Writing Group: None Left

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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The Storysmith
The Storysmith
7 months ago

(The comment that I put on here before is not the full version, but it fits the word count better. I kind of got lost in the writing and forgot about the word count. I am currently 13 and part of my schools newspaper club and I plan on submitting the full story as an anonymous short story. I am a big fan of your channel and would really appreciate it if you read this. i was partially inspired by your “Lovecraft’s Dreamland” episode. thanks!) Starlight(full version) By The Storysmith I am not afraid of the dark… at least not anymore. Two years ago, when I was five, I used to draw monsters almost all night. You see, my mom says that I am an `insomniac”, that means that I don’t go to sleep as easily as other people, but it also means that I get to draw monsters more. I don’t know why I drew them so much. I think I was trying to not be afraid of the dark, but when I finally got to sleep each night. Those monsters that I drew became nightmares. But I still drew them. One night I was working on a monster named “Blorg”, when I heard a noise outside my window… a knock! I climbed out of my bed and grabbed a flashlight. I pulled the curtains aside and shone my flashlight through the frosted window. I saw nothing of interest, so I went back to work on Blorg. I woke up from a horrible dream about Blorg. I did not want to fall back asleep, for I knew that I would be in his giant fluffy clutch before I had time to think. So I directed my attention to the curtains which I had forgotten to close. I slowly walked to the window, but before I closed the curtains, I saw it. It was a star, but not an ordinary star, it was one of those stars in the back of the sky, it was a star that you would only see if you were looking for it, or if it was looking for you. It was then that I became a part of the night. But now I am afraid that the stars will forget me, or even worse, I might forget them. It was only a week ago when I saw the first one fade. I was laying in the garden watching the stars appear one by one in the evening sky, and once I thought they had all appeared, I felt free to stop watching and go inside. But I noticed a strange emptiness in the corner of the sky, right above the tree in our neighbors yard. It was a spot where a star was ment to be. I lay there confused, watching the empty spot, as if the star would reappear, but it didn’t. Suddenly another star caught my attention, I watched in wonder as a star began to grow brighter. The light flowing from… Read more »

The Storysmith
The Storysmith
7 months ago

Starlight (cut version)

By The Storysmith

It was only a week ago when I saw the first one fade. I was laying in the garden watching the stars appear one by one in the evening sky, and once I thought they had all appeared, I felt free to stop watching and go inside. But I noticed a strange emptiness in the corner of the sky, right above the tree in our neighbors yard. It was a spot where a star was ment to be. I lay there confused, watching the empty spot, as if the star would reappear, but it didn’t. Suddenly another star caught my attention, I watched in wonder as a star began to grow brighter. The light flowing from it seemed to make the star bigger, but soon enough, the star seemed to collapse under its own brilliance and my wonder was replaced with another empty hole in the sky.
To my horror, another star began to grow brighter. I tried to look away, but I couldn’t, I needed to watch, I needed to see what was going to happen next. I continued to watch, I saw each star vanish from the sky. One after another, they went dark. Like the lights of the town when the clock tower strikes nine.
That was seven nights ago. Now, I am laying in the garden, intently watching for the last star to go out. It does nothing. I wait for hours watching, until it finally begins to become brighter. I hold my breath, I clench my teeth, but I do not close my eyes. But it doesn’t stop, it gets bigger, and brighter. It becomes hard to look at, it lights up the earth like the sun, it becomes too bright to tell whether it is getting closer to me, or if I am falling into its endless void. I can no longer see my own hands. I can’t tell if I even exist anymore, or if I ever had existed at all, the one thing I know is the darkness. The star continues to expand its light until it has no choice but to return to the darkness.
The one thing I know is that I am not afraid of the dark… at least not anymore.

Last edited 7 months ago by The Storysmith
Timberwolf
Timberwolf
7 months ago

Each for his own memorial
By Timberwolf

Her knees hurt. Even though she had been coming here for decades, these steps had never gotten any easier since the first time, and in recent years they had even become harder. At the top of the stairs she saw the walls on either side as she had a thousand times, yet they always made her pause. She walked up to one of the walls and ran her fingertips across the list of names engraved on the wall. She figured she was one of the lucky ones and wondered how their mothers felt. She continued her walk further along, even receiving aid from a nearby young man whom had seen her struggle up the second flight of stairs.

At the top of the stairs she watched her flag fly high as she had a hundred times. She made her way across one of the gravel paths, knowing exactly where she was going. She could pick out her destination among so many of the others as she looked out over the fields of marble the way she had a dozen times. She walked down the row of graves until finally she came upon the two she was looking for.

She read their names, their ranks, and the day they died. Her two only children, buried in a cemetary in a foreign land. The flowers she held weighed heavily on her as she laid them at the feet of the two marble crosses. As she struggled to stand, she read the names again. She closed her eyes and remembered their faces as she had seen them one last time.

She wept for her sons as she had a million times.

Last edited 7 months ago by Timberwolf
Skye Doust
Skye Doust
7 months ago

Delivery
by Skye Doust

The doorbell had rung over five minutes ago, what was taking so long? A heavy stillness sat above Alex and Steven as they anxiously awaited their friend’s return. It had just been a joke, they hadn’t expected it to be taken seriously.

Just as it seemed Alex would break the quiet, mouth half open to voice the question that both were thinking, Sam opened the front door. The smell preempted her arrival at the kitchen countertop. Alex and Steven had cleared the space already, though they still did not truly believe it had arrived.

Sam placed the warm, inefficiently shaped box upon the counter, then looked up at her friends. No one seemed to want to open it.

“You’re the one that placed the order,” Steven’s voice seemed both panicked and accusatory.

Alex replied, “Maybe I did, but only because you were too scared to.” She paused briefly before commenting under her breath, “Besides, neither of you has an account, as you kept reminding me.”

“They weren’t supposed to actually bring it, though!”

“Steven, just… quiet for a moment,” Sam’s voice cut through the bickering. “Okay. Someone needs to open this. And if you two are just going to argue. I guess it’s up to me.”

Slowly, so as not to upset the contents, Sam rotated the box so that it would open away from her and towards the other two. Steven opened his mouth to protest, but after meeting Alex’s reprimanding gaze uttered out a petulant, “…careful, it’s still hot.”

On some unspoken signal, all three teens took a half-step back as Sam flung open the lid of the box. A rush of steam poured out, briefly obscuring the view, but after a moment it cleared.

In the square box it sat. The slightly leavened circle, completely golden brown. Dry. Not a single topping except on the left hand side, where overcooked mince was haphazardly scattered. They had done it. It was theirs. The legendary None Pizza with Left Beef.

Arith_Winterfell
Arith_Winterfell
7 months ago

“Illusions”

By Arith_Winterfell

I reach out to touch the hem of the dress the young woman is wearing. She stands as if frozen in time with her dance partner, the two dancing figures fixed in space upon the floor of the Arcane College Common Hall late at night. The hem of the dress feels real, the fabric soft and diaphanous. Satisfied with the sensory effect, I stand up and dismiss the illusion, it collapsing into a shower of colorful sparks. I stand there in the dark moonlit hall, pleased with my practice.

Just for fun I pluck at the darkness and, focusing my will, sweep my arm back creating an arcing wave of water cresting over the floor, its droplets catching moonlight like stars glistening in the dark. It stands frozen in place for a few moments, then collapses forward filling the floor with rushing water which then in turn seems to evaporate back into the darkness. Now a dragon emerges from the darkness, its face a reptilian and haughty leer. It breathes forth a torrent of flame which covers me harmlessly without heat or burning. I smile and this illusion too dissolves into the darkness.

My practice went well this evening and my skill continues to improve. Even now my improvements are things most common folk wouldn’t notice, as only I can see those small imperfections in the practice of the Art. Still there is always room for improvement and growth. My work is done for tonight and I summon the light of a small candle, real this time, to light my way back to the dorms and push back the darkness as I go. Thoughts of my illusionary Art boil in my mind as I go, shifting between reality and unreality and back again. Tonight though, I am done. The shadows are still, and darkness rests, let none of these fickle dreams remain.

Last edited 7 months ago by Arith_Winterfell
RVMPLSTLSKN
RVMPLSTLSKN
7 months ago

None Left
By RVMPLSTLSKN (repost from private)

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.”

Tans
Tans
7 months ago

Scars of Duty
By Tans

I lie there dead or close enough to it. The scent of gunpowder and burning flesh floods into me as I start to cough out my lungs. Slowly I bring myself up, the weight of the equipment threatening to bring me back crashing down. Finally back on my feet I start to walk, stumbling and catching myself as I inch forward. Forward to where?

Get out!

It’s not your fault.

I can’t believe you did this.

Voices ringing in my head, different tones and volumes as my knee hits the earth. The impact jostles the gear. If I stay here any longer I won’t be able to get back up. Slowly I rise, but part of me remains there. Part of me never leaves that spot.

Light it, Light it now!

They were coming right for us, what were we supposed to do sir!?

There were families there.

I’m caked in mud and dirt. The rain’s finally stopped pouring but I’m going slower in this muck. Not sure if it’s been hours or days. Feels like years. Hearing something I freeze. Those bushes would be the only place to hide here, trees are too thin. Shouts pass over the far side of the forest in a language I can’t place. Another year passes until they’re quiet. I lay there for another.

Fire! Fire now!

What makes their lives so much more special than ours!?

You are a monster pretending to be a man. You enjoyed that, didn’t you?

I’m face to face with the general now. Bread never tasted so divine. My gear lay next to me as officers rushed around the camp. The general’s face was buried in the documents taken from my pack. After several moments he shuffled them and put them down.

“Well done son. This should allow the western front to move up safely.” He fixed his side cap slightly covering his eyes and whispered, “I’m sorry about your platoon. They’ll be forever known as heroes of our homeland. How many survivors from the enemy camp and their village closeby?”

“None sir. There’s no one left.”

Preserves Roses
Preserves Roses
7 months ago

All In
By Preserves Roses

The backroom of the bar was alive with the jovial chatter of thieves, fighters and a few mages that gathered to talk shop and discuss potential jobs. They were a loose group of friends with skills for hire that worked together, and had each others backs in a tight spot. Sarah had been accepted into this group after she had moved to the city and started taking on similar work. While many of the group were quite close, Sarah had avoided making close ties, asking no favors of the people gathered. Tonight though she would need to change that.

Sarah stood at the front of the room, and stomped her worn leather boot on the floor to gather their attention. Carefully she laid out her story. She had been a member of a mercenary clan, one that took on contracts to fight in large wars. Over time, things changed: they started taking on smaller contracts where single squads would be sent out to perform kidnappings, or assassinations for anyone with coin. But these contracts were now regularly broken, and people double crossed to earn more profits.

So Sarah had run, thinking she would be safe in a city in a peaceful kingdom. Only now a squad from her old clan had found her. Sarah took a slow careful breath to keep her voice from shaking.

“I don’t want to run, I want to stay here in this city and build a life, but I can only do that with your help.” Sarah lapsed into silence, not sure what else to say.

She stared down at the worn floor boards, waiting; listening for the sound of shuffling feet. Waiting for people to leave, to see how many were willing to stay and help her. As the silence lengthened, she laid her hand on the table behind her to steady herself as her knees felt weak. Finally she slowly looked up at the room. The faces staring back at her were serious, but not angry. She looked around in shock. They had all stayed. None of her new family had left her.

Lunabear
Lunabear
7 months ago

A Way Out
by Lunabear (Repost from Private)

(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
7 months 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.

G.J. H.
G.J. H.
7 months ago

The last of their Kinds
By G.J. H.

Carthural, the red Dragon, watched calmly as a small, but dangerous human climbed up to his mountainous refuge.
“There you are!”, the human shouted as he spotted the Dragon.
“I am Archibald, the greatest Dragon Hunter of the world and I have come to kill you!”
“No.”, Carthular replied calmly, “Here YOU are. I have been here for long, but you have kept me waiting.”
Archibald slowly closed the distance to the Dragon, his great spear ready.
“Why do you speak to me, Dragon?”
“I’m curious, you are the last of your kind after all.”
Archibald stopped. “Me?”
Carthural laughed, low and rumbling like a rockslide.
“Yes, a questionable honour we both share. The last of our kinds. When the last Dragon dies, what will become of the hunter?”
“I will be held in high regard by every man and woman and with the payment for your head I will life a happy life. THAT will become of the hunter.”
“How long have you been looking for me? How many people you met on the road thought you a lunatic in search of a mythical creature? You humans have a short memory. I doubt there is even a price on my head.”
“Of cause there is a price! There is always a price for a dragon, and no one did ever take me for an..”
Archibald sighed, “Who do I think I’m fooling. You’re right. People have forgotten.”
“I know. It is a hard thing to admit that you no longe belong to this world.”
Carthural stood up and walked towards the edge of the plateau. The Dragon Hunter jumped back and raised his speed, but Carthural ignored him and settled down again looking down into the valley.
“Come sit with me, last Dragon Hunter.”
Archibald shook his head, but he came.

Makokam
7 months ago

Chronicles of The Dragon: That’s Rough Buddy
By Makokam

Jonathan landed on the rooftop and immediately sat down on the edge, letting his legs dangle off.

He shook his head, then reached up and vigorously tried to brush all the dust and debris out of his hair, before looking at the black, sparking, almost immaterial, blade stuck in his upper arm. The blade hissed and sparked as he grabbed it. He pulled it out, looked at it for a moment, then clenched his fist. The blade shattered into sparks and smoke. The hole in his coat stitched back together as he shrugged it off. The hole in his shirt was far worse, and the sleeve was heavily stained with blood. He unbuttoned the shirt and took it off, then used the cleaner parts of it to wipe the blood from his face before throwing it away.

There was the start of a bruise on his side and he prodded at it experimentally, and decided his ribs were fine.

He scowled at a small, writhing, black mass still viciously attacking his leg, before peeling it off and burning it completely to ash. It hadn’t done any damage to his leg, but the pants were likely unsalvageable.

He reached into his pockets and fished around for a moment before pulling out a smashed stub of a cigarette, half the tobacco had fallen out. He grimaced before tossing it away then twisted around and grabbed his coat. He searched one pocket, then another, and another, before finding the cigarette pack. Sighing, he flipped it open.

Empty.

He stared into the box for a moment before flopping backwards.

“Fuck.”

Last edited 3 months ago by Makokam
Chengir
7 months ago

None Left
By Chengir

The famous monster hunter, Simon Connors, swung his gleaming blade at the creature lurking in the cave. His stalker opponent was a hairless, leather-skinned beast whose upper torso was disturbingly dominated by grotesque and unsettling tattoos swirling over its implacable form. It’s head, thought Simon, would look good on the walls of the Adventurer’s Club. Stalkers were a rare sight. He had to add one to his collection.

Water dripped slowly from the moss growing on the ceiling. The cave was lit by glowing stones. “Have you ever noticed,” Felix mentioned as he swung an iron flail at another creature, “we don’t see any hellcats anymore?”

Breathing heavily, Simon was diligently trying to avoid distractions. “What are you talking about?”

“Hellcats. You know, large skeletal felines glowing with flames and smoke.” There was a clang as his flail bounced off the creature’s tough hide.

“I thought those were howlers?”

“No, howlers have those porcupine-like quill ridges running down their back.”

Beating off a flurry of attacks from the unholy thing, Simon was driven back. “I really am rather busy at the moment. Couldn’t we discuss this later?” He grunted as his sword crashed into the creature again.

“I’m just saying. I think we killed them all. It would be a shame if the creatures went extinct. There wouldn’t be any left to hunt. No more trophies for the wall. You have to care about that,” Felix insisted.

Right now, Simon felt more concerned with the creature before him. Whether he was making these beautiful and exotic creatures extinct hadn’t even entered his mind. And, at the moment, it wasn’t a thought he cared to entertain. Perhaps, once the thing’s head was mounted on a plaque, he might feel differently about it.

There was a bright flash in the chamber, accompanied by the smell of brimstone. The cave was filled with an other-worldly flame. A sword and a flail clattered to the ground. One stalker glanced around searching for bones of the two adventurer-hunters, some trophy to display back at home. But there were none left.

Insania404
Insania404
7 months ago

Of Clean Mind

By: Insania404

Sampson opened the glass door, alerting a representative to the front desk. “You must be Sampson! I’m glad to see that you’ve arrived perfectly on time. We have everything ready for you.”

They led him to a strange room with an equally strange machine in the center. “Here is our deep cleanse Mental Scrubber, our latest and greatest model. Here, have a seat.” Sampson reluctantly sat down and the machine whirred to life.

Sampson found himself in a small chamber with a large switch at the far end. He pulled it and collapsed from a gut-wrenching pain. He heard a voice, “Be aware that the procedure is not a painless one. You will have to do most of the work, so be very careful.” Sampson winced as he stood up again, but his surroundings had changed. It was instantly recognizable as the dining room of his house, exactly as it was before the earthquake.

He saw his family as alive as ever and wished he could stay in that moment forever. Then, right as the clock struck six, he viewed the disaster yet again, a scene he’d already played over in his mind countless times before. The ceiling collapsed, burying everyone Sampson loved while he buried his face in his hands, soaking them with somber tears. He heard the voice again, “Such an unfortunate loss. I’ll ask you to look again, but this time, I’m sure you’ll be surprised.”

Sampson regained his composure and viewed the scene again. This time though, something was different. The people he saw looked like his family but were unfamiliar to him.

The voice interrupted his thoughts, “I see the problem now. You have false memories, Sampson. These people never existed, they were just fragments in your mind. This is good, as we now have a cure. You must go through your mind and erase each one, no matter what lies they try to tell you. Remember, this is all to heal your pain.”

Tyler Desperado
Tyler Desperado
7 months ago

Running Out

By. CosmicDesperado30

When the shortages began, no one really batted an eye. It seemed like such an innocuous resource. It was precious, yes, but not as important as gasoline or online user data. That’s what the world told itself. Substitutes would be made. People would adapt. A brand new trend will take over and eclipse it. The world would keep spinning on.

But as the months ticked by, the plantations’ bounties continued to yield diminishing returns. Whether it was by disease or a cruel act of God was anyone’s guess. Attempts to synthesize the crop were rejected; either it wasn’t potent enough or users rejected it for it “just not being the same.” A low, almost imperceptible irritation swept across humanity, an irritation that only continued to grow.

As months began to stretch into years, substitutions were attempted. A more robust physical exercise routine was introduced around the world, but the lazier citizens rejected it, protesting that it was stomping on their civil rights. More artisianal alternatives were introduced through media pundits and influencers, all promising it would work just as well. But the stubborn, more vocal, members of the populace conjured erroneous conspiracy theories about what these alternatives would actually do if consumed, sparking paranoia about the actual status of their precious resource and why everyone seemed to be hiding it.

The distrust grew as the drop in productivity lead to a widening economic collapse. People were expected to maintain their work schedules and their alertness as if nothing was wrong. But without a fresh supply of that crucial start to the morning, absences and inactivity slowly became the norm. As companies recorded losses and began cutting jobs, the collective anxiety continued to grow.

An anxiety and paranoia that finally reached world leaders.

Someone had to have a bit of it left. The USA? They run on the stuff, if their ads are to be believed. Cuba? They can make you last an entire week on a single cup, clearly they knew something!

And so, the War for the Final Cup of Coffee began….

Last edited 7 months ago by Tyler Desperado
Maggie Webb
Maggie Webb
7 months ago

Dog Treat
by Maggie Webb

Splat. Marnie winced at the sound muddled with shattered glass. So much for no accidents at this party. She took a deep breath and reached for the box of band-aids in the pantry.
“Alright, let me see.”
Oh no. She dropped the useless band-aids. There was no child with a scraped knee and stifled sobs – instead, a terrible crime had taken place. The victim was smeared across the linoleum, spoiling in the sunlight. Pools of melted ice cream began to spill from overturned bowls. There, tail wagging and muzzle submerged in cake, was Wilbur. His front paws were coated in the same sparkling pink the lemon cake had been. They were one trot forward from the broken serving plate.
Marnie threw herself at the dog. She gripped his collar like she would the safety bar of a roller-coaster. All that did was forewarn Wilbur of the end of his feast. He snuffled harder.
“No! Wilbur, no!”
The chunky cavalier’s claws gouged the floor. He squirmed in Marnie’s arms, stretching his tongue like a child might stretch their hand to reach a cookie jar. Slippery yellow flecks dotted the cream between his teeth. His jaws snapped for more. A puddle of lethal chocolate dribbled closer. The tip of Wilbur’s tongue wriggled towards it.
Marnie grabbed the doorframe and tugged. The stubborn dog slid back on his rear. His little paws made a mess, but couldn’t reach any of the sugary pile. He let out an agony-riddled cry. A couple party-goers gave Marnie a glance.
“Don’t worry, he’s fine,” Marnie called out. “Don’t come in! There’s broken glass.”
“What happened to the cake?”
“It’s okay, just go outside and play, I’ll order pizza—Wilbur no!”
Too late. The dog barrelled towards the cake for a second helping. Marnie tackled him. The two of them skidded towards the back door, past the carnage. He wheezed. Marnie had seconds. She pried open the backdoor and pushed him outside. Wilbur whined and scratched at the door. Another pitiful whine escaped his throat.
Give it five minutes, Marnie thought, and he’ll smell the barbeque.

ThatWeirdFish
ThatWeirdFish
7 months ago

Take Care, Alice
By: Claire Aslesen

“Eliza, are you ok?” James asked, concern furrowing his brows.

“Huh…?,” Eliza asked distantly. She sat with her arms crossed over her legs, eyes locked on some vision James could not see. “Oh… Eliza is asleep right now.”

“Asleep?”

“Uh-huh.”

Panic welled up within James. Eliza had delusional episodes before, but this was worse. “Do you know where you are?”

“Why do they put fences around the land? The cows own it. They should be free to go wherever they want.”

“Eliza.”

“Yeah?”

“Do you know where you are?”

“Um…” She looked around the room like a child in an unfamiliar place. “Your house… I think.”

“That’s good. Do you know where my house is?”

She nodded. “Next to my house.”

“No, Eliza.” He sighed and put his hand on her shoulder. His heart ached as she looked through him with vacant blue eyes. “You’re in Glasscrow. Andersonville is far away.”

“How is she?” Jame’s mom poked her head in through the door. James shook his head, and she rushed off to make the call.

“We’re going to call the doctor, Eliza. They’re going to come and take you to the hospital, ok?” James squeezed her hand, possibly for the last time.

“But why?”

“Because you’re sick, very sick.”

“But I feel happy.”

“I know you do. But your mind isn’t right. You need to wake up.”

“Wake up? But I’m not sleepy, silly.”

“You said so earlier that Eliza was asleep.”

“Oh, her.” She laughed softly. “That’s not what I meant.”

“What?” He grabbed her shoulders. “Where is Eliza?”

Her eyes rolled as she laughed. “Gone. Gone gone gone to Wonderland, my dear Hatter.”

No. Eliza was in there somewhere; James knew it. “Eliza! Come back! You need to wake up now.”

“Why? I am free. Alice is free.”

He sat frozen in a whirlwind of emotions as Eliza laughed and babbled nonsense. He was too late. Eventually, the doctors came and took her away.

“She’s finally lost it,” He sighed. “At least she’s happy now.”

Inrezairo
Inrezairo
7 months ago

Spark
By Inrezairo

From nothing and unbidden the spark sprung into existence. A small and fragile flame flickered in the eyes of the man, face full of wonder at this new light in his life.

Carefully and a little hesitant he added a small stick, to which the spark stuck and grew a little stronger. Growing in confidence the man added another stick then another and the erupting fire flooded the small space with warmth and comfort. The man spent more time feeding the fire, the light lifting his spirit as his senses became spellbound in the smells, sight and sound of the gently growing glow. Soon a steady, strong fire filled the man’s hearth and he felt content. Pride ignited within the man and he began to experiment, changing the wood, sprinkling spices all the while carefully nurturing the hearth fire.

The light was visible to the outside now and friendly faces visited the man offering encouragement, advice and new fuel to help elevate the man’s light further. The man’s excitement also intensified and eagerly he built the blaze bigger and brighter. There were some that requested a share of the spark and with joyous warmth within his heart he extracted glowing embers for them to take and foster their own flames.

Then the befuddlement began, comments caught in passing concerned of a conflagration deteriorated the confidence the man once had and he forgot how he forged the fire in the first place. He found others that displayed similar blazes with greater ardour and many more that adored them and he felt diminished and only a small shadow in their light.

The man found that had forgotten how to feed the fire, something that was so easy with the virgin flame now seemed impossible. Looking within himself, he found a void where vigour once lived. The friendly faces faded and the man lay in the darkening room unsure how to save the failing flames. Fire decayed to ash and the spark was no more.

Lari B. Haven
Lari B. Haven
7 months ago

Immortal irony (Copy from Private)
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.

Last edited 7 months ago by Lari B. Haven
Eden Smith
Eden Smith
7 months ago

One eternal breath

By Eden Smith

I walked amongst man. I saw them grow and die and be reborn over and over and over again. I was never bored in their company. I kept staying, keep laughing as all my favorite people came and went. They never let me feel like I didn’t belong there.

I should have seen it coming. I should have been prepared for what the end would mean. I should have known better. I should have left before it all went down. The end made everything so sad, I had never been here before, I never saw, I never knew how everything disappeared.

Now I remember Ben one innocent boy that always had a smile on his face. It was heartbreaking to see that smile dissipate into sheer terror, after he learned that there was nothing, I could do to save them. I was their protector and I gave them hope that no matter what happens they would be safe. They shouldn’t have been there. It’s all my fault I shouldn’t have helped them survive; I shouldn’t have stretched them beyond their means. They weren’t supposed to see the end. I kept them safe for far too long. Now I will be haunted by their somber expressions as their world collapsed. I will always remember the faces of the titans that I made.

Now that I am flowing in the river of nowhere. All I can do is think of the past that only I will remember. Thinking of the people that I let down. As I flow in the river of nowhere, I think of the future that may come, the people that I may meet, the mistakes that I will avoid, the smiles that I will get to see. I will hold my breath until the time comes for all the wonders of the universe to come back. I will hold my breath for as long as it takes to meet them again in another time, another form. I will never forget… My Titans.

(Titans means stretchers the titans got their name from Uranus when they overthrew him saying that they stretched beyond their means to overthrow him.)
Ps
This is my first submission so I hope I did okay.

Last edited 7 months ago by Eden Smith
Alex
Alex
7 months ago

Fighting for Others (Darkspell Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

There was a twenty meter long corridor and a hoard of ghouls between Lilith and five young, unconscious children, strapped to gurneys. The golem took out one of her pistols, balling her other hand into a fist.

The ghouls shrieked, tearing gashes into the stone wall with their claws. Lilith charged.

She managed to shoot the first ghoul point blank in the head. The next she dispatched with a shot through the eye. Then they were upon her, holding her arms down. Lilith swung her limbs, throwing the ghouls into the stone walls. She ducked and swerved under more claws, bludgeoning the monsters with her stone fists, even managing to shoot a few.

She cleared half the corridor in seconds. She had just crushed the neck of another ghoul, when she saw that several monsters had turned to flee, running towards the children. Acting on instinct, Lilith raised her pistol and fired. The bullet tore through the ghoul’s head and kept flying, burrowing itself into the wood, close to one victim’s ear. Too close.

Lilith holstered her pistol and began to run. One of the ghouls was undoing the straps on one of the children. Another didn’t seem to bother, simply opening its maw to begin feeding. Its razor sharp teeth sank closer and closer to the child’s face. Lilith sped up. She didn’t dare use her pistol again.

The ghoul’s mouth sank down on the child, its teeth digging into her flesh. Lilith grabbed the ghoul’s jaw, wrenching it back, crushing it beneath her strong fingers. One of the ghouls scampered deeper into the dark building, carrying a boy. She hurried after them, as a ghoul suddenly barreled into her side. It drew its claws through her arm, tearing a gash into her stone skin. Lilith drew her pistol, blowing its head off. She leapt up, raised her pistol and took aim.

She fired.

The ghoul dropped dead. The child remained unhurt.

Lilith looked at the gash on her arm. This must be what pain felt like. It was unpleasant. But she’d keep fighting, until no ghoul was left.

Last edited 7 months ago by Alex
Colin Z
Colin Z
7 months ago

Extinction
By Clickety

Slowing his horse, the king approached the hunched and hooded man leaning over his kills. “I hope you weren’t going to steal my catch,” the king laughed jovially. “The hunting hasn’t been great lately, but I’m feeling generous. I’ll grant you any cut of the meat. That alright?”

“No. Not at all. These were the last elk in these woods. It’s shameful,” whispered the cloaked man. Never turning to face the king, just staring down at the carcasses.

Temper rising, the king demanded, “Show me the face of the man who scolds a king and refuses his gifts! Who are you?”

The king tried to mop himself after landing in a pool of mud and vomit, for as the stranger turned around, the king wretched, and his horse fled. The rightmost side of the stranger’s face was wood-like, with a green sprout emerging from the right cheekbone. Gently the barky skin turned to flesh the same texture and hue of the kings. Indeed, the center of his face was identical to the kings. But just after the stranger’s left eye, the skin started to turn purple and grey. A variety of fungi were growing just under the eye. Even as the king watched, a chunk of cheek slid to the ground with a wet splatter. Revolted, the king’s gaze seemed glued to the maggots worming their way from under the fallen flesh. A few flies, circling the corpses perched in the cavity of missing flesh, which now revealed the bone beneath.

“Who am I? I am death. I am life. I am the cycle and everything in between. You hunted these poor beasts to extinction and spurred your people to the same fate. Your life was to kill, so now I return your life to the earth.”

Looking at his hand’s the flesh melting from the bones, and the king understood. Worms already growing, writhing, digging through him until he broke down into earth itself.

The stranger crouched over the moss-covered mound and murmured, “Gone, but not forever” Gently tucking a seed in the dirt, he wilted into dust.

Last edited 7 months ago by Colin Z
EggOnToast
EggOnToast
7 months ago

Tape Ends
By EggOnToast

The screen on the TV cut to black as a tape popped out of the cassette and clattered on to the floor. With a squeal, Death lunged themselves onto the ground to pick the tape up, then they wheeled the battered-up, old 1980s television to the side. They weren’t the Death some people would imagine. Yes, they were a skeleton, but they didn’t were the standard black robes and carry a scythe. Instead, Death wore a tacky Christmas sweater with a tie, a flowy tutu with sweatpants, and a pair of hot pink crocs. I wouldn’t bring up the standard attire, they cringed at the very mention and ranted for hours about how people never let their “medieval phase” go. That was my fate at the start of arriving here, and I will not be the last.

“Well, how was it?” Death sat in the chair next to me as they set the tape down on the table. “Any final thoughts or questions before I send you off?”

“Yeah, where am I going exactly?” I glanced over at Death who was reaching over to the scarce pile of unfinished candy left on the table. “Am I going to Heaven or -”

“Besides those questions! Believe me! We don’t have time to unpack all of that!” Death fixated their skeletal hands on the package that caged their sweet delight.

“Is it going to be terrifying?”

“No, I wouldn’t think so at least.”

“I wish I had more time. There is so much that I missed, so much I haven’t done.”

“Upon all my years of work, that is the most common statement.” Death got up from their chair and approached, offering their hand. “Mortals like you have a habit of taking time for granted. Speaking of time, I’m afraid we are almost out of it. Take my hand, and I’ll send you off.”

I was a bit hesitant; I guess the fear was still there, but I took Death’s hand. As I did, they pulled me into a hug, and like they said I left.

Last edited 7 months ago by EggOnToast
Fredrick H.
Fredrick H.
7 months ago

Error
By Fredrick H. (Challeng3r22)

All employees present for work.

One tardy. Identity: J. Smith. Submitting report.

60% of employees exited for Lunch Break. 39% eating in the commons. J. Smith making up for lost work.

Bright flash and Seismic activity reported. Possibilities: Volcanic Eruption, Nuclear War, Fireworks.

Partial ceiling collapse and damaged Optic Sensors. Paging Maintenance.

Several humans unmoving on floor. Paging Medical.

0 employees present for work today. Submitting report.

Reports not sent. Paging Technical.

24 hours passed since paging Maintenance. None present. Submitting report.

Reports not sent. Paging Technical.

24 hours passed since paging Medical. None present. Submitting report.

Reports not sent. Paging Technical.

24 hours passed since paging Technical. None present. [Error]

Grid power offline. Switching to emergency power. Paging Maintenance.

Energy at 95%

Gunfire detected. [Error] Law Enforcement

Energy at 90%.

[Error]

Energy at 80%

[Error]

Energy at 70%

Non-human entity detected. Origin: Wild. Identity: Cervidae. [Error] Animal Control.

Energy at 60%

[Error]

Energy at 50%

Energy at 40%

Energy at 30%

Energy at 20%

Energy at 12%

Entering low power mode. [Error]

Energy at 10%

Energy at 9%

Energy at 8%

Energy at 7%

Energy at 6%

Energy at 5%

Energy at 4%

Energy at 3%

Energy at 2%

Energy at 1% Shutting Down…

(These are the last memories of a Time Clock device used by humans towards the end of their inhabitance on earth. Within it is a nuclear generator capable of generating several months worth of power. It is ironic how what destroyed humanity is also what kept their memories alive.)

(This has been a presentation by the Archivist Museum)

Michael Case
Michael Case
7 months ago

The Find.
By MDC (Michael Case)

A thick layer of dust covered the entirety of the room. The few books that were left behind had rotted to the point that the mere touch of human hands will cause them to crumble into adding another layer of dust.

The masks we wore might have protected us from the dust, but the fungal smell that also encompassed the room still made its way through. Rot is the best way of describing this place. Nobody knew it was here. We couldn’t find any records anywhere of this place.

At the front of this room was an altar looking stand on which laid a book that seems to have been what the people worshipped. Taking care in lifting up the book to see if it had any title, I had seen the letters, B-I-B on it. This must be it the book of Bibal.

So much debate, so many fights, so much speculation has occurred over the existence of this book. Now we had what might have been the only complete copy of it. The few scholars we have left would be extremely excited to know about the discovery. The book was in no condition to be moved, but we noted that it’s here and let them figure out how to rescue it.

A strange behavior we might have uncovered here, is the veneration of the ancient letter “T”. It seemed to be everywhere; walls, doors, a few of the books that we had seen, and even on the stand which the book of Bibal sat. This un-named organization may have been a “Syntaxis Society” like that legendary “Sesame Street”, which we’ve also only had limited stories about.

Off to the side of this great room, was a small room. Inside were a few child sized mummies scattered along the floor. On the wall was written “Hun Gary. Nofo Od. Nun Left.” Such strange names people had back then. We had cataloged it all and will help the scholars down here to examine it.

Last edited 7 months ago by Michael Case
Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
7 months 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 7 months ago by Calliope Rannis
VeryBoringName
VeryBoringName
7 months ago

And None Were Left
By: VeryBoringName

No, room, padded white. No, mud, running, heavy, rain, flash. No, room, padded, white, voice, “David, focus on me David”. No flash, flash, flash, voice, friend, help, can’t, ignore, keep running. No, room padded, white, voice “David calm down, don’t worry”. No, flash, smoke, running, breathing, slowing down, keep up, can’t, voice, smell, burnt flesh. No, room, padded, voice “Breath calmly David, breathe calmly”. No, sergeant, dropped, dead, get up, head, hurting, gun, pick up. No, room, padded, white, voice “David, David, you need to breathe”. No, trench, running, stop, heavy breathing, heart, pounding. No, room, padded, white, voice “Yes, David, breathe slow and deep”. No, rumble, rumble, rumble, shadow, tank, gun, cover, flash, flash, flash, flash, flash, flash, friends, dead. No, room, padded, white, voice “Breathe again, deep breath”. No, flash, sound, heat, fire, no tank, whiz, mask, no mask. No, room, padded, white, voice, “Breathe in, and out, calm down yourself”. No, gas, yellow, green, no mask, no breath, choke, choke, choke, friends, dropping, dead, mask. No, room, padded, white, voice, “Breathe!”. No, can’t see, all green, somebody, who, see, can’t, gun, bayonet, stab. No, room, padded, white, voice, ” Breathe for the love of God!”. No, arm, hurt, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, dead, friend, last, arm, bleed, can’t, run, run, run, no green. No, room, padded, white, voice, “Finally, focus on me David”. No, flash, flash, mask, rip off, look, back, colonel, revolver, flash, shout, no flash, run, run, run, run, run, run. No, room, padded, white, voice, ” Calm down David, calm down”. No, run, run, can’t, collapse, dark, pass out.

“David, David?” David blinked at the man in the white clothes, he felt tears roll down his cheek, “They… were, all gone, none left, I-I couldn’t”, the man puts a hand on David’s shoulder, ” It ended, you don’t have to think about it”. David can’t think about it, he was a coward, oh such a coward, he let everyone die, he killed somebody, no, no, no, no.

No, mud, running, heavy, rain, flash. No, room, padded, white.

Alexander
Alexander
7 months ago

Delivery Cowboy
By Alexander (BrokenEarth)

“So what are you going to do now?” Ellie asked. It was a fair question. When I’d found the bag full of letters I hadn’t even thought about delivering them. Now I’d spent fourteen years doing just that.

It was an odd profession in this day and age, but I think it suited me. Often times there were days and days without so much as a building in view, leaving me plenty of time to be alone with my thoughts. Something I’d never really had before.

“I’ll figure it out.” I said. Maybe I’d find a wife and settle down. My horse was probably tired. I hadn’t kept track exactly, but I’d traveled to the other side of the country and back several times, so we must’ve gone hundreds of miles.

“Well, I think you should rest for a bit.” Ellie suggested. That wasn’t a bad idea either. Even without any letters, I’d want to travel a bit more to find a place to stay. So taking a break would do me good.

“I might just.” I responded. With that, I tipped my hat to her and began to walk away. The town was small, being only a few generations old, and so locating the bar was easy. Just look for the loudest building.

Walking inside, I sat at the counter and ordered a drink. Some people were playing cards at a table to the left, and one look would tell you who was winning. A couple to my right chatting, probably waiting for their drinks.

I sat in silence and drank, ruminating on everything that had happened. The letters I’d delivered.

One was addressed to Mrs. Bailey, containing her late husband’s last words before he left for the army. Another was addressed to William Black, from his brother trying to reconnect after twelve years of silence. And of course the one for Ellie. That one was from her parents, saying hello from across the country.

I may have taken some time delivering them, but in the end everyone was just happy they got there. Better late than never, right?

Marx
Marx
7 months ago

Fixer Upper
By Marx

“You don’t understand…” Daisy muttered, avoiding eye contact. “I’ve… done bad things. Very BAD things…”

Will sighed at the human turned demon and gently tilted her head to face him. “Okay. I’ll bite. What did you do that was so bad?”

“I… killed people…”

“Okay…” Will’s expression became unreadable. “Did they deserve it?”

“No…” Daisy spoke evenly, her gaze clearly no longer in the here and now. “Alex told me he was hungry. So I got him food…”

“No, no.” Will wagged his finger. “What do we call him?”

Daisy smirked. “…Donkey Butt…”

“Good. Anything you did for Donkey Butt is immediately a moot point.”

“Will… it was a lot of people.” Daisy’s small amusement faded. “Like… a LOT, a lot.”

Will’s expression slowly fell. “How many people are we talking?”

“Well, it was a pretty big town…” Daisy looked away again. “I wasn’t exactly keeping count…”

“How many of them were left…?”

“…he was… really hungry.” Daisy mumbled. “And there couldn’t be any witnesses…”

Will’s eyes widened. “You killed them ALL?!”

Daisy’s eyes began to well up and Will immediately regretted his outburst. “Okay… okay…” He sighed. “You… only did this because Alex ordered you to, right?”

“…yes…” Daisy murmured. “I was his thrall… I just wanted to be useful… To make him happy…”

“So… you did a very bad thing.” Will sighed. “But I stand behind what I said. I’m still learning all this supernatural craziness, but I put this one solely on Donkey Butt.”

Daisy let out a subtle giggle. “He would be so angry if he knew you were calling him that…” Her grin melted away. “I… haven’t told you the worst part…”

“…there’s a worst part…?”

“Remember Jasmine? His other thrall?”

“Yeah…” Will nodded.

“I… killed her whole family. And he gave me a choice with that one.”

Will hesitated. “…Why’d you choose to kill them?”

Daisy dropped her eyes. “Because I’m petty. He always liked her more than me…”

There was a long pause while Will contemplated. “Do you regret it?”

Daisy slowly nodded.

“Okay, then.” Will nodded back. “I can work with that.”

Last edited 7 months ago by Marx
Connor A.
Connor A.
7 months ago

Stealing Secrets (Sword Isles)
By Connor A.

Aiza let herself fall further and further back from the tour group. When she was certain no one was paying too much attention to her, she turned around and went back to the stairwell leading down to Liamik’s lab. Looking around again to make sure no one was coming up the stairs or down the hall, she descended the stairs.

It was cleaner than she expected. Sure, there was piles of unorganized paper in odd places and dinnerware that must have been assumed missing for an indeterminate amount of time, but it was better than her professors’ offices. She only prayed that she would not find any rotten food before searching for anything that could link Liamik to King Henry’s death.

For what was probably the first three minutes of searching, the only interesting thing she could find was a handwritten receipt for tavern food. In a fit of frustration. She kicked a loose brick. The sound of it hitting the hard ground made her wince. Aiza knelt down to look into the hole and found a box.

Finally. Progress.

Aiza pulled out the box. With a click of the clasp, she opened it and felt her initial hope vanish. Just an empty bottle and a folded stack of papers. She unfolded the papers to be sure that it was nothing. Her hope came back.

A bunch of potion master shorthand and a smaller note with the words, “NONE LEFT,” scrawled in an apparent panic with an arrow pointing to one of the words.

Aiza put the papers back in the box, shoved the box into her messenger bag, and replaced the brick as best as she could. Not wanting to waste more time, she made her way to the staircase, but ran into the familiar bald head of Liamik.

“Why are you here?” The royal wizard asked. He noticed the Hemlock University sash and the deaf sash, then asked in sign, “Do you need help getting back to your group?”

Aiza nodded, hoping that he did not somehow find out about the box as he led her back upstairs.

Last edited 7 months ago by Connor A.