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Dec 19, 2007

In with a :toxx:

Conjure me a tale.


Dec 19, 2007

The Farmer and The Wolf
595 words
The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids.

There once was a goat farmer who earned a meager wage selling milk, wool, and mutton with the help of his three children.

In the dead of an autumn’s night, a wolf knocked upon the farmer’s door and said, “Hello poor farmer, winter draws near and I demand that you open your gates and bring a goat for me to eat.” The farmer thought to protest, but cowered when he saw the wolf’s razor sharp teeth glint in the moonlight.

In shivering fear, the farmer replied, “Of course, I can spare a single goat if that would suffice.” The farmer opened his gates and brought a sickly goat to the wolf, who sunk his teeth into the goat with great haste and viciousness until nothing remained. Then the wolf crept back into the darkness without as much as a thanks.

The next week, the wolf knocked on the farmer’s door again and said, “I am here for another goat. The one you gave me last was sickly and did not satisfy my hunger.”

The farmer replied, “I cannot spare another of my cattle. My wages are paltry as it is and you will leave me without food for my own plate.”

“If that is what you wish, then maybe I should eat one of your children instead,” the wolf said as he inched into the doorway.

Finally, the farmer conceded, “Please, not my children. Follow me and I will bring you a goat of good health and taste.” The farmer again opened his gates and brought to the wolf a healthy goat and then watched in dismay as the wolf tore it apart before the goat could make so much as a peep. Then the wolf slunk back into darkness without a word.

Distraught, the farmer expressed his hopelessness to his sons, “What can we do? This wolf will surely return every week until we no longer have a goat to our name, and then he will turn upon us.”

The next morning, the eldest son approached the farmer and said, “Father, we have an idea that will rid us of the wretched wolf.” The three children walked their property until they found a boulder as large as the youngest son. They rolled it home, and for five days the oldest son chiseled the rock until it was in the shape of a goat.

The farmer looked over their statue and said, “It was a good idea, but surely the wolf is too keen to be fooled by such a display.”

The middle child said, “I will fetch a bucket of goat’s blood and bathe the statue in it so that it may trick the wolf’s nose,” and so he did.

“Maybe it would trick the wolf’s nose, but surely his eyes are not so poor,” said the farmer.

The youngest then said, “I will fasten wool to the statue so that it may trick the wolf’s eyes,” and so he did.

Finally, the farmer relented and agreed to their plot of trickery.

Just as expected, the wolf again knocked on the farmer’s door and demanded a meal. The farmer brought the wolf to the decoy goat, but the wolf paced about the statue suspiciously.

“Why does it not move?” the wolf asked.

“It is likely scared stiff by the menace of your glistening teeth,” replied the farmer.

The wolf smiled, and in an instant, snapped his jaws upon the statue and his teeth shattered into a hundred pieces. He howled in terrible agony and cowered back into the night, never to be seen again.

Dec 19, 2007

Bompancho posted:

An Unkindness 1500 Words - In with SurreptitiousMuffin's The Monkey.

Flower petals clung try “cling” instead to the stones of Meriva’s barrow, though the scent of the dragonlillies No need for capitalization had been stifled by the pouring rain. Roaan stood by his wife’s cairn for hours, with wet hair in his face, his tunic soaked. He broke his vacant stare at Meriva’s resting place to look at the other mounds. Some overgrown with weeds, thistles, and thornbushes, and others more freshly made. Only one as fresh as Meriva’s. Allude to this better. You just spent time mentioning how ratty some of the other tombs are with overgrowth. You could have said something about dragonlilies only growing on well-kempt ones or whatever Roaan looked to the smaller cairn beside his wife’s, not sure whether to curse it or weep for it. His throat was hoarse. What? Because of all the screaming he just did? Why does his hoarse throat matter? You could easily have appended that to the next line in a more fitting manner. Also, I don’t give a poo poo about generic-brooding-fantasy-guy or his wife at this point. Am I supposed to feel sympathetic in this opening paragraph? It just feels like I’m reading about a mopey teenager, which is not the foot you want to start on.

“drat the gods, gently caress you all, may the Monkey’s arms rot and slough off. Drag this wretched existence into the void.” Mixing “ye olde time” language with “gently caress you all” doesn’t mesh well for me. Maybe that’s a personal thing though.

Exhausted, Roaan fell to his knees. He had no tears left. This is really melodramatic. Reword it significantly.
“I’ve been robbed, I do not deserve this fate.”
After lying in the wet grass, he picked himself up, went home, lit a fire in the hearth, and made a nest of hay instead of sleeping in his bed.

That night Roaan dreamt he was underground. He tried to scream but choked on soil, he clawed at the dirt above. Climbing through the moist earth, his heart hammering still when he touched cold stone. He heaved as best he could, forcing himself through the stone barrow ceiling. This confused me for a second because it’s actually the floor of the barrow. Maybe “the barrow’s stone floor”? Black feathers were everywhere, wings and claws beat and scratched at his face. Beaks pecked at his flesh rending it from his body. I tried to break this paragraph up some, but I’m still not satisfied with the result. It seems like you’re trying to rush through the action, end up making run-on sentences, and undermine any tension

“Mercy!” he screamed.

The flock of dark birds which Roaan recognised as ravens relented and flew into the sky taking the form of one gigantic raven. It flapped its wings slowly, as though flying, but did not move. The behemoth’s head looked down upon him.

“You know who I am?” it asked.

Roaan nodded before speaking. “Ma’indo” he said.

“And who are you, that questions the will of the Gods?”

“What kind of gods are you that would allow such a thing to happen? I want Meriva, I want her back in my bed. You have no right!”

Ma’indo’s beak opened wide spewing Awkward tense change. “And spewed” instead. an unkindness I guess this is technically what a group of ravens is called, but not knowing that, it comes off as a weak descriptor. I’m probably just nit-picking. of ravens at Roaan. His voice boomed.Like the first paragraph, this would be better appended to the next line of dialogue

“You want her back?” he said asked. “I will give you one chance you ignorant mortal.”

“Yes, anything” Roaan pleaded.

“There’s a man, Alon, he is protected by the god of the ocean, residing too deep in the abyssal plains of the Cold Sea where I cannot retrieve souls. He has lived too long under that protection. It is past due he entered the void.”

“How do I reach him? I cannot swim or breath in water.”

“A man cannot reach the abyssal plains. A man can reach the Monkey. Go to where the dead in your village lay, then beneath the great harrownut tree,unnecessary comma where the earth is thinner. It’s You confuse its for it’s a throughout the rest of the story roots reach the space between this earth and the Monkey. You must have the Monkey drop the sixth corner of the earth, he shall spill the Cold Sea into the Void and I will be able to fly into the empty depths and retrieve Alon’s soul. Do that, and you shall have your Meriva back in your bed as you ask.”

Without another word, Ma’indo flew into the burnt yellow sky of Roaan’s dream.


The harrownut tree grew amongst the barrows on the edge of the village. Towering over everything in the village, the leaves were a sickly shade of blue-green. Roaan guessed it would take 50 men, arms outstretched, to encircle the trunk. He wandered around the tree before realising that it probably didn’t matter where he dug, since the only way to go was down.

The shovel pierced the earth with ease in the wet soil. Roaan dug for hours before the townsfolks started to notice. Rumours start to spread. Another tense change. Be very careful with that. It’s not technically wrong, but there isn’t any reason for it. It just makes the reader stop for a second to see if they read it correctly.

“He’s gone mad” said one woman.

“He’s desecrating the barrows because his wife’s dead. His desires have become darker.” said a tavern worker.
On the second day the village guards were sent to investigate.

“Halt, what are you doing?”

Roaan did not halt, but he did answer the captain’s question.
The captain’s brow furrowed, his hand moved cautiously to the hilt of his mace.

“You would profane someone’s grave. Why? To defile their corpse?”

“There are no dead buried beneath the trunk of the tree captain” sighed Roaan as though put out by all the questions. “It is a personal matter between me and the Gods.”

The captain’s scowl faded into a piteous look.

“So it’s true, you have gone mad. Let’s go men. He will eventually tire himself with grief.”

Weeks passed, and as the hole got deeper, Roaan’s hands blistered. He would barely sleep or eat, he would take a bucket down the hole, in the morning it was filled with food, of a night it would be filled with poo poo. Finally, one early afternoon, Roaan dug into a massive tangle of tree roots, there was no more soil, just the gnarled stems winding and entwining each other. Settling on a heavy axe to swing through the roots and an old rusty mattock to pry at them, Roaan kept digging. As he slashed through roots he found himself getting colder until he swung the axe and a bundle of roots gave way beneath his legs. Roaan fell.


Roaan squinted, trying to get his eyes to focus. Hanging by his tangled foot, he’d lost his axe to the Void, but managed to save his mattock, strapped to his back. Looking below, the great Monkey walked through the Void beneath him. Stepping on nothing, its footfalls were slow, sure, and steady. Roaan looked up, the tree roots spread out across the horizon, woven together, holding the soil and water of the earth in place. A cosmological wicker bowl. Many more roots hung down. It would be easy to climb to the Monkey. Roaan untangled his foot descended the root ladder.

Roaan had scrambled all the way down to the Monkeys back and trudging through its fur, making his way towards the arm holding the sixth corner of the earth. Fighting his way through the forest of fur, he noticed the first arm he passed was unusually tense. Looking to the ceiling he saw that the Monkey’s hands were holding one corner of the earth by two fingertips, occasionally switching one finger for another, all of them burnt and blackened. Roaan decided that corner harboured the volcanoes of the north. The next arm was covered in goosebumps Two words, shivering, he looked to the roots and saw this arm was frozen to the corner by a great sheet of ice.

Three arms later he had found what he wanted, a cold trickle of water running down the Monkey’s arm. Climbing down between the monkey’s wet fur, towards its armpit, he wasn’t sure what he was going to do yet. In his mind he thought he might be able to tickle the monkey, but that could lead to disaster on the surface if he were to spill any other corner of earth.

Hanging by the hairs, Roaan sureveyed surveyed the Monkey’s armpit, not sure what to do next. He spotted what he needed, a large boil, festering and swollen with pus.
“As good a way as any to make a monkey flinch.” he thought. I don’t think you need quotes here. It automatically makes me think he’s talking aloud.

Roaan hurled the Mattock. It spiralled spiraled through the air and lodged into the boil.
Despondent, Roann screamed at the pustule.

“gently caress you! Burst!” tears ran down his face. Woah woah. This is really awkward. He just threw the mattock at the boil and he’s already literally crying about it not working? You needed to at least mention that it appeared Roann’s actions were ineffective. Still, that’s not actually why he would cry. It’s because he’s trying to save his wife. If you don’t set up all of that properly, he just looks like a whiny baby.


The Monkeys tail swung into its armpit, bursting the boil, blood and bile gushed out and the mattock fell to join Roaan’s axe in the Void.
After the tail’s impact, Roaan was stunned to find himself swinging through the Void, grasping to the Monkey’s tail.
The tail slowed Roaan, stared into the gargantuan eye on the Monkey’s stomach. It stared back at him, then glanced to the east, its arm had lowered, water and icebergs spilled into the Void. Roaan had done it.

The Monkey’s eye grew red and shuddered, a horrendous rumble emanated from its stomach, it placed Roaan into his mouth with its tail, turned its head to the root ceiling and spat.

For a deity with one eye, the monkey had amazing depth perception. Roaan rocketed straight into his hole, he saw a dim light at the end, brightening. He lost momentum, and at the apex of trajectory, bumped a branch of the Harrownut tree with a soft thud. The He? crashed to the ground below. A single leaf, red as monkey’s blood, fell.

Roaan picked himself up and ran home. He burst through the door covered in dirt and monkey spit. A tuft of chestnut hair poked out from the bed covers.
“Meriva!” he cried pulling back the sheets.
A rotting skull greeted him, maggots fell out of the eye socket. What was left of her skin, barely clung to her boned. A banging at the door announced the village guard. The village guard? Probably a village guard right?
“Open up you sick bastard, we know what you’ve done!” said the muffled yells of the Captain's voice.

In the distance a Raven's cawed sounded like laughter. This is not satisfying. It really feels like the crow is laughing at the reader instead of Roaan.

You have an assignment: to learn how to use goddamn commas. It isn’t obvious at first glance, but the above is rife with little bolded commas and periods. I’m not confident that I properly fixed everything, but it’s better. One thing I didn’t bother messing with is your quotation grammar, but again, that’s mostly the parts dealing with commas. Not only that, but there are egregious spelling errors in there. You submitted this story early and it’s really rude to not so much as give your own words a proper edit for readability. Fix this, or nobody will want to do nice things for you.

The story itself isn't terrible, just lukewarm. What makes it most unsatisfying is that there’s no reason for Ma’indo to be such a dick. Yeah, gods have fun loving around with mortals and all of that, but at no point am I lead to believe that this big crow has any reason to screw over a guy doing him a huge favor. You’re going for a “be careful what you wish for” sort of ending, but what I’m getting out of it is “if your wife dies, don’t be such a pansy about it.”

Half of your descriptions are almost good. I felt like I knew what you were going for but then your pacing or sentence structure undermined everything.

Dec 19, 2007


I need a song.

Dec 19, 2007

In. :toxx:

Dec 19, 2007

Touching the Heavens
Wordcount: 1,358
Historic Figure: Nikola Tesla

Brilliant white flashes of light invade a young Nikola Tesla’s mind. An ethereal space without boundary presents itself and is promptly filled by a great heap of mechanical articles. Each of them perfectly represented in shape, size, and weight. They disassemble into constituent parts, bend, or spin as he wills. The pile of parts gradually diminishes until only a few objects remain.

He opens his eyes and is back in the kitchen. His mother is ineffectually sloshing a fork around in a bowl of raw eggs meant for breakfast.

Nikola sprints outdoors, scavenges parts from an old bicycle, and returns to his room with an armful of parts.

The next day, Nikola presents a funny looking contraption to his mother. A crank turns a gear which spins a rod attached to a sprocket with radially attached spokes.

“I made this for you, so that stirring eggs is easier,” he says while presenting his creation.

“Oh, is this what you’ve been working on? Well thank you! You always manage to brighten my day.”

Twenty-five years later, Nikola sits in a burgeoning power plant of his own creation. The room is sparse with the exception of an electrical device which is spewing forth a constant stream of man-sized lightning bolts.

A small and thin bespectacled woman cautiously enters from the room opposite Nikola.

“Mr. Tesla, I’m afraid I have some bad news.”

“Is it Morgan again?”

“Yes, he’s sent a letter saying that if you don’t present a showing of your invention by the end of the month that he will cease any further funding.”

Nikola winced almost imperceptibly.

“Very well. Make an appointment with the builder’s association for an installation on the twenty-eighth.”

He stands, turns off the, electrical emitter, and makes his way outdoors. He stops for a moment to look at his invention, a tower thirty feet in diameter which rises seventy feet into the air and holds a giant hemisphere with a hundred antennae poking out of its surface.

He was already on his second day without sleep and thought it best to get some rest and visit Lilly for good luck before the coming days of extreme labor. He hopped into his car and drove home.

Once home, Nikola moved to his bedroom and propped open his window. Before he can so much as grab a bag of seed, a bright white dove swooped inside and landed elegantly upon the sill. Nikola’s eyes brighten and a genial smile pierces his dogged face.

“Lilly, I was hoping you’d come to wish me luck.”

He strokes the dove with one hand and presents a palm of millet with the other.

“I’ve a week of hard labor ahead of me, but by the end I think the world should see my efforts were not wasted.” He paused, “I hope I have not made promises no mortal can keep. What do you think?”

Lilly brushed her head against Nikola’s thumb. Somehow, he felt a great lifted from his shoulders and finally, he was able to rest.

On the day of the tower’s presentation, Nikola arrived well before sunrise. He checked each nut and bolt, every point of contact or conductivity and compared it to the blueprint in his mind. No fault could be accepted on this day. A $250,000 investment and a life’s reputation was at stake.

J.P. Morgan arrived at 10 a.m. exactly. His punctuation seemed more of an aggressive gesture than one of courtesy to Nikola.

Morgan approached Nikola with a stony gaze, his enormous stature dwarfed Nikola.

“Mr. Tesla, I hope for your own sake that you have not wasted my money, and more importantly, my time.”

“I assure you that I have checked and rechecked each component individually. Tomorrow’s papers will herald a new age of enlightenment.”

“I will believe it when I see it. Your claims have become increasingly bold as Marconi’s radio waves have gained mainstream attention.”

A small crowd consisting of Morgan’s partners, a group of journalists, and a handful of curious citizens pooled about a small stage set fifty feet from the power station. Nikola took to the stand.

“Ladies and gentlemen! First, thank you all for attending this historic event, it is truly my own pleasure.”

A hush blanketed the crowd at Nikola’s surprisingly commandeering voice.

“I have dedicated my life to the invention and distribution of electrical energy. AC power has revolutionized our societal infrastructure and I stand before you to reveal an invention which will once again enlighten the world.”

He then focused his attention to a desk that stood next to him and gestured toward a large power switch. A wire trailed from the switch to the power station behind him. He picked up a loose light bulb which also sat upon the table and held it aloft.

“As I flip this switch, please keep an eye on the bulb in my hand.”

He grabbed the switch handle and swung it to the “on” position.

Nothing happened. The moments of nothing happened grew into agonizing seconds of nothing happening. Everyone’s gaze shifted between the enormous tower and the obviously-not-glowing light bulb between Nikola’s fingers.

Morgan shot Nikola a look of complete disgust and contempt. The press began furiously writing notes that were surely clever and scathing headlines for the following day's papers.

He'd checked so thoroughly, what could possibly have gone wrong? Failure sat in his throat like a swallowed stone. He couldn't speak, what could he say that wasn't already evident?

Eventually the crowd dissipated along with the whispers of disappointment and schadenfreude. At one point Morgan said something about “utter embarrassment” and a “money pit” before marching off, but Nikola wasn’t lucid enough to comprehend.

He languished at the presenter’s podium, pulling apart the design and putting it back together. It wasn’t until he heard a familiar coo that he snapped out of his trance.

“Lilly, what are you doing all the way out here?”

As he looked around at her, he realized that the sky had darkened considerably in the time he remained idle.

“You should go home. It looks like the weather is going to turn wretched.”

Nikola attempted to pet Lilly, but she lashed out and nipped his finger. He was taken aback, she'd never aggressed him before. She flew away, her white plumage contrasting against the tumultuous dark clouds. She landed atop the tower.

Nikola couldn't understand. It seemed only instinctual for a pigeon to find shelter in increasingly dire weather such as this. He couldn’t help but feel beckoned by her peculiar behavior.

As he approached, rumblings began to echo in the distance, but still Lilly remained motionless on the tower.

He began to climb to tower, if only to carry away Lilly. About three quarters up the base of the tower, he saw it. A capacitor that had been partially melted, probably a faulty part due to the monetary concessions he'd had to make in the last year of the project.

From the corner of his eye, he saw Lilly fly back toward home. A wave of relief and hope washed over him as he thought that just maybe the difference between failure and success was a single parts order away.

He began to wrench apart the connectors at either side of the rather large capacitor as if it were some kind of tumor requiring surgical intervention.

A bolt of lightning burst through the clouds and struck the tower. Electricity jolted through the entirety of the tower nearly instantaneously and Nikola could no longer let go. The strike powered the entire tower, which attracted another bolt of lightning, and another, and another. In the bat of an eye, a self-sustaining cycle between the tower and natural forces was established. A great lightshow of white, purple, and blue rivaling that of the northern lights flickered across the menacing clouds. Lightning assaulted the tower as if they were the appendages of Zeus himself.

For the brief moment he had, Nikola felt as if the gods themselves had reached down and bestowed their powers upon him. For a brief moment, the street lights in town glowed blindingly bright. And then they dimmed.

Dec 19, 2007

Broenheim posted:

since i failed to submit (again) i once again offer 3 line-by-line crits, with a :toxx: being placed that I will finish them by next sunday. this is for any week, just link me to your story and ill be happy to crit 'em.

edit: two taken up by curlingiron and doctor idle, still one left for my super awesome crits

I'll take the last one.

I recognize some obvious problems, but I think I could use some down 'n dirty help. Thanks!

Thanks to curlingiron for the crit as well :)

Dec 19, 2007

I'm in.

Thanks for the crits GP and Tyrannosaurus.

Dec 19, 2007

Wordcount: 1321

No amphetamine can match the driving force behind the realization that you need to leave exactly six minutes ago. Each screech of the alarm clock is another strike of the chisel into my corpus callosum. I fumble to find the off-switch on the dust encrusted clock, take three aspirin with a swig of flat beer, and force my body to carry my desiccated brain. Mismatched socks? Whatever. Tie in half-Windsor or full-Windsor? gently caress the tie. I go to splash water on my face to wash away the shame of a drunken night, but the faucet just made a pitiful croak. I must not have paid the water bill.

I somehow manage to put together a professional looking outfit and leave in just under five minutes. I could probably make it on time if I lead-foot a bit. I start compulsively picking my nose. A bad habit, but it’s a small comfort and besides, I need to look well-groomed and nobody likes a glimpse of a nasal passage that looks like a forgotten cave system.

Then I hit a pothole, probably large enough to bury a family dog. My fingernail rocketed to the edge of my sinus and tore a gash along the cartilage on the bridge of my nose. Tears instantly welled up in my eyes and the searing pain radiates across my face until my ears are throbbing. The warmth of blood consumed my hand and flowed down my arm. I slammed on the brakes and pulled to the shoulder. The blood was out of control, I dug around frantically trying to find anything to shut the floodgates. I found some restaurant napkins in the glove box and packed half of one into my nostril like I was loading a musket. I put the rest of the napkins in my jacket pocket, then got out of the car.

I had a blown out tire. After a bout of cursing and rock kicking, I popped the trunk, fetched a spare, a jack, and a lug wrench and got to work. I had to switch out my impromptu nose tourniquet four times before I finished changing out the tire. I didn’t bother checking the clock, I figured I was running fifteen minutes late at that point, but what was I going to do, go back to my shithole of a home and twiddle my thumbs? No, I was going to make the interview, out of spite if nothing else.

For the rest of the trip I tried to figure out what the hell else I was going to do if I couldn’t get a job within the next month. Every time I had to change out a napkin, I felt my chances of a good impression drain away.

Upon arriving, I spent a minute in my car doing what I could to clear the blood stains away from my face and hands, but spit can only take you so far. I walked into an empty waiting room, voices could be heard from a nearby hallway. I sat down for a moment in case anybody saw my entrance from a window, but after a few minutes it was clear that nobody was going to fetch me. They'd probably given up on my showing. I decided to find a bathroom to clean up in before finding the interviewers and apologizing like hell.

I found the bathroom around the hallway where the voices echoed. A man was pissing in a urinal. I tried to wash my bloodied hands before he could take notice, but the sink was still stained red by time he was finished. I didn't glance his way, but saw his shocked expression reflected off of the mirror before he left. I changed out the napkin in my nose, only to break apart the coagulation and find that the blood continued to flow in contest with the faucet. I had to say my piece, maybe beg for a reschedule, and bid adieu as soon as possible or risk passing out.

I cleaned up nicely in the bathroom. As long as I kept my head down to hide the bloody rag, I looked like an honest-to-God professional citizen. When I walked out of the bathroom, I saw two men giving farewells and handshakes to a woman, one of the men was the one from the bathroom. I waited for the woman to part ways and caught the attention of the two men.

"Hi, I had an interview at 10 a.m. today," I said sheepishly.

The man from the bathroom greeted me, "Mark was it? I'm Jim and this is Ted. You're pretty early."

My stomach churned. Were they screwing with me? His face didn't betray any sarcasm. "Early?" I asked.

"Oh no, did you forget about daylight savings time last night? We gained an hour, 'fall back' you know?"

I decided to lie, "Well I didn't know I was quite that early! I was in the waiting room wondering if I'd gotten the times mixed up." It was a gamble, but if it worked my morning might not have been as pointless as I thought.

"That's a shame, hopefully you didn't lose any good hours of sleep over it." He glanced at his watch, "Give us another ten or fifteen minutes and we'll be right with you. Sorry to make you wait any more, but we like to discuss the previous applicant and reacquaint ourselves with the next one’s qualifications," he paused, “Are you feeling alright today?” His tone was certainly referential to what he saw in the bathroom.

“I’ve been better, but I’m ready whenever you two are.”

I sat back in the waiting room confused about whether I should be frustrated or relieved about the situation. I touched my nose rag with the tip of my finger, it was already moist with blood. I'd changed it only a few minutes ago and that had only made things worse. I tipped my head back and let the accumulated blood slide down my throat.

When Jim and Ted came to retrieve me, I felt a little nausea and lightheadedness. I couldn't tell if it was nerves or blood loss, but it seemed paltry compared to how the rest of my morning had gone. We shook hands and they led me to the interview room.

The interview was going surprisingly smoothly. Whenever they'd ask a question I would tilt my head back slightly and cover my bleeding nostril with the second knuckle of my forefinger—allowing me a chance to dispose of the blood in my stomach and check for any leaks. The nausea grew.

"What's something special you can bring to the table for us? This question isn't about your qualifications per se, but more about when you as a person are at your best. What is it that sets Mark Cormack apart from everybody else?"

What a stupid question. They want me to sit here and tell them I'm better than everybody else? Maybe I should cum all over the table while I'm at it? I feign my "thinking deeply" pose to swallow more blood.

"Well, I would say I'm great at—hooeh."

They look up from their papers with wide eyes.

"Ahem, excuse me. I would say that I'm a great-."

Nothing could stop it. My stomach called it quits and ejected a fountain of bloody vomit across the table before I could as much as turn my head to the side. Their curses were drowned out by my guttural wretches.

With my stomach finally appeased, I was able to look up from the floor and at the massacre I'd created. I glanced at the pools of carmine vomit that their papers stewed in, and then at Jim and Ted standing mouth agape with horror in the corner. Maybe it was the lightheadedness, but some great cosmic joke had possessed me and refused to let go. Not as they fruitlessly tried to salvage their papers, nor as they aggressively asked me to leave, nor as they dialed 911. It just got funnier and funnier.

Dec 19, 2007

My wordcount is wrong. Should be 1343 if MS Word is to be trusted. I AM SORRY.

Thanks a ton for the line crit Broenheim!

Dec 19, 2007


Dec 19, 2007

New ad idea: just a wizard.

Dec 19, 2007

I failed to make a wizard story so I'm going to atone by doing some indiscriminate line crits for new people until I can't stand it anymore

Here's one for Puzzle Pieces by The Shortest Path

edit: whoops, apparently that just said ~fart~ for a while. Hopefully I just fixed the link.

wigglin fucked around with this message at 20:13 on Apr 28, 2015

Dec 19, 2007

Line crits take forever and are exhausting. Here's another two. I am done doing line crits for now.

Run, Wizard, Run by CrazySalamander

Minor Opportunity by Sodacan

Dec 19, 2007

I'm in with a :toxx:

Dec 19, 2007

Maggie’s Tale
Wordcount: 830

My father once said that tears were a luxury the brokenhearted took for granted. I never knew what that meant until the morning I found his body in the chapel, slumped over and throat slit. His pockets were emptied and the offertory chest was missing; a midnight genuflection turned to murderous theft. Seeing his body there--his eyes wide at the sight of heaven--was like lighting a match, and I had no idea there was so much gunpowder in my belly.

Sheriff Tom just stood there looking stupid. I never thought of him as much of a sheriff beyond the badge.

“Could have been the Sharp brothers. Rumor is they hit Fairbank about a month ago,” he said.

“What are you going to do about it?” I asked.

“Nobody heard or saw a thing so there’s not much I can do ‘cept put a gun on nights and another on investigation.”

“I’m going.”

He gave me a look like he’d just drank from a spittoon, “Like hell you are! Look, I’m as sorry as sorry can be about your father, but they’re cutthroats Maggie, and they’d do twice as wrong to you if they got the chance.” His tone softened, “You ought to be in mourning, not out for a bounty.”

“You’re right,” I said, “but peace doesn’t always come dressed in black.”


The smell of violet water still lingered in my father’s room, like wilting flowers not yet aware they’re dead. I put his riding clothes on, they were a loose fit, but I didn’t have time to make a trade at the outfitters and it wasn’t likely they stocked anything I wore well. I opened the drawer of the bedside table and found his six-shooter alongside a scattering of ammunition. The gun was as long as my forearm and weighed probably as much. The steel stole warmth from my fingers and possessed an immaculate sheen—I’d never seen him use it. I dropped a bullet into each chamber and carefully snapped the mechanism back into place.


When the damp chill of desert night was boiled away by the rising sun, I packed my bags and rode east, towards the mountain range. I didn’t have any reason to go towards the mountains except my gut said that a coward would go wherever there was a hole to hide in. From a distance, it looked as if the range was only ten miles off, but the further I rode, the bigger they seemed to become.

The sun was threatening to settle at my back by time I’d arrived at the foot of the mountain. My horse, sweet Daisy, was probably more relieved than I was to be finished with the trek. I fed her the last of one pouch of food and tied her to a skinny tree.

A scream like someone grasped a hot coal echoed off the rocky corridors. It was hard to pinpoint, but I could make a good guess of where the noise came from. About five hundred yards out, and not a difficult climb.

I walked slow, but dead silent, sacrificing the sun’s visibility for subtlety. When only the moon and stars guided my step, I’d found it.

The encampment was nestled below the cliff I was perched upon. There was little in the way of gear, not even a horse. I grabbed hold of my pistol with one hand and inched down the side of the rock face. Whoever was here must still be on the range, or worse, they’d already left.

As I hopped down from a ledge, I heard a pitiful gasp for air. I whipped my head towards it, gun at the ready. A pair of feet were sticking out from an alcove. I cocked the hammer, but it broke the silence so abruptly that I may as well have shot the drat thing.

“Help,” called a raspy voice.

I moved closer and found a man propped against a stone wall. His hand was pressed against a gash torn across his neck. Blood flowed freely down his arm and drained into a pool beside him.

“Cougar, fuckin’ cougar from nowhere. Miss, you gotta—“

“Do you have any money?” I interjected.

He managed to lift his free hand to point behind me. It was the offertory chest stolen from the church.

My heart quickened and my hands quivered. This was the man that murdered my father in cold blood. I pointed the gun at him with a renewed sense of purpose.

“You murdered a man last night. That man was my father.”

He tried to chuckle, but just made a gurgling noise instead. “Shoot, if you need.”

For a long time I watched him twist and cough and writhe. Somehow I felt I’d been robbed, not of my father, but of vengeance. I wanted to pull the trigger more than anything I’ve ever wanted. But as hot tears washed over my face, I realized I didn’t need to.

Dec 19, 2007

JcDent posted:

As for me criting... well, there's a reason I have this avatar.

Is it because you refuse to critically examine other written works?

You don't need a qualification to have an opinion, let alone a reaction.

Dec 19, 2007

I think I understand the prompt now.

Dec 19, 2007

Shaking a spear over here.


Dec 19, 2007

Eyes Only For You
"A man tries to study in seclusion but succumbs to the temptations of love."
827 words

Katherine Morse stood next to a patient whose face was wrapped in bandages. Opposite of her was Dr. McLafferty, the surgeon, and at the foot of the bed a journalist snapped photos of the scene.

“Are you ready to see the world?” McLafferty asked the patient.

“Yes, but more than that I’d like to be rid of this scratchy gauze.”

McLafferty looked to Katherine and said, “You do the honors.”

She unraveled the gauze with caution. The woman’s face was swollen. More bandages were adhered to incision points on the corners of her eyes and the eyelids. She peeled the bandages from the eyelids and told the patient to open her eyes slowly.

Katherine gazed at the most beautiful eyes she’d ever seen. Bronze stars surrounded the receding pupils and burst outward into verdant green spindles. She thought of how many more hours she could have spent lost in their tangled webs.

“How does everything look?” McLafferty asked.

“I can make out light and dark and shapes, I think.” Her eyes were darting, trying to make sense of the sudden visual overload. Then they became wet and glossy with the flow of tears.

Katherine felt like she’d been jabbed in the glottis. She waited for the journalist to take close-ups of the patient and drifted unnoticed from the room. The sounds of idle chatter, the sick coughing, the metallic rattling of gurneys, and the incessant beep beep beep of cardiac monitors was all too much. She threw her body past doorways and thrust wheelchairs to the side until she found the quiet of her basement office a building away.

She dug through the bottom drawer of her desk and pulled out a small blue flask with a “K” emblazoned on its side. She swallowed a few sips and vowed—for the second time this month—to finally leave drinking for home.

Just as she put her lab coat on, a brisk knocking echoed from the door. She paused, wondering if she could get away with pretending to be absent, but the knocking continued and she acquiesced.

“Hi, I’m Ed Tully. I was just talking with Dr. McLafferty about your research on this procedure and he suggested that I come talk with you.”

“So McLafferty ratted out my office huh?”

“I like to think of it as a lead.”

“I’ve got a lot of work to do.” Katherine plucked the sleeve of her lab coat.

“All I need is five minutes of time. Really simple stuff, Dr. McLafferty filled me in on the basics. It would just work better with a quote or two from you.”

“Five minutes, okay.”

She hustled to her desk and made note of the time.

He began, “Dr. McLafferty was responsible for the transplantation, but what was it about your research that made this case especially impactful?”

“This was the first successful procedure using lab-grown eyes. Currently, the waiting list for transplants is a mile long, but if we can control the supply then it would be considerably shorter. Maybe one day there won’t be a list at all.”

“We’ve seen lab-grown organs in the past, but the eye has been particularly problematic. Why is that?”

“With other organs, size was the most difficult problem to solve because they’d collapse on their own weight. That’s a mitigated concern here, especially because of the work others have done to solve that problem. The main difficulty with the human eye is the complexity.” Katherine swallowed hard, “They’re delicate—intricate beyond belief.”

“It’s to my understanding that the seeding donor for-”

“Dr. Welch was a brilliant scientist, and we were lucky to have her while we did.” Her heart seemed to beat outside of her chest. She knew she was being abruptly dismissive, but couldn’t bring herself to care. She stood.

“Like I’ve said, I have a lot of important work to do today.”

After she showed him out, she sank back into her chair and tried to calm down. There was no whiskey left. She put the emptied flask into her lab coat pocket and made her way down the hall, toward her personal lab.

She set the flask onto a counter top, and instinctively opened the cooler. It was always the same horrific sight, Janice Welch’s eyes floating in well-labeled jars, suspended in preservative. Each one stared eternally back at Katherine. They used to be filled with joy when Katherine arrived to work, surprised when Katherine arrived at 11:57 p.m. on February 14th, and teary when they watched a bad romance movie. But now they just stared into the abyss.

She reached in the reagent cabinet for ethanol, but what she found herself holding instead was a bottle of methanol. She thought of the patient with Janice’s eyes, how they were alive again at last, and a pang of jealousy overwhelmed her.

Fifteen milliliters, no more, no less.


Dec 19, 2007

Yo, did you get my job app? I have customer service experience and can totally pass a urine test.
Wait, a hair test? What is this North Korea?


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