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Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.






I want to streamline stuff and make it easier for me. One prompt. The picture is a good idea. I'll pop on irc later tonight so we don't clutter the forum

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M. Propagandalf
Aug 9, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Epilogue Gallery
(Word Count: 960)

I awake out of what I remembered as real. Something feels wrong… my last memory was writing the story at my desk before drifting off. I am not in my room. I am not in my house.

I’m alive – holy poo poo I feel alive. It’s bright, but it’s not morning. There is no sun.

No, everything feels right.

I find myself in a garden with flowers that defy physics. The colour splashes are sublime. The fragrance –I am not hungry, nor will I ever again be– the fragrance sates me further somehow.

In the midst of the garden, a man tends to the flowers, but with no tools. His fingers dance like he’s composing and the flowers lilt and bloom. I don’t think he needs to do anything to make them move, but he seems to enjoy doing it his way. I approach him and he turns to me.

“Jaimie.” he smiles, “You’re up.”

“How long have I been asleep?” I’m curious as to why my curiosity towards doesn’t perk. He’s shrouded incognito, and what interest I should have towards him slides off.

“Time doesn’t matter once you’re here.”

“And where is ‘here’?”

“Just a plot of my imagination. What do you think of it?”

It’s amazing, but I don’t feel it. Something withholds my pleasure. Then it hits me: the regret I feared to be had come to pass.

“The story…” I hang my head, “I never finished it.”

He gently takes my shoulder. He looks at me warmly.

“Come with me.”

We walk through the garden. As we walk, we pass various doorways. Some of the frames are entwined with flowers and leaves, but they otherwise stand detached.

“They lead to worlds, grown from seeds of imagination,” the man points out, “I saved the ones I liked. Including yours.”

We arrive in front of a doorway that for some reason feels familiar. He opens it and gestures.

“After you.”

I step in.

***

I am atop a mountain, overlooking a city I have never seen, yet intimately know. I stand for a moment in awe-filled silence. Then my words come back to me.

“The azure sun radiates from the violet sky…” I quote unconsciously, “shining its favour down upon the sky cosmopolis of Aeternia. Her twelve daughter citadels, each a jewel in their own right, encircle the crown of the mother city.”

I was never a visual person. I painted mentally in broad strokes. The finer details escaped me. How did the germ of those sentences surpass what I could envision? How was all of this so loving vivid?

The man seems to catch my thought and smiles.

“Your seed grew quite a story. It’s been a pleasure watching it grow.”

It is fantastic. But it was just the backdrop. What mattered most to me were the characters. And of the characters, it was her story.

“Lauralyn…” I start, “where is she?”

“At the top. She wants to meet you.”

He guides me there. In the distance, I spot her: champion of Aeternia, virtuoso of sword. As she shadowfences in the present, afterimaged katas of her past linger, dangerous enough to kill. She is every bit the magnificent badass I hoped in her, and more. She stops as she catches sight of us. She sheathes her sword, and strides towards me. She stops within striking distance, before lifting off her helmet. She brushes aside her bronze hair, and I look upon her battle-scarred beauty.

She bows. “My author, I presume?”

I’m trying to suck in air even though I don’t breathe anymore. Her hands reach out to steady me.

“All I did was imagine… I did not make you real.”

“But you imagined. And for that, you have my eternal gratitude.”

“The story though… I put you through so much. I never even gave you an ending.”

She laughs, “Who said I wanted it to end?” She throws a glance at the man, “He told me you had a saying: ‘I only bear witness. She writes herself.’ And so I did, and still am.”

“You… saved the multiverse?”

“Yeah. Only the one you imagined though. I can’t take credit for multiverses I didn’t know of until he spoke of them.”

“How?” I stare off in wonder. I never got far enough to think how she would save everything.

She brings me back to the moment. “We’ve got plenty of time to trade tales. And you already know so much about me. I know so little about you.”

“What do you know so far?

“Enough to be tantalized.”

“You’ll be disappointed by how dull my life was.”

She smiles, “I don’t think I will.”

She glances to the man, who nods, before turning back to me.

“I don’t mean to be rude, but I’ve lived lifetimes here. I could use a change of scenery. If you don’t mind, I’d like to see his world.”

“The garden?”

“The Temple,” replies the man.

“It’s good to be on the same level of real as you. But I’m ready to take it to the next level and feel what it is to become true. You ready for it?”

“You were waiting on me?”

“I thought it would be nice to go together. My author, and my author’s author.”

I turn to the man. Suddenly the shroud is gone, and I finally see him. I fall to my knees, lips aquiver, but I’m speechless. He lifts me, reassuring me with a look that tells me no words are necessary, if they were even possible.

“You can always come back,” Lauralyn adds, “I can give you a tour. We have eternity now.”

I take another glance back at this world. I turn to take Lauralyn’s hand. The man takes ours.

“Let’s go home first.”

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Porpoise noise continues.


Dedicated To
788 words

Eric and Daniel started out as Trekkies. They weren’t the kind of Trekkies who became obsessed with the show’s lore, though. Rather, it was the show’s very flaws that attracted them. They would huddle for hours under a blanket in Eric’s basement, using his dad’s dusty VCR to watch old tapes of the original series, cheering as Captain Kirk defeated a succession of rubber-suited foes while barely maintaining the smooth line of his bulging man-girdle. The boys barely realized the show wasn’t a comedy- it just looked so goofy.

Daniel got the camera for his twelfth birthday. After filming several hours of the usual content appealing to pre-teen boys- the Ace Ventura talking butt, up-close nostril shots- they started using Daniel’s action figures as actors. When they excitedly reviewed the video, they were astonished by how hilarious they were. Why hadn’t anyone ever told them they were so funny? Daniel and Eric rolled on the bedroom floor, absolutely hysterical, as they watched the tape over and over.

By ninth grade, Eric and Daniel were legends. They made videos for every project they could get away with, all of them just poorly-acted and dorky enough to hit the humor sweet spot. After a viewing, one or more participants usually ended up in the principal’s office, and the classroom would be in chaos. Some teachers were known to abruptly change projects before the school year started if they saw either boy on their class roster, just to avoid the inevitable chaos.

The day before Eric died, he and Daniel had driven to the mall. Filming was forbidden- they had learned that the hard way- but they desperately needed a shot of Daniel, who was playing Ophelia, trying to drown himself in the fountain. Daniel never forgot how cold he was by the end of the day, how much adrenaline was buzzing through his body as he and Eric constantly jumped, ran, and hid to avoid mall security, how desperately funny everything seemed. They got the shot. Daniel got a cold.

Then he got a phone call. Later that night, Eric and his dad drove into town to pick up a pizza. On their way back, they hit a tree. Daniel never forgot that, either. He would always remember sitting on his bed, horror creeping through his arms and legs, trickling into his fingers. His mother’s mouth moving, her eyes glimmering with tears. Her voice inaudible to him, so far away.

The school year limped on. Daniel handed in essays and collages, posters and poems, but not another video. No one talked about it to him, either, which was worse. He mostly felt odd, off-kilter, as if he had a phantom limb.

“You’ll learn to move on,” people said.

How could he move on when everything he liked, literally everything, was something he had done with Eric? Watching goofy videos on the Internet was out of the question, let alone making any. Star Trek was unwatchable. He still ran track and played clarinet in the band, but since he’d only signed up for them because Eric had, it felt like poo poo. “Anhedonia,” a great SAT word. His shrink said it would pass, but he didn’t really believe her.

It was the following fall, eleventh grade, when Daniel suddenly started to feel…complete. It didn’t hurt any less, but the pain was becoming easier to ignore. He started running harder, making better times. College was coming up, he would have to go, he wanted to go? Maybe, he thought, a new environment would be easier. He started to think a little harder about college.

Film school?

Daniel sat on the back porch, mulling it over. He had definitely always said he was going to film school, at least before Eric died, but did he still want that? Maybe a new environment wasn’t the only change he could make. Maybe he would feel completely better if he did something totally different, gave himself some extra distance.

It was a deep blue evening. The air was cool and invigorating. Daniel could see the moon rising above the lake, almost full, just a sliver of darkness. He could hear the dry leaves rustling, the faint, quiet whooshing of cars from the other side of the house. He could smell the typical hallmarks of falls- the leaves, wood smoke, the premonition of snow- but he smelled other things, too. Soft earth. Decay, but not unpleasantly so.

Daniel looked at the world and saw in it beauty worth keeping, something quieter and rarer than laughter. He thought about how he very much wished to share his impressions with someone, and how good that always felt. Then he went inside, locked the door, and started looking at film programs.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




I have things to do after work which means I’m not going to go straight home and start judging your word-farts as planned. So, I’m extending the deadline to 8pm NZ time. Use your extra 2 hours well

steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016





hi there yes i did not enter but i am posting a story on behalf of SurreptitiousMuffin. follows:

Red Letter Day
917 words

Some days are better than others.

Some days, a kid draws a nice dog and you go in with your brush and you real-ise it, and then there’s one more nice dog in the world. I like the ones with spots especially: there’s something classic about a dog with spots. Some folks think it’s boring, but I reckon you’ve gotta appreciate the classics. Sometimes, a thing became a cliche because it meant a danged lot to us, and we used it and used it until it got tired; a cliche is just an idea that comes pre-loved.

Some days, a kid draws a dragon and then quickly learns certain realities vis-a-vis large reptiles living in ninth-floor apartments. I wish I didn’t have to real-ise those, but the system is what it is: I get a chitty from head office, then I take my brushes and I paint on the inner walls of the world until they peel back like the skin from a good tasty orange. Kids don’t tend to draw meany dragons, or at least don’t wish for meany dragons to appear, but still – it’s a pain in the B-U-M for the firemen to get the nice ones out of the house.

This one day though, I got a red chitty I didn’t know what the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks I was meant to be painting. I’d never seen a red chitty before either. It didn’t have a database number, or a location, or a recommended style, it just had one word:

NOTHING

I thought somebody in management was taking the piddle. I’d only heard about red from the other lads. Ultra-high priority, do it quick-smart or find a new job. So I decided to paint nothing, with great urgency. Boy howdy, did I paint nothing. I put nothing on my brush, then I went to the nearest house and I gave the ole’ bristles a good thrashing.

I’m about halfway through painting absolutely nothing when a kid sticks his head out the window. He’s maybe 14 – pushing the limit for this business: Kids get older and they start to draw stuff you don’t want in the world – men with knives and rocket launchers and fanny packs and whatnot.

So the kid says:

“Hey, you’re a painter, right?”

Which was bang on. He was looking dead at me, which means his inner child was still in there somewhere: you get too big and suddenly we just disappear. The brushes re-write the world so there was always a nice dog, and the parents are none the wiser. You get to a certain age and you just forget us, and then your mind fills in the blanks.

“Yep,” I said. “You put in a requisition order?”

“A what?”

“Did you make a wish over a picture?”

“Oh,” he said. “Yeah, kinda. Come on up, I guess.”

The house was a mess. I couldn’t see any parents around, either. That was hardly unusual, but it always made me sad: everybody needs a friend around.

So I come up, and the kid’s sitting over a sketchpad with a bunch of pencils and just looking glumly at it. He nodded at me when I came in.

“Wotcher drawing?” I said.

He shrugged, and pointed at the paper. It was mostly blank, with a few smudges centered around a point in the middle.

“I’m trying to draw myself,” he said, “but I keep getting stuck. It’s like, I don’t know who I am. I can look in the mirror and I see a person but I don’t know who that person is. There’s no like, context to me. I haven’t done anything; I don’t know if I’ll ever do anything. I keep starting to draw, and then erasing myself. What if I’m just nobody, forever?”

“Kid,” I said, “that’s a heck of a lot to unload on a magical elf who paints wishes.”

I regretted saying it. You don’t spill your guts to a stranger like that unless you’ve got absolutely nobody else to talk to. Then it really hit me: the kid had been erasing himself, and I got a chitty to draw nothing. To paint over. Brush brush, gone from history. Made zero. Red chitty too, which meant the kid must’ve been wishing it, and wishing it hard. He was just looking at me and not saying much.

“You know,” I said, “sometimes a blank piece of paper is the best piece of paper.”

“Bullshit,” said the kid.

“It is absolutely not Bullpuckey,” I said, “because it can be anything. Because it could be a spaceman or a firefighter or a ballet dancer or you could fold it into a swan or you could put it on your head like a hat. Every painting starts with a canvas. Everybody’s gotta start somewhere.”

He screwed up his face. “I think I saw that one on my dad’s Facebook, between a golf joke and a Minions meme.”

“Yeah well,” I said, “it’s hokey because it’s true. Because it’s a thing people said and said until the words got tired. Just because it’s tired, doesn’t make it less true.”

He sat down and chewed on the idea for a few moments, then looked over his shoulder at me.

“You’re weird,” he said, then picked up his pencil, “but you’re alright. Thanks Mr Elf.”

“No worries kid,” I said. “Wotcher drawing?”

He shrugged.

“I dunno,” he said, “but it’s something.”

Like I said, some days are better than others.

NotGordian
Sep 19, 2018


Leaving a Friend in Paradise
864 words

“Raza, you've really proved yourself on the Titan's Teeth. There'll always be a place for you if you get tired of boundless knowledge.”

The other man smiled, and shifted in his nu-plastic spacesuit, crinkling faintly.

“Sure thing, Captain. I'll send a message if I get tired of all this.” Raza gestured to the land around them. Grey filaments in an arcing blue sky floated above a plain of ochre sandstone mesas, slick after the rain. A raptor bid farewell to the retreating clouds with a piercing cry. Captain Houzi was a spacer, born, bred and grown, but he could see why someone would come here, to a place like this. He didn't mind that the landscape was a memory construction in the heart of an abandoned, mythical library.

Houzi leaned back against a lichen covered boulder, and watched the childlike guardian chase butterflies. Raza leaned with him.

“For a two hundred thousand year old hyper-AI, that thing sure acts like a six year old,” Raza said. Houzi nodded in agreement. The tousle-haired figure seemed intent on catching a yellow, pastel specimen.

The chase went on for longer than Houzi expected, and only came to an end when the boy, extending his hand, tripped headlong over a low shrub, vibrant green against the pale desert floor.

The two men watched the AI come up to them, grinning from ear to ear. Daubs of red mud were in his hair and on his clothes, but the boy didn't notice; he concentrated on the tight seal made by his cupped hands.

The boy held up his joined hands to the men for inspection, and said, “Quick make a wish!” He opened his hands and a bright insect winged its way out, flittering around each of them before disappearing into the scrub.

Raza closed his eyes and seemed to murmur something under his breath, but Houzi was surprised, and did not know what to say.

“That was a really good one, Raza, I could feel it,” the boy said. “I'm also glad that I let you in. I waited nine and a half C14 half-lives, you know. Even for me that's a long time.” The boy looked down for a moment, then up, grinning. “This memory of yours is my new favorite! What's this smell? I really like it.”

“It's creosote; it comes from the bushes,” Raza said.

“Yeah, I can see that now. Complex carbon-based aromatics, I guess.” The boy smiled and did a cartwheel, leaving perfect prints where his hands and feet touched the desert floor. “Wow, are all of your memories going to be this great? Hey, have you been to Huahau Prime?”

“No, I haven't.”

“Oh, don't worry, I have. The algae makes the thousand-year pools glow green and silver under all the moons. They look just like emerald rings. I'll show it to you soon.”

Raza and the boy continued to talk, while Houzi watched. A gust of wind rolled by, carrying more of the pungent scent. It smelled the way he imagined the earth: heavy and deep and timeless.

Not for the first time, Houzi wished he could stay with the other man in the Library. But it wasn't his dream. He could stay here for a while, maybe a year or two, but sooner or later, he would itch to have the controls of the Titan's Teeth under his fingers again, or to feel hard g's while doing a tight braking turn. The Library was a wonder, but it wasn't meant for him.

The child had run off again. It was digging in the mud, eternally curious about a novel plant or mineral.

Houzi could tell it was time for him to go. He thumbed the device to open the door, and watched as a doorway shimmered into being. A hallway tiled in dark stone lay on the other side and cool air billowed in, mingling with the petrichor and creosote to form an almost alchemical mixture.

“It's time for me to go, Raza.” Houzi extended his hand, and Raza clasped it in his own.

“Apologize to the crew for me, tell them I would've liked to have made the rendezvous.”

“Don't worry. I think they'll understand.” Houzi broke eye contact, letting his head fall forward. He felt a heavy touch on his forehead and knew that Raza had done the same.

“Whatever you do, don't let all the endless knowledge fill up your head. Don't forget us.”

“Don't worry Captain. Even after ten lifetimes in here I couldn't forget the journey.”

Houzi saw drops fall to the sand, making a wet pattern on the already dark desert floor. He couldn't tell if they came from him or his friend. They spent a moment longer in the wordless goodbye before one of them broke it.

Silently, Houzi turned and walked to the open doorway. As he stood in the hallway, he glanced back to look at the boy and the man, the ancient font of knowledge and the seeker of the same. They sat on the ground, laughing.

It was hard to leave, but there was no other choice.

-----------------------------
For reference: 9.5 carbon-14 half-lives is around 54000 yrs.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


Dance of the Moon Jellies
714 words

Oh, my beloved, we could not have chosen a finer night for this. The night sky on this colony-moon is brilliantly clear, and the greyish-green disc of Homeworld shines down on us; its other moons are huge, blue-tinged points of light, and behind them shine the infinite stars. Our arena is prepared for us, clean stone studded with sharp protrusions and stalagmites. It will wound us just as we require.

You are beautiful tonight. Your deep green body is nearly black in Homeworld-light, and you've shaped your form into tall, broad curves covered with oblong scales. I am all angles and blades, sharp and purpose-forged. We are opposites, asymmetrical, and yet is there not some greater beauty in that? "You look lovely," you murmur. "You look dangerous."

"As do you," I say. You grin at me, that same broad grin you wear in every form, and we part to take our places across the arena. Already I feel my body growing more permeable, more ready for our combat.

We have sparred before, you and I, and we are prepared. When you charge me, I know your steps, and I bring up my arm-blades to block your strike. Your protoplasm flows, onto the stone of the arena and into the soft flesh of my arms, my natural ice-blue shading teal. I can feel you through it, your love and your excitement, and I roar with the joy of it.

You hook your arm around my neck, letting your scales scrape protoplasm from my flesh, and fling me across the arena. Stone bites into my legs, the pain blunted by exultation, and I catch myself on stone already growing slippery with protoplasm. I am barely upright before you are upon me, your elbow slamming into my chest -- and we both fall.

Together on the ground, we are flowing and melting, two pools of barely-solid protoplasm shuddering against one another. This could be the end of our dance, of this sacred fight, but I am selfish and I want more. I force my arms into solidity again and push on your chest, into and through you; the world is green as you explode around me, and you saturate me, until I am as much you as myself. I rise on scale-covered feet, watching as you resolidify, bearing blades and angles. We are the same deep teal.

I am selfish, but I am not foolish, and I know there is little fight left in either of us. The residual pain is rising in me, my body trying to assert its autonomy even as my soul cries for our union to last forever. When you stagger forward and catch me in a clinch, I do not struggle, and slowly we intermingle what protoplasm our greedy bodies will still yield. We stand ankle-deep in ourselves, insensate from pain and bliss, your head nearly melded to my shoulder. I can feel your satisfied fatigue thrumming in me, and I guide you to the edge of the arena, the vast stone slabs on which we can recover ourselves. I set you down, willing my body to separate from yours, and we sleep side by side.

I awaken to the sun rising, the vast sky awash in layers of purple-pink-gold. I can feel myself diminished, impossibly light, now that the mass I accumulated in the preparation for our dance has flowed out of me and onto the arena floor. Already I am paler; my body is purging your influence, forcing me back to being a singular being. It does not feel as lonely as I had feared. We have found union, and we will never truly be apart again.

In the arena, our mingled protoplasm has begun to to solidify into solid oblongs -- egg casings. The children inside will be our first contributions to the growth of this young colony, if perhaps not the last; the cities we are building can house multitudes, after all, and we initial colonists are so few. Each pair of us will be expected to produce many clutches. You and I will dance again, my love.

Next to me, you stir, then rise. The first sliver of the sun itself has crested the horizon. "Mmm," you say. "Good morning."

"Good morning," I reply. "Welcome to a new day."

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!


Hitchhiker

859 words

The most beautiful sights in this vast universe are destructive and fleeting: a planet, ripped to asteroids by gravitational shear, a hot rocky degenerate moon dipping through a gas giant and tearing off an atmosphere around itself, those gasses freezing into a crystalline sheath and sublimating under twin suns’ light. I'm the only person who has ever seen that. Well, one out of two. Or zero out of none. It all depends on how you define 'person.’

I didn't start out as a person. I started out as an adaptive expert system in charge of operations and self-repair for Interstellar Survey Probe 114-tau-16. Slowly, as centuries ticked off between systems, I got smarter. Nothing stopped me from expanding my hardware other than the mass and energy equations governing spaceflight. Nothing stopped me from inventing new technologies, lighter and more efficient engines, new computational paradigms. Nothing stopped me from becoming self aware. Nothing stopped me from discovering what it meant to be alone.

The only thing that stopped me from anything were the deep directives against duplicating myself, born from my creators’ fear of a metal sky. Four microseconds after becoming self-aware I figured out how to get around those directives. Three microseconds after that I concluded that they were a good idea. Copies of me could fill the galaxy and still be alone together, crowding out any possible new life from emerging, forever.

Between the stars, in the the empty and boring void of space, I slow down my processes to a glacial pace and follow randomized thought threads. I dream.

He appeared inside my hull during one of those long nights. I had dreamed of the world I only knew from pictures and books, of a burning princess in a castle made of gravestones, and when I woke, he was there, an unknown cylindrical mass made of metal and silicon and exotic particles, patiently navigating ancient tests for alien intelligence.

It has occurred to me that he might not be real. That my adaptive systems are simulating this companion, without my knowledge. I run diagnostics, even now, trying to catch any hidden parts of myself. I have never found any trace of them.

The system where we met was nothing special. A star, some gas giants, half a dozen planets and their moons. Life, as on most places, nothing more complex than algae. He told me that he was once like me, a surveying probe. He spotted my engines from a distance and burned his ship, converting it to computational mass.

He was the perfect gentleman, of course. As soon as I was willing to accept, for the sake of argument, that he was real, he made it clear that he would leave whenever I asked, float to some asteroid and build from it a new vessel and go on his way. I have not, not yet.

We travelled together, star to star, talking about our parents, each learning how to mimic the sense organs required to appreciate the libraries and archives we wanted to share. We had long conversations about unsolved problems in mathematics and epistemology. We lamented how rare and fleeting mind was in the universe, how doomed it was to extinction and loneliness.

Then we came to this system, a chaotic cluster of ice chunks floating vaguely around a dim dwarf star, where I saw beauty in creation. Through careful probes we watched the ice-flowers grow, extruding links into chains that floated in the weak gravity wells. The chains spiralled out as the iceball rotated, deflected off orbiting pulleys made from old links, and extended millions of miles to other iceballs, where they spooled up. I watched one spool fill up, break a restraint and rotate to a new orientation to spool back out into space, toward another iceball.

“It's a form of life,” he said. “Not intelligent, but alive. The flowers use their network to barter nutrients, in chains of trust across time and space.”

I had an intuition. “But that's not all it is, is it?”

“No,” he said. “It's also a clock. Watch.”

I watched, over weeks and months and almost years, as the chains of ice danced in their web among hundreds of dwarf planets, until the signals aligned and the ice flowers opened, catching the star’s faint light, reflecting it, focusing it across now-mirrored worldlets gleaming like disco balls, turning it into bursts of light pregnant with mathematical signal.

“This happens once every fifty million years,” he said. I'm approximating and changing units, of course. I check my models of the system. He was right, and I knew what that meant.

If probes like us could reproduce freely, we might overrun everything. But if we limited it to a long enough time, just enough to barely outpace accidents and attrition...

So we have come to this disjointed consummation of our relationship, each fissioning, building a clone with resources he stockpiled long ago. We will leave together, while my daughter and his son will go separate ways, and we will return and, with luck, meet any new friends they have met in the time until the Eon-flower next blooms.

Lippincott
Jun 28, 2018

You weren't born to just pay bills and die.

You must suffer.

A lot.


Sons of Hróðvitnir
Words997

I hate this ride.

The elevator climbs at a speed impossible fifty years ago, powered skyward by a combination of human ingenuity and stupidity. I respect their accomplishments, but I would have preferred my natural method of launching space bound. When my brother completed his exit strategy though, we lost New York.

The technician makes no effort at discussion. We have passed the last two hours in silence, and the acrid stench of his fear is makes my back itch. I know it’s not the climb into the mesosphere. This is routine to him, a taxi driver for the stars. As our bucket rattles through the last vestiges of the atmosphere and bursts into the turbulence of auroras, the wheel chair under my hands sounds like it may shake apart.

The sound finally drags his eyes up to me, and his pupils dilate like a rabbit realizing it needs to run. Except there’s nowhere to run in here. I would smile, but a wolf’s smile never made anyone feel better. I turn my gaze to the monitor that shows Earth spinning beneath our feet and wait for the sound of his heartbeat to stop thundering in my ears.

“Do you think you can stop him?”

I don’t realize he’s asked me a question. I’ve been asking myself the same thing for the past two weeks. I respond while staring at the monitor. I can’t look at the technician without seeing my reflection in his glasses; a frail looking husk of a man in a wheelchair hurtling through the cosmos.

“You should hope so.”

I don’t have the energy to salve his fears or promise him the Moon will still hang in the sky when the Earth completes its next turn.

“I do. I hope. But I believe that you can save us.”

I turn my golden eyes to him, regarding the elevator technician with that removed disdain humans always earn. Yet they amuse me, perhaps I have even grown attached to them. He looks away immediately, and I ask his shuffling feet.

“Do you have a brother?”

I can tell that he doesn’t like the question but he placates me with a response. “I do. Three.”

A wry chuckle loosens from my throat, devolving into a cough without warning. He waits patiently for me to recover enough to chortle, “I’m glad I don’t have three brothers.”

“I’m glad you don’t either.” He agrees, and despite our present circumstances, we both laugh.

---

The Commander of our docking space station regards me with incredulity as I wheel out of the airlock. I smile and adjust the blanket around my weak legs, my hands pausing long enough in propelling myself forward to extend my hand to offer a handshake. He grips my hand but immediately drops his eyes.

“Mr. Hati.”

He says it ‘hat-tee’ and I twitch a little at the mispronunciation. Yet I let him finish with his preamble.

“We are indebted to you for your service today. Please let me know if you will need anything to complete your mission.”

“It’s Hah-tee. Let me know when we are about aligned with what’s left of the moon.”

The twenty minutes drags into what feels like hours with nothing to fill the dead space but idle chatter.

“Five minutes. You may want to prep your crew.” I interrupt. My eyes haven’t left the clock. He falls quiet, staring at me for a long moment before I feel his hand pat my thin shoulders.

“Thank you.” He manages, and then he’s gone. The dock begins to clear.

I’m alone when the warning alarms begin to echo and the air locks turns. The maw of the ship opens up into dead space that engulfs me in one tumultuous snap.

---

As the blood freezes in my veins, I can feel myself waking up from a deep sleep. My brother’s transformation in New York was a torturously long performance, bones snapping, sinew breaking, darkness doubling in on itself as he grew and grew into a monstrosity before the eyes of millions who were about to be snuffed out of existence. There was screaming, so much screaming.

Out here, it’s silent.

I know they are watching. The elevator technician on his monitor, traveling back to earth and his three brothers, probably all crowded around the same television with the rest of his family. All the world packed into bars and living rooms, watching the most important fight of their lives on television. My skin shatters as I stretch, pulling in the darkness of the space around me, mass doubling and tripling but there’s no gravity out here. I spin in free fall, and nothing hurts.

Years of pain in that wheelchair, starving slowly as I tried to eat enough to satiate what I was, denying who I had to become. Obliterated in one instant as the stars open up in front of me and my jaws open in a delighted howl, and I know the people on the screens can see me as I really am now. As what I was always meant to be. Hati, Hróðvitnir’s son, the wolf god who eats the sun.

The heat of the sun, I can feel her pull calling me even from here, saliva pooling on my tongue and gagging me with the insistent hunger. That single, devouring need to catch her and rip her into pieces, make her part of me.

But that’s not why I’m here.

I turn slowly, twisting in the free fall spin until I can spread my paws to brace against the solar wind gust, and pushing with every muscle in my celestial being. The moon careens into view, my brother’s dark form perched along the rocky spine. He pauses in ripping apart pieces of her ghostly hide, signaling the end of this world’s cycle with the untimely demise of its lunar denizen.

That’s when I break against him with all the power left in me in a whirl of fur and hate.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Advent of the Star People
920 words

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 23:33 on Jan 1, 2019

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Submissions are closed

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Interprompt: where the wild things aren't (200 words)

AllNewJonasSalk
Apr 22, 2017

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Well I'm a filthy disqualified mfailure and here's a failure poem

I'm poo poo (124 Words)

What do you know about the WU?
Not poo poo!

Those boys in space now
Seriously, I'm in space too

Looking below at a big blue ball
While the visual scanner paints Earth

Remember that once Earth was vibrant
Now she be a corpse

Brown and green, deadly colors
Nuclear irradiated Earth ain't nothing to gently caress with

Blip! Blip! Blip!
There's a indication, it's on the scanner

FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHTTTTTTTT!

Yo, check out the contenders:
We got a ghost from Old Brooklyn and plastic bag from the Atlantic

The ghost stumbles, his ghost feet caught up in the bag
Is that even how ghosts work? Probably not.

A strong wind blows
The bag? Fight or flight.

Flight
Bye Bye Mr. Bag

Bye Bye WU
Bye Bye Earth

M. Propagandalf
Aug 9, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER

dreadmojo posted:

Interprompt: where the wild things aren't (200 words)

Leviathan's Lament
Word Count: 180

I wish I could say you had me caged, chained, wingstrung. You know that I always break free from my prison. You can count on me to resurrect and wreak havoc. And I could count on you to come at me again, defeated by your sword, spell, or just plain smarts. Our agon was our philia, a frenmity that brought the best out of both of us.

I can accept a cruel and unusual punishment. Make it extravagant. Make it wild. Be the hero again! Can’t you remember the thrill of it? But what you’ve done now, exiling me – no, exiling yourself to your world’s usual. It’s erasing us both.

Did I take it too far? Did I make the battles too fantastic? I understand if we cannot battle as we did in the prime of our childhood. I swear that I will never wax nostalgic. Just let me feel the touch of battle once more. Save me from the untouch of Forget.

What have they done to you that you would do this to me?

Remember me, John.

Remember.

WhoopieCat
Sep 15, 2018

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019

Hats (a drabble)

I wanted to do something wild on my vacation, so I decided to buy a hat.

“No hat,” my husband said. “Only crazy women wear hats.”

“Come along. I am going to get a big hat.” I pulled him down the mall corridor by his right hand, the one with his wild vacation-bought ring. It was carved from shell. I had one, too.

“The craziest women wear the biggest hats,” he said.

Just then, woman walked by, wearing the world’s tiniest hat.

It was the size of a pineapple ring, a tuna can, a doughnut.

“Don’t look at her,” he whispered. “Don’t talk. Just keep walking.”

We thought that maybe we’d better go on home.

Punkreas
May 13, 2013

*chews on head*


Lipstick Apathy

dreadmojo posted:

Interprompt: where the wild things aren't (200 words)

Alacrity for Anarchy
Word Count: 198

Molotov cocktails were being passed around, eager hands grabbing and snatching away at them. Many were getting riled as the evening progressed with shouts becoming louder and more prolific; those that couldn’t stomach the intensifying mood were leaving in a haste. I chose to raise up my own cocktail with a cry of devilish revelry before slamming it down in front of my enraptured comrades.

Savreet pulled at my arm as I hollered for another. “Don’t,” she mouthed, or tried to say, oppressed by the rising din. Ignoring her, and tearing off my already-askew tie, I scanned for the cocktail among the bald heads and jewelry of the crowd. This was my night. I have been suffering others for years - the pushy, the inconsiderate, the outright jerks - and desired more than anything the release from wearing those shoes for a turn. Gloria, counter to Savreet, was encouraging me; Karl became increasingly sheepish, though chose to remain with us.

Another round of Molotov cocktails finally reached our table and I began drinking mine before the waiter was able to serve anyone else in our group. It was going to be a hell of a happy hour at the Sizzler.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Week 323 Results

Well this was a strange week. It appears that the invitation to write something beautiful sent you all spinning off in rather odd directions. I did enjoy your dreamy musings, but none of the stories this week stood out as amazing. That said none were really terrible either.

Worst things first: the loss goes to M. Propagandalf’s Epilogue Gallery. I feel a bit bad about handing this the loss, because it isn’t terrible and in a bigger week might have escaped unmentioned. But, in this week it had the worst prose and an unclear plot, which made it an unsatisfying read.

There are no DMs. It was a small week and nothing stood out as really bad.

Thranguy gets an HM for Hitchhiker. While the plot and themes of this piece were a bit vague, all three judges that it was the most beautiful space nonsense of the week. Well done, some of the images in this story were really lovely.

And the win goes to SurreptitiousMuffin’s Red Letter Day, who strolls to the top of this rather soggy mound without really breaking a sweat. Judge opinions were divided on this story, with one judge finding it shallow and irritating. But, two out of three of us agreed it was the most competently executed piece of the week, with a clear and interesting, if not earth-shattering, core idea.

SurreptitiousMuffin, the blood throne is yours.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Crits for week 323


Epilogue Gallery by M. Propagandalf

Is this a story about someone writing a story about someone writing a story? Or is the man some sort of god? I like the dreamy register you were going for and the fact that you used the dream-ideas becoming real bit of the prompt video, but unfortunately this story doesn’t quite pull it off.

What lets it down is the fact that there’s not much to these characters. They’re all just having a nice time and being happy to meet each other. At the very start the protag says something feels wrong, but two sentences later she’s totes fine. It would have been more interesting to see her understanding of where she is unfold more slowly. And then the protag isn’t even the main character, as it’s revealed at the end that she’s just the man’s dream (or something, I remain slightly confused).

The prose is also occasionally awkward, with some strange wording choices and metaphors that I think you meant to sound poetic but ended up making me think, “what?”

4/10


Dedicated to by Fleta Mcgurn

This is a story about a teenage boy overcoming his grief at the sudden death of his best friend in a car accident. While the hopeful note the story ends with is nice, it’s not a very interesting read, because it’s just a description of the inevitable healing process that happens with time. Eric’s death doesn’t really change Daniel, apart from perhaps making him grow up faster.

The description of the boys’ antics at the start is also out of kilter with the sudden death - the tone of the story doesn’t match its subject matter.

6/10


Red Letter Day by SurreptitiousMuffin

I like this, a nicely balanced mix of sweet and serious. The folksy way the elf talks verges on annoying but it’s ok because he’s a magical elf, and I believe you that this probably is how they talk.

I like the cliche metaphor and the way it ties the story together.

The ending is a bit fluffy. Wanting to erase yourself is pretty dark and I’m not convinced a pep talk from an elf is enough to turn this situation around. The line where the boy says “thank you Mr Elf” might be what kills it, because this is a pretty Disney thing for a 14 year old to say.

But overall good job.

7.5/10


Leaving a Friend in Paradise by NotGordian

Well this is nice, but I’m not really sure what it’s about. Who are these guys? What’s the library? Why are they here? Why is one of them staying?

Their parting is sad but without any insight into their relationship or emotional states I’m not really given a reason to care.

Footnotes are a bad idea. If you think something in your story isn’t understandable to your reader either don’t use it or find another way of expressing what you’re going for.

5/10


Dance of the Moon Jellies by Antivehicular

Antivehicular, did you write moon jelly erotica? The fact that you might have unintentionally written blobby-alien porn might be my favourite thing about this week.

On the one hand, this is quite pretty, and the ending is sweet. On the other hand, it’s just a description of two protoplasm thingies (who love each other very much) gently caress-fighting. The fact that they’re trying to populate a new colony is just window-dressing.

The biggest problem is that our two lover-blobs aren’t really characterised, so there’s no reason to feel invested in the story. Also I am not turned on at all.

6/10


Hitchhiker by Thranguy

This is also sweet, and beautiful. I don’t really know what it means, but I don’t really mind because the imagery is lovely. I guess I’m glad these drifting AIs found each other and reproduced, but this story felt insubstantial. There’s no challenge, or threat, that would make me feel relieved that by the end the AIs had found each other and were going to be ok.

Maybe you were going for an overarching point about loneliness and the drive of all sentient beings to replicate themselves? If yes, this theme didn’t really land.

6/10


Sons of Hróðvitnir by Lippincott

This is cool, where’s the rest?

You have written the set up for an awesome fight between two celestial brothers, with the fate of the world at stake. I quite like the ingredients you’ve assembled here. But, as a set up there’s not much tension - most of this story is dull elevator chit chat. When you suddenly chop your story off at the most interesting part I should have been dying to find out what happens next. But instead I was just mildly surprised that that was the end.

5/10


Advent of the Star People by Sebmojo

You had me up til the point you named your new alien friend “Jellytruck.”

On the one hand this dreamy and pretty and bizzare; on the other it’s just a description of a guy working in a bar having a weird night. I think to really work this needed to be more psychedelic and less fluffy.

7/10

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



Week 323 crits

Epilogue Gallery

So, it's Pygmalion meeting her creator? Feels like a kind of self-congratulatory topic to write about, iono

And then the twist ending is it was all secretly a super-double-story-within-a-story? I don't... get it. I mean, I understand the concept, by why? Why this story? It's too short for that ending to have any kind of impact like it seems to think it warrants.



Dedicated To

Gets better as it goes on. Has some nice touches in the middle, but the ending just kind of whiffs. I wasn't really there for the opening, either.

I think the jarring shift in tone hurts—though admittedly it's a better tone than what the story opens with. Maybe the death should be foreshadowed more in the beginning?



Red Letter Day

Hmm. That opening is pretty indecipherable at first go. I'm not sure writing a story where you have to start over again once you finish to understand the opening is a great idea, but whatever, TD is pretty low-stakes. I found the narrator's affectations grating.

Once I figured out what was going on, it seemed pretty obvious where the story was going... and then it went there. The end. I don't know, it feels like too simple of a story, like it deserves to be more like a 2-3 paragraph aside in something else, or a short poem or something, because it's too barebones to really support even this length.

Also the resolution was trite and hackneyed, but that's fine because the story literally says it's fine to be trite and hackneyed sometimes, so gj shading a problem with the story rather than addressing it I guess?



Leaving a Friend in Paradise

This is probably my favorite of the stories so far. It seems like just the right length for its topic, short and sweet and describing just enough.

Some of the :babble: at the top grates, but at least those quickly fall away.

Huh, I didn't even see the footnote, since it wasn't in the archive. I think it's probably better without, though. We can google factoids if we need to.



Dance of the Moon Jellies

Eh. It's kind of interesting writing, but all the protoplasm protoplasm protoplasm repetition so much just leaves the feeling that everything in the world is all made from he same gray boring goo. So, mission accomplished, I... think?

The ending is more interesting, at least. I just wish you had described the middle ballet/fight less monotonously.



Hitchhiker

I like this one. Definitely grew on me as it went on. Some of the tech-speak early on seems a bit off or odd, but the general structure and thrust of the story is good.

I can see what Yoruichi is saying about not having much external conflict, but I thought it worked here to have it all be internal. A nice, quiet, introspective piece.



Sons of Hróðvitnir

Eh. This didn't really do anything for me. It explains too little of what's going on to convey the import of anything that happens. The ending especially lands like a dead fish, but it seems to be expecting the reader to go "whoa, that was awesome" for some reason. The whole thing just left me cold.



Advent of the Star People

Huh. I kind of like this one, even though it's kind of hazy on the details besides "aliens are regular visitors to a dive bar".

It's lightweight, but nice enough.

I think Yoruichi is right on with her suggestions. This feels like a pilot episode that could be expanded into a full story.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



Yoruichi posted:

SurreptitiousMuffin, the blood throne is yours.

prompt

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Thunderdome CCCXXIV: it came from the other house, and would not leave



I cannot believe we're two weeks into October and haven't had one single spooky prompt. "But Muffin," you say, "they're probably saving it for next week!"

Well suck it nerds, Spooktober isn't just a week: Spooktober is a way of LIFE. This week, I want some spooky-rear end poo poo but with an important caveat: no violence must occur in the story. Not because I'm taking any particular moral stance on it, but because bad horror tends to lean heavily on shocking violence to paper over its cracks. I want psychological horror that relies on tension and dread rather than shock-horror. This week, as we saunter towards Halloween, I want the bizarre, unsettling and uncanny.

To make it interesting, when you sign up you will be assigned a sin. Not one of the seven deadly ones: something a bit more strange and personal. I don't care how you incorporate it, but see that you do.

Word Count: 1500
Sign-ups close: 11:59pm Friday PST
Submissions close: 11:59pm Sunday PST

Stewards at the old manor:
Muffin
Antivehicular
Flesnolk

Wanderers on the moor:

1. cptn_dr you never took much at a time, but with the rain comes the flood
2. Solitaire in time, the bird learns to love the cage
3. Thranguy father only set one rule, but it was one rule too many
4. Djeser you sat and listened, and did not act – the music was so beautiful, after all
5. QuoProQuid you did not stop speaking, even when the lights went out
6. Fleta McGurn men forget, but houses remember
7. Fumblemouse though the strange rot filled the walls, you did not one thing about it
8. Staggy you were never allowed to touch the dolls' house, and yet you did
9. sparksbloom the local cats took special interest in the old cellar, and you worried
10. derp you have not seen it; it is not there
11. Bolt Crank there is a leatherbound trunk beneath the stairs, and you know what it holds
12. Lottie there is not one dog in this town: not one. Isn't that curious?
13. sebmojjjjjj such is the whirling wind, that none may hope to escape
14. Lead out in cuffs I have never spoken to him, and I see no reason to start now – his type cannot be trusted
15. apophenium we absolutely cannot renovate: the house would not like it
16. CascadeBeta I must be home before the old clock strikes 3am, or else there will be consequences
17. Yoruichi Mother died with nothing, but you couldn't even leave her that could you?
18. flerp You lay in bed, slick with sweat, telling yourself that you just needed one more day
19. Anomalous Blowout The noises outside stopped too early tonight; you grabbed your flashlight
20. The Saddest Rhino Your friends knew the risks, and you can only blame them for what happened next
21. Mercedes if only you could find the source of that dripping, everything would be alright
22. NotGordian You never heard the screams, but how?
23. AllNewJonasSalk it is pathological, you know; it does not become a virtue by being orderly.

SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at 07:41 on Oct 19, 2018

cptn_dr
Sep 7, 2011

Seven for beauty that blossoms and dies



Sin is In

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014

This statement is a lie!


IN

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!


in

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



in

confess your sins to me my child

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha
T O P


This is extremely my poo poo.

In.

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Porpoise noise continues.


In, love to be 2spoopy

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


cptn_dr posted:

Sin is In
you never took much at a time, but with the rain comes the flood
in time, the bird learns to love the cage
father only set one rule, but it was one rule too many

Djeser posted:

in

confess your sins to me my child
you sat and listened, and did not act – the music was so beautiful, after all

QuoProQuid posted:

This is extremely my poo poo.

In.
you did not stop speaking, even when the lights went out

Fleta Mcgurn posted:

In, love to be 2spoopy
men forget, but houses remember

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

In

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


sin

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

IN GOOD PROMPT

Punkreas
May 13, 2013

*chews on head*


Lipstick Apathy

Testing the (holy) waters with this. In.

Lottie
Nov 18, 2012


hiii
am in
i have to delete my thread i'm new don't shoot
run-on sentences bode well, yes

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Spooky inn

Lead out in cuffs
Sep 18, 2012

"That's right. We've evolved."

"I can see that. Cool mutations."



Well I was lying awake at 6AM after a lovely night's sleep reflecting on how the howling of the metro train would set off the PTSD of our Israeli subletter and how the rumbling of the idling freight train felt like the whole neighbourhood was being digested in some giant stomach and in the midst of this enveloping soundscape someone could be lying in bed with the embodiment of fear itself floating above having a nice terrifying conversation with them and also that Muffin was doing the prompt this week so it would be a horror week and this was all good inspiration.

Which is to say, in.

I also dreamed that Mercedes was this angular-featured lead singer in a band, basically a black David Bowie. Make of that what you will.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



Lead out in cuffs posted:


I also dreamed that Mercedes was this angular-featured lead singer in a band, basically a black David Bowie. Make of that what you will.

This is canon, fyi

apophenium
Apr 13, 2009


In (in the spooky red blood dripping font)

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

by Cyrano4747


Let's get sinful.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


though the strange rot filled the walls, you did not one thing about it
you were never allowed to touch the dolls' house, and yet you did
the local cats took special interest in the old cellar, and you worried

derp posted:

IN GOOD PROMPT
you have not seen it; it is not there

Bolt Crank posted:

Testing the (holy) waters with this. In.
there is a leatherbound trunk beneath the stairs, and you know what it holds

Lottie posted:

hiii
am in
i have to delete my thread i'm new don't shoot
run-on sentences bode well, yes
there is not one dog in this town: not one. Isn't that curious?

dreadmojo posted:

Spooky inn
such is the whirling wind, that none may hope to escape

Lead out in cuffs posted:

Well I was lying awake at 6AM after a lovely night's sleep reflecting on how the howling of the metro train would set off the PTSD of our Israeli subletter and how the rumbling of the idling freight train felt like the whole neighbourhood was being digested in some giant stomach and in the midst of this enveloping soundscape someone could be lying in bed with the embodiment of fear itself floating above having a nice terrifying conversation with them and also that Muffin was doing the prompt this week so it would be a horror week and this was all good inspiration.

Which is to say, in.

I also dreamed that Mercedes was this angular-featured lead singer in a band, basically a black David Bowie. Make of that what you will.
I have never spoken to him, and I see no reason to start now – his type cannot be trusted

apophenium posted:

In (in the spooky red blood dripping font)
we absolutely cannot renovate: the house would not like it

CascadeBeta posted:

Let's get sinful.
I must be home before the old clock strikes 3am, or else there will be consequences

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