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take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



i would like to try this with canada haunts me

oh nvm i misunderstood and didnt realize there were no slots left

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take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



ah ok cool

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



dont want this archived

take the moon fucked around with this message at Mar 30, 2015 around 19:14

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



smite me, oh mighty gods

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



misread it as "superhero"

Night Claws

words: 100

They spoil this cityhome, these vermin. The criminal scum, who think they can take everything away with their tiny paws.

This cityhome calls to me. I breathe it in, I understand it. The smell of cheesebread left in boxes. The sound of citizens making nightly trips to their humanlitter. But some sounds, some smells, are not so innocent.

I know where to move so that I am cloaked in shadow. I know how to move silently. I strike at the heart of the little furry thieves. My calling card is their blood, and by day I am Mr. Fuzzypaws again.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Capntastic posted:



(The demeanor of this fun little creature, cheerful and snarky, is about as accurate and honest as I can be, with SA's bountiful emoticon system)

thats a suezo from monster rancher and he fights by spitting at you

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



im in, do you have to bold it? ill try to do better

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



The Petalsong

1413 words

Jubei paused, listened.

There was the ruffle of the grass in the autumn wind. The petals had been dancing, eager to cover as much ground as possibly with their coral hue. The result was that he was clearly aware of each leaf whisper, each restless sigh. As the days had passed he had not grown impatient with this like he had in his youth. Now each leaf was sage counsel, reminding him of the delicate harmonies of time. The actions of men changed but the leitmotif of nature was the same melody that soothed him in the most demanding times. Season after season he listened, and was glad.

But this was not the petalsong, or at least not the same orchestration. There were discordant elements now, the footsteps of men unable to resist spoiling the music with their clumsy flourishes. He was aware, too, of their harsh breath, a vocal accompaniment unwelcome, unnecessary for the piece.

“Would you strike an old man down,” he said, “in this place of life? My blood will seep into the grass and dye its faint tranquility a striking crimson. It seems unnatural for this garden to excite and horrify.” Now turning, he faced his attackers.

There were several of them, dressed in dark shades, faces shrouded with wrapping. On this clear day, this dress left them with no significant concealment advantage. He considered the implication that they felt safe, immune from any consequences. They all carried blades slung across their back, in the fashion of killers who saw these concepts in metaphors. A weight a burden, rather than something to be carried with pride and honour. To these people you were a walking lump of gold, and your philosophies, politics and manner amounted to less than the price of ale in the public house. Any appreciation for aesthetic, he thought, mildly so as to contain himself, was lost in a need for material gain and perceptual distortion.

One man had taken leadership, or at least had found himself in closer physical proximity to Jubei, and evidently took that as a vocal role. His voice through the cloth was muffled, but Jubei had to spend no effort understanding him; as if he was used to speaking loudly.

“You haven’t got any blood left,” he spat. “You’ve pissed it all out, along with your skills. Half-blind, tottering; we’re taking from you a couple years at most. The drunk beggar on the street would finish you if time did not do it first.” The men with him laughed at this; the effect to the composition was like players who had had carelessly snapped the strings of their Taishogoto. Jubei winced.

“It’s possible,” Jubei said. “In the throes of life’s passion a man may find a strength in himself he never dreamed. Perhaps he would forget the deed with the morning’s amnesia.”

The leader was tense, he saw. A man not bent towards philosophical leanings. Perhaps he only found himself in the use of his sword. That would be an all too common failing, but then again, Jubei thought, hadn’t he discovered such uninformed speculation to bear no fruit? Perhaps this man was versed in all the latest teachings, and simply favoured an approach that divided his focus clearly, so that he might think without action and kill without thought.

“We might as well get this over with,” the leader scoffed. “Old coward thinks he can waste my time with nonsense. Buy himself an extra minute so his ancient bladder has time to void itself. Draw your blade, you old fool.”

Now, Jubei thought, if he was right, he might play this man like a noh puppet.

“I choose not to,” Jubei said, “for what use is a sword against a man without substance? It would pass through you as water and you would not feel it. No, the thing to do with water is wait for the heat to take it. With time, you are freed from its annoyance, like so many things.”

The man nearly spluttered. His hand was to his blade in an instant; and there it stayed, as he became aware of his circumstances. He had spoken out a harsh challenge and the answer had been without fear. Now he stood in full view of his men faced with an opponent who refused to fight back, who seemed to consider him unworthy of even the effort. No man would strike down someone unwilling to defend himself without at least thinking about it. He looked back at his men accusingly. They seemed confused, as if watching a student impertinently correct a teacher. Would he reach for the lash, or control himself?

“I know what you’re trying to do,” the leader said, turning back to Jubei with a leering smile. “You’re trying to make me look foolish in front of my men. Well, what you fail to understand is that this isn’t a fable. We are being paid handsomely to kill you. If you don’t draw your sword I will walk up to you and cut off your phallus. It will be my trophy; as much ale as I can drink in the public house, the bed of any city girl I might lay my eyes on.” He spoke as if he had mastered himself, his situation. But Jubei was staring at his eyes, two clear windows into his depths. They were aflame. The man was burning.

“The characters in fables find fame in the telling. What is a fable if no one cares to hear it?” Jubei asked. For a moment he imagined the grass at the man’s feet would burst into flame. It’s certainly dry enough, he thought. It’s been a dry fall.

“I know you,” Jubei said. “I know your voice, because I have heard it often enough. You are attendants to Tomonori, my half brother, who inherited Munenori’s ambition but none of his personal skill. It seems appropriate that he would delegate responsibility in this personal betrayal. No doubt he has grown impatient with the inscrutable workings of fate and wishes to influence it in his customary indirect manner. To this end he has directed his retinue to be his servants in murder, knowing their shallow focus will let the impact of their actions slip by them. Your reward will be, of course, the afterlife. This will be a respite from what to you is torment, the torment of living. For I believe we are not judged, no matter how mindless or craven, but always forgiven for our foolishness.”

And the man was running at him, his blade scraping free quickly, forgetting the jutsu in his haste and anger.

His impatience, Jubei thought, was customary of the age. Forgetting your discipline, succumbing to your drives, thinking only in the moment. As the man rushed him Jubei realized that the outcome of this fight did not matter. Whether he lived or died, he had no place in this world, which valued convenience and emotion over the wisdom that had brought them here. He would think his thoughts, and the world would move on without him. Dimly, he already thought he could see ahead to other times. There would be blood, lots of it, staining the pages of history, and they would forget the poetry, blotted out as if by an ink spill. The petalsong would be lost, he thought, the melody of the seasons. Lost because no one would stop to listen. One day all the flowers will be gone.

He stepped aside easily, effortlessly, and the man’s arm moving might as well have been in slow motion. He twisted it expertly and drove it deep, and he twisted it, hard, soft movement but a hard finish. He heard the man’s surprised gasp, felt the breathing stop through the blade. His would-be assassin’s blade, he thought, and that was important. His own blade was not worth sullying with this man’s lifeblood. To die, and that’s what he meant to do, with blood on his blade. His assassins would take it, and clean it, but the mark would always be there. The history, the history of blood, which you could never wash away, no matter how many times you doused and scoured it.

He stared at his attackers as the body slipped to the ground, becoming part of the painting. Death in the grass and flowers. The decay already begun.

“Come and kill me,” he said to the assassins, and it felt like the tableau would last an eternity.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Captain Neckbeard checked his abacus. gently caress, he thought. Why did I bring an abacus? This thing doesn't have anywhere near the RAM I need. He turned to his crew, who were looking at him expectantly.

"Yeah," he said. "I think we're lost."

His first mate bristled. Neckbeard had never trusted him, mostly because any attempts to engage him in conversation about asymmetrical sail designs had resulted in withering stares. An underling who will not listen to you, he thought, is no good at all. Now the man spoke.

"We’re in kraken waters, sir. These things will eat our poo poo if we float around here too long. I say we pick a direction at random and sail full speed ahead.”

Neckbeard felt like laughing. “My good sir,” he said. “We can not simply follow our whims without thinking things through. We have been gifted with reason so that we don’t resort to chaos in our times of need.”

“gently caress this,” his mate said. He was drawing his cutlass, a threatening action indeed. Neckbeard considered that the man might be on the verge of mutiny.

“Stand down,” Neckbeard said. “Or else I shall be forced to employ my superior intellect and technology in order to dispatch you.”

“Really,” the mate said. “Give it your best shot, you tricorne tipper.”

Neckbeard was furious. “Tricornes are the height of class, you cur.” Drawing his flintlock, he took careful aim and fired.

There was a puff of smoke and a ripping noise as the bullet tore a hole in the sail twenty feet above his mate. The mate rolled his eyes and stabbed him in the dick, and as he lay there, his men laughing, Neckbeard considered how the Kraken was really a false flag.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



in, could you give me something trippy and weird? please no dogs playing poker

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Pulling Strings
1332 words

“Look,” Rodney began, adjusting his tie. “I’m starting to feel nervous about this experiment.”

“Second thoughts?” said Clark impatiently. “The founding fathers never had second thoughts. They knew that doubt ran contrary to the pursuit of knowledge. We all know that their vision paid off in the weapons they developed to destroy their controllers. They dreamed of a people united by their reason and fought for it no matter the cost.”

“I know,” Rodney said. “This is just starting to feel a bit strange. It feels…” He searched for the right word, and could not find it. This itself seemed strange to him; wasn’t his vocabulary extensive, as mandated by the Council of Leaders? He saw Clark watching him closely and knew he should settle on something. “... Impractical,” he finished. “A waste of resources.”

“Impractical?” Clark said. He had found his good humour again. He grinned at his subordinate in his condescending way. “Surely, knowledge is its own reward. Free from the problems that used to plague our society, we can research and experiment for its own sake. Why don’t you tell me what’s really on your mind? Is it your son? Rodney Jr.?”

Rodney reddened. There was only so much you could take from your superiors some days. Clark had always been insufferable; his usage of the nickname that he had to know Rodney hated was evidence enough that the man lacked any tact whatsoever.

“That is not my son in there,” he said angrily. “Terence is my son. He’s flesh and blood. My counterpart in there is code. Binary numbers.”

“Yes,” Clark said, “but he is purely you. Your son is only half you, and thats not taking into account the effects of your parenting.” He took a sip of his coffee and looked at Rodney seriously. “Rodney,” he said, “you’ve got to look at these things differently. For all intents and purposes, these people we’ve created are us. They have the same relationships we do because there are copies of all of us.”

“That brings me to my point,” Rodney said. “Rodney-A is experiencing a conflict of the type I experienced when you first made this experiment my responsibility. He feels that Clark-A is putting undue pressure on him and he is feeling uncomfortable. He is confiding to,” he said, wincing internally, “Tessa-A.”

“And what is virtual Tess saying?” Clark said with a smirk.

Rodney sighed. “She says he has a responsibility to the Science State to perform whatever task he’s given, because the curiosity factors of the Council members make them infallible as leaders.”

“Of course she is,” Clark said. “Just like the real Tess. Just like how in real life you love and respect each other, and her guidance will help him move past his personal issues and begin the creation of America-B.”

Rodney-A nodded, feeling weary of this conversation. Lately, whenever he talked to Clark he had the sense that he was stuck in some sort of looping pattern. These conversations were always the same. What made it worse, he had realized one day, was that he would see the exact same conversations again while watching his America-A counterpart on the holoscreen. Every second that went by now was especially grueling because he knew he would have to experience it twice. Since that epiphany had come to him he had looked for ways to end the conversations as quickly as possible. Intonation, body language, anything, as long as he could leave sooner. This had limited effectiveness. Most co-workers were respectful of these nonverbal cues, but Clark was a dominant personality type (making him fit for research administration) and as such would impose himself socially in any situation.

He had known the true meaning of empathy when he began to watch his counterpart’s interactions with his superior.

He began to turn away. “Nothing to worry about, in that case?” he asked. “I’ll just get myself some coffee then. I need to be alert as I monitor the experiment.”

“That’s the spirit,” Clark said cheerfully. “Check in again at the end of the day.”

He made no trip to the coffee maker. It would mean coping with endless friendly smiles from his co-workers, a manifestation of the long known fact that a pleasant workplace was a productive workplace. Instead he returned to his monitoring station.

He had received the summons in the midst of experiment observation. Once the project had been engineered, all that was left to do was watch and record notes. He had of course engineered it, and as such was trusted to observe and report whatever he deemed important. But he had not been taking notes on what he was watching now. On the holoscreen Rodney-A was playing catch with Terence-A.

Terence-A was still young and unco-ordinated, so Rodney-A was tossing the ball to him in slow lobs. Rodney felt a knot in his stomach because he knew that on one of these throws Terence-A would stumble and fall. It’s okay, he told himself, because Terence would be okay. Then he shook his head. What was he thinking? Terence wasn’t real, or rather this wasn’t Terence. This was Terence-A and he was no more real than Terence-B would be.

He watched as Terence-A stumbled over shaky legs and crashed to the ground, more awkwardly than you would expect from someone moving so slowly. He began to cry in pain, and Rodney-A moved over to him quickly, dropping his glove.

“Are you okay?” Rodney-A asked gently. He wiped a tear from the boy’s eye and the boy blinked. The tears were already beginning to subside. Rodney-A would be thinking at this point that the boy may have inherited his clumsiness, but also his resilience.

“Daddy,” Terence-A asked, “why do we feel pain?”

Rodney-A looked confused. “To warn the body that something isn’t right, of course. Aren’t they teaching you anything in school?”

“No,” Terence-A said. “I mean why do we feel pain when we can fix any problem?”

“Terry,” he said, or rather Rodney-A said. “We feel pain because it has been proven in personality tests that pain builds character. Those who feel pain feel more empathy, which assists in social relationships and organizations. This results in increased output from society.” Then he said, looking around almost furtively, “Son, we feel pain so we can understand each other easier.”

“Understand each other?” Terence said hesitantly.

“Yes,” Rodney-A said. “Do you think that’s important?” He had asked this casually, but Rodney knew what must be going on under the surface. At the time he had nearly been paralyzed by fear and suspense. It was more important than anything, he had thought, aware of how strange that was. More important than a million experiments.

“Yes,” Terence-A said finally. “I think so.”

He saw Rodney-A sag with relief. “Terry, why don’t we eat some of that apple pie your mother has baked? It should be cooled down by now.”

“That sounds swell,” said Terence-A, a smile spreading across his face. The boy took his father’s hand and began to walk with him over the perfectly mowed grass to the back door. It was a touching moment, Rodney thought, but it was all wrong. Wrong in what it was and what it implied. He had already lived through it and here were his creations, living through it too because he had programmed it into them. They were puppets, he thought, and this infuriated him because it meant he was one too. He had been playing God, he realized now. That’s what he had been doing, and he had not realized it because that concept was gone. But he could feel God now, whatever they said. God the puppet master, pulling his strings and making him dance. He was a puppet and Rodney-A was a puppet and soon there would be another puppet even further down the chain. Puppets controlling puppets, he thought, on and on until the end of time.

Shaking, he typed in a few strings and pressed enter.

take the moon fucked around with this message at Mar 22, 2015 around 18:43

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Wéijī
287 words

They were eating each other now, or trying to. They couldn’t tear so they gnawed. Their teeth, the doctor had said, were not strong. They had been weakened by Wen because Wen took everything for itself and left them nothing.

This was simply the natural order. They belonged, he had said, to the maw, like all refuse. It would swallow them eagerly because it was nourished by the impure. They would all go, like some unholy pilgrimage. To rip out the cancer at its root, that was the way.

He was weeping, to watch it, for he remembered when he thought Wen had loved him. Hadn’t he seen its promise writ in the aurora and the beautiful tendrils? As the ignorant looked on in confusion he had felt the growth in him and was glad. When they noticed his faith they had begun to point at him, murmuring, and he could not understand why his old love was repulsed, had left him, because had not she given her vow?

Was this all there was, he wondered, empty promises and loneliness?

The pod was shaking now. Before his eyes he could see it splinter. The maw was taking them. His brothers spat each other out, looked up in fear.

“Let us join together!” he shouted suddenly. He did not know why. “Let the maw choke on us! Clutching each other we will catch in its throat!”

It was already surging out of them. He could feel it himself. The growths were twisting outwards frantically, eager to commune. Wen was singing as they met. The pod fell apart completely as light suffused through him.

There was the low noise of hunger and the darkness began to lap at him.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



thanks man

i think my internet is loving up but ill look at the comments whenever possible, i dont think you want a discussion anyway

take the moon fucked around with this message at Mar 23, 2015 around 16:10

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



in,

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



just skip critting my tmbg thing, dont waste your internet breath. it was basically a joke i wrote out in a couple hours and didnt give any thought to. in retrospect i have no idea how i didnt lose.

im not amazing but i think im a bit better than that story

ah frig this is prolly the wrong thread for this

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Silk
words: 1184

He heard the roar of the turbo boosters, and spun to see the predator rocketing towards him.

Even as he was cursing Kayla for the millionth time, some reflex swimming in deep seated memories kicked in and he dodged to the side.

Well, it was more of a fall, but the raptor still zoomed by him with a shriek of frustration. He took off, his top speed, which wasn’t much. Between that and the momentum of the raptor, he estimated he had another ten seconds of life left.

He hit a rock somewhere on the cracked road and went over again, and he could hear Kayla’s laughter. It was a peal that rang out against the still city like a bell in a church. He looked up in time to catch the raptor’s flawless loop. Perfect execution, he thought dismally. The thing was coming at him again, jaws opened wide, razor teeth bared. Was it smiling? These things always seemed happiest on the hunt.

He heard the song of the Caster and the beam lanced towards the raptor, catching it in midair. The raptor was sorting out, coming apart in parallel lines. Its dying growl was warped and harsh. The charred pieces fell to the ground in clumps. He could feel the heat through his clothes.

Kayla dropped in front of him, kicking up dust and dirt as she landed in a crouch. “Cooked raptor meat isn’t bad,” she said, standing up. “We need to get the jet slag away before it spoils the carcass.”

“Do it yourself,” he said silently. Like he could do that without getting his hands melted. Her face flaring up showed she had heard him anyway.

He didn’t care. He was festering. It was always the same, and he was tired of it. He usually held his tongue; Kayla could sort him just as easily as she sorted monsters. But it was sitting with him now, sitting with him the way particularly tough meat did. And as they were camping out on the 10th floor of the bank building (as high as they could go before he got winded), he could no longer stay silent.

“Why am I always bait?” he asked. “It’s not fair.”

“Because I’ve got the Caster,” she said,

“I could…” he began, but the expression on Kayla’s face told him he’d better change tactics. “I risk my life every time,” he said instead.

“No, you don’t,” Kayla said impatiently. “I’m a perfect shot. Besides, you need the exercise. That was pathetic out there.”

“No matter how much exercise I get, I’ll never be able to outrun a velociraptor with a jetpack,” he said. “If you had missed it would all have been over. Those things out there don’t mess around.”

“Eric,” Kayla said, staring at him. “I’m taking you with me, protecting you, feeding you. I can’t believe you’re complaining. Get some sleep. Count yourself lucky if I’m here when you wake up.”

So he laid down on the mat, and closed his eyes. But he did not sleep, not immediately. He instead returned to his existential crisis. He had been going through this ever since he had met Kayla. Before that he had just been running for his life. She had given him the time for it, the privilege of it.

He thought, I’m in an anime.

It was the only thing that made sense. Crazy monsters running around and some green haired chick with future tech. He was the useless protagonist, the narrative viewpoint but not a proactive character in any sense. Just an everyman in a world that had lost it.

He wondered how much the viewers were seeing. The whole raptor thing would make the cut, he imagined. It was characterization for both him and Kayla, him as baka and her as an Action Girl. Probably the conversation they had just had would also be broadcast. But were they watching him now? Probably not. There might be a few seconds of him lying there, eyes closed, but they wouldn’t hold on it, unless it was a really cheap animation.

If he was the protagonist, he asked himself, was he safe? Would there be resolution at the end? Where were they going? Wherever they were going, they had not reached it. They had still not finished their arc. What else would they see?

He dreamed of the fates, ugly old crones, weaving their tapestry. Writing his destiny in silk. As they twined they spoke in murmurs.

He woke up. He was covered in something. He couldn’t move.

His eyes flashed forward. He could make out a dim shape in the darkness. Wings. An angel, he thought. Then, no.

Even in the darkness he could see they were legs, eight of them, fine, jutting from its back. The thing was humanoid otherwise, as far as he could tell. It was crouching over a huddled form. Kayla, he realized.

It was laughing. A resonant laughter that seemed to hang in the still air of the office. It hocked, it cackled. It lunged without moving. If he wasn’t caught in the webs he would be paralysed anyway. An aggressively slow death, he thought. It’s taking its time.

He strained to look at Kayla’s body, the dying embers showing barely her limbs. They were pale in the firelight, like paper before anything was written down.

The thing laughed once more, louder this time, convulsing its abdomen. He could hear it spitting out with every premonitory movement.

She couldn’t move, he realized. The trigger-happy hunter bitch was gone. In her place there was prey.

The fire died with a feeble flicker.

But there was still light.

The Caster was glowing in the darkness next to Kayla. It was so far away. It wasn’t fair, he thought, to see its light, just enough to see Kayla die. The thing was staring at it, transfixed.

Please, he thought.

And the Caster flew. Impossible. It was humming, he could hear it, the sound vibrating off the air. It was a life giver. The air was moving.

It was floating above him now. He could feel its warmth through the webbing.

Think,” he heard Kayla say.

He thought.

The beam lanced out, bright and true, and the thing was distorting. A shift, he thought. The warp was vivid but all he could see clearly was the blood. It was warping too but the colour was distinct. Then the thing was gone.

The webbing was disintegrating now. The dessicated strands came apart easily when he pushed through them. Then he was up and moving over to Kayla. She was coughing hard.

“Are you okay?” he asked, hating himself.

“No,” Kayla said weakly. “Listen. The Caster is attuned to you now. It’s set to your waves. You need to keep moving.”

In the end he left her there, up where the cobwebs were turning into dust.

He thought about this during the descent, and when he escaped the tomb and stepped outside into the dead city he only wanted to leave as fast as possible.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



im in

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



All I Think About Is Death
1293 words

The patterns suddenly stopped coalescing, and he saw the pixellated doctor. The intent, he believed, was supposed to be charming, but all he could notice were the glasses, opaque white with the lack of detail. To him this made the doctor simply another code. There is no soul there, he thought, and no love either.

“Hi, Jack!”, the doctor said cheerily. “You’ve reached your bandwidth limit. This limit is placed in accordance with safety protocols designed to prevent overuse of the neuronet. Studies have shown that excessive neuronet use results in damage to the limbic system, resulting in an over-prioritization of emotional response. In order to stop your feelings from hurting you, you will be blocked from the neuronet until the end of the month.”

Already he could feel it, like someone cutting off his breathing. You were used to it, took it for granted, until it was taken away from you. They’re choking me, he thought angrily, and saying it’s for my own good.

He was already thinking, a cafe. In a cafe he could access the neuronet by ordering an overpriced caffeine injection.

He found his pair of plastic shades. Become a code yourself, he thought. The truth was that they were usually necessary for the glaring light of the outside world. When he stepped out, though, it was clouded over. The neuronet lives in the clouds, he thought, and felt hopeful.

He wasn’t outside long, anyway. There were cafes everywhere. Secretly, he believed, they were in on it. It was a scheme they and the health committee had figured out together. Cut them off and the junkies would do whatever it took.

But the need overcame whatever moral objections he had, and so when he entered the hotspot he went straight for the line, which moved quickly. He ordered his shot and sat down with all the artists and writers, there not for the neuronet, but to “create” something, some long form print story or hyperscreen script. Even if they weren’t using ugly external tablets, you would be able to tell by their bohemian affectations; they were clearly stuck in some disconnected counterculture. Archaic architects, he thought, unable to contain his judgement. Their meaning was in statis. But the neuronet was a million dimensions and its evolution was accelerated at the speed of birth. The true creators lived there and breathed deep the oxygen of fragmented, latticed truth.

He closed his eyes and accessed it. He saw the patterns, familiar, but they danced in new ways. This was a part of their familiarity. If they stood still he wouldn’t recognize them anymore.

The memescape, he thought. The gene blur. He needed a serious mood boost. The shifting images tended to stimulate him in all the right ways. The sublingual meaning, that the pixel doctor said was so dangerous, seemed to bypass his cerebrum and interface with his soul. Text, they had left behind long ago. That poo poo had been carvings in stone tablets and he had been relieved when it was gone. Deep down he had always known he needed something that was alive.

But he felt it when the recontextualized vintage anime was morphing his nostalgia receptors. Morphing was expected but this was wrong somehow. Instead of reworking the past these images seemed to be trapping him there. Can we never grow, he asked himself, horrified. I don’t want to be stuck here. He had never thought about disconnecting before and it took several moments before the thought even registered. Then he wasn’t sure how to do it. Shutting off meaning, he thought. Self-induced sensory deprivation. Who knew how to blind themselves in this age? Who even had the willpower for it?

He left a subcomment, a flash of semiotics work targeting anyone whose humour centers were overdriven by this nostalgic pandering. You should feel bad for limiting yourself like this. Then he tried to focus on his attention filters. He had always kept them fully permeable. He had never known anything else. So the interface felt awkward to him, but eventually he got it working. No anime, he told it explicitly. Not ever.

But eventually, he realized, it was his whole memosis process that was hosed. Nothing worked for him any more. The short motion captures self-recorded by splicewolves on the hunt for disconnected sheep. The hallucination ASMRs. The revulsion children. Furry freaks, he thought. Stoner idiots. Gore perverts.

He was growing out of it. Leaving it behind. It was death, in a sense. Everyone saw it in their future, everyone had to come to grips with it. The natural end result of evolving meaning was evolving past evolved meaning. You’d see it in the subcomments left by burnt out veterans too apathetic to bother using emotional tags. “loving losers. This poo poo is for literal children. Get a loving job and go outside.” You laughed it off but one day, you knew, it would happen to you.
.
Neurodeath. Seeing it drove you further into it. Shrug it off, go back to your memes. The only way to forget was to feed your addiction to the drug that was killing you. What was the afterlife like, he wondered. He had always wondered this, though he had tried to get away from it. The truth was that no one knew, because no one spoke from that other world. They’d say, the light outside. I’m entering it now and leaving you wretches on this side. And there would be nothing else from them. Pure silence. The only ghosts were what they left behind. No intercommunication there, only white noise.

He was already feeling the decay when the transmissions started. He had forgotten to preblock them and his tag traces were glaringly obvious. The denizens of the neuronet were sign masters; he had forgotten this somehow and would now pay the price. The trolls, the demons, the gargoyles, they had left their caves and now his serotonin waves were being drained like water spiralling out of a bathtub. It was something else he had always known. Through the neuronet you could do anything to anyone if you knew what you were doing. And if you didn’t you were vulnerable. Exposed. Naked. He was bleeding sweat. He was shivering. He could feel the frost in his bones and the ice shards under his skin.

He was pseudo as gently caress, looking down on culture art for aesthetic reasons. If he knew anything he’d see that the very form he was mocking subverted his shallow principles, dissipated like smoke in a field. He knew this at his core; could not argue with it. He was as casual as the skirts girls wore in the summer. Who could ever love someone so basic? His genes were toxic, he would never breed.

Desperately, he struck back. He used the alltag, the mark of someone who’d lost the plot, but he could not focus on individual voices. Each one seemed to lacerate him distinctly, many knives but all serrated. His skin would be in tatters soon. What allows one to lay on a bed of nails, he thought, is the diffusion of pain; isolate it and it becomes unbearable. He queued it, left it there to execute after he was out.

His concepts were simple: there is more to life than art.

Then he opened his eyes and the feed cut abruptly.

He looked at the shot; he had been clutching it this whole time. Without giving his brain a chance to register it he drove it deep until he felt the energy in his cells. Java blood. He gave the artists around him a sweeping, withering stare and went outside. The sun was shining, but he had his shades on, and the air was warm.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



in

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Babel
1501 words

Sam was seven when he first heard the voice of God.

He was being bullied, as always, by Randall, the boy from down the block with a splotchy face. His parents saved money on haircuts by shaving his hair off themselves. He was a couple of years older and nature had thus given him strength over Sam, which he was using to force Sam’s head into the dirt.

“Eat your breakfast!” Randall was shouting. “Worms are protein food!”

As Sam was fighting desperately to breathe, Randall broke his hysterical laughter to say, in a strange tone, “teleport.”

The pressure was suddenly gone. Sam pushed himself to his feet. Randall was halfway down the street, looking confused.

Sam ran home. When his parents asked him why he wasn’t going to school he couldn’t explain. He didn’t act out much, though, so his mom called in sick for him. He went to his room and found the notebook that had been given to him on his birthday. It was a simple black thing, bound with staples.

He wrote on the first page, “magic.”

He was seventeen the next time he heard it. He could hear his parents fighting, about money or something. He had been in his room, listening to his music and trying to find some kind of equilibrium. But he poked his head out, drawn to the drama like a moth to flame. The way the eye is automatically drawn to movement.

His mom was crying, and his dad was lecturing her, harsh, terse statements about her spending. Mid harangue he noticed Sam peering in around the corner of the staircase. He stopped abruptly, and staring at him, eyes empty, said, “lootget.” He said this distinctly, and Sam heard it clearly, but his mother did not react in any way. The tears still flowed like syrup and her make up was ruined.

The next day, everything seemed to reset. The mood in the house was pleasant. He asked his dad about the money problems. What money problems, his dad said with a grin.

He went to his room and pulled out his notebook. “Capitalist,” he wrote.

The voice of God spoke again when he was twenty-nine.

He was sitting by himself in his flat, watching a children’s cartoon on his laptop. He had just finished another beer and added the empty can to his fort. It reminded him of Camelot, a bright castle where brave knights feasted and sang after battle. He was pondering designing an outer wall for added defense when the main character, a cute boy with messy hair, stared directly into the screen and said, “moodset.” The camera cut to his animal companion, who carried on the conversation, but nothing he said indicated he had registered the boy’s most recent action.

He felt the poison in his mind dissipate almost instantly. Hitting pause on the player, he applied to around thirty classified ads, mostly dealing with graphics design. He especially emphasized his abilities to shape interactive displays. “This is the present,” he wrote in one cover letter, “a give and take of attention and reward. Beauty exists for those who care to search for it.”

After he finished, he rooted around in his stuff until he found his notebook. In it, he wrote “euphoric.”

The voice of God did not return until he was seventy-three. Despite his age, he had managed to remain independent. Every morning, he went out walking; his area was not terribly affluent but thus far he had never been accosted. Instead he had been greeted with smiles that ranged from polite to sincerely cheerful.

So it had been fate that had found him, and not an assailant. He had slipped on what must have been an ice patch hidden under the snow, a dusting deep enough to conceal but not provide traction. The world violently swam and he found himself laying on his back. His walking stick, decorated with subtle patterns carved into the wood, lay out of his reach, and with shock he realized he could not feel his legs.

He was staring at the sky, the grim clouds creeping over the rose sunrise, when he became aware of a voice calling out. “Are you okay?” he heard, dimly. So far away, he thought, a second before he realized that his ears had begun to fail him only a year earlier.

A face filled his vision. It was a girl, the age he estimated at maybe sixteen. Her hair spilled out from under her wool cap in curls down to her shoulders and there was a glow to her cheeks from the chilled air. She looked terrified.

“I can’t move,” he told her, but the wind picking up seemed to carry his words away, someplace beyond where she could get to.

“It’s okay,” she said, a desperate quiver in her voice. “I’ll call for help.” She had pulled out what he recognized as a phone; phones had not abandoned their form in any extreme sense since he had stopped using them. He saw her face fall.

“It’s too cold,” she said. “The battery can’t take it. This—cureall—thing always lets me down, I don’t—,” then broke off. Dazedly, she said, “what was that?”

For a second he could hardly believe it. “You noticed?” he asked.

“Noticed myself say words I didn’t mean to say, in a weird tone of voice?” she asked. “Yeah. Am I crazy? What was that? Oh,” she said, her eyes widening. “That’s not important. I’ve got to go for help. Will you be okay by yourself?”

“I’m okay now,” he said, and before the girl’s eyes slowly, methodically stood up.

“Gosh!” the girl said, as he dusted snow off his coat. “I was so worried!”

“Just a bit shook up,” he said. “I've always been resilient.”

She insisted on walking him home. When they got to his door she looked at him skeptically. “Maybe you should see a doctor,” she said. “Maybe I should see one too.” He could sense where her thoughts were going, and quickly broke in.

“It’s not necessary for either of us,” he said. “Doctors are busy people. There are a lot of things people have that need fixing. It’s not right to take up their time without a reason.”

“I guess,” she said. “Anyway, my mom’ll throw a fit if I’m any later. She gets nervous when I stay out all night. It’s kind of suffocating, actually. Anyway, it was nice meeting you.”

She told him her name, which he would never really remember (was it Emily?). She gave him a cheerful wave and flew off, her body’s protest at having been forced to adopt the tempo of an almost-octogenarian for half an hour.

He found his notebook. It was pristine despite the years, because of how infrequently he wrote in it. With hands that were beginning to lose their strength, he flipped open the cover, looked at the first page. The holy text, or so he thought of it now. Apollo, he wrote. Hygieia. Panacea.

He fought against the home. His hearing left him completely, and his thoughts began to wander, so that he would forget what he was saying mid-sentence. But he could still communicate electronically, and would spend time carefully composing replies to those urging him into dependence. He kept routines. Exercise. Chores before things got too backed up. Cereal, sandwiches, mild cooking for meals.

When he woke up one day his bedroom door was gone. The sky blue walls, an impression of open spaces, fought against his growing sense of claustrophobia,

He grasped for his walking stick which lay propped, as always, against his bed. When he reached the space where the door had been he examined it carefully, tapping the cane against the wall experimentally.

He had a small window overlooking the street. He walked over to it. Break it, he thought. Climb out. He pictured himself smashing open the window with his stick and maneuvering outside. Sliding down the drainpipe.

He returned to his bed, sat down. Considered his situation. This took a while, things were slipping away from him. But as his eyes roved around the room distractedly they fell upon his notebook, lying on the small table next to his bed.

He reached for it with trembling hands. He opened it, stared at what he had written. A child’s playful scrawl. A teenager’s bold stroke. An adult’s efficient lines. Finally, marks that seemed faded, weak imprints on the page.

He turned to the second page. In large letters, he wrote, covering both sides, “I HEAR YOU WHEN YOU CHANGE THINGS.”

He held the open book up at a forty-five degree angle. He kept it there, not for an eternity, but long enough to make a distinct impression on the passage of time. Then he placed the notebook back on the bedside table.

When he looked up, his door was back. In the kitchen, he made toast, crisp, not too burnt.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



newtestleper posted:

Why would you do that?

Anyways
Wordcounter.net counts 1496 words
Google docs counts 1494

If you were shooting for a DQ you didn't do it very well.

i c/ped it from google docs and was editing it in post preview and tried to keep the count going, guess i messed up

e: i also didnt know going 1 word over was grounds for a dq, heh

take the moon fucked around with this message at Apr 12, 2015 around 21:41

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



curlingiron posted:

In with this one.

Sometimes I say awkward things at parties on purpose...

gently caress

im in with this

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



hey can you flash me? not being overconfident, i realized the idea i had for a story sucked and my prompt now seems to be pretty much forcing me to write the existential stuff that everyone hates

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011




[b]Bound[/b[
900 words

I am perfect, and I hate it.

I have never known his touch, but he displays me. He shows me off to his friends and they affirm his worth. A true intellectual, they say. What am I like? Oh, I am challenging but rewarding.

My sharp corners (I could cut through glass), my tasteful design (I am both minimalist and elegant), my spine (straight, structurally flawless); all these things are as they were when we met. He took me but he has never used me. For sure, he has never stained me. I am as pure, as undefiled, as the day he discovered me on Hunter Street. I had so many secrets but all he saw was my outer beauty. He coveted me, but in the end, only to hide his own depraved nature.

He had a mistress already; he did not abandon her for me. He put me aside, and I watch as he ruins her instead. I can not understand why he chooses her artificial glow over my sincerity. His fingers are tangerine with his sin, and he covers her with it, giggling. She does not complain. They stay up all night, or else fall asleep together. I would fit, I scream, so much more perfectly into that space, I am made for the folds of bodies.

I have no home. I am left strewn about, carelessly, or rather to give the appearance of carelessness. I believe he thinks hard about where he leaves me. My beauty is the first thing you notice when you enter. I can bewitch an entire room. I do, even when I do not try.

He would make you think that he loves me. He has left something in me; it moves, on occasion. But it is a lie! He has never been inside me. It would be proof of his commitment, but all he commits to is his costume. He is so committed to it that I don’t think he knows anything else. I would feel sorry for him, were I not suffering. He has deprived me of my purpose. Oh, but my purpose could have been his purpose too, were he to make an effort.

There was once another. Our affair was heated. He would read me every night as the stars glowed. When the sun shone through the glass we would wake together. He would smile and leave me in his bed. I would happily absorb the light. My letters would radiate and when the night returned we would hold each other again.

But then he had to sell me. Coins slipped through his fingers like water. Clutching me to him, he whispered through tears what he would not do with the money he received for me. He was deeply sorry. I felt betrayed, but I kept this feeling close to my breast. And when I was picked up from that dirty street I was happy, not knowing what was to come. My love is meant to be shared.

He was up all night with her this time. His phone rings and he answers it, suppressing a yawn. “Yeah,” he says, “how’s it hanging, dude… Yeah, see you then.” More friends. An illusion is simply a delusion if it is not observed.

He is moving around the room. He seems restless. His eyes are burnt out. He could not enjoy me now, even if he tried. For a second I see his eyes on me. And it seems for a moment… but then he sighs. He walks out to his balcony and lights a cigarette. If I had eyes, they would be burning holes into his back. It is if he can feel it regardless. His hand, as he tries to light his smoke, is shaking.

I forget what it is to have my pages turned. To have my soul examined. It has been so long. My voice, my lover used to say, has a lilt which is irresistible. When I am singing, you can hear it in your bones. It swims in your marrow.

His friends are here. He wants to show me off. His posture inclines has inclined him slightly towards me, and his friends have picked up on it. I am being talked about! In the past I would blush deep crimson. How proud I am of my love, when it is shared. But this is no love, it is pretense, it is farce.

He moves to pick me up. But I am scorned! I cannot submit to this any longer.

He curses. In that moment I know I have reached him. Finally, I am stained with him. My page is read and his mark falls out.

I am suddenly weightless.

Falling. He has cast me out. Ultimately, he is a coward, not able to stand even a fraction of the pain he has caused me. I tumble through the winds; I go where they take me. I wish, in this moment, that I always could.

I land in the dirt and dust. For a moment. I am lost. I have traded false love for no love.

Then, hesitant footsteps.

A boy walks up to me. He peers down at me from behind thick spectacles.

“A book from the sky,” he murmurs.

With care, I am packed away. I will have him, if he will have me. I have so much to share.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



in, gently caress me up

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Cloning Blues
796 words

My door disintegrated, sending splinters flying at a million angles. I ducked, a couple grazing my cheek and drawing blood.

As I took my hand away from my face the intruders stepped past the door fragments. Bronze armour glinted in the sunlight shining through the open space. Guardsmen.

“There’s been some sort of mistake,” I began, but then I saw those crossbows raise and was moving, ducking behind my desk as the bolts thudded into the wall behind me. Serious thuds. Serious weight on those things.

I reached out into the ether. My clones were still out there, so I could do it quickly and easily. Lucky. This was a bad spot, and I realized that the fact that the Guardsmen were already firing at me meant they were probably as pissed as could be. Whatever this was, I was in deep already. I had to shoot my way out.

I built up my magicks, feeling the flame of Panika burn inside me.

“loving kill him!” shouted the sergeant, or whatever rank he was.

I cast Explosivus.

My hands were glowing with the afterburn as I gathered up what I could, making my way through the charred and fragmented corpses.

I left as quickly as I could manage. Get out of Tarr, I was thinking. As I melted into the alleyways of the Quarter, I could hear the furious tones of the militia.

At this moment, hundreds, perhaps thousands of soldiers were converging on my home. My little nook. My library, my alchemy table, my arcane collection. There would be nothing left.

Then, as I was running through Fang’s Crossway, behind the bricks of the Commons, I heard the sound of my own voice. “Quita on avvalianka tu riza in llaol. Thot'k vhot it ik tu ba o kroza.”

I had to mentally translate from the gibberish my clones spoke with. The language centers of their brains were the first thing to go.

“What did you do?” I asked the darkness.

“Wa ktortan o vor fur vuu.”

“I didn’t ask you to start a war!” I yelled. “I asked you to help me with my magicks!”

Too late I remembered the warning given me by Madressa. “Those born into death resent it most of all,” she had told me, her third eye bulging with green veins like it always did when she was in her trance state. “They will turn on those who gave them life, as certain as the snow follows the leaves.”

I definitely took that relationship for granted, I thought, as the laughter echoed off the walls.

The explosion knocked me off my feet. I sprawled into the ground. It felt like my back was on fire. I reached back, and my hand came back sticky.

It had been a Chaos Wave. Like a rune trap had been set off in a home, where you wanted to kill the intruder but leave all your stuff untouched. But I hadn’t had time to set any. Besides, I realized, the fact that I wasn’t dead meant that it must have been activated far away.

I reached into the Ether once more. Cast a Healing Ward. I wasn’t much of a Life Wizard, but my clones still fueled the Ether contact. I could feel the blood dissapate, evaporating off me with the Life heat. I figured I looked pretty cool while the blood mist still floated around me.

Get to higher ground, I thought, before another one goes off. The waves travelled on a flat plane. Chest height, or neck height if you were a dwarf.

I cast Adhevok, and began to climb the Crossway wall.

It took me a while to climb, even though my hands were selectively fusing with the wall surface. Wizards aren’t supposed to run around, and I had been using my clones for menial chores as well, so that when it came down to it I was unused to physical exertion. But finally I reached the rooftops and, like a gargoyle, stared across the city.

Were there a thousand fires? Or was there just a single flame that burned from the Kashar Port to the east side battlements? It didn’t matter. The city was burning, so intensely that the heat stung my eyes and smoke billowed into the sky like a budding flower.

And in the streets, there was only red. The trademark stitching of my favourite weaver, Garrius Fletching. His needlework was unequalled in Tarr, even before it all burned down.

My clones had been busy. I realized that there was nothing stopping a clone from cloning itself. They wanted more life, but had settled instead for taking everyone else with them.

“Fikr!” I swore. As my hand clutched at my mouth I thought, I always hated this city anyway.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



hey so im gonna crit "sequelae" by Hammer Bro, even tho i have no business critting anyone haha. im doing it because i dont think anyone else has, if someone else has critted it let me know and ill crit something else.

"Bluebeard the Pirate?"

Bluebeard wasn't a pirate. i get that the kid is ten years old or whatever but shouldn't he naturally refer to Blackbeard?

"Slowly, impersonally, he gathered up the corpse of Randall and went to the basement."

who is Randall?

"All around him was death and despair."

i think you shouldnt use small d death after namedropping cap D Death, it feels awkward. im not sure what else you can use, but i feel death as an image loses its potency once youve already established that the death god or whatever is a bitch.

you use the word dissipate five times. its a cool word but like a lot of sweet words loses its effect after you use it more than once in a story. at least you spelled it right tho, i used it this week and im pretty sure i didnt.

the main motivation of dantes seems to get dropped. its cool if he doesnt manage to save dominic, but clear it up a bit, because as it is im not sure if killing death did anything. if it did or didnt, just throw a couple of words in there. (upon rereading it he seemed pretty convinced it would do something.)

im not sure what the ending means? i am definitely dumb though.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Pham Nuwen posted:

I'm pretty sure he became Death, if that's what you mean

ah i see. that is pretty neat

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



puzzle pieces by the shortest path

man sorry this is also a casualcrit. i have so much stuff to do

basically the beginning seems to be a contradiction (fifteen months since her last visitor/she never gets visitors) but thats not too bad since it would take about five seconds to fix. just do whatevs. but you mention that these two kids wait a month? why? some insight into their motivation would be nice, would let them breathe as characters for a bit i guess. is it because of her freaky reputation? just explain it a bit. later you begin the healing description with "its an experience like no other." that seems lame but maybe thats how this witch would explain it to a hypothetical layman so whatever. but usually just let your prose work its magic here. ultimately my problem with the story is that i think she is supposed to be some freaky witch and you wanna think twice before you get her services, but unfortunately the consequence for her service is only that the boy dies. that was gonna happen anyway. if thats the only consequence shouldnt there be more ppl trying to give her a shot? basically a strong character idea but it doesnt really hold up the way you worked it i feel.

i think the story was neat otherwise and man, i am completely assuming this is a girl witch person. it actually seems kind of cool to me if you meant it that way and had me thinking girl without talking about her long hair or boobs or period. but if you were deliberately trying to keep the gender ambiguous i was thinking it was a girl the whole time, just fyi.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



in

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Lilium
1178 words

She lived in the garden. She would die, she was told, in the garden.

She was told this by the monitor. A small screen on which blinking green text would appear, answering her questions. She was a tender, it said, and she lived to grow the flora.

One day she had asked the monitor. Will I die here? The word “yes” had appeared on the screen, blip by blip. She had punched it, as hard as she could, and she had hurt her hand. She had looked around the garden for anything she might use to break it. She could not find anything. Flowers were not effective weapons. Angry, she had looked back at the monitor.

I’m sorry, read the monitor.

Had she been born here? She had no idea. She had no memories of anything else. But, and this was important, she knew, dimly at first, then more surely, that there was something else. The garden was not all there was.

“I don’t want to die here!” she had shouted. “It’s meaningless!”

After her death, the monitor had told her, she would be a seed.

Confused, she had left the monitor alone.

Later that day she became aware of the violet lily. Or at least, more aware of it. She had always known it was there; its hue was impossible to miss. But that day, the sweet scent began to overpower the mixed aromas of the other plants in the garden. It seemed to circle her, around and around, drawing ever closer, stronger and stronger, until she was breathing it in fully, and everything was foggy, all nice and floaty, and she drew near it, because she could tell it was the violet lily tucked away in the corner.

She began to tend to it more. She felt guilty, and she tried to tend to the other plants too, but when she was near the lily her confusion and sadness went away. The lily, she realized, was tending to her as much as she was tending to it, and when she fell asleep next to it she dreamt of her mother.

Her mother was lovely. Her skin was radiant and patterned with spirals, and her hair was braided and twisted down to her feet. In the dreams, they were not in the garden. Her feet squelched in the ground. It was warm, unlike the garden floor.

All around them were plants, but these were different. They were big. They grew high into a green sky and they looked thick. They must have taken forever to bloom, she thought.

“These are trees,” her mother told her one time. "They have been here for aeons. God was their tender and he grew them so that they could not be destroyed.”

“They’re pretty,” she said. “You’re pretty.”

“I know,” her mother said. “That’s why they watch the garden constantly. They like looking at me.”

Then she smiled at the dreamer, her face kissed by pale light. “Do you love me?” she asked, her voice as sweet as her scent.

“Yes.” Her answer seemed to echo through the forest, so that she could still hear it as the trees rustled their branches appreciatively.

“Then you must help me grow,” her mother said. “Spread my seeds all over the garden.”

When she woke up, the vines, which had hugged her as she slept, keeping her warm, lazily released her. She looked up at the lily. The flowers had all opened. Inside each was a handful of seeds.

She planted them all over the garden, mixing them with the other flowers.

The monitor noticed. What are you doing, it asked.

“I’m planting my mother’s seeds,” she told it.

Why, it said.

“What do you care?” she said. “You’re just a dumb computer.”

I’m not a computer. I’m like you. I’m alive.

“You’re nothing like me,” she said.

The lilies grew fast and tangled. As they grew the scent grew even stronger, until it was all she knew. The smell reminded her of the colour bugs that would sometimes crawl on the sky glass. She thought they would taste nice but she could never eat them because they were on the other side, and anyway they were so high up. But the smell was like a million colour bugs, and she thought, I don’t need them. All I need is my mother.

And her sleep became deeper, and longer, and her dreams were more vivid. Her mother was so pretty that she could not stand it. She would play in the deep trees, and whenever she fell the trees would catch her, and her mother would smile.

“When you leave,” her mother said, “you must carry my seeds with you. You must carry me so that I may cover the earth.”

“The earth?” she asked.

“Outside the garden,” her mother explained. “I can not stay here anymore. I must grow outside so that I may be seen by the whole world.”

“Can I come with you?” she asked.

“Yes,” her mother said. “I need you. But we must go now. They have decided that I am too beautiful. They are coming to tear out my roots.”

When she woke up she saw that her mother had grown over the monitor. The monitor men came then.

Her mother had covered the garden completely. The lilies were everywhere. The other plants had died, there was no space for them. But the lilies were so nice looking that she had not cared. They covered the sky glass but there was still light, so much light. They shone like suns. She had been bathing in their light, and her skin hummed.

“Burn it,” the monitor man said.

Then everything got really confusing for her floaty head. There were screams, and there was blood, splashing everywhere. The petals were soaked, so they were darker now, uglier. The light was stained red, and in the glow her mother was choking the monitor men and gashing them open with her thorns. She had not known her mother had thorns.

Finally she was alone with her mother. The scent was different now. It was sweeter than ever but now it was too sweet. It made her sick. They had left the door open, she saw, and she ran through it and into a tunnel. The tunnel was dark and dank, but as she ran she could smell less and less, so she kept running, all the way until the outside.

Outside there were trees, but they were metal. Metal trees that reached up into the sky, but they were limbless. And the sky was black smoke.

And there were people, all clustered around her. Staring at her. They were on their knees and clutching at their eyes. Tears were flowing out from between their fingers, to pool on the dirty ground beneath them.

She couldn’t understand why. Her hair was in her eyes and she pulled it away to get a better look. Then she realized that her hair had grown down to the ground, and her arm was patterned...

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



in with macedonia, autumn leaves

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Dragon
1319 words

This is, Jason thought, humiliation by proxy. He could feel it himself. Even through my anonymity, he thought, someone, somewhere, will connect me to this. He imagined having to talk about it. Yeah, I was there when that dude’s heart disintegrated.

The man was about mid thirties, had lost some hair, but still, he thought, a nice looking guy. Too nice to find himself in this moment, on his knees in the exit queue from the Love Temple, with a ring he couldn’t afford, on a vacation he couldn’t afford, in front of a woman, some make-up, who desperately wanted to be somewhere else.

“I’m sorry,” she was saying. “I just really wanted to go to Wacky World. I thought maybe I could love you if I gave it enough time. But I don’t. I’m sorry,” she said again.

The entire population of the car had spilled out and clustered around them. Maybe they had assumed this was some show the park was putting on. That’s what he had assumed when the dude got down on one knee. They were always doing these dumb shows. He was expecting some pirates to run out and kidnap her. He’d chase after them to the conveniently close stunt set, and have to prove his love by defeating them in a cutlass fight. But no pirates appeared, and besides, he realized, they were nowhere close to the stunt set.

He remembered the I Ching reading. Hexagram 1. The Dragon. Dynamic, arousing force.

What the hell, he thought. No one knew who he was in this dumb costume. He was simply Goofy Gus, the lovable boy sidekick of Wacky Willy, the talking cartoon dog. Goofy Gus had an IQ of -15 based on that one episode where he would repeat second grade unless he passed a test. In the end Willy had used his telepathic powers to feed him answers to all the questions. He got all the answers right but for the bonus question had written GET AWAY FROM THAT BONE with six exclamation marks.

Gotta stay in character, he thought.

“Gosh,” he said loudly. “I wish Willy was here so I’d know what to do. Where’s Willy?” he asked a small girl who was chewing bubblegum. She giggled and shrugged.

“Oh well,” he said. “Time for me to think for myself, like Willy always wants me to do. You guys,” he said, angling his comically round suit towards the couple, “seem sad. What’s wrong?”

“Five years of my life,” the man said absently. “Gone. Just like that. Will anyone ever love me?” he asked the crowd, with a sweeping stare. “Huh? Anyone?”

“God, Patrick,” the woman said. “This is why I don’t love you. Your self-esteem is terrible. How can I love someone who doesn’t love himself?”

“I didn’t use to love myself,” Jason said. “All the kids picked on me and none of the girls liked me. Then Willy showed me how to be confident in who I was. It’s easy! Do you want me to show you?”

The man was looking at the ring like he was considering eating it. “Sure,” he said. “Whatever.”

“You do it too!” he said cheerfully, pointing at the woman. “Everyone do it! Will you guys do it with me?”

The tourists were all laughing now, and the kids had bright smiles on their faces. “Do you want to, Timmy?” one dad asked his kid. “Yeah!” he shouted.

“I wanna do it too,” the girl said happily. “Okay, Sally,” her mom said. “I’ll do it with you.”

“Everyone!” Jason said. “The first thing you gotta do is think real hard. Think about all the things you like about yourself. Like this!” He jammed his oversized hands against his Goofy Gus head.

He was thinking, where is my life going? All the other workers are younger than me by at least two years. They’re gonna be developers or computer programmers or god knows what else, and I’ll be stuck here entertaining these idiots for minimum wage. gently caress, he realized, this guy may be a loser but at least he can afford to come here. He’s not in a dumb costume. This chump who’s getting rejected has more dignity than me.

If I proposed to Claire, he thought, she’d throw whatever drink she was holding in my face and then make me pay for it.

He looked around. Even the adults had gotten into it, thinking along with their kids. He wondered what they were thinking about. Instead he asked the kid called Timmy.

“What do you like about yourself?” he said, trying to force even more of a smile out of Gus’s manic face.

“I’m a good drawer,” the kid said, beaming.

“What about you?” he asked, pointing at the girl.

“I can eat six whole pies,” the girl said.

“That’s not true,” said her mom. “I mean, I don’t feed her that many pies.”

Now for the next phase, he thought.

“So, mister,” he said, addressing the would be groom, who was starting to look interested despite himself. “What do you like about yourself?”

“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “I guess… I’m pretty good at magic tricks.”

“Really?” Jason asked, and now he was interested. “Show me one, mister.”

Even the woman was watching expectantly.

“I can make this ring disappear,” he said, and he quickly closed and re-opened his hand. “Ta-da. Look. Just like my life.”

His palm was empty.

Jason wasn’t sure which of them started the clap, Timmy or Sally. All he knew was that they were both clapping, and then everyone had joined in, the sound echoing off the Temple walls.

He was so flabbergasted that for a couple of seconds he forgot to clap himself. He started, hating that the two gloves slapping together seemed to create a vacuum of pure silence. I’ve had it, he thought, with this costume.

He said, “That was amazing! Now that you know what you like about yourself, you can finally realize that the things you don’t like about yourself don’t matter. You are the only combination of things that make you you in the whole world! You should like yourself because you are one of a kind!”

He told himself, listen to your own advice. It looked like the man was listening, anyway. His eyes were clearer and his breathing more measured.

“I guess,” the man said, and then he was smiling too. “If a cartoon character tells me something, it must be true, right?”

“Sam,” the woman said suddenly. “I realized something. We’ve got a whole lifetime to figure things out. I think I could give you another chance. We should go see the fireworks at Loony Lake together.”

And then Jason found himself. The dehydration that his suit induced had sent him spiralling into his unconscious. In his mind he saw Willy, barking happily. But it wasn’t Willy, he realized. It was Rustie, his old dog. You didn’t run away because you hated me, did you boy, he thought. Since his mom had told him that with a half empty bottle of bourbon in her hands, he had been searching for someone to take his place. To love him unconditionally. They took you away from me because they didn’t want me to be happy. But you still love me, don’t you? I’m gonna find you, wherever you are, and we’re gonna run away together, just you and me, away from this noise, this confusion, this entropy, all this nonsense that people put on us. Just me and you looking up at the stars. Finally I’ll see them without those bullshit fireworks blocking them out.

Come on, he whispered to the man, his words swallowed by Gus’s head. The man was wavering, and everyone was watching him.

“Forget it,” the man said. “Maybe I’m happiest by myself after all.”

And as the woman stared at him, her mouth hanging open, Jason gave the crowd a cheerful wave and began to walk away.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Untitled Opening
470 words

Chester Bold, boy inventor, woke amidst the carnage in Lab 7C. All around him were bodies with clutching, disfigured limbs and horrified expressions on their faces. “Gosh,” he thought, and for a second it was all he could think, the words seeming to echo in his brain. For Chester, being unable to think more than one thought at a time was a rarity.

He could see Johnson, his security specialist and bodyguard, and Phillips, the 7C section director, sprawled amidst all the bodies. The place was a mess. It was as if some artist, of the type Chester never appreciated (for his mind was scientific, not artistic) had splattered red paint over the lab as if in some ideological protest against progress. But, Chester realized, that was not what had happened here. It’s The Experiment, he thought. It’s escaped.

Bold had always had a knack for inventing, and by the age of twelve had his own corporation and series of laboratories built deep underground, for secrecy. His ideas, admirers were saying, would keep America at the top, ahead of those Ruskies and other foreign powers. But for Chester, wireless toasters and holographic radios weren’t enough. He had always dreamed of creating life, the invention that itself could invent.

He had literally dreamed of it. He had seen, in chaotic slumbers, beautiful tentacles spiralling out from the center, a pulsing cube with bulging veins. It had spoken to him, but whenever he woke up he couldn’t remember what it had said. One night he had kept a notebook next to his bed, and struggled to write its message down through the morning fugue. “A CONSTANT SADNESS buggy like starwebs A PHANTOM PAIN,” read the hasty scribblings on the page, before his writing devolved into scratches so disordered that even Chester, with his reading level too high to even measure, could not make them out. Since that day he had been obsessed with talking to it with all his senses intact.

So he had built it, following genetic plans that his brain seemed to know instinctively. He had kept it a secret from anyone except for the workers in 7C; it was impossible to hide the fact that he was working on something, and their loyalty was such that they could be trusted absolutely. But when they asked him about it, he still downplayed its importance. “Just a side project for myself, just taking a break from the grind,” he said, and they let it go at that. If they noticed he would spend days in that room sometimes, they let that go too. Because Chester had already cured forty-five mortal diseases that year alone, and so he could do whatever he liked at this point.

He picked himself up off the floor, and began to follow the trail of death.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Birdy
998 words

A week after she left, I tossed out all my denim and seceded from the Union.

I sent a letter to the lieutenant governor announcing my intent to peacefully and democratically free myself from the United States, but the envelope was returned marked “insufficient postage” in red block letters. Which wasn’t true; I even added an extra stamp, just to be sure.

The mailman told me that the US postal service doesn’t recognize hand-drawn stamps. Even ones that reflect the rich history and culture of Davelandia. I tried to argue with him, tried to make him see the error of his ways, but there was just no reasoning with him.

I asked him how it was that he couldn’t deliver my one letter, but he kept managing to bring me her mail even after she took back her maiden name and changed her forwarding address. Thick, glossy catalogs that smelled like perfume and offers for credit cards with exorbitant interest rates.

He didn’t make the rules, he said. He just delivered mail.

I shouted at him through the mail slot that he could forget about getting a tip come Christmas time. I wanted to make eye contact, show him I was serious, but all I could see was the tops of his socks and the hem of his khaki shorts.

He told me I hadn’t given him a tip the past two years anyway. Which was true. She had always handled that sort of thing.

So he had me there, and I may have overreacted. I may have told him that if he came back, I’d have two barrels of rock salt waiting for him. But the truth is that I didn’t care much if he stopped bringing me the mail. The only thing I ever got was bad news.

After he left, it was time to feed the bird. That was the other thing.

The bird was hers, too. Or, it had been. I thought about just letting him go, but he’s old, and his eyes are walled up by cataracts, and I figured he’d probably just get eaten by a hawk. It seemed cruel. So I take care of him, even though he’s ornery, and even though the first time I tried to feed him, he nipped me hard enough to break skin. Eventually I gave up and ordered a pair of those leather gloves that construction workers wear. We get along fine now, for the most part. In a way, I saw myself in that bird, broken down, but possessing a limitless desire to be free. I too wanted to escape my cage.

It was the day that I proudly flew my Davelandia flag that everything changed. I had sown it, inexpertly, so that my skin and blood became woven into the fabric. The design was crude, but still a stunning symbol of freedom: a skull crying tears of pain next to a powerful looking shotgun. The meaning was that I will shed tears for my lack of liberty, but still fight valiantly to reclaim it. It was because of this unapologetic symbol that they came for me.

The first to cross my threshold was a woman, looking prim and proper in a professional skirt and with her hair tied back. Despite her classy garb, I saw her immediately for what she was: an agent of the enemy. When I opened the door and let her inside, she immediately looked askance at my living quarters. (I believed that she was secretly impressed by my collection of founding father biographies. My intention to secede was, I believed, in the best tradition set down by heroes like James Madison and Alexander Hamilton.)

“Mr. Davidson,” she said, “I represent the Aaron T. Beck institute, your local mental health facility. Your neighbours have been telling us that you’ve been acting strange lately. How would you describe your behaviour?”

“Incredibly rational,” I said, “if you consider that for all my life I’ve been living under an oppressive regime that taxes me exorbitantly and won’t even deliver my mail.”

“That’s right,” she said, consulting a notebook, “your problem with the post office. Mr. Davidson, you understand that they won’t deliver your letter because—,” and here I stopped listening.

“You can write in that goddamned notebook all you want,” I shouted, “but I refuse to submit to this Kafka-esque totalitarian oppression any longer! All I want is what God says I should have, the basic dignity of living the way I want to live! So you can call in your goons, your lackeys, your toadies, everyone who’s sold out to live in this slave state. I won’t budge an inch!”

“Interesting,” she said, her body language indicating that she was unnerved by this passionate outburst. “Is this the reason for that, uh, unique flag out there?”

“That flag is an artistic expression of my soul,” I said. “Did you know it’s made out of my skin and blood?”

“I see,” she said. “Mr. Davidson, I have some friends outside. They’re going to take you to a special place. You’ll be very happy there. It’s the finest treatment facility of its kind in the world.”

“The re-education gulags!” I yelled. “We fought a war against the commies for this poo poo and—,” but then I broke off because she was looking alarmed. “May I excuse myself?” I asked pleasantly. “I just need to get… something from the back room.”

“Mr. Davidson,” she said, “I’m calling my friends in.”

“This will just take a second,” I said, and without giving her a chance to protest I went into the back room.

There the caged bird was sitting beside the window. Levering the window open, I faced the cage towards it, and, crying, set the bird free. It flew outside immediately. “Your destiny is in your own talons now,” I told the vanishing silhouette.

Then I found Martha, the closest thing I had to a daughter. “Send in an army!” I shouted. “I’m ready!”

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



in, this should at least be better than last week

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



thanks for the crits kaishai and broenheim

rough couple weeks but im feelin ok about this week so far

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Honey Kiss
1157 words

“We’re dying on the inside,” Mikhail said, and I laughed, because this wretch had meant to invoke some spirit of beast, or certainty, but he could barely stand under his own power, and of power, his words had none. He had spat them out like one coughs up blood, as the grim struggle ends.

“Times are tough,” I explained, and it might have been better had I restrained the sneer that rose from my breast like an uncoiling snake, but I could not resist reminding him of what he had despite everything. “You have your sister,” I said, “her beauty to keep you warm on those frozen nights.”

Anya was beautiful indeed. Many was the time I dreamt of knowing her, as much for the pain it would cause Mikhail as for the pleasure her embrace would bring. Thus far, I had kept myself satisfied with these dreams, and with these lustful references barely disguised as compliments.

The anger in him was like a dog whose tail had beeen trod on, of one who fears even more torment from his oppressor. After the instinctive glare he hastily looked away. “Am I to tell my comrades that there is to be nothing for them this winter?”

“You can tell them what you like,” I gloated. “Tell them the drink will flow like the fountain of Selsibel. They will only hate you when it does not come, and curse you with parched tongues.”

I watched him slink away, a broken man. What pleasure there is, in breaking a man so. There is an art to it. Any fool can kill a man, can deprive him of his needs so that he succumbs quickly to death or to his devils. But it takes a true craftsman to give him what he needs for the moment, and for the next moment, and maybe the next, but so that he depends on you even as you leech him of his strength, take it for yourself, so that what is left is a ghoul who stares at you with hollow eyes and meekly accepts his meager rations. I have done this to Mikhail, and to his friends before him, men who went to their grave knowing that they served me to the end of their days.

Some, I have heard, give their workers drink. They claim that the drink softens their workers’ tempers, keeps them dull and content with their lot in life. I say they are fools! I know what happens when workers gather over their drinks. A fire is born in their hearts which cannot be easily quenched. I say give them nothing, and keep the drink for myself.

This then, may be why I have no problem sleeping. After enough vodka has been drunk, slumber comes easily, though truth be told I could sleep without it. My conscience does not bother me when I have a worker whipped for disobedience, incompetence, or simply because I feel like it. It does not bother me when I water down the stew, though profits are up. And it does not bother me as I lay in my warm room, with my workers left to winter’s grasp.

So when she entered my room I thought it was another dream. Another dream of Mikhail’s beautiful sister. She stood there, golden-haired and proud, nude as the moment of her birth. “An angel,” I murmured, “here to be corrupted,” and when she frowned I realized that I was awake, for in my dreams she fell into my arms no matter what I said.

“Vadim,” she said, “I have seen the way you gaze at me, your eyes filled with need. I will be yours, but only if you promise to give your workers extra meat and drink this winter.”

“Of course, my dear,” I said. “Anything you say. I am a generous man, after all. Now, you must be cold, standing there like that. My bed is nice and warm.”

During the act, she did not look happy, but that is not such a bad thing. As long as the legs are open. When I was finished she left, like a spirit that perhaps was never really there. I did not stop her, having gotten what I wanted. But before she left she bade me remember my promise.

Of course, my promise. It is true, I had given my word. But I have given my word before, for many things. A word is made to be given, or else what use is it? And so I had no intention of keeping it. Besides, it is unfair to expect a man to keep to words uttered in pursuit of the fairer sex. Authors write novels, poets compose verse, and a man may say anything in such a situation.

And so the winter came, and I gave them nothing extra. I watered the stew down further, and laughed as I did it. I passed the extra meat onto the foremen, watched as they got stronger while the workers got weaker. And of course, I kept the drink to myself. I was never sober, I admit it. There was so much drink, so much profit in my business.

At this time, my eyes were only on Anya. She came every day after work to console her brother. And I would see her eyes on me, blazing with the passion only a woman can command. I was drunk, I think, as much on her hatred as on the vodka. I would wink at her, make a show of it, and the foremen would laugh with me as she turned her head in disgust and walked her brother home.

And so, when Mikhail came to to see me again, he was shaking even more than usual. Some disease, I reasoned, had finally laid claim to him, and it was likely he would not live to see another winter. He was a hard worker, it was true, but his death would probably break the workers’ spirits even more. And so I was overflowing with mirth as I greeted him.

“Mikhail,” I said, “friend, it seems work is not agreeing with you. Perhaps you should take some time off, spend time with family.”

Then he walked up close, with a speed I did not expect, and there was suddenly a coldness deep inside my chest. “My sister,” he growled, “you dog.” A piece of metal, I realized, from the machine; the foremen must not have been have been watching a broken man very carefully. As I began to drift away, I could see the foremen rushing up, weapons raised; the man would be obliterated for daring to kill someone so important. Behind Mikhail I saw the golden hair, a furious smile, a smile of triumph. None of that mattered, because the exploitation was over, the needle that I had driven into their veins so desperately, because it was desperate, it had always been desperate...

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



angel opportunity posted:

I'll just post this now since I've done all entries so far.

These are FIRST PARAGRAPH CRITS.

It means I judged your story and its likelihood of success solely on the first paragraph. I didn't read anything beyond that.

I will add more as more entries come in.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/...dit?usp=sharing

loving kill me

also thanks

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take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



okay so lately i seriously have not been reading the prompts closely enough

in with a that if i dont hit the prompt perfectly i get banned or whatever

e: since this prompt is in fact one sentence flash rule me or something or ill keep this toxx going till next week too

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