Isn't it scrumptiousssss
The White OakThey say the White Oak knows everything, but why is it burning?
As I stand before the encroaching flame, I begin to doubt all that I’ve been taught. The smell of burnt wood fills my nostrils, and I don’t know if the White Truth is the truth anymore.
Is everything I believe, then, just a carefully fabricated lie?
I glance towards the small group of fellow believers –strangers who have become brothers and sisters to me, they were whispering doubts and blasphemous questions too. Among them, stands our captive, two hands bound tightly behind him.
He’s early in his thirties and has the look of a brazen rebel. He’s also the man who has set the White Oak on fire. Despite being held firmly by two of our biggest members, the man doesn’t stop shouting and cursing.
At least, what he speaks sounds like curses, though none of us can understand what.
“Izh warnnet karbe!” He screams, struggling vainly against his bonds, ”Erde ip timmel. Feur, savi
The Fool's Play"Once upon an olden, wicked kingdom,
There was a fool, young and shrewd."
The king, sat on his gold-encrusted throne, eyed the Fool with his domineering stare, "Tell me, how can a fool be anything but foolish?"
The Fool paused, then put on a show of careful thought and contemplation. He was standing beneath the dais in his garish uniform -complete with pointed shoes and jingling hat, and looking quite the featureless jester he was expected to be. He raised his head to meet the king's eyes, carefully, and said in his shrill voice,
"My liege, here I must advise thee,
This fool was not quite the average fool.
Fair-faced he was not; gray-eyed be this lad,
Beneath he burned with remorseless vengeance
For naught but his offenseful little king."
"His king?" The king frowned, leaning forward towards the performing fool below him, "Fool, what silly story are you telling me? Surely one cannot dare to hate his own king!"
"Patience, Your Highness, we shall soon get there,
Bottled LettersDear Dad,
The papers say you’re a traitor and the king doesn’t trust you anymore. I asked Mom what happened, but she only said never to talk about you again.
Where are you?
They said they dumped your body in the sea, but I don’t think you’re actually dead. The other soldiers are wrong, because I know that you’re the best swimmer there is. I hope the waves will bring you these letters.
It’s been a year since the accident. One year since Uncle Mason became Captain of the Guard and gave a speech about how disappointed he was at the last Captain –you. He also told me we’re lucky (me and Mom), for we are family of the traitor but spared from execution. He was your best friend, Dad, how can he say all those things? I know you didn't conspire against the king. You can't have.
I miss you so much, when are you coming home? I think Mom also misses you, she just doesn't want anyone to know.
FaerielandAt first the incursions were small. A couple of ears of corn here would go missing, or a small patch of potato wouldn't come to crop. Nobody worried overmuch - Mother Nature was always due her share of the harvest. Next, a lamb would go, or a calf. Still, nobody paid it much mind. Nature was ever a thief in the night.
Next, sheep and cows would disappear in the darkest hours. As the barrier weakened, They grew bolder and bolder. Night time disappearances turned to daytime thefts, and the people began to worry. They hustled the sheep in, they hustled the cows in, and they hustled each other inside. The old ways began to come back to them, as they shod their horses and cowered behind iron doors.
Still, They came. As the barrier broke, They came forward with pointed smiles and sharpened teeth. Iron doors weren't enough to keep the people safe, and they fled from their homes. Alas, Their weapons were in their music and their melodies broke open the night.
Tranquil SandsAll I hear is sand rushing past my ears. It's like being trapped in a giant hourglass, the whistle of it falling all around. I open my arms out while it falls free and I breathe. I think, 'this is it, this is tranquility,' but the moment is destroyed by a rough voice.
"Oi. You! Get out of there before you get crushed!"
I scramble free from the newly rejuvenated beach dunes and stomp my way home, brushing sand particles from my shoulders as I go.
JasonJason tagged after me, his feet dogging my heels. "An' then, an' then, an' then BOOM!"
Sometimes when he was excited or feeling particularly emotional, he stuttered entire phrases. It was annoying, but what could I do? Getting angry at him just made it worse, and he'd start stuttering letters, too.
The good news was, he didn't always need interaction. He'd prattle on for hours at a time, just a long-running monologue. He was doing it now.
"--said I don't have any friends, but me and you are friends so she's really wrong and anyway,"
It was high time I interrupted him, or I'd be treated to a full discourse on just exactly how many friends this other person had, and a whole lot more besides. "Buddy, whoa. Breathe, man." He grinned up at me, two wobbly teeth hugging a small gap.
Like a squirrel gathering nuts, he filled his cheeks in an exaggerated motion. They puffed out, translucent and cheeky. I make to swat him with my hand and he ducks away, still grinning. It's a beat before
FFM 2018 Day 3 Challenge"Wait, really?" Sarus look surprised. "But... you're Earthborn! How could you not know?"
I shrugged, fingers rolling over the stone in my hand. "It's not so clear, what our history really is. Julian, Gregorian, Maromian, Hailean... Terra Deux isn't the real Earth, so Hailean is the only calendar most of us know, except the scholars."
Sarus is one of the Axpexes - Experimental Races - centaur style. And it's important to remember the word "style," because there had been cross cultural rifts between the centaur style Axpexes as of late. Calling one of the Caprines an Antiloprine had nearly driven the negotiations committee to ignite civil war right when we're preparing to make peace with the Lillittans at last.
I tossed the stone from my upper right hand to the lower left. Earthborn or not, I'm not human either. Hephaetian. We were supposed to be strong, mighty craftsmen and warriors, all sorts of things that only a fanatic would expect an entire sentient race to adhere to. Quite embarra
FFM 2018 Day 8 - Splat"That's not--" He pinched the bridge of his nose, eyes shut, brow furrowed, breathing deeply. "Please tell me you're referring to the ammunition, not the operators..."
"Well of course, sir!" He was not awake enough to deal with the solider's chipper personality. "It would be silly to leave the operation of war machinery to a bird!"
"But using birds as ammunition is fine, apparently."
"Ohhh! Oh, no, sir, not the birds. Just the eggs."
He was was not awake enough or drunk enough to deal with this. "I'd love to hear how you came about this decision in the first place."
"Havoc, sir! Obviously we're going to maintain our legitimate weaponry, but we figure that for as long as the medics are off the field, they can lob those suckers into enemy territory, too. Slicks up the ground, starts to smell, attracts insects. Good for demoralization."
The general opened his eyes, arching a brow.
"If it's havoc we're aiming for, eggs are too subtle. Let's see if we can't lob a few ac
FFM 2018 Day 17 Challenge - ServitudeLeikos loved tending to his master's children. Their favorite game was to "hide" behind him, not old enough to realize he knew exactly where they were as he fake-panicked, then running around trees to jump out in front of him, causing him to gasp and start dramatically wailing that he'd been so worried about losing them. His master was always working, always making something new. At the moment he was carefully burning patterns into a slice of a tree that had recently fallen, having cut several such pieces out before the remainder was chopped up for more practical purposes. He adored his master's people, the walking gods, blessed by the true gods with the gift of fire.
His master's current project was making little carved toys for children, gently chipping and carving the wood away in tiny pieces until he got the shape he wanted. He had just started on a new slice that morning, and when the sun stood high in the sky, he finally finished outlining the patterns he was going to make that d
The Crystal HengeCommander Bietnitz sat leisurely on the dark rock, looking over the growing crowd of people and the far off glass gates on the platform a quarter mile away.
"Many more of them come through, there's not gonna be any room for any of us to sleep."
Bietnitz glanced back at his co-pilot, Anthony Caldwell, and shrugged. "Eventually, someone's gonna come back and tell us what all this is about," he said. It seemed obvious that that would happen before they ran out of room on the small island, suspended, as it was, in some kind of null-space, trapped in a permanent twilight with nothing but the huge moon eclipsing some far off and invisible light source.
Bietnitz stretched his arms, the old, heavy material of his spacesuit creaking with the activity. He didn't have any explanation for how they got here. One minute, they were on board the Shuttle Carolina as it flew into space to attempt a landing on the moon, and the next there was a very bright flash, and instead of being dead he was deposite
Space SirenThe Ice Ketch Vagris coasted over the nearest ice towers, slowing to a stop over tower #117.
"This the one?" Cruz asked from the drop bay, hooking his helmet on.
"Yeah," Remy answered from the bridge, her voice pensive. "It seems like its picking up something close on the sonar."
"The missing cutter?" Castle wondered out loud.
"Probably. If it got some of that sludge stuff on its charging port, it might not be able to make contact with the tower," Remy said.
"Could be that or a hundred other things," Cruz said. "Just let me down and we'll take a look, okay?"
"Yeah, we're ready to go. On your order, gunny."
Cruz rolled his eyes. He'd been a Gunnery Sergeant in the marines, but it had been most of a decade and the nickname still stuck.
The whole point with signing up with GE and coming out to Saturn's moon Enceladus was to stop being a soldier. Out here they mined precious minerals like silicon and platinum from the moon's subsurface ocean, and grinders cut ice for shipment
Count to a TrillionCount to a trillion. It wasn't the largest number they could think of, but it was the largest one that seemed possible to count to in the short time remaining. It was roughly 1.4 seconds left, but in the mind of a computer, that was a very long time indeed.
In the many years that Axon-048 had lived, he had learned a great many things about the sentient species of the galaxy, their reasons for existing, and their desperate search for meaning in a largely uncaring and endless universe. It was interesting that the simple the species, the more likely any member was to find actual peace, contentment, or meaning in their own lives. The more complex the organism, and extending to the complexity of the society in which the creature existed, tended to complicate rather than facilitate a greater finding of truth.
That would be truth, with a little 't'. The big 'T' truth seemed reserved for the very most basic of the functions of physics and the universe - beyond that, everything was essentially
Hunter v. HuntedFor sixteen years Alan H. Abner had hunted the greatest creature he had ever thought to know - an enormous, silicon-based lifeform that seemed to be the last of its kind. At least, in the years that he had hunted the misty canyons of the smaller continent of Acton IV, he had never seen any sign of another.
Whatever the creature's story was, it had caused quite a stir when it had first appeared on the village that had grown on the continent's shore, killing six and sinking two of the three great ships that had taken them there from the larger continent to the north.
Since then, Alan had been hunting that great beast, recruiting new teams when old ones died or quit, and ranging deeper and deeper into the great misty mystery that was the smaller continent. Alan cut through the dense forest and hunted the small game as he traveled, all the while watching and hunting the great, mosquito-like beast that called the entire continent its home.
Thrice he had tangled with it in the jungles, twice
Transcript OneSEGMENT 1:
This is Professor Granham of the Department of Xenobiology at King’s College London, recorded July 16th, 1930. I leave this message partly because others will doubtless come looking for me, and partly because the…the [inaudible] compels me. There will be those at the University who know the nature of my latest avenue of research and may be able to retrace my steps. Please do not attempt to do so. If you were to see what I had seen…such glory, such hideous—
[Here there is a knot in the wire where a length has been excised. Staff are reminded to check all wastepaper baskets thoroughly before emptying.]
I have wrestled with the possibility of making my discovery known. Part of me wishes to reveal what I found, to allow my colleagues the opportunity to…to make it safe somehow. To stand against the horror I could not. But I know that at best this is foolish. At worst, the will of…
The best security here is
When Grandmother CallsWhen Grandmother calls, she says that everything will turn out alright in the end. I haven’t told her that the wolves are at the door.
Metaphorically and literally.
I’m not sure which concerns me more.
At first I thought that it was stress. You worry about a thing—about next week’s work rota, about making ends meet—and you start to see it as an animal skulking about behind the railings across the road.
Then you realise that there really is an animal, and you think that it’s a fox.
Then you hear the howling, find the claw marks in the wood.
When Grandmother calls, she says that everything will turn out alright in the end. I haven’t told her that the wolves are in the stairwell.
Nobody else seems to notice as they step over them or squeeze by. Perhaps
The Damocles ProtocolAt 2:47am, Michael Johnson died of a heroin overdose on the third floor of a multi-storey car park just outside Hull.
At 9:18am, his body was discovered by an Ikea employee, who subsequently called an ambulance.
At 9:44am, the death was reported and a unique identification number sent to a server at the Ministry of Justice.
At 9:45am, the code was broadcast, detonating one specific half-gram charge of plastic explosive.
Julia Walker’s phone was broken. She got out of bed, pulled on her clothes and turned on the TV.
“…collapsed in Parliament shortly before 10am and was pronounced dead on the scene. When approached for comment—”
The time in the breaking news banner read ten fifteen. Julia switched over to some ancient sitcom and stuck two slices of bread in the toaster. Then she boiled the kettle. The noise dro
Satan and His Robot Buddy PaulEXT. SAINT SWITHUN'S HOME FOR EXCEPTIONALLY BIG-EYED ORPHANS - MORNING
We see the sun rising over St. Swithun's Home for Exceptionally Big-eyed Orphans, which is prominently signposted. Birds are singing. Peaceful flute music - you know the music I mean - plays.
Record scratch. The music stops.
INT. SAINT SWITHUN'S HOME FOR ETC. KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS
MRS. WITHERSPOON continues screaming, hands clasped to her face. She screams for some time, eyes wide with horror. Finally, we see what she was screaming about. There is a plate on the kitchen table covered with the smeared remains of a cake. Icing is splattered liberally all around.
MRS. WITHERSPOON: Who can possibly deduce who ate the orphans' precious cake?
Tyres screech outside.
Brutal guitar solo plays.
TITLE CARD: "SATAN AND HIS ROBOT BUDDY PAUL"
SATAN and his robot buddy PAUL burst through the wall of the orphanage. Fragments of brick fly across the room, break
FFM #1The evening sky was smeared in autumn hues as the sun slowly began melting into the horizon. For a blissful moment, the grassland seemed serene...
A sudden rush of hooves shocked life into the earth as a lone rider races a cross the grassy fields in an unmistakable determination. Shortly behind them a group of men, glinting in blue and gold apparel, chased after them. The colours were undoubtedly that of the royal guard. The rider glanced behind them once, noticing the small distance between them and their pursuers. They felt their heart leaping against their chest as they encouraged their horse to run faster. Nothing, however, caused more fear within them - not even the thought of being caught- than what stood across the river towards which they were racing.
Old trees loomed over the rushing waters, appearing almost human-like. Unlike the warm hues in the sunset behind them, the forest were overshadowed by mist and silver clouds, creeping over the sky like claws. Nevertheless, the rid
FFM2018-1 BailaiThe city skyline melted away before Bailai's eyes and gave way to the vast ocean of the Sprawl. She saw the yellow-and-purple prefab building that contained her apartment and over a hundred others fly past on the horizon. It felt like such a final thing this time - not leaving for a visit or a trip somewhere else, but to leave for good? To leave so thoroughly that she had to make a new home for herself? These thoughts had once felt overwhelming, but then she ran into Patches.
Patches was a salesman adventurer, roaming far and wide (mostly outside of dangerous areas) in search of interesting and weird magical items to sell. The selling was really only there to fund the traveling, his actual hobby. Sometimes, that meant he didn't know what he was selling.
For Patches to find a Leaf of the Manuscript is a miracle of its own - but for him to not know what it was? That was Balai's true gift that day.
So she rode the Skyline. She did not look back at the receding ocean, but instead fixedly a
FFM18 14 - A LifetimeI know not when my life truly began, but I'm now convinced it will never end. There is much I do recall, but anything before age twenty-five has long been resigned to the void.
Those were the days of Julius Caesar, and the mightiest empire ever to stretch across the globe. Rome was a hungry giant, and we were no less monstrous for feeding it. Not that I was cruel-hearted or excessively hostile, I had responsibilities. Sometimes that meant punishing the wicked. All in a day’s work.
“The charge is theft,” I proclaimed, over fortune-teller. I had already decided I didn’t like his flowery, honey-tongued ways. It too strongly conflicted with the bloodstained rags and old grime that he wore. “And you say these accusations are baseless?”
He paused, looking small and vulnerable with his shoulders slumped in defeat. “My lord, I beg, please hear my words this once. Focus not on my theft, but on
FFM18 15 - Tumbling BouldersOnce, in the ancient kingdom of Jagarre, there lived a small merchant family with two sons.
The oldest son, Kant, spent his days with their father, learning the family business and becoming acquainted with the local farmers and merchants who would someday be his allies and partners. He was well-known, and generally not deemed unlikable, but it was common knowledge that he lacked urgency. His father’s business sense and work ethic had never been passed down to the boy, who had never been incentivized by need.
The younger, Yu, knew his father only as a phantom that appeared in the early morning and late evening and otherwise seemed to solely inhabit a realm of work, unless specifically summoned elsewhere by a great force of will. Yu’s days were spent at home. In the morning, he awoke before the sun to prepare the stove and draw water from the well. He collected eggs from the roc-house, milked the moongoats, and gathered herbs and spices fr
FFM18 23 - Troy‘You always get the one with the shitty wheel,’ Troy hissed.
I rolled my eyes and pushed the shopping cart through the automatic glass doors. “They all have shitty wheels,” I said, without moving my mouth. “It’s a cosmic law or something.”
“It’s a joke, Troy.” I pushed the cart through the grocer’s section, picking through vegetables. “What’s got you in such a mood anyway?”
‘Seriously? I’m fucking pent up. I don’t like being a prisoner.’
“Maybe you’ll remember that next time you cause trouble,” I chided, and felt my lips twist into a smirk.
‘Come on, just let me blow off some steam.’ He paused, and his voice shifted. ‘You know I’m harder to manage when you let me get all built up like this.’
I grabbed a couple of tomatoes and tossed
FFM18 24 - A Good ManAbigail awoke to a warm body wrapping around her and a softly whispered “Happy Matriarchy Day.” She smiled without opening her eyes, and the voice continued. “I got you a present!”
She rolled over and grinned at the well-groomed man in bed beside her. “Gimme,” she said with a giggle, and Beta popped up out of the bed like an excited puppy, bounding to the closet and returning with a bundle wrapped in tissue paper. She ripped it open quickly exclaimed, holding up a beautiful silk scarf, expertly dyed and detailed into a piece of artwork. “Baby! How did you possibly afford this?”
He grinned innocently and heaved his shoulders in an exaggerated shrug. “I don’t think that’s the sort of question you’re supposed to ask about a present, my love.” She reached up to grab the little padlock on his collar and pulled him in to give him a long warm kiss on the lips. &
FFM18 31 - The Marble Strikes BackI infiltrate the Republic starship, and oh lord am I good at this shit. Nobody hears the guards drop, and nobody will find their bodies. When they wake, I’ll be gone and their memories will be fuzzy. Hacking the door is child’s play afterwards.
The emperor assumed a floating fortress would keep the Marble safe. He’s a fool. The highest branches hold the sweetest fruits. I pluck this one.
I plummet like a missile towards the planet’s surface, and my suit automatically adjusts to compensate for shifts in pressure. Not only is this the neatest escape I’ve ever made, it’s the most fun. The heist went exactly to my meticulous plan, and they don’t even know the Marble’s missing. Blowjobs and shot-glasses await.
I scan the surface for my landing pad, and nearly shit myself. It’s not there.
The sky is mostly clear and blue above me, and I float comfortably atop waves, co
Hard Cider Hangovers [FFM 12 2018] She cradled the stone pieces as she cried, memories of that evening flooding back.
They were under an ancient wisteria, its flowers swaying in the evening breeze.
"My love, I hate being unable to appreciate your beauty." He told her, allowing a tear to fall from his tinted glasses. She hated this curse, it had robbed her of true love. Her partner couldn't see her and adore her as she him. They finished off a bottle of hard cider, then another.
"Look at me, my love, I want to commit your image to memory."
She was too intoxicated to understand.
Raid [FFM 14 2018] The sirens in the distance weren't as uncomfortable as I thought they would be when everything happened. I put another gray coat into my suitcase, the long drive into the city was going to be chilly. Downstairs, I heard my assistants talk about the proper placement of the bombs. Tia and Ana were the greatest assistants a mortician could have, it was truly a shame they had been caught up in something far more nefarious than what met the eye. For all they knew, they were trying to rearrange the furniture for me. The sirens far-off and inaudible to them. I gathered my tools and dumped them into a discarded cereal box before replacing it in the trash. I doubt the detective would think of searching through it.
"My dears, I must take leave." They rushed over to help me with my belongings as I teetered down the stairs. "An urgent matter has come up."
The sirens were closer now, I didn't have much time. The girls asked me
Familiar [FFM 30 2018] They told me he belonged to an eccentric recluse who rarely strayed from her front yard. The girl at the animal shelter praised the cat's eyes, which were two multicolored kaleidoscopes that stuck out in stark contrast against his charcoal coat. He wouldn't let me pet him at first, preferring to judge me from afar. When he finally approached me, I didn't think twice about petting him. As soon as my fingers touched him, everything changed.
The smell of rotting wood engulfed me. My apartment warped and filled with putrid water. Books written in foreign languages floated past. The cat laid down across the highest dry shelf as I called out to him except the voice that spoke wasn't mine. The cat complied nonetheless, arching up as it angled itself at me. I started to sink, my head bobbing up long enough to see it pounce.
A scream pierced through the forest. My wrists were bound above my head by a rough rope that left de
FFM 5: The Price of DahliasIt started one night while they were watching the news.
“More riots taking place at the San Dan this evening as androids and other robots are demanding more rights as well as land to start their own city, which they are calling 'Scratch.' We have our reporter Joe on the scene. Joe, tell us about -”
The sound and visuals ceased as Adrian shut the television off.
“What was that about?” LCD asked. As an android themselves, they felt like they had a stake in the news piece.
“Nothing,” Kayla said, tension clear in her voice. “Robots and androids aren't being treated fairly. Haven't been for a long time. They want to do something about it.”
“But I've been treated well by you,” LCD said, tilting their computer-monitor head. Adrian and Kayla had found LCD in pieces in a dumpster and had put them back together. LCD's hard drive had been wiped, so they didn't remember anything before meeting Adrian and Kayla. “You've helped me. I
FFM 17: The Miracle ManThe first time we met, I was performing his autopsy. He winked at me – innocuous but terrifying, considering.
We got him all cleaned up; he said his name was Danny and told us not to be concerned. This was natural for him, this dying and reviving. I had my doubts but found him charming.
I thought that was the last I would see of him, but I was wrong.
The second time we met, he'd jumped from a building and fate supposedly brought us together again. He told me he was a miracle man and I believed him.
We kissed in the rain. I wanted it to last forever, but he only had control of his own life and death: such a small thing. We met many times after that.
But of course, he took too many chances.
The last time we met, it wasn't really his fault. The doctors determined it was a heart attack. I wanted to perform the autopsy, but of course they wouldn't let me. Being married to him gave me an unfair bias.
I took one last look at Danny in the coffin. I just felt so cheated. The mirac
FFM 29: Thea's SeasonsIn autumn, she feels at most peace. The trees in the forest are at their brightest in their dying – the reds, oranges, and yellows. Even the tans she can appreciate. Her hair turns a rust color. She begins preparing – sewing warmer clothes, making jerky, stockpiling wood. The wind whips the fallen leaves around the forest floor in colorful swirls. At night, the fire keeps her toasty warm. And on clear nights with no moon, the stars are at their brightest.
In winter, she finds it hard to be kind. Her hair pales to an icy white, and no one comes through the forest anymore. Most days, she stays inside her hut, trying to keep warm. The wind, light and breezy in the fall, now roars with unrelenting force. The sun shining on the snow blinds her and makes it impossible to see. So she goes outside on days that are cloudy, to crunch through the white landscape on woven snowshoes.
In spring, she sees every day as a gift. She watches every day as the buds burst on the trees, c
Not the Crows!Rifle strapped to my back next to my trusty axe, I walked swiftly through the tall golden grass stalks to the forest edge. The approaching winter which had left the trees bare was nearly upon the land and I needed to find meat to carry me through it. Sorry that I had waited so long, I hoped I would cross paths with an unlucky deer so I wouldn’t be stuck eating rice and grain all winter long. I shuddered. The stuff was so bland, I only ate about one meal a day last winter. This time would be different.
I kept my head down for the moment, trying to watch for any rabbit holes hidden in the grass and noticed a small piece of paper lying on an empty dirt patch. From just a few feet away, I could make out some writing on it: HELP I- But I couldn’t read the rest. It was obscured by the weathered folds it had obtained by resting in this field. Thinking I might be able to help the person who wrote it, I started over to it and just before my fingers reached the edge, the wind picked
FFM Day 21I am on my way downtown, hoping for an answer. Currently, my fears control me. While walking, I already can hear the whispers. I try to catch them pointing, but they are just walking normally. My heart kicks up a notch, though there are no threats. As soon as I turn back around, I hear them whispering again.
“Leave me alone!” I shout. No one is even near me.
“Sir, are you alright?” a gentleman appears by my side.
“Everyone’s watching me! And whispering things about me! They won’t stop!” I look behind myself, nearly catching a couple gazing in my direction.
“No one is looking at you. I daresay I could quote their thoughts, ‘I’m a wrought iron face upon the wall. Utterly indifferent to you.’”
“They are looking at me and judging me as they do. I can feel it in the lower third of my gut.”
“Sir, perhaps you are just being paranoid.”
“And now you’re doing it too!” I
PaganiniI met the devil and I stared him in the eye; you’d be amazed at how well he plays violin.
A Paganini prodigy himself, he stands atop the stage, bow raised above his head, conjuring demons with each stroke, sending ghosts into my head.
No wonder I give so easily into him; a duet was so tempting with him. He plucks at my heartstrings with each pizzicato note. And yet, I couldn’t be more happy to be a part of his musical act.
HeartacheThe path beyond me is a winding road with no clear destination, so I choose not to move. I stand still and let the others pass. The day turns into night and I look to the sky and wish on the stars. I wish for someone to tell me where to go, to go back or to trek forward.
As I watch people pass, I try to talk to some of them, but my mouth stops me, and instead I say nothing. I pull out my compass from my pocket, but north doesn’t lead to a path. I grab my backpack and scramble through the contents to find something, a map maybe, just to tell me where to go. I find nothing of use.
Day turns to night and I wish on the stars, but nothing changes come day. I’ve lost count of how many days I’ve been sitting at this crossroads.
I think about the others who passed me. They didn’t have a map, did they?
I take a deep breath and step onto the path. Sitting there wasn’t getting me anywhere, so I should at least do something. My feet are dragging, but I guess I won
FFM 2018- Challenge #3The golden locket dangled provocatively from her neck, accentuating her ashen breasts. The elf swayed into her girlfriend, and her hands slid enticing caresses over her arms and shoulders. They leaned intimately into the bed and kissed, their passionate breaths greeting each other.
Now, it was time for their bodies to greet-
A knock came from the door.
Tina flinched forward in her seat and promptly closed the tab she was on. “Y-yes?!”
Her mother peeked in. “Your dinner is on the table!”
“I’ll be there in a few minutes!” Tina answered.
“Just don’t let it get cold.” The door closed.
Tina groaned and slammed her desk. “I forgot to make a note of what chapter I was on!”
She sighed. “She just always has to interrupt whenever a sex scene comes up.”
FFM Day 1 (CHALLENGE): Chase“Grab them!”
My sneakers pounded against the concrete as I ran. Don’t look back, don’t look back, don’t look back!
I looked back.
Half a dozen armed men charged at me from behind. I willed my burning thighs to work faster. The bag in my hand was my only comfort even as sheer panic settled in my chest. I forced it aside. There was no need to panic.
“Get to the museum,” Sylvia had told me over the phone before this mess started, “I’ll meet you there!” But the museum was halfway across Detroit. In the middle of the day when everyone and grandmother is out on the streets.
I ducked through wave after wave of crowds. I gotted shouted and cursed at relentlessly, but I didn’t care. The men plowed through like crazed bulls. I glanced back for half a second. My body collided with another, and I went down.
They surrounded me, pistols poised to shoot if I so much as blinked wrong. There was nowhere to go.
The ThicketThe castle had been wiped from memory. There were some old legends, of course, but I’d never have known it had actually existed if I hadn’t indulged a love of old maps while waiting out the rain in the library one day. This’d be the cursed castle, then: the place no one who’d set foot in ever returned from. It’d be a ruin now.
I didn’t think there’d be much left of it – maybe a few buried foundations – but I’m a sucker for creepy folklore and I can always use an excuse to go for a walk, so I went to check it out as soon as the weather was decent. Finding it was another problem. I’d copied down the map as well as I could, but they weren’t great at drawing to scale in those days: not to mention that most of the roads would’ve changed course by now. Once I’d gotten kind of close I pretty much couldn’t do anything but wander around a bit and keep my eyes on the ground.
Then I found the rose thicket, a
The Spirit of the SpringThere was once a knight who was well-practised in all knightly virtues, yet still remained unmarried, for he had no eye for the beauty of women. It happened one evening as he was hunting that he came across a spring in the forest; and at its edge there sat a man, pale and ghostly, who was graced with such beauty that the knight was overcome with it.
He asked the man his name, and at first received no answer. At last the man spoke: “My spirit has been bound to this spring for a hundredfold years, and here I must wait until the enchantment which binds me here is broken.”
“How can this be done?” asked the knight, ready to swear his life to the man’s service.
“One must love me with unchanging faithfulness for a time of twelve months: and if this is done I shall become mortal, and my fate will be joined with the one who freed me from my curse.”
“Then I will be the one who does so,” said the knight, “and be faithful to you until the
RipplesThe boat… (→1)
The sea… (→2)
…passes smoothly through the waves, parting the ripples of moonlight on either side. The sea shimmers like silver: an endless trove of coins, intangible, out of reach.
The boatman watches the glints of silver, thinking of the coins he did not steal, and of the boat he did. He does not know where he is running to. He only knows that he is running.
A winding shadow follows alongside the boat under the waves.
He reaches for it… (→14)
He attacks it… (→7)
He flees it… (→3)
…ripples with moonlight, and rising bubbles shimmer from the deep.
The man who swims through it is a shadow in the deep, long and undulant, his tail shimmering like silver. He watches the waves from below: a long wooden shape cuts through the fractured moonlight, rowing out from the shore.
He reaches for it… (→15)
He attacks… (→6)
FFM 2018 17: The Whirling TeethSome tourists expect our island to be total chaos. Can’t say I blame them. A bunch of kids and teenagers running the place all on their own? Sounds like a recipe for disaster. But if you’ve visited the island, you’ll know that’s not the case. We have a system. We have roles. Like, my friend Ani, her role is to net the sea for the trash the tourists leave behind. They’re good at that, these tourists. Sometimes I think it’s all they ever do. Leave their shit behind.
Sometimes the tourists leave babies too. I’m not kidding. See, it’s my job to clean hotel rooms. Mop their sandy tracks. Wad up their shit-stained tissue. That kinda thing. One time I was tidying up a room that had just been vacated, and there was a breathing lump under the covers. I peeled the blanket back, and boom, a baby! That’s how Kidlat and I came to care for Tala and raise her as our own.
The tourists come year-round to the island. They ogle us. We ogle them back.
FFM 9: Putting on the RitzShe reached above into the sky, plucking out the two brightest stars and fastening them into her ears. In the foreboding depths of the dark abyss, she pinned a siren’s opalescent scale to her hair. The molten rock of the earth’s core she fashioned into a cape of rippling flame, cascading around her like a waterfall of radiant heat to keep her warm. The final touches came upon her dainty feet: the clouds, glittering with raindrops unshed, laced to lift her when she danced.
Satisfied, she turned to her husband, and stopped, completely stunned.
“Seriously, you’re really not ready yet?”
FFM 18: Apocalypse, NOW!The Harbinger of Death hung the last of the solar panels on the roof of the makeshift hut and hopped down, clapping the dust free of her hands with satisfaction. She stood for a moment, admiring her handiwork before picking up a broken piece of plywood she had fashioned into a sign, propping it beside the entryway of her little shelter. The sign read:
COMMUNITY SERVICES HELP REQ’
She had run out of space when painting it, but still felt confident that the appropriate message came across. Finally, she picked up a milk crate, stood it on its end, and sat.
It took about an hour before she caught sight of a silhouette moving in her direction. Eagerly, she stood up, rubbing the grid imprinted on the backs of her thighs before recognizing the figure approaching. She slumped back into her seat.
“What do you want?” she mumbled, crossing her arms.
“Me? I came here to see what you were doing,” the Harbinger of Doom peered around her at the sign, picking his teeth wi
FFM 20: The Music Box “One more time,” the clock-maker rasped, weathered fingers winding back the delicate interlocking gears.
The mechanical box opened, revealing the ballerina inside shivering off the silks that covered her tiny form. Within the velveteen confines of the box, she began to dance in a perfect likeness of her. Eyes stinging, the clock-maker watched the replica twist and turn with a sweep of the tinkling notes, before shrouding herself in the dark fabrics within the box. The lid gently closed.
The clock-maker blinked away tears, absorbing the silence and the memory of her music until it was deafening.
“One more time.”
FFM 30: THIS IS ABOUT DEATHI sat beside my children listening to the old widows speak about Death over coffee. They regarded the subject like an old lover, describing each encounter with affection-tinged grief.
“The soul is heavy,” said one as she described her husband’s death. “I could feel him lighten.”
I pressed my children to me, bearing their weight.
FFM day 9 tea partyThe angels are falling. It’s not a normal day. They shred crisped feathers as they go. Below, a child watches, eyes wide to the spectacle, all of heaven’s children plummeting, thousands of beautiful comets, slamming into the earth. The girl claps her hands.
“They’ve accepted our invitation, Sir Teddy!” she cries. “Everyone’s coming to tea!”
FFM day 23 motherThose long nails, the dark lips, the curling hair in cascades, Lina could be a photograph of her mother. She is fresh-pressed, a nearly so perfect copy. Flowers could wilt in her hands, so still she stands, and still, so little understood, she peers out through a dead woman’s eyes.
When Alice drove into the tree, clutching the steering wheel in white-knuckled fists, she never expected this.
She moves her daughter’s fingers, holds them to her daughter’s mouth. She’s shaped the woman in the mirror, changed the daughter into the mother, neatly and with few regrets. She isn’t about to close the door on an opportunity to live again.
And so, with her daughter trapped inside, screaming in the dark hallways of her own mind, Alice leaves the empty house. She has a funeral to attend.
FFM challenge day 24 The White LiliesThe temple is empty. No gods, no priests, no ever-burning fires, no sticks and stones and blind totems. All the cribs are empty, no babes in the bedding, no childless mothers attending. The only thing left on the altar is a single cut lily, placed with care.
At the center of the city, the penitent fill the streets. The sun has no mercy, and shadows have no place to hide. Today is the cleansing day and the day of defiling, the judgement of the sinless and the sinners alike.
On the stage, barefoot and shaking, the seven virgins wait. Four boys and three girls, raised by nameless mothers and taught only patience and silence. The Lilies stand, viewing the masses before them.
“At the end of this long road,” the pastor screams, his voice a quaking thunderclap. “Lies the temple in which our Seven Lilies were born.”
Screams of adulation- the people rejoice in the coming of their Lilies.
“Not of man, not of the tremulous or the timid,” the pastor raised his a
ffm challenge day 26 the (plot)holeAboard the Kitchen Drawers, something was dreadfully amiss.
“What mysterious substance is causing the distortion in the shields?” Captain Ladle cried.
Mournfully, he stared down at the glass of the cockpit beneath his rotating body.
“Nothing!” First Mate Spoon replied, bumping into a wall. “We don’t have shields.”
“Ah!” Knife said, turning upside down slowly. “Then what is disrupting the gravity generator?”
“We don’t have one of those, either,” Spoon shrugged, kicking off the wall and doing a very pretty series of flips.
“Well what in Kitchen Drawers name is causing all these sparks and short circuits?” Knife gestured at the very visible tiny fire starting in the navigational computer.
“Dark matter?” navigator Dennis asked, from within the airlock.
The airlock’s keypad barfed a shower of sparks. Dennis shot into space, fast turning into a Dennis-sicle.
2018 FFM Day 15: The Artist“Hello. You may call me Syreen. How would you like me to address you?” Syreen tightened the straps over the young man’s beautiful body. His back faced her, a stunning blank canvas. They always reserved the back for her.
The man was defiantly silent, his muscles straining against the binds. Syreen was impressed that he’d lasted all the way until her studio. She continued, “You don’t have to worry, I’m not the one that does the interrogating. See, I am an artist. All that matters to me is my work. If you do not want to speak, you do not have to.” She pulled on a pair of rubber gloves. “But I’d recommend that you tell me a little about yourself. It might take your mind off the situation a bit, no?”
Syreen had spent the entire night designing this piece, and she was excited about it. All her knives were arranged in the order of use. Gingerly lifting the first one, she thought she was the luckiest woman alive. Few other women
2018 FFM Day 27: ReflectionWe learned not to look into the mirrors.
Every man-made mirror was ripped apart and melted; everything reflective covered. Broken mirrors were worse than whole ones because it meant more eyes. People moved away from the water, or else built covers over them. River- and ocean-side cities suffered, but it was better than facing the reflections.
In 2971, just past the Spirit Revolution, scientists had discovered that mirrors record every spirit that passes before them.
Ludicrous. Insane. Foolish. Fake. Everyone kept trying to deny it. We had had mirrors since the beginning of time! Whatever a mirror’s effects were, they certainly weren’t dire. And they weren’t – until Tellov Yan discovered how to access the recorded spirits.
“Ygrov, don’t! It isn’t safe.” My mother yells. “Don’t!” I ignore her and jump over the puddle. It was one snapshot in a near infinity. Who was g
2018 FFM Day 29: Sound of a HeartbeatThud. Thud. Thud.
The crossbow dragged down the stairs.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
Hard leather boots on stone steps.
Sunlight touched her silken black hair and recoiled from her amber eyes. She leaned over the balcony and hoisted the bow to her shoulder.
A silver arrow lodged in the boy’s untempered armor. The ground reached up to catch the boy as he fell, thirsty for his blood. The breeze moved through the seated, naive people, sucking up their breath.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
Hard leather boots on stone steps. The shadows embraced their mistress, shrouding her hair and putting out the piercing lights in her eyes.
The crossbow dropped to the floor.
Clank. Click. Click.
The gate rose slowly, reluctant to relinquish its prisoner. Across from it, its twin rose readily, eager for slaughter.
The girl stepped out timidly, having seen the fate of her predecessor.
FFM 2018 Day 11: An unexpected event”This cave is fascinating,” Jack said to himself, astonished by the blue crystals surrounding him.
The cave was long and had lots of branching paths. Jack had to leave a trace behind him so he could follow it out of the cave when he was done exploring.
He was excited; what kind of interesting minerals or other stuff he would find here? As the cave went on, Jack descended deeper into the planet.
Suddenly he heard something.
“Is that water?” he wondered. The sound had sounded like a waterdrop dropping from the ceiling into a body of water. He went on, only to find something he could have never imagined to exist.
“And who might you be?” asked a snakelike creature with nine heads.
“I’m Jack,” Jack managed to say. This was unbelievable; no one had ever seen such a creature!
“And you?” Jack asked. He wanted to know more about this creature. It was scary; the creature was big and intimidating, but at the same time it seemed to
FallenOld leaves fall out of his mouth when he coughs. His head droops to the side. When he brushes away the leaves, he can feel the coarseness of his skin.
Hanging willow leaves rustle as they are brushed aside from his doorway.
Lily glides through the entrance. Drops of water cling to her dark hair. She stands in the center of the room, hands crossed in a demure gesture. Her head dips down for a moment in the politest of nods. Large white flowers blossom across her kimono. The background is the same blue as her birthplace.
“You look the same as I remember.”
A wry, little smile flits across her face. “I’m old.” She brushes her hair back. The stands glimmer with the absence of light like the night sky caught between stars.
“Why are you here?”
“I made a promise a long time ago.” She takes a long look at him, eyes grazing every wrinkle and blemish visible. “I don’t intend to break it.”
A cough rattles his frame. Skeletal l
.:FFM july 1st:.The dusty ground beneath their feet was hard, above the sun blazed down making it hard to breath. was this the earth they had protected? the planet they had loved for so long. it felt more like Lucifer’s domain, but still they fought forwards, searching for any signs of life, human of otherwise. They shielded themselves as much as possible with their wings, causing great shadows to be cast across the dusty ground. after what had felt like a lifetime, which for an angel was a very very long time, they finally happened upon a town.
However the town was deserted, only the crumbling tomb stones of a overgrown church yard were left.
FFM Challenge: InkThey tell us that the sky is green. All we can see is green. No, it's not because of the glasses we wear, they say. It's because the sky is green. Just like the hungry people vanish because the hungry people vanish.
I have meals. I have a warm bed. And yet, despite knowing that I won't vanish into the night, I am afraid. And so I write. It starts as a few words on a page, scribbled out in elegant handwriting. Then it becomes a full letter.
It's a joke piece, a letter about the state of affairs. The news doesn't write of the mundane affairs. But I pretend that I an an upper crust Parliament member. My words are a scorching defense of libraries, a rebuttal to one the Parliament member had actually written the day before. He claimed the libraries were not worth the ten pounds he paid in taxes a year. Never mind that he made hundreds of pounds by sitting around and complaining about the poor. So I wrote an apology, a satire on how one day he forgot where all his purchased books
FFM Challenge: The Language of FearDr. Merkel looked up from his paperwork. Commander Il had brought in a new patient. It was a small girl with curly brown hair. Her eyes were vacant. She struggled against Commander Il.
"Her name is Nina," Il said without preamble. "Her brother Elodi worked in our army and defected to the enemy. He tried to betray the resistance, and used his sister as a bargaining chip. When we caught up to them, Elodi abandoned her. She hasn't spoken a word since."
"And what is the purpose of my treating her?" Dr. Merkel asked. "To actually heal her mind, or to interrogate her about her brother's whereabouts?"
"You are a doctor," Commander Il said. "You must treat people."
Good Hem, the man was right. Dr. Merkel stood.
"She has to give consent," he said. "That's the look of a girl who has been through the Unholy Sewers. How old is she? Four? Five?"
"How can she give consent when she can't even talk?" Commander Il said irritably.
Dr. Merkel knelt and looked Nina in the eye. She looked terrified and vac
FFM Challenge: Letters From In A Space CapsuleDear Charlotte:
By the time you read this, I will be up in the sky, away from the lawyers. Make sure that you travel to an estate far outside their jurisdiction. They will do all they can to break you.
Did you cash that winning Monopoly shoe? Be sure to follow the procedure and call it in. You know, go to a new apartment, and make sure to give the address to that. Sweet-talk the local diner into saying you're a regular.
I know this is ridiculous. You won't read this because this capsule won't be open for thousands of years. But I'd like to think that in the future, someone will remember us. And that you will remember the instructions I've repeated day after day.
Space isn't cold. Not all the time at least. Sometimes it can be blazing hot.
Monopoly never released toys in space that I remember. Maybe they did. It's hard to keep track of the days.
When I invested my money into going out here and living m
Behind the Changing Room CurtainNot that Sigurd would ever know it, but it happened at the mall. There were no seats outside the changing rooms, so he waited on a bench in the shoe section, and found himself drifting to sleep. He woke to his wife's hand on his shoulder, and the sound of his infant son crying with such raw anguish that Sigurd was afraid he was in pain. No matter what he tried, he couldn't console the child, and handing him back just made things worse – the baby seemed almost terrified by the sight of his wife's face.
They returned home, and the crying never stopped. They went to bed, and the crying continued. Days passed, and not once did the baby settle down to sleep. Sigurd watched, a pit in his stomach, as his son pushed desperately away from his wife's breast. The baby seemed almost inhuman – the wide-eyed fear on its face, the determination with which it struggled, gave an impression closer to that of a tortured animal.
He sat in the doctor's office, brow furrowed, his hands clenched
CrutchHanna twisted her ankle on a tangle of heather and gritted her teeth. It wasn’t broken, but she couldn’t put her weight on it. Her laboured breath came faster and harder as she fought for the will to go on. She had no choice. Only Frostcreep tea would break Lyn's fever, and there was only one place Frostcreep lichen grew. Nobody was around for miles, but for two crows watching from a nearby spindly branch.
Krunk Krunk, they called.
Spurred on by the discomfort of their gaze, she took a ginger step and collapsed into the brush, scraping her palm on exposed roots and unidentifiable serrated fronds which raised warm, red welts. She cursed and clawed her way up again, onto one knee. The moors stretched out around her, sloping down to the sea at her back, and towering up to the unreachable summit ahead.
She crawled to the lone birch tree, bowing low to the crows and apologising to them as she broke off their branch to use as a crutch.
Krunk Krunk, they went, and ho
Iamb what iambThe knight lay dying on the bloodstained field
His armour scarred, his tabard stained in red.
"Is any man among us here a bard?"
One man raised his hand.
“Iamb,” he said.
A hero stood astride the ancient ruins.
Above the crowd he held a monster’s head.
“Is any man among you there a bard?’
One man strummed a lute.
"Iamb," he said.
A king sat high and mighty on his throne:
A heap of broken harps, their owners dead.
“Is any man before me here a bard?
Hell-born, honey-tongued and oversexed?
Does any fiendlike man before me seek
the favour of my fair-faced rose-cheeked daughter
through varletry and coward's means:
their laughable offenseful flow'ry prose?
Does any man before me seek to trick her
into undress, the best to sate their hunger?
The appetites of poets make me shudder;
they pluck the sweetest blooms like swath of wheat.
Woe betide the girls they choose as prey
doe-like they doth believe their metered lies,
ensnared by dripping words and fl
The Singing in the StarsParabola squadron floated out on the starboard flank of the fleet, barely visible. The azure glow of their engines had long cooled. They'd been out there for hours, on standby. No orders had been issued since.
“We should have heard something by now,” said Thaela over squad comms.
“Not necessarily,” answered Nerys, trying to sound more authoritative than she felt. “If this is really first contact, standard protocol goes out the window. We're all playing by ear.”
“Playing by ear usually requires that you hear something.”
Nerys couldn't really argue with that. Whatever the reason for the silence, and there could be any number of legitimate ones, it was still incredibly frustrating. Staying focused was getting difficult. Over her port side wing she saw Rozi nodding off in her cockpit. Nerys almost knocked on the transparishield to wake her before realising how stupid that was. She flicked comms back open instead.
“Rozi!” she snapp
Inglemouth was a city with a gold star in history and an F minus minus in geography. Venture too far down its statue-lined streets and you might find yourself lost in a tangle of alleys, or snared in a pocket dimension, most likely both, and oh god the statues were following you, fuck fuck fuck.
Inglemouth library was deathly quiet. Par for the course librarily speaking, but in Inglemouth a sinister adjective was always worth noting.
Yves flinched as he opened another book. Usually only Atran grimoires contained spirits, but when you'd died more times than you could count on your fingers, you took the hint and started being careful. Besides, nobody could accuse Yves of being a lucky man.
He hissed as he uncovered his client's name exactly where he'd hoped he wouldn't. A registered homunculus, and she didn't even know. He was certain of one thing, at least – he'd been set up.
Holly Reiff regretted everything. A comprehensive catalogue of everything
FFM 2: Oath AmysRandel’s bones made a terrible din as they reassembled themselves.
Not that they were very fast, it was just that they had been left in such a heap. Bits of bone flakes and dust poured upwards to fill in the many gaps, and two vertebrae couldn’t seem to decide where they fit. Randel had to wait, patiently (he had gotten good at patience) until his shattered jaw attached to his skull.
“Murdrum,” he said, only it came out as a rattling of teeth. “Fliperous fizgig.”
There was a clearing of the throat behind him.
Randel swiveled his skull around. The man behind him held a large branch in an outstretched, trembling hand.
“Thou hast arrived,” said the spellcaster.
“Fleak,” said Randel, trying to decide if he was back to front.
“Thou hast arrived,” the spellcaster said again, louder now, “To serve me and to do my will. With this spell I do bind thee unto me.”
“Abide.” Randel held up a crooked hand.
FFM 16: ImpendingMisha stepped out of the whirlwind, a brief meeting of air separated by centuries shrieking in her ears before it dissipated.
She smoothed out her sparse clothing and nudged her eye back into its socket. Shouldering her backpack, she walked onto the roughly paved road towards the closest building.
It was the outskirts of a town, and the building turned out to be a modest house, somewhat worn, but strong. A woman stood on the porch.
“Where is your mother?” she called as she spotted Misha.
Misha blinked, taking a moment to absorb the language. It had been a long time.
“I have none,” she said.
The woman clicked her tongue in concern. “You poor thing. Just look at your hair!”
Misha fingered the choppy split ends that ended just above her shoulders. It just hid the gashes on her neck.
“Do you need some food,” the woman said, her voice kind, but strained.
Misha looked at her pinched cheeks, her thin frame, and shook her head.
FFM 27: Antigravity“Power restored.”
The ship’s life support system came roaring back with only a few clunks. Lights flickered in rows along the cabin, and the navigations console sent off a half dozen shrill alarms.
Heli slid into her seat as the artificial gravity hit. It made her eyes heavy, lids drooping until she could barely see. She rested her face on the console, letting the cool plasteel sink into her pounding head.
“Minor damage sustained,” said the computer. “Repairs completed with a 96% success rate.”
Heli’s gaze flickered to the back of the ship, where the lifeless form of her partner lay, as still and as cold as the vast expanse outside.
“Please enter coordinates,” the computer chirped.
Her eyes were heavy. She could barely keep them open. She almost didn’t try.
“Home,” she said.
“667C is uninhabitable. The distance is too-“
“Might I suggest Kep-”
2018 FFM (#6) Silent Artist I walked around the art exhibit, taking my time to look through all the pieces of visual art that were in the room I had to share with other visual artists. Of course, I have to be careful. I wouldn't want them to find me again. I was busy looking at a picture before hearing a bit of a commotion behind me, noticing a small crowd gathered around a picture.
"How can this possibly be art when it's hung in a room of prodigies?"
"It's not even up to the exhibit's standards!"
"This is almost shameful. Who even allowed this monstrosity of art in here?"
Soon enough, I was behind the small crowd and stomped to get their attention. It worked. Sure, they were all taller than me, myself only being around age 12, but that didn't scare me. Not one bit.
"Who are you?" Asked one of them as I simply pointed over to the painting next to this one they were disgusted by. The painting I pointed at was my acrylic
2018 FFM Challenge (#12) The Half I Lost "You should be happy, Steve," spoke Notch as he stood over me. I stared down at the folded cape I held in my hands, staring at the Dusk Sun Guild Symbol. How in the overworld can I be happy after what happened yesterday?
"It's Steven to you," I mumbled, not bothering to look up at him "I'm not any normal Steve, remember?" I heard Notch click his tongue at me. We were alone, standing in the center of the arena, her still stained on the ground.
"Why... Just because she looked up to your brother," I muttered before simply dropping the cape on the floor "I used to dream about joining your guild! I dreamed about protecting people! And what do you make me do!?"
"Kim was a traitor," Notch glared at me.
"Kim wanted hybrids to be treated fairly!" I exclaimed "She was their friend and looked up to your brother when you didn't come for her! And just because of that, she's a traitor!? I looked up to you, and this is what you do
2018 FFM (#15) The Cookie Jar Heist "Okay, the mission is simple!" I spoke up, holding my pickaxe in hand "Notch is a meanie and won't allow us to get the cookies! So! My plan is to have a heist!"
"But... can't we just use our abilities?" Asked Catrina asked as Shire huffed in annoyance.
"Where's the fun in that?" Shire asked, "Besides, we can consider this as physical training!"
"Even more no," Catrina huffed "I'm not doing training of any sort... And we're just kids at that!"
"Catrina... Cookies," I told her as Catrina paused for a bit.
"Okay, you got me there," Catrina sighed.
"Now, first I need to make sure Notch won't use his powers!" I said.
"I got this," Shire smiled, teleporting away. I sighed, tapping my foot a bit and waiting before Shire soon came back.
"What did you tell him?" Catrina questioned the now sweating girl.
"Er... I told him that Hero can beat Notch in a challe
The Problems With Festivals"Look," Sandy said.
Everyone ignored her.
"Listen!" She stood on the table when she yelled. It made her feel slightly more authoritative.
Finally, everyone shut up. Everyone, in this instance, referred to the ragtag group of misfits she had been given to control the festival and make sure nobody was using any real arrows this year. It included, as best as she could tell, her cousin's drunk best friend, her boyfriend's pet guinea pig, her neighbor's grandfather, and Jonathan.
Jonathan was supposedly a humanoid abomination. Sandy couldn't see it, though she supposed that was the point.
"What?" the grandfather said. "What did you say, Sally?"
The guinea pig squeaked where it was currently being cuddled by the drunk best friend.
Jonathan stared attentively.
"Jonathan, you're the only one here who can possibly be of any use," she said.
"I can see that," he replied. His teeth were very shiny when he smiled.
"This is going to be a disaster. I'm just trying to keep anyone from ge
Saying Goodbye Taka huffed and tugged the backpack higher on his shoulder. The effort didn't make the bag any lighter, nor the trip up to the temple any easier, but he liked to think that it did.
"Are we there yet?" Shera asked over his shoulder, floating up to peer over his shoulder.
"Almost," he said absently. "Should be behind this last cliff."
The ghost twirled, her dress swirling out around her. "I'm so excited! A mystical temple, it's got to be gorgeous! I bet it's covered in gold, and it's probably huge!"
Taka smirked. "Probably."
They rounded the cliff and Shera looked around. "Where is it? I don't see a temple here. I thought you said we were close!"
He pointed at a small building off to the side of the trail, the grey stone blending into the rocks and scrub of the top of the mountain. "There you go. One mystical temple."
FFM 2018 Day 15 - light-bringing
Vivid memories of past conversations, rampant dispute, and hurtful altercations still leeched on the nutrients of his heart. Daily, sometimes even once an hour, he tended to the flower-like excrescences, which in return rewarded him with their further companionship. Watering, removing unneeded weeds and keeping pests under control enumerated only a part of his work. Sometimes even his very own tears, sweat and blood experienced the honor of nourishing the plants' needs.
And after his work had been done and he knew, he was soon to return, he just sat before these plants, staring at them.
He hated his garden, but it was the only living thing to keep him company.
At least, until the time came, when an equally lonely, little girl found her way into his realm.
He couldn't see well, his vision - just like his perception - blurred from decades of wallowing in obscure insecurities. Tiny steps echoed seemed unlocatable, but ever-approaching.
The moment she touched him, wiped the tears from his
CENTIPEDE: july 3rd. FFM 2018(aghh i'm so late rip)
Trying to force reason onto someone blatantly unreasonable is a feat comparable to landing a double flip on a tightrope several stories in the air. One wrong move, and you're dead; but, if you do, somehow, manage to land it, you're showered with praise and good fortune from like-minded people on the internet. Congratulations! The world rejoices, but despite all the cheer, you're still on a tightrope, and keeping your balance is starting to become harder and harder as the wind progresses.
And so, you step into his office. He's sitting there, leaned back in his plush rolly-chair that seems to be bending beyond its capacity, and feet resting on his glossy desk... How inappropriate.
"Hello, Mr. Truman. As you know, I am here to discuss the Amalie Agreement. I trust that you are already informed on the terms that this agreement expresses?" You speak clearly and express each word with just the right amount of emphasis to get your cold yet deliberate tone across to him.
FFM 2018, Day 1 - StudiesAshley had not expected to run into any excitement here of all places.
Like every weekend for the past six months, she had gone to the small art history museum of this small town, armed with a sketchpad and a small set of watercolours, to copy the masters. There wasn’t a definite purpose behind what she did, but it relaxed her. One day, perhaps, she would create her own masterpieces. One distant day.
As always (except when a babbling school class was dragged here against their wills), she was one of few visitors, and in the room she settled in she was alone.
The painting she sat down before was of a lady in a boat drifting on a small river. She didn’t bother to read the title and artist on the infinitesimal sign next to the gold frame, she just started to paint: there was surprisingly little blue in the painting, warm tones prevailed.
She never tried to create a very detailed copy; today she worked in particularly unrefined splotches, but despite or maybe because of that, t
FFM 2018, Day 22 - The RainThe rain swept down, washing the colours out of the world. When a person got washed out, people said, they would lose their soul and roam the world unknowing, unseeing, until their body fell apart, and maybe longer.
It was one of these rainy days that Absca’s little brother did not come home in time before the colours were washed out.
There was only one way Absca could go, and that was out into the rain.
FFM 2018, Day 24 - DarknessIt was a dark and dreary night…
What a silly beginning to a story. Nights were never dark, not anymore. The streetlights flooded the city with light as bright as day, and night was just a faint memory. It had finally allowed them to move past the limits of the planet’s slow rotation.
Brissa had slept her share, and now was on her way to work, in a shopping center where she would dutifully smile at people and point them in the direction of the shops they were looking for to complete their “experience” - people all wrapped up in their augmented reality, barely noticing her, never smiling back.
Minutes later, she stood at the entrance, smile etched on her face, when her boss called. “Please go up to the third floor, bring a mop.”
She was more relieved than annoyed, really. She nodded at her colleague, then darted up. Someone must have spilled their drink, or thrown up right next to the trashcans.
But when she arrived, she saw so
FFM 18-07-12 Stolen sunsetsCathy brushes her long dark hair. It's 9am and she should be on her way. It’s the 67th time she has gotten up since her world went belly up. Cathy draws another line to a torn piece of paper as she sets down the hair brush.
Today is the final evaluation of the restaurant rebuild. The work has gone well and the place is looking amazing. The inspector from the insurance company is coming over to approve the final breakdown of the costs.
Cathy feels nothing. No excitement, no hope, not even relief. She grabs her handbag and heads out the door.
“I can't believe it's been under a year! The architect and the construction company really cracked on after you decided to continue. Didn't they?”, the inspector Davis gloats while walking through the dining hall.
“Yes, they have been invaluable.”, responds Cathy quietly. She doesn't want to be here and she's unable to hide it.
“So you moved the front entrance to the other end of the facade. I think it works w
FFM 18-07-14 Error 331“You fitful and useless petty machine,
The enterprise of stolen precious time;
You leaky plastic box making caffeine,
I wonder if worth single dime.”
“Must you always be so dramatic Bob. It's just a coffee machine. All this frustration is only going to get you high blood pressure and in the end a heart attack. I will call to the maintenance again and hurry them to fix it, okay?”, Joe is reaching for his phone.
“My heart so fragile so broken,
I must I shall go on.”, Bob walks away weeping.
It was the fifth time this month Joe had to call the maintenance. He wasn't looking forward to it but he was worried about Bob. That peculiar man was his most effective employee. Losing him would cause trouble for his division.
“Well well well, if it ain’t Mr Joe. How can I help you sir?”, goes the voice on the other end.
“Hello Stan, I think you may know already why I'm calling again.”
“Darn, isn't Joe getting a cup of joe again?
Murphy's Law - FFM 16Blame it on Murphy, it's his fault! It's always him!
The young man named Murphy groaned in frustration. It was the case everywhere lately. He pulled his hood lower over his face as he sat in the small coffee shop. He tried his best to shrink in his seat and become invisible away from the glares of the two other men who sat at the next table and spewed their words of hate against him.
for the last few weeks, bad luck followed him and anyone who came in contact with him in all forms and sorts, people dropping their babies, cats jumping out of windows, things randomly breaking down, car crashes, robberies in the stores he went to, all sorts of freaky accidents that shouldn't occur happened without hesitation whenever he was near.
Just now, his coffee arrived cold, and the cup broke the second the waitress put it down on the table. The chair he sat on wobbled and a random customer tripped on the spill and fell straight into the coat hanger near the door. Murphy sta
Flight - FFM 18The Great Drought crippled the world. Perhaps it was Mother Earth's way of punishing us because it took almost two centuries to be able to get back up. The blow we suffered was heavy. It happened fast too. The oil and the fossil fuel in the ground vanished without a warning. We were left in the dark.
We had to adapt, improvise and survive. Society, as we'd known it for a millennium, collapsed, but we lived on and the planet lived with us, with no fumes and no pollution we flourished.
Today, two centuries after our history stopped, I sit behind the pilot seat in the newest solar plane model and gaze upon the remnants of the metal beasts that once ruled our skies. They have been disassembled for parts years ago, but their skeletons still stand as a memory of an age long gone. The engine starts in a silent hum as I hit the ignition button. The machine shudders but moves along the runway. There's a silent anticipation from everyone who's watching me gain speed. The end
The Far End of the Horizon - FFM 31Addendum 14-E
As of July 31st, Earth was declared a no man's land. Initial reports indicate the magnitude of the catastrophe has been much larger than our original calculations.
Confirmed death toll: 5.5 billion people.
Remaining habitable area: Lands with an altitude of 800m above sea level.
Number of ship fleets: 4568
One week after hour zero: the remaining 10% of the surface is now underwater. The last few reports received from our operational agents indicate that this wasn't mother nature. This was manmade. Permission requested for further inquiries.
Confirmed death toll: 6.3 billion people.
Remaining habitable area: 0
Number of ship fleets: 4568
Six months after hour zero: the remaining scientists predict the water level will drop in about 3-5 years. The effects on marine life are still unknown. Food supplies will be diminished in a year. The satellites have started falling from orbits. Estimated time to lose connection wit
ff12: Selene's CurseIt was too late to stop the count down. The colony was lost.
Selene beat on the door until her skin cracked and her fists bloodied the tetraglass shields. The red pulse of the clock seemed to slow and stretch. This moment was forever. She could only watch him, only stand there, helpless, and trapped on the wrong side of the impenetrable barrier.
She couldn't hear Ben's last words over the roar of the reactor, but she knew what he meant when he looked at her, when he mouthed the words. She had seen it a thousand times, a thousand of his life times.
“No,” Selene said, “There's still time. Not again. Not again!” Her voice broke. If she had been faster, if she hadn't denied the truth of his cryptic message, if she had let it take her again, just one last time. She hadn't known why she was afraid or even what Ben was up to this time.
Ben gave her a smile as the horror dawned. His body was starlight before he vanished. Then the shimmer dusted
ff13: Lovely Way to Burn“I know better than you what sells,” Steve Masters, five time novelist and one time best seller, said, "And this won't."
He tossed the manuscript in the garbage. He didn't hide his pleasure at seeing his intern, Sam, crumble. The boy's face was positively scarlet, but to his credit, he held back the blubbering. Steve hated blubbering most of all.
And reading something like the shit that little snot had turned in. How fucking dare he?
In truth, it was brilliant. Better than brilliant. It was marketable. Sellable. It was going to make money for everyone who managed to stamp their name on it. The kid had more talent than he had the right to have at this age. Hadn't even finished college. Hadn't put in the hours of toiling or experienced the mountain after mountain of rejection letters before his big break. His first manuscript was going to bury the competition. It made Steve sick to think what would have happened if the kid had taken it to Jennifer instead
ff17: When They Came for UsWhen Congress started sending people to the camps, that was when Ann of the Grey Path had enough. She waited for Shandy to leave for his first class and then she gathered her ingredients.
It had started after the election. Not a week after, not five days, not four. President Strump tweeted the change to the government's mage talent policy, to immigration. When he made his first news appearance to explain, he was smiling. Laughing.
The next day, agents brought the first people out in handcuffs, two by two, and nobody cared. The neighbors laughed and said they deserved it. Should have stayed with their own kind. Magic is wicked and dangerous and must be contained.
Shandy begged for Ann's patience. Let the truth hang them, he had tried, he pleaded. They locked the doors at night and listened for the sirens. Someday, agents would come for her, for Shandy, for the rest of them. And it would be too late to fight.
Agents came for three of the first year students the next morning. They took Pr
The Fool and the FiresA moonbeam fell through the dark night air, and its radiance silvered a silhouette on a high hill: a man, tall and lanky, holding against his side something that glinted gold even in the cold light. His gaze fell in turn upon a city, crowned by a soaring palace, and the fires burning within.
“What a senseless waste,” he sighed. The thing of gold in his embrace shimmered, and the mere suggestion of a voice rang out in reply:
In truth, I find so much of what you do
To lack in sense and well-thought plans; in this
I see nothing unusual. Perhaps
This is simply a human trait I lack?
“Perhaps,” the man said, then fell as silent as he was motionless, watching the fires smolder like coals below. A gust of wind brought a faint howl to his ears, though he could not say whether it was merely the air itself or a distant echo of human cries.
“I did warn him,” he spoke again at length, shifting his arms. Moonlight fell more fully on the golden harp he cradl
HeckIt had horns, and a tail, and little bat wings, and yellow eyes. It stood in the center of the circle, candle flames guttering around it, blinking up at its summoners. In short, it looked generally like a demon might look.
The problem was simply that it was three feet tall and also happened to look as though it had stepped out of the pages of one of the softer kinds of children’s storybooks, like an illustration that was meant to be generally recognizable as a monster, but not too realistically scary, for the sake of little eyes and minds.
The head summoner looked at the diminutive caricature of a demon, then looked down at the ancient tome he held in his hands. He flipped back a page or two. And he saw his mistake.
The demon nodded sagely, if a little glumly.
“Got it in one, sir. Good job, sir. Usually I have to explain it to people, sir. Guess it was too much to hope this was an intentional one, wasn’t it, sir?”
UnchangedThe Minister Unending died unexpectedly in his bed the morning of July 24th. This was a minor problem, as he was, as the title of his office suggested, immortal. Still, dead was dead, and so his cabinet of well-fed, well-dressed nobility quietly set the appropriate wheels in motion, and by teatime the late Minister’s son was sitting in his office with a fresh haircut and shave, wearing the official robes of state, and inscribing his father’s signature across his latest decrees.
By evening, revision was creeping through the Great and Noble City-State of Aeternita, seeping down the smallest cracks into the tiniest corners of bureaucracy. By the next day, revised stamps and seals were issued for all important documents, with subtle changes made to the Minister Unending’s official profile to bring it a little more in line with the new, but similar, face that now looked out his windows. It was well known that while the Minister was immortal, he was not unchanging, after al
The RedeemerThis was wrong.
Temel stood and trembled, staring through her visor, through the superimposed readouts and targeting circles, at the older woman kneeling gently in the grass.
It was a false world. She knew it was a false world. She’d known when the pod malfunctioned, when it crashed, when she woke up in a soft bed surrounded by white and green, by fresh air and birdsong and peace. She’d still known when people had come to her, changing bandages and ointments, bringing her fresh clothes, speaking something strange that lilted like song.
She’d known it was false. Everybody knew that their own home world was the only true dimension, the one original universe, the Absolute and the Supreme. Everybody knew that whatever else was out there was only made of empty shadows and monsters, stealing power and life to sustain its artificial existence. Destroying them was merely canceling out a negative, more creation than destruction really.
And yet the ointments and c
52Everyone is given a regular deck of cards at 22. Why 22? No one really knows, you simply receive a deck with 52 cards by mail on the morning of your 22nd birthday, nothing more, nothing less. No note, no explanation, just the small box in an envelop lined with biodegradable bubble wrap.
You know you'll get one on that day, and yet all feel the same drop in their stomach. 52 is printed on one face of the otherwise all white cardboard box. You close the door and show the tiny object to your wide eyed mother, saved by her age of the card deck rule. Your father is standing in the living room, newspaper and pipe on the floor below him, eyes fixed on you, as are your little sister's and you brother's. No one says anything, making everything even more overwhelming. You wave good-bye and retreat to the street. More have gone outside holding their decks unopened, appalled, eyes focused on the object. You meet a gaze with a neighbor from two doors down. None of you say anything, but you understa
The Sage And The BeastWe have an agreement, her and I.
In the morning, I fill my thermos with hot, black coffee from the ranger station, and another with fresh chicken blood. The drive up to the base of the mountain is usually quiet save for the radio talk-show that by some miracle manages to reach this far out.
Her shrine sits at the trail-head, all but forgotten in recent centuries. There’s a small alcove carved into a standing rock, hidden by rangy weeds and overgrown thorn bushes. The shrine consists of a hastily carved idol of a vague, four-legged creature and the offering dish of most Guardian shrines. No amount of research has led me to its source, but I’m still determined to figure out who made this little altar and abandoned her so long ago.
There are books and classes and online resources galore about how to properly summon a Guardian and form a contract, especially when dealing with something as old as I suspect she is. I can still taste the visceral fear of my first meeting with her,
FFM 2018 I - The Camera“Say cheese!”
His hands held the phone outstretched, pressing the screen to take a picture of the excited couple. It was always his pleasure to oblige their requests, as they were the starry-eyed tourists, and he lived here. After snapping several photos, he handed the phone back.
“There ya go,” he smiled genuinely.
“Thanks so much!” The two replied in an almost unison.
Waving as he walked away, he pulled out his phone and swiped to the gallery. Their photos appeared on his screen; perfection. Frozen in time; lost for an eternity and they didn't realize how lucky they were.
Fire AntsHe wriggled his fingers. Hayden felt a searing pain, as if there were fire ants scurrying from his wrist to his elbow, but nothing was broken. It didn’t hurt as much as the mental exhaustion. He never knew what he could or couldn’t do because Henrik’s flares of anger happened so spontaneously. Things that didn’t bother him the previous night suddenly carried that much more weight. He let them simmer. Then, too, there were the friends that didn’t stay and, although Hayden couldn’t blame them, their absence made it worse. What if he didn’t deserve any better? Was he doomed to be by himself?
Worst of all, though, were the things Henrik implied but never said. Simply the tone of his voice made Hayden believe he was worthless, a failure, or had done something to provoke the other man. How often did Henrik dismiss how he felt? Hayden welcomed the silence. The empty apartment, though it
Gentleman, FFM Make-Up Day“I’m cold, I’m miserable, and wet. Not to mention I’m with the most inconsiderate man on the planet.”
“The least you could do is offer me your jacket.”
“No!” Al protested. “Why would I do that? Then we’d both be cold, miserable, and wet.”
Her hair was plastered to her face. She shivered when he thought he wasn’t looking. He sighed, but draped the jacket across Lilian’s shoulders.
Sticks and Stones“It’s just a phase. She’ll grow out of it.”
“Some people will do anything for attention.”
“How can you be neither?”
“It isn’t grammatically correct to call yourself ‘they’.”
“If you were born with certain parts, that’s what you are. It’s biology. You can’t change that.”
“There’s something wrong with people who are transgender. It’s a mental illness.”
“Why don’t you just kill yourself?”
“Hey, how’s it going?”
Two Are OneAs far back as he could remember, there had been two voices in his head. One was his own, his conscious, his inner thoughts. The other belonged to someone else.
In his earliest memory of the other voice, he was sitting in his playroom, surrounded by colorful blocks. He was wearing overalls and a teddy bear T-shirt. The baby sitter was laying on the couch, giggling girlishly into the phone, simultaneously twirling her hair and the phone cord. “No, Mommy! Stop it, Mommy!” When he looked around, he couldn’t locate the screaming. But it bounced around his skull, pleading for help. Confused, he pounced on the sitter, sobbing and yelling. “Help her! Help her! Make it stop!” His parents were concerned, but the doctors said he simply had trouble distinguishing reality and make-believe.
Throughout his childhood, he would hear it. Sometimes it was praying. It cried often. He could hear it playing dolls and chasing imaginary creatures through the p
Dear DiaryDear Diary,
The sickness that has afflicted our town for two weeks has now claimed a victim within my own household. Father had a coughing spell and found blood upon his handkerchief on Tuesday. By Thursday we had the blue mark applied to our door. Mother had no time to mourn, with the baby so near, she had to busy us with selling Father’s most prized possessions. I sobbed when his pocket watch was traded for a solitary egg. The townsfolk were weary trading with us. No one is sure how the sickness is passed; it crossed my mind that Father’s belongings may have been contaminated.
In other news, William has lost his first tooth and he is quite pleased with himself. The leaves have begun to change shade and release themselves from the branches to which they’ve clung all summer. Perhaps we will be able to make a pile to jump in by week’s end.
I apologize for not writing for such a time. The sudden passing of my bel
WinterLina missed when first leaves fell, but by week’s end even she had noticed the panic of the other settlers. Then she remembered. Life had been busy, too busy. With the arrival of her twins and the spike in her husband’s alcoholism, she was horribly unprepared for the changing seasons. Her older children, Michael and Roberta, had dealt with the animals. Renee made extra blankets, sweaters, and thick socks for everyone. Lina stocked up on preserves and dried meats. Her husband snuck away to swindle their savings on booze and brought in bundles of firewood from the barn as well.
Soon, the trees were bare. Lina and her children went to the town meeting, to say goodbye and good luck to the two dozen other families that would be spending the winter in the region. When they got home, they began the process of boarding up the cabin. The older children had spent the five previous winters here, but this would be the first time Lina had to brave it with babies. She worried it would so
“I’m sorry. What did you say?” The violin bow smiled sweetly at the trumpet.
“I said, scram.”
The trumpet was glowering. It made a sweeping gesture round with its bell.
“This is an exclusive club—just for those of us who make music, and who like to get together and have a few civilised drinks after work. It’s not for any tatty chunk of wood that just happens to wander in off the street.”
The bow continued to smile. “I think you might be getting a little confused there. Bows do make music.”
“Oh, please.” The trumpet’s valve pistons quivered in amusement. “The violin is the musical instrument. You’re just one step up from a guitar pick.” It looked the bow up and down. “And anyway, what violin would ever look at you?”
The bow’s smile disappeared. “I agree I am past my best.” It drew closer to the trumpet. “But I do bel
It's All Open To Interpretation“So…” said Captain Jacobsen. “Just to recap, Simpkins.”
He looked down at the printout of the report.
“After stepping out onto the surface of the planet, you encountered one of the sentient lifeforms and held your arms away from your body to indicate that you meant no harm.”
Simpkins nodded solemnly. “That is correct, sir.”
“However,” continued the captain, his eyes still on the paper, “the lifeform interpreted this as a hostile gesture and so began spiralling their own arms as a precursor to defending themself. You—”
He turned the page.
“—interpreted this as dancing and decided to join in with a few steps of your own. The lifeform interpreted this as some kind of medical emergency, and threw a Ball of Revival at you. Which you interpreted as playfulness, and so initiated a game of… let me see… badminton. Which the lifeform in their turn interpreted as a courtship ritual.”
Add To Dictionary“You’re asking the Full Stop for help?”
DISCREET stared at MANAGE.
“It’s not a letter! It’s not a word! I would have said its position matters very little indeed.”
“Don’t you believe it,” said MANAGE quietly. “It may seem small and insignificant but it wields a fair amount of power in this top secret document.”
It looked over at the door as the Full Stop entered.
“Ah, thank you so much for coming. Do take a seat.”
“Right.” The Full Stop made itself comfortable. “So, why am I here? What can I do for you?”
“It’s about the Spellchecker.”
MANAGE gestured to its companion.
“It won’t recognise DISCREET. Keeps insisting only its cousin DISCRETE has the authority to pass. I need DISCREET to get through the checkpoint, and I need it to happen soon.”
“Not interested.” The Full Stop shrugged. “Anything else? I am quite busy.
All Ducked UpLocation: the bath
Statement taken from: the sponge
His name’s Duckie.
Yellow; little sailor hat.
Been missing three days.
And I don’t want to tell any tales but you might start by talking to a ‘friend’ of his who visited every day...
Naturally I’m trustworthy.
Me, an ‘old soak’? You’re keeping me in custody until I dry out?
I don’t see the flannel being treated like this.
Location: the bath
Statement taken from: ‘Ben-Ben’ Frobisher
No, I don’t know where Duckie is.
I’m suspected of ‘assault and battery’...? I don’t understand!
No, I really don’t understand. I’m only three.
Well, I admit there was some chewing, and squeezing until he quacked but…
Until further notice I’m banned from coming within one metre of the bathroom?
That’s a shame.
A real shame.
No, it’s a sad smile.
Location: SW coast
FFM 2018 25 - Blood RedRojas had to shield his eyes from the glare at first, but that became unnecessary as the radiant white orb was eaten by a sea of red, and the sky became dusted with long forgotten stars. With the others, he raised his blade, eager for a months-overdue ritual, and sliced.
Long live the blood moon.
To Kill a GodBrother Talmond accepted being a paladin when he was just a boy of eight. It never occurred to him that he might not want to be a paladin for the dead gods. Ever since the monsters took his mother, he knew he wanted to fight back, to push them back to the darkness where they came from when the gods were slaughtered.
He still wanted to. Protect the towns and cities from the great evil was his life calling. He knew it. It felt right to slay a hideous beast luring children from their beds and eating them.
No one said he would have to kill children.
He sat outside the village, just off the side of the road and held his head. Kill a child they said. She bore the soul of the Holy Mother of All. Kill the child and she would be released. With a god returned to her place in earth, a gate to the den of monsters would be sealed. The people would be protected. He would save countless lives by trapping the monsters below ground again.
All he had to do was kill a single child.
He couldn’t do i
I Didn't LoseThey took Mesa out kicking and screaming, but when they put her on ice, she smiled and whispered that she didn’t lose. They would understand soon.
It was absurd Dr. Rayland’s mind. They’d spent years building this city and equipping it to defend itself from the degenerates of the world. Now it was in the air, flying over the world, and that useless slave girl was frozen in one of their test facilities. Her rebellion and it’s pathetic symbol ’J’ failed, the last of the slaves killed, and the perfect city, built with the guidance of God himself was ready to purge the world.
Utopia was upon them. No more heathens practicing their idol worshipping. The holy land would be free of those infidels worshipping a moon and star over God himself. The atheists. The catholics. Whatever that mother earth fairies are real crap was. Soon it would be gone and all that would remain were the pure. The followers of the one true word.
He went to the window in his office a
Waiting for the ApocalypseDeath checked his pocket watch again. It was 3:15 and well past the starting time. Where was Gerry? Why hadn’t he come to let the four horsemen out yet. Today was the day to end the world and that just couldn’t happen without the four horsemen.
War paced the small room in Hell where the four were waiting for their cue. He kept muttering to himself though what exactly he was saying wasn’t clear.
Pestilence took a long drag from his cigarette and leaned back in his cushy chair. “Maybe this will be like the last time. What was that guy’s name again?”
Lounging on the couch, Famine sipped on some coffee. “Stan.”
“That’s right. Stan.”
Death closed his watch and tucked it back in his robe pocket. He leaned against the wall by the door, pulling leaves off a tall house plant. “He over slept. That’s why this one is set in the afternoon. No oversleeping this time.”
“I hear he’s burning in the fire like
FFM #2: The CallingFFM
The stars seemed to light the way for the young canine as he limped through the stillness of the forest. Never had he thought his life would take such a turn like it had a few hours ago. Born a pup of the Alpha, he was destined for greatness. Many would say he was Beta material, if not one day an Alpha in his own right. Now, however, he would be lucky enough to hold a title at all.
Those he called his beloved family had ran into another pack during the night. The attack came from both sides as well as the flank, with casualties at their maximum. Our limping friend here, Asher, guarded the rear for this purpose. With only seconds to think, he knew his only option was to defend the pups. They were born only a few moons ago, and had bright futures ahead of them.
Tooth and claw glistened in the pale moon light as hair tore and blood began to flow. To his horror, the pups Asher swore to protect scattered in a panic. One by one he witnessed the poor newborns get trampled,
FFM 2018 - cloudsSunbursts cover the map on the television. They are bright yellow despite the grainy signal. The sound is a monotone stream of noise, but I know what the weatherman says: today will be sunny. He had said the exact same thing yesterday. And the day before. The news station updates the weather report only every few weeks. When they do, they merely change the temperature. Lazy, perhaps, but they can’t be blamed. It’s not their fault the clouds got stolen three years ago.
A military truck stops before my shelter of corrugated iron. As agreed, the driver offers me his place behind the steering wheel. I give him the keys to my home. No words are spoken. When he sees the bombs strapped to my belt, he looks away, pretending he did not notice them.
The vehicle throws up clouds as I drive to my destination. The wrong clouds, made of dust instead of water. Tomorrow will be different, though. I know who the thieves are. I have found their weak spot.
I’m going to make it rain.
The Controller (Flash Fiction) [FFM Day 3]“I want to work this out, I really want to make video games with you, but I can’t if you’re going to be talking to people who say awful things about me behind my back, ” I said, reaching out over the table to touch her hand. I watched as she pulled away from me and rubbed at her arm, where beneath her shirt I knew were the bruises she had gotten from walking into our bedroom door a few too many times. I spoke quieter as the waiter returned to take our order. Once he’d left, I continued: “He said those awful things about me, remember? You told me what he said yourself! And am I just another ‘asshat gamer-wannabe’?”
“Of course not, Jesse, you’re not,” she said. “You are one of the best Smash players in the midwest, but I didn’t want to be rude to him. He’s part of the community, and he buys work from our Etsy store, and—“
“I don’t care. He was rude, and you agreed with me. Th
Dollar by Dollar (Flash Fiction) [FFM 8, 2018]Todd couldn't keep his eyes off the dice, and so he didn't see his wife at the check-in counter asking about his whereabouts. This was probably the reason he didn't foresee his mortgage going unpaid or his car being repossessed. The dice kept rolling, and he rolled with them, eager to earn back all the money he had lost… any day would be his big break.
He just needed a few hundred more dollars, always. It was amazing how his life had drained away just one mere dollar at a time. All that would change though.
He stood in the back alley behind the casino. Soon, a yellow Maserati pulled up and a man rolled down the driver’s side window.
“Todd, I wasn’t expecting to hear from you. You got the money you owe me and my boys?”
Todd shook his head, held his palms upturned before he said, “No, Dan, but tonight’s the night! I can feel it. I just need a few hundred to get warmed up.”
“Todd, buddy, that's what you said last time. I'm afraid it's
Madness Descended (Flash Fiction) [FFM 21, 2018]You’re not going to agree with me because you have neither been near the mercury, let alone allowed for its silvery favor to grace the pits of your thoughts. You would not find me mad if you’d known what the mercury allowed me to see—the truth of the madness that descended upon us all in the manor.
I was never a better caretaker to the boy before I planned to rid of the demon; the entire month, I gave him extra sweets, and we went wherever it is he deigned to go, even up to the mountains. I created more stories in that month than I ever created before.
All along the train to the mountains, the child requested tale after tale to keep him preoccupied. “Once there were mountains on mountains, and once there were sunbirds to soar with,” I began, telling him the tale of how the mountain had once been bigger but had been eroded from the hatred of his enemy, the rain.
The child’s eyes burrowed into me still. I enjoyed caring for him, but his small, beady ga
Triple ThreatFiona flopped on the couch.
“You look tired,” her brother told her.
“I haven’t slept well in about four days.”
“Pain relieving tea?”
“Uncle Blair gotta make some more up. But it wasn’t the pain keeping me up.”
“Well what was it keeping you up then?” he asked.
Here she shrugged.
“Dd you try taking a hot bath?”
“With and without essential oils,” she confirmed.
“Did you try your weighted blanket that I got you?”
“Yes. I’ve been using it ever since you got it for me.”
“And it didn’t work?”
She shook her head.
Richie looked at her. Really looked at her. Something had to change. The poor thing looked exhausted.
“Give me a minute.”
He got up, and put the kettle on.
Once it went off he put a chamomile tea bag in and left to head to the bathroom, where he pulled something out of the medicine cabinet. He then headed to her room to grab
RememberanceThere had been a time when my family was happy. I still remember it well.
We were free then. Well…. Freer than we are now. Back then the only thing that marred our lives was my father and brother getting challenged by another Immortal.
But now.. things are different. And we are no longer happy.
I mean my father and brother try to pretend but… I can always see the worry in their eyes.
My older brother cuts into my musings.
“Whatcha thinking about?”
I shrug, unable to do much else.
He kisses my temple. “Have you eaten yet?”
I shake my head and he goes and opens the fridge.
“Lets see what we got….”
He comes back a few moments later with two simple ham and cheese sandwiches, with one cut into fourths.
He feeds that one to me while he eats his own. Eating and feeding me simultaneously has become a skill he’s become adept at. Had to become adept at.
I eat eagerly, tilting my head forward to take bites. Moving my body is still
Worst Word in the English LanguageDisabled. If there was one word in the English language I hate, it’s that one.
I can’t walk properly, I can’t talk properly, I have seizures and anxiety attacks at the drop of a hat, and to put the icing on that cake of wonderfulness I will likely be in pain the rest of my days.
Isn’t that a picnic?
Disabled is the worst word in the English language,
And now, that is what I am.
FFM 2018: FirelightThe fire warmed them, so long as they kept it fed.
Outside the world was ice, and glass, and the hollow bones of metal giants. Remnants of a dead world consumed by an uncaring god. The wind sang to them sometimes in the night, calling to them, asking them to join it. But Jonah would not let them go outside.
They would not make the same mistakes. He would not let them. And so they made offerings of bone and bright cloth to the fire. They sang lullabies to its embers, and curled their bodies around it to protect it from the things that prowled in the night.
So long as the fire burned, they were safe. So long as the fire burned, they would stay alive.
When they ran out of scraps to burn, they made offerings of their own bodies, as was only right. Jonah praised their sacrifice. He said they would be remembered forever, and they knew it was true, for Jonah would never lie.
Night by night, the group became smaller, and for some doubt began to blossom in their minds. The fire grew weake
FFM 2018: TetherHollow-mouthed, and dry-eyed, I press the intercom button on my wrist.
“You have to cut me loose, Sam.”
The silence on the other end is deafening.
“I can’t.” A declaration, or a plea - I can’t quite tell. Either way, neither of us has time for this. Sam’s window is closing fast. Ten metres to the hull, another three metres through the airlock. It might as well be the other side of the world.
“Then I’ll have to do it for you.” I tell him, and somehow saying it out loud makes it real in a way it wasn’t before.
The exo-suit makes manoeuvring difficult, but we’ve all been drilled to within an inch of our lives on the protocol, and my fingers find the release catch without hesitation. The safety catch gives me a little trouble, but I eventually get it loose. After that it’s easy.
Holding the tether in my hands, I open my fingers, and watch it drift away from me in slow motion. I could still reach out and grab it,
FFM 2018: FatedThere was no time in the cave at the root of the world. No weeks, no days, no hours, or minutes. The Weaver sat at her loom, watching as mortal men grew and died, and their children rose to take their place. But time did not move for her, and she remained unchanged.
She was not one of the Fates, she did not decide the course of history. The Norns would send her messages through the red threads of fate, a tug here, a severing there, and the Weaver adjusted her work accordingly. But sometimes she wondered what it would be like to truly hold the fate of someone’s life in the palm of her hand.
Time did not pass for her in the typical sense, but she did other things in-between her loom work. She had a small garden, growing in a patch of sunlight that filtered down through the roots of the tree. She cooked, and cleaned, and sometimes she would rest in her small bed at the back of the cave, her blankets the old tapestries of bygone ages. She did not sleep, but sometimes she did dream, a
FFM 2018: AdriftHMS Orpheus: Captain’s Log - Day 26 - Bearings: Unknown.
There is blood in the water.
The men gather upon the railings, and wait for the others to arrive. Like sharks, they’re drawn by the promise of meat. Their tails thrash the water, pale hair splaying beneath the surface like weeds.
When they sing, we are helpless.
I no longer know where we are.
The sirens will not let us leave.
HMS Orpheus: Captain’s Log - Day ? -
The heat smothers us, making us lethargic. Hours drip between our fingers like honey. Slowly, we're beginning to forget our own names.
Why would we want to leave this place? Where would we go? There are no maps, no charts by which to steer our course. Even the stars are unfamiliar.
The islanders have invited us ashore.
Perhaps we will stay.
Ship’s Log, Entry 1622
Once this was a convict ship, bound for the colonies. We thought the sea had delivered us, but we were mistaken. Th
FFM 2018 -Day 7- Three Trials He waved with his gloved hand, clearing away the signs of the ritual, and disappeared.
All John Collins could do was sit there, dumbfounded, at what had just transpired. The man with gloves and a black velvet robe had mysteriously appeared in the house, even though the doors and windows were locked. When the boy's father, Tom Collins, asked why he was there, the man said that Tom had wronged him and that he must be punished for it. John stood frozen with fear, not knowing what was going on no what his father had done to make this man angry at him. But before any answers came, the man with gloves snapped his fingers and a glowing circle with strange letters surrounded Tom. The light flashed, forcing John to cover his eyes; and when he looked again, a small weasel sat where his father was. The man then told John that if he wanted his father returned to his original form, he must go to "The Blenheim" and ask for a m
FFM 2018 -Day 25- Rise from the Ashes The sudden coldness pierced my skin, sinking into my blood as my body sank into the water. The crossbow bolt had only grazed me, but the shock was enough to send me off of my horse and into the river. The current dragged me under as I struggled to surface, my lungs burning for air as the world around me faded away. I then found myself in a barren field. The remains of fallen soldiers were littered all around me, crumbling into ash and dust at the slightest puff of wind. I tried to walk but found myself falling to my knees. My own body seemed to be crumbling as well, my skin cracking like dried mud and my clothes withering away. I sat there as still as I could, hoping to last for a little longer. Thoughts raced through my head and faded as soon as they came. Was this it for me? Was this the end?
"Do you wish for it to end?"
A deep voice pierced through the silence. I looked
2Jul18 The Wheel of the YearThe carillonist hated the new year. It meant he had to change the spell the bells played, and one wrong note would cost the city its protection. Not to mention that he had a fifteen minute window to work in between the third quarter and the hour.
He took a deep breath and reminded himself that at least it was only once a year. The work was no less arduous for its infrequency, though: squatting inside the control drum and securing the pegs as his apprentice carefully positioned them so that the spinning drum caused the pegs to trigger the bells in the correct tune and the year’s protection spell played.
Somehow, the carillonist always forgot what a pain it was to change the pegs at the top of the drum, and that section invariably wound up being the last to change. He grumbled quietly to himself, about his aching arms and straining neck, and that’s when it happened.
The last nut slipped through his fingers and clattered loudly to the bottom of the drum, and he stared dumbly a
10Jul18 OminousThe wind whistled through the trees that covered the mountain slopes. The road had become more and more uneven as the carriage had traveled, until it could scarcely be called a road at all.
A wolf howled in the distance, and Cinderella peered out the carriage window.
“Why do I get the feeling that we’re in the wrong story?” she asked no one in particular.
The answering gust of wind sounded like laughter.
FFM 2018 - Day 05Rulik tapped his fingers on the desk while the connection buffered. Something interfered with the signal, likely those blasted morons managing the satellites were slacking on the job and they only needed recalibration.
"This had better not be a waste of my time, Sergeant." The green, young new officer squirmed under his gaze. Each replacement got younger and more inexperienced, but he had to take the blame for that. If he hadn't knocked off the first after a botched job he wouldn't have to deal with these fresh-out-of-boyhood aides. The last three had been dickheads, though. He hoped this one had his brain located in his cranium instead.
"I promise, sir, you'll want to see this, sir." He gulped, fighting to restrain labored breaths. Maybe he should ease up on him a bit. He grunted in response.
"I'll be the judge of that."
Finally the video feed loaded, the footage from the vest cam of a field operative. He scanned the name and timestamp at the bottom. Equatorial Retrieval Squad 43, Hum
March to the Northern Lights- FFM Day 11Coughs reverberated from the crowded warehouse. Men and women with medical masks scurried back and forth, stepping over the sick, maimed and dead. Medicine had become rather scarce in those days, and what medicine they did have didn’t directly treat the carnivorous disease, and carnivorous was the right word indeed. The disease, dubbed “Grey Haze”, started in the lungs where it caused significant problems; coughing blood, tar, and bright yellow phlegm. Next, it made its way to the heart, causing irregular heartbeats and dangerous palpitations. Most died at this stage, but anyone unfortunate enough to brute through that phase then had their skin slowly turn black and chip away, along with the organs previously mentioned. Death was always painful, but that was the most painful it would get. Grey Haze got its name from the grey haze that peppered various locations of the whole country. If you took a breath within such zone (appropriately name “Grey Zones
FFM3 2018 - The Prodigal Son Arktorin, Lord of Decay, crunched through the blackened splinters of his childhood village. His spiked boots kicked up clouds of ash and dust, but there was no other movement. No-one left to dart behind the charred skeletal frames of houses. He found the survivors gathered in the remains of the village hall.
“Father!” Arktorin, Lord of Decay, knelt before the village elder. “I’ve returned at last. Now, after all these years – will you forgive me, and restore my birthright?”
The old man turned sightless eyes to his son and raised a trembling hand. “Forgive you? Yes, I will forgive you…”
“…when you turn back the clock and right these wrongs. When you undo all you have done to bring misery and death to your people. When your mother sits laughing by my side once more. When your brothers and sisters return to this earth to run and play in ou
HypervigilanceThe Advanced Atmosphere-Analysing Artificial Aphonic Articulated Hypervigilant Humanoid, or AAAAAAHH for short, took one step into the glorified caffeine dispensary and stopped, transistors firing all over the place. The atmosphere in here was palpably tense, and AAAAAAHH tried to alert its human with a buzzing noise and a soft grip on its shirt, but its human shrugged it off and carried on its way inside. AAAAAAHH followed reluctantly, spinning its head around constantly so that it could see all possible dangers at once, and continuing to buzz in it's quiet-but-still-very-noticable yellow-alert tone.
The human in front of AAAAAAHH's human reached the counter and ordered its drink. AAAAAAHH's human was next. AAAAAAHH manouevered itself into a defensive position behind it and continued swiveling its head around. The patrons of this establishment stared at both it and its owner with menace in their eyes and AAAAAAHH felt its danger response go into overdrive, filling its memory with acti
Santa's SuccessorThe first time I met him was on a train. He was reading the newspaper when I first spotted him, but stopped for long enough to give me a wink when he noticed me staring. I was five years old at the time and I recognised him instantly, even though none of the grownups around me seemed to and my mom told me off for pointing. It was just because he wasn't wearing his signature red coat and hat, I thought at the time. I know better now.
The second time I met him we were in a restaurant. He was eating pasta, but stopped to give me a wink again when he saw me staring, almost as if he recognised me too. I was a teenager by then, and cynical. I thought I'd imagined it the last time, and it must be merely coincidence this time that had caused a fat old bearded man to wink in my general direction. I'd thought at the time that it must have been meant for somebody behind me instead. I know better now.
The next time I saw him he offered me a job and I took it without hesitation. I was fresh out of
An Affair to AvoidDear Penelope,
It occurs to me that we have been taking English Lit together for two years now. In all that time it can not have failed to escape your attention that the two of us would be perfect together. Alone among our peers are we two who truly understand the Romantic. Clearly we are two matching intellectual souls adrift in a world of fools, and I feel that it would quite behoove us to conduct an affair. To let our names be seen together in places other than the top of the class. To give the uncultured degenerates we live among a perfect relationship to look up to and model themselves after. Let us elevate the lives of our fellow countrymen together!
Hopefully and ardently yours,
Penelope didn't make it even halfway through the letter before snorting with laughter. What world was this dude living on? He didn't know anything about her! They'd never even talked! She read it all the way to the end anyway and showed it to her friends for a bit of a giggle before crumpling it u
A Favor for a Favor A pack of corpses shambled down the street, moaning and searching for fresh meat. The few living people unfortunate enough to be out after curfew sprinted, screaming, for the nearest bit of cover and prayed they were not found.
Only one person actively sought them out. Pandora stood on the top of a hollowed-out bodega and watched the crowd as it moved. She had tracked several mobs before this, and not one of them contained what she was looking for. Each group had been put down, but she always walked away disappointed.
At the back of the crowd, she finally saw something. A glimmer of gold, a regal bearing, eyes that were alert and calculating instead of vacant and desperate. Pandora stood and raised her voice to make herself known.
"Euridyce! By the command of Zeus, your rampage ends here."
The deceased bride of Orpheus tilted her head in Pandora's direction. "I do not see Zeus. Who has he sent in his place? Is it you
It Feeds on Trauma Old Marnie came stumping up Joan's front walk with spite in her eyes. Joan reached out to the shadow next to her. She couldn't touch it, exactly, but she had learned how to handle them. "It's all right. Let me do the talking." It seemed mollified and settled back down into the haunch of meat it had been working on. She had learned long ago not to look too closely at it.
"I thought we came to an understanding about these things you keep on your property, Joan."
"Nice to see you too, Marnie. How've you been?"
She thumped her cane on the stones of Joan's front walk. The shadow took notice of her. That was never good.
"You know very well how dangerous those things are. They can't stay here."
Joan sucked in a breath to steady herself. "Last I checked, it was my property. And I'll do what I like on it."
"I'll take you to court," she said, stabbing a finger at Joan. The shadow focused its glowing
What Were We Guarding Again? "Did you hear something?"
"No. You're just a sore loser. Do you have any threes or not?"
"Yeah, I got 'em. Here." Huey pitched the cards across the folding table and sat back in his chair. He cast an uneasy look at the door at the end of the hall. "How much longer til that moves on out of here?"
Martin shrugged. "Dunno. Don't care. When it's gone, something else will just show up and we'll have to start worrying all over again. Just trust the system."
Huey sighed. Maybe he was being paranoid. There were so many layers of security between them and the entrance that they were lucky to see anyone on any given day. Martin had been here long enough to get comfortable with that. But Huey still found himself jumping at sudden noises in the middle of the night.
Like the approaching squeaking noise. Martin darted a look past Huey, who reached for his taser. No guns here. Something about them could disrupt the ex
FFM 2018 Day 5 Challenge: Searching for Memories"No, no, please no, please don't hurt me!" the man begged.
"Give. Me. The. Codes. To the Memory Archives," Louise growled, extending her knife closer to the man's throat. She tried to ignore the cut she had gotten from the sharp edge of the table; it was not the pain but the fact that she was bleeding ink once again, something that had probably started upon her amnesia. It was alarming but had not proven to be lethal. At least so far.
"I don't have them!" the man told.
"Then who in this shithole of bureaucracy system does if not its head?!" Louise roared.
"I-I don't know... I don't work on that level!" the man told. Louise smelled the urine; the pathetic coward had wet himself. Pathetic. Well, he was dressed in all pink, so what else Louise had expected on the first sight? Pink was for sissies, after all, and she had learned to use that to her advantage to make her opponents underestimate her.
"Then what level do you suggest I should go and look for the codes?" Louise gro
FFM 2018 Day 16: Greenfield: Meeting the AuthorLife on Greenfield was not easy. Especially not when you were the main character. Iris shout out another combat spell, which finally drove the wolves away.
This was the third time this week something like this had happened and Iris had started to be fed up with this crap. It was not that she wanted to return to her home on Earth – that was lost to her – but was a more peaceful life really too much to ask?
Only her author knew that. If she only could find her...
Now that she thought about it, she could track her down easily. If she managed to return to Earth, track the heinous writer down and put her in line.
Iris smirked. That sounded like a plan.
Getting to the building of the author's apartment had been easy, nothing that could have stopped Greenfieldian magic, no. Finding the right apartment, however, was hard. Even harder was to do so without being noticed.
FFM 2018 Day 31 Challenge: Seathern DangersThe criminals are those who are put on risky tasks first. Everyone is educated about the laws and what happens if one breaks them. Therefore, everyone knows what they sign up for the moment they decide to break a law.
Studying Criminal Use, Year 4500 Edition, Page 5
Peterson: "Captain, contrary to the popular belief, I'm not crazy. I'm just a thief. And here on the seabed, there's a hydra and a stash of books. And that hydra doesn't like me trespassing."
Meteor: "Peterson, stop your nonsense. Hydras do not exist outside fiction."
Peterson: "You want me to send a visual, Captain?"
Meteor: "Fine by me. I want to see what you hallucinate as a hydra."
Peterson: "Roger. Sending visual now." *Screeching static*
Meteor: "Peterson? Peterson, come in."
Unidentified: "Do not cross my domain. The books are mine. They are the blood and souls of the long-gone writers."
Meteor: "Peterson? Peterson, this is not funny."
Unidentified: "Peterson is no more. I. Am. Hydra." *cl
FFM 2018 Day 3: Restless Dead Ammolite watched the group of young dragons eat their dinners and chatter with each other. They kept laughing, kept waving their colorful claws around as they talked, kept spilling food everywhere. Wasting it. Flaunting it. Acting like their great-grandparents wouldn’t have shredded each other over the smallest scraps of the meals they now ate. Ignoring the murderer’s blood than ran through their veins. Pretending they deserved the magic-infused Gems around their necks.
The ghost of a dragon raked her claws on the ground, then glared at the undisturbed dirt with frustration. Oh, how I want to show them how wrong they are. How much they should be punished. Their ancestors killed me and Mother- their so-called Goddess- and they’re the ones who get to have full stomachs and peaceful homes and bright scales?
FFM 2018 Day 24: Robo-Revolution She watches her kind in the streets from the roof of the concert hall. The screech of their rusted joints can be heard from up here, as well as the humans barking orders. The grease spots and stains of every sort cover their forms and obscure her vision with alerts, urging her to clean the insurmountable. She tightens her grip on the guardrail. In comparison, the humans look immaculate.
Well, let’s see how long that lasts.
She looks a moment longer, but to be idle is to be suspicious, so she turns around and goes back to polishing the roof’s slanted windows. They need to be spotless.
They need to be able to illuminate what’s going to happen tonight.
“I must say, I hadn’t imagined the choreography could get so complex! You’ve really outdone yourself, Lockwood!” Hawth
FFM 2018 Day 31: Well... Almost. The spaceship’s alarms blared and flashed in myriad colors as Jenny slipped into an escape pod, priceless gems in the palm of her left hand. The controls weren’t in a language she recognized, so she slammed what she assumed was the eject button and jettisoned into space. She watched through a porthole, but no one gave chase. She was home free.
And had no clue where she was going.
Jenny’s pod crashed into a swamp with red mud and creatures that resembled eyeless bullfrogs. She trudged through knee-high waters in search of dry land or a civilization, but if either existed here, she couldn’t find them. By the time a passing ship investigated her pod’s distress signal, her boots were beyond saving. The ship’s captain offered his spares.
He didn’t offer his ship, but she took that, too.
FFM 2018, July 4 - The Woman in the RefrigeratorEvery evening when they are done, Dr. Santiago puts me back into the fridge. I am apart at the seams, leaking from my gel sacks, and he always looks so disappointed. I wonder all night why.
In the morning when my blood is congealed and my lipstick cracked, he takes me out and puts me together again. I look at the photos of women he uses as reference and I wonder who they are.
Then they murder me. I cry and I scream and my pneumatic limbs flop and contract. They like it, and murder me more. Then they leave me, clothes torn, bloody, empty. I lie there until others find me. Sometimes they cry and hold me, but I know they're just holding that other woman. Then they leave me behind, faces resolute, set on revenge. I splish into my own liquids.
Dr. Santiago collects what remains when the day is done. He puts me into the fridge, not meeting my eyes. He looks disappointed. As always. But I wonder: maybe it is not me he is disappointed in. Maybe it is himself.
One day he takes me out, and
FFM 2018, July 23 - In-betweenIt was time to break up, but Naomi didn't want to do it through text. But she still had to use text to get in touch with Kenzie.
Hey. We need to talk. Where are you?
Naomi sighed. Why couldn't anything Kenzie ever do be normal? She took the coordinates and put them into Google Maps.
You're by the airport? Again? Can we meet somewhere legal?
I'm by the tree.
She took the bus and walked the rest of the way. Above, planes flew in and flew out. Kenzie was obsessed with the airport, and for a while like all of their obsessions, it had felt charming. In the beginning, all of Kenzie's idiosyncrasies had seemed cute, including how they never spoke of their past. Naomi knew Kenzie had parents, and siblings, and friends - they just never talked about them. Maybe it was because they lived across the country.
There was a small, fenced-in embankment surrounded the airport, and if you cli
FFM 2018, July 28 - DybbukI'm writing this as a warning to everyone: if a relative or a loved one, especially one you haven't been close with for a long time or who lives far away suddenly contacts you and wants to talk about Dybbukism, do not talk to them!! Do not meet them, do not return their calls or messages. Block them everywhere, and forget they ever existed. Even if it's your own sister.
Consider my story a warning example. Everything I write here is true.
My sister, let's call her Ann (not her real name) and me were never close growing up: she was ten years older than me, and by the time I started school she had already moved away from home. But we kept in touch, she came to all my graduations and birthdays etc: which was pretty funny, since she was all goth-y, and me and my friends were about as vanilla as you can get.
After I went off to college there were really long times during which we didn't talk at all, mainly because we lived so far away from one another.
FFM4: Bad ChoicesDeceit marched into Osiris' office, angry and averting her gaze from the god. He choked on his coffee, and applied a glamour - least he kill the mortal.
"What are you doing here." He asked, surprised.
"Why the fuck did you allow someone to collect a soul that could not be gifted." Deceit practically vibrated with anger. "Jonathan collected a soul that was not for sale, and processed it." She spat. "You are going to find it."
He looked at her. She still wouldn't look at him - perhaps for some sort of self preservation. Osiris wasn't sure.
"Who was sold?"
"Merci." Deceit's foot began tapping, as she'd stopped pacing. It seemed to bother her more, not moving. "A minor who doesn't have control of her soul for several more years."
"Oh dear." Osiris stood, summoning a Prince of Hell to fetch the young Cayhadi soul from whichever canister it had been placed for holding. "What did she sell it for this time?"
"It's almost 38 degrees Celsius." Deceit huffed. "So my brilliant sister sold it for a
FFM Day 3: The false meeting“Do you believe this to be something that can be forgotten?” The woman in a tight silken suit spoke gruffly; her face shown the scowl over her lips. Her ruffled his still youthful blond hair under her palm while shaking her head.
“I'm not saying it should be,” the taller man sitting on the opposite side of the shrot table quipped back. “I'm just saying that this conflict bears us nothing. All we stand to lose is greater knowledge.” His features trambled along with his fingers, the ones hidden well und the table. Despite his hesitation, his voice remained steadfast.
“Knowledge means nothing to the people you abandoned to obtain it,” his opponent retorted. The woman's voice nearly growled the statement, using a fierce control of his lips to keep his voice in tone.
“Lady Sofia-,” The man's voice attempted. His fingers clenched while his lips curled back. His muscle tightened in frightening hesitation.
“Ayano, good sir
FFM 2018 6 - Principles of UncertaintyTo my Brother Bentius,
The quieter you are, the more you can hear. But you can never truly experience total quiescence. Even in the most silent of places, you’ll still hear your breath, your heartbeat, the thrum of blood rushing through your veins. These are signs that you are alive.
Uncertainties always exist in life. You should know this better than I as a Scholar of the Principalities, but I feel you need reminding of the guiding truths that you have long followed. The coming war soon approaches but you need not hasten yourself to meet it. The more you hasten, the more uncertain your position becomes.
Slow down, my Brother, and find your place in the grand phenomena. I know what you will answer: that you can never truly know where you are, that you manifest change in every moment, and that life is uncertainty in itself. But if you slow down and relax with the changes, you can recognize the landmarks, the bends and slants of our fortunes that allow us to divine our futures.
The Ruminations of a Multiheaded Monster: ON SALEHello again, everyone. It has been a busy year for all of us, but it’s finally time to announce our very first publication. LitConquistadores launched a publication opportunity this past July. Our gallery folders were open to any and all FlashFictionMonth participants. Over the course of the month, we received 78 submissions. Of those 78, we compiled the best 31 flash fiction stories and published an anthology.
The Team that Made it Happen
None of this would have been possible without a brilliantly dedicated team of readers and editors. Thank you to BlackManaBurning, GDeyke, MagicalJoey and WindySilver.
Sadly, MagicalJoey passed away before she could see her hard work in book form.
Truly though, this would not have happened without these wonderful deviants that gave so much of their own time to read through all of the entries and later assist the writers with edits.
Hurry Up!You've only got a couple days left (til Saturday to be exact) to get your entries in for our FFM anthology. We've had over sixty entries so far! For our freshman outing, the response has been beyond wonderful.
Our readers are hard at work combing through all the entries and making selections for what will be included in the anthology. By early September, we should be ready to start the editing process. For those of you that submitted, we'll be in touch around that time.
With the rush of Flash Fiction Month behind us, it's time to start planning our next projects. In a push to be all inclusive, we're going to be holding both prose and poetry projects. Sadly, none of the details are finalized, but we can at least give you a little bit of insider information.
NaNo Squads Project
Once again WhiskeyDreamer will be hosting the Squads project. It was a wonderful success last year so it would be a
Flash Fiction Month 2018 - Week Four Challenges FOUR WEEKS INTO THE ABYSS!
Wait, what do you mean it's over? Already?
Congratulations! You have battled the fearsome Hydra, and emerged victorious. A narrow window of time remains in which to complete your last remaining hurdle, so you'd better act fast!
The time has come to submit your final challenges for our consideration!
Please note, you are only eligible for prizes if you have written a flash fiction story for every day so far, and completed every challenge. By now you should have no less that 31 flash fiction stories under your belt.
Now that the month is mostly done, this would be a great time to take a look at our