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Tell us some quotes from one of your characters. Some backstory or a link to a story written with that character in it would be a nice addiction. Tag me!
Written by a060147 in portal Fiction

"so shut up and stay here until i get back."

The bird lays motionless in her paws, small rib cage racking with every breath. Heartbeat quickening too much and then not; pulse becoming more and more sporadic by the minute. There isn't much time, she knows. There can't be that much luck left. While fleeing into the warehouse -- little-brother-turned-bird in tow, injured paw screaming with each step -- had seemed like a good idea at the moment, her plan had ended exactly then. Run from pursuers here, deposit brother there until she could find the old woman again. She'd never actually anticipated him getting trampled by equipment, or her paw being crushed under a wheel. She'd never thought she'd be a second too late. But here she is, glass-eyed from both the shock and the pain. Trying to pretend this wouldn't be her brother's deathbed.

She speaks first, in the quiet of the air. Her throat purrs uneasily. "I-I'm so --"

"I'm okay," he breathes. "We're okay. I should've listened to you in the first place. Those carts -- those things really pack a punch, don't they? Never thought they were that heavy when we were human." His gaze is more focused than she'd expected when he fixes her with it, clacking his beak, and it takes control not to drop him. He doesn't seem to notice. He lets out a laugh that sounds more like a wheeze. Continues: "At least I reminded that old woman of her grandson, right? That probably kept her from turning us into snails or something."

Damn that old woman. Damn her and her games, her questions, this stupid curse she'd placed on the both of them. Who are they to pay off their parents' debt? Who are they to suffer for some obscure exchange someone else had made in the past? Her feline pupils trail the injured, feathered body of her brother, still holding on. A broken wing, a useless leg, and a fractured rib cage. Probably. This is -- no, she couldn't think like that -- this may seem like his deathbed for now, but he still has time to live. Three days, at most. But they'd already gotten this far. Three days might be just enough.

And she sure as hell isn't about to spend the rest of her life as a cat.

He's opening his beak to speak again; she cuts him off. "I'm going to find her," she growls. "I'm going to find her, and when I do, she's changing everything back to the way it was before this mess. We're going to return home to Auntie safe and sound, we're going to be human again, and I'm getting you that book you wanted."

"So shut up and stay here until I get back."

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Tell us some quotes from one of your characters. Some backstory or a link to a story written with that character in it would be a nice addiction. Tag me!
Written by a060147 in portal Fiction
"so shut up and stay here until i get back."
The bird lays motionless in her paws, small rib cage racking with every breath. Heartbeat quickening too much and then not; pulse becoming more and more sporadic by the minute. There isn't much time, she knows. There can't be that much luck left. While fleeing into the warehouse -- little-brother-turned-bird in tow, injured paw screaming with each step -- had seemed like a good idea at the moment, her plan had ended exactly then. Run from pursuers here, deposit brother there until she could find the old woman again. She'd never actually anticipated him getting trampled by equipment, or her paw being crushed under a wheel. She'd never thought she'd be a second too late. But here she is, glass-eyed from both the shock and the pain. Trying to pretend this wouldn't be her brother's deathbed.

She speaks first, in the quiet of the air. Her throat purrs uneasily. "I-I'm so --"

"I'm okay," he breathes. "We're okay. I should've listened to you in the first place. Those carts -- those things really pack a punch, don't they? Never thought they were that heavy when we were human." His gaze is more focused than she'd expected when he fixes her with it, clacking his beak, and it takes control not to drop him. He doesn't seem to notice. He lets out a laugh that sounds more like a wheeze. Continues: "At least I reminded that old woman of her grandson, right? That probably kept her from turning us into snails or something."

Damn that old woman. Damn her and her games, her questions, this stupid curse she'd placed on the both of them. Who are they to pay off their parents' debt? Who are they to suffer for some obscure exchange someone else had made in the past? Her feline pupils trail the injured, feathered body of her brother, still holding on. A broken wing, a useless leg, and a fractured rib cage. Probably. This is -- no, she couldn't think like that -- this may seem like his deathbed for now, but he still has time to live. Three days, at most. But they'd already gotten this far. Three days might be just enough.

And she sure as hell isn't about to spend the rest of her life as a cat.

He's opening his beak to speak again; she cuts him off. "I'm going to find her," she growls. "I'm going to find her, and when I do, she's changing everything back to the way it was before this mess. We're going to return home to Auntie safe and sound, we're going to be human again, and I'm getting you that book you wanted."

"So shut up and stay here until I get back."
#fantasy  #fiction  #adventure  #childrens 
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Write about your age, and how you believe it has helped your writing.
Written by a060147

eighteen

Eighteen birthdays are eighteen cakes are eighteen times you've scrubbed myself off the bathroom floor. Or maybe just six. No one is born this way, after all. The monster -- not-monster, pretty little thing she is -- sets into your bones at the budding age of eight. Settles into the marrow, gnaws at the edges until you can't take the pain. You had read about of her, of course. Leafed through page after page of almost-comely names like bulimia, anorexia, binge; ignored the rest of the teacher's lesson about her, instead staring at the lovely bones of this small, small girl.

Food journals aren't literature, but neither are diary entries. Everyone reads those. You liken yours to the ones lining libraries at times -- except with daydreams about empty and hollow instead of history, numbers counting calories instead of dates. Paragraph after paragraph of all ways you could shrink and lie and hide. And then, slowly, paragraph after paragraph of all the things you could be, all the things could happen. Daydreaming about other people in other worlds this time -- instead of going on about the colorless one that was your own.

And that was salvation, you suppose.

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Write about your age, and how you believe it has helped your writing.
Written by a060147
eighteen
Eighteen birthdays are eighteen cakes are eighteen times you've scrubbed myself off the bathroom floor. Or maybe just six. No one is born this way, after all. The monster -- not-monster, pretty little thing she is -- sets into your bones at the budding age of eight. Settles into the marrow, gnaws at the edges until you can't take the pain. You had read about of her, of course. Leafed through page after page of almost-comely names like bulimia, anorexia, binge; ignored the rest of the teacher's lesson about her, instead staring at the lovely bones of this small, small girl.

Food journals aren't literature, but neither are diary entries. Everyone reads those. You liken yours to the ones lining libraries at times -- except with daydreams about empty and hollow instead of history, numbers counting calories instead of dates. Paragraph after paragraph of all ways you could shrink and lie and hide. And then, slowly, paragraph after paragraph of all the things you could be, all the things could happen. Daydreaming about other people in other worlds this time -- instead of going on about the colorless one that was your own.

And that was salvation, you suppose.
#fiction  #nonfiction 
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You kill yourself...what happens next to your essential being?
Written by a060147

incident at san andres station, 10:59 a.m.

I like to imagine that something more pleasant happened. Some do-gooder hauling me back by my collar, maybe, or the offset of my bag stopping me an inch shy of the edge. Instead, I was launched forward by the crowd, loose bags of groceries flying through the air. Felt the rush – a summery breeze, grinding steel, and coffee – just before the impact.

I wish, at that moment, that someone yelled my name. Wouldn't have made a difference. Two inches away from steel going ninety miles an hour – who was anyone to save me? It was a dying wish: notice me, notice me, notice me, not the girl with the groceries about to be decimated by a train or the tragedy of a crowded station, but me, Pia –

But the moment ended, and I was gone.

--

Hello! You look new here. Mind giving me your name?

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You kill yourself...what happens next to your essential being?
Written by a060147
incident at san andres station, 10:59 a.m.
I like to imagine that something more pleasant happened. Some do-gooder hauling me back by my collar, maybe, or the offset of my bag stopping me an inch shy of the edge. Instead, I was launched forward by the crowd, loose bags of groceries flying through the air. Felt the rush – a summery breeze, grinding steel, and coffee – just before the impact.

I wish, at that moment, that someone yelled my name. Wouldn't have made a difference. Two inches away from steel going ninety miles an hour – who was anyone to save me? It was a dying wish: notice me, notice me, notice me, not the girl with the groceries about to be decimated by a train or the tragedy of a crowded station, but me, Pia –

But the moment ended, and I was gone.

--

Hello! You look new here. Mind giving me your name?
#fantasy  #fiction  #adventure  #philosophy 
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We all write right? Maybe you've written a book or a poem or something. Describe one of your book characters to me. or maybe a character you've made up in your head but isn't on paper. No Poems! Don't forget to tag me @Famewriter
Written by a060147

pluck

Blaise really isn't a name for a street rat like her, but it's hers and she loves it. It rolls off the tongue smooth-like, makes getting her attention a hell of a lot easier. Lets people think, sometimes, that she isn't some scrawny, scruffy girl with sunburnt cheeks -- and that's the way she likes it. Let them talk. The last thing she needs is a horde of charlatans coming after her, especially when she's got enough on her hands as it is. There's a woman she needs to find: one with long fingers, lustrous teeth, and dark, dark eyes. The one who plucked her breath from her throat the moment her master was slaughtered, the one who cursed her for trying to intervene. She wasn't strong enough then -- her form gasping and collapsing next to her beloved master -- but she will be soon. And when she is, she'll take back the breath that is rightfully hers, slay the woman-beast, and take up her master's name.

Or so she hopes. For now, all she's got is her master's cloak, a voice that refuses to be heard, and, strangely enough, a bear willing to act as an interpreter. Luck, too, she supposes. And with hunters and minions alike on her trail, she'll need all the luck she can get.

At the very least, she's got a bear(?) on her side.

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We all write right? Maybe you've written a book or a poem or something. Describe one of your book characters to me. or maybe a character you've made up in your head but isn't on paper. No Poems! Don't forget to tag me @Famewriter
Written by a060147
pluck
Blaise really isn't a name for a street rat like her, but it's hers and she loves it. It rolls off the tongue smooth-like, makes getting her attention a hell of a lot easier. Lets people think, sometimes, that she isn't some scrawny, scruffy girl with sunburnt cheeks -- and that's the way she likes it. Let them talk. The last thing she needs is a horde of charlatans coming after her, especially when she's got enough on her hands as it is. There's a woman she needs to find: one with long fingers, lustrous teeth, and dark, dark eyes. The one who plucked her breath from her throat the moment her master was slaughtered, the one who cursed her for trying to intervene. She wasn't strong enough then -- her form gasping and collapsing next to her beloved master -- but she will be soon. And when she is, she'll take back the breath that is rightfully hers, slay the woman-beast, and take up her master's name.

Or so she hopes. For now, all she's got is her master's cloak, a voice that refuses to be heard, and, strangely enough, a bear willing to act as an interpreter. Luck, too, she supposes. And with hunters and minions alike on her trail, she'll need all the luck she can get.

At the very least, she's got a bear(?) on her side.
#fantasy  #fiction  #romance  #adventure 
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We lost a lot with the passing of Chris Cornell. To many, he was a mentor, a brilliant writer; an inimitable voice. Until June 30th, this challenge is for the friends and fans to write their stories, poems, tributes: anything about him. We will be putting together a book for the Cornell family, of the posts entered, as well as making copies available for purchase, donating all proceeds to suicide prevention. In partnership with Seattle Refined, the most shared post will be read on air, and posted on seattlerefined.com.
Written by a060147 in portal Seattle Refined

carton of milk: two percent

I can't remember the last time I burned the coffee. Unless that time would be now, in which case I would be fully realizing the moment: coughed up stains on my pajamas, blistered fingers, and that bitter, bitter aftertaste. That unpleasant feeling of being suddenly aware, too, like I hadn't dragged myself out of bed an hour ago. But of course being awake and being aware are two separate things. I'd told myself two weeks ago I'd replace the damn thing, reminded myself yesterday not to use it. The coffee maker we'd bought should've broken down months ago -- and here it is, quietly humming on the counter. Here I am, still holding onto things. I'd always had a knack for remembering things I didn't need to and forgetting things I did. The spilled liquid stares back sullenly from the table; I avoid its gaze and reach for the dish towel. I can't remember the last time I burned the coffee, no, but I do remember where you kept the towels in case I did. So there was that.

How can you just drink it like that? you're asking. Scrutinizing gaze across the table, question laid flat. Fingers tapping impatiently. And I'm pulling out the milk and sugar for you when you say it again, only reworded. Personally, if I were you -- voice muffled by spoon, carton dangerously close to tipping -- I'd just get used to the sweetness. You know that 'no sugar' stuff is all bullshit anyway.

The rag soaks up the sugary, bitter liquid as easily as it had spilled, tainting the white in a matter of seconds. I hadn't spilled the whole cup, thankfully: there's just enough cloth to wipe the linoleum clean. Leave the tiles as stark and spotless as possible. I'd changed the flooring after you, of course. Couldn't bear to scrub the oxidized red off the hardwood. Then I'm pushing myself up and off the floor, tossing the rag aside, and pouring the rest of the coffee down the sink. I can feel you hopping onto the counter beside me, that uneven quirk pulling at your lips. Half-disappointment, you like to call it.

Tut-tutting. What a waste, you mutter, watching the liquid trickle down the drain. Then the soap suds, then the water, then the empty reflection as I move to turn off the faucet. The red dishtowel glides over the ceramic surface quickly; I set the mug beside the sink, far from the edge of the counter. Can't have it falling. But the image catches me anyway, the thought of it -- and I'm turning to you as I reach for the hand soap, waiting and not waiting for the blood on the floor. Barrel against your temple. No note. My mind can't help but race at those last seconds, at what might have happened if I'd walked in moments earlier. What I would have done if I knew what you were going to do that day. The water in the sink is barely warm. And the dispenser, it almost sounds like --

I'm pulling the window curtains open before I know it. Breathing. The morning light fills in the places where you should be, even with my eyes darting to find your outline. Even with your place at the table set just the way you like it, the memory forcing me through the routine. There's no one. I rest my head in my hands. Let out a sigh as I push away from a counter I didn't know I'd been leaning on.

I'd always wondered why you asked me to buy milk so early that day.

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We lost a lot with the passing of Chris Cornell. To many, he was a mentor, a brilliant writer; an inimitable voice. Until June 30th, this challenge is for the friends and fans to write their stories, poems, tributes: anything about him. We will be putting together a book for the Cornell family, of the posts entered, as well as making copies available for purchase, donating all proceeds to suicide prevention. In partnership with Seattle Refined, the most shared post will be read on air, and posted on seattlerefined.com.
Written by a060147 in portal Seattle Refined
carton of milk: two percent
I can't remember the last time I burned the coffee. Unless that time would be now, in which case I would be fully realizing the moment: coughed up stains on my pajamas, blistered fingers, and that bitter, bitter aftertaste. That unpleasant feeling of being suddenly aware, too, like I hadn't dragged myself out of bed an hour ago. But of course being awake and being aware are two separate things. I'd told myself two weeks ago I'd replace the damn thing, reminded myself yesterday not to use it. The coffee maker we'd bought should've broken down months ago -- and here it is, quietly humming on the counter. Here I am, still holding onto things. I'd always had a knack for remembering things I didn't need to and forgetting things I did. The spilled liquid stares back sullenly from the table; I avoid its gaze and reach for the dish towel. I can't remember the last time I burned the coffee, no, but I do remember where you kept the towels in case I did. So there was that.

How can you just drink it like that? you're asking. Scrutinizing gaze across the table, question laid flat. Fingers tapping impatiently. And I'm pulling out the milk and sugar for you when you say it again, only reworded. Personally, if I were you -- voice muffled by spoon, carton dangerously close to tipping -- I'd just get used to the sweetness. You know that 'no sugar' stuff is all bullshit anyway.

The rag soaks up the sugary, bitter liquid as easily as it had spilled, tainting the white in a matter of seconds. I hadn't spilled the whole cup, thankfully: there's just enough cloth to wipe the linoleum clean. Leave the tiles as stark and spotless as possible. I'd changed the flooring after you, of course. Couldn't bear to scrub the oxidized red off the hardwood. Then I'm pushing myself up and off the floor, tossing the rag aside, and pouring the rest of the coffee down the sink. I can feel you hopping onto the counter beside me, that uneven quirk pulling at your lips. Half-disappointment, you like to call it.

Tut-tutting. What a waste, you mutter, watching the liquid trickle down the drain. Then the soap suds, then the water, then the empty reflection as I move to turn off the faucet. The red dishtowel glides over the ceramic surface quickly; I set the mug beside the sink, far from the edge of the counter. Can't have it falling. But the image catches me anyway, the thought of it -- and I'm turning to you as I reach for the hand soap, waiting and not waiting for the blood on the floor. Barrel against your temple. No note. My mind can't help but race at those last seconds, at what might have happened if I'd walked in moments earlier. What I would have done if I knew what you were going to do that day. The water in the sink is barely warm. And the dispenser, it almost sounds like --

I'm pulling the window curtains open before I know it. Breathing. The morning light fills in the places where you should be, even with my eyes darting to find your outline. Even with your place at the table set just the way you like it, the memory forcing me through the routine. There's no one. I rest my head in my hands. Let out a sigh as I push away from a counter I didn't know I'd been leaning on.

I'd always wondered why you asked me to buy milk so early that day.
#fiction  #philosophy 
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In Inspiration of my new book : "Midnight Memos About Love by Nokulunga Mazibuko" What is the ONE truth/opinion/question/quote you have about Love??
Written by a060147

fever-dreams

I can't imagine her because I know her. I know her scars, her laugh, her favorite toy in pre-school. And I know she'd never kiss me like this.

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In Inspiration of my new book : "Midnight Memos About Love by Nokulunga Mazibuko" What is the ONE truth/opinion/question/quote you have about Love??
Written by a060147
fever-dreams
I can't imagine her because I know her. I know her scars, her laugh, her favorite toy in pre-school. And I know she'd never kiss me like this.
#fiction  #romance 
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The writer of the best short story from this challenge wins a ProWritingAid Lifetime License, worth $140. Take the terribly-written adverb-laden outline of a story below and use your own voice to make it amazing. Maybe it's sci-fi, maybe it's romance, maybe it's thriller...it's up to you: The door was opened and they looked out. She was very surprised. He looked very worried. They went quickly to find out more. She slowly picked up the object and it all finally made sense.
Written by a060147

a dinner conversation

I can feel you crawl into my throat sometimes. Feel you wriggle, grind, stop my breath in the split moment. Fingers splayed into the depths of my throat, your own mouth hitting the back of my teeth as you make yourself at home. As if you belong here. And you did once, when I was younger. Your mouth fit so perfectly in mine that it could've been the same, that it wouldn't have made a difference -- while I was too deaf to realize that should've never been the case. In the seconds between his words and mine are yours, buried so deep they're instinctual. I have to force myself back to reality before they can slip past my lips.

My brother asks again: "Are you okay?"

I blink once. Twice. Gather my thoughts and push them so far past my voice they end up a whisper. "I --"

I'm fine, you're saying. I'm okay. Just a little tired, is all.

He doesn't look convinced, but I nurse the glass of water instead to avoid answering further. Stare at the gaunt reflection in the cutlery and assess the plate before me. The pieces of chicken I'd pushed around for the past hour -- exactly sixteen now -- sit cold and unappetizing on the gummy bed of pasta, nearly pearly in the dim light. I'd made sure to dip a few pieces in the dressing at choice pauses in the conversation. His, by contrast, is a little too far from resembling mine, the scattered remnants inching off the sides of his plate -- and it's enough to make me panic. Enough to surprise me with a flood of things I should know not to know. Enough to open door after door of unwanted thoughts, guilt crashing down on me like a weight. And I can feel him looking out and into me, suddenly, the worried gaze seeing all the numbers, hunger pains, and water fasts I'd buried underneath my skin. I'm holding my features in place. His eyes flicker from mine to the plate and back again, like he wants to ask another question.

But he doesn't. He takes his card from the book and stands up a little quicker than necessary; I take the opportunity to follow suit, pulling my jacket on in the process. I've already gotten cold enough as it is. Then you're there, of course, clapping and congratulating me in my own voice. What discipline, you say, what strength! Only two bites and it's already over. Got creative with that fork, too, and using that knife to --

I set the fork slowly across my plate before we leave, if only to shut you up for a moment. Glance at this nearly blue-lipped, thin girl in the reflection, as if I hadn't been staring at her all evening. You're satisfied. I can feel you slithering back into the vice-like grip around my stomach again, voice dying in my throat, and I find myself stepping quickly behind my brother to leave the restaurant.

I can't control you, of course. I know that much. But -- I think as I step out into the night air -- there are measures that can be taken, little reminders to keep you from taking over my throat and thoughts. Staring into my reflection in the cutlery at dinner could count as one. Telling myself to try to go five bites next time instead of two, less water to fill myself up with food, something less conspicuous to force myself to eat. Just the small things.

And that's all I need, really.

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The writer of the best short story from this challenge wins a ProWritingAid Lifetime License, worth $140. Take the terribly-written adverb-laden outline of a story below and use your own voice to make it amazing. Maybe it's sci-fi, maybe it's romance, maybe it's thriller...it's up to you: The door was opened and they looked out. She was very surprised. He looked very worried. They went quickly to find out more. She slowly picked up the object and it all finally made sense.
Written by a060147
a dinner conversation
I can feel you crawl into my throat sometimes. Feel you wriggle, grind, stop my breath in the split moment. Fingers splayed into the depths of my throat, your own mouth hitting the back of my teeth as you make yourself at home. As if you belong here. And you did once, when I was younger. Your mouth fit so perfectly in mine that it could've been the same, that it wouldn't have made a difference -- while I was too deaf to realize that should've never been the case. In the seconds between his words and mine are yours, buried so deep they're instinctual. I have to force myself back to reality before they can slip past my lips.

My brother asks again: "Are you okay?"

I blink once. Twice. Gather my thoughts and push them so far past my voice they end up a whisper. "I --"

I'm fine, you're saying. I'm okay. Just a little tired, is all.

He doesn't look convinced, but I nurse the glass of water instead to avoid answering further. Stare at the gaunt reflection in the cutlery and assess the plate before me. The pieces of chicken I'd pushed around for the past hour -- exactly sixteen now -- sit cold and unappetizing on the gummy bed of pasta, nearly pearly in the dim light. I'd made sure to dip a few pieces in the dressing at choice pauses in the conversation. His, by contrast, is a little too far from resembling mine, the scattered remnants inching off the sides of his plate -- and it's enough to make me panic. Enough to surprise me with a flood of things I should know not to know. Enough to open door after door of unwanted thoughts, guilt crashing down on me like a weight. And I can feel him looking out and into me, suddenly, the worried gaze seeing all the numbers, hunger pains, and water fasts I'd buried underneath my skin. I'm holding my features in place. His eyes flicker from mine to the plate and back again, like he wants to ask another question.

But he doesn't. He takes his card from the book and stands up a little quicker than necessary; I take the opportunity to follow suit, pulling my jacket on in the process. I've already gotten cold enough as it is. Then you're there, of course, clapping and congratulating me in my own voice. What discipline, you say, what strength! Only two bites and it's already over. Got creative with that fork, too, and using that knife to --

I set the fork slowly across my plate before we leave, if only to shut you up for a moment. Glance at this nearly blue-lipped, thin girl in the reflection, as if I hadn't been staring at her all evening. You're satisfied. I can feel you slithering back into the vice-like grip around my stomach again, voice dying in my throat, and I find myself stepping quickly behind my brother to leave the restaurant.

I can't control you, of course. I know that much. But -- I think as I step out into the night air -- there are measures that can be taken, little reminders to keep you from taking over my throat and thoughts. Staring into my reflection in the cutlery at dinner could count as one. Telling myself to try to go five bites next time instead of two, less water to fill myself up with food, something less conspicuous to force myself to eat. Just the small things.

And that's all I need, really.
#fiction 
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Challenge of the Week #61: Write a piece of flash fiction about rejection. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by a060147

death of a private

"But I'm still here," she muses, her voice barely a rasp. The shot glass rolls dangerously close to the edge of the table, but she sets it upright before it can shatter onto the wood. Drunk, but not too drunk. Not drunk enough to go beyond her limits. I watch quietly as she closes a little more into herself, places her head in her hands. Sighs. And then she's leveling me with a gaze I hadn't expected to be so sharp, muttering over the hum of the bar, and I find myself leaning in to make out the words.

"That book," she repeats, louder this time. There's enough irritation in her tone to root me to the spot. "The one about the apocalypse. You still have it, don't you?"

I'm not sure what she's talking about, but I nod anyway. She crinkles her nose.

"You know what I'm talking about, private. That book, that stupid, science fiction or whatever you call it --" She trails off, throwing her hands in the air, and I wish I'd actually said something. Made something up, maybe, just to do something other than try to comfort her. The liquor hasn't slurred her words yet, but it's getting there. "You know what? I don't know. Just thought you'd want to go on and on about it like you usually do. Be a hell of a lot better than the bullshit we've been through."

There's another glass in front of her suddenly, and she wraps her fingers around it before I can reach. Doesn't knock it back like she'd done to the first five, though, just sort of cradles it as she stares into the amber liquid. Wordless. The bloodstains on her uniform have long dried, the gashes on her neck just barely forming a raw pink -- but the expression on her face is the same as it had been that day. Except that she's not frozen in horror, covered in her squadron's remains, and there is no bomb, no ambush, no wound. I'm the one dragging her to the medics -- but not the one who made it out -- and there is no novel clutched to her chest as she panics uselessly, too delirious by the blood loss. The doctors had taken it away the moment they sedated her. All for the best, of course. It was probably too bloodstained to read anymore.

She smiles mirthlessly, righting the medals at her breast. "Almost as if I were rejected by death himself," she says, flat-voiced. Cold. "That was the last line, wasn't it? You were -- you were reading off the last page, I told you to shut up, and you told me you'd always keep your promise. That you'd never let anything happen to me, ever, and I --"

She pauses. Thinks for a moment. But she knows, and I know, and my hand passes through hers as easily as air.

I'm still here, she wants to say. Shouldn't you be, too?

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Challenge of the Week #61: Write a piece of flash fiction about rejection. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by a060147
death of a private
"But I'm still here," she muses, her voice barely a rasp. The shot glass rolls dangerously close to the edge of the table, but she sets it upright before it can shatter onto the wood. Drunk, but not too drunk. Not drunk enough to go beyond her limits. I watch quietly as she closes a little more into herself, places her head in her hands. Sighs. And then she's leveling me with a gaze I hadn't expected to be so sharp, muttering over the hum of the bar, and I find myself leaning in to make out the words.

"That book," she repeats, louder this time. There's enough irritation in her tone to root me to the spot. "The one about the apocalypse. You still have it, don't you?"

I'm not sure what she's talking about, but I nod anyway. She crinkles her nose.

"You know what I'm talking about, private. That book, that stupid, science fiction or whatever you call it --" She trails off, throwing her hands in the air, and I wish I'd actually said something. Made something up, maybe, just to do something other than try to comfort her. The liquor hasn't slurred her words yet, but it's getting there. "You know what? I don't know. Just thought you'd want to go on and on about it like you usually do. Be a hell of a lot better than the bullshit we've been through."

There's another glass in front of her suddenly, and she wraps her fingers around it before I can reach. Doesn't knock it back like she'd done to the first five, though, just sort of cradles it as she stares into the amber liquid. Wordless. The bloodstains on her uniform have long dried, the gashes on her neck just barely forming a raw pink -- but the expression on her face is the same as it had been that day. Except that she's not frozen in horror, covered in her squadron's remains, and there is no bomb, no ambush, no wound. I'm the one dragging her to the medics -- but not the one who made it out -- and there is no novel clutched to her chest as she panics uselessly, too delirious by the blood loss. The doctors had taken it away the moment they sedated her. All for the best, of course. It was probably too bloodstained to read anymore.

She smiles mirthlessly, righting the medals at her breast. "Almost as if I were rejected by death himself," she says, flat-voiced. Cold. "That was the last line, wasn't it? You were -- you were reading off the last page, I told you to shut up, and you told me you'd always keep your promise. That you'd never let anything happen to me, ever, and I --"

She pauses. Thinks for a moment. But she knows, and I know, and my hand passes through hers as easily as air.

I'm still here, she wants to say. Shouldn't you be, too?
#fiction  #romance  #prosechallenge 
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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by a060147

the boy in the glass

I meet him on a Sunday -- summer vacation, quarter after eleven, nearing lunchtime -- surrounded by people and things who don't really matter at all. Shouldn't, anyway, not with my mother acting as the lead director of the facility's new program. There are exactly three starkly dressed men in the room right now, all bearing lab coats, identification badges, and the tendency to speak over one another, and with their discussion steadily reducing itself to a heated, nearly incoherent squabble, my ability to pay attention has already excused itself several minutes ago. I find myself staring at the perfectly monochromatic linoleum instead, counting the outlined squares, then at the perfectly bare walls, then at the scuffed edge of an oxford shoe bearing one too many scratches to be in good condition. Then the shoe is speaking to me, and I'm looking up and into the disapproving gaze of one of the lab workers. The urge to slap him for his disrespect rises so quickly that my fingers twitch. I don't, of course. Mother had pulled me out of my activities for the day to show me her newest endeavor, and pleasing her remains priority over all else. Knocking one of her trusted scientists unconscious, possibly putting my own image in bad light in spite of this step out of line -- no, that wouldn't sit well at all. So I stare back with the wide-eyed, innocuous gaze I've adopted just for bastards like these. Hold my tongue. He doesn't bite, not fully, but he hesitates a bit and begins to speak in that professional, level tone again, reiterating.

"He's a feisty one, this boy," he explains, pushing up the bridge of his spectacles. "Lacks obedience. Difficult to handle. He is intelligent, though, and possesses a grasp of language and abstract logic like we haven't experienced so far -- but I'm sure that's what you're here for."

And I'm not sure exactly what that is. I don't deign to ask this underling the obvious, though, and instead opt to raise a brow in confusion. Give a blank, questioning stare over the edges of my own wire-rimmed glasses. He almost returns the stare, as if it had been my fault for not listening in the first place -- before the taller, lankier of the trio steps in front of him, placing a hand on his shoulder. It's difficult not to smirk at the sharp look he chances at him.

"If I may, Miss Fujino," the taller man addresses correctly and formally this time, "would you have your attention directed to your left?"

I turn.

And then become completely and utterly clear on the task at hand.

As the first on a long, long list of anomalies, the boy is encased in glass. In a tank, actually, with countless tubes connecting to both him and various apparatuses scattered about, unknown monitors tracking unknown conditions. He's a small, delicate little thing -- no taller than I stand, probably, with slender hips and shoulders and limbs -- and the considerable size of the tank itself dwarfs him to the likeness of a child. He's albino, of course. All the results of the program are. But he's the first one I've ever seen with such androgynous, youthful features that I can't help but be thrown off by the pretty lips and pretty eyes, the thick, thick lashes fluttering gently over rounded cheekbones. As if he'd been pulled from some fairy tale storybook, almost. As if he were some gentle, benign prince draped in gold and finery instead of breathing apparatuses and electrodes. The short, undeveloped feathers of his budding wings flicker occasionally in time with his breathing; the tips of his fingers quiver as if he's been caught dreaming. Then it's his eyelids that are quivering, slowly but surely, and I find myself staring into the cloudiest, most opaque set of rosy irises I've ever seen. Willed into stillness. He's just like --

"An angel, isn't he? I thought you'd like to see our newest success in splicing."

The proximity of the voice behind me startles me out of my reverie, forcing me to tear my gaze away from the creature -- and to eye-level buttons on a perfectly pressed, perfectly white blouse. My mother. My mother had come to see me, me of all people, instead of letting her secretaries inform her how this briefing had progressed with her daughter. There's a smile on my face before I can stop myself; I try to think of a phrase to best express my understanding and interest in my newest task.

But the short, bespectacled underling is on her before I can speak, and my fingers are twitching again. He taps his cheap shoes against the linoleum excitedly as he does so. "Director Fujino, what a pleasant surprise! What brings you here today?"

My mother allows his nearly shit-eating grin a dismissive glance before acknowledging me. Small nod, slight hum escaping her lips. I feel like I'm going to burst. She turns towards the taller man as he whispers something in her ear, makes a sound of approval, then leans so closely in my direction that we're nearly face-to-face, eye-to-eye. Begins speaking in that low, level tone I've only ever heard her use with her colleagues, and says, "Lucy, do you know why I brought you here today? Do you know why I've decided to show you, out of all my colleagues and partners, this subject? Why I've trusted you with this? Tell me what you think of it, Lucy."

She's talking directly to me. She's talking directly to me. The three squabbling scientists and stark walls and floors are gone, suddenly, as is the beautiful, winged subject in the tank. She wants to know the answers to exactly three distinct questions, all imperative to the program, and she's going to listen to me directly as I answer them. As I explain my role in this task in the most knowledgeable, most appropriate answer possible.

"I-I'm going to monitor the development of subject 0049. This high-functioning subhuman will be under my responsibility until the duration of the experiment expires. Until then --" I take a quick breath to stop my heart from jumping out of my chest," -- I will do everything in my power to ensure the progression of the subject's mental and physical capabilities, no matter the cost."

"And?"

And? I think quickly, studying her features.

"And -- and because I am the most controlled and least likely of all possible participants to produce lurking variables, I am the best suited for this task."

She frowns a little at this -- that half quirk of a lower lip lasting for only half a second -- before setting her smile again, nodding. I've made a mistake somewhere, I know. Probably should've commented on the immaculate state of the subject, the methods in which I would explore the subject's psyche and capabilities. Anything but that too simple cop-out of an answer. Too late now. She's already turned to leave, the room and squabbling scientists and tank returning to their rightful places; within moments the taller man is briefing me about the experiment in short, informative statements, tapping his pen against the clipboard. The man with cheap shoes has spared enough glances between me and the subject to be grating. I listen to the click of her heels as she leaves the room, exits the hall, and places the world right back where it should be in her absence.

At the end of the day, I'm alone again. My mother's decision to include me in her newest developmental project has been categorized as an internship under my university; the details are already neatly filed away. So I wouldn't have had a choice in the matter, anyway. Not that I ever would decide against it. The boy sits across from me in his tank, watching me curiously as I divide the paperwork into manageable sections. Stares with unfocused, rosy eyes as he taps the glass every so often. I'm not even sure if he's aware that he's under my care at the moment, if he had even heard anything of the conversation -- but he's supposed to be the best and the brightest of all the spliced subhumans, so I imagine he's understood at least a few things. He's a pretty, lovely little thing to look at, at least. My mother would appreciate the mint condition of his appearance at the end of the trial. The sound of a heavier, harder tap catches my attention for a moment, and I glance back to see the boy resting his palm against the glass, looking at me expectantly. A greeting of some sort, I suppose.

So he'd already figured out more than a few nuances in human body language. I can see why my mother had thought him so impressive.

I press my fingers in a reflection against his, immediately scouring his small frame and features for any sort of response. Pause. He studies me, grins, and mouths inaudibly but unmistakably:

Hello. How are you today?

10
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Challenge of the Week #60: You have just discovered a new lifeform. Write a story of 200 words or more. The most masterfully written piece, as voted and determined by the Prose team, will be crowned winner and receive $100. Quality beats quantity, always, but numbers make things easier for our judges, so share, share, share with friends, family, and connections. #ProseChallenge #getlit #itslit
Written by a060147
the boy in the glass
I meet him on a Sunday -- summer vacation, quarter after eleven, nearing lunchtime -- surrounded by people and things who don't really matter at all. Shouldn't, anyway, not with my mother acting as the lead director of the facility's new program. There are exactly three starkly dressed men in the room right now, all bearing lab coats, identification badges, and the tendency to speak over one another, and with their discussion steadily reducing itself to a heated, nearly incoherent squabble, my ability to pay attention has already excused itself several minutes ago. I find myself staring at the perfectly monochromatic linoleum instead, counting the outlined squares, then at the perfectly bare walls, then at the scuffed edge of an oxford shoe bearing one too many scratches to be in good condition. Then the shoe is speaking to me, and I'm looking up and into the disapproving gaze of one of the lab workers. The urge to slap him for his disrespect rises so quickly that my fingers twitch. I don't, of course. Mother had pulled me out of my activities for the day to show me her newest endeavor, and pleasing her remains priority over all else. Knocking one of her trusted scientists unconscious, possibly putting my own image in bad light in spite of this step out of line -- no, that wouldn't sit well at all. So I stare back with the wide-eyed, innocuous gaze I've adopted just for bastards like these. Hold my tongue. He doesn't bite, not fully, but he hesitates a bit and begins to speak in that professional, level tone again, reiterating.

"He's a feisty one, this boy," he explains, pushing up the bridge of his spectacles. "Lacks obedience. Difficult to handle. He is intelligent, though, and possesses a grasp of language and abstract logic like we haven't experienced so far -- but I'm sure that's what you're here for."

And I'm not sure exactly what that is. I don't deign to ask this underling the obvious, though, and instead opt to raise a brow in confusion. Give a blank, questioning stare over the edges of my own wire-rimmed glasses. He almost returns the stare, as if it had been my fault for not listening in the first place -- before the taller, lankier of the trio steps in front of him, placing a hand on his shoulder. It's difficult not to smirk at the sharp look he chances at him.

"If I may, Miss Fujino," the taller man addresses correctly and formally this time, "would you have your attention directed to your left?"

I turn.

And then become completely and utterly clear on the task at hand.

As the first on a long, long list of anomalies, the boy is encased in glass. In a tank, actually, with countless tubes connecting to both him and various apparatuses scattered about, unknown monitors tracking unknown conditions. He's a small, delicate little thing -- no taller than I stand, probably, with slender hips and shoulders and limbs -- and the considerable size of the tank itself dwarfs him to the likeness of a child. He's albino, of course. All the results of the program are. But he's the first one I've ever seen with such androgynous, youthful features that I can't help but be thrown off by the pretty lips and pretty eyes, the thick, thick lashes fluttering gently over rounded cheekbones. As if he'd been pulled from some fairy tale storybook, almost. As if he were some gentle, benign prince draped in gold and finery instead of breathing apparatuses and electrodes. The short, undeveloped feathers of his budding wings flicker occasionally in time with his breathing; the tips of his fingers quiver as if he's been caught dreaming. Then it's his eyelids that are quivering, slowly but surely, and I find myself staring into the cloudiest, most opaque set of rosy irises I've ever seen. Willed into stillness. He's just like --

"An angel, isn't he? I thought you'd like to see our newest success in splicing."

The proximity of the voice behind me startles me out of my reverie, forcing me to tear my gaze away from the creature -- and to eye-level buttons on a perfectly pressed, perfectly white blouse. My mother. My mother had come to see me, me of all people, instead of letting her secretaries inform her how this briefing had progressed with her daughter. There's a smile on my face before I can stop myself; I try to think of a phrase to best express my understanding and interest in my newest task.

But the short, bespectacled underling is on her before I can speak, and my fingers are twitching again. He taps his cheap shoes against the linoleum excitedly as he does so. "Director Fujino, what a pleasant surprise! What brings you here today?"

My mother allows his nearly shit-eating grin a dismissive glance before acknowledging me. Small nod, slight hum escaping her lips. I feel like I'm going to burst. She turns towards the taller man as he whispers something in her ear, makes a sound of approval, then leans so closely in my direction that we're nearly face-to-face, eye-to-eye. Begins speaking in that low, level tone I've only ever heard her use with her colleagues, and says, "Lucy, do you know why I brought you here today? Do you know why I've decided to show you, out of all my colleagues and partners, this subject? Why I've trusted you with this? Tell me what you think of it, Lucy."

She's talking directly to me. She's talking directly to me. The three squabbling scientists and stark walls and floors are gone, suddenly, as is the beautiful, winged subject in the tank. She wants to know the answers to exactly three distinct questions, all imperative to the program, and she's going to listen to me directly as I answer them. As I explain my role in this task in the most knowledgeable, most appropriate answer possible.

"I-I'm going to monitor the development of subject 0049. This high-functioning subhuman will be under my responsibility until the duration of the experiment expires. Until then --" I take a quick breath to stop my heart from jumping out of my chest," -- I will do everything in my power to ensure the progression of the subject's mental and physical capabilities, no matter the cost."

"And?"

And? I think quickly, studying her features.

"And -- and because I am the most controlled and least likely of all possible participants to produce lurking variables, I am the best suited for this task."

She frowns a little at this -- that half quirk of a lower lip lasting for only half a second -- before setting her smile again, nodding. I've made a mistake somewhere, I know. Probably should've commented on the immaculate state of the subject, the methods in which I would explore the subject's psyche and capabilities. Anything but that too simple cop-out of an answer. Too late now. She's already turned to leave, the room and squabbling scientists and tank returning to their rightful places; within moments the taller man is briefing me about the experiment in short, informative statements, tapping his pen against the clipboard. The man with cheap shoes has spared enough glances between me and the subject to be grating. I listen to the click of her heels as she leaves the room, exits the hall, and places the world right back where it should be in her absence.

At the end of the day, I'm alone again. My mother's decision to include me in her newest developmental project has been categorized as an internship under my university; the details are already neatly filed away. So I wouldn't have had a choice in the matter, anyway. Not that I ever would decide against it. The boy sits across from me in his tank, watching me curiously as I divide the paperwork into manageable sections. Stares with unfocused, rosy eyes as he taps the glass every so often. I'm not even sure if he's aware that he's under my care at the moment, if he had even heard anything of the conversation -- but he's supposed to be the best and the brightest of all the spliced subhumans, so I imagine he's understood at least a few things. He's a pretty, lovely little thing to look at, at least. My mother would appreciate the mint condition of his appearance at the end of the trial. The sound of a heavier, harder tap catches my attention for a moment, and I glance back to see the boy resting his palm against the glass, looking at me expectantly. A greeting of some sort, I suppose.

So he'd already figured out more than a few nuances in human body language. I can see why my mother had thought him so impressive.

I press my fingers in a reflection against his, immediately scouring his small frame and features for any sort of response. Pause. He studies me, grins, and mouths inaudibly but unmistakably:

Hello. How are you today?
#fantasy  #scifi  #fiction 
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Juice
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You've been told by your father that he will ask you to die a painful humiliating death in 40 days from today, but the choice is up to you. How does that make you feel. 150 coins to the most philosophically significant non-rhyming entry.
Written by a060147

eloping of a consort

The women here are not women. The women here are neither the hawking street vendors of the square nor the humble farmers of the countryside, as we have neither mouths nor fingers to fill either of those roles. We ornamented, dainty, useless things -- the blue bloods, the royals, the valued -- are too easily auctioned off for the sake of marriage, our virgin bodies held high on pedestals. And so I married young. Loveless. Kept my gaze forever downcast until I found a curious, bespectacled one staring right back at me.

My father, standing over us in the aftermath of my undoing, asked if I was prepared to face the consequences. If I felt vaguely ashamed over the sin. Window behind me already cracked, carriage outside, I nodded.

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Juice
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You've been told by your father that he will ask you to die a painful humiliating death in 40 days from today, but the choice is up to you. How does that make you feel. 150 coins to the most philosophically significant non-rhyming entry.
Written by a060147
eloping of a consort
The women here are not women. The women here are neither the hawking street vendors of the square nor the humble farmers of the countryside, as we have neither mouths nor fingers to fill either of those roles. We ornamented, dainty, useless things -- the blue bloods, the royals, the valued -- are too easily auctioned off for the sake of marriage, our virgin bodies held high on pedestals. And so I married young. Loveless. Kept my gaze forever downcast until I found a curious, bespectacled one staring right back at me.

My father, standing over us in the aftermath of my undoing, asked if I was prepared to face the consequences. If I felt vaguely ashamed over the sin. Window behind me already cracked, carriage outside, I nodded.
#fantasy  #fiction  #romance 
3
0
1
Juice
28 reads
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