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Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Sitting Here posted:

There is a non-0 chance i missed someone in my quoting frenzy, so if that's you pls let me know

I also am forgotten among wizard folk.

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ADBOT LOVES YOU

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Fumblemouse posted:

I also am forgotten among wizard folk.

You're the wizard of holes. Big holes, small holes, portable holes, holes that lead to other holes and form a tunnel, holes in souls (and soles), you name it. Got a problem? There's bound to be a magic hole for you!

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



https://thunderdome.cc/?story=5792

Djeser fucked around with this message at Dec 28, 2017 around 20:35

Sokoban
Feb 16, 2011


Sitting Here posted:

You can bring your drawings and painting to life! However, you can't re-paint or re-draw them once you've done so, no matter how badly you want to.

The Apprentice

855 words


It wasn’t the usual path to take, Peer knew that. This path rolled down to the other side of the forest, away from the village and into the stone halls. He had finished work for the day. Without notice he had picked up his favourite stick and gourd and ran as fast as possible. He heard his father curse his name as he was running. That was a crow’s flight behind him. He sat among the heather and grasses as the air calmed the earth. The sky rolled above, sullied and bruised, the wind warm enough just to wear a jerkin. As he followed the path, Peer would have welcomed rain if it came.

He paused just before the stone halls – it was odd to be here. Birds, he noticed, had stopped singing. The pulse of nature was mute, a black-and-white hesitation in a world of colour. Peer moved on, he gathered his racing heart and shy blood and forced his legs to walk. It wasn’t just the halls hollowed into the hillside, everything around him was stone; the ground was pebbles and dash, granite and slate. One hall called to him, it was just ahead, a black O of silence. It was the mouth of a giant: endless, final.

‘Hello?’

The O did not answer. He took a step forwards, as many do before the unknown, careful, slow; arms out, reaching, searching, testing. Once his eyes had absorbed more light, the hall sloped down, through and through. Steps led to more steps, and those steps led to a tomb. Holes in the ceiling cast enough day for Peer to be without a torch. It was cool in here, dry and safe.

The shadows of the hall gathered in shades of dust. They formed and flicked around Peer. Some moved, which he jumped at, some were still and hungry, waiting for him to come closer. In a panic Peer watched as phantoms leapt off the walls. They seemed to be made of chalk and pencil, water and paint. They jeered and twirled about him as he fell to floor, his knees shaking. It was a kaleidoscope of ghosts, a maelstrom of colour and shape. Some sang, some danced, and others clapped and cheered. When he summoned enough courage to look at them, some were just scribbles. Some were still wet, and dripped onto the ground in splotches. More came, wailing and suffering as half-finished doodles. They begged him to leave and never return. To speak not of this place, to never reveal this location, to leave them in peace in an eternal waltz.

Peer began to laugh at them.

The spirits stopped their dance, unsure of what to do. They were myths and animals, noble men and ladies alike, and they all stared at this child in disbelief.

‘Stop! Stop it! Get back the lot of you. Well, who is it? Who’s there?’

A man in a purple robe appeared from the gloom. He was just as old as Peer’s father, except more pale, and a lot thinner.

‘Oh gods – another boy who thinks he’s an adventurer. Well what do you think of them?’

Peer shrugged, he wiped the tears from his face.

‘My work boy! My work! My life spent perfecting these creations, are they not sublime? Are they not the pinnacle of art?’

‘They’re sort of bad.’ said Peer.

The wizard (Peer assumed) opened his mouth wide. There was a moment of inflection, and then he nodded. The man sat, defeated. He kicked off his shoes and folded his hair back.

‘Gods, they are a bit aren’t they? I’ve tried. I can bring painting and drawings to life you know?’

Peer nodded. ‘I noticed. But you’re not good at drawing.’

‘The crux of the issue my boy.’ They fell into a comfortable lapse. The spirits still looked on, and then to each other, bemused.

‘Can I try?’

‘You? You look like a farmer’s hand.’

‘I’m really good. Let me show you.’

Peer took a sliver of charcoal from his sleeve and drew. He scratched and scrawled onto the floor, until a dragon came to be. It was small and wicked, with plumes of feathers and sharp teeth. The wizard looked the drawing over. He took a pot and brush from under his robe and added red to the skin of the dragon and green for the eyes. In a flourish he dotted water over the charcoal and smudged until the drawing seemed real in the half-light. The wizard placed his hands above his head, rolled his eyes back and spoke.

‘Vitae!’

The dragon huffed and hissed, coughed and gurgled. It moved unsure, first a toe, and then a foot. Finally it stretched its wings. It looked at the boy and wizard and the spirits who were still paused mid dance, and shrugged. With a sigh it rolled to one corner of the hall and fell asleep; one lazy draconian eye keeping watch over its new world. In its slumber puffs of charcoal erupted from its nose with little splashes of red paint. The wizard had a smile on his face.

‘What’s your name?’ the wizard asked.

‘Peer, and yours?’

‘The Great Imago. And I think, my boy, I believe, I have found a new apprentice.’

Sokoban fucked around with this message at Jul 9, 2017 around 14:19

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Just a friendly reminder that EDITING YOUR SUBMISSION POST WILL TYPICALLY RESULT IN A DISQUALIFICATION.

Also, to make it easier on our tirelessly awesome archivist, and the judges, please include your wizarding flash at the top of your submission.

Sokoban
Feb 16, 2011


Chili posted:

Just a friendly reminder that EDITING YOUR SUBMISSION POST WILL TYPICALLY RESULT IN A DISQUALIFICATION.

Also, to make it easier on our tirelessly awesome archivist, and the judges, please include your wizarding flash at the top of your submission.

Oh! Added.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Sokoban posted:

Oh! Added.

By editing your submission again

I should have clarified not to, but yeah, no more editing your submissions!

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019


read the op u numbfucks

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

pffft reading is for nerds

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

With love's light wings did I o'er-perch these walls,
For stony limits cannot hold
H U L K A M A N I A

SUPER SUMMERSLAM
THUNDERDOME 2019


Chili posted:

Just a friendly reminder that EDITING YOUR SUBMISSION POST WILL TYPICALLY RESULT IN A DISQUALIFICATION.

Also, to make it easier on our tirelessly awesome archivist, and the judges, please include your wizarding flash at the top of your submission.


Sokoban posted:

Oh! Added.


Chili posted:

By editing your submission again

I should have clarified not to, but yeah, no more editing your submissions!

Sometimes a skit can be completely predictable and yet still utterly hilarious.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



wiz-team wizards: 2

sin-team wizards: 0

ZeBourgeoisie
Aug 8, 2013

THUNDERDOME
LOSER


Sokoban posted:

Oh! Added.

I like you.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Impatient Oaths (#1299)

quote:

(Prompt: You have the power to enforce any promise to its fullest extent, even if the promiser no longer wants to be obligated to their vow. Doubt, injury, and death are no obstacle for your power.)

Altester Des Eides’ eyelids fluttered in his hollow sockets. He was in a deep state of slumber but his dreams were troubled and discordant. The oaths of humanity were being broken at higher rates with each new age. Des Eides’ was a Wizard of Order.

Arcana stemmed from the universal laws that governed civilization. Peace, Trust, Loyalty, Ambition, Truth, Courage, Justice, and Promise were all Astral Temples that each Wizard drew power from within their dreams. Eides’ temple was Promise. In the dreamscape it looked like an immense clasped pair of granite hands.

Eides sought communion with the cosmos but couldn’t concentrate within the closed palms of the Temple. Pain troubled him from every little cut in the walls of his dreamscape. Each cut came from a handshake, contract, or verbal agreement betrayed. This irritation had reached the waking world.

Light poured in through two spaces outside the temple. Eides flew out of the massive holes in the darkness beyond. His eyelids had opened. He coughed and rubbed his face with thin plucking fingers.

Eides picked himself up from the inlaid bed of the stone floor of the Wizard's Sanctum. The Wizard of Peace dozed to his left while the Wizard of Trust slept to the right. Each Wizard slumbered in an sunken space on a circular platform built at the peak of a floating citadel. Grains of Aether drifted around the rounded platform peaking above the Earth's atmosphere.

Each bed pointed toward a looking glass that peered into the thoughts of mortals below. From above the platform resembled a clock face made of old men and women. His dark, nearly black, blue robes hung from a disembodied hook above his personal mirror. He yelped as he saw himself.

Eides’ body had grown to eight feet tall and most of that height was his ghoulishly lanky limbs. His midsection grossly elongated and curved forward giving him a looming posture.

He snarled,“This is how mortals see me now?!”

With a wave of his hand the mirror shimmered. Eides chanted,

“Looking glass, looking glass! You sit here watching the past! Knowing what men have done, knowing what they will do! Tell me oh mirror, will any oaths stand true?”

The mirror boiled and sizzled. That wasn’t a good sign. Eides grimaced at the sight and paced around the room. His barefeet greeted wetness besides the bed of the Wizard of Truth.

On the bed lay a clear shapeless membrane around a network of red veins. The Wizard of Truth’s stable form was distorted. Mortals had corrupted the truth during her slumber. Altester gaped in horror,

“Poor little Warheit! Your round smiling face has been melted away by those scoundrels down below.”

Eides didn’t want to end up like her. He said to the mirror,

“Reflector of mankind's soul! Look into the world below! Show me those who itch the hands of trust! Place them before me so I can do as I must!”

The mirror sloshed and whirled inside its frame. It formed into an image of varying peoples and cultures. It stretched three dimensionally to encompass the many guilty parties. It was mostly weddings. They were the biggest offenders of broken promises.

Eides spied on a few. One sentence stood out in particular,

Are you prepared, as you follow the path of Marriage, to love and honor each other for as long as you both shall live?

I am.


This was the problem. Mortals were such short sighted beings. They never took into account the worth of a promise over a lifetime. Eides waved his hands above him and gathered up grains of Aether within his palms.

Particles spun around his dancing fingers as he chanted,

“On this day that I awoke I bind those below who spoke! If they spoke of love til death, if they agreed by their own breath! From now on they shall follow their own oath! No matter their sickness, their injury, their personal growth!”

Crackling blue energy flew from his fingertips into the looking glass. The energy coated each spouse. Eides dusted off his hands and smirked,

“There!”

He yawned and took his robe back off. He leaned back into the bed space and wrapped himself in a blanket of stars. He said sleepily,

“Goodnight my fellow wizards. I hope upon the next waking ceremony I have a more fitting form.”

This time his soul found satisfaction amongst the hidden microcosms of thought. Eides was in the middle of harmonizing with a supernova when he was shaken awake by a pair of tiny hands.

Blinking the asteroid dust from his eyes Eides said,
“What? Is it the waking cycle already?”

An stunted child in light red robes kneeled over him with a scowl on his face. It was the Wizard of Courage Alteste Der Tapferen. Tapfaren said in a wheezy gasp,

“drat you Eides! Because of your meddling every secret deal is made without risk! My temple’s luster takes most of its energy from the courage needed to keep to an oath!”

Eides got up and lumbered over to the looking glass. He chanted and the mirror showed him those he’d cursed. Instead of the couples now there were lawyers, mobsters and people whose livelihoods were decided by risking an agreement. The spell he’d cast had left the couples and entered the next largest group of oath makers.

Each of the cursed couples were long dead. The mirror displayed a montage of their unusual lives. Relatives and children heard their parents blaming a lack of will when it came to their marriage.

When one tempted infidelity, they’d teleport back to their spouse before they could attempt to cheat. When one would bad mouth their spouse, their voice would go mute. If a prenup was written beforehand, it was enforced even if one spouse died. They’d could still come back as a zombie afterall.

Matrimony ceased due to these aberrations. However, others craved a foolproof agreement and made promises despite the loss of autonomy. One corporate embezzler had a shady agreement with a jury he bribed keep true despite its exposure. The news started to spread on the new value of an oath.

The president himself had an oath with the Russians that gave him access to the prime minister's harem in exchange for turning the other cheek on stolen bandwidth. Despite the prime minister's reluctance to hold up his end of the deal, he’d been forced by unseen powers to allow the president to stick it to his favorite girls.

Tapfaren said, “Undo it. Now!”

Eides waved his hands and the spell dispersed. Tapfaren shook his head in disgust, “You know better than to cast a spell before a waking cycle. What made you do such a thing?”

Eides turned to the looking glass. His reflection looked like Adonis. He could grind steel on his abs. Eides said,

“You should have seen how I looked before! It was awful. I couldn’t sleep well and I didn’t want to end up like Warheit!”

Tapfaren sighed, “She’ll get her form back after the next waking cycle. Honestly Eides... You bitch about the mortals short sightedness but you can be just as bad at times. Now go to sleep and if you wake again, leave the mirror be!”

Eides muttered, “Okay.”

Eides settled down to slumber. It occurred to him that removing the spell so suddenly would cause its own share of problems. Another Wizard would probably be waking him up soon enough. Eides grumbled and felt dumb for the first time in ages.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

With love's light wings did I o'er-perch these walls,
For stony limits cannot hold
H U L K A M A N I A

SUPER SUMMERSLAM
THUNDERDOME 2019


Sitting Here posted:

You can manipulate any and all kinds of protein. You haven't even fully explored the extent of all the different things you'll be able to manipulate, since you're unfortunately not a biologist or doctor. This could be awesome, or could go horribly wrong for you.

Protean
https://thunderdome.cc/?story=5795&title=Protean

Thranguy fucked around with this message at Dec 7, 2017 around 02:03

Fuubi
Jan 18, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Flash rule: Shadow Wizard

Let the shadows reign

Word count: 1288


"Where is it?" The words were like nails on a chalkboard, and the foul breath accompanying them made Derrec's stomach bubble with the threat of future messiness.

"Wuh?" he managed to slur, before sliding back into the state of semi-unconciousness he'd been in for the latter half of this evening.

Rough hands grabbed him and he was shaken back to reality. "The idol." The words were ice now. "Where. Is. It?"

Derrec tried to focus on the face, but his eyes kept finding the man's shoes more interesting. A sudden slap jolted him back and gave him focus. Blinking to get the fog out of his eyes, he noticed a few things.

The first thing was the light, or, more precisely, the lack of shadows. There were oil lamps everywhere. They took up every nook and cranny of what he could see of the small room he was in. More lamps were hanging from the ceiling, bathing everything in orange light. Uh-oh, he thought, not without trepidation.

The next thing he noticed were the thick ropes holding him to the wooden chair, whose uncomfortability his body now was getting intimate with. Double-uh oh.

His eyes still swimming in all the light and confusion, finally focused on the face glaring down on him. It wasn't a handsome face. Some might say it was the antithesis of handsomeness, but Derrec wouldn't call it ugly. Just... mismatched. The eyes didn't quite fit well with the bridge of the nose, the chin and the mouth did each other disservice, and the paleness of the cheeks clashed with the crimsomness of the nose. It was a shame, really. Every piece was perfectly fine, they just didn't belong together.

What wasn't fine, however, was the smell. Ye gods! What has this man been rolling around in?

"You." Derrec's voice was gravel, the smell almost gagging him. "Why? What?" He recognized the face in front of him, though he couldn't for the life of him put a name on it. He lived close to the university, and Derrec must have seen him a hundred times in the last few months. "What is this all about?" he asked.

"The idol of Noctis Umbra." The new voice from somewhere over Derrecs shoulder was silky smooth, and the same could be said for its owner as he came into view. He was a middle-aged man, with the grays showing in, but not overwhelming, his neat visage. He was slightly petite, but his rich suit was so fit you could hardly tell without a frame of reference.

Now, standing next to the foul-smelling man, his eyes were the level of the other man's chin. "You have it, no? Somewhere hidden. Somewhere safe, hmm?" The eyes were striking, Derrec realized. Those blue diamonds had a way of boring into your very soul and lay everything bare. Almost like magic. Derrec clamped his mouth shut, no longer trusting it to keep silent.

"You refuse to talk, hmm? Very well, we have our ways to pry those lips open." He turned to the foul-smelling man. "Fetch us the 'persuasion kit'"

As the other man left, he turned back to Derrec. "Oh, where are my manners? Your name is known, but mine is not. You may call me Lord Gaervin." The last part was accompanied by a flurried bow. "My smelly associate is not important though. Call him whatever you please."

Lord Gaervin reached out and grabbed Derrec's wrist. His grip was harder than expected for his small frame.

"Shall we begin with a broken finger, hmm? Or maybe pulling out a few of your nails will loosen your tongue? I shall not enjoy it." The smile on his face and the steely lust in his eyes told a different story.

Derrec's mind was reeling, the threat of imminent torture making it hard to focus. He had been focusing his mind on all the dark spaces he could sense, In the creases of his clothes, under his armpit, in his mouth, but he knew he'd never have time to utter the incantations to control the shadows. He could utter them in his mind, but to have the fullest effect the words needed to be spoken out loud. That was a drawback with wizardry.

"The idol," he started, intending to buy some time. "It does not exist. It is just a myth passed down, like the sword of fairies, or the chalice of the blue gods."

"Hmm?" the Lord replied. "Tut-tut-tut, do not try to fool me with your fibs, my dear mr. charlatan. I have seen you use its powers. That is how you got your wizards hat, is it not?"

He snatched the pointy hat off of Derrec's head. "You cheated yourself into the university, using that eldritch charm." His voice had a feverish heat to it, and he spoke with unmistaken passion.

Suddenly he calmed down, and his voice regained its silkiness. "You may try to deny it, but I have watched you for quite some time. Shadow magic is all you know. You cannot cast any other spell. That is how I know you are a fake, and that is how I know you have the idol."

At that moment the door opened, and the foul-smelling man reentered. In his arm was a large open box, full of various pointy and pully tools.

"Ah, well then," the Lord smiled. "Shall we begin?"

Derrec's body tensed, but his mind was strangely calm. He had passed through terror into a calmness he never felt before. His mind was sharper than it had ever been, and he could feel the shadows, he could see them pulsate with unearthly darkness all around him. The tiniest speck of shadow lit up in his mind.

As time seemingly slowed, Derrec focused his mind on one of the lamps behind his captors. The flame flickered, and he could sense the difference in intensity. Staring at the light hurt his eyes, but he did now waver.

Suddenly there was a pulse, and with his mind he reached out, and twisted. He couldn't do much without uttering the words and the strain was incredible, but a little was all he needed. The small speck of shadow swelled up and swallowed the light. The lamp went out.

Derrec stole a glance at Lord Gaervin, but the Lord was rummaging through the pursuasion kit and had not noticed.

There was a greater spot of darkness now, and Derrec used it to reach out to the next lamp. He had to work fast now. He took out a few more in a circle around the first. Still no notice.

"Hrrm," he began, going for a distraction. Lord Gaervin and the smelly man both looked up at him. Lord Gaervin held a very sinister looking plier in his hand..

"You wis to speak?" the Lord asked, with a hint of disappointment.

"The idol," Derrec started. "I touched it, once. I was not a wizard yet, merely an acolyte, but I could sense its powers. I touched it, and it disintegrated. Now its powers lie in me." Derrec smiled. "I was the star pupil, you know. I had done the math, studied the incantation, and knew the invocations. I was on my way to earn the hat when the Umbra leapt into my mind and pushed everything else out."

Now his voice went soft. "A wizard is not defined by what spells he can cast." He slashed out with his mind, killing a dozen light around them. "And believe me. I AM A WIZARD!"

The two captors, staring in disbelief at the dead lamps turned back towards him, but too late.

"Et Regnabit In OBUMBRATIO!"

The darkness swallowed everything, and all was still.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


Grimey Drawer

How is tdbot doing? I miss him.

anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


crabrock posted:

How is tdbot doing? I miss him.

i murdered him, sorry

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

crabrock posted:

How is tdbot doing? I miss him.

He thinks you abandoned him and is experiencing daddy issues

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Inter

You could walk all the known worlds and never once see the Liminal: a whole damned world in reversed-type. For whatever reason, they’re incomplete -- inchoate worlds, shattered worlds, ancient worlds collapsing inwards like a dying star. They're all linked together, in a great dead hive, in the place between places. There’s an art to seeing them, but I would never share it. I like you too much for that. Let the dead have their peace.

There’s men who got trapped in the Liminal. It don’t kill you, it just diminishes. You get less and less until you’re spread so thin across the universe that you just ain’t any more. There infinite worlds and if you get stuck between, you’re in none of them and you’re in all of them; human physiology ain’t made to withstand that. Human physiology ain’t even that good at spicy food – you can imagine how well it deals with existing everywhere and existing nowhere at the same time.

My husband died, but he didn’t.

He died here, in this worlds that-are. Car accident. The other driver wasn’t drunk, and wasn’t even driving badly. Everybody did everything right, but the tires were a bit too bald. Jerry got ripped off his bike, and dragged down the highway until he was just a smear. Nobody to blame. It hurts, to have your catharsis stolen; hurts like nothing you can imagine, and don’t stop.

You can open the Liminal, but it costs.

All magic costs, but this costs more.

We don’t talk about our sins, kid. The past is dead, and we let the dead have their peace.

My husband died, but he didn’t. He died in one world, so I jumped to the next. World after world, I found him dead. Sometimes I got there in time, then had to watch him die. History is elastic, and always snaps back. I cradled him as he died, then I did it again. In a million different worlds, I couldn’t change a damned thing.

I opened a door to the Liminal, and I found him, but I didn’t.

I held him, and I tried to love him even as I felt myself being spread more thin – dragged like a corpse down the highways of the sub-real. He was too far gone, and he was too far gone everywhere. His thin-ness infected him in every possible universe. I came to ask how he got in the Liminal in the first place. It came to me slowly, in pieces–

He was never there until I made him. I opened the door, and I went into the place-between-places, and I brought my husband with me. I left, and I shut the door. Didn't turn out the light -- didn't know how. Left him there, where I'd put him, getting thin forever. I think about going back every day. I think about what's left of him, that's barely even a man. Some nights I'm weaker than others, and I get a knife, and I say the right words, and I prepare to pay. I stand on the cliff's edge, looking down forever. On the worst nights, something looks back.

The past is dead, kid.

Let the dead have their peace.

Armack
Jan 27, 2006

Corde pulsum tangite


You can create words of power, small phrases that bring about whatever you want to invoke. However, once you've infused a word with power, anyone who utters it invokes that power. The infusion can't be undone.

Wizardbro Subculture
(813 Words)

So I’m in there, wrists bandaged, staring at the baddest nurse you ever seen. I’m talking like 23, blond, Double-Ds, green eyes probly; who knows really I wasn’t peeping the eyes. And I’m thinking look, this primped up dime-piece legit showed up to work like she trying to smash, O.D. It’s lit, son. So I’ve already made it my mission to cop brain off her, minimum.

Now when the paramedics scooped me I’d only drew enough blood to fire off Animate Word, and it’s like duh, five walking, talking, angry, power-infused letters are NOT gonna help me bag this chick. So I go the old fashioned route. Throw some negs, lay groundwork, and she hard body feeling me but like a tease calls in some “mental health technician” to trip up my game. Ugly motherfucker, this goon. Look like a circle I swear to god. This nigga is equidistant.

Don’t ask which word I animated ‘cause I didn’t lose enough blood to lay down the stop-gap. If either of us say the word now, I’ll have to contend with a sentient B-I…matter fact, I ain’t even tryna spell it out for you.

But a’ight they give me this checklist. Name: Brett. Age: 16. Race: Caucasian. Then the rest of it’s pretty much “what kinda crazy are you anyhow?” I write, “Bloodletting from the wrists is part of the spell ritual. HOP OFF MY NUTS. Because of you goons I only cast the first spell in the sequence and that’s the most retarded one.”

How am I supposed to practice the craft when I got a bunch of blorpy middle aged cuntbiscuits calling 911 over a harmless wrist cutting spell-prep?

Anyway I finish their checklist and THEY TAKE MY loving PHONE AWAY and then show me to my room. I swear as soon as they legalize it in this state I’m about to cast Low Key Murder on these clowns.

The next morning some whore wakes me up to check my vitals and ask about my mood. And it’s dumb early so I say, “My mood would be a lot better if you’d let me sleep, bitch—”

poo poo, watch out for them letters. No. NO. You gotta—here let me just *whack*. Now you the get the…yeah okay. Watch the C, it can roll around on ya. Oh poo poo, don’t let that T shank you. That motherfucker hurts like a bitch—gently caress, more of ‘em!



Phew, a’ight you good? Nah, you prolly won’t need stiches for that. So yeah so basically same thing happened when I said it there in the room, but this one squirrelly mother fucker got ganked even worse, so the staff gag me and put me on fifth floor lockdown.

Now it’s looking real bad for me, right? Like how’m I gonna cop dome off the babe nurse at a time like this? Well eventually she checks up on me with this social worker. The social worker, she pretty thick. Real slam pig, but she could get it I guess. Would conjugate her verbs, would not complete the sentence naw’mean?

Anyway we get talking and she pulling some straight Jedi poo poo. Like I’m getting O.D. choked up about my mom left, and this goon at Heely Park got fresh with me, and China cornered the wand market so how’m I gonna pull downtown bitches now that I’m a broke rear end. Hah! See that? You pluralize it and it’s all good.

The social worker leaves and the nurse asks if I need anything so I stall her. Start using that mind poo poo on her. Nah, not a spell. Actually kind of hard to draw good amounts of your own blood in a psych hospital, especially when you gettin the Hannibal Lecter treatment. Nah, I was just using regular mind poo poo, like asking about her family. And I poo poo you not, it turns out we’re second cousins. For realz son, I swear on my left nut.

And I wouldn’t mind smashing my cousin on the low if she a freak like that, I actually got a youtube video about I’m working on about the ethics of it, all I gotta do it make the jump cuts and post. But this one particular cousin, I’m not tyrna smash anymore. On some real poo poo, her side of the family is all dirtbags. Like you ever seen that movie The Mummy where the dude opens his mouth and all the bugs fly out of it? That’s how I imagine her pussy now that I know who she’s related to. So yeah no smash, spent five days in there, I could tell you more stories like they gave me a roommate, look like the poor man’s Bruce Lee, but that’s really all you need to know. A’ight it high noon yet? Give me the razor, I’m about to restart this ritual.

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly


Chili posted:

Your wizardry allows you give anima/life to any work of art: A sculpture, a painting, a photo, and so on.

A Call to the Restoration Crew
1100 words


We join our two players, Eardrum and Button, in the middle of a debate occurring at the pickup counter of American BrewTea, the local java-joint voted Best Cup of Coffee in Sparksville for the past six years running. It’s Halloween night, and the two are hoping for a phone call.

“So, Mr. Art History,” Button says as he retrieves his latte and pops off the lid, “What am I allowed to call these cute fuckin’ pumpkins on my coffee cup?”

Eardrum takes a sip of his flat black. “I don’t care what you call them,” he says, “but if they were printed by a machine, they aren’t art. That’s just the end of it.”

“Even though some poor rear end in a top hat had to draw this picture?” Button asks.

“Doesn’t matter,” Eardrum says. “Did that poor rear end in a top hat draw them on your cup specifically? Art has to be made by hand.”

Button has an obstinate response loaded in the chamber, but he holds his fire.

His phone is ringing.

***

All the houses on College Row are bursting with frat bros and their sorority sisters- boys and girls pushed into making bad decisions by pulsing music, peer pressure, and the fires of substances both legal and otherwise. Each house a microcosm of madness. All but one.

The brothers at Kappa Sig killed their party, because someone killed one of their own. Todd Waterman, formerly class of 2021, now covered by an NFL bedsheet soaked through with his own blood.

“Alright kiddos,” Button says, “someone’s daddy is paying us big to keep this off the news and off the dean’s desk, but in order for us to do that, you need to answer our questions and answer them quick. Who else knows about this scene?”

“Nobody,” one of the boys answers. He’s dressed like a redneck and looks like a real dick.

Eardrum removes the sheet and examines the body. Todd’s got a puncture wound in his neck with a few matching friends in his chest and stomach. In addition to the set of holes, Todd’s got a tattoo on his bicep of the green M&M in a sexy pin-up pose. She’s wrapped in a candy-striped bra with her tits thrust skyward. The image speaks to Eardrum.

“Are-” Button asks the brothers, but the world around Eardrum begins to blur. He touches the sexy M&M and momentarily channels some hidden energy.

Then, she leans back- stretching- like she just woke up from a long nap.

The M&M turns towards Eardum and leans in, giving him an impressive view down her top. “He’s wrong,” she whispers. “You think Todd would just be up here by his lonesome? There was a girl- a blonde- dressed like an angel, but not as sexy or delicious as me, mind you. Oh what she did to my poor Todd! What do you say about springing me loose from this skin and I’ll show you where she went. Maybe after we can find someplace private and take turns eating each other.”

“I don’t take chocolate to bed,” Eardrum says.

“Worried about staining your sheets?” she asks.

Eardrum isn’t interested in going any further, so he lifts his finger from Todd’s cold skin; the drawing returns to its place.

“You have any girls over before you kicked everyone out?” Eardrum asks the redneck.

“The Alpha Phi sisters,” he answers, “but none of them-”

“Save the story,” Eardrum says.

Button cuts in. “Now my friend needs to step out for a few while we start Todd’s disappearing act. Y’all got any bleach?”

***

Outside of the Alpha Phi house, Eardrum finds a jack-o-lantern. It’s all dopey and bucktoothed, carved with a wide, classic grin. He presses a hand to it; it’s willing to talk.

“You seen an angel come through here?” Eardrum asks.

“Gosh, all the girls that live here are angels,” it says in a slow cadence.

“No, I mean an actual angel. Actually dressed like an angel,” Eardrum says.

“Have you tried a church?” it asks.

Eardrum doesn’t have the time to clarify his question for a second time, but he does have the time to kick Jack’s smiling face into an orange pulp. Eardrum notices there’s another pumpkin with a demon carved into it sitting opposite to the pile-of-Jack. He decides to talk to it.

“Good job,” it says, “I’ve been wanting to do the same thing to that dumb motherfucker for weeks. I saw the angel head through the alley and around back. The other girls are still out. You could light some candles, bind her, bleed her, and whisper my true name into her mouth. Give me her body and I’ll give you eternal power.”

“Maybe another night,” Eardrum says.

The backdoor of the house connects directly to the kitchen, and when Eardrum peeps through the window, everything past the refrigerator is awash in the inky dark. He decides to break the lock and take his chances on the black.

“Who’s there?” a voice calls.

“Angel?” Eardrum asks. “We need to talk about Todd Waterman.”

“What about him?” the shaky voice asks.

“Let’s start with how you killed him.”

“I didn’t-”

“Look,” Eardrum says, “I’m just someone who’s paid to make this whole thing disappear, and I can’t do that if you disappear. Why don’t you turn on the light?”

She does.

Blonde. Blue eyes. She could be an actual angel if hadn’t just killed a guy.

“Now,” Eardrum asks, “what’d you use to open the kid up?”

“A screwdriver,” she says. “It was on his nightstand.”

“And where’s it now?” Eardrum asks.

“I don’t remember,” Angel says, “I threw it in a ditch when I ran here.”

“Angel, Angel, Angel-” Eardrum says, “I’ve seen some serious poo poo since I’ve entered my line of work, but that picture up in the boy’s bedroom? It’s going to take a lot of drinking to wash that one away. How many holes did you punch in him? Six? Seven? You’re an artist with that screwdriver.”

“Who are you?” she asks.

“I’m someone getting paid to erase it all,” Eardrum says, “ so you and I are going to retrace your every step until you find that loving screwdriver. When you do, my partner and I will make the body go away and we’ll help you get away.”

“And if we can’t find it?” She asks.

Eardrum doesn’t reply.

“Okay,” she says, nodding after a moment. “You know he tried to-”

“Intent doesn’t matter,” Eardrum says. “Not for him. Not for you. Not for the people paying us. The only thing that matters is finding that screwdriver. Hurry up now; you’re wasting time.”

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012



Sitting Here posted:

You can siphon off power from praise and worship of any kind, however the gods you're cheating may not always look kindly on it.

The Satanists
1266 words

The sun, bloated and dripping red, lowers itself onto a horizon of rusting smokestack spikes and the sawblade edge of abandoned factory roofs. The road is a rotten lacework of bitumen draped over the pitted earth. We’re taking it slow with the van — it’s already broken down on us twice during this tour, and it’s gotta live at least a few more weeks before we get home again.

We’re playing a bar on the outskirts of town, in the middle of an old industrial zone: a weathered clapboard shack near an overpass, at one point painted black. The windows glow dully orange through filthy glass. A piece of butcher’s paper is stapled to the door, on which someone has scrawled the words “Tonight: Abysscerated” with a black brush.

Sal brings the van up to the curb and kills the engine, but doesn’t take her hands off the wheel. “Tell me this is rock bottom.”

I unbuckle my seatbelt. “Nah, it gets way worse than this.”

Jez and Meph pile out of the back of the van and pull the cargo doors open. Say one thing for Abysscerated, we know how to pack a van: the view from outside is like one of those Peruvian stone walls were everything just fits together, except instead of rocks it’s amps, cabs, drums, and piles of road-beaten guitars.

The door to the bar opens and this guy who looks like a three-hundred pound version of Anton LaVey comes sauntering out. “You’re late, you fuckers,” he says.

-666-

Five weeks into tour, no-one’s particularly jazzed about loading in. Especially not here. The bar smells like old spilt beer and vomit that no-one ever bothered to clean up, and there’s not so much a stage as a bare corner of the bar where the floor slants down at thirty degrees, with a single scorch-marked electrical outlet half dangling from the wall. There are four people in the whole place, including the bartender -- a couple old dudes who clearly aren’t here for the show, and one vagrant-looking type who looks like he’s been posted up here a while.

We trudge back and forth between stage and van, hauling heavy gear. We all plug in to the one socket, and mercifully it seems to be holding, for now: the big power tubes inside our amp heads sputter to glowing life and buzz menacingly.

Once everything’s in place, we sit down at a little table at the back end of the bar with a pitcher of beer that tastes like warm piss. I’m seriously thinking about calling it right then, getting back in the van and getting the hell out of this shithole, when there’s a roar of engines outside the bar. In twos and threes, and then fives and tens, the bar starts to fill with serious metalheads. Long greasy hair cascades down over the shoulders of black denim vests adorned with shredded Inquisition and Anaal Nathrakh patches. Sigils of Baphomet and ornate inverted crosses are tattooed over every expanse of exposed skin. Boots, belts, and bracers: all black leather, all hammered through with long rusting nails.

Jez puts her beer down. “Well, poo poo,” she says. “This was unexpected.”

There must be easily a hundred and fifty metalheads crammed into this place and, if the mere idea of a building code inspector were anything but a cruel joke in this town, I’d wager the theoretical posted maximum occupancy would top out somewhere around forty.

-666-

We take the stage. The crowd looks at us dispassionately. “We are Abysscerated,” I say into the mic in a low guttural growl. “This song is called: Hierophant of the Pit.”

It’s been a long, weird day, and the first song in our set does not come out of the gates strongly. Jez drops a stick before we’re even out of the intro and spends a good few bars fumbling for it as it tries to roll away on the slanted floor. Something’s up with Meph’s bass tone, maybe the tubes aren’t hot, maybe one of the cones in the cab is about to go, who knows. Sal and I take forever to lock in right with our guitars, and my vocals are just plain poo poo. Hierophant of the Pit is a bone simple repeating riff pattern, but even so: we barely limp over the line to finish the song. It’s a mess, and the crowd is starting to sour on us already.

I feel like I have to bring us back from the brink, so I decide to launch into my Satanic Rit spiel early -- normally I do this as a bit of a third-act wake-up call, but: desperate times, et cetera. “Congregants of the Temple of Lucifer,” I snarl into the microphone. “Tonight we ask that you join us in ritual. Let our metal rise as paean to our Dark Lord. Raise your horns in salutation: Hail. loving. Satan.”

I raise horned fists above my head and the crowd responds entirely in kind: they are eating this poo poo up. The energy they project is palpable, dark and hot. The entire room takes on a swirling aura of black flame, and I swear I can almost touch it. I reach for the aura, this Satanic devotion projected outwards, and I want it for myself. I feel like I can take it.

“This next song is called: Sunday Morning Mass Cremation.”

This time, we get up on the horse like we’re riders of the apocalypse. I feel myself absorbing the blackened power of the ritual and channeling it to my bandmates. Jez’s drums pound and clatter behind me like a smoking engine of war. Meph’s bass boils and churns like a storm-wracked ocean of black blood. Sal’s guitar screams like a lamb with a slit throat, and my own guitar barks in my hands like a feral dog. I approach the mic and pull my lips back over my teeth, and the roar that explodes from within me curls flakes of paint away from the walls. The crowd transitions instantaneously from a stoic assembly to a flailing conflagration of tattooed limbs and whipping hair.

Dark power courses through our fingers and travels through our cords to be amplified. We play like werewolves on a full moon.

-666-

Hours later, the floor is covered in blood and broken glass. Bodies lie strewn across the floor, unmoving. The vagrant at the bar hasn’t moved since we arrived, but now comes over to our table and sits down. While there’s nothing particularly untoward-looking about the guy, there’s something about him that makes my blood run cold.

“You guys are pretty good,” he says, “but you have something that belongs to me, and I can’t let you leave with it.”

He holds his hand outstretched. I feel something tear at my insides like velcro as the black aura is ripped from my body, spilling from my mouth in a mist and coagulating in the palm of the man’s hand. Black fog tendrils spill from the mouths of my bandmates, and their bodies twist in pain, their eyes rolled back in their heads. My mouth tastes like blood. The man closes his fist and draws it back to himself, and my vision goes cloudy.

-666-

The next thing we know, the sun’s overhead and we’re all sitting in the van on the outskirts of town, our gear expertly packed into the back of the van despite no-one being able to recall having done it. None of us says a word. We head back to the highway, and then back from where we came.

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

Rule: Your power relies on intense visualization, which allows you to bring objects or beings out of your mind and into the world. Small, simple things are easier. Large or elaborate things can take a toll. Your meditations can be empowered by a rare, enchanting form of music.


The Wizard's Hoard

1288 words

Crack!

Lucy hit the ball pure, and it sailed into the bruised Wisconsin sky. It cleared the giant maple at the edge of their property before disappearing.

Her brother's eyes widened, then quickly darkened. "Home run. You win."

Lucy smirked, tossed the bat, and trotted around the rock bases they had scattered around the patchy grass of their backyard.

"Your turn to go get it," her brother said. "Then a rematch."

No problem. Lucy climbed the fence and peeked into Mrs. Morris' impeccable backyard oasis next door. No sign of the ball. Unease clenched her belly. If the ball wasn't in Mrs. Morris' yard, that meant...

"Uh, you get it Darryl. Pul-eease??" She put as much sugar as possible into her ten-year-old voice.

He scowled. "Hell no, it's your turn. What are you, afraid?"

Lucy swallowed hard.

She dropped into Mrs. Morris' yard, but couldn't find the ball. She'd hit it so hard it must have flown completely over and all the way into the next yard.

Which was about the scariest thing she could think of.

Clotted with weeds as tall as her, teeming with insects, the yard beyond was separated by a low chain-link fence. Lucy hesitated, then imagined her big brother's impatience. She shook her head. She was too old to be scared of something so stupid. She never really believed all the stories her brother told her about the house two doors up.

An easy climb, get in, grab the ball, and get out. Nothing bad was going to happen.

Nothing, she repeated to herself, then exhaled and scaled the fence.

She dropped into another world. The weeds were so thick she had to push them aside to move anywhere. They bent before her but not without leaving angry white scratches across her arms and legs.

Lucy looked around, desperate. Where was the ball? It had to be here somewhere. It was her brother's; returning without it was not an option.

The weeds started to thin out ahead of her as she moved, eyes searching the ground. Then she heard the wizard's voice for the first time.

"Looking for this, young lady?"

Lucy looked up, eyes wide. Right in front of her, on a simple concrete porch, sat the most unusual looking man. His skin reminded her of Daddy's wallet, all brown and thin and leathery, and from his chin sprouted tufts of white hair that drifted down towards his belly, of which there was not much to speak. He was not much larger than her, in fact—and she was small for her age. He wore a tattered bathrobe over striped pajamas.

Her heart skipped. He was holding out a Frisbee towards her. His eyes were dark but not unkind.

"No...I'm looking for a ball," Lucy said.

"Ah. He tossed the Frisbee aside and closed his eyes for a moment. Lucy watched it disappear into the weeds. "Like this?" he asked.

Now he was holding a football. She didn't see where he'd gotten it from. It simply appeared in his hands.

"No, a baseball. I hit it in here—"

"Of course!" he said. "A young girl like you wouldn't be playing, err..." he looked down, tossed the football aside, then for some reason seemed embarrassed. "I don't mean to offend. Don't get many visitors."

He closed his eyes and a baseball appeared in his hand. Gleaming white with perfect red stitching. The wizard smiled and tossed it to her.

"Thanks," Lucy said, catching it. "But this isn't it. How did you....where'd you get this?" Because there was nothing else on his patio save for his tattered lawn chair and a small transistor radio from which trickled strange sounding music. The baseball—and the football—had appeared out of thin air..

"Oh, you know," he said, waving his hand dismissively. "I made it."

Lucy looked down at the ball. It was much nicer than her brother's. Flawless and solid in her hand, like something the pros would use.

She knew she should go, get back to her yard. Her brother was waiting, but she hesitated. "How did you make it? Was that magic? Are you a magician?"

"Something like that, yes. It's what I do. I think of things and will them into being."

Lucy was confused by that. But she was very curious so she pressed on. "You can think about something and it appears in your hand? Like anything? Toys? Food, even? Like, how about ice cream?" Her stomach growled at the thought. Mommy had been sleeping all day and made nothing for lunch.

The wizard chuckled. He closed his eyes, and a double chocolate ice cream cone appeared. Lucy laughed and clapped her hands before accepting it from him. It was real, and delicious.

"I should probably make one for me, too." he said, and did so. They sat in silence, eating their ice cream cones, regarding each other. Only the tinkle of far away music from his radio broke their frozen reverie.

"So what do you do?" Lucy finally asked. "I mean, with your power?"

"Oh, I used to do a whole lot," the wizard replied. "Traveled the world, to other worlds, even. Many adventures." His eyes got a far away look. "It was glorious. Wonderful. But then, well, she died. And it all ended." His voice got quiet. "So now I'm here."

"Okay. But what do you do now?" Lucy asked.

"I remember. And I make things. Things to remind me of her."

"Where are they?"

The wizard waved towards the broken-down house behind him.

"Can I see?"

"Oh, young lady," he laughed softly. "You're so curious. So much like her. But I don't think so." And he looked embarrassed for the second time in their short acquaintance.

"Please? I won't break anything."

The wizard looked at Lucy closely, then sighed. "Okay, a peek. But then you must be off! Your brother will be getting worried."

She doubted that. The wizard rose and tottered to the screen door, sliding it open. "Just look, my dear. Don't go inside."

His warning was pointless, for his tiny house was packed with so many things that entering would have been impossible. Books, pictures, goblets, trinkets, papers, statues, weapons, maps, jewelry, mysterious gadgets—stacks upon precarious stacks of treasures and trash everywhere she looked. It was more things than she'd seen in her whole life. The house was so jammed full that Lucy doubted she'd be able to even get one pinkie toe inside without sending it all crashing down.

"There's so much," Lucy breathed.

"I loved my wife very much."

She turned to him. "She really liked having a lot of stuff, huh?"

"Funny thing is that she didn't, really," the wizard said. "But all this...it helps me remember her."

"That's weird."

He chuckled. "Maybe it is. But I seem to be much better at creating things than letting them go."

Lucy thought for a moment. "Then maybe you need to make a new house to live in. One without so much stuff."

The wizard regarded Lucy closely, his face unreadable, for a long while. Then he straightened and cleared his throat. "You are like her indeed. Curious, and wise." The corner of his mouth turned up in a slight smile. "But it's getting late and you should head home."

"Okay, mister. Thanks for the baseball. And the ice cream."

The weeds weren't so bad on the way back.

Later that night, as Lucy lay in her bed listening to the breeze blow through the maple trees, she heard the strange tinkling of the wizard's music swell in volume for a moment, and then echo into silence.

I should have asked him for a new bike, she thought as she drifted off.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



Earthmover
1195 words


After I died, things got a mite unusual. I met a .38 rimfire shot from an H&A revolver with my brain-pan, and it was not a pleasant encounter.

The local townsfolk were nice enough to provide me with a sturdy pine dwelling-place to call my own. Me, a mere itinerant fortune-teller with a flair for the dramatic and a hawk-head staff that I had on good authority was once clutched by the Shah of Persia. I had parked my travelling caravan on the edge for town for a week, trying to save some money and stock up for passage over Cheyenne Mountain.

It was Friday when one of my customers seemed not to take a liking to me. He was normally not the type I would agree to give a reading for, but he offered triple my usual rate. He was running for some office, I heard, and he was the Governor’s nephew to boot. He wanted to know his chances in the horse-race.

Big Bill, he said his name was. He didn’t look like much, sitting across the table from me in my little wagon, snapping at my questions, spitting, scratching his arms. I turned over the cards and tried to render my prognostication as ginger-like, fair, and level-headed as I could manage. But the news enraged him nonetheless.

He demanded his money back. I must admit my reflexive refusal seemed much more like a principled and righteous stand to take with an armed belligerent before the contents of my skull were splashed across the walls.

I don’t know who knew. I don’t know who saw him go into my wagon, or who saw him leave. But I do know he never saw the inside of a jail cell.

So, down I went in my little pine vessel. I filled the earth and the earth soon filled me. It seeped in through the cracks, and all manner of creeping crawlers came in with it.

I slept, until one day, I heard a rumbling from below. “You have come to us too soon,” it said, and in its voice the grinding of mountains against mountains. Big Bill, it explained, was buying tracts of land to cut down all their trees and sell the lumber. “You will put a stop to this,” the voice said.

I’d love to, I thought, but I’m feeling right stymied down here.

“You need only ask, and we shall make way.”

I tried to concentrate, and felt mighty foolish. But by and by, mote by mote, pebble by stone by clod of dirt, the earth gave way and opened up and spit me out into the cold damp of night.

———

I took stock. I was me. I was whole, more or less. My grave bore a pitiful chalked wood marker, reading only “The Great Shazzir,” no date of birth. I still wore my fortune-teller getup. There was still a half-inch hole in my forehead. I reckoned that was best not left as it was, so I plugged it with some wax from an extinguished candle at the gravedigger’s station. I unwound my long “turban” and re-purposed the cloth. Then I walked back into town.

My mouth tasted of mushrooms and earthworms. I smelled only musty earth as I walked, until I caught the smoke from a single fire still alight at this hour. I headed to the source, to the mayor’s mansion, sitting at the end of the main thoroughfare. I knew this was the place.

I climbed the stone stairs and pressed on the large front door, but it was locked. I felt the termites living in the soil under the foundation. With a few words of encouragement, they climbed up through the cracks and onto the door. They feasted on the wood around the hinges. One solid kick and I was inside.

A tall, thin man jumped from a chair by the door. He grabbed for his revolver as I said a few words, and his leather holster frayed and disintegrated and the trigger rusted solid in his hands.

“Big Bill,” I said, through my makeshift bandanna mask.

The thin man collapsed into the wall, whimpering. The gun fell from his hands and shattered with a crack on the floor. He pointed upstairs, then ran out into the night as I moved towards the stairs.

I paused by each door along the gallery. Each was cold and empty—until I came to the last. There, I heard breathing, ragged, trying to calm itself. I pushed in the door and heard a crash. A chair clattered on the floor. The bed was empty; the dying embers in the fireplace threw weird shadows across the room.

I moved inside and a gunshot rang out, nearly taking my jaw off. A woman wearing only a chemise was crouched on the far side of the bed, gripping a rifle.

“I’ll ignore that,” I rasped, pulling the scorched and ruined cloth from my head. There was no pain, just an itching pressure in the space below my mouth. “Where is he?” I moved forward. The gun trembled in her hands. She hid her face as I crossed the room.

The curtain blew in the breeze from the open window and I moved to it. No, not open. Glass glinted from the ground below. I saw the hitching posts where horses must have been tied. There were several frayed ropes hanging loose, swaying in the breeze, and many hoofprints leading south through the muck. But I had no need for horses.

I leapt through the window. The ground reached up and caught my shoes.

I followed his trail on foot, into the foothills, as night turned into day, never stopping, never tiring. When the ground turned hard and rocky, I listened to the stones. They echoed recent hoofstrikes. Where the trail crossed a creek, I scooped mud from the banks and weighed it in each hand.

As I climbed into the Cheyenne, I came close enough to smell it, the fear, the uncomprehending rage. Near a mountain spring I passed a dark, shod horse laying on its side, panting, broken, its mouth covered in foam, pushed beyond exhaustion. I was close. The scent of campfire wafted through the air.

I rounded a cliff face and it came into view: a campsite built within a slight recess in the cliff wall, a rocky divot overlooking a steep fall. And in the back, behind a smoldering firepit lined with discarded bones of small game, a figure lay on his back, motionless, with his hat on his face. He had become old and fat with the comfort of his position. It seemed he had grown into his nickname.

“Big Bill,” I said.

There was an explosion from within the cave and my chest burst open, dry and graveyard-dusty. He had a sawn-off shotgun concealed in his jacket. But that wouldn’t be enough to stop me.

He had emptied both barrels. He cowered in the back of the cavern, struggling to reload, as I dove onto him and the cavern walls enveloped us. We fell down, through the rocky soil, returning to the earth, until all was peaceful once more.


You invoke the voices from the deep places of this world. Only you know what they say.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

You're the wizard of holes. Big holes, small holes, portable holes, holes that lead to other holes and form a tunnel, holes in souls (and soles), you name it. Got a problem? There's bound to be a magic hole for you!
wordcount:1283

Minding the gap

"Mind the gap!" said the disembodied voice but Tim barely noticed. It was half past midnight, the perfect time for riding the Tube between worlds. He swung through the train doors just before they closed, the vertiginous 'gap' yawning like a precipice as he hopped over it, and took his seat on the quarter-full car.

Tim revelled in the familiar feeling of acceleration toward the infinite, unknown darkness. He loved the way the posters on the walls of the station passed slowly, then faster, turning into blurs of colour only to vanish, replaced by the stygian blackness of the underground. The windows turned into mirrors as fluorescent light from inside the carriage became the only light there was.

Watching himself closely, Tim combed his ragged beard with his hand. Behind him, in mirrorland, a suit with a goatee tried not to fall asleep. Tim smiled a toothy grin and worked his magic, feeling the edges of the underground, linking hooks in his imagination which rotated around the edge of the holes as they pulled and connected various intricate dimensions. The image of himself in mirrorland died in an explosion of light, as the tube train shot out of the inky black and into the glass conveyance tube high above the pyramids of Raza II

This was the best bit - Tim laughed at the half past midnight crowd, their drunk, high, in love faces. Some were too busy staring into each other's eyes to even notice Tim, or the change in vista. Some moaned and rubbed at their foreheads, as if warding off their inevitable hangover. Some just stared slack-jawed as the jewelled plains of Razanax passed by below with stately grace. Around them, the glass caused weird distortions to the flat of the landscape as the tube bent around an endless moving staircase. Tim craned his neck to see it vanish into the green clouds above, chortling and clapping his hands.

Like a roller coaster past the top of its highest peak, the train dipped its front and sped even faster. Unused to anything but the imperceptible gradients of home, even the most loved-up of passengers noticed this sudden shift in gravity. A few even gasped as Tim yelled and the train plummeted headfirst toward the side of a giant greenstone pyramid and into the opaque cavern in its side. Mirror-Tim grinned in silence as Tim cast his mental hooks and rerouted the train to its destination.

"Mind the gap!"

A few of Tim's fellow passengers shuffled off the train, surreptitiously looking at one another. No one said a word, but no one ever did. Tim watched them file past. The last one, the suit with a goatee, hung briefly to a strap while looking uncertainly at the gap. When he finally moved, he stumbled, but the doors closed behind him and the train set off before Tim could see what had occurred. The posters drifted, then sped.

The car lights flickered, and everything disappeared entirely for a fraction of a second. Tim felt the vibrations as the tube car rattled and shook, but as soon as the lights returned he was alone. But not quite - the reflections of the remaining passengers were still in the windows.
The lights went off again. They did not come back on.

"Mind the Gap!"

Tim blinked, trying to clear his eyes of the darkness, but it seemed to make no difference if he had them open or shut. His body felt as if it was still seated, still subject to the rattling movement, but as he twisted around, reaching out for something, anything, to grab hold of, that sensation fell away.

"Mind the Gap!"

Tim stood silently, reaching outwards with his imagination, casting about in the darkness for another hole to sink his mental hooks into, by which he could drag himself out of the abyss. But holes were emptiness in matter, and in the total darkness, there was no matter to be empty. His hooks fell away, unable to catch.

"Mind the"

Tim grunted in extreme annoyance and stamped his foot.

A hiss crackled and Tim sensed light behind him. He spun around to see projected upon nothingness, was an old black and white movie, a safety video entitled "Mind the Gap!" Tim didn't even bother to watch it. He focussed on the tracking holes that lay in the film itself and tore into them to see what lay behind.

On screen, the film fractured and warped like it was melting, but behind it wasn't the gleaming white of the projection beam. There were bodies. A huge pile of bodies stacked one atop the other. A wall of bodies, pressed and squashed, those at the bottom forced into impossible positions by the weight of the others, their silently screaming mouths their only possible movement in the darkness. And at the very top, a goateed man in a suit, illuminated from above, scrabbling for something unreachable above him.

Tim stared in horror as another body fell, injuring the goateed man, climbing over him, boot in face, to take his place reaching upwards.

And then the lights came on as the tube pulled into the station. The doors opened.

"Mind the gap!"

Tim ran for the door, skidded to his knees on the platform outside and peered down into the gap between platform and train. He saw hands ands fingers reaching upwards, grasping toward the light of the station. He reached out with the tendrils of his mind, but his hooks could not grasp well enough as they rotated through the dimensions. The gap was two edges along an infinite plain, not holes and Tim knew he only had power over holes. He forced himself to think. Perhaps it would be all right. Perhaps they would reach the top eventually, and be able to climb out. The train doors shut, and Tim knew that it would pull away in a moment, and the gap would be gone. He could not be sure it would return when the next train arrived. These were strange times. He would have to act.

Tim lay by the gap, imagining. He saw the bottom of it , just as he had behind the film, with the people squashed and broken. He saw the open mouths, lungs too crushed to scream. He cast his hooks into the bloody, blackened lips of the very lowest one and twisted them into intricate dimensions, widening them further and further, stretching them to the vast width of the gap itself. At the same time, he imagined the hooks in his own mouth, tearing his lips in the same way, pulling them beyond all endurance.

And then, one by one, the body beneath the bodies consumed those above, and Tim vomited them onto the platform. His throat burned with tearing hooks, but he persisted, until the last of them was reborn to stagger toward the streets above.

Tim lay there, gagging and making retching noises on his empty stomach. The was an acrid smell from his beard and he tasted blood. It wasn't enough, he realised, there was still the one body at the other end, his partner in rescue, all alone now, stretched taut and screaming for the light with all its new found breath.

Tim reached into his mouth hole, grabbed something made of flesh and began to to pull it out, feeling himself pulled in through other side.

****

Beneath the station, looking ever upwards towards the thin strip of light, Tim waits for falling bodies to rescue. It isn't as much fun as taking the tube between worlds, but it needs to be done, so he doesn't mind the gap at all.

Capfalcon
Apr 6, 2012

No Boots on the Ground,
Puny Mortals!



Prompt: You work with gemstones. Their unique frequencies sing to you, and you can direct their properties into powerful magic.

Diamonds are a Wizard's Biggest Headache
1295 words

I loving hate it when I have to use a sapphire. Rubies are all piss and vinegar, ready to do anything destructive at the drop of a hat. On the other hand, opals love showing off, so it’s easy to flatter them into weaving an illusion. Even emeralds - sleepy, lazy emeralds - will eventually do what I want, if only so I’ll stop bothering them and let them get back to their nap.

But sapphires? They’re always second guessing me. The one in my hand is starting to lecture me, its languid voice dripping with derision as it says, “Are you suuuure that’s the best place to freeze the lock? I think you should try about annnn inch to the left?” I whisper to the stone in my gloved hand, “Yes, I am sure this is the right spot. I’ve had a quartz looking this lock over for days, and if you would just freeze it, you’ll see that I’m right.”

The sapphire keeps talking.

The worst are diamonds, though. They’re insufferable moralizers, always arguing that their power be used for the greater good. Which is a problem, because their power has such a broad, unpredictable effect. You see, diamonds can grant wishes. The bigger the diamond, the bigger the wish. An engagement ring has enough juice to do something affecting about two or three people. But, those kind of wishes are always more trouble than they’re worth. I’ve got to do so much work to convince a diamond to do anything, that I haven’t really spoken with one in years. After all, if I’m going to spend that long talking up a diamond, I had to be getting something pretty amazing out of it.

And that’s why I’m standing outside a service entrance to the National Museum of National History at one in the morning, trying to freeze a lock with this mouthy sapphire.

I’m going to steal the Hope Diamond.

---

Even though I was wearing a glove, I have to rub some feeling back in my frigid hand as I slip into the darkened hallway. As I take a single step, I wince as I my footstep echoes on the marble floor. My heart starts racing. Before I know it, I’m wondering why I thought this was a good idea. I mean, I have a good life as a jeweler. Good money, easy work. Convincing gemstones to work their magic for me might be tedious at times, but the one thing that every gem loved was being shaped into a beautiful cut. While I was working, I’d even do a little bit of my own magic to clean them up, removing cloudiness and mending fractures.

I shake my head to clear the stray thoughts. I take another step down the hall, and that’s when I see a light bobbing up and down from around the corner. I slip my hand in my pocket and hug against the wall. As the guard turns the corner, I try to get a better look at him. His features are hard to make out, but he looks to be an older man with white tufts of hair peeking out from under his cap. His voice is a gruff whisper as he asks, “Is someone there?” My heart stops as his flashlight lingers on me. The light is blinding in the darkness, and I have to squint to see anything.

The longest second of my life passes before the flashlight moves back to the hallway in front of him.

Even through my dilated eyes, I see him shrug and turn back to the hall in front of him. The light bobs on, and I release the death grip I had on the opal in my pocket. When he rounds the corner, I whisper, doing my best to sound properly chastised, “I confess, I didn’t think you’d be able to manage it. You sure proved me wrong”

All I get back is a self satisfied snort.

---

I peek my head around the arch to the display hall. Even at night, the circle of lights over the display case stay on, leaving the cubic case lit and the Hope diamond glittering. The rest of the room is lit only by the lights from the display, causing the columns around the display to cast long shadows along the floor. Still shaken up from my previous run in with the guard, I try to hide in one of the shadows as I creep towards the center of the room. I realize that, if anyone was watching, I’d look ridiculous. The shadows are not nearly deep enough to come anywhere close to hiding me, but simply strolling up to the display case feels wrong, like I’d be tempting fate.

An eternity later, I’m standing in front of the case, looking at the greyish-blue diamond. It’s surrounded by smaller, white diamonds that that form a slightly squashed circle, and the chain itself contains a multitude of diamonds. For a moment, I just stare at it, in awe of its beauty. Then, I get to work.

I take out a ruby with my left hand, and I don’t even have to say a word before it starts burning through the thick, glass box. Red blobs of molten glass dribble down the case, deeply scoring both sides, and the air in my lungs is suddenly dry and hot. Trembling, my ungloved hand inches forward, waiting for something to go wrong. As my fingers curl around the cool metal and stone, I let out the breath I didn’t even realize I was holding.

Easy.

---

“Yes, but think of the tertiary effects? What is the sudden appearance of all that money going to do to th-?”

I interrupt the tinkling voice with a deep groan and throw a notepad filled with crossed out wish ideas across the room at the glittering necklace hanging on the brick wall.

It’s been like this for seven goddamn weeks. I come up with a wish; Hope (yes, I’ve started referring to a gem by a real name, and yes, I realize that’s mental) comes up with a theoretical person hurt by the wish. I point out the clear good I could do with the money/knowledge/horn of cornucopia/etc, and that’s when the other stones in the setting all start taking Hope’s side in a sycophantic chorus. Then, I yell to make myself heard, and we start all over again.

I sigh and slump down into my chair. While I’m tapping my pencil on the desk, Hope actually starts the conversation, saying in a voice made of wind-chimes, “You seem happy.”

I let out a bitter snort, saying, “I know you don’t get out much, but are you seriously that bad at reading people?”

“You are annoyed that I am not simply doing as you say, yes, but you seem to have a good life. Why did you go to all the trouble of stealing me if you did not have something you truly wanted? All of the wishes so far clearly do not mean very much to you. As soon as I offer significant objection to a wish, you abandon it and jump to another idea.”

I don’t answer for about a minute as I look around the room. It’s a fair point. The wish seemed so much more important before I had it. I keep tapping my pencil and think a while longer. But, I almost drop it when I realize what I want. I sit up and look across the room to the necklace on the wall as I say, “What if… I didn’t want a big wish, or even any wish? How about you just keep me company as I work?”

Without missing a beat, Hope says, “Granted.”

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009



Lipstick Apathy

quote:

You may steal very pure, very sincere wishes from others, and grant them for yourself.

The Dream Taker

1220 words

"This is it," Mary asked herself, "This is just a run-down apartment complex. Why would a 'great and powerful wizard' live here?"

She climbed the stairs up to the third floor of the poorly lit building and walked to a door near the end of the hall.

"I don't know why you want to learn and I don't care," a voice from behind the door replied before she could even knock, "If you're serious, here's a list of meditation techniques, herbs and chants. Follow it and come back in a couple weeks."

A frail hand reached out the door holding a stack of papers. She grabbed them and left

A few weeks later she was back at the apartment. Before she even finished walking up the stairs she heard a click from down the hall as the apartment door opened and a sickly old man stepped out. "Let's go," he said, "You have the power now, all you need is to learn how to use it."

They exited the building and went into the parking lot. The wizard motioned to an old car that was clearly high end half a century ago but had fallen into disrepair. "From an old wish," he said, get in and we'll go find a wish to try your new powers on."

They drove off down the road, the wizard using his years of training to effortlessly search for wishes. "Once you've got a feel for the magic," he continued, "all you have to do is listen and you'll feel the desires of the people around you. Most will seem distant. Petty or selfish wants and unfocused whims will seem distant but wishes stemming from selflessness or true need have a blinding intensity and you'll feel like you could reach out and touch them. That's the key to my magic, if you try hard enough and the wish is strong enough, you can. Anything they want, I can make it mine; it can be yours too once you get the hang of it. Anything at all, just as long as it's truly worth wanting.

"Ok, see that guy on the corner," he asked, slowing down the car and pointing to a man who was clearly destitute.

"Huh? Yeah," Mary replied.

"Close your eyes, it'll help you look better. Close your eyes and try to sense his desires."

The apprentice closed her eyes and looked out. "Ok, yeah, I'm getting something, there's, there's too much!"

She slammed her head back against the chair in shock. "It's so bright, what the hell? And it's so heavy, there's so much pressure."

"Good," the wizard said smiling, "now listen. That man is starving and since that's his most immediate and most honest need it's the dominant one. Once that is satisfied his other desires will be easier to discern. use your training and grab hold of it, give it a physical form."

She made no reply, instead focusing on trying to grasp the power of the homeless man's wish and give it physical form. Suddenly a large sandwich on a ridiculously oversized baguette appeared in her hands, stretching all the way back to the rear window.

"That's it," she asked, "no flashing lights or a loud ping or anything? I was just suddenly holding it."

Yes," he responded, hungrily glancing at their sudden feast, "now, in a minute I want you to tear off a chunk and give it to him. Before you do that, take another look, notice how dull the wish is now that you've taken it. He's still hungry but his desire is all frayed now and he's not going to actively work on fulfilling it the way he did before you took it."

Opening her mind again, she noticed that the wish was still there and still massive, it lacked the brightness and physical presence it once did. She closed off her second sight after considering it a moment and then ripped off a chunk of sandwich, dutifully following her task to feed the homeless man, assuming that granting someone's wish was an integral part of the magic, like she was learning to become some kind of genie.

"Ok," she said after reentering the car, "so now what? Does granting his wish give me more power or something?"

The old wizard grinned. "Not quite," he said, chuckling to himself, "Look again."

She opened her second sight a third time and focused on the man. Needs of shelter, want of wealth and stability, desire to numb the pain of existence, all the usual thoughts from someone who lacked everything were present. They all appeared with varying degrees of brightness but they seemed to lack the depth his hunger had before. Instead of the mass weighing down all around her, even the man's brightest desires seemed distant, more like his wishes were a mural than an actual physical thing.

"You've learned your first real lesson." the old man said with a halfhearted smile, "I was never teaching you how to grant wishes, you're stealing them."

"What?"

"Why do you think it looed drab and worn after you took the strength of it? See how his other desires are all so far out of reach now? He's immune to it now and the only reason the wish you stole is gone is because you satisfied it for him, now he doesn't even have it anymore."

"So wait, I didn't need to feed him? What's the point of sharing with him if I'm a thief now?"

"Point? Ha," he laughed as he drove off, "What's the point of confessing a crime after you've gotten away with it? What's the point of making amends to someone who doesn't even know they've been wronged? Why am I living in an apartment the size of a closet in a run down building instead of in a mansion paid for in winning lottery tickets born from the desire to save orphanages from closing. Think about that."

They both sat in silence for a few minutes, the hum of a car engine made of stolen dreams the only thing breaking the silence.

"The guilt from benefitting off broken hearts isn't even the worst part," the old wizard said as he leaned back in his seat as he pulled into a hospital parking lot, "it's knowing you could make a difference if the wish was different. I'm not just talking about taking care of easily fixed problems. It's the wording of a wish that can make thing's tricky. You know survivor guilt, when people narrowly survive an accident only to look at the victim and think 'That should've been me'? Let's just say that taking a bullet for someone is a hard thing to do, especially when you know you could've fixed it without hurting yourself if only instead they'd wished for a way to help.

"But now that someone else is around to do the easy stuff I guess I wouldn't mind burning out on one last wish. Goodbye. I hope it'll be easier in the future."

He walked off into the building without letting her say a word, his last wish a parting gift to help her in her new calling.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


-archived-

ThirdEmperor fucked around with this message at Dec 25, 2017 around 13:58

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

archives

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Jan 8, 2018 around 21:28

Phobia
Apr 25, 2011

I'm a suave detective with a heart of gold in hot pursuit of the malevolent, manipulative
MIAMI MUTILATOR
and the deranged degenerates who only want their
15 MINUTES OF FAME.


OCK.


Sitting Here posted:

Young, orphaned animals and children come to you. They remain your tirelessly obedient companions until they can't anymore.
The Alter on The Mount
1300 words

The Master woke up before The Apprentice and watched the dark, foggy valley below them. The Mount is steep and dark. The Master could not afford to give up now, but this was enough to make his resolve quiver. The Master caught his breath. He listened. The Astral Rift was close, he could feel its hiss drumming the small bones of his ear. Ten years he's had to deal with the hiss of the Astral Rift. Ten years of failure. How could this expedition be any different from the others?

No. They were so close.

The trail snakes around the mountain. There is an sharp drop a few paces from where The Master stood. The twisted clouds and the fog made it difficult to see past the verge, but even if the skies were clear, he knew the view would be far from gorgeous. Breathtaking in the worst way, jagged rock, twisted timber and the rotting bodies of The Apprentice's predecessors.

Below them. Behind them. Ahead of them. It was all the same.

They call it Death Mount for a reason.

The Master sensed The Apprentice rising. There is no time to waste. He turned back to his camp and prepared for the last day of their travels.

His current apprentice was young, but the fire in her eyes was palpable even in the relative dark. She was trained by her forebear, who had been trained by his forebear, and so on, as it has been, as it shall be. The previous apprentice's intelligence served him well, but he was innately curious and that brought the same verge The Master stood over.

Even with the knowledge that her predecessor's demise, The Apprentice was unflappable. This was not unusual. They always insisted on joining The Master on his quest, but the previous apprentices were unable to hide their discontent, the understandable fear as they trekked further up The Mount. But The Apprentice is different. Even with the knapsacks over her shoulder she stood tall, a quiet confidence radiating from her even in the thick fog. Courage? Stupidity? Or just an act? The Master was not sure and could not hazard a guess.

The Astral Rift is eternal, but it has existed at the summit for only a decade. It is constantly changing and morphing. It is beautiful, abhorrent, sickening, calming. Few people can sense it. Even fewer could communicate with it. Those unlucky few were called magi. So as it was, as it always would be.

The Master lead from behind. His previously youthful features were worn down, the years of stress and guilt making him a huffing, puffing mess. He guided The Apprentice up the natural path in The Mount. The sounds of the valley fell away. There was nothing but uncomfortable silence. Even the sounds of their footfalls seemed muted. The Astral Rift was close, he thought. It's been so long since he last made it so close. So very close.

The ground beneath The Master's foot shifted. He heard it crumbled, even beneath his undernourished weight. It happened so quickly. One moment he was standing upright, the next he was standing, back arched, staring down into the foggy abyss. His body was dangling over the precipice.

The only thing that saved him was The Apprentice, whose hand reached out to catch The Master's wrist.

The Master looked into his Apprentice's eyes. Yes, he thought as tears welled up into his eyes. Her eyes were unlike the others.

The Astral Rift was growing. And only The Master knew how to stop it. That's what he told The Apprentice anyway. She did not question him. None of his apprentices did.

The Master, himself, was only a magi in the most relative sense. Nay, he was weak, sickly and a simpleton. Not worthy of the station he received. More importantly, he did not have the same skill in the arcane as his predecessors, as the warlocks of old did. If he had, there would be no need to the hike up the mountain. With training could simply open a Tear and transport himself to the peak. The Master trained. He trained so drat hard and nothing came of it. Nothing but small animals and children.

Thankfully that was all that was needed. A Wizard of some ability is better than a Wizard of none.

They came to him, remained with him. Children, animals, beasts who lacked a parental figure. They would go so far to appease him too, a pathetic man who held so little arcane power.The Master was not a smart man either. He did not need an explanation why, it just was, as it should always be. It would only be a temporary solution; his Scion would surely find a more permanent one. He was sure of it.

Finally, after what felt like ages, they both made it to the peak. The Summit of Death Mount. The Master let out a sigh of relief. He wiped the sweat from his forehead and stood. He looked at The Apprentice and gestured towards the Alter. The hissing was raking across the front of his skill and it made his teeth grind and his fists clench. And he knew The Apprentice could feel it too, but for such a young woman she stood so strong. If she felt any pain at all it did not register on her face.

The Master felt ready to faint. To give up. But, no, they were so close. The Master failed so many times before, but now? It was finally time. He could not afford to fail again.

The Astral Rift accepted young, orphaned animals, but that was easier said than done. Just because the beasts of the wild found him did not mean The Master could talk to them. After all, what was the difference between an orphaned beast and an parented one? Children, The Master came to realize, were preferable. Lucid enough to follow, naive enough not to question. With animals, they often stumbled off the side of the mountain, took a wrong turn. Even if he managed to drag a beast all the way up to the Rift, they would not be able to make the Sacrifice. Beasts, The Master soon found out, were very docile when in the presence of someone they trust.

Children are smarter than that. More importantly, they are capable of communication. And unlike stray animals, The Master could be safe in the knowledge that the children he chose were orphans. That was the most important part. Orphans. Those who have nothing in this world of meat and heat, who are too young to have anything to lose. Who would cut the flesh of a coward who was unable to do it in himself.

That was cold. But it was the truth. The Apprentice had nothing. The Master had even less.

The Master produced the curved knife from his knapsack. He handed it to the Apprentice. The Apprentice did not flinch. She took the knife, held it in her hands. He slid onto the alter, sitting flat across it. The hissing turned to a loud, concussive screech. The Master could feel it in the back of his brain. He nodded to his Apprentice. Their eyes met again. There was a fire in the Apprentice and it filled him with hope.

He told her to cut the arcane sigil, just as he showed her. She obeyed, as she always had, no questions. She brought the knife down with a firm yet graceful grip. The pain was only temporary.

And as his blood pooled at the base of the alter, The Apprentice felt the Rift. She groaned as the torched was past, as the Rift was satisfied.

The Apprentice becomes the Master. As it has been, as it shall be.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

From Death
Wizardry: You're the wizard of that ol' swamp magic. Fiddles in the bayou, will-o-wisp lights hovering over bogs. You can call dark, beautiful, or terrible things from the mud, loam, and stagnant water.
(1,089 words)

The warmouth that came up out of the black water on Ezekiel's line was a full foot long, fat as a setting sun. Ezekiel's shouted "Hallelujah!" shut even the mosquitoes up for a second. He hauled the fish in and tapped it gently on a gill. Its thrashing stopped. It slid into his bucket soft and clean, and Ezekiel turned his canoe's nose toward home with a sense of joy in all Creation. But a craggy body rose up beside him then, bigger than he was and older too; the gator's eye was a dark marble in which Ezekiel saw a death.

Not his, though. Never his, not since he'd given the monster a finger, eaten one of its toes, and formed an alliance through the trade. He tasted pale meat again as he fixed on the eye and what it showed: a young man squelching through the boundaries of the marsh, the body of a boy in his arms.

"Dead?" he asked the gator.

The stabbing pain where his left pinkie had been was its way of saying No.

"Dammitall," Ezekiel said, cradling his hand.

He whistled a slow, low note that rose as it went on. Will-o'-the-wisps rose with it. Their green-gold fungus glow drifted up from the cattails and the sunken cypress roots to hover, waiting. Lose him, he could tell them, and they'd go to the man and ensure he never brought or made another body.

Except the boy was still alive--no chance the alligator would be wrong about that.

Ezekiel said, "Lead him to my place." He threw his warmouth to the gator. The monster snatched it and sank below sight, and Ezekiel's canoe glided over the black water and onto a pool that stank of life.

There, on the verdant shore, stood the shack he'd banged together when the swamp became his haven. It wore moss on its roof like a bridal veil and had a heron's legs, thin and sticking up out of the murk. A knotty hammock hung above the porch. He settled into it, watching for the wisp glow. They're coming, the frogs sang. One dies. One grieves.

"Not yet," he murmured.

The wisps brought the man right to Ezekiel's yard, such as it was. Then they vanished, and the man woke out of their dream. "Where--?" He splashed a step backward, craned his neck to look up at the house, and his face went wild with hope. "Thank God. It's you, ain't it? Please!"

"You're wanting the swamp man, then," Ezekiel said.

"If you can make life out of death, like they say in town. If you can save my brother." Free of the wisps' compulsion, the man shook, his legs and arms struggling with their burden: the boy was skeletal, but so was he. Still, he tried to lift the child so Ezekiel could see.

Ezekiel solved the problem by dropping down from his hammock. Even up there, he'd smelled the blood. The boy's shirt was dyed with it, darkest by the wad of cloth bound above his heart, and the man's missing sleeve told Ezekiel what that must once have been. Flies hummed around them both. There would be eggs, sure as sinking.

The man said, "It was an accident."

"Tell me."

"An accident. Ma was hunting squirrels, saw Pat moving in a tree, shot before she knew--"

As he spoke the scum on the pool's surface broke apart, reforming in narrative shapes. A woman as thin as her sons aimed at a thing in a tree, sure enough, though God never made a squirrel that size. It fell. She stood still. The scream came late.

Ezekiel touched the boy's bright copper hair. "You don't have enough to feed three, do you."

"I can't pay, but I'll work for you, do anything."

"Not what I meant," Ezekiel said, and the man's mouth clamped shut.

Without the pool's help, Ezekiel saw--again; for the thousandth time--his sister's braids floating on a bed of green. Heard his pa's voice: "I told her not to swim there. I told her." His little brother had disappeared the next lean winter. "He's run off, and damned smart of him." But his bones had bobbed up in the spring, freed from a rotted bag, and the hole in the skull had been neat and round. Ezekiel had fled without hearing one more story. The swamp had taken him to kin.

Ezekiel held out his hand. Moss tumbled down from his roof, and he caught it. He pulled the filthy cloth away and packed the moss into both sides of Pat's neat, round wound. The flies' eggs stuck to his fingers when he drew them back; he flicked them away, laid his hands on Pat's chest. And he whistled. The frog song, the bird song, the fly buzz all changed to match his note. Ezekiel would have bet money his visitor's shaking then had more to do with fear than anything, yet the man held onto his tongue and his brother.

Under Ezekiel's touch, muscle flowed into muscle. Skin into skin. Moss tied bone to bone.

The man whispered, "Is he--?"

Ezekiel looked up. "He's lost too much blood. He'll need more from somewhere."

The man shut his eyes. "Take it, then."

"Not yours, big brother," Ezekiel said, "but hold on to him tight, bad as it's going to look."

He called the mosquitoes before the man could ask anything--hundreds of them, thousands upon thousands, swarming up and covering Pat in a blanket of needles and wings. The man screamed as loud as his mother ever had and maybe louder, but he held and kept on holding as the mosquitoes gave Pat the blood in their stomachs. Only a minute and it was done, and the cloud rose away from a sleeping boy rather than a corpse in the making.

Ezekiel said, "You go home now and put him in a bed. The wisps will show you to the swamp's edge."

"Thank you. Thank you. God bless you."

After they had gone, Ezekiel spoke to the mosquitoes waiting for their repayment. "Drink fast. I want her gone before they find her."

The swarm streamed off to take what it had given to the son back from the mother. Another swarm had taken as much, long ago, from Ezekiel's father. And so they would all live on. Life out of death.

Ezekiel climbed up to his shack and closed the door, shutting out the reek of blood.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


Sitting Here posted:

You can fold paper into unlikely, incredible things. Some mistakenly call your work origami, but your creations are born from secret patterns of folds and non-euclidean creases.

Message
1747 words

The wizard’s workshop smelled of musty paper and roses. The source for both was obvious; the pleasant smell came from three origami roses placed prominently on the master wizard’s desk. The musty smell came from the hundreds upon hundreds of tomes and delicately folded papercraft piled on shelves from floor to ceiling.

The master wizard, Orudin, furrowed his brow and sniffed at the girl, Vera, who stood before him. “Hmmf. Commoner, eh? I prefer the noble stock myself, but a pretty face is hardly a competent one. Easier to teach a peasant how to bathe than a lord humility. Well then, go on. Let’s see what you can do.” He pushed a pristine sheet of paper toward the girl.

Vera gave the bearded wizard a look of disbelief that he missed entirely, then looked at the paper. She took it, and in a few minutes had meticulously folded it into a crow, creasing not just the paper, but the fabric of the universe. The papercraft gave a crinkly squawk, flapped its wings twice, then promptly fell off the desk with a soft pik!

“Hmmf. Imprecise. You may go.”

“I’m not used to fresh paper. Let me try one more time,” Vera said, and reached for a crumpled, torn note in the nearby bin. Without waiting for a reply, she started folding again, this time taking a great deal longer as she smoothed and coaxed the paper. Now, the feathers were soft and textured, and the eyes of the papercraft had a depth. This time, the bird soared around the room in a perfect spiral, and landed on the tarnished silver chandelier above them, precisely between two lit candles.

Orudin looked at Vera, and this time, actually saw her. “How did you learn to channel the complexity of your paper into a more powerful spell?”

Vera shrugged. “It’s the only kind of paper I could get in my village.”

The master wizard stroked his scraggly beard. “That… hmm… that is a talent I can work with. With enough training, you might even help me make progress on the grand puzzle.”

“The grand puzzle?”

The wizard grinned toothily. “The grandest mystery of our time! I will be the one to solve it. But more on that later.” Orudin looked up at the door. “Servant! Tell the other candidates to piss off. Politely, of course. Yes, even the pretty ones. Girl! Let’s see… says here… Vera. You are now my new apprentice. You may begin by cleaning up the mess around here.”

***

Vera had met Fendrel when he was a squire running errands for his own mentor in the Arcanum, retrieving spellcraft and alchemical potions for the knights. They made small talk complaining of their masters, but both agreed that life as a wizard and warrior respectively was worth the price of taking orders from crotchety old men for awhile. Two full years passed before Fendrel—now Sir Fendrel, asked her on a walk one cloudy summer day.

At the end of the walk, Vera asked, “Why choose such a dreary day?”

“I like the clouds,” he replied. “Besides, does the moon shine brighter in the day, or at night when its radiance is unchecked?”

It was not the cleverest of quips, but still, Vera blushed and smiled. “Thank you, good knight. I suppose I will await the next bout of foul weather with a bit more gusto.”

He bowed, and smiled back.



In the chartamancer’s tower, Vera’s mind was not really on her studies. The mathematics behind hyperbolic geometry and their application for fractal spell-folding patterns was hard enough to focus on, but today Orudin was going off on a tangent about elliptical geometries, which didn’t seem confusing to him but was getting all muddled together in Vera’s mind. At last, he seemed to actually notice Vera wasn’t following. “Alright, spill it. What’s rattling about in that head of yours?”

“Silly thoughts.”

“We all have them. Go on, girl!”

“I was… wondering about love. And how you can know you’re in love, and know if another person really loves you back.”

Vera had expected ridicule, but instead, Orudin’s eyes lit up. “Ah! The grand mystery. There’s no answer to that question, my dear girl—yet. But I think there will be.” He gestured to his work station, the one full of cluttered folds so intricate that calling them papercrafts seemed a gross understatement. “You’ve seen the pickled brains the necromancers keep stored in the arcane mausoleum, yes?”

“Yes, unfortunately.”

“And what did you notice about the human brain?”

“It was… wrinkly. All coiled up, like a swarm of slugs.”

“Precisely! Wrinkly, folded, and complex. So much of wizardry is in the mind, and so much of the mind is a magic unto itself. The folds of the paper are like the folds of the brain. Through its complexity and layers it gains power. Paper is so similar to the mind that I’m inclined to believe there is nothing that chartamancy can’t replicate.”

“You mean to replicate love through spellcraft? The alchemists have been trying that for decades.”

Orudin waved about dismissively. “Pah! They’re in the wrong field. But not just replicate. Measure, examine, and quantify. Remove the uncertainty of love, and remove the heartbreak and pain associated with it. It is the ultimate achievement, far grander than the silly questions of war and crafts most wizards busy themselves with.”

***

It took a year for Vera to feel one of the pains associated with love. A young noblewoman from one of the northern kingdoms, exotic and pale as she was, had caught Fendrel’s eye, and Vera saw him escorting her around the Arcanum grounds. Later, there were cruel words exchanged, and each emerged from the spat feeling cuts and creases in their hearts.

It was a cloudy summer day, which only made Vera feel worse. She went down to the necromancer’s mausoleum and stared at one of the pickled brains.

An older necromancer wearing master’s robes walked over to join her. “Marvelous, isn’t it? The entirety of a life, in such a small thing.” She brought it off the shelf and placed it on a nearby table.

“I suppose.”

They looked at the object together.

“May I ask a… private question? One that doesn’t leave this room?”

The necromancer raised an eyebrow. “Go on, then.”

“Who was it that Orudin loved?”

“Ah. He hasn’t told you the name, just the project. Her name was Mirabelle. She worked here, actually, as a necromancer. She lives in a smaller village now, sort of half-retired. Helps them banish spirits and inter the dead, and they leave her alone. She had to get away from this place. Orudin can be… obsessive, as you’ve no doubt seen.”

“What’s the name of the village?”

***

She sent a letter by paper bird, and received an invitation the next day. The cottage was on the outskirts of town, nestled in a little grove. She knocked and entered.

Vera wrinkled her nose at the smell as she walked in. The main room was full of distillery equipment. “I thought necromancers were supposed to summon spirits, not drink them.”

The old woman guffawed. “Oh, you’re clever. I like you already. Sit, sit. The chairs are ragged, but they’re clean.” Mirabelle puttered about, inefficiently making tea for her guest, and fortifying her own fruit drink with something potent. Then she joined Vera. “So did that old wizard put you up to this, or did you just get curious about the object of his obsession?”

“I got curious.”

“Ah. Well, here I am.”

“You didn’t love Orudin, did you?”

“Not one for mincing about. No, I didn’t love him. I was enamored for awhile, then… it took years for me to realize.”

“I found someone. At first, I thought I loved them. Now… I don’t know.”

Mirabelle sipped her drink, then added more spirits.

“Can chartamancy make someone fall in love?”

Mirabelle sighed. “Perhaps. Perhaps not. There are limits to all magic, you see. I can animate spirits, talk to them, have them perform tasks, even put them back in old bodies, but they still won’t be alive. An illusionist could make their skin feel warm, make them seem like they had breath and irises, but in the end, it would be an empty shell possessed by a spirit, never life again. A master wizard can use chartamancy to do great things. They can put on marvelous shows of papercrafts, and delight their audience. They can fold their way into locked rooms and find what a person loves most, read any secrets they’ve written, and leave thoughtful gifts. They can even find ways to fold emotions into the mind, creases of joy and lust.”

“Is that what he did to try and win you?”

“Oh, it’s more complicated, it’s always more complicated. Everything in this world has a complexity to it. But, my dear, the point I was getting to: a chartamancer can do marvelous things, wonderful things, but in the end, there’s no substance to it. The things they create are empty; paper statues with nothing but air inside them. To him, everything was always puzzles and tricks, mysteries to be solved.”

“It would be a wonderful thing if there was a way to tell if someone loved you. To remove the doubt that gnaws at you.”

“That it would, dear, that it would. And it would be wonderful if my spells could bring back my mother so that I could sit and talk with her one last time, and say a proper goodbye. How wondrous a thing might be has no bearing at all on how possible it is.”

***

On the walk back, she thought. Vera was tempted to join Orudin’s obsession, just to have the possibility of a real answer. In the end, though, she thought a person was not very much like a papercraft at all.

In the end, a few miles from the city and the Arcanum, she stopped, and started plucking leaves and grass from the side of the road, and folded them, twisted them, into a bird. It was something she had never done before. She instructed it to carry a message to Sir Fendrel, asking him to meet her in the woods where he first compared her to the moon.

That too was something she had never done before, and she was unsure if he would come. But he might. And the possibility would have to be enough, for now.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003


Your power depends on how many sigils and symbols you can place in public view. If you can pepper a whole city with your signs, you can do great works. Too bad city officials and property owners don't like graffiti.

Luck Be A Lady
1150 words

Dr. Kloctopussy fucked around with this message at Jan 1, 2018 around 21:26

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Submissions closed. If any failures redeem yourselves before judgment, I'll crit your story.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

inter prompt: yarn (50 words)

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

sebmojo posted:

inter prompt: yarn (50 words)

Linternal Affairs

50 words

I had belly fluff, so I plucked it, but winced; a thread connected it to the skin. I pulled - still attached. I cancelled my appointments and kept pulling.

The thread fills my room now, soft and light grey like under a pigeon's wings.

I am getting so very thin.

Fuubi
Jan 18, 2015

THUNDERDOME LOSER

sebmojo posted:

inter prompt: yarn (50 words)

The Hunter

Word count: 33

The hunter stood posed by the barn.
The prey was a ball full of yarn.
He sprung to attack,
and gave the whole basket a whack.
There goes the socks I would darn.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

With love's light wings did I o'er-perch these walls,
For stony limits cannot hold
H U L K A M A N I A

SUPER SUMMERSLAM
THUNDERDOME 2019


Yarn

69 words (whatcha gonna do, dq an interprompt?)

Clotho spins threads into a yarn.

Do not now worry on how Lachesis will draw (as must be), on how Atropos will snip (as must be, too soon, always too soon)

Her father’s eyes, her mother’s smile, a poet’s wit, a little luck (some good, some bad), a little grace (more than most have), a thousand thousand mundane things: she won’t like broccoli, or politics, or cats.

A life.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003


sebmojo posted:

inter prompt: yarn (50 words)

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Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED



Excuse me that is 1000 words that is far too many

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