Writing Group: The Things Left Behind

Hello, little lost ones.

Have you ever thought back to something you lost or misplaced? Remembered how you searched high and low, far and wide, but ultimately gave up? Have you wondered where those things might be now? Wondered if… maybe they aren’t happy about being forgotten? Prepare to find out, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

The Things Left Behind

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!

With a prompt like this, we can expect things to get deep rather easily. It can also bring to memory stuff we’ve lost over the years, from soothers and mittens, to friends and opportunities. 

So many different tales can be found among the lost. Perhaps a child left their favorite stuffed doll at the playground, and had already made the twenty minute trek home before realizing it was missing. Perhaps a special keychain fell from its latch and into a grate, too far down to be retrieved. Even simpler, a mother finding out only too late that her baby decided to once again throw their bottle out of the stroller on the way home.

The best thing about this prompt is that the lost things don’t necessarily have to be actual objects. Perhaps the things left behind were friends who stood in the road and waved as one of their group moved away. A father deciding he no longer wanted his wife and child, and departing for his own selfish things. Maybe even just a pet staring curiously as their person leaves for whatever lies beyond that big, heavy door, wondering when their person will come home. Or reversing this, a child wondering why their little furry best friend has run off, staring out the window and waiting for their furbaby to return.

But maybe… maybe the things left behind were left for a good reason. Maybe he just couldn’t take the day to day dullness in the office, and quit to chase bigger dreams. Maybe she wouldn’t let her parents control her anymore, and took off into the night to find freedom. Maybe their relationship was too toxic, and one finally broke those chains to escape the painful chaos that they had gotten too used to. Maybe it’s as simple, and as complicated as finally being accepted to college, and having to move to the dorms, leaving behind old memories and the comfort of home for a chance at a bright future.

Alternatively, we can look at the other end of the scope. That teddy bear watched as its owner forgot it on the park bench, unable to move as their favorite person got further and further away. That mother cried at the kitchen table as her husband marched down the driveway, suitcase in hand. The garden that had been so loved and cared for grew dusty and overgrown with weeds and thistles. No doubt these things feel lonely, lost… and jaded. 

Leaving things behind can be easy, or it can be hard, and both for so many different reasons.

So lose us in the land where memories lie, and who knows? Maybe we’ll find something we didn’t know we were looking for.

—Shawna

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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Adrian S.
Adrian S.
5 days ago

The Last Dance

It was late and the nursing home was quiet. Ximena’s mother, Isabella, lay in bed where she mumbled incoherent sentences and stared transfixed at the wall. She had been like this for months. The doctors had explained to Ximena that her mother was suffering from a severe case of dementia, alzheimers and other un-diagnosed medical conditions and was not going to recover. The best they could do was provide her a comfortable existence even if she had lost too much of her mind to enjoy it.

Ximena pressed play on her phone. At first Isabella continued to stare off into space but when the chorus of the song kicked in she blinked her eyes and sat up in the bed. Her headphones nearly fell and Ximena moved to readjust them. By the time the first song had finished Isabella was humming along and waving two fingers in air as if she was conducting an orchestra. The music brought her back to the world. The second song came on. It had been one of Isabella’s favorites. And when Ximena had her quinceañera, she had waltzed to it with her father in honor of her mother.

The song played and Isabella looked around the room like it was the reception hall. She saw Ximena next to her. “Mija! Everyone has arrived. The music,” Isabella said, “is starting. Where is your chambelan? Frankie? Are you ready for the waltz? The guest! The food” She smiled and sat back and looked at Ximena with a bright smile. “My hija. So beautiful and finally a woman. We’re so proud of you, mija. We love you so much.” Isabella squeezed Ximena’s hand and her eyes glowed.

Ximena said, “I love you too, mom.”

The glow in Isabella’s eyes dissipated when the song ended. She pulled her hand from Ximena’s and stared at her daughter as if she were a stranger. “Who are you?” She asked.

It was always like this. “I’m Ximena. Your daughter.” she said.

“Oh that’s good,”

“Do you want to listen to your music again, mom?”

“Yes, dear.”

And Ximena pressed play again.

Clanso
Clanso
5 days ago

Souls of the people by Claire (Clanso)
(Paired with Toacoy for the swap)

Today was her death day. The only day that he allowed himself to get too drunk to hear the voices. Because on days like this one his stony impassive façade cracked to reveal a much younger man. A man that hadn’t hidden behind his title like a coward, a passionate man with a brighter future ahead of him. Under Captain Dorothya he had felt like he could go anywhere. Then she had died and a part of him had died with her. He ordered another drink. “You sure?”the waiter, a dark blue wolf asked, a weird tone in his voice. Henry just nodded. A Forgotten was exactly the thing after that much rum.The barkeeper went to get the chemicals and alcohol needed to make the drink. Henry finished his last rum.

They had held a burial at sea for her. As it was custom they had renamed the ship, called it the Ekrumdory 2 as a constant reminder of her. A legacy he could never have lived up to.

Suddenly he remembered the look on the Captain’s face as he begged her not to go, she didn’t have to fight, a hurt sense of honor was nothing compared to almost certain death…

She had just turned to look at him for a moment, a genuine smile passing over her face. Then her gaze focused on her opponents and her expression turned into steel and resolve.

It struck him that he’d seen that look somewhere else. On the face of a young woman jumping overboard to save a man she barely knew from the monsters in the fog. She must’ve been born around the same time Dory had died. Could it be then that the rumors were true? That the immortal souls of the people tried to return to a life they had lived before?

When the waiter came back with the Forgotten the customer was gone. A gold coin, supposedly payment, lay on the counter. Oh well, he thought, at least he wouldn’t have to clean up the vomit afterwards.

The Assassin
The Assassin
5 days ago

Songs of Joy
By TheAssassin

Within the din of men grim, sat one man alone who sang. His song reminisced of sweet times past, long ago, before the wars. In the gloomy tavern none smiled at his melody, they rather scorned him with vulgarities and insults. Happiness for these men seemed so distant a dream, even a song could not restore it.

A man spoke from the crowd, his anger flaring. “Quiet yourself boy, this is no time for merrymaking; war is upon us! Everything your song speaks of burns!” The jolly songster skipped not a beat and carried on with a heartfelt crescendo. His song spoke of verdant glades and the children who played therein.

“Yea, I sing of times old, of goodness left behind, but my verse comes not from delusion or disdain. I wish only to bring that shred of goodness song provides to your hearts. God knows we need it these dark days.” The songster smiled, looking every man in the eyes. “We are not without happiness, so let us celebrate in that little we yet have.”

“Bah, you’re an idealistic fool,” spoke a gruff man from the corner. “Happiness has not existed for four long years of battle! How dare you say it can come as our sons die in the fields.” The insulted man scoffed.

“Aye, a fool I may be,” whispered the songster. “But happiness is not so distant a thing. It is not gone or left behind. What is art but fragments of emotion given form? I sing not to remember or delude myself in revery, I sing to share that last vestige of emotion we can yet muster. Our enemies may take our lands, slaughter our children, and burn our wives, but they cannot take from us our song or our smile. Those things shall not be left behind so long as we draw breath. Sing with me and you’ll see. My friends, be happy once more!”

The songster began to sing again, but this time his voice was not alone, for in that tavern men embraced their joy, and merrily sang long into the night.

Last edited 5 days ago by The Assassin
Tyler Desperado
Tyler Desperado
5 days ago

Phantom Memories
By. CosmicDesperado30 (Feat. Characters created by Froggy Fire)

My orichalcum glaive tore through the cyborg dinosaur, it’s digitized roar rattling my teeth. Overlapping blue and red laser fire erupted over the fallen saurian comrade, a short succession of…dinosaur tactical barks followed?

I shook my head and willed a portal behind me, the mysterious teenager behind me perking up in surprise. “Get in, I’ll hold ’em off!” I yelled. Looking over my shoulder I just saw her beam with pure delight. What did she think this was, some sort of video game?

For that matter, where did these ludicruous creations come from? The Land of Nod was for places dreamers have experienced in their lives. It was reality at a dutch angle, but it was for memories, not imagination. That is unless….

“Oh my gosh I remember these things!” The girl blurted out. “The Robo Rex rebellion! That was a fun Tuesday!”

“Are you kidding me!?”

Screw it, I made a dash for the portal. On reflex my glaive swirled into a large skeletal hand and lifted the girl off her feet, carrying her with me across the threshold. Hello sweet endless grayscale dunes, goodbye terrible 1980s toy commercial. The girl laughed like she just got off a rollercoaster ride.

I exhaled. “Alright, what are you doing here?”

“Super secret multiverse stuff.” She blurted out with a straight face. Okay….

“What about you?” she responded.

I felt the Land of Nod pull on my thoughts, like the flexing of a limb long severed. The dunes fell away to a hospital room as my mother took her final breaths. A figure in black robes packing away a game board with alien pieces; commenting on a game well played. Me holding her hand as she….

“It’s my birthday,” I replied, turning away from the vision, “I’m just…”

“Remembering the good times?”

I blinked at her. “Remembering a promise. Yeah.”

She slugged me in the arm. “Hey, it’s alright. Things could be worse. Like cyborg t-rexes worse.”

I smiled.

“I’m Daisy by the way.”

“Terrance, Terrance Booker.”

PixieWings
PixieWings
5 days ago

(Reposted from Private)

On the Horizon
By PixieWings

The sea is Cordelia’s greatest love.

It was her greatest love when she had legs to walk the shore. It was her greatest love when those legs were replaced with a glittering tail. It’s her greatest love now, the sunset splashing gold across its surface and painting her ship in shadows.

The air likes to remind her it has its delights, currently in the form of a man with bird wings.

She’d invited him. He’d dropped from the sky to land on the deck above. He may as well have fallen from her memory. The same royal purple feathers along his arms, bits of silver dangling from his ears.

He’d found her and his grin put the sun to shame.

A flutter of his fingers.

A swish of her tail.

“Ahoy Seagull.”

“Permission to come aboard, Angelfish?”

He’d hopped gingerly onto the waiting perch of her fin, and they’d shared the moment, her scales just above the water, his talons just below.

“It’s good to see you, Castor.”

“Good to see you, Cordi. Before you go. Think you’re easier on the eyes between us, personally.”

“You’re an awful flirt.”

“Eh. I like my women the way I like my coffee.”

“Oh?”

“Strong enough to pick me up in the morning.”

Her laugh punctures the air.

Castor winks.

“Gotcha.”

Cordelia dips him closer to her face.

“Do you?”

The noise he makes is more squawk than laugh.

There’s relief it can still be this way.

Warm and easy, like a good summer breeze off the coast.

Well, she thinks, why not?

Might as well unfurl the sail.

“You’re welcome aboard tomorrow.”

Castor blinks.

“You’re leaving tomorrow.”

Cordelia cups his face, turns him to the ship.

“My crow’s nest could use a Seagull.”

His eyes grow slowly wide, and she watches at him as he takes it in.

Her ship and the sea.

Then his gaze slides sideways, where the shadow of the Roost is just visible in the dying light.

“Tempting, Cordi.”

Castor’s hand slips into hers.

Cordelia considers the land with him.

But there’s nothing there for her.

G.J. H.
G.J. H.
6 days ago

A Fresh Start
By G.J. H.

“Where is that goddam phone?!”
Jason clenched his fists, then forced himself to release them again. He’d been searching the phone for half an hour now. It was not it in the kitchen or in the living room, not on his nightstand or on any of the shelves, not in his coat pockets and nor in any other pocket in the whole house!
Maybe in the car? He hadn’t looked there yet.
He strode through the hallway and out of the door, while fishing the car keys out of his pocket. He unlocked the car with the remote control and started rummaging through it. After a while he had to accept, that his phone wasn’t in the car either.
He went back to his house, fiddling in his pocket. Where were those Keys? He was sure he’d.. OH NO! He let his head bump against the closed door. He had left the keys inside. This day was cursed.
He slowly walked back to his car and dropped down into the driver’s seat like a sack of wet flour. After a few minutes of despair, he pulled himself together.
Ok Jason, this is not as bad as it seems. Carry will be home in a few hours. Might as well take a drive to pass the time.
He started the motor and drove off onto a nearby road. It was a nice curving road through the countryside, a good road to drive really. But the car went slower and slower. A Glance at the instruments showed him that there was no fuel left.
What a day! What a Life!
The car stopped and Jason got out, closed the door and took a deep breath of fresh air. He knew he had left his car keys inside and listened to the sound of the automatic lock. Looking into the car, he spotted his phone on the passenger seat and smiled.
The man who had once been Jason stepped away from the car and walked away.

Mr. Jingo
Mr. Jingo
6 days ago

Concrete Jungle
By Mr. Jingo

Miles down upon miles down.

In the Seacoast hotel lobby, Brünson sat patiently. His mechanical body was more rust than metal; the aquamarine lights that emanated from below his exoskeleton had long since dimmed to a neigh-imperceptible glow. The last time he’d moved, it was to put the chess pieces back onto the board in front of him after they were knocked off. His job was to entertain the guests, and nothing would prevent him from doing so. He awaited his opponent’s move.

***

It had been just shy of a month since Vaughn left SHELL, yet already, he needed to return soon to drop off his findings and resupply. It was a lonely job, yet to him, spending months in sub-zero temperatures beat staying underground his entire life. Through the snow-coated pavement, he continued his unstable trek downward beneath the surface. He traversed the broken highways layered atop one another, the result of decades of earthquakes. It created a labyrinthine path to his goal – one of the countless cities the world swallowed millennia ago when the catastrophes hit.

He reached the city twenty-seven hours after he began his descent.

***

Vaughn entered the hotel through the window. The main entrance was submerged in water. In that sloped lobby, the automaton was what Vaughn noticed first. Brünson was a classic model, though not of much use to anyone back in SHELL. The parts were antiquated and cumbersome. But then, he realized Brünson was still functioning.

Vaughn stood there some time after noticing, just staring at him. He took the seat opposite, pushing aside some old bones.

“Sorry to keep you waiting, old fella,” Vaughn said. He moved: black bishop to G8.

“It was no trouble at all,” Brünson tried to say, though his voice box broke thousands of years ago.

It was Brünson’s turn. His hand could barely move. The metal joints near collapsing, Vaughn took hold of his opponent’s wrist and helped him guide the queen to G8. Checkmate.

“Thank you…” Brünson bowed his head, his lights shutting down, “…for a great game.”

Nicki Snyder
Nicki Snyder
6 days ago

“Ralph”
by Nicki Snyder (cannibalbananas)

I had a stuffed dog when I was a small child, named Ralph. And would blame him anytime I swore. This was usually during a car ride, as I would mimic my dad, who had road rage and swore prolifically when driving.

To keep me from swearing, my mom told me ‘girls don’t swear’. This excused my dad, who refused to temper himself. So when I forgot the rule, I blamed Ralph, who was a boy.

One day, while going down the highway with my dad, I copied my dad, and cursed a bit too much. Dad yelled at me, and I tossed Ralph out the window.

After first, I was happy about punishing him. But traffic eased up and the car started to move. That’s when I realized my error.

To this day I regret what I did as a 3 year old. What became of Ralph? Did someone find him and adopt him? Did he know I was sorry and still lamented my loss?

Now, as an adult, a writing prompt has renewed my sadness. While on a walk, I was thinking about my old, stuffed friend. The tall grasses rustled in front of me.

I stopped, thinking it was some wild animal, but no, a small, dark brown, stuffed dog lurched out. He stood a little over a foot tall. Torn stitches let stuffing pop out of a few spots, and dirt stained his once white hands. He was missing one black eye, but I felt instant joy.

“Ralph!” I yelped. He had found me, proving he missed me as much as I missed him.

I moved forward and he stepped back, anger on his cute, stuffed, worn face. I frowned.

“Ralph?”

He glared at me.

“I’ve missed you,” I pled.

He shook his head slowly, and hooked a paw over his elbow, bending his other arm up; flipping me off like an angry Italian. I was shocked, but Ralph looked pleased. He gave a little nod, then turned and trudged back off into the tall grasses; disappearing from my life again.

Trinity Knight
6 days ago

The Abyss
By Trinity Knight

A pocket watch fell through a pitch-black darkness. Tick, tick, tick. The ticking seconds resounded in the belly of the deep unfathomable. Tick, tick, tick. It counted the moments it tumbled freely through the abyss. There was nothing to be seen outside the ticking watch. No light for its brass body to capture. No time to really keep track of, save the seconds that passed as it fell towards nothing.

To call it a void would be a mistake. A deep unfathomable darkness such as this could not be categorized by such concepts. No, this place was full of things. Dead things. Lost things. Found things. Things that tick, click, clasp, clap, snatch. Things that hiss, whistle, and wail. Things that tumble, fall, and never reach the bottom.

Those things were left behind, forgotten and discarded. The great shadow swallowed them whole. Now they live here in silent harmony, never to escape back into the eyes of their former beholders. The toys we once lost to the hidden crevices of the world. The keys, the eyeglasses, the wallets and phones we lose to those same crevices as grownups. The loved ones fading from the fringes of our memories. Their voices all but words on the wind, devoid of sound.

You could dive into it if you’d like. You may attempt to swim through its depths, but you would never reach the bottom. You could search for something you’ve forgotten down there in the deep unfathomable. You might even retrieve that special something. You might even make to the surface. But something will always, always take the place of what was rescued. All things find their way there some day. Into the mouth of the deep unfathomable. The abyss.

Last edited 6 days ago by Trinity Knight
T.C. Holmes
T.C. Holmes
6 days ago

The descent…
By T.C.Holmes
Lorelai was beginning to feel claustrophobic. The rhythmic close and distant dripping, the scraping of her own flesh on stone and still even now what felt like miles below the earth Sindra urged her deeper still.

The belly crawl came to a pause at a small chamber just large enough she could sit up, she brought her hand up to her chest, her pulse had quickened. She had been using the hearing and echolocation of that bat she’d eaten to help her navigate, but it was hear she grew afraid,”Sindra”, she thought,” y-you’re not lying are you?”

The voice that was and wasn’t her own thoughts answered in seconds but in the darkness it felt longer,” No, I’m not. I brought it down here because I saw what it did to your people, and I couldn’t let that happen anymore”, Lorelai saw images flash in her mind, they felt like old memories of hers but she knew them to be Sindra’s. A battlefield covered in bodies with one lone figure standing blade in hand, an unnaturally black metallic arm clutching an ornate claymore, and finally the impression of a tall chamber where it was hidden.

“And it will be able to separate us?”, asked Lorelai,”Sindra I’m…scared. I-I’m scared that as soon as you have it you’re just going to split yourself and leave me. I-I-I’m scared that I’ll never get out of here…”

Sindra’s thoughts returned cutting her own off,” I won’t leave you. I’ve never taken control, and I promise that you will see the light of day with your own two eyes again before my voice leaves your head. Take some deep breaths, continue when your ready.”

Lorelai breathed deep, then again, and again, her heartrate slowed,” Okay Lorelai”, she said aloud to herself,” The sooner you get that sword the sooner you can leave and this nightmare can be over.”

She squeezed down and back into the passageway, the scrapping of the stone on her belly reminding her of the size and the close dripping of water ahead leading her ears deeper into the cave…

Last edited 6 days ago by T.C. Holmes
Arith_Winterfell
Arith_Winterfell
6 days ago

“Awakening”

By Arith_Winterfell

Kebran felt the mild discomfort of the doctor shining light into his eye, before releasing his eyelids and allowing him to fall back into darkness. His body felt dull, tingly, but mostly numb. What was going on? Slowly he remembered. He had been flying that drone, he had died. No, he was safe here, just the drone died. He had been telepathically linked. He remembered the burning feedback. The terrible pain of the drone’s death.

He tried to move his legs.

Nothing.

He tried to move his hands.

Still nothing.

“No.” he thought. Panic was rising in his chest.

He tried to move his fingers.

Open his eyes.

Open his mouth to speak.

Nothing.

“No!” he struggled inside.

He was . . . paralyzed, but still breathing. “Is this what it’s like in a coma?” he thought.
He struggled to reach out somehow to his doctor, but nothing happened.

The panic was rising again. “This. This is worse than death,” he thought. He was a vegetable. Trapped in his own body.

“My family. She always did beg me to take a less risky job.” He always rejected her on that. He had needed that feeling of freedom. To seek out danger and face it. How could she understand.

Now he understood. Deep down, he thought he’d always win. “Now. Now I’m going to live like this for the rest of my life! Till she gives up and leaves me. Till everyone forgets me.”

There were new sounds. The sounds of scraping, then the hum of the drill. “What is it now!” he thought. They were drilling. Drilling into his skull. His thoughts faded.
He awoke again in darkness. He felt a strange sensation, like itching, no like something else. His finger twitched.

Last edited 6 days ago by Arith_Winterfell
Michael Case
Michael Case
6 days ago

It was my Left Behind
By MDC (Michael Case)

It was a great birthday present that Thomas got for himself. A little puppy, it might have been a Poodle-Corgi mix, he didn’t care, the puppy was cheap and cute. The old woman who sold it to him told him that it would become quite attached to him.

At first the puppy would follow him around, bark playfully, and sit on his bed when he slept. It didn’t take long for Thomas to notice that the puppy never slept, it didn’t eat, never drank any water, or even went outside to go to the bathroom. Thomas started to have strange dreams about the puppy. The puppy would follow him into his dreams.

Thomas’ parents told him that he might want to get ride of the puppy since it started to cause problems with Thomas’ sleep and his schoolwork since the puppy would follow him there as well. Thomas tried to teach the puppy to stay home, he even went so far as to lock up the puppy in the yard at first, then locking it into a cage, but this didn’t seem to help since the puppy was always right there every time Thomas turned around.

Thomas had no choice but to give the puppy back to the old woman. She had told Thomas that the puppy was his, and that it was to late for the puppy to take another owner. Thomas was sad to hear this and went out into a field near the neighborhood. There was some construction taking place there and Thomas thought he could rid himself of the puppy by placing it in the dumpster. When Thomas went to pick up the puppy it bit him. Thomas was made unconscious by this bite, and when he came to, he had a lump on the side of his butt, but the puppy was nowhere to be seen. Thomas started to limp back home.

When Thomas finally got home, his mom asked him if the old woman took the puppy back. Thomas replied, “BARK”.

Preserves Roses
Preserves Roses
7 days ago

Kiksee
by: Perserves Roses

In the thin light of dawn as the edge of the sun was just clearing the horizon, a misshapen creature slunk out of the undergrowth and onto the now empty campsite. It was wearing a faded child’s cloak and used a wide belt, with tarnished silver buckle, to hold it in around his waist. The little creature scampered about sometimes on four limbs, often just on it’s back limbs as it poked it’s sharp nose here and there. Nattering to it’s self in a squeaky voice.

“Oh these big ones left quickly,” it squeaked, “Kiksee will find treasures.”

Near the garbage pile the hunched little creature searched carefully. Pouncing when, what looked to be a partly burnt crust of bread rolled out.

“Oh a feast for Kiksee! Kiksee likes these big ones.” He chittered happily gnawing with his sharp teeth on the bread.

He ate slowly as he wandered towards the fire pit. His eyes lit up when they spied something laying on a stone. Tucking his bread into a hidden pocket he gingerly picked up a well used pipe, and gently sniffed the bowl. His sensitive nose picked up the rich smell of unburnt tobacco.

Stepping closer to the fire, he picked up a stick from the ground and poked at the ashes. To his delight, a few dying embers were stirred to life, which allowed him to light the pipe. Sitting back on his haunches, his tattered ears drooping. He puffed with contentment, enjoying the bit of warmth coming from the embers.

A sharp crack came from the unseen trail and Kiksee sprang to sudden action. He clamped the pipe between sharp teeth, and shot across the clearing on all fours, disappearing into the bushes.

Moments later two men on horses arrived.
“What is it you absolutely had to come back for?” Asked the first man as he circled around the fire pit.

“My father’s pipe.” The second man said as he unmounted and began looking around. “I’m sure I left it here somewhere.”

“Huh, good thing we did come back the fire wasn’t doused properly.”

Chengir
7 days ago

The Things Left Behind
By Chengir

4:30 AM March 21, 1918 – Flèsquières, France

“Night, Jacobs,” I whispered rubbing my hands together and trying to blow warm air on them. I could still smell rotting Hun corpses in no man’s land. The stink was so bad you could feel it behind your eyes. It had a sickening taste to it. Through the periscope, I could see Fritz’s lines. “Everything looks quiet.” We’d hung cowbells from our barbed wire so we could hear them coming. It’s how we had gotten their last patrol.

“Can’t imagine being more miserable.” Sinking, I sat and grabbed my knees, desperately trying to stay warm. The bloody cold was all I could think about until the first shell hit. It was followed by what sounded like a thousand more. “Christ almighty.” In a second, I couldn’t hear myself think. I don’t know how long I huddled there, shaking; my face plastered to the dirt wall.

Feeling a hand on my shoulder, I turned to see Captain Wilkinson. He had a calm, determined look on his face. But the explosions landing all around us were so loud, I couldn’t hear a word he was saying. Finally, he pointed at me and then to the rear. I got the gist.

I shook my head no. I wasn’t going to leave my mates. The captain kept pointing and insisting I go back. All at once, a red mark appeared below his helmet. A piece of shrapnel had entered his forehead and exited behind his right ear. He tottered for a moment before falling to the ground. I lost all sense of duty at this point. It was replaced by pure terror.

Jumping out of the trench, I ran like a sprinter at the Olympics. Somewhere along the line, I dropped my rifle. In the back of my head, a voice screamed I shouldn’t leave those things behind: my rifle, my mates. But my legs were no longer listening to my brain. God forgive me. But no man knows his limits until he’s gone beyond them.

MasaCur
MasaCur
7 days ago

The Ties That Bind Us (Based in Lunabear’s Universe: The Council – Katherine and Marcus)
By MasaCur

Marcus pointed the handgun at the door, his hand shaking as the doorknob turned.

“Get it together!” he hissed at himself. Marcus took a deep breath, and steadied his aim as the door swung open.

As soon as he saw Katherine’s face, he pulled the trigger.

The hammer fell on an empty chamber, causing Katherine to flinch.

Marcus felt his jaw drop. He desperately pulled the trigger again. Another click.

Katherine’s eyes narrowed. “Really Marcus? Again?”

“How are you still alive?” he shouted, his voice quavering.

Katherine sighed. “You probably shouldn’t have tried to hire Carlisle to execute me. He’s more loyal to me than he is to you. My guess is he’s also the one that took the bullets out of your gun there.”

Marcus whimpered and threw the gun at her, causing her to dodge. She lunged forward and grabbed his hand.

As soon as her hand touched his, Marcus was filled with terror. It was the most intense fear he had ever felt in his life. He curled up on the bed, whimpering. This was her power.

Katherine withdrew her hand. “You wanted this, Marcus. You wanted this life, and now you have it. You’re stuck with me now.”

“What are you going to do to me?” Marcus whimpered.

“I told you. I’m keeping this marriage. For better or worse. And so are you. So find a way to make it work.”

Tears trickled from Marcus’s eyes. “Are you going to tell The Council?”

“I may not have that choice,” Katherine replied. “Carlisle may have already told them. And even if he didn’t, this isn’t something we can keep from The Council forever.” She looked down at him, a look of contemptuous pity in her eyes. “I’m going to tell them. And heavens help me, I’m going to tell them that everything is fine now.”

“Why would you do that?”

Katherine glared. “Because I loved you, you fucking idiot. Part of me still does. Even if the rest of me knows you cannot be trusted.”

Fredrick Hoagland
Fredrick Hoagland
8 days ago

A Dusty Old Chest
By Fredrick H. (challeng3r22)
Adam gently knelt down beside the chest with the key he had gotten as part of his inheritance in hand. Quickly, he opened the lock and undid the latch. After taking a moment to gather his resolve, he opened the lid and gazed inside.
Within the small oaken chest sat piles of albums, scrapbooks, and the odd meaningless school award. Looking through the albums he found one that chronicled the family trip they had taken to Europe when he was nine.
He sighed as he returned it to the pile, “A chest filled with memories of the before times.”
Taking another glance inside he noticed a strangely fresh catalog envelope with the words “To Adam” inscribed on the side. Gingerly, he popped open the tab and peeked inside.
Inside the envelope was a single piece of paper, and two smaller envelopes. Pulling out the paper, Adam found a letter that read,
“To my youngest, Adam,
If your reading this it means that I’m dead, but we’re both already aware of that fact, so there’s no point in dwelling on that. The other two envelopes contain letters to Emelia and Robert, could you deliver those for me? I know I could just include this in the will, but just take it as the first part of your new duties as family archivist.
Also, I’m sorry I won’t be able to see the man you’ll grow into. Just remember, that no matter what path in life you choose, as long it is a path that YOU chose, I’ll be proud of you.
Sincerely,
Dad”
It was an hour before Adam went downstairs. He had to wait for all the water in his eyes to recede.

Mango Gravy
Mango Gravy
8 days ago

Pariah
By Mango Gravy

Oshun sat in a corner, curled up and trying to hide the markings on his face. They started as simple scars, easily explained away, but lately they had begun to fluoresce, giving off a pale blue light. It would soon be clear to see. He had to make a choice before then.

“Leave,” said a voice, though somehow it seemed he didn’t hear it, but felt it resonate from within him. “Before the sun rises, part with these fools before they find you out.”

Oshun looked up so see a towering skeletal form, hunched low beneath the ceiling. Somehow he knew what it was and why it was here, and its presence was further damnation. Confirmation of his curse.

Oshun shook his head, “They’re my family. My friends. I would hurt them if I left them behind.”

“They will hurt you if you stay. Once they see the glow they’ll look on you with disdain, pity or fear. If you’re lucky they’ll exile you anyway. If not, they will either kill you, or try to fix you. Gods know which is worse, but your life with them is at an end regardless.”

“They’ll understand,” Oshun said, but he curled up tighter knowing it was little more than a fleeting hope. He knew their love was conditional, but still he whispered to himself, “They have to understand.”

“They already hate you, Oshun!” The voice rang loud as it yelled the painful truth he already knew. “They just don’t know it yet. They only care for a façade, and the instant they see the reality, you will be at their mercy. They will have none to spare.”

The apparition shuffled closer and placed its massive hand on Oshun’s shoulder. This time its voice was gentle as it whispered in his mind, “You must go, for your own sake.”

He sat in silence for a long moment. When he stood, the apparition was gone, and the glow had reached his eyes, casting the world in cold, blue clarity.

Oshun set his frigid sights on the vermillion horizon, and whatever lay beyond.

Last edited 6 days ago by Mango Gravy
bemk
bemk
8 days ago

[Trigger warning. This post describes a reliving of traumatic events. If you suffer from this, feel free to move on to another post.]

Flashback
By bemk

Chest tense. Palms sweaty. Heart racing. Unable to move.

Just seconds ago I was sitting at my desk. Now I don’t even know where I’m going.

I’m in that small room again. She has been my autism coach since the start of college 3 years ago now. She never really got any training, but she thinks she’s an expert.

“You’re a worthless student, you know that,” she sneered. “Why don’t you just quit?”

I’m in a classroom now. One of my classmates walks up to me. “Look at this document that was just leaked. Autism huh? I always knew you were a fool!”

I whizz off to the hallway. He snorts. “I’m not beholden to you! Your parents pay your tuition anyway. NOW GO DO AS I SAY!”

Flashbacks, one after another after another. I feel a tear running down my cheek. A colleague walks up to me. He says something. I can’t hear him. My ears are ringing.

I want to say something. Ask for help. My mouth doesn’t respond.

“I’m not grading your work.”
“Why?”
“Because it’s too old now.”
“I can’t help it that you didn’t bother looking at for a year!”
“You should have told me”
“I did, like 50 times!”
“You’re a liar and you know it.”

Start by squeezing your hands, and relax.
Curl your toes, and relax.
Feel your legs. Feel how you’re sitting.
Now feel your breath filling your belly follow it through your chest and back out through your nose.
Pull your shoulders up. And let them fall.
Can you breathe through your mouth again?

I still can’t speak and my whole body is shaking, but the worst is over. Just like 3 years ago when I walked away from that awful place. I might not have a degree. I might have a whole ton of student debt. But at least I’ve got my life back now. Or do I?

Last edited 7 days ago by bemk
Karl Aegnor
Karl Aegnor
8 days ago

Days Spent A-Sailing
By Karl Aegnor

Three years. Joshua had been fourteen when he left. A boy.

A boy making illicit fun with the other boys, sneaking drinks under the barkeep’s nose at a New Bedford inn. A boy living for the moment, waiting for the next exciting adventure to come ’round. He shipped off that same night. A cabin boy.

The cook taught him how to make something out of disparate scraps, how to keep up morale, and how to scrub a plate clean. Joshua smiled. He remembered going to bed those first few weeks, arms sore, wanting nothing more than a bed and a fireplace. A homesick child.

The older whalers saw him as an apprentice. They showed him the ropes, the knots, let him hold a harpoon. Thaddeus had stood by him, taught him more than anyone else. Many of the sailors had voyaged with Thaddeus before, he drew people to himself. Together on this ship, they had built a comradery. The fiddle playing at night as the grog flowed and the gruel slopped into bowls, some of the men would dance, Thaddeus would strike up a shanty. Joshua learned to almost enjoy the gruel, as he became part of something. A crewmate.

In New Bedford, he had slept, schooled, played, all things to be expected of a boy. At sea, he worked. Scrubbing dishes and floors, yes. But with time, tying knots, lowering boats, hauling casks of oil. His hands grew callouses, whiskers began to peek from his chin, he had seen two boats swamp. Thaddeus had been inside the second. Burials at sea were an ignoble thing, but that was life, the others said. The life of a seaman. A sailor.

Joshua remembered the boy, standing at edge of the ship, watching the dock shrink into the horizon. That horizon had held nothing but sea for the next three years. To return now, to see the buildings grow larger in the distance, was surreal. He remembered the boy and laughed. Now, he could not remember what sleeping in a warm bed felt like. Now, he was something different. A man.

Last edited 7 days ago by Karl Aegnor
Isa Dragon
Isa Dragon
8 days ago

He Waited for a Very Long Time (Crosspost!)
By IsaDragon

“Do you know what happened here, friend?” Old Ithmeir spoke, looking over the valley. “It seems steeped in history.”

The crystalline sword on his back hummed sadly.

The valley was the burnt—out husk of a village, the tiny farming settlement that would pick out a living from the harsh crags. The mountain was blue, he noticed, if you squinted in the right light.

“Is it safe to go in? I doubt there would be survivors after so long, but…”

The sword hummed a note he had learned to mean ‘probably not your best idea, old man.’

He started picking his way over the rocks anyways.

“Even if there is nobody left—huf—it would be best to see if last rites were performed, no? For travelers less prepared than us.”

The sword groaned; a sound like gravel scraping over rocks.

In the center of the village there was a pedestal, a velvet indent that perfectly matched the shape of the blade.

Cracked fingers brushed over the inscription.

“The Hero will come, born of man and myth, when the world is lost to ruin. Wielding this sword, he shall cleanse the world and set it back to rights.”

Ithmeir paused, and continued from memory.

“The Hero, born under a blue mountain to humble beginnings will rise above with the Heavenly Blade and smite evil. The Hero of the Dawn, borne from mistly valley yonder to save the world. He raises his blade, and quells the fighting… ah, I can’t remember the rest.”

(THE HIGH SEER OF SAROUTH)

“Was it him? I suppose you would know.”

(HE PROPHESIED THAT THE HERO—)

The sword cuts itself off.

“It’s not me, is it? I’m too old for this.”

The sword hummed uncertainty.

Ithmeir sighed, draping the sword across his knees. There was a long moment of wind and silence. The sword has no eyes to cry or mouth to speak, but the violent swirling of the patterns in the crystal told of some strong emotion.

The sword, quietly as it was able, simply said: (I WAITED. HE NEVER CAME.)

VeryBoringName
VeryBoringName
8 days ago

Things Left Behind
By: VeryBoringName

In a far-away, ice-bound land, in a tavern there sit two people, a young man, that came of age this year, and an old, weeping man.

Why do you cry? –

The young one asks, the old one looks up from his mug of beer in which he drowned his tears

What interests you in my story? –
Nothing, but I am wondering why are you crying alone in here –
This is the 30th anniversary of my arrival here, and I am looking back at what brought me here –

The young man looks puzzled

What did then? –
I was once the Kings of old favored scientist, they needed expertise they would turn to me, I was rich and powerful, and then I started playing God –
And by that you mean? –
Have you ever gazed down into a dark well, knowing for sure something is watching you? I was pulling that thing into light, by every fiber of it’s body, by every godless string of muscle, in my quest for knowledge to be sold for profit to multiply my riches further, in my wanton greed that squandered the very concept of ethics, I have created horrors unimaginable, slithering leeches the size of dogs, worms walking on fingerless human hands, ancient dead skulls shrieking in their pain of un-death, and more, I was chased out, before I could destroy my work –

The young man looked like he couldn’t decide if he should burst out laughing or to be terrified, but ultimately he never heard of such a man and half-mockingly said.

And you came here? You’ve gained a chance to start a new and yet you bring sorrow to this place of joy –
You are young incredibly then, you can not simply escape, whatever I had created, I am sure has come crawling and slithering for vengeance after me, forever I can run, and forever will my mistakes drag behind me –

The old man then stood, but the young man could not help but hear an indistinct howling and gurgling in the distance as the old man exited the tavern.

JosieDearly
JosieDearly
8 days ago

To Spirit Away
by JosieDearly

[A Worldswap piece written with permission within Phantasmagoria, one of pitL’s settings.]

Maya glanced around at the twilight flatlands around her, surrounding her on every side but behind, where a plateau loomed. Tending the fields alongside her were a variety of creatures, like two elves, a few gnomes, several goblins, and a winged fairy. The fairy jammed her shoulder with their rake, prompting Maya to return to work.

She knelt down in the soil, checking that it was moist before reaching in her pouch and pulling out a seed. She pushed it deep into the soil and covered it up, then reached her hands over the mound and focused. Green vine-like light pulsed from her arms, coiling up to her hands before jumping into the soil. It glowed green before fading away, then the dirt shifted as a healthy sprout emerged.

Someone gasped, and she perked up at that. Gaping, stunned faces met hers, and she furrowed her brow.

“What? Is… Is magic not that common here?” she slowly asked. A gnome shook his head, and she sighed dejectedly. “Oh. Okay.”

Why did she have to be trapped here, of all places? She quietly shuffled over to grow the next seed, noting the distance the others were putting between themselves and her. One moment she was hiking through the woods, and the next she was on another world, practically an enslaved farmer. While she had no reservations against hard work, being enslaved to do it wasn’t how she expected her camping trip to go.

But… She stood up again and cast another look at the farmers all around her. The plains were unforgiving, and this was the only working farm, from what she could see. These people weren’t here by choice. They were stuck in old ways from whatever fantasy planet they came from, ways that don’t work on this alien world.

As much as she wished she could go back to the problems she wanted to fix at home… Maybe she’d have better luck helping out here instead. At least she could actually see the change she was making, one sprout at a time.

Lari B. Haven
Lari B. Haven
9 days ago

The things we shouldn’t leave behind
[Asgaroth universe used with permission of TwangyFlame0]
By: Larissa (Lari B. Haven)

He checked his bag over again. “Please don’t say I left it!”

“Need some help to search?” The ferryman replied, giving the poor merchant a lantern.

“Thank you, but it’s no use.” The shaken man was literally ripping the hairs from his head. “I’m already dead!”

The ferryman didn’t understand why he was so nervous. If he had forgotten something, they could just return to the island while it was still in sight.

“We still have some time to come back before it goes dark. You can recover what you lost.” He replied calmly, as to comfort the wreck of a man in his boat.

“NO!” The merchant screamed. “I will not go back!”

“Why? I know only a few negotiate with the vampires, but they’re usually very level-headed.” The ferryman was curious. “Unless you have stolen something.”

“I would never do such a thing! They are my best clients!” The merchant puffed his chest to say that, proud of his past record. “Well, they were…”

“So why are you so scared?” The boat rider asked.

“What I left, it would be the same thing asking for death!” He replied looking at all directions, dreading an inevitable demise if he spoke a little louder. “Think of the most offensive thing you could ever tell a vampire in a book form.”

The boat rider choked on the smoke of his pipe. “Oh! No, don’t tell me…”

“YES!” He buried his face in his hands and sobbed again. “A leather-bound and jeweled encrusted copy of ‘Vampiric history’ The most offensive book ever written about the vampire kind.”

“And why would you walk with such a book in here? It says that all vampires are evil warlords!”

“It was a package I was bringing to a lord!” The merchant told in the grasp of voice, about to pass out.

“We need to leave and fast! Or else you and I, we’re screwed! Screwed!” The ferryman yelled, hoping for any winds that could take them away

RVMPLSTLSKN
RVMPLSTLSKN
9 days ago

The Things He Left Behind
By RVMPLSTLSKN (A Tale from the Worldsoul)(repost from private)

Tym Frygsson exits the colonial company store. The pinewoods tower over the port town and its estuary. There is a wind high above like a goddess’s cooing birds. The sky, lacking the pollutants of the Capitol, bows to the viewer.

Tym wears a new waist sash in dashing hues of pink and blue, shoulder furs of hare, and a koltotl-hair knit cap–products of the new intercontinental trade routes. The dyes from the Windlands, the furs from the Capitol and koltotls in the Coldlands before him.

No more the static air of the subarctic plains he’d left behind. No more to carry the hod or breathe befouled air. Such was the way of things in the Capitol. Such was a man’s plight in a women’s society.

This was a land where manliness was needed to survive. Tym was ready to earn his bread in debt and live among the trees and wild things. He was ready to be manly. Insociable. Uncivilized.

Before him the promise of payment and adventure and brotherhood; behind marriage and womanliness and shaving.

‘Didn’t the goddesses make koltotls?’ he thought to himself. Such are rationalizations we make to ourselves; just as Tym does to ignore the civilized act of shaving, likening his own furry face to the shaggy man-beasts of the Coldlands.

He walks in the rugged finery of a company-man. The boiled leather soles of his shoes and the hardness of a new colonist’s blade–a kukri in our world, reader–mark him as indebted.

So Tym, indebted to the company, joins a crew–he slips in complimenting the longboat and calls it by neutral ‘she,’ reminding him he isn’t quite done with civilized behavior–wets his paddle as he sings with his newfound brothers. They are bearded and experienced, their blades nicked from use and their soles worn. They smile loudly and laugh often. They are boisterous and noisome.

In that first time of real work, the timing of song and paddle through water, Tym feels he’s finally free from the rigors of civilized manner. He thinks himself a man, but, reader, he has yet to see a koltotl.

Connor A.
Connor A.
9 days ago

“Gifts from the Dead” (Sword Isles)
By Connor A.

Nadia made sure the frame was secure and stepped back. Her husband’s image had the same playful smirk as he did in life, as if there was some secret that no one had figured out quite yet.

“It has been two years, yes?”

Nadia did not turn away from the image. She heard the telltale clacking of bones until she could make out a cloaked figure next to her.

“The frame looks nice.”

“Is there something you need?” There was no malice in Nadia’s voice, but it was enough for Death to stop attempting small talk.

“I was just making sure you were alright. I know far too well how humans can be when they lose loved ones.”

“Are you patronizing me?”

“I would never think to do so.”

The two fell into a mutual silence, staring up at the image for what felt like an eternity.

“He would be proud of what the guild became.”

“Would he? The Isles are about to have an authoritarian king in control and we haven’t done anything to stop it.”

“Not yet.” Death looked at the fireplace under the portrait. “He believed Aiza could help.”

“She doesn’t have a proper focus yet.”

“Are you sure about that?”

Before Nadia could ask, Death walked up to the fireplace and felt the stones. He stopped on one and wiggled it out. From the crevice, he pulled out a box that was about the size of a forearm, give or take a few inches. He walked back to Nadia and gave it to her.

Without any other option, Nadia opened the box. She covered her mouth with one hand as she looked at the humble wand with a paper tag that read, “For Aiza.”

“He wanted to give this to her before she started college. Apologies for not telling you about it sooner.”

Nadia’s eyes welled up with tears. She wiped them away the moment she realized what was happening and said, “Thank you.”

Makokam
Makokam
9 days ago

For Their Own Good
By Makokam

Jonathan walked into the kitchen, a backpack holding some of his belongings slung over his back.

His Father sat eating his toast and scrambled eggs, while his Mom tried to get his Sister to eat something while she insisted she was going to get breakfast with her friends.

“Hey, everybody.”

“Morning Honey,” his Mom said.

“Hey,” his Sister said before turning and trying to squeeze past their Mom again.

“Eat something before you go!”

“I’ll be fine!” she said and pushed past.

“Jostica!”

Jonathan shouted, “I’m leaving!”

“Yeah, me too!” said Jostica, pivoting to wave as she headed down the hall.

Jonathan opened his mouth to explain, but after seconds of trying to find the words she was out of the house and he sighed, letting his shoulders slump. How was he supposed to explain that he was leaving home and never coming back, because he was a danger to them?

Because he didn’t want to drag them over the cliff his life was headed for.

“Are you going to leave without eating too?” his Mom asked, ready to scoop some eggs onto a plate.

“I…” he considered it, “can have some eggs on toast.”

She smiled, knowing he didn’t eat much anyway, and threw some toast onto a plate and scooped some eggs onto it.

He took the toast, “Thank you,” but left the plate and ate half of it in one bite. His mom poured him some orange juice and held it out expectantly. He took it and downed it between bites. “Thanks.”

He needed to get going though. He’d already stayed longer than he meant to. It would just get harder the longer he put it off. “So, yeah, I’m…” He still didn’t know how to say it, “I’m gonna go now.”

“Don’t be late for dinner this time!” his Dad called.

“Don’t wait for me,” he said, and walked out the door for the last time.

Last edited 8 days ago by Makokam
Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
9 days ago

A Flame Awoken From Ash (Worldswap: Froggyquest by Amy Trow)
By Calliope Rannis

“Mrrrrrrr…” Froggy stirred in the dust, before breathing some in. “A-ACK-GAH!” she coughed, sitting upright.

After a minute of coughing, she moved to brush off her face, flinching as her dry skin cracked. Rubbing her eyes, the frog looked around her with horror.

This place had been a forest, once. But now the ground was coated in ash, and only blackened pillars of wood remained.

“What…happened?” Everything was foggy, but…she remembered fighting. That she had been scared…angry…

She remembered fire. A lot of fire. And she remembered it surging from her body, burning enemies and plants alike.

Her tears left tracks on cracked skin. “Oh…oh no…I-”

“Mother’s roots!” An urgent voice cried out. “Are you okay over there little one?”

Froggy quickly turned to see a 6ft tall dark-furred animal running towards her, an array of sharp quills growing out of their back, and wearing a flowery apron. She tried to push herself upwards, but her dry legs wobbled and she collapsed.

In seconds, the porcupine was there. “Don’t strain yourself dear, you’ll feel better soon!” With some magical words, a cool sensation flowed through Froggy, healing her broken skin. Then the healer helped her upright.

“Th-Thank you…” Froggy stammered. “…how did you find me?”

“Oh! I was looking for anyone that needed help after that awful fire. And you, well, you’re the only green thing around for a mile at least.”

Froggy’s face fell. “It spread that far?”

“That far, and further. Dammed dragon…”

“D-Dr-Dragon??”

“Yes. You already know, don’t you? It’s been causing destruction all across this land…though never as bad.”

Froggy silently nodded. The healer gave her a careful hug.

“It’s okay…it’s okay…” She looked back at Froggy, with both kindness and burning determination in her eyes. “My name is Kali, and I swear on both my name and my mothers, that this dragon will never be allowed to hurt you, or anything else, ever again. I will make sure of it!”

Froggy gave a hollow smile, her guilt and shame clawing behind her eyes, and said “I hope you do.”

Marx
Marx
9 days ago

Level Up
By Marx

Mara was filth. It was the title given to her race of demon. Brought into existence by sin.

Weak.

Pathetic.

She’d fought all her life in Hell and always lost for her efforts. That was until she finally made it to Earth and he found her. Matt. The most powerful being she’d ever come across. A being with such pure, explosive power and yet no idea of how to use it. A few weeks later, she’d become his familiar. His power now flowed through her.

This didn’t stop her fight. She had to battle one angel to keep her new Master and now she was fighting a different one to protect him. An archangel to boot.

The only reason she’d even met Matt initially was because this archangel almost killed her in passing, with the effort you would kill a mosquito for biting you. And now, Mara was matching him blow for blow. Mostly. He was obviously the better fighter of the two.

“You think yourself my equal, Filth?” He growled. “You’re trying to level up. I LIVE at this level.”

Mara backed away. He was right. She was going to lose. And worse, Matt would pay for it. She watched as the sword came down and her past flashed before her eyes. Every loss. Every degradation. Every scar. And then something snapped.

Mara saw red and she lunged. The angel’s sword went flying across the room as well as the arm that was wielding it. The angel stood dumbfounded at the sudden loss of his appendage. Mara was crouched, claws out, unleashing a feral growl. Her own pain was suddenly irrelevant.

“I guess I need to bring you down to my level then.” She snarled.

Seeing the angel was wounded, Mara renewed her attack, putting him on the defensive. Maybe he WAS a better fighter. Who cares? Mara wasn’t going to lose. She COULDN’T lose.

Mara was filth. But she wasn’t weak anymore. She wasn’t pathetic. She was an unholy force of nature. And if this angel wouldn’t respect her Master, then he would learn to fear her wrath.

Lunabear
Lunabear
9 days ago

Shedding the Past
by Lunabear (Written with permission in Masacur’s Ridgecloud Universe)

Clay was reading his favorite poetry. He still marvelled at the lavish home every time he visited. It must have cost the Ridgecloud bunch a fortune.

Even if it WAS more than Clay was accustomed to, it had its benefits. He stretched his injured knee reflexively. He could barely feel the pain now thanks to Melissa’s healing.

Sheets of Clay’s own poetry covered the glass top table. Nothing relaxed him more than a good book or lines of poetry.

“WHERE THE FUCK IS EVERYONE?!”

Clay’s tranquility was shattered instantly. He growled while rubbing his forehead.

Ryan rounded the corner with a scowl. His eyes clouded when they fell on the scene before him.

“Great. The meathead.”

Clay’s eyes snapped. “Nice to see you, too, loudmouth.”

Ryan glared.

“As for where everyone is, we all agreed on some downtime. Given that things are quiet. And after what happened to your friend.”

Ryan’s expression softened, and he crashed down on one of the couches. He stared at nothing.

“How is he, by the way?”

Ryan heard a genuineness in Clay’s voice. Their gazes clashed. “Cris is stable. Going to need a lot of rest.”

“He’ll pull through. Melissa’s a magician.”

“Healer, actually.” Ryan turned away, picking up a sheet of paper. “Never pegged you for a poet.”

“I never thought you capable of talking at a normal volume, yet here we are.”

Ryan smiled, but it felt disingenuous. He returned the paper to the table.

A quietness passed, filled only by turning pages.

“I wasn’t always so loud. I used to be more timid.” Ryan swallowed heavily. “Guess I got tired of the punches and name calling.”

Clay set his book down. “I understand that weariness.”

Ryan expressed silent confusion.

Clay held up his hands. His brown skin stood out easily under the bright lights of the room. “Can’t leave your color behind, you know?”

“Oh. I see.”

“Working out helps me fight those echoes.”

“Nah. Machines are my thing. Mostly cars.”

“Fair enough. If you ever need another way to release tension, though, yoga might be good.”

Ryan laughed deeply.

Last edited 6 days ago by Lunabear
Alex
Alex
9 days ago

In the Wake of Recompense (Armitage Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

Father Horatio Coventry was sitting at the bedside of his son Josiah, the steady beeping of the heart monitors the only sound in the room. Josiah was lying on the bed, his eyes closed, as though sleeping. Horatio was holding an open book and was reading to the comatose body of his son.

Eventually, he closed the book, placed it on the bedside desk and turned his attention to his son’s face. He seemed so peaceful, much more peaceful than he had, when he’d been in prison. The disheveled hair had been hanging down to his tired eyes. He hadn’t looked much worse than the other inmates of Fort Wyvern, however.

Horatio was not ignorant. He was fully aware of what his son had done to those people. Looking back, he had to admit that the signs had always been there. Little things, like the way he’d looked at dead animals or how he’d dealt with spiders in the bathroom. But nothing had prevented Josiah from being his son.

He’d deserved a chance at redemption; he had to believe that. The Blind, his god, was the master of justice and redemption. His faith would save his son. All he’d needed was a little more time with him.

But she’d taken that from him. The woman in the carmine dress.

They had found Josiah in his cell one day, completely unresponsive. Catatonic, the doctors had said. At first, Horatio had been distraught. How could this have happened? It had taken a while until he’d finally seen the footage. The carmine woman had done this to him. With some kind of briefcase and magic he couldn’t understand.

The door opened and a young man with long, dirty-blond hair walked in, holding a bag.

“Is it done?” Horatio asked.

“Yes,” Adam said.

He revealed the contents of the bag.

“Do you feel regret?” Horatio asked.

“That they were my parents? No.”

Horatio nodded. The brainwashing was holding. Soon his weapon would be ready and the Armitages would pay. Nothing prevented Josiah from being his son. Nothing.

Not even 9 counts of first-degree murder.