Writing Group: False Faces and Lying Voices

Hello, Fibbers and Falsifiers!

Hey, you’ve told a lie before, right? What do you do if you are caught? Do you fess up, or lie even more? It’s time to see how well you can keep your web of lies straight… or perhaps it’s time to watch it unravel, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

False Faces and Lying Voices

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!

Liar, liar, pants on fire, hanging from a telephone wire! We’ve all heard the phrase, though it is not the most intuitive of sayings. One would assume this means every liar carries spontaneous combustibles, but we all know that is not the case. Why they are strung up… we may never know.

But it does get one thinking, doesn’t it? The punishments for lying can be a multitude of things. From something as simple as a tiny rub of soap on the tongue to the far more severe extensive prison sentence. We could explore what it’s like to be a child who always lies to get what they want, saying they did their homework when they didn’t, or causing some mischief and making someone else take the fall. Are they successful liars, or do they always get caught? Perhaps this can be about someone who always lies to their partner, or even partners, to be able to continue their double, triple, or more lifestyle. Maybe it’s an office worker who has lied and cheated their way to the top, or even a CEO who lies about their company’s products. This could even be a chance to explore the deceit in a political circle.

But as always, there’s other angles to look at. What about people who lie for the benefit of others? An older sibling taking the fall for a younger sibling breaking their mother’s favourite vase. Perhaps a friend needed help with an essay, but the teacher noticed that it was almost a direct copy of yours, so you tell her that you copied from them instead, letting them take the grade. There’s many little white lies one can tell that do little to no harm at all; “Did you like her cooking?”, “Yes.” But actually no. This spares any hurt feelings. “Are you coming out tonight?”, “Sorry, I’m sick. I can’t.” An understandable excuse when one just wants some down time alone for an evening rather than being social. But we need to remember there’s also lies that hide things that are wrong, like someone being hurt by another’s words, but saying they’re fine. Even a simple smile can be the biggest lie, hiding so much inner turmoil.

So many lies, so many masks. This is your opportunity to fib, cheat, and take risks to see how much you can get away with.

Don’t worry, we’ll have a fire extinguisher on hand for your trousers.

—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. Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
    6. 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.
    7. 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. Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
    6. 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).
    7. 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.
    8. 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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Mike D
Mike D
6 months ago

My Dog Ate My Homework
By Mike D

“Max, no,” I said while attempting to pull what was left of my homework assignment from his jaws.

He’d been out of character for the past month. For example, he used to play with his toys. Now he sits in front of the TV. And now, this.

How was I going to explain this? “Sorry, my dog ate my homework.” Somehow, I didn’t think Mr. Cade would believe that truth.

I sat down and went to work on recreating my project. Why did this have to be hand-written? This is torture in the digital age.

Around noon Max went outside through the doggie door. I went to the kitchen for a sandwich. As I passed the kitchen window, I swear I saw Max morph into a humanoid form, open the latch with his hands, and walk out the gate. I stood, shocked, for a moment before I decided I was seeing things.

It took a couple of hours to finish reconstructing the assignment. With time to kill before mom got home, I sat to watch TV.

Max eventually made his way back inside and hopped onto the couch beside me. Still freaked by what I had seen earlier, I scooted to the other end of the sofa. “I saw you. What are you?”

Max looked at me, cocked his head as if trying to make a choice, and exhaled in that way people do when they’ve been caught. Finally, he spoke, “I’m a shapeshifter. We can’t blend with humans. Being a pet is how we survive. I just took over for the real Max.”

“So what, you ate him?” I asked.

“He got hit by a car. I just… took over. I’m a vegetarian.”

“Wait, is that why you ate my homework? For roughage?” I asked.

“Dogs eat homework. I saw it on TV.”

“No, they don’t,” I said, “that’s a lie kids tell when they didn’t do their homework.”

We both had a good laugh about it and, after a while, things seemed normal. Well, as normal as it could be, having a dog that can turn into anything.

Tamela Redfin
Tamela Redfin
6 months ago

Somebody here’s a liar

By Tamela Redfin

It didn’t take long for Adam to notice my skin peeling and the discolored skin. He was also smart enough to know it wasn’t a bad sunburn. I was talking with Libra and Fuselage when Adam motioned for me.

“Hello Captain Adam.” I smiled, but I could tell from his face now was not the time to be friendly.

“How did you get that burn?” Adam growled. I couldn’t tell him it was because of Fuselage. He might get taken off the ship or worse, reported to Mickey. She’d chew and spit him out.
“Virgo accidentally rubbed up against me. Because she’s an esteri…”

Adam crossed his arms. “In that case with how often Fuselage holds hands with Libra, he should be covered in first degree burns at least. How did you really get burned, Cameron?”

“It was an accident…” I mumbled.

He cupped his left ear. “Speak up Cameron!”

“It was an accident, I said. Nothing was supposed to happen.” I had to protect Fuselage from his punishment.

“Go see Virgo. She’ll apply something for that terrible burn.” Adam barked. Great, she saw where the burn came from. Now Fuselage would surely be in trouble. I tried bargaining with myself. Maybe she forgot about the control panel thing.

Of course, I was sorely mistaken. Her assistant, and my friend Nik Nak was there basking in the light before calling out, “Virgo, Cameron’s here. What seems to be wrong, Cameron?”

I shook my head. “It’s a small burn. I’ll be fine. Adam’s overreacting.”

“Small burn? Didn’t you stick your hand in exposed wires? I’m surprised you have a hand at all.” Virgo shouted back.

Nik Nak turned his head. “You did what?”

“Virgo’s mistaken. That never happened.” I whispered.

“Then how did you get burned?” Nik Nak asked. I wiped my forehead off.

“Does it matter?” I whined.

Edward
Edward
6 months ago

A Trial of Justice (REPOST)
by Edward P (w/help from calliope and luna)

Through an eyeless mask, Vijo felt the sun. He spent enough time in that cell that the warmth of true light pierced through his blind state. Those escorting Vijo wore similar masks except their eyes were open. They wore the clothing of merchants and lords.

Eventually the procession came to a stop. After a pause, only broken by a sharp click of shoe on tile, a voice cut the silence: “Veretta and its people will know your heart this day.” Click. Click. “One of our own, a prince of the land, stands before the scales accused of treason.” The lord orating turned away from Vijo, and addressed an unseen audience.

The orator began to incant, “Bveras ot cjeyos, bveras ot miray…”

The essences of truth, righteousness,and the city of Veretta had been summoned to this hall. The language of magic guaranteed their presence, or would have had the orator not pronounced every word just wrong enough for the meaning of the words to be lost to the weave.

“You are accused of treason against our city Vijo Corassa, and as such will have your heart weighed against the heaviest heart of justice.”

The orator gestured to one of the men, who brought forth a box. Within was Vijo’s porcelain heart, which pulsated with fear. Next, a woman stepped forward to the clay heart on the altar to Justice. This heart was far larger than anyone save the orator had seen before, and was reserved for the worst of crimes. With hands shaking, the woman brought this heart before the orator and the scales he was preparing.

“As the accused, you may see the judgement with your own eyes. Remove his mask.”

Vijo’s mask was removed, and he took in the sight of his heart being weighed. The clay heart was lifted by his own. His fear of the verdict was short lived though, for as the clay heart was lifted from the scale, the woman misjudged its weight and dropped it. The heart broke, two large chunks breaking off of the core. The heart was hollow and light.

Last edited 6 months ago by Edward
Makokam
Makokam
6 months ago

Chronicles Of The Dragon: Silver Tongued Devil
By Makokam

It was dark, getting cold, and Rabat was bored. He pulled out a flask and took a drink.

He waited.

He watched.

The nutcase they were trying to recruit moved through the building efficiently, barely giving any of his victims time to scream before he cut them down. All because his “goddess” said to.

Whatever.

Xenadow wasn’t even that impressive. Sure, he could move through shadows and manipulate them into blades…but he was slow. Surprise was his biggest ally. If his targets weren’t normal humans he wouldn’t be having nearly as easy a time.

He wished Kat would just introduce herself and put an end to this, but she said if she was going to convince him they were allies of his goddess she couldn’t contradict something she’d told him to do. He supposed she had a point.

But it hinged on convincing him Kat was the new voice for his hallucinations. And nothing actually talking to him.

For fucks sake if she wasn’t going to stop him from killing all these people could she at least make it go faster. Hell, he could kill everybody in there faster and all he had was a pocket knife.

He took another swig.

He’d thought Kat had a good head on her shoulders. She certainly paid him well enough, and the room in her penthouse was nice. But if it was up to him, he’d finish a job like this as fast as possible. No reason to drag it out.

Xenadow seemed to be enjoying the process though. Reveling in his superiority over the normies.

Rabat wanted to punch his face in.

Eventually everyone was dead, and Kat stepped out, applauding him.

Xenadow tried to slash her, but her speed was on another level.

They talked. She was obviously flattering him. Her whole body language was different. She circled him, slowly getting closer. Big dramatic gestures. Eventually he nodded. Taken the hook.

As they headed back, she didn’t hide her excitement, talking eagerly about how useful Xenadow would be.

Rabat wondered how much she’d lied about to him.

Last edited 6 months ago by Makokam
Danny Gilhooley
Danny Gilhooley
6 months ago

The Pub
By Danny Gilhooley

“We’re closed,” the bartender said, looking to the door. A bald man draped in a black coat walked inside.

“Yes, I hate to trouble you at such a late hour,” the man answered. “My flight finally arrived and I’m afraid I’m parched after travelling for so long.”

“There’s a Wal-Mart close by.”

“I had the same thought as you. Unfortunately, my wallet is with my luggage, which got lost on the flight.”

The man sat down. He looked at the bartender and smiled. His eyes were blue. His skin looked unnaturally smooth. His face was round, with glasses perched at the bridge of his nose. The bartender couldn’t help but shiver.

“Leaving your cash with your bags ain’t too smart,” the bartender said.

“I beg of you; one glass of water and I’ll be on my way.”

He was lying, the bartender thought. The nearest airport was an hour away. Why didn’t he stop there? Why would he put his wallet with his bags? Weren’t there other places he could get water from?

Why was he smiling so wide?

The bartender considered. The man wanted to stay. He was short. If he did give trouble, the bartender could easily handle him.

Besides, it was just water.

The bartender grabbed a clean glass, filled it with water from the tap, and placed it in front of the man.

“Many thanks, Percival,” the man said.

“What?”

“Hmm?”

“You called me Percival.”

“Oh, my apologies! Percival is my travel agent. He’s the only one I’ve spoken to for the past couple of weeks. Please forgive me.”

The bartender walked to the sink at the back of the bar. He opened the nearest drawer. His revolver was there. The bartender slipped the gun under his shirt and turned on the sink to wash the rest of the dishes.

“Quite good water you have! May I trouble you for another glass?”

“I’m closing up,” the bartender said. “Come back tomorrow.”

“But you’ll be gone by then.”

The bartender stopped. The man’s smile somehow got wider.

“You didn’t think you could run forever, did you Percival?”

Calico Blue
Calico Blue
6 months ago

The test
by Calico Blue

The phone buzzed an hour ago but you still haven’t checked it. It buzzed twice actually and your pretty sure you know what both of them are.

Shoot, you’re out of moves. You shuffle the deck back together and deal your self another hand of solitaire. The first one is probably your score on the math test. You’re dreading seeing how bad you did, but not as much as your dreading the other notification.

It took you another half hour, but finally, a win! What’s the chance of winning a game of solitaire? You check your phone. If your test is anything to go by you don’t have the skill to figure out your odds of winning. You were right about the second too. Your dad is asking you how you did.

Instead, you decide to take a bath. You had needed to do well on the test. You told your dad you had been doing well in the class, but now you failed it. Of course, you hadn’t been doing great before this test either, but now she would know. You fling the bar of soap across the room. It splats against the wall.

You right get out of the path and put on a bathrobe. You pull out your laptop and start composing a message to her. Two hours later you’ve finished minesweeper half a dozen times, but you’ve also finished the message. You send it and start crying.

A knock on your door. You really don’t want to open the door. He knocks again. How can you explain this? What can you do? As soon as you open the door he sweeps you up a huge warm hug.

Lunabear
Lunabear
6 months ago

For Blood and Family
By Lunabear(Private repost)

Taryn ignored the sprawling estate as she traversed the lawn. She sighed once she reached the front door. She HAD to do this.

For Antonius.

She pounded on the wood with the side of her fist. White lightning streaked along her shoulder blades at the movement.

Taryn winced at the aching bullet wound but swallowed the groan.

Show no weakness.

The door squealed open to emit heavy rap. The scarred, one-eyed face of a man came into view.

Taryn’s fists clenched. She gritted her teeth behind tightly closed lips. Her pulse thundered, and she could barely hold back her tears.

“I help you?”

Her tone gave nothing away. Her face was stone. “I need to speak with Cray.”

“Boss man is busy right now. Plus, you might want to come back during the day, little lady. It’s much safer for you then.”

Taryn removed a pouch of silver-laced powder from her purse. She blew a handful into his face.

He stumbled back, yowling in pain. He scrubbed at his eyes with the backs of his hands.

She pursued him inside.

He yelled something akin to an expletive, but the music and Taryn’s unsympathetic mindset blocked them out.

He landed in the middle of a poker game. Blue, white, and red chips scattered amidst angry snarls.

Cocked guns and raised weapons were aimed at Taryn. She stood her ground. She was surrounded, but she never took her gaze from the scarred man.

The music’s volume lowered. A deep, Russian rumble skittered down her spine.

“Lower your weapons or suffer.”

They did as ordered.

It was with great reluctance that Taryn moved her eyes from the man to Cray.

Her stomach churned. Her knees nearly buckled.

“They’re going to execute my son. He’s become feral and is too dangerous to control. P-please.”

“Under MY conditions.” Flat and uncompromising.

Taryn bowed. Fast tears scorched her cheeks. “Yes.” The word sliced her tongue on the way out.

“Dendrake, YOU bit the boy. You will assist.”

A resigned growl. Chips plinking to the floor. Heavy shuffling.

At Taryn’s side, the scarred man bowed to Cray.

Last edited 6 months ago by Lunabear
Tyler Desperado
Tyler Desperado
6 months ago

We Will Say What They Won’t
By. CosmicDesperado30

ENCRYPTED POST. IP ADDRESS UNKNOWN. DATE: 07/20/20XX

Have you ever felt like you’ve been lied to?
Not the childish lies your parents told you about the Tooth Fairy.
The real lies, the ones they continue to feed you.
Have you ever wondered why they seem to be getting more while you are starting to get less?
Isn’t it weird that they get to do more while they police everything you do?
It’s a fantastic production.
Actors playing their parts well,
Professional victims playing for sympathy.
All in service of those who want you weak and divided.
Flint was a sign,
Do not trust your filters.
Echo chambers are Death.
These are the times for true Patriots who see them for what they are.
Protests are Psy Ops.
The Experiments Are All De-Classified.
The figures in Arkansas don’t lie.
Three days of fire.
What Follows?
The Great Awakening.

-Theros

END POST

Our top story marks the fourth day of peaceful protests by the Immigrant’s Rights Coalition. The organization’s speeches and demands are short but concise: the end of legislation that discriminates against them economically and financially across the country. Several of the leaders were quoted as saying, “We just want what everyone else has: a chance to be all that we can.”

Tragically, these protests took a violent turn as masked vigilantes erupted forth and attacked the protestors. Local law enforcement’s efforts to quell the violence broke down as the agitators blended into the crowd of protestors. Several members were hospitalized in critical condition, and several fires have continued to burn in the neighborhood’s cramped apartment complexes. Unverified eyewitnesses report that chanting was heard before things became violent, repeating the phrase “you will not replace us.”

Investigations are pending and we will continue to report as the story unfolds.

ENCRYPTED POST. IP ADDRESS UNKNOWN. DATE: 07/21/20XX

They lie,
They expect sympathy while slipping you poison.
Do not listen,
The mask slipped,
They want what you have.
They will take it if you let them.
Stay strong, Patriots.

-Theros

END POST

Arith_Winterfell
Arith_Winterfell
6 months ago

“I’m Okay and Other Lies” [Trigger Warning: Suicide Related Content]

By Arith_Winterfell

I think it was a sign, but the very idea of signs is stupid. I’m staring down at the matchstick now lying soaked and inert. My head is foggy with the fumes. All around me lies the rainbow glittering fluid, almost like water. Spatters of refracted rainbow shining like sequins. “Why am I still here?”

“How are you doing?” Michael had said to me at school.

“I’m fine,” I had said.

My clothes are still soaked. The fumes are burning my eyes. I notice how strange it is, the dampness on my skin evaporates faster than I thought it would.

I had stood in the bathroom staring at my face in the mirror. I look at my face. It wasn’t too bad looking really. I wonder to myself, what it will look like afterwards. I’m scared of the pain to come, but I already feel so numb. Dad stopped by the bathroom, seeing me through the open door, looking in the mirror. “How’re you feeling this morning?” he said to me. I forced a smile, “I’m doing okay,” I said.

I had stood there after spilling the gasoline all around in the abandoned lot. Trembling. I’m afraid. I’m fine. It’s coming. I’m okay. This will end the pain. It will burn. I will burn! It’s too much, but I strike the match. Waiting. Holding the little stick, I stare at the shifting flame. I close my eyes. I let the match drop. I feel a strong gust of wind against my skin, and wait for the pain. Only it doesn’t come. I look down. There is the match stick extinguished lying there soaked in gasoline. “Why am I still here?”

Last edited 6 months ago by Arith_Winterfell
R.A. Fende
R.A. Fende
6 months ago

Wicker Weave
R.A. Fende

“Me? I made a mistake?” She scoffed at the distraught customer. “Sir, that was great work.”

“It was flawed. Your chair, hooked to the ceiling, didn’t last for a day! It snapped, crashed, and ruined the fine wood polish we just put down!” The customer’s face turns beet red as particles of saliva land on the wicker weaver’s counter.

“Sorry, guy.” The wicker weaver points at her door. Hanging on the opposite side of her ‘We’re open’ sign reads, ‘no refunds’ in a large red font. He grips the counter, digging his nails into the concrete before pushing himself off. He flies into the door and slams through with blatant disregard for the doorknob.

How dare he. The wicker weaver’s rattan, morphed through delicate craftsmanship, had no flaws. She prided herself on sewing with a careful hand. Her cozy baskets, hanging chairs, and obnoxious animal sculptures were precise and intertwined.

“To think such a rambunctious man…,” she scowls while heading back into her workstation.

As the wicker weaver sits down at her station, she admires the half-made handiwork propped up on her turntable. It’s a basket. She grabs the closest bundle of twine and unwraps the pliable weave, resuming her paused work from which the rowdy man distracted her.

Over, under, back, and forth. It’s the usual commission; she moves the twine without a second thought. She could weave the basket without a glance. She does.

She tilts her head back and closes her eyes, relinquishing complete control to muscle memory. The over-under, back and forth.

As she pulls the strand to tighten her weave, she feels an abnormal tug. She comes too and looks down at her work. Unbelievable. She skipped a row.

No, that was on purpose. Skipping a row would ruin the entire piece, but she meant to ignore that weave. She sewed all her crafts perfectly. Each lace endows intent, even this one.

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

[Removed]

Last edited 11 days ago by i-prefer-the-term-antihero
Chengir
6 months ago

False Faces and Lying Voices
By Chengir

It was only last spring when Cyrus Philpot bought the old Riley place on the outskirts of town. It had been abandoned for years and the real estate agent was thrilled to sell the place. But Cyrus, who claimed to be retired, kept to himself. The old Riley place was a Victorian monstrosity high on a hill and easy to see. Lights burned in the house all night long. He visited only the stores in town that were open at night. Cyrus had contractors working on the place, but they only worked after dark.

First of all, he was way too young to retire. All the ladies in the town found him highly attractive. The word dreamy was bandied about, yet he lived alone.

Naturally, in this small town, rumors circulated. The big story traveling around was that he was a former government employee. A one-time CIA agent who had made numerous enemies in his line of work. If he walked around during the day, he could be spotted by satellite and then enemy agents would come looking for him.

It got so bad that one of the Mystery Book Club ladies stole an Amazon package from his front porch. The club members steamed it open, only to be disappointed to find acrylic paints.

Finally, Gladys Merle snuck up to the house to peer through the living room window. She brought a cross, garlic, and a stake just in case.

Spying through a window, she found him busily painting a massive canvas at least eight feet tall. He had his back to her, so she could see the painting and he couldn’t see her. The painting was dark, like the view an archaeologist would have excavating a subterranean tomb. Gladys had seen the artistic style before, photorealism, she believed it was called. There were strange glyphs and writing painted on the walls. Spider webs were tucked into each corner. She could almost smell rotting cloth. Then Cyrus Philpot stepped into the painting…

Adrian Solorio
Adrian Solorio
6 months ago

Repayment
By Adrian Solorio

“My friend,” the bald store owner said. “You must go from here—now! Too much bad for business.”

Julio took the man’s words in slowly, shifted them around, structuring them into Spanish. “Señor, take it e’sy.” He motioned his eyes towards the cart menu, where a large corn wore a sombrero and smiled. “I no make eh problemas, only make eh money para mi familia.”

“Okay, you no go—?” the owner said. “I call cops, then you go—okay, my friend.” He turned to walk away and nearly ran over an old white haired woman who had come up behind him. “Sorry—”

The old woman put her hand on his chest stopping him before he could finish. “How dare you threaten this young man who’s only trying to make money for his family,” she said. “As if you’re not an immigrant yourself—I heard you talking.” The woman spoke like someone used to being listened to. The store owner tried to explain, but she was having none of it. Finally, the owner left shaking his head and the woman approached Julio.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart.” She patted his hand. “We’re not all bad.” She walked out of the shopping center, disappearing down the street.

At the end of the day, when the little bugs buzzed in the street lights’ soft glow, Julio walked back to his Tío Mateos house, so lost in memories of his hometown he unknowingly wandered down an alley.

There he heard someone scraping, digging, and cursing from behind a car. Gripping the cart handle so tight his knuckles went white, he went past it, its backseat filled with clothes and blankets, then looked back and froze. Picking through a trash bag, mumbling under her breath, was the old woman. Recognition flashed in her eyes when she finally turned and saw Julio. She shrugged, smiled ashamedly and then nodded towards the car. “That’s home.”

Later that night, when Julio told his Tío Mateo about getting robbed and losing all his money, his Tío said, “Demasiado inocente. Too innocent.” And shook his head sadly. “The city’s going to eat you alive, mijito.”

Last edited 6 months ago by Adrian Solorio
ThatWeirdFish
ThatWeirdFish
6 months ago

The Masquerade (Repost from Private)
By ThatWeirdFish

The grand hall was aglow with shining lamps and smiling faces. Gowns sparkled with light as they swirled in the dance. Laughter and excited small talk filled the air, like the bouquet of perfumes coming from the ladies attending the gala. It was all perfect.

Mia took a sip of the bitter punch, her frown hidden behind the wide rim of her glass.

“The Duke is so handsome!” A lady in yellow swooned over him.

“I wish he would choose me,” sighed another.

“Don’t we all!” Said the yellow-clad one. Her comment met with laughter from the surrounding crowd.

Mia chuckled nervously behind another sip. She pushed down the fear gnawing inside her as the crowd began to reverently part at the Duke’s approach. He was indeed handsome, his pale skin seeming to glow against the dark blue velvet of his suit. “My lady,” He offered a black-gloved hand toward her, “would you honor me with this dance?”

Mia froze for a heartbeat. She knew his secret. Behind that gentile smile and charming eyes lay something. Something dangerous.

“Of course, your grace.” With practiced elegance, Mia set down her glass and took his hand. Her spine shivered at his touch. It was so cold.

They smiled at each other cordially as they danced. The Duke’s eyes studied Mia’s cooly, seeming to peer into her very soul. “We all have our shadows.” He said as they spun in the circle. “However, just the right light can reveal them.” Her heart quickened as he leaned in closer. “But you know that, don’t you?” His soft growl in her ear raised the hair on the back of her neck.

“Of course,” Mia’s laughter thinly veiled the tremor in her voice as she feigned ignorance. What did he mean? Did he know what she saw that night?

With the last step of the dance, he called the crowd’s attention. “I have made my choice. The fine Lady of Erinvale shall be my bride.”

Mia’s mind spun as she automatically accepted the good wishes. She knew her fate—the fate of those who lie to him.

Alex Lewis
Alex Lewis
6 months ago

A Straight Answer
By BrokenEarth

“Who are you? Why are you trying to kill me?” Caroline asked, her knife to the masked man’s throat. Only a week ago she wouldn’t have ever thought of threatening someone this way, but a lot can change in a week.

The man’s mask shook, and it took Caroline a moment to realize that he was laughing, silently. It seemed to mock her with its silence. Caroline pressed the knife against his neck, just barely hard enough to draw blood.

“Who are you?” Caroline growled. The laughing stopped. The man turned his head to look Caroline in the eyes, although the mask hid his own.

“A leaf in the wind, one might say.” He said loftily, as though he’d been waiting to say just that. And perhaps he had been.

“Is your name worth dying for?” She shifted the knife a bit, as a reminder of his position.

He shook his head. “You misunderstand, Caroline. I mean to say-”

“How do you know my name?” Though phrased as a question, it was clearly a threat.

“I mean to say,” He continued, ignoring her, “I don’t have a name to give you.”

“Fine.” Caroline pulled her hand to slit his throat, but suddenly the man wasn’t in her hands.

She jumped up and looked around, in a fighting stance, ready to slash and stab anything that so much as twitched near her.

“Be patient, will you?” His voice chided. She spun around, once again aiming for his throat, but missed. He bent backwards, out of the way of the knife, far enough back that he should’ve fallen over, but he remained on his feet.

Caroline brought her knife back around and aimed lower, at his stomach, but he drifted backwards as though on a breeze, brought back to a normal standing position out of her range.

“I was going to play nice for a while longer, but it seems you’re not interested.”

Caroline readjusted her stance. “Then you should’ve given me a straight answer.”

C.W. Spalding
C.W. Spalding
6 months ago

Rut’s Beautiful Daughter
By C.W. Spalding

The faeries took Rut on her wedding night and her husband was none the wiser. Apparently logs served just as well as a woman, or so the faeries swore. The sprite-things whisked her away to Connla, took her name, and set her to raise a troll-child they called Scáthach.

“Your hair brings faeries,” Rut’s mother always told her when she was small. “They’ll come for your hair and your eyes.”

And her mother had been right. Nothing lured old-world faeries more than blonde hair and blue eyes. But Rut could not find it in herself to be disheartened. She feared the wedding bed and her husband who smelled of ale and piss. So Rut did not weep when they saddled her with a trollish child. She loved Scáthach more than anything beneath the good Lord’s creation.

“We like human mothers for the trolls,” said the sprites when they took her.

“Why?” Rut had asked them.

“Faeries cannot lie,” they answered.

***

“Is it pretty?” Scáthach asked her softly.

Rut started from her sewing and looked up at her daughter. Scáthach had tied in her hair a pink ribbon; a ribbon which Rut had brought with her way back when she’d come to the trolls in the beginning. The ribbon sat in the troll girl’s greasy hair like a wilting linnea flower. It did nothing to hide the girl’s blobbish nose, her too-wide eyes, her lumpish and lopsided figure.

“Prettiness doesn’t mean anything,” Rut said dismissively. “You are more than your prettiness, Scáthach. You are smart, and you are kind. You know the Good Book, which is more than I can say for your cousins who are heathens of the worst sort.”

“But… is it pretty?” Scáthach insisted. She fingered the ribbon sadly and the cloth fell from her hair to the floor of their cave-made home.

Rut set down her stitches and went to take the ribbon off the floor and tie it back in Scáthach’s hair so that it looked lively.

“You are very pretty,” Scáthach muttered. “I want to…”

“You are beautiful,” Rut said with a small, sad smile.

Iceburgh69
Iceburgh69
6 months ago

Invisible liars (reposted from Private. contains themes of mental health)
By: Iceburgh69

Weak! Pathetic! Worthless! Incompotent! Good for nothing but taking up space! Those papers in your hand? They will be discarded. Lost amongst that of your betters! People more able! Smarter than you!

That feeling in the pit of your stomach? They can see it, you know! They can all see your worthlessness written on your skin! They will pity you and mock you! The ones who speak honeyed words don’t really care! They only want something from you! You will never make a mark on their world! Why do you continue to exist?

They flit in and out of your life like a zephyr! None of them will last with a lump like you! Their smiles no more real than a dream! Oh, they like you at first, you faker! But when they learn of the real you, the cesspool that you truly are? They recoil in revulsion, and leave you adrift again. You remember! Every friend you’ve had are gone now. Even your family only stays around because of some misguided sense of duty to their flesh and blood.

How bold of you to simply walk in as if you belong here. Look at that on the wall! Isn’t it shiny? Isn’t it pretty? Let’s just take a quick peek at it! Only for a second!

Trevor blinks, banishing the demons in his mind trying to distract him and bring him down as he hands the application and resume to the cashier. They smile at each other politely as he turns to leave.

Last edited 6 months ago by Iceburgh69
VeryBoringName
VeryBoringName
6 months ago

Heavy Weighs The Crown
By: VeryBoringName

The Old King slumped down on his wooden throne, in his old castle, before him were advisors, vying for attention, dogs who want nothing more than to pick apart what’s left in the old bones. Not only had they the gall to orchestrate a rebellion, which forced him to exile his companion’s dearest after their betrayal, but they also want to show themselves now before the king.

“Invest there” and “send the troops there” and “send a letter there” all permeated through the hall, each proposal more cunning than the last, each proposal to weaken the old king’s grip and alleviate the advisor.

He looked down onto the grey stone floor, before a familiar voice spoke louder than the all.

“Uncle!”

The advisors went silent, seeing a contender enter the hall.

“Uncle dearest, there is such squabble here,”

The traitorous bastard strolled towards the step to the throne.

“Your iron grip has weakened, your mind is not as cunning as before,”

The traitor jumped up the stairs and stood before him.

“The weight of the crown weighs too heavy for your old head, and Damocles’s sword hangs too low, please,”

His hand reached to take away the crown from the old head.

“Let me help y-”

A scream of pain pierced the hall as the hand went flying, the old king stood up.

“Traitors! All of you! I sentence all of you to gallows! To be hung on the traitor’s tree!”

The King slumped back, he was tired, he was stressed, he felt as his life’s work slipped through his fingers, and he felt liars were around him, but he will not be made a mockery, not yet, not until this castle stands, he just needed a little rest.

berserker47
berserker47
6 months ago

What a demon?
by berserker47

Oh damn.
The signs were right, definitely. But if that was the case, what *was* wrong? Maybe he had used wrong shapes? No, everything seemed right. But why didn’t it work?
He screamed. In the thought of it not having worked, he had stepped out of the pentagram. It indeed had been right. The demon appeared, out of nothing. Well, now he had screwed up.
“WHY HAVE THY SUMMONED ME, MORTAL?”, a voice echoed with the walls of the tiny basement.
“It was just an experiment…”, he stuttered, clearly intimidated by the appearance of the summoned beast.
“THEN LEAVE ME ALONE NOW!”, the enormous presence yelled. The floor and walls shook, and some dirt trickled down from the ceiling above.
“Wait a second…”, the summoner took a closer look at the summoning circle, and there he saw it. A tiny, yellow, bloated, beetle-like creature, lying on the floor. He picked it up, looking at it with a look of wonder and disgust. “So, you are the demon?” The thing didn’t even bother to pretend to be an almighty, ancient being of divine power, and just squeaked. “You stepped out of the pentagram! You are doomed!”
“What could a lousy lump of chitin like you possibly do to me?”
“I am highly poisonous!”, the thing screamed. The summoner saw the desperate look of fear in the creature’s eyes, clearly, this was a lie.
“Damn sure you are.”, he sighed. Another useless experiment, and this time, he had nearly peed his pants.
“gotcha.”
A single scream escaped the man’s mouth as the pentagram itself opened a mouth and swallowed him whole. It then proceeded to transform in a human shape, mimicking the man eaten before.
“Someone should again say that Shapeshifters aren’t the superior demon race.”

Nick
Nick
6 months ago

The Dark Truth
By NictheGreat

“They lied. They lied to me,” said Otto as he slowly got up from the massive blow that he took. His ears ringed from blacking out from the blow. As he got up slowly from the dust and rubble that covered his body, he witnessed something horrifying that would make his stomach turn inside out. His heart dropped as he looked upon his teammates in their lifeless bodies on the ground. Dead. *coughing* Well almost all of them. Otto then instantly searched around for who was coughing their last breath of life. He then found the source and he looked on in horror as he saw his wife the one person who was part of the team who is been with them for thick and thin was now dying at his feet. He then quickly got on his knees, picked her up, and started to carry her through the destroyed town battlefield. Bodies upon bodies of countless minions he saw as he walked through the destroyed town. Buildings were completely leveled from the intense fight that went down. “They said that everything was going to be okay if we stuck together,” said Otto shook up by the words of his teammates. “They said that everything was going to be OK; but why did everything fall apart! Their plan was flawless!” Otto then suddenly punched the ground in anger and tears. Just then his wife coughed and said “I’m sorry Otto. We’re sorry” she said struggling to speak. Otto then looked at her with tears running down his face saying, “Why did you lie to me, why did you tell me this plan was going to work.” His wife just laughed and said, “Because we thought this was the best way to play Battlefield 4” she said monitoring her screen with the phrase “YOU DIED” in red plastered on her computer screen. “Next time don’t lie to me about knowing how you all know how to play the game,” Otto said hanging his head low in defeat. His wife then giggled and said “Okay. I guess I need a little practice. After that, he took his friends to the Campaign to help them learn from scratch. They lost ten more times. Otto said “Let’s not play this again, EVER”

Last edited 6 months ago by Nick
Johnny Saguaroseed
Johnny Saguaroseed
6 months ago

“The Coronides”
by Johnny Saguaroseed

Metioche said to her sister, “Menippe we now take to the sky. Let us return here in due course to meet and tell of our travels.” And so Metioche leapt in one direction and Menippe in another. After a period of seventeen thousands years Metioche alighted upon this same grassy acclivity, shook from her chiton stardust which quickly melted in the spring morning sun, and ran to greet her sister who had just done the same.

Their reunion was characterized by stories of the lands they’d toured, of which this is one:

“Sister, I came to a mean and barren place where the people smiled all the time. I told them I was a Coronide and come to learn something of their land. They celebrated my arrival, adorning me with sweet smelling flowers and, though its luster was outshone by my aureole, a crown of shining jewels. Exalting, they raised me upon a litter and carried me to their great feasting hall where a fete was to be held in my honor. They spoke of a banquet comprised of exotic spiced meats and celestial garnish, cooked by their high priests with empyrean technique from recipes dating back to ancient, elysian days. But when we arrived at the hall I saw the ones who stood in shadows with hooks in hand and so left that place. I looked back only once and saw their vicious smiles and gleaming eyes and how they licked their lips at the thought of my return.”

Last edited 6 months ago by Johnny Saguaroseed
Alex
Alex
6 months ago

The Magic of the Lie (Darkspell Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

The dark tent fluttered in the chilly wind, sending the smell of mothballs through the stygian room. The large mahogany table held a board game with several pieces and two black dice. Torches emphasized several horrific and deadly collector’s treasures around the table. At either side sat two people, facing each other. One was an older woman, wearing a brown cloak, a hood obscuring most of her face.

On the other side sat Max Zwickau, his black occult-encrusted coat gleaming softly.

The woman was smiling. So was Max, though his was perhaps less true than he may have liked. His eyes moved between the tent, the woman and the board. He was losing. Not badly, but he needed his next roll to be good. Exceptionally good.

Too bad the dice weren’t exactly hexed to the promised standard of fairness.

His eyes went back to the collectibles along the wall. Truly rare and powerful items. His eyes swept over the one he needed and kept going, ending on a particularly creepy painting between two torches. A position of honor.

His gaze lingered.

“Your roll, exorcist,” the woman wheezed.

Max didn’t respond, keeping his eyes fixed on the painting. Her smile widened, as her eyes lit up.

“You like your art,” the woman said, turning around. “A real Draga. Killed five people to acquire it.”

She admired her obvious favorite for a second. Max shifted his fingers, slowly and deliberately.

Before the woman could react, he picked up the dice and rolled an eleven. He moved his piece over the goal, as the woman’s smile fell.

“I win,” he held out his hand.

The woman reluctantly reached behind her, retrieved a small box and handed it to Max.

“I could end you right now,” she said.

“Remember what I said. If I die here…”

“I’ll be hunted, yes. You will call your people off, then?”

“Promise.”

Max exited, passing a reaper, hiding in the Darkness.

“She’s all yours, Felix.”

His personal feelings about this kind of deception aside, this hedge had too high of a body count to be allowed to continue.

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

Dancing on passionate illusions (From the Private)
By Larissa (Lari B. Haven)

The live band played high-tempo jazz, and the dancers sailed gracefully on the stage.

Between all the smoke and champagne, she could see some whispering in each other’s ears and exchanging looks. Some seemed to be directed at her. She danced and scanned the place, even took a sip of a few drinks.

Under the fox mask, Haven was anonymous. If they knew she met Mr. Rabbit, the guests would be in disarray, asking what she knew about the handsome demon with the bunny mask.

Mr. Jack Rabbit looked like a sculpture, suited up in light bluish grey with brown leather gloves. The white mask that covered his whole face complimented his silvery blond hair. And the pointy Rabbit ears protrude from the top of his head with his deer-like horns.

An invisible force pulled her. It was him, abusing his magic again.

A spotlight shines on both of them, and people open space to look at him. He takes her hand and with an unusual joyful voice announces: “Ladies, gentlemen, and creatures from beyond. I present to you, Miss Fox!”

He flicked his fingers, and the song slowed down. Both took a dance stance, as it was clear what he was about to do.

“Care to explain?” She rolled her eyes while she let him conduct her.

He turns her around just to reach her ear. “Business, dear Haven.” If she could see his face through the mask, she would see Jack malicious wink as he dropped her to his feet in a passionate move. “Right now, I’m selling them the dream of you.”

The business of the elusive demon was simple: make them desire, make them pay, make them dream. And when all ended, they would return to the cabaret to be sold on another illusion.

By turning her into the center of all attention, he was controlling the cravings of the crowd. He needed to make them gossip and make them wonder. After all, they wanted to be Haven at this moment, forever tied in the arms of that masked devil.

Connor A.
Connor A.
6 months ago

Little Truths among Big Lies (Sword Isles)
By Connor A.

“My brothers and sisters, you must separate ourselves from the temptations of this world. If you don’t, the true god above will turn you away.”

The congregation listened to what Pastor Hardrock said. A few said, “Here, here,” in the dip between his words to let him know they were listening.

“People in the rest of this land claim that it belongs to ‘the gods,’” Hardrock continued, forcing himself to frown as if he was mad just from thinking about it, “even though it was our merciful god who gave it to us. These ‘gods’ the heretics talk about are demons, and the Wyld their impish children!”

He slammed his hand on the pedestal to emphasize his words. The gasps and muttering among the people almost went out of control, but the slam of the big doors shut everyone up.

Jen used this to stand up and go over to the doors. When Hardrock looked down at his notes, they slipped out and closed the doors behind them. They looked around to see if anyone else was out, then jogged to catch up with a cloaked man.

“Yeah, I don’t believe what he says either,” the teen said as they took their place next to the man. “He’s never even left Haven, so what does he know about Wyld?”

He did not answer.

“I have a lot of questions for him, but he would throw me into a dragon den if he found out I don’t believe what he says.”

“…One.”

Jen almost tripped on air. “Sorry?”

“One question.”

The teen’s brain went through the ones bouncing in their brain, but settled on a simple one. “Who’s this ‘Father of Imps,’ Hardrock keeps talking about?”

The man considered this and let out a hollow chuckle. “I believe that would be me.”

“…What?”

He stopped and took a better look at Jen. “Of course, that is not one of my titles.”

The man leaned down and made eye contact, allowing Jen to see his dark green eyes.

“You may refer to me as Hermit Oberon.”

Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
6 months ago

Relighting The Flame (Nyssa’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

“O-oh. Professor Littlestar! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”

Nyssa smiled awkwardly. “Yes, I suppose it has. Sorry I never kept in touch,” she said, pulling herself up into the chair opposite Emil Carston, Materials Procurer for the University. “I have a request.”

A pause. Then Emil nodded slightly. “Sure. What exactly do you require?”

Calm. Practical. Professional. Traits unusual for him. She remembered how her requests used to make him smile so brightly, nodding rapidly as he would grant her whatever exotic materials she needed.

“It’s very specific. A temporary loan of a Holy Blade from the High Temple of Kord?”

He had always been so eager to impress her. So very smitten with her.

“Uhhhh, Professor – you know temples like that keep their artefacts very secure. The amount of paperwork and persuasion this would require is…quite unreasonable.”

She had always politely rejected his advances. Nyssa valued his work a lot, but had never wanted to be more than professional with him.

“Well, I need this for my new project, it really can’t proceed without it.”

It had been four years. Maybe Emil had finally let her go. Moved on to someone more obtainable.

“I’m sorry Professor, but I really can’t sign off on-!” His words caught in his throat, as Nyssa reached out and touched his hand.

No. He had not.

Nyssa leaned forwards, clasping his hand with both of her own. “Please…I-I’ve been in a rut for years. I need, NEED this artefact to get a fresh start, to make breakthroughs again. And I missed you, Emil. I just want things to be like they used to be, again.” She squeezed his hand.

She watched as her carefully-placed words collapsed his composure in seconds. His cheeks flushed red, his eyes dilated, and his head nodded rapidly as he said “Oh, well if it’s this important for you, then I’m sure I can find a way! I always love to help! Especially you, and your brilliant work!”

Nyssa just smiled, as wide as she could. “Thank you, Emil.”

Good. His passion was exactly what she needed.

C. M. Weller
6 months ago

The Deception Game (A Tiefling Tale)
C. M. Weller

He had sworn, once, never to tell a lie to harm another. Which should have given him trouble with his assumed identity. In his favour, he never said, “my name is,” before a name. He let others call him Kosh. Ironic that it was more his name than anything else given to him.

He had one lie that he told. The other lie, he wore on his face. A perpetual grin, as if waiting for the rest of reality to get the joke.

The lady he introduced to the Harpers may be weeping crocodile tears. She was escaping a terrible fate, and he was not in favour of forcing that sort of thing on anyone. Just in case, he had written the note, which now weighed heavy inside his gi as the interview commenced.

“How do I know this isn’t an agent of the Whitekeeps?”

“You don’t, fraulein. They may wear a Harper’s pin, but their alliances are their own. And you shouldn’t be trusting me either.” He took a breath to tell his lie. “Tieflingen lie about everything.”

A spark emerged from the sadness in her eyes. “I can see right through you, Tiefling.”

If anything, his perpetual grin hardened to steel. “You can?”

“You smile so you don’t scream. That bit about Tieflings lying? It’s the only lie you tell. You’re well aware of what people think of you and just… let them. You do everything against assumptions, despite it breaking your heart.”

“Kluges dame,” he murmured. “You’re going to do well.”

“I might look you up once I’m settled,” she offered. “You have a home?”

He scoffed. “Home is where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” He dug out the letter. “Break the seal when you are safe and secure.”

Kosh added some platinum to the purse. She tucked his truths away. He had never asked her name. She didn’t want to marry into the Whitekeeps. Therefore she would not look him up.

He had sworn to tell no lie to harm another. The truth could cut like a thousand blades.

Last edited 6 months ago by C. M. Weller
Marx
Marx
6 months ago

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
By Marx

Matt pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. “Okay… break this down for me. Please.”

“Remember all those times when you were warned that beings of your power can’t act recklessly without setting unexpected things into motion?” Nora asked.

“Yes, yes…” Matt impatiently motioned for Nora to get on with it.

“You were told that the Horsemen of the Apocalypse should be neutral and you chose not to be. You instead used your power to free oppressed deities.”

“Because that was the right thing to do!” Matt growled.

“Which is exactly the message you sent out. And this was after you went to war with Heaven and won, solidifying your place in the hierarchy.”

“I didn’t win.” Matt rolled his eyes. “They gave up.”

“Exactly.” Nora nodded. “You then made an alliance with Hell.”

“That’s not-… Lucifer just surrendered. I only accepted Lilith’s help in response. How does that count as an alliance?”

“Accepting help from Lucifer’s number two is the definition of an alliance.” Nora replied curtly. “So, to the magical world, the avatar of the apocalypse is not only above Heaven, but is willing to work with either side if they follow his will.”

“But that’s not-”

“His will being the eradication of evil, considering you don’t just free the deities, you kill the ones who enslaved them.”

“But I stopped doing that…” Matt grumbled through his teeth.

“Exactly. Which means to get your favor, THEY should act in your stead. Fallen angels free the oppressed in the hopes of getting their grace returned. Demons switch sides and help them to get a redemption they can’t get from Heaven. Which means not only does your following grow with them, but also the deities who now owe you their freedom.”

Matt paused in horror as Nora’s words sank in. “That… sounds like I’m forming an army…”

“Because you are.” Nora agreed. “One currently growing in your name that in time would be quite capable of… I don’t know… causing an apocalypse.”

“That’s… not what I want…” Matt groaned, dejectedly.

“That is not how it looks to everyone else.”