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.
The Albino and the Dwarf (Stupid Sexy DragonTM series)
By Pryzma (Drago#)
She touched what were supposed to be her pale smooth shoulder, but winced at the pain. White curls sticking to the burned back. It feelt gross.
Light was so bright she could barley see anything outside, so she curled up in a tent like a maggot in some dark moist hole licking her wounds.
She envied all kids that could go outside during summer days and play with their skin exposed.
She envied her fellow soldiers that could walk and train all day and do not worry about not being able to walk next day. She envied everyone that took being safe from the sun for granted.
Suddenly small six-legged bee-like dragoness poked her head inside.
“You are behaving weird. Do you need medical attention? ” she said.
Abella wasn’t the most conventional member of her species but she didn’t seem to care.
“Ah. I… I don’t know… I’m just… tired of my body”
[Mother Mother “Body” starts playing the background]
Abella blinked blankly.
“Why? …” the Knight looked down at her own hands as if looking for the answers there. “My body is denying me things that others take for granted. You don’t feel the same way? As a runt?”
“No. Why would I?”
“Well then… I envy you. ” she said with sorrow in her voice.
Knight looked at the Bee. Bee looked at the Knight, and blinked few more times. Normally friends in that kind if situation would probably try to lift each other’s spirit. Well… in case of those two things were more complicated.
“I do not understand your statement. Please rephrase it.”
Actually, weren’t all of her relationships like that? ‘Complicated?’, ‘Unsatisfying’, ‘Weird?’
Should she even answers that question?
“Nevermind, can you heal me?”
“Yes” and the little healer put some sunburn salve on the Knight’s back.
“In the middle, there was the beginning; it is only after the beginning that the starting location moved…for some. Where is the middle? Well….that is a question is it not? Ever hear of the phrase, “And the word became flesh?” that’s a good place to start, but that isn’t where the middle went. What is contained in the middle? Everything.” __ continued, “Class is not dismissed.” The bell rang loudly, and still looking forward __ paused then asked each learner and teacher, “What was imagined about that bell? Hmmm? Was it a college room with those old timey black boards and a wooden intercom or a wooden plank with a shiny bell on the wall, were students and teachers grabbing their books and pencils, jumping for a moment, some getting up some not as if stuck between the two choices, the two choices that are faced more often than we might think with more freedom than we might have been taught before, ‘should stay or should go?’. Was imagined a pair of 70s bell bottom jeans running and thereby ringing the bell of life, their feet being that which makes the noise as running on the earth, is that flare, a real ‘spin doctor’, oh right no fan fiction, those are the guidelines, but are we merely in a swimming pool with lanes or a deep and never-ending ocean? If such is the case, the ocean that is, then what sort of person would attempt to put swimming lanes in the ocean, and do swimming lanes even matter if someone chooses to swim deep like a fish, or a shark?” A child appeared, a child that has always been there perhaps not given the attention needed. This child followed the words, ‘and’ only, snaking back and forth through the letters, AND, DNA…and…dna….. and asked, “what is ‘never-ending’ but always?” Another child appeared, and reading through the words and listening to the teacher and the student speak found themselves aggrivated and filled with fustration. Was it before or after the Author lit a cigarette, only time will tell, “You’re changing tenses like crazy! There is a grammatical error here, and wait!,” the child’s voice seemed to change, “This cannot be!” grabbing a blue pen rushed to mark out words and place another word on top. The child was color blind, red blue color blind. “Who is color blined? It’s very interesting that the word chosen is ‘was’ and not ‘is’ or was ‘was’ and not ‘is’ in that moment in time. Are the bell bottoms and the ‘blue pen’ or shall we say ‘red pen’ all but one in the same. Perhaps these words were intentional and there are not any grammatical erros. Perhaps those who critize and mark such things out lack the centerfold, perhaps they do not, perehaps it was avenged, and perhaps it’s inside. What is contained in the middle? Time, mirrors, perhaps the very soul itself; but what good is a soul to the holder if the… Read more »
They held each other as they soared into oblivion. Autumn’s broken wings guided them over the sea. Farrow’s sight showed them the way. Her hair smelled of maple leaves. His heart beat steady in her ear. Finally, After years separated by metal bars and a dim grey hallway, they were together.
Long before they were born, a great seer gave the immortal emperor two prophecies. The first foretold his august reign and the breadth of his conquests; the second, of his fall at the hands of two children born with the powers of a god marked by a crescent moon between their brows. The emperor, in all his wisdom, killed the seer and the first two children to be born with such a mark. Then the two after that, and the two that came next.
He laid to rest nine pairs of children before his advisors came to him with another solution. To take these children and lock them far, far away. A place they could study the power the children held. So, the emperor built a prison even he could not escape and locked away the next pair at opposing ends until their deaths. He had done so for centuries.
Until, the cycle was broken by two that were allowed to hope. Two that knew they were not alone. The white-cloaked wardens grew lazy and complacent. They tired of traveling between prisoners at opposite ends and, in secret, built a new hall to house both.
Autumn and Farrow found each other in this dark place of suffering and found strength neither knew they possessed. They broke their shackles, and together they escaped from that desolate place.
They fly through a starless night, and his august majesty rises to greet the sun. Mourning bells soon ring.
An Exchange with the Void
by C. Sparrow
When Emile was ten years old, he began to disappear.
At first it was just a freckle or two, losses almost too small to notice. Then, one morning he came running inside, crying and clutching his hand, and when he showed his mother how his fingernail had just vanished, leaving a blistering wound in its place, they both knew.
This was the work of the curse.
It was expected, of course. Emile knew it would happen eventually, and had spent the earliest years of his childhood wondering what kind of affliction it might bring, wishing for claws or teeth like his grandmother, or something invisible, like the inability to do math or tell a secret. His mother always assured him it would wait until he was older. It had waited for his father, and his mother, his grandparents and those before him.
It did not wait for Emile.
On his twelfth birthday, he lost a toe. The sheets splattered crimson with a bloodstain that scared him more than the disappearance. The wound, despite the evidence of violence, had healed by the time he and his mother inspected it. The skin stitched a smooth scar over the bone as if there had never been anything there at all. His mother stuffed tissues in his shoes to help him keep balance, and little else was done. What else was there to do? Their lineage was cursed, and the curse was here to stay.
Even as he continued to notice small disappearances from his body – eyelashes that never grew back, teeth vanishing overnight – they were never severe, and he learned to accept them as they came. Life without a toe and a fingernail was still life.
Then it took his hand. And Emile made a quiet decision.
No, the curse wouldn’t eat him all up entirely — it had yet to kill any of their ancestors. But this was just an assumption. And it was, after all, a curse.
Maybe he was supposed to disappear. But he didn’t want to.
And so it was that Emile sought out a demon to trade his heart.
Musings of a Madman (The Depths Files; CW: Dismemberment)
It wasn’t the question of “how?” that pestered Alphaeus so much. It was the annoying “why?” that plagued him.
Why turn a perfectly formed tiger into a two-headed, five-tailed monstrosity?
Why blend together raptor and octopus into the most venomous land predator?
“There is no reason,” Alphaeus muttered as he looked over his scalpels arranged neatly on the dais. “As people breathe, so I create. Of course, you can not understand.” He cast a glance at the construct prone on the table. “Having no life in your mind is a hindrance to knowledge, is it not?”
He picked up a blade and examined it closely, his green eyes burning in the reflection almost as fiercely as the light above.
“The blending of genes is a dangerous art,” He continued absently as he began to work. “It takes skill and patience, so much patience. As one cannot see the fruits of their labors until the creation has reached its maturity. And even then,” he frowned at the congealed lump of flesh beneath his blade, “some do not even advance to that point. You would know that too well, don’t you?”
Alphaeus allowed himself a dry chuckle as he continued to salvage what he could from the failed construct. There was little he could save, given the cancerous growths that had overtaken it so swiftly. He cataloged and stored various samples before making his final notes on the construct’s file.
“Six years…” He mumbled, looking over the construct’s date of awakening. “Better than most but still not enough.” He scowled and examined the remains again. “Both races have such long lives… why don’t you?”
With a sharp twist, he freed the construct’s head from its body. His eyes narrowed as he held the head in front of his face. “What secrets are you hiding from me?” His voice hissed through his surgical mask.
“I didn’t know Shakespeare was an interest of yours,” the hunter’s remark brought Alphaeus back from his obsession.
“Daimyn,” Alphaeus turned and addressed the hunter coolly. “In need of a new challenge so soon?”
There was a war
By Lobo Sapiens
There was a war between mankind spreading pain and madness whenever it came, it had nothing to do with us so we lived away from it, keeping the link with the forest as we always had.
But the horns of war growled, claiming us to join them, hoping to bring death upon their enemies with the power of the wolf that lays in our blood, they knew that the wolf could be summoned without the light of the moon to guide it, enough pain will make it to come out and defend their life.
The war came for us in a night full of darkness, the son of the man marched in our home with chains and cages made of silver, believing that the wolf within us will not fight without the pain, they saw us already trapped, weakened by the silver so the wolf won’t come out when the pain came, little they knew about the nature of the guardians of the forest.
The fear of seeing my children as mindless beasts fighting the war, filled my heart with a wrath that called the wolf within myself, the looks of my children haunts me until now, they cried in fear beholding the heads of the enemies falling in a sea of blood, they never saw the monster that mankind saw in us, only the guardian of nature that I taught them to be.
I would kill again for them and would love to live with them once more, but now the blessing of the wolf became a curse, darkness broke the balance, wrath corrupted the link with nature and the wolf became lost in fear and agony.
Now there is a war within myself, spreading pain and madness everywhere in my soul I can feel the wolf growling in the back of my mind, trying to claim my soul and turn me into a mindless beast.
The curse cannot become blessing again, the wrath of the beast will consume my soul, but I’ll hold it long enough to be within them and show them the truth in their war.
What are you?
In a small secluded lab, a woman in white working with vials in machineries, her work is interrupted by the entrance of a black armor, it walks over to a desk to put a box on it. The man inside the armor looks over to the woman.
“Took this from his head.”
The woman walks over, looming over the tall blood splattered armor, then to the box
“I highly doubt I can get much out of a brain that got blown open by a photon caster” she concludes
“Just open the damn box and look ya bleeding smartasrse.” The man begins to be annoyed
She pops the latches and looks inside “It’s… a crystal, I’m still can’t help you with this kind of matter. I’m well versed in biology, not geology”
“Well, I brought it to a geologist and he said it felt alive” the man crosses his arm
After a moment of silence of thought, she points at the tool rack close to the door the man in black came in “get me that tong, I might get something out of this”
When she put on a pair of gloves and received the tong, she picks up the crystal and put in inside a glass container with some apparatus
“If this is his brain, an electric stimuli would trigger some responses”
The moment she turned and press the key to jolt the crystal, it reacts violently by shooting a spike puncturing the glass. The man immediately kicks the biologist out of harm’s way and leans back to dodge, just in time to have the spike grazing his throat plate
“An organic crystal that has it’s own automation apart from the main body, I can get a lot out of this. Quick, grab a dish in that drawer behind you, I want to see it’s genetic makeup”
The man turn to get a petri dish, upon a touch, the spike begins to crumble into some small flakes, he raises the dish to his eye level, casting his gaze on the dust what was the spike
“What fresh hell did we brought upon ourselves?” He asks.
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.
A Life Well Lived
By H. Mugilu K.L (Real Name)
From the moment of her birth to the moment she took her last breath, a large blue room was all Tal ever knew.
True, she travelled far and wide, down dark bottomless caves, up the slopes of snow-capped mountains, and deep into the mosquito-infested interiors of vast jungles, but that travel was only through the pages of books; the books which stood in stacks in a corner of her room; she’d started reading them from the age of two months.
Tal had no friends, only the characters of her books. Her, her characters, and her examiners were the only people she ever met. But, she was okay. She played imaginary games with her friends. She walked on the ceiling, waving her arms around, hooting like a monkey from the jungle. She flourished her barbed tail like a knight with his sword, vanquishing her enemies with a toxic stinger. She had long meandering conversations with dragons. She had fun.
Her examiners came in and out, looked at her, asked her questions, took tests, and, really did just what her name for them said they did, they examined her. They smiled, petted her fur, they sung her lullabies, and gave her treats, her favorite treat was a book.
Sometimes she threw tantrums, roaring at her examiners to let her out, so she could see the outside world. They took away her books when she did; she stopped right away.
Tal died when she was ten. Whoever mixed her genes must have made a mistake, but that was why she was made in the first place, to iron out any kinks.
It was a peaceful death. She went to sleep, never woke up. I would like to think she died dreaming, of grand adventures, of wonderful feasts, of friends and parents. But, I know she wasn’t given the ability to dream.
I hope she had a good life. I hope the books I wrote for her gave her a good life. What do you think? Did she have a good life?
A Civic Duty
A storm raged in the distance. Beyond the city’s walls, thunderclouds cast bleak shadows down on rain-soaked earth. Within the confines of the city’s Caelum systems, however, the weather was perfect. Sunny skies for 30 years. A sheet of angry wind and rain swayed at the edges of the city, surrounding the perfect circle of blue above like a curtain. Below, Naysmith street was abuzz with life. People crowded the sidewalk where I stood next to an alley.
“Heads up, Dead-gene’s headed your way.”
Router’s voice came through loud in my ear, bookended by the chittering of my earpiece. She had been giving me positional updates for the past hour, but her newest one was redundant. With nostrils coded to detect source genes and vellus hairs tuned to his electromagnetic frequency, there was no way I could miss the target.
“I know,” I said as he came into view.
His shoulders were hunched and his arms were drawn close to his body – archaic indicators of fear. He might as well have had “Dead-gene,” tattooed on his forehead. My skin prickled in waves as he approached, oblivious to my presence. I slid my tranquilizer gun out of my coat pocket.
Like the lightning outside the city, I was there in an instant, pulling him into the alley and pushing the gun against his side. He struggled initially, but then he saw my silver eyes and realized he was dealing with someone designed to hunt people like him.
I tuned out his vocal frequency and his pleas fell silent. It was always the same selfish request for freedom – Dead-genes like him thought their natural births made them special. They thought the Improvement Maxims didn’t apply to them. They never seemed to care about the threat that their unmodified, imperfect genes posed to society.
I glimpsed his fear in splotches as dappled sunlight slid across his face. He had my pity, but not enough to risk reintroducing a genetic disaster, like cancer, into the population. No, much better to put him on ice, to serve as genetic backup.
I squeezed the trigger.
By Matheus Ribeiro
We thought that the answer for everything regarding human design was in DNA, but out of the 30.000 genes, only 6.000 were actually active in the composition of a human, besides that, there is the problem that a lot of the human building was result of complex intra-uterine interactions not related to the base DNA. Now, we have designed an artificial womb that allows us to modify the growth of a fetus.
And while the scientist spoke, a platform arose in front of the crowd, it had an egg-like form with a pinkish quartz color.
But there was still a problem, what causes human suffering? It seems that someone 5.000 years ago had the answer. This man discovered that suffering is caused by the existence of the inherent self, the “ego”. To deal with this problem, this man developed a training that “rewired” his brain to bypass the mental formation of individualisation, hence for him there was no more difference of his individuality and the world, object and observer became one and the same, this man became known as “Buddha” a sanskrit word that meant “the awakened one”, we managed to suppress the development of the brain area that was responsible…
While the scientist was finishing his sentence, the crowd was already in a frenzy whispering and doodling about the implications of that. When a man from the crowd arose, he shouted “Heretics! how dare you create such a soulless abomination!” Then a shot was heard.
Shrapnels scattered all around.
There was utter silence, everyone was in shock.
The scientist should’ve been in terror for the work of his life was destroyed. But it didn’t seem so.
The remains of the womb looked like a flower.. a lotus flower! And from it’s center a little baby was standing on his feet with his index finger up in the air emanating a golden pinkish glow. He said “In the heavens above and in the earth below, I am the most honored. I shall dispel all the suffering of the world”.
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?”
A short story by Jack Clawson
“Monsters were supposed to be only myth, but as we began sequencing the genes of modern humans we kept finding interesting groups of genes that have lain dormant for eons, slowly we unraveled the truth, some monsters were based on fact, near cousins of the human race that, at the dawning of our society were wiped out, and the only sign of them left was in the hybrid children, and the stories past down through oral traditions, morphing over time to have those differences exaggerated, turns out they weren’t monsters at all, but family members on the same branch on the tree of life, pruned, and forgotten, until now.”
A speaker stood at the podium, while off stage soft cooing could be heard, “Through some gene editing, and activation of dormant genes, we have resurrected our ancient cousin, Homo-Orcus.” Stepping back and motioning to the side of the stage, a young scientist steps out, holding a tiny, green baby. “We have named him Adam.” The audience murmured quietly while the speaker paused for what he thought would be applause. He clears his throat, and motions for the child to be brought to him, taking Adam into his arms he turns him outward to the audience, small gasps are heard as his tusks come into view and the child winces at the bright lights. “This is a triumph, our laboratory has done what others have only dreamed!” He begins raising his voice, and the child can be seen becoming agitated, and a low growling can be heard over the microphone, The young scientist tries to get the attention of the speaker, but he is beginning to panic, and the child wriggles and writhes it’s anger at it being mishandled clear, it reaches toward the young scientist. “I have become a God, bringing life back to a species long extinct!” The speaker continues, raising his voice higher, thrusting Adam forward more, his eye blinded by the bright lights, the child cries out loudly, it’s voice inhumanly low and gravelly.
Reflections of The Self (Chronicles of The Dragon)
Kat sat at her counter, staring at her hands.
They were bruised, scratched, and even bleeding in places.
She’d punched her fists through stone, concrete, and steel before. None had done this
So, what was it? What could she have hit to do this to herself?
The answer was her father.
She hated him. She hated that he even existed. She’d hit him as hard as she could.
But as beaten as she was, she knew he’d been holding back.
She’d spent her childhood struggling to survive against horrors in a land that wanted nothing but her suffering. Bolstered by her mother’s stories of Earth, and how they would take revenge on the monsters that had banished them there, she’d survived.
Then, after they’d escaped, after nearly two decades, she learned those monsters were her actual parents.
Her mother gave her the blood of devils and angels. Her father gave her the power of Hell’s unending fury.
Rabat noisily popped the cap off a bottle of beer and slammed it down in front of her, popped the cap off a second one, pulled out the chair next to her, and sat down.
She looked at the bottle for a moment before picking it up. As she lifted it, the reflection of her eyes caught her attention.
They were red, and swollen, and… stained. They were lavender.
She’d only seen one other person with that eye color, and they’d died at her hand. Died smiling at her; happy that her daughter was alive.
“Do you ever feel like you’re a monster?” she asked.
The monkey-man beside her set his beer down and looked at her for a moment. “No,” he said, without any hint of sarcasm or annoyance. “Do you?”
Kat took a long drink and then set the bottle down.
“No,” she said, “I know I am.”
By Zac Scarpellino
ignore the noises coming from the basement.
It’s a cesspit down there, trust me. You are happy up here. On your own. You’re making it through life with flying colours. You wake up, take your meds, do your work. Once in a while you even feel joy. Every day there’s a new challenge to overcome. Every day there’s a challenge. Every day’s a challenge.
ignore the noises coming from the basement.
All you’ll ever need in life is yourself. No one can ever take that away from you. No one is ever with you.
ignore the noises coming from the basement.
You’re fine. If you say it over and over, you’ll start to believe it. Simply trick yourself. The real problem can’t be solved anyway.
ignore the voice coming from the basement.
It’s locked away. Safe. You don’t need it okay? You are strong enough to get through this. You’ve endured decades of punishment and you are still here. You are still here. You are still here. He is down there.
ignore the ear splitting shrieking that is making your ears bleed.
You are good. Your whole life you have been good. You will not go to them. You would never forgive yourself. I promise you it will be worse.
he is angry.
Don’t do this.
he does not decay.
I’m begging you.
you are hiding.
open the door.
do you see him?
Yes. In the corner. Cloaked in shadows and blood.
he is you.
Expressing as human
“You are killing me, you know?”
“Sorry, didn’t know that would bother you so much. But the place is teeming with the little critters.”
“No, I meant it literally. Each one of them you stomp is a part of me you are killing.”
“Do you mean…?”
“Literally. In more senses than you’d expect. They are part of me.”
“So… you control them? Feel what they feel?”
“I’m trying to say it in terms that would make sense for you, but this vocabulary is not really helping. “They” are not a part distinct from me. I am all of it. What you see as me, the one you were calling Robert before is… like one of my organs. The one who has the apparatus to talk to you and decode the sounds you make in a way that allows me to participate in this conversation. But it is no more “me” than the “spiders”. This” – Robert (that part of Robert which seemed like a human body) made a wide gesture, encompassing the whole room. Encompassing the mass of what I could only think of as spiders. – “is me. This is Robert. The whole of it.”
There was a long moment of silence, while I tried to process what Robert showed me. To understand what he meant, to accept that bizarre reality, to rearrange a part of my world to consider this as something that might exist in it. And Robert respected the moment I needed.
Even his spiders – which I should now consider were his in the same way his arms were his arms – had stayed mostly unmoving. Later I’d discover that was not easy for him.
“Does Isa know?” It was a stupid thing to ask, but it signaled Robert that I was ready to hear the rest of it. Then it dawned on me why my brother-in-law was explaining it all now.
“Of course. She always knew. I’d never hide something like that from the future mother of… well, that’s it. Your niece. She will inherit it.”
God Asks Not
By Taja DaLeen
(TW: mental health, POV panic attack)
I was born a banshee. And I wanted to scream.
My whole life had to be silent. I was taught right from the start to never use my voice, to not endanger anyone around me. But nothing had ever been simple.
(I could still hear the steps.)
I tried to forget about all this when I was with my boyfriend. Like now, I tried to smile. I tried to not let the breath get to me, whenever he held my hand. He didn’t know.
Not about the steps. About the breath. About the voices in my head.
(What I’d done.)
If he knew about the chaos in my head, about the void in my heart, maybe he wouldn’t embrace me.
And maybe the steps wouldn’t come back, once he was gone.
(Did I want him to go?)
Every touch triggered memories. And I could feel it. The adrenaline rushing. My heartbeat accelerating. That need to run.
Needed to get away. Not here. Anywhere but here. Breath. Needed my breath. No. Not that one. Not on my neck. Please, Ba’al, no. Just wished it away. Go away. Go away!
But it was all in my head. I couldn’t outrun the steps and the breath anymore. They already got to me. Already gripped my heart. Squeezed it with their icy fist. Already made me…
My boyfriend tried to ask me what was wrong. Tried to touch me. But please, Ba’al. I was praying to you. All the time. Yet the steps were still behind me. The breath was still on my neck. I could still feel them.
And I could still hear the voices. They screamed at me. Mocked me for what I had done.
Called me a monster.
I couldn’t breathe. Only felt the adrenaline. My racing heart. The cold everywhere.
All the time. It was there.
I just wanted them to be quiet.
I didn’t want this anymore. The racing heart. The caught breath. I wanted everything to go away. To leave me alone.
So, again, I screamed.
The Strange Savior of Thelma Becker
“My family, is a bunch of fools”, said The Stranger suddenly.
“What?” said Thelma slightly startled at the sudden broken silence from her wounded savior, currently lying beneath the quilted cover of her guest bed.
“I said”, The Stranger sat up with a grunt, propping their back against the headboard. Thelma had taken The Stranger’s clothes off and dressed their wounds as best she could, with their upper body exposed Thelma could see even closer the unusual appearance of The Stranger.
For the most part they appeared human, two legs, two arms, one head. They were female judging by the breasts, and their face had a generally human shape to it, with deep green eyes, inky black hair, and a pair of slightly puffy lips, that however was where the similarities ended. Their neck was a deep dark green from a series of scales that took the place of their skin and grew thinner until vanishing entirely as soon as it reached her head and face. Those scales ran down the sides of her torso, before once again subsuming the skin completely on her legs, and running out behind her in the form of a long sinuous tail. Her feet even though they were covered Thelma knew ended in a set of black claws that grew into points. The last and perhaps most striking feature of The Stranger appearance wise was the massive pair of bat like, scale covered wings that sprang from her back just below the shoulder blades.
“My family is a bunch of fools, and so are you for saving me, because now you’re in danger”, The Stranger turned, and sunk down, burying themselves under the covers again,” You should have left me to die.” With that final statement The Stranger returned to her silence, and spoke no more for the next three days.
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (City of Meat) (Content Warning: Eyes and Ick. Body horror stuff)
Cyto loved the taste of water because of a defect, a mutation in his genetics. It couldn’t have been petty, couldn’t have just been the smell of asparagus when he pissed. No, he craved the water the city oozed.
His favorite was water from the city’s eyes. As they blinked, everwatching, long rivulets of water would run and wet the city streets. As they closed and slept, Cyto licked his lips.
He knew it was a defect in himself as most people hated the taste. Flesh, the smell was of offal and biotics. But the taste, oh fuck, that taste was like sugar and coffee, strong as the fungal wines fremented in the city’s nethers. It was the best water in town, if one held one’s nose.
Cyto knew the taste was best in certain places. The largest eyes were the oldest, the most healthy and had the most distinct profile. He was sitting in a cafe—Two Maggots— drinking cocoa, and watching the largest eye in the city as it blinked slowly. It would sleep soon and, fuuuuck, the thought of its potential taste made his cocoa bland on his tongue.
He was writing a sort of guide or journal review to the city’s water. Might as well make something of his strange hobby. That’s why he came to this cafe, the artists’ cafe, the writers’ cafe. He belonged, whether those around him knew it or not. He’d been watching the eye for a week now and knew when it slept and for how long.
There was a painter nearby, also watching, sketching studies of the eye. Her presence pleased Cyto. He liked an audience and he knew she’d learn a lot from his escapade.
The cocoa was nearly done, but he needed the cup so he let it go cold.
Finally, the eye closed and, as the painter was packing up, Cyto stood and emptied his cup. Then with a harsh whistle, he ran for the eye and pressed his cup against the tear duct as the eye lolled sleepily awake.
It tasted… unique.
Strange New World
by Matthew R. Wright
William Weston-Wexler wanted to BE something, wanted to BE someone. He was default in all the important aspects: appearance, ability, appetite, and attitude. Basic. Besides his name, which when initialized was the acronym for the internet, there was nothing remotely interesting about the man. That would be until tonight.
WWW stood before a dodgy-looking dark-market dealer of exotic organs, looking hesitant. Actually, something of note: WWW was the person that I knew of who suffered from buyer’s remorse BEFORE buying something. It was something that would consistently cause frustration to those that had the misfortune of interacting with him.
A very illegal alley-way deal had been arranged, with the help of a mutual friend. The friend and dealer had attempted to capitalize on WWW’s only abundance: nativity. Especially when it came to the complexities and costs of VEX implanting. WWW wasn’t too clued up on the VEX or the MERGE.
It had been five years since the MERGE, the near-apocalyptic event when nineteen of our infinite multiversal neighbours COLLIDED or MERGED together with ours. Most people knew that this event brought with it, besides the countless deaths and destruction of property: all new histories, technologies, and new lifeforms; lifeforms that could be harvested.
WWW had been told that the organs of the VEX, one of earth’s many new inhabitants, were not only compatible with human physiology but were also cheap, dirt cheap. WWW liked cheap and dirt.
Looking into the clear-plastic bags spread inside of the van marked SIMPLY THE VEX, what WWW saw gave rise to a great many thoughts and ideas. There was so much here that WWW desired. So much potential. Laying before him was the default-change that he had looked so desperately for, for so desperately long.
VEX skin gave access to new sensations; a VEX voice-box expanded our communication options; the VEX sexual organ allowed its wielder to pleasure a wide variety of creatures, big and small.
WWW took a deep breath and spoke slowly and softly.
“Erm… Do I need to make a decision right now?”
It was going to be a long night.
A Devilish Prank
by Joris Lemoine
“Ow, stop!” Kzip squeaked at the young Xivlitz pulling his tail and flicking his gills. They were all such bile-hided meanies. Tukrurk’s eyes gleamed malevolently as he grabbed Kzip.
Everything bobbed sideways. And they were falling.
“Heeeeeeeeeeelp!” Kzip screeched, “Take me back! Please!”
“Take yourself back, mongrel!” Tukrurk screamed over the buffeting wind, disappearing with a red-hot pop.
Kzip was thunderstruck, flying above the clouds, limned with golden sunlight. He was on another plane and safe from the bullies who ridiculed his green hide even as they haggled for vinklo’th. Then the clouds billowed past him and Kzip came out on the other side sodden, sobered and screaming.
A voice in his mind gibbered that he wouldn’t make it. He would never see his father-tribe again, never swim in the river of Desire again with its green and pink froth.
The ground approached. He dared to look down and goggled at the giant monstrosities flying around, bigger than a Lilith’s palace. Bulging sacs along their abdomen held them up. Their tentacles hoovered along the ground. After a tentative, squelching grasp, they decided to either drop their catch or manoeuvre it into a crystal-encrusted maw.
Kzip was caught mid-air, wrapped in an appendage, and nearly choked half to death. At the cusp, his body did something that wrenched his mind inwards and sunk a thousand Lilitha prods into his scales.
And he was let go, tumbling end over tentacular end before dropping into a familiar cauldron of froth, the vinklo’th nipping at his hide. He hauled himself out of the Desire and sat amidst the reeds, watching giants limbs reach for one Xivi after another as a shadow drowned Kzip’s hometown in abyssal darkness. There went Tukrurk, and there his cronies, each too scared to hop, flung dead into the maw.
By the time their Lilithai overlords deigned to intervene, the Xivlitz population of e-Még’Thekél had mostly been devoured. But not Kzip and his father-tribe. Their strange bloodline and their strange notions of living without the joys of dimension-hopping and body-snatching survived to spread throughout the third Hell.
A Good Monster
By The Ink Chimera
Issina knelt on the barren, scorched ground of the battlefield. She was smiling as she pet the eviscerated, mangled body in her lap. She was the only one left amongst a field of fallen bodies. Some friend, some foe. It didn’t matter though. Not as long as she pleased her goddess.
She looked around at her brother and two sisters. They were both dead as well. She was the last person, at the end of an era. The traitorous rest of the Vandicelio family wasn’t worthy of being here.
‘How dare they try and betray our wonderful goddess. She gave us this power. We should belong to her, and her alone.’
Still smiling she tightened her grip on the bloody head in front of her.
‘You. You’re the one who poisoned them. Filled their heads with your heretical lies. You don’t deserve our goddess’s mercy, father.’
She crushed his skull in her hands, relishing the warm feeling of the blood as it further coated her.
“Well done, my sweet, obedient child.”
The voice was heavenly, dripping with a sultry, alluring tone that would turn even the most loyal of followers.
Issina’s smile widened in bliss. Although the tone was condescending, she had pleased her. That’s all that mattered.
“Thank you, goddess Avrophey. My life, my body, my soul. Every part of me belongs to you.”
“Of course. You were always my favorite.”
A shiver ran up her spine, and she looked once again to her family. It hurt to kill them. They should have worshipped her goddess as she did. How cruel to betray her. But, despite the pain, she’d do it again, and again, and again, as long as her goddess ordered it
She stroked her slightly swollen tummy, and looked to the sky. Humanity would be seeded again, as it had been millions of times before. But no matter what, her family would follow her goddess as it always should have.
It didn’t matter if people looked at her as a Monster. She’d happily take the title if it pleased her.
“My good monster.”
“Your good monster.”
Blood of Mortals, Body of Demons (Exile Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)
Janeah was in pain.
Whatever the imp Vari had infused her with, it ran black through her veins. Black lines had begun showing up on her pale skin as well, not long after. It burned like acid. She arched her back, her fingers clawing into the thin mattress beneath her, her tail curling around her hooves. She screamed, her voice muffled by the piece of cloth in her mouth.
Her eyes were squeezed shut, as she felt her body morph and shift. Her legs… Her new legs were pressing themselves to the flesh and bone of her hip. Her forehead burned like hot needles, as two sharp horns forced their way out of her skull. If her eyes hadn’t been shut, the blood would have surely blinded her.
She felt cold, very cold, like her body was turning into ice. She felt something icy and wet drip through her skin and soak her clothes. She felt her very cells rearrange themselves over and over again, fusing her mortal parts with the demon parts in a unity that shouldn’t be. The Exiled genes began to overwhelm her mortal ones, feasting on them like wild beasts, as her original body fought back.
Again and again, Vari would feed her things she hadn’t tasted before, in those few intervals when the cloth was removed from her mouth. She was cold, so very cold.
Her transformation had not been quick.
Today, Janeah stood in front of a dusty mirror, wiping it clean. Her red eyes, razor fangs and sharp horns a constant reminder of what she’d been turned into.
Janeah the Bastard Princess.
Janeah the Cambion, without an ounce of demon’s blood.
She turned away, her spiked tail striking a table leg. She was an impossibility, a cambion made, not born. Her heartless chest remained totally silent, stinging like a burning blade. She didn’t know, if she should thank Vari or beat her, if she ever saw the imp again.
She’d made her a monster. A monster in a world of monsters.
By: Hael Amon
Welp, I’ve gotten perfectly average scores on all my grades, which is quite nice? English, a boring breeze. Mathematics, liked the challenge to get the mistakes believable but not too much fun. Physics, just had to ‘misremember’ a few things to get it right. Then the electives were so easy as to be a sin.
Took a bit of research to find out the ‘average’ amount of friends and ‘average’ amount of emotional attachment and that was a joy and a half. So much fun to crack open the mysteries of mediocrity in its finest form. They’re all those kinds of friends that would forget me soon. The manipulations were a joy to practice!
I even managed to have ‘average’ relationships although they stuck around a bit too long… Couldn’t let them figure things out, so I had to dump them a bit early to maintain things.
Ah, but the teachers. All the pushes, the shoves, the little nods and gestures I mimicked to perfection. Even that loquacious fool never saw past the surface. My face is so average that if I didn’t try to stand out nobody would tell who I was at any amount of glances. Tis’ my masterpiece indeed!
Though there is one thing I can’t hold back in easily…
The sweet smell of fresh blood is too alluring to hold back from. The sensation of a knife through soft, tender flesh. The joy of a challenge to do it all undetected while teasing the police, and the oh so burning sensation to see their frustration, their pain, their sorrow. The curves of the mouth, the wrinkling near the eyes, the somber aura that I can’t even begin to describe. It’s delicious and addicting.
Just like this girl’s flesh. It’s perfect, flawless even. Her voice a symphony, and what I do with it a masterpiece. It’s truly so hard to hold back and make this look too good.
Yet I held back, I really did. I managed to come out as an ‘average’ serial killer amongst the rest.
How flattering is Imitation?
by Lee Strangely
I kicked down the door with ease. The old wood practically disintegrated as it hit the ground. As soon as I entered, he ran up the stairs, and I pursued him. There was no way he could possibly outrun me. I know he was tiring, because I was tiring. It was guaranteed that he had about as much juice left in him as I did.
The walls along the staircase were lined with empty picture frames. Frame after frame, every glass pane showed my reflection and I hated every one of them. I did my best to ignore them and resist to destroy every frame. I could hear the creaking and see the dust, dirt, and grime fall from above as he tried to get away from me.
The chase led me to a rooftop door where I finally caught up to him. He was dangerously close to the edge and searching frantically for a way out besides down. He stumbled, but I nabbed him by the collar of his shirt and pulled him back. I could see my own terrified face looking back at me. It always gave me a sort of sick feeling whenever I saw one of my own clones.
Every action they make is one without consent. I watch my body walk the streets against my own will. Every mistake they make may as well be my own.
I don’t care about the genes, the DNA, or whatever it says. He isn’t me. None of them are or ever were. If I dropped the scumbag, it wouldn’t be murder, more like just losing a finger, that’s all.
My hand slipped.
It’s justified. I remember seeing him before. I watched him-… No, myself, murder a man.
We deserved to be punished.
Sympathy for the Devil
By: The Missing Link
She began to stir in the makeshift bed as the rain continued to thunder down all around. I shivered through the soaked clothes clinging to my back. The cold bit like a rabid hound, but I’d given her my only blanket, and the fire afforded me no warmth.
“What’s wrong?” a weak voice drifted across the cave.
“You sound sad.” Of course, she was right, and I hated myself for it. I had no right to sadness.
“Are you well enough to walk?”
She frowned, feeling around to sit up, but didn’t turn my way, not that I could blame her for it. “What’s the rush?’
“You can’t be seen with me. The less time you spend here the better.”
“I’m sorry. I’m always such a burden on everyone,” she said, finally turning to face me. Her eyes were vacant, looking nowhere in particular.
“No, I didn’t… I mean you’re not… it’s for your sake.”
The silence that followed seemed an eternity. Idiot, why did you say that? “It’s funny you know. Everyone always tells me that. I’ve always hated how they’d decide my entire life for me. I’ve come to understand when someone really wants to be alone, and I’d appreciate if you’d stop lying to me.”
I cracked under her visionless gaze. “I don’t deserve this. Don’t waste your time on me.”
“That’s my decision to make,” she said with renewed firmness, “Tell me what’s wrong.”
“Do you remember the Razing?”
“How could I forget? I lost my mother that day. The last thing I ever saw… was her splattered against the wall.”
“I’m sorry, the demon who ruined your life, and everyone else in the world’s was my father. I’m a monster. I deserve every bit of their hatred.” She stood up and fumbled across the cave, trying to feel her way along the wall. “Watch out,” I called out as she slipped.
I felt something I never had before when I caught her. The warmth only spread as she tightened her embrace, “You’re not your father.”
(Nobody is) Born a Monster
By Lantis Armstrong
Kevin’s face flushed red when he realized he was the center of attention in Ms. Applebee’s classroom. All the other third graders were whispering about him, laughter rippling through their smirking faces.
The pen shook in Kevin’s hand as he tried to finish his drawing, but the line scrawled in an ugly arch away from where he wanted it to go. His concentration was shattered, and he could only pretend not to hear them.
But he did hear them saying his name quite clearly: “Kevin Hitler,” “Kevin Hitler,” “Kevin Hitler…”
The teacher entered the classroom, hushing the children as she made her way to the chalkboard and began to write a problem.
“Now class,” Ms. Applebee said, “I know we have a, let’s say ‘exciting’ new student today. But I ask that everyone just ignore the clone of Hitler attending our classroom. In fact, Kevin? Would you please come answer this problem and show the others you’re a normal kid?”
Rising from his seat, a sea of mocking faces watched him approach the board and write out a shaky answer upon it.
“Hm…” Ms. Applebee observed, “now, are you sure that’s your Final Solution to the problem, Adolf Jr.?”
The kids all exploded into laughter, the teacher soon joining them. Kevin ran from the room in tears, struggling with every ounce of willpower to push down audible sobs until he was out of everyone’s line of sight.
In the hallway, Kevin verged on erupting into a fit until another classroom door swung up and another kid came screaming and crying out of it. Kevin was so shocked that his sobs entirely halted. He went quickly over to the kid to check on him, asking him if he was okay. He eventually said he was.
“What’s your name?” Kevin asked.
“David. David Mussolini.”
“The kids make fun of you for being a clone, too?”
The two kids sat and spoke quietly in the hallway for a long time, a new friendship slowing forming out of the ashes of this otherwise traumatic day.
“A Monster’s Self-Reflection”
STARDATE 125.013 Personal Log
I’ve left my home world behind. It is no longer safe there for me with the fall of the previous regime. The flight from it now gives me time to ponder the nature of events.
Some would argue I was born a monster, simply because I was born a telepath. Or more accurately, I was born with the genetic markers and the dimensional energy syndrome that allowed me to develop into a telepath thanks to training. Still the difference is of little import to those making such judgements. To them anyone who violates the sanctity of another’s mind is a monster.
I was trained under High Lord Markin’s regime and was trained to serve the state. Markin was a dictator, and a tyrant. I really have no illusions about that as I was always a little doubtful of the sanctity of the state. That said, I also recognized I was a tool of that state in its struggle against potential threats. I was raised to do that, trained to do that, and that is what I did.
Should I have joined the rebellion against Markin? Perhaps the rebel cause had more fervor, but it also killed men and women just the same. No one’s hands were clean. And besides, I had mind searched and taken information from rebels by force, I would hardly have been welcome among them.
I think monster is just a word for dismissing people by othering them. The conflict on my home world between the state and its rebels proved both sides monstrous, myself included. Perhaps it is just in the blood of us all because we are human. My own actions did not occur in a vacuum, they were part of one group desperately clinging to power, and another group wanting that power for themselves. I regret the suffering my abilities have inflicted, but so long as such abilities exist there will be people who want them used for their ends. Perhaps it is simply time that I should make my own decisions about how that power is used.
The Odd One (A Tiefling Tale/Cordelia’s Journey)
C. M. Weller
Cordelia sensed him there, rather than heard him. Her husband was ever used to moving in silence. She opened her eyes to see him bent over the cradle and its new occupant. Kormwind smiled his pointy smile, all warm and soft for her and her new son.
“Eine kleiner Junge,” he cooed.
“You’re not worried about him being human?”
“Nobody can help how they’re born, Haschen. It had to happen sooner or later.” Carefully and tenderly, he reached inside the cradle to scoop up his third child. He held his newest Viscount as tenderly as he had held the previous twins.
“I thought a Tiefling and a human made another Tiefling.” Cordelia scooted over to let Kormwind sit by her side.
“Many do. There’s a one in five chance we’d get one who takes after their mother.” A quirk of a smirk. “And then it’ll be the Barons causing a fuss all over again. Who knew a broken curse would cause so much trouble?”
“I was thinking of Integrity,” said Cordelia. “At least in there somewhere.”
“Or we could completely break from tradition and choose a name from your side of the family.”
“More hereditary diseases, I’m afraid,” she sighed. “We might have to invest in a book of names.”
Not yet one day old, the Viscount Integrity squinted into wakefulness. He scowled at his father and mother alike.
“Hello, meine kleiner,” singsonged Kormwind, gently rocking him. “Welcome to the world. I’m your Papa.”
The baby greeted this news with a tremendous wail.
Kormwind chuckled, handing his son over to Cordelia, who also laughed. “Kormwind Ten greeted my introduction the same way. I think that’s a tradition, too.”
“Nein. That’s babies.”
I have no eyes, but I must see
By Tamela Redfin
CW: Body horror
“GILBERT!” Feldspar Augen threw a vial on the ground. “How dare you not do your job.”
Gilbert looked at his clone father, “Klon vatti, I wasn’t able to find Phosphorus Cameron. You’re the original, you do it yourself.”
“I have to train the cyphas, and quite a few left thanks to that one group.” His pale eyes twitched, “They are escaping.”
“Not my problem, Klon vatti.” Gilbert scoffed.
“They say madness runs in the blood.” Feldspar Augen pulled a needle from his pocket.
“Klon vatti?” Gilbert gasped in horror.
“Ya? If you can’t be a good soldier, I’ll treat you like a mousetrap. Build a better one.”
Gilbert teared up, “That’s what you did with Lukas, Otto and Odile, didn’t you?! Does emotion live in your mind?”
He nodded. “Ya, I loved Iris and still love Sulfur Cora. Anyway, hey, stay still. It will hurt less if you don’t move.”
“Niey! Niey!” Gilbert cried. But Feldspar Augen shoved the needle into his skin, causing him to collapse.
He shook his head. “Oh Gilbert. My last clone. I told you not to be too difficult and unlike a cypha, you would bleed out. Can’t have that. But not to worry.” He grabbed a knife and cut out one eye, humming and placing it in a jar. He worked late into the night.
“Gilbert.” Feldspar Augen cooed in the morning, handing his clone a mirror.
One look and Gilbert dropped the mirror, screaming, “What has been done to me!?” Half his face was metal, just like his arm and legs. Also, his voice sounded as if it were robotic.
“You said you had trouble catching the cyphas and Phosphorus Cameron, so I made you into a cyborg.”
“Teufel!” Gilbert shouted.
“But if I am the devil, so are you.” Feldspar Augen smirked. “Now bring me that traitor, Radon Cecilia’s head!”
Where Hope Lies
by: Roy N. (CW: Suicide)
Recovered Audio Recording:
Julian Calendar: March 5th 3027.
I don’t know who this message will reach, or if this satellite plan will even work, but if it does: get out of here! Don’t even touch the gravity. Just go.
If it’s already too late, and you’ve touched down, congrats! You biffed it. Do yourselves a favor and end it all now. You’re already dead. Nothing off-world can survive here for long, so let me tell you about your new grave.
We named this planet Pandora at first, after the box in Greek myth that held all the evils in the world. Think one big glob of suffering and pain, and somewhere at the bottom of this box is Hope. We messed up big time naming this place. There’s no hope here. Actually, this is where Hope comes to die! Welcome to the planet Pandaemonium.
If you haven’t discovered it yet here’s Rule #1: Don’t eat anything. Everything on this planet: the fruits, the bugs, the germs: everything contains unstable DNA. Every living organism changes constantly, dropping and picking up new genetic material like clothes in a damn thrift shop. We watched an earthworm turn into a slimy bug eyed horse with rows of teeth, three tongues, and a poison stinger for a tail in a matter of hours. We lost 5 good people trying to put it down.
Rule #2: Survive if you can. We couldn’t, so good luck with that. No food source means rations run out fast. As a last resort our scientists started breeding lab rats for food, but it was never enough. After that most of the crew gave up…drank the Kool Aid and went to sleep. The others are now monsters or cannibals, though I don’t think there’s a difference. What’s the difference between a tentacle monster in a homemade meat puppet and a cannibal? I dunno. They were both my friends at one point, it’s all the same to me. All I know is I have a gun with a bullet in the chamber, and it’s all mine.
Hate is a Strong Word, But I Really, Really, Really Don’t Like You
By Marx (CW: Physical/Emotional Abuse)
Daisy had never seen Alex like this before. Control was his thing. He lived his immortal life by it. And here he was, screaming in her face as he repeatedly punched her into a brick wall.
The blows didn’t hurt. She’d had worse. She could take worse. He knew that.
Even still, when he stopped and she slumped to the floor, she felt defeated. Broken. And that was before Alex pulled her up by her hair, a manic glow in his golden eyes. “What did you do to yourself?!”
Daisy slowly looked up and answered with the truth. “I… hate you. I hate how you make me feel. And I hate that every good thing I do is with the power you forced on me. So… I asked Matt to sever our connection. To change me so I didn’t need it anymore…”
“You insignificant little mutt!” Alex roared, slamming Daisy into the wall again. “You are MINE! And the pain I’m going to put you through for this insult…”
Flashes of Daisy’s time with Alex went through her mind. Not just the brutal things he did to her, but the horrible things she did for him. How she’d enjoyed doing those things. The person she was when she was with him. A scream she didn’t recognize erupted from her lips as she kicked Alex away with everything she had, feeling his bones fracture and break from the force.
Alex easily regained his balance and a new wave of fury overcame him. But as he took a step to make Daisy pay, he winced, looking down at the wound she’d inflicted. Both Alex and Daisy stared at it in shock as the wound didn’t heal. Alex took a step back.
“Wh… what ARE you?”
Daisy continued to stare openmouthed, and then she began to laugh. She laughed until it hurt. Alex wouldn’t attack her again. She was safe for tonight. He’d need time to plan.
Every horrible thing he’d ever done to her, he’d done when she wasn’t even REMOTELY a threat.
What was he going to do to her now?