Hello, Sweethearts and Small Critters!
Have you ever been annoyed by things others barely pay attention to? Have little, otherwise probably insignificant moments just brightened your day entirely? We know how impactful big events and acts are. I think it’s time to look closer at the not-so-big, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
It’s the Little Things
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!
So much goes on in the world. Huge celebrations or giant catastrophes, either of which can leave communities, cities, countries, or even all of humanity abuzz with chatter, regardless of whether it’s good or bad.
But let’s look closer at how our days go. Everything can be going perfect, or everything can be going horribly wrong. And sometimes it’s a comment at just the wrong time, or a simple, kind gesture in an otherwise horrible day that turns it all around.
One example you could explore for this prompt is the lovers who have their own routines and such. Maybe one always brings a small bundle of flowers home for the other, or maybe they set aside time before bed for them both to just lay there and talk, or they have their own silly way of saying goodnight that is unique to just them. Perhaps you decide to explore the world of someone still somewhat new to love, racking their brain for any way to confess to their crush. They get all kinds of advice from their friends on how to be suave or seem like a hotshot, but those just don’t feel right. So they resort to simply leaving a single flower, or a small poem, or even just small written compliments on their crush’s desk every day. Something sweet, and simple, until they can work up the nerve to speak up. Or perhaps you choose to write about how every time you have to do the dishes with your sibling, it always turns into a bubble fight in the kitchen.
Alternatively, the “little things” don’t always have to be positive. Yes, it’s easy to take this in a sweet, heartwarming way. But what about the sibling, or even a lover, who is trying so hard to hold a fraying relationship together. They continuously forgive, but the person they keep forgiving just keeps tacking on more little lies. One after another after another, and the one trying to fix things or help is losing their mind because they just don’t know what to believe anymore. Or perhaps you’d like to express how you absolutely love your best friend to the moon and back, you would never trade them for anything in the world… but they have this one tiny habit that drives you absolutely bonkers, whether that’s scraping their teeth on utensils while eating, or fidgeting with things when they visit which results in lost pencils or pens, or maybe they backseat game a lot when you’re trying to play together.
So we’ve explored positives and negatives. What about the in-betweens? Small things that don’t fall into either category. Perhaps a powerful team has been sent to defeat some evil overlord, and all of them are bested by the tyrant except for the small, underappreciated pixie sidekick who finds a way to turn the entire fight around. Maybe an alchemist is working on new creations, but accidentally measures their ingredients wrong. Simply a few too many grains of sand, or a little less salt, and suddenly they’ve created a nightmarish abomination.
There’s thousands upon thousands of ways to explore this week’s prompt. It doesn’t have to be some grandiose event, or some life-changing revelation.
So get your usual beverage, wrap yourself in your blanket like you always do, and show us how such small things can make such big differences.
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).
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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
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- 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).
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- 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.
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Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.
The Hedge Knight
The knight trudged his way across the field, fallen foe and friend dotting it like daisies on a prairie. His sword was the argumentative type, it had its fair share of disputes in this war but luckily for the knight its wit was sharp and insults vicious. But he paled compared to his sword’s passion, and now with a walk tiring in all ways leading to nothing but a pointless conflict waiting ahead, maybe he had fought enough.
When he was fresh and young, he knew what he fought for. But with his age came wisdom. His princess had married, his country treated him with naught but malice, and a king sipped from goblets of wine far from the deadly debate he had started. Regardless he walked.
A forest was ahead, surprising in this war-torn battlefront. Two large oak trees acted as a doorway, their roots a welcome mat, and branches a roof leading into a manor that welcomed him. He stumbled wearily through its doors leaving his sword on the coat rack, a large hickory sapling.
The manor was marvelous! A babbling brook acted as an entrance hallway, twisting and turning through the forest guiding the eye to more wonderful sights. A large oak stump drank from the brook, natures bench was quite inviting and it was invitation he accepted, settling down with a grunt and grinding of iron.
Overhead the branches and foliage made a thick net that caught the sunbeams gently finding their way in-between the cracks and dripping down to the ground below, lathering the pebbles, roots, and leaves covering the forest floor.
The weary knight heard the scuttle of fauna in the brush, he could imagine being perceived as an intruder now, ironclad and bearing arms. But that was the farthest from his intentions. he breathed in the air, the sounds, the smells, and the sights and finally exhaled in peace. He had found one more reason to fight.
The man excused himself from the manor and took his sword with him. One last quarrel, but this time he will not pale to his blade.
The ants were small, and kind of adorable in their own way. Crawling along happily looking for sweets to carry back to their home. The sun was beating down on them though. Of course, it wasn’t just the sun, it was a magnifying glass held by a little boy who was enjoying too much the suffering of the ants.
I watch this all from my home behind the boy’s shadow, inside the outside, in the place that is not. My tentacle fingers writhe in annoyance at the small child. His round face, and leering expression as he sticks his tongue out in concentration. I am tempted to squish him. I am easily much larger than him. Much larger than his father who he thinks could beat up anybody. Much larger than his house actually.
I turn my attention back to the ants. They crawl along joyously, I think. They are gleeful in their labors. And then there is the bright pinpoint of the boy’s magnifying glass in the way again. His face is distorted even more in the magnifying glass above the ants. That face his mother calls cute is the face of a distorted ogre.
I reach a little to the left of yesterday, giving the boy a nudge into tomorrow. He erupts over the ants into a spray of viscera and gore. The ants quickly swarm over his remains. They trod along in the sticky gore and discover the lump of sugary gum that was still stuck to the lower jaw, now separated from the boy’s skull, lying in the dust. It pleases me that the ants have found another sugary sweet to enjoy. Then the mother’s screaming starts.
A Little Reminder
by Matthew R. Wright
Forty-eight to seventy-two hours. In that time her beauty faded into rot, one thing becoming nothing. I know for certain that Derek McCannon murdered my Denise, I know because of the peaches.
Peaches when kept in the warm and dark, conditions favourable only to the devil’s Ivy, they begin to decay. It takes around two days. The pantry where I keep mine stays at a constant 70 degrees Fahrenheit – for efficient decay – I need that daily dose of rot.
Before the dawn, in the dark, I enter the pantry. The heat inside blasts me awake, I’m reminded of her, of her torn-apart dress, of her defilement, of the evidence left behind, of that rotten peach.
My peaches are in various states of decay, and I take only the most-mealy of the peaches, wrapped in a clear plastic lunch bag.
I’ve lived this routine for eighty-five days: Dark – Peach – Clothes – Lock up – Walk.
Unemployment has few benefits, but it affords me flexibility. I’ve got no reason to be across town, past the trailer parks and women’s shelters, to be on Bartlett Rd, where he is. Every morning you’ll find me there, doing what I need to do.
The routine always includes him. He is my routine.
No evidence. Bah! There was plenty, the blues were asleep at the wheel.
No evidence meant no arrest, no conviction, no justice. Can’t have that.
We all know he did it. The fucker GROWS peaches, has NO alibi, harassed Denise WEEKS before her death, has an assault record LONGER than the local census. Two plus two EQUALS four, McCannon MURDERED Denise.
He thinks he’s invincible, those types always do, thinking they’ve gotten away with it. He’s not allowed in town until November, that doesn’t stop me from paying him a visit, no it doesn’t.
Each morning, I leave a peach, for him to discover, like we discovered her.
He gets the message, he knows. It’s just a reminder, something small, something silent, a little thing. Given enough time, enough peaches, he’ll either leave, kill himself or turn himself in.
Today is peach eighty-six.
What the tide brings
The curator dawned with the sun rays. Their shelter was protection enough, but it didn’t block light – which was all for the better. Early morning was the best time to collect. The light then had a quality that seemed to enhance the special kind of attention required on the stroll. The colors it made were their companions through the task.
The sea breeze was a bit colder than expected, but that helped in keeping the curator aware. Barefoot, they walked the beach, observing what it offered on this new day. What treasures would be unearthed this morning?
They stumbled upon a dented marble, remembrance of a fierce but friendly competition. Had a too strong strike made it careen to the sea, the vastness of its waters forcing a tie to the challenge? By its side, there was also an old, rusty key. Ornate, painted in beauty and decay, the curator decided it opened up a marquetry chest. No treasure to be found inside, but the possibility of being able to guard and cherish something. Those keys usually had a mind of their own for wandering around – no wonder one had come to rest here.
There was also a small wooden toy. Probably it was meant to represent a horse, but the ocean dance carved its wood and smoothed away some of its features. A beloved toy belonging to a sailor’s child, who decided to gift the sea its wooden companion when his father passed away in an accident. A childish but beautiful act, to which both the late father and the sea were grateful, and that gave the child (now a teenager, the collector decided) some closure and comfort.
There were other things, which the curator drank from and built up memories of. Some, they might even have been right about. But even the ones they didn’t… it was still true. The memories of each story, even if not memories of other people, were their memories now. Those weren’t a lot, but were enough to go on. Maybe the marquetry chest will sail here tomorrow.
Blanketed by the shade of a willow tree, an old fool cried into his sandwich. His quiet sobs the only noise in a forgotten park.
For ten years, he had not shed a tear. Not when his wife passed in her sleep. Not at her viewing. Not when he used her ashes to plant a tree in their backyard.
Did he not love her?
Of course, he loved her. Of course.
So why did he not cry? Why didn’t he feel anything for her? Could he feel anything at all?
Each anniversary he and his wife would eat under this willow in this forgotten park. Every year she would make a special sandwich for him.
“What’s in this?” He asked.
“My love.” She replied.
She kept that secret to the end. When she grew too sick to leave her bed, she made him bring her to the kitchen and leave her for an hour. When he returned, he carried her and their basket to that willow, and they lay there for a while—staring at the clouds passing by and the rays of sun peeking through the tree branches. He sang her to sleep and then ate the sandwich she prepared. It was perfect as always.
His first year without her, he tried it himself. For nine years, he attempted to make this sandwich, and for nine years, he failed.
In the tenth year, he found his answer when he was forced to eat a burger his granddaughter refused to touch.
“I don’t like pickles.” She said.
He didn’t either, so he could understand her trepidation. He gave her the burger he had ordered for himself and finished hers.
Under the willow, his sobs grew heavy, and his bread got soggy. He cried for all the years he went without her and all the years that were to come. He cried and cried until the sunset behind the mountains overlooking their forgotten park.
Yes, she made his sandwich with pickles. Cut so fine he never noticed. Even still, it wasn’t the same.
It still missed its key ingredient.
Pros and Cons (Chronicles of The Dragon)
It was a strange thing. Attraction. Through middle school and high-school she’d thought a lot of boys were cute. She even thought some were hot and was tempted to try and flirt with them.
But then she’d think about everything involved in having a boyfriend, and as much as she liked the idea…she knew she didn’t have that kind of time. If she was going to learn everything she needed to know before she was thirty, then she’d have to focus only on her studies.
And she’d done it. By the time she was done with High School she’d gotten the approval from her teacher to go out into the world, and she’d followed her brothers example and bounced the day after graduation.
And after months of traveling on her own, she found herself with a team of super-heroes and struggling with a crush.
Not on any of her teammates though. The team leader. But she was the unofficial co-leader, so that wasn’t an issue, right?
But he was almost twice her age. And he was a criminal. USED to be a criminal. He reformed.
He was still kind of an asshole though. And he couldn’t seem to accept that her magic was reliable.
But he was trying.
He was supportive. He worked to understand everyone’s powers better. He checked in with them the day after fights to see how they were doing.
He tried to understand magic. He tried to teach her how his tech worked.
He put a kettle on for her tea when he made coffee.
He’d helped her study to pass the Heroics Safety Certification exams.
He loved watching her watch all the movies she’d missed either from being too young or too busy studying magic to see.
She loved talking about what music they liked.
She loved talking with him. Sitting with him while he worked on projects, some important, some just to keep his hands busy.
Sure, there were problems, but as a first boyfriend she could honestly do WAY worse.
She knocked on his door.
Where is it?
By Matheus Ribeiro
I’ve been meditating for a while and now I’m aware of how the mind works to perceive reality.
Have you ever noticed how everything arises and passes away in the brain? All cravings, all aversions, all sensory inputs… and they’re just intrinsically connected. For example, when you are angry you feel a boiling sensation up to your head, when you are anxious you feel like you’re being smothered and your heart crushed. But in reality you aren’t boiling or being truly smothered.
Have you noticed how your tongue burns like it is in flames when you eat pepper? But it is not aflame.
When you look at a table, you see it as a table, but if you pay attention, it is a bunch of wood arranged in a specific manner for a specific purpose. “Table is only a conceptual notion, not an object (and it’s parts can be divided into more fundamental parts and so on, ad vacuum).
Even the way we make science through math and observations, whe tend to simplify things as in the table example and math just translates physicals laws in a language that is passive of cognition, not true “experience” or observation, yet, science relies on observations of various instruments to support its conclusions, observations that cannot truly be perceived “for humans”.
I already spoke enough about the little details of how we perceive the world that often are ignored. But take them into account and answer this: WHERE IS YOUR BRAIN? No, you can’t say that it is your head and touch your forehead with your fingers, and every other answer will fall in the problem of the illusion of the senses. And if you try to answer this by using others as reference, know that physical interactions only prove that there is a brain, but they can’t prove exactly WHERE this brain is. Is there even an “I” to really observe? Or are there merely experiences arising and passing away in a non-local dimension?
The Special Secret Ingredient (Nyx’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis
“Dinner’s nearly ready, my dear!” Louise exclaimed, as she squeezed the red innards of a small round bug into a bubbling soup.
Nyx was beginning to regret making a promise to try some of her companion’s cooking for once.
Louise had very specifically told her not to look at what she was doing, saying “You’ll never try it at all if I let you look dear!” – but Nyx couldn’t help but sneak glances at whatever the little witch was doing.
Some glimpses were normal enough: Louise slicing various bright mushrooms, or shredding herbs. But just as often, Nyx would see her gleefully chopping up a handful of fat pink worms, or picking off the legs and wings of various bugs with quick, well-practised motions.
She always talked so pragmatically about her cooking. “Why would I spend such efforts hunting boar and birds, when bugs and worms remain in such abundance?” She would say…
A familiar smell filled the air. Nyx snapped her head away from the cooking, suddenly breathing heavily.
“Louise? Are you okay?”
“Just a little cut my dear!”
“You should bandage that.”
“I also mean the soup! Dinner time!”
“…Ah.” She stood, and hesitantly walked over to Louise, who had a bowl of steaming brown soup held within partially-bandaged hands.
“Try it dear! Like you promised me.” She said, smiling with excitement.”
Nyx looked doubtful at her, and then with a deep breath she took a spoonful.
The flavour was…good? Wait, it was good!
She only stopped when the bowl was empty. “How? How the hell did you make bugs and worms taste this good?”
Louise’s cheeks went a little red as she glanced sideways. “My meals are always good, my dear…”
“No, but seriously, how did you get it to taste-” Nyx stopped. Her eyes narrowed, and looked again at her friend’s bandaged hand. “……You put some of your blood in there, didn’t you?”
The red in Louise’s cheeks grew darker. “Oh. Well, maybe just a little.”
Then Nyx started to laugh. “Louise! You know that’s cheating, right? I’m literally a Dhampir!”
By Taja DaLeen
In the realm of Beth-Peor there is a tree.
Or, well, actually there are a lot of trees, most of her territory is jungle after all.
But we are talking about a certain tree here, one of the many Peor Trees, quite the fast-growing bunch. And on this tree, there are growing other trees. Yes, this may sound weird at first, but you are now in the Other World, after all.
So, those Stacking Trees, as they are called, just love growing on Peor Trees, that way they don’t need to grow as tall themselves. Saves them some time, and a lot of energy. And where there are Stacking Trees, there are also Snake Lianas, usually.
But fear not, those just look like snakes, even if they might move every once in a while. It keeps them a little safer.
This thing there, the dark brown one with the green and yellow dots, slithering down the Peor Tree, that is a snake. A Stone Adder, to be exact. It hunts a lot of things, Jade Rats, Soil Hunters, even Rock Scales, as long as those are not too big.
Oh, you don’t know those animals? Well, I’ll tell you about those another time, all right? See, the Stone Adder has just found its prey, one of those Soil Hunters I have mentioned. So the little Soil Frog, that the Hunter has been after until now, can rearrange itself again from the earth it has crumbled into.
Isn’t nature fascinating? There’s so much to see.
Look, there as well, at the small purple blossom of the Peor Tree. This butterfly is beautiful, isn’t it? With its wings made from colorful dust particles that seem to dance around its body, changing place every once in a while.
Haha, you like it? Well, you want to see more butterflies?
“Liam, Demia, come inside! Dinner’s ready!”
Oh, I guess our time is up. Now go, go go! Don’t leave your mother waiting, little werekittens.
Yes, of course we’ll talk again soon, about all these big and little things hidden in this world of magic.
Get up By Maxer4000 The fire fight rages on, a large knight standing proudly among the hail of bullets, bearing his shield as he walks toward the group of gunners trying desperately to shoot him down “Come! you scoundrels, I dare you to break through my superior armor!” The shooters duck back down, knowing their futility “Dammit, we’re not equipped for this!” one of them cries “hold him as long as we can! I’m calling in the–” “Don’t” a clear and precisive tone speaks through the comm, the fighters lay low, reloading their guns “What? out already? that couldn’t even hurt me” the knight exclaims “how disappointing tha–” mid-speak while he pulling out his sword, a force like a speeding truck strikes at him, sending him off his feet and into a nearby cantina The mighty knight tumbling through the rubbles, finding himself inside a kitchen, standing before him is a tall black set of armor with crystal like design, an equal of his noble design. Or so he thought, the armor opens up, the pistons inside it push the platings aside, letting a meek little man compared to the knight in a white turtle neck walks out, standing a head shorter, he looks up, still wearing the black helmet with a green visor. “Who do you think you are?” the knight asks, bewildered of the man’s action the man in white pulls out a kukri from under his black coat, then he tosses it over the counter to grab a frying pan “I’m going to fuck, ya, up” he exclaims in a cold, menacing tone “You dare!” the knight lunges at the pan wielding man, he swiftly side steps the swing and throws an open palm strike into the knight’s wrist, all the while banging the pan into the knight’s helmet. Concussed, the knight tumbles again, smashing his head into the counter, he stopped being able to tell left to right, the ringing in his ear is not helping, the moment he came to, his own sword flew into his own face, sending him back first into the floor “Get up” is the first thing the knight hear as he recovered, the man stands tall over the onced mighty knight. “I will not be mocked by a peasant!” The knight quickly jumps back to his feet, thrusting his sword at the man. Unimpressed, the man parries the sword, combo up with a heavy stomp into the knee, a loud cracking sound ring out inside the knight’s armor. The knight wails in agony as he again forced back to the ground with his knee bent sideway out of joint, the man again stand tall with the pan “Get, up” The knight now reduced to a whimpering mess, trying to stand up, desperately trying to swing his blade, only to meet a pan chin first, slamming his head to the floor again, the man picks up the knight’s still functioning leg, stomping the knee until it snap too, again, he leers… Read more »
God Is in the Details
By Joris Lemoine
It spun before Him, listless and torrid, as He mused. He liked to do a good job of it. This time, He wanted to do something special.
The Sun at His back cleared its throat with a gout of plasma that scintillated across the scattered, revolving planets. It was used to waiting, but this was getting ridiculous.
A few million years had already passed by and He was quite enjoying watching the lava dry.
“Maybe… Hmm, water. I haven’t tried out water yet.”
“What am I, a blur?” carped Sol.
“Shh, little giant, I’m trying to think here,” He murmured, a sound that set the stars to twinkling.
Suddenly, the thoughts poured in from the ether: He scooped out troughs and trenches, threw up cliffs, and knolls, and tors. A rain of asteroids struck the planet at His whistle and then He wriggled in the crust to dig out spurts of water. Kneading shale and coaxing limestone, He sent torrents of silt streaming across the virgin soil.
Once the coasts were abraded and islands sloped sloppily into the water, He set a spark to roaming in the muddy depths. At first, nothing much happened, but in the blink of a divine eye, the sky took on a shade of beryl as viridian hues crashed over the drab landscape and lungs filled with oxygen.
“Ugh! What’s all that then, and all of it skittering and crawling around in that soup?” Sol gagged.
“Now that”, He smiled beneficently, “that’s the stuff. Now I can really get down to brass tacks,” and His smile lit up the universe.
By Rislowe (Roy N.)
Focus was the goal for today. Fold by fold, the paper crane took shape within Eric’s fingers. He placed his mind in the feeling of the paper at his fingertips, the at once rough and smooth texture forming sharp points and hard edges.
“Come to life.” He whispered to the paper.
The wings twitched.
The paper jittered.
New to life, new to form, the crane moved in an erratic burst of animation. Sounds of rustling turned to tearing as the paper, unwilling to gain the disquiet gift of life, tore itself to shreds.
“Dammit.” Eric fell back exhausted.
“Ooooh, you almost got it that time!”
“No I didn’t.” Eric turned to face his mentor. Elise stood before her kitchen stove, the sweet smell of tomatoes and basil poured forth from a bubbling pot with each turn of her wooden spoon. “I did everything right, but it just died!”
“You’re giving it life, not forcing it to move.” Elise replied, ladling some fresh tomato soup into a bowl. She moved to where her protege sat and placed the steaming hot soup in front of him.
“What’s the difference? And why do you always make soup? It’s barely food.”
“That is blasphemy and I will not stand for it.” Elise tossed a spoon, sending it clattering on the table beside Eric’s bowl of soup. “Now eat, or I’ll tear you to pieces.”
Eric grumbled. He grabbed the spoon and shoved some soup in his mouth. It was delicious. “I just don’t know what I did wrong. Am I missing something?”
Eric shot Elise a glare. Elise rolled her eyes and grabbed a sheet of paper from the stack. Sharp precise movements and a matter of seconds gave birth to a folded paper crane.
“There’s soup on the table dear, I made it just for you.” She whispered to the paper.
Wings fluttered with delicate grace. The paper crane landed by its precious gift and drank, its beak stained red in Eric’s soup.
“Life is more than movement my dear. Life is joy, and my joy is soup.”
Little Victory (A Tiefling Tale)
C. M. Weller
As the only demon-marked person in Wolklippenstadt, Kormwind had become accustomed to a great many things. From the stares and pointing of any passing citizen to Officer Druempf acting as his shadow. The latter not at all covertly hoping that Kormwind would break the local laws.
After three false arrests, Kormwind purchased a copy of the laws of the land for himself and spent a month’s worth of free time memorising chapter and verse. Technically, he was saving Druempf from getting reprimands from his Captain. Druempf never saw it that way, and accused Kormwind of, “thinking he was so smart.”
Nevertheless, seeing Druempf’s piggy scowl whenever he was out on errands was a high point in Kormwind’s excursions from Hidden Cloud Dojo. It almost made up for the shrieks of children as they went crying because of, “the monster”. Almost.
Within the Dojo, there was less to enjoy. Kormwind could easily swear that Master Bai and the other tutors were out to make sure he never smiled. Monsters like himself didn’t deserve happiness.
Deserving or not, Kormwind found ways to enjoy himself anyway. Like, messing with Master Bai.
For a pentacentenarian who really should know better, the Elf who owned and ran Hidden Cloud certainly reveled in being petty. For no reason at all, he would deny Kormwind any of his simplest requests.
Kormwind could be just as petty back, for his version of small justice.
Creeping into the Master’s offices was easy. Bai lived his life by a set schedule. At the correct hour, he was out on his duties and his secretary was watching the door. Nobody cared about the windows, nor that the gigantic tree that was home to so many was so easy to climb.
He slipped inside without a sound and, with some effort, moved all of the Master’s furniture half an inch to one side or the other. He was out again before an hour was gone, and back to his own lessons before anyone could miss him.
Bai would blame him anyway, so why not do something that was expected, for a change?
by Lee Strangely
Carter plopped down on the cold metal bench. Only one street lamp was around to pierce the night.
His face retreated into his hands, “I shouldn’t have left. I shouldn’t have left. I shouldn’t have left… Ugh…This is a hellhole.”
As he lamented, the pitch-black sky started to glow blue. It looked like a cloud, made up of many, many small creatures. To his astonishment, they looked to be fish. Strange skeletal fish encased in blue light. Rather than avoiding obstacles they appeared to go right through them as if their bodies were made of nothing.
He paused when he saw John enter the lamplight.
“You don’t like it here?” John stated.
“No, no. I love it here!” Carter sarcastically answered, “I really like the continuous violence and destruction.”
“You can’t expect to change the world the moment you set foot into it. Real change around here is going to take time.”
“I came here to hopefully make a difference, like I did in my hometown. Instead, I’m getting a front row seat to watch a city’s corpse decay in real… time…” The fish continuously dragged Carter’s attention away.
“Many like to call those ‘Ghostly Gills.’ They’re everywhere, especially at night. Though they tend to congregate most near the dead.”
“This place isn’t a dump because people made it that way. It’s because no one is willing to stay and do anything else with it. Both of my parents died here. I didn’t just go somewhere else and hope it doesn’t happen to someone else. I stayed and tried make sure it didn’t happen myself.”
“How can anyone have that kind of optimism here?”
“We look to whatever we can. Things small and large, real and fake. We see good things wherever we can. For instance, those fish. There’s an old legend that they’re dead spirits in another form. It’s said that they like following their living loved ones.”
“Do you really believe that?”
John turned to walk away, “Do you?”
As he left the light, two little fish strayed away and followed him.
Morga Tuh, Ruler of Little Evils
When I became a Cosmic Great One, I had this idea of what to feed on. Cthulhu, Yog Sothoth, Hastur, they always aim for high things, never looking to the “inferior beings” below. They want to feed on stars, planets, sanity, the akashic records. They want the galaxy as their private buffet.
What a waste. They fail to see the resources that the inferior beings can produce.
I decided to feed on these lesser beings. Not flesh, souls, or blood. Those were finite resources. No, I aimed for lower. For the unnoticed. For the untouched territory.
I would feed on the negative feelings. Small negative feelings. “Little evils” of the lesser beings’ very mundane lives.
The subliminal jealousy of lovers. Resentful actions between brothers for parental affection. Slightly spiky words from offended friends. The disgust of seeing someone from a different social class. Veiled prejudice. Malicious desires many times imagined but never fulfilled. Self sabotage.
Endless possibilities contained inside the so often ignored lesser ones. One builds a castle brick by brick. And they have an infinite stock of bricks just for me. And I can get even more with the right “pushes”.
“Pitiful lover of pitiful creatures” was how they called me behind my back before. Now I tower over so many Great Ones I lost count. My reach extends to so many planets, each one with their very own source of negative feelings.
The other Cosmic Great Ones resent my growth. My success. My patience. They wish my demise. Little do they know that their hatred also feeds me.
I finally have my own private buffet.
Blast from the Past
By S. Nigel
After an all but fruitful search through the school library Q8A took a seat and returned to its boring book. It was a vintage book from the 21st century. People back then didn’t understand basic science and hated logic. And not to mention there was some sort of huge rage about romance. That’s what this book was: a romance. A “girl” pining after a “guy”, like most of the books at the time. Q8A had never been a huge fan of romance in the first place, but this book made it like it even less. Q8A had heard of a concept called Gender in history class. Of course it wasn’t exactly sure what it was, since the idea was just that: an idea. Back before the Genetic Revaluation of 3000 each person was assigned Gender by the government and a doctor. It was based on their physical characteristics. Of course everyone had those characteristics still, but they didn’t mean anything.
“Hi, Q8A, adore shoes! I shu get pair. They biodegradable one-wear or else?” Q8A’s best friend, A8C asked, placing a hand on its shoulder. It’s friend smiled showing off its brand new bright pink tooth.
“Are! Bacteria!” Q8A explained, excited to show off it’s advanced shoes to A8C. They were bright teal matching nicely with Q8A’s light pink bellbottoms. “I read. Bored.”
It pointed to the text. The title gave away just how boring the book was. “Rose’s Thorns.” The whole book was badly worded, using too many filler words. The universal language didn’t require them anymore. The main character was described in bland nuetral colored clothes with no rings nor wheels. The fashion industry’s reconstruction had apparently done wonders for the style of this century. Old photos would prove this, including the one used as the cover. The blonde girl had potential but she didn’t use it, sticking to a blouse and scarf combo.. The plot dragged its feet trying from the meet cute to a developed relationship. And this “guy” was a total jerk to the main character. She deserved way better, and if this where a good book she would have gotten it.
“Never vintage book again!” Q8A sighed loudly before shoving it’s book into it’s bag.
Too much Chili… We think (Forsaken Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)
Michael seemed very sure of what he was doing. Morae less so, especially since he’d tried using what looked like sugar, trying to pass it off as pepper. In fairness, he wasn’t exactly well versed in the art of seasoning, given that his people rarely used anything outside of salt, but she couldn’t fault him for trying.
Regardless, she was enjoying herself. Even though she was never any good at cooking, she still appreciated the general idea of it and the results even more.
Unless they were her creations, obviously. Still, it was one of those little things you did to stave off the darkness, just a little longer. Especially, when you could do it in company.
“So… what do we use for this?” Michael asked, indicating the root on the counter.
“I have no idea what this even is,” Morae scratched her head. “Rain said it wasn’t toxic, but then again… scanners aren’t infallible, especially out here.”
“Boiling it may be a safe way to go.”
“That might make it worse.”
“It’s still our best chance. Boiling works on most planets, statistically.”
She still couldn’t help but be apprehensive.
“Fine,” she said.
Morae filled a bowl with water, set it to boil and placed the root inside. For a moment, nothing happened. Then, it began to melt. Michael quickly turned the stove down, but the damage was done.
“Looks like we’re serving soup today…” he prodded the mass with a long fork. “Or… something like soup.”
Indeed, the thing resembled slime more than anything.
“I guess we could try adding oregano?” Morae guessed.
“Right…” Michael checked the labels. “Where…”
He started rummaging, thereby knocking one of the tins into the mass. It opened, spilling its contents onto the slime.
“Well…” Michael said, as the red grains lay on top. “If it wasn’t seasoned before, it certainly is now.”
Morae, who had instinctively grabbed the fire extinguisher, relaxed.
“Buddy… Too much,” she had no idea what else to say.
“It might turn out fine.”
“If you’re so optimistic, you can taste first.”
She held out a spoon. Michael politely declined.
Again and Again
By: Hael Amon
Day after day. More and more builds up. I’m sick. I’m tired, and I can hardly think anymore. I just want it to end.
So what is so wrong, what event is slowly ripping the sanity of my soul away and maligning it into a slow eternal suffering? Well it all starts in the morning.
How when I woke up I felt the pressure on my brain stifling my thoughts; leaving me with stifled emotions and an unfulfillable desire to go to sleep. How I had to go to morning classes with all their jargon and complexity unable to bring a thought to understand any of it.
Then after that classes are so easy as to make me wish to sleep, but I can’t because the teachers are strict. Then I try to entertain myself with a phone, but there is nothing for me there. Looking at social media is like looking in the mirror of humanity… The games give me a sense of pressure, a heaviness on the heart in mind, anxiety, and fear. I don’t want to. I can’t. There is no motivation.
So I try to read, but I can’t pay attention or find joy. All because the weight on my mind from the lack of sleep makes me unable to pay attention. I can’t find anything I want to read either.
When I get home, there is nobody to talk to, I don’t have anyone to play games with, nobody to spill my heart out to, and nothing to do. The thought of any of my hobbies sends shivers of dread throughout my mind. I can’t.
So I drag myself to do my chores, I drag myself to try and play a game, and I drag myself to eat food. But I can’t find joy, not in the little, not in the big. I just… can’t.
So I go to sleep, a little ache on my side. Just great.
Next day, just the same.
Exactly the same day?
Why is it precisely the same? I’ve had the same conversation thrice?
Just keep smiling
By The Ink Chimera
Is anybody else on the other side of this? Probably not. That’s what this is supposed to be about, right? Sending your thoughts and feelings into the ether? Not that stuff like this ever works. But, why not? I’ll give it a try. Maybe I’ll even burn it after. Who knows?
So… Where to start… The beginning? No, I don’t even know where that is…
The end? Ha. As if there ever seems to be one…
So I guess I just have to pick a spot and start, right? Still, easier said than done.
Maybe I’ll talk about some of the things that are eating me? All those small little comments that really shouldn’t mean anything.
Or the little sideways glances I always see or feel. They’re probably just my imagination though.
Or the voices. Those horrible little things in my head. Those cruel little things beating me down over and over again.
But, that stuff doesn’t have anything to do with it really. They only exacerbate the already fractured, spider webbing cracks in the walls of my mind, like chiggers digging deep, deep down, ripping and tearing me apart.
No. They don’t mean much of anything. The real problem is all the little things that aren’t there. Enjoyment, excitement, satisfaction. The feeling of euphoria almost entirely eroded away, fading into nothing.
And the smallest thing, the worst thing to be missing, is my smile. My real smile, not this practiced, fake imitation. I don’t even remember the last time I smiled honestly. I wonder where it went.
But I’ll keep smiling this empty, worthless smile.
I’ll just keep smiling, because that’s the easier narrative.
I’ll just keep smiling, because it makes things easier.
I’ll keep smiling, despite the emptiness.
And I’ll keep smiling, because there’s nothing else to do until I reach the end.
But the story never really ends, does it?
By Lantis Armstrong
Heather sped around a green Volkswagen Beetle, laughing so hard at its clueless driver that she snorted.
“Like oh my god, you’re so LAME!” Heather really wished the driver could hear her. She’d never want to be caught dead in one of those things, or she would double-die from embarrassment.
Soaring out of the city in her fancy white Toyota Hybrid, her attention could finally shift from partly on her phone to nearly entirely to it. The countryside was so nice, nothing around for miles. Stupid pedestrians didn’t get in her way when she was trying to see what her boyfriend had texted her.
Speaking of that devil, Brandon’s name popped up on her phone as she checked it, and she cried out joyfully – but before she could swipe to see what he’d said she saw her reflection in her phone and gasped!
“No, this is NOT happening! Not on my way to see Brandon! Stupid pimple, why are you right on the end of my nose?” Heather spoke to it.
She fished around in her pocketbook next to her for her compact, knowing she needed an emergency cover-up! It also bothered her to realize that her pocketbook was SO last year.
There were so many little things bothering her today.
The windshield shattered and blew glass across her face and body as her car freely spun on the road and picked up air for a moment before it slammed hard into the ditch. The body of a buck lay across the front of her car.
Brandon’s text message buzzed her phone again, and with shaking hands Heather swiped it away, not caring what he had to say.
She left everything in her car as she emerged. None of it mattered. She was still able to walk, to hold herself up. That’s all that mattered right now.
A car slowed to a stop at the side of the road, the Volkswagen she’d passed leaving town. The driver opened the door and offered her a ride and she entered without hesitation, politely thanking the driver.
Locked behind the Stars.
“Life, is a lovely fleeting thing, always coming and going with the wind in a way that can never be tamed. Not by man. Not by beast. That is simply how it is.” Keith spat the judges’ words onto the hard stone of his cell, eyes still set on the dark of a midnight sky that was sealed away due to his inadequacy. A world where he is to never exist again.
“Still moping about, ey?” The voice of his fellow prisoner was met with nothing but a slight roll of the eyes, before Keith slumped against the bars. “Ya know, fer someone yellin’ out advice, you look like a fella who could use some.” The man continued, unbothered by the childish display.
“I’m sure whatever advice you could give, is hardly relevant…” Keith retaliated, turning his head back a bit to emphasize his next words “You. Are. A. Criminal. I am innocent, I hardly want to be associated with such a lowly-”
“mhmm, and here ya are, sittin’ in the dark, not allowed to leave. How’d that come ta happen, if ye didn’t deserve it?”
“Ever heard of someone getting framed? Or are you worse off than I expected?”
The man laughed “I could only wonder why some folk would try ta get a fella like you in ‘ere, with all yer big-mouthed talkin’ and such.”
Keith dragged himself to his feet, the words still ringing in his ears “You talk far too much for someone in the same situation,” He raised his hands, his voice matching the display “at least I am innocent! At least, my hands are clean of blood!”
The man shrugged his shoulders before shifting his back onto the coarse cloth of his bed, his hands messing with what remained of a dirty pillow.
Keith mumbled to himself a small curse of his luck, not only to be placed in this situation to begin with, but now to deal with a fool of a man— Yet his thoughts were cut short by the sound of something clattering to the ground beside him, a small makeshift telescope, carefully formed by what seemed to be a broken pair of glasses sealed within a scroll case.
“Keep it, will ya? Yer much more inclined to be lookin’ out that window then I ever have been.” The man spoke again from his place atop his bunk, his eyes lazily on the ceiling.
Keith examined the strange tool for a moment, glancing through its lens to test if it could even work, before shaking his head.
Maybe, just maybe, his time here could be bearable.
Just a night a month ago
By Tamela Redfin
Life changes everything. Five years after we ran to my brother’s, Sapphira was acting strange. She was a lot more tired than usual. It was worrying Cecilia and me.
“Do you think she’s sick?” Cecilia asked me.
“I can’t be sure. Maybe her sleep cycle is messed up.” I suggested.
“She seems to be sleeping fine. And also a lot.”
That was where Sapphira and Mica entered the room. Sapphira was looking down, especially trying not to look at Cecilia. “I need to tell you something.”
Mica gently squeezed her hand. “WE need to tell you something.” He muttered about something they did a month ago.
“Are you okay?” I finally asked.
Sapphira burst into tears. “No, I’m pregnant now. Cece, I’m so sorry. I can go back to Reagan if you want.”
“No, Aunt Reagen won’t help you, but I will.” Cecilia shot daggers at Mica. “I knew you were serious, but not like that!”
“Yeah, things got a bit out of hand.” Mica nodded. Much to my shock, he seemed to act mature.
“You better take good care of Sapph.” She brandished her claws. “Or else!”
Later, when Cecilia calmed down a bit, we talked. “I don’t know if this will work. I’ve seen him with Sapphira, but that? ugh! Gross!”
“She’s strong.” I held her hand.
“I know. But not my baby cousin. She’s only sixteen. She’s not ready for something like this.”
I nodded. Sapphira was too young, but I believed in her. “We need to guide her, Cece. This is just as shocking to her as it is to us. Also Mica has absolutely grown up. Don’t forget that.”
“Don’t forget he’s seventeen, Cam.” She sighed. “I hope though he’ll be a better father than his and I know Sapphira will be better than her stupid mother Reagan. I bet she’d love her living children more than a dead one.”
I hugged her. “That’s the spirit, Cece.”
Hi! My Name Is…
Will pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration as he walked up to the crying girl who continued murmuring through her sobs.
“He… threw me away. He just… threw me away… Like I was NOTHING… Nothing… nothing…”
Will let out a long sigh. “I’m… sorry? I only accepted his offer because he said he’d kill you if I didn’t.”
She immediately stopped crying and turned to Will, her tear stained, weary eyes unblinking. “He didn’t say he would kill me if you didn’t take me as your thrall. He said if you didn’t need me either, I should just die and stop taking up space. It would have been instantaneous. It would have been… less painful than this…”
Will’s eyes narrowed. “Look… I found out that I was half demon an hour ago. I found out that demons existed outside of fiction an HOUR ago. I’m sorry I went with the option where the crying, distraught girl didn’t die and got her away from the creep who wanted her dead!”
The girl looked like she’d been slapped in the face before lowering her eyes in shame. “I’m sorry, Master. I’m not being a very good thrall, am I? Please don’t throw me away too. I’ll be good.”
“No… no… I shouldn’t have yelled at you like that. It’s just… Let’s start over.” Will took a deep breath. “First thing’s first. What’s a thrall?”
“You are my Master. I serve you. I worship you. And when you hunger, I hunt for you.”
Will nodded. “Okay… so… We’ll get to the hunting later, but… I don’t need nor do I want a servant. Friends?”
“That’s… not how it works, Master…”
“If I’m the Master then I set the rules, right?”
The girl opened her mouth to protest but stopped when she couldn’t think of an argument.
“Good. So, you call me Will, not Master.”
“And what’s your name?”
“…huuuuh… And what was it before you met that asshole?”
“Oh… my name was…” She looked up thoughtfully, “Dai…sy…”
Will smiled, offering his hand. “Nice to meet you, Daisy.”