Writing Group: Please Don’t Make Me (PRIVATE)

Hello, Challengers of all kinds!

Please don’t look at me like that. You knew this was coming. I never promised this would be easy. I mean, it’s easy for me, I just sit here. But you… well, you better swallow your nerves and get at it, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

Please Don’t Make Me

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!

The freedom of choice. The power behind a decision. It certainly isn’t something to be underestimated, is it? But what happens when we feel pressure to make certain decisions?

For example, a warrior who is part of a team being propositioned by their enemy to either give up a powerful weapon, or the lives of their teammates. What do they choose? Do they give up the weapon, or do they protect it and give up their team? Perhaps you explore a character who has no backbone being bullied into doing something awful to the person they like. Do they do it? Do they finally stand up for themselves? In that same mindset, what about someone being pressured by family to marry someone, but they love someone else? Do they follow through and live with a broken heart? Do they defy the family to live a life for themselves? And what if this decision held more pressure than just making the family happy? This decision could be for the good of two countries allying, for example. It’s hard enough to choose for yourself, but knowing a decision holds so much more weight can make it near impossible to choose.

We could explore much simpler ideas, too. Like a child throwing a fit over being told they absolutely have to eat their vegetables or they won’t be getting any dessert. Or perhaps you decide on the student who wants to go out with their friends, but has to stay home to help with spring cleaning. Maybe you show us the internet personality who said they’d do something crazy if a certain goal was reached, thinking they would never actually reach it. But lo and behold, it was reached, and so now they have to decide if they will follow through with it or not. Do they do it for their fans? Do they back out after losing their nerve?

So many choices, so many decisions. Ironically, it’s up to you to decide what story you share with us. I’m afraid we can’t make that choice for you.

Just don’t make us choose a favourite story. Because the answer is all of them.

—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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WolfsbaneX
WolfsbaneX
17 days ago

“My Occult Consultant Demon” (CW: dismemberment; implied harm to children)
By Hemming Sebastian Bane

I felt the knife give way as I separated the arm of my victim from the shoulder. With a crunch and a pop, it came free. I looked over. It was watching me, its enormous eye looking very carefully. The demon’s pointed fingers tapped on the table impatiently like a hungry child.

I turned back around and began the cuts I had to make. One from the center of the chest to the navel. The second from one side to the other. I felt a pain in my head as it spoke, my body seizing and spasming.

“Again.”

“B-but—”

“AGAIN.” The demon’s finger traced over the line I had just cut and black ichor dribbled from its mouth. “Even a minuscule mistake such as this could mess up the ritual.”

Tears flowed down my cheeks as I threw another cadaver into the fire. Again. I had to do it again. I steeled myself and donned my mask. Down the stairs into the dungeon. The screaming from earlier had stopped and all I heard was soft crying. I paced exactly thirty-three steps between the cells, turned around and walked up the cell where I could hear the most noise from. This time it was a young girl with freckles.

I allowed the mask to hide my tears. She was the exact age as my daughter. My Istas. The one it took from me. I unlocked the cell and grabbed her by the hair. Her cellmate, a dirty middle-aged man that looked nothing like her, let out a roar that shook me to the bone.

“No! Please don’t take her! Please! Take me instead! Take me instead…”

His tears fell to the dirt floor. Snot ran from his nose. But I didn’t speak. I couldn’t. I didn’t want this girl to die in vain. I hit him with the hilt, dragged the girl out of the cell, locked the door, and forced her up the stairs. The demon was at the top of the stairs, his mouth impossibly spiraling into what I can only imagine is a grin.

“Good. Let’s get started.”

jesse fisher
jesse fisher
19 days ago

Demigod Sitting
by Jesse Fisher

“Why are you making me do this?” The metallic sand yellow dragoness pouted as she cradled her hybrid child in her arms. “We both know I would not let them out of my sight.”

The heterochromic eye father just shook his head as he patted down his suit. “Oleander, given the fact that we lose track of Cyano within the bar, imagine outside of my control.”

“But this is what most first time parents have to deal with, Korun.” Oleander gestured this, before noticing that said child was missing.

Korun just snapped his fingers and his child fell into his arms as said giggled. The look of Korun spoke louder than any action.

The dragoness wanted to fight it more but conceded as the door formed on the nearby wall. It opened to a nursery occupied by three beings. Two young babes and an eel-like nanny who stopped and turned looking to the gods in front of them.

“Oh,” The masked eel with grey and pink symbolism covering it’s head towards them. “How can I help you?”

“Miss Belle,” Korun began as he stepped through the door. “I would not want to impose on you more responsables.”

“I’m guessing you want me to watch your kid due to having to be away for a bit?” The black coat wearing eel pointed out while rubbing the hair beyond the mask.

“That is correct,” Korun replied as he set his child down, then moved to its peer, and shifted from bending down. “Oleander has a meeting with her family and while we trust them, Cyano seems to have dimensional powers. Meaning they might get lost in the multiverse outside of the bar.”

Belle followed and understood.

“I’m guessing you would be short staff, due to Demon being out and Grangal being the only one on staff.”

Korun nodded.

“Well I don’t see an issue with that.”

Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
19 days ago

Do we have to do this now?
by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)

A far too old car pulls up to an old wrought iron gate leading into the cemetery. It stops, shuts off it’s headlights, and the engine is shut off. Outside, the darkness permeated the gate and the path up ahead. It was a clear night, but the new moon jealously hid its light from the earth below.

Inside the car, Luke turned to Cecelia. “This is the place, right?”

“Yup! Trust me, you’re gonna love it here. It’s so exciting!” Cecilia said, eyeing Luke. “What’s wrong?”

“N-nothing… I-I was j-just hoping we could g-go somewhere else… someplace a bit more… ya know… roma-”

“Oh, I assure you, this place has the excitement factor.” Cecelia’s big smile shines, even through the dim light of the dashboard. “Trust me, I wouldn’t have chosen here if I thought you wouldn’t enjoy it.”

Luke flashes an unsure smile back. “W-well… what do you want to do?” Luke’s eyes jump between Cecilia’s vibrant eyes and her lips.

“We’re gonna go ghost hunting, silly!” She smiles. “Come on, we’re losing moonlight.” She opens the door and takes a step out into the yard. Luke lightly sighs and follows her.

The two head to the gate.

“I-it’s kinda ch-chilly out here. C-can I borrow your jacket?” Cecelia immediately comes close to the much taller luke for warmth.

“Y-yeah. Take it.” She dawns the jacket and looks up at him.

“What’s wrong?”

Luke sighs. “I dunno. I guess I was kinda hoping to spend time alone with you…”

“We are spending time together, silly!”

He looks away, blushing a bit. “I-I meant like, well… nevermind.”

Cecilia pokes his cheek. “Sorry, if this isn’t what you had in mind. Look, we can do something more your style next time. What do you say?”

Luke smiles. “Yeah, sure.”

Cecilia smiles. “Don’t worry, I promise this will be fun! And you don’t have to worry about the ghosts. I’m very strong! I’ll protect us.” She giggles.

Luke can’t help but start to laugh a bit with her. “Alright. Let’s give this a shot. What’s the worst that can happen?”

i-prefer-the-term-antihero
i-prefer-the-term-antihero
20 days ago

The Unmaking in the Making (Victor’s Story)
By i-prefer-the-term-antihero

‘Welcome back, Frankenstein,’ the shovel bit into the dirt. ‘I’m so accustomed to burying them. You’re a nice change of pace.’

‘It’s something like hope,’ the wheelbarrow squeaked, ‘If I’m not mistaken.’

‘Only you can do this,’ the keys jingled in the door’s lock.

‘You, Death,’ the walls, the ceiling, and shelves, loomed.

‘You are the only one who can defeat death,’ the needle jabbed.

‘Who can create life from death,’ the thread tied in.

‘You will bring fire to the mortals,’ the plans, sketched with frenzied hands, rustled.

Then, soft, pained:

(Let us sleep. Let us lie.)

I stilled, eyes wide and wild, looking for the source.

‘Merely your cowardice,’ my clothing wrapped itself tighter around me. ‘Let us begin.’

I shook my head, and obeyed.

(We do not wish to walk again), gentler than the sound of heartbreak.

‘Death must be defeated.’ The thread ran through my fingers.

‘If you fail,’ the needle pierced, ‘you are nothing but a monster.’

(No, Victor. This is making you a monster).

I gasped, accidentally pricking myself, realizing—

(You are trying to do good, Frankenstein), the parts, not yet alive, stitched up, would-be-beautiful, whispered into my mind, (But this is not natural, and it is not right).

I dropped the needle, stepping back, almost tripping—

Something caught me.

“We never asked you to stitch us together.”

I turned. Hollow eye sockets greeted me.

I recoiled.

“We are not meant to reawaken.” Another man, skin grey with death. I didn’t recognize him…until I saw his missing arm.

“Let us be mourned.” A third leaned against the wall, his leg missing.

“You think you will make us beautiful.” This corpse, without hands, younger than I remembered. “But death is already beautiful.”

I gathered my voice to argue, blinked—

They fused together into a mess of arms, and legs, and eyes, crying with amalgamate voice:

“Why will you not leave us to our rest?”

My eyes flicked open.

Awake, alone in my apartment, breath heavy, skin clammy, I leaned my head onto my knees, my words quivering:

“Because you won’t leave me to mine.”

MasaCur
MasaCur
21 days ago

Moving On From Violin to Bass
By MasaCur

Nabiki found a seat in the entrance hall, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. She really didn’t want to be here. She just wanted to go back home, crawl under her covers, and cry.

She remembered how she had begged her dad not to make her go to camp this year. Any type of band camp. She felt crippled in her grief.

Her father pleaded equally with her to go do…something. If she couldn’t play the violin anymore, then find some other way to express her musical talents. To just find something to do other than lay in bed.

Other teens crowded into the entrance hall, finding seats in small groups. A group of five girls sat down in the seats next to Nabiki.

“Hey, I don’t remember you being here last year,” the girl next to Nabiki said. “Are you new here?”

Nabiki glanced at the girl. She was taller than Nabiki, with shoulder length blue hair. Nabiki shook her head. “No, this is my first time.”

“Oh yeah? What instrument do you play?”

Nabiki sighed. “I um…it’s kind of dumb.”

“Wait, do you play anything? I mean, sometimes we get people coming to the camp that are new to this, so don’t feel bad if you don’t know how to play an instrument.”

Nabiki took a deep breath. “I, uh, I used to play violin, but not anymore. Too many bad memories. So, I guess I’m looking to do something different.”

She tapped her lip in thought. “Violin is pretty difficult from what I hear.”

Nabiki nodded without saying anything.

“Well, if you want to try something different, maybe you could try bass. It’s nothing like what you’d be used to with the violin. I’ve played bass for eight years, so I could even help tutor you.”

“Maybe.”

“My name’s Yuriko Tamada.” The girl bowed her head.

“Nabiki Teion.”

Yuriko turned to her friends. “Hey, girls. This is Nabiki. She’s new here, and it sounds like she’s going through some stuff right now. So, I’m going to room with her this summer.”

chronichDreamer
chronichDreamer
21 days ago

Love Crafters
By chronicDreamer

“Do I have to swallow her?” Efa asked, cupping the vicious violet puddle as the slime-like tendril stared back with golden eyes. Its antennae raised expectantly.

“Most humanoids prefer to assimilate Maids orally but any orifice is sufficient.” Nurse passed the quill and parchment down to any available arms circling its waist like a skirt, focusing primarily on the patient while filling out the necessary forms for the impending procedure and taking care of any other odds and ends throughout the lab.

Finding a more inspired excuse, Efa tried again. “This really can’t be a fair exchange. I mean, having a maid is expensive. I only work at a tavern in the city. Just living inside me can’t possibly be enough of a payment.”

“While it might not be a conventional form of currency I assure you your ova are quite sufficient. Most of the benefits you gain from a Maid are byproducts of payment collection. There is no reason to have to suffer through unnecessary trauma or irregularity while making monthly deposits. We consider the conscious vetting and configuration of spermatozoa from consented partners an added bonus, despite a majority of that material being collected by Courtesans. While production will cease with the onset of menopause, the continued assistance for the remainder of your life is a courtesy for the generosity you have already provided. As a result of increased nutrient intake due to providing sustenance for your Maid, it only seems polite to assist with weight management and physical development,” Nurse didn’t need Efa’s permission to read her mind to be aware of the real reason she had come for a Maid, she was simply thorough with her explanations, saving the most relevant information for the end. “As well as protection from harmful foreign bodies, both micro AND macroscopic.”

As Efa took in Nurse’s words Maid’s eyes filled with figments of hands grasped at Efa’s dress. Maid’s thoughts blossomed like a spotlight in Efa’s mind.

“I’ll protect you.”

RVMPLSTLTSKN
RVMPLSTLTSKN
21 days ago

Thoughts of the Future
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of the Deep One’s Wake)

Padas wiped his damp brow with a forearm, careful not to let his hands touch his face. Baby gurgled as he tied cloth around her hips. He heard quiet steps behind him.

“I could have done that,” Vienas said. She was carrying a bowl of water and a cloth.

“I wouldn’t make you.”

“You do enough for us. Let me help where I can.”

“I do. I couldn’t stand the smell anymore,” he said. “We’re nearly out of moss. I’ll gather more tomorrow.”

“Soon we won’t have to do that. She’ll be walking and can use the hole like us.”

“Don’t make me think about that. I worry enough about you falling.”

“I haven’t yet,” she said. “And I’m sure she’ll keep me busy.”

He nodded and washed hands in the water, “You won’t be so lonely.”

Her normally placid expression rippled.

“What is it?” he asked.

“Just an unpleasant thought.”

“Tell me.”

She sat next to him and walked her fingers to Baby, who grabbed them with an infant’s zeal.

“She’ll only have us.”

“We might have more.” He put an arm around her shoulders.

“That’s not what I mean. She’ll only have our family.”

“Perhaps others survived.”

“It’s been six years. If anyone survived nearby, they would have come here.”

“Maybe,” he acceded. It seemed today was the day to consider the unthinkable. “She’ll figure it out. She’ll be smart, like you.”

He saw the tears as she blinked.

“Thank you, Padas. I know this isn’t what you—. Well, none of this is how it should be.”

“You mean us?”

She laughed and it sounded like sadness.

“How can we raise a child? Or more?”

He smiled and held his family close. “Like we were raised. So what if the gods are dead and signs of seasons are changing?”

She nodded and mimed looking around the temple. “I suppose we bring a little of that with us. I grew up here.”

“My mother used to say that treading old ground is what it means to grow up in the holy city.”

In their arms, Baby cooed.

MysteryElement
MysteryElement
22 days ago

Purpose
By MysteryElement

The little clay golem tottered across the countertop, slowly adapting to its shape. Mama always warned me against making golems, especially without an adult, but they were so much fun! They were like little birds, curious and clumsy and full of life. I watched closely as the little creature approached me.

It slowly stopped and gracelessly fell over, its short life already spent. Written words are what gave them life, scrawled on parchment before molding the head, and I only ever wrote simple words like walk, hop, or spin. When they had done their task, they would stop. I wanted them to last, but Grand’da never taught me the words. He said I would understand when I was older, but I don’t see how.

Suddenly inspired, I scrawl a new word and begin shaping the malleable clay again. I spent longer on this one, shaping and reshaping eyes until they were just right, and drawing a wide inviting smile. I dressed them in doll clothes, placed the head on the rest of the body, and waited.

My feet tapped the floor with impatient speed, but it took only a moment for the creature to come to life. It looked up at me in wonder, its wide smile warm now that it lived. I hoped it would speak to me, none of my other golems had, but I still hoped. It only smiled before slowly looking down at itself and looking back at me. I smiled in excitement. Without warning, the small creature made a beeline for the table’s edge.

I cried out, staring at the floor in horror before running to Mama. I knew I was going to be in trouble but I still ran into her arms as she appeared in the doorway. She did not chastise me or get mad, I only felt her hold me close and tight as my tears burned my eyes. I could not stop seeing it in my head, the smiling face flattened where it had fallen and my little paper with the word ‘live’ exposed just above its left eye.

Isa Dragon
Isa Dragon
22 days ago

The First Trade in Space was Food. (Alexi’s Crew Verse)
By IsaDragon337

Music pounded in Alexi’s ears, and smears of cyan and pink lights shimmered dizzily over Blue’s scales and feathers. The alien wouldn’t look out of place in prehistoric earth, with the exception of the gleaming minigun strapped across her back.

“No way, I don’t believe it.” Blue signed, lightning quick. Her species’s vocalizations didn’t allow for most common languages, but she had fingers for sign. “You can’t have eaten that.”

Alexi grinned. “I did. Wouldn’t do it again, but I lived.”

Blue chittered. “50 chips says you can’t.” Light glittered off her nail polish.

“I’m not going to eat it again. It’s nasty.” Alexi huffed.

“Liar, declarative.” Blue punctuated the statement with a snap of her teeth, and a grin. Alexi wasn’t familiar with reptilian body language, but they were going with ‘playful’. Especially given how her largest claw was bouncing.

“Liar- 75 chips, and you eat something I pick.”

Blue perked up. “J-E-R-K-Y?”

“Absolutely not. You’re making me eat Chaulien chabbage, I’m going to stink for a weak, my poor crew…” But Alexi pushed their chair back, headed to the bar to preserve their honor as a captain. Blue sauntered after, massive talons clicking on the metal floors.

Chaulien chabbage was, in a word, pungent. It had an odor that was thick and syrupy, which Alexi knew well from their one attempt to grow it to sell. In appearance, it looked a bit like an earth broccoli with massive florets, but it grew on a trellis.

The flavor felt like it was crawling up their teeth as they chewed. The scent burned up the back of their nose, and their eyes watered from the fumes of sour-bitter-acid that tasted just a bit like fermented sweet potato.

They swallowed, sniffed, and reflexively swallowed twice more as their sinuses decided: everything must go.

“Whew, been awhile,” Alexi blinked twice, inhaled burning cold air, and took another bite.

Blue looked on in morbid fascination as Alexi worked through the plant matter. “I stand corrected. You can eat that. Apologies.”

Alexi looked up through burning eyes and smiled smugly. “Ever tried pickled ginger?”

Glaceon373
Glaceon373
22 days ago

A Dreaded Honor
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

Star date 20589, DW. Location: orbit over Verithmach Gamma. Surprisingly tropical for the dark secrets it held.

I sat in my study inside The Chicago. I had a deal with the captain for cheaper rates. We got along well, despite him being human—

“Beremut, are you brooding again?”

Think and he shall appear, I suppose. Fred, a quaint human name for the loudest human I had ever met. Tall, but supposedly short by human standards, with no scales to speak of, but a mess of blonde fur atop his head—

“Yeah you’re definitely brooding. Is this about the request from the Galactic Council?”

And of course he had to mention my upcoming doom. The mere words set my scales rattling beneath my trenchcoat. The coat was quite possibly my favorite human invention. Perfect for cold space flights and brooding in corners—

“Hey! Beremut! Get your head out of the nebulae and talk to me! What’s got your feathers in a twist?”

“For the last time, Fred! I don’t have feathers!” I burst out. “You don’t have feathers! Where did this human expression even come from?”

“Theeeeere you are, you anxious space cat,” Fred flopped gracelessly into a nearby “bean bag” which he insisted was a chair.

I hissed at him.

“Look, Beremut,” he tried to appear serious, “it’s just one award event. An honor, even.”

“A frivolous social occasion when I could be chasing leads.”

“The Council wants to thank you! Why don’t you want to go?”

I sighed, knowing the human would never truly understand my plight. Me, on a stage in front of thousands—nay, millions—on a live broadcast, to be stored in the halls of memory for eternity? A recipe for disaster.

“I can tell you’re anxious, Beremut. But everyone will be disappointed if you don’t show up, right?”

“They will be even more disappointed by my inevitable failure.”

“Not inevitable! I’ll be right there with you!” Fred smiled with his blunt human teeth. “You’re gonna do great.”

I flicked my ears backwards. Though, I suppose I felt a bit comforted.

C. M. Weller
22 days ago

Unacceptable Promise (A Tiefling Tale)
C. M. Weller

Master Bai should have known this day was coming since he met the Tiefling. That monster was the wrong combination of determined, stubborn, observant, and too clever for his own good. He should have known that telling his Trainees that none would make Adept before twenty would be taken as a challenge.

The Tiefling was seventeen now, and eleven years of education had done little to beat his nature out of him. It had made him worse. Quieter, more studious, analytical. Every Trainee his age was distracted by interpersonal drama. Every Trainee… except him.

Bai should have expected something like this. Only one person in town had treated the Tiefling kindly, and even that for a joke on him. The fallout was going to land on Bai, because the Tiefling was trying to run the Gauntlet.

Correction. He RAN the Gauntlet. All that remained was walking twenty steps after passing through the array of traps still upright. Bai watched as the monster limped closer. Counting through ragged breaths.

A Trainee who passed the Gauntlet earned Adept status. Earned a kiss to their brow from Bai. A prize no Tiefling had won… until now. Bai refused to sully his skin with the touch of fel flesh, and now that creature was forcing his hand.

Pollute himself… or be publicly forsworn.

“Twenty,” panted the Tiefling. One step further. “Twenty-one!” Bruised, bloody, and unbroken, he smiled anew. “I won.”

“You cheated,” the response was reflexive. “Healers! I would see him run the whole Gauntlet.”

Bai watched, analytical and shrewd. That… animal… had unriddled the Gauntlet. It wasn’t just an obstacle course, it was a machine activated by the movements of those running it. The more who tried it, the greater the dangers. Unless… a student practiced the first lesson – patience.

Patience to wait for the Gauntlet to reset while putting on a show of ritual respect. He ran it again. Won. Again. Forced Bai to choose. Again.

The Tiefling got his kiss. Delivered by transfer via the reading rod from Bai’s sleeve.

How odd that THAT was what finally broke him.

Lari B.Haven
Lari B.Haven
22 days ago

Foolish is the man in love [Haven’s Tale]
By Larissa (Lari B. Haven)

As they watched the fireworks, he finally realized the truth. She was in love with him.

He hated the warmth her hand gave him at that moment, how rose her cheeks were, how comfortable she was with laying her head on his shoulder. Jack hated the fact he was in love with her, too. It was foolish to think it would never happen.

She was passionate about learning magic, curious, helpful, and willing to hear his ramblings. Her pleasant personality always melted his cold, restrained interior. It would happen eventually. Opposites complement each other.

Sometimes it felt like she would appear in the corner of his eyes, frolicking in her baby blue dress, extending her delicate hands to him. And with those sparkly orange eyes; she would demand love.

Jack was a prisoner of his pitiful desires, unable to run. While she carved her way into his chest, ready to eat him whole, like the fox she was.

It would end badly; he knew himself too well. He was as young as her, but an old man at heart. Cursed by the awareness that he was not the right fit. His saturnian ways always make things harder. His head was incapable of letting his feelings speak for themselves. The last time he made his lover miserable. Jack promised he would never do that again.

He tried harder this time. Being careful, but distant. Establishing the boundaries that should have kept them apart. He was just her magic teacher; the solemnity of their contract should have prevented this. Jack tried to hide, to banish the feelings even. But here he was, craving a deeper connection. The feeling was bursting through all the seams of his suit.

It was just the two of them. Alone in that mansion, as far and away from anyone else. They got used to each other. Perhaps they were just mixing things up. They were not in love; they were lonely. At least that was what he was trying to convince himself.

Jack would never utter the three damned words. She couldn’t make him say it.

Last edited 22 days ago by Lari B.Haven
Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
22 days ago

Training A Fussy Child (Mary’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

“You can’t.” Mary said, shaking her head. “I won’t do it. You can’t make me!”

Through the bars of her cell, her father loomed. “I’m afraid you will have to, my dear daughter. It’s about time you learned to appreciate what is given to you.”

He turned to leave, as Mary started to scream.

“I hate you! I hate you!! I HATE YOU!!!”

Her shouting crumbled into dry sobs as she collapsed, the chains attached to her arms clattering on the floor.

It took some time before she heard a voice beyond her tearless crying.

“Uh, miss. Miss? It’s going to be okay, miss.” The voice was awkward, but kind.

Mary looked up, turning to face the newly awakened person who had just been put inside her cell. A man, stocky and muscular, with a handsome face and sad eyes.

His legs had been broken, and his arms were manacled to the wall. But despite that, he still maintained a brave expression.

She tried to talk. “I’m sorry-” Her jaw shuddered, as her strained voice dried.

“Ivan. My name’s Ivan Lestrad. And it’s not your fault, miss.”

“…Mary. Just Mary.”

He looked her up and down, seeing her fear, her shaking hands. “Look, I don’t know what is happening, or what this father of yours expects from you. But whatever happens,” he said, pulling himself up to put his hand on his heart, “I won’t do anything to harm, or dishonour you. By my oath of honour, I would rather die, than allow that.”

Mary tried to smile. “Thank you.” He seemed lovely. She wanted to tell him that things would be okay too.

But she couldn’t help but look at the old bloodstain beneath him.

She couldn’t help but remember the many, many animals that had been previously chained to that wall, with their limbs broken, horns cut off, and their teeth pulled from their jaws.

She couldn’t stop herself from feeling the endless, ravenous hunger inside her, that grew louder and angrier with each passing hour.

A hunger for living flesh, which her father so diligently provided.

Last edited 22 days ago by Calliope Rannis