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  • Locked thread
Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:

Nature Abhors A Vacuum.
(740 Words)

When I lost Lori, something new came in. If I'd had time to accommodate, time to learn, maybe I'd have filled that void with health. I never had the chance. The world ripped her from me so suddenly that the gaping hole begged for something insidious and toxic.

A demon came to me in the wake of her burnt form, gorgeous Lori twisted in belts and upturned in a ditch at the side of the road. Our lives had made a routine and a future. When that kind of living is shattered, the pieces are too numerous to gather.

He did not have arms and his hands were in my neck and in my muscles. He had no form, but I felt his weight on my back. He had no voice, but his whisper saturated my thoughts. I'd acquired a horrible replacement to fill the empty space she left behind. I woke up the day after she was in the ground with a spine full of silt.

Anatomy carries a principle of potential spaces. When the body feels a hollow, a fluid where there should be flesh, it's ripe for infection. A bladder that can't empty, an ear full of serum, or plasma welling from a broken vessel, they are all begging for fever. I became sick.

I didn't go to work and everyone understood. I sat at the edge of my bed, trying to plan a hollow day. Then, I felt him. He crawled to the prominence of my spine at the neck, then down, crablike. He made my feet move and I walked to the kitchen. I made coffee every day for Lori and tried to do the same today, but he stopped me. He tapped into my brachial plexus, swung my shoulder away from the grounds and to the scotch we kept on top of the fridge. He raised the bottle to my lips and we took a long pull. We nodded in agreement as my throat was saturated in peat and fire came from my nares. My pet was born from the grave; he's eating his way back home.

I finished my pulls and shattered some months of sobriety. I'd done it for Lori. I fell into the wall on my way to the door and my pet smiled. Outside, I hurled the empty scotch bottle into the street. It broke and her revenant's grin cracked into laughter. I was stumbling on the sidewalk and spinning into the street. My mind had lost and my pet loved it. I walked aimless and drunk. We'd thought the block would be a good place to raise children and I spun.

I tried to catch myself at the corner with my right foot while my pet tapped my heart to the left. It beat hard and I missed. I tried to catch myself on the sidewalk with an arm, but the weight was too much. I cracked, a greenstick fracture pulsing to my fingers. My falling forearm was disjointed, wasted, broken. I walked to urgent care and cradled my bones as my pet wallowed in all the pain.

I was casted and drugged, but the illness I had was too deep, too cerebral for opiates. I sat in a backless gown, feeling my new pet tap into my every neuron. He bathed in potassium and soaked in sodium while I mourned for the future that was taken from me. Doctors and nurses passed me by, seeing only a man in a hophead daze and not the monster of illness eating me alive. I asked for more morphine. My head was underwater as a nurse pushed two milligrams into my vein. The blur, the disconnection from reality gave me a clarity that I didn't have that morning. In my haze, I snapped. I decided.

I can't blame a beast with no form for an emptiness I can't fill. I can only blame myself. I created this monster and I gave birth to my languid response. My introspection, my crushing loss made a horror and only my will can stop his feast. With insight, I tried to banish the thing sipping on my fluids.

The next morning, when my legs swung to touch the ground, I swung my legs. When I cracked the blinds, I breathed in the solar flares and exhaled natural glow. I made coffee. I felt the beast recede. I controlled my arms. My choices are my own.


Feb 25, 2014
1499 words

Color in the Blind Girl’s Eyes


flerp fucked around with this message at 19:43 on Aug 25, 2016

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.
A Riddle: What the Best , Gets

1294 Words

Mark stood knee-deep in the frigid water, near the middle of the first of the three rivers. This was the place the plowmen crossed with their beasts of burden, back in the time the countryside was safe for man or beast. With each step he wondered if the men of arms at the tavern had been right, if he wasn't just a fool with his father's sword off on a mission to get himself killed.

“Go cross the three rivers, bring news to Eastwatch and back,” Hrognak Lion-eye had said.

“And earn a few bounties to prove your worth,” had added Quix'la Neverwed. “Or else leave that fine tool where you die, for someone who knows how to handle it to pick up.”

“Aye,” had said Jventh the Sly. “Or you could just sell it and go back home, safe behind the wards.”

Quix'la had laughed, an aggressive, throaty laugh. “And what kind of name is 'Mark' for a warrior?' She said.

The memory of the words stung more than the chill water. He took step after step, watching for trouble. The pale fae were said to avoid running water, but that could just be foolish superstition. He scanned the horizon, the far banks, behind him, and looked down to the river, bed. Something was wrong. He looked again, seeing nothing in front or to the sides, but below, on the river, bed, he saw it: a comma, tail stuck between water-smoothed rocks, struggling to get loose. He cautiously approached and bent down. Soaking most of his shirt, he reached down and lifted one of the stones. The comma freed itself. It swam a circle around Mark, beating the water's surface with it's tail.

When Mark reached the far shore, it shook itself to get dry and kept following him. Mark considered trying to shoo it away, but it did no harm. “I don't have any food to spare,” he said. It didn't seem to mind. Mark had no idea what, if anything, such a beast ate. “So what should I call you?” he asked. “How about 'Reginald'? No, too formal. 'Reggie'?” it bobbed with what looked like approval. He set up minor wards for a night's camp. He took off his backpack and got out his dinner, kindling wood-shavings, and water. As they huddled by the fire he decided he liked the companionship.

At the second river, the bridge was a wreck, cracked and scattered stones and scorched and splintered wood. Mark drew his sword. The path north had been well traveled, recently traveled. It all added up to an ambush. Three pale fae Shotlobbers stepped from the shadows of the bridge's wreckage, slings twirling. They released their sling stones at Mark, drew their stone knives, and charged.

Mark blocked two of the stones with his sword. The third hit his left shoulder. It went numb. He held out his sword, ready to strike. The boggarts backed off, fearing the cold steel. They shifted to surround him. One moved to his left side, his weakened side, and stepped in to strike. Mark twisted his wrist, turning the weapon to point across him, and stabbed into the pale fae attacker, who fell, bleeding boiling green blood. The other two came at him at once while his weapon was positioned too awkwardly to strike at them.

Their knives drew shallow stinging cuts in his leg. Pale fae weapons weren't about the quick kill. They were about pain. One of them drew back for a deep, bleeding cut. Reggie charged at them, a foot-tall ball of fur and punctuation. Reggie got underfoot of them and slowed them down, and in that fatal pause Mark was able to bring his sword around. The cold steel cut through fae skin and muscle, gashing the side to the spine. The last of them turned and ran, and Mark didn't have enough strength in him to follow. He barely had enough strength and presence of mind to take the ears, for bounties later. Reggie leaned against him, offering comfort. He pet the comma's fur to settle his post-combat nerves. They found a ford the next day, a few miles downstream of the bridge, and crossed the second river there.

As they traveled between the second and third rivers, Reggie grew more and more energetic, bouncing rather than sliding, sometimes even hopping forward, balanced on its spring-tight tail. This, Mark knew, would be the most dangerous part of the journey, through the tall grass rushes where the pale fae could lurk in ambush. Mark watched the grass carefully as they went, looking for any movement that wasn't the wind.

He saw something, a patch of grass swaying in the wrong direction. He moved his hand close to his sword and waited for the attack. It came, a small pack of Spearhead spriggans. Mark struck quick and deep at lead ambusher, turning its expectation of surprise around, then took up a cautious battle stance, Reggie at his back.

They fought. Mark had the advantages of reach, and superior weaponry. The pale fae had numbers, numbers enough to surround him and force him to keep track of attackers from different sides. Mark remembered his training, remembered to breathe, and set to the work of battle. He danced and leaped from foe to foe, striking quickly, turning aside spears with his gauntleted left hand. He accepted a few quick cuts when that was the price of a deeper attack of his own. He fought. He lost count of how many spriggans came at him through the grass. The battle flattened a circle in the field. The grass grew slick with thick and sticky green fae blood. Then there were no more foes standing to fight. He nearly collapsed. Then he realized that Reggie was gone.

He looked around the fallen fae and the crushed-grass battlefield but saw no sign of Reggie. He thought there had to be some kind of trace and he saw many places of the edge of the circle of trampled stalks where a trail of stepped-on grass led to the site of the fight. In most of them the blades pointed inwards but one had them pointing outward so he rushed down that path to follow where Reggie had gone or been taken. He ran across the field and down a steep slope into a valley and back up and out to where the grass grew much shorter and the rocky shore of the third river came into sight. There was no more trail but Mark could see Reggie, being harassed by three of the Spearheads. Reggie whimpered and growled and jumped higher and higher as the pale fae poked at it. Mark charged.

Two of the spriggans could see him coming, sword raised. They turned and bolted, one upstream and the other down. The third wasn't quick enough on the uptake to understand why his comrades has taken flight, and so was defenseless against Mark's deadly thrust. He looked to Reggie, to see if the spriggans had hurt it, but didn't see it anywhere. Then he turned his head upward, and saw it, floating in mid-air. He realized that Reggie hadn't been a comma at all, but it didn't matter. Reggie was his friend, and he vowed that he would keep it close forever.

The tavern in Eastmarch was the same sort of place as the one in Punkton. The same kind of drinks, the same kind of bounty master's table, and the same kind of patrons, battle-hardened barbarian warriors with names like Xivvix Two-blades, Aunt Galgeram, and Mae-shar Cuts-in-Twain. He walked with confidence to the bounty master and dropped his bulging bag of pale fae ears onto the table.

“Call me M'ark,” he said.

Mar 21, 2010
Ig, from Beyond
1160 words

“You know,” said Ig, “you’re worthless. Josh hates you.”

It clacked its mandibles together. The lamprey-mouths in the palm of each wormlike hand dripped slime. Nobody except me could even perceive Ig’s existence - thank God for the small mercies, huh? Right? Right? Human language was altogether garbage for describing Ig - whoda thunk the creatures from the other side of the abyss were, well - about the size of a bear, covered in pussy pale splotches. No mountain walked or stumbled nosir. That’s about as far as nouns got you - Ig was all about the verbs: Ig was a wrack, a writhe, a febrile twitch that just wouldn’t quit.

If Ig was the worst of all things, then Josh was, well, Josh was okay - Josh was a little handsome when he did his hair right, but he had a smile that made everything quiet in my head. Josh worked in admin, and I’d lose pens and pencils on purpose just so he’d come down and talk to me about wasting resources. Ig did not like Josh. Ig liked pictures of kittens online, if only because he knew they were a palliative, and not a cure - it liked me to be numb.

“We’re going to go on a domestic little adventure,” said Ig. “You’re going to sit at your computer, and browse Facebook, and look at all the people who are happier than you. You’re going to do it every day until you retire, at which point you’re going to keep doing it, but at different hours and with less money: you worthless, garbage human being.”

I typed ‘gently caress you.’ The cursor sat blinking. Ig snickered - it sounded like a chainsaw revving somewhere deep in his buglike gullet. We’d done this dance before, but the quiet moments of defiance sustained me - it didn’t matter how fleeting or impotent- they were my only strength. ‘I’m going to ask out Josh’, I wrote.

“If you tell him how you feel,” said Ig, “he’ll laugh, and brush it off, and it will be so awkward for you that you’ll have to quit, except you can’t afford to quit because you’re two months late on the rent, and you’re gonna be two months late on the rent forever because you can’t afford to find a job that pays better. You’ll be here forever, feeling a red flush of shame on your cheeks every time you think of him. It won’t be awkward for him though, because that would mean he cared.”

Ig turned its head to the side with a twitcha twitcha twitch. It ran its pallid hands over my shoulders, and I shuddered. Its fingers were too long, with too many points of articulation. They stank of motor oil, and burnt hair. “I’m your only friend,” said Ig, “and I’m exactly the friend you deserve.”

Was Ig right? You get to a certain point in your life, and it feels like the whole world is laughing at you; everybody is happier than you, everybody is healthier and more vibrant, and so very much more in love. Maybe you can content yourself by imagining the cracks beneath it all, but how much of that is reality and how much of it is your own bullshit? Does it complete you to imagine other people in pain? Does it make you suffer less? I’d got to that miserable point maybe five years ago, and I’d kept on gotting to it every single day. I was living in an electrical storm of anxiety, and all that vile lightning cast a lot of long shadows.

Ig snickered. It did that a lot - nothing was funnier to it than seeing me caught inside my own head. His little hand-mouths puckered open and closed. I never figured out what that alien little gesture meant, but it did it often. It made a wet clicking sound - a mad whirl of glottals.

‘I’m going to ask Josh out right now,’ I wrote.

“No you’re not,” said Ig. “You’re going to do it later, and later never comes.”

That was true, but I didn’t want it to be. I tapped my fingers on the keyboard, then raised them. They hung in the air above the keys.

‘No,’ I wrote. No what? No you’re right, no is just the start of nothing. No no no. No you’re too kind, no I won’t.

She pulled a post-it note off the stack, then wrote on it, and stuck it to the top corner of her monitor. THANKS, IG. Ig snickered. “Sarcasm,” it said, “real original.”

‘I mean it,’ I typed, ‘that’s just what I needed to hear.”

Hoo boy, Ig did not take that well. It clacked its clackes, and clicked its clickers. It hissed and writhed. Its hand-mouths spat. It twisted itself all into knots, then jerked its head upward and broke its own knot open. Then, for a beautiful moment, everything was quiet. No chittering, no talk, no worry. “Thanks,” I said aloud. The woman in the cubicle next to me (Mary? Alice? We’d never even spoken) looked over.

“No uh, no problem,” she said. She shrugged, then went back to her work.

You spend too long in an electrical storm, you end up staring at the shadows, and you forget about the light that cast them: so brief, so powerful, so total. Anxiety is the shadow cast by too much lightning in the mind - it comes from a place of tremendous energy, but it can’t exist without the same. Ig, now Ig, Ig said just the right thing. Later never comes. Later is the dark place between the lightning. Later was where Ig lived, but I didn’t have to. Ig: Lord of the Abyss, who meant nothing when you shined a light on him.

I picked up the inter-office phone, and dialed admin.

“He won’t pick up,” said Ig, “or somebody else will pick up and you’ll look like an idiot. You are an idiot. You’re worthless. You’re nothing. I define you, because you mean so little. “

I tapped the post-it. THANKS, IG. Ring ring ring, then the quiet click of a phone getting picked on up. Then a pause. The storm whirled inside that quiet moment - the lightning cast long shadows.

“Administration. Joshua speaking.”

Time to be brave - time to embrace the lightning.

“IT’S SAMANTHA. DINNER.” I said. Well, so much for that.

Another pause. “Samantha? From accounts,” he said. “Dinner is a good meal.”

“Do you want to dinner. Dinner with me? Tonight?”

My mouth was dry. My hands shook. Ig’s eyeless head bobbed up and down with febrile excitement. He clicked and hissed, so sure of his triumph. The words were caught in my throat.
“Yeah,” said Josh. “I’d like that.”

At last, there was quiet - not an anxious quiet, but the beautiful quiet that had no places for Ig to hide. Peace is the opposite of anxiety - but one can’t exist without the other: they frame each other, and give each other meaning.

Thanks, Ig.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk


sebmojo fucked around with this message at 23:04 on Jan 2, 2017

Apr 12, 2006
Bon Voyage
1500 words

--see archive--

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 16:18 on Jan 2, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
If One of Them Is Dead
(1,032 words)

Read it in the archive.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 19:55 on Jan 1, 2017

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004


To Make an Omelet
869 words

Rosa first found Egg the day she broke her leg. It was the day she was supposed to have her photograph taken with Mummy. She ran off and hid in the garden, listening as the cries of her name grew quieter and less insistent.

Rosa crawled out of her hiding place under the porch by the old tree and climbed into its branches. She remembered thinking what an odd thing it was to see a white egg perched so high up in the branches, and no nest around. It was only just visible, obscured by the branches above her. But when she tried to reposition herself to get a better view, she couldn’t. It was like it disappeared. And just as she was getting comfortable she would see it again, on a branch out of the corner of her eye.

There was such a nice breeze that day, and the sun shining through the leaves was so inviting. There was no worrying about her dress or keeping her hair straight and clean and tidy up here. She stretched out on one of the wide branches and fell asleep.

When Rosa next woke up, she was in bed, but she couldn’t move. Her leg was in a cast. She looked around and saw a little white egg sitting on the sill by the window. She reached over to touch it and it moved.

It wobbled like jello and scooted out of her grasp. This was a new development and she wasn’t sure what to do with it at first. She had never encountered an egg with its own free will before.

Rosa quickly grew tired of lying in bed. She picked up the thermometer from the bedside table and threw it in the direction of the egg, a small act of defiance. Mummy would yell at her, but she didn’t care.

But something happened. The thermometer never hit the egg, or the wall behind it. Instead, the egg moved. A pale yellow appendage, almost a hand, reached out from the egg and enveloped the glass tube.

“Ha!” Rosa cried. The egg slowly floated over to the window and deposited the thermometer on the sill. Then it zipped away out of sight.

“Oh, where are you going?” Rosa asked.

The egg appeared a moment later with a plush rabbit—her favorite. “Mr. Jandal!” She snuggled her face into its course fur. Within minutes, she was asleep.

The egg shimmered above her bed.

Egg was around Rosa almost constantly over the next few weeks. It was a small white oval, about the size of her fist or a bit larger, floating a few feet off the ground. She talked to it, and it would move around, bobbing in the air slightly as if it understood what she was saying.

Egg had the habit of turning into other things whenever she felt a need—folding in on itself and unwrapping, exposing its golden yellow center for a moment as its outsides reconfigured. Then it assembled itself into its new form, serving as a knife for jam or a missing teacup. “You’re so very helpful, Egg,” she said, and topped up Big Dolly and Little Dolly's cups.

He never complained, never asked for food or water. She didn’t think to ask how he lived. He simply was.

Egg always seemed to hide whenever adults were around—Mummy came with food or the doctor paid a visit. They talked at her, gave food and water, moved and poked and pulled and shifted her, explained exercises she would need to perform to help build her strength, then left. And Egg would pop out of some corner of the room after a minute or two.

“Egg, do you want to go outside and play?” He turned into a yellow ring, slowly rotating end over end, in the middle of the room. “I don’t know what that means.” She sighed.

By now, her cast was off; she could stand, unsteady on her crutches. She wasn’t supposed to be standing too much. She was standing too much. She didn’t care.

“I do so wish you could talk. I could learn some real things about the world outside, what you do when you’re not here with me.”

Egg, back in his white oval shape, floated down to eye level and stayed there, silently wobbling in front of her.

But Rosa was outside the next day. She went out furtively, at first, but Mummy wasn’t too angry when she found out, and decided that the exercise might be good for her.

Rosa tried running in the garden and fell down; got up and tried again; fell again. But she quickly recovered her stride, and was moving again nearly as fast as walking.

The doctor was amazed at her progress.

She saw Egg less and less. She shifted to needing only one crutch, and Mummy said soon she could walk without it. (She did that sometimes, anyway. But it was too tiring to walk for long without it.) One day, she realized it had been days since she had seen him.

Rosa pushed that aside. School was starting soon, and she needed to get ready. She had to look nice for her photograph.

Philip Rivers
Mar 15, 2010

The Hunters
1383 words

“What’s the rush? Can’t we please stop to eat?”

Ishtar idly twirled its tails together as it tiptoed alongside a shallow creek, digitigrade feet stepping over sticks and too-sharp stones. “How fast could a human possibly move through a forest?” it snickered to itself. Arla didn’t break her marching rhythm or scowl. She clenched the dagger that dangled from her belt.

“We don’t know this place, Ishtar. We’ve already made that mistake once.”

Mistakes were rare for Arla.

The two had settled down for a nap around noon in a sleepy clearing off the forest’s main path, and Arla, uncharacteristically, dropped her bag about three arms out of reach. Ishtar curled its body around hers, part affection and part protection, but Arla awoke with a start to the sound of running boots making off with her belongings. The two leapt to pursue, but the thief clearly knew the forest well, and quickly vanished from sight.

She bit down on her tongue and winced at the thought of her carelessness. Ishtar perked at the smell of her blood.

How curious must Ishtar have found Arla’s haste? Ishtar was old, that much Arla knew, much older than any human could possibly live, and its sense of time passing was accordingly distorted. It moved with lackadaisical grace and spoke with a meandering drawl in an implacable accent – though it was quite well spoken for a beast nonetheless. That it had taken such a liking to Arla was something she found curious herself. Arla, soft-spoken and stoic, moved through the world with purpose in her step, and out of character or necessity never stood still for long. Perhaps Ishtar appreciated the contrast. She appreciated the company regardless.

Few in life could keep pace with Arla, and of those who could if they tried, she chose to leave most behind. Short memory was an asset, and Arla, fleet-footed and stoic, took some bit of pride in her business-like ways.

Which of course made the loss of her bag all the more distressing. It held some number of useful things (rations, water, first-aid), but nothing she couldn’t get by without, and she preferred to travel light anyway. Yet it was most all she owned as a wanderer, including all her most prized worldly possessions. It held mementos of her travels, like a locket from a sweet-hearted, starry-eyed physician who had once patched her wounds with tender hands and begged her to stay in town. She would hold it and look to the moon and night and sigh, reminiscing on what could have been but never was. It also held the key to the small cabin she was raised in, which she never much cared for but promised herself she would return to someday, and perhaps once again sleep in her childhood room.

Beyond that, the bag held her journal. She’d kept it for decades, and it was dark and deeply personal, the very first entry reading: Sometime Midsummer – I confess I have killed a man on this night. She shuddered at the thought of prying eyes violating the depths of her heart and mind, not to mention that knowledge of her crimes would put a sizeable bounty on her head.

She sketched the portraits of past loved ones and looked back on them for comfort during trying times, tracing her fingers along the curves of their faces. How foolish it would seem from the outside, this hardened criminal waxing so sentimental. Compartmentalizing her emotions was practical and necessary, so she purged and bled them out as ink onto paper. It was the piece of her soul that might make her hesitate to take a life. Her most frequented pages were often stained with tears.

But as she’d trained herself to do, she put those feelings aside. This was her bag, and she needed it back. She might be a killer, but she was no thief – thieving for profit was lower than dirt. She clenched her dagger tighter and the thought that she might enjoy the thief’s death flashed through her head. Again Ishtar perked, sensing killer intent.

“I’ll tell you what: if you start a fire, I’ll fetch some meat. Whaddaya say? Hmmmm…?” It pantomimed snapping some small creature’s neck, eyes pleading and grin expectant. How it must have longed to rip into flesh!

“The sun is going to set soon. We can’t let the trail go cold.”

Ishtar hmmphed and pouted, then pondered for a moment, until its face flashed self-satisfied inspiration. “Okay, how ‘bout this: I’ll fetch the meat and start the fire. Can we stop to eat then?”

This time Arla laughed at the thought of Ishtar’s hunched over on hind legs, awful claws fumbling with flint and tinder. “We’ll have a fire and food once we find my bag, promise. Okay?”

Ishtar knew Arla to be true to her word, and it picked up its pace.


As the sun slipped closer to the horizon and the trees began casting shadows longer than themselves, Arla’s grimace faded from her face, outrage and indignation replaced by a steeled forward stare. Even Ishtar took on a quieter and decidedly more serious demeanor. Its sleek muscles tensed under a coat of fur that reflexively shifted colors to camouflage against the underbrush.

Judging from softer footprints and fewer snapped branches, the thief had slowed down around here, Arla and Ishtar both reasoned independently. They slowed to a creep and crouched low. They were close.

Ishtar sniffed at the air. Its eyes went wide and its pupils contracted. Arla instinctively dropped down and stilled her breath, watching Ishtar as it froze in place. It flexed its massive paws and slowly raked its claws across the ground, and again, this time sinking deeper into the dirt. It blinked and snapped away from its trance.

“Smoke. Northwest.” It looked back to Arla, saliva oozing from the corners of its mouth. “Very close.”

The two pushed, but Ishtar kept sinking its claws into the dirt, over and over, eye twitching and grin subtle yet maniacal. And Arla felt it too. She drew her dagger and savored the sensation of it slicing so effortlessly from out of its sheath and into the air. She had long ago numbed herself to the violence her life entailed – how could she not? – but killing for her had always been a strictly professional affair.

But something felt different this time. Arla had been wronged before, and this wouldn’t be the first time she’d ever sought revenge, but her mind kept snapping to the thought of sinking blade into flesh, over and over, and ever so slightly, her hand trembled, anxiety and anticipation. She recalled that first page of her journal, I have killed a man, the letters scrawled hastily and the straight lines vibrating side to side. Her stomach turned imagining the thief’s eyes, unwanted eyes, staring into the barest, most transparent part of herself. Thank goodness Ishtar never bothered to learn how to read, she thought. Maybe that's why they're friends.

She had killed before. She would kill again. Never before had she lusted for it like this. Ishtar’s grin widened, black teeth bared on full display.

Soon enough they spied the glint of a campfire through the trees. Their eyes were wild for the hunt. And soon they could spy the thief’s body laid down by the fire in a clearing not so different from where they’d met before.

They slowly, assuredly, hungrily snuck past the tree line, and soon it became obvious that the thief was already dead, abdomen eviscerated and intestines splayed loosely across the ground.

The blood drained from Arla’s face. Her grip loosened and she dropped her dagger, hands still trembling. She felt nauseous.

She stood still for a moment until she could recompose herself, picking up her bag and sitting down by the fire. The thief’s eyes betrayed a horrible end.


Arla remained silent. She took her journal from her bag and felt its heft and knowing leather in her hands.

“…Is it time to eat now?”

Arla chuckled softly, and turned to Ishtar with a warm smile and wounded eyes. “No sense in being wasteful, I suppose… but I don’t have much taste for human.”

Ishtar threw its head back and roared with laughter, firelight sparkling against its fangs.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh
~subs closed~

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool
fjgj dot gif

Feb 25, 2014


Philip Rivers
Mar 15, 2010

I didn't finish editing and remembered I had to submit at like 9:03 PST :sweatdrop:

Apr 12, 2006

Aug 2, 2002




Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

yeah lets not gently caress around on this one get the lead out if you knwo what im sayin

Mar 21, 2010
What if fast judging is actually bad judging

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

You are bad judging

Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007


Huzzah! Finally get to listen to one of these about stories I've wrote or read.

Now I need to write more stories.

In for whatever the next prompt is. Also I need a flash rule, preferably in advance of the prompt.

Edit: Bwahaha, that was delightful! Fantastic voice acting on the dramatization, and I think "overwrought and underdeveloped" shall be my new motto.

Plus if Kaishai ever has an aneurysm, we'll know who to blame.

Hammer Bro. fucked around with this message at 21:44 on Aug 22, 2016

Jan 27, 2006
Listen up, curlingiron, you slag-faced waif. Over a year waiting for your signature vapid crits from weeks 140 and 146, and I see you're STILL signing up to neglect even more weeks. Is following through on commitments too hard for you? Can't wrest yourself away from that lovely Olive Oyl cosplay you call a life? Then you can find the time to brawl me instead. And you might consider crying when you lose. I've heard that helps. :toxx:

Armack fucked around with this message at 21:58 on Aug 22, 2016

Dec 15, 2006

b l o o p

Oh hey dude, I didn't see you there. Sorry, I guess I'm just used to ignoring your white noise posts. Sure, we can brawl, why not. :toxx:

Also, here's week 146:

I was trying to edit them to make them not quite as vitriolic, but w/e, I guess. SPOILERS: your owl story was dumb.

Edit: If you got a really short crit in this doc and would like more feedback, please let me know, and I'll try to say something more meaningful than "I hate you."

curlingiron fucked around with this message at 22:50 on Aug 22, 2016

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe
Hey friends, I'm gonna judge this little kerfuffle.

You've got 1,500 words to write a story about being lost.

Interpret that as you will, but one or more of your central characters should spend a good portion of the story not knowing exactly where they are.

You've got until Monday 8/29/16 at noon eastern time to submit your words. I'll judge them quickly.

Get to it.

edit; fixed the deadline timing, I'm an idiot

Chili fucked around with this message at 00:42 on Aug 23, 2016

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Chili posted:

Hey friends, I'm gonna judge this little kerfuffle.

You've got 1,500 words to write a story about being lost.

Interpret that as you will, but one or more of your central characters should spend a good portion of the story not knowing exactly where they are.

You've got until Monday 8/22/16 at noon eastern time to submit your words. I'll judge them quickly.

Get to it.

Send your words back through the time stream there is a small chance the buffeting of the raging temporal flux will make them good

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

sebmojo posted:

Send your words back through the time stream there is a small chance the buffeting of the raging temporal flux will make them good

poo poo. Edited.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

For gently caress’s sake, people. Some of you were unoriginal as hell with your creatures, and some of you went looking for the INTJ Bone of Sadness when I said this was supposed to be a Next-Best FRIEND week.

DMs go to SurreptitiousMuffin and Carl Killer Miller for interpreting “friend” as “joy parasite”, and to sebmojo for interpreting “friend” as “incidental griffon, gently caress it, I’m tired and my cybernetic prostate needs oiling”.

The Loss goes to s7ndicat3 for writing half of a sad doldrums story and then spiraling it off into Batshitzaniaburg. A Hebrew succubus makes a man’s knees bend backwards and then he gets astral-raped, maybe. I don’t even know.

The Win was highly contested between three stories, and the fourth judge ended up being very necessary as a tiebreaker. HMs go to Kaishai and flerp for their solid stories that hit the spirit of the prompt, but ultimately, the story that came out on top was a little bit messier and a little bit warmer and a little bit better for it.

Congrats, Tyrannosaurus. I can’t think of a dog pun, but you won and you deserved it. Good…boy? Dinosaur? Yeah, we’ll go with that.

Aug 22, 2012

poo poo. Now I've lost all 3 times I've entered. Gotta say I'm feeling pretty low right now. Any veterans got any advice on how not to suck as much?

take the moon
Feb 13, 2011

by sebmojo
grats Tyrannosaurus here are the crits

That Much He Knew

typo in the first line

hey cool hes in a bed. id expect that. oh cool he assumes hes in a house. id also assume that

try more instead of anymore

that would make this story boring

also wtf is with this hypothetical type tense

oh my god like ahhh. why would you attempt this unless you were 100 percent sure in your postmodern whatever hyper pretension ironic genius. you shouldnt be that sure of it you cant like ahhhhh

i am extremely sure sanguine means blood and you cant sanguinely plant your feet

ill stop calling typos here but there are a lot of them

gimmick aside this is awkward af prose. dude like imagine im asking you this question in a flat objective way. is there a good reason to use couldnt help but realize instead of just realize? be honest. search yrself. you kno what the answer is.

idk if youve ever had a trip kind of thing where you were absolutely convinced you couldnt move, that you just had no strength. its absolutely terrifying ig and this is not a v gripping way of describing it. you get points cuz my brain is going overtime trying to imagine the feeling but it has its work cut out for it w this prose

oh wow a dull pain. my empathy centre is maxed out here.

if this is literally just a guy w amnesia tripping out in his own house im gonna find u

so all of a sudden you bring the edge.

ok so yeah. uh this isnt gonna win

i was gonna leave it at that but ill add like idk. i dont think incubi and succubi hang out in the world in the guise of real people.

also i mean im not gonna go into the logistics of all this stuff cuz i dont like, i mean im not an expert in this mythology or whatever. but why did the fuckbaby have to ask who he was? shouldnt it know

judging by typoes and what a clusterfuck the prose was im not gonna try too hard to figure this story out. im never like yeah this story def loses but yeah this wont b a positive result

Last Light

seriously after the last story im just happy to not have the tense be someth absolutely dumb.

so yeah idk. i like this prose dude. dreamy. sunlight kissing toes sounds rly nice.

sometimes its a bit weird tho. dogs lap at water, saying a human girl is doing it kind of implies bad stuff

birds dont have hackles either dude. i looked this up 2 b sure a bird would have a solitary single hackle if it had one at all

i like this anime battle

hes right that he didnt need her help. she literally didnt do anything

hey man i liked this. i was in a terrible mood for w/e reason and this story made me feel like idk things are how theyre supposed to be in whatever weird way. prose kind of got in the way in the beginning i liked when the story could breathe but overall p good writing


i have no idea what crying and hissing would sound like simultaneously but its hard to do both cuz you need yr tongue to cry

why didnt she eat all of that delicious tuna sandwich

this is either about magic stuff or a genetic experiment got loose and fsr im feeling the second rn

three sets of teeth so basically it has 2x chewing action if one is in the middle

abusive dad alert

good inner conflict here cuz she needs a friend but knows this isnt a pet friendly house

"Once he’d disinfected his scratches, Father had whipped her for an hour with the crop" wtf crop scratches can get infected too

"if he was questioned by children’s services again, she would be punished" this threat logic is Real poo poo.

“Do I need to come in?”
this is kind of awk cuz the dad doesnt sound like the type to not go in a room if he feels like it

this is gonna end w midnight eating the dad i think

this date poo poo is rly getting to me, gj dude

bare and exposed mean the same thing

k so the ending was predictable and i q using a goofy chimeric animal for this tone but i liked the abuse stuff, i liked yr neutral descriptive language that didnt overplay things

How Feathers Fall

what is a shaffers and why should i oh okay thanx for clearing that up but Nargir isn't his caretaker yet, is he

k so if a thing is a bird you should come right out and say its a bird. if you say winged creature that could be a million things in a world where characters have names like Nargir

if i was nargir id be like are you trying to welsh on this game with a bird you tye dyed

oh gently caress leave the bird alone

ok so idg the ending. was it that one feather that was magic? did the power finally kick at the threshold between life and death? was his true desire to not desire anything in that gay namaste way?

thnx for not making me read a lot. idk okay story why not


what kind of loser bus stops at 11:45 pm

yeah this is incorrect syntax dude

i took "no nightmare" to mean he isn't scared of it for w/e reason. flatly saying the monster is real is the bad kind of foreshadowing

is this ckm?

yeah so hes not scared. yeah seems like a chill dude

"wonders how hes taken." the next sentence makes it unclear if he's expecting death or somehow prophesized an escape. b4 it says he knos he wont be harmed? who knos

apparently abi knos what this is cuz instead of spazzing out she just gives chase

yeah ig there are weird rules here which is interesting/creepy when it involves kids in a hospital w ivs

hmm yeah ok not bad

Chasing That

mass of text. gj on having friends and being a scientist at the same time, all the scientists i know post on something awful and are goonlords

w h a l e d e a t h

k so like i think 3/5 monsters have had wings so far. i wish i could fly too

this dude is british or scottish like a irvine welsh char or that chick in the bone clocks

unsure if this is a chick or dude

you dont get high off beer wtf. its a depressant

does this guy have a flashing sign above his head that says sex offender

okay so these girls go from abomination + i feel sick to its quite cute actually teehee p quick.

yesterday the dude at the store gave me a triple scoop of ice cream but only charged me for a small. i get the little moments of happiness thing

ive never heard a moby song

Nature Abhors A Vacuum.

you put a period in your title you freakshow

a seatbelt is generally a single belt

also i am so sick of car crashes in td stories just throwing that out there. i get it, you can be cool and good and get in a car crash and your wife dies and yr life is changed forever. holy dick its not good storytelling and theres only so many ways to describe a car crash u kno?

really beating me over the head w the filling the empty space thing

this is possibly a metaphor???

"My pet was born from the grave; he's eating his way back home." what does this mean exactly

thanks for that cheesy monologue and the power of will that allows him to kill this monster in about a day

didnt like this

Color in the Blind Girl's Eyes

so this dad is like "shes gonna sleep in a gray room and youre gonna like it"

basically being blind is like being daredevil irl

i like how she gets this synaesthasia thing going. did i spell that rite even? not googling

awk slip into present tense

if i never read the word iphone again itll b too soon

im gonna guess this is flerp my bad if this is wrong

yeah this vague colour blur is a million times more interesting that the user generated spore monsters that populate the other stories


yeah idk this idea was good and the story was cute hm this man

A Riddle: What the Best, Gets

im sure this title will make sense later but rn its not like a riddle or even a question

these names are like norse names but also atzec names what kind of culture is this

typoed up

ah yes foolish superstitions about the habits of these totally real fae

literally the only idea i have of what this monster looks like is a comma, which makes the next paras make no sense

oh the fae are dudes i thought they were like faeries

these fae truly are a cruel people but also scared of swords

yeah like i mean

you forgot to mention reggie was some kind of dog

oh its just a ball w a tail. its one of these


w/o an eye

i forget what a spriggan is. ig it prolly doesnt matter

oh theyre also fae

idk i mean everyone made fun of mark but like clearly he knos what hes doing

use yr lick attack dude

"The third wasn't quick enough on the uptake to understand why his comrades has taken flight, and so was defenseless against Mark's deadly thrust." this sentence is an example of a long terrible sentence

so what is the diff between reggie and commas other than reggie can float. maybe hes a comma that learned to float?

wow thanks for that dumb joke ending. i get it hes an asterisk. i get it okay?

i would have had the same exp playing skyrim for 15 mins

you didnt really keep yr promise to have the title make sense.

Ig, from Beyond

i guess


this is interesting but i mean yeah i dont have a clue what this thing looks like

yeah thanks for being real with this

k i would like her to ask josh out 2

but i mean either she will or wont rite? im betting she will. surprise me

you switched to she here and i think thats a fuckup

i think you can get a bit lost in colourful poetic language when describing anxiety. the end thing is that anxiety just sux, u kno?

yeah so she asks him out

Jane Air

melanie sawnucket: pro rain hater

oh lord another flying thing. al i kno what a griffin looks like

"Melanie thought it sounded rehearsed, like she’d read it in a ‘what to do when you’re a teacher and one of your pupils bites their lip because she just saw an actual real life griffin flying outside the window.’" put book on the end of this also reconsider this sentence

she prolly didnt want to kiss him cuz of those nicotine lips

i dont get the old furniture thing. is this like a thing when you have brain damage you smell weird things and she's having a brain injury hallucination

that would b better than a story where a girl sees a griffin and ends up flying it like everyone does w griffins

Bon Voyage

his name is sahara? like the desert?

oh its a chick. also ig technically this could still b a dude if its saharas bathroom stuff. im assuming lesbian/bisexual atm tho cuz why would you hang onto that stuff

"I don’t want her to the blackness" not sure what that means

yeah idk i hate this gayness too. ppl should mate for life like swans imo

not much happens but where the char ends up is interesting

If One of Them Is Dead

lot of abuse this week

rosemary ellen is a tramp imo. thats a nice old timey name, are her parents hipsters

i dont have much to say here, a nice story, im not sure exactly what happened but im satisfied

To Make an Omelet

if this is about an egg monster gently caress

not much tension w this egg that takes care of w/e she needs


what kind of story was this. one day she met an egg. the egg kind of made her break her leg. then her leg healed and she never saw the egg again. oh okay. this stuff is a weird time loop or it never happened cuz of the photograph thing rite?

ig my mind is blown but idk not feeling eggs rn

The Hunters

i cant believe you named a char ishtar

nice vocab dude idk what digitigrade means

ishtar seems like a jerk

that was about 3 paras of flat char expo

i love how killing someone puts a bounty on yr head. if we kill the person who killed someone else its cool. ig thats how it works just seems weird

technically being a thief is a bit better than being a murderer as set by the order of the ten commandments which prolly arent real here

if you use manic instead of maniacal you save you know 3 letters

"She drew her dagger and savored the sensation of it slicing so effortlessly from out of its sheath and into the air." air is not generally hard to slice thru

i have no idea rly but is ishtar pumping up her kill impulse in like a psychic way

yeah so ishtar killed him rite

this story was w/e

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh
:toxx:ing to have Week 203 and Week 211 crits done before Week 212 results, cheers :toot:

take the moon
Feb 13, 2011

by sebmojo

s7indicate3 posted:

poo poo. Now I've lost all 3 times I've entered. Gotta say I'm feeling pretty low right now. Any veterans got any advice on how not to suck as much?

maybe my post will help

Feb 25, 2014

s7indicate3 posted:

poo poo. Now I've lost all 3 times I've entered. Gotta say I'm feeling pretty low right now. Any veterans got any advice on how not to suck as much?

well i like to put in good words and get rid of the bad words

also this thread might help:

you might want to sort by Dr. Kloctopussy's post tho those r real gems

Aug 22, 2012

Thanks for your input guys. I'll work on not sucking right away. I can't believe my first loving line had a typo, I must've read and reread that fucker a thousand times and didn't see it. Sorry for making GBS threads up the thunder dome.

Btw spectre, sanguinely means "cheerfully optimistic, hopeful, or confident, especially in a bad or difficult situation". That's just an fyi, I still think my story sucked.

take the moon
Feb 13, 2011

by sebmojo
i remember while typing that i was gray on it not sure why i typed extremely sure

dont talk back to judges thnx

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh

s7indicate3 posted:

poo poo. Now I've lost all 3 times I've entered. Gotta say I'm feeling pretty low right now. Any veterans got any advice on how not to suck as much?

read more, write more, start with simpler plots, thankyougoodnight

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

s7indicate3 posted:

poo poo. Now I've lost all 3 times I've entered. Gotta say I'm feeling pretty low right now. Any veterans got any advice on how not to suck as much?

Jump into IRC. I lost my first week and DM'd a bunch after. I ended up chatting with folks on there and bounced ideas off them, it helped a lot. Chatting with other people on a similar mission is a lot of fun as well.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

s7indicate3 posted:

poo poo. Now I've lost all 3 times I've entered. Gotta say I'm feeling pretty low right now. Any veterans got any advice on how not to suck as much?

Definitely don't edit your posts. You were probably disqualified from the win for that alone.

Clean up your formatting. It's important to put a blank line between every paragraph because of how much easier that is for the judges to read. A good story won't be destroyed by bad presentation, but it won't do a mediocre-or-worse one any favors.

As for the content, follow Twist's advice: read as much as you can, think about your favorite stories and why they work, and practice until commas are coming out your ears. Maybe read some style guides like Strunk and White's Elements of Style to improve your use of punctuation. Aim to get the hang of writing a basic, straightforward story, and move on to more complex stuff when you have a grip on the nitty gritty.

(I know, I know, wrong thread, but this is a perfect excuse to shout :siren::siren::siren: DON'T EDIT YOUR POSTS!!!!! :siren::siren::siren: from a mountaintop.)

Feb 25, 2014
im gonna edit this post'

e: i did it

flerp fucked around with this message at 02:41 on Aug 23, 2016

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

flerp posted:

im gonna edit this post

fleeeeeeeeeerp! :argh:

Yeah, that only applies to submission posts. Edit whatever else you want.

Jul 25, 2016

s7indicate3 posted:

poo poo. Now I've lost all 3 times I've entered. Gotta say I'm feeling pretty low right now. Any veterans got any advice on how not to suck as much?

Kaishai posted:

Maybe read some style guides like Strunk and White's Elements of Style to improve your use of punctuation. Aim to get the hang of writing a basic, straightforward story, and move on to more complex stuff when you have a grip on the nitty gritty.

On a diction and writing style subject, Francine Prose's Reading like a Writer is a great resource for so many things, because it just shows you lots of examples of effective writing and just explains why it works rather than trying to teach like a schoolbook.

And I'd definitely second IRC. I flubbed this submission due to a rough week, but chatting with people there has been a really good help for inspiration and guidance, even if just for another set of opinions to keep in mind.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool

flerp posted:

im gonna edit this post'

e: i did it

you loving monster


Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh
flerp edited his post?

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