Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Mr. Steak
May 8, 2013

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


Djeser posted:


Here are good posts you can make in Thunderdome:


You forgot one

quote:

PROOOOMPT

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

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






Thunderdome CCCXLiI: A human being is primarily a bag for putting food into

YOUR TASK:

Write a story involving a specific cuisine / food / style of cooking / edible

FAQ:

Q: wait, any type of cuisine?
A: Yes! OHO A TWIST - make it interesting you dummy. Don't go "then i'll write generic Chinese food ching chong wing wong" at least give me some authenticity like super specific stuff e.g. uighur or sichuan or guangxi or something, or some diaspora-tinged weirdass Midwest American place that serves fries with their chop suey. go nutsssss but ok if you just write a dumpling and it makes me laugh or cry or puke it's ok too ehhh i don't care write good words

Q: what do you mean by edible
A: Yes! This means you don't have to be region-specific! Any kind of weird type of cooking or food works! although that cooking with marijuana show on netflix sucks big time and i dunno how they managed to do that

Q: so a fictional alien / cyberpunk / steampunk / bamboopunk / inedible cuisine too?
A: Yes!

Q: can i write just a recipe
A: Yes! ok but make it work u donkey

Q: but Rhino I am idea deprived
A: Yes! you totally are so if you want the coveted 2,020 words ask for a flash! Actually I change my mind you will get those number of words too without a flash

Q: wait did a real wallpaper site use that quote and
A: Yes IMEANSHUTUP

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


Head Chefs:
me
Flesnolk
Staggy

Kitchen Nightmares:
01. SlipUp [https://i.postimg.cc/hjtRYt38/image.png]
02. Easy Diff
03. Thranguy [https://i.postimg.cc/nr68MYVT/image.png]
04. Saucy_Rodent :toxx:
05. steeltoedsneakers :toxx:
06. Antivehicular
07. Baneling Butts
08. anatomi
09. Bad Seafood [https://i.imgur.com/l6efzrC.png + https://i.imgur.com/CvyX9LX.jpg]
10. crimea
11. sparksbloom :toxx: [https://i.postimg.cc/SsJm9C8t/image.png]
12. kurona_bright
13. Hawklad
14. NotGordian [https://i.postimg.cc/jjkjB4YR/image.png]
15. OnsetOutsider [https://i.imgur.com/KYx5n7k.jpg]
16. Bird of Play :toxx:
17. The Sean
18. Viscardus

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at 11:31 on Feb 23, 2019

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

by sebmojo


Saucy_Rodent posted:

Now, now, sir. I will accept "not cyberpunk" and "not a story" and "obviously just your homework." But poorly proofed?

I'll proof-read your rear end as I'm kicking it in a BRAWL

I'm afraid this might have been missed and I, for one, very much would like to see this brawl

SlipUp
Sep 30, 2006


in flash me

selaphiel
Jan 31, 2019

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020

Tyrannosaurus posted:

I'm afraid this might have been missed and I, for one, very much would like to see this brawl

I second this.

Shrecknet
Jan 2, 2005

Nosferatu Enthusiast
@shrecknet



in because you all need to know about my grandma's coffee cake

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




Saucy_Rodent posted:

If God can be said to make mistakes, his first mistake is certainly the existence of wasps.



In for the brawl, :toxx:.

Also for the week with a flash.

Saucy_Rodent
Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica


:toxx:

Also in for the week. No flash, please.

steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016







:toxx:

In.

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

I DON'T ALWAYS
HERDY DUR MUR FLERP FLERPITY
FLOOPIN
BUT WHEN I DO
I YER DER FLERPITY
THURN DER DERMIN
BORK! BORK! BORK!




Saucy_Rodent posted:

:toxx:

Also in for the week. No flash, please.

Thranguy posted:

In for the brawl, :toxx:.

Also for the week with a flash.

saucy_thranugy brawl

your entry will not be a story and it will not be cyberpunk (it will be proofread though).

the prompt is: "wasps, but good." do w/ that whatever you feel like. remember, dont write me a story

750 words

due feb 28th 11:59pm pst

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

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




SlipUp posted:

in flash me



Thranguy posted:

Also for the week with a flash.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

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



In.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


-archived-

ThirdEmperor fucked around with this message at 22:52 on Jan 1, 2020

My Shark Waifuu
Dec 9, 2012





I'm in, no flash as for cyberpunk week I got the literal opposite of cyberpunk :argh:

anatomi
Jan 31, 2015


Shove me into the hungry maw of this prompt.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



I'm sick of reading crits like "pretty good" "another win candidate"

No gently caress all y'all my stories are terrible I'm just posting gibberish

Somebody brawl me

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


In.

Flash me, Rhinoboy.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

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




Bad Seafood posted:

In.

Flash me, Rhinoboy.


crimea
Nov 16, 2012


In.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In toxx flash

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

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




sparksbloom posted:

In toxx flash

kurona_bright
Mar 21, 2013


I think I've got a basic premise & food, so I'm in. :toxx:

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

Cuisine? I'm CuisIN

Hawklad fucked around with this message at 06:05 on Feb 22, 2019

NotGordian
Sep 19, 2018


In, flash please.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

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




NotGordian posted:

In, flash please.

Mr. Steak
May 8, 2013

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


ok fine give me a drat flash

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

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




onsetOutsider posted:

ok fine give me a drat flash

BirdOfPlay
Feb 19, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

I'm in. 2020 is the word count without flash, correct?

Also, do I need to toxx? I haven't done this in a while, but have failed to submit previously.

EDIT: :toxx: for submission

BirdOfPlay fucked around with this message at 05:32 on Feb 23, 2019

The Sean
Apr 16, 2005

Am I handsome now?




In.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk





BirdOfPlay posted:

I'm in. 2020 is the word count without flash, correct?

Also, do I need to toxx? I haven't done this in a while, but have failed to submit previously.

Yep.

Viscardus
Jun 1, 2011

Thus equipped by fortune, physique, and character, he was naturally indomitable, and subordinate to no one in the world.


I'm in again.

BirdOfPlay
Feb 19, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Ok, edited in my toxx.

Shrecknet
Jan 2, 2005

Nosferatu Enthusiast
@shrecknet



Fear Eatself
765 Words

A boot crunching over a broken bottle. A wisp of steam from a manhole cover, swirling like an impotent dust-devil battling a passing bus. A cloud of blue smoke settling over citizens just outside the bar's doors. A distant car honk, just a bit too long and cut off too quickly.

--

Evazen is feeding. I can't stand to watch him eat. Not because of the mouth thing, though I still haven't gotten used to how it opens that way, like some xenozoologic worm from the depths with bizarre tri-lateral symmetry. It's what he eats that makes me nauseous. Rats. Bugs. Whatever that dead animal used to be before Evazen fished it out of the dumpster. I think it was a family dog. He eats it all, skin, flesh, dirt, then vomits up the remainder like an owl pellet later. Occasionally he'll 'pop the top' on a fresh rat and drink it like a can of coke. I've tried, but it just tastes wrong, like Italian food made by Chinamen. Me, I can't do it. I've fed off animals when I had to, when I was in hiding or just couldn't get upstairs for whatever reason, but I can't deny my nature. I am the monster that goes bump in the night, or worse still, doesn't bump at all. But I'm a predator.

I'm the predator, the apex of evolution. Homo Vampiris.

And that means I don't stoop to Evazen's level. Yeah, it's easy enough to simply fade to black and sneak up behind someone, give them a bat across the head and drink up. Fun, too, because you get their wallet and keys, and it's the perfect cover when they wake up weak. But that just isn't fun; it's the hunting equivalent of drinking from the neck - efficient, safe and fast, but in no way something to be proud of. I know some Degenerates that swear they can taste lilies and rosemary in the blood, and there are those of course that fancy themselves the ultimate connoisseurs, but for me it's all about the fear.

I read somewhere once that the only way to get drunk once you have our, erm, condition, is to feed on someone who you've gotten truly loaded, and hope just the tiniest sliver of that passes through. I don't know about that, I've certainly never experienced it. But I will tell you this - whether it's psychosomatic or placebo or whatever, I can taste your fear. And it tastes good. If I'm in a parking lot, waiting for the next check-in from the mall guard in his yellow and white pickup, it's not enough to simply crouch next to the keycard reader he has to swipe to prove he's doing his job. I'll turn off the car when he steps out, take the keys, toss a rock at a far window and put a Mag•Lite in his face to blind him before dropping it and slipping back into the shadows. I might disguise my voice as a little girl, or scream for help like a woman, or growl like a rabid dog. Whatever that pudgy rent-a-cop fears most, I'll prey on. And when he has his fat little fingers wrapped knuckle-white around a tiny mace bottle, eyes as wide as they can go, that's when I creep up behind him, take his legs out from under him and follow him to the ground, my elbow leading into his temple. The wrist opens up when I slice at it with my nails. I drink, slurping up everything.

Normally people have plain, warm blood, but fear makes it turn cold. You can almost sense the terror, it creates bubbles as the heart, spurred on by adrenaline, pushes more oxygen into each beat, trying to raise the victim's awareness, desperately trying to give them the tools to defeat or detect me, which they will forever, hopelessly fail at. It tastes like success. It tastes like the richest, rawest steak. Buttery and juicy and melt-in-your-mouth good. Fresh, fear-filled blood tastes like the way life should be, forever and on into the night.

My Shark Waifuu
Dec 9, 2012





Love & Sausages
2019 words

John slouched behind the register, miserable on his first day of working in his father’s butchery. His friends would be out fishing today, maybe visiting the soda fountain later. Their dads didn’t make them get summer jobs.

The tinkle of the door bells startled him. An elderly woman wobbled into the shop. “Oh, good morning, John!” she said.

“Hey, Mrs. Smith,” he said.

His father appeared from the back room. “Good morning, Mrs. Smith! How is Mr. Smith?”

“He’s very well, thank you,” she replied. Dad was already taking some breakfast sausages out of the case.

“Oh, thank you, Mr. Miller. Mr. Smith says he’ll eat these links until the day he dies.”

They both laughed politely. John was losing interest until Dad handed him the packet of sausages.

“Can you ring up Mrs. Smith, son?” he asked. “First day on the job,” he said proudly to her.

“I remember when you were only knee-high, running around with all your little friends,” Mrs. Smith cooed.

John smiled weakly and counted her change. Then Mrs. Smith was off, the bells tinkling behind her.

Just as John started to relax, the next customers entered. In a town as small as this one, he knew most of them. Feeling Dad watching him, he made small talk as they made their usual orders: a few steaks, a few chickens, but mostly sausages. His family’s shop was famous for them, John was partial to the pork and apple himself. He got into the rhythm of chatting and ringing up orders. Maybe this job wouldn’t be so bad after all.

But after lunch, the rate of customers slowed to a crawl, then stopped all together. John swatted some flies and watched the clock. He could hear Dad chopping through bone in the back room and Mom clacking away on the typewriter in the office. She’d been working the counter before but was now happy not to be standing all day. John was beginning to sympathize. He shifted from one foot to the other and wondered if he could justify leaving in time to catch the matinee.

The door bells rang and John snapped to attention, eager for a distraction. It was a girl, about his age, with warm brown hair and pale eyes. He felt blood rush to his face and with effort managed to speak.

“Hi … do you want a sausage?”

He immediately realized the innuendo and blushed even deeper. To make things worse, she was blushing too. He willed himself to disappear, to no avail.

Thankfully Dad came to the rescue. “Hi there, I’m Mr. Miller and this is my son John. I haven’t seen you in before, is your family new in town?”

She nodded, the red fading from her cheeks. “Yes sir, just moved here. I’m Martha Ward.”

“Nice to meet you, Ms. Ward, I hope your family settles in well. Now, what can I get you?”

She consulted a slip of paper. “Umm, a half pound of beef mince and six chicken drumsticks, please.”

Dad left John to pack up the meat and ring up the order. Both of them blushed when she handed over the money, their hands brushing. Before she left, she scribbled down her number on the back of her shopping list. “Call me, okay?”

Feeling the paper in his pocket, John drifted through the rest of the day in a haze.

The thought of seeing Martha sustained John over the rest of the week. Finally Saturday arrived. She met him at his house. John gave her a tour of the town: the shops, the movie theatre, his favorite spot down by the river. They finished the day by sharing a milkshake at the diner. She talked about her previous home in the city and her guinea pig Bubbles. He told her about all the pranks he and his friends had pulled over the years, both of them giggling in the booth until the waitress kicked them out. Things couldn’t be more perfect, John thought.

On Monday he was already impatient for the next weekend. Dad caught him daydreaming while a customer was waiting more than once, which earned him a stern talking-to at home.

“I know it’s hard working for your old man, but you need to take this job seriously, John.”

“But why? It’s so boring in the afternoons, can’t I take those off to-”

“To see your girlfriend? You can see her on the weekends. During the week you need to help your family.”

John tried appealing to his mother. “Mom, don’t you think it would be better if I spent more time with Martha? You like her, right?”

“I do, but your father’s right,” she said. “Besides, girls admire men with a strong work ethic.”

She smiled at Dad, who reciprocated. Neither of them understood.

John sulked for a few days until he came up with a brilliant plan for his next date. During a slow afternoon, he put together a picnic basket full of treats from the butchery: salami, hard-boiled eggs, sliced cheese. Preoccupied with thoughts of Martha, he rushed sloppily through his butchery tasks.

Saturday dawned warm and bright. He met Martha at her house and they walked along the river until they reached his favorite spot. John spread out the blanket and unpacked the picnic as Martha sat down.

“Is this all from your family’s shop?” she asked.

“Yep,” John said proudly. She enjoyed the eggs and cheese, but to his surprise balked at the salami.

“What’s wrong? Is it too spicy?” John’s stomach sank.

“No, not that,” she said, twisting the edge of the blanket nervously. “It’s … I wanted to tell you earlier, but your job … I’m a vegetarian,” she said, eyes filling with tears.

John processed this, then put his arm around her as the tears began to fall. “No, it’s okay,” he said. “I don’t mind, promise.”

She sniffed and looked up into his face. “Promise?” she said.

He nodded and she leaned her head on his chest. They sat like that for a while until John couldn’t contain himself any longer.

“But … why?”

She sat up, tears dried. “A few years ago, I read an article in National Geographic about Peru. Did you know that they eat guinea pigs there? I thought how barbaric it would be to eat Bubbles, then I realized eating any type of animal is barbaric. So I stopped.”

John nodded, not really understanding.

“I’m sorry if this is a dealbreaker for you, with the butchery …”

“No, you’re right!” John said impulsively. More than anything, he didn’t want her to cry again. “I think I’ll become vegetarian too.” She threw her arms around him and, before he even realized what was happening, kissed him.

John’s euphoria lasted until dinnertime, where he refused the roast chicken his mother had made and informed his parents he was now a vegetarian. Of course, they didn’t understand. Mom seemed confused but Dad was furious.

“Is that what you learned from working at the butchery all summer? How immoral it is?”

“God, Dad, no! It’s a good job, I just don’t want to eat meat anymore.”

“You’re rejecting the business that your great-grandfather built. Your grandfather crafted the counter you stand behind all day with his own two hands! How could you betray the family like this?”

“Did you know they eat guinea pigs in Peru, Dad?”

“And we eat full-sized pigs, so what?”

Mom asked, “This was Martha’s idea?”

John nodded. “Yeah, she’s a vegetarian, and now I am too.”

At this, Dad stomped upstairs. Mom just shook her head at him. John went to bed hungry: being a vegetarian was hard.

The next day, Dad still wasn’t speaking to him. John spent a miserable eight hours at the butchery then ran home and called Martha. She was sympathetic and invited him over for dinner.

After telling his mother that he had dinner plans, he changed into his nicest shirt and walked over to the Ward’s house. Martha greeted him at the door and introduced her to her parents and older brother. John realized he’d seen her brother at the butchery earlier that week. Indeed, as they sat down to the table Martha’s mother brought out some of the famous sausages. Pork and apple, his favorite.

“If I knew you’d be joining us for dinner, I’d have made something else. I’m sure you get enough of these at home,” Mrs. Ward said.

“We sure can’t get enough!” Mr. Ward laughed and clapped John on the back. “Your family does wonders with meat.”

“Thank you, but I’m actually a vegetarian, like Martha,” John said. Martha squeezed his knee under the table.

Mr. Ward rolled his eyes dramatically. “You found another hippie in this town. Who knew sending you to the butchery that one time would’ve been such a bad idea. Oh well, more for me!”

The Wards dished out the sausages while John and Martha ate the salad and rolls. Martha endured more teasing from her family but it seemed good-natured. As the sausages were passed around again, John’s stomach rumbled.

Martha and her mother started clearing the table and her brother disappeared after dinner, leaving John alone with Mr. Ward. Noticing John gazing at the pork and apple sausages, Mr. Ward winked. “I won’t tell.”

John glanced towards the kitchen anxiously, then back to the sausages. Quickly he sliced off a chunk and shoved it in his mouth. It tasted even better than he remembered: the savory saltiness of the pork cut by the sweetness of the apple. He closed his eyes blissfully.

When he opened them, Martha was staring at him from the doorway. Her face told him it was over.

“Oh honey, I’m sorry,” Mr. Ward shot John a guilty look as he went to comfort his daughter.

Martha pushed past her parents and fled up the stairs, but not before a sob escaped her. John stood up.

“I should go. Thank you for the dinner, Mrs. Ward.”

“You’re very welcome, John.” She sighed. “I keep telling her no boy is going to want to give up meat, but she always thinks she can change them, and she’s always disappointed.”

“I’m sorry,” Mr. Ward said. “I shouldn’t have tempted you like that.”

“Not your fault, Mr. Ward,” John said. “Pork and apple is my favorite.”

John managed to keep it together on the walk home, but on arriving he immediately found his mother. He told her everything.

“How could I have been so stupid, Mom? In her own house?” He buried his head in his hands.

She rubbed his back. “You didn’t want to give up meat, you just wanted her to like you, right?” John nodded into his hands. “Then you would have slipped at some point, and even if not, you’d have carried that resentment. That’s not the basis of a good relationship.”

“Is there anything I can do?”

“Apologize, but be yourself. If she doesn’t accept that, it wasn’t meant to be.”

This made sense to John but there was still a weight in his chest.

“I don’t think Dad will talk to me again, though,” John said morosely. “I’ve really screwed things up.”

“You know, when your father was courting me, he was right where you were: working over the summer in the butchery,” Mom said. “He worked hard, not to impress me, but to impress your grandfather, who owned the shop. He had to earn his place in the business and I think he feels you’re not taking this opportunity seriously enough.”

“But what can I do? The counter is so boring.”

She kissed his forehead. “You’ll think of something.”

Throughout the next morning, John served customers robotically, thinking. His father still hadn’t spoken to him but John could hear the rhythmic chopping in the back room.

After lunch, he asked Mom to cover the counter. He went into the back room, where his father presided over vast chunks of cow splayed on the table. The steel meat grinder shone against the back wall.

“Hey Dad, can I learn how to make the sausages today?”

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk





ThirdExmond Brawl

Exmond posted:

Seed Migration
1,488 words


Act 1: Potting the soil

Did you know that a single strand of DNA can hold 215 petabytes of data? All it takes is a few extra strands of DNA, and you have a child that can store the entirety of humanities Humanity's knowledge, and with enough spare space to upload a few billion Youtube videos. There's a pleasing lunacy to the human hard drive idea you're running but it really doesn't make much sense at all; sure you can store information in DNA, but why would that mean you can access it? why is that better than a really big future harddrive? But that's ok, it's fine as a crazy premise.

Survival isn’t guaranteed of course but the government, or what was left of it, rationalized it to my family this is an incomplete sentence, you need 'rationalised it as/by...'. So I grew up with the weight of humanity’s hope and dreams on my shoulders along with a head the size of a basketball and a few extra webbed toes. My mother’s nursery rhymes always made me giggle - This little piggy went to the market, this little piggy held the entire history of the world.

Out of the hundreds of children selected for DNA informational imprinting only eight of us survived to reach our teenage years. Some died due to genetic complications, but most of them died due to famine. you gesture at the utterly world destroying level of catastrophe (that you then fake out with the sun blowing up lol) but it makes no sense at all that any kind of government capable of hyper advanced DNA surgery couldn't find a few bucks for some pot ramen and peanut butter or w/e. you didn't need this and it's absurd, so cut - a better option would have been something like riots about genetic freaks or something.

I felt guilty, and so did Melissa, another one of the “seedling libraries” the government called us. I think it was our shared guilt, our need for redemption, that drew us together. thank you william tell I met her almost by accident, I was at the incubator, splitting the nucleus in my blood sample to extract the works of Vonnegut when I tripped. I was horrified and watched my sample fly in the air and spill all over Melissa’s lab coat. is this a jizz joke The whole classroom fell silent, and I wanted to disappear. weak cliche

Then Melissa started to laugh. It was a melodic laugh that danced like the music in Concerto G Major this is a nonsensical musical reference you can't refer to music in a concerto because it's all music that's literally what the entire thing is made of, and there are hundreds of concertos in G and soothed like Freie Fantasie. After she had cleaned up, and had a cig I asked her if she liked Carl Bach I haven't heard him called that it's normally CPE but I'll allow it and she just smiled. Later she played the flute as I accompanied her on the piano, both of us trying to imitate the masters. She always looked up at me, if he's playing piano and she's playing flute she'd be looking down or across at him, flautists sit or stand, pianists sit and instead of seeing a mutant freak, she saw the best of humanity: Someone this shouldn't be capitalised trying, tripping and falling in love. this is terribly twee but is just about the right kind of twee, so i will allow it


Act 2: Ballistic Dispersal

Melissa and I were in orbit when the earth died. Our bodies could handle the stress of re-orbit and we were learning hte tsk operational procedures of the long-distance probe. Each probe could only fit two people and even then you we had to lie side by side staring up at the controls. Several dozen tubes were inserted into you, providing nutrients and oxygen to ensure that humanities knowledge would persevere. When it came to survival, comfort came last. i presume survival came first? this is a contorted way of saying something that probably didn't need to be said

Classes still took place, weird passive phrasing, I have no idea what classes taking place looks like to these space dweebs and the weight of humanity’s hopes still pressed on our shoulders. Zero-G did little to lessen the load. Memories of my family had been overwritten with complex math theorems alongside thirty different ways to explain the teachings of Fibonacci. We would recite chemistry equations, describe the social pressure of religion to each other and when the moon blocked out communication to earth and we had a few minutes of privacy, we explored other, more human delights hosed . It was after one of our aptly named “Adam and Eve” ugh sessions, when I was telling Melissa I was so happy I fell for her, that the earth died. i like this dropped in at the end but what a tangled skein of verbs you used to get there

It wasn’t a world war nor was it climate change that ended the world. We were coasting in orbit, cresting earth’s horizon, when we saw the sun’s last dying gasps. cliche A final wave of flames lit up space, and then its molten core died. i'm legit baffled by your decision to have the end come by sunquake, the point of the story is that humans are dumb and garbage though sort of cute, so why have their end come by something 100% out of their control? Somewhere in the back of my mind I acknowledged the fact that 1.5 million this is a strange number, because it means the earth's population is like .00001 of what it used to be, which i think you could have mentioned before hand idk what do you think, relevant? people were going to die.

Melissa radioed our instructors as I planned our route. Our motions were practiced and robotic. Our mission had begun: Preserve humanity’s knowledge, fly to other worlds and sprout your shlong of knowledge. I look tense over to Melissa, and reach for her hand. She grabs mine, squeezes it and looks at me. She’s ready. We have been training for this moment all our lives, but nobody told me it would be so scary. tenses are wacky, and you're being extremely cliche and bland with the description of species ending horror

“Let’s go,” she says.

With a press of a button the probe’s engines roar to life cliche and we propel ourselves weak verb away from a dying planet. Right now my family would be going into a submarine, to dive deep into the ocean to try and survive. Encoded in our very essence is humanity’s knowledge, hopes and dreams. i feel like you're straining to give your insane premise some weight, but it's really not landing for me. As I lie down into the pod, my body feeling heavy as my metabolism slows down, I say one last goodbye to the earth.


Act 3: Sprouting Seedlings

We were floating at the tail edge of the milky way, just another piece of metal drifting among the asteroids of Scutum-Centaurus, this is around 10-60 thousand light years from earth, so our dudes have been asleep anything up to a million years, depending how fast their probe got them going when we were woken up from our deep sleep. Melissa groggily addressed the alarms on her readout and motioned weak verb for me to slow the probe down. My heart sped up, and not due to the adrenaline pumping into it. whaaaaat My display read one object outside, directly in front of us, moving under its own propulsion - an alien ship. I turned on the cameras. It was made out of glass shards that dwarfed our small probe, and it deliberately smashed into asteroids, and sucked up the debris inside itself. so let's see their plan, as two of the 8 supragenius humans upon whom the poorly defined hope of humanity was laid, was to just shoot off in a random direction in space for a million years and hope they'd run into some aliens or something maybe?

Our training kicked in. this language is bland and cliche, something most of the descriptions suffer from Melissa sent bursts of radio traffic as I flicked the probe’s lights on and off. We were in tandem: one, three, five. i feel like the most brilliant products of the human race should have a better plan than turning the lights on and off Please, notice us senpai. We put our trust in Fibonacci that whomever was out there would differentiate us from the unintelligent rocks.

The glass ship shuddered and turned, letting us pass and then following our trajectory. It picked up speed, getting closer, and I saw the center of the ship split open. The giant maw of the ship enclosed around us, enclosed is an adjective not a verb and we saw the interior of the ship was made out of mountainous biomes, somehow staying anchored to the ship.

Gravity took hold of the probe gravity doesn't work like that and I activated the landing system. We skidded to a halt on rocky ground and immediately we started scanning the outside: oxygen, a little more acidic than normal, inadvisable to stay here long-term, but short-term survival was not life-threatening. Melissa squeezed my hand, and I squeezed back. We opened the pod, the first humans to meet extraterrestrial life. they seem p chipper for having been asleep for hundreds of thousands of years

It was hard not to laugh and yes I know tense in my mutated state I am tense being hypocritical. The aliens towered above us, their small heads rolling on tall, serpentine-like necks. Their necks had several holes in them and they would close and puff out musical notes as they excitedly chatted to each other. Their neck ended on a small body, not unlike a corgi, but where there would be fur there was rough patches of jagged glass, similar to the exterior of the ship. They were like a giraffe mixed with an adorable rock-corgi and I giggled. Melissa shoved my tsk in the ribs as they pulled out a device and scanned us.

A few awkward attempts at communication later and the four of them turned away from us, pipping and whistling. They reached a decision and led us over a rocky outcropping to a large cave, where there was a basket. They sat down and pulled an odd looking pellet from it and nibbled at it, before rolling it over to us and offering it.

Melissa and I were too busy excitedly discussing what we would show them next, these guys are the worst space explorers to notice them leaving. To notice that the cave had no exit, that it had small observational cameras attached at each corner. We did notice the bars slamming down at the entrance. I rushed forward, grabbed one of the bars and yelped back is this like a holla back if so yeeet in pain as it cut me.

The aliens understood us; we knew that much. We pleaded for them to let us out, and they just nodded. We listed off prime numbers in Spanish and they managed to communicate 1171 before us. They even interrupted our calculus class with matrices. On some fundamental level we were communicating, they just weren’t impressed. Every time we tried to show what humanity had to offer, every time we asked for mercy, they would throw us more of their food pellets and raise their heads up and down, as if clapping in appreciation. But they still would not let us out. This is a fundamentally dumb story but i do actually like this bit, it's funny

I knew deep down cliche that we would stay here forever. My family, freezing in the earth’s cooling ocean, THEY HAVE BEEN TRAVELLING FOR HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF YEARS that SHIP HAS SAILED would stay there until they died. if you think about it everyone stays where they are until they die Caged on a dying planet, or caged on an alien ship, humanities destiny was to be trapped forever. !!!!

Melissa lied LAY down beside me, the improvised flute lying beside her, her rendition of Bach what, his entire opus? done. For her efforts we got more food pellets thrown at us, they bounced on my massive head. She lied LAYYYY beside me and cried and there wasn’t anything I could do to help. A realization hit me. CLICHE

We were the best humanity had to offer. The smartest, the most knowledgeable and the universe simply did not care. ok yes i like this ending, it's good and funny it is a pity that the sotry behind it is nonsensical and dumb and larded with terrible bland wordS and cardboard characters.

ThirdEmperor posted:

Tiger Tiger
1500 words and a microscopic umaru hidden somewhere in the text for that anime spice


The day seemed too beautiful to last as Cynthia crossed swords with Harper Anise Mallory, the sun sending ripples of gold down the fencing foil's blade. In the willow-shaded courtyard of Solemn Mercy Preparatory for Young Witches, staid walls of mossy stone caught and echoed their laughter for an evening; the chime of their blades punctuated the gossip of the girls on the sidelines and the birdsong from the branches that dappled their sun. Ok in my head I am seeing elegant curly anime style art like FF cover art so I'm nodding about your prompt fulfilment at this time, it's lush and melodramatic

Their feet slashed and stomped at the dust of the dueling ring as they danced, slashed, struck out lame verb . Arcs of silver intersected and rang like bells as Cynthia pressed forward, chasing Harper to the edge of the ring and clawing for that last defeated step ehh, that seems a strange way to characterise winning a fight in a furious swirl of bladework. The crowd had gone silent; the fury of the moment had scattered the birds to the winds; the clash of swords had become so regular that Cynthia heard, in their duet, the ticking of a clock. feels like this needs another para in between these two, it's a bit clumsy going from dum de doo fighting to RAAA

Of course Cynthia was in love with Harper. this needs an action or moment to convey The stunningly obvious truth hit her hard just then, her heart thudding clumsily and her blade falling out of rhythm.

In a split second she took an elbow to the stomach. I'm really not visualising this swordfight, though i like the set dressing A flick of silver snapped at her collarbone, and then Harper was helping her up with a fierce smile on her face. None of this helped her put the sudden rebellion of her heart aside. It was terminal. the idea of this opener was strong, but you didn't nail the execution

The war seemed far away when they walked together the next few days, Cynthia doing her best to restrain the rough edges of her accent and the empty spaces in her vocabulary. To restrain a constant and giddy smile. She could, days or even weeks later, still recreate any of those moments in memory, down to the smallest detail of how Harper's hair looked as sunlight combed through the red strands or the way her smile slowly developed. see that's really nice

What she could not do was fully convince herself that this effigy, seen through a love drunk haze, contained any more truth of the real article than the dossiers of trivia she had been given to study, full of Harper's beloved books and favourite cafe haunts laid out in a clinical dissection that had missed so, so much.

Maybe, Harper existed somewhere between the two, the enchanting glimpses of beauty and the pages and pages of cold observation. Cynthia suspected not. It was hard to truly know a human heart, unless they let you do so.

Cynthia did not want to let her, anymore. hang on, don't you have these people the wrong way round? it woudl be harper who would not want to let her

When she thought of Harper Anise Mallory, she thought first of those walks, but then her thoughts always turned to the day fencing in the courtyard; as those moments were pressed deeper into her mind, polished under constant remembering, the resemblance of the clashing blades to a clock’s ticking grew stronger and stronger. The hope in her heart turned sour. ehhhhh this needs a polish but it's pretty authentically lush and heaving so I'll give you a pass


Things progressed like clockwork.

They paused at expensive cafes, where half the people were speaking, so excitedly, of the end of the war, and the other half speaking of a war on wars that would topple all gods and masters; two weeks and she was invited to meet those masters, to come spend a weekend with Harper at the prime minister’s estate.

The ride was ominous, the countryside of grey stone and dull heath smearing by outside the limousine windows. The man himself was less than impressive. The chubby red-tinged warmask of a face he wore for the cameras seemed to deflate, in his private life, to sagging bulldog jowls and a pinched mouth. She survived dinner with her fingers white-knuckled and asked to be excused going from a general period of time (dinner) to a specific period of time (asking to be excused) is helped by a little more orientation, e.g. she put down her fork neatly and asked to be excused or w/e.

She knew exactly where she was going. Cynthia had been through this moment so many times, so exactly, that she could not tell the present moment from a memory.

Up the stairs. Three doors down. She drew the flower-pin from her hair and touched it to the lock. There was a surge of magic oh wait so this is magic girl sword academy? could have positioned that earlier that stung her fingers and a clunk as the tumblers fell into place.

She spent the last of the tool’s magics on the desk, dug into the papers and shoved everything secret and vital she could find into her petticoat jacket.

There was one last step in the dance. A premonition that had struck her as she rehearsed the moment in her head for the millionth time, only days before she would realize she’d fallen in love with Harper Anise Mallory. It had come first as an idle twist of imagination on the old routine and clung on with a sudden certainty. Maybe if Cynthia had been able to put it from mind, if Cynthia could only have believed hard enough that any other sequence of events was possible, maybe she could have willed some other ending into being.

She turned, and was not surprised. Harper stood in the doorway, her face stricken with a paralytic grief that hardened the betrayal and the anger of that first moment of discovery for long enough that Cynthia could take every detail into memory. It didn’t take long. OHH, THE RAGING TUMULT OF EMOTIONS

After the moment passed, Harper slapped her hard across the Cynthia's cheek and demanded in angry whispers the letters back; caught her by the shoulders and refused to let her slip free until she finally relinquished the papers. They broke apart, Harper hugging the letters to her chest and Cynthia hugging her arms to her shoulders.

Neither would speak afterwards. Harper left first, and then Cynthia, wiping her face clean and composing a mask of defiance as she descended the stairs to the dining room. She found everything as she left it. She saw no comprehension of what had happened on the minister’s face as he sucked up clam chowder.

Cynthia returned to the seat she had occupied a lifetime ago. Harper sat opposite, eyes down, saying nothing.

There was only one traitor there. i feel like this is supposed to be clever but i don't understand it, poss bc dumb


It was the second letter that surprised her.

The first was the coded missive in close-set type that she had expected.

She was a disappointment. Cynthia accepted that. She had failed. Cynthia could not argue. She had lost control. Cynthia could not agree more. i like this, though I don't see how the whole love thing is relevant

It was not too late. They could fix her, remove this infatuation.

At the bottom of the envelope was a slim vial of some liquid as black as night. Just touching the glass she felt the bitter cold of the contents, the power of its magic. Every moment since that moment, the same faculties that had once rehearsed her one task had been devoted to reliving, instead, the hungry and all-consuming hurt. She could be free of that.

They could fix her, and they still had use for her. If they couldn’t steal the minister’s secrets they would take his daughter hostage.

The second letter was from Harper.

It offered her nothing but more heartache.

The day the invaders came to Solemn Mercy Preparatory, they didn’t find the minister's daughter. She was far away, hidden in the countryside, safe. Cutting through the wards and cutting down the guards, they found their own wayward spy waiting for them. The vial still clutched in her hand, the spellwork of it carefully unpicked, reversed; she had made it into a weapon to settle all debts.

She had chosen to drown in her own sorrows.

Cynthia drank and her heart broke open like an atomic bomb, unfurling across the city a blanket of gray mist that rendered the world, for a panicked second, lightless and stark. There was not a sound in the world until the colors crept back in, sweeter and more beautiful than ever; people laughed, or heaved out gasps of relief, and felt for a moment sure it was over and that they were safe. this is just wildly anime and incredibly visual and i like it a lot

The joy of being alive made the colors seem brighter, the sky more, they thought to themselves.

A dandy's emerald vest began to sizzle. A hawker's fruitcart became a spray of rainbow shrapnels as ripe apples and dark pomegranates collapsed inwards with the weight of their own colors, condensing to boiling blots. Then they burst apart, waves of corruscating pulp catching up the people on the street and tearing through them. They, too, burst into pulp, into a searing mass of red that boiled up into a rolling crimson fog. as is this she just akira-ing it up like it ain't no thing

There were still people on the outskirts who were caught in the act of turning, or raising a hand to their eyes to They understood something was wrong but had yet to process the human shapes contorting within the splendor of beauty and motion. The fog enveloped them. They left behind ghostly trails of blue, green, hazel; the colors of their eyes smeared against the air as their lungs filled with searing beauty and they clawed more red from their throats.

The city was laced with bright promises, plastered with advertisements on rain-worn posters, in the flowers that lined shop windows, in the peacock plumage of young men and the dresses of the women they adored.

They burned. Bright, beautiful, bold, they all burned. this is all extremely gorgeous, and you just about justify it with the intense/lush/heaving intensity of our girl's ladycrush, but it's also a bit out of nowhere because it's not as clear as it could be how this exceptionally beautiful suicide bomb relates to the rest of the story, i.e. why does her heaving love mean she can't steal some papers; I think you could have fixed it with a little well chosen dialogue between cynthia/harper.

This was a clear victory to Third, for all his story wasn't the clearest - Exmond's had a sort of interesting premise and a reasonably good/funny ending but really was beaten at all points by its counterpart.

:siren: ThirdEmperor Wins :siren:

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Doing a crit exchange, Third can you crit this rewrite, this version went through circle so it's stronger.

Seeds of Humanity

Act 1: Potting the Soil

I was at the DNA splicer, imprinting the complete works of Vonnegut into my genetic code, when I met her. Carrying my finished sample back to be processed I was too busy thinking if I should imprint the bombing of Dresden or Hiroshima next to notice that I was suddenly tipping horizontally. My feet wrapped around my labcoat, and I started to fall. Time slowed down as I saw my sample fly from my hand, spill open and gobs of my own saliva flew out. The sample went over teacher-bot's shoulder, narrowly missing Sally-Anne's face, and landed right onto another girl's lab coat.

The classroom went silent and everyone turned to look at the commotion. You could hear the wet plop-plop sounds as saliva dripped down onto the floor, shortly accompanied by the sound of my body hitting the ground. I looked up at her, my mind racing for something to say. Chemistry equations, Shakespeare's sonnets and the trajectory of our dying sun ran through my thoughts, but all I could manage was "Uwah." While I may be humanity's seedling, I am not a great public speaker.

The girl looked down at me, in all my glory, and I awaited judgement. A moment later and she started to laugh, and the other classmates did as well. The tension in the room dissipated, the crushing hopes and dreams of humanity , for a moment, were lifted off our shoulders in that single action. And it was at this moment, that I discovered the most beautiful girl in the world.

She extended her hand and helped me up, "I'm Melissa, from the South Eurasia colony."

I accepted the help and looked at her eyes. One was blue, the other yellow, her genome imprinting must have caused her Heterochromia. "I'm Adam," I said.

She rolled her eyes and I quickly added. "Yeah I know it's a bit cliche. But my parent's gave me the name before the seedling program started."

"Well I'm sure if there is an Eve they will partner you up with her." She smiled and laughed. Her laugh danced like Concerto G Major but soothed like Freie Fantasie and I paused.

"Do you like Bach?" I asked.

She lifted her sample from the DNA splicer and said, "I like him enough to have him inside me. Carl Bach, though, not-" Her eyes grew wide as she realized what she had said and her cheeks turned rosy red.

"Students!" Professor Franca's shrill voice emitted from the speakers of the teacher-bot.
"Focus, please." The teacher-bot turned towards Melissa and I as the other 6 students of the seedling program looked down to stare at their samples.

I hurriedly went back to my desk, but not before squeezing Melissa's hand and asking "Meet up later tonight?"

She nodded, and I think out of all 750,000 men still alive at that moment, I was the happiest.

Act 2: Ballistic Dispersal

Melissa and I were piloting the long-distance survival probe, circling round the earth, when she popped the question. Our bodies had grown, we were now teenagers, able to handle the stress of orbital re-entry, just returning from our yearly visit with our family. We were both lying there, each in our control pods, staring out at the slowly-freezing earth, when she turned to me and asked, "What did you imprint on yourself?"

Each one of us seedlings have a set amount of data imprinted in our DNA. A single strand of DNA can hold 215 petabytes of data, enough to store the entirety of humanities knowledge, and with space to spare. The process to imprint DNA isn't perfect, I have a few extra webbed toes and a head the size of a basketball, but it's worth it. We spend our lives so busy training for the mission, and imprinting data into our genetic code that we don't have much time for expression. Choosing what "extra" you imprint upon ourselves is the closest thing we get to self expression.

"I put in recordings of my favorite stories and songs. I know text encoding would have been more efficient than video but, I wanted it to be more than just words on a page."

My heart thudded, waiting for her to laugh at my absurdity. The ratio and compression on video was -.

"That's cute," Melissa said, interrupting my thoughts. "I imprinted images of my family, of our classmates. I imprinted images of a boy, so preoccupied in his thoughts that he tripped and fell in love. I encoded my memories of you, of love. The best things of humanity." She turned at me and smiled.

I blushed, I didn't know what to say. In my rush to preserve humanities knowledge and passion, I had forgotten to encode the one thing in life that made feel human: Melissa.

Melissa squeezed my hand, "I love you."

I opened my mouth to say the most important words back to her, that I loved her with all my heart. That I am in love with her and always have been. But the universe conspired against me. My voice stopped and I saw the moment our mission begun. The sun cracked, molten fire erupting down a hairline fracture in its center and then shattered. Siren's went off and somewhere in the back of my mind I acknowledged the fact that 1.5 million people were going to die, and all I could do was try and say those three words.

Melissa hissed sharply, something between a sob and a cry, but sat down in her control pod and started relaying commands to Control. I stood there, my hand still outstretched. I stood there staring as the sun cracked and split into thirds. The world seemed to slow down and I realized, our mission had begun. We needed to preserve humanity, we needed to ensure the universe knew our story.

I slid into my control pad and activated the propulsion system. With the earth careening out of it's orbit we needed to get out of there fast. I activate our side thrusters and we narrowly miss a careening satellite. Melissa had already piloted a course to the edge of the Milky way galaxy, and I relayed our final transmission to the orbital station.

I looked over to Melissa and she nodded. There are tears in her eyes, but I have never seen someone so determined. She’s ready. We have been training for this moment all our lives, but nobody told me it would be so scary.

“Let’s go,” she says.

With a press of a button the probe’s engines roar to life and we propel ourselves away from a dying planet. Right now my family would be going into a submarine, to dive deep into the ocean to try and survive. Encoded in our very essence is humanity’s knowledge, hopes and dreams. Melissa lets go of my hand as the control pod closes around us, drugs pumping into our system and slowing our heartbeat. Just before I succumb to sleep, I realize I never told Melissa that I love her.


Act 3: Sprouting Seeds

We were floating at the tail edge of the milky way, just another piece of metal drifting among the asteroids of Scutum-Centaurus, when we were woken up from our deep sleep. Melissa groggily addressed the alarms on her readout and motioned for me to slow the probe down. My heart sped up, and not due to the adrenaline pumping into it. My display read one object outside, directly in front of us, moving under its own propulsion - an alien ship. I turned on the cameras. It was made out of glass shards that dwarfed our small probe, and it deliberately smashed into asteroids, and sucked up the debris inside itself.

Our training kicked in. Melissa sent bursts of radio traffic as I flicked the probe’s lights on and off. We were in tandem: one, three, five. Please, notice us. We put our trust in Fibonacci that whoever was out there would differentiate us from the unintelligent rocks.

The glass ship shuddered and turned, letting us pass and then following our trajectory. It picked up speed, getting closer, and I saw the center of the ship split open. The giant maw of the ship enclosed around us, and we saw the interior of the ship was made out of mountainous biomes, somehow staying anchored to the ship.

Gravity took hold of the probe and I activated the landing system. We skidded to a halt on rocky ground and immediately we started scanning the outside: oxygen, a little more acidic than normal, inadvisable to stay here long-term, but short-term survival was not life-threatening. Melissa squeezed my hand, and I squeezed back. We opened the pod, the first humans to meet extraterrestrial life.

It was hard not to laugh and yes I know in my mutated state I am being hypocritical. The aliens towered above us, their small heads rolling on tall, serpentine-like necks. Their necks had several holes in them and they would close and puff out musical notes as they excitedly chatted to each other. Their neck ended on a small body, not unlike a corgi, but where there would be fur there was rough patches of jagged glass, similar to the exterior of the ship. They were like a giraffe mixed with an adorable rock-corgi and I giggled. Melissa shoved my in the ribs as they pulled out a device and scanned us.

A few awkward attempts at communication later and the four of them turned away from us, pipping and whistling. They reached a decision and led us over a rocky outcropping to a large cave, where there was a basket. They sat down and pulled an odd looking pellet from it and nibbled at it, before rolling it over to us and offering it.

Melissa and I were too busy excitedly discussing what we would show them next, to notice them leaving. To notice that the cave had no exit, that it had small observational cameras attached at each corner. We did notice the bars slamming down at the entrance. I rushed forward, grabbed one of the bars and yelped back in pain as it cut me.

The aliens understood us; we knew that much. We pleaded for them to let us out, and they just nodded. We listed off prime numbers in Spanish and they managed to communicate 1171 before us. They even interrupted our calculus class with matrices. On some fundamental level we were communicating, they just weren’t impressed. Every time we tried to show what humanity had to offer, every time we asked for mercy, they would throw us more of their food pellets and raise their heads up and down, as if clapping in appreciation. But they still would not let us out.

I knew deep down that we would stay here forever. My family, freezing in the earth’s cooling ocean, would stay there until they died. Caged on a dying planet, or caged on an alien ship, humanities destiny was to be trapped forever.

Melissa lied down beside me, the improvised flute lying beside her, her rendition of Bach done. For her efforts we got more food pellets thrown at us, they bounced on my massive head. She lied beside me and cried and there wasn’t anything I could do to help. A realization hit me.

We were the best humanity had to offer. The smartest and the most knowledgeable but the universe simply did not care.


Thirds Story posted:



The day seemed too beautiful to last as Cynthia crossed swords with Harper Anise Mallory, the sun sending ripples of gold down the fencing foil's blade. [I don't know why the start is bolded, and the other part isn't. I think you are trying to do Act 1, Act 2, Act 3?] In the willow-shaded courtyard of Solemn Mercy Preparatory for Young Witches, staid walls of mossy stone caught and echoed their laughter for an evening; the chime of their blades punctuated the gossip of the girls on the sidelines and the birdsong from the branches that dappled their sun. [Nice descriptive start, like the witches, the swords, the magical class thing. I am a bit scared that we get too descriptive in this piece, but I think this start works and I'm looking forward to more. 2nd Reread comments - ah this is your anime part]

Their feet slashed and stomped at the dust of the dueling ring as they danced, slashed [Repeated a few words ago, replace with a better verb], struck out [Hmm, this could be a tighter sentence and it shows after a strong start. Lot of oddities here, shouldn't it be "and struck out"? The wording also had me confused, I think lunging should replace "struck out"]. Arcs of silver intersected and rang like bells as Cynthia pressed forward, chasing Harper to the edge of the ring and clawing for that last defeated step in a furious swirl of bladework. The crowd had gone silent; the fury of the moment had scattered the birds to the winds; the clash of swords had become so regular that Cynthia heard, in their duet, the ticking of a clock.

Of course Cynthia was in love with Harper. [?] The stunningly obvious truth hit her hard just then, her heart thudding clumsily and her blade falling out of rhythm. [This made me go HUH? Seems like Cynthia is just realizing she is in love, and it seems so final, but I haven't had enough time with Cynthia to really understand why?]

In a split second she took an elbow to the stomach. A flick of silver snapped at her collarbone, and then Harper was helping her up with a fierce smile on her face. None of this helped her put the sudden rebellion of her heart aside. It was terminal. [Now it seems very final that Cynthia is in love. This is wonderful language, I like it, but I think having it be so sudden, so final, is doing a disservice to the romance.]

The war seemed far away when they walked together the next few days, Cynthia doing her best to restrain the rough edges of her accent and the empty spaces in her vocabulary. To restrain a constant and giddy smile. She could, days or even weeks later, still recreate any of those moments in memory, down to the smallest detail of how Harper's hair looked as sunlight combed through the red strands or the way her smile slowly developed. [Nice, neat world building]

What she could not do was fully convince herself that this effigy, seen through a love drunk haze, contained any more truth of the real article than the dossiers of trivia she had been given to study, full of Harper's beloved books and favourite cafe haunts laid out in a clinical dissection that had missed so, so much.[2nd reread, this is messy, confusing and too sly. I think you should be clearer, without giving away the truth, maybe point out she has a fake identity,]

Maybe, Harper existed somewhere between the two, the enchanting glimpses of beauty and the pages and pages of cold observation. Cynthia suspected not. It was hard to truly know a human heart, unless they let you do so. [Huh?]

Cynthia did not want to let her, anymore. [ I think this means Harper? ]

When she thought of Harper Anise Mallory, she thought first of those walks, but then her thoughts always turned to the day fencing in the courtyard; as those moments were pressed deeper into her mind, polished under constant remembering, the resemblance of the clashing blades to a clock’s ticking grew stronger and stronger. The hope in her heart turned sour. [Uhhh, you know what, I think we need more of Harper here. I suppose I assumed the romance would kick off, because it seemed so strong. Yeah, I think if we had more of Harper's world view, it would be more understandable and even empathetic]

Things progressed like clockwork.

They paused at expensive cafes, where half the people were speaking, so excitedly [Kill the unclean, the heretic, the adverb], of the end of the war, and the other half speaking of a war on wars that would topple all gods and masters; two weeks and she was invited to meet those masters, to come spend a weekend with Harper at the prime minister’s estate. [Hang on CAN WE GO BACK TO MAGICAL WITCH ACADEMY, also WHY is she invited to the prime minister's estate]

The ride was ominous, the countryside of grey stone and dull heath smearing by outside the limousine windows. The man himself was less than impressive. The chubby red-tinged warmask of a face he wore for the cameras seemed to deflate, in his private life, to sagging bulldog jowls and a pinched mouth. She survived dinner with her fingers white-knuckled and asked to be excused.

She knew exactly where she was going. Cynthia had been through this moment so many times, so exactly, that she could not tell the present moment from a memory. [ I almost think you could cut this, and just go to where she is reciting where to go ]

Up the stairs. Three doors down. She drew the flower-pin from her hair and touched it to the lock. There was a surge of magic that stung her fingers and a clunk as the tumblers fell into place.

She spent the last of the tool’s magics on the desk, dug into the papers and shoved everything secret and vital she could find into her petticoat jacket. [ A bit of a sudden jump to into the room ]

There was one last step in the dance. A premonition that had struck her as she rehearsed the moment in her head for the millionth time, only days before she would realize she’d fallen in love with Harper Anise Mallory. It had come first as an idle twist of imagination on the old routine and clung on with a sudden certainty. Maybe if Cynthia had been able to put it from mind, if Cynthia could only have believed hard enough that any other sequence of events was possible, maybe she could have willed some other ending into being. [2nd reread: So because she loves Harper, she premonitions that Harper is gonna catch her in the act?  What are you trying to convey here?]

She turned, and was not surprised. Harper stood in the doorway, her face stricken with a paralytic grief that hardened the betrayal and the anger of that first moment of discovery for long enough that Cynthia could take every detail into memory. It didn’t take long.

After the moment passed, Harper slapped her hard across the cheek and demanded in angry whispers the letters back; caught her by the shoulders and refused to let her slip free until she finally relinquished the papers.[Read this sentence out loud and realize it's a mess of a sentence, ] They broke apart, Harper hugging the letters to her chest and Cynthia hugging her arms to her shoulders.

Neither would speak afterwards. Harper left first, and then Cynthia, wiping her face clean and composing a mask of defiance as she descended the stairs to the dining room. She found everything as she left it. She saw no comprehension of what had happened on the minister’s face as he sucked up clam chowder. [WHY didn't Harper call Cynthia out and alert the guards?]

Cynthia returned to the seat she had occupied a lifetime ago. Harper sat opposite, eyes down, saying nothing.

There was only one traitor there.

It was the second letter that surprised her.The first was the coded missive in close-set type that she had expected. [Allright here we go, this is payoff time baby!]

She was a disappointment. Cynthia accepted that. She had failed. Cynthia could not argue.

She had lost control. Cynthia could not agree more.  [Going strong here, good sentence]

It was not too late. They could fix her, remove this infatuation.

At the bottom of the envelope was a slim vial of some liquid as black as night. Just touching the glass she felt the bitter cold of the contents, the power of its magic. Every moment since that moment, the same faculties that had once rehearsed her one task had been devoted to reliving, instead, the hungry and all-consuming hurt. She could be free of that.

They could fix her, and they still had use for her. If they couldn’t steal the minister’s secrets they would take his daughter hostage.

The second letter was from Harper.It offered her nothing but more heartache. [Annnd?  It shows that I want to hear more from Harper, it's a good thing but you keep blue balling me here]

The day the invaders came to Solemn Mercy Preparatory, they didn’t find the minister's daughter. She was far away, hidden in the countryside, safe. Cutting through the wards and cutting down the guards, they found their own wayward spy waiting for them. The vial still clutched in her hand, the spellwork of it carefully unpicked, reversed; she had made it into a weapon to settle all debts.

She had chosen to drown in her own sorrows. [Great choice, but why? Sounds like Harper still likes her, heck I'm betting Cynthia warned Harper ]

Cynthia drank and her heart broke open like an atomic bomb, unfurling across the city a blanket of gray mist that rendered the world, for a panicked second, lightless and stark. There was not a sound in the world until the colors [Hey if you are gonna spell favourite with a u, better do the same with colour, chip chip old british chum, queens english what not] crept back in, sweeter and more beautiful than ever; people laughed, or heaved out gasps of relief, and felt for a moment sure it was over and that they were safe.

The joy of being alive made the colors seem brighter, the sky more, they thought to themselves.

A dandy's emerald vest began to sizzle. A hawker's fruitcart became a spray of rainbow shrapnels as ripe apples and dark pomegranates collapsed inwards with the weight of their own colors, condensing to boiling blots. Then they burst apart, waves of corruscating pulp catching up the people on the street and tearing through them. They, too, burst into pulp, into a searing mass of red that boiled up into a rolling crimson fog.There were still people on the outskirts who were caught in the act of turning, or raising a hand to their eyes to [to watch as I take over this sentence, to realize THE BUILDING WAS ON FIRE AND IT WASN'T THEIR FAULT] They understood something was wrong but had yet to process the human shapes contorting within the splendor of beauty and motion. The fog enveloped them. They left behind ghostly trails of blue, green, hazel; the colors of their eyes smeared against the air as their lungs filled with searing beauty and they clawed more red from their throats.

The city was laced with bright promises, plastered with advertisements on rain-worn posters, in the flowers that lined shop windows, in the peacock plumage of young men and the dresses of the women they adored. They burned. Bright, beautiful, bold, they all burned.

[Well, ending is strong, but I feel like the explosion wasn't heart's sorrow.  It was more "All the colors go crazy and people die of beauty.  But I thought Cynthia's love for Harper was a heavy burdern but also freeing.  Full of love but also sacrifice, since she chooses to die in the end (Also Why did she do that?  Why didn't she just run away with Harper?].  So the explosion is just that, an explosion.  It's cool, watching colours explode, but it doesn't hit hard.

As for the tragedy, you needed to be a bit clearer on why it had to be Harper, cause I can only guess.   I cringe saying this while my passive, cardboard character story is up, but it takes two to have a romance.  Harper isn't in this story, some weird ghost thing called Harper is, so the romance isn't believable.   And while Cynthia makes a choice, we don't understand why.  There's a very clear alternative (Run away with Harper), and you give us no reason on why Cynthia didn't take that option.  With no reasoning I have to assume Cynthia is stupid, which you don't want you reader to assume.  Overall though, hey you don't have passive protagonist problem.  Overall I think this is stronger than my piece, better prose, better characters so I'm fine with this taking it.  Only thing I'm going to wave my finger at is: let your opponent know if you need an extra day, especially if you already agreed to post on time.]

Exmond fucked around with this message at 15:25 on Feb 24, 2019

crimea
Nov 16, 2012


The Butcher Is Your Friend
Word count: 1980

Retching and retching and retching and retching! Nobody could blame you for running up the stairs the way you did! Nobody could blame you for broken-hunching over a cesspit, making insides outside and having a face like an inverted abattoir! The loving swine were in charge!

The raw knife wound in your spine gurgled like an infant.

You crawled on your front and back, of course you did, across the landing with the creaky old-movie floorboards beneath you and all the screaming and fornicating rats in the attic above. When your body came to find the door at the far side of the hall your greedy hands searched for the doorknob. Rattle and nothing, so like a fiend you picked at the lock with a feverishness. Remember, do not think of the Butcher. If you think of him, he will come home.

“Come back down, darling,” you heard the Butcher’s Baby with the dark brain and kiss-me apron crow from downstairs, “come finish your meal or it’ll get cold.” The thought of going down there again made you want to weep and die, but your fragile love leapt at being called ‘darling’. Did it not taste good enough? Were you not hungry? The lock clicked open, and something continued clicking as you moved through the doorway and the door shut behind you.

Master bedroom. Shrieking scarlet wallpaper peeled away, with shreds of the stuff hanging like leaves about to fall. Beside the door, the wardrobe hung open with all finery inside. As you ran your fingertips over the pale tailoring, you felt sacrilegious. Not your things. Not for you. Knew so well that your need to cover your bare flesh did not outweigh the need to sully the beauty of not-thinking-about. Blood was running from your back around your shoulders and spiralled down your arms soaking into the rug you gripped so tightly. You began to clamber over to the bed.

On the bedside table a frail candle you were relieved to find was made from the wax of those in the basement – happy to be put to use. On a little plate, a living growth curdle-birthed from cheese, to help with dreaming esoterically, and a sliver of meat, pulsing raw, to keep you safe. Sparks in your head thought that these were his aids in his journeys beyond the wells of sleep. loving idiot! Don’t think of him! Didn’t you just hear his knuckles crack?

What did you hear? Head pressed to the floor knowing that you must’ve been just above the dining room where you – but just then! You heard slop and gurgling and gnashing and gnawing – still dinner down there.

Almost directly below you came the sweet-spit voice of the Butcher’s Baby. “Darling, I’m coming up to fetch you now!”

Panic just then, like all the pistons started firing and your arms found a power they had not had since you left the basement. Scuttling over the bed with your wound still exploding behind you, your leg caught the covers in such a way that sent you tumbling down on the other side, and when you raised your head again you saw what you previously failed to notice had been underneath.

On the bed was a limbless torso vivisected and guts seeping out filth-staining the sheets. The delicate liver shone like a pearl.

The Butcher’s Baby’s footsteps were coming up the stairs.

Blood-bile-vomit escaped your mouth and stained your teeth toxic.

The Eureka moment which followed came about, as they often do, in the blood and the gore you knelt in. Like everyone else, the torso must’ve come from the basement. Like you and R had. But the body was recent, and the only ones who had gone up the stairs recently was R – and you followed. This was not R (the Butcher’s Baby was walking past the bathroom) so if not the stairs it must’ve – must’ve got up the other way.

Your exploring hand found it as you thought of it. The dumbwaiter.

“Darling, did you lock the door? I know you’re in there. Oh, poor baby, you’ll never make it to pasture like this…” The door shuddered violently. You grabbed the bedsheets and wrapped them around you like a bloody shawl to make yourself formless and threw yourself into the patient dumbwaiter. Outside came a voice which cracked the air; “I bet you have some sweetheart somewhere you’re trying to get back to. That’s not right, baby. I’ll be your sweetheart if it’ll make you stay and eat your dinner.”

Clicking was still there and you pushed the button and you prayed to anything not to stop at the kitchen a floor below. Just to take you down to the basement. As you descended the Butcher’s Baby swung open the door and you were gone. The sing-song words which tasted of sweat followed you down; “Baby, my baby. Tell your baby that I’m your baby.”

Your stomach was rumbling. The chamber you were huddled in quietly rattles as you thought and planned so desperately. During your descent to the basement – which lasted a long time – you thought how there must be some answer. If you had run, perhaps R had too. Perhaps R was waiting down there for you, hidden amongst all the others. You could not bear the thought that R would be anywhere else. The two of you were called up one at a time; the voice of not listening! Can’t you tell how close he is? Don’t you hear him tapping in the space between the walls?

The dumbwaiter came to a thud in a little concrete room. You almost tripped over the lantern as you disembarked, even managing to stay on your feet for a few seconds before back to dragging again. Thankfully the door was ajar and gave away easy. Someplace dark-familiar behind it. Still a little light in the lantern so you took it with you, sometime with the handle between your teeth.

Your hands and feet sunk into the dirt floor of the cavernous basement, the light giving away nothing. You needed R very very badly, didn’t you? You held yourself together for a moment to hear muted footsteps – only a few, to start with, but more and more, marching in the dark.

It took a little time for them to reveal themselves to you.

The inhabitants of the basement were like you. Each waiting for the call upstairs. Dozens of them stood before you naked and in groups of two, wincing at the light. Perhaps there was a look of recognition, then a look of confusion – it was not known of somebody coming back downstairs after being sent up. Perhaps that’s why the first things they said to you, the voices never coming from the one you were looking at, seemed such obvious filler phrases. “We sleep in pairs.” “We eat in pairs.” “Get called up.”

You searched the congregation for R’s face. For any solitary figure. Above all your heads was the infinite black that went up with no ceiling and some had said that they saw stars up there. Aldebaran. Algol.

“Aa… Aarrr” was the struggling noise which finally made it out of your throat. Vacant, milky looks was all you got back. None moved to help you to your feet.

Then came the squealing.

Not from the assorted before you, but somewhere behind them. A pained sound which stirred something within you. The pairs, in response, put their hands in their mouths and parted to the side. In the channel they opened, the form of a heaving, titan sow trotted towards you. The sow, taller than any other, was grunting and squealing and crying out as what happened started happening.

There was something bloody and bulbous in the swine’s grizzly maw. Buckling and writhing, the pig swung its head from side to side, as if to dislodge it. An adult human began to slide out.

The heaving swine’s jaw buckled and tore trying to expel the piglet. The filthy teeth of the swine ripped at the piglet’s skin as shoulders, torso, became free. The basement-dwellers gathered round to watch the new piglet be deposited on the floor. Although the sow was still screaming in agony, the piglet was silent.

Lying on the dirt, caked in blood, that’s when the piglet looked at you. That’s when the piglet gestured to you.

Closer, closer. Very close, you hovered with your ear over the piglet’s mouth.

“He’s coming home now.”

Instantly you recoiled. The piglet still lay there, a vacant smile. That’s done it! You could’ve cried when a few other voices, then many, picked up the chant. “He’s coming back.”

Your wound was searing, your shawl filthy, sweat dripped down your face. Most everyone was saying it now. In the dark, the swine heaved out the second of the pair of piglets. You wished you could say something or wring each and every neck to stop them. Something clicked in your head. They’re all thinking of him. You’re thinking too. Do they know that they’re the ones wishing it? Do they know they’ve trapped you? Mercy – that’s his voice!

I am the Butcher. And I have come home.

A light breaks behind you. Where before there was nothing, now there is a glorious staircase, going up to the dining room. As you went up before. You’re weeping now, really weeping. Your heart is broken. You did really think for a moment there that you could escape. I am calling you up.

You are guilty of cowardice. You are guilty of recursion. But, glutton for punishment that you are, I am not here to punish you. That comes later. Now I invite you to dine before you are taken out to pasture. The staircase is a glowing gold just as it was when I asked for you and R before. Maybe this time it can be different between us.

You are on your feet now. Your hand is on the railing. Your shawl falls away. You’re walking up. As you walk through the doorway, you take care not to look back on the degenerates you’ve surpassed. One day, I will send each pair up. One will go to pasture first, and the other will follow in their meat.

The dining room is lit by waxen candles. The Butcher’s Baby is happy to see you. On the table, R has been prepared – I cooked R to perfection, as you both wanted. Partake in R’s flesh so you might follow on to pasture. It’s not right the two of you not be together.

As I knew you would, you ignore the etiquette of the thing, swiping at the plates and cutlery. You mount the meal, and it makes me so glad to see you sink your teeth into the cheek. You are ravenous. You wolf it down with an energy and exuberance enviable. A chain of gore rings down R’s lips to the neck to the heart, where you are gnawing and gnashing with the wild-violet eyes. Your friend is under your fingernails.

You are consecrated in flesh and as the carving knife is coming down on your back your spinal cord revolts in ecstasy.

You have a halo of dirt as you look up and see yourself leaning bloodied and injured against the wall next to the staircase. Such a fear in your abattoir face. A horror which breaks the glass in your teeth. You’re on the table. You’re on the stairs.

You take a chunk out of R’s forearm as you scramble helplessly upstairs, the vomit already escaping your mouth. You won’t find anything good on the floor above, but still you flee. Still you stay for dinner.

Nobody can blame you for running up the stairs the way you did! Think of me again, and I will come home! Retching and retching and retching and retching!

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk





if it had been close or a tie i would have taken the lateness into account. That's better in the detail but still flawed in the fundamentals, in any case if you want to workshop something start another thread

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Dear Animeface,

Y'know, I quite liked the first version of the story. This one doesn't have the benefit of initial enthusiasm skoothing over the flaws, and so take this with a grain of salt, but I think I like the revised version less than I did the first.

Did I like the addition of dialogue? 'Uwah' did you no favors, dragging an otherwise genuinely gross and comedic beat into the shadow of a thousand other meetcute anime scenes. A shadow you don't escape, to be honest. These people are more there but not more interesting than when they were silent.

I think the teachable moment here is that, in this second revision, you've reached to cover the first's faults rather than built on what made the first one good. The ending. The ending is good. You needed to find a way to bridge the futility and helplessness of that final beat with the beggining, and no, the way to do that is not anime, you cannot build the audience into a state of sympathy for doomed flawed humanity by just playing out the rough sketch of every romance anime ever. You were actually more on point the first time, focusing more on Adam's deformity and alienation.

You need to escape the anime, or at least the tropes, my man. You need to breathe outside the constraints of mimicry and learn to develop the themes that emerge within your story as you write it. In this second version, you've doubled down on the anime but not the part that was good and genuinely your own.

In conclusion:

Anime does not make me sympathize with the flaws of our human race, it makes me nod in agreement as the furious sun purges our filth from this dead gay comedy planet.

Signed,
-- Third

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


'Kay who wants a brawl

:toxx:

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply