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blue squares
Sep 28, 2007

Logging my first ever failure this week

edit: writing

blue squares fucked around with this message at 21:43 on Dec 21, 2014


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Thank you very much for reading and liking.

:toxx:in me and mojo to have a revised ready-for-dramatic-reading version by Jan 5th, because why not.

ive enlisted bluesquares to be incessantly annoying about it when we get closer to the deadline

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007

by Lowtax

Fun Shoe

Fastwipe - 1024 words

The on/off pulse of electricity made Crow’s exoskeleton buzz at the base of her neck. She was stealing power, crouched under some warehouse heat exchanger watching the sun crest over the bay. The wind sent flurries of snow billowing across rooftops. Every time she closed her eyes that night would come flooding back.

Someone shoved her from behind, her backpack straps pulled taught then released – they’d been cut. She hit the ground, her exoskeleton creaked and hissed struggling to absorb the impact. She looked up to a sky with exit wound nebulas. The kid was gone. Vanished into pink halogen and blowing snow.

“gently caress!” Her fast-wipe was in there, along with all her cash. She checked her pockets. The speed was still there, tucked away close to her heart.

She came to and checked the readout on her wrist. Three minutes had passed. Her fingers were flushed with colour again; it was hard keeping the frostbite away when you couldn’t feel anything below the neck. She cracked the two remaining pills from the pack. She had to get a fast wipe. Her dreams would start leaking through soon.

She headed for town, losing herself in the metronome click click of servos and solenoids. A car pulled up real close, the window rolled down. The first few tendrils of too-strong cheap cologne lit the daylight up at the edges, brought her back to a time she couldn’t quite place.

Beads clicked as she walked into a kitchen. It was a time before the paralysis, but that was impossible. A woman sat at the table, her face like television static. Spiced tea and a man’s laundry, stewed meat and herbs. Somehow Crow could feel these scents, they gave her goose bumps. The wood floor felt rough beneath her feet.

The lady spoke “and I suppose you’ve never been one to reach through the veil, my child?”

“Hey! Hey lady!” The motor revved. She snapped back.

“My name’s John, you need a ride?” He smirked as he said it. She knew if she looked she’d see his hardon pushing through his cheap dress pants. Usually she just flipped these guys off, maybe threatened to call the cops.

She leaned into the passenger side window. Empty beer cans littered the floor.

“I’m just here for the day, John. Y’know any nice hotels?” He pressed a button, the door clicked open. He was already moving before she closed the door behind her.

He took her downtown. The speed was taking hold. Different this time, the tiredness was still with her. Out of the corner of her eyes she swore she saw fractals moving in the frosted windows of the ancient shops.
A last streetlight flickered off, pink swaths of light exploding in slow motion across black ice ahead.

“This is a pretty nice car. You got four-by?” she asked, breaking the silence.

“Naw,” he answered as the front wheels rolled onto the ice.

She jerked the wheel and punched him in the throat. He slammed a foot onto the gas, sending the car spinning into the opposite lane. Someone honked before the side airbag went off and the car stopped. He was out cold. She went through his pockets, looking for a wallet. She found a few crumpled bills and not much else.

“You cheap mother fucker!” She punched him in the chest out of desperation, her knuckles connected with something solid. Tearing open his shirt she found a shoulder holster. She slid the gun into her waistband and got out of the car.

The sky had changed. Clouds moved in, backlit on a dark grey sky. They wouldn’t stay solid at the edges, instead they branched out like solar flares before dissipating.

“Are you alright, miss?” someone asked. Crow studied the smashed econobox for a moment, unable to do anything but trace the creases in the metal, trying to find some sense in the chaos, distracted by every glint of broken glass.

It took three weeks on top of a coal car to get here. Three weeks of bridges and streams and wide open nothing. Someone was with her then, someone lay beside her as she looked into the night sky and tried to divine a fortune for herself.

“How can you dream if you don’t sleep?” he asked. She handed him the box of fastwipe tapes.


“My friend, he…he told me he was okay to drive but…but” Crow did her best to sound panicked.

The lady lifted an eyebrow.

“Listen, I don’t know if he has his ID or anything with him but I don’t wanna go to jail, ma’am. He told me he was alright He told me-“

“It’s alright, it’s not your fault, dear. I didn’t see anyone riding with him.”

Crow hugged her, slipping the bills into her purse.

She was blocks away at the crest of a sloped corduroy road when she heard the sirens bearing down on the accident. The sinusoidal wailing was backed by something else, something ethereal and ancient. She looked out over the bay, out into the water half-frozen and saw great ships and war canoes. Men beating drums stood along the shore before the glimmer of a mercury bulb distracted her and washed it all away. The illuminated sign read City Pawn.

A bell rang when she opened the door, someone appeared at the counter.

“I need a fastwipe,” she said.

“Yer in luck, we got one in the other day,” the man said reaching under the counter. “Dunno what you kids do with these dream recorders…” he added under his breath before pulling out a beat-up looking module with some nasty-looking electrodes.

“Two hundred flat, and I’ll throw in a tape,” he said.

Crow grabbed the gun and aimed it at his chest, but he was faster. A shotgun blast blew out her eardrums and sent her sprawling out on her back. She spasmed, the exoskeleton tensed. She was staring at the wall now, at constellations of buckshot and blood. The polycarbonate muscles relaxed, he was standing over her, barrel pointed at her head.

“That exoskeleton ought’a been worth a thing or two,” he said, smirking.

Aug 2, 2002

here is dis

We Are What We Are
1090 words

crabrock fucked around with this message at 19:24 on Jan 1, 2015

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Newtestleper posted:

A natural cricketer

Crack! Dan took two steps down the pitch and hit the ball on the half volley, back over the poor bowlers head. The ball went over the white painted boundary line on the second bounce, and we cheered as the umpire signalled yet another four runs. He took a few steps then doubled over, leaning on his bat. Sure, it was hot, but he looked terrible even so, sweat streaming from his helmet in thick rivulets. This is a messy first para; you have pov issues, because it feels like it's on Dan to start, then it turns out it's an unnamed spectator, then you cheat by having the unnamed spectator be close enough to see the thick rivulets (<= uuuggghh) streaming out from under his helmet.

Despite this he still looked so comfortable when he batted. His usual fidgeting stopped and for a moment he’d be perfectly still and calm. He bowled well too, fast and accurate, but unlike batting it exacerbated his tics and aggression. He’d kick the ground and mutter as he turned to run bowl, and sometimes it seemed like he he’d rather hit the batsman rather than the wickets. and now you've gone from an in the moment description to a sort of historical summary. very messy

He was our star player, but when Bundy had first suggested he join our team I was skeptical. okay so now we're into flashback?

“We're soft, We need a bit of mongrel,” was the pitch cliche “and I think he's okay now.”

When we were all at school together Dan’s name had been spoken in hushed tones. His Dad had been but wasn't any more? the leader of a bikie gang, and there was a rumour he’d put a kid in hospital who, the dad? when he was in primary school. Our team was basically yuck a bunch of nerds, so none of us had ever had much to do with him except for Bundy.

I remember giving him who? a lift to the first game he played for us. When we pulled up outside his flat I could see him getting his stuff together through the one window that wasn’t boarded up. He ripped the tags off a bright white shirt and pants and stuffed them into a shiny Slazenger gear bag. The brand new equipment stood out against the stained, coffee coloured wall behind him. this is a nice image; maybe you could have started here?

I honked the horn and he came out wheeling the bag behind him. He saw Bundy leaning forward from the passenger seat and I saw that broad gap-toothed smile for the first time. He was pretty rough, with his shaved head and gothic script neck tattoo barely covered by his popped collar. The smile softened this, so wide it showed his gums, ridiculous and warm in equal parts. He was easy to get along with, chatting openly with Bundy and I in the car on the way to the park. The conversation came around to his tats. yeah, i'm liking it a lot more now

“I loving hate them. Except this one.” He said, pulling back his sleeve to reveal a small pink pony on the inside of his wrist. “I let my daughter choose it. She’s the reason I got off drugs.”

A few weeks later one of the guys had his first, a wee girl. Dan brought him a 6 pack of bourbon and cokes in congratulations. “They’re the expensive ones, the eight percenters.” he said “Drink ‘em before she gets home from the hospital, you won’t get a chance otherwise. You’re a lucky man.” There was a touch of sadness there. Dan didn’t really get to see his daughter.

His plan had been to slum it with us for a season in 3B, then move to second grade to try to get into the premiers. That was four seasons ago, and it wasn’t for a lack of skill he was still with us. We didn’t see him outside of cricket, but he was a great mate on the field, at least until this summer.

For a start he hadn’t been coming to practice, which was only kind of unusual. Then he had a few bad games and dropped off the radar for a few games, no call to say he wasn’t coming, no text, nothing. Then today he turned up out of the blue. I could see his smile from across the park.

He was amped to play, so we put him in to bat first. His break sure as hell hadn’t made him rusty. show/tell He was as focused as I’d ever seen him, though his uniform looked like it could use a wash. He’d taken twenty minutes to get his eye in, then just started unloading. In no time he’d got fourty tsk runs, and he hadn’t even looked like getting out.

Then he’d started flagging. The runs kept coming but he was moving slower. When he raised his bat to celebrate getting fifty he looked like he could barely lift it, like he was going to topple over in the breeze. Then he bent back down to bat and was fine again.

I looked at him doubled over his bat. “He looks pretty sick” I said to Bundy, who’d been lying in the grass, quieter than usual.

“I don’t think he’s sick, mate.”

He used his foot to lift the flap of Dan’s gearbag. A glass pipe sat nestled among the protective gear, the bulb blackened with residue.

“Oh poo poo. What’s he on?”


“Jesus Christ, I didn’t mean what score.” I did a double take. “Wait, really?” This could be the first hundred for our team this season, a rare milestone in the our grade. He was one good shot away from it.

The whole team watched from the sideline as the bowler started his run up. They’d brought their quickest guy back on, but that hadn’t stopped Dan so far. He bowled a slower one, and Dan swung hard, but the impact sounded hollow as the ball came off the toe of the bat. Still he got a big piece of it, and we all stood as it looked like it was just going to make it over the boundary on the full. But it faltered in the hot northerly wind, and the fielder took a good catch just inside.

It wouldn’t have been entirely out of character for Dan to throw his bat in anger, but despite his pale face and shaky hands he still had his focused batting look on as he walked slowly off. We went onto the field to congratulate him on his score, but he ignored us, staring at something on the sideline.

When he got to his gear bag he opened it and picked up the pipe. He gripped it hard, his knuckles pale, and looked at it. This lasted a good ten second before he threw it as hard as he could into the air. It seemed to hang there for an age, the tube spinning around the bulb in a drunken arc. He took his bat brought it round in a textbook pull shot, clipping the tube of the pipe and shattering it. A thousand little shards of glass caught the sunlight, as bright as fireworks. haha that's great, very vivid

That’s when I saw them. I didn’t recognize the woman, but Dan had bored us with enough pictures of his girl that she was easy to pick, even though she was heaps older than when they’d been taken. this is a dumb sentence I looked at Dan, looking at them. The sweat had been joined by tears. yuck He looked heroic show/tell, give me details as he introduced us. We gave them some space, cliche sent the next batsman onto the pitch, and the game continued. bland

“What the gently caress is that?” The woman yelled, her voice breaking into a squeal.

I turned and saw her pointing at the crusted bulb of the pipe, jagged where the tube had been smashed from it. this image doesn't really work because you just told us he twatted it 100 yards away w/ a storming drive to silly mid off or what have u

“It’s nothing. Please don’t worry. I’m fine. It’s fine. Please.”

I’d never heard him beg like that before. His daughter started to cry.

“You said you were off that stuff forever. You loving loser.”

“Don’t go. Don’t take her from me again.” Panic was replacing sadness in his voice.

“Just gently caress off. Four years and then this. You’re never seeing her again.”

She sounded really mean, but I could understand it. It was a pretty hosed situation. this is a really bland thing for your narrator to say, and i'm actually wondering what the point of having them is. this story woudl be better and stronger if it had a narrator who wasn't a dull camera or didn't have one at all She turned and started walking off, mostly when you say 'started' you should reconsider and Dan just stood there. He looked like he did when he got out, just totally focused, totally in the zone. cliche She’d got maybe a dozen steps away when he started walking towards her, dragging the bat behind him. She hadn’t a clue he was coming for her, and when the bat hit her she dropped like a puppet with the strings cut. cliché, though just about justifiable

Bundy and a couple of the other guys tackled Dan before he could take another swing. I kneeled to check her pulse while his daughter bawled and bawled. bland ending

This has a good spine and a couple of good images, but it's smothered in dull narration, uninteresting word fog and cliché. I know that low-affect kiwi understatement thing is a natural register because I do it all the time, but it is an issue to contend with rather than something to just accept. You could have made this much more interesting by either telling it from the direct pov of the cricketer, or by having a narrator that Actually Did Something.

Mar 21, 2010

Yeah, I won't be entering this week. I could probably find time to write but I'd rather find time to Christmas. I'll try to post the story at some later date.

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007



Fun Shoe

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Yeah, I won't be entering this week. I could probably find time to write but I'd rather find time to Christmas. I'll try to post the story at some later date.

Aw, that's a shame -- I was looking forward to reading your work. Even your low-effort hastily written comedy stuff is really lyrical.

Actually, from what I've read so far, everyone's work here is really good. I'm glad I discovered Thunderdome, if only for the free quality short fiction.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Screaming Idiot posted:

Aw, that's a shame -- I was looking forward to reading your work. Even your low-effort hastily written comedy stuff is really lyrical.

Actually, from what I've read so far, everyone's work here is really good. I'm glad I discovered Thunderdome, if only for the free quality short fiction.

Baudolino posted:

Rural Rentboys
The Year is 1985.
England,Shropshire, Wroxeter, two 18teen year old boys are entering an abonend bunker. The mosscovered"do not enter"sign above the entrance is barely redable, it has not worn the gnawing of time well. They ignore it. The bunker was a perect litle shelter for them. For James and RIchard it was the ideal, that is to say the only place where they could be themselves.

Wroxeter, famous for it`s old roman ruins and little else was hardly a stronghold of tolerance. Quiet little villages with piss poor work markets seldom are. Two young boys in love could not be open about their desires in such a place without risk. Tall, muscular and atheltic James and Richard cherised the attention they got from the local girls .
But the School janitor with his needy blue eyes and gaunt face also appreciated their looks. Attention from a known poofter like him they could ill afford. In short things could be better for them. Mercifully they knew they always had eachother and the aboned bunker. It would have to do until they graduated.

Spring was in full orgasmic explosion when they visited the bunker for the last time. Nature blossomed, it was green, moist and filled with bird song. The green hills east of Wroxter was in everyway a paradisal sigth, not including the odd discarded needle or empty beer can. Even the heavens looked magical, dotted with white puffy clouds and clothed in the colour of the ceasars. Happily the bunker was obscured behind trees and did not disturb the romantic visage.

Inside the bunker James pushed Richard gently away -No, not yet, work before pleasure remember? Not even a little kiss?--- Alright, maybe just the on... They kissed, it was quick, it was sweet.

-Now to the task at hand, James said and pulled away. Lying upside down in the sparse concrete room was Richard`s bike. It lacked a front wheel, the old one had gotten hosed up after a particulary nasty fall. To buy a new wheel would probaly be best, but neither Richard or James had much money to spare. And RIchard loathed to spend the small pithy the school janitor paid for his "favors" unless absolutely necessary. Instead the two boys had gradually managed to cobble together a decent rim and fit it with spokes. The tire they simply stole off the janitors bike, infront of his very eyes. What was he supposed to do, go to the police? They hoped it would do as a new wheel.

After much sweating cursing and hustling about inside the bunke they finally made the wheel fit the bikeframe. It looked safe anyhow.
-Seems alrigth. Wanna give it a go Richard?
- You know what i want, hehe.
-Seriously mate, ride it down the slope to see how it handles. We might need to make some adjustments.
Richard picked up the bike and smiled. -Yeah yeah i heard you, if it makes you happy.
-I just want you to be safe using that wheel. Richard walked outside and sat down on the bike. -I know you do.

Richard started to roll down the hill the hill, immeadtly the bike started to shake and rumble . As he neared the first bend in the road the front wheel touched a small pothole, at once the wheel collapsed inwards and the joints holdning the rim together came apart violently. Richard was flung off his bike and landed just outside the road, where he tumbled ever faster down the slope. Running as fast as he could James found his lover lying face down at the foot of the hill. His body perfectly still despite bleeding massivly from his rigth thigh where a piece of bone protruded from his flesh. As James he got closer a terrible frigth posessed him. He could barely stand when he finally reached Richard. The horrible dark red blood was naseuating, it was downrigth gruseome. Shambling like a drunk man James tried to get awaybut quickly fell down. The blood made him dizzy, made him feel like he was drownin, made him hold his to breath. The blood the blood blo..

James lost conciousness. When he came to the sky was a little darker and the air at little colder. His lover laid on the same spot as before, the ground now toroughly draped with a dark red colour and RIchard himself curiosly pale. Like paper or snow or something.
-Get up Richard please, we have to get your bike fixed. Come on mate, get up.
RIchard, please, YOU HAVE TO GET UP!

Several weeks later after Richard had been buried at the St Andrews church James found himself outside a yellow camping wagon. Standing in the door in his trouses and with a beer in his hand was the school janitor. With a grin he simply said-So it`s just me and you now innit, come for a job have you?
- Pay me double what you gave Richard and use a loving condom and i.i.. i`ll do what you want
Mr Fletcher stepped back and gave James a huge grin-Get in!

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007



Fun Shoe

An amazing piece of literature, that.

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007

Dawn of the Beginning of the Night of the Living Dummy: the novelization: the story
word count: 1054
prompt: RL Stine's The Night of the Living Dummy

The focus group staggered back into conference room, bloody, bruised, battered, bashed, busted, and broken. They all looked extremely pleased.

Mr. Eckletad stood as the six of them took their seats around the shining obsidian conference table and straightened his suit. He ran a trembling hand through his hair, feeling the little nubs of horn that had just begun to sprout after his most recent promotion. So much was on the line here.

“Um, Mr. Eckletad, sir? Could you close the blinds, please?” asked one of the focus groupers, #3125, formerly Janice Griffin, who was serving 812 years for sloth. She squinted in the bright light coming through the windows, her face bruised and red and full of wood splinters.

“Certainly,” Eckletad said and crossed the room. He glanced fondly outside at the eternal fires and the ritual torture taking place and dropped the blinds. “#3125, what did you think about the prototype?”

Janice refused to look at the smiling and top-hatted ventriloquist’s dummy that lay at the end of the table. This one, at least, was not enchanted, but the memory of wooden fists pummeling her was still fresh. “Oh, well, it was lovely. The way it broke my fingers was masterful. I doubt I’ll ever have use of them again.”

Thank you for your participation,” Eckletad said, unable to stop from beaming. “#8999, any thoughts?”

#8999, Emery Lee Hogarth, only 121 years left on his greed sentence, coughed and sent a tooth bouncing across the table. “I’ve never been more helpless and emasculated in my life than when that wooden doll was wrenching my jaw open. I felt as if I were standing before a bottomless cavern and being slowly nudged over the edge with the certainty that I would fall and fall forever. Seeing that doll on the table, my testicles have shriveled and I am even now urinating in my pants. Well done, Mr. Eckletad.”

The rest of the focus group shared their views. Each had their sentences reduced by 20 years for their participation. They were sent back outside.

When the doors, made of human bone, swung closed, Mr. Eckletad allowed himself a celebratory dance. He picked up the dummy by the hands and spun around the room.

“We’ve done it! You little bastard, we’ve done it!”

His spins stopped abruptly when he thought he felt a jerk from the doll in his hands, though it had yet to be infused with life and shouldn’t be able to move at all. He flinched and tossed it into the table with a cry.

Just imagining things, he told himself. He wasn’t going to let anything ruin his moment.

“You’re my ticket to the top,” he told the doll. “Someday, when I’m the boss around here, I’ll remember this moment.” He flung open the blinds and stared out at the beautiful lake of fire where fresh souls splashed as they arrived.


“You can go in now, Mr. Eckletad,” the secretary outside the boss’s office told him. Eckletad, who’d been sitting with his head between his legs as if he were on a crashing airliner, snapped to his feet so quick he almost fell onto the shag carpet (the current boss took over in the 1970s). Eckletad took a deep breath and strode toward the door.

“Sir? Your case?” the secretary said from her desk. Eckletad hurried to retrieve his forgotten black case in which the demo dummy waited for their big moment. The secretary smiled politely as if she was used to terribly nervous minions in the waiting room. Eckletad went into the office.

The boss sat in a high-backed black chair. His curling horns caught Eckletad’s eyes first. His own felt like they were shrinking in the presence of such power. The boss’s red-soled boots were crossed on the petrified-wood desk.

“Come in,” he said. His deep voice sent tremors up through the earth, resulting in spine-tingling shivers in children when soft and earthquakes when filled with anger.

“Thank you, sir. Shall I just, ah, set up here?”

The boss waved a hand holding a cigar. The smoke trailed a circle. An inverted pentagram appeared just before the smoke dissipated.

Eckletad opened the case, flinching when he heard the boss’s boots clack on the floor as the boss sat up straight. Eckletad set up a stand and put the dummy on it. It stood up sluggishly as if drunk.

“What we have here, sir, is something that is guaranteed to produce a great deal of general misery and hate. I theorize that once on Earth, the doll will be responsible for a 35% increase in likelihood of murder and/or suicide among those who come in contact with it.”

“Interesting.” The boss’s wide chair creaked as the boss shifted forward to lean his elbows on his desk.

Eckletad hesitated, thrown off by the brief interruption. The lines he rehearsed in his head were ghosts of random letters.
“So,” the boss continued, “ventriloquism, hmm? Do you mind if I try it?”
Eckletad stammered out a few choked sounds.
The boss stood up. The dummy turned to Eckletad. Its mouth dropped open and Eckletad heard his own voice come out: “you’re my ticket to the top. Someday, when I’m the boss around here, I’ll remember this moment.” The wood face warped into a smile.

“Huh,” the boss said. “What do you know? I’m pretty good at ventriloquism.”

Eckletad paled. “Sir, I was just… just daydreaming. I didn’t mean now. I don’t want to be the—”

The boss silenced him with a raised hand. The hand then bent at the wrist and his other joined it, poised in the air as if holding invisible marionette strings. The dummy’s hands raised as well. The boss twirled his fingers in the air, and the dummy leapt onto Eckletad. Its wooden hands plunged into his mouth, sending teeth flying both out and in, down his throat. The dummy followed the errant teeth down his esophagus, cackling in the boss’s deep voice all the way. Eckletad died sometime after the doll’s arms reached his stomach and began to swirl his stomach acid around.

When the dummy emerged, dripping blood and saliva, the boss patted the spot beside his desk. The dummy hopped cheerfully up.

“Have fun up there,” the boss said, and sent it to the surface.

Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition


(Charles Perrault, Diamonds and Toads)

Nethilia fucked around with this message at 04:39 on Dec 30, 2014

Jul 18, 2011

Modern worldly poster

The Truest Power
1197 Words

docbeard fucked around with this message at 15:58 on Dec 29, 2014

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?

Twilight in Alpha Seven ~1150 words

Sarika lay on the floor staring at the control panel, a cold spike of fear twisting in her chest as she watched the red light blink. She closed her eyes and willed it away, but she could still see it. The dark behind her eyelids pulsed in time with the blood rushing in her ears. Off, on. Off, on. Off, on.

Above her, the bank of monitors cycled endlessly through views of each level in the silo. Five levels per screen. Thirty screens in total. Constant grey-blue CCTV glow. Levels 145 through 150 had been out for days, their monitor an island of static as the feed flipped from one dead camera to the next. Her eyes roamed the wall of shifting images, looking for something different that might be the cause of the warning light. Something wrong.

The spike in her chest twisted and became a vice as she watched Monitor 29. ”No,” she whispered, scrambling into a chair at the main console and calling up the levels one by one. 140. 141. 142. “No, no, no. Please.”

Water was creeping up the central staircase on level 143 -- 144 was gone; completely submerged. Sarika chewed on the ragged edge of what used to be her fingernail. What level were the pumps on, anyway? She didn’t remember. She knew the emergency phone was on level 1 though. The only way to contact the outside.

The lights clicked on and Sarika flinched, raising her arm against the sudden glare. The low buzz of neon seemed loud after the silence of the dark. The lights meant it was 6am. Or was it 5? Sarika couldn’t remember. And maybe the automatic circuit was set differently at levels this deep. Administration was probably a 24-hour job, after all. She wondered if the generators were on the same level as the pumps.

Behind her, something thumped softly at the control room door. Sarika bit back a yelp, clapping her hands over her mouth as the handle turned back and forth, back and forth. She watched Darla fumble at the door on Monitor 25. The lights must have roused her. Sarika shuddered. On the other screens, the rest of the Alpha Seven A-Crew were starting to move around too, their eyes blank and far away.

“Go away,” Sarika moaned. She closed her eyes and put her head on the desk. “Please go away.”

Darla was the first one they tried to wake from cold sleep, per the protocol. As the system administrator, she would hold one of the most important positions in the silo hierarchy, if ever it became necessary to use them. The spooks who had briefed them on the mission made it sound like it would be straightforward. B-Crew would put A-Crew into cold sleep when they arrived, run the silo as a skeleton crew for three months, wake up A-Crew and supervise their recovery, then switch places with them. The cold sleep protocol had been tested six times previously. The spooks assured them that it was safe. That it worked. That they were just ironing out small kinks in the process.

And Darla had seemed fine when they first brought her out of it. A little spacey, but that was to be expected. But then she fell asleep and couldn’t wake up. Sure, she walked, and she talked a little, but her words were slurred and her eyes dull, her movements slow and uncoordinated. Dr. Mallory insisted that Darla was fine, that it was just a side effect of the cold sleep. It was normal, it would wear off, and could Sarika please prep the next set of sleep pods to be powered down?

It wasn’t until after Harvey, the head of Mechanics, stabbed Dr. Mallory’s nurse to death with a screwdriver that Mallory called a halt to the protocol. All thirteen of the sleepers they had woken were stuck in some kind of half-sleep that they couldn’t wake from. They moved around, seeming to act out their roles as if dreaming about performing them. Loud noises or sudden movements sent them into screaming, violent fits of panic. Dr. Mallory had called it a twilight state. Dr. Mallory had fallen to his death down the middle of the central staircase that spiralled from the very top of the silo to the bottom, tackled by a startled gardner he tried to wake. Sarika had watched on the CCTV screens, crying silent, horrified tears as his body flashed by over and over again.

The water on level 143 was rising. Not quickly, but it was noticeable, and there were only 22 levels between there and the control room. Darla had moved on from the door for the time being, but the red warning on the console was still blinking -- her own private distress beacon. Off, on. Off, on. The emergency phone was on level 1. The only sound Sarika could hear now was her own ragged breathing and the hum of the lights. She had to get out, and to get out, she had to go up. Past them.

Darla had already attacked her once. During the first 24-hours, before they realised that something was wrong, Sarika had run at a dead sprint down to level 121 from 114 when all of the cold sleep pods had shut off at once. When she burst into the control room, she found Darla hunched over a computer. She had overridden the system and killed the power to all the pods, cutting off the oxygen supply to the sleepers still inside. “System reset,” she muttered, “wake them up.”
“Darla, no!” Sarika shrieked, breathless, “You are awake!”

Darla, startled at the sudden interruption, turned on Sarika with a detached, wild-eyed fury. Somehow, Sarika had managed to force Darla out of the control room and lock it behind her, even as Darla tried to scratch out her eyes. Sarika trembled as she tried to clean up her bloodied face with the meager first aid supplies she found under a desk, recalling the only words she could understand in Darla’s screams: wake up, wake up.

Trapped now in the control room, Sarika could only watch on the monitors as B-Crew kept trying and failing to bring A-Crew back to full consciousness, and as A-Crew fought them off. Sarika wasn’t sure any of B-Crew were left up there now. She tried to contact them -- to contact anyone -- on the radio, but it was dead. Darla must have killed that too. The only way out was up.

A-Crew didn’t sleep, but they seemed quieter when the lights went out. At least, Darla did. Sarika would have to get past her first. Then 120 levels up to the emergency phone. In silence. In the dark. Sarika sat at the console waiting for night to fall again, the red light flashing in time with her heartbeat. Off, on. Off, on. Off, on.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Non Se-Q-tur
1200 words

“Captain’s log, stardate 43123.11. I’m currently investigating a number of disturbing events surrounding one member of my staff, a Guest Services worker named Wesla Pelter.”

“Just talk to me, Ken. No one likes this shtick anymore.” Wesla slouched in a threadbare desk chair, fiddling with one of the captain’s spyglass replicas.

Merchant Captain Ken von Humboldt continued, “recently all captains and captain-level merchants were briefed on the existence of the Q, a near-omnipotent race of impish tricksters. While much remains unknown about the Q, one things is certain: they have taken an interest in tormenting the human race. Perhaps it is out of fear. Perhaps out of simple bored malice.”

“Captain, I’m sensing you’re feeling kind of witch-hunty right now. Like you’re maybe overreacting to the Q briefing.”

The captain snatched the spyglass out of Wesla’s hands and set it carefully back on its stand. “With the revelation of these god-like creatures, how can we trust any given event is organic in nature? Suppose all adversity is Q intervention, designed to prevent rival races from evolving?”

“Right,” Wesla said. “I haven’t been as on top of things as I should be. I could say that I need more staff, but you’d just remind me that you ran this ship singlehandedly when you were my age, all the while fending off Klingon birds of prey.”

“I’ll be keeping a close eye on quote-unquote Miss Pelter. I suspect that, because this ship operates primarily near the neutral zone, it would be a prime target for Q intervention. What starts as small upheaval aboard the Starlodger could spread across the quadrant.”

“I think you’re saying you suspect I’m a Q. I can’t tell if you’re being serious.”

Captain von Humboldt looked at Wesla and frowned, as if just he’d noticed her in his office. “Miss Pelter, consider yourself on notice. I’m not satisfied with the state of this ship, and every problem we’ve had can be traced back to you.”

“That’s because I’m the only one dealing with any of the problems, Captain.”

“Wouldn’t it be nice,” the captain said slyly, “if you could just...wave your hands and make it all better?”

“Believe me, I’d have done that by now if I could. Are we having a serious conversation right now? Or is this you ribbing me?”

“Either things shape up around here, or I’m putting you in a shuttlepod and leaving you in interstellar space. Good day, crewman.”

Captain von Humboldt turned away from Wesla and stared out the window into cold the starfield beyond the ship’s hull.

After nearly three years aboard the Starlodger, Wesla would say she knew Ken von Humboldt pretty well. Well enough to know that when he said good day, there would be no more ifs, ands, or butts.

She hated the crew passages. They were dim and flickery, and the constant whine from aging power conduits was like a mosquito in her ear. The other way back to her office-slash-quarters was to cut through the passenger decks, past the one functional galley and, of course, the holodecks.

They were all in use, Wesla wasn’t surprised to note as she passed through the recreation level. The Federation had strict regulations about holodecks: how long a person could stay inside, what sort of subject matter could be simulated. But out near the neutral zone, Starfleet’s flagships were the only law, and they were more worried about Romulans than regulatory violations aboard a half-derelict passenger ship.

There were people who would pay a lot to have uninterrupted time in their own private simulation, Wesla had learned. The Federation had eliminated scarcity and wrenched humanity free from the grip of addictive consumerism, but you couldn’t legislate depravity away.


Wesla froze. The pounding came from behind one of the Holodeck doors. She could faintly hear hysterical sounds inside.

“Brilliant,” she muttered to herself as she punched her override key into the room’s exterior terminal.

The doors swished open and an emaciated man fell into the hallway, all lacerated and wild-eyed. He curled around himself on the floor, babbling.

“Computer, end program!” Wesla shouted through the doors. The scene inside the holodeck was feral, bloody and naked, a tableau of bodies of all ages and species doing dark, vigorous things to each other.

"Simmulation corrupted. Cannot create save file. Retrying in 5...4...3…"

“drat the save and end program,” Wesla shouted.

“The safety protocols…” moaned the holojunkie on the floor.

Wesla drew her phaser, set it to maximum, and fired into the holodeck. Beams of laser light cut through the blood-soaked orgy and hit the back wall of the holodeck. The lights came up and the scene vanished. Wesla lowered her phaser and turned to tend to the man on the floor.

“I should have let you die in there,” she said, her voice quavering. She’d only caught a glimpse of the man’s twisted personal fantasy. It’d been too much.

“I suppose you think you’re judge, jury, and executioner.”

Wesla whirled around to face Captain Humboldt. His bulk nearly filled the hallway. He looked at her dispassionately.

“Computer, get Doc down here. Tell him to bring the blood kit,” said Wesla. Then, to Ken: “Are you really going to be hung up on the Q thing right now? Help me with this guy until Doc gets down here.”

“Belay that order, computer,” Humboldt barked. “Save him yourself, Miss Pelter. You’re the one who did this to him.”

“The bastard overrode the safety protocols for his sick orgy fantasy! I just happened to be walking by.”

“Impossible. The override interface is can only be accessed by the ship’s captain. I order you to fix everything this instant, or this man will die and I’ll be forced to remove you from this ship.”

“But if I were a Q, I could just...No! I’m not even going to have this conversation.”

The holojunkie was writing on the floor, smears of blood fanned out around him like angel wings.

“I ran a tight ship around here back in the day,” the captain roared, misting the air with spittle. “I’m an honest man running an honest ship, except you’ve wrecked it all.”

“Help..” the junkie moaned.

“My, my,” said an unfamiliar voice. With a flash, a haughty-looking woman dressed in old fashioned Betazoid finery appeared between Wesla and Humboldt.

“I was passing by and couldn’t help overhearing...You think she could ever be a Q? I’m offended. Last time I was offended...well, have you ever heard of the Anthelion Galaxy? No? That’s because I destroyed it.”

Humboldt cowered against the wall. Wesla folded her arms across her chest.

“See, Ken? Even the Q think it’s ridiculous that you think I’m a Q.”

The female Q looked around, wrinkled her nose in disdain. “I am not feeling the aesthetic you’ve got going on here.” She snapped her fingers.

There was a sensation like falling. Wesla found herself suddenly on the bridge of a starship. No, she realized; a Starfleet flagship. Crisply-uniformed staff busied themselves at smoothly humming terminals. Ken von Humboldt sat in the captain’s chair, blubbering half-words.

Wesla grinned and eased herself into the first officer’s chair.

“Where to, Captain?”

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012


All Soul's Day
Inspired by Jim Butcher's "Dead Beat"
(1162 words)

It was about fifteen minutes 'till November First, and I was crouching in a bush in the middle of the Foothills. Looking through my binoculars, I saw a young girl on top of a flat rock, her arms and legs bound with zip ties and her eyes and mouth covered in duct tape. Standing over her was the reprobate who kidnapped her--he was waving a skull-topped cane, chanting some unintelligible gibberish, and his face was painted to resemble a Dia de los Muertos skull. When the Millers came to me about their missing daughter Katie, they did so with the understanding that I handle supernatural cases. I was initially going to assure them that there was nothing supernatural about their daughter's disappearance, but there were a few key details that convinced me otherwise. Like how according to her friend and the only witness, they were playing with a talking crow on their way to school. Or how when he turned around, Katie was gone and there was nothing but a handful of black feathers. Or how the day of her disappearance was three days away from All Soul's Day. We all know what Ian Fleming said about things coming in threes, and who am I to argue with the man who created James Bond?

After charging them double my usual rate and getting a day's pay in advance, I spent the next day investigating. That night, I tracked Katie and her abductor out in the foothills north of LA. Her abductor was one Malcolm Morales, and this upstanding citizen got to calling himself "Scarecrow" since he could supernaturally control crows. Not content with his own personal murder, he decided to break into necromancy by sacrificing an innocent soul in exchange for terrible power. And it had to be done at exactly midnight on November 1st, All Soul's Day, when the realm of the dead has its highest influence over the realm of the living. This kind of stuff is need-to-know when you're me, Rosa Flores, LA's premiere paranormal investigator and magical practitioner at-large.

What I particularly remember was how his murder framed the particularly macabre tableau in front of me--Katie was lying down on a large, flat rock which served as a makeshift altar, complete with multi-pointed star was painted on it and lit candles placed exactly on the points. Before making my approach, I needed to secure my current position, especially from those feathered pricks of his. To do this, I'd need to cast a spell.

Most practitioners use some sort of tool to focus their arcane powers when spell-slinging--wands, rods, staffs, etc. Mine are pair of rings, left to control the wind, right to control electricity. Still looking into the binoculars, I reached out with my left hand and beckoned towards me, exerting my will on the wind to blow in my direction. Unfortunately I overdid it and instead of a slight breeze I got a small gust which caused the candles to flicker. Malcolm got spooked and sent his murder out to investigate. I was hosed-- if I stayed put, I'd be overwhelmed by crows and expose myself. There was no hiding, not when I was in the middle of the brush. Crows are smart little fucks, too--they'd spot me in a minute.

I put my binoculars away and sprinted towards him. I was a good fifty yards away and it was almost 60 degrees outside. I was wearing a jacket, so all that running made me sweat. The murder got a lock on my scent and descended upon me like a cawing, malevolent cloud of feathers, beaks, and talons. Before they could reach me, I lifted my left index finger in the air and whipped it in a circle, creating a small whirlwind which scattered them. I heard Malcolm snarl in frustration and when I looked, he pointed his cane at me and fired an arcane blast at me. I snapped to the left and narrowly dodged the blast which landed on the ground next to me and exploded like a tank shell, kicking up dirt and leaving a smoking crater where I was only a second ago. Before he could muster up another blast, I snapped my fingers on my left hand and pointed under him, causing a small gust to kick up the dirt in front of him. Malcolm was coughing and choking and couldn't do a drat thing about it. I drew my weapon of choice from my jacket, a collapsible baton, and whipped it open. Once I closed the distance, I charged the baton with just enough electricity and slammed it against the side of his head. The combination of shock and force sent him sprawling against the ground, blood spraying in the wind and screams of pain filling the air. I immediately made a beeline towards little Katie and tore the duct tape off her face. I asked if she was okay, but the poor girl screamed and her eyes went bug-eyed. I forgot about the crows, drat it.

The murder regrouped and swarmed me, pecking at my face and clawing at my eyes. I was falling like a little girl as they tore into my cheek and let me tell you, it loving hurts. It's always the softest flesh that hurts the most--I have this ugly bandage on my face and it’s still sore. Somebody smacked me in the back of the head and I fell to the ground. Left a nice sized goose egg right there. Malcolm had his boot against my throat, so couldn't cast a single spell or even hit him with my baton He twisted the skull-top of his cane and unsheathed a long blade out from it. He drew the blade back and was ready to strike when I looked up and laughed. The moon was directly over us. Time was up for that motherfucker.

Now, let me take a moment to stress the difference between a spell and a ritual. Unlike a spell which, like a gun, you can fire off 'till you've run out, a ritual is like a complicated machine--if so much as the most minute detail is wrong, the whole thing will blow up in your face. The earth opened behind skull-boy and from within it sounded the unholy screaming of the damned. Decaying arms shot out and grabbed him by the legs. Malcolm screamed his pleas to the wind as the dead dragged him below. Standing on the other side of the divide was a man wearing a frilled suit with coattails, leaning casually to the side of his cane, his ensemble complete with a bowler hat worn at a jaunty angle on his head. I couldn't see his face in the shadows but I knew who he was. He tipped his hat at me and jumped into the gorge as it suddenly closed.

And that's the story of how I got that sword-cane hanging over the doorway in my office.

Apr 25, 2011

I'm a suave detective with a heart of gold in hot pursuit of the malevolent, manipulative
and the deranged degenerates who only want their


Welp, my internet died. I'll try to get the story up tomorrow, but if I can't I'll save it for a redemption and eat the :toxx:. Benny, you think you can hook a brother up once I get back?

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012


Phobia posted:

Welp, my internet died. I'll try to get the story up tomorrow, but if I can't I'll save it for a redemption and eat the :toxx:. Benny, you think you can hook a brother up once I get back?
Of course, bro

Oct 30, 2003

The Hawke Brothers #29 - Peril in the Old Museum
1181 words
The Hardy Boys

The Hawke brothers took the corner wide as they sped down one of the great gothic hallways of the Bayport museum. Paul, the lanky, dark-haired elder brother, could barely make out the white block letters on Kurt’s college jacket as he raced ahead into the shadows, impetuous as always.

Just minutes before they had been on a stakeout in front of the grand old Museum. They’d been sent there by their famous detective father, Gordon, to investigate some disturbances that had so far flummoxed the local police department. Gordon had been ageing recently, his face was thinner, making his eyes look bigger in his head. He often enlisted their help on cases and they always enjoyed the thrill and challenge of sleuthing.

Their father had started to give them his standard warnings. “If you see anything-”

“We know,” said Paul, “we’re to report back immediately, and not get ourselves into any danger.”

“Oh boy!” Kurt’s blue eyes sparkled with excitement. “Can we take the roadster? Can we?” The sleek black machine afforded them a degree of stealth not possible on their motorbikes.

“Of course, but your brother’s driving.”

“Aw, shucks.” Kurt’s penchant for speed was infamous. They turned to leave.

“Oh, one more thing,” said Gordon, “Take Archie, he always needs to get out more.”

They swung by their rotund friend’s house on the way to pick him up. Archie was good company on a long stakeout. What he lacked in athleticism, stealth and social graces he made up for in enthusiasm and affability. He brought a huge, leatherbound book with him. Together they took up the whole back seat.

“So what is it this time?” Paul asked. Archie seemed to have a new hobby each time the brothers saw him.

“I’ve decided I’m switching majors to Egyptology,” he replied, puffing slightly from the effort of carrying the heavy volume. “I’m learning hieroglyphics.”

The brothers shared a knowing look as they headed to the museum. It was located at the high end of town, at the top of the cliff overlooking the bay. Paul thought that they’d have to hose off the roadster, otherwise the briny air would do a number on the hubcaps. They parked under a stand of trees, out of the pale light of the crescent moon. Archie made a big show of being engrossed in his book, but as the night wore on he got bored and started fidgeting.

“Guys, I need to go,” said their portly, red-faced friend. Paul and Kurt looked puzzled. “I mean, I need to go.”

Archie always managed to complicate their missions. Paul pointed at some bushes along the side of the wrought iron fence that surrounded the museum.

“Go over there. But keep your head down and be quick!”

Archie stepped out of the roadster and headed across the road, walking on tip-toe, an exaggerated mockery of stealth. Just as he disappeared behind the bushes Kurt’s eagle eyes spotted some lights from a ground floor window. They played across the windows, flashing through the louvred shutters.

“Pop will want to know about this pronto!” said Kurt. “Archie had better hurry back.”

After five minutes without the emergence of their pudgy pal, Kurt grew impatient. He opened the black door of the roadster and sprinted across the road, so fast and low he was almost invisible. After a few second he waved for paul to Join him.

Behind the bushes there were clear signs of a struggle. Extending from a pair of divots were deep furrows in the dirt where a thick pair of legs had dug into the dry earth. After a few yards they stopped and were replaced by broad, damp footprints. Paul’s inquisitive, intelligent mind noted this odd fact as the pair immediately set off to track their heavyset buddy and his abductor.

“Must be a big guy to be able to handle Archie like that, said Kurt, as the two of them ducked through a hole in the fence.

“Well equipped, too,” said Kurt, noting the clean cuts in the thick iron fencing. “And they’ve for sure got Archie.” A strip of Archie’s tweed jacket had been caught and flew in the breeze like a flag.

They followed the soggy prints to a side door. Kurt took hold of the handle and recoiled. “Gee, that’s slimy! Maybe he greased it up to make it harder to open?”

Nonetheless the door was locked. Paul held down the handle and pushed on the door while Kurt put his shoulder to it, and the door popped open with a loud snapping noise. In the museum the footprints were even more obvious, each step had left a little puddle on the stone floor. Paul thought he could be a diver who found a back way into the museum through the network of tunnels that wormed their way through the bayport cliffside.

Paul rounded the corner of the corridor and saw Kurt peering through a crack between the pair of double doors that lead to the hall of antiquities, where the museum’s renowned Egyptian collection was stored. His face was pale, and partly illuminated by a strip of pulsing blue light from the hall. His features were still, apart from his lips that were moving slightly as though he was whispering. Paul slowed and put his eye to the crack.

At first he could only see Archie’s unmistakably corpulent silhouette, stark against the strange blue light. As his eyes adjusted he was able to first make out the source of the light, a slab of stone covered in glowing hieroglyphics. Next he saw more of Archie, bound at his wrists, stock still, arms raised toward the slab. He was chanting in strange words that matched Kurt’s soundless lip movements. Lastly he made out four cowled figures, standing in the shadows in the corners of the room.

Paul gazed at the slab and the hieroglyphics started moving and combining into shapes he never knew existed. They spoke to him. When his lips started moving involuntarily he caught himself and bit down hard. The taste of blood in his mouth woke him from his haunted reverie and he shook Kurt by the shoulder.

Kurt turned his head slowly towards Paul, the rest of his body perfectly still. His eyes were black and unblinking. It was like looking into the sea at night. He opened his mouth and screamed.

“Y-vulgtm uln Cthaat c-ilyaa Shugg-fm'latgh!” So close to Paul’s head the words hurt his ears, though he wasn’t sure if it was the volume or the way the inhuman syllables twisted their way into his head.

With one arm Kurt restrained his brother while the cowled figures turned to face them. When they dropped their cowls Paul retched and began to sob. The first three had the countenance of fish, bulbous eyes and finned heads. Their wide mouths opened and shut, naturally suited to the guttural chanting that echoed around Paul’s brain, and slime dripped in great strings from their flapping maws.

The fourth was their father. He drew a knife from the folds of his cloak and walked slowly towards them.

Surprise Bonus: Cthulhu Mythos

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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

The Soul is Like a Cellar
(709 Words)

Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at 18:35 on Jan 1, 2015

Mar 21, 2013

Errantry (1194 words)
Ryan's little sister had joined a cult.

Well, that's what he thought. What other explanation could be found for Ali's regular nightly excursions, the mispronounced, weirdly harmonic English she kept mumbling, and that bizarre figure-eight symbol she kept scribbling on her homework? Sure, the first item could be easily explained by reasons he'd prefer not to think about, but the other two? She started doing them at the same time, so there was a connection. And he was going to find out what it was. Even if she turned her puppy-dog eyes on him.

Was it just something with Bill? The two were close friends – ever since Ali turned 14, which was also when she started acting so weirdly, so maybe they were –

No. Not thinking about that.

Ryan's effort to not think about that was interrupted by soft footsteps down the stairs outside his door. He reached for his bag and quietly climbed out of his bedroom window, landing softly on the grass. By the time Ali stepped out the front door, Ryan was hiding in one of Mr. Cato's bushes. He followed Ali down the sidewalk, determined to ignore his guilty conscience. His attempts at stealth were awful, but Ali evidently wasn't paying attention – too busy jabbing at the new Kindle she had got for her birthday, muttering to herself.

They reached the local park by the time Ali stopped. She sighed and sat down on a picnic table; Ryan yawned and sat down behind a tree, peeking occasionally around to see what she was doing – but all she was doing was messing with her Kindle. Did she come out here just to re–

"Sorry for being late. My parents don't usually stay up that late." That was Bill. Why would she be meeting Bill at night? Ryan's stomach turned. Drugs? Alcohol? Or… His mind refused to go there.

"Don't worry about it. Got the wand and the rope? I've got the chip and the stone." He stood up, palms sweaty. They were getting into trouble, he was sure of it.

"Yeah. Ready to go?"


Ryan peeked around the tree trunk, and his eyes widened, then squinted in confusion. Were they… writing in the dirt? And now Bill was drawing a circle, using the rope to make sure it was even. He probably would've stared for another minute at what they were doing, because their drawings looked like they were glowing. But he didn't duck back behind the tree in time and Ali noticed him, face turning white.

"Ryan? What are you doing here?" Crap, crap, crap. He always hated getting put on the spot. He stepped out from behind the tree. "I could ask you the same question."

Bill groaned. "Ali, you really need to start using that muffling spell when sneaking out."

"The last time I did, we had to go to Charlene to fix it!" Ali snapped back. Spell?

"So? You just screwed up one of the variables. You'll get it right next time." Variables?

Ryan cleared his throat. The pair stared at him. "Uh, hello? What are you guys doing here?"

They stared back at each other. Bill spoke first. "What should we do? I'd suggest a psychotropic spell if we knew how to work one correctly, but…"

Ali shook her head, tapping at her Kindle. "Let's just ask Charlene."

While she was working, Ryan looked at Bill. "Spells? Do you think you're magicians or something?"

Bill opened his mouth, then hesitated. "Uhhh – "

"Wizards." They both looked at Ali. She looked nervous. "We're wizards." To Bill, she said, "Charlene said to bring him along. She'll explain everything – and if necessary, she'll help us with the spell."

"Okay, then. Uh, you should probably be the one to write his name out. I'll redraw the circle." Bill beckoned Ryan closer as he carefully scuffed out the circle surrounding Ali and him.

"On it." Ali bent down back over what she had scribbled earlier, and then started writing something else into the dirt. It started to glow.

"Wait, why should I do what you say? You're probably going to-" take my blood and drink it as a satanic ritual was what Ryan was about to say, but he realized that he would've sounded insane. Well, as insane as he could be when his sister was writing in light in the playground dirt and talking about spells.

But Ali just looked up at him, and spoke. "Look, it'll take too long to explain, and I'll probably screw it up somehow." She took in a deep breath. "Just – trust me, okay?" Huh. No puppy-dog eyes.

Alright, he'll believe that she isn't leading him to a bloody doom. "Fine."

He walked over to Bill, who finished drawing the circle around them. Ali had apparently finished writing out his name in some sort of elegant foreign-looking script, which glowed against the dark dirt. The strange figure-eight symbol was there too, near the end.

Bill spoke from right next to him, making him jump. "Better double-check, just in case."

Ali sighed. "Right. Ryan, just answer the next couple question, despite how weird they were. Don't screw around, either, or it could be lifechanging in the worst possible way."

Ryan nodded. "Okay."

It was weird. At first it was like filling out an medical form – birthday, weight – but then there were questions like favorite color. While Ali was quizzing Ryan on this, Bill was reading over what Ali had written out, murmuring to himself underneath his breath.

Finally, Ali look at Bill, who nodded and then spoke to Ryan. "No matter what, don't speak or move until we're done."

Feeling dumb, Ryan nodded again, and they took spaces at opposite ends of the circle. Ali looked down at her Kindle, Ryan at his cell phone, and they both began to read out loud in unison – and the world leaned in to listen. The rustling of the trees, the sound of cars passing by, and the occasional animal chirp all faded out to silence, and a prickling sensation started underneath his skin. Their words got louder and louder, strangely understandable – something about a spatial shift – and then absolute silence sunk in.

Ryan looked down at the gray rocky surface, and then looked up at the coal-black sky, peppered with shining stars. He turned around – and almost fell – and froze, staring at the cloud-streaked crescent of the blue-green Earth.

When he could finally speak, his voice came out surprisingly easily. "So. Magic and wizards, huh?"

Ali smiled. "Yup." Bill just grinned.

"So who's this 'Charlene' I'm supposed to meet?"

They pointed behind him, and he turned around. Wow. That was a lot of people – but at the head of the pack was a tall, dark-skinned lady walking toward them with a smile on her face.

"And those guys – " Ryan waved at the pack. "– are all wizards?"

"Yup. C'mon, hurry up!" Ali grabbed Ryan's hand, all enthusiasm now, and as she dragged him towards the happy group he risked one look backwards at the Earth, its green continents and blue oceans seeming to blaze against the midnight-black sky.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Iron and Glass
1200 words

Farlaine Mukagee the Firvulag tinker puffed meditatively on the inn’s portable electric hubble bubble and exhaled out of his nose, then frowned.

“Might want to reconsider dealing with those Lowlives up at Fort Rusty. Tanu patrols are getting mighty feisty with the King back in charge,” he said. The twin streams coiled into lazy spirals, then transformed into little birds and fluttered around his head. “The Flying Hunt was reported up near Roniah, all the glittering Faerie crew. Spitted a cousin of mine, just like old times. Was a right bastard, mind, so can’t say I’m that broken up.” A chalikotherium still in its riding kit pulled uneasily on its bridle, unhappy about being so close to the exotic. The sun was setting over the Pliocene Black Forest, huge and red, throwing the carvings on the Schwarzwaldhaus Inn into bloody relief.

Miguel, the innkeeper took the pipe back. “That’s what you always say. We’ve got insurance against the Tanu. Anyway, these are different times. Humans are back in charge. Why should the Tanu bother with human rebels? We’ve got nothing to rebel against, now.”

Mukagee waved off the proffered pipe with a shudder. “Yes, your cellar of blood-metal is nasty enough, I’ll grant you, kills Tanu and us folk with a prick. Won’t help if they bring up a few squads of human regulars with zappers from Finiah, now will it?”

“King Aiken is a human. He’s not going to--”

“King Aiken,” said the exotic with finality, “is a King. Anyway, watch yourself. You’re alright for a clodhopper, and I like that mushroom beer of yours.” He wiggled his ears and the little smoke birds started to glow, little will-o-the-wisps in the gloaming, then he hopped off the barrel he was sitting on and trotted back into the looming woods.

Miguel watched him until he vanished then sat there for another few minutes, pipe in his hand, looking up at the sky. There was a star up there that he didn’t recall seeing before. It twinkled, orange and rose, as the night came down. Finally he frowned, turned off the hubble bubble and took it inside.

“Jean-Claude,” he called out as he shoved the heavy front door back with his hip and put the bar into its slot, “if you got dinner all sorted tell our special guest I need to chat. My office, cinq minutes.”

Jean-Claude Belmont, the inn’s lugubrious barkeep raised his hand in acknowledgement. Miguel trotted up the stairs into the closet he liked to call his office and pulled out the drawer in his desk. Beneath a dog-eared paper copy of Dune was a rosewood box, inlaid with mother-of-pearl. He took it out, opened it, and looked at its contents, chewing his lip. There was a knock at the open door and he closed the lid.

Filling the door was a shaggy behemoth of a man, clad in layers upon layers of hides, nameless lumps and knobbly objects hanging from the belts crisscrossing his waist. His face was weathered and brown like teak, his eyes black under craggy brows. Boris.

“We got problems?” Boris’ voice was a hoarse throaty rumble; there were rumours about what the Tanu had done to him in the old days, before the flooding of the Mediterranean and the rise of the humans, but as far as Miguel knew no-one had ever actually asked. There was a necklace he’d seen once, when Boris had been scratching at the scars under his golden torc, of an incongruously feminine design; a delicate salmon pink cameo. Miguel had not intention of enquiring further.

“Maybe, maybe not. But i’ve had a heads-up that we might have visitors, maybe not so friendly. When can you be cleared out?”

Boris touched his torc, furrowed his brow in concentration. In the old days for a human to touch one of the mind-expanding golden torcs, hallmark of the hated Tanu rulers of the Pliocene, would be punished by death. Now there was a tacit acceptance of their use, though Miguel doubted a Tanu would look kindly on Lowlives like Boris, human rebels, using it to coordinate iron trading.

Boris opened his eyes. “Tomorrow. They’re camped up on the other side of the rift valley, didn’t want to ford the river in the dark.”

Miguel tapped a finger on the desk a couple of times, then nodded. “Alright. Gonna have to call off the next run though, I can’t take any risks with the --”

There was a thunderous boom from below, then another. A farspoken shout rattled through their brains, widebeam declamatory mode, loud to the point of pain:


Miguel grabbed at the desk to keep himself up, then staggered towards the door. Boris was clutching his torc, teeth bared.

“Stay here. I’ll, I’ll talk to them.”

There was another boom on the front door as he clattered down the rickety stairs, clutching his rosewood box. The bar on the door was still holding but he could see where the clasp had started to separate from the wall. Belmont was standing by the door, club in hand. Miguel shook his head, took a deep breath and pull the bar off the clasp. Moments later it was flung open and Miguel was squinting at a coruscating rainbow, Tanu stalwarts in their glowing glass armour, all festooned with curlicues of vitredur.

“LOWLIFE. I am Apsaras Skyreaver. Stand aside. We have reports of the forbidden blood metal in this place. By order of the King we will find it and punish those who hold it.”

Miguel raised a hand against the dire radiance of the fell company as they strode into his inn. “We have no such materials here, Tanu lord, I can promise --”

“SILENCE.” The lead knight transfixed Miguel with a glare and he felt every muscle in his body tense up, freezing him in place. “Boanda, unveil his mind.” Miguel groaned as another Tanu, pulsing with redactor rose, reached her hand out towards him. He felt a stabbing pains behind his forehead, as though it was being pierced by dozens of needles, then nearly collapsed as the pressure ceased with brutal suddenness. A trickle of liquid ran down his leg.

“It is below. The hatch is there,” she said, indicating the bar.

Miguel pulled himself back upright as Apsaras unsheathed a glowing glass sword. “The penalty for lying, Lowlife, is--”

A little round ball, tossed from the stairs, sailed past the head of the knight and landed on the ground with a clunk. Miguel gaped at it for a moment then with a sudden spasm of adrenaline recognised it and hurled himself backwards over the bar, landing in a heap behind it.

There was a moment of silence then a flat, earsplitting crump as the antique M67 hand grenade went off, sending shards of steel shrapnel through the faerie host.

Miguel stood up, his ears ringing. Apsaras was still standing, the others had been mown down like grain in the harvest. As though in a dream Miguel opened the box, took out the hand crossbow within and shot him through the open faceplate with a steel-tipped bolt. Apsaras collapsed like an armoured ragdoll.

"Boris," Miguel said. "Have you by any chance got any spare rooms up at Fort Rusty?"

Julian May's Many Coloured Land

Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?

A Writer's Revenge
1061 words

They’d carried the limbs and torso together, laid them out in the master bedroom, before they’d realized the head was missing. But then, so were the fingers.

“I’m getting too old for this poo poo,” Herlock Sholmes said. He took a long drag on his opium pipe and exhaled.

The limbs had been neatly sheared off the torso. Clean. Surgical. The leftover finger stumps were encrusted with blood.

“Gee whizz, Herlock,” Wr. Datson said, “that sure is a stickler. Where’s the rest of the body?”

Herlock took a look around the room. It was tastefully decorated. He hurled himself to the ground and raced up and down the floorboards like a cockroach. He didn’t actually look for footprints, he just liked to do it.

“You finding anything?”

“There is a calling card under the bed. Hullo!” He fished it from the floor. Puff Puffington, Writer, London Writer’s Association.

“This was one of their meeting places,” Detective Crumpet said. “They’d come here once a week to discuss plots and such. I believe our good woctor is a member too.”

“That’s right,” Datson said. “But I wasn’t here for our last meeting. We were solving the case of the Mysterious Mummy, isn’t that right, Herlock?”

“Yes… ‘we’,” Herlock said. He made airquotes. Datson had hosed off to the pub five minutes in, as always.

“Well, I’m off to the pub!” Datson said. He slammed the door behind him.

“Odd…” Herlock said.

“What do you mean?” Crumpet said.

“Our dear woctor failed to notice that this body has two left arms.”

Crumpet turned quite red. “You mean there’s more than one victim? Might it be that these are the writers who were reported missing this morning?”

“Who’s missing them?” Herlock chuckled. He examined Puffington’s calling card. Blood. A fingerprint right in the middle. “Is Puffington one of these absentees?”

“Actually, no. The club has eight members, and five of them were gone today. The others are Puffington, Crumpeton and Datson.”

“Well,” Herlock said. “let’s pay him a visit.”


Puffington’s residence looked like an opium shack from Herlock’s wildest nightmares, and the lawn wasn’t properly trimmed either.

Herlock knocked at the door “Hullo! Anyone home?”

Nobody replied. Herlock took a look around the house. No shadows moving inside. He would let himself in, but it would take finesse.

The rock went through the window with an ear-shattering sound.

The inside was decorated sparsely, and martially. Swords hung on the wall. A knife collection collected dust in the corner. “What goon lives in this dump?” Herlock said.

A silhouette appeared in the door frame to the living room.

“What are ye doing here?!” Puffington screamed. “Intruder! Scoundrel!” He pulled a sword off the wall. “I’ll kill you!”

Herlock drew his gu-- oh wait, London police don't have those. Woops!

"poo poo,” Herlock said. He drew his own sword off the wall, swatting away Puffington’s thrust. “We don’t have to do this, old man!”

“Like hell we don’t! Have you come back to steal more of my calling cards? Another of my manuscripts?”

“I didn’t--”

“Enough talk! Have at you!” He swung his sword over his head, brought it down against Herlock’s. They danced through Puffington’s shack, attacking, riposting, jolting forward and backward. Tables were toppled. Chairs were kicked, parried, hopped over.

The tip of Puffington’s sword graced Herlock’s cheek. His own sword grazed the inside of Puffington’s neck.

The man gurgled, a pained wheeze aimed heavenwards. He fell to the floor. Herlock took the dying man’s head in his lap.

“I am so sorry,” Herlock said. “I didn’t want to fight you, man!”

“My only regret… is that I could never… show them my Magnum Opus.”

“It is not too late, I can--”

“No. It was stolen. That’s why I didn’t even… bother to attend…”


“I could never say goodbye… to my fellow writers… it should have been revealed… yesterday… but now… all is lost.”

The man closed his eyes, and sleep took hold of him.


When Herlock entered Datson’s office the woctor was just about to detach his lips from a bottle of booze. He hurriedly put it into his drawer when he noticed he was being watched.

“Oh gee whizz, Herlock,” he said. His nose was quite red. He hiccuped. “Didn’t see you there.”

Herlock took a seat opposite of Datson. He didn’t bother greeting.

“The calling card belonged to a member whom I have no reason to believe attended the meeting,” he started. “It had been placed there. Of course Puffington had always had a temper, and he engaged me when I investigated him, and now he’s dead too. I believe it was planned this way. Tie up loose ends.”

“You mean Puffington’s--”

Herlock help up a hand, interrupting Datson. He continued: “The writers’ finger stumps had been crusted with blood, meaning they were taken off as the victims were still alive, as opposed to the other body parts. It makes no sense, unless the culprit wanted to torture them in their final minutes. It was a crime of passion, and perhaps drunkenness, which would also explain why some body parts were left behind. The surgery was done well. The rest was shoddy work.

“To summarize, the real culprit has a medical background, an insight into the police’s methods, and mine, and knows the writer’s club inside out. But he’s kind of a bell-end.”

Datson shifted in his chair. Herlock held out hand. “The bottle.”

He took out the bloody calling card and held the fingerprint next to where Datson’s sticky, sweaty sausage digits had touched the glass.

“Why did you do it?” he said.

“Because they wrote terrible, terrible fanfiction,” Datson said.


“Of us.”

“Seems flattering to me.”

Datson took a script from out of his drawer and put it before Herlock. “Do you know what shipping is?” he said.

Herlock reached for the script, leafed through it, put it back down, his expression unreadable.

“That is. The worst. Tripe.”

Datson nodded solemnly.

“Goddamnit Datson, you’re a loose knife, but you get results.”



“I didn’t get all of them.”

“You mean one of these horrible people is out there, writing fanfiction of us right now?”

Datson leaned over the table, inching towards Sholmes’s face. “Yes.”

They kissed.

“I’ll get you for this, Crumpeton, you loving pervert,” Sholmes screeched through the lips of his loverboy.

They smooched the whole night through.

Feb 15, 2005

Well, hmm. As secondary assistant judge (3rd class), I'm calling this week to a close.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Jonked posted:

secondary assistant judge (3rd class)

what is this bullshit

where is your bellyfire

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007

newtestleper posted:

Thunderbrawl CXXI - Go the gently caress to sleep

blue "I want to exhume and make love to the corpse of David Foster Wallace" squares versus Bro "challenging merc for the DM throne" Enheim

This is my daughter, Ellie.

She is a happy, healthy baby, but sometimes she will not go the gently caress to sleep.

I want you two to write her a bedtime story. It doesn't have to be about sleeping, but it could be. It doesn't have to be specifically about Ellie, but it could be. It sure as hell better be nice and not some terrifying horror story or anything else that will gently caress her up psychologically.

I don't expect you to illustrate it, of course, but I expect it to have the potential to be illustrated.

Wordcount: Limited by the attention span of a seven month old.
Due Date:: 28 December, 6pm NZ
Judges: Myself and Ellie (I will read her the stories and gauge her reaction), assisted by sittinghere

I'll take advantage of the lull between submissions and the judgment/prompt to post my brawl story.

Savvy Sara and The Markers (Book 23 of the Savvy Sara Series)

First, watch this: (my irl niece)

Second, go here:

blue squares fucked around with this message at 19:52 on Dec 22, 2014

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?

Hmmm, what is it they say about fast judging again?

Aug 2, 2002

Fanky Malloons posted:

Hmmm, what is it they say about fast judging again?

I have oft heard it labeled "good judging"

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Hey so like any ideas what we should call the next thread? People have been bouncing things around in IRC but I thought I would put the question to the thread at large. I'm really bad at titles, so if you have any favorites, please pitch them to me!

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Thunderdome: Weekly Flashfiction Contest

I like the title because it doesn't do in-jokes and is a clear indicator to new people what the thread is about

Aug 2, 2002

systran posted:

Thunderdome: Weekly Flashfiction Contest

I like the title because it doesn't do in-jokes and is a clear indicator to new people what the thread is about

Thunderdome 2015teen: Make a weekly promise to write flash fiction but then get too busy

Jul 2, 2007

There's no need to rush to be an adult.

Thunderdome: Judge not lest you've left the hugbox.

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007



Fun Shoe

Thunderdome Two-Oh-One-Five: Flash fiction to fill the void

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Thunderdome Weekly Flash Fiction: gently caress you, gently caress you, gently caress you and gently caress you (in particular)

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Thunderdome 2015teen: Critical Fiction Error. Submit, Rewrite, Fail?

Thunderdome 2015teen: Critical Fiction Error. Magicalrealism.ini Not Found.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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

Thunderdome 2015teen: Drink, Write, Cry, Repeat

Thunderdome 2015teen: "A Penis is Just a Stark Metaphor for That"

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012


Thunderdome 2015: This is a No-Benny Zone

Your Sledgehammer
May 10, 2010

Don`t fall asleep, you gotta write for THUNDERDOME

Thunderdome 2015teen: How Important is the Word Count?

Aug 2, 2002

Benny the Snake posted:

Thunderdome 2015: This is a No-Benny Zone

oh what a surprise, you've brought the topic back around to yourself again. neat.

Apr 12, 2006

:siren: CXXIV JUDGEMENT :siren:

I guess y'all must really like Grizzled Patriarch's prompts because not one of you chucklefucks challenged him this week. He takes the win in a race that wasn't even close. Well, that's not completely true. Crabrock wrote a story we all liked a lot but failed to observe the whole bit about not infringing upon copyright so he takes a very special Snowqueen's Icedragon Disqualification.

Nubile Hillock and docbeard wrote stories. That was nice. They included actual plots and motivated characters and that was nice, too. Honorable mentions for rising above mediocrity. On the other side is Screaming Idiot who was very brave for entering the dome. But bravery is often accompanied by stupidity. And he was very stupid. Our new babby takes a dishonorable mention for writing a blithering mess no one cared about. Let's try not to do that again, shall we?

Jitzu_the_Monk. Benny the Snake. You two are infuriating peas in an idiotic pod. You get to share the loser cap together. Jitzu because you did a legitimately poor job and Benny because also wrote a poo poo story and also ROSA loving FLORES ARE YOU GOD drat KIDDING ME JESUS I JUST TOLD YOU LAST WEEK STOP NAMING YOUR loving CHARACTERS ROSA FLORES GOD YOU ARE A PIECE OF poo poo okay I'm done but seriously gently caress you. Only one person can get the losertar though so you guys have until Christmas to write me a story about a good dog and how much it loves me. Me personally. You have six hundred and sixty six words.

Grizzled Patriarch, I kept the throne warm for ya.


Jan 27, 2006

I'm against battling to avoid the losertar. I concede to Benny. Hit me with it.

  • Locked thread