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Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


I've been thinking about getting back in, but my last attempts ended mostly in me failing to post any words.

So I'm in with a :toxx:

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Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


No True Lover
word count: 1250

Down on a cobbled street a book lays in a puddle, on its front cover a yellow and green lion with a fierce orange mane stares up at the night sky. A troop of grey cloaked men carry boxes filled with books from a timber framed house. They march down the street, in the town’s square, where a bonfire is burning and a crowd gathering. But across from the house, hidden behind an unlit lamp post, is a young street urchin with a shock of blonde hair jutting out of a hole in her woolen cap. She watches the men at the door of the timber framed house, biting her lower lip.

Don’t worry Mr. Lion, I’ll come and save you. She thinks, but even after the train of men has ended the two standing before the opened door of the timber framed house never move, all the while the book grows ever darker. Panic begins to well up inside of her, she must act, but if they catch her trying to steal a book she’s likely to be thrown into the fire along with the Lion. Desperate she looks around, uncertain what she is looking for until her eyes land upon a broken cobblestone. She snatches up the smaller fragment, the one she can easily handle, and slinks around to the side of the house. There a window she has come to know very well, which leads into the workshop of the man who lives in the timber framed house, is lit with candle light.

“I’m sorry Mr. Dumont,” she whispers and then launches the stone. Glass shatters, there are shouts both from outside and within the house, but by the time anyone has run around to the window the little urchin has slipped around the other side and snatched up the book. Don’t worry, Mr. Lion, I’ll keep you nice and dry.

It isn’t long before she hears angry voices coming from the town’s square. Mr. Dumont. Hesitantly she approaches the crowd, clutching the book tightly between her arms.

---

A red robed man with gold filigree stands before the flames, raising his hands to heaven, shouting over the murmuring crowd. “In the beginning there was the WORD and the WORD was good! For hundreds of years mankind was obedient to the Word. For it was rarer than gold, Priests speak their days copying by hand each blessed line, copying even the smudges made a hundred years before! And because we cherished the Word, we lived in peace. We lived in harmony with each other.”

“That’s a lie!” A bespeckled man shouts, he pulls himself forward but is held in place by two grey cloaked men. “The Word tells us that there was always strife, always wars!”

“Blasphemy!” The red robed man draws out. “All here can attest to the truth, we are not an illiterate people as you well know, Mr. Dumont. The Word is made freely available for all to read at their leisure.”

“Not all of the Word, only those parts of the Word you wish for us to see!”

A man in the crowd laughs, soon other join in.

“How do any of you know that what I am saying is a lie? You’ve never read any of these books which you are about to burn. You have no idea what knowledge is contained within them!”

“We know all we need to know, Mr. Dumont. We know the Word. And if that weren’t good enough for us, then we have our own eyes and ears, for we can look beyond the gates of our fair village and see the madness that lies beyond! A world rife with all kinds of filthy rabble, of lurching beasts, and of great perversions!”

“We only see madness because it is all we are told of, we have come to believe in it, and so it has become. The world is not dark and terrorful, there is wonder, magic, and love beyond our walls.”

---

The street urchin, hiding in the shadows, perks up at Mr. Dumont’s words. She looks down at her book, at the yellow and green lion with an orange mane. Her fingers run over the title of the book.

Magic.

She slips the book open and begins to tear the pages out, stuffing them into her pockets.

---

“I have done nothing wrong! I sought to save these books, because they are beautiful, because they are special, because they are the truth!”

“You have built the demon Gutenberg’s machine, you have sought to corrupt the minds and hearts of our citizens, and for this you say that you have done nothing wrong?”

“Gutenberg was no demon!” Dumont shouts. “He produced more copies of the Word than any single man in history, how could he be a demon?”

The red robed man smiles at Dumont. “It is true that the Gutenberg Bible is the most published book of all time, and I would even say that the machine itself is not evil. It is a tool, one which could be used for good, such as spreading the Word. Or a tool to be used for evil, which is what happened. Certainly Gutenberg started out with noble intentions, but the power he welded was too great for any one man. It corrupted him, and now any man can write whatever his darkest desire compels him, and spread his derangement like a plague across the entire world.”

---

The street urchin’s tiny hands work with well practiced skill, slipping in and out of pockets of the crowd as she maneuvers her way toward the fire. One by one she takes a page from her book and kindly donates it to the person before her. Soon she has secured all of the torn pages, then she dashes toward the fire.

“DUMONT!” Yells the street urchin, holding up a book as if it were some religious relic.

Two grey cloaks try and grab her, but the street urchin is nimble and slides out of the way of one, and dives between the others legs.

“Dumont! Dumont!” She continues to shout, but her movement is cut short as the red robed man steps grabs her by the scruff of her neck.

“Child, what is this?”

The street urchin yells, twists, squirms, and gnashes down on the red robed man’s hand. He screams, and the street urchin kicks him in the shin. A roar of laughter runs through the crowd.

Dumont stomps on the foot of one of his captors and breaks free, runs toward the street urchin, and picks her up.

“You shouldn’t be here, you must flee child, flee!”

“No, the book!”

“I can’t read it to-” Dumont looks at the book, nearly all of its pages clearly torn out.

The street urchin smiles and hands Dumont the book. She then runs back to the crowd, grabs the coat of a man, and pulls out of his pocket a torn page.

Dumont smiles. “I believe you will all find a page of this book in your pockets.”

People all over begin to pull pages out of their pockets and begin to read.

Dumont clears his voice and reads, “Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer's wife...”

Slowly as they all begin to read or listen to Dumont the sun begins to crest over the horizon, birds begin to chirp, and the cobblestone street shines a bright gold.

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


In.

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


It's like that HUM song about time travel
Word count: 1310

Within a small part of the fifty-five million lightyear expanse of the Virgo Supercluster, known as the Local Group, galaxies spin on. If you stand in just the right spot off the furthest spiral arm of Andromeda, and turn to look at the stars of the Milky Way Galaxy, they form a picture that looks like this:

Y O U A R E H E R E

It’s right there, on the planet Earth, where waves of neutrinos travelling from one hundred and sixty-eight thousand years in the Large Magellanic Cloud’s past wash through every living being on the planet, including a young man walking down a street one late night in 1987.

That young man is my eldest brother, Chris. He’s walking home, right now, from his first job as a dishwasher at Biggies bar and grill where you can buy a beer served in a fishbowl. He’s decked out with a fab feathered haircut, a wispy mustache he cannot pull off, and a white jacket he’s wanted since he saw Saturday Night Fever as a kid, though it looks more like something Don Johnson would wear than John Travolta.

A storm is brewing inside his brain. It starts with a single neuron misfiring, sending a signal to all of its buddies to fire as well. And due to a fluke of his neurochemistry the signal spreads. Like a flash of intracloud lightning it crosses the corpus callosum from one hemisphere to the other, unleashing a cascade of electrical activity that renders Chris unconscious. One moment he is standing at the street corner waiting for the light to change, the next he falls. He doesn’t fall straight down, or backwards, or to either side. No, he falls forward into the street.

Many people say they have the worst of luck, but for Chris it's true.

Exactly fourteen minutes and twenty-three seconds prior to Chris’ seizure, a thin balding man, also awash in time traveling neutrinos, leaves a bar too intoxicated to drive safely. He tells himself he only lives a few blocks away, and besides nobody is out this late at night. He isn’t going to get arrested and he certainly won’t get into an accident. But the alcohol passes his blood-brain barrier without any trouble, and because alcohol is a depressant it has slowed the reaction time of his neurons. So when, in fourteen minutes and four seconds, he is driving his old blue plymouth and sees a young man lying in the street he cannot react quickly enough.

He feels the impact, but Chris doesn’t.

---

Things for my parents got bad. They were never healthy, they drank too much, fought all the time, never had enough money. The house was always in need of repair, or about to be foreclosed on. But after Chris died they crawled deeper into the bottle and depression. One day I swore that I would build a time machine and save Chris. I’d lie at night on rescued curbside sofa cushions (the best kind of sofas) spread out on the living room floor, where me and my brother William slept after our bedroom's ceiling collapsed from a leaking roof. I’d dream of all the ways I could prevent Chris’ death. The most obvious was to follow him from work on that night. When he falls I would catch him. Or I could go to the bar where the drunk driver was and steal his keys. Or I could get Chris the medication he needed for his epilepsy.

Imagine standing behind Chris in line at the pharmacy with twenty bucks in your pocket, when he realizes he doesn’t have enough money. Before he turns to walk away I could slap the money down on the counter and say to the clerk “give the man his meds.”

Chris would thank me. I’d shrug, playing it cool.

Problems crept in as I devoured sci-fi and learned the harsh lessons of temporal paradoxes and butterfly effects. If I went back in time to prevent Chris from dying, what would cause me to build a time machine in the first place? And what if Chris recognized me? I always pictured myself as an adult while rescuing him, it wasn’t like I was going to build the time machine tomorrow. But there was always the possibility that he would remember the face of the kind stranger who paid for his medication, and one day he’d look at me and make the connection. This would certainly rip a hole in causality and destroy the universe.

These were minor inconveniences, problems to be worked out. I still had bigger fish to fry, such as how I would aim my time machine back not only to the correct time, but the correct space. Time travel, as I learned, wasn’t as easy as Back to the Future made it out to be. The Earth was spinning around the sun which itself was spinning around the galactic core of the Milky Way, which was being pulled toward Andromeda, which was part of the ever expanding Virgo Supercluster, which itself was only a part of the Laniakea Supercluster. As soon as Marty jumped into the Delorean and hit eighty-eight miles per hour he would have ended up floating in empty space, if he was lucky. If Marty was unlucky he’d die burning inside a star, or spaghettified by a black hole.

To avoid a similar fate I needed some kind of beacon burning bright in the night sky. Which is exactly what the Large Magellanic Cloud provided me with. 1987 was the perfect year, as scientists detected, for the very first time, the neutrino emissions of a supernova before the light of the explosion even reached us! They named it 1987A. Cause, you know, it was 1987 and it was the first one.

So, I had my temporal coordinates and my spatial coordinates. Now all I needed was a time machine and a plan that kept causality intact.

Easy-peasy.

---

Three years after Chris’ death my parents finally dried up. One night my mother confessed to my aunt, while sitting in a dive bar filled with men and women just like her, avoiding failed third marriages and mortgages for homes with leaking roofs they couldn’t afford, that she always felt like the worst person in every room she’s ever been in. She said she was finally fed up, sick of being sick.

She never went back there or any other place like it.

Elsewhere a man walked into a meeting in a church basement, confessed that he had killed a man, hit him with his car after he’d been drinking. After a lifetime of trying to escape his problems, both real and imagined, he had spent the last couple of years just trying to forget just one night. He never would, and he wouldn’t stay sober forever, but he’d never drink and drive again. He wouldn’t take that kind of risk.

After that our leaking roof was fixed. William and I reclaimed our bedroom. Life found a new normalcy, even if it was never normal to start with. As I grew up I still thought about the time machine, not as often, and not in as much detail, but it remained with me. The puzzle of it. The desire to be the hero who saved my brother, and by extension the rest of my family. But I never could figure it out.

Until now.

The key to preserving causality is that Chris can never know, nobody can. He can’t even stay on Earth, it's too dangerous. But Mars is too cold, and despite whatever Kurt Vonnegut wrote about Titan, its even colder and smells like farts. But I’ve got a plan.

---

Off the shoulder of Andromeda, two million five hundred and forty thousand lightyears away, Chris is looking at a string of stars which sends him a message which is a tad misleading.

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


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

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005



Did I just get served? Is this what it feels like to get served?

Siddhartha Glutamate fucked around with this message at 12:19 on Jul 12, 2019

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


Necromancers in New York
Word count: 1200

Rosa Flores’ severed head was in the doctor’s bag. Gabby sat the doctor’s bag on the dining room table, across from Mr. and Mrs Cavendish, who were bound to their chairs. She reached inside, stroked Rosa’s curly auburn locks with her bandaged left hand, grabbed a clump of hair, and stuck Rosa’s detached head in Mr and Mrs. Cavendish’s face.

They screamed.

“She’s seen better days, hasn’t she?”

A dark stain spread across Mr. Cavendish’s dressing gown. He rocked back and forth, blubbering “oh god, oh god, oh god…”

“Wh-what do you want?” Mrs. Cavendish managed to stammer, straightening her posture as she spoke. “We have money, but not on us, and the banks won’t open-”

“Why are you talking to me?” Gabby cocked her head to the side. “I’m not the one who wanted to come here, that was Rosa’s idea.”

Mr. Cavendish stopped blubbering. “I told you Jacqueline, oh God I told you! Oh god, oh god, oh god-”

“Shut up, Charles!” Mrs. Cavendish squirmed in her bindings. “This is madness! Who are you? What do you want?”

“Did I forget to introduce myself? I’m terribly sorry. My name is Gabriel, but everyone calls me Gabby. And you’ve already met Rosa. Say hello Rosa.”

Rosa Flores’ eyes flashed open, a smile spreading across her pale dead face. “Boo!” She hissed.

Mr. and Mrs. Cavendish screamed again.

---

I always thought Rosa was a crackpot. I met her while bartending at the Slum Goddess, a home away from home for the freak folk. Or more commonly their only home. One night Rosa waltzed in, ordered a New York sour and regaled us with tales of her paranormal adventures. Like the time she exposed a cabal of vampiric priests in Chinatown, or saved a coven of anti-Christmas witches from a band of rogue Elves.

I still think she was making that last one up.

She became a regular, for awhile anyway. Most nights, when my shift was over, she’d end up in my place. She’d give me poo poo about the cresty dishes in the sink, the two piles of clothes next to my bed (one dirty, one clean), and the utter lack of sheets for my bed.

“I get it, you never have to make your bed if you don’t have sheets.”

Then one night she wouldn’t show up at the Slum Goddess. There’d never be any notice, she’d just up and disappear on another adventure. I’d tell myself that I wouldn’t let her back into my life when she finally showed up. But I never did. Last night I got a voicemail and left in the middle of my shift. She sounded desperate, said she finally dug herself a hole too deep even she couldn’t climb out of. She said she needed me. Me. How could I say no to her?

“And girl, you still don’t have any drat sheets.”

When I got home the door was unlocked, though I had given Rosa a spare key. Still, I didn’t call out. Maybe it was the tone of her voice in her message, she was always confident, never questioning her ability to get out of a scrap. I pressed my ear against the door, I could hear movement, and a voice. A man’s voice.

I splayed my keys out between my left fingers and crept inside. It was dark, but down the narrow hallway to the living room there was a faint flickering of light. I could hear the voice clearly now, he was chanting in some foriegn tongue. I heard a bag being zipped up. I moved forward.

In the middle of my living room was a man, darkly clad, kneeling before a circle on the floor with strange shapes drawn inside, candles lit along the edges. In the middle was a nude body covered in blood, chunks of flesh missing, the whole chest carved open. The head, oddly, was covered in one of my t-shirts.

It was Rosa.

“Rosa!” I screamed. I lunged forward, but a hand grabbed me, shoved me against the wall, and covered my mouth. A second killer. I was pinned, but my left arm was free.

I threw my keyed fist at the man, aiming for his eyes, managing instead to gouge his forehead and nose. There was a satisfying crunch as his nose broke. His grip loosened and I threw him off me, charged toward Rosa.

I know it wasn’t rational, Rosa had to be dead, but I had to get to her. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as it looked, maybe I could save her. At the very least I could save her from the hands of those sick fucks.

I kicked the man kneeling at the circle in the head, he fell back and knocked over some candles. They went rolling off to the side. I started punching him with my keyed fist, crimson arcs spraying everywhere. Then my head was yanked back. I was thrown on top of my kitchenette’s table. A doctor’s bag sat there, one of Rosa’s arms tucked inside.

I flipped over, swung wildly, hitting air. The man with the broken nose grabbed my short cropped hair and threw me toward the window. Glass shattered as I flew through the window. My head narrowly missed the fire escape’s balusters, slipping in the space where one had been. I stared five stories down, dizzy from a concussion.

I grabbed a piece of glass, rolled over and saw Mr. I-Broke-Your-Nose in the window. I slashed at the prick’s face. A warm gout of blood splashed over me as he screamed and wrenched back.

“Fuckin’ bitch!” He said, or I think he said, it wasn’t easy to understand him as he was holding a slab of his own cheek in place.

I crawled back through the window, wobbled, fell to the floor. The apartment was filling with smoke, one of the candles had rolled under my couch and set it alight.

I saw the kneeling man grabbed his friend, pulling him away from me. He was carrying the bags.

They ran.

I crawled over to ruined remains of Rosa Flores and pulled the blood soaked t-shirt off of her face. She looked up at me and blinked.

I fainted.

---

“Please, we’ll tell you everything, just don’t hurt us!” Mr. Cavendish pleaded.

“For heaven’s sake Charles, have some goddamn balls.” Mrs. Cavendish spat, her head still held high. “We had nothing to do with your friend’s tragic demise. We were assured that all subjects were willing, they were paid handsomely enough.”

“Oh, we’re not here for information,” Gabby said, pushing hair out of Rosa’s face. “She already had it all figured out. The two of you hired a corporate necromancer to perform outpatient arcane surgery. Because undead tissue never ages. The only problem was that Rosa got caught sticking her nose in places they didn’t belong. You didn’t kill her, the Necromancer and his thug did.”

“Then why are you here?” Mrs. Cavendish asked.

“Why for Rosa, of course. You both have something that belongs to her,” Gabby said, then pulled a bonesaw out of the doctor’s bag. “I’m just here to collect.”

The Cavendish’s screamed for the very last time.

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


In, but I can't decide on anything. So :toxx: and hit me with something!

Exmond posted:

META NOIR YORK CITY

This is some lame rear end poo poo. First you decided to make me look like a punk right after I signed up, like you couldn't even wait a couple of days to dash my loving hopes and dreams, no you had to do it right before I put one goddamn word on the page!

That's cold.

But maybe I could have let that go if you hadn't followed it up with this two-part opus. Hell, I probably would have shied away from making a peep for fear of being crushed by its sheer creative weight. But then you had and go and make poo poo personal, didn't you Exmond? I'll have you know that my erotica backstories are loving amazing! That'd make you weep while you cum.

That wasn't enough for you though, was it? You had to go and dox my rear end and reveal to the whole 'dome that I'm a poo poo-slug.

That's bullshit.

But I'm not going to take this to the mods, oh no, that ain't how we do poo poo around here. We handle poo poo in the dome. Two poo poo slugs enter, one poo poo slug leaves!

Brawl me, bitch.

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


Djeser posted:

Wanderer/Bubastis/eavesdropping

Neato, thanks!


:negative:

Thank you for the crit, Exmond. I appreciated it.

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


Exmond posted:

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

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

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

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

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


Saucy_Rodent posted:

Are you gonna brawl derp or not tho

gently caress, I knew I forgot something.


You wanna go toe to toe with me, poo poo slug? Fine.

Let's brawl!

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


Imperfect Hearts
word count: 935
prompt: Wanderer/Bubastis/eavesdropping


It was amongst the crumbling bricks and pottery shards of Tell-Basta, or Bubastis, that I came across the inscription. Your mother found it, a thin strip of linen wrapped around a cat’s skull. The writing was clearly hieroglyphics, most of which appeared to be names, it appeared strange and foriegn. Not only did it contain unknown hieroglyphs, they were all arranged in a way neither of us had ever seen before. In spite of this mystery we didn’t spend much time on it, there is always more piles of detritus to be shifted through at an archeological site. So we cataloged the find and kept on with our work, but I never forgot about it.

We were at your cousin Kafele’s aqiqah and I was thinking about the meaning of his name, one for whom you would die, picturing the hieroglyphs in my mind. That’s when it came to me. In traditional hieroglyphics there are three ways in which they can be used, the simplest is to represent a word, another is a sound, and the last is as a determinative, always placed at the end, to clarify the meaning of a word. In this way the sun-disc can refer directly to the sun, or to the god Ra, or even to a specific moment in time. The inscription, however, didn’t have the standard determinative structure as these came in the middle of the word.

And this doesn’t matter, does it?

The point is that I could finally see it. The untranslated hieroglyphs served a similar function as determinatives, but they expressed a different kind of relationship, a familial one such as between a father and son. I could picture Kafele’s name translated into the hieroglyphics of the inscription, and while I did not know them all I believed his name to mean “he who judges hastily” or perhaps “he who causes strife.” I was elated, not for the bizarre meaning of his name, but for having finally cracked the code.

There was a time when it was a game. I would translate everyone’s name I knew. The President of the Archaeological Museum of Zagazig University, Professor Hasaun Bakr, was the worker of grief, which seemed apt from the blessedly few interactions I had with him. Others were he who acts guilefully, speaker of lies, supporter of false accusations, unheard of truth, and for myself: eavesdropper.

I cannot explain it, but there seemed to be power in these names. Sometimes it was a stretch, but always the more I knew the person the better I could see how the translation of their names fit them. It became as if I saw branded on their foreheads a person’s greatest faults and struggles in life. As I became more proficient in the inscription’s particular dialect I discovered that the meanings of a name could shift with time, some softening, while most twisted into something darker.

That’s when your mother became pregnant.

She wanted to name you after her father, Latif, a fine name. It means gentle. But I could see the markings, I knew how it would shape you. She made more suggestions, but each one I rejected as soon as I translated them. I never told her the true reason why, if she had known she surely would have thought me mad. But I could not bear the thought of condemning you to a troubled fate.

Still, I had no suggestion of my own. I thought that there surely must be a name out which would give you a pure heart. But I could find none. As the weeks passed I grew terrified, I couldn’t put off naming you forever, sooner or later your mother would name you without any input from me at all. I knew I must pick the name with the least worse fate, but what? An unholy child? One who acts wickedly?

Your mother, bless her, she put up with my indecision. So you were born without a name. Just a chubby faced babe with a tuft of curly hair, and all the best possibilities ahead of you. You were pure. When the Doctor spanked you, you did not cry, only whimpered. The first night you slept through the whole night. I saw you the next morning, swaddled in your mother’s arms, and I knew I was right to protect you from our imperfect existence. Who could put a name on you?

I didn’t listen as your mother complained that you did not suckle, or while the Doctors and Nurses worried about your heart. Your heart! Could they not see how wonderful your heart was? But they were right. You grew weaker, refused to feed, and I could not understand it. How could there be anything wrong with someone as perfect as you?

But I understand it now. No one is meant to be born with a pure heart. A child cannot afford to think of others first, or give of itself. A child must think only of its own needs, its wants, and cry out to the world and demand that they be met, in order to survive. We live in an imperfect world, and to be a part of it you must be imperfect.

So we will name you. I will mark you, and you will want. You will think only of yourself. But you will grow strong and you will be a part of this world. But do not fear, my child, for your mother and I will be there to love you, to show you how to be better, and accept our imperfect nature.

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


In.

Character: 14
Setting: 16
Genre: 18
Song: 8
RFT: 2

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


Even the Darkness Has Its Light

Central Character is… NON-HUMAN + 130 words
Setting is… IN A MICRONATION +101 words
Genre is… FAIRY TALE + 95 words
Song is… I Know About You, by Milo Greene +88 words and a…. DIAMOND CAPSULE
RFT is… CUBAN CIGAR +136 Words and a…. DIAMOND CAPSULE

1260/1327 words.


Once long ago, after Motikitik fished up the islands, there was a little wave named Kehlani who spent her days playing with the islands. She would rush out onto the shores, laughing all the while, slapping her cold hands onto the warm sand before being chased back to the sea. Kehlani thought she would spend all of time this way, playing underneath both the bright sky and the starlight. But the sea does not age like the land and so there came a day when the first of Motikitik’s islands was old, but Kehlani was still young. On that day Kehlani rose up as she had always done, ready to rush onto the shore, but just then a big wave came by and pushed her. Bolstered by the big wave Kehlani swept out over the whole island and it disappeared beneath the waters.

Kehlani was devastated. She didn’t understand what happened, she never meant to harm her friend, she only wanted to play. But she had harmed her friend, for an island is not meant to be under the ocean.

“You’re such a stupid little wave!” cried a voice Kehlani did not recognize. “You should have known you were too much for Motikitik’s island, didn’t you see how its peaks were getting smaller? How its green trees grew fewer?”

Kehlani had noticed these things.

“Who are you that hounds me so?” Kehlani asked.

The voice did not reply, instead it repeated its accusations. “You didn’t care about anybody but yourself! You’re a selfish little wave! A cruel wave!”

Kehlani started to cry. “I am not! I am not!” She protested, but in her heart she felt that the voice spoke true. She had never questioned whether the island wanted to play, or if it could play, she only knew that she wanted to play. “Leave me alone!” She shouted and threw herself far from the islands out into the deep ocean. But the voice did not leave her.

For days she fled, hoping to outrun the voice, but it was never far behind. Worse, as she fled it found new things to accuse her of. “You’re a coward!” “You’re stupid!” “Nobody will ever want to play with you again!”

Poor Kehlani could not take the voice’s harassment any longer. She knew she needed help, but she did not know who could help her. Certainly she could not go to Motikitik himself, for it was one of his islands that she pushed under the sea. Neither could she go to any of the other gods, for they might tell Motikitik what she had done and surely she would be punished. Except, she realized, there was one god who might be able to help her. The great trickster, Olifat. He had recently been kicked out of the heavens for causing too much mischief, such as adding stingers to scorpion’s tails and teeth to shark’s mouths.

Kehlani set out to find Olifat, all the while the voice telling her how stupid she was to seek the aid of someone so dangerous. Didn’t she know that Olifat’s help came at a cost? But it did not matter, whatever the price Kehlani had to pay to be free of the voice she would gladly pay.

She knew Olifat was hiding deep in a cave on the shore, but when she got there she did not find him. Instead all she found was a cigar puffing smoke. It sat on a rock outcropping in the middle of the cave, but as Kehlani looked closer, for it was a peculiar thing to find in a cave, she saw that it wasn’t puffing smoke, it was being smoked. “Oh Olifat, cleverest of the gods, I know you are here!”

The cigar danced in the air as laughter filled the cavern. Smoke filled up two invisible lungs and was then blown out obscuring Kehlani’s vision. When the smoke cleared Olifat stood on the rock outcropping, a richly tattooed man with a shark’s jawbone in his hair, smiling down upon Kehlani. “Who is this that has come to seek the great Olifat in his grand domain?”

The cave did not seem very grand to Kehlani, but she thought it best not to say anything.

“I am but a little wave named Kehlani,” she said. “I have come to seek your aid for I have wronged the great hero Motikitik by drowning one of his islands.”

“Great hero? Ha! Has Motikitik ever wooed the daughters of the gods? Has he bested the god of thunder? No, he has only fished!” He boasted. “You are wise then, little wave, to seek Olifat. What would you have me do to the fisherman?”

“Nothing,” Kehlani said. “I have not come to have anything done to Motikitik. I am here because ever since I have harmed him I have been cursed!”

“The fisherman has cursed you? Ha! What has he cursed you with, too many fish or too few?”

“No, there is a voice. It follows me wherever I go and says the most awful things.”

Olifat did not laugh as Kehlani spoke. “Little wave, what does this voice say?”

“It says mean things about me. True things. Things I cannot bear to repeat.”

Olifat sat down on the rock outcropping, dangled his big toe into the water. “It tells you that you wicked, a fool, that nobody will ever love you.”

“How did you know?” Kehlani quivered as she asked.

“For I know the voice, too. Look behind you.”

Kehlani did as she was told and saw her trough, which is like a wave’s shadow. “I don’t understand.”

“Can you be rid of your trough?”

“No, it is a part of me.”

“So to is the voice.”

“But what is it? I cannot see the voice, only hear it.”

“Conscience,” said Olifat. “It is a beast which harries us all.”

“I cannot be rid of it?”

“No, you cannot be rid of conscience.”

Kehlani despaired.

“Do not be sad, little wave, for being free of conscience is not what you need, you need only to learn how to talk to conscience. Go, ask it what it wants.”

“I already know, it wants for me to feel miserable.”

“Does it? Is that what it has said?”

“Well, no, but-”

“Ask it!”

Kehlani did, she closed her eyes and asked why it was being so mean to her.

“Because I miss our friend, and I do not want us to hurt anyone else ever again.”

“I miss our friend, too. But it was bad luck and carelessness, I never saw the big wave, and I did not mean to hurt anyone.l”

“I know,” said conscience.

“I promise to be more careful in the future.”

Conscience, for the first time since Motikitik’s island was submerged, was silent.

“It worked!” Cried Kehlani. “Conscience is silent!”

Olifat laughed. ”Of course it worked, I told you it would!” He chomped on his cigar and stood, rubbed his belly and declared that he was hungry. “Now, let us go show Motikitik how to fish and fill my belly!”

So it was from that day forth that Kehlani would speak with her conscience, at first only when conscience spoke harshly to her, and over time she found conscience harried her less and less. There came a day when Kehlani was no longer a little wave but a big wave all her own, that she realized that conscience was her greatest friend as it never left her and always had her best interests at heart. So long as she spoke to it.

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


sebmojo posted:

Im judge this I have strong views on dialogue hell rules on request w/toxx

Oh look the kiwi thinks he's tough. Does Mr. Mod wants to play? What ya gonna do, tell me to write dialog without using any nouns? Bitch, please, I don't even know what nouns are.

:toxx: in.

Come at me bro.

Come at me.

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


The Elephant in the Room, Or Sometimes Your Family Are Cunts.
Prompt: ISFP (listed in post as ESFP, but this is the link.)
Word count: UNLIMITED! BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T POST A WORD COUNT LIMIT, SPARKSBLOOM! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!... but 924.

1.

“I don’t see why these elephants have to have their own parade. You don’t see me putting on a parade for humans,” auntie Emily said, referring to images of marching elephants on the television. “Of course they’d call me a speciesist if I did!”

“Elephants are the real speciesists,” concurred uncle Edgar. “Always bringing up species in every conversation they have.”

“They were already in the St. Patrick’s Day parade,” agreed aunt Carol.

“And they were at the county fair,” said Carol’s husband, Carl. “Except not at the circus, oh no, that’d be wrong.”

Everyone nodded.

Oliver, the sole elephant in the room, froze as he poured himself a cup of tea. He looked at the lot of them, his family, and wondered if after a lifetime of unanswered birthday wishes had he finally become invisible? The thought lifted his heart. He had a brief glimpse of himself free of his familial bonds, living out on the savanna, flapping his unbridled ears to cool himself while standing in the warm sunlight, surrounded by his own kind, their tusks long and craggy and just aching to tear through a bunch of ivory poachers.

“You know they still murder elephants just for our tusks,” Oliver found himself saying. “Or, uh, so I’ve heard.”

“Sure in some backwards countries they do, but it’s not actually like that here, that’s just what the media wants you to think,” said Carl. “I know.”

“Oh hun,” auntie Emily said, “we’re not talking about you. You’re different. You’re not in your face about it like those other elephants.”

Oliver’s heart sank.

2.

“She was absolutely right,” Oliver said, lying on the doctor’s elephant sized couch. It wasn’t required it just seemed the proper thing to do, so Oliver did it. “I try my best to hide the fact that I’m an elephant everywhere I go, including while I’m with my own family, as if being an elephant is some kind of grand insult.”

“I thought we talked about this, you said you were going to try to be more expressive of your true self.” Oliver’s therapist put her pen and pad down.

She was disappointed, Oliver knew it. A crinkle always appeared above the bridge of her glasses when she was disappointed. “I have been, I’ve really been trying. I don’t have my ears tied back do I?” Oliver flapped his ears for her.

“Did you say anything for yourself?”

He hadn’t.

“Well, I told them about the poaching...”

“I think sometimes when we are faced with the threat of a confrontation, or disapproval, it's important we assert ourselves, and you have a plan for this. Did you utilize your plan?”

He hadn’t.

“Well, I did tell myself what we talked about. I said my mantra.”

“But you’re still getting your tusks filed down.”

“It’s-it's just practical isn’t it?”

“Are you being honest with me, Oliver?”

He wasn’t.

3.

“You’re lying to your therapist,” Topsy said as he rubbed his tusks against a post. They were long and caked in mud, and Oliver thought they looked magnificent. “And this is helping you how exactly?”

“I have commitments. People expect me to be professional, I can’t just swing my trunk all over the place.”

“We can’t all be loving Babar, Oliver. In fact none of us can, because Babar is a fictional character created by a homosapien.”

“I’m not Babar, I just don’t act like how she wants me to act.”

“Act like what, an elephant?” Topsy stared at his friend dead in the eyes, his ears flared out wide. “No, you’re not Babar, you’re a sad and pathetic little elephant who's desperately clinging onto societal acceptance, terrified of the mouse that is rejection because you’ve bought into the lies that very same society has sold you since you were a child.”

“Jesus,” Oliver said. “Where the hell did that come from?”

“From experience,” Topsy said, his ears falling. “I’ve been there, right on the brink of change but too scared to do it. Do you see me playing the part of the good little ‘phant now? It was the hardest thing I ever did, but it was also the best thing I ever did. I finally get to go to sleep not hating myself! I can look at my tusks, or my tail, swing my big ol’ trunk around, and I feel loving lovely! I wake up a proud elephant. A happy elephant.”

“I wish I was like you.”

“You are! We’re both elephants! And it’s not just me, there are groups of us, so you’re not alone. I get together with a bunch of them every Saturday to play soccer. You should come.”

“What about my family?”

“Oliver, they’re all cunts.”

“But, auntie Emily-”

“Is the worst kind of oval office, because she pretends not to be a oval office.”

4.

Oliver was rubbing his long craggy tusks against a tree, the bark scratching off the mud and muck. It was the best sensation, one that made his eyes roll, one he wondered why he had denied himself for so long. When he finished he saw a young elephant, standing near the mud pit the local elephants used for their soccer field. His tusks were short, his ears tied back, and his trunk curled up.

Oliver knew the look, it had been his a few years ago.

He stamped over to the newcomer, trunk swinging like a grandfather clock. “Hey! Welcome, buddy! I’m Olly and it’s wonderful to meet you!”

Oliver offered the newcomer his trunk to shake, his heart soaring.

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005



Well poo poo, I can't read. Sorry Sparks, other judges, and Kaishai.

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Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005


Derphartha Brawl

Far Afield

The blue glow of the vidscreen illuminates the drab utilitarian room, the light making Navid’s already pale face ghostly. He sat hunched over a metal desk bolted to the wall, watching the vidscreen, waiting for the crackle of artifact errors to resolve themselves into a pair of large brown eyes and a wide smile. Nima, Navid’s son, two light hours away, yells - yelled - in delight when his image finally comes into view.

“Wadder!”

“Nima,” Navid beams. “I see my present has reached you. I want you to open it carefully, get your mother if you need help. There is a secret inside, beneath the bottom of the crate. It’s nothing la-la, but I think you’ll like it. Your mother might have to tell you want it is.”

Navid falls asleep watching the vidscreen, awaiting the seven hour delay as his signal is bounced off of a relay station in orbit around Titan, Saturn’s moon, and is then passed around half of the solar system to reach its destination, a bleached planet Earth. It would be quicker, by almost half, but he was using a pirated signal. The quality was poor, but when the planets aligned he could actually afford to watch a live stream this way.

When Navid awakes he finds Nima holding up a small bundle of freeze dried vegetables to the screen. “Madder say it terrer!”

“Yes, it’s very good,” Navid says, his recorder off. “They’re the real thing, organic.”

“You makan dys?”

Navid turns his recorder on.

2.

Before Navid is a thin tray of gruel, a few grey-green cubes, and carrot orange sticks, which neither resemble carrots in taste or texture. But it is a wonderful meal, as on the vidscreen Nima and his mother are preparing a salad. The child’s first. Nima sneaks some spinach, perhaps because it is the deepest green foodstuff he has ever seen, and at first he smiles as he gobbles the leaf down, but then he frowns. He looks at the camera, ashamed.

“That’s the oxalic acid, it makes it bitter. But don’t worry, your mother knows how to balance it out.”

When the preparations are all done, and Nima is seated in front of his vidscreen light-hours away, he takes a forkful of the greens and hesitates. The spinach has made him weary, but Navid figured something like this might happen. Through the vidscreen speakers Navid hears his own voice begin to sing.

“Little Peter Rabbit was hopping through the farmer’s field, little Peter Rabbit was hopping through the farmer’s field, little Peter Rabbit was hopping through the farmer’s field, and he ate up all his carrots!”

Nima laughs, bits into his salad, munching mouthily. Navid picks up his orange sticks and chops down.

“Little Peter Rabbit was hopping through the farmer’s field…”

The meal goes on with father and son sloppily tearing into their meals, light hours apart.

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