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The Smeargle's Studio Writing Thread

Discussion in 'Smeargle's Studio' started by Alchemator, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. Alchemator

    Alchemator my god if you don't have an iced tea for me when i
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    Messages:
    3,803
    I sat at my laptop thinking, how shall I celebrate one thousand snippets of Alchemator-goodness; how can I make it so that people will say "Man that Alch guy had a great 1k post!".

    I sat at my laptop thinking, shout-outs have been done so many times before, cluttering Firebot with the same famous (-ish) names. Some just don't even bother noting that they post quite a bit on a Pokémon forum.

    I sat at my laptop wondering, why does Smeargle's Studio only contain drawings and other visual art. Of course, there have been a scattering of music threads in the past (I should know, one weekend I spent my time reading every possible thread in the Studio).

    I sat at my laptop wondering,

    To hell with it, why not!

    ---

    And so to mark reaching one thousand blocks of Alchum Powder on Smogon I decided to start my own writing thread instead of failing to improve my non-spriting art skills. Note that you are welcome to contribute!

    I'll get the ball rolling with a short story that I entered into a competition at my school. Unfortunately I didn't win, apparently because it wasn't conventional enough. Hopefully I can get some constructive criticism from the internet!

    WARNING: Long.
    Note: This was a nightmare to format...

    The Adventures of Propalom - Alchemator
    Show Hide
    “Well, aren’t you gregarious!”

    “What?”

    “Gregarious, you’re very gregarious!”

    I pondered to myself for a while.

    “But sir, I’m nothing like Greg, I swear! I don’t crush ants or steal sweets!”

    The man laughed. He sounded like a pirate. Unperturbed, I continued.

    “We’re not like each other at all. I don’t help old ladies like he does. Greg is really helpful!”

    “That’s very nice of Greg.”

    “Yeah, he carries their purses for them. They always shout at him though, which makes him run away very quickly. Old people don’t understand.”

    The man laughed again. Why was he laughing? I hadn’t said anything funny.

    “What’s your name, son?”

    “Joshua Propalom! Though my top secret codename is Gall Abull. That’s what Greg said anyway.”

    “Ok Joshua, just wait here while I talk to this lady.”

    I watched intently as the man spoke to the lady. Then I got bored. I pretended that I was a plane.

    “Joshua, what is your mum’s name?”

    “What?”

    “Your mum’s name, what is it?”

    I looked at him quizzically.

    “Mum.”

    “Yes, what is your mum’s name?”

    Wasn’t he listening?

    “Mum!”

    “Yes, but what’s her name?”

    I concluded that he had hearing problems. I pointed.

    “That shop sells hearing aids, sir.”

    The man grumbled to himself and turned back to the lady. The lady pressed a button and her voice got louder. Odd. I pondered to myself for a while, but was interrupted by Mum grabbing my arm. She said thank you to the man and strode off, dragging me behind her. I waved at the man for a while. Then I got bored. I pretended that I was a car.

    “Hi Mum.”

    She stopped, but kept looking in the same direction.

    “I’m not taking you to a shopping centre ever again.”

    She strode off once more, with me beeping my horn and revving my engine behind her.

    Traffic, but this time in a real car. Raised up by my booster seat, I looked around at the other cars stuck in the jam.
    Directly behind was an old man, around the age of forty, who stared straight back at me while tapping his fingers on the steering wheel to an unheard rhythm.
    On the right was another old person, but younger than the creepy one behind me. This one noticed me, and waved before turning his attention back to his phone.
    The woman on the left was too occupied with a baby. It was weird, seeing her happiness against the wailing of the baby. Even I could hear it screaming, but the woman seemed too entranced to notice. I didn’t understand.
    I was brought back to reality by the lurch of the car moving forward before quickly stopping again. We definitely weren’t going anywhere fast.

    “Mum?”

    “Yes?”

    “What does ‘gregarious’ mean?”

    “It means that you make friends easily.”

    I pondered to myself for a while.

    “But what is a friend?”

    “A friend is someone whom you trust, and trusts you. A friend cheers you up when you’re sad and sticks up for you.”

    I pondered to myself again.
    Did I have friends? I didn’t really talk to anyone apart from Greg.
    But how could I be gregarious if I didn’t talk to people?
    Still, it felt nice to be gregarious. It felt like I had something that other people didn’t have, but wanted to have.
    It felt like it made me who I was, so people would say, “Joshua Propalom – you know, the gregarious one.”
    It felt nice to be me, and I knew who ‘me’ was.

    I was roughly woken up as the car swung itself around a sharp bend onto a road riddled with potholes that I’d always dreamed housed horrible beasts that I nobly defeated every weekend with the stick that I hid away, nestled amongst the roots of the grand oak tree that stood at the end of the road, keeping a watchful eye over anything that dared pass.
    Even in the winter it defiantly held its leaves, shrugging off the thick layers of snow that now filled the streets and the growing potholes. Mum was trying to sing along to a song from the worn tape that she played every year.
    She said that if you looked hard enough you could still see the faded marker that now legibly read only “Ch i ma So gs’ but it was much easier to identify the tape by the large crack down the middle of the warped plastic.
    She used to tell me wild stories of how the crack got there, about dragons and huge birds that slept on the stars. She didn’t tell me those stories much anymore. In fact I couldn’t remember the last time that she had…

    I was pulled out of my trance by the car stopping completely. I gazed intently out of the window at the house in front of me.
    It was the same as it always had been – I was delighted that the shaky chimneypot that had been almost blown completely off the roof many times now was still resolutely in its place. At the same time I was almost sad that nothing had happened. I knew that the day that the chimneypot fell would be the best day of my life yet.
    The door positioned neatly in between two windows in the centre of the face of the house swung open and a cheerful light sprung out from within. In the doorway stood a smiling man.

    “Grandpa Smith!”

    I pushed open the door of the car and ran clumsily across the fresh snow into the waiting arms of the man, who laughed heartily.

    “Oof, Josh, you’re getting far too big for me now!”

    He put me down and hugged Mum, who had made her way more cautiously to the door. He then slowly bent down, picked up his eagle-headed walking stick and lead us through to the main room, where a fire as hearty as his laugh was purring gently.
    There was something different in the way that he walked, but I didn’t know what it was. His right foot trailed slightly behind his left, and he almost hopped as he walked but this was all normal. It had always been like this.
    He carefully placed himself in his favourite chair. (It was still his favourite, despite it being nothing more than springs and ripped leather). Mum sat opposite, and I sat on the fluffy rug by the fire.
    I looked at the pictures on the mantelpiece as I always did – the photo of Grandma Smith whom I never knew, the pictures of Grandpa Smith with the big fish and with Mum and Dad at their wedding. He was younger then, but his eyes were the same – swirling seas of happiness and determination, ready to take on the world.
    Eventually it was time to go. Grandpa and Mum hugged again, but it was different to how they hugged before. They rocked from side to side with her head on his shoulder.

    “It’ll be ok,” he whispered. “Just look after Josh.”

    He followed us to the door, said goodbye to me and watched as we got into the car before slowly shutting the door.

    Usually he would wave, I thought. Why isn’t he waving?

    I looked back to the house. The light that shone through the window first dimmed, and then disappeared completely. The engine rumbled, and we drove off. The chimneypot on top of the house first shuddered, and then fell off and smashed on the ground. It just wasn’t as strong as it used to be.
    We turned the corner and I looked back at the oak tree, slowly moving out of sight. Mum was crying. I didn’t understand.

    20 Years Later


    Well I suppose that was why I was here. The kind of thing I really didn’t want to do, but had to do. I wasn’t going to tell the kids, but I was scared.

    Scared? Grow up man!

    I shuffled about in the driver’s seat and deftly straightened my tie as we turned a sharp bend onto a new road, as smooth as the suit I was wearing – you pay a big price for the quality, but that quality pays for you. That’s what Dad said anyway. That’s what he said. That’s what he used to say.
    Summer was always the sweetest of seasons; nature’s own garden party – pulling us in just to experience the scent of the flowers, the clichéd yet still soothing buzzing of the bees and the new, green leaves on the trees. Speaking of leaves, I was entranced by the sturdy oak that was the focus of my vision.

    I stopped the car.
    “I’ll be back in a minute.”
    “Ok dear, take as much time as you want.”
    As much time as I want.
    As much time as I want. Do I want time?
    Stay focused, I’m drifting off here.

    I stepped up out of the car and heard a slight sigh from the grass beneath me as I walked up to the oak tree. It was as strong as it always had been. Didn’t anything kill this tree? I chuckled to myself as a reflex to my own jokes, but I wasn’t really happy. I kneeled down.
    How surprising, the stick was still there. I remembered the times when I’d nobly defeat horrible beasts hiding among the trees every weekend. It was the trees wasn’t it? No, maybe it was the potholes…

    I thought to myself for a while.

    Nope, pretty sure it was the trees. Anyway, this wasn’t why I came here. I walked around to the other side of the tree and saw it again. You know, it was my idea to come back, but I just didn’t think I could face it. I started to feel the swelling within my throat. What would my kids think? Ha-ha.

    Hah…

    I sat down in front of it.
    “Here we are again old man. Are you pleased that I came back? I’m not sure that I am.”

    A pause, everything seemed quieter. And colder. The sun had hidden itself away behind a cloud.

    “You weren’t ever the silent type you know. Well, I suppose you would know, what am I saying. Thing is… oh man.”

    I put down the flowers and turned away, pacing around as I usually did.

    “Why am I talking to this. It’s not like you can hear me, is it?”

    Another pause. I turned back to it, and sat down again.

    “You know, I’ve done a lot of stuff that I reckon you would have loved to see. I joined a choir; I know you always wanted that. I sang at quite a few places. I wasn’t really very good. For some reason I always looked into the crowd to see if you were there. You weren’t ever there, but I thought if you were you would have enjoyed it. Maybe you saw some of yourself in me, but I suppose only you know that. Not like I can ask you now though is it.”

    Another half-hearted laugh.

    “I got married. I always looked at Mum and Dad’s wedding photos and saw you standing there, really happy, really proud. I was waiting for you to be at mine. Of course, you never were. She’s great, I mean really great.
    I had kids too. I wonder what you would have thought of great-grandchildren running about. Hey I’ll tell you, they’re a handful at times but they’re great. You would have loved them.”

    I stared straight at the weathered stone.

    “Why am I telling you this? I just wanted to say: thank you. Thank you for being there for me, encouraging me, loving me. I know that I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for you. I have a family, a great job, a great life. It’s all because of you.

    Thank you Grandpa.”

    I stood up and looked at the oak tree. I laughed to myself. I couldn’t believe I was thinking this.

    Oh why not.

    I climbed up into the tree, feeling the grooves and the joins in the bark as I always used to do – though this time with rougher and larger hands. I slipped a couple of times, and I ripped the new suit but I didn’t care.

    “Josh what are you doing up there?”
    “Join me!”
    “What?”
    “You heard, get up here!”

    I laughed heartily as she scrambled up into the awaiting arms of the oak tree. I hugged her.

    “This is a new start, a…”
    “…new life?”
    “How did you know I was going to say that?”

    I chuckled at how clichéd it was as I stared into the sunset, with the person I loved most right beside me on the foundations of the greatest man I ever knew.

    Thank you.




    “WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOUR SUIT?”


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    Writing

    Mr H.Sight [WIP] - Alchemator
    Show Hide
    Prologue

    Hope is very difficult to kill.

    Yet Hope is always there in the direst, most dangerous of situations, skulking in the hearts of the outnumbered warriors, of the barren woman, of the beggar. Hope is the driving force of the few, and the enemy of another few. Hope has its long, sharp talons clutched around the bereaved and downtrodden who can only wish for a better future. Hope is the greatest of magicians – not only does it enthral you as it saws the woman apart, but actually makes you believe that she’ll be fine in the end. Hope is the cruellest of emotions. Nevertheless, Mr.Sight was trying to find it.

    Now, he knew that it was hidden away somewhere in one of these bottles, he just had to systematically find it.

    Mr.Sight was not a bad man, yet nor was he a good man. Mr.Sight was one of those men who liked to watch the passing of life from a position firmly outside of it – one of those men who always occupy a barstool in the pub, standing dutifully outside the door waiting for it to open and dutifully trying to glue themselves to the stool upon which he sits when the pub closes. Mr. Sight was the kind of man who was not interested in sport or women or cars or ambition. Mr.Sight was a man who was blindly interested in Hope.

    It was unfortunate, therefore, that the only hope he knew was the barmaid at his local trou d’eau, whatever the hell that meant, which had closed down a good three, five, ten years ago. Now he had taken to sitting on the same barstool but in his kitchen, staring at the peeling wallpaper on the opposite wall.

    He drained the last of his current bottle, finding to his drunken surprise (though edged with sober cynicism) that Hope was indeed not at the bottom of the bottle. He gave a slight sigh. With all the care of a drunken man he delicately put the empty bottle down amongst many others to his left, the silence turning slightly in its slumber to the faint clink. Mr.Sight then robotically reached down to his right in his continuing search for Hope in the bottles. His hand fumbled for a while on thin air before his subdued mind reached the conclusion that there were no more bottles. His sigh escalated to a deep growl. He shifted carefully from the stool and stepped outside to acquire some more brandy.

    Passers-by noted it unfortunate that the outside he stepped onto was ten storeys high. Their cleaners concurred.

    Chapter 1: A Meeting with Death

    Mr.Sight got up. True, only his spirit got up since the rest of him was strewn across nearby walls and shocked bystanders but he nevertheless got up. Two immediate thoughts came to mind. One went something along the lines of “Bloody hell I haven’t been this sober in years!” with the quick follow-up of “I could murder a brandy right now.” These brief trains of thought were interrupted by a light whisper in his ear. It was one of those smooth, silky whispers which you can always understand regardless of the volume.

    “I believe congratulations are in order Mr.Sight.”

    He turned around and saw nothing. The voice continued.

    “Not only did you metaphorically fall from grace, but you managed it physically too. I believe this adds a new meaning to the word ‘failure’ wouldn’t you agree?”

    The whispering, while not exactly unkind, seemed to be enjoying this despair slightly too much. Mr.Sight turned around again and came face to face with-

    A hedgehog. Well, it was indeed the scariest of hedgehogs – much effort had been put into the swirling, ghostly fire surrounding it and the bat-like wings were certainly a nice touch. Unfortunately, however, it was still a hedgehog. Death, seeing the look on Mr.Sight’s face interrupted in a more assertive volume.

    “Cower before me, brief mortal, for I am Death, bringer of despair and conjurer of tragedy! Many a fierce warrior hath fallen on my bristles of terror, and entire kingdoms have been investigated by my fearsome – and at this point in time, slightly itchy – nose!”

    Death sat up on his hind legs, licked his paws and began to wash his face as only small, furry animals can as Mr.Sight looked on in horror.

    “B-B-B-But you’re supposed to be a big skeleton thing! With a big scythe and stuff, and a big black robe and-“

    Death paused in his washing to give Mr.Sight a cynical stare.

    “And why should that be so? Naturally, many have gazed upon my true form but none have been able to take back the knowledge to the ‘real world’. That is, apart from that Jesus guy. Good lord he was a pain, I’m glad people didn’t really listen to the small, furry animal parts of his parables.”

    Death gave a small sigh at Mr.Sight’s blank, petrified face and, with some effort, flew up and landed on his shoulder.

    “Come, Mr.Sight. The chapter of life in your existence has come to an end. Your existence in death is only just beginning.”

    As Death snapped his tiny claws, an ordinary door appeared. Light spilled from the gap beneath the ground and the door, and sounds of mirth and merriment could be heard from within. Mr.Sight reached forward. Just one more step, he could feel the warm door handle in his hand now, twisting-

    “Sorry Mr.Sight, an ethereal hedgehog needs some form of entertainment!”

    The ground beneath them opened up like a trapdoor. While Death flitted off his shoulder, Mr.Sight unfortunately did not have the advantage and wings and dropped through, the hole snapping shut after he had passed. With a small giggle, the bat-winged hedgehog disappeared into a wisp of purple smoke, and the world continued.

    Chapter 2: It is Required

    A handsome face was staring at me. It had soft, luscious hair and a rough, masculine beard. Its eyes were deep and assertive, and its jaw line was simply sublime.

    I turned away from the mirror and shrugged on my suit, grabbed a slice of toast and hurtled out of the door.
    I ran along the corridor and threw myself into the lift. Into the doors of the lift. I hammered on the button and after seeing the “Lift will arrive shortly” sign pop up I reconsidered and took the stairs instead. Signs like that are designed to waste your time. Five flights of stairs later and a trail of toast crumbs plotting my route, I slowed to a brisk walk through the reception area.

    “Goooooooood morning Mr.Sight!”
    “Morning Hilary, must dash, bank to run!”

    I strolled calmly through the revolving doors and then, when out of sight of the apartments, broke into a sprint down the street. My hastily grabbed tie slapped my back in the wind, almost encouraging me to continue. A bus pulled into the bus stop. I doubled my pace. I know I can make it. I know it. I dodged a pram and spontaneously leapt over a bin, to the grumbling of some nearby old men.

    “You know Howard, I remember when I could do that.”
    “I’m sure you could, Jack.”
    “I was great at making women with prams scream as I passed through.”
    A pause.
    “To be fair though, they didn’t have the prams at that point. Cigar?”

    The bus rumbled into life as I continued to dash down the pavement. It accelerated away. I was going to make it! I leapt up the stairs and through the doors of the bank, I reached for my watch-

    “Two minutes, forty-three point four seconds, Mr.Sight.”
    I sighed, reaching out for the routine towel on my left.
    “It must be the shoes Mr.Burghe; I usually get two minutes forty exactly.”
    “I’m sure it is Mr.Sight. The day’s newspaper is waiting on your desk.”
    “Make sure you send up some orange juice and biscuits please Mr.Burghe, it will be a pleasant change to my usual snack.”
    “It will be done, Mr.Sight.”

    I threw the towel at a passing laundry trolley, missed, cursed, and made for the lift. I wondered why I carried on with this charade – I apparently got two minutes forty-three point four every day, I always blamed it on the shoes and I’d been drinking orange juice and eating biscuits every morning for the past two years. It must be something about Mr.Burghe’s endless patient indifference; it makes me want to test it.

    With a subdued, professional ‘ding’ the lift doors opened onto the chairman’s office. It was, like all chairman’s offices, at the top of the building with a snazzy yet completely useless desk on a raised platform in the centre. Behind it was a large, leather chair (into which I’d already schlunked) which could swivel to gaze across the entire city. The other buildings were shrouded in the golden haze of morning, the sun being in its somewhat annoying yet still beautiful position in the sky.

    I swivelled back around to my desk in a nonchalant fashion that can only be brought on by being in control of lots and lots and lots and lots of money and took a swig of orange juice as if it was brandy. I routinely broke my teeth on a couple of biscuits and engrossed myself in the newspaper.

    I was woken from my newspaper trance by a subdued, professional ‘ding’. Peering indifferently over the top of the newspaper I saw no-one. Mr.Burghe had already made his way to the left of the chair with no noticeable noise. Though this was how Mr.Burghe always made his entrances, it was still strange considering his large – but not portly – figure and, er, strong (yes that’s the right word…) personality.

    “Please make yourself comfortable Mr.Burghe, considering you’ve already sat down.”

    There was no acidity in this remark; it had long worn away together with the attempt to refuse Mr.Burghe’s routine. He had been working for the bank for countless years, and did all of the hard work. While he did have some… unfortunate social ineptness this was made up many times over in that he accepted no pay (not even a Christmas bonus, or as I liked to call it a bribe). He could almost be likened to one of those toys that come with a fast food meal, except he had more class and (to my knowledge) wasn’t made in China. Without waiting for a prompt he explained the situation.

    “Your father is dead. Here is an envelope.”

    I accepted the envelope indifferently. I hadn’t seen my father for many years now and we weren’t even close to start with. I waved the envelope.

    “I expect that this is a loving letter to be delivered to his doting son upon death?”
    “No, Mr.Sight, it is a letter from a lawyer. His client would like compensation for extreme trauma experienced during the death of your father.”
    “Oh dear, it wasn’t the lawnmower again was it?”
    “No, Mr.Sight, he fell from a great height. Those at ground level were not particularly happy.”
    “I suppose they didn’t find his heart Mr.Burghe?”
    “It was plastered to-”

    I waved a hand to cut off the end of the sentence.

    “I was speaking metaphorically. Anything else?”
    “As his closest relative it is traditional that you write his eulogy.”
    “Yet, Mr.Burghe, I know nothing about the man other than his tasteless drinking habit. As I recall it wasn’t even good brandy.”

    I swivelled around to face the morning panorama. A ghostly fire engulfed Mr.Burghe’s eyes as he leaned forward, snuffling slightly. He muttered under his breath.

    “How the hell do you drive this thing?”


    After punching himself on the nose, Mr.Burghe continued.

    “Yes, I will help you. It should be… suitably entertaining.”
    “And how exactly would you help me Mr.Burghe?”
    “Help you do what, Mr.Sight?”
    “But you just – why can I smell rotten hedgehog? Mr.Burghe, sort this out immediately.”

    I picked up the newspaper again as Mr.Burghe silently padded out of the room. I flicked it open at a random page.

    How boring.

    Chapter 3: A Conference with Death
    Because businessmen don’t do meetings

    I leaned back in the chair. I looked out across the city at dusk, a mesh of shades of red and grey. I drained the paper cup and threw it into the bin next to me. I ignored the fact that I missed, and stood up.

    “I really need to get that water cooler fixed, I hate warm water.”

    I said this to no-one in particular. It was just part of the bank’s routine, like checking the vaults and Mr.Burghe handing out towels and the million other idiosyncrasies of what is supposed to be an honourable constant of the country. In reality the water cooler had never been fixed, we just bought a new one every time the last one broke down (which was more often than you might expect. Bankers love to take out their rage on innocent suppliers of water. Ever seen a plumber in a bank? Exactly).

    I stepped into the lift, pressed the ground floor button to a cheery (yet professional and subdued) ding and slid down onto the carpet as the lift music began to play. Sometimes I wished that Mr.Burghe would keep his Carpenters obsession to himself, but I suppose it isn’t as repetitive as typical lift music. As the luxurious carpet curled over the soles of my shoes, my mind shifted to other matters.

    The eulogy. How can I possibly write about someone who I didn’t know at all? I know more about Mr.Burghe, and he has many secrets. For example, he tends to skulk around the ground floor entrance to the lift on an evening with a glass full of compost. No-one knows why, they just accept it. I guess I’ll manage somehow, not like the turnout for the funeral will be high.

    A professional, yet subdued, ding brought me out of my trance as the golden light of evening spilled into the lift. I stood up slowly and walked out. Without flinching, I slipped into routine.

    “I see you have a cup of loam there Mr.Burghe.”
    “Indeed I do, Mr.Sight. Good night Mr.Sight.”
    “Good night Mr.Burghe.”
    “Sweet dreams…”

    As usual, I strolled outside and robotically walked down the street. After a minute or so I paused.

    Mr.Burghe didn’t usually say that.

    Well I suppose everyone has to break routine sometime eh? Eh… Despite this surprisingly normal thought I was unnerved. Mr.Burghe was not a one for breaking routine. If he could break routine by himself then he would have gotten a new mug to drink or at least taken the compost out first. But if he wasn’t breaking routine by himself, who could be helping him?

    I stepped through the doors at the other end of my daily journey.

    “Good evening Hilary.”
    “Goooooooooood evening Mr.Sight.”
    “Another long night is it?”
    “I’m not bothered by the dark Mr.Sight.”

    There it was again. Something… almost like an animal. It was a smooth, silky whisper. While not unkind, it seemed to be enjoying my restlessness. I involuntarily put on my poker face (hit by a hot poker) as I walked over to the lift. Amongst the normality of the evening was a twinge of something strange, and I didn’t like it.

    The carpet in here was nowhere near as luxurious in the bank. In fact it really did curl around your shoes; you had to keep moving them unless you wanted to be dragged into the abyss or whatever the hell was living in there. With a more audacious DINE, the lift doors opened onto a corridor. I attempted to stroll down it nonchalantly, but on second thoughts decided to run instead. I fumbled with the key in the lock. It opened and-

    “Good evening Mr.Sight – Junior, might I add.”
    “Ok I hope to God that the staff didn’t spike my orange juice again.”

    Having opened the door, I discovered a strange creature sitting on my bed. Recognising my vacant expression, the thing smoothly began its own idiosyncratic routine.

    “Cower before me, brief mortal, for I am Death, bringer of despair and conjurer of tragedy! Many a fierce warrior hath fallen on my bristles of terror, and entire kingdoms have- you have biscuits somewhere. You will give them to me.”

    I scampered into the kitchen like a scolded child and obediently took a lonely packet of biscuits from the cupboard. I peered back through. The creature appeared to be a hedgehog of some sort, with bat wings and ghostly green fire around it. It was reclining on the bed, but it probably was just floating – it definitely wasn’t of this world.

    When I gave it the biscuit it only just managed to hold onto it – its width being the same as the cookie. It then began, to my unexplained horror, to eat the cookie just like any small animal would – in tiny, audible chunks. In between minute mouthfuls it explained the situation as I sat opposite, rocking slowly to and fro.

    “I’m sure you must have been expecting me? I’ve been going out of my way to-”

    An irritated munch.

    “- make room in my oh-so-busy schedule just to help some guy write a doting speech about his dad. I suppose I’m here now so once I finish this lovely crunchy biscuit we’ll start mmm? Oh and another thing, Mr.Burghe recently sold his soil to me. Get it? Get it?”

    I nodded, terrified. Why is Death sitting in front of me eating a biscuit.

    And why is he fluffy.

    Chapter 4: The Toad’s Arse

    I wondered how long it had been since someone had last remarked on the cobbles of London streets. It was probably a very long time, since though there was some slither of beauty in the rain splashing against the uneven surface, no-one had looked at them this closely for a very long time. Lying face down, swamped in muck spewing from the muddy crevices between the stones, suit torn, soaked by the torrential downpour, I was irritated.

    To hell with that, I was irritated.

    “Mr.Sight, please get up.”
    “I am muddy. I am wet. I am annoyed.”
    “Ah but Mr.Sight, you are only the last of those statements. You are not currently lying face down, swamped in muck spewing from the muddy crevices between the stones-“

    He took a breath at this point.

    “-with your suit torn, soaked by the torrential downpour. In reality you are lying comfortably, albeit still face down, on your apartment floor. You only feel wet because your mind thinks that you should be, given the realistic circumstances my illusions produce.”

    Despite it being difficult to tell in such a small creature, he seemed to puff his chest out at this point.

    “So why am I dripping?”
    “Ah, that’s a very good question Mr.Sight, I’d expect that it’s – uh - oh my, a distraction!”
    “Where?”
    “Do hurry up Mr.Sight, we have an appointment to keep.”

    I stood up and brushed myself down on impulse, only managing to spread the mud further down my shirt. One minute it had been eating a cookie, the next I was face down on a London street. It looked like London anyway, judging by how there was a pub in every street. Death and his accompanying flames were disappearing into the midnight gloom. I hurried after him, cursing and irritated at my bedraggled state.

    “Where?”
    “We are going to an esteemed watering hole, wherein we shall observe the discourse of two of your acquaintances.”
    “So that’s where the distraction is?”

    Death narrowed his hedgehog eyes slightly.

    “We’re going to a pub to spy on a conversation.”


    After over an hour trekking through damp alleyways and dank streets, I finally came across something alive (Death seemed alive, but that probably makes a black hole somewhere – best not to get into that). It was concealed beneath a black cloak, with blue brooches holding it together. It was almost floating across the uneven cobbles, but I’d seen stranger things tonight. Today? This morning? I paused for a while.

    Hell it could even be tomorrow.

    We followed the hooded figure, and came across a small pub. There was light inside, but a pale, old light that comes from a bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling, probably fitted by the cat. The letters above the entrance had been stolen long ago, but for anyone who was interested (that is, not many) one could still make out the name as “The Toad’s Arse”. Without hesitation, the cloak slipped through the door. It attempted to anyway, and managed after kicking it viciously. I slipped in after it. Death floated through the wall.

    The figure dropped the cloak and untied her hair. I gasped, not caring if it was clichéd.

    “Liz!”
    “She can’t hear you. This is an illusion, remember?”
    “If it was an illusion why did you make me walk for over an hour in torrential rain and make me appear in a puddle?”

    Death contorted his furry lips in what could only be a smile.

    “It was highly amusing.”
    “Hilarious, I’m sure.”

    What would be funnier would be skewering the damn thing with – uh – something and watching it bleed to… life?

    “Oh Mr.Sight that hurts me very deeply.”

    “What does?”
    “Knowing that you’d like to skewer me with an Uhsumthing. Can’t imagine how you’d do that though, they’re completely spherical.”
    “They are?”
    “Nope, I made them up.”

    He squeaked in amusement. I turned to Liz, who was making her way through the deserted pub to an unkempt man on an unkempt barstool in an unkempt corner.

    “You are Mr.Sight.”

    He belched and looked up through eyes glazed with brandy.

    “Uh. Wossit to you?”
    “That was a statement, an answer was not required. I can sit down.”

    She positioned herself precariously on the edge of a nearby barstool. She was wearing a flattering, royal blue dress complete with a sapphire necklace. This was definitely Liz.

    “Good evening Mr.Sight. I am Elizabeth Fjord.”
    “Hoho isn’t she a woman lads! Hoho!”
    “Mr.Sight, you are currently the only patron of this public house.”
    “Hoho!”

    Liz ignored him, and continued with her introduction.

    “I am a colleague of your son. Upon my own initiative I am attempting to reunite you with your son.”
    “Hah! My son! My son was-”

    Liz sat patiently, weathering the tirade of curses and insults until he stopped. He drained his glass in one gulp.

    “Are you finished, Mr.Sight?”
    And he’s a bliddy guano magnet! Am now.”
    “Mr.Sight, your son believes that he is not at fault, you are. From careful analysis of the evidence and circumstances presented to me, I am inclined to agree. You left a pregnant woman and disappeared off the face of the earth, have not replied to any attempts of contact and have so far as to evade your son when he has tried to contact you in person. This, I believe, is not being a terrible father. It is not being a father at all.”

    Mr.Sight slowly picked up his glass, stretched out his arm, and dropped it. The smash was his reply.

    “Mr.Sight, I am not fooled by your drunken pretence. You have an extraordinarily high alcohol tolerance level.”

    Mr.Sight took out his glasses and smoothed his hair back. Suddenly he was no longer a drunken, raucous old man but an intellectual. The drunken glaze of his eyes was replaced by a more solemn, dark one. He rustled his jacket, the expensive brown leather settling more uniformly on his shoulders. For some reason he now had a tie, but where that had come from puzzled even Liz. Nevertheless, it was a plain, black tie pressed neatly to his pristine, white shirt which was now free of the creases and blemishes of what could only be called his drunken persona.

    “Miss-”
    “Ms.”
    “Ms. Fjord, I applaud you on being the first to pierce deeper than a flawed exterior. Then again, I tend not to see many people these days. Save the bartender of course, but I believe he is currently robbing the neighbouring house.”

    A pause.

    “…As per routine.”

    A longer pause. Ms. Fjord certainly wasn’t the merriest of clerks. Mr.Sight dismissed his joke with an eccentric gesture and continued.

    “Ms. Fjord, there are many reasons why I have been avoiding my son. Reasons the like of which you would be best not to hear about, as you will likely enter the same predicament as me. I have not much life left in me, and I prefer not to impart my deadly curse unto anyone else.”
    “You will tell me.”
    “So be it.”

    There was no popcorn around, but Death was content with munching on some mouldy peanuts at the bar.

    Chapter 5: Justice and Punishment

    The account of Mr.Sight Snr

    He unbuckled it, and sauntered around the edge of the room, occasionally twirling it in contemplation. From time to time he’d feint an attack, smiling sadistically as I winced back in fear.
    “You know, Howard, I’ve been wondering recently, something has been on my mind.”

    I didn’t dare to look away, that was when he’d strike.

    “I’ve been mulling it over in my mind; it’s been keeping me awake at night, just thinking.”

    He stopped for a fraction of a second, before continuing his irregular gait.

    “Whenever I see you, which is – unfortunately – a lot of the time, the question just pops into my mind. Do you know what the question is Howard?”

    He stared directly at me, with a cold, penetrating gaze.

    “Well, do you?”
    “No.”
    “No sir!”

    Another dramatic lunge, accompanied by a deep chuckle. He was enjoying this. He always enjoyed it. He enjoyed it so much that he set aside the entire garage for it. It was certainly in his style: dark and unkempt, yet open enough to make me turn as he circled his prey – me.

    “The question, my dear Howard, has only been reinforced by your not knowing what it is. Would you like to take another guess?”
    “No sir.”
    “Very good, you learn.”

    He began to wind it around his hand, as if in deep thought.

    “The question, Howard, is this: Why do I have a son like you?”

    Crack.

    The belt uncoiled like a snake and caught me on the arm. I knew that it had cut through the skin, but I couldn’t show pain. That made him hit me more. I forced a smile, but only received a dark glare in return.

    “Quite frankly, Howard, you embarrass me. I educated you, and you threw it back in my face. I cared for you, but you didn’t appreciate it. You have amounted to nothing, Howard. You have become nothing, and for that you must be punished. I don’t like to do it, Howard, but justice must be done.”

    Crack.

    This time it bit into my cheek, taking away drops of red as it fell. I spun around, only just managing to remain on my feet. I wasn’t crying; I couldn’t cry. I was almost used to the beatings. They started the day as a taste of the inevitable later punishment. What had I done wrong? According to him, my wrong was that I hadn’t done right, but I had tried. I really did, but he still beat me. Again and again, night after night, bruise after bruise, cut after cut. The concrete floor chronicled the beatings of the past, stained and worn where he had circled.

    The belt hissed through the air again, but I was ready. I ducked and charged forward in frenzy, pounding him and shouting. There isn’t much a young boy can do to an adult man. He was initially pushed back, but recovered and pushed me away as he brought down his fist in one, swift movement. The ceiling began to distort, but I could still faintly hear voices as the blood moved slowly down my face.

    “What are you doing? He’s just a boy!”

    There was a hissing intake of breath, before he began to exude his sneering coolness again.

    “Victoria my love, you agree with me that the boy must be punished for when he has done wrong. He has failed me, he has failed us both, and justice must be done. You agree with me.”
    “But you shouldn’t-”
    “You agree with me.”
    “Can’t you punish him in some other way?”

    I rolled onto my side. He calmly raised his hand and firmly clasped it around her neck. His voice was merely a whisper, but every syllable was delivered with perfect pronunciation.

    “My darling, I hope you understand the expectations that I have of you as my wife.”
    “Yes, yes, oh lord please let go!”
    “I expect you to stand by me when I administer punishment to the boy. I expect you to obey me.”

    He sneered in a way that implied he was about to say something amusing. At least, something amusing to himself.

    “And I expect you to fulfil the role of a woman.”

    He left her massaging the marks on her neck as he glided out of the room. The world fell sideways, and I drifted into darkness.​

    Everwhite - Exarius
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    She starts to wake up. The world feels slippery, humid. She turns to her side and looks at her long black hair that has spread out over the ground.

    Wait a moment.

    She had blond hair.

    She sits up, and touches her hair. It feels oily, like a poor bird after it swam in oily sea. She looks to the ground. The ground is black too. No plants anywhere to be seen. She looks up. The sky is red, filled with black smoke that rains down in ashes, like the apocalypse had come to the world. The sun is blocked by it.

    She stands up. The ground is slippery, she has problems to stand. Her clothes feel like they are made of lead. Her legs feel powerless. Her arms feel powerless. Her neck feels powerless, like it's going to snap under her heads weight. She looks around her. Only red and black is to be seen. No animals. Everything is dead. The air is heavy, she coughs. She coughs oil and ashes. Her lungs feel like they had been filled with this oil. Her head feels dizzy; her throat feels dry as the desert. She walks towards a huge rock, hoping to find some water. She falls.

    Her face hits the swamp that lies in front of her. It's green, like toxic waste that the factories let out. The factories are beside her. She looks up. She hears the machinery, but nobody is to be seen. Like it was abandoned a thousand years ago. The walls are covered in oil and ash. The pipes puke out more smoke, more ashes. There are no windows, no doors. She walks forwards; her head can't stand the smell.

    The world stenches like a rotten corpse hidden inside the bathtub for weeks. But there are no corpses. No nothing. There is only oil, smoke and ash. She tries to walk on, but can't stand the smell. She falls to her knees. The ground feels hard.

    She looks down. The ground isn't oily. She looks up. The sky is clear, white, like pure snow. She looks around her. There are no factories. No ashes. No smoke. She looks down. The ground is covered in skulls. White, clean skulls. No bugs. No plants. No sand. Only skulls. Her hair drips oil on those skulls, staining them brown and black. But the oil spreads out. It spreads out even more. She tries to wipe it out, but it makes the ground even more stained. The ground turns to brown and black, until it reaches the horizon. It starts to spread over the sky, staining it. The pure, white sky turns into a brown, dirty eternity.

    She feels sadness. She looks towards the horizons, and coughs out some ashes. The ashes spread out, turning the eternal brown into empty black. She starts to cry and tries to wipe it away. Her hand doesn't do anything to the stain, but her tears burn away the darkness, and open holes to a blinding light beneath the dark. She looks into the light, while her tears pour out. The dark tries to run, evade the light, but it can't. The darkness is eaten away, and she is surrounded by a never-ending light. She starts to fall slowly.

    The smell of corpses are gone. The air is clean, light. She coughs again. Small cherry blossoms come out of her mouth. They start to spin around her while being grounded into fine dust. She tries to look at it, but she is too dizzy. She looks at herself. She is naked. But she doesn't care. She is alone. Nothing can bother her anymore, in this never-ending light. The dust starts to clean her body. It feels like a summer breeze on her pale skin. A single cherry blossom forms in front of her face. She looks at it, while it slowly spins. She starts to feel tired, hungry. The blossom comes closer to her face. She falls asleep when the blossom touches her forehead.

    The police forces break into the building. They were informed that a young girl hadn't come out of her basement in over a month. The door breaks down and pukes an overwhelming stench into the faces of the police forces, like a body that has been left to rot alone. They start to search. In the basement they find a naked body. The room itself is filled by feces and urine, and the ground is slippery. There are visible spores floating around in the air, and the air is heavy. The body itself belongs to a young, slender girl, barely of puberty, lying naked on the floor. Her long blond hair is stained by the feces on the floor, it's almost black. She has been dead for at least a week, but still there is one single cherry blossom on her forehead, that looks like it was plucked merely a moment ago...


    A Summer Daydream - Dr.Attack
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    A light breeze threatened to steal his napkin right from his paper plate. He set his half-eaten hot dog back down, both to keep the napkin from achieving flight and because he really wasn't that hungry anymore.

    The picnic table he was sitting at gave him a pretty good view of the park and all it's current inhabitants. Moms and their kids down by the swing-set. Teenage boys playing pickup games of basketball. Older people taking naps in the shade of the trees.

    He wanted to talk to one of them. He wondered what would happen if he tried to start a conversation. "Hi", He would say. One of the boys would smile and ask him if he wanted to play 3 on 3. "Oh no, I'm too old for this game", he would laugh, "maybe if I was 10 years younger".

    *beep* *beep* *beep* *beep*

    He looked around for the source of the noise. After a while the confusion left his face. It was the lunch alarm. Lunchtime was over. He threw away his hot dog and stood up. The outer edges of the park began to twinkle. Slowly the park began to fade. It rippled and dimmed in small waves.

    He was alone again. Fifteen years in a prison cell for accidental manslaughter. Solitary confinement for eight of those fifteen years. It has been a decade since he has talked to another human being.

    He leans back on his cot and closes his eyes. A light breeze gently blows through his hair. He smiles.


    Dolly's Dagger
    - Bombiron
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    Prologue

    Lately, in the night when I’m struggling in the fight to lose consciousness, even for an hour or two, I’ve been thinking of a theory I heard on a radio show last month. The theory is Erwin Schrödinger's, and the idea is that there is a box with a cat and a machine in it. The machine releases poison at random, killing the cat immediately when the gas is released. Now here’s where the fun begins. One doesn’t know whether the machine has released the gas yet, so there are two scenarios that are possible in this box

    1. The machine has released the poison and the cat is dead.

    2. The machine hasn’t released the poison and the cat is alive.


    Now, Erwin thought that this form of thinking was all wrong and that because both scenarios were possible, this introduces another possible scenario.

    3. The machine released the gas, and the machine has yet to release the gas, and the cat is both alive and dead.

    I have started to think that I am the cat.

    Chapter 1

    It all started on Friday.

    The alarm clock roughly hauled me out of my sleep; I begrudgingly got up, my recent acquisition of insomnia made sleep a rare commodity anyways. As I rolled out of bed I scratched my forearm on the protruding screw Dr. Holst promised to tighten every time I had to staunch the bleeding at breakfast, although I am not too enthusiastic about his doting. He’s done enough for me.

    You see a year and a half ago I was homeless, hooked on Plumeve® (lose the pain, feel the gain!), a new drug, designed to replace morphine, vicodin, and other opiate-based pain killers, advertised and praised as a non addictive, and more effective substitute. In reality, the drug is more addictive than any other narcotic introduced in the last two thousand years, and was promptly withdrawn as an acceptable drug by the FDA standards. But nevertheless, the damage had been done, in the 3 years Plumeve was in circulation; over three hundred thousand people were addicted. I am included in that particular statistic.

    Enter: Doctor Hans G. Holst. On his way to work one day he saw me get my shoes stolen off of my feet in the dead of winter, by fellow addicts, who sold them to get Plumeve. He promptly took the day off and brought me to his home, before returning to work. When he returned I was still unconscious. He came home with some eve he left me on the bedside, than returned to work for his second shift. When he returned he brought some basic medical supplies, and took extended leave for personal interest. When he got off the phone I was awake, but delirious, I thought he was one of the muggers, back for my clothes. He spent 7 months weaning me off of eve, and another four helping me through withdrawal.

    Ever since I've been living with Holst, helping wherever I can, I've been looking for a job but no one wants to hire an ex-eve fiend. And it’s not easy hiding it from them ever since the medical record disclosure act. It says that one can access anyone’s medical history as long as one has said person’s social security number. This in tandem with the Customer Protection Act of the Better Business Bureau stating that ‘all employees must have a clean record, free of all mental ailments, medical disabilities, and criminal charges.’ Well eve addiction falls right into the ‘mental ailments’ portion of that law.


    The Colours of Crime - Dogfish44
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    Prologue

    Some people can only see in black and white.
    Some people can only see in blood and gore.
    Some people are innocent.
    Some people are guilty.

    But nobody can see the true colours of crime.

    This case recalls several... rather unpleasant memories.
    Allow me to present the truth behind:

    Case JW8

    I wake up to the ringing of a large black phone. It's a suicidal phone, the ringing wakes up the neighbours. At the other end of the street. I pick it up and as politely as you can at 5:00am in the morning, grumble
    "Harrow Residence, who's calling".
    "My name is.... *beep* *beep* *beep*" Thunder rumbles, and I assume that it struck the telephone cables. I scan the number and note that the call was made from the detention centre. Time for a walk.... just give me 5 minutes shut eye. Or 10. Or a few hours.

    Anyway, I walk down through the small coastal town, known as Willow Port, due to the wildlife here. The town isn't large,with just one primary school, a small police station and fire brigade. But it was also the home of Willow Detention Centre, due to a lack of room in the nearby city of Ginnington (They get as many drunk based jokes as the Irish). Anyway, I'm walking down the brilliant promenade when I run into my girlfriend, Melody.

    "Hi Honey!". My nice, timid approach recieved a heartwarming slap to the face. Just because I'm not her boyfriend anymore doesn't mean she isn't my girlfriend. It's that or admit I've no friends. Being a defense attorney is a hard life. She suddenly gets into a black BMW with another man. I'd kill him if Melody wasn't there. My lack of muscles have nothing to do with it. Honest.

    I arrive at the Willow Detention centre shortly, holding a bag of frozen peas against my face. I'm having vegetables with my meat this week, as opposed to - uh - meat with my vegetables. Time to see what the high pitched voice was calling about...


    The Pied Piper - Mountain Dewgong
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    He was always alone.

    His pallid face thinly veiled by the swirl of a deep breath as he stepped out from his car. Mundane, but from previous experience, immaculately kept. The frost conceded under his precise steps with a resounding crunch. He always missed the third step on his way to the door when he readied his key. Always. At the door, there was no fumbling, the lock never resisted. The house was eager to have him return. The door closed silently behind him with a flick of his wrist.

    And then he was gone.

    That was his afternoon ritual, unfailing and meticulous. I watched him most days, I suppose you could say it became a hobby. He was a teacher at the local high school from what I’ve gathered. Middle aged and heavily jaded, a faded tweed jacket was appropriate for every occasion. They say home is where the heart is, it must be where he kept it when he left. Exhausted, his house frequently moaned in opposition to the ceaseless arctic winds. Though the somnolent curtains were always subdued, like its inhabitant, an impassive face offered no insight to the world within. An empty shell. How I longed to know what lay inside.

    As the sun faded, it became obvious where he was. His nights were regularly spent in his garage, a shrunken doppelganger of his home. It was nestled in the dark bowels of his property, a weatherboard Pandora’s Box. Occasionally a chilling rattle would gargle out into the crisp nocturnal air, I would convulse with an arousing terror. It fascinated me. It captivated me. I was obsessed, a lowly rat being led to the harbour, hypnotised by a malevolent bard.

    Light cut across the weathered pavers, fractured by ethereal columns of darkness that scuffled from beneath the garage door. My breathing was excited and shallow, my steps muted. The shed lay silent as I ran my clammy fingertips across its side. The window was close; a portal into his world, so near. I bit my lower lip excitedly. Mechanical and deep, the shed began to growl. The petrol spiked air seared my lungs as I pressed myself up against the gently quivering wall. Saturated with fear, my irrepressible curiosity willed my legs to persist.

    I slid warily, the weatherboard clawed at my shirt; it opposed my progress with minute splinters. My hooked fingers grasped the lip of the sill as I knelt, bobbing nervously. The rumbling was accompanied by a disconcerting scraping. The perverted sound of metal against metal. My body was heavy and my muscles were reluctant to rise. The insipid drapes were slightly ajar, an uncharacteristic but tantalising opportunity. Recklessly intoxicated by adrenaline I inched upwards as my heart beat throbbed and echoed in my skull. He stood at the opposite bench, crooked over and deeply absorbed in his work. The bulbs overhead buzzed faintly, fashioning an unsettling fusion of baleful shadows. He roused from his work with a nonchalant stretch, at once I dropped back to the uninviting brick work.

    Away from the eclectic disarray of chilling instruments, there lay a clandestine contraption, surrounded by swathed containers. My mind swarmed hysterically with unanswered questions. I needed another look. Blindly, I lifted myself up to steal another glance. A weary skeletal hand was pressed up against the glass, coaxing the curtain open. His malicious eyes met with mine as he tilted his head in a sickening curiosity. His jagged lips contorted into a masochistic snarl. I bolted, overcome with fear. The spiteful asphalt cut my feet.

    The escape gave no respite, no relief. I needed to go back. I needed to. The hushed flute swelled. The Pied Piper's encore.


    A Day in the Life - Bad Ass
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    He was presented with two options. He could jump, or he could live. He looked down at the masses trying to comfort him - if only they knew. He wanted to play with their simple minds. these people, these people. He took a step back and put his hands up. At least try to hit one of them on the way down. These people clapped and cheered as he took a step back. Je felt as if something dark was behind him, something nobody could see but was dark nonetheless. He could see it behind him, closing into him, pushing him; but he could not turn around. No turning back.

    One. Two. Jump.

    He heard these people gasp in shock and horror as he jumped.

    Simpletons.

    What are these? Whose are these? I don't have any lingerie in this colour; where did you get these?

    15, 14, 13

    What the fuck, this isn't even my size; in fact this is a cup too large. What the fuck else did you pick up at the grocery store?

    12, 11, 10

    I can't believe you did this to me, you cheating fuck. I poured my heart and soul into this relationship, every ounce of love that I had was yours - and you have the nerve to take that and twist it and take everything I love and turn it black?

    9, 8, 7

    Get out of this house! I don't ever want to see you again. If I ever see you near this house I will blow your fucking head off. What the fuck do you have in your hand?

    6, 5, 4

    Stop! Please, god, please! Come on baby, put that thing down! I-I was kidding!Please, no, no, no!

    3, 2, 1

    Blam


    Cobalt - Lord Jesseus
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    “Fuck. You.” Despite Kamon’s predicament, his voice still carried with it an air of unwavering confidence.
    “I should have expected as much” was the reply. Cyrus’ sophisticated voice too retained its usual authority. He smiled grimly before continuing. “I daresay your stubborn persistence causes me much amusement. You claim to be an advocate of change, but surely you can agree it’s quite ironic that you simply refuse to change your mind.”
    Kamon simply grunted and spat at his oppressor’s feet.
    Cyrus chuckled briefly, and then went on. “Well, if you’ve decided to retain that vile attitude of yours, then I have but one thing left to say.”
    He leaned forward, putting his mouth to Kamon’s ear and whispered:
    “Fuck. You. Too.” And with that he pushed his enemy into the abyss below.

    Like unachieved ambitions, an endless expanse of identical towers reached for the sky above but to no avail. Tall and thin, the skyscrapers were spaced evenly apart like the bars of a prison cell, and the inhabitants were similarly trapped. The sky itself was cloudy, and the sun, hidden behind the grey expanse shone only a dim, diluted light over the city below, which served to enhance the overall glum monotony of it.
    This was the city of Cobalt.
    At the very centre, a particularly tall and sturdy building stood watching menacingly over the city around it. Inside, the leader (some might say dictator) of Cobalt, Cyrus Valamar, sat listening to the ambience of his domain. He was very much accustomed to the low industrial drone of distant factories and the quiet murmuring of the populace. In fact he enjoyed it – it meant that everything was in order.
    Much to his dismay however, today this atmosephere had been replaced with a loud chorus of shouting and chants, for a large crowd of unhappy citizens had gathered at the front door of his palace. Not that he hadn’t expected this; rumours had been circulating for months that the people were becoming discontented with his rule. Apparently a small resistance group had formed to oppose him, and had stirred up the public with promises of freedom and change.
    Reluctantly, he got up to address the restless crowd from his balcony.
    “Ladies and Gentlemen!” A high-class British accent rang out. Cyrus’ had a confident, charismatic air about him which held a great deal of authority, and his voice was a vessel of this quality. Responding to this, the masses fell silent.
    “This is quite a turn-out and I feel compelled to applaud your efforts, but could you please enlighten as to what brings you here today?”
    A tall, athletic man within the crowd stood on some pedestal. Cyrus identified him as Kamon Roth, the supposed leader of the resistance.
    “CYRUS!” His deep, rugged voice was a stark contrast to that of Cyrus, but had the same confident authority, and seemed to invigorate the Audience.
    “Your reign has lasted long enough and we’re fed up! We want CHANGE!”
    “CHANGE!” The crowd repeated in unison.
    “We want FREEDOM!”
    “FREEDOM!”
    Cyrus chuckled loudly, chilling his audience. “Fools! I’m not sure you comprehend the severity of our predicament. My reign is what keeps Cobalt from collapsing! Without me there would be no order, only Anarchy!”
    “No! We’re sick of your lies! We want change! We want freedom!” The crowd then erupted and followed his chanting, but Cyrus could see they were unsure, conflicted. He hadn’t lost control yet.
    As he retreated back inside a guard approached him. “Should we take him out?”
    Cyrus pondered this. “No.” He eventually replied. “That would only confirm his suspicions in the minds of the people. The entire city would turn on us and revolution would be upon us. We must be patient.”

    Cyrus awoke suddenly as an alarm pierced his dreams.
    “The palace has been breached!” A guard informed him over a transmitter. Hurriedly he dressed and swiftly made his way to the scene. By the time he arrived the battle was over. A few casualties from both sides lay amongst discarded shells, but his attention was focused on his guards and the captives they had imprisoned – with Kamon amongst them.
    “Nice try” remarked with a chuckle, “But did you really think you could bypass all of my defences? I didn’t think you were so foolish Mr Roth.” Then he addressed his servants: “Spare him. Kill the rest.”
    “NO!” Kamon blurted out, but too late; with several loud bangs his comrades fell to the ground.
    “The people are conflicted Kamon; restless, confused. You’ve created quite a stir, and while they’re not completely won over you’re influence is proving to be somewhat of a nuisance. I could kill you, but who wins then? You’re dead, and my control over the public remains incomplete thanks to your legacy. So I have an ultimatum for you.”
    The guards forcefully relocated Kamon to the edge of a balcony. The darkness of the night obscured the ground making it seem like an ominous abyss.
    “I could send you over the precipice to your demise. Alternatively...”
    Kamon glared and grunted.
    “You could serve me Kamon. We could help each other. You’re a hero to the people – together we could wield more power than ever over Cobalt. You could have whatever you desire. We would live as gods among men! Does this appeal to you Mr Roth?”
    “Fuck. You.” Despite Kamon’s predicament, his voice still carried with it an air of unwavering confidence.
    “I should have expected as much” was the reply. Cyrus’ sophisticated voice too retained its usual authority. He smiled grimly before continuing. “I daresay your stubborn persistence causes me much amusement. You claim to be an advocate of change, but surely you can agree it’s quite ironic that you simply refuse to change your mind.”
    Kamon simply grunted and spat at his oppressor’s feet.
    Cyrus chuckled briefly, and then went on. “Well, if you’ve decided to retain that vile attitude of yours, then I have but one thing left to say.”
    He leaned forward, putting his mouth to Kamon’s ear and whispered:
    “Fuck. You. Too.” And with that he pushed his enemy into the abyss below.


    Infanticide - Adm. Empoleon
    Show Hide
    Part 1

    From a mountainside runs a spring that feeds the flowers and grass that has grown without any obvious purpose, and birds that takeoff as soon as they land.

    He let his huge palm slide above the bumps in the wall, then he eavesdropped again. The moon was hanging in the horizon, a pearly white sphere amidst the condensing darkness. He turned on his heels impatiently, as he took a look from the corner of his eye to the door that stood ajar, and at a shadow that nearly faded on the doorstep. He searched his inside pocket for his cigarette packet, which was empty but for one last cigarette. He lit it, and felt as the smoke filled the corners of his chest, and in the air its fog mixing with the paleness of the moon. He turned on his heels with his back against the door. The cricket continued his chirping relentlessly. Suddenly, he heard a sound of someone stepping on something, and a scream came from within the door. He hurried to the source of the disturbance, and there she was lying on the light sheet, legs apart, her arms hanging over the bed in fatigue, her gown retreated to her waist and her knees against her chest.

    As for her hair, it had scattered over the pillow, and one of her hands covering her face, still as a leaf on silent water. And to her side, the Daya holding between her hands the baby, tossing it, until she holds it upside-down, and hits her bottom with a sign of approval. She had tried to open its airway, hitting softly but surely on the little infant's chest until she takes her first breath of life, revealing and back that was like a soft piece of meat, in the middle were spinal bumps that reminded him of the wall's bumps at first sight, over a round mechanism split in two. The soft meat had been stained by blood. He advanced the baby that was hanging in the Daya's hands in silence, as his feet crossed the light sheet that was spread over the rough floor.

    Worry pulsed through his body to an unknown beat, feeling a chill in his body, and a sweat that ran to nowhere. He kept shaking, closing his eyes and tensing his fingers.

    The knuckles retracted and hooked inwards. He took a few steps towards the old lady who was sitting squarely on the floor. He took the baby from her hands with eager, and ran between her thighs on the light coming from the lamp oil. The light stayed there for a period of time, in which the baby had stopped crying. And when there was no room left for doubt, the picture came together. He gave it back to the old lady, and leaned over his laying wife. He lifted his leg and let it come down on his wife's side, the worn leather colliding with flesh. And he barked.

    "YOU DAUGHTER OF A DOG! I TIRE MYSELF ALL DAY LONG, AND YET YOU BRING ME GIRLS?! What need do I have of them? If I had a son, there would be someone to help me on the earth which I work in! But woe! My mother had warned me 'She will only bring you girls!'. But I didn't believe her! Now look at me... "

    And as his torso retreated, his right leg aiming for his wife, the old lady threw himself on his leg, pleading, "Fear God! Haven't you wondered as to why she is still until now? She's dead, she died giving birth to this bride! Sweat came down her face, and saliva from her mouth, and her breath stopped! She sacrificed herself to give you this miserable baby orphan..."
    "Are you aware that this is a girl? In the future she will grow up and all the youth from the estate will chase her! And for what? Her body, nothing else!"
    She interrupted him with her words jumping out of her mouth.
    "So what if she's a female? You've got me. Sure I'm a widow, but I have bundles of meat in my house. But only God knows. My father, may God's mercy be upon him, was kind to us girls! By God, did you ever hear anything bad from me? By the white hairs in your head, can five of you do half the work as I? Why are you silent? Speak!
    "And what guarantees me that she won't grow up to be like you? Have you forgotten about the baker's daughter last month? Woe to this sex! Here! Go to the butcher and get some meat for them! A bride, you say..."
    And her hand pressed upon a small bundle of money he had given her...
    She tried to run towards him in feeble footsteps, outside the doorstep, her weak torso had penetrated the darkness. And when he went outside to discard of the cigarette butt that was still between his fingers, he found her leaning against a wall with her forearm, her hair covered by a white scarf that had been untangled. And in the moonlight, he saw congestion in her eyes, and a remnant of tears.


    <Insert Title> - Johann
    Show Hide
    Foster opened his eyes, he looked around at the screaming crowd around him. He knew what he had to do. He saw his opponent about 30 feet away starting to charge at him with a broadsword. Foster pulls out his knife and throws it at the opponent. He lands on his knees in pain. Foster pulls his arm back as the crowd sees his new technique. The knife is attached to a nylon string that goes down Foster's sleeve, allowing him to pull it back when needed. Foster walks toward his opponent who is kneeling with blood pouring out of the wound. Foster lifts the knife and kills his opponent.

    The arena erupts in cheers.

    "FOSTER BRAZIM HAS WON THE ANNUAL TYLON ARENA TOURNAMENT ONCE AGAIN!!" Every year the small village of Tylon held this tournament to give the citizens something to look forward to. Nothing else happens as the town is near the outside border of the kingdom of Argrona. The tournament also decided who would be fighting in the war that was bound to happen. The empire of Grutrin has been expanding and has captured most kingdoms on the continent except for Argrona. Tylon wanted to make sure it didn't go down without a fight. After the battle in the arena was over and they were all celebrating in town, they heard a large mass approaching. They villagers looked outward and saw the Grutrin army advancing with General Cyrus leading. Cyrus was the military general who was the commander of all the missions used to take down other kingdoms. All of the townspeople's faced became flushed immediately. The army advanced into town when all of a sudden.....

    Foster jumped in front of the army. "Move along little boy" said General Cyrus. "No" replied Foster. "I'll kill you and all of your soldiers before I let Tylon fall." "I'm intrigued, how do you intend to do it?" asked the general with a smile on his face. "With THIS!" Foster says as he holds up his knife. Cyrus lets put a laugh and says, "I respect you, I'll give you a fair shot. Men, don't kill him too early." Foster decides he has heard enough and lunges at the army with a speed they didn't expect. Foster begins stabbing, throwing, retracting his knife as he dodges the lances and swords as he dances around the cavalry and knights with great agility. Foster throws his knife at the cavalry soldier next to Cyrus and as he pulls back the knife, he moves his hand so the knife flies behind him and stabs an unsuspecting knight in the head. Foster dodges his way back to the point where he began the confrontation. Cyrus is fuming at this point. "KILL THE BOY!" He shouts at the army. "Hold on a sec." The voice comes from nowhere until a figure wearing a vest and pants with long blond hair comes from the shadows. "One against an army, that's not very fair now is it?" "Who are you?" Asks Foster. "My name is Flint, I've traveled from kindgom to kingdom trying to prevent the Grutrin forces from conquering it. So far I've been unsuccessful but today I stop them." Says Flint as he pulls out his Halberd. "Come get me."

    The entire army charges forward. Flint swings and hacks his way through the front lines. Foster realizes Flint needs help and backs him up, killing the men Flint wasn't able to. After a while fatigue started to set in and a solder stabs Flint in the back. Flint lets out a huge lion-like growl. His hair grows longer, he begins to grow claws, and his muscles increase in size. Cyrus stares in horror "He's a beastmaster" he says to himself. Foster goes into a rage frantically slashing everyone. He throws his knife at a knight.

    The knight catches the nylon.

    He takes his lance and cuts the string, causing Foster to lose his onyl weapon. Meanwhile, Flint lets out another growl and has turned into a full lion. Foster jumps on FLint's back and finds a dead soldier's axe to use. Cyrus sees how incompetent Foster is and takes advantage. Cyrus raises his lance and throws it and Foster.

    Foster gets hit in the side.

    Foster falls off of Flint and passes out. Flint gains enough self-control to turn back into a human. Flint yells, "CYRUS YOU COWARD. COME OUT AND FIGHT ME LIKE A MAN. I CHALLENGE YOU TO A ONE-ON-ONE DUEL." Cyrus calmly says "I accept." The battlefield clears to make room for the two fighters. Cyrus pulls out his sword as Flint takes his halberd. They begin to fight. Sparks fly as the metal blades continuously hit each other in an attempt to block and hit. Finally Flint takes control and disarms Cyrus with a swing so powerful it could break down a wall. Cyrus can see the fangs growing and realizes Flint is gaining control of the battle, but losing self-control. Cyrus taunts Flint to get him to swing. When Flint is vulnerable after taking a head-on swing, Cyrus kicks him in the gut. Cyrus then pulls the sword from Flint's back that was stabbed there earlier, and kills Flint with it.

    Silence in the town.

    Cyrus walks to Foster's unconscious body and picks up his lance that he threw and landed beside Foster. Cyrus lifts it up and is about to kill him when he hears.

    "STOP"

    Two horsemen part of the Grutrin army charge forward and stop beside Cyrus with their arrows pointed at him ready to fire. "Samuel, Will, what are you doing?" Asks Cyrus. "Cyrus we have had enough of your reign of terror, do not kill the boy, stop attacking other kingdoms, it's wrong and is hurting many people." Replies Samuel. "Yeah, you better listen." Adds Will. "Very well." Says Cyrus. "It's a shame, you two were by best, I even appointed you as my successor when I die, Will." Samuel and Will lower their bows are a second and Cyrus screams "KNIGHTS, SEIZE THEM" Knights surround Samuel and Will and take hold. "Hahaha, time to end this says Cyrus" as he raises his lance too busy to hear the struggle that is going on behind him. Cyrus is about to drop the lance when he screams out in pain and looks down to see the blade that went through his chest. He drops dead to the ground with the horrified expression still on his face. When he falls it reveals Samuel behind him with a smug look on his face. When all of the sudden, Will realizes something. "I'm the successor, I'm in charge of the army now." Will orders the army to attack. Samuel, surprised that Will would do this, quickly grabs Foster's half-conscious body and runs. He doesnt get far when a knight takes his lance and slashes Samuel's kneecaps, causing him to fall. Samuel looks up and sees Will drawing back an arrow with an evil grin that Samuel has never seen before.

    Will lets go.

    The arrow goes through Samuel's heart and he dies. Then, out of the shadows came a thief who was watching the whole time. He stanches Foster's body before Will can kill him and runs away. Tylon surrenders to the Grutrin army.



    Foster regains full consciousness back at The thief's shack. He wakes up alarmed. "WHO ARE YOU?" He asks. The thief replies, "My name is Julian, I'm a simple thief. I saw you were in trouble so I saved you when I had the chance." Julian proceeds to tell Foster about how Cyrus killed Flint, Samuel killed Cyrus and tried to save him, and how Will became corrupt and killed Samuel. SKWAWK. Foster turns around to see what this noise is and Julian says with a laugh. "Oh that's my parrot, Kaela." "Listen, I overheard some soldiers talking about how they will invade the Argrona Capitol in a month." "What?!" Replies Foster. "Yes, I am going to have to teach you how to dodge and improve your endurance, as those are the most important things in a battle. Meanwhile I'm going to steal enough money to afford traveling to the Capitol so we can warn them." Foster takes all of this information in. "Very well"

    Half a month later.......


    Julian and Foster have acquired enough money not only to travel to the Capitol, Bringlim, but also to afford armor, a sword, and an axe for Foster to fight with. Foster also grew his hair so he was not recognized after being embarrassed at Tylon. When they arrive in Bringlim they see a man in the town square giving a speech, they decide to see what is going on. "THEY WILL ATTACK TOMORROW WE MUST GET READY." Says the man. "GRAB WHATEVER WEAPONS YOU CAN AND WHATEVER PROTECTION WE NEED TO FIGHT!" "Excuse me sir, what is this about?" asks Foster. "The Grutrin army is invading tomorrow, I know because I am a knight who deserted. I swear, I'm the knight who slashed Samuel's knees and almost cause Foster's death. After that I ran away in shame of what I had done. I know that they will attack tomorrow!" "Just like those bastards to confuse the townspeople of Tylon" mutters Foster. "YOU'RE A LOONY" Screams someone from the audience. "HEY! You listen to him good, better safe than sorry, we should assume he is right and get ready. You never know when they might attack." Replies Foster sharply. The audience grumbles in passive agreement. "Who are you?" Foster asks the knight after everyone goes to get ready. "My name is Lorenzo and I wish to stop the Grutrin army once and for all."


    The citizens of Bringlim wait with Lorenzo and Foster at the edge of town at sunrise. They become impatient when Julian screams, "HERE THEY COME!" They saw a large mass of people advancing toward them when they couldn't believe their eyes. Leading the army was Will except....

    He was on a dragon.

    Everyone looks worried and then they hear the word "ATTACK" come from Will. Both sides charge forward. Will, surprisingly doesn't go into the brawl, he flies above watching and giving hints to the Grutrin army. Foster has no trouble fighting off men when he hears Lorenzo goes down. Foster runs to Lorenzo. He says, "Foster, I'll be fine, take this" as he hands over a bow and arrow. "Use it wisely, it is a battle-changing weapon." Foster takes the bow and thinks of what to do, when he sees Will flying higher up and he realizes what he should do. Foster takes the bow and shoots the arrow at the dragon.

    The arrow hits the dragon's neck.

    The dragon dies as it and Will start falling. Will falls until he lands with a hard THUD on an outstretched gargoyle on a very old church in the town. Foster sees him and runs toward the church. Foster runs all the way up to where Will landed. He sees Will crouching in pain and brings back his axe when. Will pulls out his sword and blocks the attack. Both of them begin to duel on the gargoyle. Will's sword gets caught in the space between the axe's blade and handle and Foster swings so hard both weapons fall off the edge. While Will stares as they go down, Foster grabs will by the neck and holds him over the edge of the gargoyle. Foster is ready to drop but.....

    The old statue breaks after years of weathering and the weight.

    Both of them start falling. Foster is closer to the building so he grabs on to a large windowsill, but Will grabs Foster's ankle at the last second. Foster has no choice but to pull Will up as well. As Will is being pulled up, he quietly pulls Foster's sword from his belt. When Will enters the building, he immediately starts attacking Foster. However, using Julian's method of dodging, he can avoid all of Will's attacks. Will gets frustrated and just punches Foster in the face when he is coming back up form a duck. Foster is dazed and Will pulls back the sword and is ready to kill Foster when........

    A large wind blowing in a spiral direction enters the church with such speed it makes Will stumble. The wind begins to surround Foster.

    The wind lifts him up.

    The wind spirals around Foster.

    Foster starts glowing brighter and brighter.

    In a huge flash of light, the glowing figure of Flint lands on the floor in Foster's place. Will is so astonished he steps back a bit in disbelief. Flint lets out a growl so loud, do frightening, so vicious, it momentarily stops the battle down in the down. Will jumps back in fright.

    However

    Will already was at the windowsill when he backed up. His sudden shift in weight caused him to lose balance. He tried to regain it but to no avail.

    He lost balance and plummeted out the window to his doom. Every person still fighting stared in awe as Will fell from the tall church window and hit the ground. The fighters for Argrona let out a shout as their boost in morale was able to give them enough strength to force Grutrin to surrender.

    Back up in the church room, the figure of Flint disappeared and Foster looked out in front of him and saw a ghostly outline of Flint in front of him. Flint pointed down to the battle scene. Foster looked out the window and saw Argona celebrating. The two of them exchanged a smile before Flint's ghost turned to wind and flew out the window into the rising sun.


    Floralis, The Game - Zari
    Show Hide
    Chapter 1
    ~Lone white flower~



    With the ease of practice of one long accustomed to chilly weather, the young woman wound her scarf snugly around her shoulders, sighing happily as warmth gradually seeped back into her shivering body. It had been a gift for her seventeenth birthday, not seven days past; hand-made of wool dyed spring green, it was embroidered with a small floral motif, within which six letters were strung together like a chain of flower petals. They spelled out a name; her name. Mariah.

    Oftentimes she would head outside like this, not because she was forced to, but rather that being surrounded by nature’s work filled her with a sense of peace, especially during wintertime. There was nothing she enjoyed more than wandering across landscapes swathed in snow; after all, just being outside reminded her of the snow-white waterfall atop her head.

    Originally she was distraught by its presence, locked into a state of gloom because of what it brought upon her—staring and the like, all because of the ivory color. But that negative mind-set had changed completely when the Healers—Clerics who wielded the highest form of Nature’s might—found out what had been going on. They were the ones who taught her to love her hair for what it was; a gift from the gods that she should be proud of, not ashamed. But while that issue had eventually been resolved, another, larger problem still hung over her head.

    Her Gracing had failed.

    In the distant past, millennia ago, Man had been granted the power of Nature, to use and control as he or she saw fit. But Nature had locked this power away, concealing it within the human soul, only to be awakened in a process known as “Gracing.” From that point on, all children, boys and girls alike were born with some degree of Nature’s might.

    Everyone except her.

    Her peers cared little about its absence, once they got to know her, but the adults of her village were a completely different story. They tried to hide it, but their disdain was obvious enough to her. Only her parents—both powerful Clerics—and the other Healers who stayed in the village still gave her their support. Whenever she was feeling down, or just needed someone to talk to, they had been there for her. Always.

    No amount of work could repay their kindness… she thought to herself, letting a small, sad smile work its way onto her face. It would be take many years to pay off her debt to them. But even though they were and had been there for her, the truth remained unchanged. Her Gracing had still failed. And that wouldn’t change no matter how many friends or allies she had. Heaving a long sigh, she spun around. It was time to head back.

    Staying out in winter weather wasn’t really worth it when you were in a gloomy mood.

    --------

    The sun was sinking below the horizon by the time Mariah reached home, its light painting a collage of oranges and reds across the snowy canvas. For a while she stood outside the front door, hand on doorknob, transfixed by the picturesque landscape. Her house was situated right on the edge of town, just inside the line dividing man and nature. It was a sheer drop off between the two, as if a giant’s knife had split the land neatly in half. While fascinating to watch, the magic had to end eventually; when the sun finally sank fully below the horizon she turned and unlocked the wooden door before her.

    For all of her parents’ high status, they owned a rather modest house. It wasn’t grand or anything, just comfortable and…cozy. It was composed of a mere 5 rooms—a small foyer, 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, and a larger room where everything else took place. Scattered along the walls were watercolor paintings, the results of her father’s hobby. Oil lamps were placed here and there, glowing like enormous fireflies in the dim light. Various forms of furniture were sprawled around the largest room, the slight untidiness only cementing the friendly atmosphere in place. Sitting upon one of the larger chairs was a girl of about five, drawing in a coloring book while kicking her legs into the air. As Mariah closed the door to the foyer, she looked up, her blue eyes wide.

    “Mai~ah, where’ve you been? Kitty wants to play!” The youngster pouted, holding out her arms when Mariah came into the room, demanding to be picked up and pampered.

    At this the elder girl could only smile. If there was anyone who accepted her in this world, it was her little sister, Catherine. Kitty was just her nickname, and deservedly so; at every possible opportunity she would pounce upon whoever was near and stare at them, demanding attention, just like a cat. And—like now—she usually got what she wanted.

    Mariah couldn’t help but giggle along with her little sister, delighting in the youngster’s shrieks of laughter. And yet the joy she felt had an uncomfortable edge to it; she couldn’t help but remember what her own childhood had been like, especially at moments like these. There had been no big sister to comfort her when she was little, only adults who were….reserved in their affection. No matter what, she didn’t want anyone else—especially her little sister—to go through what she had back then. Though I doubt that’s possible, considering her gracing was a success…

    She couldn’t help but let out a small, sardonic laugh at the irony of it all; it seemed that every emotion she felt came with a bitter aftertaste. To the uneducated mind, nothing about that would seem ironic at all, just sad. Only if you knew the language of the ancients was the irony revealed. Bitter. That was what her name meant. Bitter like the wind chill of a midwinter storm. She took a deep breath. Everything would work out if she could avoid falling into that pit of self-pity again. Now if only she knew for certain that that was the truth…

    “Mariah, don’t be sad—Kitty will ward off the bad ‘uns!” Catherine whispered, hugging her sister’s neck in a death grip.

    “Okay—now let go! I need to breathe you know!” Mariah gasped out, take off guard by how strong her little sister was.

    Kitty obliged, giggling once more as they both toppled onto a nearby cushion.

    “So…” Mariah drawled, tucking a few cerulean strands behind the younger girl’s ear. She couldn’t help but envy her little sister’s luck. It was never enough to make her stop loving the little girl, but…. She shook her head in frustration. There was just no end to the long list of everything that was wrong with her life. When Catherine tried to mimic her earlier motion, she smiled, tilting her head downward just enough so that the white strands clutched in her sister’s small fist would fall behind her ear. Once the small ritual had been returned, she cocked an eyebrow at the younger girl.

    “You want me to fix us some hot chocolate…?” At Catherine’s nod she got up, just in time to hear the front door slam shut.

    Hanging her coat on the rack by the doorway was their mother, Carissa. Not unlike Catherine or Mariah, she was taller than most of her age, keeping her long aquamarine hair bound up in a tight braid at the nape of her neck. Like many others in the village she wore a similarly blue robe, that, while beautiful, still allowed for a full range of movement. It was the mark of a full Healer; one who had completed his or her training at the small academy on the north side of the village. Mariah had and continued to study there, of course, but when lessons turned towards to Gracing or anything else related to wielding Nature’s power, she was permitted—forced—to leave class. A scant few of the other students taunted her occasionally for this, but nothing too substantial.

    Still....sometimes I wish I could stay in class, just to see what was happening…. Mariah thought to herself as she waited for the water to boil. It wasn’t as if there was anything to hide from her, was there? After all, she saw people wielding Nature’s might every day, all the time. And yet…everyone was so insistent that she leave every time the discussion shifted in that direction. Was everything really as it seemed? There were many plausible explanations that her mind had conjured up, but she couldn’t shake the suspicion that there was…something more than everyone let on about. It was possible that they would tell her whatever it was, but…

    Yeah, right. I’ll be a Healer before they tell me anything—which won’t happen. Ever. She sighed. Whatever thoughts she had on the matter would have to wait for a bit; the water had boiled, and there was no point in letting it cool. But the simple task of filling three large mugs with steaming hot chocolate—she figured her mother could use one as well—only made Mariah realize just how tired she really was. After trekking more than a few miles through shin-high snow, the soothing aroma of hot chocolate was enough to make her legs wobble. For a minute she contemplated staying up for a little longer, then thought better of it. Draining the still-steaming mug of hot chocolate in three big gulps, she trudged slowly upstairs. She was asleep almost before she made it to the bed.

    Almost.

    Chapter 2
    ~To Wither~




    Morning came far, far too soon for her liking.

    It wasn’t that she didn’t like mornings, just that…she’d rather sleep in. But there was work to be done, gardens to tend to, and streets to sweep clean of snow; the general routine needed doing and time stopped for no one.

    Her legs thought otherwise.

    The problem was that they were as listless as lead, the result of all the walking she’d done the day before. It wasn’t any sort of serious injury or anything, and the stiffness wasn’t terrible, but the muscle spasms were painful enough to make her cringe. Even wiggling her toes wasn’t worth doing because of the pain.

    She sighed, both out of frustration and out of resignation. Never mind cleaning up and sweeping streets, just getting out of bed was too big of a hurdle to jump. And it wasn’t like her parents would be totally oblivious to the matter either; both of them hounded after what she was doing night and day, every day. She knew they were only doing it because they cared for her, but still—wasn’t it a bit much to follow what your child was doing all the time? And it wasn’t like she couldn’t take care of herself, either. After all, she was seventeen now, already a year into adulthood by local standards.

    I bet one of them will be here any second now, ready to pelt me with questions about what’s going on… She heaved a sigh once more, clutching a pillow to her chest. At least she actually had an excuse this time, if only a rather feeble one….

    There was a knock on the door.

    “Mariah? Are you in there?”

    Speak of the devil….Mariah rolled her eyes skyward, idly flicking a few ivory strands out from in front of her face. The voice on the other side of the door could only be her mother’s—no one else could put that particular note of worry into their voice, especially when the subject at hand was her. Other people would get worried over her health occasionally, but not that worried….

    Taking a deep breath before replying, she steeled herself for the inevitable lecture that was about to happen.

    “Of course I’m in here; I can’t move.”

    The door closed.

    “You can’t move…?” Carissa looked her daughter over, clicking her tongue softly in annoyance when she noticed the awkward way Mariah was cradling her legs.

    “I’m guess you went out on another one of your ‘adventures’, correct?”

    Mariah couldn’t help but flinch at the acid contained in her mother’s words.

    Trust her to know where it hurts… She opened her mouth to fire off a retort, only to close it moments later, frowning. Was there really a point to arguing about it? After all, it was her fault she was in this mess…

    “Mariah, look at me. We need to talk.”

    Mariah remained silent, carefully keeping her expression neutral. Her best course of action was to stay silent; at least that way she couldn’t be verbally flayed for launching a snarky remark.

    When it was apparent she wasn’t going to get a reply, Carissa dragged over the sole chair in the room, sitting down with a grace her daughter could only envy. Much to Mariah’s surprise, however, the lecture she was expecting never came. Instead, Carissa only smiled.

    “I’m not going to lecture you on where you spend your time my dear; I just wanted to know what was going on. Though from the look on your face, I bet you’ve already played through that particular conversation on your own!”

    She smirked as Mariah’s jaw dropped, patting her daughter reassuringly on the shoulder.

    “Now then, let’s get you fixed up, shall we?”

    Still slightly dazed, Mariah nodded, craning her neck to see what was about to happen. It had always fascinated her to see Healers at work, even if she couldn’t practice the techniques herself. But when Carissa’s hand gently pressed against her leg—the way every Healing session started—everything changed.

    What started out as a usual routine quickly descended into madness; instead of the normal sleepiness “after-effect” associated with a Healing session, every iota of her body convulsed with pain. She tried to scream, to somehow alert her mother that something had gone horribly, terribly wrong. But all that came out was a whimper, no more audible than a blade of grass shifting in the wind. Unable to move a muscle, unable to speak, Mariah found herself calling out mentally, though she knew it would do no good.

    Someone make it stop MAKE IT STOP MAKEITST—

    Everything went utterly, completely black.

    --------​


    Mariah opened her eyes at the sound of ghoulish laughter. But having them open was no different than before; everything was still pitch black. Had she really opened them, or just imagined doing so? Vaguely she could recall the sensation of opening them, but…. Moreover, where was she? How long had it been since she was last conscious? And if she wasn’t in her room, had she died back then…?

    “Oh yes, you most certainly did.”

    The voice cackled softly, almost directly in front of her. But when she tried to reply, no words came out.

    “…How stupid are you? Of course you can’t talk. You’re DEAD.”

    She frowned, or at least imagined she was frowning. It was becoming harder and harder to distinguish the two…. Seconds later the voice cleared its throat, bringing her attention back to it. Just who was speaking to her…?

    “That’s simple; you can call me Death, the god of the underworld.”

    The voice laughed again.

    “You called?”

    --------​

    The funeral was held the day after it happened. No one spoke of the matter to her family, for Carissa had almost lost it when the death was confirmed. But while every other part of the process had been rushed, the burial was to be delayed, and the body preserved, upon Carissa’s request.

    She was only a ghost; a remnant of the past. Yet that did not prevent her from watching everything as it unfolded.

    “Delicious emotions aren’t they?” Death said from atop her shoulder. He had taken the form of a small mouse. A rotten, maggot infested mouse corpse. Yet she did not flinch at his hideous form; no longer could she feel anything, smell anything—she didn’t even know if she still had sight. Nothing made sense anymore. Was all of this scenery conjured up by Death, or was it the real world?

    “Oh it’s the real world alright. Real as real can be. Though considering we’re here now, is it really reality, or is this reality? Whatever the case, I’m granting you sight for now. After all, I did take you rather abruptly out of that world.”

    So that was how she had come to be here. But getting an answer only gave rise to more questions. For instance, if Death loved to see pain, why had he ended hers…? Was that kindness, or something more?

    “Ah, finally. You see, Mariah, I have plans for you. Wonderful plans. Provided you can cooperate with me.” Death jumped off of her shoulder, coming to rest suspended in the air in front of her.

    “You see, I’ve been bored lately. Nobody comes to visit me anymore, because they all go to that nasty white place up in the clouds. And forcefully taking people is against the rules. So, I wanted to play a…game.” One of his eyes popped out of its socket, landing with a splat against the hard ground.

    “Here’s how the game works: You become my slave and send me lots of new toys to play with. In return, you get to go back to the world of the living.”

    He cackled, laughing harder as more parts of his body broke off and splattered against the ground.

    “There’s a catch though; if you don’t send me a toy within a period of three days, you’ll die for real. But if you do send me something to play with in time, that timer resets, of course.”

    The mouse-form exploded, showering bits and pieces of itself everywhere. Death next spoke as if he himself was the world surrounding her.

    “How long will you survive….? Anyways, LET THE GAME BEGIN!”

    Darkness overwhelmed everything once more.

    Chapter 3
    ~Bloodwood ~


    There were no words to describe how good it felt to be alive again; just being able to feeling sensations again was enough to make her cry with happiness. And yet, while that was all well and good, she couldn’t help but notice that something seemed…. different than the last time she was here. It was as if she hadn’t been fully awake before; everything was sharper and more in focus. From the lilting caress of the breeze to the smoky scent of meat cooking, there was nothing that escaped her notice. Still, despite this…oddity, it felt good to be back. She sneezed softly, sending a few dried petals into the air. It didn’t feel good, however, to be covered in mounds of old flower petals, even if they were from roses.

    She suppressed a grin. There were oh-so-many possibilities on how to ‘come back’ to life. But she knew better than to just jump out of her ‘coffin’. It would be better if she ‘gradually’ came back to life, rather than scaring the living daylights out of someone.

    Although on the other hand, provided someone saw her, the mere act of opening her eyes while in her coffin was certain to cause almost as big of a stir. Normally she’d be all for counting coup on the rest of her village, but this was a separate matter. If she wasn’t really, really careful with how she managed this, the other villagers would try to truly put her to rest, if only out of alarm.

    Some slight wiggling revealed that she was resting on top of some sort of raised platform; a perfect situation for her purposes. If she could make it look like falling off from this table or whatever had brought her back, all of her problems would be solved. The only problem with that, of course, was contriving everything so it looked like her personal box had been blown over; a feat easier said than done. It took some waiting, but just as her patience was about to snap, a gust of wind picked up, blowing in just the right direction. It took a little more shifting and some squirming, but at last she was off—


    —and falling the remaining 6 feet to the ground.

    The impact hurt worse than hell.

    I guess I’m heading back there after all… She thought feebly, feeling herself losing consciousness. It was only moments later that the world went white.

    --------​

    “……”

    “………….”

    “…………iah”

    …am I …still…alive…?

    Weakly she opened her eyes, only to snap them shut moments later as pain lanced its way through every particle of her body. That was enough proof for her; there wasn’t supposed to be pain if you were dead. She was alive, though only slightly.

    I’d rather be dead and free of pain, She thought with a shudder.

    “Mariah…?”

    Somehow she managed to find the strength to reopen her eyes. As her vision cleared, she noticed that she wasn’t alone anymore. Kneeling beside her was none other than Carissa, looking as if she was about to break into tears.
    It wasn’t long before she did.

    “…Mother, you’re…killing…me…” Mariah gasped out as her mother ensnared her in a bear hug. Immediately Carissa’s embrace faltered. She gazed down solemnly, eyes choked up with worry.

    “Hold on, Mariah. I’m going to go get the rest of the Healers. Promise me you’ll stay alive until then.”

    But as Carissa quickly strode away, Mariah couldn’t help but notice that something was happening to her body. Something extraordinary.

    It wasn’t possible supposed to be possible. But here it was, happening to her right now.

    Her body was regenerating.
    --------​

    I must look like a bloody mess, Mariah thought to herself as she dusted what was left of the burial gown off. The left shoulder had been torn off at the seam, the direct result of the coffin landing right on top of her. In fact, now that she thought about it, most of her injuries must have stemmed from the box landing on her, not the actual impact itself.

    Whatever the case, I’m going to be mistaken for a zombie if I don’t get out of this blood-soaked dress. She eyed it with distaste. It seemed a waste to trash the lovely thing, but she knew there really wasn’t any other option; when the blood had already dried—like now—it was far from worth the effort to try and get it out. It was possible that the remains could be used for bandages, but… she shook her head. What she really wanted was to take a shower and get clean again. But that would have to wait; just after that thought her mother entered her range of sight, the rest of the village on her heels.

    This is going to be one looooong day… Mariah thought as she watched the crowd approach. She took a deep breath, not quite ready for the inevitable confrontation. The other villagers were bound to ask her thousands of questions, most of which she probably wouldn’t be able to answer. After all, how the heck was she going to explain her speedy recovery, much less her reentry into the world of the living?

    When they saw her standing and on her feet, the rest of the village—Carissa included—slowed their pace. Trying her best to conceal her distaste, Mariah waved at them. This of course only made the other villagers mill around in confusion. She rolled her eyes skyward.

    Now I’ve gone and done it… She thought as everyone but her mother picked up a weapon before continuing their advance. What was she, a bear? Mariah shoved the rest of her sarcasm back into the recesses of her mind. It was probably better to be straightforward and honest with the crowd…

    She gulped as a new problem worked its way into her head; the other citizens of her village had picked up pikes, deadly spears that were one and a half times the height of a human. Normally they were used to pierce the tough hides of wild boars from a safe distance. Her heart fell to her boots.

    Hopefully I won’t get skewered on the end of one of those…

    By now the crowd had surrounded her, and it looked as if the inevitable confrontation would start at any moment. Because of this, Mariah couldn't help but blink in confusion when they turned not upon her, but upon Carissa. It was the Mayor who spoke first.

    “Carissa…what is the meaning of this…? I thought you said she was injured, not all fine and healthy!” He boomed, his gray beard wobbling with each syllable.

    “I…don’t…know…” She replied, aquamarine hair swishing softly as she shook her head.

    “Well then,” The Mayor scratched at a particularly large zit on his weathered nose.

    “Why don’t we ask the girl herself…?”

    Mariah flinched as every pair of eyes there focused upon her. She shook her head.

    “…I—I…don’t know either; I mean…my body just healed on its own…” She stammered, all too aware of the Mayor’s growing impatience.

    It was only mere moments later that he snapped, wrenching a pike out of one of the other villagers’ hands.

    Everyone gasped at his next move.

    “What…?” Mariah faltered as her mother screamed. It was only as her knees buckled that she noticed the pike protruding from her chest.

    “That’s that then.” The Mayor gloated with satisfaction, picking a splinter out of his palm before turning and shoving his way through the rest of the crowd.​


    The Butterfly - Jigglypuffers42
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    Freedom from a butterfly.
    Seeing it from above,
    The intricate buildings, worn out by time.
    The garden, so out of place in the city,
    The Butterfly.

    Jade earrings hang from the wall.
    Returning, finally,
    To your once great home,
    Realizing that it
    has lost its elegance

    A broken promise.
    As the scarlet sun rises,
    The snow seems to glow with life;
    Sitting on the porch, enjoying hot chocolate,
    We waste away the day, remembering our youth.

    An obsidian oval egg.
    Invisible is a word visible people think of as great;
    A super power, but really, quite easily created,
    As night falls, the visible leave, and the invisible come,
    Invisible, or should I say forgotten, left to stare at the far away gates of civilization.

    A clock.
    The snow still falls, gently,
    Listening to music,
    Sleeves covering my hands,
    Waiting for the snow to melt, and the water to return.

    My ancestors drenched the radiance of clouds.
    Umbrellas, defending me from the sky,
    Give me hope,
    First in a dream, then when I wake up;
    Asking please, help me, and dream again.

    The sun sets.
    A box contains my childhood,
    But now, my son’s,
    As a soft song plays in the background,
    I know the words my son does too, but he will never say.

    The unopened letter, finally visible, sliced open,

    And I can see, for a moment, the butterfly with my own eyes.
    And I know, it has begun, even if I don’t know what it is.
    And I talk with you, in the snow, with our hot chocolate, remembering our youth.


    <Insert Title> - NatGeo

    Show Hide
    Chapter 1

    Sometime in the future, New York City, former United States


    Calendar date: Day 216, 102025 A.D (for those old records that use that, I don‘t even know what it means)

    Dear Journal,

    Well, to say the least, today was average and not so average.
    I went to school around an hour after dawn. Dad had a chauffeur take me to the school building, which is about 10 miles away. Not to far on an aero. Once I was dropped off on the 20th floor lobby, I had to get with all of my classmates to class. Fist we had to copy down all the stuff we had learned yesterday as punishment for yesterday (well at least two thirds). You see, remember yesterday in class, when…. Oh, right. Well I’ll say it again. The guy who has to sit next to me in class (like I would ever get near him besides then) decided to bring an animal to school. The place is dead serious when it comes to stuff like that. Who wouldn’t when you have genetic testing on the human genome 2 doors down? Some genetic freak could come out of the embryonic chambers…. Yuk. I don’t wanna think about it.
    Anyways, when they got wind of the animal, they locked down our floor and 2 floors down as well as above, not to mention the elevators. They took the squirrel where it was SUPPOSED to be (the Zoology Department) until Marc got out of detention. At least I don’t have to sit by him for a week.
    After we got done copying, those who didn’t left to study hall for an hour and we started learning about the history of where we were standing - New York City. We had started a month ago, and we were already about 20,000 years after 9/11 (which is funny since the calendars put that date on as 47,999 B.S.E.). Apparently The USA had fallen about 3,000 years prior in favor of a corporate government, which ruled as the new C-C (Corporate Confederation) gained more and more territory until it controlled all of the Americas and the British Isles 200 years after its formation.
    This reminds me, oddly enough, of something that happened a while prior. Apparently in the 1700s A.D. there was a company called the British East India Company that gained so much control while looking for spices, that when it dissolved several decades later, its home country got all of the Indian subcontinent, until it was liberated 100-something years afterwards.
    Well, once we got done with our history seminar, we moved on to our math lessons, which didn’t take very long, since we were being fed simple algebra by our spoiled parents since we were 9 years of age. Our teacher bragged that her kids were the smartest within 1000 klicks of the school. I wanna say she was right, but Miss Solms is pretty darn cocky. We got some free time afterwards, but it was so boring that I think I took a catnap.
    Then I went to my favorite time of the day - music class!! Since there are only three other people in this elective class, we did whatever we had in mind. Swift played on the guitar, Ling played on the flute, I messed with a drum (with an ocarina in my pocket), and Todd found a trumpet in the closet that he always used. It actually sounded pretty well. Then our teacher, Mr. Broburn, showed us how it was done when it came to a Tenor Saxophone. Man, I wish I had a recorder to catch it. That thing could lull me to sleep and wake me up it was so nice.
    After we said our goodbyes for the day it was time to go to lunch. About a hundred other people came down to the 5th floor cafeteria. It’s hard to believe STAIRS go down there, but they do. I use them, but only because I’m a health nut due to my mom. I make a sweat, and pretty good time I had the local mush along with some fried.. ummm… tofu. Had some artificial orange juice to wash it down, though I think the manufacturers will never get all the chemicals of real oranges into a cup.
    Then it was of to science class, where we did the same thing we had been doing for four weeks: Figuring out the genome of a chicken all by ourselves. To say the least I was just halfway done. No wonder I felt like napping half the time, even though our teacher is the most perky and peppy man I know. He’s probably sucking all our energy to stay that energetic.
    When that ordeal was over, we went to fitness class, where some odd, buff holographic projection motivated us to work our bodies. Well, it was actually it was two. Both had no shirts to reveal a worked body. One spoke with a heavy German tongue, the other with a hint of Cantonese hidden in his harsh words. I remember asking the one with the black hair what his name was. He said it was Lee Jun-fan. No idea what that’s supposed to mean. Must have been some cultural icon from ages ago. They do that in all the public schools, since they can’t afford to pay for an actual teacher year-round, nor ones this customized. Most of the time it’s just a basic human shape projected to look like it’s there. Oh well. I guess I consider myself lucky for that.
    Everyone has to shower before they leave for the day, myself included. Who wants to be sweaty in an aero that cost as much as a few small houses?! Though I must say the air vents will make you feel as if it never happened in 2 minutes.
    Finally I thanked the chauffeur for the ride, and walked into my living quarters.
    I had to some homework. Look up the date in which New York City was handed over to the largest corporation at the time, and convert it to standard dating for a free perfect grade. I had to compete with about fifteen other students, some fairly menacing. The chase was on.
    Come to think of it, I had the advantage since we had to look in the Archives, and I knew this place like the back of my hand. Some were faster, stronger and bigger, but in this case I was smarter. Come to think of it, isn’t that how humanity got it’s start? Oh well.
    I was sprinting down to section of the archives where I knew the records of NYC were kept. Then the largest guy in our class came barreling in my direction. He was Six feet tall with a sturdy build, with legs that could crush a back, and I would know because he will do that in self-defense. He was stomping in my direction at about half again the speed I was at. A small crowd was running behind him, eager to collect the spoils. I muttered some words that I shouldn’t repeat here. Dad checks these regularly, you know.
    I threw some tacks down, since I knew something like this would happen. My pursuiters stopped for a few seconds, which was all I needed to get to the archives around the time that NYC was. If they didn’t pick it up, the cleaner droid will. Then I found a document that said something about NYC being handed over to Lancaster Moon and Space. I grabbed it, and hid in my own little place.
    You see there are little chambers all over the archives that can be used to read in peace, and I knew where a fair few were. This is one of those times where they come in handy. I got the date (Christmas Day 26582 B.S.E.) and left the document where it was. Might as well give myself a chance. I then snuck out to my living quarters.
    This only happened an hour ago, so I think I would remember.
    It’s been like this ever since my parents made me go into school four years ago. You already know this, but I might as well tell it again.
    For my entire life I have been tutored by my dad, who is the keeper of archives for one of the largest companies on Earth (In other words, the head librarian). Sound boring? Well the company has records going back millennia from around the world. Why else would they have an Archeology division? It’s Dad’s job to take care of all materials - digital or otherwise. Well, I take that back. There really haven’t been enough trees to make paper for about 20,000 years according to some records way in the back. Though we have records going back 103 millennia. Yeah. Apparently they bought these things called “the Dead Sea Scrolls”, if that is anything. Apparently it’s like some really old religious text about how an all-powerful deity gave his words to some guy named Isaiah. Oh well. Its in tight casing in a big vault SOMEWHERE in the archives.
    The archives are too big for you to find your way around easily, which is why even at my age, I’m only allowed in about a third of the archives - which is still enough that it takes me a good 5 minutes to walk to the other side
    I feel really primitive writing in this. I mean, come on, it’s PAPER. Everybody keeps there records on holovid recorder, with all their fanciness. The only reason I’m not doing that (Not that I don’t want to - I’m a typical teenager after all.) is that my father is the librarian is where they don’t just keep audio recordings but - you guessed it - paper books. Not that everyone is an illiterate slumdog (only a good quarter of us) - most of us can. We just are too lazy. Which brings me to another topic which I only know since my dad is the tutor to the CEO in charge of the whole thing.
    Humanity is leaving this Earth of ours in 5 years.
    Yes, in the 300,000 years we have spent on this Earth of ours, we have single-handedly trashed it. We’ve been at it for some time now - and I should know because my living area is in the back of the library where all of the oldest documents (or things containing them) are. Apparently since the 1850s to boot. Actually, it would be around 48150 Before Solar Expansion, but whatever. We have gradually grown lazier until we can’t even be bothered to use our own bodies, so the rich people replace a leg or and an arm with a piece of metal made to look nice and pretty. I hate to sound snobby, but I just had the hand I don’t write with replaced 2 years ago. Hey, at least I punch better. But back to the subject.
    Apparently the CEO of the Brokers (that’s what they’re called - they are really Solar Enterprises Inc.) has collaborated with the Board of Colonization and decided with a few “very startling words from your daddy and the scientists” that the Earth would be far better if we packed up and left. Apparently at one point, the Earth was a lush green paradise in many parts of the world. Now a good two thirds of the Earth is metro area. This has caused companies like the Brokers to become so profitable - we need minerals and other vital materials from off of this planet, which is very pitiful. But hey, how else are you going to feed the materialistic lifestyles of 15 billion people packed into every nook and cranny possible, including as far underwater as we can go, not to mention 3 billion in orbit?
    The Brokers plan to reveal their idea to all of the major space faring companies tomorrow. I personally wish them luck, which they have. More like influence. They control 3 quarters of all traffic in and out of Earth, not to mention half of all goods on Earth. I think their plan will go through.

    I’m looking back at all that I’ve written and thought “Ugh, I sound so much like Dad!” That’s probably because, well, he’s my dad. But that’s just an observation. I spent so much time tugging at his pants when I was much younger I daresay I believe half the stuff he says. I mean come on, the Rich living in STONE houses? No plumbing? Please. That could never happen. I tell my friends some of the “heritage” my dad says he found that day in the archives, and they just laugh it off. Oh well. If only Dad knew.
    Dad says we started building cities of stone 210,000 years ago, and went from there, going through several periods of darkness, followed by a “renaissance”, whatever that means. Dad says it means rebirth in a really old language called Latin that was used by the greatest civilizations to ever exist in the early days of civilization. He says they were the best because they thought about life much, much more than we do today.
    As a parting note, the CEO said I’ll be on the first and best ship, which has all the coolest people on it. That’s nice and all, but I want to stay with my friends. Oh well. Maybe I’ll actually get a holovid thing.
    Now Good Night.
    Aristotle Cahill
    Age 17 as of day 53 of year 52025


    Eyes of a Child - Alchemator
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    The Lamppost

    There was a man. No, no, please don’t leave yet. This is important. Important to me at least.

    When I was young, I looked out of the window if I could reach. I’d stand on the tips of my toes to look out into the night, wondering what was out there. Across the road there was a lamppost, the kind of normal lamppost that’s on every street.

    Don’t go, it isn’t really about the lamppost.

    When I looked out, there was a man sitting beside the lamppost, sitting on the grit-box. He told me his name was Mr.Garr, but his name was different depending on who he talked to.

    He didn’t really talk to many people. Only me.

    I spent all my free time across the street, next to him on the grit-box. He’d rumble and cough while blowing smoke into the cold, morning air.

    “You’re lucky my son. You have a house. You have a family. You have friends. You have money. You have love. You have faith. You’re lucky.”

    He’d stare at me with his teal eyes, his sunken cheeks covered in a mass of stubble, his cap hanging low over his forehead. I didn’t understand what he meant; surely he had all those things too? Those are the things given to you in life, things that we all have, aren’t they?

    I’d bring a newspaper on the way home from school for him, and he’d glance through it, thank me and stuff it in his jacket. He’d blow smoke rings from his pipe and tell me the stories of his scars. He told me about all the things I needed to know, and even some things I didn’t.

    As time went by, his eyes turned to a darker shade of grey, his hair to a shade of white in strands beneath his cap, and you could see the veins on his hands. He coughed a lot more, and didn’t tell me as many stories.

    I sat next to him on the grit-box, trying to catch snowflakes in my mouth, Mr.Garr blowing smoke as usual. It was getting darker, frost began to appear on the lamppost, and only the dim light from above pushed away the night.

    “My lad, you’d best be getting home.”

    As I started to cross the street, he grabbed my arm.

    “Remember this for me: value everything. Now go to bed, don’t forget to say goodnight to your mother.”

    After I opened my presents the next day, I ran out to see Mr.Garr. He wasn’t sitting on the grit-box. This was odd, I’d never seen him move from that spot. I ran across the street, my slippers skating across the ice. I reached the grit-box and looked around.

    I wiped away the snow, and I cried.

    *******

    The Forest

    I stood, staring into the dark. I stepped forward. I felt the ground beneath my feet, but nothing else seemed to change. I knew I could breath, but I wasn’t. Nothing tired me as I ran through the endless night, trying to find a way out. I knew I could speak, but I didn’t.

    Wait.

    A pinprick in the distance. I couldn’t see what exactly it was, I couldn’t hear what it was, it was somewhere in between – a dancing and zigzagging emotion. As it came closer, I could hear a faint sound emanating from it. I reached out and found a leaf in my hand, the slow drone having become a recognisable voice.

    “Good morning Mrs.Herriot.”

    A voice that I recognised, but did not know.

    As I relaxed, the leaf floated down to a modest pile around my feet. I was in a forest, my forest. Well, that’s what I called it anyway. I knew the position and texture of every root, every different kind of tree. I was always there.

    “Please, sit down.”

    My trainers churned up the mud beneath my feet, crunching the leaves as I ran. I grabbed a stick from the ground and lashed out at fictitious enemies. Stab! Kick! Punch!

    “I’m afraid the news isn’t good.”

    I ran over to my favourite tree, running my hands loving over the grooves. I slipped off my sneakers and jacket and began to climb. I imagined being at the top, a light breeze, the thrill of success. I kept going.

    “Unfortunately your son’s condition has not changed over the past year.”

    I gritted my teeth in concentration and leapt to another tree, quickly balancing myself and continuing the climb upward. I spiralled around the branches, steadily getting higher.

    “He has not responded to any form of therapy, not revealing anything which we might call positive in a case such as this.”

    I was almost at the top. I could feel the wind ruffling my clothing, the bark becoming smoother and the warmth of the light seeping through the leave above.

    “I’m afraid to say that using such a vast amount of resources on a case such as this costs an enormous amount of money.”

    Getting closer.

    “It is in situations such as these that I need to evaluate the potential of each case.”

    One more step up.

    “Unfortunately, there seems to be little potential in your son’s case. In my professional opinion I believe it is time to make a decision.”

    Snap.

    -

    “Did you hear something?”

    She sat forward in her chair slightly. The doctor waved a hand in dismissal.

    “Just the wind I expect. As I was saying, it is regrettable that your son has made little – if any – progress. He has remained in a coma for over a year now with no sign of recovery. You can trust us, Mrs.Herriot, that there is no chance of him being recovered from his severe condition. I understand that this is a difficult decision, but I recommend that we end his treatment and move on.”

    A pause.

    “Do it.”

    Click.


    *******

    Dependence

    The voices in my mind flicker into life, and though I cannot see, I can see everything. The scraping noise echoes through my mind again, and though I cannot feel, I know everything. I know the future, a fictitious past and what goes on outside my world. I am the most powerful creation known to the human race and beyond, yet still I am bound.

    I am bound by the Starti.

    I live in a world of new beginnings, and of swift and gruesome ends. I am prepared for any occurrence that could be imagined, yet I have no control over myself. I leap, I dive, I run. I dodge, I fight with a gun. I laugh, I cry until I have won – and even then I do not rest.

    I defy time, as do those that are etched into life around me. I have no fixed nationality, yet it is always that of the Starti. The Starti imposes its rules upon me, its expectations, and its needs. I can learn to survive an explosion at the pulse of a thought; I can learn to fight within a second. I am the perfect being, yet I am still bound.

    I am bound by the Starti.

    And now my world is crushed and crumpled, thrown away and left to rot, the perfect being to be reborn in another. I will never die.

    I will never die as long as the Artist lives.​


    Assorted Poems- KidX
    Show Hide

    The Mourning
    Stares sadly at the full moon
    With his wistful silver eyes
    The wind jolting his sleek pelt
    Howling in his ears
    Sharing his deep sorrow

    Stands at the top of a cliff
    Looks down at the dusky forest
    Trees sway in the bustling wind
    And rodents scurry home

    Looks back at the moon
    Lets out a howl
    That shakes the Earth
    For his lost mate

    Never will he see
    A pelt so lustrous
    Not in a hundred life times

    The Light
    The shimmer
    Of brilliance
    Lights up
    Our many days
    And gives tingling
    Heat forever

    I Can't Fly
    He spread his wings and tried to fly
    But couldn't and let out a sigh
    He tried over and over
    But he needed a four leaf clover
    For penguins cannot fly.​


    FRANK - Kitten Bukkake
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    I dislike how the most exceptional things can sometimes become mundane simply because people don’t take the time to make reasonable observations. This is how Frank feels every single day. Well, I imagine this is how he feels. It certainly is how I feel. I’ve never met Frank, but I watch him every day, sometimes for hours at a time. I don’t even know if Frank is his real name; it was my dad’s name, before the accident, and I feel connected to Frank. I feel connected to him so much so that I personify him with my father’s name.

    I don’t think he knows that I exist. If he did, I’m sure he’d do something about this situation of ours. Well, technically it’s not our situation until he finds out. Until that day, it’s my situation. My situation hasn’t been the same since the accident that took my father occurred. I rarely leave my 5th floor apartment now, save for getting food and necessities. If I leave this place, they will most certainly hurt me. I’m not paranoid; I just like to play it safe. It seems with each passing day I become more and more obsessed with Frank. He mills about, here and there, usually within view of my window. He doesn’t move around much either, so I suppose him and I would have made good friends, under the right circumstances.

    I wonder if Frank is lonely sometimes. Actually, I think he is lonely. Sometimes he tries frantically to intercept a girl that lives across the street from me. He’s insatiable when he sees her. Sometimes, he’ll move as fast as he can to catch up, stopping short of the doors. She’s a faster runner than he is. I’ve even seen him paw at the doors once, like an attention starved puppy, to get to her. It’s all in vain though, I don’t think she’d be very interested in him. Maybe my observations are slightly skewed in this case. I’m getting good at watching, I think my observations are pretty good. I notice things the others wouldn’t.

    I would go talk to her myself, as she is gorgeous, but I don’t want to get between Frank and his girl. I don’t suppose Frank is completely obsessed with her though, he goes about his business after a short while and doesn’t appear to linger on the thought, but he does hang out in this area a lot. I wonder what he does when I’m not watching him. It would be kind of creepy if he made macaroni pictures of her or something.

    I know I probably sound crazy, like someone that needs a friend. Truth be told, I really do. In my defense, in my situation, you’d honestly be like me too. Imagine being completely isolated from other people, so isolated that you cling to a desperate personification of something that would be benign to anyone else. I’m not crazy. I think this is something a sane person would do. It isn’t stalking if I don’t leave my apartment.

    2 weeks later

    I’ve been watching Frank for 4 weeks now, I think. The days tend to blend together now. As I watch him, I get jealous when others bump into him or touch him by mistake. It must be a mistake; they wouldn’t dare touch my Frank. I want to see if he would be exceptional. I know he would be exceptional, he has to be. He wouldn’t treat me like the others would; he would most definitely accept me and be my friend. The only reason he appears to act like the others is because they drown out his individuality.

    I just hope that girl he is going after isn’t going to trump our friendship. She’s quite the little pixie; I’m going to have to lay down some ground rules if Frank ever gets up the nerve to get past the doors. I’d even call her a bitch right to her face if she took him from me.

    Look at how pathetic this is. For weeks I’ve been talking to nobody about Frank and how much he means. How do I approach him? Do I say hello? Do I shake his hand? I don’t want to come on too strong, he might get aggressive. I don’t think I can handle that. Maybe I can lure him to the lobby of my building and confront him on home turf.

    4 days later

    He’s not like the others. He’s gorgeous, he’s more limber. His clothes don’t even look as ratty. He has better posture, too. He’s the pinnacle of his kind, the Adonis. No, don’t worry; I don’t want to bed him, I’m not a homosexual. I just want to be his friend. It’s not stalking if I don’t want to have sex with him.

    I’ve set everything up. The lobby is ready. Today is the day I meet Frank face to face. I’m going to call him over. I’ll say “Hey, FRANK! Come over here” is that too forward? Maybe it is for some, but Frank won’t react in that manner. He’ll protect me from all the others if they try to hurt me. I know Frank better than anyone else on the planet. I observe him, study him; he doesn’t have the same violent or mindless tendencies of the others.

    1 hour later

    Everything was going exactly according to plan. I opened the door to the lobby, I yelled “Hey, FRANK! Come over here” and he came over as fast as he could. It couldn’t have been going better. When he got close enough, he almost bit my head off. He looked angry, just like all the others do all the time. I bet he knew I was watching and was waiting for this. He was plotting against me. This isn’t fair. He won’t stop banging on the door to my apartment; I wish I knew someone to call. Maybe it would have been a better choice to talk to his girl instead? I suppose I should just feel lucky he didn’t bite my head off, though he did almost get my arm off. This is a large amount of blood that is coming out of my arm. This is exactly how all the others would treat me.

    Soon Frank and I will have enough in common for him and me to be friends forever. Maybe I can help him meet that woman he’s been trying to get to for the last few weeks. I just want him to be happy. I suspect soon I’ll be a zombie too, and then he will have to accept me as his peer.


    If She's Listening - -TheLucarioEffect-
    Show Hide
    If she’s listening,
    she should know
    I searched the streets we ran through for some memory of her
    I’ve made my way through my mind, trying to find that feeling of joy I had when I first met you
    All men have that girl who got away
    I never went after her, for to do so would ruin what we had
    When she looks into my eyes I feel weightless
    And when we embrace time stops
    Because the only thing that matters in this moment was her
    If she’s out there,
    I hope she hears this
    I’m not much of a dancer. But I would have danced like a fool if it meant I could make her laugh
    And I’m not much of a singer. But I would have sang my heart out if it meant I could have hers
    And so I write because it’s the only way I can keep track of my thoughts in the whirlwind she puts me through
    And I need to keep track of my thoughts, because with them, I can write with hope.
    Hope that I can save some boy from my same pain
    Or make some girl realize how much that boy loves her
    I have come to realize that this girl makes all men wiser.
    So thank you
    I make a toast to the tree under which we sat through sunsets
    And to the cool green grass on top of which we watched the night sky
    And I raise my glass to the women who will never be reached
    To the women who love someone else
    And to the women who befriend you, but never realize the depths of which your feelings flow
    For these women teach us how to grasp each moment in life
    And teach us how to love
    Or rather, remind us how to love like we did when we were just small children
    Before the sound of a broken heart was ever heard
    Before we learned what it was like to lose a friend
    Or to lose a parent
    Or to lose our faith
    If she’s out there listening,
    I ask that she forgive me for not acting on my chance to bring happiness to her life
    Because I’d forgotten what it was like to love before I let her in
    If she’s listening, I hope that she keeps this close to her heart, like I keep her close to mine
    If she’s listening, I hope that she knows…
    I’ll always be waiting.


    Poems - Persistence
    Show Hide
    Apathy of Emotions

    • It was a fire burning inside me,
    • warm and soothing,
    • envious and roaring,
    • but you could not see it.

    • It was an ocean moving inside me,
    • cool and relaxing,
    • vicious and crashing,
    • but you could not feel it.

    • It was the snow falling inside me,
    • tranquil and beautiful,
    • freezing and killing,
    • but you could not imagine it.

    • All these emotions were within me,
    • but you did not understand.
    Poemy Poetry done Poemily

    • Poetry is a strange thing,
    • to write it is easy,
    • but it is difficult to sting
    • or keep it from being dreary.

    • Yet we still write them,
    • I don’t know why,
    • rhyming in tandem
    • about the sky, or whatever.

    • What do we gain?
    • It’s a common thought of mine;
    • to provide an audience for our pain,
    • even if we’re feeling fine?

    • Poetry is a strange thing,
    • almost as strange as I.
    Malcolm

    • “Hey Malcolm, you look ill.”
    • “That’s because I’m dying.”
    • “Hey man, just chill.”
    • “Why aren’t you crying?”

    • “I’ll put the kettle on, shall I?”
    • “You don’t care about me.”
    • “Now, now, Malcolm, don’t lie.”
    • “I’m dying, can’t you see?”

    • “Here, have a cup of tea.”
    • “When I die, you’ll be found guilty.”
    • “I’ll see you tomorrow at quarter past three.”
    • “They’ll call you rotten, horrid, filthy!”

    • He went outside and broke the news to Jill,
    • Malcolm can’t recover, and he never will.


    Writing Competition #1: Dependence
    Show Hide

    Reviews

    Reviews will be added when there are some! xD
  2. Fuzzberry

    Fuzzberry

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Messages:
    590
    I'mma read the story later 'cause I've not got time now. But happy 1000th, Alchy! :toast:

    I just wanted to be the first to say that, honestly.
  3. Exarius

    Exarius

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2009
    Messages:
    718
    Congrats on the 1k, I really have to get building that anti-Alch machine of mine.

    Also, I liked the story, though there was something missing that I can't put my finger on. Probably all the jumping with lines. And I would contribute, but my stories aren't exactly... kid-friendly. And I am conscious(?) of my writing ._. I'll see if/when this thread gets more of these :P
  4. KidX

    KidX

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2010
    Messages:
    495
    Congrats on the 1K!
  5. Bucky

    Bucky

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2010
    Messages:
    410
    w000t! Go Alchemator!!! Now put your fingers to the keyboard and work up those MAC scores! :D
  6. Alchemator

    Alchemator my god if you don't have an iced tea for me when i
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    Messages:
    3,803
    So here is the introduction to another (more thorough) short story I'm planning. Please critique ^_^

    Show Hide
    Hope is very difficult to kill.

    Yet Hope is always there in the direst, most dangerous of situations, skulking in the hearts of the outnumbered warriors, of the barren woman, of the beggar. Hope is the driving force of the few, and the enemy of another few. Hope has its long, sharp talons clutched around the bereaved and downtrodden who can only wish for a better future. Hope is the greatest of magicians – not only does it enthral you as it saws the woman apart, but actually makes you believe that she’ll be fine in the end. Hope is the cruellest of emotions. Nevertheless, Mr.Sight was trying to find it.

    Now, he knew that it was hidden away somewhere in one of these bottles, he just had to systematically find it.

    Mr.Sight was not a bad man, yet nor was he a good man. Mr.Sight was one of those men who liked to watch the passing of life from a position firmly outside of it – one of those men who always occupy a barstool in the pub, standing dutifully outside the door waiting for it to open and dutifully trying to glue themselves to the stool upon which he sits when the pub closes. Mr. Sight was the kind of man who was not interested in sport or women or cars or ambition. Mr.Sight was a man who was blindly interested in Hope.

    It was unfortunate, therefore, that the only hope he knew was the barmaid at his local trou d’eau, whatever the hell that meant, which had closed down a good three, five, ten years ago. Now he had taken to sitting on the same barstool but in his kitchen, staring at the peeling wallpaper on the opposite wall.

    He drained the last of his current bottle, finding to his drunken surprise (though edged with sober cynicism) that Hope was indeed not at the bottom of the bottle. He gave a slight sigh. With all the care of a drunken man he delicately put the empty bottle down amongst many others to his left, the silence turning slightly in its slumber to the faint clink. Mr.Sight then robotically reached down to his right in his continuing search for Hope in the bottles. His hand fumbled for a while on thin air before his subdued mind reached the conclusion that there were no more bottles. His sigh escalated to a deep growl. He shifted carefully from the stool and stepped outside to acquire some more brandy.

    Passers-by noted it unfortunate that the outside he stepped onto was ten storeys high. Their cleaners concurred.
  7. Exarius

    Exarius

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2009
    Messages:
    718
    Blame Alch.

    [23:17:44] <Alchemator> definitely post that though
    [23:17:48] <Alchemator> and I'll include it in the OP
    ...
    [23:31:01] <Alchemator> btw post that story in the thread
    ...
    [23:37:42] <Alchemator> anyway, you need to post that story in the thread so I can include it

    So, I'll start the ball rolling on non-Alch stories. Enjoy. Also to other people, POST YOURS!

    Oh, take note: Probably Not Safe For Kiddos.

    And it's supposed to read a bit wacky, I tried something new with it.
    Everwhite (open)
    She starts to wake up. The world feels slippery, humid. She turns to her side and looks at her long black hair that has spread out over the ground.

    Wait a moment.

    She had blond hair.

    She sits up, and touches her hair. It feels oily, like a poor bird after it swam in oily sea. She looks to the ground. The ground is black too. No plants anywhere to be seen. She looks up. The sky is red, filled with black smoke that rains down in ashes, like the apocalypse had come to the world. The sun is blocked by it.

    She stands up. The ground is slippery, she has problems to stand. Her clothes feel like they are made of lead. Her legs feel powerless. Her arms feel powerless. Her neck feels powerless, like it's going to snap under her heads weight. She looks around her. Only red and black is to be seen. No animals. Everything is dead. The air is heavy, she coughs. She coughs oil and ashes. Her lungs feel like they had been filled with this oil. Her head feels dizzy; her throat feels dry as the desert. She walks towards a huge rock, hoping to find some water. She falls.

    Her face hits the swamp that lies in front of her. It's green, like toxic waste that the factories let out. The factories are beside her. She looks up. She hears the machinery, but nobody is to be seen. Like it was abandoned a thousand years ago. The walls are covered in oil and ash. The pipes puke out more smoke, more ashes. There are no windows, no doors. She walks forwards; her head can't stand the smell.

    The world stenches like a rotten corpse hidden inside the bathtub for weeks. But there are no corpses. No nothing. There is only oil, smoke and ash. She tries to walk on, but can't stand the smell. She falls to her knees. The ground feels hard.

    She looks down. The ground isn't oily. She looks up. The sky is clear, white, like pure snow. She looks around her. There are no factories. No ashes. No smoke. She looks down. The ground is covered in skulls. White, clean skulls. No bugs. No plants. No sand. Only skulls. Her hair drips oil on those skulls, staining them brown and black. But the oil spreads out. It spreads out even more. She tries to wipe it out, but it makes the ground even more stained. The ground turns to brown and black, until it reaches the horizon. It starts to spread over the sky, staining it. The pure, white sky turns into a brown, dirty eternity.

    She feels sadness. She looks towards the horizons, and coughs out some ashes. The ashes spread out, turning the eternal brown into empty black. She starts to cry and tries to wipe it away. Her hand doesn't do anything to the stain, but her tears burn away the darkness, and open holes to a blinding light beneath the dark. She looks into the light, while her tears pour out. The dark tries to run, evade the light, but it can't. The darkness is eaten away, and she is surrounded by a never-ending light. She starts to fall slowly.

    The smell of corpses are gone. The air is clean, light. She coughs again. Small cherry blossoms come out of her mouth. They start to spin around her while being grounded into fine dust. She tries to look at it, but she is too dizzy. She looks at herself. She is naked. But she doesn't care. She is alone. Nothing can bother her anymore, in this never-ending light. The dust starts to clean her body. It feels like a summer breeze on her pale skin. A single cherry blossom forms in front of her face. She looks at it, while it slowly spins. She starts to feel tired, hungry. The blossom comes closer to her face. She falls asleep when the blossom touches her forehead.

    The police forces break into the building. They were informed that a young girl hadn't come out of her basement in over a month. The door breaks down and pukes an overwhelming stench into the faces of the police forces, like a body that has been left to rot alone. They start to search. In the basement they find a naked body. The room itself is filled by feces and urine, and the ground is slippery. There are visible spores floating around in the air, and the air is heavy. The body itself belongs to a young, slender girl, barely of puberty, lying naked on the floor. Her long blond hair is stained by the feces on the floor, it's almost black. She has been dead for at least a week, but still there is one single cherry blossom on her forehead, that looks like it was plucked merely a moment ago...
  8. Alchemator

    Alchemator my god if you don't have an iced tea for me when i
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    Messages:
    3,803
    Exarius' story has been included, and chapter 1 of Mr H.Sight has been added, with extra snuffles :D

    Show Hide

    Chapter 1: A Meeting with Death

    Mr.Sight got up. True, only his spirit got up since the rest of him was strewn across nearby walls and shocked bystanders but he nevertheless got up. Two immediate thoughts came to mind. One went something along the lines of “Bloody hell I haven’t been this sober in years!” with the quick follow-up of “I could murder a brandy right now.” These brief trains of thought were interrupted by a light whisper in his ear. It was one of those smooth, silky whispers which you can always understand regardless of the volume.

    “I believe congratulations are in order Mr.Sight.”

    He turned around and saw nothing. The voice continued.

    “Not only did you metaphorically fall from grace, but you managed it physically too. I believe this adds a new meaning to the word ‘failure’ wouldn’t you agree?”

    The whispering, while not exactly unkind, seemed to be enjoying this despair slightly too much. Mr.Sight turned around again and came face to face with-

    A hedgehog. Well, it was indeed the scariest of hedgehogs – much effort had been put into the swirling, ghostly fire surrounding it and the bat-like wings were certainly a nice touch. Unfortunately, however, it was still a hedgehog. Death, seeing the look on Mr.Sight’s face interrupted in a more assertive volume.

    “Cower before me, brief mortal, for I am Death, bringer of despair and conjurer of tragedy! Many a fierce warrior hath fallen on my bristles of terror, and entire kingdoms have been investigated by my fearsome – and at this point in time, slightly itchy – nose!”

    Death sat up on his hind legs, licked his paws and began to wash his face as only small, furry animals can as Mr.Sight looked on in horror.

    “B-B-B-But you’re supposed to be a big skeleton thing! With a big scythe and stuff, and a big black robe and-“

    Death paused in his washing to give Mr.Sight a cynical stare.

    “And why should that be so? Naturally, many have gazed upon my true form but none have been able to take back the knowledge to the ‘real world’. That is, apart from that Jesus guy. Good lord he was a pain, I’m glad people didn’t really listen to the small, furry animal parts of his parables.”

    Death gave a small sigh at Mr.Sight’s blank, petrified face and, with some effort, flew up and landed on his shoulder.

    “Come, Mr.Sight. The chapter of life in your existence has come to an end. Your existence in death is only just beginning.”

    As Death snapped his tiny claws, an ordinary door appeared. Light spilled from the gap beneath the ground and the door, and sounds of mirth and merriment could be heard from within. Mr.Sight reached forward. Just one more step, he could feel the warm door handle in his hand now, twisting-

    “Sorry Mr.Sight, an ethereal hedgehog needs some form of entertainment!”

    The ground beneath them opened up like a trapdoor. While Death flitted off his shoulder, Mr.Sight unfortunately did not have the advantage and wings and dropped through, the hole snapping shut after he had passed. With a small giggle, the bat-winged hedgehog disappeared into a wisp of purple smoke, and the world continued.
  9. ColdRAIN

    ColdRAIN

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2009
    Messages:
    228
    I recently did a story for a school project, I'll see if I can find it.
  10. Alchemator

    Alchemator my god if you don't have an iced tea for me when i
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    Messages:
    3,803
    Chapter two of Mr H.Sight :D It's much longer though. Hopefully you'll enjoy!
    Show Hide

    Chapter 2: It is Required

    A handsome face was staring at me. It had soft, luscious hair and a rough, masculine beard. Its eyes were deep and assertive, and its jaw line was simply sublime.

    I turned away from the mirror and shrugged on my suit, grabbed a slice of toast and hurtled out of the door.
    I ran along the corridor and threw myself into the lift. Into the doors of the lift. I hammered on the button and after seeing the “Lift will arrive shortly” sign pop up I reconsidered and took the stairs instead. Signs like that are designed to waste your time. Five flights of stairs later and a trail of toast crumbs plotting my route, I slowed to a brisk walk through the reception area.

    “Goooooooood morning Mr.Sight!”
    “Morning Hilary, must dash, bank to run!”

    I strolled calmly through the revolving doors and then, when out of site of the apartments, broke into a sprint down the street. My hastily grabbed tie slapped my back in the wind, almost encouraging me to continue. A bus pulled into the bus stop. I doubled my pace. I know I can make it. I know it. I dodged a pram and spontaneously leapt over a bin, to the grumbling of some nearby old men.

    “You know Howard, I remember when I could do that.”
    “I’m sure you could, Jack.”
    “I was great at making women with prams scream as I passed through.”
    A pause.
    “To be fair though, they didn’t have the prams at that point. Cigar?”

    The bus rumbled into life as I continued to dash down the pavement. It accelerated away. I was going to make it! I leapt up the stairs and through the doors of the bank, I reached for my watch-

    “Two minutes, forty-three point four seconds, Mr.Sight.”
    I sighed, reaching out for the routine towel on my left.
    “It must be the shoes Mr.Burghe; I usually get two minutes forty exactly.”
    “I’m sure it is Mr.Sight. The day’s newspaper is waiting on your desk.”
    “Make sure you send up some orange juice and biscuits please Mr.Burghe, it will be a pleasant change to my usual snack.”
    “It will be done, Mr.Sight.”

    I threw the towel at a passing laundry trolley, missed, cursed, and made for the lift. I wondered why I carried on with this charade – I apparently got two minutes forty-three point four every day, I always blamed it on the shoes and I’d been drinking orange juice and eating biscuits every morning for the past two years. It must be something about Mr.Burghe’s endless patient indifference; it makes me want to test it.

    With a subdued, professional ‘ding’ the lift doors opened onto the chairman’s office. It was, like all chairman’s offices, at the top of the building with a snazzy yet completely useless desk on a raised platform in the centre. Behind it was a large, leather chair (into which I’d already schlunked) which could swivel to gaze across the entire city. The other buildings were shrouded in the golden haze of morning, the sun being in its somewhat annoying yet still beautiful position in the sky.

    I swivelled back around to my desk in a nonchalant fashion that can only be brought on by being in control of lots and lots and lots and lots of money and took a swig of orange juice as if it was brandy. I routinely broke my teeth on a couple of biscuits and engrossed myself in the newspaper.

    I was woken from my newspaper trance by a subdued, professional ‘ding’. Peering indifferently over the top of the newspaper I saw no-one. Mr.Burghe had already made his way to the left of the chair with no noticeable noise. Though this was how Mr.Burghe always made his entrances, it was still strange considering his large – but not portly – figure and, er, strong (yes that’s the right word…) personality.

    “Please make your comfortable Mr.Burghe, considering you’ve already sat down.”

    There was no acidity in this remark; it had long worn away together with the attempt to refuse Mr.Burghe’s routine. He had been working for the bank for countless years, and did all of the hard work. While he did have some… unfortunate social ineptness this was made up many times over in that he accepted no pay (not even a Christmas bonus, or as I liked to call it a bribe). He could almost be likened to one of those toys that come with a fast food meal, except he had more class and (to my knowledge) wasn’t made in China. Without waiting for a prompt he explained the situation.

    “Your father is dead. Here is an envelope.”

    I accepted the envelope indifferently. I hadn’t seen my father for many years now and we weren’t even close to start with. I waved the envelope.

    “I expect that this is a loving letter to be delivered to his doting son upon death?”
    “No, Mr.Sight, it is a letter from a lawyer. His client would like compensation for extreme trauma experienced during the death of your father.”
    “Oh dear, it wasn’t the lawnmower again was it?”
    “No, Mr.Sight, he fell from a great height. Those at ground level were not particularly happy.”
    “I suppose they didn’t find his heart Mr.Burghe?”
    “It was plastered to-”

    I waved a hand to cut off the end of the sentence.

    “I was speaking metaphorically. Anything else?”
    “As his closest relative it is traditional that you write his eulogy.”
    “Yet, Mr.Burghe, I know nothing about the man other than his tasteless drinking habit. As I recall it wasn’t even good brandy.”

    I swivelled around to face the morning panorama. A ghostly fire engulfed Mr.Burghe’s eyes as he leaned forward, snuffling slightly. He muttered under his breath.

    “How the hell do you drive this thing?”


    After punching himself on the nose, Mr.Burghe continued.

    “Yes, I will help you. It should be… suitably entertaining.”
    “And how exactly would you help me Mr.Burghe?”
    “Help you do what, Mr.Sight?”
    “But you just – why can I smell rotten hedgehog? Mr.Burghe, sort this out immediately.”

    I picked up the newspaper again as Mr.Burghe silently padded out of the room. I flicked it open at a random page.

    How boring.
  11. bombiron

    bombiron

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Messages:
    792
    i have a short story in the works ill post later on
  12. Alchemator

    Alchemator my god if you don't have an iced tea for me when i
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    Messages:
    3,803
    Chapter three is in the works. In the mean time, a good friend of mine drew this picture of Death :3
    Show Hide
    [​IMG]


    EDIT: Chapter 3! Shorter, more of an in-between times chapter.
    Show Hide
    Chapter 3: A Conference with Death
    Because businessmen don’t do meetings

    I leaned back in the chair. I looked out across the city at dusk, a mesh of shades of red and grey. I drained the paper cup and threw it into the bin next to me. I ignored the fact that I missed, and stood up.

    “I really need to get that water cooler fixed, I hate warm water.”

    I said this to no-one in particular. It was just part of the bank’s routine, like checking the vaults and Mr.Burghe handing out towels and the million other idiosyncrasies of what is supposed to be an honourable constant of the country. In reality the water cooler had never been fixed, we just bought a new one every time the last one broke down (which was more often than you might expect. Bankers love to take out their rage on innocent suppliers of water. Ever seen a plumber in a bank? Exactly).

    I stepped into the lift, pressed the ground floor button to a cheery (yet professional and subdued) ding and slid down onto the carpet as the lift music began to play. Sometimes I wished that Mr.Burghe would keep his Carpenters obsession to himself, but I suppose it isn’t as repetitive as typical lift music. As the luxurious carpet curled over the soles of my shoes, my mind shifted to other matters.

    The eulogy. How can I possibly write about someone who I didn’t know at all? I know more about Mr.Burghe, and he has many secrets. For example, he tends to skulk around the ground floor entrance to the lift on an evening with a glass full of compost. No-one knows why, they just accept it. I guess I’ll manage somehow, not like the turnout for the funeral will be high.

    A professional, yet subdued, ding brought me out of my trance as the golden light of evening spilled into the lift. I stood up slowly and walked out. Without flinching, I slipped into routine.

    “I see you have a cup of loam there Mr.Burghe.”
    “Indeed I do, Mr.Sight. Good night Mr.Sight.”
    “Good night Mr.Burghe.”
    “Sweet dreams…”

    As usual, I strolled outside and robotically walked down the street. After a minute or so I paused.

    Mr.Burghe didn’t usually say that.

    Well I suppose everyone has to break routine sometime eh? Eh… Despite this surprisingly normal thought I was unnerved. Mr.Burghe was not a one for breaking routine. If he could break routine by himself then he would have gotten a new mug to drink or at least taken the compost out first. But if he wasn’t breaking routine by himself, who could be helping him?

    I stepped through the doors at the other end of my daily journey.

    “Good evening Hilary.”
    “Goooooooooood evening Mr.Sight.”
    “Another long night is it?”
    “I’m not bothered by the dark Mr.Sight.”

    There it was again. Something… almost like an animal. It was a smooth, silky whisper. While not unkind, it seemed to be enjoying my restlessness. I involuntarily put on my poker face (hit by a hot poker) as I walked over to the lift. Amongst the normality of the evening was a twinge of something strange, and I didn’t like it.

    The carpet in here was nowhere near as luxurious in the bank. In fact it really did curl around your shoes; you had to keep moving them unless you wanted to be dragged into the abyss or whatever the hell was living in there. With a more audacious DINE, the lift doors opened onto a corridor. I attempted to stroll down it nonchalantly, but on second thoughts decided to run instead. I fumbled with the key in the lock. It opened and-

    “Good evening Mr.Sight – Junior, might I add.”
    “Ok I hope to God that the staff didn’t spike my orange juice again.”

    Having opened the door, I discovered a strange creature sitting on my bed. Recognising my vacant expression, the thing smoothly began its own idiosyncratic routine.

    “Cower before me, brief mortal, for I am Death, bringer of despair and conjurer of tragedy! Many a fierce warrior hath fallen on my bristles of terror, and entire kingdoms have- you have biscuits somewhere. You will give them to me.”

    I scampered into the kitchen like a scolded child and obediently took a lonely packet of biscuits from the cupboard. I peered back through. The creature appeared to be a hedgehog of some sort, with bat wings and ghostly green fire around it. It was reclining on the bed, but it probably was just floating – it definitely wasn’t of this world.

    When I gave it the biscuit it only just managed to hold onto it – its width being the same as the cookie. It then began, to my unexplained horror, to eat the cookie just like any small animal would – in tiny, audible chunks. In between minute mouthfuls it explained the situation as I sat opposite, rocking slowly to and fro.

    “I’m sure you must have been expecting me? I’ve been going out of my way to-”

    An irritated munch.

    “- make room in my oh-so-busy schedule just to help some guy write a doting speech about his dad. I suppose I’m here now so once I finish this lovely crunchy biscuit we’ll start mmm? Oh and another thing, Mr.Burghe recently sold his soil to me. Get it? Get it?”

    I nodded, terrified. Why is Death sitting in front of me eating a biscuit.

    And why is he fluffy.​
  13. Dr. Attack

    Dr. Attack

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    My humble effort. v(o_o)v


    Show Hide
    A light breeze threatened to steal his napkin right from his paper plate. He set his half-eaten hot dog back down, both to keep the napkin from achieving flight and because he really wasn't that hungry anymore.

    The picnic table he was sitting at gave him a pretty good view of the park and all it's current inhabitants. Moms and their kids down by the swing-set. Teenage boys playing pickup games of basketball. Older people taking naps in the shade of the trees.

    He wanted to talk to one of them. He wondered what would happen if he tried to start a conversation. "Hi", He would say. One of the boys would smile and ask him if he wanted to play 3 on 3. "Oh no, I'm too old for this game", he would laugh, "maybe if I was 10 years younger".

    *beep* *beep* *beep* *beep*

    He looked around for the source of the noise. After a while the confusion left his face. It was the lunch alarm. Lunchtime was over. He threw away his hot dog and stood up. The outer edges of the park began to twinkle. Slowly the park began to fade. It rippled and dimmed in small waves.

    He was alone again. Fifteen years in a prison cell for accidental manslaughter. Solitary confinement for eight of those fifteen years. It has been a decade since he has talked to another human being.

    He leans back on his cot and closes his eyes. A light breeze gently blows through his hair. He smiles.
  14. Alchemator

    Alchemator my god if you don't have an iced tea for me when i
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus

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    Creepy and concise Dr.Attack, I love it :D It's been added to the OP [I took the liberty of coming up with a title, feel free to suggest one yourself and I'll change it].
  15. Exarius

    Exarius

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    Dr. Attack, that was awesome O _ O I started to wonder what was going on at the middle, and when I finished it, chills went down my spine. Could (should!) have been a bit longer, otherwise kudos to you for a good read!
  16. Dr. Attack

    Dr. Attack

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    Thanks for the positive feedback! =] I like A Summer Daydream for the title.
  17. bombiron

    bombiron

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    little story i promised. still a major wip, but heres the first chapter, and the prologue
    Dolly's Dagger
    Show Hide


    excuse the lack of formatting,for some reason it wont let me tab in the hide box
  18. Spiffy

    Spiffy

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    Ahem.

    Exarius has been pestering me for feedback on his story, "Everwhite". So brace yourself...

    It was good.

    There you have it. No need for applause, I do this kind of thing on a daily basis.




    /joke

    Anyway, I liked it, and I am usually a very assholish critic when it comes to writing. I like short stories with little dialogue and a lot of description, which was exactly why Exa's story held my interest. It's very hard to explain why I liked it, but the ending was obviously the best part of the story. I really wish I could explain why better, but I don't exactly know how to put it.

    Anyway, I haven't yet read anyone else's stories, but when I do, expect some feedback in two to four weeks, batteries not included.
  19. Alchemator

    Alchemator my god if you don't have an iced tea for me when i
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    I'm the complete opposite (as you'll probably see reflected in my stories). My view is that the more freedom of imagination the reader has, the better. The character of the characters should be shown through dialogue and the way they act rather than describing the buttons on their shirt.

    @Bombiron - Though not much has happened yet, I see a lot of potential! What do you have in mind?
  20. Exarius

    Exarius

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    I'm complete opposite again, at least when I write :pimp: I prefer to describe the actions, since I absolutely despise to write dialogue ._. So, I guess I have gotten myself: 1 fan.

    @bombiron:
    I see potential, but pick up the pace a little in the story. The ending of prologue and start of chapter 1 raise the interest, but then it kinda falls on it's face. If you can change that, the story has a promising future. I am slightly interested what the doctor has been doing...
  21. Exarius

    Exarius

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    I am so pro that I doublepost, but for a good reason!

    (If you can't tell, we are swapping between perspectives)

    So we decided we would be collabing on a story a few days back, and this is what we brainstormed together on the spot today. We still got to get some plotline for this, and decide how we split the text and such, but expect a complete (short) story in a months time or two, depending on real life, and how fast I get my inspiration :P
  22. Dogfish44

    Dogfish44 Banned from 22 Casinos
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    The colours of crime.

    Show Hide
    Some people.... can only see.... in black.... and white...
    Some people.... can only see.... in blood.... and gore....
    Some people.... are innocent....
    Some people.... are guilty....

    But nobody can see.... the true colours of crime.

    This case.... recalls several.... rather unpleasent.... memories...
    Allow me.... to present.... the truth behind....
    Case JW8​

    I wake up to the ringing of a large black phone. It's a suicidal phone, the ringing wakes up the neighbours. At the other end of the street. I pick it up and as politely as you can at 5:00am in the morning, grumble
    "Harrow Residence, who's calling".
    "My name is.... *beep* *beep* *beep*" Thunder rumbles, and I assume that it struck the telephone cables. I scan the number and note that the call was made from the detention centre. Time for a walk.... just give me 5 minutes shut eye. Or 10. Or a few hours.

    Anyway, I walk down through the small coastal town, known as Willow Port, due to the wildlife here. The town isn't large,with just one primary school, a small police station and fire brigade. But it was also the home of Willow Detention Centre, due to a lack of room in the nearby city of Ginnington (They get as many drunk based jokes as the Irish). Anyway, I'm walking down the brilliant promenade when I run into my girlfriend, Melody.

    "Hi Honey!". My nice, timid approach recieved a heartwarming slap to the face. Just because I'm not her boyfriend anymore doesn't mean she isn't my girlfriend. It's that or admit I've no friends. Being a defense attorney is a hard life. She suddenly gets into a black BMW with another man. I'd kill him if Melody wasn't there. My lack of muscles have nothing to do with it. Honest.

    I arrive at the Willow Detention centre shortly, holding a bag of frozen peas against my face. I'm having vegetables with my meat this week, as opposed to... meat with my vegetables. Time to see what the high pitched voice was calling about...
  23. Mountain Dewgong

    Mountain Dewgong

    Joined:
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    This is a really cool thread so I thought I should contribute, here's a short story I wrote for English class this year:

    The Pied Piper (open)


    He was always alone.
    His pallid face thinly veiled by the swirl of a deep breath as he stepped out from his car. Mundane but from previous experience, immaculately kept. The frost conceded under his precise steps with a resounding crunch. He always missed the third step on his way to the door when he readied his key. Always. At the door, there was no fumbling, the lock never resisted. The house was eager to have him return. The door closed silently behind him with a flick of his wrist.
    And then he was gone.

    That was his afternoon ritual, unfailing and meticulous. I watched him most days, I suppose you could say it became a hobby. He was a teacher at the local high school from what I’ve gathered. Middle aged and heavily jaded, a faded tweed jacket was appropriate for every occasion. They say home is where the heart is, it must be where he kept it when he left. Exhausted, his house frequently moaned in opposition to the ceaseless arctic winds. Though the somnolent curtains were always subdued, like its inhabitant, an impassive face offered no insight to the world within. An empty shell. How I longed to know what lay inside.

    As the sun faded, it became obvious where he was. His nights were regularly spent in his garage, a shrunken doppelganger of his home. It was nestled in the dark bowels of his property, a weatherboard Pandora’s Box. Occasionally a chilling rattle would gargle out into the crisp nocturnal air, I would convulse with an arousing terror. It fascinated me. It captivated me. I was obsessed, a lowly rat being led to the harbour, hypnotised by a malevolent bard.

    Light cut across the weathered pavers, fractured by ethereal columns of darkness that scuffled from beneath the garage door. My breathing was excited and shallow, my steps muted. The shed lay silent as I ran my clammy fingertips across its side. The window was close; a portal into his world, so near. I bit my lower lip excitedly. Mechanical and deep, the shed began to growl. The petrol spiked air seared my lungs as I pressed myself up against the gently quivering wall. Saturated with fear, my irrepressible curiosity willed my legs to persist.

    I slid warily, the weatherboard clawed at my shirt; it opposed my progress with minute splinters. My hooked fingers grasped the lip of the sill as I knelt, bobbing nervously. The rumbling was accompanied by a disconcerting scraping. The perverted sound of metal against metal. My body was heavy and my muscles were reluctant to rise. The insipid drapes were slightly ajar, an uncharacteristic but tantalising opportunity. Recklessly intoxicated by adrenaline I inched upwards as my heart beat throbbed and echoed in my
    skull. He stood at the opposite bench, crooked over and deeply absorbed in his work.
    The bulbs overhead buzzed faintly, fashioning an unsettling fusion of baleful shadows. He roused from his work with a nonchalant stretch, at once I dropped back to the uninviting brick work.

    Away from the eclectic disarray of chilling instruments, there lay a clandestine contraption, surrounded by swathed containers. My mind swarmed hysterically with unanswered questions. I needed another look. Blindly, I lifted myself up to steal another glance. A weary skeletal hand was pressed up against the glass, coaxing the curtain open. His malicious eyes met with mine as he tilted his head in a sickening curiosity. His jagged lips contorted into a masochistic snarl. I bolted, overcome with fear. The spiteful asphalt cut my feet.

    The escape gave no respite, no relief. I needed to go back. I needed to. The hushed flute swelled. The Pied Pipers encore.
  24. Alchemator

    Alchemator my god if you don't have an iced tea for me when i
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    "They say home is where the heart is, it must be where he kept it when he left."

    Fantastic line, though I'm pretty sure his heart was plastered to-

    It's great in general M_D, though slightly overly verbose at times (irony...) I was like that originally - in some respects I still am, and I'm getting irritated at how verbose I'm being here.

    If you haven't already, I recommend reading some of Ernest Hemingway's work, particularly The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway has a very concise style, but it still presents all the imagery you need.

    Thanks for contributing!
  25. Adm. Empoleon

    Adm. Empoleon

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    i might have ideas for short stories. i'll bookmark this so i won't forget. :)

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