Hello, quarantine pals!
Wouldn’t it be lovely for things to be interrupted by something pleasant? A little welcome intrusion into all the gloom and monotony? Something lovely to find and keep and hold on to during this decidedly un-fun period? I think so, and apparently the rest of our community does as well. That’s why…
This week’s prompt is:
Can We Keep It?
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!
We’ve all heard this before. A couple of people end up in some kind of creature-related mischief which inevitably earns the thing a place in their hearts. When it’s over, the littlest member of the party holds it up and asks the pivotal question:
Can we keep it?
If you watch movies or read books or consume any kind of media whatsoever, this is probably familiar. And like all tropes, there’s a good reason you recognize it.
Not only is it the promise of a potential value shift (alone > accompanied); it also reflects a great deal about the ethics, dynamics, and relationships of all the characters involved. It’s a deciding moment, and that’s where we see the difference between character and characterization.
That’s what I’m seeing in this prompt: A question of loneliness/companionship, and how all those involved respond to it. Your story need not include the question verbatim in order to address its emotional core: Should we invite something new into our lives?
That’s a hefty question. Hefty enough, certainly, to put some stress on the heart strings.
So, hop to it. Let’s see some lonely creatures and some difficult choices.
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.
“Transcripts of Audio from Artifact 3-2284 — Loyal Tape Recorder”
Is this working? Lalalala — yes! Hello.
Dad found this thing at a swap meet for me to talk about stuff. He said it’s for p-paws-tree. So. I’m Evan, I’m ten years old . . .
Oh! We finally have a puppy. Her name is Applesauce. She’s adorably perfect. She’s sleeping in her kennel.
I’m at my best friend’s sleepover right now. Nate, say something.
Ummmmmmmmmm. Fart! Hahahaha.
Nate! That’s gross.
Here, give it to me. I wanna —
No. I’m turning it —
I thought I lost you! Okay, lots has happened. I’m gonna be a brother! Mom is pregnant. Nate’s sick, but we’re gonna play his new game when he’s better. Applesauce is way bigger now.
Oh no oh no are you okay? There’s slobber all over. Grooossss. Seems to be fine. Applesauce grabbed you out of my room. Bad dog! Hmph.
We’re taking Applesauce to the vet. She’s sick. Like, super light, and kind of . . . ghosty? I hope they can fix her. I love you, Applesauce.
School — is — out — for — ever! I’m walking home now, and then it is officially summer! I’m gonna play Smash every day and bike with my best friend Sidney and make a clubhouse in the woods.
Oh, someone wants to race home. Bye!
Grrrrr, I’m so bored! I want a dog. Mom said no ’cause the baby’ll be here soon. But they got a kennel. They said they don’t remember it though.
I’ve never had a puppy. But if I did, she could be me and Sidney’s club mascot.
I listened . . . to my recordings. This is scary. It’s my voice, but who’s Nate? My best friend is Sidney. And I’ve never had a dog. What’s going on?
I told Mom. She wants to take you away. I locked us in my room. She’s coming upstairs! Gotta hide you.
Oh hey, you still work! We’re moving. I’ll say more when we’re at the new apartment. Dad says this house is too big for the two of us. After, he said I can finally get a dog.
“Can we take it?” by gregovin [Lily’s story]
“Who are you?”
“Oh, I am Sasha.”
She grabbed the pot of water off the stove, and the particles in the pot separated out.
“Sure. What was up back there with the magic tornado?”
“Oh. That. My magic is different from most others’. When I use magic it doesn’t require as much effort, but I sometimes lose control, usually resulting in destruction. I am just a burden on these people; almost a monster.”
Sasha thrusts a cup of tea into my hands as she says this, and I respond:
“Don’t worry. You’re the only one who even bothered to talk to me in this entire town. You’ve been nice, and it seems it has been beyond your control. Speaking of which, you should probably leave town before someone kills you. I saw the townspeople back there. One of them was reaching for a weapon when I came into town.”
“Yah, but I don’t know where I would go.”
“Would you like to come and figure out who is buying souls and learn some magic?”
“Sure. That’s the best idea I’ve heard to date.”
An orange cat comes into the room
“Can we take him?”
“Sure, she’s Jamba.”
I walk over and pick up the cat. She is a little heavy for me to hold comfortably.
“Can you bail me out? She’s a little hard for me to hold.”
“Lily! You silly changeling! Just set her down. You really should have expected that”
“But she’s so cute!”
That cat is giving me the evil eye, isn’t it? So I set the cat down.
“Can you help set up some bedding for you? You’ll have to stay the night. We leave tomorrow.”
Title: Blade of the Samebito
Written By: T.S.G. Sager
South China Sea, 5,559m below.
Clash! Ting! Shing!
The blades of the two champions crashed at each other, the winner of the duel would go on to becoming the Tribe leader of the Samebito. The arena was full of onlookers and invited guests, two of which belonged to the Great White tribe of Tutira.
“Dad! Who do you think is going to win?!” The young pup asked excitedly.
“Ishikura.” his father answered with a smile. “How about you Otikoro? Who are you rooting for?”
“Yahzu! She’s more slender and her movements are more obedient!” Otikoro explained. “Ishikura is much larger and relies too much on strength.”
They watched as Yazhu danced around the hulking Ishikura, as he bashed his blade to the ground where she once was. A few more strikes later, and Yazhu pinned Ishikura into submission on the sea floor.
“You are not fit to lead the Samebito, Ishikura. You are too reckless.” She hissed. “Do you submit?”
With a single nod, the duel had ended, and Yazhu was declared the victor.
“Turns out you were right so-” The Great White bellowed, spotting his son swimming towards Yazhu.
“YAZHU!” Otikoro exclaimed as he swam with his tiny flippers.
“Ah, if it’s not the young Otikoro. I hope you enjoyed the match.” she replied with a bow. When she looked up again, she spotted his father approaching behind. “Ah, Chieftain Rawiri of Tutira, it is a pleasure to meet you again.”
“Very good match, Yahzu. I was sure Ishikura had you.” He replied. “You definitely surprised me.”
“I BELIEVED IN YOU ALL ALONG YAZHU!” Otikoro cheered.
“Turns out he’s quite fan of you, Yazhu of Samebito.” Rawiri chortled.
“Is that so?” She unfastened her sheath from around her slippery black skin. “Hold out your flipper, Otikoro of Tutira.” He did as he was told, to which she placed the weapon in his grey flipper. “My teacher gave me this blade when I was your age.”
“I-I can keep it? Are you sure?” He asked.
“Absolutely, and I will teach you how to wield it.”
Angel and Demon by Jesse Fisher, Edited by DukkiFluff
Well here they were, outside a greenhouse that both of them only read about. The azura bot with a vizard face and a yellow light on his head looked down at the being in his two tone hands. The dark blueberry wolf-like pup with a near dark navy mane wiggled in his hands, seemingly from excitement. If not for the crimson and dark brown long sleeve shirt along with the gray/silver pointed knee pants, beings would think it a normalish dog being carried by its owner.
“Demon,” The bot spoke to the wiggling being in his hands as it was full grown. “We are passing through so just be…decent.”
The last word was a rough choice, as ‘be good’ is just asking for trouble. Said Demon just seemed to growl like the pup he seemed yet the bot seemed to hear something else from the pup.
“I hope only I can hear that cause that is very much far vulgar than what your looks will convey.” The robot gave a deadpan tone as he moved to tap on the door, it would seem a bad impression to just burst into another’s home.
The tick tick of metal on glass did not go unnoticed by one of the beings inside, causing them to float/hop to the door.
“Hello?” The tiny angel in front of the bot spoke after opening the door.
“Hello, Little one.” The blue bot replied, lowering himself to the angel’s natural height.
“You sound like Talebot.” She giggled as she looked at his hands, her head then tilted to the side. “What’s that in your hands?”
“Oh, he is a friend of mine that would love to play with you.” The bot replied with an internal smile forming.
The little angel reached out and the bot handed Demon to her, the reaction was almost instantaneous.
“Oh he is so fluffy!” Her response was a hop and flap of her wings, spinning the two around.
The bot heard Demon’s complaints but did not care to relay them. Now, where to find this world’s Talebot.
As Rikuto sat beneath the cherry tree, he heard a blood curdling scream.
A farmer ran up to Rikuto and bowed. “Mr.Monk, there’s a problem at the brothel! Demons!”
Rikuto sighed and stood up. “I’ll see what I can do.” He had given up trying to explain that he wasn’t a monk, merely an itinerant carpenter. One that just happened to read. “Do you have any sacred artifacts?”
“The shrine’s bell,” the farmer replied.
“Get it, and meet me outside the brothel,” Rikuto commanded.
The two parted and Rikuto made his way towards the brothel.
From within burst two half-dressed men, one blue skinned, one purple, with large leathery wings. As they saw the assembled mob of villagers, armed with tools, they paused, then laughed harder.
“Mr.Monk, I brought the bell.” The farmer approached, holding the iron bell and hammer in his hands.
Rikuto took them and pushed through the crowd. He knew there would be blood if he didn’t intervene.
“Attention denizens of Hell! I command you to return henceforth and no longer plague this village,” Rikuto commanded. He struck the bell. It rang deeply.
The two demons fell to the ground in laughter.
Rikuto tried again, with repeated results. Groaning, he shoved the bell in his satchel. He marched up to the two demons, grabbing each by the ear.
“Ow! Let go!” The purple one yelped.
Rikuto turned to the mob. “Good people, I will be leaving with these demons. I fear I shall not be returning.” He marched from the village, pulling the demons with him.
Sufficiently away, he released them. “What are you two thinking? You could have gotten killed.”
“Thank you,” the blue demon replied. “Kurogane Gurandosuta,” he said, bowing.
“Shigure Mikage,” the other added. “Why aren’t you scared of us?”
“I’m not human either,” Rikuto answered. “Rikuto of Mihama.”
“Can we keep him, Kurogane?” Shigure asked.
“I am not a pet!” Rikuto retorted. “Now if you’ll excuse me.”
They didn’t. They stuck to him like glue, following him.
An hour away from the village, Rikuto remembered that he never returned the bell.
By Samantha Realynn
“Oh, my gods…”
Jay tilted his head and squinted at the thing. “What the-Molly, what did you do?”
“I didn’t actually think it would work.” Molly gaped at the creature in her hands. She watched as the tiny crow moved its head about, slowly stretching its wings. It kept blinking, as if unable to believe that it was moving once more. There was still the odd, slight cracking sound as it moved its head, but if Molly had done the spell right, that would heal shortly. She squealed in utter delight. “I did it! I really did it!”
Jay frowned. “Did…what, exactly?”
“I brought it back!” She held up the tiny, confused bird. “I found it in a Fae trap the poor thing. You know that crows are like kin to me, I had to do something.”
Jay’s eyes widened. “You brought it back? You used necromancy?” He gaped. “And when should we expect our little buddy to start pecking our flesh off?”
“We don’t, jerk. He won’t become a zombie. I made sure of it. We’re perfectly safe.”
“I just-wait. You took a Fae’s kill!?”
Molly sniffed. “Abandoned, fair game. I made sure. I don’t want us in Debt again any more than you.” She smiled and held the bird close. “I’m going to name it, Kaz!”
Jay groaned. “You know what Nic is going to say about this. He really doesn’t like necromancy.”
Molly sighed. “I know, but it’s practically a baby, Jay. Crows are my kin! I couldn’t leave it when I could save it.” She cooed and blew kisses to the bird, which seemed to accept the situation. It cooed back and nuzzled her cheek, the tiny cracking almost gone now. “See? He’s such a sweet little thing. I’ll bet he even likes you.” She smiled and held Kaz out to Jay, who just raised an eyebrow at the crow. He reached out and patted its head, sighing when it cooed at him.
“Fine, I’ll back you. In return, I get to pick our next date night.”
“Deal! Love you, Jay!”
“Love you too, Molls.”
On the Fritz
By T. A. Andrewson
The only person in Chatter-Cat-negative-3’s, designation Kitsy, view looked down at her, designated a female by nominal owners, crumpled form with what the facial interpreter said was pity. Kitsy knew this person as mother. Mother was an inaccurate title in Kitsy’s very limited opinion. Kitsy was a prototype for a product now out on the market. The production company had let the designer, mother, keep her.
“‘Ey Zed, you sure I can’t just fix her back up?” Mother asked person designated Zed, Mother’s supperior at the production company according to Kitsy’s records.
“Sorry Iggy, company policy, damaged company property is to be disposed appropriately.”
Mother covered the box which contained Kitsy with what Kitsy’s vocal interpreter determined to be a sigh.
The darkness which Kitsy’s was surrounded lifted.
“Hey Loyd you think boss’d mind if I took this one for myself?”
“Eh, probably. But you can do better than this bucket of scrap.”
“You’re right, I couldn’t fix it anyway.”
The darkness returned, but oblivion did not come.
Kitsy had been locked in darkness and silence long enough to wonder both if the afterlife existed and if AI such as herself had reached it when she heard what vocal expression interpreter determined to be humming approaching. She determined that the ceaseless oblivion she had experienced was not death but a malfunctioning clock.
A bright light appeared above her.
“Here you are. Silly junkers, good records but no expediency. Don’t they know things like you are worth a fortune to people like me? Well no matter, once I have what I want I can put you back in your little box.”
Kitsy did not have much self determination, but she did know she didn’t want to return to that ceaseless abyss. But what could she do.
“Oh my, you’re still active. Even better for me. Tell me, do you want me to steal you?”
Kitsy did not know how to agree but she felt she must.
“That settles it, after I take your data I’ll be keeping you.”
The Obsidian Door
By Giovanna J. Fuller
Angela tapped a long fingernail against the new door. It was shiny and black and so very tempting. She got very close and gave the door a quick lick. “Yep, definitely obsidian,” she decided with a dreamy expression on her face, she rubbed her cheek against the cool stone door. “Now…where did you come from?” She grinned. “Where will you lead?”
The door witch pulled out her keys and began combing through them. Big keys, small keys, keys that were just jars of dust, and keys that were so inherently slimy that she wrapped them up in plastic wrap. Then she found it. A brand spanking new key, materializing just that morning. It was made of the same material as the door, perfectly carved obsidian. However, in the place where it was strung on the key ring was an unblinking eye hovering.
They stared at each other, Angela and the key, until Angela blinked and “lost”.
“Stupid key,” she muttered and shoved the key into the door.
The door melted from the center out like wax, leaving a human sized hole for Angela to climb though.
The new place was black. Not dark, but black and somehow reflective and shiny. She couldn’t tell where the light came from, but it was there. Her shoes squeaked on the ground. She paused and looked down. It appeared she was walking on a glass-like substance.
“What is that?”
She froze and looked about wildly to pinpoint the source of the voice. She was lifted into the air and shaken slightly.
“Look what I found!”
“It’s so ugly.”
“Put it away!”
Angela screamed. She couldn’t tell where the voices were coming from and she now was upside down.
“It’s so noisy.”
“I’m keeping it.”
“No! It’s so gross!”
“Put me down!” Angela shouted. “Put me down! Put me down!”
“What is it saying?”
“I don’t know.”
“You can’t keep it.”
“Yes I can.”
“We’ll see what materfamilias says.”
Angela screamed and thrashed in the air as she was carried further and further away from the door.
Her Return by Felicia Taylor
Marcus Cole spoke into his cell, anticipation rushing through him.
“Is it done?” he hissed.
“One shot, Mr. Cole.” Came the gruff reply.
“And you’re sure the problem is resolved?” He paced as he waited.
“WELL taken care of.”
“Excellent! You can pick up the remainder of your pay tomorrow afternoon.”
“No need. I took enough payment already.”
Marcus wasn’t about to argue with him.
“Fine. Your services are no longer required.”
He ended the call with a hearty whoop and shoved his hands through his hair in stunned disbelief.
She was truly gone.
Celebratory jazz poured from the record player, and Marcus uncorked the chilled champagne. He glugged a few mouthfuls before heaving a great sigh and replacing the bottle. He shuffled happily to the kitchen.
He couldn’t believe he was FINALLY free!
The doorbell rang as he took the roasted chicken from the oven.
“Coming!” he announced in a singsong.
He headed across the large room and flung open the door.
His mouth went dry.
His throat constricted as his stomach clenched.
His heart stuttered in his chest as his terrified gray eyes met her angry brown ones. Tears pooled in the corners of his eyes.
“Katherine… No! You’re…you aren’t…”
Katherine shut the door as she entered the house.
He stumbled back, nearly tripping over his own legs.
She held up her wrist, the bracelet he’d given her for their seventh shining beneath the desert sand. She was covered in it.
“You said this would keep us together! You swore a literal blood oath to our union, but you tried to have me KILLED?!”
“I couldn’t do it anymore! I wanted out, ok?!”
She shook her head with a menacing chuckle.
“There is no OUT, Marcus! Blood oaths are eternal. The Council explained that. And I’ll make sure you honor ours.”
He bolted upstairs to his room, locking the door.
The gun he kept in the nightstand!
“No fear, Marcus. I promise you’ll be well kept. And you’ll learn to enjoy it.”
Once found, he pointed the loaded gun at the door just as the lock disengaged.
You’re Safe Now
The beast growled, saliva dripping to the floor, its fierce eyes trained on something in the corner.
She peered further into the room, trying to see what had its attention.
Pressed into the corner of the room, trembling violently in fear, was a tiny creature she’d never seen before.
She glanced around the foyer, snatching up a fallen coat rack. Carefully, she crept up behind it, raising the rack above her head. It let out a yelp as the metal clanged over its skull, knocking it into a daze.
She crouched and placed her hand on the floor, “Come on! Let’s get out of here!”
The little creature scurried into her open palm, clutching onto her fingers. She shielded it with her other hand and bolted from the dilapidated house. She tore up the street, dodging debris as she rushed back to the greenhouse.
She burst through the door, slamming it shut and leaning against it, trying to catch her breath.
“Are you alright, little one?” Talebot called to her, alarm in his tone.
She nodded, but then remembered the creature. Carefully, she opened her hands.
It sat in a ball, trembling with its little clamps over its head, eyes squeezed shut.
“Hey, hey, you’re okay.” She cooed, patting its head gently, “You’re safe now.”
“What have you got there?”
She smiled up at her friend, walking over and showing him the little black creature, “I don’t know. It was in danger, so I saved it. Can we keep it? It’s so cute, and all alone!”
The little creature looked up at Talebot. Its eyes widened, and it let out an excited squeak.
“Six?” Talebot gasped, holding his hand out. It scrambled into his metallic hand, hugging his finger.
“Six?” She repeated, “You know each other?”
Talebot nodded, seeming to smile up at her, “Yes. This is one of the taleoids I was telling you about. The humans called him Clive.”
“Oh!” She giggled, holding out her finger, “It’s nice to meet you, Clive.”
Clive squeaked, shaking her finger before climbing back into her palm, hugging her finger gratefully.