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Gygaxian
May 29, 2013


I'm in. Biblical sci-fi sounds good for my first Thunderdome attempt.

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Gygaxian
May 29, 2013


Chairchucker posted:

Everyone who posted that they were on on page 79 has a verse!

Aaaaand back to it.

Did I say I'm in on time? I wasn't sure if I did or not, but if I wasn't on time, that's fine too. I'll wait for the next prompt.

Gygaxian
May 29, 2013


Well, it looks like I didn't have as much time as I thought I did. I have a few hundred words, but there's no way I'll be able to finish this in time. Better try again next time.

Gygaxian
May 29, 2013


I'm in for Murder on the Fourth of July, on the last list.

Gygaxian
May 29, 2013


Murder on the Fourth of July 1,203 words. It's actually my first successful attempt to write any story longer than a page or two.


History will say that John Adams and I died on the Fourth of July, exactly fifty years after our nation’s independence was born. History will say that we died as friends. History will say many things, but in this, it is wrong.

We kept up appearances to the rest of the country, but our hatred for each other burned brightly through those five decades and longer. And death? Death was but a mere inconvenience for two men of our intellect. We cut our ties with the world of the mundane, and found our own ways to cheat the Reaper: Adams, with secret technology from his beloved Boston, and I with my taste for the occult.

Our immortality transformed our hatred from a mere distaste for each other into more murderous inclinations. No year passed without one of my attempts on John Adam’s life, or Adam’s attempt on my own life. No continent was left untouched by our feud, and nearly every nation felt the weight of our rivalry.

We clashed in Paris when the House of Bourbon was overthrown for the second time, at Veracruz and Huamantla when the United States shattered the dreams of Santa Anna, and at a hundred nameless battles across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The world never knew it, but much of the nineteenth century was a war of Jefferson against Adams.

The only conflict of that century that we did not take part in to fuel our vain attempts at murdering each other was the War Between the States, a decidedly uncivil war. Instead, we went to Europe, where I whispered into the ear of the great revolutionary Garibaldi, and Adams arranged the great monarchs of Europe against me.

The last time we involved mortal men to help us in our feud was in Russia, where we accidentally caused the explosive occurrence now known as the Tunguska Event. After that debacle, we came to the agreement that we should not involve others in our fight, and that we should have an appointed time and appointed place to carry out our battle. I believe it was Adams who suggested that we should fight on the fourth day of every July, to amuse ourselves in the irony of one of us dying on the same day that we both provided an obituary for history’s sake.

Since then, every Fourth of July has come and gone with a vain attempt by one of us to slay the other. We were both too wily to die to easily, so death never came, and we gradually forgot the reasons for our feud. Still, we continued our private war, being so used to this grim routine that it never occurred to us to stop.

When the Fourth of July inevitably happened once more, I traveled to an isolated portion of California’s Pacific coastline, the appointed place we had agreed to meet at on the fifth of July the previous year. Traveling through eldritch dimensions, I appeared there at the crack of dawn. However, I was not alone.

Adams was there, sitting on the cliff of the coastline, along with his son John Quincy. Adams himself appeared as a portly, middle-aged man, as he had been on the day the Declaration of Independence was signed. John Quincy cloaked himself in the guise of a nine year old boy, the same age he had been when the Revolution began. From my centuries of dealing with the two Adams, I knew better than to trust their appearance. Their skin was entirely artificial, and beneath it lurked not the organs of mortal man, but technological marvels the world could scarcely conceive of. Though I am hardly one to talk; the less said about my own form, the better.

Hearing the faint crackling noise of my arrival from realms best left untouched, Adams turned his head towards me, smiled the broad grin of a man who has not smiled in years, and waved me over to where he and his son were sitting.

“Jefferson! Come, sit with us!” He seemed like a man without burden or care. My suspicions immediately rose, for we had tried to kill each other for nearly two centuries. Surely this was a trap; while our murderous hate had subsided somewhat over the years, it can’t have had faded entirely. Still, I strode neatly over to the two, and sat on the right side of Adams, while John Quincy sat on his left. As I sat, Adams calmly turned to me and said six words which I never expected to hear in two hundred and seventy years of life.

“I want you to kill me.”

I shook my head vigorously, to make sure I had heard him correctly.

“You want me to what?”

“Kill me, Jefferson.”

“But why?” I felt tongue-tied in an astonished way, like a schoolboy being told that his favorite teacher had gone into the woods and been eaten by a bear.

“I want to die, Jefferson. I’ve had a good, long life. I’ve lived through centuries, just as you have. I have learned every language there is to learn, I’ve meddled in wars without count, I’ve seen countless generations of my family die, be born, and live full lives in between. I have done everything I have ever wanted to do. and now I want to see what lies beyond life. Haven’t you felt the same after all these years?”

I barked out a short laugh. “Adams, if you had met the beings I had, and made the deals that I have made, you wouldn’t be so eager to leave this earth.”

Adams smiled wrly. “Perhaps not, but the fact still remains that I would like to die, and I can’t think of a better man to kill me. Besides, you may be the only man alive who could actually ensure that I stay dead.”

I laughed again, though my mood sobered by another thought. “What about your son?”

John Quincy rolled his eyes at me in a particularly petulant manner that he probably learned from the teenagers of this decade. “Jefferson, I’m two hundred and forty six years old. I believe I can take care of my own matters. What my father does is his own business, though I will miss him.” Quincy’s somber face contrasted with his father’s pleasant mood, but a grin quickly dominated. “But before I join him, I think I shall go beyond Earth, and spend a few centuries among the stars.”
Adams smiled brightly, once again unnerving me with his cheerfulness. He had never been as content as he was in that moment, even in the old days.

“I believe that answers that! Now Tom, will you do the honors? Try that fire you nearly ended our feud with back in Berlin.”
Seeing that I could not change his mind, I called forth in my hand an inferno hotter than the sun, and as tainted by the occult as the grand old trickster I had dealt with to gain it.
“Goodbye, John. I hope I’ll see you again one day.” I thrust the flame into the face of my old rival and newfound friend.

It was quick, this murder on the Fourth of July.

Gygaxian fucked around with this message at Sep 29, 2013 around 17:07

Gygaxian
May 29, 2013


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

You'll get proper crits when I get home from work, but I have one thing that needs letting out now:

JESUS CHRIST PEOPLE YOU CAN'T HANG A STORY ON DIALOGUE ALONE

All of you did this, except the one story that I actually liked.

Crabrock gets some credit for doing it as an experiment and thus at least trying to do something cool, but ultimately his too fell flat. The rest of you (except the one I liked), I don't even know. It's like every single story is taking place in a featureless white void. Description, description, description. Say it three times in the mirror every night until it is burned into your brain.

Honestly, I don't have that much experience writing, so I'm wary of too much description, since I don't want to be like the guy who wrote Eragon. Purple prose (what's the local name for that here on SA?) is not something I want to do, so I guess I err on the side of caution and underdescription.

Gygaxian
May 29, 2013


I'm in for the next round, and thanks to the judges for the critique. Looking back, I know I needed it. Not trying to brownnose or anything, just learning to tell when my writing is crap.

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Gygaxian
May 29, 2013


Actually, never mind. I have a midterm coming up in 2 days, so I won't have time, judging from how slow I was in coming up with an idea for the last Thunderdome round. Count me out.

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