Writing Group: Skin in the Game (PRIVATE)

Hello, gamblers and dealmakers.

Don’t look at me that way. It’ll be fine, trust me. Nothing’s fun without a little risk involved, right? What’s the worst that could happen, anyway? It’s about time you took a chance, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

Skin in the Game

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!

Oh my, what a doozy this prompt is. Starting off the new year with the idea of taking high risks with deep stakes. You wonderful people never cease to amaze.

One could easily make this about gambling, about a man who’s risking all of his money to win a game, even though he knows he needs that money for bills and family affairs. It could be someone who has no choice but to play some game in order to win back their family, or freedom, or even their own life. Perhaps even a game of poker between two demons, trying to win a delicious soul that they so desperately covet.

This could be taken in the literal sense as well. To actually put skin, or some physical piece of oneself, into the game. A doctor doing crazy experiments and missing just one piece, deciding to take that piece from his own body. Maybe a group of friends decided to go cliff diving, knowing that if they don’t jump far enough out, they’ll hit those sharp, jagged rocks at the bottom. Perhaps it takes place in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, and one brave fighter distracts the horde to allow his group to escape. Or maybe it’s about an author, typing away over and over and over, but never quite getting the story right, and working away until their fingers are worn down to the bone.

As they say, there are so many ways to skin a cat… as well as many other things.

So take a chance and write something truly delicious.

Who knows? You might even be chosen. That’s worth the risk… isn’t it?

—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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Cansas Wanderlust
Cansas Wanderlust
6 months ago

The Monster
By Cansas Wanderlust

“I don’t like this, Fin. What if it eats you?”

“You worry too much.”

Darcy bit her lip, looking up at the four metal teeth.

“It’s not worth it. Come on.”

Darcy started walking away but turned around when she didn’t hear Fin’s footsteps behind her.

“Fin!! Noooooo!”

He was on the ground, pulling at his arm. The monster had chomped down on it.

“Stay back! It might eat you too.”

“I told you!”

“Be quiet, Darcy. I need to think.”

His eyes darted around then settled on his half-eaten-arm.

“I can’t get out… So I’ll go in, and find another way out.”

“I knew you were stupid,” Darcy squealed. “But this is a new level of stupidness!”

“What else can I do,” Fin sighed. “If I don’t come out, tell mom I love her.”

Darcy threw her arms around him and sobbed, “I will.”

“Ok, get back now.”

Darcy scrambled away and watched the mouth swallow Fin whole.

After what felt like an eternity, she heard noises coming from the monster.

She crawled closer.

“Ahhhhhh!” Darcy shrieked, throwing herself backwards.

Fin was inside the monster, swimming through all the previously devoured creatures.

“Look out Fin!”

Fin looked up, saw the metal teeth above him, and disappeared.

Darcy held her breath.

Fin shot through the air and grasped the metal teeth. He dangled for a second before letting go, vanishing from Darcy’s sight.

A moment later, Fin tumbled out of the mouth.

Darcy ran forward and pulled him away from the monster.

“Fin! You’re not dead,” she cried hugging him.

Fin blinked “huh, guess not.”

Darcy pulled back and smacked his face.

“Don’t you ever do something that stupid again! You almost gave me a heart attack!”

“Well, hopefully this was worth the almost heart attack.” Fin reached under his shirt and pulled out the blue unicorn Darcy had seen inside the monster.

“You… saved the unicorn?”

Fin nodded and handed it to her.

She stroked it’s sparkly blue mane, then looked at Fin in disbelief.

He smiled, “Happy birthday, stinky.”

WolfsbaneX
WolfsbaneX
6 months ago

“The Vellum Library”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane

It’s said deep in the mountains hides an old building. No two maps to the place ever matched, and few visitors actually came back with proof of such a place. Those visitors that do return said it was a ramshackle place in bad need of repair. However, inside looked completely different. Five bookshelves and a counter in front of the only other door. That was all it was. A library with barely any space.

The thing that bothered people the most was the librarian. Something about him was… wrong. Sure he seemed like a cordial middle-aged man, but something about him was off. Some said he’s squat and fair-skinned with unruly blond bangs. Others said he’s dark-skinned and thin and bald. One thing was for certain; he had no identifying features. Scars, birthmarks, moles, freckles. All seemed absent from this man.

Unfortunately, his appearance wasn’t the only that disturbed the librarian’s patrons. His voice was hoarse and high pitched, like wind whistling through the cracks of newly-made mud bricks. He always said that the building they had entered was the Vellum Library. Then, he’d explain the rules: they may read and take notes, but no book may leave.

Those that read a book or two noticed something odd. These books pulsed. They expanded and deflated. They undulated and quivered. Those that were brave enough to open the books felt them immediately quieten. Something like lightning ran through them. Most of them would throw down the books or quickly replace them. The very few that read the books wished books never existed.

Also, there are a few that arrived with the librarian in the back room. The noises they allegedly heard were… unnerving. No one that’s returned has ever looked inside. The librarian told those who inquired that it was where he transcribed and bound the books of the library. However, some noticed that only one copy of each book was on display. When asked what the books are made of, he said the same thing every time: “Vellum and leather.” So, do I have an investigation permit or not, Father?

jesse fisher
jesse fisher
6 months ago

Skin Game
By Jesse Fisher

The roar of the shifting sea carried over the seemingly endless beach. The never moving sun softly illuminates the area and a warm wind blowing over the land and sea. Beyond the tropic looking area there was a small cafe area, around it were many what most would call female in bathing suits.

Many were doing activities common at these events, like volleyball or badminton. One group sat around a table with a deck of cards in the center of them. Instead of the near nude state of the rest of the woman around them, these ladies seemed over dressed for the beach.

“Okay rules are simple; highest number wins and losers have to take off a piece of clothing.” The lead girlish looking female started with a bit of a lisp.

Around her a group of older looking ladies gave her a slight eye glance before looking at the deck.

An abstract robot spoke up. “I understand that this is a bonding ritual for females but would it be easier if we were to wear the least amount of clothing?”

“Then the game would be pointless due to at least three of us normally don’t wearing clothing.” A tall Civet woman commented as two others nodded.

“And besides none of us are goddess of luck or fortune so it is a fair game.” The lead girl pointed out as she began to deal the cards.

The sound of cards slid on the table to each goddess as they looked around. The lead girl and the civet called for another card while the rest folded.

Just before either could reveal the cards, a waitress showed up.

“So aside from the stripe game, any of you need a drink?” This was a draconequus, draconic features hidden under the fur atop her head and lower quarters with a rounded feather belly.

“Usual for me Grangal.” The civet said as she won, and the rest removed an outer layer.

“So the blood of a cheating spouse?”

“If Korun has it, otherwise your mate’s work.”

Shaking her head Grangal would never understand blood drinking.

Derek McEldowney
6 months ago

Our Feral Gods Will be Pleased
By Derek McEldowney (Deviacon)

“Ha! Three sigils and a pair of mountains! Beats your pitiful roll!”

The mass of cascading flesh and limbs shook with boisterous laughter as it snatched up its winnings and swallowed them whole, before sprouting another unsightly appendage.

“Laugh all you like, Glutton of Flesh, the games far from over.” The collection of dripping inky branches and vines sneered back contemptuously. “I say we play for a bit higher stakes.” The Inky One said as it placed a few smooth rocks in front of itself. “My favorite acolytes.”

The Glutton twisted curiously. “Interesting indeed, but a weak gambit, make it a dozen—and a celebrant. I call with my own.” The Glutton slapped down twelve fingernails and a tooth.

“Fine.” The Inky One hissed as it cast more rocks and a single leaf down before snatching up and throwing the dice. The last die wobbled defiantly before falling into place. They were lopsided and uneven, it was all part of the game. The Inky One smiled insidiously. “Six tongues between three pillars.”

“May be your best roll yet, but far from mine!” The Glutton scooped and rolled the dice over lazily in its most decrepit appendage. “Ha! The Circle of Trees and a sigil, you lose two dice next roll! If you even have anything left!”

The Glutton raked its winnings over to itself, devouring them and slobbering into the minds of its new thrall.

The Inky One’s smile however, had not wavered. Instead it pulled a single, tiny figure from deep within itself and placed it between them.
“Double or nothing. I bet my messiah.”

The Glutton had finally stopped chuckling. “You’re what?!”

“That’s right, a human that actually managed to survive all the rituals and harbors a piece of my creeping essence within them. What say you?”

“Ha! Fine, you want to throw away everything at the roll of some fickle, gnarled dice?! I call with the plague I’ve slowly been perfecting these past few millennia.” The Glutton tore an eye from itself and placed it between them before taking the dice.

The Inky One’s insidious smile grew.

i-prefer-the-term-antihero
i-prefer-the-term-antihero
6 months ago

Play the Price
By i-prefer-the-term-antihero

I remembered my first fight in the ring. The thrill of magic in my veins. A monster; a mass of tentacles and limbs sludging out. Gladly ending its miserable life.

When one dragged itself close today, I spoke: “I will not fight you, Friend.”

Gasping.

“What is the meaning of this?!” The announcer demanded.

“I didn’t come to play. I came to challenge.”

“Why didn’t you say so!”—He waved for the creature to be taken away—“Go on! Who do you challenge?!”

I pointed at the woman sitting in a throne in their midst. More gratuitous gasping.

“But—!” The announcer staggered.

“My dear,” the queen crooned into the microphone, “I wouldn’t want to hurt you.”

“Then don’t hurt me. Just fight me. I came to fight monsters. Give me one.”

‘How dare you’’s added to the gasping.

She stepped to the ring.

An ice spike from the ground, which I narrowly avoided. I could easily have used my own powers: caged her in vines, poked her eyes with thorns, choked her on petals…Today it’d just be my lance and my wits.

I dragged the blade not upon her skin, but her huge dress. It tore, revealing, in place of human legs, tentacles.

The gasping dialed up.

“Do you know what those creatures are?” I pointed to the one I was meant to fight. Then rolled up my sleeve, revealing a glowing tattoo on my upper arm.

These tattoos were the source of our powers, something most of us were willing to pay anything for.

But when they saw mine, the crowd gasped for what would not be the last time; the skin was turning green, thorns protruding.

“They’re US. We accept these tattoos of our own volition to gain great power, never knowing the great deception: we will eventually become the very monstrosities we fight.”

“Fool!” The queen’s tongue was forked. “Those monsters were merely the simpletons who couldn’t handle greatness!”

A tentacle reached around and grabbed my arm.

Or, what, a second ago, had been an arm.

Well, maybe I would be using my powers after all.

MasaCur
MasaCur
6 months ago

Punishment Game
By MasaCur

“It’s your boy, Ritsu!”

“I’m Kaso, and this is Gamer Guild.”

“So, we’re going to be playing some MarcoCart today. But we’ve got a bit of a surprise.”

“That’s right, Suspenders. As you probably read in the title, we’re playing with punishments today. Last week, we asked you guys on TwitBook to send us some punishments for the loser. We’ve curated about a dozen of them, and we’ll be selecting some of them at random.” Kaso pulled out a small toy gachapon machine, and cranked the dial. A plastic capsule popped out of the chute.

Ritsu grabbed the capsule and popped it open. He took out the note inside it. “Our first punishment is from…Ayase.”

“Our Ayase?”

Ritsu read the note. “Yeah. ‘Hey boys, how about the loser dresses up as Princess Momo? Don’t worry, I gave Ritsu a package with the costume. Hope it fits okay.’”

“Ayase gave you a Princess Momo costume?”

Ritsu frowned. “She gave me something, and told me not to open it until we did our video. I guess that’s what it is.” Ritsu grabbed a nearby box with a bow on it, and pulled it open. Inside was Princess Momo’s pink gown, crown, and a blonde wig.

“Who curated these punishments anway?” Kaso asked.

Ritsu frowned. “Ayase, of course.”

“Well, we could just ignore this one.”

“Well, maybe we should.”

“I’m sure you’d feel pretty stupid dressed up as Princess Momo.”

“I’m sure you would too.”

Kaso smirked. “I’m not going to lose.”

Ritsu just stared.

“So, I’m not worried about it,” Kaso added.

Ritsu continued staring.

Kaso grabbed the gachapon machine. “I’ll draw a new punishment for you.”

“Nah. You’re going to make a cute Princess Momo.”

“Guess again, Suspenders. I’m betting you’ll make an ugly Princess Momo.”

Ritsu grabbed his controller. “Okay, thanks for the punishment suggestion, Ayase. Loser of this circuit is going to dress as Princess Momo for the following one.”

——–

Ritsu returned to the room. The wig was itchier than he would have liked, and the gown was a little tight. “So, what’s the next punishment?”

Last edited 6 months ago by MasaCur
Twangyflame0
Twangyflame0
6 months ago

Scales
By Twangyflame0

“So… you’re the one.” The portly lizardman eyed the masked man sitting across from him, with his legs kicked up.

“Yep, that’s me.” The masked man oozed overconfidence. “Here for an audience and all that shit.”

“Well… I must admit, while it’s impressive how ya gutted more than a dozen of my guys on your way here,” He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a revolver, “you’re really fucking stupid to think I’ll just let ya talk.”

The masked man just shook his head, tapping the pommel of his sword, “Now, now, now… are you really going to deny such a lucrative chance of getting one over the on Rats?”

The gun never lowered, though his eyes lit up a little, “You gonna elaborate on that?”

“Maaaaaaybe.”

“I wouldn’t recommend fucking with me.” The hammer was cocked back.

The masked man chuckled, “It’s funny how you and the Rats think you run the streets.”

“The fuck are you getting at?”

“Money makes the world go round and you certainly don’t have the money to even make it move an inch.”

The bullet sliced along his shoulder. The masked man didn’t flinch at all. “But… those at the top, those running those big ass corps? They got all the money in the world.”

“Are ya gonna to make your point?”

“I’m just saying it would be such a shame if people knew that those corps were constantly putting money in the pockets of politicians.”

For a few moments, there was no retort. His baritone voice grumbled as he spoke, “… What’s your angle? You got no scales in this game.”

The masked man giggled, “Does it matter? I just came by to give a little nudge and that’s exactly what I did.”

“You expect to just leave without being filled with lead?” The other lizardfolk in the room raised their guns.

“Of course, how else am I supposed to have more fun?” With a flash, the masked man disappeared. On a roof, he appeared next to a man wrapped in bandages.

The masked one looked at his accomplice, “Exactly as planned.”

Last edited 6 months ago by Twangyflame0
Gregory Hess
Gregory Hess
6 months ago

Uplifted[Aleph null sci fi]
By gregovin

“As you all know, snakes and most lizards are decently hard to uplift. Or, at least they have been. Here at the Booplesnoot project we have a novel solution. Using hypercaloric processors, we believe we can expand their brains and keep them operating well at a wide range of temperatures. We are currently researching this methodology as we speak.”

I step down from the podium to some applause. One of these investors will have to put their skin in the game for us to get there. Our research is so close. Maybe we just need a specimen.

I mentally go through all our specimens on the hypercaloric regimen. A lizard stands out as having progressed particularly fast. They’ll have to do.

Several of the investors express interest, but none follow through with the money we need. Ok, I guess plan b it is.

I call my partner and tell them “no takers. Prepare specimen 3-alpha for the procedure”

“Are you sure this is a good idea?”

“I don’t have any better ones. It will probably work out”

“Ok. Stay safe”

I hop in an autocar and travel through the colorful city, not really paying attention. I arrive back at our lab. The imposing building would not trap us forever. We would make it to the big leagues. Our little lab would complete an uplift.

Everything’s looking up. The specimen is prepared.

We begin the procedures. Things are looking up. We can do this.

This little project of ours can work.

I fall asleep, content in the belief that we will succeed.

GJFuller
GJFuller
6 months ago

Upload
By Giovanna J. Fuller

Power on.

Pairing mode.

Pairing mode.

Pairing mode.

Paired successfully.

Connection authenticating…

Welcome to gaming’s favorite VR experience. Bliss is just the thing you need to relieve the aches and pains of life. Plug in and enjoy all that this paradise has to offer.

Build your ideal house. Furnish it in the decor of your dreams.

Customize your look with thousands of skins and accessories.

Play games. We have all sorts available. Shoot ‘em ups, puzzles, fantasy role-playing, and so much more. Name the game and we have it on file.

Want to experience your favorite fictional world? It can all be rendered here! Be whichever character takes your fancy or just be yourself and explore!

Just want to hang out? Visit our chat lounge where you can make friends and… perhaps… more…

Everything in Bliss feels as though it could be real, with graphics so good you’d swear you were there!

Feel like dancing? The club is the place to be! With all the latest and greatest hits, you’ll always be able to hear your favorite song or something new. Show us those moves!

Hungry? Try out five star restaurants’ dishes in our dining district!

Sleepy? Lying down on your in-game bed will feel like your own. Only better.

So welcome.

We’re glad you’re here.

We’re glad you’ve chosen us.

We’re glad you’ve plugged in.

Neural connection complete. You are now connected. Warning, any attempts to sever your connection to Bliss without the proper access code could result in seizures, vomiting, death or death-like symptoms, mild burning, or hives.

Welcome to absolute Bliss.

Welcome home. Welcome home. Welcome home. Welcome home.

Welcome, drone.

Last edited 6 months ago by GJFuller
Lari B.Haven
Lari B.Haven
6 months ago

The hissing of pipes
By: Larissa (Lari B. Haven)

Life in the building was relatively stable. She had one room to sleep, only a handful of delicate machines to watch over, and a ton of broken things to fiddle around with in her free time. Paula used to find modest tranquility in hearing the rhythmic sound coming from the boiler room.

But this was different. The sound was broken and loud, like a wailing. Years of fixing broken engines, big and small, trained her ear to even the most nuanced change.

The boiler room hissed furiously around her. In another situation, Paula would laugh and even scold the inanimate objects for throwing a tantrum.

She knew that something was wrong. Paula grabbed her trusted crowbar. If she could not fix it, she would smash it to bits. She followed the noise that came from within the gears, counting her steps. The vile bandit could be anywhere now.

When she got to the main boiler, all the safety valves were broken, and something waited for her.

“Paula… Run now. Your life’s precious, my little bird.”

She couldn’t find the owner of the voice, yet they sounded delighted. Did she know them?

“Why would I listen to you? Show yourself!” She kept looking for the direction of the sound.

She had no time. The needle danced back and forth in the looker. She decided to forget about the invader and try to avoid the catastrophe.

“Leave while you can, I will turn this place into ashes.”

A hand reached for her from behind. She immediately understood why. The hand that captured her had no skin, no meat, and no blood. She looked behind her. The living cadaver had a contorted smile on their face and no intention of letting her go.

“I can appreciate someone with nothing to lose, Paula.” They growled.

“I got my skin in the game too!” She answered.

The pipes didn’t whistle anymore, they all screamed around her.

She lifted her crowbar and the hissing pipes started their homicidal symphony

IsaDragon
IsaDragon
6 months ago

Play to Lose
By IsaDragon337

He picked over the weapon rack in the flickering torch light. The weapons were large and medieval, favoring axes and spiked clubs. Brutal things that would favor a long and bloody fight.

His fingers twitched for a proper blade.

Athena had grilled him before entering, gripping his bony shoulders tight enough to bruise. “Don’t show off.” She had hissed in his face. “I’m going to say it again and again until you remember. Don’t die, but don’t win. Just enough to get what we need, and no more.”

He hefted an axe far too large for one his size, playing up how heavy it was. He heard a dismissive snort from one of the other contestants.

“Let them underestimate you, and think you a coward.” Athena captured him in a tight hug.

“You and I both know you could win easily, but you must not.” She had whispered.

He had clung back just as hard, and promised back in hushed tones.

“I won’t win, and I won’t die either.”

He set the axe back down with a clang, and went back to the provided bench with an old, dented short sword. He took a deep breath, filtering out the scent of old sweat and bloodshed, and focused.

The brute was a retired death knight, and would likely lose when his scar pulled at a bad time. The orc was doped up on as much kerabon as his buddies could nab, and if he crashed before the end of the battles today he would almost certainly die. The really old bounty hunter he was sharing the bench with would likely die from heart failure before he died in battle.

The green-armored fellow by the door had a small chance of kidnapping him after the fights. If he poked that probability tree, that chance jumped exponentially if greenie spotted he threw a fight.

He needed to fight, lose, and be spared. And not get accused of trying to rig that to happen.

“Above all, don’t give anyone a reason to notice you.” Athena had said, before he entered the Arena.

Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
6 months ago

Chores
by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)

Knock knock!

“Come in!” Ollie said as he finished what he was doing and approached the door.

As soon as he heard the sound of the door opening and closing, he felt Rebecca’s arms wrap around him in a tight embrace.

“Woa!” was all he could get out before he broke into laughter. “Missed me?”

“Of course!” Rebecca said as she giggled, letting Ollie go. “After this terrible week, I’ve really needed this time off.”

She blushed a little as she knocked Ollie’s shoulder playfully.

“And spending this time with you doesn’t seem that bad.”

“Haha, maybe I- oh…” Ollie stammered as sudden realization filled his expression. “I forgot about that one thing I had to do…”

“Hmm?”

“I’m sorry, Rebecca, I’ve got some important chores to take care of this week, I don’t know if I’ll be able to hang out…”

“Oh?” Rebecca’s smile faltered. “A-are you sure we can’t go and do it together? I know I’m small, but surely, I can be of some help.” Rebecca looked on with quiet determination. “And with two of us, we could get it done faster!”

“Well…” Ollie nervously grabbed the back of his head. “I don’t think you’ll like what we have to do…”

“Try me.”

“We have to help a giant hydra to shed his skin.” He nervously waited for her response, but received nothing, but contemplation from Rebecca.

“He sheds in these giant pieces, not all at once. And, since the pieces are so large, and he doesn’t have arms… it can be hard for him to get all the pieces off.”

When he finished, Rebecca nodded slowly, thinking to herself.

‘Peeling off reptile skin? Or watch movies, alone. Removing old, dead skin? Or playing video games… alone.’

“Rebecca?” Ollie broke the silence.

“I’ll do it!” She blurted out, a little too eagerly.

“I underst- wait really?” Ollie’s face lit up.

“Yes I’m sure” she said with a smile. ”I’m sure it’ll be fine. It’ll be like peeling off dried glue.”

“Haha when you put it that way, it sounds oddly satisfying.”

Glaceon373
Glaceon373
6 months ago

The Fates
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

Malcolm scaled the last rock and heaved himself on top of it. He’d made it: the Pavilion of the Fates.

A gust of wind cleared the fog, revealing three old women sitting at a circular stone table. They all wore identical wollen outfits, except for their scarves: one wore red, another blue, the last green.

“And who are you, valiant hero, to scale our mountain and reach our Pavilion?” the Red Fate asked.

Malcolm kneeled. “I am Sir Malcolm, knight of—”

“I knew it!” The Blue Fate threw her arms up in celebration. “Oh, I knew it! Eat that, Green!”

“Don’t make such a fuss over it, Blue, he’s right there,” the Green Fate said through gritted teeth.

Blue put her arms down.

Malcolm stared at them in shock.

Red cleared her throat. “What is it your heart desires, Sir Malcolm?”

“I…wish that the princess of Rynfield would not have to marry me, and instead marry her true love. I also wish to marry my true love as well.”

Green nodded. “That can be done.”

“Aww,” Red whined, “you and her would make such a cute couple—”

“No they wouldn’t!” Blue huffed. “What about love, Red?”

Green stomped on Red’s foot before she could respond, which ended up only escalating their argument into angry screaming.

Eventually it stopped, with Blue clearing her throat and saying, “We have decided not to change your fate.”

“Wait!” Malcolm gasped. “Can I…offer you anything? Gold? Jewels?”

The Fates looked at each other. “We’ve never accepted bribes before…” Green whispered.

“Uh, yes you have!” Blue whispered back. “I know you pick favorites when you go down to buy yarn—”

“I do not!”

“A kingdom if you do!”

“A war if I don’t!”

“Excuse you!” Red interrupted. “I’m the only one here who DOESN’T pick favorites, and I’ll bet King Galfrid’s heir on it!”

“And I’ll bet my altered fate on it!” Malcolm called desperately.

The Fates stared at him, then glanced between each other. Then they smiled.

“Very well, then.” Red waved her hand, a fourth chair appearing at the table. “Let’s play.”

DesOttsel
DesOttsel
6 months ago

A Guardian’s Duty
by Gage Jarman

Two thirty something men were sitting in a brightly lit bistro having brunch.

“We don’t have to talk about it now. Just take a minute to breathe.”

“Not until it’s done. It’s too important.”

“Man, are you really going to go through with it?”

“I have to.”

“No you don’t. Listen, you could lose everything, and you probably will. You know how messed up the courts can be.”

“I don’t care. What happens to me isn’t a priority.”

“Listen to yourself. Come on, does your family even believe you yet? What if they take him away?”

“Man, it’s not a question anymore. I’m not going to leave him there without me. You’ve seen what she’s done, but now I’m gone. She’s got no punching bag left. I could barely handle it when she snapped. What’s he going to do when she breaks down and goes hysterical? I can’t leave him there. I’ll be damned if I do, and I won’t sleep. I’ll be laying in bed, twiddling my thumbs, wondering if he’s alright, and I won’t be able to do shit about it.”

“You know I’m in your corner. You know that, but what if she gets full custody? You could lose your right to see him and then he’d have nothing.”

“I don’t care! It’s not right. None of this is right, but I have to do it for him. It doesn’t matter that the court is going to throw me out because I’m not the mother. It doesn’t matter that I was the one abused. It doesn’t matter that I could be ostracized and harassed and threatened by the people around me who think they know better.

“Jake is innocent. I won’t let the court subject him to her wrath for another second. I’m going to win because I have to. There’s no other remedy than that. That’s it. It’s all there is to it. Every day, he’ll be a little more unstable, a little more broken, a little more of her in him every day. Either I win or I’m fucked.” He sipped his michelada.

RVMPLSTLSKN
RVMPLSTLSKN
6 months ago

Overheard in the City
By RVMPLSTLSKN (Content warning: second person body horror)

The city’s beating heart. You know the phrase. The beating heart.

I hate this, but rules are, well, rules. So I’ll talk to you while we do this. I’ll put you in your place and then remove the excess. Mine is the last voice you’ll ever hear.

The beating heart. An idiom, don’t you think? Maybe once a simple poetic phrase but now it has meaning. Like skinning a cat or a dancing ursine.

Don’t worry about the noise now. There’s a lot of people here, in the beating heart, with dry calluses like cobblestones underfoot. That beating heart again. Metaphorically, we’re there already, Soyl, but literally it’s beneath us. We’ll go in and down, down, down through the pulsing city foundations. You’ll finally start being useful to society. I have to talk to you, but I never promised to say anything kind.

That one, that eyeless lid, it’s our way in. You won’t hear me in there, I’ll have to hold my breath while we go, but I’m told you’ll feel like you’re breathing a breath of fresh air. Quite novel really. Try not to squirm too much. You wouldn’t want to get knocked loose. I’ve seen the city’s liver. Trust me, it’s nothing at all like the heart. You got lucky, I guess; better than you deserve.

Is that a quiver? Are you afraid? Do the eyes scare you? Is that why you lashed out against the city?

This is for your crimes. Your punishment. Honestly, I’d have thought you’d have been on a slide in the cultures. You’ve got the perfect disposition for a rather nasty infection or three. Can you imagine yourself covered in boils? Think of it as poetic justice, you needing someone to poke and prod you, to lance your bubbling flesh. After what you’ve done, that’s what you deserve.

But I’m just a valve expert. A plumber of flesh and welder of meat. A pearl diver freelancing to earn a little extra nutrition from the city. What do I know about justice?

Here we go, Soyl, try not to squirm too much.

Insania404
Insania404
6 months ago

A Night to be Remembered (Oneiron Universe)
By: Insania404

“What do we do now?”

Lucas looked at his pawn and grinned. “We make them remember. We finally make them suffer! With these shadows, we will take by force what they have denied us! Don’t you see, Joseph? We can shatter these chains!”

The two led their army across the ruined city until the flashing red lights of a towering skyscraper could be seen in the distance. Even in the darkness the facility’s logo beamed brightly, practically outshining the moon itself.

Fear rattled in Joseph’s throat like gravel. “The Oneiron Corporation? Are you insane? The technology within those walls will kill me before we even see it!”

“I may be immortal, but I can be killed, Joseph!” Lucas snapped back. “They came along and cast us out of their utopia, claiming that we were unclean, Deprived, corrupt. They treat us like monsters, so we might as well play the part! If it takes savagery to get what we need to survive, so be it!”

While they journeyed, Joseph processed these words. “They denied my family entry when Lucy was pregnant. She became Deprived because of them and now I have to live, knowing how she killed our unborn child. My nightmares don’t even compare to that reality!”

Joseph turned to his friend. “We will make them pay for their actions tonight. They deserve nothing more than to be slaughtered in their own safe haven! If we are to die, then we will not die alone!”

A sinister grin crept across Lucas’s face. “Yes, my friend. Tonight they will fall at our feet, or we will be dashed on the rocks of our own failure. Either way, we will make them remember us!”

Lucas buried himself in his thoughts. “He’ll be perfect. I just need to ignite more passion in him and he’ll be an excellent puppet.”

The shadows marched toward their final destination, yellow eyes glowing like hundreds of fireflies. They would be remembered, either as victors or as stains on the parking lot of the corporation. That is, if they could even make it that far.

Revisis
Revisis
6 months ago

Personal Grudges and Unlikely Alliances
by Exce(controlled by Wvlf and Luna)

A lone fire burned on a flat topped mountain fortress surrounded by nightly desert. Next to it sat a young man with naturally tanned skin and long pale blue hair.

One hand resting on the cool rock, the other holding a steaming mug of tea which was brewing over the fire, he looked out over the desert.

He was trying to find the point where the desert ended and the horizon began, when there were soft steps from behind, and the soft rustle of cloth revealed that it was the king turned scholar.

“Luciel. Have a seat. Do you want some tea?”

Whilst Nay was quite sure that the Angel had lost his ability of flight, he watched as the man sat down next to him without hesitation.

They remained silent until Nay had poured some more tea into a second cup, and Luciel exhaled deeply after taking a sip.
“It is hard to find moments of quiet when living in the slipstream of someone like Exce –  you will learn to enjoy them.”

At that he turned his head slightly towards Nay, who could guess the unspoken question that danced in the old man’s firelit eyes.

“You’re wondering why I helped him after nearly bashing his head in only a few weeks ago? Not an unreasonable thought. If I’m being honest, then it’s not just from the good of my heart or some sentimental connection because we are from the same planet.”

He took a deep sip, with steam following his exhale. “The Angels found me, then used my confusion to feed me lies. They made me a lackey for their own ends. And when I started asking questions, they tried to kill me.”

There was an odd noise, like tinkling glass, and the tea in his cup froze solid.

“It’s entirely for my own selfish reasons I fear. I am sorry if that makes you think less of me.”

But Luciel only smiled into his thick beard after taking another sip. “I think you will find a good friend in Excelsius yet. You two are quite alike, considering everything.”