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Maugrim
Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face



Were: Dragonfly

Brothers in Wings
1198 words

Three hundred million years ago, anisoptera had wingspans of two feet or more. Not so much nowadays, but I’m a throwback: at twenty-six inches full spread, I’m undisputed king of the insect world. And now here’s this fucker, thirty inches or I’m a gall wasp, zipping around my forest like we never left the Carboniferous.

He’s got to be a Were. Nothing with spiracles gets that big, not in 21% oxygen, and I’ve jars full of failures, warps and monstrosities to prove it. So: alight on a branch. Take stock. Here’s an event I sealed away from hope a hundred years ago: I need a minute to crack open that vault, feel that mummified remnant of wistful possibility tumble forth, creak and stretch into... what?

Fear. He’s big and fast, and he’s in my territory. He’s definitely seen me, though he’s not reacting. He darts after a hornet, snatches it from the air - one grind of those razor jaws and it’s gone.

Yearning. Yeah, that’s still there. I haven’t seen a sentient - human or Were - since I fled to this island in the wake of the third Migrant War. I was done with humans, with their collective idiocy that walked them wide-eyed into the end of civilisation. But gently caress me, wouldn’t it be nice to talk to someone? News. I hate myself for wanting news.

Resentment. Who is this rear end in a top hat, invading my haven with this glimpse of connection to a world I despise - long for?

He comes to me in the end, a leisurely, unthreatening glide down to the tip of my branch. He shimmers startling green as it dips under his weight.

I debate attacking him - he’d probably destroy me, but I half convince myself I don’t care. But I do, of course I do - I love my life and my work and the boundless freedom of flight and longevity that was given to me, me alone, by old Anselm, who saw in me what his progenitor saw in him: the capacity to love these gifts and use them well. He’s dead now; shot in the head for his allotment - precious fertile soil with real thriving vegetables they hadn’t the wit to tend after they killed him.

The other dragonfly twists his head and thrums his wings gently. A friendly gesture. gently caress it. I sweep all four wings down, hard, closing the angle for maximum thrust: straight upwards I leap, off into the canopy. It’s a challenge, and he responds instantly, rocketing after me with incredible strength. I dart here and there, aiming to lose him in the thickest twining of branches, where his size is a disadvantage. I succeed: half a mile flown, down at the other end of the island, there’s no sign of him. I suppress the pang of disappointment as I meander back to my cave.

He’s waiting for me there, though: big, curly-haired, black - the real dark skin that says deepest Africa, though that’s mostly desert now and he could have come here from anywhere. He’s sitting on a stone by the entrance, arms at his sides, relaxed but alert. Something about him sets me on edge - a pang of familiarity.

I drop in the chimney, shrug into human form, and look around for some kind of advantage. I’m on home ground here, and I’ve made a familiar, bewildering mess over the decades: odd pieces of furniture crudely built - never developed that skill properly; piles of jetsam that’s come in useful in the past or might do one day; hundreds of glass jars filled with preserved specimens and the results of my experiments. Father Anselm believed the mystical opaque to the methods of science, and counselled against mixing the two. I haven’t yet satisfied myself that he was right, and with an endless supply of my own saliva to play with, I’ve disproved a lot of old wives’ tales. We can’t infect non-humans, for instance - not even after spinning thrice widdershins beneath a blood moon.

I opt for my scalpel and a jar of acid. Then I stride out to meet him.

We size each other up. He waits for me to speak. I oblige with the most burning of my many questions, voice raspy with disuse. “Why did you come here?”

His accent, when he responds, is French. “I sensed you, brother. We are connected.”

Mystical bullshit. I haven’t sensed a thing. “The gently caress are you talking about?”

He studies me, serious. “Blood unites us and binds us. We are the only two of our kind left in the world. And you have hidden yourself away here. I came to see what sort of a creature you are, that our progenitor so favoured you.”

“Our progenitor? Anselm never infected anyone but me.”

His glance falls to the ground for a second. “Not knowingly”.

I make the connection then: a big, dark man, staring at the ground, averting his eyes from the deeds of his fellows. Another man on the floor, a gentle man, lover of freedom and things that live and grow - blood pooling from a head wound, body twitching minutely as dying cells flip randomly between were-states like the disjointed contractions of a failing heart.

Realisation brings instant revulsion. “You loving...!” I feel a ripple across my skin as rage almost forces the change, but I can turn that anger to suppressing it. A dragonfly can’t do poo poo to prey this big. He’s seen my reaction, he’s tensed and ready, but he’s still looking at me, waiting for something.

“You took the gift from a dead man. All of you? Is that what you killed him for? So you could loving joyride?”

Not all of us. Truly, my companions were starving and wanted only food.”

My mind seethes. He’s still staring. I can’t reach acid or scalpel without him noticing, and if I spook him into changing I’ve lost my chance.

My silence prompts him further. “I could not bear to see that gift spilt and wasted. Believe me, I did not take it frivolously.”

“I’m sure you believe that. But whatever you’ve done since is a perversion. You can’t honour his life and values if you know poo poo about them.” Look away. Go on. Just for a second.

“I know them all too well. Better than you do.” This blatant lie, said with all seriousness, blindsides me. My brain gropes for the meaning in it, and in that second of disorientation he moves, inhumanly fast. He has my arms pinned even as I reach for my pockets. He is strong.

“You think he would want what you’ve done?” he continues. “Fled a world that cries out for our help? Tortured and twisted God’s creatures in the name of an understanding you can never achieve?” He smiles suddenly, widely. His canines are startling - long and sharp.

gently caress me, I have time to think as I shift forms and tear myself from his grip. They do exist.

He watches me rocket away. He hasn’t bothered to change himself. Why should he? He can find me whenever he wants. My brother. gently caress. I don’t know where I’m going now, but my life is no longer my own.

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Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

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

so are we just not closing submissions anymore or

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

"Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces"

Malachi 2:3


Strength: Your vampire can taste the past or future in their victim's blood
Weakness: The presence of perfume torments them

Consanguinity 829 words

Harlan turned the radio down. These modern cars never had the drat buttons in the same place twice. Every rental was different. A human reflection approached in his rear view mirror. He adjusted it with his hand, his skin not inconveniencing him with a reflection.

The door opened and the human lurched into the passenger’s seat. He was still on his phone.

“Yeah. Love you too. Bye.” He thumbed the radio off.

“Mr. Kropp, I presume?” Harlan said and turned his head. He took in the mortal’s scent, but his lungs were on fire. He choked and reached for Kropp’s phone.

“Showered?” he typed.

“Yeah, I stopped off at the gym like you said. No cologne or anything,” Kropp said.

“Wife?” Harlan typed, his gorge rising.

“gently caress. I only hugged her on my way out. That doesn’t count, does it?” Kropp said.

“Whioerjlweja.” Harlan’s head swam.

“Oh, for gently caress’s sake, all right, let me—“ Kropp reached across Harlan’s lap and pushed the trunk button, phantom spurs of Hermes 24 skewering him the whole time.

He shrugged off his overcoat and tossed it in the trunk. Harlan’s vision cleared as the scent dissipated. Kropp got back in.

“Happy?” Kropp said impatiently.

“Mm. Have you decided which package you’d like?” Harlan said, not taking the bait.

“Yes, yes. Immediate future, and make it quick. I’ve got a conference call with Hong Kong in an hour.”

Harlan extended his fangs and unbuckled his seatbelt. “Where do you want it?”

Kropp swallowed, the half Windsor knot on his striped Ferragamo wavering. “I thought it had to be the neck.”

“Anywhere it won’t be detected is fine. Think of it like a shot. You’ve got blood all over. Wrist, ankle, groin, whatever you’re most comfortable with.”

Kropp scoffed. “That’s the last thing I need, some paparazzi snapping me with your head in my lap.”

“I wouldn’t worry. My kind doesn’t show up on film.”

“I thought that was an old wives’ tale.” Kropp pulled down the passenger’s mirror and saw only himself. “Neck is fine.” His eyes widened as he saw his tie and collar loosen themselves in the reflection.

“Just relax, if you please. The vision lasts longer if you’re calm,” Harlan said. He sunk his teeth in and tasted contentment, ambition, and envy. He rested his hand on Kropp’s cheek, grounding himself in the feel of his graying beard so he’d know when his sight began.

The car and parking garage dissolved around him. Harlan was no longer himself. He sat in a room replete with mahogany and leather bound books. Law office. An enormous window behind the desk let sunlight stream in, painlessly on his skin in a way he hadn’t felt in decades. A calendar on the desk indicated it was two days later.

He was surrounded by other humans, many of whom resembled Kropp. Family. His hand brought a snifter of brandy to his lips, and he glimpsed Kropp’s reflection within.

His family was dressed in black. The lawyer wasn’t. Funeral. Reading. Will. Hermes 24 wafted from Kropp’s side, just out of his field of vision. His wife beside him.

“—holdings in the company I leave to my beloved son Gerald. Truly, a father could not have asked for more.” The lawyer took off his glasses and clasped his hands.

Kropp had a small pair of tweezers in his palm and pulled one of his nose hairs surreptitiously. His vision swam with tears everyone else seemed to take as genuine. Harlan felt him clearing his throat, but the vision dissolved before he could hear what he said. His words were drowned out by the pounding of Kropp’s heartbeat in the present. Harlan blinked and when he opened his eyes, he was in the car again, Kropp’s sweat damp under his lips.

“Is that it?” Kropp said, trying his best to sound nonchalant despite his racing heart.

Harlan pulled away and took a pack of Wet Ones out of his lapel to wipe his mouth as he retracted his fangs.

“Yeah. Congratulations, Gerald. Your old man’s leaving you the company.” Harlan pulled out a flosser and worked around his fangs.

Kropp grumbled and took out a burner. “Yeah, it’s me. Cancel the contract on my father. Looks like I need to put in more face time with the old bastard. I know about the 24 hour cancellation fee, put it on my bill. All right, I’ll let you know. Thanks.” He took both halves of the Razr in his hands and snapped it.

“My name is John.” He tucked the broken phone back into his pocket.

Harlan checked the time on the dash, unsure of what to say. “I can drop you off at your office. You ought to still make it in time for the call with Hong Kong.”

“I’d appreciate that,” Kropp said.

“Ok. Don’t forget your coat.”

Maugrim
Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face



Tyrannosaurus posted:

so are we just not closing submissions anymore or

I think they're going lenient because it's been a poo poo week for a lot of people

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

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

Maugrim posted:

I think they're going lenient because it's been a poo poo week for a lot of people

well that would make sense

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Tyrannosaurus posted:

so are we just not closing submissions anymore or

settle down juj

Submissions are closed. I actually meant to close them at 2AM PST but fell asleep so lucky you. Buck gently caress it who cares. I'm actually here for another reason.

As a lot of you know by now, Thunderdome contributor and dear friend Jay W. Friks passed away last week. Many people knew and were friends with Jay, so we are going to memorialize him on the archive with dramatic readings of his stories. If you would like to be a part of this, please hop into #Thunderdome on synirc, or PM me or Kaishai.

Deadline for memorial readings: 2 weeks from today, on August 20th.

If you can't record, that's ok. From now until the end of the week, August 10th, there will be a small, ongoing mini-prompt that people are welcome to contribute short pieces to. Please keep the topic to either memorializing Jay Friks, or discussing your feelings on loss. The word count is, more or less, 500 words. Most likely we will be able to add these to the archive memorial, especially if we get a good handful of pieces. In the spirit of Thunderdome, please try to keep these pieces flashy and fictiony, but it's ok to get a bit real if you need to.

If you do post a memorial piece, please label it as such so it's not confused with the ongoing week.

Cool, that's that, never make me do this again, thunderdome.

Without further ado, Tyrannosaurus, you are free to run your week. Birthday week judgment will be out in a couple days.

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at Aug 6, 2018 around 23:24

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Quoting Tyrannosaurus's pre-prompt post, so people know what's up. This is not a prompt, don't sign up yet, I have no access to the bingo cards. Just an FYI (plus I was sick of scrolling around trying to find this post)

Tyrannosaurus posted:

Thunderdome is getting old. Old people play bingo. Not to give too much away before you all finish writing your best and most exciting Twilight fanfiction but we'll be playing * b i n g o * next week.



Shhhh its a secret

I've done this prompt once before. But way way back in the tender year of 2014 I did a lot of the initial legwork myself and this go round I want things to be a little more participatory.


HOW DOES THIS WORK?
Great question. In order to create wonderfully varied bingo sheets, I need lots and lots of entries. And what I want for entries are all the reoccurring themes, archetypes, objects, settings, conflicts, characters, time periods, genres, etc., etc., etc. that continuously come up in YOUR writing. You can be as narrow or as specific as you'd like. This is a bit of a self-reflective exercise so I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Writers rarely love anything more than their own work.

HOW DO I SUBMIT ENTRIES TO GO ON THE BINGO SHEETS?
Great question. I'm going to make this super easy. Just click here and fill out this google form. Shouldn't take more than a minute. It is only two questions, after all.

WHAT ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE? I HAVE STRONG OPINIONS ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE'S WRITING AND I NEED TO TELL THEM TO YOU
Great question, great enthusiasm, I love it, glad to have ya on board. So... after you tell me about yourself, feel free to tell me all about EVERYONE ELSE. I need lots and lots of entries, after all. Maybe you've noticed that Sitting Here always writes about dreams or that SaddestRhino can't escape Urban Fantasy or that Bad Seafood's characters constantly smoke cigarettes. Well... this is the place to call them on it. You can fill this form out multiple times. In fact, PLEASE fill this out multiple times. Do yourself. Do everyone else. Do me. Go wild. Have fun.

HOW DO I-
Just click here and fill out this other google form. Easy peasy.



The official prompt and sign-up post will go live on Monday. There may be word bounties awarded for those who do a lot now...

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

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

Hey yall looking to have some fun?? Well come on down to



Sign up and I'll give you a bingo board! Check off five in a row (diagonals count) and submit! Easy peasy!

1300 words.
Sign-ups close Friday at midnight.
Submissions close Sunday at midnight.
All times eastern standard.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

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

HOW ARE BINGO SHEETS BEING CREATED?
Great question. I'm using entries that you submit. Said entries are going to be all the eoccurring themes, archetypes, objects, settings, conflicts, characters, time periods, genres, etc., etc., etc. that continuously come up in YOUR writing. You can be as narrow or as specific as you'd like. This is a bit of a self-reflective exercise so I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Writers rarely love anything more than their own work.

HOW DO I SUBMIT ENTRIES TO GO ON THE BINGO SHEETS?
Great question. I'm going to make this super easy. Just click here and fill out this google form. Shouldn't take more than a minute. It is only two questions, after all. Plus a bonus question if you're very, very excited about participating.

DO I HAVE TO SUBMIT AN ENTRY TO SIGN UP?
Great question. Yes.

WHAT ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE? I HAVE STRONG OPINIONS ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE'S WRITING AND I NEED TO TELL THEM TO YOU
Great question, great enthusiasm, I love it, glad to have ya on board. So... after you tell me about yourself, I want you to tell me all about EVERYONE ELSE. I need lots and lots of entries, after all. Maybe you've noticed that Sebmojo always writes about broken marriages or that Nethilia goes heavy on magical realism or that Kaishai loves farms and similarly quaint settings. Well... this is the place to call them on it. You can fill this form out multiple times. In fact, PLEASE fill this out multiple times. Do yourself. Do everyone else. Do me. Go wild. Have fun.

HOW DO I-
Just click here and fill out this other google form. Easy peasy.

SO THERE ARE DIFFERENT GOOGLE FORMS? ONE FOR SELF REFLECTION AND ONE FOR DESCRIBING OTHER PEOPLE?
Yes.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

In. Let me know if you need more input, I've done a few but can do more once I have time.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


In. I've submitted for myself but can write elaborate diss lists for others if required

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

If only, THUNDERDOME


In

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

WHO LOVES BLOOD SODA?
KEL LOVES BLOOD SODA!


I do. I do. I do-oo.


In

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

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

In,

MockingQuantum
Jan 20, 2012


Unlockable Ben

In.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

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

in

steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016


I'm in judge debt, turns out I didn't turn in any crits for week 294. It's probably not the first time that's happened, but week 294 is the only week I'm going to feel bad about.

I'll drop my judgefarts here; these were initial reactions before we got the gang together to talk about you behind your back. If anyone wants an in-depth crit of their piece from that week, I'll do something deeper. First in, first served - I'll do three.

feedmyleg - The God Hole
Testes. Oh god do i have questions about cloacal mechanics.. BUT I liked it?

Ironic Twist - Lovelybad
Well, that first sentence is too long. Words not so much clumsy, but messy? Fighting to read the story so far. AND NOPE. Like, I guess it’s about metal people who might explode the world around them, but it’s in the Doctor Who vein of science fiction (lol what if cabbage people?) rather than being an extrapolation of, or a forseeable future - maybe i missed something but I’m having trouble making the leap to meet you halfway. Makes me appreciate testicle man more.

Benny Profane - They Shoot Koalas, Don't They?
The gently caress is with stupid long first sentences. I already like this more than waterworld though. Fuckin ocker. You done built a world and nothing really happened. Abby feels like your protag, but she watches someone get shot then ruminates on it. Good dialogue though, readable.

areyoucontagious - Echidna
Ooh, first para typo. I mean, I read past these things generally - but you gotta wonder whether you’ve proofed this if I’m running into it early. OK so typo was a fluke, currently engrossed. gently caress YEAH. I mean, it’s a little black mirror myeh myeh but don’t care. Good write.

SurreptitiousMuffin - g=Gm/r2
Beautiful. Feels like a Muffin piece

cptn_dr - Solitude's Not For Everyone
Oh cool, space ships are run by 80s DOS text adventures. Revery? Don’t be francophobic. Pratchett and Clancy should never be that close. ALSO A WHOLE LOT OF NOTHING IS HAPPENING, SO I’M HERE TO CRIT YOUR LANGUAGE. Nothing happens for so long that I feel this entire thing is going to be a bad vehicle for the space punchline you dreamed up last Thursday. OH gently caress OFF.

Thranguy - Agency
Yeah, i liked this - downside was it didn’t feel tense enough, and I’m not sure how much the “that alien didn’t know how close they came to death/lol i’m actually a serial killer” bit at the end acutally adds?

Yoruichi - Braaaaaains
Zombies, nice touches of world building. Not sure how people became zombies, will reread to make sure i didn’t miss something..? Love in the time of viscera subplot helps, but characters a little flat.

ThirdEmperor - The Friendly Machine
Extraction of conscience/soul as normalised, but looks too much like death for everyone to be as comfortable with it as they say. On the surface, not super original to examine, but the human touches, the parental relationship and the examination of herd mentality/bureaucratic theory floats my boat. MID HIGH

Obliterati - The Last Shot of the War
Thought they were fighting trees at first. I mean, I guess. All these stories feel pretty loving competent. This isn’t amazing, but I’d be happy if I wrote it. I’m not sure the motivation lands well enough for the ending to work?

Tyrannosaurus - Brutus, thou sleep’st. Awake, and see thyself.
HIGH. I struggle with stories that are mostly the machinations of the mind rather than action, as “something has to happen” has been drilled into me for so long. This was solid in terms of world-building, and exploring the idea of the individual through a science-fictiony technology. Nice work.

Uranium Phoenix - The Wheel Turns
AYY Another exploration of consciousness. This time it’s really sweet, I like it. High for me.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010



In.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


Antivehicular posted:

So some poo poo went down in IRC:


Let's have a slow-cooker chili mac(k) brawl, shall we?

Your prompt is: patience in the face of misery
Your deadline is: Wednesday, September 5th, 11:59 PM Pacific time
Your word count is: 1500 words

There has been a request to extend the deadline a week, and gently caress it, this is already the longest goddamn brawl deadline in the world, let's do this poo poo.

The new deadline for the Chili vs. Armack Longest Brawl in the World is Wednesday, September 12th, 11:59 PM Pacific time (or whenever I wake up and check the thread on September 13th, but don't push it)

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


in

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


In.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning


In

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Djeser posted:

infinitely more funny than your posting

Djesertron, this post got you a sweet random brawl as is only meet and proper, so toxx up for it iyp

sebmojo posted:

1000 words, with a prompt of spirits, of the booze kind - alcoholism can't be a plot point. 17 August 2359 PST.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

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

First round of sheets will be handed out tonight

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

"Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces"

Malachi 2:3


bingo card submitted.

awesome, can't wait. very imaginative prompt. looking forward to seeing the submissions.

Invisible Clergy fucked around with this message at Aug 7, 2018 around 13:48

BabyRyoga
May 21, 2001

THUNDERDOME LOSER

6th Anniversary Edition


In52? Does anyone have In52?

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

Said little bitch, you can't fuck with me if you wanted to
These expensive
These is red bottoms
These is bloody shoes


In.

cptn_dr
Sep 7, 2011

It's just so good!


No excuses, no failures. In.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

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

Sitting Here posted:

In. Let me know if you need more input, I've done a few but can do more once I have time.



Antivehicular posted:

In. I've submitted for myself but can write elaborate diss lists for others if required










or



















Invisible Clergy posted:

bingo card submitted.

awesome, can't wait. very imaginative prompt. looking forward to seeing the submissions.



BabyRyoga posted:

In52? Does anyone have In52?






cptn_dr posted:

No excuses, no failures. In.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

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

WHAT IF I DON'T LIKE MY BINGO BOARD CAN I GET ANOTHER???
Sure. Toxx up and I'll give you a second one. No problem.

Invisible Clergy
Sep 25, 2015

"Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces"

Malachi 2:3


These sheets are fascinating. Good luck, everyone!

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013


SCREAMING YES
MOTHERFUCKER
I AM GUILTY, I AM DEATH


iN.

Blind Sally
Jan 9, 2007

Jim's now a Blind Cave Salamander!


those sheets look rad as hell... i wish i wasnt unreasonably busy these next few week

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

I crashed Thunderdome's 6th Birthday and all I got was this av!

Arg god drat it. I’m so busy this week but the cards are too good to ignore. In.

steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016


steeltoedsneakers posted:

If anyone wants an in-depth crit of their piece from that week, I'll do something deeper. First in, first served - I'll do three.
It's been a day with no takers, offer is now extended to any takers: stories past and present.

Still three though, let's not be too silly.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

steeltoedsneakers posted:

It's been a day with no takers, offer is now extended to any takers: stories past and present.

Still three though, let's not be too silly.

Sure, I'd appreciate a crit on this: https://thunderdome.cc/?story=5957&...rnal+Affliction

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013


SCREAMING YES
MOTHERFUCKER
I AM GUILTY, I AM DEATH


steeltoedsneakers posted:

It's been a day with no takers, offer is now extended to any takers: stories past and present.

Still three though, let's not be too silly.
Could you please take a look at https://thunderdome.cc/?story=5893&...7ll+Likely+Live

RandomPauI
Nov 24, 2006

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

Grimey Drawer

In for the memorial

Do we have to do the card to for the memorial or?

steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016



Nocturnal Affliction crit
His awful laugh jostles given the next sentence this feels like too friendly a verb? me awake. My hands and feet are bound to my bedpost. He stands over me; his lone eye focused on my expression. I give him nothing. Back when this first happened, I was horrified. After a few times, frustrated. But, annoyed as I might be, my cyclopean tormenter seems to enjoy himself more if I show him emotion. He lowers his pants and covers me in urine.

I spit the wretched piss out of my mouth and hear him laugh. He pulls his pants back up, withdraws a curved dagger from one of his pockets and cuts me free.

“Same time next month then?” He says to me as he climbs up to my bedroom window.

“I suppose so.” You’ve left me too much freedom to decide how this sounds - and not all of them work.

And with that, he’s gone, and I’m back to my life personal taste, but I don’t like this turn-of-phrase - maybe people don’t refer to being in their own life much?.

-------

“So, to recap...” my shrink looks down at her legal pad for a moment and reads some of her notes.

She sits up straight her in leather chair, looks up at me and pauses for a moment. I’m paying her by the hour though, and this feels like a waste of my time: “On the first of the month, while I’m asleep, a cyclops breaks into my home and urinates on me.”

She bobs her head as she holds her focus on me. I'm not sure if she’s trying to tell me that she understands or if she’s just at a loss for what to say next.

Finally, she speaks: “Bill, I’m curious how you want me to help you with this problem.”

“Well,” I reply. “I want it to stop.” This whole thing is totes ridiculous, but it feels more fluid here than your opener. This is a different tone too; the straight man playing straight in a weird situation - the opener is actually awful, it’s a cyclops that ties Bill up and pisses on him. I’d be inclined to start in the therapist’s office - I don’t think the story actually needs it to be crystal clear there is a pissmonster from the get-go

“Are you open to the possibility that this might be some kind of halluc…” I know how reading works, but there’s a part of my brain that wants to chuck a hard ‘ck’ on the end of this because you didn’t give me the vowel it needed. I had pause enough to have a think about it anyway, which means it broke me out of the story briefly..

“No.” I stop her right there. “Look Doc, I have to shower after this. I feel the grime on my flesh.”

“I don't doubt that you feel…” She shifts in her chair. “...unclean, after these events. But I am curious as to why this might be happening.”

“Well, that makes two of us.”

“When did you first notice this problem?” She asks me.

“Right after I finished college. I moved back in with my parents, and only a week say a week later, or “within a week” maybe? Only a week implies that there was no respite a little, but you don’t indicate that college would be something to seek refuge from later it happened for the first time.”

“Interesting.” She scribbles in her notebook. “So why then?”

“Well, I think it’s because of the situation I’m in.”

“And what might that be?” She asks.

“While I was away at college, my parents had done some remodeling on the house. They put this trellisy thing up near my window.” this isn’t a situation

She seems confused. Yeah me too

“So that’s how he gets in.” I explain. No you didn’t, you did words. You didn’t explain anything about the situation - but good to know. What I’m saying here is that “situation” was maybe the wrong word.

“Oh,” she closes her notebook. “I see. Well, I’m mindful of time. This may have been best suited to bring up at the beginning of our session.” What? Why? Now they’re both in on it.

“Yeah, I guess. But my parents have been driving me crazy, and I just had to get all the stuff off of my chest.” my read here, is that the first part of the therapy session that we didn’t see went through a bunch of stuff not about the nightpissings - but you didn’t convey at the start of this scene that a great deal of time had passed. It was in media res, but I couldn’t tell how many medias we’d rezzed in until she said what she said in the previous para? I just figured Bill’d been talking about the pissmonster, and the therapist was so taken aback that she decided to get a bit more clarification on what exactly Bill meant by the cyclops that takes a monthly piss on him

“Before we wrap up. What do you want to do about this problem?”

I thought it seemed obvious, but I guess not. “Stop it from happening again?”

“What have you tried so far?” She asks.

“Nothing yet. I figured I would bring it up to you.”

“Again, we don’t have much time. Since we’re pressed, I do have a quick potential solution, and I’m curious why you may have missed it.”

“Oh?” I ask, leaning in towards her.

“Ask your parents to take the trellis down.” I mean yeah. But my dude, trellis still isn’t a situation.

-----

You’d think that I’d remember the night before the first of the month. But I forget. 30 days is a long time. He wakes me again in his similar fashion, taking me by surprise. Yeah, I reckon here is where you spring the haha he’s real and actually wait no haha, this is horrifying - bringing the detail from the opener into this paragraph.

-----

“How have you been?” She asks as I take my seat on the couch.

“Fine,” I say.

There’s silence. I still never really know who is supposed to talk first here. She starts after a moment:

“How’s your problem going?”

“The cyclops thing? I don’t know; it hasn’t gotten better. He came back last night.”

“Did you talk to your parents about taking down the trellis?”

“Not really. I mean, I was going to but I’ve just been really stressed out.” Truth is, it has been stressful at home. I can’t tell what my parents want from me anymore. It’s been hard finding the energy to look for a job and all of my friends seem to be doing better and more exciting things than me. You and Bill haven’t let me in enough to feel sympathetic to his plight. I know he’s in therapy, and these are the things he talks to his therapist about, so I don’t want to be judgy - but I don’t have enough experience with this point of view to know whether I should feel that Bill is a) depressed, and having to deal with a pissmonster on top of all that, or b) in a transitionary period, and aware that he could be doing better, also with a pissmonster problem? Or c) actually lazy, won’t help himself but also with a pissmonster. I feel like I should know by now, too…

“What’s been stressing you out?”

“Well, last session you told me that we should start with the big problem first so that we have time to address it. So, can we talk about the cyclops thing?”

She looks at me for a bit and squeezes her lower lip gently between her teeth. “That’s sort of what I’m doing, Bill.”

“What do you mean?”

I realize now that she’s wearing doubt on her face. “You don’t believe me, do you?”

“It’s not that I don’t believe you. It’s that…”

“You think it’s all in my head? That I’m so crazy that I can just imagine urine all over me.” There are too “I’m so crazy that” you might expect to read here, and you didn’t take the most likely - that Bill’s so crazy that he’s just imagining urine - but instead that he’s so crazy that he can imagine urine all over him? It’s a weird distinction that you’ve forced me to draw, but you forced me to reread the sentence to get what you meant.

“No,” she says as she leans toward me. “It’s not that all.”

“Well, what do you think is going on then?”

“I’d like to help you see what I see, if possible, instead of just telling you.”

I don’t have time for this. My mother pays good money for these sessions. Aha! Here’s the sign that I don’t like Bill. Made me wait a bit though, didn’t you? Bill being a dick doesn’t really need to be a slow reveal, does it?

“Doc, it’s been real.” I stand up and leave.

-----

“Hiya, Bill.”

I open my eyes and see him standing above me.

“Oh, you woke me up first.”

I notice my hands and feet aren’t bound.

“Yes, there’s no need for those.” He seems to know what I’m thinking.

“Why are you here?” I ask.

“You were pretty rude to your therapist, Bill.”

“How do you…”

“It doesn’t matter, Bill. What matters is, I’m going to piss on you. And I’m going to keep on pissing on you until you deal with me.”

“How am I supposed to deal with you?”

He lowers his pants. “Well, therapists are off the table.”

“What then?” I ask.

“I don’t know Bill, but believe me...” I close my eyes as he gets started. “I ain’t happy about this anymore either. It was novel at first, but this isn’t much fun for me anymore.”

“Then why are you doing it?” I yell at him.

“You tell me, buddy. Maybe I’ll be able to stop.”

-----

I wake up and bag my sheets. I’ve been washing them more frequently, but my parents don’t seem to notice. After I throw them in the laundry machine, I go up for breakfast. My parents are already eating.

“Good morning!” My mother offers with a warm smile.

“Morning, guys.” I nod back at them.

Dad looks up from his paper. “So, Bill, I didn’t get a chance to ask you yesterday: what do you think of what we’ve done out front?”

“Out front?” I ask.

“Yeah, we weren’t happy with the remodeling, so we changed up some things, and thank god all of those trellises are gone, what an eyesore am I right?”

“Hold on, what?" I turn on the spot and walk out the front door.

A few paces out into the yard and I can see the house in full. I look toward my window; there’s no trellis leading up to it. Nothing whatsoever between my bedroom and the ground. I guess cyclopes can jump pretty high. Oh, you.

Like, I can almost see your brainstorm machinations. Cyclops.. Cyclops, hmm. One eye. One-eyed. OH RIGHT, DICKS.

I do like that there’s the benefit of the doubt enough there for me to expose my stupidity by telling you what the story was about. If you read it as realism where protag has an out of control imagination the back and forth is just dull - it’s not driven enough to hit ‘frustrating’. If you read it as magic realism, where the pissmonster is something like a grosser version of Pratchett’s Scissor Man, then I just don’t get any closure from it. Either way, I got to the end and you didn’t give me anything meaty. It wasn’t difficult to read, I found the conversation pretty competent, and apart from the restructure I suggested the whole piece hung together fairly well - I’m just not better off for reading it.

Maybe, on second thoughts, your first night visit is a little too, I dunno visceral? for the role that it’s playing. It feels and reads like a night terror, but is played off as an inconvenience. Maybe that’s dulled emotions/reactions, but I’m not sure there’s enough here to buy benefit of the doubt for that?

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Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

RandomPauI posted:

In for the memorial

Do we have to do the card to for the memorial or?

You just post a thing in the thread and indicate it's for Jay. I'll keep track of who does and we'll collect them all by the 20th.

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