Writing Group: Fish out of Water

Hello, all you dried-out aquatic specimens!

This week we’re doing what we can to push things out of their element. Let the comfort zones be breached, let the weaknesses come to the fore, and let all the glassy-eyed fish gasp desperately for a breath of water, because…

This week’s writing group prompt is:

 

Fish out of Water

 

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!

 

 

What a terrible blessing this prompt is.

If you’re not familiar, “fish out of water” is an idiom that just means “something out of its element”. A fish may be a perfectly competent creature in the depths, but plop it onto dry land and in an instant it’s flopping and wriggling and working it’s jaw like a mailbox door. 

Not the picture of comfort, is it?

A lot of otherwise natural-as-can-be things begin to look this way if you put them into the right (read: wrong) context.

A maxed out, epic adventurer wearing a small armory’s worth of gear begins to look pretty silly at the DMV. A master con artist could probably be made to squirm at a psychic convention. A shut-in Reddit debate savant might just run out of things to say when an attractive stranger glances at them in the coffee shop.

The easiest word to describe all of this?

Awkward. Followed up closely by lost or misplaced. 

Of course, there are endless directions you could take this thing, and I hope you’ll surprise us. But a word of caution if you have a tender cringe reflex:

Get ready to read some painfully goofy shit.

Good luck! And happy gasping.

 

 

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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Brick
Brick
3 months ago

Gravitonium Hydroxide
by Brickosaur (in Gregovin’s Aleph Null universe)

Abdul looked out at the room full of small-talking scientists and winced. So many humans. He wasn’t worried for his speech on the effects of gravitonium on water-dwelling organisms. It was what came AFTER.

He wheeled a large fish tank onto the stage and began his presentation.

“Gravitonium hydroxide behaves identically to water, except when an electric current is run through it, which activates gravitational properties in the gravitonium. And that has interesting implications for animals like–” he dropped some dried fish in the tank– “the humble electric eel.”

A blob in the corner uncurled into two eels, which looked toward the food. They brightened slightly. A line of small whirlpools formed, pulling the morsel toward the eels, who remained still. Within seconds, they were gobbling up the fish.

The audience applauded, and the presentation resumed smoothly.

Then came the painful part.

Abdul stepped off the stage, and was accosted by half a dozen scientists — complimenting him, crowding him, touching him. His frozen smile felt so fake, but it was all he could do not to bolt from the room. He nodded, making vague acknowledgment noises as he pulled the eel cart off the stage. He escaped through the doorway, back to the prep room.

Safe. He smiled at the eels. These were his people. Quiet. Logical in their actions. Easy to understand.

He dropped another treat in the tank and watched the creatures feed. They were visibly uncomfortable, and a pang of sympathy hit Abdul.

“I know how you feel. You can survive in there, but you don’t thrive. And you can’t escape. I’m sorry. Science doesn’t care about how you feel.”

People would expect him back at the after-party. Abdul wanted none of it. The bright lights, the pointless conversation, the TOUCHING. And unfathomable human behavior. They were scientists! Why couldn’t they make SENSE?

But he had to go back. Or they’d come looking, and disturb the eels.

“Hey,” he murmured. “I’ll get you some regular water, soon as we’re home. Promise.”

Then Abdul stood. He grimaced, steeled himself, and went to join the party.

Last edited 3 months ago by Brick
Cansas Dale
Cansas Dale
3 months ago

Eyes Wide Open
By Cansas Dale

“Now Sonny, don’t be discouraged. No Flying Fish gets it perfect at first.” Florence said.

Sonny nodded and swam back down. He came swimming back towards the surface, closed his eyes and jumped.

“That was better!” Florence said. “You went a bit further that time. It would help if you opened your eyes.”

“The sun is just so bright Uncle Florence.” Sonny whined. “And my fins are smaller than the others.”

“Ah yes, you get the smaller fins from my sister. Just keep at it. Even with small fins your mother is an excellent flier.” Florence said smiling at his nephew.

Sonny smiled as he looked into his uncle’s reassuring eyes. He started swimming back down to try again. He just was not made to fly like the others were. But what else could he do?

“Not to far now Sonny!” Sonny called. “You don’t want a shark biting off your tail.”

Uncle Florence’s voice broke Sonny’s train of thought and he realized how far he had gone. Feeling rather discouraged Sonny slowly swam back to his uncle. Suddenly Sonny felt a presence behind him and he began to swim faster. He looked behind him and nearly swam into a rock. It was the biggest barracuda Sonny had ever seen.

Sonny’s heart raced as he swam as fast as he could go toward his Uncle. Then it dawned on him that the best way to escape was to go where the barracuda could not. Sonny dove down quickly then turned around even quicker to swim towards the surface. He shot through the water like a bullet.

The fresh air and sunlight stung Sonny’s eyes as he left the water but he kept them open. He felt alive as he soared through the air, the mist of the sea splashing in his face. Sonny was caught up in the beauty of the surface world that he had forgotten all about the barracuda. Until he looked down and watched the barracuda swallow his Uncle Florence whole.

A moment of shock and horror filled Sonny, but was cut short by a hungry pelican.

PixieWings
PixieWings
3 months ago

Neither Fish Nor Fowl
by PixieWings

I don’t like keeping my stall open past mid-autumn. The air gets dry. The customers get ornery. Not that I’m much better. I’m complaining to myself when the two of them appear.

“Look!”

“I see. We’ll get lunch next. Behave yourself.”

The boy’s glasses are too big for his round face. He’s got one silk sleeve pushed up and he’s elbow deep in the koi barrel with an enthusiasm that says he’d dive in head first if he could. The woman has him tethered to dry land by their linked fingers.

She’s a slight thing-smaller in her patched cotton and worn leather-but she’s got a bow and a quiver thrown over her shoulder. A hunter? She gives me a haggard smile as she fishes her charge out of the water. I like her in spite of my bad mood.

“Forgive him. He’s missed the ocean.”

Her honey thick accent draws out the “i” in“missed.” A mountain accent. The list of water plants she gives me is short but versatile. So maybe not a hunter. An herbalist?

I decide to give her a discount-

“What do you have?!”

She whips around and her purchase is nearly slapped from my hands. The boy shrieks with laughter, tries to duck away. She catches him around the middle and wrestles away his prize. A dagger with a dragon crossguard, studded with winking sapphire eyes. She passes it back to the blacksmith stall and there’s no harm done.

Later that night, I manage a warm bath. I let the magic in my legs fade. I paddle the water with my fins. I think of them.

She’s a clever one. A glamour and some boot soles in her talons and she’s nearly human. She’ll have to be more careful. Another merchant might be frightened having a purchase thrown from their hands by her wings.

His transformation is physical. He has the benefit of grabby hands being explained away by youth. He’ll to have to temper that taste for decadence. Someone may think he’s a kidnapped prince.

A Harpy and a Dragon.

I’ve seen stranger, I suppose.

Benjamin Cook
Benjamin Cook
3 months ago

test

Lucas Nensel
Lucas Nensel
3 months ago

“Downfall”
by Nenthausiast

The thieves hand went slowly around the corner, applying different amounts of pressure on the cold black rock of the tower to find a hold. The night were as black as his cloth, so he easily slipped through the guards, standing in front of the castle´s wall. The townspeople had abandoned him a long time ago, spitting at him, while he was searching for help. Now is the time to take revenge, he was thinking to himself, while climbing steadily the tower´s front. Suddenly, a window broke open, enlightening the stone around it. He stumbled for a second, crashing town the tower. Filled with pain, he blacked out.

“Good Morning”, was the next thing he heard.

Pink, why is everything pink, he quietly asked himself.

“You must be hungry, here I brought you some leftovers”. A young boy was reaching for a plate filled with the most precious food he ever saw. Gulping a cheese down his throat, he began to look down.

“Where are my cloth?” Said the thief.

“It wasn’t quite fitting” said the pink wearing boy. “The prince doesn’t like dark colours. Buuut I brought you something, this should be fitting!”

Horrified he looked at the pink-coloured shirt and the brown short leather trousers.

“Boy, bring me my hood! I am not in the mood for joking around. I have a job to do.”

“Yea, me too.” Said the boy upset. “You have to leave anyway”.

“No I cannot leave yet! I have to go to the throne room.” Surprised that his goal slipped his tongue, he went quiet.

“No problem. I can bring you there. But you have to wear something.”

“Fine…”The thieve felt defeated, while putting on the weird outfit.

As the pair went out of the room, the thieve went straight into the room again.

“Why are you going back?” The boy said surprised. ”The throne…”

“Shhh. Why are so many people here.” As they were speaking, a women went by and the thieve, shocked by the view, slammed the door. “I can not…” He whispered as he opened the door again.

The Man Himself
The Man Himself
3 months ago

Goblin Market.
By The Man Himself.

Eamon wheeled around, desperately trying to catch sight of his friend. Had he gotten distracted? Had one of these things done something to him? Where the hell was he? Most of the figures shuffling to and fro were shorter than the average person but some were tall, gangly freaks. These big guys and the covered stalls of the impossible market had allowed hi to lose sight of the man who lead him here easily. Maybe it would be best to just wander around, look at the merchandise and act like he belonged here. Eventually he’d run into that insane eejit Cathal and they could leave.

As he began to listen to the garbled voices around him, Eamon realised he could understand some of them. At first, it was just messy gibberish as the short, cloaked figures chattered and the skinny men with heads like old turnips wheezed but then he began hearing normal words filtering in. “Seven. Seven souls, no more.” A tiny, aged man offered a porcelain doll with a single human sized fleshy hand and one bulging eye a woven wicker cage with a swarm of glistening blue bees inside. “I want the beard, old man.” The doll’s words, he didn’t really hear. Eamon just knew what was being said somehow.

Averting his gaze, he kept walking. That Amadán would probably end up eating something he shouldn’t or insulting someone weird and dangerous.
For a second, he thought he saw his friend but caught a glimpse of the human-sized figure’s eyes. Solid lime green with cracks around them. He changed his trajectory to avoid the thing and found himself at a table of white wood, behind which stood a tall, eerily thin figure. It had long, calloused white fingers and a wrinkled, lipless grin with hollow, circular eyes.

“In the market for some luck? Eamon Costello? I don’t charge much.” Its voice was a whistle, and one that became easier to listen to as it spoke, like it was getting used to the words. It knew his name.

A beetle crawled out one eye. He needed to leave.

IsIt Necessary
IsIt Necessary
3 months ago

A slightly awkward situation
by U

Horror.

Horror is something one might love, might hate, or neutral overall, but it is something that is inevitable. We will experience one point or another in our lives, the best we can do is to cope with it and deal with it. Some may run from it and deny themselves the opportunity to be scared or some, like myself, will run towards it, immersing ourselves into its terrifying clutches, desensitizing ourselves and gathering knowledge, in hopes that it will prepare us for whatever dark secret the future holds.
It was what I hoped, yet like Icarus, I was undone by my own hubris. I thought that the ability to create horror, being able to dismantle it and assemble it to fit my vision, means that I am able to handle fear and its source, and the consequences it put forth. It was in that confidence in my pen and knowledge that my downfall started. I have realized that I never knew what the darkness really holds, and how utterly horrific it is. I was but someone who was merely looking through it with the luxury of being an outsider, someone who has the luxury to study the surface of it bathe in the comfort of light. I was merely the narrator, a passive spectator, reading out the actions, fates, and, ultimately, the demise of the characters.
Yet the only fate that shall be decided this would be mine. Normally, an author would be ecstatic to be the lead of his own tale. I held no such desires; I was content writing and arranging the events that would unveil the horror and then whether it would kill the characters or would they survive. Now, it is my death that I shall write.
.
.
.
It seems that this message ends here. The water has finally found its way to my room and is whispering sweet nothings. It bangs on the door and will break it soon. It calls my name with the voices of my children and parents, which a sign for me to end this. I shall comply.

Flora Longtail
Flora Longtail
3 months ago

Going Home
By Flora Longtail
Sights, sounds and whatever else more surround the young woman. Sights that, a week ago, she couldn’t’ve even imagined. Bows and swords made of metal and shimmering light surround her, shaped in styles she can scarcely place; none like what she’d had at home. A tongue she doesn’t understand and strangely dressed and shaped creatures, still standing on two legs.

A week ago, she’d been hunting in the jungles. Now, she was some kind of hunting-trophy herself, it seems; kept alive and on display, made to wear an outfit that could only be described as ‘ceremonial’ in her mind. A trophy for the strange creature that she’d been greeted by when she’d awoken. Not a face she’s particularly fond of, even now; something she’d let him know with her claws.

There’d been those strange, small levers along the wall, turning on the unnaturally long, thin suns embedded in the ceiling. Once or twice, she’d been able to get a good view from the window, seeing yet more of those strange suns along the walls of other buildings, tall as the sky; the ground below not even visible to her.

Now, though, she’d had her chance. Someone’d left the door unlocked. Carefully, she sneaks out, making her way to one of the many strange rooms in this place…

She’d seen the creature fly these strange machines, of course. These strange, flying boxes with their blinking lights and many buttons; many of which she likely doesn’t even know about. She’d learned just enough to be able to unlock the door herself and slip into the seat. Just enough to turn the magical construction on and get herself pressed into the seat inadvertently… Just enough to press the ignition, and go hurtling through the depths of space.

Destination? Home… Wherever that might be.

T.E.
T.E.
3 months ago

Blank Page
By T.E.

The blank pages roared. Their emptiness tormenting the writer’s poor soul. Demanding words to be spilled, feasting on thoughts, dreams, and ideas.

“Am I the right person?” the writer thought. “Who am I to sate this hunger? My words are neither good nor many, these pages could be used much better… “

But there was no going back. Some invisible force commanded the writer, squeezing words from nothingness, soiling the pristine pages with the dirt contained within. The writer stared at the pages, and the pages stared back. No longer blank, no longer roaring. They were whimpering, they had been ruined.

The writer had no choice but to put them out of their misery and start again, returning to the abyss of the blank page. Again and again, the cycle continued. It was a massacre with few victims; sanity, confidence, time.

It could never end, for the writer had invited that force which commands us to press on. Never settling for failure. Time passed, until the words finally flew forth like a flock of imprisoned birds tasting freedom.

“These words are weak, empty, and meaningless. But at least they’re mine,” the writer thought.

The pages would have to make do with what they were offered. One couldn’t be picky as a blank page longing for words. When their nakedness had been covered with what could barely be called prose, the writer took a step back from the screen and smiled.

“Perhaps we can make something out of you yet,” the writer said to the pages. The writer began slashing and cutting through the mess. Forming new meaning out of the mutilated remains. The pages no longer roared, they had been sated.

“Perhaps I can do this after all,” the writer thought. “Maybe it’s not the person or the ideas that truly matter, but the force that drives us on.”

The pages were allowed to rest, satisfied. Glad to be digital, so that they would never have to make do with those first horrible words.

NocteVesania
3 months ago

Gone
by NocteVesania

I found myself standing at an empty street one evening. I couldn’t remember how I got there, or where I was going, but there I was, confused and alone. The grey apartment buildings seemed familiar, but I could not figure out why. In the distance, I saw a man, dressed in a trenchcoat and hat, walking in my direction.

“Mister!” I called out to him, “can you tell me where we are?”

No response. The man kept walking, his head down and his hands in his pocket.

Typical. Adults are too ignorant to listen to kids.

Fragments of a memory flashed in my mind. The sounds of a woman weeping. The icy metal of a doorknob as I pull it towards me. The cool breeze of the night caressing my cheek.

As I faded back to the present, I saw the man, already past me, put out his left hand, palm toward the sky. After a moment, he started jogging away. That’s when I heard a faint pitter-patter around me.

Rain? I normally wouldn’t have bat an eyelash, but this felt odd. Rather, it didn’t feel like anything. I could hear the droplets falling around me, but I couldn’t feel it on my skin.

My bewilderment grew even more as an ambulance whizzed past, sirens blaring. With nowhere else to go, I followed it. It soon led me to some men in blue on the edge of an alley, police cars lining the street.

As I approached, I heard it again, the sobbing of that same woman in my vision. I hesitated, then took a step toward her.

“Mom? I-I’m sorry for worrying you. I’m he-”

Shock came upon me, cutting off my words. Lying on the pavement, right at the alleyway’s mouth, is a body, partially covered in tarp, blood pooled underneath. I slowly walked towards it. My breath grew shorter and shorter as my heart pounded. I clutched my chest with a trembling hand in a futile attempt to calm myself. I peered into its face.

It was me, staring back, eyes wide and lifeless.

Gregory Hess
Gregory Hess
3 months ago

“Above the surface” [This week Brick and I collaborated with each other, and swapped our worlds. I got permission from them to use their world, Squirreledbuilding]
By gregovin

I feel so … bored. Everything feels the same. None of the other fish seem to want to do anything fun or interesting. All so mature. Hmph!

I’ve seen some weird foods near the surface. They look and move weird. They seem to congregate around the weird shadowy solid things, fast movers, or big birds. Everyone says don’t bite, but I want to try.

Oh! There’s a shadowy solid thing. I swim toward it. Oh, a weird food.

Nom!

Something pokes the roof of my mouth. Ow Ow Ow Ow Ow. SWIM SWIM SWIM AWAY
It hurts more! I can’t move back. I feel like I’m being yoinked forward toward the shadowy solid thing. PANIC! Suddenly, I’m pulled upward.

MY EYES! It’s too bright up here!

MY GILLS! THEY BURN.

MY MOUTH! That thing in it hurts like hell.

I hear a voice. “Oh, you finally caught one. Well, it’s catch and release. Throw it overboard.” I can barely make out a tall being as it pulls me toward it, opens my mouth, and pulls the thing out with weird fins that seem to have odd gaps in them. Then I’m flung to the side.

Splash!

I’m back. Everything feels so much better down here. The water is nice, cool, and dark. My mouth only hurts a bit. I’m not doing that again. No no no.

The shadowy solid thing moves away.

Phew. I escaped!

I swim down to find my fellows, the pain in my mouth reduced to a dull ache.

Joseph Kharms
Joseph Kharms
3 months ago

“Mainstream Metamorphosis”
By Joe Kharms

It’s never pleasant to have your own mother scream at you when you enter the kitchen for your breakfast in the morning. Likewise, it’s not pleasant, when you ask what’s wrong and she faints in front of you. Similarly, rushing to the mirror to check that your face is a human face is also very unpleasant.

I’m Greg Samuel, and apparently I’m a fish.

My dad, after I convinced him I was his son, rang the ambulance. He didn’t know what else to call, your teenage son turning into a giant talking fish wasn’t exactly something they’d prepared for.

While waiting for the ambulance, I was in front of my bathroom mirror examining myself. In my reflection I was still human, when I looked down at my body it was still human; I decided my parents must have gone insane.
But when the ambulance came, they too saw a fish when they looked upon me.

The next few months of my life were difficult. Journalists buzzed around my rotting life all throughout the day. I told them “I’m not a fish, you are all wrong!” but the newspapers ran with subtly manipulative headlines like: “Giant fish claims he isn’t a fish”.

As for my parents, they said they believed me when I told them I was still human. But I still went upstairs one day to find they had replaced my bed with a coffin shaped fish tank.

I had to leave home anyway, because I overheard my father talking to a group of scientists that wanted to dissect me.

I was certain I wasn’t a fish, I knew it deep down. But slowly, as I travelled reading more and more stories about me and seeing people jump in horror at the sight of me, I started to believe I was a fish. I found myself on a cliff watching the waves crash against the rock. If I was a fish that was my home; so I jumped.

I drowned to death happily under the water, they were wrong; I was not a fish.

Sandeen
3 months ago

Captain
By Sandeen (SouthernWolf)

All Jeff saw were random lines on a chart. Colorful lines, he had to admit, but still, just lines. It wasn’t like there were a lot of lines either. Only three. One side had distance, the other pressure, the bottom was labeled load. The title had a lot of big words, one of which was “explosivity”.

Why did they keep showing him these three lines.

The Captain was off-ship for a vacation, and every other senior officer had recently retired or were off for leave as well. They were supposed to stay docked. They were supposed to, at most, be a holding cell for various items between transports. The head of security could easily handle that work load.

They weren’t supposed to be given charge of transporting a few trillions worth of supplies to a corporation.

The Admiral didn’t care. Or, the money he was about to make, meant he didn’t care.

“Alright, why should I care about this graph? It’s going down, that should be a good thing.”

The three from the engineering department looked at each other, then at the acting Captain. “Sir, you do know you signed for explosives to be transported, correct?”

“Yeah?”

“And that our AC went out ten hours ago?”

“How about you tell me something I don’t know.”

“According to that graph, when we reach 100 F, the explosives will initiate. And the temperatures and pressures they reach, we won’t be able to hold. And, if you read the report we sent 5 hours ago, we’ve got twenty hours to get things fixed, or deliver the supply, then we have problems.”

Rubbing his cheek, all Jeff could think about was why John, the Captain, was gone, and why Wade, the head mechanic, had to also take a leave of absence this week. He couldn’t help wonder why he didn’t take leave, because he sure as hell should’ve.

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

The orange thief
By Larissa (Laribhaven) with permission of Claire (Ligdaed world swap).

Mira’s head spinned in confusion, she could see the faces of all the ship crew members looking at her puzzled. There were at least twenty men in the storage room, it wouldn’t be easy to escape, even in the best of the scenarios.

“Captain! We found our little rat!” One of them screamed after she was cornered near the rum barrels.

She held a defiant look, even if she was afraid she wouldn’t show them.

“So you found our orange thief!” The strong male voice quickly navigated the crowd with an unnerving patience.

“Yes it’s me!” Mira raised her voice trying to summon confidence.

She clenched her fists and locked eyes with the man in front of her. The tall man looked amused with a smug in his face.

“So you sneaked into my ship and thought you wouldn’t face any consequences?”

“I don’t care what happens to me now! It’s high sea! I ain’t going back to dry land and I ain’t afraid of sharks!” She spoke with anger to hide her panicked heart pounding against her ribcage.

The captain laughed saying:

“She ain’t afraid of sharks guys!”

Now the whole crew accompanied the laugh. He held one hand over his head.

She swallowed, and closed her eyes shut on instinct.
She waited for a punch, a slap or even the sweeping motion of a sword, but nothing happened.

She then opened her eyes still in a state of despair, the tears she was holding, now cascaded off her face.

“Oh sorry! Didn’t mean to scare you. Like you said there is no going back!” He extended one hand while holding his hat with the other. “Does the lass have a name?”

“M-mira” she said in a weak voice.

“I’m the Captain of this ship, it’s a pleasure to meet you, young lass!” He smiled. “Well Mira, if you want to earn that food, you have to work hard like everyone else. We are going to land soon, but until then…”

He helped the girl stand on her feet and winked.

“Welcome to the crew Mira!”

Last edited 3 months ago by Lari.B.Haven
MysteryElement
MysteryElement
3 months ago

How it Began(Submitted in Private Group)

By MysteryElement

A lone fisherman sat at the cliff’s edge, his line cast out into the unending expanse of sky and clouds. Some of the children called him either crazy or foolish, but there were still some of us old enough to remember his arrival. His ship had flown through the sky, clouds lapping at the hull like seafoam before he anchored at the cliff. He had disembarked, fishing pole and tackle in hand, before the ship faded away into misty wisps.

Everyday since he sat on that cliff, casting out his line and reeling it back in a methodical repetitive rhythm. Everyone had asked why he came and what he was fishing for, but he only ever smiled. Eventually, almost everyone stopped asking. As far as I knew, I was the only one who still did.

“Mornin’ Lionel. Catch anything today?”

He turned to look at me and smiled, as always, before returning his eyes to the sky. I don’t know why I started calling him Lionel. The idea had come to me as suddenly as the notion to share my lunches with him, but he did not seem to mind. That particular morning as we sat together, my mind had been wandering when I noticed a tug on the line.

I honestly thought I had imagined it before the line leapt forward, Lionel frantically pulling the line taught. I scrambled up from my seat and tried to help, holding onto him as I anchored my feet to the ground, but it was not enough. We were slowly being pulled to the cliff’s edge

I could have let go, sure, but the thought didn’t even occur to me at the time. I held on with everything I had, refusing to let go as we were both pulled over the edge. When I opened my eyes again, I was on the deck of a ship. Lionel was grinning next to me, and flopping around us was a blue and silver fish with translucent scaled wings. That, my dear, is how Uncle Lionel and I began our great adventure.

Mike Collins
3 months ago

The Universe is Held Together with Duct Tape

By Mike Collins (Lakemoron)

“Ensign, we’re having a bit of a wobble to the left, check on the platform sensors.”

“Commander, platform sensor 5 is down, but we can’t replace it while away from the pod.”

The Commander sat up, “Okay, everyone, look alive. Someone is coming to talk.”

Sam walked over to the water cooler to talk to the new recruit, “Say hey there… Jim, hows tricks?”

An Ensign asked, “Commander, what does this mean… Tricks?”

After an awkward second Jim said, “Hey there.”

The Ensign smiled, “Commander, I don’t think he meant us to say, hey there.”

Sam slapped Jim on the shoulder, “Don’t worry buddy, soon this place will feel like home.”

Jim awkwardly smiled, “Yes, Sam human, this will have the tactile sensation of my human place of residence where I live with my human family.”

The Commander shook his head, “Will someone checked the translator.”

Sam slowly lost his smile and walked away, accidentally stepping on Jim’s foot.

The Commander looked around at his team operating the Jim Unit, sent to collect intelligence on the earthing culture within something called a business.

A lieutenant asked, “Commander, the Sam human attacked us. Should we retaliate?”

“Negative Lieutenant, I think that was a sign of affection.”

The Lieutenant shook its head, “Commander, this is a weird planet.”

The Commander checked the board for any issues, “Ensign what’s going on with the left platform. It’s all red?”

“Sir, the Sam human stepped on the left platform disconnecting the relays.”

___

Nancy sat at her desk, trying not to stare at this strange new person. No one can remember hiring him. He just showed up one day. He seemed lost like a fish out of water, alien to even the basic social mores. As she sat there, not watching Jim, something caught her eye. A small yellow and green gecko-like creature came out of Jim’s back pocket and made its way to his left foot with what looked like a small roll of duct tape. The creature disappeared into Jim’s pant leg, a moment later, the sound of ripping duct tape.

Last edited 3 months ago by Mike Collins
Connor A.
Connor A.
3 months ago

“Haircut”
By Connor A.

Jason stared at his reflection in the mirror. The ends of his hair were jagged from the vampire’s fangs, and he became aware of just how foreign his own body looked to him.

“We’ll start with your hair.” Amir appeared from around the corner with a cart of hair supplies and stopped at a chair. “It’s horrid and I can’t stand to look at it anymore.”

Jason looked at himself one last time before turning around and met up with Amir. He managed to ask, “So… what should I know about these sorts of parties? Like, are there rules that I don’t know about?”

“You really are a fish out of water,” Amir muttered as he gently pushed Jason into a chair, wrapped the barber cape around Jason, and assessed his hair. “Just don’t do anything that people will gossip about for the rest of the century. Now, how short do you want this hair?”

Jason thought on how he looked in the mirror. “All of it.”

“Jason, I’m not turning you into a bald eagle. How about Brendon Urie?”

After getting a meek nod, Amir took a pair of barber’s shears and began cutting off the hair ends. “Avi said your hair choked a vampire to death. With curls like this, I can see how.” It was clear Jason was thinking about something else. “I find that knowing my best angle helps a lot.”

“What?”

“All of the outward tips for being perceived as a man won’t help your confidence— if anything it will make it worse if someone accidentally calls you a woman. Finding out which angle makes you look the most masculine isn’t a permanent fix, but it’s a start.” Amir put the shears away and pulled out a clipper. “Are you ready?”

Jason looked at his reflection, then nodded with more determination than a moment ago. Amir grinned as he turned on the clipper and went to work. 

Inky Segno
Inky Segno
3 months ago

“Last Message”
By Inky Segno

“Hey mom, sorry I haven’t been able to return your calls, I’ve been working a lot and this is my first day off in a while. They’ve been running me ragged, y’know? 

I’ve been listening to your voicemails though, it reminds me of when I was younger and you would fuss over me before I stepped out of the house. Honestly, I used to find it annoying when you would say “I love you” and “stay safe” even if I was just driving down the street to get us ice cream. But now, I miss that a lot.

Mom, I…I’ve been thinking a lot. Not the best things. I know that good things come to those who wait, but it’s so difficult to try and make it day by day in the office. They’re always shouting and screaming and I just feel like I can’t breathe. Coming home and collapsing on my bed, only to repeat it once more, has become a normal cycle it seems. 

When we’re kids we always say, “I can’t wait to grow up.” I think I regret saying that now. I would give anything to walk into the house and into the living room, just to give you a tight hug and talk about whatever comes to mind. Even if our conversations were short, at least there was someone else beside me. The silence and loneliness is unbelievably heavy.

God, I don’t know. I’m trying so hard, but I don’t know how much longer I can continue acting like everything’s fine. I feel like a goldfish that was taken out of its water without a warning, and life is making it impossible for me to catch my breath. I have no idea what I’m doing anymore. 

Oh, sorry, this message is getting a little long, you’re probably already asleep anyway. I’ll try to find some time to call you-”

 I could hear her voice breaking on the other line. Her tears were almost tangible despite us being miles apart. 

“-and maybe visit again. I love you Mom, I love you so much. Goodnight.”

Last edited 3 months ago by Inky Segno
Alex
Alex
3 months ago

Daniel’s Confession
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

So, how does this work. Do you talk first or I? I’ve never done this before.

I guess, I’ll just start with a name. Daniel. Daniel Armitage. I have a, I guess you could call her mother? And siblings, of sorts… My family is… Actually, that’s not relevant now. My family history is… long and messy and doesn’t matter. This isn’t about them.

This is about me. And something I did.

Have you heard of the Stainsholm Oilrig? ‘Stainsholm’. Funny name for an oilrig. Of course not. The entire thing was covered up. Hidden away. So… I…

Gods, I’m bad at this.

See, I wasn’t made for this. I was designed, bred, for war. Not the conventional battlefield, but something… else. I don’t like talking like this. I feel…

No. Also not relevant.

How do you usually start confessions? I, Daniel Armitage, of my own free will, of sound body and mind… No, that’s stupid.

Forget what I said. Let me start again.

Here’s what happened on the Stainsholm Oilrig. It burned. No, it incinerated. Along with everyone on it. The fire was like a monster, charging out from below, rising to the rig, and immolating everyone on the entire deityless rig. You know how, usually in a burning building, the smoke suffocates you, before the flame? Yeah, not here. We were hunting something… mystical. Dangerous. Menacing.

But that’s not what this is about either. I am so bad at this. I mean, you’d think I was good at talking. The quote-unquote child of the Armitage Matron, I should have been blessed with a silver tongue. I guess, I didn’t pass my entry exam, when mommy dearest handed those out. I didn’t pass many exams.

Stay on track, Daniel, damn it.

I had a sister. Well, I had many, but Victoria was… different. She was kind, supportive and full of enthusiasm and empathy. And, unlike me, she passed every single exam. She was better than me, in every single way possible.

Didn’t stop her from burning in the hellfire. And it’s my fault.

Last edited 3 months ago by Alex
Carolus V.
Carolus V.
3 months ago

The Fallen One
By Carolus V.

I was walking through a dormant quarter of the city. It was early morning. Things were still asleep here, though the sun was rising. A tense stillness had settled. A maze of tenements and workshops, wreathed in shadow, infested every labyrinthine avenue.

Today, I was supposed to head out again. For the moment, though, I had time to kill. I could now incubate in the silence of dawning hours.

I found him cross legged, leaning against a wall.

He had folded wings with feathers black as soot and a head of long, red hair. His skin was deathly pale. His face was buried in his palm. In front of him lay an obsidian blade, stained crimson along its edge.

I took a seat beside him, going cross legged too.

After a while, he withdrew the hand from his face and turned to look at me. His eyes burned with a scarlet flame.

“What do you want?”

His voice was alarmingly soft.

“I don’t know. To sate my curiosity, perhaps.”

He frowned.

“You know what I am, don’t you?”

I paused.

“You’re an angel, correct?”

Silence then.

“You’re half right.” He replied.

“What do you mean?”

His expressions grew grim.

“I claim souls and cast them into the yawning dark. Angels would never dignify that task by doing it themselves. I’m a fallen spirit, deemed somehow unrighteous.”

The silence resumed.

“This is the last time I’ll ever use this blade.”

“Meaning?”

He gave a defeated smile. A tear of magma tricked down from the corner of his eye.

“I’m joining them soon. Those I led out of the cycle of death and rebirth. When the sun touches me, I’ll be gone.”

I sat beside him a little longer, waiting. Eventually, the sun came peeking over a roof, blinding me. It took my eyes a while to adjust. By the time they did he had disappeared.

I sat stunned a second. Then I got up, heading back for my lodgings. A tear trickled out of the corner of my eye. It stung my cheek like fire.

Last edited 3 months ago by Carolus V.
Frei
Frei
3 months ago

Another Time
by: Frei

All Vaera could do was observe. The kingdom of Solied was experiencing the stirrings of a revolution, as she had seen was the case before in Lethran. If she were to intervene in one way or another, the course of nature would change, and her results would be spoiled. These things had particular motions: Exacting cries of dissent, a consuming flame, followed by the throes of death, from which the civilization would arise from the ashes, or the embers would sputter and go out with a whimper. She prayed for the latter.

She had woken to a world that wasn’t made for her, birthed from a womb of icy stone that drank the life from her skin, and a smothering darkness that taught her to feel rather than perceive. Her first breath was a vicious hacking of ichor that had built in the lungs, as the stasis fluid that once encased her coalesced on her skin and her insides. She had escaped armageddon, her life paid for by the empire she lived, the people she’d known, the magic she had mastered, and the love of her life who sealed her underground in the first place. Her memory too, sans just enough for her to recognize the magnitude of what exactly she had lost.

In a world where men strangled each other for control over land, Vaera was a blue-skinned fae of high elfin proportions. In another time she would have called these “kings” slaves. The word for it in her dead tongue throbbed through her mind, but she knew not the true significance. Her mindscape was a mist, impenetrable by any means this world understood; her memories were dark murky shapes cloaked in that cool gray, their shapes both terrifying and taunting her dreams and her curiosity.

She took pity and disdain as she watched them fight. Her people had died…For this? For now, all she could do was observe and test, but soon she would make a pyre of this world of humans, in the name of her world, and her beloved whose name she would never know.

Last edited 3 months ago by Frei