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katdicks
Dec 27, 2013

SO BIG

In :tipshat:

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katdicks
Dec 27, 2013

SO BIG

Thunderdome Week CCXXIX: The War, on Christmas

Ashes
996 words

My wife gave me a warm embrace, kissed me softly on the cheek, and stepped back from me. Her jaw clenched as she picked up the scuffed white helmet, the mark of my trade, with her delicate hands. Her brows furrowed and she stared up at me with dark, doe eyes.

“Today there will be peace, right? For the Prophet’s birthday?” We could hear the chatter from the crowds outside beginning to form. Soon there would be raucous chanting to signal the beginning of Mawlid. When I was a child, the noise excited me. Now, it only reminds me of what I could lose. I yearned for the silence and the peace that it indicates.

“Yes, and I will celebrate with you, my love,” I swallowed my longing, “after I return from my duty.”

The elegant line of her body slumped, and her head slowly nodded. After a moment, she raised her sad eyes to mine again and smiled.

“Then return safely.”

***

I met with my fellow White Hats in our rescue center. We talked and ate, all the time dreading the call to action. The sun rose directly above us, and we began our prayers. We prayed aloud for peace and for our love of Mohammad to be shown through our work. In my head, I prayed selfishly to return to my wife. We sat in hopeful silence after the midday prayers.

Then we were called.

***

The eight of us hurried out of our makeshift ambulance and into the center of the bomb site, marked by a large crater and thick smoke. We quickly surveyed the destruction.

“Barrel bomb,” Our leader shouted out while leaning over a piece of curved metal. My stomach heaved, but my mind sharpened. We would have to be out of the area quickly, in the case of a double-tap. With minimal discussion we divided into teams, set the timers on our watches, and began our work. I silently thanked God that most of this area’s residents were already out in the central marketplace for the parades.

Within five minutes I had found my first survivor, a teenage boy. His shell shock left him barely able to walk, so I carried him to a medic. They rushed outside of the impact zone, and I desperately wanted to follow. Instead, I continued dutifully searching the rubble of collapsed houses, calling out and hoping for no answers. I had seen too many children just like him, or worse. The sweat of anxiety poured down my face.

And then I heard it.

Faintly at first, and then it grew louder. The screams of a baby.

My heart blazed as I took off. I chased the sound and arrived, panting, at the remains of a home. The second floor had crumbled, and the weight of it had demolished two of the four outside walls. I found an entry point through a window in one of the standing walls and heaved myself into what had been a bedroom, mostly intact save for the dangerously warped ceiling. The sounds led me out of the room and to the end of the hallway, where the outside wall stood to my right, the collapsed portion of the house to my left, and straight in front of me, a single small room.

I sprinted in and immediately began searching, ripping through a tipped wardrobe and overturning a crib. The screams rang through my head. The others were calling for me, the timer on my watch was going off, but all I could hear was the scream. I pressed my ear to the left wall, which had cracked under the weight of the collapsed rooms behind it, and – yes – it was there.

“In here! Please, help! There is a baby in here!” I yelled out and grasped for the hammer on my belt and swung. The wall let out a threatening groan, but I hit again and punctured it. The screams became suddenly clearer. Two more hits and the hole was large enough for me to stuff in my arm. I jammed my elbow out and pulled back, wedging out another piece of the wall as I pushed against it. I squeezed both my arms in and desperately felt around, but nothing. The rubble shook violently around me, the walls about to collapse entirely, but I couldn’t stop. My fingers blindly searched for an arm, a hand, an ear. I withdrew my hand, bloodied and white from the ash, and began pulling at pieces around the hole where I had stuck my arms.

The building released a great quake, and I heard ominous clatters from inside the collapsed rubble. The crying stopped, and for a moment I sat motionless, entirely numb and cold. My mind rushed with memories of past failed rescues, of the bodies, the screams.

And then, like a light in the dark, my wife’s smile came rushing forward, pushing away the cold depression. My face flushed with heat and I shoved my headlamp into the hole, edging my arm in with it. The thin beam darted around the ashen layers of the house, and suddenly, I saw it. Soft, small, a tiny foot was barely visible. I jammed myself further and further into the space until both my arms were reaching out. My mind screamed with pleas to God. My torso slipped in, and just as the walls began to heave again, I scooped the baby into my arms and leveraged my knees against the wall so I could pull out.

I fell to the ground, the baby pressed firmly to my chest, as the wall let out one final sigh and crumbled into a pile of dust. I sat up slowly and made one last silent prayer.

I held the baby out in front of me and saw the breath of life come back into her as she opened her dark doe eyes. She looked up at me, into me, and began screaming once more.

katdicks
Dec 27, 2013

SO BIG

In with quit farting so much. Because there are real problems facing our society today, and they all have to do with poots.

katdicks
Dec 27, 2013

SO BIG

Sitting Here posted:

:greatgift: crit for katdicks :greatgift:

Thank you!

katdicks
Dec 27, 2013

SO BIG

As a newbie, my vote is worth nothing.

Djeser posted:

Thunderdome 2017: Five million words and we still haven't found the good ones

Also thanks to beef-man for nother crit!

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katdicks
Dec 27, 2013

SO BIG



Resolution: Stop farting

Pardoned
Word count: 1246

Hello, I’m Alice Withers. It’s a pleasure to meet you. As you’ve seen from my CV, I’m a highly qualified candidate. I graduated with honors from Georgia Law, and have two years of experience–

My train of thought was interrupted by a low, ominous rumble. I looked up at the receptionist, who was too engrossed in her phone to notice anything else. I tried to appear relaxed as I raised myself out of the low, boxy chair. When I reached her desk, I saw that her computer screen was black. It reminded me of the receptionist job I held in undergrad, where I was surrounded by blond-haired, blue-eyed girls just like her. While they bought new heels and flirted with lawyers, I squirreled away every penny for next semester’s textbooks.

“Um, excuse me, miss?” She didn’t look up, so I cleared my throat and tried again.

“Excuse me?” This time she raised her perfectly sculpted eyebrows, still without looking up from her phone. I continued anyway, “could you tell me where the lavatory is?”

She raised a perfectly manicured finger and pointed behind me without so much as a glance in my direction. Annoyed, I spun around, and collided head-on with a short, plump, white-haired man in a crisp suit.

“Oh, excuse me! I didn’t mean to –“

“Yes, yes, I’m sure you didn’t,” he cut me off as he adjusted his suit jacket and stepped backward. Once it was neatly in place, he squinted at me, which made his cheeks look even rounder.

“Oh, are you...”

“Yes, Alice Withers,” I started, and reached out to shake his hand, just as I had rehearsed at home. Unfortunately, we were too close, and I narrowly dodged jabbing my fingers into his expansive stomach. I quickly stepped back, and the corner of the receptionist’s desk poked me squarely in the butt. I yelped and recoiled my outstretched hand to massage my stinging cheek, but his pudgy right hand still hung in the air, waiting. Flustered, I reached out my left hand, grabbed his, and wiggled my elbow up and down vigorously.

“You must be Mr. Leiberman. What a pleasure to meet you, sir,” I released his hand and smiled my most convincing smile.

He just stared at me, his eyes still squinting.

“Very well,” he turned on his heels and gestured over his shoulder, “My office is this way.”

Before I could mention that I was on my way to the restroom, he had taken off, and I had no choice but to follow him down the wide hallway. We marched forward, past the sign for the restrooms. My stomach gave an uncomfortable churn and grumbled again, this time louder. I could feel pressure building in my gut.

Not now, I pleaded with my stomach. This was the last law firm left in a 50-mile radius of my house that didn’t know about my problem. If I could just make it through the interview without an incident, I might be able to negotiate an office with a private bathroom…

I covertly grabbed a blister-pack out of my pocket and popped a Gas-X. Chewing quickly, I followed him into his corner office and was struck by the cold air blasting from the room. I inadvertently shivered and was immediately grateful that the Gas-X had started working. At my last interview, a simple cough had set my stomach over the edge. Who knows what a shiver could do?

“Have a seat,” he wheezed out, gesturing to another low, stylish chair in front of his desk. Breathing heavily, he plopped himself in a raised chair behind the desk and loosened his tie. After his plump fingers had finished wrestling with the silk around his neck, he reached over to a stack of papers and plucked the top one. He looked down and started reading. I could see my name printed at the top.

“You’ll notice,” I started, trying to regain my footing, “that I’m a highly qualified candidate. I graduated with honors from Georgia Law and have two years’ experience– “

“I see,” he wheezed again. He reached up and unbuttoned the top button from his shirt without looking away from the paper. I looked down at my lap and began running through the rest of my qualifications in my head. After a minute I raised my head again and noticed his eyes bulging at my resume. Hoping he was touched by reading my pro-bono work, I sat up a little more confidently. Unfortunately, as I did so, my stomach awoke with a vengeance. I felt another groan coming along, so I began reciting another prepared monologue loudly.

“I’m very proud of the work I did for the family that lived behind the asbestos mill. I knew they couldn’t pay, but I’ve always said that not all lawyers have to be sharks. I know your firm is looking for someone with heart, and that’s exactly what distinguishes me from the pack.” I had talked over two moderately loud rumbles coming from deep in my stomach. But the pressure was back, and it was more intense than before. I knew what was coming. I looked around the room desperately and practically leaped across the room to a small table with a picture resting on it.

“Oh, wow! Are these your daughters?” I talked as loudly as I could to cover the sound of the air escaping me. “They’re beautiful! Is this their dance recital?” The smell wafted to my nose and I prayed that it wouldn’t travel to him. “These tutus look adorable! My mother tried to put me in a dance class, but the teacher just flat out refused. Two left feet! Ha ha ha!” I rambled until the smell had drifted away, and, after steeling myself, I looked over in in his direction. I instantly realized there was no hope because his cheeks were puffed out and he was leaning forward onto the desk like he was about to vomit. My resolve cracked.

“Oh, god, I’m so sorry!” I held my face in my hands; my embarrassment was overwhelming. “I’m so sorry Mr. Leiberman. It’s a medical condition, I swear!” I dragged my hands back through my hair. I had promised myself I wouldn’t beg, but I just couldn’t leave another interview like this. “If you just give me a chance,” tears were starting to well up and the words caught in my throat, “If you just give me a chance I’ll prove to you-”

“I think you should just go.” He was pinching his nose and glaring at me, still hunched over his desk.

I stole away to the place I had wanted to be for the past 20 minutes – the bathroom of Lieberman & Hartz. I leaned over a large marble sink and let the tears flow. Suddenly, I saw in the mirror the door opening and the receptionist from earlier come through. She looked up at me from her phone for the first time that day, and she didn’t even try to hide her disgust.
Anger welled up inside of me. I couldn’t help myself. I looked straight at her judgmental expression in the mirror and let out the day’s pent-up gas in one loud, long release.

As she sank, eyes watering and patent leather heels splaying left and right, I readjusted my suit, pinned my hair back, and, feeling as though justice had finally been served, walked out of that bathroom with my head held high.

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