Thanks for the previous critiques of my work, I have read my previous entries again with previous feedback in mind. I apologize I was not able to enter sooner but now I would like to be "in" and request a flash rule.
|# ¿ Jun 2, 2020 07:57|
|# ¿ Dec 1, 2023 10:52|
Bella of the Brawl
The air is black with fearstink when Bella hears the pitiful sound: a whimpering amidst the fluxating forest of human legs, lonely and rustcolored, a mallet strike against Bella’s proud doggy heart.
Where? Where? Hello? Where? Hello?
Bella is indifferent to the human chaos around her. This is a thing they do, take to the streets, muck up the air with fearful black, putrid angry green, adrenal red, mark corners with the dayglo orange notes of piss. Layers of piss, all of them talking over each other, babbling urinary nonsense.
They’ll do this until the dark, until the heavy tread of armored trucks rumble the street, cruel growl in Bella’s ears, followed by the tan scent of leather boots, explosive bursts of lightningolive-sting over the sensitive whorls of Bella’s nose. Air hostile to her eyes, smoke dulling her already unremarkable vision to nothing.
The armored trucks haven’t arrived yet. Bella can still melt into the close shadows of ramshackle alleyways, curl up like a little bag of garbage, keep her ears down. But…
Hello? HELLO? Where? Here! Hello?
The pitiful yipping goes on, a tall, sharp needle piercing the muddy din of human voices. All of Bella’s instincts are telling her to run, go, hide, be safe, but it’s as though her dainty paws have fused with the uneven cobblestone. Muts like her die this way. She’s nosed their corpses, smelled human hands and human munitions in their fur.
Bella lunges into the crowd, grumbling deep in her throat. Catlike she moves among the groves of legs, ears down, tail low, following the creamy stamp of footpads, a single doggy scent in the morass of incoherent human smells.
Sri is barely out of puppyhood, a longlegged gangly thing, collar around her neck, leash slack on the ground. Knees jostle her, none of them belonging to the noodle girl. Sri can’t wrap her mind around the noodle girl’s absence. There’s no such thing as a Sri without the noodle girl, so then the noodle girl must be nearby, and Sri must call for her.
Big clomping feet step on her leash, unheading. The air is ripe and yellow with human sweat, tigerstriped fear black.
An answering bark takes her by surprise. A tan, ribby street dog materializes out of the forest of human legs and growls go.
Sri dances up on her hind legs, tail wagging, not feeling playful but driven to playful gestures by the frantic energy of the crowd and, now, the agitating presence of this strange dog. A shoed foot lands on her leash, pulls it taut, yanks Sri by her neck back down onto all fours.
Go! Go now! The tan stray shows her teeth to Sri.
Go where? To who? Noodle girl is here. She must be, because Sri is here, and Sri has never been without noodle girl. Frustrated, she returns the stray’s rude growl. Go!
Bella intuits the problem as soon as she gets close to the pup. Dogs with leashes are led. Sri has a leash, doesn’t understand that she can walk the street without a human hand on the other end. Won’t move until she’s told.
If Bella could just get close, worry at the simple knot connecting the length of rope to Sri’s collar…
But no, the pup isn’t having any of it, growling and yipping and prancing away whenever Bella tries to come near. There is usually a kind of doggy chivalry to these meetings, the smelling of backsides, the circling, the mock-chase, but there isn’t time for that. The humans are still pouring into the streets, bodies tightpacked in an agitated heave of smells, voices barking in unison. Bella’s hackles raise. Her body has been through this too many times before. There is only pain and fear here.
She lunges forward again, this time toward the carelessly flung end of the leash where it rests on the ground. The rope is thin and rough, prickling her tongue, rubbing painfully against an abscess in one of her gums, but she locks down on it with all the strength in her jaws and pulls, backing up between trunklike legs.
And, at the familiar tugging around her neck, Sri responds, taking one step, then another, toward Bella.
The dogs get partway to the edge of the crowd, but now the taut leash is tripping humans up, making them wobble atop their big meaty trunks. A few fall. Many kick at the dogs, aiming for ribs and haunches. Not just Bella, but Sri too. Bella snaps at knees and ankles, snarling, working her way back to the pup, emboldened by pain. Pain means it’s time to fight, and Bella has scrapped with the best of them.
Sri doesn’t understand this feeling, only knows that every time the blunt toe of a shoe connects with her ribs she wants to run and run and run and run but she can’t, is trapped in this evertightening grove of stinky bodies and the ministrations of their feet.
Bella emerges once more from the crowd, her dainty paws scrabbling over the cobblestone, snapping at anything that comes close to her snout.
Here! Here! Sri yips, desperate.
Bella takes up the leash between her leash again and pulls, and now Sri is thinking of noodle girl, there at the end of the leash where she belongs. Just follow the tug.
A brief thinning of the crowd gains the dogs passage to the side of the street, into shadow and cool wet rotten smells. An alley. Bella is breathing hard and Sri scents the bruised ochre tang of blood in the air. Dog blood. She whimpers agitation.
Bella tries to lead her further down the alley. Sri braces her paws against the uneven stone, defiant. Bella is weak, tired, injured, and now Sri can smell it. The other dog is much older, reeking of inflammation and tumors, spewing hot aggression into the air with her every breath.
From further down the alley, the scent markings of a pack of feral dogs. Sri’s hackles raise. There is only dangerous confrontation for her and Bella if they go that way, Sri knows it the way she knows the wag of her own tail.
Sri flattens her ears, falls into a low-to-the-ground stance, and takes an experimental step backward, tugging at the leash in Bella’s jaws. Bella snarls around the rope, wrenches her neck like she’s trying to snap the spine of a rabbit, doesn’t give so much as an inch in spite of her injuries.
From down the alley comes a sound more alarming than the baying of a pack of strays: footsteps, human, fast and regimented. Their smell precedes them, more yellow sweat, more black fear, and, wafting among those, the bluegray scent of propellant. Bella’s tail goes low and she drops the leash, bolting for the alley, leaving Sri no choice but to follow or face the heavybooted things coming up the alley.
The dogs flee as the humans in the alley smash into the humans in the street. Screams in the wake of their clickclacking paws, then a roar, a big oxen bellow from the crowd. The twilight grows hot with the sounds and scents of violence.
Bella, wheezing, lets the younger dog pull ahead. They’re on a mostly empty side-street now, populated by a few heavybooted humans standing around with their weapons in hand. One of them takes a lazy potshot at the dogs, misses Sri’s haunch by inches, but the pup is oblivious. Her tail is high, ears alert and forward facing. She knows where she’s going.
Bella slows to a trot, then stops, whimpering, when Sri leads them to the open air market. She’s skulked around the market’s edge many times, drawn in by the mauve come-hither of fats and meats and grease, only to be chased away by rocks hurled from the hands of children at the direction of their parents. The market is not a place for dogs, and yet Sri trots confidently toward the rows of stalls as though she’d marked the whole place herself.
Bella waits for the angry voices, the thrown stones, but the market is empty, and Sri progresses unassailed, leash dragging jauntily behind her. The older dog limps after the younger, driven by fear and pain to be part of a pack, even if it’s only a pack of two.
They approach one of the shopfronts that lines the market, a noodle shop that’s been hastily boarded up.
Here! Here! Hello! Here! Sri barks happily at the sheets of engineered wood.
Bella doesn’t understand. If barking at buildings accomplished anything, every dog in the city would do it.
Wounds and exhaustion come to collect their toll. There is a roar in her senses, like the din of a human crowd but coming from inside of her, and now she’s on her side on the uneven brickwork of the market square, resting. Leaving. Going peacefully into that place where all dogs go, having done their good work on Earth.
Noodle girl gives Sri a fond scritch between the ears, then goes to check on the old stray, who’s napping peacefully on a pile of dirty rags and aprons. Bella issues a halfhearted warning growl when noodle girl comes near, a surly old lady noise that’s more scold than threat.
From the front of the noodle shop comes the sound of customers laughing, chopsticks clacking on bowls. Everything in its right place as far as Sri is concerned.
When noodle girl has left to attend to the front of the shop, Sri slinks over to Bella, sniffs at the stitches in the old dog’s side and snout. She’s certainly never met a dog who smelled like that before, but then she’s never met anything like Bella, dog or human.
Sri curls up against the old lady and the two dogs drift together into sleep, while in the distance victorious fireworks bloom over the people of the city.
|# ¿ Jun 7, 2020 22:21|
Prompt: Tell Me About Yourself
"No one here is exactly what he appears."
Now that the 2020s are almost over and we've all been through hell and out the other side, I'm curious. I see a lot of the same names around here but I don't know anyone very well. Who are you? Why are you here? What did you live for before you were here? I don't just want an autobiography or your retelling of the same old cool anecdotes you always tell people. I want you to write about the hour, day, week, month, year, decade, etc, that lead up to you being where you are now in life, whether that's at your computer reading this post, or more broadly speaking. But make it interesting.
Don't post anything that would get you in trouble with CCORnet but do feel free to be real about who you are, what you think, etc. Any genre is allowed, as long as all the other parts of the prompt are obeyed.
Since I have noticed you guys like handing out rules, you can ask me for an amount of time leading up to the present day. i.e. the week leading up to now*, the fortnight leading up to now, etc.
*"now" could be literally today, or any day around right about now, in history. Not the 90s, not a year ago, but the present day, sometime in early June 2028.
If you want a max word count ask for that too
SIGNUPS: 11:59PM Friday California Protectorate Time
SUBMISSIONS: 11:59PM Sunday California Protectorate Time
JUDGES: Rat-born Cock,
|# ¿ Jun 9, 2020 00:01|
I realize it might have been more appropriate to wait until 2030 to do a "life in retrospective" type prompt but I don't know if I'll win again two years from now.
|# ¿ Jun 9, 2020 00:38|
Yes. Tell me about your life in, or leading up to, this moment in 2028. And you can ask for an amount of time leading up to now if you want. What are your hobbies, what's your life been like, what are you into, etc. What brought you here? Any genre is OK.
|# ¿ Jun 9, 2020 01:24|
Thank you. Now we just need some entrants haha.
|# ¿ Jun 9, 2020 02:20|
SEBMOJO - eighty-eight days before now
STEELTOEDSNEAKERS - from Christmas until now
|# ¿ Jun 9, 2020 06:22|
|# ¿ Jun 9, 2020 23:41|
TIME: from last leap year to now (hint: that's 2024)
MAX WORD COUNT: 1913
|# ¿ Jun 11, 2020 17:04|
Signups are closed, thanks all.
|# ¿ Jun 13, 2020 04:15|
To clarify, are you saying that the California Protectorate runs on what used to be Eastern Time? (And that entries will be due then?)
Oh, good catch, haha. I closed on the wrong midnight. Old habits die hard. If anyone wanted to sign up at the last minute, they can still get in. California Protectorate Time is the same as old PST.
|# ¿ Jun 13, 2020 20:46|
Hi, you guys apparently still use Discord, how do I get on there? I have an oldstyle computer for this purpose.
|# ¿ Jun 14, 2020 12:20|
MERCEDES: I am taking it on good faith that you intended to sign up during my missing three hours, haha. Therefor you get a flash rule of Three hours before now.
How do I chat the other judges?
|# ¿ Jun 14, 2020 23:01|
It's not just crits, it's not just judgment, it's...
OVERALL NOTES: Ha ha, the first time judge wrote a bad prompt so a bunch of people wrote porn. I am informed this is a fun joke, that was meant in good fun. I hope, then, that the contents of this post will be taken in similar "good fun." In the end, my loss criteria came down to the thinness of the story in relation to its sexual content.
You guys have a whole blood gimmick, so enjoy the blood.
Hi, I don’t understand this story. I understand that the narrator and Spaceman Jim have good-looking backsides and that they had sex. What is the story, though? There is a thing at the end where they have solved all global warming problems with sex, but it seems tacked on, like you felt a little bashful that you’d written porn so you added a part with some sort of purpose. I don’t understand why Spaceman Jim supposedly doesn’t understand Earth culture, but they talk the same language and even both sound like British people. I don’t recall even a throwaway line about universal translators.
On the plus side, this porn actually has a story. I like the realistic problem the long distance spouses have, and this seems like a situation that could actually arise in 2028. You could have expressed the same things...alienation, sex-toy dependency, insecurity within a long-distance relationship...without so many porny parts. Sometimes you pull back like you forgot you were trying to write a porn, and instead tell a decent sci-fi story, and I like those parts. But then you remembered you were writing porn, so you added in extra shocking phrases about urethra venting and virgin anuses.
Verdict: No mention, but only because one judge pleaded your case on the basis that you actually tried to tell a story. I wanted you to lose, but, was persuaded otherwise.
I was excited by this story at first because the style and tone made it seem like it was going to be serious. But it was just a more Literary version of the other stories, with the porn hidden behind slightly more elegant phrasing. As for the story itself...you described a kind of interesting situation, with the whole moonbase thing, and the using of the pod to masturbate in. I was waiting for there to be a twist, but he just rubbed his noodle and then wrote a letter about it to his missus. I am grateful that you kept this style to a reasonable length.
For real man, I was scared going into your story because I thought I was going to have to read more porn. FINALLY, someone writing about the actual events leading up to 2028, as experienced by themselves. This story is really cool, I am not a hundred percent sure why the dark cold timeline at the end is the “right” one, but I take it that it’s because of the stories Thora buried in the second-to-last section, ensuring that your memories of all the timelines got into the hands of the right future people. Even though it seems like all is lost, this is the time we’re going to get it right. I read this story very fast and thought all the words were good, although there were a couple typos here and there.
Verdict: Winner! This story gives me hope that my prompt was comprehensible.
You are the opposite of Thranguy’s story. I started out feeling trust in the beginning, it seemed like it was going to be another story in fitting with events preceding the year 2028. I thought the blacked-out parts were funny, when Mercedes the Mellifluous was yelling at Emilia to stop spying on his sex memories. The rest of the story makes me think of an Adult Swim cartoon or something...It’s topical and edgy but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to think by the end. That Mercedes was a man with a lot of boners who did cocaine? It sucks because I thought your way of using the flash rule (having Emilia use the memory device) was cool at first.
Verdict: Loss. I am informed this is "very Merc" and that you are just having fun, but I was genuinely excited by your premise, and made sad by your ending.
Thank you for not writing porn! I liked how realistic this story was, and the way people talked. It definitely feels very 2028, and I loved how you described the actions of the Band. I would say that as I was reading it, I found my eyes wanting to jump ahead, past the narrator’s stumble through the dark. I was hoping the resolution of the story would involve the narrator more closely with the firing of the Belt, but this is really just the epilogue to a story, not a story in and of itself. At the beginning the story says a thing is going to happen, and by the end, that thing happens, with some interesting commentary about wildlife control and geography along the way.
Verdict: No mention.
Thank you for...almost not writing porn. Your story was the least porny of the porn bunch, and at least you had some funny lines here and there. One criticism, near the beginning the narrator is not thinking about their ex, and then “he” slides into the next seat over. At that point, I thought the ex had turned up, and was confused why they were flirting like people who just met. But oh, it’s another installment of the Spaceman Jim Does Sex saga, cool. Thanks for that. Like I said, a PG-13 rating and some decent humor are all that saved this from the meat grinder.
Verdict: No mention, by the hair of your "tight hairy belly."
Thranguy, a genuine thank you for your contribution to this prompt, the throne is yours.
|# ¿ Jun 16, 2020 00:18|
At the risk of winning again...
editing to say, thanks for the avatar! I was confused when I saw my post at first, haha.
|# ¿ Jul 21, 2020 00:57|
gently caress this, gently caress sleep, gently caress Thunderdome.
Prompt: You didn't pick a genre! Your genre is Last Man Standing fanfiction Banned words: Mike, Vanessa, Kristin, Amanda, Eve, sports, TV, neighbor, fence, lawn
The Mother regards her heinous eldritch body in the mirror and shrieks, ”Honey!”
From the studio audience comes a few chuckles of anticipation.
The Father lunges into the bedroom, smelling of vigorous sweat and crossbows. The Father is large and powerful, his flanneled shoulders sloping ridgelike away from his columnar neck, on which sits his wise and canny head.
“What is it, dearest one?” says the Father, his voice the metered baritone of a philosopher king.
The Mother turns from the mirror to face her god-husband, tugs ruefully at the elastic band of her jeans, drags her fingers down the wattle-like sag of her neck, and says, “Honey? How old do I look to you?”
Good-natured hoots from the males in the studio audience. This predicament is recognizable to them.
The Father chortles insightfully and says, “Beloved, you appear to me as a newly-wedded maiden, fresh and pink from bathing in cool mountain spring water.” He crosses his arms like a mortal male surveying the fruits of his labors, and awaits a blowjob.
The Mother turns to camera with a long-suffering look, then back to her god-husband. “Nice try. Be honest: how old do I look?”
The Father recalls for the millionth time how he despises his goddess wife, whose revolting, aged body issued into the world his equally revolting daughters. Yet how he craves that fae gash between the Mother’s legs! And how he dreads its power, not only over his body but over his country.
“You look not a day over forty-five, moon of my night,” he says, with more bitterness in his voice than befits a male of poise and action. How does this harpy always get the best of him?
The Mother folds her arms across her chest and rolls her eyes. “Okay. Too honest.”
The females in the studio audience scream-laugh, clawing their faces and gnashing their teeth at the relatability of the Mother’s exasperation.
After the audience subsides, the Mother continues, “Let’s have another baby. I felt so much younger when I was pregnant.”
“Dearest,” the Father says patiently, “you were younger when you were with child!”
The laughter from the studio audience is explosive, violent. Something animalistic is unleashed in the viewers, who fall on each other in a mass convulsion of lust and aggression. The showrunner screams for security, the audience is confined to their seats, and the show goes on.
“I’m serious,” the Mother says. “Besides, don’t you remember how big these babies got?” She honks her dilapidated breasts at her husband through her shirt.
The audience hoot and holler, heaving against their restraints.
The Husband’s face slackens, the efficient processes of his mind momentarily diverted by visions of the Mother’s breasts as they were in her childbearing years. His face mashed between them, comforting warmth and roundness against his cheeks. The Mother, towering over him like a statue. Like an obscene mountain. As the Father, is he first among all gods, but in that moment, snared at the Mother’s bosom, he was infinitesimal. Insignificant. And most revolting of all, he was content.
Such an indignity will not be repeated.
“No!” he forbids. “I retire to my stronghold to oil my crossbows. Vex me not, wench!”
And away he flies, to the garage.
The Father is approached by his eldest daughter the following day.
“Dad,” she says, holding her young son at her hip, “do you think you could watch Boyd for a while? I have to go work a triple shift at the diner, or I won’t be able to pay his pre-school fees.”
The audience is physically exhausted, but manage an appreciative murmur of laughter at the teenage girl’s folly. Viewers familiar with the show recall that Boyd attends a militantly leftist early childhood enrichment center specializing in the wussification of young America.
“Oh-ho!” the Father says merrily. “Suddenly the independent maiden requires masculine aid!”
His eldest daughter rolls her eyes in an infuriating imitation of her mother. “No, I need a babysitter. Unless you don’t think you can handle a toddler for a few hours.”
The Father’s face darkens. “I reared three of you girlchildren!” he snaps. “And I suffer for it every day. Now a boy—a boy I could do something useful with.”
“Sooo,” his daughter says, “that’s a yes?”
His grandson Boyd in tow, the Father makes away to those Elysian fields of masculinity colloquially known as the outdoor goods store.
A comforting aroma washes over him as soon as he steps through the familiar doors and onto the sales floor...male armpits and male groins, the leathery melange of boots, hunting gear, and crossbows. Sometimes the Father feels that this is the only place where his godhead is appropriately propitiated, but to voice this concern would be to admit that he is not master of his own home.
The staff and patrons fall on bended knee as Father and grandson enter.
In the studio audience, the males make a guttural, orgasmic noise. The females fall reflexively into a protective coma.
The Father and his loyal cadre of staff and patrons rally around Boyd, sensing an opportunity to disrupt the womanish mis-education imparted on the boy at the leftist enrichment center. Over the next few hours of the Father’s workday, the young boy is shuffled through a rejuvenating curriculum of proper masculine pastimes.
By the end of the business day, Boyd can properly hold, clean, aim, and fire a crossbow. The Father lets a single tear of masculine pride rappel toughly down his cheek when the small boy lands a bolt straight in the voluptuous haunch of a fake plastic deer, which had been taken from one of the window displays for use as an ad hoc target.
The males in the studio audience erupt into roars of approval, stomping their feet in lieu of applause because their arms are still bound to their chairs. The females gurgle quietly, their unconscious minds plagued by dreams of masculinity too potent for the womanly mind to integrate.
The end of the business day arrives and a collective groan arises from store staff and patrons alike; time to return home to sup on mediocre meatloaf and the nattering of malcontent wives.
As the Father carries Boyd back out to his truck, he casts a glance at the blood-red sunset and the bruised purple sky around it. Boyd notices too, and claps his chubby little hands in excitement.
“Pretty!” the boy cries. “Pretty sky!”
At this shrill proclamation, the females in the audience are roused from their stupor, and let out a collective aaaw!
The Father holds his grandson out at arms’ length and scolds, “No, boy! We do not speak thus of the sky!” He scowls at the toddler. “That enrichment center has been teaching you socialist art notions, hasn’t it?”
“Pretty!” insists Boyd.
The Father arrives home to find all his women—the Mother and her three conniving daughters—conspicuously arrayed around the kitchen table.
“So, dad,” his eldest daughter says, “how was your day with Boyd?”
The studio audience grunt, bark, scream in tongues; some vomit down their fronts, while others sit in the mud of their own waste. They are beyond laughing now, beyond hooting or cheering. Still their eyes remain open, their gazes drawn like moths to the flame of situational Americana at its best.
“You look so sweet holding your grandson,” the mother coos in between gulps of red wine.
“That cursed educational gulag to which you send him has wussified the boy!” the Father unleashes, taken aback by his own calm yet righteous rage. “I hereby claim him as my own, and will raise him in ways proper for a boychild.”
His eldest daughter smiles serenely and rises from the table. “Oh, dad. I’m glad you two had a good time, but I need to be getting Boyd to bed.”
She crosses the room with preternatural speed and grace, plucking the boy from the Father’s arms before he can react. In a heartbeat, she’s resumed her seat at the dining table, Boyd in her arms.
The women smile beatifically at the Father.
“I could make you a son,” the Mother says, her voice husky with drink. “A boy to show off to all your little buddies down at the store.” She hiccups spitefully.
“You conniving succubi!” the Father roars with sudden and great revelation. Giving Boyd over to his care had been a ruse, an attempt to soften him to the notion of impregnating his duplicitous wife so that she might feel youthful again for a handful of months.
“Don’t be a pussy, dad. Knock up Mom so she can be young and hot again,” says his youngest and most masculine daughter—his favorite, if you were to place a loaded crossbow to his temple and force him to choose.
“Over my deceased corpse,” he growls. “Conniving creatures though you may be, you are mere women, and I will not succumb to your scheming! I am the Father, first among gods and mortals, the alpha and omega. I preceded you, and will outlive you. And when your kind has fallen, I will remain. I will be the la—”
Without warning, the Mother and her daughters fall on the Father, their claws and fangs extended, the cobra-like hoods folded into their necks open and fully flared. Little Boyd sits on the floor of the kitchen set, watching as his grandmother and sisters rend apart the body of the Father, scattering his limbs and organs like confetti before the impassive black eyes of the cameras.
The studio audience brays and screams like gutted donkeys, a wordless prayer to the Mother for tender, violent death. The showrunner whispers into their radio headset; the whole production crew quietly slips away through an unmarked exit, barring the doors behind them as they leave.
When the Mother and her brood of demi-goddesses have finished dismembering the Father, they turn their hungry, toothful gazes on the fat, ripe herd before them. From on set, the members of the studio audience look like battery hens—white, rotund, utterly helpless, yearning for slaughter.
The troop of divine Jezebels devour the audience in an orgy of blood and shrieking, relishing in the porcine flavor of wussified America.
|# ¿ Jul 26, 2020 07:59|
Thunderdome Week 417: Long Road to a Little House.
Okay Thunderdome. I don't like you, and you don't like me, so let's not mince words. I'm feeling inspired by shaggy dog stories.
Typically a shaggy dog story is a joke, but I don't want to force you all to try to be funny because I'll probably get inundated with the story equivalent of someone holding a pool noodle up to their groin and saying "LOOK EVERYONE I HAVE A HUGE PENIS." So what are we doing? We're writing anti-stories.
What I mean by that is open-ended. You could write a three-act arc that ends in an anti-climax. You could write a sensory vignette that seems like it's going to resolve meaningfully, but never does. Maybe you'll tell your own version of a shaggy dog story (does not have to include a literal shaggy dog). Piss on the rules of plotting. Face the abyss. How many rules can you break while writing something interesting to read? I don't know but you should try to find out.
Since you guys seem to flock to assignment prompts like a rat getting a treat for pressing a button, there's a second part to this prompt. Upon request, I'll give you a random item. This item should have a disproportionate importance in your piece, though your entries should still be anti-storyish as described above.
Just go loving nuts dudes. Don't overthink it. Sign up and play your words like a trash piano. Loosen up.
Word count:800 words
Signup deadline: Midnight EST on Friday the 31st
Submission deadline: Midnight EST on Sunday the 2nd
1. Rat-born Cock
|# ¿ Jul 28, 2020 01:34|
In. Item plz
package of crisp and crunchy edibles
bottle of lotion
in, give me a dingus
In. Give me the item.
|# ¿ Jul 28, 2020 02:14|
These will probably be the last ones until morning, unless a couple more come in before I go to bed.
In with an item.
In, thing me and gimme a flash rule
flash rule: bifurcated Tuesday
In! Item me!
In, item plz.
In, item please
|# ¿ Jul 28, 2020 04:10|
Thanks Freakie for the critique, haha. I'll take leaving the judges basically speechless.
Signups, if you do not specially request an item, I won't give you one.
In, and would love an item.
I want in and an item pls
in & item me
|# ¿ Jul 28, 2020 19:36|
hm. if i sign up and get an item, will i actually write a story?
gimme the item
|# ¿ Jul 28, 2020 21:01|
Okay, fellow rodent avatar friend.
gently caress it. Give me an item.
|# ¿ Jul 29, 2020 00:43|
Sorry for the delay.
big week. i'll judge
LOOK EVERYONE I HAVE AN ADEQUATELY LUBRICATED ORIFICE
|# ¿ Jul 30, 2020 00:13|
One more for the night.
|# ¿ Jul 30, 2020 04:13|
Thank you for the critique, saucy_rodent. I'm glad you liked my story, I wish I could say the same about my prompt, haha. Cheers.
Signups are closed. Anyone who said 'in' is 'in'. I don't see any new object requests, but if You want one, just ask.
|# ¿ Aug 1, 2020 04:33|
Entry submissions are now closed, thank you for everyone who didn't write porn.
Good luck, judgment will happen when I goddamn say it happens, so don't give me any grief about it.
|# ¿ Aug 3, 2020 04:34|
Some thoughts before I get to the crits and results. I liked judging this week, which is saying a lot, because when I made this prompt, I was hoping no one would sign up so I wouldn't have to read more bullshit like last time, haha. It turns out you Thunderdome people are a lot more interesting when you're not falling over yourselves to appease the status quo of writing.
A note on judging: the three judges were divided on a lot of stories. Only the winner was unanimous, everything else required some discussion and negotiating. I wanted to skip handing out a loss this week because, full disclosure, we did NOT have a definitive pick for the loss, and the only reason there is one is because your sacred writing institution demands it. I guess you people need there to be a loser even if functionally in the judging chat there isn't one. Whatever, not my contest.
Bottom line, I'm proud of you assholes. gently caress the establishment and write more weird poo poo.
Hawklad - Random Encounters
This was an easy, unanimous win pick for us judges. A few stories tried to do something like what this one did, but were either too abstract or too storyful to lock in the W. The way the story moves through its various layers is engaging, and satisfyingly unresolved. Each vignette is connected to the next, but who cares? Rocks fall, everyone dies, basically. When we were thinking about the winner for this week, we had to take into account which stories offered a pleasant reading experience while fulfilling the prompt. This one is fun without being a joke, nihilistic without being melodramatic.
My favorite line(s):
The sword is heavy and his arms hurt. He plucks an oily leech from the back of his knee, tossing it into the muck. His mouth tastes sour, like old lemons.
Tyrannosaurus - Speak Up
The first effective joke of the week! The punchline works, which is good because I can sort of see the author doing the work trying to get there. If not for the punchline, I’m not sure how well the peppering of Yiddish would work, just because the kid kinda talks and thinks exactly like the old rabbi talks. As not-a-Jewish-person maybe I’m out of the loop, and maybe there are in fact legions of TikTok teens who sound like wizened rabbis. That aside, the punchline isn’t the only successful bit of comedy in this piece. The revelation that the 18 flashlights in the narrator’s butt might in fact portend something miraculous after all had me cracking up. Well done.
My favorite line(s):
“You have two of them in your tuchus?” he asked.
CaligulaKangaroo - Noise Cancellation
This story captures the ugly, mundane experience of feeling alienated from one’s own home, and the way bullshit capitalism tries to sell us our sanity back. Maybe that wasn’t the author’s take, but it’s mine. I like that there’s no catharsis. We don’t know whether the subject succeeds or fails. All we know is the struggle to find what most humans throughout history probably took for granted: quiet.
My favorite line(s):
This is my third month here, my second week working remotely, and they’re still doing construction. Probably the same construction. Then construction holds up traffic. Then all the drivers get mad and start honking and yelling and I don’t even know what half the noises they’re making are. You get used to a certain level of noise pollution just by living in the city, but not when it’s all the noises all at once. Sunup to sundown, the room shakes from the pounding barrage of horns and jackhammers from intersection to intersection.
Thranguy - Frayed
Man, I’ll be honest with you, author. I saw that block of text, and while making a very sad face told myself, “Aight, this is what I signed up for when I told these dudes to write anti-stories.” But this story unspools like a long thread. It’s very cool how the piece starts at an incredibly close zoom-in on this couch, pulls back to give the reader some context, a sense of the minor, vital role played by the couch, then zooms back into the couch itself. This could have absolutely been a chore to read, but it was definitely worth the effort.
My favorite line(s):
(I was going to do a joke where I quoted the whole story, but that seems rude, so just pretend I did that.)
Yoruichi - Uncoping
The last time I read a story by this author it was a pornographic story about an erotically smelly space man. I was surprised when I checked the name of the person behind this story, because it’s a completely different mood. I think this is an honest, well-observed moment. We all feel the pressure to be “there”, be the hero we saw in the big Marvel action movie, or the revolutionary, but in reality, it’s the small stuff that presents the real battle. Getting out the door to go march when you’ve just lost your job and discovered the viscera that’s been lurking under your bed is hard. I was worried, as I was reading, that there would be some sort of personal development, but the author didn’t fall into that trap. At the end of the story, the protagonist is nothing but themselves, which is in that moment a person who needs to hide from the world.
My favorite line(s):
Oh god the cat’s eaten half of it how long has that been there I’ve been sleeping on top of it I can’t deal with this right now I can’t I can’t. I pulled my knees into my chest and sobbed into the worn denim. I got fired. After three years of trying and trying and being belittled and bullied they had sucked out everything they wanted and now I was nothing to them and I hated them anyway so why did I care why was I crying why
Special Head Judge Fiat Honorable Mention
One story knocked the prompt out of the park by every conceivable metric, but was a polarizing reading experience. I am Honorably Mentioning it as a personal favorite.
Mrenda - Downup A Road
Can I truly like something I don’t understand? This story makes me think the answer is yes, I can. On the surface, this reads like a song, with verses and refrains that repeat, but still that sense of forward motion. Going slightly deeper, this could be a drunken night on the town, a duo or trio of blacked out hooligans making a scene outside a chip shop, and so on. I don’t think it’s quite that simple, though. Another interpretation is that the narrator is the only character in this story and the he/you/we/I/she is a reflection of their sense of displacement from themself. There seems to be some sort of change or transformation at the end with the use of pronouns. This story really took the challenge of the prompt head-on.
My favorite line(s):
No delicate sliced puffy potatoe. We walk to the chip shop he say with no noney, empty out pockets, empty fluff, empty stone, fingernails, cut and not, hair; a loose strand, a guitar pick, a fingernail; cut.
Some of these were decent pieces that were too story-like. Some of these were technically anti-stories, but very confusing to read. This was a challenging prompt with unusual criteria, so don't sweat it too hard if you ended up here.
Ceighk - >°))))彡
This is really unsettling. The story before this one was explicitly a dream, but this feels like a dream that closes quietly around the reader and swallows them up. I like it, but sometimes I found myself backtracking to make sure I hadn’t missed something. Objects kind of just show up in the scene with no warning, and the author never really describes the setting except in little bits at a time, though I eventually realized they are in a church of some kind. As I was reading, I realized the dreamlike, non sequitur feeling was probably intentional and stopped backtracking, just letting the story roll over me. I feel like something terrible is happening in this scene, maybe even too terrible for mortal minds to understand.
The judges had a lot of trouble with this one. We understood that it was meant to be strange and disorienting, but ultimately concluded that this piece went too far in the direction of confounding without rewarding the reader in any way.
My favorite line(s):
Meanwhile inside, everything rotted, and fast. Lichen stained across glass like ice crystals, and a persistent drip from the belfry had the wooden pews into black sludge. From under the tarpaulin was starting to smell. I hadn’t wanted to go fishing - watching the writhing creatures gasp in air they couldn’t breathe always reminded me too much of myself - but you know how the men are don’t you. Don’t you?
ZearothK - Release, but no release
In this story I think the author was trying to really draw out the struggle for the butter knife, letting readers be misled by their own interpretation of the scene until the very end. The problem isn’t with the concept, but the execution. First of all, ellipses (‘...’) should be used sparingly, if at all. Having several in the beginning of the story makes me feel like I’m reading video game text, but this story is not a video game, nor is it trying to do video game stylings. The melodrama of the protagonist’s struggle gets a little bit grating after a while, it’s very, “Oh, woes me!”.
My favorite line(s):
There was a metallic taste in my mouth, as I could recognize because I used to be an idiot kid that licked pipes, which certainly explains how I ended up in this situation.
AstronautCharlie - A Rich Tapestry
This story makes me sad, because it is too much of a story. The first part is great, with the narrative following a song playing over the radio. The problem is the entire latter chunk; in a week that was all about breaking narrative structures, the author inexplicably made the choice to tell a nice little story about a parent and child searching for the perfect Christmas tree. There’s even a cute little ending where they do indeed find a tree whose needles don’t shed. The judges talked a lot about this entry because it really made us think about our criteria for handing out mentions. How much story was too much story? It turns out this much story was too much story. If the author had stuck with the format of moving from scene to scene, they might have really had something cool, because as I mentioned before, I thought the beginning was great, really neat concept. Honestly, if the story had ended on the passage I have shared below, I might have been arguing for a HM.
My favorite line(s):
The vibrations pounded up to the roof, where a pair of young strangers shared realizations they didn’t yet know everyone had sooner or later; they’d fallen in love with an ideal they’d constructed instead of the person themself, or seen their mom crying when she thought everyone was sleep and it dawned on them how terribly human she’d always been, or they’d learned that nobody was born special. Then they looked out onto the neo-gothic buildings of the campus, and beyond into the endless forest of pine.
M. Propagandalf - Unflappable
Sorry buddy. This author is another victim of “too much story”. This is a straight up narrative with a beginning, middle, and end, and even a side helping of character development. But that’s Thunderdome, eh? Sometimes writers step up to the plate and whiff it. I’ve been there. As a minor student of sketch comedy, what this feels like to me is more of an anti-bit than an anti-story or shaggy dog story. The banter between the two characters almost reads like the back and forth between sketch comedians, except it’s really flat and there’s no, “Yes, and.” I think the author should have gone harder on that, built this up as an anti-comedy scene (without a neat and tidy little resolution). Maybe that wasn’t their intention, but it would have played much better for this week.
My favorite line(s):
The trajectory of both gobs had landed right into the slot, wetting a folded suggestion that was inside. Larry donned some gloves and grabbed a bottle of disinfectant. Wiping down the outside of the box, he paused on approaching the next step. Something about handling the suggestion made him nauseous. He wanted to dump it straight into the trash. Yet in all his time running the store, he had never ignored a suggestion that had gone into the box.
I object to this. The judges didn't have a clear choice, but I am informed I have to pick one. Whatever.
Simply Simon - Slugger
Minor note about punctuation: as far as I know, if someone is delivering an unbroken dialog over many paragraphs, you start every paragraph with an opening quotation mark, but don’t use a closing quote until they are done speaking. Check with more reliable sources on that one.
Otherwise, this is kind of weird. The inherent absurdity of the protagonist’s pursuit of the snail shell is fun, and I like that when he dives into the pool you describe it as a sea trench. I’m not sure about the continuing metaphor of trying to gently caress a woman, though; it becomes sort of funny once he encounters the actual snail goddess (who he is completely down to gently caress), the character comes across as gross in a way that makes me want to jump straight to the part where a bad thing happens to him. To make it clear, I don’t think the character is a reflection of the author, but he is kind of lovely in a way that doesn’t make him fun to read about. He’s very one-note, everything is all like “that slutty harlot womanly shell!!” and doesn’t deviate from that much.
Finally, this is too much like a story. It’s got a framing device, and arguably a beginning, middle, and end. It’s certainly weird, and could be categorized as a vignette, but “cursed pool noodle dick” does not a shaggy dog story make. Speaking of which, that goddamn pool noodle is what pushed me over the edge for the loss. Like the author read the prompt and went, "HaHA I am going to actually waggle a pool noodle at rat-born cock!" Very bold, Simon.
I liked the author's porn story better.
My favorite line(s):
In the darkness of a sea trench, the only guiding light was the periodic flash of the tumbling shell. Surrounded by the warm embrace of the pool’s unspeakable contents, I followed it with the vigor of a hunter stalking a wounded animal. The embrace became a tight hug, then a chokehold as the pressure of the infinite depth increased. I was getting closer though, and beyond reason, and the flashes of sunless reflection became more frequent, a stroboscope light hammering my oxygen-deprived brain. In my mind’s eye, the shell’s curves became exposed buttocks bobbing away, alabaster skin taunting my caress.
Chopstick Dystopia - No More Plucka
Ardie is the centerpiece of this story. He chews the scenery like a film actor, and the reader instantly understands the dynamic of this bar through him. The final line about the emus was funny, but felt like it was trying a touch too hard to go for the “shaggy dog”-style ending when the story stood perfectly well on its own as a vignette.
My favorite line(s):
Ardie wore a navy-blue canvas work-shirt rolled up past the elbows. He had swollen arms and fat hands made rough from hard work in the hot sun. He clasped the cold glass of draught and lifted it up and looked through it, at Jim’s amber ghost. Then, he drank.
GrandmaParty - Third Generation
This feels autobiographical, so if it’s not, wow, you could have fooled me. Either way, this is a nice portrait of a man who is somewhat remote from the narrator, even though they’re family. The last line is kind of funny, but not so much so that it negates the bittersweet mood struck up by the rest of the story.
My favorite line(s):
While some people brought diamonds from the old country, or bank notes, or silver, my great-uncle brought a clock overseas. It was the height of a grandfather clock, only twice as wide. All along the sides, my great-grandfather had carved people. A renaissance fresco in woodcut. One afternoon, I spent forty-five minutes counting them, daubing flour on each one so I know I wouldn’t double-count them. My great-grandfather carved 94 individual people eating and drinking and laughing and dying. There was one couple, having sex in blobby woodcut fashion, and I mean really going at it. He hid that one around the back, where probably only he would know where it was.
MockingQuantum - Black Lines
Normally I would not applaud you for doing the “It was all a dream” thing, but since the rules are out the window this week, I will say that it works. I was disappointed by the dream twist, which means you succeeded at setting up a situation I was invested in. It seems like this was a lot of fun to write because you really went hogwild with the descriptive stuff. This is basically just cosmic horror, but the way you used your Sharpie item makes it unique and interesting.
My favorite line(s):
I don’t know what I’m drawing really, but the Sharpie is tethered to some snarling, spitting bit of animus in the back of my head.
Pththya-lyi - In Which Miss Belinda Darlington Receives an Unexpected Proposal
Bwuha. This is nihilistic and non-sequitur, but it has charm. I’m a sentimental guy so goddammit, I’m not afraid to admit that for a split second I was kind of rooting for Guy and Belinda, but in ITYOOL 2020 nothing good is going to happen to someone named ‘Guy’. I think I would have liked the ending better if it was a little more realistic, like if you had set this in Pompeii a few minutes before it was overcome by lava flows or something like that.
My favorite line(s):
A blush spread across Guy’s cheeks, which only made him look more attractive. Though the Duke’s features were too heavy, his body too large and awkward, for his fellow aristocrats to consider him handsome, there was a lack of artifice – a freshness, Belinda thought – about the man that she found charming.
Sparksbloom - Hashbrowns
The feeling I had when I finished the stories was similar to the feeling I have when I try to explain the problems of the world to my Boomer parents. The dad narrating this story is doting, in an old-fashioned masculine way, but seemingly out of touch and oblivious. I don’t know if I am supposed to dislike him, but his attitude is alarmingly that of someone who expects the status quo to return. What this amounts to is, I think the author did a good job. My only real complaint is that Jeremy’s age is a little vague. On the one hand, he needs some help pronouncing words, but on the other, the rest of his dialog reads as reasonably mature. Maybe he is an older kid with a reading issue, but that’s not stated in the story, so I don’t know.
My favorite line(s):
“One of each.” If Jeremy tried to grab the one with seltzer, I would insist he drink the juice-coffee — it seemed like this was the sort of thing that built character. I needed him to understand that, just because we lived in strange times, it didn’t mean anything had changed. I was the father, and he was the son.
A friendly Penguin - Calculated
The way the author built up the letters is brilliant, the escalating tension in the story really had me going. Another thing I like is how smoothly the author worked in the narrator’s detachment from the world around them. This story is “about” the piece of paper on the ground, but it’s as much about the way the protagonist sleepwalks through there day, to the point where they could be confounded by a found piece of paper written in their own hand. I’m torn on the ending because I fondly remember the old calculator 80085 trick from high school. But on the other hand, I wanted it to be something a little more inscrutable. Like, this was the silver medal of possible endings the author could have selected. I don’t know what the gold medal ending would have been, but I think it would have been weirder. A person catching up to their own boob joke on the street is funny, but it was rough to go from this deliciously weird vignette to “lol boobs.”
My favorite line(s):
Driving has never allowed you to see more detail than the shops’ glowing signs, so you look at the buildings themselves. The bricks of the strip mall are… yellow. You could swear that they have always been gray. You also see that the parking lot has a faint reddish tinge. Wasn’t it just black? And the piece of paper is stuck in a crack that branches from a hole in which a parking meter stands. Did anyone pay to park here?
Saucy_Rodent - A Story in Which Our Hero, Brian, Most Certainly Does Not Jerk Off
Not too much to say about this one. I chuckled. This story reminded me of some of the rude long-form jokes my friends and I would tell each other as teens, only compressed for the 800 word limit. I think it’s pretty funny how the story escalates to JERKING OFF CAUSES COVID. It’s funny, but when it came time to hand out mentions I didn’t think about it much, because it isn’t as weird as some of the other stories this week.
My favorite line(s):
Brian was sad about losing his inheritance, but at least he had his lotion. He continued his walk gaily, passing by a TV store where the TVs blared the days biggest headline: SCIENTISTS FIND JERKING OFF CAUSES COVID.
Sebmojo - A Pathless Way
This was on my shortlist for potential HMs, but never quite got there. The writing is intentional and pleasant to read. The author seems to have a steady hand with what they are trying to say. I tend to agree with part of the premise of the piece, which is that in all of the universe there are going to be some things that are just uncannily so, like a flipped coin that miraculously lands on the skinny side. But it seemed to me that the author wasn’t content to let us think our own thoughts about this miracle, they had to opine in the final line of the story that we should accept things as they are and not wish for them to be otherwise. The “don’t bother wishing for them to be otherwise” part is confusing because, why would anyone wish “otherwise” for an unwalked-on patch of sidewalk? It’s like the author decided to end on a Moral Of The Story, but for a slightly different story. The conclusion doesn’t connect to the otherwise fascinating exploration of a thing that is incredibly, impossibly, inexplicably just so.
My favorite line(s):
No ants have walked on the footpath either, they didn’t find the crack and delve into it, antennae and pedipalps twitching. They could have, but they didn’t. I don’t know what they would have found if they’d looked, perhaps it wouldn’t have me their needs. But no-one has looked down, while walking on this surface and seen an ant, glossy and industrious, then, struck by a sudden curiosity knelt down, seeing more and more of the ants compatriots and colleagues, traced the trail to a single crack in the surface. No-one has put their face close to the sun-warmed tarmac, noticing the fractally intricate array of tiny little stones, grey and black and white and sparkling.
Antivehicular - My Week With The Maple Poofy Puffs
Oh boy. This author is speakin’ my language, haha. It should be a crime to put the ill-advised crunchy snacks next to the beer section because they get me every time. This was another story that was on my very large HM shortlist. I really liked the author’s insight into what I imagine is a common, quiet indignity. There’s no real character development, no deep insight into human nature (which, for this week, is good), but there is honesty and good observations. I’m not sure what kept this one off the mention list, other than we had to narrow down from a lot of options. The author should feel good about their observational skills and ability to write a mundane moment with authorial flare.
Dr. Kloctopussy - and it was just a stupid cup
This is a DQ but eh. I decided to read this story to see if it was worth giving a crit on, and it’s actually got a funny premise executed well. Good job. I wish this was a valid entry.
My favorite line(s):
And you wish you could tell people, and they wouldn’t laugh, because it hardly counts if they laugh, that your name isn’t actually Lance, it’s Lancelot. And yes, you do like lances a lot, so what?
|# ¿ Aug 4, 2020 21:10|
Just really quick before we get to the main event: this thread can be hard to find in the forums. Have you ever considered moving it up closer to the top so that people can see it easier? Might help get old writers like me "back in the saddle" if you will. Just a thought! Enjoy!
I hate you and your gimmick, which means, according to this thread, you should fight me.
|# ¿ Aug 16, 2020 21:25|
I'll judge this. 750 words on the perils of reverse capgras syndrome, where everybody ELSE thinks you're an imposter.
Oh, wicked, another gimmick. Okay, I'll play along. Except you forgot a deadline, rear end in a top hat. Do you people even know how to run this thread without tripping over your own selfabsorbed method acting?
|# ¿ Aug 16, 2020 22:11|
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.
|# ¿ Sep 25, 2020 07:29|
"The real business was underground, in subterranean vaults kept cool and breezy by the humming air conditioners on the roof." (page 187)
Word Count: 1000 words
To get to her, you have to knife past the nurse drones with their cool bluelit orifici, past the wide, prehensile embrace of their shock arms; you have to flee the drones on your engineered feet, long, rubbery rabbitish things that pongpongpongpong across electrified steel mesh as you run; you have to navigate a labyrinth wherein most passages lead to abrupt death; you have to leap the chasm that separates the central sarcophagus from the surrounding death trap of a facility; you have to spread your surgically elongated arms, unfurling the massive membrane of nanocarbon-reinforce skin that runs from your wrists to your ankles, and glide on bat wings to the frigid heart of heaven.
You do all that. With a white rose clenched in your teeth.
The sarcophagus is a cylinder the size of a skyscraper stabbed deep into the crust of the earth, protected from ingress by the citysized security facility through which you just booked it. You feel the size of it now, standing on the small landing before the final door. You’ve always felt its hugeness, even when you were a kid. It pulled at you in those moments just before sleep, a hungry gravity that threatened to drag you from your bed, through the floor, down into the earth, to the dark unspeakable nadir of heaven.
You’re not a kid now. You understand why the sarcophagus exists, and why she who sleeps inside must always rest. The world died eons ago, in fire and salt. Your ancestors laid the sleeper down on her slab, reawakening the lost world inside her dreams. And then they, too, died, incapable of following her into the new world.
She’s your mother. She’s your life. She is your cause and your reason. Her sainted face is projected on the sides of buildings, used as an icon on user interfaces. And she’s alone in this revoltingly dark, expansive place. You can’t stand the thought of it, the desolation of it.
The door to her room slides open, something shruggish in its disposition, like the door is saying well, you got this far. You’re clearly not going away until you get what you want, so get on with it.
And there she is, resting atop the surgical looking slab, cocooned in interlocking plates of a metal you don’t recognize. You take a step into the room then stop, seized by vertigo. The rose stem is still between your teeth. You flatten it with your molars.
The floor beneath your feet is transparent, revealing a second, identical room, where rests an identical dreamer in her sheath of metal, soft face visible through a round porthole in the cocoon. And below that, another room. Another sainted dreamer. And another. And another.
You raise your eyes to the ceiling, see above you the dark footprint of a slab. You know with the certainty of dreaming that these are the same rooms, the same saint, and you feel betrayed. Cheapened. One dream of one world is special; there is a poetry to it. But what you see here is a dream of a dreamer dreaming countless dreams into infinity. You are transformed. A moment ago you were the beloved child of heaven. Now you can only see yourself like a pawn in a sim.
The white rose falls from your mouth. It dawns on you that you don’t know what would happen if you woke this dreamer. Something apocalyptic, you think. You hope.
You keep your eyes fixed on the slab as you approach. Looking up or down will undo you. The protective scales of metal surrounding the dreamer shiver with color, little runs of teal and pink and moss slithering over the faint whorls of texture in otherwise gunmetal skin. Your mind is so ready to believe that this cocoon is unassailable, that the sainted dreamer has dreamed into existence a material that cannot be penetrated by any means.
A childish quip runs through your mind. If it’s so unbreakable, why didn’t she make the whole facility out of it?
And you understand that there is no metal sheath around the dreamer. It’s a desperate trick of the psyche, a final security measure against the exact thing you are preparing yourself to do.
You extend a hand, the wing membrane stretching with it, and touch the cocoon. Except you don’t touch the cocoon; there’s nothing there. Your fingertips pass through the illusion of metal. This hits you like a second betrayal. After everything you went through to get to her, the surgeries and the grafts and the training and the drilling, destroying her dreams is as simple as seeing through a stupid trick?
You hate her. You hate her so much. You hate yourself for loving her, and by extension, for loving yourself.
You can’t see your fingertips but you can tell they’re hovering just over her skin, somewhere around her knee maybe. A good sharp rap on the knee would wake anyone up. Your face gashes open, a dystonic grin. What a stupid, perfect way for the world to end.
There is the impression of motion above and below you. Everything in you is screaming do it just do it doitdo it now. In spite of yourself, you look up.
And see yourself looking down at you, this other self poised on the edge of apocalypse. And above them, another self, and another, and another, and so on. Below your feet, you look up at yourself, your face stricken with hate and anguish.
In every world, in every dream, a you, arriving here at this moment of betrayal. In every world a reckoning, with you as the reckoner.
After a long time, you withdraw your hands from the cocoon and retrieve the fallen white rose. You lay it atop the dreamer’s metal sheath, which you now know is harder than diamond. A final, true layer of protection, imbued by the dream onto the dreamer.
|# ¿ Sep 27, 2020 22:22|
Well gently caress. Because what I want after a 9 hour day of wrangling dickheads out of their own assholes is to have to wrangle you dickheads up your own assholes.
Stories where the solution to the central problem is kindness, friendship, or compassion.
When you people sign up you will get an uplifting animal meme from somewhere around the internet, because I hate you. That will inspire the stories.
NO EROTICA. Don't do anything you know you're not supposed to do.
Sign up by 11:59PM EST this Friday
Submit by 11:59PM EST this Sunday
Maximum word limit: 800
|# ¿ Sep 29, 2020 21:33|
One cute animal, please.
|# ¿ Sep 29, 2020 22:09|
|# ¿ Sep 29, 2020 22:12|
I can't sleep for poo poo after a certain clown circus that happened earlier. Have more prompts. By the way, I am giving animal prompts but your stories don't have to be about these cute animals. They could be about anything, including, but not limited to, cute animals.
|# ¿ Sep 30, 2020 07:39|
Thanks for the crit! For context it's the first finished story I've shown anyone, so I'm grateful for the feedback.
|# ¿ Oct 1, 2020 23:48|
|# ¿ Oct 2, 2020 23:20|
|# ¿ Dec 1, 2023 10:52|
I want you to know I woke up an hour early for this. I'd say I quit but I know I'll just be back in three months to effortlessly spank you people again.
Yoruichi - And then there were two
I liked the way the words seemed to move quickly, like a scared rabbit. I liked all of the sensory details, which made the story feel humid and low to the ground. I was confused by the "mirror" at first. I thought Chelsea had personified her reflection as another rabbit and had gone looking for that, but Cinnamon appears to be one real-rear end bunny. I was confused why Cinnamon had all this insight into the world that Chelsea didn't have. I didn't like how the cat sort of just stopped being an issue once Chelsea found Cinnamon. Even though friendship technically won the day, I felt like the cat gave up too easily. It might have been better to have your antagonist be something environmental rather than an animal. I think I basically like this story.
MockingQuantum - It Stretches Away Forever
I like the imagery in this story a lot. The writer can definitely draw a surreal landscape. I liked that it wasn't just about Manny coming back from apparent near death. Detox is just the beginning, haha. Coming back from death was only the start for this guy, even though his escape from the armpit of an OD took up most of the story. I wasn't confused by anything in this story, but I wish we had a little more personality from Manny. The writer could have had him think about something from his real life, or something about the tiled hellscape could have resonated with a memory from his past. It really would have only taken a line or two. I think I like this story.
Sparksbloom - Red Light
I like the things left unsaid by this story. What it's about will probably depend on the reader. I could see a lot of 2020 anxiety in this story, though that may not have been the writer's intention. I saw notes of technological isolation, quarantine isolation, and potentially isolation of elderly folks, maybe. The story never mentions the cause of death but I could easily imagine this as the aftermath of some literal or metaphorical illness. The leaks and speculation over the mundane observations of the residents is a lot like the current news-reaction cycle. I didn't get enough out of the relationship between the narrator and Sheila. Both of them are so low affect, which I think is part of the story, that whatever the writer was trying to do with them got a little bit lost. They seem like they are basically suffering from the same ennui that afflicted the residents of the tower, which means they don't stand out much from the setting. However, I got the sense that the interaction was meaningful for the characters, so I think it hit the prompt. I think I like this story.
GrandmaParty - Friends Are Where You Find Them
I liked that this story ran with the compassion part of the prompt. I liked the action in the beginning. I liked that James reacted to his frustration and disappointment in a way that was both realistic for a teenager and over-the-top enough for a short story. I laughed in a sad way when he went into his locker. Relatable. I was skeptical about how wise and insightful the other kid was. He is like a tiny licensed therapist in there. I think I basically like this story.
Gorka - Bird of Paradise
I like the message of the story. It's a take on the idea "if you love something, let it go," but in this case the kid seems to be giving up all magical animal bonds for life, which is an intense choice for a child to make. His experience with the bird made him realize that the institution of magical familiars is most likely hosed. If humans had animal familiars I'm sure it would be a whole evil industry, so good on you small child. I have some questions about how familiars work in the story world. I would think that a lot more animals would resist their human companions, given Jacob's experience. Given that, I would think that there would be whole domestic familiar farms pumping out industrial animal companions. I don't want to be too cynical, though. I didn't like the writing style, though it was very clear and concise. The writer could work on using less obvious details to flesh out a character. For example, the teacher was described as "a strict but kind man". That's what we in the biz call a cliche. Maybe the teacher looked up from the rigorously ordered paperwork on his desk and raised a bushy eyebrow. Maybe the lines on his face are a mix of frown and smile lines. The sky is the limit, really. The writer could ask themselves why they are wording each line the way they are, and explore if there is a more original or insightful way to describe the thing they're trying to describe. I think I basically liked this story well enough overall.
Tyrannosaurus - i love you
I like something about this story that I'm not sure is intentional. The story is almost as aloof to its subject matter as the characters. The topic of suicide is introduced right at the outset, in full technicolor. A man with a gun in his mouth. And then the story immediately retracts from that, recoils, almost. I could feel the story itself punching me in the shoulder at a McDonalds while holding back tears. I'm a straight american white guy so I have all the usual mutations from toxic masculinity and I see a familiar mode of guy avoidance of emotional poo poo. And the story never really breaks that kayfabe (waits for Thunderdome to go off like the secret word on Pee-Wee's Playhouse). It made me wonder how long friendship will really be able to save Cuda from the depression. My dude needs a therapist. I think I like this story. Also hey writer you okay bro?
Thranguy - Meanwhile, in the Year One Billion
"In the year about a billion or so" got me laughing in the first line. I like how seat-of-the-pants the story was. It gave no fucks about filling me in on the background, just threw me into this alien world with some snarky frenemies. It reads like the writer started out writing a give-no-fucks story, then actually started caring about their characters halfway through. I actually wanted to read about the house of the family at the end of time, so kudos to the writer for making me care about a world that they made up on the fly. Everything I just said is also a critique, even though I had a good time reading the story. I think I basically liked this story, though.
Weltlich - Halfway Out
I like everything about this story. It wins the Thunderdome. Grats to the writer on their win.
I like how much is implied with so little. I understood that these are probably two formerly incarcerated folks who aren't used to things on the outside. Randall probably doesn't feel like he can ask for anything, so he goes straight to "borrowing". Tyler gets that Randall needs some life stuff explained, in no uncertain terms, no bullshit. And then Tyler helps the dude out. I figure Tyler probably wishes someone had helped him out with this stuff, too. Or maybe someone did help him normalize to the outside and he's paying it forward. Great story.
Antivehicular - Driver and Pilot
I like Horsequake. I like this insane loving internal horse world. I like that the writer made me double check your word count because I was worried someone had snuck a 2000 words story into my 800 word week. The ending falters a little, there's a near-literal deus ex machine and a hollow-sounding promise made by the protagonist. Still, this story has so much killer poo poo in it that I...
Declare antivehicular also the winner of this week
You people can sort out who does the next week. Not my problem anymore.
I like how well-observed this is. I like how the kids in the story are emotionally intelligent. It's not that they don't understand what's happening, but they don't have any experience processing that sort of thing. The older sibling knows to give comfort, but not what to say. That rings pretty true to life. The story sometimes spelled things out that could have been more subtle, like the note that everyone on the camping trip got their own tent, including the parents. Same thing with the protagonist noticing that their parents didn't even touch before going to bed. It's not that the kid wouldn't notice that stuff. Kids do, they absolutely do. But it's made overly explicit to the reader. Kid brains are tripping on life all the time, the event of your parents acting weird and upsetting is kind of on par with a really cool bug you found on a stump in terms of significance (at least until much later in life when you realize how hosed it was). For me, anyway. I can't speak for the writer. Over all I basically like this story.
Weltlich and Antivehicular win. Maybe they'll fight to the death. Maybe they'll do a joint prompt. Not my problem.
MockingQuantum, Sparksbloom, and Tyrannosaurus get runner up mentions.
Everyone else, you know by now I had mixed-to-good feelings about your stories.
|# ¿ Oct 6, 2020 11:29|