Writing Group: Staring into Their Eyes

Hello, Ophthalmologists and Performers.

Can you really tell so much about a person just by their eyes? What do you have to look for? What if you don’t like what you find there? What if you do? So let their eyes speak what their lips won’t, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

Staring into Their Eyes

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

Eyes. The windows to the soul. They come in so many beautiful colours, and can portray just as many emotions. Eye contact, or lack thereof, whether the pupils dilate or constrict, can display so much about a person, or even an animal.

You could write about a cat, and their eyes dilating to giant saucer plates as you wave their favourite fishing toy back and forth, or perhaps how a slow blink from a cat is a kiss from them, a way for them to show affection. Maybe you could write of a child being absolutely mesmerized and perplexed by how a chameleon moves their eyes in seemingly random directions. Or write from a chameleon’s perspective! It’s weird, shifty, two-ways-at-once perspective. What about the telltale sign of someone’s affection by their pupils dilating when they look at someone else? Perhaps a classroom crush notices this change in someone looking at them. Perhaps a detective notices this when his wife looks at their newborn child. Maybe it’s about someone with social anxiety disorder, or even someone with ommetaphobia, a fear of eyes. Or maybe it’s simply a college student studying ophthalmology.

What about that time you stood on stage in front of an entire school and sang your heart out, all of their eyes trained on you? How did it feel to stare back at them? Or maybe that time you had to stand in front of the class and read a poem you wrote for an assignment, but the girl you wrote about was sitting right there, front and center. Maybe there’s a magic to the eyes, perhaps they aren’t just the windows to the soul, but an anchor of sorts to it. Perhaps the eyes contain the soul itself, and a necromancer has just found a way to manipulate this for their experiments. What about coming across someone with the most unique eyes you’ve ever seen, their pupils and irises twisting together to form a hypnotic spiral? Perhaps the memory of those odd goat-like pupils someone remembers from when they were young… and then pondering if they really were the same as the ones before them now, so many years later. What about a shapeshifter who can change into whatever they want, but their eyes always remain the same? What if someone noticed this? Would they be afraid? What if they weren’t? Or maybe it’s someone looking into the eyes of their reflection… and noticing that the emotions portrayed there did not match their own.

No matter which way we look at this prompt, it’s about drawing or giving attention to someone or something. 

The question is… is that attention wanted?

—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 Saturday 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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SteelDingDing
SteelDingDing
1 month ago

Comforting Gaze
By SteelDingDing

The young boy reached up on his tippy toes as he brushed his teeth, stretching out his head to lean over the sink which was nearly taller than him. Spit, rinse, spit, then he headed into the hallway on his way to bed.

As he walked past his parents’ room, he uttered a soft “goodnight” to his mother, who returned the phrase with little care or compassion, and continued on his way to the bedroom at the end of the hall. The boy paid little mind to his mothers lack of emotion, for she had been cold and distant ever since the death of his father a few months prior.

As the boy entered his room, he was sure to leave the door just ever so slightly ajar. For this allowed a subtle orange glow to seep in from the hallway, giving some light to the stark black surrounding him as he slept. The boy hopped upon his bed and nestled into the soft fabric of his sheets, falling swiftly asleep.

Some hours later, the boy awoke with the strangest of feelings. An unfamiliar apprehension stirred in his gut; not fear, but some lesser, uneasy feeling. In an effort to dispel this most peculiar of emotions, the boy rolled his body to the opposite side, looking for the comfort of that soft orange glow. He found not comfort however, but rather, a set of eyes peering back.

At first he presumed them to be his mother’s.

“Mom, is that you?” he called out to the door.

There was no response

“Mom?” he called again.

Again, no response.

The boy froze, pulling his blanket in tighter and squeezing into the mattress.

A low grumbling murmur built from outside his door, as though whoever it was on the other side was trying to speak, but could not connect the sounds to meaning. Then, a deep ominous groan passed through the threshold, still no meaning. Finally, a raspy grunt emitted from the doorway transcended into the words, “hello, my son.”

Last edited 1 month ago by SteelDingDing
Alan Baker
1 month ago

Those who watched (Tales from Adfidem – Book of Boghos)
By Alan Baker

I stand before the high court. The one with whom my fate, in this world, lies sits before me on a throne of stone.

What does he see?

A subversive teacher? One bent on destabilizing the power of the king? Or just another man in shackles to be cast to the Plains of Oblivion?

My judgement is pronounced. I am led out of the hall by armed men.

What do they see?

Another convict? A traitor? Or perhaps a lost hope for peace? A lost cause?

I am taken out before the crowd. My sentence is announced. Aristocrats, officers, bankers, moneylenders, slave masters and courtiers cheering at my fate.

What is it they see?

The fall of a wall between them and the power they seek? Just another obstacle removed from their path? Victory?

My brother stands before me. He turns away.

What did he see?

A sibling? An enemy? An opponent? A threat to his throne? A way to gain the respect of his subjects? An example?

I am led through the streets. People at stalls, on rooftops, in alleyways and gutters look upon me.

Who do they see?

Their teacher? A departing hope for a better life? A leader in these dark times? A friend? Stranger? Family?

I stand atop the cliff. My world spread out beneath me.

Who does It see?

A prophet? A fool? A wisdom seeker? A deluded man? Just another coffin? A great wave of but a ripple? A lost soul or a guiding light?

Soon… Soon I will know.

Frei
Frei
1 month ago

The Shape in the Pond
By: Frei

It was the first time Vlu’xilkik had ever stopped to stare at still water. The thing staring back at her had a face that looked…off. Segmented antennae sprouted from above the eyes, framing a head of quite long hair the color of warm earth – maybe the only thing she really liked. Below was a thin jawline, and in between was two windows of beige and umber. They stared back at her– no, through her. Something was deeply wrong about them, a nauseating error that she could not place…and it only grew the longer she stared.

“Why do the eyes of the thing in the pond disturb me so? It complements the tones surrounding it, and yet…”

The canopy overhead, thick with the cries of birds and bugs alike, grew faint. The vision darkening and narrowing down to the thing’s face. Distraction became impossible; bile rose to throat, and yet she stared as though a monster waited for her to turn away to snap her neck. Vlu had felt this before, this feeling of a lion’s breath passing hungrily on the back of her neck. It only came when her thoughts wandered in the comfort of themselves.

She could remember the jungle around her, the colorful flora and bold fauna within, and even the black chasm she emerged from and the pods which held an uncertain number of living. These memories were safe. But if she thought back any farther she encountered only mist. An insurmountable wall which she could not see through, but she knew would suffocate her if she passed to explore it. Haze swallowed the face of the reflection and only those dark, hideous pools remained, wobbling as they stared, pulling her inward, inward, in…

The water rippled. The image, and the spell broke.

Dysphoria seized her. Vlu ripped her gaze away from the distortion and pressed hands to her temples, heaving breaths. If she closed her eyes would the image be there again? Would the haze return? Would she feel the numb embrace of the opaque mist? For once, her curiosity would have to go hungry.

Last edited 1 month ago by Frei
Yearly
Yearly
1 month ago

Eye
By Yearly

The job of a camera is to observe. To record. To spy. We see them everywhere nowadays. They prevent theft and murder. They prevent deviance and oddity. The twisting lenses, the slow panning action of the metal sentinels, these are the things associated with safety. Security.

But… It’s not perfect. The relative sense of safety I grant others is marred. I don’t enjoy scaring people. I don’t enjoy watching people stiffen as I slowly shift my gaze to them. I don’t enjoy not being able to understand what they’re thinking. What they’re actually thinking.

Take this event last month. It wasn’t anything major. Being an inner city camera, crimes are practically non-existent in my vicinity. I’ve never actually seen one. This was… Just something different. A young woman and a small girl had sat on the rim of one of the fountains I perch above. The young girl was bouncing about, holding a small paper bag. She was dressed in a woolen poncho and had an amusingly large, floppy hat, with a large bobble. The woman was similarly dressed. The girl decided to clamber onto the rim. Her mother laughed and applauded. The girl walked clumsily along, one foot directly in front of the other, hands held out like one of the planes I occasionally see passing overhead.

Then I felt the familiar jolt of power as the pistons in my neck moved of their own accord once more. My gaze shifted, shifted, shifted, until I was staring directly at the fountain and the pair. Immediately I noted the mother freeze. She turned to face me, her eyes met my receptor, my receptor met her eyes. She abruptly pulled her daughter down from the fountain and walked to the edge of the moonlit square. She didn’t look back.

The job of a camera is to observe. And that is all I do.

Last edited 1 month ago by Yearly
Tamela Redfin
Tamela Redfin
1 month ago

Traveling Stone

By Tamela Redfin

“Cameron, where have you been?” Alexandra asked. “We’ve been looking for hours. The research won’t complete itself.”

I stared at Alexandra. Something seemed off about her eyes. “What are we doing again?”

Tristan sighed, “I told you he hit his head really hard. The unexplained hotspring. They think…”

I shook my head. “It’s coming back. Right, the research of climate. I probably have notes in my backpack.” I opened it to find a green notebook, a diary it looked like, and the stone.

Alexandra picked it up, “Whoa, where did you get that piece of sandstone, in a jungle.”

This couldn’t have been a dream. Nobody in a dream would talk like this. Would they? “I found it in a cave.”

Tristan looked confused but muttered, “I’ll leave the rock stuff to you, Alex.”
Alexandra spun the rock in her hand then blurted out, “Wait a minute, this is Tiger’s eye, not sandstone.”

I slowly twisted my neck, “What’s the difference?”

“For starters, Tiger’s Eye is a quartz and a mineral, while sandstone is a rock. What an interesting discovery.” She rubbed it between her fingers. “Though I do see yours is chipped, Cameron.”

“Well thanks Alexandra.” She tossed the stone back to me. There had to be something special about this rock, I now knew. I rubbed stone, the only rough edge being the chipped one, as if it had been polished. Was this how I traveled? But it was a meer rock. How could I travel? Then again rocks didn’t glow.

I stared at the stone before sleeping. Maybe I could travel again tonight.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tamela Redfin
NocteVesania
NocteVesania
1 month ago

Fynn, the Revenant
By NocteVesania (Public Group Repost)

*swish*

The last zombie’s head rolls across the tiled floor of the decrepit palace, blackened blood spraying all over the other corpses strewn about.

“Keep it together,” Fynn sighs to himself as he stares at those he had slain, some without a trace of decay, but all with vacant, soulless eyes. “They’re long gone.”

Fynn looks to the colossal doors at the end of the dimly-lit hall, crimson gore still dripping from his blade. His mind raced as he clutches his sword tighter, images of his past flashing before his eyes.

That day, he remembers, he ran for his life. The sole survivor of his town, he can never forget running through bloodied snow, having witnessed the carnage of the Count’s mindless servants. Numerous innocent people were slaughtered, and some bodies were never found. That day, he swore his retribution.

He walks towards the massive doors, his steps echoing through the dark hall. As he places his hands on the rotting wood, he feels his breaths grow shorter, faster. The fear in his heart is replaced with fury and rage. He pushes against the heavy doors, eager to take his vengeance.

There, he sees the Count’s silhouette, seated upon an iron throne. His head is rested upon his fist as if growing impatient for Fynn’s arrival. His face is engulfed in shadow, but Fynn feels his piercing gaze.

“Took you long enough,” the Count says.

“I’ve come for your head.” Fynn points his sword at his foe.

“It looks like I’ll have to end this farce myself.” The Count stands from his throne and steps out of the shadows, revealing his blood-red eyes.

As Fynn stares his adversary down, he sees the Count’s eyes glimmer for a second. He feels his body grow heavier. His mind, once filled with thoughts of rage, is slowly slipping away.

“It’s a shame that you’ve had to cut my minions down,” the Count remarks, walking slowly toward Fynn. As he comes up to his face, he smiles. “Shall we get some more, then?”

He laughs as Fynn stares on with vacant, soulless eyes.

i-prefer-the-term-antihero
i-prefer-the-term-antihero
1 month ago

Friendly Fire (Peter’s Story)
By i-prefer-the-term-antihero (Repost from Private)

I looked at my friends, my family. Lost and found. Boys on the cusp of manhood: about to start something, even if it was just their lives.

Horror polluted their gazes as they looked back at me, leaving multichrome trails in asphalt pupils.

Then the screaming. Questions, comments, good old-fashioned shrieks: bloodcurdling edition.

Finley rushed at me, sword not sold separately. “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH PETER?!”

“Speaking!” I froze blade and wielder in place.

“The Peter we know would never kill his own kin!” Connor spat.

I twirled my fingers, cuing Finley’s sword to cut off his head. Connor covered his face with his hands but couldn’t stop the horror from spilling out.

“The Peter you know isn’t…all there. He’s still me, but he traffics in illusions and half truths and…”—I smiled—“doesn’t teach people how to land.”

“Why…are you doing this?”

“I made a promise: to save you from growing up.”

“I…didn’t hear that.”

Another smirk. I admired his lucidity.

“I promised myself silently.”

“You can’t do this. Our parents will—” Connor’s words were shaking, because his sword was shaking, because his hand was shaking, because his everything was shaking.

“Come looking for you? They gave up around year five.”

That broke him. His eyes were big, and wide, and full of tears, and all the dread his small form could muster.

“So…how does dying avenging your friends sound?”

“I can’t defeat you,” he scoffed.

“No. But I’ll let you give it your best shot.”

And I was true to my word.

The look in his eyes softened as he murmured, blood flocking to each syllable, “Captain Hook never was the bad guy, was he?”

He fell onto my chest and I ran my nails through his hair, red draining onto my shirt. “He tries to save you.” I smiled sadly. “Every time.”

The unseeing eyes of the corpse audience watched on, dismay still carved into the irises of lost little boys.

“…But he’s definitely the bad guy.”

And their beloved Peter Pan buried them with a shovel, a tear, and a prayer for good measure.

Danny Gilhooley
Danny Gilhooley
1 month ago

Army of the Dead
By Danny Gilhooley

At first, after the injection, it just laid there on the table. After a minute, its eyes opened. Marion thought they looked familiar, like an old family portrait covered in dust. The eyes looked like they were covered in dust as well. They were foggy. One of them had a reddish hue to it, likely a popped blood vessel.

“Corporal Mitchell,” Monty said. “Can you hear me?”

The foggy eyes wandered to where Monty was in the room. The lips quivered. Marion noticed the fingers twitched. Next to her, the colonel smiled.

“Corporal Mitchell, can you sit up?” Monty asked.

The body tried to sit up without using its hands. Marion heard muscles creak and cartilage pop. Finally, it gave up and just lied there on the table. It never blinked. The eyes never showed emotion.

“Corporal Mitchell,” Monty said again. It looked at Monty, this time more certain of where he was. It raised its arm and wiggled its fingers.

“Do you remember what happened to you?”

No noise. Not even a gasp for air. It didn’t need it anymore. As good as the injection was, it couldn’t fix a collapsed lung where the bullet went through.

“My name is Dr. Montgomery, corporal. You were shot at Verdun. You were dead for one week. Do you remember?”

Marion wanted to cry. Joseph was gone. He was still dead. Even though his body was moving, it wasn’t him. It was just a shell.

“You were shot in the chest and—”

“Stop it, Monty,” Marion said. “It’s not him.”

Marion was crying at that point. She couldn’t bare to see something that looked so much like him moving around.

“That’s okay, Doctor Montgomery,” the colonel said. “What you’ve shown us is nothing short of incredible. It needs work, but once you figure how to get it to walk and listen, this war will finally be over.”

The colonel nodded and left the lab. Marion wiped her eyes. She couldn’t bare to see Joseph’s foggy gaze.

Textualpoacher
Textualpoacher
1 month ago

The housemaid
By Textualpoacher

The family didn’t want to be there. Savita, the only daughter, was bored, but Anand, the eldest son, seemed terribly anxious. All of them had that aristocratic sense of annoyance about being minorly inconvenienced, and for what? The death of a Dalit? But Rupa insisted, and she demanded their attention as she spoke.

“The following is clear about the case,” Rupa said. “This residence was robbed at some time around one in the afternoon on November the fifth. The housemaid had been the only one inside. She was tied up, and a small dagger inlaid with the yellow diamond was taken from its case. Two hours later the family came back and roused the police. Twenty-four hours later, the housemaid was killed. She was strangled and left inside the supply closet, the corner of a hundred-pound note clutched in her hand. I posit that she had in fact known the identity of the thief and attempted to blackmail him.

“What do we know about the thief? The housemaid told us that he wore a mask and had a medium build. We also know that the entire family had been present at the time of the murder and that there is no reason to suspect an intruder. Perhaps for the first crime, but not the second. That left our suspects as Anand, the eldest son, Gopal, the second eldest, and Carmichael, the family friend.”

They were no longer bored. Gopal finally sat up and looked warily at Carmichael, who had been in his naïve, condescending Western way the friendliest person to the servants. It was really between the brothers who’d have strangled the housemaid.

Rupa paced in front of the three of them.

“The problem is, how did the housemaid know? She didn’t hear a single word spoken. She recognized his gait, perhaps. Yet the brothers were brothers, and they had a similar way of moving about. No, I realized that what the housemaid saw was the thief’s eyes. Blue eyes. She had no idea when she saw those blue eyes that she was gazing into her death!”

Last edited 1 month ago by Textualpoacher
(Cody)PukingGoombas
(Cody)PukingGoombas
1 month ago

The Last One
Written by (Cody)PukingGoombas

I have lived for three centuries.

I do not remember when I became an immortal, but I remember enjoying life and the thrill of a fight. I remember seeing my first love die to a sickness while I continued to live. My eyes have become heavy.

I have ruled this domain for a century now; challengers, heroes, mercenaries, they have all come towards me and have attempted to take my life, attempted to ‘save their world’. Today’s bright-eyed opponent looks to be in his mid-20’s and his eyes hold so much resentment, I’ve probably killed his father in the past and he has continued to hold that grudge. I remember having that tenacity in my eyes, that unrelenting piercing glare that always told my opponent ‘I will be sure you die today, until my dying breath’.

“Archimedes, you reign of terror ends today!” The young man points his gladius at me, shield to his side. I can see his eyes are quivering, he’s afraid to die yet holds that excitement to finally claim revenge on the man who has taken everything from him. I remove my horned helmet. The young combatant’s eyes widen, shock perhaps? After all, the stories have said I am some sort of demon, but I am merely just an unfortunate human soul trapped in this nightmare. My eyes rarely shine. I cannot remember the last time they have shown excitement, they have only carried heavy wrinkled bags of sorrow.

Like every challenger, I hope they can finally bring me peace. I slowly stand, using the hilt of my two-handed sword. Slowly lifting the blade one my shoulder, my eyes squint while my old creaky bones crack and realign into place, “You are not the first to attempt to defeat me…”. The sorrow in my eyes echo throughout the arena.

The young man’s raises his brow slightly, the quivering blue eyes darting back and forth, unsure of how to process this intense sadness.
“…And you will not be the last.” I raise my eyes to match his, hoping to finally rest.

Last edited 1 month ago by (Cody)PukingGoombas
Makokam
1 month ago

Chronicles of The Dragon: Truth, If You Dare
By Makokam

Jostica stood on the sidewalk outside a diner, looking in through the window.

At the back most corner, sitting by himself in a booth, she could just barely make out her brother.

Missing from her life for the last seven years. Tracking him for the last two.

Now he was just a few steps away.

She walked in and headed straight for his booth, sitting down without introduction. “Long time no see.”

“Sorry about that,” he said, putting his drink down.

“Do you want to explain why you left and where you’ve been?” She said, leaning over the table on crossed arms and looking him dead in the eye.

“Well,” he said, doing the same, “The second question is easy. All over the country. I joined the military for a bit. Went to England once. Japan earlier this year.” His eyes went wide and rolled as he let out a breath. “I’ve been to Mexico a bunch and Canada a few times as well.”

She cursed under her breath, “I should have used a world map more often.” After a moment she locked eyes again, “And you left…?

He took a deep breath, “Because…” He sat back in the booth, “Okay, do you want it all at once, or just dip your toes in?”

“I want the truth.”

He snorted, “The truth, huh?” He looked everywhere but at her for a moment then sighed and met her eyes again, “I left because I’m a monster. An actual, blood thirsty, monster.”

She laughed. “Jonathan, you aren’t a monster.”

He leaned in close, “Do I look like I’m joking?”

She started to laugh again, but there was no mirth in his eyes. No waiting to say “gotcha”.

Her face fell, “You have to be.”

“I’m not. I am The Dragon.”

She laughed, “What? The dragon?”

“THE Dragon.”

She choked out a laugh. “The Dragon. As in THE Dragon. The thing that wiped out most of the Middle East.”

“Yes.”

She couldn’t help laughing at the absurdity of the statement, but the seriousness of his gaze choked any mirth from it.

Last edited 1 month ago by Makokam
Carolus V.
Carolus V.
1 month ago

The Gaze
By Carolus V.

He gazed into my eyes. I saw nothing in his pupils but cold stillness.
His story was done.

He’d lost his last ten years to one burning memory. Ten years my grandfather spent on that locomotive ride across the Siberian Tundra. Ten years occupied by sitting in the dining car of a train en route to Vladivostok.

Like scratched vinyl, it just kept on repeating the same beats and the same melody. One final memory to guide him on his way out into that good night.
It didn’t matter that it’d been sixty years since that day. To him, at least, that temporal distance meant nothing. His awareness was gone. But the memory still played on.

Ten years of ramblings about Lenin, the ticketmaster, a rude Georgian and a mug of watered down coffee. That had become his world.

The moment he died, my grandmother started to choke up. She stared, beside me, into those numb eyes. She didn’t know what to say.

Eventually she let loose a harsh, rasping breath. Her face contorted into a wretched frown. Tears came streaming down her wrinkled cheeks.

I didn’t look away from my grandfather’s eyes, so I couldn’t offer any help to her. All that mattered to me then was that gaze and the absurd lifelessness in it.
She went bolting out of the room.

For a while, I could hear the soles of her shoes beating down on the linoleum floor. The sound steadily faded the further away she ran. Then she started hollering for my parents.

I wanted to follow her lead. I wanted to get myself up and bolt out the door to try and find something that could defend me from that stare.

But I couldn’t. And I don’t know why. Not with that gaze still probing into me.

So I stayed. I let the moment imbed itself in my mind.

He gazed into my eyes. I saw nothing in his pupils but cold stillness.

All I could think was that that gaze would define my final, burning memory.

And that just about killed me.

Last edited 1 month ago by Carolus V.
Chengir
1 month ago

Staring into Their Eyes
By Chengir

Cooper stood frozen, his eyes staring straight ahead off the side deck.

“What are you doing?” Murry asked.

“I’m staring right into their eyes,” Cooper explained. “Maybe it’ll make them take off.”

Murry shook his head. “They’re deer, you moron, look at them sideways and they’ll spook.”

Cooper shook himself, causing a cloud of hair to explode into the air. The Golden Retriever readjusted himself, snapping his tail over his backside. Murry always thought it looked like a hairy flag. He never understood why Cooper bothered. In the end, it didn’t make him look any bigger. Murry half expected some bird to land on it. Besides, there was nothing they could do, they were on the other side of the fence.

As they were waiting for the deer to finally clear off, Bungee came running up on feet that were moving faster than a twitchy hummingbird’s wings. The stupid French Bulldog puppy couldn’t do anything unless he was running at 90 miles an hour.

“We gonna chase’em? We gonna chase’em? We gonna chase’em?”

Murry shook his head. Doing the best impression of regalness that an oily black Labrador Retriever could muster. “They’re on the other side of the fence, you imbecile.”

“So,” Bungee protested, “We’ll dig under it.”

Attempting to hide under one paw, Murry sighed. “What’s the point? They’ll be long gone by the time you get to the other side.”

“Maybe we’ll find a bone. Maybe we’ll find a bone,” Bungee said excitedly.

“You think there are random bones buried in the backyard?”

“Okay, maybe we’ll find a tennis ball. You love tennis balls.”

“Yeah,” Murry’s eyes drooped. “And maybe a squirrel will come running down and roll over on its back so you can catch it.”

Bungee returned his stare with a face filled with utter joy, “You think?”

“No,” Murry drooled, “I don’t think.”

Just then, Mrs. Abercrombie rang the dinner bell. Murry loved that little tinkling metal tone. He could taste dinner already. “See ya. It’s been fun… intermittently.”

Makeshift Mousepad
Makeshift Mousepad
1 month ago

Hanna’s Legacy (Private Repost)
By: Makeshift Mousepad

The last thing I ever said to Hanna was, “There is nothing in this world that can love me.” Joseph poked at the campfire. “What’s worse is that she’d told me that she loved me just before that.”

Ariadne rubbed Joseph’s shoulder. “Wow… That’s brutal.”

“Huh? Oh, it’s been over two-hundred years, Ariadne. It doesn’t bother me anymore.” Joseph looked at the stars. “But I often wonder how things would’ve been if Hanna managed to break down my walls. Would I have lived a happy life? Would we have been happy together? Would someone else have done what I did? Would humanity have been faced with the same monster? Would that new monster have actually ended humanity?”

Ariadne bumped his arm, “You talk about the war way too much. Can’t we have a camping trip where you don’t lament the whole nuclear-war-thing?”

Joseph stuck his tongue out at her and she did the same in response.

“Heh. Tell me about Hanna. Who’s the lucky lady who had a big crush on you?”

“Alright.” Joseph smiled, “We met at work when we were developing the first generation of nanobots. She was a brilliant engineer. Without her, the nanobots might not have been created in my lifetime. But I wouldn’t call her ‘lucky’ though. I was a very different person when I was a regular human. I had bad mental problems that I constantly struggled to keep buried. And, looking back on things, she was probably the same.

“Maybe that’s why you were so drawn to one another. You both found someone that you didn’t have to keep up impressions around.”

“Maybe… It felt like I was home when I was around her. No one ever looked at me quite like she did.”

A snap from the campfire echoed into the night.

“I hope she lived a good life without me. It might have taken two-hundred years, but I’ve finally gotten the same.”

Shane Frangi
Shane Frangi
1 month ago

Try and Look Up
By Shane Frangi

Chris pulled the classroom door inward, stopping it with his foot just before it could strike the adjacent wall, just as he had every day that semester. Gliding toward his seat with his head down, he took notice of someone’s new footwear and the chair leg that lacked padding near Professor Sinclaire’s desk, hoping that they wouldn’t distract him from the day’s lecture. He had only been seated a moment when a chipper voice just ahead caught his ear.

“Hey, Chris!”

He glanced slightly up toward (though not enough to meet the gaze of) the young woman seated just ahead of him. “Hi, Cameron.”

“I told you to call me Cammie,” she rebutted, “unless you want me to start calling you Christopher all the time.”

“Sorry.” His stomach twisted just a bit, “I forgot you didn-”

“It’s fine,” Cammie chuckled, “I was only messing with you… mostly, anyway.”

He gambled on that last part being a joke and let out a fraction of a laugh, keeping his gaze focused downward. He contemplated an attempt at eye contact, but before he could, Cammie spoke up once again.

“Soooo… a couple of us were gonna meet up to study for finals. You wanna come? I mean, everyone who’s joining takes most of the same classes and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen you head into a few… not that I was watching you.” He failed to notice how quickly she seemed to course-correct her invitation.

“I’m not that great at studying with other people.” He stated, unaware of how blunt he sounded.

“Oh…” She sounded a touch disappointed, but he didn’t trust his insight to tell him that. “We were planning on more than just studying… I’d actually meant to talk to you about-”

He finally realized what she’d been getting at; for the first time, his eyes met hers, even for just a moment. “I’d love to study with you guys.”

He quickly ducked his gaze down before he heard a whisper in his ear: “Thanks for trying. I know it’s hard for you. Pick me up at five?”

RVMPLSTLSKN
RVMPLSTLSKN
1 month ago

Survivors’ Eyes
By RVMPLSTLSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)(repost from private)

Padas stared out at the sea and fought the pressure building behind his eyes. Within his breast, solidarity and sorrow warred with apprehension and postcoital contentment. He was learning to love and be loved, again.

The pressure stayed, a constant in his confliction.
He had lost so much. Just months ago, he had been betrothed. He had built a house and chosen his bride. The price was set and paid, for one does not gain a wife without demonstrating the resources to care for her.

Did not gain…

Padas felt his chest tighten, as though The Deep One called to him. He shivered, but did not weep. Perhaps he could not weep, could not cry and spill his emotions into the sea.

But he could steel himself. He could feel and hold his pain without succumbing, without giving The Deep One a foothold in his mind.

He was lonely in the sort of way only the truly alone can feel. He felt sharply the absence of the gods, the void of humanity; only he and Vienas remained here and she wouldn’t look at him.

Part of him felt used, but his thoughts mourned for her too. She’d lost everything he had and her sight besides. As unseeing as her eyes now were, he still wished she would look at him. It was her sightless stare that unnerved him. He’d seen worse wounds as a fisherman, but her bloodshot gaze reminded him of rotted fish, stormwaters and malascendant times.

Padas breathed a ragged sigh and looked out again over the calm sea. His soul sang for more and less. He longed for the quiet faith of reality wherein gods would answer even the basest of men. His mind rebelled at the reality of being alone. Even his eyes refused to speak the truth of reality; he saw memories and shadows of things that were.

Beside him was an open clam shell with a single pearl. He had found and stored plenty, but today… today he needed to hold one, to hear it. He needed the truth of dead gods.

-For you…

VeryBoringName
VeryBoringName
1 month ago

Two Eyes
By: VeryBoringName

Through my boarded up windows sneaked in the last few rays of sunlight, another night was upon me, again, and again, I wished another night would not dawn, would not become the morbid reality and the tether between life and death.

My wishes fell on deaf ears, not only had the night come, it came sooner than before, it came sooner than the night before, now I knew, now I knew that night would not be pleasant. I picked up my rifle, my old and trusty, my one and only hope of survival, and as I did so many nights I lost the track of time many nights, I blocked my door.

Banging, banging, banging, as always, as always, whatever there was out there to get me, not through the door would it come, not through that door, nor through windows, nor through anywhere else. The banging ceased, it was patrolling, as I was, an unfair battle of wits that played out as so many nights before played out.

We crossed eyes near one of the slits of the boarded windows, it’s eyes, I’ve only ever see the eyes, only those eyes, burning like St. Elmo’s fire on a mast, piercing through me, it knew it had prey cornered, it knew that one night it would have me, not this night, not this one.

Yet it was close, so close, so close, but away from the candlelight, only allowing me to see its eyes and only its eyes, those burning eyes. I thought, maybe to slide the barrel of my rifle into that slit, fire on it, chase it away, kill it, no, it would only snag my rifle from me, and then it would have my truly, it would not.

It began to bang on the boards too now, I could not see the fists, only the pair of eyes, but now I knew it knew what I was afraid off, it would exploit it, I fired the rifle, it sounded like a human dying.

CorrectCetacean
CorrectCetacean
1 month ago

The Untaught Things
by Correct Cetacean

“I’ve only ever looked you in the eyes once, you know” Kate smiled, looking out over the city as the sun set. “People say the eyes are the window to the soul, and they couldn’t be more right. Eye contact hurts. I have to avoid meeting eyes with people or I am overwhelmed. There is so much emotion there, I feel see-through. I don’t like making myself that vulnerable. But you said people often complimented your eyes, that people fell in love with you for your eyes, and I was curious. It hurt, but they were beautiful. It was worth it, I think.”

Laurel listened to what Kate said, feeling loved in a way she hadn’t before she met Kate. “I feel like that too! I would force myself to make eye contact with people and it was the worst. I coul-” Laurel ticced. She felt embarrassed, but managed to brush it aside. Kate wouldn’t judge her, and she couldn’t control it. “-dn’t focus on what people were saying. I am glad that I am learning to wear my own skin finally. They don’t teach us how to do that. You grow up being told that you aren’t fully human. That your needs don’t matter the same way other’s do. You learn to be a robot, but you can’t be one, not really. Because they were wrong. you are a human, and a human can’t just repress everything like that. So you fall apart, you burn out. You have to learn to teach yourself how to do the things no one ever taught you to do-” another tic “-it is hard, but it is necessary.”

Kate nodded. “I have noticed that parents have a tendency to ‘mourn’ the allistic child they could have had, but I’ve always felt the opposite. I need to mourn the autistic child I could have been. The happy, untraumatized, healthy one. She is dead. I will never be her, only the scarred, uncertain autistic person I am now. I can heal, I can get over the past, but I will never be the same person.”

Last edited 1 month ago by CorrectCetacean
KR Raika
KR Raika
1 month ago

Whites
By KR Raika

Since the first day of fifth grade, her eyes were on his mind. Of course, everyone in class talked about how pale they were. Some would wonder why she never wore sunglasses (the rest of her kind did). Others would laugh whenever she bumped into her desk.

He said nothing. In fact, he wanted nothing to do with her. He found those eyes in the corner of his. Sometimes, they were on him, especially when he read aloud in class. It was unsettling to the point he had wished her gone.

Then, she was. Apparently, she moved out of town after Christmas. A blessing, he first thought.

The more time passed, the more he stared at the door. The many times he expected to find her next to it bugged him. He thought summer, and the annual family trip to the beach would cure him.

Seeing her on the beach ruined the first day of said trip. His mom and dad talking to hers didn’t help, so he sat as far away as possible. He didn’t even swim in the water, since she stood in it.

Wanting to avoid her, he said he felt sick the next morning. However, his dad kept his mom from unpacking any “emergency medicines” and told her to wait outside. He felt shy about the truth with his dad. His dad never asked, but those blue eyes convinced him to go to the beach.

She was there, alright. He didn’t want to, but his dad said to talk to her. He wasn’t sure if she noticed him.

Standing over her, he said, “Hi. Uh, I’m…”

He stepped from her widened gaze. “It’s you! You’re that boy from class!” she said, her voice ringing to his surprise.

Wait, she remembered him? All because his “voice sounded nice?” How come she never said that before?

Why did he never say anything to her?

After she finished talking, he cleared his throat of the lump inside. “Can I sit with you?”

He saw his own browns reflecting in her whites, which glowed with her smile. “Sure!”

Last edited 1 month ago by KR Raika
Dillow R.
Dillow R.
1 month ago

That Effigy, Immortal
by Dillow R.

November 5th, 1867, was when it was erected there, in the center of town. It was a gift from an anonymous sculptor, someone clearly very skilled; the anatomy of the piece was immaculate, hours of study must have been put on the human body. Other than that, however, it was almost completely inoffensive, entirely reminiscent of something Michaelangelo might have made.

Except for the eyes.

My first encounter with the statue was, frankly, quite unremarkable. I had just moved into town a few weeks prior and was visiting the old sector. I wanted to get to know the history of this place in a more physical way than just reading up at the library. There was this really nice cafè I went to, the general mood was incredibly cozy, and the coffee there was immaculate. I exited the place with a nice cup of cappuccino, and standing only some 20 feet away from me was the statue. I had somehow completely missed it the first time I walked past it. Only after taking a sip of my drink did I notice the sculpture, and it was beautiful, standing three feet taller than me with its imposing, muscular form.

At the time, I had not fully perceived the statue’s eyes, only caught a mere glimpse. That mere glimpse, however, is what made me want to return to inspect it once more. And so I did.

This time, the sculpture was the first thing I noticed, its eyes the second.

The entire piece was incredibly detailed and anatomically correct, but the eyes were somehow even more real. Getting as close as I could, I inspected them.

Tiny, branching veins were sculpted into the sclerae; one could almost imagine blood flowing through them, pulsating. Dug into the irises, canyons and rivers ebbed and flowed; even with the sculpture being completely white, the eyes were clearly green. A damp sadness covered the dry, stone eyes, pained and furious.

It made sense now. The eyes needed to be so detailed. Their pain, too, was inevitable. They were real.

That effigy, immortal, stared back at me.

Alex
Alex
1 month ago

I saw your Tear (Forsaken Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

“In and out.”

Michael obliged, breathing deeply, as Jackie held the improvised stethoscope to his chest. Jackie listened intently to his four lungs working.

“Seems to be… in order,” Jackie said, barely noticing her own stutter.

Maintaining the illusion, which hid her red eyes and tears took more and more effort by the day. Her hand shook. She hadn’t manifested anything since the incident. She just hadn’t be able to make the effort.

Not since they’d been marooned in space, far away from everyone and everything they knew. Everyone they loved. To them, they may as well be dead. Dead, buried and lost somewhere in an unmarked tomb, where wretched dust-specks belonged.

Jackie felt her breath shudder, as these and worse thoughts flooded her mind. The satari turned away from the half-vorok, half-gorlai fetching another tool. Her hand hovered over them for a second, as she checked the notepad for what to do next for a standard physical. She should know this. Medicine was her specialty.

She should damn well know this! Michael would see her hesitate and if her illusion dropped now…

“Focus, Jackie, focus,” she said to herself. “Breathe. Michael doesn’t know you’ve been crying. Nobody can judge you.”

“Jackie? You alright?”

“Yes!” she called, higher than she’d intended. “Let me look at your… eyes.”

She took out a torch and walked over to Michael, holding the light into his eye.

“Try not to… blink,” she said, as they stared into each other.

“Jackie,” his voice deep and calm. “Are you okay?”

“Yes. Yes, of course I am. Why… Why do you ask?”

“Because you’re crying.”

She held a hand to her cheek and felt it. A single tear had slipped through her veil. She felt her illusion drop bit by bit, revealing her tearstained eyes. Satari weren’t meant to cry. Surely, Michael would judge her, everyone would.

But Michael never did.

Instead, he simply opened his arms. Jackie hesitated briefly, before burying her face in his shoulder, crying silently, as he held her tight in his arms.

Arith_Winterfell
Arith_Winterfell
1 month ago

“A Blow from the Shadows”

By Arith_Winterfell ( with edits suggested by Calliope Rannis)

I was staring into my own eyes. Dead eyes, gazing distantly at nothing, clouded and pale. An unsettling feeling really, holding up one’s own severed head. The hair was matted by blood, mostly from the blow to the back of the head that bashed in the skull. I sighed. The process of summoning shades of one’s potential future self really never gets any easier. Imagine my surprise, when I summoned the shade expecting to talk to a future version of myself, only to have a lone head appear from the mists of the future, the head rolling off the summoning dais. I wouldn’t be able to ask this version of myself any questions about what had happened, of course. Though these shadows of the future aren’t very shadowy, it always looks very real. Well forget looking real, it was quite corporeal and you could feel it in the texture of the skin, just starting to marble green from decay.

I frowned going back to looking into those clouded eyes. “What happened to you?” I murmured. I shuddered and turned to look behind me, but I was still alone in the summoning chamber. He clearly didn’t see it coming, no signs of a struggle or fight, just a sudden crushing blow from behind. I’d be looking over my shoulder for weeks to come now. Someone had made sure to silence me so I couldn’t tell myself what had happened. I had no intention of waiting around to end up like this shadow of me. I needed to find out who wanted me dead or at least a clue to what was going on.

I heard the swift sound of something moving through the air. I saw no one, but I felt the blow from the mace as I tumbled into darkness and pain.

Insania404
Insania404
1 month ago

Chasing Shadows (From Grael’s Library)
By: Insania404 [Private Repost]

The crunch of snow is the only sound that reaches my ears as the putrid stench of yellow haze fills what remains of my nostrils. I follow the shadows up to one of the few remaining buildings. My inky claws dig into the rotting steps and I hear her scream once I near the top. A blunt object collides with my skin, leaving only splinters of wood on the ground.

I effortlessly lift her into the air and our eyes meet. She struggles, matching my golden gaze, but inevitably succumbs to her fate. Her pupil flits to the side, granting entry. I draw the memories like water from a well and empowering energy courses through my veins. For The Judge, each victim must be ambrosia. My mind bends and her memories become my own. The visions flicker dimly in my mind.

I see the room, vibrant and filled with life, the inhabitants hollow and grey.
A man is splattered with red and my victim falls on her knees, hands on the crimson body.
Tears drip from her eyes and the blade slips from her grasp.
The Betrayer looms behind her, white eyes burning into my flesh.
I cannot keep myself from crying out, alerting him to my presence.
I hide among the memories to escape his gaze, but his wandering eyes find me just the same.

Disconnected from my victim, she lies in a heap, still breathing, but The Betrayer remains behind her.

My claws extend and I step forward, but even knowing she is Lost, I hesitate to perform the necessary act. I remind myself that she was a corpse before I came to collect her, corrupted into this twisted life. The Betrayer takes notice of my hesitation and uses it to his advantage. His eyes surround me and I find myself engulfed by white light.

I awaken on the damp floorboards of the building, soaked from the snow falling through the holes in the roof. I scan the area for my victim, but to my dismay, The Betrayer has taken her again, leaving fading shadows behind.

C. M. Weller
1 month ago

Challenge of the Demon Lord (A Tiefling Tale)
C. M. Weller

When he was a boy, the Demon Lords of Whitekeep were scary stories to make sure he was good. When he was growing into a man, he learned the truth, watching his brother sire a part of the curse. There were probably more than that one. He had sworn that he would never be part of that curse.

Then the curse happened anyway. Once in a while, his father said, one just happens. The legitimate ones. His father also told him that they could not come to harm, or a great disaster would befall all of their realm.

Centuries ago, that had been twelve half-frozen men on a mountainside, one of whom made a deal with fel powers. They had been willing to gamble it all on a devil’s deal. Now… it was thousands of lives and an oath meant to keep the curse under control. Now… fate made him forsworn.

He sired a Demon Lord.

He didn’t look up when the messenger entered. Didn’t bother to bid privacy for an ‘ears only’ message. “Just deliver the message.”

The shape in his peripheral vision shrugged. “Hallo Papa. Time for the dirty laundry to be aired, nein?”

Now he looked up. Right into the eyes of his heir. Now he was eye to eye with the one creature he despised, and could not harm. The next Demon Lord, despite his efforts to prevent it.

Eye to yellow, glowing eye, he stared his son down. Twenty-six years and martial training had changed him. Those had been frightened eyes, once; begging him to guard Spitebane from monsters.

Now the monster came back. Stronger. Older. Calloused. Unafraid.

“I rescued my brother on the way, you’re welcome. He was shocked to learn he wasn’t an only child. Whatever happened to ‘I will tell no untruth to harm another’?”

Just like always, pointing out lies like a true devil. Of course he knew every word of the Whitekeep Oath. Of course he weaponised it.

There was something else in the Tiefling’s eyes. Something horrifyingly real. Something indestructible. Something he and everyone he treasured lacked.

Integrity.

Last edited 1 month ago by C. M. Weller
Fredrick H.
Fredrick H.
1 month ago

First a Girl, Then a Beast (Crossroads City Canon)
By Fredrick H. (Challeng3r22)

It had been a few days since Anthony recovered the Chosen One from her encounter with the titan. Since then he had been actively searching for that things creator while tending to her recovery and safety.

“I think it’s time for me to leave,” she declared one morning.

“What do you mean, Chosen One?”

“What did we talk about?”

“Sorry, Angela. But your recovery is still incomplete.”

“And while I’m here in bed my enemies could come attack or simply just lay waste to the city.”

“You’re safe from any incursions here, my wards should make sure of that.”

“I had wards in my apartment,” she retorted, face full of anger.

“I’m sure you did, but you also don’t come from a family of sorcerers.”

“Fine. I’m sure the world burning down will be of little issue to you, Lord Sorcerer.”

Taking a deep breath, he prepare to submit, “Look me in the eyes.”

Here eyes were a fascinating metallic mix of gold and silver, not to dissimilar from a dragon.

“You may go out, but try not to overwork yourself. If you need a break just return here or relax in the library. Also, take this.”

From his pocket he produced a small clay figure.

“A shabti?”

“If it finds that you are either overworking yourself or in serious danger it will come get me.”

“Thank you, Anthony.”

Before he could react she was out the door, sword in hand.

Soon after her departure he fell into an anxiety riddled dreamscape.

He was floating in an infinite void. All around him were eyes. The soft gentle eyes of prey. The harsh glaring eyes of predators. The soulless eyes of insects.

“Sorcerer’s child, why do we still ally with the girl?”

“Chosen ones are one of the few beings in this world who can defy fate. Why would we not want that on our side.”

“I AM STRONGER THAN FATE! And her opponents appear to possess the strength to regain our lost territory.”

“ENOUGH! This is my body and I will decide who ally ourselves with!”

And then he awoke.

C.W. Spalding
C.W. Spalding
1 month ago

His Eye
By C.W. Spalding

Catching Jukaugh’s eyes had always been an unfair contest for Riley. How could she catch his seven when she had only two? And yet…

“Are you sure?” Riley asked with anticipation.

He blinked, one eye after the other, no two closing at once. She usually looked at the two that most easily matched her own, the pair as red as river clay. But today she glanced at them all: the pair over his brows which glimmered the same shade as blood from a papercut; and the pair which sat in the hollow of his cheeks which had the shimmer of spilled ink; and the one which sat at the root of his tongue, which she could only just barely see as he’d opened his mouth when she set her fingertips on his lips.

That one she’d never seen before.

That eye he’d never shown to anyone.

He swallowed, his throat bobbing against her other hand, but he did not move as she put her hand in his mouth and grabbed for the eye to pull it out. Riley had never done something so horrifying, but it was much easier than she’d expected. She dug in her nails around the eye, feeling the hot rush of blood, Jakaugh’s head jerking against the wall. But then the terribleness of it was over, and she pulled the thing out and let it set, still warm, in her hand.

Naked except for tatters of tongue, the eye stared up at her. Its iris was the color of her own soul, and its pupil was wide and dark and flat as the whole night sky. Seeing it, Riley forgot about Jakaugh’s rattling cough. She saw only the eye, and its reflection.

“Do you believe me now?” Jakaugh asked wetly.

Well, his eye seemed to tell the truth. It seemed as pure and truthful as the sunrise. It reflected her own face as though it were the face of a stranger.

“I guess,” she mumbled.

“Then-”

“I know.”

She closed her hand and kept closing until the eye popped and flowed out through her fingers.

LewdCharizard
LewdCharizard
1 month ago

Uggrport
by LewdCharizard

I met the old man at the docks. I was at the age where I would learn to tie knots, and haggle at the market, and be a fisher for the town. There were other teams of two who, both being experienced, started after us and sailed into the dark morning fog ahead of us. He was a good teacher, and the nervousness I felt disappeared with the shore.

Fishing is a lot of work and a lot more waiting. And, under the waning moonlight, we settled into our own quiet reveries.

I looked over the edge of the boat down into the ocean.

It was a chasm. The edge of the boat disappeared as I stared, and I saw something. Deeper, beyond the surface where the moonlight danced. A faint haze patterned the darkness. An endless overlapping of ghosts drifted this way and that. They became lost souls, so I unfocused my eyes hoping to see something else. And I did.

The distortions rearranged into a jellied mass of frogs eggs. The orbs rose until all around me there were endless fish eyes staring directly at me. I blinked and focused more intently. I wanted to see the eyes as what they surely were: bits of flotsam, a trick of the moonlit surface. But, I only saw them more clearly.

I don’t know how long I stared, only that I fell back into the boat cold and chattering. When I looked at the captain, I saw clearly the memory of it overlaid across his face.

He nodded.

“Why don’t we head back,” he said.

We played a game on the return. He said “ostrich.” I said “horse.” He said “elephant.” And so on.

There are well-worn rules for the fishermen of Uggrport. Finish your knots with a half hitch. Don’t undercut your fellows at market. Never go alone.

Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
1 month ago

A Perfect Stare (Alice’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

Eddar walked with confidence across the tavern towards a small table, where the strange clockmaker girl was drinking her tea after having fixed the innkeeper’s clock. Without asking, he took the seat opposite hers, getting a good look at the woman he had heard so much about.

She sat upwards, startled. Her orange-brown eyes looked back into his own, as she quickly put down her tea and crossed her arms. She was clearly half-gnome, with her large eyes and slightly-pointed ears – and certainly attractive too, Eddar thought. How could anyone find her creepy?

There was a long pause, as they stared into each other. Then abruptly, the clockmaker started speaking. “Hello good sir. What can I do for you today? Do you have urgent business with me?” Her voice was refined and clear.

He had expected her to be shy. Her instant directness was surprising. “Oh, well, uh, you…know a lot about clocks, right?”

Another pause. “You are correct. I am responsible for all the creation and maintenance of this town’s clocks, in fact. Do you want a new clock, or to repair an old one?”

“Now just wait there Missy, I didn’t say I wanted-”

“Alice.” Her voice cut through his. “My name is Alice Bereppen Tiktik. Good to meet you, Eddar Rankell.” Her face remained neutral, her stare burrowing into his eyes.

“….H-hang on, how did you know my name?” He could feel sweat upon his brow.

She responded immediately. “Twenty-seven days ago. You introduced yourself to the barkeep. I was there, as is my evening custom. And I never forget a name.”

He shivered. How could she remember that? And…he was beginning to notice how perfectly symmetrical her face was, unable to find a single blemish or even a hair out of place…and she just wouldn’t stop staring-

“Ding!”

He blinked. Somehow, impossibly, Alice had chimed at the exact same moment as the bar’s repaired clock.

Eddar stood up, turned away, and left the tavern without another word.

“Goodbye.” Alice said to the empty space before her, and went back to taking her tea.

Marx
Marx
1 month ago

I’ll Never Join You
By Marx

Daisy shook with her sobs as she fought against her restraints and did everything possible to avoid looking at the demon before her. She knew this was going to be bad. But knowing something and experiencing it are two very different things.

“You’re very beautiful.” Alex purred, using his grip on Daisy’s chin to force her to look at him. “I’ve always thought so.”

“Please… please stop…”

Alex grinned widely. “Why? I’m complimenting you.”

“You NEVER compliment me!” Daisy spat out. “You’re just telling me what I want to hear!”

“Yes.” Alex chuckled. “However… you know I don’t need to lie. You served me well. You were as faithful as any of my thralls. You’re very special to me.”

“Why?!” Daisy screamed. “Why wouldn’t you say these things when I was with you? It was all I wanted!”

Alex’s dark gaze continued to pierce into Daisy’s. “Because that’s not how this game works. But you can make this stop. It’s quite simple. I’ll take you back. Just deny the halfling.”

Daisy shook her head. “No. Will cares about me.”

“He doesn’t know you. Not like I do.”

“You don’t even want me… You just want to mess with my head. You want to make me do more bad things.”

“Silly girl.” Alex’s eyes began to glow. “I never made you do anything. You chose to do those things because it pleased me. And let’s be honest here… I’ll always be in your head. You just get to choose how much pain it’ll cause you. Last chance.”

Daisy didn’t fight it this time. She stared into Alex’s golden eyes, her own glowing back in turn. “I choose my freedom.”

Alex beamed back happily and grabbed a blade from the tray next to him. “Excellent. I thought you lost your backbone long ago. Now… let’s test out that demonic healing I gave you.”

Daisy closed her eyes. Alex made a deal with her. And he didn’t lie. After he was done ‘saying goodbye’, she’d finally be free of him.

She could do this.

It was just pain.

It was nothing new.

EggOnToast
EggOnToast
1 month ago

I See You’re Home Late
By EggOnToast

Sheryl slid her small figure through the door frame and lightly closed the door. Even though the sound from it was just a light click, a weighted fear jumped on her back as the idea of waking her father lunged into her head. He needed the sleep, yet it could have been possible that he stayed up all night worrying about her. Creeping up the stairs, every step only added to the terror. The anxiety left her as she saw the door to her room, the end goal that assure her victory, staring back at her in the hallway. Opening to the door was a breeze, a viel of shadows concealed her bed, her cozy paradise. Just like before, she slid into her room, but as she breathed a sigh of relief, a deft hand flicked the lightswitch on.

The first mistake she made was looking into her father’s eyes. His onyx glare cut through her with such intensity that it would have made a small child cry for their parent. At that moment, she noticed the deep, sunken bags under his eyes. He had been waiting for her all night.

“And where were you?” She looked down in response as if to brace herself for the lecture he was about to give her. “Do you have any idea how late it is? It’s 3 in the  morning! You said you’d be home around 9 or 11 at best!”

“I’m sorry. I just lost track of time.” Her words stumbled out.

“Sorry -” His words cut as if he was just speared by his own voice, and she glaced at him as tears began to form in her eyes. His eyes seemed to soften from the sharp intensity they once had. “Hey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to lose my temper. I was just worried. Please, try to get home at the time you give me or at least let me know if you’re going to be out later. I’d understand if you do.”

“I will. I’m sorry.” Sheryl rubbed her tears away, and her dad embraced her.

Last edited 1 month ago by EggOnToast
Connor A.
Connor A.
1 month ago

Lingering Magic (Sword Isles)
By Connor A.

Death rarely used his own magic. It was not out of any known personal reason; rather, he simply did not see the need to use it in his everyday life the same way wizards did.

This, Marcos decided, made the sight of gold streams of magic wrapping around Death’s arms all the more breathtaking.

Death picked up the compass from the magic circle and admired with with the gold pinpricks left over from his magic. “There we go. This compass should bypass whatever magic cloaks the hunter. I will have to thank Kentol for lending me this compass the next time I see him.”

Whatever Death was talking about next failed to reach Marcos’ ears. He rested his head on his hand, keeping his attention on Death’s “eyes” and the little details in them as the latter cleared the spell components off the table. While still bright, there were enough tiny specks of darker colors mixed in to give them a slightly tarnished look when looking directly at them. And while Death was already plenty expressive in Marcos’ eyes, they somehow made his permanent grin look more genuine.

“Marcos?”

He snapped out of his trance to find that Death was looking back. The sight of the pinpricks locking with his eyes made his heart pound in his chest.

“Is everything alright?”

“Y-yeah,” Marcos stammered, “Just…glad we made some progress.”

Death’s head cocked to one side in what was clearly doubt. He leaned forward and cupped Marcos’ face so he could run a thumb over the dark circles under his eyes, seemingly oblivious to how Marcos tensed. “You should probably sleep before we continue.”

Before Marcos could say anything else, Death got up and walked away with the components. The wizard groaned and rested his face in both of his hands.

“‘Glad we made some progress?’” He muttered to himself. “Really?”

Marcos pulled one hand away, but his other lingered where Death’s hand was.

Why, he wondered to himself as he took a few deep breaths, did he have to catch feelings for Death?