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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


Dammit I forgot there was going to be a new Thunderdome thread and never checked beyond my bookmarks. I'm not a poetry person anyway so I guess I'll wait for the next prompt.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

"I THINK THE SADDEST RHINO IS A BAD RHINO AND I CHALLENGE HIM TO A LOVECRAFT-HORROR-3-PART-OFF"

Etherwind posted:

Saddest Rhino, you gonna take that poo poo? He's calling you out!

WHAT IS THIS

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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


Yep I'm in

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


Early year workload, real life commitments and general poor time management means I can't get a submission satisfactorily complete in time, I hang once again my head in shame.

PS. I'm sorry toanoradian the avatar got changed again, although you might be relieved to know I do not masturbate to ponies.

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


toanoradian posted:

wait no i shouldn't make jokes about ponies

Well, at least there's no dead rhino? Win again in this year's Christmas and maybe there'll be more presents bribery!

Strangely enough it was this http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...0#post411688031 that made the magic happen.

Ctrl-p ing your post now to hold you to your word by the way

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


Maybe they hate my liberal approach to tenses.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:


HONOURABLE SEPPUKU

for braving the thread despite his failure, The Saddest Rhino may choose whether he gets a losertar or not. I am a merciful god.

I think I'll hold on to this redtext for a while so that whoever bought it can just seethe in rage every single day I post yet am miraculously not permabanned.

Oxxidation posted:

In this case I think it's because he plugged something from the self-published thread, which is a great way to get people mad, because posts from the self-published thread usually need a few deep breaths and fifteen to twenty minutes of meditation to deal with.

I would honestly be very disturbed if anyone bought that book due to me "plugging" it there.

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


In again and will def get a submission out. (I'm halfway rewriting my original small town horror thing for last week and will put it up on the fiction farm)

Also congrats to Captntastic! Always great to see a happy outcome in Thunderdome

E: oh gosh , thanks anonymous avatar purchaser, I really do appreciate it.

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


aquavelva posted:

I'm in. Ready to lawyer.

I'm a legal professional irl and would be happy to help

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



Good fix

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


The Saddest Rhino posted:

(I'm halfway rewriting my original small town horror thing for last week and will put it up on the fiction farm)

In lieu of submitting for last week's Thunderdome, I expanded my original draft to about 3k words and have put it up here: http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...hreadid=3530038 (instead of the farm which only allows <1k). I tentatively titled it Sea Change although I'm thinking maybe A Day in the Sun will Change Your Life may be better.

It's still within the "small town horror" motif, but I set it on a tropical island town in Malaysia and I was also addressing SurreptitiousMuffin's challenge to write a Lovecraft thing. I only chose to use the themes present in his stories (sea things, hostility, incomprehensible fear) instead of setting it in his cthulhu mythology because I think it would just weaken the story.

Would appreciate if you guys gave me some criticism and sentence me to death, thanks! crit me hors

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Jan 24, 2013 around 09:40

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


PROMPT: I want stories of someone who tells the truth or doesn't tell the truth and gets What They Deserve.



Show Hand (1,170 words)

The dinner party was going well - the meal was perfect and the company excellent. Jack and Lori complimented Abbie on her cooking, and she beamed with pride, knowing she finally got my mother’s roast chicken recipe right. We shared little congratulations privately in the kitchen, and I joined our guests in the living room, lounging around watching commercials.

“How’s it like, now you are a Mrs?” I asked Lori.

“Never felt more perfect,” she gave a radiant smile, and showed off her ring. Jack smiled without changing his gaze at the television.

Abbie came in with a case in her hands. “We should play truth poker!” she announced.

“Nobody likes that game, it’s horrible!” I protested with a laugh.

“What is it?” Lori asked. Jack shifted in his seat and sat up.

“You know how in poker we bluff all the time?” Abbie said. Before I could protest, she already had the case open and was laying cards and chips for four on the coffee table. “It builds another level on that. Every time you do a raise or call or all in, you need to tell the other players something.”

“And?” Jack asked.

“If you’re bluffing, you have to tell a lie. And if you aren’t, you have to tell the truth. The other players have to guess whether you are lying or not.”

“If we are going to play this, I propose we do it very drunk.” I went to the bar and got us a pinor noit and glasses. As I poured wine Lori was bugging Abbie for hints and tips. Jack grunted and took his drink. “If the wives like it, the men should go with it. Right, Alec?” We toasted to each other.

“Let’s do a trial run,” Abbie proposed. She turned off the television, took out ten cards from the pile and gave Jack five. “Assume we are the last players left and you have raised the pot.”

“Right.” I glanced at Jack’s cards. He had a couple of twos. An alright hand.

“I’m going all in,” Abbie said with a stoic expression. “And Eskimos keep their food in refrigerators to keep them from freezing.”

“You’re bluffing and I’ll meet you,” he said. “Show hand?”

Abbie’s cards had three kings. “That’s the truth,” she said with a smile. “Money’s all mine.”

Jack snorted. “This game is horribly complicated.”

Lori laughed. “This game is delightful!”

We played for some time, and the ladies were clearly enjoying it. I tried to bluff my way with debunked myths (“Bats use sonar because they are blind in the dark.”), but Abbie and Lori obviously had been trivial pursuit champions, and saw through them immediately. They in turn use that knowledge against Jack and me, with predictable results of us failing to identify anything correctly.

As the wine flowed through our bellies, the statements started shifting from worldly facts and myths to personal tales and half-truths. There were revelations about distant families and gossips about friends made. Abbie revealed that she had a distant cousin in Louisiana living as a bum, and Jack told us about an ex-colleague wanted for murder. Thankfully, some horrifying ones, such as a grandfather who fought for the Nazis, turned out to be false.

Ultimately, the game was obviously designed for Lori. She spouted every single obscure fact and every convincing lie with gusto, taking to our chips like a bank robber. A last statement of wanting to name her future daughter after her great-grandaunt Serafina (neither of which was true) took both Abbie and me out of the game. The table was set for only the McDowells. Jack was at his last legs with only a few chips left. We had finished two bottles of wine and were finishing a third, and all of us were slightly tipsy.

It was the last hand. Lori burned a card and took one from the pile, then smiled. “All in,” she said.

“And?” Jack asked.

She thought for a bit.

“I love my husband,” she said, and flicked her hair over her shoulder.

“That’s cheating,” I told her. She rolled her eyes and shrugged.

Jack looked at his cards, then at her, at us, at her cards, and at her again.

“Time to fold, sweetie,” Lori said.

Jack asked, “if I fold, will you let me see your cards?”

“The game doesn’t work that way, Jack!” Abbie said with a small laugh, then stopped. Jack looked completely serious, his eyes staring at the hands of his wife, holding her cards. Beads of cold sweat streaked down his face in an air-conditioned room. We had turned on only a few lamps and lit candles for atmosphere, and in that dim light of the evening, the shadows cast upon his face gave him the mask of a man who would do anything it took to get what he wanted.

The cards in Lori’s hands were still face down. During the whole game, she had opted to just place a couple of dainty fingers on them. Now the cards were completely covered with her palms crossed.

“I want to know your cards, Lori. You can float the rules for your husband, right?” Jack asked. His voice was a complete monotone.

Lori’s earlier joviality was completely gone. Whether it was genuine or a façade prepared for us, we could never tell. Her hands did not move.

Show him your hand, I wanted to say. How hard could it be? Why aren’t you showing him?

What aren’t you telling him?

“Jack…” Lori started.

“Show me the goddamned cards!” Jack yelled and slammed his fists on the table. We jumped back, our cards bounced and a glass of wine spilled across the table. As the scented candle rebalanced itself the light danced wildly, but we could not see Jack’s face at all.

We sat for what felt like hours. Red wine fell, one drop at a time, onto the floor. In the commotion I noticed Lori, almost by instinct, pulling the cards to her chest.

Without a word, Jack stood up. He took his coat and keys, and when he exited our house he closed the door with a soft click. We remained seated, listening to the familiar engine hum of his car starting and driving away.

Lori still had the cards in her hands. There were tears in her eyes.

Abbie shot me a look, and I went upstairs. They stayed in the living room the whole night. All I was told, later, was Lori being put into a cab.

I spent the next morning cleaning up, washing the dishes and wiping off the winestain on the floor. As I collected the cards I noticed a pair, face down, lying side by side at where Lori sat. One was completely parallel to the table, but the other was skewed to a side, as if looking away from the other.

I took and added the cards facedown to the pile in the case, leaving them aside to their fates.

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



I never had the chance to participate in paired detailed crits and wouldn't mind this in the least. Hopefully my schedule for the rest of the year wouldn't be as mad as the previous three week's so I can provide some valuable input that would surely enrich some goon's writing experience.


Erik Shawn-Bohner posted:

Lit Mag Goonrush

lol k

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


Tentatively I'm in, but I'm going to have a packed weekend because 1. I'm getting keys to my new place and I have to deal with moving and poo poo (WOO) and 2. Some jerk knocked into my car this morning and I have to deal with workshop and poo poo (BOO). Can't promise anything appearing.

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


My day tomorrow is going to be completely packed dealing with moving and cleaning, and I just don't have the time to fix the audio (which I haven't the slightest clue how to) nor shorten it to 5 mins. Oh well enjoy my incorrigible accent recording on a cellphone using evernote. http://db.tt/fN8LIGml

CHARACTER BUILDING (1,480 words)

On a normal day, the Coyote Ranch would be filled with the screams of teenagers propelled across zip lines into large nets, and motivational catchphrases yelled by corporate types being put through embarrassing team-building exercises. Today, there was nobody at all in the adventure park, as all bookings made for the day were abruptly cancelled. Shara found herself alone, with all her co-workers afflicted with either sudden illnesses or laziness. She stood behind the reception’s desk, intent on spending the day watching makeup tutorials on youtube.

Windchimes. Shara looked up from her monitor. A tall, dark Indian lady stood at the entrance to the visitor’s lounge. She was youthful-looking with an athletic build, and despite being in a light summer dress, managed to dress immaculately with handbag and heels. Taking off her shades, the lady’s eyes were kind, yet behind them hid a stern poise. Shara could swear that the lady looked familiar.

In twisted contrast, her hand held on to a child’s, who was seven and dressed in a sleeveless shirt and khaki shorts. The boy was as plump as she was slim. Standing beside her, he looked like a skinned oversized koala who has eaten as many rotis for breakfast as there were swamis in Mumbai.

“Welcome to Coyote Ranch!” Shara greeted them. “You are our first guests. I haven’t seen a single soul before you!”

“It’s for the best,” the lady said. Her voice was smooth like hot sabres slicing through butter. She pointed at the boy. “I’ve brought him here to train. His father claims he has developed some foolish American disease that turns him into a slobbering mess when too many girls talk to him.”

The boy made a pachydermous whine. “It’s agoraphobia and it makes me panic in a situation I’m not comfortable like when they are many people and it’s so-“

“Agriculturephobia,” the lady said without looking at him. She flipped through the brochures on the desk, and pointed to Shara a course titled DEATH VALLEY DEATH-DEFYING CIRCUIT. “He’ll have this.”

Shara’s eyes widened. “Are you sure, ma’am? It’s for very experienced people, and not designed for children…”

“Perfect,” the lady said, already filling up the indemnity form. The boy mumbled under his breath, and Shara could hear mutterings of curses in various languages, most of which she could not recognise.

Shara looked at the form the lady gave her. “Ganeswaran’s your nephew, Miss… Kali?” she asked. “No surnames?”

“Not by blood or literally, thank goodness. We are of the same pantheon and look out for our own. And the surname, I think you all call that a fashionable thing. Now lead me to this circuit where young Ganeswaran will defy the destroyers of worlds - ” Kali looked to where the boy was. “Insolent child! What is the meaning of this!”

Ganeswaran was skipping in a panic, his stubby little arms flailing around as he ran in circles. “WASP,” he cried. “WASP WASP WASP WASP WASP.”

His aunt grabbed him by the arm, perhaps a little too strongly, and he screamed in pain. “It is an insect!” she yelled at him. “Next you’ll call lotuses demons!”

“They have ugly seed pods!” Ganeswaran complained.

“Then decapitate them and drink their blood then dance on their carcasses!” Kali retorted. She dragged the crying child away from his subject of fear, with Shara running behind them.

The first part of the circuit involved an obstacle course with unassisted wall-climbing, swinging across moats populated by crocodile cutouts, crawling in mud under fake barbed wire, and jumping on stilts while an Ennio Morricone soundtrack played. Shara grimaced at each step young Ganeswaran took. He slammed into each wall, fell into each stream and screamed at each fake crocodile, got himself tangled in wire while drinking mud, and hopping then knocking every single part of his body against each stilt. He also cried when the background music swelled to dramatic trumpets. Kali stood beside Shara watching the whole debacle, with one hand holding an umbrella and another on her hip wielding a loudspeaker rented from the ranch.

“You move like a woolly mammoth dead for thousands of years and encased in ice!” She encouraged through the loudspeaker. “I’m sorry, I lied. The mammoth is like a jaguar compared to you! And it’s dead!”

In between spitting out mud and grass, Ganeswaran shouted, “I’m telling papa you called me names!”

“I’m telling “papa” you lost to a fossil in a race!”

“You are contributing to my lack of confidence and increasing my agitation!”

“You tried to use your vocabulary as dowry to woo a girl! She chooses to burn instead!”

After an hour of watching Ganeswaran continuously falling over his feet, Kali decided that he should try the second course, which was on rope bridges and wooden platforms built into tall trees just about 70 feet above the ground. Ganeswaran has chosen to brave the course by grabbing onto his aunt’s legs while Shara tied a harness on him.

“AUNTIE I NOW HAVE A NEW PHOBIA OF HEIGHTS.”

Kali turned on the loudspeaker and directed it right at his face. “If any of your tears ruin my Jimmy Choos it will bring me as much shame as when I danced on my husband in a warzone!” She turned to Shara. “What happens here?”

“Stage one is just free and easy, we let him hang onto the zip line to familiarise…”

“Damnation! What’s the last stage?”

“Er. We gently let him off the platform, and he will zip down the line into a net across half the park.”

Kali kicked young Ganeswaran off her and the platform, and watched with Shara as he shrieked like a girl across half the park.

Course No. 3 was horse-riding. Predictably, Kali asked for the newest and least tame horse, then tied Ganeswaran with a rope to it. The horse proceeded to run a treacherous course of rocky lanes, swampland and trees with low branches without a single care given to its screaming passenger.

Shara tried to make conversation with Kali. “Are you famous?”

“Something like that,” Kali answered. “I’ve been on… TV. A few times.”

“Do you host a cooking competition show?”

“Do I look like I would enter a kitchen?” Kali said, then turned on her loudspeaker again. “I will have you die a thousand deaths in a thousand forms if you do not stop acting like a child!”

“I AM A CHILD SOMEONE PLEASE CALL A CHILD PROTECTION AGENCY.”

“I will annihilate your American disease like I slay evil in its path!” She turned off the loudspeaker and spoke to Shara. “I used to be on a documentary channel, but my shows were cancelled.”

“Wow, that’s a shame.”

“They’re more interested in aliens and Hitler. Or alien Hitler. I fail to understand - he’s not even a periphery of an ancient civilisation.”

After a long, hard day, Kali had finally decided that young Ganeswaran has had enough training. The child was shivering non-stop, his eyes wide as plates, and his white clothes now stained in various shades of the natural earth. He had the expression of a veteran of the battlefield. Kali had her sunglasses on as they left, and Shara wondered if she was at all satisfied with Ganeswaran’s progress.

Shara was going through the money in the cash register when she heard Ganeswaran scream again. “WASP,” he explained in a high-pitched voice.

“Oh, have you not learnt anything today!” Kali yelled at him. “It’s on the ground! Lay waste to it before I do the same to you!”

Shara caught a glance of Ganeswaran dancing in abject fear, then stopping to lift his foot upon hearing his aunt’s voice. In an instant the ground beneath Shara’s feet shook, and thunderous thumps echoed across Coyote Ranch. Papers scattered around and vases fell off tables. Glass panes broke and the ground outside the ranch cracked.

Shara hid under the reception desk, narrowly avoiding a lamp falling at where she previously stood. She could hear twines of ropes snapping and trees falling as horses neigh in panic. Then, as suddenly as it started, everything stopped.

She stood up, and saw Ganeswaran panting and hunched over. His aunt was watching him in utter calm, one hand holding an umbrella and the other a smartphone.

“Day is not a total waste after all,” she said after pressing a button on her phone. “Ganesha would be proud to know his son has his obstacle-removing blood.”

“You recorded that?” Ganeswaran asked.

“Just messaged him.” She dropped the phone into her handbag. “Let’s get some kozhukattai.”

Shara watched the Redeemer of the Universe take the hand of the son of the Deva of Intellect and Wisdom, and for one short moment, she beheld them as a ten-armed woman wielding swords and severed heads leading a single-tusked baby elephant, walking away and finally disappearing altogether into thin air.

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:

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

Luckily the screen stopped being red and Brian can proceed to the next checkpoint.

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

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


I know I wrote whatever that thing was in a half drunken stupor but I wouldn't mind crits. I'll be out of the country in 7 hours' time until Saturday with dubious Internet connectivity so unfortunately I'm unlikely to participate for the coming round either.

PS surreptitious muffin was the one who wanted thunderfuck renamed something less gently caress-oriented, which I refused to comply and that hurt his feelings. That is why you get a child suicide bomber called Balls Deep. Please send your love and gratitude to mr muff.

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


STONE OF MADNESS posted:

How exactly? That poo poo was untouchable, dude. It was caustic venom. I wouldn't even know where to start.

http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Your-Imagination

quote:

Tips

Always pretend during the day. Pretend you are a secret agent, an extraterrestrial, or something interesting.

Warnings

Don't be over-imaginative as that can scare some people away. It's all right to be a monster, alien, dragon or soldier but if you act violently or in an inappropriate manner around people, they are going to think you are weird rather than clever.

Basically crit while pretending to be an illegal alien is what I grasp from this guide.

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


Mermaid Shelly and a robot Narnia lion gently caress = quasi cyberpunk erotica.

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


Some Strange Flea posted:

THUNDER DOME XXXII: Playing Angry Birds on a Derailing Train

The Saddest Rhino, sebmojo, and I will be your judges for the week. We will survey your torment from above and do nothing. if you're lucky you won't be


I'm duly reminded by the previous Thunderdome round crits that I should step up on making better judgmental criticisms, lack of Internet and workload notwithstanding, so you are all going to die.

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


The Saddest Rhino posted:

I'm duly reminded by the previous Thunderdome round crits that I should step up on making better judgmental criticisms, lack of Internet and workload notwithstanding, so you are all going to die.

Baudolino posted:

Before i post my story i`d like to say that i wrote it on a free version of Wordpad.

WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO

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


HaitianDivorce posted:

Well if you weren't The Saddest Rhino before...

So, does Baudolino's... effort mean that we all not-lose by default?

No, produce or death awaits.

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


CancerCakes posted:

Looking forward to this!

I will get some detailed crits out this weekend because I am absolutely packed until friday night.

I don't know why Jesus, revolutions and orgasms are so huge for the last TD. The heck is up with that. To top it all there was also a Hackers fanfiction. Hackers!

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


Critiques for the previous Thunderdome are going to come in late, but I manage to look at a few first. My current job is expected to reach completion by Tuesday so hopefully I can get into working on more entries. Bolded parts and struck out words are my comments.

Authors crit:
1. Jeza
2. systran
3. Baudolino (pls write better)
4. kleptobot

JEZA: Speak or Hold Your Peace - Word Count: 985

Stormy weather and The Short Shrift was always filled to the brim. Froth spilled from wayward pints, with the same inevitability as the drunks stumbling out into the street in each others' arms. Everything in the place was stale – the beer, the piss, the sweat on their the drunks? backs. But the atmosphere was lively with desperation and bonhomie. Those days on the docks you took the days as they came, even when they came less and less. I don't want to bore you with the details, but you should know that much.

Suggest paragraph break The men in there, they weren't bad people. They were good men in a bad place. There were fights, suggest hyphen instead of comma of course there were fights, hyphen but nothing ever out of hand. A broken nose here, a black eye there – the trivial results of trivial bickering and usually deserved. Good atmosphere building of the pub.

But I want to tell you about one thing in particular, something that's stayed with me. There was a boy, I think his name was Peter, but everybody just called him 'boy' or 'lad'. He can't have been older than thirteen – he was always hanging around, making a little nuisance of himself. His father, Arthur, I had only met once or twice but I knew him by reputation. He was killed in some accident a few years previous. There is some confusion of flow which would come in the later part of the story, where the man revealed he was the father. I think the last few paragraphs should have brought up the fact that everyone thought his father was killed. Your last paragraph does deal with it a little, but it could be a bit more. As was the custom in those days, the fellas looked out for his kid and his widow. Or that was the theory. In practice that usually meant amusing they amused themselves by getting him drunk, showing him how to handle himself in a fight or the ways of women suggest “got him into fights and loose women” or something to that effect – not entirely positive education to drive home the point.. So it wasn't an education approved by Her Majesty's Government, but it was about all they had to teach.

This night, like I say, things were much as they usually were. There was a man at the bar whose name I confess I cannot recall at the bar. Peter was around all the tables, wheedling for a drink or attention. At some point, Peter approached this fellow at the bar. What he said or did, I can't say. But the man rose from his stool and gave the boy such a stare.

Suggest paragraph break It was at this point that I looked up from my drink and really took notice of the pair of them, and I remember it stark-like, so this is the God's truth.

The boy raised his fists. I remember laughing at that, sensing some mock sparring was about to occur anticipating the usual mock sparring the boy was so famous for?.

The man assumed a fighting posture Describe the fighting posture instead. Did he lowered his head and stared straight at the boy, knuckles raised and eyes in a steely gaze? Also gives you chance to note that the man is actually experienced in it. “Fighting posture” is telling and for all I care he’s like Ryu in Street Fighter 2. He wasn't young by any measure. His face was salty and grizzled, his arms had that all sinew and no muscle look to them. There wasn't any humour in his eyes and he was steady as a rock. Use the humourless eyes and rock-steady stuff in fighting posture description. He didn't sway like a drunkard, so I can only assume he was cold sober. Not a fan of this sentence. Suggest something like “He did not have the sway of the regulars of the pub”. So you know he’s a stranger and he isn’t drunk.

The kid swung a punch that wouldn't tickle my chin Not sure whether you meant it wouldn’t connect or it was a weak jab. The man lunged, grabbed the boy by the crown of his head and slammed him bodily into the bar. A little brief. Suggest a couple of sentence to break this up. Then:

Paragraph break here, to break flow of fight as you intended.
Let me tell you, you've never seen so riotous a menagerie go so silent. All eyes swivelled, and beer leaked out of open gobs.

Another paragraph break here suggested. The man stepped forward, picked up the poor lad by his shirt cuff, and started punching punched him again and again. Short, sharp jabs to the face and chest, again and again. Boy just hung there like a ragdoll, shuddering from the blows. ”shudder” can’t be right here which is more attributed to “trembling in fear”. I think you want to suggest that the boy is not moving except when he is being hit by the man. I can’t think of the word but “shaking” may be better. NOTE: I am probably wrong.

The barman shouted and there was an uproar, a bruiser stepped forward to grab the guy, but the man whipped around and laid him out cold with the fastest punch I ever saw. The boy, he slithered to the floor between the bar stools. Things were about to get hectic. Suggest bartender to shout here for hectic scene description The sense of pent up energy in the place was galvanic. I suspect had things fallen differently, that man would have been beaten to a pulp on the spot.

But nothing of the sort. The man held everybody in their place with a spell.

“I'm done,” he announced.

It was a strange thing, yes, but that seemed to take took the wind out of many sails. People didn't know what to think. Suggest narrator’s view is that The prevailing emotion was one of guilt almost, like everybody had already failed in their duty to protect and serve? Suggest “like everyone had failed the kid”. And if you know anything about a man's heart, guilt is only anger in waiting – so this was only a temporary reprieve. If he had run, he would have been stopped violently by an angry mob or Spice Girls’ “stop right now thank you very much?”.

Suggest paragraph break. But he didn't even try. He kneeled down and scooped the boy up, delicate as you like, and planted a kiss on the kid's forehead. The boy was unconscious, his face a bloodied mess. The man produced a hanky from inside his coat and began to clean his face. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED

Suggest paragraph break. The whole room just stared. We were waiting for normal service to resume ”normal service to resume” like in a restaurant, monsieur?, for reality to kick back in. But it didn't.

Still holding the boy I hope he’s dragging the kid on the floor behind him because that would be hilarious, the man made for the door. And the crowds parted for him. Tears rolled down his face in thick streaks. At the exit he turned and looked back with a tearful smile and said:

“He's my son.” CHEESY BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED

Suggest paragraph break. He wept freely for all to see, and walked away I’m sure he “walked out” of the place and did not do a Horatio Caine here.

The men in the pub that night, they were broken down. Drinks were left on tables, conversations left in pieces. The dregs of the docks slopped out the doors and washed into the gutters. It was never spoken of again. Last line a little weak. Suggest that the next days everything resumed as normal but the absence of the boy cannot be ignored, etc

I have spent many a moment thinking about what he said and what he did. Was the boy truly his son? See comment above. May want to mention daddy’s dead. Was he a lover to Arthur's widow or was the boy not Arthur's? Clumsy question, just say “was he boy’s real dad” instead In truth, the mystery of it haunts me. Sometimes I just think the man must have been mad, other times I think I surmise I think I surmise? Really? some deeper motive behind his actions. The place was never the same afterward, that much is for sure. See previous paragraph. Get rid of this line.

Still, enough tales from this old man. About that drink...?

I enjoyed the atmosphere built surrounding the story and the fight itself, the beautiful moment was just a bit too silly with a large grown man crying in a pub after beating the poo poo out of a kid though. The narrator’s voice is all right but uneven at times, since I believe he’s supposed to be a sailor at a pub at the docs, but somehow he uses words like “surmise” and that “resume normal service” thing. Can be stronger.

---

SYSTRAN - Danny’s Last Stand (994 Words)

“So... Danny, what are you doing in D.C.?”

“I’m not really supposed to be talking about that to telling just anyone. Now, Sara,” He faked a slight twang, “Do you think I should make an exception for you?”

The small talk and pleasantries had evolved to flirting, but getting her from a two hour flight to his hotel room hinged on this next lie. Good line She wore a cross and had nervously eyed the man with a turban a few seats down. Unless American news have changed this, “turban” is commonly used when referring to Sikhs, not Muslims. I know you are foreshadowing, but I’m not a fan of this sentence altogether because it sounds xenophobic. “Well, let’s just say that after I served two tours in Afghanistan, the boys in D.C. had special need of my services. You learn things over there... what makes them tick and how to get them to do what you want.”

Danny prided himself for not being was not a compulsive liar who told transparent stories for the thrill of the lie itself—he saw those men to be like a heroin addicts who settled for crack when short on cash. Danny was more a connoisseur of the finest Chinese opium in the 1930s, maybe…, the drug just one tool toward his quest for the divine. Danny lied to be believed.

“So you’re not in the military anymore?” Sara not only believed his words but was creating her own truth. This was the instant in which his creation came to life. Her eyes probed him and bombarded him with questions, all of which he could choose to make real. He felt a warm buzz in his chest as lies became truth. He had played the first notes of a symphony, felt the audience stir, and sensed the harmony of the next movement. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED

Suggest paragraph break But first: a dramatic pause.

“Not officially. If you’ll excuse me for just a moment.”

Danny did not need to use the bathroom. He stood in front of the mirror and practiced the mannerisms of his just-born persona: Trembling hands, increased awareness of his surroundings, the thousand-yard stare.

Grunts and screams from outside interrupted his work. He peeked outside. Brown-skinned men held small knives to the throats of women and children. Cut passengers writhed on the floor. He locked the door. can you bring knives up planes? Also, “brown-skinned men”? Really?

“Come out immediately or we will kill a child.” Terrorist’s voice not present. Suggest rewrite of all dialogue not between Danny & Sara & Steve.

How many children were on the flight? Would they really give up their choice hostages to get him out of the bathroom? This thinking doesn’t make sense

“Mom! It hurts! Make him stop!”

“I am cutting the child. Come out immediately.”

Danny sat down on the toilet. The hijacker repeatedly kicked the door; its flimsy plastic buckled, then peeled open. Action a little clumsy here. The hijacker ripped Danny back into the aisle. He felt metal cut through his shirt and prick the small of his back.

“Return to your seat immediately.” The terrorist gave Danny a polite smile and directed him to his seat. Then he poured him a nice glass of Chardonnay to go with his meal. What I’m saying, again, is that the terrorists are not convincing and might just as well be pretty stewardesses using stilettos as weapons. Actually I think that may be a better story so you might want to consider that.

Danny did as he was asked.

After Danny sat down, Sara whispered to him, “We’re making a plan. Thank God you’re back.”

Before he left his seat he was a vague CIA something or other, now he was her personal savior.

Sara eyed the chunky man to her right and whispered to Danny, “This is Steve, I told him about you while you were in the bathroom, he said he’ll do whatever you tell him to. We know you are our best chance.” Steve nodded. A key issue in your writing is the rushing of one thing to another. This paragraph is a clear example –it’s all just pop-pop-pop one bullet point of action after another. Sacrificing better writing for brevity in describing the action is never a good plan

If a photographer were being charged by an enraged bull, would he not take a picture? Would he not raise his camera by instinct before considering his own safety? what is going on

Danny was, after all, an artist. “The pilots are surely already dead and even if we take out all the ones in the cabin they will crash the plane before we can force open the cockpit... it’s standard procedure for them. Steve, I need you to create a diversion so that I can drag out a fight with the one in front. It may lure out whoever is in the cockpit.” WE ARE IN AN ACTION SEQUENCE ok here’s a long conversation that explains nothing THE GIRLS WITH THE HEELS ARE COMING I’m speaking calmly instead, also I art, wanna gently caress.

“But won’t they just crash the plane?” asked Steve.

Danny was an olympic swimmer stranded on a lifeboat in the ocean with no fresh water. All he could do was swim. Confusing analogy

“They might. But crashing the plane into a field isn’t what they really want. If they think the risk is minimal they may open the cockpit door long enough for me to get in. They don’t know that I am highly trained and have done this kind of thing before.” DANNY MAKE THE STABBING STOP

Steve spoke, “Got it. How shou--”

Someone several rows back sprung from his seat and tackled a terrorist. Steve’s eyes bulged as the hijacker a few rows ahead pressed the knife into his hostage’s shoulder. See comment above about bullet-point-action-sequences writing.

Sara said, “Steve, it has to be now.” Yes, Steve, start this… vague diversion when he has killed another one before your eyes. SARA!

Steve pressed through Sara and Danny, stumbling into the aisle. He ran toward the back of the plane. The hijacker pulled the knife from his hostage’s shoulder, threw her to the ground, and chased after Steve.

Danny clenched his armrests until his nails whitened, burrowing into his seat. This could be explained better and longer. He obviously froze when he was supposed to act. Also, I assume it would take a long time to clench something till your nails whiten, so it doesn’t make sense. Sara gaped at him.

The hijacker caught up to Steve, then stabbed him in the back. Dozens of passengers had flooded the aisles and were overtaking the hijackers, but the cockpit door did not move. Danny was still frozen. Sara was speechless.

After a few minutes, the terrorists in the cabin had all been killed or subdued. Many passengers were dead or bleeding on the floor. The intercom crackled on. That was fast! See bullet-point-writing comment above.

“We will not hit our intended target, but we will hit a smaller one. We will kill as many of you as we can before we are shot down. For the glory of God and His Prophet, peace be upon Him.” Allahu Akbar, I have no personality other than mission of crashing planes and killing infidels.

As the new pilot spoke, Sara looked at Steve’s body, then at Danny. For now she thought Danny had frozen up-- he had PTSD. But the longer she thought about it the less she would believe. He could not endure that.

“I was never in a war. I’ve never even fought anyone before.”

She sobbed into his shoulder while clutching his arm. She sought comfort in Danny himself and not in his creation.

He felt nothing. Weak last line

I’ll say the best bit is the one where Danny thought of him as this amazing Leonardo diCaprio-level conman and was doing his whole connoisseur inner thoughts. Your action sequences, which I know I harp at a lot here, are weak and a detriment to the core subject of your story, which I believe is “the liar is forced in a situation he is not prepared for and cannot cope with it”. The 9/11 plot itself is way too FOX NEWS AMERICA and there are more interesting ways to present your core subject.

---

BAUDOLINO - Ca 980 words.

Rural Rentboys.


First of all, saying “I am using a free notepad therefore my writing here is X” is a really poor excuse. People in the thread have brought up Google Drive and Open Office, which are great alternatives. In fact, even when you compose a post on the forums in Chorme/Firefox/Opera/iPad or Android Awful Forums app, they all have spellcheck.

Personally, I think you have written a first draft and don’t want to read and revise it, and just went “I have a loser avatar already so whatevs.” Which goes to my second point: Are you here to improve your writing? Do you like to write? Do you want to write? Because if you cannot answer these questions by way of CONFIRM/DENY, you might want to sit down and have a think about it.

Chairchucker has spotted most of your typographical issues already so I’m not going to bother highlighting them.


The Year is 1985.
England,Shropshire, Wroxeter, two 18teen year old boys are entering an abonend bunker. The mosscovered"do not enter"sign above the entrance is barely redable, it has not worn the gnawing of time well. They ignore it. The bunker was a perect litle shelter for them. For James and RIchard it was the ideal, that is to say the only place where they could be themselves. Thank you for helping me understand why Fanky Malloons sees blood when I tense shift. The bunker needs to be described better because I don’t get why there is a random “boned” bunker in Wroxeter. Also, they are regulars at the bunker and it doesn’t need to read like they are there for the first time ever.

Wroxeter, famous for it`s old roman ruins The roman ruins is a better setting than boned bunkers. and little else was hardly a stronghold of tolerance. Quiet little villages with piss poor work markets seldom are. Don’t understand the need to emphasise the work markets, and it’s too brief to describe Wroxeter. Two young boys in love could not be open about their desires in such a place without risk. Tall, muscular and atheltic James and Richard cherised the attention they got from the local girls . So I guess Richard is the obese neckbearded manchild which the girls love too.

But the School janitor with his needy blue eyes and gaunt face also appreciated their looks. Attention from a known poofter like him they could ill afford. In short things could be better for them. Mercifully they knew they always had eachother and the aboned bunker. It would have to do until they graduated. I don’t understand what you are trying to say here. Are you saying the janitor (who is also gay) would love to surprise sex them, because (a) what the hell do you seriously mean to say gay blue collared men are into raping young boys and (b) what the hell does that have to do with the boys being in love and having each other?

Spring was in full orgasmic explosion IN THE SINFUL LANDS OF SODOM when they visited the bunker for the last time. Nature blossomed, it was green, moist HEH and filled with bird song. The green hills east of Wroxter was in everyway a paradisal sigth, not including the odd discarded needle or empty beer can. Even the heavens looked magical yeah those heavens are looking pretty magical allright, dotted with white puffy clouds with nice fat clouds dotting them and clothed in the colour of the ceasars and in “ceasar” which must be a real pretty colour. Happily the bunker was obscured behind trees and did not disturb the romantic visage. Yeah, thank goodness the bunker where the kids are (I assume) loving in is not bothered by all that romance at all.

Inside the bunker James pushed Richard gently away -No, not yet, work before pleasure remember? Not even a little kiss?--- Alright, maybe just the on... They kissed, it was quick, it was sweet.

Your conversation punctuations are all over the place. Commonly, the proper punctuation is to have someone say, “I am speaking a line.” Some writers eschew punctuation by having their characters say, this is what I intend to say, because they want to evoke a certain type of emotional weight to their writing (oftentimes, it is used for sentimentality and nostalgia, whispery magical realism, or son on). Dashes, where a character goes – this is my conversation – are used for that effect or something else altogether.

Mixing them up all over the place does nothing. It just serves to confuse. Stay consistent, or just use common quotemarks.


-Now to the task at hand, James said and pulled away. Lying upside down in the sparse concrete room was Richard`s bike. It lacked a front wheel, the old one had gotten hosed up after a particulary nasty fall. To buy a new wheel would probaly be best, but neither Richard or James had much money to spare. And RIchard loathed to spend the small pithy the school janitor paid for his "favors" unless absolutely necessary. Uh… nice revelation that Richard is whoring himself out to the Janitor… Instead the two boys had gradually managed to cobble together a decent rim and fit it with spokes. The tire they simply stole off the janitors bike, infront of his very eyes. Yes, yes. gently caress the janitor (your sole source for income, apparently) and then steal his bicycle tyre. Boys will be boys, eh? What was he supposed to do, go to the police? UM NO I THINK I, GAY JANITOR, WILL BEAT YOU TWO UP AND ALSO REPORT TO THE POLICE FOR THEFT BECAUSE I HAVEN’T DONE ANYTHING WRONG. They hoped it would do as a new wheel.

After much sweating cursing and hustling about inside the bunke please submit this to the self-publishing erotica thread under “Gay Reluctant Bike Thieves” they finally made the wheel fit the bikeframe. It looked safe anyhow.
-Seems alrigth. Wanna give it a go Richard?
- You know what i want, hehe. The joke is I want to gently caress you, James.
-Seriously mate, ride it down the slope to see how it handles. We might need to make some adjustments.
Richard picked up the bike and smiled. -Yeah yeah i heard you, if it makes you happy.
-I just want you to be safe using that wheel. Ha ha ha ha ha ha Richard walked outside and sat down on the bike. -I know you do. Richard sure is into risking his life just for a fine lay, eh.

Richard started to roll down the hill the hill , immeadtly the bike started to shake and rumble . As he neared the first bend in the road the front wheel touched a small pothole, at once the wheel collapsed inwards and the joints holdning the rim together came apart violently. Richard was flung off his bike and landed just outside the road, where he tumbled ever faster down the slope. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED

Running as fast as he could James found his lover lying face down at the foot of the hill. His body perfectly still despite bleeding massivly from his rigth thigh where a piece of bone protruded from his flesh. You don’t have to move to allow blood to flow massively from your right thigh As James he got closer a terrible frigth posessed him. He could barely stand when he finally reached Richard. I thought he was already near Richard enough to see all the blood and protruding bone? Confusing sequence The horrible dark red blood was naseuating, it was downrigth gruseome. Shambling like a drunk man James tried to get awaybut quickly fell down. Ha ha haThe blood made him dizzy, made him feel like he was drownin, made him hold his to breath. The blood the blood blo.. Blood: never once.

James lost conciousness. Yeah I was wondering whether he took a nap under the caesar-coloured heavens, thanks for clarifying When he came to the sky was a little darker and the air at little colder. His lover laid on the same spot as before no poo poo, the ground now toroughly draped with a dark red colour and his blood covered the earth, and no vegetation ever grew in the Roman ruins of Wroxeter, the farming industry it was famed for collapsed and people left, leaving in their wake a ghost town populated by only Richard and James, still bleeding with a bone protruding from his thigh lying beside a broken bicycle and RIchard himself curiosly pale. Like paper or snow or something.
-Get up Richard please, we have to get your bike fixed. Cool sense of priorities, James. Come on mate, get up.
RIchard, please, YOU HAVE TO GET UP!

Several weeks later after Richard had been buried at the St Andrews church James found himself outside a yellow camping wagon. Standing in the door how do you stand in a door in his trouses and with a beer in his hand was the school janitor. The janitor has a yellow surprise sex van. This is just ridiculous now. Come on. With a grin he simply said-So it`s just me and you now innit, come for a job have you? What is this, The Only Gay in The Village?
- Pay me double what you gave Richard and use a loving condom and i.i.. i`ll do what you want
Mr Fletcher stepped back and gave James a huge grin-Get in! Yeah, looks like it. Man.

In all honesty I was hoping there would be someone worse this week (like that time where the guy wrote the Modern Warfare fanfic and someone else manages to lose), but this reads all “my first draft”. A lot more thought needs to be put into the characters, structure, writing, and even the story itself. The worst bit is the Janitor, a genuinely heinous gay stereotype which, although I’m sure exists somewhere out there, is made more ridiculous because of how he fits in with the story: i.e., the kids will gently caress him if they are not loving each other, and they do it for money. And he has a surprise sex van. Please read what you have written before submitting next time and you will at the very least be able to iron out the smaller inaccuracies, like “18teen” and “roll down the hill the hill”.

---

KLEPTOBOT - Internet Relationship (WC: 381)

“We're the only ones left.”

Murphy sipped his cup of Mountain Dew and stared at the screen as he sent those words into The Collective IRC chatroom. Surely Murphy wasn’t the one typing “We’re the only ones left”? “The only ones?” he wrote back.

Paragraph break suggestion There were ten of them, spread out in two different countries, brought together by a common purpose. Now “Colonel_KFC” was confirming what he'd read online, that the feds had raided all the others. Did he read these on a blog or on IRC? This bit can be used to build up the world a little to help reader understand the circumstances. Also, not entirely sure, at this point, what The Collective does – are they an international hacker group, a guerrilla wikileaks unit, or just movie pirates? “Can't we find someone new?” he asked.

“We can't, we have to keep going.” The Colonel wrote back.

“Are you insane? We need to get off the grid and lay low.” Murphy wrote back. “If they found the others it's only a matter of time before they find us.” Murphy tossed the now-empty cup in a nearby overflowing trashcan, not watching it tumble to the floor and roll around a bit. I understand you want to say that Murphy is really into his mountain dew but this sentence just seems clumsy. You don’t need to describe him “not watching it tumble…” etc. You can still describe the can tumbling, but Murphy is focused on the screen.

“No, we still have some doxxing to do.” The Colonel responded. “Just hit the server I told you to, then we can release the data.” More explanation required. As a layman, I don’t know what a “doxxing” is. I don’t understand, either, how hitting a server to release data relates to “doxxing”. Again, some explanation on what the Collective does would help.

“But what if they find us? What if this is a setup.”

“Trust me on this. I gave you the tools after all.” In general, there is no distinct voice with respect to the dialogue. These do not sound much like natural conversation, let alone on IRC. I’m not saying you need to do L337 or have them misspell everything like highschoolers, but these just sound remote and cold.

Murphy wanted to believe the Colonel so badly. He actually knew his poo poo, The Collective had stirred up a nice hot bowl of fresh Pho and they had some nice spring rolls to go with it. He opened up the browser and the “Colonel_KFC Eyedropper” program, and prepared to do this ”do this”” is really odd. What is he doing? What does an “Eyedropper” programme do?. Just one last job, then he would go dark.

Just as he was about to capture the passwords to the secure private network the password capturing part should have come earlier, several armed FBI agents broke down the door and stormed into the room. clinical description of action when it’s obviously something that is not happening on the Internet. Build it up – he heard the door break, people yelling, he was thrown onto the floor, taser aimed at his face, the FBI badge, etc etc. Also, do FBI agents do this? They came in so fast he didn't have time to destroy the hard drive before they demanded to see his hands above his head. I assume they came in in an instance. Of course he doesn’t have time to destroy the hard drive. It should be that they were manhandling his hard drive and he knew in his guts he was in the crapper due to not being able to destroy whatever evidence was in there. With the programs on his computer, he expected they wouldn't have a hard time slapping whatever charge they wanted. Very clinical description of his feelings

He prayed that the last remaining member of The Collective would somehow hack into his computer and blank the Hard Drive for him, but Colonel_KFC posted one final message in the chatroom. Pacing issues. He looked up and saw one line on his computer screen instead. “Sorry bro, but we had to smoke you out.” They don’t smoke chickens in KFC!

And in that moment before he was cuffed and dragged away from his room, his face twisted into some strangled crying expression just describe the expression, no need to allude to it, Murphy realized how foolish he'd been to place his trust in someone he'd never met. COLONEL SANDERS, I TRUSTED YOU AND YOUR FINGER-LICKING GOOD RECIPE. HOW COULD YOU. I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO ANGELINA JOLIE.

This was the piece I referred to when I said “someone posted Hackers fanfiction”, because it immediately reminded me of that part in the beginning where the wannabe kid (with the bad clothes) got into trouble for doing hacky things badly. There’s hardly a story here, and I couldn’t even spot the beautiful moment which should have dropped you to last place if Baudolino didn’t come up with that Reluctant Gay Bike Thieves story. Unless you meant for the trashcan full of Mountain Dew to be BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED , which I’m sure a lot of goons would agree.

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Mar 24, 2013 around 07:54

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


Authors crit:

1. Steriletom
2. pug wearing a hat
3. CancerCakes

STERILETOM - Doubt - 920 words

First of all, I need to point out that I am not well-versed in Biblical history. There are two Christ stories this time and I look at them without knowing what the significance of certain things are. I did try to wiki a couple of things so I’ll try not to be too wrong.

Jesus was crucified and died on Golgotha. With dry eyes, Thomas had wept beside the other disciples.

The setting sun had lit His resplendent figure in a crimson hue that matched the bloodied rocks at His feet. Arms permanently drawn out as if to take the world into His embrace, promising a succor that would never arrive. At the forefront of the mourners, Peter had beat his fists on the base of the cross in anguish while Thomas had silently thanked Judas, again and again, for having the courage to do what?.

That was three days ago. And now they were in hiding at the house of the Arimathean, the twelve of them in congress around a pauper’s table. A cot in one corner was the only other furnishing in the mud-brick house was a cot lying in the corner. They had been arguing without surcease since His the body was interred.

“What do you think, brother Thomas?” Peter asked, forcing Thomas to join the conversation.

“Think?” said Brother Thomas, he was forced to join the conversation. It was a farce, etc, etc

Brother? Peter wants us to spread to the corners of the world to teach the Word,” said Matthew. “It is foolishness. We must build a strong base here in Jerusalem first.”

“Bah!” cut in Phillip. “Jerusalem is a backwater. We need to go to Rome and spread the Word there, Don’t like the repetition of “spread the Word”. Suggest “Rome is in need of the Word” or something like that. To be honest I don’t know if this phrase is a biblical thing where it will reach the ears of those with influence.”

The shouting started up again and the more short tempered among them began to threaten violence. ”Voices were raised and those with shorter temper made threats of violence?” Also, not sure about this but I don’t think they are that into killing each other. Thomas closed his eyes before quietly saying, “Why do we not just go home?”

Paragraph break suggestion. Silence came to the room, all eyes on Thomas as Simon whistled in appreciation at his temerity.

“You would dishonour Him in this manner?” Peter’s face was red and his hand was curled into a fist.

Thomas was not sure how he found the strength finally but he grasped onto it and held on. “Three years I have wondered wandered with you, following Him. Three years of begging for scraps. Three years of sleeping in barns with donkeys and fleas. Three years of being mocked on the street. I once had a family and a boat with which to earn a living. Who has watched over my children these years? I know not, Peter. Do you? His Word was good but in the end, it was not enough to save even Him. I am done with all of this.” The last came out in a rasp that cut through the assembled disciples.

Peter jumped to his feet and Thomas stood to meet him. The others pushed back their chairs to make room. Thomas was searching for something with an edge Like mentioned earlier, this violence thing seems weird. Can’t really see St Thomas looking for a knife to stab St Peter as a normal thing. when the lone door flew open and Mary Magdalene ran into the room. “He is alive! He is alive! I have seen him! He is risen from the dead!” she announced as she ran from disciple to disciple, seeking to move them to action. The men only stared back at her in confusion.

“You drug addled, whore!” Do saints talk like this Thomas yelled, pain in his hand why is there emphasis on the pain in his hand? where he had struck the table. “He is dead! We were all there when they took Him down from-”

Paragraph break The force of Peter’s blow knocked Thomas him to the floor. Peter stood over him and took a moment to spit on Thomas Is this real before going to Mary’s side. “Where did He appear to you? Please, speak sister!”

Mary ignored the question, turning to look behind her onto the orchard in front of the house. Everyone in the room became aware of the silence that had fallen on the world outside. “See for yourself. He has come,” Mary said to Peter and the disciples.

Paragraph break to emphasis return of Christ. Their eyes widened as A man stepped softly into the room. Thomas clawed his way backwards into a corner, his body trembling as he looked up at the apparition all in white crowded by the eleven men and one woman. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED

Clean shaven, His face was the colour of a walnut and bore an expression of patience without end. There was no trace of the blood that had bathed Him on the cross. Thomas held back the vomit sickness that welled welling in his stomach as recognition coursed through his body. The man was at ease among the shouts of joy and the questions that assailed Him.

Paragraph break After a moment, He raised a hand to silence them and then, starting with Peter, He took each of His students in turn by the hand and whispered in their ear. Thomas saw that with each message shared, the addressed disciple would look at Him with understanding and acceptance, nodding back in promise. Forgotten for the moment, Thomas finally vomited in the corner I sure hope he didn’t puke in the baby’s cot.

Mary was the last of those surrounding Him to be addressed. She beamed with joy and her eyes welled with tears as she listened. Knees shaking, Thomas stood up while the others watched in silence as He approached His twelfth disciple with a quieting comfort, stopping before Thomas and placing His hands on his shoulders.

Paragraph break. Further, this part, where Christ spoke to Thomas, needs to have more emphasis. It should start with Christ leaning down to whisper the single word. Then Thomas shaking his head, his thoughts and doubts etc, and the only thing he could do was repeating “no” like Shia Leabouf in the Transformers movies. Ok then Christ pulls back and smiles and leave like a champ, I guess. Thomas could only shake his head in return, mouthing the word “no” over and over as He leaned to whisper a single word in his ear before pulling back and smiling at him with grace. Having finished, Jesus left them.

After His departure, the room fell once more into chaos as the disciples drowned out one another with questions. Thomas shoved through them, ignoring their outraged cries as he made for the door where Peter stood, blocking his path.

“And where are you going, brother Thomas?”

Bile in his mouth and tears falling freely, Thomas suggest that Thomas pushed Peter aside and left the house, then he turned around, and answered, “India. I go to India…to spread the Word.” He then fled the house and Jerusalem. And then he left Jerusalem, and etc etc they call him Doubting Thomas etc.

Well, I’ve never known anything about Thomas the Apostle, so this actually led me to reading up a bit (read: a wiki article and some catholic blog) on it. I thought this was all right, but a problem I have was the tone – you would notice a few times I just went “does Thomas and the Saints do all these things” because the story you wanted to convey has a sombre theme, whereas they seemed to be calling Mary a whore and trying to stab old friends. Also not that big a fan of how you handled Thomas receiving Christ’s message, which should be the climax of his doubts against Christ falling apart.

---

PUG WEARING A HAT - Death of the Author (659 Words)

I was depressed and drunk, as usual. I was feeling old and washed up Telling and not showing because I kept searching for 45 minutes for a replacement copy of Howl but I didn't find it but I did find my first novel in the $1 bin. Considering that this bit – the novel appearing in the dollar bin – is the primary focus of his depression, I would suggest you only reveal it during the conversation with the agent. Otherwise, the latter part of him talking about it would just be repeating what the reader already knows.

I had it all. God, that sounds so cheesy; like some washed-up former starlet in a Lifetime movie. But back in the good old days (2006) I had it pretty darn good. There were articles about me that used words like "prodigy" and "future classic" and "voice of our generation". But the articles started coming in less and less. And they started using phrases like "one hit wonder". I was the Chumbawumba of historical fiction. like that Chumbawamba line. Can’t say I like the rest of the pop culture references after this, though.

Whatever.

I grabbed the 2 liter of Dr Pepper from beside the toilet and took a swig. The bathtub water was getting cold. Not understanding significance of Dr Pepper. Would have expected him to be drinking vodka or something intoxicating. A bit odd.

I was trying to remember who played the girlfriend on The Drew Carey Show when my agent walked in.

"Aaaah, what the hell," she said.

"Hi Molly. Would you like some Dr Pepper?" I offered. She didn't seem interested.

"What are you doing in here? Are you okay? No one's seen you or heard from you in a week, your landlord even called me to see when you were gonna pay rent."

"Eventually. I gotta sell some plasma first. What are you doing in here anyway? You here to steal my valuables?"

"What valuables? That autographed S Club 7 CD? Or the original PS2, the model they discontinued because it kept overheating?" In all honesty, I would be very surprised to know a literary agent who knows video game consoles that well. And this is the part I refer to when I said “don’t like the pop culture references”, because these two bits bring you out of the story and question it. And dates it too, which I know you have done when you said 2006. In fact, just get rid of 2006 and say it’s 8 years ago.

"Yeah."

Molly lowered the toilet lid and gingerly sat down. She had her Concerned Professional look on her face. Describe what a “Concerned Professional” look is first, then say that it is the “Concerned Professional” look.

"I was really worried about you," she said. "The way your last few emails had been, I was worried that you had… you know. Done something bad."

"I don't follow."

"You remember that last draft you sent me? And the constructive criticism I offered?" Nobody will say “my constructive criticism” unless they were being sarcastic, which she clearly isn’t trying to be here.

"Oh, yeah. I remember now. You said it was pretentious garbage."

Molly winced. "Yes, that was -- "

"You said, and I quote, you'd seen better writing posted in the hallways outside a third-grade classroom," I recited from memory.

"It was a little harsh, I know. It sounded better in my head. I just wanted to make sure that, well, if you had done something stupid, I didn't want people to put the blame on me." This part doesn’t convey well. Selfishly, she needs to ensure she is not representing an author producing crap, which is where your next dialogue refers to when he says “don’t want to damage your reputation”. But she’ll never tell him that, because no professional service provider would ever tell their client “I don’t want people to blame me” straight in their face. A normal professional would instead sugarcoat it by telling him that if he has written something bad, she must let him know and not lead him astray with false praise. If it’s stupid, she’ll tell him it’s stupid. It’s part of her job to protect him from producing something stupid.

"Oh yes, god forbid. Don't wanna damage your sterling reputation." Why is he so cynical about her sterling reputation? Has she represented bad authors?

"What is with you? I've never seen you this grumpy, not since that Christmas party. What's bothering you?"

I stared up at the spiderweb forming on the ceiling. "I found Idyllic in the dollar bin," I said. Note earlier comment – if you removed the reference to the dollar bin in the first paragraph, this line comes off as a stronger revelation.

"Oh." She didn't seem that surprised. (Bitch.) "Well, it was such a big seller. Everyone's probably got a copy already, you know? Once you sell a certain point there's no one left to sell it to."

"Uh huh."

"You know who else I've seen in the clearance bin? Oscar Wilde. Ray Bradbury. Voltaire. Hell, I saw the Bible for 50% off once, swear to God. Strange combination of authors and The Bible for 50% is not a good way to reassure. Spouting off famous bestselling authors (current) instead and saying they are in dollar bins would be better. Off my head, I have seen Gaiman, Corben, Brown and so on in bargain boxes. It's not a bad sign, really. Christ, can you put a robe on or something? I can't have a serious conversation with you like this."

I closed the shower curtain.

"Fine, be that way." She stood up to leave. "Whenever I was clearing out your inbox, I found that story you'd been working on. I don’t get this. Everytime she clears her inbox she sees his old mail? Do you mean to say that she never had the heart to delete it? The one you sent to your old professor? I think it was called Meat and Marriage, or Meat and Murder, something like that?"

I stared at the dripping water faucet.

"It was good. Really good. Better than your first, even. You could be back on top if you wanted to. You're just gonna have to work hard."

Drip, drip, drip.

"Give me a call if you wanna talk about it."

I heard her heels click down the hallway. I heard her lock the apartment door behind her, and I was alone.

I stayed in there for a while, watching the cold water spiralling down the drain.

Firstly, where is BEAUTIFUL MOMENT , please tell me it’s not when he’s naked drinking a soda in the bathtub. Secondly, this feels like a minute skit in a sitcom, and doesn’t present a full story. It would have been better if you described his inner thoughts more about how the whole thing was destroying him and how he can’t seem to pick himself up even when his agent makes a brilliant suggestion (of writing Murder of Meat), but at this point, it just seems unfinished.

---

CANCERCAKES - Nothing Bet 992 words

Daniel sat down at the roulette table and knew that the croupier hated him. Note that your protagonist is Daniel, and we are using his POV. Some of your descriptions have changed the POV to the croupier, which has the potential to mislead the reader and also shows a lack of focus. See suggestions.

It was obvious to Daniel from the way the eyes narrowed slightly that the guy thought Daniel was, to the croupier the lowest of the low: a cockroach wearing a brown suit pants and a sweat stained shirt. No tie. Daniel was transfixed by His eyes, seemingly managing managed to convey his contempt for inveterate gamblers everywhere, while his shiny bald head reflected the chandeliers and glass atrium above them. suggest the description of reflected chandeliers to further emphasis the croupier’s hate for gamblers.

“Bets please, Ladies, Gentlemen.”

Daniel looked at the stacks of chips in front of him. This was it, put it all in. Be a man for once. That’s what Shirley used to shout at him, whenever the neighbour’s dog left a steaming poo poo on the lawn, or when they didn’t have enough money for cigarettes. Be a man, do something! His foot bounced up and down and his hands shook., so that His tall piles threatened to avalanche ”avalanche” can’t be correct in all directions.

Paragraph break suggestion The ball was already whizzing round the outer ring, he felt the a force pulling him in. Suggest following sentence to be the same paragraph He picked up a few chips and flung them down.

“Red,” he managed to croak.

Play it safe to start, warm up. Don’t just jump into it. Need to have that lucky feeling, can’t afford to blow it all straight away. The excuses felt hollow, even to him. Daniel’s flitting eyes met the steady gaze of the croupier for a moment and he knew, just knew, that the guy would gladly give away every tip he made that this week to make it come up for the ball to land on black.

“No more bets.” The dealer croupier was completely professional, smiling politely at everyone at the table. For Daniel the smile was still there, but he detected a slight curl of the top lip.

Daniel tried to look cool and take in the opulent, tasteful I don’t particularly know if you can describe casinos as “tasteful” surroundings. Waiters slid between the tables serving well done steaks see what I mean by “tasteful”. Well done steaks? UGH. and expensive whiskeys in glasses of ice. But his heart jumped when he heard the ball clatter against the wheel Repetition of “the wheel”, and his eyes flew back to the wheel. A metal bumble bee on steroids leapt and careened around Confusing. Because the last words were “the wheel”, you are suggesting the wheel is a bumble bee (it should be the ball, right?) , making his heart leap and fall at 200 beats per minute.

Nauseous excitement BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED rippled through him, adrenaline and fear making every muscle in his body tense for flight. He felt himself leap up repetition of “leap”. Also, he felt himself leap – is he leaping or not? when the ball momentarily stopped in the red 25 slot, only to fall and clasp the table do balls “clasp tables”?. Daniel saw the dealer’s mouth twitch upward slightly. He has been twitching his mouth upwards once already, no need to continue raising it.

“Two is even and black.”

The rod flicked out and Daniel’s money chips disappeared. What was the point in cashing in everything he had if he wasn’t going to use it? Everyone at work thought he was a joke, but he would never have to work again if he won here. He would show Shirley and the rest that he wasn’t a waste of space. The ball had begun its orbits once more. All he had to do was be a man.

Daniel began to slide his stacks of chips across the felt, but just before he reached the point of no return he stopped. He couldn’t do it, his body was crushed in a vice grip Not entirely sure “vice grip” is appropriate here, especially in the context of gambling being a vice. More appropriate if a person is crushed in a vice grip causing him to continue gambling, and not the other way round.

Suddenly his stomach lurched and he slipped, pusheding the chips on to the board.

“Zero,” he gasped, as. The whole world seemed to stutter for a second.

“Thank you, Sir,” replied the croupier, “we have the occasional tremor here, but it’s nothing to worry about. No more bets -”

The cosy atmosphere vanished as the emergency lights flared up. A burley pit boss started shouting shouted and people looked around in surprise as emergency doors were flung open. Continue describing earthquake here in between description of people running. At this point, it seems like they are just running because of a slight stutter. The punters grabbed their chips and ran for the doors. As they fled the screaming rabble of saggy tits really, now in cocktail dresses I thought you said this place was tasteful? and jowls in tuxedos spilled chips behind them like hansel and Gretel bad analogy. Following close on their heels were the pit boss, waiters, dealers and some girls wearing nothing more than a few sequins. I THOUGHT THIS PLACE WAS TASTEFUL In seconds I have never heard of an emergency evacuation so fast, but ok there was only the two of them; the croupier staring at Daniel while and Daniel, staring stared at the ball rolling around the wheel etc etc.

POV shift in this paragraph should be revised The croupier’s eyes darted from Daniel to the large atrium above them and to the roulette wheel. From a madman, to a million potential shards of ballistic glass don’t get this. Chandeliers?, to a ball bouncing on a wheel. He didn’t know why he was still here, but he was somehow rooted to the spot by the spectacle.

“If sir wishes, he may withdraw the bet.” note here that Daniel can feel his voice tremble and lose the professionalism, maybe

The voice was clipped with only the slightest hint of a shake. The room began to sway again, gently, as if the building had had one drink too many. Daniel was oblivious. This time the action of the ball had caused a completely different effect upon him - his blood had crystallised in his veins and his knuckles were white against the lustre of the brass table rail. There were no more choices, he had no more options. Everything had come down to him, and the wheel, and the ball. He was going to win, he could feel it. He had never felt so calm, so content, so certain. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED

POV SHIFTING To the dealer the floor was eerily quiet under the lights, he was used to lounge muzak, cries of celebration and chiming one armed bandits. The ball rattled and the chandeliers above them tinkled gently as they began to sway more strongly. Daniel’s attention was focussed on the pistol shots and sledgehammer blows of the ball approaching its final place. Each bounce and slice made his jaw clench tighter, until it momentarily rested on the silver ridge between spots. Less than twenty seconds had passed since the lights had flashed up, but it had held a lifetime’s excitement. It took 20 seconds for everyone to get out, that seems a little quick.

A cannon shot Wait, are they being attacked or is this an earthquake? crack reverberated around the room as the s-wave describe this as seismic waves or something, it’s not nice to make your reader look up things laypeople may not know hit, making the world grumble beneath their feet.

Suggest paragraph breaks from here onwards. Further, the effect of Daniel’s win is not strong enough. See below comment. The ball dropped into green spot. Released from the spell the croupier dived under the table, but David Daniel watched in awe as diamonds fell to celebrate the first win of his life. shine bright like a diamond

I do like that last bit where the diamonds fell as Daniel celebrated his first win, but it could be a bit stronger. I think the earthquake hitting and the win are the best bits, but it’s marred by POV shifts and some occasional questionable analogies. Daniel’s history of Shirley etc is not interesting enough to reemphasize he is a loser. You could try to write this from the POV of the croupier, sniffling at this poor little poo poo in his terrible clothes and then watching him win a game as the world crumbled under their feet. Otherwise, nice effort.

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Mar 24, 2013 around 15:15

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


That does make things clearer, Chairchucker, thanks. I'm not aware they are usually about Christ breaking up fights etc.

E: ESB stop getting drunk at the wee hours of the morning.

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Mar 24, 2013 around 15:14

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


Next round won't be as soon. Probably in 24 hours' time or more.

Authors crit:

1. HaitianDivorce (Christ Story No. 2)

and the TD Funeral Trio:

2. Noah
3. Canadian Surf Club
4. Bad Seafood

(did you guys know there is a show called Funeral Boss and it really scares me to know what it is like)


HAITIANDIVORCE - The Skies Watched Back, 989 Words

See my notes earlier to Steriletom on the fact that I don’t know much about biblical stuff

"Christ," Gabriel muttered. "Everything is so hosed."

"I know, dammit," He snapped. He turned to the choir and shouted: "Someone slipped some sense into McNamara yet?"

The voices of the angels rose in reverent, resonating tones in time with the red on their Lord's face. I was always under the assumption that Lord only refers to God, not Jesus, but I’ll choke this to my own lack of understanding. "One word answers, you little cocksuckers," he growled. "A 'yes' or a loving 'no.'"

From somewhere in the back someone softly said "Yes." Note that they have gone into complete silence after Jesus shut them up. Then a whisper at the back of the choice, “yes”.

"Good--great--job," He said, summoning him forth. "Rest of you fuckers, grab your swords and go. Every missile needs to be covered. Warsaw, NATO, Turkey, Cuba. Worse comes to worse? Face full of Armagedden'll be good for you." Confusing. Is He telling them to strike the missiles down with swords or to start the Rapture?

"Lord," Gabriel asked, "How could this happen?" I think we can stop with the “see, Gabriel’s saying “Lord” and “Christ”, but actually he’s talking to the real Christ, ha ha!” after the first time.

He snorted. "Three guesses." He eyed the young angel that approached with gaze diverted. "There's a Soviet in DC by the name of Feklisov. He has some pull there and back home. Get him to use it." With a bow the angel vanished down through the heavens. The Lord watched him go to the city lights below.

Gabriel's fingers twitched for his trumpet. "Should I sound the call?"

Christ waved a hand. "Fine, yes, call him. Just--don't put it on video this time."

Shoulders slumped, Gabriel conjured up the black phone. The ringing sounded like the rattling of scoured bones. "Yessss?" Unclear. “Yess” is obviously spoken by Beezlebub, and not the ringing of the black phone.

Gabriel shuddered. That voice was like scales over silk. Not understanding analogy. Does that produce any sound at all? In the background he could hear screams, the crackle of fire, and ungodly laughter. "Beezy. Your boss. Now."

The Lord snatched the phone from his Gabriel’s hand. At this point I need to note it’s hard to figure out where their positions are. Are the choir of angels still around, and where are they? Is the Lord just standing beside Gabriel all the time? For a while He listened, color draining from his face. Unnecessary

Paragraph break suggestion Finally He hurled it down. Below the clouds the phone burnt etc etc. , a A new shooting star for the world. "Someone's gonna find that," Gabriel said.

"Good," Christ snapped. "Maybe if the little shitheads know where they're going they'll be a little less likely to blow themselves all to Kingdom loving Come!" Once again, confusing statement. Someone finds the star and people will know where they are going? Should point out that Jesus is speaking in rage and not making sense.

For a long time Gabriel did nothing. The earth turned beneath them, closer and closer to spinning past saving salvation?. How long? Just say Gabriel let Jesus fume a bit and feared for the world as it spun towards disaster, then he asks: At last he spoke. "So is he doing anything?"

"Besides warming up popcorn and pitch pits? No," He scowled. "Claims no responsibility. At all." You need to note that he’s doing that so he can enjoy the show, to drive home the fact that Lucifer is content to sit back and watch the world go in flames.

Gabriel fluttered over beside him. HEY! LISTEN! Watching the world beside his Lord, HEY! he wondered what he could possibly say. LISTEN! Oh is the POV Gabriel’s? This wasn’t clear. "You could have appealed to his greed," he finally said. "There would be twice as many down there by the end if of the century. Imagine--"

"How many would fall into his hands then?" He Jesus shook his head and brushed the notion away. "No. Unthinkable."

Gabriel nodded, tried to keep the color from his face Second time you mention colour draining from faces. Proofread to ensure you catch these. "Then we might not have much choice. If we can't talk sense into them or the man downstairs then we might--"

"Need to go to the crazy grandpa in the attic, I know." He sighed and lifted off his feet, further into the heavens. "Come on, you rear end," He called. "I can't deal with Metatron today."

Whatever objections the Seraphim might have had were thrown away as soon as they saw the fury on their Lord's face. He and Gabriel passed by to God's throne without objection from whom? Why would they object? They are lower rank.

Paragraph break suggested. They found the Almighty facing outward, directing the Virtues in the arrangement of stars and galaxies. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED Wings folded over his eyes and knee bent, Gabriel went aside to listen.

"Father," the Lord said, shifting into a more familiar tongue, "I beseech you, prevent the coming war between Your children."

The Almighty was slow to respond. "My sole begotten Son," He said with a voice somewhere between a lion's roar and a thunderclap, "what war do you speak of?"

"The greatest powers of men align to destroy the world," the Lord said. "They will scour and scar your finest works with nuclear fire--"

"My finest work?" The Almighty asked, somehow incredulous. "Have You not laid eyes on the wonders and worlds before You? Imagine what I may people them with, to know My glory--" Not particularly understanding this last line. Is God saying He’s cool with humanity dying out and then he’ll populate it with another race?

"Father!"

Gabriel bit his lip. Behind him the his Lord sunk to His knees.

"Please," Christ choked. You can’t choke out the word “please”. "If You do not intervene, three thousand million people, Our children, will be nothing but ashes. The world We made will sputter out and die. All that We loved will be lost forever. You only need to look away from these stars to see it."

For too long a time the Almighty was silent. All that could be heard was the burning of the stellar fire at His heart as He looked upon all His creation and, hopefully, realized where He had erred. POV SHIFT!!

"Begone," He hissed. "And do not bother Me with these trifles again!" did you mean to not explain God’s decision?

Never before had Gabriel felt like he'd scraped the very bottom of heaven.

"Now what?" So they haven’t left and are still arguing in front of God, right?

The Lord shrugged. "Hope the Gnostics are right. I don't loving know. Sit back and watch the fireworks, I guess." Uh I thought we were sending angels with swords earlier that is not the same as watching fireworks. He pointed at the shallow waters of a warm sea. "See the blockade there? There's a submarine trying to run it. Right now, one of the ships is dropping depth charges on the drat thing because they don't know it has a nuclear torpedo." He shook His head and sighed. "Well Dad, there goes everything." He cast a heavy-lidded glance in Gabriel's direction. "That trumpet ready?"

"Always."

"Good."

Down below, the world did not ignite. Lack of build up to the fact that the world did not ignite. You need to add some tension before this sentence.

Gabriel didn't say a word, afraid to break the moment.

"Incredible," the Lord muttered.

"My Lord?"

They wheeled to see the timid angel from the choir.

"I did as You commanded," he said. "Feklisov was able to set up talks between Kruschev and Kennedy. They should move the missiles tomorrow. If all goes well, Lord." Weak resolution.

The Lord almost bounced over to him. "Excellent--incredible. But I have to ask--did you visit a man named Vasili Arkhipov?" Not understanding. Why should angel be visiting Arkhipov? I understand he was the one who prevented the nukes to be launched but this is just confusing.

The angel shook his head. "No. Should I?"

A smile wider than Gabriel had ever seen crossed His face. "No, don't worry," He said. "But I would like you to see Kruschev and Kennedy themselves. Let's make these impulses productive, see how much Dad ignores them when they're visiting his loving stars themselves..." I don’t understand this part. I don’t quite get how the angels visiting Kruschev and JFK would do anything, and how that would resolve God’s issues.

Not a big fan of the whole “Christ is a potty mouth” theme, largely because it just didn’t go far enough and it seemed like you held back a lot. A number of things which I suspect are not Bible-related are not elaborated very well which just leads to confusion, especially the last bit where the angel informed them that he has managed to resolve the issue (and with the whole “visiting” stuff which I just can't figure out at all).


---

NOAH - Second Place
Words: 989

Every picture of young Orson Collier his son was framed in black. James Collier thought the décor tacky. Black is overdone, he thought. Blackness crept into every aspect of the wake. Black plates, black napkins,. Why did everything have to be black, James raged silently to himself.

Because that’s what Marcy wanted. Traditionalist to a fault, he remembered arguing with her.

“You’ve been so strong,” Samantha, Marcy’s sister, said. She ran a hand comfortingly across James’s shoulders. “You’ve really helped keep Marcy together.”

“It hasn’t been easy,” James said. Fire rose in his belly. No, it had not been easy, but he was the man of the house.

“Orson would be proud of you,” Samantha said. Is a son supposed to be proud of his father?

Paragraph break to emphasize the disparity between her statement and his thoughts. What the gently caress does she know, he thought. But, she was right, despite the vapidness of her vapid words. Orson was the exemplar son. Football, student legislature, scholarship offers, blossoming into a future man’s man. All thanks to his Father. Suggest changing the previous sentence to state that James had been instrumental in making him all those, to contrast with how he is now ignored. And yet, in the aftermath of Orson’s death, James had been largely ignored.

Marcy was the train wreck that everyone needed to fix. Comfort the mother, ignore the father, that was how the world operated, and it wasn’t fair. Orson would have known the enormity his father had to endure. James felt as though he could actually connect with his son more than the rest of his family.

That wasn’t his daughter’s fault, no, she took after her mother too much. Certainly wasn’t the youngest son’s, either, for he could barely communicate at all. So why was he so angry, he wondered. Surrounded by people, and yet very alone. Sounds like he’s answering his own question but the answer doesn’t connect to the query at all.

Circling and circling, everyone wearing black, they spoke their condolences. Flowers arranged perfectly, White lilies arranged perfectly, and the hors d’oeuvres aged white cheddar and white crackers. James stood in the center of?, and the world blurred. No one had any hysterics, just serene grief. They were a black river and James stood like was a sole rock, letting it pass around him the water of their solemn sorrow wetting his surface but not touching anything within?. No rapids, the water knew not to anger the rock. Each person swept around him, and touched him, said something to him, eroded him by just an imperceptible amount, but an amount nonetheless.

He could feel himself crumble and join the flowing blackness, and be drowned in them, when a snake, black as onyx and wet as oil, grew from the water. OH GOD WHAT IS HAPPENING MOMENT SPOTTED Everything flowed into the body of the snake, its yellow eyes as bright as sunflowers sunflowers are waaaaaay too happy an analogy, its fangs dripping curdled milk. It hissed at him, threatening to strike. James stood there and waited.

“What will you do now?”

James said nothing to the snake. The snake sank its fangs into his shoulder.

“What will you do now?”

Kill my wife, he thought. Show the world that I exist, too. I like this bit. Just shocking enough.

“James? Hello?”

James shook his head. In front of him stood Pastor Greg, looking concerned.

“I’m sorry, Greg, I was just, I don’t know. Thinking.”

“I understand, Jim. I can’t imagine how hard this has been for you.”

James nodded. The fire returned. What fire?

“Orson’s coach would like to speak, is that okay with you?”

“Of course, I’m sorry, I haven’t really been organizing this very well, have I?”

“You’re doing a wonderful job, James,” Pastor Greg said.

I am doing a wonderful job, James thought. Do you want to note that he knows Greg’s lying, because ultimately the planning was all done by his wife? And even when they notice him, it’s not for something he has done?

Paragraph Break Suggestion Orson’s varsity coach began to talk, but it came out as flies. They buzzed around the room, whispering praises and accolades. James knew them well, he had been there every step of the way, slowly guiding the boy to greatness. The flies crawled across the cheese plate and the fruit, rubbing their legs and cleaning their wings. James watched them buzz faster and faster, as his wife’s sobs grew louder.

Marcy held a napkin in her hand, trying not to lose composure. James wondered if he should be sitting next to her, holding her gently but firmly, but she was flanked by family and friends already. The flies came together in a swarm and came to rest on Marcy’s shoulders. They buzzed, and buzzed, and buzzed. They crawled up her neck and into her ears, until there were no more flies. No more buzzing. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED I like the flies here a lot more than the snake. Especially as everyone’s dressed in black, and flies are black, etc. However, you used flies for two things: (a) the coach’s praises and (b) the mourners. Both are good, but stick to one. Otherwise, it just confuses.

Only clapping now. Others are wiping their eyes, or shaking Marcy comfortingly. The flies are congratulating Marcy in her head, James thought. After all, she birthed him, and then, what?

The milk venom constricted the veins in his brain, causing him sharp pain. Mention the snake again. These are all just happening in his head, right?

“How will they ever know?” Something behind James buzzed. James did not turn around.

“How will you show them your worth?”

James turned. A pair of dull orange orbs stared straight at him. Hundreds of pockmarks lined the eyes, and jagged, sharp hairs stuck out at him like daggers. The giant fly’s emerald body shone brightly in the sunlight coming through the windows. Its wings shook violently, but mesmerized James. On the back of the fly was a child, James’s youngest. Stick to either the fly or the snake. I’m going to say, get rid of the snake in the first part, and get this fly into the picture first hand. It’s a way stronger symbolism than the snake. Also, I really, really can’t get over the fact that there is a kid on the fly, which just (to me at least) completely breaks the story and turn it to the verge of silliness. It’s just rather How To Train A Dragon, really. And what is the significance of James’s youngest son being on the fly’s back? What is the symbolism here? I can’t see it, and it doesn’t work. Throw him off the drat thing.

“How will you show them?” the child asked.

The venom coursed through James’s veins, tightening his muscles. The child grabbed a hair from the fly and pulled. Blood ran down the boy’s hand, twisting around the hair as it slowly came out from the body of the fly. Slick with blood and pus, the hair slid out of the fly, as smaller thorns and shards sprouted from each inch of fresh hair. Raising the blade aloft, is the blade the same thing as the hair strands of goop dripping from the jagged, thorny hair, the child leveled it at James. How big is this fly? I like the description here but like I said, the child being on it spoils it.

“Tell me how you will show them.”

James said nothing still. The child sneered and thrust the blade into James’s stomach. Tears formed in James’s eyes. His gut gurgled, black tar spilling out from the wound.

“How will they ever know?”

“Marcy has to die.”

“And?”

“You will become my prize,” James said. James get your act together this is kinda crazy now

The child removed the blade from James, causing him to fall onto his knees and clutch his stomach. Immediately he was surrounded by mourners and friends, asking him if he was okay. The child riding the fly smiled and nodded.

First of all, I’m not entirely convinced that I read your story correctly – are you going for the grieving father not being able to handle his grief and turning it to rage and pain, or is this a supernatural horror story? Or is it just him going insane? I’ve been looking at this based on my first interpretation, which I feel is better than the other two, so I may be judging your writing incorrectly. I do like what you have put into James’s feelings anthropomorphised into the flies, but some of it are just a little overkill.

---

CANADIAN SURF CLUB - Thomas Patt - 859 words

"You've been so strong, Samantha," The mayor's wife said as they clenched hands. "If you ever need anything, just call."

Samantha gave a sombre thank you as George slid in, tears in his eyes.

"Thomas Patt was a good man, his loss hurts this town deeply. I'm terribly sorry."

Samantha nodded and the couple stood smiling politely, waiting for her to say something more. When nothing came, George squatted to look her son in the eye.

"You're the man of the house now, Jim. Go easy on mum, okay?"

Jimmy hid his face against his mother's skirt. She held it there, stroking his short brown hair with her thumb, as George and his wife moved down the line. She didn't doubt a word they said. The whole town had come out came to see Thomas Patt packed away. The line in the funeral home parlor winding its way out the door and around the corner, if what people said was true.

Paragraph break suggestion. Samantha hadn't been outside in two hours, hadn't moved from her spot next to her husband's closed casket except to use the washroom once. She hadn't spoken more than three words to anyone, already dry of tears and allowing others their time to grieve. Jimmy was quiet and shy but was always like that and Samantha couldn't tell whether he really knew what was happening or not. Break the last bit into sentences and be more liberal with commas. I don’t have Internet now and don’t have access to that huge COMMA gif, but it applies to this story quite a number of times.

The sheriff rose from prayer next and walked over with his head down and hat gripped tight. "Sorry for your loss, I want you to know we're on this and have some good leads." he told her.

"It means a lot Ernest, thank you." She said.

"I don't know if he ever told you," he said. His eyes searched the corners of the ceiling for words. "But he helped me in my time of need and I intend to repay him."

"Ow!" Samantha's hand recoiled as Jimmy called out and she looked down to see him rubbing the side of his head, eyes and teeth clenched against pain. Jimmy called out. Samantha recoiled and she looked down to see her son, his eyes and teeth clenched in pain as he rubbed the side of his hand. When she looked back up the sheriff had moved on, talking softly with Thomas' mother in the next chair.

She wasn't sure how much more she could take, this feeling of being used, propped up to soak in the town's backwash of grief and guilt. She was tired of looking from face to face, trying to find the masks among the meek, and finding too many confident in their grief, too sure of who Thomas Patt was and why he was in a box.

Even Father Abe, who knew more than most, came in his nicest plain clothes and looked her in the eye and said, "Know that Thomas always loved you."

The procession didn't stop. The farmers' co-op came next, led by Lenny in his blue suspenders whose embrace Samantha melted away from at the last second. He looked hurt but nodded and gave his condolences before moving moved on. The fishers' union all passed through came (“passed through” is repeated and used more effectively in next paragraph) as well as the teacher's assembly and every lawyer from Thomas' graduating class. All to see away a man they only knew through courtesy, business, and small deceptions.

Paragraph break suggested, as time has passed. It was another three hours before the place was empty, all having paid their respects and passed on through, leaving Samantha with her son on the funeral home porch. No one stayed to chat, to see them home or buy them a meal. When it came to them, they were always just passing through.

At home she told Jimmy to run upstairs and pack the rest of his things. All the important boxes were in the station wagon already and she surveyed the house for any more loose ends. Detracts from the next part, suggest deletion.

Paragraph break suggestion. She went to the mantel, removed threw out all the old pictures from their frames and tore them to shreds. from the mantel and She collected all her heavy make-up, hiding which had hidden so many wounds, and uh set them on fire I guess.

Paragraph break suggestion. She emptied the liquor cabinent and took the bottles out into the field behind the house. There she lined them all up on soap boxes. She had her pistol out (here describe loading, how steady/trembling her hands were, etc) and took aim at the bottles. took out her pistol and shot each one.

George.

Ernest.

Father Abe.

She said those names and others with each shot and broken bottle. With each shot and broken bottle, she called out the names of the etc etc of the town (without emotion?). When she was done, she buried the shards and the rest of her bullets among the rum soaked weeds, the smell choking her like it did when she stooped low to hear Thomas' final words. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED

Paragraph break suggestion. Back in the house, she wiped the pistol with a cloth and set it in a tin box. She which she tossed it into the basement furnace, nudging it far into the corner with an iron poker until it was hidden among the ash.

She made a light supper of chicken noodle soup which Jimmy always loved and after she left their dishes in the sink and After a light supper with Jimmy, she took all his things out to the car. She got him buckled up in front and gave him a book to read before getting in behind the wheel and leaning forward to take one look at the whole house through the windshield. Ok, that was a real long sentence. Suggest commas and breaking.

"Where are we going?" Jimmy asked.

"Away."

"To daddy?"

"No, away from that too."

It was just past dusk when the station wagon glided out of town. Everyone was huddled around their television sets to hear the evening news and no one saw them go. The investigation continues, said the anchorman, no suspect known.

This did not quite fit the prompt – I think I would have preferred if there was a tension showing that she was running away but there was that nagging fear that she was left some evidence that would eventually lead to her arrest, or that the Sheriff has been looking at her with suspicion. Generally, the story is all right and the buildup to the revelation of George being an abusive husband is a nice slow burn. There are a number of run-on sentences which can be addressed by reviewing them, breaking them into separate ones and using that lovely comma.

---

BAD SEAFOOD - The Rock of the Selfish Child (787 words)

My father sits across from me, his head in his hands, that same prayer on his lips as he spoke not an hour ago. He delivered the benediction himself, his voice calm and measured. Only now does he hide behind his hands, those huge hands, a humble plea from a humble man after a lifetime of service. Was it enough? I am never quiet quite sure what it is he is thinking. I’ve never been good at getting inside people’s heads.

I’ve never seen my brother cry. He's always been the large one, now larger than father. He cares very little about very few things, but even he seems to care about this. A week ago he was as brash as ever. Today he is inconsolable. Even he is inconsolable.

So what’s wrong with me?

I have seen my sister cry. Many times. But not today. Today she locked herself in her room and refused to come out. Even when they set me up to get her she wouldn’t refuses to come out stays inside. After awhile father said to let her be. Said that she'd be there after her own way. What does this mean?

She’ll be here. Perhaps she already is here was. I was am sitting here and don’t really feel it. Did we switch places when I wasn't thinking?

I shift uncomfortably in my chair, concerned, but not for the reasons as everyone else. In a circle we sit, dower faces in black. Only I feel excluded, alone in the crowd.

Here is an interesting fact: last week my mother died. Again and again I have tried to think of it any other way, but those thoughts will not come. Instead, a notification: your mother is dead. Instead, an update: your mother has died. I process and understand, I know what death is. Yet why is it I whose eyes will not cry?

I begin to feel scared. Scared because I am not scared. Sad because I am not sad. If I cried now these tears would be mine, mine and all mine, for mine and my own. Two months ago I cut my fingers doing the dishes. A serrated knife. I couldn’t stop crying. Last week my mother died, and it merely registered as a change in the seasons.

What’s wrong with me? I’ll cry. I have to cry. I must cry.



Nothing.

I feel nothing.

I have felt nothing before, and it has never been so terrible a nothing as the nothing that holds me now. I really do like the whole part about him feeling nothing, especially the “notification” and “update” bits. A little overdone at the “scared because I am not scared sad because I am not sad” part, and the next paragraphs on how the tears cannot come, but otherwise nicely done.

Is this correct? Is this right? I loved her, didn’t I? I’ll miss her, won’t I? The answer is yes. Yes to everything. Yes to all. Still the tears will not come. Not even the inkling of tears.

Before me sits a glass of water. I drink it and scan for the rest of the family. My uncle and aunt sit somber in silence. My cousin sits anxious, her eyes shut tight. My grandfather’s chair is empty. He must be outside. Since grandma passed he prefers to be alone.

About a mile off the church there’s an outcrop of rock. It’s the only thing I can think of right now. It’s a harsh and constant thing, and when the waves rise up with the tide at its base it feels like you’re sitting on the edge of the world. Everyone knows about it, but I’m the only one who goes there. There are birds in the breeze and the faint smell of salt, and the waves cough and splinter in a tapestry of foam. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED The day mother died I went out there and stood. Stood alone, stood for hours, not sure what to think. At home all was chaos but here it was calm. Yet the comfort I felt could not tell me how to feel. I glance again about the room, and feel a stranger in a strange land.

I cared for her. I loved her. I know I loved her. And she loved me. She loved us all. So cry drat you cry drat it cry, cry, cry, cry.





Nothing.

Still nothing. this part is also a little overdone, the repetition of the same effect in the earlier part of the story is not required here.

I’m as miserable a human being as ever there’s been. Far worse, I am sure. My tears are only ever my own.

From the cool of the room comes a warmth at my shoulder. I recognize that hand, those fingers, worn and familiar. I look up into my father’s eyes. Now more than ever I wish I could cry.

My father says nothing. Simply smiles, and massages my neck. I don’t know what to say. Father simply shakes his head. It looks like I don’t have to say anything.



No matter how fiercely the waves strike the rock, the rock does not break, but that doesn't mean it wasn't touched. Great last line.

Out of the three funeral stories, I feel this is the best one, and the moment fits in nicely to the manner he carries out his grief. The melodrama is just a little too loud at points and you can tone them down a little. A previous criticism I had was that your stories always feel like a fragment of a larger picture – I believe this story doesn’t fall in the same trap. Good work.

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Mar 24, 2013 around 15:10

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


Unless something frees up my schedule further crits for the BEAUTIFUL MOMENT submissions will need to wait till next week as I just got hit with another matter at work. Farewell, weekends.

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


Authors Crit:

1. Nubile Hillock
2. Erogenous Beef

NUBILE HILLOCK - heartache/lockjaw 998 words

Everything had vanished. It must have disappeared overnight. Everything, except for his house and most of his yard, anyway. He didn’t believe it at first, so he walked to where his fence should have been and peered over. There was nothing. Well, nothing except for an endless grey expanse. He leaned over to see if the plumbing was still connected, but a few clumps of dirt shook loose and fell away. Dissuaded, he went back home. Everything was probably fine, anyway.

At the very least, it meant that his parents weren’t going to be home for a while. There was only one thing to do: shower sesh. I learnt a new thing today. I don't understand this activity at all but drat. There seems to be a sudden transition to why he decided on shower sheshing upon discovering that he is floating in the middle of nothing, which I think is meant to reflect his character - I would suggest doing slightly more characterisation before this, but this is a personal preference thing of course.

Suggest Paragraph Break. He let the hot water run good and long before getting in, making sure to keep the bong dry. Steam and sticky smoke filled his lungs, blowing out the blood vessels in his eyes.

Everything was still gone, need to mention that he has gone out of the shower by now but things were a little more wobbly now. The stairs to his basement seemed steeper; his Flying Burrito Brothers posters seemed less faded. I keep learning new things today. But the wheel was still taco’d, nice, but you didn't mention that it was connected to a bicycle and I think you may want to point out where it is in relation to the basement. leaning hard left just like last night. He sighed and picked up his screwdriver.

He loosened, tightened and the wheel took on another, different shape. Still wrong. He went at it again before spinning the wheel around; it caught, but less so. It was egg-shaped now though. He chose a spoke at random and tightened. Metal snapped loose and he cringed at the sound. He’d heard it before.

They’d been in a beer tent, downtown. A concert or show or something; the memories muddled and stretched with miles of associations. He remembered her with striking clarity. The thin traces of black around her eyes, that Ramones shirt she’d taken from him, the trucker cap and windswept hair.

“I can’t do this anymore” she said.

“So it’s over?” he asked.

She stood, wobbling slightly and steadying herself on the table.

“Are you sure you’re alright? I’ll call you a cab. We can pick your bike up tomorrow” he said.

“gently caress you! It’ll be gone by then.” She made an unsteady line between tables and out of the tent, fumbling to get her bike unlocked. These two actions shouldn't be in the same breath - pacing. Suggest that she got out of the tent. He slams the beer and followed her out, seeing her squatting on the ground fumbling/failing to unlock her bike. Also, note that "steadying herself" and "unsteady line" comes one after another - suggest change of phrase.

He followed, but not before slamming the rest of his beer. See above.

“Don’t do anything stupid, alright? You don’t gotta do this, really. What are you trying to prove? That I’m an rear end in a top hat? Look, I said I’m sorry.”

She wasn’t listening. Need to mention she's already unlocked and on a bike when on the cobblestones. She pushed off down the cobblestones, almost toppling over into a tree. She steadied as the bike sped up. Her teeth slam together when she rode it off the curb. She never saw it coming; too drunk to feel the pain. People were starting to look now, phones were coming out. He broke into a run.

“Hey! I said wait!”

She sped up, turning hard into an intersection.

He heard the horn a second before the bus slammed into her; she’d run a red.

Suggest paragraph break. Her face hit the windshield as the bike got pulled under. Suggest bike gets pulled under first as it is less important than her. Then we get to her face hitting the windshield which carries into the next sentence on how the hit affected her body, like so:[/b] The impact sent her sliding across the pavement, leaving a bloody streak.

Paragraph break suggestion. She didn’t move, not even when the paramedics came. He had blacked out, woke up in the hospital with the taste of puke in his mouth and a needle in his arm.

Another spoke broke free of the rim, the wheel went limp. No, that wasn’t right. That’s not how it goes has gone down at all.

He loosened all the spokes and started again, replacing the broken pieces. Groaning, creaking, and the quiet pop of beer cans. He wondered if the radio worked, but felt too heavy to get up and check. Bits of rust flaked off the old steel as he tightened everything up, again. He spun it ‘round – it didn’t catch this time.

Catching? Fish. That was it! It was a festival. They’d been camping when she’d told him it was over.

Setting sun over endless pine forest, outcrops of Canadian Shield and a mostly empty lake. She was wearing that hat, that headdress. That plush wolf thing that was tacky and impossibly cute. Behind them some no-name band with a droning electric melody refused to quit. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED I like that the description of situation comes only in second recollection. Drives further that he was high and bad with memories.

“I’m leaving after this,” she said.

“You mean after this set? I hear the next band’s better.”

No I mean, I’m leaving after we go home. I’m gone. I can’t do this anymore.”

“You mean it’s over? You really gonna call it quits while we’re out here?”

“No, I said after this. Nothing’s gonna change till then.” She took out a flask and downed half, offered the rest to him. He drank and tossed it in the lake when he was done. She didn’t say a word.

The next band wasn’t better, or maybe he was on a bum vibe. The festival ended sometime, days dragged into weeks, turned into months. He was still bitter he’d never seen her off at the airport; she’d never called when she got there. Lack of clarity at this point - was the earlier memory of her getting knocked down by a bus a revenge fantasy? Elaboration may help. The resolution of her leaving and going to the airport here is a bit sudden and not afforded the same weight as the accident, which may likely have contributed to the confusion.

Spokes groaned again, a grey glow still filtered in from the basement window. He closed one eye and started tightening, adjusting, spinning it round and round. It was getting better. Almost straight, almost good along the centerline, too. He spun it slow, keeping an eye on the line.

Suggest paragraph break, to emphasize fixing the spoke "fixes the world" in later part of story.There. The problem spoke.

The wheel aligned itself for a moment. He spun it – it spun true. Describe slightly more on the wheel working. He dropped the screwdriver,

Suggest paragraph break and join next paragraph to this. Sunlight filtered in through the window. A Gram Parsons vinyl played on the Hi-Fi. He took the steps by twos and threw open the door. His fence was there again, so was the neighbourhood and trees and the streets and every little thing that made up his life. He smiled, a warm breeze filled his lungs. His phone rang from inside, on the display was a number he knew by heart. "Display" part doesn't work. He's outside, how would he be able to see it? Say that he knew who was on the line because it was the usual time, etc.

He felt the spoke let go more than he ever heard it. Unclear - make the spoke letting go a stronger statement here. Everything disappeared again, he tripped on the first step and fell down the stairs on to the pavement presumably?. The heavy drunkenness returned "drunkneness" can't be correct - he was on drugs and this would serve to confuse. and he felt sick to his stomach.

Paragraph break suggestion. The wheel was sitting there again, bent into a mobius strip. Suggest switch to two sentences for emphasis on wheel's current state.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, but there are a number of parts that were a little unclear which I felt could be improved with respect to pacing and weight. It took a reread to figure out that the bicycle spoke - the act of fixing it - was his way of "fixing the world" in his mind, which wasn't driven home enough at the climatic moment where things became well (and then bleak) again.

---


EROGENOUS BEEF - Coup (967 words)

During the second hour of the national mourning procession, Vice Chancellor Milk arrived and assumed his reserved seat in the uniform-choked bandstand beside Harrison Glass, who murmured the required pleasantries and offered the appropriate frown. Milk’s lips trembled as his glazed eyes swept over the assembled crowd. He took out his forbidden smartphone and began playing a game, ignoring the passing Women’s Honor Guard as they stopped before a towering portrait and wept. Harrison is meant to be the POV character here, so you should be focusing on Harrison first instead. Harrison should see Milk arriving and murmur the pleasantries, and observe him playing with his forbidden smartphone. Also I thought it was a megaphone and was really confused at first but that's beside the point. I think "state-forbidden smartphone" would be better and describe "playing a game" with fingers twiddling moving a snake to an apple or something.

Harrison glanced back towards the deceased Dear Leader in whose immortalized shadow they sat. In the nosebleed seats beneath the portrait, Sherman stared down at them, flanked by other black-suited spooks. He grimaced, palmed a packet of menthols and nodded towards the stairs.

The justice minister and the secret cop Unclear. Who is who? Also, suggest to use the proper designation for "secret cop" instead to emphasize that this is a dictatorship. Using "KGB" and "secret cop" gives very different meaning to the dictatorship. met behind the bandstand and shared a silent smoke. Sherman took the last puff and ground the butt beneath his jackboot.

“A great loss for the revolution,” said Harrison.

“Not everyone seems to agree, Minister.”

“You’ll scrub that breach of etiquette from the telecast?”

Sherman waved a hand and plugged another cigarette into his lips. “Seen the toxicology report?”

Harrison nodded. “Sounds like an exotic cocktail. Who supplied it? The Americans?”

“Don’t know your own department, do you?” Sherman grinned. “We use the various bits unclear on what "various bits" are for executions, abortions and anesthesia. It’s an inside job. Someone with access.”

Fire ignited in Harrison’s veins, his knuckles glowed white as he clenched his fists. “Someone highly placed.”

“The honorable V.C. will be at his summer home this afternoon. Registered yesterday. Off for a month.”

“I think he’d enjoy some visitors,” said Harrison.

The cop flicked his lighter shut. “We can take my car. Saturday?”

#

“The Dear Leader put me into law school,” said Harrison.

Sherman flicked repetition of "flick" a cigarette butt out the window, one hand on the wheel. “Yeah, you were working some veggie patch before?” He smirked. “I’ve read all of your dossiers. Spent yesterday nose-deep in Milk’s.”

Harrison’s jaw dropped open. “You worked through the Dear Leader’s Interment? His Will said—“

“Ease off, don’t be one of those guys.”

They emerged from thick evergreens into a clearing. Manicured grass surrounded a whitewashed two-story house with a squat black Mercedes in the driveway.

“What’s the official line on the Dear Leader’s—“

“Cancer.”

Harrison eyed the bulges beneath Sherman’s coat. “Pity we didn’t catch the tumor earlier.”

The secret cop grinned and nodded towards the house. “Which floor do you want?”

“I’ll take the upstairs.”

They straightened their suits and approached the door. It swung open before they could knock, Chancellor Milk smiling mildly at them. Not entirely sure how you swing open doors then just smile timidly at people. Doesn't seem to make sense. Is he Chancellor now, by the way? I know you said he's registered, but just a single dialogue between Milk and Sherman saying "so he's Chancellor now etc" would work. He invited them inside, led them to an upholstered parlor, poured some cups of Darjeeling and toasted to their health. Harrison faked a sip.

Sherman cleared his throat. “Mister Milk, where’s your toilet? Been a long drive.”

“Past the bedroom, up and to the left.”

Harrison sat upright in his chair as he waited for an opening, resisting the urge to shuffle his feet. Milk stared past him, sipping tea. Harrison followed his gaze. A rose garden sprawled across the back yard, multicolored blooms hanging from thorny stems hand-tied to individual trellises.

“Yours? They’re quite nice.”

Milk nodded and finished his tea. “I think I’ll have a stroll. You’re welcome to join.” He stood up and stepped out through a screen door.

Harrison checked his watch. Sherman was taking his sweet time pissing. He went to the carpeted stairwell and, above him, a toilet flushed. Sherman rounded the corner, wiping his hands on his pants, and nodded to Harrison as he descended.

“Find anything, Sherman?”

“In five minutes? Who am I, Sherlock Holmes?” He pushed past. “I took a quick look, nada. Your turn.”

Harrison walked into the master bedroom. It was maid-tidy, the sheets folded back on the bed like a hotel and a little bowl of potpourri resting on the nightstand next to a big red book with a well-cracked spine: the Leader’s classic Meditations on Unity, required reading for any citizen, as common as socks in bedrooms across the nation. Run on sentence. Split to two - either after the sheets being like a hotel's, or after the bowl of potpourri resting on the nightstand.

Precisely the sort of thing someone in counterintelligence might miss.

He drew a razor blade and straight-edge from within his jacket and set to work, cutting out a thumb-deep square in the middle of the book. Suggest sentence break between "jacket" and "setting to work". He plugged a little glass vial of clear, need to note where the vial came from lethal liquid into the new hole and closed the book.

Sherman and Milk reclined on chairs amidst the roses, laughing as Harrison approached. He caught Sherman’s eye and mouthed ‘book’ before smiling at Milk. “These roses are lovely, Chancellor.”

“Thank you.” The Chancellor motioned for him to sit. “The secret to a good garden, Minister, is good weeding.”

“Pardon, I need to take another whiz. drat tea.” The cop hurried towards the house. See above comment on "cop" matter. Also, took me a minute to realise Sherman is the cop.

Harrison turned to his doomed superior. “Speaking of, I could do with another. Would you like one?”

“Certainly. Cream and sugar, please.”

Inside, the Justice Minister waited by the tea service. Sherman returned a moment later, face flushed. “It’s the same stuff.” He slid a dense memo printed on official letterhead across the table. “Glad I came prepared. Just sign here.” Lack of clarity on what is going on. What does he think he is signing and why? Story falls apart starting from here.

Harrison Glass inked his name beneath Sherman’s finger and the two men walked out into the roses, Sherman keeping one hand close to his chest.

“Mister Milk, I’m very sorry.” Sherman drew his pistol and glanced at Harrison. “He tried to hide it inside the Meditations.”

“I had dearly hoped the rumors weren’t true.” The Chancellor pressed his hands together, as if praying, and sighed. “Do you have papers?”

Harrison held out the memo. “It’s for the good of the nation, sir.”

“Indeed. And thank you for the signed confession.” Milk waved to Sherman.

The cop swung his gun to Harrison’s head. “Sorry, pal, but that was my book you cut up.” He fired.

Ending has some issues - I don't think it was ever elaborated what was going on towards the end. Was it (a) Harrison was trying to frame Milk by planting the vial inside, Sherman discovers it, tricks him into signing a confession; (b) Harrison and Sherman had planned all along for Harrison to take the fall, and it was part of the plan for Harrison to sacrifice himself for the good of the nation? This was made unclear because (a) why would Harrison put the vial in the book? (b) What did he think he was signing? He held out the memo later. It turns out to be a confession. Did he know that? and (c) Why was Sherman's book in Milk's study? The build up was all right but the story does seem really confusing towards the end, unless it turns out I cannot read at all which I think the whole thread silently agrees with.

PS where is BEAUTIFUL MOMENT ???

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


Authors Crit:

1. Kaishai
2. Sitting Here
3. Echocian

Kaishai - It Is the Last
(634 words)

In the autumn, six months in advance of Easter, Michael set a topaz into the space left for it in the forest-green enamel of a pendant. Only when he'd finished did he notice the quiet of the workshop around him. He took the loupe from his eye. Henrik Wigström stood at the back of the cavernous room, waiting for the jewelers who remained in the Petrograd shop to grant him their attention.

Apparently Michael had been the last delinquent. "Next year's egg for the dowager czarina will be made of Karelian birch," Henrik told them all. "The surprise will be silver and gold, if we can acquire them. Master Fabergé wouldn't take it amiss to find such materials in the back of a cabinet where they might have been forgotten."

Henrik's eyes didn't linger on any particular craftsman, but Michael's fingers trembled against enamel.

When the law had come down forbidding jewelers to use silver or gold, and all of them had been reduced to working in copper and steel,. Michael had... borrowed a few scraps before the government could take them. Just a few. Just in case of need. And the next morning, when he slid a little box to the back of the least-used cabinet—several other jewelers watched him do it under the eyes of several other jewellers--his fingers found more boxes already there.

He alone was given the task of setting rose-cut diamonds in the tiny clockwork elephant and the golden key that wound it, once they had been made, the golden key that wound it. How fine it was to work with gold again, to fill Marie Feodorovna's familiar monogram with sparks of brilliance. And the perfect little elephant! Michael slowly, painstakingly set gems into the pits he made in its hide, and sometimes he smiled as he did. First part of sentence can be rephrased a little to avoid the adverbs. Just say that it took him time to set the gems in the minute pits of the hide. The moments when he could work on the surprise carried him through dull hours of crafting syringes for military nurses; what did he even know of such things?

He put the emptiness of the workshop out of his mind, though fewer than two dozen men still worked there. He managed to ignored the sounds from the streets below, where strikers gathered, and of course he ignored his own hunger. He set one tiny silver tusk into place, then another. He shivered inside his coat.

One piece of news reached Michael's brain. He approached Wigström on that third day of March and asked, his throat tight, "The czar has abdicated?" Henrik nodded curtly, and Michael pressed on: "What of the Easter egg? The dowager's egg?"

For several long moments, Henrik looked out one of the windows. "The order for it hasn't been cancelled," he said at last. The workmaster's voice lacked enthusiasm, or any audible emotion at all.

Never mind that. Never mind the craftsmen who wondered aloud where he could hear whether Citizen Nicholas Romanov would be in any position to give gifts by the end of the month. Michael devoted himself to a tiny, shining creature, a beautiful thing.

Then it was done. Michael picked up the winding key.

The men of the workshop gathered around him as he inserted it into the elephant's side and turned it. The soft clicks of the gears were a song. Sunlight fractured inside the diamonds that paved its golden sides as the elephant walked across his table. It raised its miniature trunk, and the silver tusks flashed; its eyes flashed, and broken light scattered across the aged wood; he could have covered it with one hand. Wondrous, he thought. Ridiculous. Majestic. Scarred jewelers' hands clasped his shoulders. Michael nudged the elephant to turn it around, to make it march in front of them again. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED Your buildup to this moment has been great, and this doesn’t disappoint. Very nice work.

Master craftsmen watched a testament to their artistry mimic life in the glow of the falling sun, its footsteps louder, briefly, than the voices of Petrograd.

This was in my top 3 of the week. You obviously had put in some effort into researching and detailing how Russian jewellers worked and the intricacies of their creations, and the payoff with the elephant walking is one of the few truly present in the Dome this week. The only bit I’m not too happy with is that the last paragraph could be a little longer, but I understand that you are aiming for ambiguity and it still works.

---

Sitting Here - Bury Me With Emeralds
966 words

Through my open window came the haunting whistle of a passing train. Then another. Then another.

"Yes, I know, you're a train. You're all trains, who the gently caress cares?" I stood up and slammed the window shut. In the time it took me to walk from my computer and back, I'd received two notifications about photos I'd uploaded, an invitation to a local artist's opening, and four increasingly plaintive messages from Julia:

I just feel like I have to drag you out anytime we go somewhere.

Really makes everything feel one sided, you know?

You there? I saw that you were typing for a sec. My favourite line out of the three Julia messages because I GET THAT ALL THE TIME it’s of how human it is, compared to the other 3 more clichéd lines.

Whatever Dan. Either you care or you don't.

Then she'd signed off. I flopped down into my chair and began crafting a scathing reply for her to find when she signed on again, then thought better of it. If getting her to gently caress off was as simple as ignoring her for a minute, it was better to keep quiet and let all the breakup business take care of itself.

I flipped idly between webpages. No updates on the social feed. Nothing happening on the photostream.

Click. Click. Refresh. Click. Julia. I stared into empty space, realized I was imagining her; Julia and her great cleavage. Julia, bare arms taut as she shot elk with a plastic riffle at the bar. The way her makeup flaked over her acne scars, even though I told her she looked better without... Another bit I like is the flaking makeup. Cute, small details which drives home how close these two used to be.

I shook it off and reached for my pack of cigarettes. Empty. And because there were no cigarettes, by god I needed a loving cigarette. I'd have a smoke, get some air, I told myself. Get Julia out of my head.

Outside, the crows and gulls were louder than I could ever remember, wheeling and soaring in a great cloud over the city. A few people had paused on the sidewalk to marvel at the sight.

"There's so many, you ever seen anything like that?" an old man said to me over the shrieking din of the birds.

I shook my head. "But this is why god invented headphones, right?"

"You'd do yourself good to look at somethin' else than your cellphone," the old man said as I walked away. My earbuds were already halfway in.

Out of ten gigabytes of stored music, my phone seemed stuck on the endless tracks of shoegaze bullshit that Julia had insisted I download after we'd screwed to My Bloody Valentine a couple times. I flipped through songs, not knowing what I wanted except that it couldn't remind me of her. Flip. Flip. Flip back. Listz's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, an artifact left over from a hot pianist I'd tried to impress once.

The song started and I set off toward the smoke shop. The sun was setting beyond downtown Seattle, the Olympic mountains a haloed wall on the far side the Puget sound. The beginning of Liszt's Rhapsody was stately and sublime, and the thousands of birds above swirled in great formations that moved in time with the arpeggios and cascading musical phrases.

Halfway to the shop, I passed through a ball field that afforded a panoramic view of downtown. I could just pick out Elliot Bay by the little slices of glittering sea between skyscrapers. More birds flocked overhead, pigeons and sparrows joining the gulls and crows. They were almost beautiful, I thought. When you couldn't hear them. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED Ok, it’s obvious you have chosen the music for where the music and the birds (THE BIRDS) are swarming Seattle and the earthquake hits, and it works brilliantly here. About the real nitpicky complaint I have is that when he was looking across the ballpark there doesn’t seem to be any indication as to why he would do so (since it doesn’t seem to be in his personality as a goony goon to just look at sunsets), but that’s just me trying to find faults. Do you know how hard it is to do that when you are trying to critique good work and I LEFT IT TO THE ELEVENTH HOUR.

A grey and white cat bolted in front of me--

--then heaving, shaking earth. The ground surged up to meet me, or was I falling down? Over and over, undulating waves of grass. Here the hiss of an underground pipe, there the groan of a collapsing apartment building, bursting underground pipe doesn’t seem to share the same severity level of the collapsing block and over it all the screams of man and birds alike crescendoed into a terrible death knell. The rhapsody reached its friska --one of my earbuds was still in--growing louder and louder, dissonant harmonies racing toward a towering climax while skyscrapers collapsed into a slurry of mud and silt. The collapsing skyscraper is too similar to the collapsing apartment buildings. Suggest removing the earlier apartments.

I pushed myself onto hands and knees, only to be slammed back down again as the earth rippled and shook, pliant as fabric. There was nothing for it but to curl into the fetal position and wait to live or die.

Some twenty seconds went by before the worst of the earthquake passed. Could use a quick mention he’s still curled up here. Twenty seconds to wipe the skyline clean, to turn the bay into a swamp of twisted steel and broken concrete.

Liszt's Rhapsody came to an end. I pushed myself to my feet, pulled the one headphone earbud out of my ear, and looked out at the fading afterimage of the city. The Columbia Center had toppled, was a jagged black corpse that stretched nearly halfway across Elliot Bay, and was sinking fast. Of the old Smith tower, there was nothing. Last sentence a little unclear – there was nothing where it was I assume?

Reflex made me pull out my phone to take a picture. Then I looked at the top of the screen; no bars. I almost laughed. Who the hell would I send a picture to? Most of the people who mattered had lived or work downtown. They'd never text again, never rate another photo on the internet, most likely would never be exhumed from the bay.

My heart skipped a beat, then, as I thought of Julia. Julia and her annoying terrier. Julia, who couldn't change a lightbulb and breath at the same time. Julia crushed under debris. Julia running from looters.

I looked north, past the tapering stub of the Space Needle, to Queen Anne hill. I'd walked across town and climbed that hill every day when I first met Julia, because she was afraid of buses and hated my apartment, and I was getting laid.

Guess you dragged me out of the house after all, I thought, and set out north, over the bones of the Emerald City.

Another in the top three this week. I said enough about the moment. With respect to the earthquake scene, I thought it was also well done but it was very slightly less thought out than the preceding sequence. Some bits were a little unclear, but overall it conveyed the message that Seattle had been turned to ruins, and the goon coming to the realisation he may have lost everyone and the person he love(d?). Nice work.

---

Echocian - Turncoat (996 words)

The entire South Quarter was ablaze when Marcus charged up the staircase of Stonebridge Manor. It was deserted; the only sounds came from the anxious chatter of his men outside and distant shouts that drifted drifting in through the open doorway Which door was this? Assuming it’s the entrance? . Marcus charged to the last door in the hall, flung it open and hitched a breath. "Gods help me, they were right after all. What are were you thinking?"

Alerio greeted him with a raised goblet and a lazy smile where he lounged in. He was lounging at the window like a satisfied cat. "Ah, Marcus! So good of you to join me."

"Are you drunk or are you mad?" Marcus stalked across the room. "The South's gone up, the fires will consume this district before the hour's out. We have to leave!"

"Why the rush?" Alerio took a deep drink from the goblet and waved it toward the window. "Enjoy the view. You'll never see the likes of it again."

"I've seen enough!" Marcus took the goblet away and dumped its contents on the floor. Red wine spread splattered on the wool carpet. The carpet can be made a bit more opulent here "Why are you still here? Rio-" He paused, staring at the noble's nonchalant poise, the detached way he watched the chaos outside. Horror crept into his voice. "Did you have something to do with this?"

Alerio snorted. "Arson? Certainly not." Now he turned from the window, unfolded himself from the divan with leisurely grace. He smiled, lips red from the wine. No need to keep saying he’s smiling. Marcus swallowed against a rush of heat through his body as Alerio slipped an arm around his waist. "You think in simplicities. Won't you join me?"

Marcus shied away. "You are mad. So help me, Rio, even if you're connected to the rebellion, I'll not abandon you to this!"

That His outburst? earned a bemused glance. "If I were, would the end be any better?"

Marcus swallowed. "So you are connected to it." It was so hard to focus with Alerio this close, leaning against him, silk on steel. "I could put a word in. I could...I could find an excuse." He gritted his teeth, seized the man's shoulders and shook him. "Dammit, Rio, why? You knew what I'd have to do if-"

Alerio pressed a silencing finger to his lips. "Yes. So say no more." He took Marcus by the shoulders in turn, pressed him down to the divan and kissed him until they were breathless. When their lips parted, Alerio caressed his lover's face, cupped it in his hands and directed Marcus's gaze outside. "Just look at it, Marc," he whispered. "Have you ever seen such a beautiful sight?"

Marcus looked. Flames licked across the rooftops, vivid red against the smoke that turned the southern sky to starless night. It was entrancing, in its way, like an ever-changing sunset in the wrong direction - but Marcus knew there was more to the east, and soon to the north. Alerio could usually get him to see things in his odd way, but this was one scene Marcus couldn't reconcile. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED

He turned back to Alerio, all fine bones and lean limbs, long lashes and wine-red lips, consciously sensual in every movement and far too calm as the world turned to chaos around them. SEXY BRO MOMENT SPOTTED It was nearly enough to make him forget why he'd come here. The man he'd fallen in love with. A traitor to the kingdom. His voice cracked. "No. Nor will I again, if you don't come with me."

Alerio chuckled softly and traced a hand across his back. "Not what I meant." He curled against him and kissed his neck.

"This is hardly the time-" The kiss turned into a bite. Marcus gasped and pulled away, though he longed to give in. "Don't do this. Don’t do what? I can get you out of the country."

Alerio sank back against the sill and stretched, tilting his head playfully. "My loyal little soldier, disobeying orders?"

Marcus forced himself to look away from that invitation. "For you, yes. Please, whatever you've done, I can keep you safe."

Alerio sighed. The levity faded. "And lose you, as well? They already know about me. Don't think they won't catch you."

"I'm willing to take that risk."

"I'm not." He sat up and spread his arms. "If you're so willing to burn along with me, then lay with me here! Otherwise, leave. I don't intend to escape. We would meet the same end either way."

Marcus stared at him. One of his men shouted up the stairs for him, but he didn't comprehend the words the words were incomprehensible for that moment. "You intended suicide from the start?" Laying it a little too thick here, perhaps? The rest of your dialogue had been great so far, but this (nitpicking) just comes off a bit too blatant. Maybe “You wanted this.”?

Alerio dropped his arms and quirked a wry smile. "Hell of a way to go, don't you think?"

Smoke and flames blurred in his vision. Marcus blinked back the tears. "You never were one to do things in half-measures."

Before his vision cleared, Alerio rose again, wrapped his arms around him. This time was a kiss of finality. Marcus felt it in the firmness, the near desperation. He choked back a sob and held his lover for the last time. Only when footsteps pounded up the staircase did Alerio step back and stroke Marcus's cheek. "Go, love. Be safe."

Marcus turned and walked out the door. He met his man in the hallway and shook his head, heedless of the tears that streaked his face. "Back to the horses. We're leaving."

Behind them, the notes of a violin rang out into the still air - sweet, lilting, utterly unsuited to the situation. So thoroughly absurd when destruction loomed on the horizon. So wonderfully, hopelessly brazen. OK, THIS IS TAKING THE PROMPT A LITTLE TOOOOOO LITERALLY MOMENT SPOTTED Marcus pictured the nightmare alternative - his lover bound to a stake, blindfolded, bundles of sticks stacked at his feet. A traitor's death. He stumbled to the bottom of the stairs and buried his face in his hands. If Marcus were caught aiding a traitor, that would be the end for both of them. "He's right, drat him," he whispered. A little laying it too thick here again. We already know it’d be the end for both if he was found aiding Alerio. Have him whisper something else instead. “Rio,”? Choking back tears etc.

He gathered his men and rode off, leaving the burning city and Alerio's reasons far behind.

I’m very glad there are no janitors in this story because that would change things a lot.

You have a good grasp on dialogue, and the story is sweetly romantic in the face of great despair. My issue, as you probably notice, is that some bits seem to repeat messages more than it is necessary, and it makes some bits as subtle as a sledgehammer. Overall, I enjoyed it, despite it being almost a literal rewrite of the prompt in 996 words. I did like the violin though.

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Apr 1, 2013 around 13:46

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




Ahahahahah yes

Authors crit (FINAL ROUND - MANY TIMES DELAYED - RHINO IS AN rear end WHO CANNOT READ, ALWAYS REPEATING "UNCLEAR" AND "SUGGEST PARAGRAPH BREAKS")

1. Dr Kloctopussy
2. Fanky Malloons (Winner!)


Dr Kloctopussy Rosie's Bench for the Lonely
995 Words


The scale said 351.3. Again. The fourth day in a row. It wouldn't budge. Rosie got off it and back on. Please? she begged. But it was the same, the same, the same. Took me a quick reread to realise she’s on a weighing scale. This is probably my fault because the numbers are not familiar to me because we use the metric system here.

Suggest paragraph break It's a process, she told herself. I'm okay the way I am. She got back into bed and had to have a little cry, but that didn't really help either. She shook her head, shrugged her shoulders, and got up. No need to mention this. Just cut to the office scene – pointing out she shrugged etc just loses the lingering cloud of disappointment.

There was a little party at work. Congratulations to Grace, for being promoted to Senior Paralegal to the litigation section. She’d only been with Patterson & Patterson for three years, but she was a rising star, they said. Rosie smiled politely and stood as far away from the cake as possible. She could smell the sugar, see pink little icing bows untying themselves, and stretching into ribbons, weaving across the room, and into her nostrils, up into her brain. Eat us, eat us, the sweet fairy voices sang.

Suggest paragraph break She congratulated Grace one more time once more and went back to her office. She had lots of emails to answer to.

“Knock, Knock!” Grace said brightly pushing the pushed her office door open without knocking. “I brought you some cake!” She set an oversized piece of cake on top of the file Rosie was working on, and beamed.

“Thanks Grace, but I really can’t have any—wedding diet, you know?” she picked up the plate and held it out to Grace. Grace didn’t take it.

“Aw, one little piece can’t hurt,” she said and winked. “Anyway, I was hoping you could help me out on the Castleionni binders. I’m kind of swamped at the moment.” She smiled expectantly.

Rosie wasn’t surprised by the request, Grace had been kind of swamped suggesting “kind of” here to repeat Grace’s dialogue here for character a lot in her three years as a rising star at Patterson & Patterson and Rosie had always been willing to help her out.

“I’m sorry, Grace, but I can’t. I’m really busy. Maybe someone in the litigation section can help you out.”

“They’re all really busy, too. You know how much we value team players here at Patterson & Patterson,” Grace’s smile was growing nastier, but Rosie was tired of giving in. She wished dearly to point out how much of a team player Grace had been when she’d had to take time off for her father’s funeral. Play nice, she told herself. Spitefulness won’t get you anywhere. She set down the cake, since Grace still hadn’t taken it back.

“I’m going dress shopping,” Rosie blurted out. Grace’s smile changed again but it was still nasty.

“Oh how fun!” she practically squealed, “you’ll have to tell me all about it!” She wafted out the door as though buffeted by a gentle wind, leaving the cake on Rosie’s desk.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Of course she’d have to tell her all about it. And of course she couldn’t. She wasn’t going dress shopping today. She’d already been dress shopping with her Mother last weekend. And oh, the pitiful looks of the shop girls. And oh, the withering looks of all the skinny brides, in their orgasmic NOT YOU TOO confections of white tulle and ribbons, gazing rapturously at their reflections, everyone kneeling around them in adoration. And the normal-fat brides, smiling at her with open relief that at least they weren’t the fattest. Five stores and not one had a dress that she could squeeze into. And the little shop girls would discretely write down an estimate for a custom dress, higher than the budget for the entire wedding. Rosie threw away the cake.

John did met came for their walk in the park at lunch. He gave her a peck on the cheek and held her hand until it got too sweaty. They stopped for her to catch her breath on a bench overlooking a meadow where children were playing soccer. A ball bounced up to them and John caught it easily under his foot, holding it for the approaching kid. The kid looked at Rosie with open-mouthed disgust. John glared at him and kicked him the ball to him.

“Grosssss!” he yelled, running away. “There’s a huge fat lady up there!” He pointed as he passed the ball to a friend. They both looked back at her and ran off laughing.

“What the hell is wrong with kids these days?” John said. Rosie just shrugged. I’m too tired for this, she thought. She was surprised to find that she didn’t even feel like crying herself not wanting to cry.

“I need to get back to the office, you ready?” John finally asked.

“No, I just want to sit here for a minute. It’s nice here,” she said. “You go, though.” He gave her another peck on the cheek and went.

Rosie sat on the bench and closed her eyes. She felt the sun on her face; she felt peaceful doesn’t work well with the repetition of “felt”. Just say that the sun made her at peace etc. She drifted into half-a-dream where the sun shone through her and into her. She felt her toes dug into the soft, cool dirt, twisting deeper and deeper. Her fingers grew longer, reaching out for air.

Suggest paragraph break She woke up and looked down. Her ankles were gnarled and woody too literal as she is becoming a tree, her toes, roots groping across and down into the ground. The twisting growth paused as she noticed it, questioning, hovering between flesh and wood. Rosie smiled and nodded to herself. She reached her arms high above her head and gave a great yawn. Her arms soared into strong branches and green leaves sprang open, singing to the light. She soaked it in and grew and grew. She grew tall and thick and strong. She grew over half the bench, but was careful to leave room for one person to sit next to her.

John came, a few times, and begged her to come back down, but she shook her leaves gently at him until he left. Many others came and sat next to her, and she let them rest in the shade, and did what she could to make them feel a little less lonely, a little less tired, a little more okay the way they were.

I enjoyed this and was genuinely surprised when she somehow became a tree. Not entirely sure if there is meant to be something symbolic to her transformation, since the last bit about her wanting to “make others less lonely/tired/body image-conscious” doesn’t seem to jive that much with the rest of the story. I think if you had more inner monologue prior to the transformation, it would help explain her character better and make the resolution more, well, resolved.


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Fanky Malloons Flightless Bird 872 words
The heat of the late afternoon sun beat down on Gete’s head as she walked, throbbing in time with the headache that pulsed behind her eyes. She was grateful, in a distant sort of way, for the clouds of dust kicked up by the feet of the column as it ebbed slowly across the baking sand. Is it the clouds of dust ebbing across the sand? “It” is incorrect if so. The particulates that hung in the dead air settled in her eyelashes and, if she kept her eyes slightly closed, tempered the painful brightness of the day. Great opening here setting up the scene, without even having to mention it’s a desert.

Gete looked down at the listless baby in her arms. She touched his forehead with the backs of her fingers and he moaned, turning his face away from her touch. The pale dust lent his dark skin a ghostly cast, lining the hollows that had developed in his face since her milk had finally dried up. It was all she could do now to make sure that Mehret had enough food and water to live on. A sob rose up from Gete’s chest and she swallowed it labouriously, dry tongue rasping against her dry mouth. It hung in her throat like a stone and she wondered if it would eventually mummify along with the rest of her. Some slight confusion as Mehret is later established as a toddler and not the baby in her arms. Otherwise, I really like the later bit on Gete wondering if her sob would mummify, a great bit jarred (somewhat nitpicking here on my part) by a lack in motivation for her suddenly sobbing.

“Mama, I’m thirsty,” said Mehret, clutching a fistful of her skirt as he trudged along beside her.

“I know,” Gete replied, her voice barely above a whisper, “we’ll be at the well soon.”

“Will there be enough water this time? Lots of water?”

Gete studied Mehret’s face, despairing at the shadows in his thin cheeks and the trust in his eyes as she lied to him, “Yes.”

That evening as they camped beneath a small stand of acacia trees, the grandfathers killed a goat for them to eat. Their milk had dried up too, so there was nothing for the baby. Gete made sure Mehret was well fed, at least, but nevertheless, she felt the grandmothers eyeing her with pity as the baby turned his face away from the goat’s blood she offered on a fingertip, too weak now to even cry. Sighing, Gete cradled him against her breast and sang softly until he fell asleep. She swaddled him tightly and bundled herself, Mehret and the baby up in her blanket to sleep, not wanting the baby to feel cold or alone. Good bit about the goat’s blood. The last line can be a bit shorter by having her swaddling/bundling “her family” and I think you don’t need to mention her not wanting the baby to be cold/alone. That should probably be obvious.

Later, Gete found herself standing on the shore of a crystalline lake, its surface as smooth and clear as glass, the baby sleeping, swaddled in her arms. She waded out into it, taking care to keep the baby pressed to her chest Suggest line break as she squatted and used her free hand to scoop up the cool, blue water. Gete drank and drank. The cold sweetness of the water made her skin tingle as it flowed through her body, down to her fingertips and toes, up into her scalp. She looked down and let water drip from her fingers on to the baby’s lips.

“Wake up, Bebe,” she coaxed, “drink,” but he remained resolutely asleep. Is “Bebe” here a catch-all name for children? Suggest not using it as you want to point out it’s too young to even have a name later.

A movement beside Gete caught her eye, and she looked back at the water to see a flamingo standing beside her, bill in the water, looking up at her with a knowing eye and its strange upside-down grin. Standing upright Gete saw that the whole lake had become an ocean of jewel-bright pink. Flamingos covered the water’s surface as far as the eye could see, clucking softly amongst themselves as they raised and lowered their bills, feeding in the water.

The flamingo next to her raised its head, and Gete stared at it, open-mouthed with wonder. It looked back at her for a moment before turning away and opening its wings to take flight. Its movements seemed to trigger a chain reaction in the others, and Suggest shortening the sentence to give more impact here without warning, the thousands of flamingos around Gete took flight at once. She gasped as her entire body was surrounded by the rushing of wings, soft feathers brushing days of dirt and dust from her skin as they passed by. Her vision filled entirely with bright, endless pink for a moment, and she wanted to drink it in with her skin, to paint it on the backs of her eyelids so that she would never lose that perfect, beautiful colour. BEAUTIFUL MOMENT SPOTTED

The bundled baby stirred suddenly in her arms and. Gete looked down, in surprised to see a small flamingo struggling against the swaddling.

“Oh!” Gete gasped, “I’m sorry!” She hurriedly unwrapped the baby blankets, dropping them in the water, “Wait!” she called to the others, “don’t leave him behind!” I’m sure this is just me, but when I saw “dropping them in the water” I thought the baby bird was being dropped into the water. Perhaps “letting them fall into the water”?

Holding the little bird with both hands, she heaved it upwards into the cloud of flamingos passing over her head. ”into” here seems to suggest the flamingos are just above her head – is this the case? She smiled as she saw it spread its wings and catch the air, disappearing into the flock. Gete pressed her hands together as she and watched them disappear. She could still feel the little one’s heartbeat in her palms.

In the morning, they buried the small, sad bundle at the foot of one of the acacias. He wasn’t old enough for a name, so Gete had one of the grandfathers carve a bird into the trunk of the tree. They rounded up the goats and kept walking, heading towards the next well, Gete holding Mehret’s hand so that her own felt less empty.

Overall, I loved this story, especially the description of the bleak desert in the beginning and how dreamlike the flamingo scene is. Easily got the unanimous vote for best piece of Thunderdome in the week… was it three or four weeks ago oh my god why am I so slow. About the only issue is the dialogue, which I think you can make a bit more wispy/magical by perhaps removing the punctuations and rewording a little.

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


Noah posted:

Round 2 of 3. Find a judge.


sebmojo posted:

Saddest Rhino.

Hello!

EDIT:

Thunderbrawl (ROUND 2 OF 3) - Noah vs Nubile Hillock vs sebmojo

PROMPT: Visit the Anti-Food Porn thread and choose a food that is disgusting to you. You shall then write a loving culinary porn story revolving that particular dish/abomination that makes it sound amazing and delicious.

RULE: You may not choose a disgusting food you secretly like (like Durian, I actually love that, gently caress Andrew Zimmerman and his inability to discern what food is delicious) (also if you disobey this rule, you know you are only bluffing to yourself and you will never live it down, winning this thunderbrawl on a lie)

1000 words max, submission is the same deadline as this week's TD.

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Apr 3, 2013 around 04:10

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


^^^^ YEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSS

This is very sexy I am okay with that

Edited my post to reflect 3-way brawl

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


Now that I actually am going through that thread there's a lot of people just flipping out over minor stuff like century eggs and deep fried cupcakes and biscuits with meatballs, goons are so scared of everything.

This is pretty cool tho



Thai live "Bat Paste" Soup in milk and herbs

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Apr 3, 2013 around 10:43

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


Who shall be the Padma Lakshmi to my Tom Collichio

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


Noah posted:

TD Week 35 Brawl Noah v Nubile Hillock v Sebmojo
Food: Casu Marzu (Maggot Cheese)
Words: 998

Blu Velvet


So it looks like my streak of judging self-pub erotica continues with "Reluctant Gay Cheese Wheel Thieves".

E:

Jeza posted:



i've done tihs four you baudo



Holy poo poo how did I not know this exists this is absolutely amazing

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Apr 6, 2013 around 04:08

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


sebmojo posted:

Nope.

Wait for the next prompt.

Where is my spider fiction

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


Thunderbrawl - Noah vs Nubile Hillock vs sebmojo

RESULTS: sebmojo, as interloper of this historical brawl, arrives from Last Chance Kitchen, defeats his fellow contestants with a last minute propane-fueled stir fry and takes the helm as the Next Creative Convention Celebrity Chef. Guest judges smack their lips and approve - they wonder if spiders can be shoved up their rectums too.

Critiques and line edits to come later when I'm not working/sleeping.

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


magnificent7 posted:

So wait. gently caress. How do I find out who won this most recent round? I'm on vacation. Ain't nobody got time to go read every loseringest story but I'm going to do one of them. Most room for improvement there.

FLASH RULE

For not learning how to scroll up and read the appropriate post announcing such win, you shall rewrite a previous TD entry of a judge for this current round.

If you manage to rewrite it to be worse you know what's coming for you.

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


As a note just because I imposed that flash rule on magnificent7, the rest of you may still use a judge's previous TD entry for your rewriting piece. Go nuts.

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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


Is there any particular reason why you lot are choosing losing/terrible stories other than to make the judges reread all the worst stories of the previous TD rounds?

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