Hey, I'm new to this but I'm in.
|# ¿ May 28, 2013 12:36|
|# ¿ Oct 18, 2021 07:35|
In. I choose Philitas of Cos, the man who allegedly died agonizing over erroneous word-usage. This is going to force me to write in an entirely foreign tone, so it should be interesting.
Does it matter if two people write about the same subject? I also started writing about Philitas of Cos.
|# ¿ May 28, 2013 14:59|
So do we just post it whenever we're done?
|# ¿ May 30, 2013 13:31|
Yeah I was gonna wait a few days anyway. I think I'm done but I can probably find ways to polish it some.
|# ¿ May 30, 2013 13:53|
This is as done as it's ever gonna be. I took a bit of artistic license but the story's practically a myth anyway. Based on the story of Philitas of Cos.
The Liar's Paradox
Hunger has become a constant. Having spread outwards from my stomach like a jot of wine blooms in water, it permeates my body. My toes as much as much as my tongue pine for the flatbread that lies beside me in a wicker basket. It was brought for me to eat, but I shall not eat it.
Balanced on the brink of the dirt cliff by the river, leant out just slightly over the water, stands an old plane tree. When I need to think, I lie under its limbs with my back to its bark. I am nestled in its shade. Its leaves whisper to the wind. Below, the glistening waterway murmurs deeply.
To my right stretches my garden; at the foot of it stands my house. Beyond its white geometry, swollen hills dotted with sheep and criss-crossed with drystone walls rise lazily into the pinch of blue mountains, their sides spattered with snow, their every crinkle accentuated by the low orange light of the sun. The river is shallow and clear. Small brown fish hover above its rocky bottom. Above the surface, C-shaped swallows swoop at the hanging clouds of flies.
Think about this: if a man says 'I am lying', is he telling the truth? Is that an impossible question? It seems that way. It's a paradox.
There are swallows over the garden, too. One dives past me so close that if I was quick enough I could have grabbed it.
Hermesianax is over by the house again. He picks his way through the grass with his distinctive care.
“Hello, Philitas,” he says. “You haven't eaten the bread I brought you.”
“I haven't. Again, I'm afraid, I've been much too busy.”
“Busy with what?”
“Well, thinking. Naturally.”
He sighs and sinks into the shade.
“What have you been thinking about today?”
“Philitas, if a man says to you, 'I am lying', can he be telling telling the truth?”
Hermesianax steeples his fingers and gazes out over the water. His fingers are dark, solid, and strong; they are quite unlike mine.
“It's just a paradox,” he says. “He can't be telling the truth or he'd be lying, and he can't be lying or he'd be telling he truth.”
“Well, yes. That's what I thought too – at first.”
“What do you mean 'at first'? There's nothing more to it. It's a paradox. You can't be telling me you've skipped food for so long to think about something so trivial!”
“My boy, my boy, my boy!” I say. “Open your mind! There's more to it than that!”
“What is it?”
He's got me there. If there is anything more to it, I don't know what it is. He's probably right but I can't let him know that.
“Look, it's complicated. Leave me in peace and I'll explain later.”
“No,” he says. “I'm not leaving you in peace until you eat some of that bread.”
I was hoping he wouldn't say that.
“Then you'll be waiting a long time,” I tell him. “I told you, I'm much too busy.”
“That makes no sense!”
“It makes perfect sense. It's a fact of life that comes to you with age. One day, my boy, you'll understand.”
“I pray to Zeus that I don't,” he says. “Look, Philitas, when did you last eat? In this past week have you eaten anything? Anything at all?”
I watch the swallows on the river to avoid his gaze.
The answer is no. It's been longer than a week. The morning after the last full moon he came to me here with a flatbread in a basket and some water. I didn't see him approach, so intensely was I re-evaluating the subtleties of a long-passed argument. I told him I was too busy thinking to eat, and he told me that was impossible.
“It's perfectly possible,” I said, “and if you give me some quiet I'll show you how it's done.”
Hermesianax chuckled and set the basket down at the base of the tree. When he came back that evening, it hadn't moved.
“How can you have been too busy thinking to eat for an entire day?”
“Fairly easily, actually,” I said. “You know, it happens all the time.”
He shook his head. “There are times when I don't believe you.”
Since that day I have eaten nothing. Now, where the colour has run from the eastern sky a silver disk looms over the mountains. The full moon is back. It has been twenty-nine days since I last touched food. In that time, the flesh has melted from my shoulders and chest. Starvation has whittled my legs and arms into broom handles.
“I said, when did you last eat?”
“That's nothing to do with you?”
“Yes it is!”
“How is it?”
“Because you're my friend.”
“Hermesianax,” I say, “a good friend respects his friends' wishes.”
Hermesianax stands and looks down at me, his dark eyes shimmering wetly. “A great friend stops you when you're being retarded.” He takes a couple of steps away then turns back. “But maybe I'm just not that great a friend.”
“If you're leaving,” I tell him, “take that loving bread with you.”
He ignores me. I throw it at him. It's heavy in my palm. It bounces weakly off his back and lands in the grass.
Maybe I could eat the bread when no one would see and say I chucked it in the river. Maybe I could sneak into the house and get something from the cellar without the servants noticing.
When I'm sure he's gone, I attempt to stand. I can't. My heels press into the dirt, but the muscles in my legs no longer have the strength to get me upright. The bread landed too far away for me to reach. I don't have the energy to crawl for it. I collapse backwards into the tree's embrace and let the night engulf my body and then my mind.
When I awake, Hermesianax is again standing over me. The morning sunlight slips through his blonde hair. He is holding a skin of water and another flat bread.
“Look who came back,” I say. My voice is weak and unfamiliar, barely audible.
“Are you going to eat now?”
“You were asleep!”
“Do you want me to tear the bread for you? I can help you eat it.”
He sits down beside me and tears off a chunk. He holds it out to me. I look at it, and then at him.
“When I'm done I can eat it myself. Let me be. This is important.”
His face looks like I punched it.
“I get it, you know,” he says, standing up again, dropping the bread. “I do. It's completely stupid, but I get it. I get what you're doing.”
“Don't know what you're on about. Leave me alone.”
He paws at his cheek with the back of his hand. He grits his teeth. He takes a step away and a step back. He punches the tree so hard its trunk shifts against my spine and blood falls from his fingers to the grass.
He looks me in the eyes. His face is quivering and red. “You stubborn old gently caress,” he says. Now he leaves me, cradling his right hand in his left.
Ceighk fucked around with this message at 14:17 on May 31, 2013
|# ¿ May 31, 2013 04:57|
I'll try to do a few more of these before the day's out!
Hey, do you mind doing mine? I'm curious what people thought of it and you critiqued that last one pretty well. It's at the bottom of page 75.
|# ¿ Jun 2, 2013 16:41|
Thankyou both for the criticisms. Next time I'll do better.
|# ¿ Jun 3, 2013 22:39|
This is a really cool prompt, I'm in.
Personal target: don't lose.
|# ¿ Jun 5, 2013 13:46|
Judges 15:1-8 posted:
15 Later on, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat and went to visit his wife. He said, “I’m going to my wife’s room.” But her father would not let him go in.
“Honey leave that fox alone, you don't know where it's been”
“Mam,” she said, “it's fine. Look, it's friendly.”
The brown fox had come from the thick bracken that enclosed the outpost. Though it stood less than a metre away, it didn't seem at all scared or aggressive. It just gazed at her with vacant eyes. When she stretched out a hand to stroke its ears, its jaw swivelled open. She didn't hear the whirr.
“Why d'you look at me like that, Mr. Fox?” the girl laughed.
With a click like a cigarette lighter, a small flame appeared behind its teeth.
By the time Del Kerwood arrived at the outpost, there wasn't much outpost left. Its wooden houses were skeletal husks and the only structure left standing was the great metal pod the colonists had first arrived in, embedded in the ground in the town centre. Del clambered up to the door and hammered at it with her fists. A panel slid out of the metalwork to reveal a pair of familiar old eyes. The door hissed open.
“You picked a queer time to show up, Kerwood,” said the old man.
“Val, what happened here?” Del asked. Including herself, there were five people in the pod. In the far corner sat a young man Del didn't recognise, murmuring to a boy about three years old. Val's oldest daughter stood by his side, scraping rust off a laser-pistol.
“It happened this morning,” Val said. “Everything went up in flames all at once. We ain't sure what caused it.”
“It was the foxes,” said Rose, indignant.
“Is this everyone?” asked Del.
“As far as we know, except for Lydia,” said Rose.
“What happened to Lydia?”
“Last week,” said Val, “she disappeared. We thought Samson took her.”
“You never met him,” Val said. “He vanished right after we landed. Strange bloke, and not in a good way. They say he was some kind of genius scientist on Mars, but you'd never believe it. When he didn't come back we were sure he'd got killed off, and we didn't care; he had a creepy thing for Rose, we were glad he was gone. But people say they seen him in the woods at night.”
“Samson musta took Lydia,” Rose said, “and I betcha anything he's behind this.”
“So whaddya say we go get her back?” said Del.
Rose waved her laser pistol at Del's face. “What do you think this is for, heating soup? I'mma find her and I'mma kill that sonofabitch. Tag along if you want, just stay out the way.”
At the north side of the colony they found a slender trail headed into the bracken with paw-prints in the dirt.
“Look here,” Rose said, “I told you there was foxes. That's what torched the village, they breathe fire I'm tellin' you.”
“Fire breathing foxes?” Del said. “Ain't never heard that one before.”
“Me neither, 'till I saw it. Blew out a cloud of flame the size of a house, it did. And by this it looks like the was a load of them, ten at least.”
The trail took them deep into the forest. Eventually the tracks were joined by a new set – human bootprints, sunk deep into the soil. Once Del thought she saw something move in a patch of nettles, but when she checked there was nothing there.
“Of all ol' Earth's plants, who brought nettles?” asked Rose.
Eventually the foliage dropped off and they were at the edge of a small clearing backed against a cliff. In the cliff face was the dark mouth of a cave, and before the cave stood a sinewy old man, only instead of hair he had a mane of coloured wires plugged into his scalp, connected to the shining pistons grafted in the joints of his arms and legs. From his neck hung a large charm made of knotted brass.
A fox darted from the undergrowth by Del's feet and leapt into the man's arms. He held it one-handed like a baby. When his arms moved, the pistons extended and contracted jerkily like he could barely handle their strength.
“Hello, you two!” he bellowed, striding toward Del and Rose. “Amber here has told me all about you! Haven't you, Amber?”
The fox barked.
“Samson!” Rose shouted, aiming her gun at his chest. “What have you done with my sister?”
“'Done'?” Samson laughed, “I have 'done' nothing with you sister.”
“Then where is she?”
Lydia stepped out of the dark cave. She was dressed in the colonist uniform, but around her neck she wore a pendant just like Samson's and a taped up laser-pistol hung from her hip.
“I'm with Samson now,” she said. “We're married.”
“Lydia!” shouted Rose. “How could you?”
Lydia stood behind Samson and ran her fingers through his wire hair. Husband, wife, and fox, they looked like a bizarre little family.
“Because the world-father willed it,” Lydia said.
Rose fired two shots at Samson. In a blur the fox leapt and caught each laser-bullet with its mouth. It settled back on Samson's arm, unharmed.
“You'd best be careful,” said Samson. “Wouldn't want to hurt your darling sister.” Samson strode over to Rose. “You know, my dear,” he crooned, “this is really all your fault. If you hadn't rejected me all those years ago...” His arm-pistons whirring, he brushed his cheek with her fingers. “Not that it matters now. Now I have Lydia, and she is much prettier.”
Lydia pushed the gun barrel against his chest. “I was fourteen, creep.”
Samson glanced at the pistol and smirked. “Just you try it,” he said. His fox opened it's jaw and the pilot light clicked on inside its mouth. More foxes slunk from the undergrowth until they surrounded the group, each one with its mouth open and a tiny flame burning inside.
“D'you know why I destroyed your outpost?” he asked. His voice was low and soft. “You do, don't you? That's right, I wanted to kill you.” Samson turned to Del. “You know, wanderer, this isn't your business. Some foxes can escort you out of here and you can go on your way.”
Del looked at Rose. Rose didn't look back.
“Fine,” she said. Three foxes detached from the circle and led her out of the clearing.
“Shoot one of them and the other two will kill you,” said Samson. “Some knight in armour she was,” he sad to Rose.
“Never thought she was,” Rose said. “I'd rather have come alone.”
“Of course you would.” With that, Samson lifted Rose off the ground by her neck with one hand. The fox dropped to the floor and joined the circle. “Rose,” Samson said, “I want to kill you with this special knife I made.” His voice stayed calm as ever. “I carved it over the course of countless sleepless nights, shaping it from rock with my bare hands, fuelled purely by my hatred of you.” With a shy smile he drew a cruel stone blade from a pocket and placed it against her neck. “Isn't it beautiful? It's like a baby to me.” He pushed it against her skin until she bled. “I will have to kill you slowly. I'll relish it.”
At that moment a laser-bullet sliced through Samson's wire hair. All at once, his foxes howled in pain and scampered off, and his pistons went crazy and contracted and extended over and over with such strength they tore his arms and legs from their sockets and sent them flying. Rose dodged away and shot her sister in the head. Samson and Lydia lay in the dirt in pools of blood.
Del stood at the edge of the clearing holding her smoking gun. She smiled for a second, pulled her hat down over her eyes, and vanished into the forest.
|# ¿ Jun 9, 2013 11:37|
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
|# ¿ Jun 11, 2013 22:46|
In and flash rule me.
|# ¿ Jun 26, 2013 01:49|
Flash Rule: One of your characters must suffer a personal catastrophe.
Black Lyne – 999 words
3. a. Today’s sky shouldn’t be this blue. It should be iron loving clouds seething and pissed-off, the blur of storms on the horizon getting closer. We hold our hands above our eyes and squint and sweat in cheap suits.
This is not where Jack should be buried. He hates it here. The headstones are too neat, in rows and columns too perfect; it’s a supermarket graveyard with no history or future. He should be at rest by a forgotten woodland church under oak trees old and wise as the world, that draw up his blood through their roots through their trunks to their wooden hearts to stay there forever.
3. b. Mum sways beside me wet face and staring wet eyes and trembling alone: Dad isn’t here. Her own parents hang back, faces hacked from granite under wide hats. We’ve hurt our mum more than anyone, she’s struggling to stand.
I want to be the man for her and she can lean on my shoulder, and I’ll hold her up and tell her we’ll get through this.
I want to be her child again, have her arm round my back, have her say it’s not my fault, that I did everything I could. Even if we both know it’s not true, I want to hear her say it.
3. c. Toby’s here. That’s surprising. He doesn’t even look too bad; a smudge of purple behind his collar, scabby lips, hair’s a mess, but he looks better than I thought he would. Those black-eyes must be hidden behind the sunglasses. His expression is too. I can’t bring myself even to hate him.
I’m done with psychedelics. They’re for hippies anyway. Tonight my drug will be vodka.
∞. x. She found Jack naked and dead on the bathroom floor with thirty tabs of 2C-I-NBOMe in his mouth.
1. b. “You will look after him, won’t you? It’s a big school, and you know he’s not as big as those other boys. He’s not tough like you are. Keep him out of trouble. Don’t let him get picked on or anything. Oh, look at you two though, you’re both so big now! My two sons going to big school in proper school uniforms, looking so grown up! Mike, come on, get through here! Bring the camera, I want a picture of our boys.”
“Mum, you’re gonna make us miss the bus.”
“Well if you miss the bus I’ll drive you in and be late for work, it’s fine. Mike! Get your arse through here! Look at them, all dressed up ready for school, don’t they look such gentlemen?”
1. c. Toby says to take the tabs out of our mouths so we do and put them on the coffee table, three yellow squares slippery on your thumb with saliva. Jack lies on the sofa, stretched out with his space-eyes open, smiling, gazing at the ceiling, rapt like it’s the most wonderful thing. Out the window behind him the world is gorgeous; knitted looking fields roll away dotted with sheep and pylons, glowing under the writhing sun that slips through the clouds. Toby and I sit on pillows on the floor, I take Toby’s hand and then my brother’s -- each is so warm, so solid in mine -- and look into their giant pupils in turn and tell them how we need to stay friends, whatever happens, us three, forever. David Bowie sings from the cassette player and we feel every word and every note.
1. a. Me and Jack squat on the roundabout, gripping on hard. Toby runs with it, pulling us faster and faster. I can barely hold on. My shoes squeak against the roundabout’s floor. The world is just a blur. Jack is screaming for Toby to stop but he keeps on running, we keep on speeding up. Then Jack falls backwards.
2. “What the gently caress did you do?” “The gently caress are you on about?” “I’m on about why is my loving little brother dead?” “I don’t loving know!” “You lying little oval office!” I feel the air smash out of him as my fist sinks fast into his stomach, he bends in half, I grab him by the shoulders and ram him against the chain-link fence, he gasps for air. “You think you could keep that poo poo hidden from his brother?” “Alright,” he breathes, “I gave him the tabs, he asked for them and I gave him them.” Another punch to the gut, whack him hard on the side of his head, his eyes stare at nothing. “I know that, loving human being,” I spit on him, “the other poo poo!” “There was no other poo poo!” “Don’t you loving lie!” Another punch and a string of saliva mixed with blood lashes from his mouth onto my hoodie. “He just had an accident, I told him not to take so much, I told him, he didn’t listen, he never listen, it’s not my fault.” Smash to the collarbone with the side of my fist, feel something give way slightly beneath the skin. “loving poo poo, you know it is, you know what I’m on about!” Punch him in the eye. He stops moving, arms fall to his side. We stand there, breathing, staring at each other. “Fine,” he murmurs, “I admit it, I do.” Punch his other eye. “You loving gayboy.” Knee him in the balls. He staggers. He reaches out to me for support. I let him. I just stand there, breathing fast, trying not to look at Toby’s face as it moves closer and closer to mine. His lips touch my cheek, I can feel his hot blood on my face, and he whispers “I’m sorry.” I can hear the air shudder in and out of him. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean it to go like this, I didn’t want this.”
I push him off me and he crumples to the ground. He lies at my feet, bleeding and sobbing on the grass. I turn around and walk home.
|# ¿ Jun 30, 2013 23:02|
|# ¿ Oct 18, 2021 07:35|
|# ¿ Sep 10, 2013 16:22|