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JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I am in for my first Thunderdome. WOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

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JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

740 Words I did my best to do 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6. I really hope this is not poo poo.
The End
It was cold in the freezer. The sort of cold that attacks the nerves in your fingers until every graze burns. It was

cold and he was alone … with them.

The robbery had not gone as expected. In fact, some would say that it had turned into a slaughter. His entire crew was

taken out within minutes by the things that worked here in this restaurant. Things that were now searching for him.


Things that would find him. Things that would kill him. Already, he could hear them outside the door. They were

whispering to him. They knew him. The handle was turning, the door was opening, the end was upon him.

An Interlude
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Too far ahead. Let’s go back to the dawn of the day. Let’s go back to the

beginning.

The Beginning
Shep and his crew had taken their positions around the restaurant. Some stood in line, others sat at tables, and one

stood at the door. This door was the only way in and out of the building. The town, having a strange fear of

outsiders, had mandated that any building built by a man whose father had not been born in the town must have only one

exit. All were held to this law, and since a corporation possessed the same rights as an individual it was also to be

bound by the laws of the individual.

Shep, standing at the entrance, had found this to be ironic. Having spent a small amount of time working at this

place, he knew that individuality was not a thing among these hamburger fanatics. He’d been the only townie among them

and he’d seen first hand their ways of interacting. It was downright creepy the way they would finish each others

sentences.

“Shep,” said Jeff, a small man standing off to the side near the restroom, “ are you sure about this?” Jeff was always

asking Shep questions, always making sure that he was sure. Shep might have been the brains of their group, but Jeff

was the conscience.

“Of course, I’m sure.” Shep replied.

And he was sure. He was sure this would be easy, and that the freaks would give up quickly. They were a docile lot:

always eager to please and brimming with humility. Shep gave a quick signal, and his friends pulled out their guns. It

was time to get this show on the road.

The Middle
“Alright, guys,” Shep said, not leaving his point on the door, “you may remember me from a little while before. I used

to work here, but that was a front. I was casing this place, and now I’m robbing it.”

Shep found that these things usually went better when you were up-front about them. Normally, the people would all

start to scream and his guys would do floor work, keeping the situation under control. They robbed businesses early in

the morning, in order, to minimize the amount of people present. At this moment, the only people in the building

present were Shep’s crew and the employees. This should go smoothly, the operative word being “smoothly.”

After Shep had made his announcement, he’d expected his hostages to become agitated, maybe even try to resist. He had

not expected them to continue about their tasks as if men with guns were not standing all around them. He’d not

expected a lot of things. He’d not expected to hear the crunch of bone as Jeff was embraced by one of the employees.

He’d not expected to see the head ripped off of the man nearest him. He’d certainly not expected to reach behind him

and find the handle of the door to be locked.

“Well this isn’t going well,” he said, emptying a clip into the nearest creature. The thing, certainly not human,

didn’t even flinch as the bullets bounced off of its body. With nary a thought for his compatriots, Shep ran to the

nearest barrier between him and those things that he could think of; The Freezer.

The End
The door was opening, and a creature was in the room in less time than it took a man to think about blinking.

“Hello, human,” the creature said, “I am Legion. I am not your end. I am your beginning. You shall be part of me, and

I shall be part of you. Who are you?”

“I am Legion,” Legion said.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Yay! I'm a part of something. Next week is gonna be another notch on my belt.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

That's about the critique that I expected. All I can promise is to do much better next time. I will wear my shame with the proper shame required of someone so ashamed.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I am in.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

quote:

JonasSalk vs. magnificent7
800 Words or less. loving deal with it and loving make the words COUNT (pun intended).

Missed Opportunity - 742 Words

“Go talk to her,” Dan said, “say something. Say anything.”

“No,” I said back, my voice dripping with an urgent trepidation.

“Why not,” he asked.

“What would I even say,” I replied.

“I don’t know. Say something. Say anything.”

-

Of course, it isn’t that easy. It never is. What do you say to a creature you’ve never met. A creature totally unknown to any of your kind. Who are you to presume that you could ever be worthy of its time?

I was no one. I was nothing. She was everything.

She was walking right towards me. Not in my general direction. No. She was walking right towards me. My heart was beginning to beat faster, my stomach was flip flopping. Did she have some airborne disease? Did my death loom in front of me, growing closer with every passing step?

I felt a nudge at my back. Dan was pushing me forward, toward what might be my death.

“Say something to it,” he said.

-

I walked forward and met her halfway. She was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Her hair spread out down her back, the bottom part coming together in a braid. Her eyes were a light blue, and they seemed to laugh at me. Wait, no. Not at me. They laughed at some joke that I couldn’t hear. A joke that I was desperate to know. Her mouth was red, and succulent. I wanted, for some strange reason, to wrap my lips around them and never let go.

She broke the ice first.

“Hello,” she said, “my name is Kathy. I am a Female.”

When she said her name, a bit of the tension seemed to ooze away from us.

“Well,” she asked.

“Oh,” I said, “my name is Raz. I am a Male. Pleased to meet you.”

I was pleased to meet her, but I had not wanted to say that. I had wanted to be coy, but my tongue got tied and those words came out instead.

Now she was looking at me strangely, like she couldn’t believe I could speak. I knew the feeling. Up until she spoke to me, I had not been sure she would be able to speak at all.

“Who are you,” I asked.

-

Her name was Kathy and her people lived beyond the Valley of Curves. They had only recently made that place their home, and she was part of an exploration party meant to find out how safe the area was. There were hundreds more of her people, waiting just beyond the curves.

With this first contact, we silently agreed to return to our friends.

My friends were waiting for me, jumping out of their clothes with excitement. As I moved closer I could see their faces sag with relief. They had been unsure if I would make it out of the situation unscathed. Only now did I realize that my stomach had stopped flopping and my heart was no longer beating faster than the light of a clear moon.

“Well,” one of them asked me, “how did it go?”

“There are more of them,” I said.

-

That night our war council met and decided what must be done. The creatures were beautiful, and probably filled with all sorts of magics. They must be caught and taken and brought back here. They must be properly cared for.

I was not so sure about this for I had spoken to one of them; she had not seemed in need of our help. When I tried to voice this concern I was shot down. This was still the war council and I was a man of the second rank. My voice carried weight among boys and old men, but not among the fighters. They who are the best of us.

So, it was decided that we would strike that night. Under the cover of darkness, we made our way through the valley of curves and then beyond it. We struck hard and fast, but they had been waiting for us. They had been ready. We came in among them, pouring from the mouth of the valley where the bend had been most pronounced.

The battle went swiftly, and many of us did die on both sides. There were no terrible magics that night, but there was a terrible gnashing of teeth, and in the end, neither of our sides proved victorious. The field was strewn with the dead and dying.

JonasSalk fucked around with this message at Apr 29, 2013 around 01:13

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I think you're getting dubstepped at.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Another loss for my belt. Thank you for the crits, systran. Now I gotta rewrite. And expand.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'm in. Writing for Fantastic Fantasy: Where the Fantasy is Fantastic.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Here enclosed for your eyes Fantastic Fantasy: Where the Fantasy is Fantastic is a tale with fantastical elements that I think you will enjoy.

----------
What Lies Below (993 Words)

Dan walked down Barks Street towards the home of Stingy Bisset, his uncle and the richest man on the planet. Uncle Stingy had called him, at four in the morning, sounding like his entire fortune had been stolen. Dan thought back on that strange call.

“Hello,” Dan said, the sound of sleep falling off his tongue as quickly as dew slips from a blade of grass after a hound goes running.

“Dan,” Uncle Stingy said, “they got it. They got it all.”

“Who got what, Uncle Stingy,” Dan asked.

“Why those filthy rotten, no good Uncle Sam’s Boys,” Uncle Stingy screamed.

All in all, it wasn’t the strangest call Dan had received from Uncle Stingy over the years, but it seemed urgent and Dan thought it best that he leave as quickly as possible.

That’s why he now found himself knocking on Stingy’s door at five o’clock in the morning.

“Dan,” came a voice from the other side of the door, “is that you out there, boy?”

“Yes.”

“Well don’t be a fool, boy. Get in here and be quick about it.”

The door opened letting a thin strand of light fall out onto the street. Gradually, that strand grew bigger and bigger until it was just big enough to reveal the massive wall of fat that was Uncle Stingy.

He was easily big enough to conceal two men, and Stingy had heard tales of men resting between the flesh of Uncle Stingy’s neck in worse times. Times before Stingy had made his wealth.

Dan walked into the house and noticed, as he often did, that it was almost entirely bare. No rugs, or chairs, or desks. Were it not for the crystal orb sitting on a long wooden leg in the room’s center: Uncle Stingy’s parlor would have been utterly bare.

The crystal orb was at the heart of his Uncle’s wealth. When he had been young and building his empire, he had come across this item during his travels. With it, Uncle Stingy had been able to deduce the secrets of the world’s most powerful men, and then sell them back to the families he’d “procured” them from for a reasonably small fee. If a family said no to his offer, Uncle Stingy would merely take the secret and offer it to that family’s biggest enemy for a reasonably large fee.

After years and years of this spying, Uncle Stingy was richer than Satan and hated more. It was no surprise that Uncle Sam and his Boys had finally decided to strike down on the old man. You make a powerful man angry enough and he’ll send society’s foundation sliding right towards you.

“Move the gently caress along, Dan” Uncle Stingy shouted, “I haven’t brought you here to stare at my bloody loving ball.”

Dan followed his uncle through the halls and into the back rooms and then down into the basement: here his uncle’s wealth was horded. So many gold coins and dollar coins and bills. The room actually looked fuller than ever.

“Well, boy,” Uncle Stingy said, “look upon it and weep. The great Bisset fortune laid bare. They took all of it.”

“All of what,” Dan asked.

“All me money, boy,” his uncle wailed. “They came in here screamin about their taxes and saying that it was fair time I paid my due. Saying that a man like me should be happy to give to their programs for the poor.”

So, that was how Dan learned that it finally happened. The tax man had come down and claimed his share and now Uncle Stingy was gonna be whining about it for the rest of Dan’s life.

“What do you think I should do, Dan,” his uncle asked.

“About getting your money back?”

“No. No. Nothing to be done about that. Morgan Le Fair herself was the one that actually took it. She said all the proper spells and such and whisked it away to their private vaults. No, I mean, about the bodies over there next to me golden ducats.”

The bodies had been crushed by Uncle Stingy himself. He had waited until Morgan Le Fair left, and then when these men were thinking of a way to move the last five percent of the twenty percent of Uncle Stingy’s that was rightfully theirs he’d fallen on them. Using his girth to his advantage the men had been pressed deep into the golden carpet beneath them, and they now more closely resembled two flattened boxes than they did two members of the F.B.I.

“Well, I’ll be damned,” Dan said, “look at what you did.”

“I know very well what I did,” Stingy said. “I was merely walking towards them with this knife when I tripped on this box of greenbacks. Before you arrived it was very messy, but I had Carla down to clean it up.”

Carla was an illegal immigrant with a very slippery grasp on English. Uncle Stingy employed her because she was discreet and cheap.

“Nevermind whatever you’re about to say, Dan. I need you to cover the bodies with the money while I go for me morning lie down.”

Only then did Dan see the shovel next to the bodies. He gathered his wits and picked up the shovel and began to send a steady golden shower upon the men. After five minutes of effort, the shower began to trickle down and Dan stepped back to admire his handy work. The bodies would never be found now for they rested under enough gold to fund the Treasury.

Dan found his uncle lying placidly on a lake of dollar bills. You’d never think he’d just finished crushing two men.

“Well, it’s done,” Dan said. “The bodies are buried.”

“Good, good. Now get out. I made my strike for liberty today. Now you go make yours, boy.”

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

magnificent7 posted:

I hate to say it, but your crit makes no sense to me. Were you looking for a lasting impression like, a car blows up? A kid gets raped? What?

He means your story doesn't stay in his mind after he finishes it. It falls through the cracks like so many grains of sand.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Go ahead and pick mine for me. I'm about to rise to the occasion on this one! Also, I am in.

Edit: The bar is pretty low for me. Baby rising.

JonasSalk fucked around with this message at May 8, 2013 around 20:15

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Song: Switzerland

Aphorism: Wish not so much to live long as to live well.

Do the young die? (658 words)

Young people never appreciate death.

Chuck thought as he drove his car down the road. He was the only old man he’d ever seen: a genetic quirk thought to have been eradicated like measles and the common cold. For the most part, people no longer grew old. People no longer died.

Chuck was old and he was dying. He was so close to the brink this time, and the doctors had given up on their hopes to cure him. Yes, they had prolonged his life to the point that he was the oldest old man to ever live, but with age had come new diseases that the doctors had not been able to even put a scratch on. He was always so tired and his body was shutting down regardless of the new drugs the doctors would cook up on the spot to combat a new illness.

Chuck was dying and that was that.

#

These kids are far too trusting of an old man.

Chuck thought to himself as he pulled to a stop and let three young people into his little car.

“Oh poo poo,” said the youngest of them, “you’re that guy from tv. The old guy. The world’s old guy.”

Yes, Chuck was that guy from tv. He was “the world’s old guy”, and that had always been fun enough. With age had come a legitimate celebrity and Chuck had enjoyed it. He’d enjoyed being an oddity, and was a regular on the late night talk shows due to his quick wit and easy going sense of humor.

“So, where you guys headed,” Chuck asked.

“It doesn’t really matter,” the youngest of them said, “anywhere but here.”

“That’s funny,” Chuck said. “I was headed that way too.”

#

I bet a gun could kill them.

Chuck was one of the few people in the world able to own a gun, having reached a biological age where he was eligible to possess one. Most people stopped aging at 16, and a few went so far as 17, but almost no one reached 18. The clock turned off around this time and never turned back on.

His gun was in the glove compartment, and he had planned on shooting himself later that day. He’d decided to drive as far as possible, put the gun to his head, pull the trigger, and ask God why he had to be so drat mean. He figured a direct approach was the only way to get the man’s attention.

Now with people in the car, he was beginning to see how foolish of an idea that had been. Why should he be the only recorded death in the last 200 years? It didn’t seem all that fair to him. No, when he stopped this car later that day, he was gonna kill all of them.

#

I hope they lived well.

The kids had gone into a gas station along the road. Chuck was outside the car pumping gas when he’d heard a loud bang followed by the three young people rushing out of the store and into his car.

“What happened in there,” he asked as he turned the key in the ignition and began to pull out of the parking lot.

“Nothing much,” the youngest said. “Just a misunderstanding over some money. Now listen, old man. We need this car. You’ve come far enough, we think.”

There was slight struggle and then a hard muzzle pressed to the back of Chuck’s head and then a door was opened and Chuck was sent sprawling into a grassy area next to the road.

He hadn’t even been able to grab his own gun. Not that he’d needed it now. At his age, a fall from a moving vehicle was as good a way to get killed as a bullet to the head.

Chuck had lived well.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'm in.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Thanks for the crits, Kaishai. Improving is pretty much all I want to do, and it's nice to know that I am.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Dead Don't Talk (490 words)

The car was parked down the road, where Buck had said it would be. Buck, his hair pulled back in a ponytail, was sitting in the driver’s seat.

Carl opened the door and sat down in the back.

“Hey, man,” Carl said.

“Hey, Carl,” said Buck, “how did it go in there?”

“Uh, bad, man. Really bad.”

#

“So, you gonna tell me what happened in there?” Buck asked as he rolled a joint. The joint was pretty fat and Carl wasn’t sure how Buck was able to roll the thing and continue to drive the car.

“No, Buck,” Carl said. “The less you know, the better.”

“Alright. I take it you guys didn’t score the cash.”

“Hey, listen, man. Give me a second to breath. Stop crowding me with all the lip talk.”

They drove in silence for a long while. Buck hosed around with the radio. He was just tuning in to WQD40 when he heard Carl say something.

“Pass me that joint, Buck.”

Carl took a drag off the joint and then passed it back to Buck.

The silence continued until Buck thought he could take no more. He was just about to speak up when something white caught his eye.

“You slippery son of a bitch,” Buck said. “Is that the pawn? He gave you the loving pawn. Why?”

“Because he’s dead.”

“Oh.”

#

His brother was lying in a puddle of blood. There were too many bullet wounds to count, and Carl was sure he was dead. In shock, Carl didn’t even bat an eye when the dead man opened his eyes and reached for him.

“Carl, man. Come here,” the dead man said.

Carl didn’t move an inch.

“I think I’ll stay over here,” Carl said. “I mean, what with you being dead and all.”

“Oh yeah,” the dead man said and then his hand fell back to his side and his eyes closed and he was quietly dead again.

Carl went over to the body, rooted around in the pockets and found the pawn.

#

“So, that’s how he died,” Buck asked.

“Yeah, I shot him. Took the pawn and the cash and now I’m here … with you.”

The air in the car got a little thicker with those last words.

“Buck,” Carl said, “how do you want this to end?”

“With me alive, I guess.”

“Nah.”

And then Carl pulled a trigger three times; pumping three shots into the seat in front of him. The car, which had been doing about 80 in a school zone, suddenly developed an interest in off road racing. Sadly, its career was short lived when it touched base with a tree: Sonny Bono style.

#

The chessboard had been passed down through the family from father to son. Carl’s dad had bought it for him last Christmas.

“Checkmate, Carl,” Billy said right after beating his older brother for the fifth time straight.

Carl was getting tired of losing to Billy.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Another week where I am not the worst. Yay!

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'm in. I won't win, but I'm in.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Fairy Tales (718 words)

The darkest room in the house belonged to Cinderella and she spent long hours in it, because her stepmother was a cruel evil bitch. In fact, Cinderella was quite sure her stepmother was The Cruel Evil Bitch.

Her mother had died several years earlier, and her father had been quickly snatched off the market by Stepmother (Cinderella had been instructed by Stepmother to refer to her only as Stepmother). Almost over night, Cinderella’s relatively peaceful home life had been cast under the shade of what was, at the best of times, malicious neglect.

Recently, things had begun to take a turn for the better; Cinderella met her fairy godmother, and went dancing at a local ball thrown by the most charming man in the realm.

Prince Charming was perfect, and that night she left him a glass slipper as a token of her appreciation. Somehow, Stepmother had found all this out (curse Twitter) and when Cinderella arrived back home she found that her glorious high speed Internet had been replaced with dial up and adding Prince Charming on Facebook was drat near impossible due to parental blocks that had been placed on her account.

Time and time again, Cinderella had been beaten by her stepmother (she had the bruises to prove it) but this time she’d been cut off from the one thing she could not live without. What was a girl to do?

Strangely, Stepmother had not seen fit to remove access to the infamous AOL chat rooms—unbeknown to Cinderella her stepmother was actually hoping she’d be abducted—and it was on one of these that Cinderella found out her stepmother’s secret.

While perusing XXXFANTASYTALES, Cinderella was drawn into chat with a strange man:

WickedSecrets: ASL?

CutFeet: 17, F, English.

WickedSecrets: How are you?

CutFeet: Not so well.

WickedSecrets: Aww … What’s wrong?

CutFeet: My stepmother is a bitch. She disconnected my broadband and got us hooked up with dial up instead.

WickedSecrets: …

WickedSecrets: Wow. Give me a sec.

CutFeet: Ok.

RudeandNasty enters XXXFANTASYTALES

RudeandNasty: This is so loving gay.

RudeandNasty exits XXXFANTASYTALES

WickedSecrets: https://www.thebitchisevil.com. Go there. Sounds like it might be up your alley.

CutFeet: What is it?

WickedSecrets: Answers to your problems.

CutFeet: Thanks. I’ll check it out.

WickedSecrets: Cool. You want to cyber?

CutFeet: No.

CutFeet exits XXXFANTASYTALES

WickedSecrets: That’s the last time I try to be a nice guy.


Cinderella had visited the site and been surprised (and a tad disappointed) that it wasn’t some weird fetish porn thing. Instead, she found a tumblr devoted to girls across the country who had been plagued by an evil stepmother. The details of how the evil stepmother entered their lives bore an eerie resemblance to her own circumstances and the way each girl’s story ended was always tragic. One of the girls fell into a coma and never woke up. Another girl had choked to death on a piece of poisonous apple. Her body had been found in the woods by a gang of dwarves on work release from the state penitentiary.

The stepmother was always described as being tall and fair of skin and almost as beautiful as her victims. It didn’t take a genius to connect the dots and see that Stepmother was the same person as all these other girls stepmothers. Cinderella knew what must be done if she ever wanted to see her charming prince again.

The bitch in the room across the hall had to die.

She waited until she was sure that her stepmother was baking cookies (one must never kill on an empty stomach). After several cookies and three glasses of milk, she entered into battle with the beast. Her stepmother was bigger but caught off guard, and Cinderella was young and spry. After a few moments of struggle, the beast had been vanquished into the pizza oven. Her demon screams brought her father rushing into the kitchen, but Cinderella had the forethought to break the latch off the oven. She knew that her father was under Stepmother’s spell, and didn’t want him to do something they’d both regret later.

Epilogue

Prison had been bad for Cinderella, but the death penalty was worse. The state of Florida had tried her as an adult, and decided that her crime was of the most heinous nature. Somewhere, Stepmother was laughing.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I think I lost. Also, thank you for the crit.

Edit: It wasn't set in the modern time: Thought I should clarify.

JonasSalk fucked around with this message at May 27, 2013 around 22:47

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

crabrock posted:



Not trying to be [too] mean, but every time you post about how awesome your ideas are I want to smack you.

With a rock?

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I never decided to use writing books as a manual on what must be done. You could try that, Mag7.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'm in.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Oh poo poo, I totally flaked. I will not flake out on the judging, though. Now I feel like a piece of poo poo,

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Nubile Hillock gets to be the first victim of my critting.

Nubile Hillock posted:

Feathers 453 words

The Erinyes rode in on trumpet blasts and Gods applause. The Olympiad had begun. Claps turned into dusty thunder-strikes: hooves on stone. I shifted the pebbles on the floor – first a line, then an angle, now round as the seal on my fate. The couriers would be here soon, bearing laurel. My mind’s eye saw the oracled words lit like torches.

I took my skin and drank the lees, sweet wine dripping over the pebbles.

“Sealed with the blood of another,” the infernal messenger once spoke to me, and again now – her voice woven across time’s tapestry. This is really nice. How can I possibly critique a guy who came up with "her voice woven across time's tapestry"?

Outside there was only silence. The King was speaking. A knock at my door; quiet, urgent. I cast the stones across the room, restored them to their natural order: chaotic, lawless, bloodstained. The men crossed the threshold. I stood.

“Draco, God-favoured sage! It is time!” Agathon said.

I embraced them as brothers; knelt when they crowned me with laurel. Outside, the cart was already waiting. The oil-blessed tablets shone in the midday sun; my words burned into their faces. And they were mine, not passed down through quiet coughing of dying men or handed down from vengeful Gods.

I got onto the cart, as did Agathon. The other man walked beside us, arms heavy with wreaths. The trumpets blared, applause erupted once more. The wagon pulled us ahead – a sum of working parts. An axle, a wheel, leather and nails. Each proscribed and measured and crafted from an ideal – should not such be the actions of men?

The crowd was all around us now, the aether filling with sounds. Over this I could hear the Erinyes speak, their infernal tongue there and gone all at once. Anger; but I’d broken no pact.

“Men!” I bellowed, raising my arms, “I give you Law!

The crowd cheered, euphoric. All went dark. Sounds like flapping of enormous wings, my body weighed down by shades. The Erinyes had come to claim their dues. But it was too late, the deed was done. No longer would a God barter with the soul of man. I collapsed under their weight, yet more still came. I could barely hear the crowd. This made me laugh. I find it really funny that he doesn't just step to the side.

I saw myself in Hades, but I’d known it all before. My eternity was to be a single moment. That night they’d come from Athens, to steal my father’s swine. Scared, I ran from the attackers. I heard my brother’s cries. I’d paid the Gods then, in my brother’s blood, asked for mercy and for vengeance. The Gods had named their price, but I vowed to never let another follow in my path.

I could feel the heat of Hades across the cold darkness of the Styx, it wouldn’t be long now.

I really like this. Probably, because I have a soft spot for anything at all to do with Ancient Greece, and also because, well, a dude was suffocated by clothing and you somehow made that interesting and compelling. You, a much better writer than me, make critiquing hard, because I feel like I should be trying to find something off, but I like it all. The piece is very fast-paced, probably because of the word count, but it doesn't matter, because it works.

Hmm, I guess it could be a tad clearer as to what the Erinyes are, but I was in IRC when you talked about it, so I am not at all confused. Plus, the Google.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

PoshAlligator posted:

Here's my official entry for this week, as the Draco one was just a bonus. It's two for the price of one with me, this week only. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offers. Terms and conditions apply.


Swaying In The Wind
[941 Words]

Never really done much with my life. Never really cared to try. Guess you could say I'm just the type content to lounge in the sun all day and just sway in the wind. And I'm not the only one. Out here that's like our mantra. 'Welcome to Lake Pleasant Park', and underneath: 'monarchiam in ventum' or whatever it is. I can't attest to knowing much but this girl used to hang around me a lot, read her Latin text books, do her school homework. You pick up a thing or two around that.

Because, yeah, me and the rest of us don't like to do much, and aren't sociable by nature, but it's not like we hate the presence of people. It's a rural area, sure, but sunny and titularly pleasant, so there's a nice amount of people coming by. Maybe they hang out, read their books in the sun or look at the stars in the night, or maybe they just walk on by and we watch them silently and let them be on their way.

So naturally when this jackass shows up nobody really thinks much of it at first. Sure, he arrives on the scene in a beat up pick-up truck with an ageing bright red paint job that almost literally screams “hill billy”, That's hillbilly but whatever. It's what's on the inside that counts, right? Aren't we all just water underneath anyway? Every cactus is water, man. Pass me that bong.

The beer and the shotgun are what really tick the boxes on the jackass box. When he swings his legs out of the door he slides the final beer out of a six pack and swigs it, holding his shotgun as he does. When he's finished he throws the parched husk onto the ground, grabs another six pack, carries it round to the back of the truck, and grabs a folded chair.

For a while it seems like maybe he's just going to slam down a few beers sitting in the sun. Foolishly, everyone begins to rationalise the presence of the shotgun, to throw it away. Not that we really could have done anything otherwise. Because they're just a bunch of cacti.

The shooting begins as the sun sets.

It's a shock, but it's nothing terrible at first. The man just seems to be shooting his shotgun into the sky. Perhaps aiming at imaginary birds. As the sky gets darker, however, so does his intent. Eventually he turns the gun on one of my friends, the closest to him, and pulls the trigger. Before I realized these were cacti, I got a little sad when the dude started mowing them down with a shotgun.

This shot, more than those preceding it, echoes a thousand times more intently through the surroundings. Then it's followed by the sickly sound of a cactus slumping to the ground: a soft crackling as it loses its grip on the rest of its body followed by a soft snap; then a heavy dull thud as its pins stick into the ground, no bouncing; then the water begins to leak out, like the bubbling of a small creek. This paragraph has some really excellent description.

Systematically he moves onto the next. His beginner's luck has worn off, replaced by alcohol, and it takes him a few shots to fell the next, and the one after that. As my friends are destroyed one by one I see his path will eventually lead him towards me. And then beyond me. Unless I can stop him. I am forced to wait while the slaughtering takes place, to wait my turn. After I realized he was just cutting down cactus with a shotgun, I kinda wanted to get past all that to the actual death. I can only take so much cactus shooting.

He reaches me, and levels his shotgun, a mean grin on his face. I see my fate in those two black barrels. He shoots and misses. It's then that I realise what I must do.

He reloads and aims again. I watch him intently, standing him down. He has a tell, an easy one. A twitch above his right eye, just before he pulls the trigger. As he does, I sway away from the direction he's pointing. Another miss. He reloads hastily, and only takes a few seconds to aim this time. Again, I sway away. This happens another few times, and the man curses. He swears as he reloads the shotgun. Then he pauses. He smirks, chuckles, and looks at me. He takes a few steps toward me, so he is below me. If the sun was still out, he would be well within my shadow. But it isn't, and we are all in the dark. Is there such a thing as too much showing?

He puts the cold barrel of the gun against my mottled, hard, green skin, between my pins.

He pulls the trigger.

There is a dull, wet explosion, and the man yells, shielding his eyes from the chunks of my meat. Blinded like this, he does not see me begin to fall. He does not see me falling forward, toward him. Lunging forward instead of slumping backward. As he feels my weight he lets out another scream. It echoes, but not as much as the sounds from his gun. It is a much weaker noise altogether.

So I lie here, my pins pinning him to the ground. He is silent and unmoving, and I know my spines have tasted his blood as they feel wet and gooey. I can't move. I can't feel myself sway. For the first time in my life I feel heavy and solid. A trickle is the only thing that tickles my sense. A trickle of water, steadily flowing out of me. We are all water underneath. As the water of life leaves me, and pours into the dry earth, I slowly begin to lose myself. As I fade away I can see the remains of my lost friends, but I can also see those that remaining standing proud around me. I saved them. And now they can keep on swaying.

First off, kudos for writing a story from the POV of a cactus. It took me a bit of time to realize that your POV was, in fact, a cactus, but when I finally did, I thought it was pretty cool. You could probably cut this down a bit. There's a lot of description, and while it is all very good, it bogs the story down. How many cactus were actually out there? Way to make me feel bad when a dude started shooting down cactus, though. Emotion is always a good response when dealing with shot down cactus.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Schneider Heim posted:

Only the Dance (1084 words)

Days before, I heard whispers exchanged that a woman danced under the spell of God Almighty, and that many rose to follow her. An odd tale, but I mouthed a prayer as I had heard it. How could so many be led astray? My heart grew sour with pity.

It was a hot afternoon when they came to our town.

A large throng funneled through the gates, driving straight into the heart of our town, unannounced and without fanfare. Their formation was even and orderly, even if their movements were not. In all the years of my life, I could not have defined their march as dancing Well, yes. Marching and dancing are different. They shambled like monsters out to scare children, their bodies so frighteningly limber as if their bones had turned into supple branches. Their deluded minds screamed of an audience to something horrific. Something beyond even God's love. Was it a marathon taping of Richard Simmons?

Would they stay, or pass through? I held my breath, squinting for the leader.

I saw her, the woman they called Frau Troffea. A witch, if you couldA witch, if you could? Maybe, replace "could" with "would". Whatever former beauty she carried had been consumed by her endless exertion, weeks of dancing laying waste to her body. I wondered how one could go on without food or water or rest, but it seemed that the Devil himself held her tight to his bosomHis heaving bosom, because it takes effort to hold a Dancing Queen. Her eyes were ablaze, and her shrunken frame moved with fervor. She seemed to eclipse her followers in the manner that she carried herself. Faithless. Boundless. Free.

I noticed that her followers could barely follow her movements, some members collapsing as if the spell on them had been lifted. The poor, fallen souls lay still on the dirt, their friends sparing nary a glance as they traipsed around their erstwhile companions.

I dashed to the trail of unmoving bodies and caught the arm of a straggler along the way. He had frozen in mid-step and, upon realizing what he had been doing up until now, fled his companions howling.

"You--what in God's name is this?" I asked.

"Where she goes, I cannot follow anymore," the man wailed, trembling like a sinner on Judgment Day. His body was slick with perspiration, his limp weight pulling at my grip. Did he collapse in the protagonist's arms? I don't really get the use of "limp weight" if he's still pulling.

"How in Heaven did she coerce you to this... madness?" I called after him.

"You call this madness?" The man's eyes bulged. "She is a prophet, preaching the Word with her dance! But I can only catch a fleeting glimpse of Him, whom she follows!"

"Take him to the church and give him something to drink," I told a man standing by. He dragged the exhausted man to shelter.

I left him in the care of other men.<--This sentence and the first half of the next read a little awkward. I scrambled to inspect the others, and the townspeople followed my example. A man of God should lead his flock.

"This one is dead, Father," the tanner, whom I knew as Klaus, declared.

"Merciful Christ," I said.

Maybe some of these people could still be saved. I went to help another. She was a young girl, not even of childbearing age. When I touched her forehead, she spasmed and pointed at the direction of the dancing crowd, which had been creeping away in their unfathomable movement. "The Saviour... we'd been following him. Said he'd lead us to Heaven if we danced as he did. But it's Frau Troffea who could see Him most clearly."

Nonsense, I would have said. But saving this child's life was more important than correcting her of heresy. I shook my head and prayed over the girl. "Give everyone something to drink," I cried through the din. "They are dying of thirst!" My fellow helpers scampered to their homes, returning with wine and beer and cider.I am imagining this is a prayer to God, and God possessed the townspeople and ransacked their homes for alcohol.

As those who still lived were taken to the church, I stood with a prayer on my lips. I must get to Frau Troffea--I must convince her to stop leading these people astray. Not even the town guards had intervened, fearful that the Devil would strike them down if they challenged the wayward dancers. I wove deep into the slow-moving crowd, careful not to disrupt their path.

That was when I saw him. He bore no resemblance to Christ, with his short stature and dark skin. He was dancing like I had seen no man do dance. Every fiber of his person swayed to an imaginary beat, feet deftly balancing him even as he twirled in place. I am imagining Thriller era Michael Jackson.

"Please!" Somehow I knew this man was responsible. Even if he was the Devil himself, I shall not fear.The tense shift is off putting.
"Make them stop!"
My pleas seemed to have reached his ears, for he stopped. He gave me a roguish grin and spoke. I did not understand immediately, but the question was clear--

Do you want to dance?

"No!" I said. "For the love of--"

It's easy. Let me show you.

And he started again. There was no rhyme or rhythm to it, as far as I could tell. He swung his arms in an arc, craned his head in angles, and swept his legs over and around each other. Slowly, I began to see a pattern. It was as if Heaven guided a ray of light into my lowly soul and gifted me understanding.

My foot twitched. My mouth tried to scream in protest, but my conviction broke down, replaced by the warmth of acceptance. Strange music crept into my mind, the crisp pattern of drums and a low melodic thrum accompanying a voice that was primal, passionate, angelic.

Before I knew it, I had joined them.

They called him Saviour. I began to understand why. For did it matter what countenance the Lord wore on Earth? I believed.

Frau Troffea's own dance was but a copy, a dull reflection of true glory. I made my place in the crowd, and began to surpass everyone. My steps astonishing my dancing companions, whose kinetic praises sounded hollow.

One dropped to his knees. "A priest! A priest is with us! He must be Saint Vitus himself!"

I heard someone call my name from afar, imploring me to stop.

My joints creaked. There was no pain--if anything I felt even stronger. I ignored everything else, locked my eyes on the dancing Saviour whom Frau Troffea merely followed.

Perspiration dripped from all pores of my body. Here I am, moisture leaving my body in droves, when I had tried to slake the thirst of many. But I have never felt free. Soon I shall be dancing beside Christ, who has come to Earth once more. Soon I shall know only the dance.

Well, this was an okay story. I see what you was going for, but again, I think this could use some cutting. Devil Michael Jackson was totally unnecessary and took focus off of the Dancing Queen. For the most part, it was well written, and I'm sure the little things I caught, you'd catch in a rewrite.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Accretionist posted:

This is my first Thunderdome so please, by all means, give me everything you got. I took an honest whack at it so this is representative of where I'm at (And while I think it's good for where I'm at, where I'm at is not good).

-----

Title - A Meal Fit for a King A Kingly Finish
Subject - ADOLF FREDERICK, LATE KING OF SWEDEN


Word Count - 679

I am dying. I lay here recounting this evening’s spectacle to my most trusted and loyal attendant. He sits bedside continuing to listen dutifully. No one would dare tell him of what transpired (for reasons best left unsaid). But as he has been loyal to me to all these years and has shown genuine kindness to my family, I believe he is entitled to the glorious tale of my undoing.

“That’s when I felt it, all four inches of lobster tail ease into my mouth. That's, uh, some interesting imagery. Never before has lobster been so delicious! I remember savoring every ounce of it, slick with butter. I remember the pain of gulping it down,” I said. Haha. You have a thing going on here. Swallow it all down.

"But my king, why did you not stop if it hurt you so?" HUBRIS!

I recall my fingers squeezing a napkin tightly as I surveyed the table of caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring and, yes, even more lobster. While such pain may be too much to bear for some, it is a delight This bit is unclear. I get what you mean, but you dropped off some words and it could confuse others. It is something I want more of. I get it. Food is his sex. That's what you're trying to say, right?

I replied, “I was hesitant to continue at first, but then I closed my mouth around the first toast point and felt the delicate caviar explode against the roof of my mouth. I almost moaned at the heavenly flavor and feel! Rhythmically feeding in toast point after toast point I became more confident with every bite that tonight was to be the greatest meal of my life.

“As the sweating set in, I realized that I would need ever more chilled champagne to steel my resolve. An ocean poured forth for guests and all at my command! Throughout the evening I would often find my fingers around a champagne flute as though by their own will. An endless stream of the finest kept me going, I’m afraid, until I was disturbingly aware of every square inch of my own stomach. This is probably the grossest meal I've ever read about. You're really selling this.

“Were I not king, someone likely would have stopped me. Were I not king, my dinner sweats would have drawn alerting gazes as I dove into the smoked herring and sauerkraut. Were I any other man I would have stopped. But as I am not, I did not. I pressed on to ever greater heights of indulgence.

“I had eaten past fullness and nausea. With the amount of champagne in my veins I had hardly considered stopping at all. I, in sheer hubris, ordered a dessert of 14 servings of spiced buns in hot milk and consumed them all. Even a king must submit to the laws of nature. A real king shits on nature.

“And it was thus I sealed my fate! I now lay here sweating profusely as the greatest meal of my life slowly works its way back up my neck. I can hardly move my body. I’ve tried to vomit but I can’t seem to anymore; there is something wrong. My legs are becoming numb. It is increasingly difficult to breathe. I have at several points had to cough up food to clear my airway, my friend."

"My king, is there anything which can be done to ease your regrettable suffering?"

“Though I will concede to having erred in dessert, I would have you know that I regret nothing. But if you would, take this down. I would like it recorded for posterity that I, King Adolf Frederick, have lived a life of indolent hedonism. I would like to express my admiration and eternal gratitude for the extraordinary support shown by the Swedish government and people in general, as well as to express total solidarity for those who have known the sufferings of glorious excess. I speak only of my death, as all other affairs are seen to by a living will. Should it become- should it- ”

A painful shock ripples through my abdomen and I can’t breathe anymore.

I can't move anymore. I can't so much as move my eyes. The lace canopy above is becoming an undifferentiated field of white. I can't...

The sounds of distant wind Can anyone ever hear distant wind when they are housed in what I assume is a stone castle? and nearby words are gone. There's a sort of strained thumping and I think- I think someone may be shaking me.

I...

Edit: Fixed reference link.

Edit 2: Changed Title.


This wasn't a bad story. A little heavy handed? Yes. Bad? No. Shoved down my throat? Yes. Terrible? No. I don't really have much else to say.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Sitting Here posted:

This is terrible and I am terrible. I shouldn't pick deathprompts when I'm in a deeply terrible mood. Do not read

Based on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharon_Lopatka



Mr. Slowhands
866 words

It's my last morning alive, and the first thing I see is Bobby, jerking off on the bed next to me. He holds his big hairy belly so that it doesn't droop onto his you-know-what, and his whole body shakes with the effort of keeping the thing hard.

I can't blame him. I'm stuck to the bed with nylon cords, have been for more than two days. If I were gonna live through this, I'd worry about the horrible itching and burning under my bottom and thighs. As it is, I want to tell him that I don't think the rubber mattress cover will be enough to save the bed, but I can't do that cause of the gag.

I'm in pain. I'm a horrible, bad, awful girl getting off in this trash-filled trailer somewhere in North Carolina. I squirm against the ropes, give a little whimper in hopes of getting Bobby's spirits up.

"I'm gonna give you what you deserve today, you big disgusting bitch." The words are all right, but he sounds like someone reading lines. His emails had been so confident, so sure. But in real life, his voice is reedy and he stumbles over some of the dirtier stuff.

He cleans off my privates with a baby wipe and then starts rutting at me with his half-hearted little thing. I struggle and cry, trying to get him to do like he talked about online. He scratches at me a little, leaves red welts but no broken skin. And he won't put his hands around my throat. Not yet, he keeps saying. I'm gonna die of the drat sepsis before this man chokes me to death.

This thought triggers panic, and I thrash around for real for a while which gets Bobby a little more riled. But his heart's not in it, I can tell. So I do the only thing I can. I pee on him.

It takes him a second or two to notice. He sits back on his heels, sees the puddle growing between us, then looks at me. I smile all innocent around the gag.

Next thing I know I'm under a storm of fists and fingernails and teeth, and his little doodle is big-as-you-please. I guess even the most stoic guy doesn't much like getting peed on.

He's in me, above me, all around me. And stupidly, all I can think of is that Sesame Street song my neice niece would always sing, Over, Under, Around, and Through. Something about knowing the distance between near and far or--

Smack

Loose teeth, blood behind the gag. I come back to reality, realize that I accidentally took myself away from the violence. And just when things were getting good...

Bobby pulls out and waddles naked out into the trailer's trash-filled front room. I moan in protest, thinking I've killed the mood. But now he's rustling around, looking for something. I hope it's the rope, then I hate myself for hoping it's the rope, then I feel the deep-hot-sticky-dirty-dark feeling, the feeling people mean when they say gently caress with the ugly 'f' sound and the hard K at the end and I want the rope.

I take in the tiny bedroom, the bare walls and the one bookshelf stacked with hundreds of floppy disks with labels like Real Amateur Neighbors - Pics and Dirtyslut.txt. The room is a more intimate partner than Bobby in some ways, since it's the last place I'll ever see. And even when I'm gone, it'll always be that room.

The empty walls makes me think of movie credits scrolling on an empty black background. There's no song playing to tell me this is the end of my life, just the quiet and the grey and the smell of me n' Bobby in the air.

Here he is now, Bobby with the rope in his hands and dark things in his eyes. The little nubbin peaking out from under his big bear belly is dark too, the darkest purple I ever saw it. He's going to kill me. He's going to kill me. I moan and shake my head and strain against the nylon cords. He's going to kill me.

I don't want to die. But I want Bobby to kill me.

He gets back into position, gut resting on my abdomen, skin stuck together by sweat. He holds the rope taught taut in from of him as he ruts at me, letting me see it before it goes around my neck

oh god.

The room is clear, crystal clear. I can see everything, smell everything, feel everything.

Oh god I'm

Yes

No

My life in front of me, just moments of it left now

The rope

Bobby

The rope

Tighter and tighter

Not yet

not yet

I'm not there yet, but he's emptying himself out, and his balls are as empty as his eyes but I'm not there yet

and now black spots are swirling in from the corners of my eyes and my face feels like it's swelling up, but I'm not there yet, I'm not gonna get off

Not yet Bobby

not yet

I didn't get

This was both an awful and good story. Good in that it's masterfully told. Awful in that it made me feel like I'm being murdered by a fat dude. Good work. Man, I don't even know what else to say other than this has my vote for this week's winner and it makes me feel kinda dirty that it does.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Nyarai posted:

gently caress, this was not easy. Crabrock's flash rule wasn't that difficult, as "a sailor forgetting something" is why Kendrick died in the first place, but Martello's certainly required a bit of creative thinking. I feel absolutely awful about the quality, but it's mostly mitigated by the fact I produced something. So I give you the tale of an American sea captain and his (fictionalized) skanky daughter.


Reise, Reise (666 words)

“What do you mean you forgot?”

The cabin boy withers under my gaze, fingers knitted tightly together. “ ‘M sorry, Cap’n. I just found yer letter in my bunk. It never went out with the rest of ‘em.” Tears well in his eyes. “I’ll fix it! I’ll take a dinghy an—” Why does James speak like Smee?

I raise a hand for silence, then lay it on the boy’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, James. I’ll likely reach home before it does. Return to your duties."

James stiffens like a board and salutes. “Aye, Cap’n.” He scampers below deck. With a heavy sigh, I lean against the railing. Of all the letters for him to forget!It might just be me, but that exclamation point feels weird. You should toss it overboard! My wife, Huldah, had written to me with worrisome news about the children. Well, the child. John Jr. was a man now, commander of his very own ship. But Heidi... She had been born during my idle years, that oh-so-brief period between the war and when I took command of the Discovery. She was such a beautiful baby, all blue eyes and smiles. The lass was always thrilled when I returned and miserable when I left her once more. However, my time away seems to have taken its toll. Heidi has forsaken her chores and, most frighteningly You should probably hang that adverb from the mizzenmast., become a regular down at the docks. “You of all people should know what sailors are like with young ladies,” Huldah wrote. Do I smell a prequel?

Oh, I do. Primal rage swells in my gut, and I grip the rail until my knuckles turn white. It’s all I can do to stop myself from striking the nearest deckhand. Granted, that wouldn’t make me a better father, but I’d sure as hell feel better. So, he'll strike an innocent deckhand, because he thinks his daughter might be drowning at the docks, but he won't hit a cabin boy for failing to do his duty? Peculiar.

“Captain?” I turn to face John Howel. One couldn’t ask for a finer clerk.Unless you show us why Howel is a fine clerk this line is totally unnecessary. “Kalanikūpule gifted us with a few roast pigs. Says it’s the least he could do.” His brow furrows. “Something the matter?”

“We’re not eating hardtack But my daughter is. Dammit. What could possibly be the matter?” I force a smile. “Fetch the other officers.”

Within minutes, my men surround the table. Their eyes gleam with anticipation. Howel says grace, his prayer made all the more elegant by its brevity, and I start to carve the first boar. This smell must torment the enlisted men. They’ll get their share soon enough. I pick at my own plate, only eating when I catch Howel’s eye. The Washington would return to Massachusetts in a few months’ time. I could be a father to Heidi again but, Lord have mercy, what would I even say to her? He could probably tell her about his adventures eating boar while the enlisted men gather around to watch. Nothing more heroic than fanning the flames of animosity.

“Captain!” We already know it's a cry, because you tell us in the next sentence. The lookout’s cry<--see pierces my thoughts. “The Jackal’s off our starboard bow!”

Excellent. Captain Gordon and his men were indispensable in our mission to defend Fair Haven from the rebels. I wipe grease from my mouth and bark<--If I had a dollar for every time a sea captain barked., “Ready all guns for a salute!” My bo’sun repeats the order, and the men scramble to comply.

The Washington rocks from the cannons’ force, which does little to impede my officers’ appetites. Smoke rises from the water. Its acrid tang fills my nostrils as I close my eyes. I hear the explosions from the Jackal’s guns, as well as... whistles? I open my eyes. A dozen slugs scream through the air.

My God.

Deckhands scramble for cover. Even a few officers dive under the table Was it customary for officers to take cannonballs to the gut? You make this act of self preservation seem unheard of. Pointless, really. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. I forge an expression of calm. “So, gentlemen,” I ask, “who thinks we should fire back?” Nervous laughter escapes a few men, then screams.

The world explodes in agony. I strike my head against the table as I fall. No more pain. Good. Wait, not good. Why can’t I move my left arm? Oh. Don’t have one Not gonna lie. I love his stoicism right after finding out he has no left arm. "It was only getting in the way," says Captain Arm-Hook. The world spins, and I’m staring up into Howel’s face. He’s shouting, but I can’t understand. My ears are stuffed with cotton. Blood gushes from my throat as I try to speak, to tell Howel to take care of my girls. He nods grimly. Lord, I hope that means he understands.

I close my eyes, and the darkness overwhelms me.

I think you have a pretty interesting story here. Too bad, it's buried beneath a whole lot of maritime cliche. It was like watching a Douglas Fairbanks movie without any of the swordplay. That's not something I ever want to do. Also, you have two too many exclamation points. In the prequel can we get a tender love scene between Captain Kendrick and Howel?

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

sebmojo posted:

Rules of Combustion
1079 words


The concrete apron is crawling with technicians. I plant my feet, glance at Rostropov. He snaps to attention.

“Air Marshall! Shall I obtain seating for you! I will do so!” Talk about over eager. Off he goes. I dismiss him from my attention and devote it instead to the delightful protrusion that is my rocket. The R-16 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. Skin of metal, payload of righteous retribution. Bedevilled by delays, enshrouded by failure, but rising above it all. And soon to rise above even that, on a pillar of glory. How could the rocket rise higher than above it all? Wouldn't that just be above it all?

I HAVE THERAPISED MYSELF INTO NARCOSIS

The words fly into my head and I dismiss them with the ease of habit. I have received these regular communiqués since I had my accident when I was seven years old at my grandmother's dacha. They take the form of stentorian pronouncements, as though from a rich-bearded Patriarch, and are generally nonsensical. Somebody put this loon in charge of a rocket?

Rostropov arrives with a chair in his hands. At his side is Yangel. My lip curls, unbidden. We have worked closely before but I am coming to doubt his commitment.

"Comrade Air Marshal I entreat you to -" the engineer begins. I hold up my hand.

"No," I say. I sit down on my chair. Foolish and brave, he continues. “But Comrade the Devil’s Venom is profoundly – “

I favour him with my most heavy-lidded of glances. “Unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine. Hypergolic. Vivaciously reactive. I am familiar with its properties, but perhaps you have new information for me?” He stares, a rabbit hypnotized by its predator.

COWARDS DIE A THOUSAND DEATHS

I allow myself a smile at this one, sometimes my interior interlocutor can display wit. I wave my hand at him. “Comrade Kruschev has been given my personal assurances. The launch will proceed, Technician. On time.”

He scuttles off, insectlike, and I dismiss him from my mind. Although the passage of years has erased much, I can remember the garden shed at the dacha with total clarity. I remember the crawling mass of termites I found by moving an old pot of weedkiller, the rich chemical smell.

Rostropov leans down, mutters in my ear. “There may be some risk, sir. Comrade Yangel has been recommending delay, perhaps you should withdraw to the observation post?”

I say nothing. The rocket is surrounded by tenders of webbed steel that are being winched back to give it space to fly. It is a lumberingly balletic process. I feel an ache in my heart that is unsuitable to be turned into words. Then lets not put it into words.

CORRECTION REQUIRES ERROR

I shake my head. “My presence will encourage the men. Look how they scurry Rostropov. Anyway, the launch is not scheduled for two hours yet.”

The insects I uncovered beneath the rotten wood in the garden shed had scurried, busy doing the bidding of the hive. I had gazed, fascinated, groped for a bottle of DDT. To find out what would happen. The cap was stiff and took both hands to open. I had taken my steadying hand off the tower of old pots and bottles to do it.

The tenders have retracted fully. I imagine the nitric acid that saturates the valves of my rocket, imagine its roiling ire. It seeks the spark that will transform it into fire. I want the rocket to launch now. Impatient, I have always been impatient.

“Mitrofan,” Kruschev had grumbled down the crackling line. “This needs to work. The Americans are getting cocky. Cockier. Cocks of the yard.” Yeah, I have no idea what "Cocks of the yard is supposed to mean and it's kinda awkward to read. It can go. He was probably drunk, it was late. I had assured him that the rocket would launch. There was a fervency to my tone as I did so which surprised me. Of course things had gone wrong, the engine had been flooded early, but things always went wrong. Caution is just the slower route to failure. Courage is the rocket’s path. To light a fire and rise upon it to the sky, that is the way.

“Rostropov,” I say, “tell me again of the fuel error.” I have settled my eyes on Yangel, who is having animated conversation with one of the other engineers by one of the remote consoles fifty meters away. His voice is raised, though I cannot hear what he is saying.

WE FALL THROUGH LIGHT INTO SHADOW

“Sir. The pyrotechnic membranes were ruptured. The combustion chamber has been filled with the Devil’s – with the fuel. Pitting and corrosion will render the rocket inoperable by tomorrow. Aborting the launch was considered, and rejected.” I can tell he is at attention behind me. Striving towards perfect erectness, like my rocket.What's up with all the dicks? Yangel has stomped off, back towards the command bunker. Probably to have a smoke; I have chosen to allow this breach of regulations. Men need their outlets.

My last memory of the shed was the splash of acrid liquid falling upon the termites. The insects curling up in death. Then, a flash of light as the heavy pots fell from the table onto my head. I had been discovered some hours later, still unconscious. The poison gave me a cough that lasted for months, the blow gifted me with an internal onlooker, a kibitzer as a Jew might say.

“Rostropov,” I say. “I will inspect the rocket more closely.” I stand, stride towards it over the fuel-stained concrete. My medals jingle. The sun is hot above. A hiss of vapour is issuing from a port halfway up the rocket. One of the men on the apron is shouting, pointing. Rostropov is behind me, keeping pace.

We are insects, all of us. Scurrying at the bidding of the hive. But we aspire, we rise. We craft our pillars of flame and ride them to the sky. I know this, Comrade Kruschev knows this, even poor cowardly Yangel knows this.

WE BRING THE SUN AMONGST US TO BETTER PRAISE IT

I nod, laugh. The jet vapor has become a cloud and there is a whine coming from the rocket, this pillar, this sculpture of metal and willpower. It is splendid. We are splendid. I turn to Rostropov to note this, and see him catch fire. I cannot hear anything. I raise my hand to him; it is on fire. I can hear nothing. We are on fire, a cloud of flame all around. My legs fail me and I fall.

My eyes are flame. The ground is fire. I curl up, weeping tears of fire. The sky is obscured with smoke, and flame. The concrete is black. The world is black.

WE CAN DO NO OTHER

Well, that was another great entry. And again, I am really at a loss for any sort of real critiques. Other than cutting one line that I personally don't like, I don't know what to say. Maybe, I'm too nice, but I think this is fine enough that I can't really find anything wrong with it. You also managed to smash a lot of dicks into the story.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Noah posted:

Homer Collyer: 1947, blind and paralyzed, died of starvation several days after his brother killed by his own boobytraps

Words: 500

EDIT: And i just realized this is not first person! I'm loving dumb. Christ.

Keep Digging

Homer Collyer was sure Langley, his brother, was still alive. That belief kept him crawling and digging through the stacks of every worldly possession they owned. The biting hunger had turned to just constant dull bloating. He put his hands out, feeling for the columns of books, papers and boxes. Each drag from his muscular shoulders just shifted the mess from one side to the other, like a snake burrowing in the sand.

Despite the apartment only being a two bedroom, in Manhattan no less, Homer’s decrepit legs made moving about the apartment monumental. The towers of boxes and furniture made the labyrinthine tunnels Langley used to navigate the apartment now the most insidious of the traps still in the apartment. Homer was lost, he knew for certain. Since the faint cries of his brother had faded, had no other landmark to guide himself.

There was some comfort in the fact that no matter where you were in the apartment, there would always be something to lean your back against. Homer laughed a little to himself as he felt the uneven stacks of newsprint fold up and down his back. Langley had collected them for the day when Homer’s eyesight returned. They both knew that would never happen, the doctor had said as much in no kind words.

The darkness, and losing his legs to the poison of his own body, had long since tempered Homer against the madness. Langley had not been as fortunate. Always more traps. Wire traps, bear traps and avalanche traps, all to stop kids from throwing rocks through the windows. From the outside. Oh Langley, Homer thought. No matter the odds, Homer vowed to keep his wits about him. Find humor in things, he thought. Like how little he had defecated himself in the absence of food or assistance.

Giggles wracked his sides, but he had to keep quiet. Langley would scold him thoroughly if he heard him. Laughing, at a time like this, Homer mimed the chastising brother. Homer shook his head, letting his mouth hang open. The sound of flapping cheeks made him smile, but he had to get back to work.

His hands seized, curling in on themselves. One last spiteful rheumatoid spasm to let him know it was time to take a break. Homer righted himself using his forearms, and dragged his legs in front of him. Putting each gnarled fist under a knee, he drew them closer to himself for support. Just a quick respite, Homer thought. He put his head down on his knees, hands locked together. A pizza, Homer thought about, a pizza is what I would like when I find Langley, he will owe it to me. Tears wettedwet Homer’s legs, You sure those are tears? that he could neither feel, nor obscure his dead eyes. A pizza, with mushrooms, I don’t care that he doesn’t like them.

Well this was a nice third person tearjerker. My big crit is that it's in the third person. Rewrite the entirety of it in the first person, while I go wipe my legs. I seem to have pissed myself.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I hope I am not coming across as some sort of lazy rear end in a top hat. A lot of the stories I was given to judge were written by very good writers, and I am legitimately at a loss for negatives, probably, because I have a bad eye for this sort of thing. Looks like me and Nubile Hillock are gonna have a brawl on our hands.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Auraboks posted:

764 words.

Drinking alone

"It's just the two of us tonight," I say to the moon as I take my seat on the weathered old stump by the riverside. In my youth it had been a mighty oak, tall and proud, and I spent many leisurely days drinking in its shade, surrounded by friends. Now its majesty is long gone, and it serves only as a seat for a lonely old man.

It is a peaceful night, the silence broken only by the crickets and the sound of wine being poured into a cup. Good wine, fit for the emperor himself, not the poorly made local variety I know this sentence has a parenthetical, but it reads weird to me. In my head it sounds like you're saying the wine is fit for the emperor but it's not fit for the local variety.

"I got this in the capital," I tell the moon. She's quiet, of course, but I like that about her. I have words enough for us both.

"One of the ministers gave it to me. Said he liked my poems, wanted to show his appreciation." I take a drink, and take a moment to feel the taste. It doesn't feel so different from what they make here, but perhaps my sense of taste has dulled with age.

"He told me to save it for a special occasion. My wedding, perhaps, or the birth of my first son."

Good advice, that. Wouldn't want to waste something so expensive on small festivities. I drain the cup and fill it again, raising a toast to my heavenly companion.

"Have I ever told you how I got sent away from the court?"

The moon already knows, for she can see everything, but I decide to tell her anyway. It's a short enough tale, made shorter still by the fog of the many years passed since then. A woman, an obsession, a thousand poems in her honor. A jealous eunuch with poisoned words, and praise mistaken for scorn. An emperor who cares for his consort, and a reluctant farewell.

"That's all there was to it," I tell the moon when the story is done. "A misunderstanding."

The moon climbs higher and higher, and I drink with her until there is nothing left to drink. She is at the peak of her journey, and I have to bend my neck to look at her.

"Maybe it was for the best," I tell her then. The words come slowly through the haze of the wine. "Can't even remember any of my friends from back then. Must have had some, though."

The one who gave me the wine, I must have been friends with him. There would have been other artists, and surely I knew some of them. Not a single face comes to mind, though, except the woman's, and her I admired from afar. There's something off here that makes this whole sentence read like dialogue and that makes the next piece of dialogue feel weird. Almost like it's clashing with the line above it.

"Would've gotten a wife, if I'd stayed. One of those friends would have found me one, I'm sure."

I try to fill my cup again, forgetting for a moment that there's nothing left.

"If I'd had a wedding, I would've had to drink this wine," I say, looking up at the moon again. "And then you and I couldn't have had this nice night together, could we?"

Never before have I seen the moon so full, so bright. She dominates the sky, drowning the world below in her pale light, surpassing the mountains and the stars in a way the sun could never hope to match. She is sublime.

I close my eyes, fearful of being blinded by her beauty.

"You know, I've never written about you. Don't know if I could. You're too distant, unreachable to mortal men up there in the heavens."

The wind, a breeze so gentle I had not noticed its presence, stops. The crickets have tired of making their music, and it feels as though the night itself is listening to me, waiting with bated breath for what I will say next.

"Perhaps you could come down here for a little while?"

A silly request from a silly old man. But when I open my eyes I see her, not above me but in front, in the middle of the river. I half fear it is a mirage brought on by the drink, and I don't dare take my eyes off her. I stumble back to my boat, nearly tripping over my own feet as I push it out and climb in. I row and row until my arms are as heavy as mountains, but the moon will not let me reach her. She swims away as I approach, always just out of reach.

I see. She must want me to swim to her, then. I'm exhausted, but she is not far. I can manage that distance.

First, I want to applaud your not actually showing the death. That was much more effective than simply saying "And then I kissed her and drowned." That said, I don't really like this story. Not that it is bad or anything. I just find it to be a tad boring. When it's not being boring, it's saying things like I take a drink, and take a moment to feel the taste. Huh? How can you feel the taste? I'm pretty sure you mean savor it.

The dialogue doesn't really work for me either. It's a bit too on the nose.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I am totally in. Gonna squirt some bible juice all over space.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Genesis 25:32-33


Here's a bad story that I had an idea for, but could not do justice, because I accidentally waited until the wrong last minute to write it.

gently caress Off Lorenzo 228 Words

“Hey, wait,” Lorenzo Benzo shouted. “What do you mean, you only have 20 minutes to write some genre fiction?”

“I mean, I waited until the last minute and then realized I had stories mixed up and then I got mixed up and now I only got 20 minutes to write one,” Reed shouted back (brace yourself for some shouting.)

“Well, a story about sci-fi,” said Lorenzo. “That should be pretty simple. I mean, we do live in space.”

“Yeah, we do,” Reed thought.

“Yes, we do,” Lorenzo thought.

“Stop that,” Reed thought.

“No,” Lorenzo thought.

“Okay, Lorenzo, listen. It’s not as simple as you think. The story has to be biblically based.”

Lorenzo thought long and hard about this.

He thought some more. He thought firmer.

And then God said “Let there be light.”

God was there computer house keeper, because all future houses have future computer house keepers.

“Look,” Lorenzo started, “If you promise to put me in your story, I’ll give you an idea.”

“Reed thought about it,” Lorenzo thought.

“Stop projecting my thoughts, God,” Lorenzo shouted into his cyberdeck.

“Well, I am thinking about it,” Reed said. “Okay, whatever, I’ll give you a bit in the story. But first I want some of that idea stew.”

Reed was famished for ideas.

Lorenzo blew up the spaceship and billions died.

Stay tuned for part two. (You won't because part one was bad.)

Edit: I added the verse at the beginning.

JonasSalk fucked around with this message at Jun 10, 2013 around 03:12

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

And Here's Jonas

Here The Sun Falls - 596 Words


“This one’s for Sparta,” Chuck screamed when it was his turn to throw a ball into some pins at the bowling alley. Of course, the bowling alley was only in his mind and his name wasn’t Chuck and he had no idea what a bowling alley was.

Wooosh—the sound made when HELIOS the great god of the sun awakens from dreaming.

Awake and alert, Helios was just about to take his chariot out for a galloping jaunt when he remembered that he had no chariot for jaunting and no horses for galloping. What he did have was a couple of goats (whose names shall not be stated for fear of copyright infringement) and a wagon.

Helios had found that one does not take a wagon and goats out for a galloping jaunt. It’s more a lumbering spiel. A spiel that would last all day and allow Helios no time to play with his children. Being a god of light, Helios had an innumerable amount of children that he never got to play with (for verily, I say unto thee, the ladies do love sex under the sun).

Today would be a day given over to much brooding unless Helios could find a fool willing to take those disgusting goats on their daily poop walk.

#

Phaeton had received great news. He was the son of GOD. Well, the son of a god. His dad was Helios, and he drove the goat wagon across the sky. He had heard that the goats did poo poo thunder and piss wind, but that made no sense as they were sun goats not storm goats. None of these things mattered to Phaeton, though. He just wanted to ride the wagon of fire across the sky. He wanted to take a place amongst the gods.

That ambition is what had led Phaeton to the elevator of Sun Corps. Sun Corps was one of many companies that his father did hold. Even the elevator music was godly: bad but godly.

The last refrains of Bad Romance had begun when Phaeton finally did reach the heavens where his father did roam. Even from inside the elevator, the brilliance of his father was eye watering. Truly this must be a god. That aroma of manure must be the aroma of the gods.

#

“The boy is here, my lord,” said Usil, sun god minor to Helios’ major. “What shall we do with him?”

“Nothing,” said Helios. “I want to see him. I have a plan.”

Helios did indeed have a plan, and he did indeed have a way. He would have the boy drive the wagon for him. Let the goats poo poo piss and fart thunder on him. Let the boy have the glory, for a day at least, and then they could discuss the prickly issue of “fatherhood.”

#

A knock at the throne room door and in walks Phaeton.

“Hello, Dad,” said Phaeton. “Long time, never see.”

“Well,” started Helios.

“No,” Phaeton interrupted, “I am not here for your words. I want, simply, to fly your horses. I want to trail the night across the sky.”

“But, this you cannot do, my son. My horses you cannot ride.”

“I shall ride them, Dad.”

“Okay. If you will, you will.”

#

Look up there. Look up into the sky. Look up into the eyes of hell.

Look and you might see a goat fart fire on a boy. Look at the boy. Look at the flame. Know that he was the son. Look and you might see a god taking a nap. The kids can wait.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Thanks for the crit, Kaishai and congrats to Nubile Hillock for a worthy win. I do want to point out (because I am an arrogant SOB who wants to make sure all the jokes are understood) but I was actually alluding to Thor and not Zeus when I wrote the storm goats gag. That particular criticism still stands, though, and was an example of me throwing everything against the wall in an effort to see what stuck.

The bit about copyright allusion infringement was also an indirect allusion to Thor and, yeah, both allusions need the ax. I am extremely glad to hear that you think I'm improving. I'll be thinking long and hard about this crit when I rewrite.

JonasSalk fucked around with this message at Jun 10, 2013 around 14:07

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JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In: "No man is rich enough to buy back his past."

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