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Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



Wizgot posted:

You guys are going to kill me but I have to back out. I'm in Oregon fishing with family and I can't find the time to write decently. Please kill me quickly, that's all I ask.

Cool post!

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sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

super sweet best pal posted:

I guess I'm going to have to bow out this week, the weekend suddenly got really busy and I probably won't have time to work on the story.

literally noone cares

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.


super sweet best pal posted:

I guess I'm going to have to bow out this week, the weekend suddenly got really busy and I probably won't have time to work on the story.

Not even a title or wordcount? Also, where's the plot or compelling characters? Lame. B-

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

sebmojo posted:

literally noone cares

That's not true, I care

Every time a goon fails we get even closer to unleashing an apocalyptic Cabin in the Woods-type scenario. Write your stories, jackasses!

blue squares
Sep 28, 2007



Soiled Meat

Title: While Searching for an Answer
Word count: 1,000


Dumbfounded, Eric asked Lord Domerci to repeat himself.
“The reason you’re here is the reason you’re here.” With that, Domerci pivoted and walked away, disappearing into the crowd as if he’d been nothing more than a marage, Eric’s anxiety given form. Eric looked down at his invitation, no closer now to understanding the words printed on the card he was two weeks ago. “YOU ARE INVITED FOR A VERY SPECIAL REASON.” Eric Frampton hadn’t been invited to anything in his life, save for World of Warcraft raids and Nigerian Prince money transfer scams. That is, until the day he receieved that hand-delivered envelope, complete with a real wax seal.

#

Eric arrived in an old suit which more or less still fit. Despite his fear, those eight words and the need to find an answer to them pulled him through wooden doors half as thick as he was. Suddenly thankful for his cheap shoes with their rubber soles, his footsteps silent on the marble floor. The last thing Eric wanted was to draw attention to himself in this crowd of tuxedos and pearls.
Sights that would have ordinarily stopped Eric in his tracks with their beauty now slipped by his sight as if not there. He had eyes for one thing only: Lord Domerci, and the answer he must have. He’d been waiting so long for someone to give him a reason.

Why am I here?

#

He wandered through the manor, through a room with floors that floated as if on water, through another containing flowers with petals big enough to lounge on and bask in the sweet smell, but Eric pressed on. He timidly asked every waiter and attendant he could find where Domerci was, but received hardly a glance in response. He began to panic, fearing that the night would soon be over and he’d leave with his question unanswered.

Why am I here?


#

At last, there in the middle of a great circle of onlookers, shaking hands with people who each frowned afterward like they all expected to feel something quite different, stood Domerci. Eric, feeling a rare burst of boldness at the sight of the man who could tell him why he was there, strode ahead, nudging people out of the way, until he was face to face with Domerci. He held up his card, half sure he’d be told there’d been a mistake, half certain this was the most important moment of his life.

Why am I here?

#

Lord Domerci left, taking with him all hope. The lights, only a moment ago so bright Eric was squinting, now seemed to feed the shadows creeping in from the corners of the room.
He turned to a woman next to him, whose dangling diamond earrings hinted at someone of true importance. “Why are you here? Who are you?”
Excusing his rudeness, she answered, her voice drifting higher as if asking a question, “Lane Presley? CEO of GNC?”
Just as he feared. Of course she was rich, special, had a reason. He asked others, each time confirming what he knew to be true: he wasn’t supposed to be here, not with all of these people who had it all figured out.
Fleeing away from the throng, careening off a waiter whose tray crashed against the floor and sprayed laughing partygoers with champagne, Eric headed for the emptiest part of the room. There he found a high-backed chair with cushions so soft it might answer his prayers and swallow him whole.

#

Some time later, Eric sensed a presence in front of him, and opened his eyes just enough to see a pair of scuffed tennis shoes pointed his way. He looked up to find the only person at the party more lost than himself. Clutched between two trembling hands was another invitation, identical to Eric’s own.
“Do you know the reason you’re here?” the man asked. Something about Eric’s pathetic incongruity to the rest of the party must have drawn the man over with the thought that Eric must be suffering from similar confusion.
As Eric opened his mouth to reply, a sudden thought leapt past the rational part of his brain and straight to his tongue, and he found himself saying, “Lord Domerci invites the Nobel winners every year. Why wouldn’t I be here?” The man nodded, instant belief in his eyes, apologized, and shuffled off.
Eric pried himself free of the marshmallow-like chair and came to his feet with a surprising springiness. The shock that his lie had worked gave way to a bubbling euphoria that compelled him to stride up to the first person he saw and introduce himself as a particle physicist. He found that didn’t quite feel right, and on his next try began with a story of the latest skyscraper he’d designed.
Eric bounced from conversation to conversation like a pinball whose operator was edging close to TILT. He spun tales of glory, triumph, and treasure, with each telling growing closer to something that felt true. Not once was he challenged, and it ocurred to him that no one would. He suspected all of them were lying in their own way, making it up as they went along. He realized it didn’t matter.

#

At sunrise, on his way out, he found himself saying goodbye to Lord Domerci. The host gripped Eric’s forearm and held him steady for a moment.
“Did you find the answer to your question?” Domerci asked.
Eric smiled. “There isn’t one. I made my own.”
“So you did. Goodbye, Mr. Frampton.”
When the valet to brought his car around, Eric didn’t feel shame at seeing his hunk of junk alongside such a house. He didn’t feel the daily resignation that greeted him every previous morning. He felt nothing but pure possibility and creation opening up before him, and he was struck by the realization that all his life he’d been seeking permission to be someone from other people, when the only one he needed permission from was himself.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003


Sitting Here posted:

That's not true, I care

Every time a goon fails we get even closer to unleashing an apocalyptic Cabin in the Woods-type scenario. Write your stories, jackasses!

Every time a Domer fails,
A little angel goes to hell.

And every time a Domer falls,
The devil even closer crawls.

And every time a Domer feels
Like dropping out, his laughter peels.

And if a Domer's ever felled
By doubt, their heart by him is gently held.

But every time a Domer fills
A page with words,
the devil's plagued
With fearful chills.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Dirty Pool (#1051) [Room: Pool]

Rudy and Linda danced for an hour in the ballroom. Linda had never met a man at a party who could make her feet tired, Rudy had never met a woman ever whose sweat could turn him on. They embraced each other in a mostly vacant hallway beside a boyish servant in a petticoat.

Master Domerci was giving a speech, thanking a donor who’d come to the party of the year. Neither of the young lovers heard a word as they grinded against each other. Linda bit down on the bow tie around Rudy’s neck and flung it back into the dance hall beyond. Rudy kissed the nape of her neck and wormed his nimble fingers through a gap in her corset.

The servant coughed. They both looked at him.

Linda tied back her hair and said, “Could you go somewhere else for awhile. Me and my friend need some alone time.”

Rudy snickered, “Yes m’lad, go off and fill some drinks or something. This is our hall for now. I promise I won’t touch anything. “

Linda wrapped her arm around Rudy,

“Really? You won’t touch anything?”

She batted her eyelashes at him.

He kissed her. The servant wrinkled his nose, the two smelled like they’d spilled cognac all each other.

“Madam. Sir. I am supposed to stand guard at this door. My orders are not to let anyone enter. There is bedroom upstairs that might be more private.”

The servant wasn’t sure about that but he didn’t want them around any longer.

Rudy backed away and pulled a leather bag from his belt. He dropped a couple of gold coins in front of the servant and said,

“Take this and go.”

He didn’t leave. Linda sighed,

“The guest rooms are packed, we checked. Do us a favor and go somewhere else. We’re not going to go in, we promise.”

As if fate wanted Linda to be a liar, an audible splash echoed from behind the servant. Rudy, now curious, said,

“Is there a pool in there?”

The servant stepped aside and pointed a gold plate behind him on the door. It said,

Pool

Rudy smirked and gently grabbed Linda's hand and pretended to walk away. “Well. You have your duties…”

He pushed the servant to the floor and pulled Linda into the Pool room. Rudy grabbed the doorknob and held it tightly. Linda, pushed a table under the knob to wedge it shut.

The servant yelled,

“Sir!! Madam!! Please don’t go in there. Master Domerci will be very mad at me!”

Rudy and Linda ignored the boy and looked in awe at the room before them. Above them, four octagonal pits lined the ceiling. Brass serpents poked from the middle of each pit and dribbled a steady stream of water from their fangs. The pool was shaped like a diamond on a playing card and was hidden under the thick layer of steam that surfed across the percolating waters.

The actual size of the room was quite small in comparison to the rest of the residence. Four beach chairs and two side tables, one of which was now being used, were the only available furniture and sat two feet from the walls and the pool itself.

Linda scoffed, “It’s very...interesting but not very big.”

Rudy took his jacket and shirt off, “Big enough for us I’d say.”

Linda giggled and took her dress off. She asked him,

“Who’d have thought an old man like you could dance so well.”

Rudy took offense from that comment, he was only middle aged but was too excited to make it an issue.

He changed the subject, “Mmmhm. Say, what do you think made that splash we heard?”

Linda said nothing. He looked around and saw the dress and corset on the floor but no Linda. A splash came from the pool.

“Linda? Did you get in?”

He stumbled over himself and fell to his knees. He burped and slowly dunked his hand in the pool.

“Linda? I can’t see you if you’re in there. Say something?”

The steam made it impossible to tell if she was swimming around. All he heard was the bubbling water. He got in and found the water to be wonderfully warm. His feet couldn’t find the bottom so he grabbed at the poolside to guide him around the outside.

A hand brushed against his thigh. “Ahah! There you are.” He said.

He felt for her breasts through the steam. A guttural voice boomed, “You feel good.”

Rudy screamed as the hand clamped the bare flesh of his thigh and pulled it off. He let go of the pool side and beat at whatever was attacking him with his fist. The steam dispersed from around him.

The breasts he’d been feeling belonged to a headless creature that was a shadow of the female form. A thick cloud of oil obscured its sections below the surface of the water. A gaping hole split down its neck into its rib cage. Inside the hole was a tangle of nerves and sinew which vibrated with a sickening hum.

“I want to feel you more.” It said.

Its hands and arms were covered in red pits that little yellow worms lived in. The piece of him it ripped off was being threaded into by the worms like strings through a filter. He kicked away from her and bumped into another figure. Linda was held by a similar creature but with a masculine frame.

Her body was torn up into three. Her head and shoulders peeked at him through the inky cloud beneath the water. Her legs and torso were stuck to the arms. Her belly was bloated with the accumulating parasites that were pushing out through her belly button.

Rupert frantically swam away from the two horrors to the poolside. He pulled himself up and looked back. The female creature pulled itself along his blood trail like a climber on a rope. He couldn’t move, his body had gone into shock from blood loss.

He yelled out for help “Somebody! Anyone! Help!”

The servant did not hear him. He’d been fired promptly after he failed his duty. The master of the house had asked a custodian to put up a sign instead.

Pool closed temporarily for cleaning.

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.


The Pyramid Scheme
1500 Words

I tightly rolled up the priceless hieroglyphics scroll, pressed one end to my nostril, and in a long practiced motion, snorted grounded mummy bits off my companion’s rear end. The hit hosed me up in a way I could have never anticipated. I staggered on my feet with tears blinding me and my my nose threatening to engulf my face with fire. Well, I should have anticipated my nose being on fire, but in my defense I had imbibed a staggering amount of liquor earlier that night.

“Ingrid, this poo poo will get you higher than the moon. Can you imagine if we could sell this?,” Ingrid was probably not her name. “I would…” I paused. Blinked. Started again. “I would…” I couldn’t form words. I thought it was the alcohol. I felt my nose turn runny so I wiped at it with the back of my hand. Blood. My last private thought was It would have been epic if I snorted mummified balls.

Rosa - I think that was her name. Something Spanishy. The emotional range on Rosa’s face was a masterpiece. She started off with that smoldering seductive look, specifically the thing chicks do when they nip at their bottom lip. Then there was a blank confusion which gradually turned to a panicked bewilderment. She scuttled backward on the bed screaming about me floating in the air and smoke coming out of my face or some poo poo.

Before I could gather my wits, a voice that reminded me of my abuelita who had smoked a pack a day for as long as I’ve known her boomed in my head. She wasn’t speaking any language I knew, but I understood her anyways.

Freedom! I am imprisoned no longer! I felt an impulse to walk toward the door, like having a strong breeze at your back. I fought the urge.

Rosa was trying her best to push herself through the wall to get away from me. “Did you hear that?” I asked her.

She screamed incoherently in reply. Women.

What is this demoncraft? She sounded like she was desperate for a lozenge. Her voice made me want to swallow. I escaped a prison to end up in another prison?

“Um… Hello?” I asked, feeling really dumb.

Mortal! She bellowed, I demand you tell me what sorcery you performed to enslave me so!

I almost stifled a laughter successfully. “I snorted you.”

There was a long pause. I thought she didn’t hear me. When I opened my mouth to reply, she answered, You did what?

I almost missed the sensation of her flexing her power. Locusts flowed in from the cracks and seams in the walls. I felt the shape of the room as the insects filled the space. I was giddy with amazement. Rosa was getting hoarse from all her incessant screaming.

I walked toward Rosa to get her to calm down and the swarm moved with me. I must have looked like something out of a horror movie to her because she emptied her bladder and whimpered pitifully. Women.

You blasphemous cur! I felt a brutal headache coming on. The swarm buzzed angrily. You desecrated my remains. Death will be too good for you. You will suffer for the rest of your miserable life and when you finally beg for me to end it, I will keep your alive while I destroy everything and everyone you love-

“Shut up,” I cut in, apparently embracing the ‘voices in your head’ stereotype. “There are people coming.” I felt them running past the cloud of locust in the hallway.

No matter, I will crush them underfoot like vermin.

“What? There will be no curb stomping!” I mentally harrumphed.

You DARE oppose me?

The door to my room exploded inward and armed men filed in, pointing cool looking weapons at me. It was odd that I only became concerned for my safety until the Lord Domerci walked in. Any locust that brushed against him immediately fell to the ground, dead.

Lord Domerci looked around the room before his eyes settled on me. He sighed. “Restrain him,” he said and walked out.

No, you fool, do not allow us to be captured! Fight back!

I rolled my eyes and presented my wrists in order to be handcuffed. I’m not gonna fight anyone. I can buy my way out of this if I need to, I mentally said to my egyptian passenger. She growled at me.

When one of the guards closed the distance, my left arm went completely numb and it lashed out. My fingers tore through his uniform like paper mâché. He stumbled back, blood flicking across the room. I looked at my arm in horror for a few moments until pain jolted through my body and someone turned off the lights.

---

It’s funny how Hollywood changes the way people think. For instance, when you knock someone out, they lose consciousness for seconds, not hours. Seconds was all my Egyptian passenger needed. I woke up to all the guards clawing at their faces and necks, choking and gasping for air.

“Stop trying to kill them, you lunatic!” I shouted, ignoring the fact how crazy I must seem to everyone.

They mean to destroy us and you plan on letting them?! She sounded incredulous.

“They’re rent-a-cops with tasers! They were going to escort us off the property,” I said. “Let them go, crazy face!”

I don’t think I will. There was a finality to her statement. I probably shouldn’t have called her crazy.

I ran over to the sarcophagus and fumbled in my pockets for the one tool a drug addict always carries with them. I pulled out my lighter and struck a flame, holding it close to the mummy. “Let them go or I light your corpse up. I’ll even smoke it to spite you.”

My passenger growled. I will not be cowed by some insignificant mortal.

The guards were drowning in bugs. I was running out of time. “You’re an rear end in a top hat. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” I moved to light the mummy on fire, but I felt massive resistance. I shoved my will against my passenger, making gradual progress. My body past my shoulders shook and broke out in sweats as I inched closer to that ugly mummified face.

Why do you fight, mortal? Don't you realize together we can give purpose to humans. They live their lives like cattle for the slaughter. We can make them become more!

“Jesus lady, you sound like a cartoon villain,” I said through clenched teeth. I felt the numbness creeping past my shoulder. I chanced a look at the guards. Their lips were turning blue.

Just give in. You’ll be a God.

“Stop talking!” I reached into my sports coat jacket and fumbled around for the one tool alcoholics like myself always carry around. “You’re a walking cliche.” I pulled out my trusty whiskey dispenser, took a mouthful and blew out the alcohol. A conflagration consumed the mummy’s head and my passenger screeched in anger.

That was my body idiot! Why? Did you think it was my weakness or something?

I looked at the corpse with a crown of fire with disappointment growing in the pit of my stomach. “Well… yea,” I said lamely. I sighed and coughed. The smoke was foul. It made me light headed but the spreading numbness stopped it’s advance. I inhaled and coughed, tears coming to my eyes.

gently caress it, I thought to myself. I rolled the body over, pieces crumbling in my hands. I sealed my mouth to the butthole and took a deep hit. As I coughed, the sensation returned to my fingers. Again I placed my lips to the butthole and inhaled. I felt them. I felt the swarm of locusts deep in the guards lungs and throats. I took another hit.

You continue to defy me. I offer you godhood, and you defy me. With my guidance, the world would have been yours, but you defy me.

I mentally shoved her aside and sucked on that butthole. With startling ease, I wrestled control away from my passenger and willed the locust to exit the bodies of the guards. “I don't want the world, ya dumb bitch, I just want enough money to do all the drugs in it”. I clutched the corpse by the thighs, jammed my face between those mummified cheeks, and took the deepest breath I've ever taken in my entire life.

The guards were coughing and spitting out chewed up locust bits, but they were alive. The corpse was one large stub of ash. And I felt powerful. “I don't think after this I would be a welcome guest”. I turned to Rosa. “What the hell is your name?”

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

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



Failed. My USB died and the story is lost.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Mercedes posted:

gently caress it, I thought to myself. I rolled the body over, pieces crumbling in my hands. I sealed my mouth to the butthole and took a deep hit. As I coughed, the sensation returned to my fingers. Again I placed my lips to the butthole and inhaled. I felt them. I felt the swarm of locusts deep in the guards lungs and throats. I took another hit.

You continue to defy me. I offer you godhood, and you defy me. With my guidance, the world would have been yours, but you defy me.

I mentally shoved her aside and sucked on that butthole. With startling ease, I wrestled control away from my passenger and willed the locust to exit the bodies of the guards. “I don't want the world, ya dumb bitch, I just want enough money to do all the drugs in it”. I clutched the corpse by the thighs, jammed my face between those mummified cheeks, and took the deepest breath I've ever taken in my entire life.

Pippin
May 25, 2016


What's Behind Door Number One?
1499 Words

Every thief worth their salt dreamed of stealing from the Domerci Manor, and none of them had a snowball’s chance in hell of doing so. There had been plenty of attempts in the past. ‘One last job,’ they had all said, ‘one last job before I go straight, so let’s make it a big one.’ Technically, they weren’t wrong; it was hard to do another job when you disappeared without a trace. Some rumours said that there was a pack of wolves roaming the grounds for intruders. Others said that Lord Domerci had a room filled with the stuffed bodies of anyone who’d trespassed onto his property. Whatever the truth was, the only people who seriously planned on breaking into the Domerci Manor were generally referred to as ‘total loving idiots.’

As Malcolm pushed past a guffawing couple and made his way down the corridor to the left of the grand staircase, he wondered what people would call him now. He had no clue what could have prompted Thaddeus Domerci to have sent him of all people a wax sealed invitation, but he wasn’t about to pass the opportunity up. That invite was a skeleton key to the innermost workings of the Domerci Manor.

Malcolm took a sip from his tall glass of prosecco, and smiled to himself as he turned the corner. He could spend hours in this place without anybody finding him. Every wall in the building was practically made of doors, with only a few gaps for a priceless Ming vase here, a full-scale portrait of Lord Domerci there. He padded around another corner, before coming to a halt. The door closest to him had piqued his interest; it hung slightly ajar, a soft orange light coming from within the room, and right in the centre of the door was a small square of paper, miniscule words scrawled on to it.

‘REMINDER: PLEASE LEAVE THIS DOOR OPEN AT ALL TIMES WHEN CLEANING THE CONTENTS OF THIS ROOM. THAT MEANS YOU, HAROLD – THADDEUS’

Malcolm squinted at the neon pink post-it note, trying to read Lord Domerci’s near-illegible handwriting. The thing looked so tiny and lost, stuck to a hulking great oak door, as wide as Malcolm was tall. A note for the servants, he supposed. He pushed the door open with his free hand and stepped into the room, closing it behind him.

One glance around the room was all it took for the smile on Malcolm’s face to upgrade to an enormous grin. There were no lamps or bulbs to light up the room. Instead, there were fireplaces set at even intervals along the walls, the flickering flames illuminating row upon row of display cases and cabinets, each one filled with so many jewel-encrusted objects and ancient works of art that it brought a tear to Malcolm’s eye. The two griffin statues flanking the doorway looked like they were made of solid gold; sell one of those things and you’d be set for life. Malcolm downed his glass, rolled his neck, and stepped towards the nearest display case.

The second his hand touched the glass, the sound of rumbling stone obliterated the silence. He spun around, looking for the source of the noise, turning around to face the entrance of the room just in time to see the door slowly sliding up the wall, grinding to a halt a meter above Malcolm’s head. He stood stock still, mouth hanging open, and before he could regain his senses and utter a single expletive, the door vanished with a pop.

Silence fell upon the room again. Where the door had sat a moment ago, there was now just a bare patch of deep purple wallpaper. With hesitant movements, Malcolm began to move towards it, but another sound stopped him in his tracks, a booming voice this time, echoing around the room.

“For Christ’s sake, Harold, how many times is this gonna happen?”

The griffin on the right seemed to shimmer, before it turned its head towards Malcolm, who screwed his eyes up and waited for this stupid dream to finish.

“Well, you’re new. You another one of Thaddy’s servants, or just someone snooping around way out of his depth?”

Malcolm opened his eyes, and looked at the statue. The statue stared right back at him, unblinking and unmoving. This impromptu staring contest lasted for several seconds longer before Malcolm spoke.

“All right, where’s the microphone? Whoever’s controlling this thing, ha ha, very funny, very nice animatronic, now show me what you did to that door!”

“That’ll be the latter, then,” the griffin said, before stretching its wings, sending Malcolm stumbling backwards, desperately trying to avoid decapitation. With a grunt, it leapt down from its pedestal, then sat on its hind legs, looking at Malcolm.

“That’s a, uh…” Malcolm mumbled, clinging to his knowledge that statues didn’t and couldn’t move. “That’s a pretty impressive bit of technology you’ve got there.”

“Wow,” replied the griffin. “And you’re pretty thick, aren’t you?”

Malcolm frowned, resisting the urge to try and kick this stupid statue’s dumb head off.

“Listen, just let me out of here, okay? Lord Domerci invited me here, I’m a guest, I just got lost looking for the bathroom.”

The griffin raised its claw up in front of its face, and began to check its impeccable gold talons.

“Gonna need a door for that, pal.”

“Yeah, great, thanks, so where is the door?”

“Prob’ly in here somewhere, hiding.”

“Really? That’s it? That’s all you’re gonna tell me, it’s ‘somewhere’ in here?”

The griffin let out a sharp bark of a laugh, and began to walk a slow circle around Malcolm, tail bumping against his legs.

“You’re not a servant, so my hunch is the reason you’re in here is for less than moral purposes. If I’m wrong, and you’re a guest, then I can just tell Thaddy I was being over-vigilant. If I’m right, then that’s another thief to add to the taxidermy room. It’s a win-win for me, really. Either way, if you wanna find the door, you’re gonna have to do that yourself.”

The griffin stopped walking, and returned to its previous sitting position, tail swishing behind it. Malcolm glared at it, opened his mouth, closed it, opened it once more, before sighing, and walking off into the rows of cabinets. Each aisle went on for what felt like miles before culminating in a small area with two leather armchairs nestled around a larger fireplace, with no door anywhere to be seen. Whenever Malcolm trudged back along the next row to return to where the griffin was, it would always chime in with a “Ooooh, maybe in this row?” or a “Sorry pal, I thought for sure you’d find it this time!”

Three hours had passed before Malcolm made his way along the final row of trophies and gems and paintings. He was coated in sweat, prosecco glass threatening to slip from his fingers at any moment, and he was certain the blisters on his feet were growing blisters. His head drooped, barely looking up any more, knowing that he was almost at the end of this row, and the only thing he was gonna find would be –

“Need a refill, friend?”

Malcolm’s head snapped up. Sitting in front of him, bottle in one hand and full glass in the other, was the unmistakable host of the night’s festivities. He smiled at Malcolm, before raising his glass.

“I do hope you’re enjoying yourself, Malcolm!”

Malcolm’s mouth flapped open, stammering and tripping over his own words, before he finally managed to spit something out.

“How the hell did you get in here?”

“Through the door. That’s generally how most people get anywhere, is it not?”

“But… But the door…”

“Is right down there,” Lord Domerci said, standing up and pointing back down to the other end of the room. Malcolm said nothing, mouth hanging open again, so Lord Domerci took the opportunity to pluck the prosecco glass from his hand and fill it to the brim, before pressing it back towards him.

“Now, Malcolm,” Lord Domerci said, giving the still stunned thief a firm pat on the back. “I’d suggest you get back out there and relax for the rest of the night. Oh, and please don’t touch anything. I’d really rather not ruin this good mood of mine.”

Lord Domerci waved him off, and, after a moment’s hesitation, Malcolm walked back up the aisle.

Twenty minutes later, Malcolm was standing in front of the two griffins again. Just like Lord Domerci had said, the door was back in between them, once more hanging slightly ajar. The griffin on the right cocked its head and looked at Malcolm.

“Just count yourself lucky you didn’t choose the next door along. Pretty sure you wouldn’t have wanted to mess with Thaddy’s black hole generator.”

Malcolm stared at the griffin, tipped his head back, and finished off his glass, before pushing open the door and heading back to the entrance hall.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

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

The Huntress and the Thief

1625 words

Maximillian Treadwell watches Thaddeus Domerci stalk the Domerci Manor’s halls from above. Well, not exactly Domerci manor, but rather an elaborate map, constructed from tiny bricks in the map room. And not exactly Domerci, but the small figurine representing him. The resemblance is uncanny, the beard and mustache perfect. The figurine wears a cape, and as it reaches one of the entrances, the door swings open.

The other side of the door is not part of the map, not part of the model, so Max cannot see what’s there until it crosses the threshold. Then legs and arms and head and hair assemble into a figurine of a young woman, brown-haired and perhaps not entirely human. She’s talking to Domerci. They’re almost yelling, from the look of it. Max thinks for a second, and whips up a little magic. It’s a lousy little spell, simple sympathy and piggybacking on the manor’s translation enchantment. Appropriate, he thinks. I’m a lousy little magician.

“-not in the habit of owning people,” says the Domerci figure.

“If you send me back,” she says, “I’ll be put to death for having done insult to the Forest Games’ victor. Shall I-”

“No,” says Domerci. “I am not in that habit, either. Do you have a name?”

“Tessa, of the Fifth Circle,” she says.

“Very well. If you can’t go home, perhaps there is some useful work for you here. For wages, of course.”

Max hears footsteps outside the map room. He jumps back, hides against the wall next to the door. Only two people belong here, Domerci himself and the head Dragon. He knows where Domerci is, but if this is Pavarti he’s lost already. The steps grow closer, right behind the marble-tiled door. Then they move on, further and further away. He returns to the map.

It’s changed. As Domerci moves through the manor, rooms behind him fold away, into hidden dimensions, and rooms ahead of him rise up from the floor or unfold from those same non-euclidean angles.

Domerci is talking as they walk a long arched hallway lined with portraits of the man and his ancestors. “-a matter of finding the job best suited to your skills. What is it that you do best?”

“Hunting,” says Tessa.

“Oh?” says Domerci. He walks two doors farther, then pulls a door open. Most of the map behind them fades or folds away as a huge room rises from the mist, a room containing a dark forest of round and conical trees. Tessa crouches, sniffs, and begins to stalk.

Max wonders if he’s wasting his time. Amun-Ra’s Skeleton key got him into the Map room, will get him into any room. He’d hoped to use the map to find a treasure room or vault, but he could only follow Domerci around. On a normal job he’d retreat, regroup, research. But if he didn’t pull this off today, he wouldn’t have another chance for a year, and the way his life was going he wasn’t sure he had another year left.

It was an open bet, between Domerci and pretty much everyone with a larcenous bone in their body. Any other day, steal from Thaddeus, and get caught, you’re going to die, at the hand of the people with the Dragon pins. If you don’t get caught and he finds out about it, the lawyers and hunters with the Tiger pins will be coming after you for the rest of your life. But he’s got an open bet on his birthday. Steal then, and it’s keep what you get. And whoever steals the most gets a boon from Domerci himself. Even if you get caught, he’s just going to have you running errands for a year. Hurt anyone or steal from a guest and it’s back to the rules for every other day, though.

Tessa’s approaching a large elk, an older male. She pounces, She’s not armed, so Max wonders what her plan is until she opens her mouth and shows off a full set of gleaming, pointy teeth. She tears open its throat and blood spurts out in small translucent red disks. The map’s small object physics aren’t quite right, and some of the disks fly absurdly high, higher than where a normal room’s roof would have been. Max reaches out, and catches one. Interesting. Everything inside a room has been held down firmly, resisting every attempt he’d made to loosen it. Even things that should have just been lying on the ground, or things being tossed through the air. But over roof height, that didn’t work.

A trio of figurines with Pig pins on their chests enter the dark forest room and look at the fallen Elk. “No good,” one says.

“Can’t be served,” says another.

“Why?” asks Domerci.

“Venom,” says the first, pointing at Tessa. “Taints the meat.”

“Anyone other than her kind eats it, they’ll get sick or worse,” says the third.

“I see,” says Domerci. “Take it to the incinerators, then. Best to spare the scavengers.” He turns to Tessa. “So, hunting would seem to be out. What else do you do well?”

Tessa looks down and mumbles something too soft to hear. Domerci glares. Tessa speaks more loudly. “I can dance.”

Domerci beams. “You do? Wonderful!” He leads her back to the hallway then past several doors at a trot, back towards the busier halls where guests are milling about. Then he opens a door and the map reconfigures again.

All of the halls and rooms shift upward a bit, and the new room appears. This one, uniquely, has a ceiling. Instead of being able to look down into it, the side closest to him is built from bricks transparent as crystal glass. Max can see why in seconds: the room is physically impossible, with Escheresque stairs connecting floors, ceilings, and walls with little concern for geometry or gravity. It’s is filled with people, dancing on the floor, walls, and ceiling. Tessa dances, taking lead, and Thaddeus Domerci follows.

Tessa’s good, as is Domerci. Soon they’re the focus of attention, with other dancers craning their necks at odd angles to see. The figurines reveal surprisingly precise degrees of articulation as they dance from wall to wall, and Max almost doesn’t see the assassin.

He’s utterly nondescript, blue pants and shirt, black hat, and gun. He shoots one of the security guards right in his Dragon pin, and the guard goes down, twitching. He aims at Domerci and fires again. A second guard jumps right in the path of the bullet like a secret service man. There are two more guards, but they’re on other walls, trying to run down staircases through panicking crowds as the assassin aims again. Tessa pounces.

She flies through the air, adjusting twice mid-flight as the warped geometry of the room shifts her direction of gravity, and lands in front of him. He shifts his aim towards her head, but she moves fast and clamps jaws on his arm. The gun falls to the wall and he drops a few seconds after.

Four Ram-pinned medics arrive, pushing through the stunned crowd. They administer first aid to the two wounded guards, then one takes a look at the assassin. She turns to Domerci and shakes her head.

“It seems your new job has found you,” Domerci says to Tessa, handing her a Dragon pin. “Next time try to leave them alive. I like to know my enemies, and prefer not to involve necromancers when possible.”

Tessa smiles, and pins it to her chest.

“Also,” says Domerci, “For saving my life, you are owed a boon. What is it that you would like?”

Tessa looks down, then turns up, smiling. “Something shiny?”

Domerci grins broadly. “Something shiny indeed. Come along.”

They walk back to the halls and away from the crowd, the Escher dancehall folding inside-out to nothingness as the rest of the map lowers. Domerci unlocks a room and Max pumps his fist in the air as a gold and jewel-filled vault slides ‘down’ from fifth-dimensional space into the map.

Tessa rushes in, drawn to a chest of large gemstones. She plays with them, kitten-like, sending them flying into the air. Some of them go past roof level, and Max grabs one on instinct. He looks at it closely. Plastic, not ruby. He notes the position and appearance of the vault door, then leaves the map room. As soon as he turns around the corner he sees an impressively athletic woman with a Dragon pin. He keeps walking. She follows. She even does the point-at-her-eye, point-at-him thing. Max sighs. If she’s determined to follow, there’s nothing he can do, not without causing her harm. Not worth it. So he hits the bar and the buffet one more time, the wanders the halls hoping he can bore her off his trail. He can’t. So he leaves the party and goes home, empty handed.

Except not quite. He’s home, trying to think of another angle to make rent when he notices the two pieces of plastic in his pocket. The little studded disk of ‘blood’ is worthless. He tosses it aside. But the other...

It’s a lousy little spell. Simple sympathy, piggybacking on the map room enchantment. But when he’s finished he’s holding a ruby the size of his fist in his hand. An illusion, but a mighty good one. As long as the map room’s still going and the original’s still in Domerci’s vault, it might as well be the real thing to anyone but the most skilled wizards.

Max smiles. He considers sending Domerci a note or a picture, to put himself in the running for the boon, but decides not to push his luck.

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

The Fisherman and the Eel
1497 words

Sir William Merrow, the object of my obsession, stood at last before me. He was shorter than I'd expected; his head barely reached my shoulders. He was as beautiful as the papers always said: perfectly formed facial structures, olive skin smooth and unblemished, admirable physique (despite his lack of height), and eyes the perfect blue of a calm, deep ocean.

Which made sense because Sir William was a merman.

I must hasten to add that his fey heritage is not widely known. I paid quite a copper to learn his real identity—the old crone in my village does not do her magic for cheap. The face I chose to wear for this occasion cost slightly more, but desperate men are easily parted from their money. That and the last of my savings got me a ticket to Lord Domerci's birthday party and an opportunity for revenge. Money well spent if it could return to me my long lost wife and son.

"Ah, it's a wonderful cocktail, yes?" Merrow sloshed the purple abomination in his glass around and took a deep slurp.

"Fine enough, sir," I responded and took a guarded sip in order to look agreeable. The party was in full swing around us as proper gentlemen and ladies performed exquisite dances, their flawless gowns and suits spinning and twirling to the pulse of the orchestra. I knew none of them, of course—I was a simple fisherman, and these were not my people. They weren't drunks and vagrants and ne'er-do-wells, but with my newly purchased face neither was I—at least for tonight.

Merrow's eyes started to wander and his attention began to drift. "Let me buy you another!" I said hastily, for he needed to be quite drunk for my plan's proper execution. It is widely known that mermen have but two vices: women and alcohol. And he was well on his way to becoming absolutely befuggered thanks to the steady course of drinks I'd been plying into him.

He smiled and motioned to the bartender. I leaned in close.

"I know your secret, Sir William Merrow," I whispered into a well shaped ear.

His manicured eyebrow rose. "Do you now? And what secret is that, Mr..." he trailed off. "Apologies, I have forgotten your name."

"Because I have not given it," I said. "I am Jonathon Steelbottom. You don't know me. My wife and son, on the other hand, you know well. It was you who took them from me"

I expected protestations, feigned confusion, or belligerence. But instead I got a steady look.

"I take what I want," he said. "And I make no excuses for it." He swiped another drink from the bartender and downed it, eyes never leaving my face.

"It was a year ago, on this very night. My wife and I were walking the beach at dusk. My boy wanted to play in the surf, so I let him down from my shoulders. He chased crabs and minnows in the receding tide. He disappeared under the waves. My wife ran out to find him, and that's when I saw you."

"Oh, you believe I was there? That I drowned your son?" His face showed no trace of mirth. "Because that is what cultured gentlemen do, yes? Hide in the shallows waiting to leap out and grab the worthless sons of worthless men. Yes, of course it was me."

"It was you," I hissed. "I know who you really are. What you are. I saw you take my wife and son. Your hideous scales and corpuscled skin. The stink of fish on you. You swept her away, you sea-bastard, and now I'm here to offer myself in trade."

Merrow chuckled. "And there it is. After an hour of suffering your presence you finally say something interesting." The dancers and party-goers faded into the background. It was just him and I. Yet he didn't seem as drunk as I'd hoped.

"They're innocent. Let them go and take me instead."

"That is quite a deal you offer. But what use would I have for you? You lack the, uh, equipment that I desire."

"I know why you came for us and it isn't that. You could take any woman to be your concubine. This was different."

"Maybe it was," he said. "But back to your offer. If I do have them—and I'm not claiming guilt!—why would I trade them for you?"

"I think you and I both know. I'm ready to own up to what I've done. The question is: are you?"

Merrow paused at this. Then he gave a half smile and nodded. "Let's go then!" he said and grabbed my arm. He dragged me across the dance floor, evading the spinning madness of silk and flowers and woolen suits until we reached the large fountain in the center of the ballroom.

"You want to see your wife and son? You'd better hold your breath."

He dove, dragging me, down into the blackness beneath the fountain. As he dove he transformed. Gone was the fashionable gentleman with fine, movie-star features. His legs fused into an ochre tail, bespotted with scales and slime. His torso withered and twisted into a crude charade of a human form — more like a contorted goblin than the ramrod-straight gentleman he appeared to be at the party.

My lungs screamed and the pressure shot bolts of pain into my skull but at last we reached a cavern at the bottom of the sea. It was no mermaid's palace, but rather an accidental hollow in the coral that created a natural cave. In the back of the cave were six clay pots of enormous size. Merrow reached down and pulled a red stocking cap from a box on the floor. He placed it on my head and immediately the pressure in my lungs and head disappeared. I found I could breathe normally again. I was breathing water but somehow it felt like air.

"Mr. Steelbottom," he said. "I've waited a long time for this moment. How ironic—the fish has cast the lure to catch the fisherman."

"Let me see them. I need to know they are unharmed."

Merrow motioned to the pots in the back of the cave. "You should look in all the pots. Then I think you will truly understand."

I kept a close eye on him as I swam to the clay pots. A sinking feeling gripped my gut.

In the first pot lay my wife, peacefully (albeit magically) asleep. And in the second I saw my son. Relief washed over me. They were safe. I could get them back.

"Go ahead, look in the others," Merrow said, waving his gnarled hand.

The third pot revealed Samuel, a boyhood friend who'd gone missing over twenty years ago. The fourth and fifth contained Ingrid and her brother Patrick, two of my other childhood friends who had disappeared in a boating accident a decade ago.

I wished that seeing them was a surprise, but it wasn't.

"We were kids," I protested. "We didn't know."

But it was a lie.

We knew.

Samuel had caught it in his net. A grotesque thing, all scales and pale yellow skin. Barely three feet long, it squirmed and squealed and stank on the sand upon which we dumped it. We'd never seen anything like it. A real mer-boy, the aquatic infantile stage of the mermen, more fish than human.

"Let's throw it back!" Ingrid argued, but Pat, Sam and I had other ideas. We experimented with it for days, tortured it, did what boys do to spiders and rodents and other helpless things. And it had died in the shed behind my house, in the secret box we stuffed it in to elude the eyes of my parents. Died of suffocation, or drying out, or from the probing sticks and knives to which we had subjected it. And when we did finally throw it back into the sea, it was a rotting, desiccated thing, pale and gray under the harsh light of the full moon.

"A son for a son," Merrow said. "And one more pot to fill to complete my revenge."

I spun around but he was there already, snatching the stocking cap from my head. Immediately the weight of the water pushed my down to my knees, and my mouth filled with brine. The pressure pushed it down my throat and the salt filled my lungs. I crumpled to the cave floor, fumbling feebly for the bronze knife the old crone had sold me, my swollen fingers finding no purchase.

"Our deal," I gurgled. "They are innocent. Let them go and take me instead."

Merrow swam above me, blocking the light that filtered through the cave entrance.

"Justice is like an eel, Mr. Steelbottom," he hissed. It's a slippery beast. If you don't have a solid grip it might turn back 'round upon you."

The pressure in my head doubled and the blackness closed in.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Aaaaaaand, it's gone!

Chili fucked around with this message at Jan 2, 2018 around 11:42

Nethilia
Oct 17, 2012

Hullabalooza '96
Easily Depressed
Teenagers Edition


Lost and Found
1,373

https://thunderdome.cc/?story=5869&title=Lost+and+Found

Nethilia fucked around with this message at Dec 27, 2017 around 10:15

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014


Theorycraps (Room: Observatory)
1,478 words

The observatory at Thaddeus Domerci's manor did not fit the traditional definition of the word. Most helped people observe stars, while here the inhabitants observed lives. Nearly every surface inside the room that patrons didn't bring with them displayed footage from a wide variety of places, the windows shifting sizes and cutting to different angles and sequences depending on the whims of its audience. Complimentary earbuds and a superb subtitling system gave patrons the ability to listen in, though never to the extent that it drowned out the observatory's true purpose.

"And there we have it, Duke Shenzai is down!" the barker at the center roared, pointing to the largest screen on the far wall. It displayed cinema-quality footage of a blue-skinned extraterrestrial in resplendent robes writhing on the ground, emerald-green blood flowing from his mouth in coughs. "Odds of his death were at 2-3, odds of death by poisoning at 9-1. Enjoy your winnings, ladies and gentlemen. The verdict on the culprit remains to be seen."

A crowd around the table glanced at the watches that tracked their money. One, a man with stubble in a pastel suit who had the flushed look of a hard drinker, slammed his hands against the table. "That loving idiot!" he shouted. "He had this war in the bag! The people were behind him, he would have—" The man choked up and buried his face in his hands. For the past half-hour, and his party had been absorbed by the drama of a feudal war on another planet, already in progress, watching scenes of the Duke's dedication to his people and kindness to his family contrasted with the schemes and shortcomings of different noble houses.

"Oh come on," said a man in a Hawai'ian shirt, smoking a cigarette. "You had to know this would happen. He left himself wide open by crossing the Astrolagrians and planning such an inclusive celebratory feast all in the same week! You have to stop letting your feelings get in the way of a smart bet!"

At another table, a young woman dressed in much less expensive outfit, the only guest in the room not wearing a watch. She frowned at the screen displaying the assassination sequence, now relegated to a picture-in-picture. As grief overtook the faces of Shenzai's loved ones, a list of major players in the war slid onto the main window with graphic design that wouldn't look out of place on ESPN. Shenzai's entry on the list shattered, while the others displayed their associated odds.

"You look annoyed, Heather," said a servant standing at her table. "Is this not what you expected?"

She shook her head. "Master Domerci didn't mention gambling on his invitation." Her eyes glanced from screen to screen, favoring scenes that looked like the real world. "I really don't know about any of this. Seeing it all in person just makes it seem crass." For a moment her eyes rested on a bird's-eye view of a couple having sex in a fancy indoor pool. "And creepy."

"I see." The servant didn't have a hair out of place. It took a second glance to confirm he wasn't a mannequin. "Master Domerci thought this might happen. You may wish to glance at this wall."

He pointed to the opposite wall of the observatory, above the door. She saw no scenes involving sex or violence there; it was mostly conversations in close-up, with an inscrutable medium shot mixed in here and there.

Just as many people watched this wall as the others, which Heather would find a relief if she didn't start having suspicions about the footage. "Mr...?"

"Scorpio," he said, pointing to the pin of that zodiac sign on his lapel. It overlapped a window of a middle-aged couple arguing, one of many displayed from his suit.

"Mr. Scorpio, are these real people that we're watching?" Though the screens kept using camera angles that could only happen artificially, nothing looked particularly fake. Even the alien footage looked like the Dogme 95 version of a CGI-intensive sci-fi blockbuster.

The coy look on Scorpio's face made Heather frown. "Master Domerci wants that information kept confidential. Whether a given story actually happened or is a work of fiction from parts unknown is another category of wager."

"That's an insane violation of privacy!" Heather yelled. She looked unsettled at her surroundings, just as she had when she first stepped into the room.

"I understand your concerns, but none of the people in this room will ever interact with anyone depicted onscreen, or vice-versa," Scorpio showed no reaction to Heather's outburst. "We do not spy on anyone from this universe's version of our planet. Master Domerci was quite clear in that regard. In addition, we only show footage pertinent to a narrative"

She scoffed. "Still pretty creepy, even if your tech can really do all that. I don't know if any of the usual morality arguments against surveillance apply here, but I really don't like watching real people like this."

Scorpio leaned an inch forward in Heather's direction. "And yet you chastise fictional characters for being unlike real people. You champion verisimilitude on your blog. In certain entries you talk about biographies and biopics as if they were also narratives, blurring the line between fact and fiction." He allowed himself a smirk. "Not to mention your speculation about various narratives in progress online and your curation of other people's speculation."

Heather stood up straight and clenched her fists as Scorpio talked. "Yeah, but we're not betting on who's going to die or get together like these people are horses at the race or anything! Do you have any idea how sleazy this operation looks?"

A sigh. "Master Domerci also appreciates the emotional stakes inherent in a work of well-crafted fiction, but would prefer it be matched with other stakes." Scorpio pointed to the man so thoroughly disappointed and financially inconvenienced by the Duke's death. "Men like this represent the true devotees that this room was built for."

That was enough. Heather approached the wall, intent on leaving, when she spotted a window of a woman standing deathly still, staring through a telescope. The feed almost looked like a still image. "What's this?"

"Ah, that's a peculiar thread. This woman has gone, and it's anyone's guess when or if she'll come back."

"But she's right there."

"Master Domerci begs to differ. The word 'gone' can imply many things." Scorpio smirked. "Would you care to which meaning applies here?"

---

In Thaddeus Domerci's private study, a man with a cancer pin watched the guest in the observatory stand still, contemplating the woman and the telescope. As her brow furrowed, a notification popped up on the screen, which Cancer enlarged. Once Heather had made up her mind on the story behind the feed, or at least, what she would venture her best guess was, the equipment in the room would add it to the list of theories in the betting pool.

[The woman in the footage is 'gone' because of an emotional detachment due to grief or trauma in her life,] Heather's submission read. [She stargazes as a hobby, or perhaps a career, and pouring herself into her passion allows for a distraction from the pain she's experienced. That pain is so profound, however, that she has to focus even more intently on the stars, to the extent that she will now look at nothing else.]

Cancer chuckled and shook his head. "Close, but you're way off, lady. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." He heard the sound of the door opening and turned his head, to catch Domerci entering the door. "So which door did Stupin III take?" he asked his master.

Domerci approached the monitor, catching a glimpse of Heather closing the door behind her. "The correct one, it turns out."

"Figures," Cancer said, leaning back in his chair. "The gal you actually invited flunked your test."

"No, she did as well as could be expected," Domerci said.

"Huh?" Cancer gave Domerci a skeptical side-eye. "What's the test mean if you don't have to get it right?"

"The point is that she answered at all. Her mind is open enough that she may return again." Domerci straightened his tie and walked back to the door. "I've planted a seed, and by next year it will become a tree. Do make sure leaves the manor alive, will you?"

"Sure," Cancer said as he heard the door click shut. He didn't mention to Domerci that Heather retraced her steps well enough to get out on her own, negating the need for his work. One thing he could agree about the observatory patrons with was that watching other people's lives could be fun, given the right context. That context was all over Domerci manor tonight. He switched to another monitor, another story in progress, and settled in for the night.

dmboogie
Oct 4, 2013



i bet one day we'll look back on this and laugh but for tonight could you just buy me a drink
1471 words

How do you find the heart of a party? You gotta pinpoint the circles that intrigue and conversation flow through with each footfall of its gracious host. Circles of nobles, trying not to inhale too much of the air they shared with the circles of washed-but-cheaply-perfumed masses. The circles that Clara had been walking in for the past hour, notepad in hand, trying to catch even a glimpse of Lord Thaddeus Domerci - and there was a name meant to be shouted by a court crier, savoring every boomed syllable. Clara had tried it herself, cursing his name along with her flake of a partner for calling in sick and forcing her to come in to some rich jerk’s bougie birthday party on her day off. The acoustics of her bathroom robbed the gesture of most of its gravitas, but it was cathartic anyway.

Maybe that wasn’t fair. Thaddeus wasn’t a rich jerk, he was the rich jerk. Notable and extremely relevant to the world around him for being both rich and mysterious; which naturally meant that snatching a likely brief and inconsequential interview from him was a higher priority for the higher-ups than letting Clara just snuggle with her cat and watch literally anything other than the real world.

Nobody she talked to knew where Thaddeus was, only where he had been or where he was presumably going. Even more of a pain, there was no shortage of respectable-looking men with respectable-looking beards attending the grand event; and even though Clara had looked up what few clear pictures of Thaddeus existed, and she still wasn’t sure she could pick him out of a lineup. Clara had never expected it to be so drat hard to get a rich man, in his own mansion, to talk about himself for a while.

Where is Lord Thaddeus Domerci?

“He spoke to me earlier. Good man. Firm handshake.”

“Don’t know, don’t care, get away from the buffet table if you’re not gonna eat anything.”

“I don’t think I saw him blink? I mean like maybe our blinks were just like super synced up which is also kinda creepy when you think about it, but-”

“Why, he’s right there! Haven’t you got eyes, girl? Tch, the state of the press these days...”

Fighting back the urge to grasp the man’s monocle and see if she could make a full court shot into the punch bowl, Clara hurried in the direction he had pointed, just in time to see the elusive lord duck into a nearby corridor. “Excuse me, Lord Domerci!” She called out as she rushed towards him as fast as she could without mowing over any presumably innocent partygoers. Clara didn’t trust anyone who thought they were too good to be referred to as ‘mister’ unless they were a doctor or something; but no sense in annoying him.

When she turned the corner, there was no lord to be seen. Just a hallway, long enough that she couldn’t see the end of it. In the middle, there was a signpost that read “Any guest who proceeds past this point must accept what happens, for good or ill.” Weird, but Clara wasn’t going to waste time contemplating bougie philosophy when there was nowhere else her “target” could have gone.

She stepped forward. A trapdoor opened. She screamed a reasonable amount while she fell. The party continued.

Something evidently slowed Clara’s fall, as she didn’t instantly die when she landed on her back. She heard a familiar chuckle. “My, aren’t you supposed to be interviewing someone right now?”

“Aren’t you supposed to be sick, Lark?” Clara sighed as she picked herself up. The room was either dark enough or vast enough that she couldn’t see the ceiling she came from, but it was inexplicably raining. Thunder crackled in the distance. Spotlights on the ground illuminated countless gargantuan trees, sculpted into living statues, and she now realized she was sitting in the palm of one shaped like a anguished, kneeling man; hands outstretched and hoping for salvation. All in all, not the strangest place she had unexpectedly encountered her partner.

“Sick of having perfectly good parties ruined for me because I’m contractually obliged to speak to someone completely insufferable, yes.”

Yeah, that sounded about right. Clara tilted her head, trying to figure out what face Lark was wearing that evening. “Okay, nice dress, but a wineglass and a cigarette holder? Didja give up on trying to hold a pair of opera glasses, too?”

“One can never have enough class, dear,” Lark said, taking a sip from her glass. Clara caught a faint whiff of whiskey, but she wasn’t in the mood to argue.

“Any reason why you’re somewhere literally no one can see all that class, then?” Before Lark could respond, Clara heard a noise that could only be described as what you’d get if you recorded a chihuahua bark, pitch shifted it, then pasted it over itself about fifty times. A dog-adjacent robot sat at the base of the tree, angrily pawing at it as it tried to climb up to their branch. Its teeth looked perfectly adequate for tearing off bits of vulnerable flesh.

“Well, I thought it might be rather fun to steal something! Mr. Thaddeus has a lot of rooms, I’m sure I could find something that’d look better on one of my walls than on his. How many years do you think it would take him to notice that something was even missing?” Lark said as she absently swirled around the nominally classy liquid in her glass. Again, that sounded about right.

“I think the question you should be asking is if anyone will notice our chewed-up bodies,” Clara said as she stared at the sort-of-dog below. “Think he’s a good boy?”

“I suppose there’s only one way to find out!” Lark grinned, handed her wineglass to Clara, then slid down the tree trunk. There was an assortment of new and uniquely horrible barking noises as the robo-tooth-pup leaped at her, but she jabbed it with the end of her cigarette holder. Blue sparks flew as electricity ravaged the beast’s body until it finally stopped moving.

“Okay. First: nice. Second: why were you hanging out up here if you could have just done that the entire time?” Clara handed the glass back down to Lark before jumping down herself.

“Can’t a girl just sit back for a while and enjoy the ambience our dear host has crafted for us?” Lark gratefully accepted the glass, downing the remainder of its contents; after which she produced a flask from some obscure fold of her dress, filled the glass to an appropriately aesthetic half-full, took a couple swigs directly from it for good measure, then continued to swirl the definitely-not-whiskey.

“I’d rather not be stuck down here when the party ends, thank you very much.” The two wandered through the tree statue garden until they found a door. When they opened it, they saw a shining white void, yet saw themselves reflected in it. Clara had a gaping hole where her left eye should have been. Lark appeared entirely unchanged, but her smile was almost imperceptibly wider.

“Clara, dear?”

“Yes, Lark?”

“I just had a thought.”

“Yes, Lark?”

“gently caress this actually.”

They closed the door.

Hours passed, and both Clara and Lark agreed that the mansion was pretty bad. At one point, they reached one of Thaddeus’s famed libraries. “Always wondered what he keeps in here,” Clara said as she gazed upon the rows of bookshelves, each almost twenty feet high.

Lark picked one off the shelf. “Huh, this is the first book of a very popular but widely scorned series of vampire romance novels. He’s got them all here, actually.”

Clara turned to another. “This is an obscure but critically acclaimed vampire romance novel.”

“I couldn’t tell you what this one is, but the man on the cover looks like a vampire.”

“I think this is actually just a copy of Dracula.”

“This is Dracula told entirely through text messages.”

This proceeded longer than it should have.

-

When they finally found their way back to the main hall, the lights were dimmed. Most of the guests were already gone. Thaddeus himself sat in a chair, staring directly at the door they emerged from in a “the thinker” pose. Clara decided to seize the moment, while Lark was quietly trying to sneak away from behind her.

“Excuse me, Lord Domerci? Do you have a minute for a quick interview?”

Lord Domerci raised an eyebrow.

“What is your opinion on this very obscure but well-received vampire romance novel?”

Lord Domerci smiled wisely.

-

The interview was unusable, but Clara’s boss appreciated the effort anyway.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

In Which an Unwanted Gift is Returned
1498 words


I have returned to Domerci manor to steal back my innocence.

Once, Master Domerci himself took my chin in his hand, regarded me with that handsome enigma he calls a face, and kissed my forehead. You cannot know how angry I was when that kiss landed on my brow instead of my lips. It was my first party, and Domerci had singled me out as if I was a personage of notability.

I mourn the idiot I was.

That humiliating, brotherly kiss happened in the ballroom. In front of a legion of tittering guests and whispering courtiers. Afterward, Domerci bowed and excused himself to some hidden inner sanctum. The lamplight glittered on his rabbit brooch. My forehead burned.

.

“May I see your invitation, Miss?” the door guard asks me. His dragon brooch gleams in the light from the house.

“I’m a guest of the master,” I tell the dragon.

His eyes take on a glazed and unfocused look. “Ah, yes. Very good. Master Domerci is looking forward to your company.” He’s still wearing that far away expression as he ushers me through the huge double doors and into the entry hall. There is an irony in it, having to deceive a dragon to enter the rabbit’s warren.

The entry hall is as I remember it: The floors and pillars are polished stone that scintillates slightly under the rosy glow of lantern light. A great, golden dragon statue dominates the center of the room. Lesser animals of the zodiac populate the walls, hewn directly from the stone. The rabbit, of course, is conspicuously absent.

The guard hands me off to a woman wearing a silk tunic and a brooch shaped like a rooster.

“Special guest of the master,” he tells her.

The rooster looks me up and down. “She’s not on the list,” she says, without apparently consulting any list.

The master’s staff are ruthlessly effective at their jobs. They carry a few kernels of his power in their brooches, which is enough to let them perform whatever tasks are required of them. But I carry a few kernels more.

“He’s expecting me,” I tell the rooster. Her gaze softens and she seems to look past me rather than at me.

“Ah. Mhm. You are, of course, correct. I am profoundly sorry for my oversight.” The remorse in the rooster’s voice is real, even if her oversight isn’t. She bows deeply and steps aside to admit me into the grand ballroom.

I hate that my breath still catches in my throat at the beauty of it. Soaring pillars. Elegant people. All the animals of the zodiac represented in a menagerie of objets d’art. Except the rabbit, of course.

A group courtiers and courtesans wearing snake-shaped brooches hone in on me, surround me with the hissing susurrus of their robes.

“What a lovely dress,” one of them murmurs, brushing her hand over the midnight blue bodice of my gown. I resist the urge to step out of her reach.

“It was a gift from Thaddeus,” I tell them. The snakes gasp and look at each other.

“I can’t help but notice the familiarity with which you speak of the master,” says the woman who touched my dress. Her serpent brooch is a brilliant amethyst.

A snake with a brooch of ivory leans forward to murmur in my ear. “It’s not the done thing around here to use the master’s given name, love.”

“But why shouldn’t I? I’m his bride to be.” There is a moment where I am not sure where the lie has taken hold. The snakes' painted faces are difficult to read.

“I told you it was her,” the amethyst snake says to the ivory one.

“You said no such thing,” the ivory snake says.

“I was about to propose a toast in her name,” says a ruby snake. There is no time for anyone to contradict him because he turns to face the rest of the room and cries, “Honored guests! Please raise your glasses in honor of the future Lady Domerci!”

For a moment, I let myself bask in the lie that should have been a truth.

“Domerci doesn’t have a woman,” someone shouts over the surprised murmur of the crowd.

I lift my chin and survey the other guests imperiously. “I am the master’s betrothed.”

I’ve never told a lie this big to so many people. The room goes silent; even the musicians have lowered their bows and horns.

Then someone raises their glass and declares, “Hear, hear!” And then the whole room is toasting me as a bride of the master’s house.

“Beloved.” One word, laden with irony, amusement, and something I can’t name. The ballroom falls silent once more.

I turn slowly around until I’m facing the master of the house. My hands are shaking, but I manage an approximation of a curtsy.

“Beloved,” I repeat.

“I see you’ve been amusing my guests.”

“Not so well as you might,” I say as evenly as I can manage.

He cocks his head and strokes his close-cropped beard thoughtfully. “I would like to speak to my fiancee in private for a moment, if it wouldn’t offend my esteemed guests.”

“Just keep the mead flowing,” someone shouts good-naturedly.

“There are rooms in this house where mead flows in rivers, friend,” Domerci says, flashing a roguish smile. “Ask one of my roosters to show you the way.”

With that, he leads me out of the ballroom, down a short corridor, and through a rather ordinary door that leads to an ordinary-looking office. He shrugs off his jacket, tosses it onto a high-backed wooden chair, and sinks into his desk chair. For a moment, he simply sits with his eyes closed.

I’m not sure what I’m meant to do, so I say, “I didn’t think your chambers would be so close to the ballroom.”

“They’re not,” he says without opening his eyes. “Unless I want them to be.”

“Could I have found this room if you hadn’t lead me here?”

“No.”

My fingers clutch at the skirt of my gown of their own accord. “Can you--is the thing you took from me in here somewhere?”

At that, he does open his eyes. “Took from you?”

I look at the floor. “After the kiss. Things were different. People believe anything I say, even if I don’t want them to.”

“It sounds rather more like I gave you something.”

“I don’t want to lie anymore.” My voice cracks as I say the words.

“So don’t.”

“I tried that at first,” I say, and now the tears are flowing freely as I let myself feel the years of guilt. “But I’m not perfect. We all say things we don’t mean. And then--it gets easier and easier. Until I’m telling lies just to tell them.”

Domerci sighs, rises from his chair, and dons his jacket once more. “Come with me.”

I follow him back out into the corridor, which is much longer and dimmer than it had been when we entered the study. We walk in silence for some time, passing dozens of doors, until he stops abruptly at an unmarked door.

“There is a room for everything,” he says, and casts a sidelong glance at me. “Even you.”

He pushes the door open and I gasp. The space beyond is a sea of abstractions. Sourceless sunlight glints off of trees made of liquid silver. My mother’s face hangs in the midst of a collage of half-familiar shapes, and in my mind I hear her voice cooing my name as if she’s talking to a baby. Whispers of my favorite songs curl around each other in sinuous tendrils of luminescent fog.

“No,” I say.

“No?” Domerci repeats. His rabbit brooch glints in the dull light of the corridor.

“This isn’t me. It’s pretty, but it isn’t me.”

“What are you, then?”

I turn to face him and scowl. “Ugly inside. A liar. Because that’s what you made me.”

“So lie to me. Make me believe this pretty room isn’t you.”

“It’s not me,” I insist. “But that’s...not a lie, it’s true.”

“It sounds more like an unconvincing lie to me,” Domerci says.

“So--if I’m not lying, and I’m not telling the truth, what are we even talking about?”

Domerci puts his hands on my shoulders and gives me a small, sad smile. “Some people might’ve taken my gift and used it for the rest of their lives without remorse. But you chose to try and return it.”

“Anyone would’ve done the same,” I stammer, unable to meet his eyes.

“Spoken like an honest person,” he says. And then he plants a soft, brotherly kiss on my forehead. It’s cool and soothing, and quenches the fire planted there years before. “Go, enjoy the party.”

I stumble away from him, flushed and dizzy. But one last question seizes my mind, and I turn back to him.

“Have you ever loved?” I ask.

He grins that same roguish grin. “Every moment of my life.”

Benny Profane
Feb 23, 2012



The Potato Thief
1400w

I am crouched within the hedge, still as I can manage, waiting for my time. My heart is thrashing against my rib cage, my breaths are short and shallow, my palms are hot. Across the lawn, the manor looms darkly, its windows exploding with the scintillating light of a grand party underway.

A young man stands in the lawn, framed in the spillway of twinkling golden light from the window behind him. He holds a pen and open notebook in his hands, and sways to the tick of a broken clock on unstable feet. He looks to the full moon for inspiration, the tip of his pen looping slow figure eights above the page like a drunken cobra. A slow minute passes, apparently devoid of inspiration, after which the man drops his pen and paper, followed by his trousers. He urinates haphazardly and without direction, falls down, and begins to snore loudly.

I make my move and sprint across the lawn on light toes, keeping to the shadows between the shafts of light pouring from the manor. The old stone of the manor is cool against my skin, and the crumbling mortar offers up an abundance of handholds for my small fingers. I climb towards a darkened window on an upper floor, propped ajar in the summer night.

I slip over the sill like water poured from one glass into another, easing myself down onto the smooth hardwood floor below. For a moment I hold my breath, letting my eyes adjust to the darkness of the room. Through the closed door of the room, I hear the muffled sounds of wildly disparate styles of music coming from throughout the manor, coalescing uneasily into a dissonant miasma punctuated by the clatter of drunken conversation and laughter.

The room is dominated by a large leather-upholstered chair in its center and ringed with shelves. Glass panels protect piles upon piles of yellowing and simply bound manuscripts. In front of the chair, a sealed glass box containing an old but well preserved potato sits on top of a small mahogany table --- just as the dossier had described. I open my satchel, but have no sooner laid hands on the box when the door to the study flies open. In the frame of the door, silhouetted by the bright light from the hallway outside, a huge servant with a silver dragon pin on his lapel fixes me in place with a dark stare.

###

My hands are bound behind the back of the wooden chair. The lord of the manor stands above me, holding the glass case with its potato inside. “My staff informs me that you were found attempting to steal a priceless heirloom of the Domerci family. They have recommended that I simply turn you over to the appropriate authorities, but given the special occasion of the evening I have decided to avoid an unpleasant scene and instead present you with a choice.”

He gestures grandly towards what appears to be some kind of sarcophagus rendered in black marble.

“Within this isolation chamber, I have spent many hours contemplating the nature of reality and the trustworthiness of my senses. I have learned a great deal in the process and, to avoid belabouring the point, I believe that one such as yourself might similarly learn much from the experience. The first choice that I offer you, then, is this: you may leave Domerci Manor now, a free girl. My security staff will escort you from the premises, but you shall not be harmed. It is expected that you shall never return to these grounds, and my staff will be instructed to deal with you harshly should you defy this expectation.

“Your other option is to spend one hour within this isolation tank. Upon emerging from your isolation, should you still desire it, you will be free to leave the premises along with the heirloom. I shall give it to you freely, a gift to do with as you will.”

###

I slide my naked body into the warm salty water within the tank. My body floats easily on the surface.

“One hour,” says Lord Domerci, and then he slides the lid closed over me.

I have never experienced darkness like this before. The thick stone walls permit no outside sounds to reach my submerged ears. I am weightless, detached. I open and close my eyelids, and my eyes perceive no difference. I breathe in and out, and my body rises and falls within an endless expanse.

I count my breaths to measure the passage of time. I have no idea how long an hour will feel in these conditions. Sometime after a hundred breaths, I find I’ve lost count. Something has changed. I close my eyes and open them, then close them. I see something behind my eyelids, something that is not there when I open them. A faint pink swirl, twisting in the dark behind my eyes. I hear a tiny rattle in my ears, like a clatter of wood beads that does not seem to come from any direction in particular.

I breathe in through my nostrils, filling my lungs. The pink swirl flares brightly, as though my breath were a bellows to its flame. The swirl grows larger and brighter, completely enveloping me within its mists. I smell an earthy smell, like a freshly tilled field. The tiny rattle grows into a thick buzzing in my ears. I feel a tingling sensation throughout my body, as though the particles comprising my body have all simultaneously discovered their independence and decided to start stretching away from one another.

A white featureless moon rises over a pink ocean. Far below me, a tiny boat drifts without land in sight. The boat is growing larger, or I am falling; it is impossible to tell which. The buzzing grows to a roar in my ears. The boat is approaching me quickly, and I see that there is a hooded figure seated in it at one end. As the boat rushes to meet me I clench my eyes shut, having forgotten that they were already closed.

I am sitting in the boat. The buzzing is gone, and I hear a man’s sobbing coming from the hooded figure. He grips the gunwales with bony fingers, looking over the edge into the depths for something lost. The boat is otherwise empty. The ocean stretches infinitely in all directions.

If the man sees me, he does not acknowledge me. I am no longer sitting in the boat but am sinking through it, the particles of my body slipping past the particles of the boat as though unrelated by common physical law. I drift beneath the waves.

Beneath the sea is an entirely new world. Huge metal ships glowing with myriad lights twist though the depths, dwarfing the whales that play in their wake. Mountains rise from the sea floor, and atop their dizzying heights wizards battle one another with lightning and fire. Battles are won and lost, love sparks to life and dies ancient on the vine, giant robots punch even larger monsters.

I continue to descend, and come to a rest at the bottom of the ocean. Before me lies the potato, glowing brightly and half-buried in the benthic silt. I reach down and I pick it up. A school of twelve sparkling mermen, each bearing the aspect of a glittering animal, swim circles around me. Holding the potato in my hands, I see the ghostly walls of a manor spread away from me.

###

And in an instant it is gone. The cover of the sarcophagus slides to the side, and I am once again back in the manor. A servant with a silver horse pin helps me out of the water and covers me with a robe.

The door is guarded by the servant with the dragon pin. Beside him on a bench sit two small piles. In the first, my clothes lie neatly folded with a beautifully wrapped gift box on top. I pull the lid of the box away. Inside lies the potato, as plain as before.

In the second pile, there is a new set of clothes: the uniform of a Domerci Manor servant. A silver pin lies on top of the pile, its head formed into the shape of a rat. I hold the pin in my fingers, and it feels warm to the touch.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003


Falling Stars
Word Count: 1200

should have proofread this thing i guess

Dr. Kloctopussy fucked around with this message at Jan 1, 2018 around 21:28

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

BTW failures I am going to roast the poo poo out of your assholes

you better hope you don't got a posting history on these forums

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Sitting Here posted:

BTW failures I am going to roast the poo poo out of your assholes

you better hope you don't got a posting history on these forums

at least i dont have ur posting history

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

archives

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Jan 8, 2018 around 21:26

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



flerp posted:

at least i dont have ur posting history

You can actually get it by clicking on the "post history" button. Hope that helps!

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Submissions are now CLOSED, an hour late because I cherished a naive hope that maybe more than one of the potential failures would find it in his heart to keep to his word and write a story. Lord, what a fool this mortal be!

Thirteen of twenty-six people saw their self-imposed commitments through. Thirteen couldn't be bothered. super sweet best pal, Wizgot, Fleta Mcgurn, Fuubi, MysticalHaberdasher, big scary monsters, crabrock, RandomPauI, flerp, sparksbloom, GenJoe, Chairchucker, and Noah, you have my thanks: you've given the gift of disappointment, and surely nothing could be more true to the spirit of Thunderdome than that.

Results will be out in due course. Fleta Mcgurn, post the next prompt whenever you're ready.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at Aug 7, 2017 around 05:28

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Djeser posted:

You can actually get it by clicking on the "post history" button. Hope that helps!

ty i am now drowning in bad posts

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


flerp posted:

ty i am now drowning in bad posts

You have to click the other person's post history button, not your own.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

it's me, the guy too busy to write a story. sorry tdome happy birthday.

one day

RandomPauI
Nov 24, 2006

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

Grimey Drawer

Her Rehearsal.

Zoo prompt

Any commoner invited to Lord Domerci's event rehearsals knew they would be bound to a vow of silence. They would see sights that could only exist in their wildest dreams. Sometimes they'd leave with trinkets, advice, jobs. And when someone was injured, died, or disappeared along with the way then the survivors would receive extravagant compensation.

So it was that 12-year old Alice was forced to accompany her parents and siblings to attend a "dry-run" for the grand reopening of "The Anatomical, Botanical, and Zoological Exhibition for all Ages." Alice dreaded going; each year the Lord would find new means to subjugate his animals and his employees alike. And on her way in all the wrought-iron cages would be empty. She never found out where the animals went and she wasn't sure she wanted to know.

Twelve-year old Alice was tasked with escorting siblings Mathew, Eliza, and Elisa to the partially-filled petting zoo. The perverse hybrid of an animal enclosure and a playground horrified her. Young Asian elephants had boards strapped to their noses and served as one-person see-saws. Things were no better for the much taller African elephants. They had step-ladders attached strapped to their rear. From there, children would walk or scoot their way to the front of the elephants and shoot down a slide precariously strapped to the elephants' tusks. Orangutangs took the place of swings for the swing sets, lifting children up in the air as they swung back and forth.

Every animal was kept from running by bright red and orange anklets connected to the ground with copper chains and stakes. Alice dreaded the thought of what else the Lord planned to add to the animal attractions. The grotesque attraction was well-staffed by heavily jeweled and costumed professionals. Their supervision gave Alice an excuse to meet with her peers. She could barely hear them off in the distance competing with the cacophony of sounds coming solely from the children. They must have been at the bleachers in front of the open field.

Alice ran as fast to her mates as she could, hoping she wasn't too late. She was welcomed to the sight of legless men on stilts reloading his sack with wrapped hot dogs, popcorn, and soda to give to the people in the stadiums. He was equipped with a raccoon on a leash to collect the money and deliver the snacks.

The business team-up was an odd sight, but not one that could prepare her for what she was about to see. She walked onto the bleachers just in time to see the "The Freaks of Humanity" and "The Savage Brutes of Nature" shaking hand to pay for a game well played, final score 8 to 7. Someone in the crowd threw a crumpled up paper at her. She picked it up and walked away to join her parent's by the aviary. If they wouldn't let her leave, maybe they'd let her join them.

She opened the paper during her short walk. It was a diagram showing the positions of the players, represented by small characters of their faces inside small circles. Thier "names" and the details of the match were to the side of the diagram.

[qoute=Exhibition game between the Freaks of Humanity and the Savage Brutes of Nature.]

A rousing 7 vs. 7 match which will give these malformed anomalies an opportunity to assert their humanity and man's dominion over animal life.

Match to last from 10:30 am to 11:45 am.

Refereed by the good Reverends Charles Thacher and George Whiststone.

Sponsored by the noble Lord Domerci

The Freaks of Humanity (In black vests)
Bertha, The Bearded Fat Lady (GC)
Jacque, Dog Haired Boy (LD)
Chang, The Four Legged Oriental (RD)
Lydia, The Snake Inked Woman. (RM)
Umbutu, The African Pygmy (LM)
Hercules, The 8-Foot Muscle Man (CF)
Janus, The Man with Three Heads (Attacker)

The Savage Bruthes of Nature (in white vests)
Ching Cong, The Panda (2 legs) (GC)
Eskimo, The Young Polar Bear (2 legs) (LD)
Walla-Walla, the Emu (2 legs) (RD)
Edwin, The Boar (LM)
Alexander, The St. Bernard (RM)
Arthur, The Teenaged Lion (CF)
Kerchak, The Great Ape (2 legs) (Attacker)[/quote]

Alive's efforts to join her parents was a failure. The aviary closed for lunch at noon, which meant her mother and father would already be riding with other adults in an open-top carriage to take them to a quasi-formal banquet.

"Their carriages are being pulled by dinosaurs or mammoths, no doubt." she said to no one.

Alice only saw two choices: she could try to hide until everything was over. Or she could find a way to escape. The latter decision was made for her when she saw a parade of clowns, their pony's in tow carrying an assortment of instruments and bags of clown tricks. A bright orange truck with black trim and white walled tires took the rear. After it passed, Alice saw that the truck carried an assortment of boxed lunches, blankets, and other accessories for the children's picnic. If the driver left the keys in the truck and if it were left alone then that could be her way out.

Alice joined the rear of the parade until it came to a stop by a small picnic field. She couldn't help but notice that the others were joining her too, without prompting. She saw teens talking with each other and kids skipping along as if following the truck was the natural thing to do. This made her more determined to leave.

Alive figured the easiest way to gain access to the truck in the first place would be to offer to help in some way. Unloading the truck, setting blankets up, the particulars didn't matter. She needed to earn their trust. But her escape was made even simpler than that.

Before the driver exited the truck he yelled at Alice. "Hey kid", the driver said in a low gruff, "make sure no one gets into here without my permission."

Alice responded over-eagerly. "Oh, yes I will, gladly. I just want to thank you and Lord Domerci and everyone for holding such a marvelous event!" The driver didn't seem to care. "He must want to get this over with." she thought. And what luck! He left the key's in the ignition.

Alice waited for the last box to be unloaded and for everyone to exit the truck's back before she climbed in, unseen as far as she could tell. And then she floored it. Alice wasn't sure how to change gears, but 30 miles per hour would be more than enough speed to leave the horrible Manor. She just needed to keep traveling straight forward to the exit.

The zoo refused to cooperate. Once straight roads split in half. Signs and animals that could place her approximate position disappeared, leaving empty cages behind. In the rear view mirror, she saw thick wrought-iron bars shoot up from the ground, preventing her from escaping. Her heart sank when she saw the exit. It was behind a large, cement, below-ground enclosure. Somehow she'd have to jump straight down 12 feet into the empty pit, scale up the 3-foot tall steps, and get past the gate.

This hindered her plan, but it wasn't an insurmountable obstacle. She got out of the truck, shifted it in neutral, and pushed it into the pit. This would serve as her way down into the pit. But when Alice climbed off the wreckage she saw them. The driver of the truck, and a bangle tiger.

First, he barked "Show me your right hand!". Alice fearfully complied. Her body uncontrollably shivered as grabbed her wrist with rough, long leather gloves. Next, he took her pulse and read her palm thru them. Finally, he started shouting questions at her.

"What's your name?"

"Alice Tompkins"

"How old are you?"

"I just turned 12"

"What animal do you see next to me?"

"A, a tiger"

"You're the one with the fire in you then. If you hadn't gone on your little joy ride someone else would'a had to find and retrieve you. Put these on. We're going back to the party."

Alice fearfully complied. One was a red and orange bakelite ring. The other was a copper-colored watch. The scruffy, dark-eyed stranger got onto the tiger and she felt compelled to follow him, holding onto his waist as they rode back to the party.

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

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



CCLXII: Build Your Own Prompt

I believe in choice, but I also like to boss people around. Oh, and I like sandwiches.



Like the mighty Subway Sandwich Artists that tie our fragile society together, I will magnanimously let you choose your own prompt. However, like Subway, there are a finite number of things to choose from. Also, like Subway, if you choose too many things, you will be left with some messy, soggy poo poo falling apart in your hands. Intrigued? Read on.

The base word count is 1000, and you must ask for at least one item from any category. For every subsequent item you ask for, you receive a further 100 words. So, for example, if you say just "animals," I'll give you an animal and you have 1000 words to work with. If you say, "Two foods, one animal, and one place," I'll give you a prompt like "cheese, lettuce, dolphin, Ireland," and then you have 1300 words. You may choose items and generate up to 2000 words; how you do that is up to you. I will not award extra words for a toxx, but I will give you extra time if you toxx yourself and haven't submitted on time.

To be as fair as possible, I'll randomly generate every word using this tool: https://www.thegamegal.com/word-generator/. The exception is the Fleta's Choice category, for which you will receive 200 extra words per item. These may be anything from colors to pictures. You may not like what you get.

To be fair, I'll post my favorite items for each category and will not deliberately assign them: foxes, kimchi jigae, Beetlejuice, Tina Fay and/or Leslie Knope (YES I KNOW THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE OKAY), Barcelona


You may choose from the following categories:

Animals
Food
Movies
People and Characters
Places
Fleta's Choice

Signups close on Saturday, August 12th at 12 AM Paris time (GMT+2)
Submissions close on Monday, August 14th at 6 PM Paris time

Total word count: Between 1000-2000. Up to you, but please choose at least one item for your prompt.

Judges/Sandwich Artists:

Fleta McAwesome
Hawklad
TBD
(Please PM me or email me at fletamcgurn dot gmail dot com if you want to judge!)

Customers/Parasites:
Fuubi, 2000 words, 5X Fleta's Choice: corsetry, potatoes, pink, kittens, and this photo: http://i.imgur.com/w9NSl6v.jpg
sebmojo: 1600, 3X Fleta's Choice: December, a failed daycare, ham Flash rules:: Your main character fetishizes (adult) Thalidomide babies; The story takes place in a Hot Topic; A grapefruit must be thrown at least three times.
Thranguy: 1800, movie, place, 3x Fleetz Beetz: Cool Runnings, South America, chandeliers, clams, Rebel Wilson
magnificent7: 1200, movie and food: cherry, Finding Nemo.
Pippin: 1500, places X2, animal, one salty Fleta Surprise: New Mexico, Boston, badger, geophagy
Jay W. Friks: 1300, movie, Fleta's Random Brain Barf: Indiana Jones, and this photo: http://i.imgur.com/KWpq7T5.jpg
Solitair:: 1500, movie, person/character, place, and Fleta's Moist Choice: Toy Story 3, Denzel Washington, Ghana, sunfish
blue squares: 1200, place and person: Los Angeles, Amelia Earhart.
Agent355: 1400, invalid category, place, President's Choice: OrlandO, "chomping at the bit," someone who is confused about the meaning of SEO
Tyrannosaurus: 1700, place and 3X my sexy gift: Singapore, Patti Smyth, Calpis, a cardboard cutout of Chewbacca
Mercedes:: 2000, asked to be hosed up: Moorish architecture, the Pixies, a man with three elbows, sharks, Regis Philbin. Flash rules: Someone in your story is deathly afraid of apples and it is severely impacting their quality of life, but you can't say it explicitly; I want at least two references to the movie Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein; The last line of your story must include a pun.
Development: 1000, food: lentils
Farchanter: 1300, animal and Fleta's Choice: bass, http://i.imgur.com/yqXQKh9.jpg

Fleta Mcgurn fucked around with this message at Aug 14, 2017 around 10:03

Fuubi
Jan 18, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER

OK,

and in with:

5xFleeta's choice (be gentle)

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

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



Fuubi posted:

OK,

and in with:

5xFleeta's choice (be gentle)

You are a brave woman/man/sexy robot/astral squirrel. Here you go:

Corsetry
Potatoes
Pink (the color)
Kittens

this picture:

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

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



e: quote is not edit

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

3x fleta's choice

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

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



sebmojo posted:

3x fleta's choice

December
A failed daycare
Ham

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

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

In. I'll take a movie, a place, and 3x fleta's choice.

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

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



Thranguy posted:

In. I'll take a movie, a place, and 3x fleta's choice.

Thrangled these up for you:

Cool Runnings
South America

and my picks:

chandeliers
clams
Rebel Wilson

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


In with movie and food.
(come on come on GOODBURGER.)

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

I'll take a movie and two Fleta specials.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Pippin
May 25, 2016


In, I'll take two places, an animal and a Fleta's Mystery Meat.

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