It’s that time of year again. The turkeys are sprinting toward their golden-brown destiny, potatoes all amash, gravy cascading from spouts across the nation. We are officially staring down the barrel of what we here in the States know as Thanksgiving, and for purely many reasons that have nothing to do with raw gluttony and decadence, we are all very excited.
Of course, not everyone is in the spirit. It’s not a universal holiday, but it is a universal feeling. Everyone knows the warm afterglow of a good meal in good company. And that’s what we’re going to try to capture here, because…
This week’s prompt is:
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry!
RULES AND GUIDELINES HAVE CHANGED! (again, again)
Read them below to participate! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
As I alluded to in the opener a up there, this isn’t explicitly about Thanksgiving. Those stories are totally acceptable and will fulfill the prompt, but also feel free to draw on any idea that evokes the prompt’s theme. If it has anything at all to do with a jubilant feast of any kind, it’s fair game.
For reference, this could mean a feast shared among cannibals, told from the perspective of a not-so-lucky meal. It could mean something meager and threadbare—scraps of melon rind and chewed ham hock—cobbled together in the depths of poverty. Taking a step away from the table, and it could be an outside perspective looking in on the merrymaking. Maybe someone less fortunate, feeling envious, mournful, distant. Or maybe someone altogether unaffected, seeing great value in their own, smaller, less decadent jubilation.
Whatever you serve up, know that we’re all waiting here with growling bellies. Let the feast begin!
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 CST 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
We read six stories during each stream, three of which come from this public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected from among the top ten most-liked of each post, so be sure to share your submissions on social media and with your friends!
- English only.
- Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
- One submission per participant.
- Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
- Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
- No more than 350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
- Include a submission 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.
- Please format your submission as “Submission Title” by Author Name and be sure to separate paragraphs. (Example Submission)
- You must leave a review on two other submission to be eligible, and your reviews must be at least 50 words long (if you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post).
- Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or credits will be provided.
Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.
A Strange Feast
(Fog of Obscurity Series)
Submitted by MisterWorst
You are sitting in the chair at the end of the table. Eating and drinking while scrutinizing the other guests around the table. Watching as they, like you, eat and drink what is spread over it.
The others are clearly in higher spirits than you, laughing, toasting, telling tales of long forgotten times and commemorating past harvests. A few of them are silent like you, but they take in the whole happening with an indulgent look on their faces… or what counts as their faces.
Ahh there is the reason for the strained look on your face. You are wondering.
Why are you here?
In this fire lit room, with its food laden table and the big cauldron bubbling away at the other end.
Why are you eating food that looks so strange to you?
Eating and drinking even if you are no longer hungry or thirsty, your appetite long sated.
Why are you dining with these beings?
Like that one there, assembling a meal on one of their spines.
Why can you understand the other guests?
Somehow you seem to understand all their squealing, grunting, chirping, and buzzing.
More importantly, why are you so calm about all of this?
You keep wondering and eating, stuffing yourself more and more. The feast goes on and on. The boisterous and rambunctious behavior of the guests only quieting down to whispers when nearly all the food is gone and you are stuffed so full, you feel ready to burst.
A silence grips the room, when a bell tolls in the distance and the host rises from his posh chair in the corner. A big and muscular beast, with many a mark cover its fetid flesh, he approaches you. The seams of his once decadent suit squeal under the movement as he utters the first words you have heard all day.
“It is time for the next course!”
The last words you will hear as you are led to the ladder at the bottom of the cauldron and calmly step in.
Eat, Drink and be Merry, by Q. J. Graham
It was the King’s one decree that night. It echoed from one end of the dining hall to the other. All in attendance – the whole of the realm’s nobility – began to tuck in to the feast before them.
It wasn’t hard. Piles of buttered potatoes, cakes drizzled with thin streams of chocolate, and goose-flesh so tender it practically took itself off the bone – hard things to resist at the best of times. Still, those who understood the current climate felt unease with the words. They stared ahead, barely glancing at the food they put in their mouths.
It was easy enough to imagine the situation outside. Lady Stoder kept silent through the evening, straining her ears for signs of stomping steps or furious chanting beyond the castle walls. Lord Bugen nearly choked on his pomegranate seeds every time he saw a light through the hall’s stained glass windows, fearing it might be a torch among many. While the rest dined with joviality, the knowledgeable few sat in pits of anxiety.
The King notice the danger first. The wine in his goblet rippled, responding to an unseen force. It grew stronger, until he and all the others could feel the rhythmic rumbling in their chests, now an unmistakable march of thousands. While others wondered aloud, and the anxious few felt sweat run down their spines, the king ate and drank with calm and quiet.
More sounds emerged: clashing metal, pained shouting. The guests began to panic, rising from their seats and filing towards the door. The King made no movements. He placed another bite of cake on his tongue, tasting nothing.
The door to the hall burst open, and there stood peasants, armed, stained with blood, their faces gaunt and their middles more so, skeletons practically outlined by their skin. A moment passed before they descended on the guests.
As the hungry poor turned towards the King, he could only hope that his guests had followed his command – that they had ate, drank, and were merry.
Tonight would be the last night to do so.
AND IT DOESN’T END AND IT DOESN’T END AND IT DOESN’T END AND IT DOESN’T END
Eternity shouted its thrumming, awful refrain. It tore through Francisco’s mind and left him rigid, staring through the apathetic midnight sky. He was falling, with no place to land and no way out.
A presence settled beside him. Jesse was an arm’s length away, leaning against a tree.
“You all right? You left the reception pretty quick.”
Francisco grimaced. “You saw that?”
“Mm-hm. And you’re kind of flickering. Is it the forever depression?”
“More of a panic this time,” sighed Francisco. “Nobody gets the, the sheer size of it all. Of forever. It doesn’t end. We’re not built to comprehend that. Especially when we’re still…” He nodded toward their drunk, lively family across the park.
“Here.” Jesse reached into their coat and pulled out a Snickers, pressing it into Francisco’s palm. “Eat this.”
Francisco frowned at the old candy bar. “Why? I’m not exactly starving to death.”
Jesse rolled their eyes. “I want you to eat it mindfully. Pay attention to how you open it, how everything tastes and feels,” they instructed. They got their own Snickers and peeled it with a skilled flick of the hand.
“Don’t you get tired of those?” teased Francisco, feeling a smile climbing through the void.
Jesse looked offended. “This — “ They pointed at the chocolate — “is a gift, Cisco. Out of all the ghost powers I could have gotten, infinite Snickers is pretty high up there.” They took a self-satisfied chomp.
Francisco snorted. “Dork,” he said fondly, and fumbled his open.
“Tell me about your day,” invited Jesse. “How’d wedding prep go? Morning before’s always hectic.”
“Sure,” he said. “Did you hear about the stray dog and the garden hose?”
He nibbled at his Snickers and really listened to the mixing flavors of mediocre chocolate and caramel, the pebbled peanut texture. And as kindred spirits talked, the thrumming in Francisco’s mind grew a little bit quieter.
And it doesn’t end and it doesn’t end and it doesn’t end and it doesn’t
Snowed In, by Matthew
The golden-brown trees sway in the gentle evening breeze. Winter has already begun to make it’s first incursion, riding the winds to chill the faces of unscarved pedestrians. Thanksgiving is coming, and unfortunately, warm faces aren’t the only causality in winter’s war. Airports around the country are being snowed in by the most inopportune snowstorm in history, so I’m stuck a thousand miles away from the nearest relative. I’d never thought my first holiday season away from home would be so soon.
Thanksgiving arrives with the same relentless assault that trapped me here in the first place. A blizzard pummels the town. Firmly wrapped in my hand-knit jumper, I head out to the balcony to inspect the damage. Opening the door, I notice a small black cat huddling in the corner. He is scruffy, cold, and looking a bit thin.
“Poor thing! How did you get up here?” My apartment is on the third floor!
I carefully cradle him into my arms and bring him inside. He seems a bit nervous, but he eventually warms up to me and begins to explore my kitchenette. Intrigued by my new guest, I begin to cook up some chicken for him to munch on.
“I hope you like chicken because the grocery store was all out of turkey!” I hear a loud “Mreow!” in response. A goofy grin washes over my face as I begin to prepare the seasoning.
“Sorry for the mess! I wasn’t expecting anyone to come over tonight.”
Secretly, the cat begins to poke and prod through the different piles of books, homework, DVDs, and old cups.
“My friends from University have mostly left town to be with relatives, so I haven’t really got anyone right now.”
As the chicken finishes cooking, the cat jumps up onto the table, smelling the delicious aroma.
“Almost done now!”
An excited cat turns to face me as I grab a small plate and begin chopping some chicken breast into bite sized chunks. I slide the plate in front of the eager black mass.
“You can be my family for this Thanksgiving, buddy.”