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Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


Prompt when?

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Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


In and hit me up with some of that good, good mad man's knowledge

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


Refusal to Fade
(1208 words)

Felicia pulled up to the curb of the house where her brother had died. The house seemed such a normal place, a one-story suburban home that didn’t stray from the model for the rest of the neighborhood. There had been talks of an extension, but then the cancer set in. His family couldn’t bear to live there anymore and sold it, unknowingly, to Felicia. She couldn’t bear to have anyone else live there. It took a few minutes to get in her gear, get all the wires connected, all the straps tightened.

She flipped the switch and the device hummed to life. Her perceptions shifted two degrees along a dimensional axis that her peers refused to believe existed. The house glowed then, an ethereal hum that contrasted with the pitch blackness of the sky and the dirt. Life, or the echo of it, resonated in the structure of the architecture and Felicia felt herself compelled forward, step after uncertain step towards the door. She steadied herself, remembering those extensive therapy sessions and the tools she learned to keep panic down - just focus on breathing.

She creaked open the front door. On the other side, visions flashed and flared, running in loops: her brother chasing after his kids, laughing; his brother and his wife embracing, and more than embracing, their love burning to look at like the sun; the darkness that had settled in when he got sick radiating through every room. But the thing that struck Felicia most was the lack of her presence. She had come to visit often enough, as often as she could, but her echoes were pale, translucent things that were constantly overshadowed by those other moments. Still, she saw those moments when he had been there for her, supporting her when no one else would, believing in her science, believing in her potential.

It had been two years since he died. Cancer had wrapped itself around his lungs and not even the most expensive medical care was able to slow its progress. In the years since, Felicia had labored. Felicia’s peers thought that she was pursuing fairy tales and nonsense, but there was solid science behind her principles. Two years she struggled to turn her science into engineering, until one day, a cold February morning with the winds forming a whistled melody in the bare branches, she finished her work.

Ultimately, she decided on a helmet, allowing her to translate the lingering signals into both both audio and visual information. The chassis had been a motorcycle helmet, bright white and swept backwards with no concession to aesthetics. The additions that would expand her senses were stored internally, but powered by a large battery that she carried in a backpack. The control device was a small panel with a switch and a knob attached to the helmet via wires. Modeling it an a mirror in her lab, she couldn’t help but feel ridiculous, like a child playing make-believe with the help of homemade props.

But the work had to be done. Two years her brother had laid in the ground, two years for the imprinted signals to degrade, two years that seemed an eternity of sleepless nights and missed calls and lost opportunities. Two years the guilt had gnawed at her, guilt that she refused to speak.

She headed down a hallway, avoiding the intangible presence of memories. For a moment, she wondered what it might feel like to touch them, but there was something to that glow, to the persistent intensity of their faces and their postures that made her quickly banish that line of questioning. She paused outside of his bedroom, the room that he had died in, the room that he spent all of those years, all those months, fighting his disease. Her hand trembled on the handle, but she breathed again, finding the balance within herself.

Awaiting her was a kaleidoscopic explosion of light, of memories and impressions bleeding into each other to form an indistinct blaze. She gritted her teeth, reached for the controls, and gave the knob another twist. Her perceptions shifted another two degrees and that chaos fell away, fading into a black void that swallowed up the room and the house, leaving only the bed and her brother, a luminous figure staring at nothing.

She stared and her own memories flooded to life, taking form like reversed silhouettes on the void: days sitting at her brother’s side, laughing and chatting; arguments, flaring violet and orange, over her work, over her obsessions; the day she received the call, far from here, in her office, turning over the latest test model. Her voice cracked. “I’m sorry, Adam.”

Her brother turned to face her, revealing that the previously hidden half of his face was a gaping hole, the degradation of his thought patterns into the void that surrounded them. His half-a-mouth worked soundlessly, then resolved into a raspy whisper. “You could have been here.” He repeated, voice now echoing firmly in that darkness. “You could have been here!” Felicia instinctively flinched backwards and her brother rose, the sheets of the bed clinging to his now floating form like a spider web, dangling down to the bed. “YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE!”

“I know,” she said. Her voice was a small thing before the spectral figure, and she backed up further until she hit the tangible but invisible wall behind her. “I know! Why do you think I’m sorry?” Her words caught in her throat and emerged as a strangled sob. Her brother crept closer and closer, the sheets catching on the bed and dragging it along behind him. The cancer cells throbbed visibly beneath the material of his chest, a pulsing red in contrast to his glowing white.

“I died and you didn’t care! I died and you’d didn’t come! I died and you ran away!” His face curled up into a rictus snarl, as that gaping hole inched further along his flesh, more of that void mixing in with whatever material he was made of.

She swallowed and pressed her palms flat against the wall, finding strength in its solidity. “You weren’t like this. This isn’t you.”

“No!” His response emerged as a bark as he drew his face, now half-a-maw full of razor sharp teeth, to a barest fraction of an inch from her own face. “This is your deserving, this is you and the shadow you’ve carried with you.” The void of consumption rippled across his face, distorting his expression. “It’s so cold here, there’s nothing but the pain and the dying, and it’s all your fault.”

She stiffened then, and, with a swift motion, switched off her helmet. In an instant, her brother and the void disappeared, replaced with an empty and ordinary house, just like all the others on the block. She ripped off the helmet and wiped at her eyes. The truth rang in her ears, refusing to fade. She reached a hand tentatively towards the space the vision of her brother once occupied and felt the empty air between her fingertips. But she also felt the weight of her regret, the weight of her inability to let go, and the void seeping into her brother’s phantom, yet another sin.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


Sign me up for Team Bird

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


gently caress it, :toxx: me

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


Call A loving Quorum
(1346 words)

I’m flying along, pretty quiet day so far, y‘know. I got my buds with me, Breaknut and Glitterbeak, and we’re scanning around for some grub when we spot the biggest drat bear I’ve ever seen rotting in the middle of the wood, already starting to get some bugs for extra good eating too. So, we inspect the surroundings and make a quick assessment.

The three of us land and crouch up towards the thing, wings out, chests pushed forward, making a big show of things. “Hey, this is our food!” I shout, “Back the gently caress off!” Look, I know there’s no one around but the three of us, but tradition is tradition.

Breaknut continues the whole thing. “Hey, you gonna share that?”

Glitterbeak hops forward onto the bear’s head and digs his beak into some good eye meat. “It’s for the whole parliament! But I’m calling dibs on this bit!” With the ritual complete, we all have a good laugh. I let Breaknut have the other eye while I snack on some of the soft bits around the belly. It’s not the tastiest thing ever, but there’s plenty to go around, and it’s way better than digging for worms in the dirt or trying to find a good beetle.

Dang I could go for a beetle right now. But nah, we gotta move onto phase two. A feast this big, it’s too much for the three of us, so we gotta go call a loving quorum. So we take wing, and split up into three directions. Each of us has to tell two others, who will each tell two others, and so on yada yada until they can’t find anybody else. Last to arrive gets worst dibs.

I find a couple of old timers snacking on some corn, and swoop down far enough away that they’d know that I’m not going to steal any. “Hey, yo, I got word on a big find, out in the woods. Ripe and fresh, but who knows how long.”

One of the old timers, whoever they are, I hadn’t seen either of them before, quirks a wing and pulls it around his friend, letting them chatter in privacy for a bit. Finally, he turns on me, affixes me with his best beady glare of uncertainty. “How do we know you’re legit?”

I toss back my head and let out a frustrated squawk. “Alright, fine, fine, if you wanna be all.. formal about it!” I spread my wings wide, I always hate doing this, all this ceremony just for a loving meal, and bend low. “A parliament has been called, all official like. Come get some grub or whatever, I’m not the boss of you, but if you wanna eat, you gotta act as messenger.”

I gotta keep my head down, so I don’t see their reaction. But I hear their wings flutter as they head skyward, and they ain’t gonna leave all this corn behind unless they’re following tradition, so I’m good. I hit the skies again and do a quick loop around. I may not care for the ceremony, but I don’t like leaving anyone out of a meal if there’s plenty to go around. Winter’s coming up soon enough. Ain’t good to be hungry for winter.

I only see a couple others during the loop though, and they all had already heard. Back at the bear, five or six had already started eating, mostly sticking to the gathered bugs. The skin on that thing is a bit too tough, so it’s going to take a group effort to get at the good bits. A couple more land and I give a greeting to each, but really, I’m focused on digging into the bear myself. The oldtimers I had spread the word to land next to me and together we rip into a good patch to get at some tastier bits, no words spoken, just some good old-fashioned cooperation.

We’re all having a good time, eating, chatting a little bit, when the biggest drat rook I’ve ever seen lands with a solid thud on top of the bear’s shoulder. She’s missing one of her eyes, a long scar from the top of her plumage down to her beak. Now, I’m not too brave to have no sense, so I flutter up onto a tree branch, to get some distance. A moment later, I see that everyone else had done the same drat thing.

This big bird, though, she just glares at us, one at a time, that eye peeling back everything and showing us as the cowards we are, living cowards, mind you. But then she clears her throat and cries out to us. “I come here in accordance with the Parliament!” She’s talking all fancy. She’s gotta be old.

Old, big, one eye. Ah gently caress, she’s Granmar, who the gossips say was old when the oldtimers were fledgelings. Hell, she’s probably kin to half of us here. “And I come here not to cast judgement, but to partake and to tell stories!” Real fancy talk from her, like I said. That gets some folks creeping in, but none leave the branches. “All will have their due, I make full assurances. Who found this bounty?”

I glance around for Breaknut and Glitterbeak, but they’re cowering and cringing, so I puff out my chest to look as big as possible and hop down, gliding down to stand in front of Granmar. If we were on even ground, I’d probably come up to mid-chest on her. I’m not going to do something too risky, just yet, but still. “Yo, I found the bear. You gonna to be chill?”

Granmar gives her wings a shake, her frustration building, but keeps her cool. “Of course!”

“Alright, you all can come down now!” I glance up to the watching folks and one by one, they begin to drop down, until the pressure increases and the rest glide on to the ground to keep up with the crowd. My attention is back on Granmar, though. “So, what’s up?”

She’s quiet for a bit, thoughtful as she looks over everyone, using the height to center everyone’s attention on her. “I’m old.” No poo poo! “I have had a vision, that this winter will be my last. But I want my passing to not just be an end, but also a beginning. I wish for the gathering of parliament to be a place where stories not just of today, but of the past, can be told.”

I eye her real quick. Like, knowing about what’s going on right now makes sense, learning how to avoid cats or raptors is useful, knowing where the best food can be found is something that everyone needs to know. But what use is knowing about what happened way back when?

Like she’s reading my thoughts, she pipes up, probably could just read the room. “The past is our heritage. One day you will be gone, but your memories can live on in your children and those that tell your stories.” She keeps going on like that, but I guess it makes sense. “The knowledge and techniques of our hunts must be passed down, for the wisdom of the past to resonate in the future.”

It takes me a bit, puzzling it over, but then I bob my head. She’s making sense, as much as it is new and different. But hell, I don’t stand much for tradition and death is coming for all ofus, can’t outfly that. But maybe if people don’t forget about me, if my story and my life becomes passed down, that’d be like racing past the cold claws of death. “Alright, cool, we can work on that.,” I say. I give a bit of pause for my words to sink into everyone. People are listening to what I’m saying for some reason. Might as well use it for good. “But there’s no use thinking on an empty stomach. Have at it!”

In a storm of feathers, the parliament descended onto the bear.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


Inevitable judging, best judging

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


Sure, I'll give it a try.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


Sitting Here posted:

Chin up kid, I'm sure the people who got a chuckle out of your story appreciated that small moment of distraction from the boundless suffering of samsara

Jokes on you, the know escape from samsara is through the elimination of attachment and through following one’s dharma, suckers.

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Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


Djeser posted:

joke's on you, sithrak, the blind gibberer, tortures both good and evil for all eternity

I will need to do further research into this, but it does sound legit.

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