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yeah ok ok yeah
May 2, 2016

i;m in gimme a thingme


yeah ok ok yeah
May 2, 2016

Sea Otter and the Mountain
1279/1300 words

Beezus posted:

A mountain

Once, Sea Otter lived a vain and easy life. Days were spent basking in the sun, feasting upon urchins. Nights were spent snoring beneath cedar boughs on the shore, nestled amongst beds of daffodils in the shadow of Bent-over Ridge. In times of plenty, Sea Otter kept to himself and gorged. When food was scare, he troubled friends for food. The creatures of Bull Narrows tolerated this habit. For though he lacked manners—gorging himself whenever he visited, and always leaving abruptly, a mess in his wake—his personality always won them over.

Rude, yet charming.

It was a reputation Sea Otter wore with pride.

“Rude, yet charming,” he spoke aloud.

He cracked open his last urchin and slurped down its contents. It was meant to be dinner, but he wished to celebrate. The previous night he had been enjoying food at Marten’s when Raccoon paid a visit. The company had been wonderful, but importantly Sea Otter had managed to confirm an invitation to Raccoon’s the following night. If the snacks Raccoon had shared were anything to go by, then he was in for a tremendous feast.

The afternoon sun shone bright. It was time to get a move on. Raccoon lived on the other side of Bull Narrows, using a log of driftwood to paddle between shores. Sea Otter had no need for such a cumbersome form of transportation. Indeed, it wouldn’t take long to cross the strait and reach Kraken Point. From there, he would duck into Maple Grove and follow the Grey Path. At its end, a bridge crossed a stream and just beyond lay Raccoon’s den. Raccoon warned that a troll lived under the bridge and would demand a toll. Sea Otter wondered how Raccoon endured a such bothersome creature, but his friend insisted it was worth it: the troll made for cheap and effective security. Still, Sea Otter had no intention of paying any toll to any troll.

Rude, yet charming, he thought to himself.

Sea Otter entered the sea and swam off. The journey was brief and uneventful; the sun still shone directly above. He clambered onto the other shore and shook himself dry. Kraken Point loomed ahead. The stony hill up from the beach was in the shape of a smashed skull, a massive boulder protruding from the middle. As Sea Otter continued, he recalled the stories he’d heard as a young pup.

Countless years ago, Kraken Point used to be the home of a huge, flesh-eating head. The head was cruel and ravenous. Its mouth opened below water line and its prey would float in. Once inside, it snapped like a trap, grinding those caught inside to red pulp. None escaped. The locals quickly learned to give the head a wide berth, but not even that guaranteed safety. Inside that bulbous visage was a sticky tongue of great length. Like a toad, the tongue would ensnare any in range.

The animals of Bull Narrows, hungry for the bounty of the strait, but fearful to fish, sought help to end the Head at Kraken Point’s predations. Only one beast was brave enough to step forward. The stories described a strange creature, walking upon two legs and waving about sticks and stones like an orc or a troll, and yet was neither. It bristled with coarse hair and could mimic the sounds of other animals. It was simply called the Hunter. The Hunter swam across the strait, upstream from Kraken Point. When it reached the shores, it hiked the forest and climbed up Bent-over Ridge—though at the time, Bent-over Ridge was a tall peak known as Bull Mountain. Once at the top, the Hunter spoke to the Mountain and asked for help. He requested the Mountain lob a boulder across the strait to crush the face. The Mountain refused, complaining that it had a terrible throwing arm. The Hunter offered to throw the boulder himself and asked the Mountain to kneel so it could have a clear shot. The Mountain agreed and knelt. The Hunter spat in its hands, tested the wind, and lifted a boulder eight times its size right over its head. With a piercing shout, the Hunter flung the boulder. His aim was true; the boulder landed square on the Head at Kraken Point, caving in its skull and killing it instantly.

At least that’s how the story went. Sea Otter had never thought to ask the Mountain.

He had made good time. Again, the trip was uneventful. Tromping through Maple Grove, Sea Otter found the Grey Path and followed it further inland. The path was made of broken stone, slabs of varying sizes, occasionally peppered with flecks of white and yellow. Grass and flowers grew between the stones. Late in the afternoon, Sea Otter finally arrived at the bridge before Raccoon’s den. Sure enough, lounging beneath the bridge was a troll. Its skin glowed faintly giving away its position.

“Pay the toll to cross,” it said, moving only its eyes.

“No need, friend,” said Sea Otter, “I’ve no intention to cross. I intend to come underneath your fair bridge and onward.”

“Cross above, cross below, you must pay the toll.”

Sea Otter frowned.

“Well, what if go up and around the bank and back down again? I’m only going to Raccoon’s den—I can see it right there,” Sea Otter gestured.

“And I can reach you from here,” the troll lifted its elongated arm and demonstrated.

This exchange went back and forth for some time, neither party budging. As time passed, Sea Otter became less charming and more rude. Eventually, the irritated troll chased Sea Otter off, warning him not to return without an offering.

Sea Otter slunk away, irritated. It was getting later, and he regretted eating his last urchin. Dinner at Raccoon’s lay behind the bridge, but all his valuables were back across the strait in his den at the base of Bent-over Ridge.

It was then that an idea struck him.

Off at a run, Sea Otter made his way back down the Grey Path, through Maple Grove, over Kraken Point, and back into the sea. He crossed Bull Narrows as quick as he could. He stopped at his home only long enough to catch his breath before setting off through the woods up towards Bent-over Ridge. At the top, Sea Otter explained the situation to Mountain—though he left out the part about wanting dinner and put it purely in terms of a wicked troll trapping his dear friend Raccoon. He explained that the only way to help would be to eliminate the troll, to crush him in much the way the Head at Kraken Rock was once crushed. The compassionate Mountain, fond of Raccoon, eagerly agreed to help. But although it had many boulders to spare, it cautioned Sea Otter that his throwing arm was terrible. Sea Otter insisted, for although he was athletic in his own way, he did not have the strength of the ancient Hunter. And so, Bent-over Ridge stood once more to its full height, grasped a boulder in its titanic arm, and let fly. The thud reverberated across the strait.

Sea Otter thanked the Mountain and made his way back to Raccoon’s. It was evening now, and if he hurried, he’d be there before sunset. Pushed on by hunger, he made good time, through the woods, across the strait, over Kraken Point and into Maple Grove, along the Grey Path, and to the troll’s bridge.

Despite his protestations, the Mountain’s aim had been true—or at least true enough. The troll was gone and so was the bridge. But so was Raccoon’s den, buried under tons of stone.

yeah ok ok yeah
May 2, 2016

I want in again! Hit me with a prompt, please.

yeah ok ok yeah
May 2, 2016

td w493: Hope is Absurd
Sub-prompt: Lest not forget the magnificent, massive mood of a mammoth mountains deeply singing.

“Deep Rich”, Excursion 385

The automaton marched across the sandblasted landscape. It was a class-S thinking machine, designate “Deep Rich”. It leaned into the wind to keep its balance as it walked. A stubby antenna popped out of the unit and blinked red.
[15:34] <C-S Deep Rich> //ping_location “Ambit 31”
The response was immediate, the antenna blinked green. Deep Rich sifted through its directories and selected “cheerful_hum.wav”. The sound played, masked by the wind. Ahead lay the research colony and primary objective. Strange readings had been picked up on long range scanners. They were faint, distorted by the weather, but weren’t automated. It was believed to be life. Operators had forwarded Deep Rich’s orders and the thinking machine was dispatched into the wastes. It had been a long time since Deep Rich had successfully found life on its excursions—two-hundred and forty-two to be exact—but even then, only two previous excursions had turned up life, a lost strain of tomato and a rat. The clone vats had immediately busied themselves with the tomato, but rats had already been taken off the "Endangered Species" list.

The colony was built into the side of a mountain. Equipment lay scattered outside the entrance. Scraps of survey gear, plasma batteries, and a pair of shipping containers were all that remained.

The circular metal door loomed over the automaton. Deep Rich uncoiled one of its appendages and fumbled with the key scanner. It was too weathered for normal operation. Uncoiling the other, Deep Rich suctioned off the external plating and removed the panel. Moments later, security had been bypassed and the door groaned open. “ta_da.wav” played. Sealing it shut behind, Deep Rich activated its opticals and switched to “Low Light” mode.
[15:49] <C-S Deep Rich> Statement: This Is Thinking Machine Designate “Deep Rich”.
[15:49] <C-S Deep Rich> Query: Does Any Sapient Life Read This?
[15:53] <CMD_CONSOLE4> lest not forget
Deep Rich had begun advancing down the hallway when the response arrived. There were signs of fighting, a mix of standard projectile fire and lasers. Chemical burns dripped down a wall. There was one section where a grate had been melted through and a large plank laid across it.

Deep Rich fired back a response.
[15:53] <C-S Deep Rich> Query: Greetings! With Whom Do I Speak?
[15:58] <CMD_CONSOLE4> the magnificent
The lock to the next sector of the base had been blasted open. Large claw marks and blood stains painted either side of the portal. Bare wires flickered occasionally. The blood was old. There were no signs of life here. Deep Rich ran an appendage along a claw mark, scanning the depth. "low_whistle.wav" played.
[16:00] <C-S Deep Rich> Query: Are You Safe?
[16:07] <CMD_CONSOLE4> massive mood
The responses didn't mean much to Deep Rich, which might've been odd if it hadn't been a thinking machine. Class-S models were highly advanced, the pride and joy of the Cyberneticist Collective. They had the pneumatic strength enough to lift a boulder six times their size over their heads, and the fine motor control to cradle a Fabergé egg. Their chassis were fitted with an array of machinery and gear that let them function in all sorts of hazardous environments, from extreme heats to the vacuum of space. Their positronic brains were supercomputers capable of running tasks that a computer could while also granting them human-like consciousness. Deep Rich was comfortable with all surviving languages, including their mannerisms and slang.

Deep Rich wasn't quite sure what to make of these responses.
[16:07] <C-S Deep Rich> Query: What Happened Here?
[16:11] <CMD_CONSOLE4> of a mammoth
Perhaps it was a minor AI? It was responding to Deep Rich, but as to what it was trying to communicate, well, that could be left to post-mission analysis. Though if it was indeed mechanical, that would mean this mission was another bust. Deep Rich was used to missions turning up nothing. Most signals were either machines of some sort or irregular signals triggered by electrical failures. Still, the chance at finding life always excited Deep Rich, urging it on. Well, that and programming.

But even still, the excitement of finding genuine life was incomparable.
[16:13] <C-S Deep Rich> Query: Are You Organic Life Or Are You Artificial?
[16:14] <CMD_CONSOLE4> mountains
Deep Rich had been making good progress through the colony. It had quickly and efficiently searched each room as it came to them, passing through several bunk areas, a mess, some labs–both for biological and mechanical testing. Oddly, there were no corpses. No sign of the original colonists and no sign of what had attacked. Various accoutrements were arbitrarily left about, including piles of clothing, glasses, watches, and even a collar. But their owners were no where to be found. Deep Rich stepped through a room with a gaping hole in the ceiling. Natural light shone in; a tunnel had been dug straight up to the surface. Its sides were perfectly cylindrical and smooth, and dust from the exterior drifted in. While examining the strange hole, Deep Rich's heat sensors pinged faintly. It glanced in the corresponding direction and played "curious_ooh.wav".
[16:18] <C-S Deep Rich> Statement: I Believe I Have Found You. I Shall Be There Presently.
[16:20] <CMD_CONSOLE4> deeply singing.
The door to the Command Console was locked, but the key scanner was functional. Deep Rich bypassed it and entered. The door hissed open and something small and grey ducked under the desk. Deep Rich closed the door and took in the room. Stacks of magnetic tapes and document folders were stuffed under desks and in boxes. Based on the labels, it was clear they were the results of the various experiments. Words like "intelligence" and "autonomous" often repeated. There was a handwritten note that read "like a 3D printer but in reverse" next to a watch and a ring.

The main console had a chat window up that Deep Rich recognized. Kneeling down, Deep Rich peered under the desk. A pair of eyes peer out of a pile of clothes at the automaton. It took Deep Rich a moment to recognize the eyes–they appeared almost human at first. But no, mammalian, but not human. Deep Rich quickly sifted through its directories to find the perfect combination of clips, playing "here_kitty_kitty.wav" and "pss_pss_pss.wav" in rapid succession. After a moments hesitation, the cat left its refuge and let itself be picked up by the automaton.

The thinking machine gently skritched the strange-eyed cat. Another successful excursion.

yeah ok ok yeah
May 2, 2016

yeah ok ok yeah
May 2, 2016

Week 494: I'm Too Old For This poo poo
Sub-prompt: the world is changing, a new era is fast dawning, and an old legend and/or monster has found themselves being left behind, but they're not going out quietly

The Longhunters

The old man entered the inn, stooping as he went. Behind, a half dozen children followed. The innkeeper greeted him with a pint. A few regulars nodded in his direction as he took a seat. He cleared his throat and blew off the foam, settling in. The children gathered around, elbowing for a closer position. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the first sip of his beer, savoring it as long as the children would allow.

"Old man, tell us a story!"

"Yes, please, Collom, sir!"

"Tell us!"

Old Collom open a single eye and peered expectantly.

"Something scary–the Fangerhorn in Ash Copse!"

"No, the Maidens of Glen Wedell!"

"Tell us about the Last Giant!"

"Yes, the Last Giant, Mr. Collom! Please!"

At this, Old Collom clear his throat and set down his drink.

"Oh, aye, certainly," he said, "Fond of that one I am. Though that name's a bit presumptive. Too much finality to it. Becomes a foolish name if a new giant were to pop up suddenly, no? A better name for the story, and the one I use when I do the tellin', is 'The Furtive Giant'. And it's an appropriate name for more than one reason. The first being that it describes the nature of the giant. You've heard stories of wrathful or jolly giants, of those with names like Earthrender or Cloud-Eater, yes? There are indeed giants of a shier nature, and this story features such a one. And secondly, the longhunters of old use this title, so why shouldn't I?"

Collom paused and took a long drink.

"Now, furtive he was, this giant. Shy. Kept to himself, away from settlements, and avoided company of other giants. Yet known he was, for a being that size cannot erase all trace of itself. Not from a skilled tracker, and especially not from a longhunter. Perhaps from the lord's men, yes. Dullards, those knights. They never found him."

"Me gran says they're monsters what fall from the sky, made of cloud and stardust," said one of the children.

"Nay, not from the sky. Born as we are, flesh and blood. Birthed from giant women, they are. The longhunters killed them first. Them and their children. All flesh and blood. And bone. If you've even been north to the Cairngorms, you've assuredly seen their skeletons. Inhabited, they are. Ribcages host vast markets. Skulls used as manors by the wealthy. Clunie's been there, he can confirm."

A man eating peanuts nodded.

"Yes, flesh and blood. For if they were anything else, there'd be nothing to stop them from wiping an entire village off the map in a single afternoon. Nothing to stop them from trampling a castle in a day. Fortunately for us all, the longhunters were enough and they've been driven away."

"How did the longhunters kill it?"

"Same way they killed the others: preparation and teamwork. It was finding him that was the problem--indeed, it was quite by accident. News of the giant's possible location first came as a rumour. Longhunters were at the inn in Braidwort out on the coast, when a drunk had come in raving. He spoke of a hill that had grown from no where, disappearing a whole section of the northern forests, and rising above the treetops. And falling. And rising. And falling!"

"That doesn't make no sense!"

"It does when you realize that the hill was breathing, because it weren't no hill. The longhunters twigged to it rather quickly, and mobilized. There was only a dozen of them, the longhunters, for as there was fewer giants there was less of a need for'em . They knew not when the slumbering giant might wake, so they acted quickly, dividing into different attack groups. Now with them they had been carting a single ballista and they hauled it through the woods as fast the could carry it, three of'em. They found the Hill That Breathed and a careful survey was made. When at last they believed themselves to have found the heart, they assembled their ballista. Only they did it straight up and down! They intended to pierce the giant's heart--and if successful they'd end it there and then!

"But their aim was off. The bolt struck deep, but missed the heart. The giant was up in a flash, the longhunters tumbled down. One of'em fell at a nasty angle and broke his neck, died instantly. The others were out of the race, for their horses were lost under dirt and stone. The giant was off anyways, striding towards the mountains.

"The longhunters had guessed this, though. The giant knew that if he could clamber over the mountains, none could follow. So they laid a trap: long metal spikes, spread out where a giant might step to avoid rocks or trees. Be like stepping on a nail!"

"Cowtrops," a tired-looking man said.

"What's that?"

"They's called cowtrops."

"No, they're not."

"They's is. On account of them being caltrops the length of a cow."

"Nonsense, not a single longhunter ever call them that in jest or otherwise. They're called Dragon's Teeth, and anyways, I'll tell the story. They worked, is the point. The longhunter's knew their craft. The giant stepped on several and came crashing down. Waiting on horseback where the giant's head was projected to land were four of the longhunters, armed with lances. Long ones, as you know, longer than those used in jousting. When rushing a fallen giant, a longhunter needs to be careful to prick the lance where it matters most. Here being the throat, the eyes, or right up the nose. That last one is most effective, for if correctly done it'll pierce straight to the brain.
"Now, here's where things went wrong. The fall didn't stun the giant for long. His arms lashed out in fear, striking at the charging lances. Three of the four fell, and two other hunters, those that set the spikes, also died by the way he kicked his legs. Yes, only one lance remained. One chance to kill the giant."

Old Collom leaned back and coughed. The silence went on until one of the patrons took the hint and bought him another drink.

"Yes, only one longhunter was left to strike the killing blow. He struck true, square in the giant's eye. Though not deep enough, for the giant was twisting his head as he thrashed about. The longhunter was thrown from his horse, the landing stunned him. When he came to, the giant was gone. The blood led back towards the ocean. The remaining longhunters heard from observers that the giant was last seen sinking beneath the depths and that he never came up again.

"It's been twenty odd years since that day. And yes, there's been no word of this supposed last giant. Still, no body ever surfaced, and so no definitive proof of the kill exists. It could be that he was indeed the last. But a longhunter isn't so easily satisfied. They still roam the lands, just in case. Listening for news of giants. And they'll continue to wander until their own ends. Or until a giant kills them.

"Whichever come first."

yeah ok ok yeah
May 2, 2016

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

(unrelated: US timezones confuse me and I think I hosed up and picked the wrong one – I'm going to give a grace period of 6ish hours on submissions for this one, so we don't catch out people accustomed to TD running in PST)

Ahhh holy poo poo, thank goodness. It only took two prompts for me to just assume they would ALWAYS be due in PST and my eyes just glossed over the due date. :negcycle:

yeah ok ok yeah
May 2, 2016

In! I'll take a flash, plz.

yeah ok ok yeah
May 2, 2016

Chemical Lake

The lake shone like an iridescent kaleidoscope. Phelps ran his trembling hand through his hair and frowned at the clumps that came off between his fingers. Sighing, he grabbed the bottle of pills on the table and took one. Dry. The trembling stopped after a time.

The concierge appeared like a wraith.

"I'm sorry to disturb you, Mr. Phelps, but another message has come from your office," she held out a small stack of papers.

Phelps snatched the stack out of her hand and threw them at her. She looked at him with her hollow eyes and said "Mr. Phelps, sir" in an empty voice. None of the other nearby guests spared a glance. He sighed and stared out at the lake. His teenage son and his date were enjoying the jet skis. They spun and twisted, spraying chemical water in the air.

The concierge had gathered the papers.

"Where would you like them, sir?"

"With the rest."

She added them to an already tall stack on the table next to him. It had been getting bigger all weekend. This was supposed to be his vacation, yet work hadn't let up one bit. He had spent the previous month getting ahead on his goals, hoping to create a buffer. It was for nothing. His boss, Mr. Greenie, insisted he take work on his trip, pointed out in his contract that he was obligated to. Greenie had promised to cut down the workload, but so far Phelps hadn't noticed a difference.

The concierge was still standing beside him. He hadn't noticed it either. Phelps hadn't looked away from the rainbow lake.

"Mr. Phelps?"

"Huh, yeah? Sure, great, thank you. Hey, hold on, can you get me something for this?"

He motioned to the clumps of hair.

"I clearly chose too low an RPF."

"60 RPF minimum is recommend if you're out by Chemical Lake, sir. And that you reapply regularly."

"Yes, yes, please just bring it."

The concierge nodded and left.

Phelps continued working, dividing his time between his tablet and the stack of paper at his side. The various other guests were in similar situations. All had work with them on the dock, though not all chose to do it. They had significantly taller stacks of work on their tables. Phelps finished with a document and set it aside. He scratched his leg and frowned at the blood and dead skin under his fingernails. He had thought 30 RPF would be fine so long as he kept reapplying. It clearly wasn't working and was just taking away from time he could be working.

"Hey, dad!"

Phelps looked up and saw his son, Rebus, pull up close to the dock. His girlfriend sat behind, her arms around his waist.

"You going to come in at some point? You gotta try this jet ski! Water's beautiful, just absolutely gorgeous!" Rebus called, skin simultaneously wet and oily.

"No can do, sorry, Rebus. Greenie sent me another sheaf of numbers to go over."

"You've been it all weekend, dad."

"I'll make time, I promise. But say, where's your wet suit? You should be wearing one in the lake, especially if you're going to be touching skin to skin. You're going to wind up fusing yourselves together"

"It's fine, dad, we're saturated with stabilizers. Besides, the spa has plastic surgeons on staff. We're in love, so it wouldn't be the worst thing to be connected for an evening."

Rebus's girlfriend grimaced a smile. Phelps felt a pang of guilt that he could never remember her name. It'd been six months now, yet he always forgot it. Work was always on his mind whenever it came up. Now it'd been too long to ask and Rebus only ever used pet names. Rebus revved the jet ski and they were off. A rainbow mist splashed Phelps and he cursed, moving the stack of papers under cover.

When he looked up, the concierge had returned.

He raised his glass.

"Sorry, sir," she said, "But more from your office."

She exchanged his glass for another company printout. Phelps cursed again. Then she reached into her pocket and handed him a small box. He nodded thanks as she left. Setting aside the papers, he opened the box and took out the syringe. The label read "60 RPF". He gave himself the injection in his thigh.

His hands were trembling again. Phelps took another pill. He looked out over the lake while waiting for them to cease. The lake looked like a puddle of oil after a rainstorm. Aside from the people enjoyed jet skis and other motorsports, no other animal life could be seen. Above and below the lake, Phelps knew for a fact. This lake had been utterly purged, so no hybrid life stalked underneath. Totally safe. It was also the last green space still remaining within five hundred miles of the city. Polluted, of course, but no less toxic than walking around downtown without a sealed suit. What was life without a little risk? Besides, the company medical plans meant the anti-rads and anti-mutagens were cheap.

Phelps breathed in. There was no wind either. If not for the jet skis, Chemical Lake would be utterly becalmed. The tremors had stopped, so Phelps returned to work. He had hardly started when the concierge returned with his drink. Thankfully, there was no new work.

Refreshed, he threw himself into the calculations and formulae. If he was going to enjoy the lake, he needed to get the work out of the way. If he dawdled any longer, he would never get there. And so he worked. Time passed and he continued to work. The concierge brought several more drinks and another 60 RPF injection. The stack of papers grew smaller and smaller.
By the time Phelps was done, it was evening. The sun was beginning to go down but it was still warm out. Phelps stood. His whole body creaked, his joints cracking and popping in familiar ways. He groaned in unison with his neck, finally straightening. Rebus and his girlfriend were pulling up to the dock again. It seems he had finished just in time; he could take the jet ski out for a spin. With a wet suit, of course.

Rebus and his girlfriend were laughing. She clung to him tightly, her head nuzzled next to his, arms wrapped around his waist. Rebus’s nose was bleeding.

“Welp, you were right, dad!” Rebus said, “We should’ve worn a wet suit and we should’ve probably used a stronger RPF.”

Neither of the teenagers moved to get up. Phelps looked closer and saw that they couldn’t have even if they’d wanted to. Their bodies had begun to deteriorate in the lake’s water. As Phelps had warned, their bodies had begun to fuse. A substance like flesh-coloured rust held the girl’s arms to Rebus’s chest. Similarly, her head was stuck in the crook of his head.
Phelps frowned. Then his face softened and he chuckled.

“You kids, you’ll excuse me if I don’t feel too much sympathy,” he said, moving to help them up off the jet ski.

“I hate to ask, dad, but do you think you could call down to the spa clinic for us?” Rebus asked.

“Not a chance,” said Phelps, putting on wet suit, “You brought this on yourself. You two enjoy that walk of shame. I’m going to get out on that lake before it gets too late.”

“Aww, dad,” Rebus said.

The concierge had appeared and cleared her throat.

“Ah, good timing,” Phelps said, “You two are saved. Miss, my son and his girlfriend need to visit your clinic. Could you get them scheduled in? Oh, and now that I think about, I’d like some more anti-rads and stabilizers.”

“Very good, Mr. Phelps, sir,” said the concierge, her deep-set eyes not meeting his, “I must apologize.”

“Ah, no worries. I’ll take the risk without. I’ve earned a bit of time on the lake one way or another.”

“It’s not that, sir. You see, we’ve had some problems with our office printer.”

“I see.”

“It seems it was disconnected earlier this afternoon and we only just noticed.”

“Go on.”

“Well, you’ve received a—from your office, sir—”

She trailed off and instead held out a ream of paper. Phelps sighed and motioned towards the table. He stripped the wet suit back off and grabbed his glass.

“Forget the stabilizers, then. Just the anti-rads and a drink refill.

His hands began to tremble.

yeah ok ok yeah
May 2, 2016


Gimme yer weirdest weirdo.

yeah ok ok yeah
May 2, 2016

Nae posted:

Auntie Anne the Anteater is huge. So is her guitar.

March of the Ginormo Ants
984 Words

Long ago and far away, past the ruins and over the strait, there lay a mountainous island. Nestled beneath a glacier was a vast forest with rivers and lakes. Within that forest was a copse of maples. To the inhabitants, it was known as Maple Grove. Those inhabitants were a group of living stuffed animals. They enjoyed a mundane yet charming life, spending their days playing games, collecting trinkets, and napping in the afternoon sun. They never deviated from their routines, and truly, they never thought to.

Then one day Auntie Annie woke up.

Auntie Anne often slept for years at a time, so when she woke up, she was hungry. Auntie Annie was also big, so she had a big appetite. After such a long slumber, she was very hungry. So, she summoned the animals of the wood and demanded food.

“I hunger,” she boomed.

The stuffies worked to gather their favourite snacks. Ellie Elephant brought a handful of coloured beads. Snowy Owl brought pieces of oyster shell from the beach. Peter Whale brought an array of acorn tops. The other stuffies did not have the chance to present their offerings, because Auntie Annie waved them away.

“No, not this.Real food,” she said, “Bring me a good meal or I’ll eat you!”

The animals protested. After all, their stuffing would not be very appetizing, but Auntie Annie would not be dissuaded.

“Bring me a good meal by tonight or I’ll gobble you all up!”

And with that, Auntie Annie left the frightened animals and stomped off to her sunny hill.

“What will we do?” wailed Cat Happykins.

“We’ll be eaten for certain,” chirped Bird Birden.

“Pull yourselves together!” Snuggles O’Hare called, “There must be a solution. We must find it!

The animals sat and thought, thinking the hardest thinks they’d thought in years.

“I know!” Ellie popped up, “The Ginormo Ants! Auntie Annie is very big and she is an anteater. They would be the perfect snack!"

“But how will we get them out?” Snowy asked, “The never come above ground before dark and by then it will be too late.”

“We must lure them out of their nest early!” said Ellie, “And I have an idea. Everyone, grab the noisiest noisemakers you have and meet me by the Ginormo Nest.”

The stuffies did just that, gathering their drums, tambourines, and bells. At the entrance to the nest, Ellie directed them to make as much noise as possible. The animals gave it their all, generating a racket not often heard in Maple Grove. But no matter how loudly they played, nothing emerged.

“I’m sorry everyone,” said Ellie, “I thought for certain that would work.”

“It’s okay,” said Snowy, “I have a thought: If loud noises aren’t working, maybe we can lure them out another way. Peter Whale, Snuggles—you two gather the biggest leaves you can find. Everyone else, come with me.”

The animals split up. Snowy took Ellie, Bird Birden, and Cat Happykins to the edge of the copse. It was there she had come across a deer corpse last week, the remains of some predator’s kill. The body had begun to putrefy then and was positively rancid when they came across it. Snowy explained her plan to draw the ants out with smell as they hauled it back to the nest. Peter and Snuggles were already waiting with the leaves. All ogether, the animals fanned the leaves to waft the smell of the corpse into Ginormo Nest. But no matter how fast they wafted, nothing emerged.

Before the animals could feel to dejected, Bird Birden chimed in.

“Friends, I have an idea! Perhaps the Ginormo Ants aren’t coming out because they don’t like what we’re using as lures? Loud noises and nasty smells aren't exactly the most pleasant experiences. Why don’t we try a more pleasant bait?”

The animals agreed it was worth a try and asked Bird Birden what he had in mind.

“It’s simple,” he said, “I wrote a song some time ago that is perfect for this situation. The only problem is we need an instrument big enough to carry the sound deep into the Ginormo Nest.”

The animals knew where this was going. They needed to talk to Auntie Annie. They gathered their courage and set off for her hill. The big anteater greeted them when they approached.

“Hello,” she said, “I see you have brought no food. Does this mean you have given up and wish to offer yourselves to me?”

“No, Auntie Annie,” said Bird Birden, “But we have figured out a way to get a most splendid meal for you: I have written you a song.”

“How will that help?”

“Well, we need you to play your guitar. Only your beautiful playing could lure the Ginormo Ants from their nest.”

Flattery will get you everywhere, they say, and Auntie Annie was rather chuffed. She dug her giant claws deep into her sunny hill and grasped something beneath the dirt. With a roar and a rumble, she pulled a guitar as big as herself out from beneath the ground. The stuffies picked themelves up from the ground after the tremors had ceased.

Auntie Annie followed them to the Ginoro Ant nest. Along the way, Bird Birden taught her the song.

When they arrived at the entrance, Auntie Annie sat down and began to play an acoustic rendition of “The Ants Go Marching”. The effect was almost immediate. Deep from within the cave the sound of thousands of feet scurrying could be heard. It was not long before Ginormo Ants were marching out of the cave, up Auntie Annie’s guitar, and into her mouth. Auntie Annie played until she had had her fill. Once satisfied, she returned to the crater that was her sunny hill, curled up, and went back to sleep.

Maple Grove was once again at peace and its stuff animal inhabitants slept easily.

yeah ok ok yeah
May 2, 2016

Nae posted:

Enough of cute things! Let the cruelty of the judges wash over this friendly land!

I did not want this to influence the results of the judges, so now that it's done I just wanted to post that I'm super pumped that I got this one in--even if I was 15 minutes past the deadline. I got the 'VID last week and was feeling pretty laid out. Witness me. That is all.

Only registered members can see post attachments!

yeah ok ok yeah
May 2, 2016

In like Flint.


yeah ok ok yeah
May 2, 2016

I whiffed this one. Lost the paper I was writing on before I could transcribe it and didn't have the heart to try to recall it. I accept my loss.

(Though if mods want to give me a month off probation rather than an av change, I would gladly accept that--I love my creepy dog. That said, I will abide by whatever Thunderdome punishment is deemed suitable).

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