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CaligulaKangaroo
Jul 25, 2012


In!

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CaligulaKangaroo
Jul 25, 2012


You Should Be Honored
(830 Words)

--

“What the gently caress did you do?” I gasped, eyes bouncing between the shattered trophies and torn ribbons adorning my barely conscious, whiskey-soaked roommate.

“The gently caress do you care?” he gurgled from the floor, as a man drowning in his own saliva, before snapping a miniature bowler made of gold painted plastic towards my head.

Jerrod was in no position to aim. The statuette breezed past my head, disturbing the empty cans on his dresser, knocking one of them to the floor. Next to the cardboard box he brought home yesterday. His parents found it while cleaning out their basement. He explained it was just a box of old childhood heirlooms they had packed away since he graduated high school. Aside from the yearbooks that lined the bottom, it seemed most of its content had been shattered against each of his bedroom’s four walls.

“I haven’t done anything,” he wept, using his sock drawer to pull himself to his feet, like a wounded dog climbing Everest.

Jerrod was still dressed for work. The stains from his late afternoon bender were disguised well by his dark slacks. His light gray polo didn’t fare so well. He struggled to find his footing before an unfortunately placed “Pinewood Derby – First Place, Pack 34” ribbon took it from him. I dashed to help him to his feet. Or at least to drag him onto the bed. After my first attempt at lifting, dragging seemed like better option.

“What haven’t you done, Jerrod?” I panted, forcing my drooling mess of a roommate forward one shove at a time, working against his occasional drunken squirm.

“Anything,” Jerrod whimpered, burying his face into my shirt, letting it soak up his tears and mucus. “Anything that matters.”

“I don’t know,” I smirked, shooting a glance at the destruction around us. “Looks like you were pretty drat busy today.”

“None of it matters,” he grumbled, barely annunciating through drool and snot.

I leaned him against the bed, brushing off the engraved bases and red action-posed-statuettes broken off in the chaos. I hoisted his shoulders onto the bed before lifting his legs, rolling him into what I hoped was a comfortable position on his side. He fidgeted, but didn’t take long to settle in place. A few gassy stomach rumbles later, he was right at home.

I tried to pick up what I could from his apparent violent episode, gathering pieces of Jerrod’s childhood successes in a cardboard box caked in residual basement dust. The little league first place and the city league soccer participation were buried under the red holographic piping of regional debate regional. The second place science fair ribbon caught most of the shards of Class AA division track, but only the base of First Place – Quiz Bowl States Finals. But the one that was clearly flung the hardest was the National Spelling Bee - Second Place.

Green holographic shrapnel littered the floor around a gold base, and a tiny golden book that appears to have been at the top. I picked it up, wondering if it was the same National Spelling Bee they showed on late night ESPN.

“I didn’t know you could spell,” I chuckle, glancing up at the barely settling mess of a Jerrod groaning on his side, in some vain hope I could nudge him out of his state.

“Could have been… good enough…” Jerrod drooled out, seemingly separate ideas flowing together in a river of his saliva. “None of them… they don’t mean anything…”

Even in pieces, it was clearly the largest of his excessively ornate victims . Mostly to accommodate the names of several corporate sponsors engraved under Jerrod’s name. Sure enough, a familiar cable network logo was among them. Jerrod’s never mentioned anything about this before. If he was on nationalized television, I would have assumed it would have come up in conversation at least once.

“I don’t know what ESPN did to piss you off so bad,” I asserted, waving the fragments towards the grumbling mess on the bed. “but I think they got the point.”

“I got… another award today,” the mess belched back, weakly rolling a shoulder towards me, as if letting his words escape. “First one… in years… didn’t want it… but… but that son of bitch… he gloated… ‘you should be honored…’”

“What are you even talking about?” I flail, rising from the ground, trophy pieces still in hand.

“Kitchen…” he motions, a weak arm waving me to our kitchen’s general area.

Leaving the bedroom, I glanced at the shattered awards and shredded ribbons that still litter the floor. No idea where he found the time to do all of this poo poo, but I guess he got good at most of it. I went to the kitchen looking for whatever this other award was. His car keys sat on the counter top. Under them, cheap cardstock with a festive yellow and red border.

Spelled out under the Burger King logo, “Congratulations – Employee of the Month (March).”

CaligulaKangaroo
Jul 25, 2012


I'm in.

Mercedes posted:

Miss-use of sign-language can explode a man.

Using this.

CaligulaKangaroo
Jul 25, 2012


Flash Rule:

Mercedes posted:

Miss-use of sign-language can explode a man.[/b]

Somatics
(1193 words)

“You think you can turn some lights on in here?” I yell to guard down the hall.

“The Archmage keeps it dark for your sake,” he responds. “It’ll help you focus.”

I sit on the concrete floor of the holding cell, signaling my name in American Sign Language over a scrying sigil etched below me. A single ASL dictionary sits in before me like a grimore, which would be pretty loving useful right now. A spark flies from my fingers when I get to the “K” in “My name is Mike.”

I recoil with a scream and an f-bomb, rushing to the sink with tears in my eyes. I got careless. Not good when you’re an amateur wizard, and hand signals are your main tools of trade. The guard snickers behind me before strolling back to his post. I do the only thing I can. I sit back down, and slowly signal “My name is Massey.”

Three hours ago I was in my apartment. According to the local news, 4th street fire was due to faulty wiring. Not a botched illumination spell in the Taco Bell men’s room. Wouldn’t have happened if they just fixed their lights, but the local Mage Guild didn’t see it that way. The next morning, I woke up surrounded by hooded figures. While begging for my life, I let it slip that I took a few ASL courses before I dropped out of college. I guess it worked. If nothing else, it made them laugh.

“Good news,” the apparent leader said to me. “You get to help us with our homework.”

So here I am. Working off my debt to a bunch of haunted house rejects. Hand-signing to ghosts. Hoping they’ll tell me what Hell looks like. Apparently when communing with the spirit world, visual methods are the most effective. That’s what they told me, anyway.

I wave my hand over the key sigil in the middle of the circle. A slow ripple emanates from the floor etchings. My hand aches, but it still works. Enough to form the somatic keys to open the channel, then to motion “My name is Massey” into it.

The ripples in front of me don’t do much else other than ripple. I feel my pulse rise in my frustration, catching before it can manifest in my spellcasting. I repeat the process, and gaze into the ripples in the air front of me. The air begins to glow brighter, highlighted by a swirling green tint slowly fading into view. At first only one trail appears, but a second appears to intersect it only to fade as quickly as it came. A distinct pattern emerges in its motions, as if in perfect American Sign Language, it’s saying “My name is Jim.”

I think I just made contact.

“Jim what?”

“My name is Jim.”

That didn’t help. I file through the rolodex in my brain, trying to come up with any helpful piece of arcane knowledge I picked over the years. Anything that could help converse with a ghost. I know it helps to keep it simple.

“Jim? Year? Massey. 2014.”

Jim tells me his goddamn name again. “What year is it? Do you know the year? What’s the last year you remember?”

“1925.”

Now we’re getting somewhere. I ask his birthday. There was only a brief pause between my question, and “1856.” His place of birth, “Boston.” Then I ask him if he has family. That’s where the responses end. I signal again. And again. Each time signally faster and sloppier. My thoughts become scattered, as the fear of losing my once stay of execution becomes very real. Sweat rolls down my face as my head pounds. My body temperature rises with my pulse, and the distinct smell of burning meat fills the air. I immediately stop signally.

My body cools rapidly. My head lightens at the same pace. I fall against the wall of my cell, losing consciousness.

***

“I understand you’ve made progress, Mr. Massey,” asks the hooded figure outside my cell.

I wobble my head up to what I assume to be eye contact. “You could say that. Any of you ever speak to a Jim before? A Jim who was born in Boston around 1856?”

The figure says nothing.

“Listen, I know you clearly know how to find poo poo out. Any chance you could pull up some old family records? I mean, I am doing your homework.”

That last sentence I immediately regret the second it leaves my mouth. A few hours ago, I was begging this giant Snuggie not to cut my head off.

“If it will help.”

***

“Boston Jim? 1856-1925? It’s Massey.”

A surprisingly comprehensive genealogical list found its way to into my cell. I set it next to my dictionary, and begin the incantation. The green swirl forms before me. My finger has started to blister, but I still throw out my bait.

“Jim?”

“Yes.”

“How are you?”

“Fine.”

“Are you Jim Harrison?”

The glow hovers motionless for what feels like a decade. It quivers briefly before it begins to twist. “James L. Harrison.”

“Paul?”

“Son.”

“Jill?”

“Daughter.”

“They both had children. Would like to know about them?”

“Yes.”

“Paul. Two sons. One daughter. Jill. Two daughters.”

Jim sits still. He flickers a bit but stays visible. He winces a couple times, as if his next sentence suffers a few false starts, before twisting into a simple “Thank you.”

“Can I ask you a question?” I sign to him, taking my time. “What’s it like where you are?”

“Not letting you go.”

Okay, I wasn’t expecting that. “What do you mean?”

“Mages. Think you’re stupid. Waiting. For you. To kill yourself.”

I glance behind me, looking for the guard. When I don’t find him, I respond “And you know this how?”

“Not the first. But. The first. Who asked about family. Thank you.”

I start signing “Can you help me?” when a spark flies from my hands onto the floor.

“You. Opened door. To speak to me. Use it.”

“How do I do that!?”

“I see door. I can lead you. I’ve learned. I’ve watched. I know. How to make signs. Without body. Body unnecessary. Mages. Won’t look. For dead man.”

It’s not a great option, but it’s the only one I’ve got. I wonder briefly how far I can push that old illumination spell. I begin the somatic ritual. I feel the heat of spell before the light, but the light does follow. That same white bubble that landed me here in the first place. I focus just enough to keep it steady, but let my thoughts wander as it grows. Since I’m purposely trying to gently caress up, I decide to have a little fun with the spell. “By the way,” I motion to Jim. “My first name’s Mike.”

A flash ignites my efforts. The force pushes me against the cell door, the intense heat shocking my nervous system as I feel my limbs separating. I am consumed in a terrible roar and flame before instant silence and black. Silence broken by a distant chuckle.

“Mike,” I hear in a rough Bostonian accent. “You’re a goddamned moron.”

CaligulaKangaroo
Jul 25, 2012


I Have Become the Avatar (A Children's Tale)
(169 Words)

“There’s nothing to worry about, sweetie,” Sally’s mother assures her. “There’s no monster in your closet.”

As the bedroom door clicks, Sally’s closet burst open with the agonizing roar of realities shredding apart. An unholy beast of shadow blots out the hellfire behind the Dora the Explorer magnet covered door. “Little one,” a commanding voice speaks. “I have come for your essence.”

“Shut up!” Sally yells at the monster, throwing her pink fleece jacket at its head. “You don’t exist!”

The jacket falls upon its horned crown, and ghostly black tendrils move amongst the stitching. “Your tribute,” The Beast roars. “It gives me strength.”

“No, you can’t!” Sally cries. “That’s my jacket! Its not tribute!”

“I am your jacket now. Its essence has manifest into my being, and I have become The Avatar of North Face Winter Wear.”

“Mommy says my jacket goes in the closet!”

The Beast halts, now under the leash of a new master. “As you wish,” it utters, slinking back to its cedar wood sanctuary.

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CaligulaKangaroo
Jul 25, 2012


Echo Cian posted:

Crits for Week 85: Ground Control to Major Tom

God Over Djinn posted:

CRITS, CRITS FOR THE CRIT GOD

Thanks to the both of you!

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