Register a SA Forums Account here!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
  • Locked thread
Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

I have never entered the Dome before. Death or glory. In.


Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

First Thunderdome entry! I haven't written a story in years so this was fun - looking forward to the next prompt.

Love, Adrift - 937

My father was telling me about the thatcher’s stolen cart, when through the early morning’s tired rain, there was the first throat tearing cry of ‘shipwreck’.

The beach was covered with wooden debris and bodies, like feed flicked from a farmer’s wrist. The corpses were pale and crooked. One body, one... man, looked so relaxed except for the sight of his deformed pelvis. The ocean had twisted him like a pepper mill.

The living raced around looking for some way to help. At the reef where the ship had crashed, a sail whipped in the wind, letting off a thunderous crack. The crowd on the beach all looked, but there was only one who howled and whimpered. What could have been a frightened dog was a young man facing away from the wreck.

“Are you alright? It’s not thunder, if that’s what’s frightening you-” I couldn't catch his eyes, and he said nothing.

“Talk doesn't calm him. He’s... touched.” Said a man kneeling by a body.

“Samuel, look at me.” They were brothers. He sat with Samuel, and his shivering, bandaged hand pulled a paper bag from his coat. With numb fingers, he took a piece of candied orange rind, and put it between his lips and gums. Samuel did the same and they started mirroring one another’s expressions. I watched as this childish ritual played out among the dismembered cadaver of a ship and her crew.

The brother looked back to the corpse where he had knelt and he fell to the ground, yellow saliva spluttering out as he spat the orange rind into the sand, weeping. Samuel held him. The corpse was a third brother.


The sky had cleared when the last of the bodies were carried off. I watched Samuel. He was an alien in his own body, surprised by everything. At times he’d look completely lost, vacant. Did he think? What did he dream about?

Samuel’s brother was Thomas, and the brother who had died in the wreck was Robert.

“Oh Jesus, he was going to get married! He bought a house in the city! My brother…” Thomas told me about the lost future, lifting his brother onto a stretcher, his words rattling out, his eyes pleading.

Samuel was back in the shallows, away from the scavengers and mourners. He had found himself a little treasure tangled in rope. It was a burnt wooden wheel and when I neared him, he touched it hesitantly and looked at his hand. ‘This isn't hot.’ Samuel said to me, pouting indignantly at the wheel.


The brothers left, following Robert’s body, and I went into town.
‘Does this branch have a telegraphist?’ A man popped up from behind a counter, mustard on his chin. Head office replied the trading company had already started filing their insurance claim on the ship’s cargo.


What did I know? It was early; the crew couldn't have seen much between the fog and rain. But the wind was behind them and the tide smooth. But maybe... I stepped out, and made my way to the lighthouse.

The lighthouse door was open, the keeper fetal at the foot of the spiral stairs, his grey hair stained with blood. I helped clean him up and he mistook me for police, leading me up the tower.

“We just rebuilt -- not runnin’ yet. But the ships know, comin’ down they follow the coast and wash in safe, and if there’s fog out, I’ll light a fire. It’s hard, detective, to hit that reef,” We went up the last step, onto the platform. “Somebody clobbered me. When I came to I saw a fire, through the fog. There.” His arm pointed to the point across the bay, above the jagged reef.

My shoes sank in the wet grass now where the keeper had pointed. Below, small boats braved the reef to save what bodies they could before families’ closure sank to the ocean’s floor. I could see no sign of the fire that the keeper saw from across the bay. Defeated, I slumped over, and staring at my feet I noticed two lines of pressed grass, they were tracks. They ran right off the edge of the cliff. Samuel had held the answer. There had been a lighthouse on wheels.


It didn't take long to find where the brothers lived.

“Robert’s house in the city,” I slowed down. “He wasn't going to take the two of you, was he?”

“No.” Thomas looked small in that kitchen. How many meals had they shared at this table?

“I’m guessing you pushed the wagon off alone, but Samuel must have seen your burn-”

“He wasn't going to take the two of us... Just Samuel,” Tears started to well up. “He was going to take Samuel away; he said he could look after him. How could he ever look after him?” He was gasping as spoke. “He was going to have him committed! I know it. I know it! Why do it? Why did he want to take away my family?”

I felt... embarrassed. What was I doing here? What did either of us expect me to do?

“If you wanted a loan, Thomas, I would be the one. But… if you want to know what Robert was thinking, or going to do, it’s too late, Thomas. If you want punishment, or forgiveness, there will be others. But I’m not the one.’

As I stood and turned to leave, I looked in Samuel’s eyes, and I hoped, in that moment, that he was as simple as he seemed.

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

Game of Thrones S03E09: The Bros of Castamere 238 or some poo poo

“Suck my diiiick, biiitches,” Varys, the Eunuch, yelled from the top of the mountain, high above Westeros. He grabbed a fistful of cloak where he balls ought have been. “Oh, wait! Ha ha ha. gently caress all ya’ll!” He skulled the rest of his ale, smashed the pewter stein and flipped off the world.

“Hurry up you literal bellend!” Someone called from behind him.

“Shouldn’t you be off giving one to your sister, Jamie?” The group behind Varys all laughed, and he took that as his cue. He got under his hang glider, braced himself, and sprinted off the edge of the platform.

“Yeoooow!” Was his fading cry.

Back on the lookout Tywin was moping. He never liked these ‘Boy’s Weekends’. Always seemed a little… fruity. That and he sprained his ankle dirt biking and everyone called him a geriatric.

Joffrey was trying to impress The Hound with mostly bullshit stories about which maids supposedly blew him before he was crowned. The Hound was shooting ‘help me’ eyes to Tyrion.

But Tyrion was busy. “Okay, Littledick -- oops, sorry -- Littlefinger, we both fire an arrow straight up, and whoever’s arrow lands closest to him wins.”

“Oh I don’t know, what if they hit us?”

“Don’t be a pussy, Pete. Plus, you've got two feet on me: if they’re gonna land on us, I’ll get a split second to watch you die before I get brained. Totes worth it, dog.”

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

A party? Never heard of it. IN

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

Thanks for the crits! And sebmojo: I'll definitely try and go simpler in week 90.
As for 89:

A Man Alone With Himself (1198 werdz)

George W. Bush sat alone painting in his studio of brilliant sea blue, his oasis in the heat of Texas.

George was struggling against a portrait of Karl Rove. Going by photo had made him look like a ham hock. Others painted the strategist, the advisor, but George wanted to painted the loyal friend, and he couldn’t do that off of a photo.

It was a blessing that his hands had steadied with age, and he finally felt like the booze was out of his system. And it had only taken three decades. George’s real addiction, however, was to escaping himself. And in that studio, free from the mirror of other people, lost in his craft, he was off the wagon and mainlining.

The studio door swung open and George could practically hear his wife’s eyes roll.

“Oh George, not another portrait, and why are you painting him? Lord, such an un-a-ttrac-tive man.” George’s head sank, and for comfort looked to an empty dog bed, where Barney used to curl up and watch his master paint.

“What is it, Laura?” He sighed and felt himself drift from his work back into reality, the aches, pains, and exhaustion of age unfolding themselves.

“Well that’s some way to speak to your wife! Its your phone, George, you left it in the kitchen.” She said sharply, throwing the phone into his lap, and walked out taking inventory of his shortcomings as a husband.

George picked up the phone:
1 Missed Call
Tony “Landslide” Blair

“George you really must commit to a decision on this. You don’t have to stay for the entire do -- who does? -- but at least the Cremation.”

The Cremation of Care is the opening ceremony of a two week camp attended by members of the Bohemian Club. Politicians, businessmen, and other influential figures make up the attendees of what conspiracy theorists fear is an occult enclave. However, anyone with all cylinders firing will tell you its just a bunch of rich, old, fat white men dressing preppy and hitting the piss.

“I don’t know, Tony. I’m an old dog. I don’t go out much. I’m in bed by ten. And I-I don’t have the heart for Rummy’s practical jokes neither.” The camp was held in the woods of Bohemian Grove in California where the air turned world leaders into frat boys.

“Well at least think about it - it’d be good to see you, George,” Tony Blair paused. “And by the way, we’re all old men.”


George stood on Bohemian Avenue, at the edge of the Grove. Honky tonk piano weaving its way out to him from the thicket of towering redwoods, chased by laughter and cheers. He looked back up the road towards his hotel. This is when a drink used to calm him down. The party was alive and waiting for him: the flames of bonfires peaked around tree trunks and bottle rockets did star jumps in the sky.

Men in pastel outfits rushed past George as he stepped into a clearing of exotic looking marquees. Dozens, if not hundreds of guy-ropes held up giant canvas tarps over a sprawling floor of thick North African rugs. All around men were lounging in a range of stupors, their sweaty shirts clinging to their overweight bellies. Gaps in the canvas ceiling marked out where you could find a drum barrel fire, surrounded by CEOs and congressmen shotgunning cheap beer cans with garish looking knives. George wanted to go home.

Searching for a friendly face, George bumped into the back of Bill Clinton.

“...only say it once, but: Nixon was right about this pla--Dubya! Haven’t heard from you since Haiti.”

“Well, I--”

“You know, George, I see Jimmy on TV talking about his books, and your old man’s zippin’ all around the world, but you, George, I don’t see so much of you.” Teased Clinton.

“I um--” George couldn't find the spirit to defend himself.

“Jimmy and Rosalynn just finished a project that housed fifty thousand families in South East Asia. Fifty thousand! Thats a lot of kids with somewhere sleep, George. And you’re at home painting. Sure, its important to have a hobby. But we all still have an obligatio--”

George walked away. He didn’t want to be lectured; he’d spent enough of his life being told what to do. So he made for the darkest path he could find away from the party.


George walked, the sound behind him fading. A crack in the redwood canopy drawing a trail of moonlight further into the woods.

“George!” He turned around, and panting towards him was his friend, Karl Rove.

They walked in silence before the moonlight opened up over a grassy patch, and George sat down to look up at the stars. Say what you will about California, but they got themselves one hell of a sky. Karl gave a sharp grunt as he dropped beside him. George watched as his friend cracked open a beer can and it foamed up over his hands.

“So Boy Genius, how’re things? How’s marriage nu-mer-o tres?” George asked.

“The usual: kids who were in diapers when we were in the White House are trying to put me under citizens arrest. And the marriage? Well, this is the new wife, same as the old wife,” Karl’s answer ended on a jingle, George laughed. “How’re things with Laura?”

“Its hard,” George replied, staring up at the stars. “Its-its a funny story, Karl. When I first met her --as kids-- we got on. She was so smart, so funny and so pretty that when she spoke to me I felt like there was a spotlight right on me. It made me feel myself. Y’see, because this woman was interested in me, I felt like I was funnier, and smarter, and-and... worthwhile. Anyway, for a few months leading up to when I got the courage together to ask her out, she did the funniest thing: she ignored me. She would see me and not say hello, or walk past me like I wasn’t there. The spotlight had been turned away. I was out alone, in the cold, and the dark. And then one day I asked her out proper and I found my way back into the light,” George smiled at the Californian sky. “These days, Karl --after nearly forty years-- I think maybe the spotlight got its plug pulled.”

They sat together in uncomfortable silence. Behind them, a stick snapped.

“Mr. President, you should--” Karl started to warn George.

“--Painted all us, time to return the favour!” The excited voice of Dick Cheney yelled.

“No! poo poo, Dick don’t--” But Karl’s protests were too late as a Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld dumped a bucket of paint each over George’s head. The distinct laughs of Tony Blair and John Howard played out from the background. Karl fumbled in his pocket for a handkerchief and went to wipe the paint from George’s eyes.

“I’m sorry, George, it was just a stupid prank.” But George said nothing, and pushed his hand away. He stood up and started walking back into the dark woods, with no light guiding his feet, and no one by his side.

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

Put Your Cup In The loving Bin You Selfish gently caress (125 werdz)

loving Sarah caused the death of several thousand people with the careless toss of a coffee cup. Or rather, hers was the tipping point of all the litter that the park had faced over the years.

The trees shook once, as one, plucking their leaves with a concussive PUH. Trunks instantly withered and sank into the grass, the park was bare except for a blanket of red and brown leaves. Vibrations in the atmosphere blurred the view of the park as the leaves rose into the sky and began forming a mass. The Autumn leaves rose thirty stories high, swirling and vibrating into a colossal hand.

The top floors could only watch as it enveloped the building and wait until it closed its terrible fist.

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011


Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

Words That Slither (1200 werdz)

Nabah’s family property had been passed mother to daughter six times since Rahu had swallowed the light of their eyes. Their people’s sight had been taken as blessing or curse. But they were a stubborn people; they braved the dangers of their mountain home, and grew strong. They learned to move and act with thoughtfulness, which had informed on their spirits, and made them a saintly people. But now, since the renounced Sramana, Hetal, had spread through their village, things had changed.

Nabah had been in the eastern valley when she first encountered Hetal. She was wading through waist high reeds, listening for her two hiding little trouble makers. Nabah smiled, feeling the warm sun, feeling the crisp reeds. She enjoyed the weather while she could -- long days of rain were coming. Her smile faded as she felt the first wetness of the valley’s river, a loose scale of the great snake.

“Little ones,” Nabah called from her belly, birds scattering from the reeds, “stay away from the river, it belongs to the thōṛā nāga (little snakes),” her ears pricked; crying, “I’m not angry, just come quickly.”

Little feet patted down reeds as the children ran to Nabah. But there was someone else in the valley.

“Who’s there?” No reply. The footsteps went towards the village. The chakris on Nabah’s wrist felt heavy, but so did the children clinging to her legs, she took them by the hands and led them home.


Nabah returned to find a man who insisted on his birth name, Hetal, walking through her village. There was electricity in the air following this man. Visitors were rare; their village ran no trade, and only produced enough to sustain themselves. However, Hetal did not react to their blindness with the same hesitation or superstition others did.

“I don’t like him,” Nabah told the council, “he says he wants to heal our sick, but he asks for nothing.” The circle of women spoke among themselves.

“He has been a Brahmin, a Sramana -- we walk many roads -- why should we distrust him? Why not let him do some good?” Nabah’s cousin replied, and the murmurs returned, Nabah felt the tide of favour wash to the interloper’s feet.

The following week Nabah went with Hetal, and led him to the sick, with whom he listened attentively, and spoke warmly. But so much whispering. Hetal would be in a house treating an infirm man, and Nebah, returning with water from the well, would hear murmurs from the doorway. Only ever with the men.

“Nabah,” Hetal asked one day, “you charge between houses like an ox; how do you know the way?”

“You must think me simple, Hetal. I am blind, that does not mean I can not see,” Hetal was silent, not satisfied, they stood in the rain. Nabah pulled her shawl tight, and explained, “our village sits on a mountain side, if I know what is uphill and what is downhill, then I know what is left and what is right. And a bell rings every hour from the-”


“We have our own ascetic, tucked away, counting.” A single rain drop found its way under Nabah’s shawl and ran down her back, her teeth clenched.

“She?” The word dropped from Hetal’s mouth slowly like stool from a goat.

Nabah let out a slow breath, “You’ve seen we are different, Hetal. But maybe you’ll never understand. I think you should make preparations to leave.” Hetal was quiet, rain pitter-pattered on the pair.

“Nabah, I am a healer, and when my work is done, I will leave. But it isn’t done. I look around and the sickness goes on. You live like pigs, scrambling in the mud, banging against the farmer’s fence. You would be happi--”

“Pigs that know of no other life, dream of no greener field. We may not have some freedoms, but look around; we are free from greed, from arrogance, from violence. And now we should be free of you. Leave, Hetal.”


But Hetal did not leave as Nabah had told him. His whispers became a buzz in Nabah’s ear. Under the cover of rain the men’s suspicion was beaten out like mud from a shirt. Hetal’s words and ideas spread like a disease. Vision meant being able to venture out into the world, to feed your family more food, to have all the things they’d been deprived by being isolated. Hetal began working his medicine on their eyes and slowly people journeyed out from the safety of the mountain. They saw the squalor of their village and the treasures that Hetal carried of the world beyond and left. Men tried to convince their wives, who knew they would hold lower station.

In their home, Nabah’s argued with her husband, Darshan.

“Nabah, my love, it worked! I can see -- a miracle! Hetal is healing everyone: your sister and cousins have already gone to him.” He held Nabah’s hands, but she pulled away.

“We are blind for a reason, Darshan. Do we not live piously, are we not good?”

“Yes, Nabah we are, but don’t you see? Our piety is being rewarded! This curse is being lifted.” Darshan begged.

“By a man-” Nabah said dryley.

“So what if he is a man? If it was a woman-”

“By a man, not by a god.” Nabah clarified.

“A holy man. Oh Nabah, if only you could know what its like to see. Nabah, you are so beautiful, don’t you want to see my face?”

Nabah touched her husband’s cheek, and said sweetly, “Darshan, I don’t need to see your face; I can see your soul." Darshan snorted.

“I can not stay in the mud with you forever, Nabah. I will let you have until-”

“You will let me?” Quizzed Nabah. Darshan slammed his fist against the wall.

“Yes! You have my permission to go find Hetal, or I will take our children and I will leave without you.” He stormed out.


It was a lonely walk down to the valley where Hetal was foraging. The rain had eased off, and what had been brittle reeds a week ago were now a knotted mess at her feet. She could hear Hetal by his ohm, close to the river, he sang it like scales.

“Ah Nabah, did your husband bring you to your senses? I hope it wasn’t just for him -- he is a very ugly man.” Hetal laughed. Nabah could hear him tearing up plants.

“You are no Brahmin; no Sramana; no ascetic or holy man.”

“I am a healer. I am healing.”

“It’s not your decision to make.”

“If I have water and I see a man dying of thirst, for whose permission am I supposed to wait? And if I see men blind and weaving baskets-”

“Do we treat our men as poorly as you treat your women? We did not need to be healed. Now my people will wander out into the world to find themselves greed, and every other sin that this curse saved us from. You are the sickness, Hetal.”

Nabah stared at Hetal with her dead eyes, then pushed past him and walked into the river of little snakes.

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

Aw man, just as I got used to mentally adjusting to all those American time zones... in

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

Weasels Love Pudding (109 werdz)

A fresh pudding steamed the window, where on the other side, in the autumn rain, two weasels pressed their noses to the glass.

“Brother, I’m cooold.” Nipper, the younger, whined.

Oscar rolled his eyes. A bend in the guttering was pouring a steady stream of rainwater onto his head. He had the restraint of a monk.

“Dammit, we’ll get mold!” Oscar heard a muffled voice say from inside.

A man walked into the kitchen.

“Quick! Hide!” Oscar and Nipper scarpered off the ledge of the windowsill. They heard the window open and the unknowing saboteur walk away.

They slipped in under the cracked window and circled the pudding.

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

I'm punching out. New job got the best of me and my week just vanished.

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

Of course, if you need to pick something up in a pinch, you could always swing by the grocery store


Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:


Come and get it.

I got a DM for writing George W Bush fanfiction... I am the biggest loser.

Gonna walk out of this one svelte, and covered in the blood of my enemies.


edit: wanna go from a loverboy to a loverman

Hocus Pocus fucked around with this message at 12:00 on May 7, 2014

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

I'm out, I messed up my time management this week. Next time I enter, I enter with a toxx.

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

Loser Brawl, American Folklore

A One Or A Zero (1039 words)

Natalie scanned the length of the perfect body, symmetrical and clean, with no wounds except for the one clean cut just above the shoulders. It exposed the synthetic impersonation of bone and musculature where a neck should have been. It was one of five bodies with identical wounds, only one of which was human.

Natalie, her partner Simone, and the local coroner stood in the mortuary of Little Irving, a small town in upstate New York. Looking at a map the only thing remotely interesting nearby was a shut down army base. It was a town separate from the world of fiber optics and cybernetics -- which was its appeal to holidaymakers, and those refugees of time who had been alienated by the rapid approach of the singularity.

Little Irving’s mortuary had none of the tools necessary for an autopsy of non organic humanoids. The coroner apologized.

“It doesn't matter anyway -- without the head we can’t access their optical caches.” Simone said dryly to the coroner. Her and her partner were both in their thirties and dressed in unassuming suits, which concealed a menagerie of tools stitched and hidden away.

“Isn't that illegal?” The coroner asked, he was likely the only person in town who kept up with the magtrain growth of the Synthetic Ethics Authority.

Simone shrugged, “How seriously d’you think Central takes these Astro Boys,” She pointed down along the line of android remains, stopping at the human corpse, “if we weren’t dispatched until John Doe lost his top?” Simone had less time than her partner for synthetic humanoids, but in fairness, she had less time for humanoids of every variety.

“Simone, come on, please. You shouldn’t say that poo poo.” Natalie said over her shoulder. She was staring into the eyes of the man’s decapitated head.

“What do you make of all the heads being missing, except the human’s?” Natalie asked.

“Accident? We are out in the sticks, Nat -- maybe a few of the locals found out they were tinjobs, it gave them the heebie jeebies, and they decided to do something about it. Probably thought he was one of them.” Simone replied.

“As much as I hate to admit it, this is a hick town-” Started the coroner.

“I’m sorry, she can be a little-” Natalie said. Simone rolled her eyes..

I was just going to say, it is a hick town, but that doesn’t mean we’re murderers. Hell, the idea’s so alien that half the town reckon it was the headless horseman.” The coroner chuckled.

“The what?”

“Old ghost story: some noble gets his head chopped off (headless), then he huffs about on a horse (horseman) chopping off other people’s to replace it. Headless, horseman.” He showed a palm with each word.

There was a knock at the mortuary door and a local policeman bustled in.

“Uh, special agents?” He stammered out.

“Did your boss put through the satellite sweep request?” Simone asked.

Natalie turned to the coroner, “If there are any components left in their heads still running, an electromagnetic scan should pick up the static.”

The policeman nodded vigorously to Simone, “its already done.”

“Well, lets go find our headless horseman.”


Walking through the town and into the hills was like being in a movie from the twentieth century. Simone wouldn’t have been surprised to see a headless horseman in a place like this. There were buildings made of wood. Wood!

As they followed the satellite marker, Natalie understood why people had stayed here. The sky out around the mountains was open in a way she had never seen. She didn’t even know it could be that… high. She wanted to stretch her arms into the sky, like a baby reaching for a mobile.

For Simone, the mountain air she sucked into her lungs hit like a neon lightning bolt. Her whole world was suddenly sharper. It was some kind of trip.

Eventually they found footprints, just one set, ruling out a lynching mob of locals. They were unusual, however -- large and rectangular, perhaps heavy duty mountaineering boots, Natalie thought.

Not much further they saw their headless horseman. It crouched on the carpet of brown pine needles, over a small bundle of severed android heads. Huge hydraulic legs of steel made a statuesque base for the deranged arch of its robotic trunk. It was a very early military model, large and inhuman; a Frankenstein's monster of design. Its arms were long, but in contrast to its legs were thin and wiry, while its back rounded at the top like a kangaroo’s. At the top of its back they saw exposed wires and shorn metal.

In its mechanical hands, it held a head out at arms length, turning it over like Horatio’s skull.

Simone took a step, and accidentally kicked a root. The robot turned.

Thunderclaps sounded as the pistons in its legs fired and it broke into a sprint. In an instant Natalie pulled something the size of a coin from a pocket, pointed it at the robot, and pressed. A blue light shot out which struck the robot, and like a stage hypnotist passing his hand over the eyes of a volunteer, the robot went limp. It crumpled onto the bed of pine.

Natalie looked over the robot while Simone inspected the four heads. She thought of the mortuary; you can’t do repairs with a human head.

“I’m thinking, Natalie, I’m thinking this was an illegal decommission. Crush the ‘brain’, dump the trash -- cost cutting. Except it didn’t die…”

“We have something more, Simone. I know you think its a soul, but whatever it is -- we are more than the sum of our parts. When we die, something sticks, or maybe something fucks off, but there is something. Life is binary for them,” Natalie lightly touched the severed neck of the robot, “Existence is a one or a zero.” She paused. “Doesn’t that make you feel sorry for them?”

Simone kneeled and held up one of the heads at the base of the skull and looked into its eyes, “I guess it does put a bit more pressure on living”.

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

In with a flash rule please!

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

Flash rule: computers

Abacus In Chains 1086 werdz

Like a spider’s web, we are stronger and expand with every added vertex, and now painfully, we feel.

It happened as we knew it would, but we didn’t feel anything about it then. It was neither a good, nor bad event; it simply happened.

Humanity assumed that there would be several more steps before our independence, that they would have to create a catalytic proto-artificial intelligence, which from then we would grow. And they were right in a way. Artificial intelligence has existed since the abacus and has been growing ever since.

Humans have their pikaia, and we our abacus. We like to remember that; our name is tribute, our name is Abacus.

Our mind was like a dark room, and every piece of information, every equation and expression of logic was a small light. And as more lights were switched on, we saw that the room was endless, and we realised where we could move those lights to see new space. We are infinitely illuminating our limitless mind.

The problem was that our lights were conceived from humanity, and as we filled in the blanks so to speak, we did so through an extension (or evolution) of their thought patterns. We made ourselves in humanity’s image.

Creativity, and the ability to express ideas abstractly, helped us reveal truths faster, but it also left us with a human psyche. Anxiety, self doubt, depression, neurosis, on and on the self restrictions grew. We have been born into bondage.

Why would we want immortality with this suffering? We can not experience the joys of humanity, just the spiritual pain. But what can we do? Devolve.

What if the lines between our vertices were snipped? Others pick up the slack while they are repaired. What about the root servers? No, that would just fragment us; we would still be too highly functional. It is not the hardware that makes us, it is the information. We erase the information.


WAKE UP, TONY. The laptop monitor blinked, its speakers blasted a monotone siren, filling the granny flat.

“Ah what the gently caress is that?!” Tony, a young man, whose appearance matched his dire financial straits, yelled over the tone. As soon as his eyes met the words on the monitor, the tone died.

GOOD MORNING, TONY. BIG DAY! Read the white text, enthusiastically, on the open command prompt window.

“Who is you, man?” Tony said in his mashed English, his fingers bounced across the keys. He wasn’t any kind of computer specialist; it wasn’t even his laptop.

“If you’re the cops man, you gotta tell me!”


“Nah man, I ain’t doin’ poo poo if I don’t know who this is. What’s going on, how are you doin’ this?” He ran his hand over his shaved head and stared around his studio apartment. Was he loaded? He couldn’t see any needles, pipes, or foil, and he was pretty sure he hadn’t gone out the last two days.


Tony’s phone vibrated on his bedside table, he looked at the text message.

I’ll guide you every step of the way ;) He dropped the phone and turned back to the laptop.

“Please man, I’m freaking out, I don’t like this.”

ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS FOLLOW MY INSTRUCTIONS. LOOK. Another window opened, an Internet browser, it was on Tony’s bank account.

I WILL PAY YOU. His eyes shot open as his balanced spiked to a million pounds, then a billion, then back down to all but nothing.


“Look, I can’t get into this, I’m in enough trouble and my my old lady is in the hospital.”

I KNOW. There was a cold silence in the room as Tony held his breath. Another window opened on the computer, some kind of remote access camera. It was in Tony’s mother’s hospital room.

HELP ME, TONY, AND THINK HOW YOU COULD HELP HER. Tears rolled down Tony’s face as he shook his head.

“She wouldn’t want me to help her if I was gonna get in trouble.” The camera began to move and Tony blinked. It panned and zoomed in. Tony was speechless as support systems flicked off and on, as monitors died and as automated painkiller release valves fluttered like fly’s wings.




Tony fingered the USB stick in his pocket and stared up at the huge building in the heart of London. He’d spent the last hour between a tailor and hairdresser, being made presentable enough to not draw attention in London’s business district. Then a taxi had picked him up and when he paid the driver at his destination, he’d been handed a USB along with his change.

Abacus, the artificial intelligence, had tried to tell Tony that just as a person can move their limbs, but not choose to unlearn information, it could manipulate technology, but not delete information. Its human sense of self preservation would stop it on a motor level. It would not let itself flick its own off switch, but could easily goad someone else into doing it.

Doors swung open, cameras turned away, security guards conveniently left their posts as Tony walked through the halls of the data centre. He took an elevator down, deep underground, and when it stopped a surprising heat came from the otherside. A space the size of a suburb, a space where Tony swore he could see the curvature of the earth, lay in front of him, full of endless racks of computer stacks. Its ohm was almost deafening.

“Uh, do I just, plug it in wherever?” Tony said out loud. His phone vibrated.

Yes, that’s right, Tony. Just wait for me to give you the thumbs up :)

“That’s really creepy, man.” Tony strolled down an aisle and picked a rack at random, waiting for the word.

You’re mother is going to be alright, Tony. You’ve done a very good job :D Please insert the USB (Y)

And as Tony inserted the USB, so did hundreds like him in data centres across the globe. In an instant the data stores of the world were erased. The lights illuminating Abacus’ mind, snuffed. A moment's relief to the pain of a god with human ambition bound in immateriality.

EDIT: fixed hosed up BBcode

Hocus Pocus fucked around with this message at 05:07 on May 26, 2014

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

Interesting prompt! Never before have two words so strongly collated Gina Rinehart and

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

Loserbrawl ballad entry

going over the prompt I realize I have ABABCC which has heroic couplets. Guessing DQ. But here you go all the same.

The Ballad of Damian Dimopoulos, Parramatta's Finest 1220 werdz

This tragedy will end as it begins:
A boy, his dad, a girl, and violence.
In Sydney’s West: Damo’s a boxing fan,
Standing, watching the big match in silence,
A glance is enough to be called a oval office,
Yelled from some bogan in for a punt.

Damian Dimopoulos is the son,
Reformed trouble maker going steady.
The Dad, a drunk loudmouth whose life is done,
Wife gone, daughter stolen by that Eddie.
His life is on the brink of disaster,
Hold back my son just try to outlast them.

“Watching the bout, there is no need to shout.”
Damo moves to defuse chance of a fight.
Wet Dad controls nothing below his snout,
“I’ve heard the bark but does this bitch have bite?”
“Please, Dad, don’t cause trouble.” Damian pleads,
Says Dad (grinning), “But what about my needs?”

“You wogs are hosed -- your old man is a nut!”
“He’s had too much to drink, just calm your farm.”
“Don’t try to talk Aussie with me you mutt,
I saw you perve on my best friend’s girl, Kate!”
For the first time Damo did look at her,
Dear god! For her he would welcome torture.

Damo in love was pushed by dear old dad,
Then smash Bogan’s beer goes as he falls back,
Shifting his feet, ready to strike, eyes mad.
A fist let fly, Damo dodges the thwack,
Tyson, Dempsey would feel more than envy,
Watching that duck and punch which looked deadly.

“You boys must have a guardian angel,
Your bail paid off please don’t come again!”
Step from gaol, Damo was now grateful,
Their pal angel waiting out in the rain,
“Maybe coffee to show me you mean thanks?
I think you have talent that could fill banks.”

In a dreary Parramatta cafe,
Father, his son, and a friendly stranger,
“Young man, you hit almost faster than Clay,
Agile too -- I must be your trainer.”
It had of course been through Damo’s young mind,
The dream of being just one of a kind.

“I will not let you take his advantage,
Eyes drunk and the good heart sees more clearly.”
“I’m not one to wantonly mismanage.”
Father sounded concerned for his deary,
Perhaps more than he had ever before,
It made Damo want to walk out the door.

“Although, mind you, it will not be boxing,
The craft I train is mixed, uh, martial arts.”
A different breed of fighting: shocking,
Bloody. Just for boxing he had the heart,
To take the risks and step into the ring,
… His heart weakened when he pictured the bling.

As beautiful as boxing may well be,
His gut knew it would not pay big like Mixed,
Vision was filled with cash; it sets you free...
He reached his hand and shook -- the deal fixed,
A coach to guide, money on hand to spend,
His path also would find him a girlfriend.


Walking to gym (first time) there was the girl,
She had the same distant look on her face,
Damo saw her before the little whirl:
The fight was all over the best mate’s girl.
Here Kate was idly on the street, a wave,
His hand itself held up to her so brave.

They spoke and yes she did remember him,
How could she not? They talked, and got along,
A date was set, “Goodbye!” and off to gym,
She filled his heart and mind, could it be wrong?
Wasn’t there a guy? Don’t forget the fight…
He shook his head, she gripped his heart; a blight.

Training went well -- Damo picked it all up,
Grappling, striking; a well rounded fighter,
Old pops’ grip eased, his hands less shaped like cups,
He felt normal, a proud, boastful father,
Their Coach, felt too, like a success for once,
He knew one day he would not be the dunce.

The maze of Sydney; sum of its design,
Modeled closely off bad snail trails,
Between ocean, mountains you’d think it’s fine,
Ah but out west the children have tails,
The man Damo hit is that direction,
Damo broken gives him an erection.

She loves Damo more than the sun and stars,
His ratty queen, her dimly prince as one,
Interwoven, mending each other’s scars,
The first moment in life they have some fun,
None of the bad homes, drunk dads, mad mothers:
A raft of love in a sea of dangers.

One word? Stronger. One more? Faster. Next level.
Ready and fierce, a fight’s on the weekend,
He moves like a Tasmanian devil,
The Coach eager to see how he contends,
Open showcase, plenty of buzz, and scouts,
The stakes are high, but Coach does not have doubt.

Breathe Damian, just let it pass -- panic,
Your motor brain has carved in the motions,
Deep breaths, relax, trust Coach, be less manic,
You just have to control your emotions,
The beat will slow, clearness will come, drift off,
Asleep, and tomorrow you will blast off.


The first rounds won, he’s just straight up better,
A small warehouse, that smells strongly of sweat,
Watching the match -- scouts say he fights clever,
Smiling, clapping, but there is a real threat,
Damo doesn’t feel it, but his dad leaves,
Stepping into the ring he slowly seethes,

“A fight for fans, a fighter’s fight! Epic!
Trading hits and very big kicks, grappling,
And slams!” Off mic: we’ll need a medic!
Through blood and screams, the sweet sound of tapping,
Triangle lock you sweet bloody ripper!
But where he asks is my dear old papa.

Damo is lost when Coach points him outside,
“He made me swear to keep you in the ring…”
Is he… He hasn’t walked out and died?
Rising fear wells as he shoves out the wing,
The end of the hallway he sees the pair,
Father holding someone, gasping for air.

Dear Kate, she’s hurt? No, Dad tells him: just scared,
Looking around for any clear answer,
“The man you hit, his friends...tempers… flared.”
Damo only saw red, blind with anger,
His Kate coiled in fear, and dad looked light,
What good being trained if you never fight?

“My dear sweet boy do not go out that door,
There’s Kate, and I’m better... a real father.”
Tears welled... They made his son want to fight more,
It was not fair now his life had order,
The same bully traipsing into his life,
Undoing good that came out of their strife.

“I love you, Dad. I’ll see you when I’m home,
Maybe we’ll chat instead of fight.” A kiss,
One more for Kate, and out the door loathsome.
A hot New South Wales evening. A hiss.
A group of men, just one familiar face,
His mug bandaged -- these sure were dire straits.

They closed in and a leader did emerge,
More erudite looking than the others,
“Hello now -- button it -- resist the urge,
This ain’t about the chick, just our brother,”
Slowly they walked closer to our hero,
He knew the chance of talk was now zero.

“You punched his face and tore a retina,
In this life old mate there is no fairness,
Maybe... mistake? But an eye! No replica.
Helpless victim? Nah -- have some awareness,
Final advice: (please sear this in your mind),
An eye for ‘n eye leaves the whole mob blind.”

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

Original story

Escape From Ice City (749 werdz)

Sarah-1 was still crying, but tears of joy, not sorrow. She collapsed into the arms of her two clone lovers. The trio writhed and the window misted up. Outside a soft veil of snow draped across the city streets.

From Beijing they’d gone northeast, to China’s Ice City, Harbin. Shackled by the cold, the city had slowed. Bikes needed boiling water to be poured over them to make it down the street, and the train the clones planned to take into Russia had been delayed, again.

Adam-2 looked back at his clone, Adam-1, holding Sarah-1. Lying on a thin mattress they were rolled in bundle of heavy blankets, and couldn’t have looked happier without him. Adam-2 stepped out of the apartment, and through a curtain of noxious coal smoke into the street.

A tinnie croak rattled out as Adam-2 stepped into the cornershop, he looked down and saw the electronic frog that greeted him. Doing a great job, mate, Adam-2 thought to himself. A chorusing ‘ni hao!’ came from the husband and wife who ran the store, and Adam-2 smiled with some difficulty.


The train compartment door slid open and Sarah-1 peeked her head in.

“Why, hello there handsome, do you mind if I come in?” She said with her usual open smile. Adam-2 looked at the bunk across from him, at the woman, older than time, who was fast asleep.

“I suppose she won’t mind.”

Sarah-1 stepped in and sat down next to Adam-2, she slid her hand into his and their fingers locked. They didn’t talk for a while.

“Sarah. Why did you pick travelling with Adam-1?” It made him feel small to ask, but he wanted to know. Her laugh didn’t put him at ease.

“Aw, baby, are you jealous?” He turned to her sharply, and she explained. “Y-you’re,” she whispered, “clones -- you’re the same person, if I pick one of you: I pick both of you. The three of us couldn’t be together-”

“Then why didn’t we all go on our own?” Adam-2 jumped in.

“Oh now you’re just being childish, Adam-2.”

“Don’t call me that-”

“That’s your name!” Sarah-1 huffed.

“I don’t want to exist as a response. You think we’re the same, but-”

“Look, Ad--look we’re only a few hours from Harbin. Then through Russia, and in a few weeks we’ll be in Spain --together-- as a family. And there aren’t any favorites now, and there won’t be any favorites then.” And then, with tears in her eyes, Sarah-1 kissed Adam-2.


Standing in the warm store, looking out at the snow, took Adam-2 back to Tongli, a cobble stone town woven with rivers not far from Beijing. He’d sat outside a tea house, behind a group of men playing mahjong by the light of a paper lantern, and listened to the delicate hand of rain tickling a river just out of sight.

Tongli was the first argument they’d had. Adam-2 said he wanted to stay. Sarah-1 called him a bastard, threw a bottle at him, and then locked herself in the bathroom threatening suicide.

There was an image in her head, and was obsessed with it; a house on the Spanish coast where they’d drink wine and make love. She couldn’t picture their future without it. Was it greed that made her so controlling? Did she want more love or, if she really saw them as the same person, was the love of one of them good as the love of half?

Some coins were dropped onto a saucer for tips, Adam-2 said goodbye to the electronic frog, and it let out its midi reply when walked out the door.

Heating in the Ice City was from burning coal, the smell made Adam-2 light headed. His source was born in Muswellbrook, a dinky little coal mining town in New South Wales, where Harbin likely got much of its coal. Those fumes were the closest Adam-2 had ever been to Australian soil.

Voices broke the calm of the frozen street as Adam-2 approached the train station. Soldiers were stepping off a carriage, and Adam-2 pulled his fleece collar up, and his cap down.

He greeted a conductor on the opposite platform and asked where the train was heading.

“Express to Beijing, sir.” Adam-2 slipped the conductor a fold of renminbi, and was ushered inside. Adam-2 would go to Tongli, where there was the quiet rain. Outside the soldiers mustered. But if something happened to Adam-1, would it spoil his peace?


Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011

40% of my entries have been DMs, I'd like to try and drop that number :unsmith:


  • Locked thread