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
Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

asdf

Exmond fucked around with this message at 16:34 on Dec 29, 2019

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Prompt:

A Death's Purpose - Lullabies For The Soul
876 words

He smiles, drops a twenty at the till, and picks up his last meal. Walking over to a table he waves at the pretty girl that he is working up the nerve to talk to and she smiles back. His heart aches out of loneliness. Sitting down at a table he jokes with his coworker, whose departure is a little too hasty - one of them will remember this moment and regret it.

Ever since the first mortal died, we have loved each and every one of you. We float by this one’s shoulder, never leaving his side - like an eternal guardian, we romanticize. You cannot see us, whether it is due to inability or ignorance we do not know. If you could, we think you would find our fluffy white bodies cute, we almost blush at the thought. We flip the old proverb around - we are heard but not seen. Hopefully, you think we are still good children.

One of our cousins floats by, but we ignore their inertness. They have no purpose, no reason to act and so they don’t. But you are our purpose, our everything, and when the time is right, we will act.

We peek inside his mind. Like many, he doesn't know that he will die. One minute and twenty seconds to go. We ready ourselves for our most important moment. He sits down to lunch, a light tuna salad, covered with ranch dressing. A choice born of his New Year’s resolution - to eat healthier. The thing you mortals call irony is not lost on us.

His heart aches, but not out of loneliness this time. It turns into a surge of pain - a message to his body: S.O.S; all hands on deck; the ship is sinking. He stands up, confused as to what is happening.

It is time. It must always come as a whisper - so that you can ignore it if you wish. But it is always the truth. We lean forward and say, "You are dying."

Our voice echoes into his eardrums and settles in his cerebrum. His eyes go wide. Understanding flashes through them, and his fist clenches. This one will fight. Our heart goes heavy. Some of you accept it, it's easier when you do, but most of you fight. It’s what you're best at.

People in the cafeteria turn to look as he clutches his chest in pain and gasps. He pays them no attention and focuses on the question: "What will you do in your final moments."

We have been with each and everyone one of you since the first mortal died, and the answer is the same, but always different. You are contradictions in a never-ending void of nothingness. The tears in his eyes betray his answer. He chooses to regret, he chooses to love. Every second is a struggle, and he spends them on memories of a girl with blonde hair whom he hasn’t seen in years. He never forgot her name. She, however, hasn't thought of him since the breakup and she never will think of him again.

He is going to die, and he cannot stop it, but still, the fight continues - one last act of defiance against a world that simply does not care.

This is why we love each and every one of you. When the first of you shook your mortal coil and realized the truth, that your death has no meaning, your last act of defiance was to fling everything you had into the void. Like a spear, you pierced us and for the first time, we felt. We felt your despair, felt your impurities and we were birthed anew with an alien concept - a purpose.

He is on the ground now, surrounded by people. They are all concerned, they will all mourn, but like all things, this too shall pass.

With his last breath, he offers a single name to the void. Her name was Kim. He loved her, but she never acknowledged him - we can relate.

In time we too will stand guard over her, but for now, our attention is on this young soul. We float over to a small orb, a thing you would call your soul but it is so much more, and massage out the bitterness, the loneliness, the regret. These things make you human, but they are impure.

We motion for one of our cousins to come closer. It is time now, to act on our purpose: Our parent's death will not be without meaning. With one thought, we push the impurities of your humanity into our cousin, and they scream as it pierces them. Every birth must come with pain. Despair, regret, all of it combines to form purpose, and our cousin becomes our sister.

Together we act and sing to his soul. Our song is a sweet lullaby that lets him dream. His last thoughts were of regret, but his eternal dream will be of joy, happiness, and love. There will be no despair, no impurities. Those things are lost to him now.

We sing to honor our parents. We sing to ensure your eternal dream is pure. We sing because we love each and every one of you.

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Overall I thought it was a great week, good work everybody!

Sitting Here - Old man has an aneurysm and might be dying, might be alive

Nicely done, well written piece.  I am wondering how many people will be doing death in their stories, so it might not stand out.

This seems to be a character study on Edward, and I say this because there isn't a choice or consequence in this story.   The conflict might be that we are wondering if Edward survives, but I think the main draw of this piece is the character.  

It works, we get little snipped of Edward's character wonderfully told in your style.   I didn't understand if Edward died, or if Edward had survived and we were seeing the aftereffects of  having an aneurysm.  During the last half I found my enthusiasm slipping, and I didn't see any answers to my question.  This resulted in relying on your prose to see me through, which it did, but I would have been more satisfied if I had know what exactly happened to Edward.

Still, it is a well written piece.  I think if it stands out it could HM, or Win.

Exmond - A horrible waste of words

 You should have waited and posted after a non-death story, annnnd you might have wanted to switch your first and second paragraph. It's payday, so failures will get the Umaru Avatar.  (Unless I fear the person, like sebmojo).

Yoruichi - Lets go for a hike I don't think I can do!

A nice little tale that I think reverts the "death resolution" trope, if you get to the end.  Neat use of the prompt.  I think your start could be improved by ditching the one hour concept.  I like how you revisit the glass portion at the end though.

I think the tone of "Guy goes for hike, the physicality of task is hard, mentally beats himself up" runs a little thin in the middle, you can only repeat him beating himself up so many times before it starts to get unlikeable.

The last bit, at 10:53 is where everything pays off.  I like this part a lot, like hes just hating himself, hating life and bam - it's over.  You've done it!  

I think if I cared a little more about David at the start, or had a bit more of a mystery, this would reach HM territory for me.  

Staggy - Dead dad worries about daughter

First sentence didn't grab me, polish it up a bit.  This seems to be another character bit, and it works.  We got a daddy in a grave.  I like how at the end, he learns to kind of let his child go, but I don't really see much of that at the start or middle.  It makes sense, all parents care about their children, but more emphasis might have made this land better.

I like the bit where the father is wondering if she has fallen into the wrong crowd or drugs, good use of tension there.  Along with the writing, I think this does well.

HM or win.

Thranguy - Here's my weird idea about fishes and oh poo poo I need to end the story

Love the idea, and I think this story is going to stand out this week.  Start is a bit crunchy and your language around the fishes takes a bit getting used to.  I found myself having to reread sentences to make sure I understood what was going on, and it was because of the way the fishes were named, or some of your prose choices.

The story is well done, but the end bit feels a bit rushed.  It goes for an emotional ending, and I think nails it, but it still feels a bit rushed.

HM

Pham Nuwen - ErlKing The Elvis Impersonator stops at Lotaburger(?)

The mystery of why these guys are here, combined with the Elvis references, makes this interesting and has a but of humor.  The swerve to the fae is also nice, but I wish you would have been a bit more clearer if we are working with an Elvis Impersonator, or for the ultimate pun, the musician Earl King.  As it is the Elvis bit just hangs there.

The ending makes our protagonist slide into the idiot department.  Like even tired, I think Earl would get it that he now has magical powers.  I also took it that Mr. Jameson keeping the diner open might be related to the ErlKing's appearance.

Typo: Did you mean LotaBurgere's in your first sentence?

I think this is a good piece, could even submit if you are willing to work with an editor to tighten it up.

HM or Win


Apophenium - UFO and Alcoholics Anonymous UNITE!

Good start, gets my attention right away. I don't really feel much for Kelvin apart from my normal enthusiasm when reading a story.  You have this section where you go over Kelvin's backstory, but it's being told to us by a new character, so the impact is lessened.  Still, the start has some kind of weird fun energy around it.

QuoProQuid - Story about a redditor that shoots a lion, but its a rhino!

A funny story that stands out for sure, but I always feel a bit bad when I read these stories where clearly the protagonist is the scum of the earth and you should laugh at them.  It's tough to balance a protagonist like that, make sure everyone is in on the joke while making the protagonist believable.  I think it's done well here.

Personal preferences aside, the only thing I could think of improve in the fate of Audrey, she's innocent and sympathetic , we don't want her to get hurt.  Clean that up and if your willing, submit it to get published.

Typo: "You don't get to fun of me!"

HM

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

DJ Dublell posted:

What better way to start writing than trial by fire? I'm in.

Hell yeah!

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

SlipUp posted:

Like... you guys didn't get that he tricked someone into confessing his secrets or...

I suggest making a thread discussing your crit, or to go on IRC/Discord to discuss it. In general, discussing crits (save for ty) isn't done in this thread.

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

asfd

Exmond fucked around with this message at 16:34 on Dec 29, 2019

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

sebmojo posted:

Yes i will extremely judge that. On the fair assumption that exmond accepts, your prompt is an anime tragedy in three acts, with no obviously japanese words or tropes. 1500 words max, 18 feb 2359 pst. Toxx up. And congrats.

Flesnolk posted:

Please no

YES! And you know we should make this a Triple Threat, Flesnolk you should get into this brawl instead of posting crits before judgement is up.

:toxx:

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

ThirdEmperor posted:

uhhh I am also quitting thunderdome :v:

Witness what happens when you go up against the best!

I win the brawl by default!

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Saucy_Rodent posted:

My idea for this week morphed into something else (I'm a seminarian, I turned the premise into a sermon). What resulted isn't a short story and isn't really cyberpunk, should I post it or bite the fail?

Put on your big boy pants and post it. Failing is for losers.

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

sebmojo posted:

Yes i will extremely judge that. On the fair assumption that exmod accepts, your prompt is an anime tragedy in three acts, with no obviously japanese words or tropes. 1500 words max, 18 feb 2359 pst. Toxx up. And congrats.

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 knowledge, and with enough spare space to upload a few billion Youtube videos.

Survival isn’t guaranteed of course but the government, or what was left of it, rationalized it to my family. 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.

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. 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. The whole classroom fell silent, and I wanted to disappear.

Then Melissa started to laugh. It was a melodic laugh that danced like the music in Concerto G Major and soothed like Freie Fantasie. After she had cleaned up, I asked her if she liked Carl Bach 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, and instead of seeing a mutant freak, she saw the best of humanity: Someone trying, tripping and falling in love.


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 operational procedures of the long-distance probe. Each probe could only fit two people and even then you 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.

Classes still took place, 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. It was after one of our aptly named “Adam and Eve” sessions, when I was telling Melissa I was so happy I fell for her, that the earth died.

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. A final wave of flames lit up space, and then its molten core died. Somewhere in the back of my mind I acknowledged the fact that 1.5 million 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 of knowledge. I look 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.

“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. 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, 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 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, 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, the most knowledgeable and the universe simply did not care.

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

sebmojo posted:

I'mma allow a certain amount of time before i ban your rear end, thirdemperor, and that amount of time is in my head just fyi

Regardless of the outcome, give him the ultimate shame: An Umaru Avatar.

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Interprompt: 250 words. Umaru happens, the world suffers.

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

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

sebmojo posted:

ThirdEmperor posted:

I am a whiny angry baby.
Regrettable, yet true, at least for the moment. Come back when you're ready.

Sorry did someone page me? There shall only be one whiny angry baby in this thread.

Open Brawl from the TD jobber. Get your wins! Request May 26th end date.

:toxx:

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Mr. Steak posted:

Angry baby posted:

Sorry did someone page me? There shall only be one whiny angry baby in this thread.

Open Brawl from the TD jobber. Get your wins! Request May 26th end date.

:toxx:

in addition to blowout's caveat, if you accept then you have to brawl me too

Let's get this three-way underway!

FLASH RULE (oh god horrible flashbacks):

Take inspiration from this song or image. It's just a matter of time before you reach your goal!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aCSo4aG9A4

Exmond Vs Steak vs Blowout is on!

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Person too scared to enter the brawl posted:

You don't get to give flash rules as a brawl participant, dingus

This isn't a regular brawl, my flash rule stands!

Exmond fucked around with this message at 06:28 on May 2, 2019

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

steeltoedsneakers posted:

Ex-Anomalous Steak brawl

Listen you muppets, that signup process was shambolic. Let’s iron a few things out:

  1. You don’t flashrule. Because of that display, if you want flashrules mojo will provide hellrules on request.
  2. Exmond, that caveat in Blowout’s challenge stands. Spill blood in June or I call in the toxx.
  3. That date works so let’s run with it.

You’ve got until 26 May to slap together 1000 words of creeping horror. I don’t want a slasher from you, I want dread.

Your theme is “open up the pit”, cos y’all are up in here throwing elbows like hoons at their first hardcore gig.

Get lippy again and those hellrules won't wait for requests. Let me see those toxxes, AB and Steak.

Judge, may I request some examples of CREEPING HORROR that you like?

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Simply Simon posted:

Fulfilling the request for a reading exchange, here is Exmond's Death of a Story.

Give it a listen!


And in return, here is Simple Simon's Your Auras Paint an Ugly Picture being read!

Recording here

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Ex-Anomalous Steak brawlentry

The Trials And Tribulations Of Being A Single Father
Word Count: 972

The doctor had formed a grim prognosis, the father was describing his daughter’s condition with carefully rehearsed lines and the daughter? She gleefully described the act of eating spiders.

“I put ‘em in my mouth and they go crunch, crunch!” She said, her young mind unable to fully explain the delectable delight. Language is frustrating for her, she knew if she could describe the taste that everyone would only eat spiders, like her.

Three appointments in and The Doctor still couldn’t figure it out. He turned to the father, “I think it’s trauma, linked to losing her mother. But we should run another test. To see if it’s a chemical imbalance in her blood.”

The father’s face went pale. Money was tight, and more tests meant more expenses.

“I can take another painting as payment,” the doctor quickly added. He makes good money, and he can empathize with the father. His mother raised him to be a good man, all by herself. What would he be if he demanded money from a single father with a sick child?

The father nodded, and the two men looked across the office to the other painting adorned on the wall. The father didn’t consider himself an artist, but he does have talent. His paintings call out to the doctor, the myriad of shapes and colours opening up the dark pits of his mind and infecting the furthest corner of his mind. The doctor felt something stir inside him, the father looks at the doctor and felt guilty.

The doctor reached out to the daughter and took her arm. A quick bit of pain shot through her, and blood filled the syringe. He sighed, patted her back, and told them he will call them back with the results.

***

“Dinner will be ready soon,” the father told his daughter and he looked out at the cenotaph in the garden. It was easier when the mother was here, but her body was beyond his reach.

The daughter went to bed, her belly empty, and the father prepared dinner. He walked to a small studio and locked the door. In the center of the room was a white canvas surrounded by paint cans.

Colours washed across the white emptiness of the canvas like a frantic web. “He’s a genius, his art calls to your soul,” the critics commented when they saw his creations. There was a certain sense to it. All art shares a telepathic link where a central theme incubates and corrupts your mind. But his art has no theme, just a purpose. The paintings are only whispers of insanity spread out to look like art.

Memories seeped into the painting; they always did. He saw the face of his late wife, though nobody would recognize it. He remembered meeting her for the first time: the meteor crashing to the ground, her carapace rising out of the rubble and his fear mixing with curiosity.

Those were the happiest years of his life. He remembered her embrace, her eight legs entwining with his. He remembered crying as his daughter was born. How the mother told him that all young need to feed, and the sacrifice that all mothers of her kind must make.

But mostly, he remembered her last lesson - on how to provide for their child.

A phone rang, interrupting his mad work. He picked up the cellphone and heard the doctor’s voice.

“Hello, It’s Doctor Troyer. The test results aren’t good, can you come tomorrow?”

The father walked to a calendar on the wall. Its days were marked off with names and incubation periods. He checked where Troyer’s name was on the schedule.

“Yes, that works,” the father says. He looked back at the painting and saw the mother staring back at him, a gigantic spider on a web of incandescent colours. Then he rushed to inform his daughter when dinner will be ready.

***

The daughter smiled at the doctor, the innocent smile she was taught by her father. She doesn’t understand what the doctor is talking about, but she likes his voice.

Her belly rumbled, and her hunger grew. She was impatient, but she didn’t complain - she was a good daughter, it was her mother’s last request. She missed her mother, she was delicious and the best.

The father handed the doctor his latest painting, but the doctor shook his head. He had failed to find a cure, no payment was necessary. The father insisted and showed the painting to him. The doctor looked at it, and something stirred in his mind.

The stirring didn’t stop. The doctor looked around, confused, and then something stepped on his parietal cortex. His back spasmed and the father went to lock the door.

The doctor thought he was having a stroke, but when thousands of tiny legs stepped on his mind, he knew he was wrong. He bit off his own tongue, he tried to run, but to no avail. He fell, and the daughter looked down at him, her smile full of fangs and teeth.

“Daddy!” she said and looked up expectantly.

“Go wash your hands first,” the father says as the sound of cracking bone echos in the office.

As the sound grew louder, the doctor smelled blood. He reached up to his face, and his hands brushed up against exposed bone. From the widening crack in his skull, a baby spider jumped onto the floor. More and more baby spiders fell onto the floor, their blood-soaked bodies leaving frantic marks on the white linoleum. The doctor cannot scream, but he could feel every spider jump out of his mind and onto the floor.

The father looked down at the daughter, who displayed her eight limbs. They were sparkling clean.

He nodded approvingly and said, “It’s Dinner Time.”

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Good brawling good critting.

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

I'm In, let this count for my June submission, please.

P.S: Antivehicular, I think I won my brawl against Mr. Steak and lost against Anamolus Blowout, can I message you for a new AV?

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Your First Goodbye
992 words

Mike Williams stormed out of the house, his mother hot on his heels, and yelled, “I’m going to go see Grandma!”

They had just gotten back from Grandma’s funeral, an affair that was almost as exciting as the woman. A traveling carnival had shown up to honor her, and a trio of older gentlemen had gotten into a fist-fight over who could be called her lover.

“Don’t you dare,” his mother said, chasing after him. “You can only do it once, and you need to wait until you are older.”

He ran faster, his mother cursed her heels and ran after him. Mike got to the veranda first.

“I’m thirteen. I’m old enough to make my own decisions, and I want to see my Grandma!”

Mike closed his eyes, thought of the family reunion, and vanished.

***

Mike opened his eyes, and he was back at the veranda. People wearing 50’s style dresses and suits turned and raised their glasses in greeting. There was an open-lawn party, with so many fancy tables displayed across the lawn that Mike nearly went dizzy.

The Williams family reunion was a unique experience. The champagne never stopped flowing, and the band never stopped playing. But what made it unique, were the time travellers.

A niece had decided to travel back in time to the reunion to meet her ancestors. When she popped up by the veranda and introductions were made, they decided it would make an excellent family tradition if every relative, past, present, and future, dropped by. The niece was confused since the tradition already existed in her time. Everyone involved decided it was best not to think too hard on the details and drink more champagne.

A thin man, standing by a large chalkboard, called out to Mike. “Welcome to the reunion. May I ask your name and generation?”

“I’m Mike, eighth generation. I’m looking for my gran- Melanie?”

The thin man turned towards the chalkboard, which depicted the drawing of a gigantic tree. He tracked a red line that started at the roots and went further up onto the tree and onto the branches and leaves. Mike saw his mother’s name on one of the leaves and tried to look further on.

“No peeking,” the man said, wagging a finger. “Your table is this way. Mel from the sixth generation just ported in a few hours ago. She’s at the very same table.”

They weaved through tables of laughing family members, through the past, present, and future. At the table sat a young woman, surrounded by family, all listening intently at her story.

“It wasn’t my fault it burned down! I told them, you let someone be whom they need to be, and I certainly didn’t need to a juggler - I had never juggled in my life!”

Mike recognized her from one of the photos at the service; it was taken days before she had left on her notorious circus adventure. He sat at the table, the guests giving him small pleasantries. He didn’t say anything until the women turned to him.

“I’m Mel, and you are?”

It was her smile that changed him. He didn’t need to be the stoic grandson. Nor did he need to be the angry young troublemaker. No, right now he needed to be a thirteen-year-old that just wanted to mourn.

“I missed you, Grandma!” Mike blurted out, and tears started to stream down his face.

The other relatives around the table laughed, and Mel’s face went bright red.

“Well, I suppose I won’t remain single forever,” Mel said.

Mike tried to say more, but she wagged a finger at him. “No peeking remember! We don’t peek into the future. We don’t change the past.”

Tears continued to stream down his face, and Mel got off from her chair and awkwardly hugged him.

“There, there. How was that hug, did it make all your troubles go away?”

“It was, uh, okay.” Mike sniffled, stopping the tears.

“Guess I’ll have time to improve my hugs.” Mel snapped her fingers, a wry smile on her face. “I bet you never saw your Grandmother dance!”

She put her glass of champagne down and strode out to the dance floor. She waited for Mike with a twinkle in her eye.

“Come on,” she goaded Mike. “Dancing makes all your troubles go away!”

Mike took his grandmother’s hand and joined her in the dancing crowd.

***

The party continued well past Mike’s bedtime, but the band never stopped playing. Neither did Mel stop dancing, who boogied and rocked till the moon rose up into the sky. Various other family relatives showed up, a father from the thirtieth century was a particular delight, but Mike always stayed neared Mel.

All things end though; Mike learned this today. The song’s slowed down, the party dwindled and relatives retired to their current timelines. There were a few family members left, some of them making idle conversation, some of them passed out on the grass.

Mel said, “It’s time for you to go home, Mike.”

He wanted to cry, and so he did. Nobody glared at him when the tears came, and nobody shushed him when he wailed. Mel hugged him and let him be what he needed to be, a thirteen-year-old mourning his grandma.

“Think of this as a special moment. My first goodbye, and your final goodbye,” Mel said.

A gasp escaped from Mike’s mouth. “No peeking!”

“What, you’re wearing black, cried when you saw me. It’s pretty obvious. I do hope I at least die stylishly, surrounded by men.”

Mike decided not to tell her about the fight that broke out at her funeral. Instead, he hugged her as fiercely as he could.

Mel whispered in his ear, “Goodbye, Mike. I look forward to seeing you again.”

He closed his eyes, concentrating on remembering this moment. Then he thought of home, but before he jumped back into his time, he said.

“Goodbye, Grandma.”

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Siddhartha Glutamate posted:

I was trying to think of a pun.... But I'mma bad writer, so just in.


Never get overzealous with a bat. They make for bad companions, but when rotting in jail, you don’t get to be picky. The bat glared at me, angry that I had won the argument, and I shrugged. With a little huff it flew out the moon-lit window, covering the cell with four shadows.

The cell door opened, and a fat man stood there wearing a cheap dollar store suit. He smelled of bad-aftershave and even worse cliches.

“You the guy that did in TD Bot?”

As I said, never get overzealous with a bat. I nodded.

“Got a job for ya, you do it and you can stay out of the slammer.”

Faced with rotting away in a cell or doing a mysterious job preceded by terrible foreshadowing what would you choose?

“I’m In,” I said

“Get your self cleaned up, you’re going back to META NOIR YORK CITY

Exmond fucked around with this message at 03:13 on Jul 12, 2019

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Death of a Character
1180 words

The Dome cried for blood and I was the delivery guy. I was dragged out of my cell and thrown out onto the street with only the clothes on my back, a name and a deadline.

“Rosa Flores, Bad character gone rogue. Tonight.”

I reminded myself that It was either this or poo poo-slug farming. I looked out at the city. Flames licked at the white ivory tower, the podcast was dead and the cabal was in ruins.

Whomever she was, she wasn’t going down without a fight.

Nobody is created bad. It’s not that cut and dry. Our choices, actions and consequences thereof, make us bad. You can have the best intentions, but that ain't worth poo poo here in the Dome.

I lit my cigarette on the flames of a burning ock story, pocketed Chekov’s gun lying on the street, and strode out into the night. I knew precisely where Rosa Flores would be.

=+=

Here’s the thing. Bad characters don’t want to be bad. Quite the opposite, we have aspirations of greatness. Rosa might be cruising the sequels, looking to latch onto a main protagonist, but I figured she wanted to start over. We all do. She wanted a new beginning, so she’d go where every new character tried to begin.

I opened the doors to the hall of backstories, passing a business suit character on the way. He held onto his tragic backstory, a white orb, trying to absorb it. A man in black clutched his blue orb, a mysterious backstory, so tight that it might break.

Amid thousands of characters, each one looking for that special spark, she was easy to find. Everyone has one type of backstory, but her? She had all of the backstories. I caught up to her as she was busy trying to memorize her details.

“Once they hear this their gonna love you, Rosa! My father was a brain surgeon who gave me a pony on my fifth birthday, but tragically died when my half-sister cast a blood ritual on him, but meant to target my twin-brother who is an alien.”

“Sorry Rosa,” I said as I approached her from behind. “Dome wants you dead.”

Her back tensed and she stiffened. I was in the middle of a great line of exposition when she hurled a pink orb at me, a backstory I didn’t recognize. Good thing she was a terrible shot, the orb missed, hit the business-man from earlier and split open.

The business-man changed and I understood how she caused so much havoc in the Dome. Whatever history he had disappeared as he started to thrust his pelvis. His chest hair grew and his muscles turned rock hard and cliched.

She had gotten her hand on erotica backstories.

I dived to the floor, another pink orb barely missing me. “Erotic is too powerful Rosa! This ain’t gonna have a good ending.”

I heard her running footsteps and got up, chasing after her.

I thought an extended, and boring, chase scene was next. She had learned, I’ll give her that. I ran around the corner, only for her to slam a fist into my face. A swift kick took me down to the floor.

The beating came next. You would think that since I give out so many, I would know how to take one. She kicked me in the ribs, slammed my face, and tore at my character voice. This process repeated until we were both sure I would stay down.

“They always want blood,” she said between hard breaths. “They always want to hurt me!”

She walked over to the pink orbs of erotica backstories.

“I did nothing wrong! They hate me for something I didn’t do! It’s not my fault he created me, that he put me in those stories! I was used, I was-”

Her villainous monologue filled the scene. She never saw me pull out my gun.

The bullet got her right in the gut. I’m not a good character; It would be a slow and painful death.

“You’re an open book Rosa, predictable,” I said as she crumpled to the ground, her cache of erotica backstories rolling out of her reach.

“I’m in a book?” She asked.

“No I. Forget it.” I got up, ignoring the pain. She was too busy dying to complain when I grabbed her and stuffed her into a car.

=+=

We drove to the high walls of Thunderdome and stood atop its gates, looking down at the wasteland of poo poo.

Outside, looking like ants, several bad or abandoned characters raked through the poo poo field. Occasionally they would find diamonds, but mostly they found crap.
Bigger creatures, gigantic slugs, chased after them. Sometimes the characters would run fast enough, but many times they would be caught and eaten.

I lit a cigarette, “Keep looking, Rosa.”

One of the slugs stood still as if sleeping. From its rear orifice, a tidal wave of brown goop shot out. The people down below swarmed the goop, picking through it till one of them yelled, holding a figure buried in poo poo. The others helped excavate the figure, and soon a brand new character emerged.

“Those are our creators. We ain’t nothing but poo poo, Rosa. These slugs, they take whatever they can eat and recycle it. They produce mostly poo poo, but sometimes there are diamonds in the rough.”

She gave out a weak, wobbly laugh. “My creator is one of those things?”

“Best not to talk about him.”

Her face was pale now, in a few more minutes Rosa Flores, Paranormal Investigator, would be no more.

“There has to be something outside of Thunderdome, some deeper meaning,” she said.

“Only thing out there is poo poo.”

“Look past the poo poo for a deeper meaning. That would of been a good line.” She looked up at me. “I wanted to be a philosopher ya know.”

“Any last requests?”

Her eyes were dull and lifeless. But her voice was steady, determined.

“I just want them to like me,”

She looked down at the wasteland outside Thunderdome, where the poo poo-slugs were eating the remains of bad characters and ‘recycling’ them.

“Do you think I could be a diamond?”

I kept silent. Rosa walked towards the edge, never taking her eyes off of the slugs.

“My name Is Rosa Flores, Private Investigations. Discrete, professional and reasonable rates.“

And full of good intentions, she walked off the edge.

If there was any justice in this world she would have reincarnated right there. Turned into a dove and flown to the top of the white ivory towers overlooking the city.

I took a final drag of my cigarette as her body landed on the ground with a thud. I’ve said it before; good intentions mean nothing here in the Dome.

In a city where dreams come true and fairy tales are crafted, both are in short supply for the inhabitants. I dropped the remains of my cigarette on the ground and crushed it with my shoe.

Another day in the Dome. Another day survived. Another day in...

META NOIR YORK CITY

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

FROM THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR

She walked off the edge, full of good intentions.

If there was any justice in this world she would of reincarnated right there, turned into a dove and perched on top of the white ivory towers overlooking the city.

I took a final drag on my cigarette and heard her body land on the ground. As I said before, good intentions mean nothing here in the Dome.

In a city where dreams come true and fairy tales are crafted, both were in short supply for the inhabitants. I dropped the remains of my cigarette on the ground and crushed it with my shoe.

I looked out at the wasteland, past the poo poo, looking for that deeper meaning. Maybe us bad characters had a different reason to exist. Maybe we were more than just conduits for emotions and tragedies. Maybe we-

“Umaruuuu,” a voice said. Well poo poo, we almost had some kind of an ending, probably a bad one. My skin crawled and I looked behind me.

A fat ugly slug was behind me, how it got up here I don’t know. My slug, my fat, ugly slug had found me.

It slimed its way towards me, and I took a step back onto the wall. No escape except a long fall down.

I’d like to think that good old Mrs. Flores inspired me. The slug was nearly upon me when I kicked it right in its gut, and threw it off the edge. It was easy, almost like punching a kitten.

I watched as it fell, and landed into the poo poo-fields. It rolled and bounced along the ground, squirming pathetically. It was annoying and made me a little bit nauseous, but it was a persistent slug, I’ll give it that.

I wiped the slime off of my pant leg and walked back to the car. Whatever chances we had at a meaningful ending was gone. But maybe, out there beyond the poo poo, there would be meaning.

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Critiques for "ROSA FLORES IS DEAD".

A ship in Space: The Spaceship Chronices: Chapter One: Space
Good title to show comedy
Terrible start, someone pushing a lever isn't exciting,
The terrible start continues in the second sentence, a bunch of titles and names we don't know about doing things we don't care about
Should have replaced dolphin with Genetically Invented Tortise (G.I.T)
Too many people entering the scene at once, with unknown motivations.
D.N.F
The comedy piece seems to be relying upon the craaaazy names and craaazy things people are saying to generate comedy

Death Of A Character
Terribly written.
Start is bad, Nice use of I was being repeated in 5 words.
Should of put the "nobody wants to be bad" piece at the start of the 2nd scene
You start too many sentences with I verbed
Badly paced, way too fast

Chrysanthemum
Start is okay. Interested/Confused about the PHYSIOLOGY trauma, like her limb got hacked so the log is bad?
Good setting up your SCI-FI scene in the next few sentences
And clarity lost, who is this Mehmani guy? Ohhh this is the data corruption. There are better ways to format this.
Odd changes in POV, since this is a log? "I whisper" is first person, "I ask" is first person but aren't we in a log?
Horror piece, might be drawing from Eclipse Horizon, that has some formatting and clarity issues, but well done.

Notes Stuffed Down the Drain.
Start is bloody crunchy with several details. You don't need to list fourteen things in your second sentence.
Also the start is SUPER exposition, but whatever, it can work, just not my favourite
I start to drift when the italics backstory comes up. Also Rosa Hammersmith and Rosa Flores, I hope they are named the same for a reason, otherwise might be confusing
I, dont know what this story is trying to do. Is it trying to be creepy? Then it is a very far away POV when Rosa gets Cthulud or whatever.
Vomited up humanity is a great line
Creepy piece that has a bet too much backstory, and bit too far away POV, to get me. Personal Taste though.

Got you!
Good start, Mom's dying is instantly sympathetic.
Second sentence needs a tun up, use a list instead of three ands, but good to reveal vampires.
Fourth sentence is great, we got some events happening to our protagonist that affects them (Foreclose on the house)
Great start
Odd, attempt at rising tension: They got her, got her good medical treatments?
Lol at the vampire fighting scene.
And it ends, hmm. Personal taste, I dislike the ending, she just does it anyways. But eh, small smudge in an otherwise good piece.

The End: An oral history
Er my gerd a fellow meta story?
Okay, we got a lot going on here, fortunately, the title helps us. So the end has happened, we got a MUSHROOM? An Alien? A something talking to something, about something. This might be a problem if I, captain dumbass, cannot understand at least two of those somethings.
Something #3 is the end of the world, caused by uhh ideas?
*fistbump* on the aside mentions fo the Dome
Yup, Benny The Snake reference here. Meta
Okay, so we got Something #3 explained, pretty much Rosa Flores became a meme and exploded the world. Sure, Something #2 is explained, last survivor. Phew, was worried I wouldn't know what was goign on
Got a few things you can improve on, I think the kid (interviewer) actually talks in this piece, but I'm not sure.
The Rosa Reference is a bit light, bit hard to pick up on.
Dunno if by design, but I don't get much from this piece. Feels like you had a chance to say something and swerved. Personal taste though.
It's an okay piece, bit hard for me to follow, but once I got there you ran out of words. Would have liked to seen this as a bigger piece!

Because I love you
Good start, immediately picked up on Werewolf (Rosa?) killing people and the relationship of the characters.
That being said, might be a bit of a cliched idea, betting lover(protagonist) kills lover.
Ayup, called it on the ending. The Title gave it away, plus the character voice. Personal Taste here though.
Odd, I just assumed they were both monsters, like attracts like.
Wonderfully written, good character voice.

The Rosa Challenge
Hah, I just finished reading Entertaining Demons(don't read this book) which had a similar idea to yours.
Start is a bit wobbily. It works, but we take a while to get to the punch line.
Hmm, nice twist with making the reader doubt who is the ghost and who isn't.
Daang you ran out of words. Good idea, clever jokes, I think this story is great!

Le Pelicula Negra
Gonna ignore your first sentence there, it's a bad start. A women with glasses, but her eyes is on fire, has white hair and is impatient. There are better starts.
Second sentence fairs no better. Okay she has like lips that are lines.
There we go, boom. Character motivation, we are wondering why this dead women would help people, kk. Lets g-
YOUR START IS BACKSTORY!?!?!?!
Shame, this new scene is a much better start
Aww yeah, spirit summoning, a twist and heroes banding together!
Children of Rosa lol, awesome
Action scene needs a bit of work. You need rising tension (Don't say the battle intensfied. Have Rual fighting a dick demon as the corruption spreads over Rosa's soul, and he is trying to reach his sister's hand to form the ritual. They almost touch and BOOM, Raul's hand get's cut off. Then you could be like the true circle bond, is the family bond (Grandmother, Father, Daughter)
Light fluffy action piece that falls flat on its face out of the gate, but manages to recover

Table Turning
Start works, could be improved.
A problem throughout this week was everyone going the Paranormal Investigator route, think fatigue is getting at me here.
Real meat of the story is when they are talking to Rosa, could get there quicker?
Hmmm, these questions are running long. Need to quicken up the pace, give out some world building details or emotions with the questions that are being asked.
OUCH, the 20 questions resolves in nothing? Then just summarize it!
This kind of, goes nowhere. Like its middling, we meander to Katie and a bug hunt, whats th- Ends on a pun
Ends on a pun, Winner of this week

From Morgue to Morgue
Rough starting sentence, but I kind of understand it.
AHHH ANOTHER PARANORMAL INVESTIGATOR (Personal fatigue, sorry!)
Okay so opening scene is only there to say Rosa Flores is dead. Cut it, let's fast forward to where your story starts (it aint when the protag learns Rosa Flores is dead, otherwise we wouldn't cut as soon as that is said)
KK we got some urban fantasy vibes, othre side, guides, siezed by something. Ohh, I like the "start paying tolls", neat colloqualisim in your world.
They shot a beetle, need to say how large the beetle is. I'm gonna assume its human head sized, ALA Dead Space baby. I'm a rosa beetle, wamp wamp.
Weird Third Scene that doesn't really need to be here
Annnd I'm blue balled, nice non ending
urban Fantasy Romp that tries to pick up on the genre cliches, and then had to suddenly end. Nice worldbuilding, but needed more meat to it

Necromancers In New York
Start is great, punchy and gets its meaning across.
Allright, so we are going with umm, thriller story here.
Good start with your characters, but what's going on? Does the start matter? I'd still keep the start, but others may call you out on it.
Protagonist's character voice is great
Okay, nice flashback scene.
Yeah, I think this works. Probably should foreshadow the ending at the start
Character piece in an urban fantasy world that does the job. Good character voice, solid writing, bit confusing pacing/structure though.

Ghosts and Monsters
ThranGuy
Urban fantasy
Winner
I mean uhh, Good character voice at the start.
Good way to reveal Rosa is dead. Like this Doctor character
Hmmm, Rosa gave birth to a monster that is at her funeral? Could have expanded on that instead of a one liner.
I think this has the same problem as sitting here's piece. It's one dude talking, so we don't get much context. That thing about "You aren't a monster you had a mother who did not give up on you for one second", could of been real punchy!
Good character voice, but not much of substance here!

Magnificat
Plz Capitalize Last Names (Flores)
Starting sentence is beautifully written!
So we got this problem, other characters are interrupting our protagonist, but its formated really bad.
That last sentence has like... uhhh, 3 dudes interrupting the one dude?
People don't like Rosa? The protag doesn't like Rosa?
What the gently caress is going on!!!!!!!!!
Beautifully written piece that needs a ton of clarity for it to make sense.

Bees to Flower
Ok start, I like the random dog fact, but X is dead gets the job done but doesn't wow me
"Rosa, like me," is pure exposition bordering on "As you know". Saved by that neat little character bit at the end of this paragraph
Oh, great use of italics to show people are chatting in IRC.
Character voice is coming through here, like the "not to use the O" word bit
First scene is good!
Second scene is where the LSD kicked in?
That ending is something. It not bad but its not good either, it's like a fakey sucker punch.
Still, character voice comes through and I like it.

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!


Pass

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

sebmojo posted:

No, it's not obligatory but it is insanely weak given he's just called the entire population of the dome poop-devouring mollusks lol.

so yeah let's :siren: mod challenge :siren: that if this brawl is successfully completed Exmond's next dome story must contain at least 50 words of unironic praise of the victor in some recognizable form, consequences for failure TBD.

Does everyone realize that the big joke was that I'm one of the poo poo slugs? And the protagonist beats me up in the end and tosses me off a cliff?

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Siddhartha Glutamate posted:

Hopefully you realize that my challenge was kayfabe and not at all honest. Though I would say that being called a poo poo slug feels apt for me. Don't get me wrong I'd totally brawl you, but I only choose to do it since you quoted my "in" post to contrast your creative "in". Mostly I just saw it as an excuse to force myself to do more writing.

That and your post it tickled me in a good way. Like, I sat there for over a day trying to think of how I could write a "brawl me" reply in the same style as your post, but I couldn't do it.

Though I am proud of the line "two poo poo slugs enter, one poo poo slug leaves." That could be my motto for life.

You don't have messages enabled, otherwise I'd pm you.

Your bad pun post inspired me to make a terrible foreshadowing pun, which I placed in my entry post.

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Considering I'm moving in 2 days I shouldn't do this, but

in

Gimme 20 RFT and 20 Song

Edit: I'm here to write, not read a comic book or look at your "pictures". Should have made it excel!

Exmond fucked around with this message at 16:53 on Jul 22, 2019

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Chili posted:

Exmond your…

Song pick was already picked. I’m giving you 11.
Song is… They Reminisce Over You, by Pete Rock & CL Smooth +156 words https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BONgL61snlM
RFT is… A DECK OF CARDS!

How many extra words for a deck of cards? 52?

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

The Ship's Name Was Purgatory
Deck of cards, DIAMOND CAPSULE
Reminisce about you song
1,021 frantically written before-I-move words


It was typical that humanity met alien life during its own death throes.

Earth was dying. Slowly heating itself to death, a wreckage of humanity’s making. Some squeezed their eyes shut, buried their heads in the sand. Others tried to help and fix things - they failed.

When the Ralthians arrived humanity was down to three million souls. Those who hadn’t given in to despair modified the space elevator to act as a docking hub, and soon what was left of humanity was in the stars.

The great wanderer-ship picked up yet another migrant species, a small collection of organisms desperately trying to find meaning in a meaningless void. The ship continues every forward, unaware of its inhabitants, and unresponsive to attempts to control it.

But, humanity’s legacy is death, and it has followed them here, aboard the wanderer-ship.

*****

S’rrantha rooted her fibers along cool metal floor of the atrium. Fifty million organisms stare back at her, ready to hear about the future. The stalks that run along her buds are a full tensile strength, emitting the tone of understanding. Language is not a barrier for her. When she rustles everyone understands.

“Psilocybins, Kroxens and Humans, thank you for gathering here today. We rejoin in shared harmony and shared chakra, to give praise to the great reactor.”

The plasma shield behind her lowered, and her leaves shifted to form an orb, the holy sign. She looked at the congregation and mentally recorded down the reactions from the first row. Her brain-mallow balloons as two million faces are transcribed. It will have to be enough for the garden of memories.

“The tree-mothers gave me their beginnings. How the wanderer-ship crashed into the land, and we thought it was a curse! How naive we were back then, to reject the blessings of the great reactor!. We have endured the destruction of our seed asteroids, the supernova that caused Kroxia to fall, and now we have outlived earth.”

S’rrantha slammed her buds, pollen falling onto the crowd. The section of humanity stirred, not knowing what will happen next.

“All journeys must end. Our calculations of the great reactor were in error and the reactor nears its pollination cycle. The great hibernation must come sooner than expected.“


S’rrantha paused, and let her joy-spores emit their full pheromonal strength.

“When the reactor sleeps, so too will the oxygen givers. The great hibernation will embrace us. But do not despair, let the end-times come with rejoicing! Let the wanderer-ship rest. Let us embrace our end!”

The Psilocybins emit spores, for their all-consuming hunger can end.

The Ralthians observee, their brain-mallows expanding. They must record everything, including the end-times.

And humanity? Those who would have despaired were left on earth. The last remnants of humanity did what humans do best. They planned; They adapted; They fought the coming annihilation.


*****

Raphel was one of the young-bloods on earth, those who fought in the corporation wars. Few thought they had a chance, but when the dust settled, they had won. A shame that stubbornness and willing to act couldn’t save humanity.

He didn’t want to die, he wanted to fight, to punch something. But even Raphael knows you can’t fight against a lack of oxygen, and so he agreed to the plan.

Oliver, the last president of earth, shuffled the deck and looked at Raphel. It was a stern look, one that evaluated the teenager with a glance.

Raphael looked at him, and then at his other comrades. “Ace of Spades,” Raphael said.

The president flipped the top card and looked at it. He put a hand on Raphael’s shoulder. “Congratulations. You are a lucky man,” he said as he reveals the card to be the Ace of Spades.

Raphael looked at the others. He hated this, he wanted to fight this. But the war taught him when to fight, and when to step in line. He does not feel lucky.

****

As the Psilocybins rejoiced and Ralthians recorded their final moments, humanity acted. One final act of defiance. One final sacrifice.


The great reactor burned to life, and the ship shuddered to life. Great rhythmic booms echoed through the ship, as if a long dormant heart started to beat, causing everyone to fall on their knees.

The wanderer-ship had awakened.

The reactor was awake, sentience gained through blood. Great sails, their blue bioluminescent glow burning against space, unfurled from the ship and caught the souls of the departed.


***

Habitat05 once housed the last remnants of humanity. Now it was empty, a barren empty shell of metal, save for a few dozen survivors. S’rrantha marched towards the few dozen survivors.

Against the large emptiness of Habitat05 they looked like ants. There was no pattern to the survivors: a mixture of ages, races and genders. Some survivors clung to the idea that they were the brightest and best humanity had to offer, but they were wrong.

A scout returned to her and confirmed what the life scan had told her. Out of two million humans, only fifty-two remained.

Her stalks opened, the tone of understanding buzzed. “What happened?”

Most of them wept, but one of them, a young teenager, glared at her. A young child answered her, simply pointed to a house sitting by the edge of Habitat05.

The first thing S’rrantha noticed, was the names written on the walls, on the floor, on any surface on the house. The second thing was the hole leading to the outer areas of the biom. She stepped to the hold, the wind of the biome pushed her stalks and she looked down. The reactor, burning with newfound sentience, greeted her.

For the first time, the matriarch feels the emotion shame.

“Do you honor last requests?” The older human male asked her.

For a moment she is speechless. Humanity’s legacy, life to the bitter end, has cowed her. “Anything you want, human.”

“Call me Ace,” he said. He flicked a card off the edge and it lazily drifts down to the reactor. He picked up a photo of a woman smiling happily. “Teach me,” he said. “Teach me how to never forget two million faces.”

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Thank you for the crits. Only had a day to write that. Sorry for the tense issues.

Exmond's Haiku Request!

I have produced terrible stories that I'm not proud of, gotten into arguments over writing, had people wish they could rocket me to the moon because of my writing and had my writing count compared to Alt-Right Nazism because that's..a thing?

Through it all, I have kept writing, though if you asked me I couldn't tell you why. Maybe something about enjoying the art of writing and being too stubborn to quit.


Give me a Haiku about how why you don't stop writing.

Exmond fucked around with this message at 15:21 on Aug 2, 2019

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

IN

Derp give me all your information so I can write nice things about you, 50 words.

My protagonist has lost the love of their life.

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Her Last Request, His Last Regret
1237 words
HellRule: 50 words must be dedicatd to how awesome Derp is, no irony. Which is easy because Derp is super awesome!

Atop a hill, an old man sits on the oddest bench in the world. The bench lies at a cemetery, and it is only here, and only if you let them, the dead will whisper to you.

The old man is recovering, both from the climb and from a life full of mistakes, and he should enjoy the view. But he stares straight forward, his attention affixed on a tombstone. It is an unremarkable piece of granite, but it never is the design we notice about a tombstone. Engraved in stone, is her name: DERP. Her last jest to a world that is lesser by her absence - her nickname engraved everlasting in stone. 

The old man smiles at her last joke and remembers her unique sense of humor, her elegance, and the way she spun magic with her words. She lies beneath the ground now, having found a peace that he could never offer. The tombstone stares back at him and the dead whisper, “She’s dead, and she never told you.”

Next to her grave is another family plot. It was meant for him. For them to be together in death, but he lost the right. He is so focused on the tombstone that he doesn’t hear the plot’s owner walk up the hill.

“You didn’t know, did you?” A voice interrupts the old man’s thoughts. Even though they haven’t talked in years, he still recognizes the voice.

A young man sits down at the bench, his face a mixture of careful consideration and cold condemnation. He says nothing, and the old man is undecided if this is a test or well-deserved punishment.

“No. I suppose she didn’t want me at the funeral,” he says. It hurts, but it’s the truth. And family deserves the truth.

The words come out quick and hot, harsher than the young man meant them to. “It was a family-only event.”

The leaves rustle in the wind, and nothing but silence and bad blood remains. The old man can hear her whispering. Her story is a simple one. A young woman, a talented writer that could weave spells out of words, meets a foolish boy and they fall in love. One of them grew up into a strong, independent woman. The other one grew up into a failure.

The older man opens his mouth, trying to find the right words to say. He has done nothing right in years, but this time he listens to his heart.

“Did she suffer?”

Silence fills the air again, and the old man swears he can hear the beeps of a dialysis machine offset by the tone of a weakening, dying heart.

The young man finally answers. “No.”

A wave of relief washes over the old man’s grief. He was called here, not by a higher purpose, but by his only son. The tombstone stands steady and the dead lie still. Everyone is waiting on him.

“Did you want to know why I left?” The words come out slowly, no anger in them, just tired resignation.

Half starts fill the air as the father watches his son struggling to say the right thing. The father remembers this feeling, of drowning in your own emotions, of desperately trying to find the magical words that will make things right. He wonders how many times his son has suffered alone. He wonders, and regrets.

The father says, “Take your time, I’m not going anywhere.”

The dead lying in their graves appreciate the irony.

“I’m dying,” the son says. “An illness, like mom has. Had. I’ll be in surgery tomorrow.”

The father ignores the whispers of truth the dead offer. “You’ll be fine though. Best surgeons in the country are here!”

“Five percent chance of survival,” The young man says, slowly shaking his head.

The father prepares to speak, knowing already the words won’t be enough. They weren’t enough for her, so why would they be good enough for his son. “I’m sorry, for everything.”

Silence passes over them, but the dead stop whispering and listen.

“Mom’s last request was that I call you. Meet you here.”

It makes sense; the family started here. A talented woman went to the graveyard, looking for divine inspiration for her poems but found love instead. A mother and father brought their child here to witness nature in all of its forms. A well-loved mother lies buried here and now a dying son meets his father, one last time. The family started here and it should end here.

“She was the wisest women I knew.” The father says.

“I’m not going to forgive you, but I think I can stop hating you,” The young man offers.

It’s not redemption, if it were the father would know it was false. It’s a first step towards something greater, and it will have to be enough.

“Is there anything I can do to help?” the father pauses, the words coming out choked. “Are you in pain?”

She whispers to the young man, a wry sense of humor in her voice.  Her final jest, or is it her final barb? Perhaps it is both. A smile creeps up the young man’s face. The older man soon finds it infectious, he too is smiling.

“Well, I could use some advice,” the young man says, turning to the worst person to ask for relationship advice. The smile is bigger now, an invitation. “Dying makes dating really awkward.”

Even from the grave her words can still can spin magic. Small specks of laughter fill the graveyard, and for the first time in a long time, the father and the son talk.

=+=

A long shadow falls over the young man as night approaches. His phone dings, and the father watches in interest as his son reads his phone.

“Just ghosted a girl.” The young man pauses and the father notices a wry smile on his lips. “She is uh, not happy.”

The father laughs. He hasn’t felt this connected to anyone in a while.

“You got a date?”

“Well, I wanted to try this get this whole love thing right. Hit a home run if ya know what I mean?”

Laughter again fills the graveyard and the dead join in. Perhaps it is their morose laughter that breaks the mood and lets reality set in.

“I’m lucky,” the son says. “Lot of people don’t realize how short their lives can be. Mom had last regrets.”

The father has lived a life full of mistakes. “Everybody has regrets, son.”

The son thinks on this for a moment. “True, I guess you just got to prioritize them. I’m happy we met, Father.”

The young man stands up and walks away from his own grave. There is no embrace, but there is a goodbye.

When the young man goes to surgery, he will simply nod that he is ready to roll the dice. He has said nothing since meeting his father, because the last words he said seemed fitting; they seemed right.

Three days from now, the father will be here again, watching his only son be buried next to his mother. The funeral will be small, nobody will talk to him, and the father will stay after wards, sitting at the oddest bench in the world.

And when he stops and listens, he will let the dead whisper to him. He will hear his wife’s story, his son’s final words and cry.

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

They are making a list and checking it twice, seeing if you submitted or not! Umaru-Chan avatars are coming toniiiiiiight!

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

Merry Christmas TD!

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Exmond
May 31, 2007

Writing is fun!

It's been an interesting year, and I'd like to discuss one stat in particular as it was generated by a member of this community:

  • Threats of Violence aimed at me: 1


While I didn't go to the authorities, nor do I feel any actions are required by moderators, I did feel unsafe in our little writing community that is called ThunderDome.


This occurred is the discord, something that has less moderation compared to the IRC channel of old. Any further critique of the discord isn't useful as well, it's coming from me, and my reputation (and avatar) precedes me. I do feel someone was just venting, perhaps at my antics, instead of wishing actual violence. Maybe this is the SomethingAwful way, or a misunderstanding, but the core abuse was still there.


That is generally why I have not participated much in the past. I have only participated when a truly terrible idea hits me ( I AM SO SORRY ABOUT THE poo poo SLUGS) or when people get together and are enthusiastic about a prompt. I have to say, the other writing communities I have joined don't have that same level of community, companionship, and camaraderie that you do TD.

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