Writing Group: Loving Eldritch Parents

Hello everyone!

We’ve got something really special to kick off our writing group. We were supposed to do this a few weeks back, but now’s as good a time as any. It is October, after all.

This week’s prompt is…

 

Wholesome, loving parents, but they’re also eldritch horrors

 

Now the obvious direction to take this one is toward humor and hyperbole. Easy to have a lot of fun imagine Cthulhu reading you bed-time stories at night, Yog-Sothoth helping you with your math homework, Shub Niggurath confusing your name with your alien siblings’, and those are all a lot of fun and totally valid! But you could also make this pretty sad or science-fiction-y if written the right way. What if the townsfolk are after your misunderstood aberration of a mother who you’ve been protecting in the basement for years? What if you’ve done something to accidentally transform dear old dad into a non-euclidean horror, and now you have to figure what it was and how to get him back?

Lots of angles to look at this one from! I’m stoked to see where y’all go with it.

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!

 

 

Rules and Guidelines

  • English only.
  • One submission per participant.
  • Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
  • Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
  • You must leave a review on two other submission to be eligible, and your reviews must be at least 50 words long.
  • No more than 300 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
  • Include a story title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name).
  • Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
  • Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
  • Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read it live on stream and share it on our social media sites. You will always be credited as the author.
  • Comments on this post that aren’t submission will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing entries

Example Submission

“The Wilting Sound”

All spindle sylph are born with a twin; a mirror image of themselves who shares the half of their soul. But there’s a revelation that’s sweeping through their lands, changing the way they see each other. How will these creatures face the new, impending solitude? How will they face the Quiet?

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A video long overdue…

This video is long overdue.

In January of this year we opened a GoFundMe campaign for my mother who was (and to some extent still is) going through some terrible times. Because of the cascade of events and how much she was giving in terms of time and money to help the people around her stay afloat, her life was falling apart.

We didn’t expect much when we opened the campaign. I remember telling my team mate, Chloe, that I’d be shocked and elated if we even broke $5,000. Imagine our surprise when together, you contributed $10,000 within the first 24hrs, and then when you all went on to contribute $21,000 in the month following.

A veil has been lifted from our eyes. We see you, and feel your love, and appreciate you. We might not know each of you, we might not be able to interact with you on an individual basis, but the feeling of love and gratitude is very real.

To everyone who donated or helped to spread the word, thank you. You’ve saved my mother from ruin, and saved my family.

 

—Benji and the Tale Foundry Team

“Extinguished” — Short Fiction Competition Winner (Discord)

Extinguished
by DevourerofStars#5717

The sky was painted in brilliant reds, yellows and purples, all bleeding and blending into one another above the darkened, slumbering forest.

Almost time.

I looked over my ragged net, cobbled together from frayed rope and horseshoes. I could only pray the net would hold. I could already see the net falling short, falling apart or, worse, going up in flames.

Just three. Three feathers was all we needed.

I glanced at the tree ahead of me in the clearing. High above the ground and nestled within its skeletal branches, was a nest. From what I could see, the nest was thoroughly coated in a thick, yellow resin.

So damn close now.

It had all started as a wild goose chase, a fool chasing myths in deep snow. Lured by the promise of reprieve, how could I resist?

My stomach growled, churning itself inside out.

Days had stretched out into weeks, characterized by howling winter storms, numbness and searing burns. Trudging through deep snow and biting cold, I began to think there was no nest. And then, on one cold morning, I found it, silhouetted against the rising sun.

I checked over my trap, consisting of a dead hare tied to a stake in the clearing. A crude trap, but it would work. It had to work. I took my place, crouching behind the bush, net in both hands.

Now all I had to do was wait.

***

The sun finally peeked over the horizon, its rays piercing the dawn sky. Shafts of sunlight shot through the canopy and fell upon the resin-soaked nest. It smoked and smoldered, the resin becoming a wrinkled black paste.

Then the nest burst into flame.

Fire raced from the crown down to the base of the tree in seconds, consuming it in a swirling vortex of flame. Mesmerizing in the way only fire could be, the flames danced and swirled across the bark of the tree. The wood crackled and popped, charred black and criss-crossed with magma-like veins. I could almost taste the sweet, heady scent of burning wood even from where I stood. The sun continually crept upward as the fire raged unabated.  Finally, the fire began to retreat, leaving behind thoroughly scorched bark in its wake. The flames all moved unnervingly towards a single point, closing in from the branching crown and thick trunk. When they finally converged, the flames coalesced.

And there, where the nest had once stood, was a falcon wrapped in all the colours of a sun set. The reds, yellows and purples of its body faded into one another, beginning with the brilliant yellow on its head, down to its vibrant red body, and finally to its royal purple tail feathers. It was a sun onto itself, its mere presence lighting up the entire clearing.

A Phoenix.

The Phoenix let out a haunting screech, piercing the morning stillness under the dormant forest. It searched it’s surroundings with its black, pearly eyes, finally settling its gaze upon the carcass far below on the forest floor. With a powerful stroke of its wings, the Phoenix dived, it’s obsidian talons outstretched.

It collided with a faint thump, flapping its iridescent wings to stabilize itself. It’s claws sank deep into the tender flesh.

I almost threw the net then and there.

The Phoenix took off with the carcass in tow, only to come crashing back down, cawing in indignation.

I hurled the net, which sailed through the air before enveloping the fallen Phoenix and sending it tumbling. The Phoenix screeched, attempting to take off, only to find itself entangled in a web of robe. It entangled itself further and further with each successive stroke.

It worked. Holy crap, It worked. I tore through the bush and raced to the thrashing bird. Stooping to my knees, I grabbed it’s body, carefully avoiding the flapping wings.

“Hey, hey, it’s okay, it’s okay.” I whispered, stroking it’s body with my other hand. Maybe it understood me or something, but it gradually stopped struggling, now looking into my eyes intensely.

“Good boy, Good boy.” Gingerly, I plucked three feathers, only receiving a terrifying flinch each time. I dropped the feathers into a leather bag, their glow still spilling out from it.

“Alright, time to let you go buddy.” I began to extricate the Phoenix from the tangled net, carefully repositioning the rope to free him and avoid constricting it’s fragile wings. Then I stopped. If three feathers was all it took to help us through this year, what would six do? Seven, eight, nine or even 10? What about 20?

The Phoenix thrashed again, screeching bloody murder.

“Just a few more…” I wasn’t sure if that was more to the Phoenix, or to me. I tore into the bird, ripping off it’s beautiful feathers one by one. It’s struggle intensified,  talons kicking and hooked beak snapping to no avail. With every feather I wrenched from its body, I could practically feel the flowing silk robes and taste the rich wine on my tongue. I ignored it’s strangled cawing and wild eyes, thinking, I just need a few more…

An ear-splitting shriek tore it’s way out of  Phoenix, and then it’s struggles ceased. The forest darkened, it’s cry still ringing out across the new dark.

A deep cold settled on my chest, and I found myself struggling to breathe. I sank to my knees, hands shaking.

“Oh Jesus, No no no no no…”

The Phoenix was utterly stripped of its otherworldly beauty, left with nothing but raw, pink flesh. It’s wings were beyond mangled, twisted and bent at unnatural angles where the thick rope pulled tight.

The bag. The bag had no glow coming from it. I scrambled to it and grabbed the bag, tipping it over. Only black ash poured from the opening.

I covered my face with my hands, and yet I could still see the broken body of the phoenix. Something broke. I began to weep, sobbing and shaking deep in the forest at sunrise.

Thanks for reading!

This story was written by the clever and talented DevourerofStars#5717 for a Slavic Folklore-themed short fiction competition on our Discord server. A big thanks to everyone who participated, our community team who organized the event, and to the winner, for writing such a lovely piece!

6 Creatures of Slavic Myth

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