In, give me a slogan please.
|# ¿ Apr 30, 2019 15:32|
|# ¿ Oct 20, 2021 22:37|
Prompt: "Pine City Gangneung"
Sunrise in Gangneung
James ran his fingers through clumped strands of unkempt hair and exhaled.
“I know it’s dangerous, but it’s not that far. We… you have to see it. It is breathtaking. It’s New Years day and it’s one of the main reasons I wanted us to come here for our honeymoon. The crisp forest air dashed with the salt of the sea… it’s mesmerizing.” he said, his voice a distraught whisper.
Karen was doing all she could to stop herself from screaming, but she could see the desperation in his eyes as he scanned every line of her face with inattentive expectation.
“Really James… it’s okay. Let’s just… let’s spend what time-” she started to say.
“There’s this sound just as the water laps against those big concrete barriers, kind of like a soft crunch, or maybe a gentle roaring, and the light! My god, the way the light shines…” His voice wavered, but his enthusiasm ran high.
Karen sighed and forced a beleaguered smile. Even caked in viscera, James was the man she loved most in the world. His blind optimism is what attracted her, but it had its drawbacks. He was impossibly hopeful.
“Is it more of a splish or a splash?” She asked through thinly veiled sarcasm.
The sarcasm wasn’t lost on James, but he smiled his first genuine smile since they escaped their hotel. “Definitely more of a splash. Can we go, please?” James pleaded quietly.
His eyelids, usually unyielding dams, blinked away tears that had begun to well up.
Karen nodded and clambered to her feet. Rods of pain shot through her calf and she recalled the clasping of teeth around it. A mouthful of broken or breaking teeth grazed over the mound of soft muscle and found purchase in a particularly succulent part of it. She shuddered, nearly shouting just at the memory of it, then pulled on the bloodsoaked denim that had held the rest of her leg in place, taut.
James took note then. He had avoided acknowledging the bite beyond the bandages he made from his jeans. This was it. The end. The grand catastrophe. Cliché as it is, Romero and Kirkman got it right. Humanity would eradicated with a series of slow, effacing bites. One mouthful at a time as the living acted out their last hopes and dreams.
To say that their circumstance was bleak would be a gross, nigh disrespectful, understatement, but it was one that they handled with the panache of a couple whose honeymoon did not end with a bellhop tearing out a guest’s throat. Those same teeth taking some of Karen as well.
They had managed to get some rest in storeroom just outside of row of food stalls. The smell of burned meats, kimchi and old fish was a surprisingly more welcome scent then that of human remains baking and reanimating in the early summer heat. However, if they wanted to make the sunrise James so desperately wanted them to see, they needed to move.
Karen knew this, and saw that James was struggling with something in his silence. “Sun is rising soon, and I hear seeing it is to die for.”
James didn’t like the joke, but smirked in spite of it. Karen handed him a single gore-encrusted garden shear and tightened her grip on a long fish knife.
James slid the door open a millimeter at a time and peered out from the gap he created. It had been a few hours since they had managed to stow away in the storeroom, but the dead were mostly silent except for the occasional choir of guttural moaning and the uncoordinated shuffling of feet.
Not hearing or seeing anything, they emerged from the storeroom crouched and exited the row of food stalls.
The pair spotted an alley that led down to the docks, and began a quick, but quiet trek toward it. Their trek came to a halt, as they stifled screams with palmed gasps as they stumbled upon a scene of carnage.
A woman in what was once a pink striped bikini was crouched over a man that was once a delivery driver. He was wearing a half-helmet and a basketed bike was crashed nearby. The girl’s femur was exposed with gobs of stringy flesh dangling from it.
Hunkered down alongside her was a businessman with a tooth torn flap of cheek hanging from his face. They tugged at separate lengths of intestine that unfurled like viscous yarn. A nude overweight man, slick with blood from a bloom of protruding rib and lung stood at the head of the biker unable to work his grimy fingers past the helmet. He looked up at Karen and James.
Karen and James looked through the man. The literal hole in his back showed the beach behind him, and all four of the unliving horrors, including the person whom had so unluckily had their intestines pulled out and feasted upon, turned and let out unified screams that escaped from their putrefying throats as fetid, flesh obscured, gurgles.
James grabbed Karen’s hand and they hastily pushed past. His face became unflinching steel as a primal focus came over him. His grip tightened on the shear as he looked over his shoulder.
Karen was drenched with sweat and she stumbled as James dragged her along. Her equilibrium was shot, and her head was swam. Rays of light began to crest over the horizon out on the sea. James let go of her hand as a young man in a tattered school uniform pulled him down from the dock they erupted onto down to the sand below.
Karen couldn’t catch her voice to scream out to him. She watched the boy pull him down and they both fell into the darkness beneath the dock.
The four from the alley had managed to catch up, but instead of ravenously pursuing Karen they just formed a macabre audience for the last love story told in Gangneung idling at the dock as their meal suddenly expired. Karen shambled down towards the beach, legs and arms stiff and awkward like this was the first time she was using them even though she already knew it was the last.
She tried to call out to James once more, but just mouthed his name ineffectually. She spotted him, knees buried in the sand on either side of the schoolboy as he repeatedly plunged the shear into his head and neck, while blood spurted from his own.
His labored panting and exertion was made quiet by the sound of the sea lapping against the concrete tetrapods that decorated the beachfront like giant jacks left behind by a disinterested child.
Karen watched as cool viridian waves washed in and out forming an entrancing rhythm. James called out to her, but she didn’t hear him. His own voice lost in the torrent of blood filling his throat.
She lurched towards the sea pushing past several tetrapods.
James looked on, mouth agape and jaw trembling as rivulets of tears ran down his face. He tried to call out to her again, but blood just spilled out.
His haste quickly diminished, as he wordlessly mouthed Karen’s name as ineffectually as she had his. She turned towards him, the terrified look in her eyes replaced with milky absence.
He lurched towards her and met her oblivion laden gaze with one of equal vacuity.
A coruscation of iridescent light glinted off the shifting slopes of the sea in kaleidoscopic brilliance.
James awkwardly clawed at Karen’s hand, and she reciprocated. A mangled gaggle of fingers operating on dying muscle memory. They sunk down into the sand, eyes turned towards the sea as foam washed over their feet.
|# ¿ May 5, 2019 16:20|
Kurtak’s mandibles clacked spasmodically in his frustration as he lowered his uncoiling proboscis into the divining springs.
All of the other of the high form offspring had bonded with their life mates, some had even begun the ritual rites of Nuremal, the transfiguration of self and partner into one new being, a new high form.
Kurtak was one of those select to become high form, but had always been looked upon unfavorably by his companions. His parents had partially failed in their Nuremal. This does occasionally happen, the elder high forms ensured the hive, but the chittering mass looked on disdainfully as an infantile pupa emerged from the chrysalis, and not a mature high form.
It is said that a failed Nuremal is the result of mispaired bonds. Young Melazum often engage in group courtship once their esophageal ganglia sacs protrude. A miasma quickly overcomes these Melazum clutches as the ganglia sacs release new and changing pheromones that ultimately accelerates their maturation cycle so that they too may engage in Nuremal and not just the feigned sensory simulacrum of it that manifests through these group bondings.
However, not all Melazum reach the necessary point of maturation for a successful bond. Physically they may appear to have reached adulthood, but the hormonal development stunted somewhere along the way due to insignificant pheromone exposure. This was the case with both of Kurtak’s parents.
Kurtak was well aware of his standing within the hive, and this was his last chance to find a mate. Not only would he have to be able to bond with them, they would have to begin life anew as a joined high form. A thought which made Kurtak’s mid and hind gut turn. How could he be a high form if he couldn’t even bond. He feared he would be forced to become a broodmother.
Kurtak could feel his parents in him. He felt their shared ecstasy and hopes as they entered Nuremal, but at the same time he knew that he was different. He knew that he was incomplete.
The divining water was supposed to help guide the High Form through their lifecycle. It contained the genetic memory of their species, the ambition of the one mind and provided the nutrients necessary for a high form to develop fully.
Kurtak slurped from the spring each day from the time he emerged from the chrysalis, but its effects on him had been marginal. His body grew, his ganglia had emerged and he finally shed the birthing carapace that should have fallen off during Nuremal, but he knew that he was not ready, or at least he felt he was not ready.
Kurtak raised his proboscis from the spring and noticed another Melazum coming up alongside him to drink from the spring.
A beautiful Melazum that appeared slightly different from the others. She was instar and not yet ready to bond, like Kurtak.
She screeched out a sonorous melody of greeting at Kurtak, and he turned his gaze away instinctively, before turning back towards her nervously.
Patiently, she smiled as he returned a melodic series of chirps. He stumbled through them of course, but she had his attention and he had hers. Somewhere in the insectile noise, an introduction was made. Her name was Yolonia, also the offspring of a failed Nuremal.
Alone under the light of the moon, Kurtak took Yolonia’s forewings and wrapped himself into them. Their probosci entangled, and an eruption of translucent fluid encased their bodies turning into a hard chitinous shell just as swiftly as it had poured over them.
The elders looked on from the outer terrace in hopeful exultation. For two moons, they meditated in communion with the one mind channeling their life energy into the young couple.
On the rise of the third moon, the chrysalis broke, and Gokal, the chosen of his kind emerged. The elders sung praises to the one mind as Gokal, the foretold primarch emerged and spoke his name in jagged dissonant screeches.
The era of proliferation had begun, and Gokal had received the first point of conquest in a vision during the Nuremal, an ocean world teeming with life, a place the one mind had called ‘Earth’.
|# ¿ May 7, 2019 16:52|
fleta, if you wrote comments using google docs, we cant see them because the link only allows us the view it. you need to give us a link that lets us either comment or edit for us to see the comments
they're at the bottom of the stories. (I suppose you could mean actual comments )
|# ¿ May 7, 2019 17:09|
IN with Astrophe
Anomalous Amalgam fucked around with this message at 17:47 on May 7, 2019
|# ¿ May 7, 2019 17:38|
The Rebinding of That Which Was
Nick crushed the butt of his cigarette against the banister of the water tower’s service platform. The Consortium of Interplanar Adjudication advised against smoking on the job, but they also advised against ranged corporikinesis which is exactly what Nick had been contracted to do.
Once a form has been established in our material plane, the manipulation of its matter not within touch becomes increasingly dangerous with distance. The risk being entangling your target or yourself with unintended matter.
The only safe means for ranged application requires an apportation specialist whose sole job is to create a bridge that instantaneously relocates the wavelength to the specified target.
Now normally, this process complicated as it is, can be performed without hitch. What complicates this, and what has Nick lighting his 4th cigarette of the hour is what lay sprawled out in a blighted section of farmstead deep in the hills of rural Oregon.
A writhing alien mass comprised of borrowed tissues, limbs and organs. Something with too many of each.
Nick’s eyes scanned its features for a moment longer than they should have, and he retched.
After regaining his composure, Nick checked his watch and traced a sigil in the night-sky. A sound like static being pulled through a vacuum gave way to an image of a young woman. Something about her already seemed less than human, but the definition loss clarity with each mission Nick was assigned.
“Mother-6, this is Specter-4. Confirm your arrival at dead zone.” Nick said.
“Specter-4, this is Mother-6. Arrived about a kilometer east of the dead zone. Is the AO clear to approach?” the woman replied.
“Mother-6, you are clear to approach, AO.”
“Understood, Specter-4. Beginning radio silence.”
Nick closed the communication, and one came in shortly after his had closed.
“Specter-4, this is Ghoul-Alpha, and I will be facilitating your apportation needs today. I do need to caution that if I detect link instability, that I will relocate you, Mother-6 and ‘That Which Was’ to a place beyond time until a contingency can be created to deal with the celestial. This will of course result in yours, mine and Mother-6’s permanent decommissions and is not a favorable outcome.”
Nick rolled his eyes.
“Look. There is a 15-minute window for the transference. You give me every millisecond of that time, and I guarantee we will be just fine. Do not relocate until the time has passed”
Ghoul-Alpha sighed audibly.
“Initiating radio silence, Spectre-4.”
“Roger that.” Nick replied with obvious annoyance in his tone.
Belle stripped out of her robe and was made fully nude bathed only in the pale light of the moon.
“Lucky pricks… They just get to do whatever they loving want, while I have to be the one who sacrifice life and limb.”
Nick struggled to swallow down guilt as he looked down at her, but he knew this was work that had to be done.
He exhaled and adjusted his footing. He planted his feet a shoulder’s width apart and turned his gaze back to creature referred to as ‘That Which Was’.
Hands raised slowly, and fingers spread like equidistant spears made to pierce the stars, small arcs of light danced between them turning into small chromatic orbs that disappeared into the aether just as swiftly as they formed.
“I call upon the elders of the eternal dark, your kin has been beckoned into our world. I will return it.” He spoke, tracing a blood-soaked fingertip against the night sky which momentarily blotted out the stars making it blacker than pitch.
“I call upon the firmament of unbeing. The primal plane from which form flows. I tap the well of chaos for purposes greater than myself.” Nick explained which caused a wave of malaise to ripple throughout his person. Each cell rung out in incomparable unease.
“I call upon the chthonic bindings that adhere to flesh, bone and sinew. This form not of this world is yours for the taking.” This, Nick recited nervously. Before words even escaped his lips, he could feel teeth grazing his flesh, countless hands pulling him towards some abyssal place.
Belle pushed through a cornfield that swayed like a lifeless, alien facsimile. She could feel the malignant presence of ‘That Which Was’ tainting the land around her.
Breaking into the clearing where the cult ritual had occurred, she stood slack jawed and mouth agape for a moment as she reconciled the monstrous form before her. Several strangely jointed legs hefted it from the blackened patch of earth, and a gaggle of eyes that hung like a hive, swung into view and swiveled towards Belle.
“loving idiot farmers.” She groaned under her breath.
Skeletons picked clean of all flesh lay scattered in concentric rows, the outermost rung nothing but 20 black robes in neat piles.
She extended her right hand and moonlight coalesced into a small dagger which she used to pierce her left breast just above her heart.
She winced, biting down on her lip as the light-blade pierced the fatty tissue. She fell to her knees as it reached her breastplate, and with a final determined thrust, pierced her heart where she then collapsed into the dirt dying.
“Looks, like I’m up.” Nick said.
He opened his mouth, and jagged and harsh sounds billowed out like fog from some forsaken mire.
Nick’s ears bled at the sound of his own voice.
Arms still extended, he formed a focus between his thumbs and index fingers. The multitude of chromatic orbs that had surrounded him gathered into a single sphere which he vaulted into the corpse of Mother-6 with a gentle push. It sunk into her form causing the body to rise.
Like lacquered paint exposed to thinner, her skin sloughed off in heaps of corrugated folds. Then her flesh unknit itself, striations becoming loose single strands, each fiber and tissue becoming separate. Her organs and entrails fell from her skeleton and the skeleton stood erect, a light suspended in the sockets where eyes once were.
‘This is Mother-6, Spectre-4, feeling less like myself and more like nothing, if you could speed this up.’ Belle’s voice rang out in Nick’s skull. ‘I’m trying, it’s just… this creature’s a mess.’
Nick had begun reallocating the creature’s bulk. Condensed, refined, shaped in a way that made sense and had order. Nick transferred the flesh of the creature onto the skeletal body of Belle.
He hadn’t done something this complicated before, and especially not at a distance, so separating out single organ systems or patching together those beyond repair was slow and delicate.
“Spectre-4, this is Ghoul-Alpha ETA for completion? You have less than a minute remaining.”
“Nearly done, its essence is contained, but this abundance of life… it’s more than I’ve manipulated before.”
“Can you do it?”
“I… It’s done, but what do we do with the excess?”
“Leave that to me.” Mother-6 chimed in, her new body completely unlike her old stood before the remnants of ‘That Which Was’.
Nick watched and he noticed that something wasn’t quite right. Mother-6 had taken on avian features. He struggled to swallow down guilt for a second time, then watched in horror as Mother-6 scooped up the remnants of ‘That Which Was’ with a large beak that erupted from her face. A thick rope like tongue lapped up the remaining bits of flesh and blood.
Feathers and wire like bones then erupted from her arms and sides filling into full plumes of brilliantly hued feathers that shone in the moonlight. She took flight and flew towards Nick who was at a loss for words.
She perched atop the railing of the water tower.
“I can see by that dumb look on your face, that you think you hosed this up. That’s not the case. I’m a shapeshifter. New flesh, old flesh, my anima is my anima. 'That Which Was' is trapped within me, you’ve done your job well.”
“So, I didn’t include a random pigeon in the reconfiguration of your body… good, that’s good… I mean shapeshifters. That’s new to me… Wish we would have had someone like you for the last time this thing was born. The others…”
“Weren’t me and did their parts just like us to keep this poo poo show of a ride going. It’s a raw deal, but tomorrow every chuckle-gently caress pen pusher and meme worthy cat that doesn’t already have a date with death is going to wake up oblivious, and not at all thankful, but they’ll have another day, and that’s the job.” Belle said flapping her wings in anticipation of flight.
“What next?” Nick asked.
“You know how these things go. We survived and didn’t get banished beyond time-space. We go our separate ways and live our lives until the call comes, and it always does. I’ll be seeing you, Spectre-4.”
“Farewell, Mother-6.” Nick said watching in awe as she flew out towards the moon.
|# ¿ May 13, 2019 04:46|
Eh, I'm in. I'll take a hell or flash rule to get the juices going.
|# ¿ May 14, 2019 13:41|
Something weird at the ranger station
Determined to rediscover yourself, you plan a weekend alone at Rojo Abismo. A small canyon near the New Mexico border.
The drive to the canyon is cathartic. Undulated hills and grass-swept plains punctuated with the occasional antiquated rest stop are the only company you have. You arrive at the canyon mid-day.
You park and find yourself greeted by an older man who introduces himself as "Ted".
Stale coffee perfumes his speech, but you smile and nonchalantly lean away as he leans in pushing pamphlets and maps into your hand.
You confirm your reservation and provide your ID. Ted keys it in slowly with awkward fingers that crash clumsily against faded keys.
He clears his throat and shuffles in place, suddenly pale. You don’t think anything of it and look around the room at souvenirs, trinkets and photos of campers.
“I’m sorry, it looks like your site is closed due to a collapsed hoodoo. We’ve got the area closed off until it can be surveyed. We’ve relocated you to site 5. I’m terribly sorry about this.” He says, overly apologetic.
You assure him it’s fine, but he insists that it isn’t. “Normally, you’d be able to drive up to your site. Camp in your car if you wanted, but you’ll have to hike a trail to get to site 5, and it’s a bit of a ways. I can take you down on the 4-wheeler though, it’s small enough to navigate the trails and you won’t have to carry your gear.” He says looking at the trail with distant eyes instead of you.
You hesitate momentarily, contemplating the difficulty of hiking there yourself, but decide to accept his offer.
Ted locks up, and you gather your belongings. The ride is beautiful. You pass through dense thickets of tall desert grass, copses of looming junipers, and over sunflower-filled crests peppered with seeds that are spread across the terrain like black tears.
You arrive at a cluster of primitive campsites in the basin of a long-since dried river. You don’t think anyone has been here in years.
Solitude is what you came here seeking, but a mounting sense of unease comes to bloom as you consider the time it took you to get here.
You express your concerns to Ted, but he points out a dilapidated cabin on a ridge about a ½ mile from your site and says, “A ranger will be stationed there at all times. Just look at the light and you’ll know it’s okay.” Your concern isn’t abated, but you exchange farewells and before you know it, he is gone.
Setting up camp took longer than you expected. You set to gathering up kindling and dry foliage from the surrounding brush to make a fire.
During your search you come across a Velcro strap sticking out of the ground. You dig with a nearby stick and reveal a fanny pack. It’s dark now, and you can’t discern its contents. You take it back and set it aside while you start a fire.
You examine the pack by fire light.
Inside the pack are 2 expired IDs, and a single scrap of paper. You recognize the photos from the check-in station, and recall ‘MISSING’ written in block lettering above their portraits.
There’s a sound like the cracking of lightning and you turn instinctively towards it. The ranger cabin is aglow with an eerie white light that creeps into you with the intensity of a hot knife. Futilely, you turn away and read the scrap of paper. A single message hastily scrawled on it, “The station lights aren’t lights.” Your last moments come quickly, your body fading away before a scream can escape your throat.
In the morning, Ted drives out to site 5 on his 4-wheeler to collect your belongings and spots the fanny pack you had unearthed. He examines the contents, sighs to himself, and drops your ID in with the others. He mutters something of an apology and disappears back down the trail.
|# ¿ May 19, 2019 16:12|
Thanks for the crits, I appreciate them!
|# ¿ May 21, 2019 07:53|
In, flash please.
|# ¿ May 21, 2019 07:53|
Flash: My protag wants to use big words, but can't
Having spent the last four years of her life trying to find her mother, news of her death from an old paper had left Susan devastated. It was only upon learning that her mother was survived by a son that she regained any hope. Mostly, she learned she had a brother.
Susan only had one question had she ever found her mother. ‘Why did you put me up for adoption? I was just a baby.’ It was the only question she needed, but life had taken this from her. The answer would forever be unknown.
She had hoped to at least learn about her from Jordan Tolman, the man who was supposed to be her little brother.
It had taken her some time to track down information on him. Contact with public records provided a name and a story. Jordan Tolman, aged 11, entered foster care with no living relatives to raise him after his mother’s death.
Social media would give her everything else she needed. She took a week off work and went to New York in hopes of finding her brother. The first two days she spent tracking him down. The third day, she found him.
Jordan had been running around the trail he normally took for his morning workouts, but something felt off today. He had heard about a strange woman asking about him, and it had caused him to be a bit a bit on edge.
First, the woman showed up at his job. She didn’t speak very well and got flustered when a lack of understanding turned to frustration.
Next, someone came to his apartment asking questions. The same situation. A woman who couldn’t speak well. She managed to leave a note and a number but didn’t disclose anything which only made Jordan concerned. He threw the note away and tried to put it from his mind.
Which is why when he spotted a curious woman watching him, he considered confrontation. He wasn’t sure if this was the woman who had been following him, but her glances left him wondering.
Susan sat at along the path eating lunch while she thought of ways to approach Jordan. She had developed severe apraxia as a child and it never improved. She learned sign language, and used speech aids in her work, but despite living with this her entire life, it shook her confidence. She played with her food anxiously, lost in thought.
Maybe, I’ll just say Hi. I can manage that, she thought as he passed by. His eyes moved over to her, and she looked away towards some point in the distance. That would be strange, I can’t just stop him. What would I say next? She dug through her bag for something to write with.
She wrote on one card, “Hi, I’m Susan your long-lost older sister!”
Groaning, she crumpled it into a ball and let her head rest on the latticed picnic table.
He was nearly back around when she looked up at him, their eyes meeting for too long. She looked away again, but he approached.
Jordan was upset. He wasn’t sure why, and when he looked at this woman there was some vague familiarity, but still… he was upset.
“Why are you following me?” he demanded, brow furrowed, and teeth bared.
Susan panicked, “I- I- “she tried saying, hurrying to write a message on one of her cards.
‘I’m Susan, and I think we might be related.’ She wrote, easing him into the conversation.
Jordan’s expression softened and Susan smiled weakly.
He was confused by the card and was about to ask when Susan pulled out a sheaf of papers she had prepared ahead of time.
Jordan sat with her as she explained everything.
He was relieved that she had sincere intentions but was suddenly troubled.
Looking at Susan’s face as she explained herself, he saw his mother. He hadn’t seen her in over a decade. He last saw her at a small funeral that had been held in private by the county before turning him over to the state. He was 11, and the image of her face had been fading from his memory over the last 12 years.
Susan didn’t look exactly like their mother, but it came close. She had a wider nose, and thinner lips, but her eyes, the structure of her face, the way her hair raised and fell in natural arches. She had his mother’s face.
Both of their eyes stung against their wills, and Susan looked at him with hope. She extended out her hand to touch his and he drew his back. Susan was surprised but felt perhaps maybe it was a bit much to consider all at once.
Jordan looked her over and shook his head. “I can’t help you. I’m sorry, but this… this is a lot to take in. Maybe we would be better off letting the past be.”
Jordan didn’t meet her eyes this time. A streak of tears was visible on his cheeks as he turned away from her.
Susan called out to him ineffectually, his name tangled in a mess of consonant sounds. She chased after him and gave him a card that had her information on it. He took it and left without another word.
Defeated, Susan returned to her hotel with a bottle of wine and was already two plastic hotel cups in when a knock came at the door.
She opened the door and stood face to face with her brother. They stared at each other silently for a moment before she waved him in.
Grabbing a plastic cup for Jordan she gestured for him to drink with her and filled the little cup with wine.
“So, a sister? Mom… Mom never mentioned I had one.”
This hurt Susan a little, but it was something she had already considered.
“I’m sorry about earlier. It’s a lot to take in… Mom died when I was 11, I hadn’t thought about her in years, and then you showed up out of nowhere just when I was forgetting what she was like. It stirred up a lot of feelings I hadn’t dealt with in a while.”
He drank the contents of the cup and his sister already had the bottle in her hand to fill it back up.
Alcohol made it easier for Susan to speak. No disconnect between intent and spoken word, she placed a hand on Jordan’s shoulder and said, “It’s okay.”
Jordan’s eyes met hers, and it became clear he had been hurting for most of his life as well. Susan would never be able to meet her mother, but she had found her brother, and he needed her as much as she needed him.
She wrapped her arms around her little brother and pulled him close. His surprise quickly became acceptance, and they held each other in silence. The world had taken much from them, but they still had each other.
|# ¿ May 27, 2019 04:18|
|# ¿ May 28, 2019 14:48|
Vice & Duty
Kara traced a finger around the rim of an empty cocktail. Alcohol didn’t have much effect on her, but she enjoyed what little intoxication it could provide. Her eyes turned towards the dance floor; a mass of writhing forms obscured by bursts of light and darkness.
Enthralled by the body rocking waves of sound that crashed into them, their movements carved out alien landscapes into a desperate abyss. Undulated ridges and curves came in and out of view as they were painted with bright luminescence destined to be consumed by shadow.
‘This is what it’s like to be human.’ She mused silently, thin fingers cradling the side of her face as she watched. A distant memory of what she once was.
She turned her eyes back to the empty glass, then towards the VIP Lounge. A single guard at the entrance, Marco and his entourage looking over the dance pit like gods.
Kara adjusted her dress, a sleek black tube that was more like an extra layer of skin and waved over the bartender. A handsomely designed server swiveled over.
Ethnically ambiguous in complexion, and a masterful physique concealed by designer clothing, the androgynous robot was fetching. Its humanity only betrayed by its torso which was on a fixed circular circuit giving it 360° access to the bar.
“How may I be of service?” the robot asked, a scripted smile on its mechanical face.
Kara slid a black card onto the bar counter. An embossed trigonal emblem wrapped in barcode reflected in the robot’s eyes.
A teal light circled its pupils in recognition, and it slid a tiny grey pill into Kara’s hand. She smiled and stuck it in her cheek. Then the bartender handed her a chip with ruby lips engraved on it.
Kara lifted her hair from the nape of her neck and slid the chip into a slot designed for it. She closed her eyes as synthetic chemicals washed over her synapses. Her eyes fluttered beneath closed lids and a lascivious smile spread across her face.
The bartender swiveled away without word and Kara crossed over towards the VIP.
The guard approached reaching to grab her arm, but she placed it on his shoulder and leaned in seductively. One leg raised from its seated heel, the other girlishly lifted at her side, she extended her index finger into a point and plunged it into the guards ear, a crack audible only to her sounded out from his skull as it passed through the protective plating into his brain.
He collapsed towards the corner and Kara guided him into a seat. The timer started.
Like a predator lurking in the night, Kara’s eyes were the first thing Marco noticed and he was enticed. Her pheromone chip was doing its job before she even emerged from the darkness.
Her entrance was short of divine. Immaculately painted nails were on display in laced stiletto heels. Her slender feet held shapely legs. Soft rounded calves led to voluptuous thighs which retreated into a too thin waist. A supple bosom threatened the fabric that held it.
Her idealized physicality, captivating as it was, paled in comparison to her flawless face. Stylized umber ribbons curled down from her scalp into perfectly placed strands. Almond shaped amber eyes dressed in smoke shined like precious gems. Delicately colored cheeks housed plump crimson lips.
Marco’s specific genetic markers were targeted by the pheromones pumping through Kara’s artificial pores, and she had his full attention, but he was not alone in his awe. His entire entourage looked on in mixed expressions that ranged from confused to enamored.
Kara met their gazes with cool indifference and leaned against the ledge that overlooked the dance floor.
Marco crossed over to her, and seized up her hands gently, but with deliberate intent.
“I have to know you.” He said, enraptured by Kara’s presence.
She leaned in grazing her lips along his neck as she raised them to his ear, “Not here.” She said, demanding privacy.
His eyes searched her perfect face, and he looked back towards his entourage having forgotten about them in his rising lust.
He waved over a yes man, a suited thug, and whispered something in his ear before leading Kara toward an elevator. A dismissive hand wave signaled his farewell to the now annoyed group.
Kara’s audio receptors picked up curious chatter from below, “Hey, you alright?” someone asked of her first victim. Normal ears wouldn’t have heard that in this cacophony, but Kara was far from normal.
Marco scanned his palm and the elevator began its ascent. Kara knew time was running out, so she fished the pill from her cheek with her tongue. Mouth kept dry until this moment, artificial salivary glands secreted a facsimile of saliva, and she pushed her tongue, and the pill into his mouth.
He let himself be taken by her passion and found himself ecstatic. The feeling would be short lived as the pill burst releasing tens of thousands of minuscule mite-like machines that were sluiced down his esophagus in the exchange of fluid.
Their lips separated and he coughed. Scratching turned to searing pain as the machines burrowed into his blood vessels. Eyes blood shot, veins blue and pronounced along his skin, he staggered backwards out of the opening elevator and died. Blood oozing from every orifice on his head.
The executives at Sect had wanted him dead in this manner. Destroyed by his weakness and hubris, he was an example to all the other low-level pushers they had in their employ.
The fabric of Kara’s dress distended into a blanket that swaddled her body, and in moments, new flesh and clothing took its place. Machines invisible to the naked eye moved the raw material into place.
An old man now occupied the space she once did. He turned towards Marco, a teal light tracing the pupils of his eyes as he did, then fixed his emotionless face into an expression of terror and shouted for help.
|# ¿ Jun 3, 2019 04:15|
|# ¿ Jun 4, 2019 14:33|
I'd also like a flash rule please.
|# ¿ Jun 4, 2019 21:04|
Death & Honor
SETTING: A dense copse of artificial trees, grass and flowers create the illusion of a shaded alcove deep within a forest. A bean bag dressed to look like a boulder is center stage.
Ish'Narel Delenthor - High Harbinger of the the Primacy, Ish'Narel is a warrior of unrivaled skill and expertise. All throughout Morovia her name is known. Cursed by the wicked and cherished by the weak. She is 219 years old, but young to serve as leader of the Queen's guard.
Her Divine Primacy, Queen Elle-Zoelle Machar - Aged 739, she has seen the rise and fall of several dynasties and now faces the fall of her own. Throne usurped in a display of power by her brother, she and her High Harbinger have fled the kingdom. Her reign has come to an end.
[Ish'Narel leads Elle-Zoelle from stage left onto the stage; the tip of her sword guides them into the clearing.]
ISH'NAREL: "Rest here your Primacy, but we mustn't tarry long. Your brother's forces will be upon us soon."
[Elle-Zoelle approaches center stage and sits on the ‘boulder’, she breaks a capsule of dye that makes the creases of her already soiled dress run red along her torso. She winces from the pain. Ish’Narel, is poking about the clearing not yet noticing the injury.]
ELLE-ZOELLE: “Come child, come and sit.”
ISH’NAREL: “In a moment your Primacy, I must- “
E-Z: “It wasn’t a request.”
I’N: [Caught off-guard] “My apologies, your Primacy. Right away.”
[Ish’Narel approaches the Queen, and the Queen gestures for her to sit beside her. Ish’Narel notices the fresh blossom of blood on the dress and becomes frantic.]
I’N: “Y-you’re injured… let me examine your wound, we need to take care of it now.”
[Elle-Zoelle already knows the extent of her injuries but relents and shows Ish’Narel. The audience sees the fabric of her dress fan out but is left curious about the nature of the wound. Ish’Narel recoils at the sight of it.]
E-Z: “Sit, I’m not long left for this world child. I would speak to you before I make my final journey.”
I’N: “Yes, your Primacy…”
E-Z: “You may call me Elle. Here in these woods, sacred though they are, we do not require formality."
I’N: “Yes, Elle… I- I’ve failed you.”
E-Z: “You’ve done no such thing, child. You’re attending your Queen until her dying breath. You could fail me, but you’ve yet to do it.”
I’N: [Whispering] “But you’re… you’re dying.”
E-Z: “Did you plunge the blade into me? No, I’m certain I saw you sticking your sword into Buermond’s, that sniveling traitor’s, neck, and into the chest of a corsair who would have forced himself upon me.”
I’N: “What do we do now? All is surely lost.”
E-Z: “For me perhaps, but for you… your journey need not end here. I just ask that you share in my final moments.”
[The clopping of hooves and footfall of marching can be heard in the distance. I’N swings her sword to ready and puts a shielding hand against the queen as they both fall silent. The sounds pass and the queen breaks the silence.]
E-Z: “To the east, the Company of Seraph serves Regent Ymrel and they will surely take you into their employ. They’ve long been allies of the crown and would see you in the service of a good house.”
I’N: “I long to die in battle or at your side, my life has been pledged to that cause.”
E-Z: “But that is not all that there is to life. Do you not dream or have ambition of your own?”
I’N: “All due respect your Primacy, but as High Harbinger, much of that is sacrificed in dedication of servicing you. A sacrifice I was glad to have made. I’ve brought honor and glory to my house.”
E-Z: “Honor and glory? You remind me so much of my late father, and your own I suppose…”
I’N: “You knew my father?”
E-Z: “He was High Harbinger to my grandfather. I knew him when I was but a child. He was dutiful and valorous. Much like yourself.”
I’N: “How can you keep your calm, your Primacy? I am beside myself and don’t know what to do. I- I am lost.”
E-Z: “Because what would rage or sorrow change? What’s done is done, and my heart aches for my people, and my dreams not yet fulfilled, but I leave the world in capable hands.”
I’N: “Whose? My own? I am not capable. I can’t fix this.”
E-Z: “And no one is asking you to, but you are skilled and there is a light in you, a glimmer of hope that the world needs.”
I’N: “What? I serve a good house, I become a sellsword, maybe I join up in another army, another kingdom, but how does that solve anything!?”
E-Z: “It doesn’t, child. Again, no one is asking you to solve anything or fix the wrongs of this world. It’s an impossible endeavor. Our hearts are fickle, content one moment and desperate the next. You won’t be able to right wrongs, but by continuing on, by doing the right thing, you’ll make the world a better place.”
I’N: “It… it sure doesn’t feel that way your Primacy. The world demands action and rewards the bloodthirsty. Good people don’t change the world, they just get swept up in other people’s currents. WE are being swept up in other people’s currents.”
E-Z: “So just because you can see the immediacy of cruelty and greed means that there is no power in being good?"
I’N: “It feels that way…”
E-Z: “Well if that is the case, all is surely lost. Cut my throat and fall on your sword.”
I’N: “Your Primacy!”
E-Z: “ELLE, I told you. Respect a dying woman’s wishes.”
I’N: “I can’t do that! I can’t kill you or myself, why would I wish to? It would be a betrayal of the duties I’ve sworn to uphold.”
E-Z: “And why did you swear to uphold those duties? Was it just because your father served before you? I doubt that very much, if anything you’ve had to set yourself apart from the other soldiers. A more challenging task as a woman.”
I’N: “I joined because it felt like the right thing to do, there was nothing in it for me other than making my father proud. Bringing honor to my family.”
E-Z: “Yet, here you are as High Harbinger. You could have just stayed a foot soldier, or found a guard post to stand attention at dutifully, but you are a High Harbinger. A position not reached just because it felt like the right thing to do. You are in that position because you know what is right to do, and it is come time for you to prove that once again.”
I’N: “By carrying on? That doesn’t seem like a choice or an honorable duty. On the run or serving incompetent lords... You make it seem like I have the world before me. We have nothing, when you die, I will have nothing. Your brother has seen to that much.”
E-Z: “You won’t have a kingdom to return to, but you’ll have your life, and you’ll do more good living then dead. The world needs people like you, Ish'Narel”
I’N: “I’m not so great.”
E-Z: “Child, you are dense! You need not be great, and you need not solve the world’s problems, just do your best! Life does not end here! Not for you… now go!”
I’N: “I can’t leave you!”
E-Z: “You must!”
I’N: “It is a betrayal of my oaths!
[Elle furrows her brow in frustration, and then smiles a wry smile, her last.]
E-Z: “Then you are hereby removed of all rank and position, Ish’Narel Delenthor. You have no obligation to die here with me.”[E-Z takes I’N’s hand.] “Now go, child.”
[Ish’Narel throws her arms around the dying queen. Tears in her eyes, and holds her through her shivering. She’s cold, and her dress is more red then white now. Eventually, Elle-Zoelle stops breathing. Her falls chest motionless. Ish’Narel lays her gently in the grass, and folds her hands over her lap. She says a silent prayer to the divine and heads towards stage right exit. A final look back at the Queen leaves her uncertain, but she exits and the lights fade to black.]
|# ¿ Jun 10, 2019 03:55|
gently caress it, I know I'm doing terrible, but I'm going to get the hang of it I swear it.
In with a flash please.
|# ¿ Jun 11, 2019 15:19|
What the Life Tree Demands
Flash: Protag must be a vampire
It must be cold tonight. I can see the breath of expectant villagers clustered around this week’s grave. I can hear the spades plowing through soft dirt, the tips of their iron heads striking against a hastily made coffin cover. I can hear their hearts beating like caged birds against their rib cages. I can sense their fear, and the unease that claws at them.
An outbreak of consumption had given way to irrationality. My father, a man of some means, was among the affected in his desperate attempts to keep me alive. Where he had the wealth of a successful textile factory to fund my treatment, most villagers had to watch their children and spouses wither away and die.
The miracle of my survival was directly attributed to the physicians and nurses he could afford to hire, but when father had to spend more time tending to my needs, the needs of his business suffered and so too did his finances.
Those months leading up to my death were the most uncertain. Father had made several inquiries throughout New England looking for experimental treatments and costly procedures slated to be able to counteract the effects of consumption. Most turned up fruitless, but one night they came.
I didn’t get a good look at them, but they looked like members of a church. One of them, unnaturally tall and lanky, wore a cowl that concealed unique features. The other, a shrewd looking older woman demanded a black iron cross that had been in our family for generations. My father produced it, and then the tall person said something that sounded as if they had whispered it into my own ears, “We will be there when you need us.”
A few days later, a doctor from the medical institute in Vermont came to the house. I had seen him once or twice before, but mostly he negotiated with my father while other physicians and nurses tended to me.
My father and the doctor had sequestered themselves to the study as their conversation grew heated, but my father’s shouts could be heard through the walls.
“I’ve made considerable donations to your practice, and I’m sure the money I’ve funneled into your pockets has allowed you to live quite the life of luxury in this past year, and now you’re telling me that it’s not enough!”
“Get a hold of yourself, Augustus! The hospital is a business! We help people, we do, but we cannot continue to offer you aid in this capacity. Other people need our attention, and we lack trained professionals as it is. Your donations have been generous, but these accusations you raise against me are unfounded, I won’t have you slander my integrity like this.”
“Then let me be rid of you already, dammit! Go on, get the hell out of my house!”
The front door slammed. My father came storming up to my room, a bewildered look in his eyes with his travel coat on.
“Adeleine, my sweet child.”
“Yes, papa?” I asked in response.
“The hospital and I have…” the words caught in his throat.
“It’s okay, papa. You’ve done all that you can. I understand.” I assured him.
“I’ve not done all that I can, but I fear what I must do now with no other options left to me.”
That caught my attention and I turned to examine him more closely then.
Once full features, flush with life and optimism had been turned gaunt and morose. The smile he wore was something practiced but visibly bereft of hope.
I was curious what he meant by that but seeing him that way made me fearful.
“Should I be concerned, papa?”
“I-I can’t say for certain.” He answered honestly, and then a look of dread came over him.
He kissed my forehead and muttered something on an apology before leaving. He left me in the care of a nurse he had somehow managed to pay for the week and was gone for three days afterwards.
On the third night, I was stirred from my slumber by my father. Only, he just looked my father. There was something behind those eyes that was no longer him, and at his side was a creature not of the natural world.
Nearly hairless and pale with a sickly luminescence, it loomed over me. Eyes like vacuous obsidian hollows gazed into me. Tufts of quills needled their way through a patchy scalp attached to a misshapen skull. Too wide at its top, and disproportionately cone-like at its bottom with pointed stalactite fangs resting on a thin bottom lip.
The creature moved in with preternatural speed that distorted the space around it. As I basked in its void-like presence I felt the life leeched from my body and saw visions of something primal. More of an imprint than an image, my mind pieced together a picture of a translucent tree filled with blood. Ochre colored leaves endlessly flaked from spindly branches like rust and crumbled in the wind of a crimson tinged night sky. I stood awestruck, immobile, and not at all present in this miraculous place, but learned of it intimately as the ink-like blood of my progenitor was exchanged with my own.
When life departed from my corpse, I felt the promise of hope flee with it. The light that had governed what was once human had been devoured by shadow leaving a creature of the night in its absence.
I awoke the next night to my father sitting vigilantly across the room under lamplight. He gazed at me with a transfixed expression, and when he saw me stir, he approached slowly with one of his drinking tankards filled to the brim with blood. There was a good amount of blood on him as well.
I moved to speak, but a hiss escaped from my open mouth and then I felt the hunger. The unquenchable thirst. I moved like the creature did, impossibly quick, and filled the space between us in an instant. My father stood nonplussed as I snatched the goblet from his hands and lifted it to my mouth. I drank in deeply savoring the taste of the blood, relishing in its warmth as it coated my throat, painting the corridors of my ashen mouth ruby red. The blood was fresh. Where did father get this blood?
A thought I didn’t occupy myself with for long. The ecstasy I felt from feeding on the blood was paramount. No feeling rivaled it. I looked up at my father, thirst abated, and the look of contempt in his eyes hurt me less than I thought it would. He left the room with that practiced, unfeeling smile on his face, not a word spoken.
Night after night, he’d bring me goblets of fresh blood. I never asked where he got it from, and he never said a word during the feedings.
One night however, everything changed. My father hadn’t made his daily appearance, and when he did come home, he had a gash on his forehead. The blood trailing from the wound made my mouth salivate.
“Father, you’re injured.” I said plainly.
“I’ve no blood for you tonight, child.” He answered tersely.
“It’s fine fath-“
He interrupted, “By the Gods, Adeleine, it is far from fine.” He said as he slumped down to the floor.
“I’ve made many mistakes Adeleine, but none have been greater than my handling of your sickness. I… I should have let you die, but I’ve made deals with-with things. I’ve… I’ve committed horrific crimes.” he pulled a revolver from his pocket and raised it towards his head.
I moved before he could finish raising the hand and seized it, crushing the fingers around the metal inadvertently with strength I wasn’t accustomed to.
He shrieked out in pain, as the front door to our home came crashing open.
“Get out here, Augustus! You’ve been found out, murderer!” A voiced shouted into the empty corridor. My father was weeping now, “Let me die, Adeleine. Please.” He whispered.
I let go of his hand, suddenly disgusted with him.
“He killed my boy, and I’m going to kill him and his girl, I swear it. I’m going to kill the son of a bitch and anyone who gets in my way.”
An unkempt man with bulged out, maddened eyes emerged in the doorway with a shotgun clutched in his hands. He leveled it at my father and cleared the top half of his body with gory permanence.
The saccharine sweet smell of that freshly rent flesh overcame me, and I leapt at him burrowing a mouth full of teeth into his neck, fangs emerging out of instinct.
I exsanguinated the man in seconds. His skin hung slack on his skeleton and an audience of terrified, grief-stricken villagers watched in horror as the lifeless husk fell backwards over the banister.
He collapsed into a jumbled pile of lifeless limbs, and then came the screams. Stirred from my bloodlust I escaped through my bedroom window into the night.
The villagers razed the house believing it to be an altar in the service of Satan. They found the bodies of two children and a homeless woman in the crawlspace under the floorboards. They had been completely drained of blood.
The problem of consumption only grew worse, and many felt that it was attached to me. The girl whose father made her into a demon. Any who died of sickness were treated as cursed.
They exhumed graves weekly and committed to the insensate butchery of deceased friends and loved ones. Limbs were severed and carefully burned as a priest offered ritual condemnation for the dead, cautioning the onlooking survivors against treason in the eyes of God.
I’ve watched them perform this misguided practice for weeks. The mania has spread as far as Rhode Island, and in a way, I feel sorry for the dead. Mistrusted in life because of their illness and mutilated in death for a false sense of security. They are true victims in this.
I’ve killed again in the time since I left my home. It feels more natural with each feeding, but I suppose I have eternity to become acclimated to it. I’ve managed to gain control of my appearance as well. I no longer look like the monster that granted me unlife, but like the sweet child my father had hoped to save. It makes what I must do easier.
The life tree demands blood, and I am its servant.
|# ¿ Jun 17, 2019 03:22|
In and flash please, I won't use the 500 words well though. I hardly use any words well.
|# ¿ Jun 18, 2019 20:21|
The Student and The Grandmother
Flash: One day at a time
Blue flames lapped over the wreckage of the Arcturus creating an impenetrable veil.
Katherine leaned against a large panel of her escape shuttle and slid down onto her haunches. She wearily focused on her breathing.
Her suit’s wraithcast system had been destroyed by the same electromagnetic flux that ravaged the Arcturus, but a familiar sonorous voice rang out over her comm indicating that her grandmother’s consciousness had survived, and that was a great relief to Katherine. She was not alone.
“We’ve really got ourselves in a pickle this time, Kitten.” Ruby said as she projected a hologram of herself from the Light emitter on Kat’s suit.
“Nan, I’m not entirely sure we can make it back from this one. I don’t understand what went wrong with the Riftgate, but we’re stranded here. This… this is the end.” Kat said taken aback at the truth of the words as they formed in her throat.
“Oh Kitten, already throwing in the towel? We haven’t even begun to try.” The hologram said as it surveyed the surroundings independent of Kat.
“Well Nan, consider the facts… We’re outside of communicable space in unexplored ruins. Our ship is on fire, and my casting system is spent. There is literally no way out of this.”
“Okay, we need to work on your usage of literally, but there is a way out. It’ll take time and effort though.”
“There’s a way out? What are the odds you’ve calculated?”
“34% chance of rescue within 15 years relative to our position with time.”
“15 years!? That’s… That’s 126 years on the colony! We’re as good as dead.”
“It’s actually 129 years on the colony, but I believe we can increase those odds within 1 year our time. About 9 for them, and within the decade long window the University will spend looking for you.”
“So… what? The cryostasis systems on the ships are guaranteed to be destroyed. Do you suggest we actually try and survive off the planet?”
“The odds of survival where we return home are slim to none. That’s the honest unoptimistic truth. The odds of them finding a viable Riftgate in that time are less than 3%, and even if they do, there is the matter of calibration. Something we spent 5 years doing ourselves, and still got it wrong.”
Katherine sunk down further then. She was one of the universe’s leading specialists in Riftgate operation, and her grandmother Ruby was before her. Finding an active Riftgate was a matter of chance but calibrating one for a specific destination was nearly an artform.
Kat broke the silence.
“So, we do our best to survive here, and wait for rescue?”
“Yes and no. The fabricator on your ship should help us create the parts to repair the ship, and your suit has a Light emitter which will help you create tools, and a second set of hands should you need them.”
“Well, let’s get started.”
* * *
Katherine toiled for hours, but twin suns still hung high in the sky. Her internal clock let her know that sleep was fast approaching.
Her grandmother wasn’t wrong. The odds of being rescued without actively signaling for it were nonexistent. She produced a datapad she was able to retrieve from the wreckage and began reviewing a terrestrial analysis conducted by Ruby.
“I’ve been thinking about the nature of the Riftgates, Nan.”
The now inactive Riftgate they took was visible from planetside, and Kat turned her focus towards it.
“Well, about how they activate… why they activate?”
“Oh, and what have you theorized?”
“Well, what if they aren’t made for travel? They’re too unreliable to navigate with the high probability of time displacement.”
“You aren’t wrong there. So, I ask of you, if they aren’t made for travelling but distort the fabric of space-time in such a way that you could potentially end up at any point in it, what do you think their purpose is?”
“Something to observe the universe. Or perhaps tap into some field of energy? When we attempt travel through the gates, we’re like fleas on a wild dog. We ride for a bit, jump away when scratched at. Only the electromagnetic backlash our ship suffered was a bit more than a scratch.”
“There are several schools of thoughts among human and uplift scholars. Even the AI are divided on their purpose. Observation ranks low on that list but having personally navigated Riftgates as both a human and an artificial reproduction of one, I might be inclined to agree with that theory.”
“Only the gate itself isn’t looking in, I think it’s pulling in.”
“Exactly! Something calls the information at that space by opening a tear in the fabric. The entire universe observable from a fixed point. It’s probably not random, but it’s too vast to be understood. We can only see the smattering of gates in observable space, and there doesn’t seem to be a pattern to those, but we know that gates exist beyond the furthest observable point.”
“So, someone is calling the information relative to a fixed point. A snapshot of everything, but for what purpose?”
“That I don’t know.”
“Well, if it is a call signal. Maybe we can force the gate to activate.”
“Even so, our ship is just as destroyed as these ruins.”
“The fabricator was only marginally damaged, but you’re right. Repairs to the ship would take too long. We need to construct a relay to access the gate remotely.”
Katherine felt sullen again. So much of the discussed plan with her grandmother relied on things going perfectly for them when so much had already gone wrong.
Ruby simulated the pressure of a hand resting on Kat’s shoulder. She also included an olfactory simulation of her favorite perfume. Kat’s heartrate eased away from the panicked beating it had been approaching.
“Kid, I’ll admit to it… even when I was living, I don’t think I’ve ever been in the thick of it like we are now.”
“I know Nan, I just don’t understand what went wrong.”
“Well, if you’re right about your theory. Maybe we were forcefully ejected from the slipstream. My estimates suggest that this is neither the world, nor time we anticipated travelling to.”
Katherine shuddered. The repercussions of using ancient alien tech suddenly all too clear.
“We can’t worry about who is doing what or for what purpose. We have our solvable problem in front of us. Get some rest, we will work more tomorrow.”
Katherine pulled into a shaded alcove and slept uneasily.
* * *
Morning brought no new clarity. The twin suns still hung high in the sky, but Kat and Ruby had managed to extract the fabricator from the wreckage of the Arcturus and knew with certainty that the ship would never fly again.
“We just need to call them here, Kitten.”
Kat exhaled and fought back tears of frustration. “I know, we just have to stick to the plan.”
“That’s right. Now strip that panel of wiring we will need it.”
Kat set to her work, and by the end of another nightless day they had gut the Arcturus of everything of use.
They spent a full week building the relay. Ruby synced up with the device and reached out to the gate.
A signal came over threatening the integrity of her consciousness, which in turn caused Kat’s suit to begin malfunctioning.
“Nan, if it’s not safe, abort. It’s not worth it, we can make do here with the fabricator.”
“I’m going to get you home sweetie, I’ve been running some other simulations and there is another way.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I used 40% of the suits reserve energy to fix the wraithcaster while you slept.”
“You did what? Nan, why, you’ve doomed us.”
“Only myself, and I’m already dead, honey. I’ve established contact with the relay, and I think I’m beginning to understand what this is, but we’re running out of time… we do not have time….”
“You should have asked me!”
“Your survival was the one thing I needed to ensure, and this does it.”
“How much time do I have?”
“None. Don’t forget that Nan loves you, kitten.”
“I love you too, Nan.”
Kat’s suit became encased in shadowy light that tessellated the image of it before vaulting it through the Riftgate. The sheer force of her travel rendering her unconscious and without form.
When Kat awoke, she was drifting just outside of a Venusian spin colony. She called for her Nan out of instinct, but there was no answer.
Instead, the Light emitter on Kat’s suit activated of its own accord, and a projection her smiling grandmother displayed for the last time before silently fading away.
|# ¿ Jun 24, 2019 04:17|
In, I'll take a flash rule if they're being offered.
|# ¿ Jun 25, 2019 18:33|
Pardon my gush. IN
|# ¿ Jul 6, 2019 00:10|
Also I appreciate the crits, there have been several and I am due for some of my own
|# ¿ Jul 6, 2019 00:14|
Stomach Flus and Teething Babies may have bested me these past two weeks, but not this go around.
|# ¿ Jul 9, 2019 14:58|
La Película Negra
A bespectacled, but fiery-eyed old woman with thinning white curls sat impatiently bouncing a foot over a hooked leg.
She forced a smile that saw her lips nearly pressed into a line. The bulb of a large flash illuminated, and the filament flared causing an audible pop that was followed by a fading whine as the gas within reacted and settled.
Now that photo was fixed in a black & white wood pulp tribute. A single column insert that read:
Rosa Flores, Wife, Mother and Dreamer has died peacefully in her home at the age of 67. Rosa Flores was a beloved member of the Sunny Glenn community known by many for her eccentric business endeavors.
She was a kind woman who took the time to listen to those who had no voice with which to speak.
She would help those unable to help themselves.
She was loved.
The brilliant light of nine purposefully arranged candles diffused through the darkness of Rosa’s mausoleum illuminating a corridor that seemed larger than the building itself. At the center of those flames was Rosa’s interred soul. A tarry web like protrusion had begun to lay claim to it, La Película Negra.
Raul kissed his rosary and said a prayer. Eloisa’s eyes rolled like bulbs unscrewing from their sockets and sighed to draw his attention.
“Why do you do that?” she asked annoyed.
“Because unlike you sister, I still have faith.” Raul snapped back.
“I’m only here for abuela, she doesn’t deserve to be trapped here.”
Raul thought to protest, but instead nodded, acknowledging his sister’s familial olive branch.
“She made a lot of enemies on the other side while she was living. I don’t think she ever took time to worry about what that meant in death.”
“Hermano, I don’t think she ever thought she would die.” Eloisa grinned. Unspoken memories shared between the two bringing a smile to Raul’s face in turn.
Rosa’s soul kept the appearance of her human form. A body with which to draw upon the experience of suffering. Her eyes raced underneath closed lids. Her chest rose and fell with ragged breaths. It wasn’t her body, but Eloisa and Raul wouldn’t stand to see it a moment longer.
Simultaneously, they both turned towards the tormented soul that dwelled within the light of their candles and sat cross-legged opposite sides of the bound spirit.
In an act of solidarity, Eloisa and Raul reluctantly took hold of one another’s hands in preparation for something that they had not done together in many years.
Staring into each other’s eyes and holding each other’s fingertips. They whispered unintelligible sounds that echoed out softly like spun silk being woven into something new, or flowers slowly blooming under a rising sun. Rosa always said it sounded like the promise of God. Something Raul clung to, while Eloisa sought more scientific explanations for the phenomenon.
Rosa’s eyes fluttered open and she gasped, then she remembered. She had done this to herself. Bound herself here to keep something from crossing over into the mortal world.
“Foolish children, what have you done?”
“We couldn’t leave you trapped here. Abuela, what has done this to you?” Raul asked perplexed.
“Boy, she did it to herself, but you have our thanks for allowing us access to her soul.” A cacophony of voices answered.
Raul turned in a panic as an audience of specters made themselves apparent.
Rosa spoke. “Invoke the barrier of the first saint, Apollonius.”
Raul and Eloisa wasted no time and began a meticulously rehearsed ritual. Raul produced a vial of curious orange salt from his hip and poured it in a circle as Eloisa recited prayers in that forgotten, beatific tongue.
When the ends of the circle connected, the orange salt burned away leaving a white residue. An ethereal reverberation manifested in the form of a spiritual shield.
“It’s good to know that you two can still work together. I had worried, that your differences might have weakened your bonds.”
Dark spirits lurked at the borders of the barrier. Pacing impatiently leaving trailing echoes of pure malevolence in their wake.
“This won’t hold forever, Children of Rosa.”
“Grandchildren, but I get it… evil spirits. Who has time for genealogy when you’ve got souls to steal, right?” Eloisa replied.
The spirits Eloisa quipped at shifted into miasmic darkness that swirled around the barrier.
“Abuela, the demons are right. This barrier won’t hold forever. What do we do?” Raul asked.
Eloisa cut in.
“Our jobs. Rosa is dead, this is on us.” Eloisa remarked as she conjured a blade of holy light into her hands. The blade distorted air around it causing it to vibrate and hum.
Eloisa charged from the barrier, plunging the sword into the shadows. A terrible scream from too many voices sounded out before the shadow coalesced into a razor fingered arm, black talons lashed in Eloisa’s direction as she slid on one leg through the not yet completely physical bottom of the creature. The talons dredged up old mausoleum tile where they struck.
Raul began the exorcisms, as Rosa assisted from her self-induced purgatory. There were too many spirits here to deal with.
Eloisa hacked at the everchanging form of tarry shadow. As Raul and Rosa banished the demonic bits she hewed from the mass.
Raul looked at Rosa’s soul. La Película Negra had covered most of it now. Unsealing her soul had let corruption begin to take it.
The battle intensified as Raul began weaving the words into white flame that burned at the shadow. His head pounded in response to the newfound power.
Eloisa whirled through the darkness utterly eviscerating it as Raul used his spoken word to burn it away.
Panting, Eloisa fell on one leg. Her clothes were shredded in places revealing deeply bruised skin that steamed in the open air. Raul’s eyes and ears leaked rivulets of blood as his lips trembled. The angelic speak used in ways he had never imagined possible leaving him completely spent.
Rosa held onto the very last bits of “life” she had. Her soul was hardly visible now. Nearly destroyed in the battle to keep demons from using it as a gateway.
“I’m proud of you two. You didn’t have a lot of say in the life you’ve been given. You probably won’t have a lot of say in the rest of it, but I’m proud of you.”
Eloisa and Raul looked at what remained of her grandmother with sorrowful eyes.
“I’m ready.” Rosa said.
Then mustering the strength for one more exorcism, Raul and Eloisa took each other’s hands for a second time forming a circle around their grandmother’s spirit.
The three spoke in unison a sweet soporific melody, and when the last syllable escaped their lips, Rosa Flores was forever gone.
|# ¿ Jul 14, 2019 20:42|
In, Lord of Truth
|# ¿ Jul 15, 2019 14:56|
thanks for the crit flerp
|# ¿ Jul 15, 2019 15:58|
Thunderdome Week CCCLVIII: 19th Century Schizoid Man Crits
As provided by that otherworldly fool, Anomalous Amalgam
Foreword: This is the first time I’ve done this, and I am not a learned man, so I apologize if my plebeian assessment of your “words” is less than professional.
Milk and Honey by SurreptitiousMuffin
General remarks: I love the history and methodology you’ve managed to write. Also, there is a good bit of desperation that feeds off the circumstances you’ve portrayed through your character Callum.
Mechanics: Some of the character’s language and rustic understanding causes hiccups in the fluidity of an otherwise fluidly told story despite the shifts in when the events take place. Title is appropriate if only for the sake of acknowledging the pipe dream.
Overall: I feel the story has more heart than character. Although the character has their motivations explained. They are dying from the beginning, and with that as the preliminary hook the rest of the story is spent shifting between times to build a cumulative explanation of the character. The singing is probably what sets this apart, but again the tone, title, futility of the character’s actions lend itself to a story of finite virtue. I like it.
The Southern Ladies Tea-Sipping Competitions: A Brief History of Reconstruction Georgia’s Strangest Game by Saucy_Rodent
General Remarks: A story that alludes to the horrors of slavery but highlighted the injustices that persisted afterwards. While the injustices against the African American are innumerable, I find myself personally at ends with stories like these, for reasons that aren’t related to the story and more attached to my philosophy for how I feel people might come together in a productive way. Regarding the story! A poo poo talking tea sipping circuit with signature moves is awesome. I love everything about it and the set up that Ophelia’s victory creates for the death of her brother.
Mechanics: Some of your language usage takes me out of the story in the sense that it doesn’t seem like it fits the period. “Chugging or Nursing”, being the immediate example that comes to mind. There are places where some more careful editing would have helped.
Overall: I thought it was a good story. On the nose in some ways, but not bad.
The Rosebery Club Detective by BIG FLUFFY DOG
General Remarks: Your framing doesn’t match your idea, or it does so clumsily. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the premise, but the execution felt muddled and hard to follow at times because there wasn’t much going on.
Mechanics: There isn’t a lot of flash, and it doesn’t need it, but the arrangement of things makes the story cumbersome. I found my self re-reading sentences and segments for their intention.
Overall: There’s fun to be had here, but it needs work, because it is kind of clumsily revealed that this is all just a game.
TD358 – Hearty Stew by Simply Simon
General Remarks: A strained father-son relationship and some heartfelt sentiment that is diminished by clumsy sentences and the occasional grammatical error. The story itself isn’t terrible, but the conflict between the father and son with the pumpkin as the bridge to the protag’s childhood and what his home meant to him. IT feels rushed. There’s a lot of set up, and then a quick pacing and reconciliation that feels sitcom-ish.
Mechanics: There’s some places where more careful editing would have helped. Also some of the general sentence structure sounds, painfully, like my own sentences. The words sound good in our heads, but then a clumsy clattering of keys leaves a mess that isn’t quite so clear. That’s not to say that there weren’t sentences I did enjoy! The conflict itself seemed evenly paced and believable, the reconciliation not so much.
Overall: A so-so story that could have shone a bit better with some clean up.
From the Notebooks of Barron Tuesday: Secrets of the Sunken City by Thranguy
General Remarks: A journal-based story with a lot of action, but the redacted bits as established in that lovely foreword addressed like a letter, don’t come across in such away that your story retains cohesion beyond a few transient plot points.
Mechanics: The foreword was written well, the journal entries themselves range from skillful to incredibly clumsy and I feel like more time in editing would have helped.
Overall: The base premise is interesting and the promise of this redacted and fantastic journal is enough of a hook to get you to the end, but some of your intention appears to be lost in the delivery.
|# ¿ Jul 15, 2019 21:59|
More Dark Words
Once again, it's that grotesque assemblage of appendages here to give you some criticisms for your "words". This is Pt. 2 of the schizoid man week.
The Ghost of Oakchurch Hall by Staggy
General Remarks: *rubs hands* Staggy, this is 100% my jam. I had a couple of hiccups with description, and I’m not an educated enough individual to put it into correct terms, but the orangutan to drunkard description felt excessive, then the description of the captive, the framing for not describing the state of the wretch almost betrays the guilt the father feels. The implication of the severity is there, but the obviousness of it seems dulled in some ways.
I’m going to forgo more Mechanical or Overall because what do I know? All I got is general remarks.
8 or 9/10
The Survival of the Swaggart by Shotaro
General Remarks: Intrigue, Illegal Trading, Supernatural Battle Prowess and the High Seas. All things decidedly, my jam, but there are some hiccups! A few negligible editing mistakes, but overall a decent story.
the 1800's by derp
General Remarks: The grim depictions and the nonchalance of it! I love it. Probably a bit more grimdark then the actuality of things, and is palatable for most, but it’s not far from it. A snapshot of the times. It was written well I thought, but other than the evocative descriptions, it didn’t feel like much of anything. I like it though.
A Strange Diary Found by Fleta Mcgurn
General Remarks: Wowie! This was a good story. The journal was executed well, and the story had a good pacing to it. If it lacked anything, it’s beyond my skill to notice or identify.
Circle by Ironic_Twist
General Remarks: I feel like there is a lot of emotion woven between bits of conversation and the card deck and drinking comparisons. The structure of the writing as far as I can tell kind of mimics this kind of hopeful/hopeless shuffling as well.
I feel like a lot gets lost here, could be me, but it struck me as a middle of the road account of pipe dreams and relationship woes that comes across a bit jumbled. Not poorly written, but lacking something.
|# ¿ Jul 17, 2019 22:02|
Schizoid Man Crits Pt III
Rest easy travelers, I'm done spewing my nonsense bile.
Paid in Blood by Solitair
General remarks: A caper gone wrong due to an emotion filled vendetta! I like the set up. There are parts that I feel are worded awkwardly: “No sooner had he come to that conclusion, however, than a shadow leapt upon the man, knocking him to the floor.” Being an example. Just some revision here and there. I will say some of the story seems like it just happens
Like Cutter’s vendetta is a complete surprise. Not a bad thing, but it seems like it happens just to create the conflict in the story, doesn’t feel organic. Nothing that lets the reader in on his ulterior motives other than his namesake and that’s tangentially something to think about after he’s already cut Brownstone to ribbons. I like the framing and I feel like overall it was pretty well written, it just kind of strikes middle of the road.
Upon Odin's Gallows by Viscardus
General remarks: oOoOo a strange fiction with an otherworldly, psychedelic cosmic tree. Decidedly my jam, and well written at that. I’m left with questions about Fitzhugh though? Can we, the readers, assume he did not go on this psychedelic out of body experience. He’s convinced of its novelty, but perhaps it was just the amateurish eye to recognize something extraordinary. Maybe these questions are the hallmarks of a good story? Also this definitely schooled me on “Literary Romance” and I feel like this story fit the prompt/flash well.
8 or 9/10
Threads of Silk by Antivehicular
General remarks: Out the gate I like the framing, but I feel like maybe something is unclear. "Take me to her, and tell me all you know." This is at the end of the first section. Now history shows that people tended to keep bodies in their homes, prep them, I’m fine with that, but it’s not immediately clear that she’s asking the giant Swedish man to take him to his dead wife. Also I get that maybe the police or community isn’t answering, but his wife, Greta and the threads under the dead woman’s finger nails should be evidence enough.
It’s well written and an interesting take overall, but I feel like a lot of the logic here only works within the context of this story.
…And that’s all this gelatinous ooze monster wrote!
Well, not really. My rubric:
0 – Are you even breathing? Off-prompt/Non-Stories. I’ve written a few of these, whoops!
1 – Terrible! This is almost not a story. Rife with errors or inconsistencies. Signs of a draft.
2 – Very Bad. This is not a good story. It is a story, but is in no way good.
3 – Poor. There are elements here that identify this as a story, and there’s some sort of progression, but much feels unfinished or inadequately delivered.
4 – Less than Average. A story that clearly shows promise in places, but is largely underwhelming.
5 – Middle of the road. An average story. It’s neither good or bad, and could stand to be improved.
6 – Better than Average. OK, now we’re getting somewhere. This story has defined elements, conflict, resolution. Perhaps it is muddled by poor editing, or some logical inconsistencies detract from the overall package. No reason one of these couldn’t reach the throne with more careful consideration.
7 – Good. This is a good story. It’s not the best story you’ll ever read, but far from the worst. I aspire to at least reach this level consistently. You’ve got a plot, elements, problems, resolution, etc.
8 – Very good! This is reaching exceptional quality. High marks for clarity, defined elements, interesting characters or situations.
9 – Exemplary! These stories have something about them. Written with care. Very few words wasted, if any.
10 – Perfect in every way. A diamond in the rough. These stories impact the reader. Change them. Inspire them. A 10 story is something I study so I can be better. I’ve seen a few in TD before, but few and far between.
These are just my opinions, y’all. I know they are kinda mediocre, but they come from my dark oily heart.
Anomalous Amalgam fucked around with this message at 22:08 on Jul 18, 2019
|# ¿ Jul 18, 2019 22:03|
Lord of truth/Maaty/stealing bread
The sun bore down on the shrub littered landscape of Maaty.
Ra’s journey must be difficult today, Samir thought as he blotted sweat from his brow with his forearm.
The market was bustling in spite of the intense heat, and this would work to Samir’s advantage.
Squeezing through legs and gaps left open by shuffling bodies, he found his way to Sadat’s food stand. The rich scent of fresh bread and spiced stew permeated Sadat’s corner of the market, and he had more than enough customers to keep his attention.
Samir crept down beside the carts blocked wheels, and gently lifted a towel from a basket of bread as Sadat filled orders.
His hand met a thick, oblong disc of bread that was almost too warm to touch, and his mouth began to salivate in anticipation of the meal.
He slid the piece into the sash that held up his suruali and began to reach his hand up for another when he realized that a market guard was coming his way. He hadn’t been seen yet, but he would be if he hung around much longer.
He turned to leave, and then remembered his sister Adya’s small, emaciated face and grit his teeth. He slunk behind the cart as Sadat was kept busy and crawled into an overturned crate.
The guard plodded past and Samir waited. After a few minutes, Samir slid out of the crate. Sadat was arguing with a woman over the price of grain, and Samir took the opportunity to grab another loaf from the basket overhead.
He tucked it into the sash and darted down a nearby alley. Looking over his shoulder in the direction he came, he didn’t expect to run into the unyielding wall of a body that was the market guard he had hoped to avoid.
Knocked into the dust and scrambling to hold onto the bread he had taken, he didn’t see the scimitar swinging down on him in time. A gleam off the edge of the blade surely signaled his demise. Samir held his breath and futilely raised his hands.
The scimitar cut through the air speeding to an unexpected stop as the world around Samir began to rearrange itself.
His surroundings disintegrated away in large fading cubes that were simultaneously replaced with a voluminous expanse of velveted robe that flowed like a crimson river underneath Samir’s feet and over the surface of all the world around him. It was all he could see, swallowing everything up under a full, yellow moon.
An impossibly tall figure in the distance beckoned Samir forward with an elongated, knobby finger.
A commanding voice rang out in his head.
“Come child, your moment of judgement is at hand.”
Samir grew pale as the robe beneath his feet pulled him towards the figure.
The flowing robe pulled into sleek, regal looking court dress. A shriveled, and stern looking face was mostly concealed by a solid ebony headpiece that completely hid the eyes. Long points stemmed off from it like needles that lanced the sky.
The figure craned its head like a bird as it observed Samir, then it leaned down lifting up his chin with the elongated fingers, pinching the tip of it softly between long, bulbous digits.
“You stand accused of theft. Theft that would see your life terminated. What do you have to say for yourself?”
Samir struggled to comprehend his situation and trembled as the creature surveyed him. He knew there was nothing he could do but answer.
“I… I did steal the bread!” he shouted, reaching at his sash to produce the two loaves he had taken. “It was so that my sister and I could eat. We haven’t eaten in days!”
“It was so that your sister and you could eat?” The figured interrogated, its intonation suggesting a deeper truth.
Samir recalled how his hungry sister was an afterthought. If he hadn’t tried to get the extra bread for her, he wouldn’t be here. He should have – “shared the first loaf?” The figure interrupted his thoughts.
“I… I got bread for myself, and when I was going to leave… I couldn’t leave without getting Adya food.”
“An act of kindness.”
“I don’t know… she’s just my kid sister, and her stomach noises are too loud when she’s hungry.”
“You’re all she has?”
“I mean, there are other kids that we stay with, we stay together for safety.”
“They aren’t hers though. You are her brother.”
“That’s true, I guess.”
“What do I do with you, Samir?”
Samir realized again for the first time in some minutes that this wasn’t an ordinary circumstance. That he wasn’t speaking to a normal person. This thing, whatever this was, it was far from being a person despite the exaggerated appearance as such. He tried to back away from the being, but the velveted robes coiled around his feet and legs, and slowly began to inch over him.
He panicked and began crying as the figure extended its large hand to comfort the boy. It rested it’s hand on its head, and then caressed his cheek. The robe was up to his neck now. Samir took in a deep breath.
He shut his eyes as it inched over the bottom half of his face, over his mouth and nose. He felt it slither over his closed eyes, and over every clumped strand of dirty hair.
“Do your best to live honestly, Samir.” The figure’s voice commanded before trailing off into a quiet echo.
He exhaled and opened his eyes and found himself in a sea of stars looking down at the marketplace he had just been taken from. He saw himself hunkered down in the crate alongside Sadat’s food stall.
Samir swam through the stars back into the stifling heat of his arid hometown. He opened his eyes and found himself back inside the crate, a single loaf of bread in his sash, and exploded out of the crate from behind Sadat.
Sadat grabbed his arm, and Samir grew cold as he feared the worst. Sadat tucked an extra loaf into his sash and leaned in close with a smile that seemed faintly familiar. He rested his hand on Samir’s head, running his calloused fingers through the tufts, and said, “Live honestly.”
Samir looked at the man with awestruck recognition, nodded solemnly, and retreated warily from the market.
|# ¿ Jul 22, 2019 03:29|
11 11 11 RFT SETTING CCC, IN
Anomalous Amalgam fucked around with this message at 13:27 on Jul 22, 2019
|# ¿ Jul 22, 2019 12:56|
You have once again entered a world of survival horror… good luck.
I’m back with Words for your “Words”.
Apis by Yoruichi
Owner of horns/Asyut/volubility of speech
I thought this was a lovely story that gave some nice personification and fantastic qualities to the lifecycle of a Queen Honeybee. It was informed and structured in a way that conveyed the Queen’s longing in a believable manner, and the ending felt whimsical and simultaneously bittersweet. It was written with a fine degree of competency and as a shorter story, the length felt adequate for the story you told.
I feel like the chatter of a beehive is a good way to reflect the volubility of speech even if it was a lesser note overall.
Beakbait by Drunk Nerds
I assume it’s intentional, but 2 million days seems about right for Egyptian mythos lore to have originated, about 3-400 years from recorded Egyptian history, and that’s nice nod, and a fun way to begin a themed story.
The story establishes its humor early on, and it includes many elements that create the necessary otherworldliness for this god story and the trek of the dead. Now, I am curious about the integrity of the character. I feel like him picking out the guy’s eyes isn’t a part of his job. Additionally, if the bird has been doing it for 5,000 years, and this trick to elude the judgment of gods was something learnable, attainable, why then punish this guy. I get that the character enjoys breaking individuals, but if the other god’s weren’t punishing the defiant man, then something seems off. It makes this bird god, more like the asp that seems to bite for no other purpose than to make the dead’s journey more difficult or impossible. I’m probably overthinking it. The story was decent, I just feel like it was a strange action for your protagonist to take. There are a few editing hiccups, but nothing that made the story unreadable or interrupted its pacing for long.
Overall, I felt like you were on prompt though, and told a competently composed story that more or less had defined motivations and reasonable character action. I personally think it just kind of got hung up on the auxiliary character’s gimmick and your protag’s reaction given it’s the “conflict” of your story.
Delivered by Vinestalk
Bestower of Powers, The City, Making Distinctions For Self Cycles
So this story takes you on a journey that goes from mildly obnoxious to poetically beautiful to disconcerting with the ending. That’s a good thing in my opinion!
There were some problems though, and specifically some sentence structure that I personally felt was awkward or rather it impeded the flow of the story, albeit briefly.
The main character’s grating personality and nonchalance is kind of key. Them losing their memories over time is good.
There is just something missing here… an extra coat of polish on some of your ideas would really make this stand apart. As far as your prompt is concerned. I think you do a pretty decent job of capturing the prompt for this week. Real world dynamics meshed with the mystery of the afterlife, I find that it worked well here. Still, I just think some extra time framing or showcasing your ideas would give it that extra pop!
Dead Ernest by Ironic Twist
Prompt: Owner of faces/Nedjefet/Impatience
Hot drat! This story was gross and beautiful. The micro life taking up residence in a decaying body is a very nice angle to work for this prompt I feel. More so than that, the humanization of the maggot in the right nostril. The existential pangs it feels. It’s a nice touch.
I don’t have much to say here beyond praise. The orange-tufted mouth might be the only thing I felt might have benefited from maybe some extra description, but what do I know.
What is Given by Flerp
Double lion, who comes from the sky, who judges destruction of food.
OK flerp… You’ve made my bulbous eyes slick a little biit, so kudos for that. Prompt wise, I think you extracted a story from the prompt that was very good. I felt that your scent associations were a very nice mechanic in the story.
I do feel like the zookeeper’s section is a bit clumsier than the rest of the story and in a sense lessened the significance of Casper’s own passing, but yeah I really liked this one.
The Walls of Busiris by Pham Nuwen
Prompt: Temsep/Busiris/conjuration against the king
100% on prompt. There are a few simple grammatical errors that extra editing probably would have caught. I enjoy magic in stories, and I thought the best part of this particular story was in how you showed the failed attempts on Temsep’s life/magic. I do feel like the familial trap was kind of hand-waived a little, but overall I thought the execution was pretty solid.
The Good of Generations by Simply Simon
Bestower of good /the harpoon nome/doing ...?
Simon, this story is good! Your opening line reads awkward in my opinion, but I’ll give you a hot drat! I really enjoyed the whole set up for this story and the generational attempts had me hoping right along with the character in each iteration that they’d get it right.
Cruel, unforgiving, and inexplicable. It meets the prompt in a really fantastic way, I thought.
The Tomb! By Derp
primp: Owner of horns / vociferous speech
“breathed in the dusty, dry rot smell that always accompanied him.”
Hahah, I think you came across something magical with this story. It was hilarious, gross, strange. A perfect mix in my opinion, and well written to boot.
Things that are not by Black Griffon
Serpent with raised head/the cavern/dishonest wealth
I think with the context of your prompt and the flash rule that your story fits the prompt. It’s almost molded to it, but I feel like some of the context is lost. I read it twice to let all the independent pieces sink in. Ferris is in some servitude to this creature Cue for reasons not entirely disclosed, but the reader can assume he is indebted.
The dialogue seems a bit stiff, but I think the only real problem is that there’s not enough story. I think you have an interesting foundation, but I’d personally like to see more.
Oceanatrix by Sitting Here
I’m conflicted. It’s expertly written. That first paragraph is so picturesque with an underlying eeriness that is confirmed to the reader right away with “this one” only to have that creepiness subverted by an actual predator which in turn reveals the “force” or “entity” as a protector, but told within the tropes of young girl too intoxicated to be in complete control of her faculties, vulnerable and in need of protection. Eh. I feel like it’s a unique take on an all too real occurrence, but I feel, maybe just personally, that it loses out a bit for that played out trope.
Exsanguination by sparksbloom
Blood-eater/the shambles/killing a sacred bull
There’s something unique about your story that I can’t quite put my fingers on, but I’d say that your story probably ranks higher than most for this week. At least to me! There’s a directness to your story that still some how manages to be surprising and prompt fitting in a creative way.
As Above, So Below by Obliterati
I feel like I’m a bit too dumb for this story if I’m being honest. Sci-fi that entangles astrological theory with science to tell something heartfelt with siblings from what I could piece together. I think I followed it, but a lot of it flew over my head, maybe? I don’t think there was anything wrong with the writing. I just think it’s a bit smarter than what I could parse. I read it three times.
Lights in the Cavern of Wrong by Antivehicular
Prompt: Face behind him / cavern of wrong/ copulating with a boy
Whoa! An excellent story that makes fantastic use of the prompt! The ending is cute, and given the self-deprecative exposé you lead in with, remarkably mature. Another high mark story.
The Secret-Keeper by Solitair
Eater of entrails, house of thirty, perjury
An excellent use of your prompt, the social dynamics were executed well. Another high contender in my opinion. I saw just enough of that world to be content; I wouldn’t mind seeing more. It was a perfectly contained story in my opinion.
The Heavy Heart by Nikaer Drekin
Hot-foot, who comes from the dusk, judges neglect.
I like your protagonist. I feel like Hot-foots flaws lend your story a necessary pedigree of realism that is contrasted by the paternal guidance of Anubis when it comes to guiding Hot-foot on his all too human passion. I feel like you meet your prompt neatly and appropriately.
The Assessment at Miccosukee Indian Village by Pepe Silvia Browne
Owner of Faces/Nedjefet/Impatience
I had to take a minute to stop laughing out loud. The Nedjefet line is awesome. A comedic, but very good take on your prompt. That ending contrasts the overall silliness of your story with welcome grim realism. Overall, the story seemed a bit salty in all the right ways.
Shattered by Thranguy
See whom you bring/House of Min/misbehavior
I like the framework. The central conflict in this comes as a bit of a surprise, but the delivery is something that I quite enjoyed with the focus of your story not being on either of those characters, but some secret being unveiled about the setting and its owner. A neat usage of your prompt.
Steamed by Sebmojo
Water-smiter/the abyss/being loud-voiced
A skillful use of the prompt, and a good portrayal of lives therein. The lines seem deliberate and well placed.
Imperfect Hearts by Siddhartha Glutamate
word count: 935
Your story is poignant and bittersweet! You have the adventurism of youth coupled with settling and the reconciliation of one’s hope for their offspring. There wasn’t anything that I really found offensive or glaring about your story.
I feel like the transition between the intro, which maybe seems a bit large for the overall story, with the end is done well and you used the prompt in a more direct but effective manner.
OVERALL REMARKS: A lot of great stories this week. Most high-mid. Hmmm… did I lose? I feel like I should lose this week.
Also poo poo, there were a lot of really good stories. I’d have trouble picking a winner.
The are just some opinions, do with them what you will.
|# ¿ Jul 24, 2019 05:36|
Kinda moot now since I scrubbed it up and missed Uranium Phoenix's story, but...
Sins of the Past by Uranium Phoenix
Rules: Far strider / The abyss / Unhearing of truth
I feel like you married the more mythological concepts of your prompt excellently with the desperation of a far future dystopia where we've helped enable technological overlords that judge us for our past wickedness. I like that you don't spend time trying to iterate all the trials, I feel like it's a rookie mistake I would have made, instead focusing on the triumph that enables the redemption of the human species. Well done!
|# ¿ Jul 24, 2019 21:06|
|# ¿ Sep 5, 2019 16:53|
He Who Became Smoke
Hell Rule: Everyone and Everything Smokes
No one knew what year it was, or why humanity destroyed themselves with nuclear fire. People did know, however, that life carried on.
Soot stared at herself dispassionately in a weathered fragment of broken mirror. Though still young, her visage had changed considerably following the years since she began her pilgrimage.
A jagged scar that ran from hairline to chin bisected her face like a chasm. She ran a finger over it tracing the grooves and rough indentations where scar tissue filled the crevices like amateurly applied putty. Smooth in places, rough and textured in others.
She knew the gash was there, but it had been so long since she last saw what she looked like that it came as a bit of a surprise.
A seething hatred accompanied that scar, but she had long since killed the man who gave it to her. The rage just had yet to subside. Still she kept it concealed with cold, deliberate actions. Faith in her purpose made clear by the Order of Divine Fumigation.
Wild strands of red-brown hair jut out from her scalp in too many directions and she used dirt-caked fingers to straighten them out. The steeled woman that stared back at her began to look more and more familiar and she forced a smile that was surprisingly assuring.
The rigid plastic caricature of a grin turned to something warm and natural as she prepared to break the night's fast.
She stood and donned her chains. Links of lighters in different shapes, colors and sizes. She then pulled a crumpled cardboard box in loose fitting cellophane from her robes and produced a bent cigarette that she quickly placed on her lips.
Soot cupped her left hand around the end of it and flicked the sparkwheel on one of the lighters that constituted her chains, then dropped it back into place as the tube of dried tobacco ignited.
Nearly halving the cigarette in one inhalation, she exhaled and a flood of nicotine rushed over her. She sat serene in the self-produced atmosphere, and began to cough uncontrollably.
Her cough had worsened in this last year of traveling, and she had begun to regret not taking the elders up on their offer to use the sacred VapeTech during her pilgrimage, but she refused. It was something forbidden to neophytes, and she was a traditionalist. However, a decade of daily ritual had taken its toll on her.
She took a throat clearing pull from her canteen, and fed cigarette butt to her burner which always seemed to be at a low a simmer.
Leaving the wreckage of yet another dilapidated ruin behind her, Soot began the last leg of her journey. Tailing after He Who Became Smoke she had traversed the beachfront ruins of Miami, the craterous ruins of D.C., and finally the irradiated northern wilderness that Canada had become.
The trail led her deep into the Northern cascades where shifting mountain slopes and treacherous peaks gave way to a hidden farmstead where nature had begun to push back against the human imparted desolation.
Climbing the highest peak in the valley, a cabin with smoke billowing out from the chimney greeted her.
A slim, healthy looking man with a trimmed beard and glasses stepped out of the cabin in the ritual funerary garb of the Divine Fumigator's Elders. A spectre stood before her.
"Fath- FOG, is that you?" Soot asked knowing the truth of it without his reply. The man looked better than he had in ages.
"Yes, child. It is I." he replied taking soft deliberate steps on fresh green grass towards her. "Soot, you stand here a woman grown... after all of these years." Fog said, using the back of his hand to blot away tears.
Soot looked at the man with a mixture of conflicted emotions, anger winning the battle. He had abandoned her and her mother for his pilgrimage, and after years of searching for him, years spent thinking about what she would do or say, her voice trembled as she spoke.
"Why? Why did you not return home? Mother fell to the Wasting Sickness that claims the elders. She prayed in the Fumigation Hall nightly for your safe return. As an elder yourself, I'm sure you know that it tradition for the matrimonial partner to burn their betrothed, and their children or close friends to burn them."
"I am aware."
"You are unburned, and yet I had to burn my mother because you were not there."
"I know, child. There aren't words I can say to mend that hurt, but I am sorry."
"I need to know why."
Fog's countenance grew grim and he placed a hand on Soot's shoulder that she nonchalantly brushed away.
"Soot... I had to go. I had to find the truth. To find out if we were wrong... Didn't you ever wonder why we were punished with Wasting Sickness. Do your own lungs seize up child?"
Soot grew silent.
"I have proof." The man said producing a sheaf of clipped cardboard and paper. A plain message scrawled on each of them, that even managed to come across clear on scraps that were written in other languages.
Soot took them and read them over. The wording changed slightly, but mostly remained consistent: ‘SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, and May Complicate Pregnancy.’
She threw them at her father.
"These... these are old world relics! Illegal artifacts, heretical artifacts! These have been deemed falsehoods by the priests, and you call these truth!"
"I know it must be hard to understand. Difficult to confront, but know child, that it is indeed true. I have forsaken the path of fumigation and stand here in your judgment, I will accept your decision."
Soot fought back her own tears as she reached her hand for her burner.
"In the name of the Divine Fumigator, I sentence you to death for spreading falsehoods against the order. For abandoning your duties as an elder, for abandoning your fam-... for..."
Fog rested his hand on the spout of the primed burner, and pushed it way so that he could give his daughter a final hug.
"I am He Who Became Smoke, I do no the fear the flames." He opened up his funerary garb revealing hard blackened nodules that swelled over his torso. "My pilgrimage has come to an end. Find your own truth, child." He said letting go of Soot, sitting a safe distance away from her feet.
Soot raised her burner with uneven hands then became the scarred woman she saw in the mirror, and committed to the act, immolating her father where he sat.
She perched down beside his smoldering corpse and sat with him until the last bits of fleshed ceased smoldering and said a prayer to guide him to the next life.
Soot reached down and added his lighter to her chain and used it to spark a cigarette that she studied instead of smoking. She let it burn until it was nothing but a limp carcass made of ash then placed the butt on her father’s remains and began her long journey back home, lungs and heart lighter.
|# ¿ Sep 9, 2019 03:57|
Not a Cop, and Not a Killer
Brodie strode about the street confidently, playing the dutiful detective tasked with tracking down leads on foot. The hot cop costume he tried to rent turned out to be just a cop costume, and a too realistic one at that. Nevertheless, another Hallowed Bangerz Bash was in the bucket and he had a head full of chemicals to glide him home.
A sweat-slicked man with a killer 'Chainsaw Massacre' vibe frustratedly fiddled with some mannequin parts near the trunk of an old beat up sedan.
"Must've been some party." Brodie remarked too casually, feeling friendly from the cocktail in his bloodstream. The man leaned down on the trunk, and both of them were illuminated by an unreliable light pole lamp that flickered every few seconds.
"O-Officer?" ‘Chainsaw’ said with a soft, nervous voice.
It's at that time that Brodie really took a look at one of the mannequin legs, and saw pale, bruised flesh mashed haphazardly under the trunk ‘Chainsaw’ leaned on. Recognition and understanding registered with both men.
Brodie forced down a terrified scream, narrowed his eyes at ‘Chainsaw’ and said, “Carry on, Citizen.”
Then he briskly walked away with another set of feet not too far behind.
|# ¿ Sep 10, 2019 18:22|
|# ¿ Sep 11, 2019 12:23|
The Fall From Grace
Hell Rule: Only dogs can be docs
Donovan downed a cheap Alpo Vodka pack in a quick, inebriation seeking, gulp. Chicken stock with swirling chunks of mass-produced meat product, packaged neatly in a bath of lukewarm vodka.
He drank a lot more than should have, but ever since the board ruled A.M.P. (Autonomous Medical Physician) Units safer surgeons than the surgeons themselves, he had become a glorified attendant, respected in title only. He had been getting sloppy though.
He trot into the room all fours panting and barking with chicken tinged vodka hot on his breath. At this point, drunkenness was expected from him, but the domesticated house pet routine was downright insulting and widely frowned upon since the
bio-lift incident left humans sniveling supplicants with all the intelligence of a sea-sponge, and well… every other insect, rodent and beast to lead posthumanity with their borrowed intelligence.
His colleague, and former romantic partner, Rebecca rolled her eyes, de-gloved and left the operating theater. Donovan cleared his throat awkwardly as he took in a series of contempt-filled glares.
Not addressing the nurse staff or the other surgeons who definitely think him an overrated fool, he turned his attention to the device that threatened the careers of everyone present.
“A.M.P., Patient diagnostics, please.”
“Patient is a human female, aged 36, found outside the quarantine zone.”
“And she’s here for surgery because?” Donovan interrupted.
Redmond, A descendent of the pre-lift Shar Pei, barked irritably before protesting. “If you weren’t such a drunken idiot, you might have noticed she was pregnant.”
The other surgeons in the theater snicker.
“That… that’s not possible?” Donovan asked, more than he stated, genuinely shocked.
Silence fell on the room.
“The records I’ve accessed on the human reproductive cycle indicate that this woman is not yet full term. Initial abdominal ultrasounds estimate that she is about 32 weeks along.” The A.M.P. answered.
“I repeat, that’s not possible. The bio-lift rendered them sexually inert.”
“Well, perk your ears up. She’s pregnant and something is wrong with her.” Redmond answered.
Donovan bared a mouth full of teeth ready for a confrontation but yawned dismissively and instead focused on Rebecca who had never really been too far from the operating room.
“She needs us. She doesn’t seem to be any smarter than the other devolved humans, but knew that she needed help, and regardless of how or even why, we are the only bio-lifted capable of doing it.”
Donovan shook his snout in disbelief.
“This is a HUMAN, for crying out loud! Call animal services, the zoo, your state senator, I don’t really give a drat, but this is not our responsibility.”
“Her body temperature is rising, and scans indicate that…”
“gently caress your scans, A.M.P. and gently caress this. The board says these machines are safer at our job than us, let it do the procedure.”
“Just go, you are a real piece of poo poo, Don.” Rebecca growled, the other surgeons grouped with rigid tails, pointed ears and lips that quivered in anticipation over fangs.
Donovan’s eyes darted about everyone in the room, and he howled loudly before leaping at some of the other surgeons in provocation, but they stood firm and he retreated with his tail between his leg and ears low towards his skull.
He tore open the seal on the other Alpo pack he had tucked away and watched from outside the operating room, downing the contents bitterly. The alcohol sluiced across his tongue and down his throat, burning with chicken flavored aftertaste.
Donovan had nodded off briefly, but when he stirred nearly an hour later the A.M.P. unit was lowering a tiny pink-tan glob of screeching human meat into a warmer. The surgeons worked to sew up the mostly unconscious woman as the A.M.P. provided a number of salves and treatments to the newborn, measuring, weighing and evaluating all at once.
It even finished suturing up the woman, almost forcibly pushing the other surgeons aside.
Donovan wanted to go back into the operating theater and bark “I told you so,” but settled for knowing that he was right. No matter the fool he made of himself, they were being replaced. The best, the brightest, and even the most useless.
He pat his jacket for another Alpo pack and came up empty. Redmond handed him one and sat down with his own.
The two sat in silence, watching as an intelligent machine held the first human born in over a decade. Their time at the top suddenly seeming all too brief, and threatened.
|# ¿ Sep 16, 2019 05:01|
|# ¿ Oct 20, 2021 22:37|
Make what jokes you will about me saying it, but Deborah was a creature of habit.
Up by six for a frantic would-be triathalon to get out the door by eight. Bagel halves jammed haphazardly into a crumb crusted toaster, Deborah pulled her hair pulled into a surprisingly neat bun.
I stretch out a paw lazily, and my stomach drapes over the bar top more than I care to admit. 'Your ancestors are lions', I recite to myself in sarcastic assurance. Flats slipped on. A mad dash back to the bedroom for her phone and keys. She was gone.
The big dogs on the force were stumped, and it would once again be up to me, Mr. Cupcake, the world's foremost feline detective to crack the case. Well… maybe after another nap.
|# ¿ Sep 16, 2019 16:05|