Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«178 »
  • Locked thread
Something Else
Dec 27, 2004


Close Your Eyes If You Want To Keep Them
1196 words

I hung limp as they dragged me to the idling van. The door slid shut behind me and suddenly it seemed like the riot was a mile away. All I could do was moan and count the pulses of pain around what must have been at least one broken rib, probably two. Things had gotten really bad out there when that kid went down. Our guys started lighting fires and their guys started shooting smoke, then the melee got going and I ran into an alley. Where the mercs were waiting, military men dressed all in black.

They held me down in the van. I heard a pneumatic hiss, then a slurping sound as something heavy and wet dropped onto my back. "Close your eyes if you wanna keep 'em," muttered one gruff merc. The thing on my back spread out, winding around my arms and legs and pulling them in tight. The mercs yanked their hands away quick before it could touch them. I tried to fight it, but it only fed off my struggles, squeezing me in tighter until I was totally immobile - until I could barely breathe, mummified within a layer of green jelly, only my nostrils uncovered. I kept my eyes shut tight, but I could feel it probing softly against my eyelids, searching for a way in.

When all you know about your surroundings is the combined stench of diesel, rotting fish, and artificial biology, five hours is a long loving time. That’s how long that jelly kept me pinned down in the van before the mercs brought me inside their warehouse and carried me in, propping me up against an iron plate with long gloves that the creature couldn’t stick to. The creature bent my hands up to my shoulders while the mercs curved an eight-foot-high carbon nanotube wire mesh across me, and welded it in place.

When the jelly finally drained away, I had less than an inch of wiggle room. My fingers poked through the cage by necessity, unable to even bend the impossibly-thin wire. I worked my sore jaw, squinting against the light as the creature snaked across the floor and seemed to relax into a wide, rippling geometric pattern.

“You know the names of resistance members.” I hadn’t heard the woman come in, but there she was, only six feet away and dressed head-to-toe in alligator. It had to have been vat-grown - that much gator skin represented more than what was thought to still exist in the wild - and it was of a quality I’d never seen before.

“No,” I croaked, and she took a step towards me.

“Yes, you do,” she said, staring me down with eyes tinged lavender. “And I’m willing to bet you know their pheromonal signatures as well.”

“How can… I don’t know how to tell you that, even if I knew--”

She cut me off, holding up a small cylindrical canister. “You won’t have to.” She twisted the top, resulting in a pneumatic hiss and two jets of steam. “Your brain holds in the information, and this nice fellow knows how to find it.” She tossed the lid aside and moved closer, holding the open canister out towards me. “And when he finds it, he’ll gobble it up and take its place. Won’t that be nice?”

Even in this dingy light I could see a wet purple grub, inching up to the lip of the canister. It was translucent in the same way as the straight-jacket creature, but this one also had a froth of hooks and teeth churning on its surface - my eyelids would do nothing to protect me.

I stared into that tiny maw and whispered, “No,” and thumbed my temple, activating my bionic eye to spray an aerosol mist of nanobots. In a cascade of miniature carnage, the bots devoured their only desired foodstuff - gen-mod jelly meat. The grub sizzled and melted down into the canister. The woman only had a moment to be shocked before the bot cloud hit her face - she dropped the canister and started swatting at herself, but it was too late - the nanobots had made their way inside.

“Ngah! Harra hahrr rah, gkk chsssss…” Her lavender eyes rolled back in her head, then bulged and exploded. A dark mixture of blood and melted jelly poured down her cheeks, and she collapsed. The straight-jacket jelly coalesced and surged towards me, but it stopped short of the cloud radius. I had to work fast. Switching the setting on my eye was easy, but I strained to turn my head and still thumb my temple. The spray hit the iron sheet as I’d intended, but it would still take the bots time to chew through enough metal to free me.

Time the remaining jelly intended to capitalize on. I don’t know how it sensed the short-lived nanobots from the first spray powering down, but the moment they did it rolled forward through the cage, pinning my legs. I switched the setting back to the jelly-eaters and prayed I hadn’t miscounted my micro-cartridge load, but by that time I couldn’t crane my neck down enough to get a shot. I had to wait, while the nanobots noisily spit out iron shavings and the creature slid up my back.

I steeled myself as it spread up my neck. What happened in the van taught me that moving would make it stronger, so I held as still as I could, with my thumb against my temple. It spread past my ears, into my mouth, and up my nose. I held my eyes shut tight as the creature circled them. I knew it couldn’t resist tasting the whites of my eyes, but I thought I might lose my chance when it started to move my thumb away from my temple. I couldn’t resist for fear of empowering it. Finally it covered both my closed eyes, swaddling me completely in warm, pulsating jelly.

At that moment I jabbed my thumb into my temple as hard as I could, surprising the creature enough that it couldn’t stop me. The nanobot spray ripped through my right eyelid, tearing it off entirely. It hurt like hell, but the bionic eye didn’t technically need to blink. The bots punctured the jelly and started converting it into oxygen, and though it had tighten on me when I’d moved, it then loosened, giving up as much as dying. At the same time, the iron-eaters rumbled by beneath me and I tumbled onto the dusty floor.

If the mercenaries had come in, I’d have been dead meat. But they didn’t, and everything else was quiet. The woman was still breathing despite her trauma, so I triggered the homing beacon in my eye and scooped her up. The comforting chop of the bug-out drone was met with a hail of mercenary gunfire, but we made it back alive.

“Now print up some new eyes and get her down to medical. We’ll need to run a scan before we plug her in, though. Only way to know for sure if she’ll work with us. Pray she does. And long live the resistance, comrade.”

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


bye

anime was right fucked around with this message at Oct 27, 2015 around 05:52

Jagermonster
May 7, 2005

Hey - NIZE HAT!


The Mind Killer
1112 words

Roman shook the jar, sending the creature inside hissing and clawing against the glass. He held it up to the single bulb in the dim basement so the bloodied, bound man seated before him could get a good look. “You know what this guy’s called, Jimmy?”

The whites of Jimmy’s eyes stood out against the dark bruises mottling his face as he peered up at the trapped, writhing thing.

“They call it a Mind Killer,” Roman said. “It uses these little pincer arms to burrow up your nose. He looks big, I know, but trust me, he’ll get in there with a little ripping and tearing. He digs into your brain where he sinks his not-so-little fangs in. Then he shhhhlurps up your free will, providing the same effect as scopolamine, which you might know as ‘truth serum.’ Then you die, slow and painful, as it gorges. One way or another, you’re going talk.”

Jimmy’s narrowed eyes danced between Roman and the Mind Killer.

Roman set the jar on a blood-stained card table. “Do you know how I knew you were a pussy, Jimmy? The way you reflexively brushed your piece when I came to pay you a visit, like it was a blankey that’d keep you safe. I notice things like that. You know how I knew how wide your pussy was, Jimmy?” Roman plucked a Dessert Eagle from the card table. “By how loving big your piece was.” Roman held the silver magnum in his upturned palm, bobbing his hand to get a feel for the gun’s heft. “I mean Jesus Christ, Jim, you going to take on an African Elescect with this loving thing?”

Roman dropped the gun back onto the table. He grabbed a bent folding chair and flipped it around, taking a seat, cool teacher-style. “You know what’s intimidating, Jimmy? Not strapping at all. I think twice about loving with an unarmed man.” Roman grinned. “You never know what you’re dealing with.

“This one night me and some guys were picking up some product. We get to the boat and the deck is abandoned. Completely bare, except there’s this one dude standing in the dark, grinning like a mad man. One of the guys I’m with walks right up to him shouting, ‘Hey, what’s the meaning of this!’ already waving his gun around like a tough guy. The grinning man just stares straight ahead, his creepy smile getting wider and wider. That’s when I knew we were in the poo poo, Jimmy.” Roman whipped his wrists forward one by one, “fwip fwip – loving praying mantis scythes shoot right out the dude’s forearms. He took out three of my guys, including the cowboy that strutted up to him, before we brought him down. One of those body-burrowers.”

Roman waved his hand dismissively. “Whole thing was a set up.” He patted Jimmy on the head. “Don’t worry though, we settled the score.” He hopped up from the chair. Roman drummed his fingers on the lid of the Mind Killer’s jar, sending it into another hissing frenzy. “Anyway, back to the business at hand.”

Jimmy gurgled something around the old t-shirt tied around his mouth gagging him. He stamped his feet against the dirt-caked concrete floor.

Roman hooked a finger around the cloth and yanked it free over Jimmy’s bottom jaw. "You feel like chatting now?"

“If that thing can get me to say whatever,” Jimmy said, spittle running down his chin, “then why don’t you just use it and shut the gently caress up?”

Roman frowned, feigning offense at the suggestion he was taking some sort of sadistic joy in their conversation. “Because, dumb dumb, the Mind Killer dies. It sucks on your brain til it bursts. And these things aren’t the easiest to obtain.” Roman unscrewed the top of the jar. He lowered it to Jimmy’s nose.

Jimmy jerked his head back. “gently caress you, man!”

With his free hand, Roman grabbed a fist full of Jimmy’s hair. He wrenched Jimmy’s head forward, smashing Jimmy’s nose against the rim of the jar. “Where do you dispose of the bodies, Jimmy.” Roman tipped the jar forward. The Mind Killer scraped against the glass trying to get up and out.

“Fuuuuck, man!”

“Where, rear end in a top hat?” Roman grinded Jimmy’s face harder against the glass edge.

“The swamp!” Jimmy shouted. “Off of I-10!”

“Where? Exactly.”

“There’s a Widow Pit! Southeast of Baton Rogue. We dump them in there!” The Mind Killer’s claws nicked the tip of Jimmy’s nose.

Roman shoved Jimmy back. “Why are you bumping off our guys? Who are you working for? And if you say, ‘I don’t know,’ I’m going to shove this thing up your rear end, let it take the scenic route.”

A thick mucus and blood mixture dribbled out of Jimmy’s nostrils. “Gordon Puckett. He’s trying to pick off a few guys at a time before he makes his move.” He swallowed hard. “He’s trying to sew fear or whatever.”

Roman snatched up Jimmy’s Desert Eagle. “Alive or dead?” he asked quietly.

“Wha-at?” Jimmy said in a half-sob.

“Are they alive or dead when you chuck them in that pit?”

Jimmy squeezed his eyes shut and clenched his teeth. He whimpered.

The deafening bang reverberated through the basement. Jimmy flew backwards, the top third of his head spraying outward in a wide spread. The recoil caught Roman off guard. He dropped the jar.

Roman blinked against the spots dancing across his vision from the muzzle flash. “Jesus,” he said to himself. He tossed the gun back on the card table and looked for the Mind Killer. He could only see broken glass.

As he stepped carefully away, he had a vision of himself lying alone on the basement floor, the Mind Killer lodged in his brain, as he babbled confessions to the empty room. He chuckled.

Roman found the so-called Mind Killer futilely scraping its pincers against the cement wall. The only thing its claws were good for was sifting loose soil in search of roots. Roman knelt down and picked up the little creature. It skittered up his arm, gently probing Roman’s hairs with its needle-looking, but flimsy, teeth. Roman cupped it in his hands. His footsteps echoed across the basement as he headed to the stairs.

He needed to find a new container. He needed to let his bosses know what he’d found out. Most importantly, he needed to teach Jimmy’s upstart boss Gordon Puckett a lesson in in the economics of fear. That was Roman’s currency.

Jay O
Oct 9, 2012

being a zombie's not so bad
once you get used to it

Welp, I came down with a fever yesterday morning that only worsened into full-blown coughing, sweating bed-riddence. Gotta tap out, unfortunately. drat that tempting monster prompt. Some other week maybe.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

Bennysaurus Beatdown

The Con
783 words

Archived.

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Jan 8, 2016 around 03:18

kurona_bright
Mar 21, 2013


Lakeshore Lure (1194 words)

It was a beautiful horse, and it wanted Soumya to ride on it. What else could be its intention, with its carefully slumped back, just low enough for her to clamber on, and the way it was gazing at her?

She took a step forward.

“Soumya, no!” Ravali’s eyes were wide, white. “You know Grandpa told us not to go near any animals here!”

“This one should be fine,” Soumya assured her. “They’re friends.”

She saw them walk together by this lake, when they first arrived here for their summer visit. And Grandpa had even fed it an apple. This was fine. It was going to be fine.
Ravali wasn’t convinced. She backed away, shaking her head. Souyma snorted. She would have to take the first step, again. But then again, she had always been quicker than her sister – quicker to finish reading the book Ravali had received her last birthday, quicker to unlock her magical talent. She took after her father in that regard – if Ravali had any, she’d probably take after Mom.

Muscles shifted underneath her as she made her way up the horse’s back and grabbed its mane. It whinnied, and took a step towards Ravali – who only edged back further, muttering underneath her breath, eyes still wide – the way she always did before class presentations. Souyma smiled sleepily at Ravali as they gained ground on her. The world was going fuzzy. Ravali was now only a fuzzy blob, slowly growing – and then she disappeared. She couldn’t really tell anymore.

The horse shook, once – was it snorting? It turned, and Ravali squinted at the shimmering lake waters. The sun was setting, and its reflection shone right into her eyes.

It placed one hoof into the waters – paused, then stepped further into the waters. Souyma gazed down at her hands, and noted with faint surprise that the mane had turned a dull purple, like lake weeds, and its coat had taken on a mossy green.

In hindsight, the only reason she took a deep breath before they went under was a screaming sense of self-preservation.

***

Ravali blinked in surprise – these were the stairs that led up from the kitchen to their bedroom, the ones she liked to read books on –then squawked as she landed on the wooden edges of the steps. She grabbed the railing, breaking a potentially nasty tumble down the stairs.

Grandpa turned from his cutting board in surprise. “Ravali – I didn’t notice you coming in. How –“

He stopped speaking, then grinned widely at her shocked expression. “Teleportation, eh? I knew you would take after your mother. Soumya’s eyes must be popping out of their sockets!” He chuckled a bit to himself.

Ravali would usually grin back nervously in response, but – her mind helpfully supplied an image of her sister’s creepily calm smile. She cleared her throat, but her words jumbled together anyways. “A-Actually, Grandpa – about Soumya. She – one of the horses around here – I told her not to, but…”

It was scary how fast his face went grim. “Did she ride it?”

At her nod, he placed the knife down at the cutting board, and then strode over to her. He interrupted her unspoken question, Is she in trouble?, with another: “Do you remember where you left her?”

She wracked her mind. “I remember seeing that bunch of big rocks with a dead tree on top. Is that- “

He clasped her shoulders with his hands. “That’s enough. Close your eyes and don’t open them until I say so.”

With him this close, it was clear that he was furious. She hastily nodded and scrunched her eyes tight.

The air changed. A breeze brushed across her face – were they by the lake?

Grandpa’s hands left her shoulders, and she heard the crunch of sand. He yelled out a word – furious, desperate. She shivered.

A few seconds later, splashing could be heard, shortly accompanied by a furious whinny. Was that the horse from earlier? She peeked out, and gasped, eyes widening fully.

There was a creature suspended midair – it was definitely the horse from earlier, but the colors were all different. Soumya hung limply from its back, her hands still entwined tightly in its mane. Ravali almost shouted her name out, but a quick glance at Grandpa’s made her swallow the impulse. If she did that, he’d know for sure she disobeyed.

The horse screamed, its enraged gaze focusing on him. He raised his right hand, and the horse rose along with it. He slashed at the air with his left hand, yelled another word – and its head came off.

Ravali couldn’t help it. She shrieked, and his shoulders hunching up were the only sign that he heard her. The neck fell into the lake waters, and sank out of the sight. The body – still spurting black fluid – floated towards them. It came gently onto the sand in front of Grandpa, angled so that Soumya’s limbs wouldn’t be trapped underneath its bulk. After it landed, time seemed to stop for a few seconds, and the stillness was broken only when Grandpa collapsed onto his hands, wheezing.

“Grandpa!” Ravali ran up towards him, but when she looked down at him, he simply waved her off. “Just check on your sister.”

Ravali’s gaze skittered away from the stump, and after a couple of swallows, she walked over to where Soumya was.

Her clothes were absolutely soaked, and she seemed to be sleeping, but she was still breathing. Which was good, right? Ravali reached down and easily detangled the mane from her fingers.

“Did you check for any water in her lungs?”

She froze. “Uh- “

Grandpa stepped past her, hauled Soumya upright, and gave her a couple hard thumps on the back. When nothing happened, he raised an eyebrow. “She didn’t swallow any water. That’s pretty lucky.”

He hoisted her over his shoulder, to Ravali’s amazement, and then looked down at her. “You didn’t listen to me, did you?”

She flushed. “Well, I-“

He cut her off. “It was more for your benefit than anything.” His gaze softened. “Try not to get any nightmares tonight, okay?”

She nodded. “Okay.”

He smiled back briefly, firmly turned his back on the carcass by the waters, and began walking. Ravali followed after a brief glance backwards.

They walked for a little longer, heading for his house, and then Ravali couldn’t keep herself from speaking. “Uh, Grandpa?”

“Yes?”

“Soumya said that the horse and you were friends.”

Their steps seemed louder to Ravali in the silence that followed. When Grandpa finally spoke, it was in grave tones.

“Well, first of all, that wasn’t a horse. That was a kelpie. They…,” Grandpa paused, then continued. “They eat people after drowning them.”

Ravali simply looked up at him.

“And yes, I guess you can say we were friends.” Grandpa said, with a weak chuckle. “But sometimes friends can do bad things, and you have to stop them.”

It seemed like he would’ve said more, but then Soumya woke up, and any further questions that Ravali might’ve had were lost in the scuffle. She’d ask him later, after the both of them finished yelling at Soumya.

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007

The turtle moves.


Fun Shoe

The Dog in the Sewer

Prompt: Monsters are real

Words: 1200


I was brought before the big, well-dressed man as he looked me over with an inquisitive, bloodshot eye. He rubbed his chin thoughtfully with ringed fingers.

"I was given to understand that the Lobo was older," he said, his voice a smooth, liquid bass.

"He was, Jones," I said. "And he is dead. I am his son."

He stood from his seat, and he seemed to fill the room with his size. Powerful muscles rippled beneath the impeccable white suit he wore, and when he glared at me I saw light, old scars crisscross the dark skin of his neck.

"So you lied to me," he said softly. "I was told the Lobo would come."

"And I have. My father died, and he gave me his title."

"You're no wolf," Jones spat, sitting back in his seat with a disgusted sigh. "You're a pup. A mongrel. Get him from my sight."

The thugs grabbed me by the arms and roughly pulled me toward the door.

"Your people are dying," I said evenly. "Every night the beast crawls from its lair and claims more of your number. The police do nothing to help -- they laugh at you!"

Jones raised a hand. The thugs dropped me. I got to my feet and crossed my arms over my chest the way my father used to. I lack his strength, poise, and experience, but he taught me well. Proud men are easily swayed.

"You are the son of the great Lobo? Very well. But I will call you the Dog until you earn your father's title."

"Titles are fine, but I expect to earn more than pretty words." Proud men are often see their flaws in other men.

Jones gave a slow smile and gestured for the woman at his side to set a briefcase upon the table. "My boys bring in good money selling our product, and my women give company to many lonely, wealthy men. I can afford to be generous."

I didn't care. Dirty money spends as well as any.

He opened the case, and I reached toward the revealed bills, only to be interrupted by the click of a cocked gun.

"...but not so generous that I can pay for a service unperformed." His smile was broad and genial, a stark contrast to the gun in his hand.

I nodded. Reasonable enough, I suppose.

"Were you your father, I would have been happy to pay you in advance. But you are not." The gun disappeared as if by magic, and he was once again pleasantly businesslike -- easily the match of any of the bureaucrats in charge of this broken city. Wealth and power corrupt all, regardless of color or class.

I would not mind a little corruption.

"There is one more thing," Jones said, lowering his tone a bit. "Tonight you may share a bed with my daughter, if such would please you. A token of my goodwill."

I frowned. "I trust your word. There's no need-"

"You misunderstand," he grumbled, eyeing the beauty to his side. She shot me a wink and a coquettish smile. "It was her idea."

My frown vanished. "Then I accept."

"Very well." Jones cleared his throat. "Then let's get down to business..."


***


"Don't see why we gotta do this poo poo in the dark," growled one of the men Jones gave me. Damon, I think. "Why not strike in the day?"

"The sewers are big," I quietly reminded, "and we're more likely to run into the beast when it wakes to hunt. During the day it slumbers, hidden -- Jones said as much. We're not the first to come down to look for it -- hopefully we'll be the last."

"Goddamn it's cold down here," stuttered another, Lorenz, shivering despite the layers of protective clothing he wore. "Freezing my loving nuts off."

"That's withdrawal for you," said the fourth member of our crew with a soft, sympathetic chuckle. Eric. Unlike the others, he wasn't an addict Jones wished to dispose of -- he was also the only white in the crew. I found him pleasant enough, but something about him rubbed me the wrong way. I pushed it out of my mind -- there was danger enough without adding paranoia to the list.

I heard a shuffle in the distance and held up my hand for silence. We carried no guns -- Jones explained that they shot the creature again and again, and the bullets only enraged the beast. For a long while we walked in silence, and the only sounds were the faint squelch of our feet in the sludge below and the hiss of our respirators.

Eventually we found the corpses from the pipes above -- ruined things, shredded from neck to groin, decaying viscera dangling like rotten sausage. Lorenz and Damon panicked, their machetes flailing about as they stumbled into the gruesome "decorations." Eric just shook his head.

"What a shame -- I knew some of these guys." Eric readied his own machete. "Bet it's close."

I nodded silently. I'd grown used to the sight of death; everywhere my father and I went we found it. We'd found its lair -- but it was gone. We'd missed it.

In the back of came a quiet gurgle, and a pile of filth in the back shifted, and stood. It was scarcely taller than I, and patches of its rotten body phosphoresced a soft, unnatural blue. Its maw opened and let out a gurgling howl followed by a stream of what could have been words. It lurched toward us, mismatched, overlong arms reaching out, almost pleading.

Damon and Lorenz screamed and stumbled, and the creature -- surprisingly, horrifically fast -- was upon them, rending their bodies with claws formed of its own curved fingerbones. I hacked at the creature as it tore the two hapless men to shreds, and I screamed out to all the saints I knew.

But Eric did nothing. He stood back, away from the fight, and watched.

With one great swing I hacked at the creature's neck, and its head dangled from a flap of brownish muscle. It gave a last gurgle, and fell over, twitching grotesquely. Eric clapped his gloved hands in muffled applause.

Then he raised a gun at me.

"Well done, well done," Eric said with that same friendly lilt. "But you see, Mr. Jones has lost a lot of money recently -- and the deal was that you only collected if you came back alive."

I backed away from him, hands upraised, machete laying in the slop below. Out of the side of my I spied movement, but I kept my attention on Eric.

"Hey, it's not a total loss," Eric went on with a laugh. "You got to gently caress the boss's daughter, yeah? You may die a kid, but you won't die a virgin, yeah? And don't deny it -- she told me all about it."

Squelch.

"Eric-"

"Shut up. You're done. Don't beg. Close your eyes, and it'll be over-"

The near-headless creature hurled itself at Eric, and the hapless man fired every round into the creature's gut. Bluish sludge dribbled onto his suit and hissed as it ate through the polymer, and he screamed as it burned his flesh while its claws ripped at his flailing body.

I sighed, and walked away as the two slowly went still.

Wangless Wonder
May 27, 2009


Reaping - 1,200 words

Elle admired the city a dozen miles away and hundreds of feet below as she turned the crank, putting what little weight she had into each gyration. It was well after midnight and still she noticed lanterns in every window and street corner, denizens moving about in their shifting light. It had another name once, but now it was Thievesbane, city-that-never-sleeps. Thankfully, what they planned to steal today was elsewhere.

“Mm. Wonderful device. Next iteration, more speed.” Said Otto, from everywhere. Elle set her jaw.

“You could help, you know.” She said, voice strained with effort. The tower was impossibly tall and without other points of entry. She had been cranking for the better part of an hour.

“Can I?” said Otto, his voice like the sound of a scythe reaping wheat.

Elle turned and looked, keeping Otto at the edge of her vision where it was easiest to make out the shape of him. He stood on the edge of the parapet across from her, like a cloak hung on a high post. Otto’s claws looked like the long shadows cast by fingers near sunset and there was menace even in their idle swaying.

The hood covering Otto’s head seemed to shift, leaving an emptiness that was dark even in the black pitch of night. For a second, the emptiness grinned at her with a mouth too wide bearing teeth too sharp.

She collapsed on her hands and knees and retched.

“You did it again you blurry gently caress!” She said, sputtering and grabbing the parapet for support. It grabbed back. The limb was long and segmented and held her arm with countless spiny, furry fingers. Two massive pincers appeared on either side of her, digging into the stone wall where they gripped. They pulled behind them an enormous being, all chitin and spines. It pulled itself over the wall and held itself there, looking at Elle through six black eyes the size of fists.

Elle punched it in the closest thing it had to a face. It buckled and fell, rolling in on itself and wheeling past her to collapse against the wall opposite them.

“Oh poo poo, Greg-” Elle said, shaking the pain off her hand as she ran to kneel beside the creature. She ran her hand in circles over its exoskeleton. The punch couldn’t have hurt it. Nothing could have.

“Come on, don’t sulk.”

It uncurled itself and there was a horrible clicking noise at it wildly flailed its six limbs. “You can’t be such a drama queen” Elle said. She ran her hands along the prickly feelers under the eyes of the beast. “I’ve never met a queen with such a fine mustache.”

It slowed, then ceased its failing, wiggling its feelers in Elle’s hands. She pulled one of several knives from her belt and cut the rope harness off Gregory. They would find another way down.

“Yelling, crashing, bug scraping and scrambling his way up tower. Many will sleep tonight.” Otto said. He had set up in front of the tall oaken door leading into the tower, dark arms outstretched beyond human proportions.

“Relax, place isn’t guarded. Why would a dead Wizard need guards? Hell, why would a live one?” Elle said, moving to inspect the door.

Otto’s arms retreated into his cloak and fell to his sides. “Still. We are terrible thieves.”

“That’s why we cheat.” Elle backed away from the door. “Gregory!”

The creature stopped nibbling on a bit off moss growing through cracks in the stone. It moved to the door and stood upright before it on thick angled legs. It rapped twice on the door with a long prehensile midlimb, then brought back a claw and punched. The door of wood and wrought iron a foot thick exploded under the blow, only bent hinges and splinters left to block the entryway. Gregory raised his claws in the air and clicked them rhythmically as they made their way into the Wizard’s lair.

***

The tower was full of sundries and lesser thieves might have spent time filling their pockets to the brim with anything that shimmered or looked sufficiently Wizardy. They moved from room to room after cursory glances. A Wizard’s Focus would buy the tower and everything in it ten times over. This did not stop Gregory from picking up items as they progressed through the tower. Elle would feel a nudge at her back every floor or two and turn to see him holding baubles, glass figurines, lengths of colorful cloth. She had chiseled small compartments into the sides of his shell and would put the items there for him. Gregory shoved passed them and awkwardly ambled down the steps to the next floor.

There was a crash and the air grew wavy and thick like that of a summer heat, but Elle was cold and she could see her breath before her coming faster now.

She peeked around the corner to the next floor and saw Gregory suspended in darkness, claws outstretched to his sides, other limbs flailing wildly, his great black eyes looking out at her. She heard a sound like a tree being felled and both claws broke violently in a spray of green ichor. Two massive yellow orbs appeared on either side of Gregory’s now limp form, glowing with a dull light. A small black dot appeared in each and focused on Elle where she hid. They blinked.

Elle scampered backwards up the stairs and stopped next to Otto.

“Oh God, Gregory.” She said, breathing heavily. “Does that kill him? I don’t know whether to be sad or not.”

“Thing what nixed the bug,” Otto said. “Know what it is. Wizard broke rules. Thing is.. Otto-kin”.

“gently caress does that mean?”

“We die.” Otto said, sitting next to her.

“gently caress that, let’s get out of here” Elle said, rising and starting back up the stairs. A giant yellow eye blocked the path behind them, and the stairs they were on were bordered with red twisted flesh like the jowls of a wild dog.

“Right then.” Elle said. “We fight.”

“Fight, die tired.” Otto said, laying back on the stairs, claws crossed behind his head.

“We fight. Together.” Elle said, words barely a whisper.

“Little Elle said she’d die before letting me in again. She stood on two dirt mounds and held her shovel at me like a blade and said it again. Loudly.” Otto rose. “Take it back?”

Elle nodded and a grin spread across Otto’s face. Mouth too wide. Teeth too sharp. Elle stood firm and did not look away.

***

They arrived at Thievesbane at dawn, the crumpled ruins of the Wizard’s tower far behind them. Gregory ambled awkwardly, his legs still growing used to his sudden weight loss, two small pincers having sprouted at his sides. His shell was incandescent with the light of the Focus tucked into one of its compartments. They made their way through the town, careful not to step on any of the denizens as they lay snoring where they had stood.

“We’ve done a good thing today” Elle said as they began to loot the town dry, her voice like the sound of a scythe reaping wheat.

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

High marks for compassion, low marks for survival skills





Til Chicago
1200 Words


(In the archive)

docbeard fucked around with this message at Dec 28, 2015 around 15:13

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Don't Want it Anymore

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?...Want+It+Anymore

flerp fucked around with this message at Jul 27, 2015 around 02:52

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

The Circumstances of Love and Danger During Sophomore Year
1200 words + 78 from Week 100

Archived.

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Jan 8, 2016 around 03:18

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Judgeburps for TMBG

Machine march

Cutesy and kind of cliché, but it hangs together well enough. Terrible last line though, omg.

Canada Haunts Me
Though the ending was a big wet shart, this one actually kind of tickled me. It’s written in Tdome Wacky style, which is always fun for all that it gets overused, and I like the chilled out indians. Always decide how serious you want us to take your story though, if your characters aren’t taking it seriously then the reader won’t C+

Burst
Pretty words, low-agency protag, out of nowhere ending. Nuff said – oh wait, this gets a line crit. Okay, I’ll talk more about this later.

Bait
Excellently moist and murky words, and a sense of place so rich and nasty you can taste in the back of the throat, this only fails in not quite sticking the landing; I think you could have cut the last para and made it a bit more focused on him? Not sure, but good work.

Underneath
A nicely explicated fantasy/reality crossover with lots of good kid details (the clothes on the racks in particular, though I smiled at the pokemon. Fails by being a bit too ‘here’s the situation’ rather than having something actually happen. Show us your protag deciding something, don’t give us the cliff notes.

The smackhouse at the top fo the tree
Lol mice crackheads. This actually starts out as a good Tdome Wacky yarn on crackhead mice and the crack they smoke, but then sort of sinks gloopily into a mire of WGAF, where everythings so lol and the characters all sound alike. Which is a pity, since it’s a perfectly fine, if rote story framework. Next time pick a viewpoint and stick to it, maybe?

kings
Ok so the key issue with this is that having a guy reminiscing as your story is inherently fraught. Yes you can do it, but you have to hang tougher than marky mark and I’m not sure that right now you're that fly. Because what you have here is a guy talking about some stuff that happened and he’s kind of yawny and YAWWWWWWWWN what was that I just fell asleep. On the plus side your words aren’t terrible, so next time focus on Something Happening, k

Dig Two Graves
I quite liked this one, it had a good hardboiled rumpy dump sort of groove going on and it was cleverly enough plotted to make me smile. Ending was a bit weak though; don’t just have HE DID SOMETHING THOUGH HE KNEW IT WAS POINTLESS use those words to make a higher level of sense out of the story as a whole – you can give a nice thoughtful tweak to the most generic of yarns if you do that well enough.
The curious undeath of grumpy old mr saunders
Kind of weak and who cares groove you’re ploughing there, ent. And your dialogue, which is extra important in a story where not much really happens, is terrible. Read it all out loud – are those interesting words you just read? Worth our time? Thought not.

Undeath is such a drag
Killer first line (lol) and nice if a little rote reversal of stalker/stalkee dynamic; messed up by lots of clunky lines and awkward phrasings, and I could have one with a more substantial ending than the Goosebumps style one you chose.

Chess piece face

Competent words and line-to-line writing but jeez dude what happens; coupla geezers drink tea, look at paintings the end. THAT IS NOT A STORY MY FIRNED.

A planet for ana

This irked the poo poo out of me on my first read which is odd because the words are ok, so lets see how it fares on a second look…. Alright, no, I’ve come round on that. I think I just wasn’t reading it as a kids story, which it clearly is so that’s on me. You’ve got a nice classic kids story sort of throughline, lots of ‘THAT’S NOT MY FAVOURTE PLANET’ stuff, and a decently subtle troubled homelife/mixed race kid sort of dealie. Good work newt, you should polish this up and do something with it.

The War is over

My rule of thumb with weirdy fucky ducky pulp fiction style out-of-order stuff is that it needs to be a solid story if you read it in order, and this actually isn’t terrible; but it’s not better because you’ve shuffled stuff around so why not write a more interesting story that’s actually in order? Your words are fine, if fairly bland sci-fi, but next time actually have a story that’s more than ‘lady presses a button, reminisces’.

Remorseful Lives
This is well and slickly written, but it’s scrabbling for emotional heft that it doesn’t really earn, I guess, so the ending falls flat. Liked the grandmother line tho.

Access
Ooooooh god this is dulllll dude. A robot looks at stuff and things, the end.

The Truth
Your usual delightful fairy tale barbed whimsy works well here and lol emperor penguin lol buttttt there’s something faintly lacking in the emotional core of the characters here – Sochan and the Emperor are both sort of vague ciphers until a blink and you miss it bit at the end, so all you’re left with is the neato magical statue story? I’ll explore this a bit more in a line by line.

Hot Cha
Haha this is great. Kind of immune to criticism by virtue of being so hot cha, what do you reckon? I came into judgechat all prepared to argue for this then drk was all HOT CHA DON’T GET NO DM BITCHES and I was all like HI FIVE!

How to begin again
I guess this is a nice little slice of life yarn, and you do a reasonably robust job of sketching out the personalities and situations, but it’s a little thin as a short story at this length – would work better as part of something longer.

Lighthouse
I was all kinds of grumpy about this at the time for some reason, but my cojudges talked me down and do you know they were right, it’s really rather good. Loads of achingly precise physical and descriptive attention to details, a nice emotional backdrop and lighthouses are always good metaphodder, aren’t they, yes they are. Holy hell mojo what were you thinking scrawling DM on this, tch. Still hate ‘cynically iconic’ though, that’s the sort of thing they’re taling about when they say ‘kill your babies’, capnT

Ondine
This is a lovely tight and nasty piece, clever in a good way, absolutely laden with well-chosen details and absolutely nailing the holding your breath suspension of possible realities that good short stories have at their end. GJ

The Mesopotamians
Haha this owns, because you started at Tdome Wacky but then kept on pushing to find out what was behind the lol.

Julian to come
Yeah, clever and well-enough written, but it feels like you had the idea then made a story that was a way of showing it off? All the bits fit but there’s some essential element of soul missing because julian isn’t very interesting? But it is a good idea, and you develop it well, so certainly not terrible.

Fault Lines
By contrast this is a better way of presenting a clever idea – have someone explore it while we watch. I like the way you develop and deepen the Crack, and then take us to the point of knowing then leave us with a handshake.

Someone keeps moving my chair
Eh, sort of hard to care about this one; lots of details, but they’re all about dull stuff this guy does. Read out your dialogue – a fun time, not a fun time? Let me know (don’t let me know).

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Mar 31, 2015 around 09:32

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Thanks for the crit Sebmojo, glad you warmed up to it.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



TD WEEK 134 CRITS: BLEH

For the most part, not a whole lot of you failed in fulfilling the prompt. Where most of you failed was in creating characters that were believable, likable, or human in any way. I’d say they were made of cardboard, but I feel like that’d be an insult to cardboard. I work at a parcel delivery company, me and cardboard are like this. *crosses fingers*

Anyhow:

Bompacho—Jake Wilkins is a Cool Guy

Humor is difficult to pull off, especially in a 1200-word short story. This really did not hit the mark.

All of the attempts at comedy in this piece failed, in my opinion, because of your main character and his narrative voice. I’m guessing you were going for some sort of “lovable scumbag,” My Name is Earl archetype, but that type of character is lovable because he has some sort of agency. The most your character does to right his situation is take a poo poo in someone else’s boots, a revenge that comes back around to him at the end of the story, for reasons that are incomprehensible. He’s a wet end, plain and simple, and I, as the reader, have no confidence in him to get any sort of redemption. Which is a fair stance to take, because barely anything of importance happens in this story.

Also, it rarely works when you break the fourth wall in this short of a story.

Fumblemouse—To Fly in the Skies of the Ocean

I do enjoy your writing style. But this story seemed confused as to what its main struggle was—there’s this underlying drama of the ship being emptied of all its passengers—save for the protagonist—and that plot arc sort of lingers there until he gets tossed off the ship by the reanimated corpse, and then the story ends. On top of that, Nathaniel’s not a particularly memorable or interesting main character—his sole function is as a black box for the reader to find out what happened to the passengers of the ship, and he doesn’t even accomplish that.

I liked the small bit of poetry at the end, but it felt like it was there to plug up holes in the story that were just too large.

Hugoon Chavez—Freefall

I knew someone was going to do a “falling at terminal velocity” when I wrote this prompt, so thank you for checking off that box.

Really, if you or anyone else needs a direct reason as to why this story lost this week, look at the dialogue. Most of the spoken lines in this story read as artificial in the worst way, like someone who’d only watched bad television dramas would think a person would speak in times of stress. This story really just lacks any sort of believability or verisimilitude. It makes sense that you tried to play around with form and order-of-events, because that’s what a lot of starting-out writers (including me) did before they realized they had to go back and lay the foundation right. Write a simple story with characters that are drawn from either real life or the short fiction that you will hopefully start reading.

Also, you can’t get me to believe that a guy who had his girlfriend cheat on him would misremember the cheater’s name that she gave him. There’s suspension of disbelief, and then there’s “not enough reinforced steel cable in the world.”

Entenzahn—The Adventures of Nobodyman

I like the idea of this imaginary superhero that’s just a passive observer, but I wish the whole thing wasn’t wrapped in a Dad joke. Nobodyman is the most original or interesting about this story, but the downside of that is that the most original or interesting thing about your story is a passive figment of your main character’s imagination. The rest of the story is a fairly standard transformation where Karen doesn’t have to make that many hard choices. It’s Death Wish in flash-fiction form. Language does its job, though.

hotsoupdinner—A True Believer

Okay, this was where the unofficial “lack of character” theme for this week started to wear on me, because I liked this story a lot and I think it could have had a shot at the win—if only the character depth was there. The overall plot arc is well-constructed, but there’s not a lot of weight to it. The main character is fairly closed off to the readers but he’s not closed off to Helena, which is a shame, because Helena’s more of a flat character than he is.

Nevertheless, I think this’d be worth expanding, because a lot of the groundwork is already there.

Benny Profane—Goliath

The other judges liked this more than I did. I thought opening was an interesting way to interpret the “motion” rule, and I thought the dancing scenes were very well-crafted. But—AGAIN—I felt like I had very little insight as to who your character was. What insight there was came through oblique details like her living situation and her rush to get to the studio—what surrounded her rather than who she was.

The fact that Anna would slash Thera’s tires and that Thera would bind and gag Anna the night of the performance leads me to believe that they have a bitter rivalry going on, but there’s no Why, there’s only What, and the latter doesn’t give us as much as the former in terms of emotional resonance.

Wangless Wonder—Golden

You need to work on your formatting. There’s an interesting story in here, but it’s hampered by the way it’s presented.

The voice itself kind of grew on me, but the written story is sort of unclear at points, especially at the end. Who got knocked out? What does the outcome of their match mean?

My advice for you is to slow down your writing process and plan things out more. Determine what impact your words have on the reader, and order them in a way that not only makes sense but also is effective at inspiring emotion.

ZeBourgeoisie—Flaming Night

SyFy Original Movie, but an entertaining one at least. Solidly in the middle—again, this story had characters that were more a sum of their actions than their thoughts or words or relationships, but I at least wanted to know how the story ended. In a stronger week, you miiiiiight have been in trouble.

Djeser--Really, it's because I don't want to pay the ten bucks

Here’s your crit, in song form:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkyGQnZNLYY

Fuschia tude—Mercury

You were the only one this week to really skirt the whole “begin and end in motion” rule, what with the beginning not focusing that much on motion and the ending having her lay down and fall asleep. So you’re lucky you didn’t get DQ’ed, though that might be preferable to a DM, I dunno.

It’s really more of a vignette than a story, because nothing really comes to a head. It feels unfinished. The conversation between Kyra and Miller had the potential to grow in a lot of different ways that would have been interesting. I guess you could say she grew as a character because she escaped the motorcycle gang, but it felt more like an anti-climax. Two people leave each other and I don’t care all that much about either of them.

A Classy Ghost—The Smell of Victory

I can say that this story was at least entertaining, in a pants-on-head-Bill-and-Ted kind of way. There was a lot of forward motion and plot in this story even if all of it didn’t necessarily make sense. A lot of it, especially the ending, seemed crammed in there haphazardly.

And again, the characters weren’t that distinguishable from each other. Though for this story, that wasn’t much of a setback, because the plot was at least somewhat compelling in its ridiculousness.

You tend to rely too much on inner narration. The stuff in italics could be conveyed in less of a direct way.

Savagely_Random—Living

I liked this story more than the other judges, simply because at this point I was scrounging for a character I could like and identify with, and you gave it to me. I like a lot of little things you did with this story, like the contrast of the protagonist’s motion at the beginning and the end, the backstory, the critical choice the protagonist made at the climax. I was set to HM this, but then on a second read I saw a lot of syntactical choices you made that really didn’t look good under the light, because there were simpler, less-tortured ways to say some of the sentences in your story.

It was enough to keep you out of the upper echelon, but I still think this story has a lot of merit to it. The ending made me groan a bit, though: the whole “surviving vs. living” bit seemed really cliché.

sebmojo—All In

Probably my favorite first line this week.

I thought someone might try a full-motion story this week, and a lot of what you did here, I liked. Your characters weren’t flat, but they weren’t terrifically round, either. I think the choice you made to have everything in the story happen during the build-up to the climax took away from the audience’s ability to connect with the characters. Plus the ending didn’t really resolve much of anything.

Capntastic—One Whole Second

This was pretty, cinematic, and drat near unreadable.

Seriously, I had the most trouble with your story this week in terms of just sussing out what the hell was going on. There were a lot of interestingly detailed and Technicolor scenes in this story but they were all encased in incredibly dense language, and they didn’t add up to anything. A robot tries to enter Earth’s (or a planet like Earth’s) atmosphere without being detected, then the robot is detected, and it crashes through a glass window into a pit filled with catatonic humans. What you were trying to say with this story, I couldn’t figure out for the life of me. Remember that there are people out there who will not give you “one whole second” to figure out where your story’s going—they’ll just move on to the next one.

Grizzled Patriarch—Lilies of the Valley

Loved a lot of things about this one, but even the top stories this week had their flaws. I liked the plot device of using the stationary bike as a competition, but with all the emphasis placed on Ted Spiegelman cheating with the protag’s wife, it seemed like an impotent form of revenge. Even when he confronts them cheating, it seems like nothing changes.

Basically I thought the narrative voice and character were strong enough to be noteworthy, but some of the plot elements suspended my disbelief way too much. Still, a novel use of the prompt and a lot of firecracker lines that kept me reading.

leekster—Severance Pay

Word was that you had some real-life issues during this week, which explains the unfinished nature of your story.

It’s…it’s definitely unfinished. On a sentence level, it’s not that bad. There are definitely a lot of little details that pop. But I couldn’t discern what sort of plot you were working towards, or—given the ending—whether the story was meant to continue at all. Hopefully you come back during a week where you have more time to compete.

kurona_bright—Cranky Thievery

This story is unfinished as well, but in a way that begs something larger. Much like your Eleventh Hour story.

There’s a lot of plot devices banging against each other in this story and none of them give us any sort of sense of purchase. Again, it’s a smaller part of a much better story, maybe even a smaller part of a chapter, given how much is glossed over. Maybe if you had focused on just one or two scenes, and fleshed those out satisfactorily, there might be something. As it is, you’re trying to draw the reader in with what isn’t there rather than what is.

crabrock—Falling and Falling

Great story. Hit all aspects of the prompt nicely and innovatively, and gave me a few characters I could let in and connect with. Well-deserved winner, just because it had a lot of little facets and details that connected with each other to make the story stronger rather than laying scattered like puzzle pieces. Would someone in a wheelchair be able to build up enough velocity to knock someone larger off a cliff, though?

Tyrannosaurus—Birds

What’s that? You want an encore?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkyGQnZNLYY

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

sebmojo posted:

Burst
Pretty words, low-agency protag, out of nowhere ending.

i'd like to file a complaint, this is clearly a copy/paste of every crit i've gotten ever

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Shadow of a doubt

It was titanic, monstrous. The looming bulk of Mount Victoria could not even covers its lower body. It was so large that its true shape was lost to the horizon. There were stony outcroppings, great gangly limbs, endless mouths shrieking in hellish chorus. Swarms of gulls flocked around it, feeding on the millions of bugs that scuttled across its surface; following it as it left the bay to make its way inland. Jan tried to drink it in with his eyes, and he almost drowned. He laughed, like he used to laugh in the shadow of his father.

“Pick me up! Pick me up!” he would say to dad, and dad had picked his up every time, and spun him around so the whole world turned to a blur, and the colours ran together. He now had the same feeling before the creature- he felt so small, but so safe. He wanted to climb atop its shoulders and spit in the eye of the sun. If it even had shoulders. Each of the six trunk limbs that rested on the earth had too many joints. They bent in strange places. They were perhaps, not legs at all. Animals have legs, and to call it an animal would almost be profane.

He wanted it to kill him. That would be a good death. To be annihilated beneath an immense foot; crushed so flat that his toenails broke themselves against his teeth. To leave tiny parts of himself stuck beneath its heel so that he might forever be a part of something so much greater than himself. To be picked up, and spun, and to see the world in a wholly different way.

He ran towards it. His bare feet pounded across hot tarmac, but he took no notice. He ran across broken bodies of men and women, towards the creature whose very body demolished the idea of sky. Another woman joined him, keeping pace, eyes seeing only Upward and Onward. “Father!” she cried.

What a strange thing to say. This was not her father, nor Jan's. Jan's father had been a stout, hairy man who'd always smelled of grease. A man who'd meticulously shaved his head, but wouldn't touch so much as a hair of his beard. A retired army mechanic who loved nothing about his son, his wife and his car. The same man who'd smoked one cigarette too many until his lungs decided to cut out. This was not his f-

this was not

this

this was

he faltered. The woman tore ahead, shrieking “FATHER, FATHER.”

Jan's head filled with colour, and laughter. With the reek of grease and a pickmeupdadpickmeup. With reassuring strength. With a man lying in a bed with tubes attached to his arm, beard gone thin from the chemo and despite how long it took Jan hadn't been there to say goodbye. With six golden tongues and-

no that's not r-

so tall his head scraped against the moon, covered in scuttling insects, with six gargantuan legs and a million grasping arms. Stinking of grease, reassuring and strong. The man who'd closed his eyes as if to sleep then never opened them again. Shaved head so tall it pickmeupdadpickmeupdadpickmeupdadpickmeup and grease and STOP that's not right at all

Jan's foot flared with pain. He looked down and saw he was standing in a bed of broken glass, beside a ruined car. It had only recently burnt down- the metal still glowed. A shard of glass had sliced the connective tissue between Jan's big toe and the others. He'd been walking without realising it. Onwards, towards his Father NO that's not ri pickmeupdadpickmeupdadpickmeup and the reassuring reek of grease and

before he knew it, he was running again. The pain in his foot banished, the beautiful shape of his father looming ever closer. His beautiful father with nine hearts, with lungs deeper than oceans, whose footsteps shook the foundations of the world. His father with a reassuring beard, and barklike skin carved with ancient runes of unraveling. His father the retired army mechanic with six golden tongues that sung the song that shattered the seal that walked between the walls between the worlds-

beneath Mount Victoria, a throng had gathered. Thousands of men and women, glass-eyed, hands held high, swaying in the breeze. Jan approached. His head hurt. Something was wrong, but could not say what. He knew, but every time he tried to remember his head was filled with- with pickmeuppickmeuppickmeupPICKMEUP and the reassuring-

The concrete beneath the crowd's feet was lower here and Jan realised his a jolt that his father's foot had come to rest here, and they were waiting for His next set of legs to move into position. Some were hugging each other, while others looked up and smiled with their mouths agape. An old man stood on the outskirts of the group. His wispy white hair grew in a ring around his bald pate. Strands floated free in the breeze. His nose bled down his neck, ruining the collar of his white shirt. “My dad,” he said, “has been dead 25 years and yet here he is. Larger than life.”

He laughed at that last comment, then his eyes glazed over. He looked down at his bloodied collar, then to his hands, then to the sky. A moment of panic registered on his features. “Wait,” he said, “this isn't-”

He stopped and smiled a big, toothy honest grin. “Larger than life,” he murmured. He gave half a laugh, then looked back up at father. The final set of legs was moving into position. Implacable- slow and all devouring, like cancer. The sort of thing that creeps up slowly then breaks the entire world. A limb raising; folding and unfolding; moving between walls between worlds between minds between memories between pickmeupdad and the smell of grease and a reassur

pick me up dad. pick me up PICK ME UP

The limb sailed overhead, clearing the crowd. A wail went up. They'd been forsaken. Left alone. Dad went out to buy cigarettes he died of cancer he was always too busy he never came back to crush them flat to teach them love to walk between walls to

Jan was running again. Pushing through the crowd, and out across the street. He couldn't lose his father. Not again. The thing was already ahead of him though- each massive swing of a limb taking it further and further away. His father with six golden tongues, and a thinning beard. His father, who broke the sky, and spun him until all the colours in the world were not enough to describe the shattered life that was left. His father, gone.

He fell to his knees. He was weak from blood loss. The pain came roaring back now, and he was aware of the old man walking past him, weeping. "Father," said the old man, "why?

Jan own eyes stung with tears. He had no answer. He lay face-down on the road, alone with only the empty howling of his heart. "Goodbye," he murmured. He closed his eyes as if to sleep, and did not open them again.













[1199 words]

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Kaishai posted:

The Truth
They Might Be Giants song: "The Statue Got Me High"
(986 words)

The guards kept hold of Sochan until they were inside the Imperial compound. The statues closed in on the boy then: a creature like a greyhound with no eyes to speak of pressed the needle-thin tip of its muzzle against his shoulder. A stone stag lowered its horns until the points were level with his heart. Sochan's human wardens untied his hands and left him in the Emperor's garden, and after the portcullis slammed down, comma error? the statues shepherded him to a clearing in the trees.

An old man stood there, beside a block of stone. Sochan couldn't make his legs move closer to that rock. The man approached and took Sochan's cold hands, then stared at the boy's cheek and the brand there. something flabby about the words here "Your parents sold you."

"Yes."

The old man shook his head. "Stand there. It will not be long."

Indeed, once the chisel was out of the old sculptor's pocket, it flew, and the granite block put up no more resistance than candle wax. "The Emperor doesn't know," the sculptor told Sochan. "His keepers tell him the stone guardians are honored volunteers. Not condemned prisoners. Not purchased children."

Sochan scowled. "If he believes it, he doesn't see clearly." this is a weak line, and it's all we have to go on for character of your protag so far

The sculptor worked on; the sun crossed the sky. Under the afternoon light, a pale, hard eagle stood on the grass. A puff of dust rose when the sculptor dropped his chisel, and dust streaked the hilt of his dagger when he drew it from his hip. "Come here," he said.

A chipped bear nudged Sochan forward. The sculptor guided him to lie in the space between the eagle's mantled wings. Sochan fought at the last moment, but the dusty hand held him in place until he was numb, past hope or despair. Then the sculptor cut his throat. this is all a little bloodless (lol), which I think robs the story of the impact it needs in the onramp

Sochan sank into stone as his blood poured onto it. The darkness, cold, and pain were brief, and then he saw the fibers in the grass ten feet away. The soft earth crumbled beneath his talons. Sochan stretched his wings wide, and a weight slid from his back. see if you'd made the beginning more horrible this would work a lot better

On wings of stone, he should not have been able to fly. He should not have been able to live. He did both. Below, the old sculptor set fire to the boy he had been, and eagle-Sochan wheeled around the smoke.

###

Magic ooooooohhhh magggggic i see kept Sochan inside the perimeter of the compound's walls. He flew patrol tirelessly, endlessly, and made friends of the blind greyhound and the other sentinels. cool they r statue bros together they fight crime It seemed they understood each other without words.

The Emperor and his family often walked among them. The Emperor was a tall, awkward man, clumsy and nearsighted, you seem to be making more of a point of this than it really warrants in the context of the story? who wore no weapon. Sochan wanted to screech whenever the fool tripped on his own feet. He would have, if he'd had a voice. To live to protect such a man--

But there were never dangers in the garden. Only peace. Only a fantasy.

###

Sochan killed the Imperial guard who opened the portcullis, but as he dug his claws into the traitor's eye sockets, rebel soldiers ran under the gate. They died too, on the horns of the stag and the teeth of the bear, but more pushed forward. They held heavy hammers. The stag shattered first, its horns too fragile to take so much beating. this bit's great, really good gear change

Sochan dove, struck, and flew again, and he lost count of the men he killed to save friends who could not retreat. A panther with the back half of its body gone still swiped at invaders until one of them hammered it to pieces. For the Emperor. All for the Emperor.

The surviving rebels shoved open the unbarred doors of the Imperial residence and disappeared inside; the night air carried the shouts of men. Sochan landed beside the blind greyhound, sprawled on its side near six human corpses. Its nose was gone. Its back legs, too. Sochan touched it with his beak, but the rubble that remained had no life.

Sochan fled to the sky and swooped over the inner courtyard of the Emperor's house. The Emperor, the empress, and their children huddled there, their human protectors busy elsewhere or disloyal. Sochan could not attack. He could watch, though. He could see. hmm

Soon, the rebels came.

Only four of them: the statues had served well. The invaders were bloody and carried bloody swords, their hammers gone. "Get the children," one of them said.

"You will not," said the Emperor. He had a dagger that he held wrong, too small for his long-fingered hand. The Emperor stood in front of his wife and children and pointed a knife at the men who would kill him, despite the fear so clear to Sochan's eyes. hmmmm

Such a man would die for his family.

Sochan broke a soldier's neck with his diving strike. A sword skittered off his wing, and he lunged and tore the wielder's guts open. Someone was yelling; someone was running; he shook the blood from his face and looked for the Emperor.

One more rebel lay on the ground, the little dagger in his chest. The Emperor slumped nearby, holding onto his side with a hand stained bright red. His gaze met Sochan's, and they understood each other without words. noo, don't handwave this please

###

"It will not be long," the old sculptor told the Emperor. He carved a block of marble as Sochan patrolled overhead. His chisel brought out the shape of a tall bird with flippers in place of wings; small eyes; stubby legs; but a slim, sharp beak. When he had finished, he gave the Emperor the dignity of killing himself. emperors don't get given stuff, surely? who's in charge here?

As stone, the Emperor-who-had-been waddled over to his young son, who stood with his mother and sisters. The new Emperor cried as he flung his arms around his father. The penguin wrapped its flippers around the boy as best it could, and Sochan thought it looked more noble than it ever had as a man. nope. for all that it has your characteristically classy word painting, this really doesn't hang; the sight metaphor goes nowhere, the admittedly exciting bit in the middle doesn't actually have much heft because there are no stakes, and there's a lot of rather gauche handwaving. tsk.

newtestleper posted:

A Planet for Ana - A Picture Book
924 Words
Based on How Many Planets?


Ana lay on her back on the cold damp grass in John’s backyard, watching the night sky through her bright green binoculars. She felt like she didn’t belong.

“John,” she said, “have you ever thought about going into space? I want to find myself a planet.”

* * *


John’s head popped out the front of his little yellow tent. He had a big, crazy smile like the time he tried to jump over her on his BMX.

“Are you kidding?” He said, “I’ve got it figured out already. We can leave tonight! We just need a few things.”

* * *


Ana went home to pack her bag, she lived across the road. She tiptoed past her Dad, who was asleep in front of the TV. In his lap was a picture of her Mom. She looked beautiful, with straight black hair and light brown skin, just like Ana.

Her hair and skin were different from John or her Dad or the other kids at school.

Sometimes her Dad was sad. That’s when she stayed at John’s house.

* * *

She got her coat, her boots, and her piggy bank. Last she climbed up on a chair and took some big bottles of orange soda from the kitchen cupboard. She put it all in her backpack.

* * *

When she got back John had fixed up the tent with silver tape and cardboard tubes. He had a packet of mints in his hand.

“Did you get it?” he said, “It’s the last thing we need.”

Ana gave him the soda. He taped the bottles to the sides and they got in.

* * *

John dropped mints into the soda bottles. Big jets of foam shot out with a FLOOOOOOOSH and sent them into the air. As they soared higher the back yard got smaller and disappeared. The same thing happened for their suburb and then then their town.

Soon the Earth was a tiny speck in the distance. They were in space.

* * *

“Put these on.” said John, handing Ana a pair of his Mom’s sunglasses. They had pointy corners, like movie stars wore in the old days.

John steered them towards the sun, and soon they could see Mercury through the glare. It was small and grey, and speckled like a swallows egg.

“It’s very pretty,” said Ana, “but it’s too hot. I wouldn’t be able to get cozy under the covers at night.”

* * *

They swung around and touched down on a red planet with loads of mountains. They got out and jumped around.

They jumped really high, even higher than on a trampoline. When they landed their boots kicked up big red clouds.

* * *

“This is great!” said John, “how do you like Mars?”

“It’s fun, but dusty. I like things to be clean and tidy,” said Ana.

* * *

They dodged asteroids on their way to Jupiter. It was HUGE, and it’s NEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWT YOU MOTHERFUCKER YOU TRY ME BITCH surface was all orange and swirled like a tie-dyed t-shirt.

When they got close Ana screwed up her face. “Pee eww!”

John clipped a peg to his nose to keep out the smell.

“It’s made of gas,” he said. The peg made his voice sound silly.

* * *

“It smells like farts!” said Ana, “let’s get out of here.”

They burst out laughing and sped away.

* * *

“This one’s gas, too.” said John when Saturn came into view.

Saturn was stripes white, yellow and red, and had a big ring of rocks around it. Ana thought it was beautiful, but the rocks were too small to live on.

The sun was smaller and dimmer as they travelled further out in the solar system. It was cold as well, so Ana bundled herself up tight in her coat.

* * *

Neptune was a lovely blue, and Pluto was bright white from ice.

“It’s too far from the shops,” Ana said to John, “and I think I would get lonely being this far away.”

John frowned. “You’re very fussy, Ana.”

“Don’t worry, I think I’ve realised where I belong,” she said.

* * *

When they got back to Earth they spent some time high up in the atmosphere looking down. The sea was blue, the clouds and mountaintops were white, the forests and jungles were green, the deserts were yellow, and the rocks were red. There were big grey patches of city, too.

* * *

Ana knew what she was looking for. She pointed at one city and John steered them towards it.

* * *

They landed in Hanoi, the giant city in Vietnam where her Mom came from. Thousands of people who looked like Ana buzzed around on motor scooters or sat on stools at a restaurant on the sidewalk.

Ana and John sat down and ate spicy noodle soup. Neither of them could understand what people were saying. His blue eyes and curly hair looked funny.

* * *

“Do you want to stay here?” he asked.

“I don’t think so, but I’m glad we visited,” she replied.

Ana bought a Vietnamese dictionary for herself, and a pretty pink doll with a woven conical hat as a present for her Dad. It was getting late.

* * *

On the way back they saw the earth at night, the cities sparkling like the stars. Wherever there were people there were lights.

She wondered if other people felt like they didn’t belong. She thought she could be their friend.

* * *

At home John’s Mom had made them hot cocoa and microwave s’mores. They gobbled them up. Travelling the solar system was hungry work.

“Your Dad called,” she said to Ana, “he said to come home for macaroni and cheese.”

That was Ana’s favorite.

Aww, I must have been a right grumpy bum when I read that and hated it (though that is a hazard of submitting late, judges brains are fried by then) but I really like this now as a kids book or maybe it was the ***s? It's is only ever short for it is, though, newt - did you know that, not sure if I ever mentioned it!


Sitting Here posted:

i finished early so i could play video games guilt free this weekend

Burst
998 Words

First came the itch. Then the bumps. Then the anxiety. Over the counter creams were suggested. A steroid shot was given. Various kinds of mites were ruled out. Stronger creams were prescribed. More tests were run.

Amber sank deeper into warm water and essential oils. The Condo--she and Mark hadn’t decided which condo was The Condo, but they’d whittled it down to three--was a distant, nattering obligation. As soon as she stepped out of the wet bathwater cocoon, she would start to itch. The itch would mute everything non-itchy in the world.

Mark stuck his head through the bathroom door. “I thought you were getting ready? We said we’d be there at two sharp. We can’t let anyone outbid us on this one, babe.”

Amber pulled her knees up to her chest. “Yeah, I’m just finishing up.”

Mark looked around the bathroom, which was colorful and busy with books and empty juice bottles and stale teacups. “I suppose we ought to move the T.V. in here next?” he said.

“Does this condo have a big tub?”

“I dunno, you’re the one with the head for details. All I see is value and location, and this has both. It’s a place we could start a family. Look, if you hate it, we’ll sell it the second we can turn a profit. Deal?”

“I’m going to make sure it has a big, deep tub. I’m not moving into one of those shower-only places.” Amber closed her eyes, tilted her head back against the tiled wall until Mark left.

The bathwater was tepid, but the cold air outside her cocoon was misery. She dried herself gingerly, not raising her arms too high or bending her knees too much. Everywhere the towel touched, a patch of angry red bumps appeared, like lipstick left by a kiss.

Then came the creams. One for the body, one for the face. Then four ibuprofen washed down with white wine. Hydrocortisone for the really inflamed patches. She slathered concealer on her face like she hadn’t done since her days of battling acne. Finally, the woman in the mirror resembled someone who could go look at a condo, and possibly even have a convincing opinion of it.

The housing development was called Liberty. A four foot replica of the Statue of Liberty topped a fountain at the entrance. There were divots in her green skin where the paint had chipped off and been painted over again. i like the character and detail here

Sheryl, the realtor, met them in the parking lot. There were handshakes and pleasantries. Amber focused very hard on not scratching the itch. The complex was a sprawling one, all one storey units with fenced patios. There was the cat urine odor of boxwood bushes, which were everywhere. Amber tried not to scratch, but there went her hand, scratch-scratch-scratching at her neck.

Mark put his arm around Amber and said, “I can’t tell you how excited we were when you said you’d fit us in today,” to Sheryl. Amber clasped her hands together in front of her and made a clenched, toothy smile.

“I enjoy working with decisive people,” Sheryl said as she let them into the condo. The walls were clean and white. Plastic sheets formed a crinkly path across the carpet, which was unstained beige.

There was a kitchen. There was a living room. There was a master bedroom. There was the itch. Amber went straight to the master bathroom, and slumped against the doorway. The shower was ultra-modern, all frosted glass and fake stonework. There were two showerheads, both detachable. There wasn’t even a lip to catch the water; the whole floor sloped gently toward a stainless steel drain in the center of the shower.

“The fittings are all new,” Sheryl was saying to Mark.

Amber shoved past her husband and realtor, ran to the hallway bathroom, and groaned. The tub was short and shallow. She heard Mark mutter, “Allergies.”

Sheryl appeared at Amber’s shoulder. “Ah, the guest bathroom. Or family bath…? The office could easily be a second bedroom.”

“We’re thinking it’ll be a temporary office. But I hear the school district here is excellent,” Mark said. There was a sort of eyebrow waggle in his voice.

Amber stepped backward into the hallway. She was sure her skin was swelling and boiling right off her meat. She was sure she could flay herself alive in that moment, given the proper tools. The itch was a roar. The roar said, run.

“Can we get you some water, sweetie?” Sheryl said. Her voice sent fresh needles down Amber’s back.

“You can’t outrun your skin,” Amber whispered, and her body burst into a cloud of ribbons like confetti. LOL HARD LEFT TO CRRRAZY TOWN Mark made a wordless sound. Sheryl’s mouth was a big, coral-colored “O”. Amber’s bits fell like feathers to the floor and settled in a modest pile. KILL YOUR BABIES BLAM BLAM BLAM GLOCK TO THE HEAD SORRY, BABY A INTERNET GUY TOLD ME TO DO IT

Amber was six feet up and climbing. Somewhere high above, four winds called her name. She giggled. The itch hadn’t been an itch at all, but an invitation. Mark and Sheryl were way below her, locked in a roofless floorplan like two tiny grubs in a cocoon. They stared at the shreds of skin on the floor. Tbh, I think this would all work fine with a few lines more prep to indicate there's something crazy coming further down the story?

Up Amber went, until she could see all of Liberty. The parking lot was an inland sea hedged by boxwood bushes. The town around it was an inscrutable map of grey polygons, all anonymous roofs and concrete covered in lines like warpaint.

The winds called out destinations like merchants hawking their wares. Amber laughed as they buffeted and tugged her.

To the North Pole!

No, the Himalayas!

Dance between the stones of Stonehenge!

Feel the sunbaked heat atop Uluru!


Amber let each wind have its chance to persuade her. She danced with North, South, East and West, played coy at each offer as they twirled between cumulonumbus clouds. There was all the world to see. There was all the time to see it in. eh, now she's left all her worldly cares behind and cannot influence or change anything I sort of don't care about where this character goes dancing?

Far below, a confused coroner swept a useless pile of skin into a dustpan. eh

Entenzahn posted:

The Curious Undeath of Grumpy Old Mr. Sanders
987 words

Grumpy old Mr. Sanders clenched his jaw, grasped the edge of the kitchen table with all his feeble might and refused to die. good first line Never mind the cramps in his legs, the spinning walls, the shallow breath. His heart thumped, and thump-thump-thumped and then it gave out, but he still sat there, staring indignantly at the wife who’d poisoned him.

“That’s not fair,” she said. “You should be dead.”

“Hrmpfh!” Mr. Sanders said.

He’d noticed a slight not a fan of diminutives like this, treat them like adverbs and cut if you can lack of tender love in the few years since their marriage, but this felt a bit crass. It’s not like she couldn’t have waited for him to go on his own. Besides, he still had places to be. That was the worst about it – the sheer rudeness! But then she’d always been inconsiderate.

“Babs would have finished the job properly,” he said, and spat out a piece of tissue. Lung maybe. The thumping noise of his unconscious wife hitting the ground made him cackle gleefully. huh?

Death arrived, a miasmatic black cloud that stood up into a tall cloak, towering over him, charging the air with rot and decay - just being near him made Mr. Sanders’s hands feel dirty. “I am Death,” the robed figure thundered. “Your life has been claimed. Come with me, now!”

“Or else what,” Mr. Sanders said. “You’re going to kill me?”

Death’s bony, pointed finger stopped mid-air, where it hovered uncertainly.

“Ha!”

“Mr. Sanders,” Death said, leaning on his manifested scythe, “I know this doesn’t seem very fair to you. Here you go just living out your final days in peace and then this… woman… punches your ticket to a premature fare along the way of all flesh.” He put an amicable arm around old Mr. Sanders, who clenched his jaw even tighter and shifted in his chair like an unruly child setting in for the long haul.

“I sympathize,” Death said, “but here’s the problem: there’s others. Same deal as you. All the time. Now, imagine I let you live. So the next guy who gets poisoned also wants to live, because fair’s fair, right? And then someone completely else dies of a heart attack, and it’s like, ‘Oh, but you let these two guys go, so why not me?’ And before you know it nobody dies anymore and you can probably see why we can’t have that. So why don’t we just do this nice and clean and you come along now?” this is very wordy and not that interesting

Mr. Sanders glared straight up into the black void beneath Death’s hood and said: “I want to speak the manager.”

“The manager?”

“...of everything.”

“Oh.” Mr. Sanders could hear Death roll his eyes. “Her.

God manifested in a ray of light, her white beard haha waving in a wind that only existed to beef up the pomp of her entrance. She made a sweeping introductory bow and, to Mr. Sanders’s great amusement, stumbled over his unconscious wife. lol monkey cheese

“Mr. Sanders,” she said, pulling herself back up along the kitchen table, “what seems to be the problem?”

“This hokey-pokey rascal over there.” Mr. Sanders pointed a thumb at Death. “Tell him to stop badgering honest folk.”

“Mr. Death is a respected employee of this universe. He’s only doing his job. This would all be much easier if you--”

“Alright, I’m coming.”

“Oh.” God was taken quite aback by grumpy old Mr. Sanders’s sudden compliance. She smiled, but the way she did it screamed well thanks for calling me for this bullshit.

“...for a price.”

God threw a glance towards Death, who made a gently caress-if-I-know-gesture. The annoyance in her groan charged the air so heavily it peeled the paint off the walls and spread through the building, the block and the entire town, up to a point where five streets over a character completely unrelated to this story sighed and decided to divorce his wife. lolol gibbon fromage

“What do you want then?” God said.

“I want… to see the Grand Canyon.”

“That’s it?”

“Hrmpfh!”

“The Grand Canyon. And you will come along?”

“That’s what I said.”

And then they were there. The canyon stretched out far into the distance, furrows and hills and piles of stone shining red in the setting sun. Mighty rock layered on top of mighty rock, in all sizes and formations, a maze of continental plates flexing their muscles. A show of force from a force of nature - forever engraved into Earth’s shell.

It was the first time Mr. Sanders had smiled in a long time.

“Happy?” God said.

“Yes.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, Mr. Sanders…what’s the deal here?”

“Babs…” he said.

“Excuse me?”

“My first wife. Barbara. A good one. Would have never poisoned me.”

“That’s nice.”

“She’d always wanted to see the canyon. Always badgering me about it. ‘Let’s go to the canyon. Let’s just pack our things and drive there.’ But we never got around to it. I was a busy man you see, and this place was so far away. She… passed too soon.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Before she died, I had to promise I’d come here. At least see that drat canyon for myself.”

“And then you never did?”

“I thought I still had time. You know how it is.”

God absent-mindedly stroked her beard and nodded. Mr. Sanders stared back out into the landscape, amused wrinkles forming around his eyes despite his best efforts. see above re dimunitives, cut 'he tried not to x but then he x'd' unless vital “I think you did a pretty good job here if you don’t mind me saying.”

“Thanks,” God said. She hesitated, but then she added: “You seem an okay guy, actually. Like, I don’t know, but I’d be fine if you wanted to live a little longer?”

There was no reply. God turned, and next to her grumpy old Mr. Sanders didn’t look so grumpy anymore. He stared into the setting canyon sun with peace in his eyes, and behind them, Mr. Sanders was quite gone.

“That’s okay,” God said, and turned back towards the sunset. “Give Babs my regards.” Hmm. I actually like this a bit more on a closer read because you do an ok job of the gear shift from grumpy to dead and there are some quite funny lines; it's still vanishingly slight and only 70% as charming as it needs to be to accommodate that.

Doctor Idle
Mar 7, 2008

Hey, if some hillbilly comes up to me, I'm gonna lash him in the face, that's all.

[Best GM 2013-2015]


The Real Homuncuwives of Atlantis
Word Count: 1,199

Alfonso Ribeiro sat on the edge of his bed rubbing moisturizer into his hands as he prepared to settle for the evening. He looked back at his beautiful wife Angela and met her eyes. Smiling at one another, their affection was communicated without words.

He ran a hand over her calf, patting her thigh as he got up from the bed to go and check on their son, Alfonso Jr.

As he exited the room, he noticed that the hallway in front of him seemed to stretch on to unimaginable lengths. Inexplicable dread rose up in him.

“What the-” he muttered looking back at the bedroom which had also become obscured by darkness when a brilliant amethyst light enveloped him.

***

Alfonso found himself in strange dressing room when the light faded. A monstrosity with many tentacled arms and iridescent scales applied make-up with two slimy appendages, dressing him with several others.

He let out a terrified wail, but a would-be man in black robes with the head of wizened goat, began chanting an invocation that soothed his fraying mind.

Having been made complacent by the goat wizard, he snaps into a role of magical design, unaware of the oddities of his new surroundings.

The goat wizard casts a spell and Alfonso was whisked away once more, this time to a decadent lounge that sat in a place outside of existence.

Cameras, scrying orbs and rifts of reality were positioned around the lounge ready to record.

Then effortlessly, Alfonso did what he was brought to the strange place to do, host.

***

“Good evening, ladies, gentlemen, metahumans and planar beings alike, Alfonso Ribeiro here to bring you the highly anticipated season finale to The Real Homuncuwives of Atlantis. Tonight we are gathered here at the nexus of time and space, broadcasting across the planes of existence, live, from Melchior’s Temporal Lounge.”

“With us from uptown Algonquin is Antonio, paired off with the lovely, Ixleatieanmmeoal - She knows the name is a mouthful, so she goes by Tina! - give them a round of applause!”

[A pre-recorded audience claps as Antonio and ‘Tina’ get situated on one of the lounges many seats.]

A pseudo-humanoid lurches onto the couch leaving a trail of evaporating slime with each step. It hooks what looks like a leg over another malformed appendage that was likely, also a leg. Tan, fleshy folds colored extensively from make up, with uneven plastered fake-eyelashes, peel back to expose a speech cloaca with hot pink lipstick drawn around it. A series of guttural gurgling sounds echo throughout the lounge as Tina speaks, it drowns out and is quickly translated.

“This is like, so totally unfair…” the ‘woman’ said tossing a few loose strands of indeterminately placed, and abnormally thick, hairs.

“Tina-”

“NO! It’s unfair Antonio, I give you the best years of my life and you cheat on me with that basic bitch, Vanessa?”

“TINA-”

“NO! It. Is. Un-fuckin’-fair, Antonio. When you and your little-dicked mage buddies made your way down to Warlock’s Way and ordered the creation of me and my girls, excluding that traitorous whore Vanessa, you LITERALLY made a blood pact to honor and virtue us.”

“TI-” Antonio is cut short for a third time by the arrival of Zzxlemineuuauemml, also know as ‘Vanessa’.

A semi-gelatinous humanoid in an expensive halterneck gown oozes into the room. It takes a seat and loses most of its form as it partly spills into the crevices of the couch, opposite the room from Antonio and Tina.

Tina’s face-folds flutter in frustration letting out spouts of steam as eyes emerge from the translucent membrane of Vanessa’s face and roll provocatively. Pouty lips rise to the surface of her would be flesh to form an accompanying smirk that Tina hisses at.

[A pre-recorded audience sounds out: “Ooooooooooooo~!”]

“Welcome to Melchior’s Temporal Lounge, Vanessa. Lovely to have you here.”

High pitched shrieking rings out from Vanessa’s gelatinous body. It is quickly translated.

“Glad to be here, Alfonso, and let me just say, that I’m a huge fan of your work.”

Alfonso turned to the camera and smiles.

“Bless the unholy ritual that created your heart, girl.”

The two briefly share a laugh before Alfonso Ribeiro started on questions.

“So, Vanessa, things got a little heated towards the end of the season between you and Tina. Care to fill us in on that?”

“Well, Alfonso, truth be told… It’s because I know how to better satisfy the sexual urges of material beings.”

[The camera pans around oozing curvature of Vanessa’s body which shimmers in the spot light. Before cutting away to a flashback reel showing Vanessa flirting with Antonio over the course of the season.]

“BULL poo poo YOU RAGGED BITCH.” Tina said leaping off the couch. Glowing deposits of ectoplasm began to flow from her body, melting away anything that came into contact with it.

Antonio slid back on the couch carefully, ensuring that he was safe from the acidic goo. From the well-timed maneuvers he took, it is clear that this wasn’t the first time he had seen Tina like this.

Vanessa dislodged the earrings that were suspended in the membrane of her face and sat them on an end table. Standing up to confront Tina, she regained her shape.

Alfonso turned towards the camera with feigned surprise when Antonio finally gets up to get between the women.

“Look, why can’t we all just get on together? I mean you’re both only five years old in human time and you aren’t even really people… so, we cool?”

Tina and Vanessa shared a sympathetic look having seemingly reached a mutual understanding, and united, they attack Antonio, rending flesh and blood from his body. The screams he let out in that studio were blood curdling.

Alfonso watches as the homunculi sisters destroy Antonio and the magics that soothed his mind can no longer hold back the horror of his predicament. The wizard appeared, vexing his mind once more.

Snapping out of his delirium he fell back into the role of host, “Looks like Tina’s back on the market folks. Sister’s reunited. Tina, Vanessa, final words before we wrap up this finale.”

“It was like, such an honor to have you close out the season Alfonso, I hope you can come back again next season.” Tina said.

“Me too, Tina.” Alfonso replied with a laugh. “And now that you’re single again…”

[A pre-recorded audience sounds out: “Ooooooooooooo~!”]

“Ha-ha, just kidding folks. I wouldn’t want to end up like Antonio! Seriously though, that’s all the time we have for this evening. I want to thank you all for tuning in. Until next season, this has been Alfonso Ribeiro closing out the fifth season of The Real Homuncuwives of Atlantis. Everyone have a goodnight!”

***

As the final syllable of goodnight is uttered, the wizard’s spell ends and Alfonso’s mind breaks. He cried and screamed, thrashing about the studio in an attempt to escape.

A portal opened up forcibly pulling him back into his own life. His agonized cries accompanied him startling his wife Angela.

“Are you ok, babe?” she asked, but he just stared at his trembling moisturizer covered hands. The trauma of his experience to surreal to place into words.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Acetone
(904 words)

Locked pantries came back in style. Fridges had thumbprint scanners. Headlines about "Them" had people bending their window-blinds at all hours. Police enlisted dogcatchers and parking enforcement officers to help deal with the “monsters”. Monsters had come up from the ground, or landed in a meteor, or washed up from the ocean or sewers or garbage dumps or something. They ate fat, but vinegar was like candy to them. Acetone was like caffeine.

People had to be careful, or wake up with their houses broken into and their black dandruff all over. It was sticky tar that stank like burning newspaper. When they burned through some street at night it just had to be sandblasted away. When your living room had an oily scorch mark from the ceiling to the floor you knew you would never get your deposit back. Teenagers would spraypaint their local tags over them. Poorly lit areas accumulated them like potholes.

Steff knew about "Them" from magazines and blog articles, and knew not to leave nail polish out just like she knew where the house's fire extinguishers and smoke detectors were. She'd seen the public service announcements. She understood what the pale and smooth patches of sidewalk she saw on her walk to work meant. She'd reminded the butcher to lock the meat counter the day he left early. Tonight she was stocking shelves and had the store to herself, aside from one of the managers in the warehouse arranging pallets.

Isolated from the boss, she was able to listen to music on her phone. If she'd been listening to the soft classics dripping out of the store's PA system, the sudden sensory deprivation when the power went out might have terrified her. Instead, the shock of going blind prevented her from realizing precisely what was happening. She dropped her boxcutter, and reached into her pocket. She brought her phone up to eye level and pressed her thumb into the screen. Rewarded with the blinding gift of sight, she tore her earbuds out and held the phone aloft like a torch. Was there rain tapping away at the roof? No, it had been sunny all day. Were rolling blackouts in the municipal forecast? No, her father hadn't told her, and it was after midnight.

She heard her manager shout "gently caress!" and knew it wasn't the automated timer on the store's lights. A tiny cartoon stowed in the back of her mind repeated a sing-songy mantra she'd heard her entire life: "If the power's down then the monster's around!". She spun around with her torch. She'd been opening boxes and arranging their contents onto shelves for an hour, but only now with her heart pumping did the fact that she was on the cosmetics aisle enter her mind. Her mind also filled with a noise she'd heard before on the news; a noise her grandpa had called "a truck bed full of chainsaws trying to start". It was a noise that scared people. You knew you were hanging out with assholes if they used it as their ringtone. She knew she was in trouble when she heard it on the other side of the shelf.

She yelled "help", and knew she was drowned out by the chorus of broken gas motors. What could an assistant manager do anyways? She tilted her head, trying to get a sense of if the thing was moving. She crept to the end of the aisle, and the noise kept pace with her. Did it smell her fingernails, or the burger she had for dinner? No, it was dumber than that. She was holding a bottle of nail polish remover. She’d just opened the box. The thing was peering around the corner of the aisle now, black fur sticking to everything its hooves touched. Its throat was revving up, its teeth vibrating. She slowly bent her knees, half to reinforce their shivering, and half from an instinct to hide. She let the arm holding the bottle of yellow poison slowly drop to her side. Her eyes were locked with the thing’s now, flat wide reflective surfaces that never blinked. She wanted to run, knowing it would tear into her back in less than an instant. She wanted to scream, knowing its sick mechanical rumbling would drown her voice.

A lifetime of nursery rhymes and firemen coming to her school had filled her brain with a sort of shame. She wouldn’t go down holding a bottle of monster food. She wouldn’t die as a Goofus after striving to be a Gallant her whole life. She slowly made to lay the bottle on the shelf. The clot of wiry hair and all its noise stretched out towards it. She deposited the plastic bottle into the thing’s churning mouth and watched it dissolve. It rolled back onto its back set of hooves and savored the caustic sweetness. Sweat from her arm slid down the sticky hot coating of its dandruff enveloping her hand.

She watched it burn slowly across the aisle, whirring its teeth through boxes and bottles of whatever it found delicious. It coated everything with dried up flecks of ink as it went.

Hours after it had left, and the police arrived, and the sun had come up, Steff handed her apron to the store manager. Her hands stank with the aloe laden scent of hand sanitizer and burnt newspapers.

“gently caress this job, I’m not cleaning this up.”

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008


New Year, new thread!

Killer-of-Lawyers fucked around with this message at Jan 4, 2016 around 17:48

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

week 136 judgeburps pt. II

9. Bompacho - Qin Shi Huang
Do I know your famous person? No
Should I? I dunno
Do I see the last day of their life? Yes
Do you have an interesting introduction? It was okay
Is there a story present? No

Your biggest crime here is that of being boring. Secondary crime: not telling a story. This was a pretty simple retelling of how Qin Shi Huang died. What character here had any agency? What character was actively pushing the plot? What was the plot?

10. Benny Profane - Franz Reicholt WIN
Do I know your famous person? No
Should I? He’s certainly interesting
Do I see the last day of their life? Yes
Do you have an interesting introduction? Yes
Is there a story present? Yes

Your dialogue, though somewhat limited, is superb. You display an excellent ear for dialogue. Your characters have motivations and act on them. Those are good loving things to have in a story. Your plot is good. This is a good retelling of his death without hyperbole and without just blanking copying out what happened. You made it very real.

This is my current choice for the winner. So far.

11 Ancient Blades - Jubei
Do I know your famous person? Yes
Should I? Yes.
Do I see the last day of their life? Yes.
Do you have an interesting introduction? No.
Is there a story present? Yes.

This was an overreaching samurai story but not terrible. I feel like you had an idea for a much grander epic than you were able to squeeze into the word limit. The action sequences are good. You depend quite heavily on your word choice to try and make this story sound “asian” and it doesn’t work.

Your ending was very strong. It got poetic there at the end.

12 crabrock - Mama Cass
Do I know your famous person? No
Should I? Yes
Do I see the last day of their life? Yes
Do you have an interesting introduction? Yes
Is there a story present? No

Oh hi crabrock with your talent for crafting words. You’re strong (duh) but I feel like you mostly missed the mark here. This comes across as meaningful but without actually being meaningful, if that makes sense. I like characters that have agency and that do things. Mama Cass refuses to have sex and then dies. Welp. Th-th-th-that’s all folks. Great use of language. Meh everything else.

13 Pete Zah - Tesla
Do I know your famous person? Yes
Should I? Yes
Do I see the last day of their life? Yes
Do you have an interesting introduction? Yes
Is there a story present? Yes

Despite being able to tick off yes’s for all my questions, I just didn’t like this story. All of the components to a good story are there: creative idea, good characters, plot. But I was bored. Your use of language slogged this down. I think you were trying to be poetic and it didn’t work. Write simply. Write efficiently. Get good at those things first.

14 newtlestleper - Jean-Paul Marat WIN
Do I know your famous person? Yes
Should I? Yes
Do I see the last day of their life? Yes
Do you have an interesting introduction? Yes
Is there a story present? Yes

This is up there with Benny Profane. Your language is tight. Your characters move the plot. I actually stopped taking notes midway through because I got sucked into the story. That’s a great thing to have happen. You get weak at the end. Were you rushed? It feels rushed. I’ve read stories this week that have better bits to them but this one, so far, is that best overall story.

Well, maybe. I’ll need to reread B. Profane’s. It’ll probably be close.

15. contagonist - Dr Mengele
Do I know your famous person? Yes
Should I? Yes
Do I see the last day of their life? Yes
Do you have an interesting introduction?
Is there a story present?

This was a Tarantino-esque death of a real dude. Which was cool. I liked that. I like your idea here. But your writing is so unpolished that it buries what great things you have going for it. There’s not enough forshadowing with the sister to make it hit. The ending feels rushed. All of the eye talk is really lazy: you used it to fill in the gap when it didn’t advance your story in any way.

16. sebmojo ft. Hunter S Thompson
Do I know your famous person? Yes
Should I? Yes
Do I see the last day of their life? Yes
Do you have an interesting introduction? Yes
Is there a story present? No

Excellent prose marred by an utter lack substance. I think it clear you had a bigger idea this week and ran out of time. You’re a good writer and you pulled something out of your rear end and you’ll probably get an hm that your effort doesn’t really deserve.

I don’t think the fly thing worked.


also
17. Capntastic ft. who gives a gently caress
You were super late. So late real judgement had already passed. My main crit is to submit on time and don’t be a fuckhead. kthxbye.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.




That'll do, ladies and gents.Submissions are closed.

ZeBourgeoisie
Aug 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME
LOSER


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007

The turtle moves.


Fun Shoe

I went about 39 words over my count -- I should be disqualified. I chopped off as much of the ending as I could, but I didn't pay enough attention during final revision.

Also, is it kosher to use Thunderdome entries for other works? I really want to expand a bit on this story, but I don't want to break any taboos.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Screaming Idiot posted:

I went about 39 words over my count -- I should be disqualified. I chopped off as much of the ending as I could, but I didn't pay enough attention during final revision.




guys.

stop doing this.

I'm only going to say this once. Sometimes if you break the rules, and you neglect to mention it to anyone and more or less just carry on like a respectable rule-abiding person, you get away with it.


Screaming Idiot posted:

Also, is it kosher to use Thunderdome entries for other works? I really want to expand a bit on this story, but I don't want to break any taboos.

It's your work, do what you want with it. If you want to send it out for publication, consider removing the original from this thread and leaving a link to a google doc or the archive instead.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



Sometimes judges don't even give a gently caress.

I didn't even know what the word count was while judging this week.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.




Results!

First of all, this week had two recurring issues: a lack of proofreading, and listless plots. I dunno what happened this week that made people forget to do their editing, but an absurd number of stories suffered from simple errors. Don't forget your editing pass, folks! That being said, results are as follows:

The winner this week is Broenheim. All of the judges agreed that your story had a great emotional hook that stuck with us after we finished reading. It was kind of like a children's story - in a good way - and you managed to tell a clear story with resonant themes and the rare sympathetic monster. That being said, you did have a decent number of proofreading errors in the first half, which was really frustrating.

Honorable Mentions go to SurreptitiousMuffin for some truly gorgeous prose that ended up being slightly bogged down by a perfunctory plot and a passive protagonist, and to SadisTech, for a refreshing use of narrative voice and some nice imagery that really set it apart this week, even if the plot was a bit well-trodden.

Dishonorable Mentions go to CancerCakes for taking a neat premise and using it in pursuit of an unfunny punchline ending, and Wangless Wonder for a story that, while for the most part was competently written, had some basic issues with clarity and trite subject matter.

This week's loser is Thyrork whose story had glaring clarity issues and dipped way too far into the D&D spectrum at the cost of characterization and thematic depth.

Broenheim, you're up!

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Week Too Lazy To Look Back at Last Prompt: Well gently caress Me Then

Well then, cool. I guess I won, and with a happy story. But now I'm going to have to read all your stories, and have it be the worst day of my life. So that's exactly what you're going to write about. Write me a story about somebody's worst day. Simple, right. Probably got this cool idea about how the protagonist's mom died, and then his dad died, and then his dog and cat, too huh. Haha, that's not going to happen. There can be no death of any characters, not even implied. Other then that, go full hog, except with the usual caveats. No fanfict, erotica, etc.

I'm going to have a special focus on character this week, so write me a story with one that I actually care about.

Wordcount: 1500
Sign-up deadline: Midnight PST Friday April 3rd
Submission deadline: Midnight PST Sunday April 5th

The Worst Day Havers:
Me
SitingHere
Enterzohn

The Worst Day Makers:
ZeBourgeoisie
SadisTech
Killer-of-Lawyers
Thyrork
Doctor Idle
A Classy Ghost
Grizzled Patriarch
Something Else
kurona_bright
spectres of autism
Franco Potente
Wangless Wonder
hotsoupdinner
Screaming Idiot
Ironic Twist
Skwidmonster
Benny Profane
Tyrannosaurus
God Over Djinn
newtestleper
Pete Zah

flerp fucked around with this message at Apr 5, 2015 around 22:00

ZeBourgeoisie
Aug 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME
LOSER


In, baby.

SadisTech
Jun 26, 2013

Clem.


I will make your day more loving awful than you can possibly imagine

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008


I'm always in.

Thyrork
Apr 21, 2010



WARNING:
Crushes tea, and tea-related rebels.


Slippery Tilde

So I lost, and this weeks prompt is doing nothing for me. I think this is the correct attitude:

Im in.

Doctor Idle
Mar 7, 2008

Hey, if some hillbilly comes up to me, I'm gonna lash him in the face, that's all.

[Best GM 2013-2015]


I'm in.

A Classy Ghost
Jul 21, 2003

this wine has a fantastic booquet


let's start chillin' at the holidae inn

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.




In.

Something Else
Dec 27, 2004


Ok I'm in.

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.



Hey GP, I was stuck sick in bed for most of the week. I'll try to finish my entry and post it later this week.

kurona_bright
Mar 21, 2013


I'm in!

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

spectres of autism
Feb 12, 2011

~it's like people say we're all gonna die
but me it's different i'm not trying to be alive~




im in

  • Locked thread
«178 »