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painted bird
Oct 18, 2013

by Lowtax


I'm in, hoping to break my streak of no-shows.

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painted bird
Oct 18, 2013

by Lowtax


I'm in. Generate me a prompt, because Muffin took the one I was gonna take.

painted bird
Oct 18, 2013

by Lowtax


Defiling The Dark Corpses
998 words

Anzu Menelik lies on a table under a paraffin lamp, his head resting on a textbook of spirit-binding. He's a page's thickness away from a doze when the basement door slams open, the patter of his twin's tread almost lost in the heavy beat of his master's. A pungent, unfamiliar smell reaches his nostrils and he gags, his face twisting. He's smelled a great many corpses in the past few years, but nothing like this. It surpasses even the revenants his master raises. He hops off the table, the high heels of his boots clacking on the floor.

"Darlings," he says. "What the blazes have you dug up this time?"

Siris, his twin, grins and winks at him. Master Raimut remains impassive. Slung across his atlassian shoulders is a sack too small to contain the human body Anzu had expected. Anzu stares.

"No, ah, really," Anzu says. "What--"

"You'll see," says Siris. Her grin broadens. "It's bloody amazing." Raimut gives her a sharp look and tosses the sack down onto the table. It splits, revealing a slimy, black-furred flank. The corpse smells worse than wet gangrene, with an undertone that bypasses Anzu's nose and twists his stomach. He gags again and turns away to dry-heave. Raimut snorts.

"Really, Anja?" he drawls. "Man up."

Anzu shudders and looks back at the corpse, not touching it. Whatever it had been, it's mangled, missing half its head. Anzu can only tell for sure that it once had four cloven-hoofed legs. There's an air of wrongness about it that's not quite a real aura but not quite his imagination.

"What is it?" he says, weakly. Siris shrugs.

"We think it was a goat," she says. "Not the important bit. It's, er. A former vessel."

"Vessel," Anzu repeats, with numb lips. He steps away from the table and tears off his fur stole and suit jacket, tossing them back over his shoulder. "Vessel! Why didn't you say so, dearest?"

Raimut crosses his arms, watching the twins with hooded eyes.

"I wanted you to figure it out for yourself," he says. "A little ... challenge, as it were."

Anzu barely hears him - he's rolling up his sleeves and hunting for the sharpest scalpel in the metal tray, hands trembling with excitement. He's never been so close to a formerly-possessed animal that was so marvellously intact. He's never even caught a glimpse of one that wasn't a mess of bloody chunks and scraps of fur. The low spirits ride their victims hard.

He pulls the torn sack off the corpse and drops it under the table. Beside him, Siris leans on the table. Her grin has faded, but there's a sharp, hungry look in her eyes.

"All right, dearest," Anzu breathes, turning the goat onto its back. "I've got this, so you just, ah, bear witness, would you? I'll ... I'll examine it and-- and-- see where the spirit dwelt and--" He pauses to compose himself, resting a hand on the goat's chest. Through the whirlwind of excitement, he realises there might be a paper in this and laughs aloud. Let's see the Academy dismiss him as a profane butcher then!

A faint, almost imperceptible pulse shudders under his fingers. Anzu glances down, frowning, and the goat strikes out at his nose with a hoof. He yelps and jerks backwards, almost falling over. He grabs the edge of the table, head craned away from the goat. The goat's legs spasm, kicking at the air. The remains of its head toss, sending blood and flecks of brain flying. A chunk smacks wetly into Anzu's cheek. The goat's body convulses, thumping against the table.

Either the spirit has not entirely fled the vessel or the goat isn't dead yet. Anzu's not sure which is worse.

He reaches out, hand trembling, and clamps down on the goat's neck, squeezing until he can feel its trachea crack. The goat arches its back, jaw grinding, ears flicking. It rocks its torso back and forth, until it wrenches its neck free from Anzu's hand and falls to the stone floor.

It lands at Raimut's feet, the skin of its belly splitting open. Viscera, blackened and putrefying, spill over his shoes. Raimut wrinkles his nose and takes a step back. The goat shudders and rocks. The stubs of its hooves scrabble for purchase on the floor. As Anzu stands rooted to the ground in shock, the goat hauls itself toward him, jaw chewing.

Anzu shrieks and throws his scalpel at it. The blade nicks its sole eye, bursting it. Vitreous humour sprays everywhere but the goat is unimpeded. Anzu reaches for the heaviest thing nearby - an amputation knife, curved like a farmer's sickle. He brandishes the knife at the goat, preparing to throw it, too. Raimut chuckles.

"What do you think that's going to do?" he says.

Anzu keens in terror. The goat crawls on, its intestines dragging on the floor, leaving a slug's trail of bile. The skin and muscle slough off its side. One of its back legs gently parts ways with its pelvis. The goat stretches its neck, jaw chomping, tongue reaching for Anzu's boot.

"loving bind it or something!" Siris yells, her voice hoarse. "Before it rides you!"

Anzu kicks the goat, sending it skidding across the floor, under the table. He drops to his knees and pushes his thumb against the tip of the amputation knife. The pain shakes him, empties his mind. Teeth grit, he smears a sloppy rune of binding on the floor with his blood. It comes out crooked, but the goat gives one last twitch and falls still. Anzu sticks his injured thumb into his mouth, shaking from adrenaline. The vessel is ruined, he thinks, blankly. There goes the paper.

Raimut grunts and shoves him aside. He picks up what's left of the goat and deposits it onto the table.

"How much," he says, "do you think the Academy will pay for a bound low spirit?"

painted bird
Oct 18, 2013

by Lowtax


gently caress it.

I'm in. If I'm still banned on Sunday, someone else can post the story for me.

painted bird
Oct 18, 2013

by Lowtax


Gimme a flash rule, too.

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painted bird
Oct 18, 2013

by Lowtax


gently caress, I'm so in. Also, please flash me.

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