“Now I know what childbirth feels like,” I groaned to my two other selves. My clones had a slight cloudy permeability to them which gave them the illusion that you can pass your hand through them. One of them picked up a twenty sided die. There goes that theory.
“Alright,” said my double as he shook the die in his enclosed hand, “What does our future hold for us?”
“I swear to sweet baby Jesus if it lands on seventeen I’m going to march outside and walk into traffic,” The third clone muttered loud enough for all of us to hear.
The die bounced on the table once, twice and landed on sixteen. All three of us sighed audibly. “I can’t believe you even added to the list of possibilities,” said the second clone.
“Why are you arguing with me on this?” I asked irritably, “We know how crowdfunding goes. I don’t like it any more than you do, but I would have hosed you for science.”
“And money,” added the third clone.
We all shuddered, apparently having the same image pop into our heads. “So,” I traced my finger down a printed list. “Sixteen is actually not that bad. You two might not like it though.”
“Oh, is it the one where we fight each other or we try to learn a new language?”
I shook my head. “You two have to do yard work.”
The two clones cursed.
“Hi neighbor - ooh! Your experiment go well it looks like?” asked an elderly woman with a wide brimmed hat, gardening gloves and shears.
“Hey there Mrs. McNamura,” I called out while setting up a video tripod. “Yes it did. I’m just finishing up one last thing.”
“Oh? And what’s that Andrew?” she asked.
I felt my cheeks flush with academic embarrassment. “I’m having my clones mow the lawn for me.”
Mrs. McNamura’s white eyebrows knitted together in a wrinkly frown. “So let me get this right. You have the power of two people in your hands and the best you can think up is to get them to mow your lawn? I never thought of you as the lazy type Andrew,” she said.
I reeled against her verbal assault and stammered a response. “But… I -”
“I would have expected you to think of something great. Something that would push the boundaries of science and make everyone awe at it’s greatness in scope. Instead you pick something as mundane and lazy as ‘getting your clones to mow your lawn for you’.” She spat on the ground.
I was speechless.
She pointed at me and when she spoke again, she reminded me of a mother scolding a child. “You get back in your laboratory and you rethink your priorities and I don’t want to see you until you come up with something that is worthy of you. Do you hear me?”
I blinked, stunned by the vitriol in her voice. “I… uh. Yes ma’am.”
She huffed and walked away.
“drat. She told your rear end,” said my second clone.
“Go gently caress yourself,” I told him.
|# ? Aug 28, 2015 21:05|
|# ? Jan 26, 2022 11:22|
Psychologically, we do not mind pain when we associate it with healing. But when we're just getting pounded into the ground, eventually, we give up and become hypersensitive.
See, the trick is to get a poo poo ton of DMs, so it doesn't faze you anymore. Then you're completely free to experiment without the fear of failure holding you back. It's the way to go bro.
|# ? Aug 28, 2015 21:07|
See, the trick is to get a poo poo ton of DMs, so it doesn't faze you anymore. Then you're completely free to experiment without the fear of failure holding you back. It's the way to go bro.
the man who has nothing to lose,..has everything to gain
|# ? Aug 28, 2015 21:08|
Psychologically, we do not mind pain when we associate it with healing. But when we're just getting pounded into the ground, eventually, we give up and become hypersensitive.
I am the king of DM's. Criticism does not hurt me. I take it for what it is, use whatever I can to make myself better and barrel ahead. Then I go crazy and write something that leaves judges scratching their heads and get another DM :3 Circle of life baby.
|# ? Aug 28, 2015 21:09|
|# ? Aug 28, 2015 21:10|
Honestly, just keep writing and you'll eventually hopefully probably maybe get better. Also, if you're looking to get anything published in any way, you better get used to being rejected.
kayfabe edit: though you probably wont get published because your all a bunch of poo poo writers that make me want to claw out my eyes every week i judge
|# ? Aug 28, 2015 21:14|
kayfabe edit: though you probably wont get published because you're all a bunch of poo poo writers that make me want to claw out my eyes every week i judge
|# ? Aug 28, 2015 21:16|
anime was right fucked around with this message at 05:59 on Oct 27, 2015
|# ? Aug 28, 2015 21:16|
you can take the poster out of gbs but you cant take the gbs out of the poster
|# ? Aug 28, 2015 21:18|
dont be so self critical
you can take the poster out of gbs but you cant take the gbs out of the poster
|# ? Aug 28, 2015 21:28|
I won once on accident and it was the worst thing in the world.
|# ? Aug 28, 2015 21:42|
THE SECRET POLICEMAN'S BRAWL
Reminding the participants that this ought to be emerging in 22 hours, 45 minutes.
|# ? Aug 29, 2015 01:14|
Look, there are a fuckton of monkeys here and only one typewriter between us, give us a chance to get things sorted and you'll have your godawful secret police short stories in due time.
God I need a banana and some gin.
|# ? Aug 29, 2015 01:34|
Running through the Hive
Prompt: Secret police
Bullets screamed as Slide ran, but he was unafraid. Fear made you stupid, and stupid couriers died. Slide leapt from one glistening catwalk to another, bathed in the golden hexagonal glow. He was in his element; the prey surrounded by hungry Wasps.
Slide loved every minute.
He swung from the side of one catwalk, arms and legs spread, embracing the rushing air as gravity pulled him toward the abyss of lights below. He grasped the spinner from his holster and fired at a nearby building. A line of translucent silver connected from the barrel to the ledge; with a jerk the courier swung into the air, away from the slender single-seat Wasp airbikes. A normal man would have been killed by the sheer velocity, but illegal subdermal elasteel implants gave him strength and grace.
"Slide," crackled a voice from his earbud, "I'm at the alley. You got the package?"
Gloved fingers brushed against the slate securely affixed to Slide's belt. "Affirmative. Stay frosty, it's it in my sights. Keep your spinner handy."
He flipped over pipes and signs, skittered across ledges and hitched rides on hovercars, flygrip gloves holding tight to sheer, slick edges. He arrived at the meeting place: a tiny ledge hidden between two old buildings, dark and secret; one of the few places within the Hive that wasn't smeared with pulsing neon. It was a good resting place.
"It's safe," Slide said, sliding his visor back.
"'The Wasps' stings are deadly,'" said the alley's hidden occupant in cautious tones.
"'But their honey is sweet,'" Slide replied, smirking. He unsnapped the tiny rectangle from his belt. "Here's the package, Drift."
The other man reached for the proffered slate, and Slide grabbed his arm and forced him into a chokehold, bending him low and unsheathing a knife.
"You're good," Slide hissed into the other man's ear, pressing the blade against his throat. "You look and sound like him. Even got his motions down -- you almost fooled me with the way you shuffled your right foot. But you forgot his lisp."
The man with Drift's face gurgled and squirmed, but Slide only tightened his hold. "I'm going to loosen up, but the knife stays. I want you to throw away your gloves and spinner. Nod, please."
Nod, nod. The false Drift tossed them away as told, eyes wide with fear.
"Good. You must be new -- a veteran would protest 'til I cut his throat." Slide adjusted his grip, letting the false Drift get his breath, but keeping the blade steady. "I have a soft spot for rookies, so you're going to tell me what they did with Drift, and where the package is supposed to go."
"Don't know about Drift," said the man, wincing. "They made me wear his clothes; the address is in the vest pocket. I don't think they killed him, they need information-"
"I'd rather they killed him," Slide spat, pressing the knife harder against the imposter's neck. "I know how the Wasps interrogate people."
"Don't kill me!" The imposter trailed wailed. "This is my first assignment!"
Slide slipped a free hand into the imposter's pocket, grabbed the paper, and hurled him from the ledge. He listened to the imposter's scream until it faded.
With the speed of a viper's strike, Slide fired his spinner at the disappearing figure below. He heard a satisfying twang as the sticky, silvery thread struck, wrapping about the imposter's torso.
"Spinner threads grow slick and brittle when they dry -- 'frictionless silk' they call it. It'll hold your weight so long as you don't struggle," Slide called down to the struggling shape. "I'll let you hang around until your buddies arrive."
Slide ignored the cursing as he secured the spinner's thread and fired at a building in the distance. He regretted scaring the newbie, but Drift was a friend. If the Wasps had him, he was as good as dead.
Slide paused atop a bank of neon signs. He lucky -- a nearby apartment building near the industrial district was his destination. He leapt and landed gracefully atop a speeding airbus heading there.
Slide waited politely at the door, knife in one hand, the other over the slate. The door opened. A man with a lined face gestured for Slide to enter.
"Nice digs," Slide said, noting the Spartan interior. He looked at the paper once more. "Where's the recipient?"
"In back. Gimme the knife." The grim man held out a hand for Slide's knife. Slide obliged; too many assassins posed as couriers. Bad for business.
Slide stepped inside and the woman seated before him smiled.
"Nikki, I presume?" Slide arched a brow, regaining his composure. "Although I remember you better as Director Vespa, of the Wasps."
"Got it in one," she purred. "Go ahead. Open the slate; it's yours. I want to see your face."
Suspicious, Slide cracked the seal on the slate. A holographic image of the woman before him bowed faintly and said, "If you're hearing this message, you've survived. Congratulations! In recognition of your feat we offer a position in our organization. Should you accept, your record will be wiped clean, and you will gain full citizenship within the Hive for yourself and your loved ones."
The message went on. Slide didn't listen; his gaze rested on Vespa. "What?
"We want you. We approached your friend Drift with a... similar offer. He agreed. That's how we organized this little... test. Interested?"
Slide stood quietly for a moment. Citizenship for his family was nothing to scoff at -- no more running, no more hiding...
But he'd have to make others run. Make others hide. And worse.
"Sorry, Vespa," Slide sighed. "It's a good offer, but I'll have to decline. I'm no predator."
Vespa's smile never left her face. "Very well. You're free to go, Slide -- at least until you leave this building. Then the chase continues."
Slide smirked. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
|# ? Aug 29, 2015 03:35|
Bad Mercbrawl submission.
Halifax House (775 words)
"Yes, yes, of course."
Stanislaw nodded one last time before hanging up the phone. Darjeeling stood by, awaiting his instructions.
The Halifax House was more than a hotel to its employees. It was an institution. The kind you sent people to when you didn't know where else to send them, in hopes that they wouldn't come back. It was an old building, winding and weary and weather-beaten. The rooms were cramped and the hallways were cluttered, and the stairs creaked with every step. A recent guest had liked the experience to standing in an elevator that sounded like it was about to go into free-fall.
Nevertheless, Stanislaw was quick to argue its charms. It was very rarely crowded. And cheap. Very cheap. "If you rent a room on the East side, you can even see the lake from here." Through a telescope, he failed to mention. "I guess I've just got eagle eyes."
Stanislaw emitted a thoughtful "Hmm," his spider-like hand still wrapped around the receiver. With his free hand he brushed away some imagined dusted from his shoulder, followed by some very real dust. A red and black pattern danced across his vest. It was the same pattern found on the walls of every hallway.
"We have some guests arriving tomorrow."
"Of course sir."
"A detective and her valet. Miss Henrietta Rosenbach."
Darjeeling was a young woman with a boyish countenance and a somber disposition. She dressed exactly the same as her employer, minus the dust. She afforded this news a single eyebrow.
"You know what this means, of course."
"I do sir."
"Ready the rooms.
Darjeeling offered a modest bow and promptly disappeared. Stanislaw registered the reservation and turned to consult the key wall.
"Only four guests...well I suppose that simplifies things."
Kubrick's house of cards was disrupted by the sound of a single knock against his door. The tower collapsed like the monarchy after the revolution.
"gently caress off," he said as he shuffled the cards.
"Room service," said a voice from the other side of the door.
"Room service...I didn't call for room service."
Kubrick opened the door just wide enough to see who was on the other side. The chain went taut, then fell to the ground. Through the cracks he saw Darjeeling with polished silver platter. The platter contained a bottle and a ceremonial knife.
"Our compliments," she said.
Kubrick considered the bottle, and it's bearer.
"Whats the occasion?"
"Funeral arrangements. An acquaintance of the proprietor has died."
"Prop...that guy downstairs has friends?"
"...Whatever. If you're sampling out booze I'll take a sip."
Kubrick's room was sparsely furnished. He was, as they say in the vernacular, "Laying low." From whom or what or how long he wouldn't say. He kept a briefcase under his bed that contained everything in the world he owned.
Two chairs and a table graced the center of the room. With one arm he swept the cards to the floor. With the other he held out his glass. Darjeeling administered the alcohol. One sip became two sips, then three became four.
"drat." Kubrick's world was swimming. "This is some good poo poo. Feel kinda...kind bad for...whoever had to die...to get this."
Darjeeling didn't respond. She had removed her vest and was in the midst of unbuttoning her shirt. Her fingers moved with a machine-like precision. Kubrick was so drunk he didn't even notice a woman undressing in his presence. It was that sort of wine. Reserved for special occasions like visiting detectives.
"Who's...supposed to have died...anyway. Anybody I know?"
Darjeeling neatly folded her clothes in the far corner of the room. She turned around, knife in hand.
"Yes," she replied, and cut out his heart.
As the hotel slept, Darjeeling arranged the room and remains just so. She even took time to fix the chain lock. She washed the blood down the shower drain, careful not to clog it. She dried off, dressed up, and went to plant the knife somewhere.
"Another mystery solved!" Miss Henrietta held the murder weapon high so that the blade caught the light. The guest implicated by the evidence had been taken away. Stanislaw, Darjeeling, Henrietta's valet, the police, and the remaining two guests clapped politely.
"Thank you, thank you," she said and bowed as she swept off her cloche hat. As she turned to explain to police the finer details of her deduction, her valet passed Stanislaw an envelope behind their backs.
"You're sure it was no trouble," he asked in a grave manner.
"None at all. We get detectives coming by all the time."
|# ? Aug 29, 2015 04:07|
Sign up have been closed for a while now just making the official announcement yay Hawaii time
|# ? Aug 29, 2015 16:43|
Wait a second, this isn’t a shitpost, it’s a brawl entry! (p.s. GMT is not a real time zone)
788 quality words
The Doppelganger’s True Face
flerp fucked around with this message at 03:53 on Dec 29, 2015
|# ? Aug 29, 2015 18:40|
o yea thanks for that crits broenstein
|# ? Aug 29, 2015 22:38|
Merc-Food Brawl Results
Bad Seafood, you wrote a story about a murder taking place in an old hotel that provided an interesting spin on the cliché. Mercedes, you wrote a story about fulfilling a Kickstarter stretch goal with your two clones and getting chewed out by your neighbor.
The premises were both interesting, but I felt that the similarities ended there. The goal this week, at least as I set it out, was to write a darkly funny story with 4 or more characters that I could, at the very least, tell apart. One of the stories had a more fully-realized plot, more individual characters, more polish, and more of a grasp on the term “dark comedy”. Both of you came in way under the wordcount, but after reading both of the stories, one of you needed the extra words a lot more than the other.
Bad Seafood wins. No contest.
|# ? Aug 30, 2015 02:14|
And there I was thinking I wasn't being subtle enough.
|# ? Aug 30, 2015 02:54|
The Wages of Sin 1386 words
Hardboiled Arthurian fantasy
There was a stained-glass window high in the wall, with an image of a noble knight rescuing a damsel from a dragon. The dragon was one of those long curly earthworms with ears, and I couldn't see why the girl hadn't just stepped on its head and told the knight to go wash his hair. I felt like going up there and telling him that myself. He had a smug face.
I was just getting bored with looking at the window when the King came in, alone, shoving his hand through his thinning hair. He looked like he hadn't slept for a year but he bowed to me anyway, and I curtseyed as deep as I could manage.
"We're so glad you could come, Sister," he said, "it's been too long."
"Too long by half, your majesty," I said. "Perhaps you'd show me the body?"
The boy was ten years old, maybe, chubby with working in the kitchens, a spray of freckles across his frozen-surprised face. The court mage had cast some preservation spell on the body and I was glad of it. His sister was older, fifteen, with a spill of red hair and cool blue eyes; she stood up when I entered the room and came to curtsey to me. "Abbess," she said, "I--"
"Just Sister," I corrected her, trying to be gentle about it. The last thing I needed was the Abbess getting the idea I was claiming authority that wasn't mine.
She frowned at me like she didn't get the difference. "Can you find out who did this? He was a good boy." Her eyes got wet but she bit her lip to keep from crying, head up in defiance. I liked her for it.
"I'll try. He was a potboy?"
"He was my brother," she said.
As I turned to the body and reached to lift up the cloth that covered it, she fled the room swift as a deer. I couldn't blame her for not wanting to see. Whoever had taken a knife to the kid had meant it. The wound had torn him from one hip up till the blade had hit the bottom of his left rib and his insides had spilled out. Someone had tried to put it all back in again and not done a good job. Even with the preservation spell, it stank.
I looked into his shocked blue eyes and figured there was nothing to work out here, so I covered him up again and went out into the castle. It was too big by half, all cut stone and hanging banners. When I was a girl it had been half the size, but the old king and the new had expanded it fast and now it sprawled out, engulfing half the valley.
I meant to go down to the kitchen to talk to the kid's friends, but I wasn't halfway there when a woman stepped out into the hall and caught at my sleeve. She had smooth white skin and hair like a golden fall of water, but her eyes were red-rimmed and she looked like she'd been crying for a good long while.
"You're here about the boy?" she said.
"I'm here for the truth," I said.
She laughed quick and bitter and leaned against the stone wall and hugged herself. "Good luck with that in this place."
"How do you mean?"
She snorted and rubbed her hand over her face. "Let's just say it's too late for the truth."
I stepped close and took her arm tight in my hand. Her eyes rounded with surprise. She probably hadn't expected strength like it out of an old woman. "Listen," I said. "You may not put much store in the truth, but we both know between God and me it's going to come out eventually. So how about you tell me what you know and save us some heartache?"
She shook her head, her golden hair swinging. I pushed away and left her there. I figured she'd come to me later if her conscience bothered her.
At dinner I found myself seated between the king's wife on one hand, and a handsome lout of a knight on the other. He had a florid face and a broken nose and he drank too much. He asked a lot of questions about what I was doing there and it made me suspicious, so later I cornered a maid and asked about him. From her words and her blushing I got that he was Sir Hector, and he was up for the tourney season, and that he wasn't shy with women.
Also at dinner was the cryer, seated with a thin-faced knifepoint of a man who barely spoke. I wondered if he was the cause of the crying and a little nosing around told me he was Sir Andrew, she was Elayne, and they were married.
I knelt for prayer that evening with too much on my mind. Couldn't get settled down, so I drank a cup of wine and set off through the quiet halls. Coming around a corner I almost collided with Elayne, and she looked so spooked to see me I was suspicious. She wouldn't tell me what she was up to and I knew I had no drat right to ask, but I stepped up close anyway.
"Listen," I said. "You may not think the truth can help, but there's a girl in that kitchen tonight crying because her brother's dead and she doesn't know why. Spill it, or do I go to the King?"
She tried to dodge past me, so I slapped her face. Her absolute shock told me first, she'd never been struck before, and second, she probably wasn't the murderer. Murderers don't flinch from a slap or two. She stepped back with her hand to her cheek. "Nice, aren't you?" she said.
"I'm not nice," I said. "But I'm here."
She'd decided not to cry this time; I could see it in her, the rallying of that inner strength, and I liked it. "He saw," she said. "He saw something he shouldn't have."
"Worth killing for?" I said, and she dropped her gaze.
"No, I didn't think so. But-- but *he* did." I didn't say a thing and into the silence she said, "My husband, he's - he's not a bad man, but he has rages. If he knew I'd been-- he'd kill us both."
"Who's the lucky man?" I said and she glared.
"Hector," she spat. "The boy saw me with Hector, and Hector killed him to protect us. Is that what you wanted?"
"If it's the truth," I said, and she swore at me. It felt true, though. It explained too much, from Hector's curiosity to her obvious guilt. I didn't expect a knight would kill a child to avoid a fight, but I did expect he'd do it to protect a highborn lady. After all, it wasn't a highborn child. Just a potboy. I turned to walk away and she clutched at my sleeve.
"Wait," she said, her voice high with terror. "What are you going to do?"
I shoved her. Right then I didn't feel like letting her touch me. "I'll pray on it," I said, "and in the morning I'll be gone. I don't see how exposing all this will bring him back." Just set off her husband and cause a dozen more deaths, probably, by the time the rounds of revenge were done.
"Thank you," she said, stunned.
"Keep it," I said. "Be more careful. Or do you plan to kill everyone who ever works it out?"
I heard her crying as I left but I didn't look back. I had to go make some kind of explanation to the girl downstairs, for how her brother died just for knowing. I had to explain how some knowledge was poison. And then I had to go back to the convent, where the politics didn't end in dead children.
The King met me at the door. He didn't even look surprised. "Couldn't solve the mystery, Sister?" he said.
"Forget it, your Majesty," I told him. He looked surprised at the cold disgust in my tone but he didn't call me on it. "It's how the world works. May we all pray for a better one."
|# ? Aug 30, 2015 14:44|
Beatings Can’t be Priced 1228 words
I was stopped at the lights when Han pulled up alongside me and rolled his window down. My window was already down because I wanted everyone nearby to hear how awesome my taste in music was. Han tried to say something, but my music was up a little too loud. I turned it down.
“Sorry,” I said, “I missed that.”
“Nice ride.” He was pretty clearly being sarcastic.
Han snorted. “I was pretty clearly being sarcastic.”
“Zing,” I said. “You got me good, Han.”
“Your ride blows,” said Han, “and word on the street is so does your mother! Later, loser.” The light turned green, and Han’s car sped off.
Now, I can accept his harsh words regarding my ride, but where I’m from, a man does not make cheap innuendo about another man’s mother. I was honour bound to lay a severe beating down on his head. I accelerated after him.
I caught up to him easily; Han had made the classic mistake of judging my car by its outer appearance. My ride was, in fact, a perfect and righteous machine of steel and iron and moonbeams and amazingness. We were on a straight bit of road, so once behind him, I put cruise control on and then jumped out of the window, touched off of a light pole, and landed on my car’s roof. Han was waiting for me on the roof of his own vehicle. We faced each other down, bracing slightly as our cars each hit a dip, and then I took a running jump off of the front of my car.
He jumped from the back of his car at the same time, and we met in midair. He blocked a kick I aimed at his head, and then I dodged a punch to the testicles, which is a weak move by a weak and cowardly man - the kind of man who makes cheap innuendo about another man’s mother, and upon whose head I was destined to lay a mighty beating - and then I landed on the roof of his car, and he on the roof of mine.
There was a roundabout coming up, so I quickly climbed in the window of his car and grabbed the wheel. “You’re not Han,” said a voice next to me.
“No,” I said, and didn’t elaborate, because I was focussing on the roundabout, and it’s very important to concentrate on your driving while navigating a roundabout. They’re really confusing, especially multi-lane roundabouts like this one was, and I didn’t want to crash the car, because even though Han was a weak and dishonourable man, it was a pretty decent car.
Han had evidently decided on a more direct route, and as I exited the roundabout in his car, my car came sailing over the roundabout with him leaning down over the front where he had pushed off from the road, and landed on some pedestrians on the sidewalk in front of me and slightly to the left. I swerved his car this way and that to dodge the limbs that came flying my way.
“Ah,” said the voice. “There’s Han.”
“Yes,” I said, and glanced over to see who I had been talking to. I was transfixed. Next to me was the most gorgeous woman I had ever laid eyes on. I mean, not completely transfixed, I could see the road in my peripheral vision, and was able to swerve as more body parts kept being thrown up from underneath my car, which was still on the sidewalk. I leant on my horn, and when Han turned around, I gave a sweeping hand gesture that was supposed to convey my disappointment that he was allowing my vehicle to continue ploughing through pedestrians. He at least had the decency to look a little embarrassed, and leaned over to grab the wheel and move my car back onto the road.
“So who are you?” I asked the heavenly vision next to me.
“I’m Han’s mum,” she said. “Call me Enid.”
“What? There’s no way you’re old enough to be Han’s mum.”
She giggled and hid her face behind her hands, and I took the opportunity to quickly check to see if she was wearing a ring. “Oh, stop it you, you’re making me blush.”
“Listen, Enid,” I said, “I would love to take you out for a lovely meal or to the ballet or something some time, but right now I have to go out there and severely beat your son.”
Enid nodded. “That’s quite all right, I heard what he said about your mother. That’s not the way I raised him, I am at my wit’s end with him sometimes! Oh, and the ballet sounds lovely.”
I pulled up alongside my car, and gestured to Han to pull over, because he clearly couldn’t be trusted to fight on top of speeding cars without accidentally driving through a bunch of innocent bystanders, none of whom (presumably) had made any cheap jokes about either of our mothers. He climbed inside my car and turned off onto a side street. I followed him, and we both pulled over and turned off the engines. “I’ll see you maybe this Sunday evening, at the Palace Hotel Theater?” I suggested to Enid as I got out of his car, and she smiled and nodded.
Han looked a little embarrassed again as he handed me the keys to my car. I frowned as I gave him his keys, and had a little bit of a look in my car. There was a bit of blood on the seats, which I was going to have to clean before Sunday if I was going to go to the ballet. I frowned again, then turned and faced Han.
Han rushed at me, but I flipped over him and kicked him in the back. He stumbled and fell on his face. I did a backwards flip, landing with one foot either side of him, then kneeled down with my knee in his back and my mouth next to his ear. “Now, Han,” I said, “ordinarily I would give you a pretty brutal beating, because jokes about mothers are very serious and cannot be tolerated. Do you want to know why I’m considering not doing that?”
“Yes please,” said Han.
“A savage beating is the appropriate price for you to pay for disrespecting another man’s mother,” I said. “I think we can both agree on that.”
“Ummmmm,” said Han.
“Nonetheless,” I said, “I am considering allowing you to pay for your actions in a different way. You see, your mother is going out to see Swan Lake with me on Sunday evening.”
“What’s that,” asked Han, “a film or something?”
I shook my head. “Don’t worry about that, Han. The reason I’m not going to beat you, is she’s going to need a lift on Sunday, and you can’t drop her off if I break all the bones I was planning on breaking. You see?”
“Mmmhm,” said Han.
“Lovely,” I said. “So, there’ll be no more unpleasant innuendo about anyone’s mums, right?”
“No sir,” said Han.
“Good.” I picked him up and put him back in his car. “Sunday evening!” I reminded Enid, and she smiled back at me and nodded.
And then I got back into my car and drove home.
|# ? Aug 30, 2015 14:44|
Ghost of Regret (Part One)
Prompt: Paranormal Police Drama.
Billy McReave drifted back through the wall, visions of copper wire and support beams flashing before him as he plunged into darkness. It was his habit after a good haunting; banter a bit with the owners, then explore the older parts of the house, hidden behind drywall and regret.
So when he floated back, looking down at the tacky carpet crawling along the ground, he didn't expect to find a body there. So, he did what any well-minding spirit would do.
“Witness is one William McReave,” the beat cop said, eyes scanning a clipboard as he leaned back against the side of the ambulance. “Found the vic at 3:23, after working an early morning shift for 'Thompson Family Authentic Haunting X-perience'. Looks like their sense of style died back in the 90s.”
“Please, officer,” Miriam said, rubbing her temple with thumb and forefinger. “Let's keep going.”
“Sorry. Victim is one David Justinian, 25 years old. Has an expired student ID, cash and valuables still on the body. Coroner's checking him now.”
She nodded to the officer and moved around to the back of the ambulance, looking inside at the short, thin man sitting beside the stretcher. His hands were moving over the body, a faint blue glow filling the space between his palms and the corpse.
“Doc,” She said, pulling herself into the back. Her eyes looked down at the young man's face, his soft cheekbones, the slight double-chin, the three days of stubble on his cheeks. “How's it looking?”
“Quite dead, detective,” He said, not moving his gaze or his hands. “Our pale friend here doesn't have any link.”
Her eyebrow perked up as she took a seat across from him, the doctor's hands moving away to let her pull down the sheet. “There's no signs of struggle?” She asked, looking at his neck, down to his wrists.
“Not a one,” Doc replied. “Which would lead us to believe a medical condition. But deaths like that tend to leave unresolved issues that form links.”
“No struggle, no link,” She said to herself. “I'm going to take a look inside. Keep me posted.”
“Of course, detective.”
Police had the entire house closed off, showing her badge to get past the two officers standing guard at the door. Just off of the living room she heard an elderly woman's voice, shaking as she spoke to an officer. She'd find the room easily enough, the tape across the door frame high enough to crouch under, walking into an abandoned drawing room. Dusty and ruined, walled off from the rest of the house years ago.
The first thing she noticed was the smell, an unmistakable sewage stench that filled the room. It didn't take her long to find the false fireplace, a ladder descending into foul gloom just large enough for someone to squeeze through. On the carpet she found a few simple drops of wax, matted to the small hairs. White lines connected the drips in a clear pattern. Chalk tape for a quick pentagram.
A botched ritual, then. And someone had removed the evidence. Para-Forensics would probably confirm once she got back to the station, which helped narrow down the potential list. She'd head back out to the parking lot, phone in hand as she dialed up the registry. “Detective Winston, Paranormal Crimes Division. Get me a cross-reference between our victim and any unlicensed necromancers that might be in his area. Also, contact Homicide. We may have a murder.”
The background check on David Justinian revealed a young man in desperate need of help. The death of his mother and fiance in a car crash last year sent him into a spiral of depression, dropping out of school shortly afterwords and withdrawing from society completely. Bills were handled online, drawing from a trust fund, and food was delivered to his apartment. His last correspondence was over a year ago, to a college friend.
A friend who worked as a necromancer until he lost his license two years prior for 'gross misconduct' relating to a failed scam.
Miriam stepped out of the car and looked up at the brownstone. “You didn't need to read the file,” She said as Martin stepped out of the car, the folder tucked neatly under his arm.
He closed the door with a nervous smile, taking care to measure how he closed it. Not too hard or soft. “Sorry, bad habit,” He said, still smiling as he waiting for Miriam to reach the sidewalk. They walked up the steps and knocked, an elderly man with a bent back pushing the door open slowly.
“Hello, sir. We're Detectives Winston and Howes. We're hoping to talk to Julien Drier, do you know if he's home?”
“Drier?” He said, stepping back to let them inside. “He's in room 203. Is he in trouble?”
“We just want to ask some questions,” Martin said, the two heading for the staircase. The air was thick with the smell of cats and cheap carpet cleaner, the windows on the staircase left open.
Miriam knocked on the door with three sharp raps. “Mr. Drier?” She called out, the sound of a something heavy hitting the ground answering back. Martin wasted no time, kicking forward at the latch, tearing the knob from the door, pistol at the ready.
“Freeze!” He shouted, looking into the living room at a man dangling at the end of a power cord. He ran inside and grabbed him around the waist as Miriam headed into the kitchen, pulling a knife from the counter.
Drier flailed at Martin, trying to push himself away. Miriam pulled the chair upwards, reaching up and taking the knife to the cord. It snapped, sending the man rolling to the floor, kicking and screaming as Martin put a knee on his back and his hands in cuffs.
As he was led out of the building, he screamed over Martin reading him his rights. He screamed at them to let him die.
“How are you doing?” Miriam asked, walking towards Julien Drier's hospital bed, his hand cuffed to the side rail. On his other side was an older woman in a navy blue suit, gray streaks shooting through her bob cut.
“Horrible,” he replied, staring straight ahead. “I've felt horrible ever since this morning.”
“Detective, my client is still recuperating,” The woman said, adjusting her glasses.
“Just here to ask a couple of questions, ma'am,” Miriam set back, pulling over a chair. “Mr. Drier, do you know the name David Justinian?”
He nodded as much as the neckbrace would allow. “I hadn't talked to him since before prison. But then I get this e-mail from my...a friend. Says that he has a job for me, easy money. Just meet this guy, ghost him, cash the check.”
“I go to this alley off Fifth, and this guy is waiting for me near the sewer junction, where he hands me this breathing mask. He tells me to follow the markers there and back, and there's this ladder. I head up, and this guy is just...”
His face twisted in pain. “He was waiting there, just sitting in the pentagram. So I started to work, and he...” His breathing became ragged, tears pooling in his eyes.
“Mr. Drier, as your attorney I must...”
“He kicked the tape off and it all went to poo poo. He...he just slumped over and...I...I saw his face. I freaked out, took his bag and the candles and the tape and tossed it in the sewer. When I got back someone slid the check under my door. I snapped. I took the cord, and I...I...”
His lawyer placed a hand on his shoulder and began to console him as Miriam slid out of her chair and headed towards the door. Outside, Martin was sitting back against a chair, head rolled back, mouth open.
“Come on,” She said, giving him a tap on the shoulder, head snapping awake. “Let's get some coffee. We have another lead to follow.”
“Wha...Oh, right. What'd he say?”
“David didn't contact him. He hired him online.”
“You can do that? Just go online, 'Hey, can someone obliterate my soul? 5,000 OBO?”
“We'll see once we find his computer,” Miriam said, heading for the exit. “Come on, long day ahead.”
“Aren't they all?” He asked as they got into the car and slipped into traffic.
|# ? Aug 30, 2015 15:38|
I hope everyone remembers the theme! And to have fun! Good luck!
|# ? Aug 30, 2015 16:54|
|# ? Aug 30, 2015 18:34|
Blood for Bricks and Mortar
Prompt: Alternate History Disaster Fiction
Matoska surveyed the panic room, a scowl on his face. An earthquake breaks out the day of the goodwill meeting with the Lakota Nation, and what do the English do? They settle in to tea. From the look of it the Queen’s entire staff was seated around the wide oval table in the center of the room, munching on finger sandwiches and chatting amiably. Well, he mused, that’s the European character for you. All garters, no guts.
He looked back to the Chief to find that he was already across the room, taking the Queen’s slender hand in his own and bowing deeply. Matoska started after him, staying near enough to observe but far enough to keep from getting in the way.
“Your Majesty,” the Chief said. “It is a pleasure that we should meet at last.”
“Indeed it is,” the Queen said, “even if our meeting must take place in this dismal bunker. Would you care for some tea, Chief Tahatan?”
“No, thank you.” The Chief smiled warmly. “Nervous stomach.”
Suddenly a voice erupted from the back of the room. “Your Majesty! Oh, Your Majesty!” A wiry man with a slick comb-over bounded up to the table. “A thousand pardons for disturbing you, but I have news…”
Matoska stepped towards the erratic newcomer. “Excuse me, but you’ve just interrupted the first meeting between the Queen of England and the Chief of the Lakota Nation. Whatever you say next had better be important.”
“Oh! Oh, of course, forgive me for barging in.” He extended a hand to Matoska, who shook it with a grimace. “Leland Dorrit, Minister of Communications.”
“Matoska, the Chief’s personal security. You were saying?”
“Sorry, yes! Begging your pardon, Your Majesty, but there has been a strange message broadcast over all television channels. Some madman claiming he’s responsible for the earthquake.”
“Oh my,” the Queen said. “You’d better put it through, Leland, just in case.”
Leland bowed before dashing over to his laptop. He tapped a few keys, and a projection screen flashed to life, the image of a baby-faced man in a starched white suit appearing on the wall. The man’s forehead was dotted with sweat, and he dabbed at it with a handkerchief before clearing his throat.
“This we have known all throughout history,” he urged in a clipped, strong voice that would have been at home on the floor of Parliament. “The Americans are heathen. Believe it, my fellow Britons, the Collective Nations of America is a tool of Satan. They spread, millions upon millions of sin-cursed heathens—Lakota, Cherokee, Chickasaw, any name you give them—across that vast continent, rendering it a land no civilized man or woman should dare tread upon.”
The man wiped away another bead of sweat dribbling down his forehead. “And the Briton has ample reason to stay away. My ancestor, Edward Tilley, was one of those unfortunate souls aboard the Mayflower. He, like so many others, sought religious freedom in a new land. Like so many others, he sought to live with the Americans in friendship and harmony. But when those brave colonists landed, the Americans slaughtered them with their arrows and with diseases to which European bodies have no natural defense. Edward Tilley died on the shores of America, but his widow Agnes and the others who survived boarded the Mayflower again and sailed for home.” A tear slid down the great round face, and the man let it fall.
“The Americans had won. They had repelled this so-called enemy, and their land was theirs to own. But when the ship made its fateful landing back in England… their evil influence spread.” The man broke off into sobs, but choked his emotions back with great effort. “These poor pilgrims brought back with them the Second Great Plague. And now England reaches out with friendship towards the heathens that have caused them so much pain. God can do nothing on His own to stop them, so I must carry out His will. The people of London will know the price they pay by aligning themselves with Satan as they watch their city crumble around them.”
The screen went black, leaving the room in silence save for a crackle of static and a low rumbling off in the distance.
“Hello? Do you read me, Matoska? Good lad, you’re getting close now. He should be on the top floor of that building.”
Another shock rattled the ground, and Matoska grabbed a lamppost to steady his footing. “Got it, Leland.”
“Sorry we can’t offer backup, but if we send in the troops too soon he’ll notice, and probably knock his own building down.”
“I know. I’m going to sign off, Leland, but I’ll keep you posted.”
“Right-o. Call back when the bastard’s in custody.” The voice in Matoska’s ear died away. He stepped up to the building’s façade. Another tremor wracked the earth, and Matoska swore he could see the building wobbling on its foundation.
Custody my foot, he thought. The sooner I put an arrow in this nutcase, the better.
He ran up to the building and jumped towards its brick exterior. His foot made contact with the window ledge, and he used the leverage to launch himself far enough to grip the next stone outcropping. Just then the building shuddered again, like a stone-and-glass behemoth trying to shake off a pesky flea. Matoska’s foot slipped loose, and his fingers burned as the rest of his body swayed outward. He held on tight as the shock died away, praying that his nose wouldn’t start to itch.
He kept ascending the face of the building, pausing sporadically to rest his aching muscles. During these breaks he turned around and took in the sight of London, its proud old buildings marred with cracks and fissures. Something rose in his breast—perhaps not pity, but a certain sense of obligation. Perhaps this act of service was the price he had to pay to relieve the burdens of history. He turned back around and continued his climb.
At the fourteenth floor, one away from the top, he hooked onto a ledge barely wide enough for his fingertips to grip. As he let go of his foothold to hoist his weight up, the building bucked again, knocking Matoska loose. Panic surged through his gut, and he flung a hand to his back, drew out an arrow, and jammed it into the bricks, stopping his fall short. He clutched the stones tight just as one last shock flung the arrow free. Matoska watched it fall end-over-end.
Matoska burst through the window on the fifteenth floor, catching the sweat-faced man off his guard. Before the man could even flinch, he reached back and drew his bow, nocked an arrow, and pulled it back, ready to fire.
The man did something Matoska wasn’t expecting. He smiled.
“Top-notch effort, American. Bully for you. But you should know that unless this watch of mine stops transmitting my vital signs to the earthquake generator, this little fiasco doesn’t stop until London is rubble. So, if you want to save the city, you’ll have to kill me. Go ahead, spill my blood. Pay the price for London’s salvation and your damnation.”
Matoska grimaced. If the man was telling the truth, there was only one way this could end. He tightened his grip on the arrow, aiming it squarely at the man’s neck. Intentionally or not, his ancestors had given this man a legacy of pain and suffering. Now the power was in Matoska’s hands to continue that legacy or to take a different path.
“What’s the time?” Matoska snapped.
The man stared. “Excuse me?”
“Aren’t you curious to know your own time of death?”
The man gave him a morbid grin. “Hmm. A strange privilege, I suppose.” He pulled his sleeve back, revealing a bulky black box with wires streaming up his sleeve. “The time is…”
Matoska let the arrow fly. It streaked across the room and punched straight through the man’s wrist, shattering the watch and stopping an inch short of his heart. The man’s face went green, and he examined his arm with saucer-wide eyes. Matoska could hear the hum of the earthquake generator fading away as blood ran down the shaft of the arrow.
“Friend, don’t pay with a life when a wrist will do,” Matoska said. “Let’s get you patched up.”
|# ? Aug 30, 2015 21:43|
<b>The Hunt of Sarinita</b>
Grant sat on his bed in his father’s apartment, playing a video game on his iPad. His heart jumped when someone kicked his bedroom door.
“Good news, kid!” his dad yelled. Mr. Wells wasn’t a wallflower like his sissy son. He was a ‘roided out, CrossFitted social butterfly. “We’re gonna get you away from your Xbox for a couple of days and get some hair on your chest! You’re about to go into high school and it’s about time you did something manly. I just won us a raffle to do some helicopter hog hunting down in the Valley. We’re headed to South Texas!”
Mr. Wells slammed the door shut and Grant rolled his eyes. Hopefully, his dad would forget or take his stripper girlfriend to show off or something.
Grant found himself in the back of his dad’s SUV driving south.
“It’ll be good to get some quality time together,” his dad said.
Grant nodded and looked out the window, watching the rolling Texas Hill Country transform into the flat, brushy desert of South Texas. Cities gave way to towns, which gave way to two-lane country roads. His dad, oblivious to the natural beauty, rolled the windows down and blasted Black Sabbath.
At dusk they arrived in Sarinita, Texas. The “city” was not much more than a dilapidated town square and some gas stations. Trailers and sagging homes dotted the landscape. Late-model pickups took up most spots; motorcycles took the rest.
Wells pulled into a parking spot in front of a little restaurant called the Howlin’ Cafe. In the window, a neon coyote howled at a neon moon. It was the kind of hole in the wall you go to for greasy burgers and cheap bottles of beer. They hopped out of the SUV, grabbed their bags, and walked in.
Ricky Bala sat at a table in the back of the Howlin’ Cafe. He raised a heavily tattooed arm in salutation and stood at his seat. The patrons wore faded Wranglers, boots, and baseball caps.
“Mr. Wells!” Bala said to Grant’s dad. “Welcome to the best little secret in South Texas!” The men shook hands.
“Alright guys, take a seat, let’s talk about what we’ll be doing in the morning,” Bala said. The three sat huddled at the table and looked at a printed out itinerary and map. They would go to the local airstrip in the morning, and spend the first part of the day learning the guns and terrain. They’d break for lunch, and then the hunting would begin.
“What do you think, Grant?” Bala asked, smiling. Grant looked at the little smartphone screen and made a face like he smelled a fart.
“I think the honorable way to do it, if you were going to do it, would be on the ground, face to face,” he said. He felt his face get hot. He was nervous. But, Bala just laughed.
“These aren’t petting zoo animals, boy,” he said. “These things tear up our land, kill our animals, sometimes hurt our kids. This is a good thing that we do. You’ll see.”
The three went to a little stairway behind the kitchen and climbed to the second floor. The whole floor was a loft for hog hunters. Grant and his dad watched an action movie on cable and went to sleep.
Despite himself, Grant enjoyed the next morning. The chopper itself was smaller than Grant realized. Liftoff made him nervous. But, once they were up, it was unlike anything that he had ever seen. You don’t get to see the world from that point of view, much. They zoomed across the desert, which didn’t look as barren as it had before they’d been trained to spot life.
Mr. Wells took the first shots. He killed one giant hog. It looked prehistoric. Satisfied with his kill, he asked Bala to let Grant shoot next. As they traversed the landscape, they noticed damage that looked more intense than the rooting and tearing of hogs. Some buildings were caved in, healthy trees were completely uprooted, fresh dirt mounds peppered areas on the outskirts of Sarinita.
“Is that from the hogs?” Grant asked, squinting through the scope.
“Something like that,” Bala said. “Nocturnal, though.”
“We’re up for it if you are,” Mr. Wells said. Bala chewed gum for a moment in thought.
“Alright,” he said. “No extra cost because we’re not guaranteed to shoot anything, but it’s much more dangerous.”
“Hell, yeah!” Mr. Wells said.
Grant never shot a hog, although he did impress everyone by blasting the passenger side window out of an old Datsun.
Bala’s wife, Mira, knock on the door. Mr. Wells opened the door and she quickly stepped in and shut the door.
“These hunts are dangerous. Put these on,” she said, giving them armored vests.
“Better than putting on deer piss, like most hunting trips,” Wells said. They followed Mira down the stairs and met Ricky and Mira behind the restaurant. A loaded Bronco was waiting for them.
“Let’s get in the air before the sun sets,” Ricky said, gunning the engine. The drive was quiet. While the sunset over the desert was remarkable, the Balas’ nerves unsettled the Wells men. They reached the chopper, where a man that they didn’t know had already gotten the rotors turning.
It was harder to see at night, but their recent practice allowed the Wells men to get settled quickly. Ricky clapped the pilot on the shoulder and they were in the air.
Grant was surprised by how much more of the sun he could see just a few hundred feet in the air. Gorgeous. They toured the torn up areas they had seen in the day; they hovered at the collapsed house. Mira tapped Grant on the shoulder. She had a magazine for the rifle that he held.
“Use these,” she said. “They have light. Kind of like tracers.” Grant replaced the magazine and chambered a round..
Ricky leaned out of open door and looking down at the house. He signaled the pilot to move the aircraft over and at an angle, presumably for a shot.
“Both of you shoot out of this side, while I shoot out the other,” he said over the headsets. Mr. Wells nodded. “Are you sure it’s ok for us to be out here?” he asked.
“Sure thing. We just nee-,”
“There!” Mira interrupted, pointing at the house.
A man stepped out of the rubble and stoically looked up at the chopper. He seemed to be talking to himself.
“Should we help him?” Grant asked. “Is he homeless?” He peered forward to get a better look. The man’s eyes were black. There was no white in them. Mira pointed at the rubble. A nude, tall woman walked out and pointed at the chopper. She had no eyes. Her finger stayed in the air. She opened her mouth, much wider than normal. Her jaw appeared to unhinge.
“Oh, poo poo!” the pilot yelled, raising the chopper and veering away.”
The woman screamed; it was full of pain and anger. The glass in the choppers shattered. The sun disappeared.
“Shoot!” Ricky yelled. He shot her in the breast but she did not move.
“What the hell is going on?” Mr. Wells yelled. “Grant, don’t shoot at people!” Grant looked through his scope at the screaming woman but didn’t shoot. The woman was walking towards the chopper,. still pointing. Grant looked over at the man on the ground and saw him doubled over in pain. The ammo from Ricky’s gun looked like it was on fire. The man was glowing orange.
“We have to go!” Mira yelled. She opened fire at the dilapidated house and they saw several children crawl out. They had wings. They took flight. They chased the chopper.
“Keep them off the rotors!” the pilot yelled. Mr. Wells shot the closest kids. Grant saw that he was crying. Grant tried to shoot them as well, but there were too many. One of them flew into the rotors. The chopper dropped out of the sky.
Grant’s lower body was trapped under the weight of the cockpit. He saw his father’s crushed face. He saw the baby’s eat through Mira’s belly. He saw the woman pointing at him and laugh.
“This one will do,” she said, reaching for the boy.
|# ? Aug 30, 2015 22:24|
Are there any stories of people coming here, and being at first truly terrible, or at least mediocre, and then perpetually improving and eventually winning and embarrassing you all and poo poo?
|# ? Aug 30, 2015 23:20|
Hey, thought this might be a good place to share this.
Escape Artists, Inc's 4th flash fiction contest is starting soon.
|# ? Aug 30, 2015 23:44|
Wolfe Farm Meats
Grimdark Amateur Detective
“Now, I ask ye, what sort of vile devil could do such a thing? I’m only left with one sow, and she’s a runt, at that, an’ one heffer with a half dried tit. How’m I s’posed to feed my loyal, lovely patrons such as y’self with drat near all my stock hung, bled from the rafters? Hung like the Lord Himself, they was.
“I apologize, Miss, I don’t mean to interrupt yer meal, and, again, I promise ye, yer steak’ll be out shortly. I’sorry for having such talk, but put y’self in my boots, imagine y’self finding … no, no, I mustn’t. I’ll spare ye the gory bits. They’s far too wicked for words.
“I just feel it my duty to explain the situation to folks. Once you hear what I been through, I pray you’ll understand why I had to raise the price, and I think you’ll find the price to be just right. It hurts my old heart to raise the price on such good Christian folks as y’self. Everythin’ here’s from my farmstead. Always been. Always will. Even churn my butter, unlike that Mr. Pete.”
Upon saying her sole competitor’s name, a one Mr. Pete Rimbald, who owns a small bar and restaurant a bit down the lane, she spits a wad of tan mucus onto the wooden floor.
“I did first figure it to be him. Decimate the competition, force folks like y’self to eat them chewy slabs of ham on a baguette he calls a ... what does he call it? A ‘Crock Monster’?
“Right, ‘swhat I said. Turned out not to be him, anyway. He was at Mass, right where he should’a been. At least I can say that much for the man. Father himself vouched for Mr. Pete, he did.
“That immediately got me ta thinkin, y’know? Do you want more coffee dear? Let me fetch it.”
She walks off to the back, her wide hips rocking the heavy wooden chairs of the small dark restaurant. A heavy grey canopy of clouds blanket the rolling hills of the village without.
“Where was I, love? Ah yes. So who wasn’t at Mass? That’s what I set to figure out. I’d find out who wasn’t there. Let me explain:
“Every mornin’, before the sun’s fully up, I tend to my sweets. Take them their food for the day. Why, yes, Miss, I’m not ashamed to admit I loved my animals. Must sound queer to hear a butcher such as m’self use that word, ‘love’, but it’s the Lord’s truth, it is. Sometimes I even talk to ‘em! I know! Such a silly thing, but, you know, ever since my poor Leopold met his fate ...”
She pauses, two curved reflections of the dingy windows in her eyes as she looks outside, remembering.
“Leopold weren’t the greatest man and I sometimes felt he more fond of the drink than of m’self. Times were tough. But then I suppose times are always tough, dear. Can I tell you a deep, dark secret, love? Every night, I pray to God they find his remains. Any part of him at all. So I can bury it in his plot, have something solid to hold onto. The constables told me they almost always find something, even if he was consumed, taken by beasts. Not my Leo. Like someone wanted him to stay gone.
“Anyway. My livestock, they did, truly, bring me joy. And I used ta check on ‘em every morning, take them their stock, long before I washed myself up for Mass. And Sunday was just the same. And they was all there. Alive, they was, dear. Last I seen em, just as lively and happy as you drat well please! So I asked Father right then and there if he could tell me who else wasn’t at Mass on Sunday but he wouldn’t say. He seemed afraid. Afraid!
“No, no, dear, I didn’t think he was afraid of me, but that got me thinkin’, you know, who might he be afraid of?
“The witch of the woods”, she says, crossing herself quickly.
“How foolish of me to ever have considered it were anyone else. I just try not to think of that wretched creature. I won’t use her Christian name, no, dear. Folks say she fornicates with young unmarried men. That she sleeps out in the woods outside of her little shack out there, except in the winters. That she drinks the blood of animals. Worse things than that, even.
“Before I left the chuch, I knelt and I prayed harder than I think I ever prayed. Harder than when they rounded up the search parties to find my dear Leo, if I can admit such a horrid truth. Then I set right out into the woods, still in my church best, to confront that vile beast of a woman. This was one week, later, to the day.
“‘Fore I even reached her front door, I seen a young man out, choppin’ firewood, and he took off like lightning! I don’t know why, precisely, but I like to think that seein’ me gave him the courage to break free of her wicked spell and that he set right off to seek reconciliation with the Lord.
“I confronted that evil woman. At first, she didn’t wouldn’t admit ta anything, a course. But some stern convincing was all she needed.”
She lays a meat tenderizer on the wooden table. Its handle is stained dark wine like a cask. The head is tarnished but the spikes are sharp teeth.
“Ye want to know another secret, Miss? That, there, is the reason my meats are softer than that sod Pete’s. Ye have to coax the meat. Break it down.
Let me go’n get that steak for ye. I promise ye, it’ll be divine.”
|# ? Aug 30, 2015 23:58|
Judge-Brawl Judgment Post
So, SlipUp never showed, and all three participants allowed me to judge in his place.
I didn’t understand what this was supposed to be a story about…some sort of Lazarus experiment, bringing the bird back to life with some sort of air pressure? The sentences were individually beautiful, but I read it twice and I still have no idea what transpired. Also, IT’S IS ONLY EVER SHORT FOR IT IS GODDAMNIT
I groaned when I got to “Porn”, but it passes for a decently funny joke, if not an emotionally-moving story. Go with what you know, I guess. It was enjoyable enough.
“Intra-particulate Cephalopod”. Okay, then.
This is a bit more intelligible than “Pressure”, but it really feels like you’re trying to cram way too much into a small space, rather than focusing on something smaller-scale and describing it exquisitely. The arc is there, but it does feel like something I’ve seen before, like a “Be careful what you wish for” story with just a genie and no wisher. The end is nice, with the “god” of sorts deciding to create her own universe, but…it doesn’t feel like anything major was lost or gained, she just moves on to another universe of her own making.
Judging this is hard, because these are all really different stories. Two of you decided to play around with language and go for more of a hard-science highbrow approach, possibly at the expense of some other things, like character and a well-defined plot. The third decided to go with a less-is-more approach and focus on telling a more accessible story, at the expense of emotional weight.
It’s still a tough call, but in the end I have to go with the story I enjoyed reading the most, and the one I’m going to have the easiest time remembering tomorrow, because that’s what you want to do with flash fiction, make it wedge in someone’s mind as much as you possibly can.
The winner is Lightmare, via the low road.
|# ? Aug 31, 2015 00:07|
Young Adult Mythopoeia
I might have been a little drunk when I dropped my phone off the balcony, but I’m still blaming Tessie. She knew that I hated parties, even Clark Pettine’s annual back to school rager. Still, Tessie liked Clark, who was best friends with Huck, and Huck liked me, so I was there, sitting in the quiet of the balcony, getting blasted to make the time pass. When I denied Huck’s half-puckered lean-in for the third time, his weird little shaved eyebrows dipped inward, and I could see him fighting back the tears; then, he and his 90’s grunge flannel sulked back into the house, and I was getting blasted alone.
Maybe I was more than a little drunk.
But I wasn’t drunk enough to forget that my phone should’ve made a noise, a cracking, a thud, a kerplunk, anything, when hitting the rocky shore of Lake Gentle.
I ran inside and grabbed Tessie’s cell, intent on calling myself and digging my phone out of whatever mossy crevice it fell into, but when I dialed my number there was nothing cutting the dark quiet.
I hoped it wasn’t ruined.
I dialed again, this time staring down the span of the beach, when I saw a fading sparkle on the distance growing smaller and smaller, until the call connected and the glow disappeared.
Through the line I could hear a ratcheting noise, discordant and sharp, like the grinding of a poorly timed gear shift.
“Hello?”I asked, waiting for a reply. “My name is Catherine, and I lost my phone. Did you find it?”
My voice echoed through my ear in an awkward feedback before the line went dead.
I asked Tess to drive me home, feeling sick at the loss of my device. Once there I opened the phone’s security app, which reported that its location was inaccessible, so I issued a full wipe command and tried to imagine how I’d explain this to my dad.
It didn’t take me long to notice the stares; kids I’d never spoken to standing at their lockers, casting sidelong glances upon me. I assumed they were just shocked to hear that the class goody-goody cut loose for once.
Then I noticed Tessie, marching down the hallway like a war general.
“I guess you found your phone,” she said with a sneer, “if you even ever lost it at all.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Did you go back to Clark’s after I dropped you off or something? It’s pretty lovely to ask me for a ride home only to go right back to the party.”
Tess pulled out her cell and brought up my twitter account.
“Tess, I didn’t-” I started.
The picture said everything that she chose to omit. There I was, in a crop top and short shorts, flashing more skin than I’d ever had before, my body iced with the lacy edges of bright pink undergarments, undergarments that I didn’t own. I was standing in Clark’s living room, and I had a joint in my hand. My arm was hooked around Huck’s hip and his was around my waist. For a moment, I could taste the herbal tinged smoke on my tongue.
“That isn’t me,” I said lamely.
“How drunk were you?” she asked, scrolling through another set of screens.
Tessie handed me her phone again, showing me a screencapture from a conversation between Clark and Huck. “Clark sent me this,” she said.
It was a second picture, my body splayed and displayed against a splintered wooden floor. The building looked dilapidated, like an old shed. I was clearly drunk, and the crop top that I was wearing in the first picture was ripped and stained in a pile next to me; instead, I wore a loosely buttoned 90’s grunge flannel.
Clark had attached a message to Tessie: Catherine might have just decided to gently caress Huck!!! Thought you said she wasn’t feeling him….
I tried a deep breath to calm myself and remembered the feeling of the splintered wood against my back and that of my thumb tracing Huck’s eyebrow. I could smell the damp wood and the peppery scent of Huck’s cologne.
No, I reminded myself. I never left the house a second time.
I didn’t bother to sign out or formally excuse myself; I needed to escape the school, and as soon as I got home, I attempted to log in and delete my twitter account, but every time I tried the pages timed out.
I hadn’t thought it actually possible to cry yourself to sleep until that day.
I woke up with the memories of a nightmare that continued to fill in as I rubbed the crust from the corners of my flat eyes. Something wasn’t right; my face lacked it’s typical definition. The dresser mirror revealed my nose and lips to be half-worn, like the sanded features of the sphinx.
I closed my eyes, repressing the desire to panic. This was a hallucination.
Through closed eyes I could see the same wooden floor from the picture, the same floor that Huck set me to rest against. Four freshly severed limbs littered one corner of the room and an intoxicating smell drew me groundward. I leaned into a separated torso, plattered on a green flannel shirt, before feeding from its bloated, split, belly.
It was easy to get lost in the haze. With each dip into the bloody gut, the taste of iron on my tongue got stronger, until I could have sworn that I bit my cheek; then, my own stomach began growling and the prospect of taking another bite no longer seemed revolting.
Suddenly, I heard an email chime in the distance, and I was reminded that this was a hallucination.
Tessie DeMarris - 9:56 PM (Less than one minute ago)
Where are you? Huck’s missing and now you’re MIA. People are starting to talk… You need to be at school tomorrow.
The illusion seemed to last minutes, but I had been out for hours.
Moments later, the conversation refreshed.
I’m fine, just feeling a bit sick. Huck’s with me. Let’s get together tomorrow after school. Think we can meet at Clark’s? I need your help with something.
I tried to type a denial, any immediate rebuke, but whenever I tried to send my response, the client timed out.
As I rushed out the door, I prayed to God that Tess remembered that I never shortened my name.
It took me an hour to get to the college campus, but only ten minutes to find a raucous sorority house. It was rush week, and the house was open and the keg flowing for anyone resembling a new student. Fortunately, many of the freshman girls still had the tolerance they had back in high school.
Each sip of beer brought me back to Clark’s party; the flashes were intoxicating, and pulling out became more difficult each time, but drinking with them was important to the plan. I made friends with any single girls that I could by feeding them shots of Jager, taking pictures with them, and promising to watch their bags when they were in the restroom.
And if their phones happened to go missing, well, I was drunk too.
While waiting under Clark’s balcony for my image to appear from the treeline, I set the alarm on one of the sorority phones for two minutes and closed my eyes.
My breath was ragged and produced a ratcheting wheeze as I approached Clark’s house. Even through the layers of trees, I could see the silhouettes of two figures standing at the window, waiting.
Then the alarm pulled me from the phantasm.
Immediately I dialed a phone I’d set on a stump adjacent to the property and began stalking the bait, trying to suppress the rustling of the plastic grocery bag I’d brought with me, until I was directly behind myself.
The mimic turned to me.
“Please,” I begged, “give me my life back.”
I set the bag of phones from the campus at her feet and backed away.
“A trade,” I said, “these images for mine.”
The mimic reticently prodded through the collection, before huffing deeply and allowing my form to peel away like molting skin.
I knew better than to linger, so I turned and began walking back to Clark’s house.
Behind me, one of the phones started ringing.
The selfie answered.
|# ? Aug 31, 2015 00:43|
I'm a failure this week
|# ? Aug 31, 2015 01:08|
“Contraband, now.” Rude.
I flung the ‘contraband’ at Officer Shithead’s shithead, hitting. He only shrieked and stumbled back, so I ran deeper into the alley and around a corner. A dumpster let me climb to a roof, which let me leap to another roof, which let me run all the way home, safe but empty handed. drat, it took me forever to get that bottle.
“Where’s the alcohol?” demanded Sandy, my girlfriend.
“Drank it all,” I lied and smiled.
“Yeah, well, you’re sleeping on the couch until I get me some!” She would’ve said the same regardless of my excuse. I gathered my sheets and pillow, set up on the couch, and wished the bed bugs good night.
Three days later and I was sitting on a park bench, pen and paper in hand, still not drunk or laid. I had found a clue, though; an old buddy of mine got locked up for drinking and, though his pad was barren, he had a map tucked behind his TV. Problem was, the X marks the spot was here in this park, which was patrolled constantly by drones because of people like me doing things like what I wanted to do.
I finished writing down the patrol schedule. My best chance was tomorrow morning around three, so I had time to prepare. First, I went to a different old buddy’s house.
“Open up Karl! It’s Jax! I got a job!” I pounded on his door.
A short, glasses wearing, nervous looking man opened the door. Yup, that was Karl alright. He looked at me hopefully, “You got a job?”
“Yup, for the both of us,” I whispered.
“Oh.” He shrank back, “Jax, you know I don’t do that anymore. I have a wife now. Also, a real job.”
“Honey, who’s Jax?” yelled a shrill voice from deep into the home.
“Uh, just a friend from work!” yelled back Karl.
“Didn’t he say he got a job?”
“Um, yeah, he just got a job at the agency!” Smooth, Karl.
“Well, don’t let him stand outside! Invite him in for dinner!”
“He can’t stay for-“
“I’d love to! Thank you!” I interrupted Karl and stepped into his home. I whispered to him again, “This is the big one, okay? It’s the last time, split it fifty-fifty. You still like liquor, don’t you?”
Karl licked his lips, “I haven’t had it in seven years.”
Dinner went smoothly. I had no idea what a CPA was, still don’t, but apparently I was one. At the end, as the happy couple was seeing me off, I said, “By the way, ‘The Boss’ wants both of us by three in the morning.” Their mouths dropped open. “I know, I know, it's bullshit. Said it was for special training. Anyway, I’m not going to argue, I just got this job.”
Karl nodded, “Oh, um, yeah.” He turned to his wife. “Mr. Gillham sent an email along those lines last week. I completely forgot, dear.”
“What on earth will you be doing at three in the morning?”
“I, uh, don’t know. The email said it was a secret, but critical for our agency.”
His wife snorted. “Well, fine, but I’m complaining to Mr. Gillham next time he comes over.”
“O-of course, dear.” Karl was good at digging holes. I mentally noted to give him the shovel later.
“Well, anyway, it’s been great, but I really gotta go sleep. See ya.” Shaking Karl’s hand, I passed him the map.
I spent the rest of the day ‘borrowing’ tools; the shovel, nightwear, a dolly, rope, night binoculars, and a pellet pistol in case the drones needed shooting. Eventually it was time, Karl showing up on the dot, but why was he wearing a suit? I tossed him the shovel, “I would say suit up, but.”
He barely caught it. “It’s the only way I could get out of the house with the cover story intact. I tried to dress dark.”
“As long as you don’t mind getting it dirty. Follow me.” I lead our way into the park, around the patrols, and to the spot near a bush. “Start digging, I’ll keep watch.”
As Karl grunted and groaned, I lazily observed the drones buzzing in other parts. Then I saw Officer Shithead. What was he doing here? I chuckled, he had a bandage over his nose. That’s when he started marching over here.
“Karl, stop digging and get down.” I spat and pushed both of us into the bush. I peeked and saw that Officer Shithead wasn’t marching straight.
“Hahahahaha, I feel great!” Shithead shouted to the skies, drunk. Drunk on my ‘contraband’, the hypocrite. I stopped looking, but could still hear him coming this way. Then I heard unzipping. I clapped a hand over Karl’s mouth to keep him from screaming even as a stream poured down on him. I mentally noted to leave any light beer out of his share.
Eventually Shithead stopped and wandered off, so I took my hand off Karl’s mouth and wiped it on his tie. “Jax.” Karl said, strangely calm.
“You earned it.” I nodded and let him keep digging. Eventually we found the mother-load, an entire briefcase. “Wow, it’s full. Beer, vodka, whisky, it even has some alcoholic energy drinks. That stuff was banned before the prohibition!” I shouted too loudly. A drone noticed us. “Quick, tie it to the dolly and let’s get out.” I commanded Karl.
As he was busy with that, I took out the pellet pistol. “Eat lead!” I pulled the trigger, hitting.
“The rope snapped.” Karl whined.
“Ugh,” I shoved the useless gun into my waistband and grabbed Karl by the tie.
“W-what?” Karl closed his eyes. I pulled the tie off him and used it as a makeshift rope, glad they make them long. “Oh.”
“Now stop whining and start pulling.” I gripped a side of the dolly and sped off, Karl helping, but huffing.
When we made it out, Officer Shithead was waiting for us, a real gun in his hands. “Contraband, now.” Still rude.
“Jax, what now?” Karl shivered.
I did the only thing I could do. “Gun down or the bystander gets it.” I pulled out the pellet gun and pushed it to Karl’s head.
“You wouldn’t.” Shithead called my bluff.
“You, of all people, should know what someone would do to get drunk.” I taunted.
Shithead stared at me. I stared at Shithead. Karl stared at the real gun. Finally, Shithead holstered his gun. “Fine, but I already called reinforcements. Don’t think you’re getting away.”
“I don’t have to think it.” I shoved Karl into the officer and they both fell down. I mentally noted to make it seventy-thirty as I ran faster than I ever had before, contraband in tow. No siren could catch me and I eventually made it home.
“Alcohol?” Sandy asked, hopeful.
“So much baby. So much.” I opened the case and pulled out two beers, handing one to her.
“Oh, Jax.” She pulled me to the bed. It may have been hard work, but one thing was for sure; the price was right.
|# ? Aug 31, 2015 01:31|
I'm out because I'm a failure as a human being who can't budget his time or is having a depressive episode or something. Will post what I have to Fiction Farm and return with a someday.
|# ? Aug 31, 2015 01:42|
|# ? Aug 31, 2015 01:56|
Yay! Thanks for a second spin! I know that Southern Gothic Biopunk is just the genre mashup this world needs to read!
Thranguy fucked around with this message at 14:57 on Sep 27, 2015
|# ? Aug 31, 2015 02:11|
|# ? Aug 31, 2015 02:40|
sitting twist brawl
750 words, 4 sept 2359 pst
Japanese cowboy Die Hard
|# ? Aug 31, 2015 02:43|
|# ? Jan 26, 2022 11:22|
(In the archive)
docbeard fucked around with this message at 15:46 on Dec 28, 2015
|# ? Aug 31, 2015 02:45|