So uh I haven't entered this (or any other) week, but this Word Bounty thing sounds fun. Apologies for terrible.
Your Move, I Suppose (347 words)
“I told you about the winter.”
“I told you, didn't I?”
“What did I tell you?”
“You told me,” the man spoke slowly, as if chiselling the words out of ice deep in his oesophagus, “about the winter.” The men were looking at him ever stranger as the march dragged on. His was the last horse. “You've been telling me for the last three months. I think I have grasped the basic thrust of the argument: it centres on the local climate, which – if I recall correctly - you suggested would give us a frosty reception.”
“This isn't funny, you fool! If you had listened to me like you used to,well, let's just say you wouldn't be out here learning all about it first-hand. And maybe the second as well if you don't get a move on. 'Frosty reception', mon Dieu. For that alone I am glad you lost.”
Holding out a hand, some snow lifted off the ground and fell, upwards, into my palm: it boiled silently into gentle steam, the heat brushing his grateful face. “You should know better than to ask.”
“I mean... didn't 'we' lose?”
“Maybe when we get home you tell the people that the First Consul has been seeking my military advice - see where that gets you.”
“I see,” he says. I sigh. They say many body parts are the key to men's hearts, but I have never heard the cochlea mentioned in this regard (except as an entry point). Instead, I have to hear the accusation, its form not contingent on a profile view. I do not like what I hear.
“Shut up and ride,” I tell him, and lightly zap the meat skeleton beneath him for good measure. I know Dažbog for one will never let me forget this embarrassment. The smug bastard, that coward, sneak, hiding behind phenomenae like a thing! Hopefully I'm not the only one with discipline problems right now, because it's still all to play for.
Prompt: Choose your favorite historical figure and imagine if he/she had been led to greatness by the promptings of an invisible imp living behind his or her right ear. Write a story from the point of view of this creature. Where did it come from? What are its goals? Use research to make your story as accurate as possible.
|# ¿ Nov 22, 2013 01:46|
|# ¿ Oct 28, 2021 12:34|
Flash rule: a pet has gone missing in your story.
|# ¿ Nov 26, 2013 02:48|
Go Forth and Sin No More (800 words)
When Father Donnelly finally got to his feet his problems remained, as he knew they would. Inchgivray still sat beneath that church on the hill, but tonight in St. Ninian's the only breaths were his alone, slow and tired.
He cursed his bones silently as he drew himself up. He had been a taller man in the earlier days of his mission, but as his flock drifted away to brighter temples, it was as if they had taken his straight back with them; a wee memento mori of his days before the pulpit.
Nae point in standing there now, of course, or in addressing the empty pews beyond. Even the choir had packed it in once there was no-one left to sing for. “There's always Christ, lads,” he'd joked. “He likes a good tune, you know.” It hadn't kept them, and in the end he could not find it in him to blame them.
The last candle flickered out, and he was left with the gloom of dusk shining in through the windows. Suddenly - there, a creaking – the door! Donnelly turned just in time for the cold sea wind to brush past him, and by the time the salt was out of his nostrils stillness reigned once more.
Out of that stillness came a voice.
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.”
Thank you, Father. “You wish to confess your sins - my son?”
“Aye, Father, I do.” On hearing the words, Donnelly made the long walk to the confessional. He could hear the man breathing as he took his place: heavy heavings of hot air drifted through the booth.
“Father, they say God forgives all our sins.”
“The mercy of our Lord is infinite, my child.”
“Well then, Father, has he forgiven you yet?”
The man laughed, and as the fell sound washed over Donnelly, the dividing wall sprang into flames. Burning, the wood peeled back and revealed the man, or what held one's shape.
“Sweet Mary - a deil!”
“It's 'devil', Father. Speak English. Don't tell me you've forgotten your theology-
“Away wi ye! Out, I say!”
“-ah, apparently you have. You have no power over me, soiled old man. Indeed, we could say it was the other way around.” As it spoke, Donnelly's chest tightened. “Don't tell me this comes as a surprise, Father! The old rulebook is pretty clear on the wages of sin, isn't it? I don't really know,” it grinned, his teeth stretching ever longer, “can't read it.” It clicked a finger, and the pain in Donnelly's heart exploded.
He awoke on the mottled ground of Hell with the devil standing above him.
“This is not a drill, Father; this is not a drill.”
Donnelly lay there, unmoving. “This is the day, isn't it?” The day that had to come. He kept his eyes firmly closed.
“Guess,” the devil suggested. It heaved the quivering Donnelly onto its shoulders, and as it stepped over the undulating ground every jolt stuck true in his bones. He knew for certain it was Hell when he forgot the Lord's Prayer.
“We've got something special lined up for you.” They descended into a cavern. The edges scraped against his skin. As they came to a steel door, he blacked out again. He didn't know what was coming to him, but he knew that it would.
As the room came into focus with a tang of seaweed, Donnelly realised he'd been tricked. He lay on the floor where the devil had dropped him.
“Sometimes I wonder about this sort of thing,” it said. “On the positive side, it's fun. The look on their faces is always worthwhile.”
“Ye mean it's not today? Just a devil's stratagem?”
“Your soul is already ours, you sad old fool. This is just perks.”
Donnelly slowly sat up. “Then I forgive you.”
“Forgive me? Maybe you're not quite aware of your position, old man, but-”
“I know my state, foul creature!” He drew himself upright. “I forgive ye nonetheless; it's all I can still do. You'll say three Hail Marys tonight and reflect on yer sins as well. Now away wi ye truly, and we'll meet again soon.”
It smiled at him. “A martyr to the end. How very noble of you.” At that, there was a bang, a hiss of smoke, and the devil had departed from St. Ninian's for the night.
Donnelly sighed softly. He took the steps to the vestry, where the robes of his ministry hung, shining their many colours. He picked up the phone and dialled, surrounded by them. He spoke into the mouthpiece.
“I'm sorry to call ye at such a late hour, sergeant: I just thought ye should know.
“I have a confession to make.”
Flash: Your protagonist must be over 70.
|# ¿ Dec 2, 2013 02:45|
I'll take And the executioner's face is always well hidden.
|# ¿ Dec 3, 2013 01:49|
The Invincible Man Comes Home (1765 words)
Prompt: And the executioner's face is always well hidden
I knew it was going to be a rough one as my eyes followed the blood up the wall. The wreck at the end of the trail had been routine, another one to bag and report, but as I looked up, the handiwork became ever clearer, the blood reaching up above my head to the point of impact. All the autopsy was going to do was spread paper over an unpleasant fact: the Executioner was back in town.
It was the end of my shift, as well.
“Is this who I think it is?” I asked.
“Alasdair Crovan, sir,” said the cop on duty. “Head of the-”
“Yeah, I know that part. Who called it in?”
“Didn't leave a name, sir. Said you'd know, apparently.”
“Thanks,” I said, and went to make my report. As I got to the door of the ramshackle house, I turned. “Do me a favour – make sure no busybody gets wind of this one.
“The last thing we need to do is give the bastard airtime.”
My hands were shaking as I left the building. I went for a cigarette, and cursed. No matches. drat it all. Slipping back into the car, I reached for the phone.
“Reporting,” I said. “It's the Executioner all right.”
“He's gone. Let it go,” the Superintendent replied.
“It is what it is.”
“Just report, McCullough.”
“Certainly sir,” I said. “I report that someone's in town who can crush gang bosses by flinging them into walls, and it's not the guy we already know about.”
“On second thought, I think I prefer your first report.”
“As do I, boss. With permission, I'd like to follow this up.”
A silence. Then: “Do you think that's wise, Detective?”
“I don't think there is any wise option with the Executioner. But I still want to.” I opened the glove compartment and began to rummage.
“Look, John, I know how you feel about that rat, but you know it can't happen. I want you to finish your shift, go home, and come back in the morning. Understand?”
“You're wrong, sir. See you tomorrow.” I cut the connection, turned the key and drove off. No matches to be found.
Three in the morning is a hard time to find a light. The only places open in this mean city are those convenience stores where everything is at double price. I was walking out of one under the half-moon when the Executioner came to see me.
He was sitting on my car as I turned the corner. He was flipping a coin over and over, not a care in the whole drat world. If I didn't know the thin, angular face, that crazy costume's shades of blue and black, I'd have chased the bum off my car and back into the night, but I knew better.
If he was a man at all, he was not one to take lightly.
I lit up and drew fire. “You shouldn't have come back.”
He turned to look at me. His full gaze still unsettled; he never seemed to be blinking when you were looking. “Detective! I was hoping to run into you! You never returned my call.”
I looked again at his massive form draped across my windshield. “Guess you got lucky then, 'cause here I am. But there's nothing left for us to talk about.”
“Don't you want to know where I've been?”
“Why? It's always the goddamn same with you. Hell, or back.”
“I don't care where you've been,” I said. “I care about where you're going. If you've got any sense left in that bloodlust brain of yours, you'll leave town again. Get the hell off my car.”
“Actually, I was following a trail. I'm sorry I took so long – was everything okay?”
“A lot more people made it to trial, if that's what you're asking.”
“I think I'm really on to something this time. That might not concern your co-workers, John, but I know it interests you. Why do you think I did it?”
“Same reason as all the other times. You lost control. Now do yourself a favour and go home, wherever that is, and burn that drat costume. Next time I see you, I'll have to stop you.”
He laughed. “Sure. I thought a few years of going by the book would have taught you something, John.” He rolled off the car, took a step towards me on the cold pavement. “Even if you 'don't care', you'll work it out pretty fast.”
He nodded to me and then he jumped. It had been a year since I saw him do it, but it was just as impossible then. Gaining height, he landed on the roof of the store, and disappeared.
I showed up in the morning like the boss said. The cop shop was in uproar. I wasn't surprised.
One of the staff sergeants came over to my desk. “Super wants to see you, McCullough.”
I walked into the office. The Superintendent was chewing his peppermints again. They stank, sharp and acrid in my eyes. “Two more last night.”
“Only Barry Malone and Michael Stoop.”
I made the first connection. “Three mob kings in one night? He's planning something big.”
“Aspirational, isn't he?”
“I wish, sir.”
The Superintendent leant back in his soft chair and looked at me. “McCullough,” he said, “it almost sounds like you want him to win.”
“No sir,” I replied. “But he drat just might.”
Silence again. I didn't say the most important thing: I already had a theory.
“That'll be all, Detective. Keep your head down, will you?”
“Sir.” That was all.
When I spotted him crawling out of the wreckage of the coke dealer's truck, I knew he'd be trouble. I don't know if he was trying to make a point or what, but he certainly made an impact.
The truck was a write-off. He was fine, I guess. He'd been shot somehow, presumably when he stole it, and the blood flowed down his arm, but as he gently bent back the metal surrounding him he showed no pain; he was like something off a poster, his mouth a thin still line.
I drew on him. “Freeze, kid.”
I swear to God he reached for the sky. His arms tore through the last of the steel like wrapping paper and suddenly he was unchained. I nearly shot him then and there, but something – fear? Curiosity? - kept me from firing that single simple shot that would have fixed everything. Instead he spoke.
“This isn't necessary, Sergeant. This vehicle is criminal property, you see.”
“And you are doing what with it, exactly?”
He looked at me. “Disabling it,” he said.
“I don't think-”
And then he moved. I wasn't holding the gun any more, but I never saw it move. It was just elsewhere all of a sudden; in his hand. He grinned. “Check the back,” he said. After I got my head back together, I did.
I found the dealer deposited a block away, hogtied to a lampost. The cocaine and the plates were enough to secure a conviction, even with a vigilante in the picture. We never managed to nab him, either. After the fifth attempt the brass decided to just promote me: so he couldn't have the credit, I think.
They kept their hands-off policy. That's what I told myself anyway. They knew what was going on: once criminals started turning up wrapped in rope like a sailor's Christmas the whole drat burg knew. The fact that he got those names from somewhere never came up, never even a hard question. Hell, we never even asked about his.
So he wanted to kill mob bosses. Worked for me. The thing about mob bosses is that I already know who they are and where they live: it's making anything stick to their door that's hard. But that didn't matter tonight. Tonight was all about a simple process of elimination. Three down meant one to go, and Buddy Fats was that one.
I was rewarded around a quarter to one as I put out the last of the cigarettes. A colossal silhouette emerged from behind a wall, and before I could move he had bashed the drat door in and I started running, running -
His feet had left leviathan footprints in the ratty shag carpet. “Stop, drat you!” I roared. “Executioner! We need to talk!”
His voice came from inside the living room. “I thought we were done talking, John?”
The door was open, but I couldn't see him. I edged towards it. “I was wrong, okay? I'm a fool. Let's just talk about whatever you want to talk about before-” I edged round the door.
Fats lay in his recliner, feet in the air. When I saw his swollen face I knew it was over. The Executioner himself stood behind him in victory, his hands around the man's throat.
He had pushed his lights clean out. “Oh,” I said.
He looked up at me and smiled that smile. “You went to all this trouble for that?”
“Damnit, man, this is not the time for your sodding wit! Have you lost your mind?”
“No. Have you not realised what the plan is yet?”
“Yes,” I said. “But here's what I still don't get. You could have just given them to me, like the old days.”
“And risk him walking free yet again? I tried it your way, Detective. It just wasn't good enough. Now we do it this way. I always believed in sending a message, remember.”
“This one is nice and clear. No more subtlety, John. When this man's replacement emerges-”
“You'll cut him down too,” I drew my pistol. “Murder and intent to commit murder. They're crimes too, old friend, and you used to oppose that.”
“I hardly think-”
“Give it up. This is over. It was better when you were gone.”
And he laughed now, his hands coming free of Fat's crushed neck, and he came towards me.
“Do you know what I realised when I was away? I don't need you any more, O brave officer of the law. You were great, but now it's time for you to let go.” He reached out and his great hand clapped on my shoulder. I nearly fell, but he held me up. The gun quivered in my hand. “Look after yourself,” he said, and walked away from me.
I lifted my arm, and he knew. He turned around.
“No,” he said.
The last lesson I taught him was the hardest.
Obliterati fucked around with this message at 23:32 on Dec 8, 2013
|# ¿ Dec 8, 2013 23:02|
In with Victorian aristocratic English.
|# ¿ Dec 11, 2013 11:06|
No, sorry, the second one.
|# ¿ Dec 12, 2013 13:35|
The Matter of the Succession (883 words)
The first letter was insulting in its familiarity.
Dear Lord Bletchley, (for shame! That buffoon!)
I trust this letter finds you well.
I write to you as a Friend, although one currently unknown to your august self. I propose through this correspondence a form of Mutual Assistance from which we may both come to greatly benefit. I hereby enclose my credentials.
P.S. My apologies for errors of Grammar.
“Shall I contact the constabulary, my Lord?”
“The authorities, Graves? What have we here that would interest the fellows at Scotland Yard?”
Graves coughed, as was the rogue's custom when he thought I was testing him. “Forgery, sir. This letter has been affixed with your own seal.”
I undertook to examine the envelope. My butler was correct in his analysis: my seal was indeed visible. I turned the letter over, and a second piece of paper fell out onto my quilt. Scooping it up, I consulted it.
“How did this arrive, Graves?”
“It must have come in the night, sir. Nobody was awake except Smith-”
“Your night footman, sir. He saw no-one.”
“Very well. I shall not require the police at this juncture, Graves. Let us instead see if this charlatan writes again. For now, I desire a shave and the Racing Post.”
“I shall fetch the bowl, sir.”
As Graves did his best, I compared the papers before me and confirmed my suspicions. My mysterious communicator had indeed vouchsafed me the name of a horse running the 4.15 at Islington.
“I shall require my automobile this afternoon. See to it, please. Make sure Chambers is sober this time.”
“Certainly sir. Might I inquire as to your schedule?”
“I believe,” I said, “that I shall spend a day at the races.”
Walking out from the stadium somewhat richer (the odds were scandalously favourable) I saw a carriage I recognised parked at the side of the pavement. A wrinkled arm reached out, and beckoned me to enter.
I had no sooner entered the hansom than a bony slap caught me across the cheek, and I reeled. “Gambling!”, my wizened aunt ejaculated. “I have half a mind to birch you like your father never did.”
I settled into the ermine seating. “No fear! Graves did it for him, my darling dowager.”
“Silence, Robin! Apparently the ingrate failed to beat sufficient manners into you. Or to educate you about proper attire; this foppery you wear does not suit a gentleman. What is the meaning of your little game?”
“Don't play silly buggers with me, young man. This letter-”
“This letter,” she continued, her ancient vulgarity now past, “was sent to me with your mark.” She reached into a compartment, retrieving an envelope. “It instructed me to bear its contents here and await you. Why are you corresponding with yourself, you damnfool dandy? Or have you sold the family arms as well as the silver? Whilst we are on the subject, I shall not lend you another farthing.”
I beg forgiveness for involving dear Aunt Catherine in our grand Conspiracy. I've heard so much about her. My means of Communication must remain unsaid, but suffice it to say that more horses shall be forthcoming: might I venture to suggest additional Investments? Please see attached. If possible, I would advise less profligate spending in future, as even at such a distance there is the risk of a 'paper trail'.
The letters continued. I did the only things I could do: I sent Graves ahead of me to place my bets, and I told Auntie everything.
As always she received me in her trophy room. She told visitors Uncle Michael had bagged the selection of great cats whose heads and skins coated the walls. I remembered how his hands used to shake.
“I wish I were surprised, Robin.”
“But Auntie – my man is no charlatan. He is correct on every occasion.”
She sighed. “That is even worse, Robin. Consider how 'your man' knew these salient facts? Where is he?”
I considered. It was a fair enough point, and I would consider it over the next few Sundays in town.
We are discovered. All is lost. For myself, at any rate, disgrace is imminent. I have not seen a penny's worth of our efforts to date, as our Investments do not appear to have materialised as expected. I prevail upon you desperately to send some form of sustenance forwards, in exchange for the fortune I know I have brought you.
You should also be aware that if my sums are correct our Auntie has less than a year remaining to her, and that it is your Familial Obligation to be present as she will require.
In God's name, Sir, I beg you,
Robin Bletchley III
I turned it over in my hands again. It appeared that once again disaster had struck my best-laid schemes. At least this time I had benefited from my part, but furious action appeared necessary.
Of course, before I could proceed I needed to consider my scheme, and pay a quiet visit on my dear Auntie. It seemed best to lay low: now that scandal had sneaked into this strange affair it would not do to be involved. Why, we had never even been introduced!
|# ¿ Dec 16, 2013 01:42|
|# ¿ Dec 17, 2013 09:29|
I'm going to have to withdraw this week because I am terrible.
|# ¿ Dec 22, 2013 13:55|
As a recent offender, I'll bite. What's ?
|# ¿ Dec 25, 2013 03:51|
Ug ug motherfucker. I found a place on the beach with free wifi and I'm gonna crush some skulls for the last 'Dome of 2013.
This is my desktop background right now.
|# ¿ Dec 27, 2013 18:41|
|# ¿ Oct 28, 2021 12:34|
Here Set Big Precedent (398 words)
When Brother Ag showed up with a Bright Hot on the end of a branch I knew he had another idea. Big Man did not like it.
“Again? I said no more time on this.”
“You said that when I shaped rock,” said Ag. “Last moon you hit Brother Naah with one on stick.”
I snorted and patted the wound. “Was sharp, can confirm.”
Big Man glared at me and spat. “Is different.”
“No, not different. Is all Progress. Progress bring well more Progress. This established precept. Here is another Progress.” He waved the branch, and the heat drove me a step back. “Made last night. This clone of original, rain is bad for Bright Hots. Working on that, maybe make covering...“
He babbled on. Nobody understood Brother Ag when he spoke with Progress. Whilst he made his noises others arrived, standing with us at the forest edge. When the last arrived, the sun came up: Brother Ag kept on until Big Man cut him off.
“Why you call clan meet here, Mad Ag?”
“Is best place for it.” Ag pointed into the forest. “Here will come results of initial field testing. Hope you brought sharp rocks!”
It started as a low rumble behind the trees. As it grew louder the smell of the Bright Hot got stronger too, filling my nose with the sharp heat. Soon the noise was a cacophony, animal calls all mixed together into a great ululation. They came onto us all at once.
He let the smaller ones pass. They were too fast for us anyway. It was when the big beasts came tearing out, eyes wide with terror, that Ag struck. With his sharp rock stick he brought down the first one in front of all. “Success!” he roared. “All elements within expected parameters!” His strange cry drove us on.
It was a short hunt. We made a great many kills that morning, enough to feed the clan for some time. When we were finished, panting and slicked with blood, sweating from the heat, Big Man walked up to Brother Ag and knelt before him in the old way.
“You are winner, Brother Ag. Your Progress is strong. Go pick up your Bright Hots, winner Big Man, and lead us home in glory.”
Mad Ag looked at us and shrugged. “No up picking. Is not a portable sort of Progress.”
Obliterati fucked around with this message at 00:14 on Dec 30, 2013
|# ¿ Dec 30, 2013 00:01|