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Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

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In for this week like probably many others who shamefully realized how little they wrote last year.

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Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

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Decisions - 818 Words

Duran saw the ring laying on the table as soon as he walked through the door. He paused just for a moment before turning away and putting down his groceries anyways. The paper bag rustled as fruits and veggies were taken out and the wind chime outside his window tinkled quietly. The man standing in the shadows of the hallway made no sound nor movement. It was a beautiful, mild, spring day, and Duran began to sweat.

“I figured it was going to be you,” said Duran, talking down to the countertop.

“Yes,” simply said the man, taking a step out of the shadows.

Duran turned to face the man. “Ari,” he said. “You are still wearing those terrible suits.”

Ari raised an eyebrow. “This coming from a man with a closet full of Aloha shirts.”

Both men briefly gave each other tight, grim smiles, facing off across the thick, wooden kitchen table. Duran ran his hands over its surface, absently tracing the knots in the wood. “I don’t suppose this has a happy ending,” he said, and was not thrilled with how small his voice had become.

“Doubtful,” Ari agreed. “You closed that door five years ago.” He reached down and picked up the ring, sliding it onto his finger.

“Then why haven’t you done it yet?” said Duran, finally looking up at Ari. “Why didn’t you do it before I saw your ring? Are you punishing me?”

Ari snorted and shook his head. “I need to know why. You betrayed --”

Duran slammed his fist on the table. “You dare say that? You know what they were doing. What I did was right - the world had to know. I was duped into believing their lies by my own country and you say I betrayed them?”

Ari stepped towards Duran, his hands clenching into fists. “You betrayed me!” he shouted. “gently caress the country, gently caress the service, you betrayed me!”

Duran grimaced and looked back down at his hands. “I’m sorry --” he quietly began.

“You’re sorry,” shot back Ari, taking another step that brought his face fully into the sunlight. His eyes were bright and red-rimmed. “You never bothered to tell me.”

“I couldn’t get you involved,” said Duran. “They would have come after you also.”

“How noble of you, protecting me,” said Ari. “I thought we had something. It meant something to me.”

“It did to me also,” said Duran, and started to go around the table to Ari until Ari raised his silenced pistol and pointed it at Duran. Duran halted and wavered uncertainly. “Ari?”

Ari narrowed his eyes. “Liar. Just trying to save your own skin.”

“If you truly believed that, why are you still wearing our ring?” said Duran, and pulled on the chain around his neck until it revealed a copy of the ring Ari wore.

There was silence in the kitchen, the wind even halting as both men regard the other. Ari started to put down the gun. “You stupid bastard. Keeping me ‘safe’ wasn’t your choice to make. It was mine.”

“You’re right, I know that now. But this choice is my own. Do it, Ari,” said Duran. He reached out and grabbed the tip of Ari’s gun, then pulled it up to his chest.

“What?” said Ari.

“Please, just do it. They will come after you if you don’t do it, and they’ll find me eventually anyways.”

“No,” said Ari. “I’m not letting you take the easy way out. You’re running, just like you did five years ago.”

Duran smiled sadly. “Maybe. But this is reality, Ari.”

Ari pulled the gun back and holstered it. “We can make a better reality for us. But we have to fight for it.”

“I’m so tired Ari. These last five years…” said Duran, trailing off.

“drat you, fight for it. Fight for us!” said Ari. “Or was everything we had just bullshit to you? Isn’t it worth your effort?”

“Of course not! It was real, and it was the best thing I’ve ever had in my life,” said Duran. “But if we run, the only difference from you pulling that trigger right now is that we’ll both be dead.”

“Maybe. But we’ll have each other, at least for a while,” said Ari.

Duran bit his lip hard, not trusting himself to speak, and just shook his head. Ari reached up and brushed away a tear that trickled down Duran’s face. “When and how we die is not important. What is important is how we live our lives until that day, and who is a part of our lives.”

Both men slipped into each other’s arms, clinging to each other desperately. Their kiss was sweet and long, and rewound time for both of them back years to when they first found each other. When they finally pulled away, they regarded each other through misty eyes.

Duran smiled tenderly. “I’ll love every moment.”

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

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I'm in for this week

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

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Empty Victory - 1000 Words
Football - Germany

Dieter looked through narrowed eyes at the man sitting across from him, a wide oak desk separating them. It put the other man out of immediate reach, which was probably for the best right now.

“But what, coach?” said Dieter, injecting as much false respect as possible.

Berend’s face tightened. “But you aren’t in shape to play. Look, you’ll always be a legend here. The Red Hawks owe you much.”

Dieter slammed his fists down on the desk. “Fifteen loving years with this club, Berend! And now you tell me I can’t play my final game before retirement?”

Berend wasn’t rattled. “That’s right. Your form is weak and you are still battling injuries.”

“I know my body better than you. I can play! Who the hell are you to tell me I can’t, you little pissant, you were just hired a few months ago.” said Dieter.

“I’m the drat coach! Something you seem to have forgotten this entire season,” said Berend. He stuck his finger out at Dieter aggressively, nearly poking him in the chest. “And in these short few months, I’ve taken this club to the verge of promotion. How many times did that happen in your fifteen years?” said Dieter. “I’m not putting a has-been into the game that will guarantee us promotion!”

“gently caress you,” said Dieter, his voice gone quiet and stiff, his face twisted into something ugly. “I quit.” He turned to leave and started to walk out.

“Good riddance to you and your ego!” said Berend. “And take off your jersey before you leave the building. It doesn’t belong to you anymore!” Berend shouted at Dieter’ back.

Dieter had no intention of leaving the building complex just yet. He bulldozed through the hallways, scattering interns and some of the more panicky office staff. Dieter stopped outside of a conference room and stared in. The heads of nearly every major team in the league were inside, including his own. He banged on the window hard and every eye turned to him. Dieter stripped off his jersey, failed miserably to tear it in half, and settled for stomping on it. He threw the entire conference room the middle finger and stamped out of the building.

That night Dieter barely heard the chirping of his phone through his boozy haze. “Hello,” he slurred.

There was a pause on the other line. “Dieter Landa?”

“No interviews,” said Dieter lazily, almost letting the phone slip out of his hand.

“Do you still want to play your last game on your home field?”

Dieter shook his head to clear it. “Who is this?”

“You’re a free agent now. Any team that wants you can sign you. Most don’t. I do. And you need me.”

Dieter blinked slowly, trying to understand what was being offered. “Uhhh…” he said, dumbly.

A sigh came from the phone. “You seem to be a little… under the weather, so I’ll keep it simple. This is Gottfried Velten. Do you know who I am?”

“Yes. You coach the Black Lions. I was supposed to play your team in two days,” said Dieter. Dieter looked down at his watch. “Well now it’s tomorrow, actually.” Dieter burped. “And we hate you and your team.”

“Correct, except there’s no ‘we’ anymore, is there?” said Gottfried. Dieter was silent. Gottfried continued. “My offer is simple. I sign you and you get to play your last game on your home field as you wanted.”

“And in exchange you want help beating them. Inside information,” said Dieter. Dieter reached his hand up to massage his temples. More than just the alcohol was affecting his headache now.

“Yes,” said Gottfried simply. “We’ll keep it quiet, they won’t even know until you walk into the stadium.”

Dieter sighed. Could he really betray his teammates like that? But every thought was colored with Berend’s bullshit, given to him all season long. Your ball control is getting worse, Dieter. Dieter, your footwork needs help. Be a playmaker Dieter, don’t act like a forward.

“I’ll do it.”

Of course it wasn’t kept a secret, leaked a few hours in advance to demoralize the Red Hawks team and fans. The fact that their legendary midfielder had switched to the hated Lions, and for the promotional game, left both supporters and players confused and hurt. It was also too late to change many of the set plays, and Berend had to scramble to pull together older, unpracticed ones that had worked in the past.

When Dieter jogged out onto the pitch with the Lions, an eerie sound filled the stadium - a combination of taunts and pain. It hadn’t seemed real for them until that moment. It also became real for Dieter just then.

He looked down at his black uniform, then at the red figures on the other side of the field, then finally up at the audience that he used to love to make roar. He could see the raw emotions on the faces of those closest to him, and he hated how they saw him. This wasn’t supposed to be how his last game went. What the hell was he thinking? His anger at Berend had clouded any possible good judgment he had left after being knocked around on the pitch for a decade and a half. How could he have possibly thought this could have worked out any differently?

He shook his head and blinked back tears. He found Gottfried and told him that he couldn’t do this. Gottfried shrugged and told him to go back into the locker room. As Dieter walked off the pitch, he raised an open hand in apology to the fans. The fans thought he was waving, taunting them, and booed him. Dieter quickly lowered his hand, but the jeers followed him down the tunnel as he made his escape. Dieter spent his last game as a pro footballer watching his beloved team lose their first promotion game in nearly a decade from the locker room of their most hated rival.

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

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Give me your most metal prompt before I battleaxe down your loving door and rip off your fingernails as a sacrifice to the Lord of Nails.

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

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Screaming At Hecate - 998 Words

In the middle of a shattered town, ten men lay down to die. A priest moved among them, placing a concoction in their hands. He mumbled praises to Hecate and when he got to the last man, the man grabbed his hand.

“gently caress Hecate and gently caress her blessings,” said Alkides. The priest recoiled in shock. “She owes us this.”

“Only a fool bites the hands of the gods,” said Demonax, rising up on one elbow. “Even when they deserve it. Shut up and take the offering.”

Alkides stared daggers at the priest and grabbed the herb mixture out of his hands.

“Chew,” said the priest. “I don’t know how long you’ll have in the underworld, or even if you’ll come back.” He looked down at Alkides. “You’re probably hosed.” The priest spun haughtily and stalked away.

“Let’s get this over with,” said Demonax, stuffing the foul tasting mush into his mouth and laying back down. Pain coursed through his body and the world closed in around him. Soon the blackness enveloped him, and he lost all sensation.

When he came to, he stood up, surprised that he still had all his armor and weapons with him. The other men were doing the same, surveying the surrounds as they checked their equipment.

They found themselves atop a mound of compacted ash and bone. In the far distance there was a city, glowing with an unholy glow. Before them lay a foul bog, a dark river winding its way through it.

“Where is the ferryman?” said Hagnon. “This isn’t right.”

“Many things aren’t right,” said Demonax. “But we see the city. Let’s go.”

“I dislike that bog,” said Kimon. “It looks… unnatural.”

“No poo poo?” said Demonax. “The underworld looks unnatural? I’ll be damned.” Kimon flushed. “Would you like to stay here?”

“I’m not stopping until I get my family back, same as you,” Kimon said and marched forward, the other men falling in around him.

The distances were deceiving, and the group arrived at the bog quickly. The very ground sucked at their feet, and the trees seemed to block them at every turn. Finally they reached the river and stared down at the rushing torrent of blood that sped past them.

Hagnon reached out a hand as if to touch it.

“I would not do that, if I were you,” said a deep, thunderous voice. Weapons leapt into the men’s hands as they tried to find the speaker. A tree moved closer to the group and a strained face appeared in the bark, made of ever-changing knots.

“Where is the ferryman, tree demon?” said Hagnon.

“The boatman is for the dead,” said the tree. “The living may not cross. You must turn --” started the tree demon, cutting off his own sentence with a scream. Demonax raised his axe for another blow, cutting deep into the tree, sap pouring out of the wound.

Soon they had killed enough of the shrieking trees to make a raft, using young sapling children to bind the corpses of the adults together. The crossing was difficult, the blood rising until a wave surged over Machaon, washing him overboard. Then the blood subsided, permitting a safe crossing.

Their journey continued, with many challenges laid before them. Some were familiar priests’ stories, and some were beyond anything the darkest mind of men could have created. They were all overcome by might or wit, but the party’s numbers dwindled. Pammon succuumed to the wiles of a witch, Stentor chased a specter of his wife, and Thestor wrongly chose an answer. Vettias and Zenodoros simply laid down to sleep and never woke. Kimon wept until his tears turned to blood and his body dried up. Hagnon turned back to find the ferryman.

Finally the city appeared before Demonax and Alkides. The yellowish glow they had seen was a barrier laid before them. They beat upon it with their weapons, their fists, but it held strong, and there was no riddle to solve, no monster to defeat.

“No!” screamed Demonax. “Not after all we’ve suffered,” he said, starting to cry tears of frustration. Alkides looked at him in shock. Never had Demonax cried, even after the loss of the rest of their companions.

“drat you Hecate! Lower your barrier!” yelled Demonax, flinging his axe at the wall. It hit and shattered into pieces, raining metal onto the ground. “Give me back my family!”

The gate to the city ground open and a woman came out, riding a horse, a dog at her side. She glowed, the same yellow as the barrier. She was a dangerous sort of beautiful, with a snake draped around her shoulders. She didn’t hold a candle to his Callidora.

“Silly mortal man. I cannot give you your family back, for I only have influence over the barrier between life and death. But, you have traveled far, and endured much.” She motioned behind herself and his wife and son appeared. Demonax fell to his knees, his hands reaching out to them but stopped by the barrier. His family knelt on the other side, pressing their hands opposite to his. He stared into their eyes and saw his love reciprocated. He was weeping again, this time tears of joy.

“They want you to live, Demonax. Come join them with the time is right,” said Hecate.

“Can I talk to them,” asked Demonax, still looking at his family.

“Not just yet. But you will be with them, eventually. It is time for you to go.”

“No, please, just a little longer!” said Demonax, but it was too late. A white portal had opened behind him, and he was drawn inexorably towards it. Pure white blinded him, filled him completely.

Before he lost all his senses, he heard Hecate. “But you, Alkides, I have been saving for something special.”

Alkides’ scream was still echoing in his ears as he sat up back on the surface, gasping in lungfuls of air, the priest staring down at him in shock.

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

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Sitting Here posted:

right that sounds good, how do i participate?

Step 1: Read the prompt post.
Step 2: Read the prompt post again.
...
Step 5: Post your story by the submission deadline.

Maugrim posted:

SUBMISSIONS due by Sunday, 18th January at midnight UTC.
PAY ATTENTION. This is UK TIME, you fucks. If you don't like it then gently caress you.

Maugrim posted:

PAY ATTENTION. This is UK TIME, you fucks. If you don't like it then gently caress you.

Maugrim posted:

gently caress you.

I love you Muffin but this is kinda dumb. You're mad at yourself for not reading the prompt carefully or had a lovely day or something else, but regardless this is a bit of an overreaction. Not to say that a discussion about the merits of a consistent signup/submission time wouldn't be worthwhile though.

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

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Thanks for the quick crit - I'd love a line by line if the 3rd one is still open!

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

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crabrock posted:

flash rule: your spaceship is missing a vital component but the characters don't realize at first

Is the vital component love?

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

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I'm IN. Thanks for the link Benny, a good read.

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

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The Best of Intentions - 500 Words

Jaime gritted his teeth and strained with all his might against the cheap wooden door. It shuddered with each impact from the other side, the boards popping and cracking. Those sharp sounds were overpowered by the screams that leaked in from the town around them. Behind him, the others that made it into the inn wailed, hearing their doom in each blow.

It was a different kind of loud when he told Beth that he wanted to stay. A buzz of terror hummed through the town, mixing with the creaks of wagons and shouted commands at horses that filled the air as many packed up to leave. “We made our life here, Beth. I want to stay and defend it.” She just looked at him with those big blue eyes and bit her lip.

A chunk of wood went flying past his head, that part of the door replaced by an axehead. The axe ripped backwards, tearing away more of the door with it. Jaime arched his head to peek through the opening, only to jerk back when another head stared back at him through the hole. The man with the painted face smirked and shouted to someone unseen, and the fury battering at the door redoubled.

It was a different painted man that was dragged through the streets when Beth came to him. Those who remained were celebrating the capture of the scout, the first joyous sounds heard since most of the town left, but Beth’s face was grave. “It means they are coming, you know. Not going to Highfort. Coming here,” she said.

“I know,” he said, cupping her face in his hand. “We've talked about this.”

“There’s still time,” she said, brushing his hand away angrily. “We can start over down south, where these people will never reach us.”

“We've made a commitment, Beth. To this town, to these people. What would happen to those who cannot leave if we all run? To all those sick or hurt in our inn?” he said.

Another shattering blow cracked opened the gap even wider, and a sword was thrust through the opening, narrowly missing Jaime. He whacked at it with his own sword, an ancient thing Beth had bought long ago to sit above the bar. The drat thing barely had an edge on it, and the blunted blow knocked both swords loose. Jaime cursed as they fell into the furniture piled at the base of the door. Beth was at his side immediately, found the sword, and placed it back into his hands, much like she had the day she presented it to him. “It will make you look so fearsome!” she said, laughing. “Just pretend you know how to use it!”

He gripped her hands with his and stared into her eyes as a tear leaked down his face. “I’m sorry.”

Whatever she said in response was drowned out as the door finally gave way and those inside shrieked their fear while those outside bellowed their victory.

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

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Thanks for the crits you two!

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

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Maugrim posted:

Linecrit for Black Metal Week - Walamor

Thank you Maugrim, I really appreciate it!

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

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In. Cool prompt by a cool judge (give me a good painting).

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

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Tyrannosaurus posted:

Thranguy, congratulations on your first win. The throne is yours.

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Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

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docbeard posted:

Sadly, this constitutes sleeping in for me

Good god. You're one of those productive people aren't you?

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