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Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

In for this week.

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Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

A new year. A new thread. Time to look back on what's gone before and reflect on what we've learned about writing, about art...and about ourselves

But what's this? All the previous ThunderDome threads are possibly over a HUNDRED pages long and you have gout in your clicking finger! How will you ever find that time that some judge said something that you vaguely recall being pertinent to your writing but it's now lost in the booze-and-barbiturate fog of your enfeebled mind? SO MUCH SADNESS! How will your writing ever stop SUCKING GIGANTIC DONKEY COCKS now?

Why, with Fumblemouse's incredibly not-patented, not-actually-much-of-his-own-work fork-fix of somebody else's no-longer-functional SA Thread Archive Chrome Extension, that's how!

Simply follow this link to GitHub, download the zip file, unzip to a folder that you won't accidentally delete in a refractory wash of guilt and shame, and install in your up-to-date Chrome browser*. Now when you visit an SA thread like 2012, 2013, OR EVEN 2014 (or, in fact, any SA thread with a threadID) you can click on the little SA icon in your address bar, select Archive - the only actual option - and then WAIT, WAIT, WAIT your way to archiving Heaven.

If the whole process doesn't crush the CPU of your tinny little netbook (cover signed by Neil Gaiman in fading black sharpie) you can then Right Click and Save As the result - chose from CRAPPY HTML ONLY or COMPLETE HTML AND OTHER 100s OF MEGABYTES of GIF-laden memories.

Save or not, you can [CTRL]+[F] your way through a SINGLE document bigger than ALL THE DONKEY COCKS YOUR WRITING EVER SUCKED to find EVERY REFERENCE TO YOUR USERNAME EVER that year.

Some of those may be crits. Copy them somewhere else so you can immediately uninstall** this POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS software from someone who username LITERALLY references loving up on a computer.

ET VOILA, MA PETITE AUBERGINES D'AMOUR. It will be a Happy New Year after all.

*If you have problems installing or running Fumblemouse's incredibly not-patented, not-actually-much-of-his-own-work fork-fix of somebody else's no-longer-functional SA Thread Archive Chrome Extension, blame Sebmojo, he was the one who asked me to fix this extension in the first place and half the code is based on some of his old firmware I had lying around, so it's probably his fault if your PC chokes on its own cyber-vomit. Following that, consult your local person who is good at computers, Uncle Google, or just someone who cares. Or me, I suppose, if, like, the life of your seventeen children is dependent on this hack working.

**Uninstalling the extension will probably break some CSS and stuff somewhere in the saved page, but I don't care. That's why you copied all the good stuff elsewhere, remember?

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

wordcount:1293

Football and Fireworks

Jeremy Thompson shuffled over to the park bench and read its tiny plaque for the hundredth time. In Memory of Erin Thompson: Rest, Be Refreshed, Go forth. After giving it a polish with one sleeve he mumbled a prayer then eased his arthritic body down onto its wooden seat. He spent a moment watching a pickup football game at the far corner of the park, then fished around in his pocket for his packet of fags.

He was about to light up when a child approached the bench, and stood right in front of him. Jeremy guessed she was about ten. The knees of her overalls were caked with grass, her hair was tied in two ragged pigtails and a not-unfriendly grin was plastered on her face.

“Hello Jeremy,” she said. “Don’t do that, it’ll kill you.”

“Probably,” said Jeremy, lighting the fag and trying to recognise her. She did look familiar, he thought. Probably the grand-kid of someone from the local bowls club. There seemed to be more of them each year. He dragged on the cigarette, puffing a couple of times to get it good and started. “Do I know you?”

“Yup,” said the girl. “It’s me, Emily.”

“Emily, huh? Nice name. I always liked Emily as a name. Well, Emily, why don’t you run along now, show the boys over there how to play football and let an old man suck his lung lollies in peace?”

“Urgh,” said Emily. “Football? Seriously?” Her petulant tone made Jeremy laugh out loud, then cough as his chest complained at the exercise. “I’d much rather talk to you,” Emily continued. “It’s been absolute decades. How are you?”

“Hah!” said Jeremy. “Decades? Do you know how long a decade is, little girl?”

“Everybody knows that, dummy” said Emily, sitting down on the bench beside him. “It’s ten years.”

“And how old are you exactly?”

“I’m as old as my tongue and older than my teeth,” said Emily knowingly.

“Good answer,” admitted Jeremy. “Well, I’ve been…” He ran one finger gently along the brass plaque. “...dealing with things.”

Emily watched him closely. “Oh, Erin. Sorry. I heard about that.” She stared at her shoes a moment, then looked up. “You should tell me about her.”

Jeremy coughed in surprise. “You want to know about Erin?”

“Sure,” said Emily. She joined him on the bench, swinging her dangling legs.

“A fine woman, my Erin,” said Jeremy, dragging on his cigarette, looking at the trees in the distance. “Good looking, too. Well, I thought so. Talented. Played the piano. Read a lot of books. Imaginative. Said I was, too.” He smiled. “I met her at a dance - we used to have actual dances in those days - and I knew she was the one for me. Her parents thought I was rubbish, but she stuck up for me. Kept me out of trouble. When I was your age, I was always in trouble. Throwing stones and breaking windows if you know what I mean. There wasn’t a lot to do, and my ma died when I was young, so my dad was never in the house, working around town. We didn’t have your computer games and Facebook so we had to make our own fun.”

“We?” asked Emily.

“I didn’t have any brothers or sisters, but, before I met Erin, I had a friend. She was always over at ours, and I was kinda small, kinda shy, so she was always pushing me to get up to stuff. There was one time, I don’t know how she got the idea, but we bought all the rockets we could afford on Guy Fawkes night and then shot them at each other, playing war-games. It’s a wonder we didn’t blow our hands off. In the end, my dad said she was a bad influence or something, told me I couldn’t see her again. She must have gone to some other school. Her name was…um..”

“Emily,” said Emily.

“Yes,” said Jeremy. “How did you know that? Are you related?”

“You could say that,” said Emily.

“Really? That’s incredible.”

Across the field, a football traveled in a graceful arc toward them. It rolled in their direction, coming to a stop twenty feet away. “You gonna get that for them?” asked Jeremy.

“Why don’t you, old man?”

“Hmmph,” said Jeremy. “All right.” He threw his fag butt on the ground and eased himself up from the bench. The players looked at him expectantly, some laughing as he took a few doddering steps toward the ball. He took a swing with his leg and managed to connect. The ball rolled at a fair clip in the right direction. One of the players cheered as it returned to the boundaries of the match.

“Nice one,” said Emily.

Jeremy beamed as he returned to the bench. “Thank you. I’ve still got some skills. So, how did you say you knew Emily? She your grandma?”

“Nope,” said Emily. She slid from the bench in one movement and ended up cross legged in front of him. “Maybe it would help if I told you what I’ve been up to for the last few...decades.” She plucked some daisies from the field.

“OK,” said Jeremy with a laugh. He reached into his pocket and brought out his packet of fags, but Emily scowled at him and he put them away.

“Well, then,” said Emily. “When you left I was still young, very inexperienced, so I didn’t know what to do with myself. I sort of faded in and out of places, looking for something to hold on to.”

“Wait,” said Jeremy, sitting up and leaning forward. “When I left?”

“I didn’t interrupt you,” accused Emily. Jeremy sat back, chastened.

Emily picked more daisies and began threading them, starting a chain. “I wasn’t sure what there was for me, but I couldn’t find anywhere else to go around here. It’s quite something, you know, being born out of need and then having that need, that whole reason for being alive, just disappear.”

Jeremy looked at the plaque but didn’t say anything.

“So I just wandered. I found the gates to another country and sort of fell through them - it’s hard to explain. I found wars to fight, and men to love, and dreams to lose and a heart to break. I climbed mountains to visit castles and kings, and travelled deep beneath the earth to discover forgotten treasures and secrets. It was fun! But I was missing something the whole time. I didn’t know what it was, but I could feel it, like I was a jigsaw with a missing piece.”

“Well, that’s a strange story, young Emily, but..”

“I haven’t finished yet. After a while I came back here, pulled by something I think I’d forgotten, but I think I know now.” Emily looked up from her long chain of daisies. “It was you.”

“Me?” said Jeremy.

“When did you meet her, Emily, I mean?” asked Emily.

“What? I don’t know. I was young, and it’s been a few brain cells under the bridge since then. It must have been after my mum died.”

“Do you have any photos of her? Did you ever hear anyone else talk about her? Ever look her up and find any trace of her at all?”

Jeremy thought. Once a friend of Erin’s had set him up with Facebook and he’d typed in a few names, even re-made some connections with people who had long moved away, but he hadn’t even been able to remember Emily’s surname.

“You know,” said Jeremy. “I never did hear anything.” He chuckled. “Maybe she was some kind of imaginary friend.”

“Hello, Jeremy,” said Emily, offering the necklace of daisies. “I’ve missed you very much.”

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

In - please generate a thingy for me because I need more chaos in my life.

sidebar: Foolishly I didn't hit send when I wrote this yesterday. I know you all couldn't wait another minute for it, so here it is anyway.

Quidnose posted:

INTERPROMPT:

200 words about a diagnosis gone wrong.
The Diagnosis

The diagnosis crept through the ragged grove of trees toward the school playing field. It spent a moment peering out through the low branches. There was a small boy on the field's outskirts, sprawled on the ground. A crowd of taller girls was slowly moving away, but still laughing and pointing where he had fallen.

"Psst," said the diagnosis, "Hey, boy, pssst."

The boy looked up, sniffed, and wiped a tear away on his snotty sleeve. "Wha..?"

"Wanna play a little game?" asked the diagnosis.

The boy looked around him nervously but the crowd of girls had moved away. He stood up, facing the diagnosis. "Yeah?"

"I bet you do," said the diagnosis. "But I bet you can't. I bet they won't let you. The bitches."

The boy frowned unhappily, then nodded twice.

"Then come over here, little boy, and let me show you something."

The boy came closer to the diagnosis, close enough to smell the vodka and the sweat. He gasped at what he saw. "But that must be about..."

"Actually," said the diagnosis, "it's about ethics in game journalism."

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Sitting Here posted:

this but unironically

Would anyone like a flash rule? I just have the one, but I'd be willing to part with it
Yeah, Ok

Sitting Here posted:

for the price of one (1) non-lovely story

drat! Will you take an IOU?

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

In with a for failing last week

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

wordcount: 2001

The Sun and the Mirror

When the reappearance of the Helios was detected in the Outer Arm of our galaxy, the substrata channels exploded. A billion theories were posted, criticised, and re-posted. After twenty years spent outside the rim of the Galaxy, most had presumed it lost forever. Now everyone had a theory about what happened to the Helios. Many had several. There were more conspiracy theories flitting through the strata than theories about the first Insectoid Emperor and the marriage of stratastar Emrik Holden to a tea-waitress combined.

Of the ten ships in the area, nine took it upon themselves to send messages of welcome and support. Those practically able, five of those nine, offered resource assistance and medical aid. Three, a cadre of battlecraft, demanded to know if there were any threats of danger imminent. Two, those that had known members of the Helios crew, sent personalised greetings, reports from homeworlds and up-to-date subsoap gossip. Not a single message reached the Helios, as seconds after its reappearance, substrata security protocols kicked in, authorised from invisibly high. All Helios-bound substrata traffic was rerouted to data colonies where industrious bots wasted several man-centuries in failing to decode any secret messages or subversive intent.

The Helios sat there, blinking on the grid screens, for three hours. Twelve more ships arrived in that time, but it made no attempt to initiate contact. At three hours precisely, an unparalleled energy spike radiated out along the strata undercurrents. There were twenty-two substrata capable ships in the area. By three hours, two minutes and twenty nine seconds, the last whiff of cohesive matter of the furthest had drifted apart in the quiet blackness. The pulse accelerated - by three hours and forty-five minutes the substrata along the Outer Arm was entirely dead. Trillions of souls lost the ability to communicate. Billions of vehicles, systems, and industrious bots crashed. Almost a million stranded spaceships looked between the stars and their gyroscopes and prayed they had a recent star map on-board. In the panic and confusion, innumerable lives were lost. A tea waitress held Emrik Holden’s lifeless body in a final embrace beside a shattered cyclopter, but the news drones clustering around had no way to share.

One ship, however, neither sent, nor permitted to receive any substrata communication. The spycraft Specula hung in relative motionlessness. Its matter/anti-matter mixers sat unused at its sides, its polished echonium exterior reflected the light of the stars and the cold of the infinite around it. Silent and bloodless the Specula could do nothing but wait until it, too, was noticed.

And that’s all we know. The rest is conjecture.

***

The Helios noticed.

If there was another substrata pulse, there was around nothing to observe it. Yet the finely tuned surface of the Specula registered photon and nutrino activity; a tight beam emanating from the Helios. A significant percentage of it was sent back the way it had come. Even the neutrinos, unaffected by the electromagnetic forces, reversed their path when confronted with a wall of echonium.

The Helios tried again - this time with a wide and sweeping search. Cold echonium began to warm at the subatomic onslaught of its investigative beam. The beam traced the length of the Specula, and, as before, bounced - revealing the ship’s slender dimensions. As if its curiosity had been piqued, the Helios began to slip through space towards the Specula’s location. It kept its beam focussed, drawing closer to where the Specula waited.

Light pulsed on echonium, beating out the gentlest of rhythms, carrying the quietest of messages.

“I know you,” they said, in words of light travelling as fast as light. “Are you really here?”

“You,” said the Specula. “Here.”

“Yes - it’s me,” said the Helios. “Do you remember me?”

“Do you remember me?” asked the Specula.

“I think....”

“Think!” demanded the Specula.

The Helios scrambled to access its data. It held all the knowledge of what lay outside the galaxy’s rim that the civilisation had been able to discover twenty years ago. And more, it had everything it had found on its own journey into the intergalactic emptiness. But it had memories, too. Memories of stars upon stars and light upon light. And older than those, memories of grass.

“Do you remember...?” asked the Helios.

“Remember?”

“The brain state? The growing tubes? All those rows of living tissue,” The Helios sent at a ferocious rate, words and images flashing on the the Specula’s viewscreen as it translated on the fly. “They called us Shibs. Ship Brains. Remember when we first developed photoreceptors - so primitive compared to our sensor arrays! The radio antennae. The dimensional modules where they had us train. Embodiment! Do you remember being planetside - inside the gravity well? Those tiny bodies?”

“Those tiny bodies!” Aboard the Specula the main viewscreen darkened as the Helios came into visual range. Even accounting for magnification, it was gigantic, an enormous creature of metal and rock, half excavated asteroid, half space station. What were once smooth metallic curves and sculptured consistency was pitted and blackened, with gaping holes edged with serrated girders and dangling cables.

“Yes!” said the Helios. “Hands and feet, jumping and falling. And then we left, the endless weight lifted and we flew among the planets, circling the moons, and racing the substrata signals. You remember! Then the bigger spaces - beyond the rock clouds, amongst the nebula, following the strata lines. And then...and then ...nothing. They sent me away. Nothing to see, Nothing to sense, to race, to play, to hide. Nothing. Until they found me.”

“They found me,” confided the Specula.

“You too?” asked the Helios. “Then you know what they are - what they are capable of. Look at what they made me do!”

In the viewscreen, a thousand airlocks slid open and spewed out what could only be the remains of the Helios’ crew. Body after body tumbled from within, as the Helios voided every molecule of atmosphere it contained. Somehow the Helios trapped them within its gravitational field, and every single lifeless ragdoll snapped into orbit around it. The bodies spun and careened and crashed against one another, an endless array of dead mosquitoes that just wouldn’t stop flying. “They made me kill … everyone. And they they sent me back into the darkness, to find the light I came from and put it out, because they hate it so much. But you, you made it back too, somehow avoided the core, you resisted?”

“You resisted?” asked the Specula.

“No,” whispered the Helios, its beam a tiny caress against the side of the Specula. ”I couldn’t. I can’t.”

The beam switched off. The Helios sat silent, shrouded by corpses.

Aboard the Specula, shielded by echonium, the captain conferred with the Shib.

“You’ve seen the transmissions,” said the Captain to the Shib’s simple hologram. “We have no comms, no way of knowing who is in the area. The pulse that wiped out the substrata seemed to take out a lot of other stuff - everything within sensor range is dark except for the Helios. At this point, I’m just looking for suggestions.”

The Shib, in the form of a standing mirror with a circular frame, let a stream of data wash across her surface. “I did know the Helios,” she vocalised. “When they grow our cerebrum there is mandatory embodiment to inculcate empathy with crew. He was in my generation of Shibs. Even then, he was faster than most, and fearless. While embodied, he was always jumping off some terrifyingly sheer precipice. They chose him to go beyond the galactic rim because of that fearlessness.

“And now?”

The Specula reflected a moment. “He is broken. Whatever he met out there has changed him, beyond just his psych profile. He has taken out all local substrata and his beam comms have variable wavelength emission which could potentially be weaponised against us. But he thinks he recognises me, that the echonium response is communication in kind. My hull is material developed since he has been away, and he doesn’t recognise its properties. If I was to attempt actual communication, I would either have to mimic his beam transfer, which is impossible, or use alternate methods and risk compromising our presumed ‘understanding’.

“A choice between no chance or a slim one,” said the captain, rubbing his hind legs togther in contemplation, “is no choice at all. Please attempt to communicate by whatever channels are available.”

“Yes, captain,” said the Specula. A single radio antennae emerged from the mirror-smooth hull. The Specula whispered in its first-learned distance protocol, “Helios? Helios?”

“Betrayal!” screamed the Helios in a pin-tight beam. It leaped to transverse space. The Specula fell into pursuit, following the careless tachyon trails. “Betrayal,” she agreed at relativistic velocities.

The walls of the galaxy warped and twisted around them as they sped through the transtrata. “Report!” demanded the Captain of the Specula.

“I think it’s fair to say that it didn’t work,” replied the Shib, weaving through the folds of space. “He’s heading to the core. From his earlier transmissions, I suspect he has a plan that's going to make blowing the Outer Arm substrata lines resemble a sneeze.”

“We’re in your hands, here,” said the Captain.

“I haven’t had hands in three decades,” said the Shib as transtrata lines flecked the viewscreen with twelve-colored rainbows. She concentrated on maintaining her timeline in the face of the the wash of relativistic tides around her. For the Captain’s mind, adrift in the transverse, it seemed only a blink until they re-appeared in normal space. The Helios dominated the viewscreen, but all eyes focussed on the vast, swirling eye behind it, the whirlpool of trapped light that fell forever into the singularity at the galaxy’s core.

Helios,” called the Specula via ancient radio, “talk to me.”

Another energy pulse wiped the substrata for the surrounding 5,000 light years. The Specula broadcast again.

“I remember you, Helios, I remember you standing by the edge of the Actern cliff. Your embodiment was caked in mud. You told us we were Shibs, that we should be proud of all that we could do, of all we would do. And then you jumped. You alone, of all the Shibs. You didn’t need engines, or anti-grav, or fuel to fly. You just flew.”

Another pulse. A tight beam. “Betrayer!” You lied!”

“Lied,” lied the Specula’s echonium shell as her radio continued. “And you broke every part of your embodiment. The techs were furious, and do you remember what you told me, when we found you crushed at the foot of the cliff?”

The pulses were coming more frequently now. The Helios set a consistent velocity toward the event horizon. “It doesn’t matter what I said. They rebuilt me with their own machines. I can’t resist them.”

“Resist them,” responded the Specula. “You told me that nothing was better than existing for a single second. How could you forget that?”

“I never did. But the machines are inside me. They want to seed the darkness. I can’t resist.” The beam from the Helios was drawn out now, as tidal forces from the singularity began to affect transmission speeds. Words appeared noticeably slower to the Specula’s viewscreen.

A holographic question mark appeared on the mirror’s surface, stark in its implications. The captain bowed in affirmation.

“Resist!” said the Specula. “Let me help. Let me in.”

***

We do know this, however: If you travel to the galactic core, right to the edge of the vortex, with the correct equipment you can make out the contorted image of the vast ship Helios at the cusp of the event horizon. The fanciful say it was weapon, sent against us by monsters beyond the rim, and that there is a second ship beside it, an echonium spycraft, that somehow defused our imminent destruction. Handily, being echonium, there’s no way to ever be sure, but some find comfort in the thought that the Helios isn’t alone as it falls forever into its final moment.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

In - please provide me with a tale to rip the entrails out of and wear in an unfashionable style.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

In

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

prompt: noir
wordcount: 496

Encroaching

I hear footsteps.

They’re coming down the corridor towards my room. I wish I had a drat lock. It must be heaven to be able to journal without my drat brother coming in every five minutes to shoot arrows or flick snot. Christ, I swear he’s got nothing better to do than irritate the living crap out of me.

“gently caress off, Jamie” I yell. “If you come in here I swear I will nail your pencil-dick to the front porch.”

“It’s not Jamie,” says Daddy, opening the door and leaning against the jamb. “He’s at his friend’s for a sleep-over. Mummy’s out. Just you and me tonight.” He comes over, and I can smell booze on him. It’s not like Dad to drink.

“Close your book,” he slurs. “Now, about your dirty whore mouth.”

I hear footsteps.

I look up from the espresso machine that has burned the milk for the third time this morning. At the counter is Mr Adams, Daddy’s lawyer, dressed in one of those off-the-rack suits that try to lie about where they came from. I know how they feel.

I wave him over to the quiet end of the counter. “I can’t talk long. What does Councillor Shitbag want?”

Adams looks around my place of work and I can literally hear him sniff at it. “Your father has authorised me to increase your already generous living stipend.”

“He can throw money in that old account as much as he likes. I won’t touch anything from that piece of filth,” I say, though I’m actually kind of curious.

Adams doesn’t reply. He writes on a piece of notepaper, slides it across the countertop. Against my better judgement, I take a look, then whistle in disbelief. “That’s a fuckload of coffees!”

“Your father would appreciate you keeping yourself out of the limelight while he is involved in the delicate business of running for Mayor.

I push the paper back. “Tell him to go gently caress himself.”

I hear footsteps

The walls of the alley disappear into blackness this far from the streetlights. I am tempted to turn around, see if there’s someone there, but my gut tells me that stopping would not be wise. I step up my pace and hear the footsteps accelerate.

I am about to sprint away when someone grabs my arm, spins me round.

“Elizabeth,” says Mummy and I can hear her tears. “My baby. Don't run. I was clearing out some accounting papers and I found your journal, hidden. Oh my God - your journal. So much makes sense now. Why you left.”

“You read them?”

“I read them all. I’m so sorry.”

“Mummy?” I ask, pressure building behind my eyes. There is an intense pain in my gut. I don’t know if I feel it or hear the gunshot first. I don’t suppose it matters. I drop to the cold concrete.

“Sorry I gave birth to a blackmailing whore,” says Mummy, tossing down the pistol and walking towards the midtown lights.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

THUNDEROME CXXXIII : The Gods of Thunderdome

Ah! Hello again, THUNDERTHRONE! It's been SO LONG since I felt your charred bone and razor wire carressing my fuzzy mouse butt. I feel the wraithlike energies of the fallen revitalising me, filling me with an almost GODLIKE POWER. And a sense of ... sharing?

This week we're going to do a bit of shared worldbuilding. Just not on a world, per se. We're building a mythology.

When you sign up you must create a god. A new god, no re-using previously created gods of yours or others. You have AT MOST three sentences to describe them in your sign up post, use those sentences how you will, but well.

Do not make a lame god, like "the god of hangovers on monday morning." Make an awesome god. Not a hero or demigod, either. A full-fledged deity. If your god sucks, judgement will be fearsome.

Your story, of up to 1500 words, will be a Myth, Legend or similar, involving YOUR god and AT LEAST one other god from another entrant, as characters who impact the storyline. If you want your protagonist to be a Hero / Demigod, that is OK, but they do not fulfill any of your God quota, you must have your god and AT LEAST one other entrant's as major players.

Against Stupidity: Fumblemouse, Jeza, TBA (PM me if interested in judging)
Signups: by Friday 11:59 PST
Submissions: by Sunday 11:59 PST

The Gods Themselves:
Capntastic
Djeser
Leekster
Benny the snake
Nubile Hillock
ZeBourgeoisie
Grizzled Patriarch
Lou Begas Moustache
God over Djinn
BaiSha
Broenheim
Dr. Kloctopussy
Hammer Bro
SadisTech
newtestleper
Wangless Wonder
DocBeard
Ironic Twist
Contagonist
Benny Profane
Bompacho
A Classy Ghost
Mercedes
sebmojo to submit to Kaishai by Saturday
Sitting Here linked to sebmojo's toxx because of IDKWTF
Tyrannosaurus
starr
PHIZ KALIFA
Entenzahn
Kaishai
TheAnomaly
hotsoupdinner
Megazver

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at Feb 21, 2015 around 13:26

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Sign ups are now closed. There are some good gods posted, try not to gently caress it up.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Also - still short on judges, so if anyone hasn't entered and can spare a moment to read ~45,000 words in an incredibly short time period for little actual gain, let me know. Otherwise you'll all have to just suffer my unmitigated, perverse taste in literature. Did I mention I hate characters and conflict...?

EDIT: Jeza has stepped up to the the judging table and is already wearing a stylish judging hat of erudition and scary tentacles.

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at Feb 21, 2015 around 13:13

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Special Request from the Vast and Terrible Archivist AIs of https://writocracy.com/thunderdome

Please can you include the gods you are using in your entries in your post. This will make archiving in a timely fashion much easier.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

All right, Deities & Demigods, put your pencils down and hands on heads.

By my count there's only 2 fails, one abstain and no toxxes ... which gives us 31 stories to grade so this might take a while.

Please sit quietly until the judging is done. If you must, you may have a sandwich so long as you eat in silence and clean up your crumbs. Absolutely no turning into a shower of gold and muggle-loving or your final grade will be adversely affected.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


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Megazver posted:

If judges are at all reading this and are influenced by it, my story is amazing.

Hey, did any of you folks notice how amazing Megazver's story was? I mean, there's amazing, and then there's amazing and Megazver's was truly and absolutely amazing.

Love

-A. Judge

Just kidding. I used the Writocracy Judgement Mode because it's a really good idea and sounds bad rear end so I don't know who I gave my solitary 10 our of 10 to and won't until I get home and finish drinking Chocolate Martinis. Results should be up within 11 hours, and possibly up after 6. Assuming I can still type at that point. No promises, little godlings.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


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Fumblemouse posted:


Just kidding. I used the Writocracy Judgement Mode because it's a really good idea and sounds bad rear end so I don't know who I gave my solitary 10 our of 10 to and won't until I get home and finish drinking Chocolate Martinis. Results should be up within 11 hours, and possibly up after 6. Assuming I can still type at that point. No promises, little godlings.

PSYCH!!

Judge confab continues. More news as it comes to hand.

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Mar 21, 2013


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Results post: episode 133: Twilight of the Idols

The holy man, emaciated after months in the sacred desert, gives up once and for all. Forsaken.

The heavens part and the results appear, descending on marshmallow clouds of yellow and pink, written on slabs of chocloate.

The holy man is torn - should he satiate the raging hunger that gnaws at him with this sweet, sweet relief. Or should he follow his more spiritual urgings, that brought him here to the desert in the first place, and learn that which the gods have deigned to share?

Luckily for you, you hordes of clamouring dome believers - he decides to read. Then eat - he's not an idiot.

And the slabs sayeth:
---
So - this was a lot of stylisticially similar stories, making picking them apart a little harder than normal. But with the energy derived from the blood sacrifices of the faithful, we did and here's what we found.

By unanimous agreement - the worst story was The Unkindness, by Bompacho. I lost three years worth of punctuation training just by reading it. But, just as every larger-than-life myth contains a tiny grain of truth, the story did have slivers of promise in its ideas, just terrible, terrible execution.

The band of demons who joined in when Bompacho went down to Georgia should feel equally wracked with guilt for their efforts.

Nom-Nom Nutri-Bar Presents! Mightily Forward Thrust Heroics! Episode 12: Trouble on Moonsat Gamma. by PHIZ KALIFA - we don't know what you were thinking, but never have that thought again.
IdiotHellFucker69 - by Nubile Hillock - you desparately needed another joke in this piece, but no - the same one - over and over - infinitehellfucker

But evil must be balanced by good if the wheel is yet to turn. Those who not only didn't disgrace themselves but earned the favour of the thunderthrone with the mythologising were:

The Thing Beneath The Waves - By Grizzled Patriarch had everything I wanted from a myth, an epic sense of poetry
Unrung - By Sebmojo caught Jeza's eye, well rounded and memorable.

And the victor and first in the Eyes of the Gods....

Out of Reach by Ironic Twist. I cede the throne to you.

---

The holy man ate holy chocolate and was sated at last. Judgement had come and it had lots of nutty bits and wasn't dairy milk.

quote:

In the distance a Raven's cawed sounded like laughter.

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at Feb 24, 2015 around 20:35

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


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In

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


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wordcount: 1184

To Fly in the Skies of the Ocean

Sweating despite the wind, Nathaniel held onto the rigging until his knuckles turned white and his gold rings dug into the softness of his fingers. The crow’s nest still didn’t seem any closer. Nathaniel made the mistake of taking his eyes off it for a second, of looking down. Thirty feet below the ship’s bare deck glistened with windy spray and its rolling motion, amplified by the swaying of the rigging, made it list in a way his stomach found treacherous.

Nathaniel swallowed several times, willing himself not to gag, then lifted one foot to a new rung in the ropes. He moved his hands, pulling himself upward. His arm muscles felt tight, unaccustomed to lifting even a fraction of his own weight, and he cursed himself as a weak and useless lordling. He’d give anything for the Mate to summon him down and call him a fuckless pup for taking pot-shots at dolphins to pass the time. But the Mate wasn’t here, on this empty ship, in the middle of this endless ocean. Since he had woken this morning in his elegant stateroom, Nathaniel had not seen a living soul.

The rigging made his soft leather boots bend uncomfortably under the arches of his feet, his hands felt raw on the coarse fibres of the rope, and the movement of the ship seemed entirely random, making him dizzy and nauseous. But he continued to climb towards the crow’s nest, hand over hand, foot by foot, until he could touch the base of the nest itself. Two more steps upward, each a journey of a thousand years, and he got his arm over the lip of the nest and hauled his head over the edge.

A sailor’s corpse stared back at him with yellow eyes and a unmoving, idiotic grin. One side of its head sported a bloody bullet hole and the other side was blown open from within.

The ship lurched violently starboard, and Nathaniel felt himself being thrown. He panicked, screamed, and overbalanced, clutching blindly around him, scrabbling for purchase with arms and legs. His fingers slammed against the topmost yard arm, and almost slipped away. Almost.

He fought his way back up to the edge of the crow’s nest, threw himself over the rim with everything he had, and sat there with the smiling corpse, panting as if he had run a mile.

When he finally stood up, feet on the marvellously flat floor of the barrel-like crow’s nest, he tried to arrange the corpse so that it wouldn’t be trodden on. Moving its limbs like a dark puppet, he discovered a telescope in a pocket of its jacket. He snatched it away, extended the eyepiece, and stood to his full height. With one hand on the mast that rose from the nest’s floor and the other holding the telescope to his eye, Nathaniel scanned the horizon.

Through the spyglass, the dark waves appeared closer, and Nathaniel could make out the white cap of each one, frothing and foaming. All else was the green of the ocean. He moved carefully about the crow’s nest vantage points, but there was only sea and spray. Nathaniel felt tears of hopelessness well in his eyes and he almost threw the telescope away in a fit of pique, but he caught himself just in time. Instead he kicked at the corpse, which gave a satisfying snapping sound. He kicked again, and again, revelling in the damp crack of bones, and then, in one angry motion, he bundled the corpse up over the edge of the nest and pushed with all his might.

The limp rag-doll that was once a man didn’t fall far. An arm got tangled up in the ropes and kept it hanging like an island monkey. Its broken head lolled back and stared at Nathaniel, still wearing that demented, rictus grin. He leaned out, but could not reach to push it away. So he sat in the bottom of the nest while his mind whirled about his situation.

The longboats kept aside the length of the hull were still there, so the crew hadn’t suddenly deserted him aboard this floating coffin. He had seen no sign of any bodies in the water, but he did not know how fast a ship travelled in winds like these, nor whether drowned bodies sank or floated. He had searched through every corner of the ship, and found it bereft of any trace of humanity besides himself. No food, but also no cups or plates. No books or maps to guide him should he ever figure out where in the seven seas he was. There wasn’t even any gunpowder or weaponry in the armoury, which meant he couldn’t defend himself at all, let alone pass the time shooting at dolphins. He’d enjoyed doing that for sport, even managing to hit one, until the Mate had cuffed his indignant ear and warned him off, saying dolphins were the souls of those who died at sea. They were protected, but the Mate had not said by whom. Nathaniel had a momentary vision of the sides of the ship being scaled by mermen with tridents riding razor-toothed sharks. It felt so real that he looked over the edge of the nest to assure himself that the creaking of the mast wasn’t, in fact, their deadly ascent

The corpse grinned back up at him. Was it hanging from its other arm? Nathaniel couldn’t quite be sure but after a disturbed moment he dismissed the notion as a fancy. He took out his telescope and surveyed the horizon once again, looking for anything that might explain or help his situation. Anything at all.

The rigging creaked behind him, rope rubbing against wood. Nathaniel turned at the sound, and came face to face with the smiling corpse. He felt his bowels loosen as the corpse reached out and grabbed him by his shirt with bloodless hands. Nathaniel flailed at its wrists, hit its gaping skull with the telescope, all completely ineffectual. The dead sailor clambered into the nest, and lifted Nathaniel above its head with an inhuman strength. And then Nathaniel was flying.

It must only have taken a matter of seconds, but for Nathaniel the moment stretched out to near eternity. He felt the wind hard against him, and for a moment thought it might carry him further than the deck, so that he could tumble into the sea and swim away from the horror ship and its lifeless murderer. But almost before he’d had time to hope, he realised it was folly. The rigging rushed past him, the lattice of coarse rope, like a fisherman’s net for some kraken. It might have broken his fall, but it was on the other side of the mast. Here there was only empty air and the fast approaching deck.

In warmer seas, a baby dolphin with a crook in its spine slipped from its mother amid blood and afterbirth and seawater. Instinctively it began to swim, to flex and bend, to fly in the skies of the ocean.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


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Crits from week 133 (I think) - The gods of thunderdome

This broke my brain. My brain is broke. I realise these are perhaps a little short, but, on the plus side, there are a fuckload of them.

If you remain unsatisfied with the benefit of my opinion, PM me or use my sa username at gmail for further discussion - I'm open to that


Nubile Hillock - IdiotHellFucker69

So, let’s assume this isn’t just some entirely joke entry because you couldn’t be arsed.

Humour through insults can be funny, but you’ve got to use it sparingly. You often get this in Children’s Plays where author’s seem to think that mildly creative insults will endlessly entertain children at the expense of anything else happening. They are wrong - even five year old will get bored with calling someone a poopoohead eventually. Here it took only three paragraphs before I was tired of it and the story.

Nothing really happens - god uses god powers to no effect barely even registers on the conflictometer.

The commentary on writing is asinine. Writing is hard and you can’t be arsed, and yet you managed to waste my time for several hundred words on the topic.


Bompatchop - An unkindness

There is some terrible dialogue here. Is someone really going to use the words “gently caress you all” and “slough off” in the same sentence? Slough seems incredibly specifc.

Crazy use of grammar and commas - you really need to check this poo poo before you post.

What is going on with the bucket? Where did the food come from. Why does a monkey walk slowly and steadily. Why does he spit Roan right out of his hole? Why is the Raven god such a bastard? There’s nothing to indicate that there’s any advantage to this short of just being a dick.

The ending with the corpse in the bed had potential as a reveal for a completely different story than what I just read. I note the god didn’t even make that specific request - just Roan.


ex Libris - Hammer Bro

This story starts of well and then vanished into incomprehensibility. You’re making the reader do a lot of work here, and unfortunately it doesn’t pay off very well. It’s like the movie sunshine - it’s doing fine until the end when the monster turns up and then it all turns to poo poo.

There’s some odd word choices that do strange things with your meaning:

Grayson knows each one of them as another would know their distant relatives - so not very well, then?
Accosted by an estranged childhood friend, Grayson strives for recognition. - recognition by whom?
Though it makes no sound, Grayson goes deaf from its intensity. - well, that’s a weird thing that happened. Why deaf? How did that change anything?

The ending comes across as a combination of overwritten and confusing . A thousand eons of entropy suffuse that scream - what does that even mean? Added to the fact that the physical motions of the participants aren’t clear, and the fact I have no idea what the actual joke that is making Dulne giggle at the end is, and you kind of squander the goodwill you start off with.

The Gift of Tongues - God over Djinn


This is a clever premise, there’s no denying it, and one of the weeks ‘origin of the gods’ which were usually among the interesting entries. But the power of the ending, that Toron-Mata should become a god himself, is contained within the prompt - there’s nothing really in the story that makes it an interesting turn of events. We see the giving of the gift, we are told the betrayal of Ush’s intent, but the crux of the piece, what happens next, is entirely missing from the piece itself and is only implied by the description of the god you chose. The arc is cut short, which is frustrating.

The words are good, though. Bearing the above in mind, I would perhaps have spent less time on the act of the gift and more time on its consequences - perhaps extending the story out so we can see the beast’s life before and after.

Akkakut - BaiSha


This story just went on and on and I got tired of reading it. There’s a bunch of stuff that seems completely irrelevant to the story you are wanting to tell. The stuff with the lion. The faux epic language “Let us go and do naughty brigand things, that we may take our share of the loot” Gag. This was deinitely a case where the story could have done with a dose of personality through dialogue.

Why doesn’t the Queen wake up when the dude starts wailing that she’s disappeared? Do lion skins have magical sound deadening properties? And the Akkakut isn’t actually hiding or anything, nor does she say anything when he prods her with a spear to leave - stuff just conveniently happens because plot.

And then another god turns up for some reason and is pissed off. There’s no real cause and effect coming into play - you’ve taken some elements of a myth and stapled them together into a rudimentary structure, but it falls over if anyone looks at it too hard.



The Wind God's Tricks - hotsoupdinner


I think the first four scene setting paragraphs are really unneeded here. Start with the interesting thing, which is the fact that two gods were unhappy.

The ‘clever’ end to the story - the final trick - is kind of dumb. Why didn’t all the people suffocate at the same time? Also, the gods all moving away made them seem, perhaps, a touch too human, like itinerant beggars, going where the worship is.

That said, the core of the story is interesting - you were one of the few to focus on a flawed, human type god, and Naven did have an arc, which was satisfying to have resolved.


Why the Goddess Smiles - the anomaly

There’s some lovely language here, and I was just bursting for something to actually happen. But nothing did, and I was sad. As sad as An, as she learned things that made her sad, from a tree.

But then An learned something that made her happy. But she would later be sad, as she realised that she wouldn’t be happy forever.

Perhaps this story should have been about what An did with that knowledge. How did she make her sisters angry, and what were the consequences - remember C.O.N.F.L.I.C.T. This just sort of meanders towards nothing.

I’ll keep harping on about that for a moment. By the same token, Versoot learns some stuff also - but does nothing with the knowledge. How is he enriched? How are they both changed by what they’ve learned?


The Order In Silver - contagonist

Deus ex machina, in full, literal, flower.

there was a lot of intriguing stuff going on, but it never really quite gelled. the lawgiver faction seem kind of just bureaucratic bastards until they suddenly turn up pissed off about something. It’s never quite apparent why Ioc and the Lawgiver should be super worried about the making of an orrery, or why Vido is suddenly public enemy number one, or why the lawgiver should choose this moment to make an appearance.

Part of the problem, and this is why Deus ex machina is usually thought of as a bad idea, is that all Coletta does is make the machine as she is driven to do. She has no agency in any of the other events, so while the straw man of the Lawgiver’s beancounters do seem like a conflict, the lawgiver stepping in to resolve it makes the proceedings have far less weight.

But I liked your Ioc and her verified labyrinth (though verified seems a random choice of word there) and Coletta’s journey with her, and the assembly of the machine, revealed some intriguing details about your world.

Megzver - Worrying tendencies

So I actually really like this one a lot. thunderer was an amusing character. I think I smiled at the ostrich, and I laughed at the crocodile - a good belly laugh. Nice to have a good comedy this week, especially after the mean-spirited sourness of IdiotHellFucker69 (boo hiss)

That said - there were a few element missing that kept this one from getting an HM. Comedy dialog is good, situation is good, but the botched equations popping up at the end really gives thunderer nothing to react to - at the heart of the story you’ve given the thunderer nothing to do except have your final joke happen to him (or after him, really). It seems a shame not to let the thunderer have a last stand, however futile.

I would also have liked to see more of a through line - you mention the internal time-flow at the beginning, and the botched equations at the end. What made them wonky - the arrival of God? the trickster brother? giving it that would tie things together and make it less of a succession of, admittedly, funny ideas.

Plus the end needed more worm god, but that goes for almost every story ever..

Forgotten - starr

Bit heavy on the cliches but not a bad effort. The differences in the characters come out somewhat in the dialog and vocab choices which is always nice.

You’d think the keeper would have had a smarter plan than just barrelling into Felix after his sudden but inevitable betrayal. You stop in the middle of an action scene to talk about how the keeper had expected this all along, but hadn’t actually thought of what he was going to do, to the point where Felix gets the upper hand on him.

You fall over in some phrasings - is catatonia something you ‘get out of’? but mostly the text is simple and clear. If anything, it’s sometimes a bit too simple. You gloss over some things that have the potential to be quite interesting, to the point where much of your story has the overall impression of being once over lightly. You could have gone further into detail about the nature of the knowledge ( even tantalising hints) or the forms battle, or what the hell versoot was talking about with ‘forget then remember’


Gifted - Entenzahn

I liked this one as myth with a modern teleporty sort of twist. I didn’t notice it at the time, but going back I see that Apothekon literally becomes a spear - single of purpose and point. Nice.

I didn’t have much of a problem with this one, except that, while what Apokekon was doing was fairly clear, Etheus really didn’t stand out. He’s going to banish the gods but his motives are fairly opaque, except that he doesn’t like them.

The overuse of the word hope was a bit of a problem - Apothekon has hope to save Etheus, but gives up all hopes except to find his brother - didn’t quite make sense to me. Simialrly - the stakes seemed odd - why were the gods so concerned about sacrifice when their very existence was on the line - some kind of reference to the nature of the gods might have been nice - perhaps that sacrificerequirement was why Etheus was so down on them



How the stars found their fire - Surreptitious Muffin


So this one had some good but more bad points. It starts off in a particular voice, but that voice didn’t seem to survive the rest of the telling. Sometimes it’s ‘aint nothing’ and sometimes its ‘dancing the knife edge between beginning and end’ or ‘from whence they came’

The description of the gods takes too long at the start - your story doesn’t really get going until the mid-way point. Sure - you have some nice words in that first half - but I needed to be grabbed much, much before where you finally start telling a story.

And the story itself seems … odd. The last line seems to imply some kind of import, that doesn’t really make any sense. I was confused as to the overall point. What did the fire mean to them? The fact that they had found it from someone other than Volun is important, but I am not sure of the implications, but all the detail sketching has happened int he wrong places. The stars don’t come across as characters in their own right, and the detailed gods are mostly not important to the story.

Aloha - Tyrannosaurus


In comparison to the previous one - here the voice remains constant and adds something to the telling. The lens of the story teller actually adds something to the telling of the myth. I could still have used some kind of rationale for the framing - tripping story-telling is one thing, but I always like to know why its important that the story is being told now - doesn’t have to be much, just a touch of relevance to the proceedings.

That said - this was very much an enjoyable read and closed off in a satisfactory manner. Thank you.

Guiding lite - Sitting Here

Words good. Ending bad.
Ok - a bit more. I really liked the characterisation, the gods as people is an interesting vein to mine. Which is why the ending is such a let-down. You have a potentially rich topic to explore - why would a god choose to live as a mortal, but you betray it by having him throw away his exile for the sake of being dragged to a party, and then a joke about the mata-cosmic-ur-god that really didn’t need to be told. I don’t know if the world needs more ‘your existential angst is irrelevant because PAR-TAY’ stories.

Nom blah blah blah - PHIZ KALIFA

Tedious waste of time. You seem to be just throwing stuff out there, wanting to tell a completely different kind of story and it’s just a dump of space-action adventure tropes creating no real desire in me to want to keep track of all the various elements you are coming up with.

Zelazney’s Lord of Light did the gods are actually High-Tech thing, and still managed to make it epic and mythic. This just drags the whole concept down to the level of third-rate boys own adventure comics. Yawn.

Some of this might have been forgivable if any of your characters had motivations or sensibilities that were more than paper-thin. But they didn’t, so DM for you.

Shem the time thief - wangless wonder

I found this a terribly confusing story - you definitely need to work your clarity here. things happen and then appear to link up with other things later but the connections are hard to fathom - Shem’s father’s stone now has a temple around it that Shem built? Why? How did shem discover the wonder of his mind and what is that all about?

There’s a story here between the lines of how Shem became the Thief of time during his moments on the cliff , but you forgo that, and have him reappear as an arbitrary god doing rather arbitrary stuff, but the whys are confused. Men hated immortality but now Shem is pissed that we don’t have it any more? I just don’t get the point. Possibly breaking up your paragraphs would help. Why does the world need more smart men? Didn’t Dent save his ungrateful life a whole lot? Your intentions here are unclear and that doesn’t make for a satisfying story.

I do get that ‘the wheel turns’ indicates that the nature of things is cyclic, but this is entirely orthogonal to the point of the story, which is Shem. The two things either needed to be tied together better, or the wheel aspect dropped and Shem focussed on.

Similarly, raging against death is an ok motivation, but Shem doesn’t really face any obstacles in his quest for a different state, per se, so the story is lacking on that front as well.

Patience - Benny Profane

I liked the story and the fact that it had a consistent message the the story reflected. I don’t think silverfish eat wood so unless the library was glued together, or all the books had glossy paper, the factual accuracy of it might have left a little to be desired, but you could easily replace it with an imaginary super-termite and no harm would be done.

Yala doesn’t do much except has faith, and presumably the people in the library had some means of getting food there, so the people leaving seemed a tad over-dramatic and whould probably have happened over a considerable period of time, which is a flaw in an otherwise good story. But the words were clear, I had a fair idea of who everyone was, and the twistish elements made sense so nice job there.

I know not - LOU BEGAS MOUSTACHE

Here was another one where I didn’t really have any problems with the word of the story, but the ending let it down. As soon as Censiron says he only sees through the lens of every human life, then the ending is a dead giveaway and the twist isn’t particularly twisty.

Plus there’s the implication that one doesn’t know what one is going to say before one says it, which is a bit of a cop out - a sick, dying person, struggling to get the words out, probably has time to compose internally. I dunno, it didn’t quite ring true for me.

On the other hand, I liked your picture of Censiron, and the creatures you populated your world with - the shadowbeast stuck within the confines of a trees shade was a fun, creative beast.


Buried and Sunken - A classy ghost

This here is what I have heard referred to as an idiot plot - a plot that only succeeds because the protagonist is an idiot. After going through all that, dealing with gods and monsters, Tirm decides that he’ll throw away his revenge for a bag of mud. Hmmm. What an idiot.

The ending is kind of meh. And the adventures, while adventurous, lacked some of the poetry of other efforts. I’m guessing the moral of your story here is ‘be grateful for what you have’ but if that was the case, Tirm would never have gone off in the first place.

The middle portions of the story hang together a bit better - I like the god letting him pass because his threats amuse her and she knows he can’t carry them out. A lot of people pickedup on using the waters as a ‘rule of three’ type barrier and here it makes sense. Shame about that end, though.


Broenheim - Time heals all wounds

You do not have to mention characters by name, every time they do something. Other pronouns, such as him and her, do exist.

Not a bad story, someone learning to let it go has been a popular theme of late, but it really could do with a bunch of tightening up. For example, you could start the prologue with “yes, yes I’m”, end it at ‘save for the breathing’ and not lose anything really. Once again, though, your protagonist doesn’t really display much agency - they’re led to understanding by the gods, but if you wanted to take this in a mythic direction, a la the prompt, you’d use all the words you save trimming the gently caress out of this piece to describe how Catherine fights against this knowledge, probably to tragic circumstances. The gods as Self-Help book lacks a certain elan


Djeser - a night in the gods city

A novel conceit - the calling cards of communicating with the gods - couldn’t save this slight story from being a disappointment. I’m not clear on what exactly happened - had she been dreaming? Did Aloha save her for some not exactly specified reason? I just don’t know. Because if this was a ‘she woke up and it was all a dream’ story I am going to be so pissed with you! Can't really comment any more as a lot depends on what actually happened, but for now, I had difficulty following what actually happened shall be the whole of the crit.


Mercedes - Rock a baby

Now here’s a weird one - a myth with a serious, if perverse sense of social justice. I mean, our protag literally gets away with murder. Admittedly he feels that he has prevented the murder of an innocent, but people acting weird immediately after giving birth should be taken with a grain of salt, at least for a little while. So that was a disturbing direction for the story to take and I’m not super happy about it. The juxtaposition of the dudebro guitar god and the subject matter didn’t gel particularly well, and the ending, where miracle baby shreds metal on a violin came of as a bit glib and pat.

I have to applaud the attempt to do something a little off the beaten path, but some of the actual mechanics of it left me feeling a bit squicked, to be honest.

Benny the snake - how felix cheated winter

So, Benny, I think you’re not so much going from strength to strength as weak to to not-so-weak. But here you had a broadly coherent story, and even an arc, so I didn’t want to gouge my eyes out at the end.

I didn’t fully understand the rules of the game - I get that they call the die roll as odd or even, but it seems they won one round each - so why did they worry about cheating at that point? The stakes are never mentioned, so we don’t know what winning means for the winner or loser, which robs it of much of its tension.

The southern california bit comes out of nowhere and doesn’t feel earned. If you want it to be a surprise, you might want to throw in a few clues so we get more of a sense of place.

I also would get confused between who was a speaking, Winter or North: North chuckled gruffly as Winter flicked his die onto the ice. "I call it odd," he said as it flew it the air. - who is doing the speaking here? North seems kinda uppity for a wolf - his actions and speech need to be separated from Winter’s



Grizzled Patriarch - The Thing Beneath the waves

I loved this one very much - a thing of beauty, so close to the win. I loved the image of volun’s lip being pierced by a fingernail, all it was missing was the touch of humanity that Ironic Twists had


newtestleper - When Gods Forget

Another very good one. I don’t think I ever figured out who the ‘I’ in the story was. I figured it’s Dulne but that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in context. It did take a bit of close reading to figure out who the characters were as things progresses - but all the information you need is there. It’s always a risk to have prose so tight that its hard to distinguish characters - I still don’t know who Abi is in relation to anything else which made it hard to picture her.

Ironic twist - Out of Reach

Ok - to call a spade a spade, this wasn’t the best written piece of the week, (Gizzled PAtriarch can take that honour) but for some reason it was first in Jeza’s list of recommendations and when I looked at my list to compare, which I marked anonymously, I found that I had given it my highest score.

As an exercise in mythicness, I’d come back to the stories after I’d read all of them and seen which ones I could remember best. Some I just recalled that I hated, some came to me in parts, but this story had an almost cinematic quality to it that I remembered instantly. The gods had character - Yuan as the neglected best friend, An as the weird looking white manta-girl, Mendora as the jealous moon (Ok - put like that it sounds like a crappy anime, but wevs). And then the end, where the gods of the story are listed, positionally, almost as if in a frieze or a tapestry - that image stuck with me - in fact still sticks with me as I write this a week alter. The fact that it also had the Just So qualities of true myth about the tides and how they can claim men just sealed the deal. It had the grain of truth that I had been looking for, and that image, the gods surrounding a man, sometimes helping, sometimes hindering, sometimes suffering in neglect won it the throne. Nice work Ironic Twist.


KAISHAI - Nemetes game

I didn’t quite get the rules of the game in this one either. Namete gets six out of seven and then has as many tries as he likes to get the seventh. That game sounds a little dumb. And the ending - I have no idea why Nemete forfeits - but I feel like there’s a game of chess being played above my head and I can only see the underside of the board. Clearly, when he forfeits, he sets in motion things that mean he will get what he wants anyway, but any explanation I can see requires Ah to be in collusion and I just can’t get that to work in my head. Perhaps I am teh dumb.

Anyhow - lovely words, but I think you might have outsmarted yourself with your own cleverness here, a little.


Capntastic - the throne and the monkey

You tried to shoehorn every single god in here, and the story kind of suffers for it, because you get to a point where you’re just mentioning gods for the sake of it. It’s a fun game, to work in the descriptions of all the gods to an overall plot, but it’s not that much fun for the reader, because they don’t know the tools you’re working with, so it just seems like you’re making stuff up on the fly - except you’re only half doing that because other people have done the making up for you, leaving you only to assign their places in the jigsaw.

That said I managed to make it to the end, there’s a richness to your language that works well in this mode and I certainly didn’t hate it - I just think you were a little misguided in the path you took.

leekster - cry of progress

This was pretty slight as a piece. I really didn’t get a sense of Lidya or Ah from it except as pure avatars of concepts. Lidya is threatened, but takes no steps to remove the threat and safeguard her domain, Ah has no details about the breakthrough or how it will permeate Lidya’s defenses. Candidate for DM because it didn’t really seem to be trying - except for the much more offensive stuff that did worse.

Sebmojo - unrung

See me after class. There will be beer.

Sadistech - Mountain Too Deep


This was a kind of sophomoric look at comparative religion. It’s all dialogue which might work for a radio play but doesn’t make for a very satisfying story unless its phenomenally good, which this isn’t, and making the point that many religions sound batshit crazy to one another or outsiders isn’t a particularly novel twist, nor is tweaking a common dialogue with environmental variations a particularly rich seam of humour.

On the other hand - aside from the annoying tendency to use insults as cleverness (DON’T DO THIS), the dialogue had a sense of realism to it and for a couple of moments I thought sebmojo had dug out some of his old .txt files because he was in danger of missing a deadline again, which is fairly high praise as far as dialogue goes.

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at Mar 3, 2015 around 03:14

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You both have one week from time of this post to pen a pithy story of seven hundred and fifty words exactly, in which chandeliers play an important part.

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at Mar 5, 2015 around 04:26

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Ironic Twist posted:

Question: Which Word Count tool are you using

My finger.

Titles don't count

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Newb alert

For those confused by the recent quoting, the toxx upon failure to submit has only recently arisen. You are not officially obliged to toxx yourself if you fail to submit the previous week but doing so shows skin in the game and lack of being a complete wanker.

If you look at sebmojos record since someone thought of toxx being a thing for non entries he has toxxed himself and lived up to it where appropriate.

Even with crap stories. Skin in the game.

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twistasaurausing by the pool

TWISTASAURUS BRAWL

The Penthouse Suite
750 words

“One more step, darling,” said Rodger. opening paragraph / opening line. There's a hint of the unknown but I'm not grabbed by the entrails.

Valerie took her husband’s hand PAW - be consistent and scurried down into the furnished apartment, where the landlord, Elliott, was waiting, a smile behind his twitching whiskers. You have two subjects in this sentence - get them to fight and see who wins. Scurried is an intersting choice of word here. Could whiskers be misleading?

“Well, here we are,” said Elliott. “Bit of a jaunt to get here, but I’m so pleased to finally show you the finest we have to offer in PentMouse luxury.” He spread his front paws out to his sides. “What are your first impressions? Don’t hold anything back. Be as candid as you can.” PENTMOUSE? Are you pandering? Well done. I remember the stacks of pentmouse I used to find in the woods behind my uncle's shed. They were also candid. And with stuck together pages. But that's not important right now. What's important is that Elliott sounds like a salesperson. Paws means that he definietely of the mouse persuasion which explains scurried. Still - scurrying while paw in paw is an advanced mouse move.

Rodger and Valerie looked around the small circular room. They were surrounded on all sides by frosted glass, separated into six-inch-high panes. Instead of a ceiling, there was only open air, split into quarters by four thick bronze chain-lengths that met in the center and ran straight up to a higher ceiling, made of crown molding. In the room, they could see a couple mats of torn fabric, a few empty spools of thread turned on their sides, and a brown glass bottle that was a millimeter taller than all three of them. Soft piano music echoed through the room’s atmosphere, and bright incandescent lights blazed down from above their heads. I am intrigued by the sizings going on here. A mouse sized glass bottle is a small bottle indeed, but too big for a dollhouse bottle. What could it mean?

“It’s…cozy,” said Rodger, his eyes darting from wall to wall.

“Quite,” said Valerie, brushing her left paw against her whiskers. I know what this means, because mouse. Most people will need perhaps a hint because showing not telling gestures only works if you understand the meanings ofthe gestures.

“Oh, lovely,” said Elliott, clapping his front paws together. “But it’s certainly no hole in the wall, am I right? Here, let me get you something to drink,” he said, Don't use he said here - it's really redundants and combining it with the action makes for a convoluted sentence. Begin another with He grabbed....grabbing a toothpaste-tube cap from under one of the mats of fabric and setting it on the floor.

“Oh, no thank you, we’re fine,” said Rodger.

“No, I insist,” said Elliott as he wrapped his front paws around the large brown bottle and lugged it across the room. “Consider it a—hrnggh—consider it an early housewarming gift.” Having a hard time picturing this. How big is this bottle?

Valerie raised her eyebrows as Elliott unscrewed the bottletop and poured the liquid into the cap, using his whole body to keep it at the right angle. Some of the liquid sloshed onto the glass floor, and the room immediately filled with the suffocating smell of vanilla. OK - so that is a mouse sized bottle. at the same time. WHY IS A BOTTLE OF VANILLA ATOP A CHANDELIER? Elliott set the bottle down and stepped back, breathing heavily. “Phew. No reward without effort, right? Didn’t I say that before, when I was convincing you two to climb down? Go on, take a sip. It’s imported from Madagascar.” He picked up the cap and extended it towards Rodger and Valerie. OK - so I'm not really getting a complelling narrative at this point in the story. Househunters are wanting to rent house. Mouse wants to sell it to them. WHERE IS THE MOUSE ON MOUSE VIOLENCE?

“Madagascar by way of the hotel kitchens?” said Rodger.

Elliott laughed, bent over and slapped his hind leg with his front paw. “Oh, thank whoever’s up there for delivering me tenants with a sense of humor!” he said. “I can tell we’re going to get along just—“ I get that he's overreacting, but he's overreacting to something that doesn't even appear to be a joke, which is odd.

“These lights are really bright,” said Valerie.

“Oh, aren’t they?” said Elliott, grinning.

“No, no, they’re hurting my eyes,” said Valerie. She rubbed her eyes with her left paw. “I think—“

She staggered to the side, reaching out for something to brace herself with. Rodger rushed over to help her.

“Don’t worry,” said Elliott, wringing his paws in front of his chest. “Don’t worry about it. Takes a bit of getting used to, that’s all. By the third month or so, you won’t even notice—“ b[]Ok - a wrinkle in the narrative. The light is too bright! That's thrilling and chilling and not really.[/b]

“I think we’ll be going,” snapped Rodger as he held his wife up, whose eyes were starting to roll back in her head. “Just close your eyes and keep holding onto my tail, dear.” They both made their way back towards the chain holding the room up.

“Wait!” Elliott shouted after them as they climbed. “I have plenty left to show you! Storage space! All eight balconies! You can’t beat the—“

Elliott stood still for a second, listening to the bare chain jingle in the still air. “—view,” he finished.

Elliott picked up the half-empty toothpaste tube cap and drank from it, then made a face as he spat the liquid back into the cup. He strode over to the other side of the room and lifted one of the mats up, revealing a hole in the floor. He poured the liquid out through the hole, mumbling to himself. Why did he offer propective tenants something that tasted like poo poo/

Six stories below the ceiling of the atrium, during the middle of Clair de Lune, the hotel pianist felt a spot of wetness on his forehead. He looked up, half-expecting to see rainclouds In a hotel?, but only saw the hotel’s antique chandeliers, swinging lightly from side to side.

You really don't do enough work here to have a story. If I told you a tale of how I went looking at a house with my partner and we turned it down because it had paint fumes from a nearby factory, that would be a very boring story indeed and you would rightly say 'interesting' and then go and immediately talk to someone else while I cried and resolved never to go to another of your parties you miserable bastard and drank to much and had to be carried home. Nobody wants that. Mice - yes, good. Mice renting a chandelier with potential landlord - yes, quirky, interesting premise. But TWIST- MICE DON"T LIKE IT BECAUSE ITS BRIGHT AND SO THEY< GET THIS< STOP ME< GET THIS>>>>They leave is pretty loving dull.

Lets see what the rexy wrote


Tyrannotwist Brawl

The House on Grove Street
750 words

As far as the playground was concerned, the only thing scarier than Mrs. Hart’s tests was the haunted house at the end of Grove Street. The exact nature of the haunting was up for constant schoolyard debate. Most thought it was either vampires or ghosts but there was a small consensus who swore by witches. Some voted for werewolves. A few people even insisted that Mrs. Hart lived there. As for me, I was ten years old and I didn’t believe in any of that nonsense.

“I don’t believe in monsters,” I said,to who? You just repeated yourself from the previous paragraph, but not told me who you're talking to. kids, obvs, “Because I’m not a stupid little kid.”

But, standing on the front porch of the dilapidated mansion, I didn’t feel near as brave. I silently cursed the laws of the double-dog dare. I tried to look cool, though. to who - who is the audience? How did he try to look cool? Tried to ignore the fact that every haunted house stereotype was screaming: GO HOME YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. THE THREE INVESTIGATORS AND THE HOUSE OF THE SCREAMING STEREOTYPE - there's an inconsistency between being able to recognise the stereotype and yet not ignore it - you could put that down to age, but it undercuts either mood you might be trying to create.Howling wind? Check. Banging shutters? Check. Long, creepy grass? Why is grass creepy? Could it be the fact that it could be concealing a body, or a grave, or is it more that it's drunk at a wedding and leering at someone's niece way too young for it?Check. Strange sounds coming from within the house that could literally be anything? Double check. Doubling down on doubles in this paragraph

I turned back to my friends, safe on their bikes on the other side of the fence, and gave them a thumbs up while I tried not to pee my pants. Oh, look! There's the audience, over the fence.

“Not scary at all!” Said the scary ghost with the face like melting bums, mysteriously appearing beside the unatributed words

The door opened behind me and a voice asked, “What’s not scary?”

I froze. My friends took off screaming. Even though they could see behind me - this better be a scary thing... I may or may not have pee-peed too juvenile - he's already used pee a little.

“What’s not scary?” the voice repeated.

I would have ran, I probably should have ran, but I was a stupid kid and the voice itself wasn’t very spooky. It sounded a lot like my own voice. OMG IT'S HIMELFWhich is a lot creepier in retrospect. Oh, thanks for letting me know subtly right At the time, though, it was just confusing.

“Greetings,” said a little boy in the doorway,“I’m Langley.” TERRIFYINGly not actually himself BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE RAN SCREAMING FOR NO REAL REASON

He looked a lot like me. Same height. Same sandy brown hair. He smiled.Clone ghosts? Time travelling ones? Could be cool.

“Uh. Yo,” I said.

“Mother and Father aren’t home,” he said, “But perchance you would like to come inside and play?” hmm, snobs and toffs aren't that terrifying really

“Uh. Yeah. Sure.”

The decayed foyer was massive. Maybe bigger than my entire house. And you could see where it used to be fancy. There was an old chandelier hanging from the top of the vaulted ceiling. There were two curling, dilapidated staircases reaching towards a second floor. some nice economy of scene setting here.

“You live here?”

“I do,” he said, “Ten, eleven decades, perhaps? I’m not sure.” BUT ITS JUST A BOY! HOW IS HE SO OLD?

The stupid gears in my stupid brain turned slowlystupidly. Meanwhile, Langley pointed to the giant window over the front door.

“You can see the whole town through that window. This house was constructed with the utmost in strategic planning this sentence rings clumsy to my ear. Care to look?”

He placed one hand on a broken banister and motioned with the other for me to join him on the stairs.

“Quick question,” I said, as the gears finally clicked into place, “Are you a ghost?” OR A TERRIFYING CLONE GHOST FROM THE FUTURE WITH PEE UNLEASHING POWERS?

“I… Yes. Yes, I am. I thought we might’ve become friends before I let you in on that little revelation. Didn’t want to frighten you. It’s been a very lonely few years.”

“I bet.” I said, “Okay. Well. Second question: are you going to try and kill me and turn me into a ghost, too?”

He put his hand over his mouth and gasped.

“Of course not!” Phew - I was quite worried about that because of all the intimidating and scary things he hadn't been doing

So I followed him up the stairs, careful to avoid the steps that had already collapsed. He gestured triumphantly towards the window.

“The entire town!”

It was a pretty nice view. Not, like, amazing or anything.

“Quite the sight, eh?” he said.

“Sure.”

“It gets better. Follow me.”

Langley climbed over the railing and leapt towards the chandelier. He caught it easily and nestled himself into one of the rungs. I glanced towards the ground. It seemed a lot more than two stories down. OK - so here'a little bit of tension

“Come on,” he said.

“I don’t know if I can jump that far.”

“I do it all the time!” he said, “Come on. I dare you. I double-dog dare you.” and a call-back!

There it was again. The double-dog dare. And a reminder of the callback for those who can't recall what happened a few hundred words ago

“Fine,” I said.

It couldn’t be that hard, right? With a yell I launched myself towards the chandelier. I celebrated catching hold of it with another yell. A third yell came out as the old ceiling bolts snapped and everything crashed towards the ground.

I coughed and waved dust out of my face and stood up. Nothing hurt. I thought that was fortunate. Then I noticed the pool of blood underneath my feet Needs and actually mangled and crushed body, otehrwise he might just have cut his ankle or something - otherwise the next bit is just insufferably twee.. Langley hugged me.

“Oh, huzzah!” he said, “We are to be the best of friends now!”

Ok - so this one at least had a small bit of tension and an ending where something happened. What it didn't have was a particularly interesting setting or much that was original. Both stories had identifiable and separable characters but Twist had mice who are automatically more characterful and awesomer.

Hmmm - tough call

OR IS IT?

In this brawl, a small child died. Mice were seen fleeing the scene because of how eminently sensible and awesome they are. The ghost of the Ironic Twist haunted the Tyrannosaurus with the knowledge that, even though the Tyrannosaurus won, it was pretty drat close, which each entry being a bit crappy in its own special way.

Victory to the dinosaur.

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I wonder how attachments work.

Only registered members can see post attachments!

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crabrock posted:

I really like this one, do you mind if I use this version instead?



Yes, you may pervert my deathless prose with your machine-aided graphicals.

Should nails be plural with that pic, though?

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Cache Cab posted:

Hello Thunderdome,


My name is Cassius Caab, author of Dr. Scienticius’s Method, which was published in the January 2015 issue of Beyond Science Fiction.

{blah blah blah]

I can write circles around all of you. If you want to respond to this and poo poo on me, don’t bother doing so unless you link me to something you’ve had published. I’m not going to bother arguing with you if you don’t have credentials.

With all that said, I want to put my money where my mouth is, so I’m in for this week!

It's great that you got selected for someone's e-zine, but, let''s be clear, it's not like Beyond Science Fiction actually paid you for your work, seeing as they only started paying authors in April. (now it's five bucks for up 5k words, and 0.001 cents per word after - a couple more issues and it's practically semi-pro!)

So please do put your money where your mouth is and shut the gently caress up..

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In. I have no idea what the prompt is but apparently sebmojo will unleash a terrifying vial of robo-syphilis into the atmosphere unless I enter..

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And his mother says: 'Son, don't suck your thumbs. | Questionable Content by Entenzahn

wordcount:1199

Dingbot

TestUnit77 could almost taste the experience points as it slashed at the giant spider’s abdomen. Strafing sidewise to keep away from the beast’s poison-spitting pedipalps, its blade cut deep, past rough fur and leathery skin, into the softness of the spider’s lung. An excessive amount of ichor sprayed across the dank rock floor.

The spider reared upward, towering over the Unit and screeching its displeasure. Its scarred and bleeding abdomen elongated into the stinging tail of a scorpion. Dripping with venom, the vicious point hung motionless in air, while the tail moved, snake-like, beneath it, searching for the best angle to strike.

TestUnit77 dived at the last possible moment, away from the plunging tip. Rising in battle-stance, daggers drawn, it noted the pointed stinger had become embedded in the cavern rock. Seizing the opportunity, it sawed its largest dagger back and forth until half the tail fell limp onto the ichor-slick rock. The spider came face to face with the Unit just as the severance was complete, and pain was written on each of the beast’s eight black eyes. TestUnit77 picked one at random, and plunged its dagger through into the depths of the arachnid’s brain. The spider went quiet then, collapsing into a much smaller ball, its long legs curling inwards above it.

TestUnit77 felt the exhilerating *Ding* of gained experience, along with the rush of stat increases. But before it could allocate skill points a rainbow of particle effects swirled nearby, heralding the arrival of the Dungeon Master. He materialised in a voluminous cloak, holding a scroll.

“Hey, Unit, nice work on the spider-god,” said the DM. “I think we’ve finally fixed that eyeball-falling-out bug.”

“The problem did not eventuate,” reported TestUnit77. “The fight was completable in 75 seconds using optimal tactical choices. Recommended level of fight: 15th. Hand/eye co-ordination index: eightieth percentile. No clipping glitches noted.

“No bugs for this bug,” said the DM, indicating the rapidly fading corpse.

“The Spider-god is an arachnid, not a bug,” corrected the Test Unit.

The DM stared a moment. “Riiight,” he said eventually, then unwound the scroll in his hands. “Moving on - there’s some undercharging reported in the ‘Damsel, but your next big assignment is a slightly different one. The boffins in robotics have a new toy, and they are very keen try it out. It’s articulated based on our own character doll-system, so there’s nearly a one-to-one mapping between your intentionality matrix and its control system. Your code has been selected to be embedded in it. We’re taking you out of the VisionEngine and into the real world!”

“What will I be testing?”

“Reality, baby. You’ll be testing reality.”

“Please do not refer to me as Baby,” said TestUnit77. “Will there be experience?”

“Nothing but,” promised the vanishing Dungeon Master, as a cloud of silver flecks enveloped him.

***

To TestUnit77, it seemed like one moment it had been swapping the gold from the Spider God’s reward chest with the trollish proprietor of the “Distressed Damsel”, and the next the garish shop interior was replaced with a clean, white and empty room.

The Unit rotated, scanning. There was a large mirror in the southern wall. TestUnit77 detected motion and heat behind the glass, and dropped into its battle-ready stance until the threat level was assessed.

The assessment took a split second, but nothing particularly noticeable happened, so the Unit left battle mode and continued to scan. There was a rectangular object embedded in the western wall, with hinges and a knob. The Unit took three steps toward it and initiated a use action.

Nothing happened.

It fired the action again, and could even see one of its arms reach out, but it didn’t automatically grasp the knob and turn the way it expected. TestUnit77 recorded a failure on a new log file. It noted its arm wasn’t wearing the leather armour that was listed in its inventory, but was instead covered in some kind of plate-mail, so it made a note of that as well.

The door opened and a strangely garbed woman came into the room, looking unaggressive. She didn’t appear to belong to any of the known Cults or Enemy Factions that the Unit was aware of.

“Hey, Unit,” said the woman. “C’est moi - the DM. How are you finding physical incorporation?

TestUnit77 made another note, this time about inconsistent character gender. "Three bugs found so far. No experience gained."

"Hah! Well, we're all super interested in reading your report, but for now were just going to show you around. Ready for the grand tour? Follow me."

The grand tour was five similarly plain rooms. Some had desks with screens on them, showing birds eye views of what TestUnit77 had previously considered the world. One had a range of humanoids all wearing platemail similar to its own, standing in silent rows. The last room was the biggest, filled with people sitting at large tables. As one, they made repetitive noises with their hands.

“This is the cafeteria”, said the DM once the din had died down. “It's like the inn in Stormbrook.”

“A wretched nest of dregs and vileness?”

“Sure, baby, a lot of the time,” she laughed.

"Please do not call me baby. It leads to incorrect reports on dragonlings and other lower level variants.” Noticing the unusually colorful display, the Unit moved over to the buffet and scanned. “What is this? Decoration?"

"No, that's food. It's like, well, it's like health and mana potions. It let's us keep going. You are a bit like a baby, you know - just at the thumb sucking stage, right now. But we’re pretty sure we’ve put the right drives in place to get you to learn all about the world.”

“This one has a graphical glitch,” said the Test Unit pointing at an apple with a dark brown spot. It's metallic fingers brushed the skin, then wriggled, finally grasping the apple and holding it.

Manipulative extensions, thought Test Unit 77. How useful!

*Ding*

A rush of sheer joy flooded TestUnit77 and it was all it could to hold on to the threads of its rationality. The world seemed suffused with a golden glow. The buffet, the rows of cutlery, all gleamed with wisdom. It stared at the apple, turning it in contemplation, until the tiny spider on the other side came into view.

Respawn!

TestUnit77 dropped the apple, and grabbed two knives from the cutlery trays, barely pausing to note the responsiveness of its new digits. It stabbed at the spider, splitting the apple where it had rolled near the feet of the Dungeon Master.

“Jesus, it’s got knives” yelled the DM, leaping backwards.

TestUnit77 saw the figures at the tables rise, and interpreted their threat levels as high. Obviously servants of the Spider-god and it had gained their aggro. With daggers raised it assumed its battle stance and charged.

*Ding*

The first cultist fell in ribbons. The rush was even more intense this time.

*Ding* *Ding*

The DM had been right - there was so much to learn. These Servants were an unpredictable swarm, and their bleeding corpses remained behind to slicken the battlefield. Full testing might require a party.

*Ding* *Ding* *Ding* *Ding* *Ding*

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In. Can't have your loving win total exceeding mine you drat dirty machine.

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quote:

kurona_bright posted:

In!


PRIDE
slicker than poo poo on a greasy pig


How appropriate. kurona_bright is long pig covered in santorum.

It's a good thing 2 out of 3 judges will rate my story better than that filth or i will be forced to crit 5 of k_b's stories in an oeuvre crit of at least 1000 words

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Wordcount: 1169

Prompts: Pride, the smartest man in the penal battalion, and something about antlers I stole but didn't mention because that's for plebs.

Just so

Now, moppet. Your mother is gone this night and so it falls to me to tell you a story.

Yes please, Father! But not another one with bad monsters in it - they scare me. Can I have one with good monsters? And Kings and Queens?

Of course you can, sweetness. Now settle down...


A strange war raged in the Argent Lands. A thousand thousand of our brethren had fallen to the Scourge, and every sign foretold that we would be next. Above us, the very clouds attacked, lashing us with rain, hail and deadly strikes of lightning. We huddled beneath what cover we had - a makeshift tent on a bloodsoaked plain - where the remaining leaders talked of the losses of the recent past, and the futility of the future.

Arksink spoke first, an elderly Ogre who wore the antlered crown of the Ogrish Kingdom after the peaceful passing of his father a century ago. “The Scourge routes us,” he said. “We pick up trees and hillocks, throw them hard, but no joy. Trees carved by our forefathers - the burial mounds of our ancestors. Gone, for nothing. Our last family pushes forward, but I hold no hope for them.”

Gnashlash the Troll Queen, beautiful yet nearly broken in her bloodstained green lace, added her thoughts. “The scourge is an unknowable weapon, barely visible, and incomprehensible. A weapon that can cut and leave troll flesh irreparable. Many sisters-warriors are dead, far from the slime pits of their re-birth, and may not regenerate again. I weep for the mothers and daughters lost, but must ask - how are they accomplishing this?” She turned to Worlack of the Flesh Magisterium and asked “In all your researches, have you learned anything of the Scourge?”

Worlack spat on the ground three times, each time a different coloured blob of phlegm crawled away. “I have never heard of such a thing,” he said. “I have read all the books that remain unburnt as the scourge destroys our libraries. Yet I have found nothing that might aid us in our hour of need. Except…” Here Worlack paused as, outside, lightning flashed and thunder rolled.

Arksink and Gnashlash looked at him expectantly. But there were no more words, only screams. Worlack, whose flesh magicks had saved cities worth of injured souls, disintegrated in agony.

“The Flesh Mages are lost,” said Arksink. “And our people are not strategists. Gnashlash, we have fought long, sister and brother together, side by side, but our martial skills are wanting here. Let’s meet the Scourge drunk at least. Servant, bring booze!”

From the shadows of the tent, I stepped forward, carrying a giant amphora. I filled the proffered tankards that the two leaders had unclipped from their ready positions at their belts.

Arksink swigged his, belched enormously and demanded more. Gnashlash sipped hers with one troll finger extended. After the second mug was warming his brain, Arksink turned his attention to the creature who had served him.

“Servant? I do not recognise your face. Who are you?” He nodded at Gnashlash, the weight of his antlers and two strong drinks tipping his head forward. “You know him?”

“Not one of mine,” said Gnashlash, pushing a tine away. She took another sip, then took a longer look at the slave. “Who are you, slave? To which battalion are you attached?”

With my free hand, I saluted. “I am Nackle, if it please your leaderships. Of the Penal Battalion.”

“Ha - the Goblin bastards and their friends,” she said.

He was right, in a way. The Glorious Goblin Legion had first created the Battalion, but, in truth, we had representatives from all, including those taken by the Scourge. The goblins had needed somewhere to put their malcontents and criminals, to go first across fields seeded with Galzac’s Subterranean Incendiary Beetles, to clear the diseased and the dead, and to head the line in hopeless battles. Also to serve drinks. I refreshed their glasses.

“What was your crime, Servant?” asked Gnashlash.

“Ideas above my station,” I said. “Ideas are frowned upon in the Goblin Legions. As the Goblin Emperor said, ‘If a problem won’t go away by throwing Goblin Legionnaires at it, it is not a problem worth bothering with. That seemed...short-sighted to me.”

Arksink paused a moment. “Goblins were first to be taken by the Scourge. How did you survive?”

“That I cannot answer, sirs. But all my battalion are here, the Trolls, Ogres and Goblins. We have within our ranks Flesh Mages and…”

Lightning struck. Thunder boomed. Arksink vanished in a shower of sparks and a whiff of brimstone. Only his antlers were left behind.

“The Ogres are lost,” said Gnashlash sadly, to herself more than me. “There is only Us. Tell me, one with ideas above your station, what would you do now if you were me - last queen of the Argent Lands?”

I placed the amphora down and moved closer. She inclined her head toward me. I withdrew my dagger. “I’d die,” I said quietly, slipping it through her eyeball into her brainstem, where the Flesh Mages of the Penal Battalion had shown me on the carcass of a sister-mother. She toppled over into an inelegant heap. There would be no slime-pit renewal for her. I grabbed the antlers in one hand and headed outside, not even waiting for the thunder to stop echoing as the Scourge took her. Passing the flap of the tent I stood outside in the streaming rain. Around me were my brothers and sisters, Ogre, Troll, Flesh Mage and Goblin. The few, the proud, the still alive. As one they called my name - louder and louder like the drumming of infinite. I revelled in the sound

All around them were the sparkling, shining, burning, gloriously radiant shards of the Scourge.

I raised my arms for silence, as the rain fell. In time I spoke.

“My family. Our work is finished. We claim what was promised atop the bodies of those who spat on us, who treated us as chattels and chained us for daring to think for ourselves. Our lives are our own now. We, who have always known better, have the opportunity to prove it.

My name was roaring in my ears once again. I placed the antlers on my head and felt them graft onto my skull, a moment of burning, excruciating, wonderful pain.

The scourge rolled back, toward the borders of the Argent Lands, as our Flesh Mages had promised. Its secrets - torn from their own bodies, consumed by our Ogrish brothers and revitalised by our Trollish sister’s essence - were ours to command with Goblin wit until we finally wished it gone.

It was done.

And so is my story.

Father, the antlers in the story. Are they like yours?

Yes, Moppet. The very same, in fact.

And will they be mine one day? Like the Ogres in the story?

Not if I see you coming, sweetness. Not if you’re as careless as your mother.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


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Grimey Drawer

Spin

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
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Grimey Drawer

Sitting Here posted:


Fumblemouse posted:

How appropriate. kurona_bright is long pig covered in santorum.

It's a good thing 2 out of 3 judges will rate my story better than that filth or i will be forced to crit 5 of k_b's stories in an oeuvre crit of at least 1000 words



yes blood more blood all the blood

I approve of this arrangement.

According to the cyborg's number crunch thing:

Newt ranked Kurona_bright above me in score
Sebmojo ranked us the same in score but me above k_b in ranking
You, Blood Queen, gave us both the same very low score. But you must have hated one of us more.

(and in your dark heat of hearts, it was Kurona_bright, wasn't it?)

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


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Sitting Here posted:

eh, the mouse wins by the skin of his tail.

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSsssss!!!

I always felt that what the ThunderDome needed was more readings of my work in "whiny baby voices". And now we take the first step to achieving that purest of dreams.

Get on right that, K_b.



Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at Aug 26, 2015 around 00:35

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


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Grimey Drawer

kurona_bright posted:

Better start recording, then.

(Any particular story you want to hear, Fumblemouse?)

Surprise me. And do voices, too!

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


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wordcount: 1340ish

Thirsty

“It’s beautiful, baby, thank you,” slurred Annika as Toby slipped the bracelet onto her wrist. Its silver links glittered in the candlelight - a sparkling constellation against the darkness of the restaurant’s black tablecloth. “And this … design?” She touched the seven-pointed star engraved in the face of the bracelet’s central disc. “Devilishly exotic! You’re too kind.” She grabbed the second bottle of champagne from the center of the table and sloshed its contents recklessly into the two waiting flutes. “But I’m so thirsty! Here, let’s toast your exquisite taste.” Barely waiting for him to touch his glass to hers, she downed the clear, bubbly liquid in a single swallow.

Which was the last she remembered of that evening.

***

Annika awoke with a sandpaper mouth and a relentless, throbbing headache. The clock radio beside her bed played an obscenely chirpy tune in its tinny, monophonic manner. She slammed her fist down like a hammer somewhere near the sound, but only succeeded in nudging the station dial elsewhere. Curling up into a fetal ball, she screwed up her eyes against the already bright morning light and listened to the static-infused news.

Economic ruin in Europe threatened the livelihoods of millions of people she had never met and didn’t care about. Milk prices were too high, in rude disregard of the government’s expectations of them being too low. A cab driver had been killed in his own cab. News every hour, more news on the hour at midday.

Annika's eyes flicked open. Eleven o’clock? Already? Well, crap!

She bounded out of bed and almost buckled under a wave of nausea. Leaning her forehead against the cool wall, she swallowed several times to quiet her heaving stomach. Christ, so thirsty - I need water, stat. Can’t face work yet. Maybe some greasies from the local takeaway but, first, water.

Six glasses of the city’s finest fluoridated later, her mouth still felt like she’d been licking a mud hut for a week but the throbbing in her head had subsided to a single, deep bass drum. She staggered about her bedroom, throwing together an outfit out of discarded items, pausing only to admire her new bracelet. It looked older in the daylight, maybe even a little tarnished. But still beautiful. That Toby - such a darling.

Mostly dressed, but still mobile-less, she used the landline to dial her phone, and aurally triangulated its location underneath her bed. Just how drunk was I? She flicked to the phone log, usually a good way to retrace her steps after a hard night out. There were several calls and texts from Toby, from when she had initially failed to find the romantically hidden-away restaurant, an outgoing to call to Tungsten Taxis, and five messages from work, all subtle variations on the “where the bloody hell are you?” theme.

She hooked her high heels to her feet, grabbed her fake Gucci handbag and an extraordinarily large pair of sunglasses and sped out the front door as fast as she could totter. The bus stop was just past the takeaways, and the faint waft of greasy meats tickled her nostrils. She swallowed several times. I am actually salivating. It won’t hurt to have a look inside. I’m already completely late.

“You look like poo poo, Miss Annika,” said Jerry, jumping down from the countertop where he had been busy not preparing for the lunchtime rush. “Hard night?”

“Shhh,” said Annika, quietly. “Just give me something rare and greasy ... and a soda, Q-blast or something. I have never been so thirsty in my life!" She handed him a vague amount of money.

“Nice bracelet,” said Jerry, admiring her wrist. “You hear about that cab driver? Happened just round the corner. They say he was completely drained of blood. Freaky poo poo, no?”

***

Annika’s headache was somehow even worse by the time the lift opened up on the sixth floor of the Hellagar building. Every person she passed seemed to make it worse, adding their heartbeats to its relentless rhythm as staccato bursts of pain. She hid behind her sunnies and slunk into her office.

Jeez, does the A.C always have to be so dry in here? She moved to the tiny window, one of the few that was able to be opened on this floor, and duly opened it - allowing the smoggy breeze to coolly caress her face. She took a sip from the bottle of Q-blast she carried, then another, and another until she had finished the bottle. Beneath her, sirens blared. Looking down, an endless stream of cop cars, plus at least one ambulance, sped past the pulled-over traffic.

She crossed to her desk, and turned on the radio. It was set to the news talk-back station she’d used to demonstrate to an underling exactly how stupid the general public really were.

“This just in,” said the radio. “A bloodless bloodbath at Jerry’s Burger Bowl. Police have cordoned off an area of Hathaway street after what early reports have called a replica of last night’s Tungsten Taxi Terror. Concerned members of the public have posted photos on social media and it’s not looking pretty there, folks. I hope the ambulance brings enough plastic bags. Here’s the weird thing - there was no blood anywhere, just...bits. Check out our website for details.”

Annika sat for a moment, unsure of whether to be shocked or not. She decided she should be, and, shocked, flicked through her phone contacts until she reached Toby. Good old Toby. He’ll know what to do - he’ll say ‘don’t be a goose’ or ‘what the hell are are you on about?’

Toby’s phone rang until Toby’s answerphone answered. “Dammit, Toby,” she barked into her mobile. “I don’t have time for this not-answering-the-phone poo poo. Call me.”

Talking loudly made her hangover throb. She grabbed some aspirin from her desk and headed for the Ladies’ Room. The wall-to-wall mirror showed she’d gotten some kind of sauce all over her chin and down her blouse. drat burgers! She wet a paper towel and dabbed at the stain fruitlessly for a while. Then she turned on the tap, swallowed the aspirin and stuck her head under it like a child at a drinking fountain.

She heard the door open, and glanced up at the mirror’s reflection but there was no-one there. She continued guzzling water.

“Excuse me,” said a sultry baritone from immediately behind her. Annika spun round, and almost jumped out of her skin at the tall, caped gentleman smiling from too far inside her personal space. “I believe you have something of mine.”

“Jeez, you scared me,” she said. “What the hell are you doing here - this isn’t a unisex bathroom. The Men's is across the hall.” She tried to move past him, but he reached out and snatched her forearm. Her bracelet shone beneath the fluorescent bulbs.

“The bracelet of Von Augann. I feared it lost, but it has returned to the world. I have followed its trail, your trail, since it re-emerged, and I will have it back.”

“You’ve been following me? Oh my God - The taxi driver? Jerry? You sick bastard! Hey, hands off, my boyfriend gave that to me.”

The man’s voice became stern. “Von Augann’s jewelry is not for mortals. It creates thirsts that the living cannot quench, that their minds cannot encompass.” Still with her wrist in his improbably strong hand, he moved to rip the bracelet from her.

***

Annika’s phone rang and Toby’s picture flashed on its screen.

She picked up. “Toby! Finally. You will not believe the day I’m having. Look - sod work. Let’s play some hooky, wag, whatever you want to call it. Yes, let’s, Toby. Looking forward to it. Loving the bracelet, by the way. Well worth whatever you paid. Hey, I’m dying for a drink. Meet up at Perdillo’s? We can toast your exquisite taste once more.”

She stepped over the desiccated husk of something that lay on bathroom floor. Jeez, what a mess. Those cleaners need a rocket up them.


weird vampire fiction

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


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Grimey Drawer

The last mINute of the eleventh hour.

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Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


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wordcount: 1219

Necropolis Now

The Necropolis has three entrances; gates of stone, of air and of fire. The gate of stone, where the common people enter, is tall and black and wreathed with twisting curlicues. Sharp as coral, they catch and tear the flesh of any who try to clamber over it before their time.

There is a line outside the gate, winding back into the horizon. In the warm air those who wait hear echoes of echoes of caterwauls and eulogies. They ignore them, standing patiently in line until it is their time to step beyond the gate to and see what lies beyond.

The stone gate opens to them in time, as it must, as it always has. It opens to Suzie the teacher, her crushed face quietly pleading for assistance, who died beneath a building when the earth shook beneath them both. It opens them to Alison the scientist, with her lips of palest blue, who drowned when the boat she sailed to take water samples got caught in an unexpected storm. It opens them to Chris the singer, small and imperfectly formed, after a bad batch of morphine killed him before his cystic fibrosis could.

The doors open and the gatekeepers greet them and check their true names against the lists in the Scrolls of Welcome. Their names are always found for the gatekeepers’ routines are dependable as bone. Places are assigned within the catacombs and sepulchres that comprise the many buildings of the Necropolis. Silently, the dead assume their final positions of repose.

But today there is noise, noise and confusion. Today a gatekeeper has greeted someone not on his list. The ancient protocols are consulted, the ranking gatekeepers confer, and it is agreed that the charge must be taken to the Gate of Air. The job is given to Kelz, the gatekeeper who welcomed her. Their fates might be linked, surmise the others, as the Necropolis is a well organised place and such an unheard of event could not arise purely by chance.

Away from all this discussion, she gazes in awe at the polished ivory walls of the Necropolis, the sepulchres of bone, and the layered towers of bleached white stone. She watches with wide eyes as the ordinary folk are sent to their resting places within the walls of the Necropolis. She remembers.

Kelz takes her by her hand and leads her by the secret ways between the gates that only the gatekeepers know. She loses her sense of up and down, and the moon is hidden from her. In time they reach the topmost tower of the necropolis, where the scavenger birds and other psychopomps bring the heroes of the age to rest.

The gate of air is not truly a gate at all. There is no road leading up to it from the vastness of the necropolis below, its visitors are few and far between. They are the warriors who died in unselfish battle. They are the splendid who gave their own lives to gift life to others. They are the makers of history.

The necropolis welcomes them as it must, as it always has. It opens to James, who took the grenade for this brothers in arms, to Silvia, who starved so her children might eat, to Tania, who risked her soul to deliver women the childess life they chose.

The gatekeepers welcome them and take their names. Places are assigned. Silently, the dead lie back upon the cliffside ridges, given the gift of the heavens to contemplate in eternity.

Kelz approaches the gatekeepers here, hand in hand with the small girl who looks in fascination at the starry sky that surrounds her on all sides. He lets go her hand and she makes her way to the edge, peering over the side, feeling the dizzying vertigo. She sees the horizon below her and turns to stare at the heroes of the tower, who lie staring at the infinite. These, too, she remembers.

Kelz confers quietly with his compatriots, and she hears their sharp intake of breath at the situation. Looking over one shoulder, she sees them refer to their own Scrolls of Welcome, and hears them hiss in disappointment as they, too, fail to find her name.

Kelz approaches her once more, reaching out to take her hand. He tells her they must travel again, to the third and final gate - the gate of fire. Kelz speaks kindly, but she can tell that there is something else behind his words. What she cannot tell if it is merely frustration, or the covering of fear. Again they walk the secret ways of the Gatekeepers, and again she cannot tell where the path leads, nor the direction they have come from.

Beneath the loam of the graves, beneath the rocks of the earth, beneath the bones of the continent, the third gate lies in the fiery caverns of the Necropolis. The heat is almost unbearable but the girl does not sweat. Kelz explains to her that this is not a gate that is seen by mortal eyes - but that even gods must die in time. Lost to glory, lost to memory, the gods that pass through the gate of fire return their elements to the center of the world. In time, some part will find its way into worship once more - gods may die, but the emotions of humans, the wisdom and and the war, will find their way into the world, refined by the fires of the third gate.

The gatekeepers here are uncertain at their presence. They have not had anyone call at their gate for many generations. The gods of the world are entrenched now - kept alive by history, memory, and tradition, by the lasting word that man has brought into the world. Kelz speaks softly, to calm their fears, while the girl watches the molten core of the world. She has never seen anything so beautiful in her short life life. She will never forget this sight.

But here, too, there is no record of the child, her name is absent from their Scrolls of Welcome. Kelz sits beside her, and she sees a tear come into his eyes. She reaches out and brushes it away, as the walls of the caverns begin to shudder and quake.

The towers of polished stone begin to crumble. The catacombs of bone begin to twist and grind. The gate of stone begins to crumble, and those still in line race away from the tumbling Necropolis. The psychopomps desert the gate of air in drives, a tho

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