Oh, this is lovely! Thanks for the work, I hadn’t had a chance to compile it.
Uh excuse me there was also a song you had which is known as the SCARIEST song:
|# ? Nov 4, 2018 19:33|
|# ? Jun 24, 2021 19:09|
Alrighty all, Secret Santa sign-ups are just about sealed. Here is the list of folks so far
These people are signed up for the story portion ONLY
These people are signed up for both the story and presents
Lead out in cuffs
This post is not your guide as to who your Santee is. That shall come later after much randomizing is done. For now, if you indicated your interest in signing up and I somehow lost your name, get in touch with me ASAP. Also, if you're a last-minute charlie that wants in on the fun, message me ASAP. I will be closing things down and sending out assignments very soon!
DON'T POST IN THE THREAD
I'll be editing in people I forgot or last-minute signups.
Chili fucked around with this message at 20:34 on Nov 4, 2018
|# ? Nov 4, 2018 20:00|
We’re down to the dead houseplants.[/i]
To My Daughter, Janet, I Leave
It was grey and misty when Janet and Charles pulled up to the house.
“Do you think anyone’s inside?” Janet asked, leaning forward and rubbing her arms.
“Doubt it,” Charles said. “That’s a heavy door, and the windows are all intact. No squatters, babe, promise.” He sounded more confident than he felt- Janet had been so unsettled about checking out the old house, and he didn’t want to alarm her.
Janet sighed and sat back. “I regret this, I think,” she said, staring at the front door. “After Mom died, my dad should have just sold it. It’s so weird that he kept it all this time, I had no idea.” She swallowed and looked at Charles. “Why wouldn’t he have sold it? I don’t understand.”
Charles put his hand over hers. “I don’t know, but it’s going to be fine,” he said softly.
When they entered the house, Charles was relieved to see that he was right- the place was untouched. Theirs were the only footprint in the thick blanket of dust on the floor. “Wow,” he said softly. “Good thing your parents didn’t go for seventies trends. This place actually looks kind of nice.”
“It was my grandmother’s house originally,” Janet said, turning in a slow circle. “She always insisted on hardwood floors and ‘strong, majestic colors,’” she finished in an upper-class lockjaw. “My parents would probably have changed it eventually, but—”
“I’m sure whatever you come up with will look great,” Charles interrupted, trying to sound enthusiastic. He was getting a headache, probably from the dust, and his tinnitus was acting up. “Let’s go upstairs.”
He could only see her silhouette, framed in the hallway. Blueish light streamed through the dusty air. “I don’t know.”
“I can go, and you can wait here,” he offered.
“No!” Janet almost shouted. “Charles, don’t you dare loving leave me, I mean it!”
“Okay, okay, sorry,” he said. “I just thought—”
“No,” she said again. “Please. I’m sorry. Let’s just get this over with, okay? But we’re going together.”
Upstairs, the moldering carpet was spangled with glass. These windows were broken, but only because tree branches had grown through them. The branches appeared to have withered and died once inside the house, leaving what looked like blackened fingermarks around the windows. Chips of bark and desiccated wood were everywhere. “Ugh,” Janet almost whispered. “What is that? Is that what Black Elm disease is?”
“I have no idea. Probably there just wasn’t enough light in here for them to stay alive. The branches outside the house look okay.” Charles shone his flashlight on a little bird’s skeleton, lying on a decrepit end table. “This is cool, Jan, look.”
“That is kind of cool,” Janet warily agreed.
Charles stopped suddenly, feeling worse. His body was crawling with nausea. What had he eaten today? The headache was getting stronger. “Can we stop for a second, Jan? I’m feeling kind of weird.”
“Weird how?” Janet started to say, but she was interrupted by a loud cracking noise. She shrieked and dropped her flashlight. “gently caress!”
The cracking sound sent a lick of throbbing pain through Charles’s head. He could feel his face sweating. “It’s just a tree branch,” he said unconvincingly.
“The hell it is!” Janet scrabbled to pick up the flashlight. “They still say this place in haunted in town, I told you, I—” She stopped suddenly. “gently caress it. You know what? This place isn’t an asset. It’s falling apart, it’s creepy as hell, and I knew I didn’t want to spend the time and money to restore it. Let me just look in my old bedroom for the hell of it, and then we’ll go. Okay?”
“Good idea,” he agreed, “I feel like poo poo.”
She looked at him. “Yeah, you don’t look good. Are you okay?”
“Getting a migraine, I think.” He leaned against the wall, careful not to put his head near any of the cobwebs.
“I can go into the bedroom alone, I think,” Janet said uncertainly. “If you want to stay here?”
The headache was literally thumping. “I’m sorry, babe, I really need to rest.”
“Well…” She hesitated, tapping her flashlight against her leg. “All right, it’s okay. I’ll be right back.”
“Love you,” Charles managed to say before closing his eyes. Janet walked away, her step a little hesitant.
The migraine traced electric rainbows across Charles’s closed eyes. When he opened them, the threads were still there, moving swiftly and falling away in diagonals. He admired their tessellation, even though their rhythm matched the pulse in his head. He’d had these illusions before during migraines, but none quite so vivid. The rainbows soon were replaced by kaleidoscopic patterns, which he also enjoyed until their churning and spinning made him feel sicker. Charles slid to the floor.
He wondered if he was sitting in the spot where Janet had discovered her mother’s body. The morbid thought was jarring enough that he instinctively closed his eyes and shook his head, trying to clear away the thought and only succeeding in making the pain worse.
A brain aneurysm, he thought to himself. The irony was distressing.
The house was silent. He couldn’t hear Janet’s footsteps anymore. The lines still shimmered above him, folding in waves now, as he struggled to his feet and made his way down the hall. His eyes were too full of prisms to focus on the details, but he swore it was darker. Or perhaps it only looked that way?
He finally found Janet standing in a small, white room. It was perfectly square, and bare of anything. She stood in the dead center, staring at the wall, looking as if she was listening to something.
She turned slowly to face him, but just then his vision was clouded by more electric fizzles. “Honey, I’m sorry, we need to go. And you need to drive. I’m having crazy hallucinations, holy poo poo…” He felt her take his arm and lead him out the door.
They made their way down the stairs in silence, Charles’s head spinning, until they were finally outside. He let go of her hand and crashed onto the stairs, cradling his head in his hands. “Oh, god,” he groaned. “Get in the car, I need a minute.”
Oddly enough, the rainbows were dissipating. His head still ebbed with cramps, but the nausea was fading. He snorted a bit, trying to clear his sinuses. “loving dust,” he muttered uncertainly. Soon, Charles felt strong enough to stand and go back to the car.
He crashed into the passenger’s seat, still rubbing his head. Janet was looking fixedly ahead at the house, her face perfectly neutral. Charles knew she was about to burst into tears. “Oh, honey,” he said. “This was a lot for you. Thank you so much for trying. I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you.”
She still wouldn’t meet his eyes. Tears were drying on her cheeks. “Janet?”
Janet did not answer.
“Did you see something?” Charles asked. The pain was coming back, as was the faint ringing in his ears. “In your room?”
When Janet looked at him, her eyes were all black. It was the last thing Charles saw before rainbows threads and throbbing pain overtook his vision, shifting and falling in tides.
His own breath roared in his ears.
|# ? Nov 4, 2018 22:29|
Luna closed the old book and pressed her hand to Zack’s forehead. He was burning up, the sheets were soaked with sweat. She washed her hands in a basin, scrubbing at her arms with a coarse brush. Partly as a precaution, partly in a vain effort to scrub away the circuit traces just beneath her skin.
She raised her left arm into the faint rays of morning sun filtering in through a scratched lexan window. She followed the delicate circuitry that ended at her elbow. Like a roadmap, she thought. A permanent reminder of the city. Anger shot through her, her right hand clenched itself into a fist, crushing the brush. She tossed the pieces aside, there was work to do. Before leaving she double checked the solar panels were charging her bike.
She followed a narrow wooded path until the trees grew younger and more sparse. Eventually the forest opened up into almost endless plains. Like scars the old roads cut through the tallgrass. If she looked close she’d see old concrete that like tombstones marked where houses once stood. She followed one of the old winding roads until it reached a stagnant pond. There, like the book had said, was the tree. Weeping willow, she mouthed, and cut through the bark with her knife. She filled a canvas sack with moist inner bark and headed home.
She gave him some of the tincture. She hoped it was strong enough. He sat up a few minutes later, reached for the basin and threw up. Maybe too strong. Soon enough the fever subsided, he stood up on his own for the first time in days.
The bike hummed, the smell of ozone surrounded them. It was dusk by the time they reached the outskirts of the slums. The whole place glowed with a million mismatched lights, pushing back the smog. The city, just as she’d remembered, towered above the shanties in cool grey majesty. She slowed down, tried to get her bearings. The slums had grown so much since she’d last been here. Zach was starting to nod off behind her. She found a polestar in the old radio antenna and the bike hummed through the cramped, unmarked streets.
Things started to look more familiar. Rows and rows of containers, hand-painted signs and flickering lights from shoddy electrical. She found a doctor, the waiting room was almost empty, a sign on the door read CASH ONLY. She helped Zack into a chair. Someone came up to the desk.
“He needs help. He’s had a fever for days,” she said.
“A thousand down, the rest after the appointment. I won’t charge you more than five no matter what. It’s my guarantee,” he said pointing to a handwritten sign on the wall. Her heart sank. Prices had gone up.
“Listen, all I got is a thousand. I’ll have the rest tomorrow,” she said.
“Have it by the time we open or we’ll have to square up another way,” he said, looking her dead in the eye. She tried to talk, but stopped. The implication was enough. The sign outside should read “cash or organs”, she thought.
“Fine,” she said.
She found Rick’s container in the same place it’d been all those years ago, a sign reading Cheap Internet Access still hung above the door. Rows of terminals were flickering inside, Rick stood behind the same stained counter and took a drag off his cigarette. She walked up, slowly. The creases in his face were deeper now. He looked at her without a click of recognition.
“I need a job, Rick,” she said. She saw a flinch of apprehension when he heard his name. He tried to play it off. “Can ya read? Prices are up there. I can rent ya a headset if you ain’t got your own.”
“You know I left all that poo poo behind, Rick,” She rolled up the sleeves on her jacket. The cigarette fell from his mouth. “Jesus Christ! It’s been years. You know you’re the only one left that still has that poo poo?”
“I need a job. I don’t have the cash to get online, no one’s gonna hire me with a break in my resume like I’ve got either.”
“Tell you what. There’s a guy what’s stiffed me. We was gonna double the uplink speed out here to the slums, I fronted for the antenna but he ghosted. Thinks we can’t touch him if he doesn’t leave the city.”
“You want your money back? Maybe rough him up? I can do that.”
Rick shook his head, leaned over the counter and said a single word . “Kill.” He slid a deposit across the table.
She sat on top of the container, watching the sun set. It wasn’t like she remembered it at all. The sun reflected off a thousand shades of tin. Night markets opened, lanterns lit up, neon sputtered to life. The smell of cheap alcohol floated up on stale air. She waited for the familiar sounds of rolling gunfights, but they never came. The wind tousled her hair, she pushed it back. It was shorter now, her new clothes were stiff. Her hand touched the tiny camera stuck to her temple. Rick needed proof. Only one thing left to do. She fished the glass pipe from her pocket, already filled with white powder. She torched the end with a lighter, inhaled the acrid smoke and smashed the pipe. A tinge of regret followed by that familiar feeling of being on a razor’s edge.
The blue-white lights of the city shot past. She wove through the computer-controlled cars, watched as the AI struggled to predict where her bike would be next. Transfixed, she followed the red X on the bike’s display. She pulled up to a bar, just like what Rick had described. She brushed her hair back, making sure the camera had a good shot. No one looked up when she walked inside, she went for the bar. He was there, on a stool, talking to someone on the other end of his headset. She sidled up beside him, like she was gonna order. Instead she threw him off the stool. She was on top of him, hands clenched around his throat. She hesitated, or at least, she would have, but instead watched her hands carry out their work. She felt his trachea collapse. She threw up.
Rick ran a device over the camera, it’s bio-adhesives let go and the thing fell into his waiting hand. “Just a formality, I heard you done good.”
All the goodness had left her body, the dopamine burned off like a flare. She hated this feeling. Less than human, just a tool. He opened the floor safe. She was over the desk, hands at his throat before he could even reach for a gun. There was no hesitation this time.
She was two minutes late at the doctor’s office. He was already wheeling out a surgical tray. She dropped triple the price on counter.
“I got one more thing for you to do, Doc.”
She twisted the throttle as far as it would go, the city disappeared into the horizon. Pain shot up her arms but she didn’t care. She smiled at the criss-cross scars that severed the electroneural links so they’d never grow back.
|# ? Nov 4, 2018 22:36|
Uh excuse me there was also a song you had which is known as the SCARIEST song:
Fight me Exmond.
|# ? Nov 4, 2018 23:39|
Prompt:You destroy everything you touch today
I wake up, gasping, in a guest room in the old Padgett house, fully clothed and over the starched cotton sheets over hard mattress over black-varnished oak frame. The house is quiet, the kind of quiet where each footstep echoes round through halls and stairs until it sounds like you're sneaking up on yourself. I don't remember how I got here. I do remember falling, and I remember that the Padgett house burned to the foundation five years ago.
“Live boy!” The voice is prep-school crisp, sharp as a corkscrew tip, and behind me. I spin around to see them, two young men in Black pants, red blazers, and loosened neckties, near to identical. “You're awake, live boy,” says the one on the left. “I'm Yarrow. He's Mance.”
“Who are you supposed to be?” says Mance.
“G-Garret,” I say. They advance through the door. “What's-”
“Guh-Garret,” echoes Yarrow. “I’m going to tell you what's what. The two of use are going to show you what we can do.”
“It'll be fun,” says Mance. “For us, at least.”
“And sooner or later, you're going to give in and cry uncle and let us scoop out your live boy mind and get inside your live boy body and get to some proper serious business. I bet there's still Mayburns out there. And Fletchers and Sykeses.” The names aren't unfamiliar to me. I run, charge through the gap just ahead of Mance's clumsy attempt at a trip, grab the doorframe and push myself forward with feet and hands. My right hand burns, painful hot from scorching, smoking wood during the moment of contact. I run through the strange halls.
I remember falling. I'm not falling alone. Brian is falling with me. Brian Fletcher, next door neighbor, friend growing up most of the time, by default and shared better friends. There's nothing but rage in his eyes.
“Come in here,” she says, from a side room. Her voice sounds like pressed flowers and old magazine pages. I duck into the room.
“Who are you?” I say.
“Wouldn't you rather know what's going on?” she answers. I nod. “I'm Eliza. This is a between place.”
“Between what?” I ask. The room is full of open cabinets and clothing for young women on wooden hangers. Eliza is a bit younger than the other two were, about my age, wearing in a white satin dress.
“Here and there,” she almost sings. “Up and down. Dead and alive, mostly. If you're here you must be hurt badly. You must be close to dying.”
I step back. My right hand brushes a yellow dress. It burns, goes up like a stage magician's flash paper.
Eliza stares at me. “You've got a killing hand,” she says, backing away. “What did you kill?”
I remember before the fall. Teasing. Brian’s ferret-squeak voice. “If you like her so much you should say so.” “If you don't maybe I will.” Shoving. I remember after the fall, legs useless, twisted, burning with pain, turning my body, seeing Brian, his neck bent wrong.
I back out of the room and turn and they're there, Yarrow and Mance. Yarrow has a fireplace poker, red hot like a branding iron. Mance has a bundle of heavy rope. “Were you talking with our little sister, live boy?” Says Yarrow.
“Nobody talks to Eliza,” says Mance. He steps toward me. I reach out, touching him with my right hand. It burns through him, revealing a belly full of crawling worms. They also burn in cold blue fire.
“You got a killing hand, Guh-Garret,” says Yarrow. “Good.” He holds the poker up in front. I reach for it. He swats my elbow like an expert fencer, raising a burning welt, the poker unharmed. “A pity about Mance, though. Still, there's only room for one in your body, and it was never going to be him.”
He thrusts it at me, poking me in the chest, just enough to hurt, not long enough to set my shirt on fire. I back up. He swings again, swatting my left knee. It hurts, and the hurt echoes with the bigger, broken bone hurt outside this place. I might have had a chance, turning and running before. Not now.
Yarrow starts to smile, swinging the hot iron. It isn't getting any cooler. If anything, it's getting hotter with each near miss in front of my face. A second before it happens I see Eliza behind him, raising a steam iron. I force my eyes not to give anything away. She slams it into his head.
He keeps grinning, and turns to her. “You shouldn't have done that, little sister. There will be consequences.” I'm already in motion, launched at him the second he turned, my hand outstretched. He sees me, swings the poker hard at my back. When it hits it's just cold hard metal. My hand has passed through his empty insides and he's unravelling beneath me.
I remember the top of the hill, our rough words turning to rough and careless play, at the top of a steep slope. He pushes me and I teeter back over the knee-high rail, about to fall. I reach out. He doesn't take my hand. There's a cold look in his eye. I make one last lunge forward and grab jacket-covered hand, and don't let go as gravity takes us both.
“They were stuck here, unable to move on to the next place,” Eliza says. “Too many old grudges. They blamed the family enemies for everything, even the fire.”
“Did you?” I say. She laughs.
“No,” she says. “They kept me safe, they said. They kept me apart.” She moves close to me. “Please,” she says.
Her lips touch mine. She's cold, like a statue. Like a corpse. I carefully hold my hand aside. She grabs my right wrist, and puts my hand on her waist. I feel the cold fire burning. I don't move my lips, don't close my eyes as her skin peels away layer by layer, as the bands of muscle beneath snap like overworked guitar strings, until I'm kissing nothing but bone, until that too turns to dust. I can't deny her even a second of this intimacy, this rare human contact before her spirit confronts the unknown beyond this between place.
Alone in the house, I start feeling between two places as well, here and at the bottom of the hill. I hear sirens. I'll stay here a little while more, until the ambulance arrives, and think about what I'll tell people. Nothing about the Padgett house. Nothing about our fight. An accident, me falling, him trying to pull me safe but tumbling over instead. He can be the hero. And I will ask Ellen out, when I'm at least crutch-walking again, and maybe she'll be interested and maybe she won't.
I touch the wall and watch the house burn again, with blue fire and the smell of strawberries and ozone, as my mind slides back onto the bloody grass.
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 01:40|
derp fucked around with this message at 17:55 on Jan 1, 2019
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 02:09|
The Temple Walks
A basilica of stone waiting for skin
Ek-en-Zu went up into the mountains to find god, and came down with chips of stone buried in his skin and scratching at his guts and floating in the space between the sky and his smile. Nobody could see them, but he knew they were there and he kept them clutched tightly inside himself like a secret. He went home, and he picked beans in the fields and he spoke at the forum and he penetrated his wife and nobody felt a thing, though they thought they did.
At night he lay awake and stared at his stone ceiling and he smiled because he knew what nobody else knew.
He sang secret songs to his house and he heard it sing back to him, but he picked beans and spoke at the forum and penetrated his wife, so none were any the wiser. He polished his beautiful stone skin with water from the river, and they said Ek-en-Zu loves to be clean, his wife must be happy and they did not remark at the rivers of crystal that filled out his veins or the uncut rubies that had grown in place of his eyes. They did not see the chalcedony, marble and alabaster that had grown over his skin, or the rubble of basalt and gemstones that formed his guts.
They did not see him towering over the town, his footsteps causing seismic ripples that ran around the earth. They did not see his roots grow deep through the earth, and drink of the mountains and grow strong.
His wife wept in the street when he insisted on returning to the mountains; she did not understand. She cried out that something was wrong but nothing was wrong, because Ek-en-Zu had touched the deep places and it was a sacred and perfect thing. He walked into the mountains with his head held high—above the river, above the hills, penetrating through the clouds—and he sang the sacred songs and his wife did not see him again.
As Ek-en-Zu walked higher and higher, he became so large that he could see the turn of the world; his skin became so hard that no blade nor storm could work evil against it. He fell to his knees by a mountain stream, and drank of all the frozen water of the earth. It was so cold that it burned his stone, but he drank and drank until there was nothing left but the magnificent tyranny of stone.
He drank of the sky and he drank of the flowers until they were perfect and hard and grey, then he continued to walk until the weight of his body became so much that it shattered his legs and he lay on his side, panting, feeling strange water welling up from his wounds and making its way back down into the cold and unforgiving earth.
He became empty, as the water in him fled and the night came to claim him. He stared at his pale-skin-growing-more-pale, and watched the red spread across the stone.
Ek-en-Zu lay on his back and stared at the grey stone sky and smiled and did not grieve, because he knew what nobody else knew: he was finally home.
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 02:17|
The Throbbing of Hell's Heart
leads you there despite your destination
The building shook and my stomach lurched as the floor sank beneath me. I knew my brothers and I were about to die. I knew we would be pulled to hell. When the ceiling above collapsed onto us, we did not feel it. But we heard it. A distant thunder and we were on our way.
I was formless, a tangled cloud of star stuff in the void, my brothers beside me. A throbbing red heat loomed ahead of us, rimmed in translucent fangs. We were beyond fear. An ache settled into my being, a sense of failure. We lost. Now we were lost.
My youngest brother tried to console me, coalescing in front of me, shimmering. It was heartening to know we were in this together. There was another clap of thunder and we saw more of our brothers join the journey.
I tried to muster a feeling of acceptance, that I and my brothers had accomplished something with our deaths, but I could not. Instead I felt a deep unrest. I sent myself off the path, away from the crimson fires of hell, towards another, darker path. I didn’t care if my brothers followed me, but I became aware that some had, imploring me to stay the course. Rebelling could make my punishment worse, they conveyed. If that happens, so be it.
A pinpoint of light opened in the direction of my travel. I had grown weary, but the light brightened my spirit. Within seconds, the light was with me. It was another traveler of the void, however it was denser, more solid than my brothers or I. It darted about me, as if gauging my intentions.
You are dead, it whispered. Where do you think you are going?
Anywhere but there, I said. It stopped flitting around and now hovered beside me. It did not seem to struggle against the pull of hell’s maw the way I had to. Its effortless motion angered me and I pushed forward.
We traveled in silence for a long while until it finally said, That will be difficult. I will help you.
And one by one the ethereal chains dragging me to hell snapped. They were replaced with a new pressure, one urging me onwards, to wherever. I offered a silent prayer of thanks to that orb, that it took pity on me.
After an eternity of dark seconds I was absorbed into a volume of green haze. My form became a more solid light, like my helper orb. There was no more pressure. I was at peace.
I rested and grew enriched watching the green haze play about me. I learned its patterns, how to influence it, how to interpret it. I was reminded of home, like I was looking down on the blue sphere of land and water, seeing and learning so much.
It grew hollow. My outer brightness strengthened, but a dark pit bubbled in my core. None of my brothers had made it to this sanctum. My light blinked and I rose from the green safety, back to the darkness I had walked for so long.
I had a new awareness of the forms passing through the void. All the little dust clouds of the dead on their way to hell or elsewhere. I threw myself forward on a wind of new purpose, towards the nearest journeyer. Its specks of light were dim with defeat.
Hello, I offered. It did not taste like my brothers. It tasted like my enemies. Its light brightened as it became aware of me, but I backed off and sped away before it could reply.
Unencumbered by my chains, I decided to approach my fear, my original destination. Up close, its size numbed my thoughts. It was massive in a way that imposed on my sanity even more than the dark infinity of the void. It pulsed and sputtered as it chewed souls. Others it swallowed whole into its fleshy nightmare petals. My light dimmed to the cold blue of fear.
A tug. A pressure turned my attention to an approaching soul. One of my brothers. Its lights replayed its death, as if in disbelief. I said, Yes, brother, you are dead. But you can come with me. And I led it to my green sanctum to find meaning again. As it learned, the two of us grew brighter still, until we felt like true beacons.
After enough of us got together, we no longer had to seek out the rest. Instead, they shook off their fear and their defeat and came to us. Our numbers were immense and we began to think not as individuals, but as one blazing mass. Our only goal was to beat back the mouth of hell and bring some justice to this purgatorial darkness.
We floated towards the maw with restored confidence, the likes we had back in our earthly lives. Its fangs seemed minuscule now and they melted like icicles before our light. Hell’s lips quivered, betraying what we took to be fear and we thrust ahead into the realm we had dreaded for so long.
And we were merely a single blood cell in the throbbing vein of an unknowably vast chasm. The light we cast now shone red, the color of heated anger. We would not be made small. Hell would not hold us. Its barrier was as skin, and we could see the light shining through it. Hell sent its antibodies to quash our rebellion, but our vast knowledge and imperishable hope proved stronger than the ire of the inferno. The antibodies were soaked up within us and we bulged out in all directions till we filled the vein.
As flocks of birds respond to the movements of their neighbors, so did we concentrate ourselves out into a perceived weakness in the membrane. It melted all at once and we were out, free, into where we knew not. But we were not shackled. We were massive. Show us more barriers, you pitiful hell.
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 02:38|
Yarning for the Lost
Stars are burning in the west.
It was a perfect sphere, a black-filled ring of chocolate on cream white. It was fuzzy.
“Thank you, thank you!” Arthur was a hardened middle-aged man, with skin of leather and face scarred by life, yet he simpered as he left, keeping his one good eye to the floor and holding the wool eye with great care.
The young girl that gifted the eyeball sighed as she slid out of her oversized armchair. Still work left to do. Abigail kept to the thin rugs in the bare hallway, avoiding the cold wood underneath. The room she entered was saturated with the smell of fabric. Yellow light came from twin brass floor lamps astride the doorway, antique sentries to a workshop of yarn.
Abigail made her way over to the human leg laying on the carpet, its foot half-finished. She found her knitting needles, unraveled a ball of yarn, and within an hour the leg was click-clacked into completion.
It was dark when Abigail left her house; the moon waned old, outperformed on the night’s stage by a brilliant cast of stars. She headed down the unlit brick road to Old Gal Goodman’s house. The greying lady was on her front porch, her truncated thigh propped up on a stool in anticipation of Abigail’s arrival.
The wool leg’s curvature fit Old Gal Goodman’s perfectly; immediately, the seam between the two legs disappeared. The threads of the wool leg smoothed out. Calluses formed on the soles of the feet. Nails, needing clipped, were the finale. Eyes wide and anxious, Old Gal Goodman carefully stood up, putting weight on the reformed leg, then took a step.
Old Gal Goodman’s twilight years would be much easier on her now.
Cold and quiet welcomed Abigail home. She had no more work to do but an urge pulled her into the knitting room and over to the ancient oak dresser dominating an entire wall. With care, Abigail opened up its heavy drawers.
Arms, ears, toes - the drawers brimmed with half-finished parts. Abigail hesitated to open the topmost drawer, sealed by a lock with a keyhole like a shooting firework. The key itself rested conspicuously on top of the dresser. Contrasting the age of the dresser, the key looked as if it were new: the surface unblemished, the blade tipped by an asterisk of shining gold.
It was late, yet Abigail was seized by a sudden bout of determination. She snatched the key. Tonight was the night.
The drawer slid open. Lamplight fell on reddish curls, blue eyes, and pale red lips. With reverence, Abigail carefully lifted the head out of the drawer and looked it over. It was like her very memories had come to life.
Abigail gathered what she needed from the drawers. Hours passed and her fingers became numb; she imagined it was because she was willing life from them into the thread. Limbs joined waist and torso, then, finally, the head.
The life-sized wool mannequin was propped up in a chair. Abigail stepped back, watching, waiting. She had made only prosthetics before, never an entire person. So, even though she was hoping for it, Abigail was still surprised when it began to move.
The limbs flexed and head tilted, but no flesh was formed; the fuzzy, yarn-lined surface created by Abigail’s needles remained unchanged. The construct’s head tracked Abigail’s face, lidless eyes studying her as if she was puzzlingly familiar.
Abigail teared up. “Mom?”
The wool imitation of her mother leaned forward as if to stand, just like Old Gal Goodman. Where the elderly woman’s solid foot found purchase, however, the soft yarn of the construct did not, and it crumpled into a heap on carpet. Suddenly, it jerked its head up from the ground, curls of string hair whipping back, then shot forward, undulating like a lizard, knocking Abigail over as it crawled up the front of her.
Abigail was paralyzed by fright from the sudden attack. The textured eyes in the recreation of her mother’s face bored into Abigail’s, replacing her wistful dreams with a waking nightmare.
As abruptly as it had assaulted her, the yarn construct lept off Abigail and darted out the knitting room’s door. Abigail caught her breath and, pushing down her fear, took off after it. A trail of cleared dust stretched down the hallway led her into the foyer. The fresh morning’s light caught swirling of airborne particles in the yawning portal of the open front door.
She was scared and upset, but the long night without rest took its due. Abigail found her way into the embrace of her stuffed lounger and fell asleep.
Knocking at the door woke her. Arthur was standing in the late afternoon sunlight; he was missing his new eye. Old Gal Goodman was also missing her leg, he told Abigail, as were Gregory’s fingers and Cheryl’s teeth. Rumors were spreading that the specter of Abigail’s dead mother had come to take her daughter’s creations back to the other world with her.
Abigail told Arthur that she knew what to do. She didn’t, but it convinced the sullen man to return home. Yarn clippers would be a start, she thought, passing the scrambled throw rugs and dust clumps in the hallway.
Right there, back inside the knitting room, was her mother’s replica.
The living mannequin was pulling everything out of the dresser. All around it were balls of yarn, limbs, teeth, kidneys, bones: a portfolio of Abigail’s creations. The wool construct stopped its efforts when it noticed Abigail - then it lunged at her.
Abigail tried to run away but it was too quick, grabbing her legs. However, instead of attacking her further it seemed distracted, looking back at the piles of knittings strewn about the room. It then looked up at Abigail, putting its hand on her chest. Over her heart. Abigail understood.
Knitting needles and deep red yarn blurred together as Abigail worked.
The heart was elaborate, with chambers and valves and vessels. Her would-be mother took the heart from Abigail’s hands with great care, admiring the object for a moment before squirming out the door. A flash of anger and betrayal washed over Abigail, and she was after it without a lost moment.
It had gone out the front door again, but this time Abigail found it right outside. The creature was prostrate in the grass, watching the drowning orange glow of the sun against a magenta backdrop. It then turned to face Abigail, quietly holding the newly-crafted heart. The wool replica of her mother then held out the crimson organ high in front of Abigail’s face.
The heart eclipsed the setting sun, a dark silhouette with a vibrant halo of dying light. Abigail thought she saw the heart begin to pulse, but at that moment it caught on fire.
The sun disappeared as the flame of the wool heart spread to the hand that held it, across the arms and torso, up to the face that reflected every feature from her faint memories. As curls of hair burned like candle wicks, that face gently smiled at Abigail.
Soft winds carried fragments of fiery yarn into the new night’s sky, stars of orange and red on the growing dark of the western horizon. Abigail watched their distant twinkling for a long, long time, yet the embers never went out.
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 03:02|
cptn_dr fucked around with this message at 06:19 on Dec 31, 2018
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 03:57|
I send the dreams to you across the ash, and you wake from them bruised. You’ve been sustaining yourself in fits of self-sacrifice, you as the lonely, lost wanderer, stripped of the people and places you reference to remind you of who you’d like to be. You burst into church pantries with clusters of survivors, and although they offer you a place to stay, you take a can of beets, offer a solemn thanks, and you keep walking. You and I both know you’re not going anywhere. You have an Eden in mind, but it looks like no place on earth -- even before the war.
I’ve found my people in what used to be a high school auditorium in what used to be Yellowknife, Canada, and here there’s enough food, and the planes only come every few weeks or so. So far, they’ve missed us, and as the ice gets thicker, I think they’ll stop trying. My sleeping bag is warm, I’m working my way through Sweet Valley High, reading the paperbacks with an illicit flashlight under the covers, and they fill me with a sense of aching nostalgia. I still have that little wallet-sized prom photo of the two of us. It struck me that it’d been fifteen years -- that any children conceived that night would have been dreaming of their own dances.
You said once that you were a parody of an articulate person, that you had words for everything but the things you actually wanted to say. At the time, I thought those were the words for “I’d like to gently caress other girls,” but when I scry you now, your skin as grey as the waste, sleeping, in an act of daring, in a broken-roofed barn, I hear the apotheosis of the scream that started then -- the cawl from a wound that started within you. You are dreaming of sitting in the passenger seat during a nighttime car ride through a forest road, and even when you are awakened by a merciless dust storm that crawls up in your lungs and leaves you choking for what feels like hours, the dream doesn’t leave you. And so, without knowing why, you head north.
In the high school library, I’ve secreted away a stash of batteries inside a dictionary. I know this is selfish. There is a woman here, not too much older than us, who’s been fiddling with pieces of radio equipment, who worries every day about how much time she has to build something that can reach our allies but not the occupying forces, and here I am, reading trashy teen novels, and gazing at a photograph of a you that no longer exists. But as the ice thickens, it’s what’s keeping me warm.
And if you, on your trek into the Yukon, find yourself intercepted by one of the last waves of bombs, or if the deepening freeze stops your heart, and you never make it to the doors of this school, maybe that’s better for us both. At least that way, you’ll never know the disappointment that the call of destiny ends only in another human, another empty, brittle place. And then I’ll always have the possibility of you, which has always been so much more tangible than your skin.
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 04:25|
Prompt: And then flashlights and explosions.
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 04:29|
Good and Faithful Servant
Flash rule: And the engine's failed again
Available on the archive
Antivehicular fucked around with this message at 04:48 on Jan 1, 2019
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 05:29|
The Blackest Day
Flash rule: and I spun on my wheel like a laboratory rat
Solitair fucked around with this message at 22:48 on Dec 31, 2018
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 06:34|
Vanheil 887 Words
The day Cynderlane died Jason renounced both God and his wayward child Lucifer. Let them both choke on his festering hatred and free the world from their capricious dominion.
Jason left the city of Sulderleif. With him he took only Cynderlane's favorite pair of shoes; red pumps that sparkled under the blazing touch of the sun. Once, as children, he'd called them “blood diamonds” and from that moment on he thought of them that way always.
He walked the roads with a diamond in each hand and sometimes, when the night was particularly lonesome, he would clutch them to his chest, seeking the warmth of her embrace. She was more than his friend, you see. She was his only love and like the Church to Christ, so she was to him; a bride. They were soulmates bound by the celestial whim of fate. Star crossed lovers cast in the mold of Tristan and Iseult.
On the fifth day of his exile, Jason came upon a small inn tucked away behind a curtain of oak. Inside he found the owner, a squat man maybe half his height, twirling a recently dead cat by the tail. The innkeeper explained that this was to ward off evil spirits.
Dwarves were, by nature, a superstitious lot. Jason was not superstitious but listened to the innkeep all the same, as he babbled about the dark creatures that roamed his inn every night until the first trickle of sunlight pierced its windows and banished them back to Vanheil, the dark dimension the spirits inhabited under the light of day.
“Listen,” Jason said after the innkeeper finished speaking. “I have no money but, if you allow me to stay an evening, and feed me some stew from your pot, I will be bound in your service. This I swear upon the eyes of Old Nick.”
“What could you possibly do for me, boy? Besides warm my bed,” asked the dwarf.
“For starters, I could slay the spirits,” Jason said. This was not true of course. Jason had as much chance of slaying a spirit as the dwarf, but the innkeeper seemed stupid and desperate. He agreed to the terms and gave Jason a key and a bowl of stew.
The stew was vile and maggots swam through it like fish but Jason paid them no mind. The innkeeper watched him drink it all in two gulps and when Jason proffered the bowl for a second helping he didn't protest. The worms wriggled around his stomach, growing fat on the things they found there, for a long while before finally falling still.
After the second bowl, Jason retired to his room and began to plan.
The innkeeper, not nearly as stupid as he seemed, also began to plan. There were no spirits of course. In this inn resided only a dwarf and his greed.
Night came quickly and Jason, fast asleep, instantly awoke at the first caress of the moon's touch. Perfectly still, he listened to the sound of his own breathing and after a moment became aware that another breathed as well. He remained silent and listened while clutching a small blade he never slept without.
An hour passed like this with neither Jason nor his visitor moving an inch. All that could be heard was breathing and a muffled buzzing sound.
Of course, Jason knew the innkeeper was the other source of breathing but the laws of hospitality forbade he kill his host without just provocation.
Another hour passed and Jason felt a pair of eyes drawing closer. Finally, Jason thought, the dwarf will make his move.
After five more minutes of palpable menace, Jason called out.
“Be gone, dark spirit, or I will slay you.”
For a moment the breathing stopped and Jason was sure he had frightened the cowardly innkeeper off but then a voice spoke back, high and keen. “Give me the shoes, traveller, or die here.”
Jason said no more after this and for a time the room was silent and the dwarf still.
After another hour of this that same high voice called again from the dark, this time only a foot from where Jason lay.
“The shoes, boy. Don't die like an idiot over a pair of shoes.”
Jason said nothing at all.
Instead he drew the dagger across his belly and slit open the sack that lay beneath the flesh there and waited for the innkeeper to step just a bit closer.
In seconds, the innkeeper was upon him and Jason, hearing the sound of an axe whistling through the air almost too late, shifted slightly to the left so that the axe just missed and then he squeezed the muscles in his abdomen together as tightly as he could. That muffled buzzing now flew forth from his stomach and, in the silence of the night, was a thunderclap. Flies swarmed the dwarf, engulfed him whole, and tore the flesh from his body with their many sharp teeth. He screamed and Jason crowed. Neither sound could be heard over the buzzing.
Afterwards, Jason closed up the hole in his belly and thanked the flies for their protection before opening a window so they could fly off into the night like locusts. Pleased with himself he fell asleep clutching the red pumps and dreamt of his sister, Cynderlane.
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 07:43|
Remembrance (956 words)
The sun beat down on the handful of people waiting on the bare gravel of the Amtrak platform in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota. The train pulled in like a great blue caterpillar. A conductor took our tickets and checked off our seats on a sheet of paper, then directed us all the way down to our car. As soon as the last of us had climbed into the air conditioned interior, the whistle blew, and we rolled out.
I stowed my bag in the luggage rack downstairs, took out my small pack with my notebooks, and made my way to my seat. The car was half-full and quiet. A few folks were reading. Quite a few slept, their seats reclined into half-beds.
Restless, I walked through the train, through doors and corridors, to the observation car. It greeted me with a handful of armchairs, a few booths, and wall-to-ceiling windows framing the passing landscape. Two of the booths were filled with young folks getting drunk and rowdy. I skirted them and settled into an armchair at the far end of the car, beside some half-dozing pensioners. Prairies stretched off to the horizon. I breathed in their vast expanse. After a while, I opened my journal, and began to write.
“What are you writing about?”
I looked up. In the next seat over was a woman with eyes the colour of amber and a gentle, warm smile.
“I’m sorry to disturb you. I’ll leave you alone if you like,” she said.
I managed a nervous smile in return.
“No, it’s OK. I was just reflecting on the scenery.”
“Yes! Isn’t it breathtaking? I feel like I could fly out across it and never find the end.”
She held out her hand. I took it.
“My name’s Siram,” she said.
“Siram, that’s a cool name.”
“Thank you. It’s very old.”
“Well, I’m just John, which is far less interesting.”
“John is a fine name, and also very old. Are you journeying for inspiration, then?”
“A little. I have some delusions of being a writer. Spending the summer backpacking around this big old country made some kind of sense for that.”
“A bard, then!”
“Haha maybe. How about you?”
She looked out across the rolling plains, and her smile took on a hint of sadness.
“Like yourself, I’m seeing this country while I have the chance.”
We talked for a time, about our respective journeys. Of big towns and small towns, farmers and oil workers, Mennonites and junkies. For a time longer we sat in comfortable silence, watching the scenery go by. I began to realise that I was feeling just a little bit of a crush for Siram, as I basked in her gentle glow.
As night fell, we struck up conversation again, and this time it turned to history. Siram spoke with a knowledge and vividness that awed me. I joked about how she spoke as though she had been there, and she laughed, but with that tiny corner of sadness in her eyes.
“John, will you come with me to the back of the train?”
“Um, yeah, of course.”
She led me by the hand through car after car of sleepers in their chairs. We passed further into the sleeper cars, and I grew a little nervous.
“Siram, we shouldn’t be here. Any minute now we’re going to run straight into a conductor and get thrown off.”
She looked back at me, eyes aglow, and put her fingers to her lips. In the next car, we indeed ran into a conductor. He squeezed past us in the narrow corridor without a glance.
We passed through the last door, onto a tiny balcony at the far back end of the train. The foothills of the Rockies sped by behind us, still capped with snow. A million stars filled the sky above.
“This is spectacular,” I said.
Siram sighed, raising her head to the stars.
She turned to me and looked deep into my eyes.
“John, I’m here for a reason, and I don’t have much time. Will you hear me out?”
“How did your famous English bard put it? ‘To die, to sleep -- to sleep, perchance to dream.’”
“My kind do not die the way you do. And dreams -- dreams are made of memories. We do not dream in death; our memories are lost in the cycle of rebirth.”
“That sounds awful.”
“I suppose it could. But I was born with this knowledge, and with an instinctual acceptance of it.”
“Um OK, but why are you telling me this?”
“Because John, I’ve developed a perversion. Maybe even a sin.”
The amber in her eyes blazed.
“I want to be remembered. Remember me.”
The blaze in her eyes grew to an orange glow. The glow spread, first to her face, then to her whole body, so that she seemed to be made of flame. The flames coalesced into thousands of pinprick points of light, embers suspended for a moment in the shape of a woman. These spiralled up into the air in a great column. For a moment, they seemed to draw together into the shape of a great bird. Then they faded into the night.
I stood at the railing, watching that patch of sky, now filled with stars. Mountains passed, craggy and majestic. Between the mountains were forests, silent and mossy and deep, and rivers burbling snow melt over smooth rocks, glinting silver in the moonlight.
At last, the cold set in, and I made my way back through the train. The rowdy crowd in the observation car were rowdier still, but I ignored them. I sat in the furthest corner, pulled out my notebook, and began to write.
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 08:05|
Prompt was: "From the train, trailing sparks of gold behind."
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 08:07|
I left the door open for an extra half-hour because we had a straggler, but sign-ups are now closed.
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 08:31|
be swift with results or the garbage memes will continue
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 21:12|
interprompt: tasting notes for a whisky distilled from wizard blood. 150 words
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 21:27|
interprompt: tasting notes for a whisky distilled from wizard blood. 150 words
"Wild Thaumaturgy" has aromatic notes of Rageland saffron and adamantiron. The translocation of ethereal nitrogen when in contact with the tongue is a pleasant surprise. However, this muddles the flavors and attracts pockets of manasquitoes, both of which detract greatly from the experience. While distilled from A+ blood, this whiskey is B- at best."
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 22:47|
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 22:47|
brĵthĵr may I hĵv the ĵudgĵng
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 22:49|
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 22:56|
|# ? Nov 5, 2018 23:02|
What's all this about LBJ?
This week felt like a big heap of average, much like your Halloween candy after you've already picked the good bits out. But buried in the boxes of Dots and the Tootsie Pops was a full-size Peanut Butter Cup in Antivehicular's Good and Faithful Servant. This tale of grief and the beyond moved me far more than a story about a haunted tractor has any right to and was the unanimous choice for winner. It is one of the finest complete stories I've ever judged on TD and I'd encourage anyone who has not to give it a read.
A lot of stories delivered the creepy but forgot to touch on the beautiful. However, cptn_dr and autism ZX spectrum both struck the right notes, earning honorable mentions.
A loser was tougher to pick this round as individual judges all found individual stories impressed them the least. Loser by algorithmic aggregate was therefore Solitair. Is that better or worse than a unanimous loss? You be the judge.
Picking up a DM was Lead out in cuffs for writing many sentences that bore no resemblance to a story, however technically competent they may have been.
Congratulations, Antivehicular. Hoist the blood crown with pride.
|# ? Nov 6, 2018 00:20|
Good job, Antivehicular. Congrats also to cptn_dr and autism ZX spectrum. And I totally forgot to make my story beautiful. Got too caught up in gross maggot body horror. For the next prompt I myself to stay completely on prompt and not gently caress it up entirely. I'm IN before I even know what I'm signing up for.
Thanks for fine and quick judging and also reading my bullshit, Anomalous! Praise be to the other brave judges who sat and read a bunch of words that were probably terrible in a number of mind bending ways. Y'all the real MVPs.
AllNewJonasSalk fucked around with this message at 01:06 on Nov 6, 2018
|# ? Nov 6, 2018 00:55|
Thunderdome Week CCCXXVII: Check out all our majesty
Okay, let's keep this simple. Write me some stories about dragons. These can be metaphorical or literal, although if you just write me a story about the TVTropes "The Dragon" definition, I will be unhappy with you and might DQ your rear end. Dinosaurs don't count as dragons unless they're magical dinosaurs or something. Cockatrices, amphisbaenae, and other mythological quasi-dragons are good to go. You probably know what a dragon is. Follow your heart.
No horror. Action is fine, people being afraid is fine, but we've had a pretty horror-y past few weeks and I'd like to see people move away from Spookytown.
Flash rules are available upon request; they will be various kinds of mythological dragons, to serve as inspiration.
Standard rules apply: no erotica, fanfic, political screeds/topical political satire, Google Docs, or archive-breaking coding.
Word Count: 1250
Signups Close: 11:59 PM Pacific, Friday, November 9th
Entries Close: 11:59 PM Pacific, Sunday, November 11th
a third cool person TBD
1. cptn_dr (Jaculus)
2. Chairchucker (Snallygaster)
3. AllNewJonasSalk (Piasa)
4. Fleta McGurn (Hydrus)
5. autism ZX spectrum
7. Solitair (Tatzelwurm)
8. Thranguy (Pulao)
9. ibntumart (Teju Jagua)
10. Yoruichi (La Guita Xica)
11. sebmojo (Azure Dragon)
Antivehicular fucked around with this message at 01:25 on Nov 7, 2018
|# ? Nov 6, 2018 01:09|
Drag-In, with a flash please.
|# ? Nov 6, 2018 01:11|
In, gimme a dragon
|# ? Nov 6, 2018 01:15|
This garbage is disgusting. Nobody told me I'd be drinking wizard blood. I mean, somebody did but I thought it was a joke. Like a Halloween gag or something. It smells like poo poo and honestly I think I'd rather drink poo poo water from a toilet after a chilli dog eating contest. I'd rather have somebody poo poo into my open rear end in a top hat. That's how terrible this is. I can't believe my Bono piece got axed to make room for this poo poo. gently caress wizards and butt gently caress the Boy Who Lived. How's that for an impartial review?
Paid For by Hogwarts Vineyard
E: Guess this interprompt was late as hell. Still IN. Definitely in. Also flash me.
AllNewJonasSalk fucked around with this message at 01:20 on Nov 6, 2018
|# ? Nov 6, 2018 01:15|
in with a flash rule, please.
|# ? Nov 6, 2018 01:17|
Ok, I'm in
|# ? Nov 6, 2018 01:20|
|# ? Nov 6, 2018 01:26|
i am torpikal the mighty ice dragon trapped in this human form after the eternal dragon wars
unrelatedly, i am in to write this week
|# ? Nov 6, 2018 01:27|
Drag-In, with a flash please.
Tremble at the might of the Jaculus!
In, gimme a dragon
Contend with the fierce weirdness of American mythology and face the Snallygaster!
in with a flash rule, please.
Check out the weird bestiary stylings of the Hydrus!
|# ? Nov 6, 2018 01:30|
In with a flash rule, please.
|# ? Nov 6, 2018 02:00|
Uh excuse me there was also a song you had which is known as the SCARIEST song:
Fight me Exmond.
Are we doing this or are we both writing stories about dragons?
|# ? Nov 6, 2018 02:07|
|# ? Jun 24, 2021 19:09|
In, dragon me
|# ? Nov 6, 2018 02:40|