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inthesto
May 12, 2010

Pro is an amazing name!


gently caress it, time to get my poo poo ruined.

I'm in.

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inthesto
May 12, 2010

Pro is an amazing name!


Time to lose!

Civil War (911 words)

Eleven days. It had been eleven days since Joseph had known safety. Eleven days on the road, eleven days tending to this infant. Joseph knew the baby was starving. He only wished he could do something.

“What's your child's name?”

“He's not mine,” Joseph said. The soldier by his side leaned over and smiled at the infant in his arms. Joseph jerked away, waking the baby. The baby's wails reached every pair of ears in the convoy. These days it was hard to trust anyone in uniform. Though, nobody in this unit did anything abhorrent yet. Joseph let the soldier have a look. “I just found him-”

“On the street, in his dead mother's arms, as you were fleeing the city, right?” The soldier tried tickling the child's nose. The iron on his finger on scratched the delicate skin, escalating the child's protests. “Sorry,” the soldier said. Joseph was too busy rocking the boy back and forth to hear. He shuffled away from the soldier. Toxic, all of them.

The soldier fished for something in his pouches. He retrieved a banana, a bit misshapen from the days of marching. “Here.”

“You think he can eat this?”

“It's for both of you. If he can't eat it, you need the strength.” The soldier forced it into Joseph's hands. “The name's Morgans. Trooper Morgans. Don't worry, we'll be at Hillcrest by the evening. Promise. Imperial honor.”

Joseph snatched the fruit away from Morgans' hands. As little as Joseph trusted him, soldiers had easier ways to kill a refugee. Joseph tried to play a game, waving the banana through the air like a toy and landing it in the baby's mouth. The only metaphor he could craft was a spear sailing towards its target. How grisly.

Dozens of iron-clad bodies rattled at once. Morgans' too, standing at attention in an instant. Joseph had no time to think. He gasped, feeling a cold hand grab him by the wrist. Something else cold was shoved into his hand.

“Defend yourself if necessary.” As Joseph looked down at the knife he held as a spear sailed by his head. Joseph did the only thing a sane man could do. Throwing himself at the ground, he kept his head low. Shrieks from the baby's lungs complemented the battle cries of dying soldiers. War was in the air, and all Joseph could do was wait for it to end.

Something heavy fell on top of his back. With a grunt, Joseph tried to take his mind away. Maybe he could act like a real father and comfort the baby. In a hushed voice, he tried singing the only song he knew.

“Listen children, to a story
That was written long ago
Of the kingdom on a mountain
And the valley folk below

On the mountain was a treasure
Buried deep beneath a stone
And the valley people swore
They'd have it for their very own”


Blood oozed down the sides of his face. Trying to ignore the corpse on top of him, he kept singing. The spears repeatedly jabbing into whatever body was shielding him made that difficult. At least the baby's cries became laughter, like the rocking of their bodies was some kind of game. As he nearly finished his song, another voice cut off the last line.

“We've secured the hostages,” it yelled across the plains. With the sounds of fighting no longer in his ears, Joseph wanted to move. He could barely budge with the armored body pinning him down. Eventually, something threw the weight off his back and Joseph rolled over.

“Arming civilians, to make us think they're combatants. The insurgents will stoop to anything,” the new soldier grumbled as he snatched the knife by Joseph's side. The soldier's hands pulled Joseph to his feet. Joseph could only look to the body, face down and punctured with a hundred holes, wondering if that was Morgans who tried to save him. He'd never know.

“You're safe now,” the soldier said. His accent was thick, but Joseph could still understand most of the words. “The insurgent army won't be hiding behind you anymore.” Without asking, the soldier's armored hands beat at Joseph's rags, trying to shake off the dirt. “We'll get you to the nearest refugee camp, and you'll be absolutely safe there. Promise. Imperial honor.”

“How far is Hillcrest?” Maybe this one's second opinion would bring better news, Joseph reasoned. The soldier's answer brought no hope.

“No, Hillcrest is held by the insurgents. They'll use you as a hostage there. We need to march to Shield's Valley.” The man wasn't even looking at Joseph anymore. He looked back and forth, barking the occasional order at his fellow soldiers.

“How long...” Joseph trailed off. Somehow, he knew he wouldn't like the answer.

“Eleven days. Nine, if we make good time.” The soldier spouted off the words like it was no big deal. It probably wasn't to him. To Joseph, it may as well have been an eternity. The soldier leaned in towards Joseph's body, smiling at the infant in his arms. “What's his name?” the soldier asked with a chuckle. He held out his hand. “You can call me Lieutenant Morgans.”

“Get away from me.” Joseph cradled his son as he leered back.

Eleven days. Another eleven days before Joseph could be safe again.

inthesto
May 12, 2010

Pro is an amazing name!


Quick ruling question: Are we allowed to edit our submissions after posting them up in the thread?

I misunderstood the deadline and still have some editing I want to do.

inthesto
May 12, 2010

Pro is an amazing name!


Let's go.

inthesto
May 12, 2010

Pro is an amazing name!


Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em (813 words)

inthesto
May 12, 2010

Pro is an amazing name!


Count me in, jackasses.

inthesto
May 12, 2010

Pro is an amazing name!


Duet (887 words)

“Please Emmanuel, won't you come to bed?” Georgina's voice sounded so hollow these days, but Emmanuel couldn't be bothered to do something about it. His father's birthday was in three months, and he would have the piece ready. No matter how uncooperative the musicians or how naggy his wife, Emmanuel was going to write the best string quartet that his father heard from Heaven. His left hand waved Georgina away. His right was too busy writing notes on a staff.

“Leave. We will have all the time in the world once this is done.” For a moment, his focus snapped. The violins in his head stopped. They played far too slow. Allegro. Allegro, drat you! His mind's eye saw himself snapping the baton over his knee, shrieking profanities at the first violinist. You contemptible, low-born, diseased rat. Death is too good for a musician of your caliber! You are never to touch a string so long as you are in my sight, understood?

“Wait.” Emmanuel's bench creaked with age as the composer turned, grabbing his wife by her bony fingers. For a moment, he missed the days when they were plump and full of life. “Georgina, I need you to play the first violin.”

“Now you beg me for favors? Now you wish for your wife to tend to your wounded pride?” Any indignation left in her body came hissing through her teeth. “The great Emmanuel Fritz Bach, too busy to tend to his most beloved woman and violinist, only stops his fawning over his dead father to beg for her talents, long since buried!” She shook herself free of his grasp. Emmanuel's fingers had no strength to hold on.

“The words are from your own mouth. I am a Bach, and a Bach is a musician.” He clambered to stand. Pulling her in by the shoulders, he gave her a warm embrace from behind. “This isn't just for father. It's for all of us.” With an inhale, his lips kissed the back of her head, like they used to do so long ago. “You are the best violinist I have ever known, and every Bach in history deserves to hear you play.” He intertwined his fingers with hers. They still had some warmth left. “Don't do it for my family, or even for me. Do it for the memories of us.”

“But you are not yet done writing it.”

“Every morning at dawn, I shall take my rest and leave the sheet music for you. I will write for three months and you will practice for three months. It will be beautiful, love. Just like before.” Emmanuel knew Georgina wanted to cry, even if she was unable.

When he had finally sang the melody for her and tucked her into bed, Emmanuel locked himself in the piano room. The blood on the paper was still drying, but he had no time to wait. With labored breaths he rolled up his left sleeve, picked up the quill, and drove it straight into his wrist. Dragging the sharp point through flesh, the fountainhead drank blood. It stung as he pulled it out, but he had more important matters in need of attendance. It was time to write a violin solo worthy of a Bach. And it was time to write a violin solo worthy of his wife.

Three months later, and every seat in the concert hall was occupied. The acoustics of the chamber bounced every rumor of the last great Bach's descent into madness. Was it true that he had gone overboard this time? That he would conduct his own string quartet solo, having hand-picked all four musicians? That was nothing to say of their decaying marriage.

Emmanuel's ears were deaf to everything but the music. His baton waved back and forth, weaving the magic of his finest composition. Georgina played to perfection. The horse hair of her bow and the bone of her finger both resonated against the steel string of her violin. The visages of the Bachs before him began to materialize before Emmanuel's eyes. Johannes, Carl, Wilhelm, Anna... They were all smiling in approval. But Emmanuel was not one to take undue credit. He pointed the baton to his wife, point trembling in his vice grip.

Georgina's knuckles rattled as she played the perfect vibrato, the single note blooming in the entire hall.

There was a single second of silence before the audience erupted in applause. Emmanuel was still deaf to the sound behind him. He had honored his ancestors, given his wife the performance she deserved, and left behind a legacy. There was one last thing left to set right.

As he climbed onto the stage, he left a trail behind him. The blood continued to drip from both his sleeves, and his face was white as a sheet as he fell into Georgina's arms. Her bosom long rotted away, he collapsed into her ribs. They comforted him all the same. He looked up to where her eyes used to be, only hollow sockets now, but they still belonged to her. His vision began to black around the edges, and he couldn't have been happier for her skull to be the last thing he saw.

“Let's go to bed, Georgina.”

e: gdocs link

inthesto fucked around with this message at 23:35 on Nov 3, 2013

inthesto
May 12, 2010

Pro is an amazing name!


Okay, I'm done with this poo poo. If the Hawks actually won over the Lakers, I would have put up with this, but gently caress it.

CantDecideOnAName, you've been a serious rear end in a top hat to me since I've joined. You've taken every opportunity to make fun of me and grind my nose into the dirt.

But oh, one of us has a loser avatar next to their name. Lemme check to the left real quick.

Right, it's not me.

Because I'm so sure that you suck, I'm going to handicap myself. It's NaNoWriMo, right? Not that I'm fully participating, but I'm still fully confident that I can pull this. I will write 500 words for NaNoWriMo, enter into the next TD, and still write a brawl entry against you. EDIT: You know what? gently caress it, I'm doing this all on a WORKDAY. Tuesday through Sunday, I'll write all the words. And I'll still dunk on your rear end.

Think you can handle this? I'm going to write three entries at once. Come at me, bro.

e: I'm drunk so I forgot: Let's brawl

inthesto fucked around with this message at 04:21 on Nov 4, 2013

inthesto
May 12, 2010

Pro is an amazing name!


Jeza posted:

My crits are in the offing. Inthesto, if you're out there you gotta post your brawl entry or make some kinda noise or else you'll just default lose.

Sorry, real life has been jerking me around a ton lately. I'll have my entry posted within the next eight hours, as of this post.

inthesto
May 12, 2010

Pro is an amazing name!


It's time to brawl because I ain't give a gently caress

Sunlight (718 words)

Henrietta wanted up. Some of the sunlight shone down to the floor, but the windowsill was far more comfortable. She meowed. Whining always got the big guy’s attention. She swished her tail. Each pass under the sun’s glow warmed her briefly, a taste of her near future. It invited her to lie down and nap there, but the tabby never settled for less. She waited until her patience ran out. Wherever the big guy was, he was not there, carrying her up to her preferred destination.

Fine, Henrietta thought. He only would have made things easier. She did not need him, strictly speaking. Pacing in a circle, she surveyed her environment. A sofa, a coffee table, an ottoman - they were all platforms to carry her to her goal. Another day, she would have been in the mood to make it a game, but the feline wanted her nap now. The stool, the drawing board, and then the windowsill. That was her quickest path.

The leap always strained Henrietta’s legs. Not that they were short, but the stool’s seat stood far off the floor. Hopping first onto the nightstand would have been all together easier, but the cat was already next to the stool. She hesitated a few moments, ensuring she had the right distance and trajectory. Her front paws stretched towards the goal a few times in a warm-up exercise. Confident her estimates were good enough, she took the jump.

Only her front legs made it over the seat’s edge, but her claws dug in for a good grip. She continued to pull herself up until her rear legs made it to solid ground. Henrietta struggled to yank her claws free from the quilted fabric. Maybe this path would prove more hassle than she had thought, but it was too late now. If she could hop onto the drawing board, then the windowsill was mere moments away. With her heart already excited, she took no precautions. The stool to the drawing board was an effortless jump, executed dozens of times without trouble. The trick was the soft cork, perfect material for a clawhold in spite of the face’s sharp angle.

In her haste, Henrietta never noticed the stool was a few inches further from the drawing board than usual. Neither did she notice her target zone being covered with drafting paper. Not until she botched the landing.

Instead of sinking into cork with a firm grip, Henrietta’s claws tore right through the paper. Her hind paws, already unstable on the edge, skittered as they lost their footing and dangled in the air. Scraps of paper littered the air as she scrabbled for her life, paws shredding the false surface. The windowsill was getting farther and farther away while Henrietta was sliding closer and closer to the floor. The paper was endless. No matter how much the cat ripped apart, there was another sheet ready to refuse a good grip.

When the only parts of her body still on the board where her chin and her paws, Henrietta made one last grab. Stretching her with her left foreleg, she reached as far as she could and sunk her claws as deep as they would go.

They sunk into cork. Henrietta stopped falling.

She tried again with her other front paw. The first try was no good, scratching up another strip of paper. One more time and she found cork again. Now it was just like the stool. All she had to do was pull until she got her hind legs back onto the drawing board.

When she was on all fours again, Henrietta looked behind her. Good, the big guy was there. He would have been furious if he had seen the mess she’d made. But he didn’t, and she was innocent now. All that stood before her was a short hop over the high edge of the desk, and she had the sunny windowsill all to herself.

Curled into a crescent, Henrietta enjoyed the sun’s glow on her orange and black coat. Frightening as it was, the fight made the goal all the more rewarding. With a purr loud enough to fill the entire room, Henrietta let the sunlight stroke her to sleep, until the big guy would wake her up with a scratch behind her ears.

inthesto
May 12, 2010

Pro is an amazing name!


I'll judge if you're willing to tolerate a bunch of obtuse basketball jokes.

inthesto
May 12, 2010

Pro is an amazing name!


Quidnose posted:

Hey, Incesto, maybe post some GODDAMNED crits from a week ago. TIA.

gently caress your poo poo. Late crits? Ask me if I loving care. (If this is too long, say something and I'll split it into two posts)

Sitting Here - A Portrait of the Endless Scatalogical Cycle of Life and Death

You had something good going on here for a while. The equivalence of a paralyzed man being a public spectacle, much like a caged animal in a zoo. The empathy between the protagonist and the leopard. The raw, dirty fact that hormones don't stop working when the rest of your body does. And then you swerved left, floored it right through the guard rail, and pulled the pin on the grenade right as you drove off the cliff. I was willing to forgive the animal sex, but it all turned into one giant joke referencing another TD entry that I haven't read, so whatever, I no longer give a poo poo. The only praise I am willing to give is that the competence with which you wrote the first half makes the second half all the more grotesque.

Fraction - The Eye of the Tiger

Hey look, a divorce. Maybe it's just because you submitted early so I hadn't yet been soured on the theme, or maybe it's because the actual divorce has a lasting impact on the protagonist so it doesn't feel like a cheap emotional pull for "boo hoo broken family think of the children". This was one of my favored pieces for the week. Didn't beat around the bush and had the happy ending of Lily dodging the bullet of becoming an otherkin.

Lazy Beggar - Nim

I'm sorry, what the gently caress is going on here? You get a piddling amount of credit for being the only one attempting to write from the animal's point of view. That premise still doesn't excuse you from having a narrator so alien and obtuse that I can't even loving figure out what kind of animal your POV character is. You go to too great of a length to force us into the animal's brain, to the point where I had to read a single sentence three times just to figure out that Nim is being watched by a mother and daughter. And then there was something about being fed by a zookeeper and then nothing happens. You're real lucky you dodged a dishonorable mention bullet this week.

Zack Gochuck - Polar Bear

Oh cool, more divorce. Thankfully, this was one of the shorter ones, and pretty god drat straightforward. As already pointed out, deleting the text one letter at a time was a nice touch, and I only had to trudge through 450 words to get there. You get pretty heavy-handed with your metaphor, but it's tolerable for being so short.

sicklysweet45 - Half the Battle

Golly gee, look at this pure, uncorrupted youth who can see the evils of ethnocentricism! Why does this feel so familiar? Oh right, I read exactly five hundred stories with this exact same moral in middle school. The human zoo premise isn't exactly bad, but I saw the "Humans exploiting humans because DIFFERENT" message flying at me from a mile away. A couple extra hundred words could have given this piece a bit of a twist or some more depth. Or you could have used those few hundred words to write "discussion questions" for some 7th grader's homework.

Sweet Joke Nectar - Farewell to Woodland Park

Okay, there’s no poop bomb, so you’re already doing better than last week. The problem is that the plot is one extended exercise in navel-gazing and it bored me to sleep. Literally. Everything’s play so drat straight and lacking any real investment in the characters that it becomes “Two brothers had a crappy dad and they talk it out.” Next time, throw in some salt and vinegar to make it interesting and palatable.

Nubile Hillock - A bird story

You deserve a special kind of award, because you wrote a story that's every bit as incomprehensible as the one told from a monkey/tree sloth/tribble's point of view, and you don't even get the excuse of a non-human POV character. Some guy has a stupid, lovely life and there's a banjo and a cowboy hat. Seriously, what the gently caress is going on? Even if there were page breaks between each day, there's eight or nine characters, none of whom are actual people. Final nail in the coffin? You spent more words writing about brand names for shoes than you did on zoos. Good loving job.

crabrock - It's All Happening

Another story where a lovely zoo reflects a lovely family, but this one is at least kind of funny. No surprise that most of the stupid tiny details were the best parts. I should probably be angry at you for making me laugh at a mentally handicapped child, but gently caress it. Unfortunately, the divorce punchline didn’t really get much out of me, but that’s probably because this week’s entries managed to make me tired of divorce in roughly 15 minutes. Also, shame on you for not revealing that the lion was actually a dog.

Kaishai - The Worth of What We Love

I don’t have much to say about this one. It sports a clear (if easy) metaphor, packs characterization into a tiny space, and is actually about forming a loving family rather than splitting one up. This was my favorite for the week.

Erogenous Beef - Untamed

Two good stories in a row and neither of them have divorce in them. This might not be a coincidence. Loved the dialogue-heavy approach and the sense of inevitable regret. My only complaint is that naming the guy “Bear” made me picture Bear Grylls squeezing elephant poop over his face the entire time. On second thought, that’s not much of a complaint at all.

Nikaer Drekin - Homo Delphinidae

On the one hand, you avoided beastiality. On the other hand, you still snuck divorce in there somehow. You spent too much time talking about a life story that’s boring and not enough time exploring the mental state of a creeper who thinks he’s a dolphin in real life. Your narrator is supposed to be creepy, right? And frankly, I just don’t buy that a film crew would want to make a documentary about a local sex offender whose fursona is a cetacean.

TheRamblingSoul - The Tyger

Featuring one-dimensional characters, a teenager who’s too stupid to live, and a plot that’s predictable within the first few sentences. Since you’ve already taken plenty of beating from the other judges, I’ll pile on the pain by narrowing down to a specific point: Your dialogue sucks. “The guards are probably out here looking for people like us and I’d rather not show up home in the back of a police car.” Just read that out loud to yourself. Does that sound like anything any living human being would say? While that’s the most egregious example, most of the spoken words are equally bad. And then there’s all the other poo poo you did. Staying firmly within the prompt is pretty much the only thing that saved you from losing this week.

Bad Seafood - Nests

Sasha has unseeing eyes, and yet Yuri is communicating to him in sign language. Oops. Hiding the facts from your doesn’t-know-poo poo, might-be-Hellen-Keller grandson is a cute vehicle, but you’re really beating us over the head with the collapse of the Soviet Union thing. There’s something slightly twisted under the surface of this piece that needs some extra fleshing out. Could have benefited from a carefully crafted extra hundred words or so.

sebmojo - Outside the Walls

I’m just going to stop mentioning the D-word now. You got to the point, and fast, so I’m thanking you for that. Then there’s a dead child (READ: completely unnecessary melodrama bomb) at the end. You overshot with the ending, and in the context of being one of the later entries that largely featured the same theme, my eyes glazed over the same time Sarah Louise’s did. Hopefully the last line implies Eloise is going to jail, regardless of how little sense that makes.

Tyrannosaurus - Trying to be a Father

You gave away too much in the title. Still, this piece is cute and features a tiny reveal at the end that changes the nature of the story without involving erect penises, vomit, or dead children. Not much else for me to say beyond that I thought this was one of the better entries this week.

inthesto
May 12, 2010

Pro is an amazing name!


My misguided, amateur studies in anthropology finally pay off.

In.

inthesto
May 12, 2010

Pro is an amazing name!


This might be too historically accurate to qualify as science-fiction tropes. It's a good thing I'm bad at doing research.

Master of Nature (436 words)

“Submit, and I will allow your archers to join mine, Petro.” Ivan said. He crossed his arms.

“You think you can bluff me? My bows number in the hundreds, and I know you have barely a dozen.” Petro looked back at his army, like he needed to ensure they were still there. The dozens of bodyguards that clung to him like a shadow stood at attention. One command, and they would stick Ivan like an elk. “Go ahead and raise ten thousand spears. My arrows will always win.”

“Always stuck in the past.” Ivan's grin possessed enough force to make Petro stumble back a few steps. “You have arrows, but I have thunder.”

Not allowing Petro a moment to retort, Ivan stuck his fingers in his mouth and whistled. The low rumble of thunder filled the plains, quickly drowning the echoes of his signal. Petro and his men all crouched and looked to the sky. Not a cloud in sight; the weather was as clear as Petro's cowardice.

“He's lying!” The vibrations in the ground must have been stronger than Ivan realized, the way they reverberated all the way up to Petro's voice. “It's all a trick, no man can control the skies!” Less than a minute had lapsed when Petro and his bodyguards found their spines, but it was too late. All of them turned white as bone when they witnessed the incoming thunder on the horizon. Some fumbled to draw an arrow while others discarded their weapons and ran. Petro was the only one to curl into a ball on the ground. Petro's archers were already broken, but Ivan's cavalry smashed them to dust.

Grass bowed before the incoming breeze. Hooves trampled some men while charging spears impaled others. Most ran away, unwilling to face the terror of a man atop a horse. Screams of violence, pain, and bloodshed melted together into one vocal massacre. Broken bodies littered the steppes, dyeing the green with red. As quickly as the horses had stampeded in, it was over. Just enough time for Ivan to have one hearty laugh.

“What do you think?” Ivan said as he grabbed Petro by the neck and lifted him off his feet. Ivan's soldiers trotted around, forming a rank behind their leader. Petro choked, and it was not from the force of Ivan's hands. “You may have mastered arrows, but I have mastered nature.”

“I submit.” Even with only his toes barely touching the ground, the tremors were still in Petro's voice.

“You submit, chief.”

“I submit, Chief Ivan.”

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inthesto
May 12, 2010

Pro is an amazing name!


Midnight, awoken
Sudden craving for bacon
Grease burns on my dilz

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