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Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



STAY OUT OF THE MARSH CRITS PART II: God Over Djinn, Morning Bell, Anathema Device, Entenzahn, Meinberg, Nethilia, Grizzled Patriarch, Hammer Bro., bromplicated, Fumblemouse, Sitting Here


God Over Djinn—Experimental Fiction

To me, the most notable, interesting, and lasting thing about this story is how far away it is from being a story.

I get you were trying to go for something different, and I did appreciate that it landed much closer to the spirit of the prompt than some of the other entries, but for the most part I felt like I was looking at the story through a peephole, and that’s never where you want your reader to be. I vaguely liked the voice of the narrator, and I indirectly liked the story he was telling, but it just felt like the whole thing was buried under layers of meta-fiction, albeit fairly well-executed. And even the story I could make out had some believability problems. The climax of the scene, which is also the clearest event, makes no sense—why would somebody shoot a man in front of his daughter just because he undercharged him a few times? Wouldn’t we have to know a lot more about the shooter for this to make narrative sense?

One last thing: there is very, very little excuse for including nine footnotes in a 1600-word story. The few times I’ve ever read footnotes in fiction, they were a) part of much longer works, and more importantly, b) they did a much better job of expanding the dimensions of the story. Six of your footnotes are witty one-liner asides. Three of them are links to Wikipedia pages.



All said, this was different and well-executed enough to save it from a DM, but not accessible or resonant or interesting enough for an HM.


Morning Bell—Tennessee Blues

You have issues coming up with titles. And beginnings. Waking up is the oldest trick in the book and it does nothing for you here.

Matter of fact, the further I go into this story, the less of it I read that feels organic. The entire first section of the story just seems like a gigantic obtrusive terraforming of the story—you’re very clearly telling us what the characters are like, what the stakes of the story are, but you’re not showing us anything.

You also seem to have issues with deciding what the important parts of your story are. You write about the speeding ticket without having it advance the story or the characters, yet you leave out the gig, even though that’s what they’re moving towards. The ending doesn’t really resolve anything either—it’s another story where I’m much more interested in what happens after you stop writing. Try outlining your story next time.

Anathema Device—Untitled

The concept of this story is really interesting, and some of the lines within it work well. It does feel like it’s part of a larger work, though, and the whole in medias res quality hurts just as much as it helps.

I’d say the weakest part of this story is the dialogue, simply because of how much telling it does. I mean, kudos for including a ghostly parental figure that doesn’t speak cryptically, but I feel like most of the plot is being conveyed through dialogue, and that isn’t good. Try to convey character through dialogue instead.

Entenzahn—Tapper Ware

A main character suspects the white family that owns her is into voodoo. She investigates, and guess what, they are.

The plot is straightforward enough on its own. You really didn’t have to include the section with Patty to spoon feed us the whole “voodoo” thing. I would have chopped it entirely and included more character depth about Moses, in and out of his zombie state. That’s where I think this story fails—there aren’t a lot of emotional stakes. Had you shown us how important Moses and Eliza’s relationship was, and just hinted at the voodoo thing instead of smacking us in the face with it, you’d have written a much better story.

Also, the way the narrative jumps back and forth between present and past seems much more trouble than it’s worth.

Meinberg—Old Growth

Even though you didn’t lose, I think you benefitted the least from the prompt. Other people flirted with Corn-Fed X-Files, you flew headlong into it. And it really didn’t work.

I know almost nothing about these characters, I don’t believe why they’re there, and the horror just falls flat. Even on the basis of a generic slasher or found-footage movie, it doesn’t work too well. We don’t have time to get caught up in the horror of the situation, Liza just fights her way out without much resistance.

Next time, focus more on character depth and dialogue, less on straight-up plot.

Nethilia—Come Little Children

One thing about me, as a judge and as a reader in general, is that I’m not as impressed by technical skill as I am by creativity and getting at people’s emotions.

This story was certainly well-executed for what it was, but it really didn't do much for me. I feel like I’ve seen a lot of variations of this plot and these characters before. The ending is another one that doesn’t really resolve the story, just starts a new one that the reader doesn’t get to see. Nothing is revealed, nothing visibly changes.

I did feel like the end of the story was the strongest, but that was because the beginning was so telling and tedious. But the dialogue is strong. It just feels like you’re hinting at something interesting with this story that we never get to see.

Grizzled Patriarch—Cobwebs

Again, this is the whole technical skill vs. creativity thing. The other judges liked this more than I did, but to me this story wasn’t covering any new or interesting ground. I admit that technical skill is a great thing to have, but here it just works on a sentence-level. I knew what was going to happen to Baker immediately after the story started, and because I didn’t know him as a character, I didn’t care.

Good for what it is, but what it is isn’t that much.

Hammer Bro.—The Peponphage

This was reasonably different, which I liked. You have a lot of problems with clarity, but you also have a lot of interesting ideas.

I do feel like the story jumps around more than it needs to. Just telling the story from Jude’s perspective, as he sneaks through this hermit’s house, might have done more for the narrative. As it is, you’re trying to tell too much story at once, and some of it’s barely intelligible. Do you expect your readers to know what a “proskartereo pump” is? Also, it seems like a rapid shift for Jude to just adopt this hermit’s sadistic ideology by the end of the story, because there’s no build-up to it at all.

Keep this in your desk drawer for a while and revisit it when you’ve written a few more stories.


bromplicated—House of Memories

You seem to have an issue with titles as well.

An interesting story and a solid effort, but ultimately it’s anti-climactic. There’s not much of an arc to this story: he tries to protect his old house, then it burns down. Yes, the house is a character, but it’s definitely a passive character, and the two don’t have much chance to interact.

Your opening has problems with immediacy, but you set a scene fairly well. Your descriptions are solid. Maybe the scene at the beginning takes too much space away from the rest of the story?

I’m interested to see what you come up with in the future.


Fumblemouse—The end of the line

My knee-jerk reaction, after reading this story and finding out you wrote it, was “Oh poo poo, sebmojo’s going to get his wish.”

Then I looked at it some more, and I found things to like about it. Even though it’s drenched in Southern cliches, the characters are visible and believable, even if they aren’t likable. I didn't understand what the big climax of the story was supposed to be, or why Jerry was so nonplussed either way. It’s not a pleasant story, but it’s a decently-written story. It’s just hampered by a lot of the tropes you use.


Sitting Here—The Forest

If you had submitted this during a different week, it might have gotten an HM, if not a win. But you bypassed the prompt like a lot of other people did this week, and ultimately your story had its own problems.

As evocative as this dream-world is, the fact that almost all of the story takes place in it sort of hurts it. I felt like there was no visible constant for the reader to hold onto. We never got to experience who the main characters were as real people, we just saw them as their dream-selves.
Also, the question of “why go in the forest” is never answered in a satisfying way, other than “because the plot needs to move forward.”

Also, what exactly happened to Michael? Were you intentionally trying to make his death or disappearance vague, because it just comes off as frustrating.

Ultimately, a technically-sound story with a lot of interesting ideas, but it just feels somewhat under-developed, and I think that’s because you never gave us something concrete to latch onto.

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Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

The Fall feat. Phobia and Djeser – JUDGEMENT (learn timezones douchebags)

Djeser posted:

Tiger-Lily Streams
1758 words


vs.

Phobia posted:



Djeser wins.

Crit for Djeser

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Grizzled Patriarch posted:

All right, that's a wrap on sign-ups. I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with!
Hey could I please get a two-hour extension? I have an event to attend and after that I have work.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Benny the Snake posted:

Hey could I please get a two-hour extension? I have an event to attend and after that I have work.

no

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


Can I have a two hour extension? I was going to write this morning but instead I went out and got myself a desk lamp that looks like a big blue robot penis.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Can I have a two hour extension? I was going to write this morning but instead I went out and got myself a desk lamp that looks like a big blue robot penis.

yep that's fine fella, just put your story in the slot

Amused Frog
Sep 8, 2006
Waah no fair my thread!

Hammer Bro. posted:

Amused Frog - Just a personal distraction, but why the stylized single quotes as opposed to the dumb double quotes? I was scientifically interested, in a detached fashion, up until you mentioned that Earth was dead. Then I was more emotionally invested (but not really until then). Hook me sooner, and I would've enjoyed the overall more.

Late to answering this but two people commented on it soooo.

The stylisation instead of dumb was just what the writing program I used kicked out. The British quotation marks I just didn't think about. I've used both but normally use doubles. I guess it just slipped out for some reason.

Anyway, this week's:

Tales for the Nursery
1200 words

It was a beautiful dawn in Toytown. Sunlight spread from roof to roof. Birdsong drifted on the breeze and the earliest risers drew back the curtains.

It was all broken by a baby’s screams and the sound of torn fabric.

Five years later, five years of dawns that had never been the same, Andy woke after another night full of dreams. His parents had been there, Hugsy the Doctor was there, and they stared at him in horror. Then there was a ripping sound, blinding, agonising pain, and Andy awoke to a dull ache in the stuffing between his legs.

His days were spent at school. Lessons on hugging, getting the perfect smell when baking, flower picking and embroidery. The students laughed and played together at break times, and everybody’s work was colourful and perfect. Except Andy’s. Time after time he took home burnt cookies, dark, harrowing stitchwork, and his hugs were always uncomfortable because of the way he’d move his hips.

The teachers sent home letters first, then visited his parents when he still didn’t improve, but nothing changed. Tutors became uncomfortable with the way he stared and stopped turning up. He couldn’t concentrate when his parents tried to teach him, haunted by his nighttime visions of them. Worse still was being taught at the kitchen table, his mother’s hustle and bustle around him. He asked to read in the imagined quiet of his father’s study, but it was forever locked to him.

Then the day of the incident came. Andy was kneading dough in baking class, pressing his fists deep into it and holding them there. This part he enjoyed, but as soon as the dough was in the oven he lost interest. The other children gathered around each oven, one at a time, to appreciate the smell of baking bread or cookies or cakes while Andy stared out the window.

But today, he caught sight of the baking teacher, Anne, leaning over with her eyes shut. She was sniffing at a classmate’s apple pie, smiling appreciatively, and he felt something new. A tingling in his belly and the same ache that he woke to each morning. He didn’t realise he was moving until he was behind her, pressing against her in a strange parody of their hugging classes.

It was a first for Toytown; a child was sent home from school.

Lying in his bed, Andy could hear the murmurs of his parents through the gaps in his floorboards. Doctor Hugsy was with them, his paws making a racket as he awkwardly tried to drink tea.
“We thought it best to talk to you,” said Andy’s father.
“He was sent home from school today,” said Andy’s mother.
“Yes, yes, I heard,” said Hugsy, “you’re worried he has the drive.”
There was a shocked silence. Whatever the drive was, Andy could tell it was bad.
“At the time,” continued Hugsy, “I thought the extraction was successful, but it’s possible we missed some small portion.”
“Oh no,” said Andy’s mother, beginning to sob.
“Don’t cry, dear,” said Andy’s father, “it’s not that bad.”
“I’m afraid it is,” said the doctor, “we’ll need to repeat the operation.”
Now, Andy’s mother wailed out loud.
“Techniques have improved. I’m sure we’ll be able to do a full extraction this time. You still have the original?”
“Locked in my study,” said Andy’s father over his wife’s cries.
“I’d like to take a sample of it. If we can piece together the exact composition, it will make identifying any affected stuffing that much simpler. We can pencil in Friday for the operation.”
At this point, Andy stopped listening. He covered his head with his pillow to block out the cries of his mother and any details of the horror that lurked in his father’s study.

His parents kept him off school for the rest of the week and kept him in his room. He watched the other children from the window, but when their parents noticed him watching they dragged their sons and daughters away to play inside. Doctor Hugsy visited most days, bring different bags with him each time, and he could hear hushed conversations downstairs. They must have been in the study though, as he couldn’t make out the words.

Friday crept closer. Andy was still locked in his room, sandwiches brought up to him three times a day. He’d try to sleep, but he’d wake up feeling like his stuffing was about to burst out, dreaming of the doctor and his parents over and over. He dreamt of the study too, the door opening as he approached, only to reveal his parents and the doctor laughing together, or a blinding white light and the memory of pain, or more and more doors, stretching forever onwards until he didn’t remember whose house he was in.

Friday morning arrived. The sun was as bright as always, the birds sung in the trees, but the oppressive mood that had hung over Toytown since Andy’s birth felt heavier than ever. No curtains were opened. Children were kept home. The town might not have been told of the Ragdolls’ struggles, but they could feel them. Apart from Doctor Hugsy, not a soul moved between the brightly painted woodblock houses, nor a single car down the yellow roads.

The knock downstairs made Andy jump. He was waiting by his bedroom door. There hadn’t been a sandwich this morning or the night before, and he knew this was a sign. He could hear each creak of his stitching when he moved, every padded step of his parents around the house. Then he heard footsteps on the landing and knew it was time.

The door opened inwards, hiding Andy behind it. The pillows under his duvet were arranged to look like a sulking child was beneath it.
“Andy,” said his father, “it’s time to get up.”
His mother suppressed a sob.
“Come on, Andy,” continued his father as he stepped into the room, “wakey wakey.”
Andy stepped from behind the door and pushed with all his might against his father. It wasn’t much, but it unbalanced him. He lost his footing and stepped on the marbles strewn beside him, slipping and falling on his back.

Andy hadn’t waited to see if it worked. He threw a toy train at his mother, hitting her in the face and cracking a button eye. Then he charged and drove his elbow into her midsection. She stumbled backwards into Doctor Hugsy and they both rolled down the stairs in a tangled embrace.

Andy dodged his father’s grasping hand. He leapt over his mother and the doctor at the foot of the stairs. He was running for the study.

The door was open. There was a table inside, covered with a white sheet. A set of surgeon’s tools on a tray next to it. A jar with something unnatural floating in it. Andy grabbed the jar, raised it above his head and threw it straight down at the floor. Glass and foul-smelling liquid spilt everywhere, but a small, pink lump lay in the wreckage.

His parents arrived at the door in time to see Andy pushing the small, meaty thing back between his legs.

Thalamas
Dec 5, 2003

Sup?

Can I have 400 extra words, 6 hours less to submit my story, and a funny hat?

Is this a thing? I don't know if I understand what we are doing here.

Does my penis have to be blue? I'm not down for that.

Skwid
Aug 20, 2011

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Here's hoping that my entry for this week at least surpasses last week's rushed attempt.

----

The Veracious View - 716 words - Lemony Snicket

Milo is a fantastic astronaut, and he is about to face a very, very difficult decision. Milo's spacecraft is dying, and he will not make it home.

If you enjoy stories in which the main character has a delightful time in space and returns home safely then I urge you to stop reading this story and to instead pick up a copy of "Mr. Wigglystuff Goes to Space" in which a rather dashing Mr. Wigglystuff accidentally goes to space and befriends a pleasant race of space rhinosceri who help him safely home. It is a wonderful tale and has a very happy ending, much unlike our current story.

Milo looks glumly at his power gauge; the needle is dangling over the red. A low hum begins to falter in the background as he shuts down another subsystem. He sighs and taps his communicator again.

"Command, I don't have much longer up here, I'm going to have to shut down comms next. Do you have a solution for me?"

Command hasn't responded for an hour, and the only sound he hears in reply is a gurgle of static, which probably means something like "Sorry Milo, but we don't see any way to bring you back safely. Good luck!"

A terrible error had led to one of the batteries being wired improperly and it is gradually discharging all of the ship's power, something nobody noticed until Milo was halfway to the Moon.

He turns his gaze to the ship's view port. The Moon creeps into view, gazing back with what seems to be a look of triumph, a large toothy grin cracking across the dusty surface. Milo's own face contorts with contempt as he reaches over and shuts down the communications subsystem. A blip of sound rings out and for a moment Milo is sure that he had heard a voice. The power gauge is in the red now. Milo chokes back a surge of panic rising from his stomach. If he turns the comms back on he might hear a solution from command... he might go home, but in doing so he will drain the last of the power. When the power goes, so does the heat, and when the heat goes, so does Milo.

His hand trembles through his suit, finger over the comms switch. Milo spares a moment to watch the moon slink out of view and then, taking a deep breath, he flips it. The static roars back into his ear for a brief moment before fading into words, "Milo, you never picked a name for our son." Marilyn's voice is loud and bright and bitter. "Don't you dare leave me Milo, you have so much left to do. I need you, your son needs you." The static cuts to silence as the ship darkens.

I feel that now would be a good time to switch stories if you've suffered the misfortune of reading this far. Mr. Wigglystuff would absolutely adore a new reader and I can assure you that the ending of his story is much more pleasant.

The needle on the gauge is as dead as Milo. The Earth claws its way into the viewport and Milo reminisces for a moment, writing something down on his mission report before stowing it away safely. He looks to the viewport and frowns as the Earth slides out of view. Milo carefully unlatches his helmet and lets it float freely beside him. Taking firm grip of the ship's door, he wrenches the release lever and lets the door rip itself from his hand as the Earth blooms into view one last time.

"There it is," he thinks to himself. "There's home, so close I could just reach out and touch it."

It takes almost an entire day to recover the craft and by the second they find the mission report. Surprisingly it was not full of notes on the mission nor the standard logged information but instead with this:

To my beloved Marilyn:

I regret to inform you that I will not be coming home from this mission. I'm sorry that I never helped you pick a name for our child. I know it's late, but I like Isaac. Please don't let my absence scare our child away from his dreams, whatever they may be.

Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Concatenation (1179 words)

It's a dangerous thing to oppose Morgul the Masterful. Almost as dangerous as it is to serve him. Felix was the fifth assistant he'd had in the last two months, and by far the most promising. Which is to say, he hadn't been killed, crippled, or stupefied during his first two weeks.

Today Felix's task was simple: coax Pota's Sedentary Golems to cleanse themselves of the Clarion Honey of Oridin. With luck, the ensuing struggle would invigorate the colossus tendon Morgul had recently unearthed. Felix arranged the golems at the center of a circular labyrinth of runes and liberally applied the tincture.

Felix watched wide-eyed as the golems began to sizzle and smoke. He leaned close while he raced to record everything in his notebook. He only had two more weeks of apprenticeship -- two more weeks with which to absorb the wisdom of a master -- before the end of the month. He focused on the way the golems struggled to purge themselves while remaining motionless. He listened to their sibilous cries of anguish. Their exertions enveloped them in crackling energies, as if they were burning with desire for purity. It took Felix a moment to realize they were actually only burning with fire. So was his notebook.

Felix slammed his notebook against the ground, but the rippling tendon and pulsating runes only fanned the flames. Book in hand, he dashed over to the distillery and upended the nearest elixir on it -- protean moth's blood.

Behind him the flames evaporated in impotent fury as the circle of runes reverberated with puissance. The tendon was taut, glowing, and absorbing the essence of everything encompassed by the runic prison. Felix hardly noticed, as he was transfixed by the meandering ghostborn that danced across the ruin of his notebook.

Morgul the Masterful came strolling in, humming to himself. His good mood vanished when he saw Felix. "You!" he said. "Why on Geras' grey earth are you outside of the protective circle?" His brows knotted in frustration, then parted in fascination. "Are those ghostborn?" he asked. Felix nodded. "Fantastic! I had no idea the colossus would summon faelings to defend itself. Excellent work, but remember your vows."

Felix nodded again. During the course of his apprenticeship, he was allowed no communication with the outside world. At the end of his term, he'd be subject to Consio's Cleansing Cantrip, leaving him with the fundamental knowledge he'd gained but no memory of the specifics.

One of the ghostborn nibbled helpfully at Felix's finger. Felix waved his hand reflexively, inadvertently dispelling the ghostborn and scattering the sorry remains of his notebook. Morgul's habitual fury returned.

Felix retreated to his quarters while Morgul sought to recreate the experiment. Felix was never privy to the intermediary steps, but he knew Morgul would be at it all night. This year's Period of Perspicacity would earn any who could produce a ghostborn one year's tuition at the academy. Unlike Felix, Morgul didn't require their patronage, but he was a glutton for prestige. Felix decided it wisest to retire early; he knew tomorrow would be grueling.

Troubling portents impressed upon Felix's dreams. A swirling gaseous being extruded amorphous appendages, drawing to itself innumerable specks of stark luminosity. Anointed in powder, the creature danced itself into a frenzy. When its revelry was complete, it dove into a viscous, ruby lake. Felix knew intuitively that the creature was undergoing a metamorphosis, but he awoke before seeing what would emerge.

Felix's veins throbbed; his head swam. The noxious fumes of his dreams still lingered in his nostrils. He opened the window and leaned outside, despite the ravenous bite of the frigid air. The sky was still black, speckled feebly by ailing stars. He replayed the events of the last two weeks in his mind.

As an assistant, Felix was expected to perform the more mundane details of the experiments. But he was always fouling things up. He'd dropped a Sphere of Impenetrable Rigidity on a cockatrice egg, shattering the egg and somehow dissolving the sphere in the resulting vapors. Morgul had been so fascinated by the glistening artifact which remained that he even forgot to punish Felix.

Then there was the incident with the potion. Morgul had claimed to have rediscovered the precise formula for Loquac's Ingratiating Elixir and, since he was soon to be rich, had given Felix a phial to consume. Felix was busy decanting, so he sat it down until his duties were finished. When he was done, he realize he couldn't tell which phial was which.

Eager to not disappoint Morgul, and secretly desirous of the effects of the elixir, Felix plugged his nose and quaffed every lavender potion on the workbench. Morgul was flabbergasted when he returned to find Felix scribbling notes. Felix didn't find his newly Titian hair all that impressive. He'd probably negated the full effects with one of the other solutions he'd ingested.

Felix returned to his senses as the red rim of the sun laboriously pulled its head above the horizon. He'd been reminiscing for the majority of the night. He closed the window and walked toward the door, subconsciously holding his breath.

As he approached the knob, he heard a beam lifting outside. Before he could process that tidbit, the door swung open to reveal Morgul the Masterful.

Morgul's smile fell the instant he saw Felix. His eyes momentarily widened in surprise, then narrowed in fury. "What are you doing up and about? You should be asleep. In bed." Felix started to explain but was cut off. "No more! I don't know if Vander the Vexing sent you to harry me or if you're more clever than you pretend, but I will not have you sabotaging my experiments and stealing my secrets any longer. Gather your things and prepare yourself for the cleansing. I release you from my employ."

---

Felix sat despondently in the common area of the academy. He knew, by way of his planner, that his employ with Morgul the Masterful had ended early, but he could not remember why. There was still one week left of the Period of Perspicacity, so the academy was not yet forbidden to the public, but without sponsorship he was without hope. All he had to his name were novice tomes, a few ducats, and the miserable dreams that had been tormenting him of late.

"I insist, it's something to do with the reduction," one neophyte said to another as they sat nearby. "When the glycerol reacts with the permanganate, protogenic sparks are created. The same sparks that Metis of the Fifth Age insisted were the physical loci around which the ghostborn congregated."

"But we've produced such sparks dozens of times," said the other man, "and no entreatment nor offering has enticed the faelings to manifest. If those truly are the seeds of the ghostborn, they're lacking adequate nourishment."

His head still lost in dreams, Felix mumbled to himself, "Protean moth's blood." He didn't even realize he'd spoken aloud until several minutes later, when the two smiling academics sat at his table.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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




A bit less than 6 hours left to submit

Also, Ironic Twist has graciously stepped up to be our third judge this week.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

Oh no someone stole entenzahns smash hit too far and beyond call the cops

Entenzahn fucked around with this message at Dec 31, 2014 around 02:20

Thalamas
Dec 5, 2003

Sup?

Cherish, Louisiana 1048 words

On Saturday, June 21, 1913, Andy stood motionless as the day’s wind in front of the Peralis General Store (Honest Weights, Square Deals). The mosquitos ignored him, whining through the air all around while the sweat coated him like a turkey being brined for cooking, and boy oh boy would he be tender when the time came. The front of the store’s rolling doors stood wide open and inside he could just make out a man in the shadows.

“What are you doing standing in the sun, boy? You look mighty afflicted,” the man said.

Andy closed his mouth, which he realized had been hanging open. “Well, gosh mister! You sure gave me a scare.” He looked over the shopkeep, a spare fellow with curly brown hair and a lined face. Neatly stitched on his white apron: Andrew Peralis, Proprietor. “Hey, we got the same name! I’m Andy.” He stuck out his grubby little hand.

The shopkeep shook, two firm pumps. “Well Andy, you can call me Mister Andrew, then. Come inside and have yourself a nice, cold soda.”

Neat rows and shelves, full of every good imaginable: watermelons, hair combs and pomade, sacks of flour and rice, even a gramophone! He bellied up to the bar. “I ain’t got no money to pay you, Mister Andrew.” His voice was unusually high pitched, even for a little boy. Whiny.

The shopkeep smiled – big, big white teeth – and replied, “All deals in my establishment have got to be square, Andy. How about you come back Monday afternoon and play me a game of checkers. Gets awful quiet around here sometimes.” Andy glanced up at the hand-painted sign behind the bar: Honest Weights, Square Deals.

“Sure, Mister Andrew!” The soda fizzed.

----

On the morning of Sunday, June 22, 1913, Andrew Peralis took off his apron and went into his cellar. He pulled out the boy he had been keeping there for the past week. The child was naked, slat-ribbed with hunger, and gagged. Andrew stuck him in a sack and started out for the swamp. The sun beat down, but clouds were moving in from the northwest and promised sweet rain for the sugarcane.

The boy’s name was Albert Partridge. He had passed through town with the circus and when the circus left it was minus one errand boy. The mosquitos were thick that morning and had themselves a feast on Albert when he was brought out, but not one could bring itself to alight on Andrew. “You got to walk, boy,” Andrew said, and tied a rope around the lad’s wrists.

So they walked and in the depths of that swamp in a secret place there was a thing that was much like an alligator. It was green and it was scaly and it had rows of big, big white teeth. Thick, rusty chains and shackles held it there.

“Is it the Solstice already, jailer man?” the creature rasped, its voice terrible to hear.

“You know it is …” Andrew said, except he said a name, but the name was a word that sounded like … which is sort of like a hiss and a whisper and a scream.

“You got an honest weight and a square deal for me this time?” the beast asked.

“You know I don’t, … No square deals for you. This here’s Albert Partridge.” With that, he pulled a pair of pruning shears out of his pocket and snipped off Albert’s index finger at the base, and threw the little boy to …, who ate him up.

Andrew snipped off the last two joints of the finger and threw that into …’s maw as well, then sucked the marrow out of the remaining joint. “One more year, I do declare, for me and mine to share. Safety, security, prosperity, no less, for the town of Cherish and Andrew Peralis.”

… grinned toothily and rasped back, “So it is done. Want to shake on it, jailer man?”

Andrew stripped the flesh from the hollow joint and stuck the bone in his pocket, then left.

----

The sugar cane grew twenty-three feet tall that year in Cherish. The folks were peaceable and there were no accidents at the mill. It was just like every year in memory. Other towns had bugs in the crops and fights and old folks dying in their beds. Cherish had Andrew Peralis and his square deals and his big, big white teeth.

Andrew and Andy played checkers most days. They chewed sugarcane from the fields and he showed the boy how to noodle catfish. Andrew did anything he could to keep the little boy coming back to his store. The Solstice of 1914 approached and this year there were no travelling gypsies, no runaway children who needed a helping hand, but there was little Andy.

----

On Monday, June 22, 1914, Andrew took Andy on a special trip out into the swamp. Andy went willingly because Mister Andrew was his best friend. The mosquitos never did seem to notice Andy was there and they knew better than to take a nibble on Andrew, so it was quiet out there in that swamp.

The thing that was an alligator but not surfaced from the murk and the muck and rasped, “Jailer man, you back with my yearly deal? Gonna be square this time, I got a feelin’ in my gut.”

“I’m sorry, Andy.” A tear ran down Andrew’s face, for he was not an entirely stonehearted man, and that boy sure enough did wriggle away. Andrew Peralis chased after him. Each time he got close to the boy he was closer to the beast. Each time, he was a little more agitated. Each time, his joints seized up a little more until he knew he had to make a move and quick.

He lunged forward and laid hands on the boy.

… took Andrew’s leg off clean at the knee.

Andy fell apart into a million mosquitoes, buzzing and whining away from that place, for the magic of … couldn’t hold together the boy anymore. Andrew’s life blood flowed into the swamp and the magic flowed out of him, too. ...’s chained crumbled to rust and the great, scaly beast fled into the swamp, free at last.

Neil Gaiman, stolen idea: sacrificing children to ensure prosperity, safety, and isolation for a town from American Gods

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


Grizzled Patriarch posted:

A bit less than 6 hours left to submit

Also, Ironic Twist has graciously stepped up to be our third judge this week.
I get two hours extra because my lamp looks like a big blue robot penis that folds out. Mojo said so.



Also that's my lunch break and any extra time to edit is a good time.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

DFW why are you such a baller


Gleipnir
1199 words

Mom and Dad are fighting in the front seat again. It doesn’t even matter what this fight is about. It’s a fight about an old fight that was once possibly about something actually tangible, but this is just an echo of a screaming echo.

We’re all in the Toyota on a winding, 35 MPH road between Prescott and the town of Falls. I look at my little brother, who’s looking out the window even though it’s night, and I know all he can see is his own little expressionless mug in reflected in the glass.

Wives and Lovers as sung by Jack Jones comes on the radio:

Hey, little girl,
Comb your hair, fix your make-up.
Soon he will open the door.


And Dad is laughing and saying, “you’re so out of control! You’re so out of control right now!” while his big paws are bloodless and white on the wheel, and the gold wedding band from the Discount Jewelry Exchange bites into his ring finger, and he is totally in control.

And Mom is wailing, “you don't’ care! You never care!” or something like that, and it’s like they’re both singing refrains from an acapella duet. Dad turns up the breezy 1960’s jazz and sings along with Mr. Jones.

Don't think because
There's a ring on your finger,
You needn't try any more


Mom goes into kind of this orgasmic state of yowling unhappiness. She struggles against her seatbelt like she doesn’t remember what it’s for.

Dad turns up the song even louder, and now he can’t sing because he’s laughing so hard he’s almost howling.

For wives should always be lovers, too.
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you.
I'm warning you.


He wiggles the steering wheel and makes the car swerve, because he can, because he’s in control, and Mom is out of control, really Hulking out against her seatbelt now.

My little brother slips out of the memory at this point. In my mind he is a sort of grey rectangle in the backseat with me, a placeholder for the boy that had been there, and would be there again later, just as soon as all the shouting stops.

Mom is suddenly a tangle of limbs attempting to force themselves out of the passenger side window. Dad is now holding down the ‘door lock’ button with his left hand so Mom can’t open the car door, so she's going for the window, seat belt still on. And it seems like now she’s got too many arms and legs, like a reedy nest of flesh trying to throw itself out of the car.

I look in the rearview mirror, where I can see Dad’s brown eyes--my eyes are blue like my mom’s--and he’s looking at me.

“Don’t ever let yourself be this out of control when you’re a grown woman,” he says like he’s a teacher who’s taken me aside to explain a particularly difficult part of class. Then he rolls up the passenger side window, and doesn’t even accidentally shut any of mom’s fingers or hair in it, because he’s in control.

Don't send him off
With your hair still in curlers.
You may not see him again.


The song ends as we pull into the town of Falls. There is a Shell gas station, the Falls Motel, and a stoplight. Dad gets ready to cruise right through the stoplight--it’s green and there’s no other traffic on the road--but then it insolently goes yellow. We stop on red.

Dad, of course, had to take his finger off the ‘lock’ button to operate the ‘window’ button, and so Mom takes her chance to open the door and bolt out into the night, or at least toward the Shell station.

And Dad starts to say, “Your Mother,” but I don’t stop to listen to his indictment of mom and her hysteria, because I know Dad won’t come back for her, but I, his daughter, am his legacy and his progeny and his pride, and I know he would never let me be vulnerable to anything or anyone but him.

So I open my door--I’d figured out how to turn off the child safety locks a long time ago--and get out and run toward the Shell station, too. Mom hears the sound of another car door, stops and looks back at me

My brother comes back into the memory at this point. The Toyota is sort of lit by the stoplight so him and Dad are black silhouettes in the red light, and I can’t be sure but I think my brother is turned around in his seat, looking at us, so small and so mute in the car, until the light turns green and Dad drives them both away, because to stop and to say, “please, lets all just go home,” would be a not very in-control type of thing to do.

I look at Mom. She looks like she’s angry at me.

“Why did you stay with me?”

“Because Dad has to come back if I’m here. And you can’t go off alone if I’m with you.”

She sits down on the curb. The gas station is closed, even as it leaks fluorescent and neon light into the empty parking lot. “You shouldn’t think like that,” she says, but her face looks softer.

Years later, I will tell Mom that Dad is like Fenrir, the Norse wolf, spawn of Loki, reared by fearful gods into a monster.

Twice, the gods tried to chain Fenrir with massive metal chains. Twice, he free himself and gnashed his teeth at the world. And so the gods went to the dwarves and asked them to forge a chain of impossible things--a chain that was impossible to break certainly had to be made of impossible things--like the footsteps of a cat, or the roots of a mountain.

And I will tell Mom that I made the first links in my own impossible chain in this parking lot, forged them using the pride of a broken, narcissistic man in his child, who might be the only thing a creature like him can love.

I grab that chain and haul on it hard as I can, like a fisherman trying to pull leviathan to shore.

When we see the headlights, we are happy in the way that snake handling pentecostals are happy when they don’t get bit. We’re happy like people are happy when they check their horoscope and it’s spot on, even if the news is bad.

The Toyota pulls into the parking lot. Dad’s paws are on the wheel, and his wedding band glints neon-gold in the gas station light, and me and Mom follow the now slack length of chain back to the car.

Someday our own little Ragnarok will come. Our world will drown, Fenrir with it, and Mom will take me and my brother to a verdant new world, just the three of us, that we will populate with new memories. But for now, it is enough to feel the warm, slack weight of control in my young hands, and to see Fenrir hang his head low.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

wordcount: 1191

The bottom of the garden

Anyone that has ever heard a story knows there is something magical at the bottom of a garden. If the garden is big and wild, then it stands to reason that the magic must likewise be bigger and wilder.

Teri was sure that the biggest and wildest magic lived at the bottom of her Aunt Gemma’s enormous, overgrown garden. The very first day of her summer holidays at the Old House she jumped out of bed, headed downstairs and wolfed down the toast and orange juice that Aunt Gemma had just finished making for her. She talked politely (and between mouthfuls) when asked about her plans for the morning, nodded obediently when told to stay on this side of the brook, and groaned when warned not to talk to any fairies she might meet there. All the while her legs were twitching under the table in her eagerness to depart.

When finally freed from the bindings of civilised conversation she was out like a jackrabbit, through the back door beside the leaky tap, down the loose stone path between the chrysanthemums and primroses, and past the wandering hedge. There she threaded between overgrown bushes and acacia trees, and gingerly climbed the low, crumbling walls until she arrived at the bower.

The tall trees of that bower grow silently. You expect to hear them creaking in the wind, or their leaves rustling in the breeze, but you never do. You can touch them and feel the roughness of their bark or smell the sap from wind-snapped branches. You can even climb them, aided by the vines that cloak their gnarled trunks, to see across the entire countryside. But you will never hear them, listen though you might. Their secrets are not for your ears.

A brook ran through the gaps in the bower’s tree roots, making up for silence with its laughing chatter. Teri took off her shoes and socks and dipped a toe into the cold water. The sensation made her shiver, so she plunged one foot right in and then balanced precariously for a moment before bringing the other foot to join it. Immersed up to her ankles, she spread her arms wide and craned her neck to see the top of the bower, where the trees and vines made a light-speckled roof above her. Arching her back, she twisted from side to side to make the leaves and shadows swim in circles. She hummed to herself, imagining herself taking root growing towards the sunlight and then she sang softly as words formed in her mind.

Feet in water. Head in sky. What am I? What am I?

Teri knelt down, her summer dress flowing around her thighs as she sat in the water. She reached forward, touching the stones in the bed of the brook. She saw herself, solid and settled and silent and thought:

Smooth and silent. Never dry. What am I? What am I?

She bent forward further and dipped her face fully into the stream. Opening her eyes for a moment she felt the sting of the cold water and saw a flash of silt she had disturbed. She spoke in bubbles for a moment.

Low I laugh, High I cry, What am I? What am I?

Riddles can be dangerous things. In school books and encyclopedias you can learn about all manner of men who have dedicated their lives to solving them. The successful ones that is, who worked hard and long and finally found the answer, or at least an answer. But we rarely recall the unsuccessful ones, locked away for a lifetime in prison-laboratories of their own devising (or padded cells of ours). Now, Teri knows the answer to her riddles. She made them herself and they were not made to be difficult. But while you hear of the riddles that get solved, and the wise man fears the riddle that might be unsolvable, you never hear of a riddle that is too easy. Yet sometimes they are the worst of all.

There was a noise from the bushes that grew along the far side of the brook. Teri’s head shot up, spraying water around her, and she scanned the undergrowth as she pushed back her wet hair with her wet hands, but she saw no cause or movement. She backed out of the brook, scraping each foot dry on the grass as she emerged. She grabbed her shoes and socks, but didn’t put them on. It was too early to head back to the the Old House, and besides, she wasn’t sure if she had truly heard anything. Instead she called out, “Hello?”

From behind a bush appeared a boy, stick thin and golden eyed.

Teri understands that magic isn’t real. She knows that the magicians she sees on TV are clever folk with video editing suites and a head full of other people’s psychology. She understands that the books lining her shelves at home, filled with stories of mystical lands, and talking animals, they are fictions, touched by truth but not quite real enough to appear on the news at teatime. Teri believes that the bottom of the garden is home to a wild and vast magic that can make her tall and strong as a tree, still and full of secrets as a stone, far travelled as a drop of water that has seen the ocean and the sky, but she does not believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden or anywhere else.

From behind the boy’s back, wings unfolded. “Hello,” he said with a voice that laughed along with the brook. “Let me guess. You are the trees and the stones and the water.” He raised his hand, offered it to her. “So am I. If I were to name you Teri, would you like to come with me and see what other riddles we can solve?”

Teri’s head is filled with a thousand tales. She can tell you the dangers of accepting such offers, can quote you chapter and verse of the books and poems where the hero rashly agrees and is lost forever, or displaced in time, or simply dies, far away and alone. But Teri’s eyes are filled with the sight of a winged boy with golden eyes and her mouth is filled with a single word.

“Yes,” said Teri. Still clutching her shoes she crossed the brook, careful of the stones beneath her bare feet. The boy’s wings fluttered and he lifted into the air, hovering, still with hand outstretched. He smiled as she reached out to grasp his hand. Together they rose toward the roof of leaves.

The afternoon arrived and Aunt Gemma walked down the path of primroses and chrysanthemums calling Teri’s name. She stopped to look over the hedge, her hand blocking the afternoon sun, and then she passed beyond, moving between bushes and stepping over broken walls until she reached the edge of the bower. She called Teri’s name, listened, but heard only the sound of running water.

Teri swings among the silent trees, neck wrapped in a noose of vines. The stones keep their counsel. The brook laughs.

McStephenson
Jun 16, 2008

reading The Internet

I've tried all weekend to put down a bradbury-like story and with 380 words and no confidence I'm going to have to bow out.

I don't know if trying to imitate a writer was the best choice for a first 'dome. rest assured i'm going to do next week's (Toxx'd when I do).

Great entries so far, I've enjoyed reading what has been posted.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

What Dreams May Come
Author: Agatha Christie
(998 words)

The Davenridges called the 'Til Morning a generation ship as a family joke, although Mira had only ever heard Mr. Simon Davenridge laugh about it. No one aboard would have a child during the thirty-year trip to 61 Virginis. No one could, not the hundreds of frozen colonists; not the Davenridges who remained awake and aware to safeguard the flight, made ageless by scientific wonders; and not the men and women who had chosen static service to them as preferable to cold sleep.

Mira wheeled the dinner cart into the formal dining chamber, steering around the chairs that ringed the long table. She knew the expressions on their occupants' faces without needing to look. The eldest son would be strained, his wife dour. The second son would seem on the verge of tears; their sister would appear to have no thoughts at all. Mira peeked at Miss Davenridge's eyes. If anything, they'd gotten more vacant in the past decade. She set a plate of tinned beef in front of the woman, and of course Miss Davenridge sighed.

"I almost remember fresh food," said the second son.

Mira mouthed the words along with him. Mr. Simon, at the head of the table, caught her eye and laughed. No sound came out of his thin chest, and Mira didn't think anyone else had noticed. They wouldn't look at the old man whose money had brought them there.

"Three more years," said Mrs. Davenridge, "eight months, four weeks, and four days."

The eldest son asked, "Has anyone read anything interesting?"

"Out of Africa again. I want to try growing coffee on the ship," Mr. Simon said.

"You already have. Twice. Twenty years ago and--"

"Then I'll make it three times!"

Mira thumped the gravy tureen onto the table and fled.

In her bed, later, she switched the room lights on and off, picked up her book reader and set it down again. Even now there were things in the database she'd never read, if she could only make herself care. She couldn't. Her body was tired, but ever since she'd stopped aging sleep had been no more than a long blink, with the ship and the Davenridges and tinned beef waiting at the other end. She kept flipping the switch long past the ship's midnight.

"Three more years, eight months, four weeks, and three days," Mrs. Davenridge said at breakfast.

Mira left the residential part of the ship after her day's work was done, walking down corridors that led to things she didn't understand: the engines, the life-support systems, the autopilot, and the bodies of people who hadn't feared cryogenic dreams. Perhaps they didn't dream either; perhaps she endured this life for nothing.

She followed the signs to the port-side airlock.

Mr. Simon met her in the hall. Her heart lurched, unaccustomed to surprise. The old man's eyebrows jumped up above the rim of his glasses. "Mira?" he asked.

Mira said, "I didn't expect anyone would be here."

"Neither did I. It's refreshing."

This man had paid for her voyage and for her thirty extra years of life, but Mira had heard him slurp his soup for too long to be formal. He stood leaning back against a metal wall, and she joined him. She asked, "Why do you laugh?"

"Pardon?"

"You've seen me mimic your son a thousand times. Why do you still laugh?"

"Sometimes it still amuses me," Mr. Simon said. "Sometimes I just need to laugh at something. My children never laugh."

"I'd noticed that."

"Neither do you, Mira."

Mira rubbed her arms, though the corridor was no colder than any other. She looked away.

He said, "Three years and however many months, weeks, and days. Then we'll have a new world and new people to keep us interested until our stasis treatments wear off. I'll be a grandfather sooner or later, after that. I'll see the rest of my dream--a strange world and a far star--and share it with my children." Mr. Simon touched her arm, and he stared so hard at her that she had to meet his pale eyes. "Do you think we'll still be sane?"

"You might, Mr. Davenridge," Mira said. "I--I don't dream at all anymore."

Mr. Simon dropped his hand. He spoke as though to himself. "Did we stop dreaming because nothing changes?"

She said, "I don't know. I just wish I'd been less afraid of nightmares."

"You shouldn't be here," Mr. Simon told her. "Go on, now. Please? Try to remember fresh food and sunlight. And stay out of this hall at least until tomorrow."

Because they'd never had that conversation before, because it had been a tiny escape, Mira granted the first parts of his wish.

Alarms broke her colorless sleep. She ran barefoot out her door, and she chased the sounds of voices until she sprinted beside the Davenridge sons and daughters down familiar passageways. The lights around the door to the airlock blazed red.

"Where's Dad?" yelled the eldest son. "Dad!"

"He must have--he's--"

"No! Why would he do that? It's a malfunction! Mira! Find him!"

But Mr. Simon Davenridge was gone. He'd turned her away from that final exit, then taken it himself.

Shock and grief and anger changed his children's faces when they sat at the dinner table with the equally shocked servants, pushing tinned beef around on their plates without complaint. The eldest son wept on his wife's shoulder. The second son let his sister rage at him and hugged her when she collapsed. Tears prickled Mira's eyes when Miss Davenridge sobbed, "He'll never see his star."

"We'll have to see it for him," the second son said.

When Mira said, "Maybe he'll make it to some other new world," Mrs. Davenridge reached for one of her hands and held it. The cook squeezed the other.

That night Mira saw a shooting star when she closed her eyes, and she dreamt of Mr. Simon's laughter.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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




Bit under an hour to get those subs in!

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

The Tiger in the Cathouse
Chikamatsu Tokuzô
1200 words +32 from winning week 100

-see archives-

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Dec 11, 2014 around 03:01

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


I don't need the extension after all. I'll have it up soon.

Blade_of_tyshalle
Jul 12, 2009

If you think that, along the way, you're not going to fail... you're blind.

There's no one I've ever met, no matter how successful they are, who hasn't said they had their failures along the way.



Cold Shoulder
(1196 words)
~*~in the style of Matthew Woodring Stover~*~

I shoulder past some rear end in a top hat who thinks he's Elvis Stojko. He gives me the poo poo-eye. "Watch where you're going, dude," he says. "There's no rush." He's not in bad shape, but his waistline is a little thick and that's going to make take-offs harder.

"Hang up your skates, kid," I say. "Wouldn't want your mommy to have to tape up any boo-boos."

Dumbshit’s face goes red. "You ran into me, grampa. Chill out."

He’s young, full of himself. I remember being that young, hunger for the joy of skating leading me by an iron grip on my dick. gently caress joy. Joy doesn't pay bills. Liking what you do doesn't magically make you less of a lovely person. I'm a living loving testament to that.

"I don’t have time for this," My lips peel back from my teeth. It's not a smile. It's a threat display, like an animal, so he knows who the big dog is. But he’s too dumb to know who I am.

“I know karate, don’t make me move you." I have rarely been less impressed. "And you're totally old. Twenty-six or something."

I step forward, my hands open and to the sides like I really want a hug. "So make me." I can see him weighing odds. He’s going to blink. Seen it a hundred times.

Nope. He finds his nutsack and comes at me. His punch is telegraphed so hard he may as well have told me. I grab his arm and jam a thumb into his wrist. He lets out a yelp, which turns into a scream as I use his own momentum to swing him against the wall.

Dumbshit has figuratively shat his pants. And literally pissed himself, a dark beige patch spreading down his left thigh. "There's a reason most of us wear black trousers, limpdick," I say.

“Ecchevaria,” I hear. “You’re up next!” I turn and wave.

“Be right there,” I reply.

Stojko’s gone pale as ice. “Holy poo poo,” he says, “Caesar Ecchevaria?”

I favour him with a smile. There’s no warmth to it. Stojko’s eyes shimmer with tears. Guess he’s heard of me.

I lean in close enough to smell the fear and piss coming off him. “You should see the medic.”

I walk to the door. The gopher awaits me. “You didn’t kill that kid, did you?”

“No, he’ll live,” I say, wistfully.

“Alright,” he says, clearly not trusting my word on the matter. “By the way, you-know-who’s on the ice, so wait a minute? We don’t want a repeat of Cancer Dancer.”

An oily snake coils through my guts. “No, I don’t know who. Why don’t you, like, loving educate me?”

“It’s Kaufmann.”

Darkness blooms behind my eyes and my mouth fills with acid. From a light-year away, a hollow voice echoes “Kaufmann.” That rat-poo poo motherfucker. “He’s here?”

“Well, yeah,” he says, but I don’t really hear it, I’m already racing away through and down the aisle to the side of the rink which I follow until I find the door. I launch myself out, blades biting deep into the ice. Kaufmann is centre-ice, wearing a hideous costume. He looks like a strawberry. He jumps into a triple-Axel, lands, jumps into a second and lands that, too.

Holy poo poo, when the hell did Kaufmann get this good? He’s just some two-bit punk.

I’m beginning to think I made a mistake, but it’s too late to turn back. I’m committed.

Kaufmann sees me and cuts short his routine. He displays mock astonishment. “I heard you were here, Caesar, but didn’t think you’d actually have the balls to show.”

“Hey yourself, cocksmoke. I see you’ve got a new trick. Get tired of turning them in public bathrooms, or did your mom finally kick you out of her turf?”

His face goes as red as his clothes, but he restrains himself and even smiles at me. "Good try, rimjob. I've got a better coach than you could ever dream of. Should I tell you who?"

He licks his lips like he's about to dig into a thick, juicy steak. "Kurt Browning."

Sweet bleeding Christ. Kurt Browning? How did this syphilitic mongoloid swing that? I guess he can see the shock on my face, because his grin takes on a downright sexual curve. But you know what? gently caress him. Him and his loving double-triple Axels.

And gently caress Kurt Browning.

“Good for you, shitheel. You speak English. Now get the gently caress off my ice,” I say, affecting calmness and swagger. I point at the audio booth in the rafters. “They’re playing my song.” Sentimental music swims out of invisible speakers. I’m a sentimental guy.

Homicide is a sentiment.

Kaufmann shrugs in a leonine way, skating backwards. “You’re just a petty little ice dancer with a lovely attitude and a boner for some knee-breaker bitch. Good luck, fuckstick.” He blows me a kiss.

I glide through my opening. Some spins, a three-turn, basic baby poo poo. Kaufmann’s double-triple bugs me. I planned two triples, not together, which is fine, but coming after that performance? Christ, forget winning, I probably won’t even place.

Long ago, some Frenchman said “il nous faut de l'audace, et encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace” which didn’t save him from the guillotine, but whatever. Audacity. Go balls-out, because why the gently caress not?

An Axel jump is easy. You jump, do one-and-a-half revolutions, and land backwards. A triple is three-and-a-half. Chaining jumps gets lovely. You can’t rebuild speed between jumps, so you need to be a goddamn bullet train going in.

I’m hustling down ice like a speed skater. Better be fast enough or I’ve blown it. Up I go and make three-point-five revolutions. Easy. Landing is easy, too. No time to jerk off, though. I go up into another. I land facing forward and, poo poo, that’s okay! I thought my knee was going to buckle, but it holds and now I’ve got to pull it together, show that smug gently caress what an ice dancer can do.

Up. Around. Again. Again. Land.

My heart swells. I feel loving great. I’m sporting a hard-on stiff enough to shatter concrete. Then an atomic bomb goes off in my knee. I eat a mouthful of ice shavings as I smash to the ground.

There’s an eternity of cold whiteness. My rear end is wet. I’m really out of it. Indistinctness surrounds me. Christ, it hurts.

I make out a face. For gently caress’s sake, it’s Kaufmann.

“When you gently caress up, you don’t do half-measures,” he says, appreciatively. “A triple-triple. Ballsy.”

I lift one palsied hand and beckon. I whisper his name. “Kaufmann, I… if…”

He leans in. Is his rival about to confide jealousy and inadequacy at the end of his career? “I’m here. Tell me.” His voice is heavy with lust.

My hand clamps around his throat. He’s off balance and I pull him forward. “If you ever talk poo poo about Tonya Harding again,” I snarl, “I will rip out your dick by the root, motherfucker.”

I let him go and he falls, coughing. The medics strap me to the backboard and take me away. Kaufmann can’t catch his breath, and I can’t remember the last time I felt so good.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


Negotiating with the Devil

1198 words

My name is Rosa Flores. Officially I’m a private investigator--unofficially, I wear a lot of hats. Today, I’m a negotiator, here to discuss business with vampires.. Yeah, I lead a very interesting life.

The meeting place is Club Arcadia, a local rave located in downtown LA. Outside it’s an unassuming building located across the street from a shopping center. Inside it’s a manic fever-dream--a sea of exposed flesh, glow-sticks, and neon-colored hair. Add in a speaker wall, a DJ hopped up on ritalin, mix in a whole bunch of illicit substances, and you have yourself a rave. To blend in, I’m wearing my black cropped wig and I’m also wearing knee-high boots, short-shorts, and a sleeveless top. I’m still getting stares because it looks like I’m smuggling grapefruits underneath my shirt. I make my way to the bar where there’s a perky goth chick standing behind it. “Hi, honey!” She shouts over the loud music. “My name’s Rae! What can I get ya?”

“Double bloody Mary, extra bloody.”

She gives me a look. “Kettle One or Grey Goose?”

“Surprise me.”

She nods and turns around to make a call. A moment later, I see a pair of pale-skinned hipster types walk out from the “Employee’s Only” door. The first one is wearing a fedora while the second one is wearing Buddy Holly glasses.

“We heard you have business,” Fedora says.

“With your boss,’ I respond.

“First, I’m gonna have to do a pat-down,” he says and leers at me.

“I don’t think the boss would appreciate it if you sampled the product before he did,” I tell him as he grimaces and leads us out the door and deeper into the club. After swimming in an ocean of people, we finally make it to a door marked “Private”. Buddy goes in and after a moment, he steps out. “The boss is ready to see you,” he says.

Inside it's like a development room with a single red light casting a sanguine glow on everything. The bossman was sitting on a couch with his arms draped around two women. He’s shirtless, wearing tight, black jeans and barefooted. He’s also covered in tats. I couldn’t make out most of them, but I notice a pattern of bat-wing skulls and rosettes.

“Have a seat,” he says and points towards the chair on the other side of the glass table in front of him.

“I take it you’re Vladimir?”

He nods. “And you must here to talk business.”

“First, we need some privacy.”

He nods and gestures towards his women to clear out. “You two, wait outside,” he to his flunkies as they leave.

“I’m here to negotiate for the release of Alphonso Mignola,” I tell him. Al, a mild-mannered day laborer who got caught up in this mess when he stepped forward to inform me about the vampire shenanigans going on at his job site.

“What do you have to offer?”

“May I?” I ask and hold my hands up. He nods and I reach under my shirt. I pull out from underneath my bra two baggies full of white powder, put them down on the table, and untie them. “That should be about a kilo’s worth,” I tell him.

He passes me a mirror with a razor blade. “You first.”

I pour some of the powder on the mirror and form it into lines as he hands me a rolled-up Benjamin. I take the Benjamin and just before I inhale, I fling all the powder right into his face.

Everybody knows that the surest way to kill a vampire is with a wooden stake through the heart. That’s half right, actually. It’s not stabbing them through the heart, it’s the stake itself that kills them. Vampires go into into anaphylactic shock when wood gets in their systems. It doesn’t have to be a stake at all. After all, it’s not coke in those baggies, it’s sawdust.

Vladimir’s eyes turn huge and his throat closes up. He tries hacking out the dust out of his lungs but it’s no good. I see his eyes turning dark and he struggles to get his hands around my throat but he can’t. I grab both baggies, put one in my back pocket, and I pull out lighter right before his flunkies burst in.

“Stop right there,” I tell them. “Dunno if your boss told you, but this is sawdust and that-” I motion towards him “-is what happens if you’re exposed to it.”

They back off and bare their fangs. Fun fact--vampires can retract their fangs like a cat with its claws. “What the gently caress do you want?” Buddy shouts.

“Alphonso Mignola,” I say. “Bring him here,” I say and light the lighter, “or I burn this motherfucker to the ground with you in it!”

Buddy nods at Fedora who stays as he takes off. I make my way to one side of the room so that Vladimir isn’t in my blind side. Here’s another fun fact--when it gets in the air, sawdust is a very effective accelerant. The reason why sawmills have giant vacuums is because there’s so much of it in the air that if there’s so much as a spark the whole thing will explode. Vladimir keeps choking as the door opens.

Al’s a sturdy guy so when he stumbles his way in, I get worried. I motion for Fedora and Buddy to go to the other side of the room. “Al, you alright?” I ask as he groans. I take a quick look and yep, he’s got fang marks on his jugular. God knows if he’s been turned, and I ain’t gonna ask these motherfuckers. I slip my lighter back into my pocket and wrap my free arm around him as we both back out of the room. But not before I throw all the sawdust in the baggie inside the room and slam the door in front of me.

I burst through the emergency exit and out into the alleyway where my car is parked. “Stay with me Al,” I say as I hear the fire alarm blaring inside. “We’ll be safe soon.”
He stops. I see his eyes flash red and fangs form in his mouth. I grab a handful of sawdust from my back pocket and throw it in front of me. Al screams in pain and tries desperately to rub the dust out of his eyes. I pull out of my pocket my contingency plan--my wooden kubotan. I grab his head and jam the spike as hard as hard as I can into his temple. Al’s mouth quivers as if he’s trying to say something before he falls down on the ground, dead.
I look at the spike. It’s covered in blood and something chunky which I can only assume is brains. I just killed the same person who had the information I desperately needed to stop the same monsters that turned him into one.

“gently caress!” I scream at the top of my lungs in rage and frustration. I run into my car and take off as fast as I can, away from Al’s body and away from that evil place.

With apologies to Jim Butcher

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME crabrock? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

Grimey Drawer

When It Knocks
1113 words


http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?...=When+It+Knocks

crabrock fucked around with this message at Oct 28, 2014 around 06:31

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

deleted

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Oct 27, 2014 around 22:56

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME crabrock? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

Grimey Drawer

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

I get two hours extra because my lamp looks like a big blue robot penis that folds out. Mojo said so.



Also that's my lunch break and any extra time to edit is a good time.

haha, remember a few weeks ago when you were a huge dick about people "waiting until the last minute?"

life is funny.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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




That's a wrap, ladies and gents!

I look forward to reading all of your words, may god have mercy on your souls, etc.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


crabrock posted:

huge dick
turn on your phone I have something for you

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME crabrock? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

Grimey Drawer

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

turn on your phone I have something for you

it's so... knobby

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Interprompt

200 words about something knobby. The knobbier the better.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Hammer Bro. posted:

Fuschia tude - Maybe say photo albums. I initially thought (and liked better) that birds were disappearing off the covers of record albums, but leaving the rest of the art untouched.

Oh drat, that is much better.

Thanks for the crits, everyone. One day...

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

anyone who has toxxed and not put in a story (and isn't djinn), you probably have a few hours before it gets called in

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


His knobby nose knew, his knose. His knose knew if they had just put on deodorant, their exact brand of shampoo, down to the mix of floral scents. He could tell a cats color just by smelling it. His sense of smell sharper as a knife. The knobby knosed man knever let that get him down, his knowledge knew know bounds. He added the scent of gunpowder, of chemicals, to his knowledge base. He knew the difference between knitric acid and knitric oxide, and when he applied to the TSA, knothing on their application or interview made him knervous until it had ended, and then he was in the dark.

For hours his stomach kneaded knots, his knees quaked. He knapped at his fingernails. Finally, his phone knelled at a knot so ideal hour. The knobby knosed man had a knack for that sort of thing, knowing it was time. He would become a defender of the country, a valiant warrior in the fight against knaves.

“Hello, is this-” The man on the other end spoke.

“This is Knorman, and god knows I've been waiting all knight.”

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


II

I have not written to you for some time,
as the white hammers have gone silent -
the pounding given way with the wash of waves:
I am afraid, I am falling in love.

Pablo told me not to use the word because
that cheapened it. Each syllable 'love' one step
closer to cliché but he is dead and I am not
yet. I am afraid, I will not choose the right word.

You will forgive me, I pick through metaphor
washing up on shore as driftwood. The concrete beasts
leviathan and behemoth have not scooped me up
yet. I am afraid, there are things I do not know.

She leaves her hair everywhere and I
wonder whether she will go bald and
whether I will care. Passed out drunk
last night and she got mad I didn't
message her not-quite-passed out
drunk on her living room couch. I
have never been good at writing back
at the best of times. There's a pattern
if you pay attention. I am afraid -
fear is an ocean. I am building a ship.

Dear Ted, I have not seen the ocean in some time

nevertheless
my hands are shaking, I should know better

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


^^^^^^ THAT'S MY ENTRY MOTHERFUCKERS GET POEMED ^^^^^^^^

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


wait Sebmojo's not a judge you rat bastard you sold me out





I still get two hours nobody else contradicted him I'm in under the deadline ok

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

wait Sebmojo's not a judge you rat bastard you sold me out





I still get two hours nobody else contradicted him I'm in under the deadline ok

rude

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


Don't make me brawl you again, Bob Ross. I'll do it. Come at me.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Don't make me brawl you again, Bob Ross. I'll do it. Come at me.



I think benny will give you a fight if you stand there long enough?

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SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


sebmojo posted:

I think benny will give you a fight if you stand there long enough?
FIGHT ME OLD MAN I WILL SHOW YOU THE MOVES

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