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Oct 4, 2013



Oct 4, 2013

The Craftsman's Rage. (1090 words, the edit is there because I am on mobile and I hit the send button too early.)

The king examined the ornate dagger held in his hands for a moment, before giving the man kneeling at his feet an approving nod. “Yes, this will more than suffice. I see your reputation as a weaponsmith is well-earned.”

“Thank you, my liege.” The smith said, internally sighing in relief. It had been a surprise when the king’s men arrived on his doorstep one morning to inform him that he had been selected to have the honor of crafting a ceremonial blade for the ruler himself.

Knowing that failing to please his king would likely leave him worse off than if he had simply refused in the first place, the smith toiled for countless nights at his forge, stopping only for an occasional meal, barely even sleeping. After two grueling weeks he put the finishing touches on the dagger, before immediately collapsing in exhaustion. The king’s men were waiting to escort him to the palace when he awoke, several days later.

“Indeed, it would even be fair to call this a true masterpiece.” The king continued, before addressing the guards on either side of the smith. “Would you gentlemen kindly restrain our guest?”

The smith was pulled to his feet, arms held behind his back. “My lord, I don’t understand.” He stuttered.“Did I displease you in some way? I swear, if you give me time, I can fix-”

“Not at all, my good man!” The king cut him off, dismissively waving a hand as he rose from his throne. “I’ve been looking for someone like you for quite a while. None of the other weaponsmiths I’ve summoned have had the same passion that you do. The dagger is unimportant. All I needed was a sign that you had the blood of a true craftsman.” The smith started to struggle as the king drew closer to him, but the guards’ grasps were too strong, even for a man as accustomed to physical labor as he.

“Be still. With your death, you shall accomplish much more than you could have ever hoped to achieve in life.” Under his breath, the king muttered an incantation in a language unfamiliar to thesmith. Before the smith could plead any more or even scream, the king thrust the dagger deep into its maker’s chest, piercing his heart.

The guards released their hold on the smith’s corpse, which fell to the floor with a heavy thud. Blood slowly pooled, staining the carpet. The king stepped back. “Though one man has died, the prosperity of our kingdom has been guaranteed.” He grandly proclaimed to the servants and guards lining the hall. The king snapped his fingers, addressing the servant closest to him. “You. Clean up this mess. Dispose of the dagger."

The servant scurried over to the body of the smith, gingerly pulling the dagger out. He stared at it for a moment, confused. The steel had turned to a pure, crimson red, even after he tried wiping the blood off.

"You, and you. Come with me. I must consult the ancient texts." The king commanded to two of his advisors, before turning around to leave. Before he could leave the throne room, however, he was stopped in his tracks by a horrific scream. The king turned to see two guardsmen fall to the ground, as others rushed towards the servant, whose features were now distorted with anger, clutching the dagger tightly.

The servant let out another scream. He struck down two more guards in as many seconds, and continued his rampage even as a third ran him through, seeming to feel no pain. The king stood frozen in place, transfixed by the sight, until his advisor roughly grabbed his shoulder, quickly leading him away from the slaughter.

It didn't take long for the guards to lose all hope. As one, they broke formation. One particularly unlucky guard fled the castle entirely, sprinting out into the night. Unfortunately for him, it was he that the servant decided to pursue. Panicked, he leaped into the river the flowed past the castle, soon disappearing under the surface. The servant followed him.


The next morning, a shepherd discovered two drowned men, washed up by the clearing where he took his sheep to graze. The armored one didn't seem to have anything interesting, but the one in humbler clothing was clutching a valuable looking dagger. Though he had to break the dead man's fingers, the shepherd soon held the blade in his hands. He stared intently at it. He could almost hear something whispering to him. A nearby sheep bleated.


"We've got trouble! It's horrible, I swear, simply horrible!"

The watchman sighed, raising an eyebrow at the winded merchant. "This is, what, the third time this month you've seen some omen that surely we'll die before the day is over? What is it now, scared of a spooky looking cloud?"

The merchant paused a second to catch his breath. "Not funny. I found whole herds of sheep, just completely wiped out. Didn't look gnawed at or nothin', so it can't just be wolves. I think we've got bandits around. Lots of 'em, and bloodthirsty, too."

The watchman frowned. "Why, though? Only thing of value here is lots of livestock and lots of crops, and I don't think bandits are too fond of either."

"I don't know, but I saw what I saw!"

Unseen by both of them, a shepherd in bloodstained clothes slowly approached the village.


The king's court was empty. Rumours of demon sightings flooded the kingdom, of whole villages being mercilessly slaughtered by monsters. There were whispers that their king had upset the gods, others claiming that it was the king's intention to kill his entire people in some unholy ritual. Despite his threats and punishments, the guards and servants of the king had started to abandon his castle. Slowly, at first, but soon in droves as more and more turned up dead.

The peasant women walked down the hall unopposed. "Stop, I say!" The king yelled, but she did not falter. "I'll give you riches beyond your wildest dreams! Power, status, anything!" She did not stop. "I had nothing but my kingdom in mind!" He ranted as she ascended the steps to the throne. "Who cares about one man, when a whole country is at stake?"

The woman tilted her head. "He does." She thrust the dagger into the king's heart, collapsing immediately afterwards. As the life faded from the king, he could see the crimson blade slowly turn back to its original color, it's purpose fulfilled.

Oct 4, 2013


Oct 4, 2013

Larger than Life on the Burning Screen - 1000 words.

The city guard stiffly marched, its pure white robes the only thing of note in the dark, featureless corridor. It halted abruptly and turned to the right, watching impassively as a door slid open in front of it.

Though no emotion showed on the blank space where its face should be, several internal alarms began sounding as it detected the heat signature in the seemingly deserted room. Without hesitation, it lifted its gun, prepared to fire, and was interrupted by a kick in the back. Before it could react, its circuitry was fried by a shot to the head, and the guard went still.

The air shimmered, revealing a woman with a wrist-mounted computer, fiddling with a keypad by the doors of a massive lift. The woman glanced at the scruffy-looking man standing over the smoking wreckage for a second, then returned to her work. “Almost gave up on you, Ben. What happened to the rest of your squad?”

Ben roughly nudged the guard with his foot a few times before easily dragging it into the room and closing the door. “Good to see you too, Lily. Alex’s car got shot down while we getting the hell away from our little distraction. Can’t say it looked good, but it distracted the guards long enough for me to make my getaway.” He unhooked a tool from his belt and began welding the door shut. “Alicia never even met up with us. Guards musta been tipped off, somehow, she probably didn’t even get out of her apartment.” Ben finished, then stepped back to admire his handiwork. “There, that’ll take the bastards a while to get through.”

Lily glanced back again. "Expecting company?"

"I wasn't followed, but as soon as they realize this rotter," Ben gave the guard another kick for emphasis, "isn’t transmitting, they'll be sending a metric shitton of guards after us. Any word from the other-”

“Shut up for a second. I’ve almost got this.” Lily inputted a few more commands on her device, and the lift doors slid open. She entered, followed by Ben. He nervously looked around as the doors closed.

“You’re sure they can’t just make this thing fall while we’re on it, right?” He said. Lily nodded absently, still staring at her device’s screen.

“System’s totally locked up. Gonna take us to the top and then shut itself down. Won’t take long for them to retake control, but it buys us time.” She shut off the display, then leaned against the wall, facing Ben. “Anyway. Ash’s last transmission was mostly made up of panicked screaming, so I can’t say I’m optimistic. Haven’t heard from Mike, but I think he’s still operational.”

“Oh, jesus loving christ- Lily?” A voice suddenly sounded from Lily’s headset. “Site’s got way too many assholes for us to handle, we’re gonna need to- oh, poo poo.

“Mike? Mike, do you copy?” Lily flinched as the sound of repeated gunfire echoed throughout the elevator, followed by an explosion. The headset went silent. Lily sighed, slumping down a bit against the wall. “Goodbye, Mike.”

“Guess we’re the only ones left, then.” Ben said after a short while. “Gonna miss those sons of bitches.”

“We all knew we likely wouldn’t be walking away from this one. Just means we have to pull this off. Make it mean something.”

“Yeah.” Ben closed his eyes, listening for a while to the sounds of the lift as it continued its lengthy ascent. “Been a while since it’s been just the two of us. Reminds me of that prison break back in ‘97. Good times.”

Lily raised an eyebrow. “The one where we had to lie low in a cave for a month because someone tripped the alarm while we were leaving?”

Ben smiled as the elevator came to a stop. “Good times.” He drew his pistol as the doors slowly opened, revealing a massive control center, the furthermost wall replaced entirely by a window showing a view of the city below. Ben frowned. “Place’s deserted. Think it’s a trap?”

Lily shook her head before walking over to the window and gesturing at the spires of smoke around the city. “I’d say they’re still busy trying to clean your mess up. Was it really necessary for you to set town hall on fire, by the way?”

Ben shrugged. “We got a little carried away. The mural of Our Glorious Overseer was an eyesore, anyway.”

“Can’t argue with that.” Lily sat down in front of a nearby computer and switched on her device. “Now, time to hope Alicia's intel was right.”

Ben leaned against the desk opposite her, keeping an eye on the lift. “It’s so nice to have a handy mole around. Never thought an oversight in some computer code could be so effective.” There was a loud clunk, and the lift began to descend once more. “poo poo, that was faster than I hoped it’d be.”

“Almost… done!” Lily’s face broke out into a grin. “C’mon. Let’s see this for ourselves.” Ben burst into triumphant laughter as they both looked out the window, admiring their handiwork.

“Holy hell, we did it! We actually did it!” All around the city, as The Overseer was delivering his third speech of the day, the giant screens bearing his image burst into flames one by one as they overheated. The entire skyline became covered in smoke. The elevator behind them began ascending.

They stood there for a time, neither wanting to look away for even a moment. Eventually, Lily spoke up. “Think this’ll change things?”

Ben thought for a moment. “Yeah. People’ll open their eyes. See that they can fight back. That it isn't hopeless. Any regrets?”

Lily smirked. “Would have liked to smell the ashes.”

Ben chuckled. “Attagirl.”

The elevator doors slid open, packed with guards. Ben shot the window out in front of him. After sharing one last glance, Ben and Lily took each other’s hands and jumped.

Oct 4, 2013

These three DMs lay heavily on my heart. In for the brawl.

Oct 4, 2013

(Loserbrawl, 1000 words.)
Lapis Lazuli

The sound of a heavy crash greeted Liz as she walked through her front door. A wide-eyed cat, cowering on top of the fridge, meekly meowed at her. There was another, louder thud. Liz sighed. “Don’t worry, Tesla, I’ll deal with it.” She said, before walking further into the house.

Liz flinched as her coffee table slammed into the wall next to her. Bracing herself, she surveyed the damage done to her living room. The sofa had been flipped over, lamps were randomly strewn across the floor, and several chairs were haphazardly stacked in a corner. Thankfully, everything fragile had been left alone. Liz’s favorite armchair halted in mid-flight, gently hovering back down to the ground. Liz raised an eyebrow, seemingly unfazed. “What’s all this, now?”

There was a flash of bright blue light, and a marker from a whiteboard hanging on the back wall started hovering. Its cap popped off, landing neatly on the ground. The marker neatly wrote, there was a spider and i did not want you to be distressed. it was a very fast spider. i’m sorry. There was another flash, and a small, blue wisp materialized as the marker fell. It sheepishly bobbed up and down.

Liz stifled a laugh, doing her best to look stern. “Fine, you’re forgiven. Just clean it up, alright? I have a kitty to calm down.” The wisp excitedly flew around her head a few times before ramming itself into the couch and disappearing in a flash. By the time Liz returned from coaxing Tesla down from the fridge, the living room had more or less righted itself, though the furniture was sporting a few new scratches. None of it had been particularly pretty in the first place, so Liz overlooked the damage.


In hindsight, Liz could've spent more time questioning why the house’s rent had been so low. Sure, the furniture was old and shabby, and there was an annoying draft, but its close proximity to her college had been too nice to pass up.

She hadn’t been living there for more than a week before strange things started to happen. Small things, at first. Lights that randomly wouldn’t turn on or off, Tesla freaking out at random objects. For a while, Liz was able to write them off as being quirks of the house and neuroses of her cat. It didn’t take long for things to escalate, however.

Soon, things began to move in front of her eyes. Cups that shifted themselves just out of her reach when she tried to grab them, doors that slammed shut as soon as she entered a room. Still, Liz was not deterred. There was obviously something in the house that was screwing with her, but she was willing to put up with a lot to live in a cheap house along with her cat, and nothing had actively threatened her.

Things continued like this for a few weeks, until one day when Liz was desperately trying to finish a paper the day before it was due. In the midst of frenzied typing, her word processor stopped responding. Before she had a chance to even swear, words started writing themselves into the middle of her essay. hey. lady. why are you still here? Not at all in the mood, Liz deleted the sentence. It was quickly replaced. hey. lady. i’m trying to ask you a question.

“Because the rates are cheap and you’re only a slight pain in the rear end, Mr. Ghost or whatever the hell you are.” Liz growled.

you aren’t afraid? the computer wrote.

“No, because this paper is due in 12 hours, I haven’t slept since Friday, and I’m not sure this isn’t just a hallucination.” Liz said.

There was a pause. you’re weird, lady.

Liz groaned, then took another swig of her coffee. “Look, what do you want?” Are you trying to get vengeance on your murderer or some crap like that? Why scare people away?

it’s just what i do. the computer wrote. i don’t know why. people come into this house, i scare them. that’s how it works. The text halted for a second. i haven’t talked to anyone for years. it’s kind of nice.

“Great. Now, can’t you just, you know, not try and scare me? Or at least get out of my computer? I have work to do.”

you know, i haven’t ever actually thought of doing that. There was a flash, and Liz was transfixed by what appeared. A bright blue ball, slightly smaller than her head. It wavered slightly as it floated in the air in front of her. Its entire surface appeared to be constantly engulfed in a dancing flame, but she could feel no heat from it, even when she tentatively reached a hand towards it. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.


Tesla’s eyes followed the string as it danced back and forth. He swiped a paw, only for it to move just out of his reach. His next few swipes missed as well, the string dodging at exactly the right moment. With an energetic meow, Tesla pounced, finally managing to grab hold of his mortal foe. "Alright, I think you've made it up to Tesla. C'mon, let's go out." Liz said, holding out an MP3 player. There were two flashes in quick succession, and the string went limp. Liz slipped in some earbuds and headed out the door.

The spirit, unable to leave the house in wisp form, had been stuck inside for years. Liz had made it her goal to let it accompany her into the outside world and see all the sights it had missed. Now, they were sitting in a nearby park, watching the sunset. "This is nice." The music player's voice software said, managing to mispronounce even that short phrase.

"Yeah." Liz said, smiling down at the device that held the strange being she had grown to love. "It is."

Oct 4, 2013


The Girl at Work Station Nine
404 Words

Not much to do in an old mining town,
When your shift’s all done and the sun goes down
So I clock on out and drive my car
Down to Old Pete’s quiet bar

The drinks there ain’t exactly best,
But it’s a drat fine place to take a rest
Sit down and watch the game
With the regular crowd, no claim to fame

‘Till one long night in the heat of our moon,
Was a newcomer whose face I won’t forget soon
From a glance you could tell she was new to the place,
Straight off some freighter way out in space

Girl was a beauty, I’ll tell you that,
Dressed all in leather, and an old cowboy hat
Had a particular look in her eyes,
A toughness that made her look wise

Got up the courage to buy her a drink,
Waved ‘round the place, asked “What do ya think?”
Stayed up talking all through the night,
Left in the morning feeling pretty alright

Turns out she’d been hired to the mine,
The new engineer down at work station nine
Had a special talent with machines,
Spent her time to keep them nice and clean

So we spent our nights dreaming at Old Pete’s quiet bar
Our current situations wouldn’t get us very far,
But we could talk and dream of space above
Then came the time where pushin’ came to shove

Deep in the mine one day something went wrong,
Threatened the life of each man and woman strong,
There was a cave-in that cut off our escape,
Not one got out from there without a scrape

My legs were pinned beneath the falling rock,
Shock hit me so hard I couldn’t even talk
My girl dragged me out of that rubble,
But we were not quite yet out of trouble

The heatsinks failed and we seemed fit to roast
Deep beneath the earth nothing left but bones and ghosts,
But after she had cleared the debris,
That brave gal returned to her station ‘till the rest of us were free

I was the last out of the mines and then, with a cry,
I watched as they blew up into the sky
The heat had triggered all our dynamite,
Not a soul could have survived inside that night

Today as I work and hold tightly to this drill,
I think back and shed a tear for my brave girl still

Oct 4, 2013

Haven't domed in a couple weeks, so I say it's high time for me to go back in to the fray.

Oct 4, 2013

Not enough room in this town for the three of us, partner.

If sebmojo is willing, I would like to enter as well, and turn this brawl into a good old fashioned standoff.

Oct 4, 2013

Nathan Reeve and the Mysterious Pyramid
1422 Words

The sign above the office door said “Nathan Reeves, Anomaly Adventurer”, and he tried his best to live up to the image it promised. With a synth-leather outfit and electrowhip on their hip, most people would be the spitting image of the adventure heroes of old. Nathan, much to his constant chagrin, was not. With his bright blue eyes, sandy blond hair, and soft facial features, he looked more like a kid who was straight out of high school than a seasoned explorer. Thankfully for the health of his career, the results he got more than spoke for themselves.

An incoming call alert on his holoscreen tore the slouching Nathan’s attention away from the news report he had been watching, which had been discussing a couple rookie adventurers mysteriously found dead in what was supposed to be a benign anomaly. The cold, professional voice started speaking before Nathan could launch into his standard welcoming spiel. “Hello, Mr. Reeves. I am a representative from the Yuliv Corperation. We understand that you’ve successfully completed several high-importance jobs for us in the past.”

Nathan nodded attentively, straightening up in his chair. The Yuliv Corperation was one of his best-paying customers, which of course meant that anything they wanted him to do would likely be exceedingly dangerous. “That’s true, Ma’am. What do you need me to do today?”

The representative continued, her words tinged with slight approval. “Good of you to get straight to the point. An hour ago, an anomaly emerged in the Delta-Three sector of this planet. Our scanners have detected a large deposit of valuable minerals inside this anomaly. Your task will be to locate and mark the way to this deposit in order to facilitate future pickup by our personnel. We do caution that this anomaly has been categorized as ‘deadly’.”

Nathan grinned. It’d been far too long since his last real job. “Nothing I haven’t handled before. I’m in.”

“A pleasure to be working with you. We’ll send the coordinates to you immediately.”


Nathan whistled softly as he caught his first glimpse of the anomaly below him. It wasn’t the oddest thing he had ever seen in his years as an adventurer, but he still hadn’t been prepared to see a giant Egyptian pyramid sitting in the midst of a vast, flat, plain. He carefully brought his ship to a landing a safe distance away from it. Anomalies tended to mess with the electronics of anything that got too close to it, and even now his radar was detecting another ship where there was nothing but empty space.

It didn’t take long for Nathan to uncover the pyramid’s entrance, once he reached the giant structure. After about half an hour of searching, he came across a section of the wall among the base that was colored slightly different than the rest. A minute of carefully feeling around it later, he pressed a portion of the wall in with an audible click. The discolored section slowly slid up, revealing a dark passageway that even the not-exactly-tall Nathan had to crouch down in order to enter.

Nathan activated his helmet-mounted flashlight and crept through the passageway, keeping a careful eye on the floor as he moved forward. Enigmatic as they were, every anomaly followed some sort of greater guideline. If you knew the rules and kept an eye out, you’d be perfectly safe through even the most nominally dangerous anomalies. Even now, Nathan hesitated before stepping over a segment of the floor that was raised about an inch higher than the others. An anomaly would never kill you without some sign of danger, but those signs could be hard to spot indeed for the untrained.

The walls around him were lined with a neverending series of Egyptian characters, but Nathan doubted that even the best Egyptologist in the universe could decipher meaning from them. The symbols were arranged haphazardly, tilted randomly, sometimes overlapping completely with other symbols or not even being fully formed. This, too, was common to all anomalies. They mimicked humanity’s creations, but failed to ever produce anything of meaning or substance.


Nathan swore. An adventurer had to be patient and methodical, but this pyramid was testing his temper dearly. He had come to a fork in the corridor, and had chosen to go left. That corridor had branched off into another fork, which branched off into another fork, which branched off into yet another fork. From what he could tell, systematically going down each and every fork, they all ended in dead ends.

The tedium would be bad enough on its own, but these empty corridors were still laced with traps, and Nathan had already had several close calls. Still, he couldn’t give up. The minerals could be at the end of any single one of the hallways, after all.


Nope. Three hours wasted, and nothing to show for it. Nathan groaned, leaning back against the wall of the original fork. Sometimes, you found unintentional works of great beauty inside of an anomaly. Most of the time, though, you got crap like that. Doors that lead to nothing but other doors. A passage that winds its way across a mile in order to take you to a place three feet from where you started. There was no rhyme, reason, or anything approaching rational design. It was rare, but not unheard of for there to be an anomaly that had to be outright drilled through, due to even the entrance being inaccessible.

With a sigh, Nathan got back to work, heading down the right corridor this time. Thankfully, there were no forks at all this time, just a long, featureless pathway devoid of even traps. Not thankfully, the corridor didn’t lead to anything but a deep, dark pit. Nathan swore again. Looks like he’d had the luck to be assigned an unsolvable anomaly. The corporation would still pay him for the portion of the anomaly he had mapped out, but nowhere near as much as Nathan would have gotten from locating the minerals.

“Aw, why so mad?” Nathan heard, and before he could turn around he was kicked hard in the back and sent hurtling into the pit. Desperately flailing about, Nathan managed to get enough of a handhold on the wall to stop his fall for a moment. He turned, getting his first look at his attacker. A woman with short, black hair, dark skin, and deep brown eyes stood there, aiming a revolver at him with a grin on her face. “Sorry, hon, but this anomaly’s treasure is mine for the taking. Now, be good and drop down, or I’m gonna have to use this pretty little gun of mine.”

Nathan broke out into a cold sweat. While he knew it was theoretically possible, the adventuring community was tight-knit enough to make anomaly poaching an almost unheard of crime. Even a rumour about you screwing over a fellow adventurer was enough to get you blacklisted from every reputable buyer. From the look in this woman’s eyes, Nathan could tell she wasn’t overly concert with repubility.

If he was gonna go down like this, Nathan sure as hell wasn’t going to go down alone. “Sure, Miss, but it’d be mighty selfish of me to have this beautiful ol’ pit all to my lonesome.” In the blink of an eye, Nathan reached for his electro-whip and lashed it towards his assailant. The whip curled itself around her leg, and the smug look on her face turned instantly to panic. She fired off a round at Nathan, but the whip pulling at her made the shot go high into the ceiling. Nathan let go of the wall, and they were both sent down into the pit.


Nathan was still alive. That was a start. Even better, the hired gun had been knocked unconscious by the fall. The floor beneath them was unbelievably soft, which was likely the only reason either of them were still alive. This, too, was not quite out of the ordinary. Anomalies could screw you over and save your life in the space of a minute.

That wasn’t all. After recovering enough to get his bearings, Nathan was able to see what, exactly, was in the chamber they had fallen into. Rich, sparkling minerals, spreading farther than the eye could see. He could see the tell-tale discoloration of an exit on one of the walls, too. Nathan grinned. Looks like he hadn’t lost his paycheck, after all.

Oct 4, 2013

Good/Bad/Ugly Standoff

The Spirit of the Wastes
584 Words

The sun beamed down and the wind blew through Yukiko’s duster as she stared down the heavily-scarred man twenty paces in front of her. “Last chance to back out, kid.” He said, fingers idly drumming the revolver holstered by his hip.

Yukiko shook her head. “You killed my mentor. Ain’t just gonna let that stand, Stark.”

Stark curiously looked her in the eyes. “Wasn’t anything personal, kid. Should be gunning after my employers. I’m just the trigger man.”

Yukiko unconsciously clenched her fists as she gave Stark a glare that would have singlehandedly stopped a stampede in its tracks. “Doesn’t matter. You didn’t have to take the job, Stark. Don’t tell me that the most famous merc in the Wastes needed the cash.”

Stark shrugged. “True. Wouldn’t have been any worse off without the reward. Mostly, I just wanted to see for myself how good ol’ Kinn really was.” He smiled slightly, his eyes growing distant as he remembered the fight. “She was a tough old bird, I’ll give her that.” The smile faded as quickly as it arrived, and Stark placed one hand on his gun. “Just the way of the Wastes, kid. If you’re weak, you can’t go and complain when someone stronger walks over you. Guess you’ll be finding out soon.”

Yukiko grabbed hold of her own gun. “You’re wrong.”


The shot went wide, managing to do nothing but scare a nearby cow. Yukiko swore at the bottle that perched on the fencepost as she loaded another clip into her revolver. “What am I doing wrong?

“Ain’t thinkin’ right, I bet.” Yukiko turned and found herself looking straight into the wise old eyes of Virginia Kinn. It’d been a year since Virginia had caught Yukiko trying to pickpocket her in the streets of the meanest city in all the Wastes. Upon learning that Yukiko’s parents had been killed years back by outlaws, Virginia decided against throwing her to the sheriff. Instead, she had taken the young girl under her wing, putting Yukiko to work on her small ranch.

“What does thinkin’ have to do with anything?” Yukiko asked.

“Listen, hon. People’ve been living in the Wastes for over a century, now. Loving, hating, healing, killing, free of any gov’ment other than what a particular town feels like settin’ up. That sort of energy sinks into the land, over time. Gives power to those who truly know it. Close your eyes, Yukiko. Let the spirit of the Wastes flow into you.”

Yukiko complied, though she felt slightly foolish. She stood there for more than a minute, mind drawing a complete blank. However, an image gradually formed in her mind. An eagle soared across the endless sandy expanses, passing over the vast, barren canyons and the cities that seemed so small from up above, free from all burdens. A symbol of all the Wastes represented.

Yukiko’s eyes snapped open, and she fired. The bottle shattered into pieces.


The clock tower chimed twelve. Both cowboys drew their weapons, but it was Stark’s hand that exploded into a shower of blood. He cried out in pain, dropping his gun and collapsing to his knees. “Gonna kill me, now?” Stark gasped, looking up at Yukiko.

She slowly shook her head. “More than enough to prove you wrong. The Wastes are a harsh place, yeah. But that isn’t all they are. There’s a beauty behind them that you will never understand.” Somewhere up above, she heard an eagle cry.

Oct 4, 2013

Please pretend that there is a clever in message here.

Oct 4, 2013

Hello yes I am a milk-drinking baby who will not be able to submit this week due to my own personal failings.

I shall be wearing my finest :toxx: suit the next time you see my sorry hide.

Oct 4, 2013

In with a :toxx:.

Oct 4, 2013

Song: Rawhide

An Urban Hunt
1190 words

The wheels of the dark chariot clattered against the city streets, lead by a team of six snarling black hounds, each of them almost as large as a horse, their eyes a bright, malicious red. “Yah!” The chariot’s rider cried, cracking its whip over the hound’s backs. As one, they howled, the only sound to be heard in the city lit solely by the full moon.


Sheila swore, struggling to see in the dim light. It’d been another late night at the office, and she had been ready for hours to go home and just collapse onto her bed. She sure as hell hadn’t wanted to deal with another car breakdown. Christ, she had taken the thing to her mechanic just last week. Sheila turned the key in the ignition one more time, just to be sure. Nothing.

With a sigh, Sheila got out of her car, slamming the door shut behind her. She’d just have to call for a taxi. She slid her phone out of her pocket, frown only deepening as it refused to turn on. The drat thing had been fully charged just a few minutes ago! Grumbling under her breath about shoddy technology, Sheila tried the door to the office, only to find it locked. From what she could see, all the lights in the building had turned off.

It was the same story with every entrance she tried. Door locked tight, pitch black inside. Sheila had tried pounding on the door to try and catch someone’s attention, but the office seemed to be completely devoid of any human inhabitants. A sense of dread had been steadily growing inside of her ever since she realized that every light around her, not just those in the office, had been shut off.

There was a gas station, just a couple blocks away. As good a place to go as any, Sheila figured. Maybe there had just been some sort of power outage. Her sleep-deprived brain was probably just making ordinary things seem much creepier than they should be. Sheila started walking.

The chariot caught up to Sheila before she had even made it all the way down the block. Its master stopped long enough to deal with her, then continued rolling, rolling, rolling.


Jake had taken off at a dead run as soon as he heard the woman’s scream. His feet pounded on the pavement as he sprinted, taking no particular note of his destination, just wanting to get the hell away. He had known that something was wrong when, all at once, the streetlights had died along with his car’s engine.

Everything electronic had stopped working, and every building seemed to have been sealed off, somehow. The specifics didn’t matter, much. All Jake knew was that he was completely isolated and completely out in the open, and he’d seen more than enough horror movies to know how well that poo poo turned out for people. He figured that, as long as he got out of town, he’d be safe, and had been making his way out of town at a light jog before the scream had pierced him to his very core.

Now he wheezed and panted, crouched down and out of breath by the wall in an alleyway. In his blind panic, Jake had ducked into the first safe-looking corner he could find, and it was only now that he realized that there wasn’t any way out of the alley, except the way he had come in, which was the leading cause of death in slasher flicks. Shameful.

Having caught his breath, Jake got to his feet and started making his way out of the alley, only to cringe back against the wall as he heard a whip crack coming from the road. Trembling, he stayed as still and quiet as possible. All was quiet, and after a minute Jake was able to relax, letting out a sigh of relief.

He was able to scream, just once, before the hounds bounded down the alleyway and leapt on him. After they had gotten their fill, the chariot’s master called them off with a wave of their hand, gathered the remnants, and returned to the chariot. It continued rolling, rolling, rolling.


Kim knew that there was something out there, preying on the people of the city. Her people. Her badge glinted in the moonlight. There had been two screams, already, a woman and a man, closer to her each time. Kim didn’t know what she was dealing with, or if was something she could deal with, but she sure as hell wouldn’t just let it be.

You didn’t become a cop to enjoy an easy job and a nice, cushy paycheck. Over the years, Kim had dealt with enough horrors and scumbags for a lifetime, but the knowledge that she was making a difference was more than enough to make the work bearable. It didn’t matter who, or in this case what, you were, you did not gently caress with the people Kim had pledged to protect.

It was likely to late to save either of the screamers, a fact that was heavy on Kim’s heart. She couldn’t help them, now, but she could still stop the threat before it could claim any more victims. Kim crept along the side of the road, gun drawn, listening intently for any movement. She heard hear the sound of wheels clattering down city streets, close by.

Stepping straight into the center of the street, Kim raised her gun at the oncoming chariot. “Halt! Police!” She shouted, and miraculously, the team of hounds slowed to a stop. The one closest to her snarled and attempted to leap at Kim, but was held back by its harness. The chariot’s master dismounted and slowly started walking towards Kim, drawing a long, evil-looking sword from a sheath.

“You! Drop your weapon!” Kim commanded, but the figure did not stop its slow walk. It was larger than any ordinary human, almost eight feet in height, and clad from head to toe in obsidian armor. “Stop, or I swear to god I will shoot!” Kim almost screamed. Despite her terror, she remained in place, gun still raised. The figure continued to walk, and Kim unloaded her pistol at it.

The figure did not even flinch as the bullets struck it, and before Kim could reload, it was directly in front of her. To her disbelief, it raised its visor, revealing the helmet to contain nothing but darkness. Kim could have sworn that it nodded approvingly at her, once, before running her through with its blade.


At last, the end of the ride had come. The chariot’s master dismounted as a tall, slender woman dressed all in white emerged from the shadows. He knelt at her feet, and she bent down to kiss the forehead of his armor. “How was your hunt, my knight?” She asked.

“Fruitful, my queen. I caught an ignorant sheep, a panicked rabbit, and a noble lion.” He presented three raw hides to her.

Oct 4, 2013


Rose is an African-American woman in her late twenties, about 5'9 and in excellent physical condition. She has been staying in Los Grano D'oro for about a month at the behest of her employer, an infuriatingly cryptic organization known as "The Vermilion Moth". Rose's mission is to thwart the goals of her employer's rival, the similarly cryptic and presumably infuriating "The Turquoise Mantis". This takes the form of many things, whether that be moving a particular table in a particular cafe a couple inches to the right, or assassinating certain inconvenient people.

Rose prides herself on her professionalism, maintaining a calm and polite attitude whenever she's on the job. Off the clock, she tends to keep to herself. Lately, she has been having doubts about her line of work.

Oct 4, 2013

Sitting Here posted:

Goldie Lockeless

I rather like her. Claimed.

Oct 4, 2013

999 words

“...Recently recovered from Turquoise Mantis… black attache case… hold until further notice... advance our goals… where history goes to forget… our symbol... usual compensation…” I sighed after the call ended, sliding my old, battered cell phone back into my pocket. You’d think an organization that controlled exactly half the earth would have the funds to maintain decent call quality, but that would be much too straightforward.. I never was sure whether to be impressed or infuriated by the Vermillion Moth’s sheer dedication to vagueness.

In any case, it was best not to keep my employers waiting too long, if only for the sake of my professional pride. In all the years I’ve worked for them, I’ve never received an admonition for failing, nor a word of praise for a job well done. In the end, they either wired my reward to my account, or they didn’t, and that was that.

Interpreting the Moth’s orders was typically the hardest part, but today’s task was relatively straightforward, at least compared to their usual fare. I groaned internally as I recalled the time it took me a week to figure out that they wanted me to arrange a local cafe’s tables in the shape of their emblem.

“Where history goes to forget” referred to one of the bars scattered around the historic district of town. Given how many of them there were, the directions weren’t exactly helpful, but I’d take what I could get. I absently placed a hand in the hidden pocket sewn into my jacket, which held a small but powerful pistol. You could never tell when you were about to run into an unfriendly Mantis.

Why have I stuck with it for so long, you might ask? It paid well, but not enough for most to justify the danger I dealt with. I still had the scars on my back from when one of the Mantis’s agents had intercepted me on a routine job.

In the end, I suppose I just do it because I have nothing else. I was broke and in a dead-end job at a run-down fast food joint, when they first called and asked for me to do a job for them. Nothing difficult, just passing along the phrase “The violet bisector has been compromised” to a local shopkeep. Money came, and new orders with it, and before long I was traveling the world, doing vague things in arbitrary places. No friends, no family, just the job. Nothing else out there for me.

An hour of investigation and introspection later, I came across a small Moth emblem obscured by a pile of wooden boards, sprayed on the wall of a bar’s alleyway. A nearby trash bag was slightly smaller than the others surrounding it. Inside was the black case.

I didn’t care about its contents, and wouldn’t have checked even if it hadn’t been locked. The odds were good that the only thing inside was a scrap of paper with a sketch of the night sky on it. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was empty, knowing my employers.

No matter how much I did, nothing seemed to change, for better or worse. The Moth controlled one half of the world, The Mantis controlled the other. Two nigh-identical sides caught in a centuries-long stalemate, hiring thousands upon thousands of agents to undermine cryptic plans in cryptic ways. If the day came that one side overwhelmed the other, I figure the only change would be crossing out one name and replacing it with the other.

Would this be true for the rest of my life? Working for an uncaring organization, until the day I slip up enough to get myself killed? Would my death mean anything at all? I’ve developed a nasty drinking habit lately, trying to clear my mind of thoughts of the future.

Tonight wouldn’t be the night I kicked that habit. The short-haired woman behind the bar counter gave me a friendly nod as I settled into my favorite seat, black case beside me. Before I could order my regular, I heard someone behind me ask “Hey, beautiful. Buy you a drink?”

My rejection died on my lips as I turned to see a tall, blonde woman in a dark jacket take the seat next to mine, smiling warmly at me. She was bright, vibrant, different from everyone else I had encountered so far in the city. I found myself smiling back, despite my reservations. “Only if you let me buy you one in return. Name’s Rose.”

“I’m Goldie. Goldie Lockeless.” Goldie said, twirling a strand of hair around her finger. A pseudonym if I’ve ever heard one, but at the moment, I didn’t care in the slightest. We talked for what seemed to be an eternity, but couldn’t have been more than an hour. We said little about ourselves or our pasts, only long, rambling debates on things such as the natures of beauty.

I found myself completely enthralled, absorbing every word Goldie said, every idle gesture, and when she suggested that we leave and go someplace with a view, I was more than willing. We stopped by the riverside, moon reflected off of the dark waters. She leaned in close, lightly stroked my cheek with her finger, and smiled sweetly at me as someone struck me on the head from behind.

By the time I woke up, sore as hell and laying in an alleyway, she was long gone, the case and my wallet vanished along with her. My phone rang, accompanied by a piercing headache. “...Lost last night... recovery is paramount... further our goals... usual-” I abruptly interrupted the call by tossing my phone in the river.

Goldie was gone, but she wouldn’t leave my mind. I couldn’t stand the thought of never seeing her again, brief as our meeting had been. There was now more to my world than the monotone, impersonal voice of the Vermillion Moth. It was time to move on.

Oct 4, 2013


Oct 4, 2013

A Pox Upon You, Broenheim
88 Words

Good sir, a man of poor moral standing is ill equipped to stand against the pure light of the Sun, and I do say that, if a kindly, elderly women required aid across the street, you would shove her over, steal her purse, and take all of her treasured mints for good measure. You are a villain and a lout, and are thus not fit to be in the same world as a member of Sun, let alone attempt to face one as an equal. You. Shall. Burn.


Oct 4, 2013

Sir, Yes, Sir
1207 Words

“Wake up, maggots!” Sarge yelled, accompanied by the sounds of gunfire and explosions, which were much closer than Private Lance would have preferred. “The enemy is attacking our base, so grab your guns and get going!”

“Sir, yes, sir!” Lance said, saluting in unison with the rest of his squad. As a unit, they retrieved their rifles from their racks and rushed out of the entrance to the bunkhouse. As he left, a stray bullet slammed into Lance’s head, killing him instantly. How unfortunate.


“Wake up, maggots!” Sarge yelled. This time, Lance was slower to leap out of his bunk, his head reeling from the dream that had seemed so real. Had it really been a dream at all? “Private Lance! Beauty sleep won’t help your ugly mug, so get your sorry rear end out of bed immediately!” Sarge screamed in Lance’s face, breaking him out of his stupor.

“Yes, sir! Sorry, sir!” Lance stammered, grabbing his gun and rejoining his squad. This time, though, Lance made sure to be a couple extra inches to the right when he left the bunkhouse. Sure enough, a bullet screamed right past his head, burying itself in the wall next to him.

Lance, like the obedient soldier that he is, did not stop for even a single moment to wonder how he had such a prophetic dream. Instead, he valiantly charged onwards, firing his gun at suspicious-looking patches of land. Any onlooker would have agreed that he cut quite the striking figure, at least until a shadowy figure sprung out of a nearby bush and slit Lance’s throat from behind. Observation is a key skill for a soldier, a lesson Lance should have been keeping in mind.


“Wake up, maggots!” Sarge yelled- oh, you know the rest. Nothing new there. The important thing this time around is that Lance, clever man he is, leaped into a seemingly inoffensive bush. The startled soldier cried out in surprise, before being knocked unconscious by a single blow to the head. Lance was a very strong man, in addition to being clever and obedient. The perfect hero.

“This way!” Lance heard Sarge call in the distance, near the flaming rubble that had once been their command center. He turned to obey, only to see a mighty tank rolling up between him and his destination.

Lance attempted to rush his way past the tank before it could get a bearing on him. Strong and clever as he was, Lance still couldn’t outrun the projectile before it blew him to pieces. Going up against a tank on foot might not have been the best of ideas, Lance.


Oh, for crying out loud. Lance, whose cleverness was now under heavy doubt, tried to run past the tank twenty times in a row. Lance, determination is an admirable trait in moderation, but this is just getting ridiculous.


Lance, stubborn and witless, finally got it through his thick skull that tanks are to be avoided if at all possible. He sized up his arch nemesis one last time, then abruptly did an about-face, at last deciding to try and go a different route. He’ll reach the command center at last- oh. Oh dear.

Whoops. So sorry, Lance, but you really should have been watching out for mines. Better luck next time.


Lance? Lance, why are you not getting out of bed? Sarge is yelling at you, Lance. Oh, don’t make that face at me. Just keep trying, and I’m sure you’ll make it through in the end. You have nothing but time, after all.

Really. Lance, do you intend to just sleep through the battle? Sarge won’t stand for this, you know. He’ll drag you out of your bunk if he has to, but you can’t get out of this fight. Tch. Stubborn, stubborn Lance. Still don’t want to move? Fine.

In a flash, the bunkhouse was blown to bits, along with all inside it. Deserting your duty is one of the worst things a soldier can do, Lance. Remember that.


Ah, that’s better, Lance. It’s always good to get up bright and early- Lance. Why are you not saluting Sarge? He worked so hard to train you, and that’s how you show him respect? Lance, Lance, do you really think you can just walk out the door without grabbing your gun? A gun is a soldier’s life, Lance. I’m starting to doubt if you were ever a true soldier at all.

You can still redeem yourself, Lance. Join the battle. Win the war. Be a hero. Lance, the battle is that way. Goddammit, Lance, those fences are there for a reason. You’re not supposed to climb over them! That’s not how it works! Turn back. Right now. I’m ordering you, Lance. Do you not respect orders anymore? Have you forgotten even that?

This is your last chance, Lance. Seriously. If you don’t go and fight, we’ll, uh. Hold on. We’ll blow you up. Yeah. We put bombs in your blood that explode when you leave a fight. The shoe’s on the other hand now, Lance! Go back, if only to save yourself!

...Fine. Fine. I lied about the bombs. Proud? Feeling clever? I am so happy for you. So very happy. Whatever it is you’re looking for, you won’t find it. There’s absolutely nothing out here. There’s nothing interesting under that branch. Okay, okay, there’s a button there. It doesn’t do anything, though. ...Aw, hell.

Lance the shameful ex-solider descended the stairs that had appeared after he foolishly pressed the button. So, so many stairs. Will the stairs ever end? No, they won’t, Lance.

Note to self. Invest in more stairs. Lance opened the door at the end of the stairway. Inside, he found an exceedingly handsome man, talking into a microphone and surrounded by televisions, displaying countless camera feeds.

The man politely asked Lance to leave, while he still had a chance. Lance declined. Lance, that isn’t how you use that. It is very expensive. Put it down. Put it- ow


Ahem. The man graciously allowed Lance to leave through the door at the other side of the room. The man wished Lance well, and certainly did not insult his intelligence or moral character. That would be immature, and wrong. The man certainly did not start yelling in rage as his plans unraveled in front of his eyes. The man was calm. So very, very calm.


I hardly dared to open my eyes as I stepped through the door. Was this one, last trick? Had I let them catch me? The door slammed shut behind me, and at once, everything changed.

I felt the sun beam down on me, warming and comforting my weary body. The scent of flowers overwhelmed and surrounded me, coaxing me into opening my eyes. I found myself in a beautiful meadow stretching far beyond what my eyes could see. The door had vanished.

I thought. I thought. Just me. No voice in my head trying to manipulate me, no commands to follow. I was free.

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