Writing Group: You Are Cordially Invited (PRIVATE)

Hello, dear friend!

Today is your lucky day! On this very special occasion, it is my pleasure to bring you this message. Contain your excitement if possible, and do clear your schedule, because…

This week’s writing group prompt is:

 

You Are Cordially Invited

 

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!

 

 

An invitation is a doorway. Instead of opening from one space into another, it opens into a social sphere.

When you are invited, you are welcome.

The trouble with this is that social spheres are very complex, and the act of welcoming one does not instantaneously guarantee that they’re also wanted. Even when they are, there’s no guarantee it’s for a noble reason. You might be invited into a circle just to be swarmed and eaten alive. You might be invited in for a demonstration of kindness, and then forgotten.

There are countless stories about this corridor between spheres. Imagine, some strange creature in the forest has extended an invitation for you to see their secret glade, and there you are, caught between doors, wondering at the intent. Or imagine you’re a ghost, beckoned back toward life by a ring of held hands. Or, more simply, imagine you’re invited someplace you’ve always wanted to go, but where your life partner can’t. You know it will harm them to be deserted, but do you seize the opportunity?

It’s an incredibly dynamic space to explore.

Just one thing to remember: whatever invitation you extend, make it clear. This is a cordial offer. There can be no question about the offer on the table.

What it will be like to accept? To decline? To be caught, indecisive?

That is your story for the week.

 

 

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
11 days ago

Blood Suckers
by Brickosaur

“Poor sap didn’t know what they were agreeing to when they bought this,” said Sebastian, grinning at the giant, brightly-colored mat on the single-story porch. ALL ARE WELCOME! it hollered in all caps. “But hey, free meal. Gullible people make for easy gain.”

He prepped his lockpick, but there was no need. The door was unlocked. The trio crossed the threshold easily and stepped inside. Sebastian echolocated to get a feel for the place. No breathers around. But there was a basement, and he thought he detected life there. There was definitely movement. “They’re downstairs,” he whispered.

Valkyrie nodded and headed for the stairs, the others on her heels. Sebastian was already dizzy with the thought of getting his fill. The friendly ones always seemed to have the sweetest blood.

On the bottom landing, the trio pinpointed the target and made a game plan in practiced sign language. Fan out and surround the victim, then pounce. On Valkyrie’s signal . . .

NOW!
Sebastian threw open the basement door and beelined for the mortal. But before he reached his target, searing pain seized him. A second too late, he felt all the holy items spaced around the room. It was instant, head-splitting agony.

From the surprised screams beside Sebastian, the others must’ve felt it too. They collapsed, just as something came down on them. A cage, stinking of iron and silver. It rendered Sebastian utterly helpless.

A figure stepped up and crouched before them. The breather had bright eyes and a wide, friendly smile. “So glad you could make it!” she sang. “Welcome to our little party.”

She made a showy gesture behind her, and the basement lit up purple. Black light illuminated many writhing, hissing shapes on the far walls. With horror, Sebastian realized what he was looking at:

Dozens of chained-up vampires. And he was about to join them.

“Don’t worry, I’ll let you out to eat,” the mortal continued cheerily. “As long as you cooperate. I have big plans for you–assassinations, espionage. Enforcement. Such powerful toys you are. After all, gullible people make for easy gain!”

minergirl778 (aka frogfireFantasy)
minergirl778 (aka frogfireFantasy)
12 days ago

“Call to Adventure”
By minergirl778 (aka frogfireFantasy)

“Hey Marshal, what would you think about joining me for a mission?”

Marshal stopped mid pour. “A…what?”

Daisy was barely phased as she sipped her hot cocoa “I know I’m always talking about my missions with you… Maybe you’d want to come on one with me sometime?”

Well, that certainly was a wild idea. He thought for a moment and set down the biscuits, “Like… an Angel mission?”

“Yeah!” She munched on a cookie. “It’sh fow Alishia-,” she finished her cookie, “-but I can bring help!”

“She…er…won’t get mad?” He stirred his tea tentatively.

“Not at all!” She beamed. “I… think she won’t at least. She’s never gotten mad at me for bringing someone before!”

“Right. And uh…” He brushed a bit of scraggly hair back from his face. “What would this… mission entail?”

“That’s the fun part!” She beamed. “It could be anything!”

“Anything?”

“Anything!”

He gulped. “Any… death defying… sharp toothed… face melting… thing?”

She saw where this was going, “Oh, No! Not like that! I would never take you on something too dangerous! You’re too…uh…” she searched her brain for a word to describe her companion, “…brittle!”

He didn’t know whether to be relieved or upset. “Well, from what you’ve told me, your missions seem awfully dangerous. What could I possibly do to help?”

“Not all my missions are super dangerous, y’know!” She retorted. “I just have fun with the dangerous ones! The ones that ain’t are tough… But that’s where you come in!” She flopped down on the couch beside him.

“When I need a set of smart eyes for a no-punch mission, I can call you! You’re good with biology, right? Maybe you could help me sort out plant stuff!”

“Plant AND animal!” He interjected, but the proposal left him in thought.

As he thought, Daisy leaned over with a cheeky smile, “Inter-Dimensional discoverieeeeeees!! Magical new woooooooooorlds!!!!!! Hanging out with meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! Soooooooooooo?”

Gah, this girl was going to get him killed one day….

…But how could he resist science?

“…Ok, what should I do first?”

Last edited 11 days ago by minergirl778 (aka frogfireFantasy)
Deviacon
12 days ago

“A Devious Invitation”
By Derek McEldowney (Deviacon)

The aged parchment envelope was sealed with emerald green wax, stamped in the image of a crow. It rested plainly on the Writers desk. He didn’t know how it had gotten there. He kept the doors to his office locked when he wasn’t there, and he would have remembered receiving such a unique looking letter in the mail.

Truth be told, it wasn’t much of an office, a closet with a desk and a window more like. He had stuffed it with all of the literary and academic novelties he had both personally enjoyed, and always admired the aesthetics of. Fountain pens and candlesticks and ink wells and dozens of other curios. He tried his hardest to make it look and feel like a study out of one of his favorite novels.

He picked up the envelope and flipped it over, there was no address or name; it was completely blank. He pulled a letter opener from his desk drawer, secretly relishing the opportunity to use it for once. He happily slashed open the sealed wax emblem and pulled the folded parchment letter from its matching envelope.

He carefully unfolded the letter and began reading aloud to himself.

“To whom it may concern,

You have been cordially invited to participate in the Devious Tales Twisted Reviews. While you may have many questions such as what that is, what it means, and who I am, rest assured: only the important ones will be answered.”

He felt his blood rush with excitement, his mind riddled with intrigue. The letter was just like the beginning of some dark and dreary story fallen right into his hands.
The letter asked that he submit his best piece of writing for… dissection? That of all the stories submitted, various pieces would be saved, many more would be killed, and only those with the most promising potential would be properly corrupted into something truly deserving of the title “Devious.”

He fell into his chair and with a nervous hand picked up a pen. It would just be stories… right?

Last edited 10 days ago by Deviacon
DesOttsel
DesOttsel
12 days ago

Adrenaline Addict
by Gage Jarman

She smiled back at the passengers as she jumped out the plane screaming. Her heart rocketed. Excitement pumped through her veins. Goosebumps were plucked up by the rushing wind. She grinned; instantly, her cheeks puffed out like a chipmunk. She checked the altimeter and pulled the cord. The parachute released tangled, rapidly twisting in the wall of air. She grabbed her knife, hacking at the cords overhead. She fumbled the knife. The wind ripped it out of her grasp. The earth rapidly approached. Her heart thumped in her ears.

*****

“Hello there. It’s wonderful to meet you. I’m sure you have lots of questions, but first, know that you are safe. Nothing bad can happen to you here. That stays in life. Serenity is all encompassing. It’ll take some getting used to, but you’ll learn, you’ll find peace, and you’ll bask in the pure energy of Nirvana. Welcome. We look forward to spending eternity with you.”

She looked at her hands which pulsed with energy. They looked like lightning given form or molten metal. Her stomach dropped, only it didn’t. She thought it would. She knew it should, but now, she felt… She didn’t know what she was.

She sprinted away. The realm was beautiful, too beautiful. Everything was overly saturated with vivid colors. A path continually formed in front of her through the lush landscape. She reached a crest, overlooking a valley. She wished it was a cliff. She wished she had a wingsuit. The earth shifted and so did her form. She stood a second before leaping off the new cliff. Her descent was far too slow. She practically floated through the air, and any hazards gave a wide berth.

She landed and fell to her knees. This wasn’t right. There was no risk. She didn’t feel alive. She wasn’t alive. A knife apparated into her hand. She stabbed down at her arm, but the blade bent away. She tried to cry. She tried to cry. She punched the ground, and she tried to cry.

“Is something wrong? You do not have to worry. You are safe here.”

PixieWings
PixieWings
12 days ago

Sunshower (Aden and the Fae)
By PixieWings

It had been raining, Aden remembered.

The downpour had slapped him in the face, shocking him with cold and soaking him through. He’d been trying to shoulder his car out of the mud and the treeline of the woods did little to protect him. He’d been leaving his parents house. Or maybe it was his sister that lived in the forest?

He couldn’t remember.

He’d been unsticking his car. And he’d been upset about something.

“Just…do this one thing for me!”

“Just the one?” She had asked.

It wasn’t so much the rain had stopped. More it hung suspended in the air, unable to touch the trail of sunlight paving a path from his car into the trees.

“Hello?” Aden had called, immediately feeling like a jackass.

“Hello! Are you going to come dry off, little one?”

So he had.

He had followed the light, and there was a woman. At the time her beauty had struck any questions from his tongue, but when he tried to recall her face, the features blotted together like an overexposed photo.

“Such tears on so pretty a face! What could be ailing one so fair?”

Her hands were warm against his cheeks and it had seeped down into his limbs, pooling pleasantly beneath his ribs.

“Tell me.”

The knot in his throat had come loose.

“Everything’s so much…I don’t know…Maybe something’s wrong with me.”

“So overwhelmed. You want a break from it all.”

“But I was…”

Doing something? He couldn’t remember. His head had felt fuzzy, too warm, like he’d fallen asleep in a sunbeam.

“You’re welcome to rest as long as you like. The word of Queen Titania is law.” She’d pressed a kiss to his neck, sending an enjoyable tingle down his spine. “But you’ve yet to give me your name.”

“My name’s Aden.”

A snap of pain, like a noose of fire cracking taught against his throat.

After that, it was all a dream.

Until-

“Ow!”

A sting of thorns at his wrist.

And the patter of rabbit paws.

“Run! This way!”

There was something behind him.

He’d run.

Gregory Hess
Gregory Hess
13 days ago

“Questline” [Aleph null sci fi]
By gregovin

Now that I know this world isn’t real, it’s kind of obvious in hindsight. For example, the Queen of Zareel put a request out to find and bring her daughter back to the castle, the princess Molosophe. Why someone more qualified or associated with the queen was not sent should have been a relevant question, but it seemed so … normal.

After the mountain ceased to be and returned, I’ve been thinking and there are so many incidents like this, and so have my friends.

Now, after returning the princess, we received a letter inviting us to a ball for our actions, and telling us our reward awaits. Or, at least that’s what we think it is trying to tell us, for half way through the letter becomes garbled and messy. Weird things like this seem to be becoming more common. The world is breaking. But what do we do about it? We can’t hit the bad guy with spells or punch the problem in the face. We’ve tried sending messages to the outside world, but no response. I fear the worst. Our rotating hab may have been breached.

And so I ask the question: “should we tell them?”

“Who? Tell who what?” a friend responds.

“Everyone. Should we tell everyone that this world is not what it seems”

“How would we show that? Will it drive them mad?”

“We seem to be fine with the knowledge. And with all the glitches, proving it should be trivial. There’s a good chance this world doesn’t have long anyways. We should give people a chance to remember.”

WolfsbaneX
WolfsbaneX
13 days ago

“The Plot”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane

Hjortur Vargsen straightened his cravat with his clockwork hand. This was the address on the invitation; surely this must be the place. The Fae took a deep breath and steeled himself before knocking on the door. The apartment door opened to reveal a three-foot tall Fae.

“Ambassador Vargsen?” he asked, inspecting the fylgia.

“Ja,” Vargsen replied, taking off his top hat. “This is the right place?”

The butler nodded. “May I take your hat and coat?”

The ambassador offered them to the small Fae, who took them without remark.

“You are the last to arrive,” the butler informed him. “Everyone is waiting on you.”

The smaller Fae gestured to a hallway. Vargsen thanked him, walking down the hallway into a dining room. There four Fae sat at the table talking amongst themselves. The elf sitting at the head of the table looked over and smiled.

“By the Heptadeka, Hjortur Vargsen has joined us at last!” he exclaimed.

“Dakio Sainport, you scoundrel!” the fylgia roared with a laugh.

“You’re more a scoundrel than I, old friend,” Sainport retorted, his smile not waning. “Ambassador! Who would have thought?”

“Well, you know life has its twists and turns,” Vargsen replied, his laughing dwindling to a chuckle.

“Indeed. Come sit! We must catch up,” the elf said, gesturing to an empty chair to his right.

Vargsen smiled, gave his friend a hug and took his place at the table. The evening went on as the diners conversed and ate. It wasn’t long after the meal was done that Sainport stood and tapped his wine glass with a knife.

“Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention?” he announced, his face more stern.

The room fell quiet.

“You are likely wondering why we are having this dinner in an apartment and not my estate.”

Vargsen nodded, meeting his friend’s gaze.

Sainport sighed heavily. “I must speak of an important and private matter. You see, my financiers wish to push me out of Woven Armor Industries. They intend to dock worker pay and increase prices to line their own pockets. In short, I need your help.”

NocteVesania
14 days ago

Rest for the Weary
By NocteVesania

“Take the civilians to the dining hall! Check the basement, there might be more there!” Belle barks orders across the ballroom.

Taking over the Moon Feast Ball was much easier than they thought. Just a few threats and they have the place to themselves.

“Keep loading the loot,” Belle orders, her stance tense as ever. “Take what ammunition you can carry, burn the rest!”

Belle rubs her eyelids, trying to keep herself awake. She has overworked herself these past few days and the fatigue is finally getting to her.

From across the ballroom, Zeke watches Belle wearily take a seat. He whispers something to a crewman’s ear before sneaking into the dining hall.

After a moment, that same crewman walks over to Belle, glass of wine in hand. He offers it to Belle, who is staring blankly out the window. Without thinking, Belle grabs the glass and gulps it down. After a second, she shifts her gaze towards him.

“Wait, what is the meaning of this? Who told you to stop working?” Belle stares daggers at him.

The crewman steps aside, revealing what’s behind him. Standing in the middle of the ballroom floor is Zeke. In his breast pocket is a single flower, suspiciously identical to that of the decorations. Music slowly fills the room, the band playing once again. Zeke walks towards Belle, then offers his hand.

“A dance, Miss Yorke?”

“It would be my honor, Sir Sterling,” Belle remarks as she takes his hand with a smile.

They walk to the center of the ballroom and, hand in hand, they waltz around, letting their worries go for a while. As the music fades, so do they slow to a halt. Everything seems to fade away as they stand there, staring at each other’s eyes.

BOOM

“An attack?! Look alive!” Belle shouted, grasping her firearm.

A crewman rushed in. “No, ma’am! It’s just the ammunition burning!”

Zeke puts his hand over Belle’s. She eases up.

She chuckles, wrapping her arms around Zeke, “it’s just you and me tonight.”

The gunpowder blast with glee like fireworks under the full moon.

Laribhaven
Laribhaven
14 days ago

A Wedding invitation
By: Larissa (Lari B. Haven)

“Alex dear, please keep up!” Santine shouted, diving from the puffy clouds to a nearby roof.

“I would keep up if you stopped changing air currents all the time!” Alex shouted back.

Santine sorted through the batch of letters and memorized the route she would take next. As she let the wings release steam waiting for her apprentice, she smiled, her eyes still on the letters.

“As I always say: Work smarter, not har…”

Santine stared blankly at the single white envelope, the cursive golden letters taunted her.

“That disgusting man! He really did it this time!” She angrily shouted.

Alex took the paper out of her hands and analyzed it. A wedding invitation. It was unusual for her coworker to lose her calm and finesse in front of others. The name of the woman was of the wealthy widow of the region displayed right below the name of a man Santine used to speak about.

So she quickly realized why she was so upset. For Santine, that forsaken invitation was the greatest offense life could ever have given her.

The woman meddled with the envelope in her fingers, caught the pouch from Santine’s hips, and took the rest of the invitations.

“It’s doable, maybe in twenty minutes at max…”

“What’re you going to do?”

“Deliver it!” Alex answered nonchalantly, shaking the little envelope in her hands. “You stay here and recompose yourself. When I came back we can do something fun!”

From afar, the broken-hearted woman saw her apprentice down, flying all over the neighborhood like she was on a demented chase. When she came back in the promised time, she held with a bag of rotten eggs and handed it to her.

“Now tell me… How about we play a prank on that wicked man?”

“We’re going to get caught Alex, dear…” She laughed.

“That’s the plan!” Alex let out a mischievous smile.

It was petty revenge, but Santine was already with eggs in hand.

“Well, I think I know where he might be…”

Last edited 14 days ago by Laribhaven
The Assassin
The Assassin
15 days ago

Invitation
By TheAssassin

Hello You! Yes, YOU!

You have been cordially invited to The Event.

Peculiar, I know. Invited to a mysterious event by a stranger you don’t even know.

But you are not alone. There are others, many others, who will join you. Perhaps they will rise far above you, reaching for the stars, or you may the one above. It does not matter. All are welcome, all are equal. Veteran or newcomer, erratic or consistent, none shall be counted above another in quality. We are all seeking to find the same thing after all.

But who am I?

Well, nobody. In fact, I am, myself, new. However, this is of no consequence.

I see your eyes. I see the way they waver at my words. Who am I in relation to You?

Well, it’s quite simple really.

We are all connected. The same purpose sets our minds alight and the same desires rest upon our shoulders. You are, after all, Here, with Me. If what I say is not true, then, well, you would be far away…

Many are lost. They wander still the grey lands, searching for Us. I wish they could see… I wish the world would know…

And soon they shall.

With You, Me, and the Others

We will find them. We will save them
.
But you are not lost. You have found the way. You are Here, with Me, with the Others. So then, why have We waited so long? What has held us back? Is it perhaps that we didn’t know? Or because we did not want to know.

Fear can do that. Poison our minds against triumph. But we are strong, and we can push back the fear of discovery. Let us not wait any longer, some are still in need.

I know what must be done. I know what WE are capable of. Let the world be a sprawling canvas for our minds, let us join together and rise!

The Day of The Event will come.

The only question that remains is on that day…

Will you answer the call?

jesse fisher
jesse fisher
15 days ago

A Summons of Death

By Jesse Fisher

Both Korun and Oleander were shocked when the letter appeared at the bar. More so they even got one, as unless you know the access point in a world it is just a void outside and the bar is not known outside of the patrons so that did not narrow the list down.

It looked like a preindustrial world from the wax seal, and how it was pressed with a griffon symbol on it. The metallic yellow sand dragoness looked to the heterochromic eyed man as he opened the letter.

“It saids we are invited to watch a corrupter that attempted to sway the holy one Gangrel.” Korun read out looking to the goddess.

Oleander thought back to the other night before enjoying some time with the handsome man next to her.

“I know that name, but can’t place it mostly because of how many came that night.” The dragoness set her claw under her chin as her robe rode up on her shoulder. “I know she was single that night, but several others were similar.”

A look of concern came over Korun’s face, almost causing his mustache to go straight.

“Hey Ol, where is Demon? He was not grumbling when I came down to get ready after last night.”

“I did notice the lack of the grumpy dog but I just thought he was sleeping in or he…” The dragoness noticed the look of man that made her heart flutter. Putting two and two together Oleander’s mood shifted. “Wait, he had a one night stand and is now going to be sent to die?”

“It seems so.” Korun replied as he pulled out a tented closed sign.

“What are we going to do?” The dragoness then noticed Korun had instantly changed from a formal attire to a gladiator outfit, if not for the cause of this she would so jump his bones.

“I aint letting anyone die under my watch if I can help it.”

Using his powers over the bar he had the letter summon a door to the world.

“Come my love we have work to do.”

Samantha DeShong
Samantha DeShong
15 days ago

“Dinner with a Devil”
by Samantha Realynn

The invitation sat on the table, ink shining in the light of the lamp. Maybe it was a trick, but I swore I could smell dried blood on the parchment. It wouldn’t surprise me if that was the ink. That fiend’s depravity knew no bounds.

I could feel my stomach lurch as I read the words inviting me to dinner at its home. Safe passage to and back was promised, as was polite conversation. Just simple, civil, conversation. A suit had even been provided. It lay beside the invitation. Fine silk and shades of red that would compliment me well. I didn’t put it on, but I knew it would fit me. It always knew.

I didn’t want to go. That devil had been tormenting me for years now. I was afraid to leave my house even in the day. After sunset was impossible now. It had already taken me twice. Each time I woke up in my bedroom with no memory of the night before, save a vicious bite mark on my neck. I would scour my entire body after, feeling unclean despite no other signs anywhere else. The thing that had a taste for me at least had some decency.

I didn’t understand its obsession with me and I didn’t want to feed it. I could burn the suit and the letter. I could continue to hideaway in my home. It couldn’t enter, or so the legends said. Not without my permission and that it didn’t have.

And yet, the suit and letter had been waiting for me when I came home from my scavenging for food.

I would have nightmares of it, standing above my bed, watching me. Sometimes, I could just make out a face. It was handsome enough, but the eyes were so dark and vicious. Lord of this land and our eternal tormentor. And for whatever reason, I had attracted its interest.

I picked up the suit with a shaking hand. I didn’t want to go. But what would it do if I refused? Gods help me, I was too afraid to find out.

King_Nix
King_Nix
15 days ago

“Dealing With Devils”
By King_Nix

Henry sat at a long stone table. He hadn’t touched the food and drink laid before him. It had been two months since he was ordered to take the Bahamas for his own by that boy – no, his ‘father,’ Arthur. Arthur was young enough to be his own son. For the boy to approach him one day and adopt him was hard to wrap his head around, even with the golden ring on the chain about his neck to prove it.

Thus, Captain – no, ‘Lord Admiral’ Henry Smith sat, having been ‘cordially invited’ to this seedy little island for a ‘business offer.’ There had been several ships operating in these waters. Ships that held strange cargo. Most claimed to be pirates, just earning a handsome fee. Some offered to give him a cut if he let them go, but he wouldn’t hear their excuses once they were being dragged under the hull of his ship.

“Well, captain? Do we have a deal, you and I?” a weasley man across from him asked. The man, Benjamin, had an ill-favored look, like a sickly, balding rodent. Beady eyes studied Henry behind a crooked, twitching snout of a nose.

“Your daughter looked rather ill, I must say.” Henry said, swirling the wine in his glass; it looked just a tad too red. The young, too young, girl who had poured it had been small and frail.

“Daughter?” replied Benjamin. “Oh, her. Yes, yes, my…daughter. She is fine, fine. Work with me, and I’m sure I can have you well-acquainted with my…daughters.” The smile he wore made Henry’s stomach turn.

Abruptly, the entryway burst open, and John, a bull of a man, brought his four-guage to bear and reduced the rat-man’s head to a fine mist. Henry rose from his chair.

Already ignoring the gurgling stump that once was a head, Henry gestured to his men. “Come on, let’s get these children out of here.” he said. “No plunder this time. Round them up, get them out, and once we’re clear I want this entire damnable place blasted to Hell!”

Last edited 15 days ago by King_Nix
MasaCur
MasaCur
15 days ago

The Holiday Party
By MasaCur

Kagami slumped down in the car seat, arms crossed over her chest, a frown on her lips.

“Now, Kagami, dear, we won’t have another incident like we did last year,” her mother said, turning back to address Kagami.

“No,” Kagami muttered. “This is dumb. Why couldn’t you let me wear heels?”

“You’ll do less damage that way,” he father replied. “Last year, you punctured that poor Uzunari boy’s abdomen by kicking him.”

“I’m not going to get into a fight this time, Dad!” Kagami snapped.

“You better not, Kagami,” her mother warned. “We might not get invited back next year if you do. Now, promise you’ll behave.”

Kagami sighed out of frustration. Things had changed. She had made friends since last year, and she knew they’d be there. “Yes, I’ll behave.”

Her parents exited the car, and Kagami followed. “Okay, let’s get going,” Kagami’s father said. “I wonder if your sister is already here.”

“Don’t care,” Kagami replied, smoothing her dress out with her hands. She stomped up to the door, and pulled it open. Across the lobby, she saw her friend Mayu leaning against the wall. She wore a shapeless gown with a high neck and a hem that went nearly to her ankles.

“Hey Kagami!” Mayu yelled out, waving her over.

Feeling a little better, Kagami skipped up to her friend. “Wow, that dress seems to look worse every year.”

“Don’t remind me. If you see my mother, you have no idea where I am. Not that I expect her to care,” Mayu grumbled. “You look better this year. Less like the love child of a cupcake and a christmas present, more like something I wish I was wearing.”

Kagami shrugged. “I guess.”

“Oooh, the Uzunaris are already here!” Mayu announced. “Ari is getting me a drink so I can avoid my mom. And Aru is…”

“Hi, Kagami,” said Aru’s deep voice from behind her. “You definitely look better this year.”

Kagami whirled around, facing the tall boy.

“Hey,” she mumbled, staring nervously down at the floor.

“Did you want to dance?” he asked, giving her a wink.

Clanso
Clanso
15 days ago

Happy Birthday Claire
by Claire (Clanso)

Claire had been looking forward to her birthday. It was supposed to be a quiet evening with whatever movie she felt like and maybe a hot cup of cocoa just to treat herself. Just her, spending some time alone.

But since things never seemed to go according to plan around Claire Fisher, she wasn’t really surprised when she heard a knock at the front door.

When she reluctantly went to open, she almost slammed the door shut again before her visitors had the chance to come in.

Standing in front of the door was a towering figure, staring at her with unnatural intensity. A scarf was wrapped around the lower half of its face, but Claire knew there was no mouth to cover. It was avoiding her gaze and awkwardly clutching a present.

Next to it was another figure, about half a meter tall. It had roughly humanoid shape, was entirely black and seemed to melt into the bigger person’s shadow. It had no facial features except huge eyes that took up almost all of its head. With it’s tentacles it offered her a patch of flowers.

Behind them Claire could see many more figures, silently waiting. People and creatures Claire knew and loved.

And so she beckoned them inside. While they walked past her,she accepted presents, shook claws and tentacles, and anxiously waited for the face in the crowd that counted. And there she was. She looked just like Claire. “Hello” Claire managed to say, before she slipped past her and into the apartment.

It turned out to be the quiet birthday Claire had wanted after all. None of her silent guests said a word. They a just sat on the living room floor and watched with interest as Claire selected a movie and made cocoa for everyone.

Once everyone had a mug Claire settled down on the couch, next to her writer. When she fell asleep, Anna tucked her counterpart in before drifting of to sleep herself.

“Happy Birthday Claire”

GJFuller
GJFuller
16 days ago

The Changeling’s Call
By Giovanna J. Fuller

My grandfather was always odd.

I’d gone to live with him after my parents died when I was very young. His wife had died before I was born and he had lived alone for years. Since I was his only grandchild, he may have spoiled me a bit.

His house was the furthest from town, bordering the great forest in which no man wandered. The townsfolk said that it was infested, but with what no one told me. When I asked, they would give me a grave look and become silent. It was due to their cryptic warnings that I never ventured into the dense woods. However, every morning, I would watch my grandfather walk to the line of trees and stand there for hours. He didn’t do anything, but looked into the green darkness.

My grandfather’s strangeness didn’t end there. He had a beard that fell to the end of his stomach. He was always pale and sickly looking, no matter how much he ate. However, the doctor insisted that he was as healthy as a man half his age.

“I’ve been like this since infancy, my child,” he’d say to me with a long pipe at his lips, “I reckon I’ll be this way till I go.”

He could sit for hours on the porch of that old house, watching the smoke clouds float up into the sky. For the longest time, I wondered about my grandfather and his mysterious nature.

On the night before I was about to go off to college, I woke up a strange call from outside the house. Someone was calling my name, telling me to join them. Thinking it might have been my friends from town come to sneak me out of the house for one last party, I slipped out of bed and tiptoed out of the house. I didn’t see my group of friends, only my grandfather. He was walking, lantern in hand, to the line of trees.

He took one step into the trees and his silhouette changed. The lantern fell. And he was gone.

Last edited 16 days ago by GJFuller
Astrid Jones
16 days ago

The Veriticus Meeting
By Astrid Jones

The invitation was still on my kitchen table when I returned from work. I’d hoped it would disappear and I could claim I never received it. Stuff got lost courtesy of the postal service every day. Unless the Wulver sent someone to ask me about it, no one would smell my lie if I said it never arrived. I scowled at the embossed card and picked it up. I couldn’t lie to the Wulver, even with an ocean between us.

I hated planes. Stuffed into a metal tube with cranky or terrified humans was not enjoyable. The last trip I’d made for a Vertiticus Meeting, my seat had been too close to the bathrooms. Even though it was seven years ago, I wasn’t eager to re-live the experience of knowing which stewardess had admitted a passenger to the Mile-High Club. Though, I would have known no matter where I was seated.

I threw the card down. The timing couldn’t have been worse. There were still bodies to find, no thanks to Garret Cain. On top of that, a rogue werewolf had made his presence known in my pack’s territory. There was too much to do. Dropping everything for the better part of a month didn’t appeal to me or my wolf.

Perhaps I should pay Garret Cain a visit. The detective in charge of the case wasn’t making any headway getting the locations of the remaining bodies from him. The jail had a reputation for being haunted. If the demon dog of St. Joe County showed up in his cell, it might speed things up.

I rummaged in my fridge for leftovers. There hadn’t been time to eat at work between sniffing for bodies and worrying about the Veriticus Meeting. My pack mates could manage one trespassing werewolf for a few weeks. At least, I hoped they could. So, the only real issue was cracking Garret Cain.

My inner wolf settled as it accepted the plan I made while the microwave heated up my food. It looked like I would be attending the Veriticus Meeting after all.

revisis
revisis
16 days ago

The old Guard
by Exce

The empty hallways of the once bustling fortress echoed with the tapping of wood on stone as a hunched figure moved from one sunlit window spot to the next.

From behind a curtain of stark white hair, steely blue eyes scanned the dusty reddish landscape which lay below. In the distance bloomed a cloud of dust with a rider at its head.

The face around the eyes was furrowed with wrinkles, but even so, it was clear the woman had once possessed a sharp face.
A smile crept on her face, turning the wrinkles into dark canyons.
She slowly made her way down to the front gate, reminiscing on days past.

Her comrades and allies were long gone…either thanks to battle or age, and for the outside world she was little more than a name associated with wild tales to tell over a drink or two.

Deep in memories of past battles, victories and companions, she made her way down, but the closer she got to the massive front door, the more nagging another thought got from a part of her mind that had grown paranoid.

What if the rider wasn’t for her? What if the outside world had forgotten her, and this rider merely sought shelter for the night in the fortress. Or, had gotten turned around on the road and never intended to come here.

Paralyzed with thought, she stood in front of the door until heavy knocks rang out from it.

The old woman stepped forward, hooking her stave into a metal ring to pull it open after nudging open the latch.

A man coated in road dust bowed deeply upon seeing her, extending a hand containing a scroll forward.

Only after breaking the seal and unrolling the parchment did the old woman feel the clouds of doubt lift.

“Dear Viscela Cerell,

You have been cordially invited to celebrate the birth of our firstborn son, your great-grandson, Excelsius.
We hope to welcome you soon in our house for his official naming ceremony, in the City of Ceryn.

With greetings,

Excelsion and Zarela Cerell”

Last edited 15 days ago by revisis
Mike Collins
16 days ago

Family Reunion

By Mike Collins

A young couple drives on a road deep in Oregon. “You are cordially invited…So, what should we expect from them? This invitation seems so cold, or I don’t know, indifferent.”

Diana looked at her husband. “It’s been more than fifteen years since I spoke to anyone in my family. I was a different person back then. I don’t know what to expect. I do know they will be just as cordial as that invitation.”

Dale lightly touched her cheek. “Say the word, and we can go anywhere else. We don’t need shit from these people.”

A tear ran down Diana’s cheek. “I want… no, I need closure.”

Alongside the road was a massive rot iron gate. At the center of the gate was a family crest.

Diana said, “Home again for just one last time.”

“How will your privileged one-percenter family take to your black husband?” Dale looked to the gate. “I’m not even on their grounds yet, and I already feel like I don’t fit in.”

The car door opened and Diana stepped out. “My uncle Dave’s wife Candice is black, and if the family had a problem with her, they never said anything… Not that they would. Also, they own this road, so we’ve been on their property for about three miles. No, if they have a problem, it won’t be with you.”

Dale looked back at their four-year-old daughter. “Maybe we should have left Jordan back with my mother.”

“Don’t be silly. They will love her… Also, don’t tell them we named her after Michael Jordan.”

Using the code given in the invitation, Diana was able to open the gate. After getting back into the car, they drove the two miles to the main house. As the car pulled up to the mansion, Diana saw her father waiting.

Her father smiled, “It’s nice that you could come… David. You brought your partner and little adoption… how nice.”

Diana found her inner steel for what would be a long day. “Father, I haven’t been David for a long time now. I think it’s time you accepted my truth.”

PitL
PitL
16 days ago

Dinner Party
By PitL

Moulin drew back the hammer on the flintlock. He leveled it at the man sitting at the far end of the room, hands shaking wildly.

“Come now, Mr. Moulin,” the man said. His face was gaunt, garishly adorned by a shock of white hair. “We’re all here to have one last meal together. It’s somewhat difficult for me to play the amiable host with a pistol pointed towards me, no?”

Moulin froze, eyes locked. He stood silently for a moment, eyes vacant, before collapsing into a chair.

“Ah. Good man, good man – Kowalcyzk, could you fetch some wine while I entertain our guests? Thank you.” The man stood, looking over the assembled party. “It has been too long, my friends. You all remember one another, I assume? Except for the dear Reverend Father, of course.”

Scattered laughter echoed, before quickly dying off. A monotone voice rung out from the far corner of the parlour, carrying through the silence. “My memory has not yet slipped quite so badly, Margrave,” he said. “Though I had hoped that most of us would be dead by now. How long has it been?”

“Three hundred and fifty years, Michael.” Moulin stood. “Give or take. I still recall you easily, Margrave Leichenberg.”

The Margrave chuckled. “If introductions are unnecessary, shall we move to the dining hall? I understand you may be… uncomfortable… moving further, but – ”

“Hard to go much deeper when you’ve already been invited into hell, my friend,” Moulin interjected. “Do we not have business to attend to first, however?”

Leichenberg sighed. “I had really hoped to enjoy a good meal tonight before any arguments, hunter,” he said. “We were all true friends once.” The Margrave glanced to the others. “You all stand with him?”

Father Michael stepped out of the corner. “We won’t stand in his way, at least.”

Silence settled back over the room. After several moments, a hoarse laugh broke from the Margrave’s throat. “Friendship sacrificed to faith, then. Very well.” He cracked a smile. A pair of long, pointed canines glinted in the light. “Have at you.”

Last edited 16 days ago by PitL
Twangyflame0
Twangyflame0
16 days ago

Letters in the Dark
By Twangyflame0

Percival opened up the door to Andromea’s bedroom, his only source of light being the moon outside and the candle in his hand. The room had everything you expect from someone of her power. Though taking up the majority of the already large space, was a large, four-post bed with a canopy that could fit at least four people.

The bed’s frame was made out of expertly carved wood. Dark, see-through sheets hung from the canopy. The bedsheets had a variety of patterns in black, red, and white.

Percival couldn’t help but smile to himself as he saw his Lady’s head barely poke out from the covers. Her black hair was sprawled out all over the pillows in one big mess.

Percival walked closer, putting the candle on a nightstand nearby, while holding a letter in his other hand. She needed to read it, though he also wasn’t sure how many letters she received via giant, fluffy bat creatures.

It was past the time she needed to wake up anyways. Percival took off his shoes and, with the utmost care, began crawling over the bed to his Lady. The entire bed felt like one big fluffy sheep. He was fighting the urge to yawn. It was late for his human body. His eyes felt heavy. He could just leave the letter next to her and then…go to…bed…

Andromeda stretched her arms as she got up. She looked out the window at the beautiful night and then–

“Ah!” She froze as she saw Percival sleeping beside her, on top of her bedsheets. She was about to flip when she saw a note in his hands. She read it. It was an invitation from a business partner to a party.

She pursed her lips in thought. She had a lot to do today and she would need to prepare for the party tomorrow and–

The sound of Percival’s soft breath brought her back to the present. She looked down as his chest raised and fell, a smile on his face.

“Well, maybe I don’t have to wake up just yet.”

Glaceon373
Glaceon373
16 days ago

“The Invitation”
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

“It’s obviously a trap.”

“I KNOW, Glenn!” Charlotte jumped up and started pacing. “Why else would the Master of the Citrine Guild invite US to a banquet?”

“Indeed,” Kai set the letter down. “Not to mention…”

They glanced at the fourth chair. Darian’s absence had made that wall of the apartment almost taboo to look at.

“Kai—”

“Charlotte, luring in enemies with a hostage is a classic evil plot. That’s exactly what this is. We either go, and risk ending up like Darian, or we ignore it and probably get captured.” She adjusted her hood. “There, I said it.”

“That was direct,” Charlotte sat down and pushed aside her red hair.

The table went quiet. Then Glenn snapped his fingers. “This is our chance to save him.”

“What? Are you stupid?” Kai looked at him in disgust. “Well, more than usual?”

“Gee, thanks,” Glenn picked up the letter. “They want us to meet an escort near the airship docks, right? What if only two of us actually attend, and the third follows, looking for a window to get to Darian? They’ll blend right in. The Citrine Guild has no reason to kill us—”

Kai scoffed.

“No more than usual,” he continued, “and besides, this invitation makes it sound like a large event. Maybe they’ve invited more non-Guild members, and Darian… isn’t alone in his cell.”

“Having him here would make this discussion easier.” Kai murmured.

The table got quiet again.

Charlotte sighed. “It’s a dumb idea, but it could work. We’ve got two days to plan, so I’ll find the tailor—”

“A fancy outfit is only necessary for those actually attending,” Glenn put his hand up.

“Yeah, you and Kai,” Charlotte stood up. “I’ll be the one breaking Darian out.”

“You? Stealthy?” Kai raised an eyebrow. “Just go with Glenn. Bring your lute, make it a party.”

“Eh, it was worth a shot. And the music would make things easier for your sneaking, anyway.”

Kai smirked. “Thanks.”

“So, it’s settled, then?” Glenn set the letter down.

“I’m on board.” Kai yawned. “Charlotte?”

“Yeah,” she nodded. “Let’s do this.”

Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
16 days ago

Dinner Date?
by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)

Knock knock!

Rebecca tumbles out of bed and onto the floor. She didn’t really get enough sleep last night thanks to… a bad dream? She couldn’t really have been abducted by some cultists by mistake last night, right?

She fixes her hair a bit to at least make it somewhat presentable and rushes to the door.

Knock knock knock!

Rebecca opens the door. “Yes. Yes. I’m sorry. I had a bad night. What i-” She looks up to see the cultist from her dream last night. He’s carrying some flowers?

“AAAAH!” she stumbles back and closes the door.

“Look. I’m sorry for last night.” He says through the door. “I’m here for your promised dinner?”

“Uhh. Give me a second to get dressed.” She calls out. “ I’ll be right out!” She hurries to her closet and barricades herself inside.

‘Why? Why? Why did I have to ask him for dinner?’ she thinks back to that night and the warm smile he gave her while guiding her through their hideout. ‘Oh. That’s right. He’s hot.’ Rebecca gives herself a few slaps to the face and curses her lonely self.

Knock knock knock.

She sighs. ‘Eh, A free meal is a free meal.’ She gets dressed and heads back to the door. She opens it to see Ollie’s worried face.

“I’m sorry. Do I need to come at another time, or?”

“No. no. It’s fine.” Rebecca interrupts him. “It’s just that… I’m still a bit shocked from last night.”

“We don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.” Ollie says with a reassuring smile. “I just wanted to make up for last night. Again, I’m sorry.”

“Well then, shouldn’t we be off?” Rebecca holds out her hand and Ollie takes it.

“Of course!” He smiles. “I have the perfect meal planned! I hope you haven’t eaten today.” Rebecca feels her tummy rumble as he mentions food.

Ollie continues. “Because we’ll be dining on a meal prepared by Grutheo, the daemon of indulgence and gluttony.”

“Is that safe?” Rebecca asks.

Ollie shrugs. “Probably.” He winks. “I’ll keep us safe.”

Last edited 15 days ago by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)