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Baleful Osmium Sea
Oct 31, 2016


Beast: Gargoyles
flash rule: Trying to attract new residents.
1094 words


Guardians

The two Gargoyles watched from high in the eaves of the ruined church as they had done for centuries, looking out over the overgrown path that led to its partially unhinged door. There was a sound, perhaps the wind, sighing.

As one they swooped from the crumbling balustrade onto the cobblestone street, facing a passing boy, settling like a landslide. George reached out with a gnarled paw and drew back his lips in a ghastly facsimile of a smile, all chipped and broken teeth. The small child screamed for his mummy and ran, leaking, back along the street outside the ruined church.

“Might need to change your approach, there, squire,” said Karl, folding his wings back with a grinding sound.

George gave Karl a stone cold stare.

Karl shrugged. “The little ones can’t fix ‘er up.”

“But they have parents, with jobs and money.”

Karl sniffed at the liquid trail the boy had left behind. “And worse plumbing than you by the smell of it.”

“Don’t be grotesque,” said George. “We have to try something. We’re bound here, to protect and ward. What choice do we...” He stopped, raising his elongated muzzle, catching the scent of something else, something darker.

“You’re wasting your time,” said the something else.

George and Karl bared their teeth in slow grimaces. Their wings spread and their claws unsheathed in battle readiness.

The shadow stretched across the street, though the sun had only just past noon, and the Gargoyle’s patient eyes could see it creeping toward them. Within the borders of this improbable pool a crescent of reflected light, like a Chesire cat’s smile, glinted and moved as the shadow spoke.

“Come now, boys. No need to fight. We can help each other.” The shadow stretched, almost to the church gate. “Needs some repairs? Some TLC? Not much money in the ruined church biz, I’d imagine.”

“What would you know about it?” asked George. Karl just hissed.

“Oh, I’ve ruined a few churches in my time,” said the Shadow. “But this one? It’s practically desecrated through neglect. A few rotten pews surrounded by crumbling walls. Mildewed hymnbooks that won’t stand another opening. Stained glass more stain than glass. Not exactly your mega-church experience, is it?

“Some people think it’s more authentic that way,” said Karl, glaring.

George hushed him. “So what do you ‘suggest’?” he asked.

“I know of a much better premises for the two of you. Stately. Fabulous stonework. In desperate need of services you gentlemen provide. No worries about money, either. The owners are friends of mine. Bankers.”

“And in return?”

A cloud passed over the sun and the world grew a degree colder, but the shadow shimmered as if in a haze of heat. “Nothing, not a thing. You two fine figures overlooking something of importance in the world, rather than wasting your time on this dilapidated mess, is all the reward I need.”

Karl saw George mull it over. “We can’t, guv” he whispered. “The rules. We’re sworn guardians…”

“He’s right, Karl, it’s pointless. There’s nothing left here.” George turned away from the shadow to face Karl directly. “You might want to stand watch over an empty building until the rest of you crumbles along with it, but I’d rather have some reason to live.”

George addressed the shadow again. “As ranking guardian, in exchange for new positions, I hereby formally and completely relinquish our custodianship.” Karl just stared, horrified.

“Yessss,” hissed the Shadow, swelling at the broken gate like a bulbous sore, then spurting down the overgrown path. Scarcely pausing at the hanging front doors, it spread down through the nave of the church. The smell of brimstone hung in the air as it washed over broken seats and aisles like a dark tide.

“Come on,” said George to Karl. “Before it gets to the altar.” He opened his great stone wings and flew heavily into the air. Karl followed a moment later, with great strokes of his wings. In seconds they were high above the church roof. George indicated where he wanted Karl to head.

“What in hell are you doing? That’s the weakest spot in the whole damned roof!”

“Second weakest,” said George. “I can break through the arch over the western side just here. C’mon - if the place goes we might as well take one last ratbag with us” He plummeted toward the roof, with Karl following closely alongside.

With a one-two punch of cracking stone and breaking wood, they plunged through the roof of the church and hung in the air. The shadow was racing toward the altar like a river of darkness. “Come to see the final moments, boys? Shame, really, to see it come to this after all those lonely centuries. Still I’m sure the bank will be much more your cup of tea.”

The weakened roof caved in with a roar. Tiles and beams fell every which way, covering the nave with broken fragments and dust.

The shadow ignored it, flowing above it, finding the topmost point, as shadows always do.

The sunlight streamed in through the hole where the roof used to be, illuminating the million specks of dust. Where it struck the shadow, the darkness was forced to retreat. It fled back, away from the altar like a swiftly rolling carpet.

“I thought we had a deal!” it protested as it diminished.

George and Karl landed on the eaves of the church where they had sat for so long. “Not really something we can bargain with.”

“Them’s the rules,” said Karl.

“Like sunlight on consecrated ground for you. Not quite desecrated enough, I guess.”

“Bastards!” the shadow screamed, as the last of it vanished in the cleansing sunlight.

George and Karl nodded to one another, then assumed their proper positions on the balustrade. Still as statues they watched the day pass. They saw inspectors come and check through the wreckage, leaving only after they had hammered in a sign on the grounds that read “Closed: Danger: Do Not enter”. There was a sound, perhaps the wind, sighing.

At twilight, the small boy came back with group of his friends. He pointed at the Gargoyles and his friends laughed and nudged at him. They climbed through a gap in the fence, saw the sign, and immediately began to swarm over the devastation. They marveled at fragments of coloured glass that they found. They pulled up broken pews and began to construct forts. They balanced on fallen blocks of stone like circus performers.

George and Karl sat silent watch above them, as they had for centuries.

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Guiness13
Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

Boaz-Jachim posted:

Chimera. Flash rule: Its heads disagree over a small matter.

Of Two Minds 1,091 words

If Sebastian knew anything, it was that a giant pile of chewed bones outside the mouth of a cave was a bad sign. The thick scent of decay didn’t speak too highly of the situation either. Any other day, he’d turn on his heel and creep back to town as quietly as he could manage. Today, though, he clutched his empty knapsack close to his body and forced his feet toward the gaping cavern.

Light disappeared after the first bend, and Sebastian stumbled forward with one hand on the wall. After a moment, he noticed a faint glow ahead.

The narrow tunnel opened up into a large chamber. A thin shaft of light shone through a crack in the ceiling. The plink of falling water echoed through the cave. At the center of the cavern stood a rough-hewn pedestal. On it lay a large, red stone.

Sebastian inched forward. The whole time, he swiveled his head back and forth, eyes wide.

Just as he reached the pedestal, a deep voice boomed through the chamber.

“Who dares approach the Stone of Ypsilanus?”

Sebastian whirled, arms clutched to his chest.

“For love of the Gods, Augustus, do you have to do that every time?” said a second voice, sounding bored.

“It’s part of the job, Mantaurus!” The first voice again, now hushed and intense. “Perhaps if you showed some level of enthusiasm--”

“The boy is still here.”

A deep growl filled the chamber. Sebastian took another step from the pedestal.

He froze when a massive bulk stepped into the light. It had the hindquarters of a bull, but it’s chest and forepaws were that of a bear. What froze a scream in Sebastian’s throat, however, were its two heads. On the right, the maned head of a lion, its eyes glinting. On the left, a ram with huge, curled horns.

Sebastian did what many young boys faced with such a beast would do; he screamed, took a scrambled step backward, and fell hard on his rump.

The ram rolled its eyes.

“See? I told you, it’s too much. We’re not going to get anywhere with you carrying on like that.”

The light in Augustus’s eyes flared, but he stayed focused on Sebastian. The creature padded closer, until both heads were all Sebastian could see.

“Who are you, boy?” Augustus said.

Sebastian squeaked.

Mantaurus sighed.

“It’s alright, child. He’s not going to eat you.”

“Sebastian, from Hilltop.”

“That hovel at the bottom of the hill?” Mantaurus snorted a laugh. “Gods, another one.”

“Why are you here?” Augustus’s gaze never faltered. Sebastian wanted to crawl away, but his arms had taken up root.

“My sister. She’s dying. They say the stone here can heal anything. I...I thought--”

“Thought you’d save the day, eh?” Mantaurus’s face twisted into a grin. “Not that simple.”

“But she’s just a babe, and--”

“And nothing,” Augustus said. “The stone holds great power. Too great for anyone to possess.”

“You wouldn’t even know how to use it.”

Sebastian had never been a brave boy. Milking cows and tilling fields had been his life. But the thought of Tessa burning up in her crib while this thing dismissed him burned in his gut. He sat a bit straighter and frowned.

“Maybe not, but you could tell me.”

“Oh! I like that!” Mantaurus turned to Augustus and nudged the lion’s head with his horn. “He has a point there.”

“No.” Augustus shook his head. “We could not.”

“Could not? Or will not?” Now Sebastian leaned towards the lion’s face. His cheeks burned, but he held tight to the image of Tessa. “I’m only asking for the chance to save my sister.”

“And what then?” Augustus growled. “When you walk into town with the stone of legend and heal your sister, will you just walk back up here and return it?”

“Yes.”

“Easy to say, boy.” The lion snorted, then the beast settled back onto its haunches. Sebastian stood slowly, ready to leap back should the thing make any move.

“What my friend means to say is that it is not so simple as that.” Mantaurus offered a weak smile. “Many have come seeking the stone. I’m sure you noticed a few of them on the way in. Not everyone has such pure intentions.

“The stone has power, and not just to heal. We guard it because that power will one day be needed, and it must be here when it is. If you took it, you may do as you say, or you may not. But we are bound to this cave. We could not protect it if you changed your mind. Or if someone else stopped you and took it.”

“How will you know?” Sebastian said.

Augustus jerked his head back.

“Know what?”

“When it’s time?” Sebastian gestured to the stone. “You said it would be needed one day. How will you know when?”

The two heads looked at each other.

“Do you not know?” Sebastian stepped forward. “If you don’t know when it’s needed, it could be now.”

“What?” Both heads spoke in unison for a moment, then started talking over each other.

“For some peasant girl?” Augustus said.

“That’s impossible!” Mantaurus said.

“Why not?” Sebastian reached out and put a hand on the side of each face. “She might just be a peasant, but who knows what she will be in the future? Why does she have to die?”

The two heads were silent for a long time. They looked at each other, at Sebastian, at the stone lying on its pedestal.

“Maybe,” said Augustus, at the same time as Mantaurus said, “No.”

Mantaurus whipped his head around.

“You? Mister ‘How-Dare-You-Approach’ can sit here and say he might be right? We were charged with guarding the stone until it is needed.”

“It is needed. By this boy. He does not seek power, but to save his sister. Who are we to judge his need?”

“Being the guardian, I’d say we’re the ideal people to judge his need!” Mantaurus’s voice hissed.

“No. The boy is right. We are to guard the stone until it is needed. He needs it.” Augustus turned back and cleared his throat. “Sebastian, do you vow to return the stone once your need is fulfilled?”

“I do.”

“Take the stone and hold it to your sister’s forehead. Concentrate on your need and it shall be granted.”

“Thank you!” Sebastian bowed, then retrieved the stone and stuck it in his knapsack. “I’ll bring this right back.”

And he did, but not for a long time.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


New Tricks
626 words

Prompt: coyote; struggles to be trusted.

“Please take care of me,” you said, and after the half-decade of silence, I’d forgotten the drawbacks. I invited you up to the ranch and you were there, not yet green but beginning to shake. I hadn’t even had time to make the futon for you before you threw up on the living room carpet. I cleaned your mess up, confiscated your keys, and wondered at the thickness of the glass behind your eyes.

That night, the coyotes wouldn’t stop howling. For most of the night, they were louder than you.

The next day I drove a half-hour to the nearest pharmacy and bought some Gatorade, half a dozen cans of instant soup, and a can of Lysol. I was nearly sure you’d be gone when I returned, but you were still on my couch, squirming and moaning, and if you’d noticed your missing keys, you didn’t say anything in your reverie. Mostly you said the names of other women. You turned down food. I said you had to eat something, but I didn’t want to push it.

The coyotes were louder that night. I wondered if they were in some erotic ecstasy, or if they’d smelled something weak, something that deserved to be eaten. Out of my window I peered into the moonlit forest, wondering how many coyotes were congregating there. You were howling, too. I should have checked on you.

In the morning you were nowhere to be found, except your car was still in my driveway and you’d left three more puddles of vomit for me. You’d rifled through my medicine cabinet, of course, but I’d had nothing stronger than aspirin. I'd locked up the finest things, but still you’d taken some of the Crate & Barrel items, the stuff you probably remembered from the registry. Vases. Curtains. That expensive toaster you'd mocked me about.

I figured you’d be back by noon but you weren’t, and I figured maybe you’d tried to hitchhike home when you couldn’t find your keys. I sat in the breezeway, half-reading a novel, sure you’d be coming back begging for a place to rest, full of apologies. I found my mind wandering from the novel’s plot as I imagined the graciousness with which I’d forgive you.

As the sun started to set, I got back in my car, driving up and down the long drive that lead to the ranch, staring into the bush looking for you or your unconscious body. The coyotes started up again, shrill and mournful, and without your low moans to balance them they sounded harsher, crueler.

You must have made it to the main road. You must have found some trucker, headed back toward civilization, given up on what I’m sure wasn’t your first attempt to get clean. I was debating whether or not you’d suck his dick for heroin when the car thumped hard over something big, cleaving the windshield.

I stepped out of the car, and when I saw the twitching coyote, its neck twisted at an unnatural angle, I shivered. The dying creature couldn’t howl. Instead it made these low, guttural grunts, and I stared, enraptured by the blood, the fur, the crippled reflexes. Then the piercing howl of the pack cut through, and all of a sudden I thought of you, maybe pounding at my door, maybe half-eaten, and I got back in the driver’s seat and sped all the way back to the ranch, this time certain that my vision had been real.

Instead there was just your abandoned car, my lonely home, and the uproar of a pack of grieving animals.

llamaguccii
Sep 2, 2016

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Boaz-Jachim posted:

A Black Shuck. Flash rule: Trying to make friends.

Foaming for Friends

Word Count: 1,100

Ben should have been terrified to stare into its reddened demonic eyes, but he felt strangely relieved. After a year of failed relationships, unsuccessful job hunts and a receding bank account, Ben didn't couldn't see any reason to live. Too unambitious to take on the responsibility of ending his own life, Ben strove for close chances with inevitable mortality. He went to bars partial to impassioned political outbursts and chose to rile whichever side was more likely to smash a bottle of overpriced beer over his head. Ben fantasized about a hefty ginger-haired man with a gallant beard, grasping the neck of the bottle and shoving the jutting shards into his throat. He’d stumble out, belligerent through the alleys and wake up hung over the steps to the stoop of the shack he rented after Melinda left him, perfectly unmolested. He cursed God for abandoning him. He cursed the devil for ignoring him. And he cursed himself for being so loving incompetent.

Melinda never would have left if he could've supported her, but he couldn't and never would. She wanted a ring. She wanted a house, kids, more than whiskey dick on Friday nights and watching soap operas alone while he gambled what little money they had, while his good-for-nothing-mate, Johnny, called for him to raise the stakes higher. Later Johnny would raise Melinda higher and higher, against the wall, through the roof and into another life where Ben wasn't passed out, empty-pocketed on the sunken couch and his best mate wasn't lifting her skirt and thrusting with the stunted rhythm of low expectations.

Ben blinked with anticipation, half expecting the ghostly shadow of the dog to disappear, and half expecting the horrid beast to bound suddenly out from under the boat ramp, across the sandy shore and knock him from his off-balance lawn-chair, his feet and beer flailing up like the ocean crashing into the rocky shoreline. The eyes were lower, but still just as distant, as if the dog had crouched in the sand, a predator waiting for the perfect moment to attack. Ben took a swig of his beer. It was hot, and flat, and it reminded him why he hated life. It was tasteless and difficult to swallow.

He threw the bottle at the dog. It shattered against the barge. The dog seemed to flinch back into the shadows, but it reappeared a moment later, scrambling up on the deck to investigate the ruckus.

“It’s glass you stupid mongrel,” Ben half slurred, half shouted. “Why don’t you come over here and fight me like a man?” But he wasn’t a man, he was a dog. A massive, black, shaggy monster of a dog. Ben tried to stand, fell into the sand. The oceanic water rolled up on his ankles and he sunk a little. He rolled over, on his stomach, and craned his neck to see the monster-dog. It was pacing the deck, back and forth, throwing glances at Ben as he slur-shouted obscenities. He got sand in his mouth. Spit it out. Cursed the dog. Tried to sink into the ocean.

The dog, that wasn’t a dog, but also wasn’t a man, began to howl. It was a low, guttural, mournful sound that seemed to roll out from its great pit of a stomach where Ben imagined the souls of other pitiful men lolled back and forth, reverberating the sound out over the waves. Ben closed his eyes, and told himself this was the moment when he would die. The Black Shuck had come for him, the feared monster-dog of death had come, and would be the only witness to the bitter end of his friendless existence. Melinda was gone. Johnny was with her. But the dog was there, singing the ominous chords of death so stoically, not even the waves could break them.

But the waves broke Ben. They foamed up against his ankles, his knees, his waist. There they held him, their cool embrace pulling him in. He didn’t resist the tide. He was drunk. He was tired. He couldn’t kill himself, but maybe he could die, lying face down, choking on the sand and soaking it with his tears.

When Ben woke up, his body was dry and his face was wet. Something foreign and scratchy pulled up from his cheek, to his forehead, flipping up into his long, stringy black hair, leaving a warm, sticky slime in its wake. He blinked, once, twice, into the moonlight, but there was something blocking his sight. He groaned and remembered the dog and the ocean and wondered if he was dead.

“Wow, you look like hell.” Someone said, somewhere above him, in the moonlight where he couldn’t see anything. He tried to shield his eyes with his arm, but felt it pushed back by the same scratchy assailant. The slime dripped down his wrist. “Get off him, boy. Give him some space to breathe.”

There was a struggle in the sand and finally Ben could see. A few feet away stood a man, in a Hawaiian shirt and a worn Dodgers cap. His tanned arms were clasped around a large shaggy dog, with bloodshot eyes. The dog’s head rose nearly to the man’s chest and his massive paws, dug into the sand, throwing it up into Ben’s face. He coughed out the sand and rubbed his eyes, half expecting the dog and his presumed owner to disappear, half expecting it to break free and dig its ghastly teeth into his leg, drag him into the ocean and leave him to be eaten by blood-thirsty sharks. Before the man could stop him, the dog pounced onto Ben’s chest. It swung its massive head down and buried it between his neck and chest, drooling. It tickled, Ben couldn’t help but laugh. He thought it must be nice to die from being eaten alive while laughing.

“You know,” the man said, shaking his head. “Your dog looks an awful like you with all that black, stringy hair hanging all over. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re both a couple of those Black Shucks the locals are all riled up about.”

Ben stood, shook the sand off his body. His companion turned on the man, its stark-white teeth glistening as it curled its lips back, foaming from the mouth.

“We’re bad luck all right,” Ben replied coolly. He shook his hair. It fell in a long mane over his shoulders. “Bad omens. It’s like they say, the hair of the dog that bit you, am I right?”

Ben howled. The ocean swallowed the man’s screams.

Farchanter
Jun 15, 2008


For the Right Reasons
Prompt: Donkey, rescue. Word count: 1170.

The irony was not lost on me.


Mitchell and I were at the bottom of long switchback, each pulling the handle of a large wooden cart. Carried on the cart, lying unconscious, was a large donkey.


We both worked for the National Park Service. I suppose, in a way, that the donkey also worked there. Ace was one of several animals we used for tours of the Grand Canyon, and he had spent virtually his entire life carrying overheated, generally ungrateful people down to the bottom of the Canyon and back. I was never sure on Ace’s exact age. He was clearly the oldest donkey there, but his service predated my own, as well as the time of every other person working there. He was so reliable, and so people-friendly, that I never second-guessed myself when I insisted to Mitchell that we have Ace carry our stuff when he and I went out on our customary start-of-season barbecue.


This was, strictly speaking, not allowed. Or, rather, it was very strictly not allowed, but never enforced. There was an understanding among the stable staff that the animals could be borrowed after hours. After months, sometimes years, of working with these donkeys, there was never a fear that someone would do something dangerous with them. We all loved them. I must have taken one out a hundred times before.


This time, though, passing along the rim of the switchback, the edge of the trail collapsed. It was one of the most surreal moments of my entire life. You never expect the ground to give out from under you, and in a moment like that, you don’t know what to do. My first instinct was to smile a little bit, as though I had stepped into a snowbank deeper than I thought. But, then, like a shock, the severity of the situation dawned on me. Oh poo poo, oh poo poo. I scrambled as far from the edge as I could get, falling flat on my face but avoiding the slide down the ledge.


A confused braying behind me, and then a grotesque crunch, made my skin go cold, even in the dry heat. Ace, weighed down with our stuff, wasn’t able to get away. Mitchell made sure I was okay, and then we both ran down to check on Ace.


When I saw the angle of his leg, I threw up. His eyes were shut, and at first I thought he was dead. The sight of shallow breathing made me release a breath I must have been holding for a solid minute.


“Mitchell, we need to get him back. Get the cart at the top of the switch.” Mitchell ran up to get it. When he brought it back, he seemed tentative.


“Carlos, dude, I don’t think we can get him in here without making that leg worse. He’s fully grown.”


“Shut the hell up and help me.” Painstakingly, we loaded Ace into the cart. Privately, I feared Mitchell was right, and every time Ace’s injured leg brushed up against something, I winced myself.


We took the cart and began to climb back up the switchback. Our progress was slow. Too slow.


This was all my fault, I thought, grunting from frustration and exertion. I wanted to go to where the lilies were growing. I wanted to bring Ace.


After summiting the switch, we got to the foot of a steep slope. We never let tourists climb it, having them instead ride an extra two miles out of the way. Being more experienced, we had carefully coaxed Ace down the slope on our way down. But now…


I looked at Mitchell. We were both sharing the same thought. Ace wouldn’t survive if we had to carry the cart around the long way. And there was a narrow point the cart couldn’t fit through. The only shot we had was to carry the cart up the slope. We picked up our handles, and started to climb.


Halfway up, the soil under my boot slipped a little bit, and I fell onto my elbows, just barely keeping a handle on the cart. With a donkey pulling us down, this was almost impossible. And the steepest part was yet to come. I stayed down, sucking at the air.


“Carlos.”


“Mitch, I don’t want to hear it.”


“Carlos, no matter what we do, he’s dead.”


Please,” I begged, not even sure what I was begging for.


“Carlos, we can’t get up this loving hill. And even if we could, you know what’s going to happen when we get back to the stable.”


“I can get up, let’s keep going.”


“No, you need to hear this. You were there when Roulette broke her leg. And that wasn’t half as bad as this. That wasn’t a tenth as bad as this. There is nothing we can do to save him.” I looked back, at the leg. From this angle, it looked worse than ever. The breathing looked shallower than ever, barely perceptible. Mitch continued.


“Best case scenario, we get back to the stable and they put him down there. Worst case scenario, we fall down and then all three of us die here. If you want to keep going, I will help you as best as I can. But you know what’s going to happen.
“And what the gently caress do you want me to do?”


“You have your gun. Hell, if you can’t, I have mine.”


“Are you asking me to sign off on killing Ace? I can’t do that. I can’t let you do it, either. Mitch, this is all my fault. I have to save him”


“Carlos, we cannot save him,” Mitchell yelled, full of anger and sorrow, “there is nothing that we can do! We can just carry him, in pain, for the next mile. Why do you need to get him to the stable? So someone else can make the decision?”


Yes!


“Do you hear yourself? You want to get him back so you don’t need to decide. So it’s not your fault. So we don’t get fired. You’re not doing this for Ace, you’re doing this for yourself.”


“Go to hell.” I was angry enough to take a swing at him, but I knew that would just cause the cart to fall.


“Carlos. You’re my best friend at this job. You know I care about you, and that I care about the animals too. I’ve spent five years now looking after them. I’m not saying this because I want to take the easy way out. I believe, from the bottom of my heart, that this is what’s best for Ace. I believe that there is absolutely nothing more that we can do.”


I was starting to feel the splinters dig into my hands, and my knees began to ache. I had been kneeling into the slope for too long. I looked back at Mitchell, and back at Ace, still breathing, in the cart.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Someday, this poo poo may be included in a volume of bad stories.

Chili fucked around with this message at Jan 1, 2017 around 07:19

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE




Submissions closed. Pray to your gods for mercy, for the judges will show you none.

widespread
Aug 5, 2013

I believe I am now no longer in the presence of nice people.


[sup]Uh yeah, this is probably a DQ. But eh.[/sup]

To Make Artistic Effigies.
Word Count: 991 words
Prompt: Minotaur
Flash Rule: The minotaur wants to be a sculptor.

A variety of screaming could be heard throughout the village. The minotaur had rampaged across a good chunk of property in its raid. The goal was to simply grab as much stuff as possible, and to obviously kill several people in the process. Life as a minotaur was pretty simple aside from trying not to fall victim to any clever villager. Without warning, the towering beast ripped off the roof of a home. Inside, there was a man with a chisel and hammer in his hands. The tools dropped as soon as he knew what was going on, followed by a scream of terror.

“Spare me!” The sculptor exclaimed. “I am just a poor peas-“

His plea was cut off as the minotaur smashed its fist into both the sculptor’s poor body and the ground. What remained was a grotesque array of smashed bones, guts, and blood. The beast was about to head to its next target, when it noticed the brick of marble the sculptor was working on. He had just finished the arms before his untimely death. With bulky fingers, the minotaur picked up the brick, observing the arms. They reminded the beast of its own arms, what with being extraordinarily muscular. It began to wonder, for the first time in its life. With a quiet nod, the minotaur ran away from the ruined village.

The minotaur found itself in a mountain valley, after traversing by foot for a few miles. In this valley, there were other minotaurs. They seemed to be idle for the time being, despite the sun shining way above their heads. One of them held a hand in front of the running minotaur. As it stopped, the minotaur with the outstretched arm pointed at the out-of-place brick of carved marble. Said brick was an easy sight, due to how most minotaurs typically had dark skin. Without a word, the minotaur placed the brick of marble into the other beast’s hand. They both stared at the partial statue, perplexed at to what it signified. The slight blood stain on the bottom didn’t help much.

“Mrh?” The first minotaur grunted, pointing at the statue before pointing at himself.

“Mrh,” The second beast grunted in return, shaking his head. It then pointed to a large boulder a few yards away. “Mh.”

“Hrm… hm?” The first minotaur began to mimic a hammer motion.

“Uh huh.” The second minotaur pointed to a smaller pile of rocks. Said pile had almost similar rocks forming it.

“Mmhmm.” Passing the other fellow minotaur, the raiding beast approached the pile of rocks. It picked one up, then another. What it searched for was mostly unclear, but eventually it settled on two different rocks. The minotaur then approached the large boulder. With a loud grunt, it began banging the small rock against the top of the boulder. The endeavor seemed to be a wasted one, had it not been for a good amount of dust and debris flying off with each smash. Clearly, the minotaur wanted to make his own set of stone arms.

The sun had started to set, and before the minotaur was a set of crude arms attached to a boulder. The beast stepped back to observe its handiwork, huffing and sweating after hours of laborious sculpting. Other minotaurs gathered around to see this crude effigy of a statue, with some of them nodding along. One of them even approached the sweat-caked minotaur. It pointed a finger at the statue, then at the beast.

“Hm?” It asked, wondering why it was just a set of arms.

“Mrh,” the sculptor replied, shrugging. With a scratch of its head, it went back to the pile of rocks, picking up another pair of extremely crude tools. As it was, there was a good amount of boulder still left between each arm, just enough to form a head. The sculpting minotaur went back to grunting and rock smashing, attempting to form a head.

With light cresting over the valley, the sun’s rays glimmered upon a final product. The sculptor was slumped against the wall, looking at its creation.

The creation itself was as crude of a form as the arms were. Rough crags accented the entire body length, with the body being a form of yet another minotaur. It was in a flexing pose, as if to show off some inhuman muscles. Aside from being a very rough carved statue, there was one other peculiarity.

It had three legs.

Looking down at itself, then at the statue, the minotaur nodded. It then took its own loincloth off to dress the statue it had carved through the night. Just then, a large chunk of cow skin was shoved in front of the sculptor’s face. Another minotaur saw him take off the loin cloth, and was forcing the sculptor to cover up in a sense of modesty. It did cover itself up in some attempt. Of course, the piece of cow skin lacked any rope or string at the moment, so it had to be held up with one hand. The other minotaur went back to look at the now-clothed statue, then back at the sculptor. It retreated into a cave.

Moments later, it returned, bearing a horse’s skull. The skull was planted atop the sculptor’s head in a delicate fashion. The two beasts stared at each other, with the sculptor showing confusion at this gesture.

“Mh,” the second minotaur said, pointing at the statue. It then stuck its thumb up as a gesture to the sculptor. “Mhm.”

“Mmhmm,” the sculptor grunted in reply, repeating the gesture.

“Mrh?” The other minotaur pointed to another boulder.

The sculptor could only shrug at the offer presented. It then pointed towards the pathway out of the area, grunting in query at the other beast. It nodded, and then the sculptor nodded. And just like that, the sculptor walked away. Its new goal was another village, and possibly another statue for inspiration.

Fuubi
Jan 18, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Well, I'm DQ'd, but I'll post this before the toxx takes effect anyway. Sorry it's only half a story, but, eh.

A Quiet Day

Word count: 438

Ted's Gun Shop was never a quiet place. There was always some kind of noise, either from the chatter of the patrons, the gun fire from the range out back, or, on a slow day, the rocking tunes from the dust covered old radio in the corner.

Today it was quiet. There were no patrons that would chatter, no one shooting guns out back, and the radio had taken a stray bullet the day before and was silent as well.
Except for the heavy breathing from Ted behind the counter that is.

It was a slow day.

Ring-a-ding-ding!
The door chime woke Ted up from his reverie, as little Timmy walked into the store.

"Hey there, Timmy boy," Ted greeted him. "What can I do for you?"

Timmy was a very adventurous boy, with lots of imagination, and he would show up at the town's different stores every time he gave his mom the slip.

"I need to buy a shotgun. Or a rocket launcher." Timmy replied.

"Whoa, that's some heavy artillery, son? What do you need it for?" Ted replied with a grin.

"I'm hunting the Tyrannosaurus Rex." Was the matter-of-factly answer.

"Oh? A T-Rex, eh?" Ted said. "Well, a rocket launcher would barely be enough for that. You should call in the military instead."

"They were here already. The Tyrannosaurus Rex ate them."

"Oh? Well, I don't have any rocket launchers in stock at the moment."

"That's why I asked for a shotgun as well. It will work if I hit it in the eyes."

"Well, true enough, but you'd have to wait until it tries to eat you. That would be very dangerous." Ted sighed. "I better call your dad and tell him you're here."

"You can't. The Tyrannosaurus Rex ate him." Timmy replied with a grim face.

"Well, now. That's a bit dark. Then how about your mommy?"

"The tyrannosaurus Rex ate her too."

"Well Timmy, that's going a bit far with this game of yours. You shouldn't be disrespectful to your parents like that."

Ted punched a few numbers on his phone and put it to his ear.

"Huh, that's strange. There's only static."

"Yeah, the Tyrannosaurus Rex knocked down the phone lines." Timmy said. "It will be here soon."

Ted rubbed the goose flesh on his arms as he tried to fight down the uneasy feeling that suddenly gripped him. Don't be silly, he thought. There's no such things as a T-Rex out there. Just a faulty line.

Suddenly, a great roar filled the town, and Ted, who wasn't the bravest person, fell to the ground in shock.

"He's here," Timmy said.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER





Next THUNDERTOME meeting on 12/16, 8 PM EST.

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE


Thunderdome Week 224 Results

Reading this week was a breeze, so I won't belabor the point. This was a pretty good week; don't be disappointed if you didn't HM. I just didn't feel like trying to cut down five candidates to a reasonable number.

For a fascinating hunt through time and memory, Sailor Viy takes the win with The Last Bison.

a new study bible! wasted our time with Truffle Hog's rickety twist ending and neither of us could understand the arbitrary violence of Beige's The Bear and the Snake. They are this week's DMs.

llamagucci wrote a shaggy dog story and takes home this week's loss.

Thanks to Thranguy for judging. If you entered this week (and particularly if you failed) it would be nice of you to write some crits, since with only two judges, there aren't going to be as many judgecrits to go around.

Sailor Viy
Aug 4, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Week 225: Pick A Century



This week we will be writing stories with a historical setting. When you sign up, choose which century your story will take place in. You may not choose a century later than the 20th, and you may not choose the same century as anybody else - it's first come, first served.

Stories can be any genre but should have some relevance to the historical period (please don't write a story that is set in the 3rd century BC in the Andromeda galaxy.)

Signups close midnight Friday AEDT.
Submissions close 4pm Monday AEDT.

1800 words max.

JUDGES:
Sailor Viy
fuschia tude

ENTRANTS (in chronological order)

70,000 BP: Sitting Here
12,000 BC: Hawklad
23rd century BC: flerp
21st century BC: Baleful Osmium Sea
5th century BC: Thranguy

1st century: The Cut of Your Jib
3rd century: sebmojo
4th century: GenJoe
7th century: Beige
9th century: Okua
11th century: Farchanter
12th century: Fleta Mcgurn
13th century: BeefSupreme
15th century: Fuubi
16th century: Guiness13
17th century: hotsoupdinner
18th century: Erogenous Beef
19th century: Jeza
20th century: sparksbloom

Sailor Viy fucked around with this message at Nov 25, 2016 around 22:21

Jeza
Feb 13, 2011

The cries of the dead are terrible indeed; you should try not to hear them.


In, 19th.

Fuubi
Jan 18, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER

All in with the 15th century.

Edit: AD

Beige
Sep 13, 2004


In. 7th century AD, please.

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


In. 18th Century.

Okua
Oct 30, 2016


In, with the 9th century (AD).

Guiness13
Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

In, 16th century ad

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

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

fast judging is good judging and this was good judging

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In with the 20th century.

The Cut of Your Jib
Apr 23, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In. 1st century AD

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


23rd century BC

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

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

In with the 5th Century BC

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

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

BeastWeek Crits

N. Senada's The Best Laid Plans of Green Hands

Opening line is okay, not quite powerful enough to carry its own attitude. Also, 'nebbish' is a noun. The adjective form would be 'nebbishy', I think. “a parchment' isn't a natural phrasing, and 'elaborate' isn't a well-matching adjective for it either.

Point-of-View is a problem in this piece. The first section is in a sort of omniscient (or collective kobold-dom) point of view, and the other two are third person limited with Sniffles as the viewpoint character, and are much strong for it. The omniscient/collective asides are a distraction in the first section, and some of the word choice issues might work for the story if considered from Sniffles' own internal narration. You'd have to lose the Dirtfoot scene going to all-Sniffles-pov, but that scene doesn't really do anything for the story, and actually makes it less clear what's going on. (I mean, it's clear that Sniffles has been set up, but it's hard to discern by who and to what end...)

This ended up right in the middle of the pack.

Sailor Viy's The Last Bison

Interesting opening. Let's see if it is paid off. I think that both a time-travel and a post-apocalyptic story may be too much for a piece of this length.

Okay, very good job. I don't entirely approve of the ending's circularity, of the protagonist having not bothered to consider how and if he could get back through the time-travel business to return the food to his family. And all in all I don't think that the post-apocalypse is doing enough for the story: it just seems to be there to motivate his hunt, and there's probably a more economical way to do that.

My win pick and top story of the week.

Chairchucker's Bored Sphinxless

Inauspicious title. Middling opener.

Okay, this is, well, a bad idea executed barely-competently. You've got absolutely no business or blocking for the characters, so we just have a bunch of talking heads delivering some sketch comedy that barely dips into 'amusing' and mostly resides in 'predictable'. Take a closer look at 'Of Two Minds' for a better-execution of a dialog-heavy story concept this week.

Bottom pile, was on my DM list

BeefSupreme's The Case of the Confounding Fragrance

Very weak opening. Dog point of view? But a dog with brand-name awareness, apparently. And fluent understanding of English. Also not colorblind.

There's not much to this one, though. I mean, kudos for telling a story through an interesting viewpoint, but it's not much of a story. That and the dog-research failures make this not quite live up to its potential.

Middle.

Flerp's The Fable of the Platypus

Compelling and sweet from start to end. I'm not completely sold on the beginning, and the use of Bacteria as a fable animal, and I think this may want to be a few hundred words longer to let the animals be a bit more distinct and to give their turn against platypus more room to breathe.

This was my second favorite story of the week, at the top of my HM list.

Erogenous Beef's Fairly Fought

The opening is a bit awkward, I think, sort tripping over what it's saying. Some energy to it, though.

I don't know quite what to make of this one, to be honest. The villain of the piece seems ill-motivated, and as the narrative implies that this is the kind of thing that they'd done repeatedly before Zac and his coach come off as more than a bit dim. Also, it barely matters that Zac is a centaur (as opposed to some other visible minority outgroup member), and it doesn't matter one lick that the wizards are wizards. It's competently told, but sort of pointless.

Middle, maybe low-middle.

A new study bible's Truffle Hog

'poorly'? I mean, it could be a character voice thing, but it's not a good first impression.

quote:

“Mr. Russo, choose to believe, if you desire, that I’m trying to profit from the frost that’s crippled your livelihood, but if that were true I’d be asking for much more than I have.
Very ugly and confusing piece of dialog. Also, when continuing dialog to a new paragraph, you need a new open quote mark.

'catalysts buried in the roots' is a pretty badly mixed metaphor.

This is another story with too much going on, and not enough. The ending is very unsatisfying: if this is the kind of story you want this to be, you've ended it right before the interesting part. And probably wasted far too much time on the negotiations with the stranger and details like the missing fingertip that never pays off.

This was my loss pick for the week. I hated the eventual loser a bit more, but that was mostly subjective, I think that this was a slightly worse story objectively.

Beige's The Bear and the Snake

Like 'the other fable', I read this one straight through. But this is, well, in the form of a fable but without semblance of moral . An anti-fable, a nihilist piece of fabulism. And it's not a good thing. Also, the point of view slips out of the bear a few times in awkward ways. (it's rarely a good thing to tell the reader what a character is not thinking.)

Low group, on my DM list.

The Cut of Your Jib's Unbound

Strong, powerful opening. 'they' in the second paragraph is less clear than 'the whores' would have been.

Okay, I sort of liked this as it was going. The two viewpoints were both distinctive, although the constant switching forced you into being a bit repetitive. But as I read, as the plot came into focus, I was wondering how you could satisfyingly end it, and seeing how you did in fact end it, well, I'm still wondering. This twist wasn't the answer.

High middle/lower high, I think. Another flawed idea executed fairly well. I had this as a 'maybe' on my HM list.

Baleful Osmium Sky's Guardians

Opening line is sort of middling. I'd cut 'done' and hyphenate 'partially-unhinged'.

'a stone cold stare', 'don't be grotesque'...is this deliberate? Probably shouldn't try something like that unless you can keep it up and keep it fresh through the end. You're overusing the hell out of the 'X Yed in a Z' sentence structure. Also 'X Yed with Z'.

Overall, the story is okay, with some decent character work. The stakes are pretty low, though. I mean, I guess their church has gone from completely disused to 'place where children play, quite possibly at risk of their lives, and it's uncertain if the gargoyles' guardianship includes protecting them'. And there's a stronger chance of someone either tearing it down or rebuilding it now. (Aren't most churches on real estate too valuable to let just lie idle like this for long, though?)

Middle.

Guiness13's Of Two Minds

Reasonably strong opening.

quote:

“I’ll bring this right back.”

And he did, but not for a long time.

Rephrase this without 'right back' or anything else that implies a prompt return, get rid of the contradiction of the last line, and you'd have an okay ending.

It's tough to do a dialog-based story at this length well, but you did a better job than some at it and were sort of put in that place by the flash rule.

High Middle

sparksbloom's New Tricks

Confusing opening, probably deliberately so but still. Second person always a bold choice.
Very well written, covering some well-trod territory but still compelling. I sort of feel like the beast here was tacked-on, that you're going out of your way to deny a connection between the coyotes and the rest of the story.

High, on my HM list.

Llamagucci's Foaming for Friends

Interesting opening. 'reddened' is probably not the strongest word choice here.

There is a lot, a lot of exposition going on, so much that when you get back to the plot I'd actually forgotten what was going on. The fact that you didn't actually establish any canine nature to those eyes doesn't help here, either.

Over-written, far too 'tell-y', and with an ending that barely makes sense...is that a punchline being attempted? Is this a...dare I say it...shaggy dog story? I hate you very much.

The fact that this story is a shaggy dog story is a meta-joke that sort of works, would make a decent chaser, but you need a much punchier shot to set it up. The punchline to a shaggy dog story ought to be unmistakable, groan-worthy, and make perfect logical sense in the context of the story while being unexpected right up to the moment it has been deployed, and the story itself needs to work as a story right up to the point of that punchline. This story type in general is very high-risk/low-reward, probably not a good choice from the beginning.

I had this as a firm DM rather than the loser even though I liked it less subjectively than .

Farchanter's For the Right Reasons

Interesting opening. Makes some promises, let's see if the rest of the story keeps them.

On the whole, I don't think that the opening and the ending, such as it is, fit together. This story has a problem that is looking common this week: a narrative that, by its own logic, doesn't really have anything resembling a satisfying ending, at least not reachable with the wordcount, and so has to just sort of stop right in the middle. On the good side, the execution and prose are good here.

Middle.

Chili's From the Earth

Strong opening section. Not sure I agree with the sentiment, and not sure that you've used enough words to make good on the story it's promising, but we'll see.

quote:

 Rohan dispatches the bulk of his remaining strength and focus
This clause is both an ugly piece of prose in general and one that does not fit with the narrative point of view of this section.

And another annoying non-ending, no less annoying for being deliberately so. I don't think the shifting points of view do that much for the story and am actively repelled by the omniscient/jungle point-of-view's tone. I have a bias against this sort of lad-or-the-tiger ending.

Low middle

widespread's To Make Artistic Effigies.

What the heck is that period doing there? “A variety of screams” would be better grammatically, I think. But 'a variety' is a very weak noun for an opening line, especially when bearing the weight of a passive-voice sentence. 'chunk', 'property', and 'stuff' are also weak nouns to use when setting up your story.

'traversing' requires a direct object. Using 'said' where 'the' will do is just awful, don't do that.

Again, we have a narrative setup that doesn't seem to have a natural ending. I appreciate the effort you made to give it one, but this doesn't make a lick of sense. (Apparently the minotaur thinks of its penis as a third leg? And they have modesty? So wear underwear, except without any kind of strap, so everything the minotaur did in the story up to then was one-handed?

Low, just barely avoided my DM list.

Fuubi's A Quiet Day

Don't preface your stories. I was Inclined to support a dm just for that.

Opening is sort of weak, a lot of negative description, which isn't good. 'dust-covered'.

Okay, that was cute enough. And had a much stronger ending than a lot of the things that used all the words and didn't call themselves half a story.

Middle.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

in ~70,000 BP

Baleful Osmium Sea
Oct 31, 2016


In. 21st Century BC.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

In toxx 3 ce

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007

DOUBLE BEEF ACTION

In, 13th century AD

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


Boaz-Jachim posted:

Thunderdome Week 224 Results

Were there any HM's?

Farchanter
Jun 15, 2008


In, I would like the 11th century AD.

Boaz-Jachim
Sep 20, 2015

CANERE CORAM LEONE


newtestleper posted:

Were there any HM's?

No.

Also, for crits by end of submissions on Sunday.

hotsoupdinner
Apr 12, 2007
eat up

In with the 17th century AD.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

wow you better hope more than 60 people don't sign up or you're going to look like an idiot

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Beefbrawl
Prompt: Vegans. gently caress Vegans.

Garden Variety (1561w)
On the first Monday after Temperance, back when one could still get a waiver for cream in one's coffee, Chelsea marched down the street to the Collection Center with a big green bag in her hands. She had spent all weekend cleaning out her home, and helping her less-enlightened neighbors sanitize theirs. Into the bags went leftover lamb and contraband chicken. With the dead things deposited safely in the hands of the state, she went to work with spring in her step and a sticker on her chest: I'm Doing My Part!

She lunched that day with her cubemate, Verne, and they twittered about the changes. Hope was in the air, and change; they were making the world a better place, they both agreed. And then Verne took out his dessert and Chelsea blanched.

He'd brought egg custard. Verne looked at it, red-faced, and shoved it back into the bag.

A poster hung on the wall. See Something, Say Something! Chelsea frowned at the brown bag and its yolk-yellow contents. She reached for her phone.

Verne's eyes pleaded. "I'll take it to the Center straightaway."

Chelsea tensed. But the law was about kindness, and doing one's peers a good turn, and so she swallowed her indignance, shared half her salad and Verne took the afternoon off.

A year later, Chelsea stood in her kitchen on a bright summer morning making coffee. Prohibition had passed. A big jug of olive oil stood in the corner. In the fridge she had margarine instead of butter, and in her coffee she mixed creamer instead of cream.

Two heavy bangs on the door. "Open up! Police!" They stood on the porch in green uniforms and spitpolished jackboots. They had a dog on a leash, and it led them to Chelsea's cupboard.

Inside, they found an old cheese, plaster-gray with mold. It looked like a lump of spackle, but they bagged and tagged it nonetheless, then cuffed Chelsea and took her down to the county lockup. The judge stared down from beneath a cotton-curl wig. She protested, she showed them her papers and her sticker: she'd done her part! The judge proclaimed her unrepentant and sentenced her to a year in the clink.

At the jail, matronly women received her, helped her out of her street things and into clean gray linens. "It'll be fun here, like a summer camp," they said. "We'll help you get recover. Don't you want to get better?"

Better? Chelsea knew she was already fine, she already believed in the rightness of the cause, but she bit her lip and nodded as the women signed her in.

On the first night in, Chelsea and the other prisoners were gathered in the yard. They tossed shoes and handbags into a pile, and then at the matrons' command they joined hands and dipped heads. Collectively, they spoke a prayer for the deceased and lit the pile of leather.

The prisoners turned their heads left and right, left and right, nodding to their neighbors and saying that yes, it was the right thing to do, the right thing indeed. Chelsea bobbed her head and said the words, but her eyes were on her flaming pumps.

They mixed the ashes into garden soil. To Chelsea, they were seeds poisoning the earth and, when she closed her eyes, she saw them floating like snowflakes in the dark.

They sang songs and drew pictures, and Chelsea didn't tell anyone about the gray dreams. When the summer came again Chelsea was proclaimed reformed, ready to return to the world, to treat it as an equal and respect her place among her peers, human and non.

Back on the outside, creamer was now whitener and they'd done away with bread — each loaf is a yeast holocaust, you monster, you depraved lunatic.

But the gray seeds were growing. In the corner of Chelsea's eye, there were no vibrant viridians, shocking whites or lush fuscias, only dead cold gray. At first the ashes hid behind the old, rich hues as soon as she turned her head, but they grew bolder. Soon her walk to work was a corridor of fog, nothing but gray slab and gray boxes. People strolled gaily down colorless avenues.

One day, she looked at her salad and the leafy greens were blank. She wiped her eyes and drank coffee to clear her head, but her lunch had gone gray. She held her plate out to her cubemate. "Verne, do you see anything weird here?"

He shook his head and gave her a troubled look. "Do you need a break?"

Chelsea shut up and booked herself into a state-sponsored retreat.

City-dwellers were bused to the countryside to reconnect with nature, see all the good the new order had wrought. They sat in tents and talked about how much better things were now, how much more at peace they felt, and Chelsea smiled and nodded as the gray faces flapped their gray lips around the gray fire.

Someone asked if there'd be marshmallows, and there was a long silence before the police came and hauled the criminal away.

The next day was warm and clear, and Chelsea excused herself to go for a walk. She ambled away on a path of dirt or gravel — she couldn't tell which. The thickets looked like clouds of leaves, gray puffs dancing in the wind.

A tan blur zipped through the grass, and Chelsea fell down, startled, but she scrambled up and hurried after the bit of brown. She crested a hill and for a moment Chelsea saw brown and yellow and red before they blipped off into the bushes.

Except one. Chelsea knelt down beside it.

A tiny bunny shivered in the grass, its fur the color of chocolate. She touched it, and it squirmed but did not run. She patted it on the head, ran her fingers on the silken ears, marveling at the frightened little ball of life.

The ball of meat.

Her fingers snapped its neck, her teeth tore fur from bone, flesh from fur, and crimson blood ran down her chin. She masticated.

The field was a-riot with color! Leaves emerald on one side, pale on the other; white oak and red-wood; and blue sky to the horizon. She luxuriated in her restored sight, and then the black bag came down and stole it all away.

She had a choice, they told her. There was a new treatment for cases like hers, the poor souls who found it hard to be a good person, but she had to want it. They could help her get better, and didn't she want to be all right? Of course she did.

So she said yes, and signed her name a thousand times, and then a doctor in a brilliant white smock swabbed the back of her neck — not with alcohol, of course. He told her that she wouldn't feel a thing, and she woke up with a smooth little scar on the back of her neck where they'd put in the chip.

Then she wore a little blue smock and sat in a room with other smiling scar-necked people who agreed that it was all for the best, and they were truly cured now, and wasn't this lemonade delicious? It was, Chelsea agreed, it tasted better than anything she'd ever had. She remembered drinking something else, and the lemonade was better than it, but what as it? It was warm, and tasted of iron, but when she tried to recall it, her mind simply ran into a wall, a wall cold and dark and calculating, so Chelsea smiled and chatted and tried her best to ignore the gray creeping into the corner of her eye.

Verne came to visit her and they were left alone in a little room with a little table. He looked ashen, and he took out a bag of gray carrot sticks and asked, "Would you like a snack?"

Chelsea smiled and nodded, but the carrots made her uncomfortable. What was it that ate carrots? People, her mind said. Wasn't there something else? No, her mind said. Chelsea's head was buzzing and she wiped sweat from her brow.

Verne frowned. "Are you okay?"

Chelsea's face was locked in a grin. Okay? Of course she was okay. Fit as a fiddle. Happy as a… shell? No, that wasn't right. She shuddered.

Verne glanced over his shoulder, fidgeted. "I should go." He offered his hand.

Chelsea shook it. "It was good to me— m— mee—!"

"Meet?" He squirted the meatword through his meat lips, flapping his meat tongue and wrapping his meat sticks around hers. A meatvein pulsed in his neck, carrying meatjuice to the meatbrain that thought meatthoughts, dreamed meatdreams.

She lunged, ripped, slurped meatlife into her meat-mouth, down her meat-tube. She tore, ate and drank her fill of meat, glorious meat, redolent and sticky. There were juices inside him, not just red, but black and yellow and green. They pooled on the floor and she dredged her hands in them, painted the forbidden word on the walls over and over again.

There was nothing more to be done for her. They came with the ice-pick, and they gave her peace. They made her what they loved, what they all longed to be. A vegetable.

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Who has two thumbs, speaks limited French, and hasn't cried once today? This moi!



In. I'll take the 12th century CE.

Fleta Mcgurn fucked around with this message at Nov 23, 2016 around 01:04

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

In. I'll take a crack at 12,000 BC.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Beef Supreme gets an extra hour since he toxxed and Erogenous didn't. Make good use of it!

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007

DOUBLE BEEF ACTION

The Space Between

Removed. You can still read these crappy words right here in the archives!

BeefSupreme fucked around with this message at Jan 3, 2017 around 08:13

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

The Battle of The Beefy Vegans has come to pass.

BeefSupreme accidentally wrote a story that hit insanely close to home for me. It was a simple, micro story about small relationships, and it was told delicately with great respect for his characters, and their intentions.

Erogenous Beef, on the other hand, took this opportunity to go ape-poo poo and propose a story that seems to be set in a bleak, not-so-distant future. The risk paid off, the story was boss as gently caress and the punchline was begging for me to cringe at it, but by golly he stuck the landing.

Both stories were good, but one must emerge as a winner. Due to the subtle yet powerful descriptions of the environment, the food, and the cruelty, Erogenous Beef takes this one down.

Both stories were a joy to read. Thank you for writing them!

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BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007

DOUBLE BEEF ACTION

Can't disagree with that judgment. Good story, Erogenous. I humbly cede the title of King Beef, for now.

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