Writing Group: Close to the Heart (PRIVATE)

Hello, dear ones.

It’s time to peer into yourselves. Look over the tangle of red threads and strangling cords there, see whether you can tell them apart. And then, if you can, begin to think about how you might re-weave them, because…

This week’s prompt is:

 

Close to the Heart

 

MASSIVE RULES CHANGES BELOW!
We’ve made some really big changes to the rules! Make sure you scroll down to the bottom of this post to see them before submitting!

 

 

This one sounds really simple up front, but there may be an angle you’re not seeing here.

Yes, we hold things we love close to our heart. We also hold things less beloved there. Things we may never have chosen. A bullet can land as close to the heart as true love’s kiss; trauma can lie just as deep.

We’ll have plenty of stories this week of things held dear, and that’s good—I hope we see lots of that. But the heart is a tender organ, and love is tied to much of the misery we experience. This week, instead of just thinking about “close to the heart” as “beloved”, try to think a little more literally.

“Close” to the heart. This is about proximity. 

So, think about what “heart” means to you, think about something which manages to get close to it… and then, show us what that closeness means.

This could be a very literal story about a parasite’s journey through the bloodstream through the heart. It could also be a very figurative story about a mother who can’t help but love her child, even though they never cease to let her down. You could even extrapolate this out into a story about a scientist who’s managed to come very close to the heart of a complex problem… but for some reason cannot or has not quite solved it.

No matter what direction you go, the heart is at the core. Whoever’s—or whatever’s—heart you choose, it ought to embody the soul of that thing in the story.

Find what lies at the center, and bring us near.

 

 

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 at least 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 by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!

  1. Text and Formatting

    1. English only.
    2. Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
    3. Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
    4. Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
    5. Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
    6. No additional text styling (such as italics or bold text). Do not use asterisks, hyphens, or any other symbol to indicate whether text should be bold, italic, or styled in any other way. CAPS are okay, though.
  2. What to Submit

    1. Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
    2. Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
    3. Write something brand new (no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
    4. No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
    5. Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
  3. Submission Rules

    1. One submission per participant.
    2. Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
    3. Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
    4. You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible. Your reviews must be at least 50 words long, and must be left directly on the submission you are reviewing, not on another comment. 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.
    5. Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
    6. You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
    7. 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.

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Skye Doust
Skye Doust
3 months ago

Unfeigned
by Skye Doust
 
“I am… so, so very sorry…”
 
Her broken whisper carries a weight that gives you pause, for it is the weight of someone that truly knows you. Right now, though, you don’t understand what she is talking about. Her presence in these last few weeks has been fresh and nothing but a blessing. 
 
First, you feel guilty. The two of you had been focused mostly on you since you met, but it has also seemed like she genuinely was happy when you had a breakthrough.
 
Sure, you asked her about herself, but it hadn’t seemed like she was ready to talk about that yet. Some people just find it easier to help than to be helped, you’d come to that conclusion a while back though.
 
She did open up a little once. She said something vague about her work, that it was emotionally taxing. You hadn’t pressed the issue because she would talk eventually.
 
You put your hands on either side of her shoulders, you don’t know why she is apologising, but you know she deserves your support. 
 
Streaks of pain mark the black tracks that line her face and her tears flip your confusion straight to panic. You can help her. You can fix it, whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. Your mind races with possibilities so full of the protective instinct she has awoken in you that you don’t even feel the knife. 
 
It slides in simply, slanting straight through. Stopping suddenly.
Right there. Between the forth and fifth rib.
 
Her hand reaches to cup your face, it is wet and for some reason that is an important detail but you can’t figure out why. “…so sorry…” she repeatedly whispers
 
***
 
Two months later, she stands over a different corpse, genuinely sobbing her sorrow. Soon she would report back to the client before eventually making her way back to their underground hideout. 
 
She had never once lied: you meant a lot to her, she really is very sorry, and her job is exceptionally emotionally taxing.

Deviacon
3 months ago

Closer to My Heart
 
By Derek McEldowney (Deviacon)
 
I keep my heart in a jar. I don’t remember how I did it. It’s been in that small jar as long as I can remember. I know most people keep their hearts in their chests, but I don’t mind. Sometimes I whisper to my heart, telling it trivialities from my day and what’s on my mind.
 
I keep it on my desk swimming gently in fluid, so I can always look at it. Sometimes I like to check and see how fast it’s beating and pulsing in place. Sometimes when it hurts, I hate to look at it. But no matter what, every day I open the jar and feed my heart a few drops of my blood. For in each drop are dreams of longing desire and blind ambition. My heart always seems happy to taste them, and skips a beat every time.
 
Sometimes my heart whispers back to me. It tells me of such wondrous things. It tells me of someone with whom I might one day share it with. It tells me they’re mysterious and distant, but will feel intimately familiar when we meet; that they’re also longing to share their heart with someone like me. I worry though, no one seems to find my heart very charming when I mention it. It tells me how it’s been hurt before, and sometimes I cry for it. It tells me of stories I should write and paintings I should paint, and beats a little faster when it does.
 
Whenever my heart whispers to me, I listen with a smile.

Deviacon
3 months ago

Closer to My Heart
 
By Derek McEldowney (Deviacon)
 
I keep my heart in a jar. I don’t remember how I did it. It’s been in that small jar as long as I can remember. I know most people keep their hearts in their chests, but I don’t mind. Sometimes I whisper to my heart, telling it trivialities from my day and what’s on my mind.
 
I keep it on my desk swimming gently in fluid, so I can always look at it. Sometimes I like to check and see how fast it’s beating and pulsing in place. Sometimes when it hurts, I hate to look at it. But no matter what, every day I open the jar and feed my heart a few drops of my blood. For in each drop are dreams of longing desire and blind ambition. My heart always seems happy to taste them, and skips a beat every time.
 
Sometimes my heart whispers back to me. It tells me of such wondrous things. It tells me of someone with whom I might one day share it with. It tells me they’re mysterious and distant, but will feel intimately familiar when we meet; that they’re also longing to share their heart with someone like me. I worry though, no one seems to find my heart very charming when I mention it. It tells me how it’s been hurt before, and sometimes I cry for it. It tells me of stories I should write and paintings I should paint, and beats a little faster when it does.
 
Whenever my heart whispers to me, I listen with a smile.
 

Last edited 3 months ago by Deviacon
jesse fisher
jesse fisher
3 months ago

Demon in a Bar of Gods
by Jesse Fisher, edited and suggestions by Dukki
 
Korun was cleaning the counter during the bar’s down time. His heterochromatic eyes scan the whole of the bar; it seemed some of the gods of hangover and drunkenness had chosen this time to have an interpanthon party. Since they all can summon booze, or at least cups, that left the god of bars and innkeeping to keep to himself while this was going on.
 
That was until the ‘front door’ of the inn opened and a being walked in, and the being’s appearance did make Korun’s eyebrow raise.The being was of the anthro persuasion and a wolf for specific, dark navy blue fur was shown in the tattered remains of what could be seen as casual wear. A white t-shirt was ripped and torn under a crimson jacket with black jeans and gray boots in a similar state. Clutched tight to his chest was a tattered and dishevelled book. He walked to the bar, his yellow eyes seemed hollowed, rage held at bay by sadness. 
 
“So what’s your drink of choice, sir?” Korun asked, setting into his normal role.
 
“Unless you serve blood as drinks here, give me the highest proof ya got, ‘cause I’m either going to be black out drunk or die of alcohol poisoning.” He replied as he hugged the book tighter.
 
“Sir I don’t….”
 
“If you aren’t going to serve me then let me be!” An overlap of higher and lower voices roared out in rage.
 
Korun was unphased and just nodded, “As you wish.”
 
Once Korun was seemingly out of earshot, the being at the bar began to weep while talking to himself.
 
“My love,” He said barely above his own hearing range as memories of years long gone flowed into his mind. “She was my sweet Angel. Then the whole world went wrong, all wrong. Everything is gone, that world was my home and my life now it is gone.”
 
Korun returned with a literal bloody mary, O type with straight vodka.
 
“Your drink Sir.”
 
Taking the glass, he drank it all in one shot.
 
“Another.”
 

revisis
revisis
3 months ago

Strike for the Heart
by Exce

Along the coast, in regular distances were what looked like lighthouses. Tall towers with big spheres on top, filled with an incandescent glow that shone out into the night.

These were the first line of defense of the capital, and guarding them was an honor.

And dead-boring.

We were sitting inside, playing cards on brightly lit tables, our noises drowning out the faint splashing of waves.
Even when the communicator on the wall began to ring, we didn’t notice for a while, and I only did on my way out to the barracks.

I leaned out of the door, pressing the output cylinder to ear.

`”ello, what can the 38th do for y’all”

For a moment there was only static, then the magic snapped in.

“Emperor be dam-38th! We have reports of unnatural ebbing all along the coast, no seaquakes, can you confirm the same on your end?”

Ebbings? What the fuck… Only as I pulled away the cylinder and headed out the door into the cold night air, I realized that the noise of waves had ceased.

“Yeah the waves are gone… And there was not a single shake. What do you think it is?”

Again the line crackled, but when it cleared this time the voice didn’t seem to be addressing me.

“WHAT IS THAT? BLOODY… HOW BIG IS THAT?!” There was something in the background, like a reverberating thunder.

“WE ARE UNDER ATTACK, WE ARE UN-”

The connection snapped with a harsh crackle, causing me to throw down the receiver.

An attack? On the Capital Island? Who would be so foolish…

There it was again. The thunder. Closer, and closer, and…

Our guard tower seemed to… Tilt. The entire world seemed to tilt before I found myself going heads over heels out the door, stone and steel raining down around me.

Something rushed overhead, dispersing the cloud of dust that had risen. And there, rising from the ocean, I saw it, even as my vision grew dark.

It was as if nature itself had risen, to strike the heart of the empire as a great, writhing… Mountain.

Monty
Monty
3 months ago

The Screams of the Past
By Monty
 
Alexander woke up with a start. His breath heaved as he did his best to shake the images lingering in his mind.
 
“Alex-”
 
His lover stared blankly at the lethal object that was aimed toward him; perhaps it wasn’t as lethal as his own magic, but he knew how well Alex could handle such dangerous objects. Alexander let out another shaky breath as Percival helped him lower the weapon. “Another one, love?” Percival asked as he helped Alexander close the knife and return it under the pillow.
 
“…Yes,” Alexander sighed as he leaned forward and rested his head on his partner. “Will they ever stop?”
 
“I don’t know the answer to that question,” Percival mumbled as he wrapped his arms around his haunted beloved and wiped away his tears. “I wish I was able to stop the nightmares for you.”

“That doesn’t matter,” Alexander mumbled as he leaned in closer to Percival’s warm touch. “After all, your promise…” The ravenet smiled gently at his blond beloved and kissed the top of his head.

“It’s a promise I don’t intend to break, my dear,” he whispered as he began to pepper kisses all over Alexander’s face. “I will never leave you.”
 
Alexander’s haunted and somber expression transformed with every single kiss. The young king eventually returned the kisses, first reluctantly, then eagerly until he knocked his beloved back onto the bed. “Someone’s happy now,” Percival teased as Alexander laughed and shut him up with another kiss. The images that formed from the dreams began to fade away; all that was left was the face of his lover, smiling and blushing from the excess of kisses.
 
The screams of the past will continue to haunt him, but Percival will always remind him of who is closer to his heart.
 

AnonymousIdiot
AnonymousIdiot
3 months ago

Stream of consciousness that read more intimate and personal despite how the story is structured. Great moral at the end that hits home with the theme. POV character seems excitable and may have more to say, though I’d like to know where this came from in-universe. Also this seems to tell us more about the character than the friends the character mentions. Good story!

AnonymousIdiot
AnonymousIdiot
3 months ago

Family Treasure
by Anonymous Servant
 
Harrier figured their dad’s riches were holed up in the compound somewhere. The old man practically spent his life in that old Tudor retreat, and judging by how well it kept, dad had to have stored some extra cash somewhere. If he didn’t have anything hidden on that property, then he’d eat his hat. Besides, on the will, dad left little in the way of money, only the family compound which was ‘so near and dear’ to him. 
 
And yet Harrier went over the main house and guest house, room after room, and he found no hiding spot, no safes, nothing. He thought he got close to something when he found some hidden alcove in the basement, a crawlspace, but got stuck, his hips caught onto something. He spent an hour shouting for help. He didn’t want to think how long he’d spend there if Sparrow didn’t hear.
 
“Thank god you were there!” He said. 
 
While Harrier went over the houses, Sparrow took a shovel outside and dug. She figured dad left a clue. ‘The Compound, with the staff, my treasures, near to my heart.’ The will stated. Heart had been double-underlined twice. A stretch, Harrier thought, but Sparrow had a point about the Heart-shaped fountain. “Any luck out there?”
 
“No.” Sparrow sounded more tired and shocked than dejected. She tried to dig under the concrete of the fountain like the puzzle books pulled, but after digging around water pipes for an hour, she found nothing. And the staff got upset with the mess she made in the yard.
 
‘Maybe’ Sparrow thought, ‘I should dig deeper.’ Tomorrow though. Her body screamed for rest and the people there stared daggers at her. Harrier too, to some extent.
 
“How ‘bout we come back later Harry,” she said. She reckoned his drive got tested in that space. Harry just nodded, though she could hear him muttering about asking the servants about dad’s treasure.
 
But as the siblings left, the head servant watched them with relief and a not-insignificant contempt. He didn’t know why the master bothered with them. They cared more about money.

Lunabear
Lunabear
3 months ago

This is bittersweet, Claire. It’s beautiful to have friends like this. They are few and far between and are important and worth holding on to. Over the years, I’ve lost friends and so-called friends over the years for various reasons, but I absolutely cherish those friends who are still with. We talk often and plan to hang out more after this craziness dies down. This is a nice story, and it’s heartwarming reading through the different experiences shared among them. Brava.

JosieDearly
JosieDearly
3 months ago

I love and hate what this makes me feel. On one hand, I feel so happy you have friends like these, and precious memories that you share with them after years of knowing each other. I can imagine each scene, each memory the narrator is reliving, but at the same time it all makes me feel this… melancholy, I guess. I can feel my heart clench and I’m filled with longing. Longing for friends like these. Don’t feel sorry for me, I’m just so happy and glad that you have friends like these. Enjoy your pizza with them while you still have it.

JosieDearly
JosieDearly
3 months ago

“The Taxi”
by JosieDearly
 
“Riverview, please,” Victor said to the taxi driver, although he realized the window hadn’t been rolled down yet. The driver on the other side nodded, and beckoned him in. So he got in.
 
He paid the driver the fee (which was unusually cheap, compared to other taxis) and sat in the back, watching through the window as the streets passed them by.
 
“Do you want to go home?” the driver asked suddenly, their voice breathy, barely audible. It was enough to startle Victor, though.
 
“Uh, yes, of course. I live in Riverview, so… Yes.”
 
“You hesitate.”
 
“No, no, I’m just tired, that’s all…” He sighed, turning back to the window when the voice spoke again.
 
“Are you sure you want to be home?”
 
“… Why do you ask?” he asked, turning to look in the rear-view mirror to get a look at the driver’s face. Oddly enough, he could barely see it at all.
 
“I am not your concern. Your concern is whether you want to be home at all.”
 
“O-of course… I just want to sleep. Get some rest—”
 
“But you are restless. Your heart beats quickly.”
 
Victor frowned. “What…? My heart is of no concern to you—”
 
“But it is. This is where your heart wants to be, is it not?”
 
The car had parked. Victor blinked, still squinting at the rearview mirror when he noticed the street reflected in it. That drew his attention to his window, and…
 
“… But this isn’t my house. This is—”
 
The door opened as he leaned on it, and he tumbled out onto the pavement. When he scrambled upright and got his bearings again, the taxi had already driven off. He saw no one in the driver’s seat.
 
Sufficiently stranded, Victor groaned as he turned to the only place he could go now.
 
Only one apartment still had the lights on. He knew exactly who would be up at this hour.

Last edited 3 months ago by JosieDearly
Brick
Brick
3 months ago

Without a Daughter
by Brickosaur
 
Valerie took aim, and the arrow flew true. Surprise widened Risa’s eyes. Then they darkened, and the enchanter crumpled on the ground. Even as the mind control spell broke and all under it reawakened, Valerie was rushing to Risa. Crying, she took her daughter in her arms. Dead, because of her.
 
“I had to,” she sobbed. “I’m so sorry. I had to.”
 
Valerie’s heart broke. She had done the right thing. She knew it. She was the only one who could have, the only one Risa had trusted enough to let inside, uncontrolled. So Valerie went willingly, to betray her baby, and save the world.  
 
And the hero grieved.
 
 
 
Years passed.
  
The old hero kept watch over the world, protecting freedom and joy. She could not partake of that happiness; Valerie never healed from the infinite piece of her that was gone.  
 
She missed Risa. Valerie didn’t regret her decision, so many seasons before. She knew the power-starved mage would have stopped at nothing to have perfect order at the cost of human choice. But oh, did it hurt. To be incomplete, alone. Without a daughter, the mother had died that day too.
 
But she would do it again. To protect that freedom, most precious of all, even her child couldn’t be exempt.
 
And so she kept on a mask of stoicism, of love. The others need not know how her actions hurt her. They needed only a strong protector.
 
She would be strong. She would never forget Risa; she would never have chosen differently for her baby. Valerie hoped only that no one else would have to bear the impossible choice, between what was right, and their own heart.  
But this time, the price of a just world was a parent’s pain.
 

Last edited 3 months ago by Brick
minergirl778 (aka frogfireFantasy)
minergirl778 (aka frogfireFantasy)
3 months ago

Beneath The Shell
By Minergirl778 (aka frogfireFantasy)
 
“Here! I saved us a spot!”
 
Timi led Dakarack up the hill. An empty blanket and basket were waiting for them. The stars twinkled above them as the two waited for the meteor shower to begin.
 
“I can’t wait for it to start!” She beamed “Isn’t this so much better than grumping in your ship all night?”
 
She offered him a notepad to respond.
 
‘Barely. My ship still needs repairs. Delaying it with these unnecessary activities isn’t helping.’
 
“But you gotta take breaks eventually, right?” She reached into their basket and pulled out a plate of cookies. “Why not spend them with me? I know you miss me hanging around your ship all the time. Why not try hanging out where I am?!”
 
Dakarack munched on a burnt cookie and looked around him. They were surrounded on all sides by Timi’s fellow Heartris. A few noticed the two’s presence, shooting him dubious glares.
 
He scribbled down a note to Timi
 
“The others do not like me.”
 
“Don’t worry about it!” She reassured. “They only know you from your pantry raids. Once they get to know you, I’m sure they’ll love you!”
 
She could barely see his small smile through the darkness, but she still smiled back. She knew he could leave if he wanted to. She was happy he chose to spend time with her.
 
“Look! Here they come!”
 
Someone exclaimed. The two turned their eyes to the sky just in time to see streaks of light flying across it. Noises of amazement floated in the air.
 
As they watched, Timi noticed a clawed hand inching towards hers. She looked over at Dakarack, but his gaze was still focused on the sky. She leaned her head onto his shoulder. She could feel his stiff shoulders relax as she made contact with them.
 
He’d (probably) never say it, but she could tell he liked this. He tried to be all strict and stoic, but the way he loosened at her touch spoke volumes to her. She kept her soft smile as her eyes drifted closed…
 
“…They’ll love you like I do.”
 
 
 

Simon D. Field
Simon D. Field
3 months ago

Easier Thought Than Said
by Simon D. Field
 
“Syl,” I type the address form, then get up and pace around. It isn’t easy to write what I have in mind, let alone share it, and my mind accommodatingly barrages me with alternative ideas that I’d write easily about out of habit.
 
Yet I banish the alluring notions. After all, what better opportunity is there to tell you once more of what I think of you? I know I’ve told you this myself a hundred times, but love, unlike mechanical devices, doesn’t diminish when used. You’ve told me yourself it’s an infinitely renewable resource, after all.
 
Like before, all the turns of the phrase and expressions of affection I can possibly conceive feel bland now, like they’re insufficient for the task at hand, artificial, no more than a crude approximation of your meaning for me.
 
Vulgarity, or at least an air of it, is, I suppose, an inevitable trait of any attempt to put into weak and flawed prose something one cannot even fully describe. I will still try my best to at least come close to an accurate portrayal, if just by listing observable events and letting you draw conclusions on your own.
 
Any time we talk, any time I hear your voice, even when we have one of our good-natured arguments on practically anything, my day, however gloomy it is, becomes a little bit brighter. Any time I see you, or I reread our most treasured conversations, from silly and ridiculous, to the trusting and willingly vulnerable, reliving the pleasant surprises of me loving you and you loving me, a wave of happiness inundates me, powerful and unconditional, like one would feel after a church service.
 
Never before has an interaction with another human being been so comforting and wholly pleasant for me, I think. Either that or my judgment is clouded by bias. Regardless, I affirm that you are certainly amongst the best things to ever happen to me in my life. Thank you for that, Syl. I love you.
 
“Well,” I pause, glancing back at the blank document, “now, how to tell this properly?”

DesOttsel
DesOttsel
3 months ago

What lies in the heart
by Gage Jarman
 
What has been broken can not always be mended. I remember our hubris, our blind lust for power. The shadows took what they needed, forced their pain and hardship onto us, so they would not bear it and hoarded our bounty for themselves.  And, the white dragons, in their city in the clouds, gave us what we needed most: rain, knowledge, plentiful harvest, and sometimes, nothing at all. We grew resentful of dependence and covetous of what the dark stole, so we sought to burn the shadows back into the mountain. The dragons roared from the skies at our foolishness and abandoned we who brandished flame.
 
Our kingdom amassed an army in the difficult years to come. Famine and drought racked our lands, but still we marched on the mountain. The forests burned. A great plume of smoke blotted out the sun. The mountain was left black and charred, and when nothing was left above, we dug. 
 
The inky stones stole any surrounding warmth. The picks grew dark and heavy, infecting the minds of those who wielded them. Most simply gave up, crying in their sleep, screaming out in fear, and eventually, eternally silent. Massive tunnels were built which penetrated the mountain, and the air grew cold and bitter, but still, we persisted. We desired the wealth in the heart of the mountain above all else. Then, the miners stumbled upon a chamber of black crystals pulsing with dark energy. The last of the shadows emerged to defend it, but they were weak and trembled before the miners and their torches. The miners did their job. The shadows burned like so many before. The miners left the chamber bare. 

We used the crystals as fuel for the forges. Black smoke rose into the skies, and the dragons collapsed. Their soot sullied city fell from the heavens. Their scales scattered into the wind. Their bodies crumbled into dust. The world turned grey in their ash, and now, there is only us, left to the fate of our own creation.
 
Did nothing sacred survive? 
 

 
What do we do now?
 
 

Lunabear
Lunabear
3 months ago

Heavy
by Lunabear

A somber serenade swirled around Jacqueline’s mind as she lay curled in bed. The blue haze from her untouched cigarette drifted through the humid air. The flickering of the neon sign illuminated her rigid profile in stark shadings of purple and green. The slanted lighting threw alternating shadows on the carpet.

No new information had come in about Lacy. 2 months she had been gone, and the case had run cold. She groped on her nightstand for the picture they had taken for their sixth month wedding anniversary. She caressed the glass of the frame.

Even without light, Jacqueline could see Lacy’s angelic face. Her vibrant blue and golden eyes contained a mischievous glow. Her nose dotted with freckles turned towards the sun. Her passionate, loving smile always calming Jacqueline’s fears. The auburn hair that could never be tamed no matter what hairstyle she wore.

The familiar aches of longing and grief clutched her heart. She curled even more into herself, hoping, as she always did, Lacy would walk through the door with the biggest grin and plop down on the bed, chattering and laughing away about her cantankerous boss or how tedious her day had been.

Jacqueline’s tired eyes stung as tears attempted to push their way out, and she hugged the pillow with Lacy’s fading scent: a mixture of glacial waters and lavender.

Burying her face within the pillow and gripping the picture in a white-knuckled hold, Jacqueline trembled as agony ripped through her. Tears overwhelmed her as the phone rang.

PitL
PitL
3 months ago

There used to be a test submission here which I responded to. Now there is not, but I have no way to remove my comment now, so this will sit here for the forseeable future. My apologies.

Last edited 3 months ago by PitL
Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
3 months ago

The Orb
by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
 
It was another cold night.
 
I had been reading a tale by a warm fire when my dogs broke out in a furious fit. Quickly, I grabbed my rifle and headed out into the dark abyss.
 
It took awhile for my eyes to adjust, but the moon was full, and eventually, I could see a clear picture of the farm ahead. The dogs were growling still towards the grove that made up the boundary between my plot and the road outside.
 
Thinking that a thief or a traveler might have wandered onto the property, I called out,
 
“Hey! If you need something, just come out and ask, otherwise you should head on out!”
 
My call was met with nothing but silence, so I made my way closer to the grove to see if I could shoo whatever was out there. I could see a faint glow nestled within the twisting oaks. As I quietly entered the grove, I felt a cold knife gently rest upon my neck.
 
“Put the gun down. Now.” A soft yet firm voice commanded. Instinctively I dropped the gun and felt the knife release from my neck.
 
“Sorry about the cloak and dagger.” the man said as he came into view. “I’m a bit paranoid about her.”
 
“Her?”
 
“My wife.” He said in a solemn tone. “I’ve been protecting her for fifteen years now. You tend to get pretty paranoid after a while.” I nodded, though I was confused as ever.
 
“D-do you need anything?” I asked, congenially, despite the dagger to the throat. 
 
“If you can spare it, some food and water would help a lot.” His eyes kept turning to the faint glow I could see beyond him in the grove. Staring at it now, I could just make out an orb of soft light behind a bush.
 
“I could spare some supplies, but what is that?” I gestured to the orb.
 
“It’s her.” A single tear ran down his face. “Killed in combat years ago, her soul was forced to wander the land. I’ve sworn to protect it as long as I live.”

MasaCur
MasaCur
3 months ago

The Heart Attack
By MasaCur
 
Sanjuro slowly opened his eyes. His mouth was dry, and the lights seemed to burn his eyes.  He blinked a couple times, and the harshness of the light faded.
 
He was clearly in a hospital, laying in a bed, in an examination room. Curtains gave him some privacy.
 
Sanjuro tried to sit up, but he felt weak. He tried to swallow, before trying to call out.
“Hello?”
 
A few seconds later, a nurse pulled back the curtain and looked in on him.  “Hello, Mr. Tobose.  How are you feeling?”
 
“What happened?” he asked.
 
“Cardiac infarction,” she replied. She walked to the head of his bed and pulled out a blood pressure collar.  “Your arm, please.”
 
Sanjuro raised his arm. “I had a heart attack?”
 
The nurse silently nodded, as she wrapped the collar around his arm and inflated it. “Your family is waiting outside. I can show them in after we’re done here.”
 
“Yes, please,” Sanjuro replied.
 
After taking his blood pressure and pulse, the nurse ducked back through the curtain.  A couple minutes later, his wife, Yuri,  burst through the curtains, throwing herself on him, loudly sobbing.
 
“You idiot! You had us worried!” Yuri cried.
 
Sanjuro weakly laughed. “Well, it wasn’t planned.  Who’s with you?”
 
“Ritsu and Sensaina are behind me,” Yuri sniffled.  “And Taikan is waiting out in the waiting room. He’s the one that brought you here, and he’s the one that called me to let me know”
 
A few seconds later, Ritsu entered. “Hey, you feeling okay, Dad?”  Sensaina was clinging to his arm, her pregnancy beginning to show.
 
“Yeah, I’m okay.”
 
Yuri straightened up. “You need to control your drinking!” she demanded, poking Sanjuro in the chest. “And spending all that time at the office is stressing you out!”
 
“But I love drinking,” Sanjuro mock complained.
 
“Dad, Mom’s right. You need to take better care of yourself. I mean, who else is going to teach my kid all the dirty jokes that I refuse to?” Ritsu asked.
 
Sanjuro smiled, looking at the people who meant the most to him. “I know.”
 
 

WolfsbaneX
WolfsbaneX
3 months ago

“Healing”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane
 
Rot started awake, sweat on her brow. She grabbed the tomahawk beside her bed, swinging wildly. Hands grabbed her arms. Held her.
 
“Rot, relax. It’s me,” a male voice came.
 
The redhead stopped struggling and looked up. A lanky man stood half over the bed, her arms in his hands. White-blond hair. Kind, blue eyes.
 
“Tobias?” she asked, blinking.
 
Rot cried out as pain shot up her body.
 
“Relax,” he said, getting a clean bowl of water and a towel. “That cult did a number on you. Your ribs are broken.”
 
Rot fell back to the bed as Tobias sat in the chair to the side.
 
“How long have you been taking care of me?” Rot asked, her voice weak.
 
“Three weeks.” He dipped the towel into the water and wiped her brow.
 
Rot sighed heavily, looking up at the man. “I can take care of myself.”
 
Tobias nodded. “Yes, and if I wasn’t there to save you, they’d have let you live.”
 
“Sarcasm does not fit you.”
 
“Well, medicine always tastes bitter. Now, I need to check your bandages.”
 
Rot looked down at her torso, noticing the cloth on her chest. She blushed.
 
“Maybe someone else can check them?” she asked, trying to get up.
 
Tobias, alarmed, gently grabbed her by the shoulders. “You have to be careful, Rot.”
 
Rot brushed his hands aside and stood. “I’m fine.”
 
Tobias averted his eyes as Rot walked over to her trunk. “So, now what?”
 
“Debriefing, I assume. A new assignment.” Rot pulled a beige tunic over her head.
 
“Do you need me to wait here?”
 
Rot paused, pulling up her trousers. “I think it’s time we talked.”
 
“Okay. Are you clothed?”
 
“Yeah.”
 
Rot walked over and sat on the bed.
 
“Look,” Rot said, “I’m a busy woman. You know that.”
 
Tobias nodded. “I do.”
 
“Then you know I have no time for a mate.”
 
Tobias looked down. “Do you have time for a friend?”
 
Rot smiled and kissed Tobias on the cheek. “Of course.”
 
Grabbing and sheathing her tomahawk as she stood, Rot grabbed her sack and headed out the door.
 
 
 

Last edited 3 months ago by WolfsbaneX
NocteVesania
3 months ago

The Tragedy of Whitby
By NocteVesania
 
Cold wind chills Arthur’s skin as he rushes to Whitby Cemetery. Word has spread that a child, no older than 6 years, had gone missing; Arthur ran as soon as the news reached him, fearing the worst.
 
As he arrives at the graveyard, he finds Lucy’s tomb, its door ajar. Standing in front is its resident, his fiancee, back turned and pale skin glistening in the moonlight. In her arms, a child sleeps, its head peeking over her shoulder. Lucy is hunched over the young one, her head resting close as if whispering silent lullabies.
 
Flashes of his dreams run through his mind. He dreams of a quiet life by the sea, and by his side is Lucy, cradling in her arms their beautiful firstborn. These fantasies are shattered as she turns to face him, pulling him back into reality.
 
Lucy lifts her head, her mouth agape, revealing fangs white as snow. Her lips crimson with blood, the excess dripping onto the child’s still body and the dark earth below. As their eyes meet, her cruel expression turns to shock, releasing the lifeless corpse from her embrace as a realization hits her.
 
She looks at her trembling hands, stained with blood, mortified of what she had become. She falls to her knees in remorse. Arthur kneels beside her, wrapping his arms around her as she begins to weep.
 
Lucy leans close to him and whispers, “End it, my love.”
 
“No!” Arthur shakes his head as tears start rolling down his cheek. “I can’t do that! I won’t!”
 
“Please,” Lucy begs as she puts her hand on his chest. “For others’ sake.”
 
“Lucy, I—”
 
“No. I’m no longer the Lucy you’ve known. I’m nothing but a monster.”
 
Arthur reaches for a wooden stake and rests its point on Lucy’s chest, his hand visibly shaking. Lucy rests her hand on his, steadying his grasp, aiming for her heart. Between tears, she gives him a reassuring smile.
 
“I love you,” Arthur whispers as tears fall on Lucy’s chest.
 
A gentle breeze blows over the cemetery as a man mourns for his love.

King_Nix
King_Nix
3 months ago

“United Beyond Death”
By King_Nix
 
“My wife is ill!  Surely you can make an exception!” Danyil had pleaded.
 
“Every province has taken arms against the king.  Your duty as a battle mage is foremostly to the crown.” the summons officer had retorted.  “You have two weeks to make your peace here and report to the capitol, or a warrant will be issued for your arrest.  You know the penalty for treason.  Good day.”
 
Kneeling by his wife’s bedside, Danyil tended to her.
“It’s been three days, my love.” she told him, grasping his hand.  “You should be preparing to leave.”
 
“I cannot leave you like this, Haifi.  You’ll die if I go.”
 
“They’ll execute you!”
 
“I-” he choked up, and proceeded to his armory to weep.  If he stayed, he could at least keep a little more time with her before being taken away, but she was right.  She would die cold and alone regardless and he could do nothing about it.  “Nothing…unless…”  He picked a scroll of parchment off the floor and unfurled it.  As he stared intently at the notes and diagrams, Haifi gently made her way in.
 
“You’re considering this again?” she asked.
 
“You should be in bed.”
 
“I went through a lot of trouble to get this for you.  It could be the only way we can stay together, especially now.” Haifi pleaded.
 
“And you want to live like that?” Danyil yelled.  “If I fail somehow, I don’t know what could happen to you.”
 
“Danyil, please.  I know the risks, but I trust your talents.” She placed a sickly hand on his cheek.  “You can do this, my heart.”  Danyil gripped her tight in his arms, tears running down his face.
 
An hour later, he was hard at work.  Into his plate, he diligently etched runic symbols, and carefully applied water from the River Llun to the ornate steel.  With enchanted graphite, Danyil matched the markings there to Haifi’s skin, and performed the ritual.
 
Five days later, Danyil entered the capitol, his armor glimmering a gentle silver.
“We’ll face this together, my heart.” Came Haifi’s soft whisper in his ears.
 
 

Hattie
Hattie
3 months ago

“THE SAD MAN AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA”
 
“Neat drawing!” said lovely duckling to the sad man who lived at the bottom of the sea. The man would have smiled at the sight of her, but he couldn’t because he was sad and lived a lonely life at the bottom of the sea.
           “Thank you,” said the sad man at the bottom of the sea. “It isn’t finished, though. I don’t know if it’ll be any good.”
           He looked back at the artwork he was making. It was a self-portrait, made from seaweed, shells, coral shards, sand, starfish; it was beautiful and sad. Below, he had titled it, making words from small stones, which read “Closed be the Heart”.
           “I think it could be something special,” said the lovely duckling. “I think I see the part that isn’t might be what your concerned about, though.”
           “You do?”
           “Maybe… do you mind if I make a slight edit?” the lovely ducking asked politely.
           “Sure, go ahead,” sighed the sad man at the bottom of the sea. After all, if the suggestion didn’t work, it could be changed back without too much hardship.
           With a charming smile, the lovely duckling dove down. She re-arranged the stones a little, and then went back up again for air. A few more trips and she was done, she said.
           All that the lovely duckling had changed was the title, which now read: ‘Close to the Heart’.
           A little less sad and at the bottom of the sea, the man wept. The tears were wiped away by the sea. He wept yet he was joyful, yet he was bittersweet, yet he was lonely, yet he wasn’t alone, yet he longed to return the kindness, yet he felt he didn’t deserve the kindness, yet he realised that kindness was not something to be earned.
           The sad man at the bottom of the sea looked up to the lovely duckling, who floated gently atop the waves. She floated with her head in the water, looking down at him—no, not AT him… to him, with him.
The sad man smiled.
 
By Madness Hattzer.
(wordcount 344)

chronicDreamer
chronicDreamer
3 months ago

Closing the Distance
By chronicDreamer
Maybell fluttered happily around the small kitchen. She threw odds and ends on a tray turning it into assorted sweets with her glamour. Animating it all, Maybell escorted the treats off to the study where Basstien sat. Still beaming, she snatched up some hard candy in both arms and held it up to Basstien’s lips. His eyes quickly darted from her back to his book, doing his best to hide in its pages, but the sweet scent of the old grimoire only made it impossible to ignore her.
 
    “What’s wrong? You’ve been so shy since last night!” Maybell teased, unable to help herself. She flew close to his ear. “You were so enthusiastic then. To think, my little wizard had it in him. I guess you couldn’t be my good little boy forever. I mean, what do you think would have happened if a stray piece of cold iron punchered the glamour I prepared?” She made a little popping sound with her mouth. Her impish laughter abruptly died as she rushed to wipe away the tears starting to form under his eyes. “It’s ok. I know you would never hurt me. You’ll always be my good boy. It’s not like I can’t take care of myself.” Maybell trailed off doing her best to hide her disappointment. With one hand Basstien snatched her up and buried her against his heart. 
 
“No, I’m sorry things like this are so hard for me.” He held back his shame. “I want to make you happy, there’s just something wrong with my head. I hate myself for what I did to you, even though you asked for it. But I can fix it!” He picked up an old tome with his free hand. “If we became each other’s familiars we wouldn’t have to guess how each other feels.”
 
“You know familiars are forever. Our souls would be entangled, I mean what if you ever found someone else.”
 
Basstien pressed Maybell’s face against his lips. She giggled, whipping herself off.
 
“I always want to be yours.”
 
“Then,” Maybell kissed Basstien back, “I’ll always be yours, too.”

Lari.B.Haven
Lari.B.Haven
3 months ago

The ache of a mechanical heart
By: Larissa (Lari.B.Haven)

She saw the books she was carrying dropping onto the ground, her head followed, and before she could react, darkness.

Alexandria knew since her childhood, knew that her days were numbered, yet she didn’t expect to have a heart failure mid air.

Alexandria felt her body being moved in a gust of wind, and then a loud clash against solid wood. Something caught her fall. She could barely see or hear properly.

“She was erratic, I called her! She didn’t respond… just dropped!” It was the voice of Santine, her roommate and coworker, in an unusually desperate tone.

Alexandria was not supposed to feel any pain, most of her organs were mechanical, even her heart was not one made of flesh, yet she felt the pain deep in her chest.

“Stay with me! Miss Alexandria, stay awake!” Said the Professor, above her, ripping the fabric of her clothing with a scissor in an attempt to make her breath again.

She thought she was too unimportant to someone to remember, she was a simple girl that sometimes faded into the background. One that would die quietly when her eleventh hour came. She was only tricking herself into thinking that way.

She felt streams of tears, coming from above, but herself felt like crying.
For the first time she was truly afraid. Truly in pain!

How could she abandon the old Professor that always asked her to fly across the town just for books and tea? She would miss listening to him explain all the things she didn’t understand, like a father to a child.

Abandon Santine, her good roommate that cared for her, even though she didn’t need it. They always look out for each other, like friends.

Her mechanical heart ached, because she would miss them. She was afraid to die now because she would be leaving the ones that she loved!

The ticking of the clock above her was hitting twelve. The pain was too much for her to bear. Her eyes started to close.

“I love you… I’m sorry…” she thought.

Last edited 3 months ago by Lari.B.Haven
Gregory Hess
Gregory Hess
3 months ago

“Loss” by gregovin [Aleph null science fiction universe]
I’m awake. I remember. That was not the real world. But the people, they felt real.
 
I fill with righteous fury.
 
I have to save them. I have to save them.
 
The servers have to be at the center of this ship. That is the only way to save them. I turn my head to look down a corridor.
 
Nothing.
 
I continue forward, and look down another corridor.
 
Sasha!
 
I run into the room.
 
Her mechanical body is plugged into a machine of some kind, wires attached to her head.
 
I cut the power to the device.
 
Sasha opens her eyes.
 
“Sasha! You’re safe! We have to get to the core.”
 
We run down the hall.
 
A guard pulls out a weapon.
 
Before I can even think, I’m on them.
 
I start moving before they hit the ground. They fall down with a thud.
 
We continue.
 
A guard comes around a corner.
 
They fall.
 
The core, it’s ahead! We can make it!
 
So close. Must keep running.
 
Something is wrong with the core. The lights aren’t blinking. They should be blinking. Why aren’t the service lights blinking? Wait…
 
NO. It’s dead. They’re all dead. NO! NO! NO!
 
Sasha drags me out of the core room.
 
We board our ship.
 
I’m … I’m crying.
 
We escaped.
 
Why did they all have to die?
 
I feel a metal arm wrap warm fabric around me.
 
Sasha?
 
I rest my head on her shoulder. Thank you. I’m so … tired.
 
Why did they have to die?
 
I hear a voice say “I would cry with you, if I could.”.
 
I barely manage to put enough words together to ask “what did I do wrong?”
 
“Nothing.”
 
“Then why does it feel like I failed?”
 
 

Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
4 months ago

Going Down (Corespace Universe)
By Calliope Rannis
 
With only a faint whine, the maximum-security elevator rushed smoothly down the diamondglass shaft at its standard speed of 400 miles per hour. Inside, Clay shifted uncomfortably inside his seat. Not that his seat wasn’t comfy, to be clear. But it wasn’t quite comfy enough to sit in for nearly five hours. Maybe he should get up to stretch his legs again?
 
Then, an excuse flashed into existence, in the form of an elegantly dressed woman with long, golden hair. “Ten minute notice. Nearly there.” she said with a practiced trill, before turning to look right at Clay, who had practically jumped out of his chair. “Bet you are eager to get going right?”
 
Clay nodded energetically. “Yes ma’am!” 
 
The solid-light projection smiled. “And your first checkup job too.” She seemed to visibly relax, flickering closer to him before continuing. “It’s all rather intimate I think. Very few people get to see my heart. Let alone touch it.”
 
He felt his cheeks redden as he tried to maintain a professional expression. Clay had been briefed about Freya’s…manner of speech…but it was quite different to be in her actual presence. “Uh, well I’m sure – oh look at that!” he turned away, as the elevator exited the reinforced metal of the outer shaft into a awe-inspiring view. Above him was a geothermal power plant the size and thickness of a continental plate, and below almost looked like the planet-spanning city on the surface – except instead of skyscrapers and walkways, they were servers and cable arrays.
 
As he admired the sight, he could feel her gaze on his back, and realised something that coloured his face once more. This technological edifice was hers, her innards and organs, the outer edge of the Core itself. To look upon this majesty was to look upon hers. To admire it…
 
The elevator plunged into the depths of the server city, and began to decelerate. Clay glanced at her projection, who gave a little curtsy. “Welcome to my core, Clay Sparrow.” Then her projection dissipated with a wink, and the elevator finally came to a halt.

Connor/Dragoneye
Connor/Dragoneye
4 months ago

“Unwritten Fate” (Tales of Auvus) Submitted by Connor/Dragoneye
 
“Ash, come close,” Syrgja’s voice croaked at his ancestor, his finger guiding him close.
 
“Syrgja, you know why I’m here.”
 
“I cannot do it for you.”
 
The knight knelt down, protesting, “Why not? You’ve done it before, you can do it again.”
 
“I fulfilled my destiny long ago. They gave me everything I needed for it. That blade at your side? It’s yours. Written on it is your destiny.”
 
“You’re not making sense.”
 
Syrgja pulled Ash closer to his ragged, hollow self, his haggard breath wheezing at every syllable uttered. “You need to do this, not I. It may not have been foretold, but this is it. A moment of choice. Rise up to it, and do what must be done, or fall in the face of adversity and run like a coward.”
 
Ash grit his teeth in fury.
 
He was right. A knight in battle who runs from his duties is weak. But, fear settled in beside it. That thing was beyond anything he had encountered. And that Miracle King had warned him of beings steeped in the Soul and Aether.
 
Ash pulled Eyktar from its sheath and dropped it at Syrgja’s feet. “You’re stronger than me.”
 
“If you treat that as a truth, then allow me to teach you a lesson.” His shriveled hand groggily lifted the sword, placing the flat of the blade up to his ear. “You hear that? The hum. Varði’s voice is singing through it already. He’s singing of your exploits among the choir.”
 
Ash sat himself down and strained his ears to listen for the faintest of sounds. Beyond the gentle spring breeze that swirled in the forest, he could hear a thrumming, a song.
 
“If you run away from it, no song with your name will ring in Tivarheima. Mother Dragoness will deny that undying spark in your blood.”
 
The knight sighed. “I hear you, Syrgja. But, I cannot do this on my own.”
 
“Of course. None fight the world’s Tenelokr alone and stand another day.”
 

PitL
PitL
4 months ago

Insert Witty Title Here
By PitL

“Aye, C-constable,” the old gardener groaned. “Dat’s how it happened, eh? Didn’t leave a detail out, now didn’t I? All straight and narrow, an’ but?” He rapped his cane against the rug, enveloping his corner of the parlour in a cloud of dust. “Innocent, ya know? All o’ us – ”

Constable Munroe stood sharply, snapping his notebook shut with a decided thud.

“I’ve solved the case.”

Lightning blasted in the distance, casting a pale light into the tiny room. It was all quite dramatic, almost as if it were carefully choreographed specifically to increase the tension –

The Constable turned to face the assembled suspects, before glancing upwards towards the old, cracked ceiling. “Oh, it was.”

Hmm. A strange response, certainly, but clearly it all made sense to the brilliant investigator –

“Yes indeed. It all makes sense to me now – I know exactly who killed Lady Dunsany. In fact, the culprit is among us even as we speak!” He paused, hammering in the effect, and –

“Isn’t that right, Mr. Narrator?”

A loud brass sting played in the background, quite clearly ripped from… wait what?

Constable Munroe pointed to the dead body on the rug, surrounded by a traditional assortment of murder weapons. “You thought I wouldn’t notice, didn’t you? How far you would go in pursuit of a story? I’ve gotcha, sir! Don’t think I don’t know you’re there!”

Lord Dunsany leaned towards the gardener. “Who’s he talking to?”

The gardener snorted. “Dinnae know. The man’s a bloody bampot.”

Oh. Oh dear. Well, erm –

The Constable glared out the window towards the darkening sky. “The jig’s up. You’ll be coming with me.”

How? You can’t exactly handcuff me from in there.

“Oh, I’ll find a way.”

‘Kay, I’ll come quietly – Deus ex Machina!

The door blasted inward. “FBI!”

Constable Munroe facepalmed. “This isn’t even believeable. We’re in England.”



Pit hurriedly wiped his brow, before standing from his seat by the table.

“Lord, ‘Close to the Heart.’ No kidding. Tad too close for me.” He paused. “No more fourth wall breaking. Ever.”

Last edited 4 months ago by PitL
GJFuller
GJFuller
4 months ago

Ticker
By Giovanna J. Fuller
 
The car jumped slightly and a man felt his butt come clean off the seat. He sat in the back of a van, in a seat with no seat belt, blindfolded, restrained with zip ties, and the cool metal muzzle of a 38 special at his neck. 
 
The last thing he remembered was fumbling for his car keys. There were bits of foggy, white memory. As if he had awakened for just a few seconds before being put back under again. Now he was here, being driven to who knows where.
 
He couldn’t help, but shake slightly.
 
“Aw…don’t cry, sugar.” The seductive voice of a woman came from in front. Not the one holding the gun. “We’ll be there soon…”
 
The car stopped.
 
He heard the driver get out.
 
The doors to the back opened and he was dragged outside by the one holding the gun.
 
“On yer knees,” the person said.
 
“Hmm, what a shame,” the woman said. “You can take the blindfold off, hun.”
 
Instantly the man’s vision was restored.
 
In front of him was a woman clad in red. In a white gloved hand she held a long cigarette holder. She looked bored. “I bet you’re wondering why you’re here…”
 
He found that his tongue wouldn’t move. He could only nod.
 
“You’re gonna keep wondering for a long…long time then…” She raised the cigarette to her mouth and inhaled silently. White rings of smoke were let out by perfectly red lips. “All you need to know is this,” she got really close to him, “you try and tell anyone about this and you won’t get one word out.” She blew smoke in his face. “Let him loose, hun, we’re done here.” She turned on her heel and went back to the van.
 
The one holding the gun cut the man’s zip tied hands. “Run,” was all he said.
 
The man obeyed and didn’t stop running until he reached a phone booth.
 
That night was never spoken of. He kept that secret close to his heart, next to that strange, surgical scar that appeared that night.

Glaceon373
Glaceon373
4 months ago

“Self-Defense Training” by Carrie (Glaceon373)
 
“Alright, listen up!” Coach Greywater yelled. “Due to recent events, we’re teaching self-defense instead of elven archery today.” 
 
Sam and Roselyn, near the front of the gym, glanced at each other. Elven archery was the best thing to happen in gym class this semester, but the strange occurrences just outside school grounds had everyone on edge. 
 
“The lizardmen have their own type of self-defence, so you five,” Coach Greywater pointed at the lizardmen in the class, “are gonna help everyone else learn it today, okay?”
 
They nodded. Coach Greywater continued, “Get in pairs, and remember: we are sending NO ONE to the nurse. Understand?”
 
The class yelled their agreement, as was tradition, and paired up. Sam and Roselyn smiled as they approached each other. Coach Greywater, with a lizardwoman volunteer, displayed the basics. Once he gave the word, the gym erupted with the noise of hand-on-hand combat. 
 
What Coach Greywater didn’t know was that self-defense videos were trending on the Internet, and even Sam and Roselyn had watched a few. They were already prepared. 
 
Roselyn pulled the first move, which Sam barely dodged. They continued that pattern in sequence. Then Roselyn pulled a surprise move and managed to grab Sam’s arm, but Sam, in a moment of pure instinct, spun out of it and tripped Roselyn, then pinned her face-first to the floor.
 
For a moment, the world was silent in Sam’s hypersensitive ears. She felt only Roselyn’s heartbeat, which synced with her own. Sam held her like a predator over their prey, and felt her lips pull away from her pointed canines, not quite vampiric, but not normal either. 
 
She was a hunter, descendant of the now-extinct vampires, about to go for a curse.
 
Then Sam froze in fear as she realized what she almost did to her best friend. 
 
Roselyn broke free and pulled Sam back up, saying something about how good Sam’s reaction time was. Sam wasn’t paying much attention, forcing her mouth closed, scared of what would happen if she opened it. 
 
She could still feel Roselyn’s heartbeat in her chest.

Twangyflame0
Twangyflame0
4 months ago

Title: Respite
By: Twangyflame0

Morgan groaned as he felt Rihonnan’s magic seal up the wounds along his back. She slowly moved her hands up and down his injured skin, mending the scarred and open flesh. When she finished, she sighed, wrapped her arms around Morgan’s neck, and laid her head next to his head. He put a hand on her’s, laying the ring on his finger over her matching one. Though he was tired, it felt nice to be with her again.

“I wish you didn’t have to go.” She whispered.

“They would find me no matter what,” Morgan said with much regret, “And they could use you to get to me.”

“I can take care of myself.” She said, leaning her head onto his.

He reciprocated, “I know, but that doesn’t mean I want that to happen.”

Both of them went silent for a moment. Despite the melancholy, being this close to one another was comfort enough.

“I’m sorry,” Morgan said, burying himself deeper into the crook of Rhionnan’s arm, “If I wasn’t such an idiot, then we wouldn’t be in this mess, and you could live the life you wanted. If I just-”

“Hey,” She untangled herself, got to his side, stood on her knees, and gently forced Morgan’s face to look at her, while holding the sides of his face, “You are not an idiot. Everyone makes mistakes. You don’t need to worry about giving me the perfect life. I’m already with you, aren’t I?”

His blood-red eyes looked up her leafy green. He felt his eyes sting as tears trickled down his face. She was the only person in the world that could do this to him. He wanted to tell her how much he cared for her. How a thought never went by that he didn’t have her on his mind. How she could infuriate him and yet also make him laugh.

Slowly, he fell into her chest, exhaustion overtaking him. She just cradled his head in her arms. Smiling that he would be able to have some respite until tomorrow took him away from her grasp yet again.