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Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Providence
(998 words)
Flash rule: ignorant

As a youth, I was chosen to represent my native Athens in the Olympic games. I have always been naturally swift,and nothing filled me with more joy and pride than the opportunity to compete in the games against runners from the other city-states. In order to prepare, I would run daily from the city into the outskirts where the fields were. One such day, I was approaching the crossroads where I saw a cloaked stranger standing at the corner. His hair was so wild it looked like a bird's nest and he was balancing on one leg with the aid of a staff. My head full of thoughts of grandeur and odes dedicated to my victory, I paid him no heed and kept running towards the crossroads. The moment I crossed him he tripped me with his staff, sending me flying towards the ground. I landed on the ground in a cloud of dust, my forehead, bruised and bleeding and my knees, scraped. The stranger laughed as I got up to dust myself up.

"Why did you do that?" I exclaimed. "You could've killed me!"

"But I didn't, did I?" he asked and smiled. His smugness infuriated me but I was too focused on my training to care. "Stranger, you best hope that our paths never cross, lest I break your staff over your head," I threatened him. Before I could take off, he blocked my path with his staff.

"Now hold on, son," he told me, "before I let you cross, you have to pay my toll."

"What toll?" I asked, exasperated.

"My toll," he responded as if it were blatantly obvious.

"You don't own these crossroads!"

"I most certainly do," he told me and held his staff over his shoulders, "for all crossroads belong to me."

"Even if I had the coin, I still wouldn't pay you!"

"Well that's too bad, you can't cross. Unless..."

"Unless what?"

"See that olive tree?" he asked and pointed towards it. "If you can pass it before I do, then I will never bother again."

"You swear to it?"

"By the River Styx," the stranger said and rose his right hand.

"And what if I lose?"

"You just worry about winning," he said and smiled again.

"I accept your terms then, stranger," I told him and crouched to the ground. The stranger delightedly threw his staff and cloak to the side and crouched next to me. "On your mark," I shouted, "get set...go!"

I took off from the ground and ran as fast as as I could while taking the longest strides possible. For a moment I was satisfied in the thought that I had beat my opponent until I glanced to my side and saw him sprinting effortlessly next to me, that same self-satisfied smile on his face. Enraged, I ducked my head down and exerted myself; sprinting faster and striding further than I have ever done before. My lungs burned, sweat flowed from every pore on my skin, the callouses on my feet burst bled. Unbearable pain, coursed through my body but it only motivated me further, such as the sting of the charioteer's whip motivates his horses.

Now as a youth, I could neither recognize nor reconcile the several peculiarities I had observed within the stranger, such as his behaviors, his odd phrasings, or why he stood vigil over the the crossroad in the first place. When I glanced upon him again, it finally dawned upon me why. His feet were no longer those of a human's but instead of a bird's--tough, banded skin with talons and feathers sticking out. His eyes were large and yellow and his pupils were focused like a hawk's. Hiis messy hair was now a headful of down. I was no longer in the presence of a human, but of a divine being. Too focused on finishing rest. I strained every facet of my body until I finally crossed the olive tree, screaming at the top of my lungs in anguish and pain.

As I collapsed down to my hands and knees, I felt the wind rush next to me. There he stood, his messenger bag to his side, his wide-brimmed hat over his brow, and his twin-snake staff in his hand. It was Hermes, Herald of the Gods.

"My Lord," I gasped, "Forgive me for my thoughtlessness and boorish behavior."

"Thessalos of Athens," he said and extended his hand, "rise, my son."

With obvious trepidation, I took the Herald's hand as he helped me stand up. "Rejoice, for divine providence smiles upon you today," he said and smiled warmly.

"Forgive me my Lord, but I confused," I said as I tried my best not to look into his hawk-like eyes.

"Son, I have spent far too long standing at the crossroads, demanding sport in exchange for coin as my toll," he told me. "Too many have instead compensated me in coin. You are the first in a very long time to accept my challenge! I have not had such amusement in a very, very long time!" he said with a booming laugh. I laughed along nervously and nodded.
He reached into his bag and drew a simple necklace, attached to it was a small feather pendant made of gold. "This is my token of appreciation," he said and handed it to me. "Wear this, and you will become the fastest human alive. But heed my words, Thessalos," he warned me. "For too many in your place and succumbed to hubris and destruction followed in their wake. Never forget that it is I, Hermes, Herald of the Gods, who has bestowed upon you the blessing of swiftness."

"I will do my best, my Lord," I said and bowed.

"Make me proud, son," he told me and tipped his hat at me before he disappeared in the blink of an eye. As I clasped the amulet in my hands, I knew at that moment that I was now destined for greatness.

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Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Yo Muffin, I'll have a crit of your most recent story up by Monday, February 9th. This week's been qw-aaaa-zyyyyy

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at 08:07 on Feb 9, 2015

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


My long overdue crit of one of SurreptitiousMuffin's 'dome stories.

quote:

Hole in the wall
By SurreptitiousMuffin


Samantha danced the foxtrot with Death. I'd combine the two sentences with either a colon or an em dash His chipped enamel mask had broad tombstone teeth, and each eye was covered with dark mesh that echoed empty sockets. He wore a black cloak, perhaps a tad too billowy for dancing. Strands of curly black hair stuck out over the top, slick with sweat. He kept getting tangled in the cloak, unnecessary comma and other dancers kept stomping on the hem. His name was Morris. He apologised typo too much. It wasn't his fault. They had all been very lucky; the Lucky Hundred.

Each dancer wore a mask: devils, angels, pigs, rats. The band played rusted instruments in the corner, each man wearing as much of a shabby dark suit as could be salvaged. Their volume walked a razor-edged line: loud enough to drown out those outside the mansion, but not so loud as to alert them. Good description, really helps to set the scene of a weird dance party

Nothing could drown them out fully. The sickly, retching tones that shook the world, and shook Samantha down to her bones. They made her feel naked and watched; the low horns, the maddening bells, the pipes of bone that shrieked through every blighted hour of the night. You must have a real appreciation for music, because I can actually feel and hear the tones while reading them, good job Every morning she would awake with the pillow drenched in blood that had flowed openly from her ears and nose. Christ, that's good She didn't doubt the others were in the same state, though none would admit it. Dreadfully impolite. Such things make devils of men.

Her hair was falling out. Her skin was getting tight, pulling back around her perfect cheeks until her bones sawed against her skin when she tried to smile. Not around her belly though - That stayed plump and round. It ached every day, and the ache ate at her. They had begun the masquerades to keep their spirits up, but then the Lucky Hundred realised they liked life better with the masks on. They had survived The End, and it was only right that they celebrate.

No food for two months. Lord Benning, the fattest of them, was gone now. Hunger will do strange things to a man, or a group of them. The maid had refused to clean up the blood: she said what water remained was too precious. Morris had drawn a gun and forced her to clean. It wouldn't be proper to leave such a mess. Such impropriety makes devils of men. They had been very generous to let a serving girl in, and moreso to let her last this long. Little scrap of a thing. She'd vanished one night, and Morris had come to the next dance with his dark robe a little tighter around the belly.

Slow-and-slow-and-fast Why the italics? It seems a bit superfluous they danced together, his heels clicking on the ballroom floor. A pain flared in her shin. She stumbled, swore in a most unladylike fashion. Morris glared at her. He had kicked her. “You are in the wrong time,” he said, “it's 7/4, dearie. Try to keep up.”

It wasn't. It was 4/4. Anything different wouldn't be a foxtrot. The dancers came to a halt around them. The band stopped playing, and Samantha heard the unmistakable 7/4 played on low horns, maddening bells, and pipes of bone. The floor shook and danced without them. Morris put a hand to his mouth, then looked down at his feet, then gave a little shriek and ran from the room with his silly little cloak swirling behind him. The band resumed playing, louder now. A titanic groan filled the room. The movement of the floor was no illusion: it was warping, taking on new shapes beneath their feet. Samantha screamed as a mouth opened beside her foot, complete with wooden teeth and a wooden tongue. A nose followed, then eyes, then two fat cheeks. Lord Benning.

“SAVAGES,” it bawled, “BEASTS.”

Glass smashed. The grand mirror broke open, and on the wall behind it was the face of the serving girl. A million emotions ran across her face: little twitching ants beneath the skin. “PLEASE,” she said, “PLEASE GOD NO.” This is terrifically scary stuff

The ballroom was in uproar. The women screaming, the men screaming, the horrible faces screaming their last words over and over: scratched record souls locked in their final seconds.

More faces now: dozens, hundreds. In the floor, in the walls, leering down from the roof. Their features did the same rolling-eye twitching maniac dance. “WE DEMAND THE MOTHER,” they shrieked in unison, “WE DEMAND THE SON.”

Samantha ran. It was animal in its simplicity. Her mind fled, and her legs took over, steering her through the mansion’s twisting halls. The faces followed her, breaching alongside her, peppering her with little daggers of polished wood, mirror-glass, brass and gilt. “THE MOTHER,” said the faces, “WE DEMAND THE MOTHER MOTHER MOTHER.”

She came to a grand window, boarded up and covered with a lace curtain. Beside it was a box of tradesman’s tools. She pulled aside the curtain to see more faces. She snatched for a hammer, then smashed at the nearest face, tearing its nose away with a crrrrrack. Frenzied, screaming, she tore at the boards until each face was destroyed, and wan sunlight poured in.

Down on the mansion’s grounds stood a congregation. Some had been human, once. Twisted, skeletal forms with desperate eyes staring up at her. In amongst them were the angels. The real ones, as terrible as the Good Book promised. The things that traversed the earth long before the dominion of man. No beautiful men with golden hair. Those who sit in judgement another typo, with long slender limbs and gaping mouths. With the heads of beasts and the genitals of men. Seraphim, perhaps?

MOTHER.

The word shook her, less heard than felt. Something else shook her from the inside. She put a hand on her swollen stomach. Not a swollen belly like a poor boy in the street, but that of a mother-in-waiting. Impossible: there was no father she knew of. Not even Morris, with his groping hands and greedy eyes. She stood bloodied, hammer in hand, standing above the terrible throng of heaven. She wept at their beauty. A single tiny kick rocked her body. She sobbed, for an instant, she saw the world her son would usher in. The place that made painters awake screaming in the dead of night. The chosen kingdom, millions of years in the making.

She raised the hammer, then brought the iron claw down on her gut.

The Grand Host of Heaven howled from their many mouths. Their bodies twisted and jackknived. A crack of thunder came, and each creature covered its ears. Another crack and they were gone, leaving only the ragged skin-and-bone army of men in their wake. Samantha fell to her knees, and the final sleep took her.

I'm shocked, shocked and ashamed. Shocked in the thought of to what extent you as a person had to draw upon to evoke such horrific images and ashamed that I as a writer am unable to do so much as half of the same in mine. This was a dark, twisted story about birth and the end of the world--two themes I have attempted to address and failed to do so. Muffin, you are a talented writer. My only criticisms are your quirks, such as the typos I've observed and the curious choice of italicizing the first part of a sentence in the middle of the story which made it look out of place. Work on those and your writing will appear that much more cohesive and add to the overall immersion for the reader.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


In

Felix: God of Tricksters and the Earth.

Felix, God of tricksters, miners, and generally those who make their lives through their wits or through the ground, is a sly god who delights in burrowing and decieving mortals. His asociated symbols include the die, the shovel, and the picaxe.

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at 04:29 on Feb 17, 2015

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Nubile Hillock posted:

I'm in, with a :toxx: I guess...

My God shall be the blind God of Winter and failed harvests.
I'd love to use your God, NH, but there doesn't seem to be a name. What's your God's name?

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


newtestleper posted:

Does a god need a name?
The Gods of the oral tradition had names to make them easier to remember. I mean, isn't that the motif we're going for? :shrug:

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


How Felix Cheated Winter

(Starring Felix and NubileHillock's Winter)

(1299 words)

Deep beneath the earth, burrowing away while chewing on a mote of rare earth, Felix was happily indulging himself of one of his two vices. Rare was it when he could do both at the same time, but today would be such an occasion. As he burrowed, his pickaxe hit into solid ground. Felix sniffed and tasted the dirt beneath him--there wasn't a trace of ore around. He laid his calloused hand against the earth in front of him and it felt cold--he was digging into permafrost. There was only one explanation, and it wasn't a pleasant one. Felix chomped down hard on his mote, replaced his pickaxe with his shovel, and started digging upwards. When he finally surfaced, he found the plains completely frozen, the verdant green completely dead and gone. Felix's anger changed into fear the moment he turned around. "Hello, Winter," he said and gave him a snaggle-toothed smile.

Winter was tall and frail without a single hair on his entire body. He was wearing nothing but a pale shawl over his shoulders and held a rickety old cane with both his hands. His eyes were as colorless as his skin--he may of been blind, but he had his trusty dire wolf North at his side. "Hello, Tiny," Felix said and tipped his helmet towards the wolf.

"Call me that one more time," North snarled at him, chomping his fangs and spraying spit. "I dare you."

Winter rose his right hand as North's rage subsided. "We have business," Winter said, his voice high and harsh like a mute starting to regain his voice.

"What business?"

"Don't play dumb, you rat prick!" North barked at him. Winter gestured as if to say "What he said". "It's one thing to defy me, Felix. It's in your nature, after all, I expect that," he said and tightened his grasp on his cane. "It's another to teach and help mortals to defy me!"

"What am I supposed to do?" Felix shouted. "Let the farmers watch helplessly as their crops die? Watch the miners as they struggle to break through frozen-solid ground?"

"You're supposed to leave well enough alone!" Winter said and slammed his cane into the ground as the snow kicked up into the air, causing a small snow-devil to form around them. Felix covered his face with his arms to keep the icy wind from harming his face.

"H-how'd you want to settle this, then?" Felix meekly asked.

"I'd thought you'd never ask," Winter said as he tapped the ground with his cane. While ice formed in front of him, he formed from the palm of his hand a die made of ice so frozen it was practically glass. "Normally I'd settle it in a battle of wills but since you're a coward, Felix, we'll settle it your way," he said.

Felix could've said no, but something was up and he wanted to see it play out. "Alright then."

North chuckled gruffly as Winter flicked his die onto the ice. "I call it odd," he said as it flew it the air. Felix could see every dimple on every face on the die as it twirled from the sky and tumbled on the ice.

"Well?" Winter asked.

North looked. "You won Master," he barked happily. "It's rolled three."

"You beat me, Winter," Felix said and held his hands up. "I surrender."

Winter scowled. "Do you take me for a fool?" he thundered.

"Master-"

"Be silent!" Winter interrupted his faithful canine servant as he cowered and whimpered pitifully. "You might be a simple-minded animal," he pointed accusingly at his long-suffering minion," but I am Winter! I am constant, omnipotent, and all-seeing!" he shouted as the winds kicked the surrounding snow up in the air into a giant flurry.

Felix covered his mouth. Winter's voice was so hoarse and high-pitched that his words were not the enraged tirades of the manifestation of an entire season but instead the petulant ratings of an impatient child. It was all so absurd that he couldn't help but snort and giggle. "H-how do you suggest we should resolve this, then?"

"You!" he shouted and pointed a single bony finger at him. "You roll your die!"

Felix obliged happily by reaching into his overalls and drawing his lucky die, made of solid pyrite. "Call it."

"Even!"

"Okay," he said and twiddled it in his fingers, ready to roll.

"No, odd!" Winter demanded.

"Whatever you say," Felix said and threw his die onto the ice as it came up deuces.

"M-Master-"

"Silence!" Winter shrieked in his high, reedy voice. "You cheated, you rat prick!" he screamed and pointed his cane at Felix.

"Of course I did, Skippy," Felix giggled. "Didn't you?"

Winter didn't say anything--he looked as if someone force-fed him something hot. Felix grabbed Winter's die and played around with it. He didn't need to roll it, he could tell from the feel between his fingers that it was loaded. He rolled it a few times on the ice anyway and every time he did, it came up odd. "See Winter, you're problem is that you're too drat paranoid for your own good," he said with a poo poo-eating grin. "You don't know when to leave good enough alone."

Winter's eye's gaped, his jaws clenched, and his nostrils flared. "You cheating motherfucker!" he screamed and lifted his hands in the air. North bared his fangs and crouched down to pounce. Right on cue, Felix pulled his trusty pickaxe out of his bag and slammed it into the ground so hard that it tore the earth asunder. Holding his mining hat on his head, Felix jumped in and burrowed furiously.

"After him!" Winter shouted and mounted North as the two leapt into the tunnel below, leaving a trail of ice behind him. The two of them came finally came to an empty cavern with no sight of Felix. "Where is he?" Winter asked as he dismounted Winter.

North sniffed around, trying his best to catch the slippery bastard's scent. Instead of the scent of gold dust and mischief, he smelled sulfur and charcoal. Looking up, he whimpered as his ears folded back behind his head. "M-Master-"

Sitting above ground holding a blasting machine, Felix wrenched the handle as hard as he could. The ground in front of him collapsed, burying Winter and his wolf underneath a mountain of earth. Hearing the explosion, the nearby locals ran out to see what the commotion was about. "Felix?" they asked.

Felix coughed and tried in vain to dust himself off. "Hi everyone," he said with a dumb grin.

"What did you do?"

"I did y'all a favor is what I did," he said with an added bit of swagger, "I buried Winter alive is what I did."

They gasped. "You did what?"

"Y'all heard me, I buried Winter alive!" he repeated and crossed his arms.

"How long is he gonna stay down there?" the crowed fearfully asked.

Felix shrugged. "Couldn't tell ya, honestly...unless..."

"Unless what?"

Felix thought for a moment. "Y'all are gonna have to plant a whole mess of trees over," he said and spread his arms wide for emphasis. "Make it a grove or an orchid, I don't give a drat. Winter's directionless without the wind and you best keep him down there by trapping him with roots."

The crowd was without words. "What are y'all lookin' at me slack-jawed for?!" he exclaimed and spat on the ground. "Start planting trees, dammit!"

Winter stayed buried underground. Even after Felix was long gone, the region had winters so mild that they were able to grow their crops and mine year-round. The locals became so used to it, that they forgot what Winter was in the first place.

And that's why there's no such thing as winter in Southern California.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Fumblemouse posted:

Absolutely no muggle-loving or your final grade will be adversely affected.
I make no promises

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at 18:19 on Feb 23, 2015

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Benny Profane posted:

You got it. One more left if anybody wants it.
Brother, can you spare a crit for my current submission?

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Let's keep the crit chain letter going! Crits for crits!

1) unclaimed Bennycritcontagonist

2) unclaimed Bennycrit

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at 05:30 on Feb 24, 2015

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


contagonist posted:

Rip me a new one Benny.
Which week? And one crit left!

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Maugrim posted:

Linecrit for Black Metal Week - Benny the Snake
Thank you, Maugrim.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Bennycrit for Contagionist's Week 133 entry:

quote:

The Order in Silver

Coletta Myravi got the cold fever. When her husband, Vido, came up to her workshop to replace the alchem-candles, he dropped the vials and rushed to her side – her head slumped over sweat-stained schematics, and her hair cast over brass cogs gleaming in moons' light. This is a good way of showing how Coletta is an alchemist without telling by describing her tools-good intro

He wrapped his robe-sleeved arm around her shoulders and sat her back in her chair, asking with a small fear shaking his voice, “Coletta, dearest Coletta, what is the matter with you?”

Her breath was heavy and hot, her skin shining and damp. Coletta opened her eyes and asked, whilst her pupils were as wide and as dark as a starless sky, “None wind the moons, yet they still move without end. The tides are bound to them, what else can be?” Exhaustion touched her, so Vido took her up in his arms to carry her to their bed, wherein neither slept for the whole night.

In the next morning, before the sunlight crept over the Towers Of The Lawgiver, Vido left to find their physician. Coletta tossed and shivered in the sheets, finding neither rest or I’d put “nor” here, if only to fit with the narrator’s antiquated voice respite. In one toss, she struck down a pitcher of water sitting aside the bed, sending it crashing to pieces on the floor.

She looked to see what she had done, and instead found a One Eye Mask staring at her from within the water. The woman wearing it climbed out of the puddle, shards of glass raining off her mirror dress. Her arms were unsleeved, and where there would be skin there was only black.

Coletta asked, so wearily, “Who are you who visits me, whilst I am tormented by this affliction?” You got the structure of the sentence wrong--it should be speech first, description asked--”Who are you who visits me whilst I am tormented by this affliction?” Coletta so wearily asked”

Whom was only a stranger who briefly knelt at Coletta's bedside, and tilted her head.

“Ioc. I am the questions that are your true curse, and the answers that are your cure.”

The above sentence reads clunky. I don’t know, but I don’t think a higher power would state their name first then describe their influence afterwards. I’d rewrite it by cutting out the God’s name, it just sounds a lot more profound and impressive if the supreme being in question were to leave their identity obscured and keep it that way for the time being. Gods workingin mysterious ways and all that.

So Ioc stood, and took off her One Eye Mask I don’t see why the mask would be capitalized unless it’s an established artifact, otherwise it looks out of place. Behind it turned and clicked the Verified Labyrinth Again with the random title-izations. I know you’re trying to make it sound more profound and grand on a mythological scale, but it just comes off as video-gamey, itself so many cubes with grooves cut into them, constantly sliding and twisting about each other. Ioc held out the hand with no mask, and Coletta took it. She stood up from the bed, and walked inside Ioc's face.

Vido returned with their physician and went to Coletta's bedside and found her resting still. After examination, and much to Vido's comfort, the doctor said that her cold fever was abating, and left suggesting that she have their warmest foods and best teas.

On the afternoon of the next day, Coletta still slumbered and Vido entertained a Pontifficial of The Lawgiver.

The paragraphs above and below should be combined

Vido met the man downstairs, in a drawing room furnished neatly but without extravagance. They sat in high-backed chairs, Vido dressed in modest finery, contrasted with the gilt opulence of the Pontifficial's uniform. It was over steaming Holtenheim tea that they spoke.

“In continued obeisance of The Lawgiver, we are constructing a new Judicial Temple in the Greenstone quarter,” the Pontifficial spoke, stirring his tea with a metal spoon. “The profligate lawlessness of the district shall be crushed under the temple's stones, and we require a clock by which to conduct our days.”

Vido said, nodding, “I am sure that if you provide specifications, we can estimate the cost accurately.” New paragraph here
The Pontifficial waved away the notion, and corrected “from all citizens we are tithing to fund the temple. Build us the clock on your own, and it will count as your tithe.”

As they argued, Coletta walked aside Ioc through her Verified Labyrinth. Coletta knew that without Ioc's hand to guide her, she would be lost hopelessly – paths folded into themselves and new routes through the maze would open above and below them. Through halls of impossible angles they glimpsed through the walls at true orders and fundamental laws lurking under the skin of the real. Ioc cast her hand towards one warped wall.
Combine these two paragraphs
Coletta saw the revolving spheres of Terra around Sol, and of the three moons Istar, Luna, and Orvus around Terra. Over the surface of each body was cut symbols in series, unique to each body.
Second verse, same as the first
“One day, Sol will eat them. Until then, Orvus, Luna, and Istar shall ever circle Terra,” Ioc said.

Coletta reached through the wall, and at the far moon Orvus. When her finger touched the cratered image, it – and every other sphere – fragmented and collapsed, until only the symbols remained in the void, cast in the moons' stones – still revolving around Terra.
Seriously dude, you have a bad habit of fragmenting your paragraphs. Small paragraphs work best when each of them feel like they're independent of eachother, but yours feel like they should be condensed. Like how below your paragraph starts with how Coletta looks at Ioc--that really ought to immediately follow the previous sentence.
She looked to Ioc, in whom gears filled the standing shadow. Brass, skeletal fingers grasped the mirror dress, and ripped in it jagged halves. Within Ioc's breast lie the prime moving gears – three, of different sizes and different speeds.

“What have you become?” Coletta asks, stepping back from Ioc.

“What you have already built.”

Coletta woke, every limb filled with urgency, her thoughts cutting schematics into itself as she tore the sheets from her body. She rushed downstairs to find her husband escorting the Pontificial out.

“I have seen a wonder that must be, and I must build it!” she cried out, to the bewilderment of both Vido and the Pontifficial.

For a month Coletta labored. The image of the machine was burned into her mind, and every time she closed her eyes she saw the gears and pistons and their alloys and measures. She committed to document only those components she could not fashion herself, to be constructed by smith and metalworker. Sleep came rarely, her every thought and motion devoted to the arcane work.

Above all components, three were of highest importance.
One-sentence paragraphs should be like bullets--small, yet pack a hell of a punch. This doesn't, it's just exposition that would, again, be better served if it were condensed with the above paragraph
Coletta needed three gears, of different size and different speed. One would be carved from the stone of luna, another cast from the glass of Istar, and the last wrought from the metals of Orvus.

She sought an art collector for the Lunar stone, trading a clockwork key that could master any lock for one such stone in his collection. For the Orvic metal, she fashioned a hidden gun for a trader who had recovered one from a crater on his route. And for the Istarian glass, she traded with a mystic a clock attuned to that moon's motions.

By the twenty eighth day of Coletta's endeavor, after she had assembled the machine in her workshop and fashioned the gears, she carved into each the symbols she witnessed within the Verified Labyrinth. Onto an iron axel [b[axle[/b] she fitted them, one carved with the symbols for Terra. But before she could complete the machine, she heard breaking wood and Vido crying out from downstairs. She left the gears on the desk and dashed to descend.

Their door was smashed open, and gold-armored Dictists bearing the triangle, circle, and square devices of The Lawgiver stood in the doorway – one with an arm locked around Vido's neck.

“Coletta Myravi,” one said from behind a golden mask. “You will be taken in custody, for not relinquishing your tithe and conspiring with a thief, a spy, and a sorcerer.”

Coletta knew nothing of his latter claims, but knew that her work was of greater importance than them all. Every corner of her soul knew that she must complete her machine. She turned and ran back up the stairs, the speaking Dictist charging after her whilst drawing his sword.

She reached the workshop and tossed behind her a brass mirror to block the Dictists' path. Just behind her, he smashed it away, leaving a dent in the metal. Coletta took the prime gears from the table and pushed them into the chest of her machine, but before she could set them into motion, the Dictist struck her down by the pommel of his sword.

The One Eye Mask watched out from the warped brass, as the Dictist stood over her.

“With the blessing of The Lawgiver, I incarcerate you justly,” said the Dictist, as he took her arm.

“You do not,” said The Lawgiver, standing behind him with his back to the Dictist, garbed in an iron suit. The Dictist turned, dread slowing him. In front of The Lawgiver, from the dented mirror Ioc stepped free. She walked towards Coletta's machine as The Lawgiver spoke.

“She has neither stolen, nor spied, nor consorted with dead nightmares.”

The Dictist drops Coletta, putting his hand on his chest sudden tense change. “She has refused her tithe to the new temple! She built this mad device! She is derelict in her obligation!”

“An obligation I never issued,” The Lawgiver said, as Coletta crawled up to her machine. “The only guilty parties here are you Dictists and Pontifficials, who fleece this city under my name. For this, I retract my blessing. My Law protects you no more.”

Ioc helped her to her feet, and with a weary smile, Coletta set the gears in motion. “It is finished,” she said, as the gears of Orvus, Luna, ans and Istar ground on their axel, setting ten thousand gears in motion.

Contagonist, this is a decent tale of a person building an infernal machine. It would've worked better if you were more mindful of your structure. You have a very bad habit of fragmenting your paragraphs which makes the story feel flimsy and lacking. Ioc probably shouldn't of revealed her name and instead remained ambiguous which would of benefited her status as the Goddess of insanity and madness. Be mindful of your structure and story direction for next time and you should be fine.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


edit: never mind

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


CancerCakes posted:

Open invitation - crit me or brawl me

Anyone want to throw down?
If her Majesty the Blood Queen will allow it, then I'm down Baby-Cakes :toxx:

EDIT: I'll do both, just to be sporting.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


And Hell Followed

Alan Stark,
Los Angeles Times Columnist

March 15th, 1965

Today marks five years since The Great Lewis Fire, where an eruption at the local gas well caused the entire town to simultaneously sink into the earth and burn to the ground, claiming the lives of hundreds. The catastrophe has since been described as the worst natural disaster in state history since the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 and by witnesses as "hell itself claiming the town." But what seems to have been conveniently overlooked is the man who literally engineered and triggered the destruction.

"I had nothing but the best of intentions." That's how Eugene Wallace started our interview on January 6th, 1964. We were sitting on opposite sides of a mesh partition in the visitor's center of the death row facility at San Quentin. Eugene's head was shaved, his body gaunt, and his eyes reflected a spirit broken beyond recognition.

Eugene studied engineering at Fresno State to learn how to dig wells more efficiently. "Ground water was scarce back home on the farm since most of it was trapped inside shale rock," he recalled. "One day, while helping Dad fix the irrigation system, I noticed the deep erosion into the soil and inspiration struck."

Eugene submitted his idea as his senior thesis to allow access to the necessary equipment and immediately tested his theory on his family's farm. "We dug a tunnel straight through the shale and then forced high-pressure water into it," he explained. "It forced the shale open and we were finally able to construct a proper well. I dubbed my invention 'hydraulic fracturing'."

He was soon approached by Clarence Sterling, founder and CEO of Sterling Gas and Oil, Inc. "He offered me a salary for my invention. I explained to him it was for humanitarian aid only and not for industrial use. He reasoned that only through a well-paying job could I afford the means necessary to realize my humanitarian goals. And that was my first of many compromises."

Eugene was brought to the small town of Lewis, located three miles outside of Monterrey, where he oversaw the construction of the world's first hydraulic fracturing facility. The result was the Lewis Well, which harvested three times the average amount of natural gas per day. "I grew complacent--I reasoned that I'd establish my own humanitarian organization dedicated to providing freshwater wells abroad," he told me. "Then my nightmare began."

The construction of the Lewis Well was so substandard that pure methane leaked into the groundwater--enough to turn all water mains completely flammable. The well was also built on top of a fault line, making seismic activity a daily occurrence. "Sterling made two things clear to me--any potential disaster was the town's concern and if I went public with anything, I would be held solely responsible. I literally engineered us to the brink of destruction, and I was the only one who could stop it."

"Early March 15th, 1960, I sabotaged the gas well, intending so that it would never flow again." At 3:38 AM however, a 5.0 temblor struck and the base cracked open, releasing vast amounts of raw natural gas into the air. "I ran like hell," Eugene said, but Hell followed.

The leak ignited and the well not only exploded, it erupted, into an enormous fireball. The eruption triggered the fault line to open wide, tearring the town of Lewis asunder. The water and gas mains ruptured, releasing pure accelerants into the air. While the town sank into the earth, explosions triggered and flames ignited. None of the local residents could prepare, much less comprehend, the destruction and chaos that ensued. Eugene kept running. "I fell, got up, and kept running. I had to get as far as possible from the screams, the sirens, and the stench of grease burning. I kept running until I made it to a police station to turn myself in. I was done compromising"

Eugene plead guilty to all charges and was sentenced to death. "I wanted to help people, now I want it to be over," he broke down into tears as our interview ended. "I just want it to end."

Out of Lewis' estimated population of 4,000, over 400 were successfully rescued. A simple white tombstone was erected at the entrance of the ruins to mark what was once 3,000 acres of homes and families the final resting place of the unknown victims whose remains lie buried beneath the ashes and debris, unclaimed and unrecognizable. Eugene Wallace was executed on August 17th, 1964. Sterling Oil and Gas, Inc. has since renamed themselves American Energy Solutions, Inc. and they also hold the sole patent to hydraulic fracturing. Eugene Wallace, however, is finally at peace. At the very least, the dead know nothing.

Benny The Snake vs Cancer Cakes Brawl
797 Words
With apologies to Floyd Farris
EDIT: Special thanks to Pete Zah. You rock, man.

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at 21:27 on Mar 21, 2015

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Hey Newtestleper! I'm in!

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Maugrim posted:

Benny the Snake's boring newspaper article wins by a hair thanks to his opponent trying to be too clever by half in ignoring/subverting the prompt.
I know y'all are probably expecting me to revel, gloat, brag in drawing my first blood here on the Thunderdome, given my bloodthirsty reputation. Nope. This was all very pyrrhic for me, start to finish. I have to wonder if my first prompt victory will be even moreso.

Sorry for breaking Kayfabe. Thanks for the crit, Maugrim. And thanks Cancer Cakes for my first official 'dome victory. *shakes hands*

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at 18:22 on Mar 21, 2015

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


I forgot to put this in the original post, but I'd like to give my deepest thanks to Pete Zah for making sure that the science was sound anmong other elements of the story. Thanks, man.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


crabrock posted:

*music starts to play*
:toxx:I forfeit any grudge against Crabrock

I'm done being antagonistic towards you, Crabrock. As far as I'm concerned, we're cool.

Oh hey Newtestleper, I'm gonna have to bow out. Thanks for the artwork though.

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at 00:48 on Mar 23, 2015

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Tyrannosaurus posted:

Hey Benny the Snake. Remember this lovely story? I do. I also remember your little bitchfit over the judgment. Brawl me.
:toxx:Someone wanna oblige us?

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Ironic Twist posted:

Let's do this.

Bennosaurus Brawl

1000 words, write me a funny story where all the characters are either under 10 years old or over 80 years old.
Date and time?

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Ironic Twist posted:

Deadline is midnight EST next Sunday.
Thank you

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Grizzled Patriarch posted:

:siren: Entries are closed. :siren:
poo poo.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Benasaurus Brawl
"The Front"
(986 words)


On a balmy spring afternoon at Shady Oaks Retirement Home, one resident was looking wistfully out of his window when he heard a knock at his doorpost. He turned and saw a boy standing outside of his open doorway. "Grandpa Joe?"

"Who?"

The boy sighed. "Don't do that..."

"Kid, I don't know who you think I am, but I sure as hell ain't your grandpa."

"Mooooooommmmm...."

"I'm just messing with you Nathan," Grampa Joe said to his great-grandson and laughed. Nathan ambled over and sat down on the full-sized bed next to his grandpa. "So how are things? And don't you dare say 'okay' when you don't mean it."

Nathan nodded. "Mom and Dad caught me looking at 'inappropriate pictures' online and now I'm grounded."

Grandpa Joe stared at his great-grandson for a moment before smiling and chuckling. Nathan blushed redder than a baboon's butt before he got off the bed to leave.

"S-s-son," Grandpa Joe said and grabbed Nathan's arm, "I'm not laughing at you," he explained and got him back on the bed next to him. "I went through the same thing you did!"

"Really?"

"Of course," he said. "I was about your age when it happened, actually..."

***

"Hey Mac, take a look at this," Joe said and passed him a pocket-sized comic book.

"Joe, what is this?"

"Dunno, I think it's called a Tijuana Bible, it's got Blondie and Dagwood on the cover, though."

"Why are they taking their clothes off?"

"Beats me."

"What are they-"

"Eeeeewwwww!" Both boys shouted as Mac threw the book down. "Why did you show me this?"

"I just found this thing," Joe said. "Snuck it out from my big brother's things."

"They read this kind of stuff?" Mac asked in disbelief and shook his head while picking it back up with his thumb and forefinger like a spider by its leg.

"They do," Joe said as his eyes suddenly grew wide. "Hey Mac..."

"Ooooohhhh no," Mac said and threw the booklet back down

"Come on," Joe pleaded with him.

"I know good and well that whatever it is, it's nothing but trouble," Mac said as he got up to leave.

"We could sell these for a nickel apiece!"

Mac stopped. "How much?"

***

"Are you sure about this, Joe?"

Joe and Mac hid behind a bush in the backyard of a ramshackle house, right behind a sad-looking shack with white smoke puffing out of the smokestack.

"Positive," Joe nodded. "Old Man Gower keeps a trunk full of those Bibles in his shack."

"He also has a mean ol' junkyard dog too," Mac whispered, "and a scattergun full a' rocksalt."

"Come on," Joe whispered back, "what, are you a girl?"

Mac grunted. "Let's get it over with."

The two boys snuck into the shack as quietly as they could. Inside it was cramped, filled with several jugs and a wood stove with a giant tank. The smell of wood burning and rotten corn made the two of them cover their noses. "What the hell is that?" Mac asked.

"It's moonshine," Joe said matter-of-factly.

Mac gave him a look. "Stepdad gets drunk off that stuff all the time. Now help me find them funnybooks."

After rummaging around, they finally found a false board where underneath it was a trunk, filled to the brim with the salacious pocket-sized books. "Jackpot," Joe breathed and took his backpack off.

A dog started barking in the distance. Joe and Mac stood stock-still as the dog's barking became louder and more agitated. "Dammit, Rusty!" A raspy, old voice shouted. "What the hell is it this time?"

"Oh, poo poo-" Mac swore.

"Shh!" Joe said as he slowly inched forward and opened the door as quietly as he could. Old Man Gower was there, wearing nothing but jeans and an undershirt, his dog Rusty in front of him as he loaded shells into his scattergun. "Better not be squirrels again," Gower grumbled as he stumbled closer towards his shack.

"Hide!" Joe said as the two crouched behind some jugs. Gower opened the door, gun first, and scanned the inside. Neither boys dared so much as breathing, not while Rusty was crouching down, baring his fangs and growling.

"Dammit, Rusty," Gower said, kicking his dog in the the side before hobbling back home in a huff. The boys waited until they were sure they were safe before poking their heads behind the jugs. "Alright, let's get out of here," Mac said.

"Get out of here nothing," Joe said.

Mac stared at him. "I ain't leaving 'till my backpack's full," Joe said and went back to the trunk.

"We almost got caught!"

"Now he thinks there's nobody here, you jack-rear end!"

"I'm not staying here Joe," Mac said and turned around to leave. As he did, he knocked over one of the jugs, spilling moonshine all over the remaining Bibles, ruining them. "You son of a bitch!" Joe snarled and grabbed his friend, slamming him against the wall of the shack. As the two of them struggled, they knocked the stove open, scattering ashes all over the ground, igniting everything soaked in the spilled moonshine.

"Oh, poo poo," Joe swore.

"Cheese it!" Mac shouted as the two of them burst out of the shack, now bursting into flames. "You mother-fuckers!" Gower screamed behind him. Rusty was right behind the two, nipping at their feet. Gower pulled the hammers back on his scattergun and fired, spraying rocksalt shot towards the boys, missing them by inches and shredding the branches in the bush above them. Sirens filled the air as the two boys ran home as fast as they possibly could.

***

"Grandpa Joe?" Nathan asked. "You're not just bullshitting me again, are you?"

Grandpa Joe gave him the eye. "I'm feeling generous, so get the hell out before I smack you upside the head."

Nathan grumbled and left, closing the door behind him. Grandpa Joe chuckled to himself contentedly and resumed his window watching.

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at 22:06 on Mar 28, 2015

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Ironic Twist posted:

Victory to the T-Rex.
I concede defeat. Good work, T-Rex.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Biographies were becum by your mum
Don't you dare talk about my mom like that :colbert:

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Hello Thunderdome my old friend...

:toxx:Make with the magic, magic woman, and make it good :toxx:

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


crabrock posted:

ATTN new people: cache cab is crazy, and is best ignored. same goes for benny the snake and sitting here.
Sez the guy who volunteers to judge the crazies.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Sitting Here posted:

Your wizard has the power to calm people, animals, and crowds of people and animals with his voice, and heal contaminated or blighted earth with his hands. It is virtually impossible for violence to happen around him.
La Voz Silenciada
(1294 Words)


"And that was 'A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall’--ask your grandparents, kids," the humble, elderly busker joked to his audience inside a busy New York City subway station. "My name's Pablo and, as always, the entertainment's free, but tips are greatly appreciated," he said while nudging his open case forward and was greeted with a shower of donations. The tone shifted suddenly as a tall figure made his way to the front, the crowd parting instinctively from his slight air of scumbag entitlement. "Well hello again, Officer Kowalski," Pablo said with a smile. "What can I do you for?"

"Please collect your items and remove yourself from the premises," Kowalski said exhaustedly.

"But officer," Pablo said with his palms open, "I've told you before that I'm perfectly within the MTA's rules on street performing." While giving his spiel, Pablo scanned his audience for the right person--a young man in a Dodger's hat. Once he found his stagehand, he caught his gaze and the two nodded at eachother. "Let him play," someone from his audience called out as the rest shouted in agreement.

"Put your hands behind your head and stand up slowly," he said as he reached for his cuffs with one hand and called for backup with the other. Pablo's audience crowded closer, several pulling out their phones to record, others booing and hissing.

"Son," Pablo said and rose slowly from his collapsible stool while playing a up-tempo tune, "I played at Berkeley to protest 'Nam. You're doing a piss-poor job of intimidating me."

The tone shifted again--one moment the crowd was about to turn hostile, now they were clapping along to the up-tempo tune Pablo was playing. Kowalski resisted for a quick second before bobbing his head to the beat.

"I-lit-up from-Reno, I-was-trailed by twe-nty-hounds," Pablo sang in a rich, melodic baritone to further charm the crowd.

"Didn't get to-sleep that-night, 'till -the morn-ing came-around," his stagehand sang along.

"I-set-out-run-ing, but I'llll take-my-timeeee," Pablo continued.

"A-friend-of-the-Devil-is ah, frieeend-of-miiineee," an older member of his audience picked up.

"If-I-get-home be-fore day-light," Pablo warbled--spontaneous audience participation always made him laugh. "I just might get some sleep-"

"To-niiiiii-iiiiigggghhht..." everyone harmonized perfectly. His audience now fully bewitched, Pablo kept playing and got up from his stool. As he moved towards the boarding platform, his stagehand gathered his effects with everyone else still lost in the music as a train arrived.

"If-I-get-home-to-night," Pablo sang as the doors opened,

"I-just-might-get-some-sleep-" his young stagehand continued and followed behind.

"To-niiiii-iiiiiight..." his audience finished for them as the two disappeared into the departing train. The music ended and the spell broke. After a moment of confusion, Kowalski walked out of the station embarrassed as Pablo's former audience applauded his sudden escape.

"Pablo, mind answering me something?" His stagehand asked

"Shoot."

"How much does that song apply to you?"

"Kid, don't ask."

The stagehand shrugged and ruffled through the inside of his master's guitar case. "Well at least today's haul was good."

"Put that away, kid," Pablo ordered and snatched his case away from him.

"I keep telling you my name's Juan."

"And I keep telling you, you haven't won my respect yet."

Juan rolled his eyes. "So what's with the cop, then? I thought La Voz worked on everyone."

Pablo shook his head. "La Voz is a trick--you can only use it and spin it so many times before someone figures out they're being played."

"So Kowalski then-"

"Yep."

"So why do you still do it, then?"

"'Cause I'm too old to do anything else," Pablo responded. "Why the hell do you wanna learn what I know then? I thought you'd know better by now."

Juan stared off into the distance. "Well if we know better, why does anybody learn music, then? I mean, the greats I look up to, Hendrix, Cobain, Morrison, all of them were awesome performers and their pursuits lead to their ruins."

"So you wanna learn La Voz just to outlive your idols?" Pablo asked and stared at his stagehand.

Juan shrugged. "I wanna see how far and how long something like that could take me."

Pablo chuckled softly. "You know, I was the same way when I first started learning La Voz myself. Although instead of Morrison and Cobain, mine were Lennon and Garcia."

"No poo poo?"

Pablo nodded. "We start lessons tomorrow, Juan."

***

"And that was 'Rockaway Beach!'" Juan called out as the audience applauded. Him and Pablo were sitting on a high curb underneath the shade of a giant tree in Central Park and today their audience was in the dozens. "We're Pablo and Juan," Pablo said, him with his humble acoustic and Juan with a second-hand Stratocaster. "As always, while the entertainment is free, tips are greatly appreciated," he said while the two nudged their open cases forward and were greeted with a shower of donations.

The tone then shifted by the sudden presence of the air of scumbag entitlement. The crowd parted, revealing a phalanx of officers lead by a familiar face.

"Ladies and gentlemen," Juan called out, "Lemme introduce you to our old friend Officer Kowalski." Their audience booed as Pablo grimaced at his apprentice's antagonism.

"Put your hands on your head, you’re under arrest," Kowalski said simply.

"On what charge?" Juan challenged him.

Kowalski got within inches of Juan's face. "I don't know what kind of unholy-voodoo-poo poo you two are doing," he whispered as Pablo's heart almost stopped beating, "But I'm on to the both of you and your little con, you loving Satan-worshiping spics!"

"Whoa-whoa-whoa!" Juan jumped up. "Did y'all hear that?!" He called out to his audience. "Kowalski here just called us Satan-worshiping spics!"

The audience booed and hissed. "Juan, cut that poo poo out," Pablo plead. The audience now hostile, Kowalski and his phalanx reached for their weapons and their radios, now in full riot mode.

"Nothing's changed since back in your day, huh Pablo?" Juan asked. On cue, Pablo strummed a familiar staccato riff. Juan followed up by shredding along to a manic protest melody. Almost everyone else clapped along to the double-time tempo--only Kowalski stood alone, un-bewitched, yet he dared not break the spell, lest the crowd turn on him and tear him apart.

"There-must-be-some-kinda-way-outta-here," John angrily belted.

"Said-the-joker-to-the-thief..." Pablo morosely crooned behind him. The two continued their performance, yet at no point did Juan retreat as they planned.

"Aaaaaaalllll-aaaa-loooongg-the-waaa-ch-tow-aaaaaaaah!" The entire crowd erupted with Juan as he advanced onto Kowalski and circled around him. The same antagonism inside of him he was pumping into the crowd and they in turn were channeling back into him, his eyes now blinded with fury. Pablo didn't bother begging silently or praying--he knew what was coming, all he could do was keep playing.

"Out-sideee-in-the-cold-dis-taaance!" John sang at the top of his lungs.

"A wildcat did growl..."

"Two riders were approaching..."

"And the wiiiiind...begaaan-to-hoooooowllll!" The audience wailed.

Juan stopped playing. Holding his electric guitar like a bat, he smashed it into the side of Kowalski's head with a loud, wet crunch. Blood sprayed in the air as the officer fell dead onto the ground with a nasty cleave in the side of his head. The spell broke. Covered in blood, Juan dropped his guitar and held his arms up into the arms in triumph. In one moment of shock, the calm persisted until Kowalski's fellow officers drew their sidearms and opened fire on Juan, avenging their fallen comrade.

With everything around them descending into chaos, Pablo dropped his guitar and knelt down to his dying apprentice. "I-I'm sorry Pablo..." he struggled and coughed. "I-I guess I can't be the eye of the storm..."

"I know, kid" Pablo said and looked away from his dying apprentice. "I know."

Pablo never took another apprentice. He never played or sang again, either. Like that, another voice was silenced.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Thank you for the blunt criticism, Killfast.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Hey Jay O, do you have a crit open?

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


I'm a bit late, but here's my crit for Homemaster's Week 142 entry Untitled.

This story would feel better served without all that akward dialouge at the beginning. There's no real indication of why Luke and Issac are friends in the first place, so Issac appears as if he's there just so Luke can narrate his motivations off of. There's also an awful lot of tell in this story, and it feels as if it's the concequence of trying to jam too much plot and not letting the narrative or characters grow or even breathe naturally. Don't get me wrong--I struggle with the same issue myself. The world count should not be your enemy. Perhaps for the purposes of this story, Luke's conversation with Issac could have been instead used as flashbacks while he make his long and perilous climb up the mountain. I'm just spitballing here.

I'm gonna have to agree with Crabrock, there was a definite lack of motivation in this story. Why was Luke driven to ascend to heaven in the first place? I mean, there isn't even an inkling that the heaven you portrayed was in any way aesthecially pleasing to your protagonist who's supposedly a person who's studied all sorts of ancient and arcane geometries. I mean, I would think heaven to someone like that would be a little more involved--something with perfect and symmetrical geometry. Instd it's a room full of chairs and people waiting. There isn't even a hint of irony and if there was, I din't notice it.

Then again, what would I know? I have four losses and six dishonorable mentions--take any advice I give with a grain of salt, man :shrug:

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at 06:25 on Apr 29, 2015

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Thanks for the crits, especially to SH, RedTonic, and Sebmojo.

Entenzahn posted:

Attn wizard week toxxers: I promised you wizard week crits but since there's been a fuckton of them flying around already I'll instead give you the pick of any of your TD entries. Just let me know what you want critted. I'll probably start going through the list by Sunday so if I haven't heard from you till then you get your regular old wizard crit.

The list again: Broenheim, Wangless Wonder, ravenkult, newtestleper, Dr. Kloctopussy, Benny the Snake, skwidmonster, kurona_bright, curlingiron, Auraboks, Doctor Idle, Maugrim

Also thanks for the crits sh, crabman, beefman, hammerman, maugriman and tonicboy aka the half-a-dirty-dozen
May I please have it for the only story I've won with so far? Thanks a bunch.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Hey Mercedes! I had such an awesome weekend that I happened to see your story and now I have a linecrit ready to go right after the judgement! :peanut:

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at 22:57 on May 4, 2015

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Mercedes posted:

Sweet, thanks li- FAST JUDGING GOOD JUDGING
You're welcome! I just wanna put it out there right now that I had the best of intentions going in :ohdear:

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


Hi, Mercedes!  So a while back, you were gracious enough to do a video reveiw for my first ever brawl story and I had such an awesome weekend, I saw your story for this week and I decided to return the favor by doing a line-by-line crit for your recent entry apropros of nothing!  


So keep in mind that I had nothing but the best of intentions when I started this whole thing...

quote:

Valley of Death

by Mercedes

Just so you know, Mercedes, I had to go through this whole document and fix the spacing between paragraphs.  You oughta take this kinda stuff into consideration.

The doors to the abandoned research facility protested with metallic screeching as Janice and her team of armed mercenaries pried them open with crow bars. A mangled body with deep gashes all over its exposed skin tumbled out through the opening.

Merge the above and below into a single paragraph

One of the soldiers broke the silence with an involuntary dry heave.
Merge
“Where’s his face, man?” asked one of the grunts.

“We didn’t pay you so you can ask questions,” Janice flicked on her flashlight and cut into the darkness, "after you.”

The mercenaries hesitated, like a skydiver pausing to gather the courage to jump.  Try "The mercenaries hesitated like virgin skydivers", it works better. Everyone took their turn to step over the body without disturbing it. Janice averted her eyes. Guess that explains why this facility went silent.  Sudden and inexplicable shift into 2nd person.

Light beams swept through dark halls. Every few paces glistened with splashes of viscera against the walls and floors. Janice watched the inquisitive grunt from earlier turn his head to look at her, the question plain on his face--what the hell did you get us into? Janice wished she knew.

It felt like it took days to finally reach their destination. The metal-fortified windows to the containment chamber have been blown completely out of its fixtures and are embedded into the opposite wall with a red, pulpy stain in the middle that reminds Janice of a bug splattering against a windshield. Tense shift
Merge
She strides over to the console and presses a few buttons to no effect.Tense shift

“I’ve seen way too many horror movies that start this way, Doc. I’m not too keen on ‘splitting up’,"Yeah, I just saw "Avengers 2" so I've had it up to here with any kind of twee "I'm so meta!" dialogue, so this had better be good. said the same soldier from before. He can’t keep his fear from making his voice quiver.

“It’s a good thing I won’t ask you to. You’d probably be the first to die, I’m afraid,” Janice said with the practiced coolness of someone who’s waited their entire life to say that line. Bad Mercedes.She reached into her backpack and pulled out a large battery with a USB cable coming out from it. “We’re professionals and this isn’t a horror movie. And you just had to double-down.   Stop trying to be too clever for your own good, dude After I finish recording all the logs from this fiasco, we can leave and you can go change your tampon.”  Now that's just petulant.  
Merge
A few of the other mercenaries snickered under their breath.

Janice opened a compartment full of wires and ports, then plugged the battery cable right in. A voice immediately spoke and startled the soldiers into pointing their weapons at the console.
Merge
“This is Dr. Tass, overseer of project Psionic Senses-”

“Come on, Doc,” said a mercenary.

Janice paused the recording at the interruption and turned to the soldier with irritation plain on her face.

“What if whatever killed all these scientists is still in the building? We’d be broadcasting our location to it.”

“Well,” Janice said, turning back to the console. “That’s why you have guns.” She started the recorder again.

“-our volunteer is Dr. Marshall. I will allow her to provide consent and explanation as to what we are doing.”

“I am Dr. Antoinette Marshall, volunteer to this project. Recently, a new element was discovered and through animal testing, we noted physiological mutations in laboratory mice that resulted in highly intelligent creatures able to manipulate their environment through a force of will.

“We will attempt to replicate the results in the mice by administering the element in an aerosol to a human subject and documenting the results.”

“Starting procedures,” said Dr Tass, ”In three… two… one…” There’s an extended silence with a faint hiss in the audio background. Antoinette screamed as if she were tortured then a resounding boom distorted the audio with its volume.

”Antoinette!” Dr. Tass was panicked and pounding on the glass. He stuttered and paused, as if to compose himself, then rapid fires his description of the events. ”Subject is unresponsive. Levitating. Hair swimming around her head. Strange force crashed into the windows and-”

“Like, do you have any gum?”

Dr. Tass stuttered, “I-I’m sorry? Antoinette?”

“Gag me with a spoon!” Another boom crackled through the speaker along with a human scream that was quickly silenced.

“Holy poo poo,” one of the soldiers said.

Janice nodded. “Yea, tell me about-”
The sound of machine gun fire got everyone’s head to snap in the same direction. Levitating with bullets suspended in the air inches from her face was Antoinette. She made no movement, but the soldier with the firing rifle exploded in a shower of viscera.

“Like, oh em gee, that was so loud, right?” Antoinette snapped her gum, blew out a bubble and released the bullets to clatter to the ground.  And that's our monster.  Not some kind of unintelligible horror, or at least not a serious one.  You know, if your attempts at being "meta" didn't fail so hard, this attempt at being ironic wouldn't suck so hard.

Oh, while I'm here, merge!  

Everyone opened fire.

In a blind panic, Janice yanked her recording device out from the console and ran as fast as she could in the direction away from the dying soldiers.
merge
It didn’t take long for the gunfire to stop. It took even less time for Antoinette to fly past him, her visage a long smear of color coming to stop in her way. There’s not a drop of blood on her.Sudden tense shift
Merge
He Who's he?halted, out of breath, tears in her eyes and looked at Antoinette expected a sudden pain burst through her chest.  That last part was unintelligible.  So did you make a mistake and is "he" supposed to be Janice and is "he" expecting a chestburster to explode from Antoinette's chest?  I really don't know what the gently caress is going on at this point

“Let’s go shopping. Can we, like, get some Starbucks? I haven’t had a decaf soy latte with an extra shot and cream in, like, forever, ya know?”  

Janice blinked. She wet her lips and blinked again. “Uh… yes?”

Antoinette clasped her hands together like an excited little girl getting a pony for a birthday present. “This is gonna be super! We can paint our nails, go shopping forever, talk about boys, try on soooooo many clothes and brush each other’s hair! Oh my God, there’s this mall that has, like, everything a girl could ever want, ya know? Oh, and my daddy has, like, so much money so we can do this all day every day! We can color coordinate our clothes and our nails. Like, oh em gee, there's this cool nail salon I once drove by and they do the awesomest designs I have ever seen, they are like to die for. Where was I? Oh, I knew a hair girl who did the most amazing job layering my hair, it was totes mcgotes unbelievable!”

Janice pulled a pistol from its holster, pressed it to her temple and pulled the trigger. Now I've seen everything!

This was rather unpleasant to read.  Let's start with the content.  There's a reason why I brought up "Avengers 2"--the content reads like you're emulating Joss Whedon's style of meta-fiction by trying to be clever and point out the absurdity inherent within the premise, especially through the dialogue and the twist.  The whole thing begins as a wrote send-up to "Alien" in how we have a hardened team of mercenaries crawling down claustrophobic hallways filled with gore and spouting bullshit lines like "go change your tampon".  But the twist is that the monster is essentially a teenage girl.  That's not a twist, that's a cliche right there because all that lead-up was just one big cliche.  In fact, your characters point out how they're following from the big book of horror film cliches while they're going through with them!  Don't call out your mistakes and then repeat them, that just makes you look look like a giant hypocrite and it completely destroys my suspension of disbelief.  Simply put, you're not fooling anybody by pointing out how bad of an idea this is if you're going to follow through with it anyway.  

As for the grammar, your paragraphs are severely fragmented.  You jump between tenses, you even jump between third and second person point of view.  The schizophrenic grammar made the unpleasant story that much more unpleasant for me to read.  You're better than this, Mercedes, much better than this.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


skwidmonster posted:

Also sweet baby james I can't wait to watch this motherfucking brawl.
You and me both, man. Kick his rear end, Mercedes

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


:siren:Oh poo poo, it's another random Bennycrit!:siren:

This one's for dmboogie, whose entry impressed me for the simple reason that somebody else is watching Netflix's Daredevil :hfive:

dmboogie posted:

Rogue's Eyes
(1243 words)

The earliest thing Vi could remember was from when she was still a child, when the thick red cloth tied around her eyes was still strange and uncomfortable Oh hi there, not-Daredevil! :wave:. She sat on the cold, stone benches of the church with the other initiates, and even though there were nearly fifty in the chamber, not a whisper could be heard as they listened.

"You will become tools to keep our holy city from harm." Their teacher said, his voice deep and commanding. I'm only gonna say this once--dialogue is not an independent clause, therefore it cannot be its own sentence. I"m gonna instead put up an asterisk every time I see it from here on out."But know this: being a tool will not absolve you of your sins. You will be robbed of your sight not only as a means to strengthen you, but as a means to atone, as well. You will remove your blindfold only when you kill. You will commit every single detail of their face to memory, so you may never forget your crime." "You will be robbed of your sight to atone, you will atone by killing, you will kil by removing your bilindfold to commit every single detail of the heretic to memory."

-

Now, Vi uncomfortably shifted in her seat, the obscenely soft cushioning in the head priestess's chamber preventing her from comfortably sitting up at attention. "I'm sorry to say that one of your fine people has gone rogue, my dear." * The priestess said, not sounding the least bit sorry. "Just up and left, taking a fair amount of guardsmen with him. I guess he finally got tired of the job." She paused, and even without sight, Vi could imagine the grin of one who believed themselves to be clever. Vi could imagine a too-clever grin on her face.

"You'll go along and send him a nice little retirement package, won't you, dear?" * The priestess chucked throatily, and it was all Vi could do to stop herself from gagging at the stench of her sickly sweet perfume. Do what?

-

Vi had been lost in the maze for over a day now, with neither food nor water to sustain her starved and thirsty. No matter how many hours she spent wandering the endless stone halls, she had come no closer to finding the exit. Preoccupied as she was with her own misfortune, Vi walked straight into another dead end, and fell to the floor with a curse. as she fell down to the floor, cursing.

Starving, dehydrated, and miserable, Vi remained on the ground, lacking the will and the strength to get back up. The words of her teacher came back to her. "You must learn this city's streets down to the smallest detail, every alleyway, every rooftop. Feeling the stone beneath your feet will guide you as surely as any map."

Remembering this, she slowly got back to her feet, returning to the junction from which she came. Though she had not noticed it before, the stone under her bare feet was different in one direction. The difference was subtle, but it was there. With new vigor, Vi pressed on.

-

She had been across this route hundreds, if not thousands of times. After slipping into an alley, Vi climbed up the side of the butcher's shop, her hands instinctively finding each familiar crack and protrusion as she made her way to the roof. Taking off at a run, she leapt to the next building, perfectly gauging the gap in-between. It was a thrill like no other to soar through the cool night's air, traveling on a road of her own. , thrilled to soar through the cool night air, traveling her own secret path.

-

The wooden staff slammed into Vi's stomach, and with a grunt of pain she fell to the ground, winded. . Grunting in pain, Vi fell winded to the ground. "You must hone your hearing until you can hear my weapon as it swings through the air. In time, you will be able to gracefully dodge any blow." * Her teacher said, his unseen presence looming above her. He offered Vi a hand, and she took it, pulling herself to her feet. "Again." Vi readied herself. Oh hi there, not-Stick! :wave:
Merge these two paragraphs together
The bruises wouldn't even begin to fade for a week.

-

Metal ground on metal, and Vi stopped dead as she heard the sword being drawn out of its sheath. This sounds really awkward. Try "Vi stopped dead at the distinct sound of metal grinding on metal--someone had drawn a sword. Her target had anticipated her route, and posted men along the rooftops. Clever. Vi easily sidestepped the blade as it swung down towards her. Her assailant's grunt of exertion was all she needed to aim a Hearing him grunt, Vi aimed a heavy kick at his stomach. He wheezed and his sword clattered on the ground.
Merge these into a single paragraph
Vi pressed her advantage, and with a swift chop to the neck the man collapsed on the roof with a heavy thud. Unconscious or not, he was down for the moment, and it was improper to kill one you weren't hunting. Sudden shift into second person Vi continued across the rooftops.

-

In her later years of training, Vi took to sneaking out of her quarters at night. One night, out in the church's yard, Vi just happened to overhear a conversation between her teacher and the head priestess while she was crouching hidden in a nearby bush. She couldn't miss an opportunity to perhaps learn more about her enigmatic teacher. Even after all those years, Vi knew very little about the man who had so guided her development as an assassin.

"I do not understand, Sister. What threat does this man pose to our city?" * Her teacher said, the first time Vi had ever heard him with even a hint of uncertainty in his voice.

"Why, you're asking the wrong question, my dear man!" * The priestess laughed throatily. You had an opportunity here to add characterization. "You should be asking what our beloved city can gain from his death! Oh, he's harmless, but think of the profits! That's just as good as protecting the city, isn't it?"

"As you say, Sister." * Her teacher replied, but his voice was cold. his voice cold.

-

Vi reached her destination with no further incident, apart from a few more guards that now littered the rooftops, unconscious aside from the unconscious guards littering the rooftops.. She dropped down from the roof to a windowsill, which she found unlocked an unlocked windowsill. Vi slipped inside the building, one hand on her dagger, but before she could proceed further the room she was stopped mid-step by a familiar voice. "Halt." Vi froze, unconsciously standing up straighter.

Her former teacher sighed. "I had hoped for more time, but- no, she would have spared no expense in tracking me down." Vi tensed as she heard a dagger being drawn, but he simply said. "Do not worry. I will not fight you," he said and tossed it aside. "I used to believe, you know. I mourned each I killed, but it was for a purpose. Not to line the church's pockets." He spat.

Vi couldn't move or speak, torn between her duty and her loyalty to the man in front of her. He broke the silence for her. "Do what you came here to do, Vi." He said. "There is no longer any escape for me, and I would rather my death be at your hands than one of her honorless dogs."

For the first time in years, Vi removed her blindfold. In front of her stood a tall, stern man, gray-bearded and clad in a red cloak. He untied his own blindfold, and Vi gazed straight into his gray eyes. In them she saw anger, defiance, and perhaps a tinge of pride for what his training had wrought. "I'm sorry." Vi said. He remained silent, and after ensuring that she had memorized every feature, every emotion on his face, Vi plunged her dagger into his heart.

Vi remained until he was still. After one final look at her teacher's cold face, she re-tied the cloth around her eyes. She had much to contemplate. Now that just sucked out all the emotion.

-

"Do sit down, girl. You make me nervous, just standing there." The head priestess's laughter abruptly stopped when Vi threw her blindfold to the floor.

The Daredevil compassion was there for a reason. Blind ninja, mentor issues, deep-seated issues with religious institution. You had your own spin, but you're way, way too verbose and all those needless words suck all the sense of drama out of the story. Your over-use of words also robs the sense of conflict of a young Templar assassin who's coming to terms with how the institution she's been sworn to serve is now corrupt after drawing first blood by killing her own mentor. Just remember to be brief and you'll be fine next prompt, one Horn-Head fan to another.

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Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

GUM CHEWING INTENSIFIES


dmboogie posted:

I.. have never watched nor read anything Daredevil related. :ohdear:

Still, thank you ever-so-much for the linecrit!
Well, that was embarrassing. In any case, you're welcome! :tipshat:

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