I'm back my fellow nerdlings.
|# ? Sep 20, 2015 23:50|
|# ? Dec 2, 2023 08:47|
I'm back my fellow nerdlings.
better than fish sex imo
|# ? Sep 20, 2015 23:52|
|# ? Sep 21, 2015 00:07|
He was the son of a retainer; raised not of the faith of his native land but of the faith of a faraway people. Called the “Messenger of Heaven”, Amakusa Shiro at that moment felt the weight of heavens on his shoulders.
It was mid-April and that morning at Hara Castle, the fog was impenetrable. Shiro’s army was comprised entirely of ronin-masterless samurai, soldiers of no nation, veterans who found themselves completely alienated from society and vice-versa. They had sought redemption not in their nation or in their native faith, but in the same faith of Shiro: Christianity. The promise of salvation, of grace and absolution, despite the men they slaughtered and the horrors they committed, appealed to these men. And yet, at this moment, the Tokogowa Shogonate’s army, led by Lord Kuroda, had already breached the outer walls. Shiro’s army might have been in the thousands, but Kuroda’s was in the tens of thousands.
Shiro emerged from within the castle after spending the night in deep prayer and contemplation. He was only sixteen, but the months since the rebellion started, he had aged, physically and spiritually. His eyes, once bright and full of youthful energy, were sunken into his skull. His father’s swords, a handsomely forged set of katanas, hung loosely at his side. Barely able to see through the fog, Shiro made his way to his men. Normally, they would be sharpening their swords or fletching arrows, but weeks into the siege without food or ammunition had left them broken, listless, and faithless.
“Brothers,” Shiro said softly as his men looked up, “I’d like to lead us into prayer.”
Shiro’s men took to one knee and made the sign of the cross. “Father, we ask not for your blessings, we ask not for your righteous aid in this battle, we simply ask for your grace and absolution for the evils we are about to commit. In your name we pray…”
“Amen,” his men said in unison and rose.
“Yamada, step forward,” Shiro said, his voice cold.
Yamada was twice Shiro’s age, but he flinched as if he was half his size. “Step forward, coward," Shiro ordered again, his tone abundantly clear that he would not repeat himself again.
Yamada stepped in front of Shrio. “Yamada, we have evidence that you have directly colluded with the enemy and revealed sensitive information to those pagans, those who dare call us barbarians while Tokogowa’s Daimyo burns the faithful alive. Do you dispute any of this?” Shiro asked.
“No,” Yamada answered wearily.
Shiro closed his eyes. “Yamada Emosaku, for the high crime of treason, I sentence you to death, to be carried out immediately,” he said and motioned towards his senior officer Masuda, who grabbed Yamada by the shoulders and forced him down to expose his neck. “Do you have any last words?” Shiro asked as he drew his sword.
Yamada turned his head and smiled. “I’ve made peace with my creator, barbarian, can you say the same?”
Enraged, Shiro struck, so fast and powerful that Yamada’s head flew into the air. But he wasn’t done: the moment that Yamada’s headless body hit the ground, Shiro immediately struck it again, and again, and again.
"Don't-you-dare-question-my-faith-you-heretic-pagan-scum!" Shiro screamed at the top of his lungs in between chopping Yamada's corpse. So violent was his butchering of Yamada’s corpse that even Shiro’s senior officers, twice his age and seasoned veterans, would not watch.
Hyperventilating and bathed in Yamada’s blood, Shiro’s rage still wasn’t satiated. Picking up Yamada’s head with one arm and his body with the other, Shiro climbed the battlement walls where Kuroda’s men waited on the other side.
“Behold!” He shouted and threw Yamada’s mutilated corpse over the wall. Lord Kuroda stared, horrified as Shiro, covered in blood, held Yamada’s head aloft in his arms. “Such is the fate of those who dare oppose our Lord!”
“Kill them!” Lord Kuroda bellowed. “Exterminate the barbarians!”
“To arms, brothers, to arms!” Shiro cried and raced back down, unceremoniously tossing Yamada’s head overboard. His brothers, the remaining survivors of the lost cause of religious freedom, assembled behind the inner wall of Hara Castle. The last barrier between themselves and inevitability was now being breached.
“Hold nothing back!” Shiro shouted over the loud bang of Kuroda’s battering ram. “Give no quarter!” He demanded as the doors started to give way. “And fear not for your salvation! For it is I who will answer to St. Peter when we arrive at the gates of Heaven!”
The doors finally gave way. With both swords in hands, Shiro screamed at the top of his lungs and charged with his brothers behind him.
“Amukasa Shiro,” Lord Kuroda declared, “For the high crimes of treason, heresy, and collusion with the barbarian hordes and their cult of Christianity, I hereby sentence you to death, to be carried out immediately.”
The walls of Hara Castle were stained red with the blood of the Shogunate’s army and his own brothers, who he witnessed die in battle and the survivors immediately beheaded one by one. “Do you have any last words?” Kuroda asked.
Kneeled over, his neck exposed, Shiro gazed his surroundings for the last time. To his left, he saw the enraged and disgusted minions of Tokogawa. To his right, the mutilated bodies of his brothers. And ahead, the blood-red skies of the setting sun. Behind him was Kuroda as his executioner, and beyond that sunset was something else. Something so incomprehensible, Shiro could only laugh. It started as a soft giggle, but Shiro was soon cackling, loud and high like a madman. His captors so disturbed that it shook them to their very core. Nothing else remained within Shiro, for his spirit was thoroughly obliterated. What remained was the simple spark of defiance, which soon grew into a roaring fire of insanity. “I-shall-return-in-a-hundred-years-and-have-my-revenge,” he stammered, his voice hoarse, barely more audible than a whisper. But everybody heard.
Shiro heard the familiar scrape of steel being unsheathed as Kuroda stepped next to him. “Kuroda,” Shiro whispered and tilted his head towards him.
Kuroda paused. “I’ve made peace with my creator, blasphemer, can you say the same?” Shiro asked him.
Enraged, Kuroda immediately beheaded Shiro in one strike. “Somebody bring me a pike,” he ordered.
|# ? Sep 21, 2015 00:25|
|# ? Sep 21, 2015 00:40|
Way of the Croc
Rito stomped out the elder’s hut, onto the village square with its curious onlookers, past their crude steel ruins, broken and overgrown and flicked into a habitable condition with twigs and leaves, into his dimly lit guest hut, and punched his brother right in the face.
“gently caress!” Jotel said from down on the ground. He rubbed his jaw. “That bad?”
Siria approached them, half-stuck between wanting to help Jotel up and not wanting to know how Rito would react to that. Rito got between them, pulled his brother back to his feet. The less this cursed woman interfere, the better.
“That bad,” he said.
Their sacred crocodile statue would remain with the Tribe of Bear. The replacement gifts, ten times as valuable and many more times as useful, had not been sufficient. The Elder Bear had just looked at them as if Rito had spat in his hand and offered him the snot.
Probably, nothing would have been sufficient. The bear was proud, dumb and rash. They would take any possibility to humiliate the Tribe of Croc.
“The elder said no?” Jotel said.
“He’ll talk to the council.”
“What does that mean?” Siria said.
“It means no,” Rito said. “Your father is going to keep our statue, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s already thinking of a way to keep us as well.” He lead Jotel over to the bed, motioned for him to sit down. “The council is a play for time. He doesn’t want us to leave.”
“I don’t want to leave,” Jotel said. “Siria and I will marry--”
“There will be no marriage. You know this is unacceptable.” Their father, chieftain of the Croc, had disapproved. Many times. Bears and Crocs. No way. Jotel just couldn’t get it through his thick skull, the buffoon. Naive little-- He bit his tongue before any of these words would roll off his tongue. It would solve nothing. He breathed.
The crocodile is calm.
Siria sat down next to Jotel, looked at him as if something smart was going to come out of his mouth. But Jotel just looked back at her, and together they created an infinite loop of one person expecting the other to say something helpful.
Rito was spent too. He’d traveled after his brother for days, and now it might all have been for nothing. The Bears, of all people, had the sacred crocodile statue. His brother, son of the chieftain, had brought the Bears the sacred statue of the Croc. Wanted to marry into the Tribe of Bear. The Bears had his brother, and they had the statue. It should not be humanly possible to feel such shame.
As Siria and Jotel tried to hug out their problems, Rito left the hut to look for a different kind of solution.
It had turned evening, and guards were all over the village, burly men in fur and steel plating patrolling the streets, wielding crude weapons fashioned from wood and scrap metal. Their numbers seemed large, but then the bear was a beast of war. There were not enough men to cover all the hiding spots, but enough to make slipping through kind of a challenge.
Rito worked his way through the village spot by spot. The corner of a house. The trunk of a tree. The underside of a wagon. Boots marched past him, casting long shadows in the flickering torchlight. The statue was on display in the elder’s hut, an obvious mockery. He would get it. He was a son of the croc, the sneaky croc, the lurking croc, the smart croc. The crocodile does not get caught. It catches.
The elder’s hut was twice as large as all the others, a haphazard arrangement of overgrowth and wooden planks on top of a giant canoe-shaped metal frame. There were two guards at the doorway. Rito went to the ground. He pathed out a way that led through the shadows, and he wriggled forward, inched around the guards, his slow movement masking him from their peripheral vision. His profile cast nary a shadow.
He was behind them, and without a breath slid past their backs. The entryway curtain rustled only faintly. It might just as well have been the wind.
Ghastly threads of moonlight wove their web through the entry hall, a trophy room for the Elder Bear to show off his conquests. Of course, the crocodile statue’s pedestal stood in the middle of the room, where everyone could see it. A ray of moonlight fell on top of it like a finger from above.
The pedestal was empty.
Rito drew his knife and spun around, hacked into thin air. He jerked back around. Nobody came at him. Silently, he dashed into the shadows. He listened.
There was nothing. Just the breath of the guards outside, and the crackle of their torches. Nobody else was in the hall.
If this was some kind of trap, he didn’t get it. Even so, the statue was nowhere to be found. Not beneath the bearskin shields, not behind the curtains, or the weapon racks, or anywhere. It was gone.
The way back was the same he’d come, and yet it was infinitely harder.
He returned to his hut in time to catch Siria. The daughter of the Elder Bear snuck out of their scrap bungalow, stealing herself away into the night until Rito stepped out of the shadows and caught her attention. The two met under the moonlight.
“It was my father’s idea, you know,” she said. “That I talk your brother into it.”
“I did not want for Jotel to get into trouble.”
Her excuses were like the wind, transparent and fleeting. They would not undo the damage. When she realized that he didn’t reply, would not fall for her meager apology, she simply said her goodbye and disappeared into the night. She stuck to the darkness herself, moving through the hiding spots with the grace of a nocturnal dancer. Almost admirable.
Inside the dark hut, Jotel sat hunched over a small object. It was tall as a vase, a stone figure of a man making a handstand off a crocodile. The origin of the crocodile dancers. The cornerstone of their tribe.
The sacred crocodile statue.
Rito sat down next to his brother.
“We have to leave.” Jotel’s stare was as empty as his voice. “Leave and never come back.”
“She gave you the statue.”
He thrust it against Rito’s chest. “There you go, brother.” His words came piecemeal, more sobs than speech. “She loves me too much.”
Rito turned the statue in his hands. All of a sudden, it seemed insignificant.
Rito left the Tribe of Bear alone, under cover of the night.
Sneaking back into the elder’s hut had been easy. Leaving behind the crocodile statue, not so much. Something inside him had wanted to just hold on to the sacred object, clutch it, steal off into the night and present it to his proud father. But this was about more than relics. This was about the way of the croc.
And the crocodile was wise.
Relics and grudges. They were for old men. Let the Elder Bear have his victory. Let Rito’s father froth at the mouth. The Tribe of the Bear would take good care of the statue, and of Jotel. Maybe better than his own tribe would have. Just to spite them.
Jotel would be happy.
So what if it was for all the wrong reasons.
|# ? Sep 21, 2015 01:54|
A thousand roubles - http://www.britishmuseum.org/explor...ble_note-1.aspx
Morning Bell fucked around with this message at 02:36 on Oct 4, 2015
|# ? Sep 21, 2015 04:28|
Daniel lifted up the cover and sneered at the sofa underneath, seventies orange stripes with springs poking out of the cushions. ““Not surprised she couldn’t give this one away,” he said. “Probably sold the good stuff to buy booze.”
“Jeez, Dan,” said Mel. “Wait ‘till the old woman is cold in the ground, why don’t you?”
“She won’t care,” said Dan. “She didn’t give much of a poo poo when she was alive. She even turned up to Mum’s funeral pissed, remember, Sis?”
Mel remembered. While the priest intoned about the tragedy of mixing alcohol and cars, Grandma had been barely able to stand upright at the graveside. She had almost lost her balance when it was her turn to throw a flower on the coffin. If Daniel hadn’t grabbed her in time, she might have had one final embrace with her daughter. She's sworn to him that day to never touch another drop.
Daniel dropped the sheet, returning the hideous sofa to anonymity. “C’mon, there’s nothing in this room and I have to pick up the twins at five. Let’s keep looking. This ‘huntsman’ has got to be here somewhere.”
“Not necessarily,” said Mel. “I mean, her will... ‘I leave it all to whichever of my grandchildren the Huntsman chooses’ or whatever it said. Sounds to me like she was completely pickled.” She waited until Daniel was out of the room, took a surreptitious swig from her hip flask, then followed him out.
The next room was a long dining room, decorated with fading wallpaper. There were no chairs, but there was a large, rectangular table in the center, draped with a covering cloth, and possessing a mysterious lump near its center.
“Look! I’m David Copperfield!” announced Daniel, grabbing the cover and pulling it off in one smooth motion.
The metal figurine that had previously formed the lump tumbled over on its side.
“Oh, very clever, Mr Copperfield. You made it fall over without even touching it.”
Daniel bowed with a flourish. “And with nothing up my sleeves except raw magical talent.” He straightened himself, and then did the same to the figure. “Hey, check it. This is actually kind of cool. The Huntsman?”
Mel peered at the small statuette. It was an old-fashioned, golden gentleman dressed in leggings and a ruff. He carried a spear, and chained to him was a small dog. “Cute. He does look like he’s off hunting.”
“He looks like a Lady Gaga backing dancer,” said Daniel. “That outfit, that mustache, that purse-puppy. And here, look, a single earring. If he’s hunting anything, it’s cock.”
Mel reached out to touch the figure. Her fingers traced the ground on which he stood, felt the individual leaves, insects and lizards that made up the base. She gently rattled the links of the chain that held the dog, and when she touched the rim of his hat she was surprised that it turned a little. Investigating further, she managed to rotate the figure’s head and then fully detach it.
“Hey - a headless huntsman,” said Daniel. “Like in Sleepy Hollow.”
“That was a horseman, idiot,” said Mel, turning the head over on her hands. The inside of the neck seemed stained. She took a closer look and smelled alcohol. “Jeez, take a whiff of that.”
Daniel held the neck of the huntsman to his nose and inhaled. His nostrils flared. He tipped the figure upside-down and a couple of drops of brown liquid dripped onto the table. “Eau de Grandma!”
Mel snorted, trying not to laugh. “Is it some kind of bottle?”
“It’s a bottle on wheels,” said Daniel, looking under the base of the figure. “Great for drinking games, I guess.” He placed it on the table, drew it back an inch and then let go. The figure rolled forward, swerving slightly. He pulled it back further, and the huntsman rolled further, performing a looping curve and raising his spear slightly.
“You know,” said Daniel. “I reckon if we pull it back far enough, it’ll circle around for a while and then end up pointing at someone.
“So the Huntsman chooses!”
“Yeah, something like that. You want to give it a go?”
Mel laughed, and her laughter echoed in the large room, which sounded disturbing so she stopped. “You mean, do I want to see who ends up with our Grandma’s estate, which is essentially this property and worth at least a few hundred thousand, based on where a mechanical toy ends up pointing?”
“Sure,” said Daniel, grinning with wide eyes. “Why not?”
Mel shrugged. “I guess that’s how she wanted it. Hang on a sec - let’s do this properly.” She left the room and found a couple of bottle crates she’d noticed earlier. She took another long swig from her flask, felt the warmth course through her, then picked the crates up. Returning to the dining room, she placed one on each side of the table and sat down on the crate nearest the wall. “What would you do with the money?”
“I’ll probably spend it on something dumb, like a college fund for the twins,” said Daniel, taking the crate opposite her. “You?”
Mel briefly considered the stack of overdue bills on her kitchen table, her crappy apartment, her five season old clothes and her fridge full of vodka. “Probably just booze,” she thought aloud.
Daniel’s face started at horrified, passed through sad, and finally arrived at angry. “That’s a pretty poo poo joke, sis. We’ve got a family history. Grandpa? Mum and dad’s accident? Grandma?”
“I meant whores!” said Mel, rapidly. She watched Daniel’s face struggled to lighten. “And cocaine?”
Daniel chuckled, a weak sound but real. “Of course you did.” He indicated a plank of wood placed beside them on the table. “I found this lying around. To make it fair, we should just fire up Mr Huntsman, put him behind the wood, then both lift it to set him rolling. Sound good?”
“Sounds good,” said Mel. Daniel pulled the huntsman several times, trapping the wheels each time to make the mechanism wind further with each pull. He placed it behind the wood. It pushed forward a little into the side of the plank, then paused, a vehicle tense with potential energy.
“Hey,” said Mel. “You know what would suck? If this huntsman is some weird-rear end family curse thing, and the person it points to is gonna die by alcohol.”
“That’s just stupid,” said Daniel, holding one end of the plank. “And sick.”
Mel ignored him. On a whim she grabbed the huntsman figure from behind the plank. “We’re missing something,” she said. She pulled her hip flask from the depths of her overcoat, twisted open its top, and then poured amber liquid down the neck of the figure. She reattached its head, pulled him back until the mechanism felt tight and then returned him behind the plank. She beamed at Daniel, but his shocked expression made her realise her mistake.
“It’s Grandma’s house, it seemed...apropos to bring something,” she lied, “and besides - it makes sense that whoever the huntsman chooses has a drink to celebrate. They just won big time.” She grabbed her end of the plank before he could reply. “On three. One... Two.. Three.”
Daniel just sat motionless, staring at her. She lifted the plank by herself and the huntsman wheeled merrily along the table. He curved and looped, raising and lowering his spear, the little dog beside him spinning around and around and around.
|# ? Sep 21, 2015 04:55|
Word Count: 1155
The Cutters and the Hook
Peter's sleán dug into the peat and met unusual resistance. “Hey, over here,” he said as he waved Michael over.
“What is it?” Michael asked. Peter pried up the turf with his sleán, and found a wooden and metal pole. It had a pair of hooked spikes on the end, and it was decorated with two sets of birds. Two ravens facing five swans.
“What do you suppose this is?” Peter asked.
Michael wiped the sweat from his brow and shook his head. “Who knows? Perhaps it could be valuable.” Cutting peat was a living, but not much of one. If this was worth something, maybe Biddy could spend less time doing the putting-out and more time with the baby.
“I wouldn't mind that at all,” Peter smiled. Peter and Jane had no child, but they didn't have much put aside for when they did either.
Michael stretched his sore back and shoulders. It had to be near the end of the day. He looked for the sun, and found it behind the old oak on the edge of the bog. It was a still day, but he could swear that one bough on the tree was swaying. He shivered, uneasy. Just a trick of the light, he reassured himself. Turning back to his brother-in-law, he said “We should head home soon, let's not be late for Evensong.”
After Evensong, Michael and Peter sat on the church steps. “What should we do with that?” Michael asked.
“I don't know. Take it to Coleraine, maybe?”
“I can't leave Ballymoney that long,” Michael said. Biddy needed him around as much as possible with the new baby.
“Nor I,” said Peter with a frustrated sigh. “Shame, it's something special. Looks as if it weren't more than a day in the peat. The spikes are still sharp.” He tapped the tip of a spike, and cursed. “Very sharp.” He squeezed down on his finger to stop the flow of blood.
“Aye. There must be someone in town who'll buy it. Hold up, what's that?” Michael grabbed the hook from Peter. “Something's written on this.” He scrubbed off the peat caking the wooden stave with his shirt. The stave bore an inscription in an alphabet neither had seen. They read and spoke the word in unison. It was a strange word, vaguely like Gaelic, but it felt ancient. They started at the sound of each others' voices. The night seemed to get darker, the lamps in the windows dimmer. Then it passed, and the world felt as it should be again.
“Perhaps we should see what the morning brings,” suggested Peter. He felt anxious to see his wife.
“Aye. Good idea. I'll see you in the morning.” Michael hadn't been afraid of the dark since he was a child, but he struggled not to sprint home.
In the morning, Peter didn’t meet Michael at the edge of town. He went to find Peter at his house. Peter’s wife met him at the door with a grey face. “Peter has fallen very ill. Doctor Collins is coming now.”
“May I come in, Jane?” he asked.
Michael found Peter in his bed, moved next to the fire. He was pale and shivering, even under the thick wool blankets. “How are you feeling?” Michael asked.
“Bloody awful, how does it look like I'm feeling?” Peter replied through chattering teeth.
“Can I do anything? Do you need anything?” Michael feared for his brother-in-law. He had never seen Peter so sick.
“No, no. Get on out of here, you have to cut turf for the both of us. The doctor will be here soon, anyway.” Peter waved him away with a shaky hand.
“Feel better. You know Biddy will blame me if you die.” Michael left the house stone-faced, and didn't let his worry show until he was well out of town.
The sun shone bright, but Michael felt a gloom surrounding him as he stabbed at the ground with his sleán. He kept thinking about his brother-in-law, lying pale on his bed. When he did manage to get his mind off of Peter, it immediately sprung to the strange hook they had found not twenty feet away. That word inscribed on the stave tumbled around inside his head, onto his tongue, and he spoke it.
He felt two sharp pains in his back, straddling his spine. He was hanging, hands and feet bound, above a fire. Any attempt to look around was agony; the spikes of what he knew had to be the hook twisting in his lungs. A raven perched on each of his shoulders, and on the shore of the lake in front of him, stood five men. They held crude bronze knives. One, wearing a wrought gold headdress and bracelets, scraped the knife over Michael's blood-covered back. He held the bloodied knife up and shouted the word. The man stabbed the knife into the fire and a sweet, disgusting smoke rose to Michael’s nose. Something unholy rose from the lake, and the men turned to face it. They cheered and cried in a language he didn’t know. All he could recognize was that word, repeated over and over. The beast opened its mouths and shrieked.
He was back in the bog. A chill ran through his bones. He was whole, but could still remember the blood running past the spikes and down his back. The blood. Michael threw down his sleán, and ran for town. One single bough on the tree swayed as he passed. The caws of invisible ravens chased him to Peter’s home.
“Michael, why have you returned so soon?” Jane asked as he stormed into Peter’s house. He found the hook against the wall, and cast it into the fireplace.
“What are you doing?” cried Peter. He saw his windfall slipping away.
“That thing is evil,” spat Michael. He watched for the stave to begin burning, but after several minutes, only the inscription had begun to glow. That word, that he had spoken on the church steps and in the field. Michael grabbed the poker and pulled the hook out of the fireplace.
Michael burst through the sanctuary door. He threw the hook into the fire, ignoring the confused cries of the rector. The stave burst into flames as though soaked in paraffin. Black smoke swirled and writhed unnaturally. A gale wind blew. Michael could hear the trees outside the fence creaking, but in the church, not so much as a door rattled. Before long, nothing was left but the bronze, and the wind died away.
Michael apprenticed as a cobbler, and Peter as a smith. None of them ever spoke of the pole or the word again. For the rest of his life, Michael avoided the bog. But whenever he did have the misfortune of seeing the oak, that single bough still swayed as though a body hung from it.
|# ? Sep 21, 2015 05:36|
Uncle Under the Mountain
[spoiler] Bolivian Dance Mask
Two collapses in the past week, and eleven men swallowed up into the earth. On Friday they gathered around Uncle’s statue and left their gifts – a capful of Ceibo poured at his feet, the jug tucked into the crook of his arm. Cigarettes pushed into the dark clay mouth.
Toco shivered. He didn’t like to look at it, at those eyes made from burnt-out bulbs, just staring back at him, glinting in his headlamp.
But it was the first thing they told him, when he arrived on the overnight bus from La Paz with his hardhat and his pickaxe and his crumpled pack of smokes: everything under the mountain belonged to Uncle. And so he paid his respects, like everybody else.
Behind him, Mamani let out a long sigh. “Uncle is hungry this month. And on top of everything else, the wolves…”
One of the blasters hacked into his handkerchief. “There aren’t any drat wolves.”
“You come stay a night in the hills sometime, and then tell me you don’t hear them.”
The blaster tucked a fresh wad of coca leaf into his cheek and didn’t say anything else.
Mamani stood in front of the statue. He bowed his head and prayed aloud for an end to the deaths and for plenty of silver. Then he turned and slapped his thighs. “Now back to work.”
Toco followed the tunnel back to where he’d left off. His headlamp made a puddle of light on the ground, and thin veins of tin and zinc glittered all around it. He shouldered his pickaxe. He took a fistful of coca leaves from his bag. When all the flavor had gone, it would be time for lunch.
There was an hour left of Toco’s shift when the third shaft caved in. He heard the muffled thump of dynamite, felt the blast thrumming in his shinbones before the shouting started. They dug two of the men out, but the third was too deep, buried behind a week’s worth of rubble.
Toco sat down on a hunk of blasted stone. He took out his cigarettes, but his hands shook so much that he dropped the pack. He groped around in the dark until he found them. He took one, and when he saw Mamani he fished out another. He struck a match, lit them both, handed one to Mamani without a word. Toco watched him, the tip of his cigarette glowing with each pull, smoke curling around his nostrils. Mamani just shook his head.
In the morning they dragged a pair of llamas to the entrance of the mine. One of the men trussed them up and cut their throats. They stood in a half-circle and watched the eyes roll back, the bright blood soaking into the dust. The man held a cup to their necks until it was full, then splashed it above the mine’s yawning mouth.
“It won’t be enough.” Mamani’s voice was hoarse. “You know what the layqua said? That Uncle is angry. We haven’t given him enough, understand? The layqua burnt an offering. He saw it in the smoke.”
They doubled their offerings. The men came up from the tunnels, backs aching, lips dry with dust, sweat beading on their faces. They festooned Uncle’s statue in bright streamers, doused his feet with liquor until the stink of it burned their eyes.
Soon enough they took to drinking it themselves. They sat near the entrance with their backs against the cool stone, listening to the wind sing down the shafts. Mamani was squatting on his haunches in front of a few blasters, passing a jug of Ceibo back and forth. He said something that made them all look in Toco’s direction. Mamani caught his eye and made his way over.
“Drink with me.”
Mamani handed him the jug and he took a quick swig of it. It tasted like rubbing alcohol; Toco coughed and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
Mamani laughed. “You alright? I thought you were a man!”
Toco waved his hand and took another drink. He could feel it already, the way it made his guts warm and his tongue fuzzy. He squeezed his eyes shut, blinked until his vision cleared.
Mamani leaned in close. He gestured at everything around them. “You want to make it stop, right? He pushed the jug back into Toco’s hands and watched him drink.
“You want to make Uncle happy?”
The jug seemed to appear in Toco’s lap as if by magic. He drank, then concentrated on keeping it down. Mamani’s words drifted like leaves on a slow river. He found himself nodding along, unable to piece together his meaning.
“Good. Good.” Mamani squeezed his shoulder, gave him a little shake. “We’re going to go out for a little fresh air.”
Toco didn’t put up any resistance. Mamani took him by the arm and led him out of the mine, out into the night air. He was dimly aware of the others that followed. They walked him to the edge of the woods, the mountain still looming behind them, whispering Uncle, Uncle, like a prayer. Toco’s head swam. He felt like retching.
They brought him to the stump of a felled tree. Mamani took his hand and laid it on the stump. “Stay here,” he said. “Don’t move until we come back, right?”
Toco blinked at them. He watched them turn, tried to call out in his drooling voice, but his legs threatened to buckle and instead he leaned against the stump.
He waited for an hour. He felt cold. He thought of leaving, disobeying the others, when he heard a sound in the trees.
An old man bent double, wearing a Carnival mask. Toco cocked his head, tried to make sense of the bulging yellow eyes, the goat’s beard and bared teeth. A pack of wolves loped behind him, glowing eyes and steaming muzzles.
The old man took his hand, turned it over. Jagged flint raked across his open palm. Toco pulled his hand back, watched the blood stream like ink along his forearm. There was no pain. Instead, it began to throb – to the rhythm of his heart, at first, and then to a different rhythm altogether, as if another pulse had found his wound, crawled inside.
Toco fell to his knees, felt his back bowing. He looked down, saw fur and claw where his hands should have been. A snarling, inarticulate sound escaped his lips, and for a moment, before his mind was lost to him, he understood.
He looked up at the old man. At Uncle’s grinning mask. Toco threw back his head and let out a howl that carried across the hills, across the town below, where Mamani looked up from his game of cards to shudder and make the sign of the cross, and into the thinning air, rising, rising, until it seemed as if the sound would reach the stars that cast their cold light like a shawl across the mountain’s shoulders.
|# ? Sep 21, 2015 06:15|
Prompt: this old thing
Kirk had never seen anything so small in his life without wanting to protect it or break it.
It was a glistening pendant, the size of a human heart or a child’s clenched fist. Shining metal twigs intertwined over the head of a black-and-silver robin, forming the top half of a lopsided figure eight where a chain could be looped through. The robin’s silvery talons gripped the bottom curve of the eight, thorns sticking out from the ridged pewter perch.
There was a note in the box: My husband, Eduardo, passed away a month ago. I don’t know who you are—I found your address online—but my husband said he wanted you to have this. I hope you are a person that will treat it with care.
The letter was signed Dolores Silvan, a name Kirk didn’t recognize.
It was Saturday morning, and Kirk had managed to forget until he saw the mark on the living-room wall, and the pile of white fragments beneath it. A shard with the disembodied serif of a capital letter A.
He should have broken the whole set, just so there were no reminders left over, but now the other two mugs sat on the kitchen counter untouched, the letters B and C next to each other, another loving prehistoric caveman joke. Anger trilled within him.
Kirk picked up the pendant, unsure of what he would do with it—maybe toss it in the garbage, maybe throw it through something else that would break—and then he felt something.
It was like a great exhalation with in him, like he had been possessed by something rigid, a metal rod impersonating vertebrae. The hand holding the pendant dropped to his side before slipping into his right pocket.
Stretching his muscular arms over his head, Kirk walked over to the edge of the room and scooped up the larger pieces, putting them in the empty box.
It was after midnight when Ash walked back in the front door.
She turned the living-room lights on, engulfing and erasing the soft glow of the TV. He sat up on the couch, pulled his knees to his chest, looked at her. She didn’t say word, just kept her eyes locked on his as she made her way over to the loveseat across from him. Sat down and smoothed out her long white skirt, the swell of her pregnant belly resting on her thighs.
The Home Shopping Network played on the television screen, some pointless daytime TV star advertising a set of coffee mugs. Kirk winced.
“So,” said Ash. “How do you want to do this.”
Kirk didn’t what to know what she meant by “this”. “Are you okay?” he said.
“No,” she said. She tilted her head forward, dark hair hanging down and hiding her eyes. “I don’t think I am.”
Kirk stared down at the glass coffee table between them, searching for the reflection of her face. He knew that once she would let him look into her eyes, that everything would heal, like it’d always had. “Is there anything I can do?” he said.
“You can pack a bag.”
“Ash—“ Kirk said.
“Or you can help me pack. Either way. Lifting things, throwing things away—that’s what you’re good at, right?”
Kirk felt the buzzing, the surge of energy rising up within him again, making a home inside him. “I’m not a garbage man anymore,” he said. “I make things. I don’t throw them away.”
Ash said nothing.
The buzzing grew louder in Kirk’s head, spurred on by her silence, and he had one of those crazy thoughts, thought of taking his fist and slamming it down through the coffee table, smashing both of their reflections at once. The thought stayed, and the more he thought about it the more sense it made, because this was all her, this was because she wouldn’t look at him, even though he loved her more than anyone, and that was why he’d dug his hands into her shoulders and picked her up that night, because you didn’t throw things you loved, you placed them where they couldn’t be hurt, or hurt you, and if she hadn’t kneed him in the groin and made him drop her he would have just sat her down on the sofa and told her, through her yelling, that he loved her, he loving loved her—
As he waited, he fell into reflex, shoved his hands into his pockets and clenched them, warding away a natural disaster, and his right hand clenched around something unfamiliar
and metal, and—
—he was on the freeway shoulder, screaming into the closed passenger-side window of an Oldsmobile.
He had already written the words gently caress YOU in the dust on the old man’s rear window—backwards, so he’d see it in his rearview mirror. In his rage, he’d written the F the right way around, but the message was there, and now he was yelling more undeniable messages through the thick glass window, while the old man looked over at him, a feeble smile on his face. A dumb, senile, shriveled old man doing 40 in the passing lane.
It wasn’t until he stormed back to his truck and drove off that the buzzing started up again.
It was a fly trapped in his car, buzzing around his head. He swiped at it, cursed at it, opened the window to shoo it out, but still it stayed, this miniscule thing, whispering incessantly in his ear, staring at him with its lying and multiplying eyes. Five hundred Kirks, multiplied and magnified in the eyes of a creature that was too stupid to look out for its own well-being.
By the time he made it to his carpentry job, a half-hour late, he was screaming, his hands curled into claws against his cheeks, thinking about the silver bird hanging from the man’s rearview mirror. In his mind, the bird looked at peace, clinging to its own personal branch, while the fly buzzed and buzzed around his bowed head, bumping against half-
open windows and circling wildly, never landing, never stopping to rest.
He looked up, into Ash’s blue eyes, twin oceans nothing could rest upon.
“I’m sorry,” Kirk said, the words wavering up through his throat. “I’m here, and I’m sorry, and I’ll keep being here and I’ll keep being sorry until you want me to be either one or the other.”
He bent over, his head between his knees, his face hot and flushed, embarrassed. When he looked up, Ash was gone.
His heart lurched—and then he heard the carpeted footsteps, growing softer as they traveled down the hallway to their bedroom. She closed the door gently rather than slamming it, which was good.
An hour later, she hadn’t come back out to the living room to throw him out, which was also good.
He turned off the lights, and then lay down on the couch and listened to the TV, turning over the bird-shaped pendant.
He felt something bristle against his palm, and paused, held the pendant up to the TV’s lukewarm glow.
There were a few strands of hair, dry and grey, poking out from a cavity in the bird’s chest.
Kirk stared at them, then laid back and cradled the pendant against his chest, counting the beats of his heart. Somehow, now he knew what the old man had known, that each heartbeat meant he was a split-second closer to peace.
|# ? Sep 21, 2015 06:25|
New Year, new thread!
Killer-of-Lawyers fucked around with this message at 17:53 on Jan 4, 2016
|# ? Sep 21, 2015 06:37|
flerp fucked around with this message at 06:53 on Sep 24, 2015
|# ? Sep 21, 2015 06:41|
Table clock by Lucas Weydmann
symbola divina et humana
Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 03:26 on Jan 8, 2016
|# ? Sep 21, 2015 06:42|
Grumpy and the Witch
crabrock fucked around with this message at 05:39 on Jan 1, 2016
|# ? Sep 21, 2015 06:56|
"Lucius, I need something from you."
Lucius grumbled and stretched, rattling his chains.
"I need hemlock." Said Druses. Lucius laughed.
"I doubt you'll be able to poison your way out."
"It's not for them, it's for me."
Lucius sighed and looked his old friend in the eye.
"We escaped from one hell only to find ourselves in another. I know you can't bear to be gone from your family. If you die a slave, they'll be responsible to cover your expenses. They'll lose everything. Be brave Druses, our time will come."
The sun blinded Druses and his companions as he step out from the iron toothed gate on to the hot sand of the arena. They stood shielding their eyes for a moment, naked and blind as newborns as the crowd jeered deafeningly. The clay brick walls were lined with wooden stakes. The other gate was directly across from them and underneath an elaborate balcony where Cato lounged, feasting on swine and wine served by his numerous slave girls. The reaction of the crowd pulled his attention to the pit. He sighed and pushed his wine wench aside. He rose, stumbling over his white robe, spilling wine over it. Cato steadied himself against the railing along the edge of the balcony. His subjects laughed heartily at his expense. Cato merely smiled, and signaled for more wine.
"Citizens of Rome and the great *hic* city of Pompeii!" Proclaimed Cato as he flourished wildly at the crowd. "These men stand before you as cowards and deserters. They have dishonoured this republic."
Cato paused. A pale, sickened look creeped across his face. His body heaved against his will and he vomited over the balcony on to the stained sand of the arena below. He wiped his mouth with his already stained robe.
"These cowards must prove their worth. If they can display the courage that they were found lacking, they will regain their freedom. If they are to perish, they will perish as slaves."
Druses and Lucius exchanged looks and a small, fragile feeling of hope.
"Their test is the favoured of Mars, Decimus!"
The gate underneath Cato's balcony slowly opened, revealing a dark abyss. There was a sound. Quiet at first, but growing. A long shrill cry, the sound of metal scraping against stone. A mighty figure emerged, a great bronze helmet obscured its face and its humanity. Decimus stepped out into the pit like an automaton. He turned to face the balcony, his red velvet cape shining brilliantly in the mediterranean sun. He raised both his gladius’ and crossed them over his head. The crowd went mad.
"We have nothing! How are we to even challenge him?" Asked Spurious.
"He is but one." Said Lucius. "We are legion."
Decimus turned to face the combatants. His helmet revealed nothing, but their faces could not hide from his preying eyes. He raised his weapons in a fighting stance and methodically began moving towards them, firm footed and sure.
"Wait for him to get closer and then fan out behind him," instructed Druses "when he makes his move, try to disable him. Kick his legs, pull his cape. We need an opening to disarm him."
Lucius nodded in agreement. "Legionnaires, as one!"
"As one!" They cried in unison and turned to face their foe. Spurious began to circle around one side of the gladiator as Lucius and Marcus circled around the other. Druses stood fast. Decimus hesitated. The dark visor of his helmet allowed nothing to escape, not light or even thoughts. Decimus turned toward Spurious and broke into a charge. Spurious trembled.
"Lucius!" He cried as the bronze giant covered the distance hastily. Lucius and Marcus ran to help, approaching Decimus from behind. Druses was careful to approach the monster from its flank. The gladiator fell upon Spurious, swinging his swords in a scissoring horizontal arc. Spurious was fast enough to dive out of the way, but he was left defenceless on the sand and at the mercy of the towering figure. Marcus was there a moment after. He grabbed Decimus by the cape.
"Got him!" Said Marcus triumphantly, but Decimus did not react to him. The gladiator was not deterred or even concerned. He took three bounding steps and his cape tore effortlessly along the seam near his neck. Spurious eyes grew wide.
"A trick-" Were his last words before Decimus' left gladius pierced his abdomen. Spurious cried out in pain. It was brief. Decimus' right sword liberated him from his neck. The mob cheered.
Decimus turned to face Marcus, who momentarily was lost as if trapped in a terrible dream. He snapped back to reality threw the cape. It caught Decimus' helmet and blinded him for a moment. Marcus seized his opportunity. He stepped into Decimus' guard as the monster pulled the fabric from his vision and was greeted with a swift punch to the throat. Lucius had finally covered the distance and delivered a swift kick to the back of Decimus' leg, knocking the gladiator to his knees.
The beast recovered. He swung his blades to either side of himself in a wide arc. It forced Lucius and Marcus back from each other, separating the two. With a powerful roar, Decimus heaved his body upward and sprung to his feet from his knees in one swift motion. The gladiator raised his right gladius over his head, as if intending to bring it down on Marcus's head. Druses noticed Marcus smile. The swing would fall short, opening up Decimus to another round of harassment.
It was not a swing. Decimus threw his gladius as hard as he could, catching Marcus unprepared. The blade embedded itself in Marcus's head, killing him before he could hit the ground.
Lucius did not waste this opportunity. He drove an elbow into Decimus' back, knocking him unbalanced. Druses saw this and made for Marcus. The blade was embedded deep, but with both hands freed the blade. He turned to face Decimus, in time to witness the man impale Lucius with his remaining sword.
Now it was Druses who was the focus of the gladiator. They stood tall and approval rained from the spectators. The two warriors ran toward each other, each sensing an end was near. Decimus was much larger and had a longer reach. He swing his blade downward, aiming to split the naked man in two. The lighter and more agile Druses sidestepped the blow. He kicked with all his might, striking the gladiator squarely in his cock. The beast doubled over and Druses returned the stolen blade, lodging it in Decimus' spine. It almost seemed as if the beast was going to stand back up, but then he slumped into the ground.
The crowd fell silent, except for one. Cato laughed maniacally and applauded.
"Congratulations! You've proven yourself worthy. You will now be re enlisted to my service."
"I'm not going back."
"Of course not! You just killed my most popular gladiator, you must replace him."
"Am I not a free citizen of the republic again? Free to move where I please and do with my property as I will?"
"Of course you are entitled to all the privileges a citizen would have rather than a prisoner or slave, but you have pledged yourself to my service."
"I will slaughter no more." Replied Druses. Cato scowled at this show of antagony.
"You will do as I say, and as the people command!"
"No." Whispered Druses, before plunging the sword into himself.
|# ? Sep 21, 2015 08:14|
No Time For Results, Dr. Kloctopussy
Just kidding, it is time for results.
The biggest result is that a bunch of you are terrible failures, what the loving gently caress?! Seriously, fully one-quarter of you couldn't even be bothered to write a story?
For those of you who did write...
YOU'RE ALL WINNERS*
*of my heart,** not of Thunderdome.
For writing a story with clunky prose, too many characters, none of whom are identifiably the protagonist, a fight that ends with a kick to the balls, and an ending that makes it all pointless a dishonorable mention for SlipUP.
For writing a story with too much self-congratulatory witty/wacky dialogue that made us want to die, and also no characterization except creeper = bad, the loss goes to Thranguy
For writing a story with characters (!), and conflict (!!), and even some humor (!!!), and that we enjoyed reading the win goes to Morning Bell
Hooray for everyone! Good Job!
**Not of my heart either.
Dr. Kloctopussy fucked around with this message at 22:39 on Sep 21, 2015
|# ? Sep 21, 2015 22:32|
here is ur crits for last week
In case anybody hasn't listened to my babbling in IRC for the last 2 weeks or w/ev, I lost the use of one hand and I've been condemn to hilarious and bewildering typos. I was going to edit these to make them all nice and tidy but I'm grouchy and mojo had a solution:
[17:25] <%sebmojo> post them unchanged djinn
[17:26] <%sebmojo> let them sift for kernels of golden meaning through the rich meaty slurry of your brainvomit
So if you can't tell what the gently caress I'm talking about then sucks to ur assmar
- your writing style reads like a Sweet Valley high novel
- dialogue is bizarre
- just very juvenile
- " grotesque gargoyles, who scared off the people who wanted to attack the castle but who were actually her best friends in the castle" wtf is this poo poo
No real motivation for the guys actions
cute but blows away in the wind
the abduction myth
try to look sexy - show don't tell.
Kinda like the hit girl concept but I think it would work better in a movie than a story.
Success comes too easy, no struggle, just a retell of things that happen in a story - nobody changed, didn't learn anything
housework and roadwork
don't mind the beginning, he probably should have started with Dan digging the hole but it's intriguing enough
couldn't pick up a telephone that handles on cute
not quite a narrative, compressed, should have used extra words
when all else fails on the campaign trail
hah, this is cute. You're creating a fun and intriguing universe, I want to know more
actually made me laugh a couple times and I'm famously humorless
how Sy lost his hop
first of all, you got one mother Fokker of a flash rule, and I admire your guts for even writing this at all.
Okay, fairytale type tone, you don't quite nail it - your veering a little bit too far into 'children's book' territory, may be reread the so loud - but I get what you're going for and that's more than I can say for a lot of these
WTF happened at the end here, did you just get sick of writing
34th and Cicero
why is this in the present tense?
Feels like a zit being squeezed - ha ha great
okay I got now why it's in present tense. Maybe some kind of introduction for the concept would have made it more clear, also the beginning is not special enough to drag on for as long as it does
"inciting their frustrations into outright aggression" WTF
you would've been better if you had gone more surreal at the end, even - as it is it's just not quite far enough to be 'out there' like I want it to be
the rooster's last stand
You hit a poignant note that I think the original missed, it's less ambiguous
almost feels cinematic
good opening, and intrigued
ackkkk the plural of merman is mermen
ha, I like the tongue-in-cheek thing with the orca hormones, the delivery
so actually like this, as ridiculous as it is - it's a simple story, although you could have used your extra words to elaborate on some stuff. It's not going to win, but you ought to be proud of your ability to set priorities in your writing
the salt mist of early winter cut sharply into his moist palm.
Overwrought and kind of gross sounding
actually just overwrought and purple in general, tone it down you
okay this is boring, overwrought, and melodramatic. And some of your word choices are just bewildering 'shared their plaintive cry', 'for the first time he imagined their fragile white bodies' what you're blocking is also really really weird and the beginning isn't intriguing enough to make me want to wait for the punchline. This is bad.
What's up with the blindfold?
Yeah what's the point. This is awful
with every stroke
ha, you're gutsy. I love that's you totally reframed your original story and a sincerely novel way but in a way that leaves it recognizable - of course the fact that I'm impressed here depends entirely on the fact that I have unfortunately read their braces at sea but you still get some points.
Rowing is the only sport in which the competitor can watch their foes disappear in front of them. Clever observation
it's a little unmoored, lacking context. I'm not really that interested in Lena and rama maybe if you gave me a reason to root for them earlier on instead of putting the bit where you frame them as underdogs in the middle -
lol what's going on with the ending. Way too different of a tone, I get what you think you're doing but you need to support this earlier in the story - it just comes out of the blue.
You certainly outdid the original the!
Textual analysis of the Europa fragment
ooh, super interesting take on a rewrite. I'm intrigued
I wish you would have tried to elaborate a little further on what the narrative is here on what exactly was being described in toa's story. As it is, I feel kind of lost, and I even read the original story. I think part of it is that there isn't really a narrative and part of it is that I don't know who your narrator is.
That said I really respect what you're trying to do here I think it's clever and I think that it was the right choice for this original story. I just think you could've done a better job
you're kind of dancing around what seems to be really interesting story - are they cleansing the planet of this one guy who's left there, this outsider? They're going back to kill him? That super interesting but there just isn't enough there be a little more explicit.
nice use of language, technically strong writing.
Some really good descriptions - 'it's feet were below the horizon' is a nice one
it's is only ever short for it is!!! Jesus Christ, proofread a thing
too much description of action. You don't have to do the whole TV play-by-play; it's getting boring. I don't care about every single thing she did
they were still as thick as her body. It didn’t look like it had good control over them, but wild flailing was dangerous nonetheless. What
eh boring mostly.
The predators' end in the long grass
so - technically good poetry, you've good command of meter
end is awkward, doesn't really 'take it further' or show us anything novel and interesting; his poem is just a rather eloquent description. I you start to get it something that's pretty compelling in the third stanza when you suggest that may be the creature the man was fighting was just defending itself and was willing to stop, but the man wasn't - but you don't go any further with this. And you fall apart technically - slightly - in the last stanza. blerch.
I didn't really quite get the connection between the narrative and the Greek stuff - was the guy history professor something?
This is novel and clever, I like the idea of the zombie who doesn't quote want to be a zombie.
Well written to. If it wasn't for the slightly tortured Greek history connection, and also the fact that I have no idea how the zombie managed to befriend the survivors or end up in a position to lecture them on history, and why he didn't get shot by them, also whether or not he was deliberately setting them up to get eaten by esau, then I would want us to win as it is maybe an HM
the last man on earth
like the opener, especially the comment that Stuart took her to Paris - cute and clever.
This is a fantastic take on the Apocalypse - the small within the large. I'm actually laughing here, the idea of this poor guy and his mom fighting about who set off the end of the world
wow, this is dark as hell and I love it - I actually went and looked up who had written is after reading it, because I was super impressed. I could see it winning. Because you've done something genuinely novel here.
It was all a teenage fantasy
beginning is too long - make it punchier. I mean it's basically a joke, everybody told her that rock music was satanic, turns out it is played tongue-in-cheek.
Who is violet?
ground cratering attack wtf
amazingly boring for the subject matter
stupid pun ending
again, a bit purple, a bit overwrought
and your title is sort of unfortunate - it gives it away, doesn't it?
The ambiguity at the end is a little unpleasant
but the story really isn't bad - I think this is one of the few cases this week where you didn't use all of your words by far, but you didn't really need to use anymore to get your point across. Story is just a bit dull and unoriginal.
From moment to moment
eh, whatever. Clear enough, workmanlike, but not exactly inspiring, and I'm not really getting the impetus for g's change
did he who made the lamb make thee?
ooh, neat. I'm vaguely familiar with the concept - I think that in the original the expectation was that the children, speaking Hebrew? Or something like that - so I'm curious what your take on it is
oh geez, so people don't often do horror very well a in a thunder dome, but you did a nice job: the moment that got me was where the boy is gesturing towards the Tigers but, because he doesn't know how to speak, isn't able to communicate anything towards A. poo poo, that's scary. Nicely done.
whoa. I really dig the change in perspective. You didn't quite nail the 'woke up' bit, although I do like that you're playing around with time and perspective; maybe if you'd portrayed it as a series of days in her life before moving to Seattle? That said, I don't think the story really stands on its own without the original - I think a lot of the delay I'm getting from this comes from seeing a totally unique perspective on my own story :3
she wants the plane to crash before he remembers - Jesus, brutal
funerals are there to make people forget
typo in the second sentence, yeesh. Actually a whole bunch of spelling errors - shutter, peddle. costed
okay the ending brings a little something extra in their but you missed a good opportunity to add some kind of conflict. Kind of boring that it's just all reflection the narrator doesn't really do anything and it doesn't seem like a very big deal for him to go back to the house,
living and eating chamber - holy crap what a clunky description
wait, I seriously don't get what happened at the end - why does cyra change your mind?
Giant robots are cool and awesome
lol, the wall bit was cute - I liked the beginning, it was funny
dialogue is to tongue-in-cheek, comes off as stilted, like their spots where you're making fun of yourself just a little bit too much - 'those look a little bit like flying robots', 'kick in rad ED's tunes', 'roboty thing'
aw, cute ending.
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 00:31|
THUNDERDOME CLXIV: I Shouldn't Have Eaten That Souvlaki
So I live near this late-night souvlaki joint. Any night of the week, I can lean out my window at 3am and there's big dudes on motorbikes, couples arguing, drunk football fans screaming at each other. Maybe one of the two employees, who seem to be there 24-7, smoking on the sidewalk, watching with a mixture of distain and despair. Anytime I'm coming back home past midnight, it's like a magnet, reeling me in for greasy lamb and soggy chips. I regret it afterwards, too. The place is like a temple to poor decisions.
What I'm trying to say is,
Write me a story where food gets somebody in trouble
You have 1,200 words. If your story is set in a dangerous place that never closes you can have 150 more for dessert, as a homage to my second souvlaki home.
When you sign up, one of the judges will give you a food.
This is the food that gets somebody in trouble. Interpret that however you want, maybe they want it too much and cry all the time or they make it too tasty and become too popular or they're a sentient onion being devoured by a kebab. As long as there's trouble because of the food. Feel free to go sci-fi or fantasy or whatever lovely genre lines your bookshelves, if you want. Be creative or I will never forgive you.
If I read one description of diarrhoea, I'll get the souvlaki crew to come and empty their grease traps all over your bedroom floor. I mean it. As usual, no fanfic and no erotica, too.
1,200 words (1,350 if story is set in a dangerous place that never closes)
Write about food getting somebody in trouble.
You will get a food when you sign up.
Sign up by: 11:59pm Friday PST
Deadline: 11:59pm Sunday PST
Ironic Twist - Chicken Burger
ZeBourgeoisie - Oysters
Killer-of-Lawyers - Goat Tongue
GrizzledPatriarch - Pilaf
docbeard - Hakarl
Thranguy - Fish and Chips
kurona_bright - Crisps (potato chips)
Tyrannosaurus - Vietnamese Sandwich
Mons Hubris - Chicken Tikka Masala
worlds_best_author - Vietnamese Blood Soup
SlipUp - Chicken Parma
Boaz-Jachim - Borscht
jon joe - Jelly
Guiness13 - Roast Leg of Mutton
Broenheim - Cake
Screaming Idiot - Sour Green Apple
Entenzahn - Pizza
Froglight - Pelmeni
MaggieTheCat - Falafel
Bompacho - Prawns
After The War - Onion
Fumblemouse - Japanese Ramen
Phobia - Damper
Kaishai - Pig's Head
Morning Bell fucked around with this message at 05:23 on Sep 28, 2015
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:05|
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:07|
It's not just a phase, dad
You don't want to be seen in the party. It's the attention--the clumsy suitors who see you as a ticket to your family's name and fortune, hangers-on who don't even know or care if you're allergic to cats, and the media circus that your family owns a 26% share of.
So you borrow a wall ornament from your father's study, the tribal mask from New Caledonia (you had to look it up on the map), adorned with long braids of human hair and a hooked, beak-like nose. The eyes are solid and you see through the agape mouth instead, but hey, all the better to creep someone out.
You hold a glass of punch in hand, and figure out how to drink it without spilling it on your clothes. You fill your plate with chicken lollipops--the humba and pochero wouldn't fly, despite how much you want them. The mask is your armor. Photographers snap away, and the mask hides your scowl. Eventually they lose interest. The novelty wears off, and everyone resumes their tired little cliques. You see your father talking to a CEO of a rival oil company as if they were brothers. Your mother is away overseas, ostensibly on a business trip. You don't see her much anymore.
You leave the hall, retreating from the speakers booming muzak into something quieter. The balcony is relatively deserted, save for a knot of people, their cigarette smoke melding and spiraling into a wispy, hunchbacked apparition.
There's a lone figure on the deserted side. He's also wearing a mask that covers his entire face, some oval, Aztec-looking design with fangs. You follow the angle of his face to where he's looking at, but it's the same view as you've seen every day of your life: the Manila skyline.
He complements your mask, looking at you with beady, black eyes. You affect a nonchalant air and munch on your chicken lollipop. It's a challenge trying to get it in your mouth without it touching the hair on your mask.
"Have you ever ridden a jeepney in your life?" he says, in a completely curious, I-want-to-know-more-about-you-but-I'm-not-sure-what-to-ask, way.
It's the weirdest pickup line, you admit, but he doesn't seem like one of those PUA types. So you shake your head (the braids swishing like mad) and say no. And animatedly he regals you of his tale wherein he ran away from home when he was twelve and rode a jeepney to nowhere, but then his parents tracked him down by his phone's GPS, the end.
And now you have a million questions for him. Is the smog really bad, did you need to be taken to a hospital, did anyone try to kidnap you, did you make abot-abot your fare and did anyone try to pocket it in the process? And he nods sagely and answers every one of them, as if he's rehearsed for every possible question.
And you're caught up in his pace. You don't know him, but for the first time you attend a function where you're holding a conversation for more than a minute.
You trade music--the genres you prefer, the guilty pleasures you sing when you think no one's around, a few bars of some choice songs. Neither of you watch anything current on TV. You only watch shows at least ten years old. Movies have all started to look the same lately, and you both express complete disdain for the latest, mindless summer blockbuster. You learn that his favorite subject is science, and that he likes building things. You reveal that you've been asking your private tutor for business lessons, so that you could help out in the company more, and maybe your father would see you more than someone to marry off.
"Don't you think we could do so much better?" he asks. It pulls you out of your bubble of fleeting contentment. You've decided not to involve yourself in any causes, because it seems so insincere. But then you remember his jeepney story. Maybe you could change the outside world, and not just forever look at it from behind a wall of bulletproof glass. But it's scary, and you've never dared to confront your folks directly.
You realize how far gone you are in the conversation. Your hand is slick from holding the glass of punch too long. You excuse yourself, turn away so you could drink without showing your face. You wait for the slight bite of alcohol before turning around.
His clothes are still a mess, and his body is poised in a way that screams curiosity about how you look like, and then he springs the question, "if we teamed up, we could do some cool things, like save the world."
You don't know, you say. You need time, perhaps another glass of punch, or something stronger perhaps, even if you're not even eighteen yet. I'll think about it, you say. His eyes don't lose that sparkle of hope.
Your cellphones ring at the same time. Your father wants to introduce someone to you. You give a sigh. It isn't the first time, or the last. Then you catch his eye, and he's thinking exactly the same thing.
You walk back to the hall, keeping a tacit distance from each other, as if you both find the entire matter half-embarrassing, half-serendipitous. Your father approaches you, as well as his CEO friend. Frenemy? His own father slaps him on the back, grinning. And you look at your old man, who clears his throat and cracks a joke about problem children being made for each other. Why don't you take off that mask and show him what you look like?
Not tonight, you proclaim. When you meet each other in your own terms. You steal a glance at the boy and catch him shaking his head. Disappointed, his own father drags him away, but you see the edges of his mouth still angled in a smile.
You don't waste any time going back to your room and looking him up. He has a long, moneyed name, ostensibly Hispanic. His face is as disheveled as his outfit was, but at least he doesn't wear the entitlement of the elite. You send him a picture of your mask to prove that it's you, and he wastes no time with his proposal:
"Wanna build a startup together?"
What are we making?
"Engines." He types lightning-fast. "Engines that don't run on fossil fuels or damage the environment. I've got the knack for it, but I don't know a thing about running a business. Maybe you could help me on that one."
I haven't really done any hands-on work, you type.
But, you quickly enter, if you make it worth my while, then yes. You look outside your room and see the city enveloped in smog. But the sky is changing, the gray tinged with rays of gold. For the first time in a long while, you're not tired at all.
Now tell me more.
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:08|
Feed me. (in)
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:10|
Also Morning Bell I would like to judge, thanks.
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:11|
Feed me. (in)
Oysters for you.
A chicken burger!
Also Morning Bell I would like to judge, thanks.
Welcome to the kitchen (but of course)
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:15|
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:16|
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:17|
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:17|
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:18|
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:24|
Hey man come to my pad for some hakarl (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%A1karl)
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:27|
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:28|
Sit down man have some fish and chips
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:30|
I'm gonna do these in spurts because I'm also doing line crits for certain people and these are fairly in depth and take up way too much time and I really need to study but don't think it's fair to have these written up but not give 'em to people.
Also I'm doing line crits for your opening paragraph since that is literally the most important part of your story
So anyways, Museum crits for jon joe, Thranguy, Mons Hubris, and worlds_best_author
Jinwei Xu leaned against a boulder and pulled his greatest treasure from his pack Why not show us the object? “greatest treasure” is abstract. Give me something concrete. Don’t open with a weak image.
Opening is alright, a bit weak in having some concrete moments, but otherwise, gives us a bit of detail on conflict and character.
“No. Rather, I want a trinket to bind an evil spirit to my service. It’s my goal to achieve immortality and I think an evil spirit can teach me.”
“Here is my goal and the conflict of the story. I am a normal human speaking. Do not mind my exposition because there are dialogue tags between them.”
What is Xian Yao? Clearly not human, and I’m going to assume raven since he has trinkets/beady eyes, but still, some physical descriptions of it would go a long way. Oh wait nvm, he’s just a regular old dude. Boring.
Once he was an immortal, he could return to his homeland and kill the invaders. When they came, Jinwei Xu had fled for fear of his life. Immortality would make him fearless! Only then could he respect himself once more. Only then would he-
More exposition! Fantastic!
Lol that dude is super loving calm after watching a boar explode into guts and seeing a vulture in it.
Final results: Do not care whatsoever. Your writing is p. poo poo in this. Your dialogue is too on the nose, your sentence constructions are weak and boring, your plot limps along without any agency or tension because of how bad your prose is and how boring and lifeless your character is. The guy has no characterization besides “I want immortality” for some stupid reason you tossed in with exposition. Ending is generic “be careful what you wish for,” which can work, but since I give 0 shits about this story, it makes me groan because of how cliche this is. I’d line by line but I have more line by lines to do, but seriously, your sentence structure is poo poo in this and actively interferes with your story. Still, at the end of the day, I was bored the whole way through.
So I took this incredibly priceless artifact, the Borradaile Oliphant, put it between my lips and blew, feeling utterly ridiculous the whole time. What? Huh? Can I get some context of this? Why is feeling ridiculous. I have literally just started reading your story. I have no clues what your story is about. This should not be your first line. Two short notes and one long, just like the old goat had said. Then I put it back on the table and glanced around the
Opening is decent despite my complaints. Sets up some intrigue.
“No, it's just that, well, I'm a huge snake with the head of a dragon, I just appeared literally out of nowhere, I can talk, and I'm speaking modern English. Rather than ask about any of those things you want to know how I know your name?”
gently caress right off. This isn’t clever. This isn’t funny. This is stupid and boring, adds nothing to the story, and gently caress you.
“Sure. I mean, I know the answer to the others is basically that the entire enlightenment materialist paradigm I've lived my life believing is completely wrong and that I probably should reconsider the academic career path.”
Do you hate me? Did I do something to you that makes you want to punish me? Because if so, you’re doing a drat fine job of it. Some advice: you’re not nearly as clever or witty as you think you are.
You have 11 lines of dialogue without any physical blocking. You have just put a magical snake dragon monster into a person’s life. This should be a tense scene. This should have something more than just inane dialogue. Oh wait I was wrong on the 11 lines of dialogue. Past “I took 3 steps back” almost every word, besides “I thought of the professor”, is either dialogue or a tag. gently caress, you’re not Hemingway. Don’t act like it.
Final Results: Your first scene made me physically ill and made me want to die. I think your first scene is actually the worst thing I’ve ever read in the ‘dome. Terribly boring dialogue, obnoxious phrasing, writing that attempts to be witty and clever but falls completely on its rear end, it’s probably the one story that has made me physically angry and want to tear out those words and never see them again. Holy gently caress.
Thankfully, your other scenes were better, but I wouldn’t call “doesn’t make me want to rip out the words and burn them on the ground” as glowing praise. They were still filled with the wit of a high schooler thinking that he’s insanely clever. All of the characters blow. Protag is boring as gently caress or talks obnoxiously or thinks like an rear end in a top hat. Professor is generic insane professor. Grex has a chance to be somewhat cool, but you don’t capitalize on having a chill monster and instead focus on how cool your protagonist is and how cool your writing is. Which it isn’t by the way. It loving sucks.
gently caress you.
“We are losing the war on all fronts,” said King Sverre, slamming his tankard against the tabletop. This is a decent opening line, since it sets up conflict, though I wish the image you gave us afterwards was a bit more interesting. We’ve seen a person slamming a tankard on a table in complaint. Try to show this in a more creative way A wave of mead sloshed onto the tabletop and soaked through a corner of the map Ehhh, this doesn’t feel like it adds anything. His three generals slouched in their chairs This, however, is a nice simple detail that does a lot. Prince Harald, age four does age matter here? drawing on the floor already shows us he’s a little kid, so I don’t see much need in this line, was in the corner, drawing on the floor with chalk.
The opening is decent, but it feels like something I’ve read before. I don’t feel like there’s any reason for me to continue reading since it feels so generic and will be just like every other fantasy/viking style story. Prove me wrong from the word go. Especially in flash.
Ughhh just dialogue about people talking all the loving time. I have no context for what is happening, no reason to care about these characters. Their war means nothing to me. I could care less who wins. It also feels too contrived that the chess pieces all fit perfectly right, like oh of course there’s a bishop, and the queen was captured too! Doesn’t feel right.
There was a long silence after the incompetent generals were gone.
I don’t like incompetent. It makes your narrator, who was previously just objective, now have an opinion, so it feels out of placed in the story.
Final Results: the ending is a non-ending. Like, nothing happens in this story. The only thing that actually happened in your story was the generals being taken away. Everything else happened off screen. I don’t see the point of this story. Like, why does this story need to be told? Why are you saying these things? If you’re trying to entertain, ask yourself why somebody would be entertained by this? Dudes are just talking. The kid has no impact to the story. You have 750 words and you have nothing else to it. Use them.
He vague pronouns should not be in your opening was the son of a retainer; raised not of the faith of his native land but of the faith of a faraway people everything passed the semicolon is vague. What does it mean to be raised by the faith of a faraway people? what does that even mean?. Called the “Messenger of Heaven”, Amakusa Shiro at that moment felt the weight of heavens on his shoulders. What moment? What is happening
Opening sucks. Vague pronouns, vague action, no context as to what will happen in the story.
Second paragraph feels like a wikipedia article, aka, boring.
He was only sixteen, but the months since the rebellion started, he had aged, physically and spiritually
No poo poo he aged physically, it was months. People age.
C’mon, Ive heard that a million times. Think of something more clever. Be a creative writer!
His eyes, once bright and full of youthful energy,
Normally, they would be sharpening their swords or fletching arrows, but weeks into the siege without food or ammunition had left them broken, listless, and faithless.
The broken, listless, and faithless line is both 1) telling and 2) unnecessary since you show earlier that they have become broken and listless through how they aren’t sharpening their arrows. However, you should describe what they’re doing instead, not just say “they weren’t doing that” because they could be doing anything else. Are they playing hopscotch? Watching TV? Who knows because you’re not showing me.
If I quoted every time you told instead of showed I’d never finish this crit.
I don’t know who your character is, but he’s p. hosed up and I don’t like him.
Final Results: I have no reason to care. Your lone character has nothing to him besides being pretty much a mad man. There’s an idea here, somewhere in the wood works, but I can’t pick it out. You’re trying to do something, which is great, but it fails because a descent into madness doesn’t really mean anything when he’s already nearing the bottom. I have no sympathy with the protagonist. I don’t like him, I don’t want him to succeed. Your prose is very weak, tons of telling that you really need to be able to find and suck out of your writing. Your character’s motivations are weak and not compelling at all, and his death doesn’t affect me, or really, anything he does. I have no reason to care. Fix that!
flerp fucked around with this message at 02:01 on Sep 22, 2015
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:46|
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:46|
Uh hey do you have any crisps? "Potato chips", that is, if you're a yank.
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:49|
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:55|
I'm so glad you came, I heard you make the best vietnamese sandwiches (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%C3%A1nh_m%C3%AC#Vietnamese_sandwiches)
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 01:58|
here is ur crits for last week
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 02:01|
I will try this week
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 02:09|
|# ? Dec 2, 2023 08:47|
I will try this week
You mean you will try this delicious meal I made you, chicken tikka masala (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_tikka_masala)
|# ? Sep 22, 2015 02:10|