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big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


In this 2 win this. And since it's my first time I'll too, show me those bad, bad cats.

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big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

Alright, I didn't have any big scary monsters hanging around, so I made this monster mask and put it on a stuffed cat. I thought maybe this would clean up Bad Cat 2's act, like one of those scared straight things, but I think maybe she has adopted it instead?



Two good bad cats imo.

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


And the Cure
1497 words

I take a dislike to the white robed healer almost as soon as he steps into my little store, ducking under the low lintel, out of the midmorning sun and into the cool, dim interior. He doesn't shake my welcoming hand, thus avoiding a dose from the dogroot-laced hand cream I keep in a convenient jar under the counter. When I guide him through into my cramped back room — office and laboratory both — and show him to the visitors' chair he says he prefers to stand, though he looks somewhat unsteady. The chair's deep padding hides tiny needles, so small and so sharp that you won't feel a thing as they go in, and will continue not to feel a thing for the next half hour as the sea snake venom paralyses your legs. I offer him a freshly baked dainty (sorrowfruit pulp blended into the cream), which he refuses, claiming a lack of appetite. I try to tempt him with some tea, which he also declines. There's nothing wrong with my tea; it's a refreshing, minty blend from my own herb garden and I'm rather proud of it.

None of these little japes can affect me, of course. You don't last long as a poisoner without developing a healthy immunity to the profession's more common agents. Some of my apprentices don't even last a week. In fact, it's thanks to just such an incautious youth, and my ensuing midnight walk in the forest with a shovel and much-stained rug, that I'm feeling so tired and out of sorts this morning. My hospitality doesn't cause any long term ills; it's rather poor business to kill your clients before taking their money. But poisoners aren't universally loved, and on those occasions when someone steps into my humble store with an eye for revenge, rather than great service at a reasonable rate, it helps to have a subtle something to give me the edge. Then I give them an edge too, and once the blood is cleaned up it's just a matter of waiting 'til night to take my shovel for another stroll through the woods.

I sit behind my desk, cluttered with yellowing papers, pour myself a nice, hot cup of tea, and take a pastry. Then I ask the healer how I can be of service. The pleasant, musky, purple scent of incense flows from an ornate brass censer hanging from the low ceiling. I'll just have to hope that its mildly sedative smoke will be enough of an advantage should this turn sour. The healer explains his problem and I like him even less — he doesn't even really want what I'm selling. He's looking for a cure. I thought he looked a little peaky.

Now I've nothing against healers, they have their job to do just like I have mine, and those jobs are more similar than you might think. The successful poisoner is just as much a student of the human body, its functions and failings, as any conscientious physician, and my practice no less a science than theirs. But curing people isn't what I do; it's just not my passion. Admittedly, for almost every poison there is a cure, and I'd say I know more of them than most. I keep a small stock for those embarrassing moments when a client switches the goblets one time too many, or nicks themselves practicing flourishes with a tainted blade. Sometimes they even make it back to me in time to take advantage of my customer loyalty scheme.

To apply the right cure though, that can be tricky. I need to know exactly what poison was used; the wrong cure is deadly in itself. So many clients ask me for the same type of poison: odourless, colourless, tasteless, fast-acting and incurable. I can do it, I tell them, but it's going to cost you. The ingredients for a poison like that are rare and hard to get: seaweed growing only in far off, frozen fjords, dainty purple flowers blooming under the midnight sun, the gallbladder of an especially vicious and cunning species of weasel. And they're a pain to work with: more than one master poisoner has come to an extremely nasty end working up a batch of one of the Great Poisons. Better to use something less exotic, less expensive, and less dangerous to my health. Add a bit of pepper to your husband's steak and he won't notice the bitter, spicy taste of lover's wort. Pour the tincture into wine rather than beer and its deep ruby colour won't show. And if your victim doesn't know what he's been dosed with, what does it matter if there's a cure? Most people wise up and settle on a lesser toxin, easier on the purse and on my nerves. They appreciate that I don't try to upsell them. It's that kind of trusted service that keeps my clients coming back again and again.

I ask the healer his symptoms. Headache, nausea, blurred vision. That's me every morning before my first cuppa, friend. Vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps. So generic it could be anything, and I'm glad he didn't sit down now. Fever, shivering, sweating, a sense of impending doom. Sounds like he's been poisoned all right. That or the inn's beer last night was a bit staler than usual, the end-of-night special stew a week or two past its best. Flaky, grey spots on his chest and legs, blackening of the genitals. Ah, now we're getting somewhere. No, I don't need to see the afflicted genitals. In fact, now we're getting I know exactly where.

The signs of wraithblight poisoning are unmistakeable. By remarkable coincidence, I happened to sell a good sized dose of the stuff to a very pleasant young lady just yesterday, shortly before my apprentice quietly helped himself to one of my personal cigarettes and found out why nine out of ten reputable healers recommend against smoking nightweed. This particular healer seems to be still in the poison's early stages — no delirium or loss of body parts yet — meaning he was probably poisoned this morning. I'm the only poisoner in town (there was another, but she fell mysteriously ill), so it's no doubt my wraithblight contaminating his blood and causing it to leak from where blood ought certainly not leak. Unfortunately for the poor man, the lady last night was one of those picky clients, insistent the poison I sold her be deadly (of course), impossible to detect, and above all lacking an antidote. She didn't specify that the method of death need be especially horrible; I threw that in for free. You have to be able to amuse yourself in this job; if you aren't doing what you love then what's it all for? And now the result of my craft is standing here in my shop, violently shivering, gently swaying, and very likely about to add yet more stains to my second grimiest rug.

I explain to the healer that today is not his lucky day. He takes it remarkably calmly — the drifting smoke of my incense doing its work. He mostly keeps his composure as I lay out for him his next and final few hours. If he gets a little queasy as I detail the increasingly gruesome effects of the poison irreversibly destroying his body it's quite understandable and, I assure him, nothing ten minutes scrubbing with a bucket of soapy water won't fix. He's looking really quite ill now, and doesn't resist as I help him into my other chair: hard, straight-backed and needle free. I don't think I need to worry about being attacked at this point.

"There's really nothing you can do for me?" he whispers. "Please. The pain is so strong."

That's when, in a moment of remarkable insight, I realise: there may be a sale here after all. Soon enough I've brewed up a little potion of green yomberries: strong smelling, dark, and foul tasting, but then that's hardly important to this client. What matters to him is that it brings a death quick and painless; I've heard it's even quite pleasant. At any rate, the healer dies with a look of relief on his face. Call me a soft touch, but I gave him a discount on this one.

As I strip him of his robes of office I look at the white fabric, now badly soiled. Perhaps my work and the healer's are more alike even than I thought. On a whim I try on his loose cloak, adjust the cowl over my head and fasten the intricately worked pin at my neck, then admire myself in the tarnished silver mirror standing in a dusty corner of my lab. Certainly not a healer, but maybe more than just a poisoner? Poison, and the cure. This really could open up a whole new market for me, an exciting opportunity for business diversification. Something to think about while I take my shovel for its evening walk.

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


quote:

Freud Was Wrong
114 words

I like to imagine myself swimming on the surface of a deep and endless ocean, bobbing gently on the waves. As I dive, deeper and deeper into the cool darkness, the waking world recedes above and I swim into my dreams.

Tonight, I choose to dream of flying. The transition from swimming through water to gliding through air is natural enough, and without allow myself to pay too much attention to the change, I leave the ocean for a sea of clouds, diving through their fluffy white blanket to see the fields of the Earth ludicrously far below. I’m untouchably high, unbelievably distant from my sleeping body.

When I wake I’m falling.

Somebody fucked around with this message at Jul 17, 2017 around 10:00

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


Oh I misread the word count. I'll leave picking out the 25 unnecessary words as an exercise for the reader

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


Yeah that is better, thank you.

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


in

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


Thanks for the crit! A couple of your points are things I wasn't entirely happy with either, but I couldn't articulate why. (I hope this much response is not breaking thread rules)

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-



Thanks for the crit!

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


The Man Who Screams at the Sun
100 words, exactly

There's a man who stands on top of a mountain and screams at the sun. His mountain is so high that from where he stands the sun never goes down, so he screams all the time.

In summer he screams among the rocks in a furnace glare. In the winter he screams at a weak, wavering sun through flurries of dry, glittering snow. If he ever had a word it's long gone now; his voice an endless, senseless roar.

Stand in the valley's evening shadow and you can see him high above: a last, golden pinnacle, aflame in the sunlight.

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-




I'll take this one I guess.

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-




Warm Bodies
800 words

I met Anje in the climber's bar in Grindelwald, sitting beneath antique Alpenstocks; a pilgrim come to pay her respects in the Mordwand's long shadow to those who'd strived and died on its steep face. We fell into easy conversation, two women in a sport full of energy drink sponsored testosterone. She was a saisonnière: working ski resorts in winter, in summer orbiting the alpinist's constellation of Chamonix, Aosta and Saas. Her Italian was non-existent, her Schwyzerdütsch incomprehensible, but we filled the gaps in our bad French and broken English with gestures and laughter that grew wilder by the demipinte.

It was late when I took out the photo and told her its story. I'd found it in a high Dolomite rifugio, pinned on the hut's wall alongside a scrap of hand drawn map. A church tower rising from a lake of ice, the rest of the building drowned and frozen. The map fragment showed a hanging valley, surrounded by Hornli popular with climbers. Yet on the area's SwissTopo map there was no sign of the lake. I'd come to Switzerland, questioning local guides and alpinists to no avail. I had to find the valley.

"But I need a partner. The mountains, they are dangerous alone. Will you come?"

"Ja, natürlich. We climb together." She smiled as we shook hands.

***

Late next morning we were in Anje's battered T4 camper, rounding swooping hairpins at terrifying speed. Evening found us grabbing a few short hour's sleep near the trailhead. Well before dawn we scarfed down scalding coffee and squashed brioche, shouldered groaning packs and set out up the wooded slopes. By first light we'd already climbed a system of granite slabs and reached a shattered maze of dirty blue ice pouring down the mountainside.

Roped together, we hiked across icy walkways and snow bridges spanning bottomless chasms. The day grew warmer, the snow underfoot softening in the sun. As I crossed a snow bridge the ground fell away and I dropped, screaming, in a confusion of falling snow. The rope at my waist caught with a jolt. I dangled above a black crevasse, Anje's shouts muffled and distant. She went quiet, but the rope at my waist tugged and jerked as I shivered in the dark, cold air. Eventually, the line went tight and, little by little, I was lifted into sunlight. Anje rushed to me as I flopped into the snow. She gave me her down jacket, forced me to stand and stamp my feet to warm up. An angry red streak wrapped her left forearm, but she waved my concern away.

"It is nothing. I tangled in rope when you have fallen."

"Well, thank you for catching me." She grinned broadly.

"Of course! I do not carry on alone."

Above the glacier lay snow slopes, then a ridge leading to the hidden valley. We bivvied high on the mountain, huddled against the chill under a single sleeping bag. I woke often during the night - cold seeping through my many layers on one side, Anje's warmth on the other.

***

In the morning thick mists obscured the ridge, but we climbed with slow determination across rocky pinnacles and came at last to steep scree leading down. As we descended out of the clouds a frozen lake became visible, and a shiver ran through me as I stopped and stared. In the centre stood a familiar tower; steep roof, free of snow, above ancient brickwork with a single doorway. I caught up with Anje, already testing the ice.

"I think it's solid. Shall we see?"

We advanced slowly over the creaking ice. As Anje reached the tower's threshold a bell tolled once, the sound ringing across the flat valley and echoing off the mountains. She froze. I leapt. Clutching her close, we fell together through the doorway, plunging down into icy water. I gasped at the cold, the breath forced from my lungs. In my arms Anje went rigid. Muscles seizing in the freezing water, I held tight as she struggled in the darkness. For the longest time we held together, Anje's thrashing joined by my own as I convulsed with the need to breathe. Finally, I could hold out no longer and inhaled, releasing Anje's still body, the chill chasing into my lungs as I tried to cough, swallowing more and more water. I sank into darkness.

***

I woke on the ice. The tower leaned above me, its bell ringing one repeating note. I stumbled away across the frozen lake, not looking back at the tower. Hot tears ran down my face, fell and froze. Anje had been so warm, where I was always cold. Her stolen heat sustained me for now, but it wouldn't last. Already my exposed arms were white. On my left forearm, red rope marks throbbed.

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


I've had a really dreadful idea for a story and if I don't think of anything better I'm going to have to write it, so please give me a room.

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


Thanks Mrenda for your crit, sorry Kaishai for failing at your prompt. I'm bad and I feel bad about it.

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


Psycho comma, qu'est-ce que c'est?

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


Appreciate the criticism, Jitzu!

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


Mercedes posted:

IN

In a world without a sky

IN a world without sexual dimorphism.

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


Give me a game and also a to atone for past transgressions.

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


Entenzahn posted:

Word bounty

It's my birthday. You have ~24 hours to write me a nice birthday card for extra words. No mean stuff!!!!!

Good writing is rare as duck's teeth
Happy birthdays common as muck
But I'll wish you the latter, Entenzahn
Finding the other here, well, good luck.

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


I'm using my extra words to add clever references (or "Easter eggs" if you will) to all your favourite video games.

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


Call of Duty
1500 words

Aslak's eyes snapped open as his skin froze, adrenalin flooding his chest like ice water. For a sick moment he was sliding sideways, for another long second was weightless. A thunder of impacts filled the truck's cab, angry demons battered his back and arse through his seat's padding while the overrevved engine roared. The seatbelt strangled like a serpent and his stomach backflipped, screams filled his ears as the truck trailer tore from tractor, metal twisting and parting in a grinding roll. A final, brutal blow to the side of his head, and nothing more.

***

When Aslak woke again he was hanging from his seatbelt, cold coffee running up his nose and into his eyes. Heartbeat thumping in his ears, he looked around wildly at the unfamiliar cab of the truck. Gradually he slowed his frantic breathing and for a while simply listened to the idling engine and watched thick snowflakes softly build up on the windscreen. The glow of the GPS display caught his eye, his position a dot on an almost blank screen. Maybe there was still a chance. He turned off the ignition, released his seatbelt, and dropped heavily onto his head. "Perkele."

"Voi perkele", Aslak repeated, looking over the wreck of the stolen truck by stuttering headtorch light. Standing thigh deep in snow, his hands were already freezing inside the too-small workgloves he'd found under the dash. The battered cab was on its roof, toplights crushed and wing mirrors broken off. A few metres towards the road lay the trailer on its side, doors bent open and snow spilling in. The beam of his torch barely penetrated further through the blizzard, and looking away from the road nothing was visible beyond a shifting wall of blinding white. Absent-mindedly he reached into the deep pocket of his coat and took out a slip of folded paper, carefully shielding it from the wind in a cupped hand. Removing a glove, he dabbed with a finger at the pale yellow paste inside and rubbed it into his gums.

The inside of the trailer was a mess. Squeezing between scattered boxes of cheap bikes, crates of made-in-Vietnam sportswear and pallets of energy drinks, he wasted minutes looking for skis. Finding none, he settled for a pair of snowshoes and two mismatched but unbent ski poles. No goggles either, but another check of the cab turned up a cap with the legend 'Juicy' across the front. He strapped snowshoes to boots, pulled the cap down and his hood up. He checked his pockets again: GPS and paper fold were there, so was the precious, magic document - gained in secret, hidden for months until tonight. His back was already stiffening and his head hurt like a night of salmiakkikossu, but his legs were jittering and his vision bright. They'd have noticed his absence by now and would be looking for the truck. Icy roads wouldn't stop them. Get away from the truck. Get over the border. Only the trolls could save him now.

***

go
snow shoeing in an arctic blizzard it isn't as bad as you'd think once you get past the cold and the dark and the snow and the sound and the time it's cold certainly jeans are frozen like thin cardboard and every step chafes those thighs, should have spent more time on the ski trails but who has time you're working all the time and they'd never let you anyway, wouldn't want you runnning away, hah, toes are long gone to feeling but that's OK, who needs them or fingers either really, you can grip poles just as tight without feeling without feeling is better and it's the core that's important hold onto the core and you'll be dark isn't really the word either, there's plenty of light out here in the night but it's all bouncing back off those beautiful fat glistening flakes in front of your eyes and look up and they fall on your nose and eyelashes, open your mouth and let them come in, the headtorch is useless that's why it's off, blind is easier in this easier just to walk by feeling, lean against the wind and it won't steer you wrong being out here alone is the worst, but alone is safe, if they find you you won't be alone any more will you and you hate to leave the kids but they know it's not really you don't they they'll find someone else won't they it's too much to ask of one man and it's been far too long it's been far too long to get to the trolls they'll be coming
pause

***

Lying on his back, Aslak watched the lights. The snow had stopped he didn't know when, and for a while only the rhythmic crunching of his snowshoes had disturbed the stillness. One snowshoe was gone now. Later his teeth had clattered in sympathetic syncopation, but that had ended too. The stars had been tiny sparks in the dark, painfully sharp against the black sky. Gradually though a pale mist had settled in high above, obscuring the stars, and as the landscape grew brighter he had begun to see the colours. Now he lay in the warm, gentle snow as green spirals edged in brilliant pink fluttered across the night. The last of the paste was gone, but despite the bitter taste still in his mouth he didn't really feel like getting up any more. The scenery was aglow, mountains reflecting the colours above and distant rocks sparkling with verglas, leaving long furrows in the otherwise pristine snow as they approached.

"Mitä vittua?" As he staggered to his numb feet, Aslak heard the horrible jingle of sleigh bells above.

He lurched forward, running from the bells. He risked a glance back in time to see the sleigh landing, not slowing its headlong rush as the reindeers' flashing hooves touched down, the beasts' hot breath visible like an oncoming steam train. The trolls ahead seemed hardly to be moving at all, and despite frantic efforts Aslak's own pace was little better, his frozen limbs flailing as he repeatedly fell waist deep in soft snowdrifts. Rising once again, he pulled the bright red passport from his pocket and held it aloft, shouting the words he'd memorised.

"Redd meg, troll! Jeg er halvt norsk!"

Suddenly the rocks were much closer and much larger, the crags of misshapen faces visible above the geology of their powerful, compact bodies, brushing the deep snow aside carelessly as they strode forward. Behind him, the bells rang out again, closer too. Aslak turned. Dashing through the snow came the sleigh, the reindeer straining against their harnesses, coats steaming. On the sleigh rode dozens of hideous elves, rows of sharp teeth visible in their overlarge mouths, eyes screwed up in rage as they shrieked curses at him. One near the front held aloft a fake white beard, its glossy nylon curls shining in the light of the aurora. Aslak screamed. He tried to run, fell in the snow again. Pounding hooves bore down on him, grinding tectonics approached from behind. Aslak pushed up once more and with the last of his strength threw himself out of the path of the sleigh.

Reindeer met rock with an impact that shattered bones and chipped boulders. The heavy sleigh dashed on, smashing a troll to the ground as the elves leapt off, snarling. The remaining trolls roared as they lumbered forward, rocky fists grasping for the slippery elves. One elf, too slow, was torn in half, but others swarmed the trolls, needle teeth sliding between granite armour into softer sediment below, long fingers plucking diamond eyes. Elves fell to the thrashing of blinded trolls, smothered in the snow beneath huge feet or skulls dashed open by wild blows. Those trolls still with sight regrouped and readied to charge again. The surviving elves rose to face them. Suddenly Aslak felt bony fingers around his neck, harsh breath spitting in his ear.

"You think you trolls save you? We defeat them thousand years ago and we defeat them again today." The fingers gripped tighter, throttling him. Aslak tried to gasp, too weak to fight.

"You are ours. You are always ours." Aslak's sight blurred with tears, his lungs burning and head pounding. Darkness again.

***

"Welcome in Santa Claus Village on Lapland's magical Arctic Circle", said the smiling guide, the bells on her green hat gently jingling.

"Meeting Santa is free, photos are twenty euros."

Kate pulled free from her mother's hand and ran through the empty waiting area, pushed open the heavy door. In the next room a man with a huge white beard and a red hat sat on a wooden throne, staring into space. Shy now, Kate crept forward and climbed up onto his lap.

"Santa?" she asked quietly.

The man looked down at her at last. Behind the gold-rimmed glasses his eyes glistened, deep black shadows above rosy red cheeks.

"Ho, ho, ho", he whispered.

Prompt: Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


sebmojo posted:

interprompt: shot down, in a blaze of glory

Ad Astra, Proxime
160 words

"OK Jim, auto sequence is GO"

"Thanks control, green across the board up here too"

"Twenty-five seconds down."

"Don't forget the new program today Jim, sequence begins at plus 30."

"Thanks control, won't do."

"Engine start."

"Five, four, three..."

"Engine at one hundred."

"Here we go!"

"Clock is running, all looks good."

"Bit of wind today."

"We're all watching down here Jim, best of luck."

LOSS OF ALL DATA

The explosion is blinding even at the viewing field. The guests gasp at the bright yellow cloud, and again when the shockwave hits seconds later. Then another explosion, bright green this time with glowing white sparkles that leave a burning afterimage. Purple and blue secondary munitions go off, creating a distorted smiley face high above the desert. The crowd applauds wildly, barely audible over the booming pop music. At ground level catherine wheels ignite.

"Mission successful folks, good work. All right Flo, auto sequence is GO, thirty seconds 'til launch."

big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


Thank you for the crits, Yoruichi and Antivehicular!

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big scary monsters
Sep 2, 2011

-~Skullwave~-


Thanks for the kind offer, flerp. Perhaps you could criticise my most recent TD entry, here.

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