Writing Group: Do Not Touch

Hello, curious and not-so-curious ones alike!

I know it might be tempting, but for your own safety, you need to just leave it alone. What? No, I don’t know what happens, and I’m not sure I want to find out. Of course I’m curious, but— oh alright, fine. But don’t get caught and be careful, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

Do Not Touch

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!

I’m sure we’ve all been there. Walking around the grocery store, or any store, really, and we’re told by mom or dad to not touch anything. But we really really wanted those fruit snacks, and that toy looks so cool.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to just sweets and toys. You could choose to apply it to a new employee in a factory, and maybe he witnesses his coworkers messing around and playing chicken with a piece of machinery sporting a nice big “KEEP LIMBS CLEAR OF MOVING PARTS” sign. Does this person partake in said dangerous shenanigans, or do they go about their day? Perhaps you’d choose to write about an escaped convict attempting to outrun their pursuers, and in their rush to get over the fence, they don’t see the sign warning them, “DANGER: HIGH VOLTAGE”. Or perhaps they did see it, and had already managed to turn it off, surprising their pursuers when they make it over without electrocution. Maybe this prompt can simply be about a child who keeps poking their mother’s potted cactus despite being told to leave it alone.

Maybe you could choose to write about a kleptomaniac and what their world and impulses are like, how they just have to have things, even if it means punishment. Perhaps you choose the bratty child who read the “STILL WET” sign by the painted wall and decided to fingerpaint the unpainted wall opposite. What about the two siblings who sit together, but are always yelling at each other “Don’t touch me!”, yet neither one will move away? Or maybe you choose to write about the one witch or warlock who decided to ignore all warnings and touch that magic stone anyway, just to see what really happens. Or perhaps said witch or warlock don’t touch it, per se, but accidentally cough, sneeze, or even breathe on it. What then?

Go forth, and show us what it would be like to either heed or ignore these warnings. Is the world worse or better off, or did nothing change? Did everything change? 

Well… there’s only one way to find out.

—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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Nick
Nick
5 months ago

This Girl is on Fire
By NictheGreat

Flara was tied up in chains strapped to a chair. Seven crooks were inside the warehouse with her. She tried to break free from the chain’s strong grip, but it was tighter than she anticipated. “Don’t even try” said the head of the crooks. “You’ll tucker yourself out if you keep fighting these chains”. He then laughed in her face making the rest of his crew laugh with him.

Flara hissed at them saying “You know I’ve been in much worse conditions than this”. “Oh really? How so?” one of the crooks teased. “You wouldn’t want to know,” she said spitting in his face. He recoiled back a bit grimacing in disgust. He slowly wiped the spit off his face before swiftly returning the disrespect by striking her across the face. Flara’s face stung slightly from the sudden punch.

“Also, what’s with the glowing belt,” said another pointing to the sun buckled glowing belt on the table. “I wouldn’t touch that boys,” Flara warned. “Why? This belt can’t hurt me” the crook chuckled. “Trust me you don’t wanna touch that,” she said again with a stricter tone.

“Alright, alright let’s let the girl touch it!” the main crook announced. The rest of the gang cheered as Flara looked in fear. “What?! No, no, no, no, no! I’m not touching that!” she exclaimed in fear.

“Don’t worry you’ll be fine” said the head crook sarcastically. “Bring it to her” he ordered.

One of the crooks grabbed the belt and started to bring it over until it started to singe their hands. He then screamed in pain tossing it up as it landed into the girl’s lap. She let out a short gasp before quickly being engulfed in crimson flames. The crooks jumped back as the pillar of fire lit up the room, blinding a few.

The head crook lifted himself from the ground brushing the ash off of his outfit. “Huh, that wasn’t what I planned but it’ll work.” Some of the other crooks rose from the ground ready to leave the room.

Before anyone could exit the room, a small chuckle was heard emitting from the flames. The chuckles grew louder before breaking out into a full laugh. “You guys REALLY thought I would die that easily?” The girl sneered. The flames seemed to bend to her will as the chains that once bound her were melted away. She then put on the belt and transformed herself into a flammable superhero.

“So who wants to touch now?

Last edited 5 months ago by Nick
Alan Baker
Alan Baker
5 months ago

Jugement (Tales from Adfidem – Book of Boghos)
By Alan Baker

Phanom Neak walked up the great stone stairs leading to the gates of the palace. Behind him, the square and streets were filled with the people of his tribe and all the inhabitants of The Golden City. Streams of light poured out from the temple above the palace, illuminating the night sky with rivers of shifting colours.

“That’s far enough,” shouted king Gohar, baring Neak’s way, flanked by his guards. “How dare you breach the sanctity of my holy city.”

A deathly silence fell over the crowd as they watched on in fear and reverence.

Phanom Neak did not answer but only planted his staff in the ground between them. The closed eye upon the rod glistened brilliantly in the shifting light.

Gohar continued:

“You and your tribe will be punished for your transgression against the defenders of The Gate. If you resist, the angels will come and smite you all to defend my kingdom.”

Then Neak spoke, and his voice was rumbled like a distant avalanche:

“They will not come. For you no longer hold the title of protector in the eyes of heaven. Now only he who holds this staff may summon the angels to protect The Gate.”

Gohar took a step forward with fire in his eyes, but Neak continued:

“When your brother spoke out against your actions, you did not heed his words and exiled him. And when that did not silence Boghos, you executed him. Thus this kingdom lost favour in heaven.
But he had already forged a new pact on behalf of this great city.”

Phanom Neak gestured to the staff, “take it up and renounce your sins before your people and you may reclaim your title.”

“I will do no such thing,” Gohar roared and reached for the staff to strike down Phanom Neak.

But the moment he touched the rod, the eye atop it opened, and a blinding light burst forth.

When the light dimmed, only a grey shadow remained of the former king.

Then Phanom Neak took up the staff, turned to his people and began his confession.

Adrian Solorio
Adrian Solorio
5 months ago

Trust
By Adrian Solorio

“I don’t know why you’re acting suspicious,” Brie said. “If you loved me, you’d trust me.” She slammed the door and walked towards the hospital with her head down, her shoulders rising and falling in a heavy rhythm.

Daniel wondered if that was the meditative breathing she was always blabbing about. He shook his head and accelerated the Camry, slowly easing it into traffic. Commercials played on the radio and he turned the volume up. Trying, but failing, to forget the stupid argument they’d just had.

At a red-light Daniel replayed it in his mind, this time adding everything he should have said. When Brie’d said, “Why don’t you trust me anymore?” He should have said, “I’ll trust you once you stop acting shady.” He smirked. She wouldn’t have liked that one. But it was the truth. He wanted to trust her, but he didn’t know how he could after this weekend.

The light turned green and Daniel made a left. She’d left the car crying, so at least she still cared—but then again—maybe she was playing him for a fool. She’d only started to cry when he kept asking her where she’d spent the night on Saturday. Daniel went over what she’d said, the inconsistencies, the unanswered questions, and it was like running his tongue over a cavity.

He loved her and he wanted to trust her. But like his mom had always said, trust your gut. And now he didn’t know who, or what to trust anymore. He wished she had never gotten the job at the hospital. Everything had been good before then. After getting hired there, that’s when she started to change, new friends, new clothes, and girls’ nights out.

Daniel’s head swiveled to the center console. A phone—her phone vibrated. She’d forgotten it and now it seemed to ask him, “Do you trust me?” He didn’t want to answer. But after he pulled over, picked up the phone and recognized the caller—a friend—a male doctor, he took the call.

After hanging up, Daniel raced back to the hospital at breakneck speed, his heart torn apart.

Last edited 5 months ago by Adrian Solorio
Arith_Winterfell
Arith_Winterfell
5 months ago

“Chasing the Thrill” [Content Warning: Drug Abuse]

By Arith_Winterfell

I wanted her. I wanted her so badly. Just to touch her and be touched in return. I wanted her to love me. She was beautiful with her gentle features and raven dark hair. Her big brown eyes that could look up at me lovingly wanting to be held. She was wild and untamed too. Dangerous. Not just metaphorically speaking either. She took dangerous risks. She loved to shoot up, chasing the heart racing thrill of the next high. Some said she had a death wish. Others said in half-admiring tones that she was just “one crazy bitch.”

I knew even if I did get involved there was a high chance her untamed desire for the next thrill would end in heartache for me, and likely her death as well. She didn’t seem to care about that though. I thought to myself, maybe I could change her. Get her to break her habits and come home to the real love I had for her. But I know deep down that’s just a fantasy of me saving her. I’d seen how she acted around her previous boyfriends. Any time any of them urged her to slow down, she would get incredibly angry, even outright abusive.

Yet, despite knowing all of that, I still found myself achingly longing for her. To hold her in my arms, and love her with gentleness, but I know she’d not be satisfied with that. Like the drugs she took, she was a slow poison. To love her was to die in a sense, either by being with her only to lose her, or to die inside of longing to have her. Maybe that is why I have sympathy for her despite all her flaws. I know what its like to want that thrill of her arms. Loving which will only cause suffering in the end. Isn’t that the risk we always take when we want to love and be loved?

Morgan Magpie
Morgan Magpie
5 months ago

An Academic Study of Fire Eating
by Morgan Magpie

The smell of sea salt mingled foully with the smell of trash and the chemical sting of the nearby tannery, yet the children all flocked to watch Wateley’s tricks.

As usual, they were not disappointed. Flaming birds swooped down and threatened to ignite the hair of the crowd before careening away. On the ground, smoldering ash-lizards poked around the feet of the excited witnesses, collecting any coins dropped for their master.

Watelely performed all this without much thought about his part in the show. He said nothing to the crowd and accomplished most of his feats by simply snapping his fingers or whispering a quick phrase. Oslo noted this was quite unusual for a street magician, as the showboating is what brings the money, but it appealed to his academic sensibilities. He saw Wateley as a fellow scholar, albeit one who had no titles to boast of.

Oslo himself couldn’t say the same, walking around in a linen suit with the university’s seal emblazoned on both sleeves in golden thread. For him, his art was well beyond street tricks, and his status as a master needed to be communicated.

After the show, Oslo approached Wateley with an outstretched hand, which Wateley took and shook gently. Without a word, he breathed a ball of fire into his hands, which he passed to Oslo.

Oslo took it gingerly, careful not to burn himself, and sped off. Wateley watched him go with a small smile and a shaking head.

Oslo left the seaside district and was among higher society within the hour, making his way to the university’s laboratory. Encountering his professor in the hall.

“I’m going to crack it,” Oslo declared, boasting the fire he held in his hands.

For the eighth time that month, Oslo tried to scientifically deduce the secret of Wateley’s unique fire-eating wizardry. For the eighth time that month, his device to analyze it exploded and shattered a window.

The professor, familiar with Wateley, heard the commotion and said to himself: “I always tell him not to touch that stuff, he’s not built for it.”

Alexander
Alexander
5 months ago

Sibling Rivalry
By BrokenEarth

I could tell that this was a very powerful artifact just by looking at it. It was about my height, maybe a bit shorter. If I could get my hands on it, my brother wouldn’t stand a chance.

It was taboo to take it from its resting place. Countless wars had been fought over this staff, and to cause another would anger the gods.

I reached out and touched the staff, then drew my hand away, expecting to be burned. I was not. A smirk grew on my face as I snatched the relic.

I would have to act quickly, before the staff was discovered missing. Through the kingdom I rode, to where I knew my brother resided.

“Brother.” My voice rang out. “I have come to challenge you for the last time.”

I saw the doors to my sibling’s fortress open, and they stepped out wearing magnificent green robes. When they saw me, their face contorted to one of shock and disbelief.

“You shouldn’t have that.” He said, shock turning to anger as we approached each other. “It was made taboo! No man is fit to wield its power!”

I smirked. “A coward’s response. You should’ve known it was only a matter of time.”

We stopped in front of each other. He looked torn, as though deciding whether to pray for divine intervention or steal the staff for himself.

“Shall we begin?” He asked, his voice wavering for a moment.

I nodded.

We both leaped far away from each other, casting fireballs and calling lightning, but it was clear I had the upper hand. Sensing that at this range he was losing, my brother sought to close the distance between us.

I found myself unable to stop his approach. My arrogant laughs turned to concentrated grunts as he dodged my attacks. He grew near, and I moved the staff for one last attack-

WHACK.

“Moooom!” My brother called, cradling his head in his hands. I dropped the stick and tried to shush him. Oh, I was in so much trouble. Winning definitely wasn’t worth the talk with my parents.

Makokam
Makokam
5 months ago

Chronicles of The Dragon: This Little Girl (Is Capable of Murder)
By Makokam

Scribe entered the cafeteria and looked around.

She needed to eat and this was the only place she knew of to get food.

It was strange. She knew that all the people there were criminals, psychopaths, and straight up monsters. She didn’t feel like she belonged there. But she also couldn’t deny the burning desire for chaos, mayhem, and maybe a little death boiling inside her.

It’d be so easy… She could turn that one into a chicken, that one into stone, melt that one. She could make the tables and chairs revolt and eat the people. Or sneak into the kitchen and turn all the food into poison. A smile formed on her face as she looked at her hands and watched the words dance across them.

All she had to do was reach out and touch…

“Hey cutie,” someone said, “nice pants, shame you don’t got enough ass for ‘em!” and there was laughter as she was suddenly slapped on her backside.

She went rigid for a moment, but as the man and his companions walked by she stepped after them and grabbed him by the throat.

He had a moment to look at her and seem amused before he went stiff and started shaking violently.

She let go and he collapsed to the floor, the shaking increasing in intensity, his eyes rolling back, and foam coming from his mouth. She put her hands on her hips and bent at the waist to look down on him, “Nice skull you got there. Shame you don’t have enough brain for it!” She laughed, “Don’t worry though, I’ll put you out of your misery.” And she flexed her fingers, the most observant of which might make out words like, “Break”, “Melt”, “Shock”, and “Die” spiraling across them.

The closest ones backed up, some activating their powers, though not sure what to do. Everyone was watching though, in some combination of horror and fascination.

Before she could pass any or all of the commands to him, someone caught her wrist. Her head snapped around to see… “Jonathan?”

Last edited 5 months ago by Makokam
i-prefer-the-term-antihero
i-prefer-the-term-antihero
5 months ago

[Removed]

Last edited 12 days ago by i-prefer-the-term-antihero
Chengir
5 months ago

Do Not Touch
By Chengir

The bunker was 900 feet underground, far below even the command center of the NORAD’s Cheyenne Mountain Complex. The lighting was poor, but that was to protect the object. All the tables and chairs were made from stainless steel. Monitors and cameras filled almost every inch of available space. The screens displayed many of the text’s encodings. Lines of computer code running in the periphery, trying to make heads or tails out of the unusual script. For about ten years, it was just a mystery. Considered a hoax by many.

The single page of the Morbius Text was written on a sheet of an undefined metal. Although not even the best metallurgists on the planet had yet been able to ascertain how the alloy was created, much less how the text was etched into the exterior. Nor any explanation on how it crawled across the surface.

Things only got interesting once the scientific community determined the material was non-terrestrial in origin. Everyone began treating the text like the gold plaque on Voyager. The key to the location of intelligent life in the universe. DARPA, the UN Scientific Council, and even Dr. Emilio Lizardo got interested in funding the research.

Dr. Morbius had spent years studying the object. While the audience watched on monitors and in the room, Dr. Morbius scrolled the text with his fingers. They flowed across the metal like raindrops running down a roof.

The silence was broken by a remote voice from a monitor. “Has the computer been able to translate anything significant yet?”

A Catholic priest pushed his way forward. “Stop this at once. You can’t read it. You can’t,” he screamed. Several others held him back and finally escorted him out of the room.

“Only a word or two,” Morbius replied proudly. “But we’ve identified what we believe is the title and the computer should have a translation for us any second.” Dr. Morbius’ face went so white, even in the dim light it was obvious.

“What?” Came the anxious reply, “What’s the title?”

Dr. Morbius gulped. “Do Not Touch.”

Karl Aegnor
Karl Aegnor
5 months ago

Thoughts on Paper
By Karl Aegnor

Imported. What a wonderful word that was. Something brought in from elsewhere, usually across the seas. Ports held boats. The things came into the ports. Imported. Something important was special, and it sounded so much like imported. After all, what could be more special than a sight from another land?

Inkblot took much joy in Falk’s words. The human knew so many, and he spoke each one with the elegance they deserved. Inkblot reflected on his own lack of words. He had not discovered how to produce sounds yet; he did not think he had a mouth. But beyond that, he did not have a word. Inkblot did not even think he was a ‘he’. ‘He’ was something humans and animals could be, not inkblots. Even ‘inkblot’ was more of a description.

Inkblot shrugged off these thoughts. Shrugged. That was an interesting word. It was a physical thing people did to show indifference or uncertainty, yet Inkblot thought it. ‘Shrugged’ off the other thoughts. Or perhaps it was a feeling. Such strange things, thoughts are. That thought of shrugging was not the same sort of thought Falk seemed to have. He put his thoughts on paper, using letters to form all his delightful words. What letters could represent the thought of shrugging? S-H-R-U-G-G, that was the thought. Inkblot was pretty sure it was a feeling anyway.

But that word, imported. Falk had used it about a box.

Inkblot squeezed himself under the door. Falk was not in his study right now, but the imported box was on his desk, open. Climbing up, Inkblot saw there was paper inside. Why? Falk had plenty of paper, it did not seem like the sort of special thing that was imported.

Symbols, words on paper. That was another thing Inkblot loved.

***

Aghast, Falk stared upon his study. The little one had gotten into the new transcription paper. Picking up a sheet, Falk noted sloppily-written words with no apparent connection between them. Falk pinched the bridge of his nose, he would need one hell of an explanation for the arcanist’s society to refund this.

Last edited 5 months ago by Karl Aegnor
VeryBoringName
VeryBoringName
5 months ago

Apple’s bitter aftertaste
By: VeryBoringName

My equipment clanged and banged against each other as I scaled up the cliff. Eventually, I found what I was looking for, the cave from which man crawled out. As I crawled inside its safety from the cliff face, I accidentally touched an old skeleton, eroded by the sea and dust, it crumbled.

“Adam” I whispered to myself, looking as the ashes of the skeleton blew out of the cave.

I turned towards the deep of the cave, I could see that it formed a tunnel, long and narrow, but at its end there was light, the light I was searching for. I moved as fast I could through that narrow tunnel, even running at times when it allowed it.

I nearly entered the light, only to be stopped just inches before by a hand drenched in light.

“I beg you, let me enter that place” I cried, looking at the being the hand belonged to.

It lifted its hand, only to better grab its flaming sword, I collapsed onto my knees and clasped my hands.

“Please! Uriel! I have searched for this place all my life! have mercy!”

It raised its flaming sword, I did not wait and jumped towards the brightness. Even though I felt it pierce my body and soul and burn me from inside, I managed to get my head through the barrier to the light, and saw a dull field, stretching forever, grey, ashen, boring.

I cried just before the heat consumed my head, how could the promised paradise look that way. I found myself on the shore of a rocky island, I coughed with water and sand as I lifted myself up, only to be greeted by a half-man, half-serpent, with a crown on his head.

“Vanity, betrayal” the thing hissed at me as its serpentine tail slowly wrapped nine times across its body.

C. M. Weller
5 months ago

Paradoxical Sensations (A Tiefling Tale)
C. M. Weller

The first hug Kosh remembered receiving came from a client who hired his adventuring crew. Kosh and his pack of idiots had managed to rescue their good friend, and the client hugged everyone in the crew out of unbounded gratitude. Even a literally dirty Tiefling like himself. He had frozen in sheer terror and disbelief. He didn’t know how to handle it.

The second hug in his life came from that idiot the Barbarian. Kosh easily could have left him to his fate, but… he was not a selfish Tiefling. So Kosh had risked his neck to save one of his morons. At least there was gratitude.

“You maniac, I love you,” the Barbarian cheered, wrapping Kosh up in his arms.

Kosh’s entire body felt like it had been struck with lightning, and it wasn’t because the Barbarian had pulled any of his stupid stunts. He reacted on instinct, escaping the grapple and moving into a patient defense.

“Don’t you DARE,” he had barked. “You’re never going to stay.”

It blew up, of course it did, with the entire crew wanting to know what was wrong with him. He didn’t trust any of them because his ability to trust had been whittled away. He knew he would become inconvenient to know. Sooner or later, they would all betray him.

It was inevitable. It had happened too many times before, and would happen too many times again.

By the third hug, he worked it out. He wasn’t a stupid Tiefling, after all. The child who wrapped him up in their arms and legs was small and frail and didn’t know Tieflings were monsters. So Kosh bit down on his pain and refused to show it. Touch starvation, like the regular kind, had the same troubles.

Feed a starving man too much, and he would become sick. Caress the touch-starved, and the body would default to what it knew best… and what Kosh knew best was pain.

How in hell was he going to deal with this when he finally met his wife?

Iceburgh69
Iceburgh69
5 months ago

When Going Sideways Goes Sideways. (Repost from Private)
By: Iceburgh69

The hatch chime goes off, announcing the presence of someone on the other side. Bastion puts down the keepsake on the table and answers, admitting his commander and friend, Erick. The smaller man enters as the giant sits down on the chair.

“I saw the mess in the bay,” Erick says.

“Aff. Two of the new trainees dared each other to paint a mark on my armor. It did not go well for them,” the giant replies.

“I saw them cleaning it with toothbrushes.”

“It is a shame, really. The purple is growing on me.” Bastion nudges a step stool in place so the smaller man can climb up onto a chair. “They do have some potential, however. Perhaps direct them into investigation and espionage. They had almost made it.”

Erick completes his climb and nods. “We’ll have to see how things go, and hope that their curiosity doesn’t get them exploded all over something. What’s this?” He pokes at the button on the keepsake.

“What is wha-. DO NO-!” As the words die on his lips, the lid springs open and a hologram activates, showing off a woman in…risque attire and dancing in such a way that she is easily the center of attention.

Erick can only stare as Bastion closes the lid. “Ok. I wasn’t prepared for that.” He looks at the giant, whose pale skin makes his blush stand out all the more. “Crush of yours? I didn’t think the human body could bend that way!” Bastion can only cough in embarrassment as he puts the hologram on a shelf to Erick’s cackling chuckle. “Want to send a reply?”

Bastion looks quickly at Erick, but sees only humor and sincerity.

Last edited 5 months ago by Iceburgh69
Connor A.
Connor A.
5 months ago

Gods Start Somewhere (Sword Isles)
By Connor A.

“What’s this?”

Oberon held his staff above his head so Jen could not grab it.

“Something a human should not touch.”

Jen only grinned. “Why not? Does it hold untold power?”

“Untold, no.”

“What does it do?”

Oberon controlled his tone, but he knew some of his irritation leaked through. “Did those humans even teach you anything outside of their beliefs?”

“Nope.”

He sighed and took a few steps away from Jen. When he was sure they were at a safe distance, he lowered the staff and pushed the decorative top back all the way, revealing a long, curved blade one might find on a scythe. It cut through the air as he went through what motions he remembered. There were a few mistakes in his form, but when he finished and looked over at Jen’s awestruck face, he knew it did not matter too much.

“This scythe,” Oberon said, pushing the blade down halfway for emphasis, “used to reap souls when their time came.”

The teen walked up and admired the blade. Their face lit up even more when they realized it was not made of metal like they first assumed.

“After I became a god, I had no reason to see if it still worked like that.”

Jen tilted their head at that statement. “You weren’t always a god?”

He thought about how to answer it in simple terms. “Remember what I said about the Rule of the Land?”

Jen nodded.

“Proper gods start off with the most basic service of setting a mortal’s soul free from this life. To do that, one must set aside their godhood and become the faceless specter of Death for an age.”

Jen reached up to touch the blade, but Oberon quickly turned it away from them and closed it.

“Which is why touching it could prove disastrous.”

He walked back to where the staff was and set it down. “I advise you rest while you can. The upcoming hunt will test your endurance.”

Alex
Alex
5 months ago

Cat and Dragon (Forsaken Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

The strange creature, covered in midnight-blue fur, was sitting on a large chair in the middle of one of the spacious rooms, which Dekka so loved. Her instinct told her to go up, as high as she could, but the wings and head of the tiny dragon kept bumping into the impenetrable sky. So she had learned to control her impulse and restricted her more reckless maneuvers to the larger places, where the sky was higher.

This was one of them, filled with chairs and glinting squares, some of them shattered, metallic strings sticking out of them. Dekka resisted the urge to nibble them and turned her attention to the small fluff ball, which watched her out of pitch-black eyes.

She’d seen and smelled it before. But she wasn’t sure what it was. Her instinct told her to pounce, but again she resisted. Last time she’d done that, mummy had been mad.

Instead, she crawled over to the creature, her snout extended. The creature continued to eye her, its flurry tail whipping back and forth. As Dekka touched the chair it was sitting on, its ears lowered. It hissed at her.

Dekka didn’t know what this creature was, but she recognized a challenge. She lowered her own ears and hissed. The creature hissed again, stretching out its paw. Dekka closed in, blowing a puff of smoke from her nostrils. Surely, this would intimidate it into submission. It was hardly larger than she was.

The creature stretched out its paw and struck Dekka in the face. A stinging pain erupted under her eye, as the creatures claws penetrated beneath her scales.

Dekka recoiled.

It had struck her. Her. She was the menace of the sky, consumer of small brown beans. How dare it…

“Dekka”, she heard mummy’s voice, as she entered the room.

Dekka yapped and tried to nod at the offending creature. It simply continued to stare.

“What have I told you?” mummy said, as she picked Dekka up. “Don’t mess with Blueberry.”

Dekka threw one contemptuous glance at the creature. So, Blueberry was its name. She would remember that.

Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
5 months ago

Her Biting Skin (Nyssa’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

Nyssa remembered her times alone, and how often that solitude would be interrupted.

It would usually be men. Some were well-meaning, others…less so. Either way, they would see her sitting in the tavern, or with her nose in a book, and decide that now was the perfect opportunity to introduce themselves to an unknowing stranger.

Nyssa was naturally quiet and often suspicious of others, but she wasn’t entirely opposed to socialising. She tried to be polite, and open minded. Problem was, most of them just couldn’t resist touching her.

Often it would be her shoulder. Others have tried to stroke her side, or her back. One even put their hand into her hair. Ultimately though, it would all go the same way: whoever it was would walk up to Nyssa, reach out to touch her, maybe already beginning to introduce themselves, and -BZZZZZT.

The hand would jerk away, either in pain or surprise. She’d hear an exclamation of confusion, annoyance or even fear. They would swiftly leave, and Nyssa would breathe a sigh of relief.

She supposed it was helpful for her, sometimes.

But she remembered the other times too. The times when she would brush past someone while walking, and -BZZT. The couple of moments where a barkeeper would pass her some water, and their fingers touch – BZZZT. The one unfortunate occasion when an excited child accidentally ran right into her, and -BZZZZT.

The people of that small town adapted to her presence eventually. They knew not to touch the little gnome with sparking, painful skin. They kept a wide berth.

Sometimes even Nyssa would forget. She’d absent-mindedly touch her face, scratch an itch or bite a nail, and -BZT. Her body would twitch painfully, sparks cascading into the air and leaving burns on her robes.

She’d be reminded, once again, that the magic buzzing in her skin was foreign, unnatural, stolen. A power that she never should have had, and that now hurt both herself and everyone else whenever she let her guard down.

Nyssa remembered her times alone, and how her magic would keep her there.

Marx
Marx
5 months ago

Red Flags-R-Us
By Marx

“How old are you?” Jasmine asked gleefully.

Alex rolled his eyes. “Such a boring question. And one I can’t answer regardless. I stopped counting after the first few centuries.”

Alex then leaned forward with a smirk. “My turn. You’ve been in my presence long enough that there should be this voice in the back of your head screaming for you to run away. All prey have this instinct with their natural predators. Why do you ignore your own, foolish mortal?”

Jasmine let out a small giggle. “Do you want me to run?”

“It’s still my question.”

Jasmine sighed in exasperation. “Yes. You do scare me. You make me feel… small… insignificant… But…” She looked up, finding his piercing golden gaze captivating as always. “I like feeling that way with you. Does that make me weird?”

“Is that your next question?” Alex smirked.

“No…” Jasmine murmured, breaking their eye contact and biting her bottom lip as she looked down to their intertwined fingers. “Why does your skin feel… how it feels?”

Alex flashed his teeth. “You know when you’ve eaten a really good meal, and you can just bask in the afterglow of it all? It’s basically that, but with hundreds of human souls as the meal.”

“Do you… want to eat my soul?”

“Yes.” Alex made a point of licking his lips. “But you’re more interesting to me alive. Much to your detriment, as I’m sure you’ll eventually realize. Also, I have two questions now.”

“You could have refused to answer.” Jasmine shot back with a grin.

“Of course. But this was more fun. I do love a good twist to the game’s rules every now and then.”

“Sure.” Jasmine giggled again. “When it benefits you.”

“One day you’re going to look back at this conversation and realize how true that is.” Alex stared silently into Jasmine’s eyes for an almost uncomfortable length of time before he spoke again. “Do you truly not care that I’m a killer, many times over?”

Jasmine blushed. “I… do care, but you’re a demon, so… it’s to be expected, right?”

“You… have no idea…”