Writing Group: It Hasn’t Stopped Hurting (PRIVATE)

Hello, Interns and Attendings!

You’ve stubbed your toe, right? Maybe you’ve broken your leg once in your life? Do you still feel that pain now? Does the damage affect more than just your body? Hey… if you’re still in pain, you can talk about it, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

It Hasn’t Stopped Hurting

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!

We’ve all experienced pain. I mean, who hasn’t? But this isn’t just an “ouch, I pricked my finger while sewing” kind of pain. This is pain that lingers, that follows you and simply refuses to leave for one reason or another.

One way to address this kind of prompt is to explore something like heartache. Perhaps a couple has had to separate after years of being together. Why has this separation happened? Maybe things just weren’t working, slowly tearing apart what they used to have. Maybe some abrupt change caused one of them to leave due to being unable to accept this change. Or perhaps the separation isn’t by choice at all. What if one of them has to travel for work, but while they’re away, the weather delays their means of returning home? Or what if, in some crazy turn of events, the apocalypse hits so that they have to find their own way home through hordes of undead or cataclysmic events? Another form of heartache can be addressing the loss of a loved one. Maybe a grandparent who was best friends with their grandchild, or a parent taken too soon by illness. Maybe the loved one isn’t human at all, but a dearly cherished pet. You could even explore any of these, but a year later. Have they moved on? How bad is the pain at this point in time? Does it still haunt them?

Another way, obviously, is the physical aspect of this. There’s no end to the kinds of injuries the body can take on. The human body is strangely both tough and fragile. We can think ourselves invincible right up until we slip down the stairs and sprain an ankle or break an arm. It can really be as simple as someone going through the healing process of a broken bone. Perhaps you choose to write about someone who has hyperalgesia, a condition that makes one more sensitive to pain. While one person can bump their arm on a corner, wince, and move on, someone with hyperalgesia can do this same act, but the pain is stronger, will sting for longer, and can even feel like it’s worse five minutes after the impact. Maybe you choose someone who has chronic migraines that drive them to the point of tears, and no amount of painkillers is helping.

But who would we be if we didn’t address the fantastical aspects of this prompt as well? Knowing this group, I’ve no doubt in my mind that someone is most likely going to write about a pact with some demon or powerful being. Perhaps this pact is sealed with a tattoo-like mark on the skin that still burns days after the pact was made. Maybe a newly turned vampire finds the bite they received still aches, and seems to worsen if they don’t feed. Or maybe a fairy had once injured their wing, and though it has healed, they cannot fly as much as they used to due to the ache it causes.

The body is a hardy thing. Strong, durable, and can be tested again and again. But there’s more kinds of pain than just physical. Emotional and psychological pain are just as harmful, sometimes moreso.

So go forth and show us pain. Don’t worry. We can take it.

But we’ll have the band-aids on hand anyway, just in case.

—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 3:00pm 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! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.

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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Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
1 month ago

Feeding an Albatross
by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)

Dave swoops in from the troubled winds over the sea. As he lands, he calls out excitedly, “Mdamling! Mdamling! Mi-”

“Slow down, Dave! Drop the fish, first!” Martha laughs as her husband drops the fish and gasps.

“I got our baby his first meal! I’m so excited!” Dave almost falls over himself, trying to pick up the fish again.

“That’s amazing, dear. Maybe now he’ll stop nibbling at my butt.” Martha giggles and stands up from the nest, revealing a fluffy white baby chick.

Dave approaches his chick, proudly. “S-so, what? I j-just chop it up and beak it to him?” He says as he mindlessly begins gnawing on the fish.

Martha gives him a reassuring nod. “Yup, just like that.”

When he’s done, he leans over, and drops a few bites into the anxious baby’s beak.

When he was done, he looked at Martha. “Alright, you said after his first meal, I could brood him!”

“Well, ok.” Martha waddles closer to the cliff face and lets Dave take the chick. “So, all you need to do is just sit on him. It’ll keep him warm.”

“Like this?” Dave asks as he plops onto the nest.

“Yeah, perfect! I’ll be back soon, stay out of trouble, boys.”

The proud father watches his wife as she flies away. Happily, he closes his eye to take a much needed rest.

A few moments later, his eye bursts open. “YEOOW!” Dave quickly stands up to see his chick with a feather in its mouth.

“Son! You have to be careful! I’m not food.” The nestling doesn’t react to his father’s plea, only begging for more food.

Dave laughs. “Don’t worry young one, momma will be back soon with another meal. I promise.” Unfortunately, the baby kept biting as Dave continued to try and fall asleep.

Soon enough, Martha swoops back to the nest.

“So, how’d it go?” Martha stops as she sees how tired Dave is. “You ok? You look absolutely exhausted.”

“H-he hasn’t stopped pinching butts…” Dave says proudly. “But at least we know he’s going to grow up big and strong.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
King_Nix
King_Nix
1 month ago

“Painful Reflections”
By King_Nix

Horror. Agony. Despair. A pit of dread consumed Arthur’s heart. His diaphragm denied the command to breathe as he gazed at the fruit in his hand, two criminal bites taken from it.

His thoughts raced madly through his mind. What have I done? What will my Father do when He finds out? It was the woman who gave it to me, perhaps…no. No, I should know better.

“What shall we do?” The woman beside him asked. His wife, God had given her to him; she was perhaps the most valuable of all the gifts of Eden, and he had thought to blame her for his own mistake.

“We shall wait for our Father.” He said. Sure enough, His Voice was heard. Arthur hesitated.

“Adam.” God called. “Where art thou?” Every instinct in Arthur told him to cover himself, but he persevered, and came forth.

“I heard thy call, Father. I approach, naked and ashamed, to ask Thy forgiveness, for I have sinned. I have eaten from that tree which Thou forbadest me to eat from, and I beg Thy forgiveness and mercy.”

God looked upon him. “And hath the woman also eaten of the fruit?”

“That is not for me, Lord, to confess.”

Eve then came forward, and likewise confessed to eating the fruit.

God turned His attention upon her. “And who hath told thee to eat of it?”

Eve responded. “Though it doth not matter that I was tempted, for my sin is mine alone to bear, I shall answer, for Thou, Lord, hast asked it: it was the Serpent which hath tempted me.”

God smiled upon them both. “Rise, Man and Woman, for ye be forgiven. Never shall ye taste death, nor toil the Earth, and I shall permit ye to taste of the Tree of Life, and the Angels shall tend ye both as they tend Me and My Son.” He turned to Arthur. “Return, now, Arthur, and fulfil My Will.”

Arthur awoke, cold with sweat, and broke down weeping in both regret for his past and joy at his present.

Revisis
Revisis
1 month ago

And old Scar
by Exce

He brought his boot down with a grunt, driving the blade deeper.
With an exhausted exhale, Excelsius reached down, grabbing the weed by its stalk and tearing it free before flinging it aside onto a growing pile of greenery.

Arms resting on the handle, he took a moment to enjoy a breeze cooling his sweat off his skin. With his eyes closed in quiet enjoyment, it took a moment to realize something changed, light passing through his lids.

When he opened them, his breath caught. After seasons of storms and snow, the clouds had fully parted to let the sun through at the height of dusk, and the world was painted a deep red from horizon to horizon.

Excelsius’ vision blurred, the red landscape growing indistinct as if to match the memories that rushed unbidden to the forefront of his mind.
A past long gone, dead echoes of laughter and the impression of voices. Not any actual sound and meaning, just the feeling of his mother or father talking to him. Were they mad about something? Or was he being called from dinner, caked in red sand and dirt from tip to toe?

Even if it was a reprimand, he wished he could remember. Wished he could visit his parents, walk those streets again. The hand still holding the spade shook, and without it, Excelsius might have curled up from the pain blooming in his chest. Not from a wound, but the badly healed scar over the certainty, the absolute fact that everyone he knew and loved was dead.

Before he could spiral further into the gaping maw of despair, a sudden tug on his trouser leg pulled him back. With a shaking gasp, his eyes snapped back to focus, and when he looked down, he saw the rosy face of his son.

“Ma says you’ve worked enough today. Food is done, but you are only getting in after a bath,” he giggled as he repeated the message, then turned to run back towards the house.

Slamming the spade down, Excelsius turned to follow. The scar closed again. For today.

jesse fisher
jesse fisher
1 month ago

The Job is Never Done
by Jesse Fisher

The wolf could not recall feeling like this, his arms dragging on the ground from the tired expression on his face. The bar seemed empty but that did not concern him as the ache kept annoying him. Maybe it would be a nice non…who was he kidding. He works in an interdimensional bar run by a god that can control the place like a child could in their room.

With a sigh and with a swing he straightened up his back. He was going to sleep in his own bed next to his mate, maybe get some kid cuddles in, he didn’t know.

“Gran, I’m…” The wolf stopped seeing the griffiness sprawled out on their bed.

He wanted to speak more but given how tired she looked he just moved to check on the kids. While the nanny was very much trusted, it did not feel right to just ignore his spawn.

Slosh

Why was there water in a room with no running water?

Looking through the open door, the eel nanny in a wooden mask seemed to be holding his spawn above the water. Yellow eyes moving to see a third child that seemed to be the cause of the water.

His eyes moved back to the nanny.

“Korun and Oleander off to do something beyond the bar?” He guessed.

The nanny nodded. “It was better before Cyano found a way to open a hole to the beach room.

The wolf just felt pain, some might just say it was the tiredness taking over. Or maybe the emotional pain from other issues.

No this was something much worse.

Parental pain.

While it was not his kid causing the issue, he was the only one that could deal with it at the moment.

“I need a raise just to pay back Bell for dealing with this.”

Harshmellow99
Harshmellow99
1 month ago

In a Water Droplet
Harshmellow99

Ina returned to the ancient wood after a thousand years. But this time, he’d returned rejuvenated, stronger, and with new determination. The fear left by the death of his childhood friend Bidi no longer commanded him. Now, it was not fear that drove him. It was hatred.

He did not tell the others of his plan. He was a ruby fairy, nature’s embodiment of passion, and so none of the other gem fairies questioned his anger and fervor. Bitterness swelled in him each day, burning like hot coals in his stomach. Ina would soon come for the evil thing that dwelt deep in the woods. The more timid among them, like the sapphire fairies (of which Bidi was one), rarely spoke the thing’s name. Ina spoke it freely. Fear gave that wretch power.

First, Ina visited an old hedgehog spirit, who gifted him with one of its sharp quills for a sword. The little ruby fairy stuffed it in his belt.

Second, he visited the library built into an ancient tree. The owl spirit living there granted him knowledge. And knowledge, Ina knew, was power.

Lastly, he did the unthinkable: he visited The Forbidden One. The conniving little troll, face covered by a metal crow mask, sold him a special poisons.

“Your kind fear me,” he’d told Ina “only because they lack the spine to do what I do.” The black-clad troll finished with a devilish chuckle.

Ina went deep into the Spirit Woods. He found the cave of the stinking toad god who’d eaten Bidi a thousand years prior. Ina entered the cave, and there slept the creature. It dwarfed him in size by an absurd measure and stunk unbelievably. No more will you terrorize us, Ina thought as he drew the hedgehog quill. But when he saw the tired old eyes of the great toad, he stopped. He couldn’t do it. It looked exhausted. It looked remorseful. Its eyes said, “I’m sorry.” Ina had left, his hands free of blood.

The memories never stopped hurting, but Ina knew Bidi would want peace.

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

Missing Pieces (The Ballad of the Monsters: Hook)
By i-prefer-the-term-antihero

I looked at the Lost Boy across from me. Not so lost anymore. Thirteen. He’d make a fine man. Yes, he would live to see that day. Him and all the boys from his group. I’d make sure of it.

The pirate’s clothing didn’t quite fit him—at least, it wouldn’t for another year or two. Which was why he came to see me; no one else on this boat knew how to hold a needle.

I really should host a class.

He’d found me polishing my hook, the pieces still on the table, my arm exposed.

He’d seen worse.

“Sir…may I ask an odd question?”

“As long as you’re willing to receive an odd answer.”

Bradley didn’t smile. Rather swallowed something down, which was probably his nerves.

“When did it stop hurting?” He pointed at my stump.

My eyes trailed to the place where his leg faded to wood. It was a fine look for a pirate…but not for a young man. I wish I’d arrived sooner.

“Iron and thread can wait. Walk with me.”

“You’ve heard of ghost ships before,” I began as he followed me through the ship. “I’ve always found the thought tragic: crews not quite dead, unable to be alive.” Drunken laughter and flickering lamplight warmed the night air as we arrived at the edge of the ship deck. “I strive to make my ship the very opposite. But…”

He followed my gaze to the island across the way. I thought of a boy, wrapped in pixie dust and illusion, playing with twisting shadows.

“I’m not without my ghosts. Sometimes…I feel as if my hand isn’t really gone.”

His gaze cascaded from my hand to his leg. He swallowed again—this time it was probably his hopes of painless life. The words were a half-laugh, half-sob:

“It never really stops does it?”

My answer burned unspoken at the back of my throat. But I knew he was not like me: he was much stronger.

Not so lost anymore.

I felt a phantom hand upon the wood.

“I think, for you, it might.”

Last edited 1 month ago by i-prefer-the-term-antihero
Glaceon373
Glaceon373
1 month ago

The Trenchcoat-Clad Patient
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

Dr. Leilitharda glanced up at the clock, then back to the paperwork in front of her. In five minutes, she had an appointment scheduled for someone who’d ticked the “Prefer not to say” box next to the name line. In fact, every “Prefer not to say” box was ticked. Interesting.

Something hit her door. It didn’t feel like a knock; more like someone had kicked it lightly. Leilitharda stood up and opened it.

The person in front of her might as well have been a trenchcoat and hat in a window display. She could tell there was a person under there, but couldn’t distinguish any features. The commitment to anonymity was honestly impressive.

She smiled warmly. “Hello! Here for your appointment?”

The hat bobbed up and down.

“Then follow me inside, please.” Leilitharda stepped back. “I take it you want this to be quick and nondescript?”

The patient nodded again as they took a seat.

Leilitharda sat across from them. “May I see what you came here for?”

A hesitant pause, then the patient pushed up their sleeves, revealing fraying linen bandages completely covering the hands, unwrapping one at a time.

The smell hit Leilitharda first. Putrid, acidic, and felt like a punch to the face.

The look of it wasn’t much better. Similar to normal burn scars, but hinted with a bright green glow.

Leilitharda bit her lip. This wasn’t going to be a fun conversation.

“Do you know what this is?”

A nod.

“Then you know full recovery is impossible, yes?”

Another nod.

“It gets more bearable with time, and bandages were the right call. But I must ask: why did you come see me? It doesn’t still burn, does it—”

The patient suddenly started frantically nodding, hat almost slipping off their head.

“Oh. That… I’ll prescribe you something. Unless you still don’t want to give me a name, in which case you’ll have to use the store bought stuff. Which would you prefer?”

A pause, then the patient stood up, hid their hands in their pockets, did a small bow, and turned to leave.

“… Goodbye, then.”

Twangyflame0
Twangyflame0
1 month ago

Fine
By Twangyflame0

The sound of broken glass pounded in his–

Ryan woke up in the middle of the night in a sweat. He shook his and sighed. It was fine, just a bad dream is all. He had them from time to time. It was no big deal, honestly. He just needed to walk it off first.

Metal snapped and bent all around–

He got out of bed and looked at where his metal arms hung. He couldn’t help but love his sister so dearly for the gift. She took care of him so much when it wasn’t even needed. She experienced the loss of their parents as much as he did and yet she seemed so strong.

Screaming was all around him as the world–

He walked out of his room and went downstairs. His footsteps echoed coldly through the house. It almost felt empty, until a small mew sounded from the kitchen. Ryan sat down on the last step as a grey-black tabby walked up and immediately entered his lap. He chuckled a little to himself as he felt the fur against his chest. “Welp, I guess I’m staying in this spot for the rest of the night.”

Pain surged through every nerve in him–

He felt kind of bad that he couldn’t run his hands through the soft fur of the cat. Though it wasn’t like he needed comfort or anything. He just knew all Russel’s favorite places to be scratched and petted. The cat looked up at Ryan, twisting in on itself in such ridiculous ways. Ryan just giggled. “You are so goofy…”

The crushing of bones and tendons made him scream as–

He was fine. He was happy. He might have suffered a little bit, but he knew that things would turn out for the better.

The next thing he remembered was what the doctors–

He couldn’t cry. He couldn’t back down. He would stick up for everyone.

From that point on, he was alone.

He had made up his mind. He wasn’t going to change or give up ever.

ClockworkPigeonz
ClockworkPigeonz
1 month ago

“What We Leave Behind.”
By: ClockworkPigeonz

Outside birds sing and dragonflies dance. Emerald blades of rice wave in the wind carrying clouds across the summer sky. The gravel road painted gold by the afternoon sun is barren. And you wait, wet trails running down your face for Dad to come home.

Mom lays still…and stiff beside you.

You are four…

Years later you’ll see the shadows under your eyes mirrored in childhood photos. The lips that never quite turned up and the eyes that never gleamed. Years later you’ve become a patchwork of invisible scars, wounds that tear under the slightest tension. And within your darkened bedroom the cacophony of shouted profanity and slamming doors won’t allow them to heal. The fighting between your step-sisters…and Her comes in waves, an unfortunately familiar pattern.

She is not your Mother. Her double-bladed words have sunk beneath skin to the meat of your soul again…and again…and again. Until nothing’s left but this mangled, broken, numbness that reeks of rot and defeat.

You’ll understand later, that she’d been poisoned and stained with the stench of human cruelty long before you were born. Unlike you, she did not become weak and submissive. She’d learned to lash out- even at her children.

You’re not her flesh and blood…you’re the proof that your father loved another woman. And that to her is a threat.

Her weapons leave no visible marks, no bruises, and no scars- instead her words dig in like shrapnel finding their way steadily to your heart. By the time you’re an adult with money and car keys in your pockets…the ache has only grown. Your sisters no longer stand beside you, lost to drink and drugs. Your father’s supportive, yet silent as always- too softhearted and meek for his own good.

The gleam of joy in his eyes is nearly gone.

And you… you are bleeding out.

Invisible trails dripping behind you. The awful things you’ve been called playing on repeat. Not a scratch on your skin, yet the pain burns in your throat. Twists your guts. Steals the breath from your lungs until you’re sobbing, gasping, and numb.

Clanso (I did it! I submitted again!)
Clanso (I did it! I submitted again!)
1 month ago

Star Burns
By Clanso

“Do not touch it” Stars doesn’t want to flinch when Blue carefully pulls their oversized hoodie over their head but bodies can be treacherous. Their teammate is silent for a moment as she takes in the sight of Stars’ damaged skin which is an unnatural shade of gray instead of the usual dark blue, and peels in some spots. Her voice cracks when she speaks again. “Oh Stars. What happened to you?”

Stars doesn’t like the way she says the words. She sounds sad. If they pretend they’re alright, maybe Blue will smile?

Stars looks at her and wants to look happy. “It is nothing…”

“Oh for goodness sake Stars I can tell you’re in pain so please let me help you and tell me what happened.”

Stars reluctantly gives in.

“Remember how we fought Sunbeam for the first time? You know how they use the power of your star for their attacks?” Stars mumbles, not daring to look Blue in the eye. “Your star burns. It burns every day. Normally I can protect myself but their powers were so much worse and painful than the normal light. It has not stopped hurting since the battle and it gets worse every time we fight them.”

Blue looks shocked. “Stars, the first battle was months ago……”

“They know what they do to me.” Stars continues and Blue’s blood runs cold.

“They talk to me in my head. It is a bit like what you can do but your head-voice feels friendly. Theirs just burns. They say that someone so responsive is perfect to help expand their abilities and that they can take the pain away if I come to them.They say it would be better if I was in a controlled environment.”

Stars stops talking after that. Blue just holds them, carefully avoiding their injuries and boiling with anger on the inside.

After Stars finally falls asleep hours later, Blue closes the door to their room behind her and turns to her stern-faced teammates. “Prepare for something large. Tomorrow we go after Sunbeam with all we have”

Last edited 1 month ago by Clanso (I did it! I submitted again!)
RVMPLSTLTSKN
RVMPLSTLTSKN
1 month ago

It Hasn’t Stopped
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)

Padas kept to the sea god’s rhyme. This was a practical choice. Too soon, too early, and clams might cause illness. Too late in the year and fish would migrate away from the city. The rainy season would come, always, every year, after the third full moon after the first day of harvest.

The rhyme was also a reminder. It reminded him that he was alone among those who remembered it. Vienas, cloistered away in the high city, had never learned it. She hadn’t needed it.

Padas kept to his part of the rhyme. He visited the shore each new moon and spilt fish guts into the tide’s ebb. He set lines in the floodpools, standing on decrepit, empty hovels.

He remembered the old ways. He kept those that were practical.

The guts created and maintained a feeding ground. The lines kept him and Vienas fed. Clams made stew and tubers filled the temple’s once-busy courtyard. You grow food where you can.

Guineas laid eggs in dark houses. Padas gathered these with a gnarled piece of driftwood in hand and a bronze knife in his waistsash.

Baby was born and grew to following Padas, watching for the wild dogs while he gathered eggs and clams. Padas, a patient parent, taught her the rhyme and explained it in all its enfantine complexity. He thought it would be easier to carry with two of them.

He was wrong. As he watched Klajonas teach Mazilas the rhyme and explain the things that didn’t make sense, he realised the rhyme wasn’t the source of his pain. It was simply, told singsong in a child’s high voice, the reminder that the gods were dead. The lylt of pleasure in the telling echoed in the temple and accentuated the loss.

So much had died. Had it truly been only ten years? Would it ever stop being there, in his mind and dreams? When would he stop hearing the crashing waves whelming in the streets and bodies slamming against stone? When could he stop watching out for It to return?

Lari B. Haven
Lari B. Haven
1 month ago

Danger in dreams (Haven’s Tale)
By: Larissa (Lari B. Haven)

“Be gentle with my dreams.” Jack whispered before he had fallen asleep.

Haven started the incantation for the first dream scenario, this time she wouldn’t have Jack’s guidance. It couldn’t be that hard to manipulate his dreams.

“Start with the familiar.” She silently reminded herself, letting the light take shape. And now she was in an imaginary version of Jack’s cabaret.

Many spoke, but there’s nothing she could make out. It was just noise. Until a man with bright yellow eyes called from across the room. As they got close, the distorted crowd melted away.

They greeted and the man continued a conversation she had no context of.

“… And you are a pretty one, bunny boy.” He laughed.

Haven got a light chuckle from the interaction. She guessed she was Jack himself in this dream. Bunny boy was what she called him when she wanted to tease him.

“Do you know what they say about tango?” The man said, embracing her.

“I don’t know? What do they say?” She answered, but it sounded like Jack.

“When men and women dance, it is conquest.” He responded, throwing a hook with his legs and taking off her balance. “When two men dance, it is a fight!”

For a second everything seems to stop. The music is slower. The light in the room seems to shift into a romantic tone. But a rush of anxiety and fear took her. Where did this feeling come from?

“Loving you hurt so much!” the man turned into something monstrous. A gigantic beast with sharp teeth, ready to devour her. “You’re useless!”

This was definitely not what she had programmed for the dream. What did she do?

She let the creature kill her. And with a guttural scream, Jack had woken up.

It was the first time Haven saw her master cry visible and tangible tears. They were now holding each other, assuring themselves it was just a dream?

“He can’t, he won’t…” He said, still shaken. “Hurt me…”

Last edited 1 month ago by Lari B. Haven
MysteryElement
MysteryElement
1 month ago

Price of Heroism
By MysteryElement

The sun is high when I enter the house, carefully balancing the bandages and herbs on my arm as I pry open the rickety door. He sits in his dusty corner, the only place in the house where sunlight cannot reach, head slightly raising at my entrance; The Hero of Clarant, slayer of the dragon Hera.

“Did you not sleep again, ser?” I ask, but I already know the answer.

He had indeed saved us all, once upon a time, and was greatly revered for it. He had wielded a golden sword, glinting like fire, against the terrible dragon and slayed it mightily. But…

His grunt in reply belied his pain.

The dragon’s final breath had cursed him, his flesh being eaten alive everyday while the hero himself was unable to die. He did not move, almost never slept, and even breathing bore him pain. I calm my aching heart, and begin redressing his wounds. The only kindness I could offer.

The herbs help a little, but must be applied twice daily and I could only afford to come half as often. Others do what they can, bringing food or clothes, tending the house, but the people have become lax these recent years. Those who were but children when the dragon fell were now gray, and the story retold holds less weight than it once did.

My patient gasps and whimpers gently as I change his dressing, the skin attempting to fall away as I pull the old bandages off, limbs scrawny and pale. I could weep for him, I have before, but that only makes him restless.

“I wonder, ser, if you still would have faced Hera if you had known…?”

My mouth tastes sour as I form the words, and my heart aching bitterly on his behalf. He suffers so much everyday, for people who barely recall what he did. He breathes in long and deep, his chest shuddering and teeth clenching, and carefully sighs the words.

“I… Knew.”

A small smile painfully twists at the side of his mouth, and this time I can’t stop the tears.

ArkansanDragoness
ArkansanDragoness
1 month ago

“Venom” (Legends of Dracora: Space Age)
by Magan

Peppermint tried not to thrash as the griffon healer tended her wounds. The young winged and antlered rabbit–descendant of famous chronicler, Spearmint of Dracora–still couldn’t believe her luck. It was unheard of to escape a wyvern slaver ambush this deep into space, but she had. Although, her steam-powered spaceship’s boiler engine had been torn open, leaving her drifting and for dead. If this griffon tradeship hadn’t found her…

Peppermint yelped as the healer splinted her wing, nearly goring the eagle-lion with her antlers.

“Sorry,” he said, “I can’t give you painkillers until that venom wears off. Too dangerous.”

The rabbit grumbled darkly, still twitching in pain, but she nodded. Wyvern venom was nasty stuff, causing the veins to burn like fire, though this healer had been able to reverse its paralyzing effect.

She shuddered at the memory. Those monsters chasing and harpooning her beloved ship into their larger craft, fighting them off tooth and paw when her crossbow was smashed, the wyvern’s barbed stinger, and her tiny, elephant-shaped earth elemental, Tremor, trying to protect her–

He hadn’t deserved to die like that…

Peppermint clutched the crystal tusk in her paws–the only piece she had managed to save–trying not to cry… The healer laid a gentle claw on her arm to soothe her, though his touch sent another flare of searing pain through her body.

She didn’t try to shake him off this time.

The tears came anyway, becoming choked sobs as the young rabbit’s mind flashed back to that dark, cold, stinking ship. Wyvens were dragonkin, but reviled instead of respected. They were infamous raiders and slavers whose reproduction cycle needed live hosts for their eggs, like parasitic wasps.

She tried to remember how she had escaped that fate–but couldn’t–and that was somehow more terrifying.

The griffon healer was hugging her close, preening her fur, making soft sounds as she sobbed and shivered. Griffons were seers, so she knew he could see into her mind. She didn’t care. Her body was on fire again from the venom and his touch, but this small comfort was worth it.

Last edited 1 month ago by ArkansanDragoness
WolfsbaneX
WolfsbaneX
1 month ago

“Answered Prayers” (CW: suicidal ideation, body horror)
By Hemming Sebastian Bane

Bones stained with blood and leaking marrow. A slow, steady heartbeat accompanied by long, raspy breaths. Glossed-over eyes. That’s what they made him: a mockery of death. A heart that beat with no muscles. Lungs that took in breath with no diaphragm. A sculpture of living death. His ribcage had been removed and fashioned into a wing-like structure. His heart clung to his bare spine. His eyes remained intact and connected to the brain. And he stood there like a soldier at his post.

He screamed forever, but he had no vocal chords. He watched and lamented he could not cry. He commanded muscles that were not there to move. He still felt everything. The vile sludge that they submerged him in that numbed his skin. The ripping and tearing of flesh for their ritual. The slashing of organs. The pain was enough to make someone mad one thousand times over. Death should have been certain, but no. Here he was, afflicted by the curse of living.

He saw men, women, children enter his chamber daily and pray to him. To take their pain. He didn’t know what was worse, that people saw him in such a sorry state or that their prayers were always answered. He felt his heart speed up, slow, and stop multiple times. But death never came. A symbol of healing should never die. So, like one man bearing the weight of one hundred men, the pain of his patrons crashed upon his own. They thought he was strong. No. He stood there because the cult had made him that way.

It was the cult that fashioned the chamber with only a halo of light around him and dark along the walls. To them, he was the healing fountain. An emanation from their god. Their beacon of hope to share. How he wished for the shadows to become those of wolves. How he wished the enemies of the cult would come and strike him down. What was a little more pain if it could all be over? Maybe, he thought, he’d have his prayers answered, too.

Constellasphere
Constellasphere
1 month ago

Dear and Sweet
By Constellasphere (formerly Inky)

He did his best not to smear any of the ink or accidentally fold the paper as he wrote. There was so much to write, of course! He had found a new species of moth today; its colours were that of the crystallized sugar atop creme brulee. And so he had named it just that, the Brulee Moth. While his camera’s lens was cracked, he couldn’t help but snap a few pictures, one of them to put in the envelope.

Aizmirst lifted his head and realized that a whole page was spent describing the moth and other insects. It’d come from him before he could stop himself.

He set the first page of the letter to the side and pulled out another page. The first thing he wrote on the paper was “Please excuse me, I didn’t mean to ramble for so long.” But now, he wasn’t sure what else to say.

Leaning back a bit, Aizmirst sighed and tapped the quill against his cheek. Would they even care about his stories and descriptions of how he found these creatures? Then again, that was also assuming the letter would reach them.

The being removed his glasses and leaned forward, putting his head in his hands. Aizmirst was doing his best not to give up hope; one day he would be heard, he just had to wait. Good things came to those who were patient, right? But even when he tried to keep his head up, each letter that went unanswered broke his nonexistent heart a bit more.

Taking a shaky breath, Aizmirst lifted his head and quickly finished off the letter.

“I am not sure who will receive this letter, but I hope that it reaches you in good health. This world is vast, there is much beauty in it, I’m sure. The place you reside in, is it also beautiful?”

It was folded up neatly and the envelope was sealed off with a wax stamp depicting Forget-Me-Not’s. With that, the window before him opened, and the letter was taken away by the wind’s hand.

One day, he was certain it would reach.

MasaCur
MasaCur
1 month ago

When Does it Get Better?
By MasaCur

Rikuto heard sniffling from the living room. He walked to the doorway and looked in.

Nabiki was on her knees in front of the shrine to Akane, her face in her hands. Incense wafted from a burning stick, filling the room with the aroma of agarwood.

“Hey sweetie. Everything okay?”

Nabiki looked over with a start. “Oh hey, Dad.” She wiped her eyes with her sleeve.

“I know. I miss your mom, too.” He crouched down beside her, and placed his hand on her shoulder.

Nabiki lurched forward and wrapped her arms around him, burying her face in his chest.

Rikuto wrapped his arm around his daughter, holding her tight.

“I don’t get it, Dad!” she sobbed. “It’s been over a year. Why does it still hurt?”

Rikuto held her close for a few more seconds. “Nabiki, the pain will always be there. Mom meant everything to you. I mean, it will get easier in time, but it won’t ever go away.”

“But it hasn’t,” Nabiki snuffled. “It isn’t easier. I still end up crying some nights. I’m still getting angry all the time. I don’t get it! What do I need to do to stop feeling this way?”

“Give it time, sweetie.”

“How long, Dad? How long do I have to give it?” Anger mixed with pain in her voice. “I’m trying to move on! I made new friends! I’m doing new things! I have a band now! What do I need to do to not feel like I’m getting stabbed in the chest when I think about Mom?” She punctuated each of her demands by pounding her fist on his chest.

“Umm, Nabiki, that hurts.” Rikuto had gotten used to pain in his many years, but the strength of Nabiki’s blows were surprisingly powerful.

“Why couldn’t you save her?” she whimpered.

Rikuto tried to push memories of the night Akane died from his memory. He couldn’t answer the question Nabiki had asked. Not without making things worse.

“I’m sorry, sweetie. If it helps, the pain is still fresh with me, too.”

Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
1 month ago

It Used To Be So Easy (Nyx’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

Twilight was falling outside. The fire was lit, and the seat was comfortable. The book with a beautiful cover lay on the table before her. Ideal for some light reading.

Nyx looked at that book for a long time, her pale face expressing a mixture of longing and determination. It was the last of a trilogy – a wonderful tale of adventure that she had greatly enjoyed the previous parts of. She remembered promising herself that she’d read this one the moment she got back from her expedition.

That expedition…

She picked up the book, quickly turning it to the first page. “Okay, here we go. ‘With bleary eyes, Jerrik Dayne awoke to a golden sunrise. For a moment, he could forget that there was anything wrong in the world. But soon enough, he remembered–”

A fly flew in front of her face. Within a second, her hand smashed it to pulp on the armrest.

Nyx stared at the stain for a moment, before turning back to her book. “Let’s try that again. ‘With bleary eyes, Jerrik Dayne awoke to – ugh!”

A smell had invaded her nose. An ugly smell. A familiar smell. She looked back at the ruins of the fly. Yup. That was definitely where the smell was coming from. She should clean the seat after she’s finished reading. She can ignore it till then.

Nyx tried again. “With bleary eyes–”

There’s probably still some insectoid blood in that stain. She should – NO.

But now she was thinking about it. About blood. Again. About how hungry she was. AGAIN.

She was hungry, so hungry that her hands were shaking, so hungry that her fangs were aching, and the twilight was too bright and the fire was too hot and the heartbeat inside her chest was too loud, the heartbeat that distracted her every single day and night, the heartbeat that the REAL vampires didn’t have to worry about but she did–

Nyx slammed the book shut as she threw it back onto the table, before howling in frustration.

It had been a YEAR.

Why couldn’t she control herself yet?