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Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

The point of that was fightin, not crittin. Re fightin u didnt even make the 3rd round lol

Yeah but where are the crits


anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool

Sitting Here posted:

Yeah but where are the crits

thems fightin crits

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

what the poo poo is going on in here sort it out pronto k

Nov 15, 2012

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

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

The point of that was fightin, not crittin. Re fightin u didnt even make the 3rd round lol

the right to BEAR ARMS :D ;)

Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.

What the poo poo?! I thought I was brawling this cock smuggler?

my cat is norris
Mar 11, 2010


Sitting Here posted:

what is this pathetic showing, did a video game come out this week or something

Sorry, busy week for me. :(

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Mercedes posted:

What the poo poo?! I thought I was brawling this cock smuggler?

uuuh which cock smuggler a bunch just posted

Sitting Here posted:

So how I am envisioning this is: flerp and I will each write one story that incorporates both prompts. For simplicity's sake, I won't ask you to judge together because idk how feasible that would be. Instead, you will each give our stories a score from one to ten. Obviously whoever has the highest score wins.

Since you were both so eager to judge, I don't see why we should deprive you of that :)

Your brawl with each other will work exactly as I explained in my brawl post. Deadline is between October 1 and 3 for the benefit of all combatants.


Sitting Here posted:

:siren: Entenmerc Brawl :siren:

You have to write your respective prompts. That means Merc, you're writing about an immortal coming to terms with their love for a mortal. Ent, you're writing about depressing Russian poo poo hitting the fan. I'm sure you'll write exactly the kind of thing you'd want to read.

Words count: Who cares don't be boring
Due date: October 1st

Judge can be me, or me and flerp if he wants.

If you both agree and :toxx:, I will do my best to write both of your prompts, with the caveat that there is no word limit and the due date for Flerp and I is also on the 1st of October. Flerp can agree or not agree to this i don't care, ur already toxxed fucker

I feel like what's going on is p clear here, jesus christ i can't believe how much hand-holding i'm doing in this brawl against my person

sebmojo posted:

what the poo poo is going on in here sort it out pronto k

[calling to another room] no it's fine grampa you don't have to get up go back to bed we've got this

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Sitting Here posted:

[calling to another room] no it's fine grampa you don't have to get up go back to bed we've got this

Dec 11, 2013

by Pragmatica

QUO PRO QUID - Dinner with the Parents:
It's endearing, a light hearted jab at the inane fears we have about meeting new people and a near-universal human experience pushed to absurdist extremes. I don't have much to say about this one but in a good way. I just really liked it, I actually felt thet wave of relief of your protagonist as he realizes that his apprehensions about interacting with eldritch abomonations washed away. This would be a good read for racists and bigots everywhere. They'd find it legitimately funny, and maybe draw some parallels to their own prejudices. Nailed the "Satirical/Allegorical" aspect of the Caprichos as a whole, not just your's specifically.

Black Glass: loving strong. A story that conveys the growing isolation and misery perfectly. Getting a line crit because I wanna taklk about how loving great everything about this entry is. As of right now this is the clear winner.


The walls ate up the sky. The sun had less and less room to pass over us and when it did its light struck like fever. We awaited rescue but none came and those who called family out of town said it sounded like they were speaking instead to someone else, standing just over their shoulders. The TV news became fuzzy and warped. The anchors’ faces stretched rodentine by distortion. Their stories were optimistically banal. In mutated cadence they promised long weekends and blue skies and birthday cake. But that didn’t explain why no sound at all emerged from beyond the walls.

Or why all the children had stopped speaking, except with their eyes.

Or the endless rattle and gnash from beneath every cellar.

Or the rime of haze that had eaten the moon.
Even the way it is formatted contributes to the mood. This is the first one that really has a tempo. There's an almost rhythmic quality to the words. Reading this reminded me of how I felt reading Cormack McCarthy's The Road for the first time. Unsafe, uncomfortable, and unprepared for whatever is going to happen.

This is probably the best exposition I've read in a very long time, not just in Thunderstone...

Man, this one hurt to read. Your dialogue paints a picture of your main character so completely and eloquently that I can hear him hiding the emotional strain as I read. There's nothing to not like in this one. The story feels like it's being told by an actual person. That last line is just so powerful.

GUINESS 13 - The Guest:
Another legitimately creepy entry, the beginning is paced extremely well, it does a good job conveying a sense of isolation of your protagonist. Still strong but just doesn't stand out as much as the others. Don't get me wrong I REALLY like it, but the ending felt a little rushed compared with the rest of the pacing. I'd have liked it to slow down in the last scene, a little bit of a breather before the big reveal.

I like the direction this is going immediately - a good critique of the armchair quarterback bullshit that people like to spew about younger generations starting sometime in their thirties. This hits home for me because I never want to be one of those adults who rolls their eyes and says poo poo like "back in my day" or "that's not how I was raised". This feels like an allegory for life in the mid-to-late twenties. A metaphor for being an adult though not quite knowing how to, yet also seeing the people you grew up with fall into the trap of eternal adolescence.
I like the idea of a kid that wants to learn more and wants to not feel like a burden but is stuck with a brain that literally can't wrap itself around such concepts. It harkens back to "the good 'ol days" before horrible things like "safety regulations" and "child labor laws" ruined childhood for all the pussy millenials out there in a way that is harrowing and dark. There are just so many layers of commentary on the human experience folded into this that to point them all out would take forever. I think this one captures the spirit of the caprichos in a way that even the best so far have missed.
This is definitely the most high concept entry for the week. I feel like anyone reading it would find something to identify with. Loses the battle between concept and exposition though not by much.

Legitimately set back in the pack by spelling errors, which is something I don't care about much when reading. My biggest gripe is that it is violence without any real context or motivation. This one was hindered overall by a lack of a larger statement, there wasn't a critique of some larger aspects of society, nor was there any sense that your PoV character losing something. This one was largely forgettable for me.

CHILI - A Cold Night In Basque Country:
Good, I like the tone and the writing but the dialogue between Amaia and Kisin was a little hard to follow. Maybe a little bit more in the way of exposition in that conversation may have cleared things up. Overall it's pretty good, just lacks a little bit of a buildup to the ending.

THE CUT OF YOUR JIB - The Speaker:
Good but not great. Another one that could have been a contender. Not much to say about it from a negative standpoint. I did like the surrealist imagery of these kids trying to open a lock with a key lashed to a pole. The imagery is good and the ending is arguably the best part. I am saying this in the context of it is actually good writing and a great reveal, not in the sense of being a dick. The gilded cage at the beginning didn't hit me as a bird cage until just before the reveal.

SkaAndScreenplays fucked around with this message at 05:29 on Sep 26, 2016

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

week 215: i have a headache and am mad
oxxidation people who live in black glass shouldn't throw moon ladders
very good story very good atmosphere very good mood not a lot of character development/motivation but this is about a town not a single character so good job. this reads like one of those good night vale episodes when they don't just say two normal things and then a spooky thing, and it moves from the real world into this unsettling bleak degenerate version of reality slowly but surely

surep surrrp sumomuffman we don't need no water let the fire burn
this was kind of cool mostly in the way you did the ending where it's just implied enough that this is the guy who saw it. the rest of it was okay with some cool descriptions but i can tell you just threw this together because you know you got a good voice in your back pocket

guiness13 the boogeyman more like the boringeyman
this is a story about a kid who sees a weird dude a bunch of times and then the weird dude is in his house. the mood is a little too folksy to really get a sense of dread and i wanted the guy to do something to warrant being scared of him other than just vague menace of presence. waited for something to happen, nothing did.

sitting here im actually a thousand year old dragon in the body of an eight year old
this was a pretty neat idea that you did kinda okay. like most of the work here was in the idea and then you let it play out a bit and it's kinda resonant but i don't care all that much, i guess. the stuff at the end would be insane gross if it wasn't a lead up to "olds make baby fart on torch" i guess so good job writing a joke that doesn't work unless you look at the picture that comes before your story

llamagucci more fire except this one isn't as good
the whole time i was reading this i kept thinking it was written to the tune of John of Ditchford which is a kind of rolling poorly-rhymed song about a criminal who killed a guy and ran off and got arrested. except this had none of the interesting stuff about getting arrested or anything it was just a lot of burning and dying. didn't get to hear from the two criminals much so i didn't get much development out of them and then i didn't hear much about the family either. most of it is just people dying or getting hurt in fire and there's some good description but not great description and man your caprice was so good mannn

chili i forget the name of that story where the guy will die when a candle burns out but the wife puts out the candle and puts it in a chest unwittingly creating the first lich with a candle phylactery
why is death named after some mayan death god if he's in basque country? makes no dang sense but other than that i thought this was pretty neat to read it just was shaky in bits. death being impeded by basic physical things is good and i like the sort of pan around and reveal that oh wait she was about to die not him. nice work, just not qutie as nice as some others

the cut of your jib i just looked back at the picture and realized how literal you went with this
the surreality of an island covered with bars and there being a lock and trying to break the lock is really cool and i kind of wish the story had stayed on that or come back to it somehow. as i was reading through it i got to a point where i expected these to be idunno birds or something and they're all in a birdcage but no it was literal. not sure what the point i was supposed to get from this was though, the degeneracy of their rituals that have gone on for so long? the way people put their faith in base things? the end feels like it's trying to say something but i can't get it beyond the literal meaning of it

Feb 15, 2005

by exmarx

Okay I'm in

Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

Thanks for the crits!

Jul 22, 2007

Thanks for the feedback.

And while I'm here, 9 hours 30 minutes remaining to sign up.

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007


Axe-murderIN' a story here.

Thanks for the crits/feedback all

Toaster Beef
Jan 23, 2007

that's not nature's way

Oxxidation posted:

I've been sitting on this idea for a while.

Thunderdome Week 216: Historical Redemption (or: Sin, Lizzie)

On August 4, 1892, property developer Andrew Borden and his wife Abby were found murdered in their home, executed by numerous hatchet blows. Their daughter Lizzie was arrested as a major suspect in the crime, owing chiefly to the testimony of apparent sole witness, the housemaid Bridget Sullivan. After a contentious and publicized trial, Lizzie was acquitted of her crime, but as the quoted ditty above suggests, her perceived guilt followed her anyway, and she lived a pariah before passing away more than 30 years later.

To this day, no one's certain if she really killed her parents - both Lizzie and the maid's testimony was confusing and contradictory, the evidence on the scene was constantly being tampered with either by the witnesses or investigators, and Andrew Borden was by all accounts a nasty S.O.B. with no shortage of enemies - but her guilt became so memetic that as far as pop culture's concerned it probably makes no difference. In the foreword to his short story "Hitler Painted Roses," prolific author and legendary crank Harlan Ellison suggested that, depending on how cosmic justice actually functions, there's a good chance Lizzie Borden is burning in Hell for a crime she didn't commit. And that just ain't cricket.

Which brings me to the prompt: in 1200 words or less, write a story that absolves Lizzie Borden of her crimes. I'm being as broad as possible here - there are no constraints on genre, the story doesn't have to take place in the 1800's, it doesn't even need to feature the Bordens. Just so long as you find some way to pull Lizzie's feet a little further away from the fire, just about anything goes with content. I'll view more ambitious interpretations favorably so long as they stick the landing, but my one stipulation is no time travel. What happens in history, stays in history. Likewise I won't be too picky about research, but a quick glance as the relevant Wikipedia article would no doubt benefit many of you.

All right, I'm in.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007




Ironic Twist posted:

Next THUNDERTOME book, to fit the season:

Friday, October 15th @ 8PM EST. join us in #thundertome on IRC

I want to reiterate that this is a really cool collection and I hope people jump in. The last few Thundertomes have been pretty fun.

Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

So far I'm 4/4 on reading the book and missing the meeting. Been really enjoying the books, though. I'll be picking this one up, too.

Jul 22, 2007

Signups are now closed.

Toaster Beef
Jan 23, 2007

that's not nature's way

A Woman's Work (1,200 words)

A humid summer on the eastern seaboard is a hot, damp blanket that you can’t cast off. It weighs everything down. When the first hatchet swing connected with the side of her mother’s head, it let out a sharp, wet crack, like the tearing skin of a newly rotten apple—and the sound, contained by that lugubrious summer blanket, refused to leave the room. Her stepmother hit the ground immediately, dead weight making no effort to protect itself against the thinly carpeted wooden floor. It sounded like she’d fallen so much farther.

Each swing was more pointless than the last. Blood, bone, and brain spread across the floor, a sickly mix of reds and grays matting her stepmother's hair together in thick, black clumps. Within seconds, the only sounds in the room were her own heavy breathing and the steady drip of blood off the blade of the hatchet.

Downstairs, her father was asleep on the sofa, resting comfortably. His face—the eyes shut in peaceful slumber, the mouth hanging slightly agape—caved nicely to the force of the blade. The dull pop of his eyeball splitting on the very first swing reverberated faintly up the handle. She didn’t count the swings, but it felt like he took fewer than his wife.

And just like that, the house was quiet again.

Lizzie blinked, then shook her head. She blinked again, trying to clear away the sight in front of her. It wasn’t going away. She looked down at what had been her beautiful blue dress. It was soaked in crimson, parts of it so weighed down with detritus it clung to her as if she’d been caught in a storm. The hatchet hung precariously from her hand, coated top to bottom in that same red sludge—much like her forearm, which shined gently in the light coming from the window.

She stood, glued to that spot, for what felt like minutes. She knew what she’d done. She’d witnessed the whole thing, after all—but that couldn’t have been her, could it? Not little Lizzie Borden. So petite. So demure.

Yet here stood a woman, hatchet in hand. Her breath quickened. Her pulse echoed in her ears. A thick sheen of sweat had formed on every exposed inch of her skin. Blood, thinned with water, rolled down her in rivulets.

And, from what seemed like an impossible distance away, she heard the laughter. Deep, echoing, constant. Mad. She looked around, trying to place it, but it was everywhere and growing quickly. She dropped the hatchet and brought her hands up to her ears, trying to shut it out, but it only got louder—and she realized it wasn’t coming from outside, it was coming from within, not mad but calculating—

Allison’s eyes shot open, and she gasped as she pushed herself up. She was breathing heavily. Her heart fired like a machine gun in her chest. She was drenched in sweat. Like a woman who’d blinked and found herself in a different area code, she looked around to ascertain her surroundings—and, with what felt like an unbearable slowness, it all came back to her. Reason returned.

Drew took in a deep breath and began to stir, his sleep disturbed.

Her eyes struggled to adjust to the almost complete dark of the bedroom, its wallpaper and furniture visibly ancient even with the barest of light filtering through the thin, lace curtains covering the window. Every movement made the bed creak, and she hoped she hadn’t woken anyone in one of the other rooms. Something about this house amplified everything, and the thick summer air wasn’t helping—

“You okay, Al?” Drew muttered, his arm raised and covering his eyes. “Nightmare?”

“Yes. loving nightmare,” Allison said. “I told you this would happen.”

She swung her legs over the side of the bed. It creaked, and she swore it was loud enough for people down the street to take notice. She flinched.

“We really had to stay in her room?” Allison asked, her eyes still struggling with the darkness as she stood up and walked toward the door.

“Why would you stay the night in the Lizzie Borden house and not take Lizzie Borden’s room?” Drew asked. He began to mutter something else, but seemed to already be drifting off again. Allison wouldn’t have heard it anyway. She had already opened the heavy, creaking door and wandered out into the hallway.

Each step was precarious. There were other couples to be mindful of, and every board in these floors felt ready to scream. She could relate. This place bothered her, and it wasn’t just because it hosted the Borden murders. She wasn’t a believer, but she could swear something felt wrong about this place. She tried to push it out of her mind as she let her hand trail along the wall, serving as both guide and anchor as she made her way to the bathroom.

The bathroom door was open. The window within faced the moon, and she practically raced toward it when she saw it. Light—any light—would be a comfort right now.

She slipped through the door, shut it quietly behind her, and hit the light switch. It flickered briefly, finally coming to life and bathing the room in dim yellow. Allison reflexively slammed her eyes shut.

She opened them, slowly, to a room that was covered in blood.

She screamed, her eyes wide, her hands—themselves smeared with blood—up near her face. She turned quickly toward the mirror, her mouth still agape, and saw the true nature of the sweat she thought she'd been drenched in when she woke. It was all over her. It was in her hair. It soaked into her clothing. In a split second, she threw open the door and took off down the hallway.

The light from within the bathroom may have been dim, but with the door flung open it was still more than enough to light the corridor as she ran. Flashes of crimson red scattered throughout the entirety of the hallway, some even six or seven feet up the walls, burned their way into her eyes for the brief run back to the bedroom.

She pounded on the door twice and screamed Drew’s name before pushing it open hard and stumbling inside—where she was, now made fully awake and electric by adrenaline and terror—was able to see Drew’s shredded, pulped corpse for what it was. Blood dripped from the soaked sheets down to the equally soaked floor. It coated the walls. It made the carpet squish under her feet.

But that was impossible. He just—

She fell to her knees, then onto her side, sobbing and screaming for help. It was only from this spot along the ground, looking under the bed toward her side of it, that she was finally able to notice the hatchet. It was red and glistening, blade to base.

She stayed there on the ground screaming, unsure why nobody in the house was coming to her aid.

But as a deep, bellowing laughter that filled her ears from what felt like forever away started to grow louder and louder, she thought of the amount of blood she'd seen in the hallway—and realized she knew the answer.

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007


Week 216 Submission - Historical Redemption (Sin, Lizzie)

No Hatchet Stays Buried Forever
1200 Words

Emma’s eyes were glued shut, all she saw was groggy fog. She flopped one arm over. Tap, tap, silk sheets. Tap, tap, crocheted afghan, a whiff of must and cedar. Whew. It was her bunk on the tour bus. Tap, tap, skin. Human skin. Hairy skin.

She wrenched her eyelids open and bore witness to the bloated canvas before her, a Rorschach gone wrong, some tattoos faded from time, others bled like watercolor paper from sloppy work, a tacit reminder that the artist should always be less drunk than the recipient. Through a crusty squint, Emma catalogued the distorted icons of the Pantheon of Rock. Alice Cooper to Zappa, all covered with a thick fuzz, like a velvet painting. And there was Elvis, grinning. His youthful snarl stretched like silly putty across the love handle that hung every-which-way over black jeans.

“Unkle John?” she creaked.

Unkle John sat on the edge of the bunk, working some scrambled eggs on the hot plate. “Hell of night,” he said.

“Yeah, don’t tell me about it. Where is everybody?” Emma found her water bottle and drained it as he replied.

“Up in the hotel. Just about everyone was already passed out when we came down. But poo poo, kid, we did it.”

Emma was closer to forty than thirty, and she certainly didn’t plan on ending the biggest night of her career with Unkle John. But Morse Code was one hell of an opening band, and years ago, John taught her to play guitar. Where’s the harm in throwing a friendly, old dog a bone?

“Eight thousand seats, sold out.” As he smiled, the silver scruff of his handlebar moustache moved like curtains on the wings of a vast proscenium.

“Jesus, John. I can’t look at you until you put your dentures in.”

“Lucky I don’t hold a grudge. Somebody else might have killed Andy after he knocks a guy’s teeth out with a sucker-punch.” Unkle John shoveled the eggs into an empty Chinese food container and slathered them in ketchup. “You want some?”

The sweet vinegar tang of warm ketchup turned her stomach. “No thanks. Just hand me my kit and I’ll be fine.”

Unkle John passed her the leather shaving kit. She rifled through it and held a small vial to the morning sun, to see only the grain of dust motes through the cloudy glass. “Dammit. I’m out. You got any Axe, John?”

“Nah. Quit that stuff years ago. But Lizzie scored some last night. It’s up in the room. And let’s not tell Andy about us, hmm?”

“Sheesus, you really think I sit down with my Dad and dish about boys?” Emma shrugged a threadbare t-shirt over her head, the uneven paint of the homemade stencil a reminder of the days when Prussic Acid was just a few crappy lyrics in a junior-high notebook and shirts made in the garage, a daydream while her father was on tour with John, before the Big Falling Out.

Dad and Unkle John would never say what went down between them (though she suspected it was why her mother left), but over the years those details softened and John concocted ever more convoluted stage banter known as the Big Falling Out about the day his teeth went missing. Time heals most wounds. Twenty years on, they had patched things up enough to go on tour together, Emma’s father managing her band and Unkle John’s as her opening act.

Emma stumbled into her slippers and off the bus. She stifled a disgusted laugh as she went through the revolving doors of the Fall River Hotel and looked back to see Unkle John shirtless in the driver’s seat, gut parked on the steering wheel as he gummed his eggs, moustache stained with ketchup. Groupie boy-toys from now on.

She whiteknuckled the elevator railing, the ceiling a Spin Art. She prayed someone in the suite had some Axe to give her a little balance. The doors opened on a silent hallway. Emma traced the textured stripes of the wallpaper as she rounded the corner, then saw her waifish sister standing barefoot in a slip at the ice machine at the other end of the corridor.

“Lizzie,” said Emma as she approached. Lizzie didn’t react. Emma was close enough to touch her. Behind her, in the ice machine catch, Emma saw Lizzie’s dress in the pink water as Lizzie scrubbed at it. “Hey.”

Lizzie spun, startled. “Em,” said Lizzie. “Oh god, it’s bad.” Her slip was faintly splotched. She spilled wine and it soaked through. No, she smelled like iron. It was blood.

“What happened, Lizzie?”

Lizzie turned and scrubbed at the shift dress. Her voice quivered. “I tried. It was too late. But I tried.”

Emma picked the keycard from the floor and unlocked the suite. Shafts of light filtering through the drawn curtains were the only illumination, but it was enough. Too much. Her knees finally gave out and she collapsed to the floor.

Her father was slumped on the sitting room couch, a cracked, ochre delta of dried blood in the stubble under his nose. Rivulets stained his neck towards the damp pool soaked around his collar like a grim bib. Her step-mother was sprawled in the doorway to the right, face-down on the plush carpet.

Emma just stared, frozen. There was nothing but the hum and clatter of the ice machine as Lizzie scrubbed.

Then, a voice from inside the room brought her back. Maggie, from the road crew, sat against the wall to the left, knees pulled tight to her chest, forearms dappled with blood. “I came in and found them. They were already dead.” Maggie pointed to the empty vials on the coffee table. “ODed on that poo poo. loving Axe.”

Emma heard Lizzie’s manic laugh behind her. “No,” said Lizzie. “Unkle John, he poisoned it. Murdered them. Strung out musicians die from tainted drugs. Nobody’s going to look twice at him.”

Emma couldn’t break the glassy gaze of her father’s dark eyes. “Poisoned? Why?” She heard Lizzie drop to the floor beside her.

“Revenge.” There was a long silence. “Mom. Unkle John was in love with her. They fought over her years ago. Broke up the band. Then she overdosed and Dad was too high to save her. She didn’t just abandon us. She died. I heard them fight again last night while you were still in the bar.”

“Mom is dead? He lied to us?”

“Unkle John gave me the Axe. Maggie saw me leave it on the table before we went to my room. I killed them. That’s all they’re ever going to believe.”

They saw red and blue flashes through the curtains, and the flicker of cameras from the crowd gathering in the hall. “Shh. They were sick, that’s all.”

“Addicts, you mean.”

“Well, us, too. Runs in the family, I guess.”

“It’s my fault. Forgive me, Emma.”

Unkle John stood behind the uniformed officers as they pierced the crowd, his porcelain grin seen only by the sisters.

“We all need absolution,” Emma said. Her fingertip grazed her sister’s arm as the cold, steel cuff clicked around Lizzie’s wrist. “Some more than others. We’ll get through this, I promise.”

Sep 20, 2015


Seeking gold, he wakes the dragon
1200 words

The stone came from Iram, from that ruined city of lofty pillars. Across the desert of al-Sham, then the Mediterranean, then the Atlantic, until it reached my home in Providence. It is white and pitted, no more than eight inches long and five wide. One side is flat and bears a fragmentary inscription in Aramaic; the other sides are raw stone.

My experiments were slow at first, owing to a difficult court case for which I was the prosecutor. While during the day, I sought to prove that the governor's nephew had engaged in misconduct with a young woman of standing, in my evenings I sought to prove that this stone did nothing. I was skeptical, as any good alchemist should be, and the tales of Iram's pillars, made not by the hands of men, seemed more like hermetic fancy.

I began to wake with weak limbs and a pale complexion. The blush of health would return to me while I worked at my office, but each night upon returning home, it was as if it began anew. No closed windows nor stale air nor chemical left unbottled was the cause. Perhaps the stone meant to force me away, but now that I knew that some power lay within, I dedicated myself to learning what it could do. The ailment that the stone forced upon me was nothing next to my own curiosity.

It first happened with water. In the course of cleaning off residue from an earlier experiment, I poured water across the top of the stone, and noted that the pool around it seemed larger than what the cup had contained. With two cups of equal size, I was able to prove that more water rolled off the stone than I had poured onto it. Next I tested it with pellets of gold. I dropped a handful on top of the stone, and clattering down its sides came a small pile: each time a pellet struck the stone, it rolled off in two directions at once. I had started with five pellets, and by the time they settled, I could count at least thirty.

I couldn't stay in my laboratory; I had to breathe fresh air and see the sky. I walked out along the streets, tracing a mindless path through Providence as I thought of the possibilities, the dangers, the sheer thrill of discovery. When I returned home, I was still in a daze, such that when I saw only five pellets of gold sitting next to the stone, I thought perhaps I had only had a dream. But when I sprinkled them over the stone again, they reappeared in multitudes. I sat, waiting, watching to see what metamorphosis had reduced their number again. Fifty-two minutes passed from their duplication until they vanished, leaving only the originals. I knew I had to find a way to extend this effect, to allow these copies to last.

My malady worsened, and my time away from home did less to solve it. One morning, my stomach was so weak that I vomited, and nearly considered staying home from work. But I set out for my office regardless, as the trial was nearing and I needed to be ready, even though it seemed so trivial now. Not long after I had entered my office, I had what the word 'vision' fails to encompass; I was not at the office, but taking a walk out toward the country, in order to raise my constitution. I could at one moment recall when I had sat down at my desk, and at the next the wooden fenceposts and the smell of wet soil as I passed a farm. The memories ran over top of each other, as if simultaneous.

A day later, I saw myself. In the morning before leaving home, I decided to examine the stone for any changes. I was halfway down the stairs when I heard a noise, and turned, and there at the top I stood, fixing my buttons, then turning to leave. I checked my stopwatch, then examined the stone--there was no difference in its appearance, but I felt a sense of unease, as if I should come no closer to it. I waited at home, until my stopwatch had counted fifty-two minutes, and then without ceremony or warning, I was in my chair in my office, in the middle of reading a written statement. My memories of staying home and those of leaving were each as vivid in my mind.

I did not know what force was feeding the stone, but its power grew. I understood now that it did not duplicate so much as create possibility. I could deal myself a hand of playing cards and watch the faces flicker in and out in front of me. I could wake up and find myself still in bed, as well as in the washroom, as well as eating breakfast, and then all at once I would have done everything: my stubble was clean and my stomach full and yet I was still in bed, with the memories of five different selves throbbing inside my skull.

It was only in the service of experimentation that I invited my client, the young woman, to my house. To discuss the trial next week, I told her. I fetched her from her house and escorted her to mine, and began to talk in earnest. The color left her cheeks after perhaps twenty minutes, and a moment later, the noise of conversation came from the parlor. She startled and I curious, we peered in to find ourselves having tea and a more casual conversation. Then, with a crash of china, another she came running from the kitchen, while another I raved like a madman and chased after her. From upstairs came impassioned cries--her own--and thumping.

After the period had elapsed, she found herself scraped and bruised, in a panic, in the streets near Saint Joseph's Church, while I found myself still at home, as if nothing untoward had happened. I cannot count how many possible-selves there were that day. I know some of what I did to her, and she knows too, and my only solace is that such dizzying multiplicity makes any account of that day such a mess that no jury would believe.

My punishment is my memory of all the possibilities in which I have died. In each, I wake up again. Iram of the Pillars stands around me, climbing higher, higher into the dark sky above, with nothing but sand stretching away for eternity. I run, or I cry, or I call out, but the empty dread and lofty pillars made not by the hands of men always swallow me whole.

Across the Seekonk and the Taunton, I buried the stone. As deep as I could dig, five feet down into the soil. There are nothing but fields and pastures near it, and perhaps without my vital essence to draw from, it will become no more than stone again. I write this not to exonerate myself, but in hopes that, if I do not return to put a final end to this stone, someone else may.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012



Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 21:40 on Dec 31, 2016

Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!

The Verse May Not Convince The Judge, Nor Chorus Sway The Jury

486 Words

Andrew Borden climbed the ladder
Rung by shaky, creaking rung
Reaching loft where birds were roosting
Set aside the tool he'd brung.
Andy crept across the barn loft
Over to the windows propped
And he took away the brace-wood
Eased them as they slowly dropped.
Thirty birds watched him work
Up in roosts, in the murk
Andrew's face crooked a smirk

“Pigeons all are filthy devils,”
Emma said the other day
“Flying rats attracting children
Trespassing in reckless play.”
Never doubt, Andrew knew
All were precious to his daughter
Each of these birds of blue
Lizzie's comfort, Lizzie's balm
Only source of fleeting pleasure
In the house of her step-mom
Andrew knew this was true

Andrew walked among the pigeons
Trapped with him and nearly tame
Grabbed the nearest mostly still bird
Felt the beats of bird heart
Trembling wings, hush and start
Snapped neck, felt bird soul flee frame
Andrew dropped the corpse and stepped up
To the next unbothered fowl
Picked it up and as it struggled
Vainly to fingers part
Grimace turned to angry scowl

There's a limit to the tameness
There's a point when fear can bite
Bird by bird, snatched and slain
Corpses in bird-pile lain
One and one and more start running
Cooing, cawing, taking flight
Far too late, to no gain
Andrew knew that this would happen
Walked back to pick up his tool
Sharp and deadly steel-blade hatchet
Andrew was no pigeon's fool.

Messier but as effective
Andrew's hatchet did its job
Pigeon heads cut from their body
Messily dissected squab
Bird and man's mismatched war
Feathers, down, blood and gore
Sticky hands and sticky floor
Andrew felled fast and in fury
Andrew could reach every roost
One bird left, before a joist-beam
Hatchet drawn back, towards it loosed.

Unlike men and other mammals
Pigeons always mate for life
As the bloody blade flew at him
Friends all gone, one by one,
Slaughtered daughters and son
Still too shocked to mourn his wife
Hatchet blade went through bird skull and
Handle snapped when blade met wood
If divine ironic justice
Reigned the blade would have struck man
Justice then, there was none

Emma called up from below him
Andrew resting weary thighs
“Bring the plumpest and the best ones
Bridget can make us some pies.”
Bridget, maid, Lizzie's friend,
Forced to pluck, skin and rend
Andrew did as he was bidden
Had some pigeon pie for tea
Some for dinner and the next day
Slice and slice, without end
For a week, then two, then three.

After months marched May to August
Lizzie Borden homeward came
And one morning climbed that ladder
To the site of father's game
Feral cats took the best
Maggot-flies had the rest.
Only memories of violence
There with dust laid over tracks
Ghosts of pigeons testified, then
Lizzie Borden got an axe,
And you all know the rest.

Sep 2, 2016


The Munster Monster

Word Count: 1151

Limerick, Ireland August 12th, 1989 – Two children murdered outside of country home. Cause of death: multiple hatchet wounds. Female child exhibits wounds on head, torso and chest. Male child exhibits wounds on neck and face. No defensive wounds present on either child. Hatchet handle recovered in bushes near bodies. Missing hatchet head. Never recovered. Family border collie is discovered, mutilated on edge of property. No suspects. Investigation status: inactive.

Ellis Island, USA December 10th, 1989 – Irish immigrant Bridget Sullivan, 23, is admitted to the United States. Sullivan is accompanied by single male minor: Timothy Murphy, 14. Sullivan claims Murphy is the illegitimate child of her late mother.

Fall River, Massachusetts February 1st, 1990 – Bridget Sullivan accepts housekeeping position in the two story home of Andrew and Abby Borden.

Fall River, Massachusetts April 12th, 1992 – Bridget Sullivan admitted to Saint Anne’s Hospital by brother, Timothy Murphy. Symptoms present: swelling over right eye, split lip, slight bruising on neck, forearms and thighs, heavy bruising on left side of rib cage. Sullivan refuses rape examination. Sullivan refuses to give statement as to cause of injury. No charges filed. Sullivan released to the care of Timothy Murphy.

Fall River, Massachusetts April 13th, 1992 – Timothy Murphy admitted to Saint Anne’s Hospital by sister, Bridget Sullivan. Symptoms present: right eye blackened, bleeding from right ear, three ribs cracked, right wrist fractured. Murphy gives statement as to cause of injury: physical altercation at Borden residency. No charges filed. Murphy released to the care of Bridget Sullivan.

Fall River, Massachusetts July 1st, 1992 – Bridget Sullivan attends walk-in hours at TruMed Clinic complaining of stomach cramps, nausea and mild headaches. Physical and urine test administered. Results: hCG level 8,500 mIU/mL. Prenatal supplements prescribed. Estimated due date: January 3rd, 1993. Follow up appointment to be scheduled in one month.

Fall River, Massachusetts July 30th, 1992 – Bridget Sullivan admitted to Saint Anne’s Hospital by brother, Timothy Murphy. Symptoms present: Intense vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain, bruising on right side of stomach. Sullivan gives statement as to cause of injury: fall from second story down stairwell at Borden residency while dusting banister. Status of pregnancy: miscarriage. Sullivan released to the care of Timothy Murphy.

Fall River, Massachusetts August 4th, 1992 – Officers dispatched to Borden residency in response to call received from housemaid Bridget Sullivan stating her employers had been murdered in their home. Cause of death: multiple hatchet wounds. Abby Borden is found face down in an upstairs bedroom with multiple hatchet wounds to the back of the head. Abby Borden also exhibits a broken nose. Andrew Borden is found lying face up on the downstairs couch with multiple hatchet wounds to the face. One of Andrew Borden’s eyes has been split in half. No defensive wounds are present. No DNA or finger prints are present at crime scene. Hatchet handle is recovered in basement. Missing hatchet head. Investigation ensues.

Fall River, Massachusetts August 11th, 1992 – Lizzie Borden, daughter of Andrew Borden, is taken into custody for the murder of the Bordens.

New Bedford, Massachusetts June 5th, 1993 – Lizzie Borden is tried for the murder of her parents. No physical evidence is able to be linked to Borden. Bridget Sullivan is brought on the
stand, but her testimony does not help to incriminate Borden of the murder. Borden does not take the stand.

New Bedford, Massachusetts June 20th, 1993 – The jury acquits Lizzie Borden for the murder of her parents.

Limerick, Ireland July 17th, 1993 – Bridget Sullivan returns to Ireland accompanying minor, Timothy Murphy.

Limerick, Ireland August 7th, 1995 – Anonymous caller reports hearing screams and seeing a shadowy attack behind closed curtains in a residency on the outskirts of town. Witness cannot be identified. Officers arrive on scene to find Larry and Jann O’Conner murdered in their home. Cause of death: Multiple hatchet wounds. Jann O’Conner is found in the hallway with multiple hatchet wounds on arms, neck and stomach. Larry O’Conner is found face-up in bed with multiple hatchet wounds on face and neck. Defensive wounds are present on Jann O’Conner’s arms. No DNA or finger prints are present at crime scene. Hatchet handle is recovered on back porch. Missing hatchet head. No suspects are taken into custody. Investigation status: inactive.

Ellis Island, USA August 22nd, 1995 – Bridget Sullivan is readmitted to the United States, unaccompanied.

Helena, Montana July 26th, 1905 – Timothy Murphy arrives in the United States. Purpose of travel: pleasure.

Helena, Montana July 28th, 1905 – Bridget Sullivan marries John Sullivan, no relation. Brother Timothy Murphy is in attendance.

Helena, Montana August 2nd, 1905 – The bodies of James and Marilyn Hughes are found by a jogger in Spring Meadow Lake State Park. No witnesses. Cause of death: multiple hatchet
wounds. James Hughes is found face down laying on top of Marilyn Hughes, partially naked. Both have multiple hatchet wounds to head, face, neck and arms. Hatchet handle is recovered in a nearby trash barrel. Missing hatchet head. No DNA or finger prints are present at crime scene. Marilyn’s ex-husband Aaron Lyons is taken into custody for the murders. Lyons is later released when his alibi is proven. Investigation status: inactive.

Limerick, Ireland August 3rd, 1905 – Timothy Murphy returns to Ireland.

Limerick, Ireland December 12th, 1906 – Timothy Murphy is in a near fatal auto accident, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

Limerick, Ireland June 1st, 2027 – Timothy Murphy dies of liver failure.

Fall River, Massachusetts June 1st, 2027 – Lizzie Borden dies of pneumonia.

Limerick, Ireland January 2nd, 2028 – EasySpace Self Storage auctions off the storage unit belonging to Timothy Murphy due to lack of payment for a six-month interval.

Limerick, Ireland January 3rd, 2028 – The new owners of storage unit 63 discover four rusted hatchet heads in an unlocked toolbox. Newspaper clippings featuring brutal murders in both the United States and Ireland from 1989 through 2005 are found under the lining of the toolbox. No hatchet handles are found in the storage unit. Police are notified.

Limerick, Ireland January 24th, 2028 – Detective Patrick O’Brian attributes the murders of the Bordens of Massachusetts, the O’Conners of Limerick, the Hughes of Montana and the two unnamed children of Limerick to Thomas Murphy, the illegitimate child of Brenda Sullivan, brother to Bridget Sullivan. All inactive cases are closed and families notified.

Limerick, Ireland January 25th, 2028 – The Limerick Post headlines Thomas Murphy as “The Munster Monster,” Limerick’s first serial killer. Details of crimes are released through a leak in the police department. The story is run inter-nationally.

Lucerne, California April 7th, 2030 – A new student is admitted to Lucerne Elementary from Fall River, Massachusetts. At recess, she teaches her new friends of the infamous Lizzie Borden, who murdered her parents just down the street from her old house. “Lizzie Borden took an axe, And gave her mother forty whacks; When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty- one.” They jump rope and laugh at the rhyme until the bell tolls.

Nov 15, 2012

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

Old Lizzies' Secret
1197 words

I’ve never been interested in working with the elderly. But my first marriage had ended back when poor Herbert fell in the Great War, and I never could find it in me to remarry. So I had to get work of my own, wherever I found it. And in the summer of 1927, I found it in the residence of one Lizzie Borden.

There’d been rumors about her all ‘round, and they weren’t pretty. Folks said she’d killed her own parents, whacked them with the axe back in the 90’s. Grisly, mean stuff. But the courts had cleared her, and as far as I was concerned, that was it. But you know people. They never stop talking.

So maybe the old girl was happy to have someone who didn’t care about her past, for once. At least she treated me with more kindness than any of my former employers. She never asked me to be her mistress, for one. She greeted every servant by their first name, and none of us had to eat in the kitchen. She liked the company.

Probably it was that her life was nearing its end. I didn’t know the details, but she was dying, and on some days she just felt a bit dizzy, and on others I would have to turn her around in bed and change the bedpan and wash her with a sponge.

She had no husband or children.

There was just Bridget Sullivan, her former housemaid. Every month Bridget would send a letter, and we’d give it to Ms. Borden (she usually sat in the garden, looking at her roses and daffodils), and she’d read it and smile, like she’d just met an old friend she’d long forgotten about, and then in the evening, she’d retreat up to her study and write her reply.

Then came the letter that changed everything.

I remember the way her face slipped as she read it, like the old-forgotten friend had a heart attack right in front of her. Her breath stifled. She leaned into the letter, as if there was a hidden meaning, as if the words would transform into something else, if only she stared hard enough.

“Ms. Borden?” I said. “Is everything right?”

She collapsed back into her chair, the arm with the letter dangling over the armrest. She looked somewhere else, far away. I stepped closer.

“Ms. Borden?”

“Poor Bridget is dead.” Her voice was but a whisper.

I almost burned my hand on her forehead, and I turned to get the doctor, but something held me back. A hand closed around my wrist, a feverish, determined strength I hadn’t expected from Ms. Borden. The letter floated to the ground at my feet.

“Can you keep a secret?” she said.

“Excuse me? Ms. Borden--”

At first it seemed she wouldn’t let go without an answer, but whatever she’d wanted to tell me, she thought better of it. Her grip loosened. “Do you believe in hell?” she said. She was still looking away from me.

“I was raised a Christian.”

She let go.

The doctor diagnosed an episode of stress, nothing special. But still, the letter had changed everything.

It was as if her last connection to the living world had been severed, and now she was just floating along, a ship lost at sea. She forgot things. Conversations turned brief, and sometimes mean, like she was looking for a way to be insulted. Like she was being mean on purpose. She kept reading that last letter. She preferred to stay inside, and her bad days got more frequent. On some days she wouldn’t leave the bed at all, and on many others she would only leave it to move to her recliner.

And then sometimes, she wandered to new and strange places. It was one of those days that I saw Ms. Borden standing on the roof, dangerously close to the edge. I had taken over her garden duties, and when I ran inside with my muddy boots I almost ruined the floor.

When I reached the roof, she stood looking down at the garden, the wind tugging at both of us, making her look even more frail than usual, what with her dress loosely flapping around her like leaves on an old willow tree. I ran towards her before I realized just how high up we were. You could see over the treetops.

“I want to go to hell,” Ms. Borden said.

I realized I was still holding the watering can, because I dropped it. It tumbled over the edge and crashed into the ground below with a loud bang.

“Suicide is one way, you know.”

“Ms. Borden, please think of what you’re saying.”

She stepped towards me, and put both hands on my shoulder, and her eyes were wide and watery and what was in them wasn’t quite insanity, but close.

“Can you keep a secret?” she said.

“Sure, Ma'am.” I felt like maybe if I could keep her to hold on to me, she’d be safe. Or maybe she’d take me with her. Either way, I tried.

“My father was a vile, vile man. He did things to me that--” she broke up. “My mother didn’t care. She didn’t care. She wouldn’t help. She wouldn’t let me go. Neither of them would. Times were different back then. We couldn’t just up and leave.

“It was hell, but my parents were rich, and nobody cared. Except Bridget. Poor old Bridget. She cared about me, a bit too much maybe. I cared about her too, even though I knew I shouldn’t. What she did wasn’t right, but she set me free.”

She paused. The wind grew stronger around us, howling as if telling us to make up our minds already.

“And now she’ll burn in hell for it.”

“Please, Ma’am,” I said, “Let’s talk about this inside.”

“Nobody can know about this.” Her fingers dug into my shoulders, and the tears in her eyes welled up. “But I miss her so much. I just want to be with her. I owe it to her. I can’t leave her alone down there.”

“Ma’am, please...”

Her fingers lifted. She turned back towards the edge.

“People will be asking questions.”

She froze. The fog in her eyes seemed to lift, and then she nodded slowly.

She didn’t die that day. But it wasn’t long before she got her wish.

They say she’d went peacefully in her sleep. She was old and sick, and nobody asked any questions. Just like she’d wanted. A clean way out. That’s why I told nobody about the empty case of sleeping pills I’d found next to her bed. Her life had already been plagued by enough rumors. I didn’t want her death to be the same. Even if it was dishonest.

And maybe, a tiny part of me believed that if I hid it really well, if nobody else knew, the Lord wouldn’t mind giving her a spot in heaven. Just like I’m convinced that Bridget got one. Because the Lord is just, and he doesn’t punish those who have a good heart.

And then, maybe, he will forgive my little lie as well.

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

Deadline for the Djeser/Syndicate brawl is pushed back to 8PM EST. I may not be able to furnish the crits right away, but you babbies need more time apparently, so that is the price you pay.

Jul 22, 2007

45 minutes remain to submit.

Mar 21, 2010

Lizzy Borden loved her father
(some doors even the devil won’t open)

1198 words

Andrew Borden died twice.

It‘s a lie, but it’ll have to do.

He first died in 1890, in the Spring: fell down a ravine while walking home through warm, wild rain. Slipped in a patch of mud; scrambled while the earth broke up beneath his feet; screamed the whole way down. Died of exsanguination, less than an hour later. It should have ended there, with his shattered body emptied of life: splayed out in the mud like a puppet with the strings cut.

An hour may as well be an eternity to a dying man. It’s one thing to consider death in abstract, but to have hell’s hot breath raise the hairs on your neck? To be grabbed by the throat and made to stare into the coal shafts goin’ down and down in an eternity of roiling smoke: that’s another beast entirely.

With the last of his dying breaths, Andrew Borden cut a deal. He wasn’t ready to burn, so he said the old words, then walked out of that crevasse with barely a scratch on him. The old words ain’t the devil’s words, mind - devil weren’t even born when the old words got wrote. To keep your wicked old soul outta Lucifer’s hands, you sell it upriver to something darker, and infinitely more strange.

When Andrew got home, Abby fussed over his ripped clothes. He took her hand and looked into her eyes, then said something Lizzy could not hear. After that, Abby did not speak again for quite some time. She lost something that day; didn’t go pale nor any less talkative, but there was no light in her eyes from thereon after. Lizzy saw her mother walk the exact same path every morning through the house: the same almost-trip in the kitchen; the same neurotic tug of her hair as she passed the grandfather clock below the stairs - too precise to be mere routine. Tick tick tug tick.

It were all fine for a while, far as Lizzy could tell. Not pleasant, but it had never been pleasant; Andrew Borden was a mean drunk, and worse sober. She loved him as her father, but hated him as a man.

Since he came back from his ‘little fall’ in the ravine, he spent a lot of time in silence, staring into the middle-distance with his lips and tongue forming vulgar and alien shapes. Sometimes he’d stop in front of the hearth and speak the same words in German - a language he spoke only rarely, and never in company. Same words every time:

“Hasse tür ja ja,” - the door, yes, the hateful door. The grammar was wrong, like a child’s.

On an autumn day in ‘91, less than a year before - Lizzy approached him and tapped him on the shoulder. He was getting pale, and thin: less present, somehow.

“Eine tür, Vati?” she said. “Im Kamin? Im Feuer?”

“No,” he said. “The door is not here any more. It is inside.”

He would say no more.

Came the day everybody knows, and it didn’t dawn no different from any before; same Abby scooting around the place in her curious worn-down rut, same Andy looking sick, shaky and rageful. By that point, Lizzy had developed a habit of trailing her fingers across the wallpaper as she walked - searching for the telltale bumps and cracks of a hidden door. She was on the way to butcher a chicken for dinner, and had a small hatchet in her hand.

Lizzy was worried about her father, despite herself; he was a violent and frightening man, but he was still her father. She’d found no door, but some small part of her refused to take it as just another sign of Andrew’s madness.

Andrew was sitting in his favourite chair, staring into the fireplace. It was unlit. His skin was waxy. He was saying more silent words again. Lizzy tried to read his lips, but couldn’t: it wasn’t English, nor German. She cleared her throat, and his head whipped around - there was something bestial to the way he moved - all instinct and fear.

“Kill me,” he said. He wasn’t pleading, or scared - it was as if he were asking her to do the laundry. She laughed, then bit down on her lip. She didn’t want her father sent to a lunatic asylum upstate, but he frightened her then in a very different way than he’d frightened her before. Andrew laughed in return - a hacking, inhuman kikikikiki.

“Hasse tür,” he muttered, “ja ja.”

“I can’t find the door, pa,” she said. “I looked everywhere.”

Andy Borden stood. Abby swept into the living room; passed the grandfather clock, tugged her hair. Lizzy tightened her grip on the hatchet.

“Hasse tür,” said Andrew. “Hasse tür hasse tür hassetür hassetür hassetür hassetür.”

His tone was calm, but with a certain mad urgency. His left eye twitched. The words were running together now, and Lizzy heard a second voice squatting on top of her father’s. The same words but not quite: Hastur ia ia, Hastur. Hastur Hastur ia ia.

Andrew Borden died a second time, standing there in front of his hearth. It was a quiet death: he lost whatever tenuous hold he’d had over his body. His carcass slumped, but remained upright and smiling; in that moment, his vile passenger took the wheel.

Andrew Borden’s corpse opened its mouth. Human vocal cords were not made for the language it tried to speak - a string of choking glottals came out. A second voice came out of the air: I am come again through the open door.

Abby Borden was stuck now, pacing in a circle. Her eyes were glassy.

“Master,” she said.

Lizzy Borden loved her father, but he wasn’t there anymore, and she knew it. The light in his eyes were dead: such a small change, but total. She leapt. There was no plan - she didn’t even remember the hatchet in her hand.

Abby screeched, and threw herself in the path of the blade. The wet impact sent a shudder up Lizzy’s arm. Her mother’s body smashed against the wall, then slid to the floor, her neck twisted just a little too far around.

Hastur fell on her, both hands around her throat. She swung blindly with the axe, and it smashed into the corpse’s stomach. Hastur reeled. He was screaming, and she was screaming. Her second blow split his eye clean in half - viscous fluid erupted outwards: splashed onto her face and ran down her neck. The ruined eye dangled out of the socket on a single string of muscle. She swung at his face - bones and teeth shattered as his jaw tore away from his face. His tongue flapped wildly.

He growled, and clawed at her - she swung again and again. She swung until there was no more movement, then swung a little more. When she was done, Andrew Borden’s body was a pile of meat on the ground.

Lizzy dropped the hatchet, then went upstairs to the bathroom to clean her hands. It was over.

She didn’t cry.

She sat in the bathroom, and waited for the world to arrive.

Jul 22, 2007

I'll be giving a 30-minute extension for any stragglers. Submissions close at 12:30 EST.

Dec 11, 2013

by Pragmatica

Terrible Purpose: 1199 Words
A painstakingly chosen ensemble lay neatly at the foot of his bed as Charles prepared for the evening's outing. August had always been a grim month for him. It had been August that impulse had bested self control. It had been in August that he had met her. It had been August that he had doomed a young girl to life as a pariah.

That's not right, He thought, more like eternity. He shuddered as that goddamned children’s rhyme chimed in his head. Just another macabre reminder of his grisly purpose, of a good deed gone horribly wrong.

Charles turned from his ensemble and made way to the closet, ignoring his reflection as he reached for the top shelf. He retrieved the revolver with the kind of confidence one could only hope to achieve with a century of practice.

He thought back to the girl whose life he had ruined, and to the girls whose lives he had taken. More than a few had deserved it. It was the first ones, the innocent ones that stuck with him.

Charles eyed the Webley in his hands with a rare look of affection as he checked the ammunition. One short of a full cylinder. He closed the revolver and closed the closet for what he hoped would be the last time, telling himself the same lie he had so many times before.

This isn't murder, murder is without cause. This; this is-


The word left his lips not as an emboldened statement of cause but as a bitter greeting of an unwelcome guest.

“Now is that any way to speak to your favorite person?” The question was sarcastic, but the implication not entirely wrong. “What happened to the dashing young lady-killer I met in Whitechapel so many years ago?”

“He died Charles ignored the sleight, assessing his handler with an attention to detail which would have impressed even the most vigilant of investigators he had thwarted.

Combat boots polished to an obsidian shine met an impractically tight pair of jeans at the knee. She wore a white blouse contrasted by a dark Victorian era corset that Charles could swear she had been wearing the first time they’d met. The night I was given purpose, he thought, the night I was doomed to repent for my crimes by repeating them.

The look was completed by a snakeskin jacket. She looked less like a personification of law and order and more like a girl ready for a night on the town. It was not a good sign.

Regardless, Charles forced a grin.

“I like the scales,” he chuckled, “It really captures the reptilian way in which you interpret your namesake.”

“Swift retribution is the fastest road to restitution.”

Charles had never quite figured out what she was, probably some demigod or Fera given life and personality by the ever changing ideals and dreams of humanity.

No, he had known drat well what she was ever since that night in the brothel, probably some sort of demon.

She raised an eyebrow as their eyes met. Charles became aware of his nudity even before she commented on it.

“Get dressed, because you're handsome and all, but I doubt you’ll be getting into the club like that.”

“You know, sometimes I wish you were blind in more than just a metaphorical sense.’

He groaned. It was going to be a very long night.

And So began their annual ritual. Five rightful deaths for the five lives Charles had taken too soon.

Their first target seemed unambitious.

“A drug dealer?” Charles scoffed, “You’re going soft on me Justice.”

“He killed two kids for this corner.” It was enough for Charles.

“Hey, buddy, my Girl and I are kind of lost and we were hoping you could point us towards the freeway.” He flashed a hundred dollar bill, “I’d really appreciate it.”

Their target approached the Benz, drawing a pistol and espousing a threat. “Yeah, you give me your wallet, get out of the car, then-”

The shot cut the target off mid-sentence.

Charles drove off. Killer or not, he hated the envious way the dead looked at the living.
Target number two was the owner of a suburban rub-and-tug. Prostitution didn’t bother Justice, was the sex-trafficking set her blood boiling. There was no telling how many girls had died in shipping crates on the way to these places.
Charles cut the madame’s throat as she entered the room. It was a nearly identical to his first murder. Only this time he felt guilt.

They made two more stops and killed two more people. The heinous acts only noteworthy in that they were two of the last he would ever commit.
It was around midnight that they finally dumped the car, Charles had decided that the port would be a good place to do it, no one really bothered coming to the lakefront at night. He took a deep breath, filling his lungs with conviction as he made his way out onto the pier.

“Oooh,” Justice’s curiousity was uncannily earnest, “Are we killing some dockworker that dumps the bodies in the lake? Some corrupt coastie that’s smuggling women through the great lakes maybe?”

“Guess again.”

“That cop you’ve been trying to out as crooked for the past...” Justice’s eyes shifted upward, literally looking for the answer in her head. “Twelve years?” The cheerful tone poked a hole clean through Charles’ resolve.

Does she know?

“Could be, though what would he be doing out here?” He took another deep breath, stumping a demigod was the most fun he had had in years.

“Hiding another body?”

“I’ve never been that lucky.”

“Damnit Charlie, I have to approve of it.” Justice’s spirited veeneer had cracked, frustration pushed its way ever closer to the surface.

Is that her way of saying it won’t work?

“You aren’t used to being oblivious are you?” He reached the end of the pier, looking down at the revolver in his hands.

“I’m sorry for keeping you in the dark.” He turned on his heel. For the first time since they had met he took time to look his friend in the eye. This thing that had saved him from the ravages of time and given his impulses a coldly noble purpose was real.

She saw the gun in his hand, yet made no attempt to stop him.

“Tonight, my dear and only friend,” he choked back a tear, realizing that for all her flaws this abstract concept given life had truly been just that. He pressed the muzzle of the pistol against his head. “Tonight we end a reign of terror that spans a hundred years and three continents.”

“Well played sir.”“Tonight we kill Charles Cross, colloquially known as Jack The Ripper. Perpetrator of the Whitechapel Murders, the Borden Killings, and nearly a thousand other violent crimes over the course of his lifetime.”

Tears he’d never thought himself capable of welled in his eyes, “Before I go, thought. Answer me one question.”


“What are you?”

Once more Justice donned the cocksure expression which had grown so familiar to Charles. With a grin she answered.
“Pull that trigger and you will never find out...

Jul 22, 2007

Submissions are now closed.

Judgement to follow tomorrow night, probably.

Apr 12, 2006


Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

:siren: Thunderdome Recaps! :siren:

Remember when you wrote the stories that made the whole world cry? The Saddest Rhino remembers. Your sins chase him through his dreams, mocking his intentions for a week that maybe wasn't rife with colonialism. He joins Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and myself for a review of Week 214: THUNDERDOME ALL-STAR TRIBUTE, a round so full of unrepentant assholes that one would think the prompt had been goatse. We then cleanse our palates and hopefully yours with a reading of CaligulaKangaroo's heartwarming story of drug dealers, "Jean and Milan."

Toni mimicked the gesture, pressing their key to success close between their villainous bodies.

The next episode covers Week 215: El sueño de la razón produce el Thunderdome. Apparently exposure to Goya's art makes Thunderdome want to burn things. Who knew? The recap regulars debate the merits of Electric Owl's "And the House is On Fire"--we found some, believe it or not--and read llamaguccii's "Ablaze" aloud as best we can. If burning pigs are your thing, are you ever in for a treat!

Attached to his monitor is a tiny orange post-it note with “kill urself :3” written in a peppy hand.

Episodes past:

Episode								Recappers

Week 156:  LET'S GET hosed UP ON LOVE				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
Week 157:  BOW BEFORE THE BUZZSAW OF PROGRESS			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 158:  LIKE NO ONE EVER WAS					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Djeser
Week 159:  SINNERS ORGY						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 160:  Spin the wheel!					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 161:  Negative Exponents					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 36:  Polishing Turds -- A retrospective special!		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 162:  The best of the worst and the worst of the best	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and The Saddest Rhino
Week 163:  YOUR STUPID poo poo BELONGS IN A MUSEUM			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 164:  I Shouldn't Have Eaten That Souvlaki			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 165:  Back to School					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 166:  Comings and Goings					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 167:  Black Sunshine					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 168:  She Stole My Wallet and My Heart			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 169:  Thunderdome o' Bedlam				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 170:  Cities & Kaiju					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 171:  The Honorable THUNDERDOME CLXXI			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 172:  Thunderdome Startup					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 173:  Pilgrim's Progress					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 174:  Ladles and Jellyspoons				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 175:  Speels of Magic					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 176:  Florida Man and/or Woman				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 125:  Thunderdome is Coming to Town -- Our sparkly past! 	SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood
Week 177:  Sparkly Mermen 2: Electric Merman Boogaloo		SH, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, Grizzled Patriarch, and Bad Seafood
Week 178:  I'm not mad, just disappointed			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 179:  Strange Logs						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 180:  Maybe I'm a Maze					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 181:  We like bloodsports and we don't care who knows!	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 182:  Domegrassi						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, Kaishai, and Bad Seafood
Week 183:  Sorry Dad, I Was Late To The Riots			Sitting Here, Djeser, Kaishai, and crabrock
Week 184:  The 2015teen Great White Elephant Prompt Exchange	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 98:  Music of the Night -- Songs of another decade		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 185:  Music of the Night, Vol. II				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 186:  Giving away prizes for doing f'd-up things		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 187:  Lost In Translation					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 188:  Insomniac Olympics					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 189:  knight time						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 190:  Three-Course Tale					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 191:  We Talk Good						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 192:  Really Entertaining Minific				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 30:  We're 30 / Time to get dirty -- A magical time	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 193:  the worst week					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and Kaishai
Week 40:  Poor Richard's Thundervision -- Let the ESC begin!	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 144:  Doming Lasha Tumbai -- Classic performances		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 194:  Only Mr. God Knows Why				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 195:  Inverse World					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 196:  Molten Copper vs. Thunderdome			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 197: Stories of Powerful Ambition & Poor Impulse Control	Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 198:  Buddy Stuff						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 199:  EVERYBODY KNOWS poo poo'S hosed			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 1:  Man Agonizes over Potatoes				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Kaishai, and sebmojo
Week 200:  Taters Gonna tate Fuckers				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Kaishai, and sebmojo
Week 201:  Old Russian Joke					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 202:  THUNDER-O-S!						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 203:  MYSTERY SOLVING TEENS				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 204:  Hate Week						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 205:  the book of forgotten names				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 206:  WHIZZ! Bang! POW! Thunderdome!			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 207:  Bottle Your Rage					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 208:  Upper-Class Tweet of the Year			Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 209:  WHAT DO YOU GET A DOME THAT HAS EVERYTHING??		Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 210:  Crit Ketchup Week					Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 211:  Next-Best Friend Week				Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 212:  Vice Week						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai
Week 213:  Punked Out						Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and Kaishai

Special Features!

The Top Ten poo poo Scenes of Thunderdome				Sitting Here, Kaishai, Ironic Twist, and Djeser

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 20:33 on Sep 26, 2016

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

death is certain
keep yr cool

interprompt: a baby saves the day, 111 words

Mar 21, 2010

The patron saint of TD returns

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

The patron saint of TD returns

Judge fast, fast judge

almost there
Sep 13, 2016

The Hypnotist
1387 Words

Vance is absentmindedly spooling a loose thread from his (newly) ruined Armani knit blazer around his finger when the two investigators walk into the tiny concrete room. The room is bare except for two aluminum chairs and a table with a recording console in the middle. Vance is unwinding the yarn from his quickly reddening finger when one of the investigators wave a manilla envelope from under Vance’s face and says,
“Wake up. This isn’t one of your therapy sessions.”

Vance stops, looks up, and locks eyes with the investigator holding the manilla envelope for a beat. They exchange expressions as blank as index cards before Vance’s lips curl into a wide customer-service rep type smile,
“Hello officer, fancy meeting you here.”
“Shut up. I’m officer Fire and this here is officer Water. Get it?” he points with his thumb to the expressionless man beside him, “we’re the ones in charge of The Hypnotist’s case at the FBI. As we understand it, you’ve worked with him before.”

Officer Fire pushes down the REC button on the console in the table in between them.

“Yeah, I’ve worked with him.”
“Good. Now, the way this is going to work is I’m going to ask you a few questions that relate to your activity with The Hypnotist while my partner stands over there looking like a sonuva bitch.”
Vance nods his head slowly, eyeing both investigators up and down before saying, “ask and ye shall receive.”

Q: “How did you and The Hypnotist meet?”
Vance smiles wryly before saying, “Well, he kinda conned me into it. Before I’d met The Hypnotist I was a tired stereotype (kinda like you); a struggling actor in L.A. He’d put out a casting call in the paper for someone 5’9 and caucasian to play a by-the-books cop in some television pilot. Seeing that at the time I was living with three other stereotypes in what may as well have been a glasshouse with a cockroach problem, I answered it.”
“You and people like you are kinda like my cockroach problem.” Mr. Fire smirks to himself before pulling out the aluminum chair from under the table and straddling it backwards in that student counsellor I’m-just-trying-to-relate-to-you kinda way. He asks,
Q: “What was your first meeting with The Hypnotist like?”
“Unorthodox. As you guys probably know the man likes to front as a therapist, so I was a little confused when I walked into his, you know, richly decorated and modern art adorned office. You probably know the one, that fou-fou place off of highway 10 in Santa Monica?”
Mr. Fire nods.
“Yeah, nice place. You see, though most actors won’t admit it, we walk in to most auditions expecting to be treated like disposable toilettes, and we certainly don’t expect to be auditioning across from an honest-to-God Rothko. Anyways, I walk in and there’s a bunch of actors that pretty much look exactly like me, some standing and some sitting in leather-upholstered chairs (chaises? Anyways, they were nice), doing the type of vocal warm-ups that make the room seem like the rec area at a high-end looney bin. So naturally, I sit down beside one blowing raspberries and start up my own exercises. I’ll be damned if any one of these basket cases get the part over me, ya know?”
Mr. Fire gives the barest semblance of a nod.
“After about half an hour his secretary at the time (her name was Audia) calls me in for my ‘appointment’,” Vance gestures hand quotes, “I say ‘appointment’ because the way everything was framed left me feeling like I was interviewing him more than the other way around. Looking back at it now, the ‘appointment’ was probably just a way he threw his mark off-kilter. I bet the Rothko wasn’t even real.
Officer Fire interjects, “You’re losing focus. What happened during that meeting?”

Vance takes a moment to look across the room at Mr. Water, then raises his hands into a steeple in front of him. His expression is dour.

“I don’t remember.” There’s a pause before Vance continues, “I think I have some idea of what his face looked like and I’m pretty sure the grift had something to do with me playing a cop but everything gets blurry after that.”
“I’ll take this moment,” Officer Fire says, “to remind you that if me or my partner have any reason to believe you’re willfully holding back information then your application to witness protection might—“
“I’m not loving playing you!” Vance says as he slams his fist on to the table. Vance takes a deep breath and watches his clenched fist loosen before continuing, “The last thing I remember is Audia letting me into His office and asking me to take a seat. Next thing I know I wake up, naked and with marks on my arms, in a studio apartment on Sunset Blvd. On the table was this note.”
Vance fishes out a piece of stationary with a Dr. Kotsik, PhD letterhead and hands it to officer Fire who begins to read it aloud,

“Dear Mr. Vance,
I’m glad you were able to overcome your initial hesitation to enter into what I believe will be a fruitful enterprise for all parties involved. From this point forward Audia will act as our liaison. In order to ensure this remains a fruitful enterprise I ask only two things of you:
1) Do not drink alcohol or ingest any other form of narcotic. Our agreement requires that you are ready for any job at a moment’s notice.
2) Do not pick up the phone. Audia will leave you voicemails with the details for the job and you are to follow the instructions left therein to a tee.

Dr. Kotsik, PhD

P.S. I hope the new accommodations are to your liking.”

Officer Fire shows Officer Water the note. Officer Water says, “looks like our guy.” Officer Fire continues,
Q: “Earlier you mentioned you remember waking up with marks on your arms, do you have any idea what those were from?”
“You guys call him The Hypnotist as if he’s some spook wearing spiral sunglasses and swinging a pendulum in front of people’s faces, that could not be farther from the truth. Whatever he’s using to control people you can probably buy in a vial.”
Q: “How many jobs did Audia call you for after that?”
“Six. Six exactly. I know that because I made sure to write every detail down in a notebook. Every time it was the same story: I show up somewhere discreet then wake up in my apartment with some sort of cash gift.”
Q: “Where is that notebook and those voicemails now?”
“Probably at the apartment at Sunset, unless he already got to it. After little old ladies started pulling glocks out on me it didn’t take long for me to hustle on over to the police station.”
Q: “Excuse me?”
“Everybody is trying to kill me. Hell, that lady was the least of it. Just on the way over here I was just walking along the boardwalk when this loving kid, holding a balloon and wearing a loving windmill and looking like god drat Tweedle Dee, pulls a hand cannon out of his “mom’s” purse and gets two shots off before I can dive behind some concrete planters. Why do you think my blazer’s all hosed up?
Q: “Why do you think he’s out to kill you?”
“I got drunk.”
Q: “…and?
“That’s it.
Q: “That simple?”
“That simple.”

Officer Fire presses the REC button on the console again, turning it off.
“Okay Mr. Vance,” he says, “I think we got everything we could get today. I’ll send a cruiser to your apartment to retrieve that notebook. In the meantime, my partner here will escort you over to a secure holding cell where we’ll keep you until we figure out what to do with you.”
“Thank you” Vance says before standing up up and following Officer Water out the door and into the dimly lit hallway.

Vance and Water are standing sombrely in front of the dark holding cell when Vance faints and an empty vial tumbles out of the sleeve of his tattered Armani blazer.

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

Ten minutes until the brawl is due from Djeser and Syndicate.

Edit; or right, Electic Owl. Christ pick a parachute and stick with it guy.

Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit

Fun Shoe

Djeser has until midnight to get his story in to stave off his ban. At this point, he can no longer win. If his story would have won, they will both lose. If Owl's wins, he wins as normal.


almost there
Sep 13, 2016

Chili posted:

Ten minutes until the brawl is due from Djeser and Syndicate.

Edit; or right, Electic Owl. Christ pick a parachute and stick with it guy.


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