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take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


prolly regret this but calling out known anime mod bad seafood cuz i never got over that crit about robot dildos or w/e. lets cross katanas under a moonless night ok??? i know for you comparing stories to dildos was prolly tuesday but... it hurt me lol

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take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


take the moon posted:

prolly regret this but calling out known anime mod bad seafood cuz i never got over that crit about robot dildos or w/e. lets cross katanas under a moonless night ok??? i know for you comparing stories to dildos was prolly tuesday but... it hurt me lol

quote:

bad seafood

uve had 24 hours. i kno ur probs busy as a bee... watching anime or... moderating an internet forum about anime... but regardless ill continue to quote this post calling you a 100 hundred percent total coward until i get banned or die or u actually respond.

it was another life but if nothing else im the inaugural megabrawl champion and holder of a sacred td relic with a +5 to Dark Nostalgia should i ever pull it from my archives of forgotten hoodies. i wont be ignored. thanx

uve got lots of bark in ur crits dog so show some fuckin teeth

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


oh my bad. *whistlign door shut emoji*

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


obvsly should stop doing this poo poo but "mass" from posthuman fuckoff week enjoy/ignore

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


open xhallenge

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


yea lol

lets go

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


Chili posted:

Hey, I'll judge this thing.

Take up to 2,000 words to write me a solid coming-of-age tale.

If you want a song flash, request one and I'll give you a list of four to choose from. Take until May 20th sometime during that day, to finish.

flash me, :toxx:

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


going w/ honeybody

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


brawl v yoruichi

if ur not judging this and feel like reading it for some reason, maybe ingest some thc first? im rly tryna break into stoner lit lol

SUN DOG

2000 words

Somewhere there is Heaven

And you will find it

-Lingua Ignota, “An Urn”


I. the Body

Hive-Milk is a sugar rush. Leam’s heart churns ashen gloop into a silver flow that rushes his limbs into paryoxsm. He knows to hold on. On his cot he’s fetal holding a glass vial of nothing. The glass glitters. A tremolo of empathy and bliss mixed with desolate grief fills him. His mind's eye drifts past the bone of his skull. Sees his mesh of skin, the home genes knit for his soul. It's monstrous at first, a flesh exodia. Soon chrysalis takes him to fay child, pale of skin, elfin of face.

Reality bleeds in slow first, then at speed as memories flood. The memories are frantic, claiming neurons from void in pitched battles. The voids surrender. How cruel is the rush of life and love? No life and no love. No joy remains in his bleak spellbound life. Mother's words drift through, gentle, kind. The Hive isn't real. The Hive-Milk isn't real. It's not safe to believe in unreal things.

When i grow up, he told her, I want to be a hive. She smiled and held him against her barren womb. After him there's been no more children. She'd tried. Been debased by so many kings. That was when he was a boy.

Leam’s stand from his cot is ascension.from the grave. The imprint etched in the cot will uncrease to space. Blood is strength and his veins are venters now to the soles of his feet. Slow death remains here on the cot. Now is his chance to be free. Believe in nothing.

Nothing.

Please believe in nothing, he’d told himself. Hold on. He'd held on, never wavered, as the milk blooded his fingers. They'd scrabbled the cot plush, torn strips of fuzz. Fuzz smears his fingertips. It’s proof he felt it.

Now he faces his Mother, guardian of the hall beyond. Mother is now a bloated thing. Smears of puke glisten her lips. The spell has gnarled her fingers to claws. She hasn't let him leave.

Paper dolls strew the chamber. He’s cut them from notebooks and scribbled names for.them. Should he bring them? He thinks of God cutting him from void and scattering him to cold alabaster. Leaving him alone and forgotten. Heat seeps from his feet, numb by when he’s gathered the last doll. There’re nine dolls stacked so he reads only the top name. One doll, he thinks, with nine aspects, and the top is God.

God's name is Craeac.

"Beware," Mother says. "If you cross me i will rend skin from you. Better to bleed out tattered than to walk the hall. To walk the hall is to die alone. There's no one out there."

But someone gave me the Hive-Milk.

Mother speaks slow the ancient mantra. "Kings die. Queens creep towards death." Her lips carve each word with sure, defined strokes.

"Foolish child. My child. To believe in the Hive. No Hive remains but I’m here and I love you." Time dulled copper eyes once aurora green. Mistrust clouds them, a knowing he won't obey.

He treads closer. The paper dolls cling to his heart, Hive-Milk still lacing his limbs. His mindscape, caged again in his skull, brought back knowledge with its return. Speak God's name and weave Him a tapestry of fate.

“Craeac,” he says.

There is nothing, then sorrow. Tears fall slow at first to mingle with the lines of puke. Then both join in translucent union and twine their way to the chrome floor. They. thicken as the tears flow like molten diamond across pockmarked cheeks. Mother folds to her knees. Her bulging flesh drapes her waist in billows, her arms strainingt.

Bitter smile. "I never thought you'd go so far." Her eyes gleam in forlorn madness. "To think my own brood..."

“One isn't a brood, he says. Even this tires him. Resolve ebbs from him with each breath. He's drowning under the spell. But to swim through it, to work towards the sunlight one day... To breach the surface. To see the sun glint across water. The ripples in the ocean are worth it. They will be.

A ripple never fades but bloods the whole ocean through the years. All he needs is to put one foot ahead of the other. Over this freezing ground.

Mother lets him pass.

II. the Tomb


The name of God rings in his ears, though Leam has turned Him over, face down, nestled in palm.

His door ends the Hall. The Hall creeps into the distance past where he can see. Halogen light lines the ceiling in effervescent streaks. Who keeps light flowing? It must be the Hive. He walks the Hall hopeful, though the light flares in glitching sparks and hurts his eyes.

The Hall ends in an arch veiled over with silken gloop.. Gossamer shines in fades of neon light, His questing fingertip dips in. Sticky stuff smears it when he pulls out. Tendrils of gloop go taut before parting from the web. Translucent lines droop from his fingers.

He sighs and pulls webbing apart. Minutes seem like decades. A sickly scent plumes from the gloop as its strands lose the pattern. The scent’s a siren, slowing him, bidding him stay with the gloop and go no further. Even now he begins to wrap threads around himself like braces. Soon like fitted sheet but then he remembers the name of God. God remains unstained though Leam's arm drips with gloop. it's God who guides Leam through the arch. Leam emerges streaked with threads of gloop like warpaint.

Beyond the arch is the Tomb.

Putrid death assails him. He’s in a courtroom-sized chamber lined with raised stone coffins. He knows kings lie here. The weight of dead kings crushes him, one by one given up their souls to Mother's womb. Yet Leam's faultless. They made their choices. A voice not his own tells him to be brave. To journey deeper into the Tomb, for why else has he come here? The voice is firm as the cold alabaster he treads on.

As soon as he reaches the final coffin he knows the voice is his Father's.

His Father lays in the last coffin. Unlike the others it’s hewn from stone the black of obsidian. It stands before Leam like an altar.

Leam removes the slab.

His Father hasn't decayed. The cheeks, though, are sunken, the nails and hair long. Father’s eyes are sapphire blue and glitter as if caught in freeze.

Leam waits, but with coffin open Father has nothing more to say. Nothing stirs in this tomb of kings. His Father is alone, walled by obsidian slats. Leam can't leave him like this.

Leam places the paper dolls on his father's chest one by one, reading their names aloud. Craeac, Draerrinn, Pyyl, Citin, Ce, Fluch, Tainda, Veak. He stops at the last doll. The eight dolls lay 'cross his father's chest as if scattered by wind, though the air is dead as any who lay here.

The last doll Leam keeps to himself. He drags the slab shut and hears his Mother’s breath..

She stands in the threshold, teeth bared, clutching one hanging arm.

"Your father deserves no slaves. Know you of your origin seed? Your genes, your blood? Oblivion was his mindscape, a nadir vast and long. When we joined my vista was death."

Wordless, Leam gestures with a sticky arm to the other tombs.

"Bright with hope," she says in spit, "and mercy. Yet none took. None found triumph in my womb. So invoke your Hive-Mind. i'll show you how. For he has passed his void on to it. Nothing is what you'll find. Nothing. Love is dead."

His arms shake as if the weight of the last paper doll is too much to bear. It rustles against his chest. "I'm not sure," he says.

"Kings die," she says. "Queens creep towards death. Where does that leave children?"

She smiles. It’s a sick smile that glistens with spit. Her hair strands her face, wet with the gloop of the web she stands within. As if the archhung web etches her into space and time, here and now, and he's outside it all. Surreal, to stand in this place of death and holding, and know such strangeness.

"I prayed you'd be stillborn."

Foreign force strings his nerves, bids him raise the paper doll to his lips. The name he marked still stains the doll. It comes up now to aside all else. It keeps presence in the threadbare moment as if gold shining through clay.

Leaath.

His Mother raises her dead arm, and he’s gone before the name passes his lips.

III. the Void

I made an echo of you. I kept you with me, and an echo faded out to join the Body. Was it not warm inside the Body?

Leam has no self. He’s a thermal in an amaranthine void. He has the heat of soul but no substance. His vista springs from a deeper place than eyes.

The Void talked to him. He talks back, soundless, in the resonance of soul heat.

It was boring, he says. The axe bores into stone again and again. All I did was sleep.

I kept you with me because I was alone,
Father says..

So where am I? Leam asks, and sees himself.

Leam is a black insect. He's chitin shelled, the thorax obsidian black, legs weaving a slow dance across the Void. Each movement is struggle, halting, a grind. The body bristles with sparse strands of hair. Eyes search the Void, sick mounds of bubbles like black jewels. Leam-insect squirms, writhes.

i was alone, Leam’s Father says. Do you know what that feels like? I'll remind you.

Endless writhing, Leam says, isn't better.

The dolls are here now, ghosts flaring above Leam-insect like stars. They no longer wear names. Leam thought he'd know God but none command each other. They dance and play on wings of light, crossing arms and palming each other. As if weaving a loom. Always in orbit, choosing new partners. All eight wear smiles.

Leam-insect lurches once again. The ghosts circle around it like a living halo as they play.

And the ninth is back with Leam's body. Back in the Body. An empty comfort to an empty shell. Satan in the wait for him to return.

Leam's seen enough. He wants his insect self, thorax bulging, eyes bleeding pale light, to break. spill its guts into this Void. This darkness that is his Father and once was the Hive-Mind. The insect trembles, jaws clacking. beat slow, like a steady heartbeat, that the ghost dolls dance to.

Leam drives himself into the shell. Seeps through cracks in chitin, creases in armour, yawning abysses, into the churn. His thermal becomes current, ripple that bloods the whole ocean. It strains against the shell from within. Tides swell as the blood heats and bursts in waves against the chitin.

The ocean forces the shell apart. The husk sunders down fault lines stressed by the violent blood flows. In spills void swallows the flood of dark blood. Soon all that remains is empty, sundered shell fragments. There’s a sickly wiggle of legs and then final stillness..

The paper ghosts scream. There’s lilt even to their screams, their voices soft but strong. They descend on the centre and remd with awful claws but there is nothing to rend. Leam's heat’s now faded away slipped out back to the Tomb that joins the Body.

Leam finds his feet, staring down his Mother, her arm still raised as if holding blade aloft..

Leam holds the Devil whose name he now reads.

IV. epilogue


One day Leam does leave the Body. There are rituals, portals. He passes into new light where the sunbeams pierce him like swords. Sacrifices helped him work toward it, and he is no longer whole of limb.

The sun glinting against raw nerve feels like ocean water, like the lapping of dog tongue.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


ill sign up and ask 4 a flash

no way my last run here is a loss/dm streak

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


special Thanx 4 the Crit / brawl me chili combo post

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


prompt: scapula.
flash: bear bones waking from hibernation before the actual bear does.

thaw // bookends

1447 words

The myths teach the seasons dream too. Winter once dreamt she'd coaxed a bear into her bleak grip. Play it back and she'd been asleep. The bear emerged to spring sunshine laced with birdsong. Acorn pinwheels breezed into its fur. It didn't shake them off. For it knew when it wanted it could wash itself in the river. The snow thaws to slush as Winter sleeps. But when Winter sleeps she dreams.

Please tell Winter to shut up.


Grand-mere's song themes Arendr's song though no summer arrives in the Leviathan's guts. Still Arendr sings the myth to the Leviathan bred from the ocean to swim the void. Swim and chamber the living. Grand-mere joined the dead hours ago yet it feels like ages since Arendr's eaten. Eaten of Grand-mere's ancient flesh. Could be the Leviathan whose insides churn Grand-mere. No, something's wrong. This is true yet untrue and Arendr must tell Winter to shut up to know it. The myth came alive in Grand-mere's song and now the season is a voice Arendr can hear. Can hear or let sing or, Goddess, tell to shut up.

Arendr has cried and shook for the Leviathan. Singing tired her and now she needs to hope It's on its way and that way leads to a home. The gut-churn of the Leviathan will not flay her before they get there. The gut-churn of the Leviathan was based, or so the Elders said. The Elders that bade her and Grand-mere enter the Leviathan. Enter through its translucent skein of gossamer hair-teeth. Bade, not made, it was clear, though for Grand-mere when the Elders spoke it was the same difference. Not doing what the Elders tell you to do is spitting in their faces. Arendr thought their faces could use some moisture. Gnarled things, they'd been...

Still she's now eaten the last food. The Leviathan hasn't stopped, Despite the stomach walls lined with blub-flesh she's freezing. Tears fall from cheeks she feels the bone of, pressing through skin she sees from her wrist is white as snow.

-

No mistake made, Mess thinks. as the Heart-song ends. The dead silence of the Archive was overcome the fading way a paper cut overcomes skin. The mousy Archivist, faced waxed and waned with years of this silence, gazes at him with somber eyes.

"Most don't stay for the whole song," the Archivist says, "when melody becomes dirge. The parting was joyous yet the journey troubled. The sainthood staked at parting was in the end forlorn."

"She made it," Mess says. "We're here. The Leviathan's bones set the scene for a class 9 Civ. Our spires reach the stars. Isn't that the point?" His blood pounds despite the silence. His youth wastes away in this place of ghosts. So learning gets you an outlook bleak as Archvist lips. Lips set like smiling is something other Chonyid do. These lips are about to ask of him for something, but please shut up, he thinks in disgust.

For summer arrived today and with it the etching that each life carves in the life of young Chonyid. Mess doesn't have the time or patience for askance. Askance or, Goddess forbid, a weary fall of shoulders in telling of some bookend moral. It's a story every boy on Tuthao knows. There is the telltale fissure of shoulder blade to set of neck. Mess breezes away, out of the Archive and through the Catacombs and into the light of first summer's day. The Archivist can eat his own words like Arendr ate her old and dead.

-

The first summer's day of Cycle 13 heats blood. Young Chonyid - offspring of Arendr and the lover she took of the folk living on Tuthao she named Fay - wrap themselves in gossamer silk. This recalls the hair-teeth of the Leviathan, drapes their bones on summer's first freezing night outside. Summer's first freezing night brings with it fevered vision. The beating heart of the First Goddess visits through the deep freeze as dreaming. In this dreaming she submits to the Father God of the Fay. No other trace survives them.

The blood remains and there is none else. By now the young have lost their friends. Cycle 13 begins with spring's thaw of friendships. Some friends you have no time for and to some you say things that don't come back. Some ancient stirring decrees you should face this kind of thing alone. So he's mused faultless by such blind old ones as have reared and taught him but still hates himself and others. He chews the bitter root of his hatred and hikes the gossamer silk to hood his head as darkness falls.

So lost in his hatred he misses the fracture which opens his thatch to the sky. He sees stars flicker into sight though, first few than many but pulsing in the same electric ribbon of time as if joined in fate by unseen forces.

It's the Archivists old bones he hates most and he tells himself not to release his hatred as morning breaks. Knowing he will stokes the flame harder. It chars each cell walling in his blood flow. When his memories make it from the past to his present knowing they are steeped in poison, darkened to the black of ash, and he hates more than he'd ever thought possible all those who've ever...

if they'd ever...

-

"I'm underwhelmed," Inanna says. "Though they've called me so many ways and so many names I wanted to be soft this time. Like, you know, the summer rains that fell on me. Before there were too many of us and we had to ship out our young and old."

She's all thorns. Briar and nettle, edged in crescents honed and delving the air, shades of auburn twixt to even dried blood. Standing true through it all like a spire yet she may as well be lain, right now, mightn't she? Make you hurt, she thinks. It'll make you hurt but of course at the moment of truth there is no hurt so what matter even the pain that bookends it?

And of course Aeterne looks noble and regal, slab of chest like ridged diamond, His only edges. He's a fantasy of white light here because the Fay could always blood their myths through time, bend the genes of their brood the way they wanted. What they wanted was an action fantasy to speak for them when they were long gone. They can remember it in boys on summer's first freezing night of the 13th Cycle.

It's a curse, she thinks, and then because it is over with soon enough it's forgiven. And the boy will release his hatred, and the first thing he will do is go to those he spate, and beg for their mercy. They will gift it with golden smiles. Well, she thinks, it's not loving good enough. Not good enough because I go through this again, again, and each time I'm the bitch. Queen of frost. And I am She who He must put up with even though it is Him who takes me.

She knows the look in his face as He gathers himself to speak with that chiselled mouth. It's the look of someone who's about to tell some bitch who like all bitches has sprang from seed to please shut up. Her hand wavers in what would be slap if the two were yet close enough, but is instead the waver of spurning. He can't take it and draws closer. His face contorts.

What does the boy see? She wonders this, dim as if in fugue. Because how to mistake that look for something else than vile hatred? The crease in His lips stands out against their waxen sheen. No real boy's lips were ever that smooth. No, she knows the lips of real boys and they are always cracked. They always sting to the kiss like paper wasps brushed aside.

Now Aeterne spits out his hatred and wrestles her to the ground. Inanna marks her cuts in him. Proves both of them in the boy's dreaming eyes as the stars blaze above against a sky reaching midnight fast. Wanting to cry, she dashes Him again instead, on and on, in his tender places. Yet when she sees Him next the wounds will have healed and she will still be ugly. This boy, destined to lead or follow, will either way forget the nooks of theme. He will bring with him how the ugly art withers before the noble ravage of teaching. Get old. Become ancient and teach the young.

Teach them, among other things, that the stars shine even in death.

Even in death the old flesh loves.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


ur a good egg

e2: W/e lol but I donated. I'll try to figure out some way of proving it if anyone cares

take the moon fucked around with this message at 22:47 on Jun 5, 2020

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


take the moon posted:

brawl me chili

quotin dis for new page

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


attn: fumblemouse??? please make an all rodent judge team

k peace

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


ya i donated but i couldnt figure out ur email. i sent an email to seb tho. idk if im getting the silent treatment for being a loon tho

not even trying to cause trouble

*benny the snakes out of the thread*

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


in & flash pls & tia

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


destination: Disneyland!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! or another park of your choice
purpose: someone just turned 9 years old


white light/pink spiderweb

1747 words

It hurts. But not like a papercut. My brother says that's shallow, like most loves, but most hatreds too. My bandage is a thin strip lined where the cut was, vanished to the same place prayers go. My brother says it's a bummer when Mom and Dad yell so loud the Machine shakes.

It shakes now, harder than when street lights blew by. Now an open stretch of road beyonds our parents' paired noses. They shout into each other, slack to glance through the windshield. My brother says something. Dad turns to him with lips tight, drawn cheekbones humming, and spits something back. All I've ever been keeps it far from me. If I shut it all out I'll never die.

This is normal. But it aches, not like a papercut, but a tummy-churn, the pain deeper than skin.

Mom's nose hides behind her skull which is behind her headrest. I plaster mine against the window. I keep losing horses behind what I can see. But when I see them in the fields they stare back. Their hair whips in the wind, their coats shades of auburn like my brother's hair before he buzzcut it. When I turn back he looks thoughtful, as if that's all this is, something to muse over.

The Machine needs food. Brother says the Machine eats better than we do. We eat what he calls trash as we wait inside it. Dad the Feeder while Mom drums her fingertips on the dash and sings. Her voice isn't nasal in her head. It's a spacey song, its high notes clashing with the ambient buzz of the idling Machine. All its notes are nowhere, the song stuffed with silence, a slow song beating against me. Empty of melody, her voice betrays its words, keeps its pattern sterile. My brother looks bored now as he prises a mound of crumbs into his mouth. "Our genes and blood," he says. A mutter eking its way into the air like a dying breath.

Mom shoots him a glare but he could mean Dad's genes. Food stains Dad's jeans. Beneath a trucker cap splayed with our flag his face passes me. He's halfway through his clamber in when I scream.

"This again,” Mom says.

For Dad is not my dad but bones, black as insect thorax, his eyes full of white light.

"It's the beercan," my brother says. "Jesus, dad, you're driving."

"It’s one brew,” the insect says through no teeth. “I’m taking us to Brightland. You should be grateful." Its head swivels to face me. I shrink back. Press against the Machine's backseat, like a bandage myself, like it's hurt and I need to save it.

"We never even talk about Brightland," my brother says. Starts to say more. The words are leaving him. But then the insect is leaning over the Machine's shoulder, spraying him with acid. The gloop is luminescent, glowing like wintergreen candy.

"Great," my brother says, slouching. "Now I'll smell like beer all day." But his eyes hood, his chin downturnt. He can't stand against the King of Insect Bones. No one can. Its strange power fills the Machine. An awful hush consumes us. I miss Mom’s song The hush is worse. The King of Insect Bones makes no sound when it’s nothing left to puke out. It's the silence of your breath when sleep is coming like the last days of summer. A silence sporing the air like stomach-churn going from body to body. For aeons the Machine moves, and there’s nothing inside it.

🕸

My brother says hell is inside us. His heartbeat echoes mine sleeping against him. Us children have hearts that beat like songs, cadenced, steady. They only beat faster when our bodies move. My brother says adults get trashed on speeding up their heartbeats. Trying to feel it all when they can only handle feeling a little.

I asked if that's why they were so angry all the time.

He said it’s a side effect, like a side effect of making a lot of promises is breaking some. He said adults promise themselves more than they ever promise others. It's those promises that break easy. The worst part is that promises broken are the ones that matter most. So every word of the promise holds in their throats. Fragments to shards that remain, jagged, so what they say comes out laced, wounded

He said he’s turning into one of them. He said this with eyes glittering like glass in sunlight. His eyes hide now behind their lids He's asleep so I untether myself from the Machine the way he says never to do. For the Machine is a cold thing past its fuzz, something that keeps us where a soul should be. The Machine keeps us so it doesn't need a soul. We are its soul, and its soul is the soul of the King of Insect Bones.

The King of Insect Bones isn’t around. The holder braces a hollow silver can. Dad mutters under his breath. He jostles Mom.

"loving battery's running out. Wake up. Didn't you juice it?"

Mom blinks herself into the Machine enough to answer. "Before we left. You must have left a light on." Her voice makes it three words before it’s a bleak snapping thing. Digging as much fury from each sound as it can. Her message is too true to need loudness.

My brother starts awake, like even in sleep he knew something was wrong. "What's up?" he says, pushing me away. He didn't mean to. He still did. Like we don't want to get closer to each other but further, when a dream wakes you to an ugly body and what keeps inside of it. I’m sorry for what I keep inside me. I slip to the side and the tether rustles.

"Dude," he says, and his voice creases too. "You have to be safe. You have to stay safe. I keep telling you."

When I die my death will release what I'm sorry for. My guts will breach the surface of my stomach and splatter the Machine. They’ll mix with insect puke and fester with our bodies. Then the Machine will not have our souls. Our souls will drown in the swamp of us.

"Don’t pull over," Mom says. "Wolves live in these woods."

"It'll be for a second," Dad says. “Gotta switch it with the spare.” Now his voice is bleak. Mom doesn't reply. My brother doesn't speak. Your most desolate magic loudens the world when you're loud and quiets it when you're quiet. Your grief the seed pits of greater grief. The Machine’s grief. For a moment I could scream.

But I don't. I cram my tongue into my teeth to muffle myself. The trees outside are black to their roots. A black sky strewn with stars beyonds them.

"There's a lake on your side," my brother says. He looks at me with eyes cruel with regret. "Past the trees. I looked it up."

"I bet the stars look pretty on the water," he says, then lapses into silence. And my thoughts are a churn. If we could start over we could live beneath the water’s surface. We’d still hug each other, but we wouldn't hear each other. We wouldn't hurt each other with our voices.

🕸

My Brother says I didn’t make it. But we are in Brightland with the King of Insect Bones.

"You're living it out, but you’re not real," he says. Orbital lights strobe the sky and rockets climb towers. My brother's ashen skin reflects light but the King of Insect Bones' doesn't. It swallows light. Swallows light, leaves a dark nothing. Not the way things should be but it shades out Mom as stick-thin limbs wrap around her. Wings thrum, ragged, tattered, stained with black moss.

The stars hide past the dancing lights. All four of us walk the strobe-lit path. People of all sorts flood by in shades of sepia and hazel and porcelain. I stick to the earth, like walking on bubblegum.

"What did you say?" Mom says in a sleepy voice.

"Nothing, mom," my brother says. Whispers in my ear. "Everything."

I'm weird. It's my genes and blood, and my brother is weird now too. I made him weird, but I didn't mean to. I wanted him to make me normal. I wanted to stop seeing the King of Insect Bones. But now it's all I see, its moss-streaked wings, the patches of acid gloop it leaves behind. I hop over a patch and my brother holds my wrist like I’ll float away. But I stick to the earth, even when my body breaks from it.

"Kristy wants cotton candy," my brother says. I don't want it because nothing can help us or help this. The candy will go away and we’ll be worse. I'm eating pink spiderweb. It wisps around my fingers and I try to shake it off. My brother laughs. His laughter shimmers in the air but where it bleeds into the King of Insect Bones there’s a mess of static.

"See?" my brother says. "Even in death you're pretty. Soon boys will pick you up from their phones. Pick your name from their screens like crystal balls."

He thinks. He holds my hand again.

"Nine is a magic number," he says. "Once you hit your first decade it all changes. Nine is the last time you stay the same." He shudders like he's cold. His grip tightens. "Nine is the last time candy is perfect."

I will be weird forever. They will cure it many times, in many ways. It will come back like I come back to earth, like the King of Insect Bones is stuck. Its blood and genes are in me. But it’s all new to me, except the Machine. When we return to the Machine it’ll take us home. It’ll take us home and everything’ll be worse.

"Acid," I say.

“I wish. Hardcore brain death,” my brother says. “He sucks it down like lemonade."

And the King of Insect Bones turns, its eyes full of white light. I am only a girl, and I face it with its blood and genes. The four of us together alone are a stone tableau in rushing water. People stream past us in waves. The pretty lights spin and strobe in churning haloes. They are not the light of eyes. Not insect eyes or machine eyes. They are the strangest thing I've ever known.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


thunderdome 425: THE AGONY OF CASTRATION/THE BLUE LANDSCAPE OF THE BLISS


this site had a dank writer once named zack parsons who wrote an article last in february of this year and then? died? who knows, but whatever. one fun thing he did once was write a novel called liminal states which blew my freakin mind when i was like in high school iirc. i happen to be staring at my copy currently which i was doing when desperately trying to think of a prompt

this may be a failure but post up and i’ll flip the book open to a page at random and choose a prompt-y sentence. this sentence is your prompt. i’m having a hard time thinking of a flash also so if you ask for a flash you get a jack kerouac haiku at random and 500 more words. yeah, your wc is 1000 words and your bonus flash wc is 1500 words, which seems chill.

yes kerouac and parsons, two of the all-time greats imo

same rules as usual

enter by midnight friday est. sub by midnight sunday est. if this is unclear ask for clarification.

title from page 425 of my softcover copy of liminal states

e:

threshold crossers:

Weltlich
QuidProQuid
MockingQuantum
GrandmaParty
Thranguy
Chili
M. Propagandalf
Yoruichi
magic cactus
Anomalous Blowout
Hawklad
rat-born cock
Tyrannosaurus
crabrock

threshold guardians:
me
sebmojo

take the moon fucked around with this message at 14:06 on Sep 26, 2020

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


apologies! a literal gust of wind locked me out my room with the keys, my phone, my posting rig and the books still inside. i know thats kind of a big deal with one of these kinds of setups.


"The shooting fireballs were like live animals, crazy with pain and desperate to escape the holocaust." (page 219)

QuoProQuid posted:

sure. im down for some bibliomancy

count me in

"'Someday we may become friends, but not yet. Until you realize the futility of what you are doing, we cannot reconcile.'" (page 115)


"Vast, dwarfing the four cooling towers, seemingly constructed from spurs of steel and acres of green glass." (page 316)

The mind of the flower
regards my mind
Externally


GrandmaParty posted:

Let's dance.

"Dead batteries, packets of soy sauce, and a Stillman holdout in the drawer." (page 283)


Thranguy posted:

In, flash

"'When I touch her... each piece of her, each toe and finger, each lock of hair, each pickled morsel fills me with longing darkened with sorrow.'" (pages 283-84)

The sound of silence
is all the instruction
You'll get


Chili posted:

casting my fates to the wind

"Praise her and answer this TREASON with VIOLENCE." (page 378)

Yoruichi posted:

In, flash

"'No. I don't know what those symbols are. I just put them how I remembered them.'" (page 231)

Ah, the crickets
are screaming
at the moon


magic cactus posted:

gotta redeem myself for a well-deserved loss. In, flash.

"There was a long-ago dream, forgotten until this moment, of creatures like this, stitched and restitched, howling as they charged across a twilit battlefield zippered with trenches, slagged emplacements, and shell-pocked bunkers." (page 350)

August Moon Universe
-neither new
nor old



"'You can't look at me like a piece of meat all day and then lecture me like I'm a child.'" (page 233.)

My Christ blinds
are down-
I'm reading about Virgin


k. i was debating letting people get a re-roll if they didnt like what i gave them since im not sure what im doing. but that breaks kayfabe i guess right. instead, prompt status: loose af. go absolutely nuts. if i ding you for not obeying the prompt itll take a lot of disregard. just try and make the themes stick

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


QuoProQuid posted:

EDIT: Flash me too bb

The trees are putting on
NOH plays-
booming, roaring

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


oh shoot my bad. i did like 10 posts and missed you. ill hit you up second im home from work

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo



"He smiled and said like I already should know, 'The future.'" (page 198)
"The branches of salt trees and shrubs were heavy with sprouting fungus, leaves and trunks stained white with disease." (page 368)

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


rat-born cock posted:

I thought I was done with this poo poo-show after two gimmick accounts failed to take my brawl challenge seriously. Lucky for you all, I enjoy the work of the fine Mr. Parsons. I'm in.

:)

"The real business was underground, in subterranean vaults kept cool and breezy by the humming air conditioners on the roof." (page 187)

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo



"'I want you to put these people in a room and fill them with holes until their loving hearts stop pumping blood.'" (page 361)


"I was doubled up and drooling blood into the white-lit surf." (page 201)

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


oh yea subs closed. happy writing goons :)

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


subs closed. i didnt look at the posts cuz im gonna use judgemode but if someone didnt sub if you sub late u still get a crit.

im hype to read the stories

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


results

k there wasnt much argument over the stories. it was a good week and we enjoyed reading everything. there have to be winners and losers etc so:

only dm is Dead on Arrival by hawklad this was just zumbos/dead space with an action one liner ending.

the loser is Dance or Die by Tyrannosaurus. we were confused by some of the thematic stuff in this. like lady satan is hype because... two gay people will bone? we didnt feel the setup was strong enough to get us past whatevers going on there

hms are awarded to

Bright Child by Weltlich for having such a pitch black ending out of nowhere that we realized we kind of gave af about it

the Arborist's Liederkreis by magic cactus, my fave of the two. just works on a bunch of neat levels (including the snazzy title)

the winner is Recurtigo by rat-born cock. it loving slayed with dank prose and an arc that was both complex & tight

judgemode was turned off only for writing this post. more detailed crits later.

rat-born cock gj & please post the prompt

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


thanks for the crit quantum

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


crits (in no particular order)

moon hill

okay so your prompt was about the moon and your plot revolved around the moon so you hit the plot but sort of in an obviously way. “The crickets will lose their poo poo if the moon doesn’t come up soon.” i mean the whole prompt is jammed in a sentence.

you had good characterization and effectively did it through the chars arguing, however they were real blase about making the moon rise randomly which felt like it would kind of gently caress up the planet somehow but im no scientist.

another thing is if this is a metaphor for performance anxiety thats about the most awkward thing you can metaphor in the world.

in the end we didn’t feel like this one really blew our minds in any way. the tension comes from both their relationship and their sitch but it was easy to tell that once they’d fixed one they’d fix the other

recurtigo

right from the jump this thing is a thrill a second with dank action verbs and frenetic hallucinatory imagery. you have a good sense for pacing and establishing perspective. i dont care that you use semi-colons but i also wouldnt have cared if you comma-spliced.

your imagery had verve and your symbols strength.

so basically a tight grasp of pacing combined with that and an ending open up to so, so much interpretation did it for us. i don’t have much else to say, just really good.

bright child


my complaint about this one was that the salem/sabrina dynamic is a lil played out. however, the ending hit cuz you really went for it. it was… surprising to say the least and we enjoyed the surprise. it had a lot of weight and made me personally see the characters in a new light. they almost become mythic figures which is out of nowhere for what seemed like a standard teenage witch setup.

dead on arrival

i think you could’ve had more creative tech in yr opening sentence. a laztorch is not the most interesting abbreviation or whatever in the world for a sci-fi tool. however, you started your story well in concept. action = good

its neat that yr char is gay. however, his past relationship sounds like it could’ve happened not in space. i think a space relationship should involve doing things you can only do in space like nebula watching or whatever.

your concept is of course dead space but it seemed like you were intentionally trying to mimic a linear horror adventure. your character only ever goes forward. a sign tells him where to go, and its a gimmick area (something im guilty of in setting) the garden area to be precise.

i liked your explanation of the zombies.

i like your descriptions also, like the “snick of an irising door.” however its a little coincidental that he runs into 2 zombies in a row both someone he’s dated. has he dated the whole space station?

one of my favourite books growing up had an aside that stuck with me. the mc (a movie critic) divides sci-fi movies into two categories: running around with a rocket launcher killing evil aliens and “aren’t we all hostages to our fate on space ship earth???” this leaned a little too much towards the first, a flaw shared with "overgrowth" (see below).

unfortunately your action movie one-liner ending clinched the dm but it def still had its strengths

garbage day

reading the story in full evidences that it has neat little bookends. gj :)

the chanukah line had me interpret the fam as being jewish, sorry bout that (did not affect judging but made the story seem a lil more bizarre)

i remember wondering if garbage day was a reference to the music review column the front page used to run

you flip to time-lapse description/narration at the end which kind of takes away from any immediacy the story might’ve had. a chill enough story but it didn’t, i originally used the word ‘arrest’ here, us. nothing overtly wrong with it though.

imperfect vessels

this one almost hmed, i wont say which one of us wasnt feeling it as hard. its a neat concept, flipping between perspectives using textual breaks that feel very pillars of eternity inspired. unfortunately your initial pov is a little boring, the standard tomb/catacomb thief who will get what’s coming to him.

the biggest strength was the imagery of your ending. this one tried something a little different and didnt quite make the hm cut but it isnt without honour or anything.

“The system had failed Della. The system was made of people.” a strong accusatory set of sentences. maybe more of this and less prostitute loving

dance or die

okay, time to talk about this one.

so in this story the mc is the personification of plague or whatever. there are a lot of implications to her being turned on that two gay people are about to commit adultery with each other. i wont really go into it but suffice it to say she’s into sin and her glee implies that being gay adds a lil more sin to the original sin.

im sure this is in no way what you meant to do. but we got confused by it. it just seemed strange. if these two figures had been cis would you have written the scene the same way, gone for the same effect? it seemed legit hard for us to tell.

the story meanwhile is a competent but not overly innovative look at a club rave from a gaiman-esque perspective. it just wasnt enough to distract us from the awkward thematic work. it feels like manifestations of satan have been commenting on rave debauchery for a while now.

in no way do i consider myself the thought police but yea, just a bit too weird. enough to lose in a pretty strong week.

be ye devourer or devoured

another strong mid. again, a bit of clash in our judging perspectives.

judeo-christian imagery is cool but we felt this one got a bit too theological. i hated high school religion class and i had mild flashbacks. i quote

quote:

John Calvin almost had it right when he proposed that God had already predetermined which shining souls would make it to Heaven. “God,” if you choose to call it that, has freely and unchangeably ordained whatsoever comes to pass. But this is less a proclamation to the saved than to those who must prop the gates of Heaven open.

stuff like this seems overly expository and detracts from some kind of cool stuff going on. i like the idea that this dude has his weird metaphysical church set up to take anyone who happened to be in a panic or searching for something.

the ending is a lil suggestive which im sure you were going for. i dont think we were the right judges for that tho.

short and sweet

this is the one i felt like i had the most broke legs i was attempting to stand on while judging. ive never lived in like, rural us or anywhere in the us for that matter. so i am no expert on its homophobia. however…

literally both diners featured in the… diner have ridiculously nasty comments to make about the (well done) emotional drama taking place. like is this an accurate depiction of small-town americana, or is it a little artificial? not to mention that homophobe #1 is an extremely stereotypical stereotype. i could be wrong. this story could come from lived experience in which case my egregious bad.

like i said the emotional stuff was well done but you didn’t max out your word count which made it a lil more obvious that structurally it was a bit off. the real climax, the moment of truth where the mc waits to get their heart broke, comes a bit early and we sort of deal with the knife being twisted in for a little too long. by the end the reader is a little over it, especially since the hallucinatory aspects become a bit more of a gag reel.

overgrowth

mostly the same issues as “dead on arrival” (see above) but didn’t dm thanks to some decent description. however in the end it was very generic action movie-y and you need a little more than that i think.

my problem with stories like these is basically the same prob i have with your generic mcu movie or whatever. it implies that the stat quo is the be all and end all, like if we just restore it everything’s okay. i find this pretty troubling. like shouldnt we be trying to change the world, not just save it?

on another note, you go out of your way to describe your protag as a useless schlub who just got lucky. the word “expendable” is used. why would we send an expendable person on this mission? unless we have an infinite amount of dudes to send, in which case the protag’s struggle is ultimately meaningless

the arborist's liederkreis

first of all, repetition. repetition is SO HARD to do well and i like never attempt it. you did it well and the story is the better for it.

“the air has the chill of the first frost of winter” is the kind of precise detail that works so well throughout the story. not too flashy, tells u whats up and then shushes itself before overreaching.

in my notes for sebs consideration i wrote that this is a better sci-fi punishment than like say gibson has shown he could come up with on the spot. like in mona lisa overdrive i think they have the retrograde amnesia jail sentence. that was boring. this is better, and gibson exposited that, and with this i lived it. it was dank

criticism: your protag is unlikeable. this sort of worked against the story. it turns out your dude is a condemned: criminal origins level total psycho-sociopath. your plot oozed with style but i couldnt help wondering how id be affected if it was a more sympathetic dude being driven to suicide by violent hallucinations.

id already read the winner by this point, immediately put it up against that and it came up short but my initial first pass reaction note is “lol thats a hm”

also your title maxes out what a title can do. with the full weight of the story behind it i scrolled up to check it out again and it had impact and made me think. usually i just pick my motif and condense it to a few words. you were slightly more ambitious lol. a well deserved mention for a truly honourable story

tldr: strong week, each story had a strength or two

take the moon fucked around with this message at 03:07 on Oct 3, 2020

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


seb style story quote editing. it may skew negative a lil but the story had some neat concepts

M. Propagandalf posted:

Spec faced the door that lead to another puzzle chamber. a lil too straightforward to promise that interesting of a story She was no less confused than when this all started, and the labyrinth still made little sense. redundant sort of At least she was starting to tune out the mental distractions of "What is this place?" "Why am I here?" "Who am I?" Even if Spec wasn’t her true name, questioning it at this moment was unhelpful. sort of weird. does spec mean to question something & thats how it makes sense? possibly

The place was half unnerving, half intriguing, and a bit dickish. Something omniscient seemed to watch her every move. A particularly obnoxious puzzle had snapped her patience, and she shouted out she wouldn't take another step unless she had answers. In response, the star-swirled glass floor sloughed away, swallowing her like quicksand until she withdrew her ultimatum. asking the puzzle to solve itself = not a satisfying solution to the puzzle

She resented more than she feared whatever forces were toying with her, but her curiosity steadily eclipsed her recalcitrance. The relics provided some incentive to continue – her previous triumph earned her the Grail of Everflowing Caffeine (more a thermos, she thought.) Each sip from it filled her with an inexplicable satisfaction she was becoming a force to be reckoned with. sort of contradicted by her calling it just a thermos

"Bring it." i had to ask for help last time but this time im more than confident i can solve u

The door grated aside to a stairwell that spiraled down into darkness. Spec took a breath, then a step, then started swearing. The stairwell withdrew, leaving behind a steep incline that caused Spec to fall heels over head to a count that ranged high in the double digits. When she came to, Spec found herself miraculously unbruised it would be more interesting if she was a lil hosed up imo and in a dimly lit stone room the size of a garage. curious as to where this person comes from if she knows what a garage and
a thermos are. this seems like a standard fantasy maze
At the other side of the room there appeared to be a standing mirror that was peculiarly framed to the outline of a body. As Spec moved over to examine it, she was surprised that the outline of the mirror was cut to the shape of her body. More surprising was the reflection: instead of her face, she saw the back of a stone room, where a woman was peering into a mirror that showed the back of a stone room, where a woman was peering into—

Spec swung around, looking at the entrance she had tumbled out from, only to find that it was replaced by a similarly outlined standing mirror that reflected a woman who had just swung around and was looking at a similarly outlined standing mirror that reflected—

Spec inspected the rest of the room but found nothing of interest. this line is a lil too text adventure Heading back to each mirror, she pressed against its tingling impenetrable surface, her action mimicked by each image of herself she could see.

“Great. I’m mise en abyme’d.” ??? idk what this means

She paced back and forth at the center of the room, glimpsing her face if she strained her eyes to the sides. With frustration mounting, Spec took out her relic. As she drew a long sip from what she insisted was a thermos, a familiar voice called out that nearly made her snort out her drink.

“Is that coffee?”

Spec looked from side to side and saw each image of herself turned to her with a hint of envy.

“Close enough. Didn’t you get one after finishing your last challenge?”

“No, I got ‘The Visors of the Owl’ from mine – they’re nightvision binos.”

“I got ‘The Horn of Greater Emphasis’ – works like a megaphone. I’d trade it for yours without hesitation,” no one says without hesitation irl. in a second or something would be better replied Spec’s image to her left.

Across the glassy portals, reverberations of Spec murmured in bewilderment. Communing between herselves, each iteration found themselves with a different relic, and each confirmed being confined to the chamber. Amid the chatter, Spec took a sip of caffeinated liquid ie coffee and an idea took hold. Motioning her volume privileged counterpart over, she suggested a plan which her alternate broadcast.

“Listen up and pass this down the line! Coffee me has a theory: If each of us is slightly different, there might be something different between our chambers. See if we can spot a variation – it could be a clue to getting out.”

Each Spec took to examining her respective chamber and it was not long before visor-Spec confirmed the theory first: as she examined what portals she could see through her vision advantage, she noticed that the outline of each portal struck a slightly different pose: the elbow of one jutted further left, the head of another tilted further right, etc. No two portals were precisely the same.

“This thing that we thought was a mirror – maybe its something that we need to go through, but together at the same time.”

“How does that make sense?”

“What sense does any of this place make?”

“I think we’re all key here, or more accurately, we need to become one key. If we don’t go out at the same time, we don’t get out at all.”

In unanimous agreement, each Spec lined themselves in front of their respective portal. Coordinated by the call of the Horn maybe that char could announce they felt like using it, Spec pushed forward, and the impenetrable surface she had earlier felt crumpled away like tinfoil. Spec stumbled out into a hallway leading to more chambers that awaited her. example alternative sentence: more chambers awaited her in the hallway beyond Looking behind, the chamber she exited had turned pitch black.

As Spec picked herself up, a sheet of the foil barrier clung to her. Picking it away, she looked at it and saw her crinkled reflection. She brought out her grail, and with a tinge of disappointment, saw the grail reflected back. The thought passed Spec that her alternate selves must have worked through the labyrinth taking a different path. Or was each labyrinth a different permutation? Spec berated herself for not taking the time to question herselves on how they had reached their moment. i dont really get that stuff but it seems interesting, maybe worth exploring At the same time, she felt an increased sense of calm. If each version of herself, facing a different puzzle, had made it this far, was there a puzzle that could hold her back?

Spec crumpled the foil and tossed it aside. She picked a door at random and prepared for the next chamber.

not a bad read i would use less stiff language tho

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


<3 ty for the crit & kind words poo poo is real to me

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


in, flash

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


in for team 2 lol :toxx:

im sorry fellow tcer

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


sebmojo posted:

fyi for all, toxxes are now back to being bannable for failing now that the store is open again



:o:

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


absolutely a trick

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


Thumbtacks posted:

I said I wasn’t a good writer I don’t know what to tell you

thought this was a story and the disappointment made me kill myself

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


skinwalker
1900 words

Corrode past the silk. Strain to weave liquid glass in the space touch. The fugue's bleary eyes and lack of centre in the spool from cryo-cocoon. Coming out the fugue is when you need to mance, the haze aching away but not gone yet.

Given birth are you by Persephone's daughter. She found the ancient fields spun with dead ships like tiny constellations.

As if seeds scattered by some greater hand. Seeing in you the seasons, the summers that may bear fruit. She gathered and kept you in the Seedship she wove from chitin and gauze. Its womb plump with nectar and honey. You broke your bodies as you fed and they were re-knit in ashen scars. Scars that never saw the sun and so left frost trail lines marking your knees, elbows, hips.

*

The Mother rose from the plasma of young veins and found her way through twinings of soul to the heart of all things. Coupling by coupling she grew stronger until when we spoke it was in her frothing voice. And it was her needs that mattered to us. We severed ourselves from the weak and sickly. Butchered them as tithe for foreign lunar cycles. Moons of planets we couldn't pronounce. Long past clear speech. But our thoughts were the streamwater rush after springtime thaw. She washed our edges away, and we didn't care that when we spoke, we spat. We spoke in the voice of the Mother and it was our song and none could take it away.

*

Anaeen hugs her shawl into her as she listens for ghosts. She's forbore sight, veiled by the Witch, who's clambered around her face, its tail dug deep into her throat’s vein. Its pus now informs her breath, which is deep, drawn out as if the breath of sleep.

Anaeen may one day be Witch herself, for her will is weak. Novsih wine fuzzes out her system. Grandmother Serai says enough of that loses the battle on its own. But the swamp is cold, and she's all alone. Oft with her grandmother's whistling snores. They echo long off the thin walls of their barkskin yurt. The vines lashing the sunken boughs and hanging fern across the swells of murk are all she sees outside. She feels as if bound in place. As if she does not offer but is the offering. She scatters the crusty bread to the squelch below her feet. Saying prayers. Invoking for those dead in childhood or those never born. Those who'd never the chance to atone for their hungers.

None come out here. A Cutting is close but they fear this place. This is where the dead ripple forth from the water. Skitter their fingers across the surface like spiders. A tickling of her toes and her breath catches.

Something rises before her, splashing her in its ascent with cold, sludgy water. Its breath is hot and wet against her. The words rasp as if chunks of meat weigh them down.

[You are not Seerai.]

“Seerai’s dying," she says. "I seek to ensure her passage, so she doesn't join the Mother."

[She should have foreseen. She should have asked herself when she was strong enough to stand.]

Seerai didn't, Because she's no wish now to be apart from the Mother.

But to see what the Mother's done. The Mother is in the sky and the sky is nacreous with bitter smoke. Her heat seduces the dying. Grandmother'll bloat and fester. She is not the Seerai Anaeen once knew.

Because she'd made Anaeen promise, not with the dull, milky eyes of her age, but with the white of her youth. To caretake her from the Mother. I can't move off yet, she said, for I must raise you. Once you can raise yourself I will not feel the old pangs. I will feel new ones, and they will tire me.

Now, blind, the swamp spirit's hot breath on her nose, Anaeen wonders what she has to barter with.

"I'll keep this promise," she says, gagging with the parting of her lips. Don’t puke into the Witch's gut. Fighting. coming back. coming back, praise Hades..

"Not on her life." she says, "nor my own, but our whole line. You no longer need protect any of us. You may give us all up to the Mother and forget your part in our cycle. We will no longer bind you to myth. You will find oblivion again.

“My promise is to bear child and feed it to you.”

The breath on her mouth wavers, sweeps up over the Witch, who squirms, cold, clammy.

She counts to ten. The Witch releases her without love, but leaves a shallow bleed. Scampers back into the yurt. She presses her palm against the cut.

The promise made is now bound by blood.

*

Settling her grandmother's body into the swamp had Anaeen reaching for the Nohvsih wine. She slung it into her pack before food and water. Her clothes she brings on her back. There are grottos known to the swampfolk, where rainfall pools in solitude. Unstained by the foul murk of the greater glades. In those she bathes and washes her clothes.

Now she hates the Witch. Still walks with it, for you may not shuck a Witch before it's all used up, And the Witch still sparks with wriggling life. Besides, the Witch is proof of who Anaeen is, will lend her reverence should someone still bright see it.

This planet was all swamp and forest. The first ones parted the forest as they could and settled among it. Trees spiring into the black smoke sky wall the Cutting. And its homes, built in slabs of clay, seem as if they could crumble any moment. The Mother spoils the dank air's scent, once the thick pining of the flora's ghosts, souring it like milk.

Because this cluster of lives is long given to the Mother. Its denizens shambling, drooling, dead to the world. Snatches of these greetings and partings reach Anaeen. The Witch snuffles by her side and she wonders how such a foul thing can ever be charm..

"A Witch!" A boy’s shout. He scampers into view, gaunt, his tunic draped around him like a robe, his leggings near unseen. "A real Witch! Rutri talked about them, but I didn't think they were real." His voice drops. "It's bad to believe what people tell you now."

"They're real," Anaeen says. "They're not that great." .

"Here, girl," the boy says. Crouches, extends a palm. The Witch wanders to it in its writhing gait. Soon he's petting the Witch’s translucent hide. Anaeen fights the urge to recoil.

"So you're not promised to the Mother…" she trails off.

"Crea," he says as he strokes. "Only adults believe in her. It doesn't make sense to us." He glances around at the shambling lives passing them by. "Being out here creeps me out. Come on."

He leads her through a tangle of roots arching a passage that worms below the earth. The two bend to hands and knees, the Witch looking as blissed out as she's ever seen it. Its mouth is trying for a smile, the skin straining and tearing. Once more she fights back a retching. She doesn't look again.

They've emerged into a hollow. A thick lattice of roots lines the ground. A strain of sunlight peeks in through a haloed parting of leaves. A girl looking Crea's age waits there, draped in even looser folds. Anaeen pulls herself up and hears the scamper of the Witch behind her.

The girl smirks, "I told you." She giggles. Anaeen catches a look of anger on Crea's face. He flicks out a soft punch into the girl's shoulder as he speaks.

"Gloating doesn't become you, Rutri," he says. Facing Anaeen."What brings a Witch and her keeper out of the swamp, anyway?"

"I made a promise.". Anaeen says. “To trade a life for another’s safe passage.”

"I don’t know where you’d start," Rutri says. “Your womb’ll stay barren if you expect those of the Mother to help you.”

Anaeen shoots her a look. “How’d -”

"Rutri's weird," Crea says. "Show her your scars."

"You get one," Rutri says, and as she does raises her arm. The cloth of her robe falls to reveal a scar at her elbow, dead white against the pale pink like a bleached rose.

*

You still see the Seedship in your dreams. She left you here to be a thorn, an ache, to bloom into graceful carriage. You will live among the wretched but they will not know you. You will harvest what they sew. eat their food, drink their water. You will live. But you will stay free.

While Persephone’s daughter floats somewhere beyond the black sky.

After showing Anaeen your scar her Witch freaked. Leashed its keeper by the throat with its tail. Anaeen started to whisper out a collage of broken rituals through its skein of webbing, Beyond that translucent hide, beyond those guts, you know Anaeem's face was tranquil. No fold of upset below her crown. You've always noticed things like that.

You notice too much. You know what people are going to say before they say it by reading them. Seeing their emotions play on their faces like dancers. You are careful to pretend, for they are not like you. They are in the Mother's good graces. They will raise their children to love the Mother. The children will fight. They will lose. You know this beyond empathy. You know it because you see holes in them. Voids that will consume them as they grow. The voids will demand affection.

And the Mother exists.

It will happen to Crea, you know, despite his strength of spirit. The three of you pass around the bottle of Novsih wine. .

You don't want to end up alone. All else to the Mother but you. Friendless. Because you’d might as well still be in your cryo-cocoon, still floating through a field of dying stars. Anaeen is trying to make sense of her ecstasy. She says it’s clear in her memory, like a painting, with fine detail and intent. If I can arrange it right, she says, a spell to bear a child.

You think that’s crazy, your scar the seed of a spell like that.

You swig the Novsih wine. The colours of the hollow start to churn. The hazels and greens blurring into each other. Time slows, each word Anaeen says taking longer and longer to find meaning in your head. Aware of your knees, elbows, hips. The scars of your resurrection. For once you had a cocoon, and someone was there to spin its silk.

And soon nothing makes sense. You tug Crea's arm and float outside. The denizens of the Cutting shapeshift into withered ghosts. Faded eyes and gaunt limbs. They pay you no mind. You will be one of them soon enough.

Or so they think.

Crea’s eyes are the blue of orchids. They will lose their shine in time. But for now you can trust him.

And you tell him. About growing, about blooming. All that Persephone’s daughter told you in dream.

Because the Mother is an old goddess, and it is for old things to die. It is for young things to live. Because Anaeen’s words sounded like no childbirth spell you’ve ever known.

It sounded, to your fuzzy brain, more like cthonic curse.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


cuz byob

wax
69 words

God gave us no name. Until our harvest we'd play and dance. We charred bones for signs and CO2'd our breath until we saw stars.

God gave me no name. I cherish the memory of red curls on my lap. Playing zoo under playground bars. Chatting about neopets with autists. Staring at a candle. At summer camp my best friend was fash and the field was legion with children.

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take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


k in

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