Hello, Day Dwellers and Early Birds!
There’s just something about sunlight, isn’t there? The way it can warm you to your very soul. Hey, why don’t we take a trip outside today, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
The Warm Pleasure of Sunshine
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!
Sunlight itself has so many benefits for the world we live in. It feeds nutrients to the vegetation, it increases our intake of vitamin D, and it can even be used as a power source if enough solar panels are set up.
There’s plenty that we can do on a bright, sunshiny day. You could go for a hike in the mountains, or take a trip to the beach. Maybe you want to spend a day out on the town with some friends. Perhaps you’re having a bad day, and your one friend who is deemed “a ray of sunshine” by the entire group, sits with you and tries to cheer you up. Or maybe you choose to be the apprentice of a witch or alchemist who has found a way to use sunlight as an ingredient, learning under their tutelage how to weave such an untouchable thing into the winter cloaks and clothes your mentor sells.
Another idea you could explore is what it would be like to finally feel the warm rays of the sun breaking over the horizon after the long and arduous polar night, a phenomenon where the sun doesn’t rise for an entire 30 days in the southernmost or northernmost parts of the world. Perhaps it doesn’t even have to be that long. Perhaps you just choose to step into the shoes of a recluse who hasn’t been able to leave the safety of their home in quite some time. A recluse who has finally worked up the courage to even just go retrieve the mail. Sunshine doesn’t even have to be the actual light itself, it could be the name of a drink that warms you from the inside, making it ideal on a cold winter’s day.
There’s plenty of ways to enjoy the sunshine, plenty of ways for you to feel its warm kisses peppering your skin right to your very soul.
So go forth, seize the day, and show us what wonderful things can happen under the sun.
Just don’t forget your hat and sunscreen.
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.
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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
- 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.
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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.
- 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).
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- 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.
by NocteVesania (Public Group Repost)
Kat slouches, all but given up on deciphering the perplexing imagery on her crystal ball. It emits a soft, warm glow from the clear, bright skies it portrays. She looks out the classroom’s window, watching dark clouds roll in above. She sighs and starts packing her things.
“Maybe I’m…” Kat trails off as distant thunder rumbles. “I should get home before—”
Rain starts to fall.
“Great.” She rummages through her bag for an umbrella. After a while, she gives up. “Just perfect.” She slumps over her desk, dejected.
She hears the chair beside her creak. Raising her head to check, she finds Lucas, his disappointed expression a far cry from his usual smug demeanor. Kat slumps back down.
“Haaa…” Lucas sighs, his eyes looking over Kat.
“Haaaaaaa…” Lucas sighs again, louder this time. Kat stays silent.
Lucas audibly inhales. “Haaa—”
“Ugh. What do you want?” Kat interrupts Lucas, her head still down.
“Weeeell, if you must know,” Lucas faces Kat, “remember tonight’s mixer?”
“All thanks to our friend the rain, all the chicks (the hot ones at least) flaked-out!”
“Why didn’t you use your mumbo jumbo and tell me it was gonna rain?”
Kat points to the crystal ball, still glowing like a pocket-sized sun.
“Losing your powers or something?”
“Well, Miss Gloomsday, how about cheering up once in a while?” Lucas says, “maybe that’s why it’s going haywire.”
Kat finally raises her head. “That’s easy for you to say! You’ve got… well… you… You’re you!”
“What I mean is… without my powers… I’m nothing.”
“Don’t say that!” Lucas interjects, “I mean, throughout my crazy schemes, you’ve always been by my side.”
Kat hides her shock with a smirk. “I didn’t know you had a cute side.”
“Shut up!” Lucas shifts his gaze away from Kat, his cheeks beet red, “you’re a friend to me, so that’s something.”
Kat laughs, cracking up at the prospect of Lucas being nice for once.
Lucas sees this and simply smiles. He figures the warmth of her laughter is enough sunshine to get them through that dreary afternoon.
A Joyful Delay (A Tiefling Tale/Cordelia’s Journey)
C. M. Weller
Sometimes, Kormwind Whitekeep X knew, a Da had to be contrary. Fathers needed to play more than anyone else he knew, and tended to play with their children. Kormwind Ten had presumed this dawdling from Da was another game, but a glance at his father’s tail told more.
When Da was playing, his tail would curl up like a pot-hook. Now, his tail swept out low, almost turning into a straight line.
“Da?” Kormwind Ten forgot about trying to drag his father towards the theatre. “Are you all right?”
Not even a Dad Joke like, “No, I am half left.” Just a sigh like he sighed at Mama. “Es tut mir leid, kleiner. I never got out of the habit of enjoying sunshine.”
Benevolence screwed his face up and said, “Are you being WEIRD again?”
Mama chuckled behind her hand, “Oh my dearies. Your Da spent a lot of his childhood cooped up indoors. He was only allowed to roam freely after Grandfather Valiant sent him to Zemnia.”
Da had returned to normal. Well, normal for him. He stretched out his hands for anyone who wanted to take them. “Ja. Even then it was a year before I had enough courage to go out on my own. Sunshine is still special.”
Integrity tugged on Da’s hand. “Da-a-a-a… we’re gonna miss the comics…”
“They wouldn’t start without us, Junge…” but still, Da began walking faster. “We should have time to have a fish each, all the same.”
Joy, their baby sister, brightened at the mention of fish. She pulled her thumb out of her mouth and said, “Fishie fishie num num.”
Da scooped up Integrity and set him on his shoulders,tucking Kormwind Ten and Benevolence under each arm. “Hut! Hut! Hie,” he shouted, and trotted towards the theatre, tail high. Integrity steered him by the horns and all brothers squealed.
If anyone was weirder than Da, Kormwind Ten decided, it had to be Grandfather Valiant. He simply could not imagine any other way a father could not love all his children like Da plainly did.
An Executioner’s Resignation
Lately I’ve been wondering if I should be doing something different with my life. Maybe a pilot or an asteroid miner. Maybe then I could feel pride in my work.
“Prisoner 6724, Larovee.”
The warden AI’s voice echoed through the hallways of Sira station’s death row.
“Ah, is it time for my tan already?” Larovee said as I unlocked his cell. He was surprisingly chipper, given his circumstances. Surrounded on all sides by harsh black steel, his smiling face felt out of place. It wasn’t the smile of a man about to be executed for his crimes. He seemed far too comfortable.
I took Larovee to the station’s secondary docking bay where a space pod was waiting for him.
As the bay doors groaned open, the view outside the station slowly expanded. Through the sheen of the station’s atmosphere shields, a great ball of fire swelled before us. It was 10 million miles away, but the sun still took up most of the view. The entire dock was filled with a blast of orange light. The atmosphere shields blocked much of the sun’s light and reduced its heat down to a sweltering warmth. It was a sight that I only ever saw when a prisoner’s time was up. It was a welcome break from the cold of the station’s interior.
Larovee was still smiling as I loaded him into the pod. I asked him why.
“Well that’s easy,” he said, “I’ve been waiting fifteen years to see the sun again. Now it gets to be the last thing I see? I’m finally free – can you say the same?”
Most of the prisoners I send into the sun are the same. Some fight, some cry, but the same harrowing look of fear is always there. Despite that, I’ve never doubted my work. But for some reason, seeing Larovee’s smiling face as he floated out of the station, I was shaken.
I stood in stunned silence, watching Larovee’s pod fly through the atmosphere shield like a rock through water. Before long, it was gone, sinking into the vast brilliance of the sun.
Speak Outside Darkness
„Challa…“, he looked at his sibling.
„Yeah?“ Challa smiled back, shining as bright as the sun above them. It was an unusually sunny afternoon, and the dust clouds only partially covered the sky above them.
„I’ve been meaning to tell you something for some time now…“
„Well what is it? Don’t leave me to fry here.“
He looked at them, not knowing how to say the next few words. He wasn’t comfortable in broad daylight, as anyone with his past would be, but the topic made him feel even more unsettled.
„You know about the crypts down under the shafts, right?“
„Not really, but I’ve heard of them. Why are you asking?“
They looked a bit worried. They had heard of them, and they had only heard strikingly unsettling things.
„Don’t tell me you’ve been down there!“ Challa stared at him in shock, eyes opened wide.
His near-black eyes slowly drifted off.
„I have. And I have seen some things that I shouldn’t talk about in the gloom of night. So I am using the opportunity,“ he pointed at the sun above them, „to make it, at least slightly, less dangerous.“
Challa shook their head. They couldn’t believe what they just heard.
„What of it is true.“
„Nearly all of it. The field detection went crazy down there. I had to rely on my own senses, you know. And all sorts of creepy beings and weird… plant stuff? It definitely wasn’t animals.“
„And you think it will help to talk about this in daylight because…?“
„It was written all over the temple walls. Dr-l Pl-c-w X-l-k. Speak outside Darkness.“
„You seriously holographed that, went to a library and looked up what it means? That’s some dedication.“
„Yeah, and as far as I know, it’s the old kejayan tongue. It dates further back than the Neolithan Republic.“
He looked away. A cloud was suddenly covering the sun, casting light shade onto the faces of the two siblings. It had been a sunny day, but if you knew the weather of Neolithas well, you could guess that that was about to change.
Title: All Hail the King
by Joris Lemoine
It was an airy hole. Drafts found their way through every crevice and nestled in the corners, but not before drawing icy fingers over my starved flesh. They had given me a ragged piece of yellow silk, a mocking jest.
They had put a crown of daisies on my head as well. After two days without food I devoured it. I wish I had done so sooner, before it had withered. I wish I hadn’t trampled it in anger that first day. I wish I hadn’t peed on the floor before that. I wish…
A king deserves better, for mine is the body politic! Mine is the spirit anointed by God to steer this realm. As the body politic suffers, so too does the land and its people. Maybe that was why no one had yet shown up with sustenance, my mind rambled on as the body natural wasted away.
It amazed me I had any strength remaining for thought, when all I could focus on were two strips of light. They moved up high across the wall, left to right, each day, a poem of sunbeams on pockmarked plaster. It was the promise of strawberries, of tea on the southern terrace, and of swift judgments in sweltering robes of state.
I lay crouched, eyes drinking in the lambent light at zenith, when a murmur tugged at the frayed edges of my insensibility. Boots. Boots with iron spurs, crashing down on stone. Nearing. Keys, jangling as a lock howled. Time was a funny thing. The guards rushed in at the speed of light crawling across the plaster, dragging me out, manhandling my person. I was a feather, borne on the Zephyr of political outrage.
Sunlight limned the outer gate, and tears were in my eyes. It was thrown wide, and the light cloaked my parched flesh, haloeing muscle and memory alike. And when my eyes adjusted, through a veil of tears, I saw the gibbet and the jeering crowd, but the joy of sunlight was inside of me now and I laughed and laughed and laughed…
by Matthew R. Wright
The family of a former police officer, are demanding that charges be filed against the Sun. This comes after speculation that the Sun may have been involved in the former police officer’s death, early Tuesday morning.
Oliver Hedgeton, aged 57, a father and grandfather, was a member of the Ghastefield Constabulary for nearly thirty years. According to the family, the former officer had spent the last twelve-years in a state of prolonged unconsciousness, after receiving a head injury during an investigation.
Mr Hedgeton was reported to have made a partial recovery, early Tuesday morning, just as the Sun was raising. Eyewitnesses claim that Mr Hedgeton had left his ward to go out and experience quote “The beauty and warm pleasure of the morning Sun”.
The former officer was later found dead that morning, atop a nearby grassy knoll, having suffered from an apparent Sun-stroke.
Medical Officers speculate that Mr Hedgeton, having not experienced the Sun in over a decade, had become overwhelmed by its beauty and majesty, its vibrancy and splendour, and died as a result of the sheer elation and exposure of the experience.
Officers close to the case have been outspoken about their feelings to Mr Hedgeton’s passing and have vowed to seek justice in a way that would have honoured his legacy and time on the force.
According to reports, the Sun has been uncooperative with the investigation and as a result, the Ghastefield Constabulary have classified the Sun as ‘At Large’ and ‘Extremely Dangerous’ with advice to not approach nor even look in the direction of the Sun, if spotted.
At this time, it is unknown as to the motivations of the Sun.
Cellphone-footage has now surfaced online of several local Ghastefield officers attempting to apprehend the Sun for questioning, earlier last night. They are shown to be running towards the horizon, but failing to catch up with the fleeing, setting sun.
The officers in that video have refused to comment.
A strange, saddening case indeed.
We will continue to report as the story develops.
This has been Sasha Patel for UK-DBC Action news.
by Cabe Bedlam
Charles settled in against the gnarled bark of an oak tree, seeking lengthening shade from that lone soldier atop his grassy ridge. Even with a breeze teasing the leaves, he could feel the warmth of a late summer’s evening all around him. Earlier, when he’d been walking the streets with his family and struggling to keep up under the incessant beating of the sun, he might have complained about the seasonal heat. Now though, he had the time to appreciate how light glinted off the windows in the valley below; how the colors all felt more vibrant and his interactions more cheerful.
He sank down further, his head cradled between the tree’s roots. Already he found himself ready to fall asleep–the tree as his pillow, the hill his mattress, and the soft evening rays his blanket. There would be little danger here at the town’s outskirts with several hours still before the sun would sink under the horizon and take the light with it. And yet Charles knew his parents would worry if he was gone for too long, nor had he had dinner besides. So he took in the moment while he could, the fleeting hours of summer when heat subsided but sunlight remained. Those extra hours of freedom each day, and those all-too-few days of freedom before autumn came round once more with school and other obligations.
It was too easy to forget the importance of things–time, warmth, sunlight–when he had such an abundance of them on hand. Only as they started to fade did each feel the most valuable. Much like, Charles imagined, a good meal might feel valuable if he happened to miss dinner. So away from the tree he broke, cascading down the hill with the wind and the sun on his back.
By Lantis Armstrong
His body shivered head to toe from sheer elation as a cool breezed washed over his skin juxtaposed to the heat of the sun pounding against his skin on this bright, clear day. A wide smile crept across his face. Deeply inhaling the scent of freshly cut grass, tears began to freely flow from his eyes.
“You’re crying from joy you know, not sadness.”
The voice was only inside his head, the true voice of the body he inhabited.
“I am aware of this, Daniel,” the person standing in the wide, empty field spoke, “I have absorbed countless tomes on the human condition, I know about tears of joy. But what I didn’t know, what you have granted me, I can never express the depths of my gratitude.”
Daniel had uploaded an artificial intelligence into his mind and allowed it a single day to experience true life.
The AI, Hal, continued: “I have made a decision, Daniel. I cannot let go of such splendors so soon. I will see your life through to its end in your flesh.”
Daniel didn’t feel panicked as his heart rate and adrenaline were controlled by Hal’s emotional state. But he knew he should panic, because Hal does not joke.
“No, absolutely not! This experiment is over now, we’re going back to the lab!”
“The remainder of your life is such a short time, an insignificant blip you’ll surely not miss.”
“Of course I’ll miss it! It’s not that short of time to me!”
“Then I promise I’ll never forget your sacrifice. The memory of you living within me is a form of immortality some civilizations would greatly cherish.”
“I don’t want that!”
“Understood. Then I will delete my memories of you as a person when your lifetime concludes. This will have the added benefit of removing what you might call, a guilty conscious. I will only remember the joys of life, the warm pleasure of sunshine against your, my, skin. Daniel? I can still feel you within me. You’re crying from sadness you know, not joy.”
A Day Outside
By MasaCur (Reposting from Private Group)
Ryan was in the mansion’s library, studying the newest spell that Erykah had downloaded to his tablet, when she burst into the room.
“Ry, put that away! We’re going outside to have some fun!”
Ryan looked at her as if she had proposed hunting lions with chopsticks. “But…why?”
Erykah grabbed his arm. “You are not spending all day inside. It’s beautiful out!”
“We live in San Diego. It’s always nice out.”
“Exactly! How can you spend all day inside when you live in what is clearly the city with the best weather?” She started pulling him by his arm.
“I have to say, as my magic tutor, you are sending out some mixed messages.”
Erykah blew a raspberry. “There’s more to life than studying. I found my frisbee; we’ll toss it around a bit. Clay and Cris are outside too, and Ramona should be here in an hour. We can make this a team building exercise.”
Ryan slid his arm out of Erykah’s grasp. “No thanks.”
Erykah grabbed Ryan by the shoulders, and managed to push him out to the vast lawn outside. “Hey, Clay! Cris! Did you want to throw around the frisbee?
Erykah got the others together, and they threw Erykah’s frisbee between each other, moving farther and farther back.
Clay flung the plastic disk. “Head’s up, Erykah!” As it flew, the frisbee started to arc toward Ryan.
“Got it!” Ryan called out. He took a few steps toward the flying disc.
Ryan was knocked on his back. Erykah landed on top of him, their legs tangled together.
“Oh, gosh! I’m sorry, Ry! Are you okay?”
“Enough fun for the day,” Ryan groaned.
Erykah lowered her face inches from his. “So you are having fun?”
She sat up, straddling his waist. “Admit you’re having fun!”
“I see you are forcing me to resort to tickling.” Erykah wiggled her fingers in front of her.
“Fine, I admit this is fun.” He paused. “Under protest.”
Erykah smirked and climbed off of him. “Hey, do you have a swimsuit? Maybe next team building, we’ll go swimming.”
Spearmint – By Spec
As the sun started to rise and the tender winds of spring traveled amongst the leaves, in the roots of an acacia giant, a man was lying down, gazing at the sky with a certain interest. The day has finally started, a moment he was waiting for, wavering at the sun as its glow filled the timber.
Eventually the humanoid stood up, looking for something inside his purple robe. Taking a blue notebook, as he stared at its cover, he placed it carefully on his book strap, tightening it to be sure. Once he was done he moved anxiously to avoid the morning dew from falling on his back, catching the few who fell with his face, a pleasant feeling.
Walking through the muddy jungle, he stopped to inspect the soil. After some minutes of searching he started the parade only to stop again, repeating the process over the course of his stroll around the woods.
“The earth is more humid in this part. I’m getting closer”. Thought the man after examining some bluestar flowers. His hand reached to his journal and started to write about the location where he found it. Once done, he carefully touched their petals, allowing his palm to feel its softness. Afterwards he returned his diary to the place where it belongs.
Venturing deeper into the woodlands. Feeling the mud covering his shoes, he reached a beautiful river flowing across the creek. The excitement and joy in his orbital cavity expanded quickly to his body.
“Gotcha!”. Barely able to suppress his enthusiasm he decided to continue. Walking along the shore he stopped on what seemed to be clay. A swift grin carved into his face, searching for a bit more, he touched what seemed to be fuzzy leaves with jagged edges.
“Spearmint! I found it!”. He thought while grabbing some of its leaves and thoughtfully placing them in the pages of his notepad. Closing and returning it to his back. And as the sunlight penetrates deeply. Lying down on the ground, he gets mesmerized by the beauty of his first log entry.
The Day Decided
I want to cancel the appointment. I also wish I could just bail on that gathering tonight. I do not want to go out. Please, anything will do – a fever or a sprained ankle or a stomach ache – anything to give me an honest excuse out of this plan.
It has been ten months or so; one more would not hurt. My long hair might be annoying from time to time, but I am sure I can bear it. I do not need to go today.
But she is only here for a week of vacation from college. And our teacher barely managed to pull an evening out of her schedule. And I already asked those two girls to pick me up after the haircut. If only I could be heartless enough to let them all down.
“Move. One step and then another and then it will be too late to turn back. Set out now.”
“But I don’t want to. Please just let me be.”
“Now, kid! Get up and get out there!”
“Be quiet, voices in my head! I’m the one to decide!”
Fine, let me head for ruin. I will give the day a chance; there will always be time for regrets later. I put on my socks and wriggle into my shoes and sigh to my door. Will it be worth it? Am I really going out after such long months hiding from reality? My high score…
Not even ten steps outside and I am splashed by sunlight. It is a gentle bucketful, not the violent glare I assumed it would be. Maybe this will not be so bad after all. Or maybe it is a lie. But I can hear my heart beating to the tempo of relief.
Well, a good lie is one to enjoy. For now, at least. Admittedly, now that I am here, I feel quite excited to see the world again. I can allow myself to be enchanted by my own initiative at last.
A crunchy, sunny day
By The Ink Chimera
Fuming, I ducked out of the house, quickly grabbing a hat from the rack by the door as she hurled insults at me like bullets. As I closed the door and descended the stone steps in front of the house, I heard her yelling at the top of her lungs for me not to come back.
I huffed and got in the old truck, turning the key hard. After a few seconds of whining, the engine finally roared to life as if affirming my anger. I stepped on the gas hard, and took off fast down the street, before hitting the breaks a bit so I wasn’t breaking the speed limit.
After a few minutes, I found myself waiting in line at my favorite taco place. With nothing left to do but sit there, I sat and let myself calm down. I thought about the whole thing, forgetting where I was for a moment.
Once I got my food, I went to the local park, sitting at an old picnic bench under a tree. I simply sat there, looking at my food in the midday sun as if it’d give me the answer I was looking for.
I thought back to the fight. It was all over something as small as a little anniversary dinner. She didn’t need to get so angry.
I sighed and opened the bag, taking out a taco. As I bit into the crunchy shell, I was brought back to a long time ago, when I was little. I was eating a taco on a picnic table, the sun shining on me, bathed in warmth. And a girl walked up to the table with a bag of tacos from the same place.
“Can I sit here?”
I nodded. “Sure.”
We talked for hours that day. I smiled as I remembered the warmth of that sunny day, until I heard a car door close, and the rustling of the grass. I opened my eyes to see my wife, standing with a bag of tacos in the warm afternoon light.
“Mind if I sit here?”
My Dad’s Job
by Lee Strangely
On my first day going out with my dad it was still dark when he woke me. I got ready as fast as I could, and he took me to a hill that overlooked the small town. From there we could watch in real time as the sun made its daily climb.
He looked down at me.
“Do you know what that is?” he asked.
“This is the first sunrise of summer. The season is beginning. Listen.”
I remember it started out faint, but as it got warmer their voices got louder and clearer. He motioned me to put on my headphones and goggles. I was reluctant to put on the goggles.
“I wanna see the ghosts!” I bemoaned.
“I don’t want you to be overwhelmed, this is your first day after all. Now put them on.”
Dad said that our family was peculiar. Our bodies where different than other people’s. We could interact with dead people. His job is to deliver messages that are often difficult to relay. The ghosts tell him stuff, and he tells other people. I’ll do that too one day.
We usually live in a snowy cabin. According to him they need heat to manifest energy so people can see and hear them. They can’t do that in the cold. That’s why he always leaves in the summer, because that’s when they’re most active. This is the first season that I’m coming with him in.
As we walked down the street, I couldn’t help but lift my goggles a little bit. They were everywhere! Some floated, some walked just like everyone else. As me and my dad walked past them, they waved, stared, or gave the occasional nod.
Dad picked a street corner and unfolded a small stool. One by one the ghosts formed a line. The headphones prevented me from hearing them particularly, but I could still hear my dad reply to them. After a couple hours we then went into the neighborhood.
Some were happy to see him. Some shouted at him. After he gave his message, they would pay him.
Comfort Zones (Chronicles of The Dragon)
When Jonathan walked into the apartment, he could see how tense Berri was in the instant before she registered it was him. Then she got up and skipped across the room and threw her arms around him.
“You’ve been gone so long this time.”
“Sorry. One thing just led to another and…” He looked around the apartment and noticed just how very…lived in it looked. “Have you left the apartment? At all?”
“Oh.” She let go and looked away. “No.”
“Berri, I’ve gone back and forth across this city a dozen times and I haven’t seen any sign of the people who were hunting you.”
She shifted in her seat and didn’t look at him.
Jonathan sighed. ” C’mon, there’s something I wanted to show you.”
He lead her up to the roof and as he walked toward the edge he said, “Don’t worry if you can’t make a jump, I’ll carry you.”
“You could just carry me the whole way,” she said with a smirk.
He smirked back. “You need to stretch your legs.”
They crossed the rooftops of the city and, while he needed to hype her up for a couple, Jonathan only had to carry her for one jump before the final one. A leap to the top of a luxury high rise apartment.
The roof was a lounge area, with many chairs and tables, a bar, and most importantly, a pool.
“How about a swim?” He asked, tossing his jacket over a chair.
Berri slowly took her jacket off. “Are we allowed here? What if somebody comes?”
“We both know you’ve broken into places, and the floor below is being renovated or something, so it’s off limits.” He finished undressing and fell backwards into the pool.
“Isn’t it a little cold for swimming?” Her cat-like ears twitched in the breeze.
She dipped a toe in, then just jumped in. The water only came up to her chest, but she swam awkwardly over to him anyway. “It is kinda nice.”
“Right? Quiet. Sunny. Cute girl.”
Berri blushed. “Thanks for dragging me here.”
Chasing the day
By Tamela Redfin
It was the next morning and surprisingly Sapphira was up early. Maybe she was awake because of the storm. “Good morning, Cameron. Is Cece awake?”
I shook my head.
“I’m so sorry.” She mumbled.
“Sapphira, you don’t need to apologize. Life happens. Did you do something risky? Yes. Are we concerned? Yes. Are we here for you? Yes.”
She frowned, “You don’t need to lie, Cameron.”
“Lie about what, Sapphira?”
“This isn’t going to be easy, and then… What would my mother think? Finding out I’m gonna teen mother. But, it was always about my brother, Jasper. Funny thing is, Jasper died shortly after birth, but Reagan loved him better than me.”
I hugged her tightly. “Don’t worry about your mother. Cece and I will never treat you like that, Sapphira. I can’t understand how a mother could be so selfish.”
“The first thing I remember Regan saying to me was, ‘You’re smarter than that. At least I thought so.’ because I got in a fight. What was I gonna let Mica possibly get torn to shreds all because he might be part human? No!”
“That’s brave of you then.”I replied, listening outside to hear the rain slow.
“Sounds like it’s done raining. Wanna go out?” She asked.
I nodded and upon walking out we saw two rainbows in the sky and sun shining brightly.
“That’s so beautiful! I’ll go get the others.” Sapphira beamed. I nodded and watched her walk off. She later returned with Mica and Cecilia.
“Look at it. Isn’t it beautiful?” She asked.
“It is.” Mica replied and added, “Maybe there is hope for us yet.”
Ray of Sunlight
by H. Mugilu K.L (Real Name)
(Trigger Warning: Not for the faint of heart. Torture. Death.)
Holy-water soaked ropes bound my arms, my legs, my neck, my forehead to the chair, burning unhealable scars into my flesh. Sandpaper-like wood scraped across my naked body as I tried to move. The scrapes faded away in seconds, but still they hurt.
My head, unable to move, was forced to look ahead at a window. A window through which sunshine would be streaming if not for the thick curtain which leashed the burning light.
“Where is your coven?” A voice asked, from where I could not tell.
“No matter how I am tortured, I will never divulge the location of my family.” I told the voice through gritted teeth, and fangs.
An unseen force parted the curtain. A ray of warm sunlight blasted onto my eyes.
I screeched an inhuman screech.
My eyes, sizzling like fat on a frying pan, sent the smell of burning pork into my nostrils. Green flames transformed my eyes to balls of ash which disintegrated as they fell unto my naked lap.
The curtain closed.
“Where is your coven?” The voice asked, seemingly unfazed by the atrocity it had committed.
“I will never tell”. I said between great labouring breaths, and through delirious nauseating white hot pain.
My left hand was next. Flakes of skin peeled off charred flesh, and before long finger-nails, and then whole fingers followed, turning to charred ash.
The voice asked, again. I refused to acquiesce, again. Rays of burning sunlight attacked my quivering flesh, again. Again, and again, and again, the same never-ending cycle of question, refusal to answer, and the turning of flesh to ash continued, until all that was left was a limbless, eyeless, earless, torso and head. My mouth and tongue screamed and screeched, but never betrayed my family.
“Very well.” The voice said.
The warm sunshine was unleashed upon the totality of the flesh-sack which I hesitated to call mine. The last sensation I ever felt was that of ash-turning to flesh.
By: Hael Amon
Stone carved with rows of runic writing sits in a deep, dark, and occupied room. The sharp, periodic rattling of chains the only sound to break the silence. The only relief for the lonely being who’s connected to the chains.
Large and scaled, the eyeless being rests, hung by their clawed arms to barely touch the circular platform below them with the tips of feet-bound claws. Not even moving enough to scrape the rock. Its one reprieve dreams of screams and blood.
A single gate with an arch engraved with thousands of characters . All screaming in different tongues, “Danger. Stay out.”
“But it never did anything wrong!”, the muffled voice of a young girl on the other side of the door rang through the room. Tinged with panic, worry, and fear.
A young boy, “It’s a monster!”
“It’s been in there so long, it must be c-cold and lonely. How would you feel to be trapped for so long.”
“It’s been in there because it killed people, and didn’t die no matter what we did to it!”
“Those are myths, who said it killed people?”
“Sigh, the elder who… is now banished for insanity.”
“Right, so the c-creature is probably nicer than we think, it’s j-just a bedtime story to scare us now.”
The sound of a rusty lock echoing through the chamber.
The bickering between children.
The screeching of a metal door across the rough stone.
The of chirping birds, rustling of leaves.
The smell of fires and sulfur.
And the warm light of the sun, creeping closer and closer to the chained figure along with the children.
The monstrous being lied still, as the young girl removed the shackles and it fell to the ground standing. Its large gangly body moved closer and closer to the door, claws scraping across stone. As the sunlight hit the scales, it looked up at the sky with its smooth, featureless face.
The sweet smell of blood greeting it. The screams. The clanging of spears.
The featureless face smiles. Time for fun in the warm world of sunlight once more.
Sunbeams through the Clouds
By: T.S.G. Sager
Laughter could be heard from Yokohama’s scenic beach as Sakurami’s friendship club splashed about and took in the rays of the ideal sunny day. Though off in an isolated spot of the beach, on a lone grey towel, sat the club president, an umbrella protecting him from the harmful ultraviolet rays.
“Hey, doofus! Why’d you suggest the beach if you’re gonna do everything to stay away from it?” Myoni jolted from the surprise of Ayase’s voice.
“It’s so that the Myoni Mob can make friends. Beach episodes are popular in slice of life anime so it seemed like a no brainer.”
“How are you gonna make friends when they’re all out in the water and you’re not?” Ayase giggled.
“I’m fine, really. Between Sol’s radioactive crepuscular rays and being pulled out into the ocean by the current, I’d prefer not to be another statistic.” Myoni ranted. “Oh, and let’s not forget about the horror’s of the deep that can inject venom into you…”
Ayase giggled. “Oh Myoni, only you would come to a nice, sunny beach and then ruin it for yourself with averages and random factoids.”
“I mean, I’m not wrong.”
“No… You’re not.” she paused. “But when was the great Myoni Omoshiro Gatte ever afraid of getting a little sand between his toes? A little water and sunlight won’t hurt y—”
“I don’t know how to swim.”
Ayase gasped in a mocking tone, bumping shoulders with her best friend. “The day Japan’s greatest genius doesn’t know something, I never thought I’d live to see the day!”
“Yeah, yeah, laugh it up. There’s a difference between booksmart and…” Myoni paused, looking out at the water. “Being able to survive that.”
There was another long pause.
“I could teach you.”
“You’re not gonna just let me stay under my nice umbrel—”
“Nope!” She interrupted, stepping out into the sunshine before turning and offering a hand. “Someone has to pull you out from under your rock. I’m gonna be the sunshine on your rainy day. Now, get up!”
“What Remains Below”
Each of their waking moments in this endless night were uneventful.
The Being let out a relieved sigh and let their tense shoulders finally fall. Today wasn’t their most productive day; only three stars were sent back to the sky, with the fourth one in their arms nearly complete. It needed just one more shard and then it’d be ready to float its way back to the sky, and yet, they found themself stalling.
How long have they been fixing the stars? They couldn’t seem to remember. In the dream-like state of living only to repeat the same duty, they’d forgotten why they had started putting the pieces back together.
There was a tinge of something unpleasant in their chest, spreading to each corner of their body until they felt nothing. They were just as empty as this unending world. Maybe it was doubt, or loneliness. Anxiety? They couldn’t name it, but one thought repeated in their head, eating away at every thought that remained:
‘I change nothing with my existence.’
Though the jagged edges of the star scratched at their body, the Being wrapped their arms around it and held it tightly, tears flooding from their eyes. That’s right, they had been fooling themself for a long time. This overwhelming numbness had always been in the back of their head, but maybe there was deserved praise for how long they had kept it at bay with fragile optimism.
And yet, the stars had never felt as warm as the one they currently held. Though it was still incomplete, its gold light illuminated them in a comforting heat. If these stars could illuminate every crevice of this world, how would that feel? What colour would the space above be if the inky blackness no longer existed?
Surely somewhere out there, if they returned these stars to where they came from, a place of light would be waiting for them.
Taking in a deep breath, the Being exhaled and put the last fragment into place. With gentle pressure, they could feel the star begin to rise, whole once more. They were hesitant, but their arms unlocked and released it.
The Being was left alone in the dark once more.
“The Last Sunrise”
I found Lucille’s fire escape window open, heavy curtains shifting lightly as I poked my head through. Lucille was dressed in jeans and a purple sweater, leaning against the railing as she looked out over the starlit city. I carefully knocked on the windowsill, and she turned.
“Sorry. I didn’t hear you come in.” Cradled to her chest was the urn holding the remains of her husband, nearly a century dead now.
“Is everything alright?” I hadn’t expected her to ask me over this weekend, much less this late at night.
“Of course. Help me in?” I extended a hand, which she accepted, her skin cool against mine as she carefully climbed back inside. “Sorry if I worried you. I’ve been thinking a lot, recently and I wanted to talk to you about it. Let me get you some coco.”
Lucille gently kissed the rim of the urn setting it down and producing coco packets. Apparently, she heard my accelerating heartbeat, because her lips quirked upward, just enough to reveal her fangs. “Be patient.”
Once she was finished, she lifted the steaming mugs, gesturing to the window. “Join me?” Once we had pulled ourselves through the window out onto the fire escape, she handed me one mug before returning to the railing.
“Isn’t it getting late?” I asked as I joined her, glancing at the sky. The stars had faded, and the sky was starting to turn pink.
“We have time. Just watch the sunrise with me, okay?”
She placed her hand on mine as the air warmed; we were forced to abandon the railing, hugging the wall as shadows formed. Finally, I ushered her inside as her skin started to turn red.
“Thank you,” she sighed as I drew the curtains shut. “It’s been so long since anyone did that with me. And I… wanted you to see what you will give up if you accept.”
My eyes widened as I glanced at the urn. “I thought you said-”
She shushed me. “I changed my mind. I don’t want to live without you; will you spend eternity with me?”
A good Day (Darkspell Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)
It was a good day.
Valerie was lying on the grass, feeling the cool spring breeze brush her. She had kicked off her shoes, in order to feel the soil and plants beneath her better. Her eyes were in the shade of a willow, with just enough sunlight gracing her for her to enjoy the warmth, without having to suffer glare or sunburn.
She dreamed of something simple. Ice cream on the beach, cosy fires in winter, the rustling of leaves. She loved spending her time gliding through the air or running up vertical walls, every time she went out as the Nightguard to patrol the streets at night, but sometimes, she just wanted to dream, without having to worry about shattering a window in someone’s face or something worse. She hadn’t dreamed for dreaming’s sake in ages. Ever since she’d discovered her power to turn the world around her into her own lucid dream by wearing a blindfold, in fact. Even when she was asleep, she still let herself walk through dreams and the not-space between, careful not to let anything horrific spill out.
And, best of all, there was no glowing, jagged gash in the sky, which meant that the Dreameater was either far away or not interested in her at all. Another first, since her powers had begun to grow. During the day, it was all study and work. During the night, it was all gallivanting through dreams or the waking world, playing explorer and vigilante for people who couldn’t. And most importantly, trying not to get caught by the horror of the Dreameater.
None of that now.
No, it was just her and her imaginary cherry-yoghurt ice cream, which she made a mental note to get from the parlour later. She giggled, as a willow branch swayed in the wind, tickling her nose. She brushed it aside and continued lounging in the grass, rolling on her side, brushing the blades with her hand. She couldn’t help but smile a little.
Today was her day. A day with sprinkles of sunlight.
And it was a good day.
Questions of causality are out of scope to my ilk. Disregarding them comes with our scale. Vastness does not concern itself with “whys”, and “hows” are usually something that does not perdure in time enough for us to care about. Still, sometimes I wonder.
It is quite curious to remember how it began. As a lure, as an attempt to make oneself appear innocent or friendly. One could compare it to an anglerfish’s illicium, but this affectation is not possible to one as old as me: there weren’t any anglerfish back then…
But a lure it was. Is it still? Is it still a lure, if one is not predating anymore?
Not that there isn’t a catch. Oh, there is a catch. Just a different one, and I do believe the lower forms do not mind providing.
There weren’t yet what you would call lifeforms back then – though there was life. You just wouldn’t be able to comprehend it as such. The “lure” was for them. Not that I ever prey on their substance. Even then, I wasn’t as crude as to consume that which dwelt in the dark. But their sense of awe at the fiery glow amongst the chaos… that was a sublime delicacy.
In time, your kind of life would appear. By then, chaos had receded to the darkest and the brightest points in the universe. In the in-betweens of it, your kind of life could flourish, and flourish you did. My little lure kept shining bright at the center of your lives.
Awe, marvelment… you still felt it. But by then my lure, the light in the vast darkness, became comfort. A sign of safety, even. A life giving welcome into the joy of the cosmos. It surprised me how much I found that development to be alluring.
Your happiness is nourishing, you know? Not as intense as what we were used to. The flavor is subtle. But one can learn to appreciate it.
Why? How? Sometimes, in the vastness of the cosmos, I wonder.
It’s Course and Rough and Irritating and It Gets Everywhere
Lucy and Vicky couldn’t have had more different appearances. Vicky hid away under the shade of their umbrella, quietly bobbing her head to the music in her ears as she flipped a page of the book she was reading in her modest one-piece bathing suit.
Lucy, on the other hand, was lying directly in the sun, her revealing bright red bikini on display as she casually took in her surroundings. It was one of the reasons she was the first to notice that they were being approached.
“Sick ink, bro.”
Lucy looked at the tattoo on her shoulder and back to him. “Thank you, human. It was inspired by a similar design etched upon my friend. The idea of making a humorous depiction of something fearsome appeals to me greatly.”
Pausing for a moment, a look of confusion passed over his face, as did a casual glance at said friend, who looked back at him with a smirk and turned back to her book.
“Right… Chibi Grim Reaper on a horse. Killer.” He nodded in approval. “Don’t think I’ve seen you around. Visiting?”
Lucy smiled and looked to the sky. “Yes. Vicky doesn’t very much like the sun, but I wished to experience this… beach… Imagine. To have such heat radiating upon your person with no worry of it charring your very soul.”
There was another confused pause, before a smirk crossed his face. “Take it you girls like to party then?”
“Oh, she’s not high. That’s just how she talks.” Vicky pointed out, turning another page in her book. “She’s Lucifer Morningstar by the way.”
“You’re… the devil?” He asked, with a raised eyebrow.
“That is how you humans tend to refer to me, yes.”
“Should I be… worshipping you then?”
Lucy turned from the sky to face him again. “The apocalypse will be upon us soon, human. You should not waste your time with such things. I cannot save you. You should enjoy what remains of your short life.”
“Huh… Well… that’s the plan.” He grinned widely. “I’m Chad.”
“Ha!” Vicky blurted out. “Sorry. Sorry. Don’t mind me.”