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Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

yo wassup im comin for ya



I'll wait to see if there's anything left when Mojo gets done with ya before I waste my quality poo poo talk thanks

Also, Griffon

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Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.


WHAT THE gently caress UUUUUUUUUUUUP BITCH rear end LEPER!!! GET READY FOR THE BEAT DOWN OF THE NEW YEAR MOTHERFUCKER!


MEEEERRRRRRRRRRRCEEEEEEEEEEDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!!!!!!!!!!



Sitting In A Tree, S-T-U-K As Can Be

Words 490



“You seem to be in quite the pickle, Sergeant Skittles,” said the dog, Sir Barkley, his lips unmoving as he looked up at the cat in her precarious perch in the tree. “I bet you want me to do the whole song and dance and fetch our human for you?”


Sergeant Skittles blinked slowly. Thick dark lashes rested on her high cheekbones, like fuzzy caterpillars floating in a bowl of sweet cream1. “I’d rather be the neighborhood bicycle than call on you for anything of importance. I have this under control,” said Sergeant Skittles.


“Well then,” said Sir Barkley as he laid down and got comfortable, “that is a very tall tree you are sitting in.” His lips peeled back like curtains in a toothy grin. “Did the bird you chased up there teach you how to fly?”


“Mongrel, don’t you have a red rocket to clean or a leg to hump?”


Sir Barkley slapped the grass with his tail. “At least I have all of my parts.”


Sergeant’s ears pressed against her head and her eyes went into slits. “You slipper-fetching, man-serving -- Oh, our human! Get it to help me down!”


The human walked across yard and tussled Sir Barkley’s ears. “Ock,” said the human. “Ock, ock.”


Sir Barkley rolled over and the human rubbed his belly. A minute passed, and a voice called from the house, drawing the human away and leaving the animals alone again.


“Man, those tummy rubs feel awesome,” said Sir Barkley.


“What the hell, Sir Barkley?” asked Sergeant Skittles. “You didn’t even try to get the human to help me down!”


“I sure didn’t.” He contentedly slid around in the grass.


Sergeant Skittles stared, dumbfounded. “W-why?”


“You gave me fleas.”


Sergeant Skittles recoiled her head. “Fleas? Is this what this is about?” she asked. “We both had fleas and it sucked! I’m sorry you got them from me.”


“Not just the fleas. I had to wear a cone around my neck for a week.”


Sergeant Skittles suppressed a laugh as the visuals streamed through her mind’s eye. “That was terrible.”


Sir Barkley got up. “Have fun spending the night outside, Skittles.”


“Wait, wait!” she called out after Sir Barkley. “I’m sorry, I really am. What can I do to make it up to you?”


“I want you to call me by my full name from now on.”


Sergeant Skittles hesitated. When she finally spoke, she did it slowly. “You want me to call you ‘The Round Mound of Rebound Charles Barkley the Bad Mamma Jamma’ every time?” She shifted in her perch. “That is far too stupid. Even for you.”


“Oh look! It’s a car. I think I’m gonna go chase it now,” said Sir Barkley as he went racing down the street.


Sergeant Skittles watched in disbelief as her only hope of getting down vanished. “Well, old girl. You seem to be quite in a pickle.”



1: http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/...y-teresa-howard

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Hey I'm game for this let's rumble

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Yo holmes I'm in this week.

Kleptobot
Nov 6, 2009


gently caress it, I'm in.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

LeperMerc Brawl

500 words on the Gene Wolfe quote: "Our greatest sin is that we are only capable of being what we are."

quote:

A Call Home (484 words) Weak title, though not objectionable. The best titles make sense after you've read the first para and make more and better sense after you've read the last, this one is just blandly descriptive.

Rick swallowed hard, and leaned heavily against the payphone, using it both for support and to hide from the growing storm. Hiding from a storm with a payphone would be awkward, but there's a sense that the storm is both the weather and his relationship with his daughter that makes this work. There's possibly a better word you could find though. He'd drank whiskey on an empty stomach again, I like the economy of the description here and the bile in his gut flared up from time to time, threatened to force its way back up. Each time, he He pushed it back down, and continued to fumble with the change in his numb hands. Often complicated 'he x'd while he y'd and the z's flew' constructions can be improved by simplifying. Twenty-five cents. Fifty. Seventy-five. Entire paychecks had disappeared in a bar without a thought, but he clutched to those quarters for dear life cliche, though the sentiment is good as he pushed them into the slot. Funny, that. These two lines move the perspective/pov and it's a little jarring.

Finally, it was in, and the ringtone prompted Rick to reach out, to make this all right again. He could fix it, he knew he could. It was just a bit of drinking, just a few words. "Nothing that can't be fixed," Rick whispered to himself as he began to punched the numbers. To the house phone, the old answering machine. She could just ignore the call if it was on the cell, but the machine, she'd have to listen to that, have to hear him out. This is nice specific detail. More than anything, he needed her to hear him out. And I like this motivation, it both works for the story (which after all has almost nothing actually happen in it) and rings very true from my experience of alcoholics.

One ring. Two. Already, Rick could picture her standing in front of the phone, staring down at it. Three rings. No one but Rick and telemarketers called the landline. Ohhh nice. And even they had Christmas off. Heh. Four. With a whirr and a click, the call transferred over to the ancient machine, spinning the tape to record what Rick said. He paused, both to gather his thoughts, and to suppress another wave of bile. When he finally spoke, his words were more slurred than he'd realized, and he had to try and correct them as he went. Good detail. "Sarah, it's Ri- Dad. It's Dad. I know you're- you're mad at me for what I said."

What followed was a blur for Rick. Sort of weak. You're the writer, don't tell us it was a blur, describe the blur rather than summarise it. Apologies, promises, admissions, things he'd said a thousand times before, and things he'd only thought of saying. Many of them weren't pretty. After what must have been several minutes, the words stopped coming. He'd said everything he could think to say, everything that came automatically. Normally, she'd answered by now. Or at least picked up and then hung up again. This was the first time she'd ever ignored his call- ignored him, and it left him at a loss. He had no words left, and for a moment, he couldn't do anything but stare blankly forward, barely able to process what was happening.

It was the fifteen-second warning beep of the payphone that got his thoughts moving again. "Sarah, I didn't mean what I said about you and Sam. OK, so this is sort of the punch, such as it is, and it doesn't land (if it's even meant to?) Don't be coy. Either tell us what he said and make it dreadful, or don't. I'd- I'd just had a bit too much to drink Well duh and... Sarah, I am your father! Pick up the goddamn pho-"

The line clicked and went silent, leaving Rick with only dead air and the cold wind to keep him company. 'Dead air and cold wind' is a primo word punch.

"Our greatest sin is that we are only capable of being what we are." - Gene Wolfe And putting the quote down here uses it to perfection; note that it would have been wasted up the top.

I liked this a lot, though there are a few clunky word choices and it isn't quite sure how much it wants to reveal about the dad's sin which fuzzes the end. But it conveys a mood very well, and gives a brutally tightshot portrait of a drunk and the wreckage he has created in, and of, his life. Exacting work.

Mercedes posted:

Sitting In A Tree, S-T-U-K As Can Be

^^^ Title is a little ehh


Words 490

“You seem to be in quite the pickle, Sergeant Skittles,” said shouldn't he be shouting or calling out if the cat is all the way at the top of the tree? the dog, Sir Barkley, his lips unmoving as he looked up at to the cat in her precarious perch high in the tree. “I bet you want me to do the whole song and dance and fetch our human for you?” By itself this is a funny opening line. With everything laid out it's clotted and ploddy. If you have a sweet line, make sure it has room to breathe.

Sergeant Skittles 'Sergeant Skittles' is a funny name, but I'd prefer if you paid it off in some way, like you did with the dogs name. blinked slowly. Thick dark lashes rested on her high cheekbones, like fuzzy caterpillars floating in a bowl of sweet cream loving NO this is an unfunny in-joke, which makes no sense even in context. Do NOT do this sort of thing. 1. “I’d rather be the neighborhood bicycle than call on you for anything of importance. Unnecessary, cut. I have this under control,” said Sergeant Skittles.

“Well then,” said Sir Barkley as he laid down and got comfortable, “that is a very tall tree you are sitting in.” His lips peeled back like curtains in a toothy grin. “Did the bird you chased up there teach you how to fly?”

Mongrel, don’t you have a red rocket to clean Huh? or a leg to hump?” "Don't you have a leg to hump?" is punchy and funny. Avoid the temptation to overcomplicate your dialogue unless you're making a specific point with that overcomplication. Good snappy fuckyou banter is generally very rhythmical..


Sir Barkley slapped the grass with his tail. Nice, this is a good doggy way to convey character.“At least I have all of my parts.”

Sergeant’s No, this reads weird as an abbreviation of a name. ears pressed against her head and her eyes went into slits. Dogs actually have pretty bad eyesight. How high is the cat? “You slipper-fetching, man-serving -- This is weak. Give S S her reply, and make it a good or a bad one, and convey character that way. Oh, our human! Get it to help me down!” Why can't Skittles meow?

The human walked across yard and tussled Sir Barkley’s ears. “Ock,” said the human. “Ock, ock.” Hmmmmm. This injoke just about passes because it's actually funny, but seriously. Injokes have their place and a brawl like this isn't it.

Sir Barkley rolled over and the human rubbed his belly. A minute passed, dull and a voice called from the house, dull drawing the human away and leaving the animals alone again. dull

This is a terrible para. Describe something, make something happen, make the cat try desperately to attract the human's attention, characterise the human, do SOMETHING.


“Man, those tummy rubs feel awesome,” said Sir Barkley. Ehhhhhh. Also sort of a waste.

“What the hell, Sir Barkley?” asked Sergeant Skittles. “You didn’t even try to get the human to help me down!” UNF PLOD PLOD

“I sure didn’t.” He contentedly slid around in the grass. Placeholder, dull.

Sergeant Skittles stared, dumbfounded. Why is he dumbfounded when it's clear from teh story so far that they don't like each other very much? Also “W-why?” 'Wh-why', 'B-but' and 'What th-' are all phrases you should not be typing because they are super cliche and bad. They also convey no character.

“You gave me fleas.”

Sergeant Skittles recoiled her head. No, you recoil or you pull your head back. You can recoil a hose, I guess, but that is sending this story in a much more tentacular direction than I think the text warrants. “Fleas? Is this what this is about?” she asked. “We both had fleas and it sucked! I’m sorry you got them from me.”

“Not just the fleas. I had to wear a cone around my neck for a week.”

Sergeant Skittles suppressed a laugh as the visuals streamed through her mind’s eye. OH gently caress THIS loving SENTENCE WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME it is not good i am afraid. Though it almost works here, 'suppressed a laugh' is one of those lines that you're almost always better cutting. And 'as the visuals streamed through her minds eye' is a super clunky and terrible way of saying 'at the memory.' “That was terrible.”

Sir Barkley got up. “Have fun spending the night outside, Skittles.”

“Wait, wait!” she called out after Sir Barkley. “I’m sorry, I really am. What can I do to make it up to you?”

“I want you to call me by my full name from now on.” ONLY GOOD BIT OF THE STORY COMING UP HOLD ON TO YOUR TITS

Sergeant Skittles hesitated. When she finally spoke, she did it slowly. “You want me to call you ‘The Round Mound of Rebound Charles Barkley the Bad Mamma Jamma’ Okay that made me lol. every time?” She shifted in her perch. “That is far too stupid. Even for you.” so you've set up the stakes, and what the cat wants, and what the dog wants, and dropped your joke (which is pretty good) but then you just let it all go and it sort of phloghlffflghsfsffs to the ground. I NEED THING. OKAY, BUT YOU MUST GIVE ME THING. NO. OK BYE is not a story. If you'd set up some essential element of sergeant skittles character that explained why she couldn't call him by his name, then it might have worked better. But this is a bust.

“Oh look! It’s a car. I think I’m gonna go chase it now,” said Sir Barkley as he went NOPE. He said it, then he ran. Also, I think you could have landed the joke better if you'd saved the full awesome majesty of his name until this para. racing down the street.

Sergeant Skittles watched in disbelief why doesn't she believe it? They clearly aren't good friends and she wouldn't do a fairly straightforward thing to get him to help her. hell, she could have agreed then broken her promise, that would be authentically catty. as her only hope of getting down APART FROM CLIMBING OR THE FIRE DEPARTMENT vanished. “Well, old girl. You seem to be quite in a pickle.” Weeeeeeeak ending.

Well. I remember failing a similar story last year so maybe I have a problem with stories where people on the ground talk to people stuck up trees. But this is both unconvincing and ploddy. The central conflict is fine enough, but i didn't get the sense that either the dog or the cat really cared about the outcome.[/b]


JUDGMENT

Despite how it might appear this is not a Thunderdome for people: it's a dome for words. One combatant had good words; the other did not.

The victor is Leper Colon V, by a knockout.

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwDqz2P0YTw


Well done Leper! You better watch yourself. You ain't seen the last of me.

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


I'm IN for the first regular prompt of the year.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


In the spirit of mingling with the common folk (but also because I came up with a pretty decent idea), I'm going to be submitting a story as well as judging, because you can't stop me.

Schneider Heim
Oct 17, 2012


Hey, I'm in.

petrol blue
Feb 9, 2013

sugar and spice
and
ethanol slammers


We Don't Fight Anymore - 947 words

Of course, Richard comes to talk at me while I prepare the meal. His beady little eyes are following my every move, so I turn to block his view of the food. He grunts slightly as he heaves his carcass away from it's resting place on the counter, and walks to the window. I turn back, blocking his view again. It's not the most elegant way to cook, this little dance of ours, but so very worth it to see his pitiful attempts at nonchalance as he repositions himself.

Doctor Golding will be so satisfied with our progress; isn't it nice to share quality time with your loved one? And we do spend most of our time together these days, except when we sleep.

Tonight's meal will be a little burned. We make polite small-talk once the meat is in the oven, and though it's a shame to spoil it, I can just picture his blood pressure climbing a little higher as I ignore the timer, feigning fascination with his prattle. He won't say anything, of course, because he's 'making an effort'. Wouldn't want to be the bad guy now, would we? I step around him as I prepare the vegetables, him always moving a half-second too slowly, and me never quite pointing the blade in his direction.

A visitor, unlikely as the concept is, would see only the very model of marital bliss. We used to have guests, of course, but they drifted away over the years – my friends grew understandably weary of his shouted arguments, and later his gold-digging little band of parasites simply had to go.

Not that we shout any more, of course. We don't quarrel at all. To bicker would require us to talk about anything more than the weather, to argue would require us to care. Instead, we both try to take pleasure in the little things. Placing the salt just out his reach, or maybe forgetting to replace the batteries in the television remote.

The care home called, I inform him, making sure to thoroughly chew my mouthful of tough pork before continuing. Do his eyes light up a little, or maybe his reptilian mind is actually capable of caring about the old lady? Either way, he'll be disappointed at the news, or lack of it. As was I, to be fair, but I've always had more patience than him.

As we tidy the dishes, his ungainly feet trip me a little, but I manage to make sure the leftovers land on his precious couch, so we'll call that one a draw.

-

"For fucks sake, Mavis, is that all you can think about?"

Money. Always, it's loving money. Next she'll be screeching about bills and oh-so-urgent repairs, and I'll accuse her of being a soulless harpy. And then we'll both shout over each other, and she'll run upstairs, slam the goddamned door, and I'll be sleeping on the sofa again.

It's a crap sofa at that, one of the few things left over from the 'old days'. Ugly as sin, and a few inches too short to sleep on. Maybe the card can take enough punishment to get a new one? It'll cause another fight, for sure, but I haven't had a decent night's sleep in a week. I try to comfort myself with the knowledge that soon enough we won't have to fight like this, but then I feel bad for thinking of the old lady like that. This is the worst bloody feeling in the world, I'm certain. Not having money is poo poo, sure, but I'd go back to that any day over this not quite having money just yet. Not to mention the guilt over wishing someone dead. If only she'd never got the drat cash in the first place, and then it's time for another round of guilt.

I think it's the guilt that gets me pissed off, more than anything. Maybe Mavis feels the same way really, maybe even worse given it's not her aunt, she always hated moochers. I wish we could have a sane loving conversation about it without it loving spiralling off into another flaming loving row.

Who was it who talked about 'Jam tomorrow'? About how it'll keep you going a lot longer? It bugs me that I can't remember, I'd like to put a name to the phrase so I can imagine tearing their lovely little truism apart, making them realise just how wrong they were. Jam tomorrow just makes you feel hungrier today.

I punch the cushion into shape, taking a certain spiteful pleasure at the noise, knowing it'll disturb her upstairs in her – our – warm comfortable bed. I want her to know how angry this whole screwed-up situation makes me, it's about the only way I can communicate with her these days.

gently caress it, I'm going to the pub. At least I still have some goddamn friends left.

-

It started out pretty silly, and now it's kind of turned into a challenge. We couldn't afford much anyway, but the unspoken game is to see just how long we can go without buying anything. Three weeks since we got the place, and it's becoming a ritual – just us and our close friends, sat on the floor and playing boardgames, using the still-wrapped sofa as a mock table to eat. Never to sit on, because that'd somehow be breaking the rules. The leaky air-mattress borrowed from my dad doesn't count, we're not masochists or anything.

It's a good game. We've had a drink or two and hot food, we have friends, we've got each other.

And the sofa, of course.

Jagermonster
May 7, 2005

Hey - NIZE HAT!


(Toxx)in(g)

Play
Apr 25, 2006

give me cities and big kid toys
give me little girls and little boys
take a risk and feel some pain
put some change
inside your veins

I'm in for the first time, figure a new year is a good time to try something new! I would say go easy but this is thunderdome so go BRUTAL

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.


Mercedes crushed the Red Dog 20/20 can in his spindly grasp, leftover beer foaming out of the top. He flung the beer carcass to the ground and stumbled to his computer with eyes firmly crossed and pants indubiously soiled. He pulled his computer chair out with the intention to sit on it, but his rear end found the floor nonetheless.

With his forearm, he pushed all nonessential items off the computer desk with a glorious swipe. The monitor swayed like a ship in the open sea. No matter, Mercedes pounded the keyboard like it owed him money and after what it seemed like an eternity of misspelling a word and hitting backspace far too many times, his masterpiece was in front of him in all its luminescent grandeur.

In

He nodded, swelling with pride. "I'll show these fuckers," he said, right before he lost his balance and attacked the keyboard with his face; bits of the alphabet clattering against the floor.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Mercedes posted:

Mercedes crushed the Red Dog 20/20 can in his spindly grasp, leftover beer foaming out of the top. He flung the beer carcass to the ground and stumbled to his computer with eyes firmly crossed and pants indubiously soiled. He pulled his computer chair out with the intention to sit on it, but his rear end found the floor nonetheless.

With his forearm, he pushed all nonessential items off the computer desk with a glorious swipe. The monitor swayed like a ship in the open sea. No matter, Mercedes pounded the keyboard like it owed him money and after what it seemed like an eternity of misspelling a word and hitting backspace far too many times, his masterpiece was in front of him in all its luminescent grandeur.

In

He nodded, swelling with pride. "I'll show these fuckers," he said, right before he lost his balance and attacked the keyboard with his face; bits of the alphabet clattering against the floor.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk


New thread title imo

PMush Perfect
Sep 30, 2009

MY PAPER SOLDIERS
FORM A WALL
FIVE PACES THICK
AND TWICE AS TALL




"Thunderdome 2014" he said, right before he lost his balance and attacked the keyboard with his face

Seldom Posts
Jul 4, 2010


Grimey Drawer

I am in.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


Aright, I'm going to do this thing. I'm in.

derp
Jan 21, 2010


Lipstick Apathy

Ok I will write a thing.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Grimey Drawer

I'm sorry Roguelike. I'm sorry you wrote a good story and then made a good prompt and now have to judge a shitload of stories. I hope you drink, because you might wanna stock up on your beverage of choice.

Record is 32 entries, and you're at 32 signups right now. Some horrible people will flake out because they aren't worthy of the air they breathe, but maybe you'll get another 10 tomorrow!

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

Fork 'em Devils!


crabrock posted:

I'm sorry Roguelike. I'm sorry you wrote a good story and then made a good prompt and now have to judge a shitload of stories. I hope you drink, because you might wanna stock up on your beverage of choice.

Record is 32 entries, and you're at 32 signups right now. Some horrible people will flake out because they aren't worthy of the air they breathe, but maybe you'll get another 10 tomorrow!

I'm in. Let's kick this new year off right!

Bigup DJ
Nov 8, 2012


I don't have time to do this week's Thunderdome but I'm pre-emptively signing up for next week's!

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


sebmojo posted:

New thread title imo

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry




dear n3wbs, please do as your dad says and not as he does


Bigup DJ posted:

I don't have time to do this week's Thunderdome but I'm pre-emptively signing up for next week's!

I wouldn't rely on this post to mean much next week, you should come back and sign up then. I mean what if the prompt was "write about a character gruesomely murdering your least favorite ethnic minority" I'll bet you'd regret signing up blindly!!!! That's if next week's judge notices this post.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

FYI guys, I updated the post just beneath the OP with some cool archive stuff, and will add more later.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Well good job there killer, the link doesn't work. Is "writocracy.come" a writer's porn site?

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

idk what you're talking about all I see is a working link to the archive








way to spoil the surprise about the writerpron site though. SORRY EVERYONE.

inthesto
May 12, 2010

There is a point where we needed to stop, and we have clearly passed it.

BUT LET'S KEEP GOING AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS!


You need to log in to the thunderdome site in order to see the pictures, since they're hosted there

I am preemptively laughing at the judges for this week's larger word limit and the number of sign-ups

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

I'm in.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Grimey Drawer

In my defense, I've given out the link to the non-passworded images a few times (although maybe when SH wasn't in the room.)

anyway, I've PMed to her so she can fix them at her leisure.

sentientcarbon
Aug 21, 2008

OFFLINE GAMES ARE THE FUTURE OF ONLINE GAMING

The numbers don't lie. 99.99% of every Diablo 3 player wants the game to be offline. This is a FACT.

OH SHIT IS THAT A WEBCAM? HOLY CRAP GET THAT AWAY FROM ME! (I am terrified of being spied on, because I am a very interesting person)


In. And imma' win. Drinking gin.

Roguelike
Jul 29, 2006

THUNDERDOME LOSER

You no good excuses for writers have about another two and a half hours to signup and make my life just a little bit worse.

35 signups, what the hell is wrong with you people. Why can't you all be more like Peel and Bigup DJ who just stopped by to say they were cool peeps who weren't competing this week.

EDIT: Haha, Signups CLOSED

Roguelike fucked around with this message at Jan 4, 2014 around 05:05

Bigup DJ
Nov 8, 2012


Sitting Here posted:

dear n3wbs, please do as your dad says and not as he does

I wouldn't rely on this post to mean much next week, you should come back and sign up then. I mean what if the prompt was "write about a character gruesomely murdering your least favorite ethnic minority" I'll bet you'd regret signing up blindly!!!! That's if next week's judge notices this post.

I'll do it man I'll do a story next week no matter what! I swear it on my father's grave, and my own grave!!

Feste
Apr 7, 2009

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Faded, Jaded Dweller (1,241 words)

Enter the small room in the back of the house to find a table, two chairs -- one occupied -- a couple of open windows with drapes billowing as the sharp October wind smacked against the wispy tendrils of a dying flame. The lone man kept solemn vigil while rolling a cold vajra over the calloused fingers pads on his right hand. It had been a gift long ago from a friend that had taken up with a wife and traveled as far west as one could without crossing the great Rocky Mountains: a lasting reminder of man’s conquered domain restrained beneath railroad tracks. The seated man had declined the invitation to journey on the road in lieu of working long days under a man for whom he felt a mix of love, admiration and fear that could only be from a father, his father, the architect.

For his father, the architect, had claimed that no better education could exist outside that gifted to a student from their master and so had compelled his eldest son, our seated man, to join his practice as an apprentice. This had come as a shock to our man as his life, though filled with buildings rivaling the creations of God’s splendor, had been devoid of the architect. The young architect had set his children in a playroom right below his home studio, and once it was completed never went back inside; it is true that the architect sees his design as perfect until people enter it and this architect did not discriminate in this practice.

The seated man shivered and looked upon his hand to see a red impression from the eastern tool and so he laid the tool upon the table where it tumbled for a short while before resting on an envelope. He stood and began towards the open window, unaware of the interim of each foot’s journey from spot to spot on creaking floorboards; he was satisfied in being upright and moving. The standing man pressed his warm tongue on chapped lips and raised his shoulders and lowered them. Often he had hunched when he had sat so he could extend his arms to the top of the drafting board and get a lead pointer so as to be precise; it is important, when drafting or even more when rendering, so that the client can see how you’ve articulated their needs which they could be shockingly unaware of when demanding book-matched granite.

His father, the architect, had taught him never to let the foundations of design escape his mind when conjuring the living spaces of a client’s home. There are necessities and these must be met and from these the rest of the plan will arise like the leaves on the bush do before the roses can bloom. A building is a system made alive by its inhabitants but it is crafted by its architect. All these learned in years spent in the studio surrounded by pretenders to his father’s legacy: the stock of person who arrives in the midsummer and talks of his conquest of the challenges of last year’s winter to prove his readiness for the continually longer nights which are encroaching on warm days.

Our standing man had been vigilant in keeping the rituals of the day during the time of that tempestuous night’s darkness: the news of his mother and sisters being slashed with the firewood axe by a servant in the dim luminescence of iron fixture gaslights. There had been no sign of discontent when our man had left with his father, the architect, the master, to oversee the mining of a new rich granite vein. It was gorgeous Dakota Mahogany granite and his father, the master, had been awaiting slabs for a nearby office complex -- a tall structure which stood as a monument to the company’s owner, a man from the soil of South Dakota itself who now reached a comfortable height of success in his late middle age -- and it was beautiful.

Our man began again -- away from the window -- welcoming the chill on his back as tufts of hair fell before his eyes. He pushed them with his right hand back on top of his brow and tucked the strands neatly in the crook between his ear and temple as if it were a pencil in waiting. He hadn’t written much after the decimation of his family, not even to his friend now out west in Colorado -- the type whose only offering of condolence would be a few belts of scotch -- and so remained monolithic in the face of his shattered father. He gave pieces of his own individual spirit in the name of his father’s legacy. He galvanized his father, the architect, into pursuing a long abandoned masterwork. They found solace.

The man met the table and tucked the chair underneath, hands grasping the wooden back as a tether to the solid ground he felt quake beneath him. The Arcadia he carved out of the dreams of his father, the architect, the master, alienated their practice from a public determined to remain steadfast in its trajectory. It spurned his father away from the designs that had attracted our standing man to study the master’s work. The architect now made cynical structures bankrolled by aristocrats living off the new old money of their dead. He played word games in stone that weren’t understood but oft talked about by his patrons who wanted Dakota Mahogany granite in their New York coastal home because of the way it rolled off the tongue.

Our standing man reached for the envelope weighted down by the vajra. Inside was a card detailed with gold leaf that listed the name of his father, the architect, the master, along with his death date and his funeral date. It was sent by the architect’s new daughter and had been sealed with the architect’s monogram. This was the first time our standing man received a letter bearing that stamp in quite some years.

Our man had pulled away from his father, the architect, the master, and his current practice to pursue that betrayed idealist style. He was starting to gain some recognition outside of his surname but was still unable to land any big clients. A plastics manufacturing company had sought our man to construct a space in Michigan that was to be made striking enough to give it global appeal and an interior that would be photographed to show this plastics company as a purveyor of future designs. The meetings had been going well and the immaculate renderings had them on the cusp of selecting our standing man, our architect. His father had been in town, visiting our man to show our man the new fiancé. He sat in on the final presentation as a proud man that wanted to see what his protege could achieve. As the meeting came to a close, the clients applauded but all turned to the father to see his reaction: he was a formidable name even in his decline. He congratulated his son on the design before looking the head of the plastics manufacturing company right in the eyes.

“Yes, his work is impressive: it will set you far ahead of your competitors. But is he going as far as he could? Is he making this office as grand as your name necessitates? Why hire the son when you can hire the master?

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


The Last Child (735 words)

The great void gaped open above two figures and stretched into an infinite nothingness.  The two were entwined upon the surface below, watching as the dirt and stone was torn from the fabric of their little planet, into the eternal hungry maw that lingered above them.

The first said, “It is our child and it is so beautiful.”

The second said, “From barren loins comes forth the end.”

The first said, “Our final gift to this world.”

The first laughed and lifted the second by the hips towards the void, letting out a hoot of pure pleasure.  The second smiled, a smile that did not touch the eyes, leaving only creases over the curve of the second's cheeks.  The second said, “Our love has wrought this thing. An ending to all sorrows.”

The first lowered the second back down to the fragmented ground.  The first’s voice become solid, losing the ecstasy of victory as he said, “For too long we have born the weight of scorn and rebuke, the sting of sorrow. And now we have ended it. We together have done this thing, in our love for the flesh and the soul of not just ourselves but of all.”

The second's head bowed and the second spoke, voice resonant with the trembling of the planet's surface,  “And it is a thing worth doing, to sunder the old and-”

The second cut off then, the sound suddenly caught within the second's throat. The first's eyes blazed and the first spoke, voice like thunder, echoing over empty plains,“And what, my love? What comes after the sundering of the old?”

Blood began to fall from on high, as the void opened upon itself, a maw within a maw.  From within came the screaming of a thousand choirs of newborn. The force of the sonic assault sent the pair scrambling to the ground, disengaging from one another. Born down by the weight of the screams, the first shouted over to the second, “What. Have. You. Done?”

A whisper of a smile graced the second's lips, this time creeping up to crease the corners of the second's eyes.  It was a weary smile, a tired smile, but a smile so often shared in the last age. In that instant, the first knew that their work had been undone.

“It had to be done. They had to suffer. Why should they have a reprieve for their sins? Why should they not suffer for an eternity for what they've done to us? For the ruin they've made of our flesh and all else that makes us?” said the second, the voice almost like a whisper across the gulf of sound.

The first stood still, staring at the second in mute amazement. Such a deed was beyond comprehension. For long ages the two had plotted, and now the variables were to be changed. The first's voice roared with rebuke, “How dare you!? This was not your plan alone! This was our work together!”

The second simply smiled again and the first's rage collapsed in on itself. Tears flowed down the first's face, red-hot upon the void scarred cheeks. The first sobbed and shouted, “Why!? You at least owe me a why!”

Slowly, the second rose from the ground and carefully stepped over towards the first, graceless beneath the weight of the descending press. The second placed a hand, soft and warm upon the first's back. The second said, “Because you're too stubborn. You would never have gone through with it, despite knowing the necessity of our vengeance.”

The first trembled, both at the touch and at the words, before thrusting forward onto the second's chest. Sobs racked the first's frame and the second merely weathered them, turning to gaze upwards at the descending choir. The second said, “They're beautiful. As much our children as any other.”

The first stilled slowly before drawing up to stand fully. For a moment, the pair simply gazed into each others' eyes. The second bore the calmness of certainty, built from the long years laboring upon the project, the thousands doubt that had been excised during the process. The first seemed so small, but only for an instant. Snapping upwards, the first took the second's hand, and brought it up. The first's other hand settled onto the second's hip.

The pair waltzed beneath the coming reckoning, dancing to the rhythm of the falling splatters of blood.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


As Brothers, Once

1241

The scarred blonde huskarl shook his head. “I’d swear by Saint Vortabin, he’s madder every day.” Rodic tapped his temple with the stump of his index finger.

Dorn Vulhather, Thane of the King’s Huskarls, frowned. “Have respect. He’s still our king.”

“Last council, he nearly strangled the steward!” Rodic made choking motions.

“He lost his temper.”

“He’s been strange since that witch cursed him outside Obersend.”

The thane waved a hand. “If he’s a bit off - and I’m not saying he is - it’s from that head wound he took when the Obersenders sallied out.” Dorn rubbed his own bald head. “He didn't wake for a week.”

Rodic counted on his fingers. “He mutters to himself, he wanders the castle in his nightshirt, and I caught him pissing in a fireplace yesterday. He’s mad, I’m telling you.”

Dorn sighed. “Maybe so. We were as brothers, once. We fostered in Dartem together.” He fingered his longaxe, a faraway look in his pale blue eyes.

#

Two days later, Dorn stood guard while King Gremlaeca Skellan and his new Steward talked agriculture on a parapet. Dorn barely listened, distracted by the glory of Keloden spread before him. He remembered visiting the royal city as a boy with Gremlaeca. Keloden was then a mere sprawl of timber and wattle-and-daub buildings. Thirty years later, a trade boom with friendly neighbors doubled Keloden’s size. Anathian triremes, Andorth galleys, Varig longships, and native Grendish holks filled the harbor. A half-built stone cathedral already towered over the wooden Church of Saint Braghan.

Dorn turned as Gremlaeca’s voice rose.

“We can’t grow oranges on my Elten estate? Devil’s balls. I’m the King of Grenderholm, I’ll have oranges!”

Steward Merthgar raised his palms. “Your majesty, we’re too far north.”

Gremlaeca reddened. “By the Saints, I’ll have oranges!”

Dorn moved closer.

“But it’s not sensible…” Merthgar trailed off as Gremlaeca seized him at the hip and shoulder and lifted him over his head. The king was still a bull at fifty. Dorn grabbed Gremlaeca’s shoulder just as he hurled Merthgar over the battlement. He screamed all the way down.

Gremlaeca shoved Dorn away. His eyes were wild, unfocused. “Unhand me, dog.”

Dorn’s face grew hot, but he didn’t make to grab the king again. “For God’s sake, you just murdered him!”

“A King can only execute.”

Dorn crossed his arms. “The law applies to you like any other.”

“You presume too much,” Gremlaeca roared. “I’ll throw you after him.” He lunged, locked rough hands around his thane’s throat. Dorn drew his shortsword and pressed the edge under the king’s chin.

“Release me, or by Saint Braghan I’ll open your throat.”

Gremlaeca kept his grip, mad eyes locked on Dorn’s. Finally, he let go. His whole body went slack and he almost fell, catching himself on the battlement. When he looked up at Dorn, the madness had passed.

“By the Scion, what have I done? Forgive me, little brother. I wasn’t myself.”

“I know,” Dorn said. He gripped his forearm, pulled him upright. “Let’s get you to your chambers.”

“But Merthgar.”

“That will need to be accounted for, but not now.” Dorn led his king to the stairs.

#

Dorn and Rodic leaned against the council chamber wall, awaiting the king’s arrival. Ivarr, a Varig member of the King’s Huskarls, stood nearby smoking a pipe. Andubren, thane of the city, exchanged vulgar jokes with Alred Skellan, the king’s nephew and heir. The Earls of Brethon and Gorsham sat together, both called to council as the closest High Nobles to Keloden. The king himself finally entered, his favorite hound on one side, the huskarl Wigstan on the other. It was Wigstan’s day to guard the king. The assembled nobles stood as Gremlaeca took his seat. At a gesture, the hound hopped up into the empty Steward’s chair.

“Be seated.” The king waved his hand. “I present my new Royal Steward, Conbec of the Perfect Symmetry.” The hound lifted his ears at the sound of his name. Dorn’s mouth dropped open, and Rodic barely stifled a chuckle. Andubren’s face grew white, and the two Earls muttered to each other.

“Uncle, you can’t possibly be serious.” Alred’s full lips bent in a smile. “One of your jokes?”

“Not at all. Conbec will make an excellent steward. He obeys my every command.” He demonstrated, making the dog do tricks. “Now, the matter at hand. The two Earls are here to legitimize this war council.”

“War council?” The Earl of Gorsham raised his eyebrows.

“Indeed. I mean to invade Andor.”

Alred snorted. “For what reason? We’ve been at peace with the Andorth for twenty years. They’re our best trading partners.”

Gremlaeca turned his wild gaze on his nephew. “The pig-spawned bastards are stealing our water!”

The chamber fell silent. After a few seconds, Andubren spoke.

“What do you mean, your Majesty?”

“The Devil-bitten river! The Limberloth flows east to Marevin and doesn’t stop. Soon Andor will have the whole thing!”

Again, nobody spoke for a moment. Then Alred burst into laughter.

“This is too much. You’re mad as a box of frogs!”

Gremlaeca pointed a shaking finger. “You dare mock me? Throw him in the dungeon.” Conbec put his paws on the table and snarled. The huskarls escorted Alred out. In the hallway, he stared at Dorn.

“You’re truly obeying that madman? He made his dog the Steward! He thinks the Andorth are stealing the bloody river!”

“We know,” Dorn said. “We’re not jailing you. What can we do about him?”

“Kill him, give Lord Alred the throne,” Rodic said.

“That’s treason.” Dorn’s voice was tight.

“There’s precedent,” Rodic said. “Saint Braghan himself established the House of Skellan with his bloodstained sword."

Dorn shook his head. “We’re not Saint Braghan. Furthermore…”

Alred held up a hand. “Rodic’s right. He’s not fit to rule Grenderholm.” Ivarr nodded.

Dorn sighed and closed his eyes. “Very well. Let’s do it in the outer court. We need witnesses.”

#

In the outer court, nobles, merchants, and others watched in horror and interest as the King’s Huskarls bent Gremlaeca over a stool. Rodic held his shoulders, the king’s hands bound with his own belt. Rodic’s left eye was swollen shut, Dorn had a fresh bruise on his cheek, and Ivarr’s arm bled where Conbec had bitten him. Wigstan had the hound leashed, now. The remaining six King’s Huskarls stood by.

Alred Skellan stood at the foot of the empty Rowan Throne. The Archbishop of Keloden stood nearby, having been in the outer court anyway. He’d been quickly convinced to bless Gremlaeca’s execution. Dorn’s deathstare and longaxe had helped.

Alred addressed the crowd. “My uncle is no longer fit to rule. In the great tradition of our founder Saint Braghan, we remove him from the throne.” He nodded to Dorn. Rodic pushed the struggling king closer to the makeshift chopping block. Dorn hefted his longaxe.

“Your last words?”

Gremlaeca’s eyes were wide, bloodshot. “I’m the King! Release me, I’ll have you all eaten by pigs.”

Dorn waited.

The king dropped his head, then looked back up. His eyes were normal. “Not the axe, little brother,” he whispered. “Kill me like a warrior, not a thief.”

Dorn nodded. Rodic let the king straighten, opened his tunic to expose his collarbone. Dorn laid the longaxe aside and drew his sword. He stepped behind the king, placed the tip just above his left collarbone. Gremlaeca nodded.

Dorn thrust downwards. Blood spattered his face, ran down with the tears.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


I'd just like to take a moment to inform all 34 (ugh) of you that people whose entries fall well below the word limit will instantly gain my favour, because I'm very lazy. Brevity is the soul of wit, kill your babies etc.

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derp
Jan 21, 2010


Lipstick Apathy

I wrote a thing. It is under the limit, just for you Fanky.


Duat (1249 words)



I push open the door to the lab and cringe inwardly. He is there, already working, crouched before the towering contraption in the center of the room, making some adjustment. Simon Barrister, my research partner. He is brilliant and young and tireless, a credit to the team. A pain in my rear end.

He looks up at me. “Hey Carl, working the holiday too?”

It’s new year’s eve, we’re probably the only ones in the facility. “Yeah.”

I get right to work on the computer, setting up the next test pattern. The hulking machine rumbles to life, great coils sputtering electricity, a giant magnetic disc spinning faster and faster. It reaches the flash point, where the gate should open--and nothing happens.

I don’t even feel the disappointment anymore. In fact, I feel relief. If it had worked while he was here, then it would be harder to get out of sharing the credit with him.

As the machine winds down the data is collected, stored in the computer for analysis to determine what permutation we should use next. Each test narrows it down exponentially. The discovery is close. I can feel it, like a word on the tip of my tongue.

The multiverse theory was proved years ago. Every possible universe is known to exist, right next to us, separated only by a thin film. If we can figure out how to punch through, we could have infinite energy, infinite resources. The first team to publish the the proof will be immortalized--not just in this universe, but in all the others we invade.

The first team, or the first man.

Simon looks up from his work “Hey It’s almost midnight. Want a glass of champagne?”

“Sure, why not.”

He comes back with a bottle, pops it open like a high-class waiter and pours the golden, twinkling stuff into my glass. It’s good. Crisp, refreshing. It lightens my heart a bit.

“You know,” I say. “The ancient Egyptians had a belief in a second world. Duat, they called it. It was like an afterlife, but different in that you could travel between there and here through gateways.”

“Like our gateway, eh?” Simon takes a big drink.

“Yeah,” I say. “The burial chambers were like conduits between the two worlds, you could travel back and forth between them. Its all written in their religion, in their books of the dead. I have some pottery from that time, you know. Inscribed with religious verses. Very old. Very rare.”

“I didn’t know you were into antiques.”

“I just started collecting recently.” I bought it at an auction six months ago, around the time I began my plan to screw Simon out of publishing.

I will be the one to discover Duat. There will be no our findings, only my findings. I have already been writing the paper that I will publish under my own name when the final piece to the puzzle is acquired. I have been writing it for months, and all that is left is to insert the missing data.

This nearly finished paper is stored, etched in microdot, on my ancient pot. I dare not store it on any computer connected to the net. Even any electronic device at all could be suspected, looked into, hacked. But no one could possibly suspect the antique artifact sitting on my mantlepiece.

The only risk is in its fragility. I do not keep a backup. If the pot were to break, my plans would be ruined--it almost did, once.

It was Christmas eve, and I had several people over, including the director of our lab, Steven Barks. I was showing him the pot--I believe in hiding things in plain sight--and he dropped it.

I remember watching it slip from his fingers and all the thoughts rushing through my head at lightning speed. All the steps of remorse--denial, anger, bargaining--passing by in a flash. Then my Labrador, for reasons only dogs know, came tearing across the room and ran right between us. The pot bounced off his hindquarters, landed on my foot, and rolled unscathed onto the floor.

I often think about all the endless things that could have gone differently. If the dog had chosen not to run. If the pot had rolled off Steven’s fingers in a slightly different way, if i’d been standing several inches further back. All of these would have led to tragedy. Constant worrying about what might happen to it at home became distracting. Now I keep the pot on my desk in my office here at the lab, where I spend most of my time.

I realize I’ve been silent for a long while, so I raise my drink at Simon and drain the rest. “We’d better get back to it.”

He nods and takes my glass. “I’ll put these away.”

He’s only been gone for a moment when it happens. Just as he steps around the corner there’s a shimmering glow over the magnetic disc of the machine. A kind of ripple, like a mirage, but emitting light.

I leap to my feet and run to the computer, but there is nothing, no readout. It’s not being caused by the machine--the thing isn’t even powered up.

The shimmer gets brighter and there is a wet, popping sound, then I can see right through it, clear as day. Like looking through a window. I see another lab, like ours. It’s coming from there, I realize. Some other version of my lab has figured out the missing data and opened the gate. And it opened into my universe.

My suspicions are confirmed as I watch myself step through the gate.

It’s surreal, unsettling. He’s me, but not me. His hair is slightly different, thinner, but well cared for. His face is a bit darker, more worn looking. His clothes are the same as mine, but a shade lighter.

“Oh good, it’s you,” he says.

“You solved it!” My eyes are wide, my heart pounding. “You’ve got to tell me how. Before he comes back.” I would tell me, wouldn’t I? If anyone would help me in my plans, it would be me.

“Quick then,” he says. “To my--er, your office.”

He follows me out of the lab and into my office. I shut the door and he looks around, his eyes finally settling on my pot.

“So, you still have it,” he says. “In the dozen universes I’ve been to so far, this is the first one I’ve seen where I didn’t break it.”

“Then you weren’t able to publish in time? To cut out Simon?”

“Oh I’ve got time,” he says. “Simon took the day off in my world, for the holiday. I’ve only been searching through the universes--through Duat-- for an hour or so.”

I narrow my eyes. “Searching for what?”

He laughs. “I’m not really this dumb am I?” He picks the pot up from my desk. “For this of course, I knew there must be a universe where it didn’t break.”

“What? You can’t--”

“Sorry pal,” he says, darting for the door. “You’ll have to find your own.”

And he’s gone, rushing toward the lab. I take off after him but my shock gave him too much of a head start. By the time I get back he’s leaping through the gate.

The hole blinks out of existence right as I reach it.

Simon returns to see me standing there, staring.

“Ready?” he says.

My heart pounds with new determination. “Yeah, lets get to work.”

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