Writing Group: A Dance with the Devil

Hello, Dancers of all sorts!

There’s so many different forms of dance. The waltz, samba, flamenco, ballet, or even breakdancing… I never really understood that one. These are all fantastic dances… when done in the safety of a home or studio. But let’s see how well you remember the steps outside of your safe space, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

A Dance with the Devil

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!

Such a lovely and enticing prompt, isn’t it? What a wonder it would be to just spin and leap and shuffle without a care in the world. And that’s exactly what this prompt addresses.

Of course we can take this literally, or for the metaphor it is. To “dance with the Devil” is a metaphor that means to engage in risky, reckless, dangerous, and sometimes even immoral behaviour. This can be someone who is stubborn, who knows what they’re doing is dangerous but nothing is going to stop them. Perhaps a stunt driver, or someone who participates in demolition derbies. Maybe this is someone who has taken their parkour livestreaming to the next level. No longer are they just hopping low walls and fences, railings and benches. No, they need to keep chasing that thrill, that rush. So they take it higher, going from roof to roof, or even scaling skyscrapers until they’re handstanding on the ledge of the roof. Perhaps such perilous dances is their job, like a firefighter or a police officer, a detective or even just a window washer. Burning buildings, crazy criminals, high winds that swing your high rise platform, they’re all dangerous and one step out of line could be crippling… or even life-ending.

But maybe this prompt is more literal to you. Maybe your tale is about someone who takes dance classes, and they find out that the partner they’ve had for months, the partner they’ve become friends with… or perhaps even secretly fallen for… is a demon. Does this scare them away? Or do they stay, do they take their chances and continue to tango with this potentially dangerous individual? Perhaps someone is desperate for something. Whether fame, talent, success, wealth, whatever it may be, they are desperate enough to step into the crossroads at night, and perform the necessary action to call upon the Devil. They ask for their desire, and the Devil offers a simple dance to seal the deal. Do they dare to take his hand, knowing what it means for their soul?

Like the endless variations of dance, there’s so many ways this prompt can go. So put on your best, O Writers, and let the words of your tale lead you step, by step, by leap and twirl across the page.

—Shawna

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Saturday at 3:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.

Rules and Guidelines

We read at least four stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and two of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!

  1. Text and Formatting

    1. English only.
    2. Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
    3. Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
    4. Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
    5. Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
    6. Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
    7. No additional text styling (such as italics or bold text). Do not use asterisks, hyphens, or any other symbol to indicate whether text should be bold, italic, or styled in any other way. CAPS are okay, though.
  2. What to Submit

    1. Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
    2. Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
    3. Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
    4. No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
    5. Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
  3. Submission Rules

    1. One submission per participant.
    2. Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
    3. Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
    4. You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible. Your reviews must be at least 50 words long, and must be left directly on the submission you are reviewing, not on another comment. If you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
    5. Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
    6. Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
    7. You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
    8. Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.

Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

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quenton mori
quenton mori
25 days ago

Vaults of fate
By Q.M Mori
{words ;285]

A great vast golden ball room full to the brim
Singing violin, ,dancing piano, stomping trombones
And a lone soul devouring all thats sweat white some salted pastries here or there

Dayna brimstone joyfully comping away till a man
Clothe in black white a silver wolf mask approach
“May i have dis dance my lady “he asked white a sincere bow reaching out his hand

Dayn cup cake in mouth and some deviled eggs in hand
not expecting to talked to anyone mutche les get offered a dance
Unease fulls her at the request
Is it because of her samfull appearance ate the bafaitable
Or is it because she is wearing a sheep masked
Weary of the predator

Dayn finished her cupcake ‘it wold be rude to refuse “
Stretching out her hand to give the wolf a devil egg as if its normal ding to doe
Forgetting it was in her hands blushing red

The wolf burs out a sukkle “thank my dear for the apidaser ,shall we dance ?‘
Dayn gives a silent nod taking his hand but for a moment she glimpse red strings
Raping over there hand ‘cold dis be a fated aconter …‘’

Dayn stumbling over wolf feat berly stay on ridime
Longer they dans the more they sigrenaise complet on ridem
Thats were dayn notest body covered in strings
Dancing alone like a puppet unable to control herself unable to stop dancing

Taking a closer look around dayn sees everyone tangled dancing in red with out a care
The wolfe also tangled but white tread around his neck
Dreads fills her heart every ting became cold
‘Run run run i have to get a way ‘
‘Samtings hear’

Joshua thompson
Joshua thompson
28 days ago

“Last Dance” cw: loss of limb
By Eli Lawrence

The frigid Arctic air bit Juma’s skin, it was normally red but with the cold and the grey sky his skin was the same dark shade as the ocean. He was shivering under his blanket as he was nearly nude beneath, wearing only a pair of shorts that were tightly tailored to his body. He looked over to his companion, a large ogre like him, with a long scar that went down the front of his face, spiraled around his neck and disappeared under his clothes going across both his back and chest, his teacher.

The large ogre stood at the back of the boat, dancing with the kelpies in the water to press the boat along. Juma watched the dragon dance with fascination, a kraken master practicing the serpentine dance was a sight to behold. His movements were fluid but powerful, his stamping rocked the boat back and forth, making the canoe ride waves that he generated on alternating sides.

They finally stopped and Juma stood, dropping his blanket, “Paku, I’m ready.”

Paku nodded and leaped into the water, Juma shortly followed. The two of them swam down and down and down. The pressure was intense and both of them had to dance, using giant kelpie style to speed into the trench.

Light from above disappeared and they finally stopped. Paku swam back up and Juma concentrated, beginning to glow.

It wasn’t long until Juma heard a low trilling growl, the call of the kraken. Juma concentrated harder, brightening the light so he could see it coming. It was beneath him and a kilometer out. The beast had eighteen long tentacles and was covered with long scars, a slit was in its fin around it’s soft spade shaped head, causing the fin to look like a pair of horns. It was an ancient kraken that his people had legends of, Old Scratch.

Juma felt a pain in his shoulder and saw his arm floating away. He hadn’t even seen the attack coming, hadn’t even had the chance to dance. As he lost consciousness, he felt Paku’s arm around him.

Last edited 28 days ago by Joshua thompson
Elliott
Elliott
29 days ago

“Contract of Escape”
By: Elliott

The speed and ease with which his fingers changed chords and slid along the frets of the guitar were impressive, to put it lightly. Gareth was nothing if not musically talented in this area, even if the only displays of his talents were sitting outside of a coffee shop with the case open, happy to accept any donations the constant cycle of coffee-drinkers were willing to toss his way. A dollar here and there – it wasn’t really much, but he was happy enough when it was enough to get him by.

His demons were laid out in the soft vocals of his songs, barely shrouding the depths of the addiction these donations fed in metaphors and pretty words. He liked to think that the people didn’t care, they just enjoyed the sounds, although he also found himself chained to the paranoia that every coin or note dropped in front of him was simply an act of pity toward a hopeless and damaged soul. Pocket change for one who was beyond saving long before he had found himself here, on the pavement in front of this shop.

In reality, nobody really listened to the words in the first place. He sang of his deal with this proverbial devil, the chemicals which numbed his mind from overwhelming traumas and allowed him to waste away in detached verses, but they didn’t comprehend what the lyrics were saying. (If anything, he just wished maybe, finally, someone would stop and listen to the music for what it was in this sense.)

Instead, they enjoyed the melodies, the underrated talent of hands which magically could still navigate the strings despite those substances which logically should have rendered his playing to a state of incoherence.

V3RU5
V3RU5
29 days ago

Dancing with men
By V3RU5

Everyone knew, who she was, her growing, round horns filling hearts with dread and fear. An elderly woman even had a heart attack, when, out of innocent curiosity, lilith snuck into a church.
Children, especially the younger ones called her horns cool, some even asked, how they could get a pair of their own. Older people, though, they demanded she get rid of them, unseenly as they are. By te time of adolescence, the base of her horns was littered with scars, unsuccessful attempts of removal.
The boy didn’t know, who he found. Everyone was dancing and celebrating during the local summer celebration, except this one girl. Her hair covered by a scarf as she just sat there, watching the dancers.
“Come on” he yelled and grabbed her hands. Together, they joined the crowd, swirling around one another, riding the melody. They were still moving, swirling, jumping, when all went quiet, everyone moved away from the pair, even the music, and every conversation stopped. They were still dancing in silence, until suddenly, lilith became aware of the deafening silence. She opened her eyes and saw fearful faces staring back at her. Fearing the worst, her hands moved up to her scarf, only to find it gone.
Then came the first stone, hitting her head. She would be seriously injured, if she was human, being the devil, the stone hit her horn, causing no harm. What did cause harm, were the words thrown alongside the stones. Lier. Monster. Devil.
She turned around, only to see her dancing partner wave at her. With her scarf in his hand. He had a wide grin on his face.
“they mean it well” she was told. Repeatedly “they say how they feel about you, so you know how to change, how to become better.”
“I know, what they want” , lilith thought. “Is it better, though? Or just normal?”

EnTangled
EnTangled
29 days ago

Temporary exorcist
By EnTangled

Sunset covered everything in orange, a girl stopped, in front of a big structure. It was evening, a time when devils and their corrupted showed themselves. A surge of malice pumping from the inside of the church, almost tainted her white dress with darkness. Yet, she still needed to get in the menacing zone. She had to.

Slowly opening the door, the girl stepped inside. Voom. As she closed the door, all the candles lit up, giving her minimum light to barely see things around. The church was wide and tall, a round stage setting right at the centre, around it was a very huge space, divided into seven areas. Pillars filled everywhere randomly, making it hard to view the whole place, but perhaps it was a good thing for the girl. She quickly hid behind one of the pillars, as she noticed something appeared on the stage.

It was the devil that corrupted this place, and it caught the girl sneaking in. The girl took a deep breath, her hands were getting sweaty. She had only one shot to purify the church. Either that, or she would be also corrupted into a mindless tool, hurting more people.

Music started. The girl stepped out of the pillar, then rushed to the middle of the first area, before the devil found her. It was her chance, she didn’t waste a second and performed the ritual. She stretched her arms, moved her legs, finished it swift and smooth, then ran to the second area. 39 seconds. Six more to go.

It was not easy hiding under a devil’s eyes. It saw her when the girl arrived in the seventh area. 39 seconds. She stretched her arms again as the devil got closer and closer. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. The devil was right behind her. The girl turned around, her hand stopped in the air. That was the last move. Music ended.

The devil’s body disappeared slowly, while the girl fell down on her knees, exhausted. She needed to rest, and the church was a safe place again.

PotatoesReign
PotatoesReign
29 days ago

Two Way Street
by PotatoesReign

I am awake now. This morning is just like every other. I lie on my back in bed, my blankets up to my chin. Early morning light slants in through the circular window above my desk. A squirrel runs across the roof, sounding larger than it should. I suppose this moment feels larger than it should. As I said, everything is normal, except I am certain the world has changed since I have been asleep. For one thing, my heart is pounding in my chest. For another, more damning, thing, cold sweat has pooled underneath me.

Why? What changed?

My dream. The dream from last night.

As I push my mind to remember, a small moan escapes from the depths of me. The image suddenly hits, and it feels as if an icy dagger has punctured my heart.

This dream had been different than the others.

I have been used to certain dreams – looked forward to them. Everyone would wait in a circle for the chance to dance with me. Some were more patient in the wait than others, but none were as patient as that one, whose face I could never picture upon waking. I . . . admired him . . .

I . . .

I thought the barrier between the waking world and the dream world was supposed to be distinct. Impenetrable. I didn’t think it was a two-way street!

He had always been so forceful, and this time, I felt there existed no option to resist. There was no one else around. We were dancing in an overgrown area far from civilization. The only light to see – the only way I could even see he was there – was by the feeble light of the crescent moon. His grip on my hand was absolute. The hand on my back commanded my movements. As we performed this spinning, dizzying dance, his face neared mine. At the moment before I awoke, I was locking lips with the darkness itself. Darkness incarnate.

In other words . . .

My mouth falls open.

“The Devil.”

Donovan Clark
Donovan Clark
29 days ago

A Midnight Visitor
By Donovan Clark

Flames licked over and under the small damp logs Carp had placed on the quiet little fire. Sparks flew like stars into the black night. There is a peculiar feeling to a small camp in a dark forest, the world huddles around the fire in a small circle of trees and brush, between the branches only black. Carp gazed into the coals and felt their heat in his eyes.

A great crack, a pop of steam exploding from the wood rang out into the trees. Then he heard something, a slight movement of the dead leaves that carpeted the forest. He turned to see what small creature was enjoying his company. Nothing, just the impenetrable dark between the trunks. As he was turning back to his fire he caught it, the reflection of an eye in the dark. Only the eye was four feet from the ground.

Startled, he stood. The eye disappeared.

“Hello?” His question went unanswered. Then it rushed him. One long dark beak followed by a mass of barbed quills. Carp stepped backwards, around the fire. The creature paused. Carp kneeled to pick up a burning branch. Just then it moved again, around the fire, thrusting with its sharpened beak. Carp raised the branch, embers hissed and smoke left thin trails as he warded off the attack. As he backed away the bird pressed on, looking for an opening, waiting for him to stumble. Carp kept the fire between them, lashing out with the branch when the beast got too close. Neither made a sound.

Then a rock came loose under his step, and in a blink it was on him. He stopped the bird’s strike with his hand and watched as the end of the beak slid out from between his tendons. With a tremendous pain he held on, forcing the thing into the fire. A shriek pounded through his eardrums as the bird toppled sideways onto the coals. He screamed as it ripped its beak free of his grip. Then it was off, into the dark, leaving a smell of singed hair behind.

John Perceval Cain (oneeye John)
John Perceval Cain (oneeye John)
1 month ago

A Dance with the Devil
John Perceval Cain (oneeye John)

He stood nervously, fidgeting, moving from foot to foot with the red wax sealed invitation in his hand. As he stepped from the foyer into the hallway adjoining the ballroom and glanced at himself in the silvered gilding of the hall’s wainscot, it was effectively a mirror.

He was more richly dressed than ever before, in a starched white club collared shirt with a gray and silver patterned silk puff tie. Over this was a stitched brocade vest with a worsted ¾ length jet black coat worn unbuttoned. The outfit cost more than his whole family earned in a year.

Ethereal music, an electro synth waltz, pulled him from his revere and he made his way into the ballroom. He looked around and couldn’t see the source of the music, but realized someone stood at the front of the bandstand.

The woman hadn’t been there just a moment before. She was standing sideways in silhouette, and turned towards him. Her dress was a sheath style, had a deep decolletage that plunged to her navel and a high starched and spiked Elizabethan collar. The material was a decadent gold threaded, beaded black silk, with puffed sleeves, high leg slits, and a cape that flowed like wings as she moved down off the bandstand. Her makeup, smokey eyes, black shiny lips and nails, contrasted with her pale skin and chiseled features.

His heart skipped a beat. She was beautiful and terrible, Tolkien’s Galadriel, when tempted by the ‘One Ring’ came to his mind, “All shall love me and despair!” He lifted the invitation towards her.

“I’ll take that.” She made a gesture flicking her right wrist, and the envelope flashed in flame and disappeared.

He inched back from her, looking at his hand. The only thing left of the invitation was smoke and a bit of ash. He stared up at the woman.

She licked her lips as if savoring a tasty morsel. “You can call me Lili.”

He trembled as she stepped next to him. “What do you want from me?”

“To dance.”

Thunder
Thunder
1 month ago

He Never Had a Chance \
By Thunder

They say not to bargain with gods or devils. The fool I am, I decided my need was great enough to risk it. The temple of Kalod, Lord of Demons, filled with sulfurous smoke as the god manifested. “Why do you waste my time, puny mortal?” he demanded in a voice that shook the earth.

I asked my boon, expecting the price to be high. I was surprised to find it fair. I, and many others who had come to the Grand Arbitrator over the past year, were to attend a simple party. Just a formal dance, hosted by the god himself and attended by his chosen minions.

Just a dance. I tried and tried to think how he would turn this on me. Would the mortal guests be used as appetizers? No, they were honored guests and would be treated with the proper dignity. Would we be trapped within his realm forever? No, at the end of the dance they would all be allowed to leave with their wishes granted.

Try as I might, I couldn’t find the trap. So, I agreed. A month later I would join a group of some two dozen equally nervous ‘guests’ before the portal into the Threshold.

The ballroom was nice, I suppose, given everything was red and/or black and demons lurked in every corner. “Welcome, mortal swine!” Kalod cried out “Eat, drink, be merry and all that crap. You are all here to pay the price for my aid, and you shall have it at the completion of your first dance. Now dance, fuckers, dance!”

A ghostly band struck up a tune, and the party began. I was almost pulled from my feet into a whirlwind of spasming appendages.

Soon my limbs began to tire, and my parched throat ached for a drop of wine. But, try as I might, I could not break from the dance. The music never ceased or slowed, and as I beheld the other mortal guests began to fail, only to be carried on, I finally saw the trap as Kalod’s booming laugh filled the room.

Damigeron-Evax
1 month ago

The Devil’s Crown
Damigeron-Evax

Manuel finished the last chalk letter of the square and stood, bumping one of the lit candlestands. He fumbled with the stand, catching it before the candle tumbled out. He set the stand back in place before turning back to his magic square.

It looked well enough. The book had said the square had the holy name of God in it, so he’d memorized the letters. He set his feet in the middle and looked out the abandoned church into the black of night. He breathed in through his teeth and danced out from the middle in a counter-clockwise spiral, chanting the name of every devil he knew, looking up every couple of steps. When no demon showed up in the darkness Miguel hissed a curse with each name.

When he reached the end an admonishing tongue clicked. “Such language, Manuel.”

Manuel nearly jumped out of the square. In the pew beside him sat an old man with horns, a cane, and eyes the fire of black opal.

“I know your name,” Manuel said, eying the cane, “Cojuelo, the limping devil!”

“Guilty,” the demon chuckled, “You have called and this old goat must answer. What do you wish to know?”

“Treasure!” Manuel practically shouted, “When Lucifer fell the jewels spilled from his crown. Where they are buried?”

“Oh,” Cojuelo said, as though told a child’s secret, “Jewels of the Devil’s crown. Hmm…” Cojuelo made a show of pondering the question.

“You can find them south,” the demon said finally. “In fact, I think you’re already well on your way there.”

Manuel’s blood ran cold. He started to dance the spiral backwards to dismiss the old goat. He looked down to watch his steps and wood knocked against wood.

As soon as Manuel looked up he was on his back, a candlestand beneath his legs. The old goat stood, cane held out.

Manuel saw his foot was outside the square. Cojuelo’s cane slowly hooked his ankle.

“You know, I don’t think jewels will do you any good,” the demon grinned, “I’ll take you to see the Devil’s crown for yourself.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Damigeron-Evax
Eddy
1 month ago

The Devil Bathes in Neon Lights
by Alexsander Edwards

I forget what it felt like to be a free man, before I became a target.

It’s hard to tell who I pissed off this time, really. Maybe some pharma corp trying to hide the side-effects of their new drug. Perhaps a cybernetic company whose augments secretly siphoned data off their users. Or it could just be the old usual: some random corrupt politician deep within a corporation’s pockets – they’re a dime a dozen, after all. Whoever it is, they’re more powerful than usual, to get me running away like this.

Honestly, even the bright neon signs outside feel oppressive now. It’s like being bombarded by flashy reminders of who might be after me, rather than simple false promises for products that can never really accomplish all that their companies promise.

I’ve been on the run for weeks now. Or has it been months? Hell if I know. Time has no meaning when you’re always living in the present, really. At least I’ve finally found this shithole of a bunker to hide in last week.

If I weren’t being hunted right now, I would’ve said this bunker’s previous owner was paranoid. Another “prepper” – we’ve been dealing with those crazies for centuries, now. But, by whatever cruel god is out there, it feels good to be in this shithole. I even managed to nab a variety of guns from the poor bastard who used to live here, some still in working condition. A couple pistols, a shotgun, a rifle… this will do.

I can hear the damn hitman walking outside. The loud ‘thunks’ of his metal legs going back and forth. I think he’s waiting for me to die of hunger – no augs in the world could make the decades-old food in here edible again, after all.

Fuck it, the time for hiding is over. If I’m going down, I’m doing it with guns ablaze – no prosthetics will save him from a rain of bullets. Let’s get this over with, you son of a bitch – let’s dance.

Magic System
Magic System
1 month ago

Burning Gold
Magic System

“Erin, you’re going to die!” The councilwoman’s voice was nearly lost in the din of hundreds of soldiers marching up the hill. Erin spared a backwards glance, full of passion and fury. “No bonded can fight alone!”

No one heard his response, they only saw his jaw moving as Erin muttered the words to an incantation. And then… their horror shifted to awe as the skin on his arms solidified into gleaming golden scales, flaming talons erupting at his fingertips. Gone was the scared, disheveled boy who had taken refuge in their town; standing protectively before them was the greatest warrior, and the only man alive bonded to a phoenix.

Erin stared down the soldiers and their unending march. His hand raised into the air, pouring flame into the sky that shaped into a single word: run. Townspeople gone, a new fire flared in Erin’s eyes. The soldiers charged. His hand fell. The flame fell with it. Erin exploded into motion, slashing talons through swords, muscles, and throats indiscriminately. With each motion, a gust of flame swept through the endless stream of soldiers, melting armor and bones alike.

And then one got through, stabbing his sword through Erin’s arm. Another, piercing Erin’s leg. His hand. His heart.

Erin, the only man bonded to a phoenix, died.

The army moved on, too massive to care about the man who had killed hundreds on his own. They might call him a devil, but even devils died.

Erin, the only man bonded to a phoenix, lived.

He pulled himself to his feet, senses blazing raw from a reformed body, and growled out the incantations once more. The sun continued through the sky, and the carnage continued, flames piercing armor and careening through hordes of men. And Erin died. And died. And died. He died tens, twenties, hundreds of times, and still no man got past him.

The moon was high when Erin realized, panting, that he’d killed them all. Blood dripped from dozens of wounds; they were nothing compared to the red sea he had created.

MasaCur
MasaCur
1 month ago

A Killer of Dragons
By MasaCur (Reposted from the Private Group)

Sonja kicked in the door, and was immediately met with gunfire. The bullets deflected harmlessly off her near-impenetrable skin.

Rikke threw the pistol at her with a scream, and Sonja batted it away. Already, Rikke was on the move, dashing out the patio door, leaping down to the grass below with effortless agility, rolling once before returning to her feet.

Sonja followed, jumping down, her powerful legs absorbing the fall.

“So, it’s come to this. After all this time,” Rikke said. Her ebony skin glistened in the moonlight.

Sonja nodded. “You brought this on, Rikke. You were the one that betrayed me. You were the one that went after my people. You were the one that…” Sonja couldn’t find the words to go on. Rikke’s crimes over the years had brought so much pain to so many.

“I’m not about to let your stupid little organization bring down everything I’ve built!” Rikke snarled, flecks of spittle flying from her mouth.

“Give it up, Rikke.”

The lithe woman reached to her hip, and drew her sword, a heavy iron thing with runes etched into its blade. It looked ridiculously big in Rikke’s hands, but she held it with the appearance of one practiced in its use.

Sonja’s breath caught in her throat. She took a half-step back, as fear filled her soul. Nine millimeter bullets she could handle. This, however, was Hrunting, the sword of Beowulf. This sword could kill dragons.

Sonja unwrapped her own sword from the swath of silk, unsheathing the katana crafted by Masamune. The moonlight shone off the polished blade.

Rikke sneered before charging Sonja, her blade sizzling through the air as she swung it. Sonja backstepped from the blow, mere inches from the blade. She batted away a second blow with the katana.

A third swipe nicked her arm, sending a burning sensation along her skin. She could feel the wetness as the blood soaked into her sleeve.

Rikke smirked. “It seems that Hrunting’s reputation is well deserved.” She circled around to Sonja’s flank.

Sonja’s feet kept time with Rikke’s. “It seems so. Shall we dance?”

Last edited 1 month ago by MasaCur
Angela
Angela
1 month ago

Running for Too Long
By Angela

I honestly never thought that he’d catch me this way. It felt so bland compared to what I’d previously imagined, and a car crash just wasn’t it. The sun was shining down onto the wreck on the road right in front of my house. I tried to pull out of my driveway, but as soon as I got to the street, a truck rammed right into me at an insane speed, killing me on the spot.

Days before already, I dodged death so many times it felt like I’d angered all possible deities in some way, but it all ends now, with him standing next to my lifeless corpse in the driver’s seat, then glancing at me. We both just stood there, next to each other, as if waiting for something to happen during that time, until he finally spoke to me in the sweetest voice I could’ve imagined for him:

“Looks like your luck finally gave in, doesn’t it? I’ve been chasing around for your soul for so long, I almost can’t believe my eyes.” he’d told me.

“I hope you’re not mad, I didn’t mean to dance with the Dev—, to avoid it this way, I promise!” I yelled, in hopes of forgiveness.

He chuckled a bit, then said: “Oh, not to worry, I’m pretty used to it by now. No one ever really means it, hun. Come on now, I’ve kept you waiting long enough, and it’s a pretty long way down.”

With that, a slab of the asphalt in front of me slid to the side, revealing a stairway, seemingly leading into some kind of abyss. I was kind of scared to go down. I guess it was just something I had to trust, that I simply had to take a leap of faith. Back then, it seemed cruel of Him to let me down there, but now that I’ve had time to think about it, I was cruel to myself, not going down, and instead staying right there, alone in the world.

Hastaw
Hastaw
1 month ago

Survival

By: Hastaw

My mother says I need to look better.

I think I’m beautiful. Everyone else should believe the queen looks radiant!

I should be beautiful. My eyes are big. My skin looks pale. I am smooth to the touch. My waist is small and broken.

Now, I’m beautiful.

Everyone says,” black is beauty”. I look down.

I tan my skin till it’s charred. My eyelashes look long. My breath is clean. My teeth are white. My eyebrows are small.

Now, I’m beautiful.

Everyone says,”black is hideous”. I look at myself.

I wash my skin till it’s white. I bleach my hair. I put contacts in to hide. I put perfection into everything I do.

Now, I’m beautiful.

I bruise easily. I don’t ask for much. I listen to your hateful words, and I think,

“Am I beautiful yet?”

I feel like every word is a cut. I hurt thinking of these words. I need to make everyone see me. I will defend myself to the bitter end.

I will make everyone see that I am beautiful!

Do you understand?

I am beautiful!

You will not see the pain. I have to make you feel it. You don’t understand; I’m lying to myself!

You are not beautiful!

No, I’m not beautiful because you don’t see my beauty.

You see ugly. I see me.

It might be a lot to ask, but I need compassion. I need understanding. I need to feel safe. I am a human being. I need you to treat me like one.

Please.

Hastaw
Hastaw
1 month ago

Survival

By: Hastaw

My mother says I need to look better.

I think I’m beautiful. Everyone else should believe the queen looks radiant!

I should be beautiful. My eyes are big. My skin looks pale. I am smooth to the touch. My waist is small and broken.

Now, I’m beautiful.

Everyone says,” black is beauty”. I look down.

I tan my skin till it’s charred. My eyelashes look long. My breath is clean. My teeth are white. My eyebrows are small.

Now, I’m beautiful.

Everyone says,”black is hideous”. I look at myself.

I wash my skin till it’s white. I bleach my hair. I put contacts in to hide. I put perfection into everything I do.

Now, I’m beautiful.

I bruise easily. I don’t ask for much. I listen to your hateful words, and I think,

“Am I beautiful yet?”

I feel like every word is a cut. I hurt thinking of these words. I need to make everyone see me. I will defend myself to the bitter end.

I will make everyone see that I am beautiful!

Do you understand?

I am beautiful!

You will not see the pain. I have to make you feel it. You don’t understand; I’m lying to myself!

You are not beautiful!

No, I’m not beautiful because you don’t see my beauty.

You see ugly. I see me.

It might be a lot to ask, but I need compassion. I need understanding. I need to feel safe. I am a human being. I need you to treat me like one.

Please.

Blinky
Blinky
1 month ago

Theo dances
By Blinky

Theo’s prison was cold and made of linen. Everything was so white, clean, and sterile that it was infuriating. The constant beep of a heart monitor never really let him sleep as well as he should. He’d given anything to bite it, but his caretakers had other ideas.

“No, sir. I can’t give you an extra special dose of painkillers. That would be murder.”

What a baby. Murder wasn’t so bad. Ain’t like you were the one that stopped living. These days kids were too self-absorbed to help an old man out. His blood pressure raced at the thought.

When he was young, he had taken old pa out behind the woodshed when he got too old to walk around himself. That was how it was supposed to be, but these kids were too dang soft.

The incessant hum of his heart monitor interrupted his glowering. Dang thing never worked right. He picked up his remote and began slamming the call button.

“Nurse! This piece of junk don’t work!”

A flurry of scrubs rushed into his room. They wheeled in a crash cart, and an older nurse began barking orders.

“Stop being so overdramatic, you pansies. I’m fine.” He pushed away a nurse that tried to take his pulse and felt nothing as his hand passed through her. He jumped back in shock and fell through what he could only describe as nothing. There was no rush of wind against his skin or even the innate sensation he’d understood to be inertia. Just a frictionless dive through emptiness. He wasn’t sure how much time had passed or if it had passed at all.

“Theo.” A sweet voice called to him through the void. “You have been judged and found wanting. So, like all his other broken toys, they’ve given you to me.” A sweet melody played in his ears. “Well, Cinderella is tired of watching them flail about the dance floor.” He could feel something reach out to him through the emptiness. “So, won’t you join me and show those bastards how it’s done?”

ThatWeirdFish
ThatWeirdFish
1 month ago

Dark Tutor
By ThatWeirdFish

The horned man’s incredulous stare stung as much as the hot needle used to summon him.

“I…” Thea licked her dry lips. “I need the practice.”

“Obviously,” the Panuk scoffed and rolled his eyes. “It’s as if you’ve never asked a man to dance before.”

“Well… i-it’s tradition that….”

Whatever dark words he muttered under his breath were, they made her stomach shrink back, and the back of her neck crawl. He gave a frustrated huff before meeting her eyes with his own snake-like eyes.

“Fine. But on one condition.”

“What is it?” Thea clenched the charm in her pocket. She’d heard the stories… her soul, the first child she would bear, even-

“Get that damned book out of my sight. It’s blinding me.”

She blinked. “The… what?”

He then roughly pointed to the Trasmata splayed out before her on the floor. “You want dance lessons or not?”

“Oh… uh… sure….” With a fumbling snap, she closed the book and stashed it under her pillow. “S-sorry, I didn’t know that-”

“Save it. I’m feeling generous tonight, so don’t push it.” He held out his hand to her expectantly.

“You want me to enter the circle with you?” She inched back, clenching the charm harder.

“One, I can’t leave it.” Though his voice still sounded agitated, it eased to a casual cadence as his pupils dilated to a standard human shape while he spoke. “Two, you won’t die. And three, if you want to dance right, you have to be close to your partner.”

“You… you’re sure I won’t die?”

“I can’t make any promises. The fey has a monopoly on that bracket.” He smirked slightly, teasing a hint at his fangs.

“Was that a joke?” Thea found herself smiling a little as she stepped closer.

“Hmm… perhaps. Or I could be lying to get your guard down.” His hand coiled around hers as he pulled her close.

“Pervert…” She blushed and looked away.

“Just doing my job,” He shrugged with a coy smile before beginning to sway, his opposite hand around her waist. “Let’s get you ready for the carnival.”

Ren
Ren
1 month ago

The Devil’s Waltz
By Ren

A familiar hand appeared in Grimm’s view as the music shifted to a waltz, and they followed the black-suited arm attached to it up to a familiar face.

“Dance with me?” Uthyr asked with a warm smile.

Grimm considered for a brief moment, then took the last sip of their wine and set the glass on a passing waiter’s tray. “I could stand to,” they said as their cane faded into the places between and shadows braced their right leg. They laid their hand in Uthyr’s, night-black against his pale skin, and his smile grew as he let Grimm lead them both onto the floor.

Around them on the dance floor, couples whirled in glittering circles. Grimm and Uthyr were comparatively subdued; the only spots of color on them were Grimm’s carmine shirt and the matching rose boutonnière in Uthyr’s buttonhole. And yet, eyes were increasingly drawn to the pair of them over any others.

Grimm knew why. They themself were nothing much in comparison to the other devils here. Even the least of the Lords of Hell present could give Uthyr power and riches beyond anything Grimm could hope to offer. And the devils would, if Uthyr even glanced in their direction—few other necromancers could hope to match his power.

But throughout the night, Uthyr’s mind had clearly been on Grimm, the devil he had arrived with, whether he was chatting or dancing or simply standing against the wall. And now that they were waltzing together, Uthyr’s hand steadying Grimm against their weakened leg and Uthyr’s brown eyes fixed on Grimm’s blank white, they felt like the most powerful being in the room.

A small smile crossed Grimm’s face as the dance wound to a close, revealing a hint of white fang. “That was delightful. Thank you.”

Uthyr smiled back and ran a gentle finger over one of Grimm’s bone-white horns, eliciting a brief, rattling purr. “No, my dear devil. Thank you.”

Arith_Winterfell
Arith_Winterfell
1 month ago

“One’s Nature” (Aethir: The Vanished World) (CW: Violence)

By Arith_Winterfell

I finally came upon her gagged and bound. The maiden who had been taken by the bandits hiding out in this cave. Her dress had been torn by the bandits, exposing her bare thigh. I felt the demon-blood lusts well up within me. The urges to have my way with her, to feast upon her, came upon me. I pushed the urges away. I drew my dagger and approached her. She saw the dagger and trembled in fear. It gave me pause, and I reached out and caressed her face.

“I am Arith, don’t worry, your father sent me. I’m going to cut your bonds and take you home,” I said softly trying to allay her fears.

“He’s in here!” said one of the bandits emerging from the cave mouth with two others shortly behind. I turned my blood’s lust to them.

I withdrew my hand from her face, whispered a few words in the infernal tongue of my ancestors, calling upon a spell, my fingers grew to talons. The first bandit charged me with sword drawn, but in one fluid motion I slashed across his eyes blinding him just as he came in range. He crumpled to the floor screaming in agony.

I turned and shouted in the infernal tongue another spell, breathing a cone of flames like a dragon’s breath, and engulfed the two remaining bandits in fire. Then I stood there grinning like a madman at their suffering. They crumpled and wailed, and finally grew still. Elation filled me, then I turned back and looked at the still bound maiden, she was filled with terror at what I had done. I sighed and drew my dagger. I cut the ropes that bound her.

“Please, follow me. Your father and family are waiting for your safe return,” I said gently.

Hesitantly she followed me, and we headed past the dead bodies, out of the cave mouth, and into the wilds. Promises must be kept. After all, I’m a better man than all of that.

Last edited 1 month ago by Arith_Winterfell
Rozen_Neverland
Rozen_Neverland
1 month ago

Strings of Reflection (The Butterfly and The Spider)
By Rozen_Neverland

The ballroom is constituted of an entangled web, our fated movements of the evening woven into the vastness.

“May I have this dance?” a figure asks with a distorted voice, extending its hand in my direction.

However, the vague outlines of a silhouette my height are the sole features perceivable to me. What is this? How should I respond, when I am unable to read the expression of my partner? Regardless, it would be impolite to turn him down.

And so, I respond with a slight nod, trying to direct my gaze at its eyes or where they should be, since that which distinguishes each human from birth, its face, is formless. Have I finally gone mad?

Once our fingers intertwine, I feel as though something is being stripped away from me, something that no being should ever lose. My limbs go numb and each sensation, I had perceived mere moments ago, has vanished. No longer is my body able to accept touch or give it in return, for what I have become is the marionette of the spider, who twirled me in its luring thread of enslavement.

Even though my shell is being controlled by an undivulged presence, this abnormality is the very thing that gives me the harmony of gliding through the air without knowing the destination.

With this thought, the thought of viewing the checkered marble flooring, not as a battlefield, but a sky, in which creatures dance with the wind, the cocoon begins unraveling. With each step that does not belong to me, I begin to see the true foe before me.

“Do you recognize my presence? The one whom you do not comprehend, yet is all too familiar. The existence with the ability to restrain as well as unshackle. Your greatest companion and rival. Both the butterfly and the spider.”

“Yes, I remember. The true devil is-“

Last edited 1 month ago by Rozen_Neverland
Cromillea
Cromillea
1 month ago

Eclipse Ball (Dawn Collection)
By Cromillea

All the Moon Kin were enthralled by the festivities of the Eclipse Ball; they danced about the forest floor, laughing gleefully. Some of those ghastly creatures found even more fun in taunting the imprisoned Sunrise King. They jumped at him like frogs and made a fool of him with their silver tongues. The King was relieved when the Queen made her appearance, silencing her kin.

“Sorry, your Radiance,” she said walking towards him. “I thought I made the distinction between invitation and kidnapping more clear.”

The king said with a yawn, “none of that matters. You should have left my people out of it. Now it’s getting late, why don’t you let us all go home?”

A smile appeared upon the queen’s purple face. “You still owe me a dance, then I’ll let them go.”

“Another painful dance,” he sighed.

“Just like old times,” she replied.

The King pulled himself up to face the Moonfall Queen. He was released and then they began their waltz. The Queen was so close to him, it felt like he had plunged into the frigid sea. His skin was turning blue and his breath grew more frantic with each revolution.

The Moon Kin were releasing the King’s men as promised. The King would have to survive just a little longer until they were all safe. In a spin, he could see the kin prodding them out of the woods with their spears. Only one man left.

When he was released, the last fleeing man shook his fist at her and yelled, “you’re going to kill him, ya Devil!”

At that time, the King was a puppet in her dance. He could no longer feel anything or move without her help. The Queen looked into his eyes with hidden sympathy and dropped him. He fell to the floor, shivering.

“Fine, have a break, you’re no fun anymore,” she said, disappointed. “This might be the last time we ever dance like this.”

She laid her cloak over him and left with her kin. Dawn was coming, good riddance.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cromillea
LanaMae
LanaMae
1 month ago

Hell spawn

Ere screamed in pain, she was in labor, with the final contractions she pushed the baby from within herself, what came out she could hardly believe, there at the hands of the doula was a tiny purple skinned, winged baby girl with itsy bitsy horns and a little tail, the spawn of a demon and a drow elf.

She wasn’t totally sure how she hadn’t realized that the charming man 6 weeks ago was a demon, the evidence was there, and her pregnancy was very short, within hours of him taking her virginity she was showing, within days the baby was moving around inside her.

The doula smirked a bit , transformed into her demon form and crowed,” the Lord will be pleased, a female to carry many generations of his lineage. ” the demon tried to take the little one and flee.

Erel growled , struggling to stand she wrested the tiny babe from the demon’s hands, and used magic to cloak them with an invisibility spell, as quickly as she could they ran away through the woods through the the border of fae territory. A place where demons couldn’t see them.

When they entered fae territory she took a moment to look at her beautiful daughter, “hello Jaslin Marie Spiritweaver, you are very special, I will do my best to protect you, life will have many challenges for you.”

Weeks went by and the tiny baby grew quickly into a teenager ,at least by demon standards, she learned from the fae and her mother how to use magic and how to hide her demonic features .

She knew her father was looking for her to be a breeder, to seduce men to impregnate her for eons, she didn’t want that life, she wanted to make her own choices .

Many years later Jaslin kissed her mother on the cheek while she was sleeping and slipped out of fae territory within minutes a great many demons dropped from the skies and flew her away to meet her father. The rest of her life was not her own.

VulpesRose
VulpesRose
1 month ago

Roll with the Punches
by VulpesRose

Sally watched her brother, Kevin, spar with his coach. It felt like a rare break from discussing “The Fight,” the preeminent topic of the past month.

While she had no physical training (aside from a self defense class last summer), she had watched all the tapes and lingered on the outskirts of every strategy discussion. So a part of her felt like she’d been prepping for the Allan Whitmore fight, too. Regrettably, she felt winning could be possible.

Which meant Kevin was feeling nigh on invincible.

This was a problem, because, although The Fight was foremost on everyone’s mind, there was one aspect that no one was discussing.

She hadn’t been at the doctor’s appointment, but Kevin was messy and left things lying around. Like medical files with phrases like “history of concussions,” “risk of CTE,” and “would not recommend continued participation.”

Despite the fact that continuing down this path could literally kill him, no one ever mentioned it.

Because this was his chance to break into the Pros. This was his chance to take on an opponent of merit, someone who would get him noticed. Someone who had a 22-0 record with 17 of those wins being knockouts.

And because they had found another doctor to sign off on Kevin’s health.

Now, after her brother’s camp had been courting Whitmore’s people for a month, they were ready to accept. Contracts would be signed, tickets would be sold, and the hype train would switch into overdrive to get as many eyes on The Fight as possible.

She regretted her job at the gym that had first led him here, as a freshman in college with too much to prove. If quitting now would end all of this, she would have already.

Kevin delivered a vicious left hook to his coach’s headgear, a hook that, in a real fight, might have dislocated his jaw.

“That’s it,” his coach grinned. “Kevin ‘Hitman’ MacArthur vs. Allan ‘The Devil’ Whitmore. Except he gets top billing. Ready for the big time, kid?”

“Yeah,” Kevin smirked, wiping the sweat above his lip. “Let’s dance.”

SilentAlpaca
SilentAlpaca
1 month ago

Cursed Visage
By SilentAlpaca

“SOLDIERS!” Akemi Oniwa cried and the army fell silent. Armor quietly clacked and sashimono banners flapped. “The Horde has arrived. They come to kill our sons, enslave our wives and burn our homes; to steal our horses, eat our rice and rip our lives from us! Will we allow them?!” The soldiers answered in passionate shouts. Akemi continued his speech, rousing and powerful, but Gyobu Takeda wasn’t listening. He was deep in meditation, the mask of a smirking demon strapped to his face.

“He-he-he-heeee.” A sly voice giggled in Gyobu’s head.

“Quiet, demon!” He snapped internally. “You will assist me, nothing more, and when this battle ends, I’ll banish you forever.”

The voice ignored him. “You want revenge.”

“No.”

“I did, too, once. I was a mighty samurai, just like you, but one day, bandits fell upon my home. They burned it in the night and slaughtered my family as they fled. Lying amongst the ashes, only my mask remained—I remained. They’ve since met their ends.”

“Revenge is a weak pleasure.”

“Weak, but sweet,” the demon giggled. Gyobu ignored it. “I could help you win more than this battle.”

He focused on his breathing. “In… out…”

“We could fell their entire army. Every life they’ve taken could be avenged!”

“In… out…”

“You’re ignoring me….” The voice became quiet, then returned, softened. “Remember how gently the cherry blossom tree creaked in the breeze? How its petals danced on the pond? How it smoldered?”

“In… out…”

“Remember how the smell of sweets drew you to your grandmother in the summer? How her precious voice lulled you to sleep? How she cowered?”

“In… out…”

“Remember how Jin’s eyes glimmered in the sun? How joyously he sparred with his father?”

Gyobu stiffened.

“How that arrow sunk in his chest?”

His mind was silent.

Akemi’s hand suddenly landed on his shoulder, pulling him back to reality. “It’s time,” he said. Slowly, Gyobu stood and mounted his steed as the mask’s strength seeped into him. He drew his sword with a shivering hand.

“Weak, but sweet.” The demon giggled.

Lunabear
Lunabear
1 month ago

Won’t You Play A While?
by Lunabear

Victor prowled the streets, soaking in the calm night air. Hardly a car or pedestrian inhabited the same space, but he could tell through scattered, indistinct conversations that there were a few adventurous humans enjoying this late hour, as well.

A boutique window caught his attention. He looked beyond the reflection of his crimson eyes to a quartet of dresses. He easily pictured Rosalynn in the style but not Samantha.

“They are quite lovely, no? Are you looking for something for your…sister?” A woman’s heavy French accent, hesitant and enticing, cut through his thoughts.

Her scent enveloped his senses in nirvanic bliss. As intoxicating as a fine red wine. As alluring as the first breath of the rising sun. As mysterious as a whispered song in the fog.

Victor smoothly pivoted on his heel and studied the petite brunette illuminated by the window. Freckles dotted her nose while her dark brown eyes danced with curiosity.

He chuckled. “Sisters, actually. One is head over heels for the cut and fabric, but the other…” Victor shrugged with a crooked smile.

Her eyelashes fluttered, and her unpainted lips curved into a relieved grin. “That is good. Both have their own voice.”

“They do.” He outstretched his hand. “I’m Victor.”

Her small hand slipped into his perfectly. “Jeanne.”

He planted a lingering kiss on her knuckles.

“Oh!” Her blood thrummed.

His stomach protested loudly as he released her hand. His predatory gaze met her surprised one.

“I-if you are hungry, there is a small Italian restaurant nearby.”

He clamped his lower jaw against his descending fangs before speaking. “I prefer something with more bite.”

“I am sure they have spices.”

That earned her a genuine laugh from him. “Fair enough. Would you care to join me, Jeanne?”

“Only if I can choose dessert,” she purred.

Victor bowed. “As the lady desires.” He offered his arm.

She accepted willingly.

*****

Dinner had been tasty; Jeanne had been delectable. He could still taste her, could still feel her fingernails. Victor hummed with satisfaction.

He would definitely make sure to visit her again.

AFTER she healed.

Last edited 1 month ago by Lunabear
Lee Strangely
Lee Strangely
1 month ago

“So Predictable”
by Lee Strangely

The spotlight swept past the broken windows and filled the hallway. The sound of spinning rotor blades followed it.

From behind the corner Humbolt said into his comm, “If you can get a clean shot. Take it.”

The spotlight soon stopped at a single figure. He stood concealed by a blank black mask and cape, with sporadic stitching painfully visible all across them.

“So predictable,” detective Humbolt muttered as he peeked around the corner with his pistol in hand.

Three gunshots brought the figure to the ground, flat on his back. When the echo passed, he then slowly walked up to the body. The cape still covered most of him, however something still shined through the small gap.

He moved the fabric with his gun. Beneath the cloak seemed to be dark poet’s blouse… Along with an armor breast plate…

With three dents in it.

He wasn’t fast enough. One hand grabbed his arm, while knocking his gun out of hand and out the window. The other hand grabbed him by the waist and pulled him down the two rolled over one another. All before he could blink.

“So predictable,” the figure sneered whilst on top of Humbolt.

“What do you want?”

The figure pulled Humbolt and himself to their feet, “Call off the sniper first.”

“Not. Happening.”

BANG!

A shot came from outside. The man dodged with a quick twirl while Humbolt was still in his arms.

“I need to know something,” the man stated.

“I’m not telling anything to a murderer,” Humbolt spat as he struggled to get free.

BANG!

The man did another twirl with Humbolt’s arm forced out, dodging another bullet, moving to unheard music.

“Said the pot to the kettle,” the man added.

For a moment Humbolt took control and pinned the man to a wall, “That was different.”

They spun again. Each struggling to overtake the other. It all stopped as the man dipped Humbolt over the window’s edge.

“You’re not a good partner.”

“Y-you’re exposed.” Humbolt cautioned.

“So are you,” he cooed while eyeing the streets below, “it’s a long way down detective.”

Aracnarquista
Aracnarquista
1 month ago

Compelled to Dance
By Aracnarquista

It is a dance of contrasts. They were invited, I was compelled. They are many, I am one. Each of them is here to dance with me, and I am here to dance with all. And above all of them, my main partner awaits.

It is a dance of splendor. My partners are dressed in their best – the sun blesses the colors of their outfits, and in its radiance they are indeed suits of light. The majesty of my crown allures those present, and although I am not as lavishly outfitted as my partners, they tribute me with colorful jewelry during our exchanges, and, as part of the dance routine, I’ll produce a flowing crimson scarf to contrast with my black garment.

It is a dance of intensity. Clapping and the sound of castanets mark the steps we take. My footwork commands the pace and attention of all. My partners dance aggressively, trying to tire me. My main partner, that handsome devil, walks with poise and intent, waiting for his turn.

It is a dance of precision. Timing is a game of life and death, and our movements risk dangerous clashes. There is nervousness in the steps of those courting me, as they know I am a merciless dancer. They are merciless as well, and punish every one of my missteps. The shouts and cheering of the crowd are one with our choreography. One could imagine they rehearsed with us…. though none here has done so.

It is a dance of resistance. Although I tire of so many partners, their fatigue is greater than mine, and we approach the main ballet. That devil invites me from afar, with a flourish of his cape. I make a measure and put my best foot forward.

It is a decisive dance. His lean body, the ruin of so many dancers like me, meets me at the center of the dancefloor. Suddenly, our choreography is cut short, as the torero falls to my horns. His crimson meets mine, his death toll finally finished.

The dance is over. Maybe now I can rest. Olé.

Fvn
Fvn
1 month ago

Second Chances Never Come Easy
By Fvn 🙂

Domrick wilted over from the pain in his left abdomen. The gash there had begun to bleed profusely and caused him to lurched forward then lean against the alley wall. He thought back on his recent escapades which had left several people injured and his, not so good friend, Dead.

Needless to say this was not his finest hour but likely his last. That was until a figure appeared walking down the alley. Domrick squirmed slightly, reaching for the knife on his belt before hearing it murmur something.

“Poor, boy,” it taunted in an ethereal tone with many voices, “Lost your friends, and nearly lost your head. What’s a sorry soul to do?”

“What is this, freak?” Domrick prodded. “Yah get some sick pleasure outta seeing people bent like this?”

The figure kneeled down revealing the strange face under its hood. It was a sickening visage, though vaguely human, consisting of the forms of many beings. Its head jittered and Domrick watched as each face became prominent before succumbing to the next, one after another.

“This must seem rather quaint to you, but we have pressing matters to discuss, my child.”

“You’re no guard” Domrick managed to spit out between bouts of pain.

“Clever aren’t we?” The being grew uncomfortably close to Domrick’s face. “Now, brass tax. It would seem, friend, that you have fallen into quite a predicament. No?”

“Who.., what are you?”Domrick questioned, grasping his open wound.

“Hmm,” It replied, “I am merely a patron looking for a worthy Almsman and you dear boy, as of late, have proven to be quite worthy of my favor.” Domrick shuttered at what came next.

“I offer you an escape from your current fate. In exchange all I require is your service.” It glanced over at Domrick’s knife, which was still wet with fresh blood, then back to him. “So child, what, do, you say?”

The being reached out its han, offering an accord and waited for a response. Domrick sat and stared into the strangers eyes, thinking momentarily before clasping its hand.

“My dear boy, we will have fun..”

Last edited 1 month ago by Fvn
Neil Drifter
Neil Drifter
1 month ago

Communion
By Neil Drifter

The air was thick with the scent of smoke and ritual herbs. It mingled with the oppressive humidity and turned into a nauseating, decadent haze that made Raphine’s eyes water. Yet her gaze remained fixed at what would soon be the stage of her ascension.

Said “stage”, as it was, a muddy clearing encircled by a dozen burning braziers, was framed by a Gathering of dim silhouettes, chanting low and somber. Firelight cast their shadows into a tenebrous carnival of shapes across the thicket all around, the whole scene tense and menacing.
As if nightmares from beyond pressed up against every soul, eager to angrily burst forth any moment.
“How fitting.” Raphine muttered, knowing what lay ahead.

“It is time.” The Voice whispered. The Voice only she heard, carried to her by the leaves and branches.
The Voice, Protector and Tyrant alike, had marked Raphine as Its new vessel.
On the opposite side of the stage stood her predecessor. A towering, treelike figure, barely human anymore.
Twisted, crooked, faceless. A mirror image of what awaited her one day, when her body could no longer contain Its will, and It would seek another.

“It is time.”

It churned her mind, promised her power, clarity, relief. Anxiety and Elation welled up inside her, tendrils of fear battling tugs of anticipation.
Raphine embraced it, and stepped into the circle.
Thus, the Ritual began.

The crooked figure followed suit with surprising grace, their flowing steps weaving the intricate geometry that would etch their communion into the very ground. The chanting grew louder, more violent, as they circled ever closer towards the middle.

Their hands touched.
A crack, a flash, a moaning gust, and all fell silent.

Raphine shouted her last words:
“I am Zeraphina, and I relinquish my mouth to speak your will forevermore!”

Then, the patterns they had danced came ablaze. Cold flames licked across their interlocked bodies, and she knew they would remain there until she stood alone, reborn amongst embers.
Free of pain and doubt, her consciousness slowly fading, she thought of her family, hoping this sacrifice would protect them well.

Last edited 1 month ago by Neil Drifter
DaLeen
DaLeen
1 month ago

Tanz Der Toten
By Taja DaLeen

One-two-three, one-two-three.

It was the first time my dearest father took me to a ball. I would be coming of age soon, so he wanted me to mingle with our peers, getting to know them.

It was going to be the last time he took me anywhere.

One-two-three, one-two-three.

When we arrived, there was already music playing, figures dancing gracefully across the ballroom floor.

It looked magical.

One-two-three, one-two-three.

But there was something, or rather someone, that immediately caught my eye. He seemed to be quite the charmer, dancing with a lot of different ladies. And how they flocked around him.

I could understand, in a way. He was almost devilishly handsome.

One-two-three, one-two-three.

At first, I did not know what to do with myself. I hardly knew anyone, and even though I liked dancing, I did not feel like it tonight.

At least not with anyone but him.

One-two-three, one-two-three.

But that one, I wanted. Him I wanted, so much, and I could not fathom why. This was all so new to me. I felt lonely, lost among this sea of dancers.

Until he came to me.

One-two-three, one-two-three.

I found it hard to believe. But there he stood, asking me to dance without words, just holding out his hand. It was as if he cast a spell on me with just his dark eyes.

Dazed, I took his hand, and we danced.

One-two-three, one-two-three.

It was wonderful. We danced the night away, I did not know nor did I care why he never danced with another lady after me. Just me.

I was too happy to have this burning desire satisfied.

One-two-three, one-two-three.

Enthralled as I was after only this little time we spent together, I did not even think about why he led me away. Away from the ballroom, from my father. Away from the dancing. And then…

He drained me.

One-two-three.

And just like that, the music was gone. Everything was gone. My life…

Only the craving stayed.

JaydenBlues
JaydenBlues
1 month ago

The Crimson Truce
By JaydenBlues

Angelica found herself in front of a Devil

Dressed in a white, pristine dress. Her feathered wings puffed up behind her, a common habit whenever she felt nervous.

How could she not be?

She was chosen to represent the Angels. Tutors had made her practice steps to perfection, just on this one occasion. An occasion where they would gather and celebrate a special night in the history of both Angels and Devils.

Devils, with their love to cause mayhem and destruction. Known for playing with the lives of mortals for their own amusement.

With a reputation such as this, you wouldn’t expect demons to be at equal standings with Angels.

Angels, ethereal beings. Symbols of purity and peace. Servants of God, mortals’ protectors, and an opposing force to beings of chaos.

Throughout history, Devils and Angels clashed. Wars broke out, lasting for decades, causing death on both sides. It was destiny. Like their sole purpose in existing is to be on opposite sides. Meant to be black and white.

But then, God had enough.

They proposed a deal to the King of all Demons. In which if they cease interacting with the lives of mortals, Devils would be free from the gates of hell that God had banished them under, all those years ago.

Thus, once a year, when the moon turns blood red, the gates of Heaven and Hell would open, both beings coming together in a night of celebration of The Crimson Truce.

A unanimous ocassion

It began a tradition, during the night of The Crimson Truce, that one representative from each realm would be chosen to partake in a dance, signifying the makings of the treaty and the peace between realms.

Angelica stared at the red eyes of her partner. Music starts to play. She curtsied with elegance, practiced a thousand times.

The Devil in-front of her did the same, revealing his curled black horns, matching the color of his attire.

They stood up,

He extended his hand.

She took it

And thus commenced her dance with a Devil

The Crimson Dance

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

The Devil’s Gift

By Joe

(Warning: suicide)

“I remember my death,” I said sullenly in their arms. “The rope I used to deny my desperate lungs. My needy airways trying to open to pass a single breath. The pressure immensely building in my head I thought it would explode. But the most painful sensation was the sadness suffocated by the building fear of death, with no hope of comfort from living nor dead. It was lonliest feeling I’ve ever known. Then the red filled my eyes until everything was black. Until I awoke in your arms.” I looked up from their chest, finished telling my life’s story, because they wanted to hear it.

The black silhouette outlined in red didn’t smile. They’re white eyes were disarmingly sad, but were inviting and warm.

We rocked back and forth to an endless melody. They held me close, stroking my head as we floated in a world of our own, to a piano concealed by the endless dark, where white speckles lazily descended from nowhere above.

Finally after a while they spoke dulcetly, as if two voices were in one. “Their greatest sin is not caring to enrich life.”

I looked back up at their apologetic eyes.

“They always blame you for being lonely, despite your attempts to make friends. For not working hard enough, even though hard work was your only option. For not handling your anger correctly, when no one taught you how or thought enough about how to comfort you. For not looking on the bright side of life when you held on to flickering candlelight the whole time.” They put their tender hand on my cheek. “Though some betrayed you, you tried your hardest to share that little light with others, because they couldn’t. That’s a gift I hope they’ll know someday.”

For the first time, I felt so overjoyed enough to cry, and buried my head in their chest. “I thought it was your job to punish whoever didn’t appreciate life,” I sobbed. “I didn’t know that I did.”

They lowered their head onto mine, welcoming me to the gift of sympathy.

Malqui
Malqui
1 month ago

The Choice.

By Malqui

Mr. Hernandez lay dead on the floor, warm blood seeping into the carpet of his living room. Smoke trailed from the end of the silencer on Johnny’s 9 mm. It wasn’t supposed to go this way.

Everyone knew that too much information would land a bullet in your chest, but Johnny had only meant to scare the poor guy. He knew fear would shut him up. A man like Hernandez had too much on the line. Any threat to his family would seal his lips like a safe. Unfortunately, Johnny’s twitches had gotten the best of him that night. One tingle through his spine had sent a bullet straight through the man’s velvet robe.

Johnny stood there shaking. His mind reeled, light tears trailing down his sweaty cheeks. His chest expanded slowly and compressed into his ribcage. For the first time, the horror of his situation dawned on him. Sure he’d done bad things in the past, threatened, robbed, and beaten those who crossed his family, but he’d never killed someone. This was murder, and that cold fact loomed over him like a stone pillar, wrenching at his gut.

“Daddy?”

Johnny’s head turned slowly in sheer terror. A girl, about seven, turned the corner of the hallway. Panic emanated up Johnny’s bowls as shivers ran through him. He stared at the girl for a moment, his mind almost completely blank aside from a bewildering sense of surprise. Just as the moment passed, a thought occurred: “She… i-is a witness”. Johnny’s heart dropped, as his palm ached around the grip of his pistol.

Something his father used to say echoed through his head in that agonizing moment.

“In this life, we’re always dancing with the devil. At some points, it’s a tango, and at others, it’s a waltz, but what tells a good man from a bad one is whether he lets the devil take the lead.”

Johnny thought of the girl’s life.
He thought of his family’s security.

Finally, he shut his eyes tight and swallowed his fear.

He knew what he had to do next.

Makokam
1 month ago

New Teammates and Old Grudges (Chronicles of The Dragon)
by Makokam

“Shit. It’s all of them.”

“All of who?” Wolfen asked, creeping to the edge of the roof.

“All the bosses.” They turned and whisper shouted back to the group, “I told you they were working together.”

“Which of these assholes are the bosses?”

“Red chick, she’s a lightning ninja. The big green blob is acidic and … a problem. The lizard is fast, nimble, and armored. The emo boy barking orders is a psychic, he’s really powerful but Khia can lock him down. Then there’s the guy smoking off to the side. We’ve never fought him but everybody he’s worked with is TERRIFIED of him.”

Wolfen looked where they pointed and his eyes narrowed, before all the hair and fur on his body stood on end. “It’s HIM,” he growled. “When we engage, he’s MINE.”

Minutes later, having determined what they where there for, they moved in to take them down. Wolfen rushed for his target.

Only to strike a telekinetic wall and be cratered into an actual wall.

“Idiot,” Eros said.

Jonathan walked up, putting out his cigarette. “You got the box? Let’s get out of here. The rest of them is more than enough for Team Twerp.”

Eros looked over at Wolfen, who was pulling himself out, then nodded.

Wolfen chased after the two, despite his team’s yells to not split up.

“Don’t run from me! ROSE!”

Jonathan stopped, and Eros did a moment later. They glanced at each other. “Go on. I’ll handle it.”

Eros took off while Jonathan turned.

The wolf-boy stopped a dozen feet from him, knives drawn and at the ready.

“You really want to do this dance?”

“You killed my whole team!”

Jonathan took a drag of his cigarette. “You’re going to need to be more specific.”

“Jessica. Samantha. Ian. Daniel. You slaughtered them! Now I’m going to rip you apart!”

Jonathan’s eyes burned. “If the five of you lost what hope do you have?”

Wolfen’s eyes went wide. He screamed and launched forward, ripping out of his skin and leaving the boy behind. He tackled Jonathan, sinking his fangs into his throat.

Last edited 28 days ago by Makokam
RVMPLSTLTSKN
RVMPLSTLTSKN
1 month ago

Mother And Father
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)(Repost from Private)

“Do you see the fractures between us?” Mother Fate asked. “The cracks our children fall through?”

“Yes,” said Father.

“We form a binary, us two. The others catch those who wander or aspire, the outcasts and strange children. We can do something about that, guide their power. After all, every child has a mother.”

“You want religion? Isn’t that the Usurper’s perview?”

“Just as tradition belongs to Death. But, what is ambition without structure?” She asked.

Father allowed himself to reflect on his children and her unvoiced question. The Usurper had crafted his following in life and now that theocracy spread into empire through campaign and technologic art. Father’s own daughter spread chaos and wanderlust through a thing she had learned from him: stories. Strange children indeed.

“The Warlord,” he said ponderously, “is building a religion as well.”

“Xe builds a shamanate, just as Klajonas crafts ghost stories.”

“What are you suggesting?”

“Parenting alone is less effective than parenting with a partner.”

“Mother and Father.”

“A family.”

“We will need my daughter.”

“You are quite attached to your prodigal.”

“Would you feel different about any of your daughters, Mother Fate? Besides, like you said, there are places some souls do not fit in a binary system.”

“What will we gain from her?”

Father made his presence felt more heavily. “You know my fate?”

“You will stand alone in the end.”

“Then we should make sure we begin preparations.”

“Your daughter—.”

“She is not part of our bargain.”

“You need me.”

“Without me,” he chuckled, “you have no hope.”

“The Usurper should be first.”

“Yes.”

“Then the warlord.”

“Death will be last, but, I think, will join us willingly.”

“Can you do it?”

“Yes,” he said. “I just need time and strength. Klajonas must leave before the end, Amma.”

“How?”

“I know another wanderer. He showed me many things, even this. He spoke of gods, from other worlds, who can take her in.
“But first, how should we weaken the Usurper so that he must die before his betrayal can recall The Deep One?”

“By marriage?”

“No, Vienas was my only.”

Lantis Armstrong
Lantis Armstrong
1 month ago

Quick Step
By Lantis Armstrong

It was a bright, sun shiny day as Johnny ran down a busy sidewalk in the big city. He skid to a stop at the corner, traffic zooming past far too rapidly for him to possibly find an opening to jaywalk.

Groaning like a starving dog, he looked left and saw the counter for that crosswalk was at 45 seconds remaining.

Johnny looked between that counter, the clock on his phone, and an alleyway to his right while nervously jogging in place, sweat beading on his forehead. Cursing louder than the cacophony of ambient traffic, Johnny ran down the alleyway.

The gross trash water splashed high and sprinkled his legs as he charged down the dark, damp path that somehow reeked of sulfur. The lights from the city faded behind him, and as darkness engulfed his world a man in a filthy red coat appeared before him. Johnny went into a baseball slide to stop himself from running into the man who stood dead-center of the narrow pathway.

Johnny looked back – and there was nowhere to run. A brick wall had appeared behind him, trapping him here. He looked back towards the man and saw him rising up on two tall, hairy goat legs. This devil-man drew a knife and dove at Johnny!

Dancing quickly around him, Johnny felt the cold kiss of steel licking across his left cheek, warmth running down his neck and soaking into his shirt swiftly after, spreading down his chest.

Running full speed away from the man, he came out the other side of his shortcut to find a large white brick building with a brown roof before him, the image of a bell emblazoned above the door.

“You look rough,” said the person who received him upon entry.

“Was hell getting here,” Johnny replied.

“Your stomach summoned the devil to stop you from hurting it again?”

“I don’t care, my stomach doesn’t control me. I’ll take a Taco Bell big bean burrito. Extra hot sauce.”

Nodding, the cashier rang him up then went to get his food.

Michkon
Michkon
1 month ago

Patient No.006 – Meredith
By Michkon

Meredith was an older woman who had a lot of troubles on her mind. Some were that she would worry excessively about her children and grandkids.

But the biggest worry on her mind was her husband’s Alzheimer’s disease (AD). That was the final drop for her paranoia to reach concerning levels. Not soon after the diagnosis, the rest of her family decided that she had to visit someone who could help her and that someone was me.

After a couple of successful consultations, she came to my office and said she won’t be seeing me anymore because she was feeling better.

Two days later, I found out that she’d died and that on the same day, a massive explosion happened in a crowded mall. One more thing happened – her husband’s AD got cured as well.

Upon talking to the family, sometime after the funeral, I found out that she visited a diner in a less crowded part of the town.

It was called Ben’z diner. Inside were a couple of people, but I looked for an older gentleman in the booth at the end.

Upon entering the diner, I went to the table in the far back, where an elderly man, was eating a piece of a pie. Once there, I said the necessary phrase – I hear a pie is the best with a coffee – to which he only motioned with his head for me to sit across from him.

I did as he motioned. “Doctor, you are playing with fire just by coming here.”

“What did you do to Meredith?”
There was no discernible reaction from him, as he stopped eating the pie and leaned back in the booth.

“Why, I just told her what to do, if she wanted her wish to be granted. Do you have a wish, Doctor?” He seemed apathetic.

“I only have goals; one of them is to remove people like you.”

“Begone Doctor, else the night might take you.” For a second, I saw a goat-like figure before me. They will warn you only once, so I graciously retreated.

(Edits were made because of grammatical errors I found in the text.)

Last edited 1 month ago by Michkon
Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
1 month ago

More Beautiful Than Ever Before (Nyx’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

Finally, the ball was over.

Sure, Nyx did love to dress up all fancy, but she’d prefer to do it anywhere but a room full of sometimes-literal bloodsuckers.

She checked a mirror on the way back. Good. Her makeup was still pristine, and her dress as alluring as ever. Especially since the black made the bloodstains almost invisible. She smiled, and quickened her pace. Nearly there.

She’d missed her little witch friend all evening. So it was a great relief to see her there, fiddling with her cauldron. A late supper, maybe?

“Louise? I’m back.”

Her friend turned immediately towards her – and instantly dropped everything she was carrying, as she stared at Nyx with wide eyes.

Oh. OH. She’d never seen her dressed up before, had she? Hell, Louise might not have seen anyone dressed up like this before.

Nyx made the most of it. She leaned up against the door with a coy smile, and said “So you like what you see?”

Louise remained speechless, her mismatched eyes darting across every inch of her. Gods, she was cute.

Nyx stepped forward, slowly and elegantly, as Louise stumbled backwards. “I missed you, Louise.” She reached out. “Will you have this dance with me?”

Her friend’s face had gone white, her hands twitching. And her eyes-

-her eyes were full of…fear?

Nyx barely had a second to throw herself backwards, as a bolt of green fire screamed past her face. Almost falling, she looked back to Louise, whose eyes now burned with fear and fury alike.

“What did you do to my friend?” Louise almost screamed. “Why are you wearing her face?”

A horrible chill caught Nyx’s throat. “Louise? Louise…it’s me…”

“No.” Louise snarled. “What are you? A Fiend or a Fey? I know your tricks!”

Nyx staggered forwards, legs shaking. “Louise? Why? How could I possibly be anyone else?”

“My Mothers warned me about your kind,” she retorted. “You aren’t my friend. You look too beautiful to be her. And as my mothers always say,” Louise said, staring into Nyx’s eyes with a terrifying hatred, “the beautiful always lie.”

Eunora
Eunora
1 month ago

All this time
By Eunora

Julia marches into their practice studio, frustrated and enraged.

She brings her hands up to her face, clutching at her bangs, “I can’t believe them.!! They took all the moves from our routine! How could they even do that??”

Her partner, Ryan, walked in behind her. He opened his mouth when he was cut off by an abrupt deep breath from the girl in front of him. She turns around and seems calmer than before, “Don’t even say it… I know it’s just dance moves, anyone could’ve used them- It just doesn’t make sense..”

Ryan sends her a comforting smile, “It’s okay, Jules. We have time till it’s our turn and if anyone can make a thrilling dance to blow away the judges, it’s you.” He rests his hand on Julia’s shoulder. “Besides, you’re not alone.”

Julia closes her eyes. Another deep breath later and she opens them. “You’re right.. Thanks, Ryan. I.. needed that,” she says, with a chuckle.

Ryan nods, retracting his hand, “Of course.”

“Although,” Julia starts, “there is one more thing..”

“Oh? What is it?”

“That final move..” her voice tapering off.

“What about it? Was it wrong? Did-”

She quickly waves her hands “Nonono- nothing like that! The thing is..”

“Is.??”

Julia says with a pointed glare, “I made it.”

“What-?”

“I made that move for this routine,” she says, seething with rising anger. “And you-” she jabs a finger into his chest, her glare so sharp she may well have just stabbed him, “were the only one who knew it even existed!”

“Look, Jules-” Ryan says, reaching out only to be swatted away.

“Don’t call me that.! All this time! I really spent all this time dancing with a devil in disguise!”

And she left.

– – – – – – –

She looks up to find that she’s face-to-face with her best friend. Marley has a pained smile, “So.. I heard you needed a new partner.”

Julia then smiles, “It should’ve been you from the start.”

“But first, we need to update the team form.”

“Of course! C’mon.” Julia laughs, leaving the betrayal in her wake.

Last edited 1 month ago by Eunora
Pluie
Pluie
1 month ago

Malware (an intro to o-5)
Written by Pluie

The rain poured from the sky above, running down the slick black buildings of the metropolitan city. Though the heavy rainfall slid down my visor it did little to obscure my view of the thick pool of blood beginning to rinse down the slicked obsidian streets. The glitching holographs in my view yelled at me about a threat I had been all too aware of, if only those holographic warnings could have actually done something about it.

“Are you happy now, Virus?” I ask aloud, even though I knew it was in my neurosystems “is this what your masters wanted, Lu_c1f3R? or what YOU wanted?” My blade had never felt so heavy in my hands before. I am no stranger to this crimson liquid, quite the opposite, and yet there is something that feels different about killing innocents. killing allies. killing friends. a different weight..

A satisfied laugh, of which wasn’t my own, glitched it’s way through my thought processor. The bearer of said laugh displayed itself to me within my visor system and, with a taunting pulse, it spoke “we both knew this was coming, bot. I just gave you a push is all. You know I wouldn’t have been able to do this if it weren’t somewhere in that complex execution file of yours!” It makes me sick, It knows it does, and that’s why it laughs at me.

“Well I’ve got news for you..” My empty hand quickly unsheathed my info knife from my thigh holster and dug the red, holographic blade into the side of my metallic skull. Despite the panicked warnings and glitched text filling my visor screen, I held my ground and pushed in deep. Even as I felt the Virus’ panicked influence trying to take hold I persevered, now it was my turn to laugh.

“YOU IDIOT, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?” Lu_c1f3R shouted, its glitched voice influenced by my malfunctioning circuitry. I didn’t respond and instead brough the point of my sword to my chest “Unlike you, I’m not afraid to die without fulfilling my purpose. So let’s take this slow and dance together”.

Last edited 1 month ago by Pluie
Pumpkin
1 month ago

Heroes are for losers
By Pumpkin

My heart beats like mad as we slide down roof tiles, slippery in the beating rain.
Perhaps a bit too slippery.
I flail my arms around for any sort of hold or security as I careen over the edge.

He grabs me by the ankle and drags me back up in a fluid motion that can only have gone against gravity itself.

I gasp for air, snatching and grabbing at the drainpipe, trying my best to stay cool.

His hands are fire, despite the midnight chill.
He lets go again, slowly, carefully.
“Are you ready?” He asks with fire in his eyes.

The grin spreads on my face before I have a chance to think about it
“Always.”

“Then let’s dance.”

We jump onto the balcony in perfect harmony.
We spray glass into the jolly room.
A violin grinds to a halt.
There are gasps all around.

“All right bitches and bitchesttes, I’m the devil and this is my buddy. Now give him all your money.”

I, the buddy, wave pleasantly, pull my backpack from my back and say “jewels, cash, cards and gold teeth, just toss ’em in here and we’ll be out of your hair in no time.”

“And be quick about it!” the devil adds, pointing at his golden watch.

A tall man steps forward, handsome looking, gallant, “Keep your belongings to yourself.” He tells the crowd “I’ll give you the chance to leave now and no one needs to get hurt.”

“Oh, how gracious of you oh Lord…Barnaby was it?” my accomplice sneers “But I’m quite sure that’s unnecessary”

I know where this is going.
I look away swiftly before he can snip his fingers but the appalled and ghostly faces of the guests tell me all I didn’t want to know.

The smell is almost chalky and dry, like plaster dust but it has a poisonous edge to it.

People rush to me with gold and goodness. I smile vaguely as my bag becomes heavy with riches.

“Au revoir” the devil blows a kiss as we walk out unscathed and rich.

I don’t look back.

Last edited 1 month ago by Pumpkin
Skeleton
Skeleton
1 month ago

A Misstep (The Will)
By Skeleton

She tried to hide it, but Eymir could see right through Zaila’s attempt to obscure her feelings. Although he secretly found her squirming adorable, Eymir’s head shook with reluctance. “If you really want an excuse to dance with him, then just think of it as practicing your footwork,” he offered, exasperated from her timidness. “But if you want my honest opinion, you should dance with him because nobody knows when the next respite will be. Take the chance because every opportunity for happiness that you miss will just be another regret at the end of your life. Be better than me: live without regret.”

Zaila looked up from the grass and back up to the party around the bonfire. She didn’t seem to disagree with him, but she still looked apprehensive. “Have you ever danced before?” Eymir looked over to his client quizzically. “I mean,” Zaila shrugged, “it seems to me that the man who’s gonna destroy the world doesn’t get the chance much.”

Eymir stared at the girl for a moment, but he could only see a cold, stone room filled with books. “Once,” he answered bluntly.

“With that woman Ericka was talking about?” Zaila pressed further, carefully testing the waters. “The white-scaled dragoness? The mage?”

The man took a long swig from his wineskin as an excuse to look away from Zaila’s innocence. “Yea,” he put bluntly as he finished the last of his personal supply. “I was on the verge of giving in. It was a ploy to make me feel something other than emptiness.” He paused for a moment to feel the warmth again on his hands and against his chest. “It worked.”

“So then… why isn’t she around?” Zaila ventured deeper.

“I did something unspeakable to her.” All the light from Zaila’s innocent curiosity suddenly vanished as the man’s demeanour darkened. “I hurt her so bad that I can’t look her in the eyes ever again. I ruined everything she tried so hard to build up for us. For me.”

He looked back to the girl. “That’s why you should go dance with him, Zaila.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Skeleton
Tamela Redfin
Tamela Redfin
1 month ago

When two men face each other, only one returns

By Tamela Redfin

CW: Implied assault

I relaxed at the sight of my granddaughters, but I knew there was work to do.

A few days later, I heard one person mention a man not found. Two words that froze Jezebel and myself to my core. Feldspar. Augen.

“We can’t let a man that destructive go free! Find him!” I shouted at my men.

Jezebel nodded, tearing up.

“I don’t want to talk about it.” She replied. My body recoiled at the thoughts of her being an experiment. But I was dead wrong about where he was.

Later in the night, he seemed to find us.

“Give me Dinah!” He roared.

“Dinah?”

“The girl who bore your bastard child. Did she tell you I know how soft her tongue is?” He smirked

“You’re the only bastard here.” I tried shooting him, but he quickly turned into a statue.

When Feldspar turned back to a human, and I exhausted my rounds, he tried to deal with me. “Give me Dinah, and I will let all your men go. They won’t be crushed in Cora’s palms, painting the streets crimson. Keep her and I will be forced to kill you.”

“You can have her over my dead body!”

“I can arrange for that.” Feldspar replied, thoughtfully.

Before either of us could move, a flash of grey took down Feldspar Augen. “Leave your hands off mah Salvador!”

“Dinah, is that you?” Feldspar smiled. “Oh, you’re hysterical! A man who leaves you for about eighteen years, leaves you with a bastard child, barely returns, und you want him?”

“You better believe it!” Jezebel raised her claws and drove her down into his soft cheek. She then turned to me. “Sal, run! I-I’ll be okay.”

“No Jez, we will fight this battle together!”

Feldspar Augen quickly turned himself to stone.

“Is this an idiot?” Jezebel chuckled. She grabbed the claws and dug through him as effortlessly as a child breaking a pinata. However, instead of candy, the reward was her freedom.

Cameron came in covered in scratches and saw the scene. “Is that Feldspar? I don’t trust him. Let’s scatter the pieces.”

RamblingRook
RamblingRook
1 month ago

The “It” Journal
By: RamblingRook

Whenever I saw “It” in my dreams they told me to write it down. We can better find out what “It” wants, what “It” was doing in my head. Help me through the trauma of losing my brother.

The more they talked the more I assumed they knew what “It” was and just weren’t telling me. They also kept saying “dream” like that’s what it was, like it would slip from my mind. Never seen, never heard, never to be spoken about again.

But those moments felt real. They would never know just how real. As real as this book and the pen I’m using to write this.

It’s always the same dream. Darkness, then music. The kind they’d play at fancy ball. The high trill of the violins and flutes followed by the low march of brass and bass. Lights would fade in, immense crystal chandeliers and wavering candles.

People would float in from nowhere twirling and dancing in perfect sync. Masks hiding true intentions, an eerie feeling would wash over me. The only sound was the orchestra.

There was no emotion in the scene. A hollow interpretation of what should be a masquerade ball.

Then noiselsy the crowd would part, “It” would walk in. A handsome gentleman, eyes burning through me behind his mask, the only sign of feeling in this enchanted hellscape.

“It” offered a hand, I would take it.

He would spin me around drawing me close then whirl me out again. The flourish in his moves captivated me and that’s when “It” would speak.

“I know what you have done,” he would croon.

Long dormant pushed away memories from the blackest depths of my mind would come flashing back in painful fragments like shards of glass that buried themselves into my skin.

An arch of blood. A surprised gasp. A knife in my hand standing over the corpse of my brother. A feeling bubbling to the surface.

It should have been guilt.

“I know what you did,” my brother whispered harshly in my ear.

The Missing Link
The Missing Link
1 month ago

The Devil You Know

By: The Missing Link

“I already told you. I just fell off the swing,” the young girl’s tone was getting increasingly confrontational.

“Yes, I understand. I’m just trying to get the full picture here,” the agent responded calmly, “Are you getting along with the other kids at school?”

“They’re all a bunch of fakers. They smile and wave, but they don’t really mean it. I see them talking about me, watching from a safe distance. They hate me, and I hate them.”

The agent absently clicked his pen in thought. It was a habit he’d been trying to break, but old habits and all that. He stopped suddenly at the sight that followed, the child curled up in a ball muttering, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

So the teacher was onto something after all, best avoid that trigger going forward, “It’s ok Hannah, you’re safe here.”

He waited for her to calm down, throwing in an occasional word of comfort. Where was this coming from? Best to start there. “So how are things at home?”

She hesitated, “I live alone with daddy. He buys me clothes and makes me food.”

“Would you mind telling me about that swing again?”

“What?… Why?” she narrowed her gaze, “Daddy warned me about strangers like you. You’re trying to get rid of him, aren’t you?”

“Hannah…”

“I won’t let you. Daddy… Daddy loves me. He would never abandon me like mommy.”

“Hannah, I’m trying to help you. Will you let me?”

“Nothing happened. I shouldn’t have been making trouble anyway.”

“Did he hit you?”

“No… I’m sorry Daddy, I didn’t mean to. It’s all my fault. Please don’t… I don’t want Daddy to go away.”

“Thank you for your time, Hannah. We’ll be in touch.”

“No… please… I’m sorry.”

C. M. Weller
1 month ago

Utterly Scandalous… and Fun [A Tiefling Tale/Cordelia’s Journey]
C. M. Weller

An Earl of Whitekeep had not had a wedding in centuries. The realm demanded pomp and circumstance, and a very public celebration in the Castle Square. The Viscount Spitebane had taken his obligatory turn around the dance floor with his new bride and was busy in getting to know her.

The Earl Kormwind, on the other hand… was bordering on scandalousness.

He had been dancing with his bride for hours. Tail high, in direct contravention to expected dancing form for Tieflings like himself.

His bride, the lady Cordelia, was similarly disreputable. Dancing far too closely, embracing him in public for all to see.

Both of them were smiling like fools, not at all shy about displaying an adoration of each other. They even KISSED when the band swapped players. Shocking behaviour in a couple so noble and so new.

The Lady Rowan, Spitebane’s bride, sipped at her wine and murmured to her groom, “I hesitate to posit what their energy in the bedchamber might be like.”

“The first Earl of Whitekeep to consummate on his wedding night, belike,” Spitebane allowed. He had little morsels from the buffet, which he offered to his bride. “Ours will be far more staid than theirs.” He looked out at the dancing Earl. The wedding band gleaming in the lower portion of his left horn. If its burning into there had hurt him, he gave no sign. “They have earned their happiness twice over and more.”

“And what of us, my Lord?”

“Well, my Lady, we shall become acquainted. I shall court you most tenderly and, perhaps, if we are lucky, we may even fall in love.”

“Mother warned me that the Whitekeeps would be iconoclastic company, and possibly lead me into disrepute in certain social circles.” Lady Rowan delicately plucked a petit-fours from the platter. She, too, looked out at the truly happy couple. “Honestly, disrepute looks a great deal more rewarding than expectation and propriety.”

Spitebane put the plate down on a nearby table, “Shall we dance with a devil in the pale moonlight, m’lady?”

She smiled and took his hand. “Gladly.”

George Kaplan
George Kaplan
1 month ago

A God of Pain
By George Kaplan

Lupe sipped at his coffee. It had never tasted the same since his first cup. Did nothing stay the same? He set it down with great care. Though it no longer brought him the pleasure it once did, he treated it with a reverence reserved only for the most elevated of substances.

He watched the world go by through frosted glass— a twisted, nostalgic distortion, as if they were events looked at through the faded tunnel of memory. Human shapes strolled about, crossing the moist pavement before him. Their forms warped and merged in his view. The streetlights took on a dreamlike glow in the dimming light. In a few months winter would be upon them. Lupe liked winter. It always filled him with vigor.

Occasionally someone would stare back at him, even if only for a moment. They didn’t know him, but they worshipped him. Worshipped him with their bodies and minds. Some could only hope for a day, maybe two in the given week, while some only had holidays to themselves. He had every day.

He was ancient, he was timeless, he was deathless, he was… himself.

The waitress came by with the bill. He liked her. She was one of his most fervent worshippers, though none but him might tell. She was an excellent actor. Lupe appreciated that the lie had not seeped into her brain yet. Let her remain a bit longer. Let her suffer a little. Life was but a fleeting arrangement. He nodded at her, smiled, and felt a little power slip away.

What was power if you didn’t know what it felt to lose some? He watched her go, disappearing behind a counter. ‘Yes,’ he mused, ‘this winter will be particularly lovely. The heartache, the loss, the suffering, almost like the old days. Each year we inch closer.’

He watched a group of teenagers walk past his window on the opposite side of the street. Lupe smiled, brought his cup to his lips, and took a long draught.

Last edited 1 month ago by George Kaplan
Alex
Alex
1 month ago

Soren’s Story (Exile Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

Soren stood on the edge of the village, looking out at what was left of the buildings. Small embers still flickered here and there, but mostly there was just a pungent stench of charred wood and burned flesh.

Not even the animals had been spared.

His hands were resting on one of his twin swords, mostly because he didn’t quite know where else to put them.

“It’s an ugly reality, isn’t it,” a voice next to him said.

Soren turned and saw the scarred face of Tempest, one of his fellow knights. Unlike him, Tempest sported chalk-white skin and hair that looked like fog. In one hand he held a long spear.

“The ugliest,” Soren said, looking to the side.

“Still, it’s all for the best, isn’t it. Ultimately, I mean.”

A year ago, Soren would have eagerly agreed; would have loudly proclaimed the Silver Count’s mission for a borderless world.

But now…

Force was necessary sometimes, but this was excessive. Part of him almost considered this mission just an excuse to commit violence on a scale hitherto unseen.

“You alright?” Tempest gave him a kind look. “It’s a shame about the village, truly it is…”

“Don’t finish that sentence,” Soren walked away, over ashes and bones, until he saw him.

His short, silver hair made him instantly recognizable, even without the opulent black and white he usually wore.

The man Soren once revered. Once trusted.

He wanted to walk up to him, voice his doubts. Speak up. Say something.

He turned.

“Soren,” the Silver Count’s voice was soft and gentle, like a father. “I understand this was difficult for you. If you need rest, you may go to camp.”

“Thank you,” Soren forced out.

He couldn’t say it. He couldn’t say what he was thinking. Not with those eyes staring back at him. He wanted to protest. This was wrong. Why couldn’t he see that? Did he not see the bodies?

Of course he didn’t. He never would.

There would be no dance. No argument. No back and forth.

Soren just turned and wished himself to the Exiled.

Last edited 1 month ago by Alex
Marx
Marx
1 month ago

In The Pale Moonlight
By Marx

“Hey, Jazz?” Daisy asked, meekly knocking on the open door. “You’re into all that… occult stuff, right?”

Jasmine smiled at Daisy, putting down the vampire romance book she’d been reading. “Yeah. You can say that.”

“Do you know anything about… incubuses?”

“Incubi.”

“Whatever…” Daisy sighed exhaustedly.

“This have anything to do with that nightmare you had last night?”

Daisy violently shuddered at the memory. “What do you know about them?”

“Well… they’re the male version of a succubus. They’re lust demons. Basically created to explain everything from infidelities to sleep paralysis.”

“I already know that!” Daisy snapped before apologetically calming herself. “What happens when one… kisses you…?”

Jasmine raised a curious eyebrow. “Well… it probably wouldn’t stop at just kissing. You see when an incubus likes a girl very much, they-”

“Jazz! Please… Humor me here…”

“I don’t know.” She shrugged. “They’d probably be really good at it?”

Jasmine heard Daisy mutter something under her breath and was going to ask about it when a lightbulb went off in her mind. “They could probably thrall you with a kiss!”

Daisy froze.

Jasmine officially had her undivided attention. “…what’s a thrall?”

Sitting up excitedly, Jasmine continued, “So you know how a vampire’s bite makes you a vampire? Same with werewolves, zombies and so on?”

Daisy nodded, breaking out in a cold sweat.

“It’s kinda like that with incubi and succubi. They forcibly tie your soul to theirs and they basically own you. They can change everything from your appearance to your very thoughts. Can you imagine? Being the puppet of a being that powerful? It’s kinda hot when you think about it.”

“No, it’s NOT!” Daisy shrieked. “It’s not hot at all! It’s-!”

Jasmine snapped out of her revelry, getting up to embrace her friend. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to freak you out! It’s not real, remember? None of it’s real.”

Daisy accepted the hug, clinging to Jasmine for dear life as the tears began to fall.

“He’s been in my head, Jazz…” Daisy whispered, terrified he’d hear. “Since last night. Laughing and… saying the most horrible things…”

“Who?”

“…Alex…”