Writing Group: Only a Kiss (PRIVATE)

Hello, all you Lovelies!

Have you ever kissed anyone? What did it feel like? What do you think is the most romantic way to give or receive a kiss? I wonder if it would be as magical as the fairytales say? If it’s not asking too much, could you tell me what a kiss means to you, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

Only a Kiss

Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

Count on you beautiful lot to choose a prompt perfectly fit for this upcoming Valentine’s Day. And what a lovely, sweet prompt it is this week.

A kiss can mean so much, and in so many different ways. 

For example, someone kissing another on the forehead can give a sense of protection, and show that they treasure this person. They treat them gentle and delicately, the closeness and care they both feel clear as crystal. A peck on the cheek can be many things, ranging from a standard greeting in some places— though in this greeting, the lips do not actually touch the cheek, but rather the kiss is made beside it— to a quick “I’ll see you later”, to even a tease of greater, possibly more intimate things to come. A kiss on the cheek is more affectionate than one on the forehead in most cases. Then there’s the kiss we all have seen in all the fairytales and fables. The lips. This is meant to show a special kind of love. You don’t normally kiss just anyone on the lips, after all. A kiss like this invokes a special sense of affection, the kind that blossoms into a passion like no other. 

Kisses aren’t limited to just the above, either. There’s soft, gentle kisses like the touch of a butterfly’s wing, invoking a sense of care, or even shyness. There’s quick kisses that show the person is either in a hurry, too timid to let it linger, or even that they are uncomfortable but still want to be polite.Then there are kisses that last an eternity, brimming with fiery passion, overflowing with a burning lust, or just teeming with all the love the giver has ever felt for the receiver. They can be one or two long and slow experiences, or they can be playfully peppered all over. 

There is no limit to what a kiss can mean, and what it can do. 

So place the pen to the paper, and let your imagination play across the page with kisses of ink and wonder.


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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jesse fisher
jesse fisher
1 year ago

Death’s Kiss
By Jesse Fisher

A kiss.

That was all it took for me to start to wonder why it took this long to experience this. A moment of closeness that I did not know I wanted. I could not breathe for the duration as if I was not of this world but a phantom only existing in this moment.

As sudden as it happened it ended, once more heartache gripped me. The blood on my hands could not be cleaned, it stained my flesh as they fell down to the ground as shock flew through them.

Love was not what I wanted, it was a mask that I wore to get close to the monster that haunted my family’s life. This was not meant to be anything beyond a means to an end but the blood was the only thing that broke the mask fully. The kiss was the crack that made the mask fail.

That infernal kiss and feelings that made me break down as the blood pooled around the monster and my kneeled form. The weapon returned to my arms, it would look like someone had attacked them with sharpen wind. Who would use physical weapons when you could just use elemental powers to attack. And how could a low forsaken ever use such refined power, god had left them powerless for a reason.

Part of me wants to give in to manic laughter as the deed was done, another wishes to mourn as the deed left me hollow from the love I lost.

It was only the feeling of air moving around me that I noticed that the guards threw me away from the corpse.

Maybe I’ll fall wrong and end up in the same place as the victim that I just made.

1 year ago

“The Widow’s Kiss” (Mythos Cycle: Fyndveld)
By Hemming Sebastian Bane (CW: implied mutilation, drugging, lack of consent)

It was only a kiss, she said. Nothing more. Just a kiss under the moon at midnight. Her breath tasted like champagne and cherries. I wish I could have stayed in that moment forever. That’s when I felt my body go limp. My eyes stayed open as several muscular Fae appeared from their hiding places. As they grabbed me, she spat on my face. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. But I couldn’t. The burning tears formed a seal over my eyes. My vision blurred.

It was only a kiss. That was how she lured a bored man like me into her chamber. The warmth of her lips burrowed into my skin and crawled down my back. My lust peaked. My interest piqued, I let her take my hand. She led me from the ballroom to a secret staircase. Why did I not see? I thought I did: away from wandering eyes we could be young without judgment. Virile. Full of passion. Alive. Yet here I am, being dragged blinded by my own tears.

It was only a kiss. That’s how I knew she was still there after they strapped my arms and legs down to this cold metal surface. What was she doing? I heard the gentle clinks of metal on metal. A gray field gave way to white. I felt her hand rub down my bare chest, slowly.

It was only a kiss. Electric pain and pulsing heat on my stomach. I wanted to scream, but my throat was closed. I could hear her speaking now.

“The surgery is going as planned. Don’t worry. You may die here, but parts of you will live on.”

I wish I could ask her to let me go. I wish I could bargain with her. I wish I could get up from this table and kill her with my bare hands. But I could barely cry at this point.

It was only a kiss, and it took everything I had away.

1 year ago

By NocteVesania


Kat continues observing the crystal ball. Lucas, tired of staring at cleaning materials in the crammed janitor’s closet, calls again.


She leans closer, making out two horizontal figures. She tilts her head to the side and her squinted eyes suddenly widen.


Lucas slams the table, launching the crystal ball up a few inches. It lands back on its pedestal without shattering.

“WHAT THE HECK?” Kat glares at him.

“Whoops. Haha.” Lucas gives a goofy smile, which he drops after a brief, awkward pause. “Anyway, did you see anything?”

Kat’s piercing blue eyes soften and shift to the side. Her lips pucker up slightly. “Err…”

Lucas leans to meet her gaze. “This is my chance! Will there be hot chicks at the mixer or what?”

“Um… I saw you… well…” She starts twiddling her thumbs. “…with a girl.”

His face turns to a stupid grin. “Is she hot?”

Kat raises her eyebrows. “Well, excuse me,” she exclaims as she reaches for her bag.

Lucas’ expression turns to bewilderment. “At least tell me what happens!”

Kat stops. “You… k-k-kiss.”

“SCORE!” Lucas raises his fists and hits a bag of detergent, which falls unceremoniously on the floor. He reaches for the doorknob to leave.

“Wait,” Kat interjects, grabbing Lucas’ shoulder. She immediately recoils as soon as he glances back, “i-it wasn’t at the mixer.”

Lucas pauses, then purses his lips. “Interesting. Where shall I claim my prize then, oh knowing one?”

“H… h…”

“Hallway? House? Hoteeel?” Lucas gives an exaggerated gasp. “Spicy.”

“H… here…” Kat’s cheeks turn beet red.

“You don’t mean… you and I…” He laughs. “No way!”

“Excuse me?!”

“Please! Keep dreaming, sister.”

Kat hurriedly grabs her bag. “Well then, good day.” She slips past Lucas and opens the door.

“Hey!” Lucas steps forward to follow her out. “You forgot–”

Before he finishes his sentence, he trips over the bag of detergent. Time seems to slow down as his shadow eclipses Kat’s petite frame. She looks back in horror. His trajectory is set and their fate is sealed as their faces draw closer and closer. It is inevitable.

1 year ago

A Midnight Summoning
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

The last branch slid into the ritualistic circle. Sycamoris chanted in a long-lost tongue, sprinkling ashen flakes over bark and bones.

“Of oak and yew and fallen dew,” his words clicked in his throat, swimming through the air, “of light and night and times of blight…”

He blew out the candle in the center of the circle.

“Grace me with your presence!”

The midnight shadows of the forest quivered. Crackling out of the air, as if emerging from a space between where winds blew and creatures breathed, a ghost of emerald green spiraled into existence. With a flash of lightning, the spirit fully manifested into a face with eight eyes and a calm expression.

It opened its mouth to speak…

“Oh hey kiddo, what’s up?”

Sycamoris set down the rest of his spellcasting supplies. “Quite a bit, Pops. I’m here for advice.”

“Advice? What’s the advice for?”

He sighed defeatedly. “Romance.”

The face floating in the forest gasped. “Is my son in love?” the face mocked.

“No, specifically the opposite.” Sycamoris sat down on the mossy ground. “People keep asking me when I’m going to get a partner. It’s been making me uncomfortable. And today someone kissed me on the cheek and I freaked out.”

“Just a kiss?”

“Yeah. Apparently she thought I wanted to be in a relationship with her. I didn’t. I don’t think I want to be in one ever, honestly. But everyone else seems to want me to. I came here for advice on what to do next.“

Sycamoris’s father seemed to ponder for a moment. “Well, son, I don’t think you need to fall in love. It is truly a shame that you are human, for us spirits have none of that pressure. I hope the society that you are a part of can respect your wishes, kid.”

Sycamoris smiled. “I really needed to hear that, Dad.”

The floating head laughed, voice echoing amongst the trees as scattered whispers. “Remember that I am only one ritual away, my son. Now, would you please release me? I was in the middle of shaping a new river…”

Last edited 1 year ago by Glaceon373


Last edited 1 year ago by Tale Foundry
1 year ago

One Foundation Stone At A Time (Temptation’s Fire)
By Lunabear (CW: brief description of sexual assault, profanity)

The memory haunted Zayn: Crystal’s lips crashing against his mid–conversation. After he had politely declined her offer.

His tongue ran over the phantom ache on his bottom lip where her teeth had drawn blood. Afterwards, he’d run away, crying like a coward.

He closed his eyes against the shame.

Was he a man, or was he a MAN?


Zayn’s jaw clenched. A familiar, unwanted heat rose within his silent chest. He deliberately scraped one fang across his tongue. His hiss was nearly feral.

Hating her wouldn’t change anything.

“I didn’t think you were the brooding loner type.”

Zayn swung his gaze to his bandmate.

Luther ascended the final rungs of the ladder, his usual smirk in place.

Zayn chuckled despite his turbulent thoughts. “Let’s call this brooding adjacent.”

Luther sat a few feet away and stretched his long legs out in front of him.

“So, why are we adjacently brooding?”

Zayn looked away, biting his lip. “EVERY time I think I’m over it, I see Crystal’s face.”

“Oh. THAT bitch.” Acid coated Luther’s words. “You know that wasn’t your fault. Right, Z?”

Zayn’s fingers fidgeted. He took an unnecessary breath. “Do–do you uh, enjoy, you know, your mmmm… activities?”

A quick, coy smile. “Yeah.”

“Kis–kissing, too?”

Sadness invaded Luther’s voice. “You haven’t had many positive, physical experiences, have you, Zayn?”

“I haven’t had ANY.”

“I can help with that. If you want.”

The wind coasted over them as Zayn processed his words.

It’s Luther. He’s a friend. Family. He’s also–

“If you don’t want to, that’s fine. Just know that the option is there. At least ONE positive interaction is important. Y’know?”


Zayn bridged the gap tentatively.

Luther’s lips were an anchor, and Zayn soon found his own rhythm.

Pulling back, Zayn caressed his swollen lips with careful fingers.

Luther catapulted to his feet and over to the ladder within four heartbeats. His heavy boots clanged against the top rung.

“Hey, Lu?” Zayn’s voice was tender as he stood and watched his friend. “Thanks.”

Luther smiled then descended.

Zayn studied the sky with a new understanding.

Last edited 1 year ago by Lunabear
1 year ago

An Appropriate Inappropriate Relationship
By chronicDreamer

“Oh! Captain. How can I help you?” Nabi pulled down at her fatigues nervously.

Victor ducked into her room, scooped Nabi up in one arm and swaddled her as they made their way to the bed.

“Captain!” Pink light started to crystalize around her, psionic armor manifested reflexively from within the cloth cocoon. “It’s just a few bad dreams.” Heavy bags hung under her eyes. “I’m fine!” She wriggled hopelessly in his hold. “It was inappropriate,” she whimpered, “telling you I feel safer when you’re around…” Before her psychic shell fully closed, Victor kissed Nabi gingerly on the forehead. Nabi’s apprehension faltered, her armor dissipated. Out maneuvered, she buried her face deep beneath cover.

Cradled against his chest, they settled down for the night. Victor recalibrated his frame to improve Nabi’s comfort: relaxed actuators, softened reactive skin weave, heart tuned to a soothing frequency, and cerebral EM field amplified to jam the invasive harmonics that had induced traumatic nightmares in Nabi’s sleep.

They had promised Victor he would be able to train his subordinates as he saw fit. That he had the department’s respect as the last super soldier of his age. Just empty words. As soon as they discovered mental trauma amplified the psionic manifestations, they pretended not to receive his reports objecting to their inhuman treatment of his soldiers. Those damn bastards. They really only ever saw him as a weapon. That’s how they see everyone in this unit. They were just the next wave of soldiers to be trained up for global defense. The end justifies the means. A few months ago everyone under his command had all been civilians, only fighting to survive. When his rights were thrown away, at least he was the one who made the decision. They were never given a choice.

Victor glared at the corner of the room towards the hidden surveillance system. His optics glowed red. A faint sound of metal cutting into stone lightly stored Nabi in her sleep. Victor stroked her hair protectively.

If they weren’t playing by the rules neither would he.

1 year ago

By King_Nix

“Help!” Augustina shouted. She tried to stand, but a sharp pain in her leg stopped her. She’d been warned not to play around the palace. There was no telling what state of disrepair areas were – the wall she’d broken through, for instance – or what forgotten hidden chambers there might be – like the one she’d tumbled down a flight of stairs into. The prospect of trying to crawl back up those stairs was unappealing, so she settled with crying for help.

Sure enough, Augustina soon heard the sound of footsteps. They weren’t coming from upstairs, but some unseen hallway on the opposite side of the chamber. The sound was steady and rang like a huge bell. She grew anxious as the sound approached, and a massive silhouette started to take shape in the darkness. She closed her eyes tight, clutching her ears. The ringing became deafening as whatever it was came closer.

The banging stopped before her. Hesitantly, she looked up. It was enormously tall with limbs as thick as tree branches. It was clad all in ornate armor and its plumed helm bore a detailed mask, likely the stern visage of the wearer. The giant kneeled down and reached towards her leg. Its hand rested gently there, and a rune upon it glowed for several moments before fading away. He offered his hand to help her up, and no pain shot up her leg as she stood.

“You’re a Palatine Guard.” Augustina said in wonder. “We thought you were all destroyed.” She’d only read of these mighty golems in history books – great heroes of the Empire granted the honor of serving their king in immortal steel. “What’s your name, venerable one?” The guard’s head tilted, silent. You’ve…forgotten how to speak?” He lowered his head.
“Well, I am Augustina, heiress to the noble clan Theodosian. I bid you kneel, that I may thank you properly.”
The Palatine obliged, and Augustina stood upon her tiptoes to kiss the cheek of his death mask.

A deep sound resonated within him. “Qu-quinntus…Sillviannus, mmy lllady. Plleased to serrve the crownn once again.”

1 year ago

A New Experience
By MasaCur

“We should go out for a drink.”

Famous last words, Andrew thought. They had managed a major arrest, yielding good intelligence against Van Nilsson. It was their most successful operation yet.

Naturally, Cassidy wanted to celebrate this success, and said so directly.

“But why?” Andrew asked.

“Because we deserve it, Andrew. Come on, I know a great pub nearby on Charing Cross Road.”

Andrew reluctantly agreed, and drove the two of them in his VeloCarriage to the pub. The sign read, “The Hound and Hare,” and it looked like it catered to the working class.

Cassidy ordered them ales at first, and Andrew insisted on getting them pork pies to keep the alcohol from hitting them as quickly. But after their third pint, Cassidy started ordering gin, and Andrew whiskey, and in the end, the two were staggering out the door.

“I’ll drive…I’ll drive you back, um, home.” Andrew slurred. He weaved his way over to the steam-powered autocarriage.

“Andrew!” Cassidy grabbed him by the collar. “You can barely stand. You can’t walk. I don’t think I trust you to drive your WhateverCarriage right now.”

Andrew stared at her for a few seconds, letting the words sink in. “You have a point.”

Cassidy negotiated with the driver of a nearby hansom, then grabbed Andrew by the arm, and pulled him to the cab. Andrew helped Cassidy aboard and then climbed in beside her. The driver whipped the horse forward.

“I am drunk!” Cassidy announced.

“I can see that. I am too.”

Cassidy looked at Andrew for several moments. “Do you…do you realise I’ve never kissed a man before?”

“No, I didn’t.”

Cassidy leaned forward and pressed her lips to Andrew’s. A few seconds later, she broke the kiss. Andrew was too shocked to react.

Cassidy had a peculiar look on her face. A confused look, like how a wife would react after her mother-in-law tried to explain her marital duties to her a month after announcing she was pregnant.

“Well, I don’t see what the commotion is about,” Cassidy said. She closed her eyes, and promptly passed out.

1 year ago

A Rose and Its Thorn (The Harbinger of Envy)
by Alexsander Edwards

Adrian Veidt stood still amidst the vast graveyard. Facing up and receiving the rainfall with his eyes closed as one would receive the waters of baptism. To all onlookers, he seemed alone, perhaps lost. They were partially right on the latter, but, for better or worse, he would never be alone.

“Fifty years,” he thought – not to himself, but to the creature who shared his mind like an unwanted tenant: Abennon.

No sooner had Adrian thought those words than the creature’s ugly, shark-like smile appeared in his mind’s eye. Taunting him in silence with its cracked, bone-like face.

“For fifty years I’ve suffered you,” Adrian continued. “So many dead and gone, yet I remain.”

“Yet you remain young and healthy!” the demon vexed his host with an ever-enlarging grin. “You’re as virile and strong as you were when we first met, even though you should be a decrepit old man by now! I would dare say that my powers give you exactly what you want right now, don’t they?”

Adrian took a deep breath and, having long since ditched his priestly clothes – which seemed more and more like they had belonged to a different person with each passing day – shook the water from his blue military fatigues, acquired when the generals of Teriand mistook his demonic abilities for the powers of their own false idol and conscripted him on the spot. The ability to manipulate blood was not only a powerful weapon in and of itself, but had proven to be an extremely effective fear tactic over the decades.

“No,” he retorted against the demon within, looking down at the gravestone before him. “No they do not, you foul thing.”

He could sense the demon grin one more time as he turned and walked away with a tear rolling down his cheek and the thoughts of the one thing he wanted the most flooding his mind. Perhaps the bringer of envy had won against his conviction in the end.

The best he could do now was forget the name etched onto the tombstone: Rose Veidt.

1 year ago

You’re Making This Weird (Illusions of Heroes)
by Gerrit (Rattus)

“Okay, let me get this straight. At the end of the performance, we have to kiss?” Emrys stared at Niri with an incredulous look on his face. The flickering campfire cast dancing shadows across her face, intermingling with the feather pattern tattooed around her eyes, giving the impression of a hawk watching him from across the flame.

Emrys was consistently impressed with the skill of the artists here on the islands. The feathers were so detailed, the only reason he could see the rune was because he knew to look for it.

“It’s really not a big deal. What are you so worried about?”

What was he worried about? Well for starters, he had never kissed a girl before. What if he liked it?

That was a stupid question. Of course he was going to like it. That was the whole problem. They’d end the performance with the kiss, and then life would go back to normal and he’d have to pretend it was nothing.

“What if people get the wrong idea?” Emrys fought the urge to scratch at his forearm. The tattoo was still fresh, and he didn’t want to risk damaging it. But Gods did it itch.

“The wrong idea? Emrys, this is a traditional play. People are going to get the wrong idea if we don’t end it with a kiss.” Niri rose from her seat and circled around the fire, taking a seat next to him.

She put her hand over his, and her skin was somehow even warmer than the fire. Emrys looked at the sea turtle inked on the back of her hand for a moment before her voice called his attention away.

Before he even had a second to think, her lips were on his. A fleeting moment, and it was over almost as soon as he realised it was happening.

She looked at him with a smirk on her face. “See? That wasn’t so bad.”

Emrys swallowed hard. “Yeah. Not so bad.”

William Maitland
William Maitland
1 year ago

A Visit in the Night
By William Maitland

Timmy’s heart pounded behind his ribcage like a barbarian at the gate. His eyes snapped open, and he was suddenly aware of his total inability to move. He was frozen in his bed, and the sensation itself was enough to incite panic.

Then the strange one came.

Slinking from the narrow shadow behind the open door, it seemed to make itself manifest in the thin ray of light. A walking shadow. It stood impossibly tall and impossibly thin, needing to arch a tad downward to fit into the room. Eyes, or some approximation to them, formed in what must’ve been the head. Twin motes of foggy, milky white, dim as distant candles, stared at him.

He tried to struggle, to bolt for the window perhaps, but he couldn’t even budge. Strapped to the bed by his own paralytic fear, he couldn’t even scream. All he could do was sweat, eyes wide open, unable to look away.

It glided toward him, and spoke in his mind. The voice sounded almost feminine. Nurturing. But dripping with poison.

“Are you in there?”

The question should’ve been stupid. She was staring right at him, of course he was in here. But he knew she wasn’t referring to his room.

“You are afraid. Shaking. Please, do not fear me.”

This only deepened the chill of his terror.

“You are… not ready to walk by my side. That is okay. Very few are.” She knelt over him, nearly face to face. Nothing about her seemed solid. “I will come back for you soon, then. I love you.”

The shadow planted itself on Timmy’s face, in a horrid facsimile of a mother’s goodnight kiss. A scream roared into his throat. Sensation started leaving his limbs. He felt his lungs shrivel and his heartbeat slow, slow, go dead…

“NO!” He snapped up in his bed, soaked in cold sweat. His breath was ragged and raspy, his heart pounding once more. He moved his hands in front of his eyes, to make sure he still could.

In the dark of early morning, Timmy wept.

1 year ago

The Meaning of a Kiss
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)

He smiled cruelly, “niekas.”

She scowled and he knew he’d won.

“You are a woman of the world, wanderer. Surely you understand what must come.” He said this not for her, but for the youthful zealots holding her. She looked like she knew it.

“There are many aspects to a person,” she replied. “Just as a word can have several meanings, a person can have several names.”

“Then those names are meaningless,” Osareph said, flat and powerful. “There is a purity to clear speech. A ‘dog’ is vague, but a ‘bitch’ is quite clear. Here, we value that purity.”

“Dogs are common.”

He admired the challenge she presented him, coming to his seat and threatening his position. “So are bitches.”

Her eyes flared. “I think you’re wrong, priest. Words on their own hold no power.”


“But words with context craft a spelling like you’ve never written.”

Osareph laughed, “Demonstrate.”

“‘There once was a wanderer who came from nowhere—.’”

“Stories are for children,” Osareph said.

“These two look plenty young to me.”

Osareph looked again at her arresters. They were brothers, he thought. They stood alike in that way all fervent youngsters do, cocksure and unfamiliar with doubt. “Yes, maturation is swifter since that rapturous cull. The blessings of modernity for the faithful. But you were demonstrating. Do so without anecdotes.”

“Without stories, life is dull.”

“No. Anecdotes distract from the message. That is the point of argument. Speak purely what you mean. If you don’t know what you mean, speak not.”

She laughed at him.

“‘The Wanderer’s name was Klajonas and he was a man torn by myriad desires. In the end, he found peace only by choosing one path over all others. A kiss—’”

“This is the trouble with anecdotes; there are unnecessary elements. This man is striving to either make himself essencial, yet this device is extraneous.”

“When is a kiss only a kiss?” She asked, coily.

He sneered and leaned close to her, whispered,—“When it is meaningless”—and pressed his mouth against hers.

She bit him and spat bloodily, “Divine that meaning.”

Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
1 year ago

The Kiss That Broke Everything (Nyssa’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

Nyssa remembered her fortieth birthday.

She remembered how giddy, how excited she had felt.

Memories of grabbing her best friend Allina’s hand, and almost dragging her across the parks and coastline of Renovaire, pointing out plants and bugs and talking energetically about anything and everything with her.

She remembered how happy, how certain she had been.

She had invited Allina to dinner, like they so often did together. Not normally at a place so expensive, but this was a special occasion.

She remembered how nervous she felt.

She had stood to lean over the dining table, caressing Allina’s face with her hands as her lips pressed against her friend’s – until they jerked away from her like a hangman’s noose pulling taut.

There was this awful, long silence, as they both stared at each other with a kind of horror.

Allina was first to speak, after a deep breath. “Why? Why did you do that?”

“I-I…I, thought you would…like it?”

“Since when have I ever liked kissing? From anyone?”

“Well uh, I mean, I’m not just anyone-”

“Nyssa, you didn’t even ask.”

Her mouth was going dry. “Look, I’m sorry for that okay? It’s only because, I’ve been feeling really close with you, and-”

“Oh, it’s been close alright. What with how often you keep touching me. Seriously, it’s been getting overwhelming lately.”

Nyssa’s jaw dropped. “Wh-what? You didn’t – why didn’t you say anything?”

Allina’s body tensed. “Because you are my best friend, that’s why. I enjoy our walks and conversations, and I tolerated you every time you touched me because-”


“-I didn’t want to make things…awkward.”

“You TOLERATED me?” Nyssa almost screamed, her throat tightening with anger.

“No – no, that is not what I meant at all-”

But ‘tolerated’ had already been burnt into her mind, and had already shattered her heart.

She knew there were other things they said to each other that evening. Hurtful, painful, broken things.

But she decided to be kind to herself, and opened her eyes to the present once more.

One painful memory at a time. The rest can wait for another day.