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May 21, 2001

I did one of these once a long time ago. In again to surpass mediocrity


May 21, 2001

Prompt: St. Elmo's Fire
Words: 1108

She Worships the Wrong Saint

The dull sound of bronze on bronze resonated through the ever-fermenting costal haze with a persistent clang, promptly as the Clarendon was set to cast off for a brief excursion into the Atlantic. Nevertheless, the ship's numerous patrons, representing a diverse multitude of backgrounds, were completely unfazed; through various rubrics, being aboard the ship was comparable to being in a distant place where the hash sounds of the bell's signal were mere echoes in one's memory. For most, the oceanic atmosphere had an inherent tranquility to which the ringing merely seasoned with appropriate flavor. Ashley was a different matter, taken in by an entirely different mindset.

"Thank god for LTE," she thought to herself, completely enthralled by the dim glow of her mobile phone. "I'm not sure if I could possibly withstand an entire weekend, severed from the luxuries of modern society."

A wrinkled hand clapped softly against her shoulder. "Put that damned thing away," a much older male voice called out frustratingly from behind her. "Don't you know that you are missing out on the natural beauty of the world, staring at that screen all day?"

She rolled her eyes and sighed softly, holding the phone out a little bit further in front of her, and began to swipe through a series of different images bearing a familiar seascape. "I'm well aware of what the ocean looks like, Grandpa. I've seen it many times before, see?", she glanced back over her shoulder for a brief moment, as if seeking approval.

"You're joking, right?", the man said, chuckling a little, until his laughs were shut down by the realization that his grievances could in fact, be substantiated on the spot. "You mean to say that you can, with a straight face, tell me that actually seeing it in person with your own eyes is no different to you than looking at a picture?" he asked, quizingly.

She turned around, trying not to smile. "I don't see what the big deal is, that's all." She was clearly enjoying herself, in spite of her mocking remarks.

Her grandfather smiled back, ruffling her blond hair lightly. "Just try to enjoy the scenery a little. Think of it as a once in a lifetime opportunity."

"Ok, Grandpa" she said, obediently, as her eyes shifted right back to the phone as if they had never left.

He shook his head softly and muttered to himself as he strayed off to examine the amenities available to the passengers, and left her to her own devices. The skies that stretched over the vast waters ahead seemed to ramp up in temperamentally as the docks disappeared further behind the ship. A delightful gloom brushed the clouds overhead, painting them with an array of troubled, yet stable light and moderate grey that enveloped the evening sunset.


Ashley shuffled across the deck of the ship aimlessly, or even obliviously. She would briefly peel her eyes away from her phone at random intervals to peek around at her surroundings, however her real focus was on a flurry of mixed net interactions ranging from upvotes and downvotes, to likes and swipes. When it seemed as though she had, through dedication and resolve, plateaued for the time being, she began to focus more on the scenery around her. While she was more interested in remotely interacting within her own social sphere rather than with the dismissingly uninteresting passengers around her, there was a certain charm about the air that had pierced through to her. She gazed over the waters distractedly for a brief moment, drawn in by it's alluring sparkle. Just as she was reaching towards her pockets to finally sheath her phone, she heard a faint buzzing sound somewhere behind her.

"Electrici..?", was her first thought, as her head swung from side to side with curiosity, and finally upwards towards the masts.

High above was a writhing mass of darkness, not quite ready to spew its load back down upon the ocean, but ripe with static charge. Lightning flickered off in the distance silently with the crash of thunder soon to follow. The flash and crash served as little distraction however, from the notably audible sparks of plasma that had began to faintly materialize overhead, accompanied by a smooth voltaic crackle that sounded almost like the flames of a camp fire. Ashley's eyes met with the soft violet luminescence as it rapidly engulfed more and more of the ship's masts, erupting tendrils of tiny lightning from the pointed tips like microscopic streams of water spouting from a needle-sized piercing in a garden hose. Almost immediately, she lifted her right arm, phone in hand, to her face as if by reflex and began snapping. Everything between her and the clouds was ablaze, and it was her first instinct to capture it, as she so conveniently had the means required to do so right at her fingertips.

Minutes of zooming and clicking raced by as she focused on the screen of her phone, intent on taking the best possible shots that she could. The wisps that lit up the sales and masts were precursor to the coming storm, which came billowing down in a rush as another thunderous boom filled the skies. The captivating buzz had been overtaken by the tumultuous sound of droplets splashing against the wood at feet, and the tiny tendrils that once danced around the masts were obscured by the growing tempest. Snapping out of the trance she had been in just seconds before, she quickly followed the last of the passengers down to the lower deck. Before she even reached the bottom of the stairs leading below, her eyes were already once again fixated on the screen of her phone. Excitement was welling up within her, more so now than during the spectacle that she had just witnessed first hand. The realization had hit her:

"I did it. I got it all. I don't know what it was, but it's here!" It was all she could think about, as she searched through her digital photos with a sense of accomplishment.


She swiped on increasingly faster, as a feeling of dread began to creep up her spine. There was indeed an assortment of image captured on her phone, however they were little more than a mass blurry clouds and splotches of color. What she had seen on her screen before, and to a lesser extent with her own eyes, had been reduced to the photographic equivalent of sewage.

"Mayfair.. no .. Amaro? ..No good. Not even Valencia..." A single tear slithered down Ashley's cheeks.

None of Systrom's filters could mend the damage that was done.

May 21, 2001

That was difficult, and expectations were low. Gotta start from somewhere

Thanks for the crit!

May 21, 2001


May 21, 2001

A Transgression
637 words, Nine of Swords (Prisma Visions)

"I heard a loud squawking sound. There was some flapping too? It was extremely noisy with the whistling winds of the snowstorm, so.."
"Don't worry about the details. Just tell me what you saw that night, the way you remember it." A crooked smile slowly formed upon the lips of an older man - a professional of sorts, complete with your run of the mill suit and tie combo. He sat behind an empty oak desk in a antiquated leather bound chair.
"It landed in the snow right in front of me and stared for a few seconds."


"CRRAAWWWWWWK. I see you have your.. official Junior Swan Scout mask."
"Yes sir. I told my papa I needed it for a school play, just like you said."
"And.. you have the.. ceremonial garb."
"I even have the sacred sas-"
"Shut up." The beast towered high above a young boy, looking over him carefully as he did the same back in the beast's direction. It was a giant bird as typical as giant birds go - although this one had rows of most unusual ivory fangs hidden beneath its beak.
"The sash. CRRAAWK. Yess.." The bird stood tall and briefly glanced around the area.
"By the power invested in me, as the.. Lord.." the bird snickered briefly, then continued: "The Lord of the Swan Scouts, I induct you into our ancient, unholy order as a fledgling junior scout."
With a slight look of confusion, the boy chimed in, "Unholy?"
"SILENCE," boomed the beast. "Now, the principal rule of the Swan Scouts is that you do not speak about the- SCRRAAW Swan Scouts to ANYONE outside of the order. Not the mother who birthed you, or the father who.. feeds and clothes you. Do you understand?"
The boy nodded in approval without hesitation.
"If I find out of a.. transgression.. of our principal rule, I will be most.. upset." The beast peered about his surroundings once again.
"Now young fledgling scout. Open your mouth, and we shall CAWW-complete the ceremony. SCRAWWWWWWK."
The beast, leaning in closely, beckoned from deep within its bowels, a clump, and began to spew it out down towards the wide open mouth of the boy.


"A most interesting set of circumstances, indeed, young one." A set of fingers tapped against the oak desk in succession a number of times, and the older man leaned in, resting his chin on the palm of his other hand, propped up on the desk by its elbow. His eyes widened a little as he looked at the teenage boy sitting across from him, as if awaiting a response.
"So you don't believe me?", the teenager returned his gaze.
The satisfying rap of bony fingers struck the desk once more. "Of course I believe you." The teenager's eyes buldged quizingly as the man leaned in closer.
"I also believe there has been a transgression." His look changed from one of amusement to a disappointed scowl.
"You just recounted to me our principal rule, so I KNOW you haven't forgotten. The Lord is going to be most ups-"
The pointed end of a dagger pierced the man's neck, and blood soon followed.
"Are you an outsider, now?" The teenager continued to question the suited man with his eyes, and the man replied in turn with his own, now unable to do so with words.
"I committed no transgression. You on the other hand.." The dagger wriggled around a little bit in the teenager's hand.
"So eager to please. Our Lord knows of your entrapment, and has issued judgement. Don't worry, you'll be given another chance."
The senior scout grinned and continued, "You'll soon learn that actions carry more weight than words."
He withdrew the dagger slowly, and as its ivory fang-like blade emerged, a gush of blood immediately followed, with a gurgle.

May 21, 2001

This sounds rough for a greenhorn such as myself, but why the hell not,

In, and flash rule please!

May 21, 2001

Moscow Misunderstanding
822 words
The Stone Roses, Sally Cinnamon

I glanced at my watch, just as the wheels began to screech. We had just pulled into the railway station for a short pit stop. There had been an announcement over the PA some time ago, stating that we would have an hour-long window of dwell time to disembark from the train at Kazanskaya - something about waiting out a blizzard. It was my first time in Moscow, and being such, I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to get a feel for the local scenery. Making a mental note of the time rounded down to the nearest minute, I stood up and stretched.

I was travelling with my Aunt Kendra, whom was currently preoccupied in another section of the train. With a sense of urgency looming in the back of my spine, I grabbed her jacket and threw it over my shoulders. If I leave her belongings in the cabin, she will assume I stepped out when she returns, I decide hastily. The winds out there will chill a man to the bone, there's no other option. Kendra was an independent woman who never married. I had heard from my mother that she recently split with her female partner of 2 years, so I agreed to accompany her on vacation. She won't mind if I leave for an bit. The couple sharing the cabin with us seemed trustworthy, so I emptied the contents of the jacket pockets and placed them on seat besides mine: a mobile phone, a flower-emblazoned coin purse, and an unfinished letter.

I followed the platform to the end of the station, and continued down the road leading outward towards the town, letting some of the other train passengers lead. Russian style architecture was something I had only seen in pictures until now, so I was instantly captivated. I continued along, stopping occasionally to thoroughly look over the dome-like kokoshniks that adorned the towering buildings on each side, then advancing onward. I had looped around a circular stretch and was about to reconvene with the station via the road opposite from which I had left, when I noticed a man pointing at me and two others aggressively closing in.

"You haf to com with us", one of them chirped, as they grabbed my shoulders gently and began to usher me back towards the station.

"Is there some sort of problem?" I asked, but quickly realized they weren't entertaining my questions.

I was cold and confused, but decided to go along peacefully as they appeared to simply be escorting me back to the train. I looked down towards my watch and saw that around fifty minutes had passed. Perhaps it is in the local customs to make sure all passengers are accounted for, I pondered, rationalizing the situation. As they lead me past the passenger cars, I noticed thick clouds of smoke billowing from the front end of the train. Eventually they stopped in front of the car adjacent to the locomotive, and gestured inwards.

"What did I do?" I asked as I looked towards the two men who had ushered me. I recognized the third one standing behind them as the one who had pointed me out, and turn to him. He stepped forward and gently pushed me towards the car.

I climbed on to the car without resistance or panic. I was where I was supposed to be, and matters would be sorted out shortly so there was no reason to refuse. The three men boarded behind me, and gestured onwards. As I walked towards the engine room, I noticed a drastic increase in temperature, clearly exceeding the air-conditioned heating of the passenger cars I was accustomed to. A uniformed man turned to greet us, with two others at his sides - they were workers of some sort, with smokey stains and splotches covering their outfits.

"Он говорит по-русски?", the uniformed man asked, and the man all the way in the back answered, "нет", as he cut through and made his way to the front of the group.

The uniformed man greeted me with a slight smile. "I can speak in English. I am conductor, as you can see we haf little problem. Perhaps you can heilp"

I looked around at each of the men in confusion, still unsure of my role in this, as the conductor continued:

"You see, we are not stopped here due to blizzard. That was lie. We are stopped here because engine is too hot. Engine is overheated."

I scratched my head, listening to his words carefully and trying to make some sense of them in my head.

"After we stop, we try to fix. When we can't, we go to cabin, ask about passengers. We got to couple in cabin, and then we bring you here," the conductor said, looking back towards the workers in front of the radiator. He leaned in towards me, expectantly.

"They say you make antifreeze."

May 21, 2001

uh, in

Asia, after

May 21, 2001

I was entertained by that reading and analysis/crit just a smudge less so than you guys were, thanks for that Kaishai, Sitting Here, and Ironic Twist.

I had to kick a nasty cold over the weekend, so I didn't get a chance to work on last week's prompt. I feel better, let's do the right thing and

In, :toxx: for this one.

May 21, 2001

996 words
Purgatory by Killer-of-Lawyers
The Fire and the Slave by Jonked

Vicengo collapsed, its hooves buckling under the stress of the sand as if a myriad of demons were tearing at them with scorching claws. It had been dragged through an unfamiliar landscape by Clavius, an inexperienced legionnaire of medium build adorned in a suit of lavish armour. He wielded a short sword in his right hand and a set of chains in his left. With a flick of his wrist, he commanded Vicengo to its feet.

"It's your fault we're in this mess." He snarled in frustration.

Vicengo slowly arose, guilt welling up within its eyes in the form of a soppy gleam. Before them stretched a wasteland of countless towering dunes and a single blisteringly hot amalgamation of gas in the sky that provided a disproportionate amount of light relative to the excruciating heat it emitted.

As Vicengo turned away in shame, its eyes caught a figure obscured by the twisting sands clumsily tumbling down towards them from the dune ahead. Clavius, startled by the turbulence, brandished his sword menacingly.

"Stay thy ground." He squeaked in feigned confidence, as the sword wavered in his grasp.

The figure dropped to its knees in exhaustion as it reached the bottom of the dune, ignoring Clavius's warning. As the upheaval of sand slowly settled, Clavius glared at the figure, attempting to assess what danger it posed to him and his companion. It was a frail-looking man wearing ink-black slacks, and a tattered white coat made of an unknown alien material. The man panted heavily for a few moments, examining his surroundings. He stood up abruptly, jerked his head a bit, and rubbed his eyes.

"How did you manage to end up here?" He asked dumbfounded, getting a better look at the pair.

Clavius gave no reply. Vicengo stared at the newcomer intently.

The man approached, unmindful of the blade. "It will be here soon." he continued, with a looming sense of urgency in his voice.

"Where is here?" Clavius replied hastily, as he regained his composure and gripped the sword steadily.

"We are prisoners," the man began, motioning for the legionnaire to lower his blade. Clavius promptly raised the point of his blade to the man's neck.

"Nonsense. What manner of prison is this?" He scowled angrily. "You take me for some sort of fool." As he turned towards Vicengo again, the strength in his arm began to wane and his sword drooped. A solemn look of disbelief washed over his face. "Cursed by The Divine..." Clavius muttered, thrusting his sword tip first at his feet. He kicked some sand in Vicengo's direction, and it returned a whimper.

The man, aware of the fact that Clavius had realized something of significance, gestured to indicate that he was still seeking an answer.

"Of all ill-fated luck for a man to be blessed with, it had to be this beast," he exclaimed, glaring at Vicengo. The sadness in its eyes implied that it understood.

He continued, "The wretched thing has demonstrated wanton uselessness in all its years of servitude to my family. I needed a proper shield, and a blacksmith at the bazaar offered me coin for him in passing. I accepted his offer." Clavius spit in the sand, likening the transaction to expelling a bad taste.

"I spent that night with the wenches at the tavern. Went overboard, passed out, and woke up here, reunited with the blasted beast."

The man gave a displeased frown. "You blame the beast?"

Clavius sighed in lament. "The gods have scorn for mortals who demonstrate cruelty towards beasts. This... thing is as half-witted and lazy as there ever was. The way I see it, their judgement was to punish us both."

"Punished. We're being punished.." the man calmly resigned. "I dabbled in sciences forbidden by law, deemed too dangerous to explore. There was a miscalculation in one of my experiments, and I've been stuck here since, writing it all off as an accident for.." the man paused briefly. "As if time itself held meaning in such a place," he muttered to himself, coming to terms with his sins.

Right on cue, An aethereal maw spilled out of a nearby dune, crashing into the sand beside the trio. A strange hum filled the air as its jaws parted, revealing a swirling nexus that pulled the three of them towards it like a magnet.

The scientist didn't flinch, having encountered it countless times before, but Clavius fell flat on his rear end frozen in fear. He had been pulled but a few feet when the maw grew silent. "There can only be one," exclaimed the scientist in revelation, taking his previous encounters into consideration.

Clavius suspensefully locked eyes with the scientist, misunderstanding what he had said. In a blur, he grabbed his sword and thrust it into the abdomen of the scientist, skewering him. The scientist fell to one knee and grunted in pain. He removed a small device from his pocket and pointed it squarely at Clavius. As it began to buzz and light up the scientist flashed a gaze at Vicengo, as if sending a signal. Suddenly, the beast leapt in front of its master just as the device fired a scorching beam of plasma, mortally wounding it. It collapsed next to the scientist, who petting it gently on the head affirmed in a whisper, "Soon we will be free."

Clavius strode triumphantly towards the maw, which once again welcomed him with a hum. "Hah! The beast finally proved to be useful. Today, the gods have smiled upon me."

The hum grew deafeningly loud as Clavius was swept off his feet and sucked into the void. A hearty warmth filled his body, rejuvenating his physical strength and mental fortitude, as it fed him with supernatural energy. Before he knew it, he was expelled from the maw with a new lease on life. He gathering himself and rose to his feet, back in the sand where he started. He was alone.

May 21, 2001


Ironic Twist posted:

Thank you, dude. If you want to take me up on it, I will do a line-by-line crit of your entry this week, straight-up constructive, no jokes.

Yeah, that would be great, after the results and what not. I'm still struggling to be honest, but hopefully, I have eliminated some of the more basic errors from my first few weeks.

May 21, 2001

Each entry is 3 stories to read though, right?

May 21, 2001

Thanks for your hard work with those crits. I'm having a rough time, but no quitting. :colbert:

May 21, 2001

In it to grin it

Ironic Twist posted:

BabyRyoga Crit

Much appreciated. I feel like there are some spots that might be easy to focus on based on the feedback i've gotten from the last few crits.

BabyRyoga fucked around with this message at 18:36 on Dec 12, 2017

May 21, 2001

on your day of birth
the blood of your vanquished foes
would make a great wine

May 21, 2001

The Rightful Heir
Prompt: Pokemon RedGreenBlue
1207 Words

"What makes a good candidate anyway? They all just look like loving kids to me, though I assume there is some sort of scientific process or methodology," said Briggs, a ranked official who wore a uniform, emblazoned with various ribbons and medals.

"I'm sure the candidates are chosen for a reason. Why don't we call someone from logistics up here to break down the process for future reference?" replied Fletcher. He wore an identical uniform with mostly common effects, though each man also had a few unique decorations.

The system in place had both men in charge of separate research teams. Based on new discoveries and analyses of past results, either one had the authority to call for an experiment whenever their respective teams made enough progress to warrant one. Despite this, the experiments themselves were considered a collaborative effort and were overseen by both figureheads. The two had met that afternoon to conduct a trial based on the research of Fletcher's team. For this round, there would both a test subject, and a handler candidate involved.

A loud bell interrupted the exchange. As the ringing subsided, a green light attached to the corner wall came on. "Looks like we can meet with them later. It's starting." Briggs said, sitting up in his chair and stretching.

He pressed a button on the console before him and began to speak into an embedded microphone on the face of the unit. "Block 38. Lone subject, Standby," Briggs announced. Both men then leaned in, eyes fixated on a panel of displays extending upwards from the console. Captured from a dozen different angles, several teenage boys were assembled on both sides of a residential street. It could have been any street; there were no landmarks that stood out, and the houses in the neighborhood were less than remarkable. On one side of the road, three boys stood next to each other in a line. Opposite was a lone boy, the most drab in appearance of the whole lot. The trio huddled close briefly to exchange some words, and with a synchronized grunt of encouragement, they dispersed back into formation.

Each of the three produced a small, spherical object from their pockets which they then, in turn, hurled directly at the curb. With three soft crashes similar to the sound of glass bottles shattering, that side of the street was enshrouded in a veil of charcoal-grey smoke. Their opponent simply stood and looked on, completely unfazed. As the smoke began to clear, there were three small cat-like animals standing in the street lined up in front of the boys, poised and ready to strike. Assessing each threat, the drab looking boy smirked, winded his arm back, and slammed his own sphere into the pavement with all his might. A much larger mass of grey smoke swirled outwards, obscuring all in sight.

"I hope this goes well," Briggs whispered to Fletcher, as the pair waited for the smoke to clear up. They were joined by many other sets of eyes, watching from various other departments. He continued, "Frankly, I want nothing more than to put this whole thing behind us before we get in too deep."

Fletcher chimed in, nodding, "The sooner we can move on to other things, the better. That's why I decided to take a risk on this one."

Fletcher's words took a second to reach Briggs. When they did, he expressed concern. "Wait, what kind of risk?"

After a tense half-minute or so, the smoke had thinned enough that the silhouette of a majestic beast could be made out, much larger than anything else present. Briggs jumped out of his chair in disbelief. "Dammit, what did you do? You know we can only guarantee subjugation on subjects up to weight class delta!" he exclaimed. "That thing must be at least-"

"It's a Zeta," Fletcher interrupted, with confidence.

As the last of the smoke drifted away, the beast let loose with a fearsome roar that almost instantly sent all opposition scattering in different directions. Its handler smiled confidently, and with a gleeful cackle, pointed squarely at one of the fleeing creatures. "GO, Endymio-"

With a bone-shattering crack, the sharp jaws of a four-thousand-pound Hippopotamus ground to a close, reducing the boy's skull to fragments caked with brain matter. If it were possible for the boy to scream out in horror in the seconds it took the beast to spin around and relinquish the rights to territorial sovereignty of the southern bank of Willow Street from him, his ignorant pride had certainly distracted him from doing so.

Briggs sat silently, now resigned to a corner of the room with his head buried in his hands. Fletcher was striking the face of the console lightly with his forehead in repetition, at roughly the same rhythm as the hippo, seen on one of the displays above, was thrashing the bottom half of the boy's torso against the sidewalk.

The door swung open with a thud as a man wearing a navy-blue suit burst into the room. He addressed the two with steadfast patience and a giant smile on his face. "So. What are you two gently caress-ups calling that one?"

The two defeated men gave no answer as the suit paced around their station, examining them both. "Well?", He folded his arms, awaiting an answer. "Go ahead. Mark it in the books!"

".. Block 38. Codename: King of the Jungle. Failure."

"King..heh .." the man in the suit chuckled briefly before finally losing the last of his patience. "KING.. OF THE loving JUNGLE?" Droplets of saliva flew to every corner of the room as he fumed at the pair with all his rage.

Briggs was looking at the floor and shaking his head and holding back laughter, while Fletcher stood by completely stupefied. The berating continued:

"Do you have any idea how much that loving specimen COST? Marcus over at accounting is going to poo poo right down my neck. Get your asses over to Damage Control. I don't care if you're there all night, get that.. THING back in one piece." He had calmed down considerably. Accidents were common enough in his line of work.

".. What about the candidate?" squeaked Briggs, glancing briefly at the monitor where the bottom half of the boy's mangled torso lay in a pool of blood and entrails.

"Oh. Don't beat yourselves up over that, it's just some loving kid," the boss said with a smirk, adjusting his tie.

As the pair shuffled out of the room, the subject had already wandered out of range of the lenses placed at the test site. They would have their hands full for the rest of the evening with the clean-up and paperwork, then return the next day with adjustments in mind. To save a lot of headaches, the Damage Control Department ultimately decided to write the species of beast used in this experiment off as incompatible for future trials, no questions asked. Thus, the blame for the failure would be placed neither on the rash choice made by Fletcher to use a grossly overweight subject, nor logistics for choosing a candidate with insufficient training. This decision was considered by many to be hypocritical.


May 21, 2001

Thanks for the crits as usual! Although I still fell short of the mark, I can say that the writing process came about much easier this time, so I feel at least some progress has been made.

I'm probably too busy to participate in this one, but my SO would like to submit on my behalf. What's the ruling on that? Don't wanna post something she wrote and pass it off as my own. This is probably a one time thing, if she enjoys it enough i'll just get her an account.

If deemed automatically a DQ, i'm sure she'd still like to submit and appreciate a crit or two.

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