Hello shut-ins, both old and new!
Rough weather we’re having, huh? Looks like we’ll be spending an evening or two indoors. We might even miss out on some stuff. But it’s important to remember that, like every other rainy day before it, this too shall pass. That’s why…
This week’s prompt is:
Calm After the Storm
RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
No matter who you are, you’ll experience difficult, dark times. Upon us all, a little rain must fall. Just so happens that it’s falling on all of us at the moment. So this week, let’s all keep one thing in our minds as we write: reprieve.
Try to avoid sad endings and enduring difficulties that may have no end in sight this week. Turn our minds toward the eventual calm. Remind us that there have been better times, and there will be better times again.
Use your words to part the clouds.
That is your task this week.
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 the 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.
- Submissions close at 4:00pm CST each Friday.
- 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.
- Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
- Write something brand new (no re-submitting past entries or stories written for other purposes).
- 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)
- No fan fiction without explicit permission from the source’s owner, and no spoilers for the source material if you are writing a fan fic.
- Original art may be included in your submission, but is not guaranteed to be shown on stream. Only .jpeg format images shared via a direct link will be accepted. (Example Submission) (Information on “Direct Links”)
- No additional formatting (such as italics or bold text) will be applied to the text of submissions. Symbols or instruction indicating such formatting may render your submission ineligible.
- You must like and leave a review on two other submissions 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. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
- 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 attributions are guaranteed.
Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.
Rain. Rain. Long rain. Too much rain!
Mount has flooded! Emergency! Drop work, protect queen. Grab young, MOVE!
Ant springs into action. The pheromones around her have activated crisis instincts, and she runs outside with colony. Workers congregate at higher ground. They gather close, forming a spongy raft with their bodies.
Join them! Find legs to grip. Stay together. There is nothing more important.
Ant obeys. She steps into the crowd and reaches for other bodies. Touch feels good. Feels right. Touch is together. All part of bigger. All safe.
Then the flood comes higher. Cold water washes over colony. It carries them into great stream, giver of water, taker of Mount.
Hold on, colony says. Protect queen, protect colony. The imperative runs through her whole self and locks her legs in place. She holds tightly to legs of her sisters adjacent. They must be tight, together. Their bodies together are a great raft, and together they will traverse the great rushing river. They will survive. Together.
They reach ground. New feels, new smells. Good. But is it safe? Will it provide? Check! Check for danger! Check for resources!
Ants disassemble. Raft fractures into clumps, and then into individuals, to explore the new land. There is new Mount to tunnel, food to find. She separates, too. She feels sadness. Feels loss. Sisters have scattered. It is their job. It is hers. Obey. She runs to investigate a leaf of promise.
Colony is safe, and soon dry. Rain is stopping; sun is out. On land, most efficient to spread and work as singles. But she remembers the moments of touch, of together. They were happy moments. Scary moments. Not-Alone moments.
Ant will not forget.
Still Night by Simon D. Field
The first counterattack came in the early December, a wave of bodies thrown against a depleted company stuck in a destitute fishing village, coming without artillery support, without the usual flare-signals, unheralded, scarcely expected. Though easily repulsed, it was only the first sign of what was to come later.
For two days no assault was made, and camouflaged figures shifted in the vast white expanse, flowing around the strongpoint as a tide flows around a breakwater.
But the lull ended, and more attacks came, from the front and the rear, though there was no rear anymore.
The company held.
By the start of the second week artillery barrages became merciless, showering the men with explosives before the attacks and shooting incendiary shells during the night, burning the wooden houses, denying heat and rest. It was almost forty degrees below zero, and thirty wounded were laid on piles of blankets near the charred remnants of the buildings.
The company held.
Shortly before the Christmas they came in great force, supported with tanks, and there was nothing left to leverage against them. Lieutenant Erdmannsdorf, covered during his approach by the machine-gun fire, grabbed hold of one and, miraculously preserving balance, shoved four grenades under its turret overhang. The rest were disabled or driven back by desperate infantry.
The company held.
On the Eve a plane dropped supplies. The crates brought shrapnel instead of much-needed armor-piercing shells and a Knight’s cross for the captain, already buried in a shell-hole.
The same day the artillery fire reached unparallelled severity. Mortars and howitzers of all calibers blended together in a cacophonous storm of fire and biting steel, and the shallow trenches chiseled in the hardened earth offered scant protection. For the entire day death fell from the sky in a bid to break the obstinate resistance.
But as it ceased, and the Sun waned, light snow gently descended on the ravaged earth below, powdering the emaciated faces turned upwards, collecting in the cold open eyes and covering the destroyed positions. The Christmas night was still and calm.
And none were left to disturb the silence.
Title: Come Away with Me.
Written By: T.S.G. Sager
“Where’d that monster go?”
“Split up, it can’t have gotten far!”
“A monstrosity like that cannot exist, what will we tell the children?!”
These were all things I heard from the mob as I ran. My footprints were made invisible in the mud as rain poured down from the heavens. They wouldn’t see me anyway, it’s too dark and they do not have a midnight sun to illuminate the woods. When I got far enough, I found and sat upon a log to catch my breath and reflect on what happened. What did I do wrong? Why do they hate me? Because of how I look? Because of who I am?
Lord Daedalus of the Celestial Realm said the same thing to Mama before banishing me to the human world. That I was an abomination. Lower than the dirt I walk on. All I could do was watch Mama’s tears fall down her cheeks as the Lord’s Royal Court took me away. Why? I didn’t do anything wrong. Just like now, I didn’t do anything bad to the mob, all I wanted was something to fill my empty stomach…
“I think I found some of it’s black feathers! We’re getting closer!”
Well, I guess I’m gonna die, on a empty stomach no-
“Are you lost?”
I jumped They weren’t here a moment ago. Now, before me stood a slender being with what appeared to be light purple skin, and a hooked tail of an Akuma.
“You might wanna leave, I don’t want them to hurt you because of me.”
“I’m not worried about them. Are you hungry? Cold? What’s your name, Fallen One?” Their voice was soothing, reminded me of my Mama.
I nodded. “F-f-from what my Mama tells me, M-My name is Buer Mikage.”
She smiled gently when I said that.
“You don’t have to be afraid, Buer. My name is Pandora, Queen of Hell. Let’s get you something to eat, hm?” She extended her hand, and as I took it, we were no longer in the storm.
Storm is Over by Jesse Fisher
The near silence of the world around the arzura robot was almost deafening,the virus had worked its way through the population of this world leading to this. Many did survive the first wave but by that point people had grown too used to just being isolated from the world. One could call it a mass Otaku conversion if not for the fact when people did go out it was dressed in some inflated outfits with filters to keep the still airborne virus out of their systems.
Those that were exposed were fine but due to stigma and, in the bot’s opinion, paranoia the ‘lock ins’ shunned them as they might still carry the virus. The lock ins disinfected anything brought into their homes, as well as making way too many orders of paper products. That was what the visored bot had as no other delivery person could or would take sixteen tons of said products to a lock in building in the middle of the city.
The world seems to just adjust to this change, even seeing an advanced robot as some cosplayer or lock in, all in all the bot just needed time to see what in this world had changed. It seemed the world grew quieter, less cars on the road meant more animals around.
With a sigh just to play the ‘role’ of a cosplayer, the trailer behind the truck took a bit to stop given the weight of the haul. Cutting the engine the bot hopped out of the cab, his metal feet clinked against the ground and echoed in the now quieter area.
“I see the people here just let paranoia make them go either Fallout or Mad Max of the world ending.” The bot thought to himself as he got every then ready for unloading the tons of product in the trailer. “I still don’t get the whole toilet paper thing.”
The decom area was clearly marked and large enough for a ton of stuff to wait for them to make it clean.
“This is going to be a long day.”
Thick plumes of black smoke rose up from the remote hamlet. As Andrew drove, Cassidy had her rifle in her lap. They saw a pit had been dug in the centre of the town, and it smelled of burnt flesh. Two men leaned on shovels as they watched it burn.
Andrew parked the steam car at the outskirts. He grabbed his bag from under his seat, and Cassidy hopped down as the men watched.
“Cassie, mask on,” Andrew ordered. He fixed his goggles over his eyes, then put on the filter mask he invented, and Cassidy did the same.
“I’ll lead,” Cassidy said, rifle in hand. She pulled out her government identification.
“Stand back, ma’am,” one of the men called out.
Cassidy held up her identification. “We’re here on Her Majesty’s orders.”
“Are either of you doctors?” the second man asked. “We got sick folk.”
Andrew stepped forward. “I’m a doctor. Was it influenza?”
“’Twas no fever. They got sores and boils,” the second man answered.
“Open your mouths and stick out your tongues,” Andrew ordered.
Each man pulled the scarves from their sooty faces. The first opened his mouth, tongue out. Cassidy could see pustules on it.
Andrew pulled out a scalpel and a glass vial, and scraped the sores from the man’s tongue, pushing the emerging pus into the vial.
Cassidy pulled out a flask, and handed it to the man after Andrew was done. He took a long swallow, and after Andrew took samples from the other man, he passed it over.
Andrew pulled out another vial filled with yellow powder. “This is sulphur. I want your people to take a quarter teaspoon at breakfast, and again at tea. I’ll send more.”
They nodded, and the first man took the vial. “Thank you, doctor. God bless you both.”
“We should shoot them all,” Cassidy growled as they walked back.
“We need answers,” Andrew replied.
“Will the sulphur work?”
Andrew shrugged. “I think so.”
“Do you think it was Van Nilsson?”
Andrew unstrapped his mask. “It could be natural. But my money is on him.”
by Samantha Realynn
“Is it…is it finally over, Nic?”
Nicolai looked up from the note, eyes wide with disbelief. “I…I think so. At least…” he handed over the paper, his hand shaking. Molly grabbed it and eagerly scanned it. Her eyes watered and she let out a sob, almost dropping the parchment before it was scooped up by Jay. She lunged and wrapped Nicolai in a tight hug, Jay muttering a curse in disbelief as he read.
“It’s really over. We finally did it. It’s finally over.” Jay shook his head and flopped down on the couch. “We’re finally free.” He held up the note with the fancy penmanship and the stamped seal on the bottom. “That’s what this means, right?”
“Yeah.” Nicolai nodded; his arms wrapped tightly around Molly. “Our Debt is cleared.”
“After so many long years…” Molly whispered. “We can finally go home. Rebuild our lives. We don’t have to stay here anymore.”
“It’s been a long time though.” Jay murmured. “With how long it’s actually been here, it’s going to be hard, to say the least.”
Molly shook her head. “It doesn’t matter. We paid our Debt, and then some. That letter says we’re owed some aid for helping The Lady.” She reached down to grab Jay and pulled him into the hug. “We’re free.”
“She’s right,” Nicolai said, hugging them both close to him. “It’ll be hard, even with the aid of The Lady. But helping her got us out of our Debt sooner. We can go back to Earth and rebuild.”
Jay shook and clutched them. “I don’t care how hard it is. I don’t care if we must start up from nothing. I don’t care that it’s been almost a hundred years. We’re together, and we’re finally free from those Fae bastards.”
They stood there for a moment, simply holding each other and basking in the moment. They were alive. They had survived, together. Molly smiled and kissed her partners. “So when can we leave? What about the help promised?”
Nicolai smiled. “Everything gets settled tomorrow. So for now, we rest.”
Estelle stood in the palace courtyard overlooking Hell, taking in every detail of her home. Broken buildings, collapsed streets, burning trees… and so many dead Akuma. Hell had been nearly completely destroyed.
“Estelle? What are you doing out here?” Shigure’s soft voice called from behind her.
Sorrow burned into anger, her claws digging into the stone wall.
“You shouldn’t be-”
“I can take care of myself.” She hissed.
“Estelle, please come back inside.” His hand gently rubbed her shoulder.
“Why? So I can hide from this?” She gestured to the ruin, glaring up at him, “Why are you suddenly so concerned?”
“Don’t you dare act like you care after what you’ve done!” Her voice rose as her rage came flooding out, tears burning in her eyes, “Grandma’s dead, Uncle Semiazas is nowhere to be found, thousands of lives have been wasted, and..” she sniffled, “and you’re a monster. How could you betray Buer like that?”
“He’s the reason this started!” Shigure defended, “He was conspiring with his mother to-”
“Then why do you still want her?!” Estelle roared over him, “My mother is dead because of this stupid war, and yet you still lust after the Tenshi woman that killed her! You lust for her, and you killed the son you had with her! How is that remotely close to fair?!”
“You promised him he’d always have a home here! Grandma even pretended he was hers so Abaddon wouldn’t hurt him! Just for you to betray him the moment she’s dead!”
Silence fell between them. Estelle stared at the ground as she tried to catch her breath. Heaving a sigh, she started for the door, “I’m going to go help clear the bodies. Don’t follow me.”
She made her way through the palace corridors, her chest aching. So much had been lost. The Tenshi destroyed everything, with Daedalus himself killing their Queen, and his right hand Tenshi being the reason her own mother was gone. And now her father was no better.
“How…?” she sobbed into her hands, “How can we rebuild from here?”
Morgal was sunk deep into the mud, almost to her knees. The sky had disgorged so much water, all sunk into the earth, it was almost like fording a river.
The end was to hand.
The rain had withered. The curtains that had washed the battlefield barren were gone; now, there were only a few scattered droplets.
As Morgal trudged through the muck, it was not uniform. It was littered with chunks that had been baked hard by lashing tongues of fire.
In time, she came to a lone shelf of earth, dry and hard, and hauled herself atop it.
There was one other person on there with her, a man in tattered dress and scorched armor. His skin, such as it could be seen, was covered in a web of thin, branching burns. His spear was gone, and his eyes glowed only faintly, the merest embers. And yet…
“You’re still breathing.” Morgal couldn’t help but notice how tired she sounded.
The man laughed. It was a croaking, pathetic thing.
“The Lands of Summer are mine,” he said, “and my blood is fire. I do not die easy.”
“Mayhaps,” said Morgal, “but you are the last. Now, Summer sets.”
The Lord of Summer chortled, and it actually sounded somewhat human. “My line ends with me, but Summer endures. Another shall find the Fang of the Lion.”
“I shall find it,” said Morgal, “and I shall break your spear over my knee.”
“As you proclaimed you would. But you are not the first to say such.” He raised his head to look in her face, and grimaced at the pain. “My grandsire thought as you do, but only until he held it in his hands. All things burn.”
Morgal did not speak. Instead, she turned inwards, and thus upwards. She felt the touch of the clouds, damp and wide. She felt the wind, fast and wild.
She struck him with her own spear, which fell from the heavens, fast and bright.
The clouds parted. For the first time in a very, very long time, the sun’s rays shone gently.
“I will not give up” by Gregovin [Aleph null science fiction universe]
The new virus was scary. NA-YERS 52 was one of the few diseases that could still kill you if you weren’t careful. Containment was going well, but it affected Jonathan Bogdan’s area. Everyone was washing their hands, Jonathan was hanging out with his fiancée. Then Jonathan collapsed. He was quickly transported to a hospital.
The next day he woke up.
“What happened?” he asked.
“You have NA-YERS 52. We are trying to determine how long you have to live”
“Is Sarah here?”
“One moment.” After consulting the database, the doctor said “Yes.”
“Could I talk to her?”
“I’ll go get her.”
He did some googling, and he was correct. He would not give up.
Sarah came in, tears staining her cheeks. The doctor left them in the room.
He formed a weak smile, then said “Thanks for being here. I will not give up. Let me show you something.”
Jonathan showed his fiancée the website for Project Aleph Null.
She asked “Is this the same group that helped you make biological immortality?”
“What am I looking at?”
“What is called Project Aleph Null phase 3”
She looked, and then several emotions flashed across her face. She was halfway between hopeful and distraught
“You’re thinking of uploading your mind on experiment software, aren’t you?”
“You have a better Idea? As I said, I do not plan on dying if I can help it”
“But would your copy be you?”
“I don’t know. I can only be reasonably assured it will be me. Project Aleph Null has made a good information section on the document, which makes a very good argument.”
She reached down and gave him a hug.
“I hope this works”
“Ok. Could you get the doctor?”
Sarah went out of the room, and a moment later the doctor returned to the room with her.
He showed the doctor the page, and then said
“After you have enough information, I would like to be signed up for this”
“Are you sure?”
Finding Peace in Chaos by Felicia Taylor
The waves crash against the rocky shore. The clouds are grey. Heavy. There’s a storm approaching, and you’ve no umbrella.
Your eyes close as you take a moment to simply *breathe*. To be.
Their fights get longer each time, and each time, you hate them a little more. And you hate yourself for letting it continue.
*She’s* never home.
*He* doesn’t provide enough.
And it escalates from there.
Others see, too. But nothing is done beyond pitied whispers and secret shaming.
She’s turned her fury on you before, but she went too far this time. He had stood by and watched. Done NOTHING as she picked up the-
You will NOT think of it now.
It doesn’t matter, anyway.
It’ll be hours before they come looking for you.
Once they’ve fought and fucked themselves senseless, they’ll remember you exist. It’s only a matter of time.
The small peace you’ve managed to grab is snatched away by those souring thoughts.
You go to the cliff’s edge. Peering down, you see the jagged rocks being bombarded with wave after wave. You know how they feel.
Hardened and sharpened through the actions of others and the consequences of idleness.
You pick up small stones and hurl them over the edge, grunting and panting like some mad thing.
It isn’t enough.
You take a step back, and you scream.
You scream away your rage, your hatred, your agonized lonely nights. You’re so burnt out that you can’t even cry anymore.
Still screaming, you fall to your knees. The skies open up, and the drizzle becomes a downpour. You are now spent. Your throat is raw and aching.
Soaked, you lay silent beneath the cleansing rain as a different peace washes over you. Your mind is quiet and tranquil.
As long as you have this, you will be able to carry on.
“The Soulatrophy” Submitted by : Exce
Clouds the colour of dirt filled the sky in a storm of sickness.
But the thunderclaps and heavy gales were not the true problem. The continent had weathered many storms, and it would weather this one too.
That was until the first mages fell sick. Even as the sky cleared, and the streets dried, a fine coating of sand seemed to settle on the cities, fields and forests.
And with the sand came the Soulatrophy. Those gifted with strong magic were hit hardest, fighting fever, hypersomnia and roiling stomachs.
It held the entire continent in its grasp,crushing the magic out of the people.
Though their cities were the closest to the heart of the storm, the Kingsmen had only a small number of mages fall sick, many of their strongest having lost most of their strength in the preceding war.
Silence fell over most of the lands as daily business came to a staggering halt.
Some cities could work without mages, but the Nabouri sealed their forest, and the Drakons retreated into their mountain city. Not that it would have mattered. The Sharish caravans did not come anymore, afraid of carrying the sickness back to their city of commerce…
It was then that those depleted, unaffected mages made a decision. Be it out of guilt of not being affected, or of some unshared knowledge about this sickness, they left their estates, universities and citadels.
Men and Women of knowledge spread out. Armed only with mundane means, they found their ways to bedsides, quarantine colonies and those abandoned out of fear or disgust.
To help the afflicted, they worked around the clock, easing pain and fighting back the fever. They cooked great stews over fires to soothe stomachs and give back strength to those that had lost it.
But they were spread thin, worked to the edge of their endurance. Then the ships came, and the caravans returned..
Slowly, other unaffected nations from the east joined the efforts of the Kingsmen, and even the Sharish returned to the west.
The seed of a new age was planted in this cooperation.