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QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


I need motivation to write so I am in.

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QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


(#28)

Death in Dorset - 723 words

When the Earl of Dorset entered the chamber, he was greeted by angry murmurs. A thousand men had come to complain. The largest crowd yet. Mayors, barons, soldiers and priests huddled together and watched him with distrustful eyes. The young Earl positioned himself on his throne and motioned for the visitors to begin. The room erupted in shouts.

“My liege, this has got to end. You’ve disrupted the natural order!” said a heavy-set fisherman, who managed to make himself heard over the din by banging his spear against a pillar until the room quieted. His flesh pulsed as he spoke and his face contorted in agony.

“My family can’t eat!” he hunched over in pain as his gut writhed.

A priest forced his way forward, shoving aside a cavalryman whose neck was held together by a single tendon. The soldier’s head rolled across his chest and fell with a snap to the floor. Someone behind him fainted.

“I haven’t been able to get a moment of quiet in days. My entire congregation thinks the End Times are upon us and yesterday someone stole the tabernacle. They are passing the Eucharist out like sweets. It’s sacrilegious!”

“Uh yeah?” shouted someone from the back, “You try takin uh poo poo recently? Chamberpots ah literally overflowing. I can’t take so much as uh stroll down tha street without stepin in it. There’s filth everywhere.”

The complaints continued. Meat writhed and breathed even after being served. Pox victims walked the streets, dropping mounds of flesh behind them. Abbeys were overcrowded with the injured whose wounds would not heal. Stone slabs had to be dragged onto graves to prevent the dead from wiggling to freedom and there were rumors that the Pope was going to excommunicate the entire realm for offenses against God.

The Earl raised a hand and a hush fell over the crowd. Somewhere in the distance, a building collapsed.

“And what would you all ask me to do about these atrocities?”

“Your Grace,” the fat man managed to settle the fish swimming in his stomach, “we intercede on behalf of your prisoner, Death.”

The Earl frowned, “But how can I release a creature who stands accused of treason against myself and my family. It would not be just! You know how I found him, do you not?”

“Yes, my liege. The entire county-”

“I returned from the hunt early and found the beast skulking in my personal quarters, trying to break into my wife’s room, trying to intimidate the midwife into opening the door,” he was shouting now, “Is this the thing you want released? A fiend that preys on the weak? A monster that would deprive me and the entire realm of an heir? I am not about to let MY authority be undermined!”

“My liege,” said the priest, suddenly looking very old, “perhaps we can negotiate with Death? Agree upon a ransom? Please. I don’t think the county can survive anymore upheaval. Let him go under the condition that he spare your dynasty.”

The Earl combed a grey hair from his face and motioned for his guards to bring Death from its cell.

The prisoner was brought into the chamber with thick manacles covering its arms and legs. Once more, a hush fell over the crowd and they parted to let the figure pass. Death smiled and bowed before the throne.

“Thank you for the audience, Edward. Your hospitality is uncommon.”

The Earl frowned at the creature before him, “Death, I have brought you here to negotiate the terms of your release. Surrender all claims over my dynasty and you shall be freed.”

“Edward,” said Death, tilting his head at an angle that gave the Earl a headache, “You are too hasty! What reason do I have to negotiate with you?”

“I could have you thrown into the oubliette for eternity. Do you think I can’t hold you? My cells are impenetrable.”

Death’s eyes, unmoving, watched everyone in the room at once. The rusted chains around his arms bent as they scraped together, “Ach, but you are too hasty! My companion is here to rescue me. Your walls cannot stop him. Even now, he rallies at my defense.”

“And who,” said the Earl, brushing dust from his robe, “would befriend Death?”

“Time,” the creature said over the roar of crumbling bricks and decaying mortar.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Heirs of Apollo - 88 words

Anticipation grows below as the capsule touches down on the Lunar surface, the fat complacent attitude of decades past forgotten. Even now, the people speak in hushed tones and giddy whispers. They know their life’s work is realized in this one moment and that millions have toiled to see today. No matter what happens next, the people will tell their children that, like the gods, they were masters of heaven. It is difficult to focus through the tears.

On television screens around the Earth, the pod door opens.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


I'm in.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


The Duty – curlingiron
Unlike many entries this week, your piece is an actual piece of Epic fiction. Your descriptions are vivid and help set the tone. My biggest issue is your phrasing. The second sentence goes on way too long and I noticed two punctuation errors. I understand what you were trying to do with the last sentence but it is a jarring change from the fantasy that defines the rest of the piece.

Bear Mountain – Assoonasitits
Lacks the overwrought poetic descriptions that define most Epics. I would focus on improving that in your next submission. There is also something weird going on with your prose that causes me to lose my sense of rhythm while reading your submission. Your piece raises too many questions for its length and is otherwise really dull.

You Always Remember Your First – Tyrannosaurus
This is actually my favorite submission, even if it does not strictly comply with the prompt. You’ve made a short story that captures a lot of comedy and emotion for its length. Jake and Adam sound like real people. If I were to criticize anything, it would probably be the last sentence in the third paragraph. I am not a fan of the repetition. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the story.

Unyielding – Entenzahn
Your entire first paragraph does nothing to move the plot forward or tell me about the heathen god. This would be acceptable in a larger work of fiction but you needed to be economic with your words. Some of your word choices are questionable and I do not really understand whether the content is meant to be metaphorical or real.

People really liked killing God for their prompt this week, didn’t they?

Dark Strings – Black Griffon
After last week, I am beginning to suspect that goons have some unresolved baggage involving religion. Your descriptions are well-done and give me a good mental image about what is happening. I particularly like you equating the demon’s explosion “with the force of a small-yield nuke.” My biggest issue is your ending but that might just be because so many people ended on one-liners.

Depths – Mr_Wolf
Meh. It is an epic struggle but your descriptions do not jive well with the setting. If the “blue and white” is meant to be crewmembers, then that could be clearer. The middle paragraph is badly constructed. You are either missing or misusing punctuation and it is really distracting. There is nothing that connects “freezing salt water shuts the captain up” to your dialogue despite it being included on the same line.

Life sucks – No Longer Flaky
Your story is not an Epic but an extended description. Unfortunately, I am not sure what you want to describe because your prose is really vague. I think it might be an eye, but I have no idea. Your story leaves me with the impression that you do not know how a comma works.

Heartseeker – JamieTheD
The submission tries but fails to achieve a sustained elevation of style. There should be an “and” between “a battered iron helm” and “a fur loincloth.” There is a disconnect between the distant, impersonal description in the first paragraph and the second paragraph, where the narrator describes a fight against the subject. Reads like Skyrim fan fiction.

Untitled – Sitting Here
One of the few pieces submitted this week that covers all the characteristics an Epic should have. It also has an identifiable conflict and resolution, which is a plus. The descriptions do their job and make me want to read more of the story. It’s a breath of fresh air compared to several other pieces.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


sebmojo posted:

If anyone wants a crit from me for their story from the last week's prompt, post a link to it in the next day or so (and no, it will not halve your word count).

http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...2#post424357505

I would appreciate any feedback.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Geriatrics - 590 words

Clara Lansbury disliked funerals and avoided them out of habit. While her friends got enjoyment from knowing they had outlived their peers, Clara did not consider it healthy for the elderly to dwell on death. Today, however, was an exception. Her doctor was dead and Clara wanted to see if anyone suspected she poisoned the poor bastard.

“I just can’t believe he’s gone,” said the widow, proving herself as useless as ever, “Hank and I were planning to move down to Florida. I don’t know what happened.”

“The police haven’t mentioned anything, dear?” said Clara, trying to be patient after enduring thirty minutes of rambling stories and incoherent sobbing.

The woman shook her head, “No, they haven’t told me anything. I don’t know what they are waiting for.”

Clara nodded in agreement and excused herself. She had already thought the scheduling of the funeral suspicious, most people wanted to have the service as soon as possible. Arranging the ceremony a week after death was pushing the limits of acceptability. It was obvious that the police suspected foul play and had tried holding the body. The stupid woman hadn’t put the facts together.

Clara mingled around the room, collecting facts and snippets of idle chatter.

“Oh yeah, it took them forever to get back the body. It took so long that they seriously considered making the ceremony closed casket-.”

“Well, my brother plays golf with the city coroner on Sundays up at Lake Shore and according to him, Dr. Brenshac was given a lethal dose of his own medication! I could hardly believe-.”

“I guess you can’t say the family isn’t stingy. Look at all these hydrangeas, they aren’t even in season-!”

“…and the family just took out a life insurance policy too. My office is handling the case. It’s all mighty suspicious if you ask me.”

The room was a swirl of idle chatter. Everyone agreed that the doctor’s death was not natural, he had been far too young. The only person who suggested otherwise was the wife, which the guests found extremely suspicious.

“I bet she bumped him off,” Clara heard waiting in line for the viewing, “she’s got a big inheritance coming, you know.”

“Oh, don’t talk like that! Lana’s devoted to her husband. She would never,” someone whispered.

“I’m telling you. It’s all an act. She was sick and tired of his poo poo. You know he was messing around with his patients?”

Clara knew that fact firsthand.

“The cops are just waiting for confirmation that the doctor was poisoned. Then they’re going to lock her up. She’s the only person with a motive and access to the murder weapon. The house is filled with drugs.”

Clara didn’t hear the rest of the conversation because she was too busy with her own thoughts. Even if she didn’t fit the psychological profile of a killer, it would not be long before the widow was arrested. The insurance scheme was too juicy a motive to ignore. The media would devour her and the police would not stand in the way of an easy arrest. Clara estimated that the whole ordeal would be over in a few months. No one would question the old arthritic crone, let alone suspect her.

Clara reached the coffin and looked down at the man that she had killed. The mortician had done a wonderful job giving him the illusion of life. It seemed impossible that he was actually dead. She could almost see his eyes bulging open in surprise, his mouth widening to scream, nostrils flaring. It was a wonderful sight.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


I am in.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


In with Hydrogen.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Word Count: 718
Element: Hydrogen


Emilie’s husband spoke in a low voice, “It’s okay, Emmy. It’s okay. I’ve got you.”

He squeezed her wrist and looked at the man next to him, “Paul, run to the ship’s doctor and bring him here. She’s having a fit.”

Emilie no longer knew where she was. Breathing stopped, the muscles in her face flexed. She scrambled her legs, trying to get up but only jerked around useless. Paul’s hand slipped from her wrist. Her second attempt to get up caused her legs to tangle around themselves and the chair slid out from underneath her body. She felt her head smash to the floor but there was no pain. Images raced through her mind. Her mouth tasted like copper wiring.

Paris was broken but London still burned. She could taste the rot seeping through her. The bombs had destroyed everything. No museum was left standing but even this was insufficient.

Something hard and cold forced its way over the ruin of her tongue. In the distance, weeping and the gnashing of teeth. People backed away as she writhed, chairs toppled over and dishes smashed. She forced away her senses in favor of delirium. The visions were clearer.

Stalingrad was only a memory. The Eagle marched onward, fearsome and terrible, defiling everything in its midst. Only disaster could slow its progress. How would they explain their failure to future generations?

“Emmy, Emmy!” it was a chant, a ritual that her husband liked to perform before unwilling audiences. Was it love or hate she felt? Her head felt hazy.

These zeppelins are vulnerable. One spark! One spark and they would collapse in a cacophony of flames. What would Hitler say to that? How weak he would seem then!

It was in these moments that she understood everything. Her husband dismissed the fits as the product of misplaced electric signals, but Emilie knew better. She had dumped the medicine bottle in the sink, wondering if its contents would end up in the Arctic. It was her quiet rebellion against tyranny.

The airship burst into flames and fell upon the moor-masting. The Eagle’s spies cooked alive, their plans were ash in her mouth. She knew what was needed. She understood God’s plan.

The doctor arrived. He bent over Emilie’s form and turned her over, allowing her secretions to drain. There they sat for several minutes as the tremors stopped and the visions faded. She could hear people exhaling in relief as she finally stopped moving.

“Madame,” said the doctor in a thick German accent, “Do you know where you are?”

She did not want to respond but forced words through the exhaustion and swollen tongue, “An airship.”

“Can you tell me what the name of the ship is?” If she ignored the swastika lapel, the doctor seemed like a very nice man.

“The Hindenburg.”

“Good. And what year is it?”

A pause.

“1937?”

The doctor smiled and looked at her husband.

“I think the worst is over. Does your wife have a history of seizures?”

“Yes, but this is the first major episode that she’s had in some time. She’s been taking phenobarbital for the last couple years.”

“These things do tend to come and go. I’d like her to stay in bed until we get to New Jersey. The supplies on board really only deal with minor injuries. It will only be a few more hours. She can be taken to a hospital when we land.”

Emilie’s husband nodded and without another word, scooped her up from the floor. She rested her head against her husband’s shoulder as he carried her to the room.

“You really gave me a scare,” he said after depositing her on the bed, “I thought you’d swallow your tongue.”

She stared at the ceiling in silence. The room seemed to throb.

“Are you going to be alright?”

Emilie turned her head toward him, “Yeah, I know what I need to do.”

“Do you want me to see if I can get some sedatives from the doctor?” he said, misinterpreting her once again.

She smiled, “That would be lovely, Erich.”

He left the room. Emilie allowed herself to wait several minutes before getting up again. Although her limbs felt heavy, Emilie knew that she had a duty to perform, an obligation to God. It would not take much to ignite the hydrogen in the ship.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


I'm in.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Language Barriers
748 Words
SET: 6575 Polar Base
FLASH RULES: Tower of Babel, Hardboiled

I know that if we are going to escape, it will have to be today. The weather’s clear for the first time in days and I don’t want to press my luck. The lights won’t stay on forever. My fingers brush over my hipflask, hidden beneath the uniform. It’s been empty for a long time, but old habits die hard. If I ever escape this drifting ice station, the first thing I want is a drink.

Sighing, I leave the medical facility and make my way to the control tower. Sitting there are five of the last humans on earth.

“Captain Ross, you wanted us?” asks Doc, he’s Swedish but the only one other than myself who speaks English.

“Yes,” I say, “we need to seriously consider leaving. The base, I mean.”

The medic nods, but the rest are silent. Communication is difficult in an international mission like this one. Researchers are supposed to know English before joining, but the rules are often bent by Control. Being an expert climatologist is more important than knowing six languages. The official mechanisms to deal with this type of situation broke down weeks ago.

Doc turns to face to one of the explorers, “Мы должны покинуть базу.” Knowing English and Russian, he’s an indispensable conduit. The Russian nods and shifts toward our pilot. This time the phrase is, “私たちは残している.”

I wait several minutes as the game of telephone continues. The phrase becomes, “我们要走,” then “نحن راحلون.” I can only hope nothing is lost in translation.

“أية حالة علينا مغادرته,” says Cosmo. He’s brilliant but because conversations require five intermediaries, we rarely speak. His question is translated as, “When?”

“Now. The weather’s okay and I don’t know when we’ll get another day like it again.”

“我们可以用直升机,因为我知道勒有一个直升机停机坪” says Scooter. Three minutes and Doc relays the message to me.

“No, the winds are still too strong to use the helicopter. Even in this weather it’d crash. Probably wouldn’t get a mile.” I pause, both to let the conversation reach our pilot and to listen to the wind outside. Even though this place was built with the highest quality materials, it still sounds like the base could be blown away at any moment.

“I would recommend using the ice truck, we should have enough gas left to get us into Greenland,” Doc translates from Russian, but I can barely hear him over Cosmo’s shouting. He’s shaking his head like an idiot.

“What’s he saying?” I ask, only to hear the question repeated in two different languages.

Doc speaks slowly, bracing himself for an explosion, “He says… that we can’t leave now. That he received a transmission a couple of days ago telling-.”

“What? When did we receive a transmission? When did this happen?”

Scooter, the pilot, and Cosmo are shouting over each other. This discussion is giving me a headache. There’s a reason I boarded myself up in the medical facility after orders stopped coming in. Trying to deal with these people is exhausting. I wonder if Champollion felt the same way when he worked on the Rosetta Stone.

“The message came a few days ago on a low frequency, while Cosmo was trying to sleep,” Doc pauses to listen to the voices, “There are some survivors left in the ISS-? No, sorry, Siberia. Some survivors are in Siberia. They know people are up here. They promised to save-.”

My eyes roll so hard they almost fall out, “And who would they be, exactly? These survivors? Do you think they have the resources to find us before we freeze? Do you think that it’s even real? You know better, Doc. Scooter’s screwed up before.”

The pilot puts her hand on my shoulder but her tone is condescending. I expect that she is emphasizing the need for cooperation, but it’s too much for me. I stand up.

“Look, I don’t care. I don’t care if someone’s coming. It doesn’t matter,” my voice echoes in the damaged tower, “I’m not here to debate. I’m getting the truck now. I’m sick to death of all you.”

Before they can begin translating again, I storm out. If I can’t get the truck started, I’ll just drink the fuel and be done with them.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


In.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Systran, longer crit please. My story is: The brave man walks through fire

EDIT: I wrote the action scene in my section because I hadn't done any action before. My stories are almost always, "People talking in a room together." I would appreciate any pointers you have on writing fight scenes.

QuoProQuid fucked around with this message at Mar 4, 2014 around 01:16

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


I'll do this.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Gold
952 Words

Benny heaved against the hundred dollar bills being shoved down his throat. The money tasted gritty and dirty. It scraped against his cheeks, obstructing airways, preventing oxygen from reaching his lungs. He twisted in his chair, trying to escape, but the remaining members of the Scott Jones Financial Group held him firm in the chair. Benny hovered on the edge of unconsciousness before a hand forced its way through his teeth and removed the bills. The financial planner shook his hand in disgust as Benny sputtered. Across the room, he heard clapping.

“Congrats, Benjamin, on making it to Claremont. I hope you are enjoying your prize as much as my associates are. We at the Scott Jones Financial Group do pride ourselves on customer satisfaction,” CEO Scott Jones smiled like a cat with its canary.

Benny’s captor waved his hand. The mob of investors stepped back, but not far enough away for Benny to be outside their reach.

“I think I’m supposed to do now is ask if you are comfortable now. Are you comfortable, Benny? Can I get you anything? Anything at all? I’d like to get started with business as quickly as possible,” he continued.

Benny looked around. The room was matted in old stock charts and financial reports. Tattered newspapers sat in a mound near the door. Against the wall was a map of North America, covered in pushpins. Benny recognized the locations. He had been at these places only a few weeks prior to trade.

“Please,” his captor insisted, “I want to make sure that you’re alright. That you aren’t seriously hurt. I want you to be as comfortable as possible before we begin the questioning.”

An investor tapped him on the shoulder. He looked up at a woman in a tattered pantsuit and a face covered in war paint. It looked like it had been applied with lipstick.

“The thing with the money was just a joke, a stress reliever,” laughed the woman, “Benjamins for Benny. Isn’t that funny? It’s been a stressful few weeks.”

Scott nodded, “Yes, of course. That was just our little way of paying you. Cash for gold.”

Eight weeks ago, Benny left his friend to die in a mine near Michoacán. He had loaded the gold that they had found into his truck with the intent of starting a new life. Benny made his way to California, using regular trips to pawn shops to pay for gas, food, lodging and eventually smuggling.

Meanwhile, the world suffered a calamity that he did not understand. Banks closed shop. Stocks vanished. There were riots in the streets and revolutions abroad. Wall Street firms became gangs and khanates overnight, raiding small towns and suburbia in search of gold, the only thing worth trading on after the dollar disappeared.

“I don’t know what you are talking about. I- I’m sorry but-,” whined Benny.
The woman leaned into him, her dirty matted hair rubbing against his neck. The smell of sweat and dirt filled his nostrils.

“Don’t gently caress around, Benny. We’ve been following your trail for a while now. A long while. Nobody trades that much without getting noticed, especially not now,” the woman hissed, spittle spraying flying from her mouth.

“Where’s the gold, Benny?” Scott Jones added, looming over the desk now. His eyes were wide and teeth bared. He looked more like a vicious dog than an accountant.

Benny looked around the room and spluttered. “I’m sorry… I can’t. I just-.”

Scott Jones raised his gun and screamed, “I’m not loving ‘round this time, Benny. You have any idea how god drat hard it is to build equity these days? I’ve got half of California paying me tribute and that still isn’t enough to cover all the weapons, caravan, and periodical expenses.”

“Please,” implored Benny, his voice cracking like a child going through puberty, “You don’t understand! I don’t have it anymore!”

The woman leered, “Bull-loving-poo poo. Your last purchase was three days ago and-.”

“No, that’s the issue! I got robbed in Rassgart. The money’s gone! Jesus Christ, don’t kill me.”
The room was silent.

“Excuse me? Did you say Rassgart?” Scott Jones murmured, in a voice barely distinguishable from the wind outside. Benny had landed a blow.

“Yeah,” he persisted, gaining confidence, “I was trying to trade for a boat in Rassgart to get to Pyongyang or Havana or something and had the whole load in the back of the pick-up truck.”

The financial advisors watched him, awestruck.

“Anyway, I was going through town and got stopped by these guys who, uh, stole the truck.”
Scott Jones stood up from his chair at the head of the table and walked toward Benny before kneeling down to eye-level. He seemed mesmerized.

“Benjamin, listen to me. This is very important,” he muttered, “Can you describe the people who took the truck. Name? Age? Appearance? Anything at all?”

Benny scoffed, “Of course. The one guy’s name was Holmes and he was driving a dog catcher truck or something? His name was definitely Holmes, though.”

“Motherfucker,” the female accountant sighed, “It’s the Dogs of Rassgart. It’ll take weeks to track down the gold again.”

Scott Jones cradled his head in his hands. “We spent so much time trying to track this guy down. Oh my God. I was so confident that-.”

The woman knelt beside her employer and patted him on the back.

“I mean, you guys aren’t the only gang in California. There are other groups who would want the gold,” Benny interrupted, having forgotten that he was still a captive.

The Scott Jones Financial Group looked at each other, disgusted. It was obvious that they would get no value out of this hostage.

“Let’s use kill him.”

QuoProQuid fucked around with this message at Mar 10, 2014 around 04:04

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


QuoProQuid posted:

Gold
952 Words

“Let’s use kill him.”

I disgracefully tried to fix the last line of my story before it could be registered in the Archive. I restored it back to its original wording, even though it shows that an edit was made.

QuoProQuid fucked around with this message at Mar 10, 2014 around 04:19

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


I am excited for this prompt!

In.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Can I get a flash rule for this week's prompt, please?

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Ghost Stories for Children
832 Words

Sara ran up the stairs, her breath heavy and ragged. All around, the house creaked and moaned, its structure unstable. She reached her bedroom and without looking back, slammed the door. With her whole weight against its frame she fumbled with the handle, trying desperately to lock the door. Even after hearing the lock’s familiar click, her hands shook. She struggled to listen over the blood pounding in her head but the house was silent.

“Tommy,” she said, not sure whether to shout or whisper, “this isn’t funny. Come out or I’m telling Mom.”

A minute passed. Her brother didn’t respond.

“Tommy, I’m serious!”

Her brother obsessed with scaring her. Every day, after school, Tommy would be on the internet. The lights off in the office and the blinds closed. She could only see his face by the dim glow of the monitor. He would watch as she put away her books, a smile spreading across his face.

“Hey Sara,” he said, “did you know that Cry Baby Bridge is called that because mothers used to throw their unwanted babies-.”

“Stop it! I don’t want to hear it!” Sara stomped to her room.

She had complained to her parents but it just made him more determined. He would wait until they weren’t home to tell her stories. Stories about nuns hanging themselves at the local Catholic school, about crazed mothers burning houses to the ground with their children still inside, about monsters that lived in the woods. He talked about the Melon Heads, the Dark Man of Egypt Road, the Witch’s Grave. Tommy knew every local ghost story and was eager to inflict them on her, relishing her reaction to past carnage. His favorite stories to tell were about their house.

One night, her closet door had creaked open and a voice whispered, “You know how Mom got this house so cheap, right? The Hutchinsons used to live here, but one night a serial killer broke into the house.”

She knew her brother was hiding in her closet but she was too afraid to move. She remembered her parents talking about the Hutchinsons while she pretended to sleep. Her eyes watered in fear.

“They had a kid, you know. The family begged and pleaded but after the killer tied up the family, he smothered it in its crib. He killed the baby and hid it in the walls. Now the Hutchinsons roam the house, looking for someone to replace their baby.” He leaned out from the closet, his eyes wide. His mouth twitched as he tried not to laugh. “Maybe they’ll use you as a replacement.”

She chucked her lamp at his face. They both got extra chores. Sara had pushed her desk in front of the closet to prevent her brother from pulling the stunt again.

Even though she knew the stories were fake, a part of her still believed. Every night was long and sleepless. If she closed her eyes, the monsters would find her. Only by being alert could she be safe. Nothing could soothe these thoughts until Tommy stopped. That she was sure of. She decided to scare her brother into submission. A classmate let her borrow an old Halloween mask.

Sara had prepared to confront her brother, but the house was empty when she got home. The lights were on in every room. Someone had lifted the windows in the office and a light breeze blew through the house. The effect was eerie, as if the entire house had been sapped of life. She took a step forward.

Then, without warning, something moaned. Not the pipes, but something distinct and human. There were footsteps in the kitchen. The front door swung shut. She turned and dropped her book bag, the mask rolled onto the floor. Sara pulled the handle but the door was stuck. Three rooms away was smashing glass and falling chairs. Her worst nightmare realized.

Her mind raced through her brother’s stories. The Melon Heads only attacked in the woods. The nuns preyed at night. The only monster that could be in her house now were the Hutchinsons, looking for someone to replace their dead child. Looking for her. The ghosts would kill her if they saw her. She had run up to her room and hid.

Sara leaned against the wall. The room was deserted, except for the clothes and stuffed animals overflowing from a slit between her closet doors. Although cluttered, Sara was confident she could hide as long as necessary. Better for the ghosts to get distracted with someone else arriving home. Yet, the hairs stood up on the back of her neck. Something was wrong, out of place.

Sara stood up, looking at her room again. Her bed was unmade. Toys were strewn across the floor. Her desk was pushed against the wall and the closet door was ajar. She stared at the closet, heart pounding. Someone was inside the closet watching her, smiling.

She screamed as the door creaked open.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


I did line by line critiques for RunningIntoWalls, Masonity, Some Guy TT, and That Old Ganon for Week #84: Who You Gonna Call? but forgot to post them earlier.

I am also in for this week.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


sebmojo posted:

Arena Brawl

I need two volunteers, looking for people who've done a few rounds but haven't won.

There is glory here for the grasping. Do not let it lie.

Just got an opening in my schedule so I'll take a bite at this.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Sebstory

Vampire Bats
574 Words

The best bats are made from vampire bone. Vampire bats are slender, yet sturdy. Both durable and light. Unlike aluminum and wood, which require a strong grip, vampire bats cling to the skin and allow you to use all your strength in a swing. Athletes endorsed them on billboards and palace terraces. It was a sign of importance, of status. I had wanted one since my school established its own Little League team, but my parents, being poor peasants, couldn’t afford one in a million years. To join the team, extreme measures would need to be taken.

“Michael, you’re crazy.” Said Jessica, watching as I filled my book bag with silverware and garlic cloves. Our dog, a little shih tzu, clawed at my legs, excited to get out of the house. “You’re going to get yourself killed.”

Even though Jessica was three years older than me, we had become close friends through exposure. Our parents worked at the same farm and often shuffled us off together to avoid babysitter fees.

“Nuh-uh,” I said, “my dad and I watch Vampire Hunters all the time and slaying them is easy. They pretty much do nothing but sleep and make a stink. Isn’t that right, Bentley?”

Bentley yipped in approval.

“But the guys on the show have a bloodhound, Mikey. A bloodhound.”

“Same difference.” I strapped on a neck brace, protection against bites.

“Even if you do manage to find and kill one of those things, how do you plan on crafting the bat? That material is tough and doesn’t exactly come pre-packaged. You would need to-.”

“Already got it covered. My uncle works at the armory and makes stuff all the time. I’m sure that if we brought something to him he would help us.” I turned from my preparation and stared at her. “Come on, Jessie. I need help doing this. I don’t have any other choice.”
She rolled her eyes and left the room, returning a few minutes later with a knife. She pointed the knife at him and said, “Just so I don’t get blamed for your death.”

----

Despite Bentley’s cheerful ignorance as he went from grave to grave, sniffing the headstones, the mood was tense. I hid my hands in my shaking hands in my pockets and listened to Jessica’s ragged breathing. Most of the cemetery plots had been dug up by black market bat dealers, searching for something to put on the market, regardless of quality. This was how human bones ended up around the village, to the horror and disgust of their owners.

“This was a bad idea, Mikey. He’s not going to find anything,” Jessica whispered, but Bentley had already stopped in front of a small plot, its headstone faded. Claw marks across its face. The dog looked back at us, tongue wagging. I looked at Jessica and shrugged, removing two small shovels from my bag. We dug, ignoring the unnatural silence across the cemetery.

Jessica looked at me after the casket had been unburied. “So now what?”

Not having expected to get this far, I paused. “I guess we take the silverware and cut out its heart. That’s pretty much what they do on TV. Then we just cut out the bones, surgically.”

She took my backpack. “On the count of three then. One… two…”

I flipped open the casket and thrust my knife into the monster’s chest. This year I’d be joining the Little League team.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Don't know if I will be around in half an hour so I am posting my critiques now.

Critiques for NewsatFive and my Vampire stories.

I think News wins the contest by a mile.

QuoProQuid fucked around with this message at Apr 12, 2014 around 03:29

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


I'm ready to accomplish something this week!

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Hierophany
1029 Words

It took Sister Mary Margaret half an hour to find a brick large enough to smash open the window to the priest’s car. Another hour she spent cracking open the steering wheel, fumbling with the wires, trying to ignore the car’s blaring siren. A parishioner had exited the church, looking for the noise’s source before seeing her and retreating back inside. Her hands shook as she grabbed hold of the wire cutters.

“Have you tried the green wire yet?” Asked the Archangel Raphael, stretching one of its many wings in boredom, “I definitely think you should try the green wire.”

She closed her eyes and bit her lip, trying to remain calm. The angel had given the same suggestion for the last ten minutes.

“I’m sorry. I haven’t seen any wire like that.”

The angel shrugged and leaned against the door. “Not sure why you’re apologizing. It’s not your car.” Raphael cocked its head. “Anyways, you’ve got like ten minutes before Father Sullivan comes out or the police get here. I’ve seen every eventuality and there is not one that ends well with you standing here.”

Sister Margaret grunted, rolling back her sleeves and shoving the wire cutters back under the steering column. She had dressed in full habit and gown, expecting only to corral some fussy toddlers into the pews and attend an awful post-mass Easter brunch. Instead, a choir of trumpets and cherubim had descended into her office, interrupting her preparations for mass. Fire had split the floor asunder while the phone rang out a litany to the Communion of Saints. She had screamed, toppling her desk as the Archangel Raphael oozed into existence, screaming, “FEAR NOT: FOR BEHOLD, I AM ABOUT TO TAKE YOU TO A SWEET PARTY.”

Her mouth had hung open. Either she was having a stroke or a psychotic break. Archangels did not appear asking to be chauffeured to parties, nor did they talk as freely as the figure before her. Nonetheless, she had listened to Raphael’s request in a half-daze, interrupting only for clarification.

“So, uh, what exactly is the occasion?” She had asked, staring up at the being’s incomprehensible face.

The angel had rolled its eyes, “Well, it’s Easter. I’m sure you can put two and two together on this one, Sister.”

“Oh.” She had said, “And where do you need to go, exactly?”

“There’s a portal to heaven a few miles away in Elysium. We just need to get a ride down there, preferably in the coolest way possible.”

Lacking any means of transportation herself Sister Margaret Googled “how to hotwire a car” and went out to collect the necessary tools. There had not been any other way to fulfill the angel’s request.

Sister Mary Margaret wrapped two unmarked wires together and the alarm stopped mid-honk, replaced by the distant whales of police sirens. Another twist and the engine roared to life. She leaned over the steering wheel and smiled. The Archangel seemed just as pleased, giving her the thumbs up. Sister Mary Margaret floored the gas pedal. The car skidded out of the church parking lot onto the main road.

“Awesome.” Said the Archangel, unfazed by her driving, “I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but thanks for helping me out. I really didn’t want to have to fly in this year. That’s just so cliché. Metatron would never shut up about it.”

Cars swerved to let her pass, she was a latter day Moses parting the seas. The sirens seemed closer now. They had ten miles to Elysium.

“God always loves a good entrance. Exodus 24:9-11,” said Sister Margaret, adjusting her habit as it flapped in the wind. Behind her she could just make out the dim glow of red and blue lights. Her stomach roiled and blood pumped in her veins.

“Exactly. I mean, you got it right on the money there. How stoked is Jesus Christ, Lamb of God, going to be to see me pull up in a stolen vehicle driven by a Saint? Not your regular, lowercase saint but an honest-to-God, Church approved, uppercase Saint!”

Sister Mary Margaret turned to the Archangel, “You really think I’ll get to be a Saint?” She knew the process toward sainthood and that her actions were clear grounds for disqualification. Yet, some part of her relented. She had not felt this young in years. “Is that something that happens after this?”

The Archangel nodded, “Oh yeah, totally. I can totally see you being Saint of Carjackings. At least in some version of reality. Free will and causality are a real pain. If it happens, we’ll have to celebrate.”

There was no time to process these remarks. A helicopter swung low overhead, chopping the air. A police car veered across the median, throwing thick chunks of grass and dirt onto the roadway. The officer pulled alongside her, shouting instructions. The Archangel waved and rolled up its window.

“Not much farther now. You are going to want to take this next exit.”

She turned into the exit, grinding against the police car and causing the driver to almost lose control of his vehicle. They were now in a small forest, there was a small lake in the distance, the welcome sign to Elysium was almost hidden by brush. The helicopter was forced to end its pursuit for fear by the trees. It swung off toward an unknown destination.

“Turn right at the next intersection and go about half a mile. Then, we’ll be there. You’ve done just great, Sister.”

The stolen vehicle stopped in front of a small cottage, music pounding against the walls. Out on the front lawn, someone had mounted a sign reading, “THE LORD IS RISEN.” Easter rabbits decorated the roof. The area was otherwise empty.

“Yeah, I know. It doesn’t look like much. It’s really just a gate. Trust me though, everyone was watching that entrance. Omnipresence has its perks.” The Archangel faded through the door. “Come on, let’s get going before the police arrive.”

She left the car and made her way toward the door. Heart pounding in her chest, she followed the Archangel Raphael inside. It was a pretty sweet party.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


UNOFFICIAL FILLER PROMPT

Write a story inspired by the photo below:



125 words. No signups. Submissions last until the next prompt is up.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


In, with an additional self-imposed flash rule: No dialogue.

QuoProQuid fucked around with this message at Apr 22, 2014 around 17:50

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Trying to redeem myself for past failures. Better late than never.

quote:

Week LXXVII: Well gee, that's certainly something
Article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marlovian_theory
Title: The Rest is Silence
Word Count: 695 Words

Hamlet was shot mid-production by Oxfordian terrorists; his head painted Gertrude with a mass of blood and gore. By February, renewed attacks had spread outside London into Surrey and Kent. A children’s theatre was bombed after its production of Romeo and Juliet was deemed by a critic to have “pro-Baconian sympathies.” Riots broke out when Christopher Marlowe’s grave was found vandalized. UN Peacekeepers were deployed to protect the Globe Theatre after the attempted assassinations of several prominent historians who called Shakespeare’s historicity “undeniable” and the whole authorship question ridiculous.

Olivia tapped her fingers against the checkpoint wall, ignoring the weight hidden in the lining of her jacket. Possession of stolen Shakespeare paraphernalia was punishable by death. A patrol officer scanner her ID card for discrepancies.

“Name?”

“Olivia Morel,” she said, her heart skipping a beat. The book she was smuggling had unexpectedly shifted inside her jacket. It jutted out, exposed.

“Purpose?” He said, head still down. She pushed against the lump, but it refused to budge.

“Business.” She crossed her arms, trying to conceal the suspicious lump. Behind her stony expression, panic.

A pause. The officer made a note in his log, “And what did Shakespeare give to his wife in his will?”

Olivia rolled her eyes as though exasperated, “His second best bed.”

The officer shuffled her along. Olivia emerged on the other side of the security wall amid a crowd. On the corner, a small building labelled OLIVIA’S BOOKS & ANTIQUES stood, its windows boarded up. Ignoring the eviction notice on its front window, she took a small key from her pocket and opened the door. Most the furniture had been sold off and removed weeks ago, leaving behind only a few misshapen sofas and an unstable table. Her client arrived an hour later, she pushed the furniture into what she hoped would be an acceptable arrangement.

“You continue to surprise me, Olivia. I didn’t expect you to make it through the security gate,” said Sebastian, as he entered the shop with a briefcase, “You might save this place yet.”

He was an old friend gone rotten. They had known each other since primary school. Now, people talked about Sebastian in whispers and hushed voices. An unhealthy obsession with Christopher Marlowe motivated him to join several anti-Shakespearean terrorist groups.

“gently caress off, Seb. You got the money?”

Sebastian smiled, “That depends. You got the goods?”

She lifted the package above her head, a rare 1605 print of the play Cardenio. It was one of only three known copies, none of which had ever been read.

“Nice,” said Sebastian, lifting up the briefcase in a similar fashion, “Trade?”

Olivia hesitated, finding it difficult to forget the last time one of Shakespeare’s Lost Plays had been leaked. She could still remember the burning gasoline as thousands of English professors self-immolated in the streets. Loud noises reminded her of the tanks that had demolished Central London. Politicians still debated who had been more responsible, the Baconians or Derbyites.

She slid the book across the floor. Sebastian kicked the suitcase toward her.

“I really appreciate this, Olivia. You have no idea how helpful this will be for the movement.” Said Sebastian, but she was only half-listening as she crouched next to her reward. The suitcase contained more money than she could make in a lifetime. With it, she might pay off her debts, renovate the store, and afford some employees. Hell, she could open a franchise.

“I’ll let you know if I find anything else,” she mumbled, running her fingers through the crisp bills.

But Sebastian laughed, “I appreciate the sentiment, but I think I have all I’ll ever need right here. Thanks to you, we’ll be able to put an end to the authorship question once and for all. There’s going to be a lot of changes.” He flashed her a smile, “Expect a lot more Marlowe.”

They exchanged some parting words while Olivia tried to ignore the growing sense of nausea in her stomach. As she watched him leave, almost skipping as he left, she decided her first purchase would be some canned food. It would be a good idea to stay inside for a few weeks.

I'm also in with a for this week. My character is below.

Sister Karen Retinger is an assistant to the Promoter of the Faith, responsible for disproving miracles and so-called prophets. Prim, proper, and highly educated, Sister Karen is a terrifying theological powerhouse determined to achieve sainthood. Her only problems: a sense of skepticism that stretches far beyond the bounds of acceptability and a volatile personality that leaves other people feeling uncomfortable. She loathes having to ask others for help and will often make tasks needlessly complicated to impress her opponents.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Psalm 130
Words: 993


In Los Grano D’oro, a stranger moves among the crowds. Awed by his revelations and miracles, the masses press around him. Enamored. Confused with hope. They speak of him in whispers. Now, it is night. The air is hot and smells of perfume. The Vatican’s high representative, sent to investigate these claims, has just arrived in the city. She clutches her dress and pushes through the throng into a bar.

“I’m looking for the man known as Black Jesus,” shouts Sister Karen Retinger over the cheap band and snickering patrons. They are, no doubt, amused by the nun’s presence. “I understand that he has a church in this area?”

The bartender nods. She’s a tall woman, tan, covered in silver bracelets. Her arms jangle with every movement. “He’s around, but I don’t think he’s going to want to see you.”

Sister Karen follows her down the bar like a lion stalking its prey. The Church is not denied so easily.

“With all due respect, I didn’t ask if he wanted to see me. I asked where he was.” A nearby patron laughs, bewildered. The bartender is less amused.

“You’re just not the kind of person that Black Jesus would really be interested in. I mean, I’m Jewish, but you don’t look…” She looks over the Sister in her plain grey dress, clean and pressed. Her greying hair, tied neat in a bun.

“Black Jesus isn’t the kind of guy who likes people outside his congregation. If you want access, I’d recommend an offering. More than that,” she says, as Sister Karen grabs the crucifix gleaming around her neck. “Something to prove yourself to him. He’s at the old orphanage, but you aren’t getting in without a prize.”

“Ah, I see,” Sister Karen says, her mouth the thinnest of thin lines. Cult leaders are always like this. Full of pride and moral superiority. She would not bend to this false prophet’s demands for supplication.

After all, had she not disproved prophet after prophet? Miracle after miracle? She had revealed crying statues to be the work of condensation and incorrupt bodies to be secretly embalmed. During her ministry, six preachers had claimed divinity and she had cast all those false prophets from their temples. Black Jesus would be no different. His claims were ridiculous. Unacceptable.

“Do you have any recommendations on what I should bring him?” she asks, but her attention has shifted. There is some terrible noise on the street. She excuses herself and investigates.

On the street corner, a wreck of a man stands panhandling. Not Black Jesus, but another. Behind him, in beautiful calligraphy, is written an apocalyptic message. 'AND THIS IS THE CASE OF THE SLAYER, WHICH SHALL FLEE THITHER, THAT HE MAY LIVE' it reads in imposing Gregorian font. He shakes a tin and screams.

“Repent, UNBELIEVERS, for the Second Coming is at hand! I have SEEN the signs and KNOW the truth.” Sister Karen appreciates his general plea, but not its specifics. “The SIGNS are all around. Open THINE eyes and YOU shall know the truth.”

It is not his questionable preaching that catches the Sister’s eye, nor his exquisite writing ability. Instead, she focuses on the black, bedazzled attaché case which stands next to the man. She remembers hearing of this case during her search through the city. A stranger had told her that the case was a good luck charm. A radio announcer had mentioned, in an off-cuff remark, how the police were looking for a briefcase in connection with a murder. There were rumors of a blonde wreaking havoc, using the suitcase as her Golden Apple.

These stories were ridiculous. Yet, Sister Karen cannot help but find the briefcase an appealing offering. Both useless and filled with meaning, it is a symbol of Black Jesus himself.

At this moment, Sister Karen Retinger considers the many options available. She could go to the Archbishop of Los Grano D’oro for assistance, as she was instructed before arriving. A man of good faith and virtue, the Archbishop would surely give her some trinket to deliver to Black Jesus. She could hire a private detective to stake out the orphanage rather confront its congregation herself. With its dingy streets and wild personalities, the city felt more like an old detective movie than a real place. She could even go down to a gift shop and buy something to gain the cult’s favor. These options were all clean and rational. The success of any was almost guaranteed.

But Sister Karen Retinger would not be Sister Karen Retinger if she did any of these things.

Drunk with religious devotion, she sprints across the road. A car, startled by her unexpected movement, swerves, honking wildly. She dashes at the vagrant, their wild eyes meeting, his mouth opening in a large ‘O’. Her hand is on the briefcase’s handle. The man reaches out.

She remembers the impact but not the swing as the briefcase slams into the man’s chest with a sickening crunch. He vomits, splattering Sister Karen Retinger in blood and spittle. The odor is overwhelming and she stumbles backwards. Her legs catch on the man's sign and she falls screaming into the street. Another car almost crushes her underfoot. Its owner leans out of his vehicle and presses both hands on the horn. A crowd forms. Someone is on their phone with the police. Sister Karen crawls backward, blind. Her body is operating only on adrenaline. Her dress, once clean, is covered in dirt and grime from the struggle.

With a monstrous yell, she yanks the briefcase and runs down an alleyway. She does not know if she is being pursued, but for the moment she does not care. It is with this briefcase that she will gain access. Through the sacrifice of her reputation, she will confront the immaculate dreadlocked figure sitting on the cathedra and name him for the pretender he is.

A siren wails in the distance. Sister Karen presses further into the ghetto.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


I'm ing in this round.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Sithsaber posted:

I'm confused: what are the prizes and how do the personal challenges fit in with the weekly contests?

Sitting Here posted:

but so okay that sounds cool, how do i participate

Each week, the previous week’s winner delivers a prompt, along with a word count, a deadline for signups, and a deadline for submissions. Your job is to read the prompt, sign up for the prompt, and then give your very best shot at writing a real nice story within the word limit and in time for the deadline.

uh so what’s Thunderdome?

In Thunderdome, you write. You get your writing ripped apart. Then you come back for more. You become a better person for it. Maybe you even become a better writer.

It’s harder than it sounds.

Once the submission deadline passes, the winner/Boss Judge and their two chosen co-judges convene and decide the glorious victor, the pathetic failure, and any honorable/dishonorable mentions for the week. Generally, the judges will also give feedback in the form of short critiques.

The loser also gets this sweet losertar:



Then the cycle repeats.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Entenzahn posted:



150 words on the magnificence of ducks. You've got five hours maybe. Winner gets to decide my team. If nobody submits I'll join the side I think is winning.

Forgetfulness
150 Words

Hephaiston sweated under the Empress’ gaze. It soaked through his robes, rolling off his gift and onto the ground. The duck looked around the chamber, nudged beneath his arm.

“Tell me, my kindly servant, what magnificent gift do bring to honor me on my Coronation Day,” she said, malice dripping from every word. Her guards took a step forward.

“Ah, my lady, beloved… I bring you,” he looked down at the duck, a last minute gift he had caught behind the palace, “A rare duck from the Orient. An exquisite pet, favored by conquerors and poets alike.”

The Empress adjusted herself in the chair, bemused. “And tell me, oh faithful servant, what gift does this duck possess that makes it so magnificent?”
“Why… it sings most beautifully, my liege. Its call is enough to make one weep.”

“Squawk,” said the duck. Hephaiston wept all the way to the executioner’s block.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Sarajevo, 1914
759 Words

The Archduke’s carriage turned off the boulevard and onto the narrow sidewalk before Joshua could stop it. A young man emerged from a nearby restaurant, eyes wild, pistol drawn. Gunshots could be heard over the crowd’s screams, followed by meaty thuds as the bullets met their targets. Patrons fled. The car accelerated. Its passengers leaking blood onto the cobbled street.

“gently caress.” Time grinded backwards five minutes.

Joshua passed himself on the boulevard and entered a restaurant filled with smiling patrons and the smell of Bosnian cuisine. As the Archduke’s motorcade pulled onto the narrow sidewalk, Joshua fired two bullets into the would-be assassin’s head and left, ignoring the screams behind him. At the sound of gunfire, the Archduke’s driver rammed his foot to the gas pedal. The carriage's wheels spun in place before jettisoning forward. The Archduke twisted in his seat, staring slack-jawed at his protector. Joshua was certain the motorcade would escape when a second assassin jumped from the alley, bomb tied to his torso. He had enough time to cover his face before the boulevard was wreathed in flames. The carriage was reduced to a twisted metal carcass, smoke billowing from its top. Gas leaked out onto the cobbled street.

“gently caress!”

Joshua crossed the boulevard, passing the first Joshua and almost running into the second. The Archduke’s motorcade slowed to a stop along the sidewalk. Gunshots erupted from the small cafe and Joshua leapt out firing wildly into the alleyway. He heard a muffled groan and the new assassin collapsed, blood spilling out from between his fingers. The Archduke’s carriage rocketed past, only for a parade of anarchists to overtake the carriage. The Archduke screamed and the mob descended, tearing him apart like vultures. Thick mounds of flesh fell onto the cobbled street.

“GOD loving drat IT,” Joshua screamed a few blocks away, rewinding his watch to match the new time. Five minutes remained. The street corner was filled with Joshuas, all doing the same. One looked up at him.

“You want to talk about it?” Asked the other Joshua, confused and flecked with blood. His head throbbed. The same sequence of events stretched out infinitely in his memory.

“No, I don’t want to loving talk about it,” he said. It was impossible to say how long he had been along this same stretch of road, talking to this same group, trying to accomplish the same goal. He felt like he was looking through a hall of mirrors.

His replica shrugged, “So long as you’re still committed to the mission. If you have any problems, you know where to find us.”

Joshua groaned. An eternity ago, he had agreed to fix what had gone wrong, to undo one of history’s greatest cruelties. Shots broke out. Joshua shuffled along the street.

Boulevard. Restaurant. Alleyway. Gunfire. Parade. A herd of wild buffalo destroyed the motorcade. Joshua’s head pounded as the past caught up with the present, trying to justify the herd’s presence in the city. Names and places that never existed filled his brain. Time, with its terrible stubbornness, resisted his every move. It liked to hoard its victims. This moment was too massive, too important. By saving one life, Joshua could save forty million. History would change anything to ensure this moment came to fruition.

A helicopter swooped down over the city and opened fire upon the Archduke’s carriage. The Austro-Hungarian Empire ruled eternal over Europe, its engineers having discovered atomic energy three centuries ago. Anarcho-Hungarians marched onto the boulevard, slaughtered by rogue earthquakes and vicious Habsburg loyalists. The Archduke commanded an electronic chariot pulled by a dozen buffalo until a street corner leapt out and sliced him in half. The anarchists had devised a new method of warfare. History crumbled under the weight of a thousand anachronisms.

The world blurred in and out of focus. Then, everything stopped. Darkness consumed him.

----

“gently caress.”

Joshua watched as the Archduke’s carriage turned off the boulevard and onto the narrow sidewalk. Joshua shouted, eyes wild, pistol drawn. There were screams, but the carriage accelerated away before he could reach it. What had started as a simple attempt to end a man’s life was now a full-blown war between himself and history. Today was too important to change, too significant. Today was the end of the world, and the only way to stop it was to assassinate the Archduke.

Joshua reappeared on a street corner and ran toward the boulevard, passing himself along the way. The motorcade sped off into the distance.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


I am in for this week. Bingo me up.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Sithsaber posted:

Bingo Thunderdome: 1222 words.

I bingo'd right through the horizontal middle line (the one with the free space in it) and I may have cheated by using one of my old dreams to fill in the box meant for "personal experiences".

quote:

I saw another little glimpse of hell tonight; thankfully the details of it are rapidly receding from my mind and falling back into the subconscious. Due to this my little dream (or rather nightmare) journal will grow increasingly distorted and novelized by the second, but this is something worth recording. This will also destroy me if it ever gets into any psychological evaluations, but I've made my peace with the fact that the NSA can end me at any time.

The sequence of events I am about to describe can best be categorized as an expansion of the infinite terror loop I may have described to you earlier, but much more mundane and much more perception shattering. Right now I’m just going to jog down the remains of what I can remember; later I’ll search myth and theories on the mind to give me some context of its twisted meaning. The worst part about it was that this “event” was the longest loving dream within a dream within a dream within a dream within a dream within a …dream you’ll ever loving meet, which means I have already lost crucial details on how the creeping madness could have reached such horrible heights.

I have already lost most of the first dream sequence; I can only remember snippets of something apocalyptic and ensnaring, like being swallowed by the icky and constricting black maw of hell. It must have gone on for awhile, for when I “awoke” I had already fallen into a panic. For the first time in more than a decade I truly and utterly feared the dark, and what seemed to leer at me in the blackness.

"JAAMESjamessJAmesJamesJAMES!" Schizophrenic whispers and pretenses floated in and out of my mind, the only thought i remember clearly being that a hidden fiend was lurking in the night. Eventually I gathered up the courage to go for the light switch in hopes of dispelling the unseen presence, humming nursery rhymes and Jesus Loves me all the while in an attempt to ignore how its shadow hovered a few feet over me as if in wait to bore down and snatch me in its undoubtedly sharpened claws. After cowering through the greatest flinch of all time I hit the switch: nothing happened. I tried again; the light was dead.

Trying not to freak out, I opened the bedroom door and hobbled out of the room. I tried light after light but nothing worked. Even my night vision was failing me, and it became increasingly difficult just to open my eyes. A gangrenous puss had started to encrust my face, and my panic began to mount.

As is expected from a man in the middle of his death throes, I cried out for my mother, who was conveniently lounging in the darkness of my living room.( Although now that I think about it I was never able to actually see her and I should have had no real reason to label whatever it was as my mom) I had become a child again- my body and mind had reverted to approximately around the time when I first got pinkeye. I begged my "mother" to help get rid me of the gunk, but either she was another ghoul come to torment me or I had also gone deaf because I couldn't hear her response. The end of this dream sequence is muddled, but I believe that it just bled out as faint flashes and whispers of pandemonium surrounded the home.

The third sequence was just a mindfuck. At that point was lucid dreaming, and aware that I was trapped in a nightmare that I couldn't wake up from. Sometimes I would be crawling in the darkness, other times would involve me fighting with advanced alzheimers and a dark dissolution of the self while my body remained chained to the bed that my mind was lost in. You know how sometimes you dream that you wake up and walk around the house? This happened to me again, and again, and again. At a certain point I assumed that I had tapped into what the mystics call 'astral projection', meaning that my soul got to wander but my body didn't.

Add to this my vision continuing to go in and out of focus, the continued breakdown in my cognitive condition as a malevolent and primal figure just out of eyesight (and well within during my periods of blindness) continued to loiter and, worst of all, the utter repetition of it all and you can see why I lost it. Before things got real bad a piece of myself started to enjoy the trippiness.My predicament may have been ghoulish, but a part of me honestly preferred its novelty to the monotony of my dead end existence. Waiting tables and getting fat always seemed like just another hell that kept people from looking for salvation by pulling its punches five times out of ten. What came next made me realize how wrong I was.


The final dream within dream within a...was just voices: terrible, stupid voices. They seem to have started in the midst of me crawling through the hallway, but they only picked up when I was back to being trapped in my dreaming body. I seemed to have lost most of what was said, but I can vaguely remember flashes of cartoon characters like Bullwinkle, Princess Bubblegum and the Iceking, possible manifestations of whimsy, logic and the sweet escape of dementedness. The pivotal scene involved the voice of the Alchemist from The Venture Brothers, Dana Snyder. (come to think of it he was ranting like Master Shake, but more coherently) At first his levity was a welcome break from my paralyzed dread, but the voice soon started to tell me to do worse and worse things, and as I sat in my motionless body I began to dream these things into consciousness.

At first I thought the voice was offering me a way to buy my way to freedom, but now I think It was just having fun saying things like “wouldn’t it be great if you killed everyone you’ve loved in such and such way ha ha”. Me actively doing these things appeared in a dream bubble right over my head, and for one moment I actually enjoyed being the one who dished out torment.That moment passed. I realized that this was the gate of hell and made one last desperate attempt to break free. I woke up for what seemed like the hundredth time, and it's taking awhile for me to accept that I'm finally awake. A little part of me still believes I’m asleep and have just been granted a few moments to enjoy turning on every room-light possible.


gently caress Sleep. gently caress sleep with a stick. You ever wonder how it feels to be stuck with Freddy Kruger? It feels like this times three. Having an adversary you can at least pin a location on gives you the benefit of knowing which way to run. Not this. I'm still afraid that this isn't over, or worse, that it'll happen again and again. I saw another little glimpse of hell tonight. Thankfully, the details of it are rapidly receding from my mind and falling back into the subconscious.

are you for real

did you just self-plagarize, insert fan fiction, go over the word limit, and self-quote in the same post

QuoProQuid fucked around with this message at Jul 18, 2014 around 17:03

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Sithsaber posted:

What the hell is self plagiarism, and where is it against the rules? And that's not fan fiction, that's just disembodied voices.


Focus on the brawl if I should be disqualified.

"Just as researchers do not present the work of others as their own (plagiarism), they do not present their own previously published work as new scholarship (self-plagiarism)... When the duplicated words are limited in scope, this approach is permissible. When duplication of one's own words is more extensive, citation of the duplicated words should be the norm. When feasible, all of the author's own words that are cited should be located in a single paragraph or a few paragraphs, with a citation at the end of each."

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington.

QuoProQuid fucked around with this message at Jul 18, 2014 around 20:17

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


ing in for Week 94: TRULY ALIEN.

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


I'm in.

QuoProQuid fucked around with this message at Dec 2, 2014 around 02:48

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QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Xenophobia
670 Words - Monkey Gland

A nurse enters the waiting room to save me. She’s a plump woman, mid-forties, with false skin and dagger-like teeth. “Mr. Tashake, the doctor will see you now. Would you please follow me?”

I feel each synapse firing in my brain as it tries to control my body’s constituent parts. Reshaped rhino bones are pulled by deer sinew and sculpted crocodile muscles. Each joint creaks and moans as I lumber toward her. My heart sucks blood with each tremendous beat.

The nurse leads me to a back room with drab walls and laminated advertisements for body modification. In one, a jogger smiles down at me unaware of the cartoon cheetah superimposed over his body. On the opposite wall, a portrait of a man with golden irises is emblazoned with the words, “EAGLE EYES: SEE WHAT YOU’VE BEEN MISSING.” It’s not clear whether the intent of the image is to intimidate or inspire. I want to look away from the image, but I’m a prisoner in my own skin. The heart beats mercilessly in my chest.

“Ah, Mr. Tashake, it is good to see you,” says the doctor as he enters the room with corrosive geniality, “Everything been going since the surgery? Enjoying the new parts?”

My mouth opens and, for a moment, I imagine bile gurgling out of it like a fountain. Instead, I hear myself say, “No, doctor. I’m afraid I don’t really feel myself.”

The answer is incomplete, but it is the best I can muster. Like most people, operations are a fact of my life, whether it be to replace a broken bone with a stronger alternative, or change out an old skin with transplantations. My eyes are reptilian. If you cracked open my ribs, you would find something distinctly avian. The sound of blood pumping fills my ears.

Replacing the heart had been a mistake. It knew that the doctor had robbed it of its owner and punished me for my complacency. The heartbeat irregular in my chest, unwilling to follow orders. At night, I could hear it whispering in low guttural tones to my lungs, to my muscles. The body turned against me. My brain became aware of each bodily process, each blink, and each breath.

I am a foreigner in my own skin. Every movement is like lifting rotten carcasses.

The doctor nods, looking down at his clipboard. His skin is drawn so tight over his flesh that each muscle movement can be seen. I focus on the gentle throbbing in his neck, the suggestion of a beating heart. His jugular is so thick that it might pop if given enough pressure.

He turns the page and scribbles a note. “I’m sorry to hear that. Can you describe in what way you feel unlike yourself?”

“I feel detached.” I say, struggling to keep composure, as the doctor turns another page. I urge myself to look away as he traces his maggot fingers over the file. “I’m not… connected.”

“Well, some disassociation is common in individuals that have undergone extensive modification. I can prescribe you something to help with the anxiety, or sleeping pills if you are having trouble sleeping. Did you have anything in mind?”

For the first time I look into his swollen, frog-like eyes and disassemble him as I have done to myself. I tear out his stolen ivory teeth and repurposed jaw. My mind’s eye rips off his genetically modified skin, his tendons, and the pig fat. I remove each stolen part and in the end find nothing human. There is only one path to salvation.

“I need you to cut them out, doctor. These aren’t my parts and I want you to cut them all out of me.”

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