Writing Group: What Dreams Below

Hello, Dreamers of all sorts!

Have you ever had a dream that you, um, you had, your, you- you could, you’ll do, you- you wants, you, you could do so, you- you’ll do, you could- you, you want, you want him to do you so much you could do anything, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

What Dreams Below

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!

How does one describe dreams? They come in an array of forms and types, and while we can describe what happens in them when we have them— if we can recall them well enough upon waking— it is rather difficult to describe what dreams are, what they are made of.

But I suppose this prompt isn’t just about what dreams are. The word ‘below’ adds quite an interesting direction too, doesn’t it? For example, maybe you choose to write about a zombie, stuck in their grave six feet under, dreaming about what unlife outside this pillowy box would be like. What could they do, now that they have all the time in the world? Would they be able to disprove the myth that zombies like brains since, at the moment, they’re really craving the nice homemade chicken penne like their still-living spouse would make every Saturday? Or perhaps you would like to peer into the dreams of the mice and rats living under the house, and what they wish to accomplish. Do they only dream of food, of the delicious cheeses and other lovely snacks that the humans above bring home? Do they dream of venturing beyond this little house to see the world? Maybe they’ve seen through the cracks in the house how many times the human children have watched that movie about the chef rat and now they’re inspired to follow his example.

Perhaps you choose to write about the monster under the bed, and what they dream about during the time that they aren’t scaring children. Or maybe they aren’t trying to scare children at all, but are the ones that create the beautiful dreams that children have. Maybe they’re just scary outwardly, but are the reason children can have such wild imaginations. Expanding on this further, maybe you can write about the eldritch beast far below the earth’s crust, on another plane of existence, endlessly weaving dream after dream for the humans above. Mixing and twisting, molding and stretching, and sometimes getting the dream-threads tangled and causing the strange dreams that sometimes occur. Does this being weave nightmares as well? If so, how? Do they simply paint them differently, or maybe spin the threads through a different loom that is tainted with shadows and fear? A better question still; does this great being also dream? Perhaps it does, and that is where its threads come from. Unraveling its own dreams to share with the world.

There’s any number of stories one can dream up for such a mystical prompt.

So get your writing instruments, your favourite warm beverage, snuggle up in your blanket, and see what dreamy stories are lurking just below the surface of your mind.

—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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Nick
Nick
7 months ago

Dark Dreams
by Nick

Deep inside a small cave, Sentinal, the evil, dark side of Otto, was not moving. He was dormant and all alone. Separated from his host. All he could do was dream. Dreaming kept him alive. He dreamt of himself taking Otto’s place as the hero and being the true husband that Flara wanted him to be.

“What’s the matter Sentinal?” Flara asked, “You and I are royal now. We can finally rule over the world the way we wanted to”.

“Pssh, that’s easy for you to say” Sentinal started. “You’ll still be the sweetheart princess thinking about how much people need you. I’m the one all alone in this castle day after day with no respect.”

Flara was taken back a bit by his statement and tried to reason with him, “I am not a sweetheart!” exclaimed Flara. I’m just as powerful as you are in ruling this world.”

Sentinal was still stubborn and wanted to be on top.

“So what am I?” began Sentinal, “I’m not good enough unless I do evil the way you think it’s right? No! Darkness is what makes our world beautiful. Darkness is the only way we can live happily together.”

Flara tried to argue further with her points that “we don’t need the darkness or evil in this world. We have us and our team,” she said.

“But, Darkness is what makes me powerful” retorted Sentinal. “Darkness is the only way we can live happily together.”

Flara still tried to argue that she could give up things if it would help Sentinal be happy. She loved him so much that she was willing to compromise for his sake.

“Why don’t we take some time to be alone. Maybe disappear for a while. Just the two of us” pleads Flara, but Sentinal does not respond.

After a long silence, Flara leaves him in the room alone. As she closes the door the Darkness enters through the wall.

“You should get revenge for doing this to him, his team, and to his soon-to-be wife!” growls the Darkness.

“Yes,” says Sentinal. “Let us end the reign of Otto Cameron!” After a few seconds, his eyes shoot open ready to finally move again and to take revenge on the man who killed him.

Last edited 7 months ago by Nick
Alan Baker
7 months ago

The “Peacekeeper”
By Alan Baker

A steel hatch, thick concrete walls guard the dragon that lies below. Quietly it waits to eat this world. Leave nothing behind but the creator’s dream.

Born in the embers of the final war, a devil summoned to enforce the peace. They said it would end the next before it began. They said that its wrath would never be unleashed.

But then they built ten thousand more, hiding them in sites unknown. As with every year, their power grew.

Two keys and eight digits to wake the beast. Eight digits to end the world. Seven hundred pounds of hatred wrapped in eighty-eight tons of black repulsion.

So many years of silence passed us by. As the executioner slept, the world forgot. Yet some around are still not satisfied. They still dream of ruin and more shallow graves.

I look upon it in this cold dark tomb. Awaiting orders, I pray, will never come. For, here I wait to end the world the thousandth time.

Two keys and eight digits to wake the beast. Eight digits to end the world. Seven hundred pounds of hatred wrapped in eighty-eight tons of black repulsion.

Would I turn the key if the time came? Add my demon to the harvest. Those are my orders, they must be obeyed. Could it be the kinder way?

Is it better for nothing to remain? If the order were to come, could it be a mercy to obliterate those who might remain? Leave no brides to grieve, no friends to cry.

Eight two six two four nine seven one.

Hastaw
Hastaw
7 months ago

Stormgazer

By: Hastaw

The night smells fresh as I walk onto my newly submerged patio. The wind gently brushes against me, barely giving the fireflies trouble.

The pine trees never seemed troubled by the suffocating amount of water. Their roots tied around each other, creating a makeshift raft allowing life to flourish.

I love nights like this. I ring the tiny brass bell to signal the boat to receive me. The moon grows every day, impeding travel. It’s so beautiful, though.

I most often look at the fish during the boat rides, their scales feeding off the light of the moon. They get bigger every day.

The bridge has partially submerged; add it to the list, I guess. The yellow house had to evacuate. The yacht club closed down. The usual, though I’m sad about the last one. My family had great times there.

“This is our stop!” Yelled the ferryman. I stepped off, along with some guy. Guess he wanted to stormgaze, too.

I felt I should’ve said something to the stranger, so
I opened my mouth. He cut me off. He hushed me with his finger and whispered,” It’s starting.” He pointed at something in the distance. Something specific.

There was a fox. It started running up the hill and sat. Was it supposed to do something?

As if it read my thoughts, it looked at me, then the sky. A lightning bolt started sizzling straight towards the poor thing.

I tried to scream, but my voice wouldn’t listen. The man gave me an impatient look. “Be quiet. You will scare her!” The man whispered harshly.

I opened my mouth to retort, but it instead hung there in awe. The fox caught the lightning bolt. Then and there, it began to dance. It twirled in the air, lightning in tow. It flipped, whirled, and threw it up into the clouds, causing a loud “crack!”

Another came to illuminate its face. It wasn’t a fox’s face, though. It was human.

I jolted, awoke, and greeted the morning. It was a dream? I had a whole life inside it!

Maxer4000
Maxer4000
7 months ago

Washed up?
By Maxer4000

Despite all the protections he had, a shell coming out of a battle cruiser going straight at a man would still give him significant damage. The man in black armor caught a glimpse of his throat plate breaking as he being spun around by the force of the warhead, tearing a massive chunk of his chest plate, exposing the electronic inside the metal casing. He hit the water, the circuits gave out, the hydraulics lost their function, his fleshy body struggle to move 2 tons of metal under water to swim back to the boat to no avail. Even worse that his emergency oxygen tank broke during the blast.

He began to drift away, accepting his demise. As he closed his eye, a bright light shined, piercing into his eye, as if it’s forcing him to open it. He woke up, greeted by the blazing ball of plasma everyone call the sun. Moving his arm, he felt the heaviness of his armor, still encasing him, pinning him down with it’s unsupported weight.

Feeling tired, he turns his head from the sun, only to be greeted by sand, dry sand. Realizing he’s on shore, the need to move came back, he tried his best to get his hands onto what remain of his chest plate to try and remove it, grasping at the exposed steel frame underneath it, he pulled, and pulled, trying to break open the latched that was holding him inside. Eventually, they snapped, swinging the armor’s torso wide open, taking the chance, he began to worm his way out of his black tomb. Body meeting sand, he struggled to stand, it has been a long time, his legs just ceased to work through inactivity. More struggles ensued, finally standing upright. He looked at where he washed up, trying to work out where he landed.

An eerie sound crept up behind him, it’s all too familiar to him. He turned, meeting sight with a quadrupedal being made of a black crystalline substance, it’s crimson red eye met his emerald gaze. It jumped at him, everything went dark. He opened his eye again, greeted by the sound of gun fire and metal clanging, a sense relief upon peering into the cold blue eye of the crystallized savior.

Matthew R. Wright
Matthew R. Wright
7 months ago

Unquiet
By Matthew R. Wright

After the discovery of THE LONG DREAM, by a hobbyist with questionable motives, it was hard to find a quiet or peaceful moment at your local cemetery or graveyard to just think. Packed like concerts, patrons held tightly onto those silly rubber tubes and jars, digging into the dirt, as if the smoke itself held any further answers instead of just raising more questions.

Resting? That doesn’t feel like quite the right word to use anymore. Passing the time? No longer as final as it was once thought to be, it feels weird to acknowledge that the dead dream now, or perhaps that they’ve always dreamed?

It starts at the moment of death and keeps going, perhaps forever, it’s too early to know. The dreams are believed to be the first true evidence that there’s something after death, after the eyes close and the chest exhales for the last time, that something actually happens.

The dreams emanate from the skull like a clear smoke, unseen by the naked eye, but sensed in other ways. A leakage from what was once our imagination perhaps? Breaking out? Escaping? Begging for the light?

Those poor and desperate souls, unable to move on or wait, console themselves through the stealing of that smoke. Collected in jars and Tupperware boxes, passing from the overflow of the coffin through those rubber tubes, dug deep into the dirt.

If treated properly, it is said, captured in the right conditions and with the use of the right chemicals, those dreams could be absorbed, to be dreamt again, to be seen and shared, to relink a relationship. To get a glimpse at the eternal.

It may not be the full dream, only a part of it, but for some it is enough. For some it has eroded the fear of the dark, of the end. It shows, to some, that there may not be an ending. That there might be more.

Either way, whatever is believed, no longer can anything be said to be a silent as a cemetery.

Connor A.
Connor A.
7 months ago

Dreaded Venture (Sword Isles)
By Connor A.

The scar grew faint over the years, but the pain was a constant. Most of the time it was indistinguishable from the dull aches that came with growing old. A few times made it seem like he was experiencing something similar to Dara and his leg.

But one thing prevented him from completely dismissing it as something normal.

Vio pulled himself out of the water and took in the cave walls around him. The usual dull ache in his back turned sharp as his gills folded over and his lungs began taking in air. When he caught his breath, he began walking deeper into the cave, careful as to not slip on the rocks.

Eventually, he made it to a large open area and sighed. It was stupid to still hope it was a dream, but he did it anyways. And the sight before him still disappointed him in that regard.

It was impossible to tell how big it actually was, as only a portion of it protruded from yet another opening in the cave. But it was still enough for Vio to make out far too many limbs that were about the size of a battleship— if not larger. The face was still obscured with a mask sporting elaborate etchings, but a closer look revealed an arm resting under its chin.

Another victim of The Land.

Vio carefully approached the arm and pulled it away so he could get a better look.

It did not seem to stir. That was a relief.

Upon closer inspection, he noticed a tattoo along the forearm. It was a simple design, but he knew what it was.

“Ah, shit,” Vio muttered to himself. “Just when I was making progress with the ambassadors.”

After taking a nervous glance at The Land, he turned around and made his way back out.

He would have to figure out how to explain the loss of one of Vienna’s gods before he returned to the surface.

Eddy
7 months ago

Wings of Ma’at
by Alexsander Edwards

Rasut felt the warm winds rushing by his brown feathers. Ra’s mercy shone upon him and surrounded his wings as he flew over the Field of Reeds.

Aaru was beautiful – far more than the most grandiose stories had led him to believe, even. Beautiful islets stretched as far as his hawk eyes could see, each and every one of them filled with reeds reflecting the golden light of the sun, animals grazing and frolicking among nature, and people – families – hunting and living their ideal lives. It was as if The River had brought fertility and abundance to the whole land as the virtuous ones rejoiced.

He flapped his wings harder to gain some air and, in the distance, the twenty-one gates separating Aaru from the Duat came into view. Contrasting against the dark river that lay beyond them, their golden shine was nothing short of divine.

But, as he blinked, Rasut’s eyes caught something far more grandiose. To his left, a large temple of white sandstone, covered in flowers and fruit offerings, took over the majority of the largest isle in all of Aaru. Its Shadow as big as those of the ancient kings. He had found the Field of Offerings.

Overtaken by curiosity and adamant to meet the temple and its master – Osiris – Rasut flew downwards like an arrow falling from the sky. As the speed increased and the air hit him with more and more power, Rasut slowly closed his eyes, until all was black.

—–

Rasut woke up from his bed. After stretching his arms for a moment, he walked towards the window. The River had been gracious again, as the wheat grew beautifully, sharing a golden color with Ra’s disc.

Looking up, he saw the clear, bright skies. Horus had been merciful, as the season of the harvest arrived. Then, going for his scythe, Rasut smiled.

One day he, too, would fly over the Field of Reeds. Of that, he was certain.

Last edited 7 months ago by Eddy
Makokam
7 months ago

Where The People Are (Chronicles of The Dragon)
By Makokam

Kat knew wandering away from her mother was dangerous.

She also knew that anything small enough to sneak up on her, she could rip to pieces.

Her clothing writhed at a shared memory.

So she’d take the chance.

Regardless of her confidence in her strength, she moved cautiously. Constantly turning to keep watch around her.

The rocks were endlessly sharp and jagged. The shadows flickered as the soft glow of souls mingled with the dim light that came from everywhere and nowhere. Caves, crevices, and chasms turned the world into a maze. Easy to get lost.

Or you could climb to the top and be easy to spot.

What she wanted was down here anyway.

The walls up ahead were lit with the glow of fire pits. Aside from the souls, the pits were the easiest things here to see.

They were bait, after all.

She moved carefully towards the glow, trailing her fingers against the walls.

Soon they opened up, as a glowing, bubbling, pit of fire sat before her.

She sat at its edge. Her hand landed on a patch of frost and she stopped. She ran her fingers through it, making lines and shapes as she thought of them. The light from the fire was nice. It’d make the dimness of the world worse when she left, but it was nice to feel like she could see properly for a bit.

She stretched a foot out. Almost but not quite touching the liquid fire. Her powers were able to keep her and her mother warm, for the most part. Warm enough. But it was nice to feel genuine warmth at times, even if she had to nearly sacrifice her flesh to do it.

She looked up.

What would it be like when they got out? To see the sky. To see the sun, the moon, and the stars. To feel a warm breeze of air that didn’t burn to breathe. To feel the softness of grass, the flow of water. To not constantly be under threat of pain and violence.

To be with the living.

Last edited 7 months ago by Makokam
Lunabear
Lunabear
7 months ago

It Was Good While It Lasted… or Would You Like Fries With That?
by Lunabear

He could do this.

No.

He HAD to.

Taking a deep breath, he scouted around for any intruders. Secluded as he was in the alley, the gesture was more out of habit.

Satisfied, he punched in the familiar number with shaking, gloved fingers. It had been so long. Maybe–

The line connected.

“Th–”

“Don’t speak yet. I–I need to say this. I miss you, Super Titan. I know I haven’t made this past year easy on you, what with the constant calls and following you and trying to plant bombs beneath your driver seat. Oh, and–and there was that time I threatened your wife and daughter with that phase changer.”

An awkward chuckle.

“But all of that was to get your attention. From the first moment we engaged, I felt SOMETHING between us, a spark. Well, it grew. And I know you felt it, too.

“Remember that time in Maui with that active volcano? I was impressed and disappointed by you jet skiing down the lava to save that small village.

“Or that time in Balaklava when that emissary’s house was in danger of flooding and freezing over. You disassembled my Frigid Finger in MOMENTS.”

“A–hem.”

He plowed on.

“When our eyes met, and I swore my undying hatred for you, I knew then that you were the hero for me. No one understands me like you do.”

He rested against the dirty brick tiles and slid to the garbage-infested ground.

“I didn’t realize this until six months ago, but my one dream was to have a hero just like you to thwart my plans and challenge my unmatched mind. I was never JUST UnderQuaker to you; I was myself. And I could always be that with you.”

A lump formed in his throat.

“So, what do you say, Supe? Do you want to grab a quick bite, then I can hold up the restaurant and you stop me? For old times sake?”

He pulled a dagger from his belt and twirled it nervously in the lengthening silence.

“Sir, this is Wendy’s.”

Last edited 7 months ago by Lunabear
Johnny Saguaroseed
Johnny Saguaroseed
7 months ago

Tale type ATU 130: The Animals in Night Quarters
by Johnny Saguaroseed

The crunch of the insect underfoot went unnoticed by Sufjan, who (carrying a precarious tower of grimy plates and greasy pans ready for the washtub) made his way across the dank and dirty kitchen, dodging scullery maids and undercooks, all the while dreaming of the high life, the rich life, full of fancy clothes and gilt surroundings such as those lived by the upper staff: those footmen, stewards, and butlers whose ranks Sufjan could never join; for he was merely a boy while those vaulted positions were reserved for horses, donkeys, and mules—good work animals, valued for their loyalty, their assiduousness, their discretion and so were granted the servants’ position with its fine livery and access to the upstairs chambers of Castle Gomont where the crocodile lords and swamp-rat ladies of the court held their soirees, balls, and festivities: gay functions of light and laughter; mere pretext for backstabbings, poisonings, and secret alliances—conspiracies masterminded by the true lords, those highest ranked in the land: invertebrates like the Earl Worm and the Pontiff Leech who contended with each other in subtle games of power, all vying for the throne and ultimate authority over the kingdom—the throne which was currently occupied by the inept and imbecilic Cockroach King who sat in dreamy reverie, unaware of his ministers’ scheming, too distracted by thoughts of how close sovereignty must be to divinity, how his antennae must surely pierce the floor of Heaven, and how like God was a king, directing his grateful subjects with a benevolent wisdom and a firm hand; and so lost in his fancies of spiritual transcendency he failed to notice the descending foot of the scullery boy, wandering in high daydreams of his own yet weighted down with dishes for the washing.

W.E. Ramos
W.E. Ramos
7 months ago

“What Dreams Below”
by W.E. Ramos

Many fear the sea. Not without reason, of course. Stories about sunken cities and leviathans dwelling in the deep remind them of how minuscule they are. But fear of the unknown becomes fascination and curiosity for some, and not even the water of the sea is enough to quench their thirst for knowledge. And while they dream of the secrets they can uncover, the depths have nightmares about finally being conquered.

Humans are a marvelous, but frightening kind. They’re the only type of creature on Earth capable of transforming and destroying, all for the sake of being able to do so. Water is unkind to their physiology, but it doesn’t stop them. The sea knows of the land and the sky, and of how they have already been subdued by them, with most of their creatures driven to extinction. If humans learned how to fly, they would also learn how to dive even deeper into the water.

Truly, they are a creeping threat to the denizens of the deep, with goals and plans far too vague for minds as simple as those of fish. Fish can only witness how victims are taken out of their watery homes, and little they know how they become strange delicacies, or objects of science and ridicule. Few are their champions, those that can fight back, and fewer are the ones that humans fear. Like defenseless infants, fish hide under their blue blanket. But the most cunning of them hide themselves even further away, far from the reach of humans, in corners untouched by both their hands and light. These distant and dark places are where they can daydream and bide their time until the age of mankind passes.

Yes, fish do not sleep, but they certainly dream of being left alone.

Last edited 7 months ago by W.E. Ramos
Chrono
Chrono
7 months ago

The One Who Weaves
By Chrono:

The fog-covered town of Alnir, filled with quaint homes and colorful crowds, belied a colder truth. It is a place of suffering, one of betrayal, one of abandonment, and one of breaking. This town only shares its cruelty to those who abide in it. Gangs in the street kill and rob, corrupting what little hope for civility the town might have. Children starve, begging on the streets until they eventually go missing.

To be abandoned in Alnir meant a cold, hungry death. Everyone knew it.

Lucas felt the blow crunch one of his ribs. He thought he could trust Jacob. He had been one of them. The cold words spat at him still rang in his head. “You were never anything but a tool.” His face was wet, covered in tears that overtook him. He felt so cold, so utterly alone.

As he lay there on the stones of the alley, in a pool of salty blood and tears, warmth filled his chest as a voice like fire filled his mind.

“Wake, child.

You are mine.

You are loved.”

Lucas felt strength slowly seep into his joints, and he pulled himself up, reinvigorated.

For the One of Weaving loves all. The One below knows all and is at peace with all. It has watched over their forsaken town with only mercy. It has seen only hope in its wise, closed eyes and that It will share. The forsaken will be brought in, the lonely abided by, and the broken mended.

ThatWeirdFish
ThatWeirdFish
7 months ago

The Basement of Blasphemy (The Depths Files)
By ThatWeirdFish

The familiar rapping of Alphaeus’ boots against the cement floor sent the abominations writhing into the far corners of their cells. Some hissed as he passed, others curled their wings over themselves, yet some just watched with broken eyes. He paid no heed to the failures. Tonight will go perfectly.

It must.

Alphaeus unlocked the laboratory with the wave of his hand and glided inside. Once he arranged the latest samples on the desk, he worked swiftly. Their opposing nature decayed rapidly here, much to his eternal annoyance. This time he was able to fuse the essences into something promising. As he waited for the serum to cure, his eyes flicked to the dark stain on the wall. His first failure. One that weighed as heavily on his mind as his obsession did now.

Then he loaded a syringe with the mixture and approached the lifeless construct strapped to the gurney in the center of the room. Behind his surgical mask, the Chimeric Baron allowed himself a slight smile. It was perfect in form, a beautiful collage of holy and profane, and all it needed was the spark of life in his hands.

After administering the solution, he watched the construct closely. A shiver of skin, the faintest flicker of light, nothing missed his intense focus. He walked around it slowly, counting the seconds with each step.

Its eyes opened, pupilless bright blue stared ahead in an unfocused gaze. Alphaeus frowned. This construct was taking too long. He turned to retrieve his blade.

“Who…”

The Baron stood still.

“… who am I?”

Alphaeus approached and looked over the construct a final time, ignoring its questioning gaze. Not a single mark of decay or corruption. Excellent. He noted the construct’s number before leaving the room.

The construct listened to the unfamiliar noise that drifted away and upwards. Then visions flooded its mind. Colors and shapes collided and blurred together as one word formed on its lips.

“Wrong.”

VeryBoringName
VeryBoringName
7 months ago

The Dreamers
By: VeryBoringName

Adrian bid his servants farewell and ventured down the crypt. They knew better than to question his strange behaviors and occult practices, and they were instructed to, under no circumstances, venture into the dungeons below his Parisian mansion. They wouldn’t come there even if he screamed.

He laid down in the middle of a stone circle around which twisted fungi and plants grew. He sometimes wondered how close he was in truth to this vortex of lost souls known as the catacombs, perhaps a few meters of dirt away. He reasoned that is why the potency of the occult was strongest in the crypt.

Dream came to him soon, as he recited incantations in his mind to invoke the void. From the darkness of the dream emerged faces, skulls, bodies, one by one. Women, children, men, everyone. They opened their mouths and in their voices they said.

“We speak as one.”

Then, as their eyelids started to lift revealing ashen eyes and he started to orientate in his surrounding of walls of bone, they said in one voice.

“I speak as many.”

And then he knew, he had finally found what he was looking for. A god, elder from beyond his time, from beyond the world’s time. He had so many questions now that he had attracted its attention. He opened his mouth.

“I speak as many.”

He did not understand what just happened, that was not the question he had concocted. And then he felt something creep ever so slowly into his mind. He opened his mouth to ask, to protest, to do anything.

“I speak as many.”

He said once again. He woken from his dream and began screaming, paralyzed. He had no doubt in his mind his servants could hear him, or the masses of earth moving behind him. He could not hold it anymore from breaching the defences of his mind, he cried.

“I speak as many.”

He said, before closing his eyes, Adrian no more, and then the masses of earth stopped moving. The catacombs bigger by one tunnel.

Haelamon
Haelamon
7 months ago

Buried
Author: Hael Amon
Wordcount: 346

Logic and reason versus irrationality and belief. And those little humans have the unmitigated gall to think I’m irrational.

I had dreams, things I would still love to do but can’t anymore. I wanted to live alone amongst the trees and springs. Wander around the forests far away from those… those… wretched little bugs. I dreamed of beautiful waterfalls, glorious mountains, and deep valleys I had never seen.

Yet now all I dream of are the ones I have.

Those bugs, THE GALL THEY HAVE TO CALL ME UNREASONABLE! I had and have plenty of reasons to kill those AGGRAVATING INSECTS.

What reasons do you ask? WHY? DO YOU NOT KNOW IT YOURSELF!… Give me a second. Hooooo. For one what do you humans do to nature huh? Burn forests. Hunt innocent wildlife to near extinction. Transform them into unrecognizable husks.

You burned my home, nature itself, to the ground and confined me to a hole. A deep, dark, and lonely hole that I couldn’t escape from because YOU HUMANS HAD A LITERAL ARMY STABBING MY HEAD EVERYTIME I TRIED TO LEAVE! Yes I killed a few humans before that, but they were the ones intruding on my territory.

So when The Regretful made a commotion of course I joined in. The army pulled back to try and deal with them, and I made my escape. I joined the fun so to speak. YET THE UNNAMED STOPPED ME! How cruel to have sympathy for humans and not your own fellows who are murdered every day by bugs. She even sealed up Apathy. And here I am left with my body broken to shreds, buried.

Speaking to you little PEST is hard, my jaw is fractured in countless places. Yet I will not die, no no no. I will not.

All I dream of now is somebody to talk to.

Wait… No…

Please don’t leave me. I may be a monster but just… talk to me. That’s all I ask, don’t leave me buried here with only my unfulfillable dreams. I just want somebody to talk to.

C. M. Weller
7 months ago

The Demon in the Dark (A Tiefling Tale)
C. M. Weller

She had to be careful, of late. The Earl didn’t want to hear about disturbances now that the second heir was born. He only wanted good news. Good news, like the little Lord Spitebane continuing to grow hale and hearty. Nurse Aspen did her utmost for both the babe and his resting mother. A job that had a recent difficulty.

The little Lord Kormwind.

Aspen had already nearly tripped over him twice. One six-year-old Tiefling could cause a lot of unmeaning trouble in his endeavors. Such as protecting his infant brother from his own fears. Nurse Felfeather had complained about it, just yesterday.

“That little devil and his obsessions,” she griped. “I had to take him to see Lord Spitebane or he would NEVER shut up. And now he won’t sleep in his bed. Something about protecting his infant Lordship from monsters. Ha! The only monster in this castle is HIM.”

This night, equipped with a dark lantern so that the Countess-consort Emmalaina could sleep, Aspen carefully cast the shuttered light over the floor near the infant Lordling’s crib. A lump underneath. A blue spaded tail poking out.

Aspen aimed the light of the lantern. True enough, the tiny Lord Kormwind the ninth was curled up on a cushion and wearing his quilted winter dressing coat. Fast asleep, at least for the meantime.

He had almost scared her in the past, simply by whimpering at his nightmares in the dark. Even now, he was twitching and murmuring in his sleep. His cerulean features were twisting into a frown. Into a grimace.

This lead to a conundrum for Nurse Aspen. Wake the lordling Kormwind, and thereby end her employment by the Earl… or ignore him and have him disturb her Ladyship and everyone else, including the infant Lord Spitebane.

She was not permitted to speak with or touch Lord Kormwind, but his Lordship’s nightmares sounded truly horrendous.

But an ‘accidental’ kick may be a mercy on them all.

Lord Kormwind cried out in fear, muffled by his slumber.

Nurse Aspen drew a foot back, and prayed for justice.

Arith_Winterfell
Arith_Winterfell
7 months ago

“Aliens on the Beach”

By: Arith_Winterfell

A squirming worm. A light rain passing. Cerulean skies. Bluish-green waters washing against broken black stone beaches. Beneath the waters, the twin suns’ starlight are echoes distorted by the waves. We dream of strange beings standing in white shells with glass faces. They speak from soft skinned faces beneath the bubble of glass.

One of them speaks to us with their thoughts. We see visions of dark voids with blazing stars, distant places, of barren stone and green covered soil. Vast machines turning silently in the void. An image of a great sphere, a blue world seen rising over a dusty rocky gray plain. Their home.

We share eagerly too. The sounds of the surf from below the waters. The taste of shrimp crunching in our maw. The homes in the deep trenches with serpentine halls and the comfort of kins’ watching yellow eyes. The symbols marking the way deeper still. Warm to the touch, symbols almost alive, squirming like worms in one’s thoughts. Symbols older than the world itself.

They dream above, dreaming of those like them, not in flesh, but in thoughts. I see their longing for others in a vast lonely cosmos. I see their own self-divisions by names, and symbols carried above them and on them. They are many, yet alone. We are alone, yet we are many.

They must go, and having been lifted high by their thoughts we slip back into slumbering beneath the surf. Images of great machines lifted on colorless pillars of light flit through our mind. They rise further and further from us, lifted into the void above the night.

The Missing Link
The Missing Link
7 months ago

Gnosis

By: The Missing Link

“Wash out dammit,” I scrub my face furiously. Thankfully the parlor has one room with walls, though it pains me to deprive the matron of it. I scrub more vigorously still, but I can still feel the blood on my face despite its absence in the mirror.

With the blood on my face, the sound continues to ring in my ears, the gunshot. They’d used a real gun, not those mental ones I’d seen the police use from out my tiny window at my parents’ old hideout. These ones could kill. The thoughts send me spiraling back into a panic. “Calm down Sophia,” I whispered to myself, “Who knows when those men would greet matron’s employees in their cages?” I close my eyes and try to steady my breathing, imagining my parents, mom’s swept back hair, that little scar on dad’s chin, a perfect image. I focus on this image, placing them in the room… there’s something in mom’s hand, but I can’t make it out.

I let out my breath only to see the gunshot again, feel the crimson splash again, become alone again. Frustrated, exhausted, and raw, I sit back and stare out the window. The Tree of God looms over the neon soup below. Why is it that I always find myself looking back to it? What is there about the corpse of a dead god that I find comforting?

The Heroes keep the Tree off limits for our safety. If God were to awake again, only They know what It could do to our city… and yet, I continue to stare, to feel that sense of longing. I sigh myself back to reality. I have nowhere to go, and I can’t stay here. I couldn’t bear matron suffering for protecting me. The Tree is as good a place to die as any, and maybe… if my luck turns around, I can get some answers in the process.

I gather up my blood drenched clothes, my only possessions, and find a new message in the locked room, “Seek the Tree’s secret.”

Gnosis.

Tamela Redfin
Tamela Redfin
7 months ago

The man with the stones (Cameron Fauder’s Adventure)

By Tamela Redfin

“Well, it seems they worked out their problems.” I chuckled to Cecilia. “Why are problems so easily solved with a kiss?”

“Not quite sure, but it helps. Let’s just…”

A man in all red, down to his hair, faded in, “Wouldn’t that be tragic, indeed?”

We both turned to this person. “Wait, who are you?”

He cackled, “You don’t remember me from your dreams, Cameron? I am Conrad Hartmann, keeper of the Ox’s Eye and traveling the multiverse for a thousand years.”

“…Ok, and?” Cecilia asked.

“I hereby present this beauty with her stone, Caterina I mean Cecilia.” He put an arm around Cecilia.

“Hey, get your arms off her.” I shouted.

“Oh, you’re dating?” He smirked, “Why didn’t you tell her about the Hawk’s Eye?”

Cecilia looked confused.

“It’s a rock that allows the wearer to travel wherever they live in their sleep.” I explained to her. “My sister gave it to you and it should be in the palm.”

Cecilia shrugged, “That explains the weird dreams.” She pried the palm of the robotic arm open to find a blue stone, “This thing?”

“Yeah.” I nodded. “Cece, would you like to travel the multiverse with me?”

She smiled and hugged me.

“Lovebirds.” Conrad scoffed. “At least I can find you in the other universes. Until then, Cameron and Cecilia. I will be watching you from the underground.” Then he disappeared.

“What a strange person.” Cecilia commented. “But I get a whole multiverse with you, Cameron.”

I blushed, “You’d like that? Even after I got you here?”

Cecilia nodded. “Yes, Cameron. I know how you make me feel, and I see how you get along with Sapphira and Mica. You’re the perfect one.” Her hands gently grabbed my face. “Don’t doubt yourself.”

Last edited 7 months ago by Tamela Redfin
Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
7 months ago

The Shadow Over The Cauldron Nest (Nyx’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

Sometimes, there would be nights where Nyx just couldn’t get to sleep.

This night was one of those, much to her frustration. What was she even supposed to do with these dead hours?

She could hang out with Louise. But she’s sleeping right now.

…Maybe it doesn’t matter if she’s sleeping?

With light footsteps, Nyx slipped into Louise’s bedroom. Except it looked more like a kitchen. Many strange tools and flasks were scattered around, some on the floor and others on crumpled boxes of earthy-smelling ingredients, with a modestly-sized cauldron at the centre of it all.

She tip-toed towards it, pressing up against the pewter edge as she looked down into its depths.

Ah, there she is. Curled up inside the cauldron was a bundle of strange-smelling rags, the muddy browns and greens of the clothes contrasted by a shock of white hair and a crown of yellowed horns, both attached to the bright pink skin of Louise’s head. She snuffled and wriggled a little, her small hands twitching with the vague impression of spellcasting.

Nyx couldn’t help but smile a little at the strange sight. How could Louise sleep in this cramped little thing? Was she really comfortable, with her spine bent like that? Did she even notice the weird smell at all?

Though knowing Louise, maybe all the smells of chemicals and past fermentation helped her sleep…

Nyx watched her sleep for a little longer, before turning and sitting down, her back pressed lightly against the cauldron. Her sensitive ears could still clearly hear Louise’s heartbeat, her breathing, the little noises she occasionally made.

Normally, this would be unpleasant, hearing a living body so clearly. Hell, her insomnia was caused in part by her inability to filter out her own heartbeat, breathing and other bodily functions. But it felt different, hearing these similar sounds through the pewter wall. It was calming, in a way that very few things were to her. Relaxing enough for her vision to blur, and…

Nyx fell into slumber, and for the first time in over a year, her dreams were light and soft.

DaLeen
DaLeen
7 months ago

The Lightest Dreams
By Taja DaLeen

She swam back, down, to where she had come from. Down, where she lived, forever. Into the deepest sea, and further down, she swam.

Her people, they didn’t understand, didn’t care.

She had met a friend, who told her stories, about the world above. Tales about sand, and storms, and clouds. Those were fascinating to her, she couldn’t resist, never would.

Even if she knew, she’d never see that world, not for herself.

And really, it sounded alien, almost unreal. Like a story, told through song, a fairy tale. A place without water, as if one could, or would believe it.

But she did, she believed, she dreamed.

She dreamed of air, of land, of trees. Of creatures with wings, to soar up high, to rule the sky. Of creatures with legs, to walk through grass, to run the plains.

Of humans with bodies, so similar to theirs, but able to dance.

Oh Tiamat, what she would give, to just have legs. To once hear music, flowing through air, and simply to dance. It sounded so fantastical, so lovely, so ethereal.

It sounded different, not like their song, nothing she knew.

And also there it was, another thought, another dream. Her friend had told her, in hushed whispers, about a feeling. About true love, roses and romance, and the brightest light.

She knew not that light, only darkness, endless gloom.

She lived below, way down, after all. In the deepest depth, which no light touched, ever only shadows. Deep in the sea, she dwelled, called it her home.

Down here, there was no such light, or such love.

But she longed for true love, for a dance, for this light. Even if that was, forever, out of reach. She dreamed, she wished, for a simple kiss.

Yes, everything had to wake up, at some point.

But she refused to.

Alex
Alex
7 months ago

A Spot for a dreaming Bird (No Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

The bird flapped its wings more out of habit than anything. Up here, in the seemingly endless sky, it kept gliding, flying high above the ground. It knew that, if it stopped flapping, it would fall. As soon as the glide lost momentum, it would fall.

Flap.

The sky had once been bright. Right now, it was covered in dark clouds, obscuring its sight. Even its perfect eyes couldn’t break through.

Flap.

The bird heard the sound of song around it. Fellow beaks, sending out waves upon waves of song and from other, hidden beaks it was answered. The bird was tempted to join in, but it had sung all it could. Any melody died in its throat.

Stupid bird.

Flap.

It sometimes wondered about the ones below. Did they dream of flying as well? Or did they dream of going in the opposite direction, running away from the sun’s oppressive gaze? The bird didn’t know what it dreamed anymore. Its heart was tugging it in one direction. It couldn’t go there. No one would let it.

Flap.

It was scared. Scared of so many things around it. Scared of the ground, of the heights, of so, so many things. So it kept its distance, away from the other birds. It didn’t even call out anymore. It had stopped trying. It had stopped caring. At least, it told itself that.

Flap.

In its small bird brain, it felt tempted to start singing again, even if it didn’t know what to sing about or even how to. There were songs around it; songs of its fellows. Some happy, some sad, some angry, some lustful. Again, it was tempted to join in. Would they let it?

Flap.

Something rushed through its mind. An idea… A thought… A desire to sing. To just sing. Did the others dream about this as well?

The bird opened its beak and let out one small, hoarse caw. It was a weak caw, but it sounded like thunder, in the silence.

Silence answered.

Flap.

The bird kept flying. Where to, nobody knows.

Flap.

Lantis Armstrong
Lantis Armstrong
7 months ago

Descending To the Beasts’ Lair

By Lantis Armstrong

The sun had fallen asleep and the moon and stars had come out to play, dancing and sparkling outside of Robby’s window as he lay awake in his bed, wishing he could go out and play with them.

The thunderous roar of a grizzly beast, a large and ferocious brown bear, cut through the quiet night, echoing like the crashing winds of a storm throughout the house and shaking Robby’s room!

The very young boy let out a squeak of fright and dived under his covers. Crawling around under them, he found his stuffed teddy bear, Tem, bravely standing sentry. The beasts below had all awakened again, and Robby and Tem would need to silence them once more!

Crawling out of bed with Tem, Robby’s feet touched gingerly down onto the soft, brown carpeted floor. Quiet though he was, the beasts would not return the kindness, and the bloodcurdling roar of a lion cut through Robby’s room!

Making his way across his room, next to his door which was opened a crack was his stuffed lion, Sam. Never was there a more loyal door guard, none were more stalwart than he.

Collecting Sam under his other arm, Robby ventured out of his room into the upstairs hallway. Robby, Tem and Sam’s mettle were soon tested as the greatest beast of them all, the great dragon, unleashed all the might of its deepest guttural roar, super powered by the searing fires in its belly!

Robby spied his stuffed dragon by the top of the stairs. The first guardian of Robby’s dwellings, the strongest of them all, Dan the Scaled!

Downward Robby and his companions quickly descended, down the side of an incredibly tall mountain!

The dragon unleashed another terrifying roar, daring the boy to come any closer! But closer he came, until he reached the very lair of all of the beasts – the door to his father’s room. Robby reached in and way, way up, then grabbed the doorknob and pulled the door shut, silencing his dad’s snoring for yet another night.

Lee Strangely
Lee Strangely
7 months ago

Submechanophobia
by Lee Strangely

Even from beneath the ice, the face’s gaze paralyzed Arthur with fear. Though it’s eyes were closed, he still felt as if its attention was turned towards him. The body’s position gave the impression that it stood upright, almost like pale and sickly human sunflower with its mouth agape and its face following whatever was above it.

“What’s wrong Arty?” his friend asked from the bank.

It took all of Arthur’s will to muscle out, “T-there’s a body.”

“A body? What do you-” he looked around and out of nowhere his expression jumped from confusion to shock before seemingly going blank. His concerns could just barely be seen hiding behind his composure. “Oh…”

Arthur felt a chill go up his back the moment he heard that word. The ice made a loud crack as he took one step backward.

“Don’t!” his friend shouted.

Arthur looked back at the ice. It was still intact. However, another face arose from below, bearing the same expression. His breath became more shallow and shaky. If you were close enough to him, you probably could have heard a faint whimper.

“Who are they?” Arthur asked.

“I don’t know. My grandmother said they were always here. Now don’t make any noise.”

“What do you mean?” Arthur said as he attempted a slow shuffle across. After a couple yards he stopped to check and make sure he had a solid path. His heart practically ceased when the bodies floated over to him again, moving like driftwood being dragged along by invisible strings.

“Are they alive?”

His friend was quiet.

“Are they dead, or are they asleep?”

“She said they’re both,” he finally replied, “and neither.”

“What does that mean?” Arthur trembled, “What do I do?”

“J-just keep doing what you were doing.”

“B-but, but,” Arthur could barely get the words out, “they’re following me…”

“Just keep moving Arty.”

Pryzma
Pryzma
7 months ago

Moment of tranquillity (Stupid Sexy Dragon the series)
By Pryzma (Drago# )

He watched her. Analysing her movements.
Human silhouette wasn’t the most… appealing to him. Pleasant to look at, just as a nice tree can be pretty, but nothing special.
He should have known better, but he was an inquisitive dragon.
Curiosity was one of a few feelings that were still untainted by the jaded experience and cynicism. Obviously there weren’t many things that ignited it in him now, as he learned what he wanted to know about most things already.
But whenever there was something new.
Preferably, dangerous.
He was drawn to it like a moth to a flame.

Soft body lay beneath him. She looked so fragile without a sturdy armor.
So… defenceless.
Even her filigree sword was left unattended in a corner of the lair.
He breathed heavily, his wide chest going up and down. He felt her warm skin against his cold side. His scales were soft and smooth, like a skin of freshly shed snake.

She fell asleep after their night, and now curled up like a child, her expressions were shifting. She was flailing in her dreams, and sometimes her waking body kicked the dragon next to her.
Now calling names of those that she failed to appease. Of those whose approval she desperately needed and was always denied.
There were no handsome dragons in her dreams. Only books and whips and Holy Prayers.

He wished he had wings to shelter her, but how he lost them was a story he didn’t want to share. Instead he lowered his head. His nostrils touched her nape and gently trailed down the spine, humming comforting song. He closed his eyes, harmonizing his breath with hers.

Her expression relaxed, and body untied itself from the stressful knot.

Maybe there was one handsome dragon in her dream.

The Ink Chimera
The Ink Chimera
7 months ago

Hunted
By The Ink Chimera.

I heard footsteps. And hid under the covers of my small bed, terrified. The small boy next to me didn’t seem to even notice. I should be safe. Safer than at home, at least.

I peeked out of the covers slightly, looking to the closet, Where mom had hidden herself. I could see her, looking at me through the slats of the door. Then I looked to the bedroom door, where the footsteps were slowly getting louder.

They couldn’t know we’re here. They couldn’t have followed us. We couldn’t be in danger again. We never did anything wrong!

As the footsteps drew closer, I slipped back under the covers to hide, clinging to the little boy. It was always comforting, like holding my dolls, but warmer.

I heard the creek of the door opening. I could imagine the glint of the shotgun in his hands, the newly sharpened knife at his belt, and the sickening grin the beasts always wore. It made my blood run cold. He approached the bed, and stopped.

I heard him drop to the floor, checking under the bed. As he got up, I could feel his hand reach over and tug the sheets down a little, but only to leave a kiss on the boys head.

The footsteps went toward the door, and I started breathing again, only to hear the footsteps rush back to the bed. A rough hand grabbed my ankle, and pulled. I sunk my claws into the bed to try and hold on, but the mattress gave away, and the beast grabbed me by the neck and held me as I struggled.

I looked to the boy, who looked at me with terror, just like always.

“Daddy? What is that?”

“Don’t worry, bobby. Just a monster from under your bed. I’ll take care of it.”

I let out a shriek, and woke up, screaming still. Mom rushed to me and quieted me, looking at the little boy on the bed above us, who just started to stir.

“We have to be quiet now. We don’t want the beasts to come, do we?”

Last edited 7 months ago by The Ink Chimera
Marx
Marx
7 months ago

One Down, Six to Go
By Marx

Matt sighed as he felt sleep overtaking him. Life was so much easier when dreams were just dreams. But while the world drifted away, he knew this was real. He could hear the singing again. Only this time he was looking for it. He was looking for her.

Soon reality shifted around him and Matt saw the cage. He could feel the heat. He could hear the countless souls screaming in eternal torment. And he saw her. Shackled in the middle of the cage. Her song of pain, regret, and sorrow drowning out the other noises. This time he listened to the words.

She sang about the cage. How it holds the suffering of every creature in Hell. She sang of unfairness. She sang of hope. She sang of inevitability. She sang of fate.

The melody was as heartbreaking as it was beautiful. Matt took a step towards her as the song ended, fading again into the endless screams.

“Lucifer…”

She wasn’t just a silhouette this time. Matt could make out every detail of her wings as easily as he could see the weariness in her eyes as she looked upon him.

There were so many reasons to free her. And so many more not to. This was a horrible idea. Still, he narrowed his eyes at the angel. “Give me a reason I shouldn’t release you.”

“Father designed this cage specifically so that only the horseman of Death could open it.”

Matt sighed. Freeing her would break a seal. Of course it would.

“I understand your hesitation. All I ask is to not be the last seal. I accept my fate. You will kill me. But… I don’t wish to die here. Can’t I be allowed to enjoy what little of my life remains?”

Matt made his decision and the cage faded away along with the chains. It was that easy. “Go.”

“Thank you.” Lucifer smiled as she vanished.

Matt grit his teeth. He could almost hear the loud clang of the seal breaking. He accepted the loss this time, but his resolve to stop the apocalypse only strengthened.