Would You Please Step into the Box
Sloth: gently caress it, good enough - 1200 words
The Amazing Alexi was elbow deep in his top hat and taking longer than intended.
“Now Vincent,” Alexi said to the over-bronzed meathead, “You wanted a Guinness, correct?”
“Mhmm,” the man grunted.
Alexi wondered why the guido seemed so put off at the prospect of a free beer, a peace offering. Vince had been a distraction to Alexi all night, heckling and hooting and whispering not-so-hushed dismissive comments about the show to his redheaded tablemate, Tasha, whom Alexi had been sending googoo eyes all evening.
Maybe that’s why Vince seemed pissed.
“You’re wasting my time again,” Lucifer said in the trademark booming, reverberating voice that only Alexi could hear.
“Part of the process,” Alexi thought. “Anyway, since when are you against some showmanship? I seem to remember a blackbird that-”
“Have you forgotten who serves whom, thrall?” it interjected.
Whenever Lucifer got just a smidge hungry he started invoking the whole holier-than-thou bullshit that wore thin on Alexi’s patience.
“Have I ever missed a feeding?” Alexi thought while sinking deeper into the hidden vortex.
Across the room, Alexi’s hand rummaged through the bar’s beer fridge, as he wondered where Bernice kept the Guinness. Second shelf, Alexi thought, before ripping the bottle through the void and hat.
“Is this your beer?” he asked.
“That’s a Stella Artois,” the brute said smugly; the stench of soapy coconut oil radiating from him made Alexi want to gag.
“Esmeralda,” Alexi called to his leggy assistant while flipping the hat back onto his head, “have you been wearing my magic hat again? Haven’t you been known to enjoy a Stella?”
“The only Stella I’ve ever enjoyed is my ex-girlfriend,” Esmeralda replied with a showgirl wink, before moving off the stage to arrange the next trick. She always could work a crowd.
The audience had been loving the routine all night: the duplicating rings, the transforming tree sloth, the sawed assistant, all performed flawlessly, thanks to the devil’s deal. Yet for all the wonder that Alexi was capable of producing, he lacked the skill of a true professional magician; he’d been told before. It had always been a sore spot for him, and deep down Alexi wondered if Vince had recognized him as a fraud.
“Vincent,” Alexi said as he poured the beer into a glass, “now I know I don’t have any white lions, but I just delivered you a beer that’s broken the laws of time and space, isn’t that pretty good?”
“Pretty good for a hack,” Vince said.
Tasha slapped her napkin to the table, face red with embarrassment, and said, “that’s it, I’m leaving.”
“Tash-” Vince started.
As she stormed the exit, Alexi noticed Tasha’s slinky evening gown and jewelry; she was overdressed. In that moment, watching them both leave, Alexi realized that neither had wanted to attend his show on this evening. They were both disappointed.
Yet, instead of letting them leave, Alexi’s pride forced him to speak, “Vincent, perhaps you’ll find my next spectacle more impressive.”
“Do you expect me to wait,” Lucifer asked, “while you escalate pointless squabbles?”
“I’m feeding you,” Alexi thought.
Esmeralda knew to trigger the music. By the time the audience turned forward, she had already wheeled the golden chamber onto the stage and spun the wooden box around, revealing that there were no false walls, no mirrors, no illusions.
“I’ll do your girlfriend a favor” Alexi said, “if you would please step into the box.”
“Mind your-” Tasha started.
“She’s my fiance,” Vince interrupted from the aisle, “and we’re out of here.”
Esmeralda opened the creaky maw of the chamber, filling the room with white light.
Alexi squinted against the compelling brightness. “Would you please step into the box?” he repeated.
“Have I ever desired a condemned soul as his?” Lucifer asked.
“Do me a favor,” Alexi replied as an old friend would, “just for tonight. A soul’s a soul, right?”
Alexi heard a familiar ringing in his ears.
Then the world stopped.
On the day that Alexi first met Lucifer, he climbed up an elm tree to cry. He had practiced the trick for weeks: the icebreaker, the sleight of hand, the “is this your card?” all for his beautiful teacher, Ms. Kilkenny. It was a simple plan that started with a magic trick and ended with a marriage.
He blew it.
The other kids would find him soon; Alexi could hear their laughter on the distance. They’d told him that it was a stupid idea; they knew this was his spot.
Then the ringing started, and everything else stopped, everything but a fluttering blackbird on the horizon which flew closer and closer before landing beside him.
It made him a deal.
“I’ll help you perform any magic trick you want,” it said, “for the rest of your life, and we will use real magic, together. If you feed me when I get hungry.”
Alexi stood with Tasha in the doorway, admiring the beauty in her scowl. Her red hair, frozen in the stasis, branched from her head like twisting tendrils.
She could do so much better, Alexi thought.
Alexi was caressing her soft hands when he felt the massive diamond on her finger. It took some force, but he slid the ring off and pocketed it. The engagement ring was his now, and Tasha wouldn’t mind.
The world seemed to have a way of erasing all traces of the damned, be it a ring or a memory. Soon, Alexi would be the only one to remember Vince, the meathead. Alexi decided that when the suspension broke, he would try to pick Tasha up. A good luck kiss was in order, Alexi concluded, so he stole a tender moment with her lips, enjoying their subtle lemon-flavored tackiness.
While he waited for the world to start, Alexi pulled a martini from Bernice’s smoky, yellowed, fingers; she’d been serving drinks here since before he was born. Alexi was nursing the drink, following the wrinkles in Bernice’s face when her stony gaze snapped to his, breaking his reverie and sending him tumbling from the barstool in shock.
“I am not an errand boy,” she said in her typical rasp that just wasn’t her typical rasp.
Alexi collected himself as Bernice began to shuffle from behind the bar towards him.
“Bernie?” he asked.
Alexi’s first, futile, instinct was to run, but as he charged the aisle, Tasha’s red tendril hair fell from its position back to her face. She turned to him, her eyes not wavering for a moment.
“Remember who serves whom,” she said.
There was an exit in the back. Alexi sprinted to the stage, tripping over chairs and patrons, but as he clawed his way through the curtain and to his salvation, there was Esmeralda, frozen in her mid costume change. Her gaze, too, snapped to him.
“I will not be used,” she said.
“I’m sorry,” Alexi thought, trying desperately to reach the booming voice, “I won’t forget my place again. Spare me, and I’ll serve as I should have,” but there was nothing, nothing but the sound of creaking wood behind him and the smell of coconut oil.
A pair of massive hands grabbed his shoulders.
“Step into the box,” it said.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 04:56|
|# ? Jun 19, 2021 13:31|
The Sepulcher Out of Sea
Envy: a ship of the line, sailing into the sunset
*snip* See archive
Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at 00:16 on Sep 1, 2015
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 05:24|
For Mine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, For Ever and Ever Amen
chaunticleer, atop his steeple, crowing defiance to the Devil
slouching in the throne
I squirm on the throne, my backside sliding on the smooth stone, and I wonder how Father managed it.
That is a lie. I know how. All remember his glory. But he is gone, and I'm all that's left. The guards drag the peasant girl in for judgement, dodging kicks. The court's thousand eyes rise over my left shoulder.
Lord Maccaban waves a perfumed hand, and the guards fling her forwards. She lands face-first. I am glad the carpet is already red. She tries to stand, but a guard places a foot on her back and she slumps.
Maccaban strides over to them and lifts a scroll from a guard's hand. Slowly he unrolls it, drawing out the moment.
The court gasps. Its mouths strive to swallow the room.
“Now,” says Maccaban, “I shall sentence her in the name of the Great King.”
I open my mouth. “Sedition? What did she say that was so terrible?”
Maccaban turns. “O Great King,” he says, “sedition is a terrible crime. For this slave to repeat such filth in the presence of thy glory-” he turns back, raising a silken sleeve to his eyes, “would be unforgivable.”
He will not use my royal name, no matter how many times I tell him my choice. To use it would be to make me a man. I try again. “My lord, I should be the judge of tha-”
The girl shouts. “Traitors! Usurpers!” The guards kick her silent.
“Unforgivable!” he wails, and the court beat their breasts in ritual shame. “Thou must not endure this, O Great King!” He lifts a single finger, and the guards haul the girl upward. “To the dungeons with her! She shall be hanged on the morrow.” He looks me in the eye. “Thou shall understand when thou are of age.”
I sneak down to the dungeons as night falls. I am not seen. At least the shadows serve me loyally. When he ruled, I had free rein in the halls of the Great King Jeroboam. His halls. As he had built his kingdom from nothing, so had he built the castle.
I round the final corner, and walk straight into her gaoler. He flings himself to the floor before me.
“Rise,” I say. “Open the door, please.”
“O Great King, thy regent has sentenced this one to-”
“Silence!” I squeak. “Who rules here? Maccaban or your King?”
The pause goes on too long. Then he rises. “O Great King, forgive me, but I cannot-”
A knife appears from his throat, and he topples.
“Get the keys!”
She has a voice used to command. Instinctively, I slip them off his belt. I stand up again, and she is at the bars.
“You wanted the door open, right?” she says. “Then get on with it!”
“You can't talk to me like that. I am the King, you know.”
She looks me up and down. “Apparently you are.”
“I am still a child. Soon though I will be of age, and the true Great King.”
She snorts. “Do you really think he will let you get that far, little king? Outside your toy castle, he curses your father. He slights your name. Soon, the day will come when you are no longer needed and no-one will care.”
I suck in breath. I had not thought Maccaban would dare. This sort of thing never happened to Father. Well, it happened once. Briefly.
“Then why do you care?”
“I care,” she says, “because so long as you are the court's pawn, everyone else suffers.”
She laughs. “You misunderstand, little king. I am no peasant. I am Bernice bir Hasmonaea, Baroness of Qual, Defender of...”
The titles go on and on. One of the petty lordlings. An alliance of barons. Different puppeteers.
“I was to bring you out,” she said. “I failed.”
“Yes,” I say. “but I won't.” I unlock the door.
We barrel along corridors as the dawn rises. I do not like this. It is unbecoming of my position.
“O Great King!”
Maccaban scuttles out from a stairwell, guards in tow. “Thank goodness we have found thee! We could not allow this filth to kidnap thee. Thou shall be accompanied to your chambers.” The soldiers close in. Their breastplates are greasy and battered.
These are not palace guards. These are veterans.
“I am the Great King,” I say. “Stand aside, in the name of my father.”
Time stretches. I prepare for them to take me back to my gilded cage, there to await the knife. Father will be very disappointed that I lost his kingdom.
They stand aside.
“O Great King!” Maccaban splutters. “Thou must not! You cannot!”
“I can,” I say. “Lord Maccaban, I hereby relieve you of your duties.”
He grins. “O Great King, it pains this slave to say, but this is impossible. I must serve thy radiance until thou are truly of age. Perhaps when,” he casts an eye at Hasmaea, “thou art able to judge wisely.”
I let the moment sink in. It is an insult. I must remember to repay it. That is what Father would do.
“Then perhaps,” I say, “it is time for me to see my realm. After all, surely knowledge is the fount of wisdom?” I smile, and turn away. I hear the sound of fast steps behind me, making for the guardhouse, but Maccaban cannot stop me tonight.
I wave a hand, and my soldiers fall in behind.
It is Bernice who commands my army, and her that gives the speech. I cannot: I do not have my name. Yet it is me they have assembled for. This country baroness does not know the court. She has not realised I am nameless. It is in the prerogative of a Great King to lie to his slaves.
“...your king, Jeroboam, son of Jeroboam!”
I have my name.
She leans over. “Now,” she whispers.
So I wait. The moment hangs in the air, and the two armies fidgets in the evening gloom. Then I roar wordlessly, my voice cracking, and we burst forwards: my command. Ahead of me, the lines collide. Metal meets meat, and I finally understand how Father managed it. You forged your kingdom, Father, but I shall go one better. I shall keep mine.
We are outnumbered, but it is no matter. I draw my sword. I am the Great King.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 05:32|
Ironic Twist fucked around with this message at 21:35 on Aug 31, 2015
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 05:59|
Also, Bad Seafood vs. Mercedes has been extended until 23:59 EST 8/28 Friday thank you
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 06:01|
1. she has nothing, I have everything, how i hate her
2. sucker punch with actual suckers
Eternity - 978 words
Give us food. Give me warmth. Forgive me. Bless me. Slay my enemies. Burn them. I’m too poor. I’m too fat. I want to die. Help me.
To Nelathis, the voices were that distant noise in the night that keeps you awake. Like a dripping tap you can’t turn off.
“Omnipresence can be a real pain in the rear end,” she muttered to herself. “What a mistake I think I’ve made sometimes.”
She sat cross legged in the nether, spinning the world beneath her. Her wavy, auburn hair floated weightlessly and she watched all the worlds with her dark, blue eyes.
Meanwhile, she could hear some kid praying for food, a crowd of people singing to a god that didn’t exist, and while all of that happened, some idiot was staring right at her with a telescope.
Not that he could see her.
It was just off putting. She briefly considered giving him cancer before realising she was hungry.
Nelathis plucked a star from another galaxy and popped it into her mouth chewing it slowly. Listening to the inhabitants of an entire planetary system scream in terror for a moment before their homes became cold lifeless rocks floating through the vacuum of space.
It was all good though, those civilisations had come about by chance rather than intelligent design, so Nelathis wasn’t too worried about pissing off some other god.
Except maybe the god of chance. But the most he could do is try and get lucky with her.
A monotone voice called out across the universe.
“That wasn’t very benevolent.”
As Ceras floated through the void she didn't let go of her one possession.
It was nothing.
She twisted and manipulated it artfully in her hands, almost like she was playing an instrument. A cosmic harp.
Pretentious bitch, thought Nelathis. She watched Ceras pass by a beautiful, binary star system. The nebulous, pink and green gasses stretched out into a singularity, disappearing into the black hole.
“Just be careful where you point that frigging thing,” Nelathis warned her,
“I’m doing stuff over here.”
“You don’t seem to care about the lives you’ve created. Why should I?” questioned Ceras
“I didn’t make all this because I care,” explained Nelathis.“I did it because I was bored. If I gave a poo poo, I’d feed that kid down there instead of ignoring him. Besides, when I intervene they give credit to non-existent deities most of the time anyway.”
Nelathis plucked an enormous tree out of the ground and spun its tip between her fingers sharpening it into a toothpick. She still had flecks of red dwarf stuck between her teeth. However, a crowd of people down on the planet only saw the tree rip out of the earth and rise into the heavens.
“See that?” Nelathis exclaimed. “That will be written down and remembered as nothing but a myth in a couple of millennia. Life is fickle, and fleeting, and only entertains for a short time. What you have is more,” she paused. “Interesting. You should let me play with that some time.”
“You? Never. You’re far too cruel and irresponsible to wield something as powerful as this,” replied Ceras sighing. “Stick to creating and squishing your little meat creatures.”
“You don’t know what it’s like though, to know everything, and hear everything!” Argued Nelathis. She began pointing out the various worlds.
“I can can tell you that lice were once the dominant species over there. I know the inhabitants of that planet over there will destroy each other in about a thousand years because of an argument about their gross reproductive organs,” Nelathis stopped and chuckled. “What I don’t know is what happens if I drop a supernova in there. Where does it go?”
She plucked another star from the edges of the universe and held it close to the hole, watching the light stretch until it disappeared. She felt the force of gravity pulling on the tips of her fingers. It was a strange sensation.
“I don’t know. Everything ends up somewhere I guess,” replied Ceras blandly. “Why don't you climb in and see for yourself?”
Nelathis looked incredulously at Ceras, certain she was hiding something. The allure of the swirling blackness before her was overwhelming.
Ceras spoke up again. “Besides, you’re an omnipotent deity. What do you have to worry about?”
“Okay, let me in then,” said Nelathis in a commanding voice. She gave the world she was playing with a solid spin so it would be good to go for a few more eons, until she got back.
Nelathis watched eagerly as Ceras lifted the whirling vortex up over her head and slowly brought it down. She felt the pull on her hair, twisting upwards. Soon, everything became stretched out into singularity. She was one with the light, sound and all matter surrounding her.
Then it was gone.
Everything was quiet. There were no voices.
For this first time in her existence there was not a sound.
Slowly, Nelathis curled up in a ball, enjoying the solitude and warmth, she had never known comfort like this. Her memories began to drift away. She forgot about the lives spread about the cosmos and the taste of starlight. She forgot what it was to create life, to care for it, or to punish it.
She lost track of all time. She was innocent.
Then, light came pouring into her eyes again and she began to scream. There were voices everywhere laughing and cheering as someone grabbed her.
Were she still a goddess she would have looked up to see a benevolent deity looking down on her, smiling at the new life being born on a tiny planet.
But she was not a goddess. She was naked and scared, breathing her first breaths.
The little girl’s eyes were dark blue and she had wavy, auburn hair.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 06:07|
“They are pleasant people,” Hamud said. “I almost regret they will be dead soon.” He sharpened his knife, caressing every inch.
Zayed smiled weakly at his younger half-brother and looked away. He had married into a different clan and many of his relatives shunned him. He hadn’t even seen his own family in months. Hamud knew it bothered him.
The two tanned, red-faced older tourists following them laughed at some device they had brought with them. Oblivious at being the topic of conversation, of course. The sand would claim two new victims today.
They had finally reached the old “shrine”—just some rocks standing in a way that might have formed part of a wall, once. Hamud put the knife in his brother’s hand. “You do this,” he said.
Zayed stared dumbly at the metal. It flashed in the sunlight and started to burn his hand. He took a step towards the two tourists by the shrine, then stopped. He shook his head. The knife dropped to the ground. Hamud picked it up in disgust, then ran at the two sweaty foreigners.
The man was dumb enough to try and rush him. Hamud dropped back and clutched the knife defensively. He knew Zayed would be worthless in a fight, and just hoped he would know enough to stay back.
He didn’t have to worry. The man lurched back when the first cut hit home and practically fell to his knees, but the screaming! The woman’s cries burrowed into Hamud’s ears like beetles. The man stood, tried to rush Hamud again, and he went mad—again—again—again—stabbing over and over and would you shut that woman up
Zayed grabbed her and put his hand over her mouth. That was something, at least. But then he looked at his younger brother, helpless. Hamud came forward, breathing heavily, his knife still dripping. Afterwards the blood soaked into his hands, his spattered tunic already darkening in the day’s heat.
The two were carrying goodly cash, smartphones, credit cards. The brothers would live well tonight. With any luck, it would be days, even weeks before anyone started to look for those two.
They collected the tourists’ things. Had to prioritize the most valuable. Electronics went in his bag for safekeeping. Hamud kept the money, Zayed the food and jewelry—tangibles, things he could understand.
They would be buried a few dozen meters away from the shrine—out of sight. They would be desiccated soon, or else sniffed out and eaten by scavengers. Either way, the desert would hide all.
The trek back to town was quiet. They never talked much, which suited Hamud. But he could never read his half-brother. “Zayed,” he called ahead. “It is a good haul, yes?”
There was a grunt of assent.
“What do you plan to do with your share?”
“I tell you what I am doing. I will go down to the market, buy a whole lamb, and bake the largest aysh the world has ever seen.”
The cash ran out in two days; the cards stopped working a week later. They moved on to a new town, a new set of tourists, new sites and places to scout, off the well-traveled path, and started the ruse again. Every time they set up a con, each of the two brothers played his role. Hamud knows of an incredible relic out in the desert, but he needs a way to travel; Zayed the camel owner can lead the group there.
His camels were very particular and required a specific fruit he kept cubed and stored in his pack—doled out at feeding time to each of his camels. They never left a town without stocking up.
Sometimes, if a group was too numerous or military or not retirees, the brothers actually acted as a real tour group. They were doing this more and more often, lately. In fact, they were starting to get a reputation in a few towns for their tours. Every time, Hamud grew more uneasy and pushed them to move on. He wanted them to have no record, no press, no name in the daily next to Obama and Sisi.
It became a regular pattern for them: high living for a few days, scraping by for a few weeks more, then desperation. Move on, stake a new target, lure them out with tales of adventure and novelty. But Hamud was starting to worry about his brother. He had started smoking and his fingers became stained dark.
One night, after they had conducted tours a dozen times in as many towns, Zayed came to Hamud in his hotel. There was a vacant look in his eyes.
“Brother,” Hamud said, “you are not yourself. Come back in the morning.”
Zayed avoided his brother’s gaze. “No more,” he said. “I want to return to see my family.”
“You can do that, of course,” Hamud said. He turned over in bed, facing away from his brother. “I don’t know what I will do for transportation now. And what will Ayina say? What have you been doing all of these months? What do you have to bring her? Go, then—leave me.” He shut his eyes in anger.
Zayed left immediately that night. It was a long journey and he had many days of travel ahead of him.
He pushed the camels on further. Every so often, he stopped and looked back. He felt like he was being followed. But there was no one.
At last, he reached his home town by the sea. He called his wife and she insisted that they meet somewhere outside.
“You can’t come home,” Ayina said when he reached the meeting place. Her eyes were dark pits sunken into her face but they bored into him with the fire of unspoken accusations. “They’re waiting. The police. They asked me about you.”
“What did they say? What did you tell them?”
“I didn’t know where you were. I didn’t know!”
“I want to see my sons.”
“No, you can’t. They... aren’t there.”
Zayed reached back and she flinched. He shuddered and staggered away.
He spent the day in a bar in the infidel part of town. One that catered to the tourist set. The same sort of people that they had targeted before, places just like this. Drinking the last of his money away.
Then, after sundown, he came through the door. Hamud. He stared at his brother, walked straight towards him, picked up one of the bottles of pickled seafood and brought it crashing into his brother’s head.
Zayed staggered, dripping and bleeding, to his feet. He turned to look at Hamud. He was taller and bigger than his brother but he did not raise a hand against him. His face asked no question.
Hamud answered anyway. “Drunk. Turned away from God. You’re no better than them.”
“The police will be coming,” Zayed said. A dozen eyes and screenlit faces stared at them.
“Then let’s go.” Hamud stepped towards the door, and Zayed sighed and followed him. “You and me, brother, we have a job to do. And I have need of transportation.”
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 06:11|
New Year, new thread!
Killer-of-Lawyers fucked around with this message at 17:52 on Jan 4, 2016
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 06:12|
he should have known, he should have known, he should have known
sucker punch with actual suckers
the strongest arm is not the mightiest
breaking the mold that made him
gently caress the pigs
FUCKIN, FUCKIN, FUCKIN
I’m big. I’ve always been big. Most people who have what I have, they’re sickly and short and their bones are brittle. But I’m the rare exception, because I definitely have it and I’m definitely the complete opposite.
And I say rare in the sense that they tell me I’m the only case in existence.
And in history.
Gee Willikers, right?
It was rough on my dad, growing up. He carries the gene for what’s called Lekman’s Syndrome. He has these spindly fingers and arms and a compressed spine. I was taller than him at age nine and I could out-lift him at around five. He was never a big man, but he hid his smallness.
“C’mon, Brick,” he said one night, eying me sideways, “let’s drive for a while. Hop in the bed.”
I was about fourteen at the time. When I wasn’t able to fit in the Jeep anymore, my dad sold it and bought this little pickup and had a buddy work on the suspension. I found an abandoned car seat in an alley one day and he strapped it down to the bed. It was actually comfortable. I always imagined I was being drawn by horses in my own private carriage or something.
There were four bags of concrete sitting around my seat.
“What’s this for?”
My dad lit a cigarette, the flame reflecting off the bill of his cap and making his face glow red.
“Just a little project.”
I climbed over the dusty paper bags. I had to cross my legs to sit because one stack was right against my seat.
It didn’t take long for me to figure the route. We were making for Charlie Hosselman’s. That worried me. As did the way the truck drifted to the left and jerked softly back to the lane every few minutes.
“Where we headed, Dad?” I called through the open window. He turned on the radio. Tom Petty drowned me out. Break Down. He nodded his head along and mumbled the chorus on a monotone.
Charlie Hossleman ran a Chrysler dealership over in Peoria. All I really knew about him then was that he’d gone to high school with my dad and then married my aunt. Apparently he’d known my mom, too. Not that I’d ever ask about my mom.
Anyway, Mr. Hossleman had a— I guess you’d call it an estate— down south of town, overlooking the river. It was modest enough, probably, but enormous and luxuriant by our standards. He even had a pond and a little waterfall running into it.
I caught a glimpse of silver out of the corner of my eye and turned just in time to see my dad’s head tilt back down. We were on the dirt roads now, and dust kept stinging my nostrils. We moseyed up to a lone stop sign and my dad killed the engine.
He adjusted the rearview to look at me through the open window.
He took a shaky breath and stared out the window to his left for a minute. Then he swiveled his red eyes back to the mirror.
“When that rat sonofabitch stuck it to my sister twenty years ago, I swore to sweet baby Jesus himself that I would end him if she ended up hurting. And I told him that. He knew it. Then she got— and he took her to that clinic—“ He looked down.
“Point is, he deserves a good whipping. And I can’t give it too him. And I couldn’t ask you to give it to him. So this is about the next worst thing and it doesn’t come close.” I could see his hand on the wheel in the dashboard light, his too-thin fingers hanging from the wheel by the tips.
“Your aunt is hurting, Ricky. You’re too young for me to tell you how, but he’s been hurting her bad the past couple of years. And we can’t hurt him back, but we can make him suffer.”
He started up the car again, and we didn’t talk any more even as he pulled up to the gate.
* * * *
He stumbled back after an hour and a half of me waiting in the truck. The bottle of scotch he had taken with him was missing.
“What are we doing?”
He scoffed and shook his head, like I was the drunk one.
“Grab the concrete and let’s move. I got the stick.”
I pulled a couple of bags of concrete onto my shoulders and followed him up the red stone walkway.
It was Quikset, and the pond was only about half full. I guess my dad had turned off the hose on his way inside. Swimming in a sort of frantic way were three gorgeous koi fish, one calico, one orange, and one black. They still had plenty water, but they could sense something was different.
My dad took the knife on his pocket tool and slit open the top of the first bag.
“Wait, dad, the fish are— What are you doing?'
“Get the stick.”
I stood looking at him for a second.
I got the stick and started stirring.
He emptied all four bags into the koi pond. Every so often the surface would break and I’d see the gasping maw of one of the desperately beautiful fish. I’d look over at the defunct waterfall and pretend I couldn’t feel their bodies banging on the stick.
After about the second bag they stopped coming up.
When Dad was happy with the consistency, I followed him inside and up into Mr. Hassleman’s bedroom. Hassleman was a flabby man, wide shoulders like a linebacker, his thin hair sticking up from his widow’s peak. He was still in his clothes. His chest rose with each long, nasally walrus breath.
My dad motioned for me to pick him up. I stared and shook my head, not quite understanding or believing. He motioned again, and I did it.
He led me impatiently down the stairs and to the edge of the pond.
“Put that pigfucker in.”
“I can’t kill anyone, Dad—“
“From the waist down. We’ll leave one hand free so he can call someone once the roofies wear off.”
Dad set a phone down, maybe a foot out of his reach.
“Roofies like the date-rape drug?”
His eyebrows shot up, then he laughed. “poo poo, you sure are growing up.”
I looked into the grey sludge, thinking about the suffocated fish.
“He’s so proud of those loving things,” my dad mused, reading my thoughts. “Paid thousands for them and keeps them in this temperature-controlled tank. He feeds them silk worms or some horseshit. Treats them like children. Then he goes and makes my sister get a coat hanger and get her insides all mushed up so she can’t— telling me they miscarried, and— and when I think of that healthy baby that could have been—“
He’s thinking about me. And he’s thinking about Mom. And how my enormous head and shoulders were too much for her. And how it was his decision to keep me.
“Put him in.”
I did, pretending neither of us were crying.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 06:15|
Summer Broken - 1198w
I leap off the bus from Saint Mary's School for Girls and race on weatherbeaten concrete towards home, then halt in my tracks. The house has gotten a makeover: peeling olive-drab paint replaced by pastel vinyl siding, the crabgrass yard resodded with silver-green manicured turf. I check the number twice, and then Cliff comes out and greets me with a sober wave. I loving hate Cliff.
Inside, in the hall to my room, I should find photos which Dad and I named when I was a kid — Mikey Moose, Danny Deer, Carrie Caribou — but my old friends are gone, replaced by Edward Hopper prints in vomitously-tasteful oak frames. The last living picture of Dad and Mom and me is gone from the parlor mantle, and even my room has been sanitized; absent are wooden ducks Dad had carved for me, and clothespin reindeer we'd hung on Christmas trees. In their place, an empty crib.
"The house was getting cluttered," Cliff says, leaning on my doorframe. "Isn't it so much nicer when it's clean? And we'll need the space when your little brother arrives."
"Half a brother." I slam the door in his face, open my closet. Hidden behind all my pairs of jeans and coveralls is Dad's old flannel shirt. This, at least, he hasn't ruined. I pull it on, inhale timeworn salt and grease. I go down to dinner in it, and sit across the table from Cliff, who would never dare wear flannel; even on Saturday, he's in a shirt, starch-stiffened periwinkle.
"Your mother's working late tonight, so it's just us for now." Cliff serves me dinner, kale salad from a plastic bag.
I'm home from school. It should be a special occasion. "Dad would've grilled steak."
He shoves me a bottle of organic vinaigrette and asks if I want heirloom tomatoes. I grab a can of ravioli from the emergency cabinet, and eat straight from the tin, standing up. Without looking up from his salad, he says, "You're getting too old for Oshkosh. We'll go into town tomorrow, there's a sale on summer dresses."
"I don't need anything but coveralls for the bait-and-tackle." I expected to spend all summer at the old hunting store, where I'd worked since I was ten; the owner is Dad's friend and I learned fishhooks and bullets before long division.
"Sandy, I've had a word with the Judge," Cliff says. "He'll wants you to clerk in his office, but you have to dress properly in the courthouse." He looks at me, kale dangling from his lip. "I hope you realize what I'm doing for you. Not many kids your age get this kind of experience. It'll help when you're trying to get into college."
I throw out my ravioli and stomp down the hall to the den, to curl up in Dad's big leather armchair which always smelled like whiskers. It's where he sat and drank with his camouflaged buddies when they came back from hunting. Dad always told my favorite story and I'd sprawl at his feet and listen to him tell about the biggest elk God ever made, which one night came knocking at the door of the secret cabin Dad and I had out in the woods. All his buddies would slap their thighs and whoop, "Why'dn't you shoot it, Jed," and Dad would just smile and say, "I did boys, I did," and point at the big photo over the fireplace, and they'd say "That's not real shootin'," and argue round and round until Mom shooed them out, then Dad would carry me past Mikey and Danny and Carrie, tuck me into bed and he'd tell the best part of the story, about Eddie Elk, King of the Forest, and Eddie's best friend, a little girl named Sandy, just like me.
Now, in the den, I see only Cliff's desk, a computer, law books. I kick open the back door and sprint into the woods, until my legs burn and my chest feels like I've got a belt tied round it.
Dad's cabin slouches like a dead man propped half-upright, its hand-hammered walls streaked with moss and rot. I worry open the rust-rimed door. On the wall is Eddie, veiled with cobwebs like a zombie bride, all my other friends hanging half-decayed beside him. In the corner is a camping mattress and Dad's weather-worn trunk. From it I pull out treasure: Dad's sketchbook. I flip through pencil deer and ink-blue elk, exactly the same as I remember Dad drawing them.
Night comes, it's death-dark in the woods, even the owls whisper to one another in funerary voices. I don't sleep. I wait and watch for Eddie, the real Eddie, to come and graze, just like Dad said he would. He doesn't, at least not that first night, and well after daybreak I sneak to the house. Both cars are gone, so I go in, shower, and stuff canned pasta into a backpack.
Blissful weeks I spend in the shack. In Dad's book I find free pages and fill them up with squirrels, owls, deer, and I sit up all night waiting for the great elk so I can capture him and put him down on the page where he can't get away.
Summer rises and falls, and one day I go back to the house to clean and eat. Cliff sits in the kitchen, one leg across the other, biting his knuckles. I stop, and he doesn't look up, and I go to the cabinet and get some cans. If I pretend he's not there, maybe he'll ignore me.
He doesn't. "I could've called the police, Sandy. If you hadn't snuck in every day, we'd've reported you missing."
"Your mom and I don't eat Chef Boyardee. I counted cans and made a spreadsheet of what you took, and we bought what you liked. It would've been much easier if you'd just talked to me instead of running away. The Judge isn't happy with you, but I can talk to him again, next year, if you change your mind."
"I won't." I walk straight back into the woods; I can stay in the cabin and draw elk and live like Dad did. I kick up dead leaves, and something hard crunches underfoot. An antler, brittle and yellow. From the forest floor I unearth a skeleton, four legs all taller than me, at least as tall as Dad, and antlers wide as a Cadillac fender.
I touch the antlers and they crumple like papier-mâché. I stare. How long had Eddie's skeleton rested here, undisturbed until I stumbled in and crushed it?
From the cabin I get Dad's sketchbook, then sneak into the house, upstairs to my room. Cliff has circled tomorrow on my calendar, "Bus to Saint Mary's." On my pillow is a manila envelope, unmarked. I open it. A creased and faded photo falls out: me riding Dad's shoulders outside the cabin.
I hide it inside Dad's book, place the book atop the baby's shelf and pack for school, then go downstairs. "Hey, will you walk me to the bus tomorrow?"
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 06:16|
Also, meant to say this earlier, but this is the most legit loving flashrule this week. Wish I coulda stolen it.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 06:26|
prompt: chittering like an insect in my ear
I found a bird when I lost God but maybe I found God again later I’m not sure I guess we'll have to wait and see
Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 03:24 on Jan 8, 2016
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 06:35|
Ken & Jake
"You don't get to be in here," said Ken as he pushed Jake headfirst into some lockers. Jake saw stars. Ken lifted him by his short blonde hair.
"I'm not gay," said Jake.
"I saw those pictures of you playing dress up. I don't ever wanna see you in here trying to sneak a peek at my dick," said Ken as he dropped Jake on to his rear end. Some of the other members of the football team who were in the gym locker room laughed. Jake couldn't fight Ken. He was only even there to play badminton. Ken was captain of the football team. Jake tried his best to hide his tears. Ryan, the running back, took notice.
"What a little pussy, he's crying" said Ryan.
"But I like girls..." Jake began, only to be silenced by a swift kick that robbed him of breath.
"Maybe you wanna be a girl with that makeup and skirt I saw you in. You wish you had a chance with me." Ken laughed.
"Seems like you remember how I looked in that skirt pretty well." Replied Jake. Ken was no longer laughing. The locker room was silent. Except for Ryan.
"Don't take that poo poo man!"
Ken looked at the team and then back at Jake. He grabbed Jake by the neck and began raining blows. Jake's world faded to black.
The next thing Jake remembered was waking up in a hospital bed. His mom was beside him, eyes red and holding a well used tissue. His vision was blurred. The air smelled sterile. He tried to move but his body screamed in pain. His mom noticed he was awake.
"Jake! I was so worried about you! You were unconscious for so long..."
"What happened?" Jake said, noticing his speech sounded slurred.
"The gym teacher found you on the floor in the locker room. The nurse called the ambulance. The doctor says you have a fractured orbital bone and a broken jaw. Try not to talk too much honey." Said his mom.
"Mom... Mirror... Please." Said Jake in obvious pain. His mom put her hand on his arm. Tears began welling up in her already red eyes.
"Jake honey, no."
"Mom, please." Her tears began to flow. She reached into her purse and pulled out a small makeup mirror. She held the mirror up. A black and blue monster stared back. His neck was badly bruised, his right eye almost totally swollen shut. She snapped the mirror shut, not wanting to see her son in even more pain.
"I'm taking you home. We can do homeschooling. I don't want you going back there."
"Mom... I can't look like this. Please."
"Jake, I don't want you to get hurt again. I don't think this is a good idea. People don't understand."
"Mom... I know I'm not the son dad wanted. I might not even be the son you wanted. But I know who I am now, and I want to be the best me I can be. Maybe you might not understand, but you've always been there for me. I love you mom, please help me be me. I need this."
"Okay son. Okay. I love you too," She said as she reached into her purse again and pulled out some powdered foundation.
"Thanks mom." Jake smiled as his mom dabbed his tears away with her crumpled tissue and she started powdering over his bruises.
Three months later, Ken and his friends were at the Central Memorial High School spring social dance. Most of the guys were hanging out by the punch table while many of the girls were hanging out by the bleachers. The DJ had put on "Jump Around" and some of the students were on dance floor enjoying it.
"What a bunch of losers," said Ken, "I can't stand this kid stuff. Where's the real women?"
Just then, a woman walked into the gymnasium who drew the attention of most of the boys. With her raven black hair, blue eyes, and red sequined cocktail dress she immediately stood out from everybody else there. She stood by the doors, leaning against one of the walls with her hands behind her back, watching the dancers.
"Whoa," said Ryan. "Haven't seen her before."
"Ya well, I saw her first," replied Ken. He cracked a crooked grin. "She must be new. I guess it's up to me to show her around. Boys, don't wait up."
As Ken began walking over to her, the song changed to something slow. The lights dimmed. The couples got together and began to slow dance under the watchful eyes of the volunteer chaperones. A drama student turn on a spotlight and turned it's attention from one couple to the next.
"Hey, I haven't seen you here before. Are you new?" Asked Ken.
"Sort of. I used to go here, then I left for awhile, now I'm back."
"My name's Ken."
"Sure." She said with a smile. Ken lead her by the hand to the dance floor. He pulled her a little too close, earning the disapproving glare of a nearby chaperone. Jane put her arms around his shoulders. They moved their feet and their hips but their minds were elsewhere.
"So where did you run away to?" Asked Ken.
"I wasn't running," said Jane. "Wasn't really my choice."
"Parents, right? They'll drag you back and forth whenever it suits them."
"Well, they did take me away, but I'm not really back. This is more of a social thing."
"Oh yeah? Have some friends here?"
"No, but I know somebody."
"Of course, I'm the captain of the football team," he said "How come I don't remember you?"
Jane put on a pouty face. "I'm hurt. How could you not remember me?"
Ken looked back at the rest of the football team. Ryan caught his eye and gave him a wink. Ken smiled and looked back into her eyes.
"It's not you babe, it's me. When I saw you time froze, I'm just trying to get it started again."
She laughed at his clumsy deflection. She leaned forward and whispered in his ear "Maybe a kiss will make you remember."
Ken didn't think any more had to be said. He reached his hand up to the side of her face and drew her into a long deep kiss. The football team whooped and a chaperone yelled at them to break it up. The spotlight found them, leaving a silhouette of them on the floor. Jane's hand slowly reached behind her and twisted a strand of her hair around her finger. Her wig slowly slid back, revealing a brilliant blonde. Ken opened his eyes as he drew back. His look of bliss was replaced by one of bewilderment when he noticed Jane's hair. He looked into her eyes again and realized he did remember her. The silence in the room was deafening. The look of horror frozen on the football team's face as if time really had stopped.
"See ya round, loverboy." Jake turned and walked out of the gym like it was a runway.
Jake was never seen again. Ken was never the same.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 06:45|
Pride - An Irishman gets delayed
Get above the clouds and you see lightning differently. There’s a sea stretched out below you and you can pick out the currents stirring through it, flickering with patchy silver phosphorescence from beneath. No sight like it.
Lightning is electrical charges equalizing, big charges. We’re talking about a lot of energy being moved suddenly. So when the clouds strike down and the earth strikes back and all of that energy jumps from one to the other, there’s a bloom of plasma opens in the heavens above.
They’re called sprites. Sometimes they’re a jet of blue sparks, firing up into the darkness. Sometimes they’re a ragged stream of silver fire.
And sometimes, sometimes they’re a crimson mushroom cloud of cold glowing plasma, spreading bigger than any city, rising so high they touch the point where we stop calling it atmosphere and start calling it space. 100 kilometres, give or take. Where I’m heading right now.
I check my suit fittings again. Make sure that the Faraday webbing is all connected, check the breath mix reserves are adequate. I flex my arms and legs and test the wingsuit responses. All nominal.
Devin Leahy’s ascender is a glimmering blue beacon in my helmet HUD, 2 klicks in front and 200 metres above. Too distant to make out the shapes of the lurid green shamrocks he has decorating the balloon, but the colour stands out as the sunlight reflects off it.
Leahy’s an unashamed showboat, but he has the talent to back it up. And there’s no fear in the man at all. You name the landmark, he’s climbed it and then jumped off it. Countless netvid specials under his belt, big-brand promos raking in the money. He plays up the wild Irish charmer thing to good effect and the fans eat it up and scream for more.
My own ascender is stark white with my name stamped on it in dark red letters. Capitals, sans serif.
J D MONTAGUE. It’s a name with some cachet. Going to have more after I beat Leahy down today. Show everyone that I didn’t just buy my way up here, I earned it.
The sportsmen don’t respect me because I was born into wealth. I don’t talk their talk, I don’t play their games. And yet, I fronted up on their own terms, with my own gear, not plastered with brand names… and beat them. Suddenly they had to pay attention, even if they didn’t pay me any respect.
They’re going to respect me after this.
The radio in my suit helmet gives a series of clicks as a channel opens from Ground Control.
“Stormdivers, you’re approaching drop height. Your ascension platforms will automatically hold altitude once you get there. We’re seeing good wingsuit telemetry on both of you down here. Leahy, status green?”
“Oh aye, green as the Emerald Isle,” Leahy says, his tone as cocky as always, and I can’t wait to see his disappointment when I take him down.
“Montague, status green?”
My mouth is a little dry and I have to swallow before I answer, but I make sure my answer sounds smooth, almost bored. “Good to go. Nice view from up here.”
“Very good, stormdivers. Now, we have thirty-six point five million live viewers on feed currently, with a further two hundred and forty-one million reservations who will be joining us for the actual drop… Stormdivers, you’re making history with the biggest live extreme sporting event in human history, and it’s all possible because of Chug energy drink – power like a locomotive.”
“I’m honoured,” I cut in quickly to beat Leahy to it.
“Aye, it’s a privilege to have so many fans want to watch me,” he says, playing the arrogance off for laughs and winning a chuckle from Ground. That was a good line, drat him.
“You’ll be pleased to know they’re going to get a heck of a show then, Devin,” Ground says. “Storm activity is on track to peak right on time for your dive. Multiple supercells are in the process of combining. We’ve got families in the drop zone who are taking cover in their storm shelters as we speak and I tell you, they’re all going to be huddled around Net feeds of your dive! You’re heading down into a wild one tonight!”
“Looking forward to it,” Leahy says.
I lean forward against my seat straps and peer down over the platform edge. My breath sounds loud in my helmet for a moment.
“OK, stormdivers, you’re at drop altitude,” Ground says. “Final systems check, and… uh, Leahy, wait… Leahy, we’ve received advice that we may have an issue with your suit.”
“No,” says Leahy. “No problem.”
“It’s the suit insulation. There appears to be a broken connection. Leahy, I’ve got the Director on the line. We may have to delay the drop for a minute or two while we sort this out. Dive fans, we’re going to throw to some of the greatest dives ever, don’t go anywhere.”
I sit back. A broken Faraday connection means that Leahy will be vulnerable to lightning hits, and it’s not something that can be repaired up here.
The radio clicks again. Private Connection, says the HUD.
“Montague,” says Leahy.
“This is poo poo,” I retort.
“It is, it truly is,” he says. “There’ll not be a storm like this one for years.”
“Well, you’re not going anywhere with your suit down.”
“What if I do?” he says. “What then? You in?”
I think about it. “You’ll fry.”
“Nah. The suit’s still insulated. It’s just not perfect now. It’s a risk, but…” He pauses. “Look down. It’s a risk anyway.”
“If we go,” I say, “win or lose, live or die, you’ll be the hero. You’ll be the one who dived a megastorm with a busted suit.”
“I want you, Montague,” he says, and the lilt is gone and his voice is hard. “I want you really, really bad. You’ve been coming after me and I’m not getting any younger. I’m going to take you down and show everyone you’re naught but a sack of cash.”
I fumble for my emergency kit, pop it open and pull out a cutter. I locate the main wire running down my right flank and get the blade in behind it. It’s an awkward process but I saw through the tough cable in around a minute.
Ground Control cuts back in. “Whoa, hey, Montague, we’re showing issues with your suit insulation now as well. We’re bringing you guys back down. Sit tight.”
“Give us the dive countdown, Ground,” I growl.
Silence on the comms.
“No kidding, Ground,” says Leahy. “We’re doing this.”
A new voice comes on. Mature, female, authoritative. “Stormdivers. This is the Events Director. This dive is cancelled. You’ll have your chance, gentlemen.”
I release my belts and stand on the edge of the platform. “Ready, Leahy?” I say.
“Aye. Count together,” he says.
“3. 2. 1,” we say, and I hear the Director shout something as I lean into nothing. Crimson lights flare on my wingsuit, the colour of my name. In the corner of my eye I see Leahy burning emerald, spiralling down beside me.
Sprites welcome us into the storm.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 06:47|
Prompts: Pride, the smartest man in the penal battalion, and something about antlers I stole but didn't mention because that's for plebs.
Now, moppet. Your mother is gone this night and so it falls to me to tell you a story.
Yes please, Father! But not another one with bad monsters in it - they scare me. Can I have one with good monsters? And Kings and Queens?
Of course you can, sweetness. Now settle down...
A strange war raged in the Argent Lands. A thousand thousand of our brethren had fallen to the Scourge, and every sign foretold that we would be next. Above us, the very clouds attacked, lashing us with rain, hail and deadly strikes of lightning. We huddled beneath what cover we had - a makeshift tent on a bloodsoaked plain - where the remaining leaders talked of the losses of the recent past, and the futility of the future.
Arksink spoke first, an elderly Ogre who wore the antlered crown of the Ogrish Kingdom after the peaceful passing of his father a century ago. “The Scourge routes us,” he said. “We pick up trees and hillocks, throw them hard, but no joy. Trees carved by our forefathers - the burial mounds of our ancestors. Gone, for nothing. Our last family pushes forward, but I hold no hope for them.”
Gnashlash the Troll Queen, beautiful yet nearly broken in her bloodstained green lace, added her thoughts. “The scourge is an unknowable weapon, barely visible, and incomprehensible. A weapon that can cut and leave troll flesh irreparable. Many sisters-warriors are dead, far from the slime pits of their re-birth, and may not regenerate again. I weep for the mothers and daughters lost, but must ask - how are they accomplishing this?” She turned to Worlack of the Flesh Magisterium and asked “In all your researches, have you learned anything of the Scourge?”
Worlack spat on the ground three times, each time a different coloured blob of phlegm crawled away. “I have never heard of such a thing,” he said. “I have read all the books that remain unburnt as the scourge destroys our libraries. Yet I have found nothing that might aid us in our hour of need. Except…” Here Worlack paused as, outside, lightning flashed and thunder rolled.
Arksink and Gnashlash looked at him expectantly. But there were no more words, only screams. Worlack, whose flesh magicks had saved cities worth of injured souls, disintegrated in agony.
“The Flesh Mages are lost,” said Arksink. “And our people are not strategists. Gnashlash, we have fought long, sister and brother together, side by side, but our martial skills are wanting here. Let’s meet the Scourge drunk at least. Servant, bring booze!”
From the shadows of the tent, I stepped forward, carrying a giant amphora. I filled the proffered tankards that the two leaders had unclipped from their ready positions at their belts.
Arksink swigged his, belched enormously and demanded more. Gnashlash sipped hers with one troll finger extended. After the second mug was warming his brain, Arksink turned his attention to the creature who had served him.
“Servant? I do not recognise your face. Who are you?” He nodded at Gnashlash, the weight of his antlers and two strong drinks tipping his head forward. “You know him?”
“Not one of mine,” said Gnashlash, pushing a tine away. She took another sip, then took a longer look at the slave. “Who are you, slave? To which battalion are you attached?”
With my free hand, I saluted. “I am Nackle, if it please your leaderships. Of the Penal Battalion.”
“Ha - the Goblin bastards and their friends,” she said.
He was right, in a way. The Glorious Goblin Legion had first created the Battalion, but, in truth, we had representatives from all, including those taken by the Scourge. The goblins had needed somewhere to put their malcontents and criminals, to go first across fields seeded with Galzac’s Subterranean Incendiary Beetles, to clear the diseased and the dead, and to head the line in hopeless battles. Also to serve drinks. I refreshed their glasses.
“What was your crime, Servant?” asked Gnashlash.
“Ideas above my station,” I said. “Ideas are frowned upon in the Goblin Legions. As the Goblin Emperor said, ‘If a problem won’t go away by throwing Goblin Legionnaires at it, it is not a problem worth bothering with. That seemed...short-sighted to me.”
Arksink paused a moment. “Goblins were first to be taken by the Scourge. How did you survive?”
“That I cannot answer, sirs. But all my battalion are here, the Trolls, Ogres and Goblins. We have within our ranks Flesh Mages and…”
Lightning struck. Thunder boomed. Arksink vanished in a shower of sparks and a whiff of brimstone. Only his antlers were left behind.
“The Ogres are lost,” said Gnashlash sadly, to herself more than me. “There is only Us. Tell me, one with ideas above your station, what would you do now if you were me - last queen of the Argent Lands?”
I placed the amphora down and moved closer. She inclined her head toward me. I withdrew my dagger. “I’d die,” I said quietly, slipping it through her eyeball into her brainstem, where the Flesh Mages of the Penal Battalion had shown me on the carcass of a sister-mother. She toppled over into an inelegant heap. There would be no slime-pit renewal for her. I grabbed the antlers in one hand and headed outside, not even waiting for the thunder to stop echoing as the Scourge took her. Passing the flap of the tent I stood outside in the streaming rain. Around me were my brothers and sisters, Ogre, Troll, Flesh Mage and Goblin. The few, the proud, the still alive. As one they called my name - louder and louder like the drumming of infinite. I revelled in the sound
All around them were the sparkling, shining, burning, gloriously radiant shards of the Scourge.
I raised my arms for silence, as the rain fell. In time I spoke.
“My family. Our work is finished. We claim what was promised atop the bodies of those who spat on us, who treated us as chattels and chained us for daring to think for ourselves. Our lives are our own now. We, who have always known better, have the opportunity to prove it.
My name was roaring in my ears once again. I placed the antlers on my head and felt them graft onto my skull, a moment of burning, excruciating, wonderful pain.
The scourge rolled back, toward the borders of the Argent Lands, as our Flesh Mages had promised. Its secrets - torn from their own bodies, consumed by our Ogrish brothers and revitalised by our Trollish sister’s essence - were ours to command with Goblin wit until we finally wished it gone.
It was done.
And so is my story.
Father, the antlers in the story. Are they like yours?
Yes, Moppet. The very same, in fact.
And will they be mine one day? Like the Ogres in the story?
Not if I see you coming, sweetness. Not if you’re as careless as your mother.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 06:49|
The Maskless Man
Pride: something about slouching on a throne and wearing fancy outfits
crabrock fucked around with this message at 05:42 on Jan 1, 2016
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 06:50|
Flash rule: one day i will fill the emptiness
Flash rule: a live pigeon either is or isn't consumed
The hallucinations started before the first hour was over. My body was turning on itself; my stomach walls ground against one another, and bile clawed its way up my throat. Grey motes sparked across my vision, and the shadows danced where the sickly light didn’t reach. My mouth filled with sweet saliva, a prelude to vomit. I swallowed, and tried to focus on Janet’s face. The colors of her skin strobed and flickered, throbbing behind my eyes.
“You’re doing great,” she said, and squeezed my clammy hand in her own.
“I don’t know,” I said. I was gasping as though I had just completed a marathon, rather than simply attempting to deny the compulsive cravings of my body. “I don’t know if I can do this.” Sweat seeped out of me, and I felt feverish.
“I know you can,” she said, and gave me the smile I would die for, the smile that had first made me dream of fighting back the demons that chased me through life.
I had molded my life to the clamoring demands of my body as long as I could remember. I ate what was given, I ate what was withheld. I ate what I saw, and I ate what was hidden from me. If I could not find food, I ate whatever else came to hand: clothing, trash, dirt. Once, delirious, I ate a live pigeon; a semi-tame wretch lulled by a thousand thrown breadcrumbs.
For a moment, I heard a bird’s cry, tasted the hot blood of it running over my tongue, felt the gnarled claws struggling against me. I was spiraling in on myself.
“Talk to me,” I said, closing my eyes against pulsing color and rioting shadows.
“Okay,” said Janet. She told me about her dreams for the future, what she wanted to wear for our wedding, about the adventures we would go on, and about how proud she was of me for trying so hard, for making the effort to better myself for the both of us. I let her words wrap around me, filling the spaces, lulling the sucking, anxious void that belled through me. If she could talk like this forever, if I could stay here and listen to her voice, I thought that there was a chance that I could make it through.
I felt her squeeze my hand again. I smiled, opening my eyes to look at her, and choked in terror.
The grasping void was behind her, pulling the light and color askew against reality. The auburn of her hair already spooled into its heart, and the hazel-brown of her eyes leaked like a tear, straining not to be swept away by black finality. I grabbed her and held her, whispering fervently as I shut my eyes and tried to keep us both from being swept into the hungry dark.
Please, not her, not her, she’s the one thing that I have, just let me get through this, I’m doing this for us, please not her, not her-
“What do you think you’re doing, boy?” A voice like a cat’s wail shocked me into opening my eyes.
The dim lights of Janet’s apartment had transmuted to the tawny yellow of incandescent bulbs draped in crocheted lampshades. The faded wallpaper showed dusky roses twining over a cream background stained by nicotine. A tall glass-fronted cabinet held impossibly delicate plates and elegant porcelain figurines: a shepherdess and her stony flock, a litter of kittens playing with fragile yarn. The furniture was gold satin and polished wood, and everything smelled of mothballs and the memory of gingersnaps.
My fingers were sticky. There was a piece of hard candy in my mouth, and two more in my hand, tacky and dense.
A bony figure loomed; I was shrinking, dwindling before it. The candies weighed like stones in my hand and belly.
“Did I give you permission to eat those, boy?” The shrieking hurt my ears - I knew that she could barely hear herself, but it didn’t make it any better.
“No, Nana, but-” I said, before she cut me off.
“Then why did you eat them? Why did you take what wasn’t yours?” She leaned in close to me, and I could smell the bitter acid of a lifetime of tobacco.
“I’m sorry, Nana.”
“You were always a greedy child. Nasty, grasping, taking for yourself. You’ve the devil you, boy, do you know what that means?”
“It means always taking, never satisfied; always wanting, never glad; always hungry, never full. There’s a hole in you boy, a hole where the good Lord put a soul in his other children. You’d best find something to fill that hole up, boy. You’d best fill it up before it swallows you.”
Her thin lips filled my vision, full of stained teeth and pale gums. Her tongue was grey and bulbous. The blackness of her words swallowed me, and I found myself in a dark, constricted space. I struggled, harder and harder, panicking more with every passing second. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think.
I don’t want to die!
And there I was, in the dim light of Janet’s apartment. The lamps on the end tables shone on the warm cinnamon walls, and the colors didn’t vibrate, the shadows didn’t dance. My vision was fine. I wasn’t dizzy. My skin wasn’t clammy, and I felt comfortably warm.
I was alone in the room.
“Janet?” I called, walking through the living room towards her bedroom. “Are you there?”
The place was a mess. The chairs around the dining room table were overturned, and every single one of the piles of books she kept everywhere had been toppled. Pictures were knocked askew, and there was blood splashed on the wall in the hallway.
No. No, no, no, NO, NO!
I ran to the bedroom and slammed open the door, looked under the blankets, and behind the shower curtain in the bathroom, but I knew the truth. There were scratches on my arms, bruises and cuts on my face.
And that warm, pervasive feeling of satiation.
I had only had that feeling once before.
When I ate a living creature in a park, one warm day in April.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 06:52|
Actually, It’s About Ethics
1296 words, (including +100 words as invested in me by sh-corp)
-that toy you wanted is back on sale
-they'll probably never notice what i took
-he never really deserved to have it
-this one will be the one that changes everything after that, no more
-investment is basically a love letter to your future self, he said
Bloodfistman III was back on sale. It was awesome, and just cheap enough for Tyler's saved-up allowance, and all the guys in school already had it except for him so he was a total outcast and anyway, it was like, so good, he’d probably never need another video game again so really he’d be saving money. And also it was awesome.
"No," his mother said. "No way."
"But... Mom!!" Tyler retorted. He flailed his arms towards the poster. Captain Bloodfistman, hulky and brooding and knee-deep in guts and gore, presented a still-beating heart to passersby of the video game outlet’s storefront.
“That’s gross,” Stacey said. She pulled on Mom’s sleeve. “Come on! I need new shoes.”
“Sorry, Tyler. But no,” Mom said. She didn’t really seem sorry. She seemed cold and unmovable. Like a rock. With bad taste in video games.
“But why?” Tyler said.
“Because I said so.”
He opened his mouth to protest, but Stacey was already pulling their mother deeper into the mall. He threw another glance at the poster. Captain Bloodfistman frowned down on him. Failure was not an option. His hero was watching. Tyler had to get this game. He just had to.
And he already had a plan.
The plan had been stupid.
Arguing with his mom about the artistic merits of a video game where you punch people into a bloody pulp had been a shaky premise to begin with, but he’d been so convinced of his success that he hadn’t even thought of anything to say before he’d started arguing. It had been a short conversation.
“I just think you’re kind of young for such a game,” his mom had concluded, and he’d said, “But mom, it’s T for Teen, and I’m twelve,” and the conversation had been over.
Plan B wasn’t better: his mom didn’t even notice him pouting in the corner. She was too busy helping Stacey pick a pair of sneakers, fetching new boxes and carrying off discarded ones. His sister tried on her twelfth pair right now, and when Stacey tested sneakers, she did it properly, slipping them on and off, walking around, running, kicking, jumping, with shoelaces tied and untied, putting the left shoe on the right foot and the right on the left. All the pairs were identical. She couldn’t decide anyway.
Tyler slouched across the shoebox on his lap. Bloodfistman III would have been awesome. Captain Bloodfistman wouldn’t be sitting around in a shoe store. He’d be punching the drat shoe store, and the shoe store would apologize for being so lame.
“I can’t decide.” Stacey had just appeared in front of him.
“Well, Stacey. That sucks.”
“Seriously!” She stomped on the ground. “They’re all so good. What about yours?”
“They’re... fine.” He sighed more than he spoke.
“You don’t like them?”
“I don’t care.”
“I love them! Shoes are colorful. I want more than one pair. It’s not fair.”
Something in Tyler’s twisted little mind turned then, some devious cog, and it turned other, even more devious cogs and before you knew it, the dim and dusty bulb of deceit had illuminated him with an idea.
“Stacey, how would you like two pairs of shoes?”
“That would be awesome!”
Tyler shushed her. “Mom can’t know about this. She thinks I need these shoes, when clearly you need them.” It was true. He didn’t need shoes. He needed Bloodfistman. “So how about, I let you pick my pair, and when we go home you get to keep it?”
Stacey paused. She did this thing she always did when she thought about something real hard, where she stared up into an imaginary sky and contorted her eyes as if the sun was blinding her. “Mom will notice.”
That was a problem of future Tyler and Stacey. “Nah. You know how busy she is.”
“I just need you to distract her for a few minutes.”
“Oh! I know what to do.”
“You’re not going to--” but her gap-toothed smile left no doubt about what she was going to do. “Okay, at least give me a minute to--” but she’d already disappeared around the aisle, and seconds later there was a sound that he’d hoped to never hear again in his entire life, and somebody shouted, “Oh my God!” and Tyler slipped out.
Captain Bloodfistman still flanked the entry to the video game store, still frowned, but this time it was more of a why-didn’t-you-buy-me-already-weakling kinda frown.
The doors slid closed behind Tyler. No going back now. The air-conditioned store stank of plastic and unwashed patrons. They were watching him, accusing stares digging into him like daggers. He wasn’t supposed to be here. They knew. Any second someone would run off and fetch his mother. Someone must have seen him earlier. Hell, he wasn’t even old enough to buy Bloodfistmann III. It was T, for Teen. He was just twelve.
He held the case like it was on fire, fumbled for his purse and counted. His entire allowance was in there. A lot of money. He’d saved long and hard for this, at least six weeks. Six weeks without trading cards. All his savings were in that purse.
But… all the fun he would have.
Tyler carried the game over to the counter, careful not to make too much noise, not to attract any attention. He moved around the store as if he’d planned to steal something. Would they even let him buy it? What if he really was too young? They’d probably call the police.
The clerk barely looked up from his newspaper. He swiped the case across the scanner, took the money, didn’t say goodbye, and then Tyler was out on the warm mall hallway.
He was halfway back to the shoe store when he noticed he still clutched the game to his chest.
The cleaning lady was almost done sweeping the back aisles, and the doctor explained Tyler’s distraught mother what pills Stacey would have to take in what order.
“Tyler,” she said, “Where have you been?”
He froze. “I, uh, didn’t want to see this.”
“Ah.” She nodded, faraway gaze as if she was looking back a few minutes in time. When she snapped back to reality, everyone agreed that it was best to pay for the shoes and go home.
Stacey had already swapped out the boxes. Tyler wasn’t sure if his mom noticed that these weren’t his usual kind of shoes, but if she did, she didn’t say anything.
They were walking out the store. The guilty case in Tyler’s jacket seemed to expand with every step. Any moment it would punch through the fabric, call him a pussy and run off. The air in the mall was hot. Tyler constantly reminded himself to just go straight. He moved like he was walking on stilts. He picked up the pace, rushed past the video game store--
“Tyler, wait,” his mom said.
No. She couldn’t know.
He turned around, and his mom had squatted down so they were eye-to-eye.
“I know this seems unfair to you. And I’m sorry, but I can’t get you Bleedingfistman.” She said the name wrong even though the poster was like right next to them. “But you’re a good boy. I’ll let you pick something less brutal. It will be more expensive, but I’ll top off the bill. How does that sound?” She tried to seal the deal with a smile.
Something inside Tyler sunk down his throat, past his cold, rotten heart and punched him in the stomach repeatedly. Like a bully taking his lunch money. Except he deserved it.
He removed the game from his jacket, stared at the ground. The reflection of Captain Bloodfistman frowned over his shoulder.
“Oh…” she said.
It would have probably sucked anyway.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 06:59|
Soapy Smith (811 words)
Frank Smith was approximately twenty-three cheap bars of soap from being able to afford passage overseas, away from the very angry, very powerful people he had managed to piss off with last week. Which was good, because he didn't exactly fancy having his fingernails pulled out by pliers. The annoying things about today were the inspection officers the festival organizers had hired - specifically to keep out people like him - and the fact that one of them was standing in front of him right now.
But it was just an annoyance. There wasn't any way this idiot was going to see through him today.
"Of course, officer. Just let me get the papers for you." Frank beamed at the officer's tall figure.
A quick twist of the key, and then he pulled out the small stack of papers proclaiming that yes, he'd properly registered with festival management to set up a stall in the annual Lunar Solstice marketplace. They were forged, of course. He gently placed them into the officer's outstretched hand. "Here you go!"
The officer took them silently, and scanned over their contents, slowly mouthing out the words. A couple more minutes, and Frank noticed with irritation that people were giving them a wide berth. This oaf was literally costing him customers.
Frank opened his mouth to speak, but the officer beat him to the punch.
"Mr. Parker, I'm going to have to ask you a couple of questions. Is that alright?"
Smug bastard, acting like Frank had a *choice*. Shoppers were already starting to head home at this point.
He smiled, the absolute picture of innocence. George Parker wouldn't mind. George Parker was the perfect, law-abiding citizen, who never cheated at cards, and certainly never when playing with Very Important People. "Sure. What would you like to know?"
"You sell soaps, right?" the officer asked.
*They're* right there *on the counter.* Frank cheerfully waved at the pile of purple-tinted soapcakes on his right. "Yes, I do! I call those Nature's Wonders."
"Oh, so they're made of lavender, rose-water and..." the officer peered closer at the tiny sign by the stack, and said slowly, "Shuh-ma-milly?"
"Precisely!" Frank beamed at him. *Did you ever finish basic schooling?* .
"Two-fifty for a bar?" The officer drew back a bit. "They're expensive."
"They're the finest from Union Square itself! They have marvellous effects on your complexion."
"Hm." The officer moved onto the stack of "Passion Perfection". By the time he finished inspecting everything, Frank's fingernails were digging red crescents into his hands. In the mean time, only five customers had managed to work up the nerve to approach the counter and purchase something. Sixteen more bars to go. Frank muttered underneath his breath, fingers tapping at the stall stand.
"Do you have a form of ID?"
Frank struggled to smile. He finally managed to chirp out, "Right here!" and shoved it at the officer.
The officer slowly examined the two of them together. Then he nodded. "This seems to be in order."
"I'm glad to hear that." An edge slipped in there, despite his best efforts.
The officer turned to look at him. "Is there a problem?"
"Nothing! Nothing at all!" Everything was fine. He'd probably be able to get the remaining forty-some dollars through pickpocketing. Even if he was crap at it. And even if he couldn't go to the best spots. That was the problem with pissing off crime bosses. It tended to make your name mud with anybody that possessed a survival instinct. He took a deep breath. Everything was going to be fine.
"Well, that seems to be about it, then." The officer nodded at him, but right before he turned away, paused. "Oh, by the way, here's something for your time."
He pulled out his wallet and counted out fifty dollars. He held them out to Frank, who stared at them dumbly.
Frank looked up, eyes narrowed. "You're not really an inspection officer, are you?"
The officer sighed. "Look, just take the money. Mr. Maloney'll cool off soon enough, but if I know you at all, you find it perfectly fine across the sea."
"I don't need your help!" Frank slammed his hands onto the table. "Or your pity! And I've never heard of Arthur Maloney in my life!"
"Okay, then. I'll leave you to your soap. I'm sure there's plenty of customers around." Despite his words, the man didn't retract the bills he was holding out.
Frank looked to his left. Only darkness met his eyes. He glared down at the piles of soap in front of him, and then finally ground out, "Fine, I'll take your money."
He grabbed it from the man's hand.
"Pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Smith. Have fun overseas!"
At his obscene gesture of a reply, the man laughed. Frank sighed. Well, all this was going into the trash.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 07:00|
Oops, forgot my flash rule:
Slicker than hot poo poo on a greasy pig.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 07:01|
Alright, so by estimations, these are the people I currently owe crits to. If there are any mistakes (aka you stole a flash rule and didn't say so before hand or in your submission), inform me by Wednesday midnight PST or I will assume I am correct and not give you a crit. preferably through SA PMs, if not available try to get my attention in IRC. also if you're part of or will be a part of this list and did not submit then gently caress you buddy, submit on time. also also please dont quote this big text of bullshit you assholes.
crits for the ers
swarm (actually nvm he dead now)
pootietang (he's dead too, wow. some people just cant handle their s)
N. senada (not dead actually, nvm)
crits for the flash rule stealers
Line-by-lines for ing and stealing flash rules
A Classy Ghost
spectres of autism
After The War
which brings me to... 20 stories I have to read (excluding mine and the people who can't write a 1.2k story in a week). Great work everyone, I can't wait to
flerp fucked around with this message at 23:54 on Aug 25, 2015
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 07:18|
submissions are closed
unhitch your blessed scourge and begin lamenting your deeds
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 07:35|
holy gently caress man, just because your sin is sloth doesnt mean you get to just drool on the keyboard and call it a burn
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 07:45|
submissions are closed
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 10:45|
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 15:28|
*fart* JUDGING *grunt* JUDGIIIIIIING
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 17:40|
Didn't add my rule to my post. I stole, "gently caress the pigs," which was a Wrath sin.
|# ? Aug 24, 2015 23:07|
anime was right fucked around with this message at 05:59 on Oct 27, 2015
|# ? Aug 25, 2015 02:23|
|# ? Aug 25, 2015 02:32|
Somebody drop a motherfucking interprompt before I shiv somebody.
|# ? Aug 25, 2015 02:33|
|# ? Aug 25, 2015 02:43|
anime is good!
|# ? Aug 25, 2015 02:49|
Interprompt: your actual first kiss. 200 words.
|# ? Aug 25, 2015 02:50|
I can't escape it. I look at my phone and it's there. Everyone that walks by me whisper it in my ears. I've turned off all the lights, and even in the darkness, all I see is the faint silhouette of those four letters. I close my eyes and there's nothing, glorious nothing. Finally free from it, I finally find myself falling asleep.
Then, a thousand nasally voices shout in unison "Fast judging! Good judging!" over and over again. Oh god, please, make it stop.
|# ? Aug 25, 2015 02:51|
I spit blood onto the floor just before the second right hook of a surly drunk catches me in the jaw, flooring me.
His friends, an angry mob, loom over me. They batter me with pool cues, bruising my body. The kick me. I feel a rib crack and I cry out.
"What, what do you want?"I scream.
The drunk leans in, his are teeth yellow, his breath stinks.
He whispers, "FJGJ"
|# ? Aug 25, 2015 03:46|
Like a Well-Oiled Machine
They break the speed limit on the way there. We run red lights and slam through old ladies. Eventually one of them remembers to turn the siren on. It doesn't help.
The police car smashes through the courthouse wall at a hundred miles an hour. My lawyer hauls me out over the officers' mangled husks and tosses me into the dock. He turns to the judge.
"Crime: a jerk. Totally did it, m'lud."
"But aren't you supposed to be on my-"
The judge bangs the gavel so fast he smashes his desk. "Guilty, hanging. Next!"
I'd complain, but I am a jerk, so
|# ? Aug 25, 2015 04:02|
Is important in life otherwise you can get in all sorts of trouble. For instance you could all have written good stories this week, and didn't. See how that's bad for everyone? Glad we had this chat.
No results yet but I can reveal that lust is the current frontrunner, greed following close behind so it can grab lust's stuff if the opportunity presents, and sloth is coming dead last having stopped for a leisurely bowl.
|# ? Aug 25, 2015 05:54|
Sebmojo, you sadistic gently caress.
INTERPROMPT: Kissy Kissy
Getting There in Preteen Stages
0) Not A Level Deal
"My mom's an illustrator, I can teach you to draw a face if you do it."
Goading wasn't enough, she resorted to a trade to sweeten this dare.
"Teach me first."
"See, you use the lines on the notebook paper. It's called scale."
"That's easy, I already knew that."
"Do another dare!"
0.5) We Learned It From Sitcoms
I don't even think it was a glass bottle we spun. Maybe a mostly-full water-bottle.
"You know, I'd actually be down for a more open-mouthed kiss," she announced. There was not a single eye making contact in that circle.
It landed on me.
Wet lips on my cheek.
"And what'd you just say?"
"Yeah, but you're like, my really good friend, it'd just be weird, right?"
1) Actual First Kiss
"Did I do that right?"
|# ? Aug 25, 2015 06:12|
JUDGMENT FOR THE SIN-ORGY: WEEK CLIX
Goddammit all you need to do is hang out a placard with UNBURDEN YOURSELF OF YOUR HORRIBLE FAILWORDS and a few dozen chucklefucks turn up with the baby oil. We had a lot of entries this week, and for a wonder most of them gave us a story.
Spare a moment to think of our failures, Swarm, PootieTang, Jitzu_the_Monk, Meinberg, TheAnomaly, Bad Ideas Good, Devorum
and Grizzlegrax. They didn't even bother write a word and will need a for their next entry. Swarm and PootieTang will need both that and because they toxxed and failed.
Ok, moment over, wipe those losers from your mind so we can get to the real losers, the ones who submitted their thoughtcrimes for us to laugh at.
We judged by picking the best and worst out of each sin, then using that as the pool for sober nods of approbation and ragefilled gobbets of hate-spittle, as their quality indicated.
Weirdly our system broke down with Sloth, where the best and the worst story was exactly the same - Paper Jam, by Killer-of-Lawyers. We spent about half a minute deciding whether that meant it should get an HM or a DM, then gave up in a puff on dispirited ennui. HM it is.
Another possible flaw in our system was revealed by Benny Profane's magisterial The Opening of Rodeo Hercules, which rated (out of a possible 5) respectively '1000', 'ock' and 'i both hate and love this story, as i hate and love myself'. We settled on a 'bonerable mention'.
We then took a run through the losers of their sins, and handed out DMs for Posh Alligator, with Closing Day! C7ty1, with In the Land of the Blind! Screaming Idiot, with Gut Instinct! And Jonked, with Capitalism is the one true ideology of Freedom! And gently caress you for making me type that goddam title!
The winners of their sins were nearly all tight and sleek word machines that any devil would be proud to have in his spiky sin-harem, HM glinting in the hellish light: SadisTech with Goeth Before! Anime was Right with Divided we orbit! Spectres of Autism with Loomer! And as a judges pick that did not win its sin but merited mention nonetheless; Grizzled Patriarch with The Sepulcher out of Sea!
So, what's left? Ah yes: losing, and winning.
Losing not only its sin but also all of the sins, condemned to an eternity at the bottom of the most clogged and stinky beef fat drip-tray in the least hygienic Burger King in the Nine Hells, comes Ken and Jake by SlipUp. Give them a big hand, ladies and gentlemen, they face an eternity of torment.
And taking home the sin crown, its surface still sheened with the brainjuice of its last owner? Winner of the inaugural Thunderdome Sin Orgy?
Tyrannosaurus Rex, with I found a bird when I lost God but maybe I found God again later I’m not sure I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Take it away, you nimble-fingered sauropod. Judging spreadsheet with my judgeburps and the other judges ratings here.
sebmojo fucked around with this message at 11:42 on Aug 25, 2015
|# ? Aug 25, 2015 11:35|
|# ? Jun 19, 2021 13:31|
|# ? Aug 25, 2015 11:39|