was time to pay for what he had done. Paul nodded and wiped tears from his eyes that he hadn't realized were there, steeling himself for what was to come.

“Grandpa?” came a voice from the edge of the garden. A small girl was hiding unsuccessfully behind one of the bushes, a curly mop of golden hair spilling over the top of the shrub. No, god, no. Not now. Paul looked to the woman with panic in his eyes and was relieved when she pulled the gun to her side. Her face played out conflicting emotions before she slid the gun into her jeans. Paul could only nod his thanks. He gestured for Samantha to come over.

She skipped over to him, looking suspiciously at the stranger. “There’s a lady here, grandpa. Is it stranger danger?” said the little girl.

He smiled and signed to her. “Hi, grandpa’s friend,” Samantha said brightly. The woman managed a weak smile. “Grandpa says you’re a good person, so I shouldn't worry.”

Paul signed to Samantha again. “No, grandpa, I’m sorry, I left your board in the house. I drew a picture of Sir Pounce! Would you like to see? Mom said it was really good!”

Paul shook his head and signed. “A gift, grandpa? What is it? I’m four now, and too old for surprises.”

Paul signed again. “A game? I love new games, I'll go get it right now, thanks grandpa!” Samantha said as she turned to leave. Paul’s hand shot out and grabbed her before she could run off and motioned for her to climb up onto his chair. She managed with some difficulty and Paul gathered her up into a big hug.

“Love you too, grandpa!” she said in response to his last signing to her as she ran off towards the house.

Paul looked back to the woman who was silently contemplating him. He touched his heart again and extended his hand to her. Thank you.

“I should have let her see you die, Tan, just like I watched my brother die,” she said. “You’re lucky I’m a better person than you are.” The small waver in her voice put her belief in her words in doubt.

Paul just nodded his head. As far as he was concerned, she was right. He looked around his garden one last time, savoring the sights and smells of this place. He may not have planted all of the flowers and shrubbery himself, but he was the designer, and it was his legacy to be passed down to his son, and Samantha eventually. He hoped they wouldn't be too disappointed in him.

“Look at me,” she said, her voice become hard, strained. She was crying silently. “You should see this coming.”

Her eyes were a wonderful shade of green, like his garden. He held her gaze until the world went black.

Walamor fucked around with this message at Dec 2, 2013 around 04:55

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

I'm out too: for my next entry, as is only proper.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

Blood
1000 words

They walked arm in arm as they had when they were children. They had been as close as brothers once. Before the wars. Before the one had become a warlord.

“What do you think of my men?” asked Moses Asukili.

The sound of sharpening machetes underscored their conversation and Obi feared being insulting with his response. This man who clutched him so lovingly had done terrible things. Obi had shifted through his handwork once-- looking for family in the ashes and the charred bones.

He found his sister and her husband. His nephew was still missing.

Moses motioned for Obi to sit with him.

“They look youthful,” Obi said carefully.

“They might be young but they are men!” Moses boasted, “As soon as I get them, that very first day, we grab a girl for them to use. I am served only by men. This is smart, yes? For many years I struggled with discipline. But not so when I grab them young. I pay them in drugs and women. They love this. For this, they will give me their lives if I ask. Your life if I ask.”

Moses whistled and an eight year old with an assault rifle ran to him.

“Like that,” Moses said, snapping his fingers.

Obi glanced at his own hands. He was grateful they were not trembling.

“You would kill for me?” Moses asked the boy. His eyes never left Obi.

“Of course, General!”

“Who would you kill for me?”

“I would kill God for you, my General. If my ancestors themselves stood before me I would cut them down with my machete. I would eat their bones.”

Moses patted the boy on the head and the boy darted off.

“Are your children so obedient?” he asked.

“I lost my children.”

“Not to me I hope,” Moses said with a playful smile.

Moses leaned forward and extended his hand. Obi took the General’s hand with his own. The two men interlaced fingers.

“No, not to you.” Obi said, giving a little a squeeze, “Long before all of this.”

“I am glad. I would hate to have hurt you. This war has done terrible things. Made men into monsters”

“Better for it to be over soon then, yes?”

“Yes!” Moses said as he burst into laughter, “Just tell that to those pig cunts up north. They had their chance to run this country and what did they do? They ruined us worse than the Colonials. And we thought we were suffering then. Ha!”

“I do not remember things being so bad,” Obi mused, “As children, I do not remember this suffering. I remember sneaking out and telling stories under the stars. And running from Old Man Mzali when we stole his fruit.”

“Mzali! Yes! That old bastard would not chase after me now, I think!”

“And that giant baobab tree. The one we called Heaven Scraper.”

Moses nodded enthusiastically.

“Yes! Yes!” the General cried, “Many times did we hide in its hollows. Many times did we wrestle under the cool shadow of its branches.”

“Many times you bested me, Moses.”

Moses waved his hand dismissively.

“You were the best wrestler in the village. What was it that they called you? Obi the Cat? I don’t think I ever saw you lose.”

“I did to you,” Obi said.

“You could have thrown me over Heaven Scraper if you had tried. I was half your size. You let me win. In wrestling. In all things. This I know.”

Obi smiled and shrugged.

“Why?” he asked, “Why did you always let me win?”

“I did not think it was right the way the other boys treated you. It did not seem fair or kind.”
Moses leaned back and dug in his pockets for a carton of cigarettes. He lit two with a match and handed one to Obi. The men inhaled slowly.

“Why did you come here, Obi Omanyo?”

“These children… These soldiers you have,” Obi said, “Might you have one by the name of Georgie Yonbu? He would just be a little boy. Not even seven.”

“And what is your business with this boy?”

“He is my nephew.”

Moses exhaled a cloud of smoke.

“I do not know the name of every one of my soldiers,” the General said after a moment, “Maybe he is here. Maybe he is not. I do not know.”

“I would have him back if he lives.”

Moses ran his tongue over his golden teeth.

“I do not suffer deserters,” he said.

Obi didn’t respond.

“I cut off their feet. I don’t let them leave. I make them march on the stumps. They cry and they bleed and they die but they do not leave. I do this to but a few and the rest never risk running away.”

“He is my blood,” Obi said quietly.

“What are you going to do then?” Moses laughed, “Will you you pay me for him?”

“I have nothing of value, Moses.”

The General flicked his cigarette away and stood up. He grinned and dug into the dirt with the toe of his boot.

“Nothing of value?” he said as he carved out a wide circle, “Perhaps you would wrestle for him then?”

“Are you serious?”

Moses smiled and took off his shirt.

“Show me Obi the Cat, again. Show me why you were so popular.”

It took but a moment and Obi was on his back. Moses had hardly even moved.

“Again!” Moses barked.

Moses bested him quickly each time. Obi’s knees would give out or his feet would catch a bad angle.

“Again!” Moses barked, “Again! Again!”

They wrestled for an hour and Obi's world grew dark. He didn't remember closing his eyes. When he opened them Moses was grinning at him through the rolled down window of a truck.

“This driver will take you to find your nephew,” Moses said.

“But I lost,” Obi murmured weakly.

“Obi Omanyo never loses,” Moses said tapping his own forehead, “You let me win. This I know.”

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Dec 2, 2013 around 05:14

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

The Challenge
715 words


Herbert shifted slightly in his seat, just enough so that his pants rubbed his groin. It wouldn’t alleviate the itching for long, but it took his mind off of it for the moment, so he could concentrate on the gun that was pressed into his temple.

Really, it wasn’t as bad as it sounded though. He’d been in trouble before. His vacations were often fraught with danger, rash decisions, and undesirable consequences.

“So I just pull the trigger right?” asked Herbert.

Vlad, an actual Russian, nodded. “If it goes ‘click,’ you get to walk away with her.” looked at Katrina, the girl Herbert was currently infatuated with. Apparently she had connections that were not easy to sever, and Herbert found himself in something of a situation.

Herbert knew that in a month or two he’d be bored with her, and when he thought about it in that long-term framework, this whole mess hardly seemed necessarily. He had the option to walk away and fly home. Maybe visit a clinic on the way. However, Herbert wasn’t regarded as a deep thinker.

“And if it doesn’t?”

“It goes ‘boom’.”

Herbert wanted to sit and think about it for a while, calculate the odds, make a short list of pros and cons, but he was also an impatient man, so he pulled the trigger instead.

The gun went ‘click’, but Herbert couldn’t help but feel he’d still lost. No wonder game shows have confetti and balloons, he thought. Winning in and of itself is nothing.

Herbert used the barrel of the gun to itch his crotch, and then put it back up to his temple. “Double or nothing?”

Vlad’s eyebrows went all wonky. “Excuse me?”

“You know, how about I play again, and if I win, I get a better prize?”

“I don’t know what else to give you.”

Herbert searched around the room for something else. Anything else. The room was quite barren. A dirty rug, some scratched chairs. The windows had interesting metal bars, but they didn’t look removable.

“How about the gun?”

“I don’t know. Nobody has done this before. Usually it goes ‘click’ and they leave, or…”

“Yeah. So, what do you say?”

Vlad pulled at his shirt collar. It was his favorite gun. But he was also the owner of an unrequited crush on the dark haired beauty tied to the other chair.

Herbert groaned. “Come on already, I’m bored.”

“Ok, ok. You go click again and you can have--”

Herbert pulled the trigger. The gun went click. He pulled the trigger again and it clicked again.

“We can decide what I get for that one later,” said Herbert.

Vlad’s face turned red, and threw his hands into the air. “You can take the girl and the the gun, just please stop pulling the trigger!”

“And the carpet?”

“Yes, the carpet, the chairs. Anything you want, just please don’t pull the trigger anymore. We had a deal and it is done. I do not like unnecessary death on my hands. I have enough guilt already for the things I do.”

Herbert pulled the trigger again. The gun went click again.

Vlad fell onto his knees and began to cry. “Please sir, you are not making sense. I am worried that you are mentally ill. This is not Texas; I do not want to see you dead. There is a code of honor.”

Herbert looked at his new gun. “How many bullets does this thing hold? Like, twenty?”

“Six.”

“Oh, and that was what, four? Five?”

“I don’t know. Just please stop.”

Herbert stood up and untied Katrina. “Ok, you big lugubrious bastard, I’m done.”

Herbert tucked the gun into his waistband and led Katrina down to his yacht anchored in the harbor. Once aboard, he set Katrina up with a new pair of clothes, and went back up to the bridge.

He told the captain to set sail for home, and sat down at the table. He opened up the new pack of thank you cards, and addressed one to his mother and father. They were right, a weekend trip to Russia on his new yacht was the perfect birthday gift.

He scratched at his inflamed penis through his jeans. He’d have to work out the math of that gun thing later.

Optimus Prime Ribs
Jul 25, 2007



Well, this sucks, but I'm not going to make the deadline. Didn't want to gently caress up my first Thunderdome, but a combination of me being distracted and not being accustomed to being limited by a prompt and flash rule kinda made it happen (a.k.a. excuses). Sorry.

I'm going to get it in here as soon as I can, though.

mastajake
Oct 3, 2005

My blade is unBENDING!


Flash Rule: Your entire story must be set on a tour of some sort. 288 Words

Scavenger Hunt

“What do you think? Should I go for the tall one? Or maybe the blonde?”

“Oh come on, Tiff. Like that poor man hasn’t been tortured enough lately.”

Tiffany rolled her eyes and ignored her brother, smiling at the man near the Monet exhibit. The card they’d been given wasn’t too specific. “One of you must flirt with someone with whom you would not otherwise.”
Easy enough. It wasn’t exactly her first time flirting or anything. Her brother – on the other hand – was a little queasy around the fairer sex. There had been a silent agreement between the two of them that she would be the one to complete this task.

Why she’d agreed to this farce in the first place was a different story entirely. She certainly didn’t need to branch out like this. She was certainly confident in her people skills. Her brother, though…..she loved him, but drat, he needed to get out of his shell sometimes.

She bit her lip. It wasn’t as if she couldn’t get the tall man’s name if she needed to. And who knows, maybe her brother could step up to the plate after all.

“Actually, why don’t you go for the redhead over there?” She nodded to her left, smirking at the thought of him going through with it. She ignored the glare of the tour guide. This was a momentous occasion, after all.

“I….” her brother paused. It was clear he was going to chicken out. Again. Tiffany sighed. There was only so much one girl could do.

“You know, I think I will.” He smiled as he walked over to the woman. Oh, what the hell. Tiffany though, walking toward the tall gentleman. If he can do it…

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Submissions are closed. Technically they closed an hour ago, but who's counting?

(Hint: It's me)

Quidnose, Sebmojo, Mercedes, My Dead Gay Son, Optimus Primal Rage, the Most Disappointing Rhino, and the Lackluster7 are all failures, but at least they're man enough to come clean. Muffins, Zachary Taylor, Helsinki, and the Laziest Beggar are all no shows, and should be treated with appropriate levels of scorn and cryptic phone calls in the middle of the night to remind them they are unloved. Should any of them actually remember to submit before Fumblemouse posts in this thread again, their transgressions against man and God but mostly man will be briefly tolerated for the purposes of telling them they can't win.

To the rest of you I'd say good job if I hadn't already read half your stories. You are to be commended at least for being able to read a clock properly.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

I've never seen such a sorry-arse bunch of excuses as well. Work. Thanksgiving. I got distracted. I was going to post how much you all suck but I got distracted by my giant furry butt which needed a good scratch.

All right, Bad Seafood. Some of these folks at least managed to type more than two sentences in a row in an entire week, so let's judge the few, the brave and the vaguely committed.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


I live in a town dominated by a mud volcano that spews sulphorous ash out occasionally. When there's flecks of red-brown in the water, we don't drink. My excuse is that I caught something weird from (?) the water and was unconscious or delirious for most of Sunday afternoon. Apparently I wrote something for a brawl with Crabrock but I don't remember writing it.

I don't got no pussy seppo Thanksgiving bullshit excuse, but I did have a whole lot of unexpected heavy metals in my bloodstream. That's pretty loving metal, and I won't apologise for it.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

I live in a town dominated by a mud volcano that spews sulphorous ash out occasionally. When there's flecks of red-brown in the water, we don't drink. My excuse is that I caught something weird from (?) the water and was unconscious or delirious for most of Sunday afternoon. Apparently I wrote something for a brawl with Crabrock but I don't remember writing it.

I don't got no pussy seppo Thanksgiving bullshit excuse, but I did have a whole lot of unexpected heavy metals in my bloodstream. That's pretty loving metal, and I won't apologise for it.

Oh great. If you come out on top I'm gonna feel like a real fuckin' shmuck. :P

Lazy Beggar
Dec 9, 2011


Thought I would have time to write when moving from one country to another. I did not. Will have plenty of time this week.

RoeCocoa
Oct 23, 2010



I got a migraine shortly after I signed up, had it the whole time I was writing and editing that fish story (oh snap, I should have named it "Fish Story"), still have it while I'm reading about all the no-shows. It's three pages, not a triathlon. You volunteered. You had a week. Have you seen some of the word vomit that passes in this thread? You deadbeats make me sick.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

There's a special place in hell for people who sign up and don't submit.

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?list=fail

they will never live it down.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Result-o-rama ThunderDome LXIX

In conclusion, this was a round of contrasts. My Co-Judge, the Esteemed Bad Seafood was a little less enamoured of some of your efforts than I was, but, suffice to say, we both agreed that the crown this week should go to Jeza - whose momento-us (gently caress you - I'm hilarious) achievement in writing a compelling story in a flash-ruled backwards style hit the prompts, showed technical mastery, and creeped me the gently caress out.

Honourable mentions are thick on the ground this week. Nikaer Drekin's whimsical holy fool worked, which is a very difficult trick to pull off, and even cracked Bad Seafood's smile muscles involuntarily, which is even difficulter. Kaishai's deft handling of tone shone through again, which is no surprise, but the lack of surprise in her story kept her from the win. Finally, a shout-out to Tyrannosaurus who made my favourites list and whose characters stuck in my mind long after I finished the story they were in. That lose-atar ill-suits you, Rex, keep it up.

There were two clear choices for the bottom of the heap, however. Mastajake had 200 words telling me about nothing I gave a drat about, but there was a semblance of an arc and prompt hitting, so only gets a Dishonourable Mention. V for Vegas, on the other hand, bored me for much longer with much less, and perhaps more inexcusably, kept on disappointing me with unfilled potential. I'm still not entirely sure what the point of that story was, and there seemed to be little discernible prompt-related activity going on so the Crown of poo poo goes V-ward.

Bad Seafood's crits should be up Wednesday and mine when I've written them, which may also be Wednesday but may not.

Jeza: I cede the throne to you. Sorry about the wet spot, it's a mouse thing.

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at Dec 2, 2013 around 22:25

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

Fork 'em Devils!


Congrats Jeza! Where's our prompt?

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Should have kept Jeza's prompt for myself. Pre-emptively signing up.

Jeza
Feb 13, 2011

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


Thunderdome LXX - "And what did you see, my darling young one?"


This prompt is mostly pulled out of my rear end, but there we go.


Bob Dylan posted:

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
And where have you been my darling young one?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard


I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin'
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin'
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children


I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warnin'
I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin'
I heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin'
I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin'
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley




I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded in hatred



I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin'
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are a many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioner's face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I'll tell and speak it and think it and breathe it
And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it
And I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin'
But I'll know my song well before I start singing
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.


Here's a song by renowned poor vocalist Robert Dylan. While the last prompt was all about writing within constraints, now here's a prompt where you're given a bunch of choice. This means, ideally, better stories because you can write to your strengths. Although probably not.

Anyway, every contestant gets to choose one line. ONCE A LINE IS TAKEN, IT IS TAKEN. You have a huge amount of prompts to get going with here, so I expect decent end results. The stories practically write themselves from some of these for gently caress's sake. All genres are fine.

Your extra-long word count special this week is 2000 words.

Don't feel pressured to write even half that if you feel you don't need to. I don't credit stories extra for their length. In fact, don't write it that long unless you really want to. The more 2k stories I have to judge/crit, the crankier I will get. The unusually long word count is there to allow you wiggle room to fully flesh out your story. If you got a 1600 word first draft and think, ah gently caress it don't need to edit this poo poo - I'm going to know. I always know. I see into your soul and read the pitiful story within.

Your deadline is Sunday 11.59pm GREENWICH MEAN TIME, i.e. NOT UNITED STATES TIMEKEEPING. That is five hours earlier East Coast, and eight hours earlier West Coast. Goons in other places - you already know the drill.

My co-judges are: Bitchtits McGee, DrKloctopussy

Entrants:

V for Vegas: I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
Your Dead Gay Son: I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin'
crabrock: I met a young child beside a dead pony
Kaishai: I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
Erogenous Beef: I met another man who was wounded in hatred
Fumblemouse: I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
God Over Djinn: I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways
Noah: I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
Sitting Here: I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warnin'
Obliterati: And the executioner's face is always well hidden
Tyrannosaurus: I met a young woman whose body was burning
Auraboks: I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
docbeard: Where black is the color, where none is the number
dmboogie: I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
Nubile Hillock: Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Radioactive Bears: But I'll know my song well before I start singing
Lazy Beggar: Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
magnificent7: Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter - In-Prompt Brawl
EchoCian: Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter - In-Prompt Brawl
Dermit: I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
Full Fathoms Five: I met one man who was wounded in love
Bad Seafood: I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin'
DreamingOfRoses: I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Jagermonster: I saw a white ladder all covered with water
Purple Prince: I heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin'

Jeza fucked around with this message at Dec 6, 2013 around 18:02

star eater
Jan 1, 2006



Fallen Rib

Ok I won't fail you this time, father. I'm in.

I want this one:

quote:

I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

gimme dis one

"I met a young child beside a dead pony"

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

I'm taking I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it before anyone else can.

Bitchtits McGee
Jul 1, 2011


Jeza posted:

My co-judges are: CURRENTLY UNKNOWN

I know one.

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Jeza posted:

I met another man who was wounded in hatred

IN. Mine. You will rue this day!

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

In.

I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways

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Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it.

What's the word count we're looking at?

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