My humble submission to the interprompt:
Behind The Dome (300 words)
“Do you ever go home?” the runner asked as he walked into the break room.
“Who can find the time,” Jack muttered, washing his mug.
“Reckon we’ll actually reach the finale? A soap opera with a finale. Weird.”
“Aye. What's your name again?"
“It's, er, Goodwin. Cooper.”
“How long have you been here, Goodwin?”
“A month. Sod’s law. First job out of uni, it’ll be my last.”
“You watch the show?”
“Nah. Not big on soaps. Me mum was. This one was always on when I got home from school. Seemed pretty silly to me. Bit OTT.”
“Working here changed that at all?”
“Not really. Actually, behind the scenes is kinda worse than the show.”
Jack turned off the tap. “What does that mean?”
“Oh, I didn't mean anything by it...”
“No, seriously,” Jack looked at him. “It’s worse?”
“Just, the gossip you hear.”
“Seriously?” Goodwin yawned. “I thought you’d worked on this show, like, forever.”
“I have,” Jack sighed.
“You never heard that, say, Edwina and Carl have been...y’know...for years?”
“Isn't Edwina married to...?”
“Our glorious director, yep. But that’s okay, because he’s been copping off with her sister the whole time–”
“Creepy, right. He went to school with their dad, too. That billionaire oil guy who disappeared a while back?”
“Better still: during all that, Alexandria’s had a thing with that other camera guy...What's his name...”
“Alan,” Jack whispered. “That's Alan.”
“Right! Which is weird, cos I always thought...”
“Alan’s my husband.”
“...Oh. Sorry, I...” Goodwin stood up to leave. “Listen, I need to get out there. Deadline’s fast approaching, and all...”
Jack slumped to his seat. He watched another solar flare burn through the sky and for the first time since it started, it felt like the end of the world.
|# ¿ Feb 17, 2014 13:30|
|# ¿ Feb 7, 2023 01:29|
In like Flint.
|# ¿ Feb 25, 2014 15:41|
In it to win it. Or just to take part. That's what's important, right?
|# ¿ Mar 20, 2014 23:43|
Anwar floated. This was not unusual for him. It was depressingly banal. Every day aboard the Chupa-1 was more or less the same. He awoke with the ship, the lights blinking on at 6AM GMT to keep his circadian rhythms in check whilst amidst the blackness of space. He undid his restraints, drifted from his bed and propelled himself into the control room. Every morning, messages from Earth would run through on the ticker tape machine atop the dashboard. Most of the time it was simply a confirmation of his last delivery, occasionally with cute motivational quotes tacked on at the end. These would tail off as the week went on. The one he remembered best was “NOTHING WILL WORK UNLESS YOU DO”.
After that, it depended on what needed doing. More orders would come through on long strips of white paper, setting priorities: engineering work on the mining apparatus, checking the weather around the gas planet, approving the cannisters of helium. That was the one thing Anwar still paid special attention too, pressing his face against the glass as each one shot off towards the pale blue dot in the distance, floating away like a bunch of discarded party balloons. Throughout the day the ticker tape would continue to spin threads of messages, giving him updates on The Company's business which he hadn't the acumen nor interest to read. Anwar was hired for his engineering pedigree and starry eyes, rather than any sort of entrepreneurial spirit. When all that was done, he retired to bed at 9PM GMT. Tied to his bed, he stared at the photo of Bijal affixed to the wall beside him, imagining her cradling the child he had never met as he drifted into sleep.
That morning was no different. Anwar floated. He glided as gently from his quarters as the sigh from his parched lips. He took breakfast at the control desk, squeezing a tube of “scrambled eggs” into his mouth. He ticked off his mental to-do list for the day; for whatever reason, the latest message from The Company requested twice the usual amount of helium for the coming week. They principally used it in the cryogenics of the sort that had frozen Anwar for his long trip, and in the MRI machines that caught the tumour in Bijal's lungs before it could spread. He was a busy man. A man with purpose.
On this day, though, he yawned. More helium meant longer hours, meant less breaks, meant more yawning. His mind drifted not outside the porthole into the infinite vastness of inky space, which had long since lost its allure, as the mundanity of day-to-day space travel often caused it to. Instead, he thought of the latest book he had borrowed from the ship's library – Greek Myths – and how it would go unread for most of the week. His attention snapped back at the whirring of the ticker tape.
“Jesus,” Anwar's voice cracked as the message ran through the machine onto a short piece of paper, landing limply into his hands. It read simply: WAR.
He fell backwards, pushing himself off the control panel and slowly wafting through the rounded corridors of the ship. He stared at the message, in bold black print. From what little news he could glean from the machine's previous messages, there was nothing to indicate that conflict had broken out anew. He had hoped, in fact, that it had finished, since it had long since departed the shores of his country. Blood pounded in his ears, the only sound in the entire ship. He thought of the photo. He knew what he had to do. He also knew what he wanted to do.
His first option, as he saw it, was to stay on the ship as it continued its orbit, mining helium at an increasing rate, helping to fuel whatever it was The Company needed to end the fight back home as quickly as possible. In that way, he would not only help to secure his country – and his family's – safety in the present, but also the future. That was where the logical part of his brain was trying to tug him as he hovered, hesitant, in the hallway.
The second option was to disconnect the ship's mining apparatus and make a beeline straight to Earth. In his haste the gas planet's helium resources would be lost to mankind forever, as they evaporated into nothingness above the atmosphere. There was the risk of poison, too, if he did not extricate himself from the mining mechanics properly. But if he was fast enough, there was the chance he would get home in time to meet his son. A different part of his brain pulled him this way, and he was inclined to let it.
He kept the single-word declaration, the shortest he had yet received, in his back pocket as he worked. Usually the ticker tape was dumped back into the ship once read, the communication regarding his current workload recycled and absorbed by the Chupa-1's engines to fuel his future workload. He forgot most of the messages from The Company almost as soon as he had read them, but that one quote still remained with him: NOTHING WILL WORK UNLESS YOU DO. At the time it had made him think of Bijal, of his son. It was the same as he began to dismantle the huge machines that had been collecting and storing helium-3 for the past three years.
He ripped power couplings from their source, unscrewed and bashed connections with his wrench, and felt the sweat of real work on his brow for the first time in months. The beads floated around him along with the loose screws and cables as he finished tearing the ship loose of its mining machines and prepared himself for what would come next.
Anwar floated. With protocol breached, the ship went into a kind of meltdown. He knew that such a break would mean an instant return to Earth, but he didn't know the computers would give up providing him with the lights imitating day and night, regular mealtimes, or any other basic comforts. He didn't care. He just strapped himself to his bed and prayed and looked at the photo and hoped he would get home soon. He hoped he would get there at all. He watched the stars whizzing by.
In the control room, the ticker tape machine burst into life, concluding the message that Anwar had hastily torn off halfway through receiving. The smeared black ink read: IS OVER. NEED MORE FOR BALLOONS. CELEBRATE!
|# ¿ Mar 23, 2014 23:37|
Entenzahn, I am doing you a favour. I liked the basic idea of your story but it sure did feel like a first draft. Feel free to crit me Schneider, if you fancy.
Edit: Didn't mean to step on your toes, Sitting Here!
I'd say in most cases to follow the Elmore Leonard rule of no adverbs. Ever. Considering this opening line is evocative whilst keeping an air of mystery as to the setting, "The ground sways" works fine.
"Make noises" is a weird choice of phrase here, especially when you then confirm that they're arguing. Is it because they're talking and the bird doesn't understand them? Are they really just yelling noises at each other? Needs to be a little more concrete - consider saying they argued, conversed, earlier - or be vague in a less weird way - like saying they spoke, or talked to each other. I like the non-verbal communication of them waving their arms about, maybe be more specific again as to what they're actually doing, since "moving their arms" could mean basically anything.
Outside of her cage, men in puffy jackets make noises at each other and move their arms as they argue.
More weirdness. You're specific about one of the men being the one to point at her, but then "leather hand" - is it someone with a leather glove? Someone with a leathery hand? Be more specific about how she's "taken out", too, since that phrase has different connotations. You have the room for some description here, even; he "gently leads her out" or something like that.
One of them points at her. A leather hand opens her cage and takes her out.
Given she's a bird, why would she be "shown" the paper? The past-tense shift is a little clumsy, and also doesn't make it clear who's doing the stroking/whispering/showing. Is it the one guy who pointed at her? Is he the same guy who opened the cage? Or are all the puffy-jacketed men joining in? "He/they strokes(s) her, whisper(s) to her, gives her the message."
She is stroked, whispered to, shown a small roll of paper.
A container that's part of her leg, strapped to her leg, or what? Again, which man is this? I think their might be a more elegant word than container you could use here, too.
The man slides it into the container on her leg.
The kiss on the forehead is good, but hasn't he already opened the door and let her out of the cage a few lines ago? Or is this a different door, in which case, I don't really know what's happening.
He gives her a kiss on the forehead and opens the door.
*Sea. Also, this is some telling not showing. Don't tell us that the sea is rough, describe it; then you can counterpoint you description of choppy waves or w/e with your description of the sky above.
The see outside is rough.
This might be a good time to "reveal" what they're actually on (boat? ship? reading further on, er, a plane?), rather than saying "surface". On the surface of what? The Earth? It also doesn't seem surprising that you can feel strong winds. Instead, just compare her experience of the swaying to the wind from above: "The ship/boat/plane(??) rocked harder above the choppy wave and below the winds whipping down." Obvs something better than that, though.
Even down on the surface she can feel the winds.
I don't know what "heavy" clouds are. Clouds tend to be pretty light. That's why they float. And race.
Heavy clouds race across the sky.
Again, telling not showing. I mean, we know ourselves from your description of the sky that it's a bad time to be up there. Have her cower from the weather, or otherwise be reluctant.
A bad time to be up there, but it is not her choice.
Again, leather hands or leather gloves, and who do they belong to? Use a better word than "throw", too, otherwise I think of GOB tossing a dove into the sea in Arrested Development. "Launch"?
The leather hands throw her in the air and she does what she knows. She does her duty.
I like this in its own little para, nicely done.
Wait whut. "Floating metal bird?" So she was on a plane all along? Then why all the talk of the sea? Why would a plane keep a messenger pigeon? That is misleading and also a goofy description. I think you have to commit to describing everything from the bird's point of view - ie not knowing what the men are saying, that they are men, what the sea is, that she has a duty, etc - or else quit it with this.
She pushes her wings to gain height, ascending away from the floating metal bird.
Again, we already described the wind so she must be aware what it is, so "invisible forces" is just a bit silly and confusing. Are you talking about the wind, or some actual invisible magical forces? Who knows?
The invisible force pushes her back, but she has been trained, and she is strong.
This is the first I've heard about any dark clouds. Swap the "heavy" clouds of earlier for "dark" clouds and then you've got something to refer back to.
She climbs, approaching the black clouds until she can almost touch them.
"Up here". We're following the bird's journey, not watching it from below.
Up there she flows through the current.
What with "current" and "stream" this might be a good time to talk about the sea again? Compare the going above ground to below? Then it leads well into the next bit.
The stream changes constantly.
"She begins to fall" has a more gravitas and also leads into you describing the fall. Otherwise it just looks like a punchline of sorts.
For a second, the wind disappears. She falls.
Given this is, basically, the first big dramatic scene of the story, maybe expand on it a little. Put her in more peril, make it seem more dangerous, show her struggling to adjust her wings and glide rather than it just happening.
Circling through the air, she manages to adjust her wings and to glide, still down, but slower now.
See, mention the water again just before this and you make introduce the threat earlier and make it all the more worrying as she heads toward it. Maybe go for something more than "drops" landing on her, though, cos that just sounds like she's been caught in a light drizzle rather than being close to a tsunami pulling her under.
Below her, water crashes against water. Drops land on her feathers.
No need for the second sentence. We know that's why she can't land there. We know how water works.
She can’t land here. She will drown.
See where I liked the line break for "She flies", it doesn't feel as earned here. Describe the wind? A sudden gust? I dunno.
She must find —
So we get her taking off described in detail but then a few hours pass by with no description? Give us a little something, c'mon. Also I thought the wind was helping her, but now she's tired due to gliding against it? When did that happen? Also, *sea. Again.
She soars back up and flies. To glide against the wind, to keep away from the see is tiring and it takes hours for the coast to appear, but she knows where to go.
"Soon"? I thought this had taken hours? Also if it's "the" beach it should also be "the treetops, the hills, the green fields". Again, you're missing the opportunity to do some nice description here and again, is she a dumb bird who doesn't know what a plane is or is she a smart bird who can name a beach?
Soon she flies over the beach, over treetops, hills and green fields.
Don't need the former if we have the latter. Thunder roars. There's a storm brewing. The weather isn't nice. We get that. Again, maybe refer to the weather back on the plane or whatever it was?
It rains. Thunder roars in the distance.
That simile doesn't work. Are bugs particularly susceptible to being thrown by wind? Any more than birds? There's better comparisons you could make, rather than to just another creature. Maybe even a simile the bird might make?
A strong gust of wind picks her up and throws her like a bug.
If time is so precious how come we skipped over several hours not a few lines ago? And again: how did she regain her composure?
It takes her many precious seconds to regain her composure.
I missed the part when it wasn't
Up is up again,
Again, she recognises a falcon, so she's not a totally dumb bird. I also don't really feel any threat from you just saying it's a falcon. Describe it, highlight how much bigger it is than her, that it's in her airspace. Also saying it changes its course doesn't mean anything because a - We don't know what its course was and b - We don't know what its changed to until the next line. For all we know it's uninterested, or hasn't noticed her, and has buggered off.
but in the distance, she spots the next threat. Falcon. It changes its course.
See, we know now, but we didn't before!
It sees her.
If she's going to do this, maybe let us know beforehand that she's flying above trees. You mentioned them along with a beach and green hills, so we don't actually know where she is at this point.
She dives between the trees.
CLICHE KLAXON! "Fast as lightning"? C'mon. Again, this happens so quickly there's not really any peril.
The falcon, fast as lightning, closes in on her.
Birds aren't people. I don't think she'd check behind to see where the falcon is.
She flies between and around trunks, trying to shake him off. A quick look behind.
"He" or "it"? Pick one and stick to it!
It’s still there, almost on her now.
Take it a rule of thumb to never use the word "harshly" again. Especially don't say you got critiqued harshly.
She drops harshly,
Trees don't have a wooden texture, they are wood. Not only that, but wood on its own wouldn't scratch you, else we wouldn't make most furniture from it. Swap "wooden texture" out for "rough bark". Be more specific as to what this "giant tree" is, if you want. Also, there's a cracking sound? Does that mean the falcon hit the tree or what? You need to make that clear.
surges straight towards a giant tree, dragging back up just before she smashes into it. The wooden texture scratches her belly. Behind her, there is a cracking sound.
From the way this reads the chase happened literally just before she was home. Give us a couple of lines of plain sailing towards her end destination at least before the "Finally, a familiar sight".
Free again, she resumes her course. Finally, a familiar sight. A big, wooden box. Wires. Others, like her.
We guessed that, no need to tell us. Unless all these italicised bits are meant to be her thoughts, in which case, there should be more of them throughout. Really you don't need them at all since most of the story seems to be told from the bird's point of view anyways.
Okay, she knows this is a man, so therefore all the other vague descriptions in the story need to be changed. No leathery hands - leather-gloved hands - and please make it clear how many men are handling her at the beginning. Also, "he looks at her with big eyes"? What does that mean? Is he an anime character? Do you mean they're loving? Or watery?
She glides through the small opening in the box and hops onto her stand. A bell rings. Moments later, a man runs in, and removes the paper from her leg. He reads it. He looks at her with big eyes. Then he is gone.
Cute ending. I'm not sure you totally nailed the premise of the Thunderdome, and it might've been nice to sprinkle in some cues as to what the message was about (were the plane people in trouble? The arguing seemed to suggest that, but the they seemed pretty cool when they were taking the bird out). Needs a lot of tidying but I dig the basic story, telling it from the bird's point of view, and some of the description. Just be a little more concrete and sure of yourself, and take time to flesh things out some.
She flutters over to the food container and eats. She has done her duty, and the grain has never tasted so good.
|# ¿ Mar 25, 2014 17:17|
Since I snuck through the last Thunderdome undetected I am already in.
|# ¿ Mar 25, 2014 21:54|
|# ¿ Mar 27, 2014 20:58|
Footlong (1034 words)
You've heard of sandwich artists? Well I'm an Old Master. I'm the Bosch of bread, the Pontormo of processed cheese, the Goya of great customer service. I slice a footlong in half, I get two perfect six-inchers. You can measure them if you really want. My Spicy Italians have the perfect spread of salami and pepperoni to cover the maximum surface area, for maximum taste. I go whole shifts without dirtying my apron. I can actually pronounce jalapeño. I get tips. People like me. I work fifty, sometimes sixty hour weeks. I bleed for Subway. That's why I'm not gonna let these turds rob us blind.
The guy in the balaclava hesitates when I'm done telling him this, then he shoves the shotgun barrel back against my forehead. “You know this is loaded, right?” he asks. The gun's so ludicrously long, he's like a foot away from me. It's like he's yelling at me down a corridor. I hear his partner, with the bandana across his face, in the back, keeping an eye on Dylan. He needn't bother. Dylan barely moves during a normal shift. He's not going anywhere. “Just give him it, Lee!” he shouts.
“Shush,” the bandana guy growls.
Balaclava Guy nudges me with the barrel. I can guess his age by the way he talks, by the way he walked in, just as I was closing up for the day. He's young, not much older than me or Dylan. I've been working my arse off, and just before my first day off in a fortnight, this happens. They come in here, trying to take money earned by hard-working, normal people. The entitled little pricks.
He nudges me again. “C'mon mate,” he says. “The safe.”
“I don't know the code,” I tell him. “I'm not the manager. Mate.”
“Who is then?” he asks. “Him?” He points at Dylan, knelt by the sinks in the back with a baseball bat held to his head.
I snort. “Not in this lifetime.” We're understaffed as it is, being between managers, but we'd actually be better off without Dylan. So many burnt cookies, so many messed up orders, so much stale bread. There's still some on the counter I've gotta throw out.
“So?” He swings the shotgun down towards my chest.
“So what?” I ask.
“So what are you gonna give me?” He squints at my name tag. “Leeon?”
I sigh again, my hands still in the air. “I'm not giving you anything.”
“You see this gun, yeah? You're not blind or something?” he asks, pointing the gun back up at my head. I can see the gun. It looks big and dangerous. And nobody would hear it go off out here. A Subway at a retail park is a good place to hold up. Or it would be, except –
“This is all on camera,” I say.
“Uh, yeah, that's why our faces are covered,” he says, pointing at his balaclava. “Duh. Are you blind?.”
I continue: “This is all on camera, and it's being broadcast live to our regional office. A senior manager's watching this and has already called the police. They've got your car's licence plate from the camera over the door, too.” Plus they can see me handling this situation in a way befitting of, say, a future store manager.
“That's not what we hear,” he says. “Look, mate, I don't know why you're playing the hero. And for Subway? C'mon. Open the till, at least.”
“Look, I get it,” I lean towards him. “Times are tough. I'm a graduate, I couldn't find a job, ended up working here, and you know what? It's a decent job. You don't have to do poo poo like this.”
“Open the till,” he says.
I don't move. He knocks my baseball cap off with the barrel. It clatters to the ground.
“Lee! It's not worth it!” Dylan yells from the back.
“Shut up!” I shout back, and then I tell Balaclava Guy: “There's nothing in there. I emptied it.”
“So...where's the money now, then?”
“I put it in the safe.”
“But you said–”
I grab the yellow knife – the one for cutting the vegetarian subs – from my apron pocket and swing it up at his hand. He stumbles backwards and drops the shotgun. It goes off at the ground, shattering floor tiles and spitting smoke up into the air. The other guy shoves Dylan to the floor and comes at me with the bat, ready to swing. I duck and he smashes the bat into the fridge door behind me. I grab one of Dylan's stale Hearty Italian footlongs off the counter and club Bandana Guy around the head with it. He falls down, unconscious. When I stand up I see Balaclava Guy's fingertips have come clean off and tumbled in amongst the cucumbers. It's been a while since I used a knife like that. I peer over the counter to see him clutching his bloodied hand and sobbing beneath his balaclava.
“gently caress! Cousin! gently caress!” he cries. My feet crunch on glass. Bottles of Coke teeter out of the broken fridge door.
I have my shaking finger on the silent alarm when I feel something cold in my side. I turn to see Dylan, the feckless co-worker, sticking the green knife – the one for meaty subs – into my side. He's probably not even washed it. “Jesus,” I hear myself moaning. “Jesus, Dylan. What the...the hell?”
He shrugs, then shoves me aside. “Sorry man. Fiver an hour isn't enough to pay the bills.”
“You...you don't pay any bills. You...you live at your mum's...”
“So do you,” he says.
“Yeah, well...” I'm gasping. I drop the yellow knife. “Not much longer...”
“It's nothing personal, man,” he says, raiding the till I hadn't actually emptied. “Some of us just don't wanna be stuck here all their life.”
“I don't...I'm not...” The words fade and I collapse forward. I feel something cool and wet running down my side. Maybe it's just the marinara sauce I'm lying in. I hope so. I hear Dylan helping his friends up, leaving the shop, getting in the car. And I bleed for Subway.
|# ¿ Mar 30, 2014 20:05|
|# ¿ Apr 1, 2014 20:28|
Pipe up if I haven't done you and you want a crit on your story from last week.
If the offer still stands, yes please?
|# ¿ Apr 5, 2014 12:00|
Mixed Blessing (897 words)
Suzanne broke through the crowd and through the bathroom door and through the cubicle door and threw up. She slung her handbag behind her as the door swung shut. The bag burst open. Her make-up and jewellery, her phone and her purse, the pregnancy test and the condom spilled out onto the tiles.
She leant back from the bowl, cold sweat racing down her forehead, and sat down amongst her belongings.
“gently caress,” she groaned, wiping her mouth with the arm of her fur coat. “gently caress.” The light above the cubicle flickered, and Suzanne winced. She felt around for the contents of her bag, freezing when she touched the condom wrapper. The foil was crumpled and torn but it was still in there. She managed to stand, despite her shaking legs, and flush the toilet. She tried to throw the wrapper in after it, but missed. It landed on a spot of vomit that had also missed its target. Her phone vibrated on the floor. She collapsed back down and began to cry.
“Hey!” someone yelled outside the cubicle, banging on the door. “You done in there yet? Some of us were actually in line to use the bathroom!” She sounded young, drunk and angry. Suzanne body rocked as she tried to suppress her sobs.
“Yo, shut the gently caress up! Can't you hear she's upset?” piped up whoever was in the cubicle next to Suzanne's. It was followed by a hand appearing beneath the partition, holding a screwed-up ball of toilet paper. “Here,” she whispered.
“Thanks,” Suzanne croaked. Groping behind her again, she found her body spray and used it liberally around the bowl, trying to exorcise the smell of puke. She held the tissue to her nose and blew into it.
The light flickered once more, and when it came back on it was dazzling, brighter than bright. She started to feel dizzy again. Out of the light, the angel stepped. Like Suzanne, barefoot. Unlike Suzanne, not having discarded a pair of high heels behind him. Instead he trailed a pair of wings, magnificent even in cramped quarters. When he spoke, he spoke only to her: “Do not be afraid, Suzanne, because your prayer has been heard! You will bear you a son with your husband Zachary, and you shall name him John.”
She took her hands away from her eyes and looked at the angel properly for the first time. Suzanne felt very self-conscious of her hair, her bare feet, the broken strap on her dress.
“Wait, what?” she said.
“And you will have joy and gladness,” the angel continued, “and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink.” He paused, looking down at the specks of sick that dotted the cubicle. The angel shuffled his pale, glowing feet atop the cistern. “Ahem. He will be filled with the holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.”
“E-Excuse me?” Suzanne continued to squint at the white light that seemed to pour from every part of the angel, his glorious wings, his china-white skin, his flowing robes at odds with the chipped tiles, graffiti-strewn partitions and stained toilet. “What's...what's happening?”
“He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”
The thumping bass outside the bathroom shook the cubicle walls. The angel stood silently, perched atop the toilet, calm and still. Suzanne remained sat on the floor, trying to calculate how many drinks she had had that night, and if this had been the strangest part of it so far. Slowly, she stood, steadying herself on the door. “That...that doesn't make any sense,” she said, her lips dry. “How would that happen? Me and Zack, we tried, and now...”
And the angel said to her in reply, “I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.” Suzanne opened her mouth to speak, and he continued: “But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”
Something burned through her gullet and Suzanne got ready to leap towards the toilet again, but nothing came. The light flickered and when she looked up, the angel was gone. She slowly collected her things and flushed the toilet once more.
“Christ, what were you doing in there?” asked the young blonde who was waiting outside the cubicle. Suzanne brushed past her, out of the bathroom and then out of the club.
She pulled her phone out of her bag: three missed calls and two texts. Zack asking where she was, if she was coming back, making promises about what they could do. Luke asking why she had left in such a hurry and telling her to come back to him.
Her hand was frozen above the screen. Slowly, she let her hand drop to her chest. She stared at it, and then at the phone, her face illuminated in the dark of the street, silent.
|# ¿ Apr 6, 2014 21:35|
Interprompt: 100 words on the beautiful end of the world.
AP Chemistry (98 words)
The Professor held the planet in his hands. "Now class, do be careful. Has everybody got their goggles? This reaction is beautiful, but rather bright. We're going to introduce our little globe here to a beaker of nitric acid."
He dropped the small blue-and-green ball into the liquid. It burst into flames after shooting out a dazzling white light. The Professor smiled. "Now, you try."
"Do you hear something?" asked Ch'tai.
"Like what?" said Macluck.
"Other than the fizzing, really faint...It sounds almost like...screaming?"
"Nah," said Macluck, swirling his burning planet around. "Sure does look pretty."
|# ¿ Apr 7, 2014 16:12|
I am in. Whether that's foolish or wise
|# ¿ Apr 7, 2014 22:21|
Common Ground (936 words)
The orange peel fizzed as it sank into the wet snow. Vincent carved another piece off with his penknife. He walked behind the rest of the group.
“A few grand each,” Scott explained. “Skin's worth poo poo. They're paying for the meat.”
“Eskimos.” The word whistled between Bryan's missing teeth. “Get a McDonald's for cheaper. How come they don't just hunt?”
“Can't,” Scott yawned. “Only allowed to kill so many a year. Us, on the other hand...”
“Either way, I'm not complaining,” said Lou.
“You gon' do with your cut?” Bryan asked him.
“Tuition,” said Lou, nodding his head back at Vince. “Since his mom's not around.”
Bryan blushed. Scott nudged him in the ribs. Vincent's father had sold the TV, the lawnmower, but still not the ring. It glistened on his finger in the setting sun.
They set up camp in the woods. The wind shook the bare trunks as the group sat around the fire.
“You know how we do it?” asked Scott.
“We head out early,” said Bryan. “Get 'em while they're grabbing breakfast.”
“Quick,” said Lou. “Gotta be quick. They're quick. And powerful. Straight shot to the head.”
“And don't damage the tasty bits,” Scott tapped his nose.
“You coming along, kid?” Bryan asked Vincent, sat on the ground with his knife. Bryan turned back to the group: “He safe with that thing?”
“He's not a retard,” said Lou.
“Well,” snorted Scott. Lou looked round at the comment. He shrugged.
“Ah, he's fine,” agreed Bryan. “Been fine today. Be fine tomorrow. Not like he's gonna be hollerin' and scaring them off, huh?” Vince stared up at him. With that they split into pairs and bedded down, Scott kicking up snow to put out the fire.
Lou awoke with a start, his ears ringing. He had been dreaming of her. He was the last out his tent and saw the silhouettes of the others stood around the ashes of the fire.
“Jesus loving Christ, kid!” Bryan yelled.
Scott kept asking: “Whose gun is that? Whose gun is that?”
When Lou got close, Bryan stopped pacing and nodded at him. “His.”
“What?” Lou croaked, looking back at his tent.
Bryan threw up his hands. “This little prick of yours ever fire a gun before?”
Vincent was sat on the ground, rifle in hand, smoke seeping from the barrel. He was shaking. “Go back to the tent, Vince,” Lou said. Vincent obeyed.
“Jesus,” said Bryan.
“Listen, Lou,” Scott put his hand on Lou's shoulder once his son was out of earshot. “I know about...everything. But this ain't safe. The kid...he could gently caress this for us.”
Lou didn't reply.
“You know I don't wanna...Either he goes, you both go.”
They stood for a moment, staring at each other, eyes adjusting to each other's shape in the dark.
“I need this,” Lou whispered, looking down at his feet.
“Well all do,” Scott reminded him. “We all got bills.”
Lou sighed. “Okay,” he said. “Tomorrow, you hunt. I'll...babysit Vince.”
They split off back to their tents. Before he climbed into his, Lou noticed the bullet hole in the lining. He slept with the rifle in his bag.
The next morning he and Vincent headed further into the woods. Black trees reached up across the blank landscape. Lou looked through the rifle's sights into the distance. Nothing.
Vincent walked behind him. Each time he heard the knife slicing through peel, Lou bristled.
“Stop it,” he said, quietly. Vincent was stood still behind him.
They started off again, and so did the peeling. “Stop it,” Lou repeated. “Jesus, loving stop it!” He yelled, spinning around and staring at his son. Vincent stared back. “What is wrong with you? Just stop, Vince. Stop firing bullets over my head or playing with your knife. Stop putting me off.”
Vincent, unpaused and continued to peel. Lou dropped his rifle to the ground and followed it.
“gently caress,” he hissed. “We're done. That's it.” His voice got louder. “We're done, Vince! This hunt was a complete waste of loving time! We need this money.” He held his head in his hands. “I'm glad your mother isn't here to see this,” he sighed.
The white bear was quick, breaking through the brittle branches and into the clearing before Lou could react. Steam billowed from its nose and its teeth were framed by black black flesh beneath its fur. It was bigger than Lou expected. Vince stood on the other side of it, frozen still, orange in hand.
The bear looked at Lou, who fell backwards at its growl, groping in the ashen snow for his rifle. The bear advanced on him, his mouth dry and hands numb. The bear would kill him. It would gouge him with its teeth, or else with its claws, which dug into the frost. Lou stopped. He closed his eyes and waited.
Vincent slowly, calmly, crept towards the bear, who continued towards his father. He lifted the penknife from the fruit and then, quickly, plunged it into the bear's right eye.
The creature howled. It stumbled forwards, causing Lou to scramble back further, before it took back off into the woods. Once the bear left the crunching brush of the forest, there was no noise.
Lou looked up at his son. “It took my knife,” Vincent said.
“You were wrong,” he said. “Slow. You have to be slow. Or you'll scare them. Then you can do it. In the head.” He walked over to his father and sat down beside him. “That part was right.”
Lou held his son. The hunt was over.
|# ¿ Apr 13, 2014 22:14|
I've got nothing on this week so I'll do some in-depth crits if anyone wants them? First come, first served (I'll do maybe four).
EDIT: I'll post them post-judgement.
tenniseveryone fucked around with this message at 19:35 on Apr 14, 2014
|# ¿ Apr 14, 2014 18:55|
I threw a ping pong ball towards a red solo cup and it went in.
PS That Old Ganon, Grandmaster.flv, Turtlicious, crabrock - crits be coming your way soon(ish).
tenniseveryone fucked around with this message at 11:39 on Apr 15, 2014
|# ¿ Apr 15, 2014 10:53|
Pile on Grandmaster.flv time, I guess. Now with added Turtlicious!
fuckin' lol next time I'm not writing scifi because I spent too loving long worldbuilding. Also this is my first entry ever and I am garbage at writing dialogue but no excuses. They sound a lot like excuses to me. No excuses. Just stories.
It's an evocative - if familiar - world, but oh my lord is this not a story. Some people get hired to do a job, you flashback to tell us everything about the set up of the job, and then finally we get back to the job and don't even get a proper ending. That's not a story, that's some crap that happened. Plus you shift between first and third person for no discernable reason and have some really horrendously cliched dialogue amidst some bits that are actually quite inspired. You've got potential, kid, you just need to wrestle it down and make it accord to some sort of structure and to be a bit more original and not do run-on sentences like this from time to time. Cut it down as much as you can, read your dialogue out loud to see if it sounds hammy, cut some more, make sure you're telling a complete story, cut cut cut.
Here is my
Yeah this is...okay? The difference between ATH's online persona and his terrible home life is pretty good, and it's "heartwarming" in the way that e/n threads rarely are. There's a few things that are awkward, from the use of internet handle throughout (and the acronym) to the way that you have sympathy for the character at times when at others he's a gross stereotype that you're pointing at and laughing. This started out feeling like it was gonna be a ham-fisted hambeast parody thing and took a very different turn, and there's nothing wrong with pulling the rug out from people, but I think if you had a little more nuance and a little less caricature at the start it wouldn't put people off like it might do now. A happy ending in Thunderdome, who would've thunk it?
tenniseveryone fucked around with this message at 14:19 on Apr 17, 2014
|# ¿ Apr 17, 2014 12:33|
More crits, now the crabrock boycott is over. That Old Ganon, yours is here too! (Also, Turtlicious, PM me if you want more feedback/to ask me questions)
Get What’s Coming
Neat little modern fable that could do with some re-draftings, some clarifications and some bulking up of character roles. The ending was kinda what I was expecting but there were enough twists along the way that kept me sorta guessing. Pretty good????
For Royal Recognition
Yeah I don't know. This was super hard to read in places, the flashbacks didn't really sit well in amongst a high-octane action sequence, and there wasn't much of a story. A kid got ill, this girl killed a spider to get to some magical restorative fruit, and then the kid got better. The wise man seems surplus to requirements, and nothing that happens to him makes sense. The character motivations are hella fuzzy, too. You're so nearly there, the staging of the action is pretty good, and there's some good ideas, but it needs more work.
|# ¿ Apr 18, 2014 18:31|
Seven Minutes in Heaven (1129 words)
The bottle stopped spinning. Chelsea sighed, frowned, then lead the new kid into the closet in the hallway.
“Yeah Chelsea!” came the catcalls, shut out as Reggie closed the door.
“The stars are nice tonight,” he said.
Chelsea stood with her back to him, examining the shelves of board games. “We're inside,” she mumbled.
“Well,” Reggie rubbed his arm, “I saw them earlier. They were...nice.” He leaned back on the flock of fur coats hanging on the door.
“Uh-huh,” she rustled around in the half light, popping open the lids of games. “Weird. Scrabble box with a Monopoly board inside...”
Reggie's heart kept an unfamiliar beat. The closet was tiny. There was barely enough room for the both of them. Slowly, he reached his hand up and laid it on Chelsea's shoulder.
The girl turned, and Reggie was reminded of how beautiful she was, even in near darkness. Strips of light from outside the door illuminated her green eyes and long, blonde hair. She lifted her plastic cup up as she spoke. He watched her mouth carefully and wished that he was kissing it. “Nothing's going to happen, you know,” she said.
Reggie bit his lip and stared down at his feet. “Like, no offence,” Chelsea continued, “But I don't really know you. At all. My charity work is more the conservation side of things. Red, is it?”
“Reg,” he said.
“Okay. Reg. Sorry, Reg.”
He stared at his shoes and said: “You do conservation work?”
Chelsea shrugged. “I like nature. The environment. I think we should do more for it.”
“That's...good,” Reggie looked up at her, and smiled. He took a small step towards her. She lifted her hands up. “Nothing's. Gonna. Happen. Remember?”
“Yes. Sorry,” the new kid repeated, rubbing his eyes. “Can I tell you something, Chelsea?”
She looked him up and down as she took another sip from her cup. Outside the voices of the group merged into a melange of laughing, shouting, and armpit farts. They had already started spinning again. The new kid was weird, but not weird enough for her to have really noticed him before. He was tall, skinny, the balls of his wrist and his collarbones protruding beneath his pale skin. His eyes were large, but dull. His hair was short and wiry. His voice cracked and strained as he spoke. “Sure,” she said.
“Right,” he said. He clapped his hands together, and reached past her to pull the light cord. She squinted in the light. “Well, for starters. My name isn't Reggie.”
“My real name can't be pronounced using human vocal chords.”
“Because I'm an alien.”
She sighed, and placed her empty cup on one of the shelves. “How close are we to seven minutes?”
“Listen Red,” said Chelsea, trying to manoeuvre her way past the gangly teen before her. “I've heard some lines, but...”
“Okay, okay,” he turned and went to open the door. “Ah.”
“Are you serious?” Chelsea squeezed past Reggie, who stumbled back into the shelves. “You're kidding.” She shook the handle. “loving Ryan, man. I bet it was. Now there's a charity case...” Her back felt warm. Reggie was holding a flame in his palm. “Hey, don't be playing with a lighter in here! This stuff's all flammable...”
“It's not a, um, lighter,” he said, holding his hand closer to show that the flame was suspended above his hand.
“Right...” said Chelsea.
“I'm an alien,” Reggie repeated.
“...So you said.” She reached over Reggie's shoulder and took her cup off the shelf. She tilted it up to get the dregs of her drink.
“You're an alien,” she said, wiping her mouth.
“And my people have so far collected the powers of earth, water, and fire...”
“Wait, you've done what?” The noises outside the closet had almost disappeared. There was just her, and Reggie, in the closet.
“The classical elements? Earth, water, fire?” He looked at her. “We only need one more, and that's–”
“Wind,” Chelsea snorted as a rush of familiar feelings washed over her. “Yep, I get it, Reggie. Or, whatever your name isn't.”
He smiled, and placed his hand on her shoulder again. “Good,” he said. “I'm glad.”
Chelsea shrugged his hand away from her shoulder and adjusted the strap of her dress. “Yeah, I get that you're being gross,” she said.
“Wind? Like, that blows? Good one.”
“I don't understand...” said Reggie, looking at his hands.
“Pretty disgusting,” said Chelsea. She started banging on the door. “Hey! Ryan! Stop loving around! Get me away from this perv!”
“No! No!” Reggie grabbed her and spun her around. She turned and slapped the new kid across the face. He staggered back, his cheek stinging, knocking down the shelves of boardgames and collapsing to the ground amongst them.
“Oh, poo poo,” Chelsea gasped. She knelt down. “Are you okay?”
“Erm,” Reggie coughed. “I think I'll be fine. But...”
“I wasn't lying.”
“Okay,” she sat down, crossed leg, in front of him as he collected himself. “So...say you really aren't lying. What's the rest of the story?”
He shrugged and gave a weak smile. “There isn't much more. We've done pretty much what you've done. Decimated our planet with industry and selfishness. Except now we're trying to undo all the bad.”
“It's necessary,” he corrected her. “Else my planet will die out. And everyone who lives there with it.”
“And how do I come into this?” she asked, tilting her head.
Reggie bit his lip again and looked at the ceiling. “The first time I saw you was out on the...quad?” he said. “I saw you standing there. The wind was blowing through your hair. That's when I knew.”
She looked at him again. His eyes looked darker, richer; his long arms ready to wrap around her; his hair exotic, different. She leaned forward, her lips parting enough to accept his. She closed her eyes and felt the breeze on her back as they kissed.
“Haha, what?” somebody giggled behind them. “Chelsea! Really?” She ignored the voice. Reggie pulled her closer, and she smiled, and he felt her smiling. Ryan stood at the door and laughed, and she didn't care. When they were done, Chelsea stood up, and helped Reggie to stand too. She lead him out the closet, passed the amassed crowd, and into the living room, and then he was gone.
Reggie sat outside on the porch, looking at the photos he'd been told to take of Chelsea on his phone. It was strange seeing pictures of them kissing, like an out-of-body experience. The screen illuminated his face in the dark. He looked up at the stars and thought about the message he was about to send.
|# ¿ Apr 21, 2014 00:06|
After a week off for not good reason, I am in.
|# ¿ Apr 29, 2014 16:21|
|# ¿ Feb 7, 2023 01:29|
Having wussed out of a long-forgotten Thunderdome, I return with my tail between my legs, still hankering to be in.
EDIT: And since nobody else is (kinda thought everyone would) I'll do Hemingway
tenniseveryone fucked around with this message at 07:57 on Sep 3, 2014
|# ¿ Sep 2, 2014 14:48|