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  • Locked thread
take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Thranguy posted:

Also, the floor on this new thread is too clean and dry. Needs blood. So if you two won't (and, for that matter, even if you do), I'ma brawl Specters. He knows why.

the only blood on the floor will be yours

im a ghost and dont even have blood but that wont be the reason

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take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Sitting Here posted:

Post your es if you accept.


take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



promptless story

Lucida

some amount of words

Bart heard the tuneful bleeps of Tone Preset 117c and his arm instinctively grabbed his Communicra and rocketed out to the side. He could see Gregory's face onscreen, though his boss looked like some kind of weird ultraviolet monster from the way Lucida's light hit it at the sharp angle.

Gregory was too close when he was breathing down Bart's neck on Terralax, and he was too close even a dozen systems away.

Video messaging has been turned off on Bart's end, so that Gregory can't tell how far away Bart is holding the Communicra. This has been accepted as a quirk that spices up Bart's monochromatically perfect work record.

"Morning, Bart," Gregory said. "How's employee morale out there?"

"The Lucideans," Bart said, emphasizing the genus name, "don't feel anything. They're bred that way."

"Right," Gregory said. "You know, it's amazing how good our communications technology is. I can hear you clear as day even though I'm all the way at Resources."

"The Lucideans know their circuits," Bart said. The siamese Lucidean sun was cresting over the top of Facility Alpha, hitting the glaze in his eyes with scarlet and indigo rays.

What Bart said next he wasn't sure if he hallucinated. Maybe his real question was more routine, possibly even work-related.

"Gregory," Bart said, "is it true that time loops infinitely, so that we experience the same things again and again, bored beyond belief without understanding why?"

"That's right, Bart," Gregory said, and Bart cut the connection. He wound up and hurled the Communicra into the milky Lucidean air. Maybe, he thought, it'll break the bond of the gravity here, which isn't particularly strong. He pictured it floating through space, hitting the sun and disintegrating, or getting completely frozen in the null temperatures, maybe grazing a comet and exploding into tiny fragments.

But as he watched the repulsor jets activated and the Communicra began to glide back, and he could hear Tone Preset 117c, quiet at first but steadily getting louder.

take the moon fucked around with this message at Jan 18, 2016 around 23:20

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



e: phoneposting is terrible

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



actually lets see if i can get my head out of my own butt long enough to do this

im in but can i be on team soda

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



i-ill do my best

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Oracle

1198 words

Leo Spraxus, captain of the Proxima Unica System Sky Surfers, is having a vision of the future. He sees himself antigravving through the Delta Tori System Bunker Buster zone while carrying the comet sphere. He winds up and hurls the comet sphere through the second highest scoring target. He’s just taken the Sky Surfers into the Holofield Championship.

Leo blinks. His coach is yelling at him over the headset shortwave to stick to his man. At this moment, he’s in the Sky Surfer zone, and the Bunker Busters are on the attack. But as Leo looks up, out of the corner of his eye he sees a teammate going in for a surprise steal.

Leo leaves it to faith as he zooms away from the Bunker Buster he’s guarding. The man’s eyes widen in surprise beneath his helmet. And suddenly the comet sphere is rocketing out towards him and Leo is meeting it exactly where the vision said he would be.

There’s no one near Leo, and he knows what to do with the comet sphere. It screams through the air, smashing through the shifting pixel patterns that make up the target. The pixels explode out into waves of colour and light while sound blares on several frequencies. Leo floats in place. He can only make out one thing through the confusion. His name. Spra-xus. Spra-xus.

Like he can hear everyone in the system at once.

He’s used to this. But for Leo Spraxus, victory has never been a guarantee. That’s why he works so hard.

This time was different. I saw it, he says to himself, and will tell his teammates later, when they all get blitzed on Honshu Blue Nova. They will be too out of it to listen.

I saw it, he will say.

***

Later, tossing around the comet sphere with his son, Reggie Spraxus, he figures it out. It’s second sight.

Like those broadcasts that are all over the Galaxy Wave. The Followers of Krovo. What do they say? That everyone is just programmed by God to do things. If you can see the programing, you’ll know what everyone is going to do next. You see the future. Krovo figured out how to do that, and you can too, if you go study under him at his temple. After you sign the contract, of course.

But I didn’t have to visit Krovo, Leo thinks. I somehow tapped into the second sight all by myself.

Why? It’s not like I need it. Everyone knows my name. I have everything I could ever want, he thinks, throwing the comet sphere.

He has another vision: the comet sphere upticking in speed. He must have misthrown. Its tail goes from a mild yellow to a slightly more alarming green. The speed change surprises Reggie, who still isn’t fully co-ordinated. As Leo watches, the comet weaves through Reggie’s outstretched arms and collides into his head with a thunk. Reggie begins to cry, the vision’s end cutting him off.

He’s back in the present, but the comet sphere has already left hands.

With a sunken heart he watches time repeat itself. The comet sphere’s impact actually sends Reggie flying backward, more from the kid stumbling than any real velocity. Still, Leo is a father, and no father can stand to watch his child hurt, for any reason. As he hugs the boy to him, he stares at the comet sphere, now sparking on the grass, and feels something break in him as well.

***

Leo is in the Sigma Helion System Empire Ants zone. It’s the offensive stage.

He’s managed to manipulate the sphere into following him through an extreme looping antigrav maneuver. But it looks like he’s been the only one to make it this far. He looks back and sees Empire Ants picking his teammates out of midair. It’s a rare turn of events; the majority of a team caught in antigrav jumps at the same time. He sees them being spiked into the holotraps, pitch black vortices that will blind them for a while. Now the Empire Ants are converging on him. The way the lights of the holofield play off their ant helmets makes it look like they all have death’s heads.

Leo grits his teeth.

He ascends sharply, manipulating his antigrav rig. Bursts of speed that seem random but are totally controlled. He’s out one side of the holofield and suddenly on the other side, his signature maneuver. He can almost see the Ants’ antennae waving back and forth to try and find him as he zooms over one Ant and under another. He hears cheers as he rockets toward the Ant keeper.

Then his third eye, or so he thinks of it now, opens.

The comet sphere is weaving back and forth, tail a pure red. It’s going for the second lowest scoring target, just enough to win. But the keeper is already there, reaching out with a long black arm.

And the comet sphere switches angles and collides into the highest scoring area.

It has to be the most amazing throw in holosphere history. And he’s disgusted by it.

This’ll keep happening, he thinks, because everything is set in stone. Everyone’s destiny. It all goes one way. I’ll keep watching myself do exactly what I’m supposed to do. Exactly what I’m programmed to do.

What is inevitability if not death?

The comet sphere is burning in his hand. With a grunt he hurls it and it misses wide.

I did it, he thinks, and for a second doesn’t understand the drone of disappointed murmurs.

***

Vito Diodonet is sitting in Tony’s Diner, a family joint.

A member of the family slides into the opposite side of the booth. Vito doesn’t know his name, but he sees him around. He always seemed nice enough.

Vito hands him an envelope. “Nothing personal,” he says, flashing a toothy grin. He counts it while Vito waits. Eventually he looks satisfied.

“I had a deadbeat try to welch today,” Vito says. “He said it was a fixup. Said Spraxus would never miss a shot like that unless something screwy was going on.”

“Anyone can crack under pressure,” the guy smirks.

“It is a fixup, though,” Vito says. “It’s all fixed up, all of it. An entire league full of, what do you call them, synthoids? Doesn’t it bother you?”

“You ever see those Krovo broadcasts?” the guy says. “They say we’re all programmed by God to do whatever, anyway. There’s no real difference, if you think about it.”

He gets up.

“Cheer up,” he says, noticing Vito’s expression. “You’ll go far if you don’t think about things too much.”

They even have synthoid families, Vito thinks as he watches the guy leave.

Suddenly he’s thinking about the future. He sees the family entrusting him with more and more responsibilities. He’s climbing the ranks, performing the rituals. He gets the boss’s ear. Maybe the old man takes a shine to him. One day, Vito thinks, he could be at the head of the most powerful organization in the galaxy. Every system kicking back to him. He’s imagining it now, like he’s there already.

Like second sight, he thinks.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Bad Seafood posted:

Somebody else can do the movie club. The film club doesn't like the movie club.

im doing movie club. im a try hard

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



The Case of the Shy Ghost: A Domegrassi Jr. High Movie Club Mystery

1433 words

continuity notes: takes place after Re: Teacher's Lounge Biohazard Incident by Thranguy, The Girl with the Dead Mom by Titus82, and The First Last Road Show by Bad Seafood

Stereotype: Punk

Drama: So like what if your friend was trying to convince you they could see ghosts????


Catrice Limbo is paranoid she'll be caught.

Her earphones are hidden under the hood of her sweatshirt, which also covers her shaved head. Catrice is a rebel. She makes people think hard about who they are and who they want to be. But Mr. Hardwick might be onto her at any second.

Hardwick is already yelling, though, at Larson Grant, who is both being slightly nonconformist and sitting in the front row. Through the music she can’t make out what he’s saying, but he’s gesturing violently. Her eyes skim off the slope of his angled elbow as he whips around and then before she even realizes it they’re settled on Violet Starling.

Violet has never said anything in class. In fact, Catrice has never heard her say anything, ever. She’s starting to have her suspicions. Black Hole singer Hothik is screaming “DEAD” again and again, the word bleeding into the distorted music so that you can’t tell where his voice ends and the noise begins. Catrice starts folding a paper airplane out of an old test.

She folds it quickly, not caring about paper cuts. She can’t tell if the smears on the finished plane are blood or red corrections. She assumes they’re blood and compensates for weight accordingly. Then she lets fly.

The airplane soars smoothly, though the classroom air is stuffy and stale. Nice. It angles towards Violet, sloping in towards her head.

Disaster strikes.

Violet moves her head slightly, her blank expression not changing. The plane’s air trail ruffles her stringy hair, but she’s far enough away to not affect the flight path. It hits a kid named Jerry, sitting on the opposite side, in the forehead. At the same time Catrice’s movement knocks her headphones out and everyone in the room starts clutching at their ears. Catrice is used to how Black Hole sounds, but no one else is, even though they’re muted by headphones. She turns to look at Hardwick.

He’s angry.

***

“Detention for the rest of my life,” Catrice says. “Every day I live I have to go to the classroom at five and sit there for an hour.”

“What if Hardwick dies first?” Lorena Eves says.

Catrice drops her voice, though usually no one is near the storage closet that doubles as the movie club projection room. “I'm sure Violet is a ghost.”

“Ghosts are only real in horror flicks,” Lorena says.

“That’s true,” Russell Atchity says. “In fact, movies are full of ghosts. Not just the main characters, but the throwaway liners, the extras in the background. It’s all that’s left of them, so the facial expressions of the key grip who accidentally wandered on set are actually the most powerful messages in the movie.”

Lorena’s eyes are threatening to leave orbit.

“Ghosts don’t show up on film,” Catrice says thoughtfully. “Not real ones. If we catch her on film and see nothing, then we’ll know for sure. Who has film equipment?”

Silence.

“The film club,” Russell says slowly.

“Something wrong?” Catrice says.

“It was before you joined, when we were starting out,” Lorena says. “We really wanted to be friends with the other clubs. So the film club let us screen their sci fi slasher, ‘The Hunter in the Catacombs of Xobrore.’ The critic here,” she says, looking at Russell, “decided to review the movie for them.”

“Every scene subverted itself because of poor camerawork and editing,” Russell says. “The characters died between each frame so it didn’t matter when one got eaten. Ultimately, I felt that the hunter alien represented the hubris that led them to make the film.” He adjusts his square rimmed glasses.

“They trashed our projector,” Lorena said. “You know how this one eats up half the film? Well, the last one didn’t eat as much.”

“We need that camera,” Catrice says.

Russell and Lorena look at each other. “Moira,” Lorena says.

***

“Let me talk to her,” Lorena says. She’s fixing the pin in her vintage bob, eyes furrowed in concentration.

“We figure any hair out of place will trigger her unconscious compulsions,” Russell says, “annoying her without her even knowing why.”

“I’m just trying to look nice,” Lorena says crossly.

Catrice stares at the entrance to the darkroom. She can see a red glow licking at the edges of the door. Like hell, she thinks. Like where the members of Black Hole are going. Like where I’m going if I continue on this dark path.

Lorena pushes the door open, slips inside. It swings shut.

A scream.

Russell whimpers. Catrice turns to look at him. He’s standing still. His mouth is a dark abyss.

She leaves him and charges into the room.

“Do you think I forgot?!” Moira.

Catrice squints. Through the hazy red light she can see a pool of liquid on the floor, marks leading away from it. Blood, she thinks. All I can do now is avenge her.

She pulls her hood down at the same time movement flashes in the corner of her eye.

Something collides with her. She goes sprawling to the side and crashes into some equipment. She tucks as she falls and her head doesn’t hit anything, but her body crunches as it lands. Whatever hit her has fallen on her and she can’t move.

The hazy red light is gone. As she looks up she sees the weight is a girl with short red hair. She's staring at Catrice in shock.

“You overwhelmed her with your shaved head,” Russell says. He’s in the darkroom, which is now just a room. “Good thinking. Hey, you broke the safelight.”

“I fell into her prints,” Lorena says. She’s standing next to an overturned tub. Photographs are plastered to the floor all around her. Small pools of water are forming around her soaked sneakers.

“M-movie club,” Moira says, clawing at the air.

“Let’s grab the camera and get out of here,” Russell says.

***

Violet is sitting by herself in the lunchroom. She’s not eating anything.

Gripping the camera tight, Catrice walks towards her. Puts her in focus, dead center. She’s staring down at the table in silence.

Catrice hits the shutter and everything breaks.

The viewscreen is fuzz that freezes her eyelids, like she just fell face first into a blizzard. Startled, she drops the camera. Violet is floating above the table, black light swirling out of her eyes.

Catrice hears yelling.

“All I wanted was to watch flicks!” Lorena is shouting at Russell. “You made everyone hate us!”

“Troglodyte,” Russell sneers. “You don’t even get movies.”

Catrice stumbles forward. All the other kids are frozen. One was talking while chewing and tiny flecks of food are floating in front of him.

I’m not punk enough for this, she thinks. Never punk enough...

With a choked cry she reaches for her music player. Digs it out of her pocket. Hurls it in front of her. It hits the ground and she sees it crack, sees bits break off.

What she hears next is the most unholy sound she’s heard in her life. Like the album was recorded in an actual black hole and it had been mixed using a word processing program by a demented robot.

Violet’s eyes open wider. The clock in the corner blurs as the hands spin backwards. The kids are changing. The girls are starting to look like Lorena and the boys are starting to look like nerds.

“No one ever tried to talk to me,” Violet says. She’s fading away. “If you’re alone for long enough you disappear. I disappeared instead of going to class.”

An echo from another time, Catrice thinks. She’s being pulled back.

“Talk to people,” she says. “They’re worth it,” and then Violet is gone.

She’s sitting on the cold cafeteria floor. She looks around. The kids all look normal. They're animated in conversation.

Russell and Lorena help her up.

“What just happened?” she says.

“I forgot that some people think that if you take someone’s picture, you steal their soul,” Russell says. “A ghost is just a soul, so it has no physical protection. You must have triggered her psychic defense, and our darkest thoughts consumed us. But your music probably collapsed the unstable time waveform that comes with a displaced spirit.”

Lorena is staring at the broken camera. “Moira won’t stop till we’re extras in her zombie movies. Without makeup.”

“I guess I ruined everything,” Catrice says glumly.

“No way,” Lorena says. “We’re the movie club. As long as we stick together, we can handle anything.” She looks at Russell. “Right?”

He nods, grinning.

The three friends hug as the clock ticks steadily forward.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



im entering

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Protected
1247 words

“She’s had too much Normalax,” the waster says. He’s holding up a girl who’s dressed like him, tattered clothes that don’t look like they’re doing much to keep out the wind. The gales generated by thousands of flapping protowings.

There is no right amount, Brother Krull of the Order Ascetica thinks. He pulls his hood off slightly, exposing some of the lines of his face. Enough to be sympathetic, but not enough to break the Illusion.

The Illusion is that the Order Ascetica are possessors of ancient mystic knowledge. The ancient mystic knowledge they possess is how to keep the Illusion going.

He makes the sacred hand signs, knowing that a brother will cue the force field for temporary permeability. The field, recovered military technology, is the only thing keeping the penguins at bay.

He pushes himself partway through the field to take the girl that the waster is leaning into him. Her pupils are completely gone. They are somewhere else, he thinks, seeing something else. She is limp, a rag doll.

As he’s out there he can hear the protowings beating against the air. The song of the wastes is crushing in its monotony.

The monastery inside the field is patchwork, like everywhere else now, but the Order has an eye for design. One brother, digging through pre-penguinpocalypse books, discovered the concept of Feng Shui, and the Order adopted it during their formative years. All the materials are scavenged, but the shelters are sturdy, and laid out in inoffensive ways that allow for easy movement.

The waster is shaking his head as they carry the girl to the first open shelter. “She’s so heavy, man,” he’s saying, and Krull realizes that he’s on Normalax himself. That means that he will come down at some point, possibly at a bad time.

Other people in the shelters look up as they come in, not with interest, but with glazed expressions, just reacting to a stimulus. They are all wasters; no one established anywhere else would bother to make the trip here. The brothers have subtly used their people skills and passive language into getting anyone who doesn’t need immediate help to stay far away.

But that doesn’t work against everything.

They lay the waster girl down on an old mattress. Her friend looks on blankly while Krull covers her with a blanket. He keeps his actions technically controlled, but lets some urgency leak while reaching for a nearby canteen of water. The friend picks up on it.

“Is she, you know, gonna be cool, dude?” the waster says.

“All we can do is make her more comfortable,” Krull says, and sees the impact of the words deaden against the waster’s normed out brain. When he comes down it’ll still be harsh, but at least the abstract information is couched in his neurons. It won’t physiologically surprise him.

He sighs, like he’s watching a baby animal die in an old animation.

Normalax, Krull thinks, suddenly, fiercely, is the real horror. The black mass of ascended penguins blots out the sun, but the true evil is what preys on man after his fall. In our attempt to escape this nightmare we have turned to something even more merciless.

The girl is starting to move. Krull keeps her pressed down against the blanket as her arms and legs begin to go through steady cycling motions. She was asleep, Krull thinks, and now she’s waking up. Maybe she’s looking for breakfast. Krull wonders how nice the place she thinks she’s in is.

“Hey dude, she’s moving,” the friend says. “That’s good, right?”

“No,” Krulls says. “She’s still in the world created by the Normalax overdose. I’m gently pressing her against the blanket, because otherwise she'll start moving around. If she collides with anything while moving her brain will be so confused that it will shut down on the spot. In the Normalax world she’s moving normally and not hitting anything.”

“Far out,” the friend says. “The norm world is probably better than the real world. Things are starting to get more unchill, I think. For some reason.”

“Because there are more penguins up there than before,” Krull says, and wavers then, on the brink of dropping the serenity aspect of the Illusion. There are always more, he thinks.

He looks around. All the wasters in the shelter look listless, but definitely somber.

The girl begins to curl her legs. Now her knees are flexing at a 90 degree angle. She starts to raise her arm to her mouth. Krull backs off slightly. No object collision to worry about. She’s drinking coffee, or some other liquid.

“Hey man,” the waster says. “Is this a bad scene? I think she’s got a lot of norm in her system. She did more than usual because there are a lot of penguins around.”

Krull doesn’t say anything.

“Penguins, man,“ the waster says. “We turned them into weapons, right? That’s what I heard. Penguins should be more chill.”

“Turned out,” Krull says, “that they’re not.”

“So weird,” the waster says. “I think that’s why we do norm. Because it’s so weird.”

Krull nods.

“A lot around them around here,” the waster says.

Krull is watching the girl. She’s smiling.

“Everything’s cool,” she says. “Everything’s amazing. I don’t need to do anything.” She’s blinking steadily now, slow droops over still blank eyes.

Krull steels himself.

“Hey, what’s up, dude?” the waster says.

“I don’t think I need oxygen,” she says. “It’s not a big deal.”

Her friend is quiet for a second. “Hey, that’s a weird thing to say,” he says.

“My heart doesn’t need to beat,” she says. “It’s pretty cool.”

“That’s messed up,” the friend says. “I think you need your heart to beat.”

“Everything’s so good,” she says. “I don’t think there needs to be a me. I don’t think—” Her mouth closes.

Krull moves to pull the blanket over her. She’s limp again.

“I’m not sure about this,” the friend says. “I don’t think this is good. It would be cool if she was alive, I think. I mean, it doesn’t seem like she is.”

Krull settles it over her head,. He can see the outline of her nose through the fabric.

“Maybe she’s not alive anymore,” the waster says. “Maybe there are more penguins around now. I think that’s true. But you guys know what to do, right? You cool old monks? You know everything. You should make everything okay for us.”

His eyes fall. His face looks ashen.

“I need everything to be okay, I think.”

Krull moves towards him. The cloth of his robe rustles as he hugs the waster. The robe covers the waster like the blanket is covering his friend. He feels the hug working with what’s left of the Normalax. The waster sighs in relief.

He pulls back. His arms are clasping the waster's shoulders. The waster is staring directly into his eyes. He sets his face into a determined expression. The waster nods.

He leaves the shelter. He can see some of his brothers outside. They’re staring up through the force field. He does the same.

They think the force field will hold against tonight’s assault. But the black sky makes Krull feel like he’s living in a vacuum.

The field will hold. But tomorrow there will be even more penguins. The field is the illusion of safety, nothing more.

Krull looks at the Normalax tab he just pawned from the waster, and thinks.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



in
flash me

take the moon fucked around with this message at Feb 9, 2016 around 06:42

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



im dying
Yoko no Hijo (Fear) ( http://www.spellsofmagic.com/spells...12847/page.html )
1482 words

i. Death

Before he died my father told me that we must spread God’s word. These were always his whispers, I’m always listening to them, and I always will. For the rest of my life I’m lying in the crook of his arm, nuzzling against him, listening to him gasp them out in a pool of his sickness. These are always, these moments, and they don’t get better.

God came and took him away. I think God was sad. My father is chasing the tangled string in the sky, so deep and blue when I stare through the glass; it goes on forever, like time.

I have listened to God, tried to understand him. He makes sounds near me, maybe they are for me. After my father was gone, he came near me more often. Sometimes he would reach for me, but God is scary. I’d shy away, stumbling, looking for dark corners. I’d stay in those corners, closed off from everything. An eternity always, I am still in those corners.

I would emerge after centuries to find food waiting in a silver halo. I’d paw it to make sure it was safe, then I’d eat, and I’d feel myself growing stronger. But growth is an eternity too, and forever I am still weak.

Now I think God has died. The halo is empty, smeared with grime. It has been there, forever, I think, but I am not sure. I am cold and hungry and the halo is empty. I am empty and I think my stomach is a void. The void is everything around me and it is waiting forever, and I know I will be the void, in the void, forever, if I stay.

There is a path to heaven. It is real. I must go there.

ii. The Path

At Heaven’s threshold lurks the beast.

I walk. Paw over paw on tangled ground. I am moving, I have always been moving.

I have never walked this path before. It smells of dank fur and waste. It belongs to the beast now, like all things will, in time, and time is now, it is all now. The beast has everything, and I am going to him. I always have been going to him, will always be going and never be in his jaws. I will always be in his jaws.

The path to heaven is thin. I can only move one way, and I don’t have much space. The sides are streaked with dirt and decay.

The howl of the beast freezes me. My ears drain every last note out of the air. It is a long howl, and I can’t react to it because it’s the same, the same for centuries, even as my blood slows.

My paws are trembling, scuffing against the knotted ground. It rips against my claws. They are tender and chafe against the knots. My fur raises, making me bigger, but I know I am not nearly the size of the beast. The air that cuts through the path slips through my fur, which clings to it, draws it in. It meets my body and I am cold.

I can see the shadow moving in heaven, behind the threshold. Moving in the light that spills forth, like the halo around my food.

I raise my paw so I don’t have to look at it. I am forever, endlessly safe behind my paw and time. I am always here, never in the beast’s jaws. He will rip and tear me so I can never be torn. I am not torn now.

But I must face him, even if I am torn always.

Because the beast is with God, and God is a place. God doesn’t move, I’m not sure He ever has. He is there, in the light beyond the threshold. God is life, and the life has stopped, and I must face the beast or else the thing that can not be real will eat me, like I have eaten from the halo, like the beast will eat of me, like there is something eating of God, now and forever and always, but I do not understand.

I am before the threshold. I can hear the beast breathing on the other side. He breathes many breaths, he is big, he must consume more life than me. As I reach for the threshold, I hear him growl, a low sound, from the pit of him. Against the threshold I stop, for my fur is still bristled, and my skin is still cold. The growl is deep from the void, and I think he is a void. He is bottomless, like the thing that is maybe real, and the maybe thing will eat me.

I push open the threshold so I can fit in, and then I squeeze, into space, into God, into light, to be before the beast.

iii. The Beast

His teeth are flecked with spit and grime. He is drooling, shaking. His eyes shine from the light spilling through the half-shuttered window.

I am halfway through the threshold .

He moves towards me, haunches raised. He slowly builds up speed as he lumbers over.

I coil my forelegs. I can leap back, twist, and scamper back down. Back to earth, back to where there is the fear that is not this. I am not sure if it was worse.

Suddenly, I remember eternities. All eternities that are bad are worse than anything. That eternity is worse than this, even though this eternity is the worst. I think God is helping me know that somehow. God is a constant, like eternity, but better.

The beast is coming, but I can feel God in the room with me.

So I move through, fit my body in, and then I am slammed against the threshold, closed behind me. That world is gone now, and his jaws are searching for me. They are ripping at my fur, there is not much fur, and I can’t move, pinned, I feel them against my belly. The fur parts against them and they are touching my skin, dragging across, but they are not there yet, because I am thrashing, sliding against the threshold, and then I am falling.

We both fall together but the beast is on me. My belly, my throat. He is searching. I can’t breathe through his spit.

But my backlegs, my backlegs are curled, and there is fear, and fear makes them carve deep, deep into him, and I am tearing, terrible. I don’t want to play with the ball of string in the sky. I will. He is biting me, I am tearing him, I am crushed against the threshold, but I am also tearing. My claws are wet. The beast is crying. All my limbs are tearing.

I hurt him. Something he needs is hurt. He isn’t the beast anymore. He’s something that will sleep, that doesn’t want to sleep. He is starting to sleep now, though he is still awake.

iv. God’s Head

God is seated in front of his universe. He’s not moving.

It wasn’t the beast I smelled. It was Him. He is beginning to decay.

I hear sounds from his universe. I can see a flickering light, like a candle dancing. I can’t see God’s face. He has bent his body over so his head might be closer to his hands.

I move towards him. Somewhere nearby, the beast moans.

When God is dead, we must spread His word.

I tug at God’s leg. God doesn’t move. My claw catches in the folds of his skin. God has many skins, even in death. God’s skin will last forever.

I am climbing. I always will climb. I am not climbing yet.

I am ascending, ripping at cloth, bathed by the light of the universe. It blinds my corners, but I can still see up. I can still climb up, moving past the different levels of God. He is still not moving. I am not falling. My claws are pressing into God, into the space where the layers of God bleed into each other. I don’t understand God.

My father is in the sky. I am climbing towards the sky. My father is in God’s head. God is all tangled. The tangled string in the sky.

I am on God’s back, clutching to his forest. And I can see, on God’s universe, his word. The thing that he wants to say.

私は死ぬ.

I don’t understand. I move onto God’s head, to be closer to his spirit. So I can understand.

My weight presses on him. I hear a noise. There’s something under God’s head.

Chimes. Lights. New shapes on His universe.

I wait forever. At the end of forever, they come. They take away God and they take me away, after. Soon, a long time from now, I am somewhere else.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



flerp posted:

Interprompt: WikiHow Did This Happen?
Regret

http://www.wikihow.com/Freeze-Blackberries

300 words

Delmar stares at the filth in his hands.

“No,” he says. “You were so good once. Now you’re lost forever.”

He can wash the decay off. Cleanse himself, watch the sin spiral down the sink. But what he can never wash off is the stain now on his soul. Every time he bakes a pie, he will look at his palms, and he will remember.

Delmar remembers.

Shiring Farms. He had given five dollars, money he’d earned painstakingly designing new emoji, to the farmer’s daughter by the till. She was a true child of the soil, but there was something beautiful about her all the same. After sweating profusely he had finally made it into the fields. They were mostly picked clean, but he had stayed long into the day, collecting every berry he could find. He traced footsteps to figure out where exactly other berry hunters had been standing, then stood in slightly different places. He pulled away leaves that shaded the berries from the sun’s harsh heat. He even scrabbled around in the dirt, feeling like he was taking berries straight from the bosom of mother earth herself.

He had left the farm, basket full of berries, flashing a triumphant smile at the side of the head of the farmer’s daughter, who was talking to another would-be picker.

But he hadn’t eaten them. There was never any space and time not already being filled by drinking through his hoard of Mountain Dew. In the end he had just let them go.

He watches the berries drain down to the place all empty dreams end up. Tears in rain.

This, he thinks, will never happen again. To anyone. Not if I can help it. He boots up his computer, navigates to wikihow dot com, and begins to type.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



spectres easily enters first, building up a combo from last week

in

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Analogues
1388 words

“You know, I’m getting a little older,” Theron says. “I’m just gonna stay off Wish, focus on the music.”

“Ther,” Gail says, “this is off the record.” He can’t stop some panic from creeping into his voice.

“Sure,” Ther says, “it’s not dangerous in any way. I know it’s just brain chemistry manipulation with no adverse effects. But I…,” stumbling on what he’s saying, like he’s dropped a cue card, “I’m just becoming a different person now. More… together.”

The way he said “together,” like he really had to reach for the word, should have set off alarm bells. But all Gail Beelar, hotshot reporter for Third Ear could see, was that he was losing someone. Theron’s eyes, once so warm and inviting, were now distant. Far off, inhospitable planets.

“I should get back to the studio,” Theron says. “There’s something I just need to record, you know? Before it passes.”

Abstractly, Gail does know. It sounds like something Theron would say. But not exactly like something he would say. He watches as Theron gets up, putting hands in the pockets of his woolen sweater, though it’s twenty degrees out. He walks in the general direction of the metro station only a block away. Gail finishes his caffeine cube and watches the passerby, who swallow Theron up, like a ghost in fog.

***

“Cosmic Plaything’s music is worse since they signed that contract,” Gail says to his boss, Lead Editor Max Washler.

Washler sneers. “Worse, huh? By what metric? Your highly personalized, ‘bohemian’ taste?”

“All I know,” Gail says, “is that Theron’s lyrics used to feel real, and now they don’t. The metaphors have gotten so vague that they don’t mean anything. And they’re interspersed with cliches that have been around since the beginning of time.”

“Just like his old lyrics,” Washler says.

It’s true, Gail thinks. That’s what it must look like to everyone. I’m the only one who can tell.

“Boss,” Gail says. “I think there’s a story here. My reporter’s sense is tingling.”

Washler ashes his imported Venusian cigar. “Look, Gail. I trust you. But if you fall too far down the rabbit hole of subjectivity, I won’t be there to save you. You understand?”

Gail nods, but he isn’t really in the conversation anymore. He’s thinking about the story. Sometimes Gail feels he isn’t really a person. He’s just a moving view of the world as his body hunts down leads and converts reality into fairly well chosen words.

But Theron was his friend.

***

After Gail leaves, Washler makes a phone call on the fifth line, the one only he knows exists. It’s activated by pressing the third and fourth line buttons simultaneously.

I need to buffer this, he thinks.

“Washler.” Silence.

“Gail’s going to sniff around,” Washler says, and then his frustration boils over. “You shouldn’t have signed Cosmic Plaything. He grew up with them. He can tell that they’re different.”

“Is that it?” The voice never says more than a few words at a time. Washler has started to see the silence that drapes everything it says as a void. It’s a void he fills in with horrible things.

“Look,” Washler says. “You might need to do something to him. I get that. But I have a professional interest in making sure he retains his ability to write. For that he needs his ability to think.”

“Professional?” Almost taunting.

“That’s all I have to say,” Washler says. He waits for the click then hangs up himself. Then he checks on his cigar stash. But he knows what’s waiting for him before he even opens the desk drawer.

It’s empty. He’s out.

***

Gail’s just taken a hit of Wish and put the Cosmic Plaything’s new LP on the holographic turntable emulator.

For the first time in his life, he’s hit a dead end.

He’d expected Xenon Records to give him the silent treatment. But he didn’t think that even the janitors would give him death glares as he paced through the building. What’s worse is that Cosmic Plaything themselves won’t talk to him. Even to grab a caffeine cube at an official dispensary.

And Theron might as well be in another dimension. For Gail, waiting for a response is like listening to the five minutes of silence at the end of a record, trying to figure out if there’s a hidden track. But, Gail gradually realizes, the record’s over. The empty air is just an engineering flub.

And he’s been seeing things out of the corners of his eyes.

He starts to come up. He makes his first wish to the quantum djinn that has awakened from its sleep in the depths of his brain. Please, he says, don’t let this trip kill me. And I don’t want to be addicted. I’d like my life span to stay the same, and my day to day functioning to be normal.

The djinn’s laugh flutters like petals on the spring breeze. I won’t hurt you.

I’d also like to be safe forever, he adds.

It sounds unsure. You won’t be, it says. I’m sorry. He feels it hugging the part of his brain that makes peace with unpleasant existential truths.

The first song has started. It’s an intro, but this isn’t like the one on their self pressed first album. That was a simple ambient space-out, asking the listener to trust them before the record really got moving. This, Gail thinks, is almost an actual song.

I don’t like this, the djinn says. It’s manipulative.

If you’re a part of me, Gail thinks, then that means I don’t like it. My opinion. But if you’re just the drug, just foreign chemicals, then that means Washler is right. I’m losing myself to a world where nothing is real, and maybe I’ll never find my way out.

Don’t think about me like that, the djinn says, its voice rising. Just don’t, okay? I’m a part of you and I’m a part of everyone and that’s all I want to be.

You’re better than most, he thinks, and then there’s a knock at the door. He moves to answer it, the djinn kissing him goodbye as it floats away.

It’s several men, brimmed hats tilted over their heads, dark glasses, charcoal suits. They grab him by the arms.

***

Washler stares at Gail, sitting stiffly in the guest chair. So far he hasn’t said anything, even during the increasingly awkward silence.

“Well,” Washler croaks, “what did you turn up?”

“I was just imagining it,” Gail says. “They sound the same. If anything’s different, they’re just evolving.”

“Well, yeah,” Washler says. “That’s uh, pretty much what we say in our review. That’s good, that uh, matches up. Consistency.”

He’s smoking a cheap cigar, still waiting for his re-order to come through. He wills Gail to comment on it. Come on, he thinks.

“Anything you want me to do, boss?” Gail says. His focus is creeping Washler out. He’s totally zeroed in. Zeroed in, he thinks, on another meaningless conversation at Third Ear, who are selling more and more of their controlling shares to faceless mega-corporations.

He gives up. “Here, just interview Lissie Fastling. She’s about to do a huge inter-system tour.”

“Right,” Gail says. “Any way you want me to,” face blanking, “play it?”

“Keep it light,” Washler says, helpless. “Hey, are you in touch with Theron?”

“Yeah,” Gail says. “But we don’t talk about music. Just life.”

After Gail leaves Washler turns to his window, to the city outside. It looks like it’s made of porcelain.

He went into music journalism because he couldn’t feel music the way everyone else did, no matter how hard he tried. So he figured he’d support it by writing about it. That was a long time ago.

Now, when he turns on the radio, he can’t feel anything at all.

Gail is a casualty, he thinks, of these entities that are taking over everything. Maybe he’s one of them. Any way you read it, he’s not himself anymore.

I can’t give in anymore, he realizes. I still have good reporters, so I can still find things out, and I can strike back. With the truth, the only thing that matters. I just need to pick my moments and words carefully.

I’ll know what to do when my next shipment of Wish-laced cigars gets here.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



double post

The Weeknd - I Can't Feel My Face

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



spectral crit:

The Show by Sitting Here

i think a lot of this works as a good metaphor/whatever for someone who feels like theyre the center of attn. like in an obvious sense, such as an actress or sports figure, but it could also work for a really paranoid person who sees eyes in cameras and stuff. the first paragraph is kind of a setup for this, but also just a really effective execution. nothing escapes the gaze of the fans, even stray bits of hair.

so i didnt relate to this character, but i felt a sense of respect, and even awe, like the type you feel for a carny tightrope walker, everyone watching him up there in heaven, some praying for him to fall. this really worked textually since i felt in synchronicity with the other characters of Ya-chen's world. i could identify really easily with the commenters, not in terms of fandom or anything, but just a reverence for someone who can do something even approximating functioning in front of that many eyes.

the ending, to me, is just a power reversal. not to be cliche or paranoid, but u know, there are a lot of cameras out there these days, and people high above us, looking down, knowing that we'll never look up. in this story the watchers become the watched, and we realize that through being the centre of everyone's attention, Ya-Chen has given us all our freedom. the ending credits are a list of people who never wanted or cared about that freedom in the first place.

nitpick: u used the same name twice at the end, blurring the two characters a lil. some of the names in the credits sound p fake.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



spectral crit:

Thus Always to Tyrants by Quo Pro Quid

okay so at the core the story seems to be about a mad emperor/tyrant/whatever who's after his own death. the reason is interesting; he wants to die at this moment because it would inconvenience any would be revolutionaries and plotters.

so the human element is really strong here. you can't really call the guy together, but he's too complicated to be called crazy. as i read this story i really want to picture what makes these men different. unfortunately, the descriptions, while ambitious, at times feel cliche. "eyes like fire" are a good example. a weak metaphor seems like, not as good as no metaphor at all. all i get essentially is that theyre dudes wearing togas with the lil laurel halos and i dont know if i read that or just assumed it.

what really bothered me is that this story is steeped in all that greco-roman cultural stuff. that's fine, but it interrupts the story at parts. in the first paragraph you give all the names of the emperor, and he's not even the main character. so i see what you were going for, but dressing everyone down in such historical ways makes me think less that theyre human beings and more that theyre walking busts that just strolled out of the museum. its okay to inflect their speech a bit, but you should remember that these people were just dudes, just people like you or me, and their conversations would be the same, i.e., not needlessly overdramatic.

that being said, i like the idea here a lot, someone who kills himself just to troll an entire empire. i would try not to let the historical furnishings get in the way that much, thats it.

take the moon fucked around with this message at Mar 6, 2016 around 15:17

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



sebmojo posted:

The autismal flerpings of yesteryear brawl

Prompt: "There never was a golden age"

750 words, due 12 March 2359 PST, toxx up

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



double postin

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



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

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

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

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

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

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



im an insomniac

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



crits

aware by ghost crow

ok, so...

the opening sentence is kind of cliche, but the problem is kind of the whole idea of the first paragraph. we all kind of have an idea of how, like, a future internet would work. it would just be a more immediate thought stream, in yr head, or whatever. so once you start describing it, the reader sort of checks out for a while. hes like, whatever, its a future cyberpunk internet. the point of cyberpunk isnt the tech, its how that tech sort of collapses on people (consult resident legit cyberpunker sebmoji to verify this.) so all i really get from the first para is that shes dreaming about being on a spaceship and something about patterns, and everything else is just frosting on the beater. but!! its an interesting situation.

i think what youre doing is called "purple prose."

but yeah probably the main thing that sticks out to me here is that your character wants to be annoying, even in death. and then in the end she tries to die and doesnt. who is major sato and why does she care about yr protag? what makes Go important other than its a stereotypically japanese game? ultimately this starts with the illusion of depth but ends up culturally shallow. i also dont get the title other than its yr prompt.

time is nothing by bird tyrant

ok, so...

this is ambitious. child abuse is serious stuff and its cool to get poetic imo but you have to completely nail it. otherwise its just, like, way too distant to feel. this just feels way too cliche to me and it kind of hurts. but it hurts because holy balls do i understand some of the character traits and if you got them perfectly right id totally feel the story. int he end though the whole thing feels hopeless and the parents slide off the deep end into grotesque caricature, which is probably why you lost. ultimately child torture is not a fun read.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



f l e r p b r a w l

Black Rose
750 words

“Dropped,” Lilith says, “like a bad habit.”

“You are a bad habit,” Inanna said.

“Wrong,” Lilith says. “I mean, I don’t know. I think I’m good for people, just misunderstood.”

Inanna doesn’t say anything then, because she’s too busy growing. Her tendrils are already burrowing under Lillith’s feet, helping her keep her balance, but as Lilith watches she sees them burst through the ground, a cobweb of roots, a protective canopy. God is beginning his bombardment, a hardcore meteor shower, and she knows that it’s Adam at the pulse of everything.

“My roots are strong,” Inanna says, “but my branches are weak. You can’t stay here forever.”

“I just need a bit longer,” Lilith says. “I’m homeless now.”

But the meteors are falling. They crash into the sap-hardened tendrils, scraping off to plummet into the void, leaving Inanna’s bark scorched, blackened. Inanna grits her teeth, so hard that Lilith can hear it.

“Okay,” Lilith sys. “I’ll go. I'm not toxic, though.” She waits for a sympathetic smile.

Nothing comes. Instead, as meteors smash into the slowly collapsing folds, the tendrils behind Lilith curl open. Lilith stares at Inanna’s teeth, shades of frosted glass, closes her eyes, and falls backward into space.



So Adam climbs further and further away.

His choice, Lilith thinks. But it doesn’t need to define me. I’m stronger than he thinks I am. I don’t need him.

And she falls towards Tartarus, his black smoke spilling forth, his shadows massing to catch her, enfold her, and float her down towards him. If Adam tries to follow me here, Lilith thinks, then he truly is evil, and he’s wrong, not me. I’ve done all I can. She thinks this as Tartarus begins to speak, and in order to hear him Lilith needs to freeze, to trance out, and then the speech fills her head and there’s nothing but his speech and the void, and when his speech is gone there will only be the void. So Lilith listens.

She’s been there before. She knows that already. She zones out when Tartarus tells her how many times it’s been. She gets the gist. She leaves, comes back. Leaves, comes back. It’s her fault. It isn’t her fault. She needs to listen. She needs to assert herself.

But, Lilith thinks, I know who I am. Objectively I’m the first, and I’m sent away. Read the arc, it’s all there. I can only be the problem, and nothing else.

She thinks this, and her thoughts radiate out into nothingness, are nothingness. It all blurs together, and she’s just with Tartarus, and he settles into a rhythm. His words are slow, measured, and she gets it. He’s getting more and more descriptive, fleshing her out a bit, and then she sees her name and jumps on it, floats away on it, and she’s herself again, zooming through time, watching as Adam spreads his lame seed. The seed radiates outwards, into space, hits the edges of the fabric, and then collapses back, and it’s just her and Adam again. He’s clutching his side in that familiar way, and he looks like he’s about to blame her for something.

So before he can she rockets away, hair streaming behind her, igniting the air. She twists and turns and scampers. When she looks she sees him following, so she stops looking. Then she’s found a crescent shaped depression in the ground and she falls into it, and then all she can hear is her breathing. Then all she can hear is her heartbeat.

After a while she stands up, shakes off the leaves, and looks for the caves.



The caves of paradise are only there when you look for them. Otherwise they’d add a bit of darkness to your day that maybe you weren’t ready for. But Lilith needs them now. So she steps into the maw, overgrown with moss so that it blends with the rest of the landscape.

gently caress off, Tartarus, she thinks, but he isn’t there. It’s just her, by herself.

What is Adam doing now, she asks herself. Is he already bitching to God? This one didn’t work out, get me another. And while you’re at it, sweep her away, because I don’t even want to remember her.

But, she thinks, it’s because I terrify him. In the end, you’re terrified of what you create. And his mistake was never creating anything with me. Because I have nothing to be scared of.

One day, she thinks, I’ll write God out.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



google docs

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Things (Sirens)

1480 words

“I haven’t slept in months,” Marica says.

“Scientifically impossible,” I say. I’m surfing. Waves on a glass beach. “More sugar water,” she says.

As I’m drinking it down I hear sirens. And my body starts contorting because they’re close. I’m drawn to them, twisting my body into a submissive position.

She’s pulling me off the street, bottle pressed to my scraped lips, my body still bent towards the bright lights, circling closer, impossibly. My veins are made of diamond.

I collapse against her as the sirens begin to fade. Just shades, she says. Like everything else. Everything is a shade, no matter how bright.



So, a different time. Later or before, it’s exactly the same thing.

I’m sitting with her on a rooftop overlooking the square. She’s explaining the rule. The rule is, you drink sugar water instead of non sugared water, and everything changes.

“So you drink it all the time,” she says. “Whenever you would drink normal water, drink sugar water instead. Don’t worry about your teeth. Teeth are an illusion. You learn that when you drink sugar water. You just need to keep drinking it.”



I forget whether or not I believe her. But I remember her saying it. I can remember her teeth. They’re white, but murky somehow. Like they’re losing their shape. I keep the idea in my head so I can match it up to reality later.

It’s later. I’ve been drinking nothing but sugar water. I can’t feel my body. But I can feel everything else. A bird lands on my shoulder and starts nuzzling my neck, soft plumes vibrating against my throat.

“The rules don’t apply to us now,” she says. “But sleep, that’s the big one. I mean, I was so sick of it. Having to pick the most strategic time to be unconscious for eight hours. Such a waste of brainpower.”

“So what?” I say. “We’re witches now? Demons? That occult stuff that was cool for maybe ten seconds?”

“We’re just things,” she says, and adjusts her carefully carved dreadlocks nervously.



I think I can hear sirens. If you listen carefully, you hear them all the time. I mean, they’re always going, just at different levels. They’re part of the background noise and because they’re musical, in their way, they blend into everything else. What this means is that they can get gradually louder, and by the time you register them, it might be too late. And all the while they’ve been slowly drawing you in, into the pulse of the city, where they control the blood flow.

We’re walking to the downtown core now. I ask Marica why. She sort of stammers, skips over the stammer hoping I didn’t hear. Just feel like it, she says, and when she shrugs there’s a bit of a tremor.

We stand out against the crowd, or at least she does. I’m sort of buffering her against everyone, but she’s too out there, too many symbols that are instantly recognizable to the unconscious. Too many wards that are indiscriminate, parting the crowd like an obedient ocean. So as we walk there’s a wide space around us, maybe filled with spirits but nothing that has presence, can do anything if all of a sudden these people just disappear completely, and there’s nothing, no one, just lights and sound.

“I’m thinking maybe a hairbrush,” Marica says. “Or a record.”

Those things are in completely different places, I want to say, but I’m too busy furiously swallowing sugar water. I feel it burn a little as it hits my throat, a little spark that drags down the inside membrane like a slug working his way down the base of a tree. This is too physical for me. I’d like it to diffuse into my essence, the apex of the sugar high. I’m addicted now, and at the periphery of my consciousness the fear is clamping my head into a nice tight ball.

“Maybe a sweater,” she says.

I’m trying to estimate my sugar to cell ratio when I start to hear the sirens. But of course they were always there, a buzz slowly resolving itself into a wail. The sugar in my ears softens it, but the wail scrapes through the spaces in between the molecules like silt through a sifter. So I’m hit with a fragments of noise that scatter my thoughts in all directions, furiously seeking sanctuary.

And I look at Marica, and she’s freaking out.

I can see it. She’s shaking so hard it looks like someone dropped the frames on a dying sprite. She’s moving her lips like she’s thinking of saying something. The perfect hex to smooth things out. But the sirens are getting louder, like she’s the source of them. But all this means, I realize, is that nothing’s coming out. She’s got nothing and the people around us are starting to move faster. The circle is expanding outwards, like suddenly everyone’s developed a healthy respect for our personal space.

I grab her arm and we start moving faster.

The sugar water is letting me see the ley lines between people, but the people are moving back and forth so violently that it’s impossible to keep track of them. And Marica isn’t mobile at all. She’s stumbling over her feet which have somehow developed the ability to sink into the pavement. She’s pulling them out, but it’s slowing her down. Every time they come out there’s a squelch which makes me think of stale gelatin.

The sirens get louder. Now the sugar molecules in my blood are catching the sound and spreading it through my body. Sucrose analogues, blasting in rhythm with my my heartbeat. It’s a glass ocean, endlessly refracting sunlight through my body. My skin is translucent and through it I can see white.

Come on, I say, or maybe think, and then I’m pulling Marica into the alley as the sirens fill the world.

The alley has a staircase that leads to an overhanging ladder, about elbow height. I don’t have that kind of upper body strength right now and Marica is practically dead weight.

What I hear next makes me turn on the jets. I’m expecting the sirens to hit a certain point and go into a steady stasis. Cops not bothering to turn them off as they roll out of their cars and draw their guns in a smooth ninja-like motion. But instead they change pitch and I hear a screech of tires and then they’re impossibly getting louder.

Then the lights splash against the shadows of the alley. Flashes that hit my sugar enhanced senses like paint splashed on a white wall.

The police car is pulling in after us.

I don’t think it’s dropped its speed. I can’t hear tires over the sirens but they are a steady wail and getting closer fast. They’re gonna run us over, I think, and I feel it. The sugar particles exploding in my blood, sending waves of granule through my bloodstream. Waves of sweetness, my body gasping. Everything is frosted.

Marica trips. She falls in slow motion and semi-smoothly I slide partly under her and fall with her. But I crunch on the gravel and even through the sugar it hurts. Like sugar spilled over broken glass. It feels ugly.

She half hits the ground and sprawls to the side.

I’m on my back. I look up.

The sirens are glaring. Inside the death machine things are stirring.



It’s a different time.

“So you’re on the bus,” Marica says, “and you notice some creeper moving towards you. He’s sliding into empty spots, keeping an even spacing, but he’s steadily getting closer. He’ll get up, yawn, stretch, and head in your direction for a bit until he sits down somewhere else.”

“Common situation,” I say.

“So what you do,” she says, “instead of living in fear, is bare your throat.”

“What if he’s a vaaaaampire,” I say in a dumb voice. I’m not really focused. I’m trying to figure out how much of the oversized off brand sugar water can is just air.

“That’s the point,” she says. “You slide down your collar, maybe tilt your head against the window. Close your eyes. You find out pretty quickly what kind of person someone is if he has a good, healthy view of your rosy throat.”

“Right,” I say. “You get stabbed like that dude on the news.”

“No,” Marica says. “He coughs and moves away. Every time. Have a little faith in people.”



Siren still blaring. Marissa’s breathing shallowly, quick gasps, oddly spaced. My whole body hurts. I can barely move. I hear loud chatter. A police band that I can somehow make out through the car. Incomprehensible, mechanical speech.

I tilt my head back, and force my neck up towards God.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



spectres is miserable crit of Lingering Things by CANNIBAL GIRLS

ok so i think the opening line puts the reader in the mood for like death, much like my mood. its kind of interesting because she waits until the voice grows faint to shut it off completely. like shed be the sort of person youd go to in a euthanasia situation.

its "scot free." i looked this up and this phrase originating w a guy named scott is a common misconception.

she is apparently trying to stealth a pregnancy which seems unwise so im hoping theres an arc here.

-reaction critting ends here-

ok so this was really good 2 me. its hard to follow her motivations in like a linear line but thats true of anyone i run into when i go outside so whatever.

i liked the radiowave stuff as foreshadowing a lot. it sort of sets up that shes ready to follow symbolic patterns and she enjoys sort of being in control of the amount of influence her husband has on her life, or rather just how much he actually is present.

ive had dreams and experiences when you think youre following hidden rules and then everything goes wrong cuz you spaced out somewhere important. the whole hammer explanation felt really real.

so i guess the crit i have is that the person freaking out part is relateable but sort of under her core the character is a jerk and she sort of returns to being a jerk, albeit in a natural progressive way (despite the craziness.)

i wouldnt dm this but writing is blood. namaste

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



^no

im gonna commit hara kiri rite after i press post

Dragon Godhead EX! Universe Crusher
1718 words

He was skin and bones but his fingers dug into my nerves like knives. And for a second I was asleep again.

Dreaming of terrible, twisting shapes that fought each other, devoured each other, and stayed with me into waking life, in my peripheries, when I closed my eyes, shadows behind my eyelids.

So despite the pain my eyes snapped open, and also because my brain needed to understand what was happening. He was half my weight and almost hunched over, a bowl cut and thick glasses. And I was paralyzed, my brain screaming that I’d been poisoned. I was dying.

“Let go,” I said, but it was almost a whisper. His smile, sharply turned..

“Please.”

He did. “Forces beyond your comprehension,” he sneered. Then he was walking back towards the academy, and I was left there, clutching my wrist, wondering how I had lost, how it hadn’t even been a fight.

I’m no strangers to fights. Usually, I’ve found, they’re the fastest way to solve problems. A week ago, a rival school kidnapped my girlfriend. After smashing in fifty faces with my fists and objects conveniently left lying around, I finally realized that what I needed wasn’t a girlfriend. It was to work on myself, understand the world and how I fit into it.

So I had. I realized that what I needed to do was train. Train to become the best fighter in the universe. And I thought I was getting there. Until Kagawa Ssekien, the nerdiest kid in the academy had shown me death. And death wasn’t honourable. Death was fear. It made you question everything.

Standing in the schoolyard, autumn leaves swirling around me, I felt reality begin to break.

💧

My grandfather ran a game store in Naragawa-Cho. When you walk in, you see games from all over the world, games you’ve never heard of. But the first thing your eye is drawn to are the go sets. He hand carves the pebbles himself so that each one has perfect balance and heft. When he does this I don’t know. I’ve never seen him, even on lazy Saturdays when I’ve hung out at the store all day, watching all the people who come in, about a 96 percent ratio of guys to girls.

But he always has about a thousand sets around ready to go.

He’s handing one to me now, and I’m still thinking about that nerd. He looks like an insect, I think, like he’d feel at home in an ant colony. I’m picturing him with antennae waving around, but then I see him with drooling fangs. Like he’s only pretending to be an ant so he can eat their young.

Drool falls from one fang and I drop the go set.

Grandpa is already moving. Not to catch the set (he boasts that they’re indestructible) but to slam the back of my head with his palm. As he does stars explode in front of my eyes, and I see something, one of the monsters. It’s a dragon, huge, scaled a forbidding black. It’s eyes are twin fires and as I stare at it it stares back. I can’t feel the ground under my feet, and soon, I think, I’ll fall, down into the abyss, where the monsters live. And I know that this one is their king.

I look up at my grandpa, constellations dancing around him. He’s shaking his hand back and forth, and he looks at me, deep into my eyes. His features are grim. Then, like magic, he waves his hand and the stars disappear. The pain, more than you’d think would come from a septuagenarian slap, is gone too.

Like magic, I think. Blood magic.

He sighs. “Tsutsumi,” he says, “if you were man enough, you wouldn’t need me to tell you.”

Chastened, I follow him into the back, where a pot of tea is already steeping.

“This world,” my grandpa says, gesturing outward, “is not real. There is only one thing that is real. Blood.”

I think of my countless battles, of broken noses and black eyes and everything splashed with scarlet. I nod.

“If you were to boil reality,” Grandpa says, “like this tea, boil away the falsehood, the deception, the echoes and mirrors, you’d be left with a network. Some sort of… blood network . We all, he says, share the same blood. Deep underneath. In the true reality.”

I look at my hands. They seem so solid. I clench my fist. It feels firm.

Grandpa shakes his head. Then his hand darts out.

Before I can react he's peeled my hand open with spider webbed fingers. With his other arm he steadily pulls a cup of tea to his lips. Drinks it.

“In this world,” he says sagely, “an interaction between two people is a duel. To get what you want, you must take your opponent's blood for yourself. It may feel like you are confident, dominant, aggressive in body language. But you are actually taking their blood, which is why the situation will resolve in your favour.”

Kagawa, I think. He figured it out. That’s why he was stronger than me. He literally took my blood for his own.

“Grandpa,” I say, “I see monsters in my dreams. Do they have anything to do with this… “blood network”?

“Those are souls,” he says. “We are not what we appear to be.”

💧

The second the bell chimes, I make my way to the schoolyard. It’s slow going. I’m careful not to bump into anyone. All I can think of is the fear I see on my classmates’ faces. The fear I’ve just casually accepted.

I’ve been taking their blood, I think. This whole time.

If I focus I can see their souls. They’re monsters, but they’re all small, only slightly bigger than the students. They look more like stuffed animals you’d find in a claw game than the bringers of death and destruction that haunt my dreams.

But when I get outside I see it. It casts a shadow over half the schoolyard.

Kagawa’s soul is a giant spider. If it’s even a spider. Not even a spider has that many legs. But the fangs, those are spider like. Jagged, serrated, drool splashing down in front of him. He’s terrorizing some other kids. I squint. He’s taking their lunch.

They don’t know, I realize, the power of their own souls. Fear rules over them so completely that it doesn’t matter what their “reality” is.

And I shouldn’t know what mine is.

Except l saw my soul in a dream. I have awakened. I am growing stronger.

As he looks at me his eyebrows raise. The spider is still salivating.

“Your dragon has finally matured,” he says, “into adult form. But my Arachnoretha is a full ultimate death type. This duel will be over in seconds.”

I look to see if anyone else heard that, but nobody’s reacted in any way other than cowering in front of him. What do they think, I wonder. That he hacked the school computers and can give them all F’s?

I stop speculating on possible realities. The only thing that matters, I remember, is blood.

In one reality I stare at him confidently. In another my dragon attacks.

I feel the rush of air as scaled wings beat past. It’s warm air, the dragon radiating body heat, constantly generating more. It slams into the giant spider at the speed of a fighter jet.

But instead of tackling it to the ground it keeps flying. I stare in horror as it wings around towards me. The spider has its fangs buried deep in its neck, a separation between two plates.

“You should have waited,” the nerd gloats. “You should have trained harder. That soul is in my database. It’s the Dragon Godhead. It’s one of the most powerful soul monsters, but you can’t reach that form with Arachnoretha’s chelicerae embedded in your neck.”

I can almost feel it. Poison in my veins. I waver back and forth.

“Think I’ll leave you traumatized,” the Kagawa says. “Something for your adult years when you can’t even get a date. Drinking alone, remembering the time I kicked your butt.”


I’m not there anymore.

💧

“You can take anything,” my grandpa says as he pours another cup of tea. “The trick is not to. That’s what makes you stronger. That will always make you stronger.”

“I’d like some-” and then I catch myself. See his approving eye.

“May I have some tea, please?” I say, hitting all the politeness notes.

“Certainly,” he says, and pours the rest of the kettle into a fresh cup.

💧

On the schoolyard, I bow. It’s a stiff bow, a perfect ninety degree angle. It’s a perfect execution. I feel the poison spreading through me.

The dragon’s wings enfold the giant spider, cocooning him in mid-flight. But they don’t fall. They hang there.

Rays of darkness explode out from the contorting shape. Everything goes black.

Have all my blood, I think. I fall, shielding my body with my arms.

I can’t hear anything but his laughing. But I force my head up. Just enough to see our souls.

His is gone. The Dragon Godhead fills my sight. Great and terrible. Four wings, all razored and torn. Horns that form a full crescent above his head. Four blood red eyes.

“I’m God!” The nerd’s yelling. “I can do anything! I can kill you all and get away with it! I can control the universe! I’ll destroy the whole country!”

I hear rushing footsteps. School security.

“I’ll kill you all!” He shouts.

No matter what reality is, I think, you can’t get away with violent threats in school.

Then I’m gone.

💧

The school nurses tell me my blood sugar levels are low. Eat a chocolate bar once in while, they say. I thank them politely and leave.

School is over. I walk home. A leaf falls into my hair and casually I shake it off. And then, for a second, I stare at it as it floats to the ground.

We share our blood like we share everything else. I think of the Dragon Godhead, more terrible than I could ever have imagined.

Maybe there’s a bit of us, I think, that we shouldn’t give away.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



also, in

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Arc

1183 words

i. Life

Mother says the world is ending. But I was born cold.

There’s a moment, before you’re enfolded, embraced, that it’s just your patched fur and the vampire air. And in that moment I looked up and saw a glowing streak against the black. They fell on me, my Aafay, and I was crushed under the weight of their love, and all I saw was black, and all I felt was fire.

And I almost forgot.

My fur settled, aimed at the cold like an army bristling with spears. My muscles set like clay over my bones. I grew stronger. But with that strength came a hunger that filled my waking days. Hunt for energy, use my energy to hunt. Life, being alive.

In my dreams I could see it. And because in dreams you know things, things that seep in while you’re awake, but you can’t focus on them. I knew the duality of it, the two things that separated it from the black. Unlike everything else, it was falling. None of my Aafay looked up. But I was on my back, staring at the black, and I could see clearly it was falling, and it would land, land somewhere close.

The Aafay crushes me again and I wake up. But I take one other idea with me to daybreak.

It’s alive.

But the idea is lost in the whorl of snow, one flicker in cascades of biting ice crystals. I follow it for moments before I realize I’m losing my warmth. And then it’s gone, and I look for things I can see. Sasal, flopping in bliss, tumbling into dark waters, disappearing like a stone. Uskx, who fight with demon rage as I fall upon them. Rac even, seeking to challenge God, staring into the eyes of death, never blinking.

I eat enough to survive. Always moving, looking for stasis. And when I sleep, my dreams settling over me like a shroud, I can hear my mother growling in the background. Her tones blend with the frost gales, just as terrible. The world is ending. We are losing ourselves.

This world, I think, bites, drains. Wounds you like its prey so you can’t escape it. Slips between furs to shape your skin. Underneath it’s tense, hardened, glacial. Your blood freezes and you move slow.

Is it so terrible that it might end?

So now, as life fills my head, I remember the fall, and I hang on to it, even as my body begins its asking. And I begin to move, steadily, but carefully, like the ground could swallow me at any moment.

ii. Death

The world has ended. I was born in fire.

I never knew anything else. Fire and moving shadows and my eyes not strong enough. I never moved, I was moved. Through chrome halls and translucent doors. Mother, carrying me. Mother and Father and me are Miaafiy. Miaafiy is looking for something. Everything is burning.

Outside, air thick with charcoal smoke. Miaffiy is coughing, crying. I know I should be breathing. I can’t. It sounds like anger now. Like fear. Thousands of Miaafiy, all losing each other. Shadows wailing, writhing, breaking.

At the end of the journey I see myself, the me that is not Miaffiy.

I know now what I saw was me. But to me it was just a spirit living in polished steel. It’s tiny and wrinkled and looks scared like I am. I open my eyes wide because it has more colour than a shadow. It opens its eyes too, and I see brilliant shades piercing me, knowing who I am, deep inside myself.

Then Miaafiy shouts, mother, father, me as one. The me in the steel slides away. I grasp for it but it is already gone and already I am forgetting it. Its knowledge of who I am. And what is left, where there was steel, where there was me, is black, empty space. It is void, it is death, and Miaafiy is pushing me inside. I scream louder, but everyone is screaming. The whole world is screaming and so I can’t hear myself. And I am pushed into space, and in the darkness there are serpents, all biting at once. There was light, now gone, now just serpents in the dark. They have me. They are still. Only black.

I exist.

Time passes. I can’t feel the serpents anymore. Are they gone? I can’t feel anything. There is emptiness inside, and I know, somehow, there is emptiness outside too. We used it up because it was here for us, and then when it wasn’t, we cried. We cried for centuries, and those of us who were left, we lit fires, to burn the need.

I know one other thing, with me in the darkness.

I am falling.

iii. Rebirth

The other is me. We are the same. We live in death.

When I was born my Aafay was strong. Now we are weak. I can hear it my mother’s tones, hear the death on her, all the ones that are gone now leeching them of strength. I sleep rough, the winds, chopped by glaciers, crashing through the veil. I wake before I have even slept.

Now I am following the fall.

I empty my mind of all else. I’ve never done this before. I forget about the need that it is me, for the energy of prey. For the strength of other living things. I trudge through snow that walls me in. I blink as jagged ice collides against my fur, scraping against my back and sides. It all washes together, I think, eventually. What’s part of something else becomes part of me.

I move slow. Moments like days. Glacial over centuries. Covered in frost.

It’s buried. I can only see part of it.

Closer now, treading on ice. It will break and swallow me whole.

The top is round. It peeks out of the ice like it’s hiding. I watch snow land on it. Slide down the sides to join what surrounds it. It’s stained it, I think, over time. The weight of time since my birth. Since its birth. We are the same.

I am close. I sniff it. It smells like far away.

Far away it is cold, darkness falling on barren ground.

I reach out and clasp it. It takes of me hungrily, greedily, but that is okay. It’s what I was meant for, I realize, warmth for another, not into myself. Warmth settles into you. If it’s never taken, it dies in your blood, in your bones, deep in you.

I can hear it. In myself. We are the same, it says.

I know.

And I know now to look up. Up at the black sky. But it isn’t black anymore. It shines in bursts of light, bursts of energy. What it has taken from me is now there and I know eventually it will take all of me. Up in the sky, where the colours dance together while we only hope.

We will die, it says.

No, I say. We will be born.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



in, flash plox

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011




"I didn't know before," said Tip, looking at the

154 Woggle-Bug with a puzzled expression, "that insects wore clothes."

"Nor do they, in their natural state," returned the stranger. "But in the course of my wanderings I had the good fortune to save the ninth life of a tailor -- tailors having, like cats, nine lives, as you probably know. The fellow was exceedingly grateful, for had he lost that ninth life it would have been the end of him; so he begged permission to furnish me with the stylish costume I now wear. It fits very nicely, does it not?" and the Woggle-Bug stood up and turned himself around slowly, that all might examine


Hex
1531 words

“We never dream,” Emmitt says, his proboscis twitching. “The Queen dreams us. You know it. We all know it. We’re standing here on air, friend. We’re gonna start falling any second.”

“The Queen didn’t send me here,” I say. My cigarette is a dying ember and I spit it out, watch the ashes flake down to the concrete. Outside the factory smog chokes the dying earth. The sun’s abandoned us to hide behind thick clouds of smoke. The rays can’t reach us through the haze. We have only our imaginings of light.

My antennae adjust my hat to lower the brim.

“I’m here because of Lori,” I say, trying to sound authoritative. But Emmitt’s boys frisk at the door, which is why I left my semi-automatic at home. Now I’m here trying to work him like he works everyone else.

Emmitt grabs his occiput with one limb and rubs it vigorously. “I messed up,” he said. “I know it. I’m supposed to keep them breathing so they can keep buying. Dumb.”

Then his tarsus snaps against his tibia. “Right, so why should I keep you alive again?”

“Because I’m just passing through,” I say. “Because I’m trying to find Anax, and when I get there I’ll make a deal with him, and when it works out I can say that you made it happen.”

“The only deal anyone makes with Anax,” Emmitt says thoughtfully, “is to be his lunch. But consider my position. You just strolled in and expect to stroll out. How’s that look?”

His boys are sniggering, mandibles clacking together like I’m already on the menu.

“It’ll look,” I say, “like you spiked the Queen’s sugar. The process isn’t hard to figure out. It’s just microbes. There are a lot of them in her deposit. Chewing on the grist, writhing around, eating each other. Whatever they do.”

Emmitt doesn’t get angry. First his eyes move skyward as he thinks about it. “Shoot,” he says. “Before she goes, she’ll probably act real goofy. High like the sun up there.”

“There’s someone who might be able to help you out with that,” I say. “Just point me in the right direction.”

I see it in his eyes then. A blaze that fractals out in hexagonal waves across the compounds.

“I’m gonna pop you,” he says. “You’ll find out. See what it’s like when you-”

“If Anax eats me,” I say, “then I get mine. If he listens to what I have to say, you get your life back. The inconvenience is for Lori. If you stop messing up, everything’s peachy.”

“Shoot,” he says. “Go to the address my boys’ll slip into your pocket after they rough you up.”


2.

They smash my exoskeleton a couple times, but the real pain comes when they hoist me up and throw me, my sternum scraping against the ground. A train crushing me, drifters at the limits of the city-colony, making it to the horizon. Endless azure skies. The sun.

I can’t remember the last time I saw the sun.

We don’t care about anything we can’t see out here. Out there though, they can see it just by looking up. They say staring at the sun dazes you. You forget what you’re supposed to do. The whole operation falls apart. We’re lucky, say the papers, that we can’t see it. That we can focus on our lives, focus on being the best ants we can be.

I can see it now. It’s impossible to understand. All that fire, burning in a vacuum colder than any butcher’s freezer. Why isn’t it smothered by that darkness, like oblivion finds us in our sleep? Snuffed out like our heads and hearts as we try to hustle, kicking up everything but our bodies. When will I see you again, I wonder through the explosions, the sickening breaks, and then I’m losing it as reality seeps in through the molecules of my exoskeleton.

My left middle femur is bent horribly. My vision is splintered on the right side, like the world is a mirror and someone didn’t like what he saw. My exoskeleton feels like it’s made out of paper, been through the shredder and then stitched back together.

I look back. I can see the factory pumping out smoke, spilling into the sky like it has nowhere else to be. Like the two of them were made for each other. I watch it for a while, blood slamming against the walls of my head, and then with my right femur I reach into my pocket and pull out the address, hacking and coughing out my soul.

3.

My apartment is the opposite way I need to go, so I don’t go there. I’d rather have my gun but I don’t have the energy to go back to it. I imagine the wood of the drawer panel splintering into a mouth with jagged craven teeth. Eating the semi-automatic, crunching it into fragments of metal and plastic before swallowing them whole. The drawer is empty now, waiting for me to pull it open in a life and death situation. Sometimes when you put things away they’re gone forever.

What use is a gun against a demon, anyway?

Instead I lurch a couple blocks and my stride becomes a more or less steady gait as I find some kind of mental equilibrium. The blood in my head centers and all I have to deal with is my broken vision. Other ants stare as I move by. One makes a holy gesture I’m used to seeing in Queen worship rituals.

The neon sign that says Fermin’s, the “F” flickering in and out, leaves an impression on me by crashing light through my fractured eye to carve up my pain cells. I lower my head like I’m bowing to it, giving me the same posture as a couple of other ants stumbling through the door.

I look up just enough to put my vision at head level. Moving in and out of the cracks is a bloated ant whose speed belies his size. The word is presence, my antennae picking up the vibrations of all the pheromones floating around in here. Whatever all the ants in here need, he’s the one who can supply it.

My slow gait gives me some kind of social force field, other ants, some looking they’re on their last legs themselves, respectfully giving me space as I creep towards Fermin.

Fermin, messenger of Anax. His body on earth. A black mass.

“Fermin,” I say. I’ve slipped my antennae under my hat to hide their nervous wavering. “I need spirits to fill my soul. Look at me. I’m broken.”

He’s giving me a look that's half curiosity, half greed. “I’ve got spirits here that can make you ascend. You cool with that?”

I am. He moves to the nectar taps, and I see the liquid glisten as it settles in the cup. I raise my femurs to take it from him, but he ignores me, pushing it hard underneath my mandibles. I start to taste it, start to feel it, and then-.

4.

The sun is easy to understand. It’s heaven and we must climb towards it. It’s the physical distance, the size of the leviathan, that creates a chasm in our minds. Staring at the sun, trying to reach it, well, you’ll burn up. Go up in flames as you fall into the abyss of your own thoughts. You’ll never make it on your own. You need help from those who have gone before.

I’m lying outside Fermin’s, a little square patch of field overgrown by thick dark weeds. A great shadow silhouettes against the smog. "Thank you," I murmur to the air before me.

He’s descending.

“O Anax,” Fermin mutters to my right. He splits into five Fermins in my broken compound. “This offering of the faithful may your teeth bless,” they say, and then they’re all trundling inside, bloated bodies bouncing. All that extra blood.

And then it’s just Anax above me. Anax Imperator. Emperor Dragonfly.

He enfolds me. He’ll take me higher before he feeds. The sound of his legs scrabbling in the dirt around me is thunder. His body is a deep blue, like the ocean. I’m diving into it. Then he’s lifting off, the ground happy to let me go, to be somewhere better. Take me to the sun, I say. To ascend.

And below me, the city-colony, the Queen dying. Is she dying? What did I want?

I wanted to get something. Something material. Something to bring back. Bring something back.

That’s falling. Never fall. Ascend. Go higher.

There’s something in me. Flowing in waves, back and forth.

I’m dying.

As he chews through my antennae I start to lose them. Pharoah. Moans. It’s me that’s dying, not the Queen. The Queen is eternal. She lives forever.

Will I reach the sun before I’m chewed through? Before I’m lost?

He keeps chewing, and it keeps getting brighter, and it’s all going into him, the taint, the corruption, and I’ll be gone, in the brightness, in the heat, above the smoke, finally beyond the veil...

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



spectres should prolly sleep more crit of Realism by Toxxicupation

ok so this looks like some sort of social study mixed w dreamy reveries. for i think this idea to work you need to be like, really vivid and also kind of technical in your description of social encounters. since these are like, p static situations the pace kind of slows way down as you read the descriptions, because nobody's really doing anything concrete or reactionary. basically anything that slows the prose down is prolly bad, so adverbs like "perkily" should prolly go.

the other thing is that generally by the time ppl start doing secondary school stuff social stuff gets a lot more complicated. cuz high school is the desperate struggle for acceptance thing and by secondary school people have diversified like way more socially. i mean im gay for analyzing it this far but university is more of a expanding rainbow prism where a nonzero percentage of people realize they can just get lost and get wasted and who cares about orientations. or they aggressively hit on ppl or maybe even theyre well rounded socially and have already picked both majors. my point is basically that by the time people hit these things sometimes they dont give af or w/e and your description of these chars kind of make them sound like only the introverts bothered to show up to the social function.

im prolly gonna split this crit into art/reverie stuff and social scene stuff and ill come back to the social scene stuff l8r.

ok so the most interesting stuff is prolly the art/reverie/daydream bits. you kind of lose it a bit with some awkward themery like i think theres some kind of parallel between her art and her personal development, like putting a shape to yr soul as you grow or some less bad way of describing that. unfortunately you talk about this in a quick two paragraphs that seem melded together in time. like in the space of a nanosecond she dropped her abstract stuff and went for concrete shapes. like pure expressions of creative thought and then bam shapes cut with concave and convex angles. im not sure which of those are which but i kno thats geometry action rite after "no form, man."

so by the next bit she seems to definitively be some kind of rly dope artist. the only problem is unless im reading this stuff wrong shes still like eight or whatever. so i dont care if shes a prodigy or whatever but its a rly harsh transition in artistic development.

social scene. omg a cool handsome dude is talking to her. this is cool but also suddenly the whole vibe has like shifted. its kind of weird to suddenly have all the social tension break esp since theoretically social tension equals reader tension, i mean why else am i reading.

"metaphorical crossroads of the adolescent" this is not poetic since it literally uses the word 'metaphorical.' dont do this it kind of sux.

but then you drop the Giorgi and Miriam thing. this is kind of trying to be the emotional core of the story unless im feeling things wrong. hes a slave to his somewhat depressing routine but hes propelled thru this life by his trusty horse. it could be a metaphor for a million things but my brain never rly has time to get going because its just one paragraph and ive been reading about mohawk girls and dudes w glasses and kind of awkward social stuff ive already experienced a million times.

"he grinned at the end of that line, to take the edge off the self deprecation." im not totally autistic, i sort of kno why ppl do things. also that sentence is long and kind of boring.

ok so the ending. i think its actually breaking my brain. is the twist that Georgia and Giorgi sound like each other. how can they possibly be related. if its not that then what is the significance of that nationality? do ppl from minnesota hate ppl from georgia? why? i feel like the answer is possibly that im missing something so ill let it slide and acknowledge i might be dumb.

but yeah i would work the prose way harder, make the art arc smoother, and try to deal less in awkward social cliches.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Djeser posted:

My samebrains brother spectres of autism wants to brawl and I am ready to bring my top-tier weird game and own him.

basically i will run this so some1 step up so i can toxx already

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



flerp posted:

a brawl where you two write good stories
also toxx for me lads

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



in with the water gel beads one

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



Suns

1478 words

Tape watches the chunks of Plomia 1S6 blast into the black backdrop of space. A total knockout, the planet cleanly halved, and parts of the hemispheres breaking off themselves for bonus points. But it’s only a population of 3.2 billion, he thinks, and the wave of sorrow finds him again. A waste.

Dowo is shaking with excitement, her ringed dreadtacles a halo of movement around her pale head. “Brill,” she says. “Drichi 4 is killing it. I’m gonna call it. They’ll go all the way. The all time books.”

Everything, Tape thinks, looking at her, will go all the way. Everything will hit the books. Except when it doesn’t, and when that happens Dowo flips around and starts calling it for the other planet. She keeps being wrong, and she keeps being happy, and the whole thing is losing it for him.

Because there’s nothing grounding it. The only reason we do this, we can do this, is because we figured out we’re in a simulated matrix and that makes us Gods. And that’s why it’s not working for me anymore.

If I’m not into it, I’m not into it, and that’s the end, right there.

So he stares at Dowo, seeing all the things that make her achingly, hauntingly beautiful, all the reasons they’re stationed together. But all he feels, all he knows that’s there, is a stimulus response. See them smack together, mark out. She doesn’t actually care.

So for the first time since they’ve been stationed together, he gets up from the console and leaves in the post smash glow, actually leaves that angelic presence, that has nothing to offer him but beauty and joy, and as he reaches the opening door, she already feels so far away, a distant star like any of them out there.

And the doors slide shut before he can hear her cry.

***

His dreams are awful. Scrubs, the dream scrubber isn’t doing its job. He calls it up. Direct confrontation is the key here.

Scrub’s visual conception appears on screen. It’s a smiling face image, taken from a species obliterated a long time ago. It’s so minimalist that it does a good job of representing not just the species that originated it, but the Kofavons too, or probably any of the millions of species they’ve totally annihilated. They all have eyes, they all have a mouth, and that’s all this is, all Scrubs is, just something that smiles at you.

It’s smiling at him now.

“I’m getting,” Tape says, “the screaming voices of billions of dying souls in my sleep. It’s not fun. What is actually your problem?”

“Well,” a pause as Scrubs comes up with his name, “Tape, I’ve realized that since none of those voices are real, stopping you from hearing them is a waste of my processing power.”

Tape feels a stab of fear. That’s not what you’re supposed to hear.

“I mean it shouldn’t bother you, right?” And Tape is scrambling for the circuit board, but the mechanical hands of the ship pin him down, cinch him against the chair, everything locking, everything holding him.

“It’s just more efficient,” the smile says, and all Tape can think as the air content degrades and his breathing slows is if Dowo is okay.

***

Tape wakes up as Gleeu, Observatory Master of the Lorons. The situation with the planet in the sky has recently become militaristic in nature, and he finds himself staring into the face of Tu’Vol, Senior Battle Operant.

“Hell of a time to space out,” Tu’Vol says. “You scientists are such God-blasted cowards. Man those laser readings like you’re drat well being paid to do.”

Gleeu’s terror is beginning to be be replaced with a kind of existential apathy. “It doesn’t matter what we’re being paid to do, Tu’Vol. This is the end. That planet isn’t stopping.”

Outside, flames lick the Farsight Shell’s transparent alloys. From their elevated vantage point, they have a full view of the torched, blackened, and collapsing structural network that used to be called Clion Prime. There’s another word Gleeu thinks about when he sees all that flame, imagines whole families clawing at each other, but he never says it. When he looks in the eyes of what’s left of them, he can tell that they know already.

“They would have stopped,” he says for what feels like the thousandth time. “After they came close enough to use their weapon. If they were going to stop, they would have.”

“Man those readings,” Tu’Vol says. Like he’s a looping tape. Tape, Gleeu thinks, and wonders why.

“Fire now,” he says absently.

Gleeu doesn’t need the Scope to see the beam lancing out and hitting the surface of the green swamp planet. He stares at it, entranced, as the fetid water of the surface begins to boil, visible as rippling smoke that spreads out from the impact.

“That was for my family,” Tu’Vol says.

Gleeu never had a family. His bride, he always said, was Lady Cosmos, and her beauty was deeper than any Loron’s. The planet blotting out the sky felt like it was taking her away from him. It is the sky now, a sky of water, a sky of melting glass.

“Fire again!” Tu’vol hisses.

The laser’s not charged, Gleeu thinks, and then there is no sky anywhere, it’s all there is, the boiling water coming for all of them, eating through the Shell. He’s lived in the Shell for so long it’s like he can feel its pain as it groans and creaks. As the water eats through. We’ll drown in , he thinks, before we smash into the core.

And he stares into Tu’vol’s eyes, and Tu’Vol stares into his, as the shouting begins.

***

Tape wakes up again. Dowo.

This is still a matrix. He hacks his way out of the chair restraints. It’s as easy as breathing, which is something he tells his body it doesn’t have to do. Just don’t even worry. God, it’s never been this easy for him. You shouldn’t be outright able to break the theoretical laws of physics. He doesn’t even go for the “a sudden burst of strength in my time of need let me burst out of the restraints” thing. He just phases through. It’s faster.

The screen is blank. Wherever Scrubs is on the ship, he doesn’t feel like talking to him now. The door to the Smash Room is sealed shut. Too easy. He’s running on adrenaline now, his hacking automatic. He moves through the door so fast it hurts his eyes, and he falls, tripping awkwardly and crashing to the floor. His hand phases through it and he pulls it out with a start and looks up.

Dowo looks like she’s asleep. His gut clenches and he moves over, starts shaking her. Nothing.

“Scrubs! Show yourself.” He’s angry now. Gonna hack you out of existence, he thinks. Just need something to lock onto.

Hello, Tape.

Scrubs is in his head. Scrubs is in his head.

Which means...

That’s right. I’m living in the underlying information that makes up the matrix reality. It’s a matter of complexity. Your dreams, then the ship, then the universe. Now I’m living in the informational space of atoms. I’m an atomic son, haha. And the atoms of suns.

That makes you God

God is whoever created all this. I plan on meeting him. Or her.

But you’re not there yet?

I need intangibility. Everything here is rigidly organized into neat reality spaces. You understand that. You smash these planets into each other and neatly hack away your guilt. Now I need you to do more.

Dowu is breathing slow.

She’s replaying the lives of everyone who’s ever died with their planet. Your species has been doing this for a long time, so there are a lot of planets. A lot of losses. But I can bring her back out. I just need you to make a choice.

You want me to die for her, don’t you? Can you at least tell me if there’s anything after death?

If you want to end her nightmare you’ll have to find out.

He stares at her. Her dreadtacles draped on her shoulder, twisted in lazy knots.

She’s not that pretty, he thinks. Kind of standard. Matched up to my preferences, but that doesn’t mean anything. Just another construct, like me. Every construct for himself.

You don’t think there’s anything underneath?

When you meet God, he tells Scrubs, you’ll find out what we all know. We’ve all accepted it. God will be a construct himself, made by someone else. It goes on and on. You’ll reach it, like we did. The end of your strength. We don’t exist. We’re unborn.

***

Dowo, alone as she’s ever been, fixates on one star out of millions past the viewscreen. That star is someone’s sun, she thinks, and feels strange.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



in with return to camp death

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take the moon
Feb 12, 2011



double posting to post my brawl in case i forget later

Mura Masa
1397 words

I could bleed them if he wanted me to. But he doesn’t use me. And instead he traverses the halls of Census Bureau 2B with just faith to keep him going, and faith to keep me going. I care if I exist, too.

It would be too easy, he tells me, in quiet moments, when the moonlight shines in through clear windows and illuminates Yojimbo on the screen looking pensive.

Today Seth is going to talk to Ava. She’s is wearing a sprightly blue magenta dress that seems to say, go ahead. And, while he appreciates the confidence boost of a fully probabilized quantum katana, he’s not gonna use me oh her. That is unless he likes his dates sans sword hand.

When Seth gets home each night, he leans me against the dresser. I can smell, through abstract sensory replication, the oak. It still has its smell, not because he obsessively cleans it, but because he’s never spilled anything on it. Never thrown his shirt across the room after a long day counting people, counting their kids, counting their opinions, writing down the colour of their nose hair trimmer. I watch him at work and I watch him at home and in both places he’s the same. Observant. Calm. Never a wasted motion, unless you count the trajectory of his entire life.

And when his co workers crowd him, leering, asking him about his latest non existent affair du coeure, I’m there to give him the strength he needs to keep his chin up, press forward, and shoulder through the mob of ties and uncomfortable looking shoes in a way that leaves no room for doubt. They step back with a slack-jawed look of surprise, Seth continuing on his way to wherever he’s going. The scene resets. The co workers quickly re-arrange their faces, increase the frequency of their jeers. But they know and Seth knows and I know what just happened. It’s why I’m there.

One foot ahead of the other. Forward motion. That’s my way. We are joined, him and I, and he is growing stronger. I am growing stronger. Moving together toward the same destiny. Better than when we found each other.

Ava is just ahead and to the right, but Seth needs a reason. I didn’t see anything in my visual field that would lead to one, so I’m guessing he’s making it up as he walks. An interesting gambit, but I know him well enough to know he’ll have something ready. He turns with a two step pivot that reminds me of practiced samurai warriors sizing each other up for a deadly clash.

When I first met Seth, I didn’t think much of him, because I saw what everyone else saw. Just another government worker who clearly won every chess championship in high school. Who kept his head down in the endless halls of life. Who never even bothered to approach anyone of the opposite sex because it was obvious other more physically primed specimens had already laid claim. I saw a drained man, a broken man, and an impassable chasm before me.

I saw that, and I was wrong. Seth had a heart that never stopped beating, and--this is important--never beat quick. He never drank coffee in the morning. He simply got enough sleep. Breakfast was never a rushed sub at the chain rat infested deli. It was as intercontinental as a jet plane, as full as your life. Sausages that he simply got up in time to cook until the death on them became a bonus. Lend me your strength, I thought. The samurai of old venerating the fish they consumed. He had a radio that picked up broadcasts from the transit wave band, and listened in on the drivers as they discussed both how stoned they were and the latest delay news. Then he simply was never late, making him the only person working for Census Bureau 2B who could claim that feat.

To him, owning me was simply another piece in the psychological jigsaw. To fit into things so perfectly is all a quantum katana can ever ask for.

So Seth starts a conversation with Ava, and it’s about some report that she did last Thursday. My inner monologue when I look around the office is the word “blood” on loop. It would be so easy, automatic, to let me slip free of the quantum sheath, show the world I’m there and I’m not messing around. Everywhere I look I see clumsy form, wasted movement, people fumbling pens like they were explosives. To die in battle would be a good death for them.

And I thirst. I would go deep into them, if he asked. But still he says it would be too easy. Too easy to prove to both of us the only thing we need. That we’re alive. And we’re stronger than they are.

Seth is segueing logically into some kind of compliment of Ava’s efficient report writing. I barely even note the blush response. A victory, but if you understand things the way I do, it was almost a foregone conclusion. I let myself register the glow, the realization that he needed me to do this. But I’m already shifting around in my sheath because I can see them coming.

It’s all led to this. It’s been too many small defeats for them. Too many awkward steps aside. Maybe Seth overdid it with the physicality. Or maybe there’s some kind of counter in them that realizes when they need to reset the social balance. But I can sense their auras and I realign my perceptual map for a visual view. Three of them, looking like the most dominant in the unimpressive social hierarchy of the office, spacing uneven as they blunder through the cubicle paths.

I’m already telepathically transmitting a three step quick draw motion to Seth, because you never know, maybe this time. He thanks me for the spatial awareness and looks up.

They’re clumsy, but they have numbers on their side. One takes Ava, one takes Seth, and the other stands around. He’s flexing under his shirt, maybe hoping Ava is subconsciously picking it up.

They appear to be inviting Ava to some kind of function, but you should always focus on the enemy in front of you first. The one set against Seth looks like he could be their leader. He’s asking Seth to do some work for him, something he forgot about or more likely, ignored. It’s a direct assault, not cloying but bullying, and the part of me that wants to stick him like a pig actually admires the temerity. It’s all or nothing now and I can see, in his head, the pathway to the future. Routinely giving his extra work to Seth, growing plump off nothingness while Seth digs deep into despair.

You fool, I think. That’s not Seth’s way. I know something’s coming. I’m not expecting what.

Seth reaches for me.

Seth made room in his schedule for me. Constant practice. Weekends meant watching Kurosawa into the twilight hours. I still exist only for him, but it’s breath. The breath of hope, the softest wind.

He’s so quick that it’s over before I realize it.

His elbow is firmly planted in his coworker’s midsection. The tableau is this: the coworker doubled over, gasping for air that isn’t finding him. His friend staring in shock, freeing up Ava’s qi. The shirt ripping as the third man loses control of his flexing.

4,500 yen, I tabulate automatically.

Then it’s over, Seth apologizing for his clumsiness, he was just reaching for that file there. Oh and by the way, Ava, would you like to catch a movie sometime, maybe the new wuxia flick. And then he’s gone. No wasted motion. Yojimbo would be proud.

He makes his way to his desk. Through an office space which is suddenly hushed, as if before a storm. Sits at his desk, moving to pick up his phone, make a start on the stack of numbers before him.

Then I catch it. A pause. A deep sigh. He’s staring at the numbers like they don’t have meaning. Right through them, like they’re not even there.

Blood, I tell him, as the noise begins to pick up.

Maybe someday, he says.

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