|# ¿ Jan 12, 2017 01:25|
|# ¿ Dec 11, 2023 09:33|
Keith laid out a wrench, a hammer and a banana on the table.
It was a good system.
The way he had unwrapped the wrench, hammer and banana from their soft leather bundle was part of the system. The wordlessness had been tested over the years. He'd experimented with multiple combinations of tools, of expression, of posture over the years. He had endeavoured to take reflective notes after each job, and the first couple were recorded in vivid colour coded glory, neat handwriting and technical diagrams of horrific violence that had no right to look so crisp.
Sam watched Keith place the wrench, the hammer and the banana on his kitchen table. Bound to a chair, Sam found himself suitably intimidated by Keith’s efforts. He had started to sweat profusely.
Five minutes ago, Sam had been drinking a beer and staring out the window. Keith had efficiently and brutally dealt to Sam’s front door, entered the small flat and tied Sam to a chair like a muscular whirlwind. Sam wasn’t quite sure he could piece together the choreography of the event if pressed, there was noise, there was force and there was now restraint.
Tools unpacked, Keith came around to the front of the table. He leaned back slightly against it, folded his arms and stared at Sam. Sam stared at the banana.
“You know what I’m here for.”
From that point on, Keith knew it was just a scale of escalating violence until people admitted they knew what he was here for, and helped him get it.
Keith had developed the process over the years to achieve maximum intimidation with minimum effort. He was what most people would call lazy, but he wasn't without a work ethic - he would work industriously to ensure that things required the least amount of input from him in future. He’d even hired an assistant to handle the surprising amount of bureaucracy that came with the job. He just had to show up and be pointed at a door. It was a very good system.
Keith uncrossed his arms and put his hands on the table. Sam glanced at Keith’s big, weathered knuckles as the wrapped over the rim of the table. He started to think about what those hands could do with a wrench. He thought about the banana.
Sam didn’t know what Keith was here for. Keith recognised the confusion and picked up the wrench. He drew himself up out of his slouch, pushing off the table gently. Whistling.
Sam was now terrified again, his eyes wide as his brain raced to make sense of the hulking man in his kitchen, the banana, the song he couldn’t place a finger on.
Keith stepped closer to Sam, swinging the wrench lightly, almost absentmindedly, just enough to loosen up his shoulders. The whistling was replaced by words.
“So I'll go, but I know I'll think of you each step of the waaa-ay”
Keith was right in front of Sam now. He lifted the wrench above his right shoulder, his bicep curling menacingly beneath his shirt.
He brought the wrench down hard, swinging across his body like a tennis forehand straight into the side of Sam’s right kneecap. Sam screamed, his cry merging with Keith’s song, belting out together in harmony as Keith hit the chorus
“..will always love yo-ooo--I will always love you”
Sam’s screams turned to weeping, snot and tears ran down his face. He was not enjoying this as much as Keith was.
Keith grinned. This too was part of the script. He’d actually tried a few different songs over the years, Dolly just worked though. He knew he probably sung with far too much gusto than the first verse and chorus actually called for, but you couldn’t just whack a guy in the kneecaps without some theatrics.
“Now.” He stepped back and leaned against the table again. “You know what I’m here for.”
Sam looked up at Keith. He’d worked out the song he’d been coerced into a duet of by now, but had chosen to file it with the banana.
“Wh..what? No. I really don’t - I don’t have anything. Who are yo-AAaaargh”.
Sam had, on his efforts to regain his composure, accidentally put weight on his right leg. The shattered joint throbbed with fresh conviction.
Keith wasn’t expecting pushback. Sam didn’t look the type. He was a weedy, substitute maths teacher looking man in his late thirties. Most people would crack when he started laying tools on the table, almost all of the remainder would start babbling as soon as their kneecap was shattered. People who needed special treatment generally looked a lot tougher than Sam.
“Friend. Remember, you have two kneecaps. I can do another verse if you want me to, but it’s probably best if you just cooperate now.”
“No no no, please, no I don’t mean - I swear, I don’t know what you want, but I’ll co-operate. Please, don’t.. don’t hit me again.”
The door burst open.
“Keith, I’ve hosed u - Oh poo poo. Oh Jesus.”
“What’d I tell you about names - wait, what do you mean you’ve hosed up?”
Craig looked at Sam. He looked at Sam’s knee and paled. Sam looked at Craig. He looked at Keith.
Craig wasn’t really a “hands-on” assistant. This was the first time he’d seen Keith’s handiwork up close before, and he found himself in a strange silent world filled with many loud thoughts. Muffled words drew nearer until one grabbed him by the shoulder and shook him.
“Oi! Snap out of it kid. What do you mean you hosed up?”
“We’re at the wrong house - I don’t know what happened, I guess I copy and pasted something wrong? This isn’t - this is, oh man.”
“This is what?”
“Your son, Toby, he’s at his friend’s tonight - you’re going to pick him up after work. You’re going to pick him here. This is the Weavers’ house.”
Sam’s eyes widened. Keith’s eyes widened. Keith considered his options and came up with a dreadful plan.
He swung the wrench as hard as he could across Craig’s face.
Craig’s eyes widened, and then abruptly closed as the wrench caught him in the temple. He crumpled.
Toby’s eyes widened. Whatever the Weaver kids’ name was, his were wider.
“Dad?” they both said, almost in unison.
“Toby, thank God you’re alright! It’s still not safe here, son. Can you both wait for me through there in the lounge? ”
The boys nodded, stunned and shuffled off into the next room quietly.
Keith grabbed a fistful of tea towels and moved to Sam. He started to wrap Sam’s broken knee, splinting it with a wooden spoon. He leaned in close to Sam’s ear.
“Now, Mr Weaver, I think we need to come to an understanding. I have just rescued you from this young man. I arrived to collect my son, and witnessed this horrific scene that’s unfolded in your kitchen. Thinking only of my child’s safety, I hit the intruder in the head - just once, but, well, adrenaline is a hell of thing.” Keith squeezed Sam’s knee gently, sending fresh waves of pain rattling around under it “That sounds about right, doesn’t it?”
Sam’s eyes rolled around a bit, but eventually focused in on Keith’s. He nodded weakly.
“Mr Weaver, I know where you live and you know what I’m capable of. I have friends, Mr Weaver. It’s for the best, you understand, right?” Keith, untied Sam and stood up, “Let’s see about getting you fixed up.”
He called an ambulance using the phone on the wall. He briefly thought about disposing the body himself, but there would be too many questions at the hospital - best to tie this all up in a neat bow. He asked the responder to send a police car too.
After checking for Craig’s pulse to make sure he wouldn’t be a problem, Keith called the boys in.
“Toby, I need you to be brave for me, ok? Try to look straight ahead, and go out the door to the car - I’ll be right out.”
Sam’s child and Sam folded in on themselves, in a quiet sobbing embrace. Keith gathered up his tool bag, leaving the bloody wrench.
“K-Keith?” Sam looked up, having built up enough courage to talk again. “What’s - why do you..” he paused to gather himself and formulate the question. “Why a banana?”
Keith looked him in the eye.
He turned and walked out and down the steps to the car.
“Dad, should we wait for the police or something?”
“No, sport. We need to get you home safe. Mr Weaver will tell them what happened. I’m just glad I got to you in time.”
They drove on in silence.
“Do I have to do my homework tonight?”
“Yes, chief. No shortcuts, nobody’s going to do the work for you.”
|# ¿ Jan 15, 2017 23:24|
Flerp and I submitted twice no less.
The hubrest of all. You have brought this on us.
|# ¿ Jan 18, 2017 03:13|
interprompt: Sebmojo can eat a dick
You called me numpty
In an email to work folks.
Eat dicks. A whole bag.
|# ¿ Jan 18, 2017 03:59|
Thanks for judge crits and burps.
to get my outstanding crits done before judgement is rendered this week.
|# ¿ Jan 19, 2017 04:19|
Week 228 crits and burps continued
Hopefully you remember the stories you wrote, I selflessly reread them. Chairchucker and Mojo have said things I mostly agree with, and as more seasoned critics their opinions are probably the ones you want to listen to. THAT SAID, here are some thoughts:
Erogenous Beef - A Change of Mind
“Psychic murder fungus” was enough to make this stand out, but the other reason it won was because it was crisp and had good bones. You leveraged scifi’s existing language/settings/detritus well (without falling into the gravitational fields of scifi’s tropes and clichés) so that I had a really clear picture in my head of where it was, who the people were and how things played out. I didn’t see the twist coming, and it worked because it was so sudden.
Just to balance it out, I had an issue with your para about the effects of the fungus. Being a psychic murder fungus, the orgy and the course plotting threw me a little because they weren’t murderous actions. You’ve probably got a logic in your head for why this worked, but you didn’t share enough of it with me as the reader.
flerp - In some mythologies, the whole world is on the back of a turtle which is pretty cool
This didn’t get an HM but it was in the running. I felt things when I read it, but you didn’t really spin a good story here - I’m not going to begrudge you your vignetting, but that’s pretty much why you didn’t get any accolades. Some form of needs/wants/challenges would have helped you better demonstrate your protag’s ineptitude - you’ve written endearingly about a dude and his turtle buddy who face the end of the world in pretty chill fashion. Arguably he’s only inept at panicking appropriately in an armageddon situation.
Sitting Here - One-Sided Conversation
I felt like this was part of something bigger, and because you couldn’t give me that broader story it didn’t satisfy. You’ve lovingly crafted a character (who is inept at what? Grasping reality? Non-violent muggings?) and there’s some fantastic imagery in the opening - there’re excellent words throughout, but I felt less strongly about the tail than I did your initial scene-setting.
Farchanter - We’ve All Been There
Of all the science fiction we got this week, this was not the best. It wasn’t bad bad, you would have DMd otherwise, but it was not great. The issues were more related to your setting and protagonist rather than anything technical for me.
Gary seems like a heavy cruiser-class fuckup who somehow got a highly technical qualification - how can you get through astroengineering college and then view everything as if through the eyes of a toddler? Why do they keep letting him near the controls? He doesn’t sound like someone who has masked ineptitude and today has to pay the price, he sounds openly rubbish at being a spaceman and has somehow been given a free pass for it.. Basically, what I’m saying, is you need to ground this in some reality - or at least describe the strange spaceship logic this vessel runs on.
Thranguy - Empty
You did something bold in choosing your perspective, and it paid off. It needed a proof for tense issues and typos, but really Thranguy, who doesn’t need to proof more here? This was gross and vivid and engaging, and I really enjoyed reading it. Only issue would be that you probably didn’t have room to weave the two plots together in the space you had, and both therefore suffered from the short wordcount this week.
BeefSupreme - Mean Things
Because you submitted second, it was your story that gave me déja vu rather than Jagermonster. I try to be an objective judge, but having to read the same story twice means that the second one better do something good to not be drowned by the ennui. Thankfully it did just enough. The setting made it less LOL NICE GUYS(™) and more “boy, youths really have some misguided ideas and naiveté don’t they?”, and the characters were therefore more likeable.
Some things though - who has brunch at school? Also, while your dialogue was mostly ok, it got a little bit too formal for the context. I know high-schoolers do the verbose thing where they try to make themselves sound smarter than they are and come across not that - but I don’t believe that’s what you were doing. If you were doing that, signpost it better. Specific example? Marcus’s last line. Also, your setup could have been punchier - figuratively. What would the story have been like if you started with “Don’t say things like that”?
Flesnolk - Night on the Front
I got confused about connecting names to characters on the first read, partly because I don’t have enough military rank knowledge tucked away in my head - Given that you actually explain in words that one was in charge of the other, I can’t figure out whether it wasn’t a good explanation, or if I read too fast first time. Haig I also had to look up, and that one is on you. Also I don’t know why you bothered with fourteen men, because really you gave me three.
Having a poor grasp of the names made the lack of clarity in your final scene downright impenetrable. Rereading after establishing who is who, it wasn’t heaps better. A tank can be both a military vehicle and something to carry fuel, the “nodded” could have been read as a description of action accompanying the speaking, rather than a response.
This all said, the story underneath all this was good, if grim. It hit the prompt pretty well, and did so tragically which set it apart well from the other pieces. This crit reads like I’m outlining my poor reading comprehension - but a good story should probably still be accessible and engaging even if the reader is a little bit tired.
GenJoe - A Murder.
I strongly suggest you go listen to the thunderdome recap episode that covers this one. The TD elders are wise, and their observations should be heeded. If your story was better maybe you’d get away with inventing a word that was a cross between a scowl and a glower - but it wasn’t and you didn’t and scour is already taken.
Initially I thought a step back and a look at the realism of this story might have helped you. Because why is the insinkerator the first place police look for a phone? But actually, I think you could have wound the story back to “David is that you??” and rewritten the ending from there - with something other than “oh no they caught me and I had to pay a fine”. Take the sebmojo approach - tip a big bucket of clichés and likely outcomes on the table, and then burn, twist, dismember, manipulate and combine them until you get something interesting that you’d want to read about.
widespread - Silver Nitride Is A Hell Of A Thing.
Again, the audio recap episode is a good thing for you to listen to if you haven’t already. BeefSupreme also gave you a good line by line, so I won’t retread old ground.
In general terms, the tone just didn’t quite work - it felt mismatched in places. I know I only gave you 800 words, but this is kind of three connected ideas together. Maybe try writing the whole thing out next time - what paragraphs you would have written instead of “-----------------------------------------------------------” and then edit it down. You’ll probably have something that is less disjointed, and through the process of writing it out in full your story might tell you to write a different, better ending.
Bad Seafood - Weakness
Your use of good words, your inclusion of a phantom brother, and our third turtle of the week, is what makes this more than “man hits other man with a bat. It’s super effective”. Unfortunately, it’s not very much more. While it was well written, you needed to do something to turn this into a story where I cared about actions and choices. I’m not super harsh on vignettes because I like them too, but you needed to write a story about ineptitude - Was Francisco bad at repressing his feelings? Because he feels pretty adept at doing the one thing he was tasked with - unless he wasn’t meant to kill the guy in the chair?
As you probably noticed within a minute of posting, you had a couple of typos and you spelled Francisco in multiple, creative ways. If you haven’t noticed this yet, a month after submission and post-Sebmojo line crit, shame on you.
|# ¿ Jan 20, 2017 03:40|
Week 230 burps - Slaying the Cursed Yearking
So, if you want to know what good writers think about your work, maybe go read what mojo and sh wrote about it. I’ll consume your words, and let you know what they taste like - but I consume a lot of junk and my taste buds are wrecked. Take from this what you will:
sparksbloom - earthquake season
My notes from this were a bunch of questions, I didn’t know what was going on. Why the gently caress was satan there? Are they in New Hampshire? or Rhode Island? are Coventry and Benton the same place? I don't really care, but I shouldn't have to worry about this stuff - I’m reading from the antipodes and I’m unfamiliar with your locale. Hold my hand. Don’t drop in place names unless you can tell me where one is relative to the other.
Your biggest issue though? Your protagonist didn’t really do anything except walk and drop a bag of cocaine on a table. The one decision made wasn’t really a decision - it’s just getting lippy. The rest is observation. Make something happen that forces your protagonist to actually protagonise.
Benny Profane - My Washer Is Full of Baby Boomers
This was cute. Other judges liked this more than I did, but to be fair it sat higher in the mix for me than a lot of other stories this week. There wasn’t a lot to fault about it, it was a solid story and it made me smile.
flerp - To Punch A Ghost
Gonna punch a ghost gonna punch a ghost gonna punch a ghost gonna punch a ghost didn’t punch a ghost. I mean I guess that’s a twist but it didn’t knock me off my chair. You wrote some words that weren’t bad, so technically you’re pretty sound here - but I guess what you wrote them about wasn’t super riveting?
Also maybe lose your last line. Or rewrite it? I mean, you do you - but those endings that hammer home the fact that your wrote in past tense by using that whole “telling a story to the last person left at the pub” tone? It doesn’t feel like it adds much, it’s not a believable sort of regret.
Entenzahn -This is One of My Hardest Tricks You Know
That's a very sizable middle para, isn't it? I felt like the story relied too heavily on me having read the prompt and knowing it was about procrastination. Knowing this makes it more reasonable to have been confronted with relatively illogical procrastination - but I’d rather you had used some of your unspent words to tell me a story where the procrastination made sense for the character and the dire situation they were in? I’m a master procrastinator, the only reason you’re reading this crit is because I gave myself a toxx deadline - but I’m doing it before the deadline. I procrastinate up until the eleventh hour and then burn my fingers off typing at inhuman speeds in the dying seconds before the deadline. I don’t procrastinate until after a deadline. That’s silly. Your protagonist is silly.
a new study bible! - Universal Donor
I liked this. More specifically, I liked the second act of this story, and I think that you spent more time on the setup then you maybe needed to. What’s difficult is that you haven’t written a lot of dead weight into the opening scene, so you’d need to be ruthless. You know which of those words are your darlings, so you’re best placed to murder them.
Also the link between the prayer to the cosmic entity and the weirdness could have been stronger, I reckon. Not necessarily more spelt out - just the distance between “tickling of too-cold fingers” and “What did you do?” feels too far to me.. Also, if someone says “Please. Please no” in front of me, I’m not going to accuse them of cosmic meddling - so maybe that’s what’s actually irking me about this sequence of events.
Baleful Osmium Sea -
I enjoyed the heck out of this, but only because I would read and or write that blog. But man, not a lot of anything happened here. You had me kind of excited that you’d maybe written in a timeloop, and I nearly read your whole story twice. I agree with Sitting Here, tell us more about the Little Computer People.
Well that was a sharp turn. Too sharp, in my humble opinion - and I also reckon that you took me on that occupational health and safety hazard of a ride because you took your cursed image way too literally. Your characters and their streaming show were pretty solid and could have done something cooler than get eaten by a baby.
Chili - You Have No Self Worth, Take Some of Mine
Chili, I fuckin’ love this nun, she seems like a hoot. I fought for her, but it wasn’t to be. Do what Sitting Here and sebmojo said, they probably know how to make stories good-er.
Hawklad - A Hard Reset
I liked the writing about the relationship in the opening section, but I think you needed to maybe draw a distinction between the Sheila in Gordon’s head and the Sheila that was actually there? I mean - extended time in another person’s company can make the way a person eats suuuper gross, even though nobody else notices. The way you’ve written it, it feels like the narrator has already taken Gordon’s side in this.
I’d never advocate for a shimmery transition and Gordon waking up in bed sweating, but man you have written a Gordon fantasy here that couldn’t be anything but a dream. I liked your last few lines, not sure I like how you got there.
BeefSupreme - Clockwork
Sorry Beef, I got very bored. I read the whole thing, and you bored me quite competently with good prose and characters, but not enough happened. Next time punch Father Time in his relentless face.
I had a bit of trouble following what was going on physically in the opening paras. The rest was nice though, you wrote your characters well and made them do some believable talkings that warmed my heart.
Thranguy - Lantern Fish
Although you did many things right, your protagonist was swept along by a beautifully written river and didn’t really do much until the end. They walked along with a group, reflected a bit while people died around them until eventually are not impeded from doing the thing they wanted to to.
However, I didn’t care about that and this one was my favourite of the week’s stories.
katdicks - Pardoned
Ok, so my biggest issue with this story was that you didn’t earn your magic knockout fart. I thought you wrote really well about a believable problem, but I didn’t realise we’d transitioned into magical children’s fiction land where farts are a hazy green cloud that can knock people out - and therefore found it jarring.
Reene - Take With Food
AND IT WAS ALL A TRIP wibble wibble wibble gently caress right off. To be honest I would have prefered if you played the old gods angle straight. I would have preferred if the whole thing was that stuff, that whole section was great.
Krunge - Bugging out
I don’t even know. Use the words you didn’t spend to make this make more sense - at the moment it’s an unbelievable farce.
Man fumigates house - steps on cat - starts fire - burns down house - boss doesn’t seem to realise that burning down houses comes with consequences and is strangely calm about everything - more cat - man fights boss.
I mean, I can see the rube goldberg machine that you set up here - but did you ever stop to ask yourself if you should have built it? (You shouldn’t have built it).
Sitting Here and sebmojo have said things about this. Read them. The audio team at Thunderdome FM also said things. Listen to them.
|# ¿ Jan 22, 2017 11:47|
Fragile and blue, you made me so afraid
Today you sing, your smile is soft, warm light,
But fears have roots, and these ones do not fade.
I watched you begin, midwife at your aid.
Silent, limp, wet and in her hands so slight,
Fragile and blue, you made me so afraid
A light, klaxon, medical cavalcade.
I held your mother as I watched you fight,
But fears have roots, and these ones do not fade.
Wiped clean, new breath, your signs of life remade.
We held you close, tight, watching through the night,
Fragile and blue, you made me so afraid
Older now, time helps memory degrade
News of a brother makes you smile so bright
But fears have roots, and these ones do not fade.
My fears doused, behind mental barricade -
The day draws near, I’m scared they'll reignite.
Fragile and blue, you made me so afraid
But fears have roots, and these ones do not fade.
|# ¿ Jan 22, 2017 23:14|
Thanks for the crits, Ska and Jitzu (and Twist for the other day).
|# ¿ Jan 25, 2017 11:28|
Luv u too, flerp. Thx.
|# ¿ Jan 26, 2017 17:57|
I'll do a line by line if someone wants it, too - either for this week or for one of the two weeks I judged recently (ineptitude/cursed yearking).
|# ¿ Jan 29, 2017 19:24|
Cool, will post once judgment is up.
|# ¿ Jan 29, 2017 23:38|
Prompt: "The greater an object's value, the more vulnerable it is to theft. And the world's most celebrated art is no exception."
On character: Although it felt like it relied on cliche a tiny bit, I actually had a pretty good idea of the main character/narrator - but Ricky felt a bit all over the show and didn’t crystallise until the last few hundred words. Better to tell me more about him earlier.
On motive: OK here’s the thing - this is my biggest issue with your story. Two dudes stand in the Louvre. Then one leaves a phone message, won’t take the callback and jumps in the river. There’s no clarity around the job, who might be pursuing them, why the narrator feels at 35 he’s so far gone that the best thing to do is jump in a grotty river.
Best thing I read - and thanks to Muffin for telling me about this - was Dan Harmon’s story circle. This link has pretty good coverage of the idea. But really, give your character a motivation - what do they want? What’s stopping them getting it? You jumped right to the change without the rest - and therefore the ending probably wasn’t as satisfying as you wanted it to be. Earn the blissful annihilation.
On swearing: You spent 26 of your words on “gently caress”, and 5 on “poo poo”. Tell me that every single one of those 30 words is vital to your story. Every loving one? Really? Use it as flavour. Also loving thirty-five would be better as thirty-loving-five. The swearing is in character, but in flash fiction it's always at the expense of something else - I think you could bring it down to 15-20 and still keep the character you'd written.
On sentences: Finish ‘em. The whole interruption thing works well a couple of times, but I'd lost some patience for it toward the end (where, ironically, you used it to better effect). I’d rather you spent some of your swear words finishing those sentences.
|# ¿ Jan 31, 2017 07:39|
Thank you for the crit
Yeah, thanks Kaishai
|# ¿ Feb 5, 2017 00:39|
It all changed when they gave the sheriff a badge.
|# ¿ Feb 14, 2017 02:05|
In with a flash story.
|# ¿ Jun 7, 2017 05:42|
Call down the storm (749 words)
Ren and his brother Jeff looked out over the rails, the small boat rocking gently in the shallows. They could see the roiling smoky tendrils flashing with all the shades of midnight out over Island Bay.
A few hundred years ago, our emotions could only grow so much before dying along with their hosts - but as lifetimes stretched out, the potential to metastasize did too.
Then they outgrew their hosts. Another hundred years and the skies and seas were thick with them.
Smoke and clouds was good, smoke and clouds meant you were safe - have one take an interest and you'd get hit with all the grief, guilt, sorrow or hate you would ever feel, funnelled straight through your head in an instant.
And Jeff was going to take them through it. Back to the farm down South, across the strait and through the sounds. Back to Dad.
Ren’s decision to leave had been more tortured than Jeff’s cut-and-run. Ren had to go though, they needed money and he wasn’t cut out for the farm – not like Jeff was. He hated going, but Dad knew it had to be that way. Ren knew it had to be that way.
Jeff leaned over the rails in his Judas Priest tshirt and stubbies. He wasn't a stormrunner, but he'd been on a few courier boats and swore he could get them across the Strait.
"Maybe we should've just paid Steve what he was asking."
Jeff tapped him gently in the kidneys with a fist. "You know you're not backing out, mate. You've made your decision, that's why you're here. You want to go home, and I'm going to take you."
Ren gripped the rail, his knuckles whitening as Jeff clambered aft to start the engine - the throaty, watery gurgle of it cutting through the still morning air. The wall of smoke bulged slightly in their direction.
Ren muttered something about it being Jeff's home too as he climbed down into the cabin. He knew it wasn't though, you couldn’t pay Jeff to go back. This trip was for Ren.
The floor angled gently backwards as Jeff opened up the throttle, bouncing gently as the small vessel bumped across the small swells.
Ren could see the silhouette of Tapu te Ranga Island rising out of the water, faintly visible through the swirls of purple, blue and black, before slipping out of view behind them.
As the boat pushed through the living fog cloud, Ren was reminded of the stories his dad had told. The giant octopus, Te Wheke-a-Muturangi, being spotted from the island by Kupe before being chased across the strait. The long ethereal tentacles caressed the boat as it moved amongst them, flashing pink and orange in the new morning light.
The engine suddenly cut out, startling Ren into alertness. They were in the Marlborough Sounds now, gliding silently through the still water. They were through the most dangerous part of their journey and Ren hadn't even noticed.
Ren shouldered the cabin door open and hauled himself up. He could hear it as soon as his head was above the deck, a soft keening. The sound came in swells, crystal clear over the gentle sloshing noise of the bow through water.
The cloud of swirling, grasping smoke had somehow condensed and evaporated at the same time - Ren couldn't think of any other way to describe the wall of solid pink light in front of him.
Ren felt his stomach twist uncontrollably with guilt, the world dropping out beneath him as if he'd been caught in the grandest lie. He felt the light wash over him, probing, piercing as it dredged up his deepest regrets until it settled on the memory of leaving home. Dad in the window next to his tank, hose and mask in hand. Ren was there, on the backseat of the bus again, the house receding but not receding behind him, the momentum caught in a strange loop.
The pink light faded as fast as it had swept over him, as if allergic to Ren’s resolution. Slightly shaken, Ren had a second to doubt all the warnings he’d been brought up with, before -
“Oh poo poo, Jeff?!”
Ren’s head whipped around, looking for his brother. His big brother who’d always been there for him. And there Jeff was, curled up on the deck. Mumbling, rocking, quivering slightly. Weak whispers.
“..I’m sorry, Dad.. I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m...”
Ren let the warm, pink light of guilt rush back in.
|# ¿ Jun 12, 2017 01:12|
|# ¿ Jun 17, 2017 05:23|
In. Cover, pls.
|# ¿ Jun 20, 2017 05:22|
for my sins.
|# ¿ Jun 27, 2017 20:45|
There is a crack in everything
Father and Mother awoke, fell in love, and entwined themselves at the beginning of everything.
Mother, the naked earth, the most beautiful vision Father had or would ever see. Father, the sky, his coat of blue warmth wrapped around her shoulders.
Great waves of rock and fire and metal and wind crashed together as the two embraced.
Together they remained, drifting across the cold of space, holding each other close for aeons. Time passed around them, but it was barely moments in their eyes. Forever would not be long enough.
Like young lovers, for they were young lovers - the first young lovers - they held each other close and firm. Eyes wide in wonder of each other, both perfect creations born of the first breath of the universe. Hands caressed and pulled toward and rested on each other, learning each other as they learned themselves.
Love and warmth spilled forth, Mother birthing sons and daughters who roamed between her and Father.
Mother and Father held each other so close their children could not stand. They were huddled, low, unable to stretch out, as they crawled between their parents.
It was dark, dim. Father hung so close above Mother that light could barely breath. Some thrived in the loamy cosiness of their world, but others were not satisfied with the world they lived in. The children longed to run, to hunt, to explore the ends of the Earth. They loved Mother and Father, but among them desires became grudges became words.
“I want to run in the daylight, I want to stand straight in the sunlight. What can we do?”
“They do not know how we suffer. They do not hear us.”
And then a voice. A bold, strong voice.
“We must kill them, so that we can be free.”
Disgruntled murmurs became cries of anguish. Who could think such a thing, Mother and Father who had brought them into existence. Mother and Father who only knew love for one another and their children.
Another firm voice spoke out, confident but more measured than the last.
“We cannot murder our parents, such an act would be deeply wrong. But this cannot continue either, there is another way. We must separate Mother and Father.”
Some children gasped, some wept. Mother and Father’s love was so strong that even separating them sounded like an unforgivable sin. They wept because they knew that it was a price they would pay to stand tall, that their desires outweighed their parents’ bond.
Some simmered in the dark. Their siblings had no right, their parents’ love was the world and they would fight for it.
But the world had to change, and enough of the children knew it. They gathered away from their siblings. Leaving the ones content to wallow in the dark, and the ones who bristled and glared.
They climbed on their hands and knees, to where the roundness of Mother’s stomach met their Father’s. They took the heavens on their shoulders and heaved upward. Legs and backs unfurling to their full length, calves and thighs quaking under the the strain. Sweat poured off them as they stretched out.
The earth quaked and their Father’s bellows filled the sky. Their parents clung to each other, but the children could sense their freedom - their desperation to see light, to run with each other, to see the world as it could be outstripped their parents’ grasping, final efforts to hold tight. Father and Mother cried out as their fingers slipped apart.
Starting small at the edges of the world, blooming through the cracks, daylight crept in. Thin slivers of white, searing lines behind the children’s eyelids as they closed their eyes and turned away. They could feel its warmth grow on their backs, and then all around them. They opened their eyes and the light was changing, rolling through pinks, reds, oranges and yellows - until it just was.
The children laughed and drank it in. But not all of them. The small number of dissenters had seen what was happening, and leapt, holding onto Father’s brilliant blue coat. Riding up to sit with their Father in the sky, still smouldering with rage at what their brothers and sisters had done. They became the wind, the howls and gales, the thunder and lightning. They became an endless war on the family that had betrayed them.
Mother and Father’s grief was eternal, the forever they had together was mere seconds compared to the forever they spent apart. Mother shaking the mountains with her sobs and Father flooding the valleys with his tears, waiting for their chance to embrace when their children tire of dancing in the light.
NB: This is a retelling of a creation myth that I (and other NZ domers) grew up with. Ranginui and Papatūānuku are super googleable, as are the stories of their children.
|# ¿ Jul 3, 2017 03:20|
|# ¿ Jul 19, 2017 00:08|
I slosh sideways across the room, lurching between bodies. Somewhere in this sweaty, thumping mess, she’s here.
The floor heaves as the beat builds, I steady myself against a tower of cloth and muscle -
Silent slow words erupt like a glacier from the giant’s face. Something hostile, rhetorical. His arm tensed and risi-
A fist suspended in light, drifting across the gulf between him and my fa -
My teeth and his hand meet in a hot sneer, force rolling out across my lips to my cheek. Then I’m floati -
From the ground, I lock eyes with her. She looks away.
|# ¿ Jul 23, 2017 22:41|
yes u are, don't lie
|# ¿ Jul 25, 2017 19:56|
u suck and r bad and ur farts smell significantly worse than regular farts
See, flerp's lovely
|# ¿ Jul 25, 2017 20:08|
Don't poo poo where you eat.
|# ¿ Sep 5, 2017 10:42|
Sam’s arm came off while she was reaching under the bar for cleaning supplies. She swore, the harsh consonants lingering in the air of the empty bar as the appendage flopped noisily into the mop bucket.
Every time. Goddamn budget brand cybernetics, meshweave wouldn’t hold since day one. Not that it mattered, she’d run plenty of bars without it - only working for a chain would they decide to engineer your body to keep the customers comfortable.
gently caress company policy, she thought. Nobody was coming in this late anyway. Give the arm some time to drip dry while she cleaned the place up.
She switched the music over to something louder, crunchier, pushing the volume control past regulation limits. The rumble of the bass rebuilding her, flowing into the cracks and dents left by the days the day’s interactions had left, filling them with a golden warmth.
Cleaning is easy if the music is loud enough. She flushed the espresso machine out, wiped down the bar and started on mopping the floors. All the tech in the world and people want beer or coffee and a place to spill it.
Five minutes from closing time Sam flipped off the display outside, cutting the animated shamrock’s bobbing mid-motion and sending it into the flat black void. She poured herself a half pint. There was nothing in the manual that allowed for it, but having a staffie was an unwritten right.
The door opened. Sam couldn’t help glaring at the black space of the opening doorway.
Angus couldn’t see far ahead of him. The rain and the tears made the streetlights and signscreens all blur together, splashes of colour bleeding across the dark, wet street. Both poured down his face, mixing with the snot and blood from his nose. Salt, warmth, iron, cold on his lips.
Shitheads, he thought. Fuckin’ shitweasels jumped him. Again. It wasn’t a mugging, not really. They took his shoes, but it was more an afterthought. He’d always attracted a kind of hostility, but the beatings were new.
He couldn’t go home though, not yet. Keith would still be awake, and he’d rather not listen to Keith’s views on Angus’ inability to defend himself.
The green aura outside the bar up on the corner blinked out as he approached it. It was loud though, loud was good right now. He tried the door, a rolling wave of drums and synths and guitars pouring out as the cold and wet rushed in.
“We’re closing!” Sam yelled over the music at the shape filling the doorway.
Company policy said that anyone coming in the door during opening hours was entitled to service. Sam did what she could to discourage people from coming in the door during the fading minutes of those opening hours.
Her expression softening when she saw Angus, soaked through to his skinny frame, wet eyes above the blood and rain around his jaw.
“Aww poo poo, kid. Just, just sit down over there, I don’t want to mop this place again - I’ll be over in a sec”
She filled a teapot with leaves and water, and brought it up to the front of the bar with a couple of cups.
“Want me to break some arms for you?” she winked at him, setting the tea down on the table.
“How about you tell me why I’m not kicking you out of my bar?
Every story has two sides
|# ¿ Sep 11, 2017 04:13|
thanx for the crit, benny
|# ¿ Sep 12, 2017 04:41|
Here's the crits:
|# ¿ Sep 14, 2017 19:59|
Crits for week 266
|# ¿ Sep 24, 2017 20:26|
sebmojo writes a thudnerdom estory
sebmoj wrotes a thennerdiome story pt II
Sebmojo washed the farts from his hands, left work and waited for a bus.
"Crikey, is that the time?" he said opening Google Docs on his phone ready.
"Note to self," he wrote, "sit on hands and fart at home".
and so again mojo did, and again saw tht it was good.
|# ¿ Sep 26, 2017 02:18|
|# ¿ Oct 16, 2017 23:43|
gently caress it, flash.
Actually, me too pls mojo.
|# ¿ Oct 17, 2017 03:27|
Sorry no, the fact that castration is used to indicate a lack of or reduction in courage is pretty much inherently sexist.
(i.e a sexist reference to feminity as the absence of masculinity)
|# ¿ Oct 24, 2017 05:32|
|# ¿ Oct 24, 2017 09:30|
Silence speaks volumes
Shapes flitted past the broad kitchen window, hopping like large menacing birds about the yard. The two men stood next to the fridge, their gaze turned inward, watching-but-not-watching the windows as they’d done since childhood.
“What the gently caress is he doing here?” Chris whispered angrily, opening an IPA and handing it to Steve.
“Mick’s a good guy, Chris. Can you just give him a chance?”
“He’s an rear end in a top hat,” Chris said, cracking the top of his own beer, his cufflinks catching the light.
“Yeah, but you kind of are too, man.”
Chris erupted, half laugh, half retort, “gently caress y-”
Both men froze. The shapes outside froze. And then the shapes moved. Not hopping anymore, drifting now. Inquisitive, dark and formless, pushing up against the windows like a thin black fog. Outside it was silent except for a gentle breeze murmuring through the leaves. A tap dripped in the quiet kitchen, the droplet on the stainless steel sink breaking the two men out of their trance.
“Ohhhhhhh no,” Steve whispered.
“Uh.. guys?” A new voice, Mick. The third man crept into the kitchen, very deliberately not-watching the windows. The two others turned, very slowly, toward him.
All three men, almost instinctively, started to crouch behind the kitchen bench, out of site of the window. They moved as smoothly as they could, taking care not to jerk or move too quickly. They huddled, squatting above the unswept hardwood. Each wide-eyed and straining with the effort of holding their varying middle-aged torsos aloft.
The silence outside grew, the air thick as the shapes pushed up against the house, enveloping it now. The window above the bench was completely covered, an undulating mass of writhing forms, deep and black except for the odd curve caught by the soft yellow bulb of the kitchen light.
Their minds raced, Mick’s got there first. “Bathroom?” he mouthed. The other two caught up and nodded. The bathroom was upstairs, once they were clear of the kitchen there weren’t any windows to pass except for one set in the front door. Mick rolled forward gently from his haunches onto hands and knees, then Chris, then Steve. The three of them crawling through the dust where Steve’s kids had a decade or so ago, inching toward the doorway, one slow hand in front of the other.
The silence had started to creep inside the house, pooling on the floor and sloshing around them, each man now hearing only his own breath and the blood. Wisps of black licked out from the corners of the windows, the sealant bubbling and peeling away silently.
Steve pushed the door shut behind him, not-watching the window bulge inward as he did so. Chris and Mick now slightly ahead as they crawled past the closed lounge door, Steve mentally thanked Mick for having the foresight to close it before he came to the kitchen. The trio rounded the newell of the stairs, leading up from the front door. All three not-watched it vibrate as they turned away from it and started to climb.
Halfway up the stairs, they felt the house sigh as it relented - windows broke silently under pressure and waves of black quietly poured in. The house heaved without sound as it resettled, now full, lower walls straining outward. Steve not-watched in horror as the hallway door collapsed and a wave of black rolled and roiled down the hall toward the base of the stairs, slamming against the front door and curling over on itself.
The silence enveloped everything, preparing it for the black mass now building up toward the second floor. The men scrambled the last half-a-flight of stairs to the top, not worried about drawing attention now, Steve still slightly behind the other two.
Mick flung the door to their refuge open. Steve’s discoloured bathtub, ugly shower curtain and water-damaged floorboards had not worn his divorce well, but they’d never looked more inviting than at this moment. Chris barrelled through the portal, twisting in the air to turn and watch for Steve as his velocity and bulk sent him soundlessly and violently into the wall of the tub.
Steve slipped on the top step, crashing to the floor. His ribs collided with the corner of the stair, knocking the wind from him. He looked down as his leg was enveloped by blackness, cool like a breeze but hungry, so hungry, oh god he could feel it weaving its way through his pores, between the sinews, wrapping around bo -
Steve’s arm nearly popped out of its socket, pain shot through his body from his shoulder tearing his thoughts away from his leg. Mick had him by the wrist and was hauling him up out of the rising tide, face calm amidst the chaos. Mick shouted wordlessly over his shoulder at Chris. His usually immaculate wardrobe twisted and torn from their flight, he sat blubbering inaudibly and shaking his head.
Mick shook his head and put his arms underneath Steve’s, wrapping them about his chest. He pulled Steve’s disappearing lower half up out of the black, letting momentum carry them both back toward the bathroom as the black let go, turning and heaving Steve through the door.
Steve fell awkwardly, only catching a glimpse of Mick before his head struck the floor and he passed out. Only long enough to see Mick push the door shut as a wave of black washed up and over him.
When Steve came to, he could hear Chris snoring. It took him a few moments to realise he could actually hear, that the smothering silence had gone. It took him a few moments more to realise how he got there.
Steve clambered to the door and gingerly pushed it open, daylight had slowly started to bleed through the house now. The terrible black surge from night before had receeded, leaving no signs save for broken windows, and Mick lying at the top of the stairs.
Steve grabbed Mick by the shoulders and shook him, the other man’s eyes fluttered and then opened. His face puzzled, and then a broad sunray of a smile spread across it.
“Oh Christ, Mick,” Steve gasped. “You scared the poo poo out of me.”
Mick looked puzzled again, and then pointed at his ear. He tried to speak, but silence flowed out. His face fell.
Chris emerged from the bathroom, “Holy crap! He’s alive?”
Chris filled the silence, “What? Steve, what’s wrong?”
Steve not-watched Chris as the standing man got more agitated, but honestly, he didn’t have any more to say to him.
Prompt: Strength + Knight of Cups (Rider Waite Smith)
|# ¿ Oct 30, 2017 03:57|
Yep, nothing about a tested friendship would involve either of those things.
"Hello - Yes, officer..? There's glass and stones everywhere. Yeah, from the inside... I know, right? It's a shambles."
|# ¿ Oct 31, 2017 08:00|
Flip yes. I'm fuckin' in, chief.
|# ¿ Nov 21, 2017 05:19|
inter prompt: never eat anything bigger than your head
'Unghk' thought the boa constrictor. 'Urghnk uargh uenk ongko', its gaping jaw wrapped around something bigger than its head.
And then with one swift unghk it popped past the back of the massive snake's tongue, sending a shudder of relief, satisfaction and ecstasy through the reptile. The dance of death completed for the day, only to begin again tomorrow.
'Aaahhhh' the snake thought, mental tongue no longer pinned by by dinner. 'gently caress you ssssebmojo,' the words finally free, 'can't tell me what to do! '
|# ¿ Nov 27, 2017 19:22|
|# ¿ Dec 11, 2023 09:33|
In. I am bad at writing satisfactory endings.
Also, because I am bad at submitting.
(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)
|# ¿ Nov 29, 2017 18:24|