Writing Group: None Left (PRIVATE)

Hello, phantoms and remnants.

Why do you look so down? Sure, things have ended or changed, but that’s not always bad, right? Sometimes you can’t help what life throws at you. Opportunities pass. It’s just how things are. Maybe it’s time to lay this all to rest , because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

None Left

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!

Count on you lovely writers to choose something so amazingly flexible for interpretation. A prompt like this could bring so many different vibes to mind. Hope, despair, mourning, relief… the list is endless.

For example, this prompt could easily be about someone who’s been going through so much hardship, and finding that they just don’t have the energy to deal with it anymore, making them finally snap. It could be about someone trying to get that big promotion at work, but they’ve tried everything they can think of, done everything asked of them, to no avail. Perhaps it’s someone who just lost the only family they had left. Maybe there’s no love left between a husband and wife of many years. Or there’s no hope left after some devastating, cataclysmic disaster that shook the very foundations of the earth. It could be the last of a species finally passing. It could even be you, staring at that blank page, completely out of ideas.

Knowing this wholesome community, some could interpret this prompt as something like a mother getting all the household chores done, and finally being able to take some well-deserved relaxation for herself. It could be someone in the chaos of Christmas shopping, and finally snagging that last gift they needed to complete their list. Maybe it’s something as simple as finishing a family dinner, and having no room left after eating so heartily in good company, or finally having none of those dish mountains left to clean. It could even just be the changing of the seasons, watching as the last leaf falls from the tree outside your window as winter settles in at long last.

Happiness, despair… even comedy is possible with a prompt like this. That awful feeling when you go to have a piece of your favorite pie, only to find it all gone. Or wanting to buy a particular book, only to see someone snatch up the last copy before you can. It can be you just enjoying a box of mini donuts, only to reach into the bag to find… dusting sugar and emptiness. Or maybe it’s as simple as having nothing left to do with your day.

Whatever way you decide to weave this prompt, we look forward to sharing it with you.

After all, as a little yellow bear once said; “Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something.”

—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 four stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and two 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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Deviacon
1 month ago

New Fear
By Derek McEldowney (Deviacon)

The Creature woke, wetting each unflinching eye with a careful lap of its various seething tongues.

Its favorite smell was fear, which guided it to its favorite pastimes of chasing and hunting, which culminated in its favorite taste of human flesh.

Under the sliver of moonlight in its cowl made of midnight it crept to a lonesome house.

The Creature tapped and scraped at the window with a gnarled branch of a claw. To its dismay, there was no whimpering to follow. No hushed breathing or muttering of the accursed wind.

With an eye mimicking the sliver of moonlight, it peeked inside.

An empty bed, a silent room, a dark house.

The Creature crept inside and swept through the house as a darting shadow. Nothing out of place, no people, no fear, no chase.

An impatient roar and dripping rows of uneven fangs erupted from its stomach.

The Creature chewed its nail contemptuously, stroking its teeth with its tongues in thought.

It made its way to a small town nearby, masking the roars of its stomach under the howling of the wind.

Every window it scraped, every house it entered, and every bed that it sniffed gave no sign of life.

The Creature’s stomach began gnashing angrily at the furniture as it tore each house apart looking for anything. Any trace. A body. A finger. A hair.

Nothing.

As the sun rose it kept to the shade out of habit, but only the gentle chirping birds made themselves known and greeted the morning.

They tasted terrible.

The Creature made its way to the city, not caring who or what saw its grotesque form in the sunlight.

Everything was silent and still. The Creature tore through building after building, frantically down and around every street in its path. Still there was nothing and no one.

As the Creature sat thinking and worrying to itself, a tiny bird perched itself on the Creature’s antler. An eye spun to meet the bird, and a disdainful growling came from the Creature’s defeated stomach, and for the first time the Creature felt very sad.

Last edited 1 month ago by Deviacon
Cansas Smith
Cansas Smith
1 month ago

Deafening Silence
By TheWanderingMind

There used to be voices running endlessly through my mind. Special Ones, I called them. There were hundreds of them. It was the 24-hour creative thoughts radio, before I made them go.

Tibby was a stargazer and a dreamer. She ran across fields of flowers barefoot, not caring that the thorns poked at her feet. She had a child-like curiosity and fascination with the world around her. Tibby could find beauty and complexity in the darkest and dullest caverns.

Then there was W.L, the reckless one of the bunch. W.L stands for Wanderlust or wild lunatic, depending on the day. He was a handful; his determined, adventurous and impulsive nature got us into lots of trouble. W.L wasn’t afraid see things for what they were. He was willing to believe the impossible, explore the unexplored, and climb the mountains of possibility.

While most of the Special Ones love to roam freely, Christine never did. She preferred to stay in her office with her books and her papers. She could be uptight, insensitive and frankly, a bit of a control freak. But she gave the madness a method and kept things functioning.

Ann, being the ball of fear and anxiety she was, could be unpredictable and irrational. Her and W.L never got along. They constantly were at each other’s throats. W.L in time learned to understand that Ann was just trying to keep him and everyone else safe. However, they still argued any chance they got.

I never did understand Fit’s purpose. He was always angry, so full of pride and hate. I locked him away but he was still part of me.

The Special One’s constant chattering was hard to deal with sometimes, but I still loved them. I just, I wish I had told them that more… then maybe… they wouldn’t have left.

The last thing I said to them was “shut up! shut up! Please just be quiet.”

When I woke up the next morning, it was quiet… and it’s been quiet ever since.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cansas Smith
Gage Jarman
Gage Jarman
1 month ago

A Breakdown in Communication
by Gage Jarman

The high beams bounded along the unpaved desert road. A sputtering, popping struggle came from the truck that had been coaxed and whipped and spurred on into its death-throes. The moonless night was quiet.

“Don’t say it.”

“Say what? Let me know, Jack, just so I can be sure.” Raymond gave a wry smile.

“You know damn well.” Jack’s knuckles went white on the wheel. He looked out into the static light, watching the last of the jackrabbits disappear into the scrub.

“Hmmm…” Raymond mocked thinking. “Does it have anything to do with the—”

“Shut it!”

“Hold on, I’m just trying to be sure it didn’t have anything to do with the empty gas can in the back.”

“I said, drop it!” Jack growled.

“What’re you gonna do? Make me walk? I was already gonna start, so you can get some air or just sit here sniffin’ engine fumes.”

“God dammit!”

Jack lunged at his brother for a split second before the seat belt locked up. The man doubled over the strip of fabric, grasping at the tails of Raymond’s shirt. Raymond scuttled out of the truck watching Jack frantically fumble his hands over the buckle. Jack burst out the cab. The heavy door slammed with a resonant thunk. Jack tried to scramble after him. He jumped over the bed, skidded around the hood, but no ground was gained. The headlights dimmed as a faint circle formed in the packed dirt from their strides. Darkness slinked nearer.

*****

The brother’s chests heaved, leaning up against opposite sides of the truck.

“Now we’ll need— a jump and a— can of gas.” Raymond gasped, arms outstretched and staring towards the heavens.

“This is your fault.” Jack clutched his shirt, with his head resting on the lip of the bed.

“Sure. Whose truck is it again?”

“Your fault.”

“Yeah, blame more shit on me…. Hey, look up.”

“Well, I’ll be.”

“Heh, makes us look pretty petty.”

The men fell silent. Each glance held new light. The road faded away beneath the cobalt sky pierced by thousands of iridescent gems which seemed to shift.

Last edited 1 month ago by Gage Jarman
Astrid Jones
1 month ago

Hot Chocolate
by Astrid Jones

Penny kicked off her mud-covered shoes next to the door. She didn’t bother with her damp socks. It had been a rough day, but she’d gotten the last of the year’s potatoes planted. The only thing that had kept her going once the rain started coming down was the promise of a cup of hot chocolate and a steaming bath.

She pawed through the cupboard, pushing boxes of tea aside in her search of her cache of powdered chocolate. It wasn’t where she’d left it. She frowned and got out the step ladder. Perhaps Henry, her husband, had moved it to a higher shelf.

Once again, she came up empty handed. Penny’s heart sank. She’d so been looking forward to that chocolatey heaven in a mug. She had been sure she had a little left. At least enough for one drink.

She squelched down the hall. At least she could still have a hot soak. The thought of relaxing in the tub bolstered her spirits a little. That is, until she saw the door to the bathroom was closed.

Penny sighed and let her head thunk softly against the door. Her husband was sure to be in there for too long. She might as well give up on her dreams of a hot bath.

“Babe? That you?” Henry called out.

Penny tried to keep the frustration out of her voice. “Yeah, it’s me.”

The door opened, revealing her husband in nothing but a towel, candles flickering behind him. “Get in here, silly woman. I thought you were going to keep me waiting all evening.”

Penny blinked. “What?”

“Come on. Into the tub. You’ve been working all day. You’re getting a bath, a hot chocolate, and…” Henry wiggled his eyebrows, “a massage from yours truly.”

“I thought there wasn’t any left,” Penny said as she settled into the tub with a mug of her favorite drink.

Henry shrugged. “That’s the last of it. Now there’s none left.” He squeezed into the other end of the bath. “Now, give me those feet of yours.”

jesse fisher
jesse fisher
1 month ago

One Left
by Jesse Fisher edited by Luna

I was once asked for what reason I would set down roots when I will outlast generations beyond my own offspring. I told this being that while the loss of my family would pain me, I would still have others that carry that hurt as well.

“Who cares if one more light goes out?”

“In a sky of a million stars.”

And slowly over time, I became a familiar face, and most knew me as just a family friend rather than a progenitor. I watched as time moved on. The family grew, and it filled me with joy.

“Who cares when someone’s time runs out?”

“If a moment is all we are.”

Then the wars happened, and the family fought itself until I was the only one left. By this time I was old in mind and young in body. Death had taken me off of his list for what I’d done.

The world around me moved on, yet I stayed in the same spot. I lost count of the years as the ground claimed me, and I stayed in silence for untold time. Darkness and isolation until I felt the world move.

There was no quake, nor was there any violence around me. It was as if there was something there. Then it wasn’t. It did not matter; I accepted my fate and let it be.

More time flowed, and I felt speed increasing as the world around me began to fall away. It was only when I hit something that spilled me on the ground.

Around me was a different world. Among the fiery landscape and meteor storm, I waited until the end of this world.

Now, I’m at a place to start again.

“Who cares if one more light goes out?”

“Well I do”

WolfsbaneX
WolfsbaneX
1 month ago

“A Concerned Letter”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane

Dear Tomislav Ilic,

It has come to my attention that significant metamorphoses are to occur forthwith in the industrial site that is in your possession. I petition you not to acquiesce to the bottommost residue within your employ. You are an initiator and trailblazer among us, dear gentleman. Should this transformation take place, it would hurt our infrastructure and capital simultaneously. We all recognize that the tin trickles down. Should an individual do satisfactory labor, they shall receive recompense. How unappreciative ignoramuses undertake such prestigious matters as industry and wages is of inconsequential import to those of our station.

I have communicated with colleagues, and we are all of one mind. However, you, Mr. Ilic, have made ludicrous statements that are nugatory to your staff, yet dire to our industry. You claim to recompense your employees with actual coins rather than bonds. You have abolished your father-in-law’s, the magnanimous Mr. Chumber’s, factory marketplace. I hear tittle-tattle that you plan to reimburse the worker’s store tokens. I hope it idle prattle because such an act would bankrupt any company. While your company’s bankruptcy would benefit me greatly, the postulation you have presented to your laborers will spread to mine through those objectionable unions.

I have employed the help of the Knights of the Coin to break up these hooligans. They plan to undermine the very hierarchy of the city. Therefore, they should be dealt with prejudice and rapidity. They should be prosecuted to the fullest ability of the law. I might even start my own prison. That would educate them on why we are paramount and they are ignoble.

Mr. Ilic, it is imperative we act quickly. The gentlemen I send this letter with are decorated members of the Knights of the Coin. Should you object to my request perhaps they can persuade you. I recognize you are new to this level of the hierarchy. I assumed that that wife of yours trained you in etiquette and the things of high society. I observe now my mental failings. Fear not; I shall be your instructor. Let us learn together, shall we?

Sincerely Yours,

Pedrich DuMaits

L. L. Marco
L. L. Marco
1 month ago

After
By L. L. Marco

Thunder roared, shaking the building with its violent wrath. Lightning flashed along the shattered windows, casting the long room in a near constant eerie blue. It was an endless, raging squall. Which made the lifeless void of the infirmary all the stronger.

A dangerously thin body stumbled down the flashing isle, eyes bleary from sickness and strained from the lightning. Thin curtains stretched pale linen fingers across the empty beds and caressed Their sickly form. They were as phantoms tenderly running fingers along trembling lips. It felt…

How did it feel? They weren’t sure. Each step took Them past another set of empty beds, each curtain dividing another area of the room that was completely identical to the last. Those empty perfectly white cots stretched on for eternity. The faintest memory tugged from somewhere in the distant past but each step pulled it further and further from reach until finally it was little more than a sense of unease.

Empty. That’s all that was left. They had woken up from a slumber they didn’t remember and into a life that wasn’t their own. The vacant cots screamed out so silently that it hushed everything else. A profound sense of loneliness swallowed Them as They aimlessly shambled towards the end of the room. To the right was an open door, wildly swinging in the wind as a blinding light peeked through its crumbling frame. It was unlike the lightning; this golden light felt warm but it burned Their eyes.

The doorway called to Them with a comforting, sweet tune. They wanted to go, however another sensation pulled them away. A sense of… familiarity in this foggy wild. They turned to face the final bed which stood drenched in shadows on the opposing wall. No window illuminated it and no wind to ruffle its sheets. It was the only bed to have dark red smeared on its rusted bars and flat mattress. An indent burned into its center as if a body lay there…

“This is… my bed.”

They sank down among the rust-scented sheets.

The door slammed shut one final time.

Lunabear
Lunabear
1 month ago

A Way Out
by Lunabear (I relinquish my spot to GJ)

(TRIGGER WARNINGS: implied domestic abuse. Please read at your own discretion.)

The beeping of a heart monitor guides me slowly back into consciousness.

Sharp, zigzagging pain radiates throughout my body. I can’t so much as move a finger without it feeling like hot lead courses through my system.

I groan aloud, the sound dry. My chest rattles hollowly.

I crack open my swollen lids to an unforgiving brightness. The pain gradually lessens.

“Oh! Ceclia! Thank God you’re ok, baby!”

“M-mom?” My voice sounds as though it’s been encased in sand for about a century.

I can’t see her, but I know she’s close.

“I’ll get you some water. The doctor says the baby’s just fine, sweetie. You’ve got some sprains and bruises, and you’ll need lots of rest, of course, but that’s not a problem.” She talks as she walks, the clacking of her heels too painful to bear. She’s also babbling.

She presses a warm hand to my forehead and a straw to my lips. I sip, swallowing the cool drink slowly. It’s a rainstorm after a desert scorch.

A loud, angry commotion sounds outside of the door.

“You can’t see her, Mike! She’s resting!”

“The fuck I can’t, Trevor! She’s MY WIFE, and I have every right to see her AND OUR CHILD!”

My rampaging pulse pounds harder as Mike bursts through the door. The monitor beeps the same rhythm.

Mom is a one-woman wall. “Mike…”

“I just want to talk to her, Rachel.”

My breathing is so fast that it spots my vision. My eyes plead what my mouth can’t speak. ‘Please stay, Mom.’

“Only a minute.” He ALMOST sounds genuine, but I know better.

“ONLY a minute, and I’m NOT leaving you alone with her.”

I would weep if not for the pain.

“Fine, fine.” He steps beside me and leans down. His knuckle grazes my cheek, and I stiffen.

“You’re ok. And so is the baby. That’s good.” His voice lowers to a dangerous whisper. “I’m outta patience with you, Cel. You wanna end it all? I can help with that.” He kisses my tears away. “We’ll finish this at home.”

My heart nearly stops.

King_Nix
King_Nix
1 month ago

“No Survivors”
By King_Nix

In the deserts of Süðland existed the village of Najsahar. Here lived the last remnant of the Fæ race known as the Nagai, the snake-folk. In ages’ past, their empire had assaulted the Rhumnarian Empire, only to incur the wrath of Emperor Octavius III, and was destroyed in the Dioclesian War of Extermination. Now, in the 11th Century of the Age of Silence, Najsahar has had the misfortune of the Rhumenor’s notice. Woe to his foes, the argent vessel of Rhumnaria’s ire is without pity!

Rhumenor broke through the crumbling wall of a burning hovel. Inside, he found nothing, and headed back out into the blaze of the village. Smoke obscured his surroundings, but his vision pierced the black cloud. A figure was approaching him, unaware to whom she fled. Her eyes widened in horror as his visage cleared through the smoke, and her scream cut short as her windpipe broke in the Rhumenor’s fist. Disgust welled in his core as he watched the serpent’s corpse writhe in its death spasms.

“STHOHEIA!!” an agonized scream assaulted Rhumenor, as something drove hard into his shoulder. Grasping the offending weapon, he turned to see another Naga – a male – whose angular features contorted in fury as he attempted to wrest his spear back from Rhumenor’s grip. The Fæ lashed out with his tail, only for the Rhumenor to catch it. With both hands, he heaved the Naga through the air, slamming it upon the blood-soaked earth with a sickening crack. The creature lay, paralyzed, as the Rhumenor approached, a revenant of hate and vengeance, and crushed the beast-man’s skull under his heel.

Overlooking the carnage, Rhumenor wiped the sweat from his brow. Instead, his hand came away red with blood, though not his own. Rising, he screamed to the heavens, “Laus tì, Dioclésië!” singing the praises of the ancient king Dioclésius as he wandered into the night, leaving no survivors.

Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
1 month ago

It Came Last Night
by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)

Click.

The cartridge slides in and I turn on the consol.

The dark tv screen suddenly erupts into a flurry of red static.

My eyes go wide as I stare at the screen, and a low buzzing begins to emanate from the tv.

Finally, words begin to form through the static as the image of a town being destroyed by UFOs comes into focus.

“The War Against Giygas?” I mumble to myself as I settle into the dark couch and begin to play. It is way past my bedtime, but I am too excited to get any sleep that night. I play for a few hours until my tiredness catches up with me and I pass out.

I slowly blink my eyes open.

I lazily check the time to see only a few minutes have passed. I adjust myself to fall back asleep again, but I am interrupted by the realization of what had woken me up.

A noise coming from outside?!

Suddenly stricken with fear, I slowly crawl off of the couch and look around the room. Apart from the glow of the tv, there is a bluish glow coming from outside. I quickly turn off my SNES and run as quietly as I can manage upstairs, back to my room.

When I get there, my room is bathed in a bright, bluish glow. I freeze and then slowly approach my window. I carefully lift up one of the blinds and peer outside.

I am surprised to find that it is completely dark outside, all except for a single point of light dancing at the edge of the forest. As soon as I look in it’s direction, the light shyly turns off and my room is once again submerged in darkness.

Realizing I’ve been seen, I carefully lower the blinds and back away from the window. I climb into bed and fall asleep in the safety of my covers.

The next day, I try to tell my mom about what I saw, but she doesn’t believe me. But, there is no doubt in my mind. It was an alien!

GJFuller
GJFuller
1 month ago

The Solitary Dreamer
By Giovanna J. Fuller

“So, I’m going to be the lady knight. My sword can shoot blue fire and I-” she began.

“I don’t want to play that,” the young girl with the blonde curls and knee guards interrupted her. “It’s kid stuff. Let’s play soccer.”

The to-be lady knight frowned as her two other friends agreed. The four of them had always played pretend when they had been in the fourth grade. Now that they were in fifth grade, it was as if a switch had been flipped. One by one, each of her friends had joined various organized sports and supervised activities. None of them were interested in wrapping towels around their shoulders and carrying sticks as one would a blade anymore.

‘But it’s not kid stuff,’ she wanted to say, but remained silent. She didn’t want to force her friends to play her game, but she was sick of running around the field after the ball. It felt like torture to her. She never seemed to be able to keep up with them and she felt like a burden no matter who she played with. Instead of protesting, saying they had played the sport yesterday, she gave an unconvincing smile. “O-ok. I’ll just watch.”

It was their turn to frown. They tried to convince her that they needed her to play for the teams to be even. When she continued to try and weasel her way out of it, her blonde friend with the knee guards glared at her.

“You’re being really selfish.”

“I-I just don’t want to play…” She rubbed her arm awkwardly as she stared at the ground, mumbling the words nervously. “I want to play ‘let’s pretend’.”

The blonde girl snorted. “Well, that’s stupid. Only babies play that.” She turned to the other two girls. “Let’s go find someone else to play with us.” The stress her blonde friend put on ‘someone else’, felt like a jab.

“Yeah.”

“Yeah.”

The three of them walked away, leaving the lady knight behind.

There, alone in the field, the girl found a stick and began her first of many solo quests.

Twangyflame0
Twangyflame0
1 month ago

Tidings of Ruin
By Twangyflame0

The court of the Odyssians was as bright and colorful as it always had been. Traders coming in with new wares to offer the nobility. Artisans offering their skills and being commissioned for grandiose portraits and frescos. The wealthy and the nobles discussing politics and debating policies among the rabble and behind closed doors. Men and women courting each other in the overly-complex art romantic courtship. Such were these times of peace in this old kingdom of man by the sea.

Yet, one day, the peace was disturbed by a stranger. Somehow, a mere peasant burst through the palace doors, raving and shouting of the machinations of dark gods. The courtiers backed away from the peasant, their high born blood repulsed by his status and afraid of his raucous behavior.

The guards eventually brought the crier to kneel and held glistening blades of wonderful mastery to his throat. The King looked down at the peasant and spoke with the authority that he owned by right of lineage, “What is the meaning of this? Why does such a lowly man disturb my court and make my nobles quiver?”

The peasant gave pause. His madness dissipated for a moment as he looked at the high born king. Such was the weight men put in titles as defiant as “king”. He trembled and spoke with great trepidation, but his voice soon gave to madness yet again, “My King, may your reign be blessed by the heavens and may you grow old to see your dynasty thrive. I come bearing tidings of ruination. The seas in the north boil, monsters from the deep splash up and drive the fish to the beaches, creatures from the water pillage the villages, the northmen raid us, it is the end, my lord! The end of us all. Not even the Goddess can save us! They will come! They will come and leave nothing left! Hide! We must hide, my lord!”

He continued on and on as the guards dragged him out. The King shook his head and went about reassuring the party, joking about the madman’s plea.

RVMPLSTLSKN
RVMPLSTLSKN
1 month ago

None Left
By RVMPLSTLSKN (A Tale from an Unknown Place)

Padas walked alone through the abandoned world.

—The Deep One cometh

But no, the Deep One had come and gone. The Sleepers went with It.

Now Padas walked alone to the temples. It was the only thing to do. He prayed he wasn’t the only one to withstand the Deep One’s temptations or die to the Sleepers.

In the temples he found three things. The first was a bonemelted corpse next to a pair of scrolls. Padas, who couldn’t read, took both. Next he found a sword in Karas’s temple that looked like the goddess had forgotten it in her haste to war. This, he also took. The last was a woman in Ziniu’s temple.

He introduced himself and asked if she could read. The sword’s tip carved grooves in the stone floor as he walked. She cowered at first, but soon stepped out to face him. She wore the vestments of Ziniu’s clergy.

“You know your name?” She asked.

“Padas,” he said again.

“You’re not one of… Them?” She gestured. It wasn’t a question. She meant the Sleepers.

“No.”

“Can you fight Them?”

“There’re none left.”

“Can you fight Them?”

“Yes,” he said and prayed he wouldn’t have to.

“Good. Good, come, I’ve need of someone to watch while I cast a spell. I’ll feed you. I’m Vienas, last of Ziniu’s priests.”

“Are there others?”

Her mouth twitched. “Just… Them.”

“And the gods,” Padas said.

She smiled. “Give me the scrolls.”

He did.

“Raimundos’s Unseen spell and some notes on one of Them. Aligmantas must be dead then. I’ll try the spell. It might tell me more.”

The spellscroll she read aloud in high and formal lyric. Her voice evinced divine messengers to Padas’s piscine mind and echoed through scrollshelves of Ziniu’s great library. The sword in his hand thrummed and made his heartbeat into a rhythm of war. But in the end, she looked up at him with tears on her cheekbones.

“What does the spell failing mean? Why are you crying?”

“I can see the Unseen,” her tears red. “They’re all gone. The gods are gone. Eaten.”

Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
1 month ago

But Not Forgotten (Elethia’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

It had just been a day since the terrible fire. But as the sun rose in a sky stained with lingering smoke, the Honeykeeper (who would later be known to some as Elethia of the Ashwood) had returned to her beloved grove.

The journey had been hard, even though she had made it many times before. Her burns were extensive and raw, slowing her down with a barrier of pain.

What had once been a cosy collection of trees, each one nestling a hive of the striped, buzzing insects that her clan called Honey-Gatherers (and that she called her Honies), was now a scorched waste of blackened pillars.

For a moment, she stood in utter silence. Were they truly all gone? Just like that?

But then her ears flicked. A buzzing on the wind, somehow distant and yet close. Her head jerked to the side, but nothing was there. Imagination? Hallucination? Hope?

Snapped out of her stasis, she struggled across the grove, looking for signs of life. But despite the buzzing in her ears, no furry specks ambled through the air. No little ones hid in the cracks of charred wood. Nothing remained, at all.

The Honeykeeper collapsed, in tears. Her Honies, who were her duty, her friends, her children…all dead. All gon-

She felt six tiny feet land upon her arm. But she already knew this wasn’t real. The sensation was on her burns, which flared at the slightest touch – but not from this. It was just another mirage, like the buzzing she still imagined hearing. A hallucination of yearning. A dream of hope.

She blinked once, twice.

On her arm sat a tiny, flickering mote of light. Within the light, was a striped pattern.

She twitched in surprise, and the mote flew off, trailing through the air before merging with the sunlight. And then she felt the touch of another, and another, invisibly against her skin as their wingsong became more and more clear to her ears, and she finally realised the truth.

That yes, all of her Honies were dead.

But none of them had left.

Last edited 1 month ago by Calliope Rannis
Lari B. Haven
Lari B. Haven
1 month ago

Immortal irony
by Larissa (Lari B. Haven)

There she was again: alone, piles of bodies and drenched in that red goo that was once a vampire, just like her.

The scene felt oddly nostalgic, even if nostalgic wasn’t the right word.

The battle was vicious. She and her ally had won, even if the young vampire hunter wasn’t in the best of shape after that meet. He had collapsed into the shore screaming to her:
“The sun; it’s coming out! Run Joana, run!”

The pain in the boy’s face was heartbreaking; how emotional were those with a soul? It worried him. And for an understandable reason. Once the sun had risen, nothing would remain. Or at least that’s how it was supposed to happen.

Joana stood there, lost in the purple skies of the dawn about to break. There was a hint of peace in all of that. Even if everything surrounding her was wailings of anger and pain.

The scenario felt familiar, like a long-gone memory she had just found. Familiar like a person she loved but torn apart.

The sun slowly bathed her in gold light, cleaning the beach of its evils. All of their cries turned into firewood crackling. But she remained; she always did.

Death is simple for the creatures of the night. Even with the unmistakable hubris of a cartoon villain: sun, stakes, silver… All of this could kill. But death never came to Joana, though. That was the cruel joke that immortality played on her; the sun was nothing but an ironic reassurance that she was alive.

Maybe there was a point in the past that she could have gotten the answer to why, but never did. And gave up on searching for it. It did not matter.

“I’m the only one,” she said, standing up and picking the hunter boy up by the shoulders so they could go to a safer place. “Let’s patch you up, shall we?”

No vampire ever walked under the sun until she did. And once she was gone, no vampire would be left.

Green
Green
1 month ago

Are you even listening?
By Green

The voice at the back of her head had to be screaming now.

“You can hear the engine slowing, what do you think is gonna happen? Go back”

“Never” mumbled the pilot. Atarax’s voice drowned out by the rumbling ship. In the smog filled cockpit she could make out the LED panel that read “ ENTERING THERMOSPHERE”. she couldn’t back down yet.

“You do know your ship right? That temperature drop at the top of your left big toe, you feel that right? That’s your fuel pump stuttering, GO BACK NOW!”

She knew the voice was right. Her foot had burns all over earned through one or two forgetful stretches on her travels. Now the spot was cool to the touch. Still she pushed on.

Now entering less dense atmosphere, the heat battering the outside hull began to fade. The smog cleared a tiny bit giving the ship’s pilot a glimpse of its christened name from the cockpit,“THE PAGURUS ”. she had only a moment to admire it before the fuel empty light flickered from amber to glowing red.

“SEE!” the voice shouted. So loud Atarax’s head thumped.

“You’ve got no fuel left. Breaking atmosphere you might be able to do, but breaking orbit? You’ll have no chance.LISTEN TO ME AND TURN BACK NOW!”

“I AM LISTENING” snapped Atarax now fed up and still showing no sign of turning around.

“Listening to all the times I begged for help. All the times I cried for a little bit of fuel from those O2 breathers back there.”

The ship began to rattle, deceleration throwing her about as she pushed forward.

“No one came near, I was running on fumes. Asphyxiating.”

The smog in the cabin was almost gone now

“I had to get out.” gasped Atarax before passing out.

Glaceon373
Glaceon373
1 month ago

Out of Excuses
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

“This just in! 5 Injured at Governor’s dinner, magic user to blame! The Governor’s yearly Harvest Celebration dinner was crashed—quite literally—by a living dragon skeleton, which injured 5 as it smashed through a window. The woman controlling the dragon, named Tasha Frazier, claimed the dragon was uncovered in an abandoned structure in the forests of Southeast Asia, and that the whole facility was powered by magic, as were the animated bones she rode on. Apparently her destructive actions were to prove a point to the world, because after she said that she remounted the dragon and left.”

Katrina Hostrin turned off her television and sat on her couch in shock. After a few minutes of silence, she murmured, “You proved your point, Tasha.”

Katrina got up and busied her hands with washing dishes, her dishwasher practically begging for use in the corner. It took nearly all her magical self-control to stop the plates from powderizing in her hands.

“You were right.”

Katrina remembered every disagreement she had with Tasha about it. About the existence of magic before the catalyst event all those years ago. Katrina had argued that there was no evidence, so therefore no history. Tasha’s claims had no backing, but she got more and more insistent. So Katrina, as president of Witherleaf Archives and Laboratories, fired her closest friend.

And now Tasha had proof. And Katrina had no excuses left to not believe her.

She’d been right. She’d been right the whole time.

Tasha—bratty, annoying, inconsiderate Tasha—had been right all along.

The lightbulb above the sink exploded.

“Fine!” Katrina screamed in the echoey apartment. “You were right! The whole time! Do you feel like you’ve won, Tasha? Have you hurt my feelings enough? Have you squandered all of my happiness when I think about you? Because you have! You have, Tasha! There’s no sympathy for you here, Tasha! You hear me? None left! Not for you, ever again!”

Katrina sighed, then returned to scrubbing dishes. She’d replace the lightbulb later.

revisis
revisis
1 month ago

Enigmatic Rampage
by Exce

He slammed the bolts into their place, nearly falling backwards as he knelt for the last one.

With that done he scrambled away, around the massive table that took up most of the room to huddle against the back wall.
Maps crinkled in protest as he pressed against them, but the beat of his rushing blood drowned out nearly everything.

Ever so faintly he could hear what happened outside. The distant singing of steel striking steel.

It had all gone to shit when that creature had fallen out of the sky, smashing a crater into the fort courtyard. At first they had assumed that it was dead, some poor casualty of a battle that took place above the clouds, but when the dust settled the thing stood up.

“Gods,” the commander’s voice quivered as his breath shuddered, “curse that damn Red Beast! And the Angels! All of them!”

The being had mowed down the soldiers sent to investigate it, then had sheared through the others as if through warm butter.

He hoped someone was there to hear his prayers.

“Gods above and within, please save me.” He kept repeating just under his breath. He was both too scared to speak louder, and too scared to shut up.

So it took him a moment to realize that outside his barricaded room, everything had gone silent.

For a moment, the gap between two heartbeats, he allowed himself to hope. Had the being satiated its bloodlust? Had it gone aw-

The air around him moved, rushing towards the bolted door. Maps were torn down, and he gave a surprised yelp. As sudden as it had come, the phenomena ended only to be replaced with an ear splitting explosion when the door was torn off its hinges.

Through smoke and splinters, he could not see what entered the room, but he heard something thump against the table. Then there was a noise of protesting wood followed by a brief, throbbing pain in his head. The table’s edge slammed into it, and the wall, killing the last soldier of the fort.