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Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh
E: scrub'dd

Ironic Twist fucked around with this message at 03:30 on Dec 30, 2016


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
"signs and books will destroy the world after a while. Don't use or have them." (+200 words)

Sign Language
1322 words

Mackenzie Martin wants to ask Walter Bliven to prom, but it’s complicated. Though she’s not aware of it, Mackenzie is little more than a sliver of frequency trembling in the structure of a quantum crystal. Her great grandparents were the last flesh-and-blood humans to exist anywhere, because the universe is dead. What lives on is shadow puppetry inside an inscrutable machine operating in its lowest possible energy state.

The thing about being a simulated teenage girl at the end of the universe is, your world is fragile. It’s malleable. For example, Mackenzie can’t pass Walter Bliven a note saying will you go to prom with me? because then she and Walter would both experience the word ‘you’. To Mackenzie, ‘you’ is Walter, and to Walter, ‘you’ is Mackenzie. The slow-minded puppetmaster AI that controls their world just can’t cope with the contradiction.

Of course, it would never occur to Mackenzie to ask Walter to prom in a note, because she’s never heard of language. Mackenzie was born and raised in a world of pure meaning; when she’s sad, she emotes translucent blue waves of emotion of anyone nearby. When she’s happy, she exudes frollicking piano and pictures of green leaves tinted gold by afternoon sun. But when she’s in class with Walter Bliven, she can’t exude anything except a grey fog.

A simulated high school inside a quantum crystal looks pretty much like any high school from the twenty-first or twenty-second century. There are halls, lockers, classrooms, a gym and a cafeteria. When Mackenzie’s great grandparents copied themselves into the machine, they decided the setting should be from humanity’s pre-interstellar days, when people only knew life on Earth, and liked it that way. Mackenzie’s astronomy class describes a cozy universe where Earth is orbited by a sun and a moon inside a black shell spattered with stars like luminescent cave fungus.

She’s there now, in 2nd period astronomy, watching Walter instead of the rigid, sterile emotes of the teacher. Walter is sitting with his back straight and his eyes forward. Every so often, he emotes a flash of understanding, and is shrouded in beautiful, abstract shapes that swirl around him like runes etched from pure meaning. Mackenzie could watch Walter grasp the basics of universal constants for days.

She’s not the only one. The classroom is populated by fleeting Walter-specters, the fantasies of other girls and guys infatuated with Walter’s good looks and captivating emotes. Mackenzie is sometimes thankful for the fog of grey shyness that hides her attraction; filtering thoughts doesn’t come easily to teenagers. She can’t imagine what it would be like to be so popular and so desired that, wherever you went, you had to see the ghost of yourself acting out first kisses and first dates and who knows what else. She feels a wave of pity for Walter that’s so strong it fills the classroom with the smell of fallen rain on dead grass.

The teacher pauses his lecture to emote concern for Mackenzie. She shakes her head emphatically; she doesn’t trust herself to emote, not with the whole class’s attention on her. Walter turns around in his seat to look at her, one perfect eyebrow raised inquisitively, and Mackenzie disappears completely into her grey fog.

In the break between periods, Mackenzie flees to the farthest, most empty hallway of the school. She’s got to get it together. Walter is in her 3rd period history class, too, and the last thing she needs to make another big scene.

A coppery tendril of curiosity snakes over her shoulder. Mackenzie whirls around, finds Walter looking at her with that same inquisitive eyebrow quirk. He emotes a quick explanation: he thought she seemed upset, so he followed her. His worry is like the smell of baking cookies to Mackenzie, and she’s pretty sure she can die happy now. But the sugary burst of pleasure she emits is quickly snuffed out by the same old grey cloud. She shrugs at him and spreads her hands in a helpless gesture.

Walter takes a tentative step toward her, a look of concentration on his face. He emotes a grey cloud, much like Mackenzie’s, then slowly, gently pulls it aside with his hands.

I want to know you, the gesture says.

And so a new high school power couple is born. It takes Mackenzie a while to get used to the constant barrage of jealousy and curiosity. She’s never been much of a topic of conversation, but now her ghost is everywhere.

It’s prom night, and Mackenzie wraps herself tightly around Walter’s arm. Other students are gleefully fantasizing about her tripping in her high heels or getting into some melodramatic fight with Walter on the dance floor. She tries to rise above it and emote happy things, instead of the venom she feels toward her jealous classmates. Walter is more accustomed to the attention, and does his best to shield them both inside crackling, savory feelings of excitement, and the thick, velvety mist of romance.

Soon, it’s pretty clear their fellow students aren’t going to let the couple have a good time. The dance floor is a spectral nightmare of ghost Mackenzies and ghost Walters, and none of the emotes are kind. Mackenzie’s despair and embarrassment is like a glumly tolling bell, so Walter leads her away from the dance floor, out of the school gym, and into the dark, sleepy halls. They reach a locked door that exudes an artificial emote: Maintenance Only. The feeling from the door is so strong that Mackenzie tugs at Walter’s arm, but he only grins and holds up a key. He doesn’t choose to express how he found the key, just fits it in the lock and opens the door.

A staircase leads them onto the school’s roof. There’s an assortment of rakes, shovels, and paint cans, as well as a stunning view of the town and the black, star-studded shell of the world. Mackenzie and Walter stand there for a while, hand in hand, exulting in each other’s soft, affectionate emotes. Mackenzie’s eyes fall on one of the paint cans. Its lid is askew, like it’s been opened. She sees the glint of wet paint inside, then looks around at the dry permanence of the paint on the school’s exterior.

She wants to commemorate her first love, somehow. If she’d been a flesh and blood girl born on long-dead Earth, she might’ve painted


in some discreet spot on the school roof, like an emblem of love for future couples to find. But she has no concept of symbols-as-meaning. People can project their feelings and thoughts, and some objects can even be imbued with rudimentary emotes, but the silent, ubiquitous AI simply cannot account for the potential contradictions inherent in the written word.

Mackenzie, unlike most other simulated people, is descended from the patterns of the last two humans to ever exist in a physical form. Perhaps she carries some overlooked vestige of their penchant for language. She doesn’t understand why she dips her finger in the paint, doesn’t understand why she kneels down in her dress and draws a complicated mark on the roof. But it feels right. She looks up at Walter, points at the mark, then at herself, as if to say, this is me. I am this.

She gestures that he should do the same, even goes so far as to take his hand and gently help him dip his finger into the paint can. Walter is thrumming with curiosity and confusion, but he doesn’t stop her. She points again at her mark, then herself. She points at Walter’s paint-darkened finger, then taps him on his chest, just above his heart.

Finally, understanding lights up his eyes, and Walter grins as he draws an elaborate series of swirls beside Mackenzie’s symbol. Both stand up and inspect their handiwork. Their fingers twine together, and their joined hands are smeared with paint.

Feb 25, 2014
906 words


lovely story in the ~archives~

flerp fucked around with this message at 05:21 on Jan 12, 2016

Nov 14, 2006

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


Grizzled Patriarch posted:

There is no warning when hitting floating eyes.

Sixto Lezcano posted:

Well poo poo. Too many other things need their asses kicked right now. I have no kicks left for TDome. RIP me

Well in that case, I am yoinking this prompt.

The Fin on the Back is Part of the Deal 369 words.

Chomper the Shark wandered down the hall with his head under his arm. He’d never been able to pee with the head on. It was one thing doing flips or whatever other mascot shenanigans were required of him while squinting through the mouth, but going to the toilet, that was too precarious a situation. He put the head on the ground outside the toilet, then went inside to take care of business.

When he got back outside, the head was gone.

His options were limited. Informing the manager, whose hobbies included ‘giving lectures about how important it was to stay in full costume at all times while in public,’ did not appeal. He’d used the staff toilets, so the culprit had to be someone with access. Probably one of the players; he got no respect from those jerks.

He peered out of the door towards the dugout. Someone in uniform was wearing the head and doing some kind of weird capering. It was not professional mascot type capering, it was clumsy buffoonery. It was an affront to mascot shenanigans.

He sprinted towards the dugout, or ran as fast as you can when you’re wearing comically oversized mascot shoes, and dive tackled the head wearer. Well, it was intended as a dive tackle, but what with the aforementioned clown shoes, it was more like he fell onto him.

Now, when one is attacked by a shark, the best tactic is to attack the eyes. When one is attacking someone wearing a shark head, the best tactic is somewhat similar, but to get to their actual eyes, you have to punch through the teeth. This Chomper now did, raining furious blows down upon the mascot head thief.

Strong hands pulled Chomper off the thief, and a strong fist punched him in the stomach. Chomper tried to explain that the thief had it coming, until the head was removed to revealed the bruised face of the batboy, Timmy.

Which, how was Chomper to know, really? An excuse that didn’t really fly with management, for whom this was the last straw. I tell you, you punch one underage employee and everyone goes crazy.

Apr 12, 2010

Shooting and Fucking
are the same thing!

Blood and Soil
"Crops planted/tended by mad cultists will occasionally be Evil" (+200 words)

A shape moved through the rows of crops like a shadow made flesh. Vaguely human-shaped but oddly crooked and moving in strange irregular spasms.

The shape paused in the middle of the field and extended its wrist before dragging a clawed finger across it seeping thick black blood on the soil below. It resumed the march through the crops with blood dripping behind it. Everywhere the ichor fell the crops withered and died.

A column of smoke flew across the night sky and landed in the field where it began to take the shape of a man. In his hands was a bundle of fennel stalks, tightly bound with a length of rope. "Die vile witch!" he screamed and swung the bundle over his head like a flail. It hit the shape in the face smashing it open, the burst of blood rotting the ground below. The man moved swiftly behind the kneeling shadow and threw the rope around its neck and tightened it.

The shape dug its claws deep into his right hand but the pain only made him tighten the rope even more. The creature attempted to shriek but could only let out a low gurgle. It writhed uselessly against the restraints until went limp and the man let it fall to the ground where it melted. Seeing that his job was finished the man's became wisps and flew backwards over hills and fields into a village where he shot down a chimney and threw himself back into his sleeping body.

The body of Carlo Moduco.

Carlo woke up in bed covered in sweat and bleeding from his hand. His wife had long gotten used to nights of blood and screams but such nights have come much often of late and she was beginning to worry.

"Did I shout much?" Carlo inquired.

"Only 'Die witch!' and then a load of moaning and wincing" his wife answered "If the neighbors were not already dead they would have heard you. With the racket you were making they probably did anyway."


Carlo was born in the caul, a sign of good fortune to some but a bad omen to others. Carlo however was never particularly lucky nor was he unusually unlucky. For the most part his life had been unremarkable. His father was a wheelwright so he became one as well. He got married and had children though none had yet survived infancy. He drank on occasion but in moderation, seldom left his village and went to mass each Sunday.

But on the night of his twentieth birthday destiny called. On the stroke of midnight Carlo was awoken by a thundering blast of trumpets. Above him stood an angel, Carlo was shocked that it did not resemble the angels he had seen in statues or paintings who were simply beautiful humans with wings, this angel had six wings and a thousand eyes upon each. The angel pointed behind him and he turned around to see himself lying on the bed sleeping.

When the angel opened its mouths it's words were a deafening thunderclap "You were born with the caul and are one of the Benandanti. A soldier in the army of the LORD. Upon the ember days you and your brethren must leave behind the common clay of your flesh do battle with the harbingers of famine and disease.".

The angel clapped its hands and Carlo exploded into smoke and flew into the night sky before landing in a forest clearing where he met scores of others like him and was initiated into the order.

Most years the Benandanti only had four battles, one at the start of each season. When they were victorious there was prosperity and plenty. When they failed there was much hunger and suffering. Despite the last battle ending in a victory for the Benandanti famine had fallen upon the land and Carlo had been fighting every night for two weeks and slain a witch every night. He had been but one of five Benandanti in the village but all the rest had fallen during the night battles and he was left alone. There were others in the land and he had even met some with foreign accents but it seemed that the disaster that had befallen his village was also a problem elsewhere as he had not seen any of his distant brethren since the beginning of the season.

The corruption begun with a strange drought. Even when it rained the crops would remain dry as a bone. During the drought the livestock began milking blood and puss.
Not long after some of the crops became unnaturally tainted. They grew twitching tongues and clouded sightless eyes. When harvested blood burst from them as they shrieked and wailed.

Even those crops that looked untainted were not to be trusted as those that ate them soon became gravely ill. First their teeth and hair fell out became feverish and in their delirium became convinced insects had burrowed under their skin. They clawed at themselves constantly and soon became covered in sores that would get infected and begin weeping puss.

Since the crops were not safe the people went hungry. Some boiled leaves and bark, others slaughtered and ate their pet cats and dogs in desperation.


Carlo was at work when there was a sharp knock on the door. Outside stood a dour man with pale skin and sunken eyes clad all in black. "Good day, I am Bartolomeo Mattei of the Roman Inquisition, Might I ask you a few questions?" the voice was as dry as the man himself, "I do not think I will be of much use to you but I am always happy to assist the church in any way I can." Carlo replied.

"This village has been struck by famine and I am told that many are blaming witches and that there are men, calling themselves the Benandanti, who exploit the desperation of the people by promising them salvation from this tragedy. They claim to be able to leave their bodies and fight the witches responsible using sorcery." the inquisitor continued

"I have heard such rumors but I do not put much trust in them." Carlo said, "God alone will deliver us from this hardship.".

"Some of these rumors claim that you are one of these Benandanti." said the inquisitor.

"Would that I could leave this body at will, I would have ascended to heaven long ago. I am sorry father but you have heard wrong." Carlo replied. "But is it not commendable to combat witchcraft, even if some benign sorcery is involved?"

"God is almighty and those who claim to have control over his creation through magic are charlatans at best and lunatics at worst. However all sorcery is a form of heresy and heresy, like all plagues, will spread if not kept in check by fire." the inquisitor smiled but it was not a true smile, the corners of his lips moved upwards but his eyes were unchanged, "Thank you for your time. I shall not delay you any further.".


As Carlo drifted off to sleep he could feel his spirit begin to break loose. He shot up the chimney and out to the countryside. He glided over the land but could feel himself being drawn to a certain spot. On the way he passed A breaking wheel on a high pole, the condemned long ago rotted to bones. He wrenched the wheel of the pole and kept on his journey.

He came to field of dead and dry barely where an entire coven of witches appeared to be gathered around a strange idol made of bone chanting incantations, the ground around the idol was made of pulsating flesh. The idol had an aura of black smoke. The source of the corruption.

Carlo gathered up all the torches he could find and threw them into the field. It caught fire fast and as the burning witches ran out of the field to escape the fire Carlo met them and beat them back into the flames. Flying back and forth between various ends of the field to catch them.

Carlo held the breaking wheel high above his head to smash the skull of a still twitching witch, "I am Carlo Monduco of the Benandanti, we are God's red right hand of vengeance and if you crawl back from the pits of hell know that we will be waiting!" but before he could bring the wheel down his palm ripped open and he could feel himself being pulled back into his body.

He woke up on his bed, it was empty. All around him were armed men, his blood was still dripping from the spear that had pierced his hand. They were laughing. The inquisitor stood at the foot of the bed. This time he smiled with his eyes as well as his mouth.

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

Failing. :toxx: to submit a redemption in the form of poetry by midnight PST a week from today.

Wangless Wonder
May 27, 2009
Play Him Off - 1049 words

"Fixed burning players being unable to see themselves on fire"

Joplin was being good today. She didn’t fidget when I dressed her in the sequined half-tux she performed in, and let me sit her in front of the tiny keyboard with barely a meow. Her paws danced over the keys so naturally I barely had to tug at the fishing line tied around them. I guided them gently with flicks of my wrists, like a conductor.

I heard the door creak open, pursed my lips and stared at my wife through the crack, shaking my head. She gave me the same stare she always did, eyes rolled so hard her eyebrows shot up to meet them. She closed the door, but the damage had been done. Joplin wiggled free of the fishing line with a few shakes of her paws and clawed at the door, meowing. The red “recording” light flashed rhythmically on the camera in front of me. I turned it off with a sigh and left the room.

“Why is there a sign if we’re not going to pay attention to it?” I shouted across the hall. I had made the sign myself, early on. It hung in a plastic sleeve outside my studio door and helped to avoid mishaps like this. “Happy cat means come in, angry cat means stay out!”

“Sam, you haven’t changed that sign in months. It’s always angry cat.”

She didn’t turn around when she said it, the measured strokes of her knife on the cutting board adding tempo to the silence that followed. The pot was smoking and a wonderful smell filled the house. Joplin sat purring near my wife’s feet in a version of polite begging that got her the best results.

“It’s different now, Elle. We’re blowing up on YouTube. I need to up the ante if that’s going to keep happening. No more looping the footage, no more 10-second clips. That’s amateur stuff.”

She skipped a few chops, then continued. Though I could only see her back, I knew she’d be gritting her teeth and probably wishing she had me on that chopping block. No one likes being told they’re wrong.

“Look, no harm done,” I said, giving her a smack on the butt and bending down to take the outfit off Joplin, who was happy to help in the endeavor. “Just respect the sign, next time.”

I tripped over a piece of luggage while heading into our walk-in closet. One of Ellen’s, a tacky thing painted with roses and rainbows and other happy poo poo. It had started off as a perfectly respectable plain black Samsonite bag but something like that wouldn’t last long around Ellen. I picked it up and heaved it onto a low shelf in the closet. The thing was heavy, probably filled with Ellen’s summer clothes, maybe a coat or two from the look of the mostly-bare hangers on her side of the closet.

“Are you doing laundry?” I shouted in the direction of the kitchen. “Can I throw Jop’s suit in with it?” I was going to hang the little outfit up with the others, but I wanted it looking fresh for the next video.

No answer. She was probably still sore about ruining my shoot.

I walked past her to the piano in living room. We bought it shortly after the wedding. It had cost us a fortune, and actually getting the thing into our modest apartment had been nearly impossible. We got our money’s worth, spent the whole night playing for Elle while she laid down on a comforter on our bare floor, the closest thing we had to furniture. She had wanted to kneel on top of the piano like the girl on the cover of the Eddie Mack album, but I wasn’t about to take any risks with our new investment.

I kissed the framed picture of my Pop I kept above the piano and warmed up with some scales. He’s the one that had taught me to play-- taught me why playing was important. Pop liked to make people happy through his music, said everything I played should bring a smile to people’s faces, be something they could tap their feet to. He was a Ragtime man, and so was I. Quite a good one, if you can believe it. Was set up to play for people you’d have to look up, then pick your jaw up off the floor to ask me if I was serious. Ellen’s work had been here, though, and she was the breadwinner.

No big loss. I had Joplin, now.

The sound of porcelain against the piano’s polished surface snapped me out of it. I picked up the bowl, being careful not to slosh around the hot stew. I was going to tell Ellen off but my eyes were a little misty-- they usually were when I thought about the job, about Pop. Didn’t like her to see me like that. “Play it off,” Pop always said.

I walked past her and went back into the editing room. That’s where the real magic happened, editing. I’d splice together the footage of Jop and add a Ragtime backing track, Maple Leaf Rag in this case. I’d have to work around Ellen’s interruption somehow, that would take time. I set the bowl aside near two other untouched plates. Didn’t remember when Ellen brought those, but the food made good treats for Joplin.

The room’s doors had a large slit underneath, about an inch off the ground. They were awful for audio recording, and Jop liked to stick her paws through them sometimes when Elle was outside. Elle’s shadow poked through them and into the room. She stood there a long time. I was happy to see her obeying my boundaries, and went back to editing. Hours passed, you’d be surprised how involved the process is. It was dark out. Joplin was at our front door, scratching away.

I called for Ellen, looked for her from room to room.

I found the note in the plastic sleeve I kept my sign in. It was flipped over now. Happy Cat.

The tiny keyboard that Joplin played in the videos was fully functional, if a bit out of tune. I sat in front of it after reading the note and played the first sad piece I ever played.

Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?
Bedrock Bottom
1198 words

Dwarven burials were a grim affair, especially on penal outpost El’Ghora, where there were no wives and mothers to soften the air with their sobbing, and even more so when they buried Orik, son of Grimbart, for the lad had not deserved to die. Poor boy had never done anything to anyone. But the king had his reasons and vendettas, and the makeshift elevator to their penal colony, poorly maintained as it was, had been long overdue to take a life. Finally, the king’s neglect had claimed its first victim.

So when Grimbart, father of Orik, stepped up to his son’s tombstone, and it was his turn to etch the royal insignia into the marble, and Lobi, king’s adjutant, gave him the tools, it came to Grimbart clear as quartz to knock them out the drat lickspittle’s hands and say: “To hell with it!”

The collective gasps of an outpost full of dwarves shattered the bedrock.

“How dare you,” Lobi said. “It is a sacred tradition.” He reached for the tools, but Grimbart kicked them away. He would not let his son’s grave be defiled.

“To hell with tradition!” he said. It was a sacrilege, but there it was, and honestly, it was high time someone had said something. “The king is treating us according to tradition. According to tradition,” he pointed at his son’s grave, “this is right and just. ‘Tis not!”

He turned to the audience, and there were some who murmured approval into their beards as he motioned at them, and the cavernous outpost that contained them. “All this is right, according to tradition. A life in misery, away from our loved ones. Treated like dirt, murdered, for dissent. Is that just? To hell with it! My poor boy, nary ever laid a finger on none. Dead! I look in yer faces and yer angry and ye’ve got every right to be. ‘Tis not right for the king to treat us so.”

Before his fall from grace, Grimbart had been a royal magistrate. He was still respected amongst his peers. There were nods, and a general sentiment of agreement, which was about as riled-up as dwarves would ever get from a simple speech. Men in the back struggled to get to the front, to better hear Grimbart out, and men in front stood, arms crossed, no matter how much Lobi flailed and ordered for the dissenter to be taken away.

“Piss on the king,” Grimbart said. “He thinks we’ll be digging down towards the Golden Core. Oh and dig we will. But we’ll dig up. We’ll go home, and we’ll give the king a healthy serving of Dwarven justice!”

And as he was finished, and Lobi, royal lickspittle, stood there, defeated and mouth agape, one by one the other dwarves stepped up to Grimbart. Each one gave him an item of theirs, a hammer or an axe or a pick, for Grimbart to return it back to them.

And so, Grimbart became king of El’Ghora.


Digging up through the bedrock was even more dangerous than digging down, because you never knew what might come crushing down on you. Vanguards changed regularly, so that every dwarf share an equal risk at the spearhead.

Naturally there was some open dissent. Grimbart was aware of that. Lobi, for example, he was better off the way things were. And who knew what secret friends he had. But Grimbart would not play their game. They were regular citizens. He would do them no harm if they gave him no reason.

That reason came in form of a message, a letter, crumpled up inside a smashed open rock, which was in turn held together by a thick linen coat. It had come tumbling down the elevator shaft that had once brought them new arrivals.

“Elevator repairs underway. King Nirgen wishes to inspect El’Ghora. Will visit once repairs complete.”

There was little doubt in Grimbart’s mind as to why the king had decided to come exactly now. Someone had told him, somehow, what was going on here. And there were not many people who had reason to return to the old system. Only Lobi. There were rumors he’d been seen inspecting the site of the elevator accident anyway. Looking for a way to send a message, probably.

But Grimbart was kind, and just. He did not execute Lobi for his obvious treason. Instead, he gave the old adjutant a chance at redemption: permanent, solitary mine shaft vanguard. It was a fit punishment for one so eager to return to his king. It would also spare Grimbart’s loyal subjects. Those he couldn’t afford to lose.


It was not long before Lobi’s assignment paid off. An underground river, he’d discovered. The hard way. The kind of way that squashes your body inbetween the mine shaft’s perimeter dam and a massive body of water. The better news was, he was the only casualty.

Still, some blamed King Grimbart for this so-called “disaster”.

But had Lobi’s punishment not been appropriate? Had his subjects not been aware of the risks of digging upwards? Had his safety measures not saved many lives?

If they mourned for royal bootlicker, they could take his place.

And so he decreed.


King Grimbart had not wanted to slay Euri, son of Bort. But the dwarf, stubborn fool, had refused his place at the vanguard. Had said, “If ye want to kill me, just get it over with.”

What else could he have done? There had to be order. If one dwarf could refuse duty at the vanguard, all of them could, and then they’d never go home.

Now the streets of El’Ghora were ripe with talk of another revolution. Not out in the open, but it was there, like a diamond stalactite just out of reach. You can see it, but you can’t quite touch it. Lobi’s shadow circle. Euri’s relatives. Grimbart had made enemies. They didn’t see the bigger picture, and people who’d turned against their king once could do so again.

He kept his axe sharp. He had to find out who his true friends were.


It ended with the day’s second vanguard shift. From what little Grimbart knew, there had been no words. The men had just picked up their tools and used them on the overseers instead of the bedrock.

El’Ghora was small, and the fighting had spread quickly. Old scores were settled. New ones were made, and then also settled, until nobody was sure who they were supposed to fight anymore, and then everyone was just fighting, not for anything in particular but because you didn’t know when it was safe to stop, and then the ground was slick and red and there was no more sound except for Grimbart’s breath and the crackle of the torches and the pounding of the open wound in his side.

Another rock fell down the elevator shaft.

“Elevator repairs complete. King Nirgen will inspect shortly.”

The others were all dead. Bloodies tools and weapons lay scattered across the outpost. Hammer and chisel in hand, Grimbart hobbled to his son’s tombstone and carved his insignia into the marble.

Then he went to the dam, and prepared it for the king’s arrival.

Dec 15, 2006

b l o o p

curlingiron fucked around with this message at 00:55 on Jan 1, 2017

Mar 21, 2013
Locked Elevator Puzzle (1990 words)

Manny cursed and smacked the DOOR OPEN button. The elevator doors stayed shut. He turned and glared up at the blinking red light of the camera above. Why did he decide to work so late tonight?

"Kay, do you want RR to get on your back again?"

No reply. Manny continued, "There'll be another three-hour lecture from IT. And a full code scan. Maybe they'll start thinking about a replacement."

He stumbled as the whole elevator shuddered, grabbing at the rails protruding from the narrow walls. Encouraged, he kept speaking. "Nobody here wants that, right? So just take me back down to the lobby, I can go home, and we're all happy."

He flashed a smile at the camera. An unamused beep was the only response, and Manny restrained himself from bashing his head against the doors. Curse his manager's refusal to upgrade Kay's auditory capabilities. He'd take robotic words over old-fashioned, 'charming' beeps any day. Words you could at least argue with.

Maybe a different approach would help.

It took a surprising amount of effort, but Manny managed to school his face into a jovial expression and keep his voice playful. "Wow, Kay. Really? I know I'm easy on the optical sensors, but -"

Ignoring Kay's low snort of a buzz, Manny spread his arms and continued, "-I only know seven jokes. Four of them are knock-knock, and the rest are puns. Sure you want to take the next step? How about we sleep on it, and talk about it in the morning?"

A short, low beep. Nothing else.

"Goddrat it, Kay!" Manny yelled, kicking the door. "Either take me down to the first floor or let me use the stairs, you dumb robot!"

This time, the jolt knocked him off his feet. He narrowed his eyes at the camera light overhead from where he was sprawled on the floor. It blinked at him as if to say, fuckyou too, Manny .

Talk clearly wasn't going to work. Manny patted down his pockets, but all he found was his wallet. He'd left his phone charging at his desk again.

"Hey, Kay. I forgot my phone. Could I go back and get it?" And take the stairs down to the lobby and get home?

The only response was a series of beeps Manny couldn't help but interpret as incredulous laughter.

He slumped against the wall. Maybe he should just sleep here. Work started around six, so that'd be about a five-hour wait. That wouldn't be so bad, right? Just five hours of sleep on a worn carpet floor soaked with years of gods-know-what and bright elevator lights shining down from overhead and -

Manny got up and walked up to the doors. He stuck his fingers into the crack where they met, braced himself, and -

Bashed his head against the doors as another jolt shook the elevator.

Five minutes later, the elevator speaker emitted a long, impressed whistle. Evidently, Kay had never heard such a long, dense string of profanities before. Instead of stamping his foot, Manny settled for grinding his teeth. While he did so, he took stock of the situation.

Well, prying the door open wasn't an option while Kay was active. For obvious reasons, he didn't have the fire service override key. He looked up. There was a gray, metal hatch embedded in the ceiling's corner.

He looked over at the blinking camera, and pleaded, "Kay, please. Let me out."

A stubborn beep. Manny sighed, and picked up his briefcase. He leaned back, judging the distance, and then chucked the entire thing up at the corner where Kay's camera was dangling.

Both briefcase and camera crashed onto the ground, and Manny clapped his hands over his ears at Kay's screech of protest. This was going to be hard to explain to his boss.

When Manny could uncover his ears without his head feeling like it was splitting open, he hoisted himself up onto the elevator rails, keeping his body as flat as possible against the walls as possible. As he made his way over to the hatch and began working it open, he did his best to ignore the mournful, drooping beeps from the speaker.

Finally, the hatch lid fell open, and Manny's moment of triumph was interrupted by another wailing screech.

He tumbled to the ground again, cursed whoever had decided to put sensors in the hatch, and began waiting Kay's tantrum out.

It didn't end. Manny had counted up to two hundred in his mind, and Kay was still emitting that hideous beep. When he reached four hundred, Manny decided he'd risk a trip to the otolaryngologist, and pulled his hands away from his ears.

It was all he could do to not cover them again. Manny pulled himself upright, slowly, and gradually began making his way up to the hatch again. By the time he managed to stand upright on the rails, he found the noise almost bearable. That was vaguely alarming.

He looked over at the hatch. He might be able to brush his fingers against the edge, but that'd be it. He thought for a second longer, then before he could talk himself out of it, he leaped.

It was a pathetic, tiny thing - three inches in height if one was generous - but it was enough. His finger joints added their voice to Kay's scream of protest, but Manny ignored them, and in a desperate burst of energy, managed to make his way out onto the elevator roof. Up here, the noise was much reduced, and he breathed out a short-lived sigh of relief.

The elevator began rising, and Manny desperately looked around. In the dim, reflected light from the hatch, he could see a slew of toggle switches sticking out of the elevator. He crawled over and squinted at it. There was RUN/STOP, INSPECTION/NORMAL, OPEN/CLOSE, and UP/DOWN. He flipped the first switch to STOP, and breathed a sigh of relief into the sudden stillness. After a moment's thought, he flipped the second one to INSPECTION, and the screech from below stopped as well.

This time, his sigh of relief wasn't interrupted. He reached out and flipped the fourth switch to DOWN. The elevator began descending at a steady clip, until it finally ground to a halt.

He peered down through the hatch. The doors were still closed, so he tried flipping the third toggle to OPEN. A soft ding sounded from below, and a quick check below showed the elevator doors sliding open.

Manny dropped back down into the elevator proper. The outer doors were still closed, but without Kay's distractions, forcing them open was relatively easy.

He bent down, picked up his briefcase, walked out - and then found himself face-to-face with a three-eyed face with plenty of teeth. They stared at each other for a second, then Manny felt a sharp prick in his shoulder. He turned his head to look at it. It was a dart, and as his mind began connecting the dots, his vision grew dark and his legs gave out from underneath him.

Maybe he should've just stayed in that stupid elevator.

Dec 30, 2015

Rabbit & Turtle 681 words. "Rabbit falls through snow layers and suffocates"

Turtle wanted to say he had animal instincts, but now that he was actually sneaking out with Rabbit, all he could honestly think about was the cold and the rear end-white night. He donned enormous earmuffs and a flannel greatcoat that almost touched his toes, but with the temperature reaching far below zero, he might as well have been venturing out in lingerie. His teeth were chattering out of his head, his upper lip was chilled with snot, his vision was blurry and useless against the sleet…

But Rabbit persevered. At this point, Rabbit was not just the eyes and ears of their operation, he was the hands, feet, nose, and mouth as well. Something about his mixed heritage had to have granted him a certain grace with the elements, although Turtle didn’t know the specifics; by the time they finally settled in behind a dilapidated wooden fence, he was just thankful that Rabbit hadn’t objected to half-hauling him for the last mile.

Beyond the fence, an old frayed shack was barely visible. It hunched there in the middle of the snow-piled field like some sort of lonely Ice Age behemoth.

“It’s armed to the teeth,” puffed Rabbit, after a moment of frozen silence. Turtle remained hunched against the fence, but tilted his eyes up quizzically. “I mean weapons,” Rabbit explained. “Weapons, out there.”

“The shack? For real?”

A tense tilt of the head that might have been a nod.

“How do you know?”

“Buddy of mine got the word.”

Turtle cracked a smile. “Did you give this buddy a wack codename, too?”

Rabbit glared and blew on his fingers.

“You know I don’t even like turtles,” Turtle continued. “I saw one getting its shell brushed once. It was, like, rubbing up against the bristles. They have a bunch of nerves there or something. It’s disgusting.”

The two then fell back into silence. It was unclear what exactly Rabbit was planning, but Turtle felt he had asked too many questions. He knew he was a burden already.

Without warning, Rabbit hopped the fence and crouched on the opposite side, holding his hand up against Turtle’s approach. Hiking his hood up higher on his head, he proceeded to stoop towards the shack. Turtle squinted on. From a distance, he looked like a big beetle inching across the landscape. When he got near the shack he stopped and began circling one corner of the place, leaning right and left as if looking for or signalling someone.

And then, suddenly, he was gone.

Turtle hadn’t been able to see too clear, but the field was most definitely and most abruptly empty.

“poo poo,” he muttered, struggling up and hastily dusting snow off himself. He leaned over the fence and looked as hard as he could, unsure if he could shout. Aside from 7 meters of tracks, there wasn’t a trace of anything. “poo poo! poo poo!”

Now, panicking, Turtle immersed himself in the depth of the field and hobbled after Rabbit’s footsteps, his body tripping over his mind. Nothing bad was supposed to have happened. Did something bad happen? What could he have done?

A few feet ahead: “Trevor!”

Turtle didn’t hear it the first time, as he stumbled upon a gaping hole in the ground. Then it appeared again, a cracking, high-pitched half-cry. Rabbit had forgotten codenames.

“Trevor! Are you there!”

Turtle collapsed in place and stared into the hole, eyes straining. “What the gently caress,” he hissed, “Sam, are you down there?”

A short silence. “They dug the poo poo out!”

“What? Sam, what the gently caress? What the gently caress?”

“They dug the fucker out! I dropped right through! God dammit! Trevor!”

“Oh my god, are you alright?” Both voices were reduced to a whimper. Turtle began frantically swiping away at snow around the hole, knees trembling.

“I can’t even loving see you, Trevor! God dam—”

Turtle’s coat caught under him as he scooted forward and toppled himself and a massive load of slush into the hole. The ground somehow gave away like water as he screamed.

As they both screamed.

Bandiet fucked around with this message at 06:57 on Jul 27, 2016

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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

:siren:That's all, folks!:siren:

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
One of you miserable failures should at least step up and judge, or something, if we don't already have a 3rd judge.

:siren: this is a recap post :siren:

Hello again goons. This is another recap. This time, Kaishai, Djeser, Ironic Twist and myself take a look at week 174--Nonsense week!

The recap

Archive link for those who'd like to follow along.

As usual, we take a special look at the DMs and loser, featuring a sickeningly saccharine reading of Silmarildur's entry, Sugarplum Fairyland Home for the Insufficiently Exuberant. This is an episode for anyone who wants to hear Ironic Twist bleed from his eyes and ears (that should be all of you), and also some prolonged dick poetry.

More fun stuff:

Kaishai posted:

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

Lazy Beggar
Dec 9, 2011


Christ. These are cathartic.

I laughed. Reminds me of HDTGM.

By the by, seal clubbing is legal. I found this out when I wrote A Sealed Fate. It's even subsidised by the Canadian government.

Lazy Beggar fucked around with this message at 16:47 on Jan 11, 2016

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009

A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly

Sitting Here, is there a reason why the recaps aren't posted as podcasts anymore? When I use my phone I can only download the first two that were posted. I know you answered this once on IRC, but I can't remember.

Aug 2, 2002




it's my fault

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Lazy Beggar posted:

Christ. These are cathartic.

I laughed. Reminds me of HDTGM.

By the by, seal clubbing is legal. I found this out when I wrote A Sealed Fate. It's even subsidised by the Canadian government.

Thanks! And also :smith:

WeLandedOnTheMoon! posted:

Sitting Here, is there a reason why the recaps aren't posted as podcasts anymore? When I use my phone I can only download the first two that were posted. I know you answered this once on IRC, but I can't remember.

Honestly, I switched over to Soundcloud because of laziness, and because the platform I was using wouldn't let me upload more than an hour of material without extra effort. So I was having to edit stuff out and worry a lot about time. I guess last year Soundcloud did actually introduce some podcasting features, so in the next little bit I'll maybe submit the recaps to iTunes so people can access them that way. I mainly need a better profile picture for the page.

I cannot emphasize my laziness enough, though. Right now I have this great system of record, upload, post.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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

:siren: RESULTS! :siren:

This was a pretty middle-of-the-road week overall. There weren't a lot of stories that wowed us, but nothing was terribly offensive, either. Some of you took your prompt and did something really interesting with it, and even if it didn't always work, I definitely appreciated it. Well, let's get to the stuff everyone came here for.

Honorable Mentions for the week go to Sign Language by Sitting Here for an interesting concept that gets fleshed out with believable characters, a touching narrative arc, and some really neat imagery. CaligulaKangaroo also picks up an HM for The Ablution Feast, which delivers some really atmospheric, Lovecraftian storytelling with some strong prose and intriguing, sympathetic characters.

This week's Win goes to Ironic Twist for Iota, which is a very interesting, abstract, and beautifully written piece which takes some risks that really pay off.

Of course, with every spoonful of sugar comes the medicine.

Dishonorable Mention for this week goes to Pham Nuwen for Get off my magical lawn. This was a cutesy joke that went on for a bit too long - the setup takes too long, it relies way too hard on walls of dialogue, and the story itself is really predictable. This wasn't terrible, but the whole thing feels a bit affected and once it becomes clear where it's headed, the rest of the story is just going through the motions.

Which brings us to the unfortunate Loss for this week: Masonity takes the losertar for The Umbrella Man, a story that doesn't really have a narrative arc or any real characterization / motivations to speak of, and on top of that it's 90% dialogue in a grating cockney accent. This is another story that is leaning too hard on the idea that sparked it and forgets to make the reader care about what is happening. That said, there is the germ of a better story here, and I'm guessing you either ran out of time or just wanted to do a joke entry; I can at least appreciate that you decided to keep this brief instead of dragging it out and making it painful.

The throne is all yours, Twist!

Feb 25, 2014
this is really odd, i dont see a prompt yet, anyone else having this problem?

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

Let’s get right down to business, Thunderdome.

I know what you want.

I know who you want.


wait, wait, hold on, wrong guy.


This man ruled over a maze, with his beautiful and angular face, and the turnip stuffed down the front of his tight white pants. Today, we pay tribute to his androgynous benevolence.

Write me a story about people who are trapped in a maze. A maze, or a—longer word for a maze. Coming up empty here. Anyway, the maze can be literal or metaphorical, but the innate conflict from being trapped in a confusing situation with twists and turns has to be there.

In addition, for 200 extra words, you can request a song-as-flash-rule. Simply say which judge you’re requesting the flash rule from (me, Sitting Here, or curlingiron), and they will provide it.

Words: 1300
Signup Deadline: Friday, January 15, 2359 EST
Submissions Deadline: Sunday, January 17, 2359 EST
No: fanfic, nonfic, erotica.

Sitting Here

Maze Oddities:
Broenheim (Shook Ones, Part 2)
God Over Djinn
Chairchucker (Starman)
Wangless Wonder
Grizzled Patriarch
crabrock (Beauty and the Beast OR Lazarus)
Thranguy (Always Crashing In The Same Car)
HellishWhiskers (This Fine Social Scene)
Entenzahn (After All)
Bleusman (Life On Mars?)
Lazy Beggar (Breaking Glass)
Jeza (The Man Who Sold The World)
WeLandedOnTheMoon (I Luv The Valley OH!)
Ceighk (D.J.)
CaligulaKangaroo (Rebel Rebel)
docbeard (Moonage Daydream)
Masonity (I’m Afraid of Americans)
ghost crow (Heroes)
sebmojo (I’m Deranged)
SkaAndScreenplays (Sons of the Silent Age)
Amused Frog
Pham Nuwen
Panthotenate (Saviour Machine)
Bad Seafood (Warszawa)

Ironic Twist fucked around with this message at 05:27 on Jan 16, 2016

Feb 25, 2014
oh wow i guess i was passed as a judge. well then twist, that's fine, im in, and youre going to flash rule me.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards

God Over Djinn fucked around with this message at 05:57 on Feb 1, 2016

Nov 14, 2006

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


Sitting Here, a song please.

Wangless Wonder
May 27, 2009
im in

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

Broenheim posted:

oh wow i guess i was passed as a judge. well then twist, that's fine, im in, and youre going to flash rule me.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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

In as hell.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Chairchucker posted:

Sitting Here, a song please.

Aug 2, 2002




i woulda judged this week, but since it's all fulled up, i gotsta go in. <3 Bowie.

give me a song, sittun hur

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007
BTW I will be assigning exclusively Bowie songs, hit me up for a flashrule if you want to get your Bowie on

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

crabrock posted:

i woulda judged this week, but since it's all fulled up, i gotsta go in. <3 Bowie.

give me a song, sittun hur

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.
In, and Bowie me Sittinghere.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Thranguy posted:

In, and Bowie me Sittinghere.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

crabrock posted:

i woulda judged this week, but since it's all fulled up, i gotsta go in. <3 Bowie.

give me a song, sittun hur

Actually, I'm having a fit of caprice. Crabrock you can either do this song or "Lazarus" from Blackstar. You pick, IDK i like both and it's causing me a lot of conflict right now

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 09:11 on Jan 12, 2016

Mar 29, 2012

She was an awkward girl
IN, songify me, curlingiron.

Dec 15, 2006

b l o o p

HellishWhiskers posted:

IN, songify me, curlingiron.

Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?

Sitting Here posted:

BTW I will be assigning exclusively Bowie songs, hit me up for a flashrule if you want to get your Bowie on


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Apr 30, 2006
In! I'll take a Bowie song, Sitting Here.


Lazy Beggar
Dec 9, 2011

In and a song please, Sitting Here.

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