The Last Wish
(100 words epic)
‘And I’ll finally see the world in all its glory?’ a grey-haired man muttered almost crying.
‘You’ll see more than that,’ the doctor was visibly irritated although her voice didn’t betray any emotions, ‘you’ll see the planet dying, you’ll see the Sun burning red in its agony, you’ll see the end.’
In a minute the bandages were undone.
‘You hear that noise? Sounds like another bombing. What’s the hold-up? Open them up.’
‘I only wish the first thing I see wasn’t that morbid…’
‘Well, I wish I could see anything at all, Your Grace. Now get on with it already.’
|# ¿ Jan 14, 2014 21:40|
|# ¿ Jul 1, 2022 05:35|
To hell with it. In.
|# ¿ Jan 21, 2014 00:08|
A True Vampire.
Why am I always the one to interview local nutters? It’s the fifth one this year and I begin to think this bloke fixated on poisonous aluminium in tins from Tesco wasn’t that crazy. Why do we have so many mentally unstable people around and why do the council allow them to own dogs? This time promises to be less intimidating, though. An actual professor, I was told. A mathematician with solid publication history and my editor even mentioned an appearance on Radio 4 some thirty years ago. Thirty more years of this nonsense and I’ll be mad as a March hare, too.
This is the place. An old tower block near, the nineteenth floor, a ragged wooden door with a nameplate on it. Behind that door I expect to find a small flat full of litter and ammonia smell.
‘Professor Terry Dodgeson.’ says the bronze nameplate.
‘Do not disturb.’ say clearly disturbed scribbles below the doorbell.
One day my internship will end and I’ll finally move to reporting dresses that barely cover celebrities’ nipples. Might as well enjoy what I have. Here we go.
Well, I didn’t really expect the doorbell to work, but I hate knocking on people’s doors – you never want to alarm the neighbours.
‘Go away!’ shouts a hoarse but high-pitched voice, as if its out of practice for a long time.
‘I’m from the paper?’ It’s important to sound inquisitive even when you don’t ask a question. Makes them feel needed and important.
‘You’re a lady, right?’ I hear from behind the door.
Classic. The first thing all want to know.
‘Come in, love. I’ll put the kettle on,’ the door suddenly opens and to my surprise I am greeted by a woman in her seventies. She wears a grey knitted sweater, a blood-red shawl on her shoulders and a long black skirt that almost covers her pink slippers; no makeup, her snow-white hair is gathered in a ponytail. And no wedding ring. Goodness, will I be good at the gossip column.
‘Is your brother home?’ I ask and make my way inside.
‘How do you take it?’ my question is completely ignored.
Things like that often run in the family, I hear.
‘With milk and no sugar, please.’
The room is quite spacious. Mainly because there’s nothing but a sofa and a dinner table covered with papers. Miss Dodgeson rushes to the kitchen and I hear her opening and immediately closing every drawer.
‘Oh dear, we’re out of milk’ notes my host with slight sadness in her voice.
‘That’s alright,’ I reply while setting up my recorder. ‘So, about your brother...’
‘And I reckon there’s no tea left,’ now Miss Dodgeson sounds like she’s about to cry. She still decides to put the kettle on after giving it some thought and invites me to sit down.
I take another look around and realise that there are no bedrooms in this flat. She lives here alone. When we imagine a ‘mad scientist’ we rarely think of a woman and I didn’t even bother to clarify that when discussing my assignment.
‘Are you interested in vampires?’
‘I beg your pardon? the question brings me back from my pondering to sad reality.
‘I don’t want to bore you with true vampires – these are well-researched as it is. I particularly like those with three pairs of fangs, mutant vampires they call them, but for the article we can probably talk about pseudovampires. Now, these are easy to spot...’
At this point my mind wanders off. I expected something extravagant like the number of the beast in bar codes, but vampires? Is it even the right person? There’s only one way to know.
‘Terry,’ I utter Professor’s name, ‘the kettle.’
The woman goes obviously responds to the name. She walks to the kitchen to turn off the stove.
‘Ah, just a moment’
It’s her. Shouldn’t really matter, of course. Nutter is a nutter is a nutter, after all.
Miss Dodgeson hands me a cup of hot water and continues her lecture.
‘Getting back to the subject... If you see a vampire but then spot the asymmetrical fangs, make no mistake, it’s a pseudovampire. And while true vampires may hold the key to the Last Conjecture, pseudovampires have a mystery of their own...’
Unable to concentrate on this rigmarole, I take a sip from the cup. Yes, just water. Should I ask any questions? It doesn’t look like Miss Dodgeson is willing to talk about anything except vampires.
‘Miss Dodgeson, how many vampires you think can be found in your neighbourhood?’ I ask when there’s a short pause in Professor’s speech.
‘I don’t get out too often these days, but when you’re at the station, you may find some there. Or maybe at the shop if you pay attention at the checkout. And, obviously, you can find a lot of them right here,’ Miss Dodgeson gives me a sinister smile and I notice her fangs. Not asymmetrical – a true vampire.
I grab my recorder and hastily excuse myself from continuing this interview.
I’ve left out the part where I listen back to my recording per your request, Will. I am not sure why we need to make her look crazier than she is, but that’s on you now.
Re my resignation letter, I’d love to see it approved by Monday.
Based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_number
|# ¿ Jan 25, 2014 22:30|
Space Filler Elegance Challenge #2
‘Once upon a time there lived an old man and his old wife. They were very poor and didn’t have children…’
‘Babushka, I know this one already. Can I just watch telly?’ little Ian interrupted his grandmother. Eight years old, but he knew exactly what he wanted.
‘Of course, vnuchek. But give baba Vera just one more chance, alright?’ Vera Mikhailovna adjusted her kerchief and looked at her grandson with a smile.
‘Fine. But make it interesting!’
‘Once upon a time a lion fell in love with a she-bear. So she took her cub and she took her honey, and raspberries, and fish and she went to live among lions. And lions were kind to them. But one starry night the Great Bear decided to see if her subjects are well in foreign lands. So she looked from above into every corner of lions’ domain and she found no bears.’
|# ¿ Jan 27, 2014 19:07|
You suck, kill yourself.
I'm terribly sorry. It's like one of those fantastic ideas that you have while being not completely awake, and then cannot fathom why would you think that eggs and melon go together well. Alice in Wonderland references, a silly twist, no loving proof-reading before posting, it all added nothing good to an already nonsensical plot incoherent outside the context of a wikipedia article and dull characters who sit around doing nothing. I am ashamed and I should never touch prose ever again. Every piece of criticism was spot on and I thank you for that.
That said, I'm in with 1050s. Also, gently caress you.
|# ¿ Jan 28, 2014 09:07|
Mervin the Organiser.
The year of our Lord 1056. The forces of Gruffydd ap Rhydderch and Ælfgār, Prince of Mercia, unite for their final attack on Hereford to deliver swift justice and either to take back the city or put it to the torch. Two chiefs who are to lead their warbands in a flank attack on northern walls meet here, on a pleasant pasture where the river bends defending them from the enemy’s possible pre-emptive strike.
‘Alright, Michael. For once you’re on time,’ a Celtic chief greeted his Saxon counterpart and extended his hand for a handshake.
‘Jesus Christ, Brian! You’re supposed to be in persona once you have your kit on. Start being just a tiny bit authentic, will you?’ whispered annoyed Michael. He always thought of himself as a hardcore re-enactor and nothing could irritate him more than breaking the character during the event. After a deep sigh Michael continued in a convincing Mercia dialect, ‘I welcome thee and thy people. I am Eastmund and I command yon warriors under Ælfgār. My lord and your lord both do…’
So many times have Brian been accused of only being into re-enactment to impress women, so many times he, a history major, had to take the flak for a little bit of banter during the event. Before Michael could finish Brian (who was still holding his hand extended) interrupted him.
‘Hold on, hold on. I’m getting sick of this nonsense. Who the bloody hell do you think you are? Just look at your mail. Chainmail leggings in the 11th century? Get off your high horse, you silly jubbly.’
No one has ever called Michael a jubbly before. He’s travelled to the Napoleonic era twice, he’s fought in Byzantine-Ottoman Wars, he’s even met one of Columbus’ brothers and no one has ever had the audacity of calling him out on anachronisms in his kit.
‘Now listen up, you ponce, the fact that they’re first mentioned in the 12th century manuscripts, doesn’t mean they weren’t known before,’ yelled back Michael and drew his sword out of the sheath. ‘Have at thee!’
This type of conflict is always bound to attract interest of other re-enactors which is never good on the event. It was the time for Mervin, the steward for this gig, to interfere.
Mervin was rather new to being an organiser, but through many years of being a commoner, he’s learnt all too well how heated can be discussions around authenticity. Who’d want to travel two thousand years back in time only to find a fast food chain restaurant instead of a village tavern?
‘Halt!’ Mervin now stood between two chiefs with his hands over his head, and everyone had to listen to what he’s got to say, ‘Friends! We all know why we’re here. A battle is at hand, a real battle. For centuries before us, our predecessors had to re-enact most of the events with wooden swords and portable toilets. For centuries our hobby was nothing but wishful thinking, a stretch of imagination. But we all have paid the price, it has cost us a lot of effort and money to get here and we should stay united in the face of our enemy,’ it was as if orchestral music started to play as Mervin was talking. It all felt so cinematic, so grand and epic, complete with a true battle speech: all eyes on him. With even more enthusiasm he continued, ‘Let’s forget about insignificant details just for one day and remember that the only thing that really matters is that in an hour we move out and we crash opposing forces. And nothing can go wrong, because that’s history and we are the ones to make it!’
The music wouldn’t stop playing inside of Mervin’s head. In fact, it wouldn’t stop playing at all.
‘Did you bring your phone with you?’ Michael now showed no sign of anger, but rather spoke with complete bafflement in his voice.
‘Sorry for dissing your mail, Mike. Compared to this it’s the A incarnate. Christ almighty, it’s the worst gig I’ve been to,’ said Brian frowning. Suddenly he had a brilliant idea on how to save this wreck of an event, ‘You know what, lads? There’s a village nearby with the best cider in this era. Who’s up for it say “aye”!’
‘Aye!’ bellowed warriors back.
In ten minutes all soldiers have left the camp.
‘Mum, I told you I would call you after we’d have won, why would you do that? Why?’
It was over for Mervin the organiser. Now it’s back to being Mervin the commoner for him again. Could have been worse, though. They could have taken group’s beacon with them and he could have been stuck here for quite some time before another group could pick him up…
|# ¿ Feb 2, 2014 19:15|
The world of politics is a strange place. What started with 3 seats in the Parliament won by an even less serious variant of Pirate Party, in a year made me find myself embroiled in events that may shatter the very foundations of our society.
How many parliamentary sessions does it take for a party to be divided? Exactly three in this case. Who would have thought that Barney (or Björn as he prefers to be called) Nelson was very serious about bringing back Danelaw and joining Eurozone all along? Oh, and the Old Gods, of course.
As I look from the window of my cabinet on a burning city being devoured by Fenrir, I realise there’s only one thing left for me to do.
As the founder and the rightful leader of VNP I want to announce the dissolution of the Party and to express my condolences to those who've fallen victims to acts of violence caused by our radical wing. May Thor have mercy on our souls.
And Jesus Christ I don’t want to die.
|# ¿ Feb 3, 2014 17:12|
For the record, I didn't want to miss that week, but it seems like the elements that I know something about are taken and I'm blank on all the fancy ones. I'd really appreciate it if somebody could hit me with a reasonable element and a flash rule.
|# ¿ Feb 6, 2014 08:47|
For the record, I didn't want to miss that week, but it seems like the elements that I know something about are taken and I'm blank on all the fancy ones. I'd really appreciate it if somebody could hit me with a reasonable element and a flash rule.
Just in case it went unnoticed due to high concentration of posts with a loser avatar.
|# ¿ Feb 6, 2014 13:37|
Of Little Faith.
(755 dicitur de palladium et palladium)
After nine years I’ve spent in the monastery of St. Scholastica, I no longer feel like I believe in God. Precisely because I know Him maybe just a bit too well – where Tertullian saw absurdity, I now see nothing but logic and facts.
Can there even be faith, when there is no doubt? I hold it that within absolute certainty there’s no room for belief. Furthermore, faith can only be born from doubt, which is a necessary stage in spiritual life. I imagine that’s exactly what inspired St. Thomas to pursue monastic vocation and compile his proofs of God’s existence; to turn doubt into faith.
But for me it is undoubted that, say, relics in our chapel do not date back to St. Scholastica, yet I know that they are venerated for what they stand for, not for their age, and that’s what I want to stand for, too. Still, for two last weeks every time I say the Creed at Mass the ‘believe’ that drops from my lips I know to be a lie. The Scripture says, ‘It is what comes out of the mouth that defiles,’ which makes my dishonesty even more sinful in my mind.
It also seems like I can no longer truly love my neighbours. When sisters attend to the needs of those in want, I can see their faith in their smiles, in their tears, in their every gesture and emotion. And my kindness now stems exclusively from the knowledge of how a nun should be; like a tree standing in the sand of a dried up river’s bank, my works of charity now bare no spiritual fruit for anyone.
Mother superior is sure that I’m just having my doubts and offers her prayers for me, but she clearly doesn’t understand why I’ve lost my faith, since doubt is what I need the most to regain it. As per her her advice, I try to meditate more. ‘You search the scriptures…’ and I search in the most mysterious and seemingly contradictory parts of the Bible and, alas, find nothing that my logic could not explain or my mind could mistrust. My meditations turned into sessions of literary analysis and hermeneutic reading with no sense of miracle or awe-inspiring presence of divinity to them.
And at this very moment kneeling beside my bed as I pray for God to bring back my faith, I sense no hope in the words I say nor do I feel saddened with my current state – this is just something I am expected to do. In silent anger at my own absence of self-empathy I clench my hands into fists as strong as I can to the point where I can feel my ‘wedding ring’ digging into my finger.
‘Receive this ring as a sign of heavenly protection bestowed upon you by God and keep your faith in him until you come to the wedding feast of everlasting joy,’ those were the words of father Joshua who was presiding over the profession Mass when I had been taking my solemn vows.
A plain white gold band with words ‘My beloved’ engraved on the inside. ‘He brought me to the banqueting house, and his intention towards me was love.’
Sorry, Bridegroom dear, I couldn’t keep all my promises. Maybe my resolve wasn’t true, after all. But what should I do? I still have an art degree, so there is a worldly life for me should I want to come back to it. And I know I can come back. The only logical thing for me to do now is to leave the monastery forever. The fire in my heart can’t burn without the oil; I just can’t keep my promises anymore, not like that…
But did you keep yours? Through father Joshua acting in persona tua didn’t you swear to protect me, yet took my faith – the very foundation of our relationships – away from me?
I gaze on my ring once more. It’s truly amazing how even a drop of white metal can change gold into something new, something even purer. ‘And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.’
‘Thank you, Lord,’ I say out loud as I go to bed with my newly found doubt. I lay face down just as I did on the day of my solemn profession in front of the altar, and drift away to sleep.
‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.’
|# ¿ Feb 10, 2014 03:00|
With a fascinating story where I lie on the sofa whole day and eat a pack of crisps.
|# ¿ Feb 11, 2014 16:51|
A Cautionary Tale.
There are not that many things that I still can remember from my childhood. They are mostly just little scenes with no context at all, more like emotions than factual memories. Many of them are mundane and common, like eating skittles while watching Tom and Jerry or fighting with my older brother over a basketball in the kitchen. That type of thing. Some of them are slightly more important, and some have probably shaped who I am now: Dad telling Mum he’s leaving us while I assemble a Lego robot; walking on my brother watching porn... Among those memories there’s one story that I keep coming back to.
Back in elementary school we had economy running on stickers. Shiny ones were worth twice the price of regular ones, the ones based on Terminator 2 were even more expensive, etc., and people would rarely actually put stickers on anything, hoarding them instead to gain prestige and use them as means of exchange with other pupils.
I had two best mates at the time. Both of them were raised by single mothers, so we had that in common. One of them, Matt, had his father living in the US, so he’d always have the best toys and by my hometown’s standards his family was pretty much upper class. Vic, on the other hand, lived in a poor working class environment and with his father gone things didn’t get any better. I was somewhere in the middle, I guess. But despite our class differences, both real-life and as a consequence stickers-based, money, clothes or toys were never an issue between us. We’d always share and gladly help each other out with whatever we had. Until one day someone’s stolen all Matthew’s stickers, that is.
As a child who was allowed to watch Twin Peaks and Columbo late at night by my mother struggling with the divorce, I took it upon myself to catch the thief. The details of my investigation are a bit murky on me now, but after asking people around I deduced that the only person who could possibly know where Matthew kept his stickers was Victor. Obviously, I didn’t have any real evidence against him. No one saw him taking stickers from Matt’s locker or buying anything with those stickers, but he began slowly gaining more and more new stickers, which I assumed he’d obtained from someone from another school in exchange for stolen ones.
Instead of letting it go like Matt, I wanted to know the truth no matter what. My mum wasn’t religious and our RE wasn’t up to snuff, so my version of Christianity was primarily based on Super Book and how video games handled holy and magic objects in fantasy settings. For that reason I brought a Bible in school. When Victor and I were staying late at the homework club I asked the teacher, ‘Is that right that people swear on the Bible in court?’ and produced the Book from my rucksack.
The teacher knew about the stickers and probably saw where I was going with it. ‘Yes, that’s right,’ she answered.
‘And that’s because if someone lies after swearing on the Bible, they go to hell,’ I said to Vic and put the Bible in front of him. ‘Do you swear on the Holy Bible that you didn’t take Matt’s stickers?’
Victor was hesitant for a moment. Maybe he was shaken by my promises of hell to liars or just couldn’t believe that his best friend would suspect him in treachery, I don’t know. The teacher decided not to intervene for some reason, too.
‘I swear,’ he whispered.
‘Oh no, that won’t do. You have to put your left hand on the Book and say it out loud.’ At this point I was savouring my power, it was pure humiliation for Vic and I wouldn’t have stopped until everything went my way.
Victor put his hand on the Bible and firmly recited, ‘I swear on the Holy Bible that I didn’t take Matthew’s stickers’.
‘That’s alright then.’ I shoved the Bible back into my backpack and went home. Didn’t even tell him I was sorry or anything.
After that everything was back to normal. We were going through puberty together. Talking about girls, trying to prove ourselves to older lads with bad reputation, being disrespectful toward adults… You know, the usual puberty stuff.
Five years after the stickers incident Matthew’s mum sent him to a summer camp. While he was out of town, she hired me and Victor to walk the dog.
‘I’ll walk Felix by myself today, if you that’s okay with you. I need to visit my grandma, anyway, so I figured you’d want to miss on that one. Plus I’d really go for some extra cash right now.’ Victor called me early in the morning and since I had my Birthday coming up in a month or so, I didn’t mind him going alone that day.
In a week Matthew’s house was robbed. It didn’t take much time for the police to find out that Victor was involved, because the lock on the door has been opened with a key. Matthew was back home and convinced Vic to cooperate. Turned out, those older guys we always tried to impress have talked Victor into nicking the front door keys when he was picking up the dog.
Our friendship with Victor was over and even though Matthew and I stayed friends for some time after that, we had slowly drifted apart as we went to different schools.
For years I used this story to reinforce my then-current worldview. I went through periods of atheism and faith, conservatism and libertarianism, nihilism and naïve obedience to authority, and always thought of this story as a cautionary tale, blaming myself, class inequality, God for what’s happened and thanking all of the above afterwards, but at some point it had just stopped working. I no longer see it as a sign from heavens and I don’t see myself as a protagonist of this story, who’s got to set things right or learn the lesson. And I can only hope this has made me a better person somehow.
|# ¿ Feb 17, 2014 00:55|
Also, since I've already received a lot of mixed feedback and foolishly think I've learned something from it, I'd really love to see a full-fledged crit this time around. Please? Anyone?
|# ¿ Feb 18, 2014 11:58|
I'm not an expert at writing, but here are my thoughts as a reader.
I meant this week's submission on Lego, but cheers anyway. I wouldn't mind another crit from you. Just saying.
|# ¿ Feb 18, 2014 13:52|
What I will certainly not have:
Paladinus - Guevaran revolutionaries. May not be set in Latin America.
Uhm, I have a (stupid) question now. I'm pretty sure there are no sets about Guevaran revolutionaries, so would it be alright if, say, the farmer from your example was actually a retired Cuban military officer?
|# ¿ Feb 19, 2014 12:34|
Not sure why everyone posts their sets beforehand, but I do that not to lose it before I even start writing.
|# ¿ Feb 20, 2014 01:07|
Historia de un fracaso
My Lego set: http://lego.wikia.com/wiki/3713_Gabriel_the_Monkey_and_His_Drum_Set
Flash rule: Guevaran revolutionaries.
Rolando and Gabriel enter another village on this especially hot day in Zaire. Rolando sings in a language he still does not speak, but the song manages to attract children, women and the old. A man with a trained monkey is here to entertain them while they’re waiting for their fathers, husbands and sons to come back from a hunt. If Gabriel’s performance is good, he and his human comrade can hope for just enough fruits and water to get to the next village. That’s how it was for several years now.
When villagers are all sat and silent, Rolando gives Gabriel his drum and stands a stick with a cymbal on it. The drum is for drumsticks and the cymbal’s for the tail. Gabriel waits for a sign from his human comrade to start playing the only song he knows.
It’s a song from home brought to this country along with ideas that Gabriel could not comprehend. Maybe even Rolando doesn’t fully understand them now, but there was a time when he was sure those ideas were worth dying for. That’s why he and almost a hundred of others traveled through the great sea to get here and took Gabriel to remind them of their homeland.
Rolando waves his hand which means it’s time to start the show. Gabriel takes out two drumsticks from pockets of his red uniform and hits the cymbal with his long tail following it with a short drum roll. Now it’s four fast hits on the drum and two slow ones on the cymbal.
He’s learned this rhythm long ago, when other human comrades were still around. He used to play this beat whenever they set up a camp. Some people would smile, some people would cry, but all would sing in perfect unison.
Aprendimos a quererte
desde la histórica altura
donde el Sol de tu bravura
le puso cerco a la muerte...
But now instead of words Gabriel can only hear people’s laughter. He looks at this faceless crowd in search of support from his only human comrade. But Rolando pays no attention as he’s too busy begging for food. It feels as if the merciless Sun itself mocks Gabriel with its hot smile.
Suddenly Gabriel’s heart starts pounding faster and faster. First it beats along the rhythm and few seconds later it beats as fast as metal comrade Kalashnikov used to spit out fire both at enemies and Gabriel’s comrades. The rhythm becomes erratic and people jeer even louder and start throwing small stones and dirt at Gabriel. The beat gets slower and slower until it stops. So does Gabriel’s heart.
‘Lo siento, camarada. Saluda a Comandante de mi parte, por favor,’ says Rolando quietly when Gabriel seemingly is no longer breathing.
With people still laughing he takes the basket with food, puts the drum and the cymbal on top of it and leaves the village as he once left his comrades in a battle near Kabinda.
|# ¿ Feb 23, 2014 16:36|
Saved as a Draft
'I love you and I'm sorry.'
The train takes me farther from you as I press Send.
'No network available.'
|# ¿ Feb 25, 2014 08:15|
DMs: Quidnose, Ursine Asylum, Tyrannosaurus, Cache Cab, Starter Wiggin, Elfdude, Arkane.
Please, don't tell me a dead monkey is unLEGO. There are coffins, skeletons and zombies in Lego all the way.
Fake edit: oh wait, I'm not on the list.
|# ¿ Feb 25, 2014 11:44|
Not sure what the hell is going on, but I'm in.
Paladinus fucked around with this message at 14:21 on Feb 25, 2014
|# ¿ Feb 25, 2014 13:55|
God knows I needed that. Thanks. How everything is a puzzle in my stories comes up a lot in crits, but I just can't stop being a pretentious idiot for some reason. Comes next solo prompt, I promise to run my piece through somebody before posting, because it's getting ridiculous both plot-wise and how horrible I am with the language at times.
|# ¿ Feb 27, 2014 00:13|
In and would appreciate to see some flash rule thrown at me. But would I really?
|# ¿ Mar 10, 2014 22:36|
A Ghost of Many
‘As per plan we need half a square mile of maples here. Make sure to spread them evenly and mark each and every single one of seedlings with the stamps I gave you. Fail me and I promise the heads will roll.’
Koltor was on the edge both mentally and physically. Just a week has passed since he had to cast a spell of destruction of immense strength – probably the most powerful in written history – and now it’s his job to get the town back in shape for the Emperor’s visit. Even when you are an Archmage some things are bound to take their toll.
‘Well, what are you waiting for, you fool?’ Shamed by his master, the peasant ran off to pass the orders to other workers while mumbling apologies and bowing on his way.
Fire Scourge has left the town without signs of ruins. Even the ground now buried under ashes mostly turned into opaque glass. Servants said that you could still see things like knives and pots melted into it. On ashes lied all sorts of saplings and young trees ready for the revitalisation ritual.
‘One hundred and forty-three… And finally, one hundred and forty-four!’ The Archmage was now done with the spell and seemed really proud with his job. After all, most destruction spells only take one symbol and he rarely had an opportunity to display his penmanship in all its glory. Even written on ashes the runes looked quite spectacular.
Koltor stood in the centre of the rune circle with his staff above his head.
‘By the power of the Sibling Gods vested in me through the divinity of the Crystal and the Great Oak whose branches gave me this staff I, Koltor, the eleventh Archmage of the Empire after Grevelich and those before him, call upon forces of nature,’ the Archmage pronounced every word loud and clear, but it was merely a little play to entertain peasants; as soon as the staff touches the right rune the spell is cast. ‘Bring life unto this land to let your sons and daughters serve you through their labour!’
Koltor pointed the staff towards the rune that looked like a cow’s head. A gentle touch and the town became illuminated with pale light coming from below. The plants began to grow as if years were passing in a matter of seconds. The grey of ashes started turning into the green of grass and the sound of water flowing from under the ground to replenish the town’s stream could now be heard. Magic runes vanished into thin air leaving nothing behind. The ritual must have been a success, yet something was amiss. The light just wouldn’t fade away.
‘That’s not how it goes.’ The wizard closed his eyes and tried to cover his face with hands not to see this mysterious shining. Still, all he could see was absolute whiteness.
Koltor felt a strange presence. Not magic, though, no, but something human, something alive.
‘What are you?’ The wizard gripped his staff tightly, even though without any surface in sight to write a rune on it was completely useless.
‘We were many, yet we are nothing to you,’ Koltor could hear a choir of voices rumble inside his head, ‘We had names, yet we are faceless to you. You brought us death, yet we are now alive to you.’
Koltor screamed in fear only to find that his voice was mute, overwhelmed by the voices of the ghost.
In a blink of an eye everything was back to normal. All workers have already wandered off and Koltor found himself on what now was a green pasture. He wasn’t alone, though. The Archmage drew a single symbol on the ground and then marked his staff with the same rune.
A gentle touch…
The staff caught fire and in a flash the Crystal became but a small pile of ashes. Koltor knew the ghost was still there and even the strongest magic could never banish it from his thoughts.
|# ¿ Mar 17, 2014 01:18|
Rules of Nature
‘Are you mad, wizard? This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!’ The castle was half empty and King’s words echoed through the hallways.
‘Your Majesty, we are completely cut off from our allies,’ said the wizard wearily. He hasn’t eaten for two days and hasn’t slept for two more. ‘Our resources are scarce due to the blockade and sadly I’m limited to nature spells. So, if we just summon…’
‘It’s still insane,’ interrupted the King.
‘If we summon all the bees from our so-called allies they’ll be bound to help us,’ insisted the wizard, ‘They don’t have druids, so it will give us at least some leverage, as a kingdom without bees is bound to suffer great economic losses. I swear, it makes sense.’
After a good minute of silence the King announced his royal decision with a faint nervous smile on his face, ‘So bee it!’
When the enemy entered the kingdom, it resembled a gigantic bee hive, except with swollen corpses lying here in there.
‘Buzz buzz buzz, Buzz,’ said the Queen to her general.
‘Buzz buzz, Buzz Buzz!’ The general eagerly flied off. He's been waiting for another order to attack for far too long.
|# ¿ Mar 17, 2014 09:48|
Another Time Maybe?
'Oh, I'm just kidding, lads. You bloody bumders, wanted my arse on a plate, didn't you? Ha-ha. Yeah, I'll have another whisky.'
|# ¿ Mar 24, 2014 23:29|
In. Because I'm really good at entering competitions that I can't possibly win.
|# ¿ Mar 25, 2014 22:50|
Critiques for Week LXXXIV: MOST OF YOU CAN'T TELL GHOST STORIES
I am so, so sorry. You are the saddest rhino of them all.
|# ¿ Mar 26, 2014 18:07|
I forgot I had to spend my holidays 200 miles away from any type of computer and can currently churn out nothing more than a lame excuse this late in the night, so I'll have to bail on this one like a big stupid baby. Instead of making honourable judges suffer through yet another of my bad stories, as a penance I'll write that lousy video game crappypasta (deadline: April 4) for the Steam gifts thread. And get this, it's going to satisfy the prompt.
|# ¿ Mar 31, 2014 00:17|
‘And then your mother told me, “You can think of it as an April Fool’s joke, but it will also be a great present for Christmas.” With you on the way I had to marry that bitch, but you know what, I remembered that.’ David winked at Jimmy, gave him his patented smirk and poured another glass of whiskey. ‘In the end I’ve got a great silk tie out of it, while your mother’s only got you from me. And her face when she’s found you under the Christmas tree – priceless.’
‘You tell me this story every time I visit, and it’s time I tell you how it really went.’ Jimmy snatched the glass from David’s hand and emptied it in one gulp. ‘You’ve given her nothing for that Christmas, old man. Hadn’t Mr. Richardson cover for you, Mum would have been left without a present at all. And hey, he’s got me great blonde hair for my birthday, while you’ve only got alimony claims against you from Mum. Other than that, top joke there, Dave!’
|# ¿ Mar 31, 2014 16:39|
In. Flash me with some divine light.
|# ¿ Apr 1, 2014 22:15|
Just as I promised, here's a crappypasta about a guy with a silly talent.
It was supposed to be bad, arguably, even worse than what I usually poo poo out, so I don't know if any of you would want to read it. Still, I kept my promise, so the shame is almost gone. Until the next crit.
|# ¿ Apr 3, 2014 23:43|
Angel of Light
The last thing Michael could remember was his humble room and a crucifix above his bed. Then there was darkness. For a moment Michael felt abandoned by God, remorseful even for the life he spent serving Him. Only the bright light shining through the dark returned him confidence and gave him sense of direction. In front of him was an angel and Michael thought he knew the being.
‘Hello, old friend! That’s it for me then, eh?’ said Michael with relief and added with haste, ‘I was ready, by the way. I was eagerly awaiting for this day to come, to tell you the truth.’
‘I know the truth, Michael. That’s why you see me now,’ answered the angel in calm voice and a faint smile crossed his lips. ‘Now, follow me.’
It took some time for Michael to get used to moving again. It felt like he was going forward, but at the same it was the only thing he could perceive. Was he walking, flying, crawling and how fast he moved through this illuminating whiteness – he couldn’t tell. Michael was awestruck by the mystery of spiritual motion, so grand and unconceivable it seemed. To keep his mind off it he decided to do something more trivial and talk to the angel.
‘It was you, though, wasn’t it? You are him. I remember your every visit since the first time we met.’
Although Michael was now far behind, he could hear every word of the angel, as if the sound was coming from every direction.
‘Yes, Michael. It was the day of your daughter’s wedding.’ Something had changed in the angel’s usual composed tone. Michael took it for fondness of the memory.
‘If you can even call it that,’ uttered back Michael. ‘”Civil marriage”? A mockery of matrimony perpetuated by state! Luckily, you came and helped me see the real meaning of all this.’
Michael tried to catch up with the angel to see his face again, but the angel kept the distance.
‘No need to thank anyone, Michael. I only came to you because you were of the right mind.’
Michael knew the angel was right. Long before the fateful day Michael already despised vanity of the world and people who enjoyed it. When he stopped conforming to this world’s pattern to live a secluded life of prayer and angelic visions, it was easy. He had no real friends, he felt no obligation to support his daughter betrothed to an unbeliever, or to support anyone inside the world for that matter. All so-called ‘works of mercy’ never did anything to bring a person out of the world’s sin; not through mercy of others did Michael get where he was.
While Michael was contemplating on the angel’s words, there was no sound. To break this oppressive silence he asked the angel, ‘What’s happened to my daughter, anyway? I kept her transgressions out of my life, but I guess there’s no harm in it now.’
‘Do you remember the First Epistle to the Corinthians, Michael?’ The angel was now far away and his wings only moved faster,
‘Do you mean I’m on my way to Purgatory?’ asked Michael, dumbfounded.
‘There’s no need for that, no. Think chapter 7, verse 16. Turns out a wife can save a husband.’ The angel’s voice turned into many different voices. Some spoke with sadness, some spoke with anger, yet most spoke with scorn. ‘You, Michael, on the other hand, couldn’t save even yourself.’
Shocked, Michael tried to say the Lord’s Prayer, but couldn’t find the words. It was as though the whole notion of language changed leaving no possibility for expressing divine presence. Michael once again gazed upon the angel’s figure in a distance only to see it dissolving into the purest light.
‘Your kind say that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, but I am Bringer of Light. The light that blinds you, the light that will burn your soul forever.’
|# ¿ Apr 6, 2014 23:35|
Hush with the chitchat.
‘I thought about it, and I think we’ll have to end this,’ said Natasha in tears.
‘It was just a fart, Jesus, it’s not the end of the world! I was trying to make a joke!’ Martin couldn’t believe his ears. Just a week ago they’d been planning their wedding.
Natasha wiped her tears ruining the eyeliner.
‘It’s not just about us, Martin. In case you didn’t notice, your fart summoned an intergalactic fleet of alien colonisers!’
‘Are you saying they are after my colon?’
‘That’s it, Martin,’ said Natasha and pulled the trigger of her plasma gun.
|# ¿ Apr 7, 2014 14:59|
In. Just in. No fooling around this time.
|# ¿ Apr 7, 2014 22:27|
It is me. I am the fool.
Since it's the second time I may fail to write the story in time, the next round I enter - I enter with toxx.
|# ¿ Apr 13, 2014 09:55|
In with as promised.
|# ¿ Apr 22, 2014 15:14|
The Invisible War
‘Sir, Doctor Nimbwe has arrived. Should I let him in?’
General Adams nodded. His assistant left the room and invited a grey-haired man in a white lab coat with a black metal case in his hand.
The General got up from his massive leather chair to give Doctor Nimbwe a firm handshake.
‘Hello, Doctor Nimbwe. I’m General Adams. I’ve been following your research and it’s a great honour to finally meet you in person.’ Nimbwe’s hand was sweaty and cold. ‘Do you want anything to drink?’
‘No, that’s fine, thank you. If you don’t mind, I’d rather get down to business right away.’ Doctor Nimbwe cleared his throat and continued, ‘I don’t want to bore you with details, besides you probably have the report on your desk already, so I’ll just give you a quick outline of what I’ve been working on, if you don’t mind.’ The scientist talked very fast, but enunciated each word.
‘What a character,’ thought the General, ‘He looks a bit too anxious for a military scientist with twenty years in the field behind his back.’
‘Of course, you are the star here, Professor. Whatever suits you, no need to worry about formalities,’ said Adams and pointed to the empty chair.
Nimbwe sat down and put the case on his lap. The chair was much shorter than the General’s, so now Nimbwe had to look up to Adams. The scientist took a deep breath and spoke.
‘As you may know, we’ve been researching brains of conspiracy theorists of all kinds, and people with severe delusions and paranoid tendencies. We’ve managed to isolate a very specific area of the brain responsible for this type of erratic behaviour. It’s situated right below…’ Nimbwe wanted to show the area on his head, but after looking into the General’s disinterested eyes he decided against it. ‘Never mind. Anyway, for the past five years we’ve been working on a neurotoxin that would affect that part of the brain and could safely be used during military operations.’ the scientist’s lips formed a nervous smile as he gently tapped on the case with his finger. ‘And the result is here, General.’
Adams, buried in thought, was staring at Nimbwe’s face. ‘Why the hell does he look so suspicious to me? I’ve seen his type before and that’s not unusual for a lab coat to be intimidated by higher ranks, but there’s something fishy about him...’
The General opened a drawer of his desk without any sign of agitation. In one quick move he produced a revolver and pointed it right at Nimbwe.
‘Now, please, listen to me, doc. I’m a reasonable person and I’m terribly sorry for what I’m about to say. Although I’ve got nothing on you, my gut tells me you may be working for the enemy and I can’t make this thought disappear. The only explanation that I see is that you’ve already used the neurotoxin on me.’
The scientist went pale. With tears in his eyes he looked first at the gun, then at the General and tried to say something, but Adams stopped him.
‘No-no, everything is fine. Just open the case, please, no need for words.’
With shaking hands Nimbwe turned the dial on the combination lock several times and opened the case showing its contents to the General. There was a small plastic container with a biohazard warning on it and a heap of classified documents. The General looked at it puzzled.
‘Alright, think. If he’s infected me, there’s got to be some transmitter, so that his new masters could monitor status of the mission. Maybe even a small explosive device in case something goes wrong. With our level of security, the only way he could have brought it here must be…’ The General’s face brightened.
‘Now give me the container, doctor,’ said Adams and cocked the revolver.
Nimbwe handed the container mumbling something incoherent, to which Adams paid no attention.
‘Thank you. Now let’s see what’s inside.’ Adams put the container on his desk and hit it with the revolver’s butt. The container cracked, but nothing happened. No sound, no smell, nothing was inside. Nimbwe still sat in the chair, as if paralised, not being able to say a word.
‘I knew it,’ yelled the General, ‘I knew it from the start, you Illuminati bastard! Tell your demon overlords that Earthlings are prepared for the invasion.’
Adams was ready to shoot the scientist, but someone had sounded the alarm.
‘This is not a drill. We’ve been infiltrated by giant ants who look like humans. I repeat, this is not a drill,’ said a voice on the speakerphone.
‘You’re not taking my brain alive!’ yelled the General and put a bullet in his head.
Doctor Nimbwe was still sitting in his chair. Drops of blood and pieces of flesh on his face made him look like a warrior in war paint. His belly grumbled.
‘I should have called in sick. Chinese really did a number on my stomach. Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure they knew how it all would go all along.’
|# ¿ Apr 27, 2014 23:11|
I get in and retrieve from my pocket a completely foreign language. You can pet it, it won't bite.
|# ¿ May 6, 2014 01:02|
Hello. It's me, a giant baby with no grasp of time management. There's a solid chance I'm going to spare judges some atrocious writing today. Be grateful.
|# ¿ May 11, 2014 20:27|
|# ¿ Jul 1, 2022 05:35|
I am back and I'm in, motherfuckers. Meet my friend . He'll be helping me this time around.
|# ¿ Jun 3, 2014 14:09|