Writing Group: Reaching into the Maw (PRIVATE)

Hello, caretakers and daredevils.

You know I’m never one to argue, but doesn’t this seem a bit dangerous? I’m sure you can handle it, but I just think you should be careful. This thing looks… mean. What if it snaps shut? I just hope you know what you’re doing, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

Reaching into the Maw

Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

What a way to close out the year, hey? A prompt that perfectly describes how we’re facing the new year head on, no matter how big and scary its teeth may be.

In the literal sense, a “maw” is a mouth. Reaching into one, I’m sure you can guess, isn’t always the safest thing. It could be a veterinarian, needing to reach deep to give some great stubborn beast its medicine. It could be as simple as a dentist tending to the teeth of his patient. Perhaps a couple of risk-taking adventurers got in a little over their heads, and one is trying to pull the other from the jaws of some hungry creature. Or maybe it’s just some pet that ate something it shouldn’t have, and their human has to pull it out.

But the term “maw” can be descriptive, as well. It doesn’t have to be a literal mouth. It could be a mage investigating some big mysterious cave, reaching their arm inside to illuminate the cavern with their staff. Perhaps a child lost their favourite toy down a gaping well, and they’re reaching anything they can into it to fish it out. Maybe the maw is the metaphorical jaws of depression, and a friend is reaching as deep as they can to help. Or perhaps the maw is the dark, gaping stairway to the basement, and one little child has to be brave and reach inside to pull the string for the light.

There are so many ways to take this prompt. So many literal, and not-so-literal interpretations. So reach far into the depths of your mind and bring us a story from within the jaws of your imagination.

Oh, and uh… mind the teeth.


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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jesse fisher
jesse fisher
2 years ago

Maws Around the Walls
By Jesse Fisher edited by Luna

Whirling machines, air and water being compressed, and the sounds of a musical in progress. Strapped to a chair a wolven looking bipedal’s yellow eyes followed as many deities moved on with this show tune. From Osanyin to the Mami Wata sang along with the conductor of the crowd. Some would call him a rip off of a mechanical octopus but given bipedal form and a doctorate in dental technologies.

The wolven just rolled his eyes as the conductor began to pry open his jaws and the whirls grew louder over the music as the conductor began to shift around in its maw.

“My my,” the conductor sang. “Look at those teeth. Sharp as knives while his prey is underneath.”

“If you are going to get dental on my mouth, then hurry up,” the wolven replied, ignoring the beat in the air. “I’ve got a date after this.”

“A date, you say.” The conductor’s grin grew as the crowd began on the date line. “Well, we don’t want you to be late, aha.”

Korun looked at the merriment and just shook his head before looking over to his other half; the metallic, sand-yellow dragoness winked at him. Her normal toga was changed to a more ‘modern’ look.

“So what is next on list for events?” the dragoness asked, following his mismatched eyes.

“Would you believe it takes a duck to convince me what to allow in?” the well dressed being replied.

“Not the most surprising, given the rest of your life.” She took a sip of the flaming drink next to her. “Some good firebeather’s tea. You know how to make it just how I like.”

“Given your condition, sweetie, I’m keeping anything not tea or water away from you.”

The dragoness gave a glare.

“And no, I will not forget your first time here or the state I found you in after everyone left.” Korun stayed focused on the wolf as he got up from the chair and the party moved on without him.

“Korun, I’m clocking out for the night. They’re your issue now.”

L. L. Marco
L. L. Marco
2 years ago

A Soul, A Human
By L. L. Marco

The soul stood at the precipice of Everything. Below, pictures flickered across the abyss so rapidly that they were little more than a piercing white blur. Or was it an inky black nothing? From up on its perch, the soul couldn’t be quite sure.

Even still… it felt familiar. And before it realized it, the soul found the pictures fading into scenes and then memories of the life it had just recently left and all the horrible, wonderful feelings flooded in with it.

The blinding glare of hospital lights. The soft, exhausted voice of a woman (her mother?) cooing to her and the warmth of her first embrace. An entire life flowed out, from her first scraped knee to her first love and then her first experience with death. Heartbreak, loss, love and friendship…

Standing up on her perch, the soul became aware of how utterly alone she was. True, this afterlife held no dangers, no pains… but to her, losing the connection of her friends and the love they brought wasn’t worth the security. The soul missed being human. She knew she could not return to her vessel… but her soul was changed and she could no longer live as a blank slate to slip into another human skin and forget. She was neither human nor spirit.

The soul put her face in her hands and wept. Wept as a human might. This afterlife could bring her no comfort. She wanted to keep these memories. She wanted…

The soul looked up as it felt a warmth tug her hand free from her face and then another grabbed her other hand. They were without form but she recognized their soft existence. Their familiarity. The loneliness was chased away as her friends comforted her.

They knew what they had to do. Voicelessly and as one, they stepped to the edge of the pool. She gave each of their warm hands a gentle squeeze and stared downward, memories twisting away until there was nothing but three tiny vessels waiting somewhere deep on the other side.

Together, they stepped off the precipice.

Derek McEldowney
2 years ago

By Derek McEldowney (Deviacon)

Lance was trying desperately not to cut his feet on the sharp rocks that lined the path ahead of him. Nina had pulled him away from the group of their friends just long enough to mention a meeting place. By the rocks, across the pier, far away from the prying eyes of their adolescent friends.

Lance’s hands were shaking as he made his way through the rocks. He had always stolen glances of Nina, and it had not gone unnoticed. A moment with her away from the rest of the world was the most precious thing he could have asked for.

“Over here!” Lance heard a sweet voice echo out toward him. Lance followed the sound to an opening in the rocks by the water. It was a small cave. There were stalagmites and stalactites rowed like teeth along its opening. The sea beneath sprayed a mist of frigid breath into his face.

“C’mon, hurry!” Nina’s voice called.

Lance followed Nina’s voice inside. It took his eyes a moment to adjust to the darkness, yet still he could only hear Nina call him closer and closer to her.

“Come closer… close enough to taste.”

The voice warped and deformed. It wasn’t Nina’s. It was deep and gurgling, spoken through the foam and flotsam churning within the cave.

“Let me lick the sorrow away. Let me rend the flesh from your bones. Let me savor the taste of terror as it drips from your last breath.” Lance felt the damp air around him turn frigid, sour, and thick.

Lance ran back to the mouth of the cave frantic to make his way out. As he reached the rows of jagged rock formations, the entrance seemed to collapse on him, like a mouth snapping shut.

“Lance! Lance, wake up man! Are you ok?! Where’s Nina?” Lance could hear the frantic voices of his friends as they drug him out of the water and onto the warm sand.

“She… ugh, the cave.” Lance meekly gestured his arm down a side of the beach.

“What cave, dude?! What happened?”

“Why… am I… so hungry?”

2 years ago

Panning Space Dust

By IsaDragon337

“Exterior communications are down, Captain.” The Sierra’s ship intelligence declared to the darkened bridge.

“As expected. Here we go…” Alexi leaned forward, scanning the cloud of space dust in front of their ship for the massive Alexandrite deposits said to be found there. The “teeth” of the Maw Nebula were very valuable and able to shred most ships that dared to venture in to harvest.

The Sierra had a few advantages. A human-built ship was modular, and Alexi had invested in nebula-grade armor plating and a whole complement of space-debris retrieval measures.

Othala had even left her medibay for this, standing too still for any living being by the ship’s diagnostics. “Shield charge is being siphoned by the particulates. By my calculations, we have six standard hours before we lose too much power to get back out.” The running lights, turned low to conserve vital power, reflected off the chrome plates of her fingers as she adjusted a dial with the care of a life support system.

“In a worst case scenario, this would be four hours.”

Alexi bit their tounge to keep from swearing. “That’s less than we predicted…”

“We got this.” Germonia flexed his hands on the controls. “That’s what you humans say, right?”

“Yeah.” Alexi squinted out the porthole. “Port three clicks, plumb line‘s taught.” The device was technically called a Gravity Well Detector, but could also be described as a weight on a string.

Germonia gently tugged the ship’s nose over with unsteady hands. The ship computer translated this to a smooth, graceful arc as if she was piloting herself. Manual steering was used when sensors failed.

“Scanners?” Alexi turned with a flourish of rich red coat, took three steps, and elegantly flipped back to the reinforced porthole on slightly heeled boots.

“Lots of white noise, Captain. Larger chunks up five and starboard three, oncoming.” Talin called from the far side of the bridge.

“Tell me if anything changes.” Alexi took a deep breath, and settled in for the long haul. “Let’s see what we got.”

Last edited 2 years ago by IsaDragon337
2 years ago

Trial of the Sand Dragon
By Twangyflame0

The clatter echoed through the entire mountainside. It shook with a thousand voices chanting and objects clanging together. Near the base of the craggy mountain, the Dragonfolk chanted and taunted at the chosen being brought to the mouth of the cave. They bore shields made of large bones and drudged forward, spears pointed against their backs.

The Tyrant watched from his raised palisade, his wings unfurled and his fingers wet from the most recent sacrifice. The other Dragonfolk watched from the walkways along the cave walls. As soon as the mouth of the cave was moments away, the guards stopped. Those chosen to die today, however, kept marching.

The sun was blistering as the chosen walked out into the dunes. The sand crunched beneath their feet as they searched. They looked out into the horizon, waiting to die.

The plumes of sand went as high as mountains. The roar was heard despite the vast distance. All those chosen didn’t move, instead, they took to steeling their hearts and minds, for their bodies would be crushed into the sand soon.

It got closer and closer. The chosen felt the rumbles from the earth rise up. Their hearts began to beat faster. Some of them had accepted their fate, others not so much. Others felt their instincts try to push them to run into a dead sprint back to the cave. But their minds knew all that was waiting for them were spears ready to skewer them.

This was their only chance.

Die… or ride the most dangerous beast. This specific beast that had taken thousands of lives, not to mention the many other of its kind spawned. One could barely see its rough sandy scales as the dust plumes got closer.

Soon enough the plumes stopped. The world seemed to stop. Time dragged on and on. Not a sound was created. Until the ground opened up and those that didn’t move out of the way were swallowed up by a giant maw.

2 years ago

The Maw of Worry
By Exce(checked by Wvlf and Luna)

He let out a sigh, rubbing his forehead whilst staring at the yet again empty page.
So far he had started and deleted two stories, not because they were bad but because it just didn’t click.

After each sentence he had gotten distracted by the smallest things, whilst trying to arrange the next one in his head.
It didn’t work. At all.

He raised his head, looking over the top of the laptop into the quaint kitchen he sat in. Well, this wasn’t a normal week, was it? He was doing his best to keep the daily routine going, but it had all derailed yesterday.

Not that he was feeling sick. And his grandma seemed fine too, besides everything that happened before.
So far only his mother had tested positive, and it wasn’t much worse than an annoying flu.


Exhaling deeply, he closed his eyes, tilting his head back to rest it against the wall, careful not to dislodge any photographs.
The end of the year could have been so much easier. Now he couldn’t even sit in his usual spot, let alone leave the god damn house.

Now they all would have to get tested, and hope it all turned out fine.

From one day to the next it had felt like a monster had opened its maw beneath him; it had been there for most of the year, but now it had noticed him too.

He gritted his teeth, pulling his head forward and opened his eyes again to the empty page.

Facing down the imaginary monster.

Everything would turn out fine. Everything would work out eventually.

Bringing the coffee to his lips, he took a deep gulp, pushing back the vague feeling of tiredness.

If LumenOrbis did not provide any worthwhile story, maybe he should just write down the things that did stuck in his brain.

Paul clicked on the G-Doc, and the text cursor started blinking.

“He let out a sigh-”

Last edited 2 years ago by revisis
Amy Trow
Amy Trow
2 years ago

“Welcome Aboard”
By minergirl778 (AKA frogfireFantasy)




Conthrax awoke on a soft surface. They looked down in disbelief at themself. They hadn’t expected to wake up at all, Especially after their disastrous performance at blending in with that human crew… They’d been careless, and it should’ve cost their life.

Which begged the question.

Why were they still alive?

The metal floor was cold beneath their claws as they walked through the quiet vessel. It was a sizable ship, but there didn’t seem to be very many people on it.

Eventually, they smelled something


They followed their nose to the ship’s main room and finally spied their prey. An oblivious looking humanoid, Garbed in what appeared to be… a bright pink space suit? Tch. This was too easy.

They crept out of the shadows, breath hissing and teeth bared. Their eyes were trained on their target, hungrily surveying the foreign form. They had the helpless humanoid right where they wanted-

And then they turned around.

“Oh! You’re awake! Thank goodness you’re alright! I found you floating out in space, and I was so worried I was too late. How are you feeling?”


The creature was stunned. Stunned enough to not react. All they could muster was a braindead “Uh….”

“I tried my best to patch up your wounds, but I’m no medic. If my research is anything to go off of, your species does a bit better when you… Eat!” The humanoid smacked her helmeted head “Oh my gosh, I forgot to grab you something to eat! I’m so sorry! You must feel awful, Here!”

Before they could even get a word out, they found themselves picked up and carried back to their room. As the humanoid tucked them back into bed, they found their words

“Wh…why are you doing this?”

“Why not?” She reasoned “I’m not just gonna leave you out there! We all make mistakes, but dying is hardly something we can learn from, no?”

She walked towards the door, turning back for one last look.

“And no need to worry….You’re safe with me.”

Her single eye winked.

Last edited 2 years ago by Amy Trow
2 years ago

Can you hear it?
By Clanso
(Characters from last weeks submission)

As the men in dark suits leave Jason’s office, he can do nothing but blankly stare after them, his mind still refusing to accept what had happened. When the last one closes the door behind them, Jason slumps in his chair and buries his head in his arms, trying (unsuccessfully) to calm down. He remains like this for several minutes, until he hears a familiar pair of footsteps outside of his office. Seconds later Alex triumphantly bursts into the room. His presence and the light that comes into the dimly lit room with him push the dark thoughts and anxiety away.

Alex looks a mess with his work clothes torn and stained purple, hair disheveled and claw marks all over his body. He’s hurt and he’s bleeding but he doesn’t even seem to notice, focusing all his attention on Jason, making him extremely self aware of just how anxious and messy he himself must look to his assistant.

“I got them all out!” Alex says, grinning. He opens the hand that still has an intact safety glove and shows Jason the big, purple lumps he’s holding. They’re pulsing gently.

“They were exactly where you said they would be, way back in her throat. She nearly bit my arm off…bloody parasites….” Alex tosses the lumps into the bin haphazardly. Seeing Jason’s expression he decides to take his chances.

“These men…..” He tries but Jason cuts him off immediately.

“It’s alright.” Jason tries a smile but he’s painfully aware that he can’t fool Alex. Humans are very empathic beings. Luckily treating Alex’s wounds is more urgent.

He dozes off as Jason bandages his torso, exhausted by the poison. His skin feels warm to the touch and when Jason puts his ear close to Alex’s chest he can hear the inherent magic of a human life singing in tune with Alex’s heartbeat.Oh how Jason longs for a heartsong this beautiful! But magic is tied to the peculiarity of human souls. Even the men in the dark suits can’t reach down *his* throat and change that.

Can they?

Last edited 2 years ago by Clanso
2 years ago

The Reluctant Muse
By MasaCur

Derek stared at the blank document on his computer screen, trying to figure out something to write. Words were just beyond his grasp, as if taunting with the promise of being written, but never materializing.

“Hey, whatcha doing?”

Derek turned around to the violet-haired girl who had come into being behind him. “I’m trying to write, Nabiki.”

“You haven’t written in a while, huh?” Nabiki’s voice was sarcastic and contemptuous, seeming to take pleasure in his lack of productivity.

“Quiet, I’ll write something this week, I swear.” Derek turned back to the screen, glaring at it. The emptiness of the document ate at him.

“Maybe you should just give up, and leave my world alone,” Nabiki hissed.

“Maybe if I do, you’ll end up fading out of existence,” Derek replied. “Ever think of that?”

“It’s still better than you and your friends meddling in our lives.” She leaned against the wall, a frown on her face.

“I’m not going to let this defeat me!” Derek pronounced. “I will reach into the depths of my creativity, and make something this week. Genre Break is not going to die!”

Nabiki snorted. “Sounds more like you’re just going to pull something out of your ass.”

“I can do this! I’ve done it before! Why is it so difficult for me now?”

Nabiki crossed her arms over her chest, rolling her eyes.

“What? You have something to say?”

“No,” Nabiki answered. “Why should I help you?”

“You’re my character. I can force you to.”

“Maybe you’re just suffering from some seasonal depression. Try taking some vitamin D.” Nabiki’s hands quickly covered her mouth as soon as the words came out.

Derek leaned back in thought. “That’s a possibility. Thank you.”

“You’re not welcome!” Nabiki snapped back. “Also, maybe you’ve been too stressed out over the holidays, and that’s eating away your motivation!” She growled. “Dammit, stop making me do that!”

Derek grinned. “Yeah, I like the way this is going. Thank you very much.” He rested his fingers on the keys of his laptop, words springing forth.

2 years ago

The Darkness’ Gorge
By Giovanna J. Fuller

I miss home.

I miss my bed, warm and soft.

I miss my dish full of food, it’s full day and night.

I miss my toys. The box is full of entertainment waiting for me and always available for me.

I miss her. She’s always so happy to see me when she comes home. She kisses and hugs me. My favorite person in the whole world. Her soft hands, her soothing voice.
I just want to go back. Why can’t I find my way back? I was just there. I remember it so clearly.

I had only stepped out for a minute. She always stops me before I can actually leave, but I managed to make a break for it. I had expected her to catch me and I had made it to the woods behind the house before she could catch up with me. And then…and then I was somewhere else.

I was taken to a new place.

Mean people.

Lots of poking.


I slept a lot, even when I didn’t want to.

Now I’m out. I had made it out.

I’m hungry.

She’ll have food ready for me. She always does.

Tuna, turkey, chicken, all of them waiting for me in my dish next to my bed.

I call out into the darkness of the woods. I call out for her. “Meow-m! Meow-m!” My stomach is in knots. I’m so hungry. It hurts. I keep crying as I search for her, the scent lingering in the air only faintly.

The sounds I have learned to be my name made me turn.

My eyes water.

It’s felt like forever!

She’s here!

I bound over to her, mewling happily.

I’m home!

I’m home!


She screams. She’s being sucked towards my mouth. She stretches, her body becoming flat as parts of her are pulled first. The sound is awful. She’s so scared. I can see that she is trying to run away from me. But it’s no use. It’s all too late.

She’s gone.

I’m alone…

I’m alone…

I’m hungry…

Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
2 years ago

Is it Normal for Cats to Grow to Large Sizes? (Posted on r/animalhealthquestions)
By Matthew (Handsome Johanson)

As you can see from the title of this post, I’ve got a bit of a problem on my hands.

It all started a few weeks ago, me and my buddies were coming home from a drink when I spotted a lost cat out of the corner of my eye. Being drunk and emotional, I headed over to pet the cat with my buddies in tow. As we got closer, the cat skidded off, but, and we all agreed on this, the cat was much larger than normal.

Now, I know what you are thinking. Darkness and drunkenness are not a great combination. It could’ve been anything. But, honest to god, there were five of us, and there is no way we all could have hallucinated this together.

Just the other day, I decided to take the scenic route back home from work (decidedly not drunk and it wasn’t too late.) As I passed through a bit of woodlands, I noticed another huge tabby chasing a dog! I stopped to watch the pair as they weaved through the trees at lightning pace. The dog was a husky, I think.

As I watched them, they rounded a tree and I heard the dog yelp out in pain. The cat must’ve got him! It was horrible! Not even the bones were left! If you don’t believe me, check the image I included with this post of the cat after the deed was done. Apart from a few drops of blood, you could barely tell anything had happened at all. Sorry for the blur in advance.

Things are getting bad here. I’m nervous to be out late at night. I’d like to know how safe I am. Maybe someone’s been feeding the cats protein bars or something? Maybe there’s something in the woods that just affects cats? Should I call animal control?

Any advice welcome.


I live in a small town in West Virginia. There isn’t a lot of pollution in my area, and none of the other animals seem to have been affected.

Thanks again for your help in this matter.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
2 years ago

The History of Dragons
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

Once upon a time there were dragons. Great reptilian beasts filled to the brim with magical energy, larger than elephants and faster in the skies than swallows.

They lived in places that reeked with magic, so it did not take long for the power-hungry humans to find them. Soon they were bred like cattle and treated as such, the only difference being the price tags wrapped around their necks. They quickly became the prized pets of the rich.

But captivity was never the life of a dragon. Their lifespans dropped to barely fifteen years. Agitated royalty commissioned their magiscientists to find ways to “make their dragons last longer,” and paid handsomely for the work.

This led to one kingdom’s discovery: cleaning their teeth with poison.

The poison in question was the nectar of flowers that grew next to a cavern where many dragons could have their lineages traced back to. One tablespoon would kill a person in minutes, but dragons appeared to eat one bloom every winter solstice to keep their immune systems functioning.

Naturally, the kingdom’s ruler hired dragon dentists to brush his pet’s mouth daily.

Everything seemed fine until one day the dragon entered a mad frenzy, eating two of its handlers and killing five more. When guards tried to slay it, however, it would not die. The sheer amount of poison in its veins was enough to keep it alive beyond death.

They had tried to domesticate a monster, and now the monster was biting back.

The palace was quickly abandoned, the dragon still chained up inside it. Its body decayed, but its bones still hummed with life.

Centuries passed, and magic slowly began to dissipate from the earth, becoming no more than myths and fairy tales. The dragon slept, its ribs heaving with breath, but no lungs remained to capture the air.

One day, after magic had made its shocking return to the world, a woman with a point to prove would find an abandoned structure in the middle of the jungle.

And that woman would find the dragon.

And together, they would change the world.

2 years ago

Reaching into the Maw

Padas lay awakened in the darkened, hollow temple. He stared up at the reflection of the Everflame’s pale light on the ceiling. Next to him, Vienas slept. Her breathing was perhaps her most rhythmic attribute. Her days and nights blended now that she was blind. He’d found her sleeping during the day several times, but she was always awake when he rose at dawn.

All told, her schedule wasn’t unlike his own. He ate when hungry and drank when dry. It wasn’t like they had many options for company. Just each other and their dreams.

He didn’t like his dreams. They were too often memories, twisted. They were why he couldn’t sleep tonight. All his faith, all the protections—the Everflame, the Pearls, Karas’s sword—and The Deep One could still reach him. Promise him better things.

He’d stood on a wave, he wasn’t sure how. He never looked down. It seemed normal.

He was alone. The Deep One saw him and in Its massive eye, he saw himself. It wanted him to join it, to eat and be home.

He knew this was false. He’d clung to a pillar and survived The Deep One’s tsunami when It rose. Ascended. It hadn’t seen him. If It had, he would’ve been one of…

One of Them.

But in the dream, he joined it. He stepped into Its mouth and crawled up the scaleless, slimy body and onto Its head. The crown jewel, he was. And he ate with his fellows as The Deep One swallowed gods old and new and unformed. It consumed the animals next, the fish and birds and clams. Then he’d awakened.

A god’s blessing echoed in his thoughts.

-This is for you, the Living.

Vienas slept quietly nearby. The Everflame flickered like a blue candle in the cavernous structure. Karas’s sword hung on the wall, held by two blessed nails. And the pearls were in a bowl, a dull reflection of the Everflame’s illumination.

This was home now, He thought. And he would make it safe. There might be other survivors who needed a place to feel content.

2 years ago

Facing Oblivion
by Magan

The old boar’s ghost watched, disturbed, as carrion-eater beastfolk feasted on his body. One priest saw this, laughing, “You’re not using it anymore!” It was their right as priests, needed to free his soul from Dracora. At least they’d gotten his pelt off correctly, to be returned to his village with fire-cleansed bones.

Next day, he leapt into rising smoke of the funeral pyre, shedding age and regaining his prime. The smoke tunnel blocked sight, but prayer-songs from his village rang clear, manifesting as a path of woven light.

Wait. Where was his spirit guide?

Something furry knocked him over as massive obsidian teeth crunched where he’d been standing. The winged lion rolled off, shoving him down the path. “Your guide got eaten, I’m the replacement, let’s go!”

The Maw of Oblivion reared back, towering over both souls. It was all shadow and teeth, its shape constantly shifting.

The boar didn’t argue as bolts of rainbow light flashed into the tunnel, driving the Maw back. Rainbows created by his village. The winged lion caught two bolts. One became a bright sword, Another coated his body in shining platemail. As the boar followed suit, gaining rainbow tusk blades and spiked armor, the Maw of Oblivion dove into smoky tunnel walls, hiding. They could hear its teeth grinding together as it circled.

“Somehow, I didn’t think death would be this exciting,” said the boar, back-to-back with the lion.

“We’ll be safe once we reach the Rainbow Dens. It can’t–.” He broke off, screaming as the Maw grabbed him from below.

The boar charged, goring the monster and shattering teeth as he dove inside. It was freezing, not hot or muggy, acid and jagged teeth everywhere. Ignoring pain as his very soul tore and melted, the boar hoisted the lion onto his back, took up the sword and cut their way out.

The Maw shrieked, wounded, and retreated. Both souls were badly hurt, but the lion reassured the boar that they would heal with time and rest. “You’re insane,” he added, “I like you.” The rest of their journey went without further incident.

2 years ago

“The White Dragon”
By King_Nix

Arthur Domínguez York, the Archduke of England, paced in his study.
“It’s not fair.” he kept thinking. Not two months had passed since the Emperor of Rome, Arthur Trajan, had announced his abdication. For sixty years, he had reigned, conquering and uniting the entire Earth under the Cross and Eagle of Rome. York continued to pace before the painting on his wall, which depicted a great, pristinely white dragon, jaws wreathed in fire. Opposite, a knife in an ornate sheath rested on his desk.

“He killed my father. He killed my mother. What is Rome, but a horde of orphaned zealots pining for the end of days?” His darkened thoughts continued. He slammed his fist against the wall, and shouted, “I demand justice!” In that moment, the room darkened. The dragonfire of the painting was all that illuminated the study, and the beast itself slithered and hissed in the portrait.

“Hail, he whom the true lord of Men calls King!” it bellowed. “The justice you desire has been robbed from you by the God so beloved by the Romans: He Who would enslave us all!”

“I am already a slave, then, wyrm. That God’s victory is already achieved.”

The serpent chuckled, billowing smoke and dripping venom. “Not so, my King! Look deep, and witness what His victory shall leave you!” It opened its jaws, and York saw within a vision.
Countless souls were chained to scorched rock, kneeling before a throne of brimstone. Upon it, he himself was shackled, naked and bleeding. Above the charred waste hung a vast ocean of flames, acrid and relentless. York cried out. Driven mad, he seized the knife from his desk, and plunged it into his right eye. Digging it out, he thrust it into the maw of the dragon, and the vision ceased.

Withdrawing his hand, it clasped a bronze chalice, with the beast’s black venom brimming.
“Drink, my King. Drink, and you shall have the knowledge to challenge that God! Perhaps, even, you shall supplant Him!”
York brought the chalice to his lips, and began to drink. Here, begins the End.

Makeshift Mousepad
Makeshift Mousepad
2 years ago

The Great Gray Wendigo
By: Makeshift Mousepad

The transporter treads hit rough terrain causing Charlie’s already nervous fingers to slip from his rifle. The captain would’ve been pissed but Delta anticipated the event and grabbed the barrel before it could clatter against the floor. The other riders glanced over before promptly minding their own business.

“Really, rookie?” Delta’s voice filtered through his helmet’s speaker.

“Give me a break. It’s my first mission with the Dragon Riders and it’s the biggest one we’ve seen.” Charlie responded.

Delta rolled his rigid helmet. “Listen kid. If the name ‘Dragon Riders’ has taught me anything, it is that the media hams things up for the public. I mean… come on. ‘Operation: Wendigo?’ Next they’ll be sending us to neutralize Dracula.”

Charlie leaned closer, his suit clattering against itself. “They said this thing leveled a city!”

“What a coincidence. These guns can do the same thing.” Delta’s characteristic smirk seemed to beam through his visor. “And in these suits, we wouldn’t break a sweat.” He flicked his chest plate creating a few sparks.

“We’ve got contact!” A voice shouted from the driver’s seat.

Before they could raise their heads, a flash of light roared through the aisle of the transporter. The atmosphere of war washed past them like a freshly split oyster. Charlie and Delta quickly noted the distance between them and turned their attention to the light. At the delta of their ruined transporter stood a hunched figure with their arms stretched out to their sides.

Charlie, frozen in fear, couldn’t raise his gun. He could only watch as metallic spikes shot through all of his comrades who managed to move.

“Pathetic.” Joseph’s crimson gaze drifted over to Charlie. “Motionless, when moving mattered most.”

Charlie clenched his teeth at that and gained his resolve. Lunging forward, he readied his weapon. But like lightning, Joseph lobed off Charlie’s forearms with his bare hands. The screaming pain sent Charlie to his knees. “Why are you doing this!” He choked through his pain.

With contempt Joseph answered, “To save humanity from its own maw.”

Last edited 2 years ago by Makeshift Mousepad
2 years ago

“Anything For Love”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane

My hand brushed against the blunt teeth, the oozing saliva and hot breath causing me to recoil. But then I remembered you. Your soft, kind smile. Your sharp wit. You said that whoever gave you something that was truly remarkable could have your heart. So I went into the mouth of a loathsome beast, a brute and bully. I dug around in its mouth, but I found nothing like you requested. I dared to go deeper, rummaging around for any trinket, any treasure I might clean off and give you. Still nothing.

I was shoulder-deep inside of it when my resolve began to falter. Its incisors started drawing blood. I had to settle for something else. Like a bird in a snare, I flopped around, clawing for anything that would be a suitable gift. Finally, I thought of something. It took a lot of effort to go after it, but my tenacity paid off. The beast didn’t feel a thing as I pulled my hand out of its mouth, my gift for you clutched tightly in my hands.

I put it in a box just for you. Go on. Open it.

What’s the matter? Don’t you like it? It was the only thing I could offer you that was remarkable. Now your heart is mine, right? Right?

Where did I get it from? Funny story—

Fine. It’s mine. It’s my heart. What? Do you not like it? I have eight more. I can get you one of them. Are… are you okay? What? Stay away? But I love you. Why would I ever need to do that? Wait, please don’t run! No, please! Please. Don’t make me do this. Please don’t. I ripped out my own heart for you! You are mine and I am yours. Forever.

What? B-but you said… Fine then. If you can’t take my heart, then no one will get yours. Now hold still. I’m taking what is rightfully mine. Don’t squirm. This is going to hurt me more than it’ll hurt you. Now open wide.

2 years ago

Oh The Mundanity
by Gage Jarman

The world didn’t feel real. Not anymore. It’s a simulacrum of existence. A grand falsehood pulled over the worlds eyes with no escape. Everyday starts, proceeds, and ends the same way. I would think it a dream if it wasn’t for my aches and the slow progression of time. At least dreams travel quickly. Why must this one persist?

I walk down the gray roads with skyscrapers looming over me. Constructs of processed earth and just as cold as their calculated construction. There was no passion, no beauty, or satisfaction in their creation. They serve only to house us until we die. A death march for someone else. I’m so tired of this purgatory.

What do I create? What purpose is there in these tasks besides their completion for a check. What difference does it make for the world. There is none. My life is wasted. I follow without thought. I listen to the rules of decorum like a proper citizen, but to what end? There’s no food, no product, no goods from this labor. I run numbers to validate the feelings of other parties, but I do not control whether they follow them or not. Even if they do, I still wouldn’t have made anything other than placating the anxiety of some pig richer than I, wallowing in all their success and opulence.

The sidewalk distorted in front of me. It was too cold for a mirage. The strange phenomenon caught my eye, but I kept walking without paying much interest. That is, until it grew. I stopped walking, but the mirage shifted still. It moved closer and the blue reflection turned red. A dark mist rolled and pooled on the ground below until a pillar formed. The distortion opened. The fabric of reality tore and there, in the rift, was a cavernous mouth. Long like a shrew’s, and with the appearance of exposed flesh, it spoke. Words slithered out from its maw, slolluming through ivory railroad-spikes.

“Place thine hand, if thou wishes to depart.”

The world wasn’t real….

The mouth was slimy and undulated at my touch.

Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
2 years ago

The Bookshelf’s Valuable Lesson (Nyssa’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

When Nyssa’s academic curiosity drew her to an old bookshelf within the dark dungeon, she didn’t realise anything was wrong until she stuck her arm right into the shelves.

At first she was confused. Trying to take a book, she realised that the pages seemed stuck together, and the books were fused to the shelf itself. The whole thing was just a single, seamless mass.

But before Nyssa could react, the shelves suddenly deformed into a mass of teeth, and slammed shut upon her arm.

The pain smashed into her, blurring her vision and deafening her ears with the sound of an awful, raspy scream – her own scream. Nyssa’s only thoughts were “Get out get Out Get Out GET OUT!!!”

With pure instinct, she clutched her other hand over her heart, and screamed again, but this time with a word of power buried within her howl. She felt the thunderous force build up within her chest, and prepared to release it outward–

–when she glimpsed Dante through the tears of her peripheral vision, the elven monk standing beside her as he unleashed punch after punch against the Mimic. Realising her mistake, Nyssa tried to hold back her spell–

–but it was too late. With a great crash, the shockwave erupted out of her. The Mimic was smashed against the back wall, teeth scraping across her arm – but it did not let go. Dante was flung to the side, impacting the stone with a nasty crunch. She heard a low groan leave his mouth as he slumped to the floor.

Nyssa tried to wriggle free of the shapeshifting jaws, to no avail. Desperate with fear, she looked away from the horror, closed her eyes, and yanked her arm with all the force she could muster.

A hideous noise, a great tearing pain, and her arm was free, and Nyssa was stumbling away. She refused to look at her arm. But the pain was indescribable. She could hear it dripping.

Then as she staggered onwards, the giant figure of Rosewin rushing past with greataxe in hand, she screamed once more.

“HELP! HELP!!!!”

2 years ago

Champagne Smiles and Glittered Kisses
by Lunabear

The rancorous, drunk crowd howled just beyond the velvet curtain.

Taryn’s stomach wanted to revolt. Heavy bass threatened to vibrate her into a puddle. She could hardly feel her heart assault her ribcage.

Swallowing did nothing to alleviate the dryness in her throat.

The crackling of the ear piece caused Taryn to shriek. She slapped a stinging hand across her mouth.

“Cray just walked in. Corner booth.”

She bit her lip at Thane’s announcement.

“H-how many?” She hated the tremor.

“Six. Deep breaths, baby bird. All access points are locked down. Cray won’t slip out without our notice.”

She knew Dalton’s smile was pinched.

The song ended.

“You can do this, Taryn. Put those gymnastics skills to use.”

Kaila’s tight chuckle didn’t soothe Taryn’s frayed nerves.

She removed the ear piece and silenced it with fumbling fingers. She then placed it on a nearby table.

“Welcome to the stage, Starshine!”

Taryn’s lips felt like etched granite as she smiled and burst through the burgundy waterfall.

The place was packed, and the lights were far too bright.

She spied her comrades with minor relief. She couldn’t locate Cray, but his entourage stood out.

A hard rock song blasted as she approached the pole. The cold metal against her palm blocked her anxieties.

Lewd jeers rolled from her shoulders and fell to the glittered platform.

Her lids drooped, and she grew a lazy smile.

Taryn was soon a slave to the rhythm, and executed the practiced, complicated moves almost flawlessly.

The patrons were enraptured, nearly mobbing the stage.

Her heeled feet hit the wood again. A different sort of adrenaline doused her veins.

Through raining green, in the center front of the throng, stood Cray. His curved lips revealed crooked fangs.

She finished her set to thunderous applause and shrill whistles.

While collecting her earnings, she sent a flirtatious wink Cray’s way.

She blew a kiss and sauntered back through the curtain.

Once backstage, she replaced her ear piece and exhaled deeply. Her heart gradually slowed.

Footsteps echoed.

“Do you perform…private shows?”

Taryn’s gut clenched at Cray’s thick Russian accent.

Last edited 2 years ago by Lunabear