Writing Group: No Longer Human (PRIVATE)

Hello, Scourge Beasts and Frog Princes!

You’re still human, I see. You might shudder to hear it, but I was like you once. You best cherish your humanity while it lasts because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

No Longer Human

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!

There are many stories about monsters, and some of the most captivating are those about monsters who were once human. Many of us are fascinated with stories of werewolves and vampires learning to live with their new powers and limitations. Sometimes people are forced out of their humanity by a curse. Sometimes these inhuman changes occur only at certain times, like the full moon. Sometimes they slowly get worse over time. Or much like our prompt from last week, sometimes these curses need to be reversed before sundown, or sunrise, otherwise they’ll be permanent. 

You could write about someone trying to break the curse, like the Frog Prince needing a kiss. Or perhaps you could write about someone who’s come to (however begrudgingly) accept their new life, or at least find the good in it, like Salem or Thackery Binx, the cursed black cats from some of our favorite witchy stories. 

Perhaps it’s an entire group of people who are “no longer human.” The game Bloodborne is a good example of this. The entire town of Yharnam suffers from the Scourge of Beasts which causes everyone to turn into half-wolves and tentacled horrors. However, in the end…perhaps the goal of being “no longer human” wasn’t the problem…perhaps it was merely the execution that went wrong. The game Bendy and the Ink Machine is another good example. When the words “Not Monsters” come up, it might be difficult to believe. But after seeing the truth through the looking glass: “Once people, now fallen into despair” the horror of the story becomes tragedy. 

There’s a certain tragedy to the phrasing of the prompt in general. A longing. A tale of someone who was human once…but is no longer. These words could be the lament of what a character has lost, or the hope that they can become human again. 

Or…perhaps not. Maybe these words are said in pride. In some stories, humans can ascend into godhood, or some other form of superhumanity. In that case they might say the words brimming with pride that they have surpassed ordinary human limitations. 

Maybe a villain is no longer human due to the horrors they committed. Much like Voldemort, slowly becoming something less and less human the more he split himself apart. 

It doesn’t have to be all monsters and villains. Perhaps you could write about a cyborg who believes the metal in their bones, the wires in their blood, means they aren’t human anymore. Or you could write about someone who has downloaded their brain and memories into a computer…and regrets the loss of their past self. 

There could be a more realistic kind of sadness to the prompt as well. The masses might cast insults and stones at someone for their supposed sins, saying they’re not human—if nothing else, to allow them to forgo compassion. One of the most horrifying real examples is when someone’s parents might shout that their child isn’t human, simply for doing something they don’t approve of. 

Most of our prompts come from idioms, or phrases our helpful and twitchy humans can think of. But this one is taken directly from the title of a book: “No Longer Human” by Osamu Dazai. The book is autobiographical, and tells of the many struggles that Dazai went through throughout his life—both inside and outside his mind. He felt isolated, and even disqualified, from the human race due to these many struggles, hence the title. You could write about something like that; Someone who is in fact perfectly human, but their pain and/or isolation inside makes them feel as though they aren’t. 

So, go out there and show us the best of humanity. Or else, let the fire of your humanity fade. For in the ashes of what is left behind, something new, strange, and horrible…or maybe even beautiful may be found. 

Who knows? Maybe being human isn’t the end-all, be-all, after all…

—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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Brick
Brick
1 month ago

Lonely Heights
by Brickosaur

It is the eighteenth year of the nineteenth count. The child is born perfectly human, perfectly loved in the Garden of the West. He is christened Robert, a name unnotable.

But this being is not nearly ordinary.

Soon, the remarkable changes begin. Before his first year is past, limb and bone lengthen, and the child grows extraordinary. This is no small human. He is one much greater.

And then it is the twenty-sixth year. His stretch has not stopped. The growing being blends where he can among crowds of kids, but to adapt is difficult for one so set apart from the common children. They build him a space to sit and study, perfectly proportioned to suit his size.

It is the thirty-sixth year. Men of shows have found the being and deemed him peculiar. They have placed him in a circle amidst garish colors perfect plants, unnaturally clipped. New crowds surround him, but the bond differs. The center ring is a place of honor, of isolation and mutual regard. Beyond the ring mill many men, wide-eyed watchers. They are here to witness him.

Strange syllables drift from the crowd. “Wad…” call the voices of the masses before him. “Low…”

The growing being only stares back and below, his downcast gaze meeting myriad men’s.

Now it is the fortieth year, and the ever-piling of cell on cell remains steady. Higher, taller, until his reach far exceeds any record. The being stands solitary, surveying humanity from lonely heights.

He is twenty-two, and he towers over the fellows of Illinois. The transformation is nearly complete. Only at life’s end will the ever-growth rest. At eight feet, eleven inches,

There is no longer human than Robert Wadlow.

(Author’s note:
This is a cryptic summary of the life of a real person. Robert Wadlow, 1918-1940, is one of the tallest people who ever lived.)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Wadlow

Last edited 1 month ago by Brick
jesse fisher
jesse fisher
1 month ago

Creator’s Mind
By Jesse Fisher

As the lights began to shut down over the theme park the sound of servos and motors still played on. The great many of the ride lay dormant for the next day’s operation, the cleaning crew had just clocked in to do such a task.

Starting at the main draw of the theme park, a meet and greet spot in the back of the park where the magnificent mascot was housed. Not much to the crew’s surprise said mascot was not there. Given that this was a robotic themed park it would make logical sense that it would be backstage recharging or maintenance was cleaning it up for the next day.

—-

“I still can’t believe how many people come here.” a tenor voice spoke out seemingly hollow yet full of emotion.

“I still can’t believe you had the found’s memory stored on your hard drive.” A more normal sounding voice shot back as they did a once over the bot. “How did they have tech like that seventy years ago?”

“One of the boys in the attraction department thought it would be useful to give the machines some more life vs this.”

At the the bot began to move in jerky movements and like it had drank a bit too much.

“So they had me hooked up in all the wires to a computer bigger than this room.”

“Someone must have kept that data either hidden or had it as junk to fill up space on some of the network before you woke up.”

“I guess, but that now leads me to wonder. Am I me or just a seventy year old memory just moving a puppet.”

“Don’t know, I only got my life to go off of. Unless you want me to just bring some sci fi books to help you deal with that.”

“I do wonder about the world between my last memory and now.”

“You know you might learn of how you died.”

“I know but then I will know I’m the legacy of a dead man then a monster.”

Calliope Rannis
Calliope Rannis
1 month ago

The First Night Is Always The Worst (Nyx’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis

BA-DUM.

The noise was enough to throw me from a shallow slumber. I opened my mouth, trying to gasp for air, but my chest caught instead. I tried and tried, until I finally forced my lungs to inflate, and air flowed into my body with a ragged wheeze.

Gods, had I really just…stopped breathing in my sleep? And I didn’t even notice?

I clutched my hands to my chest, trying to focus on getting my breathing back to normal. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. In-

BA-DUM.

I flinched at the noise. A pang of pain spiked from my chest.

Now I was beginning to hear the sluggish flow of liquid churning through my ears. This room was too damn quiet. And my chest hurt a lot, and my hands felt…wet?

Oh. I forgot. About my hands.

I keep trying to forget about their nails. How long and thick they are. How sharp and painful they look.

I forgot about them, right until I squeezed them a little too hard against my chest, and – fuck, there’s blood all over my hands.

The sickeningly strong smell reached my nose, and a furious sensation immediately clawed at my throat and stomach. Because that’s the stupid fucking thing. You’d think a – a vam – whatever the hell I am, you’d think, if they want to drink blood – if they need it – they wouldn’t feel hungry looking at their OWN blood, at least?

But no. They do. I do. I just can’t actually drink it. I can’t let myself give into it. I can’t-

BA-DUM.

I want to rip my ears off. Everything is too loud. And while I am at it, why not my eyes, which feel like burning coals in my head whenever I look at anything bright? Why not my nose, which swamps my senses with the smell of blood and sweat and dirt? Why not my tongue, which told them that I WANTED this?

Just take them all away. Leave me as a stupid smiling skull, in the dark and the quiet.

Maybe then I’ll get some sleep.

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

Meditation for Acclimation
by vellichorian

“We will start with a body scan meditation. Focus on the sound of my voice and on how your body feels as you relax. Now, breathe in through your nose, two, three four. And out through your mouth, two, three, four. In, two, three, four. Out, two, three, four.”

I breathe.

“Feel your ribcage expand and contract with each breath. Imagine a rubber ball inflating and deflating with each breath.”

Weird analogy. But to each his own.

“With the next breath, pay attention to the way your whiskers feel. Does the breeze tickle them? Do they itch? Take a moment to feel that sensation, then let it fade away into the background and return your focus to your breath.”

Whiskers? The only person I’ve ever heard talk about a beard like that was my grandpa. Right. Focus on breathing.

“Let your mind drift to the other sounds in the room. Can you hear the chirping of a bird outside? Or the whir of the can opener? Does it make your stomach growl? Gently resist the urge to pursue those sounds. Now is the time to care for yourself. Continue to focus on the sensation of your body sinking into the sofa.”

Really? Why would I care about a can opener? Why am I listening to this?

“On your next inhale, stretch your legs. Feel the pull of the muscles from your haunches down to your claws. Then relax as you exhale and melt back into the sofa.”

Claws? I don’t remember the last time I clipped my nails, but really? What is this meditation?

“You’re doing great. Next, focus on your tail. Is it twitching? If it is, that’s OK. Gently remind it that now is a time of relaxation and not vigilance. Let it curl back around you and be still. After all, meditation is a practice, one that is ever evolving.”

TAIL!? I DON’T HAVE A…

I jump up, reaching for my backside only to tumble off the sofa and land on my feet. Paws. All four of them. What happened to me?!?

Blinky
Blinky
1 month ago

Creeping stone
By Blinky

Alice played her game silently while her therapist, Dr. Summers, scribbled on his notepad. Using only her right hand, she touched her thumb to her fingertips. She started with her pointer finger to her pinky and back. 1234321. The doctor said it would help her get used to her new hand. Mostly it just helped pass the time.

His office was quaint. Eggshell walls and some potted plants littered the room. On his desk was a small water fountain and a few weird art pieces. She sat on a cool green sofa while he sat opposite her on a thin brown chair.

“Any outbursts this week, Alice?” Dr. Summers finally asked.

“No.” Alice lied.

“Alice.” Dr. Summers said disapprovingly.

“Why ask when you already know?” Her fingers clicked as she focused on the game she played with her right hand. 1234321. She glanced at the door to her left and the clock above it.

“What caused the incident?” The doctor asked.

“She wouldn’t shut up.” 1234321.

“Why do you think that bothered you?”

“Do you like it when people bug you?” She asked and rolled her eyes. 1234321

“What did she say in particular that ‘bugged’ you?” The doctor asked.

The same thing they always say. Alice stared at her right hand. The stone went up to her elbow now. It was at her wrist a month ago. She closed her hand, and the sound of scraping rocks almost cracked her. She felt her eyes well and used her good hand to wipe away her tears. She never liked her right hand anyway. She could learn everything with her left again. They wouldn’t let her cut it. Said it would just grow faster somewhere else.

“What are you afraid of, Alice?” The doctor asked.

She was terrified of becoming a monster.

“Nothing.” She lied. 1234321.

Dr. Summer rubbed the bridge of his nose and leaned back into his chair. The clicking of her fingers and the sound of running water were the only noise that filled the office until she opened the door to leave.

Last edited 1 month ago by Blinky
RVMPLSTLTSKN
RVMPLSTLTSKN
1 month ago

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

Comes a time when the distinction between men and gods must be made. It is simple enough to say what a man is, and moreso gods, yet the overlap in these things makes them difficult to separate.

As an old man, Padas is little more than an old coat upon a stick, but as he breathes his final need, he thinks about the morality of this existence, the children being brought into life and thus into death. He wonders if his children will blame him, though he himself doesn’t blame his parents, especially the prodigal. He does not know she has already surpassed him, as he slips into eternity’s artifice and no longer can be defined as a man.

For her part, she has lived in the confines of that artifice for decades, unknowing her true nature as anything other than befits that binary relationship of divine and mundane. She eats and sleeps, walks with blisters and joint pain, breathes, and tells her stories. Her adventures are captured by her own mouth, her destiny made and unmade as she weaves a narrative from her memories. This, given to others, becomes her legacy, her gospel. Where her father left only her and her sisters, she leaves only this.

She found herself thinking of her father as she languored in hunger, a child of the pit, so she turned her path, reshaped her destiny yet again. She hadn’t eaten in months and her body seemed inhuman, abused beyond its age. Her legs withered and her fear gnawed her mind, taking her through the things possible for men and showing her true self. A push, a piece of the divine trapped in the mundane, a piece of the mundane forged into eternity.

She is walking home, her face shining like gold.

Last edited 1 month ago by RVMPLSTLTSKN
WolfsbaneX
WolfsbaneX
1 month ago

“I Never Wanted This” (Do Not Read on Stream)
By Hemming Sebastian Bane (CW: Mentions of stalking, manipulation)

It starts innocently enough. You meet someone. The two of you talk. You walk home together. As she approaches the front door, she spins around, and she says “aren’t you going to kiss me?” So you do. Her giggle bubbles up your spine as you blush. You agree to meet again. You dance together. You laugh together. You entwine your lives together as much as an unmarried couple can.

Things start to change as she buys you clothes and gifts. You don’t like them much, but you wear them for her. Say thank you as you allow those “precious” gifts to collect dust. You reassure yourself that she will get to know you. That she’ll really put thought into gifts. The same types of gifts and clothes keep coming.

Weeks pass. Months. Years. Within that time, the two of you have made a grave mistake together. You both allowed that mistake to entangle you together. For you, the flame that was white hot is now white ash. You echo the “I love you”s. Kisses that caught you on fire before leave you tepid.

She focuses a lot on you. How you dress. Your aspirations. She starts asking questions and giving ultimatums. “When are we getting married?” “You have to find a way to support us.” That’s when you realize her expectations for you are much higher. She pushes you to be… something you can’t be.

Winter comes in a year of disease. You abstain from seeing her to spare her ailing mother. As the separation sets in, you feel lighter. You have hope again. The next time you see her she calls it off. You cry for all of a few minutes because you’re so numb to her calling you quits. You let it stick this time. You need to find yourself again, be happy with yourself again.

She hunts you. Like a woman possessed she pursues every avenue. Then it dawns on you. You ran away with the monument she tried to build. An effigy. Her ideal you. You laugh, bitter. She tried to make you her god.

Glaceon373
Glaceon373
1 month ago

An In(ter)vention
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

“I’VE FIGURED IT OUT!” Dr. Maxwell yelled as he charged down the stairs.

“Hi Dad, how are you?” I replied with as little sarcasm as I could manage at this hour. My eyes stayed focused on the two eggs I was frying on a skillet.

“The design is complete! I’ve checked the calculations a hundred times!” He charged straight to the coffee machine.

“So that’s what you were doing all night? Instead of sleeping?” Only about a minute before it was time to flip the eggs. Hopefully I wouldn’t ruin them. Again.

“With this new invention, I won’t NEED sleep anymore!” The coffee machine hummed under his words. “I won’t even need to eat!”

“… What did you make?”

“It’s beautiful! It’s perfect! Look!” He shoved the open screen of his laptop into my face.

I deciphered what I could. “A… brain implant? That clips behind the ear—”

“Not just an implant!” He snapped the laptop shut two inches from my eyes. “A perfecter! It lets you customize your feelings!”

“Uh…”

“Skip a meal? One button press and you’ll function as normal! Lacking sleep? Instant caffeine right to your bloodstream!”

“Dad?”

“And it automatically regulates dopamine and serotonin levels, so you’ll never feel sad again!”

“Dad!”

“Yes?”

I sighed. “What about ethics, Dad?”

“What’s unethical about being happy?” He took a sip of his coffee, which for him meant half the cup. “No more fatigue! No more bad days! No more—”

“Heartbreak?”

He finally stopped talking.

“Look, Dad.” I turned off the stove, ignoring the yolk that now coated the pan. “I know why you want this to work. I was there, too. I also know that if I never, and I mean NEVER, felt sad or weak or some other ‘negative’ feeling, I wouldn’t try to be better. At anything. Even making eggs. Do you understand what I’m trying to tell you?”

He stood in thought. Then, without a word, Dr. Maxwell went back up the stairs towards his office.

I sighed, turning back to the stove. Only one yolk had broken this time. That was an improvement.

Rattus
Rattus
1 month ago

Progeny
By Gerrit (Rattus)

Belphegor ran one hand down his wiry beard, his tail flicking with anticipation. The young girl strapped to the table before him had calmed considerably, her violent jerking reduced to a pained writhing.

The only light in the room came from torches in sconces in the four corners, shelves lining the walls between them. Glass jars lined the shelves, filled with organs, chemicals, and other questionable substances. Surgical tools lay strewn across a desk next to the table.

Heavy footsteps accompanied with the clicking of a cane announced the arrival of the General. Belphegor let out an exasperated sigh, preparing for the interruption to his work.

“How are things proceeding?” The General’s voice filled the small room, rebounding off the cluttered walls.

“All according to plan. At first I worried she might be able to resist it, but it would seem she has finally given in.”

The General scoffed. “She cannot resist that which is a part of her. This is not one of your typical experiments, Belphegor. My blood courses through her veins.”

Belphegor rolled his eyes. “Yes, yes, I’m aware she is your progeny. Still, she showed more resistance than I would have expected. It seems she is just as much her mother’s daughter as she is yours.”

He could feel the General growing tense, angry at the mention of his former lover. Belphegor knew better than to mention her in his company, but he had become too irritated by the consistent interruptions.

Before the conversation could evolve into an argument—or, more likely, a reprimanding—the girl began to stir. Her eyes fluttered open, her mouth moving as if trying to form words.

The General stepped forward, leaning over the girl slightly with a smirk across his face. “Hello, Narine. It is about time you awoke.”

Narine turned her head towards the voice. “Who–” She was still too weak to get out the rest of the question.

The General’s smile widened. “My name is Lucifer. It’s a pleasure to see you again, my dear.”

VulpesRose
VulpesRose
1 month ago

My Own Worst Enemy
by VulpesRose

Alistair entered the abandoned warehouse and swore. Nearly every surface of the sprawling place was covered in wriggling red eggs. There was no choice. Either he dealt with the problem now, or he had to deal with them once they hatched. The count was going up either way.

He wasn’t really keeping count. It was honestly impossible to keep an exact count of his kills. Too often wounded demons had just enough strength to retreat to their own realm. Who knew if they survived long enough to die from their wounds or if they were picked off by the larger and stronger of their kind. Was delivering a mortal wound enough?

The rules weren’t exactly clear because there weren’t any rules. It was more of a rumor, a superstition, passed down for so long that not even the Elder Council could offer any clarity. No one else in Alistair’s position had lived long enough to kill a thousand demons.

He set fire to the warehouse but went further in, among the flames. The air was full of crackling and shrieks as the eggs began to pop in the heat.

Surely it was some sort of demonic propaganda, “Kill too many demons, and you’ll become one yourself!” A boogeyman to keep the mortals from getting too aggressive.

He counted pops.

He hadn’t even reached twenty when he doubled over and his vision swam in ways that had nothing to do with the heat. His heart felt like it would explode, beating with unfamiliar rhythm. There was a sense of movement inside him, as though he was made of tornados or oceans and not flesh and bones.

Fire didn’t always kill demons. He grabbed a bottle from his coat and choked down as many holy water filled pills as he could, hoping they would be enough to violently cleanse him from the inside.

Alistair was losing the boundary between himself and whatever he was becoming. While he was still sure his mind was his own, a final thought rose to the surface.

It’s possible to be too good at what you do.

i-prefer-the-term-antihero
i-prefer-the-term-antihero
1 month ago

[Removed]

Last edited 1 month ago by i-prefer-the-term-antihero
John Perceval Cain (oneeye John)
John Perceval Cain (oneeye John)
1 month ago

John Percival Cain (oneeye John)
The Intern

He looked at the monitor. Asystole. He slid his fingers up to the carotid artery on the neck; to save time, he watched the chest for rise and fall, and felt for expiration on his cheek, while he tried to feel a pulse. None. Finally, he put the stethoscope in his ears, placed the diaphragm on the chest, and listened. He pronounced the patient “Dead” at 1:20 A.M. and ordered the nurse to notify the next of kin. He needed to get back to the call room and try to sleep.

Part of him screamed inside. These were human beings. They were someone’s mother or father, someone’s brother or sister. They were people. When had he stopped viewing them as human and started viewing them as tasks to check off on his overnight to-do list?

It was dehumanization by hundreds of individual cuts. He closed his eyes and thought back to the first week of medical school.

The room was cavernous and yet the strong pickle smell of formalin permeated the space. Most everyone looked awed and awkward as they unzipped the body bags. One cadaver to a group. The four newcomers, thrown together alphabetically, for the rite of passage to dissect their former person into the component anatomic parts for the knowledge of it. They sat around the table, and he picked up the scalpel, making his first incision into a human.

He thought back to the first history and physical he had completed. The middle-aged woman who reminded him of his mom. She had lost her balance on her way out of the office she worked in. The CT scan had shown enhancing lesions in the brain consistent with metastasizes, likely from a lung cancer. She had died within months.

He thought back to the first major case he assisted on, an open-heart bypass. The wonder he felt holding a beating heart in his hand. The distress when the family brought a hamburger and French fries into the patient. He had died of a heart attack within a year.

There would be many other pronouncements tonight.

MasaCur
MasaCur
1 month ago

Ascension
By MasaCur

Hoshi entered the school. Today was going to be different.

“Hey, midget, give me your money.” Hoshi felt a push at her back. “I didn’t have breakfast; I want to buy some melon bread.”

Hoshi turned, standing as straight as she could, which still left her looking up at the other girl. A smile broke out on her face. “Today you shall no longer torment me. I am no longer weak Hoshi Jishin. Today you address Genevieve Mercutia, templar of the Fairy Queen Aludina!” She gave a haughty laugh.

“Whatever. Nice eyepatch, loser. What did you do to your face?” the bigger girl asked.

“Be thankful that I am wearing it, mortal! For this patch holds back the fearful power of the Eye of the Twelve Gods…hey!”

The other girl pulled the eyepatch off Hoshi’s face.

“Give that back!” Hoshi yelled, desperation creeping into her voice. She steadied herself, keeping her one eye closed, and regained her composure. “I do not know how long my eyelid can contain this eldritch pow….owww!” She was cut off when the girl poked her in her open eye.

“I don’t have time for whatever fantasy you cooked up. Are you going to give me the money, or do I have to get nasty?”

Hoshi placed a hand over her eye, and stared at the girl. “I see you leave me no choice. I will now ascend to my final form.” She started spinning in place.

“Nasty it is.” The girl grabbed Hoshi by the shoulder and flung her to the ground.

“Leave her alone!” There was a flash as a third girl rushed in, knocking Hoshi’s tormentor to the ground.

Hoshi looked up to see Kagami standing over both of them.

“You want a fight, you can fight me!”

The bully girl scrambled away.

Hoshi got to her feet. “Humble thanks, Kagami. While I had the situation well in hand, your assistance will not go unnoticed or unrewarded.” She curtseyed to Kagami.

Kagami rolled her eyes. “Hoshi, you’re not a magical girl. Or whatever it is you think you are.”

Marx
Marx
1 month ago

Bring It In, Bring It In
By Marx

Shayna sat up in shock. Sounds were louder. Colors were brighter. Smells were more potent. She could actually taste the air. And her body felt… off. Not in a bad way. It just wasn’t right.

She turned to see Matt’s conflicted face, before he suddenly hugged her. That was when her recent memories came to the surface. “Oh Hell… Did I die?”

Matt slowly released her. “No. You didn’t.”

“But you sure as Hell knocked on her door.” Mara giggled. “Next time you should try keeping the blood INSIDE your body.”

“Thanks for the tip.” Shayna replied dryly, rolling her eyes at the demon’s sense of humor. She looked down and surely enough, the horrible gash across her belly was nowhere to be seen. “What happened? Why do I feel so-…? I don’t even know what I feel.”

“I… healed you…” Matt muttered, avoiding eye contact. “I thought I might’ve been too late and… I… went a little overboard…”

“A little?” Mara laughed. “Your panic went full ‘We can rebuild her. We have the technology.’ Or… magic, I suppose in this case.”

Shayna nodded, understanding now that she wasn’t on some odd adrenaline high. This was just… HER now. “Am I… still human?”

“I don’t-”

“No.” Mara interrupted. “Before he tries to sugarcoat it, you are in no way human anymore. We don’t know what you are.”

“It wasn’t like I did it on purpose.” Matt growled.

“But I’m not a demon?” Shayna’s eyes narrowed.

“No.” said Matt.

“What else can I do?” Shayna asked, looking intensely at her hand as she moved her fingers.

“I… don’t know.”

Shayna nodded in response as she stood up so fast it was a blur. “Sweet. I’ve got some training to do then.”

“Wait… what? Shayna, I need to fix this.”

“Fix what?” Shayna picked her discarded blade from the ground. “I’m a demon hunter and you made it easier for me to kill demons.”

“But-”

“Thanks for saving my life.” Shayna gave Matt a kiss on the cheek and then she was gone.

“But…”

Mara playfully nudged him. “Ya big ol’ softie.”

Skeleton
Skeleton
1 month ago

Consummate (The Will) [Content Warnings: Body Horror, Fates worse than Death]
By Skeleton

Eymir was dead—his head severed from his limp body.

Zaila heard the bandits playing with the head as if it was a toy, but her eyes could only watch the black stump that was his neck.

He had told her not to come.

Why? Why?! Why hadn’t she come sooner?!

The dragoness felt her rage building inside, but something primordial kept it from bursting. Her legs would not move as if she were cornered by a monster—no, the god of monsters.

That was when she saw the arm slither towards them.

The skin began to stretch and peel, revealing the molten shadows underneath as it made its way towards its prey.

By the time the man had realized he was dead, the arm struck out like a silent viper, its fingers—fangs that crunched through the skull. The others were forced to watch as the fur and body began to drip with black tar, consumed into the elongated arm until the extremity was left on the empty ground.

Zaila realized that they felt the same as her: paralyzing fear locking their muscles from doing anything as they watched as several more bodily vipers climbed out from the arm.
Hesitation killed them before the corpse did.

All at once did the otherworldly weapons strike, impaling and clasping onto the bandits as they tried in vain to escape the inevitable. Each one screamed—ripped out their nails and claws in the cobble street being pulled into the black mass, engorging it with more to grow from.

And then they were gone. Nothing was left as the arm retracted and returned to its original form at the side of its master. A pale façade once again returned to the flesh as the headless body stood, pacing slowly towards the discarded head. It consumed it like the rest as another regenerated in its place. Its face a cold, neutral gaze as it surveyed the area for more.

It walked away, leaving nothing living in its wake.

The lie he told her meant nothing to Zaila now. Human or not… Eymir was still Eymir.

Right?