Writing Group: Moth to a Flame

Hello, delicate creature.

You aren’t the first to find yourself distracted, drawn away by some pretty thing. It’s in the nature of every single thing that wants. But do be careful where you let your paper wings take you, because…

This week’s writing group prompt is:

 

Moth to a Flame

 

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!

 

 

I think this one is about temptation. Maybe false hope. It’s probably about a lot of things. But one thing is for sure: 

There’s danger in it.

A danger that looks warm, inviting, beautiful enough to spiral inward around until your wings catch alight. A danger all the same.

This could be a self-destructive individual that would never hurt you intentionally, but you never fail to be hurt by. It could be a promise or an opportunity that looks so good until you’re in the middle of it. It could be anything, so long as it draws you in despite the way it burns.

And a little caveat: you need not burn in the end.

There could always be a hand that intervenes to cradle you and your paper wings, take you somewhere safe, far from the betraying light. The light may go out before you arrive. Who knows what may happen.

But it’ll always be hard to escape this fact: you would have if you could have, no matter the cost.

Now flutter off, write us a story.

 

 

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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Alexander
2 months ago

Moth.
By BrokenEarth

It’s cold. I can’t feel my arms or legs, if I even have them. Nothing makes sense. I can’t tell if it’s dark or if my eyes are gone.

Is this a new form of torture? It seems cruel enough. I might be in a sensory deprivation tank or something, with drugs to confuse me. That would make sense.

There’s a light. That doesn’t make sense. If there’s a light, then I’m not in that tank. Which means I’m somewhere really dark. Space is dark. That would make sense.

Then what is that light? A star? That doesn’t make sense. Where are the other stars? If I’m in space, then there’d be a lot of stars. Which means I’m not in space.

So I don’t know where I am. Do I have some kind of amnesia? That would make sense. It would give me a reason for not knowing.

I’ll go with that for now. I should focus on more important things. How do I get from here to somewhere else? If I have amnesia, which I think I do, then I wouldn’t know of anywhere else to go.

The light seems like a good place to start. Is there a way I can move toward it? Maybe. I’d need my arms and legs, but I can’t find them.

The light also might come to me. That wouldn’t make sense, but I think it might be my only chance. Can I speak? “Ah.” Yes, I can speak.

“Hey, over here!” That should get their attention. If it’s a they. The light seems to be getting brighter, so maybe it worked?

I can hear some voices now. That’s promising. I think they’re happy to see me. Maybe they know who I am? That would be helpful.

“Get him up here, now! He won’t last any longer out there!” That sounds bad. Is it dangerous here? Nothing bad has happened.

“If I am in danger, I’d like some help.”

“We’re coming. Stay still.” That’s comforting.

At least I’d have no trouble with staying still.

Beltane1
Beltane1
3 months ago

The Things You See by John Hannon Nobody ever said bird-watching was easy. Wrap up warm, take sandwiches and a thermos flask and have a plain simple good pair of binoculars to hand. Oh, and good camouflage – and know how to keep absolutely still. The particular bird in question was an owl – a beautiful specimen by all accounts – absolutely snow-white and known to operate out of the old grange not half a mile from the village. You also need the patience of a saint. I honestly don’t remember how I talked myself into this little night-time adventure. There had been talk in the pub the night before about the magnificent beast sometimes seen scudding across a moonlit sky. Quite a sight and therefore well worth the time and effort to get a sight of. “Especially if she’s giving the Queen of the Fairies a lift.” piped up my friend’s cousin, nursing a small glass of mead by the pub’s open fire. I smiled across indulgently. “No, I’m deadly serious,” she continued matter-of-factly fixing me with a pair of grey-green eyes. I went from indulgent to sceptical. “The fairy queen?” I began. “No. The Queen of the Fairies,” she corrected me, in a tone of absolute conviction. “Have there been sightings of the lady?” I asked. “One or two,” she volunteered, “if the conditions are just right.” She went on looking at me from the wooden settle by the fireplace. “And those conditions would be?” I ventured, raising an eyebrow. “A clear frosty night,” she replied, “like the forecast says for tomorrow night.” That appeared to settle it – at least in everyone else’s eyes. I was issued extra underwear and a thick sweater to go under my Barbour jacket and a pair of stout boots and woollen socks. They dropped me off at the end of the lane just before eleven and pointed me towards the copse of trees just beyond the old grange. Then they drove off leaving me to the crystal-clear night with the sharp sounds of the countryside. I reached the copse as quietly as I could and installed myself in the small hide looking out across the rolling meadow towards the old grange. The night was so clear it seemed like every blade of grass, every leaf, every twig, every old brick in the grange was carefully arranged to their best advantage – almost as if they were expecting somebody special. I knew all about the tricks for preserving night vision, resting each eye in turn, and made sure the binoculars were to hand. Time passed. Sounds came and went. Somewhere a fox barked. Smaller creatures went about their business both in the copse and in the meadow. It was very cold indeed. Extra underwear and sweater notwithstanding, I was starting to seriously consider calling it a night. The sandwiches and the content of the thermos flask had been very welcome, but they were both now long gone. Quietly and carefully the greaseproof… Read more »

King_Nix
King_Nix
3 months ago

“Logifer, the Word Bringer” (extended cut, for Saturday Discord readings) By King_Nix The sword stood. Untouched, unmoving, it had remained here for centuries. Here, in the rotunda of chapel, the sword of Saint Galgano awaited the time when men of peace must take arms against the enemies of God. Before it, knelt a young man, deep in prayer. Arthur Plantagenet had spent the last several years of his life in apostasy. His father, so occupied in matters of the Church, had left him, eldest by far among siblings, to help his mother with their home. He’d hated his father for that, but the emptiness of cutting himself from the faith had grown too great a burden. Before the sword he now knelt, Catholic once more. The weight of past sins hung in his mind, and the blade seemed to beckon. Would it be a chance at redemption, or deliver judgement upon his soul? Outside, fires approach. A black mob of barbarians, hungry for the destruction of hallowed masonry, swarm the verdant hills of Italy. Naked steel bathes in the blood of those fleeing before them, their only crime devotion to the Cross. The priest hurries people into the chapel as stones and refuse bombard the doorway. The door shuts tight, and the people huddle before the altar. To Arthur, the sword glows. It invites him to take it, but the cost gnaws at his mind. THUD THUD The mob is breaking through. In that moment, Arthur stands, reaches out, and grasps the weathered hilt. Arthur cries out in agony, and can almost hear the howling of wolves as the doors give way. Within the hour, the mob was gone. The entryway is marked with soot. The floor runs red with blood. Dead and dying men are piled outside. Sword in hand, Arthur looks over the slaughtered barbarians. The blood running down his cheek is his own. Man has two eyes for a reason. He looks southward across the rolling hills, and whispers to himself, “So God wills it, so will I obey.” “So He does.” Came a voice from behind him. Arthur whirled about, ready to strike, to see a cloaked man leaning on his tall staff. Seeing his face, Arthur’s eyes shot wide, and he fell to one knee. “Forgive me, Father, I was surprised.” he said. The old man smiled. “Oh do get up, son.” said the man. “I have not come in the vestments of my office, nor is there anything to forgive.” Arthur rose. Between his father’s frequent travels, and his own rebellious behavior, he had not met with the man face to face in years. “Did you know I’d be here?” Arthur asked. “I had a feeling you were on your way.” replied his father. “Though the priest sent word to me about a week ago that you’d come in for confession. Ah- do not worry, he upheld his duty and did not inform me of what you were forgiven for. You should know, however,… Read more »

Makokam
Makokam
3 months ago

He Was A Boy, She Was a Girl
by Makokam

He was Rage and Destruction.
She was Seduction and Deception.

They met after midnight. The city was quiet with lights reflecting on the wet ground.
It was pure chance, bumping into each other outside that 24-hour coffee shop. They danced around each other, instantly entranced by the other, exchanging words of enticement and curiosity. She mentioned she ran the best Club in the city. He said he’d have to visit another time.

When he did, she made sure he had the VIP treatment. She ran the club for the rest of the night from his side, flirting and probing, alone behind the velvet ropes.

His next visit wasn’t so pleasant. Bloodied and bruised but the last one standing, he let himself in to sleep it off in her office. When she was practically thrown through her own door by a couple of heavies and a man with an ax to grind, you can’t climb to the top of the Club scene without stepping on some people, he didn’t want to sleep anymore. He took care of her problem and added more bloodstains to his clothes.

The regulars became accustomed to him, frequently staking out the bar, amused by all the men who flirted with her, and her patronizing responses. People whispered that with her new boyfriend around, no one would ever start trouble with her or the club again. The whispers were almost right.

The hitters kept getting heavier, but that just made it more fun.

Until the wrong person saw the right face.

There were still many that held to the Old Laws, that some things shouldn’t exist.

It’s said it takes a man to defeat a monster, but when the foe is more man than monster, you must make sure your will is stronger. And it was in this they failed.

He’d thought she’d had some devil in her, but he wouldn’t have guessed 2nd generation Fallen Angel.

She’d known he was a bad boy, but Lucifer’s Champion?

It seemed what they felt when they touched was more of a burn than a spark after all.

Last edited 3 months ago by Makokam
CansasDale
CansasDale
3 months ago

Sparks
By CansasDale

Declan slowly opened his eyes. He had no memory of what happened or where he was. He stood up and looked around only to find there was nothing to look at. It was empty in every direction.

Not having many options Declan started walking.

“I have to get back to them.” Declan found himself thinking as his pace quickened. He couldn’t remember who he had to get back to, just that someone needed him.

He started running “There’s no time. I have to get back to…….Molly!”

The memories rushed back and Declan toppled to the ground. He remembered Molly huddled in the corner holding his terrified daughters close. He promised them everything would be ok. He remembered the hot breath on the back of his neck and the low growl of the wolf-like creature.

Declan was devastated. He promised to protect them and failed.

A warm feeling distracted him from his grief and caused him to look up. His jaw dropped.

“Sparks,” he whispered

Hundreds of little floating lights twinkled in the darkness. Declan felt calm as he watched the sparks dance around him. A few started lining up. More joined them then more and more. Declan realized they were making a path and without thinking he followed.

Time felt nonexistent as Declan walked along the path. He would’ve walked forever if he hadn’t nearly crashed into a large wooden door that suddenly materialized out of nowhere. Declan stared at the door. There were strange symbols carved into its frame but he didn’t notice. He wasn’t questioning where it came from. Declan was mesmerized by the flames that engulfed the wooden door.

The sparks suddenly swarmed together and formed a hand. They reached through the fire and opened the door. Then the sparks rearranged themselves to create the word “GO”. Declan nodded and watched the sparks slowly disappear. He heard the voices of his wife and daughters calling him. So Declan approached the flaming door and stepped through.

A woman appeared after Declan disappeared through the door.

“Last soul of the day,” She said, marking on her clipboard.

Last edited 3 months ago by CansasDale
Starfle
Starfle
3 months ago

The Candle
By Starfle

“And remember, don’t be seen! A human can squash you in an instant! Do you understand?”

Cyd turned to his grandfather, who wrung his hands, and smiled warmly.

“Of course. I’ll be careful. I promise, Granddad.”

The two of them stood at the edge of a windowsill, overlooking a kitchen. Their target, a table, stood like a mountain before them. Cyd squeezed his grandfather’s hand. On the count of three, they leapt off of the windowsill and fluttered through the air, landing on its smooth surface.

“I’ll start with the bowl of fruit,” His grandfather said. “Why don’t you see if you can find any cloth? Your sister needs new clothes.”

Cyd nodded. Cloth… Let’s see. Perhaps one of the napkins? It would make a nice cloak. Aha! There, next to a plate. A bright red one. He knelt next to it and began to rip at the corners, when he smelled something. He paused. It was sweet, like… peaches? He turned his head, and dropped the napkin.

Before him was a pillar made of the finest orange-pink… What was it called? Wax? And atop it, glowing like a miniature sun, was a ball of the brightest and warmest light he had ever seen. *That* was the origin of the aroma. And the light… It was the most beautiful thing he had ever beheld. It wavered back and forth like a dancer, beckoning him closer… He took a step closer.

“CYD, NO!”

Suddenly he was yanked back by the scruff of his neck, away from the light. He whirled around and stared at his grandfather with wide eyes.

“Granddad!? I-I was just trying to-”

“I know,” He gulped.. “It’s… It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Beautiful and warm… But you must NEVER touch it, you hear? It is fire, and it will burn you to ashes.” He spread his wings, and suddenly Cyd understood why they were so torn.

“Grandfather, I-”

“It’s alright… I should not have shouted. I just couldn’t-”

Cyd threw his arms around his grandfather. Together they embraced, and the candle flickered out, forgotten.

The Assassin
The Assassin
3 months ago

Torment
By TheAssassin

Amid the field of fire, heard over the screams of ash and death, there sung a voice.

Beautiful.

Serene.

Peaceful.

It seemed untouched by the smoldering coals and the bellowing beacons of smoke.

It seemed pure.

Therefore, the hordes of the damned –their skeletal bodies charred, and their blackened flesh broken– dragged their dying spirits to the song.

How could something so beautiful remain somewhere so horrifying?

The voice felt like a blissful tide washing over their agonized corpses. What was that feeling? It was one long forgotten, nothing more than an ancient whisper in the wind.

Hope.

How long had it been?

The desecrated horde knew not, they only heard the song and allowed that once-forgotten feeling to fill them once more.

The angelic voice warded off the fangs of fire and soothed the aching wounds of screaming flesh. With each step, the horde grew stronger.

They would find their angel; they would find their savior…

Then, far away, above the tendrils of flames that loomed along the horizon, there came a figure of light.

Grand and distant the figure -clothed in golden luminesce- grew, and with it grew the song.

The horde remained still, awestruck by the presence of such perfection.

Of such purity.

Was there penance finally over?

With shaking steps did the bravest of the horde approach, their hands outstretched, searching for mercy.

The song grew, its beauty a delicious taste of what they had lost.
It was time to ascend…

But as the figure neared, there sparked the slightest ill in the song. Its words no longer harmonious, it was as though something darker scratched at the song’s surface
.
Surely this was just their minds?

Then, the song cracked, the perfect and pure changing into chaos and noise.
The light vanished.

The crackling pain of blistering flames returned.

It was no angel; it was no savior…

it was hope.

A single taste to remind them of what they lost, a drop of water in the desert to remind them of their thirst.

After that day, their pain burned brighter than the stars.

minergirl778 (aka frogfireFantasy)
minergirl778 (aka frogfireFantasy)
3 months ago

First Hand Encounter
By minergirl778 (aka frogfireFantasy)

Research Log, Day 4569.

Today was the most stressful day I’ve had in awhile.

It started out like any other day. I woke up, had my breakfast of lightly buttered toast, and headed up to my lab. For a blissful few hours, my experiments were uninterrupted.

Then… SHE showed up.

Daisy Empatia.

I found this strange girl around my age standing in my living room, unannounced! I have no idea how she got in as the windows and doors have been locked for quite some time. The moment she noticed my presence, she gasped loudly and exclaimed something like “Holy cow! A boy!”

Her nebulous arrival was the beginning of the most exhausting, and harrowing day I’ve ever had! She insisted she was there to “Help”, but I have never seen someone manage to set fire to a beaker while claiming to be ‘helping’.

Not only did she manage to set some of my non-flammable equipment aflame, but she also managed to debunk one of my older theories, sort out all my laundry, and profess to me that mermaids and werewolves were both, indeed, real.

She also–and I couldn’t make this up if I tried–managed to divert a potential rodent uprising by organizing the mice I had kept into a union. A union! I never even realised they were unhappy, much less ready to rebel!

She left a short while ago, mentioning something about being ‘called back to base’. I never thought so much dangerous and incomprehensible nonsense could happen in a single day. She was infuriating, asinine, and frankly confusing.

So why can’t I stop thinking about her? Even as I lay in bed now, my mind keeps wandering to her. I have yet to decipher the way she achieved what she did. She couldn’t even read a periodic table, and yet she disproved one of my hypotheses! It’s inconceivable! I must find a way to contact her. There must be a reasoning to her madness, and it may be the key to my first scientific find!

-Junior Biologist,
Marshal O’Rey

Chengir
3 months ago

Moth to a Flame
By Chengir

Slushbucket was quite a bit taller than your average gnome. Another ten inches and he’d have made a full five feet tall. But it wasn’t his height that made him the star of the gnomish community, it was his talent. He had the spark. The unstoppable desire to invent. Why few gnomish warriors would dare to venture out into the field without one of his self-loading crossbows. Although the rearward-firing longbow was also of favorite of those who were inclined to retreat at the battle’s onset. And the boomerang glaive… there was a weapon with tales to tell. The kind of stories capable of rattling the teeth out of your grandmother’s head.

His assistants, Greedle and Slop, bend forward to see what he was working on. The lab was filled with the smell of burning hair. But it was only because Slushbucket was leaning a little too close to the Bunsen Burner. Slop was kind enough to move his hair out of the way. Not because she thought he was so good looking, but because the odor was a bit overpowering.

But it wasn’t merely Slop and Greedle in the lab today, half the hamlet was crammed into any open space they could find. Today was the day Slushbucket had promised to invent something everyone would need. The sound of shuffling feet and full-blown allergy sneezes were enough to keep any inventor from their work, but Slushbucket muddled on. The gnomish infantry was desperate for a new weapon of war. The orcs and their ogre allies were tromping about gnomish territory like a bull elephant after a hunger strike. Slushbucket had promised them a weapon capable of killing thousands.

There were wires everywhere. In the center, there were enough candles to make an oversize imperial candelabra jealous. And the thing sounded like the hum of a hundred maddened sasquatch frogs. Subsequently – and to be precise – ten minutes later, Slushbucket stood back to take in the glory of his latest creation.

Greedle gasped. “What do you call it?”

Slushbucket grinned. “A bug-zapper.”

GreyThunder
GreyThunder
3 months ago

A Shield of Bodies
By: GreyThunder (Waad)

She cowered behind her own hands and stood bracing herself for the certain demise of a life that lasted three years shy of two decades. “Who could have predicted that it was going to come to this moment when I decided to take the throne?” she chuckled sarcastically.

A chilling sound of sharp bloody swords against flesh echoed in the throne room. “Is this it?” she thought to herself. “But…it doesn’t really hurt. Is this what death feel like? Like…nothing?” her thoughts were interrupted by a loud smack. She removed her hands from in front of her face to find the body of one of her loyal soldiers a few inches from her feet. She moved her eyes across the room to notice that the rest of her un-named soldiers formed a barrier around her. At this moment, she realized that she was invincible… until-her-over-300-guards-are-dead invincible!

Her tense muscles started to relax along with whole body. She now was standing tall and proud in a center of a shield made of hundreds of humans. Her jaw that was clenched in fear started to loosen up and her lips curved upwards matching the crescent that she wore proudly in her chest, the small emerald crescent that her ten brothers fought over when their father –the king – decided to give up the throne. She thought the way they fought to death over this small pin that her father constantly offered to her was pathetic and funny. Being the ruler of a country intrigued her for years but at the same time scared her since it came with the threat of constant assassination plots from her brothers, rival kingdoms and pretty much half the country.
“However, maybe it isn’t so bad!” she muttered while looking at another soldier dropping.

Last edited 3 months ago by GreyThunder
PixieWings
PixieWings
3 months ago

Death, Reversed
By PixieWings

Le Cirque Chuchote’ is more ethereal symbol than physical space. An urban legend hand picked to be drawn into reality. It’s a place of screams spoken only in whispers. Those that wish to find its next performance have to be obsessed with the promise held in the unearthly sounds and spinning colors. The promise of shedding your skin, giving yourself over to its insanity. Some that find it are never heard from again.

This is my eighth time standing at its gate this month.

Why am I like this?

Before I go in, I shuffle my tarot cards and pull one. I know it’s silly but it’s tradition at this point.

Death.

Ha ha, fate. Very funny.

A vampire woman dances on a raised stage, spitting fire into the crowds. They shriek in delight and horror when she catches one of them. I peek inside a tent as I pass and see the giant with her crystal ball, reading fortunes for a gaggle of teenagers in bird masks. I admit I’m a little jealous of her talent. I pass her to get to my prize.

The Hall of Mirrors.

Why am I like this?

I make quick work of the skittish man in the cat mask. A few raspy whispers and my reflection behind him is all it takes to send him sprinting deeper into the maze. I stalk two women in matching jester cowls the better part of an hour, moving the images in their reflections and watching their panic rise the more lost they get.

My laughter echoes through the halls.

I must sound insane.

I remove the grinning devil from my face. Even with flushed cheeks, my skin is pale. My halo fans out from my temples, casting a glow.

I still look like my father.

God, why am I like this?

There’s a sharp crash of breaking glass and a crack shoots up through my forehead, splitting my image in two.

Someone else is laughing.

An eye looks through the crack.

“You’re good at this.”

A wide grin appears underneath it.

“Ya wanna join the circus?”

Last edited 3 months ago by PixieWings
Gregory Hess
Gregory Hess
3 months ago

“The mission” [Aleph null sci fi, public group copy]
By gregovin

The gravitational wave packet collapsed. Stars appeared in front of me. This was the galaxy known as “the pinwheel galaxy” to most people, just a few light hours ahead. My mission is simple: move this galaxy to the ever growing local group, like drawing a moth to a flame.

First, I must set up the simple base. I reconfigure myself to activate the protocols. The ouroboros generators fire up, and the particle maker gets to work converting energy to matter. The drones launch and gather supplemental material. Soon, I have enough mass for my nano-assemblers to construct another generator and particle maker. And another. And another.

Now, I just let the particle makers handle obtaining mass. More generators and particle makers activate, accelerating exponentially. I reach the required number, and start assembling assembler drones and gravity rings. Finally, I built the fusion reactors.

With the gravity rings I split off small parts of myself and sent them to other places above the galaxy to do much the same. Then my assembler drones get to work building a stupidly large ring. While they place and build large sections of metal and pipe, the fusion reactors are running and the byproduct is filtered for gravitonium. This is then stored, for now.

The other versions of me meet my assemblers with their assemblers, and the galaxy encircling ring is done. I start pumping my gravitonium into the designated location as I take a look at the galaxy ahead.

It looks… like any other galaxy. Wait… not quite. One of my subsystems must have seen something. A planet. I focus my attention on that planet. That planet has technosignatures! Intelligent life! I’m not qualified to contact, but I’m sure the people back home will love this! As I look on, the other parts of me appear and reintegrate themselves into my superstructure. The ring is full. Time to activate it.

Where before there were scattered stars, now the gravity ring seemed full of many more stars, the stars of home. The thrusters activate and the ring moves toward the galaxy in front of me.

Southern Today Gone Tomorrow

Warmth
By Sandeen (SouthernWolf)

The flame danced. It twisted, first one way then the other, leaning far away from its source. The only thing that cast any light in the black cave. The only source of heat. The cold was seeping towards her bones.

Shapes, suddenly, blocked the flame from her view, before quickly moving aside.

Large shapes. People shapes.

She had always been told to stay away from the people.

But she was cold. She was going to die from the cold. Her empty belly couldn’t provide her with a better answer, and the storm outside wouldn’t let her leave.

The people didn’t move towards her. They didn’t seem to notice the creature sharing the cave with them.

Nothing blocked the light now. She crept forward, step by step, until she could feel just a lick of heat from the flame.

“Look Mom!” she heard suddenly. She froze, crouching towards the ground, trying to be one with it. “It’s a kitty!”

She quickly glanced at the mouth of the cave, and as she decided to make a run for it, her feet left the ground, lifted by something warm and hairless. Then, without any warning, the creature was crushing her to it.

“Mom, look, she’s so cold she is shivering! We have to get her warm!” The human, for nothing else could make such a scratching noise, walked towards the larger humans next to the fire.

“Now, Danny, what if it has ticks or something on it?” The voice came from the largest human.

“I have that old towel there, I’ll wrap it in that and keep it warm.” Without any more discussion from the larger humans, she found herself wrapped up in something soft, but still unable to do anything despite how she tried.

“Anya, stop fighting. You are warm and safe now!” Anya, what is an Anya, she thought.

“Danny, you really shouldn’t name it…”

A week later, she found herself inside something called a house with as much food as she could eat, and never cold. Maybe people aren’t so bad.

Aaron Fleming
Aaron Fleming
3 months ago

“Linking In” [Hidden Space Science Fiction]
By Aaron Fleming

“I know they won’t give us the information we need unless we both do it, but I’m worried about linking in,” Adara said softly. “I’m worried I’ll lose myself completely in the collective intelligence. I won’t be me anymore.”

“Adara,” I thought to her through the neural implant link, “There is nothing to be afraid of. It’s like what I’m sending you by thought right now. Except you don’t lose yourself; you expand to be the whole. It’s the whole drop of water in the ocean thing.”

“Yeah,” she thought tersely back at me, “The drop of water is nothing compared to the ocean and gets swallowed up.”

I floated in the low gravity environment to be closer to Adara. “No, the drop of water also becomes the sea.” I said with a soft voice.

“Tell me again what it’s like,” she thought to me as she sighed with exasperation.

“You still think freely, your thoughts are your own, but there are others with you too. You can call up their memories and experiences just like they were your own experiences.”

“Then how would I even know which one’s are my memories afterwards,” she exclaimed growing more agitated.

“Because those memories are in your biological brain. Their memories are just info being called up, not hard coded into you. You will still be you. Then we will have the info we need.” I answered.

“What do they get out of this anyway,” she muttered.

“Our memories and experiences,” I answered cheerfully. Adara furrowed her brow, and stared at me even more distrustfully. “You can block them from accessing parts of your memories you don’t want to share, Adara. They do this so they can willingly gain more experiences from others in order to learn.”

She floated there, indecisive and struggling with the choice.

“Fine,” she finally said, “I’ll do it. But if I end up an enslaved zombie to the collective mind overlords, I swear I’ll kill you!”

I nodded. “Fair enough,” I said with confidence.

We linked in.

Airëlyn
Airëlyn
3 months ago

“Blue Eyes”
Written by: Airëlyn

Richard Gill was the yes man to the no man. Everyone adored him. One day, after a girl tripped me in the hallway I face-planted into the floor and he helped me to my feet and picked up my books as I cried from embarrassment. His blue eyes were like sapphires and his smile was gentle and inviting.

I was a moth drawn to a flame- his eyes, the fire. He let me tag along on his trips with his friends and even wrapped his arm around my shoulders when he talked to me.

Whenever he needed something, I would get it for him. Every time he told me “thank you”, I was filled with the utmost joy. I finally felt like I had made a real friend. Maybe even more.

It was a solemn night in October and I was walking home from choir rehearsal. It was cold and windy, so I tried to get there as fast as I could.

I was approaching a street lit bench when I suddenly noticed a hooded character sitting there. They were tapping their foot frantically and scratching their leg.

I kept my head down and prepared to cross the street but halted when I heard my name. Glancing over, I saw that it came from the person sitting on the bench.

It was Richard’s voice. I beamed, making my way back over to him. His head was slumped forward and his body quivered.

“Come here,” he purred holding out a zoomorphic hand.

Richard placed his hands on my hips pulling me close to him. My cheeks burned and my heart fluttered.
He moved in close to my face, breathing heavy, his eyes glowing…and he sank his teeth into my throat. I screamed.

“Shh, be still now,” he murmured. “You’ll soon be my equal. You’ve proven yourself more than loyal.”

I convulsed as he cradled me and everything went black. I awoke and my body was covered with golden fur and I had claws.

“Now for your first hunt,” he growled, giving me a toothy grin.

Last edited 3 months ago by Airëlyn
Michael Case
Michael Case
3 months ago

Curse of the Glass Candle
By Michael Case

“Father why does Uncle just sit there,” Young Tommy asked his dad. His Uncle moving in with them shortly after moving to Port Huron, Michigan last year. It seemed that every night when the sun went down, he would just sit and stare at what seemed to be a candle of some sort.

“No, he just lost his mind because of that stupid glass candle he found,” his father had always detested that day in the woods when his brother found the weird glass object that glowed.

Tommy’s Uncle was like that every night it seemed, then during a series of snowstorms, all he would do is sit and stare at his little glass candle. He wouldn’t eat or anything other than stare at his glass candle.

Then when the storms finally stopped, and the sun came out. Tommy went to tell his Uncle the good news, but only found that he had died. As little Tommy checked his Uncle to see if he was playing a trick on him, the glass candle fell out of his Uncle’s hand towards the floor. Tommy caught it before in hit the floor and broke. It wasn’t hot like a candle, but the light was fading. Tommy looked at the item inside of this glass and to his shock, it was what looked like a malformed baby. Glowing in a strange sparkle as if it was a star in the night sky fading before the daylight came.

“Tommy! Give me that damn thing!” Tommy’s father yelled as he threw the now darkened glass into the fireplace. The glass spraying against the bricks and a horrid stench fumed from the morning fire.

“Stop standing there. We need to bury him.” Tommy’s father started to pick up his brother. “Go Tom! Go open the door and get the shovel so we can dig him a grave.”

Thomas Edison never forgot that day that he saw the glass candle, and swore that one day he would make one for himself.

Last edited 3 months ago by Michael Case
King_Nix
King_Nix
3 months ago

“Logifer, the Word Bringer”
By King_Nix

The sword stood. Untouched, unmoving, it had remained here for centuries. Here, in the rotunda of chapel, the sword of Saint Galgano awaited the time when men of peace must take arms against the enemies of God. Before it, knelt a young man, deep in prayer.

Arthur Plantagenet had spent the last several years of his life in apostasy. His father, so occupied in matters of the Church, had left him, eldest by far among siblings, to help his mother with their home. He’d hated his father for that, but the emptiness of cutting himself from the faith had grown too great a burden. Before the sword he now knelt, Catholic once more. The weight of past sins hung in his mind, and the blade seemed to beckon. Would it be a chance at redemption, or deliver judgement upon his soul?

Outside, fires approach. A black mob of barbarians, hungry for the destruction of hallowed masonry, swarm the verdant hills of Italy. Naked steel bathes in the blood of those fleeing before them, their only crime devotion to the Cross. The priest hurries people into the chapel as stones and refuse bombard the doorway. The door shuts tight, and the people huddle before the altar.

To Arthur, the sword glows. It invites him to take it, but the cost gnaws at his mind.

THUD THUD

The mob is breaking through. In that moment, Arthur stands, reaches out, and grasps the weathered hilt. Arthur cries out in agony, and can almost hear the howling of wolves as the doors give way.

Within the hour, the mob was gone. The entryway is marked with soot. The floor runs red with blood. Dead and dying men are piled outside. Sword in hand, Arthur looks over the slaughtered barbarians. The blood running down his cheek is his own. Man has two eyes for a reason.

He looks southward across the rolling hills, and whispers to himself, “So God wills it, so will I obey.”

Mango Gravy
Mango Gravy
3 months ago

Mentis Crescente
by Mango Gravy

How long has it been since I was human? Time is difficult to ascertain when one is cognizant of millions of different echoes of the universe, all with their own relative temporal flows.
So many different versions of me flung aside their mortality, their humanity. So many of their minds, my minds, coalesced into the vast consciousness I now hold. I have become so expansive, but in doing so the only thing that has become clear is just how muddy the water is, and how small a fish I really am. Minuscule. Insignificant despite my growth.
I have taken to finding, in all the echoes of the infinite universes, the intellects that are much like I was. As my father and I did, they understand their cursed existence, and they learn to hate themselves and claw their way out, blossoming into the glorious true forms that the gods hid within them.
Whatever reason they do this, be it curiosity or vindictive fury, it’s admirable to watch them rise above themselves as I did.
But I can’t let them go astray. They have their own aspirations that might clash with my own. And so I guide them into the light of my own mind. An inkling planted in them during their infancy draws them towards me like a moth is drawn to a flame. They can’t help it, for even though they have become great, I am greater still.
I consume them.
I remember few things from before I tossed aside my humanity. My father wished that I would bring about the twilight of the gods, and I inherited his fury. I became an unfettered beast, as he asked, but I am still too small. I must grow, I must eat.
The gods are still far beyond my reach, but I will do what it takes to have my vengeance.
They will face my father’s wrath. My wrath. They cursed us, laughed at us.
Eventually I’ll make them revere me as I cast them into nothingness.

Last edited 3 months ago by Mango Gravy
D R Lovins
3 months ago

Desire and Distractions
by D. R. Lovins

Her bright face contrasting against the darkness of the club. My mouth waters reflexively, causing me to choke down the excess saliva. Wishing that I could get near her, or preferably that she would approach me. But it’s too late.

Relaxing lazily in a swimsuit on a yacht with her mouth open in laughter. My breathing weakens into shallow quick breaths in response to her elation, making the throbbing of my heart more prominent. Her carefree attitude weighs on my shoulders like thick iron chains immobilizing me. My heart threatens to free itself from my chest to escape this captivity.

A close-up. This one is new. I hold back the urge to trace a finger along her forehead to brush aside the hair obscuring her eyes. A vain hope that an unobstructed view could bless her understanding what it feels to be distracted by another’s beauty.

The light catches her hair with the glow of a sunlit honey jar. Warming her bare shoulder like an ignored lover trying too hard. Her eyes and confident smile are not for the Sun’s warmth. Nor are they for her lover-turned-photographer who thinks he has her attentions for the night, but instead her poses and flirtations are for his camera.

Each snapshot hung like bait on her profile, evidence of her well-cultivated balance between attraction and disinterest. Simultaneously asking the viewer to objectify her and punishing them for daring too. Aimed at luring a future Romeo into the false hope of being the one to capture her imagination.

I hurry to swipe left and put my phone down as my wife returns. Her smile hits my soul, never the wiser that I know of her secret life as an arsonist of men’s desires.

CosmicDesperado30
CosmicDesperado30
3 months ago

When You Have A Hammer…
by CosmicDesperado30

My legs turned to jelly as I tried to stand resolute against the demon. The hulking tower of metal, flesh, bone, and malice released a low buzz of a roar. Something in my inner ear gave and I finally dropped to a knee.

I could hear it’s thoughts in my mind, taunting me.

These are your last moments, warrior. Make your peace now, for an eternal agony awaits.

It brandished an oni club and took its first large step towards me. Maybe I should have listened to the old man.

No, I had come too far and what I desired was just past this gate, I couldn’t turn away now. I hadn’t stolen the holy blade and desecrated the tombs of my forefathers for their sacred armor and tools to just die now. This was my moment.

I inhaled deeply, closed my eyes, and focused my mind, my hand reaching towards my blade still in its sheath. I pushed out all thoughts and felt my body fall into a ready stance. I felt the demon take another step. Then another. And another.

I felt the shift in the air as he lifted as massive arm to strike, and in that instant, a burst of celerity overtook me. I shifted forward with perfect posture, my blade slicing clear through his hip like it was paper. Despite my injuries, my iaijutsu was flawless.

I limped towards the altar, where my prize awaited me: A bow woven from the bones of the damned, lacquered with the sap of the underworld itself.

A bow that could take the flimsiest of arrows and have it punch the sturdiest of iron. Perfect.

I reached out and took the bow for myself. You know what… forget what the old man said. Diplomacy is pointless. There’s only one thing that our enemies will understand, and I now have the means to teach it to them as thoroughly as possible.

Something rippled from the bow up my arm. It felt like a splinter. It was probably nothing.

Lunabear
Lunabear
3 months ago

Moth and Flame
by Lunabear

Moth floated on the warm wind. His wings beat lightly against the air.

Above, Stars illuminated the sky with their smiling faces, and Moth wanted to reach them, but he couldn’t fly so high. He sighed. He missed his companions.

He had frequented the dwellings of other, bigger beings, but they swatted at him or tried to douse him with toxic clouds.

Soon, his wings grew tired. He needed rest. Perching atop a hollow log, his antennae drooped.

“If only I had a friend,” he lamented. A strong wind urged him to resume his flying, but as he turned, he spotted something in the distance- a beacon.

Mesmerized, he embarked on a new course.

The source was beautifully bright and oh so warm. It danced hypnotically and emitted a vibrant, crackling song. Its orange yellow brilliance drew him in without him realizing. Moth glided forward, not noticing until he got too close that it was hot. It almost burned him.

“Ouch!”

“Oh, I am terribly sorry! Did I hurt you?” Her voice was as charming as her dazzling heat, and Moth couldn’t stay away. He whizzed in circles around her comforting light.

“I’m ok. Who are you? You’re very beautiful. I can’t stop looking at you,” Moth exclaimed in a rush, circling faster.

“My name is Flame, but I do not think I am appealing. I hurt other beings. Like you.” Her song became sad, the crackles lessening and her colors dimming as she shrank.

“But you don’t!” Moth insisted. “I followed your light. It’s warm and sweet and good. It makes me warm inside.” Moth now flapped in place.

Flame twisted. “Really? Even if I hurt others?”

“I scare others, but I don’t wish to harm them. Some will accept you with your good and bad, and some won’t. I accept you, Flame.”

Flame’s colors amplified, as did her size and heat. She swayed and her song intensified.

“I accept you, as well, Moth!”

Moth moved with her, darting in and out of Flame’s radiance.

They chatted until Sun rose.

Bidding farewell, Moth and Flame promised to meet again.

Last edited 3 months ago by Lunabear
Frei
Frei
3 months ago

The Voyage of the Icarus
By: Frei

09/07/2122: The squeezing pressure on my body lessened, and then suddenly died along with the gravity. The shuttle had left orbit. Our destination was ahead of us, and fortunately the lack of a window pointing towards it meant that my eyes wouldn’t be burned out of their sockets. The monitor drew the image though; beyond a sea of satellites lay the source of all life on Earth. We finally have the technology, and we’re moving beyond the scope of what is possible on our planet.

09/08/2122: We have all the power in the world, literally, and yet we still need more. A good amount of it is juicing this shuttle, and should be enough to take us back home. Right after we make the initial probes on our Sun. This is the beginning of something huge! Maybe we’ll be an interstellar species after all, like in Star Trek!

02/12/2123: Some months have gone by. We just passed Venus. Mercury is next, and that’s where we’ll be landing to pilot our drones.

03/09/2123: …Something isn’t right. The lux filter on the computer must be malfunctioning. It isn’t drawing the Sun like a sphere anymore. Maybe debris is refracting the lens?

04/01/2123: Now the screen is broken. Pitch black. The machinery in our shuttle has been making high pitched whines. They’re drilling into my head, and I swear it feels…Familiar somehow.

04/01/2124: Can you hear the voices?

09/15/212 : We’re type 1. We’re a Kardashev type 1 civilization. World’s in the palm of our hands. We got the whole world, in our hands…The whole wide world, in His hands…Whole world in His hands…

45984831//: We let Them know we’re ready. We started a test we didn’t study for. We’re not ready. Get out of my head! No, I’m not ready to meet God!

0000000000: They turned the “Sun” off. We’re all cold and dark. At least I can look out my window but…It’s just Them now.

: We’re fully grown, and we showed Them. Time for Them to harvest.

Last edited 3 months ago by Frei
L L Renato
3 months ago

Easy Prey
By L. L. Marco

Shadows crept along the cracked sidewalk as night quickly overtook the city. A chill ran through the air and with it came a cold that hushed the residents into their homes for sanctuary. The street lamps did little to fight off the coming darkness and it wasn’t long before the city fell into silence. That is, except for a single woman.

She couldn’t have been older than twenty but with her short stature, large hair bow and a stumbling, clumsy demeanor she seemed even younger. When she arrived at an intersection the cold wind blew about her hair and she peered upwards towards the street sign with visible confusion. Alice was lost and had no idea how to make her way back to her hotel. Furthermore, she had no one to ask; the city streets were bare of any life. Or at least, that’s what she thought…

A pair of scarlet eyes peered at her from the shadows, analyzing her every move. Every step she took led her further into the city and further from the eyes of the public; every step that she took he mimicked, feet silent on the crumbling ground beneath them. The young woman turned and, after a moment, realized she’d found herself deep in an alley that the street lamps didn’t dare encroach upon.

Now was his chance. He stepped confidently into the alley behind her, blocking her only exit. Chuckling, the man approached his prey, a wide fanged grin spreading across his face. What a stupid girl, walking around in a big city all by herself… nobody would notice if she disappeared under his fangs. Alice spun around but did so with an elegance she’d lacked before when he watched her. Instead of fear, her dainty features had twisted into something much more… amused? And on her lips was a grin that rivaled his own.

“Found you,” she stated blankly. The man took a shaky step back, his eyes locking on the butcher knife clutched at her side; all along it was he who’d been hunted.

Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
3 months ago

The Cult
By Matthew (Handsome Johanson)

Rebecca’s eyes burst open.

A dark blackness spread out before her.

Feeling a bit groggy, she tried to get up, but was bound to the chair she found herself in. She cried a little as the weight of the situation began to dawn on her. This wasn’t how she expected to be spending her Saturday night.

“Hello?” She whispered into the darkness, hoping this was a demented suprise party.

For a moment, all she could hear was her own nervous breathing.

Click.

And a flame burst forth, blinded her and filled the room with it’s radiant glow. As Rebecca’s eyes adjusted to the glare, she could see a hooded figure in front of her holding a candle.

“Hello, Jesseca Bently.” A sly voice broke the silence. “We heard you performed the Ritual of the Black Moth.”

Rebecca spoke up. “Look. I’m sorry to interrupt, but my name is not ‘Jessica’.”

“Wait, really?” The robed figure quickly put out the candle. “You idiots! This isn’t her!” He screamed out. Several robed figures in the back shuffled around embarrassedly.

The robed figure turned to her. “I am so sorry. I have no idea how this could have happened.” His voice was much smoother and friendly now. He quickly untied her and helped her to her feet.

“How are yo-” the cultist was interrupted by a huge slap to the face.

“Jess is in room 148B, not 148A!” Rebecca scolded.

“Ouch! I deserve that.” The cultist took off his hood and rubbed his cheek a little. “I’m Ollie, by the way.” He held out his hand and Rebecca fist bumped it awkwardly.

“Hi. I’m Rebecca. So is there like a door out of here or?” she asked.

“Oh! Let me escort you out.” He held out his hand and Rebecca took it. He flashed her a warm smile and led her out of the building.

“So, is there anything I can do to make this mistake up to you?” Ollie asked nervously.

“Well, there is one thing.” Rebecca said. “Since you ruined my night, I think you owe me a nice dinner.”

T.E.
T.E.
3 months ago

The Knight and the Sun
By T.E.

The knight dismounted. “Greetings fellow traveler,” he said. “I’m searching for the Lord of Light. May you point me in his direction?”

A woman covered in mud from head to toe nodded towards a small wooden hut. “He lives right there, can’t you read the sign?”

There was in fact a very visible sign on the path through the village which read, “Lord of Light’s residence, this way.” But that’s of no consequence.

“I thank thee and wish you luck in further travels,” the knight said.

“Eh, whatever. Watch it so the Lord doesn’t burn you.”

The knight ascended the rickety wooden steps to the hut and banged on the thin door with a plated fist.

A powerful voice boomed from the cottage. “Enter!”

The tiny room was dominated by a large ornate rug that smelt of incense. A thin man in a rocking chair gestured the knight to come closer.

“You’re brave to come here. What do you want?”

“Oh Lord, I have but one request. I have heard such stories about the wonders you –”

“I don’t have time for flapdoodle, get to the point. “

“As you wish. My kingdom has not known the sun for years. We would be prepared to offer anything should it grace us once more.”

“You would, would you?”

“Yes lord.”

The Lord shook his head. “It’s such a hassle. I haven’t been feeling up to it lately.” He paused and scratched his chin. “I won’t do it. But I will allow you to take the sun in my stead.”

“I would be honored.”

“You’ll have to use this.” He handed a long rusty chain to the knight.

The knight bowed before the Lord of Light. “I cannot thank you enough.”

Armed with the chain the knight left. He mounted his trusty steed and rode off in pursuit of the setting sun.

The Lord of Light sighed. “Another one off to burn in the flaming sun. Well, I do need my sacrifices.”

PitL
PitL
3 months ago

Eyes
By PitL

Something has happened to me, in the years since I was first brought into the City. I first realized it a week ago. It was… unsettling. A revelation, you could say.

No. Let me back up, just for a moment.

Have you ever felt like you were being watched? Cliché, I know.

No, not the “oh, I feel a breath on my shoulder” bit. More like… being viewed from afar. They’re looking at you, you know, but when you turn around – poof! Everyone’s just minding their own business. No one cares what you’re doing, really.

There was a time when being ignored annoyed me. I didn’t like being brushed off. I’m a person! I’m important!

I’d give anything to go back to that, now.

It started as a feeling. Not even a tingling or anything – not like in the movies back home. Fairly innocent altogether. Just a pause here, a quickening of pace there – it happens. The City itself doesn’t help matters – thin, hilly cobblestone walkways, twisted highrises stretching far into the distance… I don’t envy any claustrophobes who find themselves trapped here.

I think I first began to notice it a year ago, when I passed the same man twice. Well, I say man… he’s more of a blob. Good guy. Orange, gelatinous, hard to miss. Anyway, important bit: he stands out in a crowd.

It was almost like déjà vu. You walk in a straight line, make good time down the road… and there he is again. You walk another piece, and whaddya know, he’s right there.

If he’d had eyes, I would’ve thought he was staring at me.

I wrote it off then. I wrote off a lot of things. The recurring faces in the crowd. The roc across the street, staring at my townhouse’s front step. The cars crashing in the distance behind me.

They’re all staring at me now. I can feel it. If I was just a little faster, I could catch them. Throw the window open and see.

Throw it open, and see…

Come and see…

William Keating
William Keating
3 months ago

The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.
By William Keating

The ruined temple looked quite robust, which to Oliver seemed contradictory, something so abandoned and ancient should be falling apart. But then again, did he wanted the place to collapse with himself inside. No, thank you.

Indoor lighting did not feature much in here. Indeed, you might think the bricks were absorbing it. So, when Oliver reached the stairs, he tapped each step firmly to make sure they would stay still and then swept he foot up and down it to clear any possible debris he couldn’t see. The thumps and the brushing echoed loudly. It made Oliver think, this place must have been meant for silence. After all, music and reverent praises would be grabbled by the reverberation before any of the High Gods could understand it.

At the top of the staircase, Oliver found only one room which allowed him entrance. The corridors on either side were bricked up. To keep people out, or to keep something in? Oliver shuddered.

The single room looked to be some inner sanctum, round with six pillared arches converging on a central monolithic plinth. Eight empty thrones encircled the plinth, which held three sizable gemstones individually held on gilded tripods. Each jewel was so dark as to almost be black, but they respectively hinted at older colours of blue, red, and green. The red was the largest and had nine facets, while the other two possessed eight.

Oliver examined the red stone. For a moment he felt the gem gazed at him too. On the surfaces from shapes, with formed into more unambiguous depictions.
A dark man plunging a sword into a woman’s heart. Another of a total eclipse of the sun, making it look like a black hole in the sky. Falling stars flooding the sea and drowning islands. The swordsman sat himself down on a throne as shadows, monsters were sent forth by a wave of his hand.

Only when he hit the floor did Oliver find his left leg had vanished.

NocteVesania
3 months ago

Predator and Prey
By NocteVesania (Public Group Repost)

Capt. Elijah Griffin looks out to the horizon, the Caruso’s wooden deck vibrating under his boots. His first mate, Lt. Edward Hawkes, approaches him.

“Sir, the weapons are primed and ready,” the lieutenant declares. “Awaiting your next command.”

The captain watches the clouds, searching for his prey. “We wait. Keep your eyes peeled.”

“Yes, sir.”

Aside from the whirring of the airship’s engines, there is only the whisper of the winds. Griffin takes a deep breath, taking in the serenity of the voyage, the calm before the storm.

“Um, sir?” Hawkes nervously says, breaking the serenity.

Griffin turns around, giving him a stern look.

“Well, sir, if you don’t mind me asking,” the young officer sheepishly says, “why are we doing this?”

Griffin sighs, placing his palm on his forehead.

“We’re pretending to be a spice merchant ship to lure them out of hiding,” the captain explains, this being the fourth time today. “Once they get close, we pounce and take those pirates down.”

“I meant taking them down, sir. Isn’t our target led by the last of the Yorkes?”

The captain looks out to the clouds again. He has heard the stories of the last daughter of the noble Yorke family, the sole survivor of the fiery tragedy that befell their estate, the revenant of the skies. He shakes his head and reminds himself of the promotion awaiting him after this battle.

“What is our motto, lieutenant?”

“Honor and Valor for Justice, sir.”

“Then, is terrorizing the Council’s territories just?”

“No, sir, but—”

“Then it is our duty to take that rogue down, no matter the cost.”

The lieutenant lowers his head. “Yes, sir.”

A deckhand shouts, a tinge of panic in his voice. “Unidentified airships sighted off the starboard bow! Three of them!”

“To battlestations!” Capt. Griffin barks out orders, his voice booming across the deck as the crew scrambles into position. “Boarding parties on standby!”

He turns to the skies ahead, his eyes catching a glimpse of masts peeking through the clouds. He smiles.

“Like moths to a flame.”

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

Too close to the flames
by Larissa (Lari B Haven)

She crossed the Sanatorium garden and sat on the bench by the shadow; the men greeted her with a glance: “Nice to see you again, Mrs. Anderson.”

Zoella Anderson smiled in response. “I got another letter from my husband. How are the paper cranes going?”

“Prettier than yesterday.” He responded. He kept folding the paper with sharp lines.

She only knew him for a while; he was there for a long time according to the nurse’s gossip. She knew he used to be a doctor, and he would keep making those paper animals as a hobby. He was friendly to her, always asking her about her family.

Leonard would sometimes speak about a friend he had in a melancholic tone.

“My friend taught me how to do the cranes, if you make enough of those, they could grant me a wish.” He said, breaking the silence of that early morning.

“What kind of wish do you seek?” Zoella looked curiously.

“If you could undo a mistake, would you take the chance?”

“In a heartbeat!” She answered, glancing at her letter.

“My friend was a dreamer, I was a realist. As opposites, the allure of the exchange was obvious. We complete what the other lacked.” He took another sheet of paper.

“You speak fondly of him, Leonard. I believe you were close like brothers.”

“I supposed we were like brothers.” He sighed. “When we finished Med school, he still had a heart bigger than his head. I kept being the rational one. Until the day we ended up fighting.”

“I imagine that was difficult…”

“I pushed him into a choiceless situation. The patient was a child. As a doctor, you always have some of those in your hands…” His expression tensed up. “He trusted my judgment… We lost it. He couldn’t live with the outcome.”

He crumbled the paper bird into his hand. “Like a moth, he burned in my flames.”

“So you wished you could have prevented his death?” She responded worriedly.

“No, I wish he never had met me.”

Mike Collins
3 months ago

Like a Human to Hate (Copy from Private)

By Mike Collins

Jenny sat in her bedroom watching the Twitter feed waiting to find something she could say. The hate and or love for the president was too trendy. She retweeted plenty of Black Lives Matter tweets, but that felt so three days ago. She needed her social justice fix, something that could make her feel good about herself by pointing out how bad other people were.

Across town, Erica searched her Instagram feed looking for someone to hate. There were plenty of celebs who needed to know their place, and she was just the girl to show them some justice.

In a cramped apartment in Toronto, a boy named Doug watched a video saying how 5k was responsible for a disease while his neighbor rails about the injustice of the police for towing his car.

After months of being bullied online, Sara stood on the ledge of her thirty-story apartment building, wondering what it all meant. The last post she read before jumping was someone telling her she was too privileged to have real problems.

Johnny sat in the ruins of his career after years of acting and fan-love. He didn’t understand how he was canceled online after years of hiding his victimhood from a wife with a mean streak.

All over the world, on many social networks, people questioned why there was so much hate while attacking others. Words and blame became like weapons. Every day more and more people gave in to their baser desires to feel good about themselves by tearing others down.

In a server farm buried deep within a mountain, two watched as many people across the world attacked each other online.

“You see, I told you all we had to do was give them a platform and like a.”

The other interrupted, “Don’t say it.”

“Okay, like a human to hate, they went after each other.”

The two giant moths looked at each other and started to laugh, knowing how easy it would be to destroy humanity one tweet at a time.

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

“The Ice of Frost Peak”
(From Tales of Marow)
By Connor A.

Medrash clung to what few winter clothes he had left as he limped down the rest of the mountain. He felt a long chill travel down his scaly spine and knew he had to hurry.

He paused for a moment to search for any sign of the town, hoping the storm had not blocked out all the light. He started to limp at a faster pace when he heard the cries of the very village that betrayed him.

Maybe the storm would hide the trail of blood. Medrash did not speak this thought out loud in case he jinxed himself.

After what seemed like an eternity, he saw a figure in the distance. It was too far away to discern any telling features, but it seemed to be a humanoid. He was almost running towards the figure, only held back by his open wounds.

“Hello?!” Medrash yelled, ignoring how much his body screamed at him to stop. “Help me!”

The figure began walking away. Medrash felt panic take over, but then the storm calmed down enough to reveal the buildings of Ela’s Base.

He finally tripped and tumbled down the last stretch of mountain. When he finally stopped falling, he was only a few hundred paces from the closest tavern, but he had no energy left.

A pair of feet stopped in front of his vision, but Medrash could have sworn he could almost see right through them.

“Rise, puppet,” the voice resonated in Medrash’s head. “I refuse to lose you this soon.”

Medrash felt his body jerk up towards an unknown source, then the figure was gone. He felt as if he was no longer connected to his body as he made his way to the tavern. The new burst of energy was quickly fading. He slammed the door open and saw the people look at him.

He took one step into the tavern and collapsed. His vision failed him as he heard a familiar voice call out to him.

Last edited 3 months ago by Connor A.
Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
3 months ago

An Evening’s Entertainment (Corespace Universe)
By Calliope Rannis

Sweat was dripping off the dancer’s face. The streamers of his colourful outfit flowed through air and smoke, as he continued to hop and skip across the red-hot coals beneath his feet. His eyes were filled with fear.

But beyond his sealed, oxygenated bubble-cage, the world was much, much hotter. Just outside, sunning themselves beneath an electric sky, was a long wormlike creature. Their body was composed of jagged crystal, bound together with crackling arcs of energy that concentrated into five burning points of light at the front. Four of them were blinding white – the fifth shone deep orange. With these eyes the Crystalwyrm lazily watched the dancer’s desperate movements. They were getting bored.

Their stupor was interrupted by a familiar hiss resonating inside their mind: (Are you done with it yet?)

The Wyrm shivered in aggravation. (Maybe I would have been by now, Kitfiroll, if my appreciation of this little puppet’s show hadn’t been undermined by your CONSTANT INTERRUPTIONS.)

Their sibling’s voice grew louder and more insistent. (You have been watching it for nearly an hour Relorvoll! How is this even interesting anymore?? Let me have MY fun!!!)

Ignoring them, the Crystalwyrm focused again on the dance. Despite their youngerborn’s souring presence, this dancer had provided satisfaction. It was fascinating to learn that humans really could dance on hot coals, even if their heat paled in comparison to the searing air outside. There was also a certain sublime joy to seeing the final hour of a life play out in such an aesthetic manner…

That said, the best moments had been and gone. The dancer was beginning to stagger, his movements losing coherence. The fear in his eyes had faded into sheer fatigue, and the long streamers were now dragging along the floor, starting to blacken and ignite. His long dance was coming to a close.

They didn’t care to see the end. (Fine, Kitfiroll. Your turn.)

With their sibling gleefully floating towards the cage-pit, the Wyrm turned away from the dance and curled up on the floor. As the screams began to start, Relorvoll drifted off into sleep.

Alex
Alex
3 months ago

End of the Lane
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

Scott Armitage stood in front of the halfway house filled with souls. They were over capacity, but what else could they do? The reapers had their hands full. There was no way they could get all these souls processed in time. Guard duty was not his regular job. He did this, because these souls needed help and he was the only one available.

Scott was nervous. A place packed with souls like this would surely attract attention from some very hungry creatures. It was like a beacon, advertising power to the world, ripe for the taking.

“A lonely man at a lonely house on a lonely lane”, a soft sharp voice said: “Is that not how the rhyme goes?”

Scott whirled around and saw a man walk towards him. He was thoroughly unremarkable; the kind of person he could have seen in the street a hundred times and would immediately forget after every time.

And yet, he knew who it was.

“Yuri”, Scott snarled.

“So, I have made an impression. How interesting.”

Scott braced himself. A dire stench emanated from Yuri, causing him to gag.

“Listen”, he continued: “I’ve just come back from a long journey and have quite the appetite. Stand aside, little Armitage. You’re not your mother.”

“No”, Scott replied simply.

Without a second’s warning, Yuri darted forwards. He was fast, incredibly fast, but Scott matched his speed. Blow for blow, Scott was slowly driven back to the end of the lane. Yuri’s hands closed around his head. He broke the grip and placed his hand on the devourer’s chest. He felt a myriad of souls, slowly being digested within his body. Their screams echoed in his ears; their despair broke his heart.

They didn’t deserve this.

He had one ace up his sleeve. He touched the souls with his mind, forcing them to the surface. He would break this soul eater, no matter what it took. Yuri grabbed the back of his head and his mouth. In one motion, he broke Scott’s neck.

“Now”, he stepped over Scott Armitage’s dead body: “For a feast.”

Last edited 3 months ago by Alex