Writing Group: The Shadows Talked (PRIVATE)

Hello, Paranormals and Paranoids!

Did you hear that? I swear, I just heard something… like someone speaking in a whisper. There it is again! You heard it that time right? You had to have heard it that time, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

The Shadows Talked

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 the things that go bump in the night, haven’t we? We’ve seen the people standing in the corner, only to find out it’s a housecoat and a hat. Why do we even hang them that way if they scare us in the dark? 

But what if it wasn’t just a hat and a coat? Perhaps you wake in the middle of the night to the sound of whispers, and you feel a pull to look at the corner. You can’t quite make out what’s there, but you know your coat isn’t that high up on the wall. But what is it? Is it facing away… or watching you? Why does it loom over you as you sleep? What is it even saying? Maybe your story revolves around a paranormal investigator focused on debunking ghost videos, only to capture all sorts of paranormal evidence. Orbs, EVPs, all of which this investigator debunks, regardless if it’s real or not. But what about when they start hearing whispers when they’re alone? How do you debunk something like that without stating outright that you might be crazy? Or perhaps you write about an introvert with depression who finds out there’s some sort of entity living in their apartment with them, and every time the lights go out, the voices start up. But what if this entity feeds off the negativity by whispering positive things? Perhaps it is an entity that likes this new tenant and wants to help them get better? Or maybe, just maybe, these whispers really are just in your head. Maybe there are no demons, no monsters or boogeymen. Maybe the voices are just in your mind. But how can you tell? It’s so real, yet no one believes you. Could you truly be mad? Bonkers? Off your head? And regardless if it’s in your head or it really is the shadows… how do you run from either?

Maybe you don’t need to run from them at all. Maybe these ghosts and whatnots just want a friend, someone to talk to. Who knows? You’ll only find out by listening to them. But is it worth the risk? 

Well, let’s shut off the lights and find out, shall we?

—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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WolfsbaneX
WolfsbaneX
1 month ago

“Truth in Darkness”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane

Run. Just run. Don’t think about the thing chasing you. Just. Run. Ignore it. Ignore its hot breath. Ignore its pounding steps. Just run. Run until you can’t breathe. Run until your legs ache. Because if the beast catches you, you’re finished. If you can make it until morning, then you’ve escaped it. Until then, run.

Fortunately, many have escaped this dreaded beast. You can do the same. You can break through the tree line. But you don’t. The surfaced root of a tree constricts your ankle. You hit the ground hard. This is bad. It’ll catch you now. You look back. It stopped. Why?

You struggle back to your feet. It looks at you. But… it hasn’t resumed its chase. It’s just… staring. Staring directly into your eyes. There’s something… familiar. You don’t know what, but you know it’s there. Maybe if you got closer… You go to step forward, but stop. Why approach this thing you were just running from? It’s dangerous.

That’s when it lunges at you. You throw your hands up to keep it away from you. Jaws slathered with foaming saliva snap in front of your face. It seems so much stronger, but you can keep it away with ease. That’s when you notice it. The twinkle in its eye. You’ve seen this before: determination. The same twinkle in your eye.

You scramble to your feet. It’s like you, but it’s not like you. Your eyes. Its jaws. Your legs. Its claws. You shake your head. It’s not you. It’s NOT you. But it shakes its head as well. You raise one hand. It raises the same claw. You step forward. It steps forward. You hear it now. Its voice whispers what you are thinking.

“This can’t be happening. There’s no way.”

Suddenly, you merge into one. You hear it louder than you’ve ever heard it before. RUN. CHASE. LUNGE. KILL. You can’t fight it. It’s you whether you like it or not.

Twangyflame0
Twangyflame0
1 month ago

Magic Tricks
By Twangyflame0

Ace smirked as she watched the police run in circles looking for her. She left the idiots running around while she made off with her prize. She ran across the rooftops, reaching into her tophat and–

Where was it? It was just here. No one was even near during this entire heist, how could it be taken?! She looked around and tried to find if anyone was nearby. Nope. No one. What in the–

“Wow,” a cheery voice sounded all around her, “this is quite a beautiful gem you have here.”

Ace tried to pinpoint where the voice was coming from. All she saw was the rooftop and the shadows cast by the moon. Hold on… was the voice coming from the shadows?

“Hello, my name is Valik von Vandermeer.” The same voice sounded behind her, their breath on her shoulder.

She jumped, stepping away and turning around. Her violet eyes searched for the source of the breath as she tried to ignore the shivers that had run up her spine.

“Who’s there?! And how did you take that from me?!” She glared at the shadows, sure someone was hiding there.

“Didn’t you just hear me introduce my name?” The voice was behind her again. She turned around and saw a man with long white hair and glasses, wearing an overcoat, and holding her rightfully stolen gem up like an appraiser. “And I took this little thing by… well… taking it out of your hat.”

That was impossible. She knew all her magic tricks like the back of her hand, there was no trick she knew that he could have pulled. There was absolutely no way he could have done that.

“You know… I listen to your heists on the radio.” Valik said with a smile. He walked and threw the gem back to her. She hastily caught it as he continued to talk. “Your costume isn’t too shabby either. Keep up the good work and don’t attract too much attention.”

He walked off the ledge. When she looked over he was gone. She seethed in rage at being one-upped.

jesse fisher
jesse fisher
1 month ago

Darkness is loud
By Jesse Fisher

The darkness was known to move when not observed, was it life or was it something else. The kid did not know, all they heard were things that they tried to block out. The things keep them up at night as the darkness would not leave them be.

“That child looks sick.”

The dark circles under their eyes grew darker, sleep came but even while in that state the voices didn’t stop.

“Why can’t they be normal?”

The only comfort was their own, that tried to wrap them in silence and care. The kid tried to stay awake throughout the days, however the lack of sleep means they can not pay attention. Once more their darkness keeps up appearance and so the kid can try to rest.

“I just want it all to leave me alone.”

Time goes on, the kid goes from colorful outfit to darker clothing. Their darkness tries to keep them happy but the kid just covers their head to ignore the world. The outside just gets louder as more secrets and lies are put into the darkness around them.

“What a waste.”

Cheating, drugs, sex, and other such manor of teenage drama along with crimes they will not confess to. The kid had thoughts of doing harm to everyone to quiet the darkness around them. It was only the comfort of the darkness within that kept the kid sane.

“One moment is all I need.”

It would be years later when this kid had a kid of their own, it was only when the parent noticed the same circles under their eyes. The parent took a moment to have a heart to heart.

“Sweetie, what’s the issue?”

During this time the darkness talked to each other and they too hugged it out and for that moment a bond was strengthened and support was given.

Glaceon373
Glaceon373
1 month ago

The Art of Playing Hide-and-Seek
by Carrie (Glaceon373) (Students of the DiamondBridge Academy universe)

Roselyn fidgeted with her pencil, toe tapping impatiently inside her shoe. Usually she could handle lectures just fine, but today was… different. Maybe Mr. Paqulamar’s slideshow was just boring, or maybe it was anxiety about going to therapy after school—

A muscle twitched in her shoulder, her pencil flying off the right side of her desk.

Yup, probably anxiety.

Roselyn scooted her chair back and reached to pick up her pencil. Another hand held it up to her a few inches off the ground.

“Oh! Thank you,” Roselyn whispered, taking it. She looked up to see who had handed it to her, but found herself staring at the wall. In fact, her desk was in the back right corner of the room, so who…?

“Please don’t freak out,” came a whispered response from somewhere near a potted plant by the wall.

Roselyn flinched, but quickly composed herself. “Who’re you?”

“It’s Sam, and pretend I’m not here,” she whispered back.

“What?! I—” Roselyn looked back up at the projector screen and continued in a whisper, “why are you here?”

“We have a substitute in Infil/Sab today, and the sub plans kinda-sorta hide-and-seek? We get the whole school, and the security system gives hints every ten minutes to the seekers? It’s kinda weird, honestly.”

“That sounds… like your teacher is actually operating security today and is gonna do a big reveal right before the game ends.”

“That’s my guess. This is Nicklescribe, after all.”

“Sounds like he’s abusing his acting principal privileges—”

The classroom door suddenly crashed open. Everyone turned to watch a small group of kids walk into the room.

“Pardon the interruption,” one of them, Cypress, stepped forward while the others scanned the room. “We’re doing an activity in Infiltration/Sabotage, and we have reason to believe one of our classmates is in here?”

Before Mr. Paqulamar could respond, Roselyn called over the class, “No one’s come in this whole time!”

Cypress groaned and led the other students out of the room. Mr. Paqulamar continued his lecture like nothing happened.

“Wow. Thanks,” Sam whispered.

“No problem,” Roselyn whispered back.

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

Flicker (The Ballad of the Monsters: Peter)
By i-prefer-the-term-antihero

The darkness was thick that night. This nightmare congealed in my mind. 

I tried hugging toys, and my knees.

I tried running to my father’s room, but found the sheets empty and cold.

That left me sitting, shaking in the living room—(my mother would sing me lullabies in this chair, once)—staring down the door, sparing glances for the clock, waiting for him. 

Whenever he came home during these hours, I didn’t like how he smelled. It stung my nostrils, or else played with them too sweetly. I was too young to understand, and when I was older I wouldn’t want to. 

(Oh Peter, you poor thing.)

Though this could have been self pity, that voice—half-spoken, half-thought—was not mine. 

The lamppost outside blinked out. Then the lantern beside the front door. Then the candle on the table. 

My hand remained steady, but my candle shuddered.

I’d heard this voice before, through cracks in windows, closets, and my mind, whispering words of comfort and friendship in the tongues of—

“I know who you are,” my voice remained level, though my heart quickened. “You’re the monster.”

(Monster?)  It sounded affronted. (Whatever makes you think that?)

“You do that light trick for everyone?”

(What other wise banalities—like “Monstrosity is a trick of the light”—did he tell you?) The words slithered around me. (Did he say I was cruel? Vicious? Bloodthirsty?)

“He said you were a shadow.”

Reality stained and cracked. The nightmares I battled leaked out. Smoke upon the wall, soot upon the air, eyes like someone drilled a hole in time—

That smile made my hands unsteady. 

(I’m more than that), that shattered smile hissed…but the words sounded like grief.

“What do you want from me?” I asked through a grimace. 

(A pleasant chat, to start. A friendship, if you can spare one.)

 “Friendships ought not be made in the dark.” 

A low chuckle. (You think friends made in the light will stay with you in the dark?) 

“Maybe not,” another voice spoke. “But friends made in the dark will often keep you there.”

Neither of us had noticed the door open.

Isa Dragon
Isa Dragon
1 month ago

It was one of those days. Times, perhaps, in this space between stars.
By IsaDragon

Alexi blinked.

The stars shifted, the spaces moving, new constellations twisting out of the blackness between the stars. The window ledge was cold, under their arms.

At some point, they would need to move. Check the time, the date, learn how long they drifted and try to recover. One of Sierra’s cleaning drones had stopped by with water earlier, the empty glass sat abandoned to their left.

Alexi exhaled, and felt some of the tiny muscles inside their neck untwist.

They stared out into the vacuum.

It was dangerous to lose time in space. It was oh so easy to lose time in space, with no solar cycles and with shipboard time running lights pretty much consistently.

Alexi blinked, warm and tired and sad. The stars moved again.

There was pollution in space, lights and noise that traveled and traveled until it bumped something. It was entirely possible to send and receive the same radio wave years apart. It’s why couriers were so important, the shadows between stars were vast, and basically swallowed any attempts at communications. With the right tech and the right timing, you could still pick up a baseball game from Earth.

Alexi had found one today, actually, completely by accident. They often had the radio receiver running just to see what they would hear. This time it had been a dead announcer on a dead planet, talking about a team of dead players whose names nobody knew any more, because Earth and all its archives of knowledge were destroyed just over a year ago.

Alexi looked back out at the stars, blinked at the empty spaces between them, and made no effort to shake the numbness. They could try later, when it wasn’t as heavy.

Something bumped their leg. Alexi lazially cracked open an eye and looked at the tiny roomba-like droid, bearing liquid. It whirred at them. Alexi took the chalky sludge, and the bot watched as they sipped.

They weren’t hungry. They felt kinda floaty, actually.

The bot beeped again. Alexi took another sip.

When they finished it, they’d find someone to talk to.

chronikDreamer
chronikDreamer
1 month ago

Father Daughter Talk
By chronicDreamer

“Hey Dad…”

Dakota stopped typing. Without the clacking of the keyboard the silence was deafening in the deepening darkness of her room. The only light was from her monitor, silhouetting Dakota as she sat, with the screens steadily dimming light being the only sign her father was there, as he moved closer.

“Mom misses you…”

No response.

“She still doesn’t understand why you left… I’m starting to figure it out.”

Nothing.

“I have a girl I like…Lily. She’s my friend. My girlfriend? I’m apparently gay… I apparently like girls? Whatever.”

Silence.

“Figured it out tonight… We got attacked. Had to kill some shadow monsters. Boogeyman, mom called them. Had to protect us…”

The shadows solidified into a mass of bark tendrils, reaching out against the computer’s softening glow.

“We made out after… I think I was shit… She seemed to like it. The long tongue I grew helped.”

Dakota began to shake. Her pupils filled her irises. Shadows started pouring from her face, streaking her pale skin black. The center point of her eyes glowed red.

“Dad… I’m scared.”

The darkness moved in to embrace her. His long arms guarding her from the shadows. Her dad’s head resting on her shoulder, face hidden beneath the brim of his tophat. Her hands reached up to clasp his fourarms.

“I think this is the first time you’ve ever held me…”

That wasn’t true, but he couldn’t bring himself to dispute her. The pain of having to keep his distance from them both burned his heart to ash. And now, he knows it was for nothing. His kind came for her all the same. His absence bought them a few decades at the most, but now, looking back at the suffering he caused them all, he would have traded that time spent stalking her mother and daughter in the night for a single day they would get to be together like a family.

“What am I?..”

“MY DAUGHTER.”

“What should I do?..”

He looked up, face spilling black like his little girl’s. Their red eyes locked, Dakota’s fear engorging their shadows.

“BE AFRAID.”

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

The Creature.
by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)

“Daddy daddy! It’s snowing!” My little girl cries out with joy as she points to the veritable blizzard that had begun to pummel the cold hard ground of my ranch.

“I know you’re excited, dear, but It’s too dangerous to be out now. We’ll have some fun playing in the snow tomorrow, okay?”

“Proooomise?”

I smile. “I promise.” She laughs and gives me a hug.

“Thanks daddy!.”

As I watch her run up to her room to watch the falling snow, I laugh and head to the kitchen to make another cup of cocoa. When I pour my cup, my face suddenly turns from joy to fear.

“The Shadow…”

I carefully place my mug down, and sprint to the door. Opening it quickly, I head out into the blizzard, not even sparing time to dawn an overcoat.

My every step is met with a labored crunch as I kick through the quickly falling snow. Climbing up the hill, I finally see the shed. I quicken my pace and do my best to ignore the chilling pains of the snow on my back.

As I finally make it to the shed, I finally slow down. I carefully open the door, flip a few switches and catch my breath. I hear the telltale sounds of the systems turning on as the shack whirls to life. Finally, a dim light comes on in the back room of the shack, the bars that cage that part of the room casting long shadows over me.

As I slowly approach the room, I finally see him, the Shadow. He was jet black, with only his eyes giving away any sense of physical form. He looked at me curiously.

“Boop boop.”

I sigh with relief as the raven calls for me. I reply “Boop boop.” and the bird quickly flies up to its perch, ready to be fed.

“Sorry buddy, You aren’t being fed right now. I just needed to turn on the heat in here. Stay safe, ok? And, don’t get into any trouble!”

“Get in Trouble?” the bird repeats.

“No! Don’t get into it!”

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

A Beacon for the Lost
by DukkiFluff (name pronunciations: Kaige (cage), Kuniyo (koo-nee-yo))

“You really wanna go in there?”

“Of course! Why not?”

She smiled up at me with her usual delight. She was pretty much a walking ball of sunshine.

“I don’t know, Kuniyo… it looks ready to collapse.”

“Kaige, we’ll be fine!!” She skipped forward until she reached the stairs of the old, decrepit hospital. The ethereal chain connecting my body to hers pulled at me as she moved, the links giving off a soft rattling each time she hopped up a step.

“Of course I’ll be fine, I’m already dead. But you still have a heartbeat and breath and all that living stuff.” I sighed.

She ignored me, undoing the chain on the door and pulling the door open, though she had to fight to scrape it over the cement. It screamed in protest, but she eventually got it open enough to squeeze inside. I just phased through it to follow.

She marched gleefully along the crumbling hall, glancing into room after room.

“Helloooo? Anyone here?” Her voice echoed loudly, but no answer came.

“Maybe all the souls here have already moved on.”

She shook her head. “No, I know there’s at least one here. I can feel them.” She ascended a staircase, gripping the railing and leaping over a gap. I just sighed at her recklessness.

“Hellooo!!” She yelled again.

“Who are you?” A light voice returned from some unlit corner.

“Ha! I knew I’d find someone!” She skipped forward, stopping short of the darkness. “Hello! I’m Kuniyo!”

A pair of misty eyes looked up at her, glowing pearls against their black surroundings. “I-I don’t know my name anymore…”

“That’s okay! We’ll call you…” She tapped her lip in thought, then snapped her fingers. “Ichi!”

“Ichi… I like it.” They smiled, their small body glowing faintly from the positive energy from her.

I watched quietly as she sat beside the shadow, smiling at the spirit as though it were just another normal person.

“Guess you’re stuck all by yourself, huh?” She reached into the dark, patting the being on the head. “Don’t worry. I’m here to help.”

Harshmellow99
Harshmellow99
1 month ago

Vampcat (or meowpire?)
By Harshmellow99

Shiloh was a ghost of a little boy. Well, not really a ghost, although he often pretended to be one. Rather, he’d been described that way several times by people he wasn’t particularly fond of. It’d also been said, again by people he didn’t much like, that he needed what one might call friends. It was lonely being so enigmatic and cool.

Pale as death, bags under his eyes, a look on his face that didn’t fit his age. That was Shiloh. It wasn’t illness that made him look somewhat like a zomboy. It was the hours he spent nightly reading terrifying stories in bed that no child should ever read, certainly not past one’s bedtime. Shiloh called this a “mandatory curfew.” It’s probably obvious that his parents didn’t really know what he was doing all those nights. Good. Shiloh knew he didn’t fit, but man, he sure loved things that creeped others out.

Tonight was another night of villainous subterfuge.
Shiloh leapt ninja-ly into bed, a maneuver practiced many times to perfection, with an old, beaten-to-hell-and-back book in his hands. He turned off the lamp and threw on his protective layer of heavy blankets.

An owl sang its own strange little song somewhere outside. Shiloh flipped the book’s weathered pages and found the one he was looking for.

The owl hooted sagely again, but this time its song ended very abruptly and didn’t sound very pretty at all. It sounded like a shriek. Not like an owl kind of shriek, but like a real one. Shiloh looked up, his mouth contorted in a face of “what the-?”
His small bedroom got real quiet real fast, but the overly curious little boy swore he heard the shadows talk in the silence. Then came a rumbling chuckle.

A silhouette appeared on his floor in the moonlight that shone through the window. A cat’s silhouette. But to Shiloh, the feline visitor in the window looked a lot more like a vampire than a regular cat, huge and black with inches-long fangs and searing red eyes. The wings were another odd addition.

Last edited 1 month ago by Harshmellow99
Lari B. Haven
Lari B. Haven
1 month ago

Under the black candle flame
By Larissa (Lari B. Haven)

Jack positioned the black candle in the middle of the observatory and lit it. He would only have a short while before the candle was gone.

“It’s been a while, Alma,” He said, igniting a small piece of ribbon over the candle.

He stared at the flickering flame, silently waiting for her response. Until a shadow formed on the wall.

“Mr. Rabbit,” the whistling voice gained strength. “It’s been a long time indeed.”

“I came here to ask you for a spell you used…” He looked at the shadow of the woman he met once, cast on the armchair in front of him. “That spell, Alma.”

“Is it about that woman you met, isn’t it?” Alma smiled with her voice “Tell me Mr. Rabbit, have you ever done something irreversibly stupid?”

“I ran away from home with you, that was stupid enough,” Jack laughed.

“So you have no business learning that cursed spell. Stay with her here in the void.” Alma’s shadow flew off the armchair and hissed. “Don’t take any unwanted chances.”

“I promised I would send her home, no matter the cost.” He said adamantly. “The spell Alma, give me now!”

“Send her home?” Alma scoffed. “You’re trying not to feel the love you both deserve!”

“She misses her family, Alma. She has no place in this world.” Jack’s words weighed heavily on the room. “She has no place with me.”

“What I did, turned into a weak voice, phasing in and out of reality through the shadow of a single flame.” She warned once more. “Don’t break her heart again.”

She touched his shadow, giving a long hug. Despite Jack feeling nothing but fleeting warmth against his shoulder. He knew very well what that spell would entail.

“I would give up my house, my body, my magic, and my soul even…” Jack gazed at the shivering, dancing flame. “Mother, I would do anything for her.”

Alma’s shadowy self fell upon the armchair. With a long sigh, she said:

“Take note, my son. You only have one chance.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Lari B. Haven
C. M. Weller
1 month ago

Ill Met in Darkness (A Tiefling Tale)
C. M. Weller

The door was solid and heavy and took more than a bit of muscle to shut, which made the bar that Fel placed across it almost superfluous. He added locks and chains as he caught his breath. This was good. Nothing else could get in. He was, at last, secure.

“Nice bunker you got here, mein herr,” said a voice not his own. “Only one real problem with it.”

Fel whirled, steel drawn and ready in an instant. Nothing there but his supplies and a lot of shadows.

One of those shadows opened its eyes and split a sharp smile. It developed a demonic shape and became a fully-fleshed being with blue skin and yellow eyes. Wearing the black cloth traditionally worn by assassins. “There’s only one door. Not a lot of options if someone else got in, ja?”

“Tansie sent you, didn’t he?”

“Tansie gave me money, but I’m not killing anyone today. Tansie’s an ass. Further, the Harpers aren’t in favour of your demise.” At this news, he flicked about a part of his gi, showing the harp-shaped pin inside.

Relief. “You’re with the Harpers.” They had been keeping things balanced for centuries. Preventing malicious dictators from taking control. “How did you find me?”

“Expenses, mostly. It wasn’t hard to guess a highborn was hiding in this mansion. The only question was up or down… but it’s not much of a question.” He gestured to the supplies. “Expensive stuff. You’d have saved a lot of money and avoided notice with simple rations.”

“I’ll keep that in mind the next time I’m threatened by a former friend,” snapped Fel. “I presume you know who I am.”

“Baronet Felzyan Watchward Victor Velroth… fourth of the name. Quite the falling out with the traditions of your realm.”

“My friends call me Fel,” he said, offering his hand.

The Tiefling – who looked a hell of a lot like the Demon Lords of homeland legend – said, “You sure they’re your friends?”

Last edited 1 month ago by C. M. Weller
RVMPLSTLTSKN
RVMPLSTLTSKN
1 month ago

The Shadows Talking
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)

Vienas listened to all the sounds that echoed in the empty temple. The Everflame crackled and spat. Karas’s sword hummed faintly. Padas snored. Wind moaned in the heights.

The world outside was swaddled in night and held a thrall of darkness. There was a peace to this, a contentment for her. The world knew her pain each night and she… she was made whole. Nearly.

There was a sense of agency in the darkness. She could hear the rustles and squeaks of vermin. In another night, she might wish for some of the temples’ dogs, a small breed to the mutts outside. Tonight, she listened for something else. She listened for the sounds of the dead. For the spirits, ghosts and revenants of those things humans are reduced to. The manifestations of death, the distillation of personality. These are the memories that haunt empty places at night, where dogs hut men by day.

She heard—or thought she heard-whispers. Something audible hiding in the other sounds. Like an echo of an echo.

Her hand grasped Karas’s sword and her world multiplied.

It would be unfair to say she saw. Vienas is blind, but being blind is so much more than simply being in the dark. There is an aspect of personality tied to perception. A value of self in what cannot be done.

Vienas didn’t see her surroundings, but she knew them the way a memory would. The way a god would. Presence, but so much more than the body could contain.

The temple was empty, save for her and Padas. She felt as much as heard the patter of tiny feet along the walls. The ceiling was only just within her sense’s reach. She walked and stretched her presence, the sword held directly ahead of her. She wouldn’t hit anything she didn’t want to. After her circuit, all she could do was return the sword to its place. Feeling diminished and tired, she sighed a grateful prayer.

The only ghosts whispering were her own memories.

MasaCur
MasaCur
1 month ago

Being Stalked
By MasaCur

Tora felt like she was being followed. It was more of a hunch than anything, but Tora had been taught to trust her instincts. Often, this just meant that she was picking up clues from her peripheral senses, but nothing she could actually identify with any certainty.

She looked over her shoulder, only to see a rush of movement from behind a bush. Tora took a deep breath, and quickened her pace.

She glanced at the train station stairs to her right, but continued on her way. She felt it was too public. With that many people around, Tora felt that she wouldn’t be able to single out her stalker, leaving her unable to defend herself if things went badly.

She instantly imagined half a dozen reasons why she was being stalked. She was pretty confident that she could deal with most of them. What worried her was that it might be a rival to her family. A rival would be on her level, if not more powerful.

As she passed a coffee shop, Tora took a peek backwards. She saw a flutter of hair duck around a corner. Tora clenched her jaw, and fished a smoke bomb from her school bag. She took another look around, and then threw it on the ground, and dashed into the coffee shop.

“She went into the coffee shop!” Tora heard a girl’s voice say.

Great, she thought. There’s more than one of them.

Tora ran in, jumped off the wall, and leapt for the ceiling girders above her.

A girl entered after Tora. “Excuse me, have you seen a girl with a blonde…”

The barista was staring up at Tora clinging to the ceiling.

Angrily, Tora leapt down. “Why are you following me?” she demanded.

The door opened behind her, and Tora turned to see two more girls.

“You’re Tora Watanabe!” one of the new girls said.

“Who wants to know?”

“We’re such big fans!” the first girl gushed.

Tora could now see that they were all wearing the same school uniform she was. She groaned. “Oh, for fuck’s sake! This again?”

ArkansanDragoness
ArkansanDragoness
1 month ago

“Unknown” by Magan (Legends of Dra’cora)

The teenage human astronaut jolted awake, staring around the den she’d been given. The light of both moons shone through the knothole window in the giant, hollowed-out tree. She clutched her bedsheet closer, trying to pinpoint the whispers.

Nothing but shadows.

She sighed, rolled over, tried to sleep again. It was the third time in as many nights this had happened. Maybe she should tell her beastfolk friends about it? Their rooms were just down the hall… No, it was her mind playing tricks from loneliness. This village on a planet of sentient animals–beastfolk–and fantasy creatures had adopted her, but she still missed humans, wondering if her colony knew she was alive…

The whispers can again, closer this time. The shadows moved.

That was new.

She threw a pillow at the source, but it only struck the curved wall. The noise stopped. The human grumbled to herself, pulling the sheet over her head. If this was Hazelnut, the flying squirrel, pulling another prank… The voices did sound vaguely Dracorian, though she couldn’t make out the words…

The human shook her head. “Knock it off, Hazel.” Looked like explanations were due that humans weren’t nocturnal like she was.

No answer, no movement.

She dozed again…

The whispers were beside her now, something cold touched her–

–She was suddenly opposite the bed, back to the wall, panicked, with no memory of moving. She felt ill, freezing, but the night was warm.

“Amber! What’s wrong?! We heard screaming!” Her friends rushed into the room, Skyrunner, the cheetah, with Hazelnut riding on his back. Skyrunner held a firefly-filled lantern in his jaws.

The human, Amber, pointed to her nest of blankets, still shaken.

Skyrunner came towards her, purring to offer comfort, while Hazelnut inspected the nest. They listened to her describe the events.

Both beastfolk looked worried. They tried explaining, but Amber still didn’t know enough Dracorian to understand. They left the lantern shining, curling up beside her in the nest.

As Amber slept, Skyrunner and Hazelnut shared a look. A wraith shouldn’t be here. Not outside cursed magic zones. So why was it?

Last edited 1 month ago by ArkansanDragoness
Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
1 month ago

Leave Them All Behind (Nyssa’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

When Nyssa slept, the twisted shades of people she once knew would awaken.

Quelvara would dig up every mistake she had ever made, and force them before her eyes once again.

Alina would call out to her from afar, only to disintegrate at her touch, leaving Nyssa distraught and alone.

Arling would give her the gentle advice that Nyssa had ignored again and again in her past, painfully reminding her of everything she could have been.

And then there was her parents–

“Why are we still doing this?”

Sunlight burned away the darkness. A woman stood before her, golden (or white?) hair gleaming in the sunrise.

“This is only hurting us. We don’t need to cling to them anymore. We only need ourselves!” Her brown (or yellow?) eyes were filled with passion. “Don’t drag us back into their darkness. Not again.”

Nyssa looked at the other woman, with red and orange robes all clean and undamaged, standing with self-assurance as she shone against the sun. She almost stepped forward.

The glowing woman smiled softly, and reached out a (crystalline?) hand. “We don’t have to be scared anymore. We don’t have to wallow in guilt anymore. We can move on with our lives, and make our world a better place!”

Nyssa let her words sink in. Then she closed her eyes. She listened to the voices behind her, voices of cruelty, of longing, of kindness, the voices that all hurt so much – and she stepped backwards.

The sky darkened and the wind started howling, as the sun dimmed to a distant redness.

The woman didn’t look angry, or even disappointed. Just deeply sad. “Why?”

“Because I need this.” Nyssa opened her eyes. “Because I have to remember what I did. Because if I don’t…I’ll just make everything worse. Again.” Tears started running down her face. “I’m sorry.”

She started sinking into the painful darkness, as she heard her past (and future?) self respond once more.

“Don’t worry. We will get through this awful phase, in time.”

Then her light winked out, and Nyssa was alone with her shadows once more.

Last edited 1 month ago by Calliope Rannis