Writing Group: Sweet Nightmares

Hello, sleep demons and night-gaunts!

Tonight, we will not rest easy. Tonight, we gorge ourselves on delectable hideosities until the dark wears thin. Tonight, we dine, because…

This week’s writing group prompt is:

 

Sweet Nightmares

 

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!

 

 

If you’ve ever read anything by Clive Barker, you know there’s a certain beauty in anguish. There is a way to savor, delight, revel in that which harms. Fear becomes tantamount to inspiration, if you let it.

This is the strange relationship we’re playing with this week: terrible, haunting things, made lovely by our appetite for them. Sweet nightmares.

Perhaps you’ll write about the fondness you’ve developed for the creature which lives in the vent beneath your bed. Maybe you write about how, somewhere in the cosmic aether, an entity is drinking in our collective hurt like so much fine merlot. If you’re brave, you might even write about the traumas which simultaneously build and break you, day by day, in the ever-delectable gyre of humanity.

Whatever you choose, make a feast of it. Let us become fat on the rancid milk of your bad dreams.

Be so cruel as to feed us, would you?

 

 

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.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
126 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
MysteryElement
MysteryElement
23 days ago

And Then…

By MysteryElement

The food was sweet, sweeter than I could have dreamed! Memories or dried crusts and metallic water seem so far away now. So many colors, bright and shiny, warm sweet breads served with cold milk, and a soft blanket draped between the two of us. Everything was so sweet. 

“You poor children! Who could have done this to you? You are nearly starved!”

The kind grandmother gave us another helping of sweet brown bread, covered in shiny white icing and nuts. And her smile was so kind! She looked so much nicer than mother had.

“Well, you don’t have to worry about that anymore. I will feed you to your little heart’s content.”

I smiled, crumbs falling out of my full mouth. Sister looked just as happy as me, her eyes were wide as she stared at the grandmother. I could tell she was remembering, but that was all behind us. We were going to be happy.

“Yes” the grandmother smiled wider “eat to your heart’s content. Eat until you can’t eat anymore, and then eat some more.”

She sounded sleepy, her voice sounding like a drowsy lullaby as she repeated “eat to your heart’s content” over and over. And we did. We ate to our heart’s content. We ate until we couldn’t eat anymore, and then we ate some more. 

And then, we ate some more. 

Grandmother’s grew wider and wider. She poured us more milk while our tummies ached.

And then, we ate some more.

Grandmother grew kinder and kinder. She put us to bed with a soft mattress on the floor.

“There, there,” she sang “Tomorrow, we’ll eat some more.”

As I close my eyes, I dream. Surrounding grandmother as she sits by the hearth, shadows with wide eyes, staring up at her as she sang; 
“There, there, little children. Tomorrow, we’ll eat some more.”

Nicki Snyder
Nicki Snyder
23 days ago

Whispers
by Nicki Snyder

Annie always hated under her bed. It was creepy and dark. And while most kids weren’t afraid during the day, Annie still was. Just because the monster is asleep, she thought, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

She would hear its nails scratch against the wood as it’d curl and uncurl its claws while it dreamt.

At night it was worse. As the house settled the whispering began.

“Annie,” the thing under her bed said. “Aaannniiee,” it hissed. “Come down where I can see you. My eyes aren’t very good in the dark.”

The monster thought it was clever, Annie knew it lied. 

It’d whisper to her most of the night, begging her to come closer, promising it wouldn’t hurt her, and all it ever wanted was a peek of her. What was the harm? it’s sinister voice insisted.

Annie tried to outsmart it. She covered her ears, but the creature spoke louder. She turned on the radio, but the monster pulled the plug. She tried to tell her parents, but they only pat her on the head, disbelieving her story.

One night Annie stood in the doorway of her room, after her parents had gone to bed. They had let her sleep in the living room after she had told them, “It’ll be like indoor camping.”

She called and beckoned from the hall.  She pled and bribed, but the thing under her bed stayed put.

“Why don’t you come over here instead, Annie?” it rasped. “It’s cozy under here. The light is soft, the air is warm.”

Perhaps this whole time, the creature was telling the truth, and she was safe from it. 

As she approached the bed, she squatted and peered underneath. Glowing yellow eyes peered back. It didn’t move, or try to grab her, so Annie got down on all fours and crawled forward.  

The creature moved over and Annie disappeared into the darkness under her bed.

“It’s inviting, isn’t it?” the monster whispered.

“Yes,” the girl replied, a mischievous smile curling her lips.

“Good,” the monster purred. “And now that we’re together, we can play.”

NocteVesania
23 days ago

Dream Eater
by NocteVesania

A man opens his eyes to a dark room lit only by a few red candles, perched on the edges of the stone table on which he lies. Beside him, there appears to be etchings of cryptic writing he can only dream of understanding. Bound by his hands and feet, he can do nothing but look around and hope for salvation.

Out of the shadows, a lady in white approaches the man, her skin pale and her face devoid of any emotion. He recognizes her as his wife, the love of his life.

“Honey, it’s me,” the man called to her, tears welling up in his eyes, “I’ve been looking for you for years.”

No response.

As she comes to stand beside him, the man starts hearing whispers, faint at first, but growing louder and louder, like a swarm of flies buzzing ever closer. They say only one thing, over and over again.

“Do it.”

The lady raises her hands, clasped together, above the man. Between them is the faint glimmer of polished bone, its sharp tip pointing to his abdomen. The growing whispers are deafening him at this point.

“Honey, it’s me, please remember,” the man pleads, “we can go back. Back to our home, back to our life, please listen to me. Let’s ge-”

The man’s speech is cut off as the ivory knife is plunged into his stomach. He loses control of his body as the knife is pulled back out. In his wavering consciousness, he could only watch the lady stab the knife into herself as well. Her body falls on to the floor and her lifeless gaze pierces into his soul, deeper than any blade could fall into flesh.

Pathetic.

Such is the fate of a soul misfortunate enough to be offered up to me. Forever asleep, dreaming of their final moments, feeling the pain over and over again. Their sorrow, their anguish, feeds me.

And yet, this one seems… different. In his dream, he feels not fear, but… relief, as if he longed for this moment, despite his hellish predicament.

Humans are odd creatures.

wordsonthewind
wordsonthewind
23 days ago

Elysia
by Evonne L.

The manga adapted into my anime-watching classmates’ latest niche obsession was based on a novel. Only I looked deeper. 

Hiroshi Fujimoto was long forgotten by his death in 1967. But before that, he lived in Paris for ten years and even wrote in French. His short stories were praised for their realism and clean, clear prose. 

Elysia was written after returning to his hometown of Sendai. His only novel, a surreal mystery about a woman searching for her brother’s killer and stumbling across an occult ritual said to open a door to another world. 

But the ritual wasn’t important. Not even the world it led to was important. The actions of the cult that sprang up around it were.  

The papers I found all discussed Elysia as a radical departure from Fujimoto’s short stories. But I didn’t think they were all that different. Sometimes I even thought that, for all its surreality and nightmarish elements, Elysia painted a truer picture than those stories ever did.

My classmates tried the ritual that made it into the show. They told their own stories of the other world, the adventures they went on and the atrocities they committed.

I never joined in. 

Every night now, I was in Elysia: as the woman, the murdered brother, one of the cultists. Every night, the story unfolded slightly differently. New themes and interpretations became clear.

And one day I looked up from my well-worn copy of the novel to a door I’d never seen before.

Fujimoto stood there. It was strange to finally see him in color. When I caught his eye, he looked at me solemnly and remained silent.

It took a moment to find my voice.

“This is the real world.” I pointed to the book. “Not the one I wake up in each day. I want to stay here forever.” 

He seemed to consider this for a moment. Then he opened the door.

I’d seen what lay beyond a thousand times in my dreams. I hesitated, took a deep breath… then stepped through.

The Man Himself
The Man Himself
23 days ago

Todd Walker.
By The Man Himself.
“And these ones…” “Those the ones with the coat guy?” “Yeah. Man, why are you so hung up on that one detail? That’s not all this stuff is good for you know.” Shevon rubbed the back of his head nervously. “It’s just weird, y’know? That so many people see the exact same thing. I find that kinda shit interesting.” “I mean… not really man.” Nick lay back on the beanbag he was seated in and patted around for a lighter. “It’s like… have you ever taken Datura seeds?” “No.” “Well a load of people start pretending to smoke a cig when they’re deep in. Sometimes you just get these weird consistencies between people’s trips. Plus it’s kinda a self fulfilling prophecy if you go in knowing about Walker already.”
          Shevon started at the familiar name. “Walker? That’s what he’s called?” Nick shrugged. “Probably. So you buying or what?” “I think I’m good but I’ll give you a twenty if you can tell me everything you know about this ‘Walker’ guy.” Nick squinted. “Man you really aren’t letting this go.”
            What Nick told him lined up with what Shevon had found online, plus a little extra. He hadn’t really taken his nighttime visitor seriously at first. It was comforting to have a respite from the dreams but then the saviour he’d imagined for himself started cropping up outside his head. There was blog about Floridian folklore that mentioned a “Silent Walkerman” who could be summoned with a mirror and some music. He had red hair and a long black coat, sometimes with a sword. Then there was this, the hazy figure that appeared on bad trips on certain mind-altering drugs. Black coat. Red Hair. Exasperated.
           Nick had claimed his ex had a pretty good conversation with “Walker” once. Even asked him if he was a ghost. He’d taken offence to that. That night, Shevon turned to the man sat next to him, hands on his knees with his coat trailing along whatever they were sitting on. Below them, the black sea Shevon once drowned in every night writhed.

Flora Longtail
Flora Longtail
23 days ago

Eldie
by Flora Longtail

I went to see Eldie again; went to feed her sugarcubes again and spend the night with her, just me and her.

Daddy’s never liked it when I played with Eldie.
Daddy’s never liked it when I ride on Eldie’s back, faster than any other horse.
Daddy’s never liked it when I feed Eldie the sugarcubes I take from the kitchen, or the carrots I pick in the garden.
Daddy’s never liked it when I spent the time to brush Eldie’s fiery mane; burning the brush.

But… Daddy’s never liked Eldie very much, anyway.

Daddy doesn’t like it when Eldie lets me pet her snout.
Daddy doesn’t like it when we run off for days, just the two of us.
Daddy doesn’t like it when I bring Eldie into town.
Daddy doesn’t like it when Eldie stands up for me.
Daddy doesn’t like it when Eldie takes me away from him.

But… Daddy doesn’t like Eldie very much, amyway.

Daddy’s not going to like it when Eldie takes me away from him forever.
Daddy’s not going to like it when he can’t reach me anymore.
Daddy’s not going to like it when he can’t touch me anymore.
Daddy’s not going to like it when he can’t hurt me anymore.

But… Daddy’s not going to like Eldie very much, anyway.

Daddy’s never going to like that, thanks to Eldie, he can’t hurt me anymore.

But… Daddy’s never going to like Eldie very much, anyway.

But then again…

I don’t think I like daddy very much, anyway.

Arnold R.
Arnold R.
24 days ago

An Evening Alone
By Arnold R.

I was alone in my home. No one there to disturb my sleep. This night however was different.

I woke up from a forgotten dream where it hovered between recollection and cerebral obliteration. I stirred quietly and got up to use the restroom. Once my business was done I went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. The only thing I can sense around me were the shadows. Once in the kitchen, it was more evident.

My mother left a candle atop the stove lit. On it was the Virgin of Guadalupe with her figure illuminated through the cheap wrapping one would get for two dollars or more. But from the candle’s humble flame, I needn’t need to turn on the kitchen light. I drank the water and looked out the window overlooking the neighborhood.

An unusually quiet night. Even for a summer night, no birds, with only the quiet murmurs of crickets, and the sense of my own thoughts taking shape. A shape similar to the shadows dancing around me in the kitchen. Taking solid shape, two obelisks that risk crushing me and fainting in real time on the kitchen floor, with no one to witness or provide assistance. It didn’t help the sound of an owl was heard not to far off. Foreboding? Guidance? Or simply the sounds of a predator bird looking for prey in the dark night? Who is to say? I can’t. But the shadows calmed during a moment of ennui and anxiety.

With only the distant street lights providing additional light, my trip back to my bedroom was uneventful. The shadows danced around the darkened kitchen, and the living room. But it was my bedroom where the shadows stilled and provided a sense of security and comfort. And for that, I am at peace on this lonely evening.

Sandeen
24 days ago

Sweet Dreams
By Sandeen

A dark shape stared at Kat from the open doorway.

Did I leave that open, she wondered as she attempted to move her hand to Derek, sleeping soundly behind her. His arm was wrapped around her waist, how could he not feel the uptick in her heart rate?

Then the dark shape, tall with wide shoulders, slid closer, behind the dresser, then approached the bed.

Kat tried to struggle; she tried to move at all. Nothing would move. She tried to scream, to make a noise, but nothing would escape her lips but a small stream of air scraping past her useless vocal cords.

The being leaned over, still shrouded in shadow, she couldn’t make out any details but her heart ticked up. She closed her eyes, but could still feel it’s presence. It felt like something was on her chest, something wasn’t letting her take in enough air to finally, finally, make some noise.

Suddenly, she was sitting partway up, held back from sitting upright by Derek’s arm. Panting, she started to shake Derek awake. “Derek, Derek!”

He woke up, pulling her closer as his muscles engaged. “What, what is it?” He asked as he opened his eyes, but when he saw the look of fear in her’s, he already knew what the problem was. “Another sleep paralysis bout?”

She could only nod her head yes, and curl up against his chest. Slowly he felt her heart rate relax and her breathing even out.

Once she was finally asleep, he could lick his lips in satisfaction at the meal he had. He had found the perfect girl. Not only did he care about her, but she was able to feed him in her sleep enough to keep him going when he stayed home during his weekends off from the mental hospital.

Cody Heinig
Cody Heinig
24 days ago

The Grievance of a Mouse
By Cody Heinig
 
Favyr awoke from a hearty sleep in his cluttered burrow. He yawned wide, revealing long front teeth, before licking down his matted fur. Around him, rotting bits of food and glittering human-things filled the space of his underground lair. Outside, he could hear the chitters of the others settling in before dark.
 
His engorged belly scraped against dirt as he squeezed out his entryway. His neighbors, a frail and pathetic family of three, slept tightly in their grass nest. Favyr believed them thieves, but the all too generous leader of their clan ignored his cries, imposing a higher tribute on poor old Favyr!
 
“For the good of our clan,” Chief Limbsnag had said, “Your stores are full and plenty, and you serve as a part of this community.”
 
Pah! He winced at the thought. It was they who refused to hunt at night, when harvest was good, fearing predators. Let them sleep and dream of fuller stock. Favyr would make his dreams reality. He was smart. He was hungry. It was time for him to hunt.
           
 
Favyr dragged his night haul by mouth: molded cheese, a stale crumb of bread and a juicy bit of meat. He counted many times the part of his hoard he’d have to give up to his loathsome neighbors. Each time he counted, his anger built, sending his fat form into a twitching rage.
 
He heard the rustle of tall grass. A simpler mouse would deem it the wind, but Favyr knew the night and its dangers. He caught the gaze of two shining eyes and the subtle movement of powerful shoulders. “Cat!” he sneered and dropped his haul, breaking into a sprint.
 
As he ran, he thought of his neighbors. Now was the time to make dreams reality. He changed course, leading his hunter towards home.
 
Favyr ducked into his burrow and listened as predator met prey. He smiled at the chitter-screams. He licked his lips at the thought of what the cat may leave behind. He was hungry, after all. 
 

Last edited 24 days ago by Cody Heinig
Lunabear
Lunabear
25 days ago

Small Reprieve
by Lunabear

Detective Ryan Norton sat at the smoky, noisy bar, nursing his diluted whiskey. His unused cigarette had burned itself out. He cradled his head with one hand. His other hand held a crumpled photo of missing person Lacy Fairchild and her wife Jacqueline Pierce. Over two long months of searching, and still not a trace.

As much as he would have loved to finger Allan Greer for a previous murder and Lacy’s disappearance, Greer’s alibi had checked out. Besides, none of the evidence pointed to him. On top of that, the DNA of Lacy and their Jane Doe were different. That particular information didn’t eliminate Greer from the suspect list, though.

He threw back the remainder of his drink with a growl. Slamming the glass on the wooden bar top, he signaled the bartender for a refill.

Hess topped him off wordlessly. He shook his head in pity while looking on with a sympathetic expression.

Norton gently rested the picture next to his silent cell. Smoothing out the wrinkles, his mind wandered aimlessly. He HAD to bring Lacy home ALIVE. Moreover, he had to catch this son of bitch who was butchering women in his city.

The whiskey’s burn only angered him. He pushed out a heavy sigh as his phone flashed Officer Janis’s name. He snatched it up, rushing out into the warm night. He answered.

“Norton. Speak.”

“Good news or bad news first?” Janis prompted.

Norton snarled in warning. “Spit it out!”

“Good Samaritan found your missing woman unconscious along a stretch of back road. Phoned it in. She’s beat the hell up, but she’s alive. She gave the perp a good fight. Taking her to the ER, now.”

A weight seemed to lift from Norton’s shoulders. He braced himself for the bad.

“Same M.O., and still no new leads. Sorry, Norton.”

“That’s good enough news for now. Sweep the scene and report back EVERYTHING, no matter how small. The bastard will slip up, eventually.”

“You got it,” Janis promised.

The call ended. Norton rolled his shoulders back and called Jacqueline to give her the news.

WrongJohnSilver
WrongJohnSilver
25 days ago

Narsi
by WrongJohnSilver
 
Narsi was in the same beanbag as me when we first met. Her cheeks were as inviting as a pair of ripe, fragrant nectarines. Her eyes were a bright blue, vivacious, and kept fixed on me. She giggled and cuddled up against me before introducing herself.
 
She may have been forward, but it felt so soft and natural I didn’t dare question it. I asked if she wanted something to drink.
 
“Sure!” she replied, pulling me up.
 
We walked to the bar, where the bartender had drinks ready for us. Mine was a gold-flaked concoction, and hers was a tall multicolored cocktail made with nectarine juice and blueberries.
 
“What is that?” I asked.
 
“It’s a Narsi,” the bartender replied, before he faded back into the crowd of bottles surrounding him.
 
I couldn’t help but notice that her drink smelled like her wavy auburn hair.
“Are you named after the drink, or is the drink named after you?” I asked.
 
She nestled up under my shoulder. She just fit there, soft as a pillow, no need to adjust. “Narsi is Narsi,” she replied.
 
A tall blond woman passed by us and repeated with a voice that sounded like it carried the wisdom of a hundred years, “Narsi is Narsi.”
 
I looked down at my drink. It was another Narsi. Something felt off, distant. The other people here felt like shadows, maybe coalescing only long enough to say something before dissolving again into the crowd.
 
I was dreaming. I was free to do anything I wanted. Completely free!
 
“You’re right,” Narsi replied, seemingly to my thoughts. Her voice trembled and wavered.
 
I turned to look at her. Tears cascaded down her soft cheeks. I reached out to dry them and she recoiled. Her brow twisted. Her eyes pleaded. She shivered in terror.
 
“You’re right. You can do anything you want to any of us. There’s nothing we can do to stop it. And no one is going to complain. None of us matter. We’re just dreams. We don’t exist!”
 
The only humane thing I could do was wake up. 

Zack M.
Zack M.
25 days ago

Sixty Months
by Zachary M.
 
“If you’re reading this, odds are good that I’m already gone. In case you didn’t know me, my name was Richard, Richard Palmer. I was transferred to Tinderland Penitentiary 2 months ago, outta Storm Bay which I spent 12 years. Christ, I’d do it all again if I didn’t have to come here. This is about Ferdinand, the warden. If you’re one of the inmates, odds are you just got a shiver; yeah well I’m one of his favorites.
 
 
“Dude’s way more than just a creepy face. Don’t know how the hell he does it, but…He knows things about me. Things nobody here knew, nor anybody from Storm Bay, things like where I went to school, what year I dropped out, and why. So what, right? It’s all stuff any determined guy could get hold of. No, it’s way worse. He gets…Real personal with you. Starts talking to you about your mom, calling her by her maiden name, that one white lie you said when you were 12 complete with childlike stammer, every partner you’ve had, and exactly what went on once the doors were shut and nobody could hear the stuff that came outta your mouth. He knows. He knows, and he pries you open like a clam, real soft at first, but then he cuts you deep. Too deep. Right to the soul. Cuts you until those dead eyes of his watch your eyes run and your head pound.
 
 
“Ferdinand is some kind of freak. Dude’s got no PHD of any kind, yet he knows exactly what to say. What am I supposed to do? Deal with it? Deal with every whisper as he passes my cell, every office meeting where the guards leave me cuffed so he can stare and say whatever he wants? Deal with nightmares where I can’t escape him? No. I can’t do this anymore. Forgive me Emma, my dear. I can’t take 58 months of this. I’m so sorry.”
 
 
The letter folded neatly in the warden’s desk, and the demon smiled. “Poor Palmer. Your dreams were the most savory. Who’s to replace you?”
 

Last edited 25 days ago by Zack M.
Ryan
Ryan
25 days ago

I Love Garbage
by Ryan
 
Smoosh and Squish! I chew the fries someone did not want that late evening night.
 
As I scrounge around the large dumpster I ask myself, why do people throw too much away? These Trashy Thoughts I call them, meaningless. A hamburger with the tomatoes removed! Delicious! When sprinkled with the capers someone did not want with their bagel n’lox!
 
The smell so piercing that anyone would know it. The smell of food thrown away after the day, layered on top the older remnants of the previous weeks spoils. No one would understand this but me and myself. I’m glad no one cleans dumpsters!
 
Rustle Rustle. “Ah a fine set!” I whisper to myself. Old white socks with a hole in both the toes and grayed on the soles from wear. These socks have been loved I think to myself. I reached down and put them over my other pair I’ve had for a month.
 
I hear some chatter outside. I put my hood back on and I poke my head out, they cannot see me from this far away during this time of night. It’s two women and a man. They are drunk, I can tell they drank too much. They have that stumbling walk waiting to catch uneven ground and slam on the pavement. They are carrying chilli fries too. The girl holding the fries falls and the others pick her up, laughing, and leaving the fries behind. Now’s my chance I thought, and I lift myself out from the dumpster and squat near the fries. I’ll have what you don’t want. Crunch Crunch.
 
I finish what I want and look up into the dark sky. Food and clothes are always better when you know that they are unwanted and used up. I wait for another day when I find another like me in a dumpster too but not by choice.
 
I am the Dumpster Dilettante! I use what you don’t want! I am the creature that watches your excess with eager appetite.
 
 

Scott Nems
Scott Nems
25 days ago

Pack
By Scott Nems
 
There’s a hero in my head and he knows I can do better. He’s a stubborn, admirable bastard who believes in me, and he won’t be persuaded away. I can’t shake off the snows of my deep forests so easily though.
 
They come so naturally, so nimbly. I don’t even have to call for them. Like wolves, they come, howling from the dark of the heart. Their loyalty is commendable. Their appetites, insatiable. A sickly warmth they possess, and many times have we taken to the snows underneath the sallow, jaundiced moon, and gone out a-romping together; for I’ve long been brother to them without regret.
 
But the hero, he’s been with me too. His presence lights the forest and chases back the beasts, and he always finds me sooner or later. He reminds me of who the enemy really is, and to always be wary, and for a time, I listen, but too often, I find myself lost again. Soon, the wolves return, sensing brother in need, and so on it goes. I’m not sure which of them came first – who has the rightful claim.
 
I want to heed the hero, but he and his lantern are seldom seen. Every sparse appearance, every word of wisdom, seems to carry less weight with each encounter. But the wolves, they visit so much. Ever so much. Too much! I get so very sick of their paws at my back, their tongues lapping at my face, and their eyes! Gleaming and intense, the eyes of the pack. I don’t like looking into them too deeply.
 
Those eyes, disgusting and yet strangely enchanting, seem to say, “Truly, you could be so much more than a brother. You could someday be one of us.” 
 
I wish the hero would leave me be sometimes – leave me alone in the dark and not glare at me so. I’m beginning to mistake his nobility for enmity, his hope for impossibility, and I can’t bear the thought of turning against him. Or perhaps, I can. That’s what I’m afraid of.

King_Nix
King_Nix
25 days ago

“It Came to Me in a Dream”
By King_Nix
 
We were treading through the Dream one night. He delighted in bringing terror to the slumbering fantasies of Man, but we had other plans tonight.
 
We passed a dream overflowing with wealth, and he craved it. To calm him, I sent the other to turn the gold to the bones of the dreamer’s children instead, and the rest of us relished in their suffering. I stifled their mirth, and we continued on.
 
At last, we came to the place we were to meet.
 
“We have come,” I called. “Now reveal yourself!”
 
There appeared before us the radiant, to some of us blinding, form of a woman. She was clad all in white, brighter than the malignant moon, skin enviously fair, and with hair like threads of gold.
 
“So you have come, poor Nix.” she mocked us!
 
“We are King!”
 
“So you are, but not here.” she chided, with her eyes, more blue and dark than the depths of the ocean, boring into us. “Now will you accept what I have to offer you, or are you still angry about the Gryphons?”
 
Much of us hissed, but I held our tongues. “Show me.”
 
We fell into darkness, and were made witness to a thing beyond beauty; hide harder than iron, teeth like a hundred spears, it flew onn winds of hate and breathed death! Creatures of pure destruction, born only to bring chaos to my realm, and they were all mine!
 
We awoke, and I got to work. Twisting flesh, splitting and warping bone and sinew, I spent years in the darkness. Until at last, I had bent life into our own perfect image.
 
I led our dear friend down to see my artistry. It leapt at him, shrieking in a sweet symphony of torment!
 
“Wh-where did you find such a nightmarish beast?!” he blubbered as he scuttled out of its reach.

“It came to me in a dream.”
 

Carolus V.
Carolus V.
26 days ago

The Will-o’-the-Wisp
By Carolus V.
 
The moon watched me from its throne atop creation. The stars looked like pearls at the bottom of a dark ocean. The woodland was still. No crow cried into the darkness, noting rustled among the underbrush. I was alone, following a path that slithered endlessly through a forest.
 
Shadows fluctuated. Branches turned into claws grasping at the sky. Roots became serpents nipping at my heels/ The daylit world had fallen asleep. Another had awoken to take its place.
 
I couldn’t see far ahead. I was worried one of my feet would catch on a rock, progressing hesitantly.
 
The path rounded a bend. On the opposite side, I could see a dim, yellow light.
 
I walked forward with a little more confidence, thinking I might have come upon someone else who could show me a way out of the forest. My foot struck a twig and a snap echoed. The light stopped dead in its tracks. I ran after it.
 
I crossed the bend and looked straight ahead. There was a ball of light, midair, above the path. It wasn’t suspended on a chain or held in a lantern’s cage. It was a just a ball of illumination, pure energy levitating there. Nobody stood beside it.
 
My mind went numb and my eyes dulled the longer I looked at it. The blazing orb adopted a crimson color. The sight of it stung. My body began to fall out of my control. I walked on, mindless and limp.
 
A voice howled from inside the sphere.
 
“You’re not real. You’re a fiction.”
 
My eyelids went heavy. I thought I might faint.
 
“You’re a metaphor. Built, molded, sculpted. This world’s an illusion, just for you.”
 
I did my best to resist. The blinding red hypnotized me, drew me on.
 
“Your god bears a pen and a piece of paper. You’re the myth he’s writing down.”
 
I jolted up in my bed, sweat on my brow, my heart racing. It was early morning. The town was still quiet.
 
Somewhere, far away, a wolf was howling farewell to the disappearing moon.
 

Last edited 26 days ago by Carolus V.
Gregory Hess
Gregory Hess
26 days ago

“Graduation”[Aleph null science fiction]
by gregovin
 
“Lance Bailey, congratulations on graduating!”
A man walked up to the stand and received their diploma.
 
“Rayna Bogdan”
 
I’m up? I walk toward the stage. I did it! I didn’t deserve this though.
 
“Congratulations on graduating, with honors!”
 
Honors! What did I do to deserve honors? I just got lucky. I’ll be outed as a faker in a few seconds. Why is he taking so long to move on to the next person?!
 
“And, at this time, I would like to announce that Rayna Bogdan has graduated with a very special award. The Lastroaud Lignam award, for doing a great service to our world. Thank you.”
 
Applause flooded the area.
A great service! I didn’t even do anything. Sasha could have solved the whole thing. What was I getting credit for? I just poked at the issue until it unwound! I feel flustered. Why are they giving me so much credit for so little?
 
An odd person came to greet me as I came down from the stand. Their skin was … wrong, it lacked texture, it was a shade too pale to be healthy, it seemed … hard? Oh, it’s Sasha!
 
I jog over to her. She embraces me in a hug. “Congratulations”, she exclaims.
 
“For what? I didn’t do anything to deserve this”
 
“Yes you did. Think about it. Anyone could have done what you did, and yet you were the only one who did it. You bothered to look. And that is valuable. Also, you think sideways in a way I’ve never seen before.”
 
I feel so warm inside. Did I do something special? Maybe. Yeah. Just maybe.
 
Maybe I do deserve a little bit of something.
 
“Now, you are going to get a treat. I am going to take you out to ice cream because you deserve it” she stated, matter of factly.

Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
26 days ago

Date Night with Ginger
by Matthew (Handsome Johanson) 
 
Ginger walked up to the door and pawed at it a bit. Seeing the look of nervousness on his well groomed, orange face, his dutiful human came over to open the door. On the other side, the beautiful Couscous lay waiting with her shiny green eyes. 
 
“Hey Ginger!” She squealed, with a smile. “I’m really excited for our date tonight! I didn’t know that cat’s could go on dates. You are so cool!”
 
Ginger blushed a bit. “Thanks! I thought we could go to the movies.” he meowed while gesturing to the door outside. “I heard there’s a showing of the Meowtbook at five.”
 
“Oo, that’ll be fun.” Couscous happily meowed back. Ginger rushed over to his human’s leg and started tugging at her. Confused, she got up and followed him to the door outside.
 
“Oh you want to go to the movies!” She said. “I’ll take you guys.”
 
The movie theatre was packed. Cats were pouring in to wait in the long line with their dates. The pair got in line and slowly advanced to the ticket box.
 
Every second they sat waiting, Ginger could feel his nerves rising. ‘What if she hates the movie? What if she hates popcorn and snacks?’
 
When they finally got into the movie theatre, they chose a spot near the back for the best view.
 
“Here,” Ginger said while placing the bucket of popcorn in between them. “ We can share the popcorn.” 
 
Then the urges hit. The bucket was RIGHT there. He could just tip it over! His paw slowly migrated to the tub and pushed it over, without him even thinking about it.
 
‘OH NO’ Ginger thought as the bucket cascaded to the floor. ‘She’s going to think I’m a doofus now.’ He looked nervously at Couscous who just laughed and picked up the tub from the ground only to knock it back down again.
 
They laughed and enjoyed the rest of the film. Upon heading to the car, their human spotted them.
 
“How did the movie go, guys?” His human asked.
 
“It was a nightmare.” Ginger laughed. “But it was sweet.”
 
 
 
 

Joseph Kharms
Joseph Kharms
26 days ago

“Albert Camus” 
By Joe Kharms
 
Eugene sat in subtle despair, this wasn’t unusual; it’s what you call an office job. In fact it’s what you call any job you don’t particularly want to do but ultimately have to do. But for Eugene, subtle despair was what he experienced as he sat in front of his desk tapping away at the keyboard working endlessly towards an invisible unachievable goal. 
 
Soon lunch came. Even sooner it went. Eventually the end of the working day came, and Eugene rolled out the office feeling free. He entered his empty flat and started drinking. Soon dinner came. Even sooner it went. 
 
Eugene was only truly happy when he was eating, he didn’t know why this was. Perhaps eating food was the true meaning of life. 
 
As he put away his dirty plate, there was a knock on the door. Eugene swiftly opened the door to see who had knocked; it was a leprechaun. The arrival of this mythical creature made Eugene feel strange, it made him feel energetic. 
 
“Hello, what do you want?” Asked Eugene. 
 
“We, the leprechaun’s wish to overthrow your government. And we would like you to join our divine cause.” 
 
Eugene should have shut the door on the small ginger anarchist. Eugene should have called the police. Surprisingly, Eugene didn’t do any of the things he should have, in fact he joined the leprechaun’s cause. 
 
For years, Eugene fought bravely against his former government and made his way up the ranks of the leprechaun resistance. He carried out acts of terrorism and led huge battles, killing many. He and the leprechaun’s made an alliance with the Pokmee (which is the politically correct word for “unicorn”) and together they soon overthrew the government. 
 
Soon the leprechaun government came. Even sooner it went. Replaced by another government which soon also went. In the grand scheme of things, it was just as pointless as an office job. 
 
 
 

Last edited 26 days ago by Joseph Kharms
Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
26 days ago

Date Night with Ginger
By Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
 
Ginger walked up to the door and pawed at it a bit. Seeing the look of nervousness on his well groomed, orange face, his dutiful human came over to open the door. On the other side, the beautiful Couscous lay waiting with her shiny green eyes. 
 
“Hey Ginger!” She squealed, with a smile. “I’m really excited for our date tonight! I didn’t know that cat’s could go on dates. You are so cool!”
 
Ginger blushed a bit. “Thanks! I thought we could go to the movies.” he meowed while gesturing to the door outside. “I heard there’s a showing of the Meowtbook at five.”
 
“Oo, that’ll be fun.” Couscous happily meowed back. Ginger rushed over to his human’s leg and started tugging at her. Confused, she got up and followed him to the door outside.
 
“Oh you want to go to the movies!” She said. “I’ll take you guys.”
 
The movie theatre was packed. Cats were pouring in to wait in the long line with their dates. The pair got in line and slowly advanced to the ticket box.
 
Ever second they sat waiting, Ginger could feel his nerves rising. ‘What if she hates the movie? What if she hates popcorn and snacks?’
 
When they finally got into the movie theatre, they chose a spot near the back for the best view.
 
“Here,” Ginger said while placing the bucket of popcorn in between them. “ We can share the popcorn.” 
 
Then the urges hit. The bucket was RIGHT there. He could just tip it over! His paw slowly migrated to the tub and pushed it over, without him even thinking about it.
 
‘OH NO’ Ginger thought as the bucket cascaded to the floor. ‘She’s going to think I’m a doofus now.’ He looked nervously at Couscous who just laughed and picked up the tub from the ground only to knock it back down again.
 
They laughed and enjoyed the rest of the film. Upon heading to the car, their human spotted them.
 
“How did the movie go, guys?” His human asked.
 
“It was a nightmare.” Ginger laughed. “But it was sweet.”

Connor A.
Connor A.
26 days ago

“Young Playwright”
By Connor A.
 
 
Jason was not sitting in the theater chair correctly. “Let’s take it from, ‘Séan, my friend…’”
 
Simon and Eleanor nodded and got ready. Eleanor took a breath. “Séan, my friend, Dahlia deserves the truth.”
 
“Maria…” Simon reached out to Eleanor, then stopped himself, “Dahlia’s love is nothing more than sweet nightmares— passion where there should be calm, and coldness where there should be comfort. I would rather keep her a grave’s length away than tell her of my plight.”
 
Meanwhile, Balthazar and Avi watched from the upper seats of the theater. The former beamed at what was before them.
 
“Someone’s invested,” Avi remarked with the smallest grin on his face.
 
“I never thought I would see this play come to fruition.”
 
This was news to Avi. “You know it?”
 
“Somewhat.” Balthazar kept watching as the scene went on. “I gave my students a project one semester, and Jason wrote this scene. It was the first time he wrote something so symbolic, but it worked. He nearly dropped his textbooks on his foot when I picked apart the symbolism, though.”
 
It was so rare to see Balthazar’s eyes light up like they did now, but in those moments Avi could notice that in the dark, the usually gray eyes almost looked completely white.
 
“How many poets wrote about your eyes?” It was a genuine question, but the way Balthazar looked back at him made it clear that he did not see it that way. “You mentioned being around a lot of aspiring poets, right?”
 
Balthazar’s shoulders relaxed. “I did, didn’t I? Let’s see… about three to five poets. I never figured out what Wendy’s and Albert’s poems were actually about.”
 
Meanwhile, the three college students talked enough to make it seem as if they were talking about the play.
 
“You really didn’t know until last week?” Eleanor poked Jason’s shoulder. 
 
“I’m making up for it,” Jason defended himself. “Come opening night, they can say they had a date.”
 
“Details?” Simon leaned on Jason’s other shoulder.
 
“After rehearsal. Now, let’s start scene four.”

Last edited 24 days ago by Connor A.
Auburn Witchmaker
Auburn Witchmaker
26 days ago

Incubus
by Auburn Witchmaker
 
The man breathed easily, red light piercing his eyelids. 
 
He thought differently; some ambrosial sensation flooded his mind, fogging his senses of smell, sight, and sound. He didn’t mind; even with them impaired he could tell this body was new. 
 
He stretched the limbs first, feeling his humors feed the waking muscles. As he stretched the voice made a yawn, or a whine, that felt like the purr of a dreamy leopard stirred in some mountain cave. Whilst nurturing this whine into a roar he reached one hand to the waist and the other to the chin, finding both. The waist was thick, strong as marble, as still as flesh could be. The stubble, in contrast, seemed to creep up the cheek by the minute like vines on an obelisk. He enjoyed feeling like an obelisk. 
 
The man turned the body’s feet off the couch where it had been sleeping. He’d been here before, twice,  maybe thrice, and knew where he was by instinct. He tried lifting the eyelids, but the crimson light was still too strong, so he walked blindly instead, reaching out for a wall to guide his way to the looking glass. He’d found the glass before, perhaps on the second visit, whilst wandering unaware of the place’s layout. But he’d come faster this time; he’d found a quicker path. This time he could get a proper look at this form. 
 
As the hands felt the doorframe leading to the glass he opened the eyes. He noticed the square chin and nose, saw the crimson skin, and felt the horns curling from his forehead like locks. But he stared into the eyes, deep in the skull, sparkling like onyx. They were his. 
 
He was roused by an alarm which made him leave the mirror behind. The light went from red to yellow.  He opened his eyes again, seeing his home. But all he could do was long for a better sleep, for a longer dream, one where he didn’t look down and see the flesh of a man named Charlotte.   

Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
26 days ago

Under the Skin (Corespace Universe)
By Calliope Rannis
 
Just over a month ago, Ovee had moved into the house next door. The triad who owned the house were all aging, and he had offered his services as both a live-in carer and farmhand, expressing particular interest in their harvest culture. He was the nicest person Carla had ever met, and she had nightmares about him almost every night. 
 
She could clearly see his ‘tent’ in their garden – a covering of silky wax, attached to the side of one of the garden’s trees, where he wrapped himself up to sleep at night. The shape of his body inside made it look like an enormous, misshapen cocoon.
 
Carla had met him several times at this point, usually when he was maintaining the front garden. Ovee was always happy to see her, and would ask questions about anything. She’d talk out of politeness, but found it difficult to answer even the easy questions. She kept being distracted by his thick, golden brown skin, her imagination tormenting her with thoughts of what lay below it.
 
It was extra evident sometimes. When he had to pick up something heavy, his arms would swell and the papery skin stretched tight. When he laughed, his body would ripple like the surface of a pond. And the one time she had seen him stressed, Ovee’s body had shivered with a persistent humming noise for the entire time.
 
The worst time was when she had seen a small insect with butter-yellow wings fly out of his toothless mouth. He apologised afterwards, said he never knew she had a phobia of insects, that all he did was like sending a letter to a friend.  He never did it in front of her again.
 
But despite all his care, and not a hint of malice in him, Carla could not stop her dreams. Dreams of endless buzzing, of winged bodies pouring through a tear in his skin, of Ovee disintegrating into a swarm of thousands of bright-winged insects.
 
For Ovee was what humans call a Helping Hive, and Carla hated that she could never see him as anything else.

T.E.
T.E.
26 days ago

The Beast and I
By T.E.
 
Ever since I was a child the Beast has plagued my dreams. Being attracted to me in some horrid way I cannot explain. I often woke in the small hours to find its pale face illuminating my bedroom. It’s only grown bolder since… 
 
I’ve done all manner of things to rid myself of it. I fed it my cat once, the poor creature was ravenously devoured, but the Beast continued to plague me. A few times I arranged sleepovers with friends for the sole purpose of transferring the cursed being upon them. Given time I think it would’ve worked too, for when he saw those other children fast asleep he approached them and seemed to delight in their presence. However, they never agreed to sleep at my home again after doing so once. 
 
The Beast and I have lived together just the two of us for a long time now, ever since I moved from home. I would say I grew used to it, but the Beast has gotten bold lately. A few weeks ago it touched me for the first time, stroking me with its long withered arm resulting in a tingling and terrifying freezing sensation. When this obvious breach of personal space continued night after night I vowed simply not to sleep. It’s been six days now, and I have no choice but to go once more into that helpless state.
 
I had taken a large dose of sleeping pills, hoping it would keep it at bay. As sleep neared the room grew cold and began to glow with that familiar light. The Beast stared at me from the foot of the bed and grinned with those crooked teeth protruding from its wide mouth. I couldn’t scream nor move, the exhaustion and the pills freezing me in place. The Beast caressed my helpless body, lifted the duvet, and crept in next to me. Holding me tight throughout the night. For the first time ever I felt safe. I looked into its glowing eyes and smiled. The Beast smiled back and I fell asleep…
 

Karley
Karley
26 days ago

Don’t Wake Me Up
By: KarleyCue

July 19,

The world is spinning
….
I mean, of course it’s spinning, I just meant-

Another wave of nausea hits me hard causing me to roll around in the bathtub. My limbs hitting the walls with soft thumps make my head feel like it’s going to split open. Like a child trying to open an orange for the first time, just dig your fingers into my skull and have my orange brain juice explode everywhere.

The thought of an orange made me remember the smell and taste of one, which made my stomach lurch, which made me writhe in pain, which made my limbs hit the tub, which-

GOD! Was all of this torture really worth it!?

Apparently so, since I keep doing it over and over.

Maybe all this pain isn’t worth it… Maybe I should stop trying to see them… Maybe we should stop doing this to our bodies…

It was a lot of work just so we can see each other in our dreams when our bodies finally put us under from all the pain.

Love potions were funny like that. They make you do insane things and never they truly leave your system.

One day, we’ll find each other so we never have to do this again. One day we’ll be happy together and in each other’s arms.

But until then, the cold embrace of the bathtub will have to do.

Now I should really set my phone down before I accidentally chuck it across the room… again.

Last edited 26 days ago by Karley
Alex
Alex
26 days ago

Dinnertime 
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)
 
Detective Sparrow Morrigan moved through the dark passages of the old warehouse, all the while accompanied by a very off-key version of ‘Summer Wine’. She reached down to her belt and unholstered a hip-flask. She took a long swig. This was why she preferred to run solo. It gave her an opportunity to do this undisturbed. The alcohol ran down her throat.
 
The singing grew louder. A stench of rot hung in the air. Sparrow covered her mouth and nose with her arm and moved onwards. As a flight of stairs approached, she swayed slightly, steadied herself and walked down, step by step.
 
The singing stopped. The stench grew worse. Sparrow took another swig.
 
“A visitor is here”, a high voice said: “Mealtime does draw near.”
 
Sparrow stopped dead in her tracks. In the flickering light, she saw a room in front of her. Three people were strapped to gurneys, their heads shaking from side to side, like a bad dream. She inched closer, morbid curiosity driving her forward. She saw dark liquid oozing from their eyes, mouth and nose. One of them was wearing a police uniform.
 
A long flickering shadow crawled along the wall, holding some kind of sharp instrument. Sparrow drew her pistol.
 
“Police”, she yelled: “Drop whatever you’re holding!”
 
The shadow rounded a corner and revealed a hunched withered person. He smiled at her. Sparrow saw that he had no teeth. Her eyes were forced back to the people on the gurneys.
 
“What are you doing to them”, her voice was barely a whisper.
 
“Can’t the police bother looking? They are stirring, boiling, cooking. To prepare, so long. But the taste, so strong.”
 
“Release them. Now!”
 
Even she noticed the quiver in her voice.
 
“So little dreams to spare”, the figure sang: “A volunteer, so rare!”
 
He darted forwards, a needle in hand. Sparrow dropped her pistol and ran. Her footsteps rang through the warehouse.
 
Blue lights greeted her.
 
“Detective”, an officer said: “What…”
 
“Search…that…warehouse”, was all she could manage.
 
Sparrow couldn’t believe her eyes, as they entered the room she had seen. It was completely empty.
 
 

Last edited 26 days ago by Alex
Alexander
26 days ago

Laying Awake
By Alexander (BrokenEarth)
 
I rolled over to the cool side of my bed at around eight thirty, which had become routine since summer started. It was always too hot. I’d be lucky to fall asleep by ten o’clock.
 
A lot has changed for me, but this hasn’t. Summer’s the worst when you want to fall asleep. Sleep is a weird thing, when you think about it. It’s pretty ideal a lot of the time, because all you’re doing is existing. No worries, stress, or anything. You’re barely even aware you exist.
 
Then, of course, the time just before you fall asleep is almost the exact opposite. You focus on trying to let your mind scatter. Worry about the stupid thing that happened last Halloween, and what you’re going to do with your life. I’m pretty sure that the brilliant people in the world are just people who are always in that time, because I’m the most inspired then.
 
Maybe I’m just inspired then, now, I mean, because it’s inconvenient. I do a lot of inconvenient things. Like that time when… Okay, I don’t have an example, but it doesn’t matter. There’s a lot of things that don’t matter.
 
That reminds me of the protests that have been going on recently. How do I help out? I mean, I’m respectful to people, or I like to think I am, but I feel like I should do more. I don’t like knowing that I’m going to be forgotten.
 
Forgetting things is kinda strange too, isn’t it? I know for a fact that I’ve thought to myself “I’m probably going to forget this moment.” at a lot of points over the years, and I was right. I don’t remember the moment, but I remember the words. Why is that? I’m sure there’s been a study or something on it….
 

 
There. I could feel it. I was almost asleep. What time is it? Nine thirty? That’s not too late to shower. That usually helps me fall asleep.
 
Nah, too much effort…