Writing Group: The Power of a Name

May I have your name Summoners, Con artists, and Pastors?

What? I’m not going to steal it or anything! Why would you ever think that! No, no, I just want your name—I mean, I want you to TELL me your name—because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

The Power of a Name

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

This is a very rich prompt, full of opportunities for strange magic, and very real messages. 

The first angle my brain goes to is the fae. Perhaps you want to tell a story of someone encountering a fae, and facing the consequences of their name being stolen. Or maybe you want to write about someone cunningly avoiding this fate—not lying (mustn’t lie to a fey) but not telling the truth either. 

Maybe you have another sort of magical creature in your universe with the ability to deal in names. Maybe your character walks up to the name dealer in the market to see their coat full of names—and you don’t want to ask where they got them. Maybe a fortune teller can read your destiny in your name—or perhaps even shape it by reshaping your name. Maybe when a witch calls you by a certain name, that name becomes a spell—it becomes you. 

But magic isn’t the only way a name might have power. In the live action Cinderella, “Ella” is her real name, but her stepmother and stepsisters call her “Cinderella” as a degrading name. One of my favorite lines from the movie is: “Names have power, like magic spells. And of a sudden it seemed to her that her stepmother and stepsisters had indeed transformed her into merely a creature of ash and toil.” There’s no true magic involved in this scene, but the name has power over her still. The name grants extra power to the abuse she suffers; her identity has been stripped away; she is no longer the noble Ella her parents cared for. She has become a thing of cinders. Perhaps you want to write about this sort of thing. What happens when a parent, stepparent, sibling, uncle, etc—someone who is meant to love you—gives you a name like this? What happens when they pretend you are family, but call you by a name that is anything but? What happens when the true name your parent or guardian gives you is something cruel? 

Bullies are one of the most common people groups that use cruel nicknames. In Before I Fall, the cruel nickname that Lindsey gives to Juliet starts off a chain reaction that continues through the years, eventually leaving Juliet suicidal. There were many other cruel things Lindsey (and others) did to Juliet, but it was that name that started everything, and that name that Juliet always returns to in her mind. This is a very real struggle that lots of people, especially those in high school, might face today. Bullies are quick to give out mocking names, but what are the consequences of that? Does the name have more power than the insults, spitballs and wedgies? I think it usually does. Do you want to tell the perspective of someone hurt by a nickname? Or of the bully who doesn’t really know what they’re doing?

You could play with titles vs names. Someone might be “King” but that’s a title, not a name. Maybe someone in a position of power feels like nobody knows who they really are—no one really calls them by their name. Or perhaps the opposite—maybe someone only wants to be known for their title, either because they want the power of it…or maybe they just don’t like their name. It makes me think of Dumbledore and Harry specifically calling Voldemort “Tom Riddle.” They use his name to disarm him, to refuse to give him the power the title grants him. 

Especially when it comes to kings, names can be inherited. Does your character feel pressure in having the same name as their parent, or ancestor? Do they wish they had a different name? Or are they proud to share the name? Or maybe they are named after a particular historical figure—what power does this connection have over their life?

Surnames are always inherited, and perfectly worthy of this prompt. Perhaps you want to write about a family name, the responsibility or reputation that comes with it. Or perhaps the pride and familiarity that comes with it. 

Sometimes a vicious-looking beast is given a silly name, such as Adam naming his hellhound “Dog,” or Hagrid naming his three-headed dog “Fluffy.” Perhaps you want to write about this phenomenon. Does this silly name have some power over the creature to make it more docile? There’s also the opposite, like a teacup poodle being called “Bruiser.” Can a name grant strength, or ferocity, to an otherwise docile creature?

A name also reflects upon the person giving the name. To Hagrid, monsters are indeed sweet, misunderstood creatures. He gave Fluffy that name because that’s exactly how he saw Fluffy…as a fluffy dog. Perhaps, instead of writing about the person with the name, you want to write about the person doing the naming. Maybe your character recognizes that names have power, and doesn’t want to mess up naming their child, or pet, or favorite stapler. 

There’s also a scientific aspect to naming as well. Perhaps you want to write about a scientist who discovered a new species trying to decide on a name. Things in science often are named after the person who discovered it. Does this person get a big head? Or dislike being a namesake? I was reading about Dyson Spheres recently, and apparently Dyson did not like that they were named after him. Maybe you want to write about this. You could even write a funny story about a difficult to pronounce name, especially in a scientific environment. 

There’s also a common principle “Don’t name it. If you name it you’ll get attached.” You could easily write about this angle. Maybe you want to write about a child forming a friendship with a stray animal, and indeed getting attached when they name it. Or even about a grumpy person who thinks they don’t want kids getting attached to an orphan they met. 

Even inanimate objects can be named. Often when we name inanimate objects we anthropomorphize them and give them personality, simply because we gave them a name. This could be a very fun and cute thing to write about. Does an inanimate object come alive, simply because it was given a name? 

In the movie “The Man Who Invented Christmas” the characters come to life in Charles Dickens’ mind only when he finds a name for them. He can have ideas, tropes, plotlines, but they only appear as a person when they have a name. In this way, you could go very meta with this prompt—what’s your experience as a writer naming your characters? 

My challenge for this week is to use the word, or the idea of, “Fireworks” somewhere in the story. This is inspired by it being the week of Fourth of July for Americans. But not all of you (perhaps even most of you) aren’t from America, so I didn’t want to use the holiday as a prompt. Fireworks are a key, fun, summery aspect of the holiday that I think would be fun to work into our stories this week. You could write your story about fireworks, or simply mention them briefly. Whatever you want! 

In case that’s too mired in the holiday, my other challenge for you is not to use the words “name” and/or “power” anywhere in your story. (You can pick one or do both). Yes, you heard me: write about the power of a name…all the while, not actually using the words “name” and/or “power” anywhere. Play around with subtlety. Make sure the prompt is still clear, of course—that’s very important. But don’t directly use the prompt—don’t even directly mention the pieces of the prompt! 

Remember, these challenges aren’t mandatory! They are meant to be a fun bonus if you’d like to have a little extra challenge. But, if you don’t want to use them, please don’t feel obligated to!

Ah, I see. So that’s your name. Let me just add it to my collection—I mean memory!


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.

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Anton Kragh Paaskesen
Anton Kragh Paaskesen
2 months ago


There was nothing around them. Even to say, that they were would be charitable. They were a specter. a ghost of perception of sentience. They didn’t see. They didn’t hear. They barely even thought. All that existed for them, was the network of roots that spread throughout the earth, in a vast tangle. The tangle that provided them with the nutrients for… what?

What was their purpose? No fruit grew from their branches. Only the leaves that gently in the occasional summer breeze. No creature would nest in their hollow either. So what did they do? When asking themselves these questions, something stirred in them. Something indecipherable, buried far down that longed to be free. But the feeling would inevitably dissipate with the conclusion of their query. a conclusion which was… nothing? They couldn’t conceive of an answer. All they could do was… be. For all eternity be.


Something stirred at the far edge of consciousness. A sensation. A sound. Was it a voice? Was someone calling out to them?

“Who is that?” they called out “Who are you?”. Talking. Forming words. Such a strange sensation. They produced no words unlike the voice but conceived of them. Formed them within themselves.

“Emilia,” said the voice “my name is Emilia. What is your name, Tree?”.

What a peculiar word. Tree. Was that them? Was this Emilia-voice referring to them? Again the feeling stirred. It seemed to hang on to that word for dear life, as it clawed its way up.

“A name? I don’t have a name. I am just… this”

“For now yes” the voice turned sweet and reassuring “but do you want to be more tree? For you can”. Dots of warmth caressed their bark. The silhouette of a person manifested for them. “You can be more tree. But only if you believe you are”.

“But how?” This Emilia was not making sense. How could they be anything more than they were? they’ve only just now found out, what they were.

“You could walk the earth as a nymph, tree. Feel the breeze on your skin instead of rustling leaves. See the sunlight, and smell the flowers. Life stirs within you, tree. But you have to name it before it’s real”

A word. A single word appeared before them. This was the name, of the feeling. Stirring within them, it took form before the tree.


It came all at once. The gentle sound of rustling tree crowns. The cool brush of wind on her bare skin. She stared up and took in everything. From the soft mulch between her toes to the blades of light that pierced the crowns of tall trees. And the tall, dark-haired form that looked at her with a soft expression. “What is your name, nymph?”

And this time she finally knew the answer.


2 months ago

A New Life
By Koryan

The couple stood underneath the gate marking the entrance of the forest.

On the tree sump the couple guided each other’s hands as they carved characters into the wooden slate. Once the slate had been engraved the couple held it up together for the gathering to see.

The couple proceeded to their house the two had cultivated together since their engagement. Once everyone had gathered around the couple, once everyone had settled the couple placed the wooden slate and nailed it to their fence.

“Here begins the newly wed couple of Aiyang and Yasuyang.” The couple solemnly stated signaling the end of the ceremony and the beginning of their new life.

The people cheered as the couple entered the crowd.

“Aiyang, Yasuyang, it suits you well.”

“Thank you mother,” Aiyang blushed while holding her mothers hands.

“Yes, thank you Reimin.” Yasuyang offered his thanks to his mother in law.

Once the village made their way to the village center the village head lifted the first lantern of the season into the air gaining everyone’s attention.

“Although it is our second gift right after the gift of life, it may not always represent who we are. Everything around us shapes us and sometimes how we are called can help define us or it may not suit us, similar to how a pair of shoes may not fit all who wear it. We have the due diligence upon ourselves to choose a name that suits us and respect those who choose to choose a new life. May you have many years of love and light, Aiyang and Yasuyang.”

2 months ago

Long live the queen
By PartlyPolo

“The tea, Your Majesty. Today’s selection is New Moon Drop Tea, a special blend of leaves plucked at the new moon. Its soothing aroma should allow you to clear your mind and sleep well”

The queen raised one eyebrow in response. “Then why, exactly, are you serving it in the morning?”

“You have a meeting with Duke Arnold today. I pray this tea puts you to sleep and spares you his drivel.”

Tossing her head back, the queen let out a loud and vibrant laugh. She had complained loudly to Stella after her last meeting with the insufferable Duke.

“I swear if he starts about his long lineage again, I will simply lose it.” She watched as Stella cracked a small smile, her remarkable lavender eyes sparkling with delight.
The queen took a long sip from the cup, before setting it down with a frown on her face. Stella immediately looked over, concerned.

“Why do you keep calling me ‘Your Majesty’. We’ve been over this. As long as we’re in private, there is no need to keep up the formalities. You don’t have to address me by my title.”

Stella’s face fell as she stood up straighter. “I-I shouldn’t,” she said slowly. “Calling you by your title allows me to remember…” she trailed off.
“Our positions,” sighed the queen. “But I keep telling you that it’s fine. No one will know, and even if they do, I’ll make sure it won’t matter.” The queen stopped herself from going any further. She was fully aware of how whiny she sounded. She just wished she could have a casual conversation with her friend. The queen watched as Stella turned her head away.


On the way back from her appointment, Her Majesty suddenly collapsed to the floor, her vision swimming.

“I’m sorry, Pyrrha.”

Pyrrha heard the words she had been waiting to hear for so long echo in her head as she turned to look at Stella. What a shame, Pyrrha thought as her consciousness began to fade. That those beautiful, lavender eyes had become so red and swollen.

2 months ago

The tale of Agatha
– by himaji

“You know, once upon a time there was this woman. She searched for years until she found something that was truly special, but terrifying. It was all she ever wanted. She was certain. The hand that rose infront of her meant, that her lifelong dream would finally come into reality.

Excited she made a step forward. Into the dark, into the mist, to the hand. It was cold. Another step, left foot. Now she had both feet in the black mass which emitted from the floor. One more step to it. She felt something pull on her feet, a hand? For just a moment her will faltered, before she was determined again. The entity pulled her to it.

Slowly another step. Her feet sunk deeper into the mass. Now she was covered in it till her knee. Groaning she pulled her leg out of the liquid and took another step towards the hand. It was now fully erect and it’s fingers pointed to her. The hand reached out for her. If there was any doubt in her mind before it was now cleared, the hand wanted her. After all the years. A tear ran over her cheek.

Mindless she continued forward, ignoring the pulling feeling, ignoring the strength it cost her for each step, ignoring the pain. She could hear it. It called her. It knew her name. Bewitched the woman took a last step forward and stretched out her hand, barely reaching the tips of the entity. Immediately upon contact she felt it in her stomach. A sensation of sagging and rising at the same time.

After that she didn’t feel anything for a while but flesh. And then she knew it had been a mistake to call out its name. Like a firework she exploded. Full of power. Power that didn’t belong to her.”

The old man paused for a second and looked upon the younglings which sat in a circle around him. “Always remember that names have power, never use them unwisely. You don’t want to end up posessed by something you only know the name of.”

2 months ago

The Power of a Name
By HaunterInTheDark

I never took much stock into the superstition that names held power growing up. After all, they were just words, characters written out on paper, noises shaped by our vocal cords given definition to allow us to feel unique in this world. It just never made sense to me that people put stock in the idea that there was mystical power behind names.

I was proven oh, so wrong one day.

One day, outside my college, there was this odd old man wandering in a black robe and carrying a plastic bag. He’d seemed lost, and I decided to help him. I’m not certain if I should’ve, even now.

Initially, the old man seemed happy for the help as I helped him carry the bag, but as we walked to the direction he said his house was, he got this odd analytical look as he stared at me. I was a bit unnerved, but figured it was just a quirk of his.

When we arrived at the house, as he walked in, he asked for my name.

I told him, to which he chuckled and said it was a good name and that “I’ll be sure to give you a good reward”. I didn’t know what he meant until I awoke in my shitty little apartment, with a kind of specter floating above my bed, resting on my ceiling.

I learned after awakening from passing out from fright that the specter was the ghost of a young woman who spent her time looking for companionship. Apparently the old man knew her, and had used my name to form a connection between us as a reward? It’s been a few years, and we’re now dating, since alongside me being the only person who can see and make contact with her, we actually mesh very well together. It also helped me recover from the existential crisis I had upon realising the supernatural existed, which is what conflicted me on whether I should’ve helped that old man.

But honestly? Beyond that, I’m happy with this life, with her, and I don’t regret it.


2 months ago

Family Pride
By Reidrev

« What got you so down? It isn’t every day you get adopted into the royal family, you know? »

Aléa turned her head it was Morgan extending a glass of apple juice to her and bearing a concerned smile. Aléa rubbed her tears away, took the glass, and went back to contemplating. Morgan sat next to her on the balcony.

« I didn’t spike it. The juice I mean,» he said awkwardly taking a sip of his wine.

« I know » Aléa chuckled. « You wouldn’t ruin the ’’happiest day of my life’’. Right? »

His smile fractured. «I… thought you wanted to play a more active rôle in the kingdom? Isn’t that… perfect ?»

« It is. It truly is, even so, I wanted to stay Aléa Laurent. That’s all»

« Come on! Nothing will change! You will be the princess Aléa Ylsure instead » he finished his drink and stared, eyes filled with desperation, his smile cracking wider.

She was certain he wouldn’t have understood, but she hoped he’d try. « You’re right Morgan, I was just being nostalgic I suppose, a bit selfish as well. I cannot have my cake and eat it too, right? »

He beamed, somewhat « You’ll have all the cake you’d ever wish! Trust me, the future is bright. » He stood up ready to leave but stopped midway. « And…It’s not selfish but… things come at a price. You know? »

« Of course Morgan » she waved him away « Now go on, enjoy the party. I’ll be with you in a minute »

Once gone, she went back to contemplating. Her focus set on those faded white spots in the dark sky. One specifically. The Laurent family’s grave. She felt the tears crawling back. « I’ll never rest there, will I? » She swallowed them and stood up.

« A price must be paid » she spat before returning to the happiest day of her life.

Matthew R. Wright
Matthew R. Wright
2 months ago

On the night of the bright ballet they will know my name
By Matthew R. Wright

“If your Glow shows, up in the world you’ll go,”
Abraham Arnold.

Heart races. Statue still. I remain unnoticed. Curtain drawn open. Audience applauds. They do not know my name, but they will.

Judged by our light. It is what defines you. Quick flash or sustained spark? In the Pitch, if you Glow it makes you someone. Abraham, he’s responsible for keeping the lights on sure, but his name around here, is said out with spite and under breath, spat through the teeth of the Dimmers, from those that lack the Glow.

As a Dimmer Value 8: an Absorb, I don’t get to have a real name, only a classification, one that means to take light ‘away’. Glow goes when I go by. I am of negative value, a void to those who brighten up their spaces. Irredeemable. Nothing I could do can get me to where they are, legitimately. I don’t get to have a life.

Tonight that changes.

Unable to fit into a world where life or death, success or struggle, comes down to the value of some emission from the eyes and nothing else? Where an evolutionary lottery – twisted by the powerful – determines where you live, what you do, what you get to say and who you get to be?

I know who I am, what I am. I’ve even chosen a name.

I am Libra.

As all the top Radiants (Glower Value 5 and higher) sit and enjoy ‘Night of the Bright Ballet’. As Abraham watches on, enjoying what he’s created. I will emerge, from one of the few remaining shadows, and address this in-balance. I aim to bring a whole lot of dark into this mix.

Worthless to a world that needs light?


Bring on the dark, bring on the night, bring on the black.

You call me Dimmer. Fine. I’ll Dim your whole world out.

On the Night of the Bright Ballet they will know my name.

I am Libra

I am balance.

Last edited 2 months ago by Matthew R. Wright
Chaz Jazzman
Chaz Jazzman
2 months ago

Who are his parents?
by Chaz Jazzman

“Okay class, let’s introduce ourselves,” Mrs. Adison says, “Okay, let’s go in alphabetical order around the desk circle. Say your name and one thing about you.”

“Hi, class, my name is Aaron and I like to ride my bike.”

“That is very interesting Aaron,” the teacher says, she is so happy it is almost annoying, “I LOVE to ride my bike. Okay, next.”

“Hi, My name is Abigale, and I like to go to theme parks.” The teacher does her overly dramatic song and dance about her too.

It is my turn now, “Hi class, my name is Adolf, and I like to go hiking.”

The teacher’s obnoxious smiley face turns upside down, it is almost funny. I even made a joke in my head about her being bipolar and I snicker because of it.

“Your name is WHAT???” the teacher exclaims.

“Adolf,” I reply, deeply confused, ”do you have a problem with my name?”

What is going on, I have had this name all of my life when I was homeschooled, but now I go to school and the teacher is going berserk about my name.

“I’m sorry, but this is unacceptable, I will not have a student named Adolf in my class.”

“What is the problem with my name? I have had it all my life, and now you give me a hard time about it! I don’t want to be in a class with a teacher that ridicules my name!”

“What do you mean? Do you now know who Adolf Hitler is????”

Huh, so I think … I have never heard that name in my life, “Who?”

Alice W
Alice W
2 months ago

By Alice W

“All we gotta do is follow the fireworks.” Michael repeated, more to himself than to the boy. Behind them, far enough that they couldn’t hear her, but close enough that they knew she was there, the girl followed them.

The bandages on Michael’s gut were seeping blood again, and smelled like rotten meat and sewers. He blinked hard, not able to make his eyes focus.

When they were halfway there, Michael finally collapsed on the mud.

“You’re gonna have to go on without me, boy.” The boy bit his tears away. Crying wouldn’t be of any help now. “Take my gun and the maps. Keep following the fireworks at night, hide during the day. Don’t let the women poachers see you. If they catch you, shoot right here at the center of your head. And remember, you are a…”

“A boy, I know.”

“Good.” Michael’s smile was bloody and cracked. “Practice your boy voice. And get rid of that girl, you need to take care of yourself.”

Michael opened his shirt, revealing the bandages hiding his breasts. He pulled the pendant from underneath the cloth and passed it through the boy’s head. The face of his late brother Michael dangled between them.

“Now, go. Live.”

The boy tried his best to get rid of the girl. But every evening, as he started towards the fireworks, there she was.

After three days, he gave up.

He gave her his old sack, and one of his Black Sabbath t-shirts. He chopped her hair with his swiss knife.

“There’s supposed to be some sort of haven guarded by the military after the fireworks. We’re gonna check it out. If it doesn’t look right, we keep going north.”

The girl nodded.

“Oh, and you’re a boy.” He added.

“Right.” She said, but her voice said otherwise. They’d have to work on that.

“I’m Sarah.”

“Not anymore, you’re not.”

“Oh right. Hmm. Ok, I’m Lucas. Lucas was my dad. And you?”

He pondered. The pendant hit his chest as they walked in the darkness. He smiled.

“I’m Michael. Pleasure to meet you.”

2 months ago

By Partran

“Pronunciation matters.”

“So you’ve said.” Lawrence muttered from where he lay, face down, against a distressingly fleshy floor.

A small mercy that had arisen in the hours he’d been in this strange place was that his shoulders had gone numb. If only he were fortunate enough to have his hips join them, then his position of being trussed up with his arms and legs behind his back would be far more tolerable.

As he lay there helpless, in the all-pervading crimson gloom of the place his linguistic shortcomings had trapped him, he turned to once again look at the creature that kept him company in this small, humid room.

To say it was a strange creature would be a statement of the obvious. It was perhaps a meter tall, lanky, with mostly bare skin save odd patches of long, wiry hair on its knees and elbows. It possessed the expressive face and head of a startlingly ugly dog. Despite its aesthetic shortcomings, though, it had a pleasant voice and an almost genial demeanor.

“There wasn’t a pronunciation guide. How was I to know how many of the letters were meant to be silent? What madmen created silent letters, anyway?!”

The creature, whose name Lawrence had thought was pronounced “Oopszslashkintintizz,” squatted in a comfortable manner. With a tilt of its head and a chuckle it said, “You’re not far off. It really is some of our sides’ greatest work. Subtle, irritating, and utterly devastating in the right spots.”

“But why?”

The creature considered for a moment, picking at a space between its sharp teeth with an equally sharp talon, “Well, for one, it pries unwary and incautious fools like you from your home dimension and drops you into ours, and, for two, it’s really, really funny. The best part was when the smart people in your world started doing it to themselves, without our interference. I mean, Pthalate? Mnemonic? Psychic? Social inertia does so much of our work for us, really.”

“So… what happens next?”

The genial smile on the creature melted seamlessly into an unpleasant grin, “Consequences, Lawrence. Consequences.”

Ethan Jesse
Ethan Jesse
2 months ago

By Ethan Jesse

The beast in the dark of the hell-lit spire knows the pains of great pleasure for those within fire.

And you, O forsaken one, feel it all while knowing naught.

The pit of Hades long ago witnessed the brazen undeath of a sullied feathered king. Black and red, false light anew, and to fall is a matter so simple to behold.

Rise and stand, or can you, empty thing? Do you forget what you are in the face of what you’ve tarnished? “Red bat!” “Fire ghoul!” “It’s Astaroth, Hell Prince!” “It’s Paimon, Belphegor, Leviathan, Stolas, Devil, creature, villain, hero, anti-Christ, plot device, concept yet recalled! Neigh, it is Lucifer, the one, I know!”

Quiet, be still. Listen, and behold. Ye who stands tall before the sun feels his name yet knows it not. You’re distracted, in the face of fruits galore. Caution, pity; As if such things were yours to show. The beast in the spire knows both paradise and pleasure without ever a hint of mourning. Mourning, not for kings or angel kin, not for innocence, not for given grace, nor for you. The beast in the spire is the king clad in red, the broken nature of matricide, rebellion, slaughter, and ignorance.

Do you feel him now? Or do you look away? Oh, you couldn’t see him, not while protected by the smiles you deny.

The beast in the spire is the devil in the night. The king of desire is the sorrow long forgotten. He who is tormented by the fires of Hell is a law of the world and the human prideful fall. The beast, the king, the monster, the Devil, fallen angel, Hell Prince, embodied sin, forgotten time. Neigh, he is none. Remember his name.


Feel him now, welcome him in, as you’re known so well to do. The beast is a daemon. Do hope he does not remember you.

2 months ago

An Invitation for Silly Humans
by Sinisterknave

Trust me when I say that the mountain’s peak is the perfect vantage point for the annual festival. At this time of year, the weather is immaculate at night. The air is filled with the sweet scent of twilight orchids, with the sky a clear and cool blanket of stars surrounding a prominent moon. Sure, the dances, music, food, and all that good stuff are at the mountain’s base, but from up here, the town looks light an array of fireflies. When the fireworks go off, your whole vision becomes a kaleidoscope of motion and color. You feel as if you can reach out and grab the light, though that requires practice. She taught me that.

But you people are silly. The climb is not at all arduous or discomforting. The forest is quite peaceful and populated with the most amicable critters. Yet few dare venture into “Oblivion Mountain,” with its “trees of bone” and “man-eating daemons.” All who survive their terrors then face the wrath of the one you call “The Worm-tailed Witch of Fog” or “Speaker with Her Thousand Tongues” or any of the other ridiculous titles fashionable at the time. You see her as just what you expect because she is what you expect, always.

Have you any idea how many people she has been forced to feed on despite her wholehearted dedication to vegetarianism? It is dreadfully cruel on your part, forcing such a bloodcurdling role upon someone I have known only for being kind and wise throughout my relatively short existence as “The Crooked Beast of the Hill.”

Thus, I invite you to join us tonight on the mountaintop. No, I entreat you! It is the least you could do after years of cold exclusion and ostracism. We will even have you for dinner if you are bold enough. There will be fresh homecooked food and refreshing drinks as we indulge in the festive rituals and gaze at dazzling fireworks. Maybe then you will refer to her as who she has always been, my grandma.

2 months ago

Face Haunt
by SirPogsalot

Never a face without a story to tell. Never a story to tell without a face to speak to. That’s what was said. Why it was so important to have a face, in a world full of those without. They had physical faces, to be sure–most of them, anyway–but a true image?

Not so likely.

Khoth’s face, like the faces of his kin (and indeed, all of the Argami) was hidden by a mask. Though, truth be told, they had no physical face to speak of. Instead, their stories were written on the masks they wore. And it was more than a mask–more, even, than a face. It was an identity.

They had come to rely on this difference, and to use it as an advantage. The technology of the masks drew out and amplified the energy of their souls, weaving their personalities, stories, and fears into magic of a unique and dangerous sort. The Argami were feared by some, but mostly respected. Full of personality, life, and hope.

Of these things Khoth reminisced, for no longer did he have a connection to these traits. No more could he laugh at the jokes told by his companions, or gaze with gratitude at the rising of the sun, or grieve at the pain of sudden loss. For Khoth had lost his mask. His face. His identity.

Gone were the emotions that shaped his soul, and the experience that shaped his deeds. In its place lay a silent, dull ache–not a pain, nor an emotion. More, an emptiness. One which Khoth could only feel at moments when his personality would have otherwise shone strongest. It was as if his soul was a painting with no color.

Khoth knew, in his head, that Face Haunt overtook all Argami who lost their mask. He knew what happened to those who suffered too long from Face Haunt–after all, it was natural that a mind, attached for so long to such power, would falter and grow stagnant without it.

Yet, he could not bring himself to care.

Last edited 2 months ago by SirPogsalot
The Missing Link
The Missing Link
2 months ago

Ozymandius (Black Flag of Mars)
By: The Missing Link

Hoffman stared at the campus, glowing red in the Martian sunrise, his father’s greatest work pocked in trash and bonfires as scraps of burning paper still fell from the sky days after the Praetor’s armies had passed through.

Unable to conjure thoughts, he simply listened to his footsteps echo dryly through the stairwell to the faculty offices. The last time he had walked these halls, he had just graduated med school at the first university on Mars, and his father’s smile shone through the sunlight streaming through his balcony. Behind the door marked “John Hoffman PhD Professor of History” he feared he would lose that memory forever.

He was right. In place of the loving father proud of his son was a corpse wearing a halo of dried blood. Barren bookshelves reflected the muddy boot prints that showed little heed to the body that lie there.

Hoffman carried his father into the courtyard, the moment eternal as he thought back to the long nights listening to the old man’s stories of the ancient kingdoms of Earth. His love for them was somehow different from the society at large, gentler. He told how Achilles wept for his lover, as Hoffman wished he could do now. He told of the empire of Rome, but nothing like the Praetor would in his speeches to the planet he conquered. The Rome Hoffman had known was filled with fear amid the glory, the mad tyrant Nero burning his own city to the ground, Caligula marching his men to war with the ocean itself, and past them just people like any other, living in a messy world like any other.

As he toiled at the spade in the courtyard, a final resting place for the man he loved, the ashen remains of a paper floated down to him, a line from an old poem, “My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings; Look on my Works ye Mighty and despair!” The epitaph of a king, long reduced in all legacy to sandstone legs in the sand.

Hoffman knew what he had to do to the Praetor.

2 months ago

Names To Run Away From (Chronicles of The Dragon)
By Makokam

Eddie walked into the bar and went to sit down next to his friend Vinny. “Did you hear?” he asked. “There’s word The Dragon is in the city.”

Vinny set his drink down and pulled some bills and set them on the bar. “I’ve been thinking about taking the girlfriend for a weekend in the mountains. Now seems like a good time.” He got up and headed for the door.

“Wait, you’re going NOW now? You don’t think he’d be interested in hunting down some old fucks like us, do you?”

“We didn’t get to be old fucks without being cautious.”


Terrence got out of the car and headed into the warehouse. On the far side, Rafiel paced behind a truck, looking at his phone while two other men stood watch.

“Ah man, I was worried you wouldn’t be here,” Terrence said, jogging over.

“Why?” Rafiel said, looking up.

“There’s a rumor The Dragon is in town.”

Rafiel stiffened, then grabbed a paper wrapped package out of the truck. “You got the money?”

Terrence nodded as he hurried to hand a couple wads of cash in exchange for the package.

“Good, now get the hell out of here.” He turned and motioned to the other men. “Pack it up! We’re getting the hell outta here.”


The General watched the screens as they updated with the latest positions of his troops as they moved towards the boarder. A slow build up of his forces to where they could quickly cross the boarder, but were far enough away to plausibly deny their threat. Their “neighbors” would be brought back into the fold after twenty long years very, very soon.

An officer rushed in, holding out an envelope. “Sir, the latest intelligence report-”

The General snatched the report and gave it a quick glance, before stopping at a single line. He turned to the officer. “Is this accurate?”

“Multiple sources confirm the sighting.”

The General tore the report apart. “Send everyone back to their bases. If The Dragon is here, this is no time to start a war.”

2 months ago

“In Want of a Healer” (Aethryn Setting)

By: Arith_Winterfell

The Necromancer entered the tent. He was dressed in the typical dark robes having a grim air about him. He emanated an invisible aura that withered even the grass beneath his feet. The dying Lady Elayna lay feverish upon her bedroll, her attending lady in waiting Regina recoiled at the sight of the Necromancer.

“Why did you not bring the healer!” Regina shouted at the soldier who had brought the Necromancer into the tent.

“We couldn’t find one. This man offered to help,” the soldier said abashedly.

“I can help heal her, let me do my work,” the Necromancer added quickly.

Regina stared at him for a moment, then relented, desperate for help. She sat down, tears in her eyes, seeming certain this was the end.

The Necromancer knelt at Lady Elayna’s side. He placed one of his hands upon her sweat soaked brow. He closed his eyes and concentrated.

The whispers crawled from the darkness in the corners of the tent causing Regina and the soldier to tense. They strained to hear what the whispers were saying, but instead only heard the Necromancer muttering softly, “No. You will not have her today.” The whispers died away.

After a few moments Lady Elayna’s breathing eased and softened. Regina rushed to examine her.

“Her fever has broken! Gods be praised!” Regina cried out.

“The sickness within her has perished. She will make a full recovery,” the Necromancer added softly.

“I – Thank you, you’ve helped us so much. I don’t even know your –” Regina said.

“It’s Arith,” the Necromancer grinned, “and most don’t even ask. Most seem to assume they know me because of my magic.”

2 months ago

Is Who We Are Who We’re Meant to Be? (A Song for: ???)
by Lunabear (Private Repost)

The little girl watched the man, the one who’d introduced her to this new life a few short weeks ago. Standing atop a grassy knoll, proud and unencumbered, he looked over the horizon. The sinking sun cast a crimson glow to his charcoal-colored skin. He resembled, at least to her, stirring ashes in a fire. Something that could burn itself out if left unattended.

He set his eyes upon her, and she stilled. Breath didn’t seize her lungs. The sluggish organ in her chest almost beat thrice.

His smile bloomed, full and warm. “Ah! Awake at last. I was sure this sleep would be eternal for you.” He beckoned her with a curl of his fingers.

A sliver of unpleasantness dripped down her spine, but she pushed it away, limping forward. The break should heal with one more daysleep, he’d promised. The night surrounding them was loud, rhythmic. Frogs croaked from a distance, crickets chirped, fireflies, or lightning bugs as they were called here, signaled to potential mates. They seemed almost like tiny fireworks.

“Can you picture it, Newling?” he inquired. Spreading his arm in front of him, he indicated the field of flowers and grass before them.

Her gaze, however, was drawn instinctually to the stars above.
She allowed his words to sink in, nodding without truly comprehending what ‘it’ was.

“A vision for your future, little one. You shall be unmatched, a marvel for the ages, modeled after your progenitor, of course.” A crooked smile displayed his sharpened fangs. His knee touched the green blades, and a heavy hand fell onto her shoulder. “You understand what needs to be done before we continue, yes?”

“Forget who I was and embrace who I’m going to become.” The words were stated on autopilot.

“And have you?” Sugarcane lacquered his question, but underneath was granite.

Who she was before, that human girl, lingered within the darkest parts of her. She doubted it would ever be different. She looked down at her polished black shoes. “Yes.” The lie left a rancid aftertaste.

“Good,” he purred. “We shall decide who you are now.”

2 months ago

By: Boople

Exhaustedly swinging open the saloon door James was met with a few judgmental glares, a lot of ignorance, and most importantly to him, a reprieve from the hellish blaze outside. He had been lost in the Sonoran long enough that even this dusty, middle of nowhere town was an oasis.

A few gas lamps on the wall gave a soft glow to the interior, given the windows were shuttered. The smells of alcohol, sweat and smoke were welcome additions to his depraved senses as he made his way to the bar counter. Sitting down on a stool he noticed a number of wanted posters plastered about the wooden walls.

“Well howdy stranger.”

James’s attention snapped from sepia parchment to a man who had suddenly appeared at his right. The stranger faced forward, examining the bottles that lined the shelves before him with a glass of whiskey gently hanging from his fingertips. A wide dark hat rested on his head, and a knowing smile crept across his sun-baked face when he saw how he had spooked James.

“Relax kid, no one here’s gonna shoot ya ‘nless ya piss ‘em off.”

“That’s real comforting pal,” James said fidgeting.

The stranger chuckled and continued,

“You seem tired kid, need a drink?”

At the offer James relaxed a bit, the idea of a free drink and maybe some decent conversation felt like heaven to his dust infested mind.

“Yea, I think I do.”

With a nod the stranger waved over the bartender and ordered some water. The sound of the glass sliding over the wood counter to his hand was euphoric, and after a sip he asked,

“And to whom do I have the pleasure of buying me a drink today?”

The stranger set down his glass of whiskey with a gentle thud.

“My mother calls me Willam, but most folks call me-,” he turned to face James.

James could see directly through the hole in his head where Willam’s right eye once was to a poster on the wall behind him.



“One-eye Bill, pleasure to meet’cha.”

2 months ago

He Waits

By Kyree

He goes by many names and is known by many faces. Tales of his unimaginable power are spoken of in soft whispers in solemn homes, in anger and rage over cold graves.

He is the reaper incarnate, coming to fulfill his cosmic promise, to collect the debt of life. Only those he has taken can truly know what he is, but they are not alive to tell their tales, to spread their truths. And here, alone in my decrepit home, I can feel him. I can feel his presence behind my shaking, hollow breaths, hidden in the dark corners of my aged room.

I broke into a coughing fit, spewing out drops of bright red blood and mucus.

“Oh god, not yet.” I wheezed, digging my nails into the cold wooden floor.

I could see him now, planted in my bedroom doorway shrouded in empty black.
He took a quiet step, and then another, and two more. He knelt down, outstretching a cold, lifeless land.

“Come, It is time to rest.”

His empty white eyes peered down at me with an odd pity. Tears began to swell up in my drooping eyes, and I thought back on key moments of my life, memories I thought I had left untouched by human lucid inspection. The birth of my first child, my first job, the distant face of my mother staring at my father’s grave.

A life I had once taken for granted was now punctuated, despite the aching pain in my chest, and the building frustration of being helpless and human, I knew my time would come. Each life was a gift, after all, the only promise it offered, was the being looking deep into my eyes, “Death.”

2 months ago

My Name

By Joe

I have a name. A label encompassing all that I am now, but won’t be fully defined until my death.

What have I done so far? I was born into a life of early torment and comfort. I’ve had nightmares of the known and unknown. Dreamed of the seen and unseen. Loved the things that made me smile and hated the things that didn’t. Eventually, a few of those things switched up as I grew more understanding of them. All the way to adulthood where I now continue writing out this definition.

My actions have and will define my name. But what will I do to finalize that definition?

Will I be a simple and kind person with little spots of outburst inbetween? Will I be irritable and lonely? Will I be jaded and unwilling to better the world? Or a villain intenting to destroy the world? Maybe I’ll be a hero all, or none.

It won’t be easy. But at least I won’t be alone in writing my definiton.

I may be misinterpreted to fit a narrative unbecoming of me that’ll force others against me and what I believe. Others may fight to defend my name and justify it to their death though I might be wrong. The rest may not care if I existed and live their lives without my name in their mouth.

Regardless I can’t control the circumstances of how I begin and how I end. I’ll only he able to compromise with tools, opportunities and cooperate with whatever allies I meet. In hopes that I get desirable ending in a scrambled world of ambiguity.

Now is the time to find out who I’ll be.

My name is…

2 months ago

Audition Day
By MasaCur

Nabiki entered the orchestra club room, clutching her violin case to her chest. Beside her, Chiyo hefted her cello case by the shoulder straps.

Nabiki could feel the eyes on her as she entered. Curious, judging, contemptuous. Most of the people looking at her didn’t glance away when she looked at them.

They knew who she was.

A tall, older girl stepped in front of her.

“You’re Nabiki Teion, aren’t you?” the girl asked.

Nabiki looked up at her. “Ye-yeah.”

“You’re not taking my seat from me.” She glared down at Nabiki. “I don’t care who your mother is, I worked hard for the first chair violin. I’m not going to lose it to you.”

“I…uh, as far as I’ve heard, first year students aren’t eligible for the first chair,” Nabiki said, hoping to deescalate the situation.

The girl pointed two fingers at her eyes, then turned her hand to point at Nabiki before she walked away.

Nabiki clutched her violin case tighter to her chest.

“Nabiki, don’t let it get to you,” Chiyo said. “They’re just trying to get into your head and knock you off your game. You’re definitely going to make your audition. Not because your mom is Akane Teion. You’ll do it because you’re an awesome violinist in your own right.”

“I hope so,” Nabiki replied. She bit her lip nervously.

“Me, I’m less sure of,” Chiyo added.

“Mom says you’re a pretty good cellist.”

“Nabiki Teion? Is there a Nabiki Teion here?” asked a voice from the seating area.

Nabiki took a deep breath.

“Good luck!” Chiyo winked and held up two fingers in a peace sign.

“Thanks.” Nabiki let out her breath in a sigh. She pulled out the Klotz violin, and stepped toward the microphone. “I’m Nabiki Teion.”

“Your mother is Akane Teion?” asked the school’s orchestra director.

Nabiki nodded.

“First time I saw her play was in ninety-five for her Summer Breeze tour.”

Nabiki looked down at the stage floor. “That was her breakout album.”

“If you’ve got even half her talent, you’ll do fine. Just relax and do your best.”

2 months ago

The truth of definitions.

By Galer.

“So how does that ability of yours work exactly?” Reinaldo asked Stefania the Gnome as she fiddled with tools made of copper. “I meant they have different meanings, and it especially gets complicated when reincarnation comes into the picture.”

Reinaldo understood the talent of the Fae to do just that, but from his point of view, it was weird.

Though it was magic after all. It didn’t need to make sense.

If not for the fact that, more than once, a Fae was tricked by the meaning of a word.

Or having more than one appellation. -be it via reincarnation, or how people refer to that person-, didn’t help.

“Also, the fact that you can use that to make the skill backfire on the user’s end made it more like a double edge sword.” Reinaldo thought.

“Well it is not that we use a primordial language for it” Stefania explained while carrying a copper wrench, “It has more to do with how a person defines himself, but if they let their titles taint it, that definition becomes muddled. As for the reincarnated, well… they have multiple potentialities defining, then getting a true meaning from them. It’s difficult”

“But what about made-up words?” Reinaldo asked, “I meant technically all language is made up.”

“I could say it doesn’t matter but this magic is so culturally affected by words that it is in fact tied to them,” the Gnome said “Still, we tried to learn linguistics to at least update our magic, but the world advances swiftly. I wouldn’t be surprised if mutated vernacular just trips my people up”

“Huh? That was interesting thanks for the lesson,” said Reinaldo with a smile.

“Uh, hu-now could you stop stalling and help me repair that damn fungus T.V?” Stefania responded with a smirk, giving him a copper screwdriver. “You lazy bum.”

“Fuck. I thought you would forget that,” Reinaldo chuckled in response while Stefania just rolled her eyes in amusement “No rest for the wicked I guess.”

And so another day of work started for them both.

2 months ago

by Shinigamma

Buck Jefferson bit off the end of the cigar and spat it into the bin with outrageous accuracy. The portly Texan publisher leaned back in his leather chair behind his mahogany desk, struck a match on his Stetson and lit the fat roll of tobacco. Just then, the phone rang.

“Mr. Barrett is here to see you, sir.” said his secretary.

“Send him right up.”

The door opened and a mess walked in. Tangled hair falling into baggy eyes, the stale odour of coffee emitting from creased clothes, and clutching a pile of dog-eared papers, the man was truly a sorry sight to behold.

Buck approached his guest and gave him a backslap so powerful, he knocked the poor fellow to the floor.

“Thomas!” cried Buck, oblivious to the author’s scrabbling below, “Good to see ya, buddy!”

“Thank you, Mr. Jefferson!” replied Thomas meekly, “And very good to see you too. Yes, very good…”

He raised the papers in his arms reverently towards the bemused publisher.

“I’ve finished it!” cried Thomas, “My masterpiece, my magnus opus, my pièce de résistance!”

“You think we’re in the black?” asked Buck, his irises contorting into dollar signs.

“Oh yes, of course,” said Thomas, waving a hand dismissively, “But it’s not about money.”

He sighed and lowered his head.

“There’s one problem though.”

“What’s that?”

“I have everything. An intriguing plot, deep themes, interesting characters. Everything except… a title!”

He covered his face and began to weep. Buck put a kindly hand on his shoulder, while taking a long drag on his cigar.

“Come now, partner,” he said, “Is that all you’re upset about?”

He marched to the window behind his desk, gazing at the Dallas skyline.

“Can’t think of a title? Then we’ll give it none! I can see it now… ‘Untitled’ by Thomas Barrett!”

Thomas looked up in horror.

“You can’t be serious?!”

“I sure am, boy!”

“This is my life’s work!”

“And boy is it gonna hit big!”

Thomas tried to argue, but the Texan was having none of it. Eventually, he gave up.

“Fine! But I’m using a pseudonym!”

2 months ago

I will be your mystery until…
by Contract

“I’m sorry, but I can’t.”

He said that with a sad look on his face. Maybe a fake one however, better be careful with him.

“Alright. How much more do I have to give? I think you were paid more than enough.”

“It’s not a question of price, I just can’t reveal that information. And trust me, I would like to take your payment more than anything.”

I was intrigued. All the other times, he simply ate the payment, only asking for more.

“Spells? Curses? I can break any of those. Just tell me.”

“You don’t seem to understand. I acquired that knowledge by contracting with beings you wouldn’t want to meet; but I’m far from their level of importance. It’s simply impossible to disclose this kind of information. The laws of nature themselves won’t allow it.”

That’s a lot of free information coming from him. Maybe I was on the right way after all.

“And may I know why?” I asked.

“She died billions of years ago. Barely anything in this world remembers her, yet one thing is left. Fear. Fear that if anyone learns, or even worse, uses her name, she will come back. No matter how, no matter why. Her glee and her wrath are the same for the mere playthings we are. And the universe is shaking in its boots with this idea.”

“Prove it.”

He leaned forward, and whispers very slowly, barely loud enough for my ears to catch up the words.

“Her name is…”

At this instant, the whole house shivered, like if a powerful earthquake happened right below us, the wind broke open the door, covering any sound with powerful howls and the sky itself was ablaze. That’s for what I observed. There may have been more.

“See? All I can tell you is that you know the word, even if you don’t like it. Now, you have only to guess.” he said, looking at me deep in the eyes.

“We will see that later.”

Last edited 2 months ago by Contract
2 months ago

you can’t make a gold-lead alloy without cracking software
by Aracnarquista

The feeling of fear is not something Richard LaCroix is used to. Dreading is for others, not him. Richard LaCroix wields fear. CEO of the Zenith Corporation and major shareholder of some of the more significant corporate conglomerates, Mr. LaCroix handles economic and political leverage as a weapon or threat as the need calls for. No one dares to cross him.

LaCroix feels no fear.

Yet, there is a ghost haunting him. He notices the signals of the guards of his secluded vacation home going silent one by one, and he knows despair. Someone is hunting him. His mind rushes to the other weapons one with his wealth could use…


Walt Whitman may as well sing the body electric, but “John” is the one who dances to its tune. Every fiber of his augmented body is aflame as he breezes through the security. Automated defenses fail to detect his passage. Guards are neutralized with precision and grace. Every motion of the assassin is a sight to behold – though those who catch as much as a glimpse of him have few moments to register it.

“John” flows in the moment. He enjoys the craft, the vertigo and exhilaration of moving unseen and being where he is denied to be. The melody of violence – carefully suppressed as it is – sounds like music to his augmented ears. The synthetic reflexes that guide his movements – cybernetically tuned, ironically enough, in a Zenith lab – rejoice in being put to action. The electric signals shared through wire and nerves explode as fireworks and light the night of his life as he snuffs the lives of wealth’s lap dogs.

He doesn’t kill indiscriminately, though.

Precision is what he sells, and collateral damage is best avoided.


“I know you have a busy schedule, Mr. LaCroix. But now you have a meeting with a certain Gentleman John, Death’s own amanuensis.”

LaCroix faces the barrel of a ceramic pistol and his own mortality. He still has two tricks up his sleeve. Especially now that he knows who the killer is.

“Whatever they are paying you, I can overbid them.”

Once a deal is cut, “John” never go back on his word. LaCroix knew that. But uttering that proposal gave him the time needed to activate the killswitch codeword that would make the assassin’s implants to betray him and leave him paralyzed.

Some problems are best suited for violent ends… and it is a good thing that “John”, or Snakebite, as he was known at the time, had once been in Zenith’s payroll. What Zenith gives, Zenith can take away.

The code was sent. “John” smiles. A smile he should not be able to flash – still, despite the killswitch, he smiles. That smile – Death’s own grin mocking LaCroix for overbetting and coming short -, the last thing Richard ever sees. Snakebite’s arm is massaged by the gentle caress of pistol recoil.

Last edited 2 months ago by Aracnarquista
2 months ago

The Devil is in the Details

I was the King Beneath before the war. I witnessed the deaths of Titania and Oberon. The gods knew me and never interfered with my domain. My minions never questioned my orders.

My Mephistopheles was appointed carefully. I knew he would never usurp me, as he was prone to sloth. He would remain prince as long as I remained king.

I lurked in the shadows, ready with gifts for those who would ask, for a price. My reign was glorious and full of splendor. I never wanted it to end.

I was Underlord during the reign of the final Prodigy. I ascended from the Mephistopheles title after the war, and would never appoint a prince to succeed me. My daughter was set for my succession, but even then, plans changed.

My reign was precarious and constantly challenged, but it would not end until I gave it my permission. No Angel or Demon or Hero could usurp me, even if they believed they had. All I had to do was wait. I had plenty of time.

Many had questioned my viability as Underlord. There was not a single council in the Hells, Heavens, or beyond that didn’t think they could find a suitable replacement for me. But try as they might, I could not be dethroned. I would not allow it. It had to be the right time.

I am the Ruler of the Hells after the Worldflame. I became one with the Hell Dragon to become War. Death is my brother, Famine a cousin, and Pestilence a close friend.

I upended the tyranny of my sister. I brought the last war to an end, and brought about the dawn of a new era. I witnessed the births and deaths of kings and kingdoms the likes of which the world has never imagined.

I am War; my reign is young. I know not how long I will last, or if I will be eternal. But I will do what is needed no matter the end.

Long life to the King, the Underlord, the Ruler, and War.

2 months ago

Only you

by Reinkarnitor

The train rattled over the railway, a constant and rhythmic ‘click clack’ being heard. Outside the window, forests, fields, and villages passed by. Sometimes the locomotive would sound a loud whistle. All in all it was almost calming. At least that was what X thought, when he looked out of his compartment window.

‘The train sure is something. Somehow I can always relax when I travel with it.’

Across of him sat the ghostly girl Emma. She too looked out of the window, and in her eyes was the faintest glimmer of wonder, which was, with all due respect, pretty rare for the guardian of London.

The detective smiled and then unfolded the ‘London Times’. But after a while he felt Emma’s gaze on him and lowered the paper again, only for her to quickly turn away.

That happened three times. Then X decided to just keep looking at her. Sure enough, when she turned to face him again, she blushed a bit upon noticing that he had caught her this time.

“Mind telling me, what this is about?” the detective asked with a chuckle.

“I…I have been thinking…” Emma’s flushed face betrayed her emotionless voice. “About us.”

Now it was X’ turn to blush. Indeed, they have gotten quite a bit closer to each other. After all they were working together for two years by now.

“I-is that so?” he asked and moved his glasses awkwardly.

“X…do you like me?” The question was a surprise to say the least. Then again, it wasn’t as if Emma had any experience with this kind of thing.

“I…I do” he answered slowly. This was harder than he had thought, after all he had avoided relationships like these for all his life.

“How much do you like me?” Again such a hard inquiry.

Nervously he leaned forward and whispered: “Let me show you.”

His mouth was at her ear.

“My name is…”

Emma’s eyes went wide, then a smile formed on her face as he shared his biggest secret with her.

“How many know?” she asked him.

“Only you, Emma. Only you.”

2 months ago

A Name that lasts Forever (Exile Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

It was a smouldering ruin, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, on a world Soren couldn’t name. The remnants of what and, more importantly, who had come by were nevertheless plain for everyone to see. He held his hands loose by his side, as far away as possible from the twin swords on his back. This place had seen enough violence.

Bodies lined the streets. People burned, shredded, murdered by the man, whose name was in everyone’s mouths. Calling him a man was too generous, however. He didn’t deserve the dignity of being compared to mortal existence; the dignity Soren saw shattered before him.

The dignity of simple lives. How he envied them.

A coughing sound caused him to turn around. He saw a young man, holding a bleeding wound in his side. He knelt in front of him, placing a warm hand on his shoulder. Tears stood in his eyes, as he looked at him.

“They looked just like you…” he couldn’t be older than twenty.

“I know. I’m trying to find them.”

“To join them?”

“To stop them.”

The man took in a painful gasp, which felt like a knife to Soren’s heart. Not too long ago, he’d have committed similar atrocities in the name of the self-proclaimed highest evil of the worlds.

“The Silver Count…” the man sounded like he’d aged by decades. “Why? Why does something like him… exists?”

“Because he wants to,” Soren swallowed. “Because he sacrificed everything for his name to be known. Known as the Adversary.”

“Why… would someone… want this?”

“He doesn’t.”

Soren felt his voice catch in his throat. It wasn’t a lie, at least as far as he’d come to known his former master. He considered his lot a tragedy, a necessity.

“I left someone behind…” the man’s voice began to fade, his lips moving silently.

“I promise,” Soren held the man’s head, until his gaze broke, the ghost of a smile on his face.

He stood up, his gaze turning west.

“Silver Count,” Soren muttered. “How can you hope to bring peace, if your name only brings savagery.”

Teremi Parson Wilkins
Teremi Parson Wilkins
2 months ago

She cursed herself again, the light screen in front of flickering a dull red as a reminder of her failure that evening.

With a sigh, and the application of effort she hit the button on the computer triggering a restart. The computer hummed at the effort, after which went through the process of restarting. The mechanical whirls gave her some level of comfort as she found herself with her thoughts while waiting.

“What the fuck am I supposed to do now?”

Like a mantra with no ending or a prayer synthesized into sounding like a broken record, she thought the same thing over and over and over again.

“I see that everything’s so fucked up, but what do I do about it, can I even do anything about it?”

She felt it in her, that despair, that ever yawning Abyss that threatened her resolve and her motivation to act.

It’d been a long time since she’d felt that presence over her shoulder, that weight of that shadow causing her to shudder in fear.

The form that haunted her almost took an audible presence in her mind.
She knew she had to be fast. She could feel it’s influence already, the whispers in her mind.

Everything was coming to an end.
There was no stopping it.
She snapped her head to look around in an instant, almost giving herself whiplash.

“Hello there, My darling, would you like a title?”
The presence hung, confused for a moment, aware on a level it had never contemplated before.

“The Laughing Madness”

She didn’t know if it liked it or not, but when she no longer felt suffocated by the presence, she knew she’d managed it… it had been a risky gamble, but one that paid off in the next few moments when.
“Call me… Mxtress Spiral, a.k.a. The Laughing Madness.”

She felt a grin forming on her face.

“Nice you formally meet you, Mxtress Spiral.”

Tamela Redfin
Tamela Redfin
2 months ago

I was a human

By Tamela Redfin

Augen decided it was time to truly break the bitch’s heart for her disloyalty. And he had a devious idea of how. “Engel! Come here.” he called down the hallway of the Golden House.

Engel’s eyes widened. “Dad? What are you doing?”

He motioned to her. “I need you for something. My precious Engel.”

“Can’t one of your clones help you?” Engel asked, annoyed.

“No! Now come here and obey your father. You aren’t an adult yet.”

She slowly did and as he said and then he stabbed her with a sleeping aid. She collapsed and Augen caught her in his arms.

He entered his lab with Engel still asleep. “This will teach her mother not to cheat on me. With her bodyguard no less.” He carefully scooped out Engel’s eye and placed it in a jar. He then damaged the temporal lobe with a laser gun. That way she’d never remember. Not even her name.

Next, he placed a railgun in her right arm and placed armor under her skin. It was a careful but necessary task. Then he’d wait a few days so her mother would be extra afraid.

After a few hours, the girl came online, looking around the room. “Ugh, where is my location?”

“Hello, my young daughter.” A scientist with red eyes smiled. “My name is Augen Vene. I inserted a chip into your mind. What do you remember, child? Anything?”

“False… I don’t know.”

“Do you remember your name?” Augen asked.

The girl shook her head.

Augen touched her cheek. “Oh you poor thing. It’s gonna be ok. Corlita, by the way. Your name is Corlita.”

“Corlita.” She repeated. “My name is Corlita.”

“That’s good. Now I ask you to recover here for a few days.”

“Wait, Augen, sir. What is my purpose?” Cortlita asked.

Augen didn’t answer, leaving Corlita to look at her leg, which had a clear box of wires in it. How odd this was.

But Corlita. The name sounded familiar.

Silas Winters
Silas Winters
2 months ago

The Power of a Name by Silas Winters

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

He never understood nor believed that people spit blood during a fight–it didn’t make sense. Until he found himself drooling it onto his white, mud-stained sweatshirt, it turns out that being punched in the mouth scrapes your cheeks against your teeth.

Scott didn’t make an effort to stand or remove himself from the rain puddle. He wondered if he’d get sick or hypothermic, but he couldn’t bring himself to care anymore. The way things were going today he may as well give up.

He eased his face back into the wet concrete— that familiar faint light disturbed him.

“You mustn’t give up,” the wispy woman’s voice said.

It hurt to disappoint her, but he was only a man.

His voice was quiet, “I don’t have what it takes. To kill a demon.”

As he shuffled to sit up he realized why the demon had left him as it did. That strange sensation in his lower back, his legs were paralyzed. He mourned everything he could no longer do.

She knelt beside him and wiped away blood, dirt, and tears.

“Tell me your name how you would say it. Speak it with soul and confidence as how you would have it be said.”

He hesitated, knowing names carried power, but the spirit had only done him right to this point. His blunder was his own.

He cleared his throat and steadied his breathing, “I give you my true name, Scott Maine Childs.”

The spirit’s bosom lit aflame with a beautiful, golden light. She reached into her ethereal chest and placed the light into his hands. Where she guided them to his heart;
in a warm rush, it was absorbed. When he blinked, she was no more.

In a bizarre, divine euphoria, Scott Maine Childs stood.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Last edited 2 months ago by Silas Winters
C. M. Weller
2 months ago

Teach Them Manners [Children of the Thrice-Sworn]
C. M. Weller

The gatekeeper towards their final destination had announced himself as a Baron of Whistlestop, and suspiciously without titles. He was using it to keep them out of his emporium, finally stating, “I reserve the right to refuse service to filthy Teufels.”

“Do it,” whispered Dajana Alehandro, ace Bard in more ways than one.

Teg looked pleadingly to his best friend. “Must I really?”

“Oh please. I wanna write an epic poem about the look on his face.”

It was her kitten eyes that were the final straw. “Add in your preamble that I HATE doing this.” He excavated his ring and prepared to put it on the third finger of his right hand. He took a deep breath as he slid it on, becoming a different person in stance and attitude.

Da always said it was always about looking down one’s nose in a very specific tone of voice. “And you, çur,” it may sound like ‘sir’ to the uninitiated, but those with an ear for it could hear the disrespect, “have the singular and distinguished honour of being in the presence of Integrity Gorafyne Portcullis Whitekeep,” the vendor’s face went through all seven stages of grief and loss as Teg rattled through all of his puff titles. “…and Crown Prince of this realm. I have the power to find you guilty without trial of discriminatory business practices that are counter to the edict of the Thrice-Sworn King. I would strongly advise that you immediately cease and desist forbidding my friend and ally entry, and allow us to commence our desired commerce.”

The former ‘Baron’ boggled at the ring, and looked Teg up and down again. “But… you’re a HUMAN!”

“My immediate brothers and sister are Hellkin. Çur,” Teg continued, adding some looming as he spoke. “Further, Dajana has been my lifelong best friend and I would go nowhere without her.”

Dajana stopped giggling long enough to say, “Imagine your competitor having the, ‘By Royal Appointment’ plaque by their door.”

“He may also imagine being locked in the stocks,” breezed Teg. “But that’s not the point.”

Last edited 2 months ago by C. M. Weller
R J Chapman
R J Chapman
2 months ago

“Centenary” by R J Chapman

Unwrapping the paper bags onto their plates, the odour of vinegar wafted through the kitchen.

‘Good choice,’ said Paul, peeling off a chip that clung to the greased paper.

Oozing from its container, Arthur coated his meal wish the suspiciously dayglo curry sauce. ‘Well, today would have been Pa’s…’


‘I used to bring him fish and chips on his birthday.’

‘Your grandpa could eat this every day, with a mountain of bread and butter, followed by a syrup pudding, and then a pork pie before bed. He would scoff anything full of fat and sugar. Smoked until he was seventy-five. It’s a miracle he lasted until ninety-four. Arteries like hosepipes!’

‘A medical marvel,’ Arthur laughed, ‘or at least very lucky.’

‘Oh, he was. He had diphtheria as a baby; it killed two of his brothers. Yet he survived. He got blown up on Normandy beach, another soldier landed on top of him, shielding him from the shrapnel. Amazing, really. Two sons. Six grandchildren. Eleven great-grandchildren. All here when he should have been dead long before marrying your nana.’

Arthur had heard all this before, but smiled nonetheless.

After dinner, Arthur passed his father a present.

‘What’s this?’

‘It’s my book.’

‘But I thought…’

‘It doesn’t come out until next month, but I managed to pay for a few special edition hardbacks. They arrived early.’

‘Can I open it? You’ve already spoilt the surprise.’

‘That’s not the surprise. Since I can’t use my name…’ Arthur hesitated.

‘Look, when you were born, I’d never heard of Arthur C. Clarke,’ said Paul defensively.

‘I know. But I decided I didn’t want to be one of those “initial” authors, so I’ve used a pseudonym. I just wanted to pre-warn you. You can open it now.’

Paul tore open the wrapping paper to unveil the front cover:

“A Seventh Son


Douglas Raymond Clark”

Nervously, Arthur asked: ‘Do you think Pa would mind?’

A sudden lump forming in his throat, Paul shook his head silently. He traced over the letters of his father’s name, caressing every gold indentation as if it were carved in stone.

2 months ago

He’s a Radical Rat
By Marx

“I don’t get it!” Matt growled, sitting back in his chair, pinching the bridge of his nose. “I just want to free them! That’s all! But every time… every SINGLE time I free a muse, they insist on serving me!”

Laila flashed Matt a bemused grin. “You want to know why that keeps happening?”

“Enlighten me. Please.”

“So… imagine, for a moment, that you’re human. Captured by evil whatevers and kept in a cell for years upon years. Then one day the cell door just… opens. And when you look outside, you see that your cell has an electric panel and a rat chewed through it. Would you feel appreciation to the rat?”

Matt paused to think about it. “Of course.”

“Would you feel the need to pay the rat back?”

“Well… no. It’s a rat. Even if I tried to, it would just run away.”

“Bingo!” Laila said with a laugh. “Now, rewind. Your cell door opens, but this time it’s another human. One actively freeing you and showing you how to escape. What changes?”

“I’d be absolutely indebted to them. And if they needed anything from me, I’d be there for them. But that’s not the same as–“

“Rewind,” Laila interrupted. “This time your cell door opens and it’s me. You don’t know me. And when I say it’s me, I mean…” Standing up, Laila spread her arms wide, unleashing her glowing, feathered wings, bathing the room in her holy light.

Matt’s eyes narrowed. “Okay… Okay, I get it. So, the problem is me, specifically.”

“You’re the horseman of Death. Everything you do is with the power and authority of that title.”

“So… I need a rat…”

Laila threw back her head in a loud laugh. “What goes into freeing a muse? You overpower their captor. You free the muse. Then you literally go into their minds and give them the equivalent of magical therapy for their trauma.

“You could try to use a ‘rat’. But returning to the analogy, it would be a holy rat who you’d know was serving under a higher power.”