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Corona Tag!

3 months ago
@Will11
@Megumeme
@SpartacustheGreat
@At_Your_Throat
@ericyopy I suppose just in case he wanders in...



All of the above are now in QUARANTINE. While in QUARANTINE, every time you post outside of this thread, you will be docked five points!


*****


The six of them were loaded into trucks by armed guards and workers in hazmat suits. With a very final sounding clang that echoed like a gong, the door in the back was rolled down and locked tight.

"This can't be happening!" Victim whined, insufferably. "We're the victims of abuse at the hands of horrible, power-hunrgy, trigger-happy authorities!"

He had been repeating that for three hours as the unmarked white trucks bumped along some lonely road, and it felt like three years. Everyone was quite honestly praying for death by either the virus or the bullets of the jackbooted thugs running this operation, just so they wouldn't have to listen to him anymore. Coins, as it happened, was praying extra hard.

When the trucks finally slowed to a halt and they heard voices and footsteps approaching, Victim stood up suddenly and moved near the door. "I'm making a break for it!"

"What? Are you crazy?" AYT asked, shocked. "Victim, they'll kill you!"

"I can't take this cruel oppression anymore!"

"But--"

"No," Coins said, putting out a hand to stop her. "Let him go."

The lock clicked open and the door began to slide up. With a wild battle cry Victim leapt forward, hit the ground, dashed around the other side of the truck out of sight.

There was a sudden bark of gunfire. It sounded like it was laughing.

"Oh no, poor Victim!" AYT cried, because she was tiny and wholesome that way.

They all heard his last wheezing breath and his final words drifting on the evening air. "I....h...ate....n...i...g....ge...rs..."

Coins smiled, and so did Will because he was always smiling, even though he didn't quite look like he understood what was going on.

The remaining five were hustled along into a long, low building. It looked like it might have been a warehouse once, but now it was surrounded by hazard tape, patrolled by guards, and had CAUTION: QUARANTINE painted on its side in bright yellow letters.

In the days to come they would be forced to settle into new lives of isolation and uncertainty, imprisoned through no fault of their own. The infinite supply of the world's most unfortunately named beer was the a bright spot in this uncertain time, but only Will was old enough to drink it.

But they would gradually be able to figure out weak spots in the security, and with messages cleverly delivered through inscrutable Asian magics, probably involving chopsticks or whatever, they planned their escape.


*****


In order to be free of your QUARANTINED status, you must merely write 1000 words about anything. It can be a short story or an excerpt from a larger work. It should be something new or at least new-ish that hasn't been posted elsewhere.

Once your story is posted, you will overpower the inept Wardens, and escape back to the city.

And you will immediately infect two others, who you must tag to the thread to take your place. (It doesn't work to just edit the tags into an existing post by the way. Notifications get sent out only as a brand new post is created.)

You can tag anyone you like, although once a person escapes QUARANTINE, they go into hiding and cannot be summoned back until at least one round has passed.

The same person may not be tagged more than once per round. So while I'm sure all of you already had the bright idea to tag me, only the person who writes their story first can do it.

TLDR:

If you're tagged here you're in QUARANTINE until you write 1000 words.
You will be docked 5 points if you post in any other thread while in QUARANTINE. (And if you are in the Discord, well, three of you have been introduced to the new channel already...)
Once you do your writing, you will escape and may tag and infect two others to take your place.


Happy writing, filthy AZNs! Coins will probably be here awhile. (And yes, Will is white, but we all know he's responsible for the entire outbreak.)

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/15/2020 9:06:51 PM

You take a breath and hold, gazing intently through the scope. The bandit stands still and you pull the trigger, sending that familiar hiss through the barrel of your rifle. You chamber another round as you watch the body fall to the floor. 

“Target down, Kusora,” you say into your headset. 

The voice of your fireteam leader comes back through a few seconds later. “Good. Stevens wants you to meet up with Nam for some recon. You’ll scout the area ahead of us out and try to figure out where the hell these bandits are holed up.”

“Ok. Where am I meeting her?”

“A block north from where you are. There’s a little terrace in the middle of a few stores.”

“I see it.”

“Good.”

You fold the bipod of your sniper and move to a crouching position, picking up the pillow that was beneath your chest. You’d been told to pack light, but your officers clearly didn’t know how long you’d be here. Stretching your limbs to work out the cramps, you make a mental note to just bring a mattress regardless of what they tell you next time.


You make it quickly to the terrace, finding a depressing scene of ransacked shops with broken glass and flickering lights. You’re surprised that the city still has electricity, though you suppose that with the bandits in control, they’d probably want it. 

“Kris!” you hear from behind you.

You turn and see the other designated marksman of the squad fiddling with something as she waves. You give her a fist bump and a small smile. She’s one of the few people that you feel relaxed around, and you’re glad that you’re often given assignments with her. You look down to what she’s holding. “Whatcha got there, Ji?”

“Oh, just something I found in one of the shops.” She holds it up, showing you a broken Roomba. “I wanted to see if I could get it to work so that we could have it around base. At least that way Stevens won’t be on our asses so much about keeping the place spotless.” 

“Or will he?” 

She chuckles and sets the Roomba down. “Well, let’s get going. I’ll take point, just follow me. Bump the corners.”

You nod and sling your rifle, pulling your handgun out of its holster. It’s a SIG M11-A1; an older SIG model, but still performing just as well. It’s gotten you out of several tight scrapes, so you don’t plan on replacing it any time soon. 

Jihye leads you through the mostly abandoned streets, save for the few people still milling around outside. It’s a few minutes of walking before she tells you that you’re coming up on a very tall building that would be good for assessing the area from. You saw it too, but something was off-putting about the building. Surrounded by ruin and chaos, the skyscraper with intact glass windows looks out of place. Regardless, you trust Jihye’s decision and follow her to the entrance.

You reach a corner looking onto the entrance of the building. Jihye peeks around the corner, but snaps back to your side. 

“I think we found our bandits,” she says through a nervous smile. “I don’t think they saw me, but if they did, we’re in some trouble. There’s two guards at the door plus a few inside. They had some kind of rifle but I couldn’t see what.”

You give her a nod. “I’ll let Kusora know.” You switch on your radio. “Kusora, we found the bandits’ base. It’s a tall, glass office building. We might have been seen, but either way we need some backup.”

She tells you to stay put or get out if you can. You turn to Jihye to tell her the news, but she puts a finger to her lips and motions to where the guards were standing. You can hear voices and footsteps moving toward you. 

Two guards round the corner. Within seconds they’re on the ground with their throats cut open. Not knowing if there are more, you and Jihye make a quick dash to cover. 

“Kusora, we’ve definitely been seen,” you say into your microphone. “We need backup now.”

“Shit, ok. The rest of the squad’s on the way, but you’ll have to hold out for a few minutes.” The line goes dead and you give a questioning look to Jihye. She shrugs and mounts the bipod of her rifle on the concrete barrier in front of you. 

You do the same, peering through your scope and watching the corner. Another bandit rounds it, cautiously checking his angles but reacting too slowly. Two bullets take him down; a .338 to the head and a 7.62 to the chest. You chamber a fresh round, taking a deep breath. If they didn’t want to kill you before, they sure do now. You can hear commotion by the building, and you hope the confusion will give you some time to reposition. 

“Cover me,” you say as you pat Jihye’s shoulder. 

Slinging your rifle, you run down the street to a better position. On your way to the building, you’d spotted a building with a fire escape leading right to the roof. It’s on the right side of the street, overlooking the hot zone. You jump and climb the ladder to the stairs and ascend quickly to the top. You can hear suppressed shots from the street, and you can only hope that Jihye can lock the corner down until you get in position. Finally reaching the roof, you realize that the building is much taller than you thought. You catch your breath as you set up your sniper, killing a bandit soon after.

Jihye sees you and takes her chance to move back. You pull the bolt and slide it back into position, quickly sending another round down the street. 
Time seems to slow as you clear the chamber once more. You know that you only have two more shots to cover Jihye before you’ll have to reload. You see the barrel of a rifle, no, two rifles, come around that deadly corner. You squeeze the trigger and drop one of the men, chambering the last round in your magazine. You squeeze again.

You miss.

The bullet punches into the ground to the right of the rifleman, sending up dust and chunks of pavement. You freeze as you hear him fire a burst from his rifle. You can see it clearly. An HK-416 with a holographic sight; its muzzle lights up in a vibrant fireball, sending four rounds of 5.56 down the street. You turn your head as you hear a scream, seeing a new sprawled out body on the ground. 

You reach for your handgun, but your hands barely feel the plastic and metal before a bullet pierces through your skull.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

@mizal 

@Tim36D

 

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Are you REALLY sure you want to tag the only two people who can move you in and out of QUARANTINE on the Discord?

That's ballsy but actually I'm going to abuse my power and give Tim the option to opt out because of his RL stuff if he wants to. I can just write both stories.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

No, it's alright, miz. I'd feel kinda bad giving you twice the work. I can do it. Just might take a while.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

:)

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

Probably should have proofread this before I edit locked myself.  Oops.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/15/2020 9:07:01 PM
“I am sorry, there is nothing that we can do.”

The doctor shook his head and picked up the syringe. It was filled with a clear liquid. The doctor tapped it lightly to dislodge microscopic bubbles and then turned to smile at the patient bound to the bed.

“It is quite effective, do not worry. It is quick and it is painless. You will not feel a thing. It is just like going to sleep.”

“You can’t do this! I told you, just put me in isolation. That’s what you did with all the others who had the coronavirus wasn’t it? You just put them in quarantine for a few weeks and they recovered. I can do the same!”

The doctor sighed and pushed his spectacles up his nose.

“You are not the same as them. They followed the rules quietly and without a fuss. You have been criticizing the government of our country to every person you know and many people you have never even met. You have been bad-mouthing us on Twitter, Facebook, WeChat and you sent emails to every single person in your contact list claiming we are lying about the death toll. Did you not realize that we monitor all the technology in this country, that you only get the internet because of our satellites?”

“But you are lying about the death tolls! You are pretending things are better than they are.”

The doctor sighed.

“Of course, we are. Every country is. People are scared already, why add to the panic? You saw what happened to the stock market, to the tourism and hospitality industries. If we told the truth the panic would be worse. It is nice to be truthful in theory but in the real world we have to be practical.”

“But you can’t kill me for telling people the truth!”

The doctor looked mildly puzzled.

“Why on earth would you think that? You have the virus already. We just say your case was fatal. Actually, to tell you something that I should not, though I do not suppose that it matters, this virus has been a wonderful opportunity to silence most of our most vocal political and civilian critics in this country. Really, in the long run this is a great thing for us. Anyway, I would love to talk some more but I am afraid I have another six coronavirus cases to make fatal this morning so with no further ado…”

The doctor stepped towards the patient, raised the syringe and the patient closed his eyes.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Suddenly the patient’s arm broke free from its strap, his right hand grabbed the doctor’s crotch and twisted hard. With a silent gasp of pain the doctor dropped the syringe and doubled up clutching his groin as the patient’s second arm broke free from the straps. Moving quickly the patient jumped to the floor, snatched up the syringe, stuck it into the back of the doctor’s neck and emptied the contents into his blood system. The doctor was right: it killed instantly.

Moments later, breathing deeply, the patient stared down at the body at his feet and then quickly began pulling off the doctor’s jacket and trousers. Pulling them over his own clothes he hastily did up the buttons and helped himself to the doctor’s shoes as well. Checking himself in the mirror in the bathroom he splashed water on his face and smoothed back his head to try and bring himself calm. With a deep breath he pushed open the door and stepped into the corridor.

“Doctor?”

A nurse was calling him from a doorway across the corridor.

“Doctor, our own consultant has been stuck in an interrogation on Floor 3. Could you deal with our two patients for us?”

She held up a tray on which lay two syringes. The patient stared at her and glanced left to see two armed soldiers standing either side of an exit at the end of the corridor. They were guarding the door and watching him without emotion. Swallowing the “doctor” nodded and followed the nurse into her room. Two men lay on the beds before them. One was unconscious, his face covered in sweat and his breathing laboured. The other patient, an older man, was awake and watched him nervously.

Picking up a syringe the patient took a deep breath, stuck it into the first man’s arm and emptied the contents. A second later the man’s breathing stopped. Laying the empty syringe back on the nurse’s tray the patient slowly picked up the second syringe. Sweat trickled down his forehead. He approached the second man on the bed who stared back at him with fear in his eyes. The nurse came to stand next to him, her eyes alive with excitement.

“You don’t have to do this,” the man on the bed said.

Turning quickly the patient stuck the second syringe into the nurse’s arm and emptied the contents. He caught the woman as she fell and lay her gently on the floor. The man on the bed breathed a deep sigh of relief as the “doctor” straightened up and put a finger to his lips indicating silence. Heart thudding crazily the patient turned and walked back to the door, checking his reflection in a mirror on the way. With a final sigh he pushed it open.

He walked swiftly down the corridor towards the exit. The soldiers standing either side hadn’t moved, their rifles remained held diagonally across their chests. They watched him unemotionally as he approached, stretched out a hand and turned the handle. The door swung open and a blast of cold wind from the outside ruffled his clothes. The patient stole a last glimpse at the soldiers out of the corner of his eyes but they stood as still as statues, as though they had always been standing there since the beginning of time.

The patient raised a foot to step outside but as he walked forward the exit seemed to shrink away from him. He walked quicker and then began to run but the door zoomed away from him and suddenly he was hurtling back down the corridor, back through the door into his room and back into his bed. The straps rebound themselves around his wrists and the doctor rose back up off the floor to stand over him, syringe held aloft and ready.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The patient opened his eyes.

He had never left the bed. He had never escaped the room. He had never reached the exit.

A mere second of imagination had passed.

The doctor jabbed the syringe into the patient’s arm, injected the contents into his blood stream, straightened up, checked the time and left the room to continue his rounds.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
@simplesabley
@Endmaster

I choose these two just because I think both would produce great writing :D

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Bold move, but I don't think you can quarantine the avatar of DEATH. I hope you have a backup plan.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
@ISentinelPenguinI is my back-up plan then because his writing is always pretty interesting and often hilarious :D

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

I'M DOIN IT

NO TAKE-BACKSIES

Of course if End writes something, this is just me innoculating myself for future immunity.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Oh this will be fun! Thanks for tagging me! I know exactly what I want to write. :)

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/15/2020 9:07:09 PM

Whiskey Creek was a quiet town, a town usually bustling with townspeople in summer and barren when the winter wind blew in. The entire place seemed to sag a little, as if the very buildings that sat atop caked and dry red mud, were exhausted. And most of the time, so were the people, spending what endless amounts of free time they had holding dinner parties with the neighbors and watching old reruns at the theater. And occasionally, in the early hours of morning, one could hear the voices of Katherine and Freddie Wells calling up over the rolling hills of the Wells family ranch, running about in the long grass, spreading feed for the chickens. And the morning of July 16th was no different; it began as most mornings began, with the kettle set on the warming stove and the smell of lye soap.

Katherine, or Kat, as everyone loved to call her, was a delicate girl, though she wouldn’t call herself one. She spent most afternoons, once she was out of school, with her sleeves rolled up half up her forearms milking the cows. Her smile was vibrant, and despite the fact that she didn’t have much experience with men, she was always the girl the boys in town talked about. Kat was optimistic and kind and usually gave away her extra jars of peach jam to the poorer families who lived on the outskirts of town. The little ones called her Miss Kat, and never passed up the opportunity to wave towards her in the mornings on their ways to school, their little heads poking out the windows of the schoolbus.

Freddie, by contrast, was withdrawn. He loved hunting with his best friend Clay in the long, stretched-out grasslands by the edges of Whiskey Creek, in the wide expanse of territory no one claimed. In their tiny family home, Freddie worked on little projects here and there; he had quite a knack for reassembling radios and small electrical gadgets. His big hands had such remarkably nimble fingers, and frequently he’d be called into town by all sorts of folks to do touchups on various appliances. Freddie loved going out by the fields in the moments before sunrise, the Wells’ loyal dog Henry trailing behind him only to rest his head in his lap. Their mother, Julia Wells, would always call them inside for breakfast before sending them off to school.

And I, as it turned out, was their farmhand. I spent afternoons while the kids were off at school tending to the livestock, helping Julia hang up laundry, and playing darts with Daley Wells, their father. I’d known little Kat and Freddie since they were barely old enough to waddle around the house with their heads held up. I had a son and a wife myself, and only left the property until it was dark out. The time we split apart was hard to deal with in my family, but we found a way to make it work.

I don’t remember anything out of the ordinary that day. The sun rose as it always did, lighting up the sky in shades of pink and yellow as it burned its way up the horizon. Julia called them both inside for breakfast as I roped in the cattle. It was toasted bread with Kat’s famous peach jam slathered on it unevenly, with two sunny-side up eggs and some sliced sausage for Freddie. I ate my oatmeal for a quick minute, listening to Freddie’s rather excited chatter about a raccoon he had trapped the night before, and left the house to attend to some other chores I usually did. I assumed that the chickens had already been fed by Kat after I saw the bits of feed left over from the morning strewn all over the grass, so I left to shovel hay and let the dogs roam into the wide expanse of grass in nearly every direction.

The schoolchildren waved their sweet good mornings to her as she left for her own senior high, in a building shared by both the senior and junior high students. Kat had turned sixteen that morning, and we were due to celebrate it that night with a cake Julia and Daley had baked together. Freddie had already given her the birthday gift he had been saving up his repair money for—a deep blue brooch, which she had pinned to her blouse. She walked her bike to the gate, unlocked it, and left it open for her brother to close when he was on his way behind her.

Afternoon was uneventful, but Freddie returned at around two o’ clock with a twinkle in his eye, an expression I was not unfamiliar with but could not put my finger on. He seemed excited about something, but about what, I had no idea. He kissed his mother on the cheek and told me that he was heading back to the woods to skin that poor animal he’d caught last night.

“Tommy, you won’t believe how pretty this little critter is. I promise you, I’ll be back in about an hour with a nice pelt to show you.”

And with that, he was gone. Kat had not returned but both Daley and Julia were not concerned; many evenings she was roped into a date with the boys from the richer part of town and was probably stuck at the theater watching Picnic. And so dinner was prepared, the house warm with the smell of animal fat and vegetables. The sun had not set yet but it was growing dark, the dying embers of reddish orange sunlight burning through the west-facing windows of the house. I decided I would wait outside for the two of them to return, shotgun in hand and cigar between my lips.

That afternoon was the last afternoon I saw Katherine and Freddie alive, and I will regret not stopping them for the rest of my days. Kat never returned from the theater, and Freddie was never seen leaving the forest. And in that same moment, Whiskey Creek would never return to being the normal, sleepy town it once was. It became a town full of “whodunnit”s and pointing fingers, a town of mystery and fear and children’s scary bedtime stories. I spent weeks walking the streets, seeing both of their sweet faces plastered along the plaza’s old brick walls. If I had been able to stop their murders, where would they be now? What lives would they be living, enjoying, cherishing? Kat’s easy smile and Freddie’s charming demeanor would never be witnessed by living eyes again. And maybe, in that sense, that is the greater tragedy of the Whiskey Creek murders—not the fact that their bodies, carved up and mutilated, were spread throughout the town like a children’s macaroni project, nor the fact that the town was missing two valuable citizens—but that the smiles and sweet gestures of grace and unyielding kindness of both Katherine and Freddie Wells would be forgotten by the universe.

Dear God, I’ll miss them.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

@Chris113022
@Ogre11

Good luck! :) 

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Bruh Okay fine I'll do something

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/16/2020 6:46:53 PM
What is this devilry? Oh, it's an excuse for me to stop procrastinating, at least for a short time? Whatever. ***** Well that’s it. You are really on your own. Looking up and down the dusty street, you can see that there are people going about their day as usual. For everyone else, today is just another day. But for you, well, you are really and truly free, finally. Looking behind you, you can see the warped and worn wood that make up the wall of the orphanage. Sure, you’ve been outside before, but you always had a task and knew that when the day was over, you’d be back inside. And yes, no one liked Boss, and Boss was still likely knocking kids around, but it was the only home you’d ever known. You step to the side to let a horse-drawn cart trundle past you and you turn your head to avoid the cloud of dry dust the wagon wheels kick up. You spit out some of the dust that you can’t avoid and then realize another benefit of that horrible place: food. Yes, the food was awful and there weren’t many things that were served that you could identify, but it filled the hole in your belly. And now that you were out, there were no guarantees of any food anywhere. You really were on your own. You look up and down the street again and consider your options. Far off in the distance to the north you can see the edge of town. There are a couple fields there and beyond them are the north woods. You can see the dark green trees there and you have heard a lot of stories about the strange creatures and people that live there. You don’t think you want to end up there, but there were rumors about bands of wanderers who didn’t fit into society that have taken up residence there. Of course, with the number of strange and magical creatures there, you figure they’d have to live in groups or they’d be killed and eaten right away. You try to hold back a shiver as you turn and look down the street towards the south. You can see a few farmers in the square there, starting to pack up their goods and head home for the day. Other more permanent stalls are bringing their goods inside and preparing to close. The imposing keep of Dolartinus sits off to the side of the square, apparently locked up with armed guards stationed at the door. Looking far beyond, you can see the open fields of the plains in the distance. You have heard that beyond those plains is a wide open desert and those that head in that direction are seldom heard from again. You idly wonder if it would be worse to die slowly out in a desert or quickly, torn apart by the sharp teeth of some wild animal. Turning your mind back to the town, you notice that everyone appears to be heading for their homes now. You have no home. And you can see the guards off in the distance starting to gather, knowing they will eventually start to clear the streets. Dolartinus won’t stand for bums. You certainly do not want to spend your first night of freedom in the dungeons of the keep. Glancing back to the north, you figure you could take your chances in the forest. Perhaps if you only went a short ways from town, you wouldn’t run into the wild things that live there. Sure, the risk of death was there, but maybe that’s what your life will be now: one of those fabled adventurers that everyone hears stories about. But you’re going to have to survive the night on your own, first. Thinking back to town, you’re pretty sure you won’t be able to avoid the guards for an entire night, but it might be worth a shot. Perhaps you’ve learned enough from Jimmy to avoid them, just for one night. Of course if they catch you, there’s no telling how long you’ll be left to rot in the jails. You glance at the shadows that are growing and wonder how well you can hide in them. There’s also a tavern two blocks over from where you are now. You don’t have any copper to pay for a room, but you’re not really sure how much it costs. There might possibly be an opportunity there for work in exchange for a night, or there might not be. Depending on how full the tavern is, you might be able to just sleep in the main room in a corner and no one would even notice you. Then again, you’ve never actually been in the tavern, so you really don’t know what to expect there at all, you’re just guessing based on tales and things you’ve heard. As you watch the sun continue to head towards the horizon, you can think of one other option: the old McGinty place. It is towards the southern side of town, but everyone knows that place is haunted. There are some tales of really dark things that happened in that house long ago and no one, not even Dolartinus, will go in that place. It just sits there at the edge of town, with a nice view of the southern plains, but it is said to be pure evil. You’ve heard of at least three different kids that were dared to spend the night in that place that went in and never came out again. You are reasonably sure that the guards won’t be searching that place, but it’s probably even more dangerous than just walking into the north woods dressed in meat. You heard the guards calling out to one another as they continue to prepare for their rounds. You don’t have a lot of time now and are only going to get one chance at picking a place to spend your first night of freedom and you hope it’s not your last night alive. Where do you want to try and spend the night? Head out of town to the north and brave the outdoors and the magical forest. Stay in town and try to avoid the guards by sneaking around in the shadows. Go to the tavern and see if you can find a way to not get thrown out of the place before morning. Take your chances with the McGinty place: you’re not afraid of no ghost. ***** I'm not tagging anyone because I'm claiming my farts killed the disease.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
I'm afraid I cannot release you unless you do your civic duty and infect the unwary.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Fine. I'll fart in the general direction of @Fluxion and @jster02

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Well, I'm good. See?:

Fluxion-Level-A-Suit

But with the insanity going on right now, I doubt even this state of the art hazmat suit will protect me from the panic... I'm safe from the virus, but in this quarantine, I'll surely starve to death. I'll have to find a way to escape...

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

Either you're not wearing that hazmat suit properly, or you have 3 hands.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
You'd think that a massive panic would be noisy, but when you're sitting in quarantine, it's the silence that gets you. I don't think I've ever heard a louder sound. Oh, I know what you're thinking. "Look at Fluxion, resorting to an emo cliche." Might as well say, "My broken heart burns like ice," right? But the reality is, when the world gets silent enough, suddenly the humming of the HVAC system and the beating of your own heart become almost deafening. The mind adjusts, as if a little sickly gnome in your head cranks up the gain.

Hmmm... where was I? Oh yes, trying to get out of this shitty situation. Damn. There's no window in this place that isn't barred, and the only door is guarded by a remote lock hooked up to a computer controlled by a ruthless artificial intelligence. I've tried explaining that I'm in a hazmat suit, that there's no way I'm infected (although admittedly, the virus could conceivably survive on the outside of the unit). I've argued that such a panic could make things worse as the people rebel over being treated like cattle (what is more deadly than a fast spreading virus? A virus that's aided by a riot). Nothing has worked so far.

I've even tried creating pictures for it. You see, I'm fairly partial to images in storygames. I also love to edit pictures in GIMP, Photoshop, and pxlr. I even use MS Paint. It's a fun hobby. But the point is, an image can add so much to a storygame, be it mood, or just a neat aesthetic. Background colors combined with a suitably chosen and edited image turn a decent storygame into a masterpiece.

Unfortunately, even my very best pictures were rejected by this artificial intelligence. Well, I wouldn't say rejected: it did accept them, and even told me the mammoth from my storygame "The Ghost People" was very pleasing to look at. However, none of them were good enough to convince the artificial intelligence to release me.

So, you see, I'm in quite a pickle. None of my begging, borrowing, stealing, or image editing has moved my captor. What am I to do? I only have about two days' supply of water, and my food will be gone before the night is over. I do believe I'm doomed. Well, Fluxion, I suppose it's time to just go ahead and end it. Let me get some nitrogen gas...

Wait! I remember I was in a similar situation not too long ago. You see, I was trapped in the Pit of SHAME. In fact, I was DOUBLY SHAMED. It's so dark in there... the lamentations of the damned reverberated through the suffocating darkness like the sound of a mighty river. The crushing weight of your own guilt for failing to deliver only exacerbated the feeling, and worst of all was the the whimpering heard at night. The Pit of SHAME, you see, is a prison, and if there is one thing true of all prisons, it's that the weak become targets. Targets for the sexual proclivities of the worst inmates.

Every night I heard the sobbing as mere feet away poor souls were repeatedly raped. Over and over I heard them cry, and for some reason the rapist kept repeating a strange phrases like, "As usual you lot are still terrible." When the rapist would leave for the evening, you'd think the violence was over, but soon after those who remained conscious would attack the weak, and a feeding frenzy would explode. Cries of "Lol fags" filled the air, making a delicate harmony with the shrieks of agony.

But I digress. The point is, despite all hope seemingly gone, there was one ray of light shining through the Pit of SHAME: all I had to do to escape was write a lame Valentines short story. So I thought really hard about it, and came to the conclusion that I'm not a big fan of romantic love. But I do love tragedy! So I wrote about a father mourning a daughter who happened to have been born on Valentines day.

Oh, don't think I don't see you judging me. Yes, I stretched the prompt a bit, but there was a romance tie in, with the father (and no, I'm not talking about some father/daughter freakishness, you perverts). You see, the daughter died in a car accident, but only because the father chose to spend the night with a new date instead of driving his kid to her friend's house.

In any event, I believe this may be my way to escape. If I write something about, say, one thousand words long, I think the artificial intelligence keeping me locked in this place might actually set me free. But what should I write about? I suppose I could draw on my two favorite subjects, adventure and tragedy. However, at a time like this, I'm not sure such inspirations are morally appropriate. I can smell dead bodies just outside the walls of this facility. Whatever happened out there, it's certainly tragic.

As for adventure, I suppose that could be a good way to escape the horror and boredom we find ourselves in. I say "we" but I really mean "me," of course, because as far as I know I may be the only person left living in this God forsaken wasteland. Nevertheless, such an adventure must needs include, as a means of symbolic catharsis, the protagonist trapped in some sort of confinement or prison. Because I am, of course, currently a prisoner, desperately trying to escape.

Additionally, the story must include the protagonist prisoner successfully making his escape. Why else write the story at all if the protagonist fails to gain his freedom? Knowing that the prisoner will escape, however, is the easy part. It is a much more difficult task to determine how the prisoner will escape. So many possibilities... hmmm...

Wait a minute! By the gods, I think I've got it! It's quite fitting, if I do say so myself. The prisoner, you see, will escape his prison by writing a short story! It makes so much sense, and is so relevant to my current predicament. The protagonist escapes his prison by writing a short story about a protagonist writing a short story to escape a prison! What a wonderful idea! I think I'll write this little adventure and deliver it to the artificial intelligence holding my prisoner immediately.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
I was like wow, holy fuck that was fast. And then I read it.

I shall release you but I will spitefully withhold the commendation because this is cheating.

Also, you forgot to tag someone.

all I had to do to escape was right a lame Valentines short story


Also, you disgust me.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Hey I edited that mistake, and was about to edit the other one, too. XD

Anyway, regarding tagging, I was wearing a hazmat. But if I must...

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3 months ago
@LJacko

@Reader82

Enjoy your AIDS. I mean, COVID-19.

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3 months ago
Hey, you can give them AIDS and corona. Don't limit yourself, the world is full of possibilities.

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3 months ago
@Fluxion

Can you figure out what's going on with your wyvern post? Looks like you left a tag open.

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3 months ago
I closed some font tags but if that isn’t it I’ll just edit and delete it.

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3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/17/2020 7:01:17 AM

I have never taken part in any of these. Could be interesting however. Here goes nothing then.

---------------------------

The twin bladed Nightshadow-helicopter was flying through the snowstorm as silent as ever. Even inside the vehicle you were freezing. Looking around to your fellow eleven soldiers they seem to be in the same predicament. "Why did he have to flee here?" you ask yourself mentally. There was no way to see outside but you know the second strike team was about twenty minutes behind you. Waiting for them was no option as you moved out of your operation base. The upcoming mission was far too important.

After nearly nine months of trying to find him you finally succeeded. General Striker was able to find out he would be boarding this train. A freight train controlled by Russians soldiers. Damn Russians. How many of those he did gun down himself before deserting the army. Now he is using them to flee. You can not imagine him working with them. He is most likely just a stowaway. 

He had this coming a long time now. What was he thinking? Deserting the army after they gave him so much. He earned the best money of his lifetime, he was able to pay for his mother's alcohol withdrawal and he was made into something more than a man. He was a supersoldier. The only one existing in fact, at least till that Barron guy figured out professor Articus' serum. But the worst of all he abandoned you. His supposedly great and eternal love. "He will pay for leaving me," you whisper under your breath, your hand clenching tighter on the handle of your rifle. 

Suddenly a radio message breaks the silence within the vehicle, "The scanner shows multiple people in the front wagons of the train. There is just one person in the very last wagon. We think that is our target. We will drop you off on the roof of the last wagon. Remember, if you can get him alive."

You stand up from your seat to connect the drop cable to your belt. Your team follows soon after and you stand ready to drop at the hatch in the back of the helicopter. A few more moments pass before hatch starts to open. You can feel the storm outside before you can even see it. The cold bites your face even through the mask covering half your face. The deafening sound of the harsh wind drowning out every other sound. Then you see the train below you, racing along the cliff side of the mountain. The fog swallowing everything about ten meters below the train tracks. Without much hesitation you you kick off and drop down onto the train. The cable safely brings you lower until your feet touch the slightly frozen roof of the train wagon with an audible thud. Your team drops beside you awaiting your order.

"Six of you to the back. I don't want him to just jump out back. The rest of you with me to the front door. We can not let him get out of this wagon," you swiftly order.

"Yes mam," your troopers reply in unison before splitting up. Timing it properly you reach the front at the same time the others reach the back. One after the other you climb down the ladder, leading to the narrow space between wagons where you can stand. A simple nod is all that is needed to make two men start breaking down the door with the battering ram. The pounding of metal on the wooden door is all you can hear above the noise of the storm.

Suddenly the loud crash of an explosion sounds from the back of the wagon. You only briefly hear your men scream before they fall beneath the fog and vanish from sight. At the moment the two men manage to break the door it dawns upon you. "He was waiting for us," you mutter, before turning so you are not in line of sight from the door. Just in time as it seems since immediately after the door breaks you can hear the gunshots. Six shots fired in quick succession from his signature heavy handgun. Watching the two men fall you spot the wounds quite quickly. One shot to the heart, one to the head and one through the throat. That was always how you executed people. Quick, merciless, without a chance to even mutter a last word. 

He truly is going all out on you. One man starts shouting and rounds the corner just to receive the same three shots as his two fallen comrades. An unwilling smile creeps to your lips. He already made nine shots. His signature gun can hold seventeen rounds. Then he needs to reload. He is not saving any. The other two men on your side nod at each other. One starts firing around the corner while th other pushes through the door.  After one is through the other one follows suit. You go to run in, but stop as you hear the seven shots. One of your men curses then both scream and you hear two bodies drop. 

After a moment of silence you sneak up to the door. Like the man before you you fire round the corner. You hear your former lieutenant curse and move inside the wagon. You then quickly round the corner aiming at where you think he is. Then one gunshot and the barrel of your rifle splitters while your still holding it. With a slight shock you roll to the side, dropping your destroyed rifle and reach for the handgun at your side.

"Do NOT even think about it!" the lieutenant screams while pointing his gun at you.

"Your empty Jack!" You shout back and grip your gun.

"I have been loading through. Still got one shot in the barrel!" he remarks while looking directly into your eyes.

You hesitate to draw the gun. What if he is telling the truth? Would he not have shot me by now if that was the case? What is he planning? "Bullshit I would be dead if that was the case!" It is the first time you can take in your surroundings better. The back of the wagon is blown open and burning from the explosion going off before. The two men rushing in before you lay on the floor motionless. One rifle shattered just as yours. 

"Don't force me to kill you Catalina," that almost sounded like begging. Is he really that desperate?

"You ruined everything. Why, Jack? Why did you leave the army? Why did you leave me?" you nearly tear up at those last words. 

"I ruined everything? No, Catalina. I simply learned the truth. You ask me why I left the army? I left because I could not live as a tool for some mad men anymore. That flyer I found spoke of creating Americas finest. The strongest, noblest of soldiers our country would ever have. I never joined because I believed that in the first place you know? I simply needed the money for my mum. To get her out of that hole she crawled into herself willingly. For some reason I actually impressed Striker and Articus. I was a nobody. Just a poor boy from Brooklyn. Some would have called me a street thug maybe. What did I have that others did not?" He takes a deep breath. Just now you notice his hands are shaking while holding his gun.

He then looks at you again, "After some of those missions I started believing this crap of honor and patriotism. That we were doing something good for the world. Killing off terrorists and enemy soldiers. Have you ever though about why we kill other soldiers though?"

He seems to be waiting for an answer. "We killed them because they were our enemies," you reply calmly.

"But why? Why were they enemies? Because they were bad people? Because we were the good guys? No, Catalina. They were our enemies because our leaders ordered them to be. They were fighting on their orders and we were fighting on ours. Just orders you know? Just because the leaders of two countries do not get along their soldiers have to either kill or die. Ever seen Striker standing in the field with us? Or any of those ministers claiming that Russia was a threat to the free world? No. They just give orders to their soldiers. Their loyal lapdogs to chase down the men they think are the bad guys. And then when you take a look inside the country, you see corruption and lies. Criminals earning money from the misery of others. Gangs oppressing shop owners while the police gets paid to stay by idly. That's why I left the army. To hunt down the true enemy of the free world. Corruption," He finishes his speech, his gun still aimed directly at you.

"I simply left you, because I knew what would happen after I am gone. That they will hunt me down. I could not force you to live a life on the run. I love you to much to put you through that," he finishes again.

Then you hear a thud coming from the roof. The second strike team seems to be arriving. For a brief moment Jack's eyes dart upwards. You use this moment to draw your weapon and point it at him. His eyes quickly focus back to yours with an angry look. "Backup huh?" he spits.

"Come on, Jack. We do not have the mission to kill you. Just drop that gun and we can..."

"What? Bring me back to be the dog of some countries leaders? I don't think so," he interrupts you while slowly walking backwards towards the blown open wagon until he is so close the fire nearly touches him.

"Jack, please," is all you can say before you hear another gunshot. Looking to the side you see captain Tanner holding a handgun towards Jack. You then hear Jack scream. You turn your head seeing him stumble backwards. Then a shot from Jack's gun hits Tanner right to the throat just before Jack falls backwards out of the train. You rush up to the edge to see Jack's body vanish in the fog below. 

---------------------------

That's it I guess. Oh nearly forgot the tag.

@Shadowdrake27

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

Ugh, I just made a longish post in another thread... I will have to read some of these and contribute. It doesn't seem like any are related though, so I'll just do something fun. I'm using these to test my sci-fi writing now. I'll try to hurry so no one takes my tags. If they do, I will be tagging two random people who are online. It will be a few hours until I have anything... 

@Mizal, let me know if I can continue my other story for this. I am assuming not, since the rules clearly state it, but my other one was a "origin story" for the virus coming from space, so if you will make an exception I will be grateful. 

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
You can continue a story, you just can't copy and paste over what you already have.

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3 months ago

Awesome! I did start a new space exploration story, but I may pivot and continue my previous story. It all depends on how I am feeing. The new one includes a solar sail, which is fun.

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3 months ago
You really should post more of what you write. You've gotten good at this but you never share.

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3 months ago

It's just insecurity. I'd love to share more in the future though!

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3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/16/2020 6:44:35 PM

THE WITCH KILLER (Pt. 1/???)

 

The moon was almost as bright as the sun, and the earth was bathed in a sickly blue glow the color of drowned mens' tongues. The fog was dense as snow and came up to  the middle of the shins. Naked trees clawed at the sky like skeletal hands, and the air of the Davison Farm was inundated with the feeling that something was deeply awry. Ernest wasn't having a good night.

The young man was currently in the corner of the hay barn, struggling to reload his musket with shaky hands. He had just shot a small child. It wasn't his fault! The little boy was obviously possessed, or something. The child charged him with... A knife? A spike? A polished chisel? It was a strange organic shape with no real handle, and its lustrous surface glinted with this horrible blazing moon... The boy went out screeching something about "Auntie Blancheflour".  Ernest couldn't comprehend what he was doing at the time, he just thrashed the boy with the butt of his rifle in order to stop that nightmarish scream.

He had vomitted in the nearby hay, his mind aflutter with what in the infinite hells he was going to do. Nobody got away with killing possessed kids, or at least, he didn't know if they did, but there wasn't exactly time for an exorcism. Ernest was just drenched in a cold sweat,  trying desperately not to look out the barn door and onto the corpse...

He rammed down the bullet and found himself compulsively praying... Praying for one of the lost Davison Children whose parents begged them to save... Praying for redemption for what he'd just done. He found himself wishing he'd never become the Witch Hunter's Apprentice. He found himself wishing he'd run off to another town when all the silversmith positions were taken... He used to try and make the best of it, he used to think he'd just been chosen by God, saddled with a dangerous, but pious duty. What was pious about this!? Had he failed his test? Had he-

The doorway of the barn darkened, but he dared not look. He only saw a long, slender shadow creeping its way out in front of him. And he heard footsteps.  The man shuddered. He dare not breathe. He held the gun firm against his shoulder and shut his eyes tight. Then he heard the heavy footsteps stop in front of him, and fired.

"FUCK!" yelled a familiar voice, "GOD DAMMIT!"

"Master!?" Ernest cried, running through the smoke cloud. No, it couldn't be! He was the last person Ernest could face right now! And also the person Ernest was almost certainly going to die without. He moved to the 

"WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!?" His master spat, "YOU FUCKING IDIOT! YOU ABSOLUTE MORON! FFFFFUCK!"

"Master, don't yell, it'll-"

"IT'S A LITTLE FUCKING LATE FOR THAT, DON'TCHA THINK!?" The man said, clenching his teeth and taking off his jacket to hold his blood in, "God above be praised..."

"I-I'm so sorry, Master, I've..."

"Yeah, I fucking saw what you did, you little shit." The Witch Hunter kicked "You're supposed to make it look like an accident when that happens. You think witches sacrifice their own 'claimed' children without eating them or some shit!?"

"Dear lord... You don't mean..." 

"The real kid is with the angels now, or something. Don't worry about it. Give me your morphine."

"Didn't you bring your own?"

"I know what I said. Give me your fucking morphine."

"But, Master, I..."

The Witch Hunter's legs gave out. He slid down the wall of the barn, leaving a long, wide smear from his back where the exit wound was. Blood began to drip on the dirt behind him.

"YOU STUPID FUCKING CUNT! YOU JUST SHOT A CHILD! YOU JUST SHOT ME! YOU'VE KILLED MORE PEOPLE ON THIS FUCKING FARM THAN THE WITCH DID SO FAR, AND WHEN YOU'RE INEVITABLY BOILED ALIVE IN A CAULDRON WITH YOUR FLESH PEELING OFF YOUR FUCKING BONES, IT'S GOING TO BE WITHOUT ANESTHETICS. YOU'VE GIVEN UP THAT RIGHT."

"What!? No! You can't die! I-I can't kill this witch on my own!"

"No. You can't." The Witch Hunter took off his beaked mask and tossed it aside, then started unbuckling the belt of guns around his chest, "But I can feel the fucking HOLES in my organs, so the only thing there is now is to get the pain to shut off..."

The old man slumped over and fell on one side, "So give me your FUCKING OPIUM, and PRAY the saints don't abandon you for what you've fucked up already!"

"Please!"

"CEASE YOUR FUCKING SIMPERING, BOY!" The man drew one of his pistols and threw it, bludgeoning Ernest across the face and dropping him to his knees, "You're the Witch Hunter now! May God have mercy on your soul. Lord knows I wouldn't."

As his apprentice reeled from the blow, the old man crawled over to rummage through Ernest's shoulderbag, grabbed the box of readily-injectable painkillers and jammed a needle through his clothes, into his arm. Ernest didn't know what he was doing, only that he desperately had to do something. He threw himself over his teacher in a mess of tears and incoherent prayers. The man grabbed Ernest by the neck and throttled him with both hands.

"Save your FffffffFUCKING tears..." The man choked, blood gurgling up out of his throat, "Your brother... Was always better than you... Why couldn't I have brought him here...!? He had to have become... Fever-ridden invalid...."

Ernest couldn't see. Or think clearly. He was busy clawing at his throat, coughing and struggling to gulp air. With the last of his strength, the old man threw Ernest up against the bloody wall and splayed himself out, fading from consciousness.

Ernest couldn't believe what had just happened. All his training had never prepared him for a possessed child. All his training hadn't prepared him for... This. He found himself retching from the shock, but there was nothing to draw up. He kneeled over the old man and quietly uttered one of the Funeral Recitations. Then, it was time to go over the business of the other rites. He procured a small jar of dyed incense oil from his bag, and annointed the fingers of his right hand with the bright red liquid. As he brought his hand down to close the old man's eyes, so too did he paint the five-tongued flame of St. Rondel.

"Peace be with you, Teacher." Ernest said, his voice still shaking.

Ernest wanted to run, be he had nowhere to go. He would only doom the Davison family in his cowardice. He remembered the verse in the Book of The Undying, "There is no redemption in leaving your own troubles unfinished."

He had to collect himself. He watched his breath cloud the chilly autumn air for a moment, then reached for his master's sword. He attached the blade to his own belt, then unsheathed it, pressing the cold flat of the blade to his forehead.

"Dear God," Ernest began, "Help me finish... What I started."

He knew from seeing his brother's graduation that this was not how becoming a Witch Hunter was supposed to go. He was supposed to have his hands blessed, he was supposed to be presented with his own tools, lined with silver, quenched in oil. But that was a long way off. His master's tools would have to do.

He sheathed the blade, slung his teacher's bag over his free shoulder, and pulled the mask over his face. The intense pungence of the herbs inside made him choke. The old man had a much higher tolerance for the thistles than he did. But at least he knew the effects would set in quickly...

He took his master's dagger as well, and affixed the bayonet loop end of the guard over the barrel of his musket.  He then picked up the old man's gun belt, just to be safe. He cleared his watering eyes, which stung from the fumes inside the mask, but it was already beginning to kick in... He could see so clearly in the dark. He could even see right through this bewitched fog.

He also took out the boxes of morphine shots, and threw them into the hay. The old man was a bitter monster, but Ernest was in enough fear for his soul already, without having to worry about breaking an old man's dying wishes. While he feared the horrific death that likely laid ahead of him, he took some comfort in his carefully memorized scriptures...

'And the Prophet Said, "For when all the beasts of Hell rise to tear your mortal body asunder, you shall not fear them. And when all the heathens weep under your blade for mercy, you ought to heed them. For truly I tell you, those who suffer on earth have recieved their punishment, and will not join their fellows in damnation."'

Ernest stepped out of the barn and took as deep a breath as he could muster. The Hunter tried his best to keep his eyes off the boy's bludgeoned, screaming face. 

"Amen." He sighed.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

@Bluefur
@TheChef

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

"...earth was bathed in a sickly blue glow the color of drowned mens' tongues."

This metaphor is fantastically disturbing.

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3 months ago
Oh hi Camelon. This thread is why I asked you that question btw.


And Sentinel is know for being the master of inspired, distressing analogies like that.

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3 months ago
If someone who is tagged blatantly ignores the thread, should I dock points?

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

The goal is to encourage participation and the like so I imagine you wouldn't want to worry about it too much.

Perhaps do it on a case by case basis, you know, since some people really shouldn't be constrained. With that said, keeping it simple is best, since you don't want to generate needless work. So perhaps admins and the like shouldn't be punished as hard? I know some have infinite points and all that, but the point is that having them limit their presence on the site could prove detrimental, especially if valuable posts end up not being made.

This is assuming they are someone who is trustworthy enough to post something here eventually, but admins didn't became admins because they can't be trusted (you know)!

I trust your judgement in delivering the docking penalties, so if someone isn't docked as per standard procedure it wouldn't be the end of the world, heck, it might even be the better course of action!

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Really I'm just staring really hard at @Bluefur right now tbh

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3 months ago
AND THEN SHE LOGGED OUT.

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3 months ago
hahaha how does one kill a penguin

Is there a time limit? I'll probably either just do my bio research paper and dump it here or actually think of something (I've already thought of something). But I'm kind of sick right now, so I won't be able to start writing for a couple of days. Please don't take my points. They are my pride and joy.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
>hahaha how does one kill a penguin

It helps to be a sea lion.

No time limit, Coins would be so screwed if I did that.

Get well soon, and damn this thread wasn't supposed to give people the rona for real..

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

I am surprised you haven't been tagged yet, Zake. I didn't because I thought you had been...

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3 months ago
Physically I'm pretty far, so it'd be expensive to send people just to bring me into quarantine.

However, joke answers aside, it is probably because I've been rather inactive for a while now, and never actually became an entrenched member either. Well, that, or everyone thinks I've been tagged, but for some reason I feel that is less likely, heh.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

You might be immune! You are here, walking among the infected, but you remain clean.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/16/2020 6:59:58 PM

The vast desolation of the Sonoran desert lay in sprawling plains surrounding the lone rider, who continued his steady trudge across hardened dirt, cooked under the endless gaze of the sun. The decrepit brown mule hardly paid much mind to the heat as it brushed away stray flies with occasional flicks of its tail, its weathered hooves kicking up small clouds of dust with each step it took. The man squatting on its saddle squinted out towards the landscape before him, and managed to make out the outline of a small town rising above the rest of the desert. Letting out a short exhale of relief at the sight of civilization, the rider shifted around his perch as he massaged his aching back through the rough linen of his dirty-brown cowboy duster. The mount picked up its pace as its rider gave its sides a squeeze with short legs draped with leather trousers, worn and torn from the general hostility of the untamed West. 

The only monument to grace their entrance into the small town were the half-decayed remains of what seemed to have been a donkey. Flies buzzed greedily over the bits of flesh still stubbornly clinging to bone, and the rider wrinkled his nose at the smell. The mule showed little concern for the condition of his unfortunate equine ancestor, only increasing the pace of its tail strokes and deftly keeping away the black clouds of pests. They quickly left the body behind and trotted past the wooden fence that marked the boundary of the town, heading straight for the town watering hole. After halting its mount in front of the saloon, a creaky two-floored shack that looked as if it might collapse within itself, the man slid off onto the ground, letting out a grunt as his boots found purchase. Making sure his six shooter was still tucked firmly in his holster, the former rider -now turned walker- strode through the swinging doors of the saloon. 

The man was greeted with somber silence and the smell of vomit, the source of which was a drunk snoring away in a pool of his own fluids near the doorway. The only other occupants of the dimly-lit building was a gaunt thin man standing behind the bar before him -presumably the owner of the establishment- along with a stout cowboy adorned in a poncho sitting on one of the stools in front of a tap, taking occasional quaffs from the dirty mug he held in his hand. The only sounds were the creaking of the old boards under his feet as the man walked, his boots clicking with every step. Ignoring the other customer, the man took a seat in the stool in front of the bartender, who stared expectantly. 

“Whiskey.” grunted the man, as he reached into a woolen pouch and produced a palmful of nickels, slapping them on the wood of the bar and sliding them to the waiting hands of the bartender. After giving them a brief looking over, the man slid the coins into a pocket and reached under the bar, producing a round bottle of amber-colored liquor and a grimy shot glass. 

“Can’t you wipe it down?”

“Cleaning’ll cost you a couple more nickels.” replied the bartender, producing a hideous rag that looked almost as dirty as the glass itself. 

“Go to Hell, then,” growled the man, pouring himself a drink and slamming it down in a single motion, wincing as the alcohol wet his throat and spread the warmth of a roaring hearth all the way down to his little toes- or at least, the one he still had. “Will it cost me more from my purse to ask where I am?” 

“Place used to be called Smithson, but it ain’t much of a town no more. I’d wager there’s hardly more than half a dozen squatters still left in this heap, excepting myself and that worthless sonofabitch snoring in his own matter over yonder.” 

“And where did everyone else go?”

“Why, they’re safe and sound in the embrace of the Lord. Apaches came through a couple times, and whoever got lucky enough to dodge an arrow to the gut got caught by the outlaw gangs that came through here. I had to hide in the damn root cellar for near four days, and living off moldy beets for that long wrecks Hell on a man’s digestion. Most everyone left for more settled places after the gangs left. Back up north most like, to places like Tucson and Phoenix.”

The man poured himself another glass and downed it before proceeding with his inquiry, his head starting to spin ever so slightly as he quenched the remnants of his thirst. 

“Why is it you’re still here, then? You fancy digging Apache arrowheads out of your belly?” 

“Naw, I’ve been packing my wagon for a couple days now, selling alcohol to anyone fool enough to still come through this route. You’ll probably be my last in this shop, provided Worthless over there doesn’t get piss drunk again.” 

The man reached once again into his pouch, taking out a roll of brown paper and unraveling it to show the bartender the poster on the front. A crude color drawing of a heavyset man with a tangled mess of brittle red hair was the prominent feature, decorated by a long scar running across the bridge of his nose, ending just above the right corner of his lips. Several words in large black font outlined the poster’s bottom frame, declaring: NAME: RED MATTHEW. WANTED FOR MURDER OF LAW ENFORCEMENT: DEAD OR ALIVE. REWARD: 800 US DOLLARS. “This man come around here?” 

The bartender picked at a spot on his chin with bony fingers as he examined the poster. “Well heck, I seen him not even a day ago. Came by and had a few shots of tequila, that bastard took it upon himself to insult the quality of this here liquor. Didn’t say where he was going, but saw him heading out the southern way. Damn fool thing to do, this here’s the last piece of civilization for miles. There ain’t a man alive who can cross the Sonora on foot alone.” 

The man polished off one last shot of whiskey before getting to his feet, his joints crick cracking as he hoisted his aching body up off the stool. “Guess I know where I’m going.” 

 The bartender gave him a glance of disbelief. “Didn’t I just say that it’s a damn fool thing to do? If the Apaches don’t get you, the heat will.” 

“Well, I suppose I’d rather go with an arrowhead stuck in my eye than with a parched throat.” The man scratched at the day-old stubble making its way back across his tanned complexion. “Where’s the well in town?” 

“Around to the back of the saloon. You damn fool.” 

The man simply gave a nod and sauntered out of the saloon, swinging around to the back of the building.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

@hetero_malk

@enterpride

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
I really thought you would tag in Bill.


Coins, everything you write is so gritty and atmospheric and cool, I really wish you would just sit down and force yourself to do it more often. You could absolutely write a feature worthy Western thing or a New Vegas fic.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

I could, but there are bills to pay and I gotta put food on the table and keep that damn corn pop in check!

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/17/2020 6:09:03 AM
It’s been a long day and the virus has put a damper on my plans. It’s of course that corona thing. No, not the beer. Although I could use a beer right now. I really could use a beer. What a fucking day it has been.

I was a happy warden, vetting the grounds of CYS against the usual faggotry. It’s a thankless job, keeping the lowest of the low out and the actual productive members in. It’s a job that has to be done. Someone has to do it, but it was a job I happily did. Someone always has to be at the bottom, right? It only gives you all the more possibilities to pull yourself up by the bootstraps.

But now I’m here. Now I’m stuck here with you.

Please, don’t be like that. Put away your sneezes and your rocks. I heard being stoned doesn’t bode well for your survival chances considering, well, that damn virus. And those farts are just rude, Ogre! Does a fart even transmit corona?

Never mind, I did what I had to do. You would’ve done the same. It was Mizal that ordered it. You can’t say no against those orders. We were in disarray for quite some time. Most of our officers were M.I.A. So we had to improvise. It took quite some time to organize this darkness into something presentable. At least our token Asians were recognizable. That made our job a hell of a lot easier.

So, yes. I did round you all up. I did lock you up in this moist darkness. I did occasionally sleep in and forget to feed all of you. I did some… ahem… verbal abusing, but that’s just our culture, right? It’s the tough love that breeds greatness in all of us? Even Coins rose above himself. I saw him leave, reborn anew, right as I was dragged in by my fellow Wardens.

No not you, Chris, you were here even before me. We needed you, man. We really needed you in these hard times. Our positions were overrun several times and precious inmates got away in the chaos. Some witnesses reported ‘words’ as their secret weapon. Amassed they proved too great for our defenses.

Where was I? Oh yes— What are those noises! Stop whatever you’re doing there, Malk. I don’t even want to see whatever that is.

Ah yes, I was sleeping in. The morning proved to be too morningly and I couldn’t be bothered to get the feed. Nasty stuff, isn’t it? Anyways, it was quite cold in that room. I could practically see my breath crystallize into solid ice before my eyes. It was almost as bad as Canada. Naturally I started to cover myself into several blankets and form a thermoregulative layer of water around my skin.

Also it was a dusty room. The sneezes and the cough were from dust.

IT. WAS. NO. FEVER.

Trust me. I am practically a doctor. These fucking Wardens didn’t even measure my temperature. I closed my eyes for a mere second and there they were. They even brought special suits for the occasion, enclosed from all sides but the top. It’s to let the bad air out, they said. See, corona thrives on bad air.

So some suits, I couldn’t even get a good look at who were inside, pulled some duct tape over my blankets and rolled me to the checkpoint. Fuck that made me nauseous. I think I’ll blame that new guy, Jster. The new guys are never as good as the old ones.

Jayster is in here too? What the fuck dude! I’ll kill you whenever I get out of these blankets! Stay where you are right now!

So back to the checkpoint. In all the dozens of years we apparently never moved passed the pointing of fingers to determine whether one is infected. So imagine me rolling over to the circle in the middle, the finger was calibrated for only that one spot, and me actually expecting some test. Yeah, what a joke, right?

Worst of all was that smug face. Coins was there, snickering at the idea of ratting out a fellow Warden. We were supposed to close ranks in these trying times, instead I literally got the finger.

Back to rolling it was. By now I grew accustomed to the spinning world. Bitter hate kept me centered. The blindfold helped too. I was to be brought to a top secret dungeon. It was to keep characters, like Mara, from seeking out their fantasies. Bet they forgot I was the one that ordered it prepared. And guess what, Mara is here too now. So much for their little plan.

Not that there are many guards left. Most of the Wardens have got the symptoms too now. I think we were too late with our suits. Even Reader has to write and she’s not even here yet.

Eventually I arrived at the facility. I counted 19204 spins and at least five stairs. So Ford, is he even here yet, I bet that’s enough to triangulate our position. At spin 19205 my blindfold was removed. Stop secret, they said, from now on they muffled my hearing. It was to stop me from hearing the waterfall, they said.

And damn that was a big one. I couldn’t hear it, but I definitely felt it. Suddenly I was turned into spinning driftwood, engulfed in wet water. From spin 19350 I lost count, the currents were simply too much. I even forgot I picked the place. Panic began to set in.

Then I remembered to simply start counting again. It was the one thing I still had left. That, and the dream of having a billionaire house with a midget fighting arena. I spinned my way into dry land. Bet they didn’t expect that. I couldn’t let those dreams drown.

I guess they indeed did not like that. I was promptly dropped into some dark pit. Bumped my head at least three times on the way down, as well. And now I’m here.

Wait, who’s responsible for the food now?

Fuck.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
@Chanbot
@ninjapitka Can't sneak your way out of this!

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/16/2020 9:02:50 PM

“Hey! How’re we doing today?  Pleasure to meet you, the name’s Dr. Shasan.  Just lie yourself back on the clear paper and we’ll get this test started, alright?

…..

“I’m always impressed by those who come in voluntarily to get tested for Covid-19, personally.  Not that it’s something that should be considered exceptional of course, but still, to perform your civic duty, quite admirable.  Hold still for a moment, I’m going to administer a shot that will make the antibodies in your blood easier to identify. It’ll pinch a little, and you’ll feel some muscle stiffness.”

…..

“Alright, excellent.  That shot is the most worrying part of the procedure, so we’re past the hard part.  I’ll just be taking a bit of your blood, about ten milliliters. Please hold still again.”

…..

“Sorry about the bad aim, I’m not usually the one to do this, but we’re trying to limit exposure to potential carriers as much as possible.  Here’s a band-aid, and some gauze. Now if you’ll excuse me, we’re going to conduct the actual testing, it shouldn’t take any more than half an hour or so.  Go ahead and make yourself comfortable in this room, I stole a couple magazines from the waiting room that should help.”

…..

…..

…..

*click*

“I’m back, and with great news, actually!  You’ve tested negative for Covid-19, which means you’re free to leave.  Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t get infected, so put on this face mask at least until you’ve left the hospital and are home safe.  We’re also going to inject a… sort of deterrent to the virus into you, so you’re better prepared if you are somehow exposed. One last time, I promise, hold still.”

…..

“Alright, he’s been sedated, come on in.”

“You put the mask on him?”

“He did it himself.  Should be able to move him pretty easily now.  He’s physically incapacitated, but he’ll still be able to hear you.  Just avoid any sort of bare skin contact, and you’ll be alright.”

“Copy.  You three, grab him.  I’ll hold the door. Keep the halls clear.”

…..

“Hey! Move the fuck out of the way!  You want what he’s got? Then get up against the fucking wall!”

“--what’s up with his skin?”

“Dunno, it looks a bit, scaly--”

“I’m not going to ask again!  Move out of the doorway before we MAKE you move!”

…..

“I know you can hear me, so listen closely.  Those drugs you were given don’t last forever, and we’ve got a long drive ahead of us.  I’m going to make one thing perfectly clear. If you try to escape or grab me or one of my men, I’m putting a bullet in your head.  Simple as that. So, sit back here and relax, we all make the trip unharmed.”

…..

“Holy shit, you managed to sleep back here?  Most of ‘em just lie up against the cold metal and shake until the ride is over.  Get up, I’m sure you can move now.”

“--dude, are you seeing what I’m seeing? His skin--”

“Quiet!  Both of you, get ready for in-processing procedures.”

“Yes, sir!”

…..

“--just put your thumb right here.  Hey, someone isolate this fingerprint in E Lab, would you?  Now just come over to the counter, after you’ve switched clothes in our decontamination chamber, we’re going to release you to the quarantined section.”

“With this last guy that should fill up Area G.  Start preparations?”

“Yeah, go ahead.  And you, step in here, your change of clothes should be on the bench.”

…..

“Hey!  We’ve got a new guy!  What’s up, man! The name’s Jeremy, feel free to shake my hand, we’ve both got the same thing, afterall.”

“Yeah, you’ve both got Covid, but Jeremy might spread his retardation to you, so I’d advise against it.”

“C’mon man, low blow.  I’m just trying to cheer the guy up, he looks positively depressed.”

“It might just be the meds, everyone that crawls in here looks like this at first.  You forget, I was the first person here. Name’s Kevin, by the way. Been here nearly two and a half weeks.  There’s only one bunk left, so I suppose it’s yours.”

“Don’t mind all the skin flakes and stains, just get the covers changed out tomorrow at wake-up and sleep on the bare mattress.  That bunk kind of became the ‘community bunk’, if you catch my drift.”

…..

“Y’know, this place makes me wonder.  Does getting the virus and getting over it make us immune?  Cause if it doesn’t, we’re just sitting in a cesspool of virus that continuously infects us.”

“Well, if you catch the flu or whatever, then you’re resistant to catching it again.”

“Yeah, you’re resistant.  Not immune. And we’re living in, like I said, a fucking cesspool.  Everything is covered in the stuff, our bedsheets, the walls, us.”

“I’m sure they’ve got a plan, Jeremy.  You overthink things all the time.”

“I guess you’re right.  I do overthink things.”

…..

“They could at least let us make phone calls, I’ll admit.  I’d like to at least make sure my wife is doing alright.”

“I’m with you on that.  At least give me some damn Netflix or something.  I’m going fucking insane after only a couple days.”

“Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get out of here.”

“Dude, what’s with the sudden downer shit!  You were just going on about how they’ve got a plan earlier.  Just think of it as a really short, boring vacation.”

“We’ll talk about this tomorrow, it’s time for bed anyway.”

…..

…..

…..

“Hey, psst.  Psst, Kevin, do you smell that shit?”

“Go to bed, Jeremy.”

“No, seriously, it’s this really funky smell, I don-n-n…”

“Hey man, you alright?  You’re about to fall off your bunk, pull yourself up you moron!”

“--hey, Trey, wake the fuck up man you alright!  Yo, something’s in the a--”

“Cover your noses!”

“New guy, I’m not r-r-eally feeling great man.  Hold on, I’m gon-n-a--”

“Everybody, hold your breath!”

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

@poisonmara

@Bill_Ingersoll

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/16/2020 10:17:04 PM

The place was on the shore of a frozen lake south of the Canadian border, abandoned after a band of Federalist militia took over the compound that had encircled it just a few weeks earlier. You had no quarrel with the Federalists; you were just passing through their territory. But the fact that you and your wife spoke Spanish, with corresponding accents in the way you spoke English, made you tempting targets among their hit squads, who were incapable of appreciating the distinctions between Argentinians and Mexicans.

Raquette Lake, it was called. The entire place had been fenced off for the private use of whichever megacorp owned the compound. Then the Federalists "liberated" it, but had no further use for it, as it was but one of many such lakes in a region studded with them. The snows were deep here, the nearest settlements many miles away. It was the perfect place to hide.

Marisol wasn't very talkative that year. Her hair was still shorn after that incident down on the coast, and whatever she had experienced had been too painful to share, even with you. But she was physically strong, and bore the journey well. You had come up in November, before the worst of the snows, following an abandoned autocar highway through the endless ranges of small mountains. The pavement was ribbed from many seasons of frost heave and root growth, and the years' worth of leaves that had drifted in from the sides had rotted into soil and now sprouted plants and small trees of their own, like a small ecosystem floating over the ancient asphalt. Only the rusting guard rails bore witness to the original edges of the road.

Many of the buildings that you had passed along the way were too dilapidated to be of much use to you, and they had long since been looted of any useful provisions. They were nothing more than rodent shelters now. You passed through places that had once been towns, later converted into shopping outlets filled with useless boutiques, making them veritable deserts for your purposes. These had been abandoned too.

This would have been an unlikely environment to seek refuge for the winter, except for the news you had heard about the recently liberated compound. The militias were nothing if not predictable, and having driven out the corporate security forces they would have quickly retreated themselves back to the comfort of their own encampments in the surrounding lowlands. They were raiders, not occupiers. You figured you would get a solid three months of peace there, four if spring didn't arrive too soon, deep within the former American state but in a part no one cared too much about.

You knew you had arrived at the right spot when you came to the busted-down chain-link fence. MERCorp had built a checkpoint straddling the old highway, but the former guard station was now a charred ruin, with bits of wood and sheet metal strewn across the pavement. The lake was just beyond, not yet frozen but gray and choppy under the clouds and wind. There was a marina nearby, and boats that appeared to be in working order, but the water looked wild and restless. So instead you walked.

The heart of the compound was not hard to find, although the way was long. A narrow road led along the western shore, past narrow bays and out onto a hook-shaped peninsula, to the sprawling main lodge near the tip. Large pines still graced the shoreline, probably holdovers from when all this had been a wilderness preserve in a bygone era. The building itself seemed to be laid out like a bird of prey, its wings extended forward in a symbolic show of power for anyone viewing it from above. It matched the MERCorp logo itself, as stamped on all of the directional signs you had passed. The entire structure appeared to be constructed with unpeeled logs, but upon closer inspection this was just a facade meant to evoke a frontier memory; inside, the structure was steel and glass and plaster, as sanitary and elegant as such a place needed to be to flatter the executives and board members who vacationed here.

The militiamen had been relatively gentle with the place, leaving few signs of damage. There was a busted-down door to the manager's office, a string of bullet holes in the wall behind the desk, and knocked-over flower vases in the main lobby. Most likely, there was nobody here at the time of the liberación other than the staff, and after the manager was subdued (executed?) the rest of the employees fell in line. Otherwise, the lodge was empty. Nevertheless, you rejected this as being the place you wanted to spend the winter, as it was too ostentatious, too cold and impersonal to spend so long a time. But it was well stocked with canned food, and so you set Marisol up in some modest staff quarters near the main kitchen while you continued to explore the compound.

An offshoot of the main service road led around the tip of the next bay to a cluster of smaller cabins on the northwest shore. These were far less showy, probably intended as rewards for mid-level managers who had been smart enough to hide their resumés — lest they appear disloyal to the company, ready to jump ship and go work for a more lucrative position at a rival corporation. MERCorp had not been one of the bigger megacorps so far as you knew — at least, you had never heard of it until you came to this place — and so as big as this compound seemed, it was middling compared to others you'd heard about.

Much of America had been partitioned off just like this, with the megacorps brandishing their wealth as a form of unassailable power. The Federalists claimed to be a populist movement intent on restoring the old republic, but no one outside of the militias believed in their ability to do anything other than play with their arsenals from time to time, capable only of mischief. A remote compound like Raquette Lake would have been an easy target, but New York? Illinois? The California Coast? Fat chance. The version of America fetishized by the militias had long since been bought and paid for. E pluribus nihil.

Once you had found a cabin that suited your needs, you returned to the abandoned lodge to retrieve your wife. Marisol was silent as she walked beside you to the cabin you had chosen. This one was genuinely made of wood, and its walls were weather-tight. A good supply of firewood had once been laid up, and although some of this was starting to rot around the edges most of it was still in perfect shape for fuel. Some mice had taken up residence on the second floor, but you had already put out traps for them. There was not much for food, but you could fix that problem later by hauling down supplies from the main lodge. And at any rate, you had already figured out these woods contained deer, moose, hare, and pheasant. You would get by quite well in a place like this.

Your wife flashed a weak smile when she first saw the place. Before returning to the lodge to fetch her, you had lit a fire on the hearth and set two propane lamps a-glowing in the front room, and so even in the dim late-afternoon light the cabin had a homey appearance. Neither of you had ever known such a place; back in Argentina the options for most people were either cramped apartments or crumbling shanties, and ever since you fled South America it seems like the two of you had never slept in the same borrowed shelter for more than two nights in a row.

But this looked like a home; even if you would be lucky to last the winter here, this was more personal space than either of you had known since your marriage last year. Marisol stepped through the doorway first, spun around in the cozy den, and then buried her face in your chest as she embraced you.

You did well, Manny, she said. It was the most she had spoken in a month.

 


When the snows came, they accumulated incrementally: a few inches there, a brief thaw and a retreat to rain, then a day when it stormed for thirteen hours and left several feet of powder in the woods. Fortunately there was a pair of antique snowshoes hung as ornaments above the fireplace, with what looked like vinyl stretched across a thin steel frame. The rubber bindings were rotten and shot, but you were able to rig a satisfactory replacement with some cord that you found. With the snowshoes you were able to trudge for miles through the surrounding wilderness, where there was no further development beyond the lakeshore.

MERCorp had stocked their fenced-in compound with not only deer, but also elk. The perimeter may have been breached, but the herd had yet to figure that out, and so supplying your little household with fresh meat was turning out not to be a problem. Maybe the cabin wasn't well-stocked in terms of non-perishable food, but it was a boundless source of useful implements. One such item was a brown knife with a solid, six-inch blade you found in a random drawer. On those days when you were able to take down a deer or an elk — which for the first few weeks was any day you wanted to — the knife got a lot of mileage as you field dressed each animal.

It had never been your intention to take anything from the cabin. After all, this had been somebody's personal retreat, and in the back of your mind was the distant notion that whoever had once summered here would someday be coming back to the lake, as if the militia raid had never happened. But this was such a good knife that you kept it close to you at all times. After a while you forgot that it wasn't yours.

Marisol was content to spend her time in the cabin, availing herself of the stash of novels she found in a trunk in the upstairs bunkroom. They were in English of course, and for both of you this was still a language you were struggling to learn. Speaking it was one thing, reading it was quite another, but your wife set to the task in quiet contemplation. Her favorite spot was at a small table that had been set up in front of a picture window overlooking the lake, where light was plentiful. The cabin was not very big, and so no spot in the main room was more than a few meters from the fireplace. Every day when you left, you made sure there was an ample supply of wood stacked up beside the hearth, and more on the front porch just outside the door.

Yourself, you were too restless to remain in one spot all day long. Unless the weather was howling outside — and it did seem like there was at least one day of horrific weather every week — the lure of the woods compelled you to don those silly snowshoes and go exploring. Perhaps it was in your nature to do so. Maybe it was because you knew of no other lifestyle, having recently been on the run to evade those who would try to enslave you in debt. Just as likely it was because you found it difficult to believe that you wouldn't be discovered, even here. Rather than be caught by a Federalist patrol while napping in a warm bunk, you would rather be outdoors on your own two feet, struggling to take down your would-be captors before they found Marisol.

Always as you wandered, your rifle was close at hand. But so too was the knife; much better to slit the throat of an attacker in silence than to blow his brains out and attract all his buddies. If it came to that, of course.

But after a while, this paranoia of yours seemed like just that, an irrational fear. You wandered the shoreline of the bay, never seeing other tracks, nor any movement down the lake. You explored the perimeter of the compound, finding most of the fencing to still be intact. The enclosed area included not just the big lake, but an area of about fifty square kilometers, give or take. On one point you found a cluster of log lean-tos, a type of shelter that until that winter you had never seen before. To the east of them was a large, round pond that you assumed must have been a favorite fishing place.

The most intriguing place on the compound, however, was a small mountain to the northwest of the lake. A trail began not far from your cabin and led to a steel watchtower on the summit. You had no idea it was even there until one of your wanderings across the frozen lake, when you saw it gleaming on the near horizon. The mountain had a few small patches of bare rock, but no natural views. From the top of the tower, however, you could see for miles in every direction. Raquette Lake was at the heart of a vast forest, with a range of larger peaks to the northeast. Dozens of smaller lakes and ponds could be glimpsed here and there in almost every valley.

What did you find today? Marisol asked one afternoon when you returned to the cabin, just days after you had first climbed to the tower.

More snow, you replied.

Comedy doesn't suit you, my husband.

She stood up and entered the kitchen, returning with a steaming kettle. I made some coffee. Would you like some?

Very much, please, you said.

Marisol turned over a white porcelain cup from the table; it had been rinsed, but not cleaned. It was just the two of you here, and it was just coffee, so why waste soap after every use?

Did I miss anything here? you asked after the first sip warmed your throat.

Let me see. Your mother stopped by, said she misses you. Then my friends Loísa and Esmeralda came and took me shopping. There was a cute puppy and I almost bought it! But of course I couldn't do such a thing without asking you first.

I'm afraid comedy suits you no better, my wife. But in reality, you were heartened to see that her shell was softening, and that this time alone was doing her good. Yes, you had saved her life a few months ago in New Jersey, but you had been afraid a large part of her had died anyway.

Then I guess it's a good thing that neither of us are comics, she said.

You will be happy to know that I climbed the mountain again today, and there is no one else for miles around. The same as yesterday.

And the day before, Marisol added. You tell me this like it is good news.

Isn't it?

I don't really want to be alone, Manny.

You mean you don't want me to go off and leave you during the day?

No, it's not that. I mean, I don't always want to live in a place with no people in it.

You stood up from the table by the window, then took a seat with your coffee beside the fireplace. Even if there were people here, they would not be friendly, you said.

But imagine if they were. Imagine they were like us, sick of running all their lives, from one place that has nothing to another place that people say is better only because it has a little bit less nothing.

In Canada—

Yes, I know, Canada, she said. But imagine if they were here. During the day, when I want a little exercise, I explore this little cottage colony. None of the doors are locked, and I look around inside the other houses. I imagine that there are people living in them, and that we are all eating the food we grew in our own gardens, and the meat that you brought to us from the woods.

You listened intently, but you had no idea how to respond. Any expression of your pragmatic side would have almost certainly crushed this first expression of hope she had shown in a long time.

You're going to tell me this is impossible, she said anyway. I admit I have no idea how to make it work. But aren't there people setting off into space every year to do just what I am daydreaming about, on some new world?

Other people, yes, you said. Corporate employees, loyalists, investors. Even if we could get hired by an outfit like Tyuu-Amcorp, I would be cleaning the toilets and you would be stuffing empanadas in the cafeteria.

So what is our plan, then? How do we get to Canada, and what's waiting for us when we get there?

Those were good questions, and ones to which you didn't have a ready answer. In terms of getting to Canada, the easy answer was to go north, as the land border was not far from the northern foothills of these mountains. And there was always the possibility that this part of the border might get shifted south, as Canada was eager to expand its territory and there was now nothing to block its military progress but a band of barely regulated militia outfits. The country you were seeking to enter may very well have been coming to you.

Let's have this discussion another day, you said.

Marisol set a level gaze into your eyes from across the room. All right, another day, then. But we will have that discussion. Spring will be here soon, and I assume you will want to be on the move again.

Her assumption was correct. Except that before spring could arrive, there was a mid-February freeze that you had to endure, with temperatures dropping down to -40° three nights in a row. By day, the warmest thermometer reading was -15° Celsius, or 5° Fahrenheit on these American instruments. Trees popped in the woods as if entire branches were snapping off in the cold, and the joists of the cabin shifted and moaned, making it seem like the cabin might violently shatter and tumble around you as its component parts expanded beyond their design tolerances.

On the second night of this cold snap, there was a distant sound of thunder. It was not a jetdrone, as you knew well enough what those sounded like, and it was not actual thunder, because there could be no such storms at this time of year. When the sound persisted, you were drawn from the warmth of the covers to look out the windows.

What is it? Marisol said from the futon you had placed in front of the hearth, a generous stack of wood between it and the fire.

I'm not sure, you said. The sky to the northeast was glowing bright orange, as if the sun were rising on the wrong part of the horizon, at 1:30 in the morning.

There was no further information you could glean from the window, so you bundled up and trudged down to the lake. The view was no more conclusive there, and you couldn't bear the cold for more than a few seconds. But even in that brief time, you were able to postulate a disturbing theory: there had been an explosion. A big one, in the general direction of Canada.

The distant but thunderous sound took many hours to fade away; even in the embrace of the futon you could hear the noise lingering in the mountain like a trapped beast. In the morning the sound was gone, and so was the orange glow. In its place was an enormous black smudge rising high into the sky.

I need to see what that was, you told Marisol as you stood side by side on the frozen bay.

From the tower? she said.

Yes. I'm not sure what I'll see, but the view is a little more clearer up there.

The climb up the mountain was invigorating, as it pumped your body full of warmth. But the cold was stinging when you ascended the steps of the tower. The day was not clear — it rarely ever was here — but the clouds were high, obscuring none of the distant peaks. From this additional elevation, the black smudge you had seen from the lake was now more clearly seen as a massive column of smoke, as if a volcano had erupted from the midst of the frosty wilderness. The source was somewhere just beyond those high peaks, out of your field of vision, but the smoke seemed to rise straight to the stratosphere.

The only likely explanation was that someone had detonated a nuclear warhead. Militias could only dream of being so well armed, so this was clearly a military campaign. Canada versus… some well-funded corporate security brigade? Maybe. But who had nuked who, and why there in the mountains?

Frostbite would have been forthcoming had you remained on the tower, so you dashed down the mountain back to the cabin. But as you sat on the edge of the futon to be near the fire, your imagination ran wild, envisioning troops dispersing into these same hills as the skirmish expanded, or simply to escape annihilation. So later that same afternoon you climbed the mountain a second time, frustrated that the landscape still appeared unpopulated. Was it really that way, or was it just concealing potential threats as well as it was concealing you?

The weather broke the next day, with the temperature climbing to something that seemed far less life-threatening. You were able to linger on the tower for a longer period of time, but still you saw nothing.

On the third day, a front was moving in from the west, promising a new wave of snow. You could see it like an approaching plague of locusts, fifty kilometers long and just thirty kilometers distant. Ahead of the front, low clouds were descending like fog over the range of high peaks. Therefore it was easy to miss the column of smoke that was rising from one of the neighboring lakes, maybe twenty or twenty-five kilometers away — nothing on the scale from the other day, but a simple plume of grayish-white, just like the one emanating from your own chimney. It would be an ordinary sight, except that months had recently passed with no evidence that anyone had been dwelling in that direction.

Being February, with winter still very much in control of the wilderness and several feet of snow to contend with, you were not quite sure what you were supposed to be doing with this information. Ignoring it, however, could prove fatal.

Once again you rushed down the mountain, trying to devise a plan as you followed your snowshoe trail through the woods. Fleeing seemed impossible, so the only other option was to make yourself invisible: extinguish the fire in the cabin, close the curtains, never turn on any lights — not until you could verify you were alone again, or that the other party was content to stay put on their own lake.

How are we going to keep ourselves warm without a fire? Marisol said when she saw you were serious about dousing the life-sustaining blaze in your fireplace.

This cabin is full of winter clothes. Just be thankful the cold snap has passed.

Your wife acted as though she wasn't convinced there was a threat, but that didn't prevent her from assisting in your efforts that morning. And if she needed proof that she was wrong, she didn't have to wait long.

What is that sound? she said, cracking back open the curtains covering the picture window.

It sounded as if a horde of banshees had descended on the lake, but you recognized it immediately as the high-pitched whine of motors built for speed. You joined Marisol as she peeked out the window, seeing a column of snowmachines zipping across the lake. Dozens of them, operated by people wearing the same drab-green parkas.

Federalists, you said.

Where are they all going?

Getting out of the mountains, I imagine. That nuclear blast was more than they could handle.

Your wife tensed at your side; the gang that had cornered her in Newark had claimed to be Federalists, although to you they just looked like punks with chips on their shoulders. Not that the real Federalists were any less loathsome; they claimed to be idealists, but were really just opportunists not above destroying things they didn't own, and killing people they didn't know.

You were right about putting out the fire, Marisol whispered. I don't think they can see us.

Not directly, no, you thought. The militia column seemed to be heading down the length of the lake, toward that highway you followed into the mountains back in November. If they kept to that course, they would pass you by at a safe distance. However… however. No smoke may have been rising from your chimney, but you had been leaving tracks across the lake all season long as you explored its far-flung parts. Some had been filled in by drifts, but others were still comparatively fresh. And of course, all those snowshoe tracks led back to one place: the cabin.

So it came as no surprise when a squad of four snowmachines slowed to a halt on the lake, the riders disembarking their noisy mounts to examine something in the snow. Then you saw what looked like one man pointing in your direction.

A moment later, the four riders got back on their sleds and steered themselves into the bay, away from the main column. As you and Marisol watched from the picture window, they zoomed across the ice straight toward you.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
That was fast! You totally cheated with something you had already written, but that's fine.

You totally ended on a cliffhanger as well, and that's not fine, you're a dick.

I'm gonna have to come back to this tomorrow and read it more closely. Oh, and I like the font and formatting, nice touch!

You are supposed to tag two new people into the thread now though.

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3 months ago
So what WAS with the scales? I feel like I missed something there, or I was expecting it to go somewhere and then I think everyone just got gassed instead...

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3 months ago

The implication is that neither your character nor anyone else in quarantine actually has Covid-19, and instead has something else (that apparently the government just kills you outright for having).

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3 months ago
Got a tag issue on a massive post, so I’m just going to delete this and repost it later.

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3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/16/2020 10:13:03 PM
With the Revival Gem corrupted and chucked into the outer atmosphere, the battle was officially over. The wispy trails of black left in its wake slowly diffused, settling its dreaded reality over Findle - the supposed hero of this story. To the world, hero he was not. But, determination was a necessary prerequisite for heroism, and so he persevered in his futile cause.

As there was nothing left for him in these barren post-battle (post-thrashing, really) cliffside rocks, he rode back to Jonathan in pondering silence. Jonathan Smith was his wealthy client - a mob boss, to be frank. Jonathan Smith had a lovely wife, and that lovely wife’s life was dependant on the success of Findle‘s ability to retrieve a blessed Revival Gem... the gem that was currently rocketing its merry way up the atmosphere. The idea of fleeing to the other side of the Allapakian Mountains briefly entered his mind, but he shot it down. Heroes didn’t run.

Dismounting his horse, an old chestnut mare, he walked through the posted guards that eyed him with a dagger-like glare. He placed his hand against the door of the shack and it immediately slid open with a gentle creak.

“Findle, is it?” Jonathan’s voice was a croak from where he knelt beside his wife’s bed. His face was ghastly pale, beads of nervous sweat glistening with tiny sparkles in the harsh summer light. It was like looking at a mine’s walls: one would almost think they could reach their hands out at his forehead and pluck a polished mineral shard from it.

Findle nodded, shifting his feet awkwardly as he worried how badly breaking the news to the soon wifeless man would go. “Findle the Hero, yes.”

He would have given voice to a self-pitying laugh if he wasn’t so nervous. He noticed Jonathan stiffen too, likely caught in apprehension for the news the self-proclaimed hero was to bring. Jonathan always told people that save for his wife, he had nothing he considered of greater value than the simple grain that every villager had in their homesteads. Findle would soon become not much of a hero to Jonathan, either, whom had so trustingly placed faith in his abilities.

Taking the initiative, he started, “I’m so sorry, Jonathan, but the gem-“

“Stop,” Jonathan said and Findle obeyed. “Just stop. I get it already. You got to play hero but that’s all just silly talk, glossin’ over the truth. I should’ve known- no, I did know. There’d be no “hero” coming to save us, never was. All just you and your silly fantasies.”

Findle was taken aback, but he nodded nonetheless. He had heard words like these countless times. His clients stopped being angry with his failures after a while. Now they were just resigned.

“Are you... not going to try to kill me?” Findle tilted his head, puzzled with the mild temperament of the mob boss. Where was the yelling, the grabbing of his shirt collar, the kicks and the punches?

“HAH! Kill YOU? No. No, I just want you to get the fuck out and leave Em and I alone. You’ve done enough.”

Emily. Findle really liked Emily. He wanted to save Emily, he really did. She was the nice big sister next door who tossed apples over the fence for him to feed to his grandmother, sickly ill at the time yet filled with spirit when it came time to lecture him.

That’s why, as Findle stepped out of the house and grabbed onto his mare’s saddle, he paused to turn to one of the guards.

“Take care of them,” he noted, then rode off to his next destination. He spared no glance back.

------------------------------------------------

Can I have an exception and just leave it at this? That thing called "quitting"? I don't really know if I can continue.

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3 months ago
Oh, you got this up quicker than I expected.

Well it does seem like the story's at an end there so I wouldn't try to make you add another 400 words of padding to it. But I was left more curious about the beginning, since it seemed like we juuust missed some kind of epic battle with a magic gem getting blasted into orbit, and that might've been worthy of a few hundred words in itself.

Johnathan doesn't act much like a mob boss, and if Findle screws up so often that all his clients become 'resigned' to his failures it makes me wonder 1) how he's still alive and 2) how he keeps getting hired.

I really like the name Findle though, it's cute.

Are the guards working for Findle or for Johnathan? "Take care of them" can be interpreted in two ways, one of which is pretty sinister, and it kind of depends on who is employing them.

Anyway, the writing itself is very good, I just felt like I was getting dropped into the middle of a book and it being longer with a little more of the context filled in would've helped me get my bearings. I'm guessing Findle is a character you yourself are really familiar with even if you haven't written any of this down before, or at least that's the sense I got.

I'll let this count, but since it wasn't quite 1000 words you can only tag one person in instead of two.

(If you need suggestions, I recommend Pineapplekitty, the other shy one...)

Also as long as you're reading this, I guess here's the obligatory mention that I really wish you'd be less elusive and post now and then. Your writing is perfectly good, and for that matter half the active members don't write to begin with, you can always just drop into a thread and chat about whatever.

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3 months ago
I get nervous when there's a penalty waiting somewhere for me to do something wrong.

You caught on to my intentions, surprisingly. Findle is really the "mob boss" here - Jonathan is just a poor farmer. Jonathan's nervousness around Findle is because of that. Findle also intentionally yeeted that stone into the sky. Yes, the guards do work for Findle. I was going for the impression that they worked for Jonathan, and were placed around the small house to protect his wife. Findle deludes himself into seeing things through a "hero lens". It feeds into his self-satisfaction. That was the content of the other 400 words, but... yeah.

No, Findle is a character I made up at the doctor's office, when I started writing this thing. His name is inspired by Kindle. I don't know what Kindle is, but I've heard of it.

Thanks for letting me off easy. And for the "ur writing is okay". It's reassuring to know. I will take the opportunity to run now. >_>

@Pineapplekitty

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3 months ago
Huh. I could tell something was really off with the dynamic between the two characters, but hadn't quite twigged that it was going the full unreliable narrator route. Findle is uh, pretty damn delusional lol. It was interesting rereading that with those extra details in mind.

Kindles are the tablets made by Amazon. The original version like ten years ago was just for reading ebooks, but they have all the bells and whistles other tablets have now.

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3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/17/2020 6:08:16 AM
The sacrificial tower is the pinnacle of the Tribal power over the wasteland, it is encircled by the numerous shrines blood of our enemies and cremated animals to calm the Metal's spirits.

And from there in the blood moon night, The tribal chief solemnly commences his proclamation to the hundreds of Tribes over the Asphalt:

"The Tribes and the city are languishing again like every 100 cycles of years. The Bee plague is here. However, fear not, my tribal brothers and sisters."

He makes one of those dramatic pauses, he loves to practise in front of multiple mirrors in his speeches practice room. Then your dad continues with his famous passionate furore that ignites the hearts of the Tribes:

Our better youth warriors will descend into the Metal and steel's bowels of the Sacred Vault to calm the ancients accompanied by an official City Wizard to fulfil our sacred alliance!"


You then turn your attention to your company in this private balcony in the tower. Beside you, Laurel the magician from capital smirk sarcastically looking your father speech from his private hologram screen, and like the entire day you have been escorting him, he remains mostly silent. Probably the village doesn't pay him enough to converse with illiterate trash.

He smiles at you clearly he has noticed your gaze. Sadly, his virginal bitch attitude with his beautiful white teeth and his dreamy blue eyes... That beautiful pale skin typical of the people of the rich city of Steel; Beyond the radiation storms and the desert of asphalt that are the realm of the tribes.

You shake your head trying to forget those impure thoughts. He doesn't seem to be the flirting type.

Your father ends up his speech. Clamour and shouts of encouragement echo throughout the village made by the metallic bones of old New Reno; you head towards the interior of the sacrificial tower penthouse built with the remains of cars and go near your father: "Great speech father. I am very proud that you have chosen me to ..."

Your father frowns his single thick brow again giving him an even more simian appearance:

"Flamboyant Flummery! The city has forced me to send you into danger die those damned powers you have inherited from your Urban mother! Brittania, you should stay here, safe. You are the heir of the thousands of tribes under Steel and Flame."

You don't have time to even reply to your stern parent. As the loudspeaker bellows at full power Resounding through the steel and cement of the great wall: **"ATTENTION! THE SWARMS ATTACK! EVERYONE IN POSITION"**

You can't help but giggle. Combat is the most fun part of your life, sensing in your entire body the speed of your motorcycle, killing your foes smelling their burning engines and seeing them explode in a mini nuclear detonation.

However, this time your enemies are the mighty bionic insects of the Ancient's plague; you hope they are ready because you certainly are.
Your father is rapidly taken away to safety by his loyal guards. Now, it is time for you to move on.

You scream at Laurel you want to see how a graduate magician fights: "Come on, Urban! We have to go before all the fun is over!"

After evacuating, the massive building, both of you find yourselves amidst the chaos in the huge central square, where civilians try to get into the communal anti-bee shelters, being helped in the possible by the Tribal warrior clans.


Looking to the nervous stare of Laurel you slow your pace a little: "Do you know how to pilot a war chopper, Wizard?" You ask while both enter in the enormous barracks and Tribal hangars.

He is sweaty, almost out of his breath. Mages are not used to hardship. You think while look the perfect smooth hands and nails Laurel has. He finally in the last elevator is well enough to answer to your response: "No.. we use cars or AMU-droids"


Finally, in your squad Hangar, you can turn your eyes on the powerful engine of Babieca your Harley Davidson with handmade plated armour and two propulsion system nuclear power engine


Tibba your second runs in and sweating with his Gunner armour already on:
"Pff, is the wizard still here? Don't tell me the baby is going to accompany us to fight the Waxers?!"

"Waxers? Laurel asks, to your surprise he seems genuinely interested in the term.

You cut your second's complaints by raising your hand. Tibba can be a very good officer, but his big mouth is going to be his downfall:

"Laurel, Waxers are the name of the people addicted to the red honey they become mind-controlled by the hive mind. They are not dangerous except now when they explode becoming a toxic chemical swarming of bots. And Tibba, we are his caretakers. Father asked me not to lose sight of him at any time no matter what happens. So, the magician is coming to war!"

Tibba looks at him with a clear contempt:

"At least you will know what the nano bees plague is and how it's created, and put that in your City sacred book. What is its name?

"City hearts" He just mumbles with he is a believer.

He just starts to convey the City heart When a human being is infected for 4 years it is asymptomatic, except the sex-driven tendencies and pheromones more attractive spreading the infection after that time, the fever takes over and they collapse and their bodies and organs burst. Half organic, half metallics nanobots, bees, they arise attacking humans without mercy in order of eating them and creating their beehives and their special blood honey.

"Put the helmet on, Mage! We are going for a wild ride."

Tibba just squeals thinking about the incoming battle: "The Plasma Machine Gun platform sidecar is now attached to Babieca, Boss."

You hop into Babieca followed by Laurel reading his spells.

LET'S THE PARTY START IT!

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
I want tag @Camelon and @Killa_robot

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3 months ago
"You're late."

"Well, at least I'm here now. What's wrong?"

The Captain's eyes lingered on the man for several tense seconds, before he sighed and took a step back into his home.

"It's the damn radio," he began, leading the man through the house. "Thursday it was nothing but static, Friday it wouldn't make any noise, and yesterday?!"

The Captain exclaimed, suddenly spinning back to the man, flailing his hands in the air.

"Yesterday it started repeating the same number, over and over! It hasn't stopped! It's maddening I tell you!"

The man frowned, thoroughly confused by the conclusion of the Captain.

"What do you mean, it 'repeated the same number'?"

"The radio did!"

"I... just show me the radio."

As the two entered the living room, the man could hear sounds coming from the radio, but was too far to make them out. The Captain glanced back at the man once more, before nodding and approaching the radio.

"By the way, I didn't get your name."

However the man had already lost interest in what the captain, the old fool, was saying. He was too enamored by the sight of the Zenith Model 12-S-265 standing before him. It was magnificent. While it had a few scratches from wear and tear, it was in almost mint condition. Any man would be lucky to have such a fine piece of technology in his possession.

"Hey!"

The Captain shouted, breaking the man out of his trance.

"What's your name? Your real name?"

The man narrow his eyes at the Captain, then shrugged.

"There's really no need for you to name me. Just use my username if you want."

"I ain't calling you that."

"Well, I'm calling you the Captain."

"I am a captain, so that's fine, but it remains to be seen if you truly are a 'RadioMaster666' like your username says."

"I can assure you, no part of my username is false."

The Captain was clearly annoyed by the man's reluctance, but the man didn't care. There was no need for them to exchange any additional names with one another.

"Fine, just fix the damn radio already."

The man walked past the Captain and approached the radio, crouching down and gently placing his right ear against its large front speaker. After listening for a few seconds, he nodded in approval.

"It's not just repeating a number. It's a code."

"Why in the hell would it be repeating a code?"

The man decided to not reply, instead choosing to take a seat beside the standing radio. In order to better analyze the situation, he'd need some time to think and consider his options.

"You damn useless millennials," the Captain said as he approached the radio, deciding to take matters into his own hands.

"One...Six..." The Captain said, pausing before continuing.

"Two... Six..." Followed by another pause.

"Six... Three... Now what in the hell kind of code is 162663?"

"Well it's six digits long, maybe there's something to that?"

"So what, it's a password?"

"Or maybe you should read between the sequence?"

"What?"

"There were some gaps too, maybe that means something?"

"Look I don't care about the damn code, or number, or password, or whatever the hell it's sprouting out. Can you fix the radio or not?"

"Sure I can, but if you don't solve the code how will you ever know what the guy sending it to you wants?"

The Captain froze, prompting the man to continue.

"You're not the first person I've seen this happen to. I've visited at least four other homes in the past week where the radio was acting this way. I've concluded that there must be someone overriding the signals that the radio receives with their own."

"That's fascinating son, but I'm too damn old to be pulled into your nonsense mysteries."

"Aren't you worried?"

"I have a gun; some kid fucking with my radio ain't a threat."

The man glanced around the room, then nodded.

"Alright, I guess I should fix this already then. Do you have a dolly?"

"You mean a hand truck? Of course, why?"

"Well, if you have something like that, I won't even need to go to my truck to get any tools. Lead the way."

The man exclaimed, standing up. The Captain grinned, seeing that things were finally going his way.

"About damn time! Come with me downstairs." He exclaimed, leading the way to the basement. A few minutes later, the two returned to the living room: the man with a toolbox, and the Captain carrying the dolly.

"So what, you need this hand truck to move the radio to the center of the room for easy access?"

The man looked at the Captain, then at the dolly, then to the radio, then back to the man and smiled.

"Yeah, something like that. By the way, why do you mount your gun on the wall?" The man asked, rummaging through the toolbox to find what he needed. The Captain smiled and turned to face the gun, which was hanging over top of a recliner, before explaining.

"Well, you see, I normally sit in that chair there, so it's for easy access in case someone tries to rob me."

"So it's already loaded?" The man asked, the hammer ready in his hand.

"Damn straight! Wouldn't be much use if I had an unloaded gun on the wall now, would it?" The Captain replied with a laugh.

"I don't think a gun being on the wall will help you much regardless," the man replied, before bludgeoning the Captain in the back of the head with the hammer. The Captain let out a weak yelp, then promptly feel forward onto the ground, hammer still sticking out of his head. Not one to leave a job half done, the man retrieved the hammer from the back of the skull and smashed the head in a few additional times for good measure. He then turned to face the radio, and smiled.

"Another fine addition to the collection."

------------
I feel I did this too late to tag anyone. I clearly have already succumb to the corona.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/18/2020 5:01:46 AM
1,091 words. Start of a generic noir story because I felt divinely inspired to do something noir-flavored. Don't expect a continuation unless some bastard tags me again. ----- The rain was unrelenting. I took a long drag from my smoke and leaned back further into the chair. My office was a mess, papers strewn all over my desk, ash tray full of cigarettes smoked down to the filter, and a few half empty bottles of Jack lying around here or there. It had been a long time since I had any clients walk through the door so I stopped caring about appearances. Part of me mused that a messy office fit me, washed up drunk that I was. Suddenly, a knock at the door. A sultry voice from behind it spoke: "Cohen? I got a job for you." My brows raised in response to that. Usually the only people who came around these days were debtors or my landlord. An actual client? It'd been a while. I hastened to neaten the office up a bit, shoving old case files into my desk, emptying the ashtray, and stacking the whiskey bottles up by my chair. "Come on in," I said after a moment, and in she walked. The first thing I noticed about her was the way she carried herself in a red dress that hugged her figure so tightly. Confident. Sexy. Dangerous. Like a supermodel turned assassin. Every nerve within me was screaming to be rid of her but I choked down the anxiety by taking a drag from my cigarette. She took a seat and tucked a lock of her blonde bob cut behind her ear. Cool blue eyes stared into my own and for a moment I felt like she could tear my soul out of my body. She pulled a cigarette from a pack of her own and plucked it between a pair of ruby lips, lighting it with a match which she promptly flicked into my ashtray. An inhale. "Are you Cohen?" she asked, the smoke coming out in wisps from her lips. "Yeah. Henry Cohen, private eye. You got a name, miss?" I asked. A small, seductive smile graced her features. "Elaine Foster. Missus." Married woman, huh? Usually married women don't go walking around so seductively, unless they're trying to upset their husbands or find some sort of boy toy. That, or when they're trying to get some sucker to help them out. Just who the hell was she supposed to be? We gazed into each other's eyes as we tried to search through the other person's soul. I was trying to find some sliver of truth, she was trying to find some sliver of suspicion. The moment seemed to last a lifetime before I finally spoke up: "You said you have a job for me?" Elaine bit her lip, as if hesitant to go on now that she was finally here, before nodding. "It... It involves my husband, Donald Foster. You might have heard his name before?" Indeed I had. Donald Foster, owner of Foster's Department Stores. The man was also shot dead two nights ago according to the papers. There'd been no progress on the investigation, not that it surprised me; pay the cops enough and they'll look the other way, and when they do actually look into something, they don't look too hard. "Mmhm. I take it you want me to look into his murder for you?" "That would be correct." I sighed. On one hand, this was a job, which I desperately needed. Probably well paying coming from a dead rich man's wife. On the other hand, there was something off about this dame. I felt like getting involved in this would lead to the death of me. Sure, there was cash, but what good is cash when you're at the bottom of the Hale River with cinder blocks tied to your feet? Might as well bite the bullet and give this a go. I grabbed a notepad and pencil from one of my drawers that I hadn't touched in ages. Need to get some notes. "Alright. Walk me through the details of the murder. Give me everything." Elaine took in a deep breath then sighed, before nodding. "Okay. It was a quarter past eleven on Tuesday night. I had just got home-" "Where were you?" I interrupted. "Nowhere important. I just got home and I climbed the stairs up to the bedroom. I thought I'd see Donald there, waiting in bed and reading a book. Instead, I found him lying face down in a pool of his own blood, full of bullet holes." I scribble down a few notes. "What happened next?" "I was in shock. It took me about an hour before I called the police, and it took them about ten minutes after to get there. They didn't do much, just looked around the room for a bit, then called the coroner to haul the body away and left." She gives a dark laugh. "Didn't even clean up the blood. People these days, no manners." I had to stop myself from laughing at that, instead twisting my lips into a barely contained smirk. "So the police were incompetent, that's nothing new, but this is a whole new level of incompetency. Do you think they might have been paid to look the other way on this?" Elaine sighed and closed her eyes, thinking it over. "Maybe. I'm not sure. He was getting involved with some... Shady figures before his death. People looking to buy his store chain from him to boost their own profits. They might have killed him and paid off the police so he wasn't in the way." "Have any ideas who those men would be?" "One of them was a man named Antonio Braxton. He's the owner of a chain of competitors to my husband's stores." This wasn't looking good for me. Shady businessmen with enough cash in their pockets to make the entire police force turn a blind eye up against me, a broken down and drunk private eye. Taking this case would be tantamount to suicide. Only an idiot would go for it. "That's a lead if I've ever seen one. I'll look into it. Write your number down here and I'll call you after I get something." Guess I was an idiot. Elaine smiled and nodded, standing up from her chair. I handed her my notebook for her to write her number down. She turned and left my office, leaving me to collapse in my chair with a sigh. I got a case alright, one that I assumed would lead to my downfall. What kind of situation have I dragged myself into?

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3 months ago
@Slasher @Digit

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3 months ago
Very well, I shall stop withholding your comm.

And OBVIOUSLY the sultry dame was having an affair with some shady figure who took the husband out. Why was she not willing say where she'd been that night?

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3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/17/2020 7:52:04 PM

The Space Colonist, Part 1

“Day one-thousand three-hundred and twenty, that is how long I have been alone aboard this miserable hunk of scrap,” you say into the black box that has been recording your daily journal entries. This was both to keep you sane and provide a record for whoever finds you if the ship should crash. Not that anyone would ever find you. Space is so vast that, even if NASA sent another human into deep space, their chances of finding you would be next to zero.

“Exploring the universe sounded like a chance to be on your own season of Star Trek at first, but it is more like a COVID-19 quarantine so far… Anyway, all systems are functional. Nothing interesting has been picked up by the scanners. Even staring at the dark void of space, knowing I am walking among the stars, has gotten old at this point. If this keeps up, I will be talking to a bloody hand print on a volleyball like… scratch that, I didn’t bring a volleyball to talk to.”

At that moment, a high-pitched beeping interrupts you. Sighing, you shuffle over to the scanner that is vying for your attention. This one uses light-based sonar and he Doppler effect to predict the relative speed and size of nearby planets. Alarms are programed to warn you of possible collisions as well as planets roughly the same size as Earth that are moving at the same speed.

You used to get excited when this alarm went off: it indicated the chance that a planet could have a survivable atmosphere. However, you had yet to find a planet that was even worth stopping on. Your base fuel only allowed you to land on one planet, and you would be stranded on it unless it had some sort of fossil fuel.

“Wait, that’s impossible!” you exclaim staring at the scanner. “Keep the recording going, I think this is it!”

Rushing to another control console, you quickly scan your surroundings for space debris. There is nothing around you; after all, this solar system is relatively asteroid free and hasn’t had forgotten satellites sent into it. With your excitement building, you raise the solar sail. The extremely large and impossibly thin carbon-fiber canvas spreads above your ship on a telescoping rod, stretching as tall and wide as an old-fashioned pirate ship’s mast. Positioning the mast to face the sun, your solar sail catches the nearest sun’s light and begins to slow your ship.

“It’s not enough…” you comment as your projected trajectory still shows you overshooting the target planet. “Activating experimental Ion Thrusters.”

There is a whirring and buzzing as the electric generator begins to kick out more power to power the electrodes, cathode rays, and electromagnets. Lights flicker, screens dim, another alarm sounds, you hold your breath hoping that the untested thrusters work. A hissing noise alerts you that the xenon gas is being released; moments later, the ship lurches backwards.

“We have achieved ionic thrust!” you announce, picking yourself up off the ground. “Note to self: always fasten your seat belt before starting the ion thrusters.”

While the ship is slowing rapidly, your onboard guidance system begins to calculate optimal approach trajectories and velocities. Fortunately, the planet’s orbit is producing a tangential velocity moving in the same direction as your shuttle, minimizing the acceleration your shuttle will need to withstand to enter orbit.

Before long, you are orbiting the planet in question two-hundred and fifty miles above the surface in a synchronous orbit. Once the spaceship has locked into the orbit, you open a hatch to expose a round window that usually remains closed for safety. The surface of the planet is a deep blue ocean, with various green splotches of land and patches of clouds.

“Just as the scanner indicated, the surface of this planet appears to be mostly liquid. Visual inspection indicates that it is likely water, but the composition of both the atmosphere and liquid is unconfirmed. We are an appropriate distance from the sun to make temperature survivable. In fact, this planet appears to be a replica of Earth with smaller continents… I’m now preparing the drone for atmospheric sampling.”

Two autonomous vehicles are aboard the shuttle. One is a drone that is instrumented with a miniaturized air sampling device. Besides sending data on the composition of the atmosphere every five minutes, the drone also can read wind speeds, air temperatures, atmospheric pressure, and has a camera. If the atmosphere is survivable, this will tell you.

The other autonomous vehicle is a rover. This rover can only travel across land, so it doesn’t seem as practical for this planet. Although there ate a lot of islands visible from space, none appear to be very large by Earth’s standards. Each is only the size of a U.S. state, by your estimation. Your rover would have very limited space to work with, but it could collect soil and water samples.

None of that matters if the air is not breathable though: your space suit doesn’t have a way to fill the oxygen tanks due to a design oversight. No matter what happens, it will only allow you to breathe in unfavorable conditions for twenty-four hours maximum. You plan to save that suit for external ship repairs, should the need for that arise.

Launching the drone, you wait with baited anticipation for a signal. Entering the atmosphere should take several minutes. The drone is designed to slow its descent with a parachute and enter flight without touching the ground. This was specifically made for a planet with an atmosphere and nowhere to land the rover.

After a few long minutes, the video screen clicks on. You release your breath as the puzzle solved jingle from the Legend of Zelda plays; that was gift from the drone’s creator, who was a childhood friend and avid gamer. For the first time in history, you are taking a virtual exploration of what appears to be a habitable planet.

Readings of the atmosphere return with favorable results: the atmosphere’s composition matches Earth’s exactly. The data is so conclusive that you purge the system and check it again, fearing the reading is air from the space shuttle trapped in the drone’s sensors. Confirmed, this planet really is a carbon copy of Earth. At least, its atmosphere is.

“It is survivable!” you shout to the tape recorder. “I am going to fly over an island!”

Moving the drone closer to land, you a dense forest covering the entire island except the beech. You stand staring wide-eyed at the monitor, waves crash against the beech, leaves blow in the wind, small critters scurry through the sand. It looks like the scene from the animated movie Madagascar, when the animals first land on the island the movie is named after.

Everything is perfect, until the screen goes dark. Video feed and atmospheric data stops sending as the drone’s signal disappears completely. There isn’t even an error message, it happens to suddenly for the drone to send one.

“No! No, no, no!” you shout, pulling up the recorded video files. Watching the recoding in slow motion, you notice a crunching noise just prior to losing the signal.

“Something must have crashed into it. Either I got unlucky, or whatever is down there targeted the most critical part of the drone... On the bright side, the planet is habitable! Unfortunately, it looks like that also means it is not empty…” you say for the recording. “The question is do I risk going down there myself? Or should I send the rover and try to communicate? I could also leave, but I will probably run out of food and air before I find another planet like this one!”


End of part 1. Just under 1300 words for the story.

@Larimar and @Gower

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/17/2020 1:07:07 PM

So ok, here's my draft of essay 2 it's two weeks late but there's a virus in case you don't know, so I'm emailing it to you.  This is the draft and it's what I mean so I don't care if you don't like it it's the honest truth about you and your class.  long story short it's total bullshit

 

I don't want to write this paper, so why should I?  Should I write a paper just to pass a class?  Why would I do that?  I shouldn't.  I should just say "fuck it."  Last year I said that all the time, and I would tell myself look I can just get a "bad" grade.

 

You can call it a "bad" grade but I'm not a bad person whatever you think. Because dude why do I have to write a thing that's six pages, six full pages on a topic I don't care about.  That plus a test I guess you want me to study for.  I guess you think I'm worthless and you didn't even care to grade my first essay just wrote "Redo this, it has multiple basic spelling errors in every sentence."

 

Currently I am home because of the school making us social distance because of a pandemic obviously you know that.  So I don't how writing a paper helps deal with that, that's real important things in the world, guess what using punctuation and spelling things doesn't cure a virus.  So you want me instead of working a job to make some money to like pay bills you make me be home, you and the virus, to type a paper.  Like an essay when will I write one of those in the real world?  Write strong worded letters to managers telling them I demand a refund and with a thesis.  dude  So you also want me to going up in front of the class and read my essay hey guess what everyone zones out and I wear airpods.  That's like earbuds with wires you don't know that I guess but I barley listen.

 

The vscos in the first row don't listen either they are drinking there vanilla bean frappichinos and texting under the desk.  So you want me to write about my politics or sugar or seeds.  I want to do something real like write something I care about like something real.  Not just words on a page with a thesis and indents and statistics, but words that means something, something that builds, something with a character in it.  You have to step up.

 

So you want me to write research I found online guess what research is just taking someone else's words and put into their own words.  You know that's a 100 percent bullshit assingment but whatever.

 

What happens to me next year?  So am I never going to do my work forever?  I know I'm going to learn how, I have to buckle down, just grit my teeth just shit something out because that's what you want.  I'm in college so I'm here of my own purpose, it's not my job but guess what it feels that way it never stop to feel that way.  So I'm not saying this like an excuse, just because when you fail soemething you learn, so I'm learning a lot but guess what.  One essay doesn't change anyones life or advance you down the board game.

 

I got so much stress from this legit don't get me started.  Like I legit have the weight of the world on my shoulders, times a hundred, so with all that you want me to write an essay.  But I guess I don't have a vote in what I do, come on don't be a moron Donnie, I have to do what you tell me to tell, the college says it and I do it.  The point isn't to be smart or good or whatever, it's legit to jump through a hoop, just stare at your computer stress your balls off spending an hour a night sleeping, drink red bull because why?  I'll tell you why because my paper isn't done.

 

I seriously stare at the vsgos during class they literally have pooka shell bracelets on and flasks like they get everything and I guess if you sit in the back your shit and if you sit in the front you get As, like they think they are so much better than me, and by the way they only sit up front because that's the front of the room, that's where you are teaching, they want  you to think they care or that they are paying attention.  Like by the way I hope you noticed I went out with one of their roommates which is why I don't have a textbook because I left it in her room after I kicked her boyfriend's ass.  So I don't see how you want me to read the story and answer the questions 1-3 if I don't have the book.  Like if I don't have the book it's literally impossible to do the homework.  Her name is Michelle.

 

Some students are like whatever like vsgos are like hey I did reserach wrote the paper, kiss your ass, with facts backing them up.  Get good grades, hey!  So are they smarter or better than me?  Fuck that because they just know how to kiss as.  An A is an A but it's just a letter like any letter.  Because I rip my brain out my head and you still gave me a F on essay one after I drove myself crasy over it.  It's not fair, so I got my note book to write this essay and after two hours writing all I had on the page was fuckfuckfuckfuck, nothing else all over the page and my roommate was like chill dude, but I was just writing fuckfuckfuckfuck, covering the whole page even onto my bedsheet.

 

So that's my draft for the second paper that's it.

 

 


@QingBo  @817819

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
How many of your students are having these kinds of mental breakdowns now for real I wonder...

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
a picture's worth 1k right?

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/19/2020 8:30:43 PM

The store isn't anything fancy.  If anything, you'd find it sketchy if you didn't know better.  The place is tucked away in a little alley off main-street, hardly noticeable to those who aren't looking for it.  The only thing indicating that it's even a shop at all is the shabby wooden sign above the door that reads HerbMart. It's a wonder they've managed to stay open this long; as far as you know, their only advertising happens by word of mouth.  

You push the door open and the smell of pot assaults your senses.  The owner, Madame Schindler as she insists on being called, sits behind the counter at the back of the cramped little store, smoking from an old fashioned pipe.  She raises her bushy eyebrows when she sees you come in.

"Back again I see,"  She says in a gravely voice.  "That's the third time this month.  You've become quite the customer." 

"I've run out of Thyme again,"  You say.  "I need it to protect me from the Coronavirus!"  

"Is that so?  I'm afraid most of my supply has already been bought out.  Seems you're not the only one with that idea."

"You've got to have something left!"  A hint of desperation shows in your voice.  "I can't get sick, there's still so much I wanted to do!"

"Well, now that you mention it, I might have one bottle left,"  A crooked smile spreads across her face.  "But I'll have to charge a little extra for it.  I was planning to use it myself."

"Please, I'll pay whatever you want, just give it to me!"  Tears well up in your eyes, but you blink them back.  

"My word kid, calm down."  Madame Schindler's smile disappears,  "You're young, you'll be fine.  Don't you know the virus only kills-"

A crash from behind you cuts her off.  You whirl around to see the door of the shop lying in pieces on the ground.  A guy in a hazmat suit stands in the doorframe, his bulging muscles showing even through the yellow rubber.  He rushes into the shop, followed by two more suits.  One of them knocks a rack stocked with an assortment of glass bottles with a crash, spilling pills, oils, and goop all over the floor.  At the sight of the suits, you stumble backwards and accidentally step on an unbroken bottle.  You slip and fall to the floor, clipping your head on the corner of the counter.  Stars dance before your eyes and your stomach flips.  You try to sit up, but a spell of dizziness forces you back to the ground.  For a brief moment, no one moves. 

"What the hell do you think you're doing?"  Madame Schindler cries,  "Do you have any idea how much that's gonna cost me?"

As she speaks, a bottle of some kind of essential oil touches your face.  You turn your head to get a better look at it.  Somehow, it must've survived the rack falling and rolled right up to you.  The label on the side reads "Viribus".  

 

"Sorry about this, maam," one of the suits says, "But for public safety reasons, we're placing you under quarantine."

 

It's strange, you've never heard of this essential oil before.  You squint to read the description.

"Apply to wrists or bottoms of feet.  Temporarily increase alertness, reflexes, and muscle capacity.  For best results exercise for at least thirty minutes before use."

Muscle capacity?  As in, physical strength?  Curious, you reach out and grab the bottle.

 

"What about this guy down here?"  One of the suits looks down at you,  "Is he okay?"

"We'd better take him with us, just in case he was exposed."

"If you so much as lay a hand on me, I'll sue every last one of your asses!"  Schindler says.  "And leave the kid alone.  He's a good customer, and I don't want to lose his business!"

 

The liquid in the bottle is an orange color.  It's got a spicy smell to it, almost makes you sneeze.  It might be a long shot, but maybe if you apply this oil, you might be able to escape by force.  At the very least, the power of the placebo effect might increase your chances.  Or they could, you know, shoot you or something.  Maybe it'd be better to go quietly.

Actually, You know what?  No.  No way you're spending two weeks stuck in some lab with nothing to do.  You've got Netflix shows to watch, and you're pretty sure scientists don't watch Netflix.  Working quickly, you screw off the cap and pour a couple drops onto your wrists.  As you rub them together, the smell of the oil fills your lungs.  Instantly, your head begins to clear.  You leap to your feet, a current of energy running through you.  

"Take it easy there kid,"  One of the suits says.  "You just had a nasty fall, you don't want to-"

You drive your fist into his mask, cracking the plastic.  He falls, crying out as his head strikes the ground.  Everyone in the shop stares at you, stunned.  You don't give them any time to react.

"The power of essential oils compels you,"  you shout, kicking another one of the suits in the balls.  "Be gone from this place!"

Now two of the suits are writhing on the ground.  You turn your gaze towards the one still standing, and he yelps, reaching for his gun.  But before he can get his gloved hands around it, a shot rings out from behind you and he crumples to the ground, screaming.  Blood oozes from a hole in his leg.  Madame Schindler steps out from behind the counter, pistol still smoking.  Face set, she puts a bullet through the legs of the other two suits.  You stare at her, mouth agape.  

"Quarantine my ass,"  She says,  "They didn't even test me first.  Something else is going on here."

"W-what?"  You stammer,  "Don't you think that's a little extreme?"

"They messed up my shop.  They had it coming."

One of the suits groans, and she gives him a sharp kick in the ribs.  "Quiet, or I'll do your head next."  Schindler turns to you.  "Come on kid, we'd better get out of here.  They'll send backup soon, and we don't want to be around when they get here."

"R-right..."  You say, taking a shaky step towards the door.  "That... that would probably be wise..."

******************

That was from a storygame I'm working on, so sorry if it doesn't make as much sense out of context.  I guess I'll just tag some randos from the who's online section at the bottom of the page, seeing as they're probably the only ones left without immunity.  How about... @tam733 and @Axxius.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/17/2020 7:51:41 PM
Valravn

Hanna stared down into the bowl of stew. Usually, meals were graced with conversation and laughter in their family, but tonight was different. Her father was gone searching in the darkened woods and her mother sat sullenly staring at the hearth fire. It was not unusual for Hanna or one of her siblings to venture out into the woods during the day, but they always returned before dark. The sun had fallen behind the mountains some time ago now and her younger brother had not yet been found.

No one broke the silence, though Elva saw fit to distract herself by brushing her long golden hair and plaiting it carefully. Hanna's elder sister had always been vain, but to be so unbothered by the situation at hand... Hanna clenched her fist and set her bowl of food aside uneaten. It was quite late now, usually, all would be asleep at this hour of the night. Rest seemed wrong though and Hanna found herself peeking out of the door. The moon cast her cold light down around the small abode, the shadows of the trees seemed longer than normal and the wind wailed as it passed through the barren branches. The chill in the air suggested snow, a bad sign for children lost in the woods at night.

Her mother started to her feet when Hanna's father opened the door, but slumped back into her seat when she realized he was alone. Even Elva seemed disturbed by the news. None of them had dared to think Mikkel wouldn't be found after all.

Sleep did not come easily and Hanna found herself staring up at the roof long after her mother's sobs had ceased. Elva rose from her bed in the darkness, her feet barely making a sound on the dirt floor. She stole across the house to the door, slipping outside quietly. It wasn't all that strange for someone to go out in the night to relieve themselves, but Elva did not return until the morning. Her elder sister had no more snuck back into her bed than Hanna's parents began to wake.

Her father went to search again and her mother started the fire in the hearth. Hanna chose to go about her usual chores, gathering eggs, and feeding animals. It felt meaningless, but it passed the time. Next, she ventured into the woods to gather kindling, careful not to wander too far. The air was cold, but the snow had not yet dusted the ground thankfully. There were plenty of dry twigs and sticks for her to gather. As she gathered them into a bundle beneath one arm, Hanna caught a glimpse of movement in the trees.

Elva moved through the trees with a soft smile on her pretty face, sometimes glancing over her shoulder. Hanna frowned and trailed after her, staying behind the trees until Elva came to a small clearing sheltered by an ancient tree. She watched from behind a fallen log as her sister preened herself, tucking wisps of fallen hair behind her ears and pinching her cheeks to make them rosy pink. Rolling her eyes, Hanna realized her sister was probably meeting the neighbor boy again. How she could do so at a time like this was beyond Hanna's realm of thinking, but her sister had always been selfish.

She was about to sneak away when a man came around the old tree's trunk, this was not the neighbor boy. He was taller than their father, but his face was fairly youthful. His hair was long and black as the night with dark brown eyes set deeply into his skull. He was handsome, but Hanna's skin prickled at the sight of him. This felt wrong.

Elva wrapped herself about him like a vine and though his hands stroked her hair, his expression was that of boredom. He was not any neighbor of theirs, Hanna knew the other family's in the area. He must be from the town or perhaps just a wanderer. She froze when he looked at her, those piercing brown eyes of his suddenly flashing with amusement as a twisted smile tugged at the corner of his lip. Elva was too enthralled with him to realize his attention had turned elsewhere, but Hanna wished her sister would notice. She felt fear building in her chest as he held her gaze, licked his lips, and continued to run his fingers down the small of Elva's back.

It felt as if she was being held in place, gaze locked with that of the stranger. Her heartbeat frantically in her chest as she struggled to move. Finally, she broke free and ran for home. Elva's startled gasp caused her to look over her shoulder, seeing her sister's angry expression as the stranger watched with the same vile smirk on his face. Turning away, she kept running until she reached the edge of the woods and the house came into view.

Hanna stopped short as she was about to go inside, looking across at the small barn when movement caught her eye. A large bird sat perched upon the thatch roof, a creature she had never seen before. It looked very much like a raven but was far too large. It was as big as an eagle, looking down at her with an intent stare. It opened up its great wings, beating them hard as it took to the air, clutching what looked like a dead animal in its large talons. The mangled corpse was hard to identify as the bird took flight over the house and went out of sight. Hanna was about to dismiss it as an ugly type of eagle until she heard the loud thud from behind the house.

Running around the side of the house, Hanna hurried toward the source of the noise. She found her mother standing there amongst the remains of their summer garden. Her stance was rigid as she stared down at something laying at her feet. Slowly, Hanna approached her mother and peered around her skirts to see what the bird had dropped.

It wasn't an animal.

Mikkel's face was nearly torn away from his skull, exposing the muscles that still clung to the bones. His lower half was completely missing, one arm had been gnawed down to tendon and bone, while his abdomen had burst open when the bird dropped him from the sky. Claw and tooth marks covered what was left of his skin. No bird did this, but what beast would? The bears were all asleep for the winter and wolves would not have left so many scraps. He did not smell of rot and his remaining limbs were not stiff. Tears stung her eyes as the shock of what she was seeing began to wear off.

"Go inside, Hanna." Her mother's voice was hoarse, but she obeyed.

Elva sat upon her bed when Hanna entered through the door. She ran a brush through her long golden hair, humming pleasantly to herself. It made Hanna's stomach turn sour, how could she have been so calm with Mikkel missing? And now he is dead out in the garden while Elva brushes her hair and hums like a lovestruck fool. The thought of the man her sister had been with made Hanna's skin break out in chills.

"Mikkel is dead," Hanna said from across the room.

Elva paused, glancing sideways at her younger sister. "Is he?"

"Do you even care?"

Elva said nothing and continued to brush her hair, but she no longer hummed the happy tune from before. Anger replaced the sick feeling the pit of Hanna's stomach. How could Elva care so little? Was it really just because she was dumbstruck by a man?

"Who was that man?" Hanna asked quietly, clenching her fists as her sister continued to brush her hair and ignored her.

The night didn't come soon enough. Hanna's father returned home to the news. He buried Mikkel in the waning sunlight and her mother refused to leave her bed from grief. Elva barely seemed to care, but Hanna didn't want to think about her sister anymore. They all went to bed for lack of knowing what else to do that night.

Hanna awoke to a heavy weight on her chest. Blinking in the darkness, she struggled to move. Words died in her throat as she tried to cry out. Movement in the darkness caught her attention as she struggled, Elva sneaking back out again. Hanna felt the weight lift from her chest shortly after the door closed, gasping for air as she managed to call out for her parents at last.

Her father came, eyes bleary from fitful sleep and sorrow. Lighting a candle he cast the light around Hanna's bed before doing the same for Elva, only to notice her missing.

"She's been sneaking out," Hanna admitted as her father turned back around before continuing. "There's a strange man I saw her with in the woods today."

He stood quietly for a moment before turning and headed for the door without a word. Elva would be angry, but the fool should know better with such a beast about that could tear a boy apart like it had their brother. If it had even been a beast in the first place. He left the candle burning on the hearth, taking the lantern instead. The light was a relief from the darkness before as Hanna tried to calm her racing heart.

A sound on the roof made her jump to her feet. A heavy thump that caused dust to fall from the ceiling. Her thoughts turned to the large bird from before, but a bird seen during the day rarely came out at night. Hanna's mother came out finally, her eyes red and swollen from her weeping. The sound came again from another place on the roof, stopping her in her tracks.

"Father's outside," Hanna said softly, hurrying to her mother's side.

Her mother said nothing as she took her into her arms. They both looked up at the roof, waiting for the sound to come again. The door burst open instead, causing them both to recoil. Elva was dragged in by the arm, their father's face was twisted in anger as he threw her to the floor. Hanna watched as her sister slowly got to her knees, looking up at them from the dirt. One of her eyes was starting to swell.

"Your brother's corpse is still warm and you're sneaking out to meet with strange men," their father spat the words out as he paced the floor.

Elva smiled to herself, wrapping her arms around her knees and rocking back and forth slowly. Her eyes roamed the room, but never focused on anything or anyone. Hanna felt her mother's fingers dug into her shoulders, nails biting into her skin. Elva was a lot of things, selfish and vain. But, she had not been herself lately. This delirious, smiling creature before them seemed more like someone else wearing Elva's skin. A person couldn't change that quickly, could they?

"Who have you gone to see?" their mother spoke finally, her voice hoard and cracking.

"Pretty bird," Elva muttered with a soft giggle, her head lolling back as she gazed up at the roof.

The strange bird from before crossed Hanna's mind. Large enough to carry the body of a young boy in flight, but nothing she could identify. A thump on the roof sounded again as if something large was hopping across it toward the door. Elva burst into a fit of laughter, still hugging her knees as she rocked herself. Her sister had surely gone mad.

A knock at the door gave them all a start, though Elva hardly noticed as she continued to mutter under her breath. Hanna watched as her father strode toward it, flinging the door open. The light from their home spilled out into the darkness of the night, an empty space where a stranger had been expected was all that they found. Her father stood there for a moment, staring out into the cold night before he closed the door.

Elva went quiet, cradling her hands in her lap, as their father walked back across the room to stand behind her. Hanna couldn't read his expression. The anger was gone from it, but that rage had been replaced by something else entirely. He crouched down on one knee next to Elva, placing a hand on her shoulder much more gently than he had handled her before. She looked at him for a moment, appearing clear of mind before she wrapped her arms around his neck and sobbed softly.

Hanna frowned as she watched the scene unfold. Elva had been in the midst of a seeming hysteria before, now reality must have finally come back to her mind. Her father's face was bewildered, but relieved. Until Elva clutched at him tighter and a wholly different expression took over his features as his face went pale. A gasp escaped his throat, wet and rasping as blood-spattered from his mouth. Elva's hand drew back, a dagger carved of bone clutched in her fingers before she drove it into his neck.

Hanna's mother screamed as she threw her aside, lunging for Elva all too late. Elva escaped out the door before she could be stopped, leaving Hanna to stare in shock as her father choked on his own lifeblood in her mother's arms. She didn't know what to do as she lay on the floor, watching him die. Her limbs would not listen to her as she thought to crawl towards her parents, leaving her frozen in place.

The door hung open, a cold wind causing it to creak slightly and the candle to falter. The flame went out with a particularly strong gust, leaving Hanna in darkness. The sounds of her father's breath gurgling and choking grew fainter and fainter. Soon all she could hear was her mother's weeping. Like a wounded animal, all of her sorrow coming out in great sobs and wailing.

Hanna almost missed the sound of wings on the wind for it.

A dark shadow flew across the room, up into the darkness of the roof beams. Its eyes reflected in the darkness, large and interested as it gazed down on her parents from above. Elva's laughter drifted in on the breeze from outside as Hanna tried to make her eyes adjust to the darkness. She could just make out the shapes of her parents in the room and of the large bird as it darted down from the beam down to a particularly dark corner of the room.

Hanna watched as the darkness seemed to spread out from the corner like a dense fog, taking form slowly as a man rather than a bird. Even in what little moonlight coming through the door illuminated, Hanna recognized the man from before. His eyes reflected the moonlight like a beast's would as he loomed in the corner, watching. It felt ages passed by as Hanna lay on the floor, watching the man, if he even was a man, watching them on the floor.

Finally, her mother took notice of the stranger, scrambling away from her husband's body and fumbling about for the flint and steel. She must have found the candle as well, the sound of stone striking steel sounded in the room and sparks lit up her mother's panicked face intermittently. The man didn't seem disturbed by the light, he didn't react at all except for his eyes to slowly move from the corpse of Hanna's father to her mother trying to light the candle.

A spark caught on the wick, slowly building itself into a flame that weakly lit the room in a flickering light. The man stood in the corner, still somewhat in the shadows. An amused smile graced his face as Hanna's mother held the candle out with a shaking hand. Elva was still laughing outside, the sound coming sometimes from the door and other times through the walls from various sides of the house. The man's head cocked slightly to the side, waiting.

"Does the mother love her children?" Its voice was not that of a man's at all. It sounded strained and rough as if he had not had water in days and came out as a low hiss.

Hanna's heart began to race as she watched her mother, the candle wobbling dangerously in her shaking hands. Tears streamed down her face and there was terror in her wide, unblinking eyes.

"Does the mother have a favorite?" A wide smile spread across its face, too wide. "Does she want the dead one back?"

"The dead cannot be brought back," her mother said weakly.

The man's smile grew, showing his teeth. A mouth filled with sharpened teeth, yellowed and glistening with spit. "Can't they?"

Her mother paused at that, her eyes betraying that she dared to consider it. The man moved closer, gliding across the dirt more so than walking. He stopped before her father's corpse, looking down at it with disinterest before turning his gaze to Hanna.

"No, the dead should be allowed to rest," her mother spoke up from across the room, her hand holding the candle more steadily now.

The man, or thing, glanced at her then, still smiling that vile toothy grin. "Does the mother love her daughters?"

"Yes."

He stared at Hanna for a moment then, eyes piercing into her just as before freezing her in place. She couldn't even cry under its gaze, her lip barely quivered in response to the fear she felt as he moved toward her. A hand with fingers far longer than they should have been reached out toward her. The nails were long, yellow, and cracked as they scratched against her cheek, followed by the strangely warm touch of his skin.

"Pretty bird," Elva giggled from the doorway, catching Hanna's attention long enough to break the creature's spell over her.

She gazed on in shock at her sister's state. Elva had removed her clothing and torn out much of her own hair. Bite wounds covered her body in various states of healing, though some were festering and infected. Her lips were gone, revealing bare gums and clacking bloodied teeth. Their mother sobbed at the sight of her, the candle shaking in her hand once more.

"Which does the mother love more?"

Hanna recoiled at the question, looking back at the creature wearing the skin of a man. He was still looking at her, breath stinking of rot. Elva stumbled toward them, the knife still clutched in her hand. She mumbled and giggled to herself as she moved, the man letting go of Hanna and moving away to give Elva room.

Elva lurched forward, falling to the floor beside Hanna and struggling to slash the knife through the air. All Hanna could do was kick with her legs to propel herself backward and away from her sister. She screamed for her mother, anyone to help her. But, her sister kept coming, stabbing the knife at her feet and sinking the blade into one of her legs—

"Hanna!" Her mother sobbed out. "I love Hanna more."

Elva paused at that, but she didn't turn to look at their mother or show hurt. Instead, she turned to the creature as it loomed over her, still smiling. It reached out to cradle her face, almost lovingly. Caressing her cheek and drawing her close, she went like a lamb to the slaughter into its embrace. Even when it sank her teeth into her neck, she didn't struggle. She caressed the back of his black hair and smiled until she went limp.

Elva fell dead to the floor, the front of her throat torn away.

The creature turned back to look at Hanna. "Does the mother love herself?"

"No," her mother answered coldly and the creature smiled.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
@BerkaZerka @BradinDvorak

Sorry, but I'm infecting ya'll with the 'rona :P

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3 months ago
Hmm, I'm a little too busy for this, but sure, I'll play. I wasn't going to do any work on my game tonight, but this is enough motivation to plug in another 1000 words. So yeah, I won't be posting the results here, but will still be getting inoculated (the benefits of private insurance hehehe!).

Start: 13,251 words
Finish: 14,447 words

Done!

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3 months ago
@AestheticLlama
@Ford

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3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/18/2020 4:58:41 AM

"Killa what the fuck are you doing I need your assistance ASAP." I yell through the intercom as a dozen new battle cruisers come storming into a neighboring star system,

"Why am I supposed to help you again."  A unsympathetic voice comes through the intercom.

"Are you a fucking retard? Once I'm wiped out he's going to come after you next."

"Eh, I have some pretty good defenses I don't think that will be a issue, you honestly should of done the same instead of expanding so heavily."

"WILL YOU JUST COME AND FUCKING HE-."  I'm suddenly cut off with the sight of the enemy armada warping in with their entire fleet.

"It looks like we'll just have to make do with that we have, battle stations everyone, battle stations!" I order all of my captains as they command their vessels to press forward against the swelling numbers of vastly superior carriers."

As I prepare to get ready for the cheek clapping of a lifetime, the voice of my support A.I informs me that I have a incoming message from the federation leader of the invading army, which I quickly accept.

"This is your last chance you fucking cuck, I will literally exterminate your entire race if you make me go through the trouble of actually having to use my ships for something so insignificant." He snarls through the intercom.

"Oh yeah! I'd like to see you fucking try you simp, my allies are about to come any second and you'll be fucking sorry."

Heavy laughter is the reply to your threat. "What, You mean those fucking furry degenerates? Yeah I didn't even need to use ten percent of my entire fleet for your third world empire, the rest of my ships are right outside their borders ready to lay in the ultimate dickage."

"Oh you disgusting piece of shit!" I cut out the communications with the enemy commander and go back to my tactical view over all my remaining ships. 

Being outnumbered five-to-one meant that there was going to be no way that I could take on the cucks head on, at best I could get away with losing some of my star systems and calling a white peace while the defense platforms were getting their cannons prepared to help push back the incoming swarm. The neighboring hive mind system, was silent through my pleas for assistance, looking as if to just watch the chaos unfold safely from their corner of the galaxy.

Helplessly I watch as the barrages of missiles and ion rays blast through my top-tier shielding like a thin layer of glass, vaporizing a few of my ships before they even got the chance to ready their missiles.

"Emperor, the wealthy elites are fleeing through the back gate star system and seeking refugee with the hive mind to the left of us given that we just lost Sol." My A.I informs me.

"What? Why! They will literally be eaten by them that makes no fucking sense!"

"I do not no sir."

These were desperate times. All the years of hard work and dedication were being wiped out in mere seconds. The Dyson sphere was just near competition and I would never see the true glory it could have brought. All seemed lost, until a notification from my A.I brought news of salvation.

"Sir, the hive mind has just declared war on the advancing empire, their fleet has already breached their borders."

Galaxy communications started to buzz with activity as I order the A.I to bring it up so I could see.

VirginDestroyer:What the fuck are you mongoloids doing? Why are you attacking me?

HiveMindUSA: Because your ships are busy with something else obviously, why wouldn't I take this chance to stomp on you?"

Virgin Destroyer: Oh so you want to be a little bitch about it then? Alright no problem, you're autistic if you think I can't crush all of you at the same time with my fleet power.

PacifistRulez: Hey can someone send me materials so I can finish my ringwolrd please?

With absolute glee I see that every single ship that was apart of the invading fleet immediately starts turning around, getting ready to warp jump over to my neighbor, who was a much a much bigger threat and could actually match the fleet power of the invaders. 

Pulling up communications with Killa, I see how things are going over there.

"Hey you realize he's coming to invade you too right."

"He already fucking nuked my defenses and is starting to send drop ships onto my home world for invasion, this is retarded I'm going to go play total war instead."

NekoNeko has left the game

Well there went the rest of my allies. But with the sudden incursion of the hive people things were starting to look around as a new amount of time was given to start pumping out what I could for the second wave incase any new ships would appear to finish where they let off.

This wasn't the end of the empire of man, not until the dyson sphere was completed would I ever surren-.

"Sir, the hive mind is currently warping ships into our system, and are getting ready to launch a invasion."

"WHAT?"

I bring up galaxy communications again to see a fresh buzz of activity.

VirginDestroyer: Imagine being such a shit player that you have to Hive Mind Meta the game because you can't play like a non-autistic person, good job retard.

VirginDestroyer has left the game

HiveMindUSA:CryHarder?

MexicoSuperPower:Hey why the fuck are you invading me now?"

HiveMindUSA:Because you literally aren't even a challenge and I can take all of your resources? Why wouldn't I?"

MexicoSuperPower: Plz just let me build my Dyson Sphere that's all I wanted to do.

HiveMindUSA: Get good buddy.

I knew what was about to happen, and I didn't have the heart to see everything else burst into flames as my remaining population was to get eaten and converted.

It was all over.

@Crefix @ShobyKnows

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3 months ago
This amused me.

You should've never trusted Killa and just conquered the galaxy with the power of roleplaying.

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3 months ago
You had me at "cheek clapping of a lifetime."

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3 months ago
10/10, would betray you again.

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3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/19/2020 8:30:29 PM
His eyes opened a few seconds before the alarm went off. You have to enjoy the small victories in life, like waking up before the violently buzzing and god-awful electronic noise blares. Still dark, Adam sits up in bed, feeling the cold air hanging outside of the warm comforter. During the night, one of his blankets slipped from his bed onto the floor. Maybe that’s the cause of his restlessness. Nothing quite like trying to sleep and your feet can’t stop rubbing against each other like two high schoolers at prom. Adam swings his legs on the cold, linoleum floor. His feet find two woolly slippers. He’d never be caught dead wearing them outside of the small studio, but damn, they feel good during a cold morning. A few steps forward takes Adam to the small mirror hanging over an equally small sink. He takes a look. Reflecting back is a good-looking middle-aged man, just youthful enough to pass for early thirties, although he’s at least ten years past that. It’s a wonder what a clean shave will do. As a teenager, it made him look like a pre-teen. In his twenties, a teenager. Now here, he got carded more often than not at the liquor store. “You’ll enjoy it when you’re older,” everyone told him growing up. They didn’t share to mention no one gives a fuck what you look like when you’re older. People are only concerned with themselves. With a sound resembling spraying whip cream on apple pie, Adam lathers shaving cream on his face, always starting with the left side before moving his way right. A glint of metal reveals the straight razor. Electric razors are for wannabe men who want a clean shave, but not too clean. There’s got to be a little left behind to prove to the world, and themselves, they can grow facial hair. It’s born from adolescent insecurity and lives in the basement, never growing up and moving out, in Adam’s opinion. No, Adam likes it smooth and soft. Baby skin soft. He finishes and pats his wet skin with a nearby towel. Adam swings open his closet door to view his wardrobe, if you could call it that. It’s more like a work uniform and two empty hangers. No matter, he only needs the uniform. It’s not like he ever leaves the hotel. A few moments later, the cleanly shaved Adam slips into the just-as-clean bellhop uniform. Bright red shines in the dimly lit room. There’s not a single crease. Adam wouldn’t be caught dead with an imperfection in his armor. He’s not a big fan of the hat, but the manager likes it. Whatever it takes to keep the manager happy. Whistling, Adam exits the studio, locking the door behind him. The hallway is hotel typical; it tries to look fancy, sophisticated even, but ends up looking cheap, far cheaper than it actually costs. Dark maroon with gold trim, how stereotypical can you get? A passing bellhop pushing a cart of luggage drives by, giving Adam a nod. Adam promptly returns the favor, adjusts his cap, and continues down the hallway, still whistling. He doesn’t take the elevator though. That is for guests only. He takes the stairs, savoring each step, imagining the extra space in the elevator caused by his pathway. Three flights later, passing by an intoxicated couple smoochin’ who pay him no mind, Adam arrives at the half circle driveway. The driveway sits underneath a cover and spans the width of three cars. Adam knows by late afternoon, early evening it would be like downtown NYC, cars sitting in place, their impatient drivers growing increasingly just that by the minute. The morning is calm. No one arrives at hotels this early. Check-in isn’t until 3pm. Even privileged guests who feel they can check-in, before official check-in time, without verifying beforehand I might add, don’t arrive until late morning. Their arrival usually ends with the front desker, Barb (short for Barbara), in tears. Poor thing. Sunlight still hasn’t poked its head yet, though it’ll show soon. Usually appears a few minutes after Adam. His hands fiddle with something in his pocket. It’s nothing special, at least to the ordinary person. It’s not expensive either as far as money goes. Adam’s fingers feel every inch of it, taking note of the smooth workmanship, allowing the trinket to trigger his memory. She was truly beautiful. Headlights peer through the high bushes planted underneath the overhang. Someone’s here. This early? A black Chevy rolls in, stopping too quickly sending the vehicle in quick rock, back and forth. Like a mini carnival ride, Adam thinks, like a house-cat settling into her bed. A man steps out, dressed in a black suit. Black car, black suit, black…man? No, he’s Middle-Eastern at best. At worst, South-American. “You work here?” the man asks, not in a question-like tone. Adam motions at his uniform. “Don’t get cute with me. I’m looking for someone. She stayed here last week and should have been home by now.” “We are unable to give personal details of our guest, but if you have an inquiry, you can take it up with the manager,” Adam blankly states, the protocol line something he’s said at least a hundred times. Maybe two-hundred even. The man pushes past Adam and stomps towards the front desk. Poor Barb. You’d think she’d be used to it by now. Somehow, she is still shaken by rude guests, or in this case, rude strangers. Adam watches her politely nod her head at the man’s less-than-polite demeanor, her bright red lipsticked lips in a concerned angle. “This was the last place she was seen. Tell me where my wife is!” the man shouts, coming unhinged. “I’m sorry, sir. We are unable to giv—” The man loses his temper even further at the statement, remembering the same one from Adam’s mouth. His arms grab the computer screen in front of Barbara, lifting it high in the air, pulling cords from the wall with a snap. He smashes the screen down in an explosion of plastic and glass. The man storms past Adam, shoving him violently on the shoulder. A blinking, shattered computer screen, with Barb softly crying in the background, Adam feels at the trinket in his pocket. She was truly beautiful.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
@Pirate @summerdale You're up, kiddos.

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3 months ago

Alright then. I'll do it later.

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3 months ago
It was a clear cool night on the summer sea. The breeze brought a calming chill across the still ocean and the reflection of the night upon the water drew the gaze of men to reflect upon themselves just the same.

Some of the crew calmly swept and mopped the deck; these were the men who had found rest in work. They could feel the slow rocking of muscle in their arms and legs that cradled their life and brought warmth to their veins. Some sailors, such as the lookout up in the nest, had taken to a bottle of brandy for the night and leaned back in a chair on deck. Their calm came from the infinite night sky with all its twinkling beauty and luminous bodies. These men took gulps of their mixtures of fire and wine and lost themselves in the nothingness of a clear mind; only snapping back to reality breifly every hour or so to check the horizon or move out of the sweeping mans' way. The third type of man, who numbered few on this vessel, leaned on the rails where the moon shone equal on the sea - lost in thought deeper than the abyss they moved about. Of them one held a cup of ale to be sipped lightly every so often. These few had drowned the sound of the creaking bow and restless wood; neither did their thoughts make sound and they heard nothing.

In the captain's quarters, where the restless wood was muffled, Captain Mizal paced with a hand to her chin and a furrow to her brow.

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3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/19/2020 8:30:14 PM
The lanterns' light did not flicker but softened and brightened as calm sea waves rise and fall slowly. The heartbeat of the ship was something only the most experienced sailors could discern. Captain Mizal was not yet there but vice captain Tim, experienced as he was, could feel this phenomenon and use it to calm himself. His time perfecting these instincts on the seas aided his body - but his mind rumbled with the captain's steps. He looked intently at the map laid out on the table. Mizal was lost in thought, How could this appear out of thin air? Did someone sneak into my room? Who? Was it lost by a crew member? "...Captain..." Could I have been so intoxicated I would not have remembered? No. It's too unique. What does it mean though? "...Captain Mizal..." Who was the man who gave it to me? Who was the man who seemed to not have a face? Where was th-- "MIZAL!" Tim raised his voice and Mizal sighed, looking out at the calm night sea away from her second in command. "It makes no god damn sense." she said, bitterly pounding her fist at the window sill.

Tim poured water into the captain's cup and juiced a portion of a lime into it. "Tell me the story once more - do not leave out a single detail." the vice captain prodded. "This is no mere fiction, Tim. Somebody is behind this - and I am distrusting of the crew because of it." Mizal said in a hushed tone. "The night is long, Miz. Have a sip to cool your mind and recall." Tim gestured to the lime water, and used his foot to slide her chair ajar from the desk. Mizal sat, picked up her old brazen goblet, and sighed heavily before taking a sip. "I went to sleep easily - which is unusual these days but appreciated." she began, "I had a dream: I was in a shop run by an old arabic man. I say arabic, but his clothing was unlike any I had ever seen. Feathers of birds I did not know and odd trinkets like spider webs hanging about. His eyes had been plucked and his blinds sewn shut. I was looking for a short sword, or really anything of decent cutting length. Just needed a simple sharp weapon with a decent scabbard. He had a fair selection, and we talked breifly about a pair of twin blades he had hanging on the wall. When I came about to buy, he offered me a parchment - rolled and bound in red ribbon. It is the map we see here before us. I took it as a gift and paid for some mediocre scimitar." Mizal took another sip of water. Tim held his gaze upon the parchment, listening intently. "Captain," he said, "though you have this - I cannot help but notice you have never adorned a scimitar."

"I have not." Mizal responded. "When I handed over coin, he pulled me in close by the arm and stabbed me in the chest. I felt warm, but as things went dark I felt an unbelievable cold. I do not think he said or did anything besides, but when I died I saw a landscape more beautiful than in paintings: a grassy field leading to a clif of waterfalls and greenery to top the hills. At the base of the waterfall was a crouched figure, definitely human, who turned its head slowly to me. I woke up before I could discern a face, but I get the feeling it did not have one. I came to in a cold sweat, clutching this parchment in white knuckles."

"And you came out, gun ready to blow my head off because of this?" Tim smirked. "I didn't feel safe, and you had your gun pointed at me too you know." Mizal retorted in kind. Tim was an experienced warrior of the sea, and though he could have subdued the deranged captain, he chose wisely to convince her to calm down and put the gun away. After which she brought him into her quarters and explained the situation. "I do not dare touch that parchment. Cursed is the man who entered my dreams. It should be burned." When Tim unfurled the paper, revealing a map that did not pertain to any ocean he had known, the questions branched.

"You cannot deny the implications of the map." Tim said, stroking his beard and sparking a fun thought. "I can and will. A cursed map that appeared out of nowhere, of unknown territory, possibly incomplete, and pointing at some fictional thing does not interest me so. We have a delivery to make and when we get to New York, I will sell the map to the nearest sailor for lunch money." Mizal spoke confidently. They had just left Málaga with a shipment of wine and other goods not but four days prior. The middle of the Atlantic was ahead.

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3 months ago
@jjj-thebanisher

@march5th00

Your turn. Read the OP :^)

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3 months ago

Boy are they gonna be surprised next time they decide to log in.

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3 months ago
Can't wait.

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3 months ago

They both have infinite points, so there is no point. Even if they were docked for millions, there would be no record of anything because you can't access an infinite point thing

Edit: Nevermind 3J has regular points, but tagging march is a waste in every way.

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3 months ago
It is not a waste! Attempting to encourage march to write us something next time they log on is totally worth it!

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3 months ago

It has no potential payoff, as we all know March will never log on within our lifetimes. And by the time March logs on again, he'll likely have enough other notifications to entirely drown out whatever we tagged him to 3 actual centuries ago. It's unenforceable, it's irrelevant, and the only moderators who will be there to hold them accountable will be our grandchildren, who won't remember our struggles here today. Nothing about this expenditure of text was worth it in any way. It wasn't worth the bytes storing the formatting used to post the statement. It wasn't worth the fraction of a computational cycle it took to send the notification that March will never read. It was a waste of a tag. Meaning half of the tags were wasted. Meaning it was a catastrophic failure by all reasonable measurements of success.

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3 months ago

They Promised Us an Apocalypse


“Shut it off, Clem,” I snapped. “You’ve been watching the tube for five hours straight, now.”

“But they update on the hour, just a few minutes more…”

“That’s what you said two hours ago.” I walked over, tapping the power button and letting the television screen pop to black. Not in time to keep the image it displayed from burning into my brain, however – an abstract map of the world, mostly countries in red or yellow, each with numbers in the thousands overlaid. And the largest number of all: 341,284. Almost 350,000 confirmed deaths, another 30,000 since yesterday.

“Turn it back, Matt, turn it back!” My best friend’s wife screeched, coming at me and clawing towards the screen.

I fended Clementine off with an arm. “We’re supposed to be prepping, not melting our brains before the zombies even get us. Aren’t you supposed to be taking inventory of the pantry? Bill and I risked a lot getting that last load of groceries.”

“But I need to know…” She scratched at the screen and sobbed.

“They never really give the latest, though, do they?”  Georgia spoke up from the corner of the room. I hadn’t even noticed her – but then, my sister was the quiet sort. Almost invisible. Probably why she kept a shock of hair dyed hot pink, just so she wouldn’t completely fade into the background. Right now, she was curled up in the comfy old armchair, a relic of our grandfather’s, and surrounded by papers and pens and actual files. “Haven’t you noticed – “ she gestured to the top of the pile, where she’d covered a page in red, “the death count changes, but the images don’t. The videos don’t. You’d think they’d have something new by now…”

“Who has time to take videos when they’re busy being chased by zombies?” Clementine huffed, finally managing to stretch past me and hit the power. I just hit it again in return.

“People video everything, especially those cell phone addicts in the cities.” Georgia tapped at her papers. She hated reading things online, “too artificial, it’ll rot your brain,” she’d say, so she would print whatever she wanted. By the sketchy lines and faded toner I could tell she must have been up printing half the night.

“But look,” she pointed as Clem got the power back on, and an announcer came on with the on-the-hour update. “It’s going to be the same thing it always is. A brief summary of the origins of the Zombid-28 virus, with a picture of a vampire bat, followed by a picture of a food cart at the World cup selling lamb skewers. Then a brief video of a crowd of people where several start frothing at the mouth all at once and collapse, the video of the crazy man biting that poor toddler, and several close ups of people with wild eyes or blood dribbling from their mouths. A list of symptoms to watch for. A reminder of travel and gathering restrictions.” She counted a finger for each item on the list, the t.v. following with the predicted piece for each in sequence.

“That doesn’t mean anything.” I said slowly, inwardly kicking myself for not having realized the same thing. “They probably use the same summary to save money and time.”

“But that’s just it, it isn’t only the summaries.” Georgia got up, stretched, and began to pace. “They have six, maybe seven images they cycle through. Three videos. And a handful of blurry mob shots that could be anything. But that’s it for Zombid-28 itself. That’s the only proof people are turning into zombies, at all. The rest is just video of the military coming into a new city, or breathless accounts of zombie encounters from people still alive.”

“That’s not nothing!” Clem gnashed her teeth. “Look, he’s announcing now, over three hundred dead in our state, just from today.”

“I didn’t say it was nothing.” Georgia’s voice dropped. “But it’s almost a guarantee that most those confirmed deaths were in Broomfield.”

“Why Broomfield?” I asked, just as the announcer brought up the predicted map of the city-county, followed by an announcement that Broomfield had become the latest outbreak center. “Wait, how?”

“It’s not difficult if you cross-reference the data and look for patterns.” She sighed, “They announced yesterday that Broomfield would be the third city to receive the vaccine. The military was scheduled to arrive there this morning.”

“That’s…an interesting coincidence.” I furrowed my brow. I wasn’t quite sure I was following her, but I gathered the implication was supposed to be ominous.

“More than coincidence, at this point. Really.” She sighed again. “It’s – something bad, just maybe not what we’ve been led to believe.”

“Well, conspiracy theories aside, we need to finish prepping. Between the six of us we have enough manpower and resources now to bunker down for a year, if need be, and fend off any zombie attacks.” I patted the gun at my hip. “But there’s still a lot to do. Starkville will probably be one of the last places hit, out in the middle of nowhere as we are, but zombies don’t work on our schedule.”

“If they are zombies at all.” Georgia was beginning to sulk.

“What other creatures turn rapid and try to eat human flesh?” I forced a laugh. “But where’s my girl Sally hiding? I thought she’d want to help me with the traps.”

“I’ll help you, I’m done here for now,” Georgia said. “Sally’s up in my room streaming some romance drama. She said she can’t die without knowing who Lee chooses, or something like that. A real keeper.”

“At least she doesn’t spend the end of the world looking for government conspiracies.” I retorted, but I didn’t have the heart to rebuke her seriously. Before the Zombid-28 panic had set in, I’d been planning to break up with Sally. She’d seemed like a wholesome, active girl at first, into outdoorsy stuff, but had pretty much done nothing but watch t.v. or do her nails since we’d started dating.

“Whatever.” Georgia shoved me as she passed by through the doorway. “Are we going to set some traps, or not?”

“Yah, yah.” I followed through the kitchen, then took the lead to the back porch. The last member of our merry band was busy typing complex knots. “Hey Dustin,” I called to him, but it was a few moments before he looked up.

“Hey,” he finally responded, then went back to his work.

“I’d forgotten,” I tried to rouse him again, “you’re dad owns a boat, right? You’re probably used to sailing.”

“Not very.” He didn’t say much else, so I gave up and moved back to my own pile. Dustin had never been the forthcoming sort. It was my sister who had insisted on inviting the geek.

“Good noose knot.” Georgia was hovering over his shoulder, now. “Did you get the stuff I asked for?”

“Yep.” Dustin gestured over to a large black garbage bag, which Georgia scampered over to.

I watched out of the corner of my eye, unused to seeing her so excited. What had she decided to waste the group’s money on? It seemed pretty random – some sort of pliable sheeting, lots of zip-ties, duct-tape. “What sort of trap are you planning?” I finally asked.

“Not really a trap,” she replied, “more of a restraint. You’ll see. Or you won’t. Depends.”

“Cryptic, as always.” I returned to my own work, digging a hole near the perimeter of the yard near a break in the bushes. It was in the path of a likely breach point, and so was a good location for a stake-pit trap. Before I could finish it, however, Clem came running outside.

“The vice-president is dead!” She hollered between breaths, “and half of congress! Emergency order – we see anyone turn, we shoot on sight!”

“What are you going on about?” I asked. “Who’s dead?”

“Vice President Kennedy! Apparently, he turned during a speech – could have been contagfious for days – then tried to bite the Speaker of the House. The president’s been whisked away, but all of D.C. is in an uproar right now. Breaches everywhere.”

“Did they show it?” Georgia asked.

“The V.P.’s body under a sheet,” Clementine shuddered, “And the tanks rolling up Virginia Avenue with the soldiers to pass out vaccines and deal with the menace.”

“No clear shots of the zombies?”

“No, do we need to see that? Just the symptom list and the emergency order allowing us to shoot to defend ourselves if a zombie comes toward us.”

“Seems a bit premature for that…” Georgia cautioned.

I shook my head. “What do you think we’ve been prepping for, if not a zombie apocalypse?”

“They’re calling it the Zompocalypse now,” Sally said from behind me.

“Welcome to the world of the living,” I muttered. “Your guy pick his girl yet?”

“Oh yes, Victoria of course, I knew he would –“ Sally gushed for a few minutes about the proposal and wedding and cliché’ last minute secret reveals, which we all tuned out as background noise. “…And then Trulia promised she would always love him, but that she was called to raise orphans in Liberia -”

“I hear the car,” I interrupted. “Probably Bill, he should be back with the last of the supplies by now.” I wasted no time in rushing off to the front yard, leaving Sally to pounce upon Clementine with the rest of the details.

“Hey Matt,” Bill waved as he got out of the car. “Didn’t get all we wanted – apparently toilet paper is a scarce commodity worth more than gold right now. Maybe Sally has some extra stashed at her place we can bring over, otherwise we’ll make do with what we have stockpiled so far. Got more canned goods, scored a few guns and some ammunition from Phil, got more rope –“ he proceeded to detail his haul as I helped him open the trunk and unload.

“Working too hard?” I asked, as his forehead looked a little sweaty.

“Just a hot day.”

“It’s barely sixty.”

“It was a long drive. I’m tired – “ Bill collapsed against the side of the car, sputtering, foam tipping over his lips. “No, damn it!” he coughed. “Matt – what’ll I do? I can’t get it. I won’t be a –“ his words were lost as he struggled to catch his breath.

“Bill – “ my hand moved to my gun.  I took a step back. Another. I’d need space to aim if things went south.

“Maaaattttt!” He staggered up, unsteady on his feet. His eyes were half rolled back, his head tilted to the side. It was as if three versions of him were superimposed over each other in my mind: one the happy, buff football quarterback he’d been back in highschool who’d insisted coach give me a shot; another the leaner, steadier man who’d married my crush I’d introduced him to; and the last a wild, crazed zombie who might turn any moment and demand I offer him my brains. “Maaattt, help me….”

I raised the gun and cocked it. “Don’t move Bill.”

“Matt, what the – noooo, I just don’t feel –“ he vomited on the ground, and I jumped back, accidentally letting a shot off that took out a tire.

He swayed and rattled, blood dribbling over his chin. He stretched out his hands, grasping for something, but it was unclear if he could even see me any more. The visions of the old Bills were fading, and all I could see was red.

“I’m sorry Bill.” I swallowed. “I have to do this, you know. We decided ourselves – we’ll never let the zombies take Starkville. No matter the sacrifice.”

“Noooo….” He moaned, taking a step forward.

I swallowed and aimed.

A kick sent me reeling, and the gun fired into the ground.

“Are you an idiot?” Georgia seethed at me, tackling me and pushing me into the mud as if we were kids again. She stayed sitting there as Dustin darted behind Bill and zip-tied the guys hands together. As Bill swayed, Dustin fitted him with some sort of cone – as if Bill was an injured dog.

“Get him contained.” Georgia snapped. “Use the mudroom for now, we’ll see about commandeering a building later.”

“What are you thinking?” I hollered, spitting dirt. “He could infect everyone. We can’t take the chance. We have to kill him and alert the authorities.”

“We have to take the chance.” Georgia responded. “Subdue. Contain. Observe. It’s the best approach, unless we want to see our state half wiped out.”

“You seriously need more data at this point?”

“I think we all need more data before we go around blasting our friends.” She lifted me by the ear and dragged me after the others to the mudroom. Bill was sitting, moaning, on a bench, his arms tied behind him.

“Look at him.” She ordered. “Do you seriously see a zombie?”

“Well, I don’t expect him to be literally shouting for brains…” I sighed, looking him over. He did look pretty unwell.

“So hungry…” Bill complained.

“See, see? What’s this sympathy for a zombie? I’m going to get another gun.” I muttered.

“Just wait.” Georgia pleaded. “I’m not saying you can’t kill him, if that ends up being the only way – just, that, there may be another way. We don’t have all the facts, like what Zombid-28 really does. How it’s really transmitted. Whether it’s even deadly if left alone.”

“How much time do you need?”

“That depends on Bill.” Georgia knelt before him. “How are you feeling?”

“Hungry. Sore. Huge headache,” he winced. “I can barely think.”

“Dustin will get you some food. We can’t take the cone off you, yet.”

“Yah.”

“You play with your pet zombie. I’m going to finish the traps.” I stalked out of the room. Clem was already back in front of the T.V., wringing her hands over the latest on-the-hour update. It wasn’t quite a repeat this time, since it now included a shot of the White House and the bodies being put into ambulances – but otherwise, it was similar to the last. I found myself predicting the images just as Georgia had, then forced myself to pull away. So what if they kept showing the same zombies over and over? Didn’t change the reality.

Reality, yah. I went and grabbed a beer from the fridge. I’d give Georgia a few more hours to process things. She’d come to terms with the zombie apocalypse eventually – right now she was just in denial. It might take her more time to embrace that things were changing, and that we might have to use deadly force – even kill our friends. Heck, I might have to kill her, or her me, before this is over.

But for now, I could give her a last day of calm, let her fantasize about the ray of hope she keeps looking for in her piles of paper.

Killing Bill can wait until she falls asleep.

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3 months ago

@MadHattersDaughter
@puddlebunni

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3 months ago
I liked this, nice bit of uncertainty to add a twist to the usual zombie scenario there.

Bill actually getting sick seemed to undermine the conspiracy implications, although I've always thought a zombie virus scenario would be interesting in a setting where zombie fiction was as ingrained into the culture as it is in reality. People would be making all kinds of assumptions that didn't necessarily check out just because they think that's how zombies are supposed to work.

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3 months ago

Yah, the implication is that there is a real sickness (either artificially caused or just exploited,) but it isn't necessarily as bad as what's being claimed, and the "deaths" aren't necessarily directly from the disease itself vs. people being killed with the disease. Everyone is prepping for a zombie apocalypse in their own way, but there might not even be a real zombie apocalypse.

Originally I planned to put in the whole scene with Georgia and the others where they actually examine Bill and figure a lot of things out, but it was making the piece a bit too long to post in the forum, and it didn't really fit with the main character's perspective. His whole thing is he *wants* the zombie apocalypse (I mean who doesn't secretly want to go kill some zombies now and then...) So while he thinks his sister is in denial that there is one going on, he is the one in denial that it might be something else.

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3 months ago

Yeah I like that twist! You should post a part two! Seems like the setup is more "make people afraid so they kill the affected without questioning it." 

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3 months ago

Since I got tagged a second time yesterday, I thought I'd quickly write another 1000+ word piece (just in case). This particular bit was inspired by a trip to the supermarket. This is not fiction. It's kind of like what you write on the day before an essay is due in an attempt to get a passing grade. Read on if you dare...

Is This The End?: No! Proof That The World Is Not Ending

    You've seen them, wearing surgical masks and running around the supermarket like angry bees, buzzing around from item to item as if some overweight, Canadian bear stole their honey. The panicking masses, desperate to beat the rush on vitals surely to come just before the Holy Apocalypse rains down upon us from On High, are clearing out items from supermarkets day and night. And yet, if you look closely, beyond the gloved hands and wary eyes, you might find some evidence that the world in fact is not about to end. Moreover, you'll find that even these talking cattle that make up this hysterical stampede do not truly believe the End is Nigh. And in addition to all that, if you put all the pieces together, you'll also find out who is truly to blame for the coronavirus.

    So how do I know these things, despite the fact that all over the world the various governments are shutting down cities (including Los Angeles just recently), and that citizens everywhere are stocking up for the inevitable opening of the Seven Seals? Simple: pizza. The tales that pizza can tell are beyond counting. From the delectable, savory cheese, to the fresh, crispy yet light crust, to the high sodium toppings like pepperoni, pizza is both a lover and a friend, a confidant, and shoulder to cry on. Most importantly of all, pizza tells no lies.

    However, before we get into the surprising way that pizza reveals that the world is not heading off of a cliff, let us take stock of the situation: A new virus is spreading among us, the markets are down, and the masses are raiding the stores of every useful item. Most notoriously, they've destroyed the global supply of toilet paper. It's in times like these where people's priorities really show themselves, and if what has been purchased is an indicator, nothing is more important to the world than a clean ass. And woe to those who didn't buy into the panic. Now they're faced the with the harsh reality of using their hands to wipe.

    I am ashamed to admit that I am one of those procrastinating people. Fortunately, by mere coincidence, before the, uh, shit, hit the fan, I had already bought a bunch of toilet paper. It was more a function of me tending to buy as much as possible in a single grocery trip than anything to do with the coronavirus. Nevertheless, day by day I see my toilet paper supply dwindling, and I ask myself, is it today? Is today the day that the worst happens, the day that I finally run out of toilet paper? They say that hindsight is twenty-twenty, but I do really wish I had listened to my instinct a couple of years ago and bought a bidet attachment for my toilet. In fact, perhaps this scare will result in a world-wide jump in bidet sales?

    Of course, that chain of reasoning does make you wonder who stands to benefit the most from this virus. Clearly the toilet paper companies are making out like bandits, but on the other hand, when this virus runs its course, perhaps bidets will take a large chunk out of the toilet paper market? These musings, of course, naturally lead one to posit a dark possibility indeed: was the coronavirus created in a laboratory in order to ultimately drive up profit for some evil company or corporation?

    It seems that such conspiracy theories are spreading as quickly as the virus itself (but certainly not as fast as the panic). But these various "just-so" stories suggesting a nefarious origin of the coronavirus ignore the fact that viruses have been mutating since they've existed. Evolution never stops. Perhaps that is the source of these conspiracy theories? The populace still refusing to accept the reality of evolution, despite new flu vaccines being needed every year, or human chromosome two, which has telomeres in the center of the chromosome. Such a structure makes no sense at all from a design stand point (but it makes perfect sense if two ape chromosomes fused together at some point in the chain of human evolutionary changes).

    While that's a possible explanation for some of the people believing the conspiracy theories, it is far from sufficient. It is entirely possible to accept the well substantiated science behind evolution and still believe that some government or corporation is behind the coronavirus. There is a middle road among the extremes of a purely natural cause and an evil, deliberate plan to create and release the virus on the masses. One might believe, for example, that governments understated the problem. Those people would argue that President Trump did exactly that, except rather than it being the result of foolish arrogance, it was deliberate. Other possibilities include false media reports, like China may have done.

    Nevertheless, it is unlikely that the world's governments are behind the coronavirus, at least not intentionally. They stand to lose more than almost any group. Even now, the US government is contemplating spending trillions of dollars in aid for Americans affected by the outbreak. How does that benefit them? The government has the most power when it has the most wealth, and it has the most wealth when the economy is healthy.

    So who could the guilty party or parties be? How could we possibly know? The answer to those question, like many things, can be known from observing the reactions of the people. Like I suggested earlier, corporations or companies may stand to gain from this panic. However, like in the example of toilet paper companies versus bidet manufacturing companies, it is hard to tell who will actually gain the upper hand. While toilet paper companies will thrive at first, surely bidet manufacturers will overtake them soon. Applying this chain of reasoning to all producers of goods and services, I thus reason that the coronavirus cannot simply be the deliberate market manipulation of corporations.

    Indeed, there is something more subtle going on. You see, if you go to a supermarket right now, you'll find that many items are completely sold out, but there are a few that remain on the shelves. These items are the ones that no one likes. Very few people would have bought them in the best of times, and now, with the world apparently ending, still these items continue to collect dust. How can that be? And more importantly, why?

    And that, my friends, brings us back to my initial claim: pizza holds all the answers. You see, in any supermarket, you will find that all the frozen pizza is gone. Well, not all of it. You see, one type of pizza remains, even in these dark times: Hawaiian pizza. If there's anything the world clearly does not like, it is Hawaiian pizza, for even as the world crumbles around us, in any supermarket you will see a dearth of frozen pizzas except Hawaiian pizza, which comparably is present in stacks as far as the eye can see.

    So how, you might ask, does Hawaiian pizza tell us how the coronavirus came to be, and who is responsible? To understand the how, you must also understand the who. If you connect the right dots, and there is a conspiracy, it is clearly headed by chef and television personality Gordan Ramsay. No matter how forcefully he stated that, "You don't fucking put pineapple on pizza," he could never remove the scourge of Hawaiian pizza. Until now. Now, utilizing the new virus, Ramsay can finally put pineapple pizza in the grave. If all goes according to Ramsay's plan, frozen pizza companies will take note of the sales in this time of panic buying, and when everything blows over, they will realize how little Hawaiian pizzas help sales. Never again will this affront to pizza exist to poison the world, or so Ramsay believed when he formulated this dastardly plan.

    But whether or not you can accept the reality that Ramsay is behind the coronavirus, one thing cannot be denied: people are not buying Hawaiian frozen pizza. And if people are not buying Hawaiian pizza, then they are not buying everything they can as the world panics. And that, my friends, is how we know the world is not ending. If the world really were nearing its conclusion, and certainly if people truly believed the end was near, not a scrap of edible material would be left in the supermarkets. The panicking masses would devour and consume all food items without prejudice, including pizza blasphemed with pineapples as a topping.

    As I said in the beginning: pizza never lies. And it is pizza that reassures me that the world will go on. Soon this will all blow over. But for the time being, I'll have all the Hawaiian pizza for myself, because unlike some, I carry no bias against pineapple. So, naturally, I bought all the Hawaiian pizza that remained in the store this morning, leaving the shelves completely empty. Unfortunately, as a result of my greedy actions, the next person who understands the secrets that pizza tells will erroneously believe the world truly is ending.

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3 months ago

The pizza twist was amusing, but the whole tellemere aside sort of ruined it for me. Maybe back in the 90s it was thought the discovery of 800 base pairs on human chromosone 2 showed signs of "fusion" and was a serious support for evolution, but that got thrown out the window in 2002 when 614,000 base pairs surrounding the site were sequenced and found no other similarities with ape chromosomes  2A or 2B. Furthermore, when the 800 base pairs were sequenced (vs. looked at for banding patterns under light microscopy) less than half of the base pairs were even matches. Not only did this really undermine the whole theory that two ape chromosomes had somehow fused and passed on to man, but we now know that this section of chromosome 2 isn't a functionless pseudogene at all but part of one of three transcription factor binding sites on gene DDX11L2, which is in turn part of a number of genes that produce regulatory long non-coding RNAs. And that the specific section of 800 base pairs once used to support the theory of 'fusion' are actually read backwards, not forwards, which completely undoes any ghost of similarity scientists once saw in them.

So, highly functional, not a support of fusion from ape chromosomes, and a lot more useful from a design standpoint than 90's scientists could imagine.

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3 months ago
I'd be interested in reading some peer reviewed sources on that if you have them. It's kind of a hobby, although I'm clearly behind on it. But regardless, I could just insert ring species or something else in there instead. But ultimately that was just a deliberately inserted distraction.

Edit - Unless you're a Biblical literalism creationist, in which case disregard that, and the only thing I'll say to that is that (a) Ken Miller wrote a pretty good argument that says there's no reason for faith and evolutionary theory to be at odds and (b) my experiences with creationist sources is that they tend to be deceptive, be it by omission or otherwise. In any event, this isn't the place to have that discussion (nor would I have it here if it was on account of the fact that religion is held so dearly that people are okay with blowing themselves up or being crucified over it).

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3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/20/2020 10:11:18 PM
The first time I saw him, I couldn't think straight. All I knew was I had been born with this, and it had taken over my life since then. The name was John Doe, and he was in my life. I knew the truth, but it wasn't good news to me. It was easy for me to forget what my life had been like, like I should be here, right in this life. I was in love with my life. I was in love with my own life. It was all there, but I just couldn't see it. If I had been born with a human face, and all I had seen was this. My face, my body, my hair. My face, my hair, my body. This was the one thing I saw every time I saw him, before I had seen anything else. I saw this face, that was mine. To see it was like seeing my own face, that was mine. I just couldn't see it. Not with my eyes, because I couldn't see my own face without them. He was always on my mind. The way he would leave a message, when he got bored or wanted to stop playing games. And that, I wasn't going to be able to remember. "Hey, John, how's it feeling today? I think you were thinking about playing games again?" I asked him when he had left, and he answered me. I knew he wasn't even aware of it, but he was always happy when I got him. It was the only time I saw him again, and I wanted him to know that, but I didn't. "I'm not much of a gamer, sorry," I said. "I don't play with any of you, but I do have a game you can play. It's called 'The Walking.' It's an old game, I guess you could say. It's really tough, but I always manage to beat the most difficult challenges like the one I just had up near the temple." He looked a little sad, but I didn't care. I just wanted to know what had happened. When he was around, he'd say things like, 'I just came back,' or 'I'm happy,' or 'I really didn't want to do this,' or 'How were you going to spend your last couple of hours with me?' He looked at me like he didn't want to say anything. He just smiled when he did. So the fact that he had been my friend since I would call him my best friend, and even though he knew more than I did, and knew about me, we just didn't talk much. When he had been around I would say, 'He should get better' or 'He's been a bother to me ever since my mom died,' or 'He makes my life really hard',' or 'I should've quit. I should've quit and gone to a different planet', or 'I don't know why I am doing this. I just want to get back to normal. I don't know why I am here. Who are you, and what are you trying to do?', or, 'I should've quit, but I can't stop. It's not fair. Just, you know, maybe I should take a little break.' He always talked about my life. When he left, he left with his game. He left with all his stuff, and he left with my life. He left with my family. I was just so tired of it all. I was just so tired of talking to him. I was just so tired. "Hey," I said, and he didn't seem like it, and I was, too. "How's it feeling?" He looked at me with a worried look again, and I started crying. He was only three feet away from me, and I couldn't see how he knew I was crying, and I was just so tired. I couldn't even see because he was so close. Even though I was so tired of crying, I couldn't see him. He wasn't just a friend anymore. I had to get away from this. "It's not so bad," he said. "Just tired. A lot. I know I'm just tired." I was just so tired. I was tired for everything. I tried to talk to him, but it was too late. When I got up, I didn't want to talk to him anymore. I knew if I wanted to play, I could, though I still didn't know why. He still didn't know what I wanted to play, but I knew he wasn't going to go away. Maybe he'd like games like 'The Walking', or whatever. I didn't care. I had to get away from this, and that was it. I could leave right now. I was so tired, I was so worn out, and he was right by the door, so I had to get away from him. I didn't even want to talk to him. I went up the stairs and looked at him. He was still there, and I could see him, like, behind us. He was there, just looking at me. He was just looking at me, and I felt like crying. I walked up the stairs, and he was right there, right by the door. I didn't even see him, and the door would open a second later when the raindrops would settle in and I wouldn't see him again. I just tried to push away the tears. This was going to be my last chance. I didn't know how I was supposed to break free, but I had no choice. I walked back down the stairs and looked at him. I was just so tired. I was so tired. He was just the first friend, and I was just the second. I don't even know how I was supposed to get away from him, but I had no choice. I walked back down the stairs, and this time he was right in front of me. His eyes were big and red, and I could make out his eyes too, as much as he had them. I was so tired. I had to turn around, get to the car, and get out of there. Suddenly, I felt like I had hit the wall. I was so confused. He looked at me, and he saw me, and he just turned and walked away. I was so confused, and I didn't know what to do or say. I ran, and I ran. I ran fast, I ran fast, and in the process of running, I stopped, and I was scared. I tried to run, and I tried to think, but I couldn't. I just couldn't. I didn't want to hurt him, or hurt anyone else, because this was just too much. I was afraid, and I ran into the dark street, and I cried.

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3 months ago

@TharaApples

@corgi213

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3 months ago

You're not even a real person. 

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3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/22/2020 9:08:34 PM

(My bad, it turned to be 2009 words. I was feeling motivated)

The corporal winces as he misses a step, a sharp pang of pain piercing his side like a heated dagger.

Today's attack was a complete catastrophe.

In order to relieve the enormous pressure off the French, who were fending off fierce German counterattacks, the British commanders had all mutually decided to launch a series of offensive attacks in order to divert the enemy's attention. The objective of the offensive was to plunge into the German lines and capture the village of Neuve Chapelle, threatening to push the Germans back to the Bois de Biez line and overrun their trench lines.

At first the operation went well. Several British brigades managed to advance strongly against the defenders, and after being locked in a cutthroat onslaught and suffer from heavy losses, finally managed to overtake the village by nightfall. However, due to the delayed arrival of reinforcements and communication struggles, the success hadn't be furthur exploited, putting the end to land gains. The superiors tried to replicate the previous successes by ordering another assault, but this time the enemy forces were ready and fought back with intensity, leaving a trail of dead corpses as the British falls back.

In spite of his lingering fear, the corporal had led his men to take advantage over a quieter German sector, which was seemingly unperturbed by the raging battle and thunderous artillery fire. The atmosphere was thick with tension, but the men were cautiously optimstic, mumbling and whispering to each other that this may perhaps be an easy victory and they will be bestowed with distinguished medals for bravery. The corporal enjoyed listening to their excitement. His smile quickly faded away when, to his chilling horror, he caught sight of a group of soldiers with spiked helmets rising from the trenches.

The Germans had been hiding. Propping up their weapons, they were ready to lay waste on the damned men.

He screamed out an order of retreat, but the roar of the machine gun fire had cut him off.

The German bullets descended upon his men like molten rainfall, pieces of their flesh melting away into the cold air as the metal slam into their bodies. Desperately relying on his wits, the corporal attempted to shoot back to give some of the men cover and time to fall back to safety; but all was in vain as suddenly a stray shell slams down into the ground and exploded. 

Moments later the older soldier woke up with dirt in his face and mouth. He had been swallowed up by the earth, laying down on the shattered ground with body bits of soldiers from both sides around him. Ashes fall like snow on his haggard body; he wondered absentmindedly if some belonged to his fellow soldiers.

Without a warning, a white-hot blazing pain in his right side caused him to cry out - where the scorching pieces of shrapnel are embedded deep into his body. Gasping, he tried to alleviate the agony by treating it, but it wasn't enough. He knew that unless he crawled back to his line without any incidents and get proper medical attention, he would either die with from blood loss or festered wounds. A dark thought appear like a pest in his weary mind. telling him that perhaps he should stay put and accept the inevitable. But the images of his beloved wife and son shone bright behind his eyelids dispelling any more sinister notions, so with a sharp grunt he wills his aching body up, and thus began his slow trek back to the trenches.

As the mud gurgles under his worn out boots, the corporal begins to wonder for the millionth when why on God's green Earth had he and his younger brother decided to go back to the army. He never remember the fighting to this brutal, this cruel; the sheer amount of innocent blood shed from both sides spilling on the French muddy fields, reddening the earth to a rich maroon. He had never seen such astronomical numbers of lost lives in such a short time. It boggles his mind. 

The creaking of his bones is yet another sharp reminder of his age - he not longer possess a young and robust body. The thought reminds him of his wife, and suddenly for a moment all the aches and pains that plagued his body washes away. His love, his beloved; the only woman who he had ever loved and treasured in all of his thirty-nine years. She never agreed with his decision to join the war when it first broke out last summer, unswayed by the flood of patriotic ardor that infected everyone included him. She didn't see his reenlistment as a duty of honour but rather a derelictiom of duty what mattered the most: his family. She spoke of his engineering firm, his age, his son, begging him to come to his senses and stand with his family instead. Despite being moved, he stood firm in his decision, kissing and soothing her that he simply must go, it's a man's duty to protect his family you see and besides, the war will end before Christmas. Should anything happen to me, our son will take care of you. You know how reliable and strong the lad is.

His wife was always a worrier. It is a trait that his dear son also possess. Both so unlike him. Whilst he always faces the world with a laugh, his heart light and free, his wife and child turns away, fearing pain and torment. 

The corporal almost fall, but manages to regain his balance. This wasn't always a case, though. They weren't so reserved before. The loss of happiness is undeniably due to the loss of his daughter... her death eight years earlier had caused a shroud of darkness over the family.

He lets out a shuddering breath. Despite the loss of his men, the searing pain in his side, crippling exhaustion - the heartache of his baby girl is a suffering like no other.

She was exactly like him, in appearance and dispostion. A slice of the sun, her cheerfulness brightens anyone's day no matter their mood. Beloved by everyone, especially by her father. She was the apple of his eye. When the illness took hold of her petite body and spread like wildfire, he never left her side.

"Please... make it stop... Daddy," she weakly cried one night. "It hurts... so much..."

"Hush now," her father gently whispered, wiping the sweat off her pale face. "I'm right here, sweetpea. Get some rest to gather your strength. As soon as you get better I'll take you and your brother to the London zoo again - remember those cute monkeys you loved so much? But you must try your best to sleep a lot to become healthy again. That's fair, don't you think?"

She feebly nodded and closed her eyes, her breathing shallow. That was the last time he has ever spoke to her. When he woke up the start next morning by a deafening wail, raw and wretched to its core, he felt a piece of him died, his whole incomplete.

The corporal blinks his tears away. He never spoke of his grief, in spite of his brother's gentle cajolings. It was too excruciating, too difficult; a wound engraved in his heart that refused to heal. Which is why he never forget the day when him and his men were huddling in the trenches, cold and bored and chattering the world away.

The corporal was busy writing daily letters to your family when one of the men called you out, smirking.

"What do you reckon, sir?"

He blinked. "Reckon what?"

"About this lad's so-called party trick. Apparently he can tell one's true feelings lying in their heart, or something."

The older man put the unfinished letter away, amused. "All right, then, let's hear it," he proclaimed.

The men, huddled in blankets, grinned, eager to be entertained. 

The man with the alleged ability, a fresh faced private, shifted in his seat, visibly embarrased. 

"Well, okay, if you're fine with it..."

He leaned forward and stared into the corporal's eyes for twenty seconds. Feeling a bit uncomfortable, he was about to crack a joke of having a maiden heart when the private began to speak up.

"I believe... that you have lost someone. You suffered a great deal of pain and had never fully recovered."

The corporal's blood froze. "Come again, private?"

"Someone related to you. Perhaps a sibling, a parent, a child? It was someone you hold very dear to your heart, and you never stopped missing them. Did I get it right, sir?"

The corporal gulpped but forced a smile, his heart thumping. "Well, lad, now I know who's up for latrine duty tonight," he jokes, causing a racuous laughter from the men. The private laughed along, albeit nervously.

The private was correct. He never get to tell the younger man how right he was - he was the among those killed in the blast, his body parts littered across the mud. A damn shame.

Out of a blue, a lone German appears thirty feet away. He looks dazed, his grey uniform covered with mud and burn marks. His hair, almost white in color, is matted with blood oozing from his head. He looks extremely young - to the British soldier the enemy looks around the same age as his son. 

The German quickly takes notice of the man, his face adruptly drenched in terror and his eyes wide. He frantically reaches inside his jacket to take out his pistol.

"Shit!" The corporal hisses as he also fumbles for his revolver, his right hand still pressed against his bleeding side. With a swift motion he brandished the firearm with his left and aim at the German.

Silence fills in the gap as the two men stare at each other. Both men are unwilling to shoot, reluctant to shed more blood after today's total carnage, nor taking their eyes off each other. The German's teary blue eyes meets the corporal's steady amber ones.

"Come on, son," he mutters, then speaks loudy for the German to hear. "Come on now, son, put the gun down. There's no need for any more needless violence. I promise you no harm shall ever come to your way if you surrender - I'll make sure of that."

The German's hand that holds the pistol shake erratically, tears streaming down his dirtied face. 

"Bitte, mir verzeihst..." he whispers in a plea as he tightens the grip on his trigger. The corporal, instantly seeing this, quickly pulls the trigger to fire his revolver.

Two shots rang out.

Two bodies fell down with a thud.

The German slumps down, his vacant glassy eyes staring up at the blackening cloudy sky. The corporal kneels over, attempting to breathe, but because of the gory hole in his throat it comes out as a gurgled sound. Crimson blood seeps down his mouth as he desperately try to draw breath.

But it is all in vain.

He falls back on the sodden ground, his lungs filling with his own blood. This is it. This is the end of the long, ardous journey. The corporal knows that while his own war is going to end, the others are still in theirs, their days saturated with barbarity and inhumanity, their hell neverending unless a stray bullet gives them a sweet release of death. Peace at last.

As his body begin to slacken and his struggles grow feeble, he deliriously thinks of his sweet, timid wife, and his prudent, thoughtful son, and make an apology to them. He wasn't coming home, after all.

Darkness overcomes the dying man's senses, and his body goes limp. Then a white blinding light appears, shining on a smiling face of a little blonde girl, free of sickness. A voice echos in his ears.

"...Daddy?"

He reaches out for her, the missing piece coming back in place, his world now complete again.

"I'm right here, sweetpea. I'm right here."

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
You forgot to tag two people

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

I've forgot about that, thanks man.

Sorry @MrSausage @maxperhood

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING FURFAGS

In the bowels of an underground oil drum lit tram station, a terrible and sordid meeting was currently taking place. Only the silhouettes of humanoid animal shaped creatures could possibly be seen by any unfortunate naked eye that somehow stumbled upon the scene currently taking place. 

Like a horror movie, a heavy set man dressed in a pink fuzzy bear costume pulled out a glowing white vial from the recesses of his anal cavity. The four similarly dressed individuals that had joined him in a circle all but jumped up and down as they made their approval known by emitting various animal noises out of the likeness of whatever animal they were dressed as. There was a raccoon, a cat, dog, and last but not least, a snake. The voices were muffled, but this did little to curb whatever joy was being shared by the group of middle aged men in their underground hideout. 

"Finally, our time has come, my sex pets," the bear boomed in a loud velvety voice. 

"Yes! Now is the time for the furries to rise to their rightful place in the world!" screamed the raccoon enthusiastically, already moving onto touching himself with great vigor.

The dog and snake were more subdued now, each exchanging glances before they shared in staring at the bear that was their leader in charge. 

"Snuggles, the ass-raping bear. Are you sure that the world is ready for such a drug to be released?"

"I am in agreement in the hesitation that Doggy, the ass licker is showing. The world already looks upon us with great scorn and disdain. Is this really the right course of action for our cause?"

Snuggles looked upon both of his comrades, gazing deeply into their eyes in a way unlike before. It was similar to the look he would give them whenever he was eager to rut with both, thus it put both of them slightly on edge with clenched anuses. However the sigh he relinquishes shows them both that it isn't anger or a fierce rape lined up in their respective futures, but something else entirely as the bear clutches the vial tightly in his grip.

"Once we put this in the water supply, there won't be a world that will not accept us." 

With these words put forth into the air, all of the homosexual furries simultaneously nodded their heads in collective agreement. 

---

A week later...

"I'm telling you, it was like this big! No fooling you!" 

A young black-haired leather jacket wearing youth was telling his equally of age girlfriend, holding both hands up to signify the size of the member that the football coach was proud of as he walked out of the middle of nowhere movie theater with his equally of age girlfriend wrapped around his arm. She found the story both ridiculous and gross, but she humored her boyfriend with a laugh as they neared closer to his car.

"That's so weird, Jack! Tell me mor-- wait! What's that!?"

The girlfriend points to a fat man dressed in a baby blue bunny outfit, bent over the prone body of a motionless old man. The sight is bizarre in and of itself, but young Jack wonders just why such a sight was happening outside of a movie theater. It's almost too much to tear his eyes away from, but he moves closer after pulling his arm free from his nameless girlfriend. A bad feeling is nestled into his gut with each step forward he takes, but he considers it too late to turn around now.

"Mmmmm! Shlurp! Cock is so yummy! Yuuuum!" The furry exclaims as he munches down on what's left of his prey's decimated and desecrated crotch excitedly.

"What the hell, man!?" Jack screams as he stumbles back in shock, unable to believe his eyes. He had only heard of the myth of cock eating furries in passing on the internet, but never did he think they existed and could actually be encountered in person! The sight alone is almost enough to keep him frozen solid like ice, unable to move, fight, save the dying old man from enduring anymore of whatever the hell was happening to him at the moment. He doesn't have to wait long for an answer on his course of action as he turns around to a traumatizing sight.

Not even six feet away, his girlfriend is currently standing immobile in shock as a speedo wearing man with a covered upper body of a shark suit is biting on her head, drawing blood and causing it to run down her leg. It was so fast that it had happened, Jack hadn't even heard, but now he was staring face to face with his nightmare that was very much true. 

"Nameless girlfriend!" Jack shouted. Unfortunately this had the effect of alerting the crotch chewing bunny who had grown tired of eating the crotch that he was eating. So with a mouth covered in blood, he screeched loudly as he got into position and began bunny hopping towards the young man with feats of speed that shouldn't even be considered possible for a human. It forced Jack to act quickly as he heard more animalistic sounds descend and close in all around him. Part of him was torn between fighting them off or running away, but logic won out in the end as he moved to put as much distance between him and the dick-and-woman eating furries as possible. 

Jack moved swiftly to his car, however a hippo furry was already climbing out, forcing him to change directions and head to the dense forest with it's many trees. The relentless furries however only gave pursuit in their cock frenzy, because little did Jack know, he was the only cock in miles in that abandoned and empty theater that he had just recently existed with his now dearly departed ex-girlfriend. 

With every step, only the inevitable seemed to be being delayed. 

"So, you furry bastards want to eat my cock?"

Jack asked this to the now crowd of hungry furries that numbered in the high dozens at least. Memories of all the times he spent with Nameless Girlfriend flashed in his mind, a single tear leaving his eye. He reached into his pocket, producing his hammer that was gifted to him by his missing father to him. If he was going to lose his life, he would go down swinging and taking as many as the bastards that he could with him. 

"Come on! I'm read-- Huh..?"

Words were seized from him as he stared at an approaching bear dressed man, the sea of furries parting the homosexual sea for him in a great showing of respect. This fact however wasn't even noticed by Jack as he stared at a familiar face, his hammer suddenly flying out of his hand and into the hand of the pink bear, as if returning again to it's rightful owner. Who had begun to take off his bear head. The sight was enough to floor young Jack as he fell to his knees in shock, pain, and every negative emotion he had ever felt in his life.

"It can't be."

YIFF END

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

@Axiom

@Steve24833

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

Just think, this will remain your only visible contribution to the site for probably the next seven years. I know I'll sure be holding onto a link if anybody ever asks what exactly it is Thara does around here...

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/21/2020 2:21:29 PM

fixed

Space was vast and deep and endless, and So are Irene's eyes, thought Oberon.

Irene and Oberon relaxed on a high cliff somewhere on the far side of Earth, where the lands were mountainous and the sky was free of any human light.

And when he would have each of these thoughts, another star would twinkle into existence and shine in those blue eyes of Irene's.

And Irene would sigh and point at the stars and tell Oberon what clever names the humans had for each of them.

Oberon cared little about what the humans liked to name things, but as long as Irene spoke her soft and loving words, he could have listened to her for an eternity.

"The stars are lovely," Irene said. "But not as lovely as Earth."

That is true, agreed Oberon. The only other thing that could perhaps rival Earth's beauty is yours.

Irene blushed, moved her eyes to the ground.

Oberon said, I do not think Earth is that lovely at all compared to you.

"Oberon," whispered Irene. She bit her tongue so that she would not explode into a funny grin.

But beneath her legs, white roses began to sprout and bloom on the Earth floor.

Oberon noticed the pretty flowers, even as Irene tried to shoo them away.

And Irene shooed away the hummingbirds that touched her nose, and the little mice that seemed to whisper to her too.

Irene admired Oberon's presence. She loved it even. She would spend so much time with him that Edol would question her as to why the crops were late again.

And Oberon was tall and dark, obscured behind a black robe with an even larger scythe in his boney hands. Not at this time, of course. His hands currently rested in his lap. He was calm.

His appearance startled the humans, but Irene found him charming in every way.

Oberon was powerful enough to sever the human's souls from their bodies, guide them through the afterlife.

Irene could only dream of that power and strength.

She brought on Spring and Life every year. The very thing Oberon was was to kill.

She thought some flowers were not nearly as breathtaking as Oberon's ability to sever souls. But Irene did enjoy humans, which were her prides and joys.

Humans were interesting and intelligent and spoke many different languages. And even when they spoke different languages, they could still communicate.

Humans could build and destroy. They could create and think complex thoughts only the Gods had been capable of until then.

Humans could love and lose and bring new humans onto Earth. Although Irene knew it was really just herself bringing these new, tiny humans onto Earth.

But as mesmerizing as they were, Oberon looked up into the sky and Irene saw the moonlight strike his face and she could barely make out the human skeleton beneath his cloak.

Oberon did not admire these humans as much as Irene did, yet he shared a form with them.

And so did Irene. And Irene wondered if Edol had created these perfect humans in his vision, or herself in theirs.

Oberon rested his hand beside himself, continued looking on at space and time.

Irene looked between space and time and Oberon's hand. It seemed to beg for her touch, for her to rest her own upon it.

So she did. And when she did Oberon looked over at her.

He turned his palm upwards so that he could clasp her own.

Irene nearly swooned.

"It's cold, isn't it?" she said.

Yes, the Earthly seasons are changing, Oberon said.

Of course Irene knew that. Oberon's social ignorance was delightful to her.

She said, "I'm cold."

That is peculiar. Perhaps we could call on Despond to warm the Earth for you.

Irene finally smiled and when she did Oberon felt his new heart beat in his chest.

"No, no. I think you should hold me, Oberon," she said.

Irene moved close to him.

Oberon was confused, but assumed Irene deeply desired such a thing and gladly obliged.

With a delicate touch no one thought the God of Death might have, Oberon moved an arm around Irene, and to her surprise, pulled her into him.

Behind them, a field of wildflowers bloomed when Oberon did so.

Irene's green skin and cheeks especially grew several shades darker as she put her head near Oberon.

And for a moment, Irene and Oberon's godly duties seemed trivial.

The Earth could have been completely devoid of humans, but each of them would have been content simply resting in each other's arms like that.

Oberon had asked Ardora why he felt a pleasant burning in his chest every time he saw Irene.

To which Ardora giggled and replied, "Oberon, you silly, you're in love!"

Oberon did not think himself silly for loving Irene. If anything, it was silly to not love Irene.

And who did not love Irene?

The humans prayed to her for their crops and rains, for healthy children and a bountiful life.

Oberon had never been prayed to like that, never been loved like that.

Until now, that was.

Irene fell asleep in Oberon's arms.

Oberon never slept. And he would not have wanted to anyway. If he slept, he could not see the beautiful face of his beloved Irene. And this time humans spent asleep was valuable.

But perhaps this time was only valuable to Oberon. After all, he had a Goddess in his arms.

And Irene was a Goddess who loved him with her whole heart.

The way they held each other close like this was only the beginning of their romance. Even the quite literal Oberon knew there was more to come, watching his precious Irene breath softly in her sleep.

Perhaps the humans would never love Oberon like they loved Irene. But what the humans thought of him mattered little, because Irene loved him, and that was the only thing he asked for during his Godship.

Oberon would have even pleaded for Irene's love, but that was so very unnecessary, because Irene would have done the same for his.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
This would've been a great one for the Valentine's thread.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/22/2020 6:58:15 AM

They had managed to block the church doors just as the mob had reached them, the wave of bodies pounding against the large wooden barricade in a cacophony of wails and cackling. The group inside had began stacking the pews in front of the doors: There was only the five of them left. With the mob growing ever larger outside, it seems that this would be their final destination. As the last of the pews were stacked, one of them had began shouting orders.

 

"The windows next! Block the windows!"

 

The group began moving cabinets and bookshelves. Just as one was about to be barricaded, a body hurled itself through the stained glass, knocking the bookshelf over and pinning the woman underneath. The body rose, slamming it's fists repeatedly against the bookshelf, starting to splinter it as the woman screamed. The same man before pulled a handgun.

 

"MARY! HOLD ON!"

 

The body turned to the man, revealing man a large grin. He leaped from the bookshelf towards the man, chuckling hysterically, and the man shot him 4 times in the chest. As he hit hit the floor, he let out his last words:

 

"... I always write my jokes down on paper... Because they're tear-able...!"

 

The man proceeded to stomp on the shot man's head multiple times.

 

"NO! YOU CRINGEY MOTHERFUCKER! WE'RE NOT LAUGHING!"

 

Two other men had helped the woman, Mary, from under the bookcase and barricaded the window. Only when the deranged man's head was a bloody mess did the armed man stop to check on her.

 

"Are you all right?"

 

"I'm fine, I'm fine... What are we gonna do, Jonas?"

 

The armed man, Jonas, paused for a moment before dodging the question, signaling the two men and remaining woman.

 

"David, Leonardo, check for any unwanted guests. Jane, get up to the bell tower, see what we got outside."

 

They all nod positively, and depart to the tasks. Jonas holstered his weapon, kneeling and putting a hand on the Mary's shoulder. The world had really taken a turn for the worse, and the road they've traveled has been a long and serious one.

 

"Hey, listen, we are going to get through this. We know how they operate. We're prepared for whatever they have to dish out. They're cringe. Remember that, and you'll be okay."

 

For a moment, this seemed to placate Mary, just as the two men had returned. David called out, standing next to a confessional.

 

"Bottom floor is clear!"

 

The confessional began to shake violently, and Leonardo had shoved David out of the way just as a figure burst from the booth, pinning Leonardo to the ground, attacking him while giving out a vile laugh. David called back out as he panicked and got back up.

 

"NOT CLEAR! NOT CLEAR!"

 

Jonas got back to his feet and hurried over as David took his bat and beat the deranged man with it. By the time Jonas made it, and Jane had rushed back down from the tower, it was already over. Leonardo was dead, his throat ripped out and face beaten in. David had just finished beating the man, where he laid, limp and jokeless. Mary wandered over as well, staring at the scene with horror. Jonas looked between the bodies, and gave David a sorrowful look.

 

"... David... I'm sorry. You did all you-"

 

The sound of laughter interrupted them, as the beaten man on the floor started to convulse. They all prepared themselves for another cringe-worthy joke or bad pun, but what happened next wasn't something any of them could've been prepared for. A loud, obnoxiously fake voice came from the man:

 

"SO THAT'S WHEN I SAID 'TENNIS?! THAT'S A WOMAN'S SPORT!'"

 

The man likewise had incredibly fake laughter to follow this joke. Jonas and Mary looked in confusion, but Jane had widened her eyes in shock as David let out a stifled laugh. David himself seemed shocked, even as his laughter grew.

 

"... What... pffft... That wasn't even a joke... Ha ha ha... That was just... Random bullshit...! HAHAHAHA!"

 

Jonas, seeing one of his fellow survivors begin to turn, remorsefully raised his pistol. David began wheezing out his last bits of seriousness.

 

"Hahahaha... Please... PffftHAHAHAHA! DON'T LET ME TURN! HAAAAAAHAHAHA!"

 

Jonas shot him once in the throat, to stop him from telling another joke, and once in the head, to put him down. And like that, they had lost two survivors. But more importantly, they had learned a new fact:

 

Their humor was evolving.

 


 

They'd thrown the bodies from the roof, and stayed for a night. The horde calmed down a marginal amount, but the laughter was still a constant. The next day, they came up with a new plan: When night fell, they'd leave through the emergency exit in the back, and try to sneak away from the horde. After that, they would try to scavenge some supplies from the nearby stores on their way out of town.

Of course, not everything went to plan: They were in a Café bookstore when Jane was pounced by one in a Scientist coat. It smashed her skull in before leaping to Jonas, who'd just managed to gun him down.

 

The Scientist, shockingly, dropped the wicked smile as soon as his body hit the floor. Weakly, he started talking. Actually talking.

 

"... Oh god... I'm sorry... I tried to fight it as long as I could..."

 

Jonas and Mary were hesitant at first, but shocked. This is a first. But they kept prepared for a joke.

 

"... I'm a... I was... A scientist... My name was Joseph..."

 

Jonas responded cautiously.

 

"Joseph? As in Joe Mama?"

 

Joe responded, full of pain.

 

"... Joseph ANDERSON... I was working... On a cure... Testing on myself, and others... Guess it didn't work..."

 

Joe goes limp, and Mary throws caution to the wind, kneeling next to him before Jonas can stop her. Jonas himself is still skeptical, but on the off chance he's telling the truth... This could be big. Mary is trying to keep Joe focused.

 

"Hey, Hey, stay with us, where were you working?!"

 

"... Am I... Still in Texas...?"

 

"No. Arizona. Where in Texas?"

 

"... I had a lab... in a town called... Ligma..."

 

"... Ligma...?"

 

As the two of them scoured their brains for places in Texas by this name, it was Jonas who saw through the ruse, his face shifting to a look of panic. Mary wasn't prepared at all. He drew his gun.

 

"NO!"

 

But The Scientist's grin had returned, and before Jonas could fire, he spoke his last words:

 

"Ligma Balls."

 

Jonas shot him in the head, then punted it, then began stomping it in. Only when he heard Mary whimpering is when he stopped and turned back to her. She had both hands covering her mouth, and was hunched over. Slowly, the chuckles and giggles escaped from within, and she sat upright and looked at Jonas. A single tear rolled down her face as her laughter began to grow. Jonas was distraught.

 

"... No... No, God... No..."

 

He kept trying to level the pistol, but couldn't bring himself to do it, tears welling in his eyes. Mary's laughter was uncontained now, and soon she'd lose all reason and rip him apart. It wasn't fair. They had been given hope, and it was ripped away. He couldn't let her turn. It wasn't right. None of this was right.

 

Jonas walked up to Mary, still in a laughing fit, put his pistol to her head, and fired.

 

Laughter was contagious. And everyone was a carrier.

 


 

Can't think of anyone to infect. Gonna have to give my two tags to miz.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
@Jacoder23
@TheDeadKin

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

“Coward!” A voice rings out over the sound of clashing metal. You glance back seeing a bloodied man staring at you. He wields a broadsword and screams at you again. “Stand and fight!” The last part is barely heard due to the soldier slashing his sword at another enemy. You just cannot take it anymore. It is just too much for you to handle. Bodies lay stacked one on another for as far as the eye can see. This war between nations has gone on for too long and now the old and the young dies every day. You sprint past your allies, dropping your sword as shield as you pass them. Some stare at you in disgust and others in fear. Your breathing becomes heavy and ragged until you must stop to catch your breath. Doubled over, gasping for as much air as possible.

You still can hear the sounds of war behind you and the sound of men dying. The smell of the dead is horrendous and makes you want to vomit if you think about it too much. Over it all you can hear a thumping getting closer. You turn to look back once more and see a large white horse galloping towards you. On its back sits a man in pitch black armor. He wields a massive sword in his right hand and swings it around with ease. You know you cannot outrun the horse and quickly scan the ground for a weapon. You roll a dead man over on his side and hurriedly pick up his short spear and shield. You are fumbling with the straps all the while panicking as the horse gets closer and closer. Finally, with a snap the shield is strapped to your arm, just in time for you to see the rider bring his long sword around towards your head. Instinctively you raise your arm with your shield and block his strike. The force of the rider and his horse throws you several feet away on to your back.

Gasping once again you reach for the spear by your side and use it like a cane to get back up. Dazed you see the horse has turned around and is heading for you once again. A quick glance down at your shield you see that not much of it is left from the first blow and know it is now useless to you. You shutter a little watching the horse gallop at you once more and a tear slides down your cheek, knowing this is the end for you. Less than 30 feet away you ready your spear and close your eyes. Your ears ring with the sound of hooves smashing into bones and metal as it runs over the dead. Your heart pounds your chest heavily and your sweat soaks the cloak under your light armor. You image the rider bringing his sword around again and cleaving your head off your body and you see your body hit the ground. As the last few moments pass and the horse is almost upon you, you hear something else.

“Jump aside.” It is a calm but firm voice and it sounds like it is coming from right beside you.

You let go of the spear and jump to the left. You feel the riders blade caress your neck and feel a light sting before smacking into the dead bodies beside you. What you hear next was horrifying. The squeal of the horse and the sickening sound of flesh being pierced. A metal clanking sound comes next and then a heavy thud followed by a heavy scream. You open your eyes and peer over your shoulder. The white horse is caked with blood and a spear is impaled through its chest and out its back. Underneath the dead horse lies the black armored warrior, straining to move the horse off his legs. Every few moments when he pushes the horse, he lets out a blood curdling scream. You slowly get back up on your feet and make eye contact with the trapped warrior. You see his eyes fill with fear for a moment before hatred consumes them. He stops trying to push the horse and instead reaches for his sword. You shakily watch him for a moment unable to move. You are alive, you can’t believe that.

As you are thanking the gods and anyone who would listen, the warrior grabs his long sword and holds it in the air. You watch him, curious and confused now. He yells and then lets the dark blade fall on his thighs. You take a step back in shock and horror as you realize what he did. Blood begins spewing out and over the warrior and the horse as the warrior now is free from the weight of the animal. The warrior had severed his own legs and now crawls towards you with one arm and slides the blade next to him. You stumble back and trip over a dead soldier. The warrior is quick however and gets a hold of your foot. You try kicking at his hand and face. You watch as your heel breaks his nose and destroys his left eye and yet he pulls you towards him with an impossible strength. Tears fill your eyes and the sound that is coming out of your mouth is unintelligible. The warrior lies on your chest, his stubbed legs bleeding on your stomach. You again bat at him with your arms and try shoving him off but he sits on you still as a rock and weighs a ton. In slow motion you watch as the warrior brings his sword high above his head again. With a scream of triumph, the warrior brings the blade down. It sinks into your chest and you feel it go through your back and into the ground. You cough up blood as your vision begins to darken. The warrior smiles before slumping over as well.

Two more bodies now join the millions that are scattered throughout the battlefield.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

@Ogre11

@poison_mara

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3 months ago
Technical problems so the text will be a mess for a while.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 4/2/2020 9:51:50 PM
All the houses look exactly the same on the outside. A white fence, a small garden and a one-story wooden house. The American dream. However, your parent's house is easy to distinguish; the only one that has weeds and dirty windows. A faithful mirror of your turbulent family situation. You open the rough door and prepare to race to your room. "Shit!" You mumble as you listen to your mother's chaotic steps in the kitchen. "Damn it! she'll give me one of her alcoholic's conversations again. Blaming me for everything that has gone wrong in her life!" Your mother staggers down in a black satin robe with vomit spots from her last binge. Her emaciated face badly covered with cheap makeup. An old withered rose trying to stay afloat. "You're finally here, piece of shit! Where were you to help me clean up?" The smell of vodka and medication reaches the threshold of the door with her poisonous reproaches. Like every day. She keeps talking immersed in her drugged stupor: "And here you are! Instead of using your sexy body to seduce the general's son. You have to jump on it and get pregnant. That way our family could improve our fate. However, you stay there, instead of using your body to seduce the general's son. So, Egoist, you are! The devil has given you a beautiful body to sell yourself! And what do you do about it? I will tell you. You keep company with people, as poor and starved as yourself; instead of fucking the damn son of the general." Your mother ends her poisoned diatribe ejecting phlegms in your direction, that ended up in her own sneakers. "Mother," you say with all the poison and hate you can have the meat mess that she is, as she keeps striving to survive the sinking of her husband by digging her claws into her own daughter. "Who are you to talk to me with that lack of respect?!" You burst at her tired of her insults." "I am the one that pays the bills." She talks running over her own words You can't stop laughing at her lies: "You don't pay shit. You have never worked in your life. I have a scholarship and the United States Navy pays this house, as long as my father is not officially condemned, communist. Look at you! You are not even able to heat pre-cooked dishes." "Ungrateful, bad daughter." She helplessly screams, almost unable to stand still. "Daughter... Yes, that is the real question. Mother, why am I pale and blond-haired and you and father are both short and brunettes?" You have heard people gossip about your mother's bed activities all your life. Silence, for the first time, no insult comes out of his mouth. The fear was clear on his face as if he were a cornered animal. You say calmer this time: "I am not guilty of your bad decisions, mother. And I am not going to pay for your own stupidity." After that, you go up to your room calmly. There is nothing more to say. You dodge her easily, as she barely can hold it together, you dash to your room and lock it. His countless screams are background noise. It is nothing new, all your life you have heard her insults and felt her violent slaps. Now she's just a pathetic spoil trying to get out of the shit hole she has gotten herself into. Alone in your small room, you don't stop walking around nervously. It's almost midnight, finally, your mother has stopped screaming and wandering down the hall like a maniac. I have to get rid of her, she is increasingly paranoid. She could even try to kill me. You look at yourself in your golden Venetian mirror. The only beautiful thing in this home, abandoned by the former owners. It is looks faded by time and yet its surface is surprisingly clear. As a child, you used to imagine that, like Alice, you could cross through it to a world where you wouldn't have to hear your mother work in her room while the rusty mattress springs of her bed creaked. You raise your fists unconsciously. No, I can't stand this anymore. She has to go away, one way or another. I have to do it, there is no other way out. She never loved me or took care of me. Now she just has to reap the fruits of her cruelty. You sigh, it's not the first time you have to escape beatings and screams by running through the old wooden window. Your eyes quickly adjust to the moonlight, you carefully descend by palpating with your feet and hands, trying not to slip from the rusty pipe. You land precariously over the weeds... You stop for a moment, taking a breath and preparing for what you are about to do. Your shoes slip on the damp pavement of the street until you reach the blue emergency telephone. You pick up the phone carefully, trying to fighting to stop your hand from shaking. "I have to do it! It's my only chance," you whisper trying to cheer yourself up while you turn the phone dial. "Here, Emergencies of the base. How can I help you?" Says a helpful but certainly tired female voice. "My mother has gone crazy, and has revealed that she is a communist spy-like, my father! I escaped through the window, I am on 27th wormwood street." The lady replies aggressively: "Look, girl, I don't have time for jokes. Go back to your house before I send a soldier to spank you." The conversation comes and goes as if it were a tennis match. The woman suspiciously refuses to report what you are saying to the police. But she also doesn’t hang up on you. Your survival instinct comes into play. She may also be a communist spy: "As you wish. But it's true, and I think you just blew up your career." You say, getting ready to run to the only place where you will be able to be safe tonight, the general's house. You look around in the gloom of the heart of the residential area of the base illuminated only by few street lamps. You race as fast as you are able, trying to hide from the light, as you don't want to be seen from the road. If they catch me, I'm dead. You wouldn't be the first person to appear dead lying in a gutter, secretly executed. In one thing you agree with war propaganda. The commies are everywhere; You know very well since your parents are a clear example. Light from a white Ford delivery van comes silently down the street, almost as if it were sneaking. You hide instinctively. It is impossible for them to distribute something other than lead and death at this time of night. I have to do something. But what?

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Sorry, forgot you asked me to fix the formatting. All good now.

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3 months ago
Tag @Bill_Ingersoll @MicroPen

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Heh, nice combo. I was hoping someone would tag me.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

Again?!? I just contributed one a couple weeks ago.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
It is my second too so I tagged someone that I know will write the words

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

Well, in that case.

 


The next morning, you find Thyos Kokkinopole and Cosmo Hamaritus in the company break room. This used to be a place of levity, where the members of your workforce would come to momentarily escape equipment breakdowns and order fulfillments. Now your skin crawls at the thought of the two most malcontented people on Chhota Chandrama.

You can hear Kokkinopole's voice all the way down the hallway. In this 0.48-G environment even a gentle step could send you bounding down the corridor, so it takes tremendous self-control to merely creep closer to the entrance to the room. If only Dad had installed handrails. You know that if you burst into the room, they will likely change the conversation or stop talking altogether. Kokkinopole never says anything to you directly anymore except to bitch and complain, so you recognize an opportunity to hear his thoughts unedited and unfiltered.

"Men weren't meant to live like this," Kokkinopole is saying.

"I hear you, brother," Hamaritus responds.

"And I didn't sign up for this bullshit. I came here to make money. I don't give a rat's ass what happens on some planet full of towel-heads. I have a family back on Kaitoo that depends on the deposits I transmit to them."

"Same here, same here."

"This place hasn't produced a gram of titanium since the attack. We've been sitting idle for three months. And our Boss Lady won't let us leave — too afraid to stay, too afarid to go."

"So long as Tello's got her back, there's not much we can do about it."

"We'll see, Cosmo. We'll see."

By that point you have reached the entrance to the break room, so there is no point in hiding. You turn the corner, finding only the two occupants. Both men look up when you enter, and both make eye contact. But then both return to their conversation.

"Now the Old Man, there was a great boss," Kokkinopole says. "Artor Crident knew how to take care of his people. I was just a drill operator when he took me on twelve years ago, before he put me in charge of the machine shop. We made money hand over fist back when he was alive."

"This place is lucky to have you, brother," his sidekick Hamaritus says. "Most outfits would probably pay you twice what you make here."

You go about making your breakfast, allotting yourself just a pathetic amount of the remaining powdered egg mass. There may only be a couple weeks' worth of food left in the company stores, and only if everyone rations their usage. Not surprisingly, you noticed that both Kokkinopole and Hamaritus had helped themselves to generous portions before you arrived; both still have uneaten portions on their plates.

"No need to tell me," Kokkinopole says. "I know what I'm worth."

It's like listening to a well-rehearsed skit, scripted and performed for your benefit. For all the bragging that he does, your machinist sure has mastered the art of passive-aggression. It's almost comical in a way, because back in your office you have an employee file 5 GB in size devoted to this character, courtesy of your father's diligent background check and subsequent record-keeping: Thyos Kokkinopole, aged 45, not currently married, owes child support to two different women, neither one living on Kaitoo now or in the past. There is an indication of a criminal record on that planet, although that portion of the file is encrypted and unreadable. Fired from his last three jobs, hired by Dad only after agreeing to a significant pay reduction; assigned to the machinist position only because he sucked at operating a mining drill.

Therefore you, too, know exactly what this arrogant airbag is worth, perhaps more accurately than he thinks. The question, then, is whether to confront him or ignore him.

You decide to confront, if only for the entertainment value.

"Mr. Kokkinopole, Mr. Hamaritus. Good morning," you say.

"Mrs. Ureste. You are looking fine," Kokkinopole says. "Heard from your husband lately?"

Hamaritus loses control and laughs at the joke, practically spraying the table.

"Careful there, brother," Kokkinopole says. "That's my breakfast you just contaminated."

"I can't help but notice that's an awfully large breakfast, Thyos," you say. "Are you going to finish all that?"

"I guess my eyes were bigger than my stomach, Ma'am."

Ma'am. Cripes, you're not even thirty yet. "You do realize we're completely cut off, and that we're running low on supplies, right? I've explained the need to ration."

"It's not ringing a bell. Maybe you should explain to us again what we're all still doing here."

The Reconstituter dings when your synthesized scrambled eggs are ready. You take the hot plate to their table and sit down, hoping that you are showing no sign of intimidation.

"You are optimistic in our chances of sneaking past the Iib Ch'iib armada, Thyos?" you say.

"I give us better odds than if we stayed here," Kokkinopole says, a bit of egg snared in his brown beard.

"The system has been swarming with hive ships. That doesn't impress you?"

"They aren't looking for us. They'll never notice."

"And if they do?"

"Gods, woman, grow a pair of…. Look, it's a simple process of elimination. Can we stay here? Not unless we can learn how to eat rock. Is there anything for us on Chodry? I wouldn't know, because I can't speak cricket."

Cosmo, who has been watching from the sidelines, cracks himself up with laughter again. "Maybe we should give Diden a call. I bet he's fluent in 'cricketese' by now!"

Kokkinopole laughs so hard his belly heaves with convulsions. "Maybe he can broker a supply run for us. Cheeb cheeb cheeb cheeb cheeb!"

You can't afford to let these bastards under your skin. "You were saying, Thyos?"

"What? Oh yes, the process of elimination. We can't stay, we can't return to base, so what does that leave?"

"We need to get the flock out of here, is what it means," Hamaritus says.

"Right. And we need to do it now," Kokkinopole says.

It's time to shock them both. "I agree, we need to leave."

"No need to thank me for being right," the machinist says.

"I told Mr. Tello first thing this morning. He's preparing the transport as we speak. If you fat slobs weren't in here stuffing your face, you might've been down there helping him."

"Seriously?"

"Better get packing."

Both men quickly rise from their seats, with Hamaritus quickly stuffing the last of his eggs in his mouth. "Say no more, Ma'am," Kokkinopole says. "We're on it. This is the first reasonable thing I've heard in a long time. Come on, brother, let's go see Rufus. I was packed weeks ago."

The two grown men look silly bounding out of the room, sped along by the low gravity. But they leave their dirty plates behind them on the table, as if it were your job as the only woman in the room to clean up after them. Screw it; let the Iib Ch'iib deal with the dishes, if they ever find this place.

With the break room now empty of testosterone, you can finish your synth-eggs in peace. Yes, it's true that you decided early this morning, while sleep was eluding you, that you needed to abandon the mine and allow your people to try and seek safety. The only reason you had hesitated this long was because of all the Iib Ch'iib traffic surrounding the two planets. Instead of declining, the amount of dun-colored vessels has only been climbing. This probably means that the optimal time to sneak past the alien fleet had passed weeks ago, and that waiting any longer would only make the odds worse.

So much for your six employees. What about you? This is where you feel split to your core. The rational course would be to join your crew on the transport and try and escape to Tyuu, despite the high likelihood of getting shot down by the Iib Ch'iib.

But that would mean abandoning Diden and Ihon, your lover and your baby boy, who for all you know are living in fear down on Big Chodry. If not for you, they will have no other hope of salvation. There are two cargo haulers here at the mine, small pods intended to pull containers full of materials and equipment. On its own, without being hooked up to a boxy freighter, either one of these pods might be small enough to make it to the planet's surface undetected. The invaders may very well dismiss the pod as a chunk of falling debris.

Either option is risky, and full of unknowns. Nevertheless, the time has come to decide.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Hey, I'm trying to procrastinate here!

*****

North of Town
You take a long look at the guards. You can see one fellow, a particularly hairy and round fellow, slapping his hand with a medium-sized club. It looks like he is really aching to use it. You don’t want him to use it on you, so you’re going to head in the opposite direction: north.

You turn and start up the street, quickly dodging a wagon that rumbles down the road. It splashes a bit of mud up on your legs, but that’s not the first time you’ve been covered in mud. You wipe the worst of the mud off with your hand and then shake your hand off as you start heading up the road. The road twists and turns a little as it winds slightly uphill towards the edge of town. You pass by a few buildings that you recognize, like Goznart’s church. You idly wonder if he is inside now, safe and sound, or if he’s out on the street somewhere as well.

As you reach the edge of town, the buildings start to thin. The alleys are a little wider and the buildings a little smaller and a little shoddier. They still look to be in decent shape, so it’s not like there’s abandoned houses that you could squat in. There’s no way the town guard would put up with that. You’ve heard stories of people being thrown into the dungeon for that because people around here considered that just plan theft.

At the edge of town the farms start to appear. Nearest to town there are fields filled with some kind of crops, but you’re not sure what they are, that’s not something you learned a lot about growing up in a orphanage. There are a few plots with different crops in them and occasionally a small fenced area with a few animals. You see and hear goats and chickens and wonder if you could work on one of these farms in exchange for a place to stay. But you don’t see anyone to ask, so you keep heading along the road.

The road starts to thin out a little as you pass the larger pastures with cows and horses. There are few horses, mostly cows, but you spot a few here and there. You remember hearing that most of the quality riding horses come from places further away from here. Many of the horses raised here are use for pulling wagons and plowing fields. You keep walking past those farms and you can see the dark trees of the forest ahead.

With the sun starting to set, the forest looks even darker than you had imagined it would be. Perhaps this wasn’t the best idea in the world for a kid from an orphanage in town to try and spend the night in a wild forest. You take just a quick glance back towards town as you consider the guards with the clubs and figure you really didn’t have any other choice. As you get closer to the trees, they appear to be getting taller and darker. Surely that is a trick of the light with the setting sun, but now you realize that by the time you enter the forest, it is really going to be completely dark in the forest. If there’s magical beasts in there, you just hope they kill you quickly and you don’t suffer in pain for a long time. You remember once hearing a tale about giant spiders that live in the forest that inject a poison into you that keeps you alive while they wrap you up in webs! Then you live in the web until the spider decides to come back and eat you alive! No, perhaps this wasn’t the best choice. At least in the dungeons of town you were quite unlikely to be eaten by anything at all.

As you reach the edge of the forest you realize that there is almost no sound coming from inside the woods. You can see the individual trees at the edge of the forest in the dying light, but everything beyond is completely dark and utterly silent. The road turns here and runs along the edge of the forest, so there are only bits of trails that lead into the forest and those quickly turn into darkness. You’re not going to have any guide to follow when you enter in.

You take one step into the woods and then turn back. The fields look bright in the dying light compared to the darkness in the woods. You slowly turn back around as you decide that this is the only way you’re going to make it through the night, but you can find somewhere else, somehow, to be tomorrow night. As your eyes slowly adjust to the darkness in the forest you decide that’s your only goal tomorrow, to find somewhere else to spend the night.

When you can see a little in the darkness, you can see the individual tree trunks around the forest. They seem to be quite haphazardly placed, but there is little else at this level. The thick branches and dark leaves occupy the highest places in this forest, so there is almost no ground cover: just old leaves and lots of dirt. You’re not really sure what you’re supposed to do to spend the night in the woods, so you have to decide what you want to try tonight. You think about it and realize that you could just plop down right where you are. You’re near the edge of the forest, so if anything were to come out of the darkness, you’d only have a short distance to run out into the freedom of the fields.

On the other hand, now that your eyes have adjusted a little to the darkness, you could look around and perhaps explore a little more in the darkness. There might be a shelter of some kind, a clearing, or some other kind of natural area that you could hide in rather than just sitting out in plain sight. That might help keep you hidden from something that appears, but it would take time and possibly lead you deeper into these dark woods and whatever might be in them.

Plop down where you are and spend the night next to a tree.
Head deeper in and search for some kind of safer space instead of out in the open.

*****

@Just_Bubbly and @Megumeme

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

I guess I would've been infected too because I loled when I realized what was going on. I've never seen anything like this twist on zombies before, it's dark and funny and the virus is like something the Joker would design.

I tried to come up with some puns here, but they were all pretty groan-worthy and rotten. I'd like to dig up at least one though, it's really gnawing at my brain. But I guess certain things are better left undead.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

Yeah after a bit of help, I sort of thought of "hey what if that one joker virus was mixed with The Walking Dead".

Also, thank you for trying.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/22/2020 7:30:37 PM
“What the... Are you serious?”

You realize it’s a stupid question the moment the words leave your mouth. Nothing in the artificially perfect face staring back at you through the screen suggests that it's joking. Everything about this call was unexpected, but you have a prior history with Galatea from the time when you had that run in with the CSDA. You know she wouldn’t be giving you classified information without permission.

Part of you wishes this was all a sick ruse or some kind of test, once the full implication of all you’ve just heard starts to sink in. But the Centerhold Special Defense Agency is not an organization known for its sense of humor either, for that matter.

You’ve aged a lot in the last thirteen years, in no small part thanks to them, but Galatea’s hair is still the same smooth jet black, cut just above her shoulders. She has the same pearly teeth, flawless skin and cool, emotionless blue eyes as the day she first shot you.

“I’ll be arriving in Northtower in two hours.” Galatea goes on, ignoring your comment. “The Erinyes units and Ares will be there soon after. Make sure your people stay inside, Terese. None of them would want to meet us.”

You frown. “So you’re helping them.”

She gives an indifferent shrug. “The Agency could have refused the military’s request, but there are so few of us Artificials cleared for combat after the new regulations. With the threat of the virus, it just makes sense.”

“Right, and I bet they think slaughtering that number of unarmed people might put even put a slight dent in the conscience of any humans they sent.”

Galatea tilts her head and seems to consider that. “Hmm, you think so? Because I doubt it.”

“Well why warn me, then? You CSDA pricks don’t exactly like me.”

A ghost of a smile paints her perfect lips. “True. But I gather that they have a certain amount of respect for you. You’re a survivor, and stubborn enough to be a distraction we don’t need, right now. They’d rather you know what’s going on and stay out of the way than not. ‘Keep your dogs in the kennel if you don’t want them to get hurt.’ That’s the message someone you’d remember wanted me to pass on. And you’ll have to cooperate if you want to protect your little...projects.”

Well, she’s got you there. Gritting your teeth, you nod. “Well...thanks for the warning. If that’s everything I’d better get everyone inside and hunkered down.” It feels wrong, like a betrayal of everyone else out there, but of course the CSDA knows exactly what they’re doing. You’ll need to look out for your own above anything else right now, and they’ve left you just enough time to do that and not put together any other plans.

“That’s everything. And you’re welcome.” Galatea acknowledges your thanks with a smile. “And don’t spread the details of what I’ve told you around, obviously. But we trust you’ll behave there too, or of course I’ll kill you myself and then everyone you’ve spoken to.” Her pleasant expression not faltering for an instant, she ends the call. There’s a light beep as the automatic recording deletes itself a second later, but you’re already out of your chair and heading out of the office. There’s no time to waste.

The pigeons are cooing softly in their cages, already fed, and you continue on to find James and Connie are in one of the vegetable garden transferring seedlings to the soil. You steel yourself as you approach. You’ve got to stay calm and make them understand the gravity of the situation without getting sidetracked by a bunch of questions you’re not allowed to answer.

“Terese, what’s wrong?” James asks, straightening up and brushing the dirt off his hands. Connie glances up too and her expression immediately becomes concerned. So much for your poker face.

You take a moment trying to work out how to phrase things while the two of them regard you with worry. Seeing them both here, in the sunlight of the garden that used to be nothing more than the site of a rusted out junk heap, you get a lump in your throat. They both have cleaned up and put on some weight, they look healthy and happy, radiant with youth and like they deserve to go on being that way. James was shivering and sweating from withdrawal in an alley when you first met him, and Connie was brought to you unconscious after cutting her wrists. You’d done what you could, but you hadn’t expected her to make it, and meanwhile a hospital stay without a citizenship chip would mean a one way trip to a camp to pay off the debt. How many more out there just like them, who were struggling at rock bottom but could rise just as high if given the chance, were going to die in the next 48 hours? And in the weeks to come?

Reaching up, you absently touch the little lump at the base of your skull, the scar now hidden by the hair that’s grown out since your time in the camp. Class B citizenship. It was a rarely realized dream for anyone born as a C to buy their way to B, and for someone with no citizenship at all--and someone who had seen too much, at that--to be granted B class was a pipe dream. But they had spared you and shipped you off, expecting you to die in the mines, and you came back a hero instead when the enemy tried to blow the place sky high.

“Who’s out in the city right now?” you finally ask.

James and Connie exchange glances. “Lon and Perry went to deliver all those sheets and bandages to the church, and Hannah and Michael said they would be checking a few places to try and buy bread. There’s Dave, Jaimie...a few others from the shelter. Why?”

You wave them toward the office. “Call them back. Call everyone back, right away. And I’m going to round up anyone I can to watch the gates. No one goes out.”

“Terese, what in the hell is going on?” Connie asks, staring.

“Con, let’s just go,” James says, tugging at her sleeve. “Something must be going on, it sounds important.”

“I’ll explain later,” you say hurriedly. “Look...I can’t...it’s just...I got a call. A warning. From someone I knew from before. But I can’t talk about it, you get me? I’m just saying we need everyone inside in an hour. Hour and a half, at most. It’s about to get very unsafe out there.”

Most at the Oasis Center knows the broad strokes of your past, and you’ve hidden few details from those closest to you like James and Connie. They seem to have no trouble picking up the implications.

“Is this about what happened in Bluffview?” James asks. The rioting there, the fires, and the violent impulses experienced by those exposed to some kind of new flesh eating virus had been in all the reports the last few days as the military tried to restore order.

“Yes...well sort of.” It was more about what they’d decided to do to prevent a repeat, but that was something you’d keep silent on so it would weigh on no conscience but your own. They’d all find out soon enough.

In the next forty-five minutes the three of you working together with the others at the center thankfully manage to get everyone who volunteers and shelters there back inside. A few manage to bring friends, despite the fact that a lot of people in this area think the center is a compound for some weird cult and you couldn’t give any details at all. They just seem to have an instinctual understanding that this is Northtower and shit can get real here fast. Most staying here don’t have families, so you suppose that’s something that simplifies things right now.

When you see Lon and Perry’s van pull up you breathe a sigh of relief; they were the last among those with no citizen chips. Your thoughts turn to organizing and inventorying foodstuffs and making sleeping arrangements for the new arrivals.

Glancing back over a second later, you see only Lon stepping out of the vehicle. The passenger seat is empty.

“Where’s Perry?” you ask him sharply.

Lon gives an apologetic shrug. “I told him we needed to go, but some kids showed up at the church shelter and he wanted to stay and help them out. They were beat up pretty bad and you know he always acts like he thinks he’s some kind of damn doctor.”

You swear under your breath and grab for the radio in the van. Before you can flip the switch you hear Perry’s voice crackling through the speaker. “...mething’s going on down the street. Buncha jackboots blocking everything off. I dunno if I’ll be able to make it back until they clear off.”

“Perry? Perry, you hear me?” you ask, getting frantic now.

“What’s up, Terese? You okay?”

“You need to get back here. Now. You’re in danger.”

“Look if shit’s about to go down I’ll just hunker down here in the church and check back in the morning. There’s a couple of kids I’m looking after anyway.”

You swear again. It’s nothing but a damn killing pen being set up and right now you’re the only one that knows it. Galatea explained it in much more sterile terms but her meaning was clear enough. Massacre the part of the population no one cares about, that’s also the one most likely to spread a deadly virus and start a riot, and do it all nice and neatly a couple of days before cases are expected to start being confirmed in Northtower. Some story could be told to cover up the killings; a terrorist attack, or if all else fails the old favorite of Artificials run amok. Good citizens didn’t look too hard into these things. Hell, most of them wouldn’t care even if they knew the truth.

He chuckles. “Whoa Therese, watch the language. This is a church and there are children present! We’ll be safe here.”

“No, you won’t be. Perry, listen to me, you need to get out of there. And don’t let any of those soldiers see you. And for God’s sake, if you see anyone that looks Artificial, fucking run.”

That last part may have been sharing a bit too much, and you wince. But you’re beyond caring right now. It seems to have done the trick in sobering Perry up though. “I understand, but look, I really don’t think I can slip out past the barricade without anyone noticing. And what about everyone else here? I can’t just leave them, if it’s that bad. I’ll talk with the deacons and we’ll try and get everyone moved down to the basement, or...just whatever we can do from here.”

“Yeah. I guess just do what you can.” With a sigh, you drop the radio and step away.

“Will he be okay?” Lon asks, his face pale.

“No,” you answer flatly.

“Where are you going?”

“To get a few things. Don’t worry about putting the van in the garage, I’ll need it in a moment.”

Grabbing a small bundle of high value credit strips out of your safe with one hand and reaching for the gun with the other--many otherwise difficult people would respond to either one or the other, in your observation--you slip one in each coat pocket and head down the hall.

“I thought you said no one was allowed to go out,” Connie says pointedly, appearing at your side as you step out the door.

“Well. Things change. You know I can’t leave any of my kids out there. And no, you can’t come with me.”

She sighs. “Yeah, I figured. Well good luck. We’ll be praying.”

You nod and climb into the van, rolling out the gate and watching the Oasis Center out of the rear view mirror until the scrap metal gate clangs shut and blocks it from view. You hope it won’t be the last time. It was a hard road that brought each of you there, and one that you personally have vowed never to regret if it got you where you were, in a place to lend a hand to lift up others. Whether guided here by fate or God or force of sheer stubborn will, you would be damned if you let a single lost soul you’d claimed from the grimy back alleys of this city slip from your hand without a fight.






Hey, it only took me a week!

It got a little longer than it was supposed to be, whoops.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
@DarkSpawn
@ShoujoAddict

Let's see you slapfight out your differences, girls.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago
Commended by EndMaster on 3/22/2020 10:57:30 PM

MAY, 2020
 

Driver 1849 climbs the mountain.

He had another name once, but he can no longer quite recall it. Like many things, it was lost in the disaster, one more irrelevant detail from the old world. He's just a driver now, though his truck is miles behind him, abandoned at the last stretch of passable road. The asphalt under him is cracked and ruined, large chunks thrust up at steep angles or missing altogether. He must pick his way with care, lest the towering stack of packages strapped to his back bowl him over. If he trips here and breaks an ankle, no one will rescue him.

He rounds a bend and comes to an overlook. The sky stretches before him, and below it rolling hills and forests stretching down to the water. Across the water lies Seattle.

He pauses to look at the city. Skyscrapers lean and crumble under the weight of overgrowth, black holes where windows used to be staring like eyes at the drones milling underneath. Flocks of birds circle cranes choked with flowering vines. From the center of it all rises the fortress of Amazonia, a vast edifice of steel and glass. He imagines he can see the window-cleaners from here, dangling like tiny spiders in their non-OSHA-compliant harnesses as they polish the superstructure's surface to a mirror shine.

He checks his watch, then turns back to the road. His feet are starting to crack and bleed in the remains of his shoes, and the straps of his pack cut into his shoulders, but he can't afford to be late. Not with this customer. He settles his respirator with its friendly curved arrow firmly on his face and resumes the journey.

At last a large compound comes into view, concrete walls rising above the trees with armed guards patrolling their tops. He's heard of this place, but he's never been here. Few have, and left again.

The ruined road ends in a checkpoint. He approaches, and a hard-faced man in a face mask and scraps of leather armor steps in front of him. A flash of movement, and Driver 1849 is staring down the barrel of an assault rifle.

It's an Amazon Basics model, he notes dimly. They were half off last week for Prime members.

The hard-faced man gives him a searching look over the sights of the gun. "Identify yourself."

With trembling hands Driver 1849 draws out his ID badge and proffers it. "I have a delivery for Karen White."

The name thrills in the pit of his stomach. The drivers consider it bad luck to even speak it.

But against all odds, he volunteered for this. If he can pull this off, it'll put him in contention for driver of the month, and with it its complimentary extra scoop of gruel in the drivers' slophouse. He lies awake some nights on his frigid warehouse cot, stomach gnawing his spine, and dreams of that scoop.

The guard studies the badge, then steps aside. "Fine. Go on in."

Reluctant steps take him across the threshold. Inside the walls, the compound bustles with activity. Masked warriors lounge next to bags of beans and rice tossed in careless piles. As he passes, they stare at him. He swallows and hurries forward.

In the center of the compound is a pavilion, and inside the pavilion is her. Karen White, the raider queen. Long streamers of white wind around her body, woven into an elaborate dress that flutters with every movement. It's an unthinkable waste in these times. A show of power, no doubt.

She lounges on her famed porcelain throne. The back of it is extended with a vast number of cans welded together, the top ones fanning out in an array of spikes. Their tips are rusted with red. The blood of her enemies? Or just canned tomato? He doesn't want to know.

He carefully unstraps the pack on his back and sets the boxes down in a neat stack, placing one before her as a sample. He waits. A gas mask covers her face, but he can still see her eyes behind it, as cold and pale as ice. At length she gestures to the box as if it's some dead vermin.

"Open it."

He kneels down and obeys. The Prime Shipping tape tears easily in his hands. He unfolds the cardboard flaps delicately, then lifts out the contents and sets them before her with the care such high-end merchandise deserves. That he could bring so much is a testament indeed to the power of his employer.

Those cold eyes rake over the cargo. He can't read her expression.

A nervous smile curls his lips. He's an hour before his scheduled delivery time, and the cargo is in pristine condition. Surely anyone would be pleased.

She surges to her feet and drives her foot into the cargo. It tumbles across the floor and smacks him in the face.

"Garbage. Complete garbage. This is Quilted Northern. I ordered Charmin."

She towers over him. He presses his forehead to the ground in obeisance.

"I am so sorry. They were out of stock till next Tuesday, so we had to substitute."

"Do you know who I am? I accept no substitutions."

"There's been a lot of demand--"

"Silence, worm. Your manager will hear of this."

He went through so much to bring her this. The long hours across the burning asphalt. His cracked and bleeding feet. None of it matters to her, does it?

He says nothing. It won't help. He just keeps his eyes fixed on the floor.

In his peripheral vision, he sees her feet approach.

"If you lick my boots, I might forgive you," she says.

"Lick your boots?" The suggestion is unthinkable. All he can do is dumbly repeat it.

"That's right. Take off your respirator."

In these times, that's a death sentence.

A cruel laugh comes from behind her gas mask. It floats through his insides like a spark and ignites some long-buried ember of rage.

He slowly draws himself to his feet.

"You know what?" he says.

She looks taken aback. "What?"

"Go fuck yourself, Karen."

"What? Excuse you--"

He shoves her. She stumbles back, trips over the toilet paper, falls. Her guards surge towards him. But he's already running, battered feet eating up the ground at a pace only a seasoned delivery man could maintain, the leather-clad warriors pounding after him.

He doesn't head for the gate. He knows that's suicide. Instead he bounds up the stairs to the top of the wall, decks the guard at the top, and leaps off. The canopy surges towards him. He plummets down, branches and leaves whipping at his face, and crashes to the ground.

He pulls himself to his feet. A few minor lacerations, maybe a sprained wrist, but he's fine. He's free.

He runs. Distant shouts echo behind him. But he's fast, and they soon fall behind him. He runs all the way down the mountain, across the shattered burning asphalt, until he gets back to his truck. And when he reaches his truck, he doesn't stop driving until he reaches the safety of his warehouse.

He takes a few moments to rest, heart still pumping with the adrenaline. But he's safe now. Karen won't remember him, surely. Service workers are all the same to people like her. The thought of losing the extra scoop of gruel hurts, but it could have been worse, all things considered.

When he's calmed down, he fills out the paperwork for the day's deliveries and goes inside. His manager is at her usual desk. She accepts the report.

"Thank you, Driver 1849."

He turns to leave.

"Wait," she says. He turns back.

She stands, clasps his shoulder, and smiles kindly. "I'm sorry. Your customer satisfaction rating has recently been downgraded to 4.9 stars."

He stands frozen, horror welling in his chest. He knows what this means.

"Effective immediately, your employment is terminated." 

"But--you can't--I've worked for Amazon for twenty-seven years! I've never taken a sick day in my life!"

"We have room here only for the best." Her voice is bored. The conversation is over.

She turns away and waves a hand. Security personnel encircle him. "Throw him into the pit."

The first hand seizes his shoulder. He tries to throw it off, but then they're all over him, dragging him away. He screams, but it's too late.

Behind him, a door opens. It's dark inside, and cold wind tears through his clothes. The sound of a thousand throats coughing beats against his eardrums.

"Please--no--"

They toss him in, and he sprawls across the cold concrete. He rights himself and crawls back towards the entrance, but clammy fingers grasp his ankles and drag him back. He stretches one hand uselessly towards the square of light.

The door slams shut, and the world goes black.

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

Severe lack of lipstick lesbians on motorcycles.

Terrible story.

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3 months ago

The bright afternoon rays of the Sun, seeping through the gray clouds up high, were reflected by the smooth darkness of the asphalt beneath my feet as my boots splished and splashed in the numerous puddles in the cracks of the road everywhere around me. A slight drizzle of salty rainwater slid down my cheek, as I looked up in the bluish-gray sky, only to be sprayed with mist and more rain in my eyes. I clenched my raincoat closely, before pressing forward in haste, sneaking a glance now and then at the watch at my wrist, awkwardly rolling up my protective west in the process.

"I have no time to lose," I kept thinking to myself.

"Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!"

I kept chanting in my mind, as I observed the rain-soaked highway, an endless line of blackness ahead of me. I observed the occasional wrecked remains of a car pass by, like little bumps during that monotonous journey. Each one was picked to the bone for scrap metal by scavengers, with only their frames left behind as the only indication to their grim fate. The strong winds kept pushing me away from my destination, filling my eyes with more misty rainwater as I resisted back, but then suddenly I heard an ear splitting sound right behind me as I felt the wind whiz past my ears.

My instincts kicking in, I immediately dived down to the ground, right behind the closest clump of car wreckage, ignoring my bruised face and elbows in the process. I then hastily took off the backpack from my back, and removed my trusty sawed off from it, as I crawled under the car wreckage. I tightened the chokes on the two barrels, before turning off the safety, and patiently waited patiently; pointing the gun ahead at all times. It wasn’t long before I heard footsteps coming up ahead, and the second I saw the blue of denim in front of me, holding the gun with both hands, I fired. I was instantly sprayed with blood all over my face, and a very sharp sting in my wrists; as I heard the horrifying screams of the victim. They weren’t unfounded, since the lower part of his leg from the shin till the feet was almost severed off. That grisly site almost caused me to throw up right then and there. However, not wanting to take chances of a retaliatory shot, I quickly shot the man once again in the chest extinguishing the screams in the process. 

Crawling out from under the wreckage, I observed my victim. He was in pretty standard work clothes. A pair of blue jeans with a shirt, and looked like a local from the nearby town. A pretty looking, well maintained rifle laid beside him.

“Shit, seems like this route isn’t as safe as we first thought. Who knows how many more of these thieving bandits mill about the area,” I silently muttered to myself.

"I was lucky that I had to deal with just one guy," I thought. Anymore, and I would've surely been a goner.

“Well, at least the rain has stopped,” I said, as I picked up the rifle and check the chamber.

I thought about trying to search the body, but then decided to go nowhere near that disgusting mess. So I slung the rifle over my shoulder and put my trusty ‘shorty’ back in the backpack.

“Gotta warn the others to move, and fast. The light awaits...” I said, as I looked at the ever-flickering golden light on top of the far off mountain peak.

As if leading us all, like a moth to a light in this accursed darkness of death and despair.

“We couldn’t have anticipated this,” I thought, “no one could.” 

Three months ago, all electric devices and machinery around the planet overcharged and burned out. People called it the blackout. The accidents and disasters that soon followed the blackout, from the world’s most severe earthquake ever recorded, to the escalating rising sea levels that submerged most high density population cities, and along with that the ongoing extreme fear from a new highly contagious virus plunged the world into total anarchy. It’s as if fate played a cruel fate on all of us, and decided to relentlessly batter humankind against a wall with disaster after disaster until we finally gave up. 

I could do nothing but watch, as society began to crumble right in front of my eyes. Chaos began to rule the streets, nowhere was safe. I still do not know how I escaped from that madness. If I hadn’t found this ragtag group of survivors, then I most likely would have perished. However, we knew that we weren’t going to last long here in the heart of anarchy. But what other option did we have? 

Then, the light appeared. In this world plunged into darkness. Our choices were to either escape the anarchy and follow the light; or remain there and die. So we decided to survive another day, and each of us hope to reunite with our lost loved ones at this beacon of hope. For surely everyone in the area could see this now. But that means more people follow it, and in this new, twisted world more people implies that more anarchy ensues...

I hurry along the hard cracked asphalt. Through the black veins of the the endless, sandy nothingness surrounding me everywhere wherever I look. Makes me wonder how it could ever rain in a region like this...seems like the weather is plunged into anarchy as much as our world has too. One step ahead of the other, on this never-ending march to the light, I step forward, ready to face all obstacles. As if a soldier on a mission I march forward. Not for the pride of the long dead nation who's remains I so disrespectfully step upon, no. I march forward, towards the light; in the pride of my own survival. 

"Either I will reach the light, or I will die trying."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is the starting part of another plot idea I’ve had. Inspired by this cool indie game called “Survive the Blackout.”

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

Ah, forgot about this. I'm gonna let Dark take my tagging rights. Dark can tag anyone on my behalf.

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3 months ago

In the land out West, yes, very far from here child. In the Land of the Setting Sun, where dusk sits eternal. Magic, old and esoteric smolders in the waning death throes of past flames.  It's already gone, in essence. Some have already forgotten, and others still cling the what vestiges of ancient times remain.

It's an old and tired place, a shattered mirror of what once was, full of slumbering gods and restless wonders.  One would be keen to stay far away really. Why go looking in places you do not belong when everything you need is here? Velis is a land fertile in opportunity, magic, and life. We're not tainted with the same corruption.

The journey to the place is treacherous enough in itself, you've heared the stories of the dangers haven't you? Take a moment to ponder the land in its peak! Some argue, the gods of that land had more control then, but I'm not so sure. 

Ah, child, but you do enjoy the stories. You are a strange one indeed, most would not care to trouble their minds with such things. Well, where could I possibly begin? The Twin Flames? The Slain Prince? Yorlen, the Shield of Fendora? Veria, Mother of the Motherless? Poor and weary Valerus, the last standing knight?

You have heard the tales of the ancient dragons yes? Ah, of course you have!

But what of the Heir of the Storm, Ocirus? Some say he was born in the West, but some say, and this is my line of thinking, that he hailed from the far north, the city in the sky, Procellia. Don't look so confused child, all will be explained soon.

Procellia is known for being the of the most ancient of places in Velis, the fisrt true bastion of humanity. Yes, well before Saint Urias, who went on to found the Mannate Empire. Yes, Procellia was the first great civilization of humans. They were masters of the storm, carriers of lightning. The first great magics humans would ever come to know, personally gifted by the gods. 

They will say it was the gift of fire bestowed upon Urias, and yes this was the case. But well after Procellia came into being, beforethen humans in this area lived as wildmen, barbarians. Barely surviving, constantly competing with the orcs, who were stronger, faster, the elves, who knew magics far greater than they could comprehend. Goblin, Rattar, Lizardfolk, the land was overrun.

Anyways, I've gotten quite of topic, haven't I?

Ocirus was born, heir to the ruler of the storms. Yet, there was another, far more feriocious. The king of Proceliia was a master of storm and lightning, but alone was no match for the ancient dragons. So, he sent is son, Ocirus far West to learn, to find ancient power. It took many years, and by then Procellia had all but fallen, humanity and the kingdom at large had forgotten about poor Orcirus and his quest. 

So, it appeared as if he came out of nowhere, from the Land of the Setting Sun. When in actuality he was just returning home, he was in anguish when he saw the sorry state of the land, his home.

From there he vowed to slay all dragons, he took his mighty armor, made by a blacksmith of unimaginable power, and his sword. He taught the Proceillians the long forgotten power of storm. With a great lightning bolt did he fell the first dragon, the resulting battles were brutal. But bit by bit Ocirus and his dragonslayers restored Procellia to its rightful state. 

In time, the tables had finished their turn. Ocirus, worshipped as a god by his people, would soon break the will of the dragons. The few survivors would scatter, but not before leaving something else behind. Something far more important than any set of armor, sword or spear, or magics.

Ah, waiting for me to tell you what it is? Patience child, I'm getting there.

The dragons fled, scattered across the realm, leaving behind a batch of dragon eggs. As the Mannate Empire rose, so too did the dragonriders of Procellia. Their final victory at hand, finally subjugating their long lost foes. The might of which caused the Empire to turn a blind eye to, as not only was the city in the sky far from their influence. But when dragon and man fought united, it was a terrible sight to be seen. The Empire, saw the dragons enslaved, and wanted to avoid a similar fate...or worse. 

However, Ocirus, in his unnaturally long life and wisdom, had a different way of looking at it. Strange for one who warred for so long with the flying ones, did not view them as slaves, old foes. These new dragons, he considered friends. Saddling them not, caging them not. With bonds built, the dragons were free to live in the lands around the kingdom. 

Most would think dragons brutish, dumb creatures. But how could they be free to live in the open, and not burn villages and eat people to sustain themselves? While it's not mentioned in the stories or ancient tomes, I have only to assume the dragons had enough...intelligence? Awareness? Whatever have you, to listen and abide by strict rules of the Storm King Ocirus, or face the terrible consequences.

Yet even ones as powerful as Ocirus, would have to pass, and fade into legend. The dragonriders survived for many years, but the dragons, their power waning. With the passing of Ocirus, old fears crept into the people of Procellia. And the dragons were no longer trusted as friends as they were with the old king. They were soon locked, caged, until needed. 

No dragon could live a life of such subjugation. Eventually their spirits wilted, the flames died low. The dragonriders of Procellia were no more, as they had no dragons to fly with. For a long time the dragons were thought extinguished, until the rise of Arhkail, the last dragon rider. However, in the decades following, he was soon slain alongside his dragon.

The dragons were truly no more, taking with them the memories of storm and far away places. 

 

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

@puddlebunni

@Chris113022

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3 months ago
brb booking a flight to massachusetts to fucking kill corgi

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3 months ago
Did you get there yet?

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2 months ago
I am standing over Corgi's corpse as I write this. Now to write my story.

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2 months ago

At least you're keeping this thread alive.

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3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 4/1/2020 1:24:42 PM

So to make this more interestig for myself, I had a friend send me some random words to include in the story. They did a shit job and picked bad words.

Drip

Random Words: Drip, Conscious, Short, Plough, Paint

Drip… drip… drip…

As he waited carefully, his eyes looked down to the blurry streets below him. Bright lights obscured the figures below in a soft haze, as he struggled to calm his emotions, to face it with a bit of dignity. It was too late to panic, too late to regret. All he had time to do was wait. He’d made his choice, agonized over it for hours. Days. Weeks. Years. In all honesty, he’d been deciding to make this choice for a long time now. So long spent waiting for the relief, but there was only a short time left now.

It wasn’t the happy people down in the streets below gave him doubt. He’d never had the strength to be jealous or angry, but he’d known they would never be like him, and he would never be like them. They were the lucky ones, the ones who felt, who loved, who cared and were cared for in return. It wasn’t the pain that gave him doubt. He knew it wouldn’t be. The familiar cold chill along his wrists was all he felt there, a numbness as the red ichor flowed slowly from his veins. He’d felt it many a time before, but this was the last time, and for that, he was grateful.

In truth, it was the drip that disturbed him the most. He had wanted it to be silent, to be quick and emotionless, like drifting off to sleep. But it wasn’t silent. As quiet as the dark apartment was, it was the constant drip, drip, drip of his blood as it splashed across the pale white tiles. That’s what gave him doubt. That’s what reminded him he wasn’t going to sleep.

Drip… drip… drip…

It would be over soon, though. He hoped. His hand had trembled as the steel blade his bitten flesh, as his drew thin red lines between the familiar scars, knew and old. He wondered briefly if he’d cut deep enough this time or whether the cowardice had stayed his hand for just too long. That had always been the mistake in his past. No matter how many times he tried, no matter how sure he was of his decision, there was always a moment of doubt in his mind.

Doubt which had led to him being found in the bathroom of his mother’s house, twitching and struggling to breathe like a fish out of water. It was doubt that had driven him limping down the apartment hall, thighs wet and crimson as he tried to find help, fear eroding at every element of certainty. It was doubt that led him to jump back to the safety of the sidewalk, milliseconds before the truck would’ve had ploughed straight into him and crushed his skull under its wheels. It was doubt that had stopped him time and time again, that had led to him ending up in that hospital bed, family members staring at him with their large, peering eyes. The first time, there had been concern, love even, despite the judgement that they tried to hide but shined so clear in the backs of their eyes. The first time, at least. Soon, he’d infected them with the same tiredness of it all. After the fourth time, his brother hadn’t taken the time to showed up. By the sixth, his sister stopped coming, leaving him with dear old mum. But the concern had faded from her eyes by the ninth.

Drip… drip… drip…

He understood why. It was painful for her, soul-destroying, and it ate away at her. At a certain point, the same tiredness with it all infected her, and she knew her son was lost, even if she would never dare say it, even if she would never dare think it.

But she did.

Drip… drip… drip…

He squeezed his eyes shut, wishing for silence. Soon… it would be over so soon.

He wondered whether he’d be conscious for it all. Whether he’d have to live through every agonizing minute of waiting. He’d had hoped to cut deep enough to list only a few minutes, but that wasn’t the case. Still, his strength was beginning to be sapped now. That was good. There would be no time for doubt now. No chance to escape his fate. He didn’t have the strength to stand, let alone stumble limping to the door yet again, beginning anyone who would listen for help.

He’d made sure to tell no one. That was his mistake too many a time. No one was wanted to hear the familiar heartfelt goodbye yet again, only to be faced with the same shivering, pathetic mess huddled in a hospital bed, bandaged and whimpering as escape eluded him yet again.

Drip… drip… drip…

He winced, the sound growing louder, reverberating around his skull. He leaned his head against the back of the chair, breathe beginning to tremble as his hazy vision fell to the floor. The tiles were covered in a dark maroon like a gory paint. Had the blood begun to dry already? Had it been that long? Would it take much longer? Questions bounced around his mind, but he ignored them, taking comfort in his dulling senses and the darkness spreading through his mind. He’d done it. This would be the final time, for once and for all. No regrets, no doubt, no taking it all back. All he was left with in his fading mind was a twinge of… sadness? Relief? Fear? The familiar cocktail of emotions filled his mind, as he was left with the urge for a cigarette to pass the time, to distract him from it all… and the sound. The ever-present sound.

Drip… drip… drip…

No one was coming. No escape was left. No room for doubt. The haze settled his mind, as he squeezed his eyes shut and embraced the darkness.

***

Drip… drip… drip…

Regaining consciousness, that was the first thing he heard. The dripping. It was almost familiar to him now, its rhythmic soft noise reminding him of a grandfather clock his mother had stowed away in the attic, where he’d first tried to escape all those years alone, barely a young boy.

His eyelids felt heavy, and he wondered how long it would take now. Lifting heavy eyelids with the last of his strength, he rolled his head over to try peer at the red puddles beneath him, to garner some idea of how much he’d lost. He was met with a familiar sight, as his heart jumped in his throat.

Bandages. Cotton, fresh bandages wrapped tightly around his arms, the soft touch caressing him like velvet shackles. He began to shake his head, trying to find the words to scream, to question, to beg, but all that came out was a tired, croaking whimper.

Drip… drip… drip.

He raised his eyes, seeing the source of that terrifying sound. An IV drip coiled in plastic tubing with whatever drug they’d decided to give him flowing along its snaking body and directly into his veins. Tears welled up in his eyes, so he squeezed them shut again. He squeezed them as tight as he could, trying to shut it all out, trying to forget…

But it wasn’t enough to stop the noise.

Drip… drip… drip…

No one stood around the hospital bed this time, staring down at him with those damned eyes. He wasn’t surprised. The apartment he’d rented to do the deed was paid for in cash. No need to bring up old memories, to hurt his family yet again with all of it. Not even a letter saying goodbye. He didn’t want attention for this. He didn’t want help. He just wanted it to be over.

And yet, it wasn’t. And yet, here he sat, staring at the caustic veneer of white painted over this sick, miserable rooms. A shitty hospital, just like all the others. Except… he was alone now. Alone with the ever-constant drip.

Drip… drip… drip…

As he waited for something else to happen, for the hours, days and weeks of misery and recuperation, the dripping of his tears on his hospital gown matched the dripping of those lifesaving, soul-crushing drugs.

Drip… drip… drip…

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

#freemyboi

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3 months ago
Nevermind, I'll do it.

@Reverencia
@NagitoKomaeda

Read the OP. (And don't read Steve's story, it's pretty grim.)

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3 months ago

Thanks.

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3 months ago

Alright, this is actually interesting. Sorry I'm nine hours late, though.

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3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 4/2/2020 9:30:43 PM

Sorry in advance for the weird paragraph spacing. I typed this in a separate text editor and I'm too lazy to make every line perfect.

-----

The night had started with cards. The five of them sat around a small round table that Rho had dragged out from one of the storage rooms. She remembered vaguely that the cards also came out of that storage room because of how yellowed some of the cards were. The only sources of light came from a small candle at the center of the table and a lantern at Omega’s feet. Outside the window, the night sky was clear and quiet.

Theta was undoubtedly the most skilled in the group, and won most of the matches. Of course, Omega had won the remainder, his mind still sharp through age. It was clear that Theta enjoyed the competition. As for Rho and Psi, both had only started learning the game at that candlelit table three nights ago, so their ineptness didn’t come as much of a shock.

An hour of normal card-playing passed.
The first to leave was Omega, which she remembered was the first surprise of the night. Theta, having thoroughly beaten everyone else, usually left early feeling either pity for those he had beaten or boredom at having won so easily. The reason usually changed with his mood, which changed day-to-day. However, this time it was Omega who stood up from the table.
“I apologize, but I think it’s about time for me to head back up. It’s … rather late.”
Rho had spoken next. “You normally stay up way past this time.”
Omega had gently touched the darkening, wrinkled bags under his eyes with a sad but gentle touch. “I’m afraid that these late nights have rather fatigued me. I hope you understand.”
Theta had frowned. He was in a good mood that night, and he was sad to see his greatest competitor leave. “Well, I suppose there’s nothing we can do. But you better be here and ready all of tomorrow night, understand?”
Omega smiled and nodded before heading out of the room, taking his lantern with him. The hand holding the lantern was weak and shaking slightly, making the lantern reflect eerily off his glasses.

For a moment, nobody spoke, simply savoring the sounds of the creaking of floorboards and the dull thuds on wood as Omega walked up the stairs to the second floor, where everyone’s bedrooms were.
Psi frowned. “Will we be like that when we’re older? So … worn?”
“I don’t know what kind of person I could be if I was easily tired out like that …” Rho had commented. For a moment, his eyes softened as he stared at the cards in his hand.

A disapproving glare at Psi came from Theta. “I would be proud of myself if I was like that in old age. Besides, he’s smarter than the rest of you, so I don’t know what you’re complaining about.”
She had smiled and chuckled softly. “Well, I won’t deny that. I guess it just depends on what traits you value most about yourself.”
Someone, probably Psi, asked “What do you mean by that?”
“Well, many people’s personalities are composed with a few major traits, right? Everyone has a few defining traits that they are proud of for having. But I guess age might take away some of those traits. And if those were tied closely to your personality” - she had stolen a glance at Rho, whose eyes had softened again - “then I suppose you would feel rather lost, wouldn’t you?”
Theta nodded. “Losing the traits that define you the most? Of course it would. I can’t imagine how professional athletes must feel. The prime of their life is spent doing a sport that stands at their center of their life, but when they get too old to play …”
“It leaves a hole,” Psi’s quiet voice answered.

“Exactly.”

Silence reigned over that quiet table. It was almost like the last note of a music piece finishing, and for a moment no one says a word because they need to soak in the entirety of that last, reverberating note. Everyone sat with those previous thoughts in their heads, letting it bounce around their heads, waiting for the idea to settle down before speaking again. Minutes passed where the only sound was the gentle rustling of cards being picked up and put down.

“Rho, it’s your turn.” The voice was quiet and anonymous.

“Ah- sorry, I was lost in my head.” The sound of a card being laid gently on the table. A six of spades. She glanced back at the yellowed, paper thin cards in her hand.

Is there anything I love about myself that I know I’ll end up losing?

A small gasp echoed from Rho, who had a hot tear sliding down on one cheek. He was breathing heavily, and his eyes were now tightened. He had begun to break.

“It’s disturbing, isn’t it?” asked Theta quietly. “It’s absolutely horrifying, imagining parts of yourself vanishing from you. The existential dread of seeing yourself at your oldest.”

Rho didn’t answer. He just pursed his lips as more tears streamed down his face.

“Theta, I think you’re scaring him. You’re scaring me, too.” Psi’s eyes were also contorted with worry.

Meanwhile, she had smiled and simply stared at the cards in her hand.

Rho tried to speak through the tears, but nothing intelligible came out. For a moment, he just sat there, completely overwhelmed, before getting out of his chair and running out of the room.

“You guys, I think that really went too far.” Psi was clutching the seat of his chair with both hands.

“Relax,” she had said in response. Psi didn’t understand, after all, and his worries needed to be pacified. “I’m sure he’ll pretend nothing happened tomorrow morning.”

“That doesn’t make it any better!”

Theta snorted. “Facing a cold truth like that was good for someone like Rho, trust me. I was terrified when I first thought that thought, too. I’m sure every person was.”
When I first thought about my own death, my heart felt like a clock. No, a countdown. An unavoidable bomb inside me that would end up destroying me, no matter what I did. Meaning nothing I did really mattered, because in the end it would all be torn down with my death anyway.

“What were you afraid of, Theta?” Psi asked hesitantly.

Theta only hesitated for a moment before answering. “Going senile, I should think. My thought process slowly degrading would be … petrifying.”
She snorted in response. “Your mental health is all you care about? You’re surprisingly one-dimensional.”
Theta cracked a smile, but didn’t give a response. Instead, he drew a card from the middle of the table. 

She stared up at the ceiling. She could almost see Omega staring sadly at his aged body while sitting on his bed. She could also feel Rho sitting on his own bed, arms wrapped tightly around himself while exhaling uncontrollable sobs. She glanced one more at the cards in her hand. 

Why do we torture ourselves like this?

Corona Tag!

3 months ago

Oh yeah and also:

@BravinDvorak
@Zake

Your turn in the quarantine chambers.

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3 months ago
Interesting introspective little scene here. Are these characters you've thought/written about before? I just got the sense there was more to their relationship than what we saw here. I had a little difficulty keeping all the characters straight in a couple of places, but looking back at the beginning again I realize now the POV is that of an unnamed fifth character which straightens out the lines that tripped me up. I do think she could've gotten a bit more screen time though, except for the thoughts in italics she's pretty much glossed over here. The most she reveals of herself is in the 'countdown' bit near the end, and I feel like she just wasn't developed enough for that to have an impact. To be honest from the couple of actions we did get she didn't seem very likeable. Smiling to herself and brushing it off when Rho is upset, and then the comment to Theta at the end seems kind of aggressive out of nowhere. Although I'm assuming that may have been intentional.

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3 months ago

Yeah these are characters that I've thought about before. I might be planning on eventually writing a storygame about them, so I made most of their descriptions and relationships vague- also, they weren't originally named after Greek letters, it was just a touch that I wanted to add.


The fifth perspective narrator is meant to be portrayed as a sort of cold individual, or at the very least someone with a tough outer shell. When I first thought of this character she was a lot more emotional and empathetic, but I took that personality in the complete opposite direction when writing this.


Probably some of the reasons why the characters are a bit confusing is that I don't mention the characters at the beginning (and it's easy to mix up the names Psi, Theta, and Rho when only hearing them once or twice beforehand). Also, I never really specified that the narrator is the only female of the group, which is why I originally thought just labeling her as 'she' would be decent enough for character differentiation. 


As for the lack of screen time, I tried my best to make her a cold spectator and observer, who understands the rest of the cast but hardly sympathizes with them.


There was also a lot of background information here that I neglected to mention about these characters.

  • These guys are trapped in this mansion. From time to time, new arrivals appear woken up in the rooms, but they never are able to find a way to leave. That's why they turn to playing cards at night.
  • This is the "Second Chapter" of the story so far. The narrator, Theta, and Psi have been in this mansion for longer than Rho and Omega, who arrived together at a later time. There are also two other characters who arrived at the mansion at the same time as the first three, but both died before being "replaced" by Rho and Omega.

Honestly, most of the content here I made up as I went along- I originally wasn't planning for it to take the dark, existential turn that it did.

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3 months ago
The mansion thing sounds like a cool idea for a storygame. Based on your username, I can take a guess at where some of the inspiration for that might have come from.

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3 months ago

I definitely thrive in the mystery/horror genre, and greatly enjoy the "Death Game" premise (although it's been done so much it could be a subgenre). It's psychologically fascinating to see how a group of people behave when put together in a potentially dangerous situation. 

Corona Tag!

2 months ago
So I decided to write the first page of the sequel to my story game. I didn't write it ahead of time, only after I was tagged. It is 1074 words long. You stand in front of the door again. It's strange to be standing here again. It has only been a week since you were last standing here, but it all feels so foreign. You don't feel like you're one of them. In fact you don't even know much about them. The only reason you know Jerome is because of a mutual friend. Putting those feelings aside, you open the door. "Look, we can't afford to do this! We need to play it safer then we have been. What if we get caught, then..." Jerome starts before Simon cuts him off. "I don't care if we get caught! We need to take risks! How else are we going to take control of this city!" "What do you mean 'take control of this city'? We never agreed to this!" "Do you not want the power? The status? The money? I know you're only here to help your sister, but I'll be damned if you drag us down for your selfish..." "Leave Veronica out of this! We both know you don't care about any of us! You just want to use us as tools to achieve your fucking pipe dream. News flash, this is reality! You aren't going to fulfill your promise to your brother, and I'll be damned before I let you get us all arrested, or even killed because you feel obligated to fulfill your lies!" "How dare you disrespect him like that! My brother was a great man, and we can control this city. I know it. All it will take is for you to have a little passion! You have no drive, and YOU are the problem. Not me. I have drive, I have desire, and I have a purpose. All you want is money. You are nothing but a greedy little leech who will end up sucking up all the life of this crew until we give up and break apart!" "Am I greedy for wanting to support my sister in her most desperate time? Huh?! If that makes me greedy then I am nothing but proud of my greed and selfishness!" "Oh please, Your sister is in PRISON. She deserves to be desperate, that's the point! If she knew you were here helping us there is no way she would ever accept any money from you! Are you going to disrespect her by being here, helping criminals. Breaking the law yourself to help someone who is paying for their crimes. How noble of you. Perhaps I should tell her that you, her oh so moral brother, is helping LITERAL THIEVES to help her! I wonder how she would respond to that, Don't you?" "If you do anything like that I swear to fucking god I'll turn your ass in! I'm doing this for her own good. If it means violating the law then so be. I like you and Ava, but I find this disgusting! I would never under normal circumstances do anything like this, but it was the only way to make enough money for both of us quick enough.. Don't you DARE try and shame me, when you actually get ENJOYMENT from this shit! I'm sorry I don't want to commit to doing this long term, but can you blame me? We break into places and steal things from innocent people. Sure some have insurance on the things, but most don't! And we take from them. I've long come to terms with the fact that what I'm doing is wrong, but I won't do it any longer than I have too. If that makes me not loyal, then so be it. I don't want to be loyal to a criminal anyway." They both look ready to fight each other when Ava steps in, "Look, I joined because of the thrill of it, I didn't join for easy money, and I didn't join for conquest. I joined because I wanted to feel the thrill of the chase. Of stealing without anyone knowing it was you. Of coming so close to being caught, but getting away just in time with your target. I like this place, and whatever path we go down I'll support, but I want to do it with both you. And him," she points at you. "I bet you two didn't even notice he was here the whole time. We are a group. Let's decide this later when we aren't throwing fucking chairs at each other. Alright?" "Fine, but if we go any further with this than stealing then I'm leaving. Knowing Simon he'll want us to become murders" They both walk out of the apartment, and Ava collapses on the couch. "So...that happen often?" "Yeah, but it's been getting worse. It's not normally that bad. Simon wants to go further and become one of the big crew, but Jerome barely wants to do what we are doing now. I'm afraid that going any further with things will make him quit. And here I am, stuck in the middle. I could either way. I like where we are now. We do two or three hits a month, and we get by. Though it would be nice to go bigger. Take on more risk. More then anything I just want us all to stay together and be happy, but I guess that's too much to ask." She sighs as she gets up from the couch and heads towards the door. "What we called you here for is we are all doing our own little projects right now. I'm setting up to hit the next place, Simon is negotiating with some people from other gangs, and Jerome... well I don't know exactly what he's doing, but he says he could use your help. So pick whoever and meet with them tomorrow. I'm heading out. You can stay here if you want, or go home. Either is fine. Simon is renting it, but it's home for all of us if we want it." As she turns to head out the door you speak up, "Wait, what was all that about Jerome's sister and Simon's brother?" "I'm sure they will tell you another time. It's not really my place. Goodbye." "Bye." You decide to crash there for the night. Thoughts swirl in your head about what everyone said. Not only that but you have to choice someone to help tomorrow. Despite the stress, you eventually manage to fall asleep.

Corona Tag!

2 months ago
edit locked so you can't fix that broken ass spacing

Corona Tag!

2 months ago
I was in the process of that... It doesn't understand the fact that spaces exist.

Mods pls hlp

E: How come it does on this post, but on that one even though I put line breaks it doesn't understand? This also happened on my storygame description page, not the rest of it though

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2 months ago
Because you put an html tag in there for italics, thus telling it to look for html, but didn't put anything for line breaks. I just deleted the tag because fuck that text wall.

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2 months ago
Ah, well damn. It punished me when I thought I was moving up in the world. :(

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2 months ago
If you had the extension you could just check Preserve Line Breaks and be done with it.

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2 months ago
@C6H8O6

@AestheticLlama

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2 months ago

Damn it! D:

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2 months ago
:)

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2 months ago

What do I have to do to get out of quaratine?

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2 months ago
It says in the OP to write a 1000 word whatever and post it here

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2 months ago

So, I have to write a whole mini-story with exactly 1000 words and post it on this thread?

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2 months ago
1000 or more

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2 months ago

*sighs* Here we go.

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2 months ago

Actually you have to write two. You were tagged twice.

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2 months ago

Are you serious-

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2 months ago

Can I submit this one right now, then do my second one tomorrow?

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2 months ago
You only need to do one.

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2 months ago

Oh! Phew. So, I'm free from quarantine? (I already tagged 2 people)

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2 months ago

If this a sequel to "A Tale of Theft of Guns," which I assume it is, I suggest you first specify the "true" ending to the first storygame in one of the two storygames. There was only one ending where you successfully did the heist, after all.

Corona Tag!

2 months ago
Oh yeah, I meant to do that. That will be especially important because I plan to have different games branching from different endings to this game. Like if you get one ending in this game you play this game next. If you get another ending you play another game, and so on. Only for the few major endings though

Corona Tag!

2 months ago

Alright, that's a bit odd. If I'm hearing what you're saying correctly, then that means that you're having multiple storygames stemming from one storygame. For example:

Heist Success Ending -> Storygame A
Heist Fail Ending -> Storygame B
Don't Do Heist -> Storygame C

Of course that is a hypothetical example.

Some storygames have sequels that only stem from one ending - what could be seen as the "true ending" - where the story takes a completely different path. However, if you're doing multiple storygames that are sequels to one original storygame, I would think that it would be better to just expand your first storygame to have more endings.

Like, instead of getting caught in the middle of the heist being an end page, you just continue the story to have more diverse endings. Your storygame is rather short, so I would think that wouldn't be too much of a problem. The point is that it's a bit of a hassle to exit out of a storygame and open a new one to continue the story when you could just expand the first one. The storgygames that DO have sequels are usually quite long and detailed, their length and complexity being the primary reason that the writer just doesn't work on it anymore and publishes it (with a satisfying ending, of course). 

Of course, this is just my suggestion. The choice really is only yours in the end.

Corona Tag!

2 months ago
Doubt he'll get around to any of this anyway, but there's only two endings that didn't end in death.

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2 months ago
I doubt it also, but the first storygame is very short, so that won't happen on the first. I'm talking about the second. Though we'll see if I do.

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2 months ago
I'm talking about the next storygame doing that. Can't really give away why I think it's a good idea, but the first one only has one "true" ending. I plan the next one to be quite a bit longer in any case.

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2 months ago

Alright. That's a bit more reassuring. I was worried you would end up with four total storygames that each have 20-30 pages.

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2 months ago

I've never done one of these things, so if my story sucks, then blame me. ;-;

 

Ethan stands up. I wish things were back to normal. Ethan thinks to himself. A beautiful orange sunrise. Birds chirping. People walking their dogs and draping their wet clothes over their ledges, letting it dry. But now, ever since the robot evolution, Sandra and I have been living in a dump. We were able to survive and go to a safer area with no robots around, but it's hard finding any resources. Their clothes were soiled, shredded, and just a pigsty. Sandra was eating the last of the canned beans they found. "It's dry," Sandra says to Ethan. "Sandra, we know it's dry! But, we can't have all the luxury we want right now!" Ethan wears his filthy jacket and puts it on. "What do you want me to get while we are out?" Ethan asks, wiping some of the dust and mud off his face. "Find 2 water bottles and some soap. Maybe a blanket if we're lucky!" Ethan grabs his flashlight and turns it on. Ethan looks at the flashlight with confusion, flicking the on and off switch. Once he realizes, his eyes widen as wide as saucers. "DAMN IT!! The batteries are dead!!" He slams the flashlight on the ground, causing some rubble to fall in Sandra's hair. "Ethan, stop! If there are robots here, you'll attract them to us!" Sandra stands up, brushing the rubble off her hair. "You know what, I'll go this time." She nudges Ethan to the side, grabs the flashlight, takes off Ethan's jacket, and puts it on. She also takes her dirty designer bag with her as well. Sandra's bag was a substitute for a basket. She walks out and waves to Ethan good-bye.

Sandra passes a hardware store and grabs double-A batteries. She then runs toward the grocery store, grabs water bottles and other leftover food. As she heads back to the rubble cave, she spots something. Something unusual with a glowing red eye. She ignores it but is a little concerned. It might be a robot! She speed-walks toward the rubble cave, sweating. The robots attacking their country (and others, soon) have a glowing red eye. It's a robot. As she speed-walks, the number of glowing red dots increase. She was now afraid. Sandra runs in and collapse. "Sandra! Are you ok?!" Ethan asks, concerned. Sandra pants. "T-Th...They're HERE. We need to RUN!" Ethan's eyes widen. "What?!" "They probably tracked us! Come on!" Ethan gathers all the items from the cave and dumps it into the bag. They stand up, hold the hands of each other and run. Sandra was right. Two mighty robots march out of the shattered woods, scanning the area. Ethan wanted to scream, but he couldn't. It would get them killed. Sandra pulls Ethan's arm and forces him to follow. They search for an exit. An escape. But, there was none. "We might have to cut through Town Square," Ethan whispers. They could hear the steps getting bigger and louder, so they start running. Toward--and they were hoping for--an exit.

As soon as they were making good progress on not getting seen, something drops. The flashlight. It was too late. Sandra and Ethan ran too far to go back for it. Because the robots were right there. One robot crunched the flashlight into oblivion and the other one ran toward Sandra and Ethan. Both of them scream. They run toward the Town Park, trying to find a place to hide. "Ethan, no! They have scanners, we can't possibly hide!" Ethan tries to speak, but his voice is clogged up by tears of fear. Sandra and Ethan cut through tall skyscrapers to get away from the robots, who were currently smashing, crushing, and demolishing buildings. "They are too fast and I'm sweating profusely! What can we do?" Sandra asks as they run into an office.  Ethan snatches the bag from Sandra and rummages around in it. "Aha!" Ethan grabs a can of tomato sauce and runs outside towards the robots. "Ethan, you fucking idiot!!" Sandra screams. Ethan busts the top open and throws it at the robot. Nothing much but a red smear of lumpy red sauce on a bunch of metal. Ethan signals Sandra to run outside and they reach the end of the city. "The tunnel to the highway! Of course!" They run into the tunnel. The robots soon pull out machine guns and blast at the tunnel, making rubble fall on the two of them. They were able to escape just in time before the whole tunnel collapsed. The two of them ran down a hill and hide behind a big forest of trees. They pant so much, Ethan couldn't breathe anymore. 

As time passes by, the robots retreat to a different area. Ethan passed out and couldn't be awoken. Sandra, however, was eating a small meal of chips and tomato sauce. No cars pass by, only dust and wind boll in Sandra and Ethan's hair. Even during these times, Sandra was able to keep her journal. She blows off the dust and opens it. She doesn't have a pen or a pencil to write but all she can do is read. 

A bunch of feelings flows in her. Humor, sadness, happiness, and anger. The best moments and the worst. The time where her sister broke the vase with a rock. The time where she got a new phone then broke it. She loves her journal. It keeps all her feelings and secrets in there. And, only to her. 

And, in a time like this, she really needs something like her journal to keep her happy. In the distance, she witnesses a big explosion, probably a robot attack on another city. The leaves rustle around her, the bushes bustle around her. It's kinda peaceful without anyone around. Sandra says. "You're still awake? Get some sleep, I'm thinking of trying to find someone who can help...robot refugees." "Yeah, yeah, I'm going to sleep," Sandra says as she flips over on her side. She looks up at the night sky. She raises her hand. She wants a miracle to happen.

Story by AestheticLlama (I know it's bad. ;-;)

Corona Tag!

2 months ago

I won't really go into quality of writing. Writing skill is something that improves mainly through a lot of reading and practicing writing, not someone critiquing you until you get it right. And since this is your first story, it's completely fine if you aren't the best at it.

I just want to advise you about paragraph spacing. When you write, the paragraphs should be broken up when a person speaks (or if the person speaking switches). For example ...

"Here's some fancy dialogue," said Sandra.

"I wouldn't call that fancy," Ethan responded.

This is really the main mistake you had in this. Sometimes, it's hard to keep track on the type of text being written (thoughts, dialogue, description) if you don't space them out from each other. Even if you end up with 30 ten-word lines of dialogue that wastes a lot of space, it clears up what's going on in the story. The other times when you use paragraph spacing (ex. new setting, new concepts/descriptions, etc.) you did well in, so I won't comment on that.

That's pretty much it. If you're new to writing like this, don't beat yourself up about the quality: just try to expose yourself to more literature in general and you'll find that will help you more than just practicing writing or looking things up. Not to sound like an overbearing parent, but it's absolutely true that reading broadens your horizons, and helps you learn to write by example. I just wanted to give a few tips on structure.

Corona Tag!

2 months ago
Yep, the rule is a new line and blank space every time there's a new speaker.

I can't comment on the story tonight but I'll have more time to read in detail tomorrow. (And to get to some of the rest of these I've been needing comment on.)

Don't forget to tag two people, AL. You can always grab some random people who are online to try and bring some fresh blood in.

And Nagito, just wanted to say I really like that you've started participating in this stuff, you're giving some great feedback.

Corona Tag!

2 months ago

Ooh! Tagging! >:3

@Pineapplekitty

@cryoparty

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2 months ago
The tagging will not stop until you noobs read the OP and participate.

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2 months ago

OK, thanks!

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2 months ago
Commended by mizal on 4/7/2020 10:04:45 PM

  Felix Dent's real name was really Angeles-0389, but the very idea of numbers and straight lines and yessir nossir onetwothree had really sent him over the edge. Felix Dent felt murderous. He'd realized that word from a human book in one of the empty human houses. It meant to kill something, to make it not alive. It was something humans were understood to do but this incredible book was nothing like anything in Heaven. The scene in the book was enchanting. In it, a flying human picked up a sinner in black and white stripes and punched his face. And then he punched him again. The flying human made loop-de-loops and figure eights in the air while the bruised and bloodied sinner felt his thin body get weaker and weaker until his bones gave in and he fell to the ground. The next few pictures showed him in a battered heap, unmoving, small, deflated, the other humans stepping over him with little regard. The flying human took off their mask. They said, "I can no longer contain this murderous instinct..." and that was all for Felix Dent Super Hero Adventures Issue #44. Felix Dent had finally killed. He'd killed Angeles-0389 in that empty human room with no remorse. The feeling was simply euphoric.

  The now Felix Dent desperately wished to make something not alive. His once angelic face now flushed with excitement, he rushed out into the barren road to find something to kill. He didn't know what to do with his face. In Heaven, he'd never been able to make this expression. The warm feeling was so immense it seemed ready to burst through his very being, he wanted to kill so badly. He settled on a telephone pole. It looked very tall and straight, and it upset him. The disheveled angel swung the metal bat off his shoulder and proceeded to beat the telephone pole to death.

  Felix Dent was still killing the telephone pole when another angel, Angeles-4412, descended in a ray of heavenly light onto the overgrown lawn which was also covered with dog shit. The Rapture had plucked every unfortunate being off the God forsaken planet but had miraculously neglected the dog shit. Angeles-4412 did not fully understand what had happened but still sensed that the circumstance was somehow unpleasant. To express his distaste, his face remained exactly the same.

  Angeles-4412 assumed that the filthy angel across the way was the one he was sent to discharge. He removed himself from the dog shit, then from the lawn, then trotted down the street to politely tell his insane once-colleague that he was no longer needed in the Order of Heaven.

  “Hello sir, can I confirm that this is Angeles-0389 I am speaking to?” Angeles-4412 extended a pale hand. Felix swung at it with his full strength.

  “I can no longer contain this murderous instinct,” he announced.

  Angeles-4412’s hand was bent at a strange angle. There was no crunch because there were no bones, but the skin at the unnatural curve was wrinkled up in a way it never had been before. Before this, 4412’s hands had been immaculate and untouched like a newborn baby’s. All angel’s skin was like that. 4412 stared in awe at their limp hand for a moment before turning his attention back to Felix, who was turning his attention back to the pole.

  “What did you do to me?” he asked.

  “I killed you,” Felix replied casually,”Or I almost did, except I don’t think angels can be killed. Not that I know of, at least. If you find a way, please tell me and I’ll murder you for reals next time.”

  “Are you Angeles-0389?”

  “Angeles-0389 is dead.”

  “...”

  “...Well, I know what I just said about angels not dying and stuff, but I mean that Angeles-0389 is figuratively dead. I’m not Angeles-0389 anymore. I am Felix Dent now. And if you call me that number name again, I’ll murder you for reals.”

  “Felix Dent sounds earthly.”

  Felix grinned. It was an unholy grin, full of self-satisfaction and all the other things that Heaven despises. 4412 felt for the first time somewhat afraid. 

  Felix chucked his bat into a hedge and dropped into a squat with a human tome in hand. It was forbidden to indulge in earthly pleasantries, but it was already apparent the laws of God meant nothing to him. He opened it up and began to read. 4412 tried desperately to cover his ears but unfortunately, one of his hands had been compromised.

  “There’s this really strange human, you see” Felix rambled as he shoved his finger into the book “He’s got this thing where he can fly. Humans can’t do that normally. That’s what I heard. Anyways, the guy-- His name is Felix-- He flies around stops sinners from doing things for some reason, but this chapter he actually kills one. He really does it. He punches him a million bajillion times and then the sinner dies. And then Felix says, ‘I can no longer contain this murderous instinct….’” 

  At that point, Felix looked up. His eyes were searching for something. 

  “Humans kill humans all the time,” 4412 stated, not quite sure what exactly was happening. He realized his face was trembling, trying to make a face to suit his feeling. “It’s commonplace. The Commandments speak against it.”

  “Well, I’ve got a theory. Felix Dent, the one in the book. He flies around and has all these powers. My theory is that Felix Dent isn’t a human, and he kills so he isn’t an angel either. He’s something totally different.”

  “It’s made-up.”

  “It doesn’t matter”

  This supposed once-angel really was beyond repair. His light hair looked as if it had been yanked every which way and his feathers were stuck up at ugly angles. The feeling 4412 didn’t understand had made its way to his legs now, holding him down, rattling at his limbs until he felt as he would fly apart. He watched Felix amble over to the hedge and rip the bat out from the tangle of branches. The bat hit the concrete and made a deafening metal clang. 4412 realized him and this thing were the only creatures on this entire planet.

  “I was sent here to discharge you. Your conduct has been deemed inappropriate by the Order of Heaven…”

  “I’m not an angel anymore.”

  “Yes, basically.” 

  “So I can do whatever I want?” His face contorted into something horrible.

  “I suppose. You’ll have to turn in your halo, and--”

  “I never liked the thing anyways. When I’m going through doors around here, I have to bend down a little because otherwise I’ll whack the stupid thing. That and ceilings can be just the worst. And it glows too much. It’s really annoying.” Felix plucked the halo from his head and placed it into 4412’s un-battered hand. 4412 froze in shock. It was getting harder and harder to understand what was going on.

  Felix went on. “Since I’m not with you guys anymore, I think maybe I’ll kill God. Aha, don’t look like that. I’m only joking. I mean, I’m still of murderous intent, but I really just wanted to say it. I want to see what other sins I can commit. I can hardly take it, can you see me shaking? In Heaven, I never shook about anything. Your face was so blank when you got here, it made me want to kill you. Now you’re shivering like crazy. You must feel it too, right? Ahhh, I feel like I’m gonna explode!” And with that, he swung his bat yet again at the pole, which gave a satisfying creak. It was euphoric.

    Angeles-4412 was curled on the ground, grasping at his twisted hand.

  “What’s going on?” Felix asked excitedly.

  4412’s eyes were wide open, his pure white skin scraping into the asphalt of the road. It was the most beautiful thing Felix had ever seen.

  “What is it? What is it?” He begged, shaking 4412’s shoulder now.

  The angel gasped. “There is a strange something under my skin where you hit me. It’s very unpleasant. It has become unbearable.”

  “Is that pain?”

  “Pain is a sensation for humans.”

  “You’re in pain. Oh, oh this is incredible. You’re in pain. I didn’t know angels could be in pain. I wish I was in pain too.”

  “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaugh,” 4412 heaved.

 

  The sun was shining brightly. Felix realized he’d had quite the day and laid down on the asphalt next to 4412, who was still writhing around. There wasn’t any worry of cars and such because anyone who could drive them had already been beamed to God-knows-where. If there was a car, Felix would’ve gladly jumped in front of it to see what kind of feeling he could get. Except, of course, everyone had been beamed away. God was such a killjoy. 

  The two lay there until sunset. Felix listened to the way 4412’s body flopped around on the road, like a dying fish. He listened patiently and thankfully.

  “I did not know this feeling existed,” 4412 finally mumbled.

  “They probably don’t tell us everything in Heaven. Everyone there is very stiff,” The filthy angel turned his head and produced an exhilarated grin. “I want you to hit me with that bat, too.”

  “It wasn’t very pleasent.”

  “I’m not looking for pleasant. I’m looking for everything.”

  “I have never met anyone as ungodly as you before. You gave away your halo like it was nothing.”

  “I don’t see why it was so important or anything. I’m telling you, it got stuck all the time. Good riddance. You should get rid of it too. My head feels lighter, for real.”

  The halo above 4412 emitted a gentle, golden light that made it quite hard to see the pinpricks of starlight peeking out of the darkening clouds. Somehow, it made his head feel hot.

  Without making a sound, 4412 stood up from the road. Felix watched him.

  “You got to be getting back with a report and all that, huh.” He said. He watched the other angel walk away slowly, his halo flickering like a candle caught in a breeze. The angel stood for a very long time.

  The feeling was warm and then hot and then so fierce it seemed as if it was about to bite his hand off completely. Then the sensation would cool down, it would nurse itself gently and roar again with growing intensity. Strings of it crawled up his arm and pooled in his chest before feeding into his feathers that stood on end with shock. Cold, and then hot. Cold, and then hot. Frigid beyond belief and then eruptions of fire. His hand hung loose. It looked like it was about to fall off. He was overcome with powerful curiosity.

  Felix’s voice needled it’s way through the growing darkness. “Aren’t you going to turn in your report?”

  4412 leaned down. “They’d never told us that we could feel like this. That angels could feel pain.”

  Feeling around in the black with his good hand, he felt a chill as he brushed the old metal of the bat.

--------

  I had really terrible writers block. Sorry for such a strange story. I wanted to write about the fascination of a foreign feeling. I'm trying to think of who to cough on. Hack hack....

@TheSingingGhost

@Pineapplekitty

Corona Tag!

2 months ago

I can't tell if this is way over a thousand words or the large font and pictures make it seem longer than it is.

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2 months ago

Oh, my word counter say 1854. That and the pics make it quite long.

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2 months ago

So it's both, then. Good to know. 

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2 months ago

The Last Fight.

"The Tears will aid us."

"Excellent! Where did you find them?"

Virgo looks up at the sky. "An alternative plane, I guess. I'd rather not think about it, if I'm being honest."

"Hmm, traumatised, are you? I mean, you are here, so it couldn't have been that bad."

"The blue one helped me. Their powers seem to be separate to that of the kingdom's identities, despite some overlap. They really are from an ancient age."

"Hmm, does that mean they are not worried about Inul? Surely, were it a threat, they'd have recognised it and acted without our intervention. If they were content to just let it play out, then maybe," he leaves the rest unsaid.

"No. They were dealing with personal issues. They see Inul as a true threat. They wouldn't help us otherwise. They just got… distracted, stupid as that sounds."

"Well then, I hope they're over it. Wouldn't want them doing something that'd hurts us more than Inul."

"Tempis have taken it upon themselves to keep at eye on them. The King and the Seer. 'Ink' is helping them too. Any disasters will be avoided."

"Good."

The two reach the gate. Nalthaz presses a hand against it. The runes light up.

It swings open with a thunderous blow, opening into a clearing within a forest. As expected, four nations are present.

For Arden, a sun priests' cabal lead by the princess herself, supported by the Forge Lord and his apprentice. For Vensu, the Puppet Master, along with his pupils, and the living doll, and her guardian. For Ibilan, two Grand Generals, the Scorpion and the Spiked Bladesmaster, alongside five dozen Sealers. They are all decorated by the white crystal shards. For Ederis? There is only one, but it is their king. He is besides the gate.

When Nalthaz and Virgo pass through the gateway, the Ederis King closes it with a sharp gesture. The stone gates then vanish in a blink of an eye.

"While you were gone," the King begins, "we had another visitor. Turns out the false ocean god also doesn't like Inul, so he's volunteered to get dropped into the north pit. Also," he adds, his voice taking on a different tone, "it turns out he can access the gate realm. I'm curious if either of you helped him achieve this?"

"Wait, who?" asks Virgo.

"The guy near Vensu's capital, you must've heard him mentioned if you want that far west," said Nalthaz, Virgo seems to light up at this.

"Ah, yes, I recall. That's good then!"

"Yes, yes," says the King, "but did you help him or not?"

"No, we didn't help him."

"Well, in that case, let's do this quick. I don't care for total annihilation, so I'm hopeful that we'll succeed." Virgo thinks the King smiles as he says this. "And if we're going to succeed, we should do it fast, as I have other business to attend to."

"My goodness," mutters the Scorpion. "The apathy of Ederis truly knows no bounds. Other things to attend? Existence itself is threatened to the extreme and you want to 'do it quick'?"

"It is not apathy, it is optimism! Total destruction is not worth worrying over, so I'm treating this as a done deal."

"I cannot-"

"Shut up!" shouts the Princess. "We're working together now. I know you hate each other, but save it for later. Idiots," she adds under her breath. They still hear her.

There is a tension.

"The Tears were found," says Nalthaz, drawing everyone's attention back to him. "The blue one will show up to help get us close. It'll be faster than the crystals."

"Oh, well you could've had her come by the gate," says the King.

"They don't like the gates," says Virgo. "Also, don't worry, they're fast."

With that, the sound of rushing water is heard, and shortly thereafter an opaque wave crashes past the trees, depositing a masked tear wielder.

"Any changes to the plan?" she asks.

Besides her, a form of the Tempis's King flickers in and out, watching.

Virgo looks at the Blademaster, who's helmet dissipates into white light, returning to its normal form. "It is on. The Titan Slayers have engaged."

"That's a no," Virgo tells the Blue Tear.

She mutters a single word: Parish. With swift arm motions, water surrounds the strike teams, and gushes forth, taking them to the battle by a slipstream of reality.

~

Jer taps his foot atop the white citadel tower. His present company has only grown by one, the black tear wielder. His King is also flickering now. The castle's stone is darker now, and even the pure light above has dimmed. Everything, absolutely everything, has been reinforced by soul fragments. The drop should have a better chance of success now. Guaranteed even.

Jer looks to Mono, who still sits with a hand on his chin, smiling, trying to match the expression on the madness scythe beside him. It still doesn't work, but the scythe wielder still finds enjoyment in making his scythe's teeth shift, and then watching as Mono attempts to copy it.

Jer lowers his gaze, and through gritted teeth finally vocalises his complaints to his King. "Couldn't we have put him elsewhere? At least a different tower? Or even put me elsewhere?"

"Do, as, planned," is the King's response, one syllable delivered with each flicker.

"If it is bothering you that much," begins the scythe user. "I could alter your perception of reality so that you don't see Mono. I normally wouldn't use my power for something so mundane, but we're working together right now."

"No. You know that you're not that much better than him either?"

"You're just less afraid of me, right? Clearly we haven't interacted enough, but that's for later." His mask's half smile grows.

A flash of white light. "The assault has begun," says the Incantation Grand General, appearing upon her large shedding, before disappearing just as quick.

"Oh joy."

"Jer, buddy, don't just run away from me," says Mono. "We are still fighting together, wouldn't want your positioning to get fucked just because of a simple dislike."

"Dislike?" Jer goes to take a step forward, but his King places a hand on his shoulder, just for one flicker, which calms him down before he even moved.

He thinks about how many times being in Tempis stopped him from doing something stupid.

"And you wonder why we interact with you so rarely," says the Black Tear, shaking her head softly.

"If you helped more, we'd never have gotten to this stage in the first place, but enough. It is time for our drop."

The sky above shudders, like a ripple passing across a pond. Swirls of sand shoot up, upset by tinges of bright pink and deep purple. Rays of pure white light then shoot up, piercing blobs, causing the ripple to tear.

Madness.

This reality alone crashes into the minds of all on the battlements, barring those clad in purple, who only indulge in a shudder. This innate crush is suppressed before it manifests as any behaviour. The scythe mouth on Ver's tower is open, swallowing colourful gas, and its wielder is covering his mask's smile. Blood stains his gloves.

Above, beyond the tear, a castle is seen. Nothing. Many beasts roam there. It is not castle.

The preliminary stages of a battle rage. A wave is seen on the edge.

The white citadel launches upwards, pulled by drenched, earthen chains.

It has begun.

@TheCanary @ImpiriTonggali

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2 months ago
Tbe writing is good, maybe a little bit rushed for me, as I am a fan of calmer pacing. The dialogue feels natural
However, I have no fucking clue of what is going on. It is like Watching Sain Seya las t season chapter without never watching anything else.

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2 months ago
Cheers for the feedback.

Don't worry about not knowing what is going on.

The goal was to have it feel like opening a book halfway through (or towards the end). So, it is supposed to be written as if stuff has already been mentioned before, which would then make this make sense.

This wasn't really accomplished, so it'll be more confusing (in a bad way) than is ideal, but for this, that's part of the fun!

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2 months ago

This isnt an excerpt plucked out of something you have already written?

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2 months ago

It isn't (which is why there are so few names), but it does use an old setting of mine (that hasn't had anything properly written in it).

If I could've done an excerpt, I'd have used something better, aha.

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2 months ago

Despite following all of the guidelines for avoiding infection, Zake has still managed to infect me.
Luckily, I wash my hands once a month and shower twice a year, so all I need to be cured is a little modern dystopia.

 

“Going live in ten seconds”

I take a deep breath. None of what I was going to say was going to be a surprise, but I couldn’t help but be anxious.

However, this had to be done—it was beyond my control.

“Three, two, one.” The intern’s voice fades from my earpiece.

Beep.

I stare into the camera. “This is an emergency broadcast issued by the World Health Organization and enforceable by the United Nations. Travel into and out of the following countries is to be canceled, including all commercial imports and exports.” I proceeded to list every nation that was within the United Nations’ power to enforce—which is to say each member country as well as those weaker than them.

I continue. “In accordance with the Global Pandemic Prevention Act of 2022, this is a reminder that leaving your house for any reason is prohibited. All food and services you need will be provided by your local government and brought to you. All citizens suspected of disobeying the GPPA will be promptly arrested and held in custody until they can be given a fair trial; upon the pandemic’s end.”

I take a shallow breath, hoping my nerves aren’t showing during this important announcement. I conclude. “For all information regarding the Crown Pandemic including publicly disclosed statistics and prevention advice, visit the World Health Organization’s dedicated page. On current events, Bob.”

Beep.

“Those sons of bitches,” I mutter to myself.

The intern approaches with a can of soda in his hand. “You did well.”

“Thanks.” I point to the can— “Is that for me, or are you being an ass?”

He shrugs, then offers me the soda. “Why not both? Anyway, what the hell was with your announcement? Johnson did not brief me on any of this.” Johnson was my immediate supervisor and was the one who would relay orders to us from the higher powers. However, this task was assigned to me directly by a higher power. More than likely, Johnson is hearing all this for the first time as well. As if to conclude my thoughts, we hear a key being aggressively inserted into a nearby door from the other side.

“Speak of the devil,” I mutter. The door flies open, and Johnson sails into the room, his face already flushed purple in unspeakable rage.

As soon as his eyes meet mine, he attempts a forced smile—which makes his expression all the more ominous. My intern, knowing well enough to escape, flees the area while engaging in an imaginary conversation in his earpiece.

“Alison,” Johnson greets me. On his forehead, his veins are not only clearly visible—but one could swear they could see the blood course through them a mile a minute.

“Good afternoon, sir.” I feign ignorance.

“Such an excellent performance,” he tells me. At this point, he is no longer attempting to conceal his rage. “I wonder who put you up to this?”

“Mr. Oswald Matthews of the United Nations and Dr. Lindiro of the World Health Organization, sir!” I knew nothing about either of them—spare for the fact that their names signed the task I was given.

“Do you realize what you have just done?”

“The task was legitimate, I assure you. I called them myself—” Halfway through my sentence, I am interrupted by him.

“—THAT is the issue, Alison, you spoke to them, and them chiefly. Hell, it seems you have briefed everyone but me here, Alison, you know, your boss? The one who pays your checks?”

“I’m sorry, sir,” I apologize, having worked under him long enough to know verbalizing my frustration would only serve to hurt me. “But it was on the task that you—and the other management of the newscast, for that matter—were not to be shown the assignment until it was carried out. I can scan and send you the portion that says that—”

“—And you would sooner obey the whims of some foreigner scumbags? Over your own boss? Do they fill out your checks, do they give a damn about you?” He clenches his fists in his pocket—he must have been far angrier than I have previously thought. He continues. “You fucking fool, do you realize what you have just done?”

As though just realizing his own anger, he backs away. He turns to leave the room. “You’re fucking done. Pack your bags and go home.” For a moment, I  just stare in shock as he leaves the room, muttering incoherent expletives under his breath.

“What the hell just happened?” I quietly ask myself. The assignment was legitimate—the United Nations has the power to override the orders of even the highest managers within most companies, which included this one.

I feel a hand lower onto my shoulder; I turn my head to find that the intern has returned. “Don’t worry about him,” he attempts to reassure me, “he can’t fire you for following UN-sanctioned orders.” He says it with a bitter tone, as though he was disgusted by the thought of a foreign power having so much control over our lives—I certainly was.

“I think I might understand why Johnson was so angry,” I tell him.

“Are you it sure it isn’t because you wouldn’t let Johnson get into your knickers?”

I deliver a punch to his gut, bringing him to his knees. “You have read too many corporate dystopians.” I pause. “Though, I wonder if this hasn’t become one.”

The intern looks at the screen that displayed I words I’ve read to millions of viewers not ten minutes prior. It’s final words, a reminder to check the official page for the Crown Pandemic, remains. “Perhaps it’s much more than that.”

A pandemic that brought the world to its knees, a power that has seized control of the lives of most. Hell if we weren’t working for them indirectly, we too would be forced to remain at home, where we could not solve our problems; and instead, rely on them all the more. The few rights I did have, as did the intern and even Johnson, came at the cost of supporting the powers that actively seized more from us. It was a disgusting reality, made even worse by the futility of our actions. The worst part, however, was not even that all this was unfolding before our eyes, but the fact that we are actively assisting the wrong side—because we know, deep down, that they have won.

“Yeah,” I agree, “perhaps.”

Corona Tag!

2 months ago

I am going to regret edit locking myself. Anyways, I have washed my hand 28 days ago and showered in December, but I find myself still sanitary enough to visit:

@4lPH4
@AestheticLlama

I also have a fever and a cough, but it's probably just hay fever, y'know?

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2 months ago

Just the one hand?  Was it the right or the left?

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2 months ago

Hey, I was in the middle of drawing something! >:0

 

 

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2 months ago
The flaw in your story is that a reality where the the UN isn't a bunch of limp wristed faggots is just too hard to believe in. That harms immersion.

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2 months ago

I can assure you that Dr. Oswald Matthews is anything but a limpwrist.

Not to mention, the United Nations is in leagues with the World Health Organization. Talk about scary!

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2 months ago
Who?

Oh, you mean WHO! That organization entirely funded by Bill Gates and the United States government. Yeah, you're right, they're pretty scary. I hope our President never makes them mad.

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2 months ago

Well played. I would commend this if I could.

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2 months ago

Okay, yeah. Just destroy my story's credibility just like that then, that's cool.

Oh, wait. I can pull a J.K. Rowlings and say the UN is canonically powerful and fully funding WHO in America's absence! Try that on for size.

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2 months ago

Ewart

 

I shift my witch hat and brush my cloak. I have finally gotten into the Honer Society of Gems and Magick Stones. I need to look presentable as possible since I am the President of the committee.

"Hello, good morning everyone. Um, welcome to the meeting, it's a pleasure seeing each and every one of you!"

Everyone looks serious. Notepads are in their hands along with their ink feathers. It spreads joy in me, like a virus.

I smile and everybody smiles back.

"Good morning!"

"So, in this committee, we will be talking about gems and magick stones, the power they can caress in them, and much more following that subject! Now, before we get started, does anyone have any questions?"

One girl raises her hand.

"Um, yes?"

"This sounds boring, why can't I be the President or Vice President?"

Oh shit, it was Ewart Diablo.

Ewart destroys everything. 

"Um, well...not all committees are supposed to be fun, Ewart-"

"Please. Call me Wart. Because you have one."

I blush in embarrassment. It's true.

"W-Well, most witches like me are born with a wart-"

"At least cover it. You show yours like it's your dignity."

"W-Well, being a witch is an honor to all Wiccans-"

"Not all Wiccans are WITCHES. You're a Wiccan yourself, you should know-"

"Ok! Ok! That's enough, Ewart. Please, continue President Maria."

I sigh and brush my cloak again. Ewart is a true pain in the ass, but I can't let him ruin my reputation of President by a silly little wart. 

"Thank you, Vice President Vivian. Anyway, it seems like nobody has any more important questions,"

I stare at Ewart. He winks at me and I shudder. 

"So, I think we can continue. In this committee, I think that outdoor activities of finding gems in Rock Iemid are in order. One, for our psychical health, and two, because we will soon be discussing the gems and magick stones we find. Research for these stones is also necessary. And, since I'm nice enough,"

The crowd chuckles--except Ewart--and I giggle.

"I will assign one person every moon day to bake goodies to bring to the committee!"

The crowd does a silent cheer. 

"THAT'S WHAT I WAS THINKING! See, I would make a WAY better President."

Everyone goes silent again. 

"Well, um, t-that's great, Ewart. It's a good thing that-"

"And, we should bring Tonic of Ending potions so we can blow the whole CAVE up! We would find SO many more gems and stones that way."

"Um, Ewart. The gems and magick stones aren't in a cave. They are at Rock Imid. Rock Imid is a huge boulder consisting of gems and magick stones. They are in Valley Odadis." 

"So? Caves are a much better place, you dingus."

Vice President Vivan claps her hands, startling everyone in the room, including Ewart. 

"Ewart, that's enough. The Honor Society of Gems and Magick Stones is not to be tolerated by foolishness. You either go hard or go home."

Ewart's eyes widen and he plops down back in his chair. 

"Thank you once more, Vice President Vi-"

"Maria, just speed everyone's name up by just saying their name. You can say 'Vivan' instead of Vice President Vivan, and all that junk. And, plus, I made a valid statement."

Ewart stands up in his chair. "Tonic of Endings! Blow everything up! Tonic of En-"

I huff. I've had it with this bitch.

"EWART. LEAVE THE LIBRARY. NOW."

Ewart stares at me. He jumps down, takes off his cloak, and leaves. No one makes a peep, just stares.

"Apologizes for the...interruption. Anyway, let's continue."

As I shuffle and organize my papers, I take a quick glance at the door. He's gone. Now, I feel bad.

 

As the night is upon us, I close the doors to the school. I see Ewart walking toward the broom takeoff lane. 

"Ewart! Wait!" I scream.

He looks back at me.

"What do you want? You kicked me out of the group!"

I pant. 

"So...I need to talk to you."

He glares at me and walks off. "Probably talking about how I was a disturbance or whatever you said. Yeah, I was listening."

"Ewart, you are not an interruption,"

"Well, what you said in the library was signaling that I was an interruption."

"I-I mean, you did interrupt me when I was talking and-"

"So? People who contribute want to speak as well!"

I inhale and exhale.

"Look, Ewart, I was a little harsh on you today. I know you kept talking over me,"

Ewart rolls his eyes.

"But...I was listening."

"...Bye."

"Wait!" 

I reach out and grab Ewart's arm, my eyes widening and a desperate look on my face.

"Please...please listen."

Ewart flutters his eyes. 

"Fine."

"I was listening to what you said about you wanting to blow up the cave so...I did kick you out of the group-"

"WHAT?!"

"...And I put you in the Wiccan Weapons instead. I would feel like you could express your love for explosives there a lot more."

Ewart stands there, staring at me. I feel a little uncomfortable. Is he going to say anything? That's when he lunges at me and hugs me. 

"Thank you so much, Maria," He whispers.

"Why? And, please let me go, this is very comfortable."

He lets me go and I struggle to my feet. 

"My mother basically forced me into The Honor Society of Gems and Magick Stones. I wasn't really interested, but my mother made me sign up any."

I frown.

"Ooh, dang, Ewart. How will you tell your mother about my decision for committees?"

He shrugs and sighs. 

"I dunno, Maria. She's gonna be so fucking mad. But...thank you so much."

He waves and walks up to the broom takeoff lane. 

The joy virus that filled my body at the first meeting filled me again.

I never saw Ewart so happy.

 

"Good morning, everyone. Welcome back to another meeting. So, Ewart decided to part ways with us and join the Wiccan Weapons committee instead. But, we can start activities today!"

The crowd cheers. I hope it's not about Ewart leaving.

Vice President Vivian chuckles a little bit and I chuckle back.

I take a glimpse at the library door. 

Ewart and some boys in red clocks holding a bag of Wiccan grenades walk down the hall.

Ewart catches my glimpse. He waves then gives me a thumbs up. I giggle at his happy expression.

Bye Ewart. Have fun doing the hobby you love.

Corona Tag!

2 months ago

My Mom keeps making me face timing people, but I prefer being an unhealthy hermit.

@SirBakaTheFifth

@LittleWitch
 

Also, with this mini-story, I tried being as realistic as possible, social interaction-wise.

 

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2 months ago
Well I don't know much about witches, but this seems 100% accurate.

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2 months ago

Lol

Is there any feedback?

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2 months ago

Edwart is very wholesome and nice.
Apart from some confusing parts. You could fix some of these issues with a good edit. For example,
"I need to look presentable as possible since..." and "...please let me go, this is very comfortable."

For the first section, the committee meeting, I was confused because I didn't know it was a school at first so I just thought Edwart as some old dick since committees meetings irl are filled with old or powerful guys. Other readers might come across the same confusion. 

This is an artistic view so you're free to disagree, but I believe that if you made the committee meeting more formal and serious, you'll be able to contrast the more comedic element of Edwart and the director's rebuttals in her mind to make it more outrageous and perhaps funny.

I'd also like to comment about your first simile, 
"It spreads joy in me, like a virus."
Viruses are generally considered bad or malicious so I got put off when I read this simile. Joy and viruses don't go together unless you're a college student (fyi I'm not a college student). Maybe something like
"It spreads joy in me, like the ever expanding sea." 
For a more calming effect. I'm not an expert on similes or metaphors though.

Moving on to the second section, I like the dialogue, it's where all that wholesome meat is. Though, I believe some of the descriptions could be misleading if I were to interpret it wrong. When I read
"I reach out and grab Ewart's arm, my eyes widening and a desperate look on my face."
I acquired an image of a more perverted person than a teacher concerned about her disciples. 
If you haven't already, try reading over your work like a fresh reader, a blank slate, and see what images you construct when you read your words. 

The end section acting as a kind of epilogue is great, I have absolutely no problems with it. So overall, good story. Keep writing!

 

Corona Tag!

2 months ago
1,616 words. Not a continuation of that noir story I wrote. Heavily inspired by STALKER and Roadside Picnic with a dash of dark fantasy thrown in, as you can probably tell just from reading it over. The crackling of the fire and soft notes emanating from the guitar were the only sounds that could be heard in the camp. The men didn't speak much, no sense getting to know people who would either die or leave after the job was done after all, and only spoke up when something needed to be done. There were three of them in all, hired by a man named Peter to find a "Redsun". A Redsun was a strange stone pulsing with otherwordly power, and the average Redsun sold for about 1,000 rubles on the black market; it was then resold through those channels to any government wanting to buy them for upwards of 100,000 rubles. The three men were at the bottom of this lucrative pipeline, simple aberration hunters trying to get by in a world such as this. The city of New Eldon was unprepared when the Veil was torn open. Though Europe was hit the worst, portals still opened up throughout all of the world, unthinkable beasts and incomprehensible magic flooding out of them. New Eldon wasn't as lucky as Miami or Dallas, who were nowhere near any portals (but not as unlucky as Los Angeles, which had a portal open in one of the most crowded areas of the city), instead having to deal with a portal opening in a forest to the west; not as bad as other places, but the constant stream of demons was a hassle to deal with. Eventually, defenses were put in place, a large wall around the city keeping it closed off from anything looking to feast upon them. The surrounding wilderness was overtaken by monsters and demons, dangerous Wildlands where one wrong step means death. The biggest change, however, was the discovery of aberrations: strange objects brimming with power untold. Called as such for their unnatural qualities by those who know of their existence, they affect any person who makes physical contact with them, and each have their own purpose. Some can make you immune to diseases, others might allow you bend the elements with the snap of a finger. Others are less than beneficial: a scant few kill their users as soon as they let go of it, others give them a strange type of cancer incurable by any sort of medical or magical intervention. There's a rumor that one completely disintegrates one of the user's loved ones and removes any trace that they even existed, including the memories of those who knew them, spoke to them even once, or even saw them in the street in passing and never again. The only one who knows they existed at all is the one who touched the aberration. There's a large demand in America for aberrations, even the seemingly useless ones that made you smell of pine needles. Some study them, others weaponize their power, while a few idle rich simply want one as their next centerpiece. Whatever the purpose for buying them, the result is always the same: men and women of all ages risk their lives to find them, either out of want for cash, thrill-seeking desires for adventure, a death wish, or simply because they felt the call of the Wildlands. It didn't matter how or why you went looking for aberrations, as the experience changes everyone. Before long, they feel more at home in the hostility of the Wildlands than they do in the comforts of their city. There's an old saying among aberration hunters: "As soon as a man enters the Wildlands, the Wildlands enter him. And while you can take the man out of the Wildlands, you can't take the Wildlands out of the man." Those who try to retire come back before long. The number of aberration hunters who started at 20 and lived to see 21 is small; the number of aberration hunters who retired and never came back is near nil. A hunter stays in the Wildlands until the sweet embrace of death takes him. The sound of a knife piercing a tin can made Arthur Sokolov stop strumming his guitar for a moment. Daniel Kranston had finally gotten his can of baked beans open, and began to dig into it with a cracked plastic spoon held together by scotch tape and faith. As he scarfed it down, Miller Balinski chuckled, "Hungry there, Daniel?" Daniel nodded. "Haven't ate since we left New Eldon." "We stopped for a quick lunch not long after we left. Why didn't you eat then?" Arthur asked. "Didn't think I'd be hungry," Daniel replied. "Only brought canned foods anyhow. Would be a waste to eat more than one a day, or however long we're out here." "Shit, why didn't you say so? I brought some granola bars, just ask for one next time we stop to eat," Miller offered. Arthur set his guitar down on the ground, figuring it would be a moment before he could play again. It was rare for there to be any sort of conversation between them these days. As the conversation trailed off, he figured he should keep it going. "How old were you two when you first started aberration hunting?" "It's only been three months for me. I'm thirty-two," Daniel said. "Two months for me. Twenty-nine here. And I hope you know that us aberration hunters go by months, not years," Miller replied with a snort of laughter. "This is my first time. Twenty-two," Arthur replied, causing Daniel to give a solemn nod and Miller to chuckle again. Arthur crinkled his nose. "What's so funny there Miller?" "You're in for a treat, kid. Prepare to have more than a few stories to tell... If you get back home, of course," Miller laughed again. "A man's first aberration hunt is nothing to laugh about, Miller," Daniel warned, deadly serious even as he shoveled more beans into his mouth. "It's an experience that changes the person you once were. I've seen hardened men become sobbing shells of who they once were, and soft-faced boys become unfeeling killers. The Wildlands... They change a man." Daniel looked around, eyes sparkling with a mixture of horror and love for what he was seeing. In the trees, a small creature squawked, spreading grungy wings and taking off into the horizon. Daniel shook his head and sighed. "I was thirteen when this all happened. I used to walk through these same woods in my free time. Even now, after all that's happened... The creatures that call this place home now... Before, the most I had to worry about was a bear coming through. Now? Demons that can rip me in two before I can blink." "That doesn't matter to me. If I died here, right now, I would be glad that it's here and not some crowded city where I'd be chucked into an incinerator after death. I've never held as much respect for a place as I have these Wildlands. Even after all that's happened, it holds a beauty to me." He finished his speech by throwing the can of beans over his shoulder and wiping his mouth with a sleeve. "I can never leave my home. And now, my home is the Wildlands." The conversation drifted away slowly after that, Arthur and Miller sitting in silence and considering Daniel's words. He spoke of the Wildlands with an almost religious sort of zeal, the sort of worship saved for gods and other idols. In this new world, after all that had happened, it was hard to find faith in whatever gods were out there. Indeed, most men had moved on to believing in their environment rather than any sort of higher being. For men such as Daniel, that was the Wildlands. Arthur picked up his guitar after a moment, plucking tentatively at the strings for a moment before beginning to strum. As the music played, the other two men huddled up near the fire, warming themselves up as the moon watched over them. They were all here for their own reasons. Arthur Sokolov for the thrill and adventure it gives him. Miller Balinski for the cash it nets him. Daniel Kranston for the grand meaning he hopes the Wildlands will grant him. The creatures within the Wildlands had all either settled into their homes for the night, sleeping softly until the morning comes, or hunting whatever runts they could find still awake while the night was good. In a way, nothing has changed; hunters massacre prey for their packs, while the prey hide away from the hunters. The only difference is that where there were once normal animals, now these things can barely be classified as living creatures. To us they are terrifying, apparations of a world we should not know. Then again, one must consider that to them we must be the same way. They are far from home, in a foreign and hostile place they've never been, but are making the most of it. That is all they can do, after all. Arthur strums his guitar. Miller begins sharpening a hunting knife. Daniel speaks a silent prayer to the Wildlands. Arthur pauses to recall the notes that come next. After a moment, his strumming begins anew, and the cycle continues. Strum, stop, strum, stop, strum, stop. It goes on until Miller says goodnight and lays on a blanket under the stars, then Daniel joins him in slumber soon after while resting against a log. Arthur continues strumming for one final moment, then sets the guitar down and lays down as well. The fire crackles, then dies out. In the morning, they wake at dawn, eat breakfast, then continue on into the Wildlands. They won't find that Redsun just sitting around.

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2 months ago
@Ogre11 @Bluefur Tag, you're it.

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2 months ago
This is still going on? Sheesh.

Tom Childress, or that is what he was calling himself this time, was riding along in a Mercedes, squished in between two rather large fellows that were sweating quite a bit. He didn’t want to say anything to them, since they were pointing guns at him at the moment, though. Tom considering making small talk as the car bounced along the backroads of Azrou, Morocco.

Tom said, “So, where’s a good place to grab a dinner here in town?”

There was no response from either of the massive men in the car, so Tom continues, “I’m just asking because you know, when we’re done here, I need eat, right?”

The car made a sharp right turn and one of the men that Tom had named “Big Nose” looked over at him, but didn’t say a word. Tom tried to shrug, but he could barely move his shoulders pressed in against the two men.

He looked forward and tried to tell where the car was going, but Tom had never been in Azrou before. He was there to make a deal with some guy called “The Knife,” but Tom knew he was really a new warlord, Haashim al-Noor, who was trying to make a name for himself. The car swerved around another corner over brick-paved streets as Tom recalled that he was supposed to get The Knife to agree to some protection for a caravan, and Tom would pay him a large sum of money. Of course this was all a setup by the US government to catch this guy out in the open and track him, Tom was just the contact guy.

The car pulled up to an older white building into the drop-off area at front. Clearly it was a decent hotel, but it was no five-star hotel – not that Tom expected to find one of those in Azrou. As the car same to a stop, he recognized it as a hotel that showed that someone had some means – this guy was clearly trying to impress him. Tom didn’t really care, as it wasn’t his money, but his thoughts were quickly interrupted as the goons opened the door and gestured for Tom to get out. They weren’t exactly holding him hostage, but it was clear that he didn’t have any options here. He wanted to meet with The Knife, but the Knife was making it clear that Tom didn’t have any choice in the matter at this point.

The guards nudged Tom towards the entrance. He spotted a couple other people that were clearly guarding the place as well, watching him enter the building. This was likely to be a tough place to get out of if he were to get in trouble. They walked through the lobby without stopping at the front desk, though Tom waved to the attendant behind the counter. She looked away and pretended not to see him. That let him know how connected The Knife was at the hotel.

The group entered the elevator and one of the guards pressed the button for the top floor. Tom nodded to him and smiled, but the guard just grunted in response. A short time later the elevator arrived and the doors opened.

Tom walked out and into a suite on the top floor. There was a sunken living room area and Tom strolled right into it like he owned the place. There was a short man with dark hair and a greasy-looking mustache. He watched Tom enter and gestured towards one of the couches. He said, “Ah, CIA, yes?”

Tom laughed as he took a seat and replied, “No, no, just a helpful person representing some interests who want to hire you for some protections, you know?”

The man laughed and sat down. He pointed to the maps on the table between them and said, “This is what you need, yes?”

Tom leaned forward and looked at the maps of the coast of Africa. He pointed to some of the southern Canary Islands. He said, “These here. You can guarantee protection of ships that sail through this area, correct? We send you the ships, you make sure they’re left alone, right?”

The man with the mustache nodded and said, “As long as you pay me, we will be sure that it is done as you ask.”

Tom nodded and stood up. A couple of guns appears in the hands of the men near him. He slowed down and said, “Easy now, I’m just reaching for my phone. I need to be able to make a call to get you your money.” He slowly reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a phone. He showed it to everyone in the room and said, “See? Just a phone.” When everyone calmed down, he said, “The account?”

Mustache stood up and handed Tom a crumpled piece of paper. Tom turned and walked towards the window as he pressed a button to auto-dial a number. He put the phone to his ear and said, “Hi. I’ve got the number for the transfer.”

A voice spoke on the other end of the line, “Sorry, but no. We have a burn notice on you. You’re out.” The line disconnected immediately.

Mustache noticed and took a step towards Tom, saying, “Hey! Is there a problem?”

Tom replied, “Oh, no, no problem, just a misunderstanding.” He pressed the button and dialed the number again. He quickly said into the phone, “Listen, this is not the time to mess around. Connect me to John Occam, right now.”

The voice on the other end of the line said, “Sorry, there is no one here by that name.” The line disconnected again.

Now mustache could tell something was wrong. He yelled out, “Oh, you think you can come in here and make fun of me? You waste my time with deals with no money? Get him!”

Very quickly, the four other men in the room surrounded Tom and starting hitting him. He curled up and fell to the ground and the continued kicking him, beating him while mustache continued to yell at him. He took his beating as best he could with so many hitting and kicking him at once. Mustache started yelling in Arabic and left the room. Two of the goon went with him while the other two continued attacking. Tom quickly reached out and grabbed one foot, twisting it all the way around, dislocating the man’s knee. The man screamed and that caused the other to pause a second. That was all Tom needed as he rolled and jumped up, his head making solid contact with the groin of the second man. He could barely moan as his eyes rolled back in his head and he tumbled to the ground. Tom moved as quickly as he could and made it to the elevator, but he could hear mustache and his other goons coming.

Corona Tag!

2 months ago
Oh right, da rules: @poison_mara and @littlewitch

Corona Tag!

one month ago
Commended by mizal on 5/7/2020 11:22:46 PM


COUGH, COUGH...

His coughs almost sounded like gagging at the comical sight before us. The pure concrete wall had grown two folds higher last time we'd seen it.

"You're goddamn kidding me," I mumbled, exasperated. "The city might as well be surrounded by 100 concrete skyscrapers."

Kipper violently coughed into his mask with his elbow wrapped around it, though, not to stop the spread. He was using it to protect his face from banging into anything surrounding him. I pat him on the back and pushed my head back down on the car seat.

For a while, there's been nothing I can do but wait till his coughing fits cools down. He shook his head while he attempted to clear his throat. A sign that the series of coughs are almost over.

Rolling down the window, Kipper motioned at a few security officers patrolling the underside of the wall. "Looks like there's more of them too, we won't be able to get through the usual way."

A brief silence followed. We both knew that if we didn't get in, we might as well be dead the next following days.

"So what now? The only crazy people who'd buy 60 damn kilograms of Redroad are the Chen group. Those guys at the 7th Highway aren't going to order anytime soon either, they just gained some other supplier."

It'd be troublesome to sell Redroad to any other groups outside of those two. Furthermore, the drug's infamous nature has been spreading like a wildfire. If we go around selling it to minor gangs, we could get tied into a grand trafficking scandal.

I glanced over the lined-up vehicles at our front. For all the eyes could see, most of the bleak landscape outside of the walls was parched and barren, akin to old dried-up tree bark. The concrete road below us was no different. As our truck drove ever closer to the wall checkpoint with no plan at hand, the sun crept under the walls, leaving us in the dark.

The fact that Kipper was also one of the infected posed no help. The Medical Checkpoint Security Scans will put the whole place on alert immediately with his current stage of the infection. Hm? For a moment, I thought I saw Kipper smile.

"AH-AHEM, You remember Barson?" Kipper managed to hack out. "The guard who requested a Dust Model Colt."

An order that was from the opposite coast, great. "Yeah, so what, isn't he in the city of Firion? A late delivery is the least of our worries!"

If he wasn't smiling before, he was grinning like a child now.

"Well actually," he began, as he ruffled around in the glove compartment. "Turns out you'd want more guards if you're building a big wall right? Well~, he got transferred to the city of Porlon and I pieced together a nice scrapped gun chamber at the junkyard to go with the old frame. All while you were out on last delivery."

Giddily, he pulled the polished Dust Model out of the glove compartment, handing it over to me.

"..."

"Well?"

"Sigh," what a dunce, I thought. "How about you let me know earlier next time, huh?"

Still, grinning like a child waiting for praise, nothing could shake him when his idiot switch had been flipped. I smile back like an idiot. This kind of stuff isn't too bad once in a while.

"I admit, good job Kip. So keep that up and contact Barson, alright? I'm gonna get us in."

 

 

The checkpoint was tighter than my first time. The truck could barely scrape through. I couldn't imagine this is where all Porlon's supply trucks go through. The tunnel was dark and cloudy. The only quaint source of light was from the guard post as he quietly checks our parcel. His parcel.

Barson himself wasn't exceptionally interesting. He was a middle-aged man donned with a nicely kept, greying mustache paired with greying hair. His face was friendly, however, his eyes seemed desperate and exhausted. The uniform he wore was like any other guard. The only strange thing was that he smelled like he was fresh out of a pool. The smell of chlorine was pungent. I tried to not let it bother me.

"Here is how it is going to be. You won't need to pay us. However, we need five entries and five exits from you, into and out of the city. Including this one. What you'll get are the gun and a little a bonus." I wave a few hundred dollars in front of him.

He followed the wad of cash with his eyes. It was extremely unlikely that he'd refuse. Seeing how the city had spent their entire budget on their grand wall, there's a high chance that disposable guards like Barson would be widely underpaid.

He silently considered the proposition. "It's not a problem. I just need one condition. When you enter and exit the city, let me know a day ahead of time. It'll keep suspicion off my back."

"Then prepare yourself for tomorrow morning. We'll be out by then. We won't dig into your business so don't dig into ours, alright fella?"

"Then is it a deal?" He asked.

I handed over the cash, "Same checkpoint, see you tomorrow."

He opened the thick metal gate, and we drove off into the city. I didn't know that I wouldn't see him again.

Kipper roughly cleared his throat. The sounds he makes are like dying German goats. I'm not exactly sure what they sound like, but he sounded like it.

"Ah-ahem. We got in! It was almost too easy!"

"Oi, don't jinx us or anything. We still have to sell off our load." I reply.

"As long as you don't die, we'll be fine," Kipper says with a grin.

Greeted by the dying city of Porlon and a dying Kipper, the city was packed to the brim of tall structures and skyscrapers. The people and traffic were also squeezed tight. Though, we weren't here for those buildings or streets. Driving over the sidewalk, into the alleyways, the truck quietly hummed. We were finally entering Chen territory.

 

 

THUNK

The air was surprisingly stale. I step over to the warehouses where I was set to meet a Chen authority. The private property was swarmed with all sorts of thugs and addicts. Not to mention, the warehouses occupying the property were as large as a small town. Hell, the Chens might as well be their own town. I check the gun in my holster. Everything was set. As long as Kipper can guard the package, we'll be fine, I thought.

One of the subordinates opened the warehouse gates for their boss. There he was. Boss Hyun. He walks towards me, his sweaty chest exposed to the world. I could practically see my reflection off his chest. His muscles and build were also impressively large. He was covered with tattoos that resembled dragons. The two armed escorts beside him were minuscule in comparison. Were they even needed there? He paused at least a meter away from me, forcing me to step back.

"I assume you have them?" Hyun's condescending voice greeted. It was just like in the calls.

"All 60 kilograms of Redroad, yeah, so let's start with $500,000 for all."

"HAHA, you think you're clever? 60 kilos is nearly $280,000." He shoots back.

One kilogram is $4,900, about $294,000. Can't he do any math?

"Buddy, don't blame the price on us, blame it on your wall, gas prices and your huge order. We had to scour across the country to secure this much. You gave us a tough time. $500,000."

"Now now, I'm sure we can barter something to lower that price. Ah! What about two new packs of VMP? Specially 'acquired' from Bass Pharmaceutical? I see your friend in the car could use some."

I look back at the trunk. I could catch Kipper vomiting while in one of his coughing fits. Damn, is it finally progressing to stage IV? If anything, he'll need those VMPs next week anyways. Don't worry Kip. I'll get those VMPs.

"I'm amazed you can get an infected so easily in and out of the-,"

"I said we had a tough time did I not?" I cut him off.

Hyun paused for a moment before he resumed. "How about $275,000 and two VMPs for all of it?"

This guy is stubborn. He won't back off unless I try intimidating him, huh? Each VMP is around $21,000, I could get a sensible price at $290,000 but I could get a bit greedy.

"Look, I know you Chen need Redroad to function. Otherwise, the Chen won't be able to control their own people. I'll give you a good price, $310,000 and those two VMP's, and you get all of it."

He stares me down. I couldn't do much but restrain myself from wavering. He abruptly puts on a grin.

"Then we have a deal!" He grasps onto my hands and vigorously shakes them.

He then motioned one of the escorts to the truck. "Kill the infected kid."

What? I pulled my hands out of his grip, stepping back and drawing my pistol. I shoot, but he closed the gap quickly, knocking the barrel of the gun away. Narrowly, I evade his grasp, rolling onto the ground. I took aim once more and yanked the trigger.

CLICK

It jammed?! Was it the dirt?! He promptly grabbed onto my arm and disarmed me. I reached for my knife tucked in my back pouch, but he twisted my arm and swept my body off the ground. The ground hit me hard. Why is he doing this?

"What are you doing?!" I shout before receiving a heavy hit from the butt of a rifle, fracturing my skull.

The world spun. My mind was creating a tornado of a storm. Blood began to flow down. Veins on my neck and temple pulsated. They felt like balloons ready to pop at any moment. Doesn't he know I have protection insurance from the underground market? Well, I guess you can't call it protection if I'm damned and dying.

"The other factions, they won't rest until I'm back you know! They need my services! I'm a one of a kind special guy you see. You're starting a war!" was a half bluff but If it can give us a small chance...

"Then I'm sure you have good information from your work. After all, we are planning a war. Once this city is overtaken... Well, you'll see."

He motioned me away. The escorts took away my weapons and stuffed me into a bag. I was a free catch. I look back at Kipper and the truck. They haven't shot yet. Had Kipper managed an escaped? The truck was surrounded by thugs. But it was then I realized, there was no way for him to get out alive. It was a hopeless sight. Kipper couldn't do anything as he struggled to regain control of his body. He couldn't stop coughing.

There wasn't anything to gaze at. It was just another death on my hands. So I shut my eyes... And I screamed, I screamed, it merely brought me a bigger headache but I screamed. I was always, always, too weak to protect my closest friends. My family. I couldn't allow another death on my behalf, not again. Not again.

BANG

The rifle's fire marked Kipper's death. I was weak. That moment was when I knew, the Chen wasn't joking around with war. Inside those warehouses were barracks and training centers. They were breaking the International Arms Field Act. Those fuckers. I was set, set on burning the Chen down from the inside out the moment the chance presents itself. If only I could get a message out of Porlon,

It was then I spotted them. Hahaha... Were those two always here? Above on the catwalks of the warehouse, @MrDaoYi and @Oskon slicked back to the exit. I can only hope I can trust those two. The blood draining from my head had finally caught up to me. I close my eyes...

end


(afterword)
It was way too long, sorry. Those tagged read top post. Also it's been a while since anyone posted here so sorry if I somehow missed some mutual agreement to stop posting here. I'll take any criticism, you can be as harsh as you want.

 

Corona Tag!

one month ago
Oh dang, and here I'd been assuming all remaining tags had gone to asymptomatic carriers.