Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«141 »
  • Locked thread
sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

The autismal flerpings of yesteryear brawl

Prompt: "There never was a golden age"

750 words, due 12 March 2359 PST, toxx up

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


sebmojo posted:

The autismal flerpings of yesteryear brawl

Prompt: "There never was a golden age"

750 words, due 12 March 2359 PST, toxx up

spectres of autism
Feb 12, 2011

~it's like people say we're all gonna die
but me it's different i'm not trying to be alive~




sebmojo posted:

The autismal flerpings of yesteryear brawl

Prompt: "There never was a golden age"

750 words, due 12 March 2359 PST, toxx up

spectres of autism
Feb 12, 2011

~it's like people say we're all gonna die
but me it's different i'm not trying to be alive~




double postin

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


selghskdjahk;asdgjknrasg

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


-

sparksbloom fucked around with this message at Jan 1, 2017 around 23:33

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


1094 words

A Talk With the Dead Over a Glass of Cold Water

flerp fucked around with this message at Mar 16, 2016 around 05:06

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


Out.

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008


For Want of Pulp

Word Count: 1,194

Iktsuarpok (The frustration of waiting for someone to show up.)

"Do you want to talk about it?"

Brigid nodded, and the sorceress laid her end of the petrified knight down at her feet. She didn't actually feel like talking. However this particular adventurer was heavy, and she was glad for a chance to rest. Her advisor, Devin, did the same, setting the knight's stony boots on the ground with a dull thud. There was silence between the two as the orc looked expectantly at his queen.

"You don't actually want to talk about it," he said finally.

"No," Brigid said with a frown upon her tightly pursed lips.

"Do you think this is healthy?"

"For me? Sure." Brigid kicked the statue at their feet and giggled. "I think it's a lot harder on him."

Devin worked his jaw in frustration, his teeth audibly grinding. "Your Majesty, I'm serious. This is becoming a problem."

"A woman is allowed to have hobbies, Devin." Brigid spat his name out and brought her hands to her hips imperiously.

Devin gestured to the courtyard around them. It was filled with dozens of petrified adventurers, each one frozen in a moment of grand defiance. "We are running out of courtyards!"

Brigid Harrumphed in reply.

"The guards are getting restless just letting them walk into your chambers."

Brigid rolled her eyes.

"The peasants are starting to talk about your rule!"

Brigid shrugged.

"For god's sake, I'm worried, Brigid! A prince is not going to wander into your chambers and try and redeem you. They're not going to come in looking for your head and leave with you in their arms. Life isn't a fairytale!"

Brigid curled her lip. "Well, it should be! If anyone should be allowed a fairytale romance it should be the actual living, breathing fey sorceress!"

Devin rubbed at his brow and sat down on a bench being held up by two stout dwarves, their faces forever frozen in expressions of pure bewilderment. "Yes, yes, you are very powerful, we know that. Just, look, hear me out on this." Devin sighed. He needed to think of a new angle to go at this.

Brigid took a deep breath before nodding to him. "Fine, fine."

Devin's face lit up, his eyes widening as inspiration struck him. "Well, don't you think this is a bit beneath you? I mean, you didn't wait around for a kingdom to fall in your lap, right? You won it with blood and conquest."

"Yeah, I did," Brigid said as her scowl gave way to a grin.

"So why wait for the perfect man to walk up to you? Shouldn't you take charge of this? Go out and find someone." Yes, this would work for Devin. He could probably work out some arrangements with the lesser kingdoms for suitors under threat of invasion, or convince Bridgid to have the strongest in the land fight over her. At the very least it would buy him time to convince her to settle down.

Brigid's face lit up as the gears turned over in her head. "Yeah." She rose to her feet and smiled. "Why should I just wait for them to come to me!" She threw her head back and cackled.

"Great, I'll send some envoys to—"

Brigid was already gone, the lithe woman quickly dashed out of the courtyard as her laughter filled the palace.

"I'll just leave this statue here, then!"

***

Brigid took her friend's advice to heart, and absconded that very night from her kingdom. She took on a whole new form, and passed herself off as a roguish adventurer in lands to the south of her domain. It didn't take long for her to make a new name for herself, and she soon found her way into a group of reasonably famous adventures.

"Oi, Brigid. How's about another round?"

Brigid liked to keep her newfound friends liquored up. It made it easy to distract her compatriots with one hand while slinging powerful magic with the other. It would only be temporary, after all. There was one particular comrade she had eyes for, Raulyn, a dashing dark haired human with all the right features: Armor, a powerful steed, and glimmering shield. He even jousted!

The inn they stayed in on that particular night was modest and homely, a lonely building on a remote road. Brigid happily fetched more ale for the group as she imagined how she would one day soon reveal her true nature to her beloved knight, and take him home to her waiting kingdom to be her consort!

Her daydream was shattered by shouts and screams. Half a dozen well armed orcs pushed their way into the inn. She was dumbfounded. Orcs never came this far south, not after she unified them into her realm.

"Alright everyone. We don't need any trouble!" The lead orc spoke with a measured and sophisticated air. "Just keep your hands off any weapons and we'll take your purses and leave."

Brigid knew that voice! She knew that Orc! She set her drinks down and strode past the startled patrons and towards the raiders. "Devin!" she said with a shout. "What are you doing here?"

Devin didn't recognize the woman's face, but he knew that tone. "Br—Majesty? Why are — Where have you been!?"

"I have been trying to make this—" She gestured towards the knight Raulyn. His expression was one of utmost confusion tempered only by a few too many ales. "—work out!"

Devin shook his head. "You can't just leave a kingdom behind to — Oh no, this is not what I meant at all by taking charge!"

"Yeah, well, I did, so what of it!" Brigid stomped her foot and shook a finger at Devin, but before she could continue she felt a sharp pain in her side. The innkeeper was not in the same stupor as the patrons. The portly woman had taken the situation into her own hands, and driven a dagger deep into Brigid.

"Foul sorceress wench," The keeper said, cursing Brigid's name. "You're the black queen of the orcs, aren't you?"

Brigid didn't dignify the woman with a response. A clap of thunder filled the inn as she turned and obliterated the keeper in a fit of rage. She yanked the dagger out of her side and cast it to the ground next to the woman's still smoldering corpse. Raulyn was there, and his eyes met Brigid's. He cast his eyes from her to the corpse, and drew his sword.

"Raulyn, please," Brigid said, her voice a whisper. She winced and raised her hands defensively. The tip of Raulyn's sword wavered in the air, before it clattered to the ground. His face was a haunting mix of fear and disgust. He ran, as did everyone else in the tavern. Watching him flee her hurt more than even the dagger wound in her side. Everything after that was a blur. She burned the inn down after ordering the orcs to pilfer what the fleeing patrons left behind. Devin bandaged her as they watched the ruddy flames reach up into the night sky.

"Do you want to ta—"

"Hell no!" Brigid scowled at him, before breaking into tears.

Guiness13
Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

All That Remained Were Ashes 1,181 words

Wabi-Sabi (Accepting the cycle of growth and decay.)

The world had burned and Death strode among the ruins.

Ash fell like snow, whipped horizontal by the wind. Death held the collar of his sweatshirt tight around his neck. His pale skin was streaked grey. The shattered remains of a building stood ahead. A massive drift of ash piled along one wall, and the roof had partially caved in. Death approached an open door and peered inside.

A woman sat cross-legged on bare tile along the far wall. Her skin was covered with grime, and her cheekbones protruded from her thin face. A babe suckled at her breast, and a young boy lay curled next to her, his head resting in her lap. The boy’s face shone with sweat, and he shook with rough coughs. She clutched the babe tighter when she saw him.

“You are Eve?” Death’s voice grated like grinding stones.

She nodded.

“Do you know who I am?”

She shook the boy awake and handed him the infant. Then she rose, using the wall for balance.

“What is it you want?” she said.

Death glanced at the boy.

“No.” Eve took a step forward, in front of the boy and infant. “You cannot have him.”

Death stepped inside and shook the soot from his dark hair. Dull light filtered through the haze from the gaping hole in the ceiling. The room was bare but for a pile of ash. Death bent and picked up a handful and held it out toward her.

“His lungs are filled with this. Is this what you want for him?” He let it sift through his fingers. His eyes were locked on hers.

Eve shook her head, but her eyes dropped to the floor. “He grows stronger everyday.”

The boy looked from Eve to Death with wide eyes.

“Momma? Who is he?” His lungs spasmed with a wet, ragged sound that cut through the muffled quiet.

“He is no one, Jacob. Mind your sister.”

The boy rocked the infant, but stared up at Death. Death smiled back. He sat down in the ash and gestured for Eve to join him. Her eyes narrowed, but she took two steps closer, to the edge of the cleared tiles, and sat.

“Is this where you offer to play a game?” she said. Death barked a laugh and shook his head.

“No. That is a thing of myth.” He pointed to the boy and asked her, “Do you believe I have the capacity to be wrong?”

Eve opened her mouth and paused, her eyes flicking down, losing focus. She frowned and shook her head.

“Then why fight it? He will suffer otherwise.”

A fit of violent coughing from Jacob punctuated the thought. The babe fussed in his arms, and he rocked back and forth, sucking in shallow, wheezing breaths. Death waved a hand at the boy and raised his eyebrows.

“When he was born, I had a vision.” Eve’s voice was soft, and she stared at the ash. “Through the pain, I saw his coming would change the world.”

Death shook his head. “Not in the way you want.”

Her eyes whipped up. “What?”

Death looked away, his pale skin flushing light pink. “No. I should not have said that.”

Eve sprang forward on hands and knees, crawling through the ash.

“You must. You must tell me!”

“It is his time. You cannot change that. If you convinced me otherwise he would only worsen, shrivel, turn into a living corpse. Is that what you want?”

She reached out and grabbed the collar of Death’s sweater and pulled him close. Cold rolled off him and her fingers burned like she gripped ice. She hissed in a breath, but held on.

“You will tell me,” she said through gritted teeth.

Death reached up and gently took her wrists and pulled them away from him. The fingers were bright red through the smeared ash. He tsk’d and shook his head. Then he let out a long sigh, staring up at the thin gruel of light coming through the ceiling.

“He will bring about a world without death.”

Eve’s back straightened and a grin split her face, straining her cracked lips.

“So, that’s it, is it? You want him to die so you can live?” She rose to her knees and leaned over Death. “That is not going to happen!”

“You mistake me. The last thing I want is for him to die. His death will crush you. You will follow within the week. Without you...” He shook his head. “You three are the last. When I take you, I will cease to have purpose.”

Eve stared down at Death with her lips drawn back over her teeth. She turned to look back at Jacob and his sister. The girl she hadn’t named. A tear ran down through the ash on her face and dropped from her chin, a dingy grey orb of moisture, absorbed as soon as it hit the ground. The boy’s mouth twisted into a weak smile. Flecks of pink stained his teeth. His eyes were sunken, the flesh around them grey and wrinkled like an old man’s. Eve sobbed, and clapped a hand over her mouth to hold back the wail before it burst from her and filled the empty, ash-filled silence. She turned back to Death and grabbed his hands.

“Then why?” she said. “Why do it at all?”

Death looked up and met her eyes.

“It is his time. And yours. And the girl’s.” He paused. “And mine.”

She looked back at her children. “Can you give us an hour?”

Death rose and strode out into the wind.

#

Death found the three of them huddled against the far wall when he returned. Eve held both children close and watched him come without stirring. He knelt before her, his hands clasped, and he lowered his head.

“It is time,” he said.

She nodded, and squeezed Jacob close. Death reached out and caressed the boy’s brow. Jacob’s eyes rolled back, and he sucked in a deep breath. When it whispered out, he did not take another.

Death rose and turned to leave.

“Wait.” Eve’s voice was small, now. She shook, like all the heat had gone out of her. “You said another week. Can you not just do it now? Both of us?”

Death knelt again, his hands resting on his knees. He frowned.

“It is not yet time.”

“Does that really matter?” Eve said.

Death shook his head. He rubbed his thumb over the infant’s eyes. The girl shuddered and lay still. Then he put his hand on Eve’s cheek. He leaned close and kissed each of her eyelids. When he pulled back, she was gone.

He left them, still huddled together along the wall, and walked into the storm. He wandered miles in the shapeless ashen world, a grey shape shuffling against the wind.

Death found a steep hill and clambered to the summit. He sat watching the far horizon. Waiting. Hoping that the clouds would break and let the light of the sun shine down on him one last time before the end,.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



E: scrub'dd

Ironic Twist fucked around with this message at Dec 31, 2016 around 17:43

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

Prompt: "Won" -- The reluctance on a person’s part to let go of an illusion


Wild Bears Do Not Smoke
1200 words

--see archive--

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Jan 2, 2017 around 15:05

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


edited out.

newtestleper fucked around with this message at Jan 7, 2017 around 10:36

hotsoupdinner
Apr 12, 2007
eat up

Mamihlapinatapei (A wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who yearn to initiate something but are reluctant to start.)

A Tree -1046 words

I’ve been experiencing vertigo for a couple weeks now. Ever since the funeral. Actually, I’m not really sure if vertigo is the right term. I feel dizziness, but I also feel like I’m weighted to the ground. Like I’m in an elevator that accelerates too quickly or on a ship that is cresting a wave. In fact, that’s exactly what it reminds me of. When I was a kid my grandpa brought me for a ride on his catamaran once before he died. I was very young and I don’t remember much. What I remember most is that alternating sensation of becoming heavier and lighter as the boat rocked. As a kid I felt like feeling heavier was me becoming more real and feeling lighter was me becoming less real.

A tree grew in the middle of my bedroom last night. When I went to bed there was nothing there, but the tree was just here when I woke up. I stare at it for twelve minutes before one time I blink and then it’s gone.

I don’t call anyone to ask them what to do. Those avenues are closed to me now. I just get dressed and ride the train to work.

At work I get dizzy. My feet get heavy. I can even feel the cartilage in my knees compress as they’re weighed down. I smell salt air. There is no salt air here to smell. I live in a tangle of cement miles from any ocean.

“Tie it down,” Grandfather says. I grip the weathered rope in my hands and the knots come naturally to me even after all these years.

I look up to show Grandfather the knot and the tree is there -- right in the middle of the catamaran. It’s heavy with fruit and swaying in a light breeze. Grandfather doesn’t see me. He plucks a piece of fruit. I call out his name.

Then he’s gone. The tree is gone. I turn about on the catamaran and see the sun set on the water. I remember that this was the last time I saw Grandfather alive. Then I’m back in my office.

I tell my boss I’m sick. He doesn’t question it.

I go through the door to my apartment, but it is not my apartment. It’s my old dorm room. I’m thrown off for a moment, but only a moment. Muscle memory takes over. The me that lived here rises and takes control of my body. Caitlyn sits on my desk. Not the Caitlyn at the end, with the paper-thin skin and the fragile voice. This is Caitlyn at nineteen, the woman with the fire in her eyes. This is the woman who told me to move mountains and I did. She grins at me and I melt.

I remember this moment. It was first time I told her that I love her.

“I love you,” I say, but my words are like water.

She frowns. She looks at me like I have just ruined a perfect moment.

“I love you,” I say again. Caitlyn fades from view.

And I know I have ruined a perfect moment.

I walk through the dorm room door into Caitlyn’s hospital room. She sits at the window and has somehow managed to wedge it open slightly. I feel a warm breeze. She notices me and holds her hand out for mine. Her arm is tiny, shrunken. The shape of her body lost in her hospital gown.

A thought rises in my mind, unbidden. The next time I see her after this moment is at the funeral.

I reach for her hand. A look of panic crosses her face.

“No,” she says in her fragile voice. “Please no.” Hearing her speak again breaks my heart.

The world goes black. Gone is the hospital room. Gone is the sound of an ambulance carried by the breeze. Gone is the sensation of cracked hospital linoleum beneath my feet.

I am alone.

Almost.

The tree is with me.

It creaks and groans and bends in a wind I cannot feel. I stumble towards it, desperate for answers. No matter how much I walk, I never draw closer to the tree.

I walk for hours.

I walk until blisters form and break on my feet.

I walk until I am so parched that my lips crack and bleed. But still I come no closer to the tree. I don’t know what would happen if I reached it. I only know that I never will.

I cry. But I have no tears to cry. Silent sobs wrack my body.

Please.

I just want to hold her again.

Please.

I don’t need to hold her. I just want to speak to her again.

Please.

I only want to see her once more.

Finally the last of the moisture in my body is called forth as a tear. It stings and I blink it away.

When I blink the tree is gone.

I blink again and I’m in my real apartment. The one Caitlyn and I shared for the last few years. The one we moved into because it was closer to her doctors and the hospital. The one in which I woke up this morning, which feels like a thousand years ago.

The blisters are gone. My lips are no longer cracked. My head no longer aches. I reach up and touch my cheek, no longer wet with my tears.

The door to the bedroom opens and Caitlyn emerges.

This isn’t Caitlyn at nineteen. Nor is this Caitlyn at the end. I can’t place this Caitlyn.

She puts her finger to her lips. She walks over until we are separated by only a foot. She looks into my eyes.

A tree of possibility blooms in my mind. Every moment Caitlyn and I have shared or could share spreads across my axons. Every child we could have had, every house we could have built, every night we could have cradled up next to each other. I can tell she sees the same thing too.

I long to reach out to her, but I don’t. If I do, the spell will be broken. I do not reach out. I dare not. We stare at each other and live out our entire lives.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.




The Kindness of Strangers
(1,180 words)
Tingo (Gradually stealing your neighbor's possessions by borrowing and not returning them.)


*snip*

Archive Link: http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?...ss+of+Strangers

Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at Mar 15, 2016 around 06:01

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

The Unlikeliness of Two Identical Snowflakes
914 words

I used to cross out each day on my wall calendar with a fat, red marker. Back when each day still felt unique, when it felt like was biding my time. Now it isn’t even turned to the right month. If I was waiting for something to change, I forgot what it was.

“Yes ma’am, it is very cold out today,” I say to the lady on the other end of the line. I roll my eyes. The older ones always want to talk to you like you’re their friend. Outside my window is a blur of white as the blizzard rages. It doesn’t matter. What’s another foot of snow when you can’t see over the embankments anyway? “What issue can I help you with today?”

She prattles off her problem: something about her son who bought her the computer got her the wrong kind of mouse, because she wanted one with a ball and hers only had a laser.

It’s going to go on for a while like this. I stand up and grab my watering can, continuing to listen to her through my wireless headset. Everybody’s desk is the same: gray but for the white notes tacked up to the carpeted cubicle. Nobody sticks around long enough to make it their own. Nobody except me.

“...and it had three buttons, even though I told him I wanted the mouse with one button…”

“uh uh…” I have a habit of nodding even though I know she can’t see me.

My daffodil is just starting to sprout. It doesn’t know it’s still winter, because they have the heat up so high in this building. I envy its ignorance. It feels like it’s been snowing forever. I look out my window into the blizzard.

My eyes wander, and I see a woman standing in the building across from ours. I don’t think much about it, but then our eyes met through the snow storm. I freeze. Her dark hair stands out through white flurry, and she smiles at me.

The line goes dead, and the office, normally loud with ringing phones and chattering techs is suddenly quiet. Outside my window the snow slows to a stop. It hangs there, riding a current upwards at the same rate as gravity pulls it down.

She holds up her own watering can and waves. I can see a tiny sprig of green next to her in the otherwise empty office windows.

I look down at my own can, now empty. I’ve drowned my poor daffodil, and water drips from the window sill onto the floor.

I hurriedly set my watering can down and sit back at my computer. Normally the auto-redial would have kicked in. I mash the manual redial button on my screen, but our computer system is ironically frozen. I peek above my window sill and the girl through the glass is still watching me through suspended snowflakes.

A better man would take an early lunch, take the elevator down to the lobby, march through the blizzard to the next building, take the elevator up to her office, and introduce himself. I sink into my chair. People don’t do that. They don’t introduce themselves to strangers. Every day I see a dozen women through glass with who I’d like to converse. Through my windshield: a gorgeous redhead on the sidewalk walking her dog as I drive past. Through a storefront window: a sad college student eating alone at a table for two. But people don’t don’t say hi to random women. Not people like me.

I sneak another look through my window, and she’s also back at her desk tapping on her computer monitor. The blizzard must have knocked out everybody’s systems. She swivels in her chair and looks back at me, and again our eyes lock.

It’d be easier if she would come over here. Our office is laid out very intuitively, and it’d be easy for her to find my desk. I have no idea what byzantine setup they have over there. Chances are I wouldn’t be able to find her anyway.

I want to tear myself away, and go track down somebody that can tell me when we’ll be back online, but her smile is addictive. I even find the corners of my own lips drifting up. I stand up to get a better look at her. She does the same, and even though we are separated by glass, snow, and distance, it feels like we are in the same room.

I wish I was the kind of guy who could burst through her office door, sweep her into my arms, and kiss her. In my fantastical reverie, my own lips part slightly. Water from my window sill drips on my shoe, but I can’t tear myself away from her eyes.

She leans against her desk and twirls her hair.

I press my hands up against the glass.

We smile at each other. It feels like forever, and it feels like we just met. The butterflies in my stomach have baby caterpillars of their own, who grow into their own butterflies, and still my heart races.

She looks down at her plant, and I look at mine, swimming in its pot-contained puddle. I decide that when it grows and blooms, I will pluck it and bring it over to her. Until then, I am content just to see her through the floating snowflakes and wait for Spring.

Bird Tyrant
Apr 21, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Time is Nothing

891 words

The waves of Agate Bay roll far above me and tiny beams of light bounce in every direction. Time is nothing, and so I exist with you, under the waves, for an unmeasured interval. When I’m awake, there is no light, not like this anyway. I am alone, harsh wind blowing away my cries for help, so that no noise comes out at all. I haven’t been able to more than a few stuttering words, absent emotion, for months. But under the waves, there is no need for a voice.

The water in my dream gives way to real ice water, poured slowly over my face. Daddy looms above me, administering misery with a smile. Around my tenth birthday, Daddy got drunk and said I was old enough to know that because Mommy is so mean to him he can sometimes be mean to me too. I’m old enough to take it, he reasoned, I’m old enough to understand why it’s happening so it won’t really hurt my feelings, and I’d heal. Scars here and there on my body and two badly set fingers testify to Daddy’s warning from years ago. Mommy is just as bad to me as she is to Daddy, but Daddy doesn’t notice or doesn’t want to notice. I never wanted to hurt anyone else, or even myself to pass the time until I felt better. Time is nothing, but spreading around your pain isn’t.

I have no reason to be awake, it’s a Saturday morning, but Daddy is bored and he wants someone to torment. Daddy, I hiss in my head. Daddy and Mommy get their nice names because that is the only way I am allowed to refer to them, despite the fact that I’m going to be fourteen next month. Even in my head it’s how I must think about them. If I don’t say it in my head, then it accidentally comes out wrong when I’m stammering a few painful words to one of them. Mommy cries and screams and then she chooses another medicine to add to my daily routine. She tricks strangers into thinking she’s a willing martyr to my endless medical needs, and this disguise has helped her get me 2 psychiatrists, 2 therapists, 2 pediatricians, and several specialists for her to play with. Throw in a chiropractor, naturopath, or acupuncturist, depending on what’s in style at the moment. She is at every appointment, speaking every word for the poor silent girl.

At home, I am handed over 20 pills per day, from sleep medication to anti-anxiety medication to Vitamin C, and if I swallow everything like a good girl Mommy doesn’t make me sick. In a few years I’ll learn about Munchausen’s by proxy, and I’ll connect the pets and the relatives who took sick or who died mysteriously after spending time with Mommy. Time is nothing, but our body’s experience of it is unfortunately linear in only one direction, so I couldn’t go back and save anyone.

I think it was Mommy’s concoctions of psychotropic medications, and herbal and mineral megadoses that opened me up to you and taught me that time is nothing. Like some lovely witch Mommy tried to create a potion to enslave me, but it freed a tiny part of me instead. I was four years old when you were able to start talking with me and I began to remember you and Agate Bay.

A couple weeks ago Mommy was watching a particularly graphic torture scene on one of her shows and her TV went all static-y and began changing channels. I hate torture scenes. She couldn’t get the TV back to her channel until the scene was over, and she concluded that there must be an angry spirit in the house. This is after your shadow showed up on the wall in the midst of Mommy’s weekly screaming spell and her pile of family medical bills blew all over the floor.

She brought in some self-proclaimed psychic friend-of-a-friend who arrived on a Tuesday evening after dark. I came downstairs to watch the performance, and he spoke briefly and quietly to me before Daddy angrily dismissed me to my room for interrupting Mommy’s session. The man told me about Agate Bay and he told me you loved me. You tell me often that you love me when we’re under the waves, but it was odd having it confirmed by a nervous old man who labeled himself a psychic. Despite what the man told me, he denied the presence of spirits to my parents, and Mommy pouted for a few days. At the end of the week, she dropped several bags of organic dog food on the man’s doorstep as a barter for the session. Not long afterwards, the man’s beloved dog died in its sleep.

Daddy is almost to the end of the glass of ice water, and my face, arms, and bedding are all soaked. I did not try to get away, there’s be no point in prolonging the torment. I am almost fourteen and they’ve tried to steal my voice and aren’t done torturing me yet. It will be four more years until I can own myself once again. I will be slowed by my scars and but I’ll find Agate Bay and I’ll find you too, because time is nothing.

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007


Missive Radioukacz Defined traditionally as a telegraphist for the resistance movement on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain:

Jason Elliott and Aaron Ellery had been together since second grade, thanks to the attendance list. One seat over was Claire Ellery, Aaron's fraternal twin.

Their teacher attempted to walk the class through a counting exercise, oblivious or uncaring of the two boys' obvious laughter. They shot wads of saliva-greased paper at each other, then moved onto pencil erasers. Claire watched and smiled.

Their school's territory included a literal set of tracks. It delineated an aerially obvious 'right' and 'wrong' side. Jason's home, to the west, sported a shaky carport and rusting siding. The Ellery twins' estate was hand-hewn marble with a circle drive. Their homes, with some effort, were within running distance of one another. Their town was segregated, and the school was federally-mandated common ground.

One day early into fifth grade, as Jason and Aaron shoved and cussed at one another playfully, Claire'd taught them the word 'poo poo.' From that day, the three were together.

The Ellery twins convinced their father that they'd invested afterschool time in character-building extracurriculars: Aaron's french horn and Claire's cheerleading. He wrote the check, smiling with parental accomplishment and handed it to the school bursar, whistling.

-----------

A few weeks later, Mr. Ellery pulled into the school's parking lot a half-hour before practices had ended in place of his regular driver. His car slowed as he saw Claire without pom-poms, Aaron without a horn, and some filthy boy between them.

He leaned out of the window and yelled, blue-veined and red-faced, at his own children to get in, all while eying Jason. No consideration or fairness, only disgust for the boy, his kin, and his roots.

Mr. Ellery drove out of the lot and rolled up the windows. After a quarter-mile, he barked "No more with that boy and them. None."

His words started sharp and ended in a pinched hiss. The twins were silent for the rest of the ride. Their knees were drawn to their chests while thinking about the welting, raging, screaming night to come.

But children cope.

-----------

Jason and Claire, in response to Mr. Ellery, began passing easily coded scraps. Just after he'd dropped a note to Claire about their English teacher's lip sore, he had passed a note to Aaron:

A is C

Z is B

Ecr Kc?

Aaron broke it down and grinned.

Get Me?

Their notes were passed between desks, during lunch and recess, before, and after school. The three talked, joked, and laughed through those codes. They dared jumps off the swings, laughed at a teacher's armpit stains, and insulted children who had slighted them.

Before Jason hid from the Ellery's driver, Claire had handed him a code. Jason reached the hedgerow just as the sedan reached the circle drive. He opened the missive and read:

'Charlie is a fatty,'

-----------

In spring, they'd had (fraternal) twin assemblies. The boys watched their gym coach yell about just how much their things had changed and would change, sometimes from minute to minute without their control, sometimes at night, and usually in the morning.
Claire and the rest of the girls had watched a filmstrip with an accompanying tape that had overused the word 'labia'. The three had shared the strangeness of the day and swapped new words back and forth. Jason's daily 'bye' to Claire was shaky and sweet.

A week later, they'd ducked gym into the neighborhood next to their school. Claire, while wandering shoulder-to-shoulder with the boys, had knocked a 'no parking' sign clean off of a pole with a chunk of concrete. She squeezed Jason's hand in pure joy. At that moment, Jason Elliott's heart did something shifting, seizing, and soft, warm and weird and wonderful. He had liked the feeling, Claire, and their hands very much.

After school they'd lingered a few minutes longer than they should have. The three chattered as Mr. Ellery's sedan pulled into the school drive. He stepped from the car and glared at the children.Jason spotted him first and scribbled a quick missive. He stuffed it into Claire's waiting hand with a bold smile as Mr. Ellery reached the top of the steps.

Mr. Ellery grasped the twins' collars and hauled them to the car. He opened the back door, threw Aaron in, then took care to hurl Claire with terrible force onto him as a preview of the night to come. He climbed in and drove. Claire, an aching heap in a reckless car, unwadded the paper:

Fcq Y Jyzgy

She decoded it mentally over bumps in the road:

Hes A Labia

Claire hugged herself and shook in warm silent laughter through the pain. She'd felt like Jason had after she'd brought down the 'no parking' sign.

She flicked the note to Aaron, who began to convulse similarly though with less heart and more grunts of suppressed belly-laughs.

Their father was staring at the road until he pulled into the circle drive, leaving the car for the valet. Mr. Ellery hauled his children into the manor and exacted his night.

Mr. Elliott began to pick up his children daily, scanning the parking lot for Jason or the people he'd called Jason's 'kin'. Once satisfied of the school's landing's purity, he'd let the twins into the car.

The three observed this pattern for a week, then timed their chatter. At the end of each meeting, just before Mr. Ellery pulled in and Jason hid, he'd pass a note in their shorthand to Claire. She'd laugh and smile at him with sparkling eyes.

Then, one day, Mr. Ellery sped into the lot while the children were occupied with laughter.

They'd noticed him halfway up the front steps. He grabbed Claire and Aaron by the forearms as a note fluttered from Claire's hand. He stooped, then picked it up. His brow tensed as he eyed the missive. He pocketed it, then wordlessly dragged the twins into the idling car. Jason stared as the sedan pulled away. Their code had been lost and the punishment for a decoded missive were, as they'd learned earlier in class, brutal. Jason ran.

He reached the family house quickly and ran to his parents' room. They weren't home now, nor would they be for hours. He dug into his father's cabinets, found what he was looking for, then turned and ran for the Ellery's home. He reached it in ten minutes, his lungs burning and sides aching.

Jason approached the yard. Claire was absent, while Aaron pushed at an anthill with a black eye. Jason silently motioned him over while scribbling.

"Aaron!" Mr. Ellery bellowed, emerging from their estate's front door. His yell started like a dinner triangle and ended in a snarl as he eyed Jason. He stalked toward the boys as Jason passed a crumpled missive into Aaron's hand then dashed around the hedgerow and watched. peeking on the unfolding scene.

Mr. Ellery had Aaron roughly by the wrist. He read:

AJYGPC!

He flicked apart their cipher.

CLAIRE!

Mr. Ellery's scowl intensified as he stalked toward the house.

Jason stared at the scrap of paper, and scribbled though their cipher was broken. He tied the package, blanked note, hopes, and violence included, to a shard of paving stone and, just as Mr. Ellery hauled Aaron into the home, hurled it through Claire's second-floor window.

He crouched at the curb, looking to Claire's room. She approached the shattered window in slow rhythm with the drumbeat of Mr. Ellery's steel-toed stomps. The children locked eyes, his browns on her blues, as the sound of martiality and Aaron's bellows drifted through the dusk. Claire loosened the package from the stone and mentally transcribed the message:

Byb Qygb Grb Iccn Sq Qydc

She clutched the note and the knife from the package. Mr. Ellery's steps grew louder and closer, coming down the hallway now. Claire knelt, holding the blade in the dark of her room.

Her door crashed open and Mr. Ellery charged in, his back to the girl steeling herself in the room's far corner. Claire clutched the note in one hand, the knife in her other, and leapt.


Edit for formatting from copy/pasting from notepad.

Edit2: Didn't put the word up top.

Carl Killer Miller fucked around with this message at Mar 7, 2016 around 06:25

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED!

Out of 19 submissions we have 13 submissions and 6 fails. So the question is, why do you hate America? Because clearly you must hate America as you wish to continue to inflict your awful writing upon it. This is what TD is for, people! To separate the chad from the wheat. Don't ask me what Chad is doing playing in the wheat, but we're here to get him the heck out!

Judging will be posted... Sometime soonish. Maybe? Tomorrow. Check back tomorrow night.






Edit: TWO sneaked in at the last minute.

ghost crow
Jul 9, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo


Aware “The bittersweetness of a brief and fading moment of transcendent beauty”
789 words

The information bloomed in Hanako’s mind like a flower in spring.

She could no longer feel the coils of machinery attached to her body, could no longer hear the thrum of the ship. She was gone, gone into the expansive nonspace of her mind, whorls of data unfolding like origami against the curve of her skull. The ship’s neural network kicked in and with a lurch her brain seemed to expand into a galaxy, the data resolving itself into white hot points of information, each one a pulsing star of complexity. She was already searching for the patterns needed for the job at hand, her body forgotten in the ecstasy of possibilities…

The thump of her neighbor stirring from bed woke Hanako. For a brief second the stars continued to pulse behind her eyelids, the joy of transcendence still coursing through her body. Then it faded, her mind already reaching and failing to grasp the patterns she had so briefly and sweetly remembered.

Her small one room apartment seemed stifling after dreaming of infinities. Cold gray light filtered into the room, rain drumming against the window. The room was sparse and neat, the only concession to decoration a calendar on her wall.

She got up from her futon and crossed the room to the calendar. A ghost of a smile crossed her face as she saw her cramped handwriting for today’s date, the only thing she had ever written into the calendar.

Frost on a summer day:
all I leave behind is water
that has washed my brush.
-Shutei

Today was finally the day she was going to die.

***

For her last meal Hanako chose the conveyor belt sushi place down the street from the train station. With each bite of her krill imitation tuna roll she felt a thrill at knowing she was closer and closer to her own death.

She had eaten real Bluefin tuna once, raised in a CEO’s private farm, even more expensive than the vat grown stuff. She remembered each bite tasting like eating a bite out of the sea, the feel of real flesh in her teeth.

She looked out the window onto the rainy streets of Tokyo. In the distance she could see an orbital ship launching from the space port. She wondered if there was a patternist on board, feeling the thrill of anticipation as they prepared to leave their body for the beauty of the pattern.

The scar tissue on the back of her neck, the only physical reminder of the damage the virus had done to her, began to tingle.

***
In Japan suicide trends came and went. From what Hanako understood the latest fad involved complex suicide pacts and cult suicide reenactments.

She had chosen a simpler, older option. She stood by the train tracks, thinking about the patterns of the trains, the kind of star of information it created. It seemed fitting that her end should interrupt a pattern, should cause some poor entry level patternist to have to spend time untangling and rearranging around her death.

Hanako took a deep breath and walked off the platform and onto the tracks as the Chuo Express train approached.

***
Red hot pain lanced through her body.

They told her later that it was one of the more sophisticated Chinese viruses they had seen, breaking through the ship’s firewall like a hot knife through butter. All Hanako could recall was a sudden searing red lighting up the inside of her skull, unending agony.

By the time they pulled her off the machinery she had caused several industrial meltdowns in her panic. The virus thoroughly wrecked the neural link, her neck a mess of melted wiring and burns that would turn into scars.

***

There was white everywhere.

“Hanako.”

The white resolved itself, going into focus. Hospital ceiling, hospital lights.

“Hanako.”

Somehow she had survived. She had failed.

“Hanako.”

She turned her head painfully. A strange woman, with the sleek designed face and hard flat muscles of a military figure, high ranking.

Bitterness welled inside of her.

“Go away.” Hanako turned her head back to the white ceiling.

***
Her name was Major Sato and she didn’t leave. In fact she started coming into the hospital every day.

At first Hanako resolved to ignore her, but on the third day the Major brought an antique Go set, black and white stones worn with age.
“Will you play a game of Go with me?” Sato asked.

Hanako wondered who had tipped Sato off about her passion for Go. She thought about calling her out about it but instead lifted a hand and set the first stone.

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


Ghost Crow: You were one minute late. However, seeing as this is my first time judging, and you're first time submitting, and its a message board on the internet... You are in. Let the Archives reflect that his submission was accepted.

Please don't suck!

A Tin Of Beans
Nov 25, 2013



Late but posting for posterity.

Tingo - "To gradually steal all the possessions out of a neighbour's house by borrowing and not returning."
1,190 words

-

Alex doesn’t want to answer the door. She does anyway.

For the third time in two days, Juliette elbows her way in, holding a measuring cup and making a beeline for the kitchen. “Hey, Alex, hope you don’t mind, just need a cup of sugar - totally forgot at the store, you know? For want of a nail; for want of some sugar … you know how it is!”

Alex swipes a hand across her face, then takes a deep breath. “Yeah, of course. What are you making?”

“Oh, just dinner.” Her nose scrunches in a way she probably thinks is endearing. “If I had enough I’d share, but you know.”

“I know,” Alex agrees. Juliette always uses you know how it is as an excuse. Alex lived with her parents until twenty five because she couldn’t afford both rent and food. She can empathize.

“You’re so sweet. You’re my favorite. Craig - you know Craig? Across the hall?” At Alex’s nod, she carries on. “I tried asking him for an egg once, and that was cool, but next time I came by, I was like, ‘hey, can I use your dryer?’ and he said no! Like, I just wanted to use it once, you know?”

Alex and Craig have been dating for a year; Craig knows all about Juliette.

“So anyway, the landlord wants to replace the floorboards in my apartment,” Juliette goes on, oblivious to Alex’s harrowed expression. “And there’s no empty apartments in the building right now or they’d let me crash in one, so like, I can stay on your couch, right? My parents live halfway across the country and -”

“Yeah, fine,” Alex says. “Whatever. gently caress it.”

“Hey.” Finally, for once in her life, Juliette takes pause. “Are, uh, you okay?”

“Yeah.” Alex had to crash on a friend’s couch for three months, once, back in college. They’d been young and stupid and it had worked out okay. Replacing a few floorboards won’t take that long. Karma demands she repay the favor at last. “I’ve got a sleeper sofa. As long as you put it back up when you go to work, then go nuts.”

“You’re so sweet.” Juliette raises the measuring cup in a sad parody of a salute. “I don’t know how I’ll ever make it up to you.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Alex says. In response to her wan attempt at a smile, Juliette beams and all-but prances out the door.

Alex collapses onto the couch, staring up at the ceiling for several minutes. There’s a spot up there that looks like dried blood. It’s been there ever since she moved in. She tried to clean it, once, but when she looks up while standing on a ladder she gets horrible vertigo, so she’d given up.

-

Two weeks later, Alex wakes up to Juliette rifling through her drawers, and screams. “Hey!”

Juliette shrieks, jumping backwards and tripping over a pile of dirty clothes, knocking her head on the floor. “God, don’t yell at me! What’s wrong with you?”

“You’re in my room! It’s - three in the loving morning, too, what the hell?”

Juliette sniffles, sitting up. She crosses her legs, curling forward on herself. “I can’t do my laundry, I can’t get to the rest of my clothes. I just need to borrow something to wear for work.”

“Jesus.” Alex feels like her heart might crack open her ribcage. “You could have asked me instead of sneaking in. gently caress.”

“I didn’t want to bother you.”

Alex squints at her in the darkness. “Are you - is that my necklace?”

“Why would I wear your necklace?”

Alex doesn’t push it. “Look, just get the gently caress out of my room. What were you thinking? Just ask me!”

“I couldn’t sleep, I don’t know. I’m really tired. This sucks, okay? I know I’m annoying you but this really sucks for me, too, and I’m not thinking straight, and just - whatever, I’m going back to bed. Not that I’m going to sleep after you yelling at me.”

It takes Alex two hours to get back to sleep, and she needs to be up by six.

At seven, Juliette makes pancakes.

“Oh, nice.” Alex forks one onto a plate. The peace offering calms her somewhat. “Hey, about last night -”

“You can’t have that,” Juliette snaps.

Alex freezes. “You’re using my poo poo to cook pancakes and I can’t have any?”

“You’ve got that loving … frozen dogshit in the freezer, eat that.”

“The gently caress is wrong with you? Get out,” Alex says. “Find someplace else to stay.”

Juliette starts sobbing. “God, I’m sorry, just - my boss called and left a message and said the place is shutting down and not to bother coming in, and my mom’s sick, and -”

“gently caress, okay, okay,” Alex says. “I’m sorry. That sucks. Look, it’s gonna be okay. You’re fine, you’ll be fine.”

“I’m not fine!”

“Shh.” Alex hugs Juliette reluctantly, patting her back. Juliette slumps forward, sniffling into her shirt. Alex still has her pajamas on, so at least Juliette’s snot and tears aren’t messing up her work clothes. “There, there.”

“Can you - is your office hiring? Even for like a temp.”

“I’ll ask,” Alex says. “Look, I gotta get to work. You enjoy your pancakes. I’ll text you later -”

“Actually. My phone service got cut off -”

“I’ll e-mail you, then. Just get on the wi-fi.”

“Oh, right,” Juliette says. “Still, uh. I’m - can I get a phone on your line? We could do one of those family plans with shared minutes. I’ll hardly use it, I swear. Since I’m going to be looking for work ...”

-

Two months later, Juliette’s already been promoted to the same position it took Alex a year and a half to get. She has the next cube over and has stolen half of the little one-a-day calendar pictures Alex has tacked up in her cube.

She takes Alex’s lunch from the office refrigerator, with an, “Oh, haha, I thought it was mine, since it was in my freezer at home -” and no apology. Alex shrugs it off.

She gets home from work after staying let to help finish up some work Juliette couldn’t figure out. Over the months Juliette commandeers the bedroom; Alex’s things stay there, but the items Juliette has no interest in migrate to the living room, leaving Alex with her own cast-offs. Juliette, apparently, has a back problem. Can’t sleep on the sleeper sofa anymore. Her apartment still isn’t finished. Of course not. Nowhere else for her to stay. Sure. Alex nods - fine, fine, fine to each excuse.

The bedroom is off-limits, but Alex wants an old set of earrings that she hasn’t worn in a month. They’re her boyfriend’s favorites. Craig says they make her look like a pirate, or a queen. She opens the door, hoping Juliette won’t be home.

Juliette, in Alex’s bra, Alex’s jeans, with Alex’s earrings on, curls up against Craig’s side. “God, Alex,” he’s telling Juliette. Her hair hides her face like a shroud. “You’re . When are you going to kick that other girl out of your place, anyway?”

“Soon,” she says.

Alex backs out of the room.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Are you tired of waiting for slow judging? Try all new Recaps!

Hello goons. We've been on a little bit of a recap hiatus, but we're finally getting back in the swing of it. This time, Kaishai, Twist, Djeser, and myself take a look at the DMs, losers, and WTFs of weeks 178 and 179.

Characters! Stories have them. What are they? How do they work? By request, we took a character-based look at this motley group of stories in hopes of find out what worked and didn't work.

The recap

If you'd like to follow along (recommended):

Archive link for week 178: I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed

Archive link for week 179: Strange Logs

Thank you, as always, for listening, and thank you Kaishai for making this neat list:


pre:
Episode								Recappers

Week 156:  LET'S GET hosed UP ON LOVE				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
Week 157:  BOW BEFORE THE BUZZSAW OF PROGRESS			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 158:  LIKE NO ONE EVER WAS					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
Week 159:  SINNERS ORGY						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 160:  Spin the wheel!					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 161:  Negative Exponents					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 36:  Polishing Turds -- A retrospective special!		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 162:  The best of the worst and the worst of the best	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 163:  YOUR STUPID poo poo BELONGS IN A MUSEUM			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 164:  I Shouldn't Have Eaten That Souvlaki			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 165:  Back to School					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 166:  Comings and Goings					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 167:  Black Sunshine					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 168:  She Stole My Wallet and My Heart			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 169:  Thunderdome o' Bedlam				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 170:  Cities & Kaiju					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 171:  The Honorable THUNDERDOME CLXXI			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 172:  Thunderdome Startup					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 173:  Pilgrim's Progress					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 174:  Ladles and Jellyspoons				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 175:  Speels of Magic					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 176:  Florida Man and/or Woman				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 125:  Thunderdome is Coming to Town -- Our sparkly past! 	SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood
Week 177:  Sparkly Mermen 2: Electric Merman Boogaloo		SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


Sitting Here posted:

Are you tired of waiting for slow judging? Try all new Recaps!

Hello goons. We've been on a little bit of a recap hiatus, but we're finally getting back in the swing of it. This time, Kaishai, Twist, Djeser, and myself take a look at the DMs, losers, and WTFs of weeks 178 and 179.

Characters! Stories have them. What are they? How do they work? By request, we took a character-based look at this motley group of stories in hopes of find out what worked and didn't work.

The recap

If you'd like to follow along (recommended):

Archive link for week 178: I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed

Archive link for week 179: Strange Logs

Thank you, as always, for listening, and thank you Kaishai for making this neat list:


pre:
Episode								Recappers

Week 156:  LET'S GET hosed UP ON LOVE				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
Week 157:  BOW BEFORE THE BUZZSAW OF PROGRESS			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 158:  LIKE NO ONE EVER WAS					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
Week 159:  SINNERS ORGY						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 160:  Spin the wheel!					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 161:  Negative Exponents					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 36:  Polishing Turds -- A retrospective special!		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 162:  The best of the worst and the worst of the best	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 163:  YOUR STUPID poo poo BELONGS IN A MUSEUM			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 164:  I Shouldn't Have Eaten That Souvlaki			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 165:  Back to School					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 166:  Comings and Goings					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 167:  Black Sunshine					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 168:  She Stole My Wallet and My Heart			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 169:  Thunderdome o' Bedlam				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 170:  Cities & Kaiju					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 171:  The Honorable THUNDERDOME CLXXI			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 172:  Thunderdome Startup					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 173:  Pilgrim's Progress					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 174:  Ladles and Jellyspoons				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 175:  Speels of Magic					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 176:  Florida Man and/or Woman				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 125:  Thunderdome is Coming to Town -- Our sparkly past! 	SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood
Week 177:  Sparkly Mermen 2: Electric Merman Boogaloo		SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood

These are always so great! Thanks everyone who takes part, but especially sittinghere!

spectres of autism
Feb 12, 2011

~it's like people say we're all gonna die
but me it's different i'm not trying to be alive~




spectres is hungry crit of Moisture-Driven Loss of Brittleness and the Inhibition of Failure Propagation by Benny Profane

so im not especially psychic but ill guess that this lost because it "wasnt a story" or some similar reason. thats kind of wrong though, theres one buried in here somewhere, like a toy in a box of some kind of breakfast food. theres a lot to unpack here but ill give it my best shot.

basically i really identified here with the unasked for advice given by the narrator/focal figure/whatever who is a box of generic cereal. as a kid i was raised on boring rear end cereals and this really hits home. actually there are a bunch of fairly exciting cereals downstairs and i cant bring myself to go eat them at this moment, even though i technically have free will. but basically this kid is trying to eat cereal and gets sledgehammered with a ridiculous amount of suggestions and obligations.

so this didn't work for the judges because it wasnt a story. but i see it as a bold experimental move. in the end it turns out that the narrator was a dude who led a boring miserable life and was reincarnated, or at least identifies heavily as, a boring miserable bowl of cereal. but his kid has his whole life ahead of him. he can eat any cereal he chooses. he can, if he wants, just run out the door and disappear. but instead what he'll probably do is live a slightly different version of his father's life. a slightly better life. gradual change, like in the sopranos.

its hard to crit this as it was a deliberate stylistic choice, but they most def sell lucky charms at costco so ill point that out.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


Is synirc down for other people?

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008


That's a negative, ghost rider.

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005




HERE NOW COMES THE JUDGES OF THE THUNDERDOME!

This week was a hard fought battle, many contestants entered, but only one may ever leave... Let us take a moment to consider the fallen and their noble sacrifice.

Nay, gently caress it, let's just get to the results!

Winner: Agoraphobe
Honorable Mentions: Don't Give Up, Wild Bears, The Kindness of Strangers
Dishonorable Mentions: Aware, For Want of Pulp
Loser: Time is Nothing
Disqualification: Missive

Agoraphobe won despite of its use of second person, which I despise, but the imagery and poetry were so drat nice that it was irresistible. This had all three judges in agreement.

Don't Give Up was cute and endearing. Wild Bears made me smile. And The Kindness of Strangers gets a nodded due to the Tyranny of Tyrants, Judico Rex, me, Titus82.

Aware could have lost, along with For Want of Pulp, but they were out done by the overall shittiness of Time Is Nothing.

And Missive was a hundred words over the limit and thus disqualified.

So... Ironic Twist? I give you the crown.

Siddhartha Glutamate fucked around with this message at Mar 8, 2016 around 20:59

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


WEEK 187 CRITIQUES - PART I

Baby by Rathlord
  • Summary: An unnamed protagonist becomes infatuated with a woman near his local bar. When he tries to approach her, he realizes she is a prostitute and his infatuation is broken.
  • Thoughts: For someone who hasn’t had their writing critiqued since high school, you do a fair job at writing. Your prose is serviceable, if monotonous and cliche. The alliterations, especially in the fourth paragraph, made me roll my eyes and reminds me of something out of sixth grade English class. There’s little variety in sentence structure and almost two-thirds of your sentences begin with the word “He.” Lots of clunky phrases that stink of beginner’s mistakes and several small grammatical errors. It’s not terrible, but it isn’t good either.

    As for the plot, your story is not memorable in a good or bad way. There is, at most, one actual character and an extremely simple central conflict. If your piece were any longer, it would be tedious. With only 636 words, though, it’s on the low end of satisfactory. There’s nothing particularly outlandish or ridiculous. Though you gave me a good sense of your main character’s infatuation, I was left wanting him to be more proactive and better defined. You spend so much of the piece describing the woman that I just wanted your main character to do something or for his background to be explained. Why is he so lonely? Why does he think that approaching this woman is a good idea? I should be able to answer both these questions. You can’t just write things like, “she also reminded him of the life he left behind” and not follow up on it later in the story. As the story stands, he’s just really, really goony and passive, neither of which are qualities I look for in a protagonist.
  • Things to Improve Upon: Please spend more time editing to avoid repetitive sentences and grammatical mistakes. Also, please try to read more books. Many of the problems with your stilted writing style could be easily resolved with more creativity.
  • Ranking: Fourth Quartile
  • Recommended Reading: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Pay attention to how Bulgakov writes his descriptions and establishes his scenes.

Don’t Give Up by sparksbloom
  • Summary: A man buys books to impress a local bookseller. His girlfriend teases him for this habit, and his choices, and promises to help pick the next book Missing the point of the purchases, the girlfriend steals the bookseller’s approval and taints the experience. The two, however, manage to rectify over a book.
  • Thoughts: Your story is instantly gettable without you overtly stating the conflict or resorting to exaggeration, which is one of the best compliments I can give you. You do a really nice job writing your characters. Callie and the narrator have their issues as a couple, but I can see how they might end up together. The bookkeeper is a plot device, but I appreciate your restraint. It would have been easy to fall for the same trap as your narrator, to make her into this idealized figure without the narrator actually knowing her. It would also have been easy to turn Callie into a vindictive or intentionally malicious person who drives her boyfriend to the bookstore. Instead, you are subtle. Callie and her boyfriend have flaws without seeming cartoonish. Were these two characters any weaker, this story would not have worked.

    If I had to give some criticism, I would focus it in two directions. First, your ending is a too cutesy for my tastes, especially with their hands meeting and the line “because this time she’s earned my smile.” It reads like something out of a bad romance novel and seems like a sudden swing in tone after Leah’s hissy fit. I’m not sure I buy Callie and her boyfriend rectifying their relationship, especially after the tension of the story’s first two-thirds. I also wish we had more of a picture of the bookseller. She’s satisfactory as portrayed currently, but I would have liked, at the very least, a rough sketch of her personality or some definition behind her. I get the sense that Leah would have a much less rosy picture of her if he got closer to her and I would have really enjoyed seeing that developed.
  • ]Things to Improve Upon: Make sure your ending jives with the stakes you set. If you have two characters with intimacy issues, then it’s going to take more than a suggestion that they read together to repair their relationship.
  • Ranking: First Quartile
  • Recommended Reading: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, particularly Chapters 1 and 2 for examples of flawed but likeable characters.

A Talk With the Dead Over a Glass of Cold Water by flerp
  • Summary: A woman is visited by a hallucination/ghost of her dad. The two talk and then he disappears…?
  • Thoughts: “Look, I don’t know why I’m here,” he said. Personally, I’m not sure why either. It’s hard to write stories that are just two people talking in a room together. It requires the reader to care about the characters or for the conflict between them to be somewhat interesting. Unfortunately, this story failed on both fronts. I don’t have any sense of the narrator’s personality, except that they might have a history of hallucinations and a tendency to underreact. The father character feels oddly cold and distant, which might have been intended but is no more exciting to read. As for the conflict, I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to get out of it. This piece reads less like a story and more like a vague concept for a scene. There’s no tension between the narrator and I’m not sure what function the visitation is intended to serve. The narrator doesn’t seem to change in any way. No new insight is gained. I guess the narrator gains closure, but I’m not sure why I should care about him and his dead dad. The pacing is like molasses.

    More positively, there’s some nice imagery scattered throughout here. I like your description of the doctor’s visit and the small vignettes of the father’s past life. If nothing else, you do set a somber tone that ties the piece together. I was reminded of my childhood spent sitting in funeral parlors, which is uhhh… at least a fitting mental image.
  • Things to Improve Upon: Characters. Dialogue. If you are going to write about people sitting down and talking, at least make sure they are interesting.
  • Ranking: Third Quartile
  • Recommended Reading: No Exit by Jean-Paul Satre. Pay attention to how the characters interact with one another and how they cope with their damnation. This is a screenplay, but I think the dialogue will give you some ideas.

For Want of Pulp by Killer-of-Lawyers
  • Summary: A witch tries to fill an adventurer-shaped hole in her heart by collecting stone statues. One of her minions tries to convince her that this is an unhealthy habit, for reasons, and she runs off to find love, for reasons. Her attempt is foiled by a wacky coincidence.
  • Thoughts: Well, this story certainly goes places. One minute we’re slogging along an evil queen that is turning people into statues. The next moment we shift into a discussion about the queen’s love life. Then we’re introduced to a party from Dungeons & Dragons. This story certainly makes a lot of jumps, and not all of them are good or necessary because they prevented you from developing your opening scenes. The story comes away feeling scattered, as though you wrote out a bunch of scenes and ideas separately and tried to jam them together at the end. I’m not sure Brigid running off mid-way through the story was necessary, as it forces you to find a contrived reason to reintroduce Devin. I also noticed some minor blocking issues and grammatical errors. I pushed this for this week's loss.

    As far as characters are concerned, I can see that you are going for comedy, but the piece falls short of being clever or witty. It’s got the same problem that almost all “funny” Thunderdome stories have wherein one character plays the exasperated straight man and the other is a ridiculously over-the-top child who misinterprets everything and refuses to listen to reason. Despite seemingly having the most “human” reactions to the setting, Devin really only exists to give your witch a foil to play off of. I don’t have a good sense of him as a character or understand why he’s sticking his neck. The witch's dialogue reads as though a laugh track should be inserted at the end of it, just to make sure the reader knows that she’s being funny and ~~wacky~~. She’s extremely two-dimensional and sit-com-esque. Much like Kimmy Gibbler on Full House, I more annoyed than amused by her antics.

    That said, I like the general concept of an evil witch trying to find love (in all the wrong places). This story miiiiiiight have worked if the witch and her lackey weren’t such stock characters.
  • ]Things to Improve Upon: Humor. Characterization. I detest characters who are wacky for the sake of being wacky.
  • Ranking: Fourth Quartile
  • Recommended Reading: Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett for examples of how to be funny without painting your characters in circus clown make-up.

All That Remained Were Ashes by Guiness13
  • Summary: Death comes to collect a dying child, but is challenged by his mother. Though her attempt to intervene is unsuccessful, Death reveals that the child is among the last people on earth and, after he reaps him, Death will be at an end.
  • Thoughts: Writing Death as a character is a challenge because you’re almost always writing about a lot of doom and gloom and the conclusion is almost always the same. No one ever defeats death. Destruction is inevitable. Memento mori. Though this story manages to avoid some of the worst cliches, I liked the detail about Death wearing a sweatshirt and not being a skeleton, it doesn’t avoid it all together. It’s still another story about Death having to fulfill his “duty” and the other characters being powerless to stop him. There’s no great sense of suspense or anticipation. I know how this story will end by the second paragraph.

    There’s not much of a conflict here either. The mother doesn’t seem to fight very hard to save her child. There’s no great game or challenge. She doesn’t even try to run. Her reactions also seem to be fairly stilted, making it difficult to relate to her in any interesting way. I really wish you would have run with the idea of Death having to choose between fulfilling his job now and being left without a purpose, or ignoring his duty short-term so that humanity might have a chance to thrive again (giving him more people to kill). It would have been an interesting dilemma.
  • ]Things to Improve Upon: Conflict. If you are going to have two characters with contradictory interests, make them fight for what they want. Don’t let one of them roll over the moment a roadblock appears.
  • Ranking: Third Quartile
  • Recommended Reading: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak for a somber, but interesting, portrait of Death.

In the Old Sow Water by newtestleper
  • Summary: A father and his son fish in a flooded artificial lake for part of a tree…?
  • Thoughts: This is the shortest piece this week, but probably one of the most confusing to read. I hate to write this, because it makes me feel dumb, but I had to read paragraphs eight through eleven multiple times to understand that was happening. You don’t do a good job of establishing the scene. I get that they are above a flooded town, but beyond a reference to the Dad planting trees and a mention that “the trees at the bottom didn’t rot,” I have trouble visualizing the surroundings. The piece is waaaaaaaaaaayyyy overwritten. Your descriptions obscure, rather than clarify the scene and I’m left with questions about how things happened as they did. You might have been able to resolve these issues if it were a longer piece but with only 481 words, there’s not much room for clarity. I pushed for this story to get a DM

    You do a good job setting a tone and even though I struggled to understand what was happening, I still got a vague sense of nostalgia that I think you were aiming for. The opening two paragraphs caught my attention and made me want to read onward. Unfortunately, there’s not much more to read. Your submission reads more like a vignette than a short story.
  • ]Things to Improve Upon: Descriptions. Blocking. Make sure your reader has a good understanding of what is happening before you go for big literary descriptions.
  • Ranking: Fourth Quartile
  • Recommended Reading: Big Two-Hearted River by Ernest Hemingway

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



TD WEEK CLXXXVIII: Insomniac Olympics

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhDztJ9UY-c

No, this is not another music week, nor is it another brawling sports week.

This week, your story must:

  • begin no earlier than sunset
  • end no later than dawn
  • take place over the course of one night
    and
  • everyone must be awake.

Sleepless nights. Everyone has them. Last-minute assignments. Drunken benders. Emergency-room visits. Hours where people are only awake because they have to be. Why can’t you sleep?

Hopefully we’ll find out.

Words: 1500
No: nonfic, fanfic, erotica
Signups Deadline: 2359 EST, Friday, March 11
Submissions Deadline: 659 EST, Monday, March 14.

Judges
Ironic Twist
Djeser
TBA

Insomniacs
Grizzled Patriarch
QuoProQuid
Killer-Of-Lawyers
ghost crow
sparksbloom
Bird Tyrant
Guiness13
flerp
Thranguy
anime was right
Sitting Here
Rathlord
spectres of autism
Carl Killer Miller
Julias
J.A.B.C.
Wangsbig
sebmojo
hotsoupdinner
SlipUp
Titus82
FreudianSlippers
Tyrannosaurus

Ironic Twist fucked around with this message at Mar 12, 2016 around 03:59

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.




In

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


In

Killer-of-Lawyers
Apr 22, 2008


In.

ghost crow
Jul 9, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo


In.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In.

Bird Tyrant
Apr 21, 2003

THUNDERDOME LOSER



In.

Guiness13
Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

Thanks for the crit!

Also, for this prompt, I'll be sleeping in.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


in

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

'Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.' -Samuel Johnson

in

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool


in

  • Locked thread
«141 »