ing in this week, because I'm a literal child who can't meet his commitments.
Gimme a flash rule
|# ¿ Feb 2, 2016 18:41|
|# ¿ Jan 20, 2021 20:13|
Through the Fog and Filthy Air (1248 words)
Sasha froze as though someone had dumped ice water over her head.
“You’re breaking up with me? Here?” She said, her voice cracking as she gestured toward the black-stained sky. Thin, dirty strands of smoke wafted up from the oil wells, filling the air with fumes that made her head pound.
“Now?” She said, still struggling for control. The coldness in her hardened. She felt rough and jagged, ready to cut someone open.
Frank opened and shut his mouth. He looked around at Sasha and her followers.
“I shouldn’t have said anything,” He said. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It just came out.”
Sasha’s head throbbed. It’s the fumes, she thought, it’s just the fumes. But she wanted to scream. She wanted to rip and tear, to break her skull apart and let the liquids drain out.
Out of the haze, Pete emerged. Pete from Wall Street. He wrapped his arms around Danny, a hippy who had blown his brains out on LSD before Sasha was born. Danny fumbled with his hands. Strands of knotted yellow hair pressed against his face as he stared with wide-eyed wonder at the flames.
“We need to go,” Pete said, steadying himself against Danny. “Handle this later.”
Sasha rocked, ready to assert her authority before stopping. They needed out. Fast. She cast one last look at Frank and the fires around them before grabbing an oil can and shouting to the others. Like schoolchildren, they followed, giggling and dancing as the sky became streaked and ashen. Frank was silent alongside her. His eyes glued to the road.
MeeMaw’s Rest Stop and Diner had been going downhill for years, but Sasha’s arrival had been the last push it needed to send it over the precipice. The restaurant was a mess, a greasy spoon whose owners seemed perpetually on the verge of bankruptcy. Trash littered the parking lot. The torn remains of a sport’s coat were wrapped around its sign like a flag. Sasha and her gang had claimed this place and its patrons weeks ago when they had found it sheltering the Executive.
“Please,” he had begged. His suit was long-gone by then and he was dressed in a foreman’s dirty overalls. She remembered Frank’s heavy breathing and the gun trembling in his hands. She remembered the sounds of the other scattered exiles cowering in the kitchen. Pete and Danny with them, laughing.
Clearing away the brush. A small fire to save the forest.
The Executive was still in his booth. His face was glued to a plate of cold eggs and hash browns. His body swollen and festering in the heat. Maggots writhed under his stained clothes. Sasha had been proud of her group for the kill, but Frank hadn’t been willing to move the body.
Sasha threw the oil can onto one of the bar seats where it sloshed against the rim. As her gang settled in, there were similar clunks and splashes. Gallons upon gallons of precious oil. A small bit of pollution needed to get to the next goal.
They would stay here for one last night. The gas would get them at least as far as the next refinery. Or maybe a pipeline. Sasha had a map of targets. A list of sacred cows to be slaughtered.
But for now, they were here. And there were still things that needed to be done. Frank stood behind her, tense and uncertain. Sasha closed her eyes and tried to swallow the hard, knotted feeling in her throat.
“Pete, you’re in charge until I get back. Make sure everyone’s got their stuff together and that the van’s ready to go in the morning. I got stuff to do.”
Pete and Frank exchanged looks before nodding. She turned to Frank.
“Come on,” she said, leaving her supply bag on. The gun pressed against her back, “I need your help with something.”
The two walked in silence along the stretch of desert highway. With the oil wells still blazing off in the distance, the sunset looked murky and cast a strange sickroom glow over the road. They passed a battered station wagon.
Before the trees started dying, she and Frank had raced down this highway, burning miles of rubber, ignoring the speed limit and the groaning engine. Sasha had roared into the wind as music pounded through the speakers and McDonald’s wrappers fluttered. Frank had pointed at the oil fields, shouting, “What do you think that is over there?” Sasha had shrugged.
A year later, she would be setting fire to gas stations and blowing up power lines. She was Armageddon.
“So,” said Sasha, bringing herself back into the present, “You wanna tell me what’s up?”
Frank was silent. He kicked at a rock lying along the median and sent it flying down the roadway. The two watched as it bounced and tumbled out of sight.
“Sasha,” he said. He stopped for a moment, “I don’t know how to do this.”
“When I met you, I thought we were going to help people. I thought we were, you know,” he scratched the back of his head, “making the world a better place.”
She felt the coldness welling up inside her again, spilling out. “Frank, we’re terrorists. Just because you put the word ‘eco‘ in front of it doesn’t make us the good guys, okay? The world’s a loving mess and we’re just cleaning up the debris for whatever’s left when the dust settles.”
Frank was quiet again. She wondered if he was thinking about the diner. About the man in the overalls. Where was he going when they had found him? Did it matter?
Clearing away the brush, she told herself again, nobody wanted to do it but it needed to be done. Everyone wants to make the world a better place but nobody wants to clean up the mess.
“I guess that’s just it then,” said Frank, “Things are just… different than when we first started. I’m not cut out for this and I’m not cut out for you.”
He looked at her. “I’m not gonna try and stop what you’re doing, but honestly this scares me.”
“Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean what I said,” Sasha said. The sun was setting fast now and the cold clung to her. “We’ll find something else for you to do. We can hang out, or whatever, like we used to. You don’t have to be the one always pulling the trigger.”
“I’m sorry. I just can’t,” he shook his head, “You’ve been dragging me along for a long time. I don't want or need to be here.”
They stopped walking and stared at the setting sun. Sasha tried to remember how she and Frank had met, but everything before her gang formed was a blur. They had had some classes together. Had hung out in the same circles. Chatted about nothing. He had been there at the beginning, but she barely remembered those days before the fires. She felt numb.
“Okay.” She said. Nothing more. She slid her supply bag off her back and handed it to Frank. “Keep heading down this road. We’ll head in the opposite direction tomorrow morning. I’ll figure out something to tell them.”
He nodded, slinging the bag over his shoulder but saying nothing. She stood there and watched as he walked off, disappearing into the night. When she could again feel the cold night breeze against her face, she turned and started back towards the diner.
|# ¿ Feb 7, 2016 22:47|
"14) Bloody revenge in ancient Rome, with the emphasis on the bloody."
|# ¿ Feb 9, 2016 12:29|
Thus Always to Tyrants
Titus Flavius Caesar Domitianus Augustus, Imperator, had built his palace atop the Palatine Hill so that he could watch all the subjects of his eternal city. The huddled masses flocked to his temples. Shouts and cries echoed from the Forum, where the Senate had hidden itself like a wounded serpent. Ash was upon the air and, in the distance, vineyards burned. Crosses dotted the hills. Villas had been seized. Prostitutes were in chains. Actors were slaughtered in the streets. The adulterers had been marched out of the city with what little they could carry. The masses looked up at Domitian’s great palace with horror, not knowing what new victim the day would bring.
Stephanus clutched at the cool knife hidden beneath his toga. Today, the Emperor would die. Today, he would restore the city’s glory and begin his reign as the mighty Caesar Stephanus Augustus.
“Time?” Asked the Emperor, retreating from the pavilion into his chambers. He poured himself wine and drank it with uncharacteristic enthusiasm.
Stephanus gazed up at the sun. “Almost noon, my Lord,” he said, emotionless. An astrologer had once warned Domitian that he would be killed at noon. For the last fifteen years, Stephanus had served as an imperial sundial. His years of experience wasted on telling the time.
“Your Lord and God,” said the Emperor, with an exaggerated wink and smile, “You know, Stephanus, I’ve killed men for lesser impieties.” Another drink. Stephanus’s throat tightened at the hypocrisy. “We gods only have so much patience for mortal affairs.”
The Emperor gave a tremendous laugh that shook his whole body. Wine poured from his cup and a great purple stain erupted on the fabric of the Emperor’s toga. Stephanus waited, with stone-faced fury, for the episode to pass.
“Oh gods in heaven,” said Domitian, wiping tears from his eyes with one unclenched hand. He made a half-hearted effort to clean the stain from his chest, gave up, and poured himself another cup. The Emperor leered at his servant. “Would you like to hear about the visitation that your Lord and God received last night? It’s quite the story. One that you play a starring role in.”
Stephanus remained silent but felt his fury drain. His eyes flitted towards the soldiers. The guards would stop him if he rushed at the Emperor now, denying him his honorable death. Fleeing through the pavilion would only save him for a few precious seconds. He might try to jump out the window, a disgrace and disappointment. He had spent so much time trying to sneak the knife into the palace that he had neglected to think about how he would use it.
“The mighty goddess Minerva, my guardian and protector, told me that someone was coming to usurp me. For my indiscretions,” said the Emperor as Stephanus’s heart leapt into his throat.
The Emperor watched his servant and chuckled. “Do you think I am blind, Stephanus?”
Stephanus jumped, pushing himself from the seated Domitian. Stephanus stumbled towards the window, his only chance, ready to fling himself from the palace. He had survived the Republic. He had survived eight previous emperors. If he were to die, unsuccessful, it would not be at this Emperor’s hands. He would deny Domitian that glory.
“Oh, come now, Stephanus,” shouted the Emperor from his place. He had not bothered moving and the stained toga still clung to his chest. “If I was going to kill you, I would have at least made sure there was an audience. I am not a wasteful God.”
Stephanus stopped, one foot on the sill. The salty Mediterranean air stung his flesh. Domitian turned to his guards and shooed them away. After a moment of hesitation, they obeyed and disappeared into the pavilion.
Domitian crossed the room toward Stephanus, still halfway out the window.
“This city is steeped in blood.” Domitian muttered, his smile now cracked and hollow. “No one who sits in it is safe. The Augustus was killed by his wife, Livia.” Stephanus grimaced. “Tiberius killed by Caligula. Claudius by Nero. Galba by Otho. My brother…”
Domitian did not seem to see Stephanus anymore. He instead stared out at his city. Transfixed. Awed by the painted marble facades and the many ornate columns. Men peered up at them from the Forum. Dark togas for mourning. Stephanus’s eyes bulged.
“As you see, I’ve made all the preparations,” Domitian said. “Death begets death. Blood begets blood. I can’t stop it but, luckily, you’ve come late enough in the year that a rebellion will be impossible. For now. Any pretender will have to wait for the Spring.”
Domitian blinked and turned away from the window. Silence spread through the palace like a cancer. The servants and slaves had vanished. The guards fled. Only the Senate, far down below, stirred. Domitian gave Stephanus a crazed hangman’s smile. The servant’s mind raced, struggling to make sense of what was happening.
Domitian’s eyes were like fire. His putrid breath hung in the air. “I wondered how many would need to die before you came for me. What was it that pushed you over the edge? Did you miss the whores?”
Stephanus shook with rage. He struggled with the knife beneath his toga.
Domitian pressed his whole body against Stephanus. He felt the wetness of the Emperor’s toga against his own. Domitian placed his hand upon Stephanus’s protruding knife.
“Do what you came here to do,” said the Emperor.
Stephanus tore the knife from its place, leaving a deep gash across his own forearm, and plunged it into the Emperor. Domitian laughed. Dark stains erupted over his vestments.
“Come on, you dog. Do it for the honor of Rome. Make a martyr of me.”
He tore at the Emperor again, driving his knife into his neck and groin. The Emperor’s laughs turned hoarse and ragged. Domitian tried to steady himself against the window but slipped, falling to the floor in a great writhing heap. The laughs echoed through the empty palace and spilled down to the city below.
Only when Domitian had stopped laughing did Stephanus stop. He looked at the Emperor’s mangled form and then to the window. He imagined himself as Emperor. He imagined the crowds. The temples built in his name. The treason trials. The countless dead, crushed beneath his boot. He imagined himself drunk with wine, plotting his own suicide.
The city loomed, unforgiving. Blood for blood.
“Sic semper tyrannis,” Stephanus said as he sheathed the knife into his chest.
|# ¿ Feb 15, 2016 04:10|
I'm interested in producing something that isn't awful.
|# ¿ Feb 16, 2016 15:30|
Prompt: Poker Face by Lady Gaga
A Stop Along Briarwood Way
Toby pressed his palm against his steering wheel and his truck let out a long, loud honk. Come on, Toby thought, as snow swept across the road. Move. A sedan had parked itself in the road, blocking the dark wooded street. In the glow of Toby’s headlights, he could just make out the outline of the sedan’s license plate, its number half-concealed by ice. Inside, someone stirred.
Toby pressed his horn again, cursing, before stumbling into the snow. He knocked on the other driver’s window.
“Hey lady,” he shouted over the howling wind, “You can’t just park in the middle of the road like that. You’re gonna kill someone.”
The driver blinked at him. She was a heavy-set woman wrapped in a puffy grey jacket that reminded Toby of the Michelin Man. Her hands gripped the steering wheel.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” she said. And then, craning over Toby’s shoulder, “Henry, are you alright?”
The pair remained silent for a moment. Him, shivering in the snow, and her, listening over the wind and a crackling radio. He wanted to be back in his warm car. To be anywhere but here. If they didn’t get moving, their cars would get stuck. The Weather Service had called for two to three feet overnight.
The woman looked back at him. “Did you see my husband? He got out of the car just as you were coming up the road.” Her breath fogged the half-rolled window. “He thought that we might have hit something.”
Toby glanced around. Truth be told, he hadn’t been looking at the road much. His eyes had been focused on the forest, watching for deer. On nights like these, they liked to jump into oncoming traffic, jamming themselves through the windshield. Kicking drivers to death.
The woman bit her lip. “Could you look around for me? I think he wanted to check the bumper.”
Before he could curse again, Toby walked in front of the sedan. The front bumper looked brand-new, pristine even. The front plate wasn’t even dented. Frowning, Toby stared down the road. The forest cast heavy shadows over the gathering snow, looming over the dim beams of the headlights, but he saw no one.
Toby turned from the darkness and stumbled towards the passenger’s side door. A single set of footprints led towards the woods before stopping abruptly. As though someone had covered their tracks.
A chill went down his spine.
“Your husband thought he hit something?” he shouted, trying to sound normal. There were criminals who flagged down motorists claiming car trouble. At best, they might distract you while their partner rooted around your car for valuables. Worse, they might lead you into the snow and make sure no one found your body until the next spring. Back country roads hardly ever got plowed.
Toby glanced back at his truck. The car lights were still on and, barely audible over the wind, he could hear the faint dinging of his open car door. The trees creaked and swayed in the wind.
“Yeah!” Said the woman, “Do you see him? Is he there?”
Toby hesitated and heard the opening of a car door and shutting of a car door. The engine continued its hum as the woman waddled over to him. Her hands were shoved deep into her pockets. Holding something bulky.
Don’t let appearances fool you, the small voice inside him whispered. Find out what she’s holding.
Toby cleared his throat. The woman looked at him with wide, unflinching eyes. Her face half-concealed in shadow. “I, uh, didn’t see any sign of an accident. Could you maybe point to...”
She said nothing. He stole another quick look at his truck. “Lady-.”
“Jenna. My name is Jenna.” She looked up at him with a blank expression. “Could you look under the car? Maybe...”
Toby stared at the dark, icy space between the sedan and the road and then back at Jenna. Her hands remained planted. Clenched in her pockets. “Please. He could have slipped and gotten hurt.”
Dreamlike, Toby got to his knees. He let his hand rest on the front bumper, as snow soaked into his jeans. His head was so close to the tires. She could burst it like a melon. Look and run, he thought. She can’t get you if you’re quick. His heart raced. He stuck his head beneath the car.
Nothing was there.
He was suddenly aware that Jenna was no longer beside him. She was standing opposite the sedan, the back of her Michelin Man jacket illuminated by the sedan’s headlights. Toby sprang to his feet, ready to run. Jenna turned and gave him a relieved smile.
“Look, look!” She said, pointing into the darkness, her other fingers wrapped around a cell phone.
Toby squinted and walked towards her. There was a man in the woods slouching toward them. The light from the cars caught him and, for a second, Toby saw his face. Pale and expressionless. In the midst of the storm, Toby suddenly felt cold. Colder than he had ever felt before. His eyes darted towards the sedan. Henry was on the wrong side of the road.
“Henry. Oh God, Henry.” Jenna said, “I was so worried.” She made a half-step over the snow drift towards the man before Toby grabbed her. She stopped and looked at Toby, confused.
“What-? What the hell are you doing over there?” Toby asked. His hand gripped tight around Jenna’s arm. Henry looked wrong, as though someone had bent him in all the wrong places. How did get over there without leaving tracks?
Henry continued toward them. His face frozen and unreadable.
“Say something.” Toby said and he backed toward the cars, dragging Jenna with him. The snow came down in thick white torrents, almost blinding them. He breathed like a man struggling to stay above water. The faint ding of his open car door echoed across the road.
“Henry?” Jenna squeaked. Toby could not see her, but sensed her inch behind him. Henry’s coat was torn and a wide hole had been opened along one of the seams. Stray threads fluttered in the wind. Jenna took a step backwards.
Then, several things happened at once. Jenna shrieked as she stepped onto a patch of ice. Her arms and feet swung wildly as she attempted to regain balance. Then, flailing, she grabbed onto Toby’s jacket. As he toppled, something pulsed beneath Henry’s exposed stomach. Slithering.
Toby fell onto Jenna, their heads slamming together against the icy pavement. His teeth sang like a bell and there was something sticky on the back of his head. But it didn’t matter. Henry was wavering at the edge of the snow drift now. His jacket seethed and writhed as something boiled upward through his neck.
Run. The voice inside him was a shout. A deep throbbing that coursed through his body. Henry’s swollen jaw unhinged, revealing something dark and wriggling beneath. He scrambled, tugging at Jenna’s half-limp body. RunrunrunrunRUNRUNRUN.
But Jenna refused to move. She stared, hair tossed in wet clumps over her face, at the thing wearing her husband.
“Oh God.” She managed finally. “Oh Jesus, God.”
Toby ran as the thing oozed onto the road. Wetness dribbled from its vacant mouth and eyes. He could hear Jenna screaming. Then the thick, wet clumps of something dense impacting flesh. He ignored his truck, lights still on and parked useless behind the sedan. He tore open Jenna’s car door. Hot air and radio static greeted him. The keys jangled in the ignition.
His foot slammed against the gas pedal. The tires spun in place and then, mercifully, the car shot out along the road, leaving Jenna and her husband stranded in the snow. As he zoomed toward a curve, Toby looked in the rearview mirror.
Henry hung above the road, suspended by meaty appendages that had forced their way through his overstretched mouth. Jenna thrashed as she vanished beneath the mass of flesh, her mouth wide in mid-scream. Henry seemed to watch the sedan as it sped away. Then, as Toby made the turn, Henry jerked and scuttled into the woods.
Toby kept his foot on the gas until he reached the end of the forest. He watched the trees, searching for movement.
|# ¿ Feb 22, 2016 01:45|
Yeah, this is just not happening for me this week. I'm out.
I'd be happy to get your crit on my story from Week 100.
|# ¿ Feb 22, 2016 03:27|
|# ¿ Feb 23, 2016 00:59|
The Third Rule
The first rule of the Resistance is not to get caught. The second rule is that, if you do get caught, to put a bullet in your brain before the government can squeeze you for information.
I know that I’ve broken the first rule when I stop receiving broadcasts from the device implanted near my eardrum. I realize that I’ve broken the second when I’m approached by two baby-faced agents in my own restaurant, poo poo-eating grins plastered all over their faces.
“Mr. Lopez, my name is Agent Laswell and this is my partner, Agent Simon.” Says the smaller one, bundled up in an oversized coat like a kid playing dress-up. “We’re from the Department for the Restoration of American Dignity and we’d like to have a few words with you.”
I lift my arms, half-welcoming, half shrugging. “Of course, gentlemen, of course. Nothing serious I hope?” I give a light push to the girls on either side of me. They stiffen at my touch. “Why don’t you girls go freshen up?”
They free themselves from the booth and stumble towards the bathroom, where I’m sure they’ll do a line of coke to make things bearable. I’m jealous.
“I see you got your admirers, Mr. Lopez,” sneers Simon. I give him my best smirk. The kind that one only perfects in mugshots and sleazy tabloids.
Yes, I’m an unpleasant man. But I’m the kind of unpleasant man that despots and tyrants like to keep around. My flamboyance is what keeps official misdeeds out of the headlines. Robert Lopez Divorces Third Wife. Robert Lopez Assaults Reporter. For last week’s terrorist bombing, see Page D5. I pretend to be a nasty sonuvabitch and the censors loosen their grip on the press. I’m the suckerfish to their shark. A parasite that keeps the papers clean.
And I’m so tired of this act.
Simon slides into the booth next to me, so close I can feel the tape recorder on his belt jamming into my flab. A recorder probably full of reports on my movements. Laswell slaps a manila envelope on the table and sits across from me. As I leaf through the folder, I realize that my protection only goes so far. There’s some indiscretions that can’t be ignored.
“Tsk, tsk, Mr. Lopez,” Laswell says, giving me his best Humphrey Bogart impression. “Seems you’ve had your hands full lately. Theft of sensitive government documents. Aiding and abetting terrorists. Degrading American dignity.”
I’d like to brain him, but I’m too startled by the sudden buzzing in my ear. The bug’s been turned on.
“What can I say? I like to spread my wealth around.” I laugh, listening to radio static. If the Resistance is gonna get me out of here, I need to stall. I need some distraction for these goose-stepping punks. “You know, the DAILY’s got some of their journalists here. I’d really hate to interrupt them. Don’t think they came here for a work lunch.”
I continue, channeling some long-dead mobster. “I’m sure your bosses would love the extra work of cleaning my arrest from the papers.”
For the first time, Laswell’s grin slides off his face. He’s supposed to take me in, but he knows how the game is played. Do what you want with the rats, but don’t leave a mess. I see his eyes dart back and forth, but before he can say anything the broadcast in my ear gives a single command.
One of my girls is walking back from the bathroom, a device in her hand and something wrapped around her waist. Laswell jumps up and starts towards her. I’m able to give her a single uncomprehending look and duck before she pulls the trigger.
There’s buzzing in my ear, but it’s not radio static. It’s a high-pitched ringing that reminds me of air raid sirens. I blink and realize I’m laid out on my back. The restaurant is filled with dust and smoke. I blink again. There’s arms. Legs. I scream, but it comes out as a distant wail. Like an old picture being developed. Simon is propped up against the wall and he’s pulling wood out of his face like a magician pulls a scarf out of his sleeve.
As sound returns, my ears are filled again with static.
“Thank you for your patience, Mr. Lopez.” The woman in my brain speaks with a secretarial voice. Cool and crisp. “Unfortunately, we have very little time. I need you to grab the recorder. Quickly.”
I’m still dazed, but I manage to stumble over to Simon. He stares, his mouth moving in unnatural shapes, as I try to unclasp the cracked recorder from his belt. Any chance of getting back into the government’s good graces vanished the moment the bomb went off. If I had any second thoughts, they’re gone now.
“I’ve got it!” I slur, recorder in my hand.
When I look up, there’s men with rifles pushing their way through the rubble-strewn entrance. A woman, some Governor’s mistress, waves her hands. “Help, help, over here!” They fire a round into her chest. And another into her head. These men are not friends. They’re here to make sure there’s no witnesses.
“Thank you, Robert. Now, would you kindly make your way through the back kitchen door? We have a car waiting for you.”
I’m not built for running. I’m not even sure if I still have all my body parts attached. But I make a dash towards the kitchen. I’m ducking through pots and pans, bowling over my own cowering chefs before I make it into the alley. It’s empty.
Then someone unloads an entire magazine into me. The shots ripple through my chest and I crumple into a heap. As I lay against the door, blood seeping into my lungs, I hear a woman’s voice again. Someone reaches into my pocket, taking the recorder.
“I’m sorry, Robert, but you know the rules. Never leave loose ends.”
ENTOMOLOGY: Robert A. Lopez of Westport, NY, valiant veterinarian and friend of all creatures great and small, for his series of experiments in obtaining ear mites from cats, inserting them into his own ear, and carefully observing and analyzing the results. [Published as "Of Mites and Man," The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, vol. 203, no. 5, Sept. 1, 1993, pp. 606-7.]
|# ¿ Feb 29, 2016 03:35|
INTERPROMPT: Write 300 words inspired by:
|# ¿ Feb 29, 2016 05:16|
Do I need to be in the real competition for this
No. Anyone can participate in an interprompt.
|# ¿ Feb 29, 2016 19:02|
Titus82 is... Judico Rex
If you still need a third judge, I'll willing to volunteer.
|# ¿ Mar 4, 2016 18:09|
WEEK 187 CRITIQUES - PART I
Baby by Rathlord
Don’t Give Up by sparksbloom
A Talk With the Dead Over a Glass of Cold Water by flerp
For Want of Pulp by Killer-of-Lawyers
All That Remained Were Ashes by Guiness13
In the Old Sow Water by newtestleper
|# ¿ Mar 8, 2016 04:38|
|# ¿ Mar 8, 2016 04:44|
I'm going to fail this week because I'm a moron who can't remember to save his draft before leaving the computer.
Per tradition, I will toxx the next time I sign up and post a redemption when I can.
|# ¿ Mar 14, 2016 02:11|
in for whatever because I'm illiterate and those are a lot of words.
|# ¿ May 11, 2016 02:59|
Nasty, Brutish, and Short
After the woman hit the floor, Lizzie imagined letting her die. She imagined exposing her father as a fraud. Letting his whole ministry collapse. She imagined the tight packs of paparazzi, with their enormous white vans, reporting on the errant televangelist who had murdered yet another woman on live television. Newscasters asking, with barely concealed glee, just how a disgraced preacher, wanted on murder charges, had fled the country and set up a cult in Hong Kong.
But as her father laid his hands upon the victim, his cool eyes locked with her’s. Go ahead, they said, but even if you let her die, I will never haunt you for the rest of your life.
She laid down beside her father and pressed her hands against his.
The woman was dead. And then she wasn’t. Her death rattle forced its way back down her throat as pooled blood retracted its way into the body. Hot bullets wormed their way out from the skin and fell with small, metallic clinks against the stage. The woman gave an enormous gasp and, bloating not yet gone, she rose to her feet.
“Hallelujah!” Lizzie’s father said in a voice that shook a million televisions. The APPLAUSE sign had lit up, but it wasn’t needed. The studio drowned in screams.
Lizzie grabbed the discarded submachine gun and handed it off to a stage assistant. Her father grabbed hold of the woman’s hand and led the modern Lazarus into the sparkling studio light.
“Hallelujah!” He bellowed as cameras swung around to focus on him and all thirty-two of his gleaming white teeth. A man in the front row, apparently possessed with the Holy Spirit, fell to the floor in convulsions. A group of old French tourists reached out to touch him. One of the risers collapsed beneath stamping feet.
“Hallelujah!” He screamed, straining to be heard over the pandemonium. He raised his arms skyward, knocking his arm against the dead-undead woman’s head. But it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. Even the Hong Kong skyline seemed to tremble and shake. “Remember, that the hour of the Fifth Monarchy is at hand! That I will return at the head of God’s Heavenly Host to take back America and bring about a new age of Enlightenment! Only the Righteous will be saved!”
Joel Osteen was an insect. The Pope was a mote in God’s eye. Lizzie turned and made my way backstage as wails enveloped the small studio.
“Just stay tuned!”
And then they cut for commercial.
“Hey there, princess.” Lizzie’s father had crept up from behind her and squeezed her shoulders. “You had me worried there for a sec.”
“Oh.” Lizzie said in a small voice. The television backstage was playing her father’s sermons on repeat. CNN International had brought on an expert in special effects who looked sweaty and red-faced. A small timer in the margin gave a countdown until the end of the sermon’s commercial break. Five minutes.
“Hey,” he said. He grabbed her chin and twisting Lizzie’s face toward his. “You can pout all you after this broadcast is finished but I need you focused. We don’t need another accident.”
She cast her eyes downward, trying to avoid his stare. Lizzie still remembered the old sermons on public broadcast. Her parents once owned a cramped garage sound stage that smelled like motor oil. Mother had owned a guitar and would sing about Jesus while Lizzie’s father performed “little miracles.” It hadn’t been hard for him to convince his wife to participate in his first attempt at televised resurrection, knowing what he did about their daughter’s special talents.
The only problem had been that Lizzie hadn’t wanted to bring Mother back.
“Just one more miracle, Lizzie, and we’re set.” He gave her a sharp pinch. “All I need from you is one more teensy-weensie, little revelation and we can do whatever the hell we want.”
She tried to turn away from him again. “I just want to be alone.”
He jerked her neck hard and leaned in close. “Alone?” He said. His breath was like consumption and malaria, “Hell, you can have the entire goddamned city when we’re done.”
Lizzie’s father walked out on stage one minute behind schedule. The crowd seemed larger. The doors to the stage were propped open to make room for masses of bodies. Too many people, Lizzie thought as sickness welled up in her. No escape.
“I have given you life and now,” Lizzie’s father said, pausing for dramatic effect, “I will give you death.”
The cheering died. He spun around to face the opposite camera. It was a dramatic but unnecessary gesture.
“For, just as God commanded Noah to build an ark to protect the righteous from the Great Flood, so too have I built an ark.” He pointed a single accusatory finger at the camera. “Only my ark is not one of wood and nails. My Ark is one of hearts and minds and only those who believe in me shall be saved!”
“You lie!” Someone shouted from the back.
Her father squinted into the darkness before giving a blessed, Renaissance-painting smile. “Oh, but I’m not. In a few moments, all those who have denied Christ will perish. All the world’s sinners and heretics shall be cast into the Lake of Fire.”
Lizzie felt herself moving dreamlike towards her father. After their first attempt at resurrection, he had clutched her mother’s bullet-shredded form and pleaded Lizzie to bring her back. But Lizzie had stared at him with a dull and empty face. Because we are all sinners. Because we are all sick and dirty.
“I will now pray with my daughter as we pass through the End Times.”
Lizzie’s father opened his mouth as though to say something more, but stopped short. A rumble coursed through the building before spreading across the city. Glass shattered. There was screaming again, not of joy but horror. Fingers were pointed towards the coast, where the sea had become streaked with blood. Crowded buses exploded on the street below.
“What are you doing?” Her father said. His smile wavered. “This isn’t what we discussed. This isn’t what was supposed to happen.”
“All I wanted was to be alone,” Lizzie screeched, feeling the pillars of the earth collapse beneath her. She was done. Done with it all. “All I ever wanted was for everyone to leave me alone!”
The APPLAUSE sign melted as the congregation transformed into pillars of salt. Fire split the floor asunder, exposing a mass of writhing limbs. The building’s security alarms rang out a litany to the Communion of Saints as a choir of trumpets and angels unleashed their fury. Her father sank into the floor, screaming. Lizzie’s father screamed and the whole world screamed with him.
And then there was silence. She stood for a moment in the wreckage of a studio before pushing her way towards the exit. This was now her city. Her world. For the first time, she was truly alone.
|# ¿ May 16, 2016 03:52|
One’s an obsessive overachiever running for Class President and the other’s a middle-aged ghost with an axe to grind.
|# ¿ May 16, 2016 23:34|
Veins and Arteries
Lindsey took a deep breath before turning to face the corpse. “Ew,” she said as she took a scalpel to the dead man’s eyelids. The empty cadaver lab seemed to echo the sound of every incision. The skin curled as she sliced, exposing sunken eyes and spiked contacts. “Ew, ew, ew.”
She was mid-way through unstitching the mouth when the body jerked and rattled. Its cold hands shot upward. Lindsey jumped and squealed, cleaving the cadaver’s bottom lip in two. The corpse’s eyes rolled, its permanently wide stare fixing upon her. A trickle of blood crept down its chin.
“Stay down,” she hissed as her heart thumped in her chest, “I’m not done yet.”
Lindsey tore apart the final stitches and the body rose from its slab. Its insides spilled out the cadaver’s open chest flap, drenching the table in tissue and organ. Lindsey gagged. The stench was overwhelming. The corpse brushed aside its discarded organs and glanced down at its own shriveled penis. “Did it have to be a man?” Said the ghost of Margaret Holbrooke in the deceased man’s raspy, hollow voice.
Lindsey leaned against one of the unused cadaver lab tables, trying not to think about the anatomy of what was happening. The long-stopped veins and arteries. The intestines draped like garland. Air being forced through the dead man’s vocal chords.
“I’m sorry.” She said, swallowing her sickness. “Holbrooke’s Biology Department doesn’t exactly have a variety of whole corpses.” She steadied herself. “Not yet, anyway. The Student Government President does have a seat on the Finance Committee, though.”
Lindsey gave an eager smile. The election was in four days. She had just four days to win over her classmates. Just four days to prove that she was the best candidate. Just four days before she would annihilate Claudia Blaine and her shallow, sorority-girl campaign. Lindsey cared about the issues. Claudia just wanted another trophy. Lindsey was willing to make sacrifices, to make backroom deals with malevolent undead forces. Claudia would just get her dumb friends to pass out cupcakes.
The corpse sighed, or at least uttered a sound resembling a sigh, before stepping down onto the laboratory’s cold linoleum floor. Loose tissue fell with soft splats against the darkened basement classroom. “I suppose we will have to make do,” Margaret Holbrooke said, pulling the man’s open chest closed like one might a jacket. “Let’s get on with it.”
Lindsey nodded and handed over her smart phone. Her quid pro quo. Margaret scrolled past half-a-dozen of Lindsey’s campaign posters before getting towards the evidence she had been promised: A blurry video taken through a crack in the Admissions Office door. Margaret’s husband with his button-down shirt and tie half-askew. His paunch moving rhythmically against the body of another woman, Margaret’s secretary. She watched their bodies splayed across the desk. Their fumbling, middle-aged bodies exposed. Moaning and creaking echoed across the dark laboratory.
He hadn’t even waited until her body was cold, and Margaret wanted him ruined.
The corpse’s bloodless face widened into a hungry leer. “Yes,” Margaret said, pressing her cold hands against the screen. “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
“It was really hard to get that, you know.” Lindsey said, beaming. “Police and Safety lock up the administration building after ten so I had to-.”
Margaret rested a cold hand on Lindsey’s arm. The hungriness had passed. Margaret reconfigured the corpse’s face into something dignified, an impressive feat with a split bottom lip and no eyelids.
“Thank you.” Margaret said and she pressed the phone back into Lindsey’s palm. “Would you post that on the You-thing? The You-website?”
“Youtube.” Margaret said, her smile deflating. They were back to business. “Anyways, did you see what Claudia’s campaign is planning? Who is working for her? What’s she giving out? Is she tearing down my posters? Does she have a thing with the Election Commissioner?”
Lindsey clenched her fists. “I need something to bring her down. I need something to get her disqualified. There’s something wrong with her campaign, just tell me what.”
The living cadaver frowned. “No, I’m afraid I didn’t see anything illegal.” She gave a shrug while still holding the man’s chest together. “From what I can tell from my usual haunts, Claudia is planning a fairly traditional campaign. No shady backroom deals. No schemes or otherwise. I don’t see any way you can get your friend Claudia disqualified.”
“But that doesn’t make any sense!” Lindsey moaned. “I know. I just know that she’s planning something. Claudia doesn’t leave anything to chance. She’s gotta be doing something wrong.”
Margaret shrugged. “I’m sorry, but I didn’t see-.” She froze. Her expression fixed at something outside the lab. Lindsey turned. Someone had turned the hallway light on. Someone was coming down the hallway. The doorknob turned.
The cadaver collapsed to the floor. Organ and flesh splattered across the linoleum. Lindsey took a single step before slipping on a discarded flap of skin. As she fell on top of the body, the door swung open. Claudia stepped forward with her smartphone in an outstretched hand.
Claudia’s look of triumph curdled on her face. She saw the ruined cadaver and Lindsey planted on top of it. She saw the ruined trail of organs scattered around the table. Claudia opened and shut her mouth, fish-like. Silence hung in the air.
“What. The Christ. Lindsey.” Claudia finally managed. “Literally, what in the hell?”
“Uh.” Said Lindsey. She had to say something. Anything. “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”
The two looked at each other and then at Claudia’s smartphone. Still recording.
“I was just supposed to catch you on video.” Claudia said. She looked pale. “I really just wanted to catch you on video being dumb and sneaking into the biology building after hours. Not…” She gestured at the mess and the dark stains on Lindsey’s clothes.
“Please,” said Lindsey. “Don’t tell the Election Commissioner.” The words tumbled out as she stifled tears. Lindsey had no idea what she was saying. “Claudia, I swear that I’m not doing anything wrong. Just don’t get me disqualified from the election.”
Claudia's eyes narrowed. “Election?” She said. “Lindsey, you defaced a loving corpse. I’m calling the police.”
A breeze like a heavy sigh swept through the room and Lindsey sensed movement at her feet. Claudia’s eyes bulged as the cadaver rose again to its feet. Claudia opened her mouth in a scream as the dead man stumbled towards her, tripping over its own intestines. She seemed stuck, frozen in the doorway, as the corpse reached forward and grabbed the smart phone from Claudia’s hand.
Margaret shuffled to face Lindsey and contorted the dead man's face into an exasperated look.
“You owe me,” the possessed corpse said as it broke the cell phone in half and jammed the pieces into its open mouth. Lindsey and Claudia both stared as the corpse pushed its hand into its throat, thrusting the metal deep within it. With strange lumps protruding from its neck, the cadaver collapsed to the floor.
The two girls stared. before Lindsey cracked a smile.
“It’s gonna be pretty hard to explain why your cell phone is inside one of the cadaver lab’s corpses, isn’t it Claudia? I sure do hope no one in the Election Commission finds out about this.”
Then Claudia fainted.
|# ¿ May 23, 2016 03:29|
Alright, I'm in.
|# ¿ May 28, 2016 00:29|
My Brother's Keeper
As my brother rises to his feet, I find the stench of his psychiatric hospital suddenly overpowering. Gone is the smell of disinfectant and death and deodorized air fresheners. In its place is urine and blood. The odor of something senselessly alive. Something that refuses to die.
He grabs me, smearing his oily hands across my face. As his lips curl backward, I see the gaps where yellowed teeth used to be. He is on top of me, all spittle and nails. I bring my hands up, but the nurses are already pulling him off. They curse as the living quarters descends into pandemonium.
“YOU DID THIS. YOU DID THIS,” he screams, writhing and smashing against the blue scrubs. He jams his elbow into a nurse’s eye and she lets loose a guttural howl. The other patients are pushed by another group of nurses out a side door, all weeping and screaming. “YOU’RE KILLING ME.”
I am forced to look away by a heavy hand on my shoulder. A doctor leads me towards the nurse’s station. I realize that I’m bleeding.
“Don’t worry, he says with a sympathetic but mechanical smile. “He doesn’t know what he’s saying. It’s the illness talking. We’ll take a look at his medications.”
Before the Haldol and Thorazine, my brother and I did pot in his van. We sat, windows sealed, giggling and coughing. Passing the joint to one another and admiring the white wisps as they curled and spiraled in the darkness.
“You know they’re stealing from me,” he said between inhales. On some days, he remembered to shower. On others, he smelled exotic, like curdled milk and old fast food wrappers. “They want my money, but I won’t let them have it. I won’t do it.”
I giggled as he leaned his head against the passenger’s side window. Sometimes, he would let me sit in the driver’s seat and watch as I tightened my hands on the steering wheel. The foam felt good, strong and elastic.
“Yeah, I dunno,” I said, feeling guilt creep and excitement creep into my face. It was wrong to indulge his fantasies. It was worse to bad-mouth our parents. After the diagnosis, after dropping out of college, they had bought him a small apartment a few blocks from our house. Every month they would pay the rent and buy him groceries. Every week, we would visit and, ignoring the heavy foreign smells, clean the apartment from top to bottom. Then, sneaking back after dark, he would whisper dark conspiracies into my ear.
Our father had seduced his high-school girlfriend.
Our mother had hired a private detective to follow him around.
His college roommate had drilled holes in his head.
But he never had any conspiracies involving me. He knew where we stood. He went crazy and got people to take care of him. I was only neurotic. I would have to get into the best schools. I would have to work. I would have to make sure that we stopped being the family that people talked about in hushed tones. They didn’t say it, but our parents had poured all their hopes into me. And that weight was immense.
He inhaled and looked over to me. “I should tell them, y’know. We should tell them that we won’t be their sick puppets anymore.”
I was struck suddenly with an idea. A self-destructive but liberating idea. I turned the car keys and squeezed the steering wheel. My brother looked at me, his yellow teeth shining against the darkness.
“Why don’t we tell them, then,” I said.
I decide not to come back until the bruise heals. When I do, I’m led to my brother’s room by a small woman. She’s no Nurse Ratched but she feels imposing. Malignant.
“Vegetative symptoms,” whispers the nurse. She creeks open his door. I see him slumped in a chair with his eyes glazed. “He’s been like this since we changed his dosage. After he…”
The silence between us could fill the Grand Canyon. I nod and she turns away. When her footsteps finally dissipate, he cracks a smile. He scoops two bright blue pills out from under his tongue and puts them on his knee. Saliva oozes over them. I sit across from him.
He leans toward me, cracking his disused joints. His tongue runs over the gaps in his teeth. “No one ever cared about you. Not even Mom and Dad. You were an accident. A mistake.”
I say nothing.
“The nurses talk about you after you leave. They know what you’ve done. They want to put you in here with me. They wanna box you up, box you up like a Christmas present.”
A hot sickness rises up in me. I want to grab his face in my hands and scream. I know he’s looking for a reaction, but I can’t stop myself. “You’re sick. You don’t know what you’re saying.”
“Is that so? Is that so?” He giggles. “If I’m sick, what does that make you?”
We never made it home. We never even made it two blocks. As I roared down the road, feeling powerful with the steering wheel tight beneath my fingers, something had skirted into the road. Something small and delicate, now smeared across the road with bright flowers blooming from her head. I felt my future obliterate.
“It wasn’t my fault,” I said, as my brother opened the car side door and rushed towards the small, ruined thing. He was on top of her, his eyes wide in surprise. “It wasn’t my fault.”
“But did it have to be your fault?” Whispered a small, conspiratorial voice in my ear. After all, it was his car. Everyone know's he sick and broken. Iit’s not like he would care. He’s never going to have a future anyway. All you have to do is run home before the cops show up.
From the road, my brother looked at me, already knowing the decision I would make.
|# ¿ May 29, 2016 23:54|
Heyo, I'm in.
|# ¿ May 30, 2016 23:41|
Monday Flash Rule: Don't feel like writing about potatoes? Your man can now agonize over whatever his heart desires.
Flash Rule: Man agonizes over his paseo
Flash Rule: Story takes place between breaths
Tabby breathed in deep and looked at her reflection in the greasy, finger-marked mirror. Her face still stung from the hot towel that she had used to strip off the makeup, but her reflection filled with a giddy, jagged restlessness.
She looked plain, a “Plain Jane” as her father might say—as he did—about Tabby’s principal. Whenever he was forced into an office or classroom, he would squeeze Tabby’s shoulders in supposedly fatherly affection. Between his “yeahs” and “uh-huhs,” he would rub a greasy thumb against her flesh. When no one was looking, he would flash vulgar smiles. Tabby would respond with quiet coldness.
Tabby unrolled the fabric of her skirt and let it drape below her knee. She wanted to make herself look more serious. More respectable. Then, sneaking past her father’s room, she skirted through the backdoor and into the setting summer sun.
“Hey, I wasn’t sure you’d come,” said Mr. Rollins from his front stoop. Tabby wasn’t sure how long he’d been sitting there, but he there was sweat running down his steepled fingers and his back popped as he shifted towards her. His sunburned face reminded her, stupidly, of red potatoes. She extended her hand. He paused before grabbing it.
“Yeah,” she said as he gripped onto her and lifted himself up. “I had to ask my dad for permission first.”
“Ah, gotcha,” said Mr. Rollins with none of his usual confidence. Mr. Rollins was Tabby’s English teacher. He had a vibrant smile and was one of the only people that didn’t look at her with deep sadness or disgust. He never mentioned her absences or her father’s hungry leers. Instead, he and Tabby had formed a bond. A mutual respect that went beyond her ratty clothes. Her body.
And because of that bond, she had poured herself into his class. She had slit open her belly and exposed the dark, mean parts of herself. Tabby, ratty and sullen, needed someone to notice. Someone to care about what happened behind closed doors. And she had gotten her answer after her last assignment.
“Really nice job, Tabitha.” Mr. Rollins had scrawled in the corner margin. “Let’s talk about this later, alone.”
Tabby had crumpled the assignment into her bag and ignored the manic beating of her heart. She had gone through the dull motions of school. She sat through her classes. She pretended not to see the smug, pitiless glances of the other girls. She tried to ignore the graffiti in the bathroom, the leering boys in the hallways, and the giggling whispers that were always just loud enough to hear. Then she went home and endured her father’s wolfish hunger—as she always did—blank-faced and mute.
But when she was alone in her room, she had carefully uncrumpled the torn pages and reread the note. She had read and reread Mr. Rollins’s words until his scrawl had encoded itself on the inside of her eyelids. “Really nice job, Tabitha. Let’s talk about this later, alone.”
Tabby waited for Mr. Rollins to say something. A moment ticked by. The low drone of cable news echoed out of a neighbor’s window.
Finally, Tabby cleared her throat. “Did you, uh, want to talk about my paper out here? Or should we...”
Tabby thought about her father and what he would do if he found her gone. Panic gripped her, but Mr. Rollins seems distracted. He massaged the skin on his ring finger and turned. An older man without a shirt jogged by and waved to them. Mr. Rollins gave a reluctant wave back. “No, let’s take a walk.”
They walked in silence for a long while. The sun sank below the horizon and dark purple splotches erupted across the sky. They had long since passed the houses in Mr. Rollins’s neighborhood and had entered a new, unfamiliar territory. A terra incognita, filled with skeletal half-finished buildings. The dark husks loomed over them.
Tabby glanced over to Mr. Rollins. He was somehow even sweatier than he had been when they started. He looked conflicted, agitated. Her panic was a scream inside her head. An air raid siren blasting at full-volume. He was just trying to be nice. No one can help you. No one will ever help you. Just leave before your father finds you gone because there won’t be anything left afterward.
Just as she considered leaving, Mr. Rollins spoke. “Every story has negative space. Things that are implied or suggested but can’t be said out loud.”
Tabby stopped walking, a strange mix of fear and excitement frothed inside her. Mr. Rollins turned and looked at her before nodding his head towards the curb. They sat themselves down on it. The power lines hummed with potential energy.
“So… you got it?” Tabby said with a dry, almost frog-like voice. The evening air was intoxicating. A swarm of flies glittered under a nearby lamppost.
“Tabby,” he said, with commitment now in his voice. “You’ve always been a very persuasive writer. I could tell from the beginning that you had something to say.”
He laid his damp hand on Tabby’s thigh. He slid his hand upward, pushing his hand against Tabby’s skirt. She looked at it. A beat passed. And then another. And then the magic of the night shattered. There would be no grand revelations. No sobbed-out confessions or restitutions. She looked at his face and saw for the first time his own manic desperation and loneliness. She had never been anything real to him.
Really nice job.
She breathed out and let him rub his greasy thumb against her tan skin, because that’s all she would ever be.
|# ¿ Jun 6, 2016 01:03|
I have sinned. Lay it on me
Things to work on:
- Wacky, cartoon antics are not a replacement for character motivation and an interesting plot. Your story is almost Tom and Jerry fan-fiction.
- Read Struck and White's Elements of Style. Your grammar is all over the place and you seem to have little idea how dialogue attribution works.
- Make your characters change or develop over time. Your story is about two men terrorizing each other for little gain.
- Put down the cartoons and read more books to get a sense of how prose and description work. Your bare-bones descriptions are almost always awkward and repetitive, which suggests that you have very little experience with actual books.
|# ¿ Jun 6, 2016 23:31|
Thunderdome Week CCI: Old Russian Joke
That's right, kids. I'm taking over! The blood throne has been abolished. Long live the Thunderdome dictatorship of the proletariat!
One of my favourite historical periods is early 20th century Russia. In the lead up to the 1917 Revolutions, Russians produced a slew of art, fiction, and journalism. And much of it has a sense of manic desperation about it. I’ve collected some of my favourite pieces here: http://imgur.com/a/dAzDY/all
When you sign up this week, pick a picture from the above gallery and write a story about it. (Also put your picture in [TIMG][/TIMG] tags because some are kind of big.) I don’t expect (or necessarily want) historical fiction or a one-to-one translation of your picture, but your story should be in some way inspired by what you pick. Be as literal or as abstract with your pick as you want.
If you don't feel like scrolling through that album, you can also ask one of the judges to pick an image for you.
Oh, and one more thing. I’m tired of reading a bunch of sad stories about sad people. Regardless of what you pick, your story must have a happy ending. If I don’t see some positive, forward movement by the end, you will be sent to the gulag.
QuoProQuid, General-Secretary of the Supreme Thunderdome Soviet
Sparksbloom, Chairman of the Council of Judging Commissars
Kaishai, First Secretary of the Presidium of the Supreme Thunderdome Soviet
Final Sign-Up Deadline: 11:59:59 PM EST on Friday, 10 June 2016
Submission Deadline: 11:59:59 PM EST on Sunday, 12 June 2016
Word Count: 1200 words
4. Marshmallow Blue
10. Mr. Gentleman
12. Bad Seafood
14. Screaming Idiot
15. Benny Profane
17. a friendly penguin
19. Black Griffon
QuoProQuid fucked around with this message at 02:00 on Jun 11, 2016
|# ¿ Jun 7, 2016 10:11|
I feel like kind of a wuss for not picking up any flashrules for the 200th. Can I request that I get assigned a picture?
|# ¿ Jun 7, 2016 12:18|
Thank you. This is very helpful.
in and give me a pic tia
|# ¿ Jun 7, 2016 15:55|
Here's the promised linecrit for QuidProQuid's week 199 story:
Also very helpful. I appreciate the line-by-line sparksbloom. You touched on a lot of issues that I agree with and I will make sure to keep your crit in mind going forward.
|# ¿ Jun 7, 2016 21:50|
In and flip me a pic please
|# ¿ Jun 7, 2016 21:55|
Never done this before but I wanna play. Hit me with an image!
|# ¿ Jun 8, 2016 09:59|
In! Hit me with an image I can use to write a disappointing story.
|# ¿ Jun 8, 2016 10:39|
A line-by-line for Carcer. Hope this helps.
Thursday Group Prompt: A man agonizes over potatoes.
|# ¿ Jun 9, 2016 00:51|
In for the week; pick a picture for me.
|# ¿ Jun 9, 2016 22:32|
Little over 24 hours remaining until the deadline. Be sure to sign-up before midnight Friday!
And, thank you to Kaishai for agreeing to be the third judge for this week.
|# ¿ Jun 10, 2016 02:32|
About four hours until the sign-up deadline!
Thank you all for crits and such.
Flash Rule: "Cowardice is the most terrible of vices."
|# ¿ Jun 11, 2016 00:17|
Sign-ups have long since closed.
Please write some good stories, everyone.
|# ¿ Jun 11, 2016 12:02|
One hour until the deadline!
Get those stories in.
|# ¿ Jun 13, 2016 02:59|
Thunderdome CCI Results
an illustration of how i felt reading your stories this week
Hi there, everyone. Thank you for participating in Week 201, Old Russian Joke. Before we get onto the judging, I would like to leave you with a brief public service announcement.
When you write in the future, please know that the rules of grammar do, in fact, apply. As difficult as it may be to imagine, Strunk and White weren't lying when they wrote things like:
5. Do not join independent clauses by a comma.
11. Use the active voice.
13. Make sure the reader knows who is speaking.
If you have trouble with grammar during your first draft, that's fine. If, however, you decide not to proofread and post a story riddled with errors and missing words, the judges will hate your guts. Forever. Please do not make me hate you.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s announce the results. This week’s Dishonourable Mentions go to Chili and Fuubi. These were both profoundly bad stories that would have lost in any other week. Chili, your story stars an extremely boring protagonist who inexplicably commits murder-suicide in a ridiculous fashion. Fuubi, your story reads like sixth-grader doing a Powerpoint presentation on The Silmarillion. Both of you are getting sent to Siberia.
Luckily, I can appreciate effort. You both tried to produce something, which is more than can be said of the Loser, magnificent7. Mag, you very clearly did not care about this week. Your submission is barely a story, much less appropriate for the prompt. Congratulations on earning the literary equivalent of an ice-pick in the skull.
I wish I could say that there were some very good stories to balance out these very bad submissions, but unfortunately this week was not strong for anyone. Each submission was deeply flawed. Nonetheless, my co-judges and I thought it appropriate to award an Honourable Mention to Thranguy. Despite the parentheticals and the ending, your protagonist had the strongest voice of any character this week. I would very much like to see you edit and expand your submission into something longer. This week’s winner is Benny Profane. Though very little happens in your story, you have some lovely prose and manage to set a really nice tone.
Alright, Benny Profane, you have command of the Thunderdome Revolution.
|# ¿ Jun 14, 2016 00:31|
Week 201 Critiques, Part I
The Other Side of the Wall
Plot: A man ventures out into the woods to save someone, with a little help from Death.
Thoughts: Opening paragraph is mildly interesting, if a bit awkward. Aim for shorter, more readable sentences. Also remember that a comma is not a semicolon and cannot bind two independent thoughts together. Unfortunately, I don’t have any sense of what your central conflict is going to be yet. A bad sign.
The second paragraph leaves me a little confused as to what is happening. Is the narrator remembering a past brush with Death or are they witnessing what is happening in the present? Third paragraph could be chopped down to just the first sentence. You dwell on the narrator’s thoughts on Death too long instead of showing me that respect in action.
Moving forward, you lean on your picture too much,. An outside reader would have absolutely no sense of the scene’s blocking. “A gunshot broke the silence of the night,” comes out of nowhere because you don’t explain whom is shooting whom. Who is dying? What’s going on? Again, the only hint I have is your picture. Don’t assume that the reader can read your mind. I should have a firm understanding of the scene using only the text.
Okay, now we are getting somewhere. I have to reread several times to understand what is happening (seriously work on descriptions/scene-setters) but at least we have a plot. It’s buried almost halfway in, but it’s a conflict. You should have cut out the entire first half of the story and started with the ***. Death doesn’t have much of a personality, but the little colour you give her is nice. I think the concept of Death giving someone her vorpal blade is interesting. Death actively rooting for people to defy her is also rather cool. Wish you had developed the character more instead of inserting a completely tangential scene with the mayor. It adds nothing to the piece and muddles the flow.
The action sequence is really confusing. I am particularly flummoxed by: “I turned to see her raising up and fired the musket instinctively, getting her at the side of the neck.” Did… did the bear try to shoot the protagonist with a rifle? I have no idea where people are in this cave. I don’t even know who is being attacked. It’s an absolute slog to get through. I’m a little mad by the next scene, where the rifle inexplicably displays qualities that it has not before. Why didn’t it emit “a blue mist-like substance” when the protagonist used it?
Skills to Improve Upon: There are fundamental issues with your sentence structure that leaves me confused about what is happening. It’s an issue that can only be resolved with more reading. I would also try to improve your blocking. Try to envision your scene before you begin writing and be sure to give your reader enough information to see that same mental image.
Never Again, You Scum!
|# ¿ Jun 14, 2016 01:05|
|# ¿ Jan 20, 2021 20:13|
In with Lucky Charms
|# ¿ Jun 14, 2016 02:45|