Writing Group: You Are Cordially Invited

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.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
204 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
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)
11 days ago

“Call to Adventure”
By minergirl778 (aka frogfireFantasy)

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

Marshal stopped mid coffee 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?”

Augustus Perseghin
Augustus Perseghin
12 days ago

The Lotus Parties

The nights in Olathe were peaceful, for the most part. Desert horizons shone in the night with faint auras from far off cities in that familiar yellow hue from city lights. That is, until the winter solstice. Every year, without fail, a light-pink beam split the winter sky, littered by white streaks. This marked the site of the lotus party. I still remember the first time I saw it.

Crows swarmed the day before the event. They released a series of invites to flutter about on the wind, and find their way to potential guests. The invites only said “Come to the Eternal Lotus Festival; Meet kings, philosophers, and the greats of the past!”

Then the scents rolled in. Despite the frigid season, the winds wafted sweet spring flora across the desert. All who inhaled it entered a drunken state, which intensified as the night progressed. Inebriated men and women wandered the streets in a jolly trance. Then, people began to follow the invitations.

Either by dares or curiosity, people flocked about the site the invites described. A rather unassuming patch of bare desert. The people galivanted about as crows encircled the site. Once midnight struck, a building formed around the wannabe guests, seeming to fade in from thin air. At that point, the eternal party began.

Just as the building formed before, shadowy figures would join the revelry. They’d form into the promised guests of honor: historical figures of some sort of significance. They’d mingle amidst the guests, telling long winded stories of time long past. But just as suddenly as everything appeared, the party would disappear, and take the guests with it.

Last edited 11 days ago by Augustus Perseghin
PixieWings
PixieWings
12 days ago

(Reposted from Private)

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 taut 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.

Last edited 11 days ago by PixieWings
Bagelluminati
Bagelluminati
12 days ago

First Contact
By Bagelluminati

“When did we receive the message?” asked General McKinley, as he paced back and forth in the control room.
“We managed to decrypt the encoded message at around 0730, sir,” the assistant scientist facing McKinley stated, staring up at the large monitor that seemed to stretch across the entire front wall.
“And why exactly have you been so hesitant as to tell me what was in this message you sent out in the first place?!”, McKinley yelled as he stopped and turned to the head researcher of the facility, Dr. Ivan Scaridino.
The doctor sighed and pulled out a small, weathered slip of paper. “When we first started this project, we were sending out pieces of our culture and history, but these methods were unsuccessful. So instead, we decided to send an invitation.” McKinley looked down for a moment, scratching his chin. “An invitation?” he mouthed at the floor.
Dr. Scaridino cleared his throat and read from the small slip. “To any form of sentient life outside of our planet, you are cordially invited to an all-expenses-paid pizza party, hosted at Mama Mia Papa Pia’s Pizzeria, the greatest pizza shop Salt Lake City, Utah has to offer. This comes with free pizza, pasta and garlic knots, as well free soda and beer. All we ask is that you RSVP by September 31st, 2027, and let us know how many lifeforms you intend on bringing and what their allergies might be. We hope to see you there! Signed, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).” As the doctor concluded, he looked up at General McKinley, who was at this point massaging the bridge of his nose between his eyes.
“What…what did they say back?” the general asked, trying to maintain his composure.
Dr. Scaridino motioned to the large monitor situated behind McKinley, which had the message in green text blown up to fill the screen.
“This is the Florbiens. Is it vegan?”
The general sighed, then shouted into the room, “Someone get me Mama Mia’s on the goddamn phone!”

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.”

Makokam
13 days ago

The Kindness of Strangers
by Makokam

The door stood open in front of her.

He’d disappeared inside without a look back.

She could just leave.

When he’d suddenly appeared beside her as she ran for her life this was not how she saw her evening going.

He’d asked if she needed help, and she’d gasped out, “If you feel like fighting some psycho blood purists in power suits, knock yourself out.”

He nodded and immediately fell behind.

The gunfire started almost immediately, then screaming. She ran faster.

She was hiding among rooftop machinery blocks away when he dropped in again, looking no worse than before. “You okay?”

She’d adjusted her hat, making sure her ears were still hidden, “I’m fine.”

“Good,” he’d said, leaning against one, “Those guys are all dead, so they won’t be bothering you again.”

“Oh,” she said, trying to subtly adjust her coat to ensure her tail was hidden as well, “Good.”

He seemed to tell she wasn’t quite okay, and she wondered just how tattered and worn her clothes must look, “You hungry? Let’s get some food.”

She still wasn’t sure why he offered, but she’d accepted automatically. He lead her across the rooftops, starting slowly and speeding up until she could barely keep up, then slowing until she could.

He dropped from a rooftop to the ground, then turned and waited for her to do the same, but in three jumps. They walked across the street to a small cafe at a park’s edge, where he let her order whatever she wanted. He paid with money from a wallet that she thought had fresh blood on it.

They didn’t say much as they ate, but when they finished he’d asked if she needed a place to stay. She considered her options for a moment, looking around at the crowd and the park, before saying, “Yes.”

He lead her back across the rooftops and into an apartment building, where she now stood in the hall. Did she risk going in? She’d been taken advantage of before. But, on the other hand, she’d been taken advantage of before.

“Well? Are you coming?”

CansasDale
CansasDale
13 days ago

Dear Alastor
By CansasDale

Dear Alastor,

Lord Lucifer cordially invites you to return to hell for a once in a lifetime event. In the depths of hell on June 6th, 2006 Lady Lilith will be birthing her first and only child. The Lord and Lady wish to have only the most loyal demons there to witness the arrival of their child.

The banshee’s Shrieking Soul Bar has kindly offered to provide food and refreshments. You can enjoy such classics as Human Hummus and Soul Shards, Dung Dumplings, and their famous Wendigo Wine. Or if you’re feeling adventurous you can chew on their new Leviathan Licorice.

You will also have the rare opportunity to participate in the torture of heaven’s very own Cassiel. That’s right, the angel of Saturn himself is sitting in hell’s darkest cage at this very moment. A legion of hell’s most powerful demons tracked the overrated choirboy for over a century and last month finally brought the great Cassiel to his knees.

Take a well deserved break to mingle and torture with demons such as Azazel, Morax, Asmodeus and other members of Lucifer’s army as you await the coming of the child who will make hell great again.

Come to the Saint Johns library at 3AM on June 5th. There you will be greeted by Charon who will guide you the rest of the way. Don’t forget to bring a penny to tip him.

It’s sure to be one hell of a celebration! We hope to see you there.

~Belphegor

P.S Please see to it that your vessel is properly disposed of before coming. Be sure not to kill the angel. Lord Lucifer wants Cassiel to be his child’s first kill.

Last edited 12 days ago by CansasDale
Aaron Fleming
Aaron Fleming
13 days ago

“Invitation to a Conglomeroid Party” [Hidden Space Science Fiction]

By Aaron Fleming

“So, we’ve been invited to a conglomeroid party. Should I change by body plan symmetry?” Adara laughed. “Or maybe graft on a few tentacles? We aren’t seriously going to such a party, right?”

“They may be ultra-wealthy elitists who use bioengineering surgery to change their bodies radically on a whim, but they have connections.”

“Arith, they are just inviting us to look down on us. They look down on all people who keep to more human forms,” Adara said with irritation.

“Adara. We’ve traded with the Termain. They are human descent like most species we now call alien,” I added.

Adara rolled her eyes. “Yeah, not my idea of a good time either. At least they bioengineered their species over thousands of years. Their minds are highly integrated into their bodies like our bodies and minds. You don’t just move your brain from one body to another on a whim without some sort of psychological strain! It’s like going to a party for crazy snobbish squirmy things.”

I tapped the side of my head for emphasis, “And I’m over twenty-five percent electronics up here.”

“Yeah but your people have done that for centuries, and it’s all integrated and was built as you developed. The most advanced implants in the galaxy. Besides, you’re you. It’s different.” Adara murmured. “You’re my friend.”

I nodded quietly and smiled. “Is it that you’re still bothered by the time that conglomeroid tentacled playboy tried to fondle you? I don’t blame you for that bothering you still, you know. I can just go and decline without any loss of face if it really bothers you. It’s okay.”

“You’re not going to push this then?” Adara asked softly.

I shook my head and started crafting a mental letter to send back that we were declining their gracious invitation due to pressing matters elsewhere.

Last edited 13 days ago by Aaron Fleming
CosmicDesperado30
CosmicDesperado30
13 days ago

The Vampire’s Plus One
By CosmicDesperado30

“You told me this was a party.” I grumbled, “You didn’t say it was something like this.” I tugged at my monkey suit with discomfort. I missed my jacket. Hell, I missed my weapons.

Lena shrugged and flashed me a toothy grin, her fangs glistening. “What? You meet the dress code, there’s free food. What’s the problem?”

“Maybe because I’ve fought a couple of these things before and they seem the type to hold a grudge?”

She pulled me closer to her side and swiped a glass of red wine from a nearby table. “Relax. You’re with me.” Lena remarked. She took the lead and moved us further into the banquet hall.

I tried my best not to make direct eye contact. Lena’s protection or not, I wouldn’t put it past some of these guys to off me right here and now. I caught myself staring from group to group, trying to pick out old faces; old foes. It felt like a bizarro version of the weird club scene from that Tom Cruise movie.

I felt Lena shake me out of my justified paranoia. “Allow me to introduce my friend. Mister Terrance Booker, meet the lord of dreams, Morpheus.”

He was tall, wrapped in an old cloak that looked like it was made of raven’s feathers. His face was pale and gaunt. His eyes were deep pools of pure blissful midnight.

I slowly bowed. Morpheus returned in kind.

“You have walked my plane before, mortal. But not through sleep” his expression turned stern.

“Well some maniac was going to unleash sapiophages on my people so I couldn’t exactly rely on warm milk and a good book.”

Morpheus leaned forward to reach my eye level, his expression slowly softened to a small smile. “I was curious as to what befell the mind-eaters. You have my thanks.”

I blinked as he glided away.

“Well that was the most stressful thing I’ve done since breakfast.” I exhaled.

“Good, then meeting my parents should be a cakewalk.” Lena laughed.

L L Renato
14 days ago

A Night To Remember
By L. L. Marco

The only thing longer than the journey to the masquerade ball was Claira’s endless stream of babbling. She gushed about the manor they’d been invited to: the twins who owned it and their reputation for beautiful parties. How she’d always wanted to visit that country and all the sights they could see on the way back home. Her partner Charlie listened silently and diligently, nodding when she was supposed to and always with a smile. She hadn’t seen Claira this excited in a long time; fancy clothes and a mask was worth it as long as she got to see that smile.

When they arrived at the manor they were speechless. It loomed over them, adorned with gold accents that spiraled so high it seemed to touch the sun. Parades of guests filtered into the massive front doors and although the two were in the courtyard the unmistakable smell of sweets and wines wafted around them. Charlie’s mouth watered even as she nervously wrapped an arm around Claira.

As they entered, enormous walls rose around them and the sea of people grew. Charlie was a large woman, large enough to stand above most of the crowd. But Claira was so short and dainty, it would be so easy for her to be swept away. Several bodies bumped into them but Claira kept moving forward, confident as long as she held Charlie’s broad hand…. But even still, Charlie felt anxious. In fact, each ball gown and coattail that brushed against her set her more on edge. And yet when Claira looked back she forced a smile. This was all for her. Charlie prayed that her mask could hide her growing apprehension…

Thud!

Charlie stumbled forward and almost tripped as a man in a crow mask collided with her. Cursing, the woman spun around, shoulders squared and jaw set.

“Watch where you’re going!” she growled. But the man had already vanished.

And that’s when she realized her hand was empty. The woman spun around, fear and bile rising in her throat. Claira was gone.

Southern Today Gone Tomorrow

Never Party with the Fae
by Sandeen (SouthernWolf)

A man, tall and wiry with sharp eyes to match his sharp features, and a woman, all together average with pale grey eyes, stood at the top of some grungy stairs. Below them was a closed-door, beyond which they knew their invitation would allow them admittance to a party some considered vital to anyone’s social standing.

John and Jocelyn both disagreed with this.

John held onto the ‘cordial’ invitation tightly, reminding himself not to crush the thing. It hadn’t written itself into existence, after all. The polite invitations had slowly been finding their homes in the couple’s mailbox for the last few months.

A driver delivered the current invite and wouldn’t leave until they got into the car. Upon arriving, however, no one was outside waiting for them, and all they could see was a road downtown, stairs, and the door. The two recognized they had a choice: enter, or leave.

But why in the world would a pair of humans ever choose to attend a fae gathering? If they were politicians, it would be something they would need to do but they were craftspeople. Between John’s clothing business and Joceyln’s gift for making jewelry, the couple had always enjoyed a comfortable life.

When the court fae heard from the lesser fae of the items that the couple sold, the couple found their lives far more than comfortable.

But, any human that wanted to keep their wits knew never to go to a fae party. They enchanted as they breathed, whether they were intending to or not. There was one man, a fine mechanic, who had not been seen outside of the parties for the last few months.

“Well, my dear, what shall we do?” John murmured to his wife. Suddenly they heard a song, with a heavy base beat, pound out through the door.

Jocelyn’s eyes widened for a moment before she answered, “I think there is a lovely night cafe a few blocks from here.”

The invite disappeared into John’s pocket. As he led his wife down the street, he wondered what the consequences would be.

Blechg
Blechg
14 days ago

Kindness for a Stranger

by Blechg

Were it night, falling from the wall would be trivial. Were it night, he wouldn’t have had to flee. In the harsh glare of the midsummer sun, however, his body has all the capability of a long-dead corpse. His ankle crumples on the compacted dirt of the street below and his mind, unaccustomed to such raw pain, can only follow suit. The man, out cold, hears none of the shouts and cries of the growing crowd. He cannot feel the arms of the strangers who hoist him to their shoulders. He cannot see the woman who directs them. The guards run as they descend the city’s outer wall, but when they barrel into the street they find only the remnants of a crowd and the stench of the slums.

He awakes, and wails as pain smothers him. The woman kneeling at the foot of his cot sighs and half-forces a chuckle. “I take it you’ve never broken a bone before.” The man’s wail falls to a sputtering groan, but he says nothing. She stands, having addressed the man’s swollen ankle as best she can, and sits next to him. “You took quite a fall; you’re lucky to still have one good foot. You’ll probably never walk right again, but you’re welcome to stay here as long as it takes. Those bastard guards won’t find you here.” She lingers for but a moment before moving on to the next poor soul in the room.

As dusk pulls the sun from its watchful perch, a coolness settles over the man. His pain fades and feeling returns to his foot. He sits up, finally taking in his surroundings: a small, unadorned room with two meager beds beside his own. One is occupied by a wrinkled, snoring elder, and on the other lies a man who clearly lost his last fight. A thirst pushes its way to the front of the man’s mind. He stands. The woman’s invitation to stay is perhaps the kindest gesture he’s seen, but he can walk now, and the night extends its own invitation.

Lunabear
Lunabear
14 days ago

Welcome to the Black Parade
by Lunabear

The sun is bright and hot. You sit on your father’s shoulders. A sense of excitement takes hold of him, his hands gripping your ankles as he cranes his neck down one end of the street. The people surrounding you wave flags and talk hurriedly, awaiting the start of the show.

A low ripple moves through the crowd as distant drums rumble. The instruments are closer. Joining in are trumpets and tubas. The ripple becomes a roar.

A man in black wearing a top hat and twirling a cane leads the large parade; his high steps are energetic, and his sharp-toothed smile is wide.

“Papa, do you see that man? He’s got three eyes! And there are giant bats with four wings up there!” you try to warn your father.

“It’s all special effects, son. They need to draw in a crowd for the circus.”

“Mama, look at the pretty ponies!” a little girl shouts and points.

You don’t see ponies. Trotting with flaming hooves and red eyes are black unicorns.

Zombies juggling arms and eyes grin at you, and one winks. You turn your head away, but the man with three eyes is behind you. You squeeze your lids closed, then open them. He’s closer, now. Closing and opening your eyes again, you don’t see him.

“C-can we go home, Papa? I’m scared.” You tug his hair, but when he looks up, the three-eyed man is staring back, his forked tongue slithering through his teeth. His clawed hands hold you in place as you struggle to free yourself.

“Join the parade. Come to the circus.” His echoing whisper drowns out the crowd and leaves you in a trance. His chuckle coils inside your head.

“No!” you scream, snapping back and knocking his hat from his head.

“Ow! Look, son, I know some of this was scary, but it’s not real.”

You search for the man, your heart pounding and breathing heavy, but he’s gone. In fact, the parade is moving on. You sigh in relief.

“Sorry, Papa.”

Safe at home, you tremble when a card falls from your pocket.

Last edited 12 days ago by Lunabear
NocteVesania
14 days ago

Rest for the Weary
By NocteVesania (Public Group Repost)

“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 ~Private Copy~
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 came back 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…”

Tamar Brandt
Tamar Brandt
14 days ago

A Little Hot in Here
By Tamar Brandt

“Sir, we of the board have decided to rescind your invitation.”

The man scowled from the other side of the desk through scruff and dirt, and spoke around his cigarette.

“The heck’s ‘rescind’?”

The woman’s voice was level, but it was the sort of level that was trying very hard.

“It means,” she said, “…that you may go.”

He hesitated a second, then rocked back on two legs of his chair. He was still unwashed, but he did not smell, except of cigarette smoke. That would have required bacteria. At first he seemed relieved, but then his brow furrowed, and he cocked his head.

“Who decided that?”

“Irrelevant. You’re uninvited regardless, sir.”

“How come?”

“I mean, most people do get… agitated, upon receiving their invitation…”

“No kiddin.”

“You, however, attacked three of our associates.”

“Maybe shoulda stopped at one?”

“The first with a shotgun, the second with holy water, and the third with… with… what even was that?”

“I’unno. Witch showed me how to make it.”

“A witch.”

“Stacy. College kid. My son mows her hairdresser’s mom’s lawn.” He smiled. “Packs a punch, don’t it!”

“Additionally, upon successful invitation you proceeded to… put out much of the lake.”

“The lake?”

“The lake of fire, sir! The big hot thing? The one you put out! By smuggling in a fire extinguisher, which I can’t even bloody well begin to–”

“Hey! How many people got out, anyways?” Silence. “Out of the lake. While it was out?… It ain’t like I stood there and counted.”

She smiled, with teeth. They were sharp, but there were years of stress in her crow’s feet.

“True, you didn’t. You ran for your life while calling His Infernal Lordship a… what was it?”

“A lil’ snot just trying to make his daddy mad.”

“Well!” She shuffled some papers and set them on her desk neatly, clasping her hands atop the pile. “Yes. Indeed. Your invitation is rescinded. You may go. Please.”

“…Where to?”

“Gosh darn it, Sir. Anywhere but Hell.”

He stood up, smiled at her with nicotine teeth, turned, and sauntered out into the universe.

Last edited 14 days ago by Tamar Brandt
Traveler
Traveler
14 days ago

Dance At The End of our Time
By Traveler

I wake up in an unfamiliar place with a familiar ceiling, a dark and grimy sky. I push myself off of the hard soil in order to begin my journey.

I know who’s waiting for me.

As I walk I begin to think about my daughter, the one left behind. My young ball of sunshine, still daddy’s little girl.

I’m woken up from my daydream as my feet hit stone. I look up to see her again, her beautiful chestnut-colored hair and emerald green eyes.

My 4th time here.

I grasp my chest and step onto the stone platform. She extends her hand and smiles warmly.

“My offer still stands, won’t you dance with me?”
I stare at her hand and contemplate it for a moment. I’m truly tired, maybe….my time has come.
I slowly take her hand and as I do she smiles.
We begin to slow dance and almost with respect the wind dies down as light beams down on us.
As we dance before the end, I stare into her eyes.

“You really look like my wife….”
“Don’t worry, you’ll see her again.”
I….would very much like that but….
My daughter’s smile flashes in my mind.
We begin to ascend up into the white void in the sky.
I felt light, I felt….

“DADDY!”

My eyes shoot open.
I let go and end our dance.
“You’re leaving again huh?”
“Sorry, I can’t let my little girl face the world alone.”
She flashes a smile laced with sadness.
“Till next time then.”
Her last words before vanishing as the harsh winds return.

I turn around with the wind biting at my back.
My heart begins to ache again as I start to breathe, I grasp it as I wade through the storm until I find the door leading me back to where I belong.
It opens and light pours out bathing me in its brilliance.
I step through knowing I’ll return to the medical bed but it’s a small price to pay.

“Don’t worry baby girl, I’m not going anywhere.”

Last edited 14 days ago by Traveler
Michael Case
Michael Case
14 days ago

A Little Fun in the Sun
By Michael Case

I drew the circle correctly, the protective symbols were placed in the right spots, hell I even went so far as to draw in a secondary protective barrier against the summoned from harming me. Now I stand here silently as Aciebel walks all around the room.

“Get back in here and return my body”, I tried to shout, but nothing came out. Sadly, I realized that I couldn’t be heard while inside the circle. Aciebel having taken my body after I summoned him.

Aciebel walked over to me holding in his hand the contract I drew up. Pointing out that I wrote that I would give my life for immortality. Gesturing in a laughing manner, Aciebel happily walked around the room. One would think that this demon hasn’t been able to walk for a long time. I must admit that it’s weird for me to watch him in my body, but I want it back.

Aciebel walked back over to me holding up the invitation for him to come into my world, and even offered my body up for him to inhabit while he was here. He pointed out that without my body I can’t die, so he gave me my immortality, but at the same time I am now caged in this summoners circle. There must be a way to get my body back.

Oh good, it looks like Aciebel has found the door, the daylight will kill him allowing me to retake my body. His death will nullify the summons. There he goes out into the sun.

“No, oh god no.” I can’t believe that the sun light just turned my body to dust. Now I’m trapped here in this circle forever. Forever by myself.

“Well that was definitely different”, a raspy voice whispered in my ear.

“Aciebel? What the hell!” Not only can I hear him, but now he’s also inside the circle with me.

“Maybe the next person will bring a friend for you since the circle was made so small”, Aciebel said mockingly.

Last edited 14 days ago by Michael Case
BluePhireFoenix
BluePhireFoenix
15 days ago

Come One, Come All

BluePhireFoenix

I lean back onto the clammy oilcloth, and fan myself vigorously. I know I should be dainty in my movement, and if Micky catches sight of me, he’ll be bending my ear before sunset, but I have no choice.

The air outside is thick enough, but in this tent, it has congealed to syrup. Even the tent flap opening does nothing, except to let in more people who gasp or chunter together, making our air clot with their sticky breath. I’m lucky at least. Being the ‘Bearded Lady’ allows me a fan and water to dab myself with, even if that water was the same that goes in the horses’ trough.

Poor Mr Garth is having to bend himself into all sorts of knots for the visitors. He’s not allowed himself to stop all day, moving from one shape to another. This morning, when he was complaining of pain, I told him not to risk it, but he wouldn’t listen. Now those pains and this muggy day has given him the appearance of a constipated water nymph; small pools slowly filling his area, as he twists himself in half.

I wish that I could help him, but as the day continues, the people flow through our tent flocking to the unrelenting song of ‘Come one, come all’ and there’s no moment where I can slip away.

Finally, the last dregs are filtering through, moving quickly, thank the Lord, when a man stops before me, tall and broad with wilting ginger hair poking out from a pork pie hat. He whispers to me, “I could take you away from this,” and offers me a hand, in what I’m sure he thinks is a discrete manner. I offer him a smile, as if he were the first, and bat him away with my fan.

Joseph Kharms
Joseph Kharms
15 days ago

“The Council of Pigeons”
By Joe Kharms

All of what I am about to describe, I witnessed while sunbathing on the roof of my friend’s houseboat.

The Council of Pigeons is an exclusive event where big decisions about the governing of UK wildlife are discussed. A typical council meeting consists of important pigeons, and a minority of other animals, discussing politics.

While I sat upon the houseboat, I was fortunate to watch a meeting where the beautiful Sabrina had been invited. Sabrina was a magnificent pigeon, she had grey feathers with beautiful light blue tips and a single yellow eye resting above her eloquently long beak. Even a human, like myself, could tell that Sabrina the cycloptic pigeon was very attractive.

This particular Council Of Pigeons was held beside a canal. When all the invited guests had arrived, the flock of pigeons, which had congregated on the canal bank, made a circular shape and began their discussion. This meeting also had a deer and a fly attending, but of course they were outnumbered by the twenty to thirty odd pigeons that were there.

The problem discussed was concerning a feud between Rabbits and Bees. A sofa had been dumped carelessly on top a rabbit hole, following these events a bee’s nest had made its home in the sofa. The pigeons were debating whether to dispose of the sofa (consequently destroying the bees nest) or keep the sofa on top of the rabbit hole (consequently blocking the Rabbit’s entrance).

After much discussion the Council voted to dispose of the sofa. The only opposition to this decision was made by the deer, the fly and the beautiful Sabrina. After the meeting, Sabrina flew to where I perched on the boat. I asked her why the Pigeons voted to remove the sofa and she explained that they only wanted to remove the sofa for their own selfish agendas. The pigeons planned to rip up the sofa and use the scraps to build their nests. She also explained that with some help they easily could have moved the sofa without destroying the nest, but such an option would be too much effort and not beneficial for the ruling class of pigeons. The problem with the Council is it doesn’t represent the whole of the animal kingdom. It was at this moment my friend asked me who I was talking to, I said a pigeon.
My friend looked confused and said:

“I think you’ve been in the sun too long.”

Occultic_Z
Occultic_Z
15 days ago

Encounter In The Rain
By Occultic_Z

The clouds were almost as dark as the night sky they hid away. The patter of the rain fell on the figure as he sat on the curb. The glass bottle he hunched over leaned sideways, the red liquid that it once held was swept away by the rush of water. Many people hustled passed him, not even giving him a look of sympathy in his troubled state, but he didn’t pay any attention to them. Instead, he stared at the red liquid, something too dark to show a reflection. He had lost himself in his saddened expression, blocking out the world around him.
“Excuse me?” A voice came from right beside him. He turned slowly, spotting a set of heels. The heels lead his gaze to a crimson dress, one that had found cover from the rain. He finally got to the face of the woman. She held in her hand an umbrella. “Are you okay, mister?”
At first, he did not reply. Instead, he weaved carefully away from the protection of the umbrella, as if he were allergic to it.
“Yeah. I’m… fine.” He said though that last word was in such a tone that seemed hard for even himself to believe. She thrust the umbrella above him with a mumbled yet caring ‘here’ muffled by the rain.
“Are you sure?” She persisted, “You look awfully pale.” To this, he had no reply. Instead, he looked back to the bottle.
“Do you live nearby? You should get home out of this rain.” She asked, now crouching down, her free hand resting on his back.
“It’s… slightly far.”
“Then please, let me help you.” The lady stood herself up, smiling broadly at him, “I’ll call a cab for you. Until then, why don’t you come inside out of this rain?” she said, signalling to the building behind them. At the mention of such kindness, he looked into her eyes with shock.
“That would be… thank you.” He replied with a grin, revealing a sharp fang.

T.E.
T.E.
15 days ago

Princess Abroad
By T.E.

Jane glanced at her watch as the train rolled into the station. The kids would be in bed already when she got home. She sighed and took a few steps forward. The doors flung open and a red carpet rolled out accompanied by a tall man in a flowing green robe.

“Well met my lady,” he said. “You’re invited home!”

Jane hesitated. “What’s going on here?”

“You may call me Steward. I’ll guide your return. Just follow me, you’ll be home in no time.”

Jane shrugged. At this point in the evening, she didn’t care much about anything except getting home to her family.

The interior of the train was luxurious to the extreme. There were gilded furniture and exquisite rugs covering all surfaces, and at each door there stood men in armor. “So, Steward. Are you guys coming from a medieval convention or something?”

“Heavens no. We’re from the kingdom of Agartha. Surely you of all people would know that.”

“Why would I?”

Steward failed to suppress a giggle. “You’re our princess! Has it been that long since last time?”

“I don’t know what you’re on about. I’m getting off as soon as we reach my station.”

Steward nodded. “That’s just a matter of minutes.”

Crowds of people in fancy clothing were observing them as the train rolled into the station.

“Welcome home!” Steward said.

“This isn’t my station.”

“It’s the only station. Come on, everyone’s so eager to meet you!”

“No! I need to get home. I’m not leaving this train until you take me there.”

“Come on now princess, the grand banquet is just about to start. Your father will be so glad to see you!” Steward snapped his fingers and two of the armored men grabbed Jane by the arms and led her out.

The station smelled vaguely of saffron. The smell triggered suppressed memories as they reached Jane’s nostrils. She was finally home. But where had she been? And why was she crying?

Skye Doust
Skye Doust
15 days ago

Bad Blood
by Skye Doust

There was a sudden crack from the hand slapping my desk and I jumped in surprise. I spun on my chair to see the last person I would ever have expected to see.

When he spoke I started to feel the Obligation to the Old Rules slowly slip over me, “Tallis Garathson, I hereby invoke the Right and True Contact of Social Hospitality to invite you on behalf of my Employer, Sir Elizabeth the Ninth, to the celebration for her daughter’s coming of age.” The tone of his voice did not match his words in the slightest, and his face got redder and redder, until he was almost spitting the last words out at me. When he finished I felt the Contact of Obligation shut around me, tight and uncomfortable.

Duncan stood, hunched and leaning over my desk. Under his one hand was what I assumed would have been a crisp invitation, but now was a little crumpled. Did he still hold me responsible? It was a decade ago.

“Speak!” shouted Duncan. What an unpleasant man.

“Will you be attending?” I asked calmly.

He snarled openly, “Not with someone as vile as yourself attending. My Mistress was clear that I was under no Obligation.”

I rolled my eyes. His little tiff was starting to ruin my day. A small mischief appeared in my thoughts and I couldn’t stop myself from the slight smirk. “Very well, Duncan. I formally accept your gracious invitation.”

“I am not the one inviting you!” he snapped back, then exhaled slowly before continuing, “Well then, I hope you die. Goodbye.” He turned and began to walk away.

“Wait,” I spoke to stop him, “there’s something more.” I could almost hear his teeth grinding. He didn’t turn to face me but he stopped.

“What.”

“Do I get a guest?”

He turned, nearly shouting again, “Read the bloody invitation. Yes you get a guest.”

The mirth in my eyes grew to encompass the rest of my face, “Duncan Garathson, I hereby invoke the Right and True Contact of Social Hospitality to invite you…”

Kitty Cipher
15 days ago

“Rewinding Back”
by Kitty Cipher

You enter the old man’s house, to find quite the antique interior. As the old man leads you down the creaking hall, you find yourself looking upon seemingly old photos and portraits that hang from the wall, of events that seem quite familiar to you. You just can’t put a finger on it, though.

Finally, the old man stares at you for a minute, pulling the key from his pocket. “I have brought you here for a very specific reason,” he spoke with a low, serious voice. You hear a click, as the door opens, leading to an old-looking cafe room, with white walls and a wooden floor. You both sit down at the nearest table of which has a teapot, two teacups and a basket full of macaroons and macarons.

The old man pours tea into each cup, and curiously nods at you. “These cookies were made by a friend of mine. She is a fortune teller of many talents. Go ahead and have one.” of which you do.. “Are you not going to ask anything?”

You gaze into the tea, and take a macaron. Your eyes meet the curious, yet wise blue eyes of the man, and you shake your head silently. A long silence follows, broken only by the sounds of tea and cookies.

“A quiet one, you are.” He smiles politely. The old man stares hard at you, seemingly into your soul. “I will tell you your future.” he said, closing his eyes. “But first, you must tell me mine. Only then, will I find the insight to tell you yours.”

You nod your head. The old man seems to be in wait. You close your eyes, and trace around the rough, cold edge of the cup. You sigh as the pictures start to come to you, one by one…

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
GreyThunder
GreyThunder
15 days ago

Just Another Day at the Circus
By: GreyThunder

The air smelled of popcorn and cotton candy but it was overpowered by the salty chlorine in the water surrounding her. Her body was cold not only due to the falling water temperature but because of the steel cuffs restraining her wrists and ankles. The water muffled all outside noise. Yet, some of the cheers of the crowd faintly reached her ears.

Just like a ballerina who is doing her routine for the thousandth time, her body was performing a meticulous dance trying to unlock the cuffs. Only 25 seconds have passed, and she was free. She waited for a few more seconds so that the crowd could the feel the thrill and then got out of the tank.
Even though she was now free, she could still feel the chains; because unlike a ballerina, her dance gets more dull with time.
“Great. Another night where I pretend to be dying for a few roses and some cheers” She thought to herself while she mustered a smile and bowed to the cheering crowd.

She , then, monotonously began the rest of her routine: collecting the roses thrown by the people, thanking them, and taking the exact same route to her changing room. However, this time one thing was different; a small envelope was neatly place at her vanity table.

“Dearest Samantha Brown,
I have been closely watching you for a while now. Your gifts could be used for much more than a second rate circus show. Not to worry, I am giving you a way out; you have been selected by yours truly and hereby invited to join my next heist. If you agree, wear this at your next show. I’ll find you!
– Merlin.”
She read the letter eight times each time thinking of more risks that could come out of going along with whatever the mysterious thief wants. But then again, could it be her only way out?
……..
The air still smells of popcorn and cotton candy and she is still cold. The only difference is that this show a blue rose is decorating her curly brown locks.

Last edited 15 days ago by GreyThunder
Iona
Iona
15 days ago

Yearly Tradition
By: Iona Duffy

My sister was dead set on having big reunions every year. With us all living around the country she made us all conform to a yearly tradition of us all getting together and spending time with each other. Dad would insist on cooking too many hotdogs on the bbq for us, Uncle Jason would always be laughing too loud at his own jokes and Grandma Dawn would still be too deaf to hear him laughing.

This year Mum sent out the texts saying to come over instead of her. Erin had been constantly busy with work the last few months so it made sense that she passed the invitation duty onto someone else. I didn’t reply to the text for a few days, Mum knew that I’d be there no matter how draining the social interactions could be.

I didn’t see the need to respond.

‘Your sister would want you here Ryan. Text me back.’ The notification stared at me the week before the reunion.

‘Don’t worry, wouldn’t dare miss it.’ Thoughts of what food offering I needed to bring with me entered my mind. Erin and I used to go through bags and bags of salt and vinegar crisps when it was exam season.

As a comforting throwback I knew exactly what to buy.

The house was quiet when I came through the already open front door. There was no smell of the bbq, Uncle Jason wasn’t laughing and Grandma Dawn wasn’t asking anyone to repeat themselves. Walking into the kitchen, everyone was dressed in black.

I’d clearly missed the dress code on the text.

“Where’s Erin? I got our favourite snacks.”

My Mother stared at me with a hollow look in her eyes, dark circles around them. A framed photo of Erin sat at the end of the table. I was only half right about one thing in my original statement.

My sister was dead.

Last edited 15 days ago by Iona
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?

Mango Gravy
Mango Gravy
15 days ago

Tea, Biscuits and Monarchical Malfeasance
By Mango Gravy

Renley stopped reciting and placed parchment on his desk, looking years older than when he’d started mere moments ago.

“His father died not five hours ago and he’s already taken the throne,” Lyra said.

Renley muttered a curse. “And now the bastard invites all the noble houses to that wretched monstrosity he calls a palace… for tea and biscuits.”

He went on, “It’s clear he means to have knives in all our throats before we can even suggest a truce,” Renley stood roughly, nearly tipping over his chair, and dragged his feet over to the window. “Father must be rolling in his grave.”

Lyra joined her husband at the windowsill, noticing that Renley was intent on the weeping willow that grew in the family cemetery. It was in full bloom, as it only did in the wake of a recent entombment. No doubt he was thinking about his father again, and how soon the willow might bloom again. He flinched as Lyra wrapped her arms around him.

“Come now, dearest,” she said as gently as she could. “We prepared for this. We can handle this.”

Renley turned, a brittle look, lip quivering. “If I’d prepared enough, my father would still be alive.” He looked beaten, unable to even meet her eyes. “And you lost so much more than I did. I…”

Lyra didn’t let him finish. “My family didn’t die because you failed, Renley. They were murdered by the monster that you, my dear, are about to overthrow.” She clutched Renley’s face and forced him to look her in the eyes. “The beast has invited us to dine, so we’ll leave crumbs on his corpse.”

Renley didn’t avert his gaze as Lyra wiped the tears from his eyes. He pulled her into a long embrace, after which he turned back to the willow. This time he sniffed in defiance as his face hardened. “Somehow, my dear, you always know what to say.”

Lyra smiled, blinking back her own tears. “Let’s be off, then. We’ve been cordially invited and the tea is…”

“To die for.”

Last edited 15 days ago by Mango Gravy
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)
Meson99
Meson99
16 days ago

“An Armistice to Remember”
By: Meson99

The year was 1925, a great war had tortured the world for more than a decade with no end to the conflict in sight. In a little ray of hope, the war-weary nations were invited to an armistice by an anonymous benefactor. Leaders from around the world arrived one by one to a lonely castle nestled in the mountains of Switzerland with cautious hope that peace may be restored.

The delegates were filed into a large banquet room and sat around a wooden table. Each one wondered when their mysterious host would grace their presence as they glared at one another. An hour passed before their answer came with an alarming development, the double doors flung open: Terrible, thunderous clanging followed the marching of massive machines resembling German soldiers as they entered the room and encircled the terrified delegates with their machine gun arms pointed at their prisoners. The delegates turned their attention to the overlooking balcony as its own double doors flew open allowing a man in a lab coat to step in, flanked by two more mechanical marines.

“Honored guests, I am your host: Doctor Erwin Drache. I bid you welcome to my castle and hope that my Panzermänner did not frighten you too much.”

The German Kaiser lept up from his seat, his face cherry red with fury.

“Drache! How DARE you stand before me after what you did?!”

The other guests chittered amongst themselves as the scientist smiled at the Kaiser’s outburst.

“Why Kaiser, all I did was try to conquer your empire; That pales in comparison to this. You see, ladies and gentlemen, I have invited you all here to end the war in the most beneficial way: You will sign your countries over to me and I will rule the world!”

Dr. Drache laughed maniacally as the guests whispered fearfully.

“Ah, but I am a merciful man: you all have one hour to decide your fates. Until then, Auf Wiedersehen.”

The Doctor would then turn away, leaving his hostages at the mercy of his robotic minions.

Last edited 13 days ago by Meson99
Connor A.
Connor A.
16 days ago

“Dinner with the King”
(From Tales of Marow)
By Connor A.

“It is an honor to meet the ones working against the Headless cult,” Queen Delma spoke with a hollow tone.

Everyone gave a polite smile as they ate, save for Tala. “SP1K3 should be here.”

Queen Delma sneered for only a moment, but quickly returned to polite indifference when King Asmodeus II answered, “Delma has a… rocky past when it comes to machinas. I doubt it would be a wise choice to bring ‘Spike’ in until she can recover from such a trauma.

Arowyn rested an elbow on Tala before she could say anything that could offend their hosts. “I can understand how that feels. It took me thirty years just to be comfortable around humans again.”

Selene brought the conversation back to the topic at hand. “Your majesties, why invite us here? I doubt it’s just to thank us for something we’re doing.”

King Asmodeus began scratching at one of his horns rhythmically and dragged out his answer, “I… ask for your assistance at the upcoming gala.”

Tala started scratching her horn, her usual bluntness evident. When the king’s scratching pattern changed, she looked over at Medrash and hoped he would pick up what was happening.

Medrash noticed the look and made sure the queen was looking at him. “Is something wrong? Or is it a last minute staff shortage for this gala?”

“We can go over the details after dinner,” Queen Delma insisted.

Selene caught on next. “I mean no ill will, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about why you need help.”

“I don’t want the dining hall to become morose—”

King Asmodeus stopped scratching and stood up. “Would you four come with me?” He walked out of the hall, and the team followed shortly after him.

Medrash walked next to the teenage rogue and asked, “What did he say?”

Tala kept her eyes on the king’s back. Her voice was barely a whisper, “Someone’s out to kill the king, and he thinks he knows who it is.”

Mike Collins
16 days ago

Family Reunion (Also posted in Private)

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.”

Alex
Alex
16 days ago

Adam (Armitage Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

10/29/2018 (Day 3)

“What is your name?”

“Subject 001.”

“Why are you here?”

“I was invited.”

“Why did you stay?”

“To fight for the cause. I… No. Wait. This isn’t right.”

“Why did you stay?”

“I… I didn’t. I don’t want to stay. My name isn’t 001, it’s… No! Please!”

Horatio nodded to his assistant, who pulled a switch. Electricity surged through the wires into the nodes attached to Subject 001. He screamed in pain, tearing at the straps holding him down. Horatio rubbed his eyes. He was tired. After almost 50 hours, they still hadn’t made any progress. The combination of soul substance and electric shocks was supposed to guarantee results within a day, according to the Recordings of Dr. Daystorm.

“Again,” Horatio ordered.

“Maybe we should reconsider,” his assistant said, uncertainly: “He might not respond well…”

“Do you wish to take his place?”

“N…No, I…”

“Then start again.”

The assistant swallowed, stopped the flow of electricity and turned his attention to several dials in front of him. As he turned them, silver mist flooded the chamber, holding Subject 001. Ignoring the pleading voices, he infused several chemicals into the souls, forcing them to bond to Subject 001 again. Then he reapplied the electric shock. The screaming tore at his ears.

“What is your name?” Horatio asked into a microphone.

11/02/2018 (Day 7)

“Maybe we’re doing it wrong”, the assistant suggested, as Horatio went through the books again.

“I am certain we are. We just need to find our mistake.”

“Maybe we should brand him now, before the next session.”

“It’s worth a try,” Horatio sighed, slamming the book shut: “He isn’t our only viable subject anymore.”

02/28/2019 (Day 125)

“What is your name?” Horatio’s voice echoed through the high chamber.

“Adam”, the young man replied mechanically.

“Why are you here?”

“I was invited.”

“Why did you stay?”

“To give my life to the cause.”

“And what is the cause?”

“To hunt them down.”

He pointed at a list. Horatio grinned. Now they could begin in earnest.

Last edited 15 days ago by Alex