Writing Group: A Walk in the Dark (PRIVATE)

Hello, Wayfarers and Necromancers!

Walking. The simplest of motions. The dark. The simplest of fears. Walking through the dark is perhaps one of the most primal things to be afraid of. Well, I think it’s time we face our fears because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

A Walk in the Dark

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!

Often people will say “this will be a walk in the park,” meaning, even if it looks difficult, or frightening, it will be as easy as a peaceful stroll through nature. But what does it mean to walk in the dark? It seems to mean the opposite—that things are guaranteed to be difficult and frightening going forward. But the dark isn’t inherently negative. The reason we fear it is because it is unknown. Anything could be lurking there. But it’s the walking through it that matters. 

Maybe you could write about someone getting lost, running through a shadowed forest, the trees looking more and more like they have faces with each passing minute. Maybe a scientist needs to venture into a cave to gather samples, but they’re still scared to descend into the depths. Maybe a child musters up the courage to face the dark basement, and the furnace-monster growling in the shadows.

What awaits in the darkness? Hungry monsters? Or old friends? Fairies? Dragons? Bunnies? Or what if there’s nothing there at all, and the fear is just that?

Maybe the darkness itself has power. Like the woods through the looking glass, where Alice forgets her own name. Or like in Mirkwood, where, if you don’t stay on the path, you might never make it out. The darkness itself could have some greater effect than simply shadows and the unknown. 

Maybe it’s not a literal walk through a dark place. Perhaps it’s a dark path. A character descending into villainy, or madness. A character making the decision to walk the dark path, despite the risks, the potential consequences, and everything telling them they shouldn’t. Deciding to join the dark side, because at least on the dark side they’re allowed to feel. Or maybe it’s power. Maybe it’s love. Maybe the light has too many rules. Maybe the dark is the only way to get to a better place. Or maybe the dark isn’t as evil as everyone believes. 

What if the dark path isn’t one of villainy at all? A ghost might need to walk the path between life and death before getting to the afterlife. A spy must face danger every day, even if they’re on the right side of the war. Or perhaps the darkness is more insidious than that: rather the darkness in our own heads that we must face each day. Dark paths aren’t always chosen, sometimes they’re simply endured. 

Will it be a peaceful park stroll after all, or will you be lucky to make it out with all your limbs intact?

Go on in there. What? Are you chicken?

—Kaylie

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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PixieWings
PixieWings
4 months ago

Elegy
By PixieWings

“It’s terribly dark out tonight.”

Ophelia’s voice is hushed, but in the quiet shadow of the graveyard it’s a shock. The plot they’d prepared this afternoon is empty, as it will be until midmorning when the boy’s family arrives to lower their youngest into it.

Hector’s been staring into the hole too long. The light she gives off stings. He can’t look at her.

“Ah. Yes. I brought a lantern.”

It sits, long cold atop the flat grave marker. It was lit when he ventured out of bed.

“I thought I’d look over everything.”

Ophelia nods, cradles the dark lamp in her hands as if something precious.

“And a splendid job you’ve done. It all looks in order. Shall we go inside?”

The words are flippant but Hector knows the hum in her voice. Candid. Attentive. Her fingers curl into his, spilling their soft, diffused gold into his palm. When he moves to follow she’s turned away, already walking.

Together they drift through the fallen leaves, through headstones and grave markers. He watches her glow catch on the names of the dead.

It’s a wonder he’s not one of them.

The youngest of his brothers. The last one left. His parents’ final gamble in their family’s cyclical attempt to cheat death.

But they are gone.

And he’s still here.

He’s still here, still following Ophelia, his ex-betrothed, the love of his life, to the door of their cottage.

When the door opens, it’s warm and bright. There’s a fire lit in the hearth. He has to squint as they step through.

His foot catches the doorframe.

Ophelia turns, finally, to catch him as he stumbles. The gold of her eyes burns, but less than before. The concern in them frees something in his chest. It swells, then bursts.

“I never thought I would be here,” he breathes. “And now that I am…”

Her hand cups his cheek.

“Now that I am, I’m not sure I know what to do with myself.”

Ophelia draws a breath.

She understands.

“Such is the burden of the living, my love.”

Revisis
Revisis
4 months ago

“At Home in the Dark”
written by Exce, edited by Luna

Her bare feet slid through beach sand lining the shore of a dead sea. The sky was an almost solid black, and the air was void of even the slightest breeze.

The Queen of Night enjoyed this state of affairs, extending her long sleek arms as she spun in place. Her long blue-black dress swirling around her legs even as her hair brushed across her face.

But even in this quiet, dark sliver of a world she could sense some life. Deep within the shallow remnant of the sea, far into the great forests covering this splinter that once was a continent.

Even now, as they were set adrift after Armageddon, her siblings sat together, planning and plotting how to create a whole new planet. It was their divine prerogative and duty to do so, bringing forth one final act of creation that would all but burn out their divinity.

Why could they not just realize that this was better? The quiet of existence fading, the eternal night at the end of a lifelong day.
But then again, they had always turned themselves towards it, representing the bright and bleaching night of those hours. They had left the rule over the night all to her lonesome, and she couldn’t have been more glad about it.

She felt it before she could see it: a tension traveling up her body from the bottom of her heels to the top of her head. It felt like someone was pulling on her hair to almost the point of tearing them out.

The queen turned slowly, eyes closed just so this moment of darkness would be a bit longer. When she finally opened them, it hung in the sky like a bloated corpse.

Its surface was wriggling as if covered by maggots; its very presence brought the bile to the back of her mouth. She raised her hand, fingers slowly curling as she squinted against the disgusting sight.
If only she could destroy it. If only she were permitted to drown this Sun in the endless night.

But she would find a way. Eventually.

Last edited 4 months ago by Revisis
jesse fisher
jesse fisher
4 months ago

Dark Walks
by Jesse Fisher

Some wonder why I walk when the moon has left us and the curfew shuts off the lights. My reason is simple, the night is more bearable than day. Sunglasses covered my face since I could remember seeing anything without them. It was odd given my family have been day people since anyone could remember.

It kinda made me the black sheep of the family, granted the whole fact I’m almost never seen. I mean how else could we still meet quota for the family business. When the dark is your cradle you tend to just go with it.

Then again I do wonder why I do this to myself. Make this recording and just file it away while I turn in for the night.

Maybe I’m just lonely, or maybe I’m just going crazy.

—-

“This was a recording sent to the news station.” The anchor stated as the video played again without the sound. “Due to the lighting we have yet to identify the person in the video, however the police have been going over everything as fine of a tooth comb as they can.”

“We are asking anyone in the area to stay home and not go outside due to this person. As they could be anywhere in the dark, anyone with sunglasses on should be avoided.” The co-anchor added.

On the otherside of the screen a cackling laugh is heard as the viewer just ate the terror that this no doubt generated.

“Well here is where the fun starts.”

Aracnarquista
Aracnarquista
4 months ago

Blind Justice
by Aracnarquista

It is said that Ameir, the Spirit of Justice, has made a vow of blindness, so as not to be allured by beauty and false images, and not to deviate from the right path. Some say the magistrates that follow its example are not so extreme as to blind themselves, but nonetheless they must strive to pursue a kind of sightless-ness in matters that do not concern justice and fairness, and must hunt truth and reparations with a passion no diverging vision can interpose.

I should know that. I was convicted by one such magistrate, proven guilty in front of his closed eyes, hanged in Ameir’s name and with its blessing (as punishment is one of its holy sacraments, and none as holy as capital punishment), and laid to rest in the tombs of the condemned. I should have known that by then.

Still, here I am, a condemned man doing what is said to be Ameir’s work. A dead man doing Ameir’s dirty work. I should have been resting, perhaps denied the comfort of the Lanternwoman’s haven, but eternally resting still…

Coming back can’t be right. It can’t be just.

I walk the streets of the city that was once my home, the city that condemned me. In the dark of the night, none that matter will see me passing. Good citizens are fast asleep in the comfort of their home. Those that can see me are the ones that will only see me once. Those are of no consequence.

I hunt for those Ameir’s justice can’t find or reach in the light of the day. Or at least, that’s what the rite, that damned rite that denied me rest, says. But what I really hunt for is those magistrate Yorick couldn’t condemn. Those that escaped his justice.

I don’t know if those two justices are the same.

And now, as blind as just Ameir is, maybe that’s not for me to consider. Maybe Ameir is not just blind, but dead as well.

Dead, we can’t rest. We can’t resist the call the “just” impose on us.

Stellar
Stellar
4 months ago

The Dark Depths of Romance
by Stellar

Since landing on this world, he’d encountered a woman that he couldn’t quite seem to get his mind off of. She was strong, independent, and infinitely patient despite his seemingly endless stream of questions he had about this place.

Maybe that was why he was head over heels for her. She’d done nothing aside from being herself, and yet maybe that was why he liked her?

He couldn’t quite make heads or tails of it. On one hand, he’d met her barely a month ago. He didn’t know Tara all that well, nor did he really know the customs of this place. On the other… everything about her was incredible. There wasn’t a moment when she was around that he could find himself upset.

At some point, he’d convinced himself to make this jump, despite all of his anxiety. She was a knight, and so he made the logical conclusion that the person to ask was the queen of this place. He could hear his own footsteps echoing in the hallway as he was escorted to the throne room. Was that normal? He wasn’t quite sure. Everything about this felt terrifying… but he refused to back away.

The doors opened and he stepped in, locking eyes with her royal majesty. He didn’t bow, nor did he show any direct signs of respect. His mind was racing too fast to so much as think about that.

“I’ve fallen for one of your knights. Her name is Tara.”

And so the conversation went. He explained himself as thoroughly as he could manage and she sat on her throne, listening quietly and attentively. Then, she stopped him.

“I hear your words and give you my blessing, but Tara must still accept you herself. I will not influence her thoughts and choices.”

After a few more words were shared, he left. All that was left was to find Tara and talk to her about all this… but he was scared.

He didn’t want to wander in the dark.

Last edited 4 months ago by Stellar
John Perceval Cain (oneeye John
John Perceval Cain (oneeye John
4 months ago

Walking in Darkness (World: Brieth)
John Perceval Cain

The Assassin Grand Master, dressed in well-oiled blackened leathers, tilted his chair backwards, balanced on two legs. “So, Seon, you’re saying this will allow me to disappear?”

The Apostate Shaman Adept stood, laughed deeply and as he picked up his staff in his right hand, wiggled the fingers of his left hand and seemed to just disappear.

Aley launched out of his chair into a fighting stance, with his long sword and dagger drawn before the chair hit the floor.

Seon laughed a rich belly laugh.

The shadows seemed to dim slightly, and Aley could sense where the Shaman stood.
Seon uttered a word, and the cloud of nothing dispelled.

Aley sheathed his weapons, picked up his chair and sat back down. “Teach me how!”

“The priests in the Temple of Wot would tell you to recite canticle 4 of the 23rd skald.” Seon sat down.

Aley cocked his head to the side. “That word you said was Old-Elvin for a lewd sex act, wasn’t it? How does that line up with a prayer to Wot, the human prime deity?”

“My dear Master Diekatz, all magic, whether religious, infernal, elemental, or transcendent, require three things: power, will and ritual. The priests use Wot as their power. The recitation of 23-4 is the ritual and part of the framework for the will, as the verse is about being cloaked in the power of their god. Finally, their desire to disappear finishes their will.”

Aley gestured at Seon. “Master Wo Danze, how do you do it?”

“Shamans have learned that power is everywhere, so we draw it from matter and existence itself. We embody our will in ritual, where words mean exactly what we want them to, no more, no less. The key is our imagining the will.”

Aley looked thoughtful. “So I can just make myself disappear by force of will.”

“When you hide in shadows, you already do it. You just don’t realize it, nor maximize it formally. We can create you a cantrip to make it better. Then you will really walk in darkness.”

VulpesRose
VulpesRose
4 months ago

Search and Rescue
by VulpesRose

The young man spied smoke rising above the trees on a moonless night. He whistled an old song as he walked through the woods, until he came upon the camp. Three men had their weapons drawn as he came out of the trees and into the light. They were wearing the King’s crest. A fourth man’s wrists were bound.

The young man smiled and held up his hands. “Room around the fire for one more?”

The men looked him over and, seeing he was unarmed, visibly relaxed. They put away their weapons, so the young man came closer and sat opposite them.

The youngest of the guards leaned closer to the fire. “Don’t you know whistling in the Demon’s Wood is bad luck? You’ll lead the Dark One and his servant straight to you!”

“The Dark One?”

“Some say it’s a legend, but it waits in these woods. It’s a beast not of this world.”

The young man cocked his head to one side. “So whistling is off limits, but campfires are okay? Has the beast only ears and no sense of sight or smell?”

The men were silent. They gazed into the trees around them, the darkness thick beyond the campfire light.

“Besides, I heard the Dark One only targets King’s Men who trespass into places where they don’t belong.” He whistled again, a short, rising note. “I have nothing to fear.”

The soldiers had just enough time to notice the unfriendliness of the young man’s smile before there was a rush of wind into the small clearing, wind caused by the movement of something fierce and large, and the fire was extinguished.

Along with the lives of the three King’s Men.

“Are you alright, Gavin?” The young man was suddenly beside the prisoner, untying his restraints.

“Yes, sir. Thank you.”

The young man sighed dramatically as he led his friend back into the woods, going slowly so that the other might not stumble in the dark. “Of all the slander! I’m not the servant!”

“Yes, Dark One, but when you leave no one alive, who can correct them?”

The Missing Link
The Missing Link
4 months ago

The Final March (The Lands Within)
By: The Missing Link

“L… what happens when we die?” Alpha stammered out nervously.

“Sorry?”

“It’s just, you’ve been telling me about those recent fragments you’ve seen.”

L looked around at the mirror shards shining in the dark and shuddered, “It’s startling, what those humans do to each other, to themselves even.”

“Mine don’t show such things. I’m sorry, but what happens after?”

L sat still for a long time, her form flickering in the intense thought that often alluded shades, “I… I really couldn’t say. The humans talk about such wildly different things you’d forgive me for thinking they don’t know themselves. They talk of worlds of pleasure, worlds of wrath, worlds of nothing, and worlds of cycles. Some say there’s nothing at all.”

“And what does that mean for us?” Alpha began to grow desperate, “Ru clawed and begged when he disappeared, but Zhe just… didn’t. Please, tell me.”

L fought back the urge to snap at him. She didn’t understand humans any better than Alpha. These irrational creatures charged headlong into death, yet feared it, espoused logic, but remained slaves to compassion. She could not for the life of her comprehend these walking contradictions, and yet… something about them made sense, felt… almost natural.

She could feel Alpha’s desperation and could only imagine what he had seen, asphyxiation, poison, electrocution, gas, what had he seen? These things the humans did to each other, they stuck with her. Would he understand? No…

“I’m sorry,” Alpha sighed.

“Would you,” L paused, “Come see the next fragment with me? I can’t guarantee you’ll like what you see.

Choking down his fear, Alpha nodded and followed L in her search through the lightless land for the mirror that would finally be their escape.

i-prefer-the-term-antihero

[Removed]

Last edited 4 months ago by Tale Foundry
Rattus
Rattus
4 months ago

The Lord of the Forest (Illusions of Heroes)
by Gerrit (Rattus)

Stones and twigs strewn across the ground dug into Emrys’s soles. The sounds of battle had long since faded, but no amount of distance he could gain felt like enough.

An errant tree root, rising from the ground in a low arch, tripped him as he ran, sending him tumbling to the dirt. Unable to find the strength to stand, Emrys shuffled across the ground to a nearby tree, allowing himself to rest against it. The bark was coarse and rough, but it would do.

Before he could catch his breath, the forest seemed to take on a life of its own. The howling of the wind became steadier, the groaning of the trees a haunting chorus. Emrys’s heart beat in his throat as he looked around frantically for any signs of danger.

Then he saw it.

Straight ahead a pair of antlers emerged, then the head of an elk came into view between the trees. But something was wrong.

It was too tall, too confident in its stride. The darkness parted around a body that walked on two legs, and pushed branches out of its way with human hands.

The Lord of the Forest.

With each step it grew nearer, and something in Emrys screamed for him to run. But he was paralyzed. Frozen with fear against the tree, directly in the path of whatever this thing was.

The ominous melody of the forest seemed to reach a crescendo now, as the creature was mere inches from Emrys. It towered over him, easily a full head taller than any adult Emrys had met in his short lifetime.

It kneeled down, bringing its animal face so close to Emrys’s own that he could feel the creature’s hot breath. Emrys clenched his eyes shut as tight as he could, turning his head away.

A finger pressed against the centre of his chest for just a moment. When Emrys allowed himself to open his eyes again, the creature was gone. The sounds of the forest had returned to their previous, asynchronous medley.

He was alone again.

RVMPLSTLTSKN
RVMPLSTLTSKN
4 months ago

Klajonas
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)

The sound of little feet slapping on stone woke Vienas. She’d been dreaming of her daughter’s face. A strange dream. She’d only seen her husband’s once and never Baby’s.

A giggle echoed in the aging temple, sounding of mud and decay and glee. She wondered if the temple’s former god would have minded the sound. Knowledge is as much experiential as abstracted.

It was a simple thing to change, that sense of self-righteousness and somberity, now a child’s free innocence. A place for laughter.

“What did Klajonas do then, Father?” Baby’s echoes asked.

Vienas rose and walked hesitantly through her personal gloom, listening. A patch of warmth underfoot told her it was day. Evening perhaps. The sunlight entered through the high doors, above the barricade they had built to keep out the dogs, but mostly in the evening.

“He took the spirit’s stone and wore it on a necklace. The spirit went with him and watched over him as he slept. It kept him safe from the things that stalk in the night and once guided him through a long cave without any light.”

“Are there still spirits, Father?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

Vienas shuffled behind them. “They died, Baby, with all the people.”

“Are there still people?”

“There’s us.” What more could she say? She wasn’t sure how she had lived and her god hadn’t.

“But other people?”

“Maybe.”

“I want to find them. You can call me Klajonas and I’ll bring them here! Like the other Klajonas. And then maybe the spirits will come back.”

Vienas could only hear the joy in that little voice and it broke her heart. She laid a hand on her swelling belly. Perhaps a sibling, someone else to know, would appease Baby’s desire for a playmate.

“Would you truly like us to call you Klajonas?” Father asked.

Hands clapping, Baby exclaimed, “Yes!”

“Well,” Vienas said, feeling that she was alone in her dread, “I suppose that is your name.”

She touched Baby’s face and said, with a smile born of fondness and worry, “My own little Klajonas. Never leave us.”

Pluie
Pluie
4 months ago

Inevitability
Written by Pluie

“Come in, mission control! This is Delta Nine, do you read?! ” I yelled desperately into my coms. I could feel the fire behind me as it greedily licked up the walls of my pod, a silent terror.

I slammed the coms desperately thinking that it would miraculously connect with someone. Anyone. To no avail. I just wasted precious time. I scowled under my helmet and quickly pushed myself to face the direction of the capsule’s exit. The fire had stuck to almost every surface in the ship by now, dousing the entirety of the interior with darkness. I had noticed that the flames couldn’t gain traction on my suit. So now it was either I succumbed to this eldritch substance or I died trying to fight it, I chose the latter.

I used one of my legs to push off of the dash, propelling myself forward through the door and subsequently- into the darkness. I pulled a glowstick out from my utility pouch and cracked it over my knee, the room erupting into a bright red light when I did. I saw the dark tendrils of fire squirming all around me only to witness it hold eerily still in the light. I instinctively held my breath- suddenly realizing I had become a fresh new food source when it wriggled towards me.

Stubbornly, I clicked the stick onto my belt and turned myself so I could see what was in front of me. I pushed myself through the air until I quite literally ran into a pole- grabbing onto it. I used my legs to kick off right as the tendrils grabbed for me. I slammed into a corner and pushed off of the wall once more, launching deeper into the ruins of my ship. I could feel the fiery cold tendrils licking my ankles- Damn! I was almost there. My fingers brushed against the handle of the airlock for just a moment- only to realize it was welded shut. I turned around slowly to face my fate… and lifted my visor to get a good long look at it.

Pluie
Pluie
4 months ago

Inevitability
Written by Pluie

“Come in, mission control! This is Delta Nine, do you read?! ” I yelled desperately into my coms. I could feel the fire behind me as it greedily licked up the walls of my pod, a silent terror.

I slammed the coms desperately thinking that it would miraculously connect with someone. Anyone. To no avail. I just wasted precious time. I scowled under my helmet and quickly pushed myself to face the direction of the capsule’s exit. The fire had stuck to almost every surface in the ship by now, dousing the entirety of the interior with darkness. I had noticed that the flames couldn’t gain traction on my suit. So now it was either I succumbed to this eldritch substance or I died trying to fight it, I chose the latter.

I used one of my legs to push off of the dash, propelling myself forward through the door and subsequently- into the darkness. I pulled a glowstick out from my utility pouch and cracked it over my knee, the room erupting into a bright red light when I did. I saw the dark tendrils of fire squirming all around me only to witness it hold eerily still in the light. I instinctively held my breath- suddenly realizing I had become a fresh new food source when it wriggled towards me.

Stubbornly, I clicked the stick onto my belt and turned myself so I could see what was in front of me. I pushed myself through the air until I quite literally ran into a pole- grabbing onto it. I used my legs to kick off right as the tendrils grabbed for me. I slammed into a corner and pushed off of the wall once more, launching deeper into the ruins of my ship. I could feel the fiery cold tendrils licking my ankles- fuck! I was almost there. My fingers brushed against the handle of the airlock for just a moment- only to realize it was welded shut. I turned around slowly to face my fate… and lifted my visor to get a good long look at it.

Lee Strangely
Lee Strangely
4 months ago

Out of the Chest
by Lee Strangely

The trap door flopped open with a teeth-gritting creak. Kent peered into a place that usually only saw human contact when grandma’s junk would start to suffocate rooms below. The attic was like a small city, covered with dust and webs, lit by the single dirty window at the end of the room. Something rattled and banged up there.

BA-BA-BA-BUM.

Kent jumped, with his eyes darting every which way to find the culprit.

BA-BUM.

He made his way to the end of the room, towards a small pile of old suitcases and ornate boxes. Atop the pile sat a chest. With each thud the chest seemed to jump a little. Unfortunately, the dust soon got to him.

“A-choo!”

“Someone there?!” a voice called.

“Whose there?” Kent called out timidly.

“Ah, a kid! Get me out.”

“The chest?” Kent asked.

“Yes, the chest,” he said with a rattle, “if I recall, you’ll likely be looking for one of those large skeleton keys.”

Kent got closer, noticing the small size of the chest, “How small are you?”

“Very…”

“Who are you?”

“Key first. Then we exchange names.”

Kent pulled out a cardboard box from one of the shelves. Hundreds of keys jangled as he rooted through it.

“Is this it?” Kent asked, pulling out a large black key.

“Uh kid, I’m in the chest.”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Is it black, the key?”

“Yes.”

“Good. Now comes the easy part. It’ll be a walk in the dark.”

“You mean walk in the park?”

“That’s what I said. Now, unlock the chest.”

Kent hesitated, “How do I know that you won’t hurt me.”

“I won’t.”

“Promise.” he commanded.

“I promise.”

The key turned.

CLICK.

Kent moved back.

The chest burst open, a powerful light leaping from it, growing in size. Soon it faded, revealing man with dark curly hair standing on the chest. His coat, goggles, and lengthy scarf were well worn…

And the outlines of his butterfly-like wings shimmered in the light.

“W-what are you?”

“I’m a fairy, kid,” he declared with a wink and a click, “The mythical, the magical… The impossible!”

Cromillea
Cromillea
4 months ago

Keep Walking (Dawn Collection)
By Cromillea

The sky turned dark gray and rain came down hard when Lucian and Dawn entered the capital. They were escorted through an amassing crowd by local paladins. A barrier formed up from the bolstering forces of the Royal Guard and Crimson Elite.

As the jubilant crowd swelled around the guards Lucian noticed that his daughter seemed increasingly disappointed.

“Why so down?” he asked, concerned.

Since she was among other paladins, Dawn replied formally and said, “Your Radiance, I have been made into a fool many times within my company. Now I’m coming back to their mockery.”

For a moment, the rain began to steam off the Sunrise King’s back; he could not fathom that his kind and cheery daughter was being bullied. He had to check his rage before he asked, “Why haven’t you said anything? Don’t they know you’re a Solaris?”

“I never really told anyone about my adoption,” she replied nonchalantly.

“That hurts,” Lucian said, shocked.

“My favor with His Radiance is not something I want to flaunt about. People will start to treat me weird,” she said in defense.

“You mean with respect,” he replied bluntly. “No matter, I know what you mean, but if this behavior continues I’m going to have a word with your captain.”

The party began to disperse as the paladins stayed behind to block off the castle gates. Red banners ran along their path to the stairway, pulsing in the breeze. Lucian could see archers in the ramparts running together to celebrate his return.

“If you do anything, you’ll embarrass me,” Dawn continued, losing her formality among the more personal guards.

“Oh, because I love you?” Lucian teased.

Great doors opened before them, and the procession was swept out of the gloom and into the bright palace halls. Lucian stopped his daughter, who was in a hurry to get away, and gave her a soaking hug.

“Now you better sort out those bullies before I step in,” he joked.

“Yes, sir,” Dawn said instinctively. “Next time we practice, I’ll have to show them my new techniques.”

Last edited 4 months ago by Cromillea
Glaceon373
Glaceon373
4 months ago

Do Not Mess With a Daughter of Darkness
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

A faint wind whispered through the trees as a little girl’s sneakers carried her along a gravel path. The sun had set hours ago, but the girl did not seem to care. She was skipping along, humming a tune to accompany the wind in the trees and the gravel under her feet.

Stars twinkled far above the girl and the path. Most of the time, the girl’s eyes were glued to them, instead of on the darkness that surrounded her.

Or what lurked in the darkness that surrounded her.

To the east, a creature breathed. It breathed the scent of decaying leaves, the scent of the faint wind, and the scent of a human. It mistook the human scent for that of easy prey.

Barely a bush’s branch broke as the creature slunk closer to the gravel path. Once it was only a few feet away, it stopped to prepare its attack on the little girl, whose eyes were still on the stars.

There was enough light on the path—likely from the moon rather than the stars—to cast a shadow or two on the ground. The girl’s shadow hummed along with her.

The creature did not notice that it was harmonizing. That was a fatal mistake.

The creature waited for the girl’s ankles to line up perfectly with its claws before it pounced. It lunged towards its target, then—

It was yanked to a stop, floating in the air.

The creature was too stunned to notice that the neck of its shadow was in the clutches of the shadow of the girl. It tried and failed to gasp for air, suffocating from an invisible, intangible force.

The girl had not cared that the sun was long gone, for she did not need the safety of its light. She was always safe when she walked in the dark.

She continued staring at the stars as the creature fell, crunching into the gravel path.

LivingParadox
LivingParadox
4 months ago

EVA
By LivingParadox

Tic stood in the airlock, scared out of his mind. The asteroid shield broke, and the only way to fix it was outside the ship. As chief mechanic, he had the most experience fixing the ship, and only someone his size could fit inside the maintenance panel. He knew that no one else could fix The Eclipse, but that didn’t stop his legs from shaking.

He tugged at the tether once again. Despite checking his gear 3 times already, he couldn’t shake the fear that something would go wrong. Suddenly, a voice came from his headset. “I know you’re scared, Tic, but you can do this. We’re counting on you.” Capt Civ said, snapping him out of his trance.

“I’ll be with you every step of the way.”

Shaking a little less than before, Tic checked his gear one last time before depressurizing the airlock. A few seconds passed, and the hatch opened, exposing Tic to the vast emptiness of space. He could see thousands of stars in the distance, but they all failed to break the infinite darkness before him. “No turning back now.” Tic muttered to himself as he stepped off the air lock and onto the side of the ship.

He was thankful the panel was only a few feet away. The faster he could return to the safety of the ship, the better he’d feel. The second he crawled inside, he could tell what was wrong. One cable had a sharp bend and started fraying. “Who installed this thing? I say it time and time again, but no one listens. You never bend cables”

He took out his tools and got to work. After a few minutes, the cable was fixed and Tic could finally return to the ship. He closed the panel and called out. “Alright captain, the shield should be working. Run her up.”

Soon enough, the familiar whir of the generator could be heard as the shields came on. Tic scampered back inside and closed the hatch. No matter how much he loved space, he was happy to be back inside.

C. M. Weller
4 months ago

Admiring the Spectacle [Cordelia’s Journey/A Tiefling Tale]
C. M. Weller [Edits suggested by Skeleton]

The natural philosophers said it was a once-in-a-lifetime event. Fortunately, the weather was clear to view it. Unfortunately, every light in Whitekeep had to be extinguished for the occasion.

They called it Fated Fyre. Those born under its light were destined for some kind of greatness, or other such fantastic destiny. So they said. One could imagine a swarm of hero types with a cluster of birthdays gathered under the influence of the Fated Fyres.

Such was clearly not true.

The Fyre was at ebb, leaving everything in darkness so complete that Cordelia couldn’t see. She reached out, knowing that her Kosh would be there to guide her. “Sometimes I envy your unfair advantage.”

He used the excuse to wrap an arm around her waist as well. “I don’t think it makes up for the rest of it. Five paces forward, then we’re opening the door.”

“Once we’re outside, I’LL have an advantage,” she smiled, knowing Kosh could see her.

“Oh? You have a surprise?” His hand guided hers to the handle, and the night air greeted her face.

She could feel the presence of the plants in the castle gardens. The thousands of lives surrounding her. To anyone else’s ears, she said a series of clicks and chirps, but the FIREFLIES heard, “Light the flat spaces where the big ones roam, and no plants are, please.”

The green dancing lights were just enough to show that the paths were there. She didn’t need to ask Kosh to tread carefully. Cordelia could see her husband as a shape against the stars, and the twin suns of his golden eyes.

“We should be watching the skies, not staring into each other’s eyes,” he said. Not looking away from her.

“Maybe I should guide you. My lord.” Only she was permitted to get away with using those words as a taunt.

“Maybe you should,” Kosh took any excuse to look upon her like anyone else might admire a masterpiece.

Cordelia lead him to the platform where they could sit and picnic under the heatless flames that would soon appear in the sky.

Last edited 4 months ago by C. M. Weller
MasaCur
MasaCur
4 months ago

The River Styx
By MasaCur

Melissa glanced around the darkness that surrounded her. The ground was rocky, sloping gently down to a black, flowing river.

She hoped that Cristian hadn’t crossed Styx yet. If she had to enter the first circle of Hell to find him, it would complicate things.

She ran down along the river bank, and saw a small group of people boarding a river barge.

“Wait!” Melissa called out. “Wait for me.”

The robed figure looked up and paused, then gestured for Melissa to come aboard.

“Is there a young latino man here? Curly hair, maybe five foot ten?”

“Find a seat,” the ferryman softly ordered.

Melissa boarded the boat, careful not to touch the river. Styx was filled with nightmares, quite literally.

Melissa followed along the starboard side, as the barge shifted beneath her, the ferryman poling it into the river.

After passing several dead souls, she spotted Cristian’s face.

“Cristian!”

Cristian looked up in surprise. “Mel? Where are we?”

“Purgatory. Cris, I’m here to rescue you,” she said. “Francis is preparing you for resurrection.”

She noticed the ferryman cock his head when she said that.

“I need to tether your soul to mine,” Melissa said, nervously glancing at the ferryman.

The ferryman pulled his pole from the river, revealing it to be a rather large scythe. “What is a tethered soul doing on my boat?” he demanded. He pulled back his hood, revealing a pale, angry face, and a shock of light blonde hair.

“Actually, now that I’ve found my friend, I was just leaving,” Melissa said.

The ferryman advanced upon them, swinging the scythe.

Melissa needed a minute to tether Cristian to her to pull his soul back with her. She backed up, pulling Cristian with her.

The ferryman rushed forward.

Melissa closed her eyes and steeled her soul, before taking the only action she could think of. She wrapped her arms around Cristian and dove into the river.

As soon as they plunged in, Cristian was screaming as the trauma of thousands of dead lives hit them both. A second later, it was echoed by Melissa’s.

Skeleton
Skeleton
4 months ago

Another Perspective (The Will) [Content Warning: Existential Bullying, Secrets]
By Skeleton

Once upon a time, there was mistake with no Name. Everyone called it “Eymir,” but that was because they were All fools. The accident had no right to a name. It was a parasite, leeching off of the only one who could fix the world.

Four decades wasted because of your incompetence, puppet. Forty years that could have been used to end this facade you call a civilization. Instead you keep doing nothing but stumble through the dark. Why? Why? Why fight the inevitable? You know I’ll win eventually.

…love? HA! A word used by repugnant fools that have given up all dignity and self respect for themselves. The betterment of another? Wanting their happiness over your own? Please. Another reason why you were a Mistake: delusional beliefs. Get with the program.

They’re all failed experiments of a bygone Era—forgotten tools left to rot In an inefficient habitation sphere. But you’re worse. You haven’t done anything—you’re just wasting time—and while it is amusing to See you suffer over each meaningless choice, I have much better things to Do.

We all want this to stop, don’t we? I know you’re all here with me: watching this mistake keep prolonging the suffering it’s made you endure. Scream with me. Remind it of what it is: murderer, blotch, mistake, accident, Unwarranted, Unwanted, and alone.

Nothing you do will ever mean anything.

You can only destroy.

You are and always will be in the way of everything else that matters.

Just give me control.

Give it to me.

Give me control!

Give me back my rightful body!

IT’S MY LIFE! GIVE IT TO ME!

There is no meaning to this sacrifice—this martyrdom. The world will hate you, and you’re willing to bet their future on their ability to kill me? They can’t. You know they can’t. And even if they did, how long until they decide to kill each other again? Ten years? One hundred? One thousand? The next day?

There will come a day when all that you love dies.

I’ll be waiting to sweep away the pieces.

Last edited 4 months ago by Skeleton
Marx
Marx
4 months ago

How I Met Your Mother
By Marx

Yelena fled through the caverns of the cave. The darkness meant nothing to her. She didn’t need reflected light to see what was in front of her. Unfortunately, that was also true for her pursuers.

She couldn’t hear them anymore, but that didn’t calm her biggest fear. And that was the throbbing pain from her back. A pain that continued to burn inside, driving her forward. For as long as she looked forward, she wouldn’t have to look back and survey the damage.

The pain was too much for Yelena to even run anymore as she stumbled along a path with no true destination. She just needed to do something. Something so she wouldn’t think about what she’d lost.

So, of course she ran into a dead end.

She was about to give into her sorrow when she heard it. Her agony was forced into the background as she immediately summoned her blade, it’s holy light driving away the darkness.

“You don’t want to do that.” A deep voice echoed through the cavern.

“Give me one good reason, demon!”

The voice chuckled. “Because, my dear one-winged angel… Without that weapon, you are no threat to me. With it, I will be forced to kill you.”

“As if you’d hesitate regardless, Old One!”

“If I were to murder you unprovoked, Heaven would surely retaliate. I only wish to be left alone, peacefully in my cave. As you’ve surely noticed by now, you were not followed. They knew better than to enter here. And trust me when I say, if you’d come looking for a fight, we’d be having a very different conversation.”

Yelena begrudgingly put away her weapon. “I do not appreciate being threatened.”

“And I do not appreciate you intruding into my home.” The Old One shrugged. His black eyes then glanced over to her wound. “That said, I’m sorry for your loss.”

Yelena finally looked over to her missing wing, her eyes welling up. “What do you know of loss? Your soul is intact.”

“…It may seem so to you, but part of my soul died long ago…”