Sunday, November 25, 2012


By Nick/Zarayna:

Ruined Visage

The old man looked with satisfaction at the table in front of him, even as he raised the paint brush off it for the last time. In intertwined tendrils, a brilliant mosaic of colors furnished its top, brilliant and soothing at the same time. He smiled a little, moving the table to the exact center of the small dining room, the floor painted in the same brilliant shapes, while overlapping rainbows formed curtains over the window. The brilliance of the colors was dazzling, but it was home to the white haired child, old in years though he was. The simple smile persisted on his face as he cleaned and put away his equipment, walking into the equally small living room. The same colors were represented here, in different forms and designs, still blending with their beauty. The glass of water he had set down on the coffee table was grasped and swiftly downed, and he sat down with a satisfied ‘ahh’.  He had spent all the day in his working, and this was his rewarding break; the other reward being, of course, the beauty of the table awaiting him in the next room.
Evening was beginning to draw near, and the man welcomed it with a quiet gladness, another worthy day ended. He got to his feet, walking back into the dining room to look at his table. It was colder, he noticed, as he had left a window open, and he walked over to it, pausing to look out. His eyes rested upon the near road, and he started, eyes glued to the figures moving down it.


A younger man would have been in action now, hiding or running, but the old painter stood there, watching them with eyes both old and young. Eyes that were tired just the same. They passed out of view, and his eyes closed. Even to one as consigned as he, there was still hope.

There was a crash as the door was thrown open, and his heart wrenched at the scars he imagined were laid into the wood. He did not turn, did not even open his eyes. He heard booted feet and the bored tones of the soldiers in their abominable language.

Feet creaked the boards of the next room, and he turned slowly, eyes coming to meet those of the soldier there. He had little cause to move, and before he could he was sent flying, even as farther away he could hear the sound of looting, of destruction. Each one sent tears from his eyes, each one spelled ruin for what he had crafted. The soldier that stood above him was clad in grey, his face pale, and almost colorless itself, his eyes a steel-grey. He stood out from the room around him, his drabness scorning their brilliance. His eyes were cold as he leveled his gun at the helpless man, still clad in his paint splattered smock that made him as colorful as his home.

Then a shot rang out, and his colors were consumed by red.


By Harvey/Nuile:

Polychromatic Frowns

Rainbows make me want to cry.

Surely you’ve seen one. Surely you’ve seen how dreary they are. They’re big frowns plastered across the sky. And their bright colors are incongruently cheerful. It doesn’t make sense. It’s illogical. Irrationality in nature makes me want to weep.

The frown itself is bad enough. It makes me want to frown. But the colors mock my woes and make me want to cry. It’s like the rainbow is frowning at me, and then pretends to be cheerful just to make me feel my own grief more keenly.

A rainbow is like a sad clown. Full of color, but woeful in disposition. It only makes it all the sadder, and even a bit scary, now, because we’re talking about clowns. Clowns are terrifying. Be honest, you’re afraid of them, too. But that’s another topic entirely.

Just the other day, for instance, I was walking along a path through a meadow. Well, that goes without saying, I suppose; I wasn’t skipping along the path. Nobody really skips. Except Dorothy. And if I drove along the path I would have given a lot of people heart attacks. If you’re the sadistic sort, you might do that; but I’m not, and I didn’t. I might have been riding along the path, of course, but I don’t know how to ride a bicycle, and I never ride anything with a mind of its own.

So I was walking along this path. The ground was wet and muddy after the rain and it was dirtying my shoes and splashing all over my nice clean clothes. I hate mud, too, but that’s another story.

I was walking along this path because I didn’t like walking through the tall grasses which always make me itch, and I can’t stand the smell of flowers, and all the bugs disturb me, and of course there could always be snakes. And you never know what could be lurking in those verdant trees, like cats or angry birds or ballerinas. Ballerinas are possibly even more frightening than clowns or bugs. In fact, they probably are.

As I say, I was walking along this path. I wasn’t feeling very happy, which I might have been, if I hadn’t been feeling so sad. It’s hard to be happy when you’re very sad. You can be cheerful when you’re just a little sad, but when you’re grievous it’s hard to be even cheerful, and you can never be happy when you’re sad, of course.

Where was I? That’s right, I was walking along the path, because I don’t like walking through the meadow; and I wasn’t feeling happy, because I was feeling sad; and I looked up. I was looking down most of the way, but it’s hard to see where you’re going when you look down, so I looked up. And I saw a rainbow. It was vividly colorful and wearing an obdurately melancholy moue.

And it made me sad.


By Aimee/Aderia:

Coloring Between the Lines, Thinking Outside the Box

"He can't stay in my class! I can't take it anymore!"

Words escaped mischievously under the crack of the door that led to the principal's office. Miss Dause's shrill voice could be heard harping at the principal. When the child leaned over in his seat, he could see the principal, Dr. Smead, sitting at her desk through the glass that was built into the doorframe.

"Miss Dause. You have half the year left with him in your class. Tough it out." Dr. Smead told her, taking a break from massaging her temples and placing her wire glasses back on the bridge of her nose.

Miss Dause tried to quiet her voice enough to keep it from drifting out to the waiting room, but he heard her hiss anyways. "That child is evil, I swear."

He saw the principal look through the window beside the door at him, and he made no attempt to disguise the fact that he had been eavesdropping. He grinned widely. He had just recently lost one of his front teeth, unfortunately. It detracted from his strapping good looks, he thought.

Miss Dause stepped deliberately between the boy and the principal. He couldn't see around her ample frame, high-piled hair and heeled height, no matter how much he leaned in his seat.

"Just look at what he drew!"

He heard the flapping and slamming of a paper on the principal's desk.

"The assignment was to draw a rainbow," Miss Dause explained.

He heard Dr. Smead let out an exaggerated sigh. Then she said, "Dylan, come in."

He smiled his imperfect smile and strutted through the door which his terse second grade teacher was holding open impatiently for him.

"Thank you, Miss Dause!" He chirped.

His teacher ignored him and snapped, "Explain this to Dr. Smead." and shoved his picture he'd only just drawn at him.

"Oh! Well you see, Mrs. Principal, ma'am. Miss Dause gave us all new colored pencils in class today! And the spelling word of the day was 'rainbow', and we had to illustrate it!" Dylan held up his picture for the principal to see.

"Go on," Dr. Smead folded her hands in her lap, and Dylan could tell she was trying not to look amused.

"My mommy, I think you met her last time I got sent here to your office, she always tells me that leprechauns live at the end of rainbows and guard lots of gold! You know? That story?" He looked to his principal to make sure she was following along.

"I understand."

"Well, I couldn't take the gold if the leprechaun was guarding it, right? So I fixed that! The leprechaun is out of the way and he won't bother me when I go to take the gold! I didn't draw anything wrong!" He looked pleadingly and a bit triumphantly at Dr. Smead. Surely, she couldn't argue with his logic.

"Miss Dause," The principal said. "I have to say, the child's reasoning is sound."

Dylan swore he could see all the makeup she had on flake off, Miss Dause's jaw dropped so dramatically. "He drew a leprechaun roasting on a spit! That is not okay!" She shrieked.

"I used all the colors you gave me!" He protested. "Look! Red blood, orange fire, yellow sun, green grass, blue sky –"

"You're in second grade! You shouldn't be drawing things like this! What would your mother say? What does she let you watch? For heaven's sake…"

Talking over Miss Dause's tirade, Dr. Smead said to him, "Dylan, you can go back to class now. I'll send an aid down to supervise while I have a talk with Miss Dause. Thank you for your time."


By John/Kraggh

Rainbow Powers

SUSY HAD THE POWER TO TURN THINGS INTO ANY COLOR OF THE RAINBOW SHE CHOSE.  It was a very potent power.  She was going to make all the difference in the world with it.
..........By that, of course, one can only assume that all the difference in the world equated to making children happier, and she was most often seen changing the colors of balloons and carnival candy.  It was a pretty cool benefit, actually.  She got to see the smiles of children all the time and she let them believe in magic and all that.  In her mind, it was certainly making a difference.
..........Then her sister, Katy, found out that she wasn't just switching balloons and that it was an actual superpower.
.........."Wait, seriously, can you actually just change the color of stuff at will?" she asked.
.........."Yes.  So?" asked Susy.
.........."Can you change the color of my eyes?" Katy asked.  "I always wanted blue eyes, but I didn't want them to be contacts.  I want genuinely blue eyes."
.........."What's wrong with the ones you have?" asked Susy.  "I always liked your brown eyes."
.........."But blue would be cooler," said Katy.  "Why not?  You have your superpowers.  They're meant to be used, and you like using them to make life more fun.  Why not make my eyes blue?"
.........."I don't know," said Susan.  "With great power comes great responsibility.  I think your eyes were meant to be brown."
.........."What's the difference between my eyes and those balloons?" asked Katy.
.........."Well, a lot of things," said Susan.  "You're a piece of art already so beautifully made.  I'd hate to alter it.  Balloons aren't that special.  I don't think it's right.  Please don't peer pressure me."
.........."Alright, but could you change the colors of some of my clothes so that they match?"
.........."Well, I guess I do that with my stuff every day," said Susan.  She looked down at her Sunday clothes, which included a playful red tie half-taught around her neck and a red trench coat that made her feel nice and pirate-y.  Red was her Sunday color, and she had orange for Monday, yellow for Tuesday, green for Wednesday, and so on, ending with violet for Saturday.  "Sure.  Is there anything you want?"
.........."My prom dress isn't the right shade of pink.  I'd also like some prismatic blue highlights," she said.  "Something very artistic.  Hey, there you go!  Why don't you use your powers to be really artistic?  You'd be the best artist in the world!"
..........Susy liked that idea.  After changing Katy's clothes, she went out to do a lot of "painting", although it was really just imagining any colorful image that came to her mind and willing it onto the canvas.  She figured people really enjoyed that, too, just like they enjoyed balloons.  It was different, but she still saw that it touched the world in new and unique ways.  She even impressed a guy named Emperor Kraggh who did a lot of black-and-white pencil drawings and didn't normally see the value in colorful art.
..........She painted chapels and buildings and giant murals with all the colors of the rainbow, glorifying sunsets and country life, city life, and life.  She painted weather, childhood, adulthood, and the many things that people experienced between birth and death.  It was all glorious, and she was sure she was making a difference.
..........Then one day a man in a white suit and cape came to her.  He had many, many superpowers and called himself Superman.  "Susan," he said.  "I heard you change the colors of clothes."
.........."Wow, Superman.  Yes, I do.  What do you want?"
.........."I also heard that you change the colors of balloons," he said.  "Someone named Clark Kent wrote a very interesting story about it.  I love how simple colors make such a huge difference in peoples' lives and spread so much love.  I have a question."
.........."Could you change the colors of my suit?  They're all white, but I want a prism of the primary colors.  My home planet is a world of crystals and light.  I think it's a little more fitting."
.........."Alright," said Susy.  She touched Superman on the chest and a spectrum of three bright colors spread throughout: red, blue, and yellow, as bright as the laserlights from the crystals on Krypton.
.........."Thank you," said Superman, and he flew off.
..........Susy felt silly.  She had no powers compared to him.  And he was making a true difference.  Then, a while later, it occurred to her that she created what might have been the mot iconic color scheme ever.  And she lived on happily.  It turned out that she really did make all the difference in the world with her power.


By Legolover-361:

In Name

Cassandra O’Connor was a Catholic in name. She was a Catholic in habits. She was a Catholic in how her friends at public high school always teased her for dressing modestly, never “checking out” any of the guys, never cursing or cussing, et cetera. That was enough for her parents, and that was enough for most of the people at her church, who nearly fell over themselves in graciousness of a young teenager’s willingness to devote herself to such a noble philosophy.

She had the Ten Commandments engraved in her memory as if her brain was stone. She followed them all to the letter (especially “thy shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” because it was easy not to be jealous of ladies who looked more like crows than sapient beings). She said Grace before every meal. Her family ate together, except for lunch when Cassandra’s father was at work, but her parents never said the prayer; they wanted her to recite it so they could, with misty eyes, consume their food proud to have raised such a perfect daughter.

At youth group, kids always asked Cassandra how she did it, “it” being dealing with not being allowed within a foot of a video game controller; having no personal computer or a cell phone with internet access; and only watching, reading, and listening to Christian media because other sorts didn’t provide the proper edification. They always seemed shocked when she shrugged nonchalantly and, with the most blasé tone, responded, “I’ve never really thought about it.” She spoke the truth.

Still, it grated on her.

She felt its friction whenever she dropped to her knees as the Eucharist was prepared. She felt it whenever her parents ordered her to go to confession and she would recite a few regular, tiny items: She’d gotten annoyed at a friend; she’d heard and enjoyed the pumping bass of a rap song someone was playing at high volume at an intersection; she’d (accidentally) not held open a door for someone. She felt it when, every night, she made the sign of the cross — right hand to her forehead, the base of her chest, her left shoulder and her right — and prayed for God to grant her a new morn as He had done for the past fourteen years of her existence.

That friction resided somewhere within her heart. Her façade of perfection was unsteady. Should she not feelhappy? — she was a Catholic girl in a tiny town with devoted friends and loving parents. What else had she the right to ask for, to pray for?


She looked at the world and wondered, Why are those who are needy prevented from obtaining sustenance?

She looked at her parents and wondered, Why was I not given a choice in becoming Christian?

She looked to heaven and wondered, Why, O God — why do You not present Yourself to me?

She had never seen God. He was as mystical as the fabled leprechaun gold at the end of a rainbow. Her brand of “Christianity” required no faith, only maintenance of a satisfactory outward appearance. As long as she kept her mouth and doings clean, she was Catholic. But that, she knew, was the equivalent of believing something is alive because it moves. Trees move in the wind; she didn’t consider them alive. Trees, she reflected, also had no way of telling people their true nature.

Cassandra would not rock the boat. She kept going to church, kept praying even though it left an empty feeling in her heart, because what was the alternative? Some other religion? Atheism? Nothing sufficient.

Nevertheless, Cassandra O’Connor was not a Catholic in her heart.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


By Nuile/Harvey: 

Through the Looking-Glass

I flung my pencil down on the blank sheet of paper and sprang to my feet.

My fingers ran through my hair, massaging my sore mind. Where were the words when I needed them most? They had abandoned me on the tip of the graphite! They had all been there, waiting like floodwaters ready to flow at the burst of the dam; but they had evaporated before they had been set free.

I halted in my pacing. A movement had caught my eye. I felt foolish when I turned only to see my own reflection; I didn’t remember that mirror being there.

I stepped closer to examine my reflection. My lips were cambered in a deep frown, my hair was disheveled by my own hands, my eyes were streaked with red veins.

I looked so terrible, I might have laughed at my appearance. At any other time. But in that moment, it only deepened my moue.

I was stranded on the dry bed of a reservoir where a sea of words had abandoned me. My visage only confirmed that.

Suddenly, I noticed something unusual in the background of the reflection. Turning, I crossed the room to a thick, leather-bound volume balanced upon the headstand of my bed. I didn’t remember putting it there. The last time I had seen it, it had been collecting dust under my desk, not in this prominent position.

One of the pages was dog-eared. Mechanically I turned to the page and corrected the fold.

As I did so, a word attracted my attention.

One word. The first word. The first of many that had escaped me.

And then they all came rushing back. They gushed back into my mind in an overwhelming torrent. Without wasting a moment I threw myself down at my desk, lifted the pencil, and began writing.

Page after page I filled into the wee hours, until the night began to fade in the light of dawn. When at last I placed the final period on the paper and stood up from the desk with a body-shaking yawn, my desk was strewn with pages adorned by my scraggly handwriting. I had worked all night without sleep, but it had been worth it.

Proud and content, albeit effete, I turned and strolled out of my room to prepare for the day. I didn’t even notice the mirror was gone.


By Nick Silverpen/Nicholas Joseph:

The flames weren’t the same anymore, Tahu decided as he looked at the campfire. Granted, they burned brighter, more precise. He had learned how to control his power in infinite ways since the great battle, but it didn’t feel as real, as powerful. He stared into the flames, until the shadows around the fire in the hut blended into the creeping shadows of the night. The adrenaline wasn’t there, like it had been on the island of Mata Nui. It was simply gone. 

Maybe the pattern was what he hoped for. Maybe he was glad to be smarter than the enemy. To never have to face the real challenge of having a smarter enemy. He stared deep into the fire, wanting to crumble like the ashes. The council’s requests of him were too much. He was incompetent, he felt, and it was no use, trying to meet their demands, to get on their level. It was just too much. He stared out of his glass eyes, automated receptors, and wasn’t sure where his hate was channeled toward. 

He looked out toward the night, where the stars shined over Bara Magna. The village was quiet, tame in the night. It was not calming to him. Chaos made him comfortable. A hard chuckle came from his throat. He would have made a great Brotherhood agent in the wars, with all of the chaos. It was not worth it, sometimes. He wanted satisfaction now; but his mentors had taught him well. Instead of letting the will of iron melt to slag, let patience shape it into something grand and useful. He resented it sometimes. Crumbling in the doorway, he continued to ponder if this had all been worth it, as caged and frustrated as he was. 



By Nate/GSR:

NaNo Write-Off -- ~500 words

Sunday, November 4, 2012


By Chro/Ben:

The wind rushed swiftly by the windows of the airplane, birds and clouds zipping alongside like the slowest participants of some celestial race.
Faster now, past the mainland, the plane soared through the skies over the ocean, vast and mysterious. Everything felt perfect, idyllic; the plane flew quite smoothly.
Suddenly there came some kind of unseen turbulence; the altitude wavered, dropping slightly, rising quickly, up and down, before finally leveling out again as it passed over a series of grassy knolls. The hilly fields below were pleasant and peaceful again, a welcome respite after the prior tumult. The plains progressed to foothills, and from there on to a broad range of hunchbacked mountains. Their snowy peaks were appealing from above, although there was no time to observe this, as the plane dove towards the jagged summits. This terrible ordeal could only end in gruesome destruction!
But now amazingly the airplane was past the mountains, gliding low along the arid expanse of some spectacular desert. And now, arcing upwards, the airplane shot vertically into the atmosphere at a ridiculous angle.
This tomfoolery on behalf of the pilot was ended abruptly; the wind died suddenly, the birds and clouds faded. The plane came to a gradual stop midair, defying all physics completely.
Yes ma.
Come inside, Jeffrey.
Coming, ma.

The plane soared down for a naturally imperfect landing, though it was the best ever in Jeffrey's eyes. And as the young boy ran to the warmth and happiness of his home, the plane sat outside- still the most fantastic aircraft ever made.

By John/Kraggh:

The Luckiest Grandfather in the World

Theo payed an unexpected visit to his grandson's house.

"Who are you?" asked Michael.

"I am you grandfather, Theophilus Rhodes Zweifel," he said.  He stood in the doorframe for a full beat before Michael turned around to look at a woman with short hair and bangs hanging in his face, the woman that Theo knew from the pictures in the newspapers was his granddaughter-in-law.  What a shame he wasn't invited to the wedding.

Ah, and how precisely like his father, Leonidas, did Michael appear.  The same narrow features, the same princely looks, the same flaming orange hair that crowned the head of every man in the Zweifel family.  It was a shame that Michael had lost his eyes in such a tragic accident.

"I'm not sure who you are, but you should leave," said Michael, and he closed the the door, but Theo blocked it with his foot.

"Not so fast, son," he said.  "I know you lost your eyes, and you can't see me, but the physical resemblence that you have with your father, and therefore me...well, let's just say that my instinctive narcissism fills me with pride."

That shy young lady, so thin, so hidden, slowly came up from behind Michael.  He looked down to where he felt her hand on his arm.  "He does look like you, just thought I'd mention it."

"Well, regardless, you will let me in.  I'm the current head of the treasury.  I have some authority.  Not that it demands that I be let in, but I'm an important man in the government all the same.  It looks like the same could be said of you, Michael!"

Michael backed up.  Theo allowed himself entrance into the room, unashamed of himself.

"I'm familiar with the name.  Head of banking or something like that," said Michael.

"You heard the name and didn't wonder if, by chance, that some Swiss immigrant with the same name as you was of some relation?" said Theo.  "Well, as it happens, I have been unable to contact your father.  Have you been in touch, Michael?"

"We don't talk."

"Ah, like father, like son like grandson," said Theo.  He leaned in with a smile.  "I think that it's about time that we break that tradition.  I would like to work with you, Micahel.  You're perhaps the richest man alive thanks to your lucky investments.  Very lucky investments, not to mention the surreal experiences you've gone through that make you quite unlike any man alive.  Yet, you have no friends, only a wife and a sister to keep you company.  What a strange hermit you are.  With my help, I think this company you own could contribute to the world in brand new ways.  What do you say?"

"Get out," said Michael.

"No, I don't think I will.  See, I pulled some strings.  I'm afraid that by several unique legal requirements, you must work with me.  I just wanted to see if you would have shook my hand otherwise.  Good day, Michael.  I will see you tomorrow at work."

Theo tipped his hat and left, flashing another evil smile.  He was the luckiest grandfather in the world. 


By Harvey/Nuile:

The Book of the Dead

The fading sunlight imbued the upper reaches of the bland gray stone with a gold tincture. The shadows stretched away from my window, as if running away from me.

I felt like shooting the sun. But I knew even I couldn’t make that shot.

Besides, it was behind me. I was peering across the crowded street to the rooftop garden where a young man lounged in his undergarments, reading a book. I hoped, for his sake, it was a good one, worthy of his final moments.

As I took out my gear and began setting up, I asked myself the question. If I was about to die, what book would I want to read? To Kill a Mockingbird? I laughed at the thought. There was irony in that.

Maybe a murder mystery. An Appointment with Death. One thing was certain, if I died, it would be with the grin of my last joke forever immortalized across my inert face.

Until it rotted. But that was life. And this was death.

I peered through the sight and lined up the cross-hairs. I had a perfect shot from here. Maybe I didn’t know my employer, but he sure knew what he was about. And all I needed to know was my job, the fact that my boss had money, and a few good jokes.

I waited. Through my binoculars I could tell he was nearly through with the novel. I wasn’t busy that night; I would give him time. I’d let him finish reading, then I’d kill him.

The sun disappeared and the shadows deepened. He moved only once, to turn on a light. Then he returned to his reading.

I wondered what book it was. I couldn’t make out the title. But I guess that didn’t matter. I was less curious why I was hired to kill him, but that didn’t matter either. Even if I was just a toy, the instrument in a stronger arm, I didn’t care.

I enjoyed what I did. That was all that mattered to me.

Oh, and the money. Yeah, the money. That, too.

Finally he turned the last page. His eyes roved down the page, though I couldn’t see them. Then he closed the book, closed his eyes, and leaned back, sated and smiling.

One of those books that left you feeling there was nothing more to life than that brief escape to fiction, I hoped. Because, for this fellow, there was nothing more to life.

I aimed. I pulled the trigger. And I packed up.

Time to pick up a check and then head to the bookstore.


By Caleb/Cederak:

The Big Kids

Captain Ashby surveyed the battle from his ship in low orbit, watching the Federation's warships chip away at the defenses of the enemy Union. Far below, on the barren ground that had once been fields full of flourishing crops, Federation troopers marched to their graves. A few dozen of them were shredded to atoms by a Union laser cannon, the beam sweeping wide across the battlefield from a tank-like machine. Ashby watched the atrocities of warfare play out before him, numbed by his years of service, desensitized by the brothers and sisters he had seen perish against the Union. They were the enemy of the Federation long before his birth and they remained an enemy now.

Ashby tried to remember what it was they were even fighting for. Land? Resources? He didn't know anymore. All he knew were the toys of war, his soldiers, trudging through any obstacle to defeat the Union. That was all he really saw the battlefield as - a toy box someone had tipped over, letting the contents spill out for children to play with. His superiors used the lives of real people, men and women who had served and dedicated years to the Federation, like simple playthings. In the distance, a Union shuttle was smashed to bits by a small Federation cruiser, much like the tiny spaceships he had played with as a boy, in the comfort and safety of his bedroom.

Ashby was glued to the window, ever curious about the battles. He had come a long way from being in the thicket of energy bullet fire, and one of the few survivors of his original company. As technology improved and humanity found more devastating ways to wipe one another out, the death toll grew. The fallen in battle were less seen as causalities and more like statistics. Ashby didn't understand it. He'd come so far from being a boy in his room crashing starship into one another, but standing on the bridge watching the chaos, Ashby began to rethink his position. He was the same boy, he just had bigger boots and a bigger ship. A Union star cruiser was approaching his ship from several miles out and he listened as the energy cannons opened fire on it. In a matter of moments, Ashby's crew had successfully ended thousands of lives, sending their remains out of the sky and down with the rest of the wreckage. Chunks would indiscriminately crush Federation and Union soldiers alike - a very graceless way to die.

The communication monitor beeped and a message crackled through. "Captain Ashby, we have gained a foothold on the peninsula below. Shall I give the order to begin phase two?"

Ashby sighed. Once phase two was under way, the Federation would undoubtedly take back the planet from the Union. Intent on closing his toy box up as soon as possible, Ashby touched the monitor and replied, "Permission granted. Let's take back the Earth."


Saturday, November 3, 2012


By John/Kraggh:

Salt of the Earth

A man sat in the balcony of the Senate Chamber, discussing politics.  There were other voters and political activists.  For some reason, he was the only person with his set of beliefs in the room.  It was very discomforting.  Some people began talking to him, and he didn't say much for his beliefs.  He let them walk over him, let them listen to themselves talk.  He would never convince them of the proper way to govern a country.

"Yes...Yes...Yes...I understand.  I respect your views.  I inderstand where you're coming from, but for my various reasons that are a bit too expansive to express all at this moment, I can't really see eye to eye on you with this issue."

So he went, never quite taking a stand for himself.

Suddenly a great rectangle, nearly thirty feet high and ten feet wide, opened in the middle of the floor.  A great wind came forth.  The rectangle was no physical object, but an image like a window.  Many people panicked, not understanding, nor having the slightest idea of what was going on.  There was head, lots of it.  The image, for those who dared look, was that of a pipe organ and alien architextures.  Strange creatures came forth, but they parted as a tall man in a cape walked through them.

He had the exact same face as the man who meekly debated with protesting voters in the Senate Chamber.  There were a few physical differences between them, sure, considering that the one who came through the portal was much older and had a silver beard, but regardless, they seemed to be the different incarnations of the same man.  The latter man stood straight, unaffected by the head, not flinching in the face of strange monsters armed with blades and arrows.

"I am King Tijdschrift," said the strange, bearded man.  His deep, melodious voice boomed and echoed throughout the chamber.  "I rule the universe.  Everyone bow before me."

Some strange magic possessed the people to bow against their will, all except for the man who stood straight.  He did not bow.

"Tom, I sent you to this Earth, born of human parents, to lead," said the King.  "I conquered the rest of the universe with my silver toungue alone.  You are my son, with all my gifts given to you, and yet you are unable to rise to greatness in this small pebble."

Tom looked away.

"Look at me!"

Tom refused.

"You may look like them, Tom, but you are not one of them.  Do not make yourself humble.  Rise.  Be their leader.  They are a great people, far superior to so many races across the universe, so long as they have a spark to make them catch fire.  They can grow bright.  These are people of the great Earth, and you are the salt of the Earth.  Yet, you dilute yourself in the waters of the ocean.  Tom, rise!"

"I am not God," said Tom.  "I am only a man.  I chose to live my life for other forms of greatness."

And Tom was punished that day.  Publicly, in plain site.  The world saw this strange alien man beat his son, inflict him with seventy-seven lashes while security forces were helpless to stop the violence.  Unknown powers were at play.  However, the man named Tom survived, and King Tijdschrift left through his portal.

Years later, Tom carried out his father's will, but only after attending to things more important, more human.  Whatever it was that he felt he had to accomplish, nobody knows.  Beyond his leadership of the human race, little was public knowledge.  We historians still ponder what was important to him to this day. 

By Nuile/Harvey:

Old Salt

“Can you pass the salt, please?”

“Honestly!” she chided. “Haven’t you had enough?”

“So I like a lot of salt,” I countered, taking the shaker from her hand.

“I can’t imagine why. Surely you had enough of salt on the sea?”

“Well, that’s just it, I guess. It’s the smell and the taste—it takes me back.”

Her gaze lowered. She stabbed at the food on her plate. “You—want to go back?”

I reached across the table, taking her hand. “You know I don’t. But it’s always been an important part of my life.”

A smile cambered her lips. “Do you remember where we got that shaker?”

My head bobbed. “I do. Do you remember when that was?”

“Of course.”

“Okay, when?”

“You first. Where?”

“That souvenir shop. Honolulu. We both reached for it at the same time.” I asked, “But when was that?”

“The same day,” she replied, “that we met on the beach.”

“The same day I realized there was something more beautiful than the sea.”

She flushed happily.

I went on, “It’s hard to beat a sunset on the ocean, watching the dying rays gild the waves and then turn them into different shades of red, orange, and pink before finally sinking into the water. It’s breathtaking. My head had never been turned away from one until you walked past me.”



I added a last dash of salt to my soup and then handed it back to her. As she took it, I grasped her hand; we held the shaker mutually between our fingers.

“I grew up by the sea. I lived on the sea. I worked on the sea. Nothing else had ever really taken my attention way from it.”

“And so that’s why you like salt?”

“It’s not just the salt. It’s so much more than that.”

We gazed a moment longer into one another’s eyes, gripping each other’s hand; then we withdrew.

Lifting a spoonful to my mouth,  paused to grin. “Besides that,” I remarked laughingly, “I love the taste.”


By iBrow:

Fat and Greasy

The fat, greasy man shifted his weight on the couch. The couch trembled ominously. The man licked his hand and used it to slick his hair back as he grabbed a shaker, unscrewed the tap, and tossed the whole thing back. His shrimp of a son with his tidy blonde hair and nervous gray eyes stood in front of him, holding a piece of paper in his hand.

“What is this, Dad?” the son asked.

“That is a serious short story, son.” the man said, letting out a belch and shutting his eyes tight, fumbling for a can of pop on the food tray.

“I mean what you’re eating.”

“Oh... it is salt, my lad. Do not every try it.”

“Why shouldn’t I try it?”

"Don’t be so insolent - it tastes bad, it feels bad, it makes you fat like me, and then it kills you, son. Never even think about those serious short stories."

“But Dad, I thought we were talking about salt.”

“Salt, serious stories, what’s the difference?” the man said, shrugging his shoulders. His son cringed as his father’s fatty chin wobbled and flopped along with the movement.

“How does a serious story do that, father?” the son asked timidly.

“It is like how I first tossed back the salt, lad. It hooks you and never encourages you to get up and walk away to do something with your life.” the father told him, letting out another belch before patting his protruding belly with extreme difficulty. “Look at me now. What good did those serious stories ever do me?”

“I thought it was the salt.”

“No son, it was the stories. I sat there hunched over the computer once upon a time before I was too fat to type, reading and writing those serious stories. I never got up to even sleep.” the man tried to rub his eye, but his arm was too fat and he stopped trying after three attempts. “Son, if you ever read or write anything, take the pepper.”

“What do you mean, take the pepper?”

“Eat the pepper, son. The pepper is spicy and it makes you dance around praying that you will recover and be able to taste again. It forces you to exercise! Now, the pepper of stories is a good comic.”

“A comic? Like a comic book?”

“Or a text based comedy, it doesn’t matter. Both force you to get up, run around, and stay in shape. With a comedy, the running around is your nonstop laughter.”

“I’ve heard laughter is very healthy, father.”

“That’s what I’m saying, son. Now be a good son and get me another serious story and some more salt. I need to continue being a slob.”

“Maybe I could read you a comedy tomorrow, father.”

The father grunted and his chin wobbled some more.

“Feel free to do so, son. It’ll take a miracle for a total fat slob like me to get off the couch again.”

The son nodded swiftly and turned, exiting the room as fast as possible. He relished the smell of the fresh air, without the toxic fumes of sweat, salt, and books rotting in sweat that pervaded throughout the room his father lived in. With any luck this next story would get rid of his father, and he could finally move onto his own dreams and desires.

“Hmm... this one should do the trick.” the son muttered as he reached the bookshelf. “The Casual Vacancy. This book is bloody serious... I’m sure it’ll do father right in this time! And then... I’ve heard the movies are pretty easy to get into.”

The End.


By Caleb/Cederak:

Waking Up

Tom sleepily stared across the table at Julie, watching her use the salt shaker to add some flavor to her over easy eggs. She appeared so vibrant and full of energy - all the morning person Tom had never been. His fists gently pushed his glasses aside, rubbing the last remnants of sleep from his eyes he'd missed before taking Julie to the restaurant for breakfast. Julie liked going out for breakfast and Tom was always happy to pay for her. She was his girlfriend after all. Tom released a lengthy yawn, glancing out the restaurant window at the passing cars and all the people heading on their way to work. He looked down at his watch and swallowed hard. It was 8:24 A.M. Somehow, he and Julie had fallen asleep at the same ungodly hour of 3:00 A.M. and she couldn't have been more awake. Tom took a sip of his coffee and quickly realized it was a bit warmed than he anticipated.

"Are you okay?" Julie asked.

Tom became very self-aware for a moment and nodded. "Hot coffee." He glanced at her left hand and noticed she was still holding the salt shaker.

Tom smiled. "Julie, I love you."

Julie's eyes went wide and she gently set the salt shaker down. "I think I want to break up."

Tom had attempted to take another sip of his coffee when she replied, gently setting it down before starting a second battle with the overly warm liquid. "You…what? You want to break up?"

Julie's eyes wandered off. "Yeah. I've been meaning to tell you for a couple weeks, but I didn't know how to say it."

"So you've been thinking about this," Tom said, releasing a bitter sigh. "Any reason why?"

Julie furrowed her brow. "It's complicated, I guess."

"It usually is," Tom replied, suddenly feeling as awake as Julie. His heart was racing, his mind full of emotions.

"This whole thing…I'm just not feeling it. People say you're supposed to feel when you love someone…like, it's a feeling that you can't describe, but you know it's there. I…I don't feel that with you. I'm sorry."

Tom reached for the salt shaker, sprinkling his own eggs with its contents. He twirled the object in his hand, trying to think of what to say next. He'd just been broken up with over breakfast, while out at a restaurant, and the silence was painfully awkward. Or maybe that was the pain of heartbreak he was feeling. Yeah, that had to be it. Awkwardness never gave him such a tightness in his chest.

"I don't think I'm hungry anymore," Tom told her. "But I am awake."

"We should go, huh?" Julie asked.

Tom sighed, holding back tears and angry words and so many things he considered inappropriate in a public setting. He set down the salt shaker and looked Julie in the eyes. "Yes. We should go."