Hello Deep Sea Divers and Enigma Code Crackers!
These waves are lovely, my dear. Their flow could sing me to sleep. Wait…did you see that? There! Each time the ocean throws itself onto the shore, something glints in the clouds of sand! Because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
Beneath the Waves
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!
No doubt the first image this prompt conjures is ocean waves. Of sea monsters lurking beneath the waves. Of mermaids waiting to lure weary travelers—or maybe just peacefully living in their underwater city. Or perhaps it’s something more wholesome; a father might point out to his snorkeling daughter, just under the surface, shoals of colorful fish. You could write about sunken treasure waiting in a shipwreck to be uncovered.
You could write about other bodies of water too. Monsters don’t have to only exist in the sea. The Loch Ness Monster is living(?) proof. You could write about a child on a fishing trip with their grandpa, or catching frogs beneath the surface of a lake. You could write about a bear teaching their cub to catch salmon in a river, or about pink dolphins clicking, chirping and singing in the Amazon. You could even write about frozen waves in the arctic or antarctic, and the lives of seals, polar bears, or penguins.
But water waves aren’t the only kind of waves out there.
What about sound waves? You could write about someone trying to decipher words in a garbled recording, or discern a voice through a voice changer. Maybe there’s a hidden message in a radio transmission. Or you could write about a teenager listening to their records backwards, trying to find satanic messages in metal songs. You could write about what it feels like to be beneath a plane breaking the sound barrier.
How about light? Our eyes can only pick up on so many waves of light. You could write about a butterfly or mantis shrimp, shaking its head at humanity for only being able to see derivatives of red, blue, and green when they can see so much more. Or you could write about radiation—the sinister nature beneath such waves as gamma and UV.
Maybe your character is a returning hero. A great athlete or warrior parading through your capital’s street. The crowds are cheering, jumping and waving their hands. But between the flailing limbs are glances of grim faces, stiff figures. Maybe fans of the opposite club? Or someone who begrudges you the success. They are almost hidden by the cheer surrounding them. Almost.
You could even write about supernatural or magical waves. Perhaps a character can find ley lines because they give off a type of magical wave. Or an oracle can hear voices from the future like waves through time.
You could also write about emotional waves. Joy, anger, love, grief…especially when they’re particularly strong, can feel like they’re coming in waves, crashing over you. You could write about a character who feels overwhelmed by their own emotions.
My challenge for you is just that: write about something other than water waves. You could write about seismic waves, string vibrations, vortices, light, radio waves, UV radiation, gravity, electromagnetic waves…to name a few. Of course I’m sure the stories about water waves will be wonderful too, but I want to see you guys get creative with this!
I think I’m going to dive in and see what it is. Come on, what’s the worst that could happen?
—Paul, Felicia, Pearce and 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!
Text and Formatting
- English only.
- Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
- Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
- Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
- Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
- 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.
- 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.
What to Submit
- Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
- Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
- Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
- 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.
- 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).
- One submission per participant.
- Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
- Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
“And I hope all you dear listeners can find your way back to your safe, warm nests. Our next updates on the weather and road conditions will be on the ten. But stay in and ‘Cuddle Up a Little Closer,’ with your special lovey, if you can.”
As the velvety sound of Dean Martin’s voice filled the room, Tania snuggled back under the afghan in her recliner and sipped her tea. Jim had the Jeep, so he would be fine driving home, and she could probably finish her chapter before she had to stir the soup again.
Almost immediately, a flash of light distracted Tania from the page. She glanced out the window, seeing nothing but swirling snow beyond the shrubbery. A few seconds later, the house shook as low rumble rolled through the room. Static hissed on the radio. Tania rose and moved to the door, clutching her blanket around her shoulders. She pressed her forehead to the glass, peering outside.
Jim pulled the jeep into the driveway, jumped out, and ran to the door through the blowing and drifting snow. She opened the door, and he rushed past her in a gust of frigid air, cheeks pink and snow clinging to his jacket.
“Did you hear the thunder?” Tania asked.
“It wasn’t thunder,” he replied, continuing through to the den, his boots dropping chunks of ice in a trail behind him.
“Shh.” Jim knelt by the radio receiver and twiddled the knob.
The DJ’s voice crackled in and out, “Callers reporting… impact… unconfirmed… explosion… authorities… recommendation…”
A siren sounded in the distance.
“Put on your warmest clothes. Grab as many blankets as you can carry. We need to leave,” Jim commanded.
Tania hesitated. “But where? In this storm?”
“To the cabin,” he replied. “NOW!”
“Rising from the Shallows” (Aethryn Setting)
I finish making the complex sigil on the stone where the water meets the sands at the bottom of the cliffs. I can feel the warmth from the sigil as it glows brightly and then fades.
“I summon you, Andorloth who perished at sea. I invoke the power of the waters to render up your soul to those gathered here,” I invoke. Now we wait for his soul to answer.
I return to the gathered group, Andorloth’s old adventuring crew. Andorloth had been their leader, a grizzled soldier who, I was told, was swept overboard during a heavy storm at sea. He had drowned in his heavy armor and gear.
I look over the gathered. Islin, a fellow member of the Arcane College, had asked me to use my skill at necromancy to summon the spirit of their lost leader. Aralyn, a young woman who fidgeted nervously by playing with the point of a dagger. Lastly, Talin, a cleric of the Sacred Light bearing his brightly polished scalemail.
Talin frowns at me saying, “I still don’t like using necromancy to summon Andorloth’s soul.”
Islin sighs irritably, “Talin, he’s a member of the Arcane College in good standing. He’s permitted to practice his craft. We need him.”
“Not to mention this is the only way to find out the magic password to the vault,” adds Aralyn.
The group was already starting to fragment. I could see how Andorloth must have held the group together. With him gone, they were already arguing, and they would likely go their separate ways after all of this.
The others suddenly look up in shock, and I turn to see the ghostly figure at the water’s edge.
“Andorloth! What’s the password to the vault?” Aralyn blurts out.
Andorloth simply points to Talin and screams with a booming echo, “Murderer!” The agony and rage of his spirit washes over us and my spell collapses. Andorloth vanishes from our sight.
Talin’s hand goes for his mace.
What Are We Without Secrets? (A Song for: Kit)
“So…you’re a monster?”
Sharine stood to his full height, shadows dousing his eyes. “I am what I choose. Can you say the same, Nikita?”
Kit’s stomach roiled. “It wasn’t my choice.”
“You were turned against your will.” His face crumpled into shame. “I’m sorry.”
Her Maker’s enraged face shot through her mind. Her knees buckled.
Sharine caught her. “Are you ok?”
“I don’t know.”
Their foreheads touched. “Talking about my choice isn’t easy. How about a shower beforehand?”
“Ladies first.” Sharine bowed from the waist.
“What about clothes?”
“You can borrow some of mi–”
“It’s unbecoming for a lady to not wear dresses.”
“Fair enough. I know where to acquire some.”
He led her to the bathroom, pointing out necessary items and starting the shower. “I’ll be back,” he whispered, leaving.
Kit stripped and eased beneath the scalding spray. It was paradise.
It was difficult to fathom, having met Sharine last night. Spending most of the day with him. Perhaps it wasn’t smart, but he had kept her safe. That should count for something.
Realization dawned. She was awake…during daylight hours.
Kit exited the bathroom and sat on his bed.
A light knocking sounded. “Nikita? Are you decent?”
She hid beneath the comforter, leaving only her face exposed. “Yes.”
Sharine entered carrying an armful of clothing, which he placed beside her.
“Where did you get those?” Kit’s eyes roamed over the fabrics.
“A noble family of witches. Their daughter was quite fond of a topaz ring I had.”
“You didn’t have to.”
“I have an extensive collection. Besides, I wanted more time with you.”
Sunlight filled her chest. Her eyes illuminated like moonbeams.
“Now, which dress?”
She chose green and dressed in the bathroom, then returned.
Sharine joined her, his arms coiling around her with intimate ease. One of his hands traveled up her back.
Kit’s knees knocked together when his palm caressed her bare skin. His touch made her shiver.
“Nikita? What are these welts on your back?” Blackness shaded his pupils.
How could she have been so careless, so inattentive? Words failed her.
Black Ice (Tales from the Void’s Edge)
by Alexsander Edwards
The reflected light of Jupiter disappeared under the Europan seas.
Alex hated Europa with all her heart, but that wasn’t her first job on the frozen moon. She’d adapted to the surface jobs by now – just strap on a cloak, brace for snow, and you’re safe, as the desolate snowscapes were borderline inhospitable.
But things were different down here. A thick layer of ice was enough to insulate the ocean depths from most of the cold, allowing various lifeforms to thrive in the salty waters.
That also meant fewer recon missions – and more extermination ones.
The flashlight on Alex’s helmet barely lit the waters around her. She kept going down, ignoring the jellyfish and algae-looking creatures. Her target should be bigger – much bigger. Commander Armstrong, “useful” as always, gave the shortest description of a target she’d heard yet: it should be a “matriarch,” and “by a nest.” Wasn’t much to go on, but with the right coordinates-
A tug on her left leg. By the time she looked down, it had turned into a strong pull. Her suit tried its best to counter the sudden pressure increase. A cacophony of creaking metal and tinnitus filled her ears as pain flared across her leg.
Then the adrenaline kicked in.
With a flick, a wristblade emerged from her right arm. A tentacle came in view. Another flick, followed by a sudden burst of black blood. More tentacles came, their teeth scratching her armor. She reached for the grenade launcher on her thigh. A large mouth came in view as she sliced another tentacle away. The creature wailed. She pressed an implosion grenade into the chamber as another tentacle tried to crush her lungs. Darkness encroached. Another flick, more blood covered her. The pull increased, as did the pain. She looked down and pulled the trigger.
“Suit status compromised. Advised action: emergency ascent.” Her suit’s AI liked to break the silence by stating the obvious.
With a deep sigh, she began swimming for the surface. Sure, her payment was now secured – but by God, did she hate Europa.
Dead air (The Agency)
By: Larissa (Lari B. Haven)
Dick gave the sign to the operator and put the call in the air.
“We have a newcomer to the show. Good evening Kyle.”
“Good evening Dick.” He responded with an icy tone. “Glad to be at Eerie Station.”
“You sure sound glad.” Dick jokes. “So tell me, how did you discover me?”
Kyle’s voice got distorted; the call signal suddenly got worse .
Dick signed to his operator to see what he could do. The operator left for the other room, while he tried not to leave dead air.
“… It just happens that I heard you in the car.” Kyle said. “You’re supposed to be in rural Indiana, right?”
“Last time I checked…” Dick looked at the booth. The operator still hadn’t come back.
“I’m here, and I’m alone”. Kyle’s voice got more and more warped, and the call was cutting out. “Alone… with… you…”
“It seems your call is getting a little funky. I will move to the next call.” Dick flipped the button on the table and cleared his throat. “You’re now live, on Eerie Station…”
“Dick, is your station really there?” It was Kyle again, angrier, almost fighting the static. “Have you ever seen the outside? Do you think it exists?”
Dick tried to pass to the next call. He muted his microphone and called for his operator. But nothing but silence greeted him. He flipped the switch once more.
“Dick, listen…” It was Kyle on the other line again. His voice was now tired. “We need you off air. Quit switching frequencies.”
Dick ran to the door and tried to open, but it wouldn’t bulge.
“You’re an anomaly, living in the radio signal. Bringing people to your fantasy while you and them wither away.” Kyle’s voice was now louder and clearer than ever. “End the transmission, Dick. Only you can do it.”
Dick felt a hand on his shoulder.
The radio turned to static.
Jynn sat in her room, reading her favorite book for the hundredth-ish time. As she expected, she couldn’t find anything now that she hadn’t read before. She had read it as a last ditch attempt to find the answer to her current predicament.
But if it wasn’t there the first hundred times…
A knock on the door broke Jynn from her thoughts.
“Jynn,” her father called from the other side of the door. “It’s morning.”
Jynn donned her gi and walked down to the training hall. Every step, every second, she felt her impending choice drawing nearer. She hoped that, maybe today, the question wouldn’t come up.
She bowed, entered the training hall, sat in her usual spot, and began her daily meditation.
“Jynn,” her father said from his own meditative spot. “Today I want you to meditate on your birthday coming up.”
She knew she couldn’t avoid it. He had been bringing it up more and more lately. The decision.
“You know I won’t be around forever,” he began. She could almost recite it by rote now he had said it so many times. “And you have full expertise in all the forms.”
-But what if I’m supposed to learn more forms?-
-But what if someone else is more suited to the task than me?-
-But what if I’m not ready?-
-What if I never will be ready?-
These were the questions that Jynn’s mind decided to meditate on. They swirled and taunted her constantly, and waves of indecision threatened to drown her in fear.
“You don’t have to make the decision now,” her father said, attempting to comfort her. “But you can’t delay it forever.”
-I know that.-
-You already know that I know that-
-You don’t have to remind me, Dad.-
The answers taunted as much as the questions, growing and crashing over her until she felt like she couldn’t breathe.
When she came out of her trance, it was afternoon. And she still didn’t have an answer.
Such Things As Stars Are Made From
In the vast emptiness of space, planets fly suspended like bubbles and spin in the currents of time and tide that no man shall ever see. These little isolation chambers, like celestial terrariums, house a menagerie of the ways life triumphs over death.
But death remains, thrives even, where life has a bastion.
Here are those who try to find solace in both, those who eschew both, those who long to have both and belong to neither. The necromancers. The wizards. The people who through art or craft attempt to see those waves which time’s current casts upon these baubles of the gods.
One in particular, a woman named Oqramqoq, tried harder than most, discounting as petty belief all leaps of faith, all petitions to greater powers, all alliances with lesser. She was given a gift when she was very young: a story of meter and rhythm, of power and love. She heard that story many times throughout her early life, those decades which shape immortals, but never the same as that first. The ending was never the same, but she never forgot that last line.
—these are such things as stars are made from.
At first, she couldn’t remember how that became the final line. After years of searching, of prolonging her health, she stopped caring. Her children looked as old as she was, her grandchildren her peers, but her interest in the story matured. She began searching for older versions, things only the dead knew. She wanted the oldest version, for she thought to measure the stars by this story, to mark their path through the aeons.
She found the storyteller who had first given her this gift. He alone had added that line. Because of his gift, and despite her angry urges, she let him rest in eternity.
She moved further and further away, finding older and older tellings. Until she found, many hundreds of miles from her lands, the place where those stars lay in death. She conferred with them, took their story, and rewrote it, for these are such things as stars are made from.
A Threatening Gift (Illusions of Heroes)
by Gerrit (Rattus)
“The Goddess Mahlia, of the Winds and Waves, will now judge you, and decide if you are worthy of a gift.”
Emrys stood at the edge of the island, the tide lapping gently mere inches from his feet. Chief Wahage stood not far behind him, reciting a speech that Emrys could tell he had long since memorised. His words soon became almost a drone as Emrys’s focus got lost in the crowd around him.
It seemed like almost the entire city had turned up to watch the ceremony. The crowd extended back for several feet, full of faces that, for the most part, were only vaguely familiar. Front and centre, smiling wider than he had ever seen her, stood Niri.
Her involvement in this moment was not lost on Emrys. She had twisted her father’s arm, convinced him that Emrys deserved a gift even if he was not of their culture. Emrys felt the same way, of course, but he stood no chance of convincing anyone on his own. Befriending the Chief’s daughter certainly had its perks.
“Mahlia will now decide the form your gift shall take,” Chief Wahage said, his speech nearing its conclusion. “You must trust in her, and believe that she knows what you need most.”
Emrys took a deep breath, waiting to see what form his gift would take. He didn’t know what to look for, only that some kind of omen would appear to signal what form his first tattoo would take.
As the seconds turned to minutes, and his patience began to wane, he noticed it in the distance. A thin line at first, growing as it travelled across the ocean. Before the distance had been closed, it was almost as tall as Emrys himself. He sucked in a deep breath, and hoped that Mahlia knew what she was doing.
Masaru went through his inventory again. About twenty arrows left. Only a couple healing potions. It was only going to be a matter of time before their foes sent another flood of combatants at their beleaguered party of adventurers.
“How are things looking, Ritsu?” Masaru asked.
“Mana’s pretty low. I’m trying to squeeze whatever recovery I can out of this, but once my energy’s done, so is my magic, and I’m not going to be able to do much.”
“Same here. Running low on ammo, running low on healing. Going to be hard to act as the team’s meat shield after that.”
Ritsu sighed. “Wait, where’s Myoni?”
“Said he was going to get food while we recovered. He should be back soon.”
“I hope so. If we get caught off guard while he’s eating…”
“Hey guys! I’m back!” Myoni announced, his voice incongruously cheerful. “How’s the situation?”
“It hasn’t changed,” Ritsu said. “We’re still waiting for the other side to launch another attack during the siege. Although, I’ve managed to get a hold of the guild to see if they can get a party to come in and break the enemy’s siege.”
“If we can hold out that long…” Masaru said with a sigh.
There was a pause as the three waited. The clink of chopsticks against china could be heard as Myoni ate.
“I have an idea!” Myoni declared. “We should just charge them.”
“That’s stupid!” Ritsu replied.
“No, they won’t expect it. If we rush them while they’re still amassing a new wave of attackers, maybe we can take them off guard, and break out of here.”
“Sounds risky,” Masaru said, trying to think over the proposal.
“You know what else is risky?” Myoni asked. “Waiting here for another attack.”
Masaru sighed. “Ritsu, you’re the strategist. Let’s at least come up with a plan to give us the best…”
Masaru was interrupted by Myoni. “Alright, let’s do this guys! Leeeeeeroy Jeeeeeenkins!” He rushed off from the camp, not waiting for the other two.
Masaru pulled his headphones off and tossed them at his keyboard. “Are you kidding me?”
[DM me on discord for details!]
A Song from the Depths
I had the unfortunate pleasure of finding myself in a little nameless town to which my friend, Avelyn, belonged. Most people have never heard of it and I dearly wish I was one of them.
When I arrived at the airport, I found Avelyn waiting for me, dressed in festive clothes and adorned with ornamental bells. The town was some distance from the airport and a car conveyed us thither. It was an idyllic town, with the approach from land hidden by forests. To the south, it opened up to the ocean. The pastel houses with bright red tiled roofs made it resemble a painting.
Avelyn saw me to my room and excused herself, asking me to explore as I pleased. She warned me not to venture too far into the ocean as it was the riptide season, but she assured me that there was much to explore within the town itself.
It was midday when I set out to explore the town. Most of the decorations were ornamental bells, and at every breeze, a pleasant medley of tinkles filled the air. Larger bells tolled, too, from four large belfries and whenever they did, I had to backtrack, having somehow made my way to the now-closed beach.
In my fatigued dreams, I heard a familiar song, gentle and welcoming. I followed the song, unaware of where it was leading me. When the song ceased, I found myself in the inky depths of the ocean. Suffocation and claustrophobia rushed at me, and as I gazed into the lightless abyss, eyes of monstrous proportions inlaid into an inky silhouette whose shape I dare not describe gazed at me. It was calling me.
I awoke to the loud and frantic tolling of the bells and knew at once the significance of the emphasis of bells. It was their attempt to drown out the song from the depths. I left that cursed town the next morning and never heard from Avelyn again. I never strayed too close to the water, for, if I hear the song again, I know I cannot resist it.
Beach Day (Students of the DiamondBridge Academy universe)
by Carrie (Glaceon373)
The waves were small today. Gentle things sliding up and down the sand. Nothing gave a hint of turbulence, or of excitement, or of anything interesting at all, really.
In other words, it was a terrible day to visit the beach.
Olaia Tizip sighed, the sound catching on the wind. From her spot on her perfectly-placed beach towel, she could observe anything she wanted. A lizardfolk family playing games in the sand to her right, a volleyball zero-stakes tournament with one rowdy human player off to the left, and the imp lifeguard snoring loudly above her. Olaia could have woken them up easily, but no one was in the ocean, so it didn’t really matter.
She was supposed to be relaxing. It wasn’t working.
“Why did I even bother taking a vacation?” she groaned. “I still have work on Monday…”
Work. She didn’t like work. No, that wasn’t true. She loved being a teacher. She loved history and helping students understand the context of historical events. She just didn’t like all the work she did when she wasn’t in the classroom, but still at the school.
That idiot “Acting Principal” Nicklescribe. He wasn’t acting like a principal at all. He was acting like a jerk, that was what he was doing. She squeezed her hand into a fist.
“Screw it.” Olaia stood up, knowing the lifeguard didn’t notice, then ran into the sea.
It had been months since she’d been swimming. Her gills were out of practice. Still, Olaia pushed herself through the water, every forceful movement imagined as a kick or a punch in the face of her boss.
The water didn’t fight back enough. She dove further out and further down, letting the pressure sink in.
A small fish crossed her path. She snapped it up in her pointed teeth, letting it thrash for a few seconds before releasing it, watching it dart away in fear.
Olaia closed her eyes and let out a triumphant sigh.
“Next year, I’m taking HIS job,” she said into the water.
The water didn’t respond, but it didn’t matter.
Forgotten Memories (The Will)
The first time Gale had ever suggested going to the beach, it was a ploy to spend a day around Mobius without his shirt. The pretence of the trip was to celebrate Remianna’s ascension into a full Magus, and while everyone else was having fun, he would be ogling and getting inspiration for his next work.
The air was hot, the waves were mesmerizing, and the ocean waters were as blue as they were in his dreams. It would have been the perfect visit.
Would have been.
It really was sheer chance that Eymir would have the reaction that he did—or the lack thereof. It had been a few hours before anyone even realized that he had disappeared. Gale had offered to find him to keep up the ruse of this being Remianna’s day, but he was secretly livid at his brooding companion’s mischief.
Gale found him a little ways away, just around a bend in the beach. The man was staring out into the waters, the tears running down his cheeks yearning to join the hoard. The sight of his expression of stoic longing destroyed any semblance of anger Gale could have had towards him. When he approached his friend’s side, Eymir began to speak without looking to his companion.
“Do you ever feel like you’ve been somewhere a thousand times, but have never seen the place before?”
Gale did not respond. It was not the kind of question he could answer.
“It feels like I’ve seen this place—stood here for so long, staring out at the crests and falls of the waves. I feel this intense yearning to sink deep into it, and to lose myself completely in the darkness. It’s like there’s something waiting for me down there that I don’t even know I want. And yet… I’m terrified. I can’t bring myself to touch the water’s edge. It’s like I’m drowning just standing here.”
Homesickness. Gale knew the feeling immediately.
Gale stopped suggesting the beach after that; it was needlessly cruel. How could he subject homesickness to someone who’s never had a home?
Dare To Dream?
By Taja DaLeen
He climbed back upon his tree, limb by limb, to where he lived. Sitting down among the branches. He wasn’t able to leave this tree, a couple of feet at most, never really far, for he was bound to it.
He only knew this forest, these few trees, and the occasional animal to keep him company for a bit.
His mother’s tree used to be close by, but it was long gone, what exactly had happened to her he didn’t know.
Sometimes humans would pass by his tree. He never interacted with them, he was too afraid and shy, but he heard them talk. About clear skies not blocked by leaves, about fields of corn and wheat, and sandy beaches.
He heard them talk about the ocean, too.
How he would love to see it for himself! It sounded so unreal, unlike anything he ever experienced before. Nothing like his tree, this bit of land he knew, these rare guests he had.
Once one even talked about mermaids.
Apparently they lived in this ocean, beneath the waves, and they had a fish’s tail. He didn’t know what fishes were, only that humans ate them. But apparently they had scales, like snakes.
He didn’t know waves as well, but he imagined them looking the same way his leaves would in the wind. Swaying gently at times, and at others dancing madly in the storm.
It probably looked magnificent, water in the shape of his canopy of leaves.
He really wished he could see the ocean for himself. Feel the sand beneath his feet, dip his toes into this huge body of water, not just a puddle.
And he would like to meet some fishes, or even a mermaid.
Were they as lonely as him? Or did they live with their families? What was it like to be underwater? How did they breathe?And what did it look like there? Were there trees as well? And… beings like him?
He had so many questions…
But he didn’t dare even dream to have any of them answered.
Hush (Chronicles of The Dragon)
Jonathan didn’t sleep much. It was a rare circumstance that allowed both mind and body to reach a point that allowed him to stop and rest. And even rarer still for that sleep to be nightmare free.
So when the magic forced him deeper into slumber, he didn’t fight it. The small part of him that was aware of it, welcomed being pushed into the comforting embrace of Hypnos.
He didn’t notice the “God’s-Metal” manacles and chains placed on his arms and legs. He didn’t notice being carried away.
The mask on his face was a pale ghost of an irritation, and the gas it gave him was like a warm, fluffy blanket. He sank deeper and deeper into unconsciousness.
The rocking of the boat was soothing. He knew nothing of it, but its effects were still felt, chasing the last of remnants of nightmares away.
The locking of weights onto the chains went completely unnoticed in his near comatose state.
He didn’t stir as he was picked up, as he was carried, or as he was thrown over the railing.
He flinched when he hit the water, but it was a minor disturbance.
His heart beat had slowed to an absolutely sluggish ten beats per minute.
His breath was even slower.
By the time his body decided to inhale, he was quite aways down.
He flinched and snorted as the saltwater entered his nose, only to immediately and more seriously inhale.
This time some of the water reached his lungs, and he immediately coughed it out, only to once again inhale.
Water out. Water in.
He convulsed, his body not understanding why it wasn’t getting air, twisting, turning, trying to find it.
Until finally, his eyes snapped open, burning brightly in the depths like twin suns.
Long Wave 198.2
by Dagmar Makara (dystop)
I have lingered many sleepless nights, wearily trying to decrypt the code on 198.2. Most of it’s dead air. My eyelids are heavier than a sunken galleon and my body has failed to eat.
What nemesis am I up against this time? Whoever this spy is, he’s depleted the last of my vodka. I feel he’s taunting me. I know he is.
Suddenly, the static gives way to bursts of garbled speech and my heart twists and rends. As if listening to a broadcast live from hell.
“Echo, you, you… echo”.
I desperately snatch my pen and find my most recent notebook. There is an ocean of anarchic papers strewn across the floor, each word warping and contorting. Did I drink too much? Not enough?
The white noise is interrupted again.
“Two is company, three’s a crowd, four’s a nightmare, you’re not allowed.”
I am being watched, I am sure of it. He knows. He knows I’m trying to catch him.
I hear panicked, erratic breaths… only to realise moments later they’re my own. My heartbeat follows in this frenzied procession.
I glance up from my notes, mortified, as if the man on the radio is speaking directly to me.
“Useless, echo, useless, you” he menacingly declares in disturbed cacophony.
I hear the slam of the door to the safehouse behind me, and pray this demon remains on-air for the other Agent to hear.
Staring down at my ciphers, I finally begin to realise. A decryption emerges in Polygraphic 28. An epiphany. Lines intersect exquisitely.
I speak for the first time in days, with the faintest hint of a laugh.
“You’ve said too much, Agent”.
Suddenly, a voice behind me. My colleague.
“Agent?” she says, sounding puzzled.
“Yes?” I say.
“Jacob, do you know who I am? I’m your Nurse. We’ve met before. You’re not an agent, and that’s not code, it’s the weather broadcast.”
Why does she sound… worried?
Why does she sound… sincere?
“Jacob, how long have you been like this?” she remarks, glancing from the vodka to the notebooks, as the weather cruelly loops.
Tale As Old As Time
“I don’t understand…” Yelena said, wincing from her many injuries. “…why do you keep saving me?”
“To be fair, the first time wasn’t intentional.”
Yelena’s eyes narrowed. “Don’t get into semantics with me, Old One! You should have let me die! It… would’ve been a death in battle… A righteous death!”
The Old One’s eyes glowed a sinister crimson as he looked upon the wounded angel. “If you truly wanted to die, we never would have met. You wouldn’t have fled from the demons into my cave to begin with.”
Yelena’s cheeks burned as she looked away from his piercing gaze. “That… still doesn’t answer my question. Why did you save me?”
The fire in the Old One’s eyes slowly faded. “My soulmate… she was… reckless as well. She was willful. And I wasn’t able to save her in the end…”
Yelena stood up, fighting against the growing tears in her eyes. “I am NOT your soulmate! I am an angel! You are an Old One! You are a demon, just like the ones who hurt me! We are enemies! You should have killed me on sight!”
The Old One was slow to look up as Yelena summoned her sword and approached him, pointing the blade against his neck.
“You spared my life when we first met because I didn’t attack you. What will you do now, Old One?”
He looked down at her with a sigh. And then much to her horror, he slowly leaned forward, pressing his throat into the blade. The sizzling sound of demonic skin against a holy blade echoed through the cave, as did the acidic smell of burning demon flesh.
Yelena squealed, dropping her weapon as she quickly backed away. “W-why did you do that?!”
“Do you truly believe yourself to be the only one with nothing to live for? The only one who wishes to have Death’s final embrace upon them?”
Yelena glared at the Old One, initially angry at being used that way before the hypocrisy of that anger truly hit her.
“Now sit down and allow yourself to heal, foolish angel.”