Hello, you lovely little Mortals!
What does it mean to be immortal? Is it simply being able to live forever, or is there more to it than that? What if the cost of immortality is really high, and the longer you live, the higher it goes? It’s time to see if you can afford that price, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
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!
Immortality is no stranger to us. Immortality that comes at a price is also familiar. Now picture if you will, immortality that has a monthly rate of subscription to actually be active.
It’s a bit of an odd thought, isn’t it? Normally it’s a case of becoming immortal, and… that’s it. Nothing else really goes with it. There’s so many wonderful ways to weave this prompt, however. Let’s start with the classic vampire. What if, rather than just being immortal and being able to sustain themselves on the blood of animals, they had no choice but to feed on humans? Perhaps by not feeding, they age anyway, and are susceptible to regular injuries. Maybe someone has made a deal with a powerful entity, and for every day of immortality, they have to appease said demon with a daily sacrifice. It can be as simple as someone discovering the Philosopher’s Stone, but each day they go more and more insane from the body and mind not being meant to live as long as they have. Even simpler, a pendant or embedded magic item that keeps its host alive so long as it is never removed.
This is also where we can play with what “immortality” really is, as it can mean different things to different people. It can be someone stuck in a coma and on life support, their family waiting for a day that may or may not ever come. Perhaps the method of immortality is an old photograph, and to keep it alive, it is passed through many generations and handled with great care. Maybe this is a chance to explore how a ghost would view the world, stuck in place with no one to talk to, save maybe other ghosts like itself. Maybe the immortality of one individual is carried on through their descendants, those who would continue to branch and grow the family tree. Perhaps we can even explore how the Reaper themselves feel about this as they are cheated out of soul after soul as more people discover and acquire immortality.
There’s so much more to immortality than we first realize. There’s many definitions, methods, and requirements to obtaining it. The big question then looms overhead; is it really worth it?
Even our stories here can be a form of immortality, as they are carried through time on this page that is open for anyone to see.
So go forth now, and leave your mark on the world for all to see until the end of time.
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!
Text and Formatting
- English only.
- Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
- Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
- Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
- Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
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What to Submit
- Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
- Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
- Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
- 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.
- 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).
- One submission per participant.
- Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
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- 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.
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Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.
There once was a village. A small busy village. A village that loved doing what they do most. Farming, trading, blacksmithing, and potion-making. Who could ask for more?
Except for one villager named Edward who did not like doing the same routine repeatedly. Stuck in this endless cycle. But today is different.
As Edward traveled along the path, he has known for so long he sees something in the distance. He spots a block that he has never seen before in his life. So, then he decides to grab it and take it back to his house.
After the long supply-grab trip he takes his new prized possession into his house without anyone noticing. He then placed it down carefully examined the block with cation. “What is this thing, “he said as he slowly moves back to get a closer look.
Then suddenly the block starts flashing and changing different colors and textures. After that, it stopped. Until a very bright white glow in his house, it faded out.
Edward opened his eyes and discovered that the block was gone with a patch of smoke left behind. But then he looked down. He was flying. Edward was scared and surprised at the same time as he saw himself three feet off the ground. But why was he flying?
He then checked his inventory, and he was surprised again that there was a block that was not there before. So, then he took it out of his inventory, and it started to spawn all different types of blocks all around his house. Gold, Diamonds, Emeralds; you name it.
But he wanted more so than he used the block to spawn every block in the game.
After that, he spawned and multiplied every block in the game until it consumed the entire world and him with every living creature. He then flew up and looked at the damage that he had done to the whole world. “What have I done,” he said. He then decided to fly up and so high that he will fall to kill himself. So, he did but it did not work. He didn’t die. He was immortally stuck in a new cycle of being the only one alive.
We Cheated Fate
By: Frei (Please do not select for stream)
“We are here by their grace, and that alone. That is the gift of the Ka’si, to us. This stone monument from which I emerged is a creation of theirs; as am I. This I learned from the etchings They left behind for me to glean in the walls of this great Tsa Valeer. It is quite a climb to exit the confines, and above us is the Tsa Kohi, a world of dense trees, water, and wild beasts. It’s a frightening prospect, but I needed to explore it…I’ve learned much. What is good to eat comes to me as does my speech, and our script, a wellspring of distant thought. The Rishl Sona’al. The meditation that brings enlightenment. The racing of the mind that makes the world make sense.
“But you have yet to experience that. Unless…You feel it in your sleep? I wouldn’t know. I’ve…I’ve messed it up, quite a lot. Sona’al gives me clarity, but it says nothing about salvaging living beings from these containers. Too many mistakes. They weigh on me, you know…They never knew life, but my pain is greater, for I have held every single one in my arms. This burden is great.”
Vlu’xilkik stood fully, and stepped toward the obsidian dome. Whether it was opaque, or the fluid inside was merely that black never occurred to her. She pressed a cold hand to the surface. Were those thrums of a pulse her palm felt? Or was it her imagination? Maybe it was hope? She’d needed that in spades, ancestors forbid. A lesser heart would have given up by now, but empathy forced her to soldier on.
“…So please, wake up for me. You have been asleep for a very long time. The great danger They protected us from has passed. Naught but a bad dream.”
She sighed, and then chirped, “I didn’t name them. I-I don’t know if my soul could take it. But I’ve told you much. I…Think your name is… X’ihvinh. Your name is X’invinh.”
Silence. Her hand drooped away from the pod. Her head lowered in prayer.
Then, a crack.
by Lunabear (Private Repost)
Davey’s home stands exactly as Erma and Sheam have described it– two storeys with chipped, blue paint.
The crystal skull of my cane becomes a rounded, golden knob as my hand passes over it.
In the reflection of the door’s glass, I check my illusionary magic. Dark skin. Curly black hair. Eyes a deep violet.
Floating beside me, my sprite, Zum, is disguised as a butterfly.
“Your eyes stand out too much, Boss.” His wings flit nervously.
Three blinks see the shade become a heavy amber.
Zum nods approvingly.
Before I can ring the bell, the door opens. Davey’s father releases a spider into the grass.
I arch one brow at this act. It further confuses me as to why he treats Davey so poorly.
He straightens and sees me. “Oh, hey. You’re the guy from the circus.” He points to Zum. “Buckeye. Nice.”
“Hmm. Yes. Keen eye for insects. My apologies for the intrusion. I’ve merely come to amend my terrible behavior for frightening Davey. My CABARET is departing soon, and it wouldn’t be proper to leave things as they are.”
He crosses him arms over his chest and leans against the jamb. “Don’t worry about it. Boy needs strengthening up. ‘Sides, he’s out shopping with his mother.”
I contain my bristling anger. Must he be so hardened in his parenting? Zum lands on my shoulder. Warmth seeps in.
“Pity. I was hoping to personally apologize.” I pull a wrapped gift from my pocket and extend it. “See that he gets this? I noticed he’s fond of surprises.”
The father narrows his gaze. “This a trick?”
“I assure you, sir, this is no trick.” A piece of my very essence lies therein. Should Davey choose the path revealed to him, I shall know.
He takes it and rotates it between his palms. Curiosity resonates in his eyes. “I’ll be sure he gets it.”
His tone sounds dubious. I bow regardless. No one except Davey can open it.
“My deepest gratitude, Garrett.”
“Right.” Garrett waves and reenters the house.
I believe in Davey’s resolve. And even Garrett’s.
Chronicles of The Dragon: Thicker Than Water
Imogene sipped from her cup, then set it down before taking another look around the apartment.
“How do you live like this?”
Mira smiled, “I don’t live normally.”
Imogene gestured around them, “You don’t call this normal?”
“I barely spend any time here. At most I sleep here occasionally. I only keep this apartment at all because it’s near you.”
“…You keep an apartment just in case I accept one of your once-a-decade invitations?”
“Well, only since the WLP formed. Before that a lived more like dad.”
Imogene snorted, “I find it hard to believe you could live in a cave for any longer than you absolutely had to.”
“It was usually more of a hut. No more possessions than I could easily carry or replace.”
“I remember the nomadic lifestyle. It was almost nice…”
“Surely you must have had some good times once you took the mantle of Queen?”
“I did it because it was necessary. Not because I wanted to rule.” She shook her head and sighed. “Honestly, sometimes I wonder how you and the old man can keep on living.”
Mira stirred her tea.
“Perhaps it’s simply part of human nature to want what you can’t have and to hold on to what you can lose.”
“You’ve never wanted to die?”
“There were a few times I thought I was ready. But I always pulled myself back.”
“It’s strange. I watched the sun rise once. It burned terribly… but it didn’t stop me. And then I just woke up again. You could’ve died peacefully of old age, and yet you keep pulling yourself back. Even after all these thousands of years. It’s hard to imagine.”
“Perhaps it’s because you know you can’t die. I’ve allowed myself to sustain injuries that would kill a normal person, because I know it wouldn’t cause me lasting harm. Maybe if you didn’t know you’d come back you wouldn’t be able to stand in the sun.”
“Perhaps. It’s certainly something to think about.”
The immortality of mountains. (reposted from the Private post)
Time. It marches on. One of the few things more ancient than I. I remember being born of fire, my peaks razor sharp. I remember tiny, odd things creatures blinking in and out of existence. The wind playing with my brethren and I. I remember the seasons, turning from one to the next to the next. Time marched on. I remember great crashing and upheaval, a violence unlike any other.
Time would pass.
Water would make its mark upon me, carving itself into me bit by bit. I would lay down to rest, and in my slumber drift away in the water and on the wind.
I would awaken to a thunderous clash, and scream forth with fire, reborn! I would see that I was no longer where I once was, the land having drifted with time. New, wondrous things wandered the earth, great monsters and curious, tiny things. I blinked, and they were gone, destroyed by fire from the sky. I would blink again, and a new wonder would take their place, carving their home in the frigid world.
Time continued to flow like a river. The great beasts would cease to exist except as a memory. Then, curious things would walk the land. Scarcely a moment would go by and they are carving their way through me, into me, under me. They would create mountains of their own, and wind paths through and around me. They would give me a name, though I would never know its meaning. Theirs is a fast language, one that I could never comprehend.
They are gone, now. The world is not as it once was. I lay down to sleep, to drift once again on the water and the wind. I would have the name the carvers gave to me remembered, as it was my first; Appalachia.
By: mr clouDy#3337 (Discord)
It was a night covered in the shade of clouds. Two people walk down a winding path toward an imposing mansion. A man and a woman, wearing similar garments with a sigil. They came here on a request to investigate a missing person’s case of over twenty people. They continue to the entrance and opens the doors that practically tower over them.
They’re greeted to a large ballroom. Their minds are filled with images of people dancing across the room only being block out by the sheer darkness of the room. Agitated by this, she takes out a touch, using spare flint to light it. This shows the full beauty of the ballroom, with the only stain being that of time. Not wanting to idle on for too long, they head toward one of the doors tucked in the corner. But what they find contrasts the elegance of the ballroom.
It was a room of unfinished machines and notes spouting about nonsense. They wander toward blueprints on the wall. The man tries to look at it, he can barely make out the details, despite the light from torch. He tries to take out another torch, but suddenly from behind him, a blinding light fills the entire room, dazing the man for a moment.
Regaining his senses, he looks back, only to find that the woman is gone. Confused, he looks around the room to see that the door that they came through is open. He runs back into the ballroom to search for her. He yells out, only for his words to echo across an empty room. Just before he starts to worry, he hears footsteps from behind. But when he turns around, he sees someone different. A man covered in cloth and a hood hiding his face.
The clothed man speaks in riddles that only he can understand, with the only things he’s able to make out is that his name is Seth and that he’s the self-proclaimed savior of the world. The sheer insanity of Seth’s word’s makes the man stumble back. Seth goes onto apologies, to achieve his goal, he’ll need the man’s life to end, all the while playing with a sigil like the man’s own.
Realizing Seth’s intention’s, he tries to run back to the entrance, but it’s for naught, as he sees the same blinding light from before beneath him. When the light subsides, the man is frozen in time. Seth then walks toward him perplexed. Once near, Seth tears off the same sigil the man’s partner had, assures that they will both be remembered, before raising his hand to the man’s head. The blinding light bursts out of Seth’s hand, the man catching a glimpse of Seth’s face before death. It was nearly rotten off, a fitting image for what would be his grim reaper.
-DM me for extended cut-
By Tamela Redfin
Adam seemed to calm down about the burn, but ironically it was me in the doghouse. I only kept near Fuselage during this time. That was until the end came.
We were tracking down Neon Eyes, our next bounty. Fuselage, Leo, Libra and I were in a pod.
“How’s the fuel looking?” Fuselage asked me.
Libra stared at the gage. “We could use more fuel. Leo…”
“Me? I’m not getting dust on my outfit.” Leo shuddered.
“I’ll do it.” I raised my hand as if I was still in school. Fuselage nodded and I went off. The fuel room had many crystals inside and like coal, they left soot. I didn’t mind it much, in fact it had a sweet scent that I liked so much I stuffed a little in my backpack.
I looked up and noticed the hatch was closed. That was odd. It wasn’t usually closed. To my knowledge, it was never closed. But then I realized what happened. We were under attack.
Fuselage was flying in a very zigzagged pattern, but it was not enough. He hit the gas, still flying in the pattern. I kept hitting the walls. But then Fuselage made a fatal mistake by braking.
I hit the glass panel and everything turned white and I heard a horrible snap.
I woke up, hearing the dripping of the cave. Wait, how I was here? I looked at the Tiger’s Eye, which I was still clutching. Did I live? Hmm, must have been a bad dream.
Time to get out of the cave again. I took a deep breath. Something sweet was in the air. I quickly opened my backpack and reached in pulling out a cyan rock. No way!
Out of Touch
by Jesse Fisher looked over by Edward
In a broken and poorly lit room lay a mechanical clicking and clattering as if some machine was left to rot as it ran unseen and uncared for.
“Touch,” A mix of robotic and natural with minor glitches filling the still air. “I remember touch.”
Optics looked at hermetic sealed objects; an instant camera with an old straw hat, a roughly done painting, and other personal items known only to them. The clicking and almost shuffle before it was stopped as if hungry but it did not need food as the room seemed to fade.
It awoke to a half forgotten world and for a moment thought all that it recalled was a dream. Or nightmare. However once it was dressed and in a car going to work the radio began to play it’s own voice in a rhythmic tone.
“If love is the answer, you’re home.”
It could not stop itself as this played out, this was that moment that would lead to it’s nightmare of a life. The pastself did not notice the vehicle as it tore through it’s car and the world briefly went black be for a happy rhythmic tune as cry-laughter filled it’s ears and people celebrated it living.
Machine and organic worked as it slowly noticed the time go by, life moving while it was stuck in time.
The rhythmic tune slowed down to a melancholy tone as the world began to turn to dust and ash.
“Touch, sweet touch,” It stood looking towards a life long gone. “You’ve given me too much to feel.”
“You’ve almost convinced me I’m real!” Rage filled it’s speakers before it slowly moved back to the terminal that kept running data behind it.
“I need something more.” It concluded one more before repeating it again. “I need something more.”
Best Deal Ever
The Devil sat on Kevin’s bed, his mouth agape in shock and horror. Kevin was happily stabbing himself in the chest bloodlessly with a butcher knife while flipping him off.
“I cannot believe this,” the Lord of Lies gasped, staring at the scroll of human flesh and inked with the blood of the damned. Kevin screamed obscenities in his ear then scrambled off to chase down his father’s handgun.
“Of all of my years on the human plane, how did I become so complacent in my superiority?” He mumbled as he flipped through the terms and conditions of the contract. Several bangs were heard in the distance. The sound of small bits of metal hitting hardwood floors came later, followed by Kevin’s raucous laughter.
“No harm or injury may come to the undersigned by any physical means, direct or indirect, as long as they desire it,” The Devil shrugged a bit while reading the contract aloud. Too many throughout the centuries had caught on to how pain was essential to a fulfilling life so he had to sweeten the infernal deal somehow. Kevin pulled out his phone and called his friend John, urging him to come over immediately.
“Once the undersigned has reached the mortal age of their choosing, the contract holder may claim ownership of the signed individual’s sole, to do with as they so wish.”
The Eternal Shadow’s eyes widened in shock and horror as he read back the amended text. There it was, a simple grammatical change that made all the difference in the world. Caused by a kid’s pricked finger, and the initial shock of a Jesus Loves You poster on the wall.
Satan’s jaw remained open in befuddlement the rest of the day. The parents had come home, dinner was eaten, and Kevin had decided to wash it all down with a gasoline and rubbing alcohol cocktail. It was strong but the aftertaste was disgusting.
He left only after Kevin threw his sneakers at him and said he was paying in advance.
Elixir of Life
By Karl Aegnor
Connor O’Neill looked down at his drink. Some folks across the bar were singing a song, something about drinking and lost love. That’s Ireland for you. “Why do they sing’t, Liam? I thought we drank to forget those things.”
The older man sitting next to Connor took a long draught. “’Round this part o’ t’ world, folks just feel feelings. T’ drinkin’s incidental.” Liam smiled as he said it, but Connor seemed unamused. “All jokes aside, Conner, d’ ye know where the McDowles come from?”
“Lots of drinking in yer genealogy, eh?”
Ignoring the gibe, Liam continued. “My ancestors were vikin’s. Came here to rape and pillage ‘till they got ‘t in ther heads t’ stay. And my theory fer why they stuck around is they found people with similar feelin’s toward t’ bottle. Why do ye drink, again?”
Connor sighed, and slouched a bit more. “It all feels like so much, sometimes.”
Liam nodded. “T’ Norsemen drank afore battle, ‘cause then ye don’t feel that yer bein’ stabbed. Yer invincible! Now, some people take this t’ an extreme. Hell, I’ve been out drinkin’ me own death fer years. ‘Course, then the old hag’s ridin’ me ass t’ next day.”
Connor let something of a chuckle escape. The old man tended to ramble, but there was something in what he’d said. “Is’t really all worth it, then? The drinking, I mean.”
“’Course‘t is! Long as ye do yerself two favors.” Liam set another glass on the table. “Make yerself invincible tonight, and don’t ever get married.” He smiled with a grin that could be called toothy if he’d had more teeth.
Connor shook his head, “It’ll all still catch up to me. I’ve got commitments, paperwork, people to talk to…”
“Then make yerself a fohkin’ to-do list or somethin’! I’m not yer councilor, I’m yer drinkin’ buddy; and I’d like to get back to the drinkin’.”
Connor cracked a smile for the first time that night. “Maybe ye’ve got a point. Cheers!”
Liam returned the gesture, his grin widening. “Now yer talkin’. T’ t’night’s immortality!”
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)(repost from private)
It is a truth, uncommonly acknowledged, that prayer requires no higher power. Prayer is an act of the soul. A function of distressed minds. A torment of spiritual inclination.
Vienas was poorly equipped to act as a healer. She was no midwife, no cunning woman, no worker of old ways. She was a curator of knowledge and blind at that.
Padas coughed in his fevered langor and she longed, wished, prayed, for his health.
Time is illusory without the cycle of day and night. Without others to agree upon time.
Vienas sat with Padas until his fever-heat rivalled the Everflame. Until he was too warm to stay beside. Until she was sure he would die without divine aid.
She was not sure of many things. She was the kind of person who had worked with proofs and so was taxing upon new information. But she knew he would die by his ragged breathing. By his mumbled, incoherent words and sweatlessness and her own hunger. She couldn’t cook and time crawls when the stomach eats itself. She could bring no water to him. Without him, she would die. But she wouldn’t die alone.
She knew the temple layout and she knew where Padas kept the pearls. Her questing fingers found the orbs before the bowl they sat in. She heard a chorused
—For you, the Living.
Gods, she prayed. For Padas, for herself, for the unborn thing she hadn’t told him about yet. For his future fatherhood. But mostly she prayed for healing and hope as she stumbled back to her lover and poured the pearls upon his dying body.
The pearls clattered as they fell. She heard them strike like the pitter-patter of mice running. They didn’t roll away, of course, but evanesced. She dropped them all. All his prized pearls that he’d gathered with copper tongs and iron knife. And her prayer, unanswered, manifested itself with her will.
Padas’s fever broke in that heure. His body healed the harm done by the fever. Padas would live and be a father. Vienas would live and be his wife.
You are about to retire after forty years of teaching history at William Henry Harrison High School. You live alone on the south side of town. It’s an unseasonably warm Saturday in May when you receive a letter in your mailbox. The envelope appears quite old-fashioned, with the address handwritten in an ornate cursive style.
Opening the letter, you find it’s from a place called the University of the Yazoo. You are offered a revered place in the Immortal Society of Retired Teachers. You call up a friend of yours from the local university. “Sorry. Never heard of a place like that. Hold on…” You can hear the clacking of a keyboard. “No, there’s no university listed with that name either or any such society.”
Butterflies fill your stomach. Your palms sweat. “Thanks, Mike.” You crumple up the letter into a ball and deposit it in the trash, where it will be soon forgotten.
On Sunday night, you pick up the phone when it rings, thinking it is your friend Mike. “You really should consider joining. It’s quite the honor.”
“Who is this?”
The phone goes dead with a click. Replacing the telephone handset on the cradle, you notice a wrinkled piece of paper on your desk. It is the offer letter you had thrown in the trash. The wrinkles were still there, but it is no longer in a tight ball, but neatly flattened out on the desk.
Monday morning you get in your car and pull out of the driveway to go to work. The street is empty, and the sun is out again. Unexpectantly, there is a man in a black leather raincoat and a dark, wide rim hat right next to your car. You’re sure you didn’t see the man. You roll down your window.
“We haven’t received your acceptance yet. You should seriously consider joining.”
You unbuckle your seatbelt and open the door to find out who this man is, but once out of the car, you notice the street is strangely empty again…
The man opens his eyes to immortality. White walls extend outwards in a room with no borders, filled with nothing but emptiness. Taking a step, the man can still faintly feel their physical body, yet it blends into the infinite pale. The man continues his journey into the void. Each step being mute with the potential sound having nothing to reverberate off. Breath is all but silent, with no air to be inhaled the action of the mouth becomes more so a formality to the non-existing audience perceiving nothing. The man continues aimlessly, relying on useless eyes to lead to any which direction. They stop for a moment, lifting their phantom-like hand to their chest to check for any semblance of a heartbeat. Yet his arm seems to move an infinite mile, never reaching its destination. The man begins to ponder such a perplexing place, yet no thoughts can be formed in the clearness of their head. The man lies his hollow body down on the ghostly space.
Alone. Such is immortality. A destination completely unknown to a traveler seeking it. Many dreams and ideas fill a traveler’s head of seemingly eternal life. Yet at the final resting place of immorality such dreams are void in the tide of endlessness and complete lack of the world. The removal of all things human is present here. Joy, pain, anger, thought and the like are banished to a mortal world wiped away from the traveler like the absolution of a black hole. Immortality becomes double-edged. A body may survive due to the gifts of eternity, yet the mind falls to victim to its curse. All meaning in anything is lost to the sands of an hourglass that does not move.
As the man finally gained immortality, they fell victim to these trappings. Enticed by the treasures of potential knowledge gained in the beginning hundreds of years of renewed and continued life, they failed to see what the future would have in store for them. Gifted eternal intelligence only for it to be stripped away and leave them bare in the void of their own mind.
The Lost City
By Preserves Roses
Cecil perused his shelf of ingredients, he started to grumble as he found that several of the jars that he needed for that afternoons research were empty.
“Margret!” He bellowed.
Margret bustled into the room a few moments later, carrying a basket full of paper packets each carefully tied with a string.
“Well, I see you did get my ingredients, why didn’t you bring them up sooner? I gave you that list 3 days ago.” Cecil took the basket, and began sorting through the contents.
“I’ve only just returned sir, I can’t get to market and back in less than 3 days.” Margret let her arms fall limply to her sides.
“3 Days? Cecil said gruffly, “what nonsense, we are in the middle of the city, there are no less than 3 different market squares in a 10 minute walk of here.”
Margret ran a shaky hand through her hair. “We aren’t in the middle of the city anymore sir,” her voice wavered a bit. “ The city died an age ago.”
Cecil banged his fist on the table. “ Don’t be absurd! Cities don’t die! I helped build this city 1000 years ago, and it will be here for 1000 more!”
Wordlessly Margret moved to a nearby window, and opened the shutters wide. Cecil followed her and looked out. From their third floor window they could see far across the landscape. Cecil looked in awe at the sunken rooves and weeds choking the streets. He registered for the first time the silence that surrounded his tower.
“There was an earthquake upstream 100 years ago; the river changed it’s course, the boats could no longer reach the sea. The residents started leaving soon after. We are the only ones left now.” Margret spoke softly.
Cecil looked towards the river port. He could see the remains of the wharves reaching out, disappearing into what was now a forest, with no sign of the calm river that used to flow past. “I was… I was busy doing my research, my experiments.”
Pre-owned Meat Suit
By Mike D
Ah, that’s better… a brand new meat suit. Well, it’s new to me, at least. What? Don’t look at me like that. He wasn’t using his body. I think you humans call it a “persistent vegetative state.” Just think of him as a body without a soul and me, a soul without a body.
Hmm? What was that you said? Oh, you want to know what it’s like to possess someone. It’s not possession exactly; that implies one entity enhabiting a body that already has a soul. Possession is nasty business. Have you ever tried to fit two people into one suit? It gets rather crowded. I wouldn’t say I’d like having to struggle over who gets the left arm and who gets the right.
It is interesting, though. When I put on a new suit, I have his memories and experiences. Joeseph’s wife, Melissa, is the love of his life. I know this whole thing sounds rather creepy to you humans, but Melissa would rather have a broken Joeseph than no Joeseph at all. I’m not doing this to get Melissa. This is a matter of survival for me.
It’s a fair trade; Melissa gets her husband back, I keep living. It’s a win-win. Oh, she will notice that I’m different. I can’t fake his personality, but the doctors will explain that she should expect to see some changes. I will mostly try to stick with enjoying the things Joeseph liked, but there are some things you just can’t fake enjoying.
I’ll do it right. Pretend to be “recovering” for a few months, let her give me suggestions and help me “figure out who I am”. You’ve seen how it goes in the movies. And with the knowledge I’ve gained through these millennia of musical meat suits, I will be the perfect husband. We’ll live happily ever after.
Or, at least, until this vessel breaks down and I have to find a newer model.
At Every Cost
The young man entered the cabin, the sleek metallic walls were left bare, and two stools were the only thing for furniture in the room across a big window that allowed to see hundreds of thousands of stars. He sat down on one of the stools, the other one was occupied by an old machine that still roughly resembled a human.
“Tell me, because I never understood it, why do so many of you still cling to biology?”
“And why do you cling to metal?”
“To live of course, I am one thousand years old, while you live only to upwards of 140 years.”
“That is the exact same reason why so little people decided to not switch, you have reduced yourself, no longer breathing, eating, drinking or sleeping, what is there left for you?”
“To live, and to consume whatever entertainment people have conjured.”
“You won’t enjoy it, you couldn’t feel it between your fingers or smell it.”
“My memories of doing those things are still preserved in the cloud, hell, I remember those things from Earth, the globe we’ve escaped.”
“Remembering and living are two different things, memories are foggy and experiences are vibrant.”
“And yet I live, and will live longer than you, I outlived your parents, grandparents, grand-grandparents, and previous generations.”
The man scraped his fingernail against the limb of the old thing.
“And yet rust sets, you aren’t immortal, you have just extended your lifespan to immeasurability.”
“And? I will just keep on exchanging bodies, you won’t be able to do that, my memories are in the cloud and on several back-ups, a functional immortality.”
“How long until one link fails?”
“Too long, you won’t see it, maybe your grand to some power grandchildren.”
The young man stood up and looked down upon the being, it exchanged its humanity for life.
“Why did you do it?”
“To see the end of everything.”
“At what cost?”
“At any cost.”
The thing shook its head and pointed to the door, it did not understand the young man, how come none wanted to see everything.
Living In The Light
By refreshing firecrumb
It first came to me in a dream, the voice of God. It spoke with the warmth of a dying star, and with fury that could rival the Hammer of Pompeii, yet with the sadness of a forgotten lullaby. Unto me, it spoke its true name:
That night I awoke in a cold sweat. I tried to rationalize it at first, telling myself it was a mere nightmare. But it spoke to me again and again, telling me only its name. Eventually, I asked it to prove itself real.
My bedside lamp turned on. I was standing in the middle of my room. I was awake, and yet God was speaking to me. It confessed how much it loved me, and how special I was in the vast sea of ignorance and idolaters. That I was well and truly worthy of what happens after.
The power drill weighed heavy in my hands. It shook with the rage of a warhead, yet with the precision of an assassin. I looked at myself in the mirror. Only the cold shell of a human being stared back, with bloodshot eyes and black tears.
The angelic tool lifted itself to my forehead, my hands attached. Slowly, it found the mark I carved and began performing. The pain writhed and screeched, and yet drilled deeper and deeper. But the pain began to fade, and the drill began to slow, and eventually, the two ceased.
It took me a moment to pull myself off the drill. It lingered in the air, watching me marvel at the ghost in the mirror.
A voice came from behind me. It spoke nothing yet I understood it all the same. I followed it out of the room and saw the world at large in stasis, and as I walked, the universe began to unravel. Yet still, I kept walking.
After what felt like an eternity, I met the source of the voice.
But all I found was a God shaped hole, seething with empty light. Reality cracking at the seams.
And so I stepped through.
“The Barrow Mound”
A loud thump could be heard, now deeper within the barrow mound.
“Spirits!” my companion Fenrik looked around nervously with his sword drawn.
“Spirits don’t usually make noise, Fenrik,” I replied quietly, “still, keep your wits about you.” We pressed onward through narrow dark hallways.
As a necromancer I could manage most spirits, either drive them off or enchant Fenrik’s sword to deal with them. I was more worried about the draugr who shambled though these halls. We had already slain several along our way so far. I felt certain this barrow mound held the key secret I needed for the alchemical potion. We crept along quietly as we finally entered the large chamber ahead of us. Gold and silver glinted in the light cast by my spell which illuminated our path. I held up a hand to halt Fenrik from rushing to gather the treasures. The thumping echoed through the chamber, as we approached the sarcophagus on the dais in the center of the room. What lay within, it seemed, could hear us. Something was wrong though, the light didn’t reflect off the sarcophagus like stone, it was a dark metal. Slowly it dawned upon me. It was alchemical Black Lead. The dark metal covered the sarcophagus completely as one solid piece, with no lid or seam with which to open it.
Fenrik stared at it saying, “Why would they spend so much, just to make that much alchemical Black Lead? It costs more than its weight in gold to make it, and the stuff is far heavier than gold too. All that to keep thieves out?!”
“No… it wasn’t to keep us out,” I said softly in awe. “Behold the forgotten resting place of King Eldoth the Undying,” I intoned softly. Another loud thump, as if in response, echoed in the chamber, followed by a low keening groan. “Undying, a fate worse than death.”
The place you lost (Haven’s Tale)
By: Larissa (Lari B. Haven)
“You entered the void with no exit anchor?” Jack said in a suspicious tone.
“I told you, I entered by accident, I don’t know how to get out.” Haven sheepishly responded.
Jack looked at Haven in utter disbelief. He rubbed the inexistent temples of his mask and tried to maintain his calm tone. “You are beyond helpless…”
She curled her tails around herself again. “Do you know anything about this place?”
“I’m a void magician, and I know a lot, but not all.” He took a deep breath and sat by her side. “The void is the reality of the in-between, it behaves like a liminal space, standing between dimensions. You can learn a lot, experiment a lot, live all kinds of unimaginable wonders.”
She turned her big round eyes to him with curiosity.
“As long as you’re here, you won’t grow old, you can’t die from any wounds; hypothetically, you can live forever inside the void. Centuries can pass before you realize.” He stopped and looked at his own feet, as he seemed to talk from experience. “Anchors are our only connection to our original reality, once lost…”
Haven sobbed uncontrollably. If his words were true, that meant the world she left could no longer exist. As far as she knew, everyone she ever met could be dead. All because of her carelessness.
The demon took pity on her, giving a long tight hug. “Where did I leave my manners? I never meant to imply what you are probably thinking.”
“I just want to go home!” she whimpered in his soaked vest.
“I’m not usually a charitable person, but Miss Haven, I will help you. I know of one person who could build anchors from the inside, but they require extensive research, and I’m not an expert on it.” His calming, deep voice helped her hiccups disappear. “Given the price of such endeavors, Miss Haven, I’m afraid I will need some return from my investment.”
He flicked his fingers, and a document appeared on his hands. “Miss Haven, would you be my apprentice?”
By the Power of the Plow
By Adrian Solorio
When the sun rose on the fertile fields of Migos, it brought with it a heavy dread which hung over the city-state like a fog. Turan stood with his people, nobles, priests, women, and children, behind thick adobe walls. In the fields, he stood with his men, sons, fathers, and grandfathers, watching the horizon, where a cloud of dust grew larger.
Turan walked amongst the faithful. He listened to their many prayers and placed a reassuring hand on their shoulders, giving them strength. A young wife with four children stopped crying after he passed his hand over her heart, then she touched the knife in her dress firmly, finally resolved what to do if the walls were breached. Outside, Turan touched the arm of a shepherd boy who felt weak, lending him courage, and the boy grew firm, for he knew his sling would aim true.
Then the enemy arrived.
Pounding over the cultivated fields, crushing the crops, horse and man—together as one—moved in perfect savage harmony. The men of Migos, farmers and herders, faith wavered. And with a ferocious charge, the horsemen plowed into them, cutting them down like dry wheat under the scythe.
Each death opened a wound in Turan.
The remaining men of Migo’s, their faith shattered, broke, and ran for the protection of the walled city. Inside, the women wept, screamed, and cursed their weak God. All faith lost with the dead men in the field. A noble stabbed the high-priestess in the throat and threw her body over the wall.
Turan collapsed outside the city gate . Blood, power, and mana seeped into the earth from his many cuts and wounds.
Then, shadowed by the sun, a four-hooved woman stood over him. “Your people have lost faith and will soon be gone from this Earth,” said Scytha, The Exiled Goddess. “Father’s curse has proven to be a blessing. Those who ride the horse are more powerful than those who push the plow—wouldn’t you agree, brother?”
And Turan’s immortality—tied to the Migosian’s and their worship—finally ended. And like them, he vanished.
Forever wiped from mankind’s memory.
The Kindness of Strangers (Unlikely Heroes)
C. M. Weller
Eons ago, when all magic was wild, a young Elf put hir hand to a God’s heart and did a foolish thing. Ze said, “I vow to make this world a better place before I die.” Gods take things like that very seriously indeed. So far, the Elf known as Wraithvine had lived too many years to count. So far… so good? It was often hard to tell.
Such as now, where ze was tied and dangling upside-down from a tree while a bludgeon of Ogres was debating how best to cook hir.
“This forever Elf,” said one. “Want magic. Want live forever.”
“Hungry,” countered another. “Want FOOD.”
Ogres are generally renowned for eating anything that couldn’t get away, so there weren’t a lot of alternatives around. The current stew was bark and fungus. It smelled poisonous, but so did all Ogre cooking. Three of them were arguing how to extract ‘forever magic’ and three were arguing how to cook hir. One was silent, watching Wraithvine.
“You really live forever?” said the quiet one.
“So far,” said Wraithvine. “I took a sacred vow seven eons ago and I haven’t died yet. Of course, I haven’t tested it by trying to die. Call me selfish, but I like being alive. Of course, by killing me, you could incur the wrath of the Gods…”
“Me no want live forever,” said the quiet one. “Me no want angry Gods.” Saying that, she picked up a large rock and crept up behind the others. It was advanced strategy for an Ogre. Sneak up on the ones not paying her any attention, then stove their skulls in with the rock.
She cut Wraithvine’s bonds and said, “They call me Stoopid ‘cuz me think too much,” she said. “Me no want bad things. Me see bad things before happening.”
Wraithvine massaged hir wrists. “There’s no such thing as thinking too much,” ze said. “People willing to learn from the lessons of the past are smarter than many.”
“You say me smart?”
“Very smart,” said Wraithvine. “How do you like the name Pondermoore?”
“Me like,” grinned Pondermoore.
His Greatest Betrayal (Mary’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis
I’m…awake. My eyes flicker open. Gray stone ceiling, arched and held by pillars. The great hall? Why am I here?
I have to get up. I don’t care how much it hurts. I pull myself up into a sitting position, and the pain…never comes?
“Ah, you’re finally awake.”
I turn my stiff head to see Father. He looks like a shadow of himself. His skin, hair – even his eyes? – are all grey and worn, and his robes are filthy with dust. But there is an uneven, twitchy smile on his face.
“Father…” my voice heaves out of my throat like tar. My mouth feels as dry as burnt bark. “You…were right!…I don’t feel any pain…how?”
His bent smile widens. “I told you, my dear. I told you I would find a cure for your awful affliction, and now I have.” Father’s eyes go bright with mania. “The disease is dead! Dead! And you are freed of its chains forevermore!”
I try to share his joy. I should be happy, right? My suffering is over. But I just feel hollow.
“Here. I have a gift for you. One to celebrate our victory over cruel Nature.” He gives me a bouquet of wildflowers, with various shades of white, grey and black, and nearly scentless.
I know these flowers. I picked them again and again from the woods outside.
These flowers should be reds, and blues and purples and yellows and all those vibrant colours of life. Their scents should be flooding my nose. They shouldn’t be like this!
And then I realise something. They haven’t changed. They still have their colours. They still have their scent.
But I don’t. My eyes are wrong. My nose is wrong.
“What…What did you do to me?”
“Oh Mary, don’t be scared. You don’t need to worry. You need not fear pain, or disease, or even the torment of aging anymore. I have taken them all away. Now, you are free to live.”
What? Wait, no, he can’t – I can’t –
…I can’t hear my heartbeat…
Every Word Matters
by: Nicki Snyder aka cannibalbananas
With a heavy sigh, Anne finishes writing down the last word. The side of her hand hurts. She rubs the cramped muscles as she stares down at the page. Knowing the ink is dry, but needing to make sure, Anne blows across the paper. She pauses in the massage of her hand and tentatively touches a few of the words.
No ink comes off or smears, and she nods in satisfaction.
With her non-dominant hand, Anne closes the book, picks it up, and places it into the fire and water proof chest on the floor. She uses her foot to kick the lid down before stooping to fasten the thick lock. She tugs on it, ensuring it’s sealed, and shoves it into the wall of the mausoleum.
As she leaves, Anne glances back at the crypt once more. She hopes this will buy her another 100 years. If only the fae that granted her immortality wasn’t so specific about what medium she had to use to write her story on, this would be far easier now a days. She could have multiple copies backuped in the cloud, on a flash drive, and on a hard drive, for extra measure. Rewriting her tale and her predecessor’s tale would be as easy as copy and pasting.
Anne heaves another heavy sigh and walks back towards her life, a life she tries to live as mundane as possible. But it’s hard. There is still so much traveling she wants to do. And every time she does, she has delightful new experiences and meets such wonderful people, that it nearly makes the task of recording it all worth it. Nearly.
She rubs her hand again. This pain is the least of it. Should she ever forget something worth mentioning again… she shudders as she remembers wounds that had formed when words were skipped. With a grimace at the memory, Anne climbs into her car and drives back home.
The Shepherd (Repost from Private)
Their Master and guarding place had long since been stolen by Death and their accomplice, Time. Yet that didn’t phase the golem. Nothing did.
The golem watched over the herd. These creatures were strange beasts, unlike any the golem had seen in the Melania of its existence. Yet, they were the last living creatures that the golem could perceive beside themself. That caused something besides the eternal instinct to protect to keep the golem there. Some longing that the golem could not understand.
A playful tap of a stick against their leg drew the golem back from their musings. Beside them, the youngest of the herd waited with a wriggling tail. The golem smiled at the memory of the Master’s son playing the same game with another creature.
“Fetch?” The golem asked, bending down to grab the stick. The youngling yipped and hopped in place. With a gentle toss, the branch flew across the field, a blur of scales close behind. A pang of sadness hit the golem as it watched the youngling stumble through a pile of bones on its return. The sight reminded him of the truth.
These creatures will die. Like everything else around the golem, Time and Death will steal them away. He could feel the gods’ eyes on him and heard their mutterings in god-tongue. They were talking about the golem again.
The golem couldn’t understand the words, but they knew what they meant. It was a wager. A wager on how long the golem would live.
“Clay life-bearer.” The golem startled and dropped the stick. It was unusual for the gods to address the living, especially this one. “Do not be afraid, I-”
“I know too well who you are, Death.” The golem replied and turned to face the Old Ones.
“Well. That simplifies things.” Death regained their composure and addressed the golem again. “Tell us, clay life-bearer, the inscription on your chest.”
“As long as there is light, be whole and full of life.”
Death grinned and nudged the disgruntled Time. “Thank you, immortal one.”
Complicated Questions (Sword Isles)
By Connor A.
(TW: Brief implication of abuse)
Jen sat in front of the fire in silence. It was an uncomfortable sight for Oberon. Not as uncomfortable as the fact that they were outside of the city without proper protection from the weather or wildlife, but close.
He passed a small bowl of cooked meat to them and watched as they nodded in thanks.
“I did not think you would have the courage to leave the city,” Oberon finally spoke, keeping a growing concern out of his voice. “The entrance guards are skilled.”
Jen’s grip around the bowl tightened. “Can…”
Jen took a shaky breath. “Can gods… die?”
Oberon’s throat tightened. “What led you to have such a question?”
The human flinched at the tone of his voice. Their hands shook at an unspoken memory and tears gathered in their eyes, threatening to fall at any moment.
The sight left Oberon with a pang of guilt. This child needed the kind of support he could not provide. Still, he moved around the fire and sat next to Jen. He stiffened as they leaned on him, but did not move them. “Life and death is… complicated for gods. For the Isles at least, we have the Rule of the Land to worry about.”
Jen wiped away their tears. “The… what?”
“In this case, ‘The gods serve the land, and the land serves the gods.’ If we do not serve it, the land strips away our connections to existence. In a human sense, we would still be alive. To us, it is death.”
Oberon moved a piece of Jen’s hair so it would not touch their meat.
“I never cared to learn about the dust god, so I do not know how he is staying tethered to this world. But I do know that he is on the brink of death. No god can survive five hundred years of this kind of onslaught.”
Jen lifted their head. “Can I stay here for the night?”
He gave a single nod. “I will return you before dawn.”
Curiosity Killed the Cat, You Know…
Will raised a skeptical eyebrow. “You’re dating Death?”
Matt blushed slightly and looked away. “We’re not dating! It’s just this… whole thing. We’re apparently… destined or something like that.”
Will nodded. “Is she, like… a death goddess or…”
“No.” Matt shook his head. “The actual concept of death didn’t exist until she did…”
“Wow… older woman. I can dig it.” Will stated, grinning at Matt’s responding glare.
“Now if we could change the subject-”
“What’s she like?” Will asked, genuinely curious.
Matt looked down, lost in thought. “She’s… intense… And downright terrifying… Now, if we could PLEASE change the-?”
“Wait! Wait! Does that mean you can’t die? Or do you have to die to go on dates and stuff and she just brings you back? How does dating Death work exactly?”
Matt’s glare intensified. “We. Are. Not. Dating. I’ve only met her twice.” He sighed as he realized Will was still waiting for an answer to the rest of it. “Look, I can die, alright? Technically… She just… doesn’t let it stick…”
Will’s eyes bulged. “So, if I decapitated you right now, you wouldn’t die?”
Matt’s glare immediately returned with a dark edge to it.
“Dude, relax!” Will threw up his hands in surrender. “I’m only half demon, remember? I don’t have anywhere NEAR the juice to kill you. I was talking theoretically.”
Matt’s intense look remained. “About a month ago, an unexplainable fear overtook you. You didn’t know why, but you knew something was wrong and it scared you shitless.”
Will paused as his expression became worried. “How-?”
“A month ago, someone almost killed me and Death struck them down so hard the entire world felt it.”
“Yeah. Damn.” Matt grumbled, “Do not joke about that. I don’t know how much of a sense of humor she has and… she’s Death, so… she’s kind of everywhere at once.”
Will nodded back. “So… is she hot?”
“I literally JUST said-” Matt began before pausing as his eyes darted to the corner of the room. “…I’m not… answering… that…”
Will followed Matt’s glance, seeing nothing. “Is she-?”
“Change. The. SUBJECT!”
The Apex Predator (Darkspell Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)
We’re just flesh to him.
It’s cold. So cold. Like ice down my spine. That’s how I would describe the breath of this monster… No, not monster. That would be inaccurate. Predator sounds better. This predator, who treats us like we treat chickens on a spit.
How should I start? How do you… describe something like this creature that calls itself Yuri? What words would suffice?
I’ll start with what I saw. He is thoroughly unremarkable. That is it. It’s all I can say. I would compare him to a man in a suit or some kid on the street corner, but that wouldn’t do him justice. Those people have something about them to identify themselves. Yuri has… nothing. It’s not even that he has no features. No that would make him stand out. Fact is, he’s just… thoroughly unremarkable.
And that’s all there is to it.
How do I describe what he does? Have you ever had a splinter in your flesh? Or a spike? And then, without warning, it is wrenched out, along with chunks of your body. That is almost what it feels like to have your soul ripped from you.
No one really knows what the soul is. We use it, harness it for spells, but what exactly is it? Popular theories suggest that it is a kind of backup, a safety drive for you to go to, should your body fail. But that can’t be it. The hard drive should still be working, when the backup is removed, right? But I felt myself die. I felt my body give out, as I was pulled out of it.
And yet, somehow, I still live. I live in this… silent, cold void, alone with my thoughts. If the gods are merciful, maybe they’ll relay these… thoughts I have. If anyone even listens.
I am… immortal. I don’t know if I can die again, in this void. Stuck forever in this dark oblivion. No feeling, no sensation. I am alone. Alone with… Yuri. Or whatever his name really is.