Hello, Creatures and Descendants!
Have you ever wondered how you came to be? What sort of genes mixed to make you, you? Perhaps it’s time to explore the science behind you, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
The science of genetics has always been a fascinating thing to look at, hasn’t it? All the different strands of DNA, all the different bits and bobs that go together to make a unique individual.
But what happens when those genetics… aren’t so great?
For example, take the person lying in the hospital bed waiting for an organ transplant to save their life. The clock is ticking, and they find out they finally have a donor… only to find out after the surgery that the organ they were given isn’t human at all. It somehow still works, but now they have this insane appetite for things humans normally shouldn’t. This organ, whatever its source, is changing them into a beast. Perhaps you would rather follow the footsteps of a creature that keeps hidden away from humanity. There’s a whole family of them, possibly even a small village, but there’s one that’s different. One that’s enamoured with human society, and takes any risks to just see it a little closer, to glimpse just a bit more. What they wouldn’t give to be able to blend in, to be like the humans they so adore, to see their world from their side. Or maybe you want to address the family curse that passes down from one generation to the next. A curse that takes hold on a specific date, whether it’s the summer solstice, a holiday, or just the victim’s birthday. The family has come up with rituals and measures to ensure that the newblood’s transformation is smooth and as painless as possible, though this doesn’t stop the young one from trying to break said curse.
There are, of course, other not-so-magical ways to take this prompt. Perhaps you choose to see into the life of a child who was raised in harsh conditions, raised by someone who was feared more than respected. They are practically built in their parent’s image, but once they are old enough to become the new head of the family, they vow to put an end to those old ways, to break the cycle and be nothing like their predecessor. Maybe you want to talk about the one time back in middle school that you had a family tree project, and were tasked with reaching as far back as you could. You sifted through book after book, read article after article, and talked to distant family you otherwise didn’t even know you had… only to discover you are a descendent of an ancient tyrant who ruled with fear and an iron fist, one who was a key component in shaping history as you know it. Do you share this fact? Keep it off the project? Or maybe you choose to see through the eyes of someone learning about a terrible hereditary disease they could have. The survivors before them tell them what to look for, what tests to get and when, even give dietary advice to help avoid it. But even with all that help, the fact that they could still end up sick with it is frightening, given its mortality rate.
The amount of different stories possible matches only the amounts of DNA that were turned, twisted, and stitched together to make the amazing person writing them.
So show us what magic you can pull from that wonderful, squishy brain! After all, no one else sees the world like you do.
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!
Text and Formatting
- English only.
- Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
- Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
- Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
- Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
- 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.
- 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.
What to Submit
- Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
- Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
- Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
- 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.
- 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).
- One submission per participant.
- Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
- Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
“A Family Tradition”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane
Cold sweat soaked through Bertried’s nightshirt, his labored breathing threatened the flame of his candle. This… This had to be a mistake! He grabbed a clean quill and poured over the pedigrees once more. His father was Alberacht, son of Johann and Gretel. He grabbed his grandfather’s journal. First week read thus: “Water. Three beams. A mind. A soul.”
Each week onward was just as cryptic. But it was the last week that stood out. Bertried had read it a dozen times: “Greaves, second left from the door.” That had led him to an older journal hidden within the armor. It was old and an “S” was engraved into the inner cover. Sigmund. His great-grandfather. The pages were stained, but Bertried could still remember the words on the first page.
“To you who read this and know not our history, turn back now.”
The words were like a sharp icicle down his spine. But he was resolved. He double-checked the occult history book lent to him. The name was there clear as day. Sigmund the Sinner. But the townsfolk called him something else. The Grim Butcher. Grandfather Johann had dedicated his life to the restoration of the family name.
Bertried took a deep breath. If the Butcher’s Book gave him the answers, what was the harm in looking? He steeled himself and turned the page.
“In the ignoble past of our family, we stumbled through aristocracy with little grace,” the book read. “That was until we began our purpose.”
Bertried found himself reading aloud, his voice echoing throughout the study. He saw the fog of his breath in front of his face as he continued.
“We harvest pieces from those below us that powerful rituals might be retained. What’s one life for dozens? One exsanguination here, one rib stolen there is little harm when the ruin of Houses is on the line.”
So that was why the Houses were writing to him so urgently. To resume the work. To restore them. But Bertried was not his father nor his grandfather nor his great-grandfather. The journal landed among the fireplace’s embers.
Children of Gods
By Jesse Fisher
“This is the strangest set of children I have ever seen.” A Chimeric griffin commented looking over two similar and different cubs.
One had a lion shaped head but a wolf’s jaw and a strange feather like fur on its head. It lacked wings but a scaled tale seemed to curl around the cub. It seemed to play with the fluff on the end of said tail as the mismatched digits also attested to.
The other was far more wolven in look but the beak took the place of the normal jaw structure and the fluff of the fur looked to be more of a mane then a coarse wolf style. A contrast to the scaly body of the cub and leather wings yet a wolf style under belly. Talons for the arms and more scale and fur legs, somehow making the short tail seem normal.
Looking to the mother it was clear to see where that came from, the goddess of Order brought them here for a check up after six months of their birth.
“My lady, your young are very healthy.” The Griffin praised, not noticing the eye roll from said goddess.
“Thanks Medical Medow, I would have come sooner but my mate was more concerned with how others may act.” The goddess recalled. “Given my head priest was planning to use me to make a demigod army for his own means.”
Medow recalled that event, and the aftershocks from it.
“I can understand why the de…”
A talon hand covered the beak of the griffin and the glare of a wife that would kill for her man. Letting go, Medow rephrased.
“…the lord would feel like that.”
“Yes,” The goddess crossed her arms as the Medical began to run down everything regarding the children in detail.
I am a Monster
I need to be faster.
But my body is a mess. Bone plate is erupting from under my skin, guarding my flesh from more injuries. Freshly generated muscle builds up pressure on my organs, keeping them from falling out through open wounds. The metal mail that makes up my limbs is jagged and warped, the only weapons I have left. I’ve already taken too much damage. There is no way to rely on my usual strategy.
Besides, Eadrom doesn’t like it when I sink knives into my thigh.
The alternative is finding something else of me I can mutilate.
I think about the stress.
Eadrom insisted we did this with others. It would be good for me. I can get more used to people. They would help. That it wouldn’t come to this. Me, alone, facing off against a threat too dangerous for us to handle. But here we are. I’m still the last one standing. Just me between us and death.
And they still look at me like that.
Limbs start creaking. Metal rips against metal. My body breaks itself, reshaping for speed. I start running closer to the ground on all fours, pushing off with my improvised claws. My spin extends out to a tail, keeping my balance. Fins made of bone and flesh sprout from my back.
The only thing keeping me from losing my mind is knowing that Eadrom doesn’t look at me the way they do.
Dashing in and out of cover, of view, most of my hits are landing now. Less is hitting me. It turns into a war of attrition, but I don’t know how long this will last.
Leaping into the air to avoid a heavy blow, my eyes meet my comrades’. I tell myself to just focus on Eadrom’s eyes, but his are closed.
All I see is fear. All they see is me. Something in my soul breaks.
Eadrom is still down.
I move towards him.
They rearm themselves.
I keep moving.
I don’t listen.
They die, too.
The Birth of Sin (The Harbinger of Envy)
by Alexsander Edwards
edits by Kaylie Hatch
The newborn creature looked down at its own hands. Their colors and shape remained in a constant cycle of warping, as if multiple bodies tried to come through, only for the chaotic mass that formed the being’s silhouette to reject all of them.
“It is complete,” a female voice boomed behind the formless creature.
“Will it work?” a male voice questioned.
The creature looked around for the source of the voices, finding two bright auras of light, towering over it. Something told the creature that the two towering creatures ahead were its creators.
“Will it protect them?” the male voice asked again.
The dark creature’s eyes, slowly adapting to the void, darted until it could see a planet, covered in plants and weak creatures – humans.
“It shall,” the female being responded. “It is his duty, as our plans decreed. It shall be our first Protector.”
Protector? It could barely see anything around, and its own body couldn’t even hold a shape yet, and it was deemed to act as a protector? And, of all things, it was to protect lowly life forms? Anger bubbled at the thought that the beings in the void couldn’t be bothered to give it a sensible form, yet saw nothing wrong with assigning it a job from birth.
The creature hated it.
The creature looked at its – no, his own hands. Sharp claws now sprouted from needle-thin fingers. His body white as a skeleton, with eyes sharp as those of an eagle.
He looked back for a moment, facing his makers locked in a bubble universe, screaming for their freedom. He grinned, before leaving them to their fate.
On the planet below, pitiful humans continued on their blissful lives, still praying to his sickening creators.
He needed a name, didn’t he? Oh yes, one that told the worms of the world who he was. The creature reflected on those old words. “Protector.” No, he had a new purpose.
His name was Abennon – the Destroyer.
Getting To Know Her (Nyx’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis
Nyx sat down by the campfire, relaxing at the end of a long day. The closeness of the flames felt very hot against her skin, but it was an intensity that she enjoyed.
“So, how did you get those horns?” She said casually, turning to the companion sitting beside her. “Cos you’re definitely not a Sulphkin, and their horns look completely different anyway.”
Louise turned to face her, her heterochromatic eyes filling with an eager light. “How did you get so tall and toothy, my dear?”
“Hey, I asked you first!”
“And I asked you second.” Louise replied, with the confident tone of someone who had already won.
They stared each other down for a moment, until Nyx conceded. “Fine then,” she smiled, “we’ll go by your rules.”
She let herself fall backwards, her hair mixing with the grass and earth as she looked up towards smoke and stars. “Not that there’s really much to say. I really wanted…something, and I found someone who could give that to me. I worked for him for a year, and he eventually gave me what I wanted.” She let out a hollow laugh. “But I got a lot of things I didn’t want too,” she said, her hand brushing against her fangs. “Isn’t that always the way?”
Nyx tilted her head towards Louise, to find her laid down next to her, curious eyes peering deep into hers. “Your turn now.”
“You haven’t answered my question yet, dear.” Louise said with a teasing grin.
“You told me how your teeth got big, yes. But you haven’t told me how you grew to such a height!”
Nyx sighed, unable to keep a smile off her face. “Look, I’ll tell you that one next time, okay?”
Louise paused in thought, and then nodded. “A fair bargain to make, my dear.”
“Good! So how did you get your horns?”
“I was born with them.”
“It’s the true answer, my dear.”
“But, but HOW were you born with them?”
Louise’s eyes lit up in triumph. “And how did you get so tall, my dear?”
Birth of a Knight (Illusions of Heroes)
by Gerrit (Rattus)
The splintered wood of the chair was rough beneath him, the leather straps biting into his wrists angrily. He had long since realised that struggling only made it worse.
Light was almost a stranger in this room, the only source a shrouded glowstone on the wall in front of him. Its cloudy light was obscured by Zellus, standing between it and the chair.
“You have consistently impressed me, Areziah. It is time for you to reach your full potential.”
Zellus stood with a syringe loose between his fingers. He took a few steps forward, until he was mere inches away from Areziah.
“Do you know what this is?” Zellus held the syringe up in front of him, the liquid inside catching the faint light and reflecting in a multitude of colours.
Areziah shook his head.
“Dianaeum, ground into a fine powder and suspended in fluid.” Dianaeum, a mineral known for containing magical energy, used as an arcane focus. “With this, you will no longer need an external source.”
Zellus reached forward, until the tip of the syringe found Areziah’s arm. His skin offered only the slightest resistance, the needle hesitating for a second before it plunged into him.
As Areziah watched the plunger slowly be pushed down, he didn’t know what to expect. Would he feel it?
At first, he felt nothing. He watched as the fluid drained into him, until the empty syringe was withdrawn from his skin. A few more seconds, and still nothing came.
Then he felt it.
A dull pain in his chest, growing more intense with each second. Each heartbeat spread the pain further. Within a matter of minutes, his whole body screamed in agony, his muscles seizing.
The feeling in every inch of Areziah’s body made it clear that he had never truly known pain before. Not like this.
He wasn’t sure how long it had been when the pain finally subsided. He was left breathless and exhausted, his head hung low.
“This is yours.”
Areziah opened his eyes as he felt something be set in his lap.
A black mask.
Family Meeting (Students of the DiamondBridge Academy universe)
by Carrie (Glaceon373)
Sam closed her bedroom door behind her and turned to face the five siblings she’d choraled for a family meeting. The lump in her throat grew by the second.
“Are we planning a surprise?” Otto whispered.
“Is that why we didn’t invite Dad?” Orith chimed in.
The other three—Lily, Luth, and Ametrine—were slightly more relaxed than the younger twins, but every pair of yellow eyes in the room danced with anticipation.
Sam swallowed in vain. This was stupid. She’d tell them, and they wouldn’t care, or it wouldn’t work, or they already knew, or something else horrendous, and they’d all hate her. As would her dad, if he found out about this. And she really didn’t want him to.
Well, too late to back out now.
She cleared her throat. “Hey guys,so, uh, we’re all descendants of vampires, right? Obviously, of course, ‘cuz we’re family, but uh…”
They were all staring at her. Even Luth bothered to spare her a glance from his seat at Sam’s desk.
Why was this so difficult? All she needed to say was that she learned she could float? And it took her almost getting eaten by a cursed monster bear at a campsite under a full moon to figure that out?
“And, well,” she continued, “we know about the pointy teeth, and the ears, and the eyes, and stuff? But there’s at least one more thing we can do.”
She finally hit the point, now to just go for it—
“We can fly! On moonbeams! Sorta! It’s the weirdest thing we could’ve inherited, but it’s possible!”
Otto and Orith gasped in unison. Ametrine shrunk into their hoodie, and the eldest set of twins kept staring.
Sam decided it was time to escape this conversation.
“Alright that’s it, don’t tell Dad, you can get the heck out of my room now, bye—”
She opened her door to shoo them out, only to see her father on the other side.
“Oh.” Sam squeaked. “Hi.”
He folded his arms and tilted his head. “Have something you wish to tell me, Samsylvia?”
Ninasa stood before the monstrous tree. She wasn’t sure if the wailing she heard was simply wind blowing through its handlike branches or if there were still living people in its upper reaches, unassimilated. It was made of flesh and stone, each nob in its trunk was once a knee or elbow or neck, each shattered twig a finger.
Flamecallers worked together as common folk—folk who wanted to live—carried charcoal to the tree’s base. Ninasa carried her own weight and approached the tree, her arthritis flaring at this altitude.
The charcoal puffed powder into her face as she dropped her bundle. She looked up to avoid the worst and saw a single, wet eye staring at her. The gaping mouth below it hissed. A phthisiac, one of the tree’s assimilants.
“I expected more,” she said.“I thought it might reach out and grab me.” It was an easy truth. The tree looked nothing like itself at a distance. Even with the stories of its horror, she wasn’t prepared for the mundanity of approaching it. It was a tree, a great towering tree made of human corpses, but just a tree. It swayed in strong winds and sometimes branches fell; these were returned to the tree by the phthisiacs.
“It has,” the phthisiac said.
“This is a sacred place.”
“Yes,” she knew it. “But even gods die. This place is not good for our children, so we do what we must.”
The more nimble of her companions were already ascending the tree, stone axes in hand, and the wailing was changing pitch, silencing.
“The tree plants seeds in everyone.”
“No one will live,” she whispered.
“Then join me, grandma. I don’t want to die alone.”
Ninasa looked up, into the branches, and saw one of her companions waiting. He nodded. Her knees ached as she climbed, but the phthisiac helped her. Ninasa found a place she wouldn’t fall and the phthisiac, a young woman by her form, rested against her, stony arms securing.
“Do it,” Ninasa said, eyes closed. Her companion’s ax bit deep and smoke billowed from below.