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ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Hey I'm game for this let's rumble

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ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Welp, missed the deadline. Sucks, but hey, here's the story anyway. I'd be deeply grateful if the judges saw fit to criticize the piece despite it's lateness.


In Remembrance -684 words

"Terry was the best sort of guy. He was quiet, unfailing. The sort of guy you know for years and years and one day you realize he's the best friend you ever had. The oldest too. I can't think of anyone I kept in contact with as long as Terry, we moved here together. It's my greatest regret that we fell out of touch... That I wasn't there for him. I can't imagine why he did it. He was the strongest person I knew, but I suppose--

The very real train screeching by down the tracks collided with John's train of thought, and reality won. The fumbling words of his speech were drowned under the clank of metal on metal and ponderously laboring machinery. With the jarring return to here and now came all the small irritations he was hoping to escape; The seams of his cheap suit chafing against skin, the air-freshener stink clinging to the car but not quite covering up the fecal smell below, the steady tick of his watch pronouncing him one second later time and time again. A quarter of a fifth in his cups already, and somehow that had only made him more acutely aware of everything wrong with the world today.

Any small thing would do. Any little grievance to distract him from the big one.

The train passed, the arm of the crossing sign lifted and John went on, trying to piece the words in his head back together.

"Terry really was an everyman. He knew what he wanted and he wanted a normal, happy life. I wanted to be a lawyer, he was a roofing houses before I graduated. He got married to his high school sweetheart while I was still trying to pick up chicks in bars. And he wasn't an average person, or a boring person. Terry was personable, funny, he just liked quiet. Wanted everything to be smooth sailing..."

There were people at the wake that John could barely remember, from as far back as their high school days. People he'd cut contact with years ago. Terry never did though, not even for the ones he didn't like. Typical. John schmoozed from table to table, muttering apologies for never getting back to them and promising that this time he would. He shared drinks with old friends and then moved on, before any one of them could notice just how much liquor he'd slurped down.

And there she was, doing the same. Elise and him moved on opposite orbits, always managing to be on the other side of the room without ever once meeting eyes, as if magnetically repelled. She wasn't a forgotten acquaintance, although he wished he could forget.

"Terry was my best friend, and I never wanted anything bad to happen to him. He was such a sensitive person. You'd never notice it, he'd never say it, but things just weighed on him. I think I was one of the few people who saw that in him. Terry.. Terry was such a trooper you'd never know it, but he carried everything with him. I wish he'd learned to let live, because then, maybe..."

The words weren't coming. They sloshed about in the sea of whiskey and beer, colliding in the worst ways. Just as well. Nobody else had much to say. They shuffled up to the podium and muttered some trite eulogy, said Terry was too young, too good to go. Said they would never have imagined this, not in a million years... And none of them knew jack poo poo about who he really was. Bile crept up from beneath the liquor.

All of them conveniently forgot about Terry's flaws, about this and that. Even drunk John could remember. Terry wasn't the saint they were trying to paint him as. And Elise, surrounded by well-wishes and condolences, she was glad to forget as well. She would gladly forget all about the real Terry, and about them...

Then came John's turn at the podium. Now Elise met his gaze, and he started to talk, loud and slurring and angry. The words spilled out easy now.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


quote:

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Harry Leland.

Oof. The point of the story was supposed to be that dead guy had slept with the main characters wife and they pretty much hated each other, but looks like I completely bungled that.

In for another round, even if Chairchucker has already won.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Meet the Meat -375 words

All is still in the diner except the air itself, stirred along by the lazy rotations of the ceiling fan. The customers sit like vultures, drool rolling down the gummy crags of their skin as they eye empty plates. Mr. Rafferty tilts back his creaking neck, lifting his nose skyward to drag in great breaths for the hope of that elusive scent; stale grease and meat, sizzling together on the pan, warm. He tries to rise further from his seat, but the cracked red leather refusing to part with his flesh and soon he gives up the struggle. The others barely move at all these days.


At four P.M. like clockwork, Tommy breezes in with his shiny white clothes and a warm smile beneath the translucent mask. The relics smile back. Somehow, they can still recognize him. He reads them the latest events from a newspaper, and promises to get them a radio, a promise they forget each time.

At five, it's feeding time. It takes a hammer and a chisel to chip away at the block of frozen flesh in the freezer, full of snouts and gristle and who knows what else. As the ice sloughs off and steams away the meat wakes up, beginning to squirm helplessly on the burning grill. Tommy herds the wriggling bits with the edge of his spatula, trying not to make eye contact as he presses them down to the griddle to cook through the middle. It's only meat, he reminds himself. Only the worst scraps of cow.

------

The relics smash the burgers against their mouths, or bite at the fork as Tommy tries to help them. Very little makes it in. Most to the floor and skitters away, crawling to freedom through the countless cracks in the walls. What's left is a dim memory and a lingering taste for the dead to cling to. They rest easier for it, settling down into their eternal seats as Tommy adjusts their blankets and sweeps away the crumbs.

Before he leaves, Tommy sneaks back to the walk-in fridge. With the hammer and the chisel he cuts away a few pieces, squirreling them away plastic bags.

No-one will starve without it, and he's always wanted a pet.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Holy poo poo don't post that here. Please.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Or I will be forced to brawl you until you're crying like a little baby.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


ThirdEmperor posted:

Or I will be forced to brawl you until you're crying like a little baby.

Fuggit. I'm bored and everyone else is getting their brawl funsies.

Magnificent7. You can do better than that. Brawl me.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


I'm not gonna tell you how to brawl, but to do just that, sounds like an absolute crap idea.

Don't spew out stories like literary diarrhea. Take some time and polish your stories, edit and re-edit. If they're unsalvageable, figure out why and don't make the same mistake twice. If they're flat, inject some life. Thunderdome is a harsh place and you must be harsh on yourself more than anyone else.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


What I learned this week- Never, ever try writing in present-tense, first person. Also don't brawl someone who's likely to vanish and leave you feeling quite stupid.

Why Not- 498 words

"Completely safe?" A bit of bacon dangles on my fork, ignored for the last ten minutes.

"Completely." Samson's smile was one I'd seen before, on an alligator. "Who's going to catch us? You? Raul, nobody watches the cameras now. Nobody cares." He leans forward and his hand makes contact with mine in a brief, reassuring way that completely changes my mind; A car salesman, not a crocodile.

"You don't know that. I caught you." I say, pointing fork and accompanying bacon at him. "Why take the risk?"

"Why not?"

I chew on that for a while, along with my food. He does likewise, and a long silence settles between us.

More people come in for breakfast, bringing the chill of bleak January mornings in with them each time the door swings open. I look out the window and my eyes settle on the camera mounted to the storefront opposite; Unlike my dining companion, it looks back.

---

Together we press our way through a narrow alley between the looming grey buildings that blot out the evening. There's barely room for a fire escape between the buildings but we squeeze on to the narrow steps and make our way up, climbing through a broken window and into the empty apartment beyond.

The camera's vacant eye is waiting for me again. Samson ignores it, but I can't shake the twitch between my shoulderblades, that feeling of being watched.

I tear it from the wall. Then I put my foot through the old TV set. I leap on the bed until it breaks, and Samson smashes the porcelain toilet with a wrench, and we leave a merry fire burning as we crawl back out the window, laughing.

We do the same to twelve more apartments. Because why not?

We rest on the edge of the fire escape, feet swinging over the long drop. He puts his hand on my shoulder and my first instinct is that he's about to throw me over, but instead, Sam offers me a cigarette.

When I go back to work I wipe the tapes clean.

----

My morning nap is disturbed by a high-pitched bleep. One of the countless dusty machines stacked onto the racks around my desk coughs up dust, before rolling out a long sheet of paper.

The incident code is simple, unmistakable.
Arson and Assault.

Seventeen years of uneventful monotony roll to a halt as I recheck the numbers. They don't change. There is no mistake. Despite the eyes on every street corner, constant surveillance, the proven one-hundred-percent arrest rate set when the city restructured, someone has committed a crime.

As the machine winds down the silence is deafening. Far away Jamie tap tap taps away on his keyboard, and Henderson's voice drifts from his cubicle. I notice for once how yawningly empty the building is. A maze of old machinery left to grow cobwebs.

The first real crime in two decades is happening on my watch.

I need to meet this criminal.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Well shoot. Really could have used another twelve hours to edit that. Good brawl, m7.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


magnificent7 posted:

You can still edit it til midnight, right?

Read the OP.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


I'm in with Evil Clowns.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Spaces
-25 words

She left the house riddled with spaces where she wasn't, every empty seat a reminder, the sudden lurch of missing a step in the dark.


((Edited in word count))

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


In again, I suppose.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


In with a toxx.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


The Day After - 787 Words

The alarm went off with an echo of an explosion, and Jones rose up until all the little tubes stuck into him pulled him down again, his hand scrabbling down his chest.

Nothing. No terrible jagged wrongness beneath the thin, scratchy fabric of the hospital robe, the faded floral pattern in antiseptic blue. The little blue petals swam along with his vision as he leaned back against the stiff foam pillow, dancing in the halogen lights.

Jones closed his eyes, and pressed his fingers over them, gently pushing away the ring of bruised purple afterlight. The machines beside him rattled his skull with their low rumbling, an insistent whirr-humm that kept his thoughts hovering just out of reach. Slowly, a sense of motion crept into his darkened world, other patients stirring in the beds beside him.

The footsteps of the nurse coming towards him were like drumbeats, the metal tray she pushed into his hands a splash of freezing water. He managed to find his glasses on the table beside him, and the nurse helped guide them over his eyes. The world focused a little.

“And how are we feeling today, Mr. Bishop?”
“Fine?”
She lifted a cup to his lips, and the dryness of his mouth turned swampy and sticky, his lips clinging together.
“I have a daughter, Emily.”
“She's fine.”

Jones relaxed, and tried to lean back again, but the nurse pulled him up and shifted the pillow behind his back, commanding him to eat. He made a show of nibbling at the mashed orange gloop. It felt alien in his mouth.

“Has she come visit me, then?”

The nurse gave him a look he couldn't follow, and picked up a book off the table. The Naked Sun. The red ribbon bookmark was waiting for him. “She brought this, and chocolates. You can't have those yet.”

Jones nodded, and waited until she'd left before giving up on the food. He tried to read, but the bookmark was in the wrong place. So he fidgeted, running his fingers along his scalp until he found the squirming lines of raised flesh. He'd been lucky.

Sleep crept up on him soon after.

. . . .

When he woke up again, he felt fingers wrapped around his own, and could give a name to the warm, comforting presence that had filled his dreams. He opened his eyes, and blinked away the blotches of dark color.

“Hi.”
“Hi.”

All his thoughts were coming through half-formed.
“Are you okay?”

Emily smiled, squeezing his hand in a way that made him feel suddenly brittle.
“Yes. And mom's fine, we're doing fine.”
“That's good.”

“Was it bad?”
“A lot of people got hurt. We were lucky.”
“Oh.”

Another pause, and as he tried to think what to say a terrible suspicion crept up, lurking in the corners of the sterile room with all it's empty beds.

“How long?”

She smiled, and helped him lean against the headboard, but didn't answer the question.
“Emily.” He asked again, in a tone he hadn't used since she was little.

“Not long dad, I promise. You barely have a beard.” He studied her, struggling to find a word for the way Emily was looking back. But he could still see a little smudge of fading purple on her forehead. The bruise could only be a few days old. It was only a silly worry.

“It's been all the over the news since it happened though. Apparently, it's the fault of Muslims and Atheists, and apparently they're mad because Republicans have the house.” He almost laughed, and let her talk until the nurse came in and took her away.

Only a little later, sleep took him away as well.

. . . .

The alarm went off and Jones buried his face against the bed as heat and sound and light blazed inside his skull, crushing the sheets between his fingers. Only when the fire passed did he realize he was awake at all, and he uncurled, pushing his sweaty hair back and groaning as he opened his eyes into the glare of the halogen lights.

Jones reached to the table without realizing why, and found the book waiting for him. He opened it to the bookmark and fumbled through the pages until he found something he remembered. But the foam pillow soon turned heavenly and soft beneath his head, and dancing spots of dark color spread across his vision and blotted out the pages long before he could work his way back to the little red ribbon.

. . . .

He woke up, and started over again.

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ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


In.

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