please do not post a signup.
|# ? Oct 25, 2014 07:28|
|# ? Aug 23, 2019 02:47|
I demand a recount!
(seriously tho thanks for the crit & being a cool dude who organizes brawls. Next time my poo poo won't be so weak. Good work Cache Cab!)
|# ? Oct 25, 2014 07:51|
Can I post pin-ups?
Safe for work, unless you's an x-ray technician, in which case
|# ? Oct 25, 2014 14:32|
Kwame was Thirsty
Kwame was thirsty. He leaned over sharp grass and ripped it from the roots. He brushed away a clod of thick, red dirt. His dry teeth snapped the white base of the plant. Precious little moisture hit his parched tongue. He was thankful for it, but it was not enough.
The sweat had left large stains on his shirt. Dark circles marred his threadbare shirt under his armpits and on the small of his back. There was another stain, however. A large, red one that made the shirt stick to his side. His fingers gingerly touched at it and his body involuntarily recoiled. The sun seemed brighter. Kwame sweated, but he shivered from a deep, mortal cold.
“We have heard they are going to attack us,” said the young man.
“We have nothing, what could they want from us?” asked Kwame.
“I do not know. But take your family away from here.”
“But my wife, she is sick, she cannot move.”
“You must,” he said, “I have to go and warn the others.”
Kwame had to stop walking. His legs burned. He sat down beside the sharp grass and weakly lifted his hand. It cast a little shade, providing some relief. He was thankful for it, but it was not enough.
He coughed violently, his tongue becoming coated in blood. A sickly mix of fear and relief hit him. He desperately held the liquid in his mouth, trying to coat his tongue, his gums, his lips. The metallic taste was too much and he spit it on the ground in front of him. His eyes failed to see the difference between it and the soil.
The village was in flames.
A boy no older than 10 stood in front of Kwame. There was no anger in the child’s eyes, and no fear. Small, callused hands held onto a rifle. He clumsily let the barrel lean against the ground, the boy unsure of how to handle the device which was as long as he was tall. Kwame stood at the door, his hands on either side of the frame. If they weren’t gripping that, they would be shaking.
Kwame stared into those fearless, calm eyes. Did the child know what he was? Did the child know what his leaders did, what they wanted? The boy’s eyes widened and his mouth slightly opened. Before he could speak, a loud shot rang in the distance. The boy did not turn to look but Kwame did. He saw emerge from his neighbor’s house a soldier – no, a monster. In its eyes Kwame saw a depraved hunger. His eyes watered from the smoke which was quickly spreading.
Kwame ran his hands through the sharp grass. His back was against a brown and dry patch. With every movement, there was a loud crunch. He felt a beetle run across his arm, tickling him. He wished he could laugh but he was afraid of the pain it would bring. He turned his head to see the yellow-green bug. Another crunch. The beetle stopped and faced Kwame. He wondered if it came from his farm. Thick plates opened on its side and two transparent wings filled with brown veins emerged. Kwame felt the smallest stirring of winds as the beetle lifted itself to the blue, cloudless sky. He watched the yellow-green dot until it passed the sun. Kwame lost it as the beetle became one with the heavenly body.
Kwame closed his eyes and tried to rest. But, a crunch. A shadow covered Kwame’s eyes. He opened them and saw a young cub. Its eyes without malice. Kwame lifted his hand towards the cub and it leaned in closer. Kwame felt the soft, golden fur and silky, white whiskers. He looked deep into yellow eyes. The cat lazily licked Kwame’s hand with its scratchy, pink tongue. The cub rubbed itself against large, callused hands. It mewled quietly. And in this, Kwame found a peace.
From behind the cub, Kwame saw a pride noiselessly emerge. Lions surrounded him now but they simply stood and watched. Kwame’s eyes struggled to stay open as his head fell back to the dry and brittle grass. Another crunch. Kwame saw again the white and blinding sun. This whiteness became all he saw. And then, he felt nothing at all. He was thankful for this.
|# ? Oct 25, 2014 15:04|
Vince Clupper died with an octogenarian tucked under one arm. His last moments were spent clawing the waves, trying to catch some momentum. But with each boost forward, the rip current tugged back harder. The old man was scared; trembling, he clung to Vince’s sleeveless red shirt. At last Vince succumbed to exhaustion. His adversary the sea, salty in all its malice, had won.
Vince had little chance to think of Marta, the woman he loved. Or Ron, the five-year old he would leave behind.
As the years went by, Ron’s memory of his father blurred. To him, Vince Clupper was not a dad, but an obstacle—a reason for his mother to insist that he avoid the beaches.
“The ocean took your father, don’t let it take you too.”
Ron loved Marta, who was mother and father enough for him. Yet he could not ignore the ocean’s tug. For the sea lures all who live near the coast. It whispers a promise from its crashing waves, salts the air around it with invitation and intrigue.
And so it was that Ron, rebellious in adolescence, would sneak from his home and journey to the shore. There he reveled in the tickle of warm sand between his toes and the press of cool ocean against him. At the sea, Ron swam with agile dolphins and chased down temperamental gulls. Beside murmuring waves, he built his first castle and planted his first kiss, but his true passion belonged to the surfboard. Never had Ron felt so whole than in those moments where he stood atop the board, lording over the wild blue expanse beneath him.
“I worry about you,” his mother pleaded. “Don’t keep doing this to me, I have a terrible feeling you’re going to die out there.”
Ron explained, “This is who I am. I can’t bear the responsibility for your feelings.”
Marta snapped, “And I can’t stop being a mother. No matter how old you are, you will always be my little boy whom I raised alone. Stay away from the sea. You will not know your father by becoming him, but by honoring the family he left behind.”
Ron moved out of the house as soon as he was of age. He spent his days honing his craft, advancing toward a life as a professional surfer. His first challenge: prepare to compete in the regional expo. First prize, ten thousand dollars. He trained until he could control the board as though it were an arm or a leg.
When he heard his mother was ill, Ron did not reach out to her. He ached with sorrow for the woman who raised him, but the gulf between them was too wide.
One sunny day, Ron was riding the waves when he heard someone call, “Ron, it’s your mother!”
Chemotherapy had torn her hair out, carved deep grooves into her face. Where Ron once had known a woman of forty years, he now looked upon a stranger twice that age. Still, he ran to her and they embraced.
Marta let her son know how much she cared, and how sorry she was that they grew apart. She told Ron of her troubles: That she was no longer able to work, but that the treatment had left her thousands of dollars in debt.
“I’ll pay it off,” Ron told her.
“But how?” asked Marta.
Ron looked to the sea. “I’ll take care of it.”
Under a grey sky, monstrous waves hammered the shore. The crowd groaned in sympathy for the latest contestant blown to defeat by high winds and treacherous waters. Ron smiled. In strict adherence to technique, his competitors had forgotten their instincts. This would be an easy win.
Ron took to the waves, climbing them meter by meter, saddling the white-capped crests beneath his board. He was communing with the fickle sea, intuiting its whims, adapting to its moods, swing by volatile swing.
When he finished his set, Ron nodded with the assurance that he had won the expo. But he did not dismount from his board. The sea issued a call he could not ignore. Ten thousand dollars would be waiting for him when he returned; for now he would celebrate by continuing to do what he loved best.
Ron rode far from the expo, taming wave after wave and beaming with pride. His head raised to the sky, he never saw the fin parting the ocean surface. He noticed the loss of his board one instant before the loss of his foot.
He was sinking now, his mother’s words flooding into his mind. “You’ll end up like your father. You’ll die out there.”
Sinking deeper, Ron felt his consciousness slipping from him. As if in a nightmare, an image seared itself into his head. He saw a young man dressed in red fighting against a current to reach the shore. The young man was hampered by an old man who clung to his shirt and dragged them both down.
Just then, Ron regained his senses. He banished his mother’s admonitions from his mind and hoisted himself to the surface. He was bleeding heavily, but the beast that attacked him was nowhere in sight. Ron made for the shore, and to the mother he loved so dearly.
Original link to picture
|# ? Oct 25, 2014 21:59|
I am a failure this weekend. I will Toxx next time I enter.
|# ? Oct 26, 2014 00:56|
In the Autumn
(Removed for possible future use)
Guiness13 fucked around with this message at Dec 15, 2014 around 17:41
|# ? Oct 26, 2014 04:41|
Week CXIII crits for kurona_bright, Grizzled Patriarch, Some Guy TT, Fuschia tude, Walamor, and Cache Cab
kurona_bright - A Rose's Supposed Influence
Renault being a goblin magician was a bit jarring. I can't really tell if your story is set in modern times either--enough details are missing for me to be lost here.
So we have goblins and runes. These are two unfamiliar things that need to be explained and put in a proper context. Renault is a goblin, sure, but it's mostly a trapping--he could be a really short human and the story wouldn't be any different. As for the rune, it needs more attention because it's the fulcrum of our story. How does it exactly work? Magic needs to make sense, otherwise your readers will be lost. It needs to be internally-consistent, and it can only be that if you flesh it out, which you didn't.
Your prose and dialogue are stilted (everyone speaks way too formally). Use "said" more, and rely on the words themselves to portray your character's feelings. And with the lack of an internal monologue I still couldn't properly point out what Earl was feeling most of the time.
Grizzled Patriarch - Every Bird Comes Home to Roost
Virtue/vice: Wisdom earned hard
This was a pretty good mood piece. Your opening scene grabs attention. However I don't see much of an arc--Emily wants to see Mark, so she steals the vial, but it isn't enough, and then...? She's just mopey for the entire story. I felt a bit cheated when the story ended. This could've been good if you had written an actual resolution.
Some Guy TT - Missionary For Science
I hated this story. Monroe turns into Nye and back again. Use the find-and-replace function on your word processor next time. I don't know which to be mad at more: the way your story was incompetently-written, or the stupid, inaccurate strawman you made out of science. The comically-unimpressed alien is a bad writing cliche--it's never good when your main character's argument collapses on itself. This story just insults the reader's intelligence. Really cringeworthy, but coherent enough to keep it from actually losing.
Fuschia tude - Blind Ablution
Virtue/vice: an appreciation of beauty
This reads like two separate stories to me. Guy goes to mine, gets caved-in and dies, but there's something about a disease that makes people ugly? I don't really see the point of the latter. It's flimsy for backstory, and would have been better served at the forefront. You could've replaced this with some other motivation and the story wouldn't be any different. I mean, you could probably spin an interesting tale on people with rearranged faces, but you chose to write a boring story about a man who dies inside a mine.
Walamor - Elements of Life
Virtue/vice: howling from street corners, He is as the fisher king as He too grows strong so does His dominion
Well-written, though rough in some places. "Tain smiled his fatherly teacher’s smile, the one he used when he was about to explain something to someone who might not quite understand" is a clumsy line that gives away your ending. There's not a lot of emotional depth so I didn't care for Mattious that much, which makes the ending a bit of a wet fart.
Cache Cab - Vector
Virtue/vice: Critical thinking
Not science fiction. I didn't want this story to lose (personally I was rooting for Some Guy TT), but it was really clumsy. Shannon is barely a character and more of an object of hatred, and I felt uncomfortable with Richard waxing poetic about his wife's infidelity. It's messed up because the story feels it was written too close to home. I'm supposed to be disgusted? At the story, then.
It's a bit late, but for those who had trouble writing about fantasy/science fiction and got called out for it, just read more of those books. Read good ones (the Hugos and Nebulas are good jumping-off points), not just goddamn Tolkien rip-offs or Star Wars novels. Not saying those can't be good, but those are very limited subgenres that are served more by following convention than by breaking it. I mean, what's with all those spaceships? If you wrote a spaceship story and it wasn't well-received, read the good ones. Actually read all the entries that used spaceships and see what you can learn. Just check the SF/F thread in The Book Barn and they'll help you out.
My personal recommendation is Ted Chiang's Stories of Your Life and Others. It's a short story collection, and will expand your mind on what SF/F can do.
|# ? Oct 26, 2014 07:26|
The winter air always had that peculiar glass quality to it. Inhaling the fresh cold air, it always felt like that was how breathing glass was supposed to feel. Of course, it was a strange sentiment, one that you couldn‘t explain to most people. For them, this cold winter air would feel like nose hair freezing together. To each his own, how they say, but Hans thought that his idea was more poetic.
Of course, this high up in the mountains you had to always wear a scarf around the face. Scarf might have naturally been an ally of the neck that also saved the nose from falling off. But playing nice with breath wasn‘t one of its strong points. The humidity, it stays in the fabric, causing it go damp and wet and smelly. Yet, it’s either that or sacrificing one’s nose. And in comparison to having a gaping hole in the face, some damp discomfort did not really matter.
Now, being careful when placing steps was of utmost importance. The mountains rise ever upward and the path rises in turn. They aren’t that trustworthy at the best of days and lowest of altitudes, being quite thin, uneven and strewn with little pieces of rock. The only blessing was that this path was used quite frequently by Hans’ friends and compatriots, so it was usually clear of snow, and any new fresh snowfall would’ve been trampled under many boots, before it became as solid as any good path. Just had to hope it wouldn’t ice up!
Yet it still gave out the characteristic snow squeak, compacted as it was by the long line of mine plodding up the path, hunch under they packs. This was nowhere near the fun Hans used to have when he was little. For one, you don’t have haul heavy loads up the mount when you’re young. And snow is, in general, one of the most magical substances known to child. Fluffy and lightweight when dry, good for snowballs and snowmen, and snow forts and… and… well, all sorts of things when slightly wet.
But the most cherished quality of snow was the crust that would form on it. Since it’s one of few things that kids could break without repercussions, it used to be one of the greatest joys, about ten winters ago. Sure, it wasn’t very nice when you had to go somewhere: thick as little Hans’ pants used to be, he could still feel the jagged edge of the crusts when advancing in snowdrift. But when you didn’t have to go anywhere special… Ah, then you could imagine that you’re an iceberg or throw them as discs…
Or – and Hans really used to love this – you could try stepping on it, ever so lightly, just so it wouldn’t break. And it wouldn’t! For a spell, one could almost imagine standing on snow, much like a wood witch from a fairytale. Could almost imagine running and leaving no steps behind! But that special moment was always short lived, as the rules of experiment demanded shifting more weight on the leg, and the crust would crack and break. So much for being a wood witch.
That is not to say that Hans and his friends didn’t look somewhat eerie. Hans, and Jorgen behind him, they were both carrying the same heavy tube. And they were dressed uniformly: winter clothing, thick gloves, scarves. But their eyes stood out the most. They didn’t look human. Instead, they had two white oblong discs. Each of them had slits cut in them, a shape not unlike that of a crucifix lying on the side, as if drawn with a pencil. These glasses, necessary to save the eyes from all the white and all the light, reminded Hans of the drawings he saw in the books, of the northern savage tribes in the New World. He figured their eyes were no more immune to the harsh winter sun than Hans’.
At least, he figured, they didn’t have to haul such weight themselves. They probably had sleighs and dogs to draw them. They probably didn’t go so high up the mountain, either. And why would they? They didn’t have a war nor officers to tell them what to do. The only thing in common would be the discomfort. The mountain might be cold, but the burden was hot. Carrying one end of tube under his arm, Hans was sweating, and all that sweat could only seep into his clothes. He was that close to simmering in his uniform. Kind of ironic, considering the cold outside, but also inevitable. Then again, Hans didn’t feel like he had the right to complain. The other men, they might not all be carrying the tubes, but they all carried something else: wheels, boxes, bundles. Everyone was in this together.
By the time they reached their destination, the lads had already assembled the carriage. Big iron wheels, clad with wooden planks and all the necessary struts and pipes to keep it stable. The only thing missing was the tube that Hans and Jorgen had been carrying.
Hans pulled his scarf down and called out to the men:
“So, you think we’ll finally get them?”
One the figures working on a wheel turned to face him.
“How can we not? We are the highest standing battery in the mountains! The Italians are as good as dead!”
|# ? Oct 26, 2014 14:53|
I'll have to bail out again, sorry. Toxx, next time, etc.
Also, I am stupid and so is my schedule.
|# ? Oct 26, 2014 21:24|
Just a friendly little reminder before anything else gets submitted:
PROOFREAD YOUR drat ENTRIES FOR THE LOVE OF THE BLOOD QUEEN
|# ? Oct 26, 2014 21:26|
Just a friendly little reminder before anything else gets submitted:
|# ? Oct 26, 2014 21:42|
The fence loomed large and formidable in Safi’s vision. He ran towards it, the taste of salt and dust in his mouth. Sweat stung his eyes and the hot air made his lungs burn, but he didn’t dare slow down his pace. He had come too far, had suffered too much to have his journey end here at the edge of his destination.
The white hot heat of the noon sun glared down at him. Each step he took kicked up red dust. He was coated with it. He felt like the desert he had come from, parched and dry and desiccated. But still he ran. He could hear the sound of people running beside him but didn’t dare look. He kept his eyes unwaveringly on the fence, as if he was afraid it would vanish like a mirage if he so much as looked somewhere else.
He was almost at the fence. He could see lush cool greenery pressed against the other side of the fence, stark against the bone dry red dust he had been running through. He wondered what it would be like to walk among those plants in their cool wet shade.
When he reached the fence he immediately jumped and grabbed onto the chain links. He would have cried out in pain if his mouth wasn’t dried out and devoid of moisture. In the hot sun the chain links had become heated. Pain seared into his fingers and toes like threads of fire. He started climbing. He tried to think of cool foliage. He tried to think of rain and cool winter days. The sun beat into him from above but his mind was gone, gone into the cool dark earth. He kept climbing.
He thought about his family back home. It was for them that he was doing this. To get away from the poverty of Africa to Europe, where he could make enough to support his people back home. He had made that long desperate trek through fiery sands and cold unforgiving nights, and his journey was almost done.
He heard a cry as a man beside him slipped and fell down. He could see the top of the fence above him. He kept his eyes fixed above. As he grasped the top of the fence he hoisted himself up and looked down on the other side.
In front of him lush verdant lawn spread. From this high up it looked like green velvet, and Safi couldn’t even imagine what it must look like to be able to touch that soft surface. His parched body ached imagining the dewy wetness clinging to the ground. The trees seemed to flaunt their richness in front of him. He thought of the trees just behind him, as scraggly and hard as he was.
He felt dizzy and disoriented, as if he had gotten drunk off the scenery. In the distance he could see people coming towards the fence. He knew he had to get down and escape. He willed his body to move and started making his way down. He made it three quarters of the way down when the border police arrived.
The first blow from the baton hit him on the side. He let out a rasp of pain as he desperately tried to cling to the fence. The second blow hit him on the head. He felt a white burst of pain. His fingers lost their grip on the fence and he fell.
As he lay on the ground he reached out a hand. He tried to touch that soft velvet grass just out of his reach. A baton cracked down on him from above and he lost consciousness.
|# ? Oct 26, 2014 22:57|
This Field of Flowers
The war had taught Franklin three things: never to laugh, never to forget and never to yield.
From the bottom of the hill the old poppy field went out as far as the eye could see, until a crimson ruffle married a blue sky. Franklin would come here many times a week, for many decades. Remembering.
The war. The rain, the mud, the blood, all mixed together beyond those brave and stupid men who had died for their countries. A barren field drenched in mangled bodies dotting the morning fog. Some of them had had faces. Some of them names. His comrades, Barney, Joseph, Harry. His brother, Roger.
Over the years the bodies had disappeared, most of them buried, and in their stead the poppies had grown, as if mother nature had wanted to throw a blanket over the harsh truth of what had happened here. It was a sea of red, serene and perfect. Safe for one spot.
Someone had trampled the poppies, carelessly torn them out. A shameful, brown stain on the vest that this field had worn for decades.
Franklin stood at the edge of the field and waited. Somebody had done this, and they might come back. He could not, in good conscience, let anyone desecrate this place.
He’d put on his old uniform. It had faded in color, turned to bleached red rags with brown stains of dried blood; too tight around his belly and too wide for his arms. His rifle, worn and rusty, might never fire another shot and his medals, for bravery, resilience and honor, had lost their shine a long time ago. But they all stood for what he was here to protect.
Finally a group appeared on the hill. There were five people. They looked like punks, an urban aberration spilling into this mark of nature, personified in leather jackets, pink-green hairdo and the glitter of piercings in the afternoon sun. They chatted and laughed as they walked down through the grass, beer cans in hand. Their manners had a nonchalance and directness to them that gave the group a certain air of laissez-faire. These people didn’t care, and certainly not about flowers.
Franklin walked out to the edge of the field and jammed the butt of his rifle on the ground. He pushed his glassed back up his nose and straightened his back. One of the youths pointed at him and the chatter stopped. Someone chuckled. They approached.
Franklin’s knuckles turned white. He held on to the gun for too many reasons. He wanted anything but to use it.
“Que faites-vous ici , vieillards?” one of them said: What are you doing here, old man? Their leader. His mohawk burst out from his head, screaming dissonant colors.
Franklin swallowed. “My friends lie here,” he said. “Please let them rest. They have given so much.”
The youths laughed. “poo poo British. This is France,” the punk said. “Go home old man.”
Franklin’s jaw clenched. “This is my home,” he said, slowly, and in the most horrible French.
One of the punks motioned to walk into the field. Franklin found himself raising a rusty bayonet to the youngster.
“Ętes-vous fou?” the boy said. Are you crazy?
Franklin wanted to reply, but his throat was too dry. He had to focus to keep his hands from shaking.
“Does this gun even work, old man?” the other one said. “Just leave.”
Franklin spun around to face the leader and was blindsided by a punch. He panicked.
His bayonet pierced the air. Another punch took the breath from his lungs. The rifle dropped. Someone pushed him to the floor. A kick to the side followed. Franklin’s eyes welled up. Another one. French curses. The punks turned to black blotches behind his tears, but Franklin recognized his rifle as it was picked up and broken in half over someone’s knee.
Franklin protected his face with his arms. They kicked him again. There was laughter. There were taunts. They called him old vermin. France to the French, they chanted. The ground around him started to reek of spilt beer. Cans hissed as they were ripped open.
The kicks stopped.
Franklin opened his eyes to five blurry dots of black moving back up the hill, laughing and chatting. One of them spat on the ground.
Franklin moaned. His glasses lay on the ground, smeared with dirt. He put them back on with a shaky hand and reached for the stock of his broken rifle to lift himself up. His sides felt like they’d caught a load of shrapnel. He brushed some dirt off his uniform, knowing that the new brown and green smears would remain. But that wasn’t important. Neither were the dents in his medals, or the crack in his glasses.
The punks had let off steam, and his comrades had been spared. The poppies were safe and untouched.
Panting, Franklin sat back down amidst discarded beer cans and looked out into the distance from the bottom of the hill. The field was a neverending sea of red. It reached out as far as the eye could see, until a crimson ruffle married a golden sun. It was beautiful, and it was pure, and he would protect it as long as he lived.
|# ? Oct 26, 2014 23:08|
I don't think I will be able to write a brawl entry. I have a really neat idea but have literally had no time and have no time between now and the end date.
Please forgive me (I know you won't).
|# ? Oct 26, 2014 23:34|
Solo (893 words)
Flames exploded from hot, burning fat. Fumes of seared pork, the salt of soy, and sharp sweetness of onion beat through the sweaty stench after the show. For the first time that night Xian and Cheng agreed on something: the reception in Soba City was awful.
Xian slammed down his phone and then looked at Cheng. He raised his shoulders and his chin to gain an extra inch of height on the bassist, his mohawk added another.
“That show was horrible. gently caress that was just bad. But nothing pork buns can’t fix,” Xian’s voice was hoarse. There were black bags beneath his glazed over eyes.
“I hate pork buns, they make me feel like I’m carsick,” Cheng paused, “We should have gotten Flavor Dumpling in the first place, like Li said. Maybe she was right for once. Anyway, let’s get the soba, it’s cheap here,” Cheng argued.
“Everyone gets soba here. We’re not everyone,” Xian said.
The waiter approached.
“Beer,” Cheng said the same time Xian said “Sprite.”
“For all of us,” Cheng circled with his finger, “And pork buns for him, two orders of soba otherwise.”
The waiter left with a scowl, moving around loud children and through tight mazes of chairs. A dating couple demanded gluten free dumplings and were ignored.
The waiter returned with three beers. Xian sipped his, while Cheng chugged his down, then did the same with the ignored third. Soon, the pork buns and soba arrived amidst a crowd of beers. Cheng was distracted, trying to get cell reception by swaying his phone in smoky air. Xian stuffed his mouth full of buns, then almost spat them out with a purple face. When the check came, the two stared at each other.
“I’ve got this one, you paid the last six,” Cheng said with slurred words.
“You’re really complaining about not paying? You’ll complain about anything,” Xian pulled out his wallet, which housed a thick wad of twenties.
There were nine empty bottles in front of Cheng.
A crash caught the attention of the entire restaurant.
There were eight empty bottles in front of Cheng. He smiled at the attention.
Xian backed up onto once white floor tiles. Cheng raised the broken bottle and swung it like a knife. It missed.
“I’m paying,” Cheng hissed.
Xian put his hands up in protest as he stepped further back. Rattles of glasses and dishes rang when he bumped into an unoccupied table. Cheng dropped seventy eight dollars and the broken bottle onto our table, his wallet now empty.
Cheng swaggered outside while Xian kept ten feet behind. Flashing red and blue lights stole attention from frigid rain. Two polices officers stared at Cheng.
“We got a complaint on this guy with the head that looks like… what the waiter called a balding clown,” an officer said.
“He was just arguing with me about the bill. Nothing got out of hand, no one got hurt. Besides, we’re leaving,” Xian said.
The two officers looked at each other, and paused for what felt like ten minutes. One walked inside and then returned with a nod, “All clear.”
“Want some soba?” one officer said.
“Heard it’s cheap here. Just don’t get the pork buns,” the other responded.
Three car doors slammed, the engine revved and rain pattered the windows. Bright lights of the city blurred by while one of our songs, Slaughtered by the System played. Guitar, singing and bass washed out the drums.
“I didn’t need your loving help me with the cops, and I especially don’t need your charity,” Cheng yelled.
“Who cares about that anymore, just put on your seatbelt, Cheng, jesus,” Xian yelled louder.
They argued for minutes, voices raised to extremes that stung the ears. Cheng smacked Xian on the shoulder, who ignored it. Xian’s eyes remained on the road.
Cheng looked like he was about to vomit, because he did. The car smelled like rancid beer. More old booze than rain now drenched Xian. He whipped his arm to get most of the vomit back onto Cheng with one hand on the wheel. The car swerved.
“Gross, you rear end in a top hat. Cheng, I swear to loving god I’m going to leave the two of you and start my own loving band,” Xian yelled as he stared at Cheng. The car swerved again.
“Then do it you bastard!” Cheng yelled so loud that the honking barely overtook it.
The two turned their fuming faces to me and yelled, “Shut the gently caress up Li!”
The truck was like a symbol crash, followed by a drum solo as the car rolled down the hill. The truck crushed Xian into two, bones crunched louder than metal. Cheng flew face first into the windshield. Glass stabbed through his eye, removing life from it. Sirens wailed in my ears, and bright fire blinded me until I raised my hand in front of my face. I coughed into my fist. A crowbar peeled the door, two arms reached in and grabbed me, then pulled.
I sat across the street from Flavor Dumpling. One of the signs read No Alcohol Permitted. An emergency raincoat was wrapped around me while the biggest crowd of our lives watched on. Firemen extinguished Xian’s car. The officers from before came by and asked me a lot of questions.
It was surprisingly easy to speak without my bandmates.
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 02:09|
crabrock fucked around with this message at Oct 28, 2014 around 06:41
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 03:17|
I'm a big stupid jerk and won't be able to submit after all. I have failed myself and shamed you and my entire family.
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 03:32|
The Unlikely, Unfortunate Incident Where I Learned to Let a Little Go
Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Dec 11, 2014 around 03:05
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 03:41|
Painter of Death
The cigar sizzled with a puff of smoke when Black Jesus pressed the ashen tip against his tongue. Six soldiers cringed, but they kept their attention on their fearless leader.
“How are we going to kill Hitler?” Black Jesus asked, putting his cigar into his military shirt pocket. “We don’t. The mothafucking bible teaches that we shall not kill.” A young soldier with pubes for a beard raised his hand. Black Jesus walked to him and gave him the talking stick. “Private Napster, what is your question?”
“Sir, Black Jesus, sir,” he said, his voice cracking. “How can we stop Hitler if we’re not allowed to kill him?”
Black Jesus stared hard at him and snatched the talking stick back. Napster’s face turned bright red and had a sudden coughing fit. He retched, saliva dribbling from his mouth uncontrollably. With horror and a little fascination, everyone witnessed the young soldier heave once more. Two fish and a roll of bread fell out of his mouth.
Black Jesus waved his glorious hand and many yelled in surprise when their rifles turned to bibles. “No guns!” Black Jesus said. “We conquer them with faith alone!”
“How do we defend ourselves from gunfire...”
“FAITH!” Black Jesus shouted and then slapped the bible out of the soldier’s hands. A soft music welled up as Black Jesus flew into a speech. “We’re walking into the maw of hell to stop an evil -- a real evil, before it destroys humanity.” The music rose in tempo and volume. “We are humanity’s final hope! We alone hold back the flood. We alone can do it!” The music reached a brilliant crescendo. “We must do it! For we are the Sandal Men!” Black Jesus pumped his fist in the air and shouted.
The soldiers also pumped their fists in the air, but their shouts quickly withered to confusion.
Napster still held his fish and biscuits to his chest. “Sandals, sir?”
“Cut the music Sancho,” Black Jesus said, flattening his hand and making a throat cutting gesture. “Beautiful work, by the way.”
Private Sancho set his flamenco guitar on his lap and gave Black Jesus a thumbs up.
“Boots are inflexible and they break.” Black Jesus turned to Napster and flashed a bejeweled grin. “Flexible ankles mean we won’t break anything when we lose our feet in their asses.”
$ $ $
“THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!!!” Napster screamed and drove his bible into the face of a German with a resonating twhock. The German soldier fell back with a flash of light and a sung note from a choir of angels.
“I got a live one!” Sancho cornered a German soldier with a tiny cross necklace as his only weapon. “I think we can make him talk.”
Black Jesus strode into the dusty room. Bullet holes allowed sunlight to criss cross, highlighting the motes as they wafted by. He pulled out a joint from his breast pocket and placed it to his lips. He stood beside Private Sancho and spoke to the frightened German. “English?”
The German tried to burrow himself back through the wall to safety. “Ich spreche... ich spreche kein Englisch”
Black Jesus snapped his fingers and fire formed at his fingertip. One the joint was lit, he inhaled and it turned to ash. Black Jesus blew thick marijuana smoke into the German’s face and he immediately relaxed, his eyes turning bloodshot.
“Halabibalamababa hululilolami hohahoko,” said Black Jesus, his tongue flying around his mouth like a flesh colored whip.
“Totololaka bisimlilialalo likilaltolako,” replied the German in the strange biblical language.
Black Jesus flicked the ash to the ground. “Hitler’s downstairs. Let’s go.”
Napster stood dumbfounded, his forehead slick with sweat and his jaw slack. “We found Hitler already? This is the first house we raided!”
Sancho clapped Napster on the helmet. “Where’s your faith mang? Come on.”
In the basement, Adolf Hitler stood next to a large black figure with horns on his head, hooves on his feet and pounds of bling around his neck.
“Hitler and Black Satan. How did I know?” Black Jesus said flatly.
Black Satan twisted around as if he was caught masturbating. When he spoke, his voice was smooth as silk and so low everyone felt the bass vibrate in their chests. “You’re own your own, little white nigga!” he said, and then was gone in a puff of smoke.
“Nein!” Hitler shouted, pointing a wet paintbrush at the small band of soldiers.
Black Jesus leaned to the side and raised an eyebrow. “You were painting with the Nigga of Darkness?”
“Training!” Hitler said. He waggled his little Hitler-stash. “I vant a fair duel!”
Black Jesus laughed. “A duel? That’s Black Satan’s territory.”
“Vhat? Are you scared ovf little ole me?” Hitler pointed to himself with all of his fingers, giving him a creepy, child-like quality.
Black Jesus grabbed twelve joints from his pockets and placed all of them in his mouth. Hitler, as well as the other soldiers watched with curiosity. Black Jesus lit them all and with one large breath, he sucked them all to ash. He blew a solid wall of smoke at Hitler that knocked him off his feet.
“Yes Black Jesus sir?”
“I’m going to forgive you of any sins you commit in the next ten minutes.”
Napster clutched his bible. “Yes sir.”
“No duel?” said Sancho, shaking his head. “That was anticlimactic.”
Mercedes fucked around with this message at Oct 27, 2014 around 05:11
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 03:58|
The bone snake rises from the dust of the Deadlands, and its ribs contain a thousand ghosts. Olivia nearly remembers the feel of the living earth, and so the dust presses against the soles of her feet as she approaches the mouth of the serpent. The uncooked-oatmeal smell of the vast, grey plains hangs in the back of her throat, thick and stale. Sometimes she thinks of that scent by another name: regret.
The snake drops both halves of its jaw. Olivia steps between the juts of bone and under a fanged canopy. Down the snake's throat she goes, past other ghosts whose clothes leak grit and whose eyes are fixed on the flat horizon. In a clear space, she reaches above her head and grips the serpent's spine. She remembers having hands. Edges of knobby vertebrae dig into her fingers.
She holds on hard when the bone snake dives again. Dust rushes up and pushes against her arms, her face, her dangling feet--into her nostrils, though she holds her unnecessary breath. Past her lips, though she has sealed them. Through her, almost. She clutches the memory of skin. Soft powder fills the hollows between her brows and tightly closed eyes; it would come in if she let it.
Several times they broach the surface, and one stretch of grey is all but identical to the next, yet Olivia knows her destination when it appears. She's been there often enough. She slides out between two ribs and starts to run, calling for her twin in a voice that creaks, that ought to echo back from the emptiness around her but never, ever does.
He doesn't answer, but she sniffs out a hint of pine, and she knows he's there. "Matthew," she says. "Do you know me?" The air wavers and the scent gets stronger. That's all; he is almost gone.
Olivia recalls her brother.
The dark, lanky hair they shared was cut below his ears in life. He stood an inch taller than she. His smile--Olivia concentrates--his smile showed his gums, and he hated that, so he wouldn't grin at anyone but his twin. Matthew takes shape before her, colorless. She could see through him if there were anything to see. There's next to nothing in her arms when she hugs him, but her heart senses him, always.
"You haven't given up," he says.
"I won't. I miss you so drat much." Olivia steps back, holding the memory of his hands. "You shouldn't wander alone, and you don't have to."
"I don't care about that."
She tries to press his fingers. "You should." She wishes he would look at her. His gaze is as vague as the rest of him. "Mother and Father talk about you. Carideen does, too. Your wife. Remember them--you'll want to see them if you remember."
Matthew says nothing.
"Or if you won't come, let me stay here, with you. I'd rather that than... I'd like that. You're still my very favorite brother." When he remains silent, Olivia says, "You're my only brother."
"I want to go."
Joy. This is what joy feels like. She recognizes it even after so long. "Thank God, at last! If you can't hold anything, I'll hold onto you, and we'll ride until we find someone we know."
He says, "I want to go. Let me."
For a second his eyes are brown. His hair has strayed into them as it used to do. She reaches to straighten it, he swats her hand away, and she feels it--almost.
"I think I loved you. That's all I do remember. You remind me...."
"Matthew." His name is a whisper. His name is a plea.
"Olivia, I don't want to remember anymore."
For a moment after he fades away, the clean scent of pine lingers around her; she could focus on that, could will him back as she has done before, but this time Olivia closes her eyes until there's nothing to sense but raw oatmeal and the taste of lies. Their parents and everyone else she loved vanished long ago.
She walks to where the snake will eventually return. When it rises, when Olivia reaches for its spine, her hands grip tight. She has forgotten how to forget.
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 04:01|
edit: I'll accept it. But no one else do that.
Sitting Here fucked around with this message at Oct 27, 2014 around 05:25
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 04:21|
I don't think I will be able to write a brawl entry. I have a really neat idea but have literally had no time and have no time between now and the end date.
You motherfucker. You find time.
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 04:22|
Word Count: 900
Lights in the Vault of the Sky, and a Blueberry Muffin
In the beginning, there was Nothing. The Divine felt very lonely, and wept twinkling, crystalline tears that she collected into her hands. She held her hands tightly and breathed life into the droplets, and when the moment was full, she opened her hands. Fireflies came pouring out, their wings beating out a joyful hum that a discerning ear can still hear today as they fled into the inky void.
Pleased, the Divine set out to create things for the fireflies to illuminate with their cheery, chartreuse glow. One firefly lit over a formless, cold world. Bitter, gray dust choked out the angry, life-giving magma at its core and billowed across its surface, pushed by the insatiable winds that danced through the atmosphere. The firefly was delighted by the formless sphere and shown its light all the more brightly. What the cold rock lacked in character, it made up for in potential. It was a block of marble awaiting a hammer that would inevitably come. The cruel winds would calm into liquid and the rock would slowly take on a temperament.
Another firefly lit over a blossoming verdant globe teeming with life. Furry shapes bounced through trees and winged things gathered in such numbers that the firefly’s glow was blotted out. Creatures scrabbled across the ground and through the muck. They played and killed and loved and ate and sang, driven ever onwards by the uncomplicated joy of being. The firefly was pleased. The creatures would never possess the wherewithal to reach for the spiritual plane, but their lack of shame allowed them a kind of freedom that the firefly would never grow tired of.
A third firefly hummed over a wistful blue marble. This orb too had life, and one particular creature had an intellect so formidable that it had crowned itself king and gone about ordering the world after its whims. The structure and logic it imposed on itself caused it to think it was fundamentally different than its animal brethren, and the firefly was satisfied to let it continue thinking so. After all, it was special.
One day, the firefly peeked through the window of a crooked, tiny A-frame on a hill, where a woman sat waiting for her lover to return from the depressing toil of the overnight shift at the nearby factory.
She’d only been up for an hour and was still in her nightgown, a silky little slip that barely covered her, when Brian burst through the front door and flashed her that lopsided, boyish grin of his. His face and hands were dull with factory grime and his eyes drooped with exhaustion, but he was glad to see her.
Ruthie desperately wanted Brian to think of her home as his home, too, and had done everything in her power to cultivate a domestic atmosphere. Cooking breakfast for him was out, though. She’d baked a chicken for him last week knowing full well that she could barely boil water. One bite of the gray, rubbery mess told her she had failed, and Brian spent the remainder of the meal telling her how good it was while he coughed and his eyes watered. Cooking breakfast was certainly out.
She’d settled for some store-bought blueberry muffins instead. There’s just something about baked goods, and Ruthie knew it was one of the most powerful symbols she could send at a man. After they kissed, she got them off the counter and placed them on the table as eagerly as if she had made them herself.
“That’s sweet of you, baby, but the dayshift supervisor brought donuts this morning,” Brian said. “Oh! Ok then,” Ruthie said with a pinched smile. She got him coffee and moved the conversation right along, but she was more than a little crestfallen.
She decided she’d eat one of the muffins herself, and popped open the box. An overwhelming berry miasma filled the room, and one bite revealed the muffin to be cloyingly sweet, with a blueberry flavor so intense that coffee could barely knock it down. The fact that the muffins were terrible only made Ruthie feel worse, and by the time Brian ambled over to the couch to catch a quick nap, Ruthie found herself fighting back tears.
The relationship would only last another couple of months. Ruthie and Brian would both be left wondering what happened, and that process of digging through the memories for clues would lead Brian to realize how badly he’d misread that morning with the muffins. She’d been so thoughtful and it had gone completely over his head. It was one of those weirdly sentimental things that would morph into a regret so profound that it would even bubble up among his last waking thoughts seventy years hence.
The firefly hummed joyously. The humans thought they were falconers when they were in fact falcons, carrying out the purpose that the Divine had decided before she’d even lit up the night sky. But for all their delusions of grandeur, they were special. They were the only things in the universe capable of that kind of intense, occasionally misbegotten empathy. Only a person could imbue a blueberry muffin with meaning.
The firefly glowed with glee. He’d chosen the right world to illuminate, and he loved the people that lived there. Above him, the Divine smiled, lonely no more.
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 04:48|
Golf on the Edge
“Can we at least use the mens tees?” I said as I watched Sherri’s annoying butt wiggle when she stepped up to the ball. She was teeing off first, again. I’m all for equality, but did we really need to go from the ladies?
She hit it hard, calves flexing as she pivoted, sending the ball down the bright green fairway.
“Jesus Frank, you take all loving day as it is. How many had to play through us yesterday? It’s embarrassing.”
She’s a lot better then me. I guess that’s what hard work gets me, emasculation at the hands of a Wife who spends all week at the club. We weren’t supposed to be golfing, we had a tour booked and paid for. We should have been on camels, trekking through the desert to watch the sun set over the Sahara dunes, feasting on dates and tagine around a Berber campfire.
Instead I was on another goddamn golf course about to hit another goddamn slice. Sure enough the ball jagged off to my right with a hollow thunk. It barely missed a nearby guard before ricocheting off a palm tree through the 15 foot chain link fence and landing on the other side of the border.
I decided to blame the clubs. “Goddamn rentals.”
“Ha!” She snorted. “Hope they come with a sand wedge. This whole stupid country’s a bunker.”
It felt strange to hit a golf ball from Spain to Morocco. Sherri had lasted half a night in the Tangiers pension before she had us in a Taxi to the Spanish enclave of Melilla. The dirty scrub and trash had as little to do with my idea of North Africa as the manicured greens of the resort.
In the distance I could see a shimmering line. At least I’d be able to tick mirage off my list of desert sights. The guard noticed it too, raising binoculars to his eyes before dropping them and letting them swing down hard against his kevlar vest.
He had a cellphone out now, and was speaking quickly. Snatches of guttural Berber interrupted his smooth Spanish.
“Quit daydreaming. I’ll let you away with that one.” Sherri said, knowing I’d refuse the offer.
“Hang on, something’s happening.” I took off my Oakleys and shaded my eyes. Through the heat sheen I saw the mirage was a line of people. Then came the sirens, cheap and tinny like everything else on this continent, and half a dozen more guards in an electric cart.
“Mister please be calm please mister sir. No move.” The guard was gesturing at us, palms to the ground. He knew three languages but was probably bringing in about twenty bucks a day, crossing the border each morning to protect the rich Spaniards inside.
I sat on the bench by the tee to watch while Sherri leaned on her three wood. They were close enough for me to make out individuals now. They were a pretty sorry lot, ragged and grimy. They were black like I’d never seen, not brown like back home, but so black they were almost navy against the dry red Moroccan dirt.
“Who are they?” Sherri asked.
“That one has Barcelona kit on. I’m guessing they aren’t terrorists.”
The guard raised his eyebrows at the loaded word. “No, mister, no terrorist. Refugee. Sudan maybe?”
Sherri rolled her eyes “They can’t be doing too badly, I know how much your soccer shirts cost. They better not stop us getting down the back nine.”
I looked at the scarlet and blue barred shirt. The peeling decals of the old sponsor and the name Ibrahimovic had left a dirty crusted outline of glue. We’d walked past dozens of little shops in Tangiers selling them for five bucks. Was she making a conscious effort to be ignorant? I looked at her with disgust.
“I thought you’d be happy to have them here with you. They match your little waiter back home at the club quite nicely.” Now I’d done it, tears of rage welled in her eyes while behind he the refugees started climbing and the guards raised ladders.
“You’re an rear end in a top hat!” She screamed, flinging the club at me. I liked her when she got fired up like this, her faced flushed with anger. I doubt she’d ever cheated on me, but I’d got her attention.
“I said I’d give Morocco a try.” She continued “So I gave it a loving try. That place didn’t even have a flush.” She pointed to the wall “You got your adventure in the end, didn’t you?” A scuffle had started between the guards and the refugees, both straddling the top of the fence. “Well done, we’re probably going to get murdered.”
The refugees didn’t look like murderers. They didn’t look like they had the energy. They gave the impression they were relaxing on a beach somewhere, even when balancing fifteen feet high in the air. Poor bastards. Sherri reached into her bag and grabbed a wedge of some kind and scattered some balls. Then she lined herself up and wiggled her butt. This time it looked good.
“Here’s your loving adventure” She said, and started swinging. She shanked the first ball, but the second flew true and pinged off the visor of a climbing guard. Guards were running towards her, but she just kept swinging. She’s drat good at golf, I’ll giver her that.
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 04:55|
Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at Dec 4, 2014 around 01:52
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 05:13|
A little scrap of fur
Cats know something we don't. You don't sleep that much unless you're burdened with knowledge.
Mahtab the alleycat knew every roof and sunny spot in Kabul. She had sharp cat eyes that saw sights we wouldn't, and sharp cat ears that heard cries we couldn't. She knew who would feed her, and who would kick her. The men stood differently when they had violence beating in their chests: legs further apart, hushed tones, little taktaktak of their fingers drumming on their guns. Mahtab knew when to disappear, and when to reappear; when to hiss and when to purr. She was the ragged queen of the streets.
There was always a market on Friday, after prayers. The booming proclamations from the minarets had fallen silent, leaving only the brook-water babble of conversation. Mahtab weaved in among the stalls. One man was selling pomegranates. They were almost rotten: sickly sweet citrus reek tugging at her nose. She moved on, through stalls of tobacco, dates and spices, each smell shaking her tiny body. Men and women stroked her fur, which sent a tingle down her back. Some muttered about her ribs, and gave her scraps of chicken, which put a warmth in her belly, and made its emptiness hurt all the more.
She passed an alley, and heard a very acute nothing: the deep silence that underlies a disorder of the soul, and the sort of sickness you don't come back from. It hung thick in the air, a miasma of suffering. A sort of blue-grey colour-not-colour that tugged and jack-knived away when she tried to focus on it. The men and women of the market walked by without noticing. They had seen it too many times to care. A crust of indifference had formed over their eyes. All over the world, the same drama played itself out a million times a day. Humans were selectively blind to pain. Cats did not have the luxury.
A bundle of rags. They had once been beautiful, but had fought poorly against the scratching nails of time. A head rose up from them. A woman no older than 20, who had survived the aggression of the eternal clock even worse than her clothes. Pain written across every line of her face. Each cheek was a knife. She moved with the delicacy of somebody who can't afford to move quickly, lest the bones tear out of the skin. A smile crossed her face when she saw Mahtab. Her colour changed, crystallized, became something more tangible; more solid. A lighter blue perhaps, tinged with yellow. The pain receding, but never banished. “Gorbe,” she said, “cat, come.”
Mahtab came closer. The woman's smell was rancid, and piercing. Something in the flesh, perhaps. She did not have long. Her meat of her fingers was almost wasted away entirely, leaving only needles of skin and bone. “Gorbe,” the woman said, “tk tk tk, come here. tk tk tk.”
Mahtab came closer. Almost enough to be touched. The air was heavy with grieving, and loss. The woman's eyes were kind, though. The colour that swirled around her was one of hope: sweetness tinged with rot, like the pomegranates at the stall.
Mahtab came closer. The woman picked her up, then clucked her tongue against the roof of her mouth. “tk tk tk,” she said, “good cat. Beautiful cat. Stay with me for now.”
Her colour now almost a sky-blue: an anchor for the heart. The green-yellow hints of disease lingered on the tongue, but they were drowned out by the lighter hues. The woman stroked Mahtab's fur, and made contented sounds. tktktk. Mahtab curled up in her lap, in among the once-beautiful rags, and went to sleep comforted by the colours of love.
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 05:46|
Queen of Poppies
Vivianne stumbled into the memorial garden. Red flowers stretched far and wide, their stalks swaying in the artificial breeze. The smell of dew clung to her boots, and she adjusted the folds of her field blouse.
"Your Highness," she called. "The council has conveyed. Your presence is requested."
"Vivianne? I will be with you shortly," replied her sister, the queen. She was clad in a gown of white, the crown resting on her head as if it belonged nowhere else.
What was Nineve doing in here? Several colonies had declared independence and struck against their kingdom's military installations. Vivianne longed to be at the front, fighting the rebels in her walker-giant. Her sister only needed to say a word.
"I will not leave without you." Their father had called them stubborn, once.
"Then walk with me. I need a moment to clear my head. You know how the times are."
"It is time for war," said Vivianne.
"As many do proclaim. But I wonder if we can pursue another way. I know I must not waver, but..." Queen Nineve stopped and grasped a flower. "Do you know what these are?"
Vivianne shook her head. "You know that flowers aren't my specialty, sister."
"These are red poppies, hand-crafted by the finest artisans, to stand for soldiers who have died fighting for our country. One for each hundred dead."
"There are thousands," said Vivianne, suddenly realizing the scale of the garden. "What do we gain from this?"
"It is to remember those who had fought so that we may live. It is a reminder of the cost of war. I would not wish you represented here, Vivianne."
Vivianne touched the unmoving petals. Ceramic, perhaps. Sharp enough to cut, even. She had been fooled by their authenticity. "But I would, if it means keeping you safe."
Queen Nineve smiled and head back to the palace.
Peace had failed. The memorial service went with as much austerity as Nineve had willed. Vivianne spoke of her sister's bravery in tears. Days after her coronation, she laid waste to the colonies that had rebelled. Still the rebels fought on, unearthing long-abandoned nuclear weapons and launching strikes at both military and civilian targets.
Peace had failed, and more poppies were planted in the garden.
Outside the dome, the battle raged on. Petrochemicals swam in the air like oil in water. Blue spears of light flickered as the air force mounted a desperate defence for the capital. Superheavy tanks and walker-giants fought the rebel ground forces moving to disable the city's force field generators.
Queen Vivianne strode across the memorial garden. She traced her path as she had remembered it, losing herself in the turns. She kept repeating the conversation with Nineve in her head.
"What would you have done?" she asked her sister's ghost. The cost of war, indeed. What about the innocent and defenseless? How many of their lives for one poppy? How big a garden to hold them all?
There was something on the spot where her sister had once stood. A lone poppy, its petals fluttering in the wind. White in a parted sea of red.
Vivianne knelt down, her hand reaching to pluck it. She stopped as the scent of the flower reached her nose. She had never smelled a flower before. Such subtle scents were alien to a princess raised by soldiers and massive war machines.
She turned to the sound of the door irising open.
"Your Highness," said the general. "Satellite Avalon is ready to fire at your command." The rivulets of sweat on his face looked like tears.
"Remain on standby," said Vivianne.
"As you command." The general swallowed a lump in his throat. "Your Highness? I... I highly suggest you join us in the command room, for your own safety."
"I will join you shortly." said Vivianne. She ran her fingers through the flower's petals. It was as soft as her sister's touch. "Perhaps this garden has gotten too big."
A bomb exploded on top of the garden. Fire mushroomed over the impervious dome, turning the night sky orange. The general flinched and shielded his eyes. Vivianne simply stared, her spectacles filtering out the blinding light. She was queen. A queen of war, for a time of war.
Vivianne set her face. "I wish to parley with the rebels. Put me through their leaders."
The general held the holo-screen in front of her. Three disheveled faces materialized, huddled in a red room. Fear, hate, and desperation stared back at her. She could almost smell their predatory musk.
"Gentlemen," she began, "cease your hostilities and name your terms. This war must end."
"But the war is ending, Queen Vivianne," said the first man.
"We are launching thermonuclear strikes at the capital in one hour," said the second.
"Why parley if we can simply take what we want?" said the third.
Vivianne shook her head. "You have made a mistake. The most fatal one. You should have killed me, not my sister. She would have given you what you wanted."
She turned to the general. "Satellite Avalon, fire on the rebels' location."
The three faces stared in disbelief, as their room became white. Vivianne walked away as their screams cut off along with the link.
She left the white poppy swaying in the wind. She would take care of it as long as they both lived.
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 05:49|
Waltz of the Hummingbirds
I hiked up to the foothills today, hoping to find something to capture for my senior thesis. And boy, did I ever. I wandered a bit off the path until I came to a small bush of flowers. I'm sure they were wild carnations, but I can't be certain. Initially I thought I could take a few pictures of the flowers until a pair of Ruby-Throated hummingbirds appeared. Their main plumage is green while their undersides are light gray and their heads are black. Like their namesake implies, their throats are covered with ruby-colored feathers. That doesn't say much, since hummingbirds are miniscule by default. They're no bigger than the palm of my hand and I have small hands. I've always been fascinated with them because, despite their small size, they are incredibly fast and they consume more than their own weight in nectar. They beat their wings so fast that it sounds, well, like humming. Actually, I've always thought that it sounded more like a low thrumming; like the sound of a car accelerating or the tiny fan inside my laptop whirring. Less like an animal and more like a finely tuned machine. The thought that something so small and insignificant could be so capable of hovering still amazes me. And then they danced.
"Danced" is probably the wrong word. It was more like an elaborate game of chase. First the female tilted her head to the side like a dog does when it sees something curious. The male darted up and down and to the sides, clearly saying "I'm interested in you." The female responded by flying away, telling him "Catch me if you can!" The male followed and, amazingly enough, he would do his best to not break their direct eye contact at all times. She started off by flying straight up in the air as high as she could before flying straight down in a suicide dive. The male followed her in the dive and, right before her feet could touch the blades of grass, she lifted straight up in the air, narrowly avoiding disaster. Amazingly enough, he did the exact same thing. She pirouetted gracefully and faced him. "Not that easy, is it?" I could hear her say before she took off again. The two then played chicken by flying straight at each other before breaking off parallel at the last second. The two flew in perfect circles, following each other in perfect sync. It was so fast, that I actually got really dizzy. Especially when I was watching the two through a viewfinder. I didn't stop snapping photos, though. I was using an old-school K-1000 camera, the kind where I had to manually move the film by working a switch on the right side. It's kinda like firing a revolver repeatedly and having to pull the hammer back to chamber the next round like an old west gunslinger. I don't know what possessed them, but at a certain point they decided to use me as an obstacle.
She shot straight at me. I ducked and he followed right at her. She then flew around me in circles and he kept following her. They were revolving around me, like a pair of tiny green moons around a giant planet. I had to look straight up because if I kept following them any longer, they would've induced vertigo in me. That, and I'm pretty sure they were doing it on purpose--as if they were playing a game of "Who can make the human fall first?" Just as I was about to fall, the two of them shot straight up into the air and almost hit me. I looked up and kept snapping photos as best as I could. High above me in the sky, she finally deemed him worthy and the two flew into the bush. I shot three rolls worth of black-and-white film. Professor Rosewood won't be able to see the vibrant colors of the green blurs, but the advantage is that the contrast will be so stark that the photos will be that much more dynamic. At least I hope so, anyway. I left, amazed, inspired, and very, very dizzy.
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 06:07|
20 more minutes
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 06:40|
A lot of you failed this week. You're bad and should feel bad.
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 07:08|
I feel bad regardless
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 07:12|
oh and it'd be really great if people could post as many obnoxious FJGJ posts and GIFs as possible
pls & ty
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 07:35|
Oh OK. I will do that. Hey. Sitting Here. You should judge faster. That would be preferable to judging which is less fast.
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 08:02|
Interprompt: members of the Court who act without hesitation. 150 words.
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 08:56|
I farted and it sounded like PROOOOOOOOOOOOOOMPT
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 08:57|
I feel bad regardless
I feel bad and i'm a judge
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 09:22|
Check your pleonasms.
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 10:10|
oh and it'd be really great if people could post as many obnoxious FJGJ posts and GIFs as possible
well if you insist
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 16:41|
|# ? Aug 23, 2019 02:47|
Late, I know.
Ironic Twist fucked around with this message at Dec 29, 2014 around 22:40
|# ? Oct 27, 2014 17:16|