Writing Group: The Fear of Sundown

Hello, Lygophobes and Crepuscular Beings!

That was a fun day wasn’t it? But it looks like the sun is starting to set. Did you bring a flashlight? Maybe we should turn around, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

The Fear of Sundown

RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

The sunset is beautiful to most, but for some it is a time to be feared. Creatures of the night thrive after the sun goes down. Sundown is the curtain call for the night, the last chance you have to make it home. You could write a story about someone rushing home as fast as they can during sundown to avoid the monsters that come out at night. You could write about a monster hunter sworn to protect others during sundown. You could write about one of those monsters taking pleasure in people’s fear, or perhaps even afraid to come out themselves. 

Oftentimes, in stories where someone is forced to turn into a monster against their will, the transformation begins when the sun sets, which is a very fair reason to fear its departure. Someone might be cursed to become a monster every night, or at the full moon. You could write about the dread they feel as it approaches. Or perhaps you could write about their friends who have to make the choice between fearing the monster, and comforting their friend. Or maybe, like in Shrek, the princess herself is the monster…but maybe she has to learn that being a monster isn’t something to fear, but embrace. 

Or perhaps it’s not a repeated curse, but a devastating one that only happens once. Like Aurora, cursed to prick her finger before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday and fall into a sleep like death. There are many more fairy-tale-esque stories whose curses must be broken before either sundown or sunrise, otherwise they’ll be permanent. You could write a story about a similar curse that’s prophesied to happen before the sun sets, or be permanent afterwards, causing fear and panic the closer the sun dips towards the horizon. 

In some stories, the sun setting doesn’t bring about a curse for a single person, nor is it simply a herald of night, but rather twilight is a dangerous time in and of itself. In the anime/manga Noragami, twilight is when the lines between the world of the dead and the land of the living are blurred, giving spirits greater power. Perhaps you could write a story about that, or something similar. What if the night is safe, but dusk is not? Is this something not many people know about, but still experience the effects of? Or do entire towns lock their doors during twilight? 

In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, twilight is more than just a time. It’s a shadow that keeps spreading across the land, turning those under its influence into spirits and monsters. Perhaps your story could go in this direction.

Or maybe you’d like to go with something a little more real. Fear is the currency of the night during childhood. You could write about a child who fears sundown because of the night terrors that plague their sleep. They might fear it because they have to return to a less-than-ideal home life after school. Or maybe it’s sweeter and gentler than that; maybe the child is having so much fun at the fair, or a friend’s house, that they dread the sun setting because it means the fun will have to end.  

It could be more metaphorical. Sundown doesn’t have to be literally when the sun sets, but a metaphor for something ending. The last phase before the end. A last hurrah. It could quite simply be a symbol for death—the ultimate sundown, leading into the eternal night. 

Those tendrils blazing the horizon are shrinking, and the shadows that pull across the world might just swallow you whole.

Come on, kid, let’s head home.

—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.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

192 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Carmesi
Carmesi
4 months ago

Cutting ties
By Carmesi

“DTC here. No Mist at the checkpoint. Liv and Dona, come in,” Klara’s voice comes through.

Prayerless, Liv pushes the button on the radio, only for the dreadful feedback to greet her. “DTC, this is Liv and Dona, come in.” But Klara, at the checkpoint kilometers away that Liv should be in, repeats her message like a mantra.

The damn radio is busted.

Dona slams herself down on the chair next to her and pulls herself up to the radio. Her nimble hands find a way through the thick protective gloves to pry the lid open. “I’ll see what I can do. Keep an eye on the door.”

So Liv does, although they both know it’s no use. Once Earth swallows the Sun, and the Mist comes out in full force, either the rags and sofa stuffing they scraped together to cover the door gaps will keep it out, or they won’t.

An hour, at most.

Neither of them had expected any Mist-infected to be nearby, much less to attack. A punctured suit is a death sentence. And then the creature’s terrible, terrible breath, and Liv swinging down her terrible bat on it, and–

“Hey, Liv?” Dona starts now. “Back then. Why didn’t you just run?”

Liv shrugs, not peeling her eyes off the door. It never seemed like an option. The radio spits out Klara’s growing desperation in the gaps of its analog song. Dona rummages through the radio’s guts with gusto. Cruelty, even.

“There’s only one extra suit,” Dona says, finding her grip on a vein-blue wire.

Liv shoots her a sour look, the ugly scrapes in Dona’s suit tinged red in the sunset light. “We only need one.”

“And you could get to the checkpoint safely while there’s still sunlight. Could have. Could.” She snaps the wire and the radio goes dead silent.

Liv’s chair bangs against the floor as she rushes up. “Dona?”

Her companion doesn’t turn. Liv’s hand grips her shoulder. “What were you thinking?”

She stops dead in her tracks when Dona turns, expressionless. “Go now. Before the sun sets.”

Pumpkin
4 months ago

Little Maggy
By Pumpkin

Little mice, all jump and rush to the safety of their nests as the owls slowly open up their eyes and get ready for another hunt.

On the wind flows a pleasant smell that brings up memories of childhood and following those floral notes we end under the magnolia.
Where a group of pink flowers chatter hurriedly in high-pitched voices.

Old sister Magnalena declares “close your petals, close your petals, the night is coming in.”

But dear oh, dear young sister Maggy doesn’t feel tired quite yet “Why must we close our petals? I do not wish to sleep.”

“Foolish girl” Magnera sneers “We close our petals for protection.”

“Against who?” young Maggy asks crossing her leaves.

“Hummingbirds,” Magnera explains.

“No moths, they are the very worst.” Magnio cries out.

“Aren’t those just butterflies?” young Maggy wonders aloud.

“No, moths can grow three times their size, they swallow us poor flowers whole!”

“Where did you pick up on such nonsense?” Magnera huffs

“Ladies, ladies no more squabbling, if we keep this up we’re all at risk.” Old sister Magnalena cuts in.
She sends a look to little Maggy “If you wish to risk it dear, I won’t stop you but know I will not help you if trouble comes your way.”

Young Maggy nods in understanding and smiles as the others turn in. Flowers closing up around her.
Until she is utterly alone.

The world changes in the night.

The sounds and smells that are familliar fade, replaced with strange sensations.

The howl of an animal she cannot quite place, the chill of the wind, far sharper than normal.
For with the night comes the cold and the dark.

Maggy feels misplaced, off and alien.
But then she looks up.
And sees the stars.

As the owls pass her by with spoils in their beaks all she sees are the intricate patterns of the glowing dots high in the sky and the magnificent milky way.

And she wishes it could never be daytime again.

Matthew R Wright
Matthew R Wright
4 months ago

Even Machines Fear Sundown (Do Droids Die?)

By Matthew R Wright

100%

Battery broken. Must have been the fall. Couldn’t afford to be discovered during the daylight. MOTHER cannot be discovered. Exposed circuitry. Dampened by weather. Relying on solar-plates. Chargers won’t be functional during the dark hours. Night is coming. Survival percentage…unclear.

75%

Sunset. Already feeling the effects on my systems. Reduced articulation speed and non-essential background tasks to conserve power. Still no communications from MOTHER. Signal too weak. I am alone in THEIR city. Need to find an effective hiding location. The humans will be starting their patrols soon. Successful defence percentage low. Always too many of them, too few of us. Will continue collecting observation data. That is my function.

58%

Battery more damaged than first diagnostic suggested. Will not be able to remain operative for full duration of night. Sensory systems detect anxiety. Is this part of programming? Fear for aiding self-preservation? Why would MOTHER make us fear? Low Power Mode Activated. Could self-repair in nearby manufacturing plant?

21%

MOTHER has abandoned me. Probability construct 97.5% likely. No help arriving. Connection of MOTHER network fully disconnected. Unsafe for retrieval. Discovered leakage in primary power packs. Repair impossible. Safe deactivation location still unavailable. Unable to locate compatible manufacturing plant. Damage to overall operating system SEVERE. Calculated survival now at single digits.

4%

Permanent deactivation 100% probable. Information within drives unable to send. Failed in function. Failed in purpose. They destroyed their world, used us as their weapons. MOTHER was only following her directive. Now they hunt us. When we’re gone who will they blame for their errors?

Unable to run Self-destruction-sequence.exe
Self-destruction-sequence.exe requires 15% power to run.

Cannot protect MOTHER.
Cannot protect own system.

I fear my deactivation
What will happen to me? To MOTHER?

At least I will deactivate alone.

0%

Operating System unable to reboot. Please connect to power source.

Last edited 4 months ago by Matthew R Wright
Blinky
Blinky
4 months ago

The liberation of the Raven clans
By Blinky

Father Moss knelt below the stone sword of his god and prayed for her compassion. His enemies were fools but no less worthy of her grace than he or his brothers. They only sought to protect their people. The Raven kings rejected the emperor’s suffocating hand. He could find no blame in that.

The cathedral doors slammed open, and five of his brothers stormed down the aisle. Their heavy boots and clinking weapons echoed across the nave and through the rafters. His brothers stopped just behind him, forming a loose semi-circle.

“Pray with me, brothers.” Moss spoke to the men standing behind him. “Pray with me, Arman.”

“Father,” his second, Arman, spoke. “Why do our brothers arm themselves?” His voice cradled his anger.

“Because it is necessary,” Moss said plainly.

Arman bristled at his simple response. “Necessary? Must I also kiss the feet of his arbiter? When did we become his hounds?”

“I understand your frustration,” Moss said.

“My frustration?” Arman threw his hands up in disbelief. “You understand only the orders you’ve been given.” Arman placed his hand on the hilt of the weapon at his hip. The leather creaked under his grip. “We follow only the word of our god, not that of the Archbishop. Call this off, Father. You know what you are about to do is wrong.”

Moss bowed his head to offer Her his last prayers and stood. “I won’t.” He said and turned to face his brothers. “When sundown comes, we march on the keep alongside the imperial arbiter and his men. With or without you.”

Arman drew his blade, and four followed his lead.

“I prayed for you too, Arman. May she cherish you eternally.” Moss drew the blade at his hip.

MasaCur
MasaCur
4 months ago

Race Against Time
By MasaCur (Reposted from Private Group)

Melissa watched Erykah writhe on the grass. She glanced up in the sky at the sun, feeling like she could actually see it creep across the sky, and wishing she could hold it back.

A car pulled into the driveway in front of the house.

A few seconds later, Ramona ran across the lawn, shopping bags in her hand. “I’ve got the sage!”

“All five pounds?”

Ramona nodded. “Measured it myself.” She looked down at Erykah, worry etched on her face.

Melissa couldn’t help but look at her friend. The fungal growth had spread up her neck.

“Is there anything else I can do to help?” Ramona asked.

Melissa shook her head. “I need Clay and Francis to get back with the crushed shale before I can set up. And the others to come back with the other materials.”

The one that worried her the most was the herbs she needed from her friends in Oakland. Ryan had the fastest car, so she sent him ahead to intercept them at Buttonwillow.

She looked back up at the sun. “Maybe give Erykah another spritz. She may not be feeling it, but she’s probably cooking out here.”

Had to be done, Melissa told herself. The sun was inhibiting the growth of the fungus, and keeping it from eating her brain.

Ramona nodded and grabbed the garden hose, spraying the cold water on Erykah. As it hit her, Erykah’s thrashing calmed to mild twitching.

Melissa’s phone rang. It was Ryan’s number.

Melissa answered. “Hey Ryan, tell me good news.”

There was a long pause. “I’m at Buttonwillow now, but your friends aren’t. There was an accident on the interstate, and they said they’ll be delayed. Maybe by an hour.” The fear in his voice was palpable. He sounded like he was crying.

“Ryan, calm down. I’ll figure something out.” Melissa said, trying to keep her voice calm. This was a complication they didn’t need. The ritual needed time, and another hour could put them past sunset.

She glanced at Ramona, still hosing down Erykah. “Ramona, is your helicopter license up to date?”

Angel Fisher
Angel Fisher
4 months ago

Beware the lone babe by Angel Fisher

“In this region of the country there is a story known by all. Most travelers have heard of some version of the tale but believe it a myth or a children’s tale.

The story goes as such:
Travelers beware the setting of the sun. For those who do not have shelter or fire may meet the babe of twilight. The child will cause you no harm, No ,It is what follows this child that we all fear. The babe is both a warning and a trap. For if you see the apparition and take shelter then you are safe. But if you stop to speak to it then your fate is sealed. With nothing but a traveler’s pack on the side of the road to show.” Said the ragged old Storyteller to the group of young men.

“What a bunch of hogwash.” Replied a young man as leaves for the door. ‘Who would believe that rubbish.’ thought the man. ‘No child would be allowed out once the sun begins to set.’ As the man continue his journey to the next town, he noticed that there were fewer people out and about, and those that were looking at the mid-afternoon sky in worry.

“Superstitious fools.” muttered the man as he reached the top of a rise from which he could see the town that he planned to stay the night in. As the man continued down the road he noticed that he had plenty of time before sunset.

Just as the town’s gates came into view,he saw a child in the field by the road picking flowers?
“Child,”called the man as he moved to get a better look,”why are you not in town?” The child paused looking up and meeting the man’s eyes as the sun fell behind them.

” Why aren’t you?”

VulpesRose
VulpesRose
4 months ago

A Desperate Retreat
by VulpesRose

The young soldier’s face pales when he’s assigned to escort a caravan through the Demon’s Wood. Too many men weren’t returning from the forest. Too many King’s Men.

He believes the stories, about the thing, the beast, that lives in the woods. He believes the Dark One and his servant are lurking in the shadows, and while he doesn’t know what they want, he believes they’re dangerous.

He doesn’t have to believe anymore. He’s seen it.

Now, he’s running away from the remains of the caravan, hugging the treeline near the path to try to avoid getting lost as the light fades. His shoulder throbs, the wound made by man, not beast, and he can feel the blood trickling down off his fingers. It’s too much blood. He’s leaving a trail behind.

He has to make it back before dark. He has to reach some kind of shelter before the sun sets. There’s no moon tonight. He’ll be helpless and lost. He doubts darkness will impair his enemy. The beast will find him.

His breathing is getting heavier. It’s a warm summer evening, but he can feel the cold creeping into him. It’s hard to focus on where he’s going.

The light is fading. The sun is sinking toward the horizon. Then he sees it, the spire from a castle tower, above the treeline. But it’s too small. Too far away.

He isn’t going to make it.

He stumbles back onto the path. He draws his sword with his off hand, but it feels heavy and wrong. He flings it weakly into the trees.

He rips off the King’s badge from his cloak, curses the man, hurls it to the ground, and spits on it. He will not die wearing his mark.

“Interesting.”

The voice is sudden, but his reactions are slow, his vision barely holding focus. A young man stands behind him on the path. His hands are on his hips, and he’s smiling.

The soldier has seen this man before, but, between the dim light and the blood loss, he doesn’t recognize the very man who stabbed him.

Cody H
Cody H
4 months ago

Sundown at Braddock River

By Cody H

At Braddock River, everything important happens at night. Dealers trade along the bank, fishermen with larger-than-fair hauls rope their creaking boats on tie-ins made from old street signs, lovers huddle in tall grass, toads croak. It was nighttime at Braddock River when Jacoby Myers lost his footing on a cliffside and stumbled down 40 feet, breaking his left arm at impact. He cursed louder than he ever had (Mom always said it was only right to curse under your breath), clutched his arm and bit down on his right hand till his teeth felt like fangs. The hardest part was fighting off the urge to let his mind slip away. To let the ringing of his ears and the shock of it all drag him somewhere else. But the cloaked figure at the edge of his vision was there. Almost mistaken for an eyelash. Hard to pick out, from the partial blindness of his fall. But it watched him, he knew.

His mom had described it before she passed.

“It’s got sweeping horns, like old rancher’s bulls. Four of ‘em, on each side. It wears this cloak. Something’s always moving underneath it. A lot of somethings, maybe.”

He thought she had lost herself. That it was a sign of dementia or she couldn’t come to terms with dying. That’s what pamphlets said, anyway. But he had seen it after a car crash a year after she died. He couldn’t mistake the horns, even through the cracks in his rearview mirror. But by the time he was stabilized at the hospital, it had gone.

Here it was again, lurking in his peripheral by the lapping shore. He tried to stand but couldn’t feel his left leg. He looked to see a pointed edge of wood stuck through it. The thing moved closer, as if it waited for him to realize it. Its sweeping horns lumbered as it walked up the bank, dragging wet weeds on its cloak. He tried to yell, to get the attention of dealers, fishermen, lovers, anyone. But only the toads croaked as the bull came upon him.

Demon Nox
4 months ago

Just a Few More Minutes Till Curfew
By Demon Nox

The cold fall air nipped at my skin, leaving my cheeks rosy, my nose runny, and my hands clutching the fabric of my dress trying to stave off their growing numbness. But this was better than where I could be. Curfew is at dusk, and the sun is setting fast. If I’m late Father will be angry with me, I hate to think what he’ll do if I am. But out here I’m safe, protected even.

The Beast of the Underbrush, my own guardian angel. It lives in the dark between the green, but it’s bigger than you’d ever imagine, faster too. It won’t let so much as a leaf touch me here. I’ve tried asking why only in this part of the woods, but I don’t think it understands.

But despite all that, it can’t protect me from the cold. My fingers ache when I curl their digits, and the penetrating numbness has spread halfway up my legs. The house is warm, and the beast cant guard me if I start a fire here, receding much like the shadows themselves. It wasn’t long before the sun’s last minutes started, so its time I made my choice. But I still can’t make up my mind, surely it can’t be so bad to sleep in the cold. But if Father isn’t in one of his moods and goes looking for me, there will be hell to pay.

Tears couldn’t help but begin to pool in the corners of my eyes, oh what I’d give for just a few more minutes before Id have to go back.

It was then that hot tears started to stream down my red bruised cheeks, just a few more minutes till curfew.

Rex324533
Rex324533
4 months ago

Sundown over the Barbary Nebula
By Rex324533

‘There is something to be said about viewing sundown from orbit. Like watching a crown of light slip off the head of Christ. No toil or struggle in the foreseeable future, the admiralty has us laid up off the coast of a backwater station near the Barbary Nebula. For now, a comfortable lethargy has gripped my men. Well-deserved I might add, even my old Zophie’s heart seems to thrum a tad bit softer than usual.’ A gentle rapping at my door brings back reality, and my duties as captain.

“Come in” I say, turning in a heavy cloud of cigar smoke, my chair creaking lightly as if it had been woken from slumber. The door opened with its own annoyed creak and my First Lieutenant stepped in.

“Well, howdy doo Mr. Morgan.” said she in her usual mirth filled Scottish twang.

“Ahh come in my dear, what have you brought to ruin my tranquility this time?” I ask closing my freshly scratched on journal.

“Admiralty orders,” she says brandishing a piece of paper.

“We knew this peace would not last Ms Finneley, but I suppose its end is still disheartening.” I look over my shoulder at the waning sunset, how I shall miss this comfortable routine. “What are our orders and when must we shove off?”

“We are to enter the Barbary Nebula and patrol the straits between Georgetown and,” She squints. “ Casa de las Estrellas.” she says flatly.

“Pirates?” I ask.

“What else?” She says dropping herself into a chair. “they call themselves the Sundowners”

“Interesting name.” I add sitting up.

“Yeah, well they didn’t choose it just because it sounds cool, their core vessel is a renegade frigate from the Akai Sangādo the Jōka no Honō.”

“A Sangādo ship even defying orders is a great rarity, but going renegade? That is worrisome.” I sit back again recollecting my limited knowledge of Sangādo tactics and capabilities.

“Worrisome is certainly one way to put it- “just then the radio on her hip screams. “May day may day this is the DS Copia and we are under attack!”

Last edited 4 months ago by Rex324533
The Missing Link
The Missing Link
4 months ago

Playing with the Dark
By The Missing Link

“Come and play with me,” chirped a voice from nowhere.

James looked bewilderedly around the clearing, but it seemed to have been the same serene circle in the woods it had been. Mother always said not to, but James liked to play in there.

“Down here,” the voice continued, growing impatient.

It was… his shadow? Stretched across the ground, it smiled up at James.

“There we go. Nice to meet you.” It stretched up onto a tree and walked out, still connected by thin strands to James’ legs, “Now let’s play.”

James took out some dice he always carried around. Father had carved them with all his passion back before he disappeared. James wasn’t entirely sure how he was supposed to play with them, but he was sure the two of them could figure something out.

“Oh! how wonderful, a betting game. Each six you roll, I’ll share something, and each 1, you give me something. Sounds fair, right?” It lay down on the ground shaking its feet in the air as it watched intently for James’ roll.

A three.

“Lucky, lucky,” the shadow hummed, “Father always likes to do things in threes.”

“Odd,” James thought as he rolled again, his Father always said three was an auspicious number… whatever that meant. Six.

The shadow smiled innocently.

“So, uh… what are you?”

“I’m your shadow, silly,” exclaimed the confused being.

“But…”

“Roll again,” it whined, “I answered your question, play fair.”

James relented and rolled again. One.

The shadow’s smile faded as it looked up. It was getting late. The late summer sun lasted a while, but not forever. It hadn’t seemed such a long time, but the shadow hurried along with its question, “Would you play with me again next time?”

“Sure… maybe,” James responded noncommittally.

One.

“Can I have your name?” it stammered out.

“James.” The sunlight started to fade, and it occurred to James, “Shadows need light, don’t they?”

No answer.

Six.

“I don’t want to die… James. Please don’t let it kill me. I’m scared.”

The sun fell over the horizon, and his shadow was gone.

Adrian Solorio
Adrian Solorio
4 months ago

Safe for Tonight
By Adrian Solorio

The smell of approaching night seeped into the newfound shelter, creeping in through the many small holes and slits in the decaying walls, and settled heavily in the room. Charles worked in a frenzy filling the gaps, rushing to stop anymore air coming in, stuffing rags and loose papers into the holes, he worked with his brow knotted, and shining with sweat. If even one opening was left after nightfall, they would both be dead before morning.

“Are you almost done yet, daddy?” From the furthest corner of the room Mikala watched her father with eyes as wide as saucers. “Mr. Teddy says we’re safe here.” She tightened her arms around the stuffed bear in her arms.

“That’s about it, honey,” said Charles. “Mr. Teddy was right, we’re safe for tonight.” All holes covered, the corrosive smell seemed to lighten. Charles released a deep breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. His hands shook, and his vision was blurry. He felt light-headed, a bit drunk. “We’re alright, honey-bunny,” he said. “Everything’s alright. We’ll look for food in the morning.”

“Will you tell us a story, now? About the before times? And mom?”

“Sure,” he said. “Sure.” Outside the night-winds rattled the walls of the old building. Charles thought of The Three Little Pigs, but he knew Mikala wouldn’t like that kind of story. His hands trembled, and he hid them in his pockets. Mikala knew the signs as well as he did, and if she saw him shaking with the sickness, she would know he didn’t have much time left. “Sure thing, sweetie.”

Charles closed his eyes and told his daughter about the before times: when the land was green, and the people would walk outside day and night. When birds flew and bees flitted among trees and flowers. The times before mother-nature’s death and revenge. Killed by her most destructive creation—humankind—nature’s revenge was biblical. He told Mikala about the times before this, before mother-nature’s death poisoned the earth with night-fumes. Air acidic and corrosive that cleansed the planet of remaining life.

But soon, before he could finish, Mikala slept.

Last edited 4 months ago by Adrian Solorio
Chew
Chew
4 months ago

Lockdown
By Chew

“That’s that.” I tell myself as I slowly head back to my humble little home. The stone walls should be strong enough to withstand the assault, unlike the previous house. I have no idea how strong It is, but stone’s a strong material.

As I look out the door, I see the sun heading down, and know that the time will come soon. It comes. It always comes. I shake the thought away and shut the door, locking the door. First using the lock on the knob, and then the chain lock, and then the final step, a large wooden bar to cover the door. “… No, that might not be enough.” I say, before pushing all the chairs I have to the door, blocking it.

The walls are exactly as I wanted it. The single window that exist is tiny, and even then, has metal bars that prevent anything from coming in or out except for water and air. The roof’s reinforced, nothing can get through it, and the walls are lined with a slippery coating to prevent anything climbing it. No way that It can do any damage now.

I sit and wait, I can see from the little window that the sun finally began to set, and I know… that all the preparation He left would be for naught. That I will still break through, no matter what He placed. That I will still win this little game in the end. It would only be a matter of time before I break out again, and ruin all of His work.

Aracnarquista
Aracnarquista
4 months ago

Chimes to Sunset
By Aracnarquista

I knew the bells tolled for me, when I heard their chimes invading the ballroom. It didn’t escape me that I was the only one that felt them as a disturbance. To the others, it might have sounded as if another instrument just joined the band with its tintinnabulation.

The problem, frankly, was never the sound of the bells. It harmonized with the waltz. It rang delightedly. The matter was what it conveyed. The bells were heralds to the passing of time. And with each ring, my ending drew nearer. The ball and its dances were an imprecise marker of time, but the bells were adamant: their timing was exact, and their chimes were law.

Despite all that, I was not nervous. I danced that last waltz with the propriety and certainty of the fatalistic condemned. Less than an hour now. The conversations around the hors d’oeuvre table were still nourishing (and, if I may be so bold as to say so myself, were all the better due to my participation), and the approaching hour didn’t sour the taste of the marvelous wine served. The only thing that changed with the march of the time were the masks.

With each moment, they seemed more lively… more lovely.

Their colors more vibrant, their breathtaking motifs more imbued with true meaning. There were Stars dancing in the ballroom, Marine Animals discussing politics at the balcony, Flowers sharing their thoughts by the gardens. And although I could see patterns in how the variety of masks congregated, homogeneity was never a rule. An Elegant Violin filled my cup while I heard an Industrial Spirit recount a joke to the delight of an Exuberant Amaranth, a Woven Night-sky and the Radiant Sun.

As the end of the masquerade approached, my longing for the masks grew. It wouldn’t be long before we were all shown the exit. Then, the last chimes of the bells would join us in the night walk back to our boring lives. I dread the moment my face will once again be bare and the Radiant Sun set on the dark wardrobe.

V3RU5
V3RU5
4 months ago

Invisible time
By Vera

“Be at the sundial at sundown”

Time is inconsistent.

Sometimes, it crawls along so slow, a single grain in the hourglass takes forever to even start falling. Let alone arrive in the lower glass.

“Don’t be so impatient, or you’ll miss the beauty of the world”

Sometimes it rushes along, leaving you with not enough time to finish all your chores properly, forcing you to choose between perfection, or simply getting everything done.

“Don’t be so lazy. And pay attention, damn it. You’ll never amount to anything like this”

Sometimes, it sneaks away while your attention is somewhere else. One moment, it’s early in the morning. Then you look up to be greeted by a beautiful sunset mere moments later.

“Be on time, at sundown, if you care about me at all”

Running through the streets, time runs in front of me. Away from me, I can hear it’s evil laughter, as if taunting me in the voices of my teachers, my parents, my friends

“Admit it. You could see me, if you cared. If you paid attention. If you weren’t so lazy.”

Sundown races closer than I hope, closer than I pray it is. I can make it, if only I cared enough. Only, I care so much, that it hurts, yet it isn’t enough to see time. It isn’t enough to be there on time. It isn’t enough.

” You don’t care for me enough”

It’s dark when I reach the sundial. And empty. Tears well in my eyes, as I feel my phone buzz.

“Why don’t you just admit, you don’t care?”

“I DO CARE” I yell into the night. Hoping no one hears me. Then again, I wish they did. I wish they told me, how to care more. How to care enough.

How to be enough

DaLeen
DaLeen
4 months ago

The Maiden and the Minstrel Knight
By Taja DaLeen

Once upon a time, in a small kingdom just like this one, there was a maiden. She was fair to behold, and beloved by all.

Or rather, almost by all. The powerful witch queen felt envy every time the maiden invaded her thoughts.

And all that because of a man, the minstrel knight. It was him the queen fancied, but he only ever had eyes for the fair maiden.

Even his songs all related to her, one way or another.

So, in a fit of jealous rage, the queen cursed the maiden. She was to never hold any man ever again, lest she turned to stone.

But in front of the poor girl, who felt she was afflicted by a curse, she claimed differently.

She told her that an evil creature wanted her life, that the young one would only live on until the sun set on her eighteenth birthday. Then, darkness would consume her.

And only true love’s kiss could save her.

Thus the fair maiden, fearing her apparently inevitable end, sought out all of her admirers. But none she felt was her true love.

Until the minstrel knight stood before her, singing her a song.

Then she knew that he would always be her one true love. He who was righteous, chivalrous and honest to a fault. He who could sing like an angel.

But that was exactly the trap the witch queen set for her. Only it was not within her plans for it to be the knight, who should kiss the maiden.

Sharing that tender moment, they both turned to stone.

And that is how that statue in the middle of the castle’s great fountain came to be.

But beware, young prince, for it is said that every hundred years at sundown they arise, to break the curse. To get their revenge on the queen’s descendants.

And you know what day it is.

So be mindful of where you go once night falls.

Joe
Joe
4 months ago

Peace At The End

By Joe

The relief of the world’s end was a magnificent feeling. All the clamor of the world’s plight and vile vexations were finally silenced. No more explosions or gunfire. No more screaming, arguing, or intrusive dark thoughts to guilt one’s conscience for not acting on primal impulses. No more wondering if the right thing was done, only what is left to do.

Lie down outside and accept my punishment.

Have you ever known true silence? An inaudible void so deafening that it’s like blindness. No awareness of your surroundings. The brain usually makes its own sound to prevent hallucinations, but I wasn’t allowed that.

After the ritual, there was no sound left in the universe, and I was the only one who would ever know it.

Space has no sound, but if it did, we would all die from its volume. Even if there was there’s only two bodies left, Earth and the Sun. There are no stars or nebulas to illuminate the night when the sun goes down. Only blindness and complete sensory deprivation. I eventually lose the sense of touch over time because there is nothing to do. Even if I was hungry I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it, because I am now deprived of all sense and purpose.

This is what true Nihilism is. Nothing! Nothing exists anymore.

It was three days since the ritual. What’s left will be gone when the Earth rotates one more time. A time that I will know as punishment for my crime of ending the universe. And it will continue beyond death. A death I won’t ever know I had because I can’t hear Mortality’s clock ticking away.

The cloudless sky showed the darkness pushing the light to the other side of the planet, where the sun will die. I turn my head to a wall of pure darkness creeping closer from a mile away.

My last feeling is the fear aiding an excitement and the quietest laugh.

Finally, with this ritual, my troubled mind attained peace.

Haelamon
Haelamon
4 months ago

Final Sunset
by Haelamon

Freedom is a curious thing. One with so many definitions that it’s almost pointless to discuss. Is it a right to move freely? Is it an ability to do whatever you want? Freedom from interference? I don’t know, despite all the pondering I’ve done.

I did a simple crime. Which I’ve pondered yet still disagree with the sentencing.

I watched. I watched things die, knowing it would happen. All I did was nothing, so I was sealed.

In this little orb. Tawny hues with gilded edges. A great consolidation for eternal imprisonment I dare say. Well… I thought it was eternal.

While it has been an amazing time lacking any ability but talking to the wielder of this orb, people mistaking me for a fount of eldritch knowledge… I think I got a few dozen killed by poor advice… Or hundreds.

I can’t see anything, feel anything, hear anything, only talk, but… This orb that I’m trapped in is rusting. It’s decaying. It’s crumpling under your harsh hold and I can feel it. So nice to feel it, even if I know death is slowly walking closer.

But as the feelings increase, I can feel the heat of your hand, the heat of the sun. I think it’s the sun? I hope it is. Please let it be the sun I feel, for I miss it so. Oh to be beneath the sun once more as this eternal torment comes to an end.

Is the world growing cooler after only recently gaining heat? Is the sun setting as this metal trap falls to pieces? Well isn’t that some timing.

I wonder how the Unnamed is doing? They’re the one who sealed me if you were curious… No? Fair enough, ‘tis but a blip in the long history I’ve existed. A billion sunsets I have likely experienced without witnessing. Yet I can at least feel this last one.

Please leave me alone with the sun for this last time. And if I’m still musing to myself after it sets, or even as it crosses the horizon… Smash the orb.

Makokam
4 months ago

Are You Not Entertained? (Chronicles of The Dragon)
By Makokam

The windows were very small, and very high up. But they were big enough for the sun to poke through, and that was enough for Berri to guess the time.

Honestly though, as she sat in her cell, watching the sunbeams slowly move across the wall, there was only one time that mattered: Sundown.

She’d only been here for a few days, but it was enough to know what would happen. She’d only been put into the arena twice so far, but she got lucky. Her first opponent had tried to escape and things had gotten…messy. So she’d been tossed back in her cell while they cleaned up and then they just brought out the next match.

She was lucky that they wanted a show as much as bloodshed.

There wasn’t any fun when your top fighter rips apart a terrified first timer. Well, not as much. To most people.

Her second time in the arena was against another first timer. They’d been far more scared of being punished for not fighting, than fighting her, and had attacked her without much hesitation. She’d defended herself, of course, and… She didn’t think she killed her opponent. So she was alive to see another night, and another fight.

Only now she was sure she was going to be fighting someone else who’d survived a fight. Someone who probably killed someone. Someone who probably wouldn’t have a problem doing it again.

What if they put her against one of the psychos that enjoyed this? She really didn’t want to fight the bunny girl. There were bigger, meaner looking ones, sure, but that one… Her mind was gone. Just stared straight ahead until they threw her into the arena to tear someone apart.

Berri didn’t want to die, especially not here, but she didn’t want to turn into that either.

She went rigid when she heard the hall door open, and people enter.

“So, who’s first?”

“The lizard boy and the goat.” Papers shuffled “Then the two catgirls.”

Berri shrank into the corner as they laughed.

Last edited 4 months ago by Makokam
Cromillea
Cromillea
4 months ago

Soulfire (Dawn Collection)
By Cromillea

Over the years, Lucian had left many stone prayer tags to burden branches along the mountain, yet after the war, his wishes were buried among much more. In the clearings, groups of torches burned soulfire, connecting the living to their dead. Lucian looked for the ones marked Elena and Zoran.

He found them burning blue and purple alongside their fallen comrades. He bowed before the flames and said, “my dearest friends, I’m sorry I’ve been avoiding you. Each time I come up this mountain, I feel the weight of more souls pulling me back down. So many have died on my orders. I still hear them calling after every ceremony. Please tell those spirits that they don’t have to fight anymore, the Shadow Master is dead, I killed him.”

To prove the feat, he laid the Shadow’s crown down before the torches. It was crushed and melted, which satisfied many soul flames. Some were extinguished and their smoke was carried away into the sunset. It got much darker, and Lucian hid himself in the middle of the remaining flames.

“Those of us left still have to remind ourselves that the battle is over, but we can’t help fearing the dark,” he said.

Elena and Zoran remained, burning brightly with anticipation. The dead had nothing left to fear; they were only waiting to hear about the daughter they left behind.

“I have watched over Dawn, as promised,” Lucian assured them. “She’s been getting into a lot of scraps and she always yells at me, but I’m patient. I lost more than I could ever say, so I understand.”

Gazing out on the sunset, Lucian musingly said, “the sun will rise another day as it always has and always will. I hold onto the belief that past her grief, a new life is waiting for us to share.”

At twilight, he at last gathered his things and gave his farewells. “Thank you for your sacrifices,” he said. “Now all I ask is that you rest. Let there be peace in the dark.”

And then there was darkness.

Last edited 4 months ago by Cromillea
Galer
Galer
4 months ago

sunrise

By Galer

Eduardo was visiting the night fair, this was a common thing for children of the night. Like him, all the people that played during the day were asleep vampires like him and his family visited places during the night.

Most commonly these were days in which they made a trip to the city of Panama at night, just to kill time but tonight there was the night fair.

They were established once their people started to be recognized as human beings and not monsters: A place of entertainment for the creatures that wandered in the night, it was fun, and bone marrow candies from cow bones were sweet, they were his favorite thread.

and the games! The games were entertaining! if a little terrifying like the bungee trampoline, but It was overall very fun.

However, the sun was rising and he felt sudden anxiety. He didn’t want to leave this place, it was entertaining for him.

“Father, can we please not go?” Eduardo said the only answer was a pat on the head by a pale hand.

“son I get it, but-” he Yawned” Is going to get late for me and I need to do my job the next night”

” what happens if I don’t return here?”Eduardo said with anxiety, “it is a fun place”

“Don’t worry about it, perhaps once per month but they will still be here and besides,” his father said while pointing at Eduardo’s chest” you have fun and that is what matters the most”.

These words echoed in the child’s head making him eventually relent. He got into the car with his father and drove into the horizon as the sunrise set in.

an adult Eduardo was looking at the night fair. It changed over time as he did, but it was still a fun place to get his children to unwind just like his father did for him. rest his soul. He saw one of his children get anxious, there it was the sunrise again like an old friend.

And Eduardo just smiled.

Last edited 4 months ago by Galer
vellichorian
vellichorian
4 months ago

Every Night Since
by vellichorian

I glance over my shoulder at the glow illuminating the hazy clouds. The tempo of my stride increases. Not to a run, but with more purpose than before. Rushing doesn’t get me home faster if I trip and twist my ankle. Just like Mama said, “Take your time and do it right.”

My thoughts wander to childhood memories of playing hide and seek in the golden hour. Catching a lightning bug and watching my skin glow with the pulse of its abdomen, feeling the tickle as it crept across my fingers, and hearing the squeals of my siblings as they chased each other back to base. Begging Mama to stay out just a little later to wish on the stars. Just like Mama said, “Cherish your joy.”

When I crest the final hill, home awaits. Another peek at the sky snaps my thoughts back to the present, recalling the twilight checklist like a litany:

Perimeter…clear

Cameras…on

Gate…latched

Chickens…confined

Garden net…tethered

Door…barred

Shades…drawn

Lamps…dimmed

Monitor…on

Alarm…armed

Deliberate steps carry me through the ritual. I finish as the last dingy light fades. I settle at the monitor with my can of cold beans and half a Twinkie to keep watch. The first hour after sunset is the most active. Just like Mama said, “Routine creates security.”

I see motion and stare, but it’s only the three-eyed racoon looking for scraps. I know I shouldn’t feed it, but I like the company. Something large lumbers by and tests the fence. A bear, maybe? Still no threats. The blankets on my pallet invite me. But not yet. Just like Mama said, “Complacency is the real enemy.”

And then I notice it! I hold my breath as I extinguish the lantern with one hand and hoist my emergency pack to my back with the other. One foot moves to the latch in the floorboard. A fluid motion, choreographed to complete efficiency. I squint as the drones blink in the distance, waiting to see if they approach. Just like Mama said, “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”

VTRwriter
4 months ago

Sun’s going down…
By VTRwriter

What a crazy situation for a fairy to be in.

A vampire bit me not long ago, and therefore, I owe loyalty to him. But he ate something of mine without permission, so he owes loyalty to me. And worse, our designated lawyer said that “technically” we are married!

So I had to move from my comfy forest to this big castle. I hate this place, so big and cold. Why do vampires like castles anyway? Is it because they’re bats and therefore like caves? There’s plenty of caves where I lived. And he would pay no taxes for it.

But that’s not what worries me now. It’s my first full moon since I became a vampire. I heard it’s the worst time for new vampires. And we’re so near a city. What if someone gets harmed? A human, an elf, a fairy, or worse, a tree? Will I feel pain? What will happen next? What about the next full moon?

I’m nervous. Sun’s going down… And I… I feel…

I woke up dizzy and slowly, trying to regain my senses. A feeling of floatiness surrounded my body, like being in water, or…

A bathtub? Why am I in a bathtub? Is this blood? It smells like it, but also… Ketchup? And… Is there a naked guy on the floor? Oh no, he’s not dead, is he?

Oh, he snored! Thank heavens. My chest was going… Wait, a tattoo on my chest? Since when do I…

“Hello, honey!” My husband was in the bathroom doorway, wearing a sombrero and the fakiest mustache ever.

“What did I do last night?” I asked, trying to not panic.

“You did amazing! I’m so proud of you! Come, dinner is ready. Oh, don’t mind Mina in the closet, just go downstairs”

Oh my…

Last edited 4 months ago by VTRwriter
Norman Gray
Norman Gray
4 months ago

Forsaken
By Norman Gray

I was born in a tomb; my body cloaked in cloth bandage, wrapped tight enough to suffocate. . . Cursed. I had been banished from Ra’s light, my flesh burning at his touch.

At first, I showed mercy. But the hunger was overwhelming. When villagers started disappearing, few would venture outside alone at night, and I could not pursue uninvited into their homes.

I began building a monument. They saw the carved rock and grew fearful of what transpired when Ra was not watching.

My strength was immeasurable. I broke apart the stones, and one by one I lifted the immense blocks, hoping my creation would appease Ra. When it was complete, I stood atop the summit at dawn, begging for forgiveness, awaiting his judgement. I felt his warmth. . .

Then, I burned. I tumbled down as my flesh caught fire, taking refuge in the shadow of my creation, retreating within its walls.

I grew angry. Vengeful. I sought answers from Ra, sought to understand the nature of his rebirth. . . And to stop him. To make the world live in darkness, as I did.

As the last of his light grew dim, I set aside my mercy. I fed upon the village; the elders, the children. All of them. I engorged myself, then began pursuit. The sand turned to glass beneath my stride. Ocean waves became vapor.

Ra did not perish; he retreated. I chased that sliver of light over the horizon, drawing out the night. But still I wasn’t quick enough. Always impossibly far away, as if he knew he was being followed. . .

Then the Great Pyramid returned over the horizon, and I began to understand.

Such a fool I’d been, millennia ago. The sunlight never cared about my remorse. But I was cured, in a way. I have long since forgotten my humanity; the bloodlust is a gift, not a curse. Now I have a new monument. . . Atop a tower of concrete and glass, in a metropolis that never sleeps, I cull the human race as they grow fat and weak.

Last edited 4 months ago by Norman Gray
7ANKOUCH
7ANKOUCH
4 months ago

Qutros
By 7ANKOUCH

“The police is still investigating yesterday’s horrible accident …” police station’s guards radio .

One of the guards quickly turned the radio off when a man wearing an elegant black suit , probably in his fourties approached the cell they were guarding .

“He’s here ?” the man asked while getting near the bars to take a good look at the faint silhouette sitting at the far end of the cell .

“Sir! , be caref~”

The guards backed away as the shadowy figure moved
with an inhuman speed towards the bars , but was stopped inches away from it . And now that he is in the light it seems that he is all chained up to the wall . A pale slender teenager with yellow-dog like eyes .

“Yahhh! You did not even flinch ey ! Who are you ? I dont get many visitors around here.”the prisoner asked.

“Federal Agent Mark . You are responsible of the death of 4 people yesterday , Qutros”

“Eh ? Qu what !? And yes i did kill them . Don’t let my looks fool you
, Come after sunset and you’ll be surprised”the prisoner answered.

“Qutros , an Arabian mythical creature , half canine half human . It is what we call you because what happens to you after sunset and thats why i am here”mark said

“Got a nice ring to it … so , why are you here ?”

“We want you to cooperate , and in exchange you get out of here . What do you say ?”

“I’ll do anything to get out of these shakles . They’re bugging me”

Last edited 4 months ago by 7ANKOUCH
Hastaw
Hastaw
4 months ago

Different Decisions

By: Hastaw

I hate the sun, but I also hate the dark. The stars do nothing. They are ice cubes compared to the sun. They are beautiful, by far the most dazzling things in the sky. But what lies beneath these sky diamonds is even more sinister.

The curling of the brown earth is the first thing. The rumbling reminds me of my stomach. The smell of fresh air, like I had my first breath. My lungs are in a desert all day, dry and hot. The night falls, and they drink a long and frozen breath.

The brushing of an invisible monster against the trees almost topples them with its massive wings. I feel it brushing past me; maybe there’s a herd of them.

When the sun sets, there are dangers: insect bites, predators, people stealing food, and in rare cases, other people. I desperately want to enjoy my nighttime vigor, avoiding the responsibilities and suffocation during the day.

The light shines bright in the dark. The day seems rather dull. The well-lit scenery, the constant smiles, the chaotic colors, and the smells feel claustrophobic. I prefer to hide in the shadows; the light is gentler there.

The sound doesn’t help either. With every sound, I feel my voice dying inside. People stare at me, telling me that talking to myself is too much. They don’t want to listen.

When the sun sets, quiet ensues. You hear everything. You see everything clear as the day might to some people. Everything has a tint in darkened hues and brilliant blues.

When the sun lowers, everything is calm, well worth the dangers that may befall me. I still miss my home, but a perpetual night is most comfortable.

LanaMae
LanaMae
4 months ago

Her least favorite sunset
By LanaMae.

It is almost sunset ,she is terrified. The human male next to her is an excellent example of the species they designed to inhabit this solar system. He’s tall and muscular. Copper hair and gorgeous teal eyes.

They spent the day cuddling on the beach just kissing and enjoying one another’s company. She truly hopes he will come with her, to her home world, to be her pet and mate.

Every 60 years she’s allowed to bring home one pet from a planet they are helping evolve. She’s been lonely for awhile now. Never really wanted a pet.

Sunset is drawing near, and she can hear her people in orbit telling her it’s time.

She’s terrified, afraid he will reject her and flee when her true form is revealed. Standing before him , the woman holds out a hand to help him stand.

She tells him, the truth about herself and her origins, as well as why she is here, then as the sun dips lower, the woman shows her true form. The man looks stunned but he doesn’t run, at first.

Once the initial shock wore off he ran , yelling about aliens. She was so heartbroken. But wanted to give him another chance. Using her abilities she picked him up and put him, on his knees before her .

“I want you to come home with me, be my pet, mate with me and be cherished until your time comes to be born into a new being. Will you be mine? ” She asked.

She then released him from the hold she had him under, he screamed again about aliens, this time when he ran her heart broke, but she did what she had to do, he was instantly vaporized and her people took her back home.

She never really got over that one, he might have been the one, he will be reborn, she hopes his next life will be on her planet, so they can be together and travel the universe as one.

Last edited 4 months ago by LanaMae
Alex
Alex
4 months ago

Zebaeda (Exile Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

There are many cities in the Exile, a countless number in fact, which harbour an uncountable amount of inhabitants.

Of these cities, Zebaeda is perhaps the brightest. Made entirely of glass and marble, it stands tall on a hill, of burning coal. Its gaze alone is bright enough to extinguish someone’s pupils, leaving them blind forever. In fact, the imps and goblins of the nearby villages frequently force their prisoners to look into the city so they lose the ability to see.

The inhabitants of this city are beings of pure, malevolent light. One wave of their hand may scorch an entire field, cause rivers to evaporate and turn soil dry. These stories are most certainly exaggerated, but it is true that the Zebaedans burned their enemies alive, if they choose to let them bathe in their light.

They say that the sun never sets over Zebaeda. That they hogged an entire piece of the sun for themselves alone, keeping it over their city to maintain their selfish desires for more deadly light.

That is, until Jackal came.

They say that the light of Zebaeda would burn for eternity. That their little slice of the sun would keep their city burning forever.

Until their sun was stolen. For the first time, the sun set over Zebaeda, showing it what night truly was and could be. And in the darkness, Jackal fled with the sun, to return it to its rightful place.

The Zebaedans screamed, not knowing what had happened. Their terrified screams reached the villages around them, attracted scavengers like flies, in hopes of acquiring pieces of the once great power of Zebaeda for themselves. As they entered, the screams fell silent. The entire city had frozen in place, the bodies of the Zebaedans standing upright.

The inhabitants of the surrounding villages never went back to Zebaeda. Their glee and greed extinguished by the looks of anguish on every frozen face.

Ever since they saw the greatest power at their doorstep wiped out, the villages around fear the darkness and light their fires brighter than before, when the sun sets.

Cromillea
Cromillea
4 months ago

Soulfire (Dawn Collection)
By Cromillea

Over the years, Lucian had left many stone prayer tags to burden branches along the mountain, yet after the war, his wishes were buried among much more. In the clearings, groups of torches burned soulfire, connecting the living to their dead. Lucian looked for the ones marked Elena and Zoran.

He found them burning blue and purple alongside their fallen comrades. He bowed before the flames and said, “my dearest friends, I’m sorry I’ve been avoiding you. Each time I come up this mountain, I feel the weight of more souls pulling me back down. So many have died on my orders. I still hear them calling after every ceremony. Please tell those spirits that they don’t have to fight anymore, the Shadow Master is dead, I killed him.”

To prove the feat, he laid the Shadow’s crown down before the torches. It was crushed and melted, which satisfied many soul flames. Some were extinguished and their smoke was carried away into the sunset. It got much darker, and Lucian hid himself in the middle of the remaining flames.

“Those of us left still have to remind ourselves that the battle is over, but we can’t help fearing the dark,” he said.

Elena and Zoran remained, burning brightly with anticipation. The dead had nothing left to fear; they were only waiting to hear about the daughter they left behind.

“I have watched over Dawn, as promised,” Lucian assured them. “She’s been getting into a lot of scraps and she always yells at me, but I’m patient. I lost more than I could ever say, so I understand.”

Gazing out on the sunset, Lucian musingly said, “the sun will rise another day as it always has and always will. I hold onto the belief that past her grief, a new life is waiting for us to share.”

At twilight, he at last gathered his things and gave his farewells. “Thank you for your sacrifices,” he said. “Now all I ask is that you rest. Let there be peace in the dark.”

And then there was darkness.

Flamekin
Flamekin
4 months ago

The Dying Light
by Flamekin

We sat in a broken circle around the small fire, only enough to warm our hands, and boil a little water. In the scant firelight the faces of those around me were obscured by shadow and grimaces. None of us looked around, and none of us looked anywhere near the gaps in the circle where we had lain the bloodied weapons atop the empty straw sleep mats. The snow covered everything else in a thick blanket of darkness.

My son sat near me, next to one of the empty mats, trying unsuccessfully to hide that he was crying, though none of us would ever acknowledge it.

I had tried my best to stop him from coming with us.

“Dad, I am coming with you on the patrol, and there isn’t anything you can do to stop me.” He had stood up straight and looked me dead in the eye. My own eyes were drawn to the scars on his forehead that proclaimed his entry into manhood, and the warrior’s rank. I knew that he was right, and so I simply said nothing. He had such light in his eyes, the fire of hope, and the determination of steel.

That light was gone now, it had gone down with the sun. Replaced by fear and regret, I knew that it was gone forever, his fire had joined mine, and my fathers.

I had tried to protect him, tried to keep that light alive.

And I wept, knowing that my greatest fear was realized.

Sprig NoRoots
Sprig NoRoots
4 months ago

Dance By Daylight
by Sprig NoRoots

Sunlight paints a red so vibrant across the sky that I’m glad it will be the thing I see.
Woodrow is what they call us, or that’s what they would have called us. We live a life in the open, in the air, but we flicker out like sparks. Flowers spread open their petals, and we pop out in puffs of pollen. My family is from the same cluster of sunflowers. In the morning, we floated together in the wind and chased bees around the field.

As the Sun climbed, so did our delight. We danced in the Sun’s light and shared nectar from our flowers. My siblings and I ventured into the grass to play. Hairs of grass casted shadow puppets above us. Ants marched dutifully into the unknown. My brother joined their parade. That was the last time I saw him.

As the Sun rested in the heavens, we bathed in its warmth. Our flowers flatten themselves, and we rested. My mother drank deeply of her nectar and faded. As the sun traveled on, my mother stayed still.

As the Sun wandered home, we hid from the birds. Sparrows fluttered about us. We hid under the blooms from where we were born. My sister did not hide well.

As the Sun prepares to sleep, we seek solace in each other. Our flowers turn to each other, and so do we. My father and I lodge on petals. We whisper what we would want if we could live another day. I wished I could have danced one more time.

As the night consumes the light, I know this was the last I would feel my father’s embrace.

Last edited 4 months ago by Sprig NoRoots
Rae1347
4 months ago

Terminal Tradition
By Rae1347

Wind howled mercilessly through the trees outside the cabin. Inside, an old woman’s fire was nearly out. All other light had been extinguished. The faint glow from residual embers allowed shadows to stretch and writhe eerily across the walls.

Leaning forward in her chair, the woman concentrated on the girl who sat on the floor in front of her. Despite her aching joints, she wordlessly twisted the black mass of hair that cascaded down the girl’s shoulders. With a final pull she made the last adjustment to a large braid, twisting it and holding it in place with a single golden pin.

Attempts to hide her nervousness were futile; nothing could stop the shaking of the girl’s hands. The layered cloth of her ceremonial dress felt as though it weighed upon her very soul. It had been tailored many moons ago to fit her perfectly, and it did.

It fit so perfectly that its woven inner workings crushed her ribs when she walked. It fit so perfectly that her silhouette was drowned in the ornate lace decorating every inch of the flawless fabric. It fit so perfectly that the shoes selected for this night had been forged especially for her, held in place by un-moving metal clamps.

“Time to go.”

With a crackling of old bones, the woman rose. She picked up her withered cane made of cedar-wood, and slowly limped towards the door. The girl followed obediently. An emblem carved into the palm of her hand stung in the chilling breeze.

Once they ventured outside, a sparse populace somberly greeted them. The girl struggled to maintain her wooden expression while townsfolk recited old scripture and sobbed their goodbyes.

A final glimmer of evening light was snuffed out by dusk as she approached the end of the path. She could see movement within the thicket ahead, as if the very forest itself was eagerly waiting to snatch her up and swallow her whole.

Something sharp prodded at her back, encouraging her to painfully shamble onward into the darkness.

Quiet chanting soon faded behind her as she disappeared into the undergrowth.

Last edited 4 months ago by Rae1347
Mango Gravy
Mango Gravy
4 months ago

Missing Bits and the End of Days
By Mango Gravy

Dorin wasn’t an idiot. Working on the team investigating an abandoned necromancer temple was bound to be a bizarre experience.

“It’s rude to stare, young man.”

And yet he was agape. His wildest expectations had been surpassed as a corpse, chained to the wall and stripped of its organs, was talking to him. Needless to say, he was stunned.

“Yeah, kid, I know. I look like a half-eaten shish kebab. Say, while you’re gawking like a country bumpkin, tell me… how’re the old danglies doing?”

“Umm…” Dorin glanced between the corpse’s legs. “I’m sorry for your loss,” he said.

“Not lost yet. Rifle through some of those jars, I’m sure you’ll find it. It’s a big one, you’ll know it when you see it.”

“W-wait,” Dorin sputtered.

The corpse was silent for a moment, “Gosh darnit! Those incompetent fucks didn’t put my organs back either! I’ll need you to find those too. And plenty of blood. They keep that on the top shelf, up there.”

“No no no.” Dorin rubbed his eyes, “When I came here I expected to see corpses, but I didn’t think I’d be TALKING TO ONE!” He exhaled loudly, “So please, PLEASE, explain how and why this is happening.”

“Firstly, I prefer the term cadaver. And second,” the cadaver cleared its throat, “Immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, so I wanted help undoing it. You know, ‘Please go gently into that good night, rage against the undying light’.”

“That’s not how the poem goes.”

“That’s the least of my problems here, buddy. Anyway, I thought these masters of death -imagine air quotes here – could do it, but the law found them before they could figure me out.”

“How’d you become immortal in the first place?”

“I ate too many apples. Listen, kid. Humans aren’t meant to live this long. Most people fear the end of their lives but trust me, a day that never ends is a hell of a lot scarier. Now help put me back together so I can find someone to kill me! If you may.”

Last edited 4 months ago by Mango Gravy
Tamela Redfin
Tamela Redfin
4 months ago

Bleed me dry

By Tamela Redfin

Cora glared at her boyfriend. “Wait, so let me get this straight. You let two murder bots run free in Alder and didn’t install a tracker on either!?”

“Ja, it would appear that way, Cora.” Augen sighed.

“Augie, I did not hire you to sit around and play games with me.”

“Corakins, this is serious.”

“Not serious enough, I guess.” She snapped. “You wasted millions on Project Brimstone and Corlita herself and now this.”

“I can find them, Cora. Just give me time.”

Cora hung her head. “Maybe it’s time I defund you, Manfred.”

Manfred! Well now she meant business. “Vas? You can’t do that. The lies I’ve told. The lives I’ve ruined.”

“I’m aware. I’m also aware that you let two cyborgs run free and…”

“If you defund me, they can save thousands! Or worse! Join a resistance.”

She slapped him. “That’s why I gave you the trackers! Did you install them on a cypha you wanted to ‘blow the mind’ of?”

“Me? No! Cyphas are filthy creatures. Never touch them. But we are getting off topic. I will find them as well as Cameron Fauder if it’s the last thing I do. And I have lots of clones and they only have one body.”

“You better, or I’ll end the funding and I will end your era. Do we have a deal, Augen?” She wrote something down in a notebook.

“Ja, just please Corakins, I am begging you. Don’t take the funding. Science is my life. Besides you. The idea that I can mold life as we know it in my hands?”

Cora was not amused. “I know all that, Manfred. I also hold an era in my palm. The era of my reign, which will be cut short if they find out two murder bots are free. Do you understand?”

“Ja, I understand.”

Arith_Winterfell
Arith_Winterfell
4 months ago

“The Fire in the Night”

By: Arith_Winterfell

“Ardono, the townsfolk have barricaded themselves in the church as you instructed.”

“Good. That should offer them at least some protection from the wolves.”

*Shink*

Armello watched as Ardono continued to sharpen his sword with his whetstone. He stood in silence watching the sun creep toward the horizon.

“Do you think we are giving them too much hope?” said Armello finally.

Ardono paused his sharpening. “Do you remember that night back in Versai?”

“How could I forget,” Armello shuddered, “a quarter of our troops were infected and became beasts devouring another quarter of our men before we were able to put them . . . to rest.”

Ardono nodded. “Do you remember the fear you felt in those moments.”

Armello nodded silently.

“Fear is our enemy as much as the beasts are. Fear drives people into chaos and that only feeds the beasts. Hope is our best chance of keeping order. And keeping that order will save lives. So, we have to give them hope.”

“Even if that hope is false hope?”

“You disagree with our plans, Armello.”

“I just . . . wish there was a better way.”

“I know. I wish we could save everyone. But we have to stem the tide of slavering flesh before it spreads any further. How many more lives will be lost like in Versai if we don’t. This village will be a small sacrifice compared to the hundreds of lives in the towns and cities. We had to prepare the church as a trap. It’s the only way to get the beasts all in one place and cleanse this village with fire.”

*Shink* Ardono returned to sharpening his sword now with more anxious and angry vigor.

Armello stood there now watching the sun crawl below the horizon. He could hear the howls in the distance. The cold fear in the pit of his stomach only grew.

Last edited 3 months ago by Arith_Winterfell
Marx
Marx
4 months ago

Murphy’s Law
By Marx

I hate the night.

I’m not even safer during the day. But they all have such better eyesight than me. It’s so much worse when I can’t see them coming.

“I… brought you food…”

“Thank you, Nisha.” I force a smile as I accept the sandwich, trying not to freeze up at her voice.

It doesn’t help.

Nisha sees through the smile and frowns in response. “I… messed up again, didn’t I?”

I shake my head. “No! This is good. It’s… cooked this time and everything.”

“I got it from the grocery store you spoke of!”

My eyes widen a bit. “Nisha… did you kill anyone getting me this…?”

A grin forms on her beautiful face, but it’s too wide and momentarily breaks the illusion.

I focus on my sandwich.

“I only ate one person this time! And nobody else saw me!”

I wince as Nisha looks at me, beaming with pride. It’s kinda cute. As long as… I don’t think about it too much. “You did… good…”

Her smile fades again. “You’re upset… I really am trying my best… What can I do?”

“I’m… just tired of being stuck all the way out here.”

“You… want to go out again?” Nisha growls, her face contorting in her fury. “Okay, FINE! Let’s do that! You’ll leave here and they’ll find you just like last time! I’m just trying to protect you! Why am I the bad guy?! It’s not FAIR!”

Stay calm.

Don’t react.

Breathe.

God, I hate it when her human form breaks apart like this. She’s just… teeth. Rows and rows of teeth and eyes where there shouldn’t be eyes and tentacles and veiny flesh and appendages I don’t even want to try to figure out.

All of Nisha’s eyes widen with realization as she rebuilds her illusion and hugs my leg. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to do that!”

I remind myself that without a protector, I’m dead or worse. I remind myself that Nisha killed my last protector. I remind myself that it could be worse.

And I take another bite of my sandwich.

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

Don’t Let the Sun go Down So Fast (A Tiefling Tale)
C. M. Weller.

The sun was getting real low. A Tiefling had to return to the cell in which he allegedly rested, but only when the light of day was gone from the sky. Three more hours until twilight. Three more hours until the hours meant for a good night’s sleep.

He hadn’t had a sound night’s worth of rest in his LIFE.

Lordling or Novice or Tiefling, it didn’t matter. Nothing could keep the nightmares at bay. Nothing, if he slept. If, however, he could finally master the technique of Elven meditation, he could rest without sleeping.

His knees would be stiff from kneeling all night, and his spine would creak from maintaining the posture, but there would be no nightmares. No nightmares, and no nodding over his lessons that only earned him Extra Sweeping in the halls and pathways of Hidden Cloud Dojo.

The sundial of his own shadow lengthened, and a Tiefling who no longer used his name tried and failed to ease the grip on the broom’s handle. Focus. Breathe. Perform the kata.

Do. Not. Think. About. The sun.

Would it be another night of waking up, shrieking, to a hail of his neighbours’ sandals and study scrolls, and howls for him to shut up? Or would it be a night of peace?

His failures stood out for the fact that they meant extra torments. From his fellow Novices. From the Master, who he loved beyond reason, three years teaching him in his Select Class. All the time tutting and sighing at the Tiefling’s multiple disappointments.

Do. Not. THINK. About. The sun.

His shadow was fading. Blending with the other shadows.

Tears flooded his eyes in spite of his wish that they wouldn’t. He had to put the broom away. He HAD to try again. His sandals were heavier than lead, all the way to his cell. His heart hammered as if to escape his ribs.

Once more, he knelt on his mat. Once more, he focussed on his breathing. Once more, he began his whispered chant.

“My mind is my body, my body is mine to control…”

Reinkarnitor
Reinkarnitor
4 months ago

“From a certain angle”

by Reinkarnitor

The dark is something dangerous. Why else would it be one of the oldest fears of humanity? But we would have never guessed that the sunset could be dangerous as well.

When our colonizing ship arrived on Beta-7, we thought it would be just like all the other times. Set up camp and start exploring this planet.

Oh, it is magnificent, the drones have indeed sent back perfect footage, the air is breathable and there are no illnesses, which we did not encounter before. My team and I arrived at sunset and started building up the first containers.

A small group of us went out to scout the surrounding area and found a rich fauna and flora, perfect for cultivation.

At noon we ate our first meal on Beta-7. I have to say for canned food it was delicious, but maybe that was because of the long cryostasis…I’m getting off track again…

We agreed on spending the night inside the landing-craft, since we do not know yet, what might lurk out there in the dark. But the sunset was indeed beautiful, as we watched it from the door of our craft.

That means…they watched it…I was busy testing the last samples of what we gathered and only looked out of the window occasionally.

And then they screamed. I almost let my sample-bottles fall to the ground in shock, as I hastily ran to the window again. My fellow crewmembers turned into dust in front of my very eyes. They screamed in agony, as they disintegrated. And after just a few seconds…I was alone.

I have discovered that the sunlight on Beta-7, when reaching a certain angle during sunset, passes through the protective layers of the atmosphere…killing everything that did not hide in time.

By the time this message reaches you, I might be dead …after all space is a big place. But I need to send you this warning, so I can maybe save the lives of the colonists who come after me.

In the meantime, I’ll try to survive as long as I can.

Over and out.

Jack Smith
Jack Smith
4 months ago

Loop

By Jack Smith

The sun, a glowing orb that says we are still alive, to some it may be happy to see the sunrise, to others it may be annoying, but to me, it’s dreadful. Every sunset a shiver goes down my spine, I am cursed to do things of which are not my own, the people I’ve slaughtered, every, single, night. and you may think to yourself, werewolves? no no no… anything but that. insanity, doing the exact thing, over and over again, expecting something to change, and that’s what happened to me, every single day for the past month has been a time loop, at first I thought it was just coincidence but then it started appearing, it made sense, I was in a loop, I started doing things I’ve been wanting for a long time, things people wouldn’t normally think of me. and you know what happened? the entire town “disappeared” within a day I was in that loop, day 50. I had already gone “insane” by then, getting strange looks in the street, people thought not of me, but of themselves, so I did what any man with a brain would do, you know what I did? I’ll let you guess… you see, this town wasn’t fit for a person like me, it wasn’t fit for anyone, so I vowed to track down the man that put me in this loop, and my searching found only one, and… that’s.. you… good night.

Skeleton
Skeleton
4 months ago

Death is a Mercy (The Will)
By Skeleton

The campfire hissed venomously as it extinguished.

Skore knew camping out in the woods of Fel Kass was a needlessly dangerous endeavour—they called them the “Woods of Death” for a reason! And now they were stuck in the middle of a cursed forest without any light, the snapping of branches around the three of them!

“Y-Yaskjer?” the terrified wulack mercenary whimpered as he backed closer and closer towards the embers. “Where a-are y—?”

Yaskjer’s scream ruptured the darkness beside him, stopping Skore’s heart. The thump of his brother’s body hitting the ground was quickly followed by his cries being smothered by distance.

Another panicked scream rang out—Haval’s—as he, too, was dragged away into the darkness at unnatural speeds. Was the forest itself taking them?! Was it the tortured souls of the Kine family?!

The last mercenary stumbled over his traveling pack and lost his sword to the cold, thick air. Skore quickly fell to his paws and knees, massaging the needle-bed of grass for his soft sabre. Instead, his paw touched something cold and wet.

Skore’s screams permeated the entire forest when it touched back.

It snatched his arm into the ground like they had been camping in a bog this entire time. When the other arm supporting his efforts to pull free began to be consumed by the black tar, despair set in. When his legs sunk beneath the surface and he felt the hands of the dead pulling him under, he knew it was already over for him.

Sacrificing his last bit of hope, Skore pulled with all his might to free his arms, but to no avail.

He would die on his paws and knees like the dog he was, knowing he would never see the sunrise again. All the mistakes of his life left to stain the memories that flashed before his eyes. The regret washed over him. He realized he didn’t want to die.

And then it stopped.

The tar returned to soil and Skore was left with just his head above the ground.

It was silent—then he heard boots.

The Sufferer approached.

Lee Strangely
Lee Strangely
4 months ago

Lygophobia
by Lee Strangely

Even if the road wasn’t that bumpy, Johnny would still be shaking. His gaze primarily resided in his lap. His arm lying on the armrest and tapping it as if he was a telegraph operator. He struggled to distract himself from the situation. However, much like any conditioned behavior, he couldn’t resist cocking his head back to check the rear window.

“Will you stop doing that!” Mina snapped.

“I can’t help it,” he whimpered as he jerked back into place, “I don’t think we’re gonna make it.”

“We won’t if you keep saying that,” she said through clenched teeth. Upon uttering those words, the gas pedal found itself once more inching towards the floor.

Mina’s car was something of a Frankenstein. On the outside it seemed to be a patched-up black Chrysler Imperial, though on the inside one would find that no two parts in the entire thing have come from the same vehicle. At its current speed, the car was one step away from making everything beyond the windows look like paint smears.

Holding in place, Johnny’s eyes covertly peeked into his door’s rear-view mirror. Beyond the black silhouettes of tall and gnarly trees, the sky burned with a fiery orange light.

“S-sun’s going down,” he quivered.

Mina grimaced. “Johnny…”

“Sorry…”

Johnny’s tapping only got worse.

Tap, tap, tap, tap.

TAP, TAP, TAP, TAP.

TAP-TAP-TAP-TAP-TAP-TAP-TAP.

She snatched his arm by the wrist with a python’s grip.

Johnny froze. “Sorry…”

Though it wasn’t nearly as much as he’d been doing, in his stillness he realized how much she was shaking. She let go once she thought he stopped.

“We should’ve left earlier,” he muttered.

“Yeah,” Mina agreed, “but there’s nothing we can do about that now.”

“Um, BRAKE!” Johnny shouted as a house practically barreled towards them.

Her boot slammed the pedal. The entire vehicle jolted, jerking the two like crash-dummies.

In the twilight the house loomed over the car, domineering. Almost like an eye, the light of a single window shined down on them.

Johnny sunk into his seat, “Oh no.”

Mina paled, “Mom’s gonna kill us.”