Register a SA Forums Account here!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
  • Locked thread
Dec 5, 2003

:greatgift:Week 114 Crits:greatgift:

Fuscia tude - Dark Purpose 7.2

Your first sentence is convoluted and long: I like the concepts, especially in the second half, but the first part of the sentence is a little heavy-handed in setting the folk tale world. The town elders pop up halfway through the story, but never get mentioned again or explained. The dialogue is stilted in places. On the plus side, the Light/Dark moral of the folk tale and use of the missed connection work well, especially in such a low word count. While not a requirement of the prompt, it felt like a complete story. Could have been a contender if you hadn’t gotten a little too wordy at times.

thehomemaster - Same Time, Same Place 6.6

The red coat to catch his eye is a nice touch. “A train pulls up and disgorges another round of dull-eyed civilians.” The word choice of this sentence is so out of place. The repetition of same time, same place was well done. Her stuttering gets annoying after a couple of sentences and she turns from sort of strange to downright creepy by the end. Concept was cliche, but used decently.

Jitzu the Monk - Your Hero at Johnson Lake 6.4

The twist of the protagonist being the snake from the picture/missed connection was cool. Also, I enjoyed reading the missed connection you wrote. Your humor generally falls flat, though. Hissing to get the bartender’s attention was okay. Them getting off on the wrong foot was pretty bad.

“Eventually, he became drowsy and drifted to sleep.” Yeesh. What’s going on with this?

Quidnose - Good Night, L.A. 6.4

The grittiness of the story is like cheap sandpaper: it works, but wears out fast. The ashtrays are over the top. I can’t tell if you are going for humor in this one. If you are, it’s not very funny. No detective worth their weight in salt would call out the type of vehicle or it’s location over the air. Little details took all the fun out of this story.

“ “’She is Latin and is married to a gentleman who works for an airline.’” “ The use of quotes and the person saying this straight out of the missed connection is atrocious.

Anomalous Blowout - True Facts About the Kea 6.2

On the downside, a list of things a man enjoyed at the zoo is such a bizarre way to start a story. I didn’t like: “Would you look at that!” and “more than just his memory had stirred.” The tone set by phrases like these is a bad fit. “Besides, he totally wasn’t gay.” And this is cliche. On the upside, I enjoyed reading Kea facts.

Cache Cab - Cassius 6.5

This comes off like the ramblings of a crazy person. It’s enjoyable on the whole. The perspective changes are abrupt, difficult to follow, and sort of trite. You go way past the line on creepy with: “The thigh gaps.” The second to last paragraph is just right, though, and I wish you would have cut your last line.

Your Sledgehammer - The Art of Jailhouse Seduction 6.3

Creep protagonists are definitely the theme so far this week. It’s the obvious choice with missed connections, but it is so hard to pull off well. I like that he is mad about the women not being charged with anything, but admits to gunning a man down in the story and is appealing his conviction. This is well written and the sentences flow. I’m not sure if jailhouse rape can ever be a truly satisfying ending to a story, though.

Mercedes - King of the Weights 6.8

Okay, so this doesn’t have what you might call literary merit, but I did laugh quite a bit. Oh, Mercedes. You cad, you. The attack of the hair/fight for the gym was a ridiculous twist that I enjoyed. “He might hurt himself without that support” is just plain old-fashioned, quality writing. Fully expected ock, but you failed to deliver.

Entezahn - Sightseers 7.1

Good use of your missed connection and gif. The beginning is a little muddled and I don’t like the offhand tone of “Seems fine to me.” As the story progresses, it gains momentum at the right pace. While the dialogue gives it a talking heads feeling sometimes, the descriptive sections are clear and well written. The ending drops off a bit, but your last line makes up for it.

Detectives always smoke in every movie/story, right?

Sitting Here - Craig’s Tryst 7.0

This nails the creepy vibe throughout; Craig is a dude who has serious issues. The scrapbook and obsession with her name set the tone. Selling his Star Trek figurines so 40-Year-Old Virgin, though. Implied rape at the end just caps it right off. You successfully incorporate the concepts from the missed connection without having to shoehorn anything. The individual elements were good, but the story as a whole is unsatisfying.

N. Senada - Secure Facilities 6.0

Your writing is unclear in places (The idea slipped away as did Jeremy’s neck.), you are needlessly descriptive (his relaxing, nice, comfortable, padded chair.), parts of your dialogue are completely unnecessary/expository (“If anybody opens those doors without our keys, alarms will light up our panels,”), and you are missing a ton of paragraph breaks. Favorite phrase in the whole story, though:

“Believing that to have gone at least slightly better, Jeremy recollected his items.” It’s good to remember.

Kaishai - Ice and Desire 7.3

The gradual reveal that his love of fire is not some type of metaphor is fantastic. Great, clear imagery throughout. This would have been a good entry in week 99. You take your missed connection/gif and make something unique. Everything flows well and I didn’t get lost in the perspective changes. Two minor complaints about the story: you have three paragraphs in a row that start with “she” and you overuse one-sentence paragraphs.

LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE - Sweet Gloria 6.5

There are a bunch of little technical issues with the story. “There was an autumn evening she was going to propose to Jim on, Gloria wasn’t sure which one yet, because she hadn’t bought the ring yet.” Stuff like this is hurting you. The reunion with Jim lacks emotional punch and the dialogue is off. He’s sort of ticked off, but sort of not really (and he’s ready for some cheatin’?).

Your ending is the best part. It has a good twist and brings the story around full circle.

Broenheim - untitled 6.7

You have all these cool concepts that you throw in from the missed connection, but you never do anything exciting with them. Dude is travelling through time and space, there is a mysterious man with mysterious aims, and in the end they jump down the rabbit hole together. You answer none of the questions that people ask as they read. The memory scene is vague and unsatisfying. The writing is fine from a technical standpoint.

Chairchucker - Seriously, It Was Huge 7.0


Punchy dialogue, actual humor, and a surprise giant pineapple at the end. Left and right gloves, heh. You took a really simple missed connection and made it interesting. That’s really all I have to say. You were on the cusp for me as an HM. edit: I didn’t realize your character was a woman until I reread the missed connection.

Grizzled Patriarch - Little Lazarus 7.4

You grab my attention right away with your title and first sentence. The army man is a nice touch piece throughout the story. David’s reunion with Liam packs emotional punch. “He took a painful swallow and tried to coax out some sound, but the woman was already hurrying off.” The contrast between his father and the security woman sets it all off. The fleshy knobs are just strange enough, particularly since they are moving. The dialogue is natural.

Phobia - Wiggles the Bear in: The Day The Wiggles Died 6.1

This is boring. The wiggling is totally arbitrary. The skunk throws out a sideways threat to kill Wiggles halfway through the story. You try for half children’s book, half serious drama and it all falls down.

Tyrannosaurus - The Power and the Glory 6.9

The writing is smooth, but it takes so long for this story to gain any momentum that it’s already over by the time it gets rolling. I enjoy your use of the missed connection and gif; you come up with an interesting story idea for them. You intertwine the concepts of earthly desires versus faith is a natural way throughout the narrative.

Some Guy TT - A Needed Reprieve 7.0

You wrote a simple, clean story about a woman getting to know a lost cat, then try to throw a moral in at the end. This would have been better without your ending paragraph. However, the gradual fall for a cat is believable. Still not sure how I feel about the deductions. They’re a great concept, but not a good fit for this story as they add very little. In the end, anybody who bothered to check/put an ad on Craiglist would have found the owner.

Djeser - Late On 6.7

This one is okay. There is nothing really wrong with it, just nothing really right, either. It fits the folk tale mold perfectly, which might be the problem in the end. There is nothing that ever goes wrong for the hyena. She gets everything she wants, then gets old and has to choose. Too little conflict.

“She resigned himself”


Apr 29, 2013

Hard Rock Nipples
I'll give it a go. In

Mar 21, 2013

Grimey Drawer
In with a :toxx: because of cheese-brain related failure two weeks ago. Hopefully a week off will have restored cheese levels.

Apr 12, 2006

ex post facho
Oct 25, 2007
Are there any guidelines around when (other than the deadline) and how you post your submission? Does it need to be separately emailed or just posted here? Should I include a wordcount?

I checked in the OP and didn't see anything about that, just want to make sure I'm following the procedures.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool
include wordcount, just post it here

Your Sledgehammer
May 10, 2010

Don`t fall asleep, you gotta write for THUNDERDOME
Use the secret BBCode command to covert your story to Wingdings font, then post it here. Once it's up, PM each judge to let them know you've submitted, and be sure to address each of them as "my liege" unless you want to cop a DM.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

a shameful boehner posted:

Are there any guidelines around when (other than the deadline) and how you post your submission? Does it need to be separately emailed or just posted here? Should I include a wordcount?

I checked in the OP and didn't see anything about that, just want to make sure I'm following the procedures.

Post the submission in the thread with a title and a word count. You can post it at any point before the deadline, but it's encouraged to take time to polish and edit. Don't preface the entry with any explanations or excuses, and don't put it in quote tags; that would make it hard to archive. Format for easy on-screen reading by putting blank lines between your paragraphs. This entry is a solid example of what to do.

Oct 30, 2003

Your Sledgehammer posted:

Use the secret BBCode command to covert your story to Wingdings font, then post it here. Once it's up, PM each judge to let them know you've submitted, and be sure to address each of them as "my liege" unless you want to cop a DM.

Post it, include a word count, no edits.
Have a look at some previous submissions by regulars and do what they do.

Feb 25, 2014

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.

Kaishai posted:

Post the submission in the thread with a title and a word count. You can post it at any point before the deadline, but it's encouraged to take time to polish and edit. Don't preface the entry with any explanations or excuses, and don't put it in quote tags; that would make it hard to archive. Format for easy on-screen reading by putting blank lines between your paragraphs. This entry is a solid example of what to do.

You mean the entry right after the one you quoted, right? :)

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.

Seeing as how this week was a failure because CommissarMega and satsui no thankyou are spineless cowards who are afraid of a writing contest where nothing bad happens if you lose and good poo poo happens if you at least submit SOMETHING, this following brawl will be a redux!!!

Here is the prompt for those of you that have forgotten:

:siren::siren::siren::byodood:MERC-BR4.5WL: IT’S GOOD TO BE BAD:byodood::siren::siren::siren:

Super Villains are the poo poo. They got all this power and instead of using it for good, they destroy stuff cause sometimes, you just want to see something burn. Super Villains are the stuff made of nightmares with abilities that cause regular heroes to poo poo their pants. You own the city; gently caress it! You own the world!

But goddamit, you’re hungry/bored/thirsty/feeling a little bit under the weather.

This brawl is a little different. Ironic Twist had two weeks to write and polish his story, and he'll have ANOTHER two weeks to polish it even further, giving him an unfair advantage, if you're a noob. So I'm opening up this week to three more domers. Doesn't matter if you won all the Thunderdomes, or if you don't know how to work a pencil. The first three to sign up have to write about a world conquering super villain stuck doing everyday-things.

Here are the prizes. Finish and post your story, you, the victim, get to pick one non-DRM game off the list as your Participation Prize. If you don’t post a story, you get poo poo and you’re banned from further Merc-Brawls. Furthermore, winners get to pick a game from the non-bolded list and whichever bolded games you want. Yes, multiple games. No, there is no limit to how many you can pick. Yes, this rule is retroactive, so previous winners can get in contact with me with a list of games they want. The list changes often cause I am weak and video games call to me.

If you've done a Merc-Brawl before, and didn't win, come on back! You know you want that sweet game.

Why am I doing this? Because I want you guys to give it your loving all. No half-assed unpolished turds. I want you to use your two whole loving weeks to write the best story you can possibly make.

I really, really thought about forcing contestants to toxx themselves before entering, but I'm going to hold off. Please don't make me regret this decision.

2,500 words max due October 29

:siren::siren:Guest Judges Appear!:siren::siren:
The Lord of Darkness, Bad Seafood arises from his eons of slumber, again, to discover he is out of milk (loving roommates) and the fridge smells terrible.
The Baron of Baddassery uppercuts his way past a line of customers at a local Starbucks, angry that his motherfucking latte wasn't skinny.

Ironic Twist
Grizzled Patriarch
Benny The Snake

Mercedes fucked around with this message at 03:51 on Oct 17, 2014

Jul 16, 2014

by Ralp
Can't think of a good 11th hour scenario, but count me in for the brawl!

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.

I'm in for this brawl as well, since we decided in IRC that Twist is my sworn Dome nemesis.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

Grizzled Patriarch posted:

I'm in for this brawl as well, since we decided in IRC that Twist is my sworn Dome nemesis.

Yes, We R NMEs 4EVR

ex post facho
Oct 25, 2007
Not This Time
508 words

He was always late.

As a boy, his teachers would scold him for his tardiness to class. His parents would lecture him on the importance of punctuality when he arrived late to the dinner table. His friends wondered when he would arrive to their parties and their games. He always arrived, but he was always late.

On the day of his wedding, he arrived at the altar, late, as usual. She smiled at him anyway and took his hand, sliding the golden band around his finger.

They were late to the reception.

On their last day together, she stroked his weathered cheek with a liver-spotted hand, skin yellowed and paper-thin.

"Don't you worry about me. You know I'll be waiting."

"I'll find you. I always have. I'll just--"

"--be a little late. I know." She smiled and closed her eyes. He kissed her hand, and she was gone.

He hated the schedule. Two pills one day, three the next. He could never keep up, and fell behind his prescribed routine. He wasn't surprised to hear the prognosis, but knew he'd probably be late to that as well.

He felt a gentle nudge at his gnarled fingers as he dozed in his recliner. The white-flecked muzzle of his companion appeared, gradually, through the haze of his deteriorating vision. There was nobody left. Nobody that mattered. Everyone was gone. He was late, again.

He watched the ancient retriever hobble to its bed, place its head between its forelegs, and close its eyes.

"He's been good, hasn't he? All of us love him here. We'll miss him dearly."

The nurse checked his un-taken pills, sighed softly, and put a cup of water to his lips. He swallowed reluctantly. His eyes closed, slowly.

He felt a presence in his room and opened his eyes. A delicate hand on his shoulder. The bed in front of him, littered with worn toys, was empty.

"Where...?" he rasped.

"Down the hall. It's his time." came a tear-choked reply from somewhere behind him.

Strength long forgotten came in a rush as he lifted himself unsteadily to his feet.

"No. You can't. You're--"

"I will. I don't care."

One step, then another. Two firm but gentle hands gripped his waist and shoulder. He started to resist, feebly, then found those hands supporting him. Another step. Another.

He stared at his own shaking, wizened hand as it struggled to turn the doorknob, unable to see through the frosted glass of the window. The door creaked open. He knew what was awaiting him. He was always late.

A long, unkempt tail tapped a slow beat on the floor as he filled the doorway with his stooped frame. The needle was ready, the stick was all that was left.

He was wrong.

He sank to his knees, joints aching in protest, laying his head near the animal's muzzle. A gentle tongue brushed his bald pate, as watched the plunger depress through fading sight. His eyes welled as he squeezed a paw.

He wasn't late. Not this time.

Benny the Snake
Apr 11, 2012


I'm your huckleberry.

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at 04:13 on Oct 17, 2014

Jan 27, 2006
Was going to take a week off from the 'dome, but screw it. Count me in.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool
Quite Frankly? I’m Flushed. (1021 words)

Thousands, no, millions of asses lined the walls.

Miles of toilet seats, as far as the eye could see, created the enclosure of the room. In each seat was either a portal, or an rear end. The asses did not excrete, but instead obscured the portals, as if to say the other side was occupied.

Daniel did his best to avoid touching the butts. He had accidentally stepped on one, once, but it had no reaction. Even then he found the thought of repeating this to be very impolite. He was a gentleman, after all.

Fingers clutched the box containing the wedding ring as he hopscotched from toilet seat to toilet seat. Daniel noticed a shoelace had come untied. He carefully knelt and, with quick work, made sure the lace loops were twice the length of the lace ends.

He stood straight. Daniel lost count of how many seats he had passed. This was imperative knowledge in the toilet dimension because, like everywhere else Daniel went, he did not get very good cell service. He wandered for an hour, trying to retrace his steps. The seats became more and more unfamiliar. Daniel was lost in the dimension for the first time in years.

After aimless searching, a toilet seat stood out with brilliant craftsmanship. A rich, deep oak with diamond pegs to keep the seat separated from the nonexistent bowl. Daniel’s curiosity got the best of him, and he leapt in head first. It was like being sucked down a dry, powerful drain.

Daniel flew high into the air before he landed with grace on the massive, spotless bathroom floor. He had spent hours practicing this gymnastic technique so that if someone did manage to see him teleport through a toilet, he looked drat good doing it. He was dry, as always; Daniel had figured this was due to the portal being in the seat, and not the bowl.

Daniel gazed in the oversized mirror. He readjusted his tie, he was otherwise unsullied in his journey through the toilet dimension.

He peeped out of the bathroom and into an office. Diplomas with foreign markings lavished the expensive looking room. The letters had circles beside, above, and below straight and curved lines. Daniel was oddly reminded of toilet seats. His vague knowledge of written language insisted he was in South Korea; or perhaps Flushing, Queens. Daniel turned back into the bathroom and reentered the toilet dimension. He was nowhere near Ohio.

His phone informed him that he only had fifteen minutes to spare. Daniel moved toward whiter, flabbier butts, the ones that seemed most American to him. In this less pale part of the toilet dimension, all of the posteriors looked nearly identical. Daniel noted that he was probably not racist.

He hopscotched westward. At least west in the sense of the earth, and not the toilet dimension. In here it was like a rough parallel of the globe from the inside. However, instead of a sphere, it was shaped like the inside of a toilet bowl. Daniel wondered that if he left through the gaping, black portal at the top, he would enter a larger, more impressive toilet dimension. He discarded the thought, there were eight minutes left until his part as best man.

Daniel poked his head out of a portal. German moans from a rather shameless couple. The next portal took him to a Canadian accent politely wishing constipation away. Every time he looked through a seat, he found himself closer to Ohio.

Finally, a toilet seat exactly like the ones he had seen in the church. Daniel leapt through. The stall lock was jammed.

Daniel, despite his best efforts to remain tidy, did not wish to sully his punctual character. He crawled beneath the stall door. It was not as bad as he had imagined, though it did smell, and it was embarrassing. The marble on the sink, the size of the mirrors, this was one of the four church bathrooms; Daniel was certain of that. He rattled the knob of the bathroom door and while he would have kicked it, that would have been rather impolite. The flooded urinal to his side told him that this bathroom was out of order. A crawl and a jump later, he stood before another of the church’s toilet seats.

The portal was obscured by a familiar rear end. Jeff Borner, the cousin-in-law who had mooned him once, now twice.

loving Jeff, he thought.

Daniel brushed off his suit and checked his phone. Two minutes.

With little time to spare, he leapt through the portal next to Jeff. This bathroom smelled slightly sweeter than the rest, and when Daniel opened the stall door, he heard feminine shrieks of horror.

Purses and profanities beat him backwards. Daniel pulled the stall door shut, then locked it. Thirty seconds left.

“Get out!” they screamed.

He was certain this was another of the church’s bathrooms. It had the same tiling, and the furious women were all dressed for a wedding. Rattles and slams at the stall door reminded Daniel of urgency. He jumped through the toilet. Unhappy to have made a scene, Jeff turned his attention to the seat once obscured by Jeff. He leapt.

loving Jeff, he thought once more in the dimensional rift.

Alone in the second gentlemen’s room, he could hear organs playing a tune. He checked the mirror as he sprinted out. His tie was perfect, and his hair flawless. His pace picked up down the two halls between him and the ceremony.

The whispers of tardiness ceased. Daniel paraded down the aisle. He presented the ring just as he practiced for hours the day before. Tears were wiped from eyes, the dramatic pause had left many worried, but now there were claps and cheers. Daniel, a minute late, made an entrance that people talked about for whole minutes at the reception. No one had thought the weirdo who vanished in the toilet stall could have possibly been the best man.

Daniel was praised for his sharp looks and forgiven for his tardiness. He was a gentleman, after all.

Aug 2, 2002





Shaky Premise
Nov 10, 2007
I will launch an attack with my Blitzkrieg Army of Bunnies.

Dec 31, 2006

Fork 'em Devils!
Week 114 Crits

Tier One

1. Kaishai - Ice and Desire - Fantastic job. Only real comment I have is that I’m still not entirely clear if she also died at the end (even though it says she was reborn), or if they became one or if they both lived (him as a fire elemental) or what.

Tier Two

2. Sitting Here - Craig's Tryst - You sold the creepiness and desperation in the story well, and I thought it was pretty good all-around. I don’t think you nailed the gif, which marks it down a little for me. I felt the nerd angle was a little sloppy from you, a little too easy, and didn’t add much to the story itself, which conflicts with the other more interesting details you added about the creepy dude.

3. Grizzled Patriarch - Little Lazarus - I actually really enjoyed this, though I did take a little off because it wasn't really on-prompt. It’s creepy and mostly drew me into the story. Slightly over the top towards the end, which hurts the piece as a whole.

4. Chairchucker - Seriously, It was Huge - I liked basically everything about this, and in my discussions with crabrock later, I bumped this up to #3 on my list. You could have made this kinda rapey and creepy, but you kept it light enough that it was just amusing.

5. Tyrannosaurus - The Power and the Glory - Points for the creative take on the prompt, which bumps an okay story up a tier. If it was a little faster paced or had some additional element I think it would be much improved.

6. Some Guy TT - A Needed Reprieve - I wasn’t a huge fan of the whole deductions part of the story, it seemed a little forced, and it wasn’t entirely on-prompt. However, the scenes with her warming up to the cat were done well and the story was pleasant.

Tier Three

7. Your Sledgehammer - The Art of Jailhouse Seduction - Looking back I don’t know why I rated this so high, aside from that you used the prompt well and I love that gif. It was mechanically fine, but it was super creepy and rapey and we have almost no real information about anybody in the story. Could you have tried to make the character conflicted or something at all?

8. Phobia - Wiggles the Bear in: The Day The Wiggles Died - The story is absurd but likeable in a strange way. Was a little one-note in it’s absurdity, being the same joke the entire time, and the tone seemed off at times for what you were trying to do.

9. Lou Begas Mustache - Sweet Glorida - How do you pay bills by stealing socks? Because that was the implication your writing gave to me. It seems like you had a good idea in your head, but then it got all jumbled when you tried to get it on paper. Nothing really resonated with me here, and the reunion scene felt really off, but I didn’t hate it and I’m a sucker judge for liking concepts, so at least you have that.

Tier Four

10. Fuschia tude - Dark Purpose - I don’t think either prompt had much to do with the story, which dinged it quite a bit for me. I thought it had promise as a story, but you didn’t nail the parable feel you were going for, so it just felt off. It was too busy for a simple parable and the ending didn’t really teach anything in a meaningful way.

11. Entenzahn - Sightseers - I like what you did with the prompts, but it was a little disjointed and confused to begin with. Could have cut down on some early stuff to flesh out the middle or just cut some away to make it a little tighter and less confusing. I enjoyed the ending though.

12. Quidnose - Goodnight, L.A. - Your fingers are brown with spots of olive? Liver spots or what the hell? It wasn't bad, but it wasn't clear what is going on. Also don't think it worked well with the chosen prompt as in the connection they already knew the details the characters were trying to find out. It was formulaic and nothing super special.

13. Mercedes - King of the Weights - I don't even. I can’t even. No soul-glo, many points deducted. Why would you try to get a DM? I threw this arbitrarily in the middle like the other judges did so you wouldn’t get a DM, so any writers below this should not think I ranked this above them.

14. Broenheim - Untitled - I thought you had a decent concept but mediocre execution followed by a weird ending. You tried to do too much here, and it just fell in on itself around the middle. Keep it simple, especially when you’re doing trying to work with a complex concept.

15. Anomalous Blowout - True Facts About the Kea - A little repetitious and feel like the beginning could be cut down for more stuff towards the end. Or just cut altogether, the prompt feels pretty stretched thin for this piece.

16. Jitzu the Monk - Your Hero at Johnson Lake - Props on the creative use of the prompt, but it was kind of a meandering story that wasn't great, mainly because It’s about a white knight who is mad at another white knight. Also, the humor fell flat for me. Humor is tough to do though, so again props at least on trying it.

Tier Five

17. N. Senada - Secure Facilities - I’m glad you joined TD, and I’m sorry we have to give you a Loss to begin with. I hope you stick around and learn, many of us were terrible to begin with and now are slightly less terrible! The problem with this story is not the mechanical writing, but the story just drags on with needless details and descriptions. Cut the slack and you’ll have a much tighter story you can do more things with!

18. thehomemaster - Same Time, Same Place - Again, like above, I’m glad you joined TD and I hope to see you keep entering and work on improving! First, I don’t think you nailed the prompt - the gif you chose doesn’t seem relevant at all to the story. Second, I like the internal dialogue but there was no change or development of her thoughts as she met the guy. Her entire character just seemed a little over the top with the stuttering and one-track mind. Would have liked it more if she got a little mad or realized he wasn’t the picture she had crafted in her head, but then ignored it and kept plunging forward, or something . Slightly disappointed you didn’t have him reacting to getting a damp book, because that would be something a normal person would note and react to. Although, books don't smell damp from sweat unless you have a serious problem.

19. Cache Cab - Cassius - You were trying way too hard and it ended up being disjointed and confused. At least when the other stories weren’t great, I usually understood most of what was going on, but I can’t say that for this one. The one gem in this is that you have some pretty decent descriptions you’ve written, but they aren’t part of an understandable or cohesive piece.

Walamor fucked around with this message at 03:54 on Oct 18, 2014

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Sign-ups for Week CXV are CLOSED. Good luck, combatants. May I suggest you not wait until the eleventh hour to start writing?

To crabrock, Tyrannosaurus, Thalamas, and Walamor, my thanks for the crits. They're much appreciated!

Jul 16, 2014

by Ralp
Not sure if I can reply here, but thanks for the crits. Except that if you can't see the gif reference I don't know what to tell you.

Aug 8, 2013

This is an experiment for me, but I wanted a happy ending that my main character earned, Goddammit!

The Harvest
1,060 Words

The harvest moon watched over the fields as the Backers toiled away hauling gourds to the barn.

Twenty minutes before the harvest. They had twenty measly minutes to gather one-hundred of their best gourds. The word twenty repeated over and over in Mr. Backer’s mind as he and his family continued their labors.

Further back in the fields, Mrs. Backer loaded a pumpkin onto the cart with jittering hands. Time seemed to slip by as the moon looked down upon the family.

It wasn’t long before they nearly gathered their one-hundred gourd debt. While he carried squash to the barn, the eldest of the Backer children broke the silence.

“Do you think this will please him?” asked the son.

“We can only hope, boy,” said his father.

“Who do you think he’ll take if he isn’t?”

“Don’t speak of such things, boy.”

There was no time to rest as the youngest Backer girl carried the final gourd to the barn. Now the witching hour was upon the Backers, and they needed to work swiftly.

The entire Backer clan gathered in the center of the barn. Those children who remained exchanged glances as Mr. Backer led a young calf in from the stables.

The knife sat on the table, awaiting its dark duty. Mr. Backer sighed as the calf looked upon the children.

The calf was not at all prepared for when Mr. Backer gripped its neck. The tiny calf thrashed beneath the burly farmer as the blade approached the animal’s throat.

A haunting scream echoed through barn as the knife made its way across the calf’s jugular. The calf kicked and bayed, attempting in vain to avoid its fate. Nonetheless, the struggles soon died as dark liquid seeped from its neck.

As soon as the calf succumbed to blood loss, Mr. Backer dipped his fingers into the puddle around the animal. With this blood he drew what looked like a circle with a small dot in the center on the floor.

Not a soul spoke as the entire family waited, for he would soon arrive.

Mr. Backer pivoted his head from left to right, unable to breathe. Then, his heart almost gave as he noticed something.

The eldest child was absent.

He ruined the entire ceremony! There would be no forgiveness for such a grievance!

The unease in the air condensed further, as the family noticed the boy’s truancy, one by one.

As the light of the moon waned, an ethereal chill fell over the room, and the smell of autumn rot polluted the barn as he approached from the shadows.

He was shaped like an old man, but wore skin as white as the moon and as cold as the tundra. Staring at the family, he grinned with dulled teeth.

“Oh! My, my! Haven’t we gotten plump, children?” he asked in a voice that seemed to echo bitter cold.

He continued to approach the children, each step issuing a massive creak from the floorboards of the aging barn. The echoes reverberated through the entire family.

Soon he fixed his milky gaze on the smallest Backer girl.

“Oh, little Alice! Don’t we look cute?”

He began to outstretch his thin hands towards the trembling girl. She felt the frozen apparition’s presence suck the warmth from her cheeks. She clinched her eyes shut as she awaited her demise.

Then, just before the demon could touch the girl, a giant bang sounded from the corner of the barn.

The eldest Backer boy stepped from the shadows, clanging the knife that had killed the calf only moments prior against a wooden support beam.

“Boy have you lost your drat mind?!” yelled Mr. Backer.

The boy said nothing as he continued to clang the knife against the support beam. Even the demon stopped to look at the boy make an rear end of himself.

Then, without any warning, the boy hurled the knife at the demon, who was still standing over Alice.

“Think fast!” he said before wheeling away.

The creature winced in pain as the knife sunk into his frail shoulder. He quickly grimaced before furrowing his brow into a wicked snarl.

“That boy will pay for such an insult.”

The demon sprinted at a rapid pace from the barn, leaving the remaining Backers alone to just stare at the door with bemused expressions.

The boy stood on a nearby hill, and he waved as soon as he saw the white form come into view.
“Yoo-hoo! Mr. Harvest Demon! Over here!” called the boy.

The demon snapped his head to the boy, a snarl of pure rage drawn across his face.

Without a second of delay, the boy ran off into the woods. The Harvest Demon trailed after him, howling for blood.

The boy circled in and out of the foliage as the demon tried to keep up. Just when it looked as though the demon had the boy corned, the young man would dart into an unseen getaway hidden in the thicket. Every time the demon seemed to have the upper-hand, the boy knew of and abused an escape route.

The other Backers trembled in the barn, fearing the worst for their poor, stupid boy.

“Wow Mr. Harvest Demon, you’re pretty good at this! For a first timer, that is.”

“I will scrape every last morsel of flesh from your bones, child!”

“You have to catch me first!”

The creature continued his chase into the wee hours of the night, thwarted each time by the child knowing exactly where to be and where to go.

“Human, you are a fool to think you can hide from me! I can do this all night!”

“Can you do it all day, though?”

Just as the boy said that, the demon noticed for the first time that dawn was fast approaching. The creature sped off in the direction of the barn as the sun overpowered the moon for dominance of the sky.

Before he could make it back to the barn, the sun had finally made its appearance over the hillside. The Harvest Demon, for so long an inflictor of torment, was now being tormented.

The creature tried to shield himself from the harsh rays as the light caused his white skin to crackle and discolor. The demonic was still smoldering as he finally scurried into the barn.

The Backers never saw the creature after that.

Superb Owls
Nov 3, 2012
Posting my story now because I feel awful and I'd rather get this over with

Gold in Every Slice
973 words

How can something as simple as making a cake become a nightmare? That was what was going through Julia and Stanley Cox’s mind. The cake was a vanilla and marble cake, dressed in strawberry frosting and with chocolate shavings and marzipan flowers as decorations. The cake, while simple enough to make in theory, proved to be a disaster thanks to spending more time preparing the cake and less time actually making the cake. But all this was going to be the least of their problems due to one small factor they had to deal with.

Their cake was going to be tasted by their friend, the restaurant critic and lover of sweet things Robert Kahn, at their family restaurant.

Robert was a good friend to both Julia and Stan but his presence terrified the two. Known in food circles as the ‘Dreaded Pirate’ of food criticism, Kahn had a reputation of being swift to judge and could make or break a restaurant’s reputation with a single review. The Cox’s were aware of this reputation, and it terrified them.

Kahn enjoyed eating at the Cox’s restaurant. The Cox’s didn’t. Kahn had a tendency to declare one dish the best he’s ever tasted and the worst he’s ever tasted in no less than two bites. This drove the Cox’s to make an exceptional cake for Kahn to eat.

They went outside the kitchen with their cake. They were both holding the cake tray at one side so that it didn’t fell and make a mess. The constant shaking from the two put the cake in jeopardy. They both saw Kahn at his table and saw how impatient he was, which caused them to hurry up with the cake. They placed the cake on Kahn’s table with the utmost care.

“Robert,” Stan announced, with nervousness in his voice. “You have been a long time friend of our family for almost ten years now, and through those years, you’ve eaten an entire pantry or two of food from our restaurant. You’ve loved our dishes and hated our dishes, but despite all that you still come to our restaurant every Saturday night and try out our menu. For that, my wife and I present you this marble cake.”

Julia opened the tray to display to Kahn the cake. She added “This cake is a representation of our gratitude for you coming to our restaurant over the past few years. We hope you’ll enjoy eating it as much as we have enjoyed making it.” Stan could tell she was lying through her teeth about that “Making the cake” part, she sounded terrified. But Stan decided it was for the best that he kept quiet about it in case Kahn suspected anything. He appeared not to, which was good for both Julia and Stan.

Julia cut open a large slice for Kahn to eat. Everyone in the restaurant watched as Kahn took the slice with his right hand and took a bite of the cake. He devoured the slice as if it was his last meal. He savoured it as if it was a rare occurrence to have a slice of cake. He saw the faces of both Julia and Stan and they were both ecstatic that he enjoyed the cake.

Kahn stood up from his chair and announced “Mr and Mrs. Cox... I am proud to announce--” He swallowed the cake. “I am proud to announce that I en- cahk! chak!”

Kahn was choking. Everyone in the restaurant shouted in terror as Kahn was turning red. Stan started hyperventilating. He couldn’t believe what was happening. He never meant to do this, he thought. He didn’t mean to have a good friend of his choking on his food. And then he looked at his wife and saw something he wished was in him; calmness. His wife was cautious when she started to approach a crimson Kahn. She came towards the back of Kahn’s chair and applied a Heimlich manoeuvre. One push, two push and out came bits of cake and something shiny.

“What’s that?” Stan asked, still in horror over what happened.

“I don’t know,” replied Julia. “But it looks like a coin.” Julia took the coin from the saliva covered cake pieces and examined the coin. “South African... Krugerrand?”

“You mean I nearly choked to death on a-” Kahn coughed heartily, “Krugerrand?”

“It appears to be so,” replied Stan.

“I almost died choking on a thousand dollars?!” Kahn shouted on anger.

Julia comforted Kahn and told him “We’re really sorry about what happened. We’ll try to sort this out immediately. It’s probably for the best you go home and rest for a while.”

Kahn took the advice with heed and stormed out of the restaurant.

“Wow,” Stan said in a shocked tone. “I didn’t expect that to happen. We should find out where the Krugerrand came from.”

Both Julia and Stan took the cake back to the kitchen and examined it thoroughly. They sliced the cake and found more Krugerrands with every slice.

“Wow. We’ve must’ve hit a fortune in Krugerrands,” Stan whispered to Julia. “But where did all this come from?”

The first thing both Stan and Julia searched the Krugerrands for was the flour they used. It was wholegrain self raising flour, which Stan insisted on in favour of the plain self raising flour, which Julia wanted to put in the cake. Julia, with a stern look at Stan, searched the flour to see if there were any Krugerrands in the flour.

“Oh my goodness, we’ve hit a fortune in Krugerrands”

Inside the flour was hundreds of thousands of dollars in Krugerrands. Julia covered her mouth in horror and showed Stan the bag. Stan gasped at the amount of Krugerrands inside the bag and looked at Julia in shock.

“Where did we get this flour from?”

Apr 12, 2006
Don't preface your stories.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Tyrannosaurus posted:

Don't preface your stories.

Aug 8, 2013


Tyrannosaurus posted:

Don't preface your stories.


Jan 27, 2006
Week 115
Word Count: 1045


Armack fucked around with this message at 16:06 on Dec 9, 2014

Mar 21, 2013

Grimey Drawer
wordcount: 1100

The Eleventh Hours


Light blazed to starboard, just as the control panel registered a hit on the right wing stabilizer. The small world of Jeff Steele’s cockpit lit up with garish warnings while ship integrity klaxons blared. The view outside went haywire. The moon below him became the moon above him, then the moon at various places around him, all in quickening succession - but each time it appeared it grew larger and more detailed. The Hydaen pursuit ships were no longer visible, but Jeff had no time to celebrate that small victory - he was spiraling, out of control, headlong toward the moon’s surface. The projected survival probability on the view-screen crawled lower and lower as his inner ear rebelled at the centrifugal shakeup.

Jeff’s training took over. He set the repair bots crawling over the wing to see what they could do - hoping their magnetics were sufficient to keep them on the hull as spin and gravitational forces tore at them. He used the left wing stabiliser jets to work against the direction of his tumbling. His timing had to be perfect, a burst at the wrong moment and he would just be making things worse for himself and the bots.

Gradually the moon by which he measured his success slowed in its revolution around his view-screen until it stopped beneath the ship. Jeff no longer needed to slam his flight stick from side to side - now he used it to gently nudge his craft into position so the inevitable crash-landing wouldn’t rupture the cockpit’s protective life-bubble.

“Jeff, can you hear me? Jesus! Honey, call an ambulance, Jeff’s fallen! Just call it!”

Jeff Steele watched the smearing of stars. As light-speed approached he marveled at the way their light ran blue-red against the pitch black of space and the blurred clouds of distant nebulae. The ship around him purred - a masterpiece of mankind’s engineering talent, built in the low-grav shipyards of the Moon, ready to take Jeff beyond the limits of humanity’s imagination.

But there was something else - something at the limits of his hearing besides the gentle hum of the Moonerang’s inertial dampeners. The hairs on Jeff’s neck rose. He raced from the obs deck to the control room and ran every diagnostic check he could think of. By now the sound was a constant whine, a repetitive succession of high and low notes, but none of the ship’s sensors reported anything.

Jeff knew he was fine. He’d been subjected to every test a worried Lunar Force could throw at him. The only thing he could think of was that the mission had somehow been compromised by alien intelligences. Parasitic sound beings hitching a ride in his brain, probably a final gift from the Hydaen AIs. And to think he was on the verge of practically delivering them to the universe at large.

Jeff’s training took over. He ordered immediate deceleration procedures to commence and sped to the the iso-containment fields as the siren calls intensified. He left instructions for whoever found his body, instructions he hoped would not be read for a very long time.

“He fell, Doctor. He was playing and he fell. I think he’s unconscious. Can’t we stay with him?”

The Doctors of Dreaor 5 had poked, prodded and sliced Jeff Steele. They were on the verge of dicing him when he awoke on their operating table.

Jeff’s training took over. His brain was still cloudy with whatever narcotics the reptilian doctors had injected, but his body had been drilled countless times to operate even under such trying circumstances. Jeff ripped the connecting tubes from where they have been inserted into his chest and arms, then wrapped them around whatever scalpel wielding extensions he could find. Gathering his strength, he pulled them all together with a massive tug, and dopily smiled at the satisfying sound of machinery breaking. The Doctors chittered as he loped out of the room, heading deeper into the experimental laboratories of Dreaor 5.

“The doctor said Jeff woke during the operation, but then sunk into a coma. Honey, he’s alive, he’s hanging on. They said the first twelve hours are crucial.”

Jeff Steele had traveled to other dimensions before. The micro dimension of the mini-men, Princess Arda’s Milieu Fantastique, even the virtual realms of the Hydaen AIs, but this was different. The captured Professor’s prototype Dimensislip had somehow malfunctioned mid-escape and now he was trapped between planes. Jeff had been to the furthest reaches of the Empire Humanos but no empty section of space had seemed as black, no sucking void had seemed quite as hopeless as this

Jeff tried to clench his hands into fists, as if to punch his way out of trouble yet again, but the very notion of hands seemed nonsensical. There was only Jeff, the infinite darkness and, strangely, the smell of disinfectant.

Thoughts began to bubble up around him. At first, Jeff couldn’t tell what they were - there was no light, no sound, just the harsh smell and the paradoxical sensation of nothingness. But gradually Jeff felt his own mind calm, and the bubbles began to make a kind of sense. Of course, thought Jeff, between dimensions we can only imagine what it might be like, so our imagination is all there is to give form to the void.

Jeff felt a bubble rise, and became an observer seeing scenes from another universe. A house, a sunny day, a small boy playing on a balcony, running around arms outstretched, swooping and diving. A taller figure came out, on the phone, and the boy buzzed around him, making shooting sounds. The figure pushed him away, but the boy’s trajectory carried him towards the balcony stairs where he lost his footing. He flew then tumbled then crashed down the stairs and lay at the bottom like a broken toy.

The bubble burst and another rose. Jeff heard a sound he recognised from his ill-fated voyage aboard the Moonerang. At first, familiar oscillations, but less a siren, more a clock’s ticking.

“Oh God, what are we going to do if he doesn’t wake up? It was an accident, I swear.”

And then, the sound changed; not two sounds, but three. He thought he had been purged of the aural parasite by the procedures of the Doctors of Dreaor 5 but the sound is definitely there, becoming more and more real. Jeff clutched at it in the darkness. The bubble held strong.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. It’s been, God, eleven hours. Baby, I am so sorry.”

Jeff’s training took over.

Morning Bell
Feb 23, 2006

Illegal Hen

Morning Bell fucked around with this message at 05:56 on Nov 18, 2014

N. Senada
May 17, 2011

My kidneys are busted
Second Chances

1020 words

Too loving cold tonight, he thought. Tommy lifted another cigarette to his mouth and lit it. The snow gathered around his feet. He looked up into the night sky and saw nothing. Green light washed over his face from a bright, neon sign. He threw the cigarette butt into a pile of grey and black slush and walked back into the bar.

“Another whiskey sour, Bill,” said Tommy.
“Gotcha,” Bill replied.

Tommy turned around in his stool and saw the people who were normally here Friday nights. The folks who didn’t fit in at other clubs. The folks who’d rather have a drink in silence. The folks who knew how much they could drink, thank you very much. Tommy realized for the first time that he only knew Bill’s name, and, even then, only just Bill.

The cold gust of wind from the door drew Tommy’s attention. Under the glowing red “EXIT” sign stood Vincent Domingo covered in snow. Tommy stood up from his chair and smiled. Vincent shook loose some powder and stamped his feet on the mottled rug at the entrance.

“Bill, I got whatever he’s drinking,” Tommy said, pointing to Vincent. Vincent weakly smiled in return and held his hand up to decline.
“I’ll just have a club soda. Hey Tommy.”
“Hey Vinnie, I was expecting you to call not just show up here. Is it good news?”
“Here’s the papers.” Vincent pulled out a clean envelope. Written neatly on the front was Screening Results – Domingo, V. regarding Dalton, T. It ripped in Vincent’s hand as Tommy grabbed it.

Tommy removed several papers. He put aside official looking medical charts and read the accompanying letter written in a language he could actually read – plain English.
“You read it, right?” Tommy scanned each line.
“Yeah,” said Vincent.
“So you know what it says right?”
Both men were silent, then, “Holy poo poo, you’re a match.” Tommy’s hand tightened on the paper, leaving crimped edges. “I’ve got a chance now, I’ve got a real chance.” Tommy finished his whiskey sour in one drink and motioned for Bill to set up another one.

“Vinnie, this is something worth celebrating, you got to drink with me.”
Vincent shook his head, “No, Tom. I can’t drink. Doctor said not to drink any more if I was going to donate.”
“Well, I don’t want you to hurt yourself. Come out with me for a smoke then.”
“I haven’t smoked since high school.”
“Well gently caress,” Tommy laughed, “What do you do then, Vinnie?”
“Not a lot of the stuff we used to do.”
“I guess we all got to get old eventually,” said Tommy, still smiling with a fresh drink in front of him.
“Yeah,” said Vincent, “When do you think that’ll happen for you?” Vincent’s voice was severe.
“What are you talking about, I’m already old. I’ve got bum kidneys and am stuck on a blood pump 4 days a week. If that ain’t living like an old fart, I don’t know what else I have to do.”
“Maybe stop drinking so much.”
“Hey man, I don’t judge how you live your life, don’t judge how I live mine.”
“I think I have a right to when you’re asking me to go under the knife for you.”
Tommy put down his drink. A few of the other bar patrons looked up from their drinks. Some hoped for a fight, others were just curious what all the noise was about.

“I talked to that doctor for a long while Tom. Asked him all sorts of questions. When I told him I was thinking about donating a kidney to a friend, he told me to know the risks. Said my life would be ‘irrevocably altered.’ Asked him about drinking, he told me it’s not a good idea. Could do a little here and there, ‘moderate drinking,’ but that it would be best to lay off until a doctor told me it’d be okay to start again. Said it raises your blood pressure, makes your kidneys work harder. Then he asked me if I smoked, told him I did when I was a kid but not anymore. He told me good, smoking’s probably the worst thing you can do to your kidneys. Said it’s not healthy anyways, but that I really can’t do it if I’m giving up a kidney.

“And that’s when I thought about all the talks we’ve had recently. How you told me about your dialysis and how you still feel like death itself nearly every day. And how you’d excuse yourself to get another beer or light up a cigarette. You must’ve single-handedly kept that convenience mart open considering how many empty boxes of cigarettes and booze I saw in your apartment.”

Tommy tried to defend himself, “Hey man, we all got our vices!”
“Yeah, and yours are killing you right now.”
“It’ll change when I get that kidney, Vinnie.”
“I don’t believe you Tom. It didn’t change when you first got diagnosed. It didn’t change when you went on that dialysis. I don’t think it’ll change this time,” said Vincent, “Know what else I asked him Tom? I asked him how people get replacement kidneys. I found out not everybody’s got a donor lined up. Doctor said there’s a list, that kids are usually at the top of it. Told me donating an organ is a way of giving a second chance to somebody.”

“Yeah, I could really use that second chance, Vinnie!”
“You’ve already had one Tom, and you threw it away,” Vincent sipped at his club soda, “I’m not giving you the kidney.”
“You selfish bastard! After all the stuff we did together as kids, you’re just going to toss me aside?!”
“I’m still giving it to somebody.”
“What, why? Who?”
“I don’t know who. But there’s somebody out there who does deserve a second chance.”

Tom stared after Vincent who immediately became lost in the growing snowstorm. The heater had died in the bar. And then the yellow bulbs covered in dust went out. The only light came from the red “EXIT” sign above the door. Tom shivered.

Apr 29, 2013

Hard Rock Nipples
Word Count: 991
The Clocks

Their faces all told the same time, and when they ticked they ticked together.
He had made sure of that, in case he became blind. He’d hear them, together, wherever he was in the house, and he could count each deep tick. He practiced often walking up and down the ticking halls with his eyes closed, first counting a minute, then an hour, a day, until now where he could count a week in darkness. In all his practice, his ears had become discerning, more so than his eyes. He could hear if one little tick was a little too fast, or a little too slow. If there ever was, he would take that clock away from all the others to his study, to tinker until it was right again. He didn’t close his to practice anymore. Just patrol, and maintain.
The boy, now the man, who came by each week with food thought the house was full of locusts.
It had told him when, but not how. Satisfied the ticks knew the time, the exact time, how is what he worried about more of late. That it was going to happen was no longer something he resisted in himself; there was no more point in that. He had moved on. It had retreated to being a slight pain in his head, one always there but only noticed when there was nothing else in there. He tried to remember exactly. What led up to it. What he did. If there was any clue in anything, anything that would tell him how. Anything that would help him prepare. But, he could not. All he could remember was the face. And what it said.
It was going to be bad. He knew that all too well.
Sometimes he bore this quietly and sometimes, unfortunately for the clocks, he did not. Usually he could fix them though sometimes he could not. He had to leave the house then, which had always filled him with fear, even when it had still been years away. A fear that something would happen to him, something that would whisk him forever away from his safe house. Safer house. Where he was prepared, and would know, at least. He tried to tell himself that one clock didn’t matter, but then another part of him would say that they would soon pile up, broken and useless, and that it was safer, safer to replace them.
People began to look at him differently as the years past. He had shut himself off from everyone he knew, and they had stopped banging on the door after two weeks, and only people he didn’t know would see him now. People who happened to be on the street on the rare day he left his large, ticking house. At first, it had been no different. Those who would never notice him went on never noticing him and those he had to talk to talked back to him politely as they would any other customer. He was another person they did not know. However, as time went by, and he left his house after spending more and more time in it, he noticed he was noticed. Just glances at first. Like he smelt. Now, he received stares he didn’t understand but was all too conscious of. Not quite fear and not quite disgust. He kept himself groomed and clean. He didn’t understand. There was something he wasn’t seeing. The horses and their carriages and the people going by made him breathe a little quicker now. When he tried to speak now, he croaked and licked his lips, and when the voice came it was alien and hoarse to him. And, judging by their faces, it was hoarse and alien to every else too.
They were afraid of him. And so was he. When they stared at him they didn’t understand why. They didn’t try to, and quickly tried to forget. What they felt though, as they met eyes with what seemed just another ugly old man, was something wrong. The way he walked, the way his eyes looked about him, how his hair fell over his head; there was something different about him. Something detached, like he was a sailor who had spent a long time away. And, in that detachment, something inhuman. Something afraid.

It was almost time. They told him. After waiting so long, after so long gone, it was almost time. Every tick closer made something rise larger and larger in his chest. He sat on the bed, shaking, sweating like a dog, surrounded by the ticking, surrounded by the ticking that made up the walls, that he had counted in the dark for so very long. Widened-eyes watch the door he expected to burst open, then his gun, then the clocks. It was almost on him, and his eyes tick- the door- the gun- the clocks- the door- the gun- the door-the clocks- the clocks- the clocks- the clocks-the clocks- the clocks all prepared to swing one last time.
But then they did not. He opened one eye, from where he cowered on the floor. They had all frozen, on the last second. The silence they left was unfamiliar to him. He stood and went over to one of the. He stared at its hand, stuck just before it ticked one last time. He tried to take it off the wall, but it wouldn't give. He couldn't move it at all. It felt of nothing, just like the floor beneath his feat, but was stuck like stone. The same was true of the door; the handle would not move and he could not feel it as wrapped his hand around it. He went to the window and tried to open it but it would not. He tried to break the glass, but could not even rattle it. He banged against the glass, yelling to the world outside. Too late, too late.

Nov 15, 2012

erm... quack-ward
1098 words

“Looking for a boy,” Jones said.

The whorehouse receptionist looked him up and down. “You some kinda creep?”

Jones leaned on the counter, putting his revolver on the polished wood. “I figure he’s a customer. ‘Bout this tall, freckles, brown hair. I know he’s here. He’s not supposed to be.”

The receptionist eyed the revolver. “There gonna be trouble?”

“Just show me where he is.”

Ben was in the showroom. Scantily-clad ladies danced the can can on stage while their more decently dressed colleagues distributed overpriced booze amongst the patrons. The boy waved a big wad of cash around as he talked to a hostess.

Jones approached from the back and grabbed the boy’s wrist, who froze.

“Whiskey,” Jones snarled at the lady. “And some privacy.”

The servant scurried away and Jones took a seat opposite of Ben, who shuffled in his chair. He stared back at Jones, defiant and ashamed. The look boys always had when you’d caught them doing something stupid.

Brown hair. Freckles. A face that brought back all the wrong memories.

Jones took a sip of his Whiskey and sighed. He leaned back, glass in hand.

“How did you find me?” Ben asked.

“Kids always run to the same places. Miners, bandits, whores. You’re the governor’s son, so I figured hard work wasn’t your idea of a good time.” He toasted towards Ben, who looked away. “Couldn’t be the Rattlesnakes, because they didn’t ask for a ransom when I turned up. So I went to every whorehouse that was reasonably close and said I knew you was there. It’s not rocket science, Benny.”

“Mr. Trapper to you.”

Jones laughed. “Sure, kiddo.” He finished his Whiskey and stood up. “I’ve got until sundown to bring you back home, so we’re leaving. You can come along nicely, or I can drag you out.”

He looked across the room, then winked back at Ben. “...right in front of all the ladies.”


The sun was setting, and the town was already on the horizon. Jones kept both their horses at a quick pace.

“Can’t you let me hold my own reigns?” Ben said.

“Are you going to stay with me?” Jones said.

Ben didn’t respond. “Why do you work for my father?” he asked instead.

“Same as you, kinda. I was caught doing something stupid.”

“And now you’re my father’s maid.”

Jones stopped.

“Look, sorry, I didn’t--” Ben started.

Jones raised a hand to quieten the boy. There were two figures on the horizon.


The bandits approached, and Jones waited until they stopped about three horse-lengths apart.

“If it isn’t the famous Billy Jones,” the bandit on the left said.

“In the flesh,” Jones said.

“Heard you’re looking for the governor’s son?”

The other bandit played with his knife. “Because if the little brat’s missing, you know, there might be money in that.”

“Rumors,” Jones said.

“Well,” Lefty said, “your companion here, he’s kinda boyish, no? Has that whole, ahhh, ‘gubernorial’ air around him? Or do you often travel with young men? Heh.”

Jones had his revolver out before the others could flinch. The bandits slowly raised their hands.

“You fire that thing, the entire gang is on you,” Righty said.

“And you’ll be dead,” Jones said. He motioned Ben forward.

The boy dismounted and moved towards the bandit on the left. He reached for the gun.

The Rattlesnake jumped on him and they went to the ground together, wrestling.

Jones cursed. A knife flew past him. Righty was fumbling for his gun. Jones got his own horse in motion and jumped. He tackled the bandit off his horse, knocked the gun out of his hand and slammed his head against the ground. Once, twice. The man was out cold.

He prepared to rush for the other bandit, but Ben already stood over the unconscious Rattlesnake, panting.

“Not bad for a little boy,” he said.

“Get on your hose,” Jones said.


Governor Trapper’s summer mansion was modest, and barely big enough to house ten normal families.

The governor himself, a stout and pudgy man, jumped up as they entered his office.

“Good, you found him. Good,” he said.

“You said this was the last.”

“We will discuss the matters of your release from your… obligations. Where was he?”

“Some whorehouse in Pillweed.”

“Some whorehouse, eh?” the governor smiled at Ben, who looked down to the ground.

“My little son. Pride of the Trapper family. Dabbling with prostitutes, among the dirty and the poor. You know what would have happened if someone had recognized you?”

“I just wanted to--”

“Ungrateful poo poo,” the governor, and punched the boy square in the jaw. Sent him tumbling to the floor. Told him to get back up. Take it like a man. Hit him again.

Jones folded his hands and looked on. He tried to blend out the noise. He tried to think of the Pasadena sunset. Or Mexico. A good place to live out your days.

The governor slapped Ben to the ground, and Ben came back up crying. He didn’t fight back, or complain.

“I think the boy’s had enough,” Jones said. The governor ignored him. Another punch, and a cracking noise that clearly indicated a broken nose. Blood mixed with tears and snot.

Jones’s eyes were slits. His fingers cramped up, begging him for the touch of cold steel.

Another hit.

“Come on now,” Jones said.

“What the gently caress do you know,” the governor roared. “You’re going to tell me how to raise my kid? Your brat couldn’t even make the double digits.”

Before Jones knew what he was doing, he had his hand on his gun and his gun on the governor.

The governor froze. “Have you gone crazy?”

Jones went closer. Trapper backed up against the wall, sweat glistening on his forehead. His piglet eyes wide open.

“You don’t have the--”

Jones pushed the governor against the wall with his forearm. He took a swipe with the butt of his gun, and the governor’s body went limp and sunk to the floor.

Jones turned around to the boy and offered him a hand up without saying a word.

Brown hair. Freckles. His own son would have been Ben’s age.


Apparently the guards weren’t surprised to see a bloody Ben escorted out of the governor’s office. Nobody bothered them, and they reached the stables.

“You didn’t shoot him,” Ben said as they mounted their horses.

“It’s empty anyway,” Jones said.

Ben nodded. “So what now?”

“We hide you somewhere.”

“And you?”

Jones shrugged.

Ben took hold of his own reigns. Jones said nothing about that. He rode on ahead.

Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.
The Rocks and Shoals (1001 words)

A gun went off in the tiny cabin - or that's what Ithaca heard. He jolted awake. A dozen things aboard a spaceship can make a loud bang; none of them were good. Ithaca floated up to the control panel, his eyes scanning it for anomalies. After a few moments, his eyes landed on the gauge labeled INT ATMO (mBAR). The needle was dropping in tiny little jumps.

Panic and adrenaline rushed over Ithaca's body like a blast of arctic air. He shoved off the panel, roughly hitting the aft bulkhead. His head swam from the impact. The pressure suit was unwieldy in his trembling hands. By the time he slid the helmet seal closed, he was already lightheaded - either from the pressure loss or the blow to the head.

The pressure gauge had dropped to zero by the time Ithaca had the patch in place. He shook his head at his stupidity and started the repressurization sequence. He'd been lucky; if the leak had been any larger, he might have paid for not sleeping in a pressure suit with his life.

"I'm okay," he said. He placed his hand on the bulkhead. "We're okay." A thruster sighed in agreement as his companion oriented herself to take advantage of the sunlight. Ithaca nodded, his heart finally slowing to a normal pace.

Over the next two days, Ithaca would hear noises again the hull: gentle taps and sharp, striking pings. He thought it just his luck. When he slept, he would dream of rain, of hailstorms and thunder and wind.

On the second day a comet appeared in his periscope. Out this far, there was no shining tail to call it out from thousands of kilometers away. A comet was just a ball of ice with attendant debris. From the outward side of the rock, it was only visible as an occlusion of the stars behind. Instead of a beautiful feather among the stars, this comet was only deeper darkness.

The debris turned the pod into a snare drum and Ithaca was inside. Ithaca patched another hole. And another. And yet another. He slept fitfully in short intervals, shocked awake by the gunshot sound and the whoosh of escaping air. He curled up and cried himself to sleep. "Stop..." he whimpered. "Please stop. Please. Please stop."

The klaxon invaded his dream. In it, he was looking through the open hatch. The alarm rang behind him. The air ran out and still there was the sound of his demise. He awoke to darkness - not the reduced light of a sleep cycle, but just the red emergency light from the other end of the capsule. Groggy, Ithaca pushed up to the panel.

The lights said MASTER ALARM and MAIN BUS UNDERVOLT and POWER SAVE and a dozen other indications of just how utterly screwed Ithaca was. The solar panels had been progressively torn to shreds by the debris. Ithaca pulled up the thrusters and turned the ship over. Ithaca canceled the alarms. He'd need to shut down everything and save power for navigation when he had to calculate his acquisition-

Metal screamed, tortured and rent apart. Sparks flew and everything went properly dark. Ithaca felt himself sucked toward the meter-wide hole. He bounced off one of the jagged edges, his hand barely catching on the edge. The pressure ran out, leaving Ithaca swinging gently against the hull.

"Okay," he said, "I am hosed."

Ithaca hauled himself back into the broken remains of the capsule. He was running out of hull - and options. Ithaca pulled his last option out of a locker, trying not to notice its resemblance to a coffin. The label read:


"Well, that isn't going to happen." Carefully, slowly, he maneuvered the lifeboat out of the breach and into space. It was surprisingly massive, but Ithaca was in no particular hurry. After the last few days, the slow, deliberate movements were calming.

The lifeboat expanded into a sphere. There it was: Ithaca's last three cubic meters of life. His nemesis hung in the distance: an ancient remnant of creation that dealt death to unprepared astronauts. In that moment, Ithaca understood the superstitions and tall tales that sailors of old had held dear. In the sea, as in space, the price of any misstep could be death.

Buttoned up inside the lifeboat, Ithaca activated the emergency beacon. He had two weeks to live, on the outside. The intersection of fuel and position required to rescue him before he succumbed to hypoxia was...unlikely at best. Unless someone came to his rescue, this lifeboat was merely a way to delay the inevitable.

Ithaca spent those last few days in the calm peace of a man who counts down to the end. Boredom and depression were conspicuously absent. He recorded a message for his eventual rescuer. Mostly, he just waited. With the light off and his clothes in a bag, he could float for hours in the center of the sphere. Nothing intruded there: no noise, no sensation, no light. He waited in darkness and silence to join the thousands of souls lost on the rocks and shoals of deep space.

There was no sound, but a voice reached out through the black. “Mayday mayday mayday,” it said. “TRI lifeboat from DSS Maggie Lee requesting emergency assistance. One soul aboard. Mayday mayday mayday…”


"Holy poo poo," said a voice. "He's naked."

Ithaca awoke gasping. There was something on his face; cool, fresh air flowed from the mask. He breathed in deep, quick gulps.

"It happens," said a second voice. "Folks go crazy stuck in these pods for weeks on end."

Ithaca tried to focus on the captain's face eyes. "Is this real?" he asked.

"Just barely. Another few hours and you'd be a popsicle." The captain wrapped her arm around Ithaca's shoulder. "Come on, let's get you aboard," the captain said. "It's going to be okay."

Apr 12, 2006
745 words

-see archives-

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 04:04 on Dec 11, 2014

Some Guy TT
Aug 30, 2011

The Big Crunch
1050 words

Professor Stevens tumbled out of the hibernator into the storage room, coughing and wheezing his way back into a frustrated sense of consciousness. Still alive, huh. It figured. Professor Salisbury did most of the design work, and had specifically said it wasn’t ready for human tests, so of course the experience wouldn’t be enough to kill Stevens. So much for poetic justice.

It couldn’t have been more than a few decades, given that the storage room mostly looked the same. Stevens struggled to his feet, feeling a little heavy, and made it to the window. He immediately had to rub his eyes to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating. Across the backdrop of a red sky, actual planets blotted out the entire horizon, creating the illusion of a horrific, ever approaching void. What was this? Had Salisbury gotten her revenge after all? Was this hell?


Stevens turned around slowly. Right by the door was a white, dome-shaped cleaning robot, maybe a meter tall, with slight appendages. Normally the front storage cavity only held cleaning tools, but Stevens guessed there was more than that inside this one. Incredible- a sentient robot, seen in his lifetime. This wasn't hell, that was for sure.

"WE'RE HEADING TO THE SECOND LABORATORY," the robot said, opening the door and hovering out. Professor Stevens chased it.

"Wait!" he cried. "What's going on? What's happening?"

Before the robot had a chance to reply, they both found themselves face to face with a small army of humans, all wielding crude weapons. One of the older ones stared at Stevens in shock.

"It's him...! He's the one that did this!"

By now the robot had armed itself with what looked like a machine gun. Stevens didn't know what was going on- but if the situation was his fault, there was no way he was going to let more blood on his hands. He charged the robot, knocking the gun away.

"No killing!"

The posse of humans took the chance to themselves charge the robot- although Stevens realized at the last instant they were actually coming after him. Nonplussed, the robot covered Stevens' eyes and emitted a bright red light. When Stevens could see again, everyone was clutching their eyes, screaming.


Professor Stevens felt a lurch. The planets were getting closer. So that's what happened. This must have been a result of Salisbury’s research into artificial gravity. An idiotic project, far too dangerous, as Salisbury herself often noted. Not that it stopped her from studying the theories of course...she always was reckless like that. A likely excuse, Stevens thought. Still trying to blame anyone else aren't you?

"How are we still alive?” Stevens asked, more to himself than the robot, in a feeble attempt to distract himself. "And why?"

"WE HAD TO MAKE A CHOICE," said the robot, moving on ahead. Stevens followed. One of the stragglers grabbed his ankle. The robot stopped, turned around, opened itself and tossed a knife to Stevens.


Stevens hesitated, not wanting to directly hurt another human being again. In those few seconds, though, the gravity well had caught up to the room. The straggler lost his grip and fell into the void. Stevens scrambled forward, running as fast as he could beside the robot.


Stevens scowled. He recognized the sarcastic attitude...but that was impossible. Before he had time to think, they'd already arrived at the door. It was locked and bolted.


The robot opened up again, releasing a timer. Stevens recognized it immediately- a self-destruct protocol. One of the few functions that required human consent. He shook his head.

"No," he said. "This was my fault. I should die with the rest of them."


Stevens bit his lip. He may have dedicated his life to science, but if the incident with Salisbury wasn't enough to make him doubt his convictions, this hellish futurescape certainly was.


Stevens stared in shock. No one knew about that. How-


The gravity well was getting closer. In mere seconds it would suck Stevens away. Fortunately, this time he didn't hesitate. The explosion didn't just destroy the robot- it completely mangled Stevens' body. But he did make it inside- and then, he didn't even have a body at all.


In the beginning there was only silence. Stevens was trapped alone with his thoughts. How appropriate. At first that was all he could think. It had been an argument over patent rights, of all stupid things. Neither Stevens nor Salisbury cared about money as long as they could do their research. But a little shove was all it took- and Salisbury was no more. Unfortunately they'd only just prepped the experimental neural jail cell. The outcome was predictable. Millions, maybe billions of years, a mind trapped in an instant, no contact, no nothing. Salisbury had come out the end a blabbering madwoman. Stevens claimed it was an accident, but he knew the truth. That was why he had to test the hibernation unit himself. Stevens deserved to die, so at least he could die for science.

Stevens wondered if this was hell after all, but that was just wishful thinking. What had the robot wanted anyway?

"To bring you to me."

From the void came light. And while she had no body either, Stevens could definitely feel her presence.

"It would seem," Salisbury projected, "the situation is more complicated than we could have ever imagined."

Stevens became acutely aware of the gigantic crunched mass that now represented all the known universe. The implications were obvious. He beamed at Salisbury.

"Always did want to see a world with different universal constants."

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.

Hey Thunderdomers. For as long as I'm a part of this writing group, Winners will now be able to choose a game key as well as any amount of DRM free games from this list, Honorable Mentions get to choose one DRM free game and rest of you twats get jack poo poo. No pressure. You're welcome.

edit: Don't clutter up the thread with your poo poo. If you want the prizes, contact me via pm or IRC with your list.

Mercedes fucked around with this message at 03:29 on Oct 20, 2014


Your Sledgehammer
May 10, 2010

Don`t fall asleep, you gotta write for THUNDERDOME
Catch You on the Flipside
1099 words

Three years of effort had come to this moment. The camera was rolling for posterity and the lab was silent except for the low hum of the machine. As planned, Jon and Ben were the only two present. They wanted one last moment of peace before the fame and accolades came crashing down on their heads.

Ben inhaled deeply and wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans. He knew they clashed badly with his lab coat, but he really wanted that Steve Jobs touch in his presentation. He nodded at Jon, who was standing beside the machine.

Ben casually stepped in front of the camera and began.

“Hi, I’m Dr. Ben Karbach, and I’ll be the first person to take a little trip with the Chronoporter,” he said. “It’s a complicated device, but how it works is actually quite simple.” Light and relatable, he thought to himself. No jargon.

“The Chronoporter allows me to travel through time. There’s a device called a Gravity Well Generator deep in the machine, and it creates a small wormhole that I’ll travel through. Other than that, it’s basically just a supercomputer.”

They fully understood the implications of the technology and the heavy requests from the world that would inevitably follow. “Let’s go back and kill Hitler or prevent 9/11!” they’d yell, plead, pontificate, and bash out with their keyboards. That’s why Jon and Ben intentionally chose something ridiculous and lighthearted as an initial experiment.

“When I’m done talking to you, I’m going to step onto the machine with this ticket to tonight’s Cubs game,” he said as he held up a cardstock stub slathered in those perennially boring sports colors, red and blue. “I’m going to travel six hours ahead and find out just how badly the Cubs lose the game. When I’m done, I’ll use this device to get home.”

Ben held up a small, computerized device that clipped onto his belt. It had a screen and inputs, and was shaped exactly like its namesake. “We call this the Boomerang,” Ben said. “I input the exact time I’d like to return and it deposits me back at the machine. No sweat. We’re currently working on an updated model that will take a selfie right as you travel through the wormhole, just like those rides at Disney World.” Ben beamed. He’d come up with that line.

“I’m going to use the Boomerang to return just a few seconds after I leave. For those of you watching, it’ll look like I’ve barely been gone, but I’ll have a complete play-by-play of tonight’s game in my notebook. In a few hours, we can compare it with what actually happens, and then you’ll know I’ve been to the future,” Ben said. He stepped slightly to the side, revealing the entirety of the machine to the camera.

Another reason they’d aimed for so much humor is that the Chronoporter looked imposing, the stuff of sci-fi dystopias. Metal spindles sprouted from the transporter pad, giving the machine the look of a hand beset by rigor mortis. Ben nodded at Jon, who gave the thumbs up, his other thumb hovering over the execute button. Ben glanced back at the camera and smiled. “Catch you on the flip side!” he said.

At that precise moment, rehearsed precision gave way to pandemonium.

Blue-white arcs of energy erupted from the metal spindles, splashing the transporter pad with electricity and causing Jon to duck away from the control panel. The lights in the room blinked out and acrid smoke filled the air. “What the gently caress man, I wasn’t even standing on the pad!” Ben screamed. Jon held up his hands in surrender. “I didn’t push the button, I swear!” he whined. Ben walked over to the Chronoporter, leaned on one of the metal spindles, and sighed.

The lights buzzed back on. The smoke cleared.

Standing atop the transporter pad was a figure clad in a ski mask. He gripped a heavy steel sledgehammer in both hands. He hopped down lightly from the pad and hoisted the sledgehammer up for a punishing swing.

Ben dropped to the ground, barely dodging in time. The head of the hammer whistled past his head. He immediately scooted backwards, away from his assailant. The man ignored Ben and brought the hammer down right into the transporter pad, crushing it to pieces. He’d been after the machine, and Ben just happened to be in the way. Jon stood frozen, like a robot that had been powered down.

Some company from the future managed to reverse-engineer this thing and is trying to literally destroy the competition, Ben thought to himself as he stood up and threw a tackle at the intruder. He knocked the sledgehammer out of the man’s hands and pinned him to the ground. Jon snapped out of his trance and rushed over to help.

Ben ripped the ski mask off the man’s face and stared into his own eyes. They looked a decade or two older, which the graying hair further confirmed, but it was definitely him. “What the gently caress?!” Ben erupted, nearly letting go of his older self. Old Ben opened his mouth, and an incoherent string of words fell out. “Had to stop it all, too much power…water dissolving…the present is perfect…you have no idea…” Old Ben mumbled.

Jon mustered up his meager reserve of courage. “Make some sense, man!” he yelled. “You have no idea what you’re about to unleash upon the world!” Old Ben howled. Then he sunk his teeth right into Ben’s arm. Ben screamed and jerked back, leaving a half-moon shaped piece of flesh behind.

It was just enough to spring him. Old Ben jumped to his feet, snatched up the sledgehammer, and buried it directly into the heart of the Gravity Well Generator, shattering it and sending a shower of sparks dancing across the floor. The lights flickered briefly and Old Ben collapsed. He curled into the fetal position and lay still.

A wet mewling sound crawled out of his mouth and slowly got louder and louder, inhumanly loud. Ben and Jon put their hands over their ears, but it was no use. As the volume plateaued, Old Ben’s body began to change shape.

He melted like some sort of cheap claymation effect. A brown puddle formed on the ground, and it soon began to evaporate. The steam it gave off smelled like burning hair as Old Ben faded from existence.

As soon as the smell had faded completely, the two of them turned off the camera and shakily finished what Old Ben had started.

Your Sledgehammer fucked around with this message at 03:42 on Oct 20, 2014

  • Locked thread