adrenokrome's picture
adrenokrome from United Kingdom is reading Altered Carbon June 6, 2013 - 5:11am

Only the shadow knows… Nice nod!

Stories in Wind

Aeolus, the God of Wind had promised him his only desire, a release from everything. That is if he could avenge a bitter defeat previously suffered to the God of the Sun. Rifkin had done so. He challenged the God of the Sun, torn down the sky and watched as it was consumed by the creatures of darkness once held at bay by the light before turning his back on the carnage and returning to the Great Hall of Anemoi.

“Where is my payment? Aeolus, God of the Wind! Answer me!”” said Rifkin. His voice echoes around the walls but there is no reply. Rifkin would not leave until he had been paid. The hours turned into days, the days into weeks. Rifkin never grew weary, his rage kept him strong, angry at being cursed with immortality by a wish-daemon millennia before and for being made to wait.

But the great Aeolus, God of the Wind never replied. Without the Sun, Aeolus had ceased to be. Centuries later, when Rifkin stepped outside into the black, he understood that payment had already been made in full.

--

Prompt:  Apes, Pigs, Spacemen?

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things June 6, 2013 - 9:05am

Man, I'm waiting for that prompt to click with me somehow. It's just a matter of time, I'm sure.

Andrew Judd's picture
Andrew Judd June 6, 2013 - 11:01pm

I hope you don't mind me interjecting so soon after my last write-up?

 

Apes, Pigs, Spacemen?

"Attention, citizens of Red Rocket Rising!" The broadcaster's urgent voice blared over the PA, turning the heads of the librarians in the breakroom. "The planet is under attack by the Crimson Apes. Everyone is urged to stay indoors and any visible lights are to be kept off. If you are wearing nucleic adsorbates, please activate them immediately. Again, everyone is to stay indoors, turn off the lights, and turn on your nucleic adsorber!"

As Julie presses the nodule on her bracelet, others in the break room hurry for panic room. Steel is barely exposed from the opening door before a nearby wall buckles and collapses. Standing with such girth to reveal the inhumanity of the intruder, red highlights in the exposed fur and the silver lining of the suit, is a Crimson Ape! Such ferocity in its eyes, in its teeth, "Quit this defiance of our rule, little pigs, and relinquish this facility's power supply!"

Out of the darkness of the reference material, "Quit?" A coruscating beam of violet light erupts, sears through the upraised pages of an open book, and brings the Crimson Ape to its knees. Stepping into the light and lifting the damaged tome with an inspectful eye, "Quit isn't in my dictionary." Leveling the gun at the simian scoundrel, "I suggest you leave, because these little piggies have something much better than brick to handle you."

...

Prompt: Something Snapped Psychically

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. June 10, 2013 - 11:06am

Something Snapped Pysichally

It starts with an empty coffee pot. That costs an extra two minutes. Then another ten minutes of acutal productive time is wasted as you wait only to realize that the machine finished five minutes back and everyone else has topped off their mugs and left you with an empty pot again.  So you toss the grounds again and sit through seven minutes of pointless boredom waiting while the steaming and bubbling monster dribbles much too hot water over little better than ground sawdust.  It produces not that sweet ambrosia that is coffee but something dark and bitter, suited to match the growing knot of hatred writhing deep in your soul. Twenty minutes have passed since you first sat down and already you're thirty behind.

Then the phone rings. Someone's screaming at you on the other end of the line. You try to say hello, say anything, anything at all, but all they do is scream louder.  Finally, slam the phone into it's cradle only to have it ring instantly.  Another shrill voice, more screaming and yelling, more frustration.  It's the same over and over again.  They never listen, just yell and yell and yell.  You try to take notes, to record their problem. You try to lend a compassionate ear only to be assaulted with incessant barrages of torturous waling.

Then IT walks by. No more a name, not even a person, just IT.  The one that always get's it right, that never misses a deadline or fails to please.  IT say's 'Hi!' with its cheery, too happy voice and smile filled with perfect, porcelain teeth, and asks how your day is going.  That's the feather, you see.  That's the point where it all comes crashing down.  When you set the phone carefully back on its cradle, ignoring its angry rattling just as your ignore IT's pleas.  That's when you decide you'd rather paint the walls than comfort another faceless, mindless, ... customer!  Yes, paint the walls a nice shade of red.

 

Prompt: Psychosomatic Feline Presence

(for the cat people out there ;)

 

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) June 10, 2013 - 11:31am

Hehehe, I've had so many days like that. Good piece!

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. June 10, 2013 - 11:58am

Thankfully, today does not fall into that category ;)  

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) June 11, 2013 - 12:02am

Psychosomatic Feline Presence

“Hayfever?” asked the man on the bus next to him, voice tinged with sympathy.

Max shook his head. His eyes were puffy and streaming and he blew his nose constantly, turning the tissue to try and find a dry spot. He saw the world through a permanent glaze of saltwater. Loosening his collar to relieve pressure on the hive on his neck, Max avoided eye contact hoping this would end any conversation. Sadly the man was one of those types who just like to talk, and any stranger will do in a pinch.

“Cold?” he asked.

Again Max shook his head. Removing a tube of throat lozenges from his inside pocket, he pushed one out with the tip of his thumb and popped it in his mouth. It gave him scant relief, and the effects did not last long, but it was something at least. A sudden bout of coughing made the lozenge shoot out from his mouth, landing at the feet of a particularly plump woman who stared at him with disgust and loathing. He looked at her apologetically, and then popped another throat sweet.

“Allergies?” the man pushed.

This time Max didn’t answer. He stared down to the floor of the bus where the cat sat preening itself. Today it was a ginger tomcat fond of rubbing its head against Max’s shin. At least it stayed down on the floor; yesterday it was a black and white cat who sat on his lap occasionally pushing its face into his chin. Nobody else could see it, and it followed him everywhere. At night it curled up on the pillow, tail resting across Max’s face. For the millionth time he cursed his own battered psyche. Safe to say he was more of a dog person.

--

Prompt: Rise and Fall

adrenokrome's picture
adrenokrome from United Kingdom is reading Altered Carbon June 11, 2013 - 2:59am

Rise and Fall

The anticipation had finally shattered his nerves. The momentum and adrenaline of the last three months had left him a jittering mess. But he was almost finished, one way or another.

“Five minutes!” said Dave Winnipeg from behind and within earshot to make his heart skip. He hated Dave, the smug arrogant bastard revelled in the failure of others and he loved the sound of his own voice.  He was certain that Dave was sleeping with his rival. 

“Come on” he thought to himself, his eyes consumed by mania as he stares at his creation, it is nearly ready but anything could happen between now and judgement. A crash in the background metal on metal, nerves had got to his rival too. The fracas becomes noisier and the air turns blue. He turns for a moment to see his rival, her face red with anger, self loathing and embarrassment. She is holding back the tears as Dave swoops in to console her. He fights back the automatic smile but cannot control it. He turns to see his creation, finally, the moment of truth. He opens the oven door with too much haste and then it happens. His soufflé falls.  

Prompt: Flowers in bloom

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) June 11, 2013 - 3:55am

Great last line!

ArlaneEnalra's picture
ArlaneEnalra from Texas is reading Right now I'm editing . . .. June 11, 2013 - 5:41am

Nice one @Adam that made me smile ;)

Good bit of misdirection there @Ardenokrome!

adrenokrome's picture
adrenokrome from United Kingdom is reading Altered Carbon June 17, 2013 - 2:05am

Thank you very much @ArlaneEnalra

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) June 17, 2013 - 5:27am

Flowers in Bloom

“Damn it,” I thought to myself, “I don’t want to die in a cliché.”

I could feel the blood trickle down my arm and drip slowly from the tips of my fingers down to the earth beneath me. I didn’t mind that the greenhouse was filled with roses, but why did they have to be red? It was like dying in a metaphor. She’d worn a red rose in her lapel when she’d first walked into my office, smoke curling from her unfiltered Lucky Strike. She had me wrapped around her little finger before I could say double whiskey on the rocks. It was such a simple case - follow the husband, take some photos, get paid. I wasn’t banking on a conspiracy surrounding irrigation, a small island off the coast of Peru, and a dead dog called Cudro. If I was smart I’d have quit the case and moved to a nice small town with a nearby whiskey distillery. I guess I listened to the wrong brain this time.

Regan was a killer, but luckily for me he wasn’t the sharpest thorn on the rose stem. He moved slowly and cautiously, still following the trail of blood I’d left him. Clearly it hadn’t occurred to him that I could stop the flow long enough to set up an ambush. I jumped him from behind and knocked the pistol from his grasp. Throwing a punch into his jaw I was left stunned when his head exploded showering me with the stuff of nightmares for months to come, if I lived. He dropped to the floor and I saw her standing there with a literal smoking gun.

I slumped to the ground, and fumbled for my packet of smokes. They had seen better days, but I managed to find one that was relatively intact and popped it between my lips. I patted down my pockets and picked out the box of matches. Opening it to take one out I read again the scribbled note “C.I.S.V. 148759” half expecting to experience a sudden epiphany that would clear the fog and have this all make sense. Nope, still not a clue. On her way past me she bent down and lit my cigarette for me. I looked at her legs and saw a flash of garter that made me suddenly dizzy, though that could have been the blood loss. I allowed myself to fall to the ground and bent my neck to watch her walk away upside down. Sure, she might have killed me, and if by chance I survived I’d face a lot of awkward questions I had no answer for. For a dame with a body like that though, I couldn’t help but forgive her.

The End


--


Prompt: The Perdition Protocols

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things July 4, 2013 - 9:00am

*cough*

Let's see some new blood in here.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) August 23, 2013 - 11:33am

Shame this has slipped away... anyone want to kickstart it again? It is/was great fun to do!

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things August 23, 2013 - 12:29pm

Maybe your prompt scared everyone off. Ha.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like August 23, 2013 - 10:06pm

The Perdition Protocols

  1. Conditions (Non-exclusive):  Irony, disrepect, immutable indifference to passive-aggressive and/or silent disapproval, apparent desire to confound current procedures without offering any alternative, terrorism, unwarranted sumgness.
  2. Responses (Non-exhaustive):  Ostricization, overt caterwauling and/or bellyaching, discrete copyright infringement, slander, humor, misdirection, fellatio.
  3. Ramifications (Non-anything):  Laughter, sadness, exposure, loneliness, belief, unbelief, disbelief, ultrabelief, metabelief, exobelief, endobelief, intrabelief, interbelief, homobelief, heterobelief, orthobelief, death.
jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like August 23, 2013 - 10:09pm

Prompt:  Strawberry Carrot Juice

KarenRunge's picture
KarenRunge from South Africa is reading Blindness August 24, 2013 - 2:05am

Strawberry Carrot Juice

There’s my ma, strung out on the long bench at the back of the house, under the tree.  Claiming headache, claiming migraine.  Claiming anything to keep me home in here, and not out there being a kid like I want to be.  So she can stay out there and be anything but what a mother should be.  She’s got her fingernails freshly painted, strawberry red.  They’re still wet, I know, so when she starts waving them in the air as I step outside, I don’t realise for a while that she’s calling me over.

“Go fetch my sunhat,” she tells me when I’m standing over her, her eyes squinting, a wet claw hand shielding her face.  “And check on your baby brother while you’re up.  Feed him if he needs.”  Her skin looks hot white, translucent, stripped under sunshine.  Her mascara’s too thick and her eyes are smudged black slams, like someone’s been tearing into her.  Like I want to tear into her.  Underneath that, she’s as healthy as she always is.  The kind of healthy people get to be when they use their laziness to pretend they’re in pain.  “Get me a glass of carrot juice, too.”  That last is what she says to me as I’m heading back up to the house, kicking through long grass, flaming mad under the streaks of open sun.

Baby Brandon is lying half-asleep in the crib where I left him a few hours ago.  At least, I think that’s sleep.  He’s breathing a little too heavy, maybe, and when I reach down to unpeel his nappy, his skin is burning hot.  I guess it’s to be expected, when you leave a baby in the care of a little girl.  I don’t know much about babies, but I’ve had enough practice unpicking the hole I made in the soft of his upper thigh.  He doesn’t scream.  Maybe he’s used to the pain.  Ma’s glass of carrot juice turns strawberry pink.  A few drops fall on the white coverlet, but she won’t notice.  Maybe one day.  But not today.  The sun’s too hot and she says her head still hurts.  She’ll drink it and she’ll say she suffers so much, she can barely taste a thing.

Prompt: Broken wine glass

 

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) August 26, 2013 - 11:41pm

Broken Wine Glass

As he looked down it was the broken wine glass that upset him, far more so than the dead body. The stem and foot were intact, but the bowl had mostly shattered across the floor. It was a Riedel Sommelier burgundy crystal glass, a thing of beauty. He’d enjoyed serving wine to guests with that set, but always made sure they were safely on the table when he told them what they cost. Now the set would be incomplete.

Adding to his pain was the leakage; the red liquid oozing from its broken vessel. The burgundy didn’t spread, contained by the expensive Berber rug he’d purchased in Morocco at great expense. He could never look at that rug without thinking of the Medina of Marrakesh, or swimming in the sea off Rabat. Its sight conjured up memories of the smell of tagines and tobacco. Now it lay on his floor bleeding, as dead as the body lying at its edge.

Finally he steeled himself to look at the body. In death the features had relaxed, the skin no longer tight over the face. His chiselled chin was no longer defined. If he’d been a celebrity he’d have thought it looked like a bad lookalike. In fact, he could almost convince himself that he wasn’t looking down at his own dead body, victim of his love of red meat, alcohol and a more than occasional cigar. Almost. Feeling the pull he allowed himself to be dragged away, the scene fading before his ghostly eyes.

 

Prompt: No More Rules

Mitchevi's picture
Mitchevi from Saskatchewan, Canada is reading Tin House #68 - Summer Reading September 3, 2013 - 8:08pm

New blood here... this is short and sweet. Just like me. :)

No More Rules

More rules do not apply to you. You only need to follow the less rules, because didn't you know? Less is more.

You should speak less, bitch less, and definately wear less clothes. That will make us all happy.  You can be happy too, if you think less.

We cannot let you play by the more rules, not yet anyway.  Maybe we will let you watch or be our mascot, but only if you grow more balls.

 

Prompt:  Snow in June

 

Gordon B. White's picture
Gordon B. White from Seattle (for now) September 6, 2013 - 10:41pm

Repeat blood here!

Here's one from Mitchevi's prompt:

Snow in June

Through her robe, Marianne shivered. It had been snow every day since she'd asked Vic to leave and every freezing room made her second-guess her choice.  On the dresser was a picture of them both in mortarboards and gowns.  On bookshelf was that ridiculous stuffed turtle he'd bought on their honeymoon. A pile of envelopes addressed in both their names formed drifts on the kitchen table.

 

She opened a letter off the top and read: "Dear Dr. and Mrs. Evil - This notice is to remind you that your payments are overdue on your Weathertron-2000 (TM) weather-controlling Doomsday Device (TM). If you do not remit," blah blah and so on.

She sighed, looking at the snowbanks piled against her windows. Maybe she would call him and make plans to meet up next week for the Fourth of July.  Or at least discuss returning the Weathertron.

 

Promptamong the Does

 

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like November 27, 2013 - 7:46am

[resurrection]

Among the Does

The small-gauge shotgun rests easy on his elbow, pointed ready at the rustling. A deer, a female deer. A drop of golden sun. The name I call myself. A long, long way to run. ... The noise grows more quiet, then ceases. Oh, hell—where'd they go? Was I singing out loud? Should've worn that scent-mask Jim told me about. There'll be more in a bit. The breeze carries new life to his lungs. His arms remain almost aiming.

A herd of five creep out of the foliage. And there in the middle walks a single billy goat, big horns teetering, beard swinging in time with its idiot plod. Hey, buddy. What's your story? You little pimp. Got yourself a regular harem here, don't you? I like those skull-bones. You girls might've just got lucky. He tracks the horny creature but can't clear the deer.

Deer scare easy, but goats are stupid. I can do this. While his left hand props the barrel in position, his right pulls a shell off the bandolier. Won't be a waste if this works. He tosses the shell into the leaves in front of the herd. The deer start immediately, the goat's head swivels. Hand swings to the trigger and the .410 slug flies straight from a faulty aim and blasts the goat's left horn off its base. The creature bounds off with a stiff neck. Dammit. Well there's something to take home anyway.

Epilogue: Two days later, thanks to his imbalance, the goat falls off a ledge and dies.

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things November 27, 2013 - 10:04am

Since you didn't post a new prompt, the next writer has to choose any three consecutive words from your story as the new prompt. Because it amuses me.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like November 27, 2013 - 10:29am

Whoops.

But I guess that way they have to read at least a little of it.

OtterMan's picture
OtterMan from New Jersey, near Philadelphia USA is reading Ringworlds Children November 28, 2013 - 11:27am

Long, long way

 

I remember a childhood, neither happy nor carefree. The oldest child, burdened with hopes and fears of a lost generation. Fear of the war still fresh in their minds, the crash that stole their hope. The belt to make me tough because it's a tough world out there. Praise went unheard because it might make me prideful and arrogant. Love was a word, just a word.

I grew to a man and went to my war. I was tough enough to take the heat of the jungle, the stench of the bodies, the cries of the children without flinching away. I was stubborn, prideful, and arrogant! With a round in the chamber and the safety off I took long purposeful strides looking straight ahead. The wire snagged my boot. The breeze, warm, humid lifted my helmet... I woke up on a ship far out to sea. 

My childern grew in a happy home. My anger and fear stayed deep inside. A kind smile, dark eyes and the tight white curve when she turned to go. A leg lost, a love found, fair trade I told myself. I tried to forget the others. My hand had clenched as I spun to the ground, twenty rounds spit out in full auto. Five men hit, one dead, one blind. She kept the fear at bay and soothed the anger with calm dark eyes. The children have left on airplanes and trains, the fresh turned earth is all that remains. It has been such a long, long way, but I know love is more than just a word.

 

(Run don't walk)

Kristi's picture
Kristi from Connecticut is reading Anything I can get my hands on! December 1, 2013 - 2:53pm

I'm a new blood... here goes!

Run don't walk

I recall the words my mother sings to us every night as I sit in the cold snow. The icy water seeps through my clothes. It chills me deep in my bones. The blood runs out of me, pooling under my leg. I fell from the tree in slow motion, heard the bone snap like a twig, piercing my skin. The metallic smell of steaming blood rises from the wound.

“When the vapors crest the hill in the night, run don’t walk with all your might.”

I knew better than to wander into the woods at night. My stomach drops as the moon crests the hill and the deep guttural wails echo down off the ridge. They ride the coat tails of the fog that slithers quietly through the trees. The hair on the back of my neck rises. I pull myself up, grasping at of the deep wounds clawed into the trees.

My heart pounds as the mist wraps around my legs. It swirls up my body. I feel hot breath, something soft and warm lapping at my wound. The sound splintering of wood.  I scream-- not wood bone. The fog thickens filling my mouth, I gasp. It clogs my lungs. I hear the church bells in the distance. The pain shoots through me. The fog reaches my eyes everything goes dark.

 

{five days left}

Kristi's picture
Kristi from Connecticut is reading Anything I can get my hands on! December 1, 2013 - 3:15pm

@Nathan Loved the bit about the worm!

@Gordon I want more of Dr. & Mrs. Evil! 

@Karen your stuff is so eerie!

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 1, 2013 - 6:10pm

Sat down in the wrong frame of mind, but forced myself to do this.  Fun exercise.  Went a little long, sue me, I couldn't cut any more.  Hope it doesn't suck...

 

When you're offered the GEI, a lot runs through your mind.  What it offers would be hard for anyone to ignore, even in peacetime.  But the price is steep.  Five years is what you get.  For five years you don't feel pain, you don't feel tired, you're stronger, faster, smarter, and more aware than any living thing.  The only thing you don't do is sleep.  For five years, you're a god.  Plus or minus a few months, depending on who knows what- genetics, how much you demand of it, or yourself, maybe how exactly it's placed?  Hardly matters now.

There's a good chance I'd have been dead by now anyway.  It's a war of attrition, and both sides know it.  The general consensus among us grunts was that we're all dead already, just still breathing.  It was that consideration- dying a meaningless, statistical death, versus making my time mean something, that made me say yes.  The moment the thing kicked on, I knew that time would be well spent.  I could feel the enhancements- the brute strength and speed, the keen awareness of everything around me...  I even cut my hand with a knife to see what it would feel like- barely a tickle.  Then I watched it heal in a matter of minutes.  You could actually see the skin reforming.  Over the last five years, I've done amazing things.  I took out entire platoons of fifty or so by myself.  I led a group of seven Ubers, including me, and we took out an entire base deep in enemy territory.  The list goes on.  In between missions, we would get online and hack the enemy's systems, disrupt their communications, learn their secrets, or turn off their lights, just for fun.  I saved a lot of lives, too, when wounded came our way.  I've performed surgeries with success rates the rest of the world never saw.  We Ubers can do anything and everything.  

But then one day it started.  You don't think about it the first couple years, even when you watch it happen to another guy, one who got it before you.  The decline.  It comes on sudden, and it happens fast.  At least, it seems fast.  About halfway into my tenure, I started to fantacize that I was exempt.  Maybe everyone does- denial is a pretty universal phenomenon among humans, and superhumans.  But there was no denying the shakes.  It took about a week for them to get so bad that I couldn't steady my hand at all.  So much for firing a weapon or holding a scalpel.  I can't even type at this point.  Five years seems so long on one side, so short on the other.  How quickly it became five days.  Five days until the voiding.  

There are different ways we choose to perform the voiding.  It's evolved into a ritual of sorts that only other Ubers attend.  I've attended many.  It isn't ceremonious, but it isn't sad.  It's stoic.  A necessary act.  Once the host is used up, he or she isn't useful anymore, the implant must be retrieved.  It's not like we can make more.  But the implant is resilient.  The only way to get it back is to void the host.  The first method to be ritualized was fire.  Make it so hot your bones are barely left behind when its done, but the implant- that chrome looking spiraled mess of wires is there waiting.  Not a mark on it.  Another more recent addition to become popular was acid.  It disolves the host in a minute, but they're dead in seconds.  Other, stranger ways have come and gone, and we're free to make up a new one for ourselves.  But for me, it'll be fire.  It will reflect the last and best years of my life.  I don't know what I'll think about when the flames engulf me.  I can't decide if I'm afraid.  I know I'll have no regrets, though.  If I could do it over again, I would.  Even as I speak into this mic because my muscles tremor too much to type, I couldn't go back to being normal if I wanted to.  The higher-ups give you a week to prepare, unless you want to go early.  I spent the last couple saying my goodbyes, but the rest will be spent telling my story.  It's a hell of a story, I figure, and the world might want to hear.  My body is spent, but my mind is still sharp.  Consider it my final mission.  Five days left.  I hope someone will listen.

 

 

[you're wearing that!?]

Kristi's picture
Kristi from Connecticut is reading Anything I can get my hands on! December 1, 2013 - 6:15pm

@Thuggish I will now throw my money in your general direction! I would buy that in a heart beat! Never thought my three little words would lead to such awsomeness!!! Way to go!!!

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 1, 2013 - 6:19pm

Well thank you.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal December 1, 2013 - 6:56pm

@ Kristi

Finally got around to reading yours, is it part of The Spark?  Or something else you winged?

Kristi's picture
Kristi from Connecticut is reading Anything I can get my hands on! December 1, 2013 - 8:49pm

This in here just on the fly... I'm still doing the post a paragraphs for The Spark! I will defiantly have to pick your brain later!

*EDITED/ADDED* I may actually find a place to work this in with some tweaking... wasn't even thinking about it, but it may work for the book! 

Alan H Jordan's picture
Alan H Jordan from Reno, Nevada is reading "The Whisper Jar" and "The World Beneath" December 14, 2013 - 12:14am

New blood here. This took twenty minutes. 

Stories In Wind

The raven's in the wind, Artemis thought. Slipping and sliding in the shadows. Popping up only when it’s convenient. The black one is in the wind, with my soul, my stories.

Father if I don’t have my past, I’ll never fulfill my future. Stories are my past, made edible. Stories are understanding. My stories are in the wind. Humanities stories are in the wind. The world is in the wind. She tossed her quiver down.

The Golden Eagle soared over Artemis, riding the thermals. Circled. Spiraled down. Landed next to Artemis. Opened her beak, revealed a golden light containing Artemis’s stories, and more. A gift from the gods?  Perhaps. Perhaps a prayer answered.

F.Y.I.
Artemis, the sister of Apollo and daughter of Zeus and Leto, is the virgin goddess of the hunt who also assists in childbirth. In the Iliad Book 21, she appears like a tearful child who goes crying to her father when her stepmother Hera boxes her ears, but among mortals she is more self-assured. Artemis is an archer with golden arrows, who also dances with the Charites. She takes her virginity and modesty seriously and punishes any infraction. This sometimes leads to conflict with the goddess of love, Aphrodite. When the Greeks under Agamemnon were halted at Aulis on their way to Troy it was because Agamemnon had offended the goddess with a boast that he was as good a marksman as Artemis. The winds were returned so the ships could sail after appropriate sacrifice was made to her. In this case, the sacrifice was Agamemnon's daughter Iphigenia. In some versions, Artemis replaces Iphigenia with a deer at the last minute. The Roman equivalent of Artemis is Diana.
Source: http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/religionmythology/ig/Artemis/

New prompt: Today I prosper

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics December 18, 2013 - 6:54am

Today I Prosper

For eight years I played the good man, but no more. That whole time, I sat on my hands and my rage as the people around me spat insults at my feet and trapsed about as if I were lame, blind, or deaf. The neighbor sat on his dilapidated porch, swilling beer and talking at his cell phone throughout many a night. The guy who shares a cubicle wall with me, drummed on his desk incessantly, and always called me 'lil Franks'n'Beans' with that pathetic chuckle. My boss, the scream queen, bathed us all in a daily shower of vitriol, making sure to get behind our ears and always scrub doubly hard on her male employee's balls. And of course, my beautiful wife and our three kids. They walked around like they were the ones working two jobs. They were the ones sleeping four hours a night just to keep little Jeanie in private school, little Micah in basketball and baseball and soccer camp, and my little snookums in diamonds and Manolo Blahniks. They never had a nice word to say, or a thank you, only gimme gimme gimme, and really sweetie you're neer around. No fucking shit, I'm not around, you ungrateful pigs.

No more.

Yesterday, the waiting period was over, and I picked up my nice, shiny new... tool. Dad always said if you want to be a success, you need successful tools. Well, this one, Pop, this one is fully loaded.

Today, I finally get to let off a little steam. Today, I will pay a friendly little visit to that shitfaced, fat turd of a man and give him a few new holes he can use to 'drain' the lizard as he liked to say every time he unzipped and pissed on my rose bushes. Today, I'm gonna call a meeting of my own at work, and everyone is damn well gonna take the memo and all of its bullet points. Then, I'll come home to a nice home-cooked meal, because I left the gas on in the fireplace and I know how much my saint of a wife likes to sneak a cigarette after fucking the kids' tutor on my living room rug. Today, I get to enjoy the fruits of my labors for once. Today, I prosper.

 

New prompt: Mmmm, nun soup.

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics January 2, 2014 - 11:07am

So, are we all really gonna let this thread die? That's some bullshit...

KarenRunge's picture
KarenRunge from South Africa is reading Blindness January 4, 2014 - 3:45am

Never let a good thing die!

 

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KarenRunge from South Africa is reading Blindness January 4, 2014 - 3:47am

Mmm, nun soup

“Mmmm, nun soup!” my son says, seated at the table with his fat fist hammed around his spoon, grinning into his bowl of onion and mushroom soup. The little black caps of the severed mushrooms bounce along the surface as he dives his spoon in and out, in and out, crushing them against the sides of the bowl. The pieces of soft white onion have already been shredded and spat out. They cluster together in half-dissolved lumps, making me think of discharge, of semen, of secret excretions.

“Don’t play with your food,” I tell him, the words so automatic I barely hear myself saying them. I worry that one day, if he makes it into manhood, if he ever finally knows his manners, I’ll find myself saying that to him as he neatly folds his napkin.

“If you’re only going to play with your food, then I won’t let you eat it!” I tell him, and take his bowl away, dumping the contents out in the sink. As he starts to cry, I watch the tiny black caps and shredded white robes disappear into the black of the drain, into the abyss of filth and murky water. My son, he’ll just have to go hungry again.

Prompt: Nobody here dies

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal January 4, 2014 - 4:46pm

The journey is strange, surreal.  It starts in a sort of chaos that you can't make sense of.  Not the kind where you have a general idea of a few things happening, but are still confused.  No, it's unlike anything in existence.  But then it's peaceful.  Like floating in water with your ears just below the surface.  Weightless, almost noiseless.  The temperature is perfect, the air is fresh and clean.  Your hands move, through water, you feel that you are floating.  You sit up, inhale sharply, feel the refreshment.  Your feet touch the dirt beneath and you see you're in a pond, knee-high.  Green grass is nearby, with dandelions growing.  Birds are chirping, the sun is shining.  You're naked, but you don't care.  Whatever imperfections you used to hate about your body vanish from your mind.  All the aches, pains, hunger, also gone.  You wonder where you are, but don't complain.  Wading to the edge to meet the grass, everything is comfort.

Then it flashes through your mind.  You see it for an instant before it's gone.  The sound so quick it's meaningless, but loud.  Roaring.  A memory.  Not like this place with the puffy clouds and blue sky.  No patch of roses a few yards away so sweet you can smell.  No, there was smoke in the sky.  Concrete, rubble, contorted faces.  Blood.  And the smell.  You can't quite recall the image, but the smell lingers in your nose.  Smell and and memory are strange that way.  It's the coppery, rusty iron smell of blood mixed with burning flesh and hair.  And sewage, raw and putrid.  You try to concentrate on the roses, but it's still there, invading your nostrils.  The smell of death.  A boy is coming, maybe seventeen, same age as you, wearing a simple sheet wrapped around him.  He's barefoot, with unkempt but pretty brown hair and striking blue eyes.  He's waving.  You wave back, and ask him where you are.  He introduces himself, guides you from the pond to a nearby tree to sit down, gives you your own sheet, never really answers your question.  The flashes come again, though, and now you're sure you don't belong here.  You were somewhere else a moment ago, and you haven't finished your task.  You have to finish your task.  You have to get back there!  Someone will die if you don't get back.

You interrupt the boy and tell him this.  It's absurd, in the middle of the beautiful field, under a beautiful tree, on such a beautiful day.  Absurd to tell him, to insist that someone's about to die.  But you're sure of it.  It was your sister, now you remember.  Your older sister, your protector, your one true friend.  Her face is as clear as day, in agony, the flames hot and terrible consuming her body.  It was her hair, her flesh that you smelled.  That you still smell.  Her and a hundred others in the same place, already gone.  But she was still fighting.  Still clinging to life.  You scream at him, but he won't listen, he's refusing to understand.  He smiles and shakes his head, and waves dismissively.  You don't let up, grab him and shake him until his hands meet your wrists and gently move them away.  You collapse.  Hands to your elbows, elbows to your knees.  Wherever you are, you can't get to her anyway.  It's already over.  You weep.  He waits for the pain to fade a little, always smiling, so patient.  How can he be so happy?  When you look up at him again, his gaze shifts and he points.  Then you see.  Just like him minutes ago, she's walking to you, waving, in the same simple sheet.  It's her, smiling, not a mark on her.  He explains and you understand.  She isn't going to die.  Nobody dies here.  If you're here, you're already dead.

 

Prompt: you're wearing that!?

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Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics January 4, 2014 - 12:15pm

LOVE that final line.

OtterMan's picture
OtterMan from New Jersey, near Philadelphia USA is reading Ringworlds Children January 5, 2014 - 5:34pm

I can’t tell you the truth. You wouldn’t believe it and I’m still under oath. I take it you’ve heard the rumors however. They’re mostly bull shit, with just enough of the truth mixed in to throw you off the trail. The fact is I’m not sure if I know the truth myself. All I know is what I saw. How reliable is that? The phone rang once I picked it up and in my best robotic voice said, “ThankyouforcallingTSR, thisisnotasecureline donotdiscuss classifiedinformation. HowmayI directyourcall?” Who the Hell is HotTammy24 and why is she texting your phone every ten minutes? “Oh, hi honey you know you can’t call me here right?” Don’t hi honey me you lying swine… “It’s alright baby, calm down, she’s just a stripper” (Maybe that didn’t come out right) I’ll cut your walnuts off! (Or something like that) “Look it’s OK, she’s not for me. She’s for a ahh.. friend. I can’t say anymore than that. You know this line is monitored right? I have to go the secure line is lit.” “Yes sir, yes sir, no sir, I’ll take care of it! She’ll be on time.”

It’s a warm night here on the south lawn of the White house ladies and gentlemen as we await the president’s appearance. This treaty has been in the works for almost two years and will represent the crown jewel of this administration’s foreign policy. What was the deciding factor, Stanley? This whole thing was dead on arrival until a few days ago. The president was firmly opposed to any compromise. Well, Mark from what I’ve heard this was all done in a single late night session behind closed doors. However it occurred, Stanley, the world will be a safer place tomorrow because of this.

“How do I look dear?” You’re wearing that? There’s a smudge on your collar, what is that? It looks like lipstick, where were you? “I told you Michelle, it was an all night negotiation I didn’t have time to get changed. It’s probably from when you hugged me when I came in. I don’t have time to change right now they are about to announce me.” I didn’t hug you and that’s not even close to my shade of lipstick. What the hell are you trying to pull?? Ladies and gentlemen, The President of the United States!

 

(elephants like chocolate)

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KarenRunge from South Africa is reading Blindness January 12, 2014 - 9:40pm

Still no takers...? Alrighty then.

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KarenRunge from South Africa is reading Blindness January 12, 2014 - 9:43pm

(Please take the dialogue at the end as the last paragraph)

 

Elephants Love Chocolate

‘He leads me down the bright-lit corridors, all metal bars and white-washed walls. Behind me, I can still hear the inmates banging on their bars, hollering, cursing, a tirade of chaos echoing against vaulted ceilings and reinforced steel.  “As a maximum security prison,” my guide says, “we’re dealing with the worst of the worst. We’ve had to get creative when coming up with ways to enforce discipline.”

I've been sent here to investigate this, armed with notepad, voice recorder, pen. This prison has one of the lowest rates of violence among inmates—inconceivable when you think about what they exacted on the innocent beyond these doors—and I want to know how they’ve done it. We reach the door labelled ‘Discipline Chamber’, and my guide uses his keys to open it. We step inside a clean, bright room furnished with nothing but a chair and a machine that looks like an enlarged vacuum cleaner with a hose coming out of it.

My guide stands proudly before the machine. “We tried other combinations before, when using this machine,” he says. “Chemical compositions emulating the flavours of bile, bleach or spoiled food. But they proved expensive, and once we thought of using the natural alternative, we found it was much more effective, too.”
He holds up the hose, and I say, “It looks like an elephant’s trunk.”
“Yes,” he smiles. “We have a little joke around here. Elephants love chocolate!”
“But what’s it for?” I ask.
“For the inmates, of course. Whenever they commit offences, we place the end of the trunk over their faces and pump their mouths full of their own excrement. It’s worked wonders for maintaining order!”

Prompt: Take me home

 

KarenRunge's picture
KarenRunge from South Africa is reading Blindness January 12, 2014 - 9:46pm

Sorry, like chocolate. My bad!

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Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel January 12, 2014 - 11:26pm

I'm going to bite on this last one. Give me a minute.

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Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel January 13, 2014 - 12:01am

Eh, something like that.

TAKE ME HOME          

          He twisted the left joystick three clicks to the right. On the screen in front of him the little robot arm went down three inches. He pushed the joystick up and then let it rest in neutral. The robot arm moved forward a few inches. The pincers now had a piece of burlap between them. He clicked a button next to the joystick and the robot pincers snapped shut on the burlap. He clicked the joystick three inches to the left. The robot arm lifted the burlap. Revealed was a long cylinder with a few wires protruding. “That’s it. We got you. Hey, this looks bigger than we—,” he said. Then everything went blank.

           The concussion hit the vehicle he was in and it rolled. Over and over they went. He slammed against the metal bench, then a rifle smacked him in the face, then a hand grabbed his leg, then it let go. They finally stopped rolling. He settled with his neck stretched to the right. The rest of his body was angled above his head, but appeared to be halfway on the bench. He gathered himself slowly. He forced his arm out from under a metal container. It finally gave way and settled with a bang. He pushed himself toward what he figured was up. The lights were out, but through the blacked out window, small rays of light were streaming in providing a little illumination. He managed to get his neck straight, but it didn’t feel any better. He felt around. Paper, metal containers, water bottle after water bottle, and then a boot. “Hey, Alex, are you good? Alex? Alex? Hey, Alex.” He followed the boot up to the calf, to the thigh, to the hips, to the abdomen when he felt the slick wetness. The slick wetness covering a long metal rod. “Ah shit. Alex?”

            The back of the vehicle opened up and chaos entered with the light of day. Hands were grabbing at him. He could make out covered faces and dirty hands in between the punches and kicks. He was dragged out of the back. He could see Alex too. He was being dragged through the dirt with a rifle stuck through his abdomen. One of the men stopped the people dragging him, turned him over, and ripped the rifle from his gut. The iron sights covered in blood ripped Alex open and he could see Alex’s intestines protruding. All he could think was, Take me home. Please, just take me home.

PROMPT: Please Kill Me

Renae Gee's picture
Renae Gee from Australia is reading All the words! January 13, 2014 - 1:33pm

Wow everyone, these are great.  I have loved reading them all.

Please kill me

The paranoid thoughts are like all these carousels spinning around in my head, hundreds of them.  Always there, just more prominent right now.  Instead of horses, theses carousels have fish hooks. Fish hooks of delusion, fish hooks of cerebral melancholy, fish hooks to catch me.   Mostly I can avoid them, but then one of the fish hooks will catch hold of me and I have the follow the whole thought through and then think of a million side stories that go with that fish hook.  It's really hard to get off that that hook until I have exhausted all possibilities.  I am a worm.  A predator dressed in a guise of niceness and perfume. I want all your praise and love all the time.  But I also want your scorn and harsh words. I want you to build me up and then drag razor blades through my chest. 

The straight lines are off kilter. The girl in my head told me the dishwasher was finished - the dishwasher had not even been on. My scars are becoming a lot more fascinating to me.  I need to shut down for a bit, that’s all.  It’ll go away again.  I’m so tired.  I feel like I have spent years and years keeping up the frontage, keeping up the appearance of being OK.  Maybe sometimes I was, mostly it is hard fucking work.  It’s all just distraction.  Life.  It needs to trick us to keep us here, but why.  Why must we stay alive at all costs?  What is it all for? What?  And so I carry on, put the mask on, put the face on, put the life on and do the stuff.  The stuff that everyone else does. I do the stuff so they won’t know that I hate the stuff.  So they won’t know that I don’t want to be here.  Because, for some unfathomable reason, they do want to be here.

I don’t want people, they hurt too much.  I don’t want thoughts, they hurt too much. 
I just want lots of pain and time to revel in it, drink it in, become the pain.  Let it engulf me, take me over, leave me breathing hard. All this therapy, pills, drinking, and talking have just kept the pain lingering around the edges, showing me glimpses, keeping me here and afraid of it.  Now I am going to jump in, naked and let it enter every orifice, every pore, and every gap between my thoughts. I want this pain; I revel in the surges of agony as it shoots like a hormone through my veins. I want this pain that you are too stupid to know is what makes living real.  I want this pain, the build up until I must release it with a quick slice, a breath and then relief. I want to lay on the earth and sleep forever, let the worms and bugs slowly digest me. Let my insides melt away. Feel nothing anymore and be part of everything.  Nourish the earth because I can’t nourish myself. Please kill me, slowly.

 

Prompt: Don't say that

 

 

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things January 15, 2014 - 9:12pm

Don't Say That

I count his hot, shallow breaths as he whispers to me, "If I don't make it-"

"Don't say that. Help is coming."

He grips my hand harder, rougher, and breathes, and I am counting all the way to three hundred and two before I stop.

Prompt: Sailing in cement.

OtterMan's picture
OtterMan from New Jersey, near Philadelphia USA is reading Ringworlds Children January 18, 2014 - 9:16am

I woke to snowflakes falling gently from the sky here in my little town just outside of Philadelphia. It wasn’t the heavy pelting snow we had a few weeks ago during the Eagles game. Those had fallen down like the raucous cheering crowd that filled the stadium that day. These snowflakes fell gently, singly, individuals going about their Saturday with no more care than children playing. As a child I once had that freedom to fall where I fell without complex questions or any purpose other than to land where I landed. Of course as a child I never realized just how precious and important it was to fall like a snowflake, to drift like a leaf blown across a pond, or like a dandelion seed on a summer breeze. I wouldn’t have wanted to know or understand either, that was really the point after all of being a child.

Later, in the middle years, it takes more effort to get from one day to the next and from one place to the other. No more drifting across a pond, I learned to raise a sail or pull on an oar. I developed plans, plots, schemes, angles, alliances. Yes, alliances! So important in life today, none of us are ever truly alone anymore. I am a loner, always have been. I am happiest alone, alone in my thoughts, alone with my music, alone in a boat or deep in the woods. Fact is I don’t know what you people see in each other sometimes. It takes so much effort to do such a simple task as getting from this day to the next. There are so many rules to navigate. So many protocols to be observed. Engines and machines to service and serve. Even so, I keep moving forward. I drag this weight of baggage around chained to my ankle. I don’t mind it so much, at least not all the time. Mostly in the morning when it’s quite or at sunset when the shadows grow long and reach into my soul. Especially now in winter. I knew I was SAD before I knew it had a name.


It’s the end approaching that occupies my mind more often now. It’s almost time for me, not just yet but it’s sooner than it’s ever been. In the past few years and months I’ve been to more funerals than weddings. I have seen others suffer their loss alone, as it can only ever be. I have seen others leave alone, as it can only ever be. I realize the truth, moving though existence once light and free, later with effort, then finally more and more slowly. Life begins to thicken and congeal around each of us. The sails become tattered and the sea begins to turn to stone until in the end we become trapped and frozen unable to draw another breath or move forward another inch. Perhaps alone is not all I’ve built it up to be. The few connections I’ve formed, my wife most of all, a very few close friends, family and children, enough to fill my meager life with noise and light and life. I’ll be alone soon enough I think. While I still can I think I’ll go to the game, or the concert, or the show. I’ll be jostled by strangers, revel in their unintelligible babble and give thanks for the beer spilled on my shoes. It’s not quiet or peaceful, it’s just life!

[Turn it over]

* not sure if this was supposed to be this personal, but you caught me in a pensive mood and the prompt struck a nerve.

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics January 20, 2014 - 10:02am

There was a time in Alexander Arjian's life when the thought of something different, something other than what he was, couldn't even shimmer in the mirage of fantasy. He went about his work in the silver mines of northeastern Nevada with hands gnarled and knobby under mud caked gloves, earplugs burrowing deeper into his head with each new insertion, and a complete and utter lack of social interaction. Even if he had been something more inherently interpersonal, like a cruise director or a gynecologist, he'd have no life. He liked it that way, or at least he thought he did. It was easier to kill random strangers when he never had even an inkling of what random strangers did when they weren't screaming, or bleeding.

Of course, as all time goes, this time of his life swam with the currents of existence until it emptied into the inevitable ocean of change. Upon that ocean, his ship one day came in bearing the name Catherine, and flying a flag of the country that is bottomless hunger and unquenchable thirst. She was gold in a world of silver and dirt. Her delicate eyes shattered every last bone in his mind and the talons of her snowflake hands tore open his lead-filled chest, planting a beating heart in the hole she'd made. Catherine Roberts turned it all over for Alexander, and like a turtle flailing its stubby legs for a purchase that never comes, he couldn't right himself again. Until she passed away fifty years later.

He knew the time would come when gravity would reverse itself and the bright blue sky would become the cold dark land his long-kicking, keening legs sought those many years. With this knowledge, Alexander Arjian kept in shape. He ran marathons, he ate wholesomely and moderately, and he abstained from liquor so that he may be physically capable, when the time came, to gorge himself on the flesh of others and to drink himself into a stupor from the spigot of human arteries. Catherine turned it all over for a time, but as is true with rotation, orbit, revolution, it all comes 'round again. In time.

 

new prompt: "Charlie, I got it!"

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal January 23, 2014 - 8:09pm

^ Not three words.  I'm telling.