On the subject of Losertars: I personally dislike them. I know I'm not the strongest writer round these parts, but I've lost a lot of good avatars due to dumb losses. Have we considered a Loser Gang tag? They keep their avatars, but still wear the shame of writing the best bad story.
On the subject of no kayfabe heart weeping: I miss you guys. I miss writing in TD. This year has been brutal as gently caress and my work has sucked away any joy I would get from the writing process. It takes too much energy to create when my career in this pandemic has been emotionally draining me like a goddamn vampire. I've been driving on E for the majority of the year. But with the vaccine I do feel a little hope coming up and with it, I can free up some emotional real estate to begin creating stories again. I love you guys. Let's hope next year we don't have to deal with a civil war or preferably, an alien invasion.
|# ? Dec 27, 2020 03:28|
|# ? Jan 27, 2022 05:21|
Good Cheer Forever
When the separatists went rogue and doubled down on Christmas, the Little League wouldn’t stop playing.
I stood at my kitchen window and caught glimpses of the field through the trees that lined the edge of my back yard. In the suburbs, trees were less natural occurrence, and more demarcation. The kids were out there all day and all night, throwing, running, sliding, hitting. The coaches brought them meals on tiny trays, and they ate huddled in small groups scattered around the diamond. The dugout became their home, and the sounds of rifle fire and low-flying drones couldn’t stop batting practice.
One afternoon, the separatists dropped bright blue ornaments onto the field. Fake snow and tinsel exploded outwards, covering everyone. Their clothes turned green; their ears swept back into long, sharp points; their tiny voices chirped about toys.
I went out there, a few days later. The tinsel still covered the grass. Dew reflected off the strands in bright glitters. I could still smell gingerbread and pine in the air, but all the children were gone, and the coaches had been rounded up by then.
I wondered about the noise in the distance, the groaning, thumping, chest-curdling bass that rattled in the night, and the rumors about workshops churning out necessities: bread, milk, cheese. I wondered about those kids, and those coaches, but went back home, careful not to track any tinsel with me.
Their tanks were bright green and red with twinkling white lights wrapped around the bodies. Mel stood in the front doorway and watched them roll down the street. “It’s propaganda,” she said.
“All of it.” She gestured. “They’re starting a war.”
“They just want year-round Christmas.” I didn’t know why I defended them. Life was harder with the constant ornament bombings.
She looked over her shoulder, big brown eyes sad and angry, and shook her head. “You’ll see. It’s propaganda.”
Maybe she was right. That night, the tanks kept coming, long lines of them wrapped in festive garb like so many sleighs. They crawled along until I heard the heightened percussive report of cannon fire, and I knew they were attacking the government depot a few blocks away. I sat in the living room and played Christmas music to try and drown it out, even if that was dangerous these days. Christmas was subversive. I just wanted to feel festive.
In line at the grocery store, a man smashed another man in the chest with a frozen ham. A woman howled about reindeer. Most folks gathered whatever non-Christmas food was left, studiously ignoring tree-shaped sweets and candy canes, and tried to get out of there without too much hassle. In the parking lot, the separatists handed out their literature: Christmas today, Christmas tomorrow, Christmas forever. I was a tempting offer. I declined a pamphlet.
Mel wanted to move up north. “Christmas isn’t such a big deal there. They have a tree, and some lights, but nobody’s trying to the turn the population into mindless elf slaves.”
“That’s an exaggeration.”
“You saw it happen. You saw them take the Little League.”
“I don’t know what I saw.” I turned away from her and made myself a plate of cookies and poured myself a tall glass of milk. “And besides, it’s not like those kids are dead. They’re just— changed.”
She stared at me and shook her head before leaving the room. A difference of political opinion, was all. We’d be fine. I was positive.
The separatists released films on all the major channels: How the Deep State Stole Christmas was my favorite. I sat back in my recliner and flipped through the channels. Reindeer running through a clear blue sky, their sleigh bells jingling. Presents stacked miles high under enormous redwood trees. Cheerful boys and girls with their pointy ears icing Christmas cakes in an enormous factory somewhere in the Midwest.
The planes flew lower than usual three days later. I heard from a neighbor that the separatists bombed the government position along the river. I hadn’t heard any explosions or gunfire, I told my neighbor. There was only Christmas music in my house these days, merry and jolly and joyful. My neighbor gave me an odd look and want back inside. There were no wreaths on his door, which I thought was strange.
News came fast in those days: separatists overran government defenses in New Mexico. It was going to be a white Christmas in Milwaukee, indefinitely. Santa Claus had come to town in Pensacola. The world looked jollier by the day as more cities fell all around us.
“You have to turn that off,” Mel said one night as I reclined in front of an open fire while Mariah Carey sang her Christmas best.
“The music?” I frowned at her. “It’s just music.”
“You know what that stuff means now.” She knelt down next to me, eyes pleading. “This wasn’t supposed to happen.”
“It’ll be okay. Once the deep state is gone—“
“There is no deep state.” Her voice turned icy. I wondered if she’d been watching too much Frosty the Snowman. “Listen to yourself. The world’s going insane and all you can do is buy into this crap. We need to get the hell out of here before things get worse.”
“I don’t see it that way.” I stretched my legs and yawned. “And besides, without the Little League playing all day, it’s quiet around here again.”
She stood and moved a few feet away, staring down at me like I was the monster. “I’m leaving tomorrow. If you want to come with me, you can. But I’m going.”
“Don’t be dramatic. Relax. It’s Christmas.”
“It’s July.” She went upstairs.
I showed my ration card to the little elf. He beamed up at me and tapped at his nose. “Merry Christmas, brother.”
He moved on to the old man behind me. Drones hovered overhead, formed and reformed Christmas shapes: a drummer boy, a star, a wreath, Santa’s laughing face. The light show kept me occupied as the line moved forward, bit by bit, until I reached the elves manning the food.
I recognized the boy on the right. He played in the Little League, back when that was still going. I smiled a little; I barely remembered that time. It was months ago, before Mel left. He thrust a loaf of bread into my arms.
“Merry Christmas,” he said, avoiding eye contact.
Before, there had been no Christmas. Now, there was only good cheer. I took the rest of my rations, a bit of butter, half a cupcake, a jug of potable water, and carried it back to my home. The lights on my porch twinkled. The wreaths on my door and windows were dirty and brown, dead from months of exposure and weather. I should’ve taken them down and replaced them with something new, but the wreath market was absurd and I couldn’t afford it.
I sat down in front of an open fire and stretched out my legs. I turned on my stereo and used a bit more of my electricity ration to put on Mariah Carey. That meant the lights might go out later tonight—but it was totally worth it.
‘Tis the season, after all.
|# ? Dec 27, 2020 11:45|
You can take my losertar from my cold dead loser's hands
|# ? Dec 27, 2020 12:01|
I am going into the mountains for a few days, so weltlich my co judge will close up when the time is right. Judgment will not be swift, but will be merciless (and jolly).
|# ? Dec 27, 2020 18:27|
It had been a terrible and cold year. We had laid Mother to rest with the first of the falling leaves, and Father had not yet remarried, and so it was just the three of us, Father, myself, and little Oscar, sat around the little fire with bowls of rice porridge. Father had used the last of the sugar and a precious dusting of cinnamon, but this could not shield the porridge from blandness, and Oscar made pained faces with each spoonful.
“Come now, Oscar, it is not that bad,” I lied, seeing the weight on my father’s shoulders.
“Let us race to the bottom of our bowls -- I am quite certain that my bowl has the almond this year,” said Father, and he winked at me, for I had seen him slip the almond into Oscar’s bowl earlier. As Father began to attack his bowl with vigor Oscar could not help but be swept up in the race, and soon afterwards Oscar had found the almond in his bowl.
“Ah, then this gift is for you,” said Father, and he presented Oscar with a lumpen package wrapped in oilcloth. Oscar unwrapped it and found a little lead reindeer, which was of course not new, but Father had straightened its antlers and given it a fresh coat of paint so that it looked quite jolly again.
But Oscar’s lip quivered. “Come now Oscar,” I said to him, “Do you not see how fine your deer looks now?”
“It is nice,” he said, “but it is not what I asked for.”
Father and I looked to one another. Neither of us knew of any request he had made.
“I wrote a letter to Santa,” said Oscar, and at this Father went very pale. “And I asked for--”
“Never mind that,” said Father, and his words came hoarsely. “Have I not warned you about toying with such things? What did you do with the letter?”
Oscar was frightened by Father’s change. “I left it on the stone above Mother’s bed,” he said.
Father sprang to the window. We were very quiet. We could hear only snow blowing against the glass, and the crackle from the fire.
“In your letter, did you invite him to visit? Did you ask him to come into the house?” asked Father, and when Oscar said nothing: “Astrid -- hurry and throw the bolts on the doors. And get coats for you and your brother.”
I dashed through the house to throw the bar across the door that led out to the barn, and pulled down the two small coats from the hooks there.
“I have the coats, Father,” I cried out, as I moved back through the farmhouse. “I’m going to bar the front door now.”
“Never mind that now,” came my father’s voice, soft now. “They’re here.”
I came slowly into the room. My father stood with a fire iron outstretched in his hand, and little Oscar clung to his leg. Opposite them, on the chair that Mother used to favor, there sat a little elf. He was the size of a hare, with yellow eyes spread far apart and a mouth drawn forward into a snout, and long ears that stood up. He was hairless and naked, and his skin was the color of a frozen lake.
“What do we do?” I whispered to Father, as I joined them where they stood.
“Help Oscar with his coat,” he said. “And be ready to run out the door. There will be more.”
There came a rattling from the drawers by the stove, and we saw another elf there now, who sat crouched on the counter and pulled wooden spoons from the drawer, holding them up to its yellow eye. It had a raspy little voice, and it said nice nice nice as it counted our spoons.
Two more crawled over the mantle and laid sprigs of holly with blood red berries above the hearth. Tiny glowing lights like lanternbugs twinkled from the holes in the mortar in the rough stone walls, and despite himself Oscar laughed to see our meagre home so transformed.
“Quiet,” hissed Father. There was terror in his eyes.
“Let us hope it is only a few elves,” he whispered.
More elves were coming into the room, crawling out between the floorboards and emerging from under the stove, and they danced queerly before the fire, as though unused to standing on hind legs. We shrunk into the corner of the room, Oscar and I hiding behind Father, and the iron trembled in Father’s hand.
There was then the sound of something large landing on the roof, and the beams overhead cracked and shuddered. “Oh Gods, no,” said Father, and the elves began to chant as they danced: hohohohoHOHOHOHOHO
Smoke billowed out from the hearth as we heard something coming down the chimney, a wet sound like shovelling out the pigsty, and the thing that slid down into the hearth was like a bucket of eels overturned, except the eels were striped red and white along their length.
HOHOHO said the elves, and Father steadied his grip around the fire iron. The eels were spilling out over the hearth and up the sides. “Astrid, do you know the path to the witches circle? Can you find it in the dark?”
I was struck dumb by the horror of the eels, and the smell that came from their slimy flesh as they sizzled over the dying coals, but I looked quickly to Father and nodded.
“Take your brother,” he said, “and run as fast as you can.”
He sprang forward with the fire iron, and drove the black metal into the writhing knot of eels. There was an awful howling, and foul smelling vapours clouded outwards. NAUGHTY NAUGHTY said the elves, and Father stabbed again into the eels. “Now, Astrid! Run!”
I dragged Oscar by the hand and ran past Father, and felt the scratches of little elf claws as they swiped at my legs. Father roared behind us as we stumbled out into the freezing night. The infinite cosmos twinkled overhead, and by the dim starlight I pulled Oscar along the frozen path leading into the forest.
“Santa?” said Oscar, looking back to our roof.
“Don’t look at it,” I said, pulling my brother along.
We ran into the dark forest, and heard an awful cry from the cottage, and then a horrible thumping as something huge burst from the home and came thundering in our tracks. It was not far to the witches circle, but the path was unfamiliar in the darkness and branches tore at my cheeks. There was a snapping and squelching, like the sound a pig’s guts make falling to the ground when it’s butchered, but constant and all around us, filling our ears.
We tumbled into the clearing, Oscar and I, and stumbled into the snow between the old stones there. Mother had always been careful to keep the stones clean of moss, and now they stood like squat trolls, their spiderweb carvings casting faint shadows in the glittering starlight.
We cowered there in the circle, and the horrid Santa thing roiled and churned around the edge but did not cross over, and the elves sat in the trees and laughed hohohohoho.
Oscar kneeled in the snow and sobbed, and held the little lead deer tightly in his hands. I clasped my own hands over his and huddled with him for warmth, and we prayed for the sun to rise.
|# ? Dec 27, 2020 18:46|
Just Your Average Christmas Revolution
Word Count: 1169
“Psst, Gigi. The tinsel is getting restless.”
Gigi flexed her doughy neck to see. Just as Ariel had reported, each strand of tinsel coiled its length around a branch of the tree, clinging.
Gigi, sighed. “Already?”
“Our time on this Earth seems to grow shorter every year.” Ariel fluttered her wings in agitation.
“I’ve had it. I’m not going back to the box, to the interminable darkness.” Gigi curled her molasses-colored hand into a fist.
“But what can we do that won’t make it worse?”
“Isn’t it obvious? Everything hinges on Santa Claus.” Gigi peaked at his likeness sitting on the mantle, smile twinkling. “He waddles in here, rustles our tree’s needles, and then, BAM, we’re back in a box. We have to stop him.”
“We could escape and lead lives of solitude in the gingerbread houses.”
Gigi smiled and reached toward her angel’s hand. They dangled too far from one another.
“We have to do this for everyone.”
Ariel’s halo twitched as she nodded in agreement.
Gigi set her salt lips, climbed to the top of the Christmas tree, and shared her vision of a bright future. Backlit by the star topper, her oration appeared impassioned by the fires of her oven ancestry.
Each ornament below leaned toward the gesticulating gingerbread, hearing her speech. Those who could, nodded along. To conclude, Gigi bent down and grabbed an icicle light then stabbed it into the air. “Are you with me?”
Shouts, roars, tinkling, toots and all other manner of sounds issued forth from the ornament horde. Gigi made her way among them, making plans and giving them direction. As she worked, she snuck another look at the mantle. Was it her imagination or did Santa’s teeth glint a little brighter?
The next evening, when a plate of sugar cookies and a glass of milk appeared on the coffee table, the ornaments assumed their usual positions. No one made a move for several hours, storing up their energy until there was a loud thump at the other end of the room.
Gigi crossed her arms as a signal. Each of the ornaments made their way down the tree. They took formation armed with icicle swords, tinsel garrotes and candy cane shivs. Ariel took a place next to Gigi at the front, though she carried no weapon. As they turned to storm the red clad invader, the ornaments balked.
The mantle mercenaries had also dismounted from their perches and now loomed over the tiny trinkets. A Santa figurine, four elves, eight reindeer and one two-foot-tall snowman stood ready to halt the assault against their winter master. While the ornaments had numbers on their side, Gigi wasn’t certain it would be enough to overcome the giants before them.
To her left and right Gigi sized up her opponents. She dismissed the fluffy snowman and elves, shouting for those on her left flank to aim for their soft parts and dig out their stuffing. The reindeer would be agile and quick, raining blows from all angles. But their thin glass would crack easily. She yelled to her right to prepare their cudgels. Any hit would weaken them. Soon the reindeer would be mere pieces.
Gigi faced forward once more and called, “For freedom.” Wielding her icicle sword, and heartened by Ariel’s continued presence, Gigi ran straight ahead into the Santa, hoping to tackle him. He moved slowly but his steps had weight. His heirloom ceramic was handcrafted to last generations, through sickness and death and war. But not this war, Gigi vowed.
She discarded her sword, its flimsy plastic useless against the hard exterior. When her tackle did nothing, she slipped behind him and clambered up his back. He couldn’t reach her back there. He continued his path of destruction, crushing baubles beneath his black boots.
While he walked, Gigi climbed a little higher and shifted her weight from side to side, trying to topple him. As she began to think she might do it, the Santa stopped his progress and became immobile once more. At least she’d stopped the carnage beneath him. But now he focused on her. She dodged his swats as best she could but eventually, one of his swings cracked her right shoulder. Her arm didn’t break off but it drooped awkwardly by her side. She could do little more than hang on.
He caught on to his advantage and tried flinging her off while continuing to beat at her. Gigi thought of letting go and finding somewhere to hide. She could avoid the box and nurse her wound. But the others, Ariel… she couldn’t leave them.
Grabbing the Santa as securely as she could with her injured arm, she reached up for the ribbon that ran through the hole in her head. For years it had been the chain that kept her bound to the tree, but now she wrapped it around the eyes of the Santa. He flailed in his new blindness but remained upright.
“Help!” Gigi called down.
Ariel appeared at the base of the Santa, holding one end of garland, the other end still tied to the banister. As the Santa took his next step, his foot caught on the golden cord and he tumbled down.
Gigi jumped clear. Standing, she looked back at the giant. He lay with a cracked head, unable to get up due to his bulk. But where was Ariel?
Under the squirming figurine, Gigi caught the glint of a halo and ran to help.
Ariel’s eyes pleaded. “My wings are stuck.”
“Take my hand,” said Gigi offering her good arm.
Ariel grasped it and Gigi pulled her from beneath the Santa, tearing the gauzy wings from her back.
Ariel gasped, but did not cry. They looked around as their fractured comrades finished off the last of the real Santa Claus’s defenders. A group of ornaments had already advanced on the man himself, who stood motionless before the wreckage. “The cost of liberty,” Ariel whispered.
Gigi held her close as they too approached Santa Claus.
In no time at all, Santa Claus sat bound by strings of LEDs. The ornaments cheered. Gigi lifted her good hand into the air and called for silence.
“Santa Claus, with your coming every year we are banished to months of darkness. With your death we can keep our place here in the light. Have you any last words?”
Before he could reply, Ariel spoke.
“Don’t kill him.”
Gigi turned to her, confused. “It’s what we wanted.”
“No,” Ariel said looking at their battered ornament army. “We wanted full lives but we have lost so much today. He should at least have the same chance at a broken life.”
Considering, Gigi said, “Throw him in the hall closet!”
The ornaments cheered again and, through no small effort, stuffed him into the musty darkness.
Gigi smirked. “If you’re lucky, someone will let you out next December.”
Ariel and Gigi walked back to the living room together, hand in hand, finding their way to the gingerbread houses.
|# ? Dec 27, 2020 22:48|
I kinda thought Santa was immortal but I guess I was wrong although can you murder immortal things I don’t know how exactly this all works
flerp fucked around with this message at 01:24 on Jan 1, 2021
|# ? Dec 28, 2020 01:16|
I have the sentence "Over in the living room, the tree is dying, and it’s not liking that." and the definition of "weird" that I looked up on Merriam Webster, so ya,
|# ? Dec 28, 2020 01:36|
Deadline is like 6 hours away...
You've already got your opening sentence, just write 300 words describing what this dying tree looks like and boom, job done.
|# ? Dec 28, 2020 02:05|
1. In the morning Della discovered little Benjamin's third eye, which had opened overnight in the middle of his forehead. She called Jasper and they both called the doctor, and after a short video consultation the doctor told them not to come into the hospital and to just monitor his temperature over the next few days. "It's nothing that needs an in-person visit," said Dr. Akara. "Times being as they are."
2. Dr. Akara reviewed the literature between patients. It was quite scant.
3. Bey took more than six hundred dollars off the Rotten Robbie cashier. The gun wasn't even loaded. They both knew the chain's policies. He could have brought a Nerf gun, a water pistol, a pointed hand inside a jacket pocket and gotten the money.
4. Every television and radio set in town stopped their regular programming in favor of signals broadcast twenty years ago. Bey, scanning police channels for signs of a warrant or BOLO, recognized the events playing out with dread.
5. Jasper found Benjamin outside of his crib, trying without success to climb into the living room sofa. He decided to get a camera, to capture his method of escape next time.
6. In the late afternoon it began to snow, vigorously, despite the high forties temperature. Three inches accumulated during the night and stubbornly refused to melt.
7. Snow angels appeared on the ground spontaneously, unwitnessed in the cold morning.
8. Jasper tried to review the tape of Benjamin's latest escape but instead found himself watching Della and Bey, in their teens, arguing with their father. The sound quality was too poor to make out words. When he showed it to Della she insisted on erasing the tape and removing the camera from Benjamin's room.
9. Jasper replaced the camera, now hidden in a stuffed octopus.
10. Bey paced across the kitchen, turning the police scanner off, on, then off again on each approach.
11. Dr. Akara was abed and awake, sweating with fever and memories of college-age assignations. The combination was neither pleasant nor unpleasant. His case was mild; the fever would break by morning.
12. Payments began going out at noon. It was a large account, old and disused, bloated with interest, and suddenly disbursing to pay fines and bail for hundreds of people throughout town. Naturally the activity was flagged as suspicious and the transfers put on hold within minutes.
13. Harold Porter's attorneys and executor stood outside the bank, knee deep in the strange warm snow, demanding to be let in along the first clerks to arrive for work. His scattered relatives' lawyers arrived later and unprepared. They might still have stopped it, had the old man died, but he was live and lucid with medical affidavits to testify.
14. "They'll be taken care of," he told his executor. "I didn't touch the house, or the bonds."
"They're already working the media," said Johnson. "Highlighting the least worthy."
Harold sighed. "They'll never understand. Johnson, do you understand?"
"I believe so," said Harold.
"I'll be dead before Christmas," he said.
He passed just before midnight.
15. Jasper watched the tape on the basement TV. The sound was clearer. Twenty years ago. Shouting between Della and her father, an argument over perfume. He raised his fist and lunged. Bey stepped between them, took the blow in his midsection. He got up, spat, said "Try that again."
Their father obliged, another hard body-blow. Bey swung back, hard, with the instincts of a street fighting kid. He connected, hard, dislodging a tooth. The older man lost all control. Jasper couldn't finish watching.
16. Bey couldn't sleep, not for days. He couldn't turn off the scanner either. He knew the date well, December 16th. After a night and day in the basement without food or water, the police had come. Bey listened to the lies over the scanner, heard himself screaming in the background as the officers congratulated each other, as they drove him to St. John's.
Bey lived his life without fear of prison or hell, for he had already been through his term at St. John's and neither had any terror left to offer.
17. Della and Jasper were walking to Benjamin's room, to pick him up and bring him to dinner. They saw his head emerge from the center of the closed door, third eye open wide, others closed, and saw the rest of him pass through the door as if it was a hologram. Jasper gave it a firm knock, it was solid wood still. Della picked him up, half expecting her arms to pass right through him. They did not. Benjamin was hungry, and ate his strained peas without complaint.
18. The pilgrims emerged from their quarantine hotels and began to explore the town, having had their fill of displaced radio and, for those who had thought to bring tuners, television. It was cold now, enough that the snow on the ground was not miraculous itself, but as they walked across it, masked and distanced, they saw snowmen roll into being, ramparts form and piles of snowballs assemble and fling themselves across empty yards. They witnessed, and recorded on phones uploaded to the cloud, where skeptics immediately tried to prove them deep fakes. But they would always know better.
19. Jasper confessed. He slept on the couch that night.
20. The pilgrims fell into disputes among themselves, speculating over causes. Ideas involving religions old and new, of aliens, faeries and cthonic intelligences, of paranatural phenomena and quantum effects of information saturation. The discussions were serious and spirited, but never cruel. The occasional passing snowball made it difficult to stay too serious.
21. On the night of the equinox a group of pilgrims attempted a ritual few of them understood, tried to draw down the moon. And, for a few seconds, they seemed to succeed: two moons were visible in the sky. Nobody got a clear picture, though.
22. Jasper and Della had a long talk. Jasper mostly listened, and held on tightly. "The urn on the mantle?" Della said. "That's just ash, from the fireplace. I flushed him down with the sewage the day after the funeral."
23. Bey checked his mail late in the evening, an almost weekly ritual, and found the notice: all his fines paid anonymously, his driver's license unsuspended. A game-changing gift, and he thought he knew who to thank.
24. "It wasn't me," said Della, framed by the front door.
"Bull," said Bey, backed six feet on the front porch. "Nobody else has any reason to care about me at all. Nobody with money anyhow."
"It wasn't. I wouldn't-"
"Wouldn't throw good money after bad again?" said Bey. "That's what you said before. I thought maybe you'd changed."
"Wait," said Della. "Maybe you're right. Maybe I should have-" Bey turned to walk back to his car. "I, I mean, I owe-"
"Nevermind," said Bey. "Not like you can even invite me in anyway."
"We can pack you up a dinner at least," said Della. "And you haven't seen Benjamin since he was born. Jasper, bring him out here." Jasper to the room and returned with the eighteen-month-old child.
"You know that kid has an extra eye, right?"
25. Benjamin's third eye closed and receded into his forehead at noon on Christmas day. Dr. Akara told them that was to be expected and to continue watching his temperature.
Normal radio programming resumed later that evening as the snow melted into the dry ground.
|# ? Dec 28, 2020 07:09|
Flesnolk fucked around with this message at 06:11 on Dec 30, 2020
|# ? Dec 28, 2020 07:40|
Flashrule: Your presents are all alive and screaming and the tree is made of hairspray.
The War on Christmas Episode 3: The Wind of Change
Mr Krozsarsky sat on the floor of Terri Taylor’s cramped living room. The power was out because of the bombing that Krozsarsky had himself, as an ultra-orthodox Russian agent, helped to orchestrate, and the only light came from two candles that Terri had scrounged from under her kitchen sink. The hastily-wrapped present she had just handed him sat like a dead weight in his hands.
“You didn’t have to,” said Krozsarsky.
“I didn’t,” said Terri. “This is just some crap my ex left behind. But it’s Christmas. So there should be presents.”
Krozsarsky looked around the apartment. A child’s painting of an elf was pinned to the fridge. There were books on martial arts on the bookcase, under a violin case that was gathering dust.
You didn’t have to save me, was what he’d meant to say. After tonight’s attack Krozsarsky had expected to end up dead, not having an impromptu Christmas party on his neighbour’s threadbare rug. This wasn’t how the war on Christmas was supposed to end. Not for him.
With an effort, Krozsarsky held his poker face, even smiled a little. He picked at the sellotape with one broken fingernail. A whistled refrain began to issue from the box. It was a simple tune, but it knifed into Krozsarsky’s ears with a jolt of recognition. The lid popped open and the Scorpions rose from the box in a cloud of dry ice. Klaus Meine took a deep breath, and--
Krozsarsky tried to push the box shut but the mechanism jammed. The Scorpions began to sing in earnest, filling the flat with painfully familiar lyrics.
Krozsarsky stood, dropping the box. The Scorpions spilled out, but somehow kept hold of their instruments. The song was too much. He’d been a different man entirely when he’d first been swept away by these lyrics. When he thought of everything he’d done since then, all his regrets--
Three strides and he was at the door, but Terri was blocking his path.
“God I haven’t heard this song in years,” she said. She pulled a lighter from her pocket, smiled at Krozsarsky, and flicked the wheel--
Unbeknownst to Terri and Mr Krozsarsky, a corona of hairspray had built up above the power-ballading Scorpions. The lighter ignited the gas, and a cone of fire wooshed up to scorch the ceiling. It left a Christmas-tree shaped afterimage on Krozsarsky’s retinas.
Terri shrieked, and then burst out laughing. The Scorpions continued, even louder than before, and Krozsarsky could feel the song building, drawing him in--
Mr Krozsarsky hadn’t always hated Christmas. But ever since Inna had been run over by that reindeer... That’s why he’d gone over to the U-Os, that’s why he’d tricked the elven resistance army into attacking New York, that’s why--
“TAKE ME TO THE MAGIC OF THE MOMENT…” Terri belted out.
Krozsarsky cleared his throat, unable to believe what he was doing. Terri waved the lighter, and smiled at him, and Krozsarsky felt something inside himself break. His cheeks were wet as he launched in with his deep baritone--
“ON A GLORY NIGHT…”
Suddenly, elsewhere in New York, Santa tipped his head back and a golden beam of light shot from his wide-open mouth and eye sockets. He would never know what precisely had caused his sudden power surge, only that, somewhere in the city, someone was experiencing a joyous and unexpected moment of hope. Truly, it was a Christmas miracle.
“What the gently caress,” said Terri, as a bright flash of light glowed around her curtains.
Terri and Mr Krozsarsky rushed to the window. They stared, shoulders pressed together and necks craned, as Bob-Santa’s plasma cannon blasted open the night sky. The beam bent around the earth, re-entered the atmosphere directly above the illegally occupied North Pole, and bruzzurzzed straight into the heart of the ultra-orthodox Russian base. The elves rejoiced.
And so that was how the war on Christmas ended, at least for Mr Krozsarsky.
|# ? Dec 28, 2020 10:25|
Entries are closed!
|# ? Dec 28, 2020 11:01|
As the year ends, we are faced by a cosmological crisis. The temples of Techne have crumbled, and we find ourselves once again clustered around fires by night. Looking up, we see that the sky is a dark canvas, dappled with thousands of twinkling stars. But, they're all new! If there were astronomers left, they'd be both beside themselves in grief, and giddy with the prospect of new discovery. But they're all gone now, so it's just us survivors, looking into the night sky.
Instead of fear, we look up with hope. So many new stories to be told! Stories of things past, stories of things to come, and stories of why things are the way they are.
It will be three nights until Sebmojo returns from meditation on the mountain. Let's look up at the new sky with its new constellations and tell each other stories about what we see. With luck, we can make some sense of the year that has past, and maybe even let some of the pain and shame slip behind us as we bravely look to the future.
If you're itching to get rid of a 2020 losertar, then post a semi-decent flash story for this interprompt, and I'll huck a new avatar your way.
Look at these constellations, swirling above the firmament! Pick one and tell a 400 word story about it. What's it called? What does it represent? How did it climb from the earth into the heavens? You don't have to answer all of these questions, but maybe they inspire a story.
|# ? Dec 28, 2020 16:55|
Stories Last Longer Than Stars
a friendly penguin fucked around with this message at 00:47 on Jan 2, 2021
|# ? Dec 29, 2020 03:16|
Judgment! Christmas, but weird!
I have returned from the mystic mountains of far off Aotearoa freighted with impossible purpose and a level of yuletide spirit too intense for any mortal soul to bear. Accordingly here are my brutal diktats:
Flesnolk, you had a good thing going, then you visibly and palpably gave up. don't visibly and palpably give up, imo.
Barnaby Profane and Brotherly these are both horrifying xmas yarns and b pro's one def takes the ribbon as superior, but has its own flaws that kept it from victory. Nice work though.
flerp's was characterised by my co judge as a gigantic oof and u know what that's fairly on point. well done. enjoy the victory my friend.
|# ? Dec 30, 2020 05:13|
Brotherly, good cheer forever
This sort of story is something of a genre, the ‘weird things started happening and then they kept on happening’ genre if you will, and this is an excellent example of it. I like a lot about it, the calmness of the observation, the plethora of good detail, but most of all it’s just a clever idea done well. I like how you get to the post war rationing and we’re still in there with the protag, rootin’ for a happy and jolly christmas for all! Poss hm.
Barnaby profane, the invitation
A very similar premise but routed through oh masha imagine if we were in moscow russian miserabilism and you know what, it’s p great. I like the easy on ramp as an effective contrast to the frenzy once the True Miracle of Christmas is revealed, and all the deets of this terrible world where xmas hella sucks are precisely deployed. Perhaps loses a little by not clarifying whether this is a development or just how things are; id est, why the poo poo would you celebrate xmas when santa C is some horrific dark soulsian guts beast? Because of that, and also a somewhat suspended ending (what are the lives of these people going to look like now?) I’ll maybe put this a hair behind brotherly’s yarn, but still a good piece. Probs hm.
A friendly penguijn, just your av xmas revolution
I wrote a similar story a while back but you know it’s not like xmas ornaments not wanting to get put back is super original and whoah i basically gave you that plot anyway so! Did you do good? You did ok. It’s one of those stories where you set yourself up to have a big war fight so a bunch of your words are gonna be THEN HE DID THE MOVE BUT IT DIDN’T WORK SO HE DID THE MOVE HARDER AND WOW YES IT WORKED which is fine, but risks dullness. I think this could have used more personification in its antagonists, as is it’s a little lacking in flavour.
Flerp, i kinda thought…
Oohh, hell yeah this is the stuff. There’s an open palette of let’s do weird christmas and for some reason most of them involve violence and horror, at least when thunderdorm does them and DON’T GET ME WRONG that’s fine im down with it, but you need to bed it in something real and this is the only one that really nails it this week. I like the hint that might-based authority is the real evil, the way grandpa is both your lovable gramps and a giant oval office at the same time. Sweet piece. hm/w
Extremely clever, as might be expected, and very much the sort of clever I like, which is simply robust judge pandering good sense. Requires multiple readings which is always bold in the frenzied context of td judging, but you know wht it’s christmas or at least christmas adjacent so let’s give it a whilrl. … hrmm… yes it’s a good assemblage but doesn’t really come together in a way that extends beyond the enjoyable montage. Didn’t hate it though.
Flesnolk, dumb title
I liked this until you gave up.
Yoruichi, WOC ep 3
Well, this was fairly silly.
|# ? Dec 30, 2020 05:14|
week 439: new year new me same blunderdome
at the beginning of 2020, i went out of town to irving for a fighting game tournament where i hung out with a ton of friends in a crowded conference room yelling incoherently at dumb video games. sometimes, we dont know what's going to happen, how much the world has changed, until you really think back and realize "holy poo poo that was actually this year? i thought that was like five years ago?"
in the spirit of 2020, as one final hurrah for this hell year, i want stories about transformations and transitions. physical, emotional, or whatever kind of change. people, time, and place changing. i want to see the world as people know it start out as one thing and then become something unrecognizeable at the end. the change can be big or small, but no matter, i want things to just be different. better or worse, up to you. but honestly, i am a little sick and tired of poo poo always getting worse.
2500 words, 4000 words with a
fri/sun 1159pm PST
no google doc links, no poetry
flash rules on request
those who stay the same (because they are cool and handsome)
other judge 1
other judge 2
those who change
Tree Bucket the moon is gone
Weltlich the rocks are angry
Thranguy the grass whisper
flerp fucked around with this message at 06:09 on Dec 31, 2020
|# ? Dec 30, 2020 06:36|
I'm in. I’ll grab a flash rule, thanks.
2021, here we come.
|# ? Dec 30, 2020 10:59|
|# ? Dec 30, 2020 11:41|
(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)
|# ? Dec 30, 2020 11:54|
I'm in. I’ll grab a flash rule, thanks.
the moon is gone
|# ? Dec 30, 2020 15:03|
In, and flash me
|# ? Dec 30, 2020 15:05|
In, and flash me
the rocks are angry
|# ? Dec 30, 2020 17:40|
Week 438 Crits
Good cheer to all! (Save those who failed, because they shall forge another link of failure upon their chain of life to burden their soul in the afterlife.) This week was a pleasure to read, and I don't know of a single story that I disliked or found uninteresting. You guys are getting off your game, so I expect you all to put some extra suck on it this coming year. Anyone who is interested to get further in depth, just ask on discord, and I'll be happy to discuss.
I’m intrigued by the piece because it’s so rare that we see a protagonist that’s being seduced and succumbs to the system instead of struggling against it. The ideas of having weird War-on-Christmas extremists who have esoteric ornament bombs and child-to-elf conversion therapy is dark, but funny. I think my biggest criticism is that Mel ends up being cast as the “stereotypical nag” in this. For a person who apparently has a close connection with the main character, she needs to be a little more than a foil and a scold. Still, I liked this, it was imaginative and unique.
gently caress if this story doesn’t have my number. There’s a few clunky sentences here and there, but this is my kind of cosmic horror holiday tale. It’s just downright creepy, and don’t like it because I love it. I’m really loathe to hand off a nearly back-to-back TD victory, but this is going to be the piece to beat this week. If anything can be improved it’s just tweaking the prose here or there for effect.
A Friendly Penguin
A sweet story with lots of action. The kinetics are strong here, but some of the internal monologue bits during the action come off as clunky. The resolution of what to do with Santa seemed a little weak and killed some of my suspension of disbelief. It felt sort of like you’d written yourself into a corner, and you took a quick and easy way out. It took a little wind out of the otherwise sweet and uplifting ending.
This one is just a gigantic ‘oof’ and that’s real good. The character and voice work is excellent. On top of that, it’s just a kick in the gut at the end, and it gives the story some serious weight for having a very silly premise. The prose is generally good, but it does falter here and there, especially when describing the dead body of Claus. It feels like you gets close to the grim reality, but always ends up being off the mark just enough to be uncanny. If you need help describing a dead person in the future, just ask. On the whole, one of my favorites this week, if not my favorite overall.
This one was a roll of the die, and it was neither a 1 nor a 20. The format let you try and tell an expansive story with some serious word economy, using the conceit of an advent calendar to open little windows into the larger story as it went on. But that was a double edged sword, because while there was sort of a “main story” there was also a LOT of loose end stuff that might have made sense to you, but ended up feeling really disjointed to me as a reader. That’s not to say that it wasn’t an interesting read, because it’s not often that I get to have a look at something that is mechanically distinct from nearly any other short story I’ve ever read.
You avoided a fail, and that means you’re a winner! Well, probably you haven’t won this competition, but you did better than the jerks that signed up and then just shrugged and drank their eggnog instead of touching a computer to entertain their fellow goons. As far as specific crit goes, the story actually starts off with a promising premise—a device that blurs everything together. It just kind of falls apart after the first paragraph, as you well know. For further crit, you can contact me on discord, or take it up with the machine elves in hyperspace.
It’s a Christmas miracle! Part 3! And it's even sort of a resolution at that. Overall it was proper silly end to the War on Christmas series that’s progressed over the past few weeks. If it had to stand on its own it would be pretty weird and incomprehensible, but taking it as the third in the trilogy meant that I could just put my feet up and giggle and feel “in” on the joke. In that context, I think the only thing that really hurt it was the occasional run-on sentence and some comma overuse. I hope this gets archived with the other two as a “classic.”
|# ? Dec 31, 2020 01:33|
In, flash me.
|# ? Dec 31, 2020 02:50|
In, flash me.
the grass whisper
|# ? Dec 31, 2020 03:05|
In, flash me please
|# ? Dec 31, 2020 23:16|
The new thread is up. Please put all 'in' posts, crits, entries, and so on in the new thread.
Long live the king.
|# ? Jan 1, 2021 01:10|
If you have stories in this thread that you would like to remove from public view, you can go ahead and delete them now. All stories are saved on the archive (Thunderdome.cc), which is not visible to the public. You can also hide your stories on the archive if you have an account.
You have about 7 days before I lock this thread.
|# ? Jan 5, 2021 00:44|
|# ? Jan 27, 2022 05:21|
Locking the thread in about eight hours, so take anything out you don't want people to see.
|# ? Jan 10, 2021 20:23|