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Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


magic cactus posted:

In flash and hellrule pls also because I need to atone for my two week straight failure streak.



Everything is upside down.

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Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008


Thanks for the crits.

In with a flash and hellrule please

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

I DON'T ALWAYS
HERDY DUR MUR FLERP FLERPITY
FLOOPIN
BUT WHEN I DO
I YER DER FLERPITY
THURN DER DERMIN
BORK! BORK! BORK!


in

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


Idle Amalgam posted:

Thanks for the crits.

In with a flash and hellrule please



Everything above is purple.

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016


I'm in.
The good thing about the DM -> Loss trajectory is that there's nowhere to go but up, right!?

N. Senada
May 17, 2011


In with flash plz

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


N. Senada posted:

In with flash plz

Gorka
Aug 18, 2014

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In with a flash, please

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


Gorka posted:

In with a flash, please

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


In flash gif

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


sebmojo posted:

In flash gif



Did you want a hellrule too? If course you do.

Your main characters are centaurs.

Weltlich
Feb 13, 2006


Grimey Drawer

Tree Bucket posted:

I'm in.
The good thing about the DM -> Loss trajectory is that there's nowhere to go but up, right!?

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give


In, flash

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse



flerp
Feb 25, 2014

I DON'T ALWAYS
HERDY DUR MUR FLERP FLERPITY
FLOOPIN
BUT WHEN I DO
I YER DER FLERPITY
THURN DER DERMIN
BORK! BORK! BORK!


week 439

Tree Bucket

this story fails because of scope. you try to have an entire character’s history within 2500 words, which is extremely difficult, and here, it doesnt work. you’re trying to both craft a world that’s pretty out there while trying to tell a cohesive story spanning a long period of time, and you end up just being too constrained, where the world doesnt feel strong enough, the characters arent interesting enough, and the plot doesnt do enough. there’s just enough space for all of this individual pieces to work. i would, if you were trying to keep this in word count, to focus on a specific scene or moment and use that individual scene to explore the character and setting.

i also have some general qualms, which the old guy is just an exposition dump, which felt really awkward and kinda unnecessary. there’s a few tense shifts in here as well. i also really dislike the libertarian weirdo character, since he feels extremely fake and like youre just trying to make fun of those types of people w/o really doing anything in the story.

brotherly

i like this concept, but i feel like the voice is kinda forced, trying to be this kinda like w/e sort of dude, which i think is fine, but the forced nature of makes it feel constructed, and not quite lands with the naturalistic feel that it should. however, i did enjoy the stuff about the dad and the parallel between the dad growing to like his afterlife and the real world kinda falling apart but the latter part was kinda weird because it was in the background and i couldnt quite put my finger on what it was or what it was really trying to do in the story. the relationship with the son and dad was pretty alright and felt realistic. however, my main issue is that the story doesnt quite fit together at the end. it doesnt really hit the final beat it needs to to bridge the entire concept into something bigger than “some stuff happened.” like, i see the parallels, i see what’s happening, but it never really culminates into making something bigger.

Staggy

this one is odd. its from a very distinct perspective, which is cool, but idk i cant find myself really pulled in. i think it has to do with the vagueness. its not really clear what these people are (aliens? robots?), what they want besides like world domination, and the character perspective of a grunt doesnt really help that. maybe thats the point, that, despite being an immortal, ever-respawning soldier, they wont ever know why they fight. but i dont think this lands from an alien perspective because i feel like i need to at least what theyre being told why theyre fighting when we get nothing. i also dont really get the ending? the soldier seems idk not happy about fighting, but relatively w/e about it, that him going like “im breaking free from the system” doesnt really line up with the rest of the story. like, it doesnt feel the character was ever trying to become free, and then all of a sudden he wants to? didnt land.

Weltlich

idk this one doesnt hit for me. i dont rly care about sci-fi stuff, and the world here is just like computers went crazy or w/e. but its not rly clear why or why theyre throwing literature at robots. i feel like thats probably some kind of literary reference, but also, im illiterate, so it doesnt land for me. its just, there’s not really anything interesting in this story. its honestly just a boring ww2 story where they sit in a foxhole waiting for things to happen, and then theyre saved by an outside force, and then the person mails a letter like that was supposed to be mean something? idk but seriously why are they throwing books at robots?????

Tyrannosaurus

this feels like brotherly’s, in the sense that the voice does feel rather forced here. there’s a few times where it lapses in genuine and good ways, especially near the end, but the beginning does feel super forced. this also feels a bit too forced in its political views. im not going to be that whole both sides sort of nerd, but in fiction, where you have free reign to control how your characters act, it feels just a little too much that the liberal sister is unequivocally good and the conservative mother a horrible person. i feel like you try to combat at the start by calling the sister annoying, but then she’s just super supportive and kind and understanding and then the mother murders her husband which you know might be playing your hand a little obviously. also, on the mother murdering the husband, that was a bad ending. i did enjoy the story for the most part besides the forced voice, as i thought it was a nice reconnecting story over some trauma. but then the main character sets up her own father to be killed and that was just not nice? i feel like you had that ending in mind from the start and thought hey thats cool, but it just feels so harsh of an end to what shouldve been a nice and cute conclusion

Thranguy

this one is like… what??? people find out somebody had a wedding, but actually, theres a fake news for everyone out there and it just ends up being like… so what? you just spend your time setting that up, but it doesnt really change anything. the people just end up laughing about it and being like welp i guess thats how the world works now, oh well. there’s also hints at a bigger, weirder world thats super restricted or w/e, but that also doesnt really make sense or seem to lead to anything different so i dont know why thats a thing except to add extra useless details that dont rly inform the story much. and then you try to culminate it into your last paragraph, but it doesnt work because your story wasnt really about trust. it was just about how people have fake news about themselves all over the place, but it wasnt about trying to figure out who to trust, so the last bit does not work at all.

sebmojo

i dont really get the list format since its just like counting every sentence but it does have the benefit of answering the occasional question i have reading stories about how many sentences there are in a story so maybe the list format was the right choice who can really say. but anyways this is pretty alright, but obv very light. it kinda starts out tongue and cheek, but then gets kinda serious, esp w/ the person saying they might not be saved and it was weird to say that, so they clearly were expecting to be saved, but theyre also talking about trolls, and idk getting kinda mixed signals here. it also just kinda ends, but idk how youre supposed to end a story like this where the whole world kinda just stops because the story kinda stops, which ig makes sense, not the most satisfying end but it fits together like youd expect, but maybe thats the problem, it kinda just hits the notes you expect and says thats enough and is that really enough?

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002


in. i don't need a flash rule but can i have a horse gif anyway?

PHIZ KALIFA
Dec 21, 2011
ABS THUNDERSKULL.

element: thunderbolts.

steed: a thunderbolt.

slogan/motto: "gonna clap them cheeks like a Thunderskull."


i'm in. I asked about this a while but I'm not sure if anyone ever counted the longest gaps between entries, but i've skipped the past 308 challenges. If y'all think that deserves a flash or what, I'm game

Simply Simon
Nov 6, 2010

timeless Ned Flanders style


crabrock posted:

in. i don't need a flash rule but can i have a horse gif anyway?
Allow me

https://i.imgur.com/1tvBRrg.mp4

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


Bad Simon! Das ist nicht ein Pferd!

You are in now, so here is your gif:

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


crabrock posted:

in. i don't need a flash rule but can i have a horse gif anyway?

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


PHIZ KALIFA posted:

i'm in. I asked about this a while but I'm not sure if anyone ever counted the longest gaps between entries, but i've skipped the past 308 challenges. If y'all think that deserves a flash or what, I'm game

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016



Horse spines are not the shape I thought they were.

Nae
Sep 3, 2020

what.


In, don't want a flash but do want a horse gif. Got any laser horses?

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


Nae posted:

In, don't want a flash but do want a horse gif. Got any laser horses?

Horses do not have lasers

Simply Simon
Nov 6, 2010

timeless Ned Flanders style


You will

You won’t go far enough. You won’t take her heart and rip it out and chew on it. You won’t yank out her stomach and put butterflies in and put it back. You won’t make yourself her world.

She won’t submit to you. Won’t quiver at the mention of your name, won’t scream when she sees you finally return. She won’t yield no matter how much you push her.
She is pure and you are filth and she is perfect and you are an abomination, she smells like good things do and you smell like the worst. You are negative and she is positive and if you touched you’d big bang into a world of hurt for her.
But you want that. You want to touch her and bang and trap her in the void of you. You want to defile her with yourself and drag her to your level and further down and keep her there. Topple her from her pedestal and break her into little bits and step on her and grind her into dust. This is what would happen if you touched her. But you won’t.

You won’t go far enough. You won’t become hers to use. You won’t be her bath towel, her dishrag, her toilet paper. You won’t make her your world.

She isn’t interested. She is aloof. She is immersed in her world which is a queendom and she rules your world of peasants and doesn’t know it. You are beneath her attention and you know it.
She wants to not be bothered by you. She wants to be left alone. She is happiest without you. She would hate the thought of knowing you, if she knew you.
But you wouldn’t dare change that. You want to make yourself known to her, but you’re a coward, you’re pathetic, you’re jelly-spined. You want to wave to her but it’d be like a germ greeting the body it sickens. You want to say something but it would be a faithless prayer to the entirely wrong God. You want to at least raise the corners of your mouth, forming something more crooked than any politician. But you won’t.

You won’t go far enough. You won’t become her boyfriend. You won’t go on a date with her. You won’t get to know her a little first. You won’t start a normal loving conversation.

She is sitting on the next table. She has finished reading her book. She is just a few steps away. She might as well be Venus and you are Charon orbiting something that’s not even a planet anymore. She is bored and looks around.
Her eyes get stuck on yours like a glittering dragonfly on sundew, but she manages to yank them away from your hunger. You’re glad. She sighs and you know it’s relief. She does not even exist in the same dimension as you. If you are length and breadth, she has so many layers that you could describe string theory with her.
You want to close the distance. You want to take those few steps. You want to move to her table. You want to comment on the book, which by the way you did also read. It’s not even a lie. It’s not even a bad book. But you won’t.

You won’t go far enough. You won’t eliminate the four feet. You won’t stand up and see how she reacts. You won’t need a backup plan if it’s a bad reaction, a chemical plant catastrophe. You won’t move a single muscle anyway.

She will not notice you as you sink into your seat. She won’t see you fade away because you never were there. She has already erased you from her memory despite looking directly at you right now. She smiles because she is glad you are gone. She waves to disperse the last remnants of your stench.

She gets up

Will you?

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.


In. I don't need a flashrule but I am going to

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


Good man



(Don't worry this isn't a flash)

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


I'm in and ing. Would like horse gif but no flash.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


sparksbloom posted:

I'm in and ing. Would like horse gif but no flash.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


Sign-ups are closed.

If you wish to late enter, then this is your flashrule:

Tree Bucket
Apr 1, 2016


The Three Steps of the Giant // 890 words


Rob was seventeen, but still remembered when the big drought broke. The same rainclouds that had saved the district also shredded one lonely farm with hailstones. The giants, Rob thought, were a lot like that.

The giant that had ruined Rob’s life was yellow and fist-shaped and one thousand metres tall. Rob watched it move (mountain-slow) through his family’s fields, pulverising crops and topsoil. He felt a luminous tightness in his chest, like when summer lightning hit too close. That moment between flash and bang.

Rob raised his phone for a photo. Maybe a selfie? For scale, obviously. He would’ve streamed it, but the giants killed phone signal, everyone knew that-

The monster’s droning boom grew truck-loud, thunder-loud, gun-loud. Crows rocketed away and Rob’s teeth buzzed. His phone screen splintered.

Rob stared. “I just paid for that-!”

And then he was laughing and couldn’t stop.

The giant had wandered closer over the long months. Randomly, according to the researchers. Dad had watched the projections, and tilled and planted with all a farmer’s hopeless hope. Still: every giant trailed a mob of soldiers, scientists, reporters and tourists. Like flies after sick sheep. These were people who dripped money; so- Rob conceded- the giant was good for the town! Even if his own home was now smeared across the bottom of a huge footprint. Rob glared at the vehicles massed on the horizon. Clouds and hailstorms...

Well. He couldn’t complain. He’d hidden during the evac, and the giant had come to him. For regular people, giants existed solely on screens, or as distant unclear shapes. But Rob had been clever. Now he stood all of two hundred metres away from the giant’s left front foot, a hinged and pitted mass of metal the size of Rob’s school hall. He watched the foot drift from the earth, a mobile slice of horizon, and felt his stomach execute a slow barrel roll.

He suspected seasickness might feel like this.

The foot descended and the ground heaved. Rob fell to ripped soil. And he’d lost his hat. He got up and watched greasy mist curl round the giant’s foot: crops smashed to vapour under the trillion-tonne beast. The ground had been compressed to something like concrete; nothing would grow there again. Rob scratched his chin. The footprint could store water, maybe, or make foundations for a house…

The noise was shatteringly loud now. Like sticking your head inside a truck engine.

Rob craned all the way back, staring at the six-legged moving mountain. For some reason, he couldn’t help thinking of cattle. Big brown beasts, swishing their tails as little birds hopped around their backs pecking pests away. Chewing and waiting. Rob watched the giant and his instincts whispered: herbivore.

Sudden movement caught his eye. A military drone. Close. Rob ran for the trees on jelly legs, ducked behind an ironbark. He waited, breathing sun-warmed eucalyptus vapours. A line of meat-ants rushed frantic past his nose.

The ear-slaughtering wail of the giant continued.

The army drone zipped away and Rob stepped out again, with a glare. He’d been raised on tales of Our Brave Lads’ Heroic Etc. and felt that plastic quad-copters were cheating, somehow, compared with the old photos of smiling Diggers, grasping helmets and rifles and marching off to die-

It had taken a full minute for the giant to complete one step.

Rob saw, for the second time, a foot going down. Rob prepared to jump the shockwave, but a blast of oily heated air caught him first and flicked him clean over. The ground buckled. It was not meant to do that!

Rob stopped screaming and got to his knees. He stared at the orange-yellow foot as it sank into the soil. It billowed with steam and dust. Rob staggered forwards. The noise hammered on at ribs and lungs and eyeballs. And the smell: oil, hot metal, the sweet rain-scent of turned earth. Mud, rust, batteries…

For the third time: a foot, descending. Ponderously slow, it drove one-two-three-more metres right into the ground. All that displaced soil and air rammed outwards and folded Rob flat on the ground.

The giant stopped.

It vented steam. Little lightnings flicked along its spine.

The big dumb bovine head, a kilometre over the plain, began to lower. And kept coming. The drones and distant vehicles were going frantic: giants aren’t meant to do this sort of thing! Rob realised in a distracted sort of way that was screaming and screaming.

The giant’s metal head came to rest upon the dirt, just a dozen metres away.

A rhythmic pulse kept thumping out, five octaves high. Like breathing.

Rob wiped his streaming eyes with a trembling hand. He stared at the Giant’s face. He remembered a word his sister had tried once to explain: fractal. Something about looking at a thing, and seeing detail, and looking at that detail and seeing more detail, unfolding forever...

Metal slid aside, high on the head. A doorway. A ramp wound out.

A robot monster from Somewhere Else was inviting Rob in. Maybe it wanted a friend. Or a pilot, or an owner, or prisoner, or doctor. What if it wanted an oxpecker, a quick little creature to kill giant-scale ticks…?

Rob was seventeen. He didn’t even have to think about it.

He went in.

PHIZ KALIFA
Dec 21, 2011
ABS THUNDERSKULL.

element: thunderbolts.

steed: a thunderbolt.

slogan/motto: "gonna clap them cheeks like a Thunderskull."



SMOOTH MOON.

When they saw what was done, the people rioted. Christians blamed radical Islamists. 30 year old Pagans blamed 13 year old Wiccans and everyone said "WitchTok" unironically. Astronomers blamed Elon Musk who, for once, had done nothing wrong. The media blamed "stellar ANTIFAs with moon-destroying homosexuality." The only ones not caught up in the he-said-she-said were astrologers, who took one look at the night sky and immediately began drinking.

~~ t h e d a y b e f o r e~~

Three Houstons sat on one side of the desk, their crisp white shirts offset by ties the color of a nicotine stained Apple][. Behind them, a glass wall looked out onto banks of mainframes, reels of magnetic tape spinning.
They each looked at the dossier on the table. A bold blue line halved the front of the manila. They looked at each other, looking at the dossier. The Third Houston pulled his hands under the table and sat on them. Second Houston reached a quivering finger forward, but it froze, a scant half inch from the paper.
Across the table, the folder's author stirred. Imagine a sack of Tinker Toys shaken up then dumped into a seersucker suit. When the author looked up, the three Houstons had flattened themselves against the far wall, eyes as wide as tape reels. "Fine!" The author snapped, reaching forward and throwing open the dossier. A single piece of paper fluttered around the edges.
The First Houston leaned forward, squinting. "Smooth Moon?" He sat back and polished his glasses. "Mr. Furi-"
"Doctor."
"Dr. Furious, I'm sure you're aware," the First Houston spoke slowly, "but the moon is actually famously unsmooth."
"Yes." Dr. Furious nodded. "Rough moon bad. Thus, I fix, and make smooth." They spread their palms and smiled. "Smooth Moon. Good Moon."
The Second Houston, whom the Doctor mentally chocked as White Houston, scoffed. "Impossible."
Tall Houston looked nervously at his two associates. "Even if it weren't impossible, what would ensmoothening even accomplish?"
"Good question!" Dr. Furious boomed. Reaching upwards, they pulled down a projection screen as a film flickered to life.

ADVANTAGES:


1) SMOOTH MOON

The lights snapped back on as the screen rolled upwards and out of existence. "I trust that puts to rest any lingering concerns." Dr. Furious smiled.
Houston smiled. White Houston nodded his head and smiled. "Not even remotely!" White Houston said, cheerily.
"I am sorry you feel this way, White Houston." Dr. Furious reached a hand across the table, which was not grasped. "All things will become known under the blessings of Smooth Moon."
Houston cocked an eyebrow halfway up his forehead. "If he's White Houston, does that make me...?"
"You are the First Houston. Houston Prime. You entered the room and looked me in the eye and greeted me, and for that, I honor you among your peers, Houston Alone. The mold from which lesser Houstons are birthed."
Houston blinked. He opened his mouth to respond, then closed it. He scooted his chair forward and rested his elbows on the table. Incredulity scrawled across his face, he asked "Smooth Moon?"
Tall Houston rubbed the latest bruise on his forehead.
Dr. Furious crossed their arms over their chest. "The moon is broken." They declared. "Keeps getting beat up by space rocks. I have been appointed to fix it."
"By WHO?!" White Houston screamed.
"Whom." Doctor Furious smirked. White Houston roared, and leaped across the table. He ran to the window, and threw an enormous potted plant through the glass. To the palm, it spent an eternity basking in direct sunlight, fronds waving in the vigorous breeze, as it remembered the life its ancestors lived, feet buried in white sand.
Then it broke through the vinyl roof of a cherry red Thunderbird. The Three Houstons did not notice, for their eyes were drawn to the enormous steam roller.
"It's double parked in both of the handicapped spots." Tall Houston frowned.
"What's the dome for?" Houston asked.
"Dome?" White Houston said. "There's a rocket on the end! Is that Soviet? Did you steal that from us?"
"It's got seating for four." Dr. Furious said, enveloping all six Houston shoulders in a wide hug. There was a long, thoughtful silence.

*

"Wooo!" The Houstons shouted in unison. The steamroller ramped off the lip of the Sea of Tranquility. "Yeah!"
Dr. Furious sat in the back, smiling, while Houston Prime pulled the craft into a jet-propelled backflip. Huge plumes of lunar dust tsunami'd off in every direction while Tall Houston excitedly slapped Houston's shoulder. "Dude!" He shouted. "Duuuuuuude!"
"Ffffffuck the moon!" Houston scream-laughed, his voice catching in his throat. "Stupid cold piece of crap rock! Wasted my whole career studying you!" He swung the craft around and drifted the steamroller barrels diagonally across the rim of the crater, like a skateboarder grinding on a rail. It crumbled in their wake, sliding into the sea of dust below.
White Huston's head spun like a top, surveying the wreckage in their wake. "We're doing it!" He grabbed the Doctor's lapel. "You're doing it! Smooth Moon!"
"Smooth Moon! Smooth Moon! Smooth Moon!" The two in the front chanted. They came upon a flag, rigid and unmoving in the non-wind, and they flattened it. Discarded rovers, landers, rocket bits, green women, everything was flattened. Everything was made smooth.
Doctor Furious, smiling, leaned their head back, a single tear running down their cheek.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014



The Doom Vat
876 words


I dipped my hand into the doom vat and tasted spit. It came on me like a dream: nasty, day-old saliva, gross up around my gums.

“Did it again,” I said, looking over my shoulder at my potions master. “Screwed me hard.”

Old man Argyle grunted. “You screwed yourself.”

“Whatever,” I muttered, and swirled my fingers around. The doom vat was supposed to turn this stuff blue and make my skin tingle if it was done right, but instead it was a weird purpley-green, and I kept getting that nasty taste.

I kicked it for good measure. The thing clanged and vibrated. It was six feet wide, eight feet deep, and covered in ancient hieroglyphics tuned to godlike energies.

“That won’t help,” Argyle barked. “Pack it up if you’re finished. You got a lot of cleaning to do.”

I looked back at his lair: stacks of dirtied beakers, iron pots caked in gore, and stirring rods with petrified layers of goo.

“This’ll take me days.” I stared down the doom vat and willed it to comply. “Can’t I try again?”

“On your own time. Make this place shine again.”

He left and I made a rude gesture behind his back before sticking my fingers back into the potion.

Nasty, nasty stuff. I dumped it and got to work scrubbing.

#

I tasted vomit on the back of my tongue. “How the thirteen rings of hell is this happening?” I prodded the doom vat with a fresh stirring rod. “It’s got to be broken.”

The stuff inside was a shimmering crimson.

“Only idiots blame the tool for their own failing.” Argyle wiggled his fingers over a cylinder filled with a viscous gold liquid and made the thing pop with sparks. He drank it back.

“What was that?” I asked.

“Peppermint tea.” He showed me his crooked teeth. “Want some?”

I knew better than to drink that psycho’s brew. The doom vat taunted me as I returned to poking at it. I put my whole arm in there and my stomach nearly retched. I squeezed my eyes shut and breathed through the nausea.

The liquid didn’t change. The potion remained immune to my desperation. I sweated into it, drooled onto it surface, and still nothing. I yanked my arm back, and the skin was dyed black, top to bottom.

“Uh oh,” I said. “Argyle? Sir?”

He looked over. “Oh, what the hell did you do?”

“Don’t know. Doesn’t hurt though.”

“Go wash up, you dumb rear end in a top hat.”

I glared death at the doom vat then kicked it just because. “It’s doing this on purpose.”

“It’s the doom vat, boy. Why do you think I call it that?”

“Because—“ I waved my hand at all the fancy glowing runes. “You know, magic and stuff.”

“No, you idiot.” Argyle rubbed his eyes. “It’s a stubborn old beast and half the crap I cook up inside comes out wrong, but when it’s right, by all the gods, it’s a miracle.” He stared off into the middle distance.

“So it’s the vat’s fault, then.”

“No,” he snapped. “Now go wash off then stack ingredients. I want them all catalogued by tonight.”

I groaned, but knew better than to argue, else I’d end up in that stupid cauldron one of these days.

#

The doom vat sang at night. I could hear its voice echoing off the stone chamber walls, like the sound of ice grinding over dead landscapes.

I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to ignore its call. There were promises in that song: the smell of clean air, wide open roads stretching out before me, riches beyond my wildest dreams. They were false, but even still, the thing wouldn’t shut the hell up and let me sleep.

I stepped from my chambers. Argyle snored one room over. I crept down past his door and into the main laboratory.

The doom vat hung above a dead fire.

I got it roaring again. I was exhausted and my back ached, but I couldn’t help myself. When the doom vat was hot enough, I began to sort, measure, chop, and mix.

Into the vat the water. Into the vat the hair of virgin calf. Into the vat the roots and stems of one hundred varied flowers.

The brew bubbled and smelled like rear end—but that was a good thing.

I tweaked the mixture. It was me and the doom vat, doing our dance. I stirred and it groaned back, encouraging, prodding me forward. I added more ingredients and tempered the fire; I stirred in deadly noxious liquids; I breathed deep the fumes and let them sink into my skull.

Something glowed in the doom vat’s guts. I watched eddies of light swirl on its surface then shoved my hand into the blue liquid.

My fingers tingled. My throat wanted to seize closed. The color was perfect.

“What have you done?” Argyle stood in the doorway, eyes wide with horror.

“I’ve cooked it,” I said, grinning like my face would fall off otherwise. The doom vat, lovely doom vat. “Look, master. I’ve done it.”

I pulled out my hand and held it up. The skin seemed to bubble and break with pustules.

Argyle backed away as I prepared to dip in my face and drink.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


I actually forgot to post it in the thread, but I was hanging out with Yoruichi ???before the signup deadline??idk i was drunk and sleepy??? and I promised I'd enter. I meant to post earlier in-thread then forgot, but I'm in with this lad.

Yoruichi posted:

Sign-ups are closed.

If you wish to late enter, then this is your flashrule:


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

hanging out with

you might have to remind americans what this phrase means

(USER WAS PUT ON PROBATION FOR THIS POST)

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse


Sitting Here posted:

you might have to remind americans what this phrase means

Look if you want your own horse gif you just had to ask...

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Sitting Here posted:

you might have to remind americans what this phrase means

(USER WAS PUT ON PROBATION FOR THIS POST)
How about instead of doing that I do this.

Mr Hands But Make It Actual This Time
848 words

I cannot trust The Horse, it makes no sense and its refusal to make sense is a rupture, it is a green shoot piercing up through the mud, it is going to tear me to pieces. Okay look, look, look: germination occurs in nature as it occurs in society, as it occurs in the mind; it's like I this guy who got really into crystals about a decade ago to impress a girl and last time I heard from him he was trying to burn down a 5G tower to stop the Jews from melting his brain. It’s redundant to say it started small because what’s the last thing you saw that started big? No, don’t lie, that started small too, you just missed it until it was too big to ignore.

But that’s what’s worrying, right? That you never see it coming until it’s right on top of you. Which brings us back to The Horse, whose tail ends in a hand and whose legs end in hands and whose ears end in hands. It does not appear to trouble The Horse. It used to be called Chestnut A Go Go but now it is just The Horse, because if I do not constantly remind myself that it is a horse, it will cease to be a horse extremely rapidly and that’s when the real trouble is gonna start. I have caught its sickness, and I can feel it growing inside me. I will choke on roots as the branches pierce my grey matter, rend axon from soma, emerge from the hollow places where my eyes used to dwell and twist on up into the night. My chest will collapse, my spine will warp, I will grind my fingertips to paste against the stone wall of the stable, and throughout it all the seed will only grow.

So, I am a man, I am a man, I am a man.
It is a horse. It is a horse. it is a horse.

The Horse is opening its mouth now and I do not want to look because I know that instead of a tongue there will be a grasping hand, and this will not bother The Horse, in fact The Horse will quite like it once it gets used to the new fit – it is a much more efficient tool for seizing carrots. Once its teeth become grasping baleen of fingers that prise its jaw further and further apart, maybe then it will realise the extent of its problem, but by then it will be too late. It is a horse but I am not, and I will kill this seed before it sprouts, I will douse it in kerosene and I will dance naked around the yard, I will nip this thing in the nud, I will go utterly walpurgisnacht on its rear end.

I will do this because I am a man I am a man I am a man, and it is a horse it is a horse it is a horse, and unless I act fast these two things will cease to be true.

It is in the spirit of mercy that I go to the tables, that I strip baked and drink from the old red plastic jerry can until my head spins, and I climb atop The Horse and I light a cigarette and I do not quite burn, so I douse myself and the horse (it does not like this, it knows it is sort of like rain but very unlike rain) and so it bolts with me on its back and I hang on for dear life as we tear out into the night, through the apple orchard beneath the trees whose knots look like leering faces, but I am incandescent, I am better, I will not Become like they did. The Horse is all hands, a cascade of hands, breaking off new fingers and growing more as it bolts, shrieking through a throat choked with grasping distal phalanges and writhing metacarpals, and THEN the cigarette burns to its stub and it catches, and the ignition frightens The Horse so much that it stops and rears and I am thrown through the air, broken across the stony ground, left staring up at the night sky.

Two things must remain true:

That I am a man, a man, a man.
And it is a horse, a horse, a horse.

I am twisted into a shape that is not manlike, exposed bone and sinew poorly-masked by flame. This infection has gone too far, has colonised my nerves and skin, and I do not weep as I burn. I weep only when I see the horse rearing back, unburnt, all hands, a mottled riot of them, a glorious rupture in the world that I am no longer part of and I begin to seep tears from every hole. As I become ash, I sink down into the dirt, and the beast rides off into the night.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014

I DON'T ALWAYS
HERDY DUR MUR FLERP FLERPITY
FLOOPIN
BUT WHEN I DO
I YER DER FLERPITY
THURN DER DERMIN
BORK! BORK! BORK!


Empty

The bed is empty. The blankets are strewn about like dust and you're tired and the neighbor’s porch light blares through your window and you can’t do anything about it because they’ve been gone for weeks.

So you do what any reasonable man does, and put on some shorts and grab a tank top from the dirty hamper and plan to walk out into the winter night so the cold hits in before the hangover hits, which of course it does when you reach the front door. Your dog Tina barks behind you, collar jingling, and you bend down to tell her that it is 3 AM, which is no time for a walk, but then you realize that you were going anyway, so you sigh, say you win, and grab the leash and go out into the night.

Your phone vibrates and there’s a message but you don’t look at it because your bed was empty. You know your phone has something of platitudes from Alex, that it says something like I had a great night but my cat was throwing up and all those I love yous and kisses on the necks were real and I love what we have but work is really busy and my grandma is sick and my dad doesn’t know I’m gay, so I need like a week or two months before we can see each other again but I really do care about you. Or maybe you’re overreacting and it’s some stupid heart emoji but somethings aren’t simple. Then Tina tugs on the leash so you let the headaches overtake your thoughts. Tina drags you to the vacant neighbor’s lawn to poo poo on and you stare at the pile of crap and consider for too long not picking it up because the assholes really had to leave the one light on, but you’re not a dick like Alex so you pick it up.

So you and her, you walk. You don’t really have a plan because, really, look at yourself. You’re wearing a dirty tank top and shorts, walking in the middle of the streets and if you were a cop, you would almost certainly pull yourself over and ask what kinda drugs you were on, man drugs would definitely make this better. But it’s too late or too early to buy any, so instead you go to the creek down the street, and now you’d think if a cop saw you here, you’d think you were trying to kill yourself, and sure your headache would get better if you drowned, but Tina is splashing her paws against the water, and what would she think if you up and died?

And so, you think, if not now, then when, and look at your phone and it says thanks for the great times, but I don’t think this is gonna work out and, man, what the gently caress. You thought it’d be harder if there were excuses, because you could be pissed off at Alex, but the bluntness takes that way from you. You can only look at the words, and remember the way he held you tonight, the way he whispered to you that made you feel like you mattered, all of these winter nights that have been too loving cold, he made them warm. The way you walked into your room sometimes, and saw him covered in your blankets, and you realized there was somebody actually wanting you here, somebody who needed you, and now it was all, maybe not a lie, but just gone. You want to scream at something but somehow all of that energy just can’t get out in the way you want it to, so you fall down onto your back and even though you’re pissed, even though you want to punch the ground until your hand bleeds, you cry and it loving sucks and

Tina hops onto your chest. She’s big, and you trained her from jumping on people, but here she is, crushing your rib cage, her snout up next to your face. Her wet paws soak through your shirt. Her breath is warm and she’s panting loud and you hug her. She squirms, but relaxes and presses her full body against yours, and everything feels quiet. She’s a calm dog, always has been, just wanting to be pet and fed and played with, and every since you got her, you knew that when you came home, she would come up and paw at your shoes until you threw the tennis ball at least a hundred times and maybe poo poo isn’t so bad and maybe Alex has a reason and there’s a bunch of cute boys out there and maybe it’s okay to keep crying, so you do, and Tina just stares at you. You smile despite the crying and thank God that dogs don’t understand why that looks weird.

Then, finally, you and Tina leave the creek behind and go home.

Your bed is empty and the sheets are in the same ragged pile you left them. You slink into them, and Tina scratches at your door, so you let her in even though she’s not supposed to be in your room, and she hops in your bed, and you cuddle next to her, and it's like the neighbor’s light isnt on and it’s like the bed isn’t empty.

Nae
Sep 3, 2020

what.


Man Plans;
890 Words

Misshapen children giggle as they frolic in the sands, unaware of how their cursed parents labor beneath the eye of their creator. An ignorant onlooker might assume they toil for my sake, but I am merely here to provide instruction. My humanity puts me above these creatures, for their webbed fingers and slick skin prove their many sins, but I am not above God. He is the one who gives me purpose; he is the one I honor with this castle.

I linger beneath a broad umbrella as I direct the workers, so they may have shade when they seek my guidance. They do this often as they cannot read my blueprints. Such simple minds! But I am grateful for them. After ten years of sailing the globe, seeking my life's purpose, I feared I would have to return to the interminable business of business. What luck it was to meet these island worshippers! They were stricken by God, rendered sickly and hideous, yet they joyfully celebrated him. Their God gave them the very purpose I longed for. Can it be any wonder that I have chosen to build him a palace?

In supervising the construction, I have taken one of the creatures into my confidence. He is a toadish thing, beady-eyed and round, but he is quick for his kind, and his keen humor amuses me during these long summer days. His name is a string of foreign garble that does his intellect a disservice. I have taken to calling him Ozwald. He comes when I call him; truly, a bright lad.

"Ozwald," I call one morning as I recline in the shade, "We must pick the tiles for my bedchamber."

As Ozwald waddles over, his great girth rocking from side to side, he passes younglings building castles out of the sand. Their imitation of my efforts renews me, as it must renew Ozwald, and I smile generously as he approaches.

"I must choose the right configuration of tiles," I say, "so that I may properly honor God as I slumber."

Ozwald nods thoughtfully. "Good thinking. I'll have to put some art in my room, too."

"You will not need a room. You honor him with your work."

"You could work."

I pat his shoulder in a show of kinship; my hand comes away sticky and wet. I take care to hide my disgust as I shake off my tainted fingers. "No, lad, I was not built to toil as you do. I must honor God with something greater. Now help me plan the design, will you? Our God perceives all, so I want to honor his watchfulness with an eye of some sort. Something metaphorical, perhaps? A lighthouse, or maybe a telescope."

Ozwald stares for so long that I think he does not understand, but then he chuckles gently. "Sure, I'll help you…if you think it'll be enough for God."

"What do you mean?"

"You want him to like you, right?"

"A pedestrian assessment, but yes, that's the gist of it." My breath catches. God watches Ozwald's kind closely; I must not disregard his musings. "Do you think he will not like it?"

"There are a lot of tiles out there, that's all I'm saying. A lot of tiles and a lot of castles. If you want God to be impressed, you should offer something only you can give."

His words haunt me as we complete the tile selection, and the concrete mixing, and the glass carving, and a great many other matters that require my attention. My wife used to mock me for my exacting tastes, as she would mock me for everything that mattered. 'You sold your father's mill so you could sail the world looking for work?' She laughed quite forcefully when I said I sought purpose, not employment. Now my purpose is worshiping God, yet I fear my method is insufficient. Many men have made tiles and castles. To pay proper obeisances, I must offer something only I can provide.

On the final night of construction, I climb the spiral stairs to the roof. Ozwald follows, his bulky shadow bouncing merrily in the light of the moon. The astral eye leers at me, doubting my final offering, but my resolve is unwavering.

"I am going to jump from the tower," I proclaim.

Ozwald blinks. "Say again?"

"You were right. To honor God properly, I must offer something unique. After a great deal of soul-searching, I have realized the only such thing I have is my life."

"Listen, when I said that…" He glances over the ledge. "Are you sure this is a good plan?"

"I cannot expect a simple creature such as yourself to understand."

He closes his eyes, chuckling. "You know, it sounds like you've got it all figured out. Good luck, friend."

"And good luck to you, Ozwald."

"That's not my name," he replies, but I have already jumped.

The mirthful wind howls as the ground rushes towards me. I open my arms to embrace it, but the air buffets them back. A jolt of fear charges through me. I look for the children, but they left when the joyful sun fled, and the mocking moon took their castles with its tides. All that remains of them is their laughter, growing with the ever-expanding pupil of darkness: a God that swallows me whole.

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Gorka
Aug 18, 2014

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


Chosen
662 words

You have been chosen for a raffle!

I stop reading and move the email in the spam folder. It's late in the evening and I have no patience for this garbage right now. Soon, I should get the confirmation that we've signed the contracts and I'll be able to go home. The business we're negotiating with is both demanding and big, which should bolster our activity. I have to be able to give exact numbers on the fly to my boss if he needs them now. I have to stay here.

The headache flares again, like it has been for the past week. I've taken a painkiller an hour ago, but it's not working this time. Maybe two hours of sleep yesterday wasn't enough. Guess I'll sleep all day when Saturday comes. With the headache comes tinnitus. It rings all of a sudden and doesn't fade. I try to ignore it. I feel responsible for this project and I'm not leaving until it's a done deal. This tinnitus is starting to sound like voices. I have to get something to help focus. Maybe some strong coffee or something.

The voices start to get louder. It feels like they're coming from the outside. I look at the windows, absentmindedly. There, I see two ravens, perched on the sill, looking at me.

You have been chosen.

I can now understand what the voices say. It seems like I'm more tired than I thought if I'm starting to have hallucinations. I force myself to focus on the computer screen. No new messages. Guess I'll go for a coffee. As I stand up, my headache gets worse. Everything becomes blurry and I hear a thud.

Then it ends. My vision is clear again and all I hear is silence. I open my eyes, then I realize that I'm not alone.

A young woman is now standing in front of me. It feels like she's surrounded by a bright aura, which makes her seem like some kind of otherworldly apparition with the beige suit she's wearing.

"Karl Olsson, you have been chosen."

I blink. She stares right at me.

"Your name is Karl Olsson, right?"

"Yes, it's me." I end up blurting.

"It seems you've not yet caught on. It happens sometimes. Please have a look around." She gestures at the desk I was sitting at just a moment ago.

I turn around and see that someone's fallen, motionless. Then I realize that this is my body. I'm standing here and I'm face down on the floor at the same time. My first thought goes to my boss. I won't be able to help him in this state. Then my attention goes back to the woman as she starts speaking again.

"I'm a chooser of the slain. I've sent you the signs and now I'm here to guide you."

For a second, I try to process what she just said. Then I recognize what she is. And what it means for me.

"But I'm no warrior. I thought you only appeared to those that fall in battle."

"You're a warrior in your own right. This is your battlefield and you died fighting. Also, times change. Right now, we need more than just fighters."

"But why me? I'm not important or skilled."

She frowns and stares daggers at me.

"Do not underestimate yourself. You have been chosen by the Allfather himself. Now you have your own choice to make. Either you follow me, or you stay here, with your regrets, as a lost soul."

While she speaks, she walks to the door and stops just outside the room.

I take a look at my computer. The icon signaling a new email is blinking. A part of me really wants to sit down and read it. I have to force myself to silence it. Then I take a step towards the door.

As the familiar office starts to blur and darken, I follow the Valkyrie. To my new home.

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