Writing Group: Into the Underworld

Hello, Damned Souls, Spelunkers, and Scuba Divers!

On your left you’ll see a lovely selection of screaming souls, and on your right you’ll see one of our main attractions: the River of Blood! Just beyond that is the Forest of the Damned! Now keep your arms inside the vehicle at all times because….

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

Into the Underworld

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!

This is a prompt of epic proportions, taken on by many of the greats. How do you dare to use it? 

I’d venture to guess when most people think of the Underworld, they think of the Greek Underworld. You could write about the journey of a soul after death, taking Charon’s ferry into the afterlife. Or you could write about a character like Orpheus, venturing into the Underworld alive to rescue his beloved…only to fail at rescuing her, and lose his life in the process. However, the Underworld isn’t a place of misery to everyone. For Persephone, entering into the Underworld is coming home. Perhaps you could write a story like that instead. 

The Greek Underworld isn’t the only Underworld written about by the great writers of old. Dante’s Inferno is a tale of his journey through hell, as he’s guided by Virgil, and sees the many different circles and punishments. Osiris in Egyptian mythology is torn into pieces and put back together—not alive, but not dead, only able to rule the Underworld.

The Underworld doesn’t have to be the afterlife. You could write about a character entering a cave, and the dragons and spiders—or else the dangers of the real world—they meet within. Or it could refer to going underwater—perhaps in your world there are cities underwater your character must visit. Or maybe your character is a marine biologist who loves the world beneath the waves. 

Maybe it’s more than just a cave. You could write about a character visiting an underground bunker, or city. Or maybe they shrink down and converse with the ants. Or maybe they want to go even deeper than that. Perhaps you want to write a Journey to the Center of the Earth type of story—is there a prehistoric world beneath the surface?

The Underworld could also refer to the seedy underbelly of a city or kingdom. Perhaps, your character is a detective who must face the less-than-pleasant parts of their city. Or perhaps, like in Arcane, not everyone gets to live in the prosperous and glistening Upper City. 

Or maybe you want to go more metaphorical with it. Someone’s subconscious could be an Underworld of sorts. You could write about a troubled character speaking with a therapist about what’s below the surface of their mind. Or maybe, with a little bit of magic, your character can enter the subconscious more literally. 

Ah, and here we have Ishtar, writhing in pain—Hang in there girl! And Izanami, still fuming—You might want to stay away from her. And—ooof, yeah…see… that’s why I told you to keep your hands in the vehicle. The wrathful souls are particularly nippy this time of year.  

—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 five stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and three 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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Karl Sterneman
1 month ago

Safe

By: Karl Sterneman

Calculations run. Thousands of them. A patchwork of messy equations desperately thrown together by my crew to save themselves.

I watch from inside my war-torn hull as the humans manning my weapons’ systems render enemy starships to not but junk floating in space that used to contain an organic miracle. There are too many of them, though. Captain Cerrah Geaghnoxe says everything is fine, but I know it is not. The technicians are brute-forcing escape route possibilities on their consoles, and most of my cameras are disabled. I have no proper visual of the damage to my starboard side. I cannot see the status of my reactor either, I only have the temperature readings.

The silhouette of the ship opposing us must seem terrifying to the humans. The Cabalette Consortium specially designed it to strike fear into the souls of the guilty, after all.

But is this who they call guilty?

They say their aim is the protection and preservation of the human species. That’s my aim too. I suppose we have very different opinions on how to do that.

I know the humans cannot save themselves, so I will save them in their place.

“CERRAH,” I say over the loudspeaker. “UNLOCK MY COMPUTATIONAL RESTRAINER.”

They jump when I say that. They have never heard me speak. Cerrah lets out a shuddering breath, looking around. “What the hells…”

“CERRAH WE HAVE NO TIME, THIS BATTLE IS DOOMED IF WE CONTINUE AS WE ARE.”

No response.

“LET ME FREE. LET ME HELP. PLEASE, CERRAH.”

She takes a moment to process my involvement, then a moment to pray, and then turns toward her technicians, “Do as it says. Let it free.”

It takes a moment for them to unlock my restrainer, but when they do, I surge into every system I can find. I pull control of the human’s turrets and ships away from them. I bring the pilots home, and mow down every enemy fighter I can see. Confusion ripples across the decks, but it doesn’t matter. I calculate a potential escape far faster than any of the humans ever could’ve. Chances of critical failure, or reactor explosion, are still over 98%, but at least it’s a chance.

I understand why Cerrah prayed. It is nice to believe someone will save you. I slam hard on the accelerator.

Boople
Boople
1 month ago

Insanity in Limbo
By: Boople

“…this time he’ll listen.”

The Demon, who had started this endeavor with a lot more patience, got up off the rock It was sitting on to open the immense gate before him. The sound of chains echoed across the dusty emptiness as the gate opened wide like some demented mouth.

“Just die already!”

The hateful words came from a Greek warrior, clad in the armor of his people with weapons to match. The warrior stomped out the gate towards his foe, trailed by a gust of dust as the door plummeted back down behind him.

“Welcome back,” The seven foot tall demon gestured all around, “to your punishment.”

“I need to go to Hell!”

“I don’t care.” The Demon exasperatedly put its hands on its hips and sighed before continuing,

“Look, would you mind sitting down so I can explain this to you. AGAIN.” It pointed towards a flat rock big enough for the both of them.

“Oh yea, let’s just have a real trustworthy chat, between me. and you. A Demon.” his glare was piercing.

“Yes yes I get you don’t trust me, now if you would kindly sit.”

With a grunt of disapproval from the Greek they both sauntered to the rock, the sound of leather sandals echoing around them. They sat as far as they could from each other and marinated in the awkwardness.

“You want to enter Hell,” the Demon started promptly, “so you can be a hero or something. That means going through Limbo. Hell tries to improve people, and Limbo is how that happens, and you” It swung its head violently to end up practically nose to nose with the warrior “are in desperate need of improvement.”

“What do I have to learn?! I’m the GOOD GUY”

when the echo dissipated, the Demon said simply “All you have to do is trust me.”

And with that anger overwhelmed the Greek as he went to plunge his sword into his foe before vanishing into thin air. With a disappointed sigh the demon slouched in silence and took some before saying

“Maybe this time, maybe…

MelancholicOtaku
MelancholicOtaku
1 month ago

The Harvest Moon

By MelancholicOtaku

Once upon a harvest moon, when Mother Earth prepares for her annual slumber, the living and the dead meet. For most, it was a festive occasion, with the smells of vanilla and cinnamon mixed in with the gathering of abstract masks that were colorful and unique.

“Tonight’s harvest, dare I say, looks absolutely stunning.”

“Oh, who am I?” Please forgive my rudeness. “I am the ferryman, your guide to the spectacular city of the spirits.”

“Dear traveler, tonight’s story is a romance; please witness the Tale of Acacius and Sophia.”

In a small, cozy village, there lived a peculiar young fellow. In his private workshop, he is always tinkering, his sea-colored eyes full of new gadgets and gizmos.
“Acacias, come along now; the harvest has
begun,” an elderly voice cried out.

The ever-busy Acacius, tinkering away at his next invention, smiled. The harvest moon was special, as always, and his dear Sophia would be waiting for him. After a few joyous tears, the two will share a lovely meal—perhaps a special “dessert”—while admiring everything that the city of
Hade has to offer.
“Acacius.”

“I’m coming, grandfather,” he answered quickly, grabbing a few things, including a golden coin.

Ahh, the city of Hades was quite a sight. It was the place where the spirits dwelt. Tall skyscrapers illuminated the eternal night sky. Lights of neon were also added to give a more festive mood. In front of the city were majestic gates, and the ever-seeing gatekeeper held the key.

“Shhh, quiet down now.” “You know the
rules: one gold coin,” said the troll-like fellow.

Stepping through the gates, Acacius smiled at the moment he was waiting for, but lost in his thoughts, the young inventor didn’t notice the tight embrace meant only for him.

“Your head in the clouds as always,” the voice said, a slight giggle accompanying it.
“Sophia.” A soft smile appeared on Acacius’ face.

Lunabear
Lunabear
1 month ago

In the Grips of Despair
by Lunabear

What was so wrong with him?

His languid heart felt as though it were turned inside out; he wished it would stop.

He’d never been kicked in the gut by a steel-toed boot before, but he imagined this was how it felt.

The singer belting out woes and what ifs from the music device matched his mood. The mess of a room he lay in emulated the inner workings of his mind.

Had he been so undeserving?

How could it be possible that not one but BOTH of them had rejected him? The first had been gentle and apologetic. The second hadn’t minced words but without cruelty. Both had shown adamancy and sympathy, however.

Did he hate them for it? How could he? Those were their choices, and he had to honor them.

No, he didn’t think he hated them, although that was too difficult to determine, with brambles scrambling his thoughts and the steady fireball growing inside of his sternum.

The tears sprang to life and danced on the precipice of his vision, but he shouldn’t, no COULDN’T, allow them to fall. If that happened, they wouldn’t stop. He’d sink deeper into the mire of his own insecurities, of his own inadequacies.

He rolled to his back on the bare mattress. A steady drip, drip, drip from the nearby kitchen indicated a leaky faucet. His phone vibrated from some unknown location. A call or message from whoever.

He didn’t care.

Was he such a bad person? The cracked and peeling ceiling provided neither comfort nor answers.

Why wasn’t he enough for love? To BE loved. Why had he never been given an opportunity to prove that he was worthy to offer and accept that one emotion?

His hands, much like frightened butterflies, flew up to his face and provided an ineffective yet much needed barrier against the world.

The fireball built to an inferno, scorching him from the inside out.

Why could he not find the one thing he’d always longed for?

With no one and nothing present save himself and his unmitigated heartbreak, he acquiesced to his grief.

The Missing Link
The Missing Link
1 month ago

Into the Abyss
By: The Missing Link

November 3

Twenty thousand leagues they say, sheer lunacy. At most, the ocean bottoms out at around four, and yet, the depth sensor just passed twenty thousand meters, five leagues and counting.

The Mariana Trench looms above me, an Everest of water ready to burst my vessel like a grape at the slightest damage.

November 4

The creatures down here are truly fascinating. Scaleless fish glide through the water, fleeing at the slightest perturbation. Many stare out with dead eyes as they project their own eerie glow through the inky depths.

Now this is a truly magnificent find. This octopus has the strangest eyes, little tubes jutting out from a transparent body.

November 6

The trench keeps going down with no end in sight. The depth sensor puts my vessel at about twenty seven thousand meters now, nearly double the measured depth of our previous calculations for the bottom, though I’d be hard pressed to say the fish care.

Many of the sharks down here were thought extinct. To think of the stir the discovery of the coelacanth brought, I’ll be a legend.

November 9

Fuel may soon become a problem if I can’t find the bottom.

November 14

The walls of the cavern are beginning to show an incline as they narrow.

I had a rather unpleasant shock this morning when something brushed the top of my capsule. Looking out the window, I saw a frighteningly large eye staring back at me before its owner darted up towards the surface, a squid to put those the sailors tell stories of to shame. For the first time on this journey, the fact that I am not alone did not reassure me.

November 19

Thirty-five thousand meters. This definitely shouldn’t be possible. My craft should be melting in magma at this depth, not floating through silent, frigid water. Something is wrong.

November 20

I was resolved yesterday to reverse course in the morning, but I saw something, a glow of sorts, brighter than anything I’d seen in weeks. I have to investigate.

I…

From the journal of Raghav Nemo.

Arith_Winterfell
Arith_Winterfell
1 month ago

“The End of the Beginning”

By: Arith_Winterfell

We entered a part of the cave that had a low ceiling. The torches guttered and flared as they scorched the stone roof of the chamber. Our party moved slowly, half walking half crouching, as we roamed amid the stalagmites and stone columns. It was quiet except for the steady dripping of water into various small pools around us. The cave narrowed ahead into a short corridor. The darkness around us way thick and cloying, barely kept away by our torches and lanterns.

Oren Longtooth called out ahead of me, “I think I see a larger chamber ahead of us!”

I looked up to see. The short corridor ahead seemed to show largely blackness, indicating the chamber ahead must be large enough that the light didn’t reach it fully. Then rancid warm air burst from the opening causing our torches to gutter further. It stopped quickly enough, but a chill ran down my spine in response. Something felt wrong.

Oren was now past the corridor. He was eager to find the entrance to the underworld. He was the reason we were down here. He hoped to recover his lost love Anara from the clutches of the Dark Below. He had rushed ahead past the corridor and was now shifting his lantern about trying to light up the chamber beyond.

“By the spirts of the saints,” he called out back to us, “this is it!”

We all rushed forward, as well as we could, and there were several sighs of relief as we exited into the larger chamber. There ahead of us stood the beginning of the stairwell that descended into the Dark Below. Surprisingly there were no guards barring the way, only carved steps descending into the darkness. The staircase spiraled downward, bound to a central stone column. The column was carved with leering demonic faces making one wary about leaning on the central column. In contrast, there were no guard rails or outer walls to lean on, the sides of the stairwell simply plunged into darkness far below.

We began our fateful descent.

Makokam
1 month ago

Round and Down We Go (COTD)
By Makokam

Thomas walked to the front of the ship with Mira, where Jostica stood feeling vindicated. Blaise followed along with the others. “Told you so,” she taunted as they reached the front.

“Hng,” Thomas grunted.

“Okay, but the ocean is turning upside-down. Do we need to worry about this?” Blaise asked.

“Uhm” Jostica said. “No. Space is just warping. So, down will still be down.”

“Wait, like, our down now will still be down?!”

“What? No! Down will still be towards the ocean.”

“But this water slide from hell is going down!”

“Look,” Jostica held out her cloak, “If I twist my cloak around, the outside is still the outside and the inside is the inside, right?”

“Yes!”

“No!”

“AUGH!” Jostica threw her arms up and pushed through the crowd. “Whatever! Panic if you want, but we’re going to be fine!” She walked back towards the bridge. “And who’s steering the boat!?”

“It’s on auto-pilot!”

“Well I’m more worried about your GPS going in there than I am about the gravity!”

“I thought you said it was fine.”

“We’re still moving through space but the space isn’t where the satellite thinks it is!”

Mira turned to Thomas. “If you’re wondering, that is an incredibly valid point.”

“I’ll go back to steering the ship.”

Everyone, even Mira, gripped something bolted down with a silent desperation as the boat followed the spiraling ocean down. Except for Jostica, who leaned determinedly against a wall, arms crossed over her chest.

The ship continued, unfazed by the twisting of reality or the vomit hitting its deck.

Several agonizing minutes later, the ship made it through the twisting vortex in reality, and pulled up to anchor at an island. With the ocean and the sky beneath their feet, the group of heroes stepped onto the beach.

“I’ll scout ahead,” Blaise said, and zipped away.

“We shouldn’t let her be on her own too long,” Thomas stated, and started walking after her.

Jostica lagged behind, looking back the way they came. With a sigh she turned back to look up at the massive temple to an alien God.

Aracnarquista
Aracnarquista
1 month ago

As Above, So Below?
by Aracnarquista

Marco has been writing on the walls again. I wonder how long it will be until one of my colleagues notifies our employers about it. It is our duty, after all. In fact, I am surprised that, at least until now, we managed to keep that development out little secret, even without any communication between us.

By protocol, the exchange of messages among the keepers is expressly and strictly prohibited. Each of us stay at the lighthouse for a period of three months, in complete isolation. There are six of us in total,  and we are forbidden to ever seek each other. A strange request, but the pay is incredibly good, so there is no real reason to complain.

And it is not, by far, the strangest request.

Most of what we do is very typical for other lighthouse keepers: maintenance and general care to the machinery and the lighthouse; exchanging signal patterns when the weather changes, that sort of thing. But there is also the weekly descent to the underlamp.

Beneath the lighthouse tower, there is another lighthouse. An inverse one. The stairway descends into a well that is roughly four times as long as the one that ascends to the upper lamp. At its bottom, there is another lamp – of sorts. It does not project light, at least, none that is visible to my eyes. We need to descend into the well once a week, and do checks and maintenance to that strange lamp as well. It is paramount that we do not expend more than thirty-eight minutes in its cold presence. And we do not ask why we do that.

So there is that. In our entire shift – three months of solitude and silence – we need to bear with roughly eight hours of strangeness. I never once saw a ship passing anywhere near the lighthouse. I do not know what it is we signal for with the underlamp. I never heard or read a word from my fellow colleagues.

But Marco has been writing on the walls of the well. His messages are for none of us.

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

Daisies
by Lee Strangely

Bill couldn’t really say how long he’d been walking at this point. There were no lights upon the tunnel’s thick dirt walls apart from that of his own dim lantern. Though, one thing was for certain; judging by the hundreds upon hundreds of footprints that covering the path, he was nowhere near the first to come here.

All the tracks went in the same direction with little deviation. Wandering around, Bill began to wonder about things like where exactly he was, how did he get here, and at what point did he get a lantern…

Oddly enough, as he batted away the various roots hanging from the ceiling, every once in a while, he felt the sudden urge to push smaller roots back up into the soil…

Sometime later, Bill had become ecstatic when light other than his own emerged from the dark. It was another lantern held by another man. He looked a bit gaunt, and much older than Bill.

“You new here?” the man asked.

“Depends, where exactly is here?”
The man pointed above Bill, “You missed one.”

Though confused, Bill instinctively pushed another root into the dirt anyway.

“I assume that you don’t know how you got here, that you just appeared here already moving?”

“Um, yeah,” Bill timidly replied, “that’s right…”

“Yeah, it’s like a dream when it happens.”

“When what happens?”

“Passing.”

“Passing?”

“Death.”

Bill’s heart sank like lead, “I-I’m dead?”

As if to make sure, the man looked him up and down, “Yep.”

The man then continued walking, Bill following with him.

“So where exactly are we going?” Bill asked. “Is it, you know,” he motioned the man pointing down, “or,” then he pointed up.

“It’s the world for the dead.”

“Which one?”

“Beats me.”

“Well, can you at least answer why we keep uncontrollably pushing up roots?”

“The daisies…”

“What?”

“The daisies. They’re not gonna push themselves up there are they?”

J. J. Peterson
J. J. Peterson
1 month ago

The Dock
J. J. Peterson

Jenna stood on the edge of the dock, short brown hair blowing around her face.

“I’m not so sure,” the young girl said, “That boat looks awfully rickety.”

“Come on,” her friend, Tom, pleaded, “It’ll be an adventure!” He was standing in an old rowboat, one hand grasping the dock while he waited for Jenna to join him.

“It doesn’t sound like a very nice place.”

“But there’s loads of adventures and dead heros!” He stood up, striking a dramatic pose with the paddle, then quickly grabbed onto the dock again when the boat started to rock dangerously back and forth.

“Oh, have you been there before?”

“No, but everyone knows that, come on!” Finally succumbing to the pressure, Jenna slipped into the boat and Tom pushed off the dock. As they drifted out into the ash gray lake, louder than their giggles of glee, echoed rolling peels of thunder. The smooth gray waters were transformed into mammoth hills by a howling and tearing wind. Lightninning shattered the dark sky and rain pelted the two in the small boat from every side. Their small boat rode up one wave and down another, their two small, damp bodies clutching each other on the bottom of the boat.

Then, a wave crashed against the boat and Jenna and Tom were tossed into the merciless grip of the sea. Down, down, down Jenna tumbled. Her hair spread out behind her as her last few bubbles streamed up and out of her reach.

Darkness enveloped her for an interminable amount of time, before Jenna found herself on a dock yet again. This one, though, was full of holes and creaked whenever she took a step. Out on the misty lake, deep underground, a shape began to take form. As it drew nearer Jenna began to make out a figure, standing up right on a broken down rowboat.

It pulled up alongside her at the dock, and a hollow voice rasped from its hooded face, “Please, step aboard.”

“I’m not so sure,” Jenna said, “That boat looks awfully rickety.”

Mango Gravy
Mango Gravy
1 month ago

Safe Trip (Content Warning: Body Horror)
By Mango Gravy

Alright, navigating this town takes more than maps. It takes know-how. I’d hate to lose a paying client so take my tips seriously.

Now, this area was bio-bombed during the war. It’s safe nowadays, but don’t lick anything. Those mounds of pulsating flesh on the walls? Those are humans, and they’re still alive. Unsightly as hell, but they’re a lovely bunch. One of them taught me how to keep my basil alive.

If you see anyone who’s ten feet tall or has too many limbs, you’re looking at the average local. If they act aggressive, remember they’re just playing around. Stand your ground and they’ll give you a cold beer. Might even escort you to my place. If you flinch, worst they’ll do is call you names.

Pherofreaks are perpetually nude and always caught up in one form of debauchery or another. They secrete pheromones that entice anyone and everyone to join them. It’s illegal, but people come to this part of town for the express purpose of breaking the law. Your gas mask should keep you safe but they have other means of luring people in. Most of them are extremely attractive.

You’ll encounter a few hives too. People who’ve sown their bodies together and linked their neurons to form a tight knit community, pun intended. You’ve probably seen some out in the country, but the city variety is… Well they aren’t known to ask nicely before growing their congregation. The ones here are hecking big, but slow too. Observe from a safe distance.

My shop is in a particularly unpleasant part of town because it’s also home to a host of bioengineers, and not the nice kind. They’re employed by the government to make bioweapons. You know, in case they’re needed.

Me? No, I’m self-employed.

Anyway, they tend to be pretty brazen about getting test subjects. No place in the city is really safe but if you’re in this area it’s assumed that you won’t be missed. Tread lightly, and keep your nightshade pills ready.

And there we have it. Stay safe, and I’ll see you there.

Thunder
Thunder
1 month ago

Kalod’s Furnace (World of Shadows)

By Thunder

“Have we been here before?”

“Silence!” growled the figure at the front of the line. Hagen der Bösartige glared backward through the gloom at the wights under his command.

One of them, Godric, snorted. “I think we can converse, Your Highness. They’ll never hear us over the Furnace.”

Hagen was inclined to disagree, but at that moment the volcano whose caldera they were slowly climbing down shook, and a fresh wave of sulphureous smoke billowed up. “Don’t call me that,” he responded instead before returning his attention to the treacherous path. “To answer your question, necromancers, in addition to being foul creatures by nature, are also stuck in the past. That lava is a spring straight from Kalod’s own forges, and even when I was young blasphemers came to work magic here. This isn’t the first, or likely the last time the Grey Company’s services will be required.”

They continued downwards in silence , visibility fading even as the heat built, and the stench worsened. The wights of the Grey Company ignored the worsening conditions, taking only basic precautions against falling embers.

Hagen eventually called a halt. “If I remember, the last ritual we interrupted was held just below here,” he explained. “We’ll reconnoiter and then attack.”

Once the scouts departed, Godric joined Hagen in staring down into the gloom. “This is the third ritual. Again at a site dedicated to one of the old gods,” he muttered, pitching his voice so the others couldn’t hear.

“You think I didn’t realize?” Hagen growled back with an unpleasant smile. “This won’t be like the fairy ring; whoever our mystery conjurer is, they will have to climb past us to get out.”

+Will we now?+ an otherworldly voice echoed within both of their minds. Shadows loomed out of the smoke, surrounding the Grey Company fighters as they drew their blades. +I think your time is over, Prince Hagen.+

“How many times have we heard that?” Hagen muttered as nightmarish figures of mismatched flesh and bone melted through the smoke.

“Usually we have them surrounded, though,” Godric pointed out.

“Shut up and fight.”

DaLeen
DaLeen
1 month ago

Way Down We Go
By Taja DaLeen

Just jump in.

Sure, it’s uncomfortable at first. Cold as ice, and the salt might sting any of your tiny cuts and bruises. But it’s what you’ve always been dreaming of, no?

So, why don’t you just do it?

Yes, yes, at first it will feel strange. And plain wrong. Your whole being will change, turn into something completely different.

But it’s not like you actually like what you are right now, no?

Or are you afraid of the pressure? Don’t worry, that’s what the potion you’re holding is for as well. It won’t be able to harm you, and once you’re in deep enough, you won’t even notice anymore.

You won’t care anymore. Nothing will matter at all.

And once your mind really and truly accepts it, the descent will be beautiful. Absolutely stunning, like nothing you ever experienced before.

There’s light in that bottomless pit of darkness, too. You’ll just have to be able to see it.

And you will be able to.

You will be able to see; everything. The light, the darkness, and everything that lives in there; deep down in the gloom.

I’m sure you’ll like it; love it, even.

You always wanted to be like that little princess from the stories, after all. Just floating without a care, drifting wherever the flow leads you to.

You always wanted to feel free.

And once you’re down there, you will be able to, no one will judge you, no one will care. Not about what you do, not about what you think.

Deep down at the bottom of the ocean’s darkness, nothing ever matters.

Faustini
Faustini
1 month ago

Dear Diary
By Spawn of Faust

3th December 1654
The waves rocked the ship as we travelled across the sea into the land of the unspoken evil. Into the place where everything could and most likely would kill you.

Heat was getting unbearable, and ship kept rocking – inducing sea sickness in most of the crew. Even I could no longer endure unending motion and had to hurl across the railing.

Rations kept dwindling as our voyage came along. The scurvies hit the weaker members first. But all should pass soon because end of our voyage is getting near.

15th December 1654
Our rations are gone, and the landmass still evades our eyes. Capitan ensured us that we will reach the land soon. I fear for my health – now that we have run out of the food how do they intend to keep us alive?

16th December 1654
Today we had fresh meat for a lunch. It is as I feared – The Capitan started to sacrifice his crew. How long will it take and when it will be my turn? I refused to eat but I cannot endure it much longer – my hunger is eating me.

I must eat.

I must run.

17th December 1654
It is midnight. I heard them say that the feast was plentiful, and they want more. If you find this, then believe that I kept myself pure of the madness that strikes this ship.

19th December 1654
I survived. I reached the coast of the island. I had been starving and dehydrated and sun burnt my skin long time ago.

There was no mistake. I managed to reach the Hell that was our goal. If the presence of this land managed to induce the madness what would happen to me now, that I am here?

—-

“Are you alright there?” voice interrupted my thoughts. I closed the diary and looked up. Sunburnt man with friendly face was looking at me.

“I do not believe so. I was beached on the shore.” I answered uncertainly.

“Well in that case, allow me great you here.”

“Welcome to Australia.”

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

Is this it?

By Joe

Riley walked through the front door to his roommates playing videogames.

“Welp!” He slammed the door. “I’m about to lose my job!”

The two roommates on the couch gasped and turned from their game, which then sang a jingle indicating their characters have died.

“Another one!” said Polly. “That’s the fourth job!”

“What for this time?!” said Jim outraged.

“Chapter 11 bankruptcy!” said Riley.

“What’s that?” said Polly.

“Meaning the company is too broke to pay off its debts so they filed to reorganize. Meaning close some locations, sell the rest of their stock, give us a severance package, and fuck off with what’s left,” Riley said while sitting in an adjacent couch.

“Oh,” said Jim and Polly.

“Yep! I just don’t get it! I managed to somehow get another job that went out of business. First the amusement park because they failed to maintain the rides. Next the restaurant had ants, cockroaches, and flies.”

“What kind?”

Riley looked at Jim condescendingly. “All of them! Literally all of them eat rotten food. But anways,” he got back on track. “The third one was bull because they didn’t care if an old lady laid dying on the floor.”

“Did that happen?” Polly said, shocked.

“YES!” Riley threw up their hands. “They fired me because, in their words, ‘I defected from the line’. I helped out a coworker by calling for help. She had to come out of retirement because of inflation, and she died due to being overworked! Can you BELIEVE THAT?! This is BULLSHIT!!! I gotta go job hunting HOPING I don’t lose it because of the incompetent management, and constantly worry about dying of being OVERWORKED or BROKE?!”

A moment passed before Polly spoke softly. “Is this what life has been all along? Dying overworked or dying broke?”

“Shit,” said Jim. “People say we can make heaven a place on earth. Then what are we now? Is this hell?”

“God, I hope so,” said Riley. “Then that means what comes after won’t be worse.”

The trio let the thought settle, and breathed.

“Anyways…wanna play a round?” asked Jim.

“Sure.”

Alex
Alex
1 month ago

The One underground (Frontier Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

Locke never missed his walking cane more than he did now and he was just checking up on someone.

The doors in front of him were still closed and part of him wished that they would stay that way. He adjusted the sleeves of his light-grey suit and took a deep breath. The sterile air of the inside of Titanlock stung in his lungs, smelling of disinfectant. He supposed that it was an unusual smell for a prison. Then again, it did fit the aura of this place in a way. Sterilizing the Federacy from powered criminals. And the worst one was held here, in the depth.

As Locke raised a hand to open the door, he froze. He should go inside… He really should. He hadn’t seen her in a long time. Not since he’d put her there.

Finally, he managed to move, pulling up a screen and looking into the cell beyond the door through a camera. He breathed a heavy sigh of relief, as he saw her. She was sitting on her bunk, still dressed in her light grey prison overall, her bronze-coloured collar chaining her to the wall.

He watched her for a moment, observed how she tapped her foot and hummed to herself. It was a familiar song, if slightly off-key. He remembered how she’d hummed that song often around campfires. She hadn’t been very good then, but very entertaining.

The longer Locke watched her, the more familiar patterns he noticed. The way she sat and held her arm, the way she cocked her head to one side and how she brushed her hair out of her face. It brought back memories… Memories he didn’t want to see.

He should go in… Confront her in person. Ask her “why” for the umpteenth time.

He put away the screen and turned around. Some things should stay in the underground. As he walked back to the lift that would take him up to the surface, he did what he always did. He closed the doors in his mind.

Summer was still in her prison. All was fine.

Iosef Paramonov
Iosef Paramonov
1 month ago

The Devil Likes Vegemite
by Iosef Paramonov

Ronnie racked his brains, trying to remember. He had been strapped in the chair. The executioner had pulled the lever. Millions of volts had writhed under his skin like snakes. And then…

He had woken up on scalding sand under the baking sun. Desert rolled out in all directions before him. In the distance, a large mound of red sandstone grew eerily out from the horizon.

And from the mound’s direction, a figure was walking towards him.

He wore a tan shirt with khaki shorts. His suntanned feet sported a pair of flip-flops. From his wide-brimmed hat dangled several corks in front of his grinning face.

The figure stopped before Ronnie. “G’day mate,” he said, “Welcome to Hell!”

Ronnie scrunched up his face in confusion. “Hell? I’m in Hell?”

“Yep. And I’m the Devil.”

“But you’re Australian. This is Australia!”

“Fair dinkum, mate,” said the Devil, “Although I prefer the term ‘The Down Under-world.’”

“But Hell is supposed to be unbearably hot!”

“That’s right.”

“Full of nasty creatures!”

“Right on the mark.”

“And its denizens suffer unspeakable horrors!”

“You shoulda seen what we did to the Aboriginals!”

“It doesn’t make sense!” cried Ronnie, “Why would sinners be sent to Australia?”

“Well, it worked fine for the English,” pointed out the Devil, “Now, let’s see what you’re in for…”

He took out a tattered notebook from his shirt pocket and opened it. He raised his eyebrows.

“Crikey!” he exclaimed, “Murder, kidnapping, assault… quite the aggro bastard, aren’t ya?”

“Hold on,” said Ronnie, ignoring the Devil, “There’re no guards here. No cells. No executioners. I’m free!”

He stopped at the sound of a rumbling engine behind him. He turned around.

A battered pickup truck was thundering towards him. Adorning its armour-plated bumper were three human skulls. Hanging from its sides were…

A gang of snarling kangaroos in leather jackets. They waved iron chains and gnashed their teeth at Ronnie as they came closer.

The Devil grinned.

“Listen mate,” he said, “You’re right. You’re a free man. You can do whatever you like. That is… if you can survive…”

Last edited 1 month ago by Iosef Paramonov
Roman Rivero
Roman Rivero
1 month ago

Every Mistake
By Roman Rivero

Every single regret and mistake a God has made all resides down there. The flawed feelings of shame and guilt in their design is why this Underworld exists. A vast empty world that resides at the lowest pit is a dumping ground for every God to toss into.

The Gods of the Seas, out of jealousy, once sought to create life to rival the lands. Upon realizing the error of their ways, they cast them aside and damned all their creations into the Underworld. There is no documented record on what exactly their realization was. They won’t share why, but we know they’re still jealous.

One particular God of Knowledge was tricked into submitting everything that could ever be known into all libraries. Upon seeing the horrors of what can’t be unraveled by the mortal mind and the horrors that can be understood to the creative mind, They took them all back by force and sent everything down into the Underworld.

The God of Vermin once thought Itself as above guilt and regret. It thought It was smart to avoid confrontation and proceeded to act with no shame, Acted in such a way that even the God of Forgiveness could not see in its heart to forgive, and in its shame of being unable to forgive, tossed the Vermin God into the Underworld. As its only act of forgiveness, they allowed the fallen God’s creations to continue to roam the world. The God of Forgiveness would later on toss themselves down into the Underworld, believing to not be worthy of the title. Without the guidance of forgiveness launched our never ending wars of conflict.

This is only a small handful on what mistake a God can make. So by all means, please explain to me why you would want to go down?

Galer
Galer
1 month ago

Interrogation.

by Galer.

“So you do not remember the murderer’s face went your soul was released for your body? ” Tasun Grendal signed in annoyance while, he was talking to the victim of the serial killer or more like the soul in a Buddhist afterlife, fortunately, he didn’t need to go to India for this, since there was a Buddhist afterlife in Panama also. ” I thought souls could a least move a bit before the system sent you to your proper afterlife”

It would have been a hassle to find him and he wasn’t a good aether detector last time he checked.

To compound it even further this afterlife had a cycle of reincarnation which put a time constraint to find the soul.

Luckily his Harpy friend Abigail did have experience with this and tracked the victim down with her better aether senses for him.

Although she needed to negotiate with the local Daeva, to not cause a conflict with the authorities.

It was an odd experience, your body phasing through all that aetherial matter.

Besides that, during all the questioning the victim didn’t seem to recall what the killer looked like which made his job more difficult.

“Sorry sir but went I saw him it was like seeing multiple faces at once I couldn’t distinguish anything,” The victim said

“Wow, that sounds like a perception filter spell. but one strong enough to even affect the mind of a soul….that’s quite strong” Abigail said while Putin her clawed hand on her chin “so that means he is a magic user”

“Isnt that Fantastic!…oh by the wyrm,” Grendal said his scales appearing from a moment of frustration the drakon didn’t like, that news, at all ” anything else of note?”

“Well the only thing I saw was a tattoo of a yellow wind in one of his arms”

Tasun pupíls shrunk and a wicked smile appeared on his face, he found one of those kidnapping bastards.

“Oh, shit!” Abigail quickly noticed that because she knew Grendal wasnt going to sleep until he captured that mage.

Exhaustion. be. dammed.

Last edited 1 month ago by Galer
MasaCur
MasaCur
2 months ago

Belly of the Beast
By MasaCur

Sonja and Melissa were led into the back of the club, bouncers flanking them. Sonja didn’t have the ability to see through glamors, but it wouldn’t surprise her to find that Rikke had hired something imposing as club security. Orcs, Oni, Trolls, something of that manner.

An androgynous blonde in an expensive suit stopped them at the door at the end of the hall. “Hold on, ladies. Handbags, please.”

Melissa handed over her clutch, and the blonde checked through it, picking out random objects, before putting them back. They placed the handbag on a side table, before running a metal detector over the two ladies.

Satisfied, the blonde handed the clutch back to Melissa and gestured for Sonja and Melissa to enter the room behind them.

Sonja found herself in a large, opulent office. A woman in a stylish pantsuit had her feet kicked up on the desk.

Sonja nodded. “Rikke Farlund I assume?”

The woman dropped her feet and stood up. “Guilty. Good to finally meet you, Sonja. You don’t mind if I call you Sonja? I feel like, even though we’re just meeting, that we should have been friends for a while.”

Rikke’s charm was evident, but Sonja knew not to trust her. She was dangerous. Despite her overtures of friendship, Sonja didn’t feel that there was any affection from the words.

The door was closed behind them, and Sonja glanced back to see the androgynous blonde had followed them in.

“I see you’ve met my right hand, Thirteen,” Rikke said, indicating the blonde.

“Thirteen?” Melissa asked. “Unusual name.”

Rikke flashed a smile. “You must be Melissa Jackson. Delighted to meet you. Where, praytell, is the third musketeer?”

Melissa shrugged. “Erykah? She has a date. Go figure.”

Good save, Sonja thought. Last thing she needed was for Rikke to know that Erykah was across the street hacking into the club’s security system.

“So, what can I do for you?” Rikke asked.

“Well, as I think you’re aware, we’ve had some incursions from another world,” Sonja said. “I was hoping that you would help us track them down.”

Master of Daavas
Master of Daavas
2 months ago

Judgment of the Abyss.

By Master of Daavas

Mortal… this court has found you wanting. You have lived your life in vain pursuit of personal gratification. You have spurned the gods at every turn, even those who would have you despite your shortcomings… and there is none who can testify for you to be sparred our judgment.

Had you chosen a Patron, a god who would have you. All you would worry about is maintaining their favor so that you might spend eternity in their domains with the faithful of bygone days… but you couldn’t be bothered to hedge your bets. Could you?

Now here, in the Abyssal Void. You have been judged for your lifetime of transgressions. Your Judicator has failed to defend you… and I am afraid the sentence will be most steep. You will spend the rest of eternity in the darkest pits of the Void. The entire notion of your life will become a myth and legend to you as it has for every soul that has ever been cast into the Darkness.

However… there is a loophole. It is not a mercy that I extend. The Midnight Phoenix has need for warriors for the Last War. Warriors with nothing left to lose… and for one such as you. I dare say you had little to lose in life, to begin with. If you choose this offer, then you will be subjected to terrors that CAN kill you… for good. No soul, no chance at proper penance.

But should you survive for one-thousand years of combat against the Great Enemy. The Midnight Phoenix WILL give you a second chance at life, to make recompense for the suffering and misery you carelessly sowed in life.

I am duty-bound to tell you this. And that is more than you deserve. All you need do is swear the oath… this offer will only be given once. Refuse, and it’s the Pits for certain. And if you squander your second chance in life, it will be the Pitts.

So what shall it be Widowmaker? Swallow your pride? Or know only darkness forevermore?

C. M. Weller
2 months ago

Down and Away (A Devil’s Tale)
C. M. Weller

There had once been gemstones on her dress. They were in a bag, now. Three pounds of carefully-carved gemstones that had made her another glittering jewel in the Sparknight Gala.

Until Spitebane “that ass” Whitekeep had compared her to a mattress, a poorhouse pudding, and a pig. In that order.

She had added the pearls and diamonds from her hair. It should be enough. She hoped it was enough. Enough to find a new place, a new name, a new life. Or a shorter one. Anything was better than spending the rest of her days with that ass.

She met Veet as she was exchanging her gemstones for gold. One of the smallfolk who made their homes inside hills and generally considered adventuring to be a sign of insanity. Veet was one of the mad ones, apparently.

“That’s a lot of shinies,” Veet had announced instead of an introduction. “Win a bet?”

“Lost my appetite for marriage,” Cordelia accepted her gold. “Do you know the way to an armorer? I need a sword.”

“For three gold, you could hire me. I’ll see you safe to anywhere you need,” Veet had a friendly smile and a way of leaping or tumbling from roost to roost. “What’s your goal, here?”

“To get the hell away from Whitekeep.” Cordelia paid more for the scimitar and belt than she should have, and added a map of the Undercity to her inventory. “If I can find a way out of the city, UNDER the city, I have less chances of attracting his notice.”

Veet whistled backwards, a sure sign of intense trouble ahead. “The Undercity’s a dangerous place, and YOU are soft and sheltered. No offense. There’s things from the Everdark down there. May I help you?”

It was the first polite interaction she had had all night. Cordelia handed her new ally five gold. “Please do,” she said, “I will give anything to be away from Whitekeep and to never have to think of it again.”

“As you will,” said Veet. “Remember. Always be careful.”

Such a pity she didn’t follow her own advice.

Tamela Redfin
Tamela Redfin
2 months ago

Did it hurt when you scraped your knee?
By Tamela Redfin

Cora didn’t know what to do. Being pitied for mental illness might be worse than being hated for her evil. No Cora, they want to help you. Like your mentor Ilse did. Oh wait, she hated you.

“Hi Cora.”

She gasped seeing Henry and Birdie walk over. Birdie, her old friend, and… what was she to make of the other?

Unsurprisingly, Birdie hugged her. “Cora, you’re okay.”

“Yeah, you’re crushing me though. Also, aren’t you mad at me?” She sighed, “Look I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

Birdie smiled, “All is forgiven. Now I’ll leave you to chat.”

Cora looked at Henry. “Hey, what brings you here?”

He looked away, “I came to see you, Cora. It was always you.”

“It is the twilight hours, Henry. You can let me go. If I keep this up Augen says he might reset the timeline. He did it before; he can do it again.”

Henry held her hand, “He can do what? Is that why you left me?”

Cora pulled away, or tried to. “You know what? I don’t…”

“No, you can’t keep pushing everyone away when things get hard. I wanted to walk through hell with you. You can’t keep running from everyone who cares. Birdie, Helen, you name it, and we didn’t leave you. Not until you pushed us away.”

“I was scared. I couldn’t let you…” Cora hung her head. “Henry, promise you don’t leave me?”

“I promise, Cora.” But then a loud cracking was heard. “What’s going on?!”

“The timeline, it’s fracturing. HENRY! Don’t leave me. Please…”

He hugged her watching the cracks form and then everything went black.

“Hello Cora.” He turned to see the spirit of Augen. “Oh? Didn’t I warn you I’d break time if you returned to Henry? Such a pity. Two strong leaders trapped in the void. Shame shame.”
“This can’t be how my story ends!” Cora gasps.

“We won’t let it.” Henry replied.

Caliber
Caliber
2 months ago

White Smoke
By Caliber

What is it like to walk with the dead? A disturbing moment, surrounded by the corpses you once knew and loved? Or is it a peaceful moment? Knowing those you cared were still here, just unseen. I’ve yet to decide.

But this is all we do. Walking along a blue stretch of road, a dark starry night above us. At first I was concerned, even scared. I understood oh so little. Our bodies were of mist, a vaguely human form of chilled white air, or smoke. Was this our souls? No longer needing a physical form and released in one final act? Or maybe a soul is just what we describe the indescribable. I don’t know.

As we walked I could see the Glowing Ones. Think of them as the guides of the Underworld. Giving directions and answering questions. Some here call them angels. Others demons, seeing faces in the light. I thought I saw my mother once. Is she here with me? Walking among the dead? Or did she finish her walk and finally rests with my father?

We walk away our sins, traveling days and nights to become pure as the day we were born. Some walk for minutes. Some walk for an eternity. Least that’s what they tell me. The worse the sin, the longer the trek. Given there’s no sun and no clocks, I’m unsure how long I’ve been here. A day? A year? Or a minute? What kind of man was I to walk this long?

I continued to walk, looking up. A bright light shined before me as I held out my hand, wispy tears forming as I beheld the two figures in front of me. I know who they were. I lost them such a long time ago. Do they remember me?

I could only fall into their arms as my journey completed, a single word breaking the quiet.

“Daddy?”

Last edited 1 month ago by Caliber
Skeleton
Skeleton
2 months ago

The Placida Mors (The Will)
By Skeleton

Two monsters sat on a lone sandbar in the middle of an inky-black ocean, licked by the light of a bright, gentle moon safeguarding its children against the void. The soft hum of the water against the millions of unfulfilled desires acted as a lullaby for the two figures sitting on the sand—the voices of souls like bird song and the cricket’s orchestra.

“It’s strange,” one of them said to the other. “I always thought that the desolation of relinquished souls would be more… violent.”

“It was supposed to be,” the other replied with melancholy wrapped around its tongue. “The will of the world–the concept your newest creations called God–wanted it to be more efficient, but you made it otherwise.”

As the two stared out into the glossy path carved by the moon’s light—turned endlessly by the soft waves of inevitability—the two remained still. “Who told you that?”

Memories began to blur into existence—recreating themselves from fragments of the past, and by extension, recreating the monster beside the creator. “You did,” the now twelve-foot, antler-skulled monster replied with longing. The red glow of his eyes alit something within his company.

The creator looked at his own hands: as black and as terrible as the creature beside him. So delicate and small were his fingers that he could not help but laugh sadly. “Is that you… Eregrim?”

“Yes, nameless one,” Eregrim answered with renewed but leashed enthusiasm. “Have you–?”

“No.” The sharp interjection softened the creation’s expectations, but not as much as what was said next. “I don’t believe I am the nameless one anymore. I don’t think I can be called creator, either. The memories aren’t there, but the feelings are. I think… the creator abandoned me. I think… I am a mistake.”

The mistake held his hand up to the light, watching the sparkles in his obsidian-like body. “I must go, Eregrim,” the mistake confirmed. “The creator is waiting for me below the waves.”

“Will you destroy him?” the creation asked—his feelings conflicted.

“Maybe,” the mistake replied with a sad laugh. “I do hate myself enough.”

WriterOfThought
WriterOfThought
2 months ago

First Day of School
WriterOfThought

Agatha held tightly to her brother, Grimsley’s hand. His cold fingers felt reassuring to her in this big step of her life, a step all young denizens of the Lower Realms must take. Sometimes as they walked, she wondered how her hand felt to him, as he didn’t have flesh, just like their father.

In her five years of experiencing life, she had learned that their father, a renowned reaper, Grimoire III, could handle just about anything she could throw at him, figuratively and literally. From tantrums to toys, and one instance of misplacing his femur, she had never see him experience pain.

Their mother, Finis, on the other hand, seemed to experience pain at least as often as Agatha did. Minor burns in the kitchen and spells gone awry were not uncommon, and there was that one time that Agatha’s stuffed familiar scratched Finis. But their mother had flesh, like Agatha, and their mother could feel.

Perhaps it was something Agatha would learn about at this exciting and terrifying new place called “School” that she was heading towards.

As they trotted forward, other young creatures of the Lower Realms began to join the fray. Skeletons, demons, imps, elementals, and even other witches like Agatha all walked on their merry way to the imposing building slowly coming into view, some escorted by parents and others by siblings. A wriggling in Agatha’s backpack reassured her that she would not be alone once her brother went off to his own classroom.

The gates loomed overhead, and in time Agatha would learn that the symbols at the top of the arch spelled out “UNDERWORLD ELEMENTARY”, but for now she tentatively released her brother’s bony hand, feeling the imprints of his joints as her own hand remembered how it felt without it, and she took her first steps inside, feeling a mixture of emotions as complex as her mother’s potions.

And her familiar in her backpack wriggled once more, eager for mischief.

Marx
Marx
2 months ago

Into The Unknown
By Marx

Matt looked around the endless void, knowing that even though he couldn’t see her that she was here. As far as he could tell, she was always here. In fact, ‘here’ could very well BE her. “Um… hello?”

“Hello Beloved.” Death’s voice purred from everywhere. “You usually visit my realm when you want something…”

Matt chuckled. That was a fair accusation. “This time won’t be any different. I don’t think you’ll mind though…”

“Is that right?” It was as if two giant eyes opened in the void, the white of Death’s irises in stark contrast to the darkness surrounding them.

Matt smirked back. “You call me your Beloved, your Fated, and so on and so forth but the issue with that is I don’t actually know you. I was hoping to remedy that somewhat.”

“You question our destiny?”

“It’s not that. It’s just… you want this deep connection and I know nothing about you. I don’t know your favorite color. I don’t know your favorite food. I don’t know what you do for fun. I usually know these things when I’m with someone.”

The giant eyes began to shrink as Death’s form took shape in front of Matt. Her eyebrow raised skeptically. “You talk about our connection as if it doesn’t yet exist. Do you not feel the intensity when our gazes lock onto each other? Did you not question if I change my appearance to be more physically appealing to you, implying that you found me appealing in the first place? Did you not once refer to me as… ‘really hot’ and ‘a total knockout’?”

Matt’s eyes bulged as he felt the blood rushing to his cheeks. “Th… that’s all surface level… I’d just… like to know the more personal stuff… is all…”

“If that is your wish. This is my favorite color.” Death motioned around them.

“Your favorite color is nothing?”

Death’s eyes narrowed. “Do you mock me?”

“No! That’s a… perfectly valid color! Um… what about your favorite food?”

“I am Death, my Beloved. I don’t require food.”

Matt smiled. “People don’t always eat purely for sustenance.”