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Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

Some new blood for the dome. I'm in.

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Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

Recovery 913 words.

There was a lake-house thirty-five miles or so out from the city, where his folks took him during the summer of twenty twenty-something, when he was just barely too young to refuse. He met her the night he arrived, her family had invited everyone around for a barbeque out near the water. He was sat right by the edge skimming stones at the gulls, and she walked up to him and opened by saying her parents had dragged her all the way from the far side of the country for some Save-The-Trees bullshit that they conned tree-huggers with. Family image sold better, they said. Dragged, by the way, in a massive RV built for six even though there were only the three of them, assholes. He laughed, and said his name was Mark. She sat next to him and said her name was Jessica. Then she picked up a rock.

They looked across the lake and together they saw a man, alone, looking back towards them. A man ragged, exhausted, with his eyes wet, bloodshot, and catching the glint of the stars.

“Bet I can hit that perv staring at us”, she said.

She lost.

---

And with the monotone whistling of the machine by her bed, that was that, she was gone. He stayed for a moment, ten, fifteen, in the illusion of silence he had created for himself. He had gotten lost, leaning over the bed and staring into her now-frozen eyes. Waiting for a blink or a twitch to let him know that he should stay a little longer. He could see through them, a little. On the other side was the face of her husband, ragged and exhausted, the fault lines dragging across his forehead, his eyes wet, bloodshot, and... starting to swell? Huh, he figured he could skip his meds for the day, given the circumstances, but maybe he was mistaken. Where had he-

His chest tightened and he coughed, once, slowly and heavily. He cringed in pain, like his sternum crawling out his throat and he was afraid it might get all the way. And then, again. He leant up and stumbled back onto the chair by the bed, stopping just barely before he threw himself onto the ground. The whine of the machine struck straight through his head, and she faded out of focus.

Not today, he thought, gently caress no not today. Gimme tomorrow or at least let me go a week or two ago, but do not let me get this close and then kill me at the last minute.

He closed his eyes and tried to stay calm, uncut fingernails digging into the armrests as his chest heaved inwards once again. And then, just as suddenly as it had started, he felt the tension in his body break. He tentatively reached a shaking, wiry hand into his trouser pocket, pulled out a tangled clump of white paper and elastic, unfurled it as carefully as his nerves would allow, and then wrapped it around his face, covering his mouth.

Leaning back into the chair, his eyes fluttering back and forth between the light fittings on the ceiling as they blurred and split, he breathed as slowly and as carefully as he could. The combined forces of relief and exhaustion. Soon, without meaning to, he had fallen-

---

He was roused gently, by the chill of the night air and the occasional scritching of a ladybug on his cheek. Snapping his eyes open, he saw the vague shapes of leaves shaking above, starlight blinking in and out from behind them, the first he had seen in such a long time. He could just about glimpse a crescent moon in his field of view, with diamond edges tapering to terribly fine points. He thought about reaching out to it, worried he might prick his finger, and felt it was worth the risk.

He hitched his chest. The air was thinner and lighter than he had gotten used to. He inhaled, and before he realised what had happened he had done as much as he needed. His lungs were straining as though they had to make this one breath count, as though he would have to hold it forever. And as he raised himself upright, twigs cracking underneath and ladybug tumbling unnoticed down the front his tattered suede jacket, it finally sank in that he had made it. Back. To when those assholes hadn't thrown their oil in the water, when someone could walk through a city without having moneybags' dick pissing smoke into your face at every turn, and when there wasn't a god drat wall of poo poo between this rock and the rest of the universe. He knew that others would be able to follow him when they found out what he'd done, how he did it, but he didn't care. There would maybe be only a few hundred of them, an even thousand, tops. Not nearly en-

He was standing in the lake, his feet just barely below the water and the water just barely below zero, staring across at a silver hair of smoke as it drifted from a few people just around the water, huddled around a crimson glow, up and into the speckled black sky. And just as he saw it break past the tops of the trees,

of the trees,

the tops of the trees, he was knocked to the ground by a round, flat pebble.

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

THUNDER DOME XXXII: Playing Angry Birds on a Derailing Train

New kid's hanging around with the bullies so they won't pick on him, and he's demanding stories based on old-timey bullshit Nero-ism "fiddling while Rome burns". Stories about or around someone's failure to react as expected to a devastating event. And it can't just be super-cool guy-who-isn't-fazed-by-anything bullshit. If your interpretation of the prompt is "something explodes and the main character doesn't look at it" then Action Movie Horseshit Dome is thataway.

Apart from that, you're all free to interpret the prompt as you will. Go for it.

The cap is 1000 words, maximum.

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

You have until 7:59am GMT March 16th to announce your entry. Same time on the 18th to get your stuff turned in. This would be the same time as last week, except some people have had Daylight Savings switches and some haven't. Daylight Savings has not yet started in the UK (i.e. where I am), and will not between now and either deadline, so I mean GMT proper, not Bull poo poo Time (GMT+1).

Fuckin. GO.

sebmojo posted:

Flash Rule

Your story must have a beautiful moment.

HERE ARE THE NAMES
Bad Seafood - The Rock of the Selfish Child
systran - Danny's Last Stand
Jeza - Speak or Hold Your Peace
Dr. Klocktopussy - Rosie's Bench for the Lonely
Echo Cian - Turncoat
Sitting Here - Bury Me with Emeralds
Noah - Second Place
Steriletom - Doubt
Nubile Hillock - heartache/lockjaw
pug wearing a hat - Death of the Author
Erogenous Beef - Coup
HaitianDivorce - The Skies Watched Back
Canadian Surf Club - Thomas Patt
CancerCakes - Nothing Bet
Kleptobot - Internet Relationship
Kaishai - It Is The Last
Fanky Malloons - Flightless Bird

Losers
Baudolino - Rural Rentboys
toanoradian
Benagain
Gray Ghost
Purple Prince

Some Strange Flea fucked around with this message at Mar 19, 2013 around 15:36

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

22 hours left to sign up. +2 days gives you 70 hours of tippedy-tappedy time remaining.

Do not sleep or worry about your pets, they are fine and/or holding you back.

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

Fanky Malloons posted:

Has the signup deadline passed?
No it hadn't.

Now it has. Dump your stuff within 48 hours or perish.

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

We're at just a little less than 12 hours remaining, and we still need stories from 13 of you.

That means one of you will submit late. Don't be that guy.

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

And that's time! Now excuse me whilst my body tries to recover from St Patrick's.

Not gonna be easy.

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

"This week's Loser is Baudolino", he says, and the Dome chants in unison "yeah no loving poo poo". Kleptobot comes in at n-1th. "Sorry, bro"

Meanwhile, on the other end of the scale, we have Funky FANKY Malloons as our winner, with a gorgeous piece about death and flamingos, and Sitting Here comes in runner-up with Angry Shut-In Falls Over (Also Introducing: Seattle).

Malloons! You're up! Have fun!

Some Strange Flea fucked around with this message at Mar 19, 2013 around 15:35

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

Here's something.

Jeza - Speak or Hold Your Peace
Liking the sense of tone and place. Didn't really feel for the framing to start with but it grew on me and I like the implications of a possible unreliable narrator. I think it came through fairly well that he might have been Peter's father throughout, so the direct quote "He's my son" is a little blunt.

systran - Danny's Last Stand
A PUA pretends to be military to pick up The One Correct Racist and then the plane gets hijacked. It doesn't have a strong feeling of fear or urgency given what's happening. I like what you tell us about what Danny does but the entire mood of the hijack just feels sterile. Even the terrorists are amorphous blobs of antagonism. "Come out immediately", "Come out immediately", "Return to your seat immediately", these things do not have the fury of a religious zealot behind them, they sound like hungover air stewards. Not feeling this one.

Steriletom - Doubt
A nice take on the Doubting Thomas story, but the flow's broken a little bit here and there. Oddly placed comma in "drug addled whore", not sure if "wondered" is a mistype of "wandered", fleeing the house and then Jerusalem feels abrupt and should perhaps be expanded into a couple of sentences, "succor" and "surcease" seem like obscure words for their own sake although I might just be deflecting my own ignorance here. But, you set the scene of bickering disciples really well. Good work.

Baudolino - Rural Rentboys
The Year is 2013.
Creative Convention,Something Awful, Internet, a 20ty year old boy is reading an abonend post. The shitcovered"Rural Rentboys"story beneath the title is barely redable,

I like how you set up the bunker, a place where love is made and important work is done, as a parallel to the bum. They're gay men, hehe.

You get the tiniest of slivers of credit for taking on Nubile Hillock's flash rule for some insane reason. I guess it was the comically evil Janitor's letting them steal the wheel was what hit the main prompt? Who cares. Awful.

Flea stepped back and gave Baudolino a huge grin-

HaitianDivorce - The Skies Watched Back
Sweary stressed out Jesus will never not appeal to me. Not sure whether the hit for the main prompt is the non-explosion of the planet or just Jesus’ character but both work well. Biggest issue is that because its established right off the bat that everyone’s sweary, the word “Christ” immediately has a double meaning, takes me out of it a little. Really fun stuff though.

Nubile Hillock - heartache/lockjaw
Alright, I’m still not really sure on this. It feels like a hazy half-memory of events, places and people and that seems to be the tone that you're going for. It’s like any time I think of something I don’t like about the story, I think “well that looks like the point” even up to the fact that at the end I’m just left a bit confused. Are the two stories contradictory, do they even involve the same people, did they even happen? There are a lot of questions. I don't know the answers. I do care though, so that's something.

Erogenous Beef - Coup
Relevance to the prompt is kind of token but it does inform a little bit about what Harrison is like. Found the back and forth in and out of Milk’s house to be a little unclear at times and wound up not being quite sure who was who, which made the ending a little weird first time. But I think the story is interesting and the twist is properly set up so that’s cool. Maybe needs a little work making the events a little clearer and making the characters more distinct.

pug wearing a hat - Death of the Author
No-one would ever say the phrase “original model PS2, the model they discontinued because it kept overheating”, not even in a conversation about the PS2. Overall its just not particularly interesting. A few nice touches of detail here and there but more noticeable lack, maybe because of the first-person perspective? Things like walking in on a naked dude perhaps warrant a little more of a reaction than “Aaaah, what the hell,”.

Echo Cian - Turncoat
Pretty literal interpretation of the prompt but okay! Good, solid descriptions but actual story was just kind of straightforward and not overly interesting.

CancerCakes - Nothing Bet
Had me right up to “metal bumblebee on steroids leapt and careened around”, which is just way too much. There’s excitement but this is just over the top. Shame, because I did like the opening cockroach => invertebrate => spineless metaphor at the start, even if it was a bit blunt.

Kaishai - It Is The Last
There’s a historical context I’m not familiar with here. Maybe I’m just dense. The story to me just seems like “stuff happens”. There doesn’t seem to be a particularly strong thread running through it. Communicates the feeling of one of a group feeling dedicated to their work pretty well but I don’t get what I’m supposed to take from the middle of it. He’s excited to be working on this thing but then he’s worried for two lines that he might not be able to finish it but then its fine? I dunno.

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

Kaishai posted:

If I didn't make the context clear, I messed up.
When I said there was an historical context I wasn't getting, I didn't mean that as a criticism of the story, just that references you may have been making to events of the time period would have been lost on me for I am a dumb-dumb.

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

Oh jesus gently caress it's been this long already.

Sitting Here - Bury Me With Emeralds
Don't have a lot to add to this one, sorry for keeping you waiting! A strong, well put-together story with a clear progression from start to finish. Edged out by Malloons despite being stronger technically, I think.

Funky Malloons - Flightless Bird
Just gorgeous. I liked this one for the winner because, despite being a little clunkier in parts than Sitting Here's (a few odd word choices and somewhat jarring tone of the dialog at the end), I preferred the setting and story.

Kleptobot - Internet Relationship
This makes no sense at all. Vague hackers are doing a vague thing. Grammar is busted in places. An undercover FBI agent posts “sorry bro” in an IRC room when he thinks the guy he’s talking to has been arrested and so serves no purpose other than to clue the reader into the big shocking twist. Don’t care.

Noah - Second Place
Massively unclear opening. So there’s Orson and there’s James and they’re brothers I guess? “That’s what Marcy wanted” Okay so Marcy’s dead? Who’s Marcy? Here’s Samantha who- Oh Marcy’s not dead okay. James is the man of the house so his dad’s dead? Is Orson the oh what he’s the son alright gently caress this I’m starting over.
Manages to pull off some fairly unsettling imagery towards the end but by that time the point’s already been made. Imaginary snake bites him and he thinks okay, gonna kill my wife. Giant fly baby stabs him and he thinks yeah alright i’m gonna kill my wife gently caress just siddown.

Canadian Surf Club - Thomas Patt
This one just flows a little weirdly. Noticeable lack of commas and occasional run-on sentences. The overall feeling I had early on (particularly because of the line "She didn't doubt a word they said." after the couple had said he was a good man) was that Samantha believed Thomas had gotten involved in some bad stuff and that she was frustrated thinking that others knew more than she did, as opposed to less. Seemed a little weird when it became clear what had actually happened.

Bad Seafood - The Rock of the Selfish Child
Overall strong, couple phrases seem odd. “I’ve never seen my brother cry. He's always been the large one” reads a little oddly, and the last line just seems to be an attempt at writing a proverb and is really heavy handed.

Dr. Klocktopussy - Rosie's Bench for the Lonely
We’ve got orgasmic again god daaang. I quite like the lighthearted feel of this one, although I'm not seeing much to the end other than "and then she turned into a tree". Few weird proofreading things here and there, but a lot of fun.

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

Hi, in.

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

When you say the deadline is Midnight EST does that mean I have more or less than 24 hours as of now?

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

i can't even

Some Strange Flea vs Canadian Surf Club
Must involve a lost technology

The Fall - 1446 words

Richard woke up in an unfamiliar place. His first breath was sharp, deep and filled his chest with something almost like air. Something heavier, wetter, and with a touch of heat to it. Inhaling it was uncomfortable. Not painful, certainly, but something that would take a bit of getting used to. There was a deep droning in the distance, soft and steady, but much closer and more prevalent was the sound of whispers. Not one, or two, or even a dozen. More than that. He could tell that somewhere nearby was a crowd trying to keep itself quiet, and failing.

“SSSH”, one voice hissed abruptly above the others, all of which followed along as it fell back down, but only for a moment. Richard opened his eyes and found himself looking at an empty sky. No clouds, no stars, no specks of brightness. All he had to confirm that his eyes were not, in fact, still closed, was the flickering glow of a flame to his right. He rolled his head over and saw a row of torches running alongside his side, stretching from his head down to his legs.

Richard sprang upright. The whispering snapped off, replaced with a quick gasp from the crowd and then silence. Expectant, anxious, fearful, perhaps? He saw that he had been laid on a stone slab, rectangular, not much bigger than he was, with torches running along three sides. The platform gave way to a drop of just a few feet onto the ground below. He was covered in white robes, a small hood crumpled behind his neck, and a brown rope tied firmly around his waist.

As he turned his head to the left, his eyes met upon another pair, staring back. This set was black, beady, and resting on the front of a large, round head which in turn stood upon a narrower stump of a body, like a light bulb. It had a short, stubby pair of legs, and matching arms. Its face was entirely smooth save for two small impressions. Richard thought them to be nostrils, but could not be sure, and if it had a mouth, he could not see it. From somewhere within it came a soft glow that shone through its pastel blue surface and revealed an intricate network of hair-thin lines that ran throughout its inside, like cracks through glass.

He pulled his eyes away and turned around to see another one of these creatures. And then another, and another. Dozens, hundreds, thousands of them. Red, yellow, green, purple, white, running outwards and upwards, in wider and wider semi-circles, until they were just pin-pricks in the distance, a technicolor horizon meeting a jet black sky. They looked at him as he sat, legs dangling from the altar in the middle of the amphitheatre, and they were all silent.

“He has come!” bellowed a deep voice, harsh and commanding. “The Slider has descended from the darkness above to deliver us from the End of Ages! Rejoice! Rejoice!”

The crowd erupted in excitement. The colours that spread in front of him turned into a churning whirlpool of lights and screams of joy. He heard the Hallelujahs, the All Hails and the Praise Be's. A red creature strode toward him, bent down on one knee and said (as far as Richard was able to attribute voices to creatures with no visible mouths), “My Lord, may I approach?”

Richard noticed how its one knee and one foot sank slightly into the ground he was kneeling on. It seemed firm, but not entirely stable. He then realised that he was unaware how to address whatever it was that was standing in front of him, or indeed whether or not it could even hear what he said. After a moment's pause, he replied, “Please, come forward... Sir? Sorry, what is your, ah, how would you like me to...” No, that wasn't right. They were expected something here, Richard couldn't break character right off the bat. Whatever it was they thought he was, it would not say "like". Prefer, maybe? Ah, Shall! “How shall I address you?”

That seemed to have worked. The bulb righted himself and walked towards him, leaving a trail in the ground which slowly filled itself in from beneath. “My Lord, I am Cardinal Granger, the most senior member of the Church of the Sixteen Ages, Keeper of the Scrolls of Cupertine, and General of the Black Guard.” He paused. Richard stared at him blankly. “Forgive me, your Holiest of Holies, for my impertinence but, alas, we must proceed with haste. If you would kindly follow Captain Jenson,” he gestured to the blue Bulb that was standing by the altar, “we shall prepare for the rest of the ceremony.” Jenson bobbed his head towards Richard and walked around the back of the altar, continuing on, away from the crowd, towards an opening in a wall which led into darkness. Above the opening was a solid black pillar set into the face of the rock, but it towered three, maybe four stories above it, with a small balcony around the base. Richard hopped off the altar and stumbled, the ground giving way a little beneath his feet. He attempted to regain his dignity, feeling the mass of eyes focused intently on him, but realised that they were unlikely to care and walked briskly towards the entrance of the caves. Touching the rock walls on the way in, he discovered that they too, like the ground beneath them, was somewhat less than solid.

---

“Thanks,” said Jenson, in a far less regal tone than Granger had outside, “for going along with that.”

“Sorry?”

“Back there. Thanks for playing along with the show. I really appreciate what you're doing for us."

“Wait, none of that was true?”

“You thought it was?” Jenson seemed genuinely confused, as though the story's falsehood was obvious from the start.

"Why would it not be?" They stepped through the doorway and torches flared up on each wall, with more springing to life as they continued on, through the light and up a slowly spiralling staircase. The sounds of the crowd outside began to fade away as they ventured upwards together, the deep humming getting louder. “Why else would I be here?”

Jenson stopped, and turned to face him. “Because a lot of people do believe it, Richard.” He sighed. “And they're scared. The Monolith up there will finish the Last Hymn and fall silent soon, and they fear what comes next. The Hymns came before even the oldest of them, before the people they love, before their families, before the two kingdoms and before even the two walls they were built upon. Everything they could possibly know or care for came after the Hymns started. Sixteen Hymns for Sixteen Ages. They don't want to find out what happens when the last one ends. But it will, soon, and we can't stop it.”

“And you don't think I can either?”

Jenson turned and started to walk on.

“I don't think you need to.”

---

Richard looked out over the balcony and across into the crowds. Behind him was the Monolith, the drone pulsing from it, reverberating inside his head, down into his stomach. Granger was down below, facing the crowds. He spoke once again, his voice amplified to be heard all over the stadium, but still barely audible on the balcony. “And now! Befor... is Excell .......... Salvation upon us ........ ymn The Fifteenth!”

The crowd stood up as one and began to sing. Richard leaned over the balcony but was unable to hear a word. Not that it mattered. If the hymns were based on what was coming out of the huge thing behind him, he doubted it would make much sense even if he could hear it. But he wanted to hear them anyway. Their Hymns represented not only the end of an Age, but also the beginning of something new. There were fifteen of them. Fifteen songs that carried not only the sorrow of loss but also the hope for change, for progress, for forgiveness. Surely he could hear just one, just a piece of one?

And then he did. Just a little. But enough.

....lieving.

Hold on to that...


And then, he remembered all at once. He remembered losing something. He remembered having his arm down the back of the sofa. He turned towards the Monolith, its black sheen towering above him, and pressed his hands against the lower-right corner. It lit up. The crowd fell into silence as they saw a civilisation's worth of awe, and of wonder, and of fear, collapse into three words:

Slide to unlock.

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

Martello posted:

gently caress
Yeah, I fell into the trap of seeing the word count as a target instead of a limit and the whole thing was just meandering and weird.

Cheers.

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Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

Oh go on then. [in]b[/in]

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