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CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


I'll put my pen IN. Thranguy, play me a tune.

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CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


Prompt: Lover Lover Lover

Obsidian Rain
792 words

Cyn opened his eyes. His vision shook from the pain that echoed between his head and gut. What he was more concerned about wasn’t the kicks, the insults, or the fact that he couldn’t stop wishing that he was used to it. He watched as the dark specks throughout the clouds above glowed red. The stained marble of walls took on an unearthly sheen. The clouds hummed with thunder. The wind’s lashes intensified and struck with sulfur. The firestorm was nearly here.

That hadn’t distracted his three assaulters. Tullio, Cicero and Verus had been Cyn’s friends before the schools were shuttered and the ports had closed. After that, no one was friends with anyone, at least not with him. The only exchanges he was a part of afterwards were the ones that consisted of knowing glances while he tried to explain what his parents had done before the storms started. Why his name wasn’t cursed.

Cyn waited for the next blow to come. Eternal moments passed with no sudden impacts. Without thinking, he groaned and rolled over to his side. The three had shifted their attention away from him. Someone else that had wandered into the alley. Not many people had reason to cut behind the library. Its plaza, once used as a minor marketplace, was full of charred carts serving as cinder graves.

The final count was when the front of the library collapsed in on itself. No one had even tried to clear the stones away. With the district all but condemned, the homeless, thieves and others of similar inkling used it as a refuge. Even so, when faced with the proclaimers’ warnings, the vagabonds chose to retreat over the wall. They risked dim hopes of finding better shelter outside the city over the haze of superstition.

Cyn saw a gray skinned man in a black robe. His wispy white hair flowed calmly despite the strengthening wind. His face was thin and his cheeks were sullen. Cyn’s heart shot into his throat with a choke at the sight of the Ashwaker.

“I said enough,” the Ashwaker said.

“Shove off, sootblood,” Tullio shot back. He stabbed his finger forward. “Nobody needs your kind of help.”

“You know what we are capable of.” The Ashwaker extended his hand out, palm up. His fingers were blackened.

The three didn’t move. A tapping began on the cobble and buildings, and Cyn covered his neck with his arm. Slivers of obsidian started to graze his skin. He tried to push himself up off the ground, but another sharp kick drove him back. He cursed as the smoldering glass dug into his cheek.

Cicero grabbed Tullio’s shoulder. “This isn’t wise, we should go before this gets worse.” He pulled his scarf over his nose and motioned his head towards the Ashwaker. Tullio’s chest was heaving, sweat was dripping from his hair, both from exertion and from the growing heat.

Tullio shouted, and threw Cicero’s arm off. He thrashed his own scarf onto his nose. “Don’t come back. Not here, not anywhere,” Tullio growled, and the three stepped over him.

The Ashwaker stood a few paces away, his arm at his side. He hadn’t moved. Cyn tried to heave himself off the ground, but his legs were worthless. He made it to the wall, and braced it for support. The Ashwaker ran forward. Cyn tried to backpedal, but collapsed onto his back once again. When he looked up at the Ashwaker, he didn’t see the expected white hot anger. His eyes were warm, but tired. Lava ran through his wrinkles in his face, but it was like fading embers. He reached out a hand, and Cyn noticed how his skin flaked like withered tree bark. Cyn took it. It felt like ripped paper.

“Come, we must reach shelter before the storm gets worse,” the Ashwaker said. With a heave, he pulled Cyn up and put Cyn’s arm over his shoulder. “I saw you trying to get into the library. What were you hoping to accomplish?”

“I wasn’t,” Cyn said, as the Ashwaker started to walk with him. “I just, wasn’t.”

The pair exited into the plaza. The volcano loomed over the city of Faber. Lava was already erupting like a gushing wound. Black clouds swirled above it, twisting out above the island. The obsidian rain had become flaming chunks of black glass. Cyn dipped his head to avoid what he could.

The Ashwaker gazed at the mountain, unphased. “Unfortunately, one act won’t undo the damage we’ve wrought. One tome of forgotten lore won’t hold the answers we seek. It won’t ward against those who seek to hurt us.”

“Why would you help me then?” Cyn asked.

The Ashwaker paused, then threw his cloak over Cyn.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


Obliterati posted:

Boy howdy I sure do love my semi-regular ritual of drinking red wine and livecrittin', yes sirree

Thanks for the crit, I appreciate the brutal honesty.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


I need to redeem my honor. IN.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


In, double or nothing.

Let's roll them bones!

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


Speed Drop
1155 Words
Flash Rule: Your protagonist has formed an odd but genuine friendship with the police inspector who's been chasing them all these years.


I tore through the night amidst a haze of cop lights. The bass bumped, but I was listening more for the rattling of the liquor bottles in my trunk. I thought I had heard a shatter I traded paint, I couldn’t be sure. I wouldn’t be sure until I was safe at the junkyard. Then I could count my lost dollars with the shards of glass. My eyes darted between the rearview and the side mirrors. Between strokes of red and blue, headlights watched me like swamp lights.

I downshifted and cut tight off the Stevenson off ramp. I was assaulted with sudden claustrophobia as the concrete walls of the ramp narrowed. I ratcheted down, the transmission barely keeping up as I took another sharp right onto Cicero. The alcohol in back lurched at the motion, and my tail started to twist away from me. I tapped the brake and hit the gas, swinging the steering wheel out. My tires squealed, the steering caught and I avoided putting myself into the underpass.

I glanced back. David Grey was still at my rear quarter panel, and he was closing.

***

“All things considered, I bet you miss the Testarossa,” David said, as he revved the engine on his Mustang. I twisted the key one last time, unsurprised when my day ride, a sputtering Cimarron, failed to come to life. I waved my hand across my neck and stepped back out into the chill Chicago air. I unhooked the jumpers off the battery and dropped the hood, running my hand over the missing ornament and already peeling gray paint. In the rising sunlight, the car resembled a charred marshmallow left in the fire too long.

“I’d fish it out of the drink myself. Third time this week this thing quit on me.” I stomped on the bumper. The Caddy didn’t even shake. “You got a cigarette?”

“I thought you quit.” He pulled his pack of Camels out and offered me his lucky. I traded him his jumper cables for it.

“I did, and then I didn’t. You know how it is.”

“Were you so desperate for one you forgot how to buy a car? Of all the people to grab a lemon, I would have never expected it to be you.”

I sighed. “It’s hard to find good ones right now, especially imports. Even if you could find someone to sell, they’re taxed to poo poo. So, sometimes you bust out. It’s not the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last.” Even still, It was still 10 grand I was out, and I was kicking myself. That’s a year of work, 52 weeks working night shifts.

Or two runs, minimum, and that’s if the speakeasies were dry.

David patted me on the back. His badge glinted from the inside pocket of his beige sports jacket. “Want me to call a wrecker? There’s a good cafe nearby, I’ll buy you a coffee.”

I checked my watch. It was still shockingly early. “They better make ‘em strong.”

***

David moved to PIT. I slammed the brakes. His car shot past me, and I cut down South Archer, then back left on Kilpatrick. The street was tight residential, but people had enough sense to pull their cars off the road after curfew. The tricky part was getting back out of it. Ahead, flashing cruisers lined up along 50th. 47th avenue was out, and I was already past 51st. I slammed on the brakes. I wheeled right with a prayer.

The turn was good, but not nearly good enough. I slid and hit a parked station wagon. I jolted in my seat, and heard a smash from the trunk. That definitely took out a case, maybe more. I dropped back into second gear and burst through the chain link fence back through the opposing driveway, cursing myself all the while. Words like rusty, stupid, cocky rolled through my head as the grass shook my seat. Last time I had run, I wouldn’t have made that mistake.

***

“You were really cutting close to morning curfew. What’s the occasion?” David asked, dumping a cream into his coffee. I kept mine black as hell, I needed the bitterness more than the caffeine. Looking at it in front of me reminded me that my stomach was still turning over itself. We were the only ones in the cafe. If I had to guess, the excessive wall flair, uptight attire for the waitresses and faded chrome trim were supposed to scream retro, or out of date. I wasn’t really sure which.

“I’m trying to find anywhere that can use my talents. There’s not many legal avenues for someone like me.”

“How about stock car racing? Or even trucking?” David took a sip and grimaced. He reached for another cream. “There’s ways to live, if you know how,”

“Trucking puts me to sleep, and I wouldn’t exactly consider racing long term employment, between the engine explosions and the soon-to-be state ban.” I rested my hand on my chin. “Besides, no one wants racers or drivers or whatever, ‘cause they think we’ll flip to running as soon as we realize where the money is.”

One of the waitresses changed the channel on the TV over the counter to WLS. The reporter was talking about the dropping support for prohibition. I thumbed at the TV. “What’s your take on that?”

“I’ll believe it when it when it happens.”

***

I spun the car around in the junkyard lot and drove through one of the abandoned warehouses. Shadows of people flew by me. I flipped up the top of my gearshift for the latch release. The back kicked up as the bottom of the trunk fell out. Hopefully the broken containers were acceptable losses from the speed drop, at least. The warehouse door rolled shut behind me as I swung back out onto the street. I let two hours worth of stress exhale out of me as I swapped radio stations. My moment of relaxation lasted exactly that long before I noticed David’s two bar grille behind me again. This time, I brake checked him, teasing him. I wondered how long he could keep up as I shifted up and punched it.

***

He slid a business card to me from his jacket with his number at the station. I raised a finger in protest but he ignored it. “I know how you feel about turning state or whatever, but I don’t want to see you getting over your head again. If you’re staying clean, we could use someone like you to train recruits for stopping runners, so we can stop playing cops and robbers once night falls. Besides, I’d like to work with you again. For old times sake.

“Just give it some thought, okay?”

As soon as he had left, I was back at the payphone. Ten minutes and a few favors called in later, I had my repaired Testarossa read for a drop.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


In with In the Presence of Enemies Pt. 1 by Dream Theater.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


In, Last Frontier. because I can't get myself to keep deadlines.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


Prompt:
Last Frontier
Relationship: Current boat crew
Relationship: Cheerful competitors
Relationship: Distant relatives through obscure lineage
Location: Alaska Magic gifts and cards
Object: Purebred Weimeraner with an ear tattoo
Need: To get out of this town, because you have big dreams
Tilt: The wrong guy gets busted


Boat Trouble
Word Count: 1351



“It’s gonna be easy as apple pie, and we’ll be halfway to Houston by sunset.”


“Wait, hold on Rich, run this stupid idea by me one more time,” I said as I fed Spud another treat. He had basically been my dog since Rich found him. At least he said he found him. I called him Spud because of the weird tattoo in his ear that kind of looked like a potato. I think it could also be letters or numbers, but it was a poo poo tattoo job and it was tough to see under his dark fur. Who gives a dog a tattoo anyway? Either way he didn’t mind the bitter cold, he loved the water, and was great with people, so he was a perfect compliment to me sweating under my puke green winter jacket, my hatred of fishing and my dislike of Canadians.


We were outside the Alaska Magic Gifts and Cards, a tourist shop for the least popular tourist town in North America. It had a stereotypical Sitka totem slapped where the shingles had decayed away. It wore faded masks of three faces above a rainbow with an eagle. Something like that was either carved by a white man, a Russian or someone who saw Pocahontas once, and either way, it was as offensive as it was forgettable.


Sitka is a town of inbred hillbillies of the north, if you replace shotguns with mandatory fishing licenses, and pickup trucks with bay boats. Four times larger than Rhode Island with one percent of the population. There’s exactly one export from Sitka, and it sure as hell ain’t water, although some cowboys came up here and pitched a plan to export some from Blue Lake to India. When that fell through, a couple of the Texans got stranded here. At least, that’s what I assume, because I can’t think of another reason why someone like Rich would have stayed here.


“It’s simple, Luca,” Rich said in his stubborn drawl. Five years and he still had it like the day I met him. I wondered if he practiced in the mirror in between beard trimmings and deciding what ten gallon hat to wear. “We head in there, you cut the leash, Spud creates a mess and we grab some of the stuff in the mix and we scoot with a couple hundred bucks of product and skedaddle on the Skiff.”


We’d used the dock behind the Gifts and Cards since we got the Skiff. They either didn’t care or didn’t know they had a dock. It was supposed to be our get away after this half baked plan, but the thing was patched with duct tape and ran on prayers. That was how we bought it two years ago. Now? We couldn’t even shove off into the harbor to fish for pennies, unless we wanted to get embarrassed in front of the Canadians as our boat capsized with our meager haul of chum.


The boat wasn’t going to last much longer. Maybe one last voyage.


“Right. Apple pie. Let’s get this poo poo over with,” I muttered.


Inside was no better than outside. Shelves of wood carved statuettes, lots of awful smelling candles, and lots of cheap jewelry. I dropped my coat over one of the wicker chairs under the “Free Wifi!” sign. The register was unmanned. I figured the owner was having a smoke out back. Everything was worthless crap. Were we going to steal the whole drat store? I let Spud off his leash. He sat down and wagged his tail at me. I scratched behind his ear. “Yeah, you’re not exactly the mess making type, are you?” He twisted his head so he could lick my wrist. As I was thinking about taking Spud and heading to the harbor to bum for cash, I caught a glimmer out of the corner of my eye.


Propped against the wall on a table was a small wooden case with a glass display. The words “For Display Only” were engraved into the front. Rich said something, but I didn’t pay any attention. I was transfixed by the set of gold coins, each emblazoned with the facade of a heavily bearded Russian: Saint Nicholas II. My great grandfather had a set himself from a brother who missed the boat stateside, which my grandfather sold for a small fortune to collectors before he passed, and then my dad took the money when he skipped out. I’m not religious, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t having somewhat of a spiritual awakening while contemplating the possibility of my family line being linked to obscure Russian currency.


“See anything you like?” I jolted and slapped the case down on the table. I whipped around. A heavy man with a bushy moustache and “Reel Men Go Fishing” T-shirt stood with a grin. I leaned back on the table, palms resting on glass. Rich had slipped behind the counter, staring at the store owner’s greasy ponytail.


“I was just, you know, I’m not-,” I sputtered like a rusty motor, but nothing coherent came out. My fingers dug into the wood until they hurt.


“Hey, is the pooch yours?” He slid to one knee and rubbed Spud’s belly. Spud barked in approval and teetered onto his back. “Oh, who’s a good boy!”


I never thought I’d be freaking out about someone petting my goddamn dog, but that’s what happens when you have over ten grand resting in your palms. It makes you do stupid things, irrational things. Gold gilds the eyes of men, but in that moment, I was as clear headed as a ten year sober. Because I saw Rich loving with the register, and I wondered if this would make us even for participating in all of his stupid get rich schemes which made me poorer every time.


“Hey!” I called and pointed a finger, “Is he supposed to be doing that?”


Rich froze. The owner turned and exclaimed. Rich jumped the counter and lunged at us. The man caught him in a bear hug. The two toppled into a shelf of wood figures. They erupted from their stands. Rich’s cowboy hat flew off in the cacophony and came resting at my feet. I grabbed it and stuck the case inside. In a brisk walk, I exited the store. Sput trotted along with me, oblivious to the carnage we left behind. I turned the corner, then ran down to the dock.


And the boat was gone.


No, I realized, it wasn’t gone. The bow was breaching the surface, lazily rocking along with the waves. I laughed. It was all I could do. I tugged on the rope with my free hand but I knew it was sunk for good this time.


Spud ran out to the edge of the dock. He barked at a boat passing by. It was a nearly pristine white center console bay boat flying maple leaf colors. Those drat Canadians. They swung down to the dock. Alexis tooted a small air horn he carried with him. The two other crewmates were sitting on the back railing.


“Boat trouble?” He asked, and waved me on with his thumb.


“You have no idea.” I hopped on with Spud in tow, and glued my eyes to the back of the Gifts and Cards. I saw a cop car pull up, no lights. Nobody was heading down this way. I let go of a breath I didn’t realize I had been holding. I took the display case out of the hat and held it close to my chest.


“We were just heading out for our second trip. We hit up shoreside for some lunch. Where do you want us to drop you off?”


“Actually do you think I could tag with you guys for a while?”


“Sure,” Alexis said with a shrug. “I don’t have a problem with that. We could use the extra hand. What happened to the cowboy?”


I flipped his ten gallon hat onto my head. “Hopefully he’s halfway to Houston when we're halfway to Canada.”

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


In with a flash rule

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


Before my failure toxx from last week kicks in, this week I am In with a perma-. Flash rule me.

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


Gimmie a second flash rule so I can narrow my focus a bit.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


Five and a Quarter
Word Count: 1777

“Look, Zo never ended up coming here. She must have gone straight to the club. If I did, I would have gone with her. I loved her so much. I never wanted anything to happen to her.”

Joseline Cross rubbed her chin. She had been working on the case of Zoya Kozlov, a young hotshot from the Liberal Democratic Party of America. Zoya had been described as charismatic, idealistic, and was extremely popular with both Americans and Russians. She had been planning to announce her bid for Florida Senator until she was tossed off of the roof of Angel Klimaksa and ripped her heart out on the Washington Avenue bus stop shelter. Joseline was running out of time, and Jack, Zoya’s boyfriend and Joseline’s former partner, was the primary suspect.

“I don’t buy it, Jack. People saw her come here.” Joseline walked to the table overlooking the Miami sunset over the coast. A storm was approaching, but the sun still managed to pierce through the thickening clouds, giving the world a salmon glow. “Do you understand the gravity of this? This isn’t about some dope fiend getting cut for his pocket change, or some kids robbing the corner store. The Reds are going to rip through with a vengeance because she was one of theirs. They’ll haul anyone associated with her to Siberia. Including you.”

He stood motionless.

“Everyone knows that you were with her. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that you’re going to be next. You know that, or have your senses been dulled so badly by retirement?”

Joseline threw her tan raincoat and slipped the holster with her nickeled ASP-9 back over her shoulder. She’d hated carrying, but her line of work got a lot more dangerous after the surrender. As she headed for the door, she heard Jack sigh.

“Wait,” he said. She turned back to him. “Okay, fine. She gave me this.”

He gave her a black five and a quarter floppy. It had a circle with a line dashed through it in permanent marker.

“She gave this to me, and said if anything ever happened to her, to give that to someone we trusted.”

Joseline stifled a chuckle, but she took it and flipped it over. The only distinguishing feature was the strange marking on the label. “I guess she trusted me more than I did her.”

“Let me help you,” Jack started, but Joseline held up the disk as if to block his voice.

“Absolutely not. It’s not safe out there. Lay low until we can figure out some way to get you out of the country, because if there’s trouble, I’m probably not going to be able to get back to you. There aren’t many safe places left in a Red world, but we’ll find something.”

---

“President Gorbachev and Sovereign President Goldwater today reaffirmed the Treaty of New York, despite a terrorist attempting to disrupt the proceedings-.”

Joseline turned off the television. It had gone from harmless background noise to annoying propaganda. She had been staring at the floppy for the past ten minutes, gin left untouched on the desk next to his still unpowered computer. She’d been shot at, beaten, been in car accidents and nearly thrown off a train, and yet this piece of flimsy plastic was drilling a well into her stomach more than any of that. Someone was willing to kill for this, and she wasn’t sure if she should crack open this safe.

She shook her head, then slid it into the slot and flipped on the computer. The machine hummed and a sharp beep squawked from the internal speaker. The screen flashed on. Random letters and characters began to scroll down screen like an out of control typewriter. Then, it stopped. The screen flashed and filled with the circle symbol.

ERROR 464 - UNABLE TO ACCESS DIRECTORY, USER LEVEL 0

Joseline ejected the floppy. It was an anticlimax, like seeing an underwhelming film. She hoped that she would have gotten lucky, but Zoya was paranoid, and rightfully so if the chalk outline was any indication. Still, she wasn’t exactly a computer hacker, but Joseline knew who she might have reached out to.

---

The cuffport slid open. “Jos?”

“Gerald, I need your help,” Joseline pulled the neck of her coat tight. The rain had picked up far more than she had expected. Even in the alley, the rain whipped through like it was in a wind tunnel. That wasn’t the only reason why she was looking over her shoulder. It felt like every shadow had a thousand eyes, and they were all trained on her. The cool blue neon which bathed the alley from the Beachport Hotel sign out front did little to comfort her. Zoya’s floppy felt like a sunbeam in the middle of midnight. She even felt uneasy enough to stop at Jensen’s, both to spy on the surrounding areas as well as pick up payment for Gerald.

The port slid shut. The sound of latches and locks ran down the door before pulling open. Joseline hurried inside. The room was lit from a soft, single bulb hanging from the ceiling which left a glum shadow across the room. The walls were cement and unfinished, a plain bed, and the floor was littered with papers, books and magazines. A pair of box towers hid the door away from sight. The only spot in the entire room that was clean was around Gerald’s computer desk. The desk itself was spotless, with a white computer resting atop emblazoned proudly with the letters IBM. The monitor was on, with green text glowing. Next to it, a old fashioned rotary phone was wired into the computer, with the handset off the hook on a pair of metal holders.

He was a squat man which showed off his unusually early balding. He waddled over to the computer and dropped into his wooden rolling chair. He shifted into a spine bending posture, leaning back as far as he could go while resting his head and shoulders forward over the desk to clack away at the keyboard. He was the type of guy that was born at exactly the right place and time, and had exactly one thing he wanted to do.

“So, what brings you to my hobbit hole?” Gerald said. Joseline had asked him about once about how he ended up living in the back room of a hotel. He bummed off their business connection and could raid the breakroom fridge, and in return, Gerald ‘creatively inserts’ advertising for the hotel into the daily propaganda. She wasn’t sure the deal was worth it for the owner.

Joseline tiptoed between clutter and pulled out the floppy. “I need you to get into this. It’s time sensitive, so the quicker you can help me, the quicker I can be on my way.”

“Hey, don’t let that stop you. I appreciate the company,” Gerald looked up at her and thumbed his large square glasses. “That being said, I want to know what’s in it for me? I could always use a favor from someone on the right side of the law.”

Joseline held up the six pack of Miller, with the unspoken addition of her silence.

“Good enough,” Gerald snorted. He snatched the floppy from Joseline and slapped it into his computer. The text on screen wiped. The symbols started filling the screen, but Gerald responded with a furious assault on Joseline’s eardrums, and it was washed away as quickly as it had appeared. Lines of code waved down the monitor.

“Aha,” Gerald exclaimed, “Very clever, using a Skipjack encryption. Luckily the boys from Milwaukee already managed to expose that little exploit, and using the retired Russian alphabet as a key, too bad for my autotranslator-.”

“How much longer?” Joseline asked.

With a flourish of his index finger, Gerald pushed one last button and said, “Done, and- whoa.”

Russian text flashed on screen before being replaced with English: OB LEVEL ACCESS GRANTED, ACCESS MNOGO MISSILE SYSTEM? Y/N

“What is this? What does this mean?” Joseline’s heart suddenly ramped into overdrive at the word missile.

The color had drained out of Gerald’s face. He popped the floppy out of the drive and lept out of his chair. He ripped the phone cord out of the wall, and grabbed the modem. He shattered the beer with his foot. He jumped up and dropped the modem into the top box on top of the stack. Joseline grabbed the floppy.

“Why didn’t you tell me that was OB?” Gerald yelled.

Joseline stepped back to the door, “What?”

Gerald cut her off, “I thought you were looking for something harmless, some kid locked your case file or something, not to bring the whole goddamn Soviet army down on my head!”

This time Joseline felt her color drain, “What do you mean?”

“I mean that was OB level access, top of the top secret, like for Gorbachev’s eyes only! And the thing about those kind of programs is that they phone home when accessed! So the KGB just got a warning that some fat Amerikosy is trying to wrench control of the nukes!”

Joseline looked at the disk in disbelief. How did Zoya get this? What purpose could it serve? Almost immediately, she answered her own question: in the hands of freedom fighters, it would paralyze the entire Soviet Union. They could fight them on their own terms, with mutually assured destruction.

“Get out!” Gerald yelled, but Joseline was already out the door. She broke into a sprint and ran for her car. Her legs couldn’t push her fast enough. Every stride felt a mile long, and her entire body felt like it wanted to rip itself apart. She turned out of the alley and looked for her sedan. She panicked when she couldn’t spot it, before realizing it was still where she had left it. She jumped inside. She struggled trying to put the key in the ignition. Her hands wouldn’t stop shaking. Her body wouldn’t stop. The key clicked in and she floored it. A truck nearly sideswiped her as she sped through a red light. Every part of her wanted to just skip town and head for the docks. Open sea would be safer than anywhere on land.

But what about Jack?

She slammed her hand on the wheel. She couldn’t go back. She told him she wasn’t going to be able to help him. The cops, or worse, would be as his apartment by now. He’s on his own, but she knew that wasn’t true. She cursed before turning around. Changing the world would have to wait.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


In, rolling the dice.

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


In, pro wrestling.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


Eclipse the Sun
1246 Words

The boss was generally pretty hands off about his shows, even for one of his biggest of the year. “Don’t over complicated this poo poo, Tolán,” he always said to me. The wrestlers knew what would work best, so he let us sort it out, even down to the finishes. I trust his judgement, but Jacob Stone and I had been rivals since I first joined Wrestling Worldwide. I think he was afraid of me taking his spot at the top of the card. He stood about a foot taller, a hundred pounds heavier than me, and looked like he was cut from marble. He’d also been the champion for nearly two years and on his third championship run. He said he was what a champion should be, not some five foot six, 175 pound ‘Masked Mexican jumping bean’, as he so delicately put it. And thirty years ago, he might have been. Still, I was a professional. I wanted a match. I wanted to put aside our differences and put on the best show we could tonight.

Stone, on the other hand, wanted a fight.

Trying to do traditional moves was a nonstarter. The only way things like hurricanranas or sunset flips work is with the help of the other wrestler. Trying to throw him with my legs scissored around his head doesn’t work to well when he doesn’t want to go anywhere. Instead, he picked me up off his head, and powerbombed me into the ropes. I got tangled, and spun down to the floor outside. It’s padded, but that doesn’t help much when you nearly land on your head.

I checked to make sure my head was still attached. Stone grabbed me from behind and pulled me up to my feet. He threw me into the ring steps. I hit my ribs on the corner hard, but I still slammed my hands on the steel top to make a satisfying clang. The longer I could keep up the illusion that we weren’t out of control, the better. Of course, no sooner than I think that does Stone pick me back up and drive his knee into my ribs. The air was forced out of my lungs. It felt like he stabbed a sledgehammer through my chest. I collapsed to the ground. Stone grabbed my leg and started to pull me. I was just trying to get a breath in.

He lifted me up and rolled me into the ring. I started to regain my breath again. Then I was wrenched up. Stone put me in a headlock, and reached for my face. I tried to block, but I was too slow. He dug his fingers under my mask and started to rip. I had added extra straps for security, it but wouldn’t hold for long. I had to do something. I slipped my legs beneath myself for extra leverage, and as the mask started to rip, I swung my arm over his head and kicked up. He didn’t let off. We flipped, and landed on his back, and the ref slid over to count. He counts one, two, and Stone threw me off of him.

I heard Stone pounding on the ring as I put distance between me and him. I pulled myself on the ropes in time to see Stone deck the referee. He went down hard and rolled out.

“You think you can run this place?” Stone yelled across the ring, spittle flying from his mouth. The crowd booed in response.

I nodded. Stone gritted his teeth, and slipped out of the ring. He walked to the announcers table, and grabbed one of the steel chairs and snapped it shut. He slid into the ring. He had heaved a steel chair over his head. I twisted to the side. I felt it tear through the air beside me. It slammed hard enough to tear the canvas. I pulled myself up with the ropes.

Stone pulled back the chair again to swing it like a bat. I ran towards him. He swung. I dropped down into a baseball slide. We passed each other, and I pushed myself up without losing momentum. I ran up the turnbuckle ropes, and backflipped off the top rope. As the world revolved beneath me, Stone slammed the chair down onto the top turnbuckle.

I landed and jumped again. Stone turned, chair still in hand. I thrust my legs out, connecting with steel. It hit him square in the ribs, low enough to spare his face. He crumpled backwards into the corner. I landed flat on my back, and kipped up back into a stand. On instinct, I ran along the ropes to the other corner, and jumped up to the top of the turnbuckle. I took one, two steps out. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the ref pulling himself back into the ring.

And then I stopped. I looked to my right. Then, I looked to my left. The crowd, a hundred thousand people were all cheering, shouting my name, but it was like a single, harmonious static. I had grown up watching this moment, nose at the television screen, wanting nothing more than for the hero to hit that last move. I had imitated and recreated it so many times as a child, leaping from a stool in my grandparents’ home and imitating victory. My chest heaved, and my head felt like it was spinning as I looked back to Stone. We locked eyes. He clenched his teeth, and reached back to push himself up. He stopped. His brow unfurrowed and he relaxed his shoulders, resting them on the bottom rope. We both knew. It was time.

I sprung off the rope and leaped into the sky. I swung my legs beneath me. My arms rotated beside me. I eclipsed the setting sun like an eagle, and dove down at Stone. I hit the mat and his chest simultaneously to distribute the force. He slumped forward like I had shot him in the chest. I shifted to make room to roll him over onto his back. I hooked his legs and fell on top.

I saw the ref’s hand drop once.

I saw it drop twice.

Three.

The crowd erupted, like a jet engine taking off. I leapt off of Stone’s chest, screaming into the wind of a hundred thousand voices. I pumped my hands up, but my knee gave way. I cupped my hands to my mouth and threw a kiss towards the sky. My entire body was vibrating as every emotion hurricane together, praying that my father was looking watching. A hand grabbed my shoulder. I turned, expecting the referee.

Instead, Jacob was standing there, big gold belt in hand. I pushed myself up off the mat, not sure when I had started crying. He looked around, then handed me the belt. As I grabbed it, he pulled me into him, and clamped his hands around my back. I stiffened, hands locked to my sides. I tucked my head.

“I’m sorry. It’s not nearly enough, but I hope I can start there. Congratulations,” he whispered. He released the hug. I wasn’t sure what to say, or even to say anything as he rolled out of the ring amidst a rain of confetti. As the world championship glimmered under the lights, I realized whatever I needed to say could wait. I held the belt up high and took in the cheers.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


Is this for anyone or just HMs/Winners. If the former, In.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


In

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


In with Her.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


I'll bite. In,

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


In, vamp

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


Terms of Our Agreement
Strength: Your vampire can control the ambient temperature within a modest radius.
Weakness: The touch of human hair brings your vampire to their knees.
Word Count: 951

A sharp chill ran through my office just before the window shredded apart. I drifted my hand in front of my eyes as glass flew. The little hailstones tore into the new maroon rug, embedded themselves into the vintage mahogany bookcases and slashed the spines of my well-kept records. A man in a leather coat leaped through the window, and rolled onto one knee. He looked at me, bared his fangs, and dove. His hands enclosed over my throat, and we fell back onto my desk. A wine glass, marked with an old flame’s insignia, sprayed my head with blood as it toppled. I could see its twin doves as it hit the ground with a sharp crack. I hoped the damage was mendable.

Meanwhile, my intruder was strangling at still breath. The blood droplets began to bite at my ear. I noticed how strange he looked without his eyebrows, and snapped my fingers. I pulled my hand out from under his grip, and rested the back of my palm on his exposed skin.

The man shrieked like he was stabbed with a hot brand. For all I knew, that might not have been far from truth. He slumped down to my feet. I would need Marlene’s tonight, I thought as I nudged his convulsing body off of my shoes. I stepped behind my desk to my recent records, and drew my reading glasses from my coat pocket. There were many advantages to my turning, but even it couldn’t fix my dreary farsightedness. I dragged my thumb across the leather bound tombs, looking for D, D, D, Don-.

“Donnell, that’s it,” I said, as I pulled a book labelled “Da-Do”. I unfastened the gold latch, and started scanning for his last name. He stopped shuddering by the time I had found his history.

“Donnell, Marcus, Patient 0011020” I recited as I paced towards him. “Reborn October 10, 2017. Volunteer for turning with signed agreement for experimentation. Proved uncooperative and escaped with incomplete assessment. Current status: Observe in the wild until necessary. Possibly dangerous.” I stood over him and re-latched the book. “I believe we can change that last bit to ‘Slightly’.”

Donnell lunged at me like a kitten. I stepped back and removed my glasses. He was splayed out amongst the shattered glass and ripped wool. One of my paintings, a Rembrandt from Boston, slipped from the wall. I heaved a sigh, but shuttered as I drew breath. I took a moment to diagnose the sensation: I was shivering. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt cold. It was more than the brisk fall night, the rime was something Donnell had brought.

He dragged himself up against the desk. “You turned me into a freak. An air conditioner with fangs. I can’t die.”

“I believe you could if you truly put your mind to it,” I said as I picked up the Rembrandt and set it against the wall. The Sea of Galilee was now tarnished right along the boat’s edge. Regrettable, but fixable.

“You don’t understand, nothing can kill me. Fire doesn't singe me, stakes doesn’t pierce me. I could even get a sun tan if I wanted.”

“But a single strand of hair?” I said with a chuckle. I pressed against the other painting. It swung open with a puff of frost. I pulled the bottle emblazoned with twin doves on the neck and returned to my desk. With a pop, I let her humours air. Lavender wafted across the room. “I take it you have not loved before. Maybe that explains your weakness.”

Donnell pushed himself up onto my desk, and spat. One more mess for the pile.

“I will be blunt. You are not the first to come after me thinking that I am the source of their ills. You walk with the Blood of Cain, but you are not a god, you are disillusioned. Every mortal that has come to us seeking immortality has died. We can test the nature of your claims first, but make no mistake, Mr. Donnell, you will die on my terms, not yours.”

Donnell roared, and a heatwave erupted. All the moisture in the room was engulfed in hot fire. The room shimmered from the sudden inferno, except for the air next to my hand. Ice ran along my fingers and up her bottle while Marlene’s blood boiled within. I gasped and put it down as quickly as I dared. The frigid pocket followed her.

I leaped over the table and grabbed Donnell’s throat. We both tumbled onto the rug, kicking up cinders. I backhanded his face. He fell limp, but the heat persisted.

“Enough!” I snarled. I rose, and slammed my foot down on his chest. He grunted, but the heat only intensified. The Rembrandt ignited, its sea set ablaze. The bookcases shuttered. The glass vibrated. Marlene was crying.

“Fine!” I pleaded. “Your way! We will do it your way.”

The heat vanished like waking from a fever dream. The fires still cracked around us. A wood support swung loose and crashed into the bookcase, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of Donnell as dragged himself off the ground.

“My terms,” His face split into a smile, fangs bared. All my muscles were strung taught. “We do this on my terms. I’ll be back, Mr. Mortician, and when I come back, you better kill me.” Then he was gone.

I grabbed her bottle. The twin doves had melted into warped, unrecognizable shapes. It still had her scent, it would still have her taste, but now it was more like a faded memory, rather than a captured moment. I recorked the bottle, a small attempt to reassemble her pieces.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


In,

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


Last Paradise
Bingo Line: (Bottom left to top right diagonal)
Word Count: 896


New York was lost to the ocean. California was shaking apart. The Midwest had turned to dust between the heat wave and rampant tornados, and another hurricane was days away from Louisiana. Someone’s cannonball into the pool splashed Mary’s toes with water as she flipped from disaster to disaster.

“George?” Mary squeaked. George grunted, awoken from his light slumber. He sat himself up on his lounge chair. He blocked the tropical sun with his hand while he reached for his sunglasses. He nested them in the last remaining tufts of wispy white hair behind his ears.

“George,” Mary said again. “Do you think there’s anything else on? It’s all so dreary.”

He grunted again. “It’s all the same, don’t bother.”

Mary brought up the TV guide. It listed out hundreds of thousands of channels, each one monitoring one part of the world. They could watch Mississippi River as its flooding acid bath ate plants and homes alike, or maybe the whirlwind blizzards in North Dakota, now onto its sixth month. Anywhere they wanted, there was a drone watching: autonomous, leaving sympathy to the viewer.

The television caused George to regain a meanness that Mary thought had been lost to time. No, she thought, maybe meanness was too strong a word. It described him like that once, but she didn’t know how to describe how he acted now. The best example was when their old neighbors, the Fitzgeralds, weren’t able to make the cut for a spot in Last Paradise. When they had found out, all George could muster was that he hadn’t liked how they cut their lawn.

Mary would have to miss them enough for both of them.

“It’s all the same,” George said. He flapped his hand at the floating monitor as the list scrolled by. They had ended up at Drone 228969, with no normal channels in sight.

“We still have TiVo, don’t we?” Mary asked.

“We left the box at home,” George said.

“What about Lucy? Don’t you remember watching the candy episode together?”

“They probably cancelled the reruns.”

“Don’t you think we should ask?”

“Who cares?” He asked. Mary frowned. She didn’t have to watch television. She was in Hawaii, for God’s sake, but as she started to run down her mental checklist again, she’d realized that the list was even shorter than the last time she’d gone through it. The beaches were closed indefinitely due to the acidity of the water. The parks were all barren, and they weren’t exactly doing tours of Pearl Harbor anymore now that there wasn’t a government to fund them. She’d read all her books multiple times, and had seen the nightly shows enough to become familiar with the performers. Even if she hadn’t, she didn’t want to leave George to sulk.

“I’m just sick of seeing people in peril all the time,” Mary said. “I want something easy to watch. Something entertaining.”

George looked at her. “You don’t think this is entertainment?”

The channel flipped to a shot of Chicago. The city was burning. The Sears Tower had toppled down Adams street. Mary could remember walking down that street when she was in college. She walked from the train station forty minutes to reach school, and every day she’d walk past it. She would crane her neck as far back as it could go just to see the top. It seemed to touch the sky.

Now, as the drone drifted through the wreckage, it was hardly recognizable. She could see shattered pieces of the puzzle within the desolation. It flew past the channel. Mary remembered when they would dye the river green for St. Patrick's day. Now, it was tarnished with a layer of soot and ash, which made it look more like a molten river of lava.

The drone continued out into the suburbs. The world was one gigantic sea of flame. The camera panned until it reached a small subdivision, somehow spared from the rampant cataclysm around them. Not for long. The flames were enclosing on them, like a sinking island. The surviving area was partially comprised of an industrial zone. It had square, flat, uniform offices like the one George owned.

His business, building and repairing steel cutters, was his pride and joy. He told Mary once that it was the only thing that he felt like he had ever actually earned. It started with just him, then a second employee, then a third. Eventually it was a company a dozen strong, and they had bought the shop next door so they wouldn’t have to grind in the offices anymore. For a time, they were in paradise.

The camera hovered down to one of the windows, and inside, there was a woman. It was a rarity to see anyone still persevering. She turned into the windowed room. She saw the flames outside, but then looked at the camera. The woman yelled, her voice lost to the whirling of the drone’s propellers. She banged her fists on the window. The glass was starting to melt from the heat. She stumbled, and made one last pound on the glass before collapsing out of view. Then, the drone moved on, and all the while, George watched with a crooked smile. It was the only time he would.

She tossed the remote into George’s lap. “Fine, you choose. I’m going to relax in the pool.”

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


In,

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


Ah, what the hell, hit me with a flash rule too.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


Inwith flash.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


Once more into the breach.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


In

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


In

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CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

Wannabe tough guys like you really piss me off.

You really think you know how to be scary?


Let's get sinful.

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