300-word Writing Challenge #34 (July 2019) -- VICTORY TO CAT'S CRADLE!

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Ursa major

Bearly Believable
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The inspiration image for Challenge#34 is:


Sunset.jpg



Image credit: Mister_Oy


THE CHALLENGE:

To write a story in 300 words or fewer
INSPIRED by the image provided above, in the genre of
Science Fiction, Fantasy, or other Speculative Fiction


THE RULES:

Only one entry per person

All stories Copyright 2019 by their respective authors,
who grant the Chronicles Network the non-exclusive right to publish them here



This thread will be closed until July the 10th 2019
As soon as the thread is unlocked, you may post your story



Entries must be posted no later than July the 31st 2019,
at 11:59 pm GMT



Voting will close August the 15th, 2019 at 11:59 pm GMT
(unless moderators choose to make an extension based on the number of stories)



You do not have to enter a story to vote -- in fact, we encourage ALL Chronicles members
to read the stories and vote for their favourites


You may cast THREE votes


NO links, commentary or extraneous material in the posts, please -- the stories must stand on their own


PLEASE REMEMBER THIS IS A FAMILY-FRIENDLY FORUM


For a further explanation of the rules see Rules for the Writing Challenges


This thread to be used for entries only:

Please keep all comments to the
DISCUSSION THREAD

(Please do not "Like" posts in this thread)
 
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Cat's Cradle

Time, now, to read...
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2,504
The Dinner Table

Grandma and mom are in the kitchen making dinner, so dad asked me to hang with them. Mom told me before the trip that grandma doesn’t like her because she isn’t Baptist, but she doesn’t like me, and I’m Baptist.
They speak in small statements.
“That’s a good ham.”
“Peas are ready.”
“You’re scrawny for fourteen, Susan.”
Grandma’s an unsmiling woman, but an enthusiastic slicer, attacking meat, bread and pies with violent cuts. Mom works beside her, pounding things – potatoes, peppercorns, sometimes the counter. She doesn’t pound things at home.

I hear dad shouting at grandpa in the living room. I know dad hates him, that he used to beat dad.
I go listen. They’re arguing whether golfers were better in grandpa’s time or nowadays.
Grandpa wrings a pillow as they fight. He’s excellent at twisting things – he twists the heads off beetles in the fields and truths from dad’s childhood; he laughs while wringing chickens’ necks. Dad’s fist stabs repeatedly toward grandpa when making his points. Take that, and that!

Grandma calls us for dinner. We sit, pray, and pass food and awkward conversation.
“Never any lumps in my potatoes.”
“Peas again, Velma?”
Personal barbs that somehow evolve into fights over dad’s murdered baby sister. Head hanging, I want to scream for them to stop arguing, till I realize it’s no longer voices I hear.
Grandpa leans forward, wringing and ripping his cloth napkin. Silverware grates against plate as Grandma slashes her ham into pink shreds. Dad stabs his knife over and over into the tabletop. Mom pounds bloodied fists into her food.

I hear incessant scratching and look at my hands – the forefinger of one scrapes a raw-looking trail across the other’s palm. Grandma has wooden matches in the kitchen, and their barn’s a dry old thing.
 

Rafellin

Independent Author & Publisher
Joined
Oct 29, 2013
Messages
493
Location
West Sussex, UK
Gifted

“As the sun goes down, the light shines through the end windows. The dirt on them diffuses it and, from the outside, it looks like someone’s turned the lights on.”

“No, I’m not here for that. I’m here to listen.”

“To you.”

“Yes, I can hear you all.”

“I know you usually get us to ‘talk to ourselves’ to answer your curiosity. I don’t mind, but there’s no need. Go ahead and ask.”

“Don’t know. Started when I was very small. A whispering lady with a lovely voice and very cold fingers told me never to tell others of my kind about it.”

“Winter queen? I don’t know. Why would she give me a gift?”

“Thank you. Good to have an explanation after nearly thirty years. You don’t happen to know who, do you?”

“Let me say this out loud so you can correct me if I’ve got it wrong: this gift came because, at some point in the future, one of my kind will need me to translate for them because they’ll be able to see you but won’t be able to hear.”

“How can you be sure?”

“So the ability to see can be inherited, but hearing like mine has to be given?”

“Only to keep a balance? You’re right. I probably wouldn’t understand.”

“What do I do after I’ve done it, then?”

“Come and tell you? Okay. Afterwards, maybe you could tell me more about living on that side. Most of your kind leave when they find out I can hear.”

“Different types? Hadn’t thought of that. Makes sense.”

“Before you go, what do you call yourselves? Seems rude to keep calling you ‘fairies’ when I could use the right name.”

“Pronounced ‘Shee’?”

“Thank you. Yes. You too. Goodbye.”
 

Victoria Silverwolf

Vegetarian Werewolf
Joined
Dec 9, 2012
Messages
6,090
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
Dark Satanic Mills

Hezekiah Crayle, Confidential Inquisitor for the Crown, crouched in the shadows cast upon crumbling brick walls by the blazing forge of his suspects' lair. Here, in the far western hill country of Greater New England, hardly a stone's throw from the lands claimed by Louis XX for France, revolution smoldered, a cloud of disloyalty as dark as the billows that rose from the chimney of this age-worn, and supposedly abandoned, ironworks.

Crayle approached the building cautiously, hardly daring to breathe, his pistol cocked and ready in one hand, dagger in the other. The intense heat of the forge covered his face with sweat. The stench of burning coal filled his nostrils. Smoke brought tears to his eyes. In theory, an agent of the Prince of Wales had the freedom to enter unmolested into any establishment within the Regent's realm. It had been little more than a generation since the failure of the American Rebellion, however, and many colonials harbored unspoken thoughts of retribution. Discretion advised silent advance and sudden attack.

He kicked in the worm-ravaged wooden door and stood with weapons pointed at the trio within. "Stand and be recognized!"

Two men, one a gaunt, balding graybeard and the other merely a lad, stared at him. Their clothes were hardly better than rags. The other was a woman of middle years, curiously arrayed in a gown covered with strips of dull metal. She laughed lightly, like the heroine of a romantic novel, and raised a hand. Blue-white flame leaped from her fingers to his dagger and pistol. He dropped them, screaming with pain, his hands blackened as if by a raging fire. The last thing he realized before he fainted was that the rumors were true. The traitor Franklin had taught his followers to wield lightning.
 

Cathbad

Level 30 Geek Master
Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
9,201
Location
Everywhere.
Past vs Future


Tingle stepped outside, walked a few steps and emptied the dishpan. He looked up and around briefly.

The dwarves Larkin and Tolnar crouched quickly and waited for the gnome to go back inside, which he did a moment later.

“What is that contraption, Larkin?” Tolnar asked, referring to the gigantic contraption standing next to the house.

“I don’t know,” Larkin admitted, studying the thing.

It was almost twice as tall and wide as the wooden house. It was built of wood and steel. There was a portion with several gears and a couple levers, that seemed to be attached to a thick ‘axle’ running through it.

“What does it do?”

Larkin shook his head. “Don’t matter. Boss Korel says it’s a machine; and we are duty-bound to destroy all machines.”

“Ain’t never heard a no machine,” Tolnar protested.

“Neither have I,” Larkin agreed. “But ours is not to question what or why, only to - CHARGE!!”

The five dozen dwarves in Tolnar’s company rose from their crawling positions right into a full run, each pulling their weapons and screaming their family war-cries.

But they should have known: Gnomes do not live in above-ground homes.

Out of trap doors inside the house, a number of warrior gnomes matching that of the dwarves climbed out, pouring out of doors and windows to meet the dwarven charge.

From hidden openings outside around the house, five times more gnome warriors joined in.

Captain Ghenis exited the house door last, leaned against the doorframe and relit his pipe.

“Foolish dwarves,” he lamented aloud as the bloodbath continued. “Why can you not simply accept the inevitable? The past is our future!”
 

Luiglin

by day Stuart Orford by night Dark Lord's scribe
Joined
Mar 22, 2012
Messages
1,799
Location
Mercia, UK
Mine Your Own Business

“And we’d have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for that meddling old tramp and his flea ridden dog!”

The cop shoved the last of the kids, stupid ghost miner costume and all, into the back of the police catch van. Slamming the door, the cop raised a bushy eyebrow, shook his head and turned back to the old man and his dog.

“Thank you, Mr Dodgers. Without you and your dog we’d never have cracked the smuggling ring. Those tunnels stretch right to the other side of the border. That elaborate ghost miner routine of theirs to scare people away was quite believable.” The cop coughed, a vain attempt to hide this embarrassing admission. “To a point, I mean.”

The old man nodded, rheumy eyes darting back and forth between the police van, engine coughing into life, and the rust afflicted colliery buildings they called home.

The cop, taking the hint, left.

They watched until the police van disappeared out of sight.

“Zoinks, Doob. What a bunch of weirdos.”

“Reah! Reirdos,” said the dog. “Ramburgers?”

“Good call. You know what, old buddy old pal?”

The dog remained silent; he didn't always speak. The old man couldn't remember when his friend had first spoken, but living out here, he was glad of any conversation he could get.

“Boy oh boy, so close. If they’d found that tunnel…” the old man didn't dare finish.

Taking the lift, they descended into darkness, their solitary torch emitting a sickly yellow light. Left, right, tunnels long abandoned, they came to the coalface.

The fuzzy circle of light from the torch illuminated a row of naked human bodies, hung to ripen the meat.

“I’ll cut, you mince,” said the old man, pulling out a butcher’s knife.

“Rooby, dooby, doo!” said the dog.
 

nixie

pixie druid
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I may live in Yorkshire but I'm a Scot
Every Story has two sides.
The tour guide came to the first structures.
“This is all that remains of the original camp all the other buildings are reconstructions. Now the tall one was.....

The old man at the back ignored the voice. Unaccompanied he wandered over towards the hut, tears glistening.

“Sir you can’t go in there, it’s not safe” said the other guide as he led him away back towards the tour.

Memories assailed him as he followed the others.

Halfway through they stopped for refreshments, he found an empty table away from the others, to be alone with his thoughts.

A voice suddenly said “mind if I join you? “ The young lady sat down before he could object.

“Is this the first time you’ve come back?”

He didn’t respond, eyes fixed to the table hoping she’d go away.

“ You can always tell those who lived through it"

Again he didn’t respond.

“You’re him, aren’t you the guard?”

“Please miss, go away"

“That’s why you’ve never attend the remembrance meetings"

The old man sighed “ I don’t deserve it, thousands died"

“You followed orders, you were a sentry, you didn’t lead people to the chambers. You guarded the perimeter”

“I should have stopped them"

“One against dozens, you couldn’t have done anything “

“ I could have done more"

She banged the table, startling those around them.

"More? Thanks to you over 200 hundred children escaped, including me"

Sobbing quietly he shook his head.

“You were only here a fortnight, when it was the children’s turn for the chamber you stole a truck freed them, knowing if caught you’d be killed. Spent the rest of war in a prison camp"

“Not enough, I don’t deserve the honour of survival”

The guide stood.

“Ladies and gentlemen lets resume our 200th anniversary tour"
 

J.C. Scoberg

Active Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
44
Location
Cymru
A Dark Deal

Darkness swallowed the carriage as the funicular descended down, down into the ground. The warm morning a distant memory as the clammy coldness of the mine leeched all warmth from the air. The railway cable creaked and groaned, threatening to drop its load faster to the hell that awaited below.

A minute passed, then the night shift on the sister carriage ascended from the gloom, hard men with coal-dust stained faces, heading toward the light of a new day. They nodded grimly to their brothers, a prayer to see them all safely to the surface.

It was a journey Garin had taken for the past twenty years. The same journey his father, and his father’s father had taken before him. But today was different. Today he had Rhodri, his son. Five years old and almost comical in his overalls. But Garin felt no humour at all, only sadness. Crushing, suffocating sadness.

The carriage slowed its descent then stopped with a jerk. The sounds of the mine rushed in, all as familiar to Garin as the whistle of a boiling kettle. And then he heard it.

The sound he dreaded.

The knocking.

‘This way, son,’ he said, guiding Rhodri toward the knocking. Innocent, trusting, scared, Rhodri followed his dad into the darkness toward the only future he knew. It broke Garin’s heart.

Tunnels twisted, the air getting thinner and the ceilings lower until they were crawling along their bellies gasping for breath.

Suddenly, the tunnel opened into a small cavern and a child-sized creature greeted them with an ugly smile, its fist paused in the act of knocking.

‘You came,’ said the Coblynau.

‘Aye.’

‘The boy for a new seam, that was our deal.’

‘My son to secure the mine’s future,’ said Garin, choking back tears. ‘That was our deal.’
 

Vaz

We're in the pipe, five by five.
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
1,396
Location
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Howl.

The girl sits atop the platform and scans the arid lands beyond the crippled walls of her home. The sun is rising to take dominion over the sky, it's beautiful bronze rays pick out the few fruitless trees that crowd around the borders like barren pilgrims of another age shamed by their lack of offerings. She breathes the moment in drawing ash tainted wind deep into her lungs like a smoker. Savours the sight of pale fog that heralds her ending as it consumes the dark rolling hills to the west with a singular ferocity. The revolver sitting at her hip is weighted with the certainly of a single bullet.

She climbs down the ladder and enters the house. The dog looks at her, his tail moving in a joyful rythm as he eats the last piece of steak she gave him.There are pictures on the walls but it has been so long since she has seen them they seem faceless. The family moments stolen from time by the click of a camera are a blurred mirage; an almost forgotten fragment of something taken.

She leads the dog into the yard to stand beneath the skeleton of a rusted climbing frame. His fur is soft beneath her rough hands and the wet of his nose tickles her fingers as he nuzzles against her. The fog has risen, looming over the walls like a shroud. It is painful when it takes you. The screams she once heard are what steal her sleep. The girl draws her gun. It is cold. The dog is warm against her. She holds him close. She does not want him to feel pain but she is afraid.

A single shot seperates the silence.

The fog swallows the girls home

There is howling.
 
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chrispenycate

resident pedantissimo
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7,238
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West Sussex
Landfilling

There's employment in the pits again. The steam for the lifts and pumps might come from Solar heaters, much of the physical work might be robotic machines, not to be rescued in cave-ins, but men are right there directing, and earning. And into the guts of the Earth, rammed as firmly as the coal that was extracted, goes waste. The glossy paper they can't recycle, worn wood ex-floorboard, door, fence, furniture but above all plastics.

Ton after ton, buried deep, and when one shaft's full, there's plenty more space; the country is riddled with more ex-mines. Water might percolate in with time, bacteria release methane from surfaces, but it won't be much. Closer to fossilisation than decay.

There are several generations of employment underground, binding carbon, restraining bonfires, hiding fuel so the poor will no longer be tempted to open their fireplaces, burn the rubbish back to warming, local and global. Those not afraid of their ancestors' dark strongholds can feed families, bringing them up in the troglodytic tradition.

There's no shortage of slag to cap the holes, small mountains of it; elsewhere they were building ski slopes of it. Here the nostalgic decor would be the fossilised industrial construction, lift wheel and pumps, with maybe a dusty youngster in synthetic moleskins will lead a pit-pony with cart; there are still a few descendants not monopolised by kiddies' riding schools.

Thousands of tons of carbon are already disappearing into the dark, for a reasonable fraction of forever, hammered in by the descendants of those who dug the holes in the first place.

Chimneys of terraces are cold, smokeless, the atmosphere sucked clean by trees producing buriable wood, leaf residue and twigs.

When the next species takes the baton of technology, there will be hydrocarbons underground.
 

MikeAnderson

Emperor Xenu's Life Coach
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
101
Location
Making soap with my buddy Tyler!
That's the Harlan County Way

“Let me out, dammit! Please!”

Al Hawkins could not make the gate that sealed off shaft #4 to the long abandoned Hawkings coal mine open, nor could budge Buford, the mountain man that locked the gate behind him, taunting him with one hand on a double barrel shotgun, the other holding a Miller Lite.

“I could, Al, but then, I’d be breaking that deal my kinfolk up the mountain made back in the 1920’s, when yer great grand-daddy tried to hide he done got all those boys killed with his crappy excavation methods, and those 66 miners he killed back in them days…”

Buford grinned, sipping his tall boy. “Dem boys always collect. That’s the Harlan County way.”

Al turned, his wits and bladder evacuating when he saw the mob of shambling corpses, still wearing mining helmets and tattered coveralls, reaching out with bony, clawed hands to drag him into the Abyss of a Kentucky coal mine.

“Yup.” Buford chimed, crushing the empty can in his massive mitt. “Been a helluva good deal. Ever since we stuffed yer grand-pappy down that shaft, long as we keep feeding dem boys the first born sons of y’alls family bloodline, they stay put in that mine-shaft, and don’t bother the good folks down in Harlan. You made it real easy, tryin’ to open this cursed hole back up, despite the government telling y’all to back off.”

Al tried to shriek but a skeletal hand fish-hooked his lip. Decaying fingers pulled at his skin.

“Y’all Hawkins never learn, do ya?” Buford mocked, cracking open another beer. “This is what happens when you keep cutting corners in the coal business.”

Al let a muffled scream loose as putrid and petrifying teeth sank into his ample flesh.

“It always comes back to bite y’all!”
 

Tywin

I always pay my debts.
Supporter
Joined
Oct 4, 2011
Messages
1,721
Location
Parkville, Missouri, US of 'frickin A
Just a Ranger, Alone on the Frontier with His Loyal Repulsor Bike

Ranger-sergeant Huxler left his repulsor bike parked beside the dusty path and knocked on the door of the ranch house.

“Glory to the Princeps,” a weathered rancher greeted the lawman at the door. “Welcome. What can I do for you?”

“On Ranger business. Can I come in?”

The old man welcomed him into a parlor then left to find some refreshments. The room was tidy. Sturdy and conservative furnishings; aging, but well-kept. A framed portrait of the Princeps hung over the mantle.

The rancher returned, followed by a pretty young daughter carrying lemonade. “Will you be staying the night?” his host asked. “We have a spare room, and there’s space for your repulsor in the barn.”

“Much abliged.” Huxler thanked him.

“Abby will get your things settled.” The rancher nodded to the girl who shot Huxler a dusky look before hurrying off to move his vehicle to the barn.

“So, what brings a ranger out this far?”

“Ranger business.” Huxler repeated his original answer, but with a wan smile that wasn’t unfriendly.

The rancher held up his hands and smiled. “Just wanting to know if there’s trouble about.”

“Understandable.” The ranger allowed. “So, how long’ve you lived here?”

“My whole life. Born in this very house. Never even left the county.”

The rancher left to fix supper, and left to his own, Huxler casually poked around the drawing room. A photo on the shelf showed a different man in front of the farmhouse posing with a late model repulsor.

The ranger looked at the other pictures. Several of them displayed the house, and the same man – with an entirely different family. None of the photos had the rancher or his pretty daughter.

Realization dawned on the ranger just as he heard the hum of a plasma rifle arming behind him.
 

dannymcg

S.S.D.D.
Joined
Sep 9, 2016
Messages
3,771
Location
Cumbria UK
Once bitten.

We got another tip off tonight, they’re either getting better at hiding or their numbers are thinning out a lot since The Change.
It’s been almost a year since that insane day, people killing and drinking blood right out on the streets. Agonised screams stay in my head and keep me awake.

It took a while before folks caught on about the ages thing, it seemed like being in your fifties or older was one group and us younger ones the other.
One set going berserk attacking and biting, with the rest desperately trying to hold society together. However, of late, some scary rumours are going around.

A patroller had spotted a light in the old mining museum and rounded up a couple of helpers. We crept up and got into position, then charged in to overwhelm the one old man standing by an oil lamp at the far end of a workshop.

As we neared him nets sprang up and we were trapped, shadowy figures appeared and stunned us with heavy clubs. We came around to learn we’d been bound tightly.

Then we learned the truth of the rumours as the cackling seniors began slicing strips off us and cooking them over an open fire. I watched and screamed in agony as most of my leg was devoured.

The worst thing is they’re doing this deep in here where no sunlight can penetrate to blessedly kill me, I cannot ever die to end this torment.
 

Ian Fortytwo

I'm not crazy, my reality is tnereffid than yours.
Joined
Dec 30, 2018
Messages
366
Location
Somewhere on this mortal coil.
What's a Colliery?

"What's a colliery?"
"It's a building where they lower men down to a coal mine."
"What's coal?"
"It was a fossil fuel from another time."
"How did they survive all that pollution?"
"They nearly didn't, the politicians kept stalling over petty regulations."
"Why didn't the population speak up?"
"Some did, only to be told by others to shut up."
"So how long ago did this happen?"
"Over ten thousand years ago, as I said ancient times."
"As an historian and archaeologist you have discovered many things from the past. Can you please tell me a bit about the comparisons of then and now?"
"I have discovered that vehicles used to run on petrol or diesel, nowadays vehicles are electric or battery driven. Fossil fuels were replaced with clean energy, like wind, solar, and waves, even nuclear fuels were discouraged. Aircraft was replaced by teleportation, which also replaced ships. Of course most people use teleportation, however bicycles are encouraged for the fit healthy people. Computers and e-books, have replaced books."
"Wow, I have only seen pictures of books, I suppose that was done to save forests."
"Yes, can I ask why you mentioned about collieries?"
"Well I have heard that they could be opening them up."
"Nooooo!!!"
 

Daysman

Newfangled Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2018
Messages
265
Location
east of the crooked house, south of weddell wynd
Falling

My Aunt lit out last year.

She hopped the mirror stream to Barnard's Star, messaged me enroute, said I should take care of her gig.

Family's still furious with her.

So I'm managing her bygones pile, a million tonne brick circling Sol 4, compacted personal dross sacked from an abandoned zerogee habitat.

I've six tunnel crews, cyborg adepts teamed to eek out cultural artifacts and experience items. It can be a real buzz, the finds we make, the memories we pull.

Yeah.

So, you wanna hear about crew four?

I found them milling about, out past junction 426, pulling random dross through the tunnel's open mesh. Something screwed with them, a buried thing. They'd condensation inside their breathers. Not seen spaceborne mecha shedding many tears.

Top of their artifacts bin I found a memory trove, a museum piece, terrestrial, ancient and valuable.

I just had to partake.

I can see them now, waving me away... too late.

I'm aboard a lightweight aircraft thrown by a tiny rocket motor through the skene of air to squat for a moment beside the crescent Earth. I'm weightless, unremarkable in itself, it's my everyday, until we pass apogee and the vehicle's wings fold for the fall. We descend through cloud, the crowded patchwork of the world rushing up, and I know I'm going home.

Back on the surface, I struggle to stand, but not for long. I look back to where I've been, down to the runway heated by the sun, and I know what it is to stand and not fall forever.

It's odd, to recall a connection never made, but now it's a thing I need to do. I'll be heading down an equatorial beanstalk somewhere, but before that, I'll need upgrades.

The family will help out.

And I want legs.
 
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Starbeast

Benevolent Galaxy Being
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Messages
5,031
Location
Illinois
Logan's Heroes

"Park the tanks behind that android lumber mill."

"You got it captain."

#

"Captain Logan. I need you for a recon mission. Retrieve Dr Frankenstein. Destroy his monster."

"That's deep within enemy territory. I'll be encountering thousands of mutant soldiers, plus a twenty foot, living dead creature. Sounds like fun."

#

"Wait until I give the signal. Then rock n' roll with those 60 cal.s."

"Aye, sir. Alright lads! We're sending those lumbering horrors, back to hell!"

Hundreds of soldiers cheered

"FIRE!"

#

"I ordered the troops to burn the remains."

"Great job. The General wants to see you in her office."

#

"I missed you."

"Lock the door captain."

#

"Those fireworks were pretty awesome."

"So are you."

#

"Wow. Did you see all those trains passing through that mountain? Logan. What do you dream about?"

"Leaving this android lumber mill. Walking on a beach with you."

"Aww."

#

"Captain. Werewolf tank platoons are ready. Whoa!"

"You saw, nothing."

"I did not see you na... I mean, I saw, nothing. Nothing!"

"Captain Logan, is making donuts outside."

#

"Hot, fresh and huge. Have one".

"Mmm. Good. Any plans for tonight captain?"

"After I fertilize my garden, I'm taking General Jen-Jen to see a play."

"Which one?"

"Waking Ned Devine."

#

"I loved that play, Logan."

"I love your smile."

#

"Captain Jekyll and his commandos, were defeated by Dracula."

"Jekyll....was my friend."

#

"Sergeant. (cough, cough) Good luck."

"Don't worry Logan. We'll win this war. Alright lads! An army of the dead is coming over that ridge. Crude weapons, are all we've got to fight with. This is our last stand. What say we send those rotten corpses, back to their graves!"

Hundreds of soldiers cheered.

#

"Oh, Jen-Jen."

"Let's do it, one more time."

"OK. You hide in the lumber mill, while I count to a hundred."
 
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Culhwch

Lost Boy
Staff member
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Messages
7,528
Location
Brisbane, Australia
So Shall You Reap

They were after the supers.

Some folks think the Shards seeded the Earth before the golden age, and came back to reap the harvest. Might’ve been true. Doesn’t matter; they were here, now, snatching up anyone with powers. Most supers disappeared, never to be seen again. Some remained, glowing crystals lodged in their foreheads, doing the Shards’ bidding.

I left the city early, before it got real bad. Drifted east, avoided large towns, fell in with some other refugees. I didn’t intend to stay long at the old colliery. The others thought it was a good place to hide. Remote, abandoned, underground. To me it was a dead end, a dark hole to die in. I should’ve kept moving.

They found us on the second night. I heard the screams before I saw anything, and knew. I fled deep into the mine, but there was no escape.

Once the screaming stopped, they came for me. A crystalline Shard, flanked by two supers, mind-control crystals glowing. I recognised them, even with tattered costumes. Vulcan and Pulse.

You, said a voice in my head. We sensed you. One of them. One of the … heroes.

‘Buddy, you couldn’t be more wrong. No one’s ever called me a hero.’

Still, you have power. It will be ours.

‘Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, I’m done running.’

I’d felt the Shards in my head when they’d first arrived, and every minute since. Figured it might work both ways. Reaching out, I searched for the mind that used to be Vulcan.

And found it. Her crystal dimmed, but her hands burned bright with her power.

I turned my thoughts to Pulse; electricity crackled over his skin.

I smiled at the Shard. ‘What, you guys think you’re the only ones that can play mind games?’
 

JBGood

Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2019
Messages
7
The End of the Summer

It was Mark’s plan, and naturally, I had to be the distraction.
I’ve always hated running, but having a two feet tall clerk chasing you can motivate you pretty quickly.

This wasn’t by far the stupidest idea of the summer. To fight boredom. To spite Josh, who had the not-so-subtle habit of using the mirrors of his convenience store to peek at Jen’s cleavage. But most of all, to avoid thinking about it.

This would be our last summer together.

Surprisingly, everything went smoothly. I managed to give Josh the slip and meet the others at Fallon’s farm.
There was a small clear at the crop-fields with a few rocks carefully piled up in a circle. The rest of the gang was already there. We cramped together to enjoy the spoils of victory surrounded by the privacy of a sea of barley. 6 bags of chips, a jar of peanut butter, a dozen chocolate bars… Everything they could grab and run in the few minutes Josh decided to go jogging with me.

Emboldened by our success, Mark decided to step it up. “Let’s play Dare.”

Jen clicked her tongue. “I swear, if this is another try of having me and Debbie kiss-”

But Debbie had something else in mind. It was a sunny day but the old factory always played by different rules. Debbie looked at the factory and turned to me. Her smile offered an unspoken promise. She leaned in and whispered “I dare you.”

I was suddenly aware of how close she was. I could smell the raspberry candy on her lips… And though I’m ashamed to admit, it was as easy as that.

The next thing I knew, I was climbing over the rusted fence and stepping into the shadows.
 

Dan Jones

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The Travels Of Sir Reginald Rigmarole, Part 94!

So! After my “Scotch Dog” viral Youtube challenge (whereby one shoves a Scotch Bonnet pepper up one’s bumhole until one has consumed an entire hot dog – Harrison Ford did it in Witness) resulted in a subpoena being hurled my way by the disgraced, insane Irish Taoiseach, “Gingivitis” O’Grady, I fled the Emerald Isle by rowboat, after pilfering some leeks for provisions.

However, I’d trousered so much “Welsh Phallus”, as they’re known in Balbriggan, that my boat began sinking! I bailed water, when a horny honk blared off the starboard gunwale. I looked, my eyes encrusted with barnacles, to see an eighty-foot yacht approaching.

Seductively draped over the bow was none other than Gwenn Llandthenohenoheledd, the famously unhygienic daughter of sheep magnate Gwyn Llandthenohenoheledd. I hollered in four-part harmony to attract her disgusting attention.

“Oo-oo, Reggie!” she belched, flapping her bingo wings at me. “Need any help?”

“I’ve sprung a leek!” I roared, waving two vegetables o’er my head.

After clambering aboard, Gwenn embraced me, her breath honking, inescapable. “Reggie, this is fate!” she squealed. “My father needs a consignment of leeks for his new range of mutton pies. Let’s call it a dowry and get married!”

I majestically accepted.

“Get yourself out of those clothes,” she wailed. “Me butler, Chives, has spares.”

After I’d erotically stripped in my cabin a knock sounded. Chives entered carrying a cloth-covered basket.

“Set my clothes down!” I uproariously commanded.

But instead, Chives peeled off a rubber mask to reveal the disgraced, Guinness-stained fizzog of Taoiseach O’Grady! He whisked off the basket’s cover, revealing many Scotch Bonnet peppers and hotdogs.

“Did ye tink oi’d give up chasin’ ye?” he sneered, whipping out his cameraphone. “Oi’ve got a crapload o’ peppers to get troo, so torn around and bend over!”

Foiled again!
 

elvet

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The Planetary Curiosities Society Soirée

The cage was built tall and narrow, designed to suit the attributes of the beast to be held within. The creature was arriving from a planet with a similar atmosphere to our own, but with less gravity, hence the assumption that it would at least be jumping up, if not climbing up, the containment walls. We knew it had the ability to climb, having seen it peering down at us on our scouting expeditions. Its planet had survived a catastrophic environmental event, and was now a landscape of crumbling ruins hidden in overgrown vegetation. Any civilization that had lived there had long since disappeared.

Capturing one alive was a difficult task, as the creatures were wary and scarce. Finally a team was successful. They returned with this specimen for our display, and the viewing hall was filled to capacity. The excitement rose as the inspection portals opened.

This mostly smooth, rather slender example had a head and a meagre four limbs. The lower pair supported its weight, whilst the upper two limbs gesticulated in an erratic fashion. It howled and gibbered, and for the most part, the crowd was entertained. We were disappointed that it did not climb, not even when coaxed with some delicacies that the patrons brought from their dinners.

Whilst the beast itself was suitably diverting, the after dinner meeting was a rousing success.
Conversation veered towards evolution, with one participant pondering if a creature like this could ever achieve the accomplishments of a mannered society such as our own. This brought a round of laughter from the members, however, there was a general consensus that this species did warrant further study. A committee was appointed to acquire additional captives for our experiments. We then retired to our burrows, having had a most enjoyable evening.
 
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