Writing Group: The Beast Behind the Eyes

Hello, beasts and beast tamers.

Don’t look so afraid. You’ve faced tougher things, haven’t you? Even if you haven’t, this can’t be that hard. It’s all in your head after all, and you have full control there… right? I guess you’re going to find out soon enough, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

The Beast Behind the Eyes

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!

Even from a first glance, this prompt can be so many different things, all equally intimidating. We’ve all encountered beasts of some kind in our lives.

We’ve been that person who set out to complete some sort of task, only to have our fear knock us down and hold us back. That one person who does something selfish or reckless, and the consequences result in a guilt or shame that eats us alive. We’ve made mistakes, and the demons in our minds blow those mistakes up into insurmountable things that stay with us for years to come in the monstrous form of anxiety.

The wonderful thing about this prompt is that it can be shaped into something much less negative, too. Maybe it’s not fear, but a hidden strength that needed to be unlocked through unimaginable means. Maybe it’s a legendary mental power, either newly learned or flexing its true abilities. Maybe the beast is just an insanely high IQ which makes people feel intimidated, even inferior.

What if we took this in a more literal direction? What if these beasts were real? This could be a literal beast manifesting from someone’s bottled anger and hatred, taking shape and either lashing out at the causes of it, or consuming the person it came from. Maybe there’s literal little imps inside someone’s head, whispering horrible untruths to them to make them doubt themselves just for kicks. Maybe it’s a demon who has possessed someone to try and break through to our world. Or perhaps it’s a kind of alien leech that burrows into the brain to claim a host for survival.

Whatever beast you decide to unleash this week, throw us in the ring with it.

Make us tremble in awe.

—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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Arith_Winterfell
Arith_Winterfell
4 days ago

“Cut and Burn”

By Arith_Winterfell

They will cut.

They are coming, and they will cut me until I’m not me anymore. Surgery. Their knives digging into my brain.

If I could just will it. Nothing. The damnable suppression field prevents me from psychokinetically starting fires. Try again, nothing. Again, nothing!

I can hear them now. Coming down the hall. Their footsteps and the squeak of the surgical gurney’s wheels. They will take me and cut me open.

I strain against the restraints, struggling violently. I focus my will with everything I have and I see it. Small golden sparks at the hinges of the door. In moments the doors edges are aflame and the smell of burning metal and circuitry fill the room. With a mental push the door falls forward and I erupt into the hallway heralded by flame, the restraining cuffs smoldering at my wrists.

I can feel the pressure on my mind. The orderlies rush to restrain me, hypodermic needles ready to deliver powerful sedatives. No time for mercy. They shudder and their veins redden as their blood boils and their arteries cook. They slump to the floor, but the doctor has already hit the alarm.

The klaxons begin their screaming. I have to get out of here. I run pushing through doors and smashing through check points. I see it! A room with a window to the outside. The pressure of the suppression field is crushing to me now. No way but out. With a thought the window erupts outward into a spray of shards, and I leap through.

I’m outside on a large barren rocky outcropping, and I am outside the suppression field. I feel exultant as fire roils over the lab’s main entrance trapping them inside. From here I can feel it, the fire spilling like water along the floors, climbing like livid tongues up the walls. I hear screaming and I am filled with joy. I can feel them burning. Nurses, doctors, and patients alike burning!

They will burn!

PixieWings
PixieWings
4 days ago

Still, I Worry About Him
By PixieWings

The apartment door slammed, jolting Milo from sleep.

He checked the lopsided clock on the living room wall.

“Hey.” He called blearily. “You’re back early.”

It was dark. They still hadn’t changed the burnt out bulb in the entryway. He could just make out his roommate, standing in the doorway, his winter coat conspicuously gone, holding his elbows and shuddering.

“Jimmy?” Milo rose from the couch, moved into the hall. “You okay?”

The tattered carpet squished under his foot.

James, Milo realized, was dripping wet. His thin button up was stuck to his chest some places and stiff with cold where it wasn’t. Milo touched his arm. His fingers came away sticky with mud and algae.

“James, what the fuck? What happened? I thought you were at work.”

James wouldn’t answer.

He just heaved, gulping air like he’d forgotten how to breath, starring sightlessly into the puddle forming under his feet.

There were fabric burns on his wrists and, under them, down his forearms, the inked image of what looked like the arms of an octopus.

James had never had tattoos.

The apartment door slams, jolting Milo from sleep.

He checks the lopsided clock on the living room wall.

“Hey.” He calls, suddenly awake. “You’re back early.”

James pitches himself forward over the back of the couch, landing face first in the cushions beside him with a groan.

“Family reunion that bad?”

“My mom thinks I’m in some BDSM octopus sex cult, so yeah. That bad.” James wrangles himself into a sitting position. His sleeves are buttoned at the wrists, despite the summer heat. “You want a drink?”

“Love day drinking.” Milo says, not entirely sarcastic. “Too bad we’re still broke.”

“Alright, fine. Instant coffee.”

James flings himself off the couch, through the archway to the kitchen and Milo rises, stretching, to follow. Milo catches James’ hesitation in pulling back his sleeves, the way he stares at the tap water a beat too long.

He’s also complaining about his mom, gesturing wildly with a teaspoon, and Milo’s known him long enough to know.

If James is talking, then he’s okay.

Skye Doust
Skye Doust
5 days ago

Ocular Sacadding and the Absence Thereof
by Skye Doust

I no longer know about how much of the workings of human sight is common knowledge, nor how much you personally know. When you surround yourself with people that specialise in a specific topic, you lose grasp about what the average person understands.
For instance it takes about 120 milliseconds after your eyes receive light input for your brain to register it. I guess it’s interesting from a psychology viewpoint, always living a little in the past or something, though I see phenomena like that more academically.
Ocular saccading, for example. The way your eye smoothly shifts as it tracks a moving object is impossible to replicate without something moving to follow. If you try, and you can try now, you get this… jittery saccading as your eye moves from one focus point to another. It’s not a continuous flow. That smooth scanning motion can only occur when you’re focused on an object that’s moving.
This is why I’ve asked for further investigation into the death of subject 16.
Yes, I was there when it happened, but I’ve seen death before and I can assure you that this was not natural (Not that sudden and unexplained heart failure is normally dismissed as natural, but our facility is somewhat unique in this manner). Nor was my mere presence at the time of death the reason I’m making this request, I am not Stevens.
What still bothers me, is how moments before her death, she was actively tracking something in the room that I could not see. Her eyes followed real movement, there was none of the usual twitchy saccading. And when her wide eyes stopped moving, their focus just above her chest, it was only seconds later that her heart stopped.
You can replay the footage. It’s all there. If you have further questions, you know where to find me. Though there’s nothing much more I can really give you. All I know for certain was that she definitely watched something else in the room as it descended and took her life.

Last edited 5 days ago by Skye Doust
Trinity Knight
5 days ago

The Beast Behind the Eyes
By Trinity Knight

Surely, you’ve felt it. Have you not? That feeling that’s been gnawing at the back of your mind, ever since you walked through that door. The clutches of anger coiling around your heart. I can see it in your eyes. You want to know why it’s happening to you. You want to know what it is, don’t you.

You’ve seen them, haven’t you? The Twisted. Yes indeed, you have. You’re afraid you’re becoming one of them, aren’t you. Well I hate to be the bearer of misfortune, but it is true. Your heart has begun to twist with anger. Soon your emotions will overflow and manifest into a beast beyond your control. It will consume you and you will lose all that you have, and all that you are.

Sorry to say, there’s no stopping this. What’s done is done, there is no denying fate. It is your fate to go down this road. All I can offer you is peace when the time comes, and you become like them. Thus, I present you with a choice.

You can remain here in the city. You can try to go on with your life as normal. But when the beast behind your eyes awakens, you will lose everything. Friends. Family. Any who stand in your way. You’ll kill them all in a blind fury and wake up with only the guilt to comfort you. You can choose suffering, or you can heed my words.

On a clear night like this, you may see lights in the sky. Follow them. Leave the city and make for the Old Woods. The lights will take you there. When the beast begins to break free of its fleshy prison you will want to be far from other humans, lest your fury swallow them up like a maelstrom.

I am so sorry, but there is nothing else I can do for you. Fate cannot be denied. Were there a cure, you wouldn’t have felt so afraid. You wouldn’t have needed to seek me out. This is all I can offer you, so make your choice.

Last edited 5 days ago by Trinity Knight
Cansas
Cansas
5 days ago

The Eye Of Midium (from untitled world) (Repost from Private)
By TheWanderingMind (aka Cansas)

Stranger leaned on his walking stick and sighed, “Here we are. The Eye of Midium.”

Edana’s stomach dropped as she stared past the giant golden gateway, and into the dark starry abyss of Midium.

To her right, Leona was grinning like a silver striped salmon at the strange centipede-like beasts, which floated inside The Eye.

Leona’s twin, Maylis, was gazing in awe at the creatures.

Edana moved over to Kelon, who lingered behind the group. “Uh, Mr. Prince Kelon, sir…are you sure this is safe?”

The Gallopian Prince smiled at her, but before he could answer, Leona jumped in.

“Of course it’s not safe! Look at the size of them beasties’ teeth! I bet ya I could ride one of em.”

Syrin, who was leaning on a nearby tree, spoke up, “You’d make a lovely chew toy, that’s for sure.”

Leona was about to give a wonderful retort, but Maylis cut in, “What I’d like to know, is what exactly they are.”

“They were once gods,” said Kelon, walking up next to Stranger. “Powerful gods, too. Gods of the wind, water, time, insects, even a god of mattresses, believe it or not. But when the Guardian Omissa was banished, the lesser gods fell into chaos. The other three Guardians, Alarick, Mindir and Malacom, were forced to trap the lesser gods in The Eye to protect Quaternion.”

Edana and the twins had gathered around the Prince as he spoke. Even Syrin showed some interest.

Stranger had moved to the side and was chuckling to himself.

“Apologies,” he said when the others looked at him. “It’s just…when you’ve been around the four corners of the world, you hear a lot of…how do I put this kindly…bullshit.”

Edana cocked her head toward Stranger. “So they aren’t dangerous?”

Stranger chuckled. “It doesn’t matter what they are, love. What matters is the size of their teeth.”

Kelon rolled his eyes then placed a hand on Edana’s shoulder and said with a smile, “Worry not little one. We didn’t bring this old man just for his good looks and wit. Stranger here makes an excellent distraction.”

Last edited 5 days ago by Cansas
Tyler Desperado
Tyler Desperado
5 days ago

Who Do You Believe?
By. CosmicDesperado30

I kept hearing the stories, and I didn’t believe them. I didn’t believe he was real. They started small: a tweet here, a photobomb there, but I thought nothing of it.

But I’ve met him… and he’s pure evil.

It started when Greg met him at a party. Greg had just made partner at a fancy lawfirm, and he wanted to strut. That’s when the guy showed up, and he looked ancient. Barely any meat on him, and he had this really old fashioned suit.

He asked Greg a simple question, I couldn’t tell exactly what it was since the video quality wasn’t that good. But almost immediately after Greg answered, I saw a flash under the man’s glasses, like the purest red I’ve ever seen. Then Greg fell to the floor, clutching his chest. Later on his folks posted that he died of a heart attack in the emergency room.

Nobody cared. Freak accident. And that freaky eye shit I saw? Clearly a filter or a photo job or something.

Then it happened again. It was my sister at her wedding reception. The whole thing was quite beautiful…until he raised a toast. Same sunken face, same elaborate old suit with a petticoat, a vest, and an honest-to-god pocket watch.

He raised a glass and asked her if her husband truly was the one she’d spend the rest of her life with. She got all pissy and yelled for five minutes about their purity…then she started bleeding from her nose and began to choke, all while his eyes glowed like hell. The doctors said she choked on her own tongue; her secret girlfriend of four years was devastated. No one cared, just another Karen getting smacked down.

But what the vids won’t show you was me talking to him.

I was shaking from head to toe as I approached him. He asked me what I wanted.

I just wanted to know who he was.

His eyes flashed red…

He smiled and said he was a seeker of truth, and the bane of lies.

I didn’t believe him.

Last edited 5 days ago by Tyler Desperado
NocteVesania
5 days ago

Temptation
By NocteVesania (Public Group Repost)

Ashes fall from the night sky like snow. The flames rage on as the village is being reduced to nothing but cinder and charred ruins.

Elias, bruised and bloodied from the fight, delivers the final blow to his foe. He pulls his blade from its torso and the demon’s corpse falls onto the ground, lifeless. He looks at his bloodstained hands, the purple glow on the markings of his left arm now subsiding as he takes back control of his body.

“You did well,” the familiar voice within whispers in Elias’s head, “the world is saved.”

Elias stares at the demon’s corpse, remembering the lives taken in its conquest.

“For now, at least,” the voice adds.

The voice catches Elias’s attention. “What do you mean?”

“We’ve defeated this one, but just barely.” The voice explains, its tone somewhat condescending. “If a stronger foe comes up, well, I assume you know what will happen.”

Blood-curdling screams echo in Elias’s mind as he remembers the destruction of his hometown.

“Power,” Elias declares, “we need more power.”

“Correct. I wonder where we can get that? Oh, I know! They say a demon’s power resides in its heart. Now, if only we had a demon’s heart lying about.”

Elias looks back to the corpse and sighs.

“Would you look at that! How convenient!” The voice changes to a more aggressive tone. “Now consume it! Take its power for yourself!”

Elias hesitates, remembering the fallen demon’s words, that the demon within him can bring about this world’s very destruction.

The voice grows impatient, its words devolving into snarls. “What are you waiting for? Need I remind you of how feeble you are? Look around, this burning village is a testament to your weakness.”

With a hand trembling from fear, Elias grasps his dagger tight as he steps forward, his eyes trained to the corpse’s chest.

Griffin Perry
Griffin Perry
6 days ago

Hidden Resentments

by GriffinGreyson

Without warning, my organs started getting the horrid sensation of being ripped apart. It felt as if I was being cut up by a dull pair of scissors. The pain got to where I felt nauseous enough for my legs to completely cave in just from my own body weight. Rough and scratchy gagging soon followed, making my throat feel as if two pieces of sandpaper were sandwiched together while something else was trying to be pushed through them.

Everything eventually came out in one giant gag of air. But it wasn’t the mushy pile of half-digested pizza you would expect, it was newly plucked rose petals. With hands trembling, I pull out my phone so I could call for help. Hoping maybe this was just some kind of psychosis, I call my mother, because she’s the one to help with mental problems.

When my mother answers the phone, I just begin talking to her in what seemed like gibberish. All she did was say ‘mm-hmm,’ only stopping me when I mentioned the rose petals.

“What color were they?” She asked.

Unbelievable, I thought to myself. My mother cares more about a damn color than the crisis itself.

“They were red, but back to-”

“Hanahaki Disease…” she said

“Mom! What the-”

“Listen up,” she said in her mom’s voice. “Hanahaki Disease is a deadly issue that happens when you in a one-sided love situation. Since you’ve been coughing up red petals, it means that you have some kind of resentment about your feelings. The color tells you everything you need to know. You’re in the last stage, in about 30 minutes you’re going to die. I won’t get there in time, but all you have to do is tell the person you love them, that’s it. Please go do that, I love you, im on my way.”

I fall to the ground knowing I’m knowing 100% im going to die; because I would rather die to a sickness than tell a straight person, I love them and go on know they could never love me back.

Chengir
6 days ago

The Beast Behind the Eyes
By Chengir

Derek sat sadly at the bar, squirming. He felt uncomfortable on his stool. One eye stared at his drink. Looking up, his eyes glanced over the trophies on the walls. Each one an achievement in its own right. All hanging up to mark a memorable victory. Heroes all. They seemed to be staring at him with those terrified looks in their eyes. Which only made Derek more depressed. It reinforced his perceived failure. He took another swig of his drink. He could feel the sting as the liquid burned its way down his throat.

The whole bar smelled of sawdust and spilled drinks. It was filled with the chatter of voices. Some were simply trying to have fun, but many were in the same state as Derek was in. There hadn’t been a lot of people passing through and business was off as a result. The whole underground existed on what the locals laughingly referred to as the ‘tourist’ trade.

Ronaldo pulled up a stool next to Derek. “What’s the matter with you?” He asked, concerned. But he wasn’t overly concerned; he was already too drunk for that.

“My in-laws are coming for a visit,” Derek muttered.

Ronaldo’s squinted. “That sucks,” he sympathized. He knew Derek’s father-in-law. He was the type to be mounting heads on the wall of a tavern like this one.

Derek levitated his drink. “He’s going to want to know if I quit my job.”

“Did you?”

“No,” Derek sneered. “It’s a good job. Plus, I have a real knack for it.” There was a detectable pride in his tone.

“Well, I’m glad I’m not in your shoes,” Renaldo explained. “I wouldn’t know how I’d tell my father-in-law I was an optometrist. He’d never understand.”

Derek raised three eyestalks. “I know, right?”

The two clinked their glasses together. “Doesn’t sound like a monster’s calling,” Ronaldo admitted. “It doesn’t scream out ‘Beholder profession.’ But I must say, you do have the eyes for it.”

Michael Case
Michael Case
6 days ago

A Final Hope (not a prequel to The Ugly Truth)
By MDC (Michael Case)

“Forgive me Father for I will sin.
This morning while baptizing some of the newborn babies in the church, I had come across…”

In the note, Frank couldn’t quite read what was there. It looked to him that the ink had smudged due to tears maybe. He continued reading below that.

“to see a child with that kind of innocent look on their face, but that kind of stare in their eyes. Evil must exist in this world in order to punish the wicked, that I understand all to well, but this was beyond evil. What I had seen was like nothing I’ve seen before.

Terror might be the only word that might apply to that child’s eyes. Such an innocent face to be born with such terror in their eyes. I can not fathom what this poor child will have to face, or what we will have to face because of this child.

I will sin Holy Father, for I am not strong enough to deal with the horrible ordeals we will have to face when this child is put to use either by you, or by what unholy creature created this child. I only hope that my choice will be forgiven by those who understand my words here.”

Frank’s eyes slowly swung back and forth as if being hypnotized by the Priest that hung from the rafters.

“What cha got, Frank?” The lead Detective asked while the body of the Priest slowly swung back and forth like a pendulum.

Putting down the note, Frank seemed tranced by the hypnotic movements of the hanging man. “Suicide note. Looks like the Priest saw one too many lost souls.”

Frank started out of the room and mumbled to himself, “I really hate religion.”

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

Feral Affinity (also in private)
By MysteryElement

The first time it happened I thought it was my imagination. I met a friend of a friend and felt like I had recognized them. They did not look familiar and I didn’t recognize their name, but something about their eyes felt… right. We had nothing in common, disagreed on a lot of things, yet we got along easily. I haven’t seen them since and no longer remember the face of who introduced us, but I remember that person’s face with vivid clarity.

Next time was at work, a chain store with a high employee rotation, and he had only been there a week or two. Then again at a restaurant, the line-cook had the same look. Something about them felt so similar to me, like seeing a reflection of my own soul in their eyes, a recognized ferocity in them I could not name. It has now happened so often I can’t call it coincidence, or unnatural. We share a kinship, a loyalty established on nothing but instinct. A feeling that has led me to this moment; a mouthful of blood and trembling hands.

It wasn’t my fight, and he probably could have taken care of it himself, but I could not resist the instinct to protect them and share their battle. I had felt the pull as if my heart were attached to a string, drawn in with a firm and resolute adulation. Fists were thrown, and I had bitten one of them like a wild animal. I wipe the blood from my mouth as the assailants scramble away, and I laugh with a cruelty I didn’t know was in me.

“Cowards.” I mumble, hearing my companion chuckle in response.

“Can’t even finish what they started.” He replies with a similar cold mirth. “You look like shit.”

“Said the pot to the kettle.” My teeth pull back into a fierce grin. I wipe my hands on my jeans before stretching one out in greeting.

“Well, Kettle,” He replies, as he takes my hand. “I believe I owe you a drink”

The Assassin
The Assassin
6 days ago

Fury
By TheAssassin

Within the inferno of Arthur’s heart stood death. Eyes ablaze with fury, he demanded retribution. Vengeance for dishonor, vengeance for injustice, vengeance for weakness. The firestorm burned with unbearable intensity; it needed to be released…
Arthur could feel the flames beneath his skin. Energy untamed yearning for a victim, but he could not a victim provide. To do such a thing, to kill another, was treacherous…

Evil…

Blasphemous…

Necessary…

Justice…

Deserved.

They, the wicked, have departed from the ancient ways! They abandoned sanctity in favor of desire’s kiss! Why do they deserve life? They must be cleansed.

No…

The blaze within him arose, and Arthur could no longer hold back. The tempest of rage took hold, and it did not show mercy.

Please…

On that eve of dread, he drew his blade and approached the enclave of his enemy. A simple house that contained a family within. Indeed, they may have forgone the elder’s teachings and made their own morality, but was death their deserved fate?

Hear me…

The fires said so, and the fires consumed his mind. They urged him to exact revenge, slay his foe. He would do so, for he could no longer resist these temptations. Even as tears flowed, he entered that home with a single mission: To destroy.

Help…

A man, his wife, a child. Their eyes bespoke of fear and their trembling hands of terror. They deserved to be afraid, for it was they who endangered society. They sauntered through the streets as if their philosophy was not poison. Wretches.

If there be a god…

He raised his blade above his head. They would die as justice dictated. Man, woman, and child. All would be slain. Peace from death, society must remain strong.
Stop me…

Please…

Slick with blood, Arthur’s sword glimmered in the moonlight. No longer did his fire burn, but rather a void consumed his spirit. He was a weak man. Unable to control his fury, the sin was his.

If only he was stronger…

If only someone had heard his cry…

If only someone would save him from himself.

Last edited 6 days ago by The Assassin
RedStein
RedStein
7 days ago

Not Done Yet
By: RedStein

“Ten years in the academy for this…” I thought to myself, letting out a tired sigh. This was not the hero we talked about in the academy. Thasterio is old, fragile, a bit childish. On my back, I carry his old blade. Although it’s nothing more than a worn out slab of metal.

“Why bum? Want joke?” Thasterio asked me in a child-like glee, waving his arms around.

Before I could say anything, he began to imitate a tree. “Tree with no leaf, is naked tree!”

He said, as he began to laugh hysterically, slapping my back in the process. Admittedly, I remained stoic, but I ended up laughing along. Both out of pity and boredom.

Like a swift arrow, a group of four knights came riding on top of mighty horses. One by one, they stepped down, drawing their blades at us. “By order of Asteria, we demand you forfeit that blade on your back. We do not seek bloodshed, but we’re not afraid to use force.”

Giving Thasterio his blade, I ordered him to run. Though I am likely to die, I still have to protect someone. Even if he was nothing but a jester.

Immediately, two of the knights tackled me to the ground. Their grip was too painful for me to hold back my screams. Two of the knights went after Thasterio, who was walking, slow as a turtle.

Thasterio looked back at me. “No hurt friend!” He said, reaching out to me, drawing the blade out. As the knights mock his attempt to fight, the blade emitted a golden glow. All the rust fluttered away and returned the blade to its golden glory.
The old man held his sword high. Its shining gaze beamed at all of us, as Thasterio masterfully struck down two of the knights. “Welcome back…old hero.” I said to him with a smile.

Fredrick Hoagland
Fredrick Hoagland
7 days ago

A Morning’s Work (Set in as yet unnamed canon)
By Fredrick H. (Challeng3r22)
Anthony woke up. And found that he was fighting the chosen one.
Taking a glance around him, he took note of the trees that had taken over the walls around him. Sirens sounded in the distance.
“Lord of the Forbidden Wilds! Prepare to return to the ashes!” the chosen one shouted.
She swung her blade. Anthony’s arm knocked her to the side. A green orb began to materialize in his palm. Anthony clenched his fist. It was at this moment he seized control.
“What are you doing?” the Lord screamed from the inside.
“The mortal enforcers are already on their way, and we both know the chosen one is more useful to us alive,” Anthony calmly thought back.
Quickly, he scaled the wall beside him and leaped from roof to roof towards the edge of the city. In a matter of moments, he was striding across the lawn in front of the family manor.
In the library there was comparatively little damage compared to previous events. On the walls were scattered growths of dandelions that Anthony was quick to pluck free and throw in the trash. On the ground were a few scattered tomes 0f arcane knowledge and botany. After returning those to the shelves, he turned his attention towards the book that sat on the study table.
It was his family’s copy of the Universal Atlas, open to a page labeled “Current location of the Chosen One.”
“Glad to see she made it home safe,” Anthony commented as he placed the book back on the shelf.”
With his work complete, he returned to his room to finish the work that needed to be done. From his nightstand, he withdrew a leather bound with a green gem that pulsated light embedded in the cover.
Holding his hand over the gem, Anthony focused on the energy provided by his headmate and focused it into the tome before him. Soon he was alone again.
“This is getting tiring, but I suppose that’s the cost for stealing from the Eternal Library.”

Isa Dragon
Isa Dragon
7 days ago

What Magic is Left (Ithmeir’s Tales Verse, crosspost)
By IsaDragon337

“See this rune?” Ithmeir traces it with a finger, so his friend can “see” the shape. “Years and years ago, when there was still magic in the world, imbuing this with power would have made it float. There’s a Teaching Tale about that.” He looks up at the ruin. “I—I think this might have been Castle Black.”

The sword hums, interested.

“The Blacks were an elven sorcerer line. They claimed descent from… a dragon god, Thariou. Their Head was always Lady Black, regardless of gender—that’s the source of that bar joke.”

A questioning trill.

“Thariou? She was the patron of travel. Few people know that she also prized trickery and wit.”

“Wow, didn’t know there was anyone left who knew the family history,” says someone directly beside him.

Ithmeir abruptly finds himself, sword in hand, facing an androginous elven youth before he can jump. The sword makes an angry chime, like a bell tone, which hangs in the air longer than it should.

“Hey, hey, I don’t mean any harm—” They back away, hands open and up.

(THIEF) the sword snarls into Ithmeir’s head.

Ah.

“If you need coin, you could have asked,” Ithmeir lowers the sword, not without resistance from his steel friend. “I’m afraid I don’t have much, though.”

“Wait—you noticed?” The youth’s eyes are wide and spark with hidden mischief. Ithmeir can’t see where the thief stored his purse. The elfling bounces in place, the picture of childlike innocence. “That means you know magic!”

“I’m afraid not…” The magic left in this world remains bound up in artifacts and battlefields, bloated beasts and The Wound. Certainly not people, Ithemir knows.

“You’re my new best friend; you can’t say no! I’m Kariou Black.”

Kariou holds out a hand to shake, and Ithmeir is pleasantly surprised to find his own purse, perhaps a few gold lighter, tucked in his hand when he takes it.

“My, how did you do that?”

“Magic!” Kariou grins.

(NOT MAGIC) the sword hisses.

“Ah, sleight of hand. Perhaps I can help you, I dabbled in my youth,” the old bard smiles.

The sword groans.

RVMPLSTLSKN
RVMPLSTLSKN
7 days ago

The Beast Behind the Eyes
By RVMPLSTLSKN (A Tale from a World Unknown)(repost from private)

There are eyes that do not weep, kept wet like wounds that seep, deep in the city of meat. The eyes are slits or hooded and watching. Diseases make them fester and haunting. The eyes have no ethic or moral, no morés or quarrel. The eyes wait in unceasing half-blinking. They are red with blood from cleaning.

The city is meat and knows nothing of the eyes it keeps. There is no time here, in the growth and scruples of progress. No time to measure the blood as it cleans.

The people live and celebrate themselves. They are like the city; few know their eyes. Fewer still know the unutterable; the task of destruction or progress. The worst that is said of these butchers is unutterable.
Growth is what is needed, progress will not suffice and in the city of meat and meaty things, nothing ends so nothing grows.

An idea like a virus now grows within the city and strains to outgrow its own ending. To share it is inviting the unutterable, to spread it worse, yet it must grow so someone must end.

How does a city see itself? Can it grok the images the eyes record? Are these things understood as more than a fleeting image? Such is how umwelten are borne.
Another unutterable act, another chance to grow as something ends and the stomachs gorge. The lungs of the draconic city inflate, bellows-like, and rasp with the infection of humankind.

There are acts of sin such as thought and sight and independence, but no one is free from the city. The city is meat and so are they; the city is large and one, they small but numerous, so they are part of the city; this is their umwelt. To kill is unutterable, so the dying become walls of meat and join the city. Progress.

To leave is unthinkable, the beating heart makes it so. There is no brain here, only the heart, moving blood through the city. Generations live and progress the city. Thought, like a viral cancer, grows: Are we more than meat?

Last edited 7 days ago by RVMPLSTLSKN
Preserves Roses
Preserves Roses
8 days ago

Sarah
by: Perserves Roses

For a 1000 years the demon had ruled a world of fire and rock. With pain and terror it had controlled an entire people to do it’s bidding.

Then some of his people had found magic of their own, a magic they quickly turned on him. They had found the source of his power, and bound it away from him. Once he could summon entire oceans to rise and fall, and banish entire army’s to other realms before they could dare to threaten him. Now all his power was gone, leaving a gaping feeling as if he was missing a limb. It was an ache that gnawed at him.

Without his magic he had been easy prey when they came to capture his body. They had forced him into a cage, a space so small his majestic curling horns had cracked and fallen off. He had used all of his strength to try and break the chains that held him down, or bend the bars of the cage beyond them. He soon realized that the chains and the cage were forged by great magic, so he could not break them. For bonds made of magic can only be broken by magic and he possessed none.

His greatest torment, was that the cage that held him was mortal. It would exist for a short blink of time, and when it died, he would die with it. They had taken even his immortality from him. He growled and snarled denying his despair. He screamed his need for revenge on his enemies, and his hunger for their blood. All he could do was gaze out through the two small windows they had left him. His cage was in a strange world of light. Where he was surrounded by people who lived in peace with no knowledge of magic or demons, or even his presence in this world.

The small child turned her bright blue eyes up to look at her mother. Her blonde pig tales sliding away from her round face.

“Mommy could I please have a cookie?”

bemk
bemk
8 days ago

The art of looking away
By Bemk

My study coach is sitting in front of me. Blond fringe, just touching the eyebrows. Head tilted towards me.

“Bemk, I know we’ve been working on these competences on the list and all, but I recently read something that I wanna work on.”

“What’s that then?” I ask as I look at her hands. How she gestures.

“I’ve read that autistic people have difficulty looking people in the eye. I think you do that too, right?”

My eyes turn to the table as my fingers trace out a line. It’s one of those printed woodgrains, that is the same one on all the tables.

“Yeah. I look at foreheads, or gestures. If I really need to focus, I just look away.”

I keep looking at the table. I think I know where this is going.

“We need to change that. It’s a vital skill you know?”

This time I place my eyes on the white wall behind her, just above her shoulder. The square texture of the fibers in the wall paper standing out against the edge of the doorframe beside it.

“I don’t think we do. It hurts and people don’t seem bothered with my tricks. Why change it?”

“ ‘Cause I say so. You’re gonna to look me dead in the eye now. You need to practise.”

I focus on the grain in the table again.

“No. It hurts. I can’t explain how, but it does. I don’t want to.”

“You will. You’re not leaving ’til you do.”

I look at her fringe again. Hoping it would trick her.

“No, that’s your trick again! Really. Look me. In. The. Eye.” She says with an aggressive tone.

I’m going to have to do this. I’m going to have to look.

The left eye. Black dot. Blue circle, white lines radiating. Blue eyeshadow, black mascara.

A wave of cold hits my lower back.
The cold flows into my chest.
Thump thump.
Heart racing.
Shallow breath.
The cold hits my brain.
Muscles freeze.

Last edited 5 days ago by bemk
Alex
Alex
8 days ago

My Name is Max Zwickau, etc. (Armitage Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

Porcelain dolls were surprisingly difficult to catch, especially when they were possessed. Maximilian Zwickau, sorcerer, exorcist and whatnot, was standing in a corridor holding a rock, to which he had taped a hair from the doll’s head.

“Ha, ha, you’ll never find me,” the toy taunted.

“I don’t have to.”

Max raised the rock to his lips, muttered a spell and threw. It flew through the air, took a sharp turn and dove into the child’s bedroom. He followed the missile, which by now had hit the puppet, hiding behind a shelf. It crawled along the floor, its eyes revealing the mischievous shadow behind. The entire room stank of brimstone.

“Hey, no fair,” it complained. “No sorc…”

Before it could finish, Max grabbed the doll, threw it to the floor and nailed it into a prepared circle with an iron pike. The doll’s eyes widened, savagery emanating from them.

“I can see your soul,” the doll screamed: “So much nastiness. So much darkness. Show me your eyes…”

It stopped its taunt, its demonic eyes meeting Max’s. Even though the doll’s face remained totally expressionless, Max could feel the terror it suddenly radiated.

“I know what I am,” Max replied.

One quick exorcism later, the now empty doll was lying in pieces around the entire room. Max’s gaze fell onto a small mirror. As always, his reflection looked more like a fun-house version of himself.

“Damnation. Looks like that’ll get docked from my pay.”

“You really should stop making such a mess,” his own voice answered.

His gaze remained on his distorted reflection for another second. Then he tore his eyes away and proceeded to free the family from the bathroom, in which he had locked them. For their own safety, of course.

A few minutes later, the mother was handing him a bundle of notes, thanking him profusely. Max made to leave, when she held him back.

“For a moment there, I thought you were possessed too,” she informed him. “The look in your eyes…”

“Trick of the light,” he lied and left as quickly as he could.

Last edited 8 days ago by Alex
Tan
Tan
8 days ago

There she is, just go talk to her! There’s no reason she’d not want to talk to me. Right? I close my eyes shut, trying to shut out the world, the noise if only for a moment to focus. Then I start to hear it.

“What are you stupid?” The voice comes from inside my head but…it’s not my voice. “Look at her, she wouldn’t recognize you from the other 20 fawning idiots trying to talk to her, just give up you waste of space!” I shut my eyes tighter, bracing my hand on a nearby desk and try to take a deep breath in before slowly opening my eyes again. She’s slowly getting up, packing her bags ready to leave. Looking down I stop a few desks before reaching hers. “There’s a good piece of trash, just go sit down. You’re good at that! Sitting and doing absolutely nothing!” I face forwards, exhale and breathe in one more time.

I’ve been listening to this…monster for a while now. Why? Probably because listening to it stops me from embarrassing myself. It keeps me safe. I’ve never done anything bold or stupid as long as I listen to it. But I missed out on so much thanks to it too. I never stopped that fight between Roy and Farah. Never stopped Mikey from doing that stupid stunt that ended up breaking his arm.

What if I stop doing anything? Just become a robot on auto-pilot? “What the hell is wrong with that? Just ignore everything and everyone and nothing can hurt you!” What would I miss out on? “Heartbreak! Humiliation! Hell, getting hurt at all!” But then would I even have a life? “What do you mean?!? You’d still be fine!” I take another step. “WAIT!” Another step forward. “STOP IT!” I keep going, starting to relax my breathing and get it under control. “I’M WARNING YOU!” I reach her desk and she looks up at me. “PLEASE STOP!”

“Hey Stella, do you have a sec?” The voice inside goes silent. Stella stops and smiles.

“What’s up?”

Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
8 days ago

The Joy Of The Natural World (Mary’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

Within the sun-dappled woods, a deer went upon her merry way. Mary trotted, feeling the soft pine needles beneath her hooves, and taking long breaths of the cool, nourishing air. She couldn’t help but wag her tail in happiness.

Abruptly, Mary felt a familiar sensation. An ugly pulling feeling, like something trying to drag her into the ground. Had it been an hour already?

She grunted, closing her eyes, and the feeling was pushed away. Then, with that sour moment shaken off, she continued her little walk.

During that time, she sniffed wildflowers, galloped through clearings, listened to birdsong, and tasted some sweet berries, wagging her tail the entire time. Just when she was thinking of turning back, she spotted something wonderful ahead.

Another deer! And she had a little fawn too!

Mary approached them, trying to control her joy. The mother was alerted at first… but calmed down again upon seeing a fellow deer. Her fawn simply looked at her curiously. He truly was the sweetest thing.

Nearing the mother, she could see her face, hear her breathing, smell her warm scent. Maybe she’d even let her touch?

But even as she stepped closer, nose-to-nose, she felt that awful pulling again. No! It can’t have been another hour already-

With a rush of air, Mary’s body snapped back into a dark haired, grey-faced girl. Her frame was buried under several layers of patchwork fabric, and little wildflowers were laced through her hair.

The mother deer seemed confused, unable to process the change. Staring at Mary, she gave her a curious sniff.

All she could smell was dead, poisoned meat.

With a horrified snort, the mother fled into the trees, her fawn following close behind. The birdsong faded, and the forest grew deathly silent.

Mary fell to her knees, staring at dirty, broken-nailed hands with lightless, cloudy eyes. Her face strained for tears that would never arrive, gaped for air she could no longer breathe. She was alone. And she was hungry…

“Tomorrow,” she thought. It was the only thought that kept her sane. “Tomorrow, I can feel joy again.”

Last edited 8 days ago by Calliope Rannis
LumiKat117
LumiKat117
8 days ago

Beast or Monster?
By “Lumi” Lumikat117

My mother always told me stories about how everyone has a monster inside them, one that is always trying to get out to tear the world asunder. She said that each monster is unique, and some are weak while others are far too strong, and when someone’s monster makes it out, they become that monster.

Father always said she was exaggerating, that I was going to get nightmares or be too afraid to play with other kids. He said that instead of a monster, we all have an inner animal, or beast, one that will protect you when no one else can.

I never got a chance to ask them who was right.

But I did learn how to tell the difference between Monster and Beast as I hid inside the closet. My mother’s screams had filled the air before abruptly cutting off. The stench of my father’s blood permeated my lungs while mad laughter and heavy footsteps approached my hiding place.

Oh yes, I learned how to tell the difference, so in a way, they both had been right. It’s a shame I never got to tell them.

When my parents’ killer peered into the closet, his manic grin dripping with fresh blood, I looked into his eyes and I saw him for the Monster that he was. His grin had widened as he spotted me in the dark, shivering with terror. But before he could yank open the closet door to kill me, I felt what I had inside me.

The Monster’s eyes had widened as he recognized the Beast behind mine and he had turned to flee. Unfortunately for him, he was a second too slow, his bloody smile shifting to a gasp of fear as I plunged my knife into his chest.

We had fallen to the ground, my Beast staring into the eyes of the Monster as I watched the cruel light in them fade away. I sat there in silence as I finally heard the sirens. When I had been asked what had happened, I simply said “Always look in the eyes.”

Zerokz
Zerokz
8 days ago

A Different Sort of Friend
By Zerokz

Skkkkrch. Alexandra’s bike pulled to a stop. “I almost missed the dark and mysterious alley, again!” she scoffed to herself. Alex walked her bicycle and leaned it against a dumpster. She gulped as she stood, facing the impending darkness. It had never bothered her before, but rather the letter, tucked away inside her pocket. She had never written so much of her personal life, what would her pen-pal think?

Alex took a deep breath in and took a huge step, hurrying along the alleyway. She softly smiled as the clearing eventually came into view. Tall buildings loomed over a small square of fake grass. It was picture perfect, with a beautiful bench centered on the grass. An old mailbox leaned against the bench, and a cleanly clipped tree cast its shadow on the bench, although the tree was already shaded by the buildings above. Alex fumbled with the letter, and slipped it into the mailbox. She sat down and glanced at the time. 3 o’clock, she was right on time. Alex waited patiently, hoping to see her mysterious friend, but as it was with every week, nothing happened.

Alex sat there for a while, twiddling her thumbs. A cloud drifted across the sky and over the sun, and the clearing grew dark. It was her cue to go. Alex stood up and waltzed back to her bike. It was her weekly ice cream time, and she was thrilled to go try the store’s newest flavors.

After she had left, a voice giggled. “Yes! Yes! Another letter for me, Alex is ever so kind.” A snake like arm snuck out of the darkness and grabbed Alex’s letter. With that, the clearing disappeared, and eager eyes scanned the letter.

It was not until next week Alex would receive a response, but the words crafted would bring tears to her eyes. These words were elegant, smooth, and motivating, but the author that wrote the letter in response was quite the opposite.

Last edited 8 days ago by Zerokz
VeryBoringName
VeryBoringName
8 days ago

Emerald Eye
By: VeryBoringName

“What in the world is this?!”

I muttered to myself as I looked at the white ball laying on my floor. An eyeball, with nerve and blood vessels separated so cleanly you could barely see the point where they were supposed to end. I had no idea who decided it was a good idea to poke some animal’s eyes out and leave it on my floor, I presumed it was dropped in by an open window. I got plastic gloves onto my hands, I needed to get rid of it.

I picked it up and turned it around to see the front, a beautiful, enchanting emerald iris gazed upon me, it was like somebody engraved a gem into an eye, I could not stop looking. It then moved, on its own, it moved to look into my eyes, I nearly dropped it, but my hand suddenly stiffened, the only thing I could do was gaze into it.

“What the ****”

I said to myself as I looked into it, I felt as something sharp pierced my plastic glove, then skin, then I felt the feeling of something slithering into me, as if a worm was wriggling in my skin. The eyeball dissolved after that, and my hand was free again, I saw that there was a large tear in my plastic glove and a similarly large wound in my hand, I saw something grey wriggling in.

I picked aggressively, but to no avail, the being disappeared further into me, I felt as something was moving through my arm up towards my body, I ran towards the kitchen shouting curses along the way, and grabbed the nearest knife.

I screamed as I plunged the knife into my arm, but to no use, it was already moving up my throat, into my head, I felt a large pressure in my eyes, as something cleanly separated nerves and blood vessels and injected something into them, then pitch black.

A body collapsed onto the floor as two pairs of blue eyes started rolling by themselves to the nearest opening for the rest of the world.

Marx
Marx
8 days ago

Are We Negotiating?
By Marx

“Matt.” She said. “Pleasure to finally meet you.”

Matt jerked up in surprise at the girl who’d literally appeared before him in a burst of flames. “Do I…know you?”

“Jasmine?” Daisy asked, still trying to recover from the utter chaos that happened mere minutes ago.

“Try again, Mutt.” The new entrant replied venomously, her eyes glowing gold.

“Oh…oh God…” The blood drained from Daisy’s face as a myriad of torturous scenes flashed before her, giving her no alternative but to cower behind Matt and try to keep it together.

Daisy’s reaction told Matt all he needed to know. “Alex…”

‘She’ winked back at him. “You’ve been looking for me.”

“I’d prefer we ACTUALLY meet instead of…whatever this is.” Matt growled.

“Unlike the mutt over there, Jasmine actually WANTED to be my thrall. Having me take over her mind every now and then is part of the job. No one ever reads the fine print…”

Matt looked over to Daisy, who had her eyes shut tight and was borderline hyperventilating.

“And while we’re on preferences…” ‘Alex’ continued, “I’d prefer Death’s boytoy not want me dead. We don’t always get what we want.”

“Maybe you should tell that to all those people you killed.” Matt grumbled back.

“Grow up.” ‘Alex’ rolled his eyes. “I only feed every couple of centuries.”

“It was thousands of people!”

“Out of billions. Besides. It’s done. I’m not a threat to anyone now. Back…off…boy.”

“Why?” Matt was shaking with righteous fury as he growled, “You’re the one hiding behind your thrall.”

“Fine. I tried asking nicely. Maybe you might have noticed…one of your group is missing?” ‘Alex’ asked with a raised eyebrow.

Matt looked around. His eyes widened as he finally saw the problem. “Shayna…”

“Humans are such fragile creatures…”

“If you so much as-” Matt started before Daisy gripped him tightly and slowly shook her head.

“You might want to listen to her, boy.” ‘Alex’ grinned. “Choose your next words…very…carefully.”

Matt grit his teeth. Shayna was under his protection. He couldn’t let her stay with this…monster. “…what do you want…?”

‘Alex’ nodded, chuckling softly. “Wise decision.”

JosieDearly
JosieDearly
8 days ago

Lioness’s Bite
by JosieDearly

“So, Tommy, any new gossip you have for me today?” Val asked of the sleazy but fancily-dressed man, carefully picking up a glass from the sink rack and wiping it dry.

Tommy smiled through his pint glass, gulping up the last of his drink before slamming it down.

“Well, I had a great time with this lovely lady I met the other night,” he blabbered with a cocky, drunken grin, “doesn’t compare t’you of course, but whoo, she was a wild one.”

“Oh? How was she wild?” She checked her glass one more time in the warm light, before turning around and looking through her various bottles of alcohol. She could already feel Tommy’s sloppy gaze all over her, but those eyes won’t be taking her in much longer.

“Ah, she’s a fighter,” he said with misplaced pride, not noticing the two figures that emerged from the back room, “but I damn well wrestled her into submission!”

The two in question, a tall man and short woman, began to close the bar, despite the obvious customer. The man lowered all the blinds on every window, while the woman locked the door and changed the sign to “CLOSED”. Tommy was too busy gloating to notice he was being trapped.

“I see,” Val nodded as she grabbed one of her specialty drinks, Lioness’s Bite, and poured one out for him. He snatched the glass out of her hand and gulped it right down.

“Whoo! That’s got a kick to it!” he laughed.

A few seconds later, he was on the floor, hacking and coughing as his insides slowly tore themselves apart. The last things he saw were the two figures standing over him, and Val crouching down so he could see her better.

“Thank you for your service, Thomas O’Hara,” she whispered, her eyes shining like ice and her smile baring sharp canines, “but know that the Mastermind doesn’t appreciate you taking advantage of her other contacts.”

Moving his body was going to be a problem. But revenge was served, so Val didn’t mind cleaning up.

Connor A.
Connor A.
8 days ago

“Final Moments of Control” (Sword Isles)
By Connor A.

King Henry stared at his reflection. To anyone else, it would look like how he usually looked, albeit with more prominent bags under his brown eyes. To him, he saw a sickly pale thing staring back with green eyes so bright that it gave Henry a headache just from looking at them.

“You’re losing control, my friend.” The thing’s voice was mocking in a way that sent pure rage through Henry’s veins.

“I won’t let you have the satisfaction,” Henry spoke low as to not alert anyone outside his room.

“Then I will rip it from your cold, dead hands.”

Henry punched the mirror and watched as blood ran down the shattered glass.

“We both know it’s not that easy.”

Henry clutched his head with both hands. As he stumbled back, his heart began to beat faster and his breaths became shorter. “Foul… beast. What… What are you… doing to me?!” He collapsed onto the floor in a mess of hyperventilation and fading resistance. As his vision blurred, he could make out a pair of legs nonchalantly approaching him.

“My name is Edward.”

*

Sally Shell was new to the castle, but she heard from the older servants that the king had come down with some unknown illness. Not knowing what else to do, she made a bowl of soup and took it to the king’s room.

She gave a timid knock. When she did not get a response, she spoke up, “Hello? Sir? I… I heard you was sick, and… Well, soup always helps me when I catch a bug, so…”

The door slowly swung open. There stood a thin man she did not recognize, though she felt that she should find him familiar. All it took was a silent shake of his head to let Sally know what happened.

She dropped the soup and ran off to tell the others, tears streaming down her face.

If she had stayed for a second longer, she would have seen a brief flicker in the man’s eyes— a simple shift from green to brown before going back to green.

Lunabear
Lunabear
8 days ago

Embers Reignited
by Lunabear

“Coward!” I bellow from across the courtyard.

The offender turns, his expression ragged.

My gait is deliberate despite the limp.

I draw my trusty dagger and point it squarely at his bobbing throat.

“Unsheath your blade, you hapless scum, so that I may do away with you!”

His eyes gaze upon me disdainfully, but he does not remove his sword.

I sneer at his weakness. “Faced with the wretched deeds of your past, and you’ve nothing to say?? Speak, cur!”

His continued silence infuriates me. My grip trembles around the hilt, yet I refuse to relinquish my weapon.

“How I long to score my blade across your throat and allow the tarnished emblem of your ruined kingdom to flow freely from your withered veins!”

His response is quiet, off-putting: “And should you manage such a feat, what comes afterward? Could you face your own demons and the guilt of another’s blood upon your hands?” He stands inches from me, now. “Are you willing to live with the ghosts of those you’ve slain weighing down your soul for the remainder of your days?”

My steely gaze falters for but a moment. He has seen it, however.

“No. You are merely a boy playing pretend. The cause you fight for is an ignoble one, and you lack the discipline and knowledge to carry out this foolhardy task you’re so recklessly defending. Go home, child. This war is not something you want to start.”

He turns from me, his graying black hair whipping in the sandy breeze. The gates open to admit him.

Hot tears speed down my cheeks as I charge forward. My dagger is poised to kill.

“Protect His Majesty!” Armed knights take aim.

My focus remains on the betrayer.

He turns, and in one fluid motion, he captures my wrist. “Impudent whelp.”

Fear steals my breath. The steel thuds into the dirt.

His eyes turn from forest green to glacial emerald. Regret. Resentment. Malice. Hatred.

“You refused to heed me in your freedom. Perhaps imprisonment will suffice.”

I wrestle vainly against his persistent leading.

The gates close on my screams.

Last edited 8 days ago by Lunabear