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Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

in with a flash please


Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

The Right Wish
Time Travel RomCom: Childhood best friends, loyal companion, flashbacks, night of revelry, enemies are foils
1,482 Words

Drunkenly, Crenshaw nearly spilled out of the elevator but instead spilled the contents of his stomach into a nearby azalea drawing the attention and ire of the lobby staff.

He eyed the acrid chunks of regret that adorned the red leaves and shamelessly wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He muttered an apology to no one specific and trundled through the lobby towards the snow outside.

The cold air helped to sober him up some, but he still shambled along the sidewalk like a zombie, feeling about as dead as he looked.

“You’ve hosed this one up, Crenny.” He told himself blinking away tears that formed in the corner of his eyes.

It was late enough that not many people were out, and the relative silence let him reflect on the night.

He sighed as he played back the events in his mind.


Sarah had text Crenshaw just after 5:00.

She knew how to pull his strings, but more importantly, she was still looking out for him after all these years.

Crenshaw on the other hand was not a particularly good friend, but Sarah’s stalwart dedication to him often left him feeling obligated to go along with whatever plots she had cooked up.

The text read, “Hey, Henry’s throwing a crazy New Year’s party tonight … and before you say no to play WoW or with yourself, I heard Yara’s going to be there.”

Crenshaw sighed and began to type a response when a series of kissy face emojis appeared on the screen followed by another text filled with hearts and lastly a text that said, “you know you want to.”

Crenshaw smiled at this and keyed in a response. “You win.”

His phone vibrated back with, “Great, I’ll pick you up at 9.”


Crenshaw surprised himself at how well he looked. He didn’t go out much, and if it weren’t for Sarah, he might not have even had anything nice in his closet. More than once, Sarah had dragged him out of his home under false pretenses only to take him shopping for himself.

Even though he complained, he knew the confidence he felt looking at himself was in part due to her.

“Bless that ornery woman,” he said as his doorbell rang.

He slid on his shoes and opened the door. Sarah staggered back in genuine surprise, “Wow! You cleaned up nice, and I see you are wearing the outfit I picked for you. Perfectly timed for a party, no?”

“If you say so…” Crenshaw grumbled, “…let’s just get it over with.”

“What type of sorry attitude is that? Hm? Tonight’s your chance! You can finally make your move on Yara. You go on and on about her but beat yourself up when you fail to even tell her hello. Not tonight. Not looking like that.” Sarah said smiling at him.

“I suppose you’re right, thanks.”

“Of course I’m right. Now let’s go!”


The party took place in an upscale hotel downtown. Upon arrival, a valet took Sarah’s car and the two of them made their way to the elevator.

“A bit swanky for a new year’s party.” Crenshaw mumbled looking at the luxurious interior of the hotel.

“Henry’s loaded, what do you expect from a guy like that?” she said stepping into the elevator.

Crenshaw nodded and followed behind her with an awkward smile. A pang of jealousy surfaced at the ever-growing chasm that separated Henry and Crenshaw.

Crenshaw and Sarah knew Henry well, though. He used to be a regular part of their trio. The three amigos: Sarah, Henry, and Crenshaw… Would that he could turn back the hands of time to relive those simpler days.

However, it wasn’t just the financial differences that made Crenshaw jealous. Henry was classically handsome and effortlessly successful where Crenshaw had always felt more homely and average. He squashed the bitter sentiment down and focused on his fake smile as the elevator doors opened to a filled dance floor.

Henry spotted the two right away and approached, plucking two wine flutes from a waiter’s tray along the way.

“If it isn’t Crenny Crenshaw Hughes and Sarah the Care Bear. I have to say, you’re looking sharp my man, and Sarah, my goodness don’t you look stunning!”

“Always the flatterer,” Sarah said nudging Henry in the ribs with her elbow who played at actual injury.

Crenshaw rolled his eyes inadvertently and much to his chagrin, Henry noticed.

“Now, now, Crenny, don’t be the spoilsport. It’s New Year’s Eve! To old times…” Henry said proffering the drinks he had been holding.

“To old times,” Crenshaw said sincerely and tossed back the wine.


However, it didn’t take long for Crenshaw to isolate himself. He found a corner at the rear of the room and played his favorite game, people watching. Always feeling like the observer, never the participant. He watched and waited.

Sarah came dancing from the floor towards him gesturing for him to join her. It was then that Crenshaw had realized for the first time all evening how stunning Sarah looked that night.

Her dress was cream-colored with gold sequin swaths that traced along her curvature. An intricate floral lace started at her bustline and raised into a regal looking collar that rested against her neck.

Her reddish-brown curls stood out against the dress and her pale green eyes almost glowed in that dim ballroom light.

Crenshaw was nervous looking at her. He smiled from the table and tried to wave her away, but she approached him anyhow.

“Let’s dance!” she insisted.

Crenshaw laughed nervously, shaking his head no. “I’m waiting on Yara to show up, what will she think if she sees me dancing with you?”

Sarah frowned at this and her playful demeanor turned sour. “Fine, suit yourself then.”

Crenshaw realized too late the mistake he had made, and Sarah had already started back across the dance floor towards Henry who welcomed her eagerly.

Three additional wine flutes later and Crenshaw was feeling quite the fool. The party had begun to die down after the new year arrived, and he hadn’t seen Yara at all that night. Sarah was nestled up beside Henry and his entourage while Crenshaw sat alone drinking.

At some point, a waiter just left him a bottle of wine, so he polished that off and stumbled out of the party muttering Happy New Year to people he inevitably bumped into on his way to the elevator.


…and here he was, feeling downright sorry for himself in the cold night of New Year’s morning.

At some point, he had wandered into a nearby park and at its center, there was an empty fountain with a placard that simply read, “Dare to try again.”

Crenshaw fished in his pockets for change and produced a single oxidized penny that he didn’t recall having and flipped it into the fountain.

“I wish I wasn’t such a drat fool.”

When he walked away, the stone corner from a nearby building dislodged and fell from five stories square onto the top of Crenshaw’s head.

He staggered momentarily, putting a hand to the spot where he was struck and pulled back blood slicked fingers.

The world went black.


Sarah had text Crenshaw just after 5:00.

She knew how to pull his strings, but more importantly, she was still looking out for him after all these years.

Crenshaw on the other hand was not a particularly good friend, but Sarah’s stalwart dedication to him often left him feeling obligated to go along with whatever plots she had cooked up.

The text read, “Hey, Henry’s throwing a crazy New Year’s party tonight… and before you say no to play WoW or with yourself, I heard Yara’s going to be there.”

Instead of texting back, Crenshaw called Sarah and stumbled through the most awkward confessions of love he had ever managed.

“Sarah Downs, I am a total idiot. Would you… I mean… if you didn’t want to, I would understand… It’s just that you’ve always been there for me even though I don’t deserve it, and I just… for the first time in our lives, I’m realizing it.”

“Crenny Crenshaw Hughes… If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were trying to ask me out?”

Crenshaw let out an embarrassed snort.

“Yeah… kind of. Something clicked. I don’t know what, and I don’t know why I never noticed it before, but you amaze me.”

“Yes. I’ll go out with you. So… Henry’s party? We can make our official debut as a couple… not that I haven’t been ridiculed for chasing after you for years or anything.”


“Nothing,” Sarah said with a laugh. “I’ll see you at 9.”

“See you at 9,” Crenshaw said smiling.

He couldn’t quite shake the feeling of déjà vu he experienced, but he knew he had done something right for a change.

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

Thanks for the crits.

In with a flash and hellrule please

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

Wrong thread, whoops

In and

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

Waffle cone
893 Words

Yuliya switched off the loop-drive and the Towhee dropped from hyperspace.


The Towhee was a ramshackle, second-generation, passenger cruiser that had been poorly refitted with cargo scoops and gripper arms way back in the 3070s following the end of the Proxima Wars in the hopes of passing as a scrap hauler.

Unfortunately for Yuliya’s grandfather, he was but one of several hundreds of thousands who had the same idea.

In the end, he got into debt that he couldn’t pay off and was forced into contractual freight work until he died of old age, having never found anything of value.

However, the one thing Yuliya’s grandfather was able to pass down was his contractually obligated debt to Gorbunenko’s Interstellar Produce Farms.


The old ship groaned as space warped into fluid reality in front of it.

The loop-drive had been overheating ever since they did that delivery out in the Ophiuchus system, but getting repair requisitions was next to impossible.

“Does it fly? Can it safely enter and exit hyperspace?”

Standard, credit-pinching protocols from dispassionate company droids.

In any situation, Yuliya would have earned enough credits after this run to settle her grandfather’s debts once and for all.


Her father and mother were born into the greater Gorbunenko Industries, and they like Yuliya, were victims of her grandfather’s poorly calculated, but well-intentioned, investment plan.

Quantum desynchronization was listed as the cause of death on their death certificates.

An incident that unfortunately got covered by the catchall “Acts of God” clause regarding man-made interstellar travel.
It had become standard on insurance waivers after first-generation loop-drives that had been recycled for decades began to destabilize.

Just your run of the mill occupational hazard. Another day on the job. If temporal anomalies don’t erase all traces of your existence, good for you. A head pat and another hundred credits shaved off your interest compounded balance.


Elgor was ecstatic. It had been 1,641 days since they last docked at New Terra and Yuliya had promised the knuckle-walking sponge-man ice cream. Something she had most certainly forgotten about in the years that passed but Elgor was… well… a knuckle-walking sponge man, or at least it resembled a man most of the time.

It vaulted out of the engine room into the cargo bay on two porous columns and reoriented its features until it could almost pass as human.

The Suranilite were an advanced spacefaring species with a deep understanding of technology and machinery, but most human colonies treated the Suranilite people with wariness and in some cases disdain.

Brilliant enough to explore the stars, but just average enough to get roped into the bureaucratic, soul-crushing, machinations of industry.

None of this mattered to Elgor, of course. The job was just the job. An outlook that Yuliya coveted.

Elgor hooted at the sight of Yuliya and chanted “ice cream” under its breath as the two of them loaded up the hoversleds with New Terra’s order.

“1,641 days, me no forget.” Elgor said letting a too wide grin spread over its imitation of a face.

“I know, buddy. Ice cream… I promise.” Yuliya said smiling at the sponge-ape. “Once these deliveries are made, it’ll be our first stop.”

Elgor hooted gleefully and returned to packing the sleds, and as promised, once the deliveries were made, they were off to get ice cream.


There was a droid operated shop at the end of the boardwalk that served earth cuisine via the use of outdated protein-solution based replicators. Ultimately, those replicators were replaced almost universally as changes in the technology rendered ingredient-based production obsolete.

Obsolescence aside, the food from these replicators was actually food and not just the nutrient tonic that Gorbunenko supplied all its personnel with.


Elgor’s giddiness just may have begun to rub off on Yuliya, when they realized the shop was not there.

Elgor galloped on its trunk like limbs down the boardwalk to confirm again, that it was in fact gone, and not just moved.

Then the big creature slumped down onto the plated metal deck of the boardwalk.

“No ice cream?”

“I’m sorry, big guy, but it looks like they closed.”

“Ice cream?”

“Yeah, I don’t think so…”

“Ice cream!”

Yuliya sighed, “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do this time. You can get an ice cream flavored ration from the replicator on the ship.”

“It no same. Me have tried. It no same.”

“You big oaf, don’t you get it? Finding a replicator like that was awesome, I’m not going to lie to you, but you’re not going to find another like it. You’d have a better chance getting ice cream on earth.”

Elgor contemplated this pushing its chin up with a trunk-limb like it had seen humans do in contemplation.

“Okay. Is settled. To earth for ice cream.”

“What? No… that’s not what I was say-“

Then it donned on Yuliya, that her grandfather’s contract should be paid in full. That there should even be a deficit of credits owed to Yuliya with delivery fulfilled.

She had earned her freedom. She had earned her family’s freedom. She had reclaimed her future for herself. She had served Gorbunenko Industries for her entire life and after 32 years she was free.

Yuliya laughed at the realization, and Elgor grinned.

“To earth for ice cream.” Elgor insisted.

“Sounds like a plan.” Yuliya agreed.

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

Thanks for crits, in and flash

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

Lab Rats
The sharks are gone. We miss them.
1,027 Words

Rebecca rubbed her temples as she pored over her notes for the thousandth time. The facts were unchanging. Globally, and without any indication as to why, the sharks vanished. Every breed of shark, in captivity or in the wild, simply disappeared.

While the internet became an embroiled battleground of conspiracy and layman speculation, it also collectively mourned the cultural loss. Gone were the days of shark week, jaws and the irrational fear of being eaten at the beach, but when the initial confused lamentations subsided, there were more serious repercussions to consider.

Reports of harmful algal blooms first surfaced in the Spring following the sharks’ disappearance. In the Fall, when the blooms had begun to saturate entire coasts and contaminate drinking water, we began to see the larger scope of what had happened and where we were headed.

Unfortunately, the damage had already been done. Those toxic blooms had disrupted the economy and were actively endangering the health of citizens the world over. The prevailing theory suggested that the blooms were indicative of an oceanic revolution, one where a natural timeline could be approximated, but best estimates still left us with about three decades of turbulent acclimation, followed by an unspecified number of years dealing with residual environmental fallout.

When the division of ocean sciences put out a request for proposals, the academic community went into an uproar. Thousands of submissions were received daily. As a result, Rebecca was awestruck when her proposal got selected.

“Doctor Barton, while unorthodox, your artificial apex predator program has drawn the interest of many investors with the resources to make it happen. It’s the course we’ve decided to take, and we would like to have you heading the project,” the disembodied voice said through the phone.

Rebecca eventually found the words hanging at the back of her throat and said, “when do we start?” A suit picked her up the next morning for a flight out to Seattle, Washington. She was then picked up by another inconspicuous suit and delivered to a nondescript warehouse in an industrial district in an outlying suburb.

What she found inside exceeded her expectations, even for an ocean saving effort. Scientists from around the world, many paired off with their own aids and interpreters, were working in labs that covered any number of specializations.

A woman in a badged lab-coat approached in a prim, no-nonsense, manner and extended a hand.

“Doctor Rebecca Barton, it is a pleasure to meet you in person. I’m Director Stevens and I’ll show you around the facilities and take you to your lab. I’ve also taken the liberty of assembling you a team of aids to assist you in your research.”

“Truly it’s an honor, I would have never imagined in a million years that my proposal would bear some weight.”

“Bear some weight is putting it lightly, Doctor Barton. We’ve already tailored an embryo based on the genetic blueprint you outlined in your proposal. It is masterful work that you’ve done.”

Rebecca was speechless. She looked at the director with giddy bewilderment and all professional decorum was dropped, “Can I see it?” she asked with a smile.

The director’s stiff expression turned to one of bemusement. “I figured that would excite you, and yes, absolutely you can.”

A short elevator ride led them to an equally busy floor in the warehouse facility, but the layout involved a lot more machinery. Bulky cables and cooling ducts cramped the overhead space, but they ultimately fed into a central array of thick glass tanks. Each was filled with different seawater that had been contaminated by harmful algal blooms. In the centermost tank, a semitranslucent clutch of eggs revealed tiny swirling lifeforms in the oblong, oddly angled, pouches.

“Incredible,” Rebecca said beaming.

“Truly,” the Director said stepping up beside her. “Finding that bones, fossils, and other DNA samples from sharks had also begun to disappear or, impossibly, became incomprehensible, we were forced to think outside the box.”

“How so?” Rebecca asked.

“DNA borrowed from close relatives like rays and other cartilaginous fish were used to fill in the gaps.”

“Incredible,” Rebecca said for a second time, but then she grew curious.

“If you were able to make this much headway from my proposal alone, why do you need me? Not to sound unappreciative, or like I don’t want to be here, this is unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of.”

“Well, we’ve run into a problem that I’m hoping you might have some fresh insight on.”

“What kind of problem?”

“Your idea wasn’t the only idea like this, you just had the best approach. However, one thing that has been consistent in our trial and error is atrophied development of the spinal and musculature systems of the embryos.”

“I see,” Rebecca said contemplatively.

“Well, there will be much more to see in the coming days and weeks. Welcome to your lab, I’m looking forward to working with you,” the director said extending her hand to shake a second time. Then the director waved over a younger man who had just been delivering some equipment to a nearby station.

“This is Li Xiangshou, he’s a molecular biologist from Michigan who has some interesting ideas about this problem. You two should get to know each other. I’ll be expecting a report by the end of the week.”

The director turned and marched away, clearly at her limit for congeniality, and left the overworked man to take over from there.

“You’ll have to forgive the director,” Li said with a smile, “she’s like that… but a lot is riding on this, and she’s genuinely invested in the outcome which is refreshing. My name is… ha, well I guess you already know that. I didn’t get yours?”

“Rebecca Barton, pleased to meet you, Li.” She said relieved to be around someone less formal than the director.

“The pleasure is all mine.” Li said proffering Rebecca a laminated ID card and lab coat.”

“I guess this makes me official,” Rebecca said turning over the ID in her hand.

“That it does. Ready to save the world?” Li said enthusiastically.

“It won’t save itself.” Rebecca quipped with equal enthusiasm.

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

Thanks for the crit!

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008


Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

for hell

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

Curio Shop

Your characters are products on a shelf in a shop
Your story is a palindrome
100 Words

The door opens, and silently we come alive.
If only for a moment, old becomes new again.
The faded remnants of yesterday brighten.
All of us secondhand, but in good condition.
We want to be useful.
Perfect in package or salvageable,
We want to be needed.
Obscure or obsolete, it does not matter anymore.
We want to be needed.
Perfect in package or salvageable,
We want to be useful.
All of us secondhand, but in good condition.
The faded remnants of yesterday brighten.
If only for a moment, old becomes new again.
The door opens, and silently we come alive.

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008


Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

Can I

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008
hellrule: oooooooooooo baby, have i got some sweetness for you. one of your people fuckin crushed it at the gig last night. its the next morning and theyre unable to speak because they blew out their voice last night. or something. who knows. one of your people is for sure, mute though.

Hero of the Horde
500 Words
Klilb was honored to dine with the chieftain, but he hadn’t expected to be doing lines of worm ginger all night. Between that and the troll wine, he had nearly eaten his last grub. Such was the life of an up and coming rock star, stone diviner to the beastkin and ogre-blooded alike. A human-legged goat child knelt beside Klilb, bleating harsh Goblish at the intoxicated goblin. Klilb opened one grime-encrusted eyelid, and lazily shooed the child away with the flick of his wrist.

The child continued bleating. Klilb pouted and moved to curse the child for disturbing his sleep, but a pitiful whistle escaped the goblin’s hoarse throat. The child stopped bleating and raised an eyebrow. Klilb tried again, no luck. The goat’s Goblish eventually registered as “Broodmother, broodmother waiting,” and a sinking feeling welled up in Klilb’s gut. He scrambled to get his charms and clothes together. He hadn’t had an incident since he performed battle-rites for the Ixylgrag orcs, and he promised Hanka there wouldn’t be any others, but here he was devastated, as if by a witch’s curse.

The tent flap flew open just as Klilb affixed his garb. ‘Mudqueen,’ he tried to say affectionately. A tiny screech escaped his mouth. “Look at ye, a sodden fool. Back to the skins and salts after ye promised to walk the straight and narrow. A full moon gone by, and here I am, wondering where me broodmate runoff, to find ye a bloodshot mess,” Hanka said.

Klilb’s brow furrowed and the corners of his eyes turned downward. His amiable grin turned pleading as he tried, futilely, to explain himself. Raspy gasps and whistles were all he could manage to produce. Hanka shook her head left to right and pointed a bulbous finger at Klilb, “I don’t want to hear it. Not this time. You said things would be different. That this was just your job, not you.

Klilb waved to sacks of gems, grains, and cured meats. He gestured to fine daggers and swords more than twice his size. Things he had earned. He wanted to be proud about what he had to offer but found that he could not. He knew that none of this mattered to Hanka. She wanted him. Not the forest celebrity he pretended to be.

“Urk has agreed to help me with our brood, you can live the life you want to live,” Hanka said, the pain in her voice barely masked. She turned and pushed out of the tent, Klilb followed after. He grabbed her by the wrist. She pulled free from his grip and pushed him firmly in the chest sending him onto his butt. Nearby beastkin pretended not to look.

“Don’t you dare grab me! I’m tired of pulling you out of tents, huts and ravines. I won’t do it anymore. Goodbye, Klilb.”

Klilb watched Hanka walk away. He started after her but stopped soon after. Even if he had his voice, there wouldn’t be anything more he could say.

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

Thanks for the crits!

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

Pththya-lyi posted:

Thanks for judging fast and judging good, all!

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Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

In with Raji Land, Home of a Million Sleepers

can I get an extra rule

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

The End of the Dream
over word count late unedited garbage
Raji land energized by hatred

I had spent my life farming gourd-wine like my father and his father before him. That didn’t change after I had met Teeku. Teeku was worldly, I guess it comes naturally being able to soar through the skies, and I was afraid my simple country lifestyle wouldn’t be enough to hold his interest. I’m glad I was wrong. I tended our vineyard during the day, while he worked for a tech company in the city. Not my cup of tea, but we found enough common ground.

I was headed back from the fields early that day. I had went down to the river and snared some fish for a stew since I had given up hunting as a promise to Teeku. If I stalk the jungles for a flank of wild deer it’s cruel, but if I bring back a basket of gape-mouthed fish, no harm done. A decent enough compromise for peace of mind. That man means the world to me and – I can smell something is off before I can see our home. A few meters further and I can see smoke breaking the tree line. There’s also the coppery scent of blood weighing heavy on the air. I drop the fish and instinctively drop to all four, galloping over branches and through dense thickets of overgrown foliage until the house comes into view.

There’s a well-dressed tiger with blood soaked into the fur around his mouth. Gore and feathers clung to his claws. Teeku laid at his feet a mangled mess of broken limbs. Blood pooled around him slowly. The tiger sees me and shoots me a wicked grin. I’m already charging at him. I snatch a wood axe free from a fence post and I have it hefted over my head to bury in that stupid fuckers crown.
I don’t see his henchman, a rhino-mutate clad in a black suit, burst from the brush. He gores my side with his horn and I go flying into my burning house and crash into a support beam that cracks from all six hundred pounds of me slamming into it. He crushed my rib, punctured a lung maybe. I get up to move, not retaliate, just move. I’m too disoriented to do even that and another blow comes from the front as the rhino charges through the doorway shouldering me through the post and to the side as crashes out the rear wall. The flaming roof groans above me as flames dance on the ceiling.

A bushy-bearded chimp in an identical black suit tossed Teeku’s ruined body into the flames and he lands near me looking up at me over his beak with dull eyes. A section of the roof collapses to the right of us and I’m knocked backwards onto the ground. I crawl towards the door and the well-dressed tiger stepped into view.

“I’m sure you have questions, but I’m afraid I have no satisfactory answers. Your companion has betrayed me, and that required certain… unpleasantries,” he says as he wipes away the remaining gore and blood from his person with a handkerchief that he tosses into the flames. “This was nothing personal.”

He leaned in and we examined one another. His stripes were patterned on his fur like mine and I felt as if I had known him at some point. I could see it in his eyes some recognition, but more disdain. Whatever business he had with Teeku, that was business. When he looked at me and saw the hatred in my eyes, that was personal. That was when we understood one another. The door frame collapsed leaving me to burn in the ruins of the house. They left me for dead, but my rage sustained me. Through the rolling flames dancing along the collapsed logs, even as my flesh and fur were being singed from my body.

It took about a year to regain my strength, but I went to Tigris as soon as I was able. I spent the next two years watching and learning. It turned out that Teeku was trying to blow the whistle on an illegal dream-milling operation. Dream recording and the distribution of recorded dreams in itself wasn’t illegal. It’s how Raji-land got its reputation for being the land of a million sleepers. While these role-fulfillment fantasies were the chief export of Raji-land, no one really cared to think about how these experiences were harvested. That’s where the illegal side of things came into play. Wealthy tourists and elite roamed the streets in guarded palanquins, while near naked children starved in the gutters. Fuel for the dream. Those that didn’t die would eventually get picked up with the promise of a hot meal and a warm bed. What they don’t tell them when they do, is that that they’ll be intubated and drugged, made to sleep for the rest of their short lives, having their dreams recorded and sold, while they withered and die. The old, sick and homeless as well.

It is true that some thought it preferable, even with the knowledge of the fate that awaited them, and knowing that I plan to go willingly almost makes it sound desirable, but I can’t rest yet. I won’t be able to rest until I’ve looked him in his eyes again and sunk my claws or fangs into his throat. Even if its with my dying breaths, until I’ve killed that man I won’t have peace. But if this plan is to work, I’ll need milkroot to restore wakefulness once the dream begins. A clinic near the slums is a front for one of the larger mills. I take a large dose of the milkroot and walk right in.

A kindly looking rat asks me why I’ve come to the clinic. “I tell her I’m tired of living in this world and I just want to sleep.” She smiles an understanding smile, and pushes counseling paperwork over the cabinet towards me. I push it back and lean in conspiratorially, “I need to sleep.” She nods and types something into her computer.

“Have a seat and someone will be right with you.” She says.

Two bearded chimps come and escort me from the lobby to a gurney where they sedate me. By the time I count to twenty, I’m out.
Sleep comes easily, and the milkroot kicks in not long after. My eyes peel open slowly, but I can’t control my body. The sedative hasn’t been completely counteracted. I’m moved into a vehicle, and we ride to a large factory on the outskirts of town. I doze off as the sedative rushes over me in another wave. I sleep, but thankfully, I don’t dream.

When I wake again, I immediately know I’m going to lose it. I feel my muscles spasm and my skin tingle. I register a network of tubes running into my snout and throat, and I can’t help bug gag. I fight against the tubes for a moment and begin to cough loud enough to draw attention. All around me are other dreamers on cold slabs like bodies in a morgue.

The two bearded chimps that wheeled me from the clinic see me and begin to panic. “Oh gently caress, we’ve got a sleepwalker. Grab more sedative will you.” the chimp closest to me says when the other points a finger at me, but it’s too late. I pull the first chimps head back and slam it hard against the ledge of the steel bed. He goes out like a light and I bound across the room at the other who backs against the door trying to let himself out. I’m on him when he slams a syringe into my shoulder and slinks away from me grabbing a scalpel off a medical tray. More sedative is coursing into my body, but not much more thankfully. The plunger was only a quarter of the way down, but it doesn’t take long for me to feel the effects.

My vision is blurry, and the chimp takes that as his opportunity to attack. I slam him by his throat against the wall. The scalpel bites into the flesh of my arm but doesn’t cut anything important. I yank it out and smear the blood on the chimps face with my free hand.
“Oh god, don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me.”
“If I wanted you dead, you’d be dead. Where’s the Dream Broker?”

“He’s got an office on the top floor, but you’ll never get to him alive. Not with his guards. You’re going to get yourself killed.”


I snatch his credentials and slam his head onto the ground. He falls unconscious and I quickly fill up two more of those sedative syringes. The alarm gets raised, and I’ve got no time to waste. I take the stairs all the way up until I can see the exit light for the roof above me.

I exit out into a long corridor where I’m immediately spotted by a patrolling rat guard. I put up my hands to show I have no weapon, then I slide the syringe out from my pocket just as he gets close. I slam it into his neck and use his body like a ram towards the end of the hall where other guards are now waiting.

I don’t stop, they have guns drawn, but I’m running with one of their own and they’re reluctant to shoot. I drop the body and lock the door behind me. The guards are beating on the door, but the Broker is just rolling up his sleeves and taking off his jewelry.
He’s smiling at me. “I recognize you… You’ve got a lot more scars and burn wounds than I remember, but that look in your eyes. Yes… I remember you well.”

I extend my claws and bare my fangs, and leap. His arms go wide, claws extended and fangs bared, to receive me. He sweeps upward in a powerful motion that shreds my shirt and just barely grazes my skin. I reach for the other syringe and I try to slam it into his thigh. He grabs my wrist and snaps at my throat with his fangs.

I manage to kick him off me, but he lands on all fours and sprints from side to side, leaping off his desk on top of me. We lock arms and roll through the office, when the doors finally burst open. He’s reaching on his desk for something, as I struggle with the syringe still clamped in my right hand that’s being held down. He raises a stone paper weight above his head and is about to crash it down onto my skull, when I manage to free my arm long enough to slide it between our bodies. As he cranes his head down to look at me, hand bringing a life ending bludgeon towards my face, I extend my arm forward stiffly, syringe pointed into the air and jab it into his eye. He rakes my faces with his hand as he drops the rock and kicks at me as we scramble away from one another.

The guards watch momentarily, and the broker has to get in a last line. “You thought you would win, you idiot. You thought something good would come of this?”

I grimace in response.

As he pivots his back to the window, signaling for a guard to kill me, I put my remaining bit of strength and animosity into a flying tackle, and we both go hurtling out the window from about nine stories up – high enough. I look up at the sun, and feel the wind on my back, and am reminded of the one awkward flight Teeku took me on, and I smile for the last time.

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

Baneling Butts posted:

Nailed the word count with a topic near and dear to my heart!






Picturing a person eating a hot dog like a corn on the cob has me in tears.

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

In edit: wikihow please

Idle Amalgam fucked around with this message at 17:01 on Mar 8, 2021

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

In with a flash rule, please

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

Roll to Save Against Personal Growth
Your dragon is a master of a human trade or craft, and practices it for the joy of it, although it requires an appropriate price for its services.
1,134 Words

King Lygas, having hammered his last piton, gazed at the slow falling snow as he rose to the peak. His perfect hair fell to his shoulders like waterfalls as he cast his helmet into the soft powder at his feet. The king reached for his greatsword and plunged it into the mountain as his entourage which, had climbed not too far behind him, announced his arrival with a fanfare of trumpets. A squire rushed the king a hollowed-out horn, and King Lygas said, “Belphod Irontooth, it is I, King Lygas, here upon the appointed hour when the suns and winds bless the sacred groves of Arcadia. I am late, but I have arrived!”

“See? This is exactly what I’m talking about! Me and his children, let the mages teleport us here so we could arrive on time. Lygas always has to do things the hard way. ‘I can climb it, just watch. No need to use magic, it’s a waste of good sorcery.’ Well, have a look here, late and with a retinue of nearly a hundred men.” Queen Illdryth said as she shook her head and rolled her eyes at her husband.

Belphod’s scaly lips bent upwards until his reptilian visage could pass for pleasant, or at the very least, unintimidating. “King Lygas, glad you could make it. Come and get seated. While we waited, Queen Illdryth was telling me about how you’ve been showing little Axallius techniques with the sword.”

Lygas glared at Illdryth reprovingly. She returned his gaze with a derisive snort and turned her nose up at him. “This. Again?” Lygas asked looking at Belphod while speaking to Illdryth. “Yes. This. Again. And for the record, it was never over to begin with!” Illdryth shouted. “He’s eight Illdryth!, And eight is the age of a boy who’s nearly a man grown. When I was his age, I was scaling the ramparts of my father’s war camps and studying field tactics with the battle ministers. At nine, I had killed a man.” Lygas said smugly.

“Oh, and what about Gaoren?” Illdryth said, pointing to Lygas’s first-born son who was smoking dryad’s herb and tuning a lute on a nearby boulder. Lygas ran a hand over his face and started to explain how it was different, when Belphod interrupted with a plume of smoke from his snout.

“Now, now. Things are getting heated, and we’ll have a time to air out these grievances, but for now. I’d actually like to hear from Axallius about how he feels. Go on, Axallius. Tell us how you feel.” The boy answered bashfully, “Well, I do like the sword, but I’ve seen how father gets about swords and battle. I’d be lying if I said I had the same passion he does for it.” Lygas wanted to respond, but Belphod flapped his wings gently to signal silence.

“Good. There’s a compromise here and we’ll work on that. Now, Lygas, I have asked you before that you join your family in your arrival, and that you not bring soldiers or scribes, to these private meetings.” Belphod said prompting Lygas to sigh. He was displeased with how this session had turned out, and after he dismissed his soldiers, he crossed his arms to pout.

“Now that this has been settled, I’d really like to talk about what’s going on with Gaoren.” Belphod said, before waving the youth from his perch. “Would you mind joining us over here?” Gaoren slung his lute onto his back and walked in front of his family and sat on the couch. “You’ll have to excuse me if I’m not exactly enthusiastic about being here oh, great, ancient, Dragon.” Gaoren said. “Belphod is fine, and is there any particular reason why?”
“Well, let’s not mince words about it… My father only has me here in the hopes that you’ll accept me as payment for our repeated sessions instead of asking for half the livestock the land can spare in any given year.”

Belphod gave a genuinely startled look at Lygas who shifted his eyes conspicuously. “Seriously?” Belphod asked. “What? Everyone knows dragon’s terrorize villages for their first-borns and gold… you never know.” Lygas answered. “That’s specist, sir.” Belphod replied curtly. “Ah, sorry, I didn’t – “ stammered Lygas. “We’ll work on it.” Belphod interrupted putting a pin on the subject before massaging his brow briefly. “I don’t think I should have to point out how unhealthy that dynamic between you and Gaoren is, but I will, and not because I’m the least bit upset about you calling me a first-born eater. You can’t just give your children off to be eaten without a second thought.” Belphod said.

“That’s what I’ve been trying to say!” Illdryth said leering at King Lygas. “Alright, I don’t need this.” Lygas said tossing his hands into the air. He stood and marched towards his plunged sword and wrestled to free it from the mountain in his anger. “You’re free to go Lygas, but you’ve got another fifteen minutes in the session that we could spend talking about this reactionary anger you’re dealing with.” Belphod said trying to goad a reaction out of the king. Lygas hearing the jab in the dragon's words let his attitude flare. “Hard pass, dragon. I’ve no cattle for you either because you’re not very much help. Wisest council in all the kingdom? Nonsense! I’ve had wiser council from my chamber pot droppings. I bid you good day.” The king said. The Queen raised her eyebrows at Belphod and the corner of her mouth turned upward into a half-grin as she shrugged.

“You know, Lygas, I think I could make an exception for you.” Belphod said. The king who was about to start climbing back down the mountain turned and faced the dragon incredulously. “Oh, an exception? For what? Your advice isn’t wanted.” Belphod chuckled. “No, no more advice. I’m talking about your balance due.” Lygas cocked his head amused, "this will be rich." Belphod nodded and began to speak, "Oh, it most certainly will be rich. While I’ve never known a single dragon in all my centuries, to take a first-born son of man, I’d be happy to oblige you this once.”

“Oh, really? Fantastic! Finally, can put that good for nothing son of mine to use. Gaoren, I wish I could say it’s been a pleasure, but you know how these things go.” Lygas said turning his back on his family.
Belphod snorted bemused laughter. “Not Gaoren, Lygas. He’s not the only first-born son here, and his meat is far tender and bitter for my tastes,” Belphod said clearing the distance between him and the king with a powerful thrust of his wings.
“Spoiled meat tastes sweeter,” Belphod said as he cooked the king in a conflagration of flame before swallowing down the remains.


Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008


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