Can newcomers join in anytime?
If so, I'm in.
|# ¿ Oct 15, 2013 10:41|
|# ¿ Oct 23, 2021 13:18|
Faded - 893 words
It wasn’t my fault. I clung desperately to that: it wasn’t my fault. I was in the wrong place, at the wrong time. There was nobody nearby who would help me. If anyone heard my screams, my pleas, my cries in the dark, they didn’t care enough to stop it. I couldn’t stop it, stop him. He didn’t go until he was finished. He left me bruised and crying.
I told my friends, and they tried to understand. But there was a space between us now, a bridge they couldn’t cross. They forgot to invite me to nights out. They forgot to invite me to days spent lounging in their houses, with their legs strewn over tables and their laughter hanging in the air. If I’d asked them, I think they would have been hard-pressed to explain exactly why. Maybe they would have shrugged, and eventually said, “Well, she’s just not fun anymore.”
I made them feel uncomfortable. So they just forgot to invite me to join them. I don’t know if it was a conscious decision or not. I don’t know if they talked about it. It wasn’t long before they forgot to even pretend to be my friends. They would talk of their plans openly. Invites would fly through the air. Sometimes, someone would see me, and they would give me a tight smile and ask, “Hey, are you free?”
But I felt the tension in their words. I felt the eyes that flicked nervously over to me. The room would go quiet. They held their breaths to wait to see what I said. I didn’t ever have a choice. I just shook my head and shrugged. “Maybe next time.”
I couldn’t talk to any of them. I couldn’t talk to my parents. I didn’t know what to do, but doing nothing wouldn’t help. I made an appointment. I ended a possibility before it could truly begin. There were people outside that shouted at me. Someone told me, frank as can be, that I was going to hell. I didn’t know what to say—I’m already there?—so I pushed past him and tried not to cry.
That came later. It came when I was in my room, alone. I ran my hands over my belly and it felt empty. It shouldn’t have. I wasn’t far along for anything major to have happened; the doctor had assured me of that. But that didn’t matter. It felt like I’d carved a part of myself out. I cried myself to sleep. When I woke, my eyes ached. They were wide and red, and I had to hide my face behind thick make-up so that Mum didn’t ask me what was wrong.
The light flickered; the light faded. The girl I was disappeared. She disappeared when my friends turned their backs on me, when the doctor scraped something out of me. She disappeared under the tears and the pain.
My exam results were pathetic. I didn’t care. My parents argued about what was causing my behaviour. They blamed each other and they fought, and I didn’t care about that either. I found a man who promised me the sun. I moved in with him, but he didn’t deliver. He smoked too much, drank too much. I told him that, one night. He was steaming, and he hit me. I didn’t know what to do. I shut my mouth and let him fawn over me. He apologised a dozen times, but it didn’t matter. I’d seen something in his eyes I hadn’t expected to ever see. It was that same darkness I’d seen that night, in that man’s eyes.
He hit me four more times before my parents found out. They dragged me back home. My boyfriend ended up in hospital. My dad got arrested.
Mum asked me, “Why did you let him do it?”
“I couldn’t leave.”
She didn’t understand.
I tried again. “I couldn’t stop him.”
I didn’t know if I was talking about my boyfriend, or about that night, with that man. I felt the pavement under my cheek and the bile in my mouth and the tears in my eyes. I went to my room, my old room, and I cried.
It wasn’t until the anniversary of that night that I told my parents. I didn’t intend to. The words slipped out. I heard Mum’s whispers, heard Dad’s rising voice. None of it sank in. I listened, but I didn’t truly hear. I waited for as long as I could and then I left.
On the anniversary of another day, a day that ended something that had only just begun, I cooked a meal. It was the first I’d cooked in a long time. I used to love it, but it just hadn’t seemed important. I cooked a meal and set places for two. My parents were out; I wouldn’t be disturbed.
I ate slowly. I ate one meal, and I didn’t touch the other. My cheeks were wet the entire time. Tears dripped onto my hands. I stood up. I looked at the uneaten meal, I set my hand on my belly, and I murmured, “I’m sorry.”
I went to my room and took the bottle of pills out of its hiding place. I washed them down with my parents’ vodka, and I let the tears fall thick and fast.
|# ¿ Oct 18, 2013 17:33|
|# ¿ Oct 21, 2013 16:30|
Count me in.
|# ¿ Oct 22, 2013 05:04|
Edit: I've critted most of the stories above - anyone who I haven't done and wants a crit speak up.
|# ¿ Oct 24, 2013 11:30|
Thanks everyone for the crits!
Week 64: Dead or Alive
Getting Out (999 words)
|# ¿ Oct 25, 2013 11:40|
Mercedes v fumblemoose
I done crit yo poo poo
|# ¿ Oct 25, 2013 17:57|
Someone commented on/critted my outlaw story on the google doc, am I allowed to reply or should I leave it?
|# ¿ Oct 26, 2013 17:54|
When I do crits, I use googledocs so people have an avenue to respond without making GBS threads up the thread. I don't see an issue with it.
I's for this week's entry though, as in the one we've not hit the deadline for. If anyone reads my story for this week they're gonna see comments/crits. I dunno if I can reply to the comments or if I should somehow hide them or what.
|# ¿ Oct 26, 2013 19:33|
I have no ideas at all but gently caress it, in for this week.
We have received your submission and will reply to it in the near future. Thank you!
|# ¿ Oct 29, 2013 16:03|
Done. Sorry about the hold-up, I'm still learning how to Google Drive.
You need to allow guests to comment.
|# ¿ Oct 30, 2013 18:00|
We watch in silence as the younger boys perform the struggle of the hallowed Apollon and the drakaina. Akakios of the slender ankles dances around his opponent, supple as a girl. The other boy is broad of shoulder and older than Akakios; he could not win unless the gods smiled down on him. They shan’t, of course. The boys perform in the honour of the blessed Pythoktonos, and he would not permit the drakaina to win. Indeed, the tournament finishes soon: Akakios’s third arrow strikes true, and his opponent rises with hooded eyes and blood on his chin.
The banquet passes as swift as light-footed Iris. Helios’s burning chariot travels across the impossibly blue sky, high above us. Akakios crows of his prowess, surrounded by pretty girls dressed in incense and flowing chitons. His boasts are an irritation, but we may not chastise him. He is favoured by the god. I am thankful that he will not sing with us; I could not bear if he were twice-favoured. Pantaleon must think the same, for he brings his eyes to mine with a smile. I do not smile back. I see the shadow of the raven in his eyes, and I fear he will win the laurel crown.
O Apollon, noble lord, I honour you. O lord, I desire only that you find me worthy.
We are called, and so we rise. Pantaleon plays first, bringing forth from his kithara a sweetness the likes of which I have never before known. His voice is higher than the kithara’s, high and fluttery and sweet as dripping honey. He sings an ode to Phoibos Apollon. He sings of the battle, of how the god slew the drakaina. I shiver to hear him.
“Now rot here,” Pantaleon sings, “upon the soil that feeds man!”
I close my eyes. Against my eyelids, I see the scene unfold. I hear the whisper of Apollon’s arrows, the hiss of the serpent. The world rumbles under the attack. The drakaina is slow, striking with the lumbering speed of Akakios’s opponent. Apollon, swift of foot and of mind, outruns and outwits her. His arrows strike her and fall down uselessly. He loosens the final arrow from his quiver, and it plunges into her eye. She roars, bending the trees, forcing the earth to bow. But the Bright Lord does not cower away from her, and when the dust settles she lies prone across the ground.
I step forward to take my turn. I wipe the sweat from my brow. My eyes are heavy and my fingers weary. But as I pluck at the strings, all exhaustion fades away. My song rises like incense smoke. It forces itself up from the bottom of my lungs, from the pit of my stomach, from the core of my very self. I have never before felt so peaceful, so at one with – my nature, my body, my gods.
O, Apollon! O, lord. I honour you.
The music swells. My fingers dart faster and faster, plucking the song from the recesses of memory. It is not my memory, I understand, but the memory of this place. It is the memory of Python’s body slamming into the ground, the memory of Apollon’s deft hands loosening slender arrows. It is the Pythian memory, and it flows through me like wine.
I finish without a flourish. Everyone is silent. I look around, and Pantaleon meets my eyes. He is not smiling now. I stand before them and I tremble in the silence. It is heavy; it lies upon my skin like a blanket. The next boy rises, and when he passes me he lifts his chin. I do not know if it is defiance or respect, if it is understanding or dislike.
When the final notes of the final song fade into the sky, the laurel crown is brought toward us. We stand as one, watching its progress and silently yearning. The bearer is a girl who I do not know. She has wine-red lips and flaxen hair, and she holds the crown high above her. She stops, smiles sidelong at me, and then hands my god’s favour to a boy I do not know.
I feel the tears rise unbidden to my eyes, and I cannot blink them away.
|# ¿ Nov 2, 2013 20:31|
In, but I have no ideas. Give me two flash rules.
Flash Rule: Your protagonist must be caught between a (literal or metaphorical) rock and a hard place.
|# ¿ Nov 5, 2013 16:58|
I cannot stay away, In for gambling fiction! Someone flash rule me and I'll try to follow the prompts this time~
Flash Rule: A famous person must have a significant role in your story.
|# ¿ Nov 5, 2013 18:49|
In. I've needed an av for years. Let's rock a flash rule too
Flash rule: The gamble in your story must be motivated by greed or ambition.
|# ¿ Nov 6, 2013 14:44|
BIG OL CRIT POST.
Sweet_Joke_Nectar – LYSANDER, THE MIGHTY AXE (1055 words)
Flash rule: Precious stones need to play a key role in your plot.
Wow, it’s like 4chan meets Saw, but even more poo poo than I’d expect from that premise. The entire gamble your story revolves around is putting pop rocks into a bucket of poo poo. Your protagonist died in a wave of candy and poo poo. Reflect on that.
Did you know that flash rules aren’t optional? If you get flash ruled, you had better include it. So where the gently caress are your precious stones? Pop rocks are candy, not precious stones. For your inability to include your flash rule, you get a big fat F on your test.
Under the layer of poo poo, there is a plot. It’s just not a good one. A guy wakes up because his little brother is a pain in the rear end, and then he wants a sandwich, and his sandwich is gone, and he smacks his brother, and then brother’s girlfriend (why is she even in this story?) tackles him, and then he gets axed, and then he wakes up somewhere (in the normal world, or in some game world?) with pop rocks and a poo poo bucket, and his little brother is revealed to be an absolute nutjob, and then the candy/poo poo bucket explodes in his face and he dies.
It feels like you think you’re being clever, with your ‘lol gamers’ story. But it’s not clever. It’s not well-written. It’s not plausible. You just crapped out some semblance of a plot and shoehorned a gamble onto it. You barely even have characters. gently caress you.
TenaCrane – En Route Mortality (909 words words)
The choice of an animal protagonist was interesting – a gamble in itself. However, it very quickly became obvious what you were leading to, and that removed a lot of the tension I’d have otherwise felt. Salmon protagonist, oh look you’re writing about the salmon run.
You use some awkward phrasings. The introduction could certainly be stronger and more straight-forward. The final paragraph needs breaking up into two, at least – the gamble, and the consequence (Hookjaw continuing on to the lake). There were some instances where you failed to trust the reader. For example: ‘Taking note of the crushed fish near him, Hookjaw hatches a plan.’ is a very heavy-handed line, and is entirely unnecessary. You can write well enough that you can afford to trust your reader more.
It all seemed too detached from Hookjaw’s struggle. It’s very much a ‘this happened, then this happened’ story, with no emotional impact. At the same time, it was too humanising. You describe a fish screaming, Hookjaw somehow understands the concept of an ‘alpha’ animal as well as knowing that the fish are being attacked by bears, etc. Your fishy protagonist was not very fishy.
Still, this was a good concept, and decently written. Edit, trust your reader, make Hookjaw more believable, and I think this would be fairly engaging.
Quidnose – Hold ‘Em (994 words)
Flash rule: A famous person must have a significant role in the story.
Oh look, someone who got a flash rule and actually remembered to include it. I liked your take on the rule – it fit your story, and didn’t seem shoehorned in. The gamble hit the prompt well, and your story was fairly well-written and engaging.
in his uniform,. It was the same
The clarity of your story leaves something to be desired, and for all that this scenario revolved around saving Jenny, we get very little insight into who she is, or why we should care about her. It seemed like your protagonist didn’t much care for her, either. He gambles her life, then gives her a basic once-over and never thinks of or looks at her again. We also don’t really know why Ling is here, or why the gently caress there’s a magical Pinkerton painting that may or may not levitate cards.
There’s a lot of potential in this story, but it lacked of clarity and character development.
ElphabaGreen – The Heart of the Matter (675 words)
Clarity is of the utmost importance. You failed at that. You also failed at the prompt – what is the gamble? You go to get a new organ, offer up one you already have, and basically beg for them to accept? Except if you lose you lose the organ, so... how do you win? The protagonist seems to think the boy will win, but how does s/he know that? Why is there some sort of organ “donation”/swap thing? Why is your protagonist hundreds of years old? What is happening?
Plot is also pretty important. In your story, all that happens is someone glaring at someone in a queue. That’s it. There’s no character development, no plot arc. Boo to you.
So, let’s summarise. Clarity – nope. Prompt adherence – nope. Plot – nope.
At least it’s not a bucket of poo poo.
Erogenous Beef – Missed Connections (1200 words)
Flash rule: The story may not include any direct references to chance or luck and must take place primarily in/around London-Heathrow Terminal 5.
I like your writing style. You write believable characters and strong dialogue. The conversations between James and Kris flow well, and we get a good impression of each character.
There are some small things that need editing. Your opening line could be clearer. You could clarify why James is stalking Kris around the terminal: on my first read-through, I thought it was because of her abortion.
But where is your gamble?
It would be a gamble if he’d photographed the inside and then tried to prove his innocence by handing her his phone. But he doesn’t. Where is the risky action, what does he hope to achieve? He quits, but that doesn’t seem to be a gamble, either.
I’m not really sure what to make of this story. There’s no real conflict, other than James stalking Kris around the terminal. Things happen, but we don’t feel the consequences.
Lazy Beggar – Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité (1195 words)
I’d say that, ‘line breaks are your friend’, but they really aren’t your friend. You’ve pushed them out and now they’re standing outside your window, shivering and alone. Look what you’ve done, you monster.
You don’t seem to be on friendly terms with commas, either. They would like to be your friend. Use them wisely, and use them appropriately. You don’t use them when you should, and do use them when you shouldn’t.
Commas are good. Line breaks are good.
You use a lot of awkward sentences. Here are some I found:
‘Having attempted to make his face appear less dour, he turned to face his pursuer and recognised him at once’
‘Jurek shoved the child aside and growled to himself wondering where the professor was.’
‘Jarek sighed and while gazing at the ground he slowly shook his head’
‘The whistle induced convulsions of Jarek's face went unseen in the darkness’
(Is your character’s name Jurek or Jarek?)
Have you even edited this?
‘Jarek's face twitched, his left eye flickered, his mouth fought to form a sneer.’
‘The professor's eyes hinted at a smile.’
How does a mouth fight to form a sneer? How do eyes hint at a smile?
Have you even edited this?
You have a sort of plot, which builds up to... I don’t even know what. Your sentences are poorly constructed. You use commas in all the wrong places, and you clump your paragraphs together weirdly.
Where the gently caress is your gamble?
V for Vegas – Midnight in Tangiers (531 words)
Well, this was different.
The almost stream-of-consciousness feel here works well with the ambiguity of events. Gregor and Muhammed visit a monkey fighting ring, and Gregor wins consistently. Whether there’s something supernatural going on, or whether the drugs Gregor has taken are messing with his mind, is unclear – but I think that works well, too.
Your approach to the prompt is curious, and I liked it. However, the ambiguity of the piece makes it seem like there’s no risk, no chance. Yes, he’s betting—he’s gambling—but it’s all win, win, win. You even imply that he can’t lose. Is this just the winner’s high, or is it Gregor’s awareness of a supernatural force at play?
Overall this was a strong and enjoyable piece, but it really did leave me wondering whether you’d addressed the prompt or not. That’s not a good thing to do to a judge.
Roguelike – The Terrorist with the Tell-Tale Ticker (1189 words)
Your opening line was good, and then the rest of your opening paragraph was weak as poo poo. I didn’t know it was possible to make a bomb dull, but your opening managed to do just that. Rewrite that poo poo.
You had a plot, and it was an interesting plot. Bombs, aliens, octopi, space wars – what’s not to love? You had a gamble, though it was somewhat more subtle than I’d have expected from the premise. The “twist” of Ada’s test seemed like unnecessary padding. I guess you could say they gambled on her actions, but what happens is pretty ambiguous. Does Earth want lovely people on the council? You say it makes ‘a kind of twisted, horrible sense’, but really it doesn’t.
You have some unnecessary dialogue tags/descriptions, e.g. ‘Ada asked in a dead voice’, ‘Dale said in a relaxed tone’, and ‘Dale wasn’t wasting time with pleasantries.’ Step back, and let your dialogue speak for itself.
Edit some more, trust your writing and your readers, tighten it up, and you’d have something pretty good here.
Nikaer Drekin – I Told You So (1132 words)
Element of chance/risk? Check. Clear gamble? Check.
Your opening paragraph isn’t the strongest. Only the first sentence and final clause convey anything important (that the Wizard of Oz encouraged her thrill-seeking). You need to tighten it up, because it brings down an otherwise strong story.
Amelia gambles with her life. We understand the risk she’s taking, the consequence she could face, and that’s good. You set the scene and convey Amelia’s panic well. The final paragraph could use editing, though; it’s not the most gripping thing, and it leaves us thinking Amelia’s life hasn’t been at all affected by her gamble.
|# ¿ Nov 11, 2013 20:46|
CRITS, PART TWO.
Ronnie_Long – The White (1164 words)
Flash rule: The protagonist must have some kind of disability, mental or otherwise.
I didn’t read/remember your flash rule before I started reading this, so I’m pleased that I quickly picked up on Peter’s mental disability – you did a good job of describing his scattered thought process, which can be difficult for third person narration.
There are some unnecessary asides (e.g. ‘which he refused to wear in case he angered an errant bull’ – it’s not funny, and it takes the reader out of the story), but by and large you conveyed his disordered mind well. I particularly liked ‘You had to take a left to get there, and the goats sit on God’s left hand, and Peter Frampton wasn’t a goat.’
The gamble was fairly unclear, perhaps because it’s from Peter’s POV. He wants a product, and we aren’t really told what it is – toothpaste, I think? He takes a risk in getting it, and a risk in swallowing it, but it’s all very ambiguous.
Fumblemouse – The Quiet Soul (778 words)
Oh look, a clear gamble. That’s rare as hen’s teeth. I liked the premise, and I liked the direction you took it in. The gamble happened early on, so the body of your story was Sarah dealing with the aftermath.
Though it didn’t grab me much the first time, the more I read this the more I like it. It’s powerful, which is something few other entries managed. I empathise with your characters, your situation is believable for its world, but your dialogue let you down – it’s quite stilted at times. Still, good effort.
docbeard – Went Down to the Crossroads (1034 words)
Flash rule: The story has to include a game of blackjack.
A gamble with the devil is far from original, but I enjoyed where you took this. I also enjoyed that you actually hit the prompt – the blackjack game was a gamble, and that hid the bigger gamble (trying to arrest the devil). Double gamble, double fun. Your approach to your flash rule was creative.
This was a strong story, but your final paragraph really let you down. If you’d ended at the devil’s proposition, this would have been a potential win in my book.
sebmojo – Mateship (411 words)
Flash rule: One character must be a veteran of many battles, literal or metaphorical.
Very short, but sweet. We got a double gamble, with the game of cards and the risk of Jock’s suggestion, and you hit your flash rule. It’s well-written and engaging, and I didn’t see the twist coming, but it kind of felt gimmicky.
Tyrannosaurus – Buzzards (986 words)
Flash rule: The main character is an archaeologist.
Your opening line was strong, and you write well. You hit your flash rule, and there’s a gamble in there—buried, but there. When I first read this, I quite liked it. But then I re-read it, and each time I did I liked it less. The ending is peculiar, and that certainly didn’t grow on me. Most of it is just needless chat between Ester and James, and, really, I just didn’t care.
ThirdEmperor – Render Unto Caesar (994 words)
Flash rule: Some of the story must take part in a version of Caesar's palace.
Bad opening line. It’s = it is. Too long, too dull, I don’t really care. You have editing problems throughout. ‘non-challance’ should be ‘nonchalance’. In future, make sure to proof-read and edit before you post.
You had some good imagery, e.g. ‘The man had to be in his seventies at the least, ruddy skin collapsed into folds around his mouth like a doberman.’ This painted a vivid picture for me, so good job.
There was a definite gamble in here, and you hit your prompt, but you failed at making me care about the character. It was too detached. I just didn't care.
Nubile Hillock – A story about dogs. (867 words)
Editing is your friend. Or, rather, it would like to be. You have some awkward phrases (e.g. ‘there was a steam hiss’ would better work as ‘steam hissed’), you failed at commas once or twice (e.g. ‘“It’s time” she said’), and had a pretty obvious typo (‘Delilah fed punchards into’). It just reads like you didn’t proof read/edit properly.
There’s a clear gamble (for freedom) and consequence, which is more than I can say for some entries. The twist/ending was incredibly abrupt, and that worked to emphasize the abruptness of what happened, but it didn’t really appeal to me, as a reader.
stoutfish – Dead Bear (795 words)
Flash rule: The story must be set in a Soviet-era CIS or other gritty Eastern European country.
Your opening paragraph is dull. Your sentence structure is bad. You randomly capitalise where you shouldn’t and don’t capitalise where you should. You should read some books and learn how to actually write.
At least you hit the flash rule. I guess.
gently caress you.
crabrock – Storm (900 words)
Flash rule: Someone in the story wears a top hat on a regular basis.
I liked Harriet’s gamble, in showing her boyfriend her scars. I liked that, when I reached the end, her reaction to the storm made sense. I thought this was sweet. Unfortunately, only half of your story was sweet. The child’s birthday party moments/flashbacks were just dull and unnecessary. It felt like you shoehorned in the flash rule and the ‘Harriet is a magician’ segments for no reason. Strip your story, make it Harriet and her anxieties and her boyfriend, and you’ll have a strong, heart-warming story.
|# ¿ Nov 11, 2013 20:47|
Pencil me the gently caress in.
|# ¿ Nov 11, 2013 23:03|
LADIIIIIEEEEEESSSSSS AND GENTLEMEN!!!!! YOUR HERO HAS ARRIIIIIIIVED!!!!
Look at this arrogant rear end in a top hat.
Hey, rear end in a top hat. Fight me. Fight me now. I want to paint the Dome in your blood.
|# ¿ Nov 13, 2013 18:51|
The Eye of the Tiger (856 words)
Only Tia could make Lily forget that her world was breaking apart. Whenever her parents argued, Lily hugged her close and tried not to cry. Big girls don’t cry. If a tear ever fell, only golden-eyed, orange-furred Tia was there to see. Tia didn’t tell a soul.
Her parents divorced when she was seven years and two months old. Though their marriage had been full of arguments, their divorce was quick and almost friendly. Lily spent weekdays with her mother, weekends with her father. Both of them tried to cheer her up, but she could barely smile.
The stuffed tiger was privy to all her secrets. Each night, when the lights were off and they were nestled in bed together, Lily whispered her fears and her dreams into Tia’s ear. Sometimes, when her eyelids were almost too heavy to bear, she thought Tia’s ear flicked beneath her hand. Was that fur—real fur, soft as Mrs. Fletcher’s dog’s—beneath her hand? It was thick enough to curl her fingers through. When she forced her eyes open and fumbled for her light, nothing had changed. Tia regarded her as steadily as always, and soon she fell asleep.
She dreamed of meeting a tiger, a real tiger. It made her smile.
She began to keep Tia with her whenever she wasn’t at school. Tia made her strong. Tia kept her safe. With her tiger clutched in her hand, she could handle anything. Her mother didn’t understand. Whenever she saw them together, she frowned. Lily hadn’t carried toys around since she was five. Her mother’s frowns only made her scowl and clutch Tia tighter than ever.
She went downstairs one night for a glass of milk and heard her mother talking in the kitchen. She crouched on the bottom step.
“...not normal, Jeff,” her mother said. “She should see someone, talk to someone. Don’t you think? No. You haven’t seen her.”
Lily turned and crept back upstairs, her best friend tucked under her arm.
In the morning, both Lily and her mother had dark circles under their eyes. She ate her breakfast with Tia on her lap. Every time she looked up, her mother was watching her. Why was her face screwed up so funny?
“Dad will be here at nine. Are you all packed?”
“You aren’t taking that, are you?” Her mother nodded at Tia. “It’s dirty.”
Leave Tia behind? She bit her lip. She didn’t want her cereal anymore. She pushed the bowl away with one hand and held Tia close with the other.
Her mother tutted. “Really, Lil. It’ll just be for the weekend. I promise.” She smiled, but Lily saw through it. She scooted off of her chair, clutching Tia’s leg so tight she thought her hand would break. She couldn’t give her up. She wouldn’t.
Her mother was on her feet. She reached out to take Tia. Tia was beside her, huge and gold and snarling. Lily closed her eyes; her lip curled; she growled. Tia roared and she screamed. The tiger’s rumble echoed in her shriek. When she opened her eyes, her mother shrank back from her. Lily ran for the stairs. Her father found her hiding under her covers.
“Lil, you can’t treat your mum like that. You know better than that. What happened?”
She hugged Tia close and didn’t say anything.
“I know it’s hard, sweetheart. With Mum. But you know you’re not a tiger, don’t you?”
He looked at the tiger, then at her. She tensed, but he didn’t try to take Tia from her. He sighed.
“Would it help? If you saw one – a real one? Would it help?”
The zoo was strange. Her father hurried her past enclosures, so all she saw in the early morning light were teeth and eyes. She heard snatches of sound – high-pitched calls, hooting songs, laughter. And then they stopped in front of a wide expanse of glass and all the sounds just faded away.
It was asleep, lying on its side like a dog in sunlight. It was all that she could see. She pressed herself against the glass. Only force of habit kept her fingers curled around Tia’s leg; she forgot everything, even her own name, in that instant.
She couldn’t look away. Her fingers tightened convulsively around Tia’s leg. She imagined Tia beside her, within her. She imagined tipping back her head and roaring, loud enough to wake the tiger. She growled against the glass. She bared her teeth, she hissed, she snarled. She raked her fingers down the glass. Her fingers twitched again and she was just a girl staring through glass at an animal that was staring back.
The tiger stood up, slow as her grandmother. It didn’t look away from her. It bared its teeth. She wasn’t impressed and she wasn’t intimidated. It wasn’t anything special. It was an animal, just another animal, like Mrs. Fletcher’s dog.
She looked down. Tia laid on the ground, threadbare and dirty. When she picked her up she didn’t feel anything special. She turned to her father, handed him the toy, and asked to go home.
|# ¿ Nov 14, 2013 12:30|
* A sumptuous buffet of hideous delicacies.
* Big game hunting. For chickens.
Fraction fucked around with this message at 16:01 on Nov 21, 2013
|# ¿ Nov 18, 2013 20:28|
Mercedes/Fraction T-Dome T-Bone T-Dawg Brawlstravaganza
A Chance Taken (724 words)
IF U DNT TELL MUM I WILL!
My mum’s walking ahead of me, pushing the trolley. She picks up an apple, turns it this way and that, and my phone buzzes again.
TELL HER!! It buzzes yet again. ITS OK. U CAN DO IT.
Ben just doesn’t understand. I want to text back that it’s not his business, that I’ll do it when I’m ready. But I’ve already said that. He’s been prodding me for weeks now to tell her. Today’s just the first day he’s threatened to do it himself. And he’ll do it. I know he’ll do it. He doesn’t get that it would hurt her, to hear my little brother heard first. She deserves better than that – if only I can bring myself to tell her. He’s right. It’ll be okay. I’m sure it’ll be okay.
She holds up a pineapple. “Are you gonna make a fruit salad this week? It was nice, your last one. Wasn’t it?”
My phone buzzes once more. WHAT DID MUM SAY? I picture myself throwing my phone at the floor, watching it smash into a thousand pieces. Knowing my luck, it’d probably just bounce. That’d be embarrassing.
I blink at her. “What?”
“Strawberries? For the salad? Are you okay, sweetheart?”
She puts down the strawberries, comes around the trolley, and presses her palm to my forehead. I stare back at her. I do feel kind of hot. But she shakes her head, smiles her worried smile, and lets her hand fall.
“You feel okay. But what’s up?” She looks down. I look down, too. My fingers are clenched so tightly around my phone they’re almost white. “Annie? Is it boyfriend troubles? You haven’t mentioned anyone...”
I close my eyes. I don’t want to see her sad smile. We used to be so close. I don’t know when I started hiding my life from her. “No,” I say. “It’s not, it’s not boyfriend troubles.”
“It’s too much, isn’t it, A Levels and your job all at once? I knew you should give it up. I said so. It’s okay. Your boss’ll understand.”
“No, Mum. It’s not that.” I open my eyes. I can do this. It’ll be fine. “It’s... I have something to tell you. Okay?”
“I’m—” My phone buzzes. I want to smash it. My mouth’s dry. I lick my lips. Mum just watches me, just waits. She’s patient. She’s always been patient. It’ll be okay. “I’m gay.”
Her lips twitch. She looks away from me, then back. She swallows, licks her lips, swallows again. She turns away, snatches up a pack of oranges and thrusts them into the trolley. She pushes our trolley forward, practically at a run. I shove my phone in my pocket and follow her.
She doesn’t look at me. “Get the shopping list, Annie.”
I just need her to stop. I need her to see me. I grab the furthest end of the trolley and pull it around toward me. It slams into my stomach, and I stagger back. She doesn’t even glance back. She wrenches the trolley away and carries on walking. I wheeze for breath, and she’s getting further away.
I run forward and catch her at the end of the aisle. “Mum? Did you—please, Mum—did you hear me?” I grab the trolley again, but this time I grab the end she’s holding. It stops, and she stops, and she glares at me but that’s okay, at least she’s looking at me, and I whisper, “Mum? Please?”
She shakes her head. “No. You’re not – no. Stay with your dad tonight.”
I step back. I lift my hands and I say, again, “Please?” She pushes the trolley forward. My vision’s all blurry. “Please,” I say to her back. She doesn’t turn around, doesn’t reply. She heads into the next aisle and I can’t see her anymore.
I sink down, crouching on the floor. There are people all around me, but nobody says anything, nobody comes near. I wipe my sleeve over my eyes and pull my phone out of my pocket. Two missed calls, five texts. I stare at the screen and a sixth text comes through.
OI, U OK???
I throw my phone as hard as I can. It strikes the floor and bounces up into the air.
|# ¿ Nov 19, 2013 21:54|
Word Bounty [137 words]
A husband and wife are meeting in a restaurant to finalize the terms of their impending divorce. Write the scene from the point of view of a busboy snorting cocaine in the restroom.
There is magic here, so close. He itches for it. He only has to bend, low to the toilet seat, and snort from that thin, that lovely, that little white line. There is music in the air, the scent of urine all around, and the door opens and he hears shouts, he hears screams—
“You’re not taking that.”
“loving stop me, bitch!”
He doesn’t care. He’s past the point of no return. He’s not paid enough for to suffer screams. He laughs, bangs his head, lets the magic roll. It’s in his throat, (in his lungs? is that what he feels?) in his belly, spreading down.
“The TV? You can get to gently caress.”
He twitches his toes. They tingle. They itch. The magic spreads, and he laughs and laughs and lays his head on the toilet seat.
|# ¿ Nov 21, 2013 16:50|
|# ¿ Oct 23, 2021 13:18|
I have to withdraw from this week. Life getting in the way, etc etc excuses excuses.
|# ¿ Nov 24, 2013 20:45|