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That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

How will critique be handled in this case? Would we be able to "out" our stories in the Fiction Farm come next prompt if I just gotta have some critique?

This fresh-faced first-timer is in.

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That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

systran posted:

I don't know what that means? I am going to critique every story that is entered this week, and Rhino and Sebmojo likely will as well.
I saw that submissions would be anonymous, so I wasn't sure how we would find out about our results.

That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

systran posted:

I'm going to post links to a google doc with all the stories, and you'll find your story and see the crits on it.
Gotcha. Thanks for clearing that up, much appreciated.

That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

crabrock posted:

Ok, we've accounted for almost everybody.

Who wrote "Threadbare cloth yielded to the breeze...?"

Speak up and claim your DM.
Sorry, that was me.

That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In, and trying to apply sensual Beef tips this time.

That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Rose Tea
995 words.

“You morons are heading to the house up that hill. Fetch the phial for me and take anything that looks used and important!”

The witch tasking them scratched at his patchy chin with filthy fingernails. “Finish this and this will be the last you see of me. Fail this and, oh, let’s say I’ll turn both of you into turtles and eat soup for the next few days!”

Mia, the pale, petite woman of the pair, muttered under her breath. “Turtles can have a wicked bite.”

“What was that?”

“I asked, ‘What does this phial look like?’”

Thad rolled his glazed eyes and cleared his throat, but his voice cracked anyway. “It’s blue and very hard to miss. Its old owner sure might, though.”

Before any other concerns could arise the witch faded and vanished, with his sweat-drenched and piss-stained robe disappearing soon after him.

The duo passed through the gate marking the start of the hill in the sweltering summer sun. The path to the house was still very green and trim and well-kept. Sonny felt as though he could’ve lapped the dew off the glistening grass as they hiked. His thirst and his bickering with Mia kept the foreboding feeling from suffocating him until he was at the porch.

“I’d rather we be abused by that maniac for another year than do this!”

“You don’t mean that.” Mia’s face fell into a well-practiced glower as she watched her companion cower. “I know for a fact you don’t mean that.”

Sonny’s big brown eyes welled over with tears as he shook in place. “Corpse ain’t cold yet and we’re robbing this witch!”

Mia’s voice rose to a shout, her temper starting to get the better of her. “I can’t be-loving-lieve what I’m hearing! You’re okay with robbing living witches and not dead ones! We’re almost done here, Sonny, don’t flake on me now!

Sonny stepped to her, far more upset than angry. “I’ve pissed off enough of them! And what did this man do to Thad to deserve this?”

“Exist, probably.”

The third voice caused the pair to draw their weapons on reflex as they sought its source. A tall, dark-skinned woman leaned against the hut’s wall with both her arms and legs crossed. Sonny and Mia’s eyes were automatically drawn to the small, light blue bottle she tapped against her side. She wore a smile warmer than the weather as she watched the two.

The stranger took a light sip from the bottle. “This what you’re after? It’s the only thing of value in this little shack.”

Sonny missed Mia’s statement as she darted inside. His eyes stayed on the phial, not sure what to think. Someone’s already done the robbing and is toying with their freedom. He watched a dark liquid line the inside of the crystalline bottle, each nonchalant swirl igniting his thirsts.

He did not quite remember if he asked or thought the words, but he got a response nonetheless.

“Who are you?”

“Just someone who wants to see Thad lose his stooges.”

The stranger leaned on the porch railing in front of him. She capped the phial before handing it to him.

“You wouldn’t believe how cool that thing keeps the rose tea I threw in there.”

The tea was on his tongue so quick that he feared he might have swallowed the cap. But he was lost in that sip, it was all he needed: very mellow, very cool, and very refreshing.

He didn’t notice the arms drape around his neck from behind. A whisper in his ear told him, “We’ll talk later.”

The arms’ weight on his shoulders, the breasts pressed against his back, the feeling of both evaporated in an instant. The stranger no longer being present should have bothered him, but nothing did. He held their freedom in his hands.

--

The phial Thad so coveted sat on his ringed desk, surrounded by a sea of stale, empty bottles.

Sonny leaned against the stone wall, crossing his arms and legs. He had braced for the usual helplessness to overcome him once he saw and smelled this musty room again, but instead fought the vicious urge to smash each and every one of those bottles over Thad’s head. The witch’s shrill voice made matters worse, as each of his words fed the indignant, kindling rage eating at him from the inside.

“Her name was ‘Lane,’ and no, she didn’t have any apprentices.”

“Wait, ‘she?’”

“Don’t get your hopes up, she was an amazon.”

Sonny stood from the wall. “We’re done here.”

“Your surly friend isn’t up here.” The witch stated this as if he’d just noticed.

“I told her to celebrate early.”

“Just as well, I prefer you anyway. Nice and spineless.”

“What does that mean?”

The witch threw his head back in a chilling laugh that would have chilled Sonny to his core. “That means ‘You’re not going anywhere, stand still a moment.’”

Thad raised his glowing hands, the yellow increasing in intensity as they climbed. Sadistic triumph was written all over his thin face as the light darted toward Sonny.

Sonny’s hand shot into the air out of reflexes he never had. The magic dissipated against his palm in a very refreshing sensation. The same hand that guarded him now curled around Thad’s throat, the witch’s sadism overwritten with sheer astonishment.

He threw Thad down, sending the bottles flying in a glass wave. The blue phial was pulled into Sonny’s palm. Before the stunned witch could recover, two hands appeared and held him down at his shoulders. On the other side of the desk stood the stranger from the shack, her eyes livid and lusting.

Thad choked. Sonny forced the rest of the “tea” from the phial down the writhing witch’s throat.

The stranger winked at Sonny and dissipated like the magic she defended him against.

Thad was underneath him, his body slackened and cool. The witch gagged and half belched, “We’ll talk later.”

That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In for this week, too.

That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Easy Enough
768 words

“The novelty of the job wore off fuckin fast, but yeah, it was def worth it at the end. Was a lotta sittin around for long-rear end time. I shoulda known better than to take work when I knew for a fact I won’t remember the night before, but I done dumber poo poo for the sake of a little spendin money.

“All I had to do was sit in the middle of a goddamn ghost town. I sat on a bench in front of the world’s ugliest tree til it got dark. The two biggest thugs I’d ever seen watched me like a fuckin hawk like I was gonna run away in the rear end-end of nowhere. Haha, right? Oh, her? No, Paula was out there too. She was playin with her suitcase or some poo poo. Was the near the tree.

“The weird poo poo started was when it was gettin dark. So I’m sittin there, bored outta my fuckin skull when this weird bubble shows up on the tree. It looked like a really big zit. It just grows and pops on me, and this thing rolls out onto ground. It turned into a bee the size of my fuckin forearm. poo poo was nasty.

“Oh yeah, you better believe it scared the poo poo outta me. Like, it was a monster bee that was white and purple instead of orange and black.

“Those huge motherfuckers threw me down on the bench. I thought I was gonna die when one of them pulled a knife on me, but they just cut my shirt off. No, it was my third-favorite. Yeah, don’t wear clothes you like out there.

“So I’m face down on this bench and panickin and lookin for this goddamn bee. Paula’s just lookin at me and those gorillas were doin a drat good job holdin me down because I couldn’t move. Oh God, I felt it land on my back, it was still kinda wet. Paula was like, ‘Don’t tense up,’ but I couldn’t help it. Who the gently caress would relax after seein such a goddamn big bee?

“The gently caress you think happened? It stung me! I saw it comin, but poo poo, man! Look, right in the back of my neck! See? Hell yeah, but the stinger wasn’t the worst part though!

“It felt like somethin spat on my neck, too. A little of it hit my throat. Made it numb and left this stripe. But next? It was like someone, hm. It was like someone was painting right down the middle of my back, then went crazy with a bunch of tiny paintbrushes all over it all at once. It was cold and def not what I was expecting. I remember Paula came over and threw the bee or something. Shot it. Came back and read somethin off my back.

"What? How the gently caress am I supposed to know? It didn't come to mind to ask! Christ!

"That's right, the pain started after she got back.

“It was like liquid fire went down my spine. The little paintbrushes? Turned into little branding irons. I was screamin my rear end off and I feel a weird kinda heat comin up the back of my head, I can’t handle it, I’m losin it.

“Weird poo poo, though? I’m pissin myself and I hear Paula. Sounds like she's dictatin a goddamn business letter or some poo poo. Like a fuckin secretary. When she shuts up every part of me just ignites. Yeah, arms and legs, hands, fingers, toes. And I couldn’t move anymore. I think I just stopped screamin whenever the hell cuz I’m just totally lyin there limp as gently caress and hard as hell.

“I dunno how long I went like that. I, uh. I think Paula came at me with this huge-rear end needle. Came from her suitcase, I don’t really remember. She goes back to it, I think, to put the needle down. I think she sucked something from my neck. Yeah, I think that’s what happened because I can start moving a little bit after that. And the little thing was a gross milky pink. You know, the clear thing. The chamber on the needle. She poked that poo poo into a worm or something and smashed it into the tree. Or somethin.

“What? No, I didn’t ask why, I was too busy being paralyzed and thrown into the back of a van! Yeah, how kind of them to drop me off when I could barely walk! gently caress, you guys.

“Go to the desert with the short woman with the overcoat. Best time you’ll ever have, I promise you. Easy money, to boot.”

That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Djeser posted:

THE FLASH RULES
Your character is holding an item from the beginning of your story to the end. They do not put it down.
In, and I'll use this one.

That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

The Beautiful End
96 words


The pristine towers in the far distance were spears raking at the bruised sky in defiance. The sky above them remained an inky purple despite the never-ending bands of dazzling white light ringing the tops of the towers.

Two women sat and watched from their perch on a hill, each of them covered from head to toe in mud, fertilizer and body odor.

“You’d have to be crazy to live in that poo poo.”

“Truth.”

“How do they sleep with all the light?”

“Very badly.”

The pair laughed and returned to their house of dirt and brick.

That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In, , and being a little flexible with the prompt

That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Is it common for anyone else to ever write a story for this which then morphs into another story after doing and redoing it?

That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

For Royal Recognition
(935 words)


Donning the finest armor in the duchy, swinging a sword polished to a mirror shine down on the necks of her enemies—or wearing the plushest gown which would shimmer like morning dew as she was paraded to the Duchess’ side.

These thoughts fueled her legs as she lunged toward the irate Widow. The fiend untangled her envenomed maws and two screams split the air before she rushed to meet the insolent challenger. She roared when one sapling-sized leg was lopped off with a primitive farming tool, then again when she lost two, then three.

Nuri’s ears rang as she ducked from the dripping fangs champing down at the space she just occupied. She swung again, taking out about half the creature’s pale legs while getting spattered with bitter ichor. The monster still had surprising mobility despite old wounds and new, but now snapped at her back with one maw as the other threatened to deafen her.

She expected to get atop the creature when she was snatched out the air, hanging from the Widow’s heaving maw and choking on her fetid breath.

The voice of the ragged man that tasked her this in the first place came to mind, drowning out the fury of the fiend holding her. Even in memory, she could feel the fool’s low voice in her chest.

“So there’re mighty among the uninitiated!” The man’s spryness had defied his age when he flipped from the dusty rail with enviable deftness. “Were I thirty years younger I would be at your side, if nothing but to see the legendary trees!”

Once performing and prophesizing for the Duchess, he escaped with his head intact at Her mercy and resorted to busking in a country inn. His uncanny wisdom became obscene babble once it soured like milk, becoming unfavorable to Her rule. At Nuri’s request, he once repeated his obscenities: the Duchess’ son shall fall ill, and no healer in the duchy would cure him.

But Nuri’s no healer. She bellowed as she felt force crinkling her stolen armor. “For the Duchess! For my sword!”

She was back in the moment and drove her sickle into the Widow’s complex mandibles. The girl dropped to the ground and hooked her remaining sickle into the underbelly of the Widow, running to her behind. The scalding heat of the Widow’s insides flattened the girl’s fiery hair.

The Widow tried turning, but teetered over before she could take a final look at her slayer. Her remaining legs gave way and she dropped into the oozing pile beneath her, using her fading strength to try and pull herself together.

Nuri backed away, then moved further through the narrow valley. The fool’s faith in her was well-placed—or did he foresee her victory? Once past the cocoons and corpses, she found the means to her prizes: the alluring green of a grove the Widow must’ve used to lure victims.

No webs blocked the blessed sunlight here. Few trees basked in the warmth, their slender branches heavy with fruit with bright rinds. Nuri reached for a not-quite ripe one, taking her travel time into account. Citrus oil eked out as she tugged it from the tree, the perfume overpowering the rotten odor about her and coaxing a series of sneezes from her. She held onto the fruit with a grimy hand, set on meeting the fool back at his old home, and perhaps her new one.

----------

Leaning against the wall was the second luxury afforded to Nuri since washing her hands moments ago. The sound of the Duchess’ son retching made her own stomach curl. She prayed he was, in fact, “purging the poison” and she didn’t push him into a violent death by making him drink the “panacea’s” juice.

Being forced to connect a face to the title made her feel for his situation, and not well. A boy about her age was on the other side of the door. His emaciated frame wilted into his sweat-soaked bed clothes, which made it impossible to know where he ended and the sheets started. He wouldn’t, or couldn’t, speak. It was Nuri’s first time seeing someone so ill, and she never wanted to see anything like it again.

Pessimism took her over. So much doubt clouded her mind, and she wanted more than anything to be proven wrong, to know that the boy will survive.

The heavy door opened, and the fool was followed by the scent of something bitterer than bile. He looked as terrible as Nuri felt, but he smiled nonetheless.

“Is he still alive?”

“He rests.”

“I'm going to see him.”

“By all means!”

She was past him before the fool finished speaking. Rinsed bedpans and basins lined her path to the boy’s bedside. The odor made her eyes water, but she was still able to see his drenched figure when she kneeled at his side. He breathed much easier now.

The low voice came from behind her. “The Duchess will know of your deeds, I promise you.”

“I,” Nuri paused. When she spoke again, her voice did not raise higher than a murmur. “I didn’t do this for the Duchess. I just wanna know when he gets better so I can talk to him.”

“To get to know Marcus. Excellent.”

That sounded a little too confident to be a guess. His comment brought up a memory from when she first met the fool. “Did you already know that I would help the b—Marcus?”

“Perhaps.” His jovial attitude reappeared since Nuri rendezvoused with him on the outskirts of the city. “Nonetheless, I may rest easy for now.”

That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

tenniseveryone posted:

I've got nothing on this week so I'll do some in-depth crits if anyone wants them? First come, first served (I'll do maybe four).

EDIT: I'll post them post-judgement.
I would like a crit post-judgement as well.

That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In.

That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'm in, and ed.

My gift is an infection.

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That Old Ganon
Jan 2, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Hellhound
1304 words

Teeth champed together when they were ripped out of Audley’s arm. Lieutenant Sara slammed the child to the floor while the recruit clapped his free hand over his gushing wound in an attempt to staunch the bleeding. His attacker was lying on the ground, looking as stunned as Audley felt. The young man’s blood painted the birthmark on the child’s back, making the image of the grinning white dog look like it recently had its own meal. He remained rooted to the spot, incapable of thinking he was anything other than seven years old again. Where was Ma? That dog is going to get up and hurt him again!

Sara had to pull Audley from the witch’s cabin. Audley was moving, but he wasn’t sure where. All he knew was that the dog was gone for now.

--

“I promise you, she won’t get away with assaulting one of my men.” Lieutenant Sara stood from Audley’s bedside. “I’ll be back to check on you tomorrow. Get some rest, rookie.”

Red started creeping from underneath the bandage. Audley wiped his brow and found that the discolored skin was extremely hot to his forehead. Even though it was the morning after, he couldn’t stop reliving the moment where the freakish child bit into him and had to be yanked off him. He wondered what he would do if the moment continued disrupting him like this. Everything should have just not happened so he can go back to his routine, like before the witch showed up.

Lieutenant Sara had left the room while he lied there shivering. He was alone in his bedroom in his mother’s house. He retreated under the covers. Everything sounded like big dogs that would tear him to pieces. The mattress groaning beneath him became growling. The heavy curtains rubbing against the windows in the breeze became scratching. Right before exhaustion took him, Audley considered shutting the window and sleeping on the floor.

--

Audley opened his eyes to silence. The curtains weren’t moving, the bed made no noise. He was feeling good. At this rate, everything should be back to normal come morning. He couldn’t wait to get back to his usual routine.

He stepped out to the living room. Usually he would here Ma snoring in her room, but it was dark, and there was no sound whatsoever, not even when he tripped over the ottoman.

Audley landed on his wounded arm, and his scream was a blend surprise and frustration. It was the only thing to reach his ears in the deafening silence. He tried pulling his legs underneath him when one wouldn’t move. He paused, breathing hard and exhausted all over again. The cool floor drew the heat from his damp cheek. He felt himself falling back to sleep until he heard rhythmic tapping on the hardwood floor. But Audley couldn’t be bothered to turn onto his back until he felt something sharp dig into his leg. He looked over his shoulder and saw the largest dog he had ever seen in his life, which was very white and very visible in the darkness. It became the only thing he could see, and with alarming clarity. Audley could even count every curved fang it its mouth after it bared them at him in an upturned snarl. He kicked at the beast on instinct, and hollered when the feral monster deftly snatched his foot out the air.

The teeth closing on him brought the familiar panic and pain. Audley’s hysterical shouting was more of a reflex as he flailed, helpless. He couldn’t get a grip on the floor, he slipped whenever he tried to move. He turned back and felt the agony of his shattered ankle dropping to the ground. Before he could try to move again, it was pinned with filthy claws.

Every movement, every effort he made was thwarted by unseen forces. Audley could only watch teeth sink into his leg and part his muscle from bone with a sound akin to oranges being peeled. His dark skin blanketed the beast’s white fangs, his blood coated the dog’s pale, shaggy legs.

He tried kicking again, but his free leg wouldn’t move. Every new shriek grew weaker and dimmed his vision. Watching the monster hound devour him grew more difficult with every agonizing second when finally, Audley couldn’t see, hear, or mercifully feel anything.

--

Ma was very hesitant to let Audley out of her sight. It was all Lieutenant Sara’s doing that got him back into bed after they found him on the floor, and she couldn’t handle him alone should he fall into another “fit” because Sara wasn’t here at the moment.

Ma insists he only had a fever dream, but Audley couldn’t and wouldn’t be convinced otherwise. His leg was as crippled as his arm now, and for whatever reason, Ma would refuse to acknowledge the scars he got from being attacked. It took days for him to stop seeing the white dog easily pulling him apart whenever he closed his eyes.

It took only a couple days for Audley to get fed up. He waited for his mother to go to the grocer before using the mop as a makeshift walking stick. He stepped outside, wanting to get back into his routine, and right now he would usually be making his way to the barracks.

However, it felt very strange outside. The evening air was stiller than a cat readying to pounce. Audley caught the crowd out of the corner of his eye, and turned in time to see it surge up the path leading to the witch’s house on the hill. He followed, wondering if seeing Lieutenant Sara up near the front was just his mind playing tricks on him.

Audley shed the mop on the way up the hill. He moved faster without the mop, but with much more of a limp. The young man hurried at the faint scent of smoke, though the sneezes from the smoke tickling his nostrils nearly toppled him over on several occasions.

It was dark by the time Audley climbed to the top of the hill. The shouting and clamoring grew louder until the sound of glass shattering calmed the crowd for an instant. As soon as Audley breached the hill, he watched people pitch fire into the witch’s cabin. He was in no shape to stop them, nor did he actually want to.

The witch will be gone, and everything will be back to the way it was before she arrived!

He walked behind the cabin while the crowd cheered behind his back, shouting about the witch burning along with her “avatar of disease.” Far fewer people were back here throwing rocks through windows and chucking torches after them.

Audley was thought to make sure the fire wouldn’t spread to the surrounding trees when he caught a face in the window. The child was still in there.

If that kid lived through the ordeal, he’s gonna grow up hating fire. Audley would’ve laughed if he wasn’t reminded of how he acted the last time he was in that cabin.

Fire licked at the curtains in the windows.

That white dog on his back, that brand of being malice incarnate. The witch was crazy enough to take that in and flaunt it.

He cleared the barricaded back door of the scrap that blocked it.

Maybe the child didn’t ask to be known in such a way. The embodiment of disease and decay.

Audley kicked the backdoor open, to the protest of the villagers behind him.

The child was creepy, never said anything, and the last time he tried talking to him, he was bitten in response. But Audley couldn’t brush away the fact that past the unfortunate birthmark was still a child.

Audley charged into the cabin.
----------------

Brought: Infection
Exchanged: An unwanted avatar
Host gift: psychological horror

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