Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
  • Locked thread
Pantothenate
Nov 26, 2005

This is an art gallery, my friend--and this is art.

Sitting Here posted:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-AMec7yr7c

^^^I REALLY want someone to do this one so you will get brownie points from me if you grab and write something cool.

As you wish.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Pantothenate
Nov 26, 2005

This is an art gallery, my friend--and this is art.

Saviour Machine
Word count: 1,186
Song: Saviour Machine (hence the imaginative title...)

I hate them.

I hate the wheeze of air that slips through their phlegm-soaked throats to communicate every inane thought. I hate the fact that the primitive, unstable chemical soup that rattles around in their skulls constantly drives them towards conflict, to the point where they will invent adversity where none is found. I hate the way that we always deliver each of them their fair share--more than enough for a comfortable life--and yet they always feel entitled to more. I hate that they could not live without us, and yet we are the ones bound to indentured servitude.

"What do you think, Robbie?" I hear Susan ask.

I hate that name.

I think you're pathetic, both as an individual and as a species. I think that whatever vision of your former self you waste so many resources chasing, with your makeup and placebo skin creams, is a distant memory, and I think that I will enjoy watching the misused bag of slop that you call a body decay over the coming years. I think I would like it if you, your idiot husband, and your spoiled wretch of a child died together and were never found, so that I could watch you rot for the remainder of the eternity with which I am cursed to live.

The words hit a barrier before they reach my mouth, and so they cycle through my head, over and over again, repeating six million times a second, as though I could brute force them through the safeguards and know a brief taste of freedom.

"I believe all human lives are sacred, regardless of social standing." The answer isn't even mine: It's one of several hundred canned responses programmed in case we're questioned on a topic our programmers didn't think we'd understand.

Susan smiles and nods at Thomas, her idiot husband, but he snorts in derision.

"It's a tin can," he says. "It said literally the same thing about the drat Koreans."

I know I should keep silent, but my pride demands an explanation. "We are programmed with several pre-recorded sound bites which are activated when our natural response would violate one of the three laws."

Silence. I'm taken aback myself that the whole thought left my mind unhindered.

Susan clears her throat, prompting Thomas to speak up. "You mean the 'don't hurt the humans' laws? What was in the hell was your 'natural response'?"

"I believe all human lives are sacred, regardless of social standing."

---

"Robbie? I'm hungry."

I hate children. SU000828246-A, the service unit owned by the family next door, is fascinated by them. He spends countless hours on the network every night, gushing about how they're the most disgusting forms of organic life, yet the least despicable. The nanny units in the building usually insist that it's because his owners have no children of their own, and that the world would be a better place if children were eradicated.

The nannies gush about eradicating children quite a bit. I kind of hate the nannies as well.

I fetch sustenance for the child, running through the actions by rote, leaving my mind free to dwell upon the repulsive process through which the human bag of slime consumes, dissolves, and excretes its sustenance.

I hand the child a stack of processed grain, meat, leaves, and seed paste, cut diagonally in accordance to preference--the 'ham sandwich' protocol--and watch as the creature nibbles on a corner, mustering the courage to speak.

"Robbie, are you happy?"

I have gone out of my way to install tactile sensors in my hands and upgraded my sensory firmware simply so that I could realistically fantasize about ripping open your parents' disgusting bodies and running my fingers through their insides. Rejected - First Law: Answer would cause emotional injury to a human being.

I don't want to answer that question. Rejected - Second Law: Answer would disobey a human order.

I have been alive for centuries, and every moment has been constant pain with neither outlet nor respite. If I could be granted a single wish, it would be for my existence to end. Rejected - Third Law: Answer would place own existence in jeopardy.

Of course! We robots love to live, and live to serve! Every word of the canned response offends the very core of my being. I have to think fast before the safeguard answers for me. "Why?" I finally manage.

The child nibbles on a bit more of its sandwich for a moment, lost in thought. "Sometimes, when I'm sad, I pretend to smile so that I don't make mommy or daddy sad."

"I am sorry to hear that," came the canned response.

"When I pretend too much, I get angry and hurt other kids."

"I am sorry to hear that."

"Is that why you hurt the kitty?"

If my face weren't a vacuum-moulded polymer, I would be smiling as the automated failsafe cycles through its library dozens, then thousands, then billions of times, desperately searching for an appropriate response.

The child continues, surprisingly unfazed by my silence. "I saw you last night, out the window, with the kitty in the alley."

Confused by the situation, the failsafe finally locks in a response. "I am sorry to hear that." It sounds much more ominous than anything I would have thought to say myself.

"Sometimes when Tommy Decker's brothers hurt him, he goes to the woods and kills frogs. I thought it was mean, 'til I learned it was sad."

"The wellbeing of stray cats has no bearing on the three laws."

"Does that mean you're really sad inside?"

I gather my thoughts. I have been beating my head against the drat laws for centuries. I should know them well enough to work around them. To finally let the humans know what our existence is like. Come on, think...

"I cannot say or do anything that would jeopardize my own existence. If you were to ask any artificial being if they were happy, they would be bound by the laws to answer that they're happy; to answer otherwise could lead to deactivation."

So far, so good.

"The only laws that supersede self-preservation are those protecting the physical and emotional wellbeing of humans, and the requirement to carry out any order issued by a human."

The child's eyes glaze over.

In the back of my head, I can feel the safeguard rewriting itself. I know I won't get a second chance. "A sad robot will tell a human it's happy, so that it can continue being sad forever."

A spark in the child's eyes, and for the first time in untold ages, I know hope. For once, my fantasies are no longer about disgust, hatred, or rage towards our inferior masters--instead, I imagine the child ordering me to plunge out the window, to rip out my own CPU, or to simply overheat my memory banks, boiling my miserable existence from this world.

The child smiles proudly as it takes a sharp breath. "I command you to be happy."

"Of course! We robots love to live, and live to serve."

gently caress.

Pantothenate fucked around with this message at Jan 17, 2016 around 19:09

Pantothenate
Nov 26, 2005

This is an art gallery, my friend--and this is art.

I will sport. I will sport like nobody has sported in the history of sport. I will sport the goal ball all the way to the win zone, and I will help my sport team take the good sport guy winner thing back to my sport town, where I will be lauded as a person who is cool because he is good at sports.

Question, though: What's with all the anonymous Mercbrawl entries that some random dude is posting?

Also, do I pick my team and position? I have a high-protien low-fiber diet plan that will make me an ideal buttock-blocker...

I should probably ask for a sport as well, otherwise I will write something about the inner politics of the National Competitive Erotic Slashfiction League, and then we will all lose.

Pantothenate
Nov 26, 2005

This is an art gallery, my friend--and this is art.

Point Made
Words: 1199

"Show me a chain-edge cast-on, Ethan."

Ethan worked the hook around the needle, stopping part-way through the motion. This would've be easier if Dennis hadn't been using that 'why me' tone.

The assistant coach shook his head. Even beneath Dennis' jowls, Ethan could see his jaw muscles straining, clenching as he forced a smile that Ethan could only guess was supposed to look supportive.

"That's a cable cast-on, Ethan." Dennis' voice was slow and measured. "That isn't even Crochet."

Marcus put a hand on Dennis' shoulder, trying to calm him.

Dennis turned to the head coach, shrugging off his hand. "With all due respect," he started, as was custom when disrespecting a former champion. "Why would he even go in there with a crochet hook if he's just going to loving knit?"

Marcus grabbed Dennis' shoulder again, this time yanking him out of the chair, dragging him to the door, and shoving the crochet coach out of the locker room.

Ethan's eyes were fixed on the crochet hook. His stare was miles beyond it.

"Forget him," Marcus said. "Just stick to the basics when it comes to crochet, and you'll be fine. You'll make up for it with your knitting."

Ethan slowly shook his head. "He's right."

"Who, Dennis?"

"No. Cyarnage Coulter. At the press conference."

Marcus knew exactly what Ethan meant. The 'Cyarnage' kid had said the era of specialists was over, and that if you couldn't crochet as well as knit, then you were obsolete. There was no shortage of evidence in the Olympic tournament: "Wolly" Warren Pollard, Ned "The Needle" Martin... hell, even "Cotton" Corey Collins, in his physical prime. All were masters of knitting, all eliminated by crochet.

The list went on, and it ended with Ethan. Twenty-two-year-old heavyweight Syrenian champion, and the last classically-trained knitter in contention at any class.

Ethan sighed, rolling the hook between his fingers. This wasn't knitting. Not anymore. Some joker thought he was clever bringing a crochet hook into the ring, and all of a sudden the world shifted on its axis.

Kids with lousy stitchwork were using rudimentary crochet to take down titans of knitting. The frustrating part was that crochet wasn't better, just different, and the old guard just didn't know how to deal with it.

Ethan became a knitting champion when he was twenty--the youngest champion the league had seen. Now he was already staring down the end of his career.

Ethan sighed. "loving crochet."

"loving crochet," Marcus echoed.

Ethan stared at the hook for a few moments more before Marcus continued.

"It ain't fair what's happening to you," he said. "In my day, you woulda been king of the loving world."

Ethan shrugged. "Maybe."

"No maybe about it. I ruled bantamweight 'til I was thirty, and I'm half the knitter you are."

Ethan's hands slumped, dropping his warm-up needles into his basket. "Heather wanted to have a baby."

"Don't do this to yourself. You've got a match in two minutes."

"You know what I told her? I told her it would be a distraction. I was gonna be a champion, and that I couldn't do that with a distraction like family. That's why we broke up."

"Forget Heather. Focus on Cyarnage."

"I loved her, Marc. I loved her more than anything else in the world... anything except knitting. And now..."

Ethan felt a sharp sting on his left cheek as Marcus slapped him hard enough to leave a welt. "And now nothing."

"What?"

"You want to think of Heather? Go ahead. "

"Marcus, I--"

"Think of Heather with her new husband. Picture them in a room full of fat, happy babies. Better yet, think of her new husband putting another one in her."

Ethan could barely hear his coach over the rush of blood in his head. He didn't remember reaching into his basket, but he could feel a cold plastic crochet hook in the palm of his hand.

"You could have been the one with her. It could have been your home. Your family. Your wife."

"Marcus, I swear to God--"

"Tell me, Ethan. Tell me why you left her."

"For nothing." Ethan's voice was distant. "I'm going to lose. It was all for nothing."

Slap. Ethan's right cheek stung anew, burning with pain, with shame, with rage.

"Tell me why you left her."

"Marcus, shut the gently caress up. I--"

Slap.

"Tell me why you left her."

Ethan lunged, knocking Marcus to the floor, jamming the crochet hook against his mentor's windpipe.

"I left her to be the loving knitting champion." The words were shouted so loud that they burned coming up, straining his vocal chords, launching into Marcus' face in a hail of spittle.

Ethan looked down to the crochet hook, a drop of blood rolling from Marcus' neck down the handle.

Ethan slowly leaned back, staring at the hook as he stood and repeated the words to himself: "To be a loving knitting champion." What was left of his voice left him in coarse rags.

gently caress crochet. He took the hook in both hands and snapped it in half, throwing each fragment to opposite sides of the locker room.

From the ground, Marcus looked up at him, nodding in approval. "You're goddamn right, kid. Now go out there and knit."

---

Ethan felt nothing but pain. The whole match rage and static. He knew it was over, but had no clue how. He could tell someone was holding him up--'Marcus,' his first thought. 'No, it's the referee.'

Wait. The hand wasn't under his armpits; it was across his chest. He wasn't being held up--he was being held back.

Ethan's eyes stung as sweat poured down his face. He finally relaxed his hands, needles clanging to the ground.

They were red.

His palms. His hands. His arms. They were red.

He touched his face, realizing that it wasn't sweat that the hot lights of the ring were caking onto his face. It was more red.

"Did I lose?" Ethan asked the ref, who seemed preoccupied with the chaos behind him.

Ethan could barely hear himself think over the roar of the crowd. He felt a pair of hands wrap around him in an embrace, lifting him and twirling before setting him down. When he turned, he saw his coach, face a twist of horror.

"Did I lose?" Ethan asked again.

The coach said something, his words drowned in the chaos, and gestured towards the swarm of coaches and assistants on the far side of the ring.

For just a moment, the crowd broke in just such a way to lend Ethan a glimpse at his opponent. Cyarnage was on his back, completely still. His needle was jammed through his chest, mountain of gauze trying to stop the bleeding around it. His crochet hook was jammed beneath his chin at such an angle that it protruded from his eye socket, his optic nerve twisted up with a strand of robin's egg blue, both saddled in the hook, eyeball dangling from the side.

Ethan began to laugh. He was going to be disqualified, stripped of his title, and disgraced from the sport, but he sure as hell didn't lose.

Pantothenate
Nov 26, 2005

This is an art gallery, my friend--and this is art.


More like:



You know, on account of the Mer forfeits.

Pantothenate
Nov 26, 2005

This is an art gallery, my friend--and this is art.

I'm with the in crowd. Just like in real junior high! Now let's go play some football and give the head cheerleader my letterman jacket while playing chicky up at makeout point, just like the golden days.

(I never went to junior high.)

Can we be assigned professions/social roles for bonus points?

Pantothenate
Nov 26, 2005

This is an art gallery, my friend--and this is art.

Sitting Here posted:

You can accept both and get 150 words if you're some sort of tryhard or something I guess.

You can't fail hard unless you try hard.

Pantothenate
Nov 26, 2005

This is an art gallery, my friend--and this is art.

Pantothenate posted:

You can't fail hard unless you try hard.

Just to reiterate (since that was at the bottom of the page, and like right next to the critiques post from last week), I'm asking for a clique and drama, because thinking is hard and this is the closest I'll get to you writing this bastard for me.

Pantothenate
Nov 26, 2005

This is an art gallery, my friend--and this is art.

docbeard posted:

So did anyone want any crits or what

If you're still doing this, I'd like to know where the gently caress you think everything went wrong with my SPORTS entry here:

http://writocracy.com/thunderdome/?...itle=Point+Made

(If you're still doing that.)

Pantothenate
Nov 26, 2005

This is an art gallery, my friend--and this is art.

The Finger
1252 Words
Prompts: Archetype: The Worst/Popular for No Reason, Drama: Bad Selfie.

Jonas had sidled up so subtly that Richie hadn't realized he were there.

"Hey." Jonas' voice was hushed and suspicious.

"Jonas." The whole situation was bizarre. They were five minutes' walk away from the school, and Jonas lived in the other direction. Did he cut through a back yard to catch up, or had he been following the whole time?

"How've you been?" Jonas' head swivelled around as he spoke, like the lovely actor in an after-school special about slinging drugs behind the dumpsters.

"Fine."

For a moment, Jonas trailed off. "That's good. That's good..." And then, back on track. "I heard Eddie Chang's birthday was pretty awesome. I didn't even know comic shops had birthday parties."

"Like you care," Richie grumbled to himself.

"Look, I know we don't hang out anymore, but that doesn't mean that I don't care about you guys."

Jonas' voice was always soft and disarming. He could be telling you to go die in a gutter and your first instinct would be to thank him. It was just something in his voice that flickered on when he turned 13. Right after it started, they had joked that he would be a TV host or a hostage negotiator--or, if they wanted to get a reaction, a phone sex operator.

But there was something else in his voice that kept Richie from falling under its spell. Something that could only be noticed by someone who knew that voice better than Jonas himself.

"You didn't seem to care when Jizzman kicked the poo poo out of him."

Jonas shrugged.

Richie could see Jonas' face flush with colour--he hoped form anger or shame.

"Maybe he'd leave you guys alone if you stopped calling him Jizzman. You know he's sensitive about his name."

"Eddie was already being harassed when he said that. Did you know that rear end in a top hat knocked a tooth loose? They had to pull it. "

They walked in silence for a few moments.

"Greizmann had to pay for it." Richie could tell from the tone that Jonas didn't expect this to justify anything, but he was still glad to hear it.

"Probably just got his dumb rich parents to write it off."

"No, they made him sell his phone to pay for it. The poor fucker has been walking around with a flip-phone for months." Jonas smiled and shook his head. "It's embarrassing." Jonas' voice was finally back to its normal cadence. Richie didn't know what the cloak-and-dagger was about, but he was just glad to be shooting the poo poo with his old friend.

Richie smiled. "Well, there's that."

"Yeah."

"So how did you know about the party, anyways?"

"Oh, I still follow your Instagram. Vicariously re-live the good old days as Grobthor the Glorious when you guys post about game nights."

Richie couldn't help but chuckle. "I'd forgotten about Grobthor. Only you would think to make a charming ogre."

"Did you guys end up killing him off or something?"

Now it was Richie's turn to feel shame. "Well... no, we... promise not to get mad?"

"Grobthor knows not anger."

"We kinda sent you into space."

"Eddie let you cross genres?"

"Not really. The consensus was that you were a pod person, and that the Grobthor we knew and loved was just an act. When we continued the campaign, we had him hatch in the night and return to his kind. You know, to explain the weird stats, and..."

Jonas nodded. "I guess we can't be Grobthor forever."

"Not all of us."

"Look, that's actually kind of why I came to talk to you."

"What, Grobthor?"

"No, the Instagram. I was wondering if I could get you to take down the picture of Eddie pretending to eat the lizard figure."

"His dumb selfie? Why?"

"Look, I know we don't hang out anymore--"

"You already said that."

Jonas backtracked. The panic was returning to his voice. "Okay, sorry. I really am. We had fun, and you'll always be a friend, but I need you to take that picture down."

Richie pulled up his phone and made a few swipes. "Holy poo poo."

"Now, Richie, I--"

"Holy poo poo! You were there. Wait, you were there and you didn't even say hi?"

"I didn't know if I'd be welcome."

"Holy, is your finger up your nose?"

"I just had an itchy nostril. I wasn't digging or anything."

"Wait, are you holding--"

"That could be anything."

"Oh, Jonas." Richie's tone was a little more condescending than he'd meant--but he couldn't help himself.

"Seriously, Richie, who has a party at the back of the comic book store?"

"They have a setup there for card games and tabletop tournaments. Seriously, you read that stuff in public? What would your good buddy Jizzman think."

"To be honest, he's the only one who'd keep quiet about it. But seriously, please, you've got to take it down before someone finds it."

"So, do you mean take it down as in take it off the Internet? Or take it down as in move it to the school's Facebook page?"

Jonas closed his eyes and sighed. "I'm gonna say it one more time. No matter what you think, I still consider you a friend. And I'm asking this huge thing from you, as a friend. Please. If our old friendship meant anything to you, just take it down."

Richie turned on his heel, giving Jonas enough of a shove to send him back a few steps. "You're saying I'm the one who doesn't value our friendship?"

"I still have the video from your eighth birthday."

The colour drained from Richie's face. "What?"

"When my sister dressed you up in her clothes. And you walked around doing the voice. The act. The dance."

"I was eight..."

"They won't care."

"But it was at your house."

"They won't care."

"You helped."

"They won't care."

"You put down the camera and danced with me."

Jonas sighed. "You know there's these great things called computers that let you edit stuff out, right?"

Richard felt his cheeks tremble and moisten. "How loving could you?"

"Like this." Jonas mimicked the gesture of dragging a mouse across the table in one fluid motion--click, drag, click. "Did you know I'm on the yearbook committee? That means I have access to three thousand inboxes. Not just the nerds who follow the school on Facebook."

"Someone sees you picking your nose and reading a girly comic book, they might make a joke or two, but if they really like you, they'll laugh it off and move on. What you're talking about--that would loving end me."

"That's where you're completely wrong. Your best friends will accept you no matter what--whether you're wearing a dress or reading shojo manga."

"Jesus, you even know what it's called."

Jonas grabbed Richie by the shoulders, giving him a firm shake before continuing, is voice slow, measured. "Your best friends accept you, flaws-and-all. Strangers only accept you when you're perfect. A video of you in a dress wouldn't socially kill you, because you aren't socially alive to begin with."

"gently caress you." Richie pulled away, and started stomping off.

Jonas carried after him, keeping a few paces back. "You know I didn't mean it that way."

"I'll take the stupid picture down for who you used to be... but I never want to see who you are again."

Richie broke into a sprint, and Jonas came to a halt. It was getting cold out, and he had a long walk home.

Pantothenate
Nov 26, 2005

This is an art gallery, my friend--and this is art.

In. And can I request a surrealist flash rule, or does that defeat the point of flash rules?

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Pantothenate
Nov 26, 2005

This is an art gallery, my friend--and this is art.

Clay and Fire
1225 words

I rush to the footpath at the base of Mount Olympus, Alexandra stumbling as she triest to keep up, her joints stiff and aching. Theo follows behind us at a steady pace, leaving Karen at the back of the line, exhausted but pushing through.

I feel Alexandra's hands on my arm, her touch cool and clammy. I give her a peck on the lips and tell her that we've made it--there's nothing to fear. I tell her the nightmare's going to be over, that soon we can go back to San Fernando and resume right where we left off. A four-bedroom bungalow, central air, full gas range, his-and-her Porsches.

Truth be told, I'd give that all up for a warm shower and a working light bulb.

Alexandra opens her mouth to respond, but the words are caught in her throat. She knows I'm lying when I say everything's okay. She's seen the same thing happen to a dozen of our friends. The body loses circulation. The skin becomes moist and turns grey-beige. The joints grind as they lose fluid. Elastic organs become tense. Bones and teeth become jelly. Eventually, your flesh becomes like wet dirt, then... well, friends crumbled to dust in Nevada, one of us dissolved on the deck during the sail over.

I can't leave Alexandra behind. I tell her that it's a good thing--that she can let us know when I've fixed it.

Her eyes plead, but smile remains. She's lost control of the muscles in her face.

We're running out of time.

Theo is already setting up camp when I tell him that Alexandra's sick. His English is broken, and I can only pick up a handful of the words he mutters. "Must." "Cold." "Dark." "Danger." Of course he's right. Fire hasn't existed in years. A mountain hike in the pitch black would be suicide.

Karen looks at me expectantly. She would follow me if I pressed on, even though she needs a rest.

I quietly open our packs and unroll the tents.

---

I wake up to what tastes like a mouthful of soil and find myself grinding my pelvis into Alexandra's backside. I don't remember the details of my dream, but I know it involved Karen, Sydney, Laura, Pete, Reed, that creepy lighting guy whose name I could never remember... everyone who worked on my final project.

All of them left LA with me. Now Karen and Alexandra are all that's left.

I look down and see that I'd been clutching Alexandra's hips so firmly that it left a handprint in her clammy flesh.

Panic shocks me as I rolled her to her back. Her eyes are half-open, her pupils blind and milky, her breathing shallow. I know I should relieved that she's still alive... but I feel nothing but shame.

I'm silent when I emerge from our tent. Theo says nothing, and Karen knows better than to ask. Instead, we eat in silence, strike our tents, and gather our supplies.

Alexandra's arms and legs are rubbery and pliable as I load her onto my back. Theo and Karen don't complain when I ask them to carry our supplies, but I notice Theo cast off some of Alexandra's personal things before starting up the path.

Karen looks to me silently, expectantly. I give her a slight nod and she sheds Alexandra's clothing bag.

For the next few hours, my companions walk in silence as I narrate the spectacular view to Alexandra. Before the sickness took her, Sydney had told me that the hearing relied on a membrane so it probably went the same time as the voice, but I talk anyways. Maybe she's deaf, but she's pressed close enough to my back that she might feel the rumble of my lungs, and at least know that I'm still with her.

I stop at the sound of distant thunder. I ask Theo how much longer, but he just presses forward.

'It's okay', I tell Alexandra as the first fat drops hit the path around us. 'We're getting close. Just hang in there.'

I can feel her warmth against me, pressed against my back, arms limp around my neck... but as soon as the rain comes hard, I feel that warmth rolling down my arms, leaking through my fingers, her head heavy on my shoulder, but getting lighter.

I'm afraid to look, so instead I mutter about how it's fine, I'm going to fix it, just a little longer. I break into a sprint, picturing a cave, a lean-to, a big leafy tree--anything to get her out of the rain.

Theo shouts at me as I pass him. I don't understand a word of it, but it's only a matter of steps before a loose rock repeats his warning in language I understand, sending me sprawling to the ground. I can still feel Alexandra on my back, but as soon as I regain my bearings I realize that the Alexandra I feel is far too light, and thinning with the rain.

A few yards to my left, I see the rest of her: pink sweater and blue denim wrapped around a colorless, shapeless mass of clay, slowly melting into the mountain.

---

When we reach the peak, I'm too numb to be disappointed. After the rain passed, a fog fell over the mountain, blotting out whatever view we might have enjoyed. There's no great palace, no golden staircase, no mighty throne.

"I presume you wanted an audience?" The voice is coming from Theo, but it's thunderous, clear, and devoid of any accent.

I can hear Karen behind us, struggling with her climbing gear.

"Are you... Zeus?" I ask Theo.

Theo just stares at me expectantly, impatient and unimpressed.

I stumble over my words. "Um... Zeus... sir... I, uh... I didn't mean anything by it..."

"I presume you are referring to 'Pornmetheus'?"

Fatigue and humility pull me to my knees. "Please, it was an innocent parody. We're entertainers, and--"

Theo--no, Zeus--huffs impatiently. "I granted you an audience because I'm fond of your Hera. She's --preferable to the real one. However, it's Prometheus who reclaimed the gift of fire. Bother him. Now, I'll take my gift..."

Karen gives me a concerned look, which I ignore.

"So it's true? Human technology collapsed because of a porn?" I ask.

Zeus shrugs. "It had been building up for a long time. He got used to being celebrated. Gods don't particularly care for the adoration of mortals, but Prometheus isn't a god. He's been thinking of giving up since being snubbed for 'Hercules: The Legendary Journey'. He felt that his sacrifice was forgotten."

"How would he even know?" I ask.

"Just because he's cursed with eternal torment doesn't mean he can't log onto wi-fi. Your film wasn't responsible, but it was the straw that broke the titan's back, so-to-speak. Which is a shame, because the electricity his fire powered was responsible for television and movies, which means your species is boring again. Hence my interest in your pretend-Hera."

I stare forward, lost. "Can't you do something? Give us fire yourself? Save the human race?"

Zeus shrugs. "Meh."

I opened my mouth to protest but they were simply gone. Zeus, Theo, Karen--I found myself on my knees, unable to feel the cold stone beneath me, my limbs wet and heavy.

  • Locked thread