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Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.
I always come crawling back. In.


Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.
Oh God, Thunderdome, it's been a while. I've gotten a full-time job since I last entered, and I "won" NaNoWriMo, but this is what it's all about. Glad I did this again. The harsh word limit stretched just the right muscles for me, not necessarily in a good pro-athlete way, though. But I love it all the same. Just the slap in the face I need. Feel free to slap me more.

No Filter
990 Words | Location: Akihabra, Tokyo, Japan

Let me know if a Google Doc is a problem. I just want to be able to pull this from easy-access, though TD Archive stuff is obviously fine.

Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.
Thanks for the crits. Very pleased to have neither a DM or a Loss this week too.

I am in so that I have the opportunity to disgrace myself. Please generate me one if that's okay! Generate me one you big idiot I am so mad and amped to do the writing grrrr. :arghfist:

PoshAlligator fucked around with this message at 10:15 on Jan 13, 2015

Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.
The Hunger That Burns
990 words (994, including the title)

Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.
Are sign ups still open? I keep forgetting to check this thread on new prompt day. Hit me with a random country if so!

Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.
Well, here we go:

The Black Mountain's Bell
1350 Words

The clapper hit the rim of the bell just once, but it echoed many times through caverns of black rock, bouncing off thick walls of rock, around stalactites, finding their way through cracks where stone turned to cracked mud, spreading out into the forest that grew thick and lush at the mountain's base.

She'd been sat on a tree stump awaiting the noise, her stomach working into a knot as the sun had begun to dip below the far horizon, casting the mountain's shadow high into the sky behind her, making the clouds look stuffed with rain.

The noise of the bell reached her, dancing in the air, mixing with the final rays of twilight.

She closed her eyes.

A clatter overtook the quiet of the forest. Something wet dripped on her nose and she looked up. Moonlight shone on the riveted, metal sheet above her, filled with tiny holes rimmed by a rust brown. She stood, stretched her legs, rubbing her thighs where the stone she was sat on had begun to dig in.

Dead lamps hung from the roofing, connected by sinewy, fraying cables.

She followed them outside, her shoes crunching on the gravel pathways between the half-forgotten buildings, pushing the tiny stones into the moist ground. Metal rods and girders stuck out the ground, angled haphazardly jutting into the silvery mountain mist. She moved around them, but in places they were so thick she'd have to detour through one of the crumbled buildings, before she could find the trail again.

She found it where she expected, in the grey, unassuming building with the wide warehouse shutters right at the foot of the black mountain. Heavy, they left grooves in her thin fingers. Illuminated in the patchy moonlight was the heavy steel door she'd have to pass through.

A few metres away from it was the metal frame of a glass case, the tiny sparkles around its base the only evidence of what had once been. The black lines drooped from the ceiling here, many from all directions, connecting to the mass within.

She crouched next to it, removing a metal stick from a holster on her waist. She flicked a button and it hummed lightly. She jabbed it forward, into the dark lump before her. Electricity sparked from where it touched against it, illuminating the red and purple thing, smoke rolled off of it, making her stomach growl.

It contracted slowly, weak. She zapped it again, and it grew in speed. The lights above flickered and shone. One light above the door turned green, and it jerked open an inch for every two pumps of its power source.

She poked her head back outside while she waited. The mist had thickened, the lights barely illuminating the compound. The moon did a better job. The buildings were now covered in a yellow aura, and that was all.

There was a grinding sound, metal on metal, a few metres away. Something in the mist seemed to move. Metal rods sliding up and down, blowing the mist this way and that.

Another light flickered on. Higher than the roofs. This one was strong, bright white, seeming to scatter the mist like a knife.

She ducked back inside as it swept over the entrance, casting the walls into a fleeting, long shadow, stretching to the now open entranceway. For a second the black stone was clear, the light failing to reach into the far into the dark, before being reduced once more to the thin, yellow aura of the pumping lights.

The grinding came again.

She dashed inside, not stopping until the black stone had swallowed her up, until the pulsing behind her ceased and the light would not be able to reach her. More grinding behind her, distant, but for how long? She’d need to be quick.

The tunnels twisted and turned, opening up into large caverns, stuffed with deserted equipment, metal and flesh forgotten as the minerals were bled dry, until only the black rock was left.

She didn’t stop moving. She took each split in the road as soon as it was upon her, as if the bell was still ringing and all she had to do was follow the noise. Simple. Just follow the directions. She could do it with her eyes closed. Perhaps that would be easier. Just close your eyes and imagine yourself doing it, sat on the stump, sat on the stone. But everything is easier in dreams.

One final junction, this time on a stone balcony in a circular cavern only a couple of metres up, the walls polished to a shine. In the centre, as black as the stone surrounding it, was the bell. Twice as big as her it was still dwarfed by the huge, half-sphere of a cavern, its surface, gilded with inscriptions, gold on black. This time she stopped. She knew to go forwards, but she needed to cease the noise of her footfalls in the thick air.

Something whirring. Had the heart pumped something even deep down here – had something else switched on? She closed her eyes. Listen.

It wasn’t coming from any of the tunnels, she realised.

It was coming from above.

A small patch of the ceiling exploded and a metal rod shot down, whirling, among the debris like black rain. More metal followed behind it, all wiry, slim interlocking parts – a squashed mesh cage expanding from the hole, the searchlight on it still flashing.

Her eyes followed the stone as they fell. Right above the bell.

“No!” she called out, dashing forward, leaping down to the cavern floor, ignoring her pursuer.

But she wasn’t fast enough.

Even as the ground came up to meet her the bell was set ringing. Not as strong as when it was supposed to ring, but ringing all the same. Small quick pockets of sound bounced about her. The smooth walls seemed to ripple, and her eyes felt heavy.

She lost her balance and crumpled to the floor. She couldn’t keep her eyes open any longer. They closed.

When she opened them again the dirty yellow lights had been replaced by a soft blue, the cavern dotted with mushrooms that glowed in the dark. There was no hole in the thick black rock that separated her from the mountain ground above, the jagged imperfect walls were unmarked by any unnatural touch.

The ringing in her ears began to stop. The bell itself had fallen silent, though it still rocked slightly in its cradle.

She couldn’t let the silence lull her. She leapt to her feet, drawing her electric stick from its holster yet again, allowing it to hum.

She dashed forward toward the bell, reaching the stick out in front of her. One touch and it was finished.

Two paces away something slammed into her gut, and she was pulled upwards from her midriff.

She didn’t slow, and was slammed against the rocky wall.

Her stick fell from her hands, and rolled next to the bell.

She began to pick herself up, then ducked instinctively. She felt the rush of air above her as something unseen swiped at her. Dashed right, to the slope that led back up to the balcony.

Something wrapped around her leg. She let herself go limp, then slammed back again, into something solid that wasn’t there. It freed her momentarily and she ran away again.

A cluster of the blue glowing fungus grew above the small archway. She reached up and grabbed it in her hands, using all the strength she could muster to tear it from the wall. It came free, but somehow it still felt attached to something. Good.

Jumping from the balcony once more she swung around the cavern on an invisible wire, her arc taking her away from her hunter, and over to her still buzzing stick.

She snatched it up and dove.

The bell shattered. Cracking and falling lightly to the floor.

She awoke in the smooth cavernous dome again, in front of the pieces.

More of the creatures on their rods surrounded her.

At least the dream was over.

Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.
Thanks for the crits! I graciously accept my failure, and as usual will enter back in immediately. Expect my untitled opening.

Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.
Untitled Opening
497 Words

Master Fromage moved forward on his elbows, pulling his head over the grassy peak a an inch at a time. His good eye squinted as he looked over the rough country road below. He nodded, retreated back down, and turned his head to Young Gunn, who looked at Fromage's waxy eye patch that covered the long scar on the left side of his face before hurriedly correcting himself. Fromage frowned

"You got all the supplies I asked for? Could get bloody, but by rights it's mine, that's the law"

"Yes, sir." Gunn patted the woven basket by his side, a long French bread sticking out from underneath the red cloth that covered it, next to a couple of equally as long swords. When he looked back up he made the mistake of looking at the crimson red eye patch again.

Fromage growled, scooted over, shifted the swords to the side and pulled out the bread. He tore an end off, and rooted around in the basket. He held a sealed wheel of cheese aloft.

“Never go into battle hungry, boy.” He broke the cracked, white rind and began to put it together with the bread. Gunn peered at his eyepatch again. Fromage smirked. “When I was a young squire like yourself, for the then Knight of Cheeses, Master Hawthorne. It was when the now Count Wenton, then but a boy himself, betrayed our camp. Hawthorne was crippled, as you well know, and I received this trying to save him.”

“That was when the Victory Cheese was taken?” Gunn leant forward. He did love his history books.

“That’s right.”

“First produced to celebrate the Battle of Independence, near a thousand years ago, maturing ever since.”

”Only to be eaten in the end times,” Fromage continued. “And this new king and his advisors see fit to allow Wenton, the fool of the banker to keep the cheese, when it should be my own right by title? Bah.” He swallowed down a lump of bread hard, coughed.

“But isn’t this still treason, Master?”

“Everything’s illegal until it isn’t. But if all goes to plan nobody need ever know.” Fromage peered into the basket again and smiled. “That’s the stuff all right.”

His ear twitched. He brushed the crumbs off his hands. “That sounds like Count Wenton’s convoy now. There’s still time to go back, boy, if it unsettles you. Not everyone can handle the Society.”

“I’m ready,” Gunn nodded.

“Are you certain? If you back out now I’ll let you go. But flee later and I’ll see your head in a block of cheese.”

Gunn nodded once more.

“Good, this isn’t just about a wheel of cheese. This is about tradition, country. This is about the future, and it starts here.”

Fromage looked at Gunn. His hands were shaking a little, but besides that he was sturdy. He could do fine. He could.

Together they edged up to the ridge on their bellies, the sound of the convoy drawing near.


No, it's not purposefully lovely :colbert:

Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.
The Princess Ball
993 Words

“I told you, honey, tickets for the Princess Ball were too much. I couldn’t do it for you this year.” Eli dragged the razor down his neck, feeling the blade roughen on his cheek and knowing he’d have to put some lotion or something on it later. He sighed. “I’m sorry.”

“Okay!” he heard from the bedroom across the hall. “No Princess Ball, that’s okay. I’m just going to wear my dress, just in case though. Okay?”

Eli dropped his hand to the sink and squeezed his eyes shut, just for a second. He wondered how long it would take her to realize he wasn’t trying to surprise her.

“I really need you to change, honey. We’re going to dinner. I got you a present. I’ll give it to you when we get there. That’s all I have planned, I promise…” He left the last word in the air like a frustrated insect, unsure whether to keep buzzing or to land.

The bedroom was quiet.

He finished up his neck, wiped down his face, checked his teeth in the mirror, and tried on a face that was apologetic but with that hint of worn out frustration. It looked good. It looked serious. It looked exactly how he felt. He turned to the bedroom.

“Seriously, honey, you need to change out of that dress. I’m pretty sure they won’t have room in the cab for me, you, and the petticoats.”

“I’m not going unprepared, Eli,” his girlfriend shot back. The glitter on her cheeks made her eyes glow. “You promised me you’d take me to the ball for my twenty-fifth birthday. You’re not a great liar, you know.” She was still smiling a little, which was good. It was when she started smirking and clucking between those perfect teeth that he was in trouble. He could still swing this.

“Don’t you think I’m a little underdressed for a ball? I mean, it’s fine if you want to wear that out to the place, but I’m not going to put on riding pants or epaulets just to make you feel less ridiculous.” She huffed, eyebrows raised like warning flags but her tone still playful. “Did you just say I look ridiculous in my dress? The dress I stitched lovingly, with my own two hands—” “For three whole months, I know, I know,” he laughed. “You look gorgeous,” he said, and he put a hand on her twinkling cheek. “But you really should save it for when I can actually take you.”

The yellow streetlight through the cab window changed to a mint green, from the faux-gas lamps that decorated the restaurant. It was new, just opened. One of the ones with a celebrity chef’s name at the front, where you couldn’t be sure if they’d ever set foot in the door. He lingered in the cab after she’d gotten out, so she wouldn’t have to see the measly tip he thrust into the driver’s hand.

She huffed when the waiter seated them. “I’m not sure about this place.”

Eli groaned. “I know it’s not the Princess Ball, but everyone is talking about this place. It’s the place to be. I thought you’d like it. I had to book a table while it was still under construction.”

Her eyes jerked down the menu like a typewriter. “Can you even afford this food?” she asked.

“I’ve been saving. Not enough for the Ball but it’s not nothing.”

She pursed her lips. “They’d better be magic meatballs for twenty pounds,” she said.

“I’m sure they’re very good.” He scanned the right side of the menu for the cheapest price.

“I’ve already got all the magic balls I need,” she said.

He nodded, then snapped his eyes up and at her, glowing in her handmade dress next to the off-the-rack suits of the other guests. “What?” he asked, turning his attention to a crease he’d spotted on his cuff.

“Nothing,” she smirked. She closed the menu with a crack, swallowed up by the classical music humming from the speakers above their table. “Let’s go somewhere else,” she said.

“Are you joking?”

She pushed her chair back and strode past Eli, towards the door.

She walked the streets with surprising purpose as Eli struggled to keep up and talk to her at the same time. “Where are you going?” he asked, his heart sinking.

“Somewhere else,” was all she said for a while. Then, “how about here?”

Eli had been so preoccupied he hadn’t realised where they’d ended up. They were outside an average kebab shop, the sort you’d walk past a thousand times.

“This is where we first…”

“The usual?” she asked, pushing open the door, the warm air packed with meaty smells spilling out.

He nodded.

They took their food to go and both walked the same way together, not needing to discuss their route. Muscle memory found them going up to the hill in the nearby park. The same place they’d stayed up all night on their first date.

“I thought you’d be mad at me about the Princess Ball,” he admitted after they’d finished eating.

She laughed. “I’m sorry I let you get so worked up about it. But you should have known. All a Princess needs is her Prince anyhow.” She looked down at her dress. “I didn’t make this just to go out to a Ball, I made it to go out with you.”

They smiled. Eli flicked around on his phone, and dropped it to the grass as he stood up, slightly tinny pop music beginning to play.

“May I have this dance?” he asked her, holding out his hand.

The gentle night wind blew through the trees around them, but the phone’s speaker carried over the crinkling of the leaves. They just saw them swaying out of the corners of their eyes, neither one of them wanting to look away from one another, as they danced under the chandelier of stars.

Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.
I can't not come back for this week. I'm in.

I want to try and minimise my ability to pick a douchey thing to write about, so I would appreciate it if you could pick me a Pokemon. I would also appreciate a flashrule.

The last time I entered I lost and have kept the avatar - as it was always my plan to return and redeem myself by hopefully not losing (I will also keep it if you give me a DM).

Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.
I forget - is this forum searchable on Google?


"It exudes strong magnetism from all over. It controls three small units called Mini-Noses."
Flashrule: "your story must include rad facial hair"


The Magnet Machine
1238 Words

Langham raised the glass of stout to his mouth as he surveyed the rest of the packed bar. Foam speckled his dark red beard as he lowered the glass. He wiped it clean with his jacket sleeve.

His hand brushed against the silver chain around his neck. He pulled up the case attached to it. He stared inside, his eyes following around, darting back and forth.

The gaslamp by the door fluttered as it opened wide, and Langham looked up. A group of men walked in. At the front, with slicked black hair and a smooth face – Jebidiah Cassius became the only man in the room to look at home in a suit.

“Thought you were dead, old friend,” Cassius nodded in greeting.

“So did I,” said Langham. “Old friend,” he added, through teeth.

“Terribly sorry to hear about Susan and that whole business. I hope you got my messages. If there’s anything I can do--”

“I got your letters.”

“You two were doing good work. It’s a dangerous business sometimes this.”

Cassius sighed as the bartended handed him his scotch.

“She was always the type to take risks”, he continued. “Even when she was with me. I suppose leaving with you was just one of those risks. Just one that didn’t work out.”

“I know you think she owed you something, but she didn’t--“

“She was one of the best scientists I’ve ever met. But if you think I didn’t have a hand in her research then you’re blind.” He downed the scotch.

The large double doors opened and the crowd began to move into the auditorium.

“I’m glad you’re presenting today.” Cassius pushed the empty glass away. “You’ve been out of the game for a while now. The difference between what we’ve done and you and Susan’s unfinished project will make it even easier to sell our design.”

Cassius started to walk into the crowd, before turning to look back at Langham, eyes staring at his facial hair. “You could have at least cleaned up for this, couldn’t you?”

* * *

Eventually Cassius stepped onto the stage, looking out to the people before him while a veiled device was rolled forward by two other men.

“Gentlemen,” he began. “The future is coming – and it lies in energy. Gas,” he gestured at the gas lamps lighting the room, “is on the way out. We’ve already seen proposed solutions tonight – but no answer. Not, that is, until now.” He stepped back and pulled the sheet down.

Langham tightened his grip on the arm of his seat. He recognised the machine.

Three steel pillars were arranged in a triangle, their angling together in a pyramid shape. The base of each pillar was fitted with various dials, and large cases housing the machinery within. All three were linked by a wire to a round capsule in the middle – the battery.

Langham consulted his case again.

Inside was a compass. The needle was moving back and forth wildly, back and forth, jerkily and erratically, past the gilded letters of the compass points. The thin layer of glass covering it was etched with minute symbols.

“It’s definitely our battery design,” he muttered, biting his lip.

The needle seemed to move faster now, back and forth.

“If he’s managed to get those plans – then the regulators will --” He paled.

The needle slowed to a stop. Then it started back up, slower, swinging from point to point.

“I know, I know,” he groaned.

He took the stairs down to the stage two at a time.

“The regulators,” Langham called.

With a glance from Cassius doormen were blocking the steps to the stage.

“Performing perfectly in testing, Langham. Please.” The doormen began to take him away. Cassius looked over. “Let him stay – he should see this.”

He stepped over to the console of the nearest pillar. All three pillars began to hum as he turned a dial.

“Magnetic energy is around us all the time,” he called to the audience over the noise. The whole earth has a magnetic force. All that energy – and what do we use it for?”

The humming grew louder, and the wooden stage began to shake. A metal clanking, three metal rings of varying thickness around the battery capsule began to rise up, sparks flying from them, until they were suspended in the air. They began to move into one another, spinning.

“It’s working. I’m drawing energy from the magnetic force, with zero loss.”

Cassius began to dial it down.

But the machine wasn’t stopping. It still grew in tempo, shaking the stage.

“It appears to be stuck.”

The metal rings were whirring so fast now they seemed not to be moving at all, a metal orb.

The crowd grew quiet. Even over the machine the sound of a crack could be heard – a splinter suddenly appearing in the battery. Then it shattered.

A fierce wind blew back from the stage, causing those left standing to fall back hard in their seats.

Langham pushed back the distracted guards.

“All the pillars need to be depowered at the same time.

Langham reached the unmanned console and began to power it down. The levers were slow. He glanced at the bright light in the centre of the stage. Pulses of energy were flying out of it regularly. He had to grip the metal to stay put.

A large pulse of energy shook the stage. Wood began to splinter. The battery fell lopsided, sinking into the cracking wood.

Cassius lost his grip, and was flung back into the audience on a wave of energy, his pitiful screaming being added to the rest of the crowd.

“It’s no use, Susan.”

The compass fell open against his shirt. He looked down, at the spinning dial.

“You think it will work again?” he asked? “But everyone will see.” He looked back at the battery, and then at the helpless audience, pinned to their seats. “I guess there’s not a lot of choice.”

Langham reached inside his inner pocket. A glass vial, filled with something grey. He smashed the top against the console, then spilled the fine powder over his beard, spitting out the metal taste that touched his lips.

“Go, Susan, do it,” he yelled.

He winced in pain as he felt his whiskers tugging at his skin, the iron filings mixing with his hair, seeping into his DNA.

His red hair began to stretch outward, slowly at first, before picking up speed. He tried to ignore the dull pain and concentrate on pushing the lever down and disengaging the energy throughput. It began to hum down.

He glanced side to side to see his red and grey hair streaking out around him in a semi-circle, pushing down at the levers on the other consoles.

The rings began to slow. He continued to push, both down and out at the same time.

The rings clanked to the floor.

He breathed out deeply. He felt his hair begin to reign in once more.

He turned to the crowd. Cassius was out cold in the front row.

Langham pulled out the compass and looked closely at the etching in the glass. “I know, he said – we did it.”

His beard was now all back with him, still streaked with grey.

The crowd stood up once more, and began to applaud.

Langham bowed, the compass falling forward with him, pulling slightly on his neck.


My initial draft of this was about 1750. I hope it doesn't show too much, as I like some of the cut-downs

Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.

Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.

sebmojo posted:

Fuschia tude - sucker punch with actual suckers
PoshAlligator - the strongest arm is not the mightiest
martello - bullets are the beauty of the blistering sky

Here are the flashrules I will be taking. My allocated one, plus two more.

Do not mistake me only taking two extra flash rules as a sign of weakness. I'm only taking two because I want to be focused on dismantling these two "writers" as much as possible. Both of you guys have haunted me from day one. And I've had enough.

Fuschia tude, we both know why you got assigned that rule. And it's definitely not because you can make a decent story out of it. It's because you're a class-A sucker. You've got more DMs than me and that's saying something.

Martello, buddy, you're a pretty good judge. But I have to wonder if you just judge all the time because you don't know how to actually write yourself? I don't want to be too mean, because I really do respect your judgements -- but the results of this prompt are going to be so clear even you're going to have to judge yourself knocked out. You've not been entering TD so much lately, so I do hope you can take this loss well and come back.

Sorry pals, but that's just the way it is.

And if either of you fail to submit I will challenge you to a Brawl. There will be no escaping a loss at my hands.

Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.
My prompt and flashrules:

sebmojo posted:

Fuschia tude - sucker punch with actual suckers
PoshAlligator - the strongest arm is not the mightiest
martello - bullets are the beauty of the blistering sky

I hated my flashrule.

Closing Day
1198 words

George gripped his tiny fingers around his dad’s bigger, calloused ones. They held it there for a moment, on his dad’s desk.

Slowly his dad lowered George’s arm down. “Tough luck,” he smiled. “Guess you’ve gotta do the final round with me after all.”

His dad pushed his chair back and grabbed his Security jacket.

“So this is your last day of work, Dad?” George asked.

“Last public day.” He strapped the baton and small handgun from the side table underneath the photos – a large selection all in different frames showing him in front of all the different aquarium animals.

“The people taking the building over are helping transport the animals out over next week.”

“Where are the animals going?”

“Back to sea I reckon.”

They did the circuit around the aquarium, saying hello to the handful of visitors that had come for a final look.

The biggest group of people was as always looking in at Osmund the Octopus. As usual his dad stopped here to tell the tourists the story.

“Osmund the Octopus was the star of the climax of Spy Dangerous VI: The Underwater Menace. Without any training Osmund seemed to be able to match the moves of the starring martial artist Kyle McCleery move for move, winning an Animal Oscar for his performance. And now he’s retired here.”

Anyone that listened to the full story would always gaze at Osmund again, eyes filled with wonder.

This time his Dad took even longer, explaining the intricacies of the octopus, and how it was so smart one time they caught it sneaking out to get food, so that he overran to closing time.

“I need to escort these guests out. Wait for me here and we’ll lock everything up after.”

George had watched Osmund a lot, floating freely around his domain, lazing about on the rocks. But this time it seemed that Osmund was more agitated than usual, skitting about from wall to wall.

From his low position George could see out of the water of Osmund’s tank to the metal gantries above the tank, for the staff to use.

A distorted, dark figure came into view. Osmund didn’t usually get fed at this time, thought George. But everyone was on different schedules today.

The doors behind him burst open, and George turned around.

The men in suits were pushing a trolley forward, filling the room with a horrible, rank smell, like a fish market. George stood up.

His dad rushed in after them. “You can’t do this,” he shouted. “This has to be illegal. I’ll call the council! The police!”

George could see inside the trolley now, it was piled up with fish. Their skin glistened in the blue light coming from George’s booth. Some of the ones at the top flopped about, but the lower layers were still.

“We are the council and the police,” said the man at the front. “We’re from the government. We need this building sooner than we thought, so cleaning it out is a priority.”

“But you can’t just kill all these creatures!” shouted his dad.

“We are authorised.”

A net was lowered into Osmund’s tank by the man above. Osmund kept darting out of the way, staying in the edges of the tank that were difficult for the inexperienced man to reach.

“Not Osmund,” his Dad whispered.

Osmund couldn’t avoid the net forever, and he was scooped up.

The man held him above the water, and moved the net over to the large bucket beside him.

A tentacle lurched out of the net, catching the man in the jaw. He stumbled and fell, the upper half of his body lying over the tank.

The men pushing the trolley ran forward, confused, looking up as close to the glass as they could.

Osmund picked himself up from the tangled net on the metal grating. He pulled himself onto the man’s body, walking himself over to his head.

The two men were banging on the glass. “Pull yourself together, he’ll get away!”

Osmund dropped himself off the man’s chest, looping his tentacles around so he was hanging on his back. Then he pulled. The man tumbled off the walkway, and splashed hard into the water, bubbles shooting to the surface.

“Did that octopus just suplex Dave?” one of the men asked the other.

The bubbles began to clear.

Osmund was locked over the man’s face as he struggled to tread the water. Bubbles streamed from his face.

“Oh my God,” said George’s dad. He moved his hand over George’s eyes.

“He’s drowning him!” shouted one of the men. “Stand back!” He drew a gun and shot the glass. It held.

The man in the tank stopped moving. Osmund turned to look at them. His eyes seemed to be blank.

The man shot again.

The tank burst and water streamed out. Small rocks, algae, and pieces of glass flew forward first. The still body of the man that had fallen in drooped over the ridged edge of the tank.

Osmund was beside him, his goopy body expanding and contracting.

“Let’s just waste him,” said the man with the gun.

“No ,wait, he’s just an animal,” said George’s dad, “he doesn’t understand.”

He moved forward to Osmund.

The man pressed down on the trigger.

His dad fell backwards. Osmund leapt forward, passing his dad. The man shot again, but Osmund still flew across the air. He landed on the man’s arm, pulling it up. He shot again, the bullet whizzing through the tank to the electric lights above, shattering them.

Sparks flew down on the water. Something caught fire above.

The man yelled, spinning. His gun went off again, hitting cleaning chemicals on the trolley. These caught light instantly, spilling down into the pile of fish, smelling like a barbecue, the thick smoke curling up to the ceiling.

The man tried to scream, but Osmund was on his face, his muscular tentacles squeezing the life out of him.

George crawled over to his dad, lying amongst the glass and water, holding his side and wincing. “Osmund’s too far gone,” he whispered. “He’s distracted. Doesn’t see you as a threat. You’ve gotta use my gun. Just point and shoot like we practiced, okay?”

“Are you gonna be okay, dad?”

“Only if we stop what started here.”

“I don’t wanna kill him.”

“He must be stopped.”

George began to cry.

The second man was trying to hold Osmund off, backing away from the still body of his friend.

His dad pressed the gun into George’s hand.

George pointed it at Osmund, now on the second man’s face, and pressed down. And again, and again, correcting his aim after each knockback.

The bullets seemed to hang in the air over the orange corridor, light flickering from the burning fish, illuminating up what had before been the sky of Osmund’s world in brilliant amber. Like meteors coming down from his sky each round impacted into him, flinging him off the final man.

He landed with a dull splash in the inch high water of the floor.

Once again Osmund lay still. But this time no credits rolled.

Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.

Fuschia tude posted:

Karma, what?

You have as many DMs and losses as me on 2/3 as many stories. The meaning of that is clear to me, but since it's apparently not to you, let's settle this one on one, without any of those pesky "other, better writers" getting in the way.

I'm :toxx: if you are

You're correct, I've managed to acquire just as many harsh lessons as you much faster.

If anything I'm glad I got handed the DM this week as now you have no excuses.

I'm prepared to :toxx: on this too. Let's lay 'em down.

Anyone want to step up to the plate with officiating this Brawl?

Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.

docbeard posted:

How you doin'

:siren: Posh Tude 2015 - This Time It May Or May Not Be Personal :siren:

Ghosts. Secrets. Indecision. Using these elements, tell me a real story, with real characters (plural) and real stakes. Between 750 and 1750 words.

Due no later than 5 AM CST on September 4, 2015. Sadly, I will likely be awake, but if not, I can read timestamps and do simple math, and there will be no leniency. You're both toxxed and I can learn from the past.

It's going down!

Corsham's Best Ghost Hunters
1745 words

“There’s definitely no ghosts in here,” said Henry, after he opened the door and peered into the old barn.

“Oh, is that right?” asked Gloria, the old lady who had called them in.

“You sure about that, Henry?” Sarah asked, wearing the same uniform as Henry, red and beige overall-type things with a stitched crest near the breast: “Corsham’s Best Ghost Hunters”. The only difference was while Henry carried nothing with him Sarah had a tartan backpack, dotted with colourful badges.

Gloria frowned. “I’m not sure that can be right. Strange things have been happening around here lately. I’ve felt… presences. And little Jack Plumpsy seems right frightened.”

“Even little Jack Plumpsy’s rattled,” nodded Sarah.

In response Henry just let out a long “Hmmmhuhhhhhhh” with his hand still on the door.

“Think you could have just a bit more of a look around?” asked Gloria. “You’ve only just got here.”

“I’m really not sure that’s necessary,” began Henry.

“That should be fine Gloria,” beamed Sarah.

Gloria slapped her hands together. “Lovely,” she exclaimed. “Anyone for tea?”

“That’s be ace,” smiled Sarah. “Milk no sugar for me, and milk and two for Henry.”

“Biscuits?” asked Gloria.

“No thanks,” murmured Henry. “I don’t really have an appetite.”

Gloria wandered off to the house.

“What’s with you?” Sarah asked.

Henry closed the barn door and stepped back from it. He squatted down and put some of his fist into his mouth. He began to scream softly.

“You just gonna leave me hanging?” she asked.

“Ghosts,” he said.

“Ghosts? You said there were no ghosts.”

“Oh my God,” he said through his fist, “there’s a poo poo-tonne of ghosts in there, Sarah. You wouldn’t be able to move for ghosts in there, apart from the fact, of course, that you can just move right through them.”

“How many ghosts?”

“A poo poo-tonne.”

“But how many exactly.”

“I dunno, fourteen?”

“That’s not that many.”

“That’s over a dozen! We’ve only done a couple at the most before.”

“So there’s more of them, what’s the problem?”

“We should just get out of here,” he said, craning his neck to spot Gloria through the kitchen window, back turned as she fussed over the stovetop window.

“We can’t just leave her,” Sarah stated.

“Justice, is it? We have to do what’s right, is that it?”

“Well, that,” Sarah shrugged, “but she’s also a member of the book club I go to – that’s how we got this gig, remember? It’d be super awkward if we just left.”

“Oh, right.”

“And I can’t just quit. We’re reading War of the Worlds at the moment and it’s really good. I want to discuss it.”

They could see Gloria pouring hot water now.

“Why’s it freaking you out so much anyway?”

“You know the ones that get clingy when they realise I can see them? How it takes that toll on me?”


“Well, imagine that with a whole load of ‘em. Tugging at me, pulling me out of myself. I don’t wanna end up like that. Like one of them. It’s too dangerous. If it doesn’t go right that could be the end of me, of us all.”

Gloria’s footsteps shuffled on the dirt path.

He looked up with a smile plastered onto his face again.

“Here you go,” said Gloria, pushing a tray forward, the tea within flicking up to the rim of the ornate cups, but not a single drop spilling over.

Henry’s mouth twitched. “Thanks.”

“Had any more thoughts on my problem?” Gloria asked.

“About that,” began Henry. Sarah stepped forward to take her cup from Gloria and stepped hard on Henry’s foot, concealed by the tray in Gloria’s hands. He winced. “That is to say, yes – there could very well be something up here. Why don’t you show us around the barn?”

“That sounds great,” smiled Gloria, putting the tray down so it balanced perfectly on the thick wooden fencing.

Henry sighed and turned to the barn door.

Sarah stepped next to him before he could open it, sensing his indecision. “You’re doing the right thing,” she whispered beneath her breath.

He nodded, but he wasn’t sure why as he couldn’t say he yet agreed. It was part of Sarah’s whole shtick, he guessed. Just like he eased his suggestions to move on to the ghosts so did she with how he moved through life. This whole career move was her idea in the first place. But, just like he hoped the ghosts felt, he wasn’t not glad about it.

“You’ve got everything in your backpack?” he asked.

Sarah nodded.

Henry pushed the bar door open lightly and it creaked open on its hinges.

The hazy figures of the ghosts he’d seen before greeted him. That was good. That meant they hadn’t settled in, hadn’t noticed he was aware of them.

“So, how long have you lived here?” Henry asked.

“Oh, an age now.”

“Passed down from the family was it?”

“No, nothing like that. Moved here in the 50s. Now it’s mostly my sons and their families that tend to the place.”

“Not your husband’s family even?”

“No. Never been married.” She plunged into the tea she was holding, even though Henry’s was still pretty scolding. Old peoples’ tongues, he thought.

Sarah had her bag on the ground and was rooting through it for her things. She had the right idea. If they were going to do this best to do it quick, not give the ghosts too long to catch on.

“Can’t be ancestors then. Any idea at all who’d be haunting this place?”

“It’s an old farm. Plenty of folk lived here before. Couldn’t be ghosts of them?”

“That’s not really how it works. Ghosts need some kind of living attachment to the area they reside. Parasitic almost.”

“Parasitic?” said Gloria. “Well, Jack Plumpsy had worms once. Could that be connected?”

Henry thought he saw some of the haze around them beginning to sharpen and focus. He coughed. “I mean, hypothetically, parasite-esque. If ghosts were even real. But they’re totally not. Haha. But if they were, given what Sarah’s told me about your problem it seems like it could pretty haunted here.”

“Pretty haunted?”

“Oh yeah, about… 14 on the… ghost scale.”

“Is that good?”

“No. Well, good for ghosts, maybe. But not for you, not at all, really, to be quite honest. Especially if you don’t know why there would be so many ghosts here.” He eyed the hazes again. “Which there may or may not be.”

“I’m sorry I can’t be of more help,” said Gloria, putting the empty cup of tea down. “Do you think you’ll be able to help out even without details?”

“Well, it won’t be easy. If the spirits are to make peace it would help to know why they should. But we’ll have to give it a go anyway.”

Henry nodded at Sarah. She’d placed a series of white stencils around the barn in an elliptical shape. She shook the red spray paint in her hand.

“Let’s go,” he said to Sarah. He turned to Gloria, “Do mind the smell, just a bit of lamb blood mixed in.”

Sarah began to spray paint the stencils in.

“What’s that?” asked Gloria.

“Just something to calm the spirits, ease them into communication.”

The stencils done, Sarah began to free-hand some other symbols around the edges.

The hazes in the barn began to stir, moving around in clockwise direction. Only Henry followed the fog-like wind as Gloria just stared from the side-lines. Sarah stepped back too, also unable to follow their movements.

The speed of the swirling ghosts was increasing. Henry stepped into the circle and raised his arms.

“Spirits of the dead,” he began in flat monotone. “I come in peace.” He frowned slightly. That always sounded dumb. “You are trapped in this plane and to finally rest and sleep, you will need to move on.”

Usually the swirl would slacken by now but it kept up. Faces began to leer out of the swirling mist. Angry faces, skin and eyes contorted beyond human recognition. This hadn’t happened before. He could feel the presences prickling at his skin, pulling something inside out and apart.

“You need to recognise you’re trapped here, make peace, and will yourself to move—“

He fell to one knee. He was out of breath already.

“You need to move on,” he began again, though the words didn’t seem to even form his mouth.

“What’s happening?” asked Gloria

“They’re too much for him,” explained Sarah. “Their tie here must be too strong. Too full of something bad.”

Gloria brought her hands together.

Henry didn’t hear any of this, struggling just to keep himself upright from his kneeling position as he was buffeted back and forth by the stream of ghostly flesh around him, trying to unravel him.

“This is doing you no good,” he said, a sleepy whisper.

His vision began to blur and blacken at the edges. If he just let himself fall to the ground, he was sure a blissful sleep would take him immediately, maybe even before his head touched the ground.

Something appeared beside him. He looked up. It was Gloria. The feeble old lady in her flowery sundress and wellies, tea stains on her nails.

She said something, too quiet to hear.

The swirl of spirts began to ease. She said it again.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m sorry for what my husband did.”

As the fog slackened forms began to emerge more clearly. Men and women, and even a child. Their features were still twisted, but closer to human.

“Maybe in some way, by denying my involvement with him, and the awful things he did. Maybe I’ve been denying you too. Maybe that wasn’t right. Not in the end. Not fair. Not that any of it was.”

Henry could still feel himself slipping, but it felt like he was all together, all inside.

The forms began to slip away, to disappear one by one.

The last to go was the child. It reached out a grey-blue hand. Gloria’s eyes met this one. She saw it. She reached her hand out to match it.

They touched, then the arm disappeared.

Gloria’s arm dropped to her side, and she looked down. Sarah moved to her. Henry could see the tears falling from Gloria’s eyes as he faded into unconsciousness.

He hoped Gloria would have something a little stronger than tea to offer by the time he came round.


Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.

docbeard posted:

How you doin'

:siren: Posh Tude 2015 - This Time It May Or May Not Be Personal :siren:

Ghosts. Secrets. Indecision. Using these elements, tell me a real story, with real characters (plural) and real stakes. Between 750 and 1750 words.

Due no later than 5 AM CST on September 4, 2015. Sadly, I will likely be awake, but if not, I can read timestamps and do simple math, and there will be no leniency. You're both toxxed and I can learn from the past.

Any chance you can settle this score once and for all?

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