Sunday, February 24, 2013


By Alex Humva:

“It worked!” My assistant burst through the door, laughing like a maniac while he did. “It finally worked! The computer simulations are a success! We're rich!”

“The gene therapy is working?” I gripped the table to keep from falling over. “The test subjects?”

“All healthy! We're bloody geniuses!” The young man laughed and cheered, dashing about the room to a nearby refrigerator. A bottle of vintage wine was promptly taken out, the man popping the cork even as I moved off to the test room. I took a step in, looking at the computer displays that surrounded me. My assistant was right; the simulations were a success. The vitals of the animals were normal, and the prepared antitoxins were working one hundred percent. Years of work, years of getting funding via tooth and nail... it had all worked out.

I sat down in the computer chair, taking it in. A glass was handed to me, taking a sip absent-mindedly as I considered the ramifications of this. Our corporate sponsors had brought us in on an idea that they had thought of after seeing my work on real-time genetic engineering. They wanted something that could replace plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery in general. Science fiction to must, but I had seen a possible route. Years of perseverance, years of doubting if I could actually do it... all for it to come down to this.

I pulled a test tube out of cabinet, looking at the clear fluid inside of it. I held in my hand a paradigm shift. The ability to actively rewrite the genetic code and, in the process, change the human body via its own natural processes. The commercial aspects were clear, but the betterment of man kind... Cancer would be a thing of the past. Genetic disease that had once plagued so many would be eliminated. Humanity could hardwire itself to be stronger, better, immune to a plethora of viruses and microbes.

And it dawned on me the consequences of this. Anyone could be anyone else now. How many clones of popular actors would there be, now? What would the government say? What would the church say? What would the people say? Would the ignorant destroy this in an effort to preserve their old world, would corruption reign as anyone could impersonate anyone else? Would society grow closer, when anyone could experience life as anyone else? Or would it split down the middle?

I took a large, hard gulp of the wine. Such was the pursuit of advancement.


By Robert/Janus:

It's Not Very Funny

Laughter is a funny thing, huh? Sometimes it's feels so good--y'know, just to let loose with a full belly laugh. One of those great laughs that can just change your day around. Make the sun seem a little brighter and the clouds so much puffier. Then there's that other kind of laughter.

You know the type of talking about. The one that tears right through you, that bitter harsh laugh that tells you everything you've ever aspired to, everything you've ever been--everything has just been a mockery. That cruel sound that reveals that you're nothing but a cosmic joke.

It's funny, you know? How we're always told laughter is the best medicine. Heck, even science has proven that people who laugh more live longer--but have they studied why? Or even determined if any laugh will help stave off the reaper? I mean do people who exist only to shame others get to reap the fruits of a longer life?

I've always wondered these things--never consciously, mind you, but these thoughts have always been there. Just beneath the surface of my mind, almost daring me to start thinking about them.

So now I am--heh, I wonder if I could have avoided this if I thought about this earlier? I doubt it. After all, life has a funny way of just sneaking up on you. I mean I guess this all started the right way. Just a few hours ago I was living life large--I had picked up my friend and we were setting off for fame and fortune--well, that's what we called it. In truth we were just going to dick around on vacation. Y'know, just shoot the breeze and hang around. We loaded our stuff into the car and blasted the stereo--just a couple of college kids on our way to make some memories.

I still remember the deep throaty laugh he made--though I sure as hell can't remember the joke I made. I remember the way his eyes sparkled just before the laugh burst from him--and before his face burst apart.
The car came out of nowhere, swerving into our lane and pulverizing the entire passenger side of the car. Cutting off my friend mid-laugh. Or that's what I wish had happened--in truth the laugh continued, just not as it had before. There was kind of a hissing gurgle as what was left of my friend's head lolled to the side.

I'd like to say that I responded in the smart way, that I controlled the car and managed to get us to safety and call some help for my friend. I'd like to, but then I wouldn't be scrawling this tripe on a friggin' notepad while my dead friend sits beside me, would I?
So yeah, laughter is a funny thing. One moment a laugh can be so full of joy, and the next moment it's nothing but bitterness. I wonder if those laughs help extend your life. Because even though I'm ashamed to admit it, that's what happened to me.
Yeah, I wasn't totally honest with you before--kind of stupid given that our car went off a ledge and the chances of rescue or of seeing anyone again are basically nil--but hey, that's humanity for you. A screwed up bundle of neuroses. Pretty damn funny, isn't it?

In truth, after my friend's face erupted in a shower of blood, after that horrible hissing gurgle of a laugh escaped his lips--I laughed too. I laughed for I don't know how long. Long enough to lose control of the car--which is what brings me to my current situation.

I wonder if that laugh will help extend my life?

God I hope not.


By Nick/Zarayna:

  I really don’t know what I’m writing. I suppose it’s because I’m laughing too hard. How am I typing right? Is there some miracle?

     Anyways, there once was a forest. It was not a dark forest (because how could I write gloomy stuff right now?) but it was not a dazzling forest.
     Or maybe it was. Let me explain. It was pink. Is that dazzling? I found it mellow to the eyes and relaxing. But if you like:
     There once was a forest, but not a dark forest. Some sources claim it was relaxing, others think it was dazzling. The author sides with the first view. Anyways, it was not a big forest. Really. It fit into this one backyard. A backyard that seemed to make the house big. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t a forest. More like a random group of trees and bushes made to look like a forest.
     Why am I telling you this? Well, let me just blow the secret because I can’t build up the suspense any further. The trees were pink because they were plastic, and they were plastic because they belonged to this weird toy house that somehow found itself in my room. It’s right in front of me, and I just had to describe it.
     No, I swear I’m not drunk.
     Anyways, pink forests aside, there was once a ma. Well, maybe not a man. But he looked like a man, at least. I still don’t get how his feet were hinged. I would stare at them, wondering what on earth it was. Then the ‘man’ would fall over and I’d have to help him up, balance him, and then wait for the inevitable fall.
     I guess I shouldn’t keep action figures on my desk while I write.
     I forgot where I was. Who leaves notebooks lying on desks I the middle of parties anyways?
     Right. Crazy writers like me.
     Why am I still laughing?
     Oh yes. Victory. Not everyone can escape the way I just did.
     Let me tell you, escape was a bit of a strong word. I was really having a goo time with my friends. Then I got this idea for a story. I tried to blurt it out, but even now I don’t know what I said; it wasn’t legible. Anyways, we went back to whatever we were doing, my friends a little less convinced of my sanity.
     But that idea burned. Man did it burn.
     So I began to run. I don’t think I really had a plan other than ‘get to paper ASAP’ but it turned out quite clever. I ran around our house and set up a ladder, climbed it, and shoved it off.
     Maybe I am a bit drunk, or at least our of my mind, ‘cause a friend of mine came around the corner, just in time to get clipped. I didn’t look to see what happened to him, but it was right there that I started to laugh. I locked my window, locked my door, laughing. By the time I barricaded them I think I was shrieking my merriment.
     But that didn’t matter. Because then I found my notebook and sat down.
     What happened?
     Someone slipped one of my little sister’s toys into my room, and I just had to write about it. Then the action figure, and then a recap.
     Only I just realized. The whole reason for my escape and my current imprisonment is still not written down.
     Dammit. I lost my idea.
     Was that why I randomly wrote this down? All that I know is that I just got writer’s block and lost at least one friend. Bye.


By Lin:

Black, white and grey; these are the three basic colors that make up the world.  Rain falls down on the sidewalk, drowning ants that try to forage for food and lightning strikes, white and hot with rage, at a tree, knocking it over in a fiery explosion.  That, of course, is the fate of anything that is “lucky” enough to be brought into this world.  Ultimately, once a spark ignites a flame, it has no choice but to be extinguished.  Sure, it could last for weeks, maybe months if it manages to expand, but that will never last forever.  No, the fate of the fire is only ash.  Cold, grey, lifeless ash; scattered and forgotten by the wind.

Every day I find myself asking “what’s the point” or “why bother with such a wretched existence?”  I’m no different from that flame.  It could be fifty more years; ten, a month, or I could find myself dead tomorrow before sunset.  Why should I live if all I have left is my own demise?  I find myself asking, far too often, “why?” 

It’s miserable in the world today.  Turn on the news, and another school shooting appears.  This time it was an elementary school.  A fourteen year old walked down an alley and was shot, dead.  People addicted to god-knows-what murder their wife, their husband, their boyfriend, girlfriend, child…  It never stops.  It’s a wide spectrum without any color from end to end.  Of course it would be wonderful if someone actually did anything to try and help the situation.  No, humans always point the finger at someone or something else.  “Video games are too violent” or “Movies are too extreme.”  Next thing you know a lawsuit pops up and drags out the misery further.

This world is wretched, disgusting filth and I’ve found myself a part of it.  I’ve passed the point of caring for my fellow man.  A woman had her purse grabbed not twenty feet from me, and yet I looked the other way, feeling nothing.  A child cries, and I assume it’s because it’s rotten.  A man gets screamed at by a woman, and I automatically believe he deserved it.  A human dies in the news, and all I do is watch, unfeeling, unmoved as I continue my day like nothing significant happened. 

Sometimes I think I actually see some color in the world of red, blue and green.  I realize I don’t even remember which color it is and I laugh.  I laugh until my ribs hurt, until I’m curled on the floor in the pain of my own ignorance; the world’s ignorance.  I often ask myself “Why am I laughing?”  I suppose it’s the only thing I can do before the reaper draws me in.


By Jonathan:

     Laughter.  He could still hear it. Why did it haunt him so? In his dreams, in his nightmares. Everywhere.  It was the thing that held the world together, and yet it was the thing that was tearing his world apart.  The laughter of his children, the laughter of the neighbors, the laughter of his friends. It all reminded him of her.  She had the perfect laugh.  Even the daisies swaying gaily in the wind seemed to taunt him, laughing at him, at his hatred of laughter.  He slumped into his big armchair.  The one where he read her bedtime stories every night.  He had become used to his nighttime routine, linking to this very armchair where he tormented himself every night with the memories of her sweet laughter.  The vivid pictures of her dancing under the moonlight, running in the sunlight, swinging on the swings.  Whatever she was doing she always brought joy to the world, and she was always laughing.  He would sit in his chair drinking his bourbon to numb his mind, numb his pain, until he became absolutely wasted.  The pain drove him mad.  Empty of everything but his grief he would scream until the tears came no more.  Yet his pain did not go away.  He cursed up a storm, cursing life, cursing fate, cursing himself for his oblivion.  Yet his pain did not go away.  He could only think of that perfect laugh.  That taunting laugh.  It grew until he had a hatred of all laughter, except for hers.   Indeed, the proverbial bluebird of happiness had left him many year ago.  It had turned his perfect world upside down.  That day at the campground. 
     “Daddy, can we please go play at the lake?  I want to go out in a kayak with you.”    “NO!!” he would shout at his dreams, cursing the moment.  “Say no,” he pleaded with himself.  But he smiled down at her as he always did.  She laughed knowingly, understanding that look to mean yes. 
     “Yippee!” she cried, as she raced off to the lake. His dream continued, no matter how much he begged it to stop.
     “Follow her!” he demanded to no avail.
     “Wait for me, Katie,” he called, but she was too far gone.
     “Follow her,” he moaned softly as the energy leaving him.  His body was succumbing to the pain and the alcohol. 
     Grabbing the life vests and the sun tan lotion he slowly followed her to the lake. His phone rang.  It was his wife.
     “Don’t answer it. Please don’t answer,” he wailed. “Please.”
     He meandered down the trail as he dealt with his wife’s problems.  When he got the clearing and the line of the shore, she was no where to be found.  In anger, he yelled, “Katie, come on.” His anger slowly began to turn to panic when she did not answer him.  His panic got worse.  He quickly dialed 911, but by the time they got there he feared the worst.  The search that ensued turned up nothing. 
     Laying on the floor now, he convulsed in pain at the memory. It had been 17 years since the incident, and his daughter was never found.  Sweet Katie, was never found.  And her laughter haunted him to this day.  The thing that made the world go ‘round, turned his, upside down.

By Aimee/Aderia:

“Hahaha Halfhearted Write Off”

     The man on the screen had blood dripping down his temple. He pressed himself to the tunnel wall, trying desperately to calm his panicked, heavy breathing. They were after him. The echoing footsteps - it was impossible to tell if they were his own, or theirs.  Dramatic music shook the theatre, and shadows slid through more shadows, here, there, moving to surround him.  The music melted away to nothing but a tangible skeleton of suspense for the ears of the audience. You could hear them holding their breath.
     “HA!  HAHAha!! Hahahahehe…”
     Every head turned to glare at the eruption of obnoxious laughter in the fragile theater, whatever atmosphere there had been was shattered. Everyone learned that taking a nervous laugher to a horror film was a really, really bad idea.


By Will:

Flesh and Blood

A flock of flying creatures burst into the air as the shot rang out. Bat-like, they fluttered in the half light, and the sound of their tiny shrieks filled the gathering night with fear. Click. A round sprang free and fell sizzling to the dirt. Another round into the casing, and the indicator winked green again. The long barrel of the weapon wavered slightly amongst the spines of the tree, and the sights lined up again.

“Got you.”

Far below, where the jumble of ledges leveled out into a gravelly shoreline, a shape was dragging itself from the waters of the lake. Arms clawed at the rocky ground, seeking some handhold in the sand. The sound of ragged breathing broke the air, and two narrow eyes winked on in a dark face as the thing raised its head again, searching for its enemy.

There. The flash of the muzzle preceded a second shot, and the figure suddenly coiled its limbs together, flinging itself to the side. The shot vaporized some of the nearby lakewater and seared the sand into glass, but the hunter had missed his chance...

There was a curse far above, and the wispy spines of the tree shuddered as its occupant slid to earth again, weapon in hand. Another white-hot round spun off into the gloom, and the hunter sprang away. Jagged rocks whizzed past on either side, but the hunter did not notice. He had only one goal now--one quarry. It would not escape this time.

Behind him in the hills, the piping cries of the carrion-beasts were rising. They knew what the thunder of the hunt meant, and they would revel in it. Tonight they would feed on what was left behind. The hunter ignored them. Mirthless eyes peered from a hardened face, tracking the shape that still struggled on the shore below. The darkness would soon be complete, but that wasn’t a problem. It would be over soon...

Another rasping breath, and air bubbled from the wound in the thing’s side as it slid back into the water. Its systems were failing. The enemy would be on its way down from the cliffs by now. There were only precious moments to act. A range of scenarios played out behind the glimmering eyes. There were no avenues of escape this time, even after all the planning, all the anticipation. The hunter had used up his last two rounds. He was forced to finish the job by hand now. That had been a part of the plan, but now...What was this feeling? Was it anger? No. Regret? It had felt regret before, or an approximation of it, at least. Regret was the feeling that resulted when some necessary action had not been accomplished. This scenario certainly fit the description.

Again the figure heaved itself up, trembling on its multiple limbs as it finally extricated itself from the water. One appendage hung limp where the first shot had met its mark. That had not been a part of the plan. Not at all. The damage was severe, but not fatal. Not yet. But even so...The eyes winked off and on again, and another set of scenarios played out. Yes, that was it. It was the only constructive outcome now. Not optimal, but it would have to suffice. The sound of footfalls in the gravel reached its ears. Fifty meters up the slope. Not much time. Not much time at all...The figure rolled over, and one of the undamaged limbs unfolded, still clutching the small object. Had the water compromised the mechanism? Hopefully not. Either way, it would have to be enough...

Hiss. Pop. A shower of sparks sprang from the end of the flare, and the shoreline lit up red as the hunter heaved it in an arc, out across the distance. It thudded into the sand next to the motionless black shape. No eyes visible now. The hunter crept out from amongst the desert brush, tensed and ready. His prey was very clever. He had underestimated it at the start, and that had been a mistake--a mistake that had cost him four days of pursuit through the alien desert and the rest of his ammunition too. He should have put the shot through its head when he’d had the chance, back before the thing was aware of him. It had even been able to disarm his traps. Clever indeed, but now the game was over, and flesh and blood would win.

Another few steps forward. No movement. The flare cast the beach into strange relief, every tuft of thorny grass etched with a shadow, as a beacon of smoke wafted upward. Again the piping of the beasts intruded on the scene, and again the hunter dismissed them. He’d been facing something far more dangerous the past few days. A few toothy razorbacks weren’t much to worry about at this point. The knife slid from the sheathe at his hip, and he held it straight out. Only another couple meters. Still no sign of life. Surely it hadn’t expired yet. It couldn’t be that easy.

Step. Step. The flare guttered at the hunter’s feet, and he scanned the still form. There was the wound--a ragged gash through the torso. It had almost severed one of the rear limbs. The head lolled to one side, eyes dark. Not even a glimmer. No matter.

The knife went up and flashed back down, and the carapace separated where the blade bit into it. Not even a spark. Not even a spasm. He took the head off in another couple of blows. No movement at all. It really was over. The machine was dead. In the end, it had only taken one shot.

The hunter stepped back. It was almost sad. After the thrill of the chase, he had been anticipating something more...dramatic. Then again, it was a machine. Maybe it had simply evaluated its options, found them lacking, and decided no further action was possible. Machines weren’t dramatic, especially the ones that were designed to kill people quickly and efficiently. The blades that tipped the creature’s appendages were a testament to that. Ah well.

The hunter plucked a tiny device from his belt, attached it to the lifeless shell. A recovery team would be there in a day to pick up the body. He activated his own tracker, and turned away. He’d have to pick up his rifle from the bushes. Might as well start back now. He had enough rations to survive another few days. The recovery team would likely drop in to get him on the way back. He sighed and ran a hand across his brow. The desert air was sweltering, even down here by the water. The flare sparked and sputtered as it began to die, and just like that, it was over.

Click. The sound of metal against metal shrieked out in the night, and a scream tore itself from his throat as the steel jaws of the trap closed around his ankle. He fell forward, pain lancing from shin to thigh as he twisted and cursed. A trap. A trap. The blasted thing had disarmed his traps before. You stupid fool. You didn’t retrieve them all!

At last he gained control again, turning over, teeth clenched. Another wave of pain washed over him, and then he forced himself to sit up, trembling hands searching for the source of the pain. It was a basic jaw-trap, of course. Spring-loaded. The thing had hidden it in the sand. Right here. Right under him. It had all been over, and still the gears had been working behind those worthless glowing eyes. You wanted drama? Well, now you’ve had it, you blasted fool.

The light from the flare was falling fast. Did he have another one? He wasn’t sure. He’d left his pack with the rifle. Don’t panic. It’s just a matter of willpower. Get to the bushes, and you’ll have a weapon and first-aid. The tracker will lead the team to you. Just lie low and you’ll be--

He froze. A familiar sound came wafting down the cliff-side toward him, and this time he paid attention. The piping cry of the carrion beasts. They would be on top of him soon, and he was out of ammo. Out of ammo. Out of time. He had a knife, but they had a hundred teeth on their side, and without his rifle, he was just meat.

Long moments passed, and he his heart sank. He stared at the dead husk of his former prey, feeling light-headed and tired and very sick. Was this a part of your plan, machine? Did flesh and blood really win today? He shook his head as the darkness fell once more and the real hunters closed in. Closer, closer, till he could see the flicker of their beady eyes. And for a moment, he thought how funny it was.

For a moment, he laughed.

By Dual Matrix:


Laughter sounds all around me,  here there, everywere.

It can mean two things, or someone did something stupid or he did something funny.

I hope for him the latter.

Who was it, I didn't notice, I look around and everyone laughs, everyone.

No-one with a face glowing red of shame, and no one ever laughs at his own joke.

Who could it be?, I wonder, who could it be?

What went wrong? I did what I was teached to do but yet it didn'y work. Yet they still laugh.

The world around me seems dizzy, all thing seems to turn around.

The feeling of fealure went trough my body.

How can it be, everyone laughs exept me, what happend.

"Guys, what's going on, what's so funny?" I ask.

And yet then I notice, then I see, the board sustaining my lesson, the board next to my own head, filled with words, filled with words not mine.

How come these words to be, and how did I not notice?

I became angry, terrible angry, not noticing the keyboard linked to the sceen was no longer in my possesion.

A bell rings...

"Today, I was  saved by the bell, but Tomorrow no-one will laugh, no-one will laugh, tomorrow, I'll succeed."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Game Over & Fear


By Nick Zarayna:

     Some fear is good, some is not. Some fear is purgative, some so pollutive. I don’t know which one my current emotion. 
     Let me explain. Do you ever have that feeling that there’s something really big and really terrifying just out of your eye-range? Yeah. Let’s add a twist. You don’t know what it is. You don’t know if it will hurt you or help you, love you or hate you. 
     It’s going to hurt you! That’s what everything says. Everything, that is, except for something deep inside you that tells you maybe things aren’t so bad. Maybe this thing is really here to give you a hand. It’s just big because, well, that’s how it is. I’m not big, that’s just the way I am: a scrawny kid in a torn aketon, the gashes in my only armor colored with blood. My spear? Broke a while back. My shield didn’t exist. All I have is a knife. Against something that big, I don’t know what it is.
     It’s not my fault, maybe. Who drafts a stableboy into battle and then expects him to die like a knight? Maybe a knight would be lying in this fright, hiding around a corner of the keep, too scared to look at the thing. It wouldn’t be so bad if I could see it. But I can only hear it. Are the sounds familiar or alien? The jingle of equipment could be anyone’s. 
     Maybe it’ll just go away. There are plenty of other corpses for it to loot. The castle has fallen. There really isn’t any hope left. I just want to die, but my wounds aren’t that bad.
     Should I move? Maybe, maybe not. It’s deathly quiet, and my legs are covered by a corpse. I shudder a little, glad its face isn’t looking at me. I don’t need another reminder of my probable future. Maybe, maybe I can inch out slow enough. The noise around the corner is louder; is the thing looting bodies now? I wish it would pick a better place.
     I pull my legs towards me and stand up.
     Bad move. I didn’t realize I was dealing with a leg wound. Or that the corpse that pinned me had a loose helmet. The iron cap clatters away even as I bend over with a suppressed gasp, clutching at my leg. The thing is silent.
     Oh God. He’s seen me. Oh St Micheal he’s heard me!
     Footsteps approach. The thing I only heard for so long is looking at me. I stumble back into a wall, looking at it with my frightened eyes.
     Him rather. The old, battlesoiled knight is definitely not an it. My eyes are fixated on his chest, where my master’s coat of arms is blazon.
     One fear less for me.


By Lin:

What is it about the dark that gives me chills throughout my skin? My breathing increases and I become more sensitive to sounds. I hear them all bouncing off of the walls. A twig breaks, the wind howls, my footsteps sound like lead with a “thump, scrit, scratch.” I never noticed anything like that before. The pale moonlight makes it so difficult to navigate. Is that a snake or a branch down the path? Perhaps it’s just a crack in the walkway? That’s when the explosion happened.

Well, that is to say it sounded like an explosion. It’s true that there was no fantastic display of light and fire. No, that would have been much too calming for me. Instead there was this loud booming going about. It was like thunder without lightning. Instead of a brilliant, illuminating flash to lull my curiosity and suspicion, instead I am left totally in the dark, forever guessing as to what it was I had heard. Perhaps it was a gunshot? Was it slab of marble hitting the sidewalk two blocks down? Maybe it was a monster. Perhaps it was just my imagination or maybe it was something strange and unnatural that could never be explained. All of these thoughts ran through my head as I continued to walk, looking over my shoulder from time to time to be sure I wasn’t followed.

It’s not that I’m a member of the mafia; dropping some money in an isolated spot in return for the services of another organization. Heavens, no! I could never handle that kind of stress. I simply hate to be followed when I’m on a quest for solitude. Unwanted companions are the only thing that could ruin my journey this night. That’s why I’m wearing black. Black pants, shoes, a long onyx coat and a fedora over my head and black gloves. It’s cold outside in January, so I have reason to bundle myself up without looking too suspicious. Actually, I’d prefer not to be seen at all if it could be helped.

The fear of my own mortality calls out to me in so many ways now. I suppose that’s to be expected, though. The trees are all barren here looking beyond comatose. The smell of the decay of leaves wafts through the air along with a light fog that looms past the pail light of the moon. It seems almost peaceful in a way, really. Ah, here’s my destination!

That night, a man in black laid a bouquet of flowers down on a grave that read;
“Sophie Smith
Caring Wife, Devoted Friend, Loving mother”


BONUS Theme: Game Over

By Lin:

“The true culprit… is you!”

The man pointed his index finger at the culprit. Why was the man pointing the finger at the culprit?

It was because of the picture on the floor. Shards of broken glass lay scattered around a golden frame that was now facing down. The picture, which was slightly torn here and there, depicted a lovely elderly woman smiling at the camera.

Why was the picture on the floor? It was because it had been knocked down from the mantle. The mantle had a few knickknacks such as decorative china and family group shots.

Why was it knocked down on the mantle? It was because that was where the murder weapon had been taken. The shining, golden sword was taken from its perch above the mantle and was stabbed through the back of the victim.

Who was murdered? That would be the butler of the manor; one Gerald Moris. He’d worked for the family for some forty years now. His hair was grey and he kept himself well. Even his fallen position on the floor looked dignified and proper.

Why was Gerald Moris killed? It was because of the small trinket that had been around his neck. It is true that such a thing was not there now, however it was clear there was the mark of a chain that had been pulled until it had broken. Small, beaded marks could be seen. It was likely the chain put up a valiant fight before it had been removed.

Where was the trinket now? It was in the hands of the daughter of the late Lady Lavender. She had been an heiress to a great fortune left by her ancestors long passed. The entire family seemed high-brow, and the middle-aged woman who was Lady Lavender’s daughter resembled that fact. Her hair was dyed to a perfect hue of chocolate brown and she wore a brooch as green as emerald. A diamond ring lay upon her finger.

Who had given her the ring? That would be the culprit. Yes, the culprit who had wanted justice. The estate was to be handed over to the late Gerald Moris; the witness to the late Lady Lavender’s will. The culprit believed that she had been threatened, had been tricked. Such a thing would not; could not be tolerated.

With a sigh, the culprit fought hard, but he had been caught. In the end, he handed over a small bottle on a silver chain. What had been in the bottle? It was the poison that had killed the late Lady Lavender.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mob Rule

By Nick Joseph:

Pulling the heavy shovel from the hole, I threw the dirt into the pile, which sagged a few yards away. The spade crunched through the dirt once more as I thrusted into the cool earth again, and pushed deeper. The hole was waist deep by now. Waist deep, chest deep, I couldn’t tell by the darkness. The headlights on the car were off, I thought this would be a quicker job than it actually was turning out to be. 

Forget reminiscence about the stars, and the beauty of the desert. I was creeped out by the silence. I let the spade be as loud as possible without a ringing blow on the rock that would alert anyone or anything of my presence, just so I wouldn’t feel the chill of the wispy, empty air in the openness. Following more digging, I grabbed a pair of limp ankles and pulled, my arms flexing as the corpse tumbled into the hole alongside me. Kicking the sack like body, and with a silent “good riddance”, began to repack the dirt. An easy job, and just like that, the sand was level again. 

I flicked the sand off with an audible tug on the collar. Looking around, I threw the shovel back in the trunk. Somewhere a wolf’s howl could be heard, and I shuddered; I would hate to run into one of those out here. Run over, maybe, I thought as I opened the car door. But I needed to get back to town, report to the boss. Those creeps would be paying extra for making me come out here alone. 

A soft sound played comfortingly on the radio as I drove away. 


By Dual Matrix:

"Tonight, my fellows, the day has come, our reign can finally begin, we plotted and schemed for years, all focussed on that moment our rulership would start. And that moment, is now. My friends, we finally eliminated all the obstacles standing in our way for total victory. All those obstactels, one by one, little by little , downed by the growing power of darkness, all of them have now at last fallen. The pillars on whitch the civilasation rested are reduced to dust, and are now others are being able to take their place, and those others will be Us! Yes, the day has come to stop begging, collecting and hiding in the dark, the time has come to take our place, our rightfull place, on top of this miserable civilasation. The world will be filled with such a massive darkness that no little light can survive, no good will be left after we strike, not even the tinyest shard. No, the endless void will consume them all leaving the world with only misery and pain.

Gentlemen, the day has come, to strike...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Spiral 2

Dual Matrix:


 I sit on my bed thinking about a subject to write, way past bed-time, no light, just me and my brain. "Spiral" A sudden flash of insparation. "A spiral, what do I know about spirals." I started browsing my mind definate to produce the best story ever written about those things. "Spirals, well, they're veey swirly, oh and neverending, always going down and down and down..." I write down the first words: "Down Down, Down we go a neverending story about sadness and pain". "Yes" I tought, "lets involve those things called emotions in it, thats always nice." I continued writing about the spiral using the sudden shards of inspiration coming up in my mind. "Sadness and pain, once those start it'll always get worse, for you're trapped inside a spiral." I tought I was writing well, I could be in time, I could make it... Till... Everithing went quiet, my brain stopped thinking and the flow of awesome inspiration stopped, my empty mind couldn't find the strenght to write another word. "Spirals, why did I start writing about spirals" I wondered, I would never make it in time, I trew my story into the trash can and went to sleep, knowing the time to write, the time to enter, was over.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


By Lin/Tekulo:

Spiral of Despair

The ship spiraled downward towards oblivion. Women and children were leaving first. There were wives crying tears for their husbands, widows praying to their dearly departed, singles dressed fabulously in their gowns shaking from excitement, young boys and girls, some of which were crying, teenaged students who looked lost from their world, the list went on. The lifeboats were lowered slowly, faces disappearing from sight of those who were left to their cruel fates of not being chosen. Men were busy trying to help others get to safety along with few companions. Meanwhile others were cowards trying to steal salvation for themselves. They could not be blamed, for what lied below was dark, cold and eternal. 

The poor and unfortunate were locked away below deck, grasping for any scrap of hope they wished to get their hands on. They wanted to leave, to be free. They ultimately would not have their desires granted. Those who were unable to leave their rooms were attacking the doors and when they came down they would squash any who would dare linger before their presence. Trampling, stomping, shouting they all disregarded their fellow man, woman and child. Some were already doomed before any water had entered their presence, and still they fell deeper and deeper.

This chaos would be ended, rest assured. Time slipped by, and the ship broke in two. Slowly the pieces danced in the waves and sank deeper. The lifeboats were gone now, leaving many to their doom. Rich, poor, simple and complex; each of these erupted in their own chaos as the waves embraced their bodies. The cold seeped its way into their souls one by one by one. Those who were safe on the ocean’s surface saw many faces, many bodies fall into the spiral below. Their tomb was forever sealed in a dark spiral never to be seen again.


By iBrow:

The stairs seemed to go on forever. It felt as if he had been walking down them for eternity, the dull white slabs blending into each other so that they appeared as a white spiral against the black walls. There wasn’t a guardrail to be found, and at this point he thought it must only be the divine intervention of God stopping him from slipping off the spiral and tumbling down to the bottom.

Always assuming there was a bottom, of course. He couldn’t even remember when he’d started going down, or indeed if he’d ever done anything else. Maybe this spiral staircase was all that existed. Black and white, in a design that drilled into his brain with alarming ferocity.

He felt as if there ought to be other colors, but for the life of him he couldn’t remember if there were other colors. What was a color, anyway? What was black? Maybe the stairs were. Or did black describe the size of his foot?

Come to think of it, he didn’t even know what a foot was, either.

The appendage at the end of his leg (although to be quite honest he wasn’t quite sure whether it was called a leg or an arm) slipped on the edge of the next step and he fell flat on his bum. By the time he was standing again, he’d forgotten about the incident entirely and couldn’t recall what a bum was.

The spiral staircase ended suddenly, though his eyes had not seen it. He now stood on a black floor, although if asked he couldn’t say what was black, or whether the floor was even called a floor. For all he could remember, it might’ve been a tree.

Spotting no means of escape (although he couldn’t be sure if he knew what a means of escape would look like), he shrugged and glanced up at the stretching spiral above him before taking the first of countless steps back up.

Ten seconds later he’d forgotten that the bottom even existed, and was wondering if the stairway up ever ended. In fact, aside from the basic motor functions, the only thing he could remember was that he was a male of some species. He couldn’t say what a species was exactly, he just knew he was a male. Maybe that meant he walked up stuff. Whatever walking was, that is.

He didn’t even remember that by the time he reached the top, and even his motor functions were beginning to fail. Halfway back down his dead brain forgot even those, and he toppled to his death four miles below.


By Legolover-361:


There is a certain beauty in descent. A paper as it falls spirals through the air like a ballerina mid-pirouette before gently kissing the ground, its miniscule weight leaving nary a sound. A leaf, too, will ride the air like a wave before landing on the grassy down, itself its own parachute. The sun as it sets casts the sky alight with fiery orange, gold, and crimson, a last hurrah before it tucks itself away for the night.

And then there was Danielle. Homeless. Jobless. Hapless. Sometimes she wondered if even a depressing poem could make her descent seem attractive.

Her only possessions were the clothes on her back, worn sneakers, a coat for which she thanked the Lord every day, a shopping cart, a hat, and a cardboard sign reading “HELP THE HOMELESS — PLEASE DONATE”. Not many people donated, but even a few dollars went a long way. Eating a soft pretzel at Wawa was far better than digging through a dumpster.

The life of the homeless is far from glamorous; pride has no place among the stark rocks of misfortune.

* * *

Sometimes people muttered as they passed Danielle like she was either an ugly insect or an intriguing display in a store window. She could only catch snippets of their conversations, but more than half of the time she would hear, “Oh, I wish we could help her.” If only they would!

Whenever she could, she would find a temporary “home” near a populous area. She lived in perpetual fear of someone coming upon her in the night: she alone, the stranger malicious. Her only weapons were her fists, and what crude weapons they were.

Concrete was not a comfortable bed, but neither did such a humbling situation condone pickiness. Danielle had left her dignity with her home and her debt: in the past, far behind her.

The city towered above and around her, silver extensions of humanity jutting toward the sky in a desperate plea for greater heights. Sometimes she wondered if the implied thoughts of those who saw her were right, and she was only an insect beneath the shoes of giants.

Danielle never succumbed to drugs; she suspected they would make the skyscrapers seem to come alive.

* * *


Danielle perked up, drawing her coat from her eyes and looking into the sunrise-softened face of a middle-aged man who slouched above her. She rearranged her features into an expression hopefully resembling polite attention and swallowed her annoyance at being woken — a comfortable position on concrete was hard to find.

“Hi,” she replied.

The man drew back a little but stayed near. “Are you okay? I mean, uh, I saw you just lying there...”

“Yeah” — the response was pure reflex, and Danielle’s suddenly disturbed gaze was a clear signal of that — “I mean, no, because I’m sleeping on the street, but what else am I supposed to do?”

The man paused, then dug in his pocket. His right hand emerged with a ten dollar bill. “Here,” he said. “You don’t — pardon me — look like a drug addict, and even if you are, I don’t want to, y’know, take the risk you actually need help.” His voice sounded stiff as if he were reciting a speech from memory.

Danielle nodded. “Thanks. Thanks a lot.”

“Uh... welcome.” The man began to retreat. “And by the way, there’s a church around here. I think they’re serving food to homeless people today. Maybe you could stop by?”

“Yeah... I, uh, really appreciate your help.”

“Okay.” He paused as if wanting to say something more, but then turned away and was pulled more than directed around the corner.

Sometimes Danielle wondered if good people were like cars in the street, here one moment, gone an intersection later.


Saturday, February 9, 2013


By Collin/Tekulo:

The First Winter

Winter was arriving, and soon.  The sun, which had been out for a long, long time had been warming the planet, had grown weary.  Every inch of land was radiating its heat and was lush with green as far as the eye could see.  Many animals thrived on the surface, their numbers great and their cities prosperous.  However, as wonderful as the world was, they’d complained that it was too hot. 

“We need too cool off!” they desperately pleaded to the heavens.  “Please, send us a breath of cold air!”

Now, the winds heard their plea, and they carried the message to the sun.

“It appears those on the surface have become just as tired as I.”  The sun spoke solemnly.  “Very well, gather water and ice in the sky, and send them down to the surface.  Send winds from the North and South to chill the droplets as they fall.”

The winds had begun to do as the sun had commanded and gathered many storm clouds filled with water to the heavens.  The clouds grew so abundant in the sky that they began to drip and drop all the way down to the earth.  The winds began to rejoice with their success as they had more than enough water to help cool the earth.  They began to dance and twirl, and they put on a brilliant show of light and sound. 

“Help us!  Help us!” the animals cried to the heavens, “The water is too high!  We cannot breathe for much longer!”

The winds could not hear these pleas as they were howling up a storm.  Finally, when the winds grew tired of their celebration, they began to keep still, and a fierce chill fell over the dark, silent ocean which was once green with vegetation.  Ice slowly began to form and it covered the entire world!  It remained that way for some time until, finally, the sun returned from its restful slumber. 

“Wake up!  Wake up!” it called to the dead winds, groggy from their festivities. 

The winds did look around, and when they saw few animals who had managed to survive in the ice, they realized their mistake. The sun, now angry, released his fire and warmed the world once more.

To this day, the sun has never again left its world and so winter and summer began to dance around each other creating spring, autumn and balance to the world.


By Alex/TWA:


Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Without the chicken there would be no egg, yet without the egg there would be no chicken. What an odd world we live in where such a question is still debated today. Surely, if answers had been presented, we should no longer need the question. Yet here it is. I’m using it right now, as pretentiously as I possibly can.

As I mull the question over in my head, a brief smack to my ear drags me back to reality, kicking and screaming. I look up and blink out of my daydream to see my housemate, Dave, looking down at me with a frown on his face and a bin full of rubbish in his hands. I stare perplexed at this odd scene and wonder why he drew me out of my incredibly essential thought processes just to show me the produce of a week’s worth of wastage.

He must have seen the realisation hit my face like a speeding train because he swiftly rolled his eyes as soon as I remembered what I had been asked to do. “Sam…You forgot to empty the bins out last night,” he sighed.

“I forgot to empty the bins out last night,” I admitted. And I’m quite proud of myself for doing so. Admitting things shows courage and if I had denied it, that wouldn’t have been courageous at all. In fact, that makes me a good person and completely balances out the fact that I had forgotten to take the bins out. One wrong and one right make a neutral or something along those lines.

“This is the third time in a row. The binmen have been and gone and our bins aren’t getting any emptier. You know I can’t do it because I work the nightshift on Wednesdays. What, were you spending all your time playing video games again?”

“I was spending all my time playing video games again,” I confessed. There! I had done it again! Twice in a row I had told the plain truth as it was, without any hint of a lie. Clearly I was the one with the moral highground in this situation. Should Dave criticise me any further, he would be the one in the wrong. I was an honest saint here. An honest saint who had forgotten to take the bins out because he was very busy trophy hunting.

“You know, you could at least try to make an effort to clean up around here. It’s like you don’t even care about the state of this place,” he growled. Typical Dave, he doesn’t appreciate any signs of honesty, no matter what the source.

“I cleaned up the other day!”

“You broke a plate.”

“It was cluttering up the dishwasher.”

Dave pinched his nose and took a step back, clearly a few seconds away from striking something. Or someone. I didn’t care to find out, so I simply did what any good, kind-hearted human being would do. I got up and I left him to calm down the rubbish I had forgotten to take out. Maybe I’ll do it next week…


by Alex Humva:

We all have our priorities in life. Some people make money their priority, others, love, still more self-fulfillment. Ultimately the sun sets at the end of the day and we're all back where we started, trying to feel good about ourselves without actually succeeding. We feel good about it for a while, sure, but eventually that wears off, and we need to do something bigger. A millionaire wants to be a billionaire. One lover isn't enough. The largest rollercoaster in the world didn't have the right thrills. We all strive for the greatest possible, but if we actually achieve that greatness... we find that it's simply not enough.

I had my own priorities, once upon a time. I never set my goals high because I came to terms with the fact that I wasn't going make it big in life. I lived in the Reykjavik suburbs, raising a family and making a few hundred krona a day to get by with. There wasn't much in the way of chaos or hardship, so my priorities ended up being simple. To live another day, to shovel another pile of snow, to make sure my children grew up and had a chance to reach for better things then I had.
So when that day came when I received a promotion in the small company I worked at, I was surprised to say the least. They even game me a complimentary vacation with the promotion, it was so special. So I spent the next month touring around Europe, looking at the sites and the people going about their lives. It made me want to do something with myself, oddly enough. To set my priority from simply living to actually doing something of my own.

After the vacation, I did try to advance in the world. With my new position I made improvements in the company, expanding us into a small but reputable business. My children later grew up and moved out, my success enough to get them attendance in a good college. Ultimately though, I found that I had been better off keeping my priorities simple. I simply wasn't made for this sort of thing. Others might seek thrills or money, but I didn't want either. Maybe I'm just a dull person like that. I retired with my wife after years with a decent amount of cash in the bank and we lived a decent life.

So, moral of the story? Decent people live decent lives with decent priorities.


By Legolover:


Headlong flight, it felt like, screaming down the highway at almost eighty miles per hour into another vehicle. There was literal flight in the rush somewhere; James Doolittle just didn’t remember where, exactly.

Application of the brake was the first, oh so belated priority. Brakes? Applied. No dice.

Next was the abrupt disappearance of gravity. The event was beautiful, in a way, how it unfolded with such bloody precision like a scene in a play. Lights, camera, action: Doolittle, drunk and unbuckled as he was, smashed through the windshield.

That was where everything went wonky. A series of short memories, like animated GIFs, replayed in Doolittle’s mind after he struck the ground: a flood of fresh air; lightheadedness far more affecting than any caused by alcohol; the other vehicle, light blue, must’ve been a pretty little thing before it got totaled; and, finally, the rough embrace of asphalt, hot even in July’s evenings.

Liquid trickled down Doolittle’s cheek and into his mouth. It washed across his tongue, carrying the familiar metallic taste of blood. More of the substance was welling inside his mouth, but he couldn’t cough it out: His lungs had turned to lead somewhere in the crash, another beautiful tenet of the physics-defying event that is a car crash.

Beeps. Screeches. Those motorists couldn’t keep it down, could they? Blasted kids.


The Doolittle family, gathered in a living room. Mary and Amanda smiling their gap-toothed smiles. Beautiful Mrs. Lucy Doolittle, huddling in her husband’s warm embrace. Two years past that photo had been taken by a visiting cousin; two years past, the Doolittles had been as functional a family as any on Earth.

To the mind of a human male nearly drowning in beer, an attractive lady is worth the cost of breaking apart a family.

Accusations after he came home late. Increased tension in the relationship with his wife. His beautiful little girls, just a few months ago, asking if they would ever have a baby brother. No, he had told them; your mommy and daddy are too old for that sort of thing, okay?

Except, he hadn’t really thought that. He just said it because there was no way Lucy would have another kid with him.

When he was drunk, though, he could pretend other ladies would.

Mr. Doolittle announcing one day he was leaving on a business trip. Mrs. Doolittle eyeing him with suspicion even as she hugged him, kissed him, and said goodbye. It was all for the kids’ benefit, she told him later on the phone when he called; she knew what he was doing and planned to file for a divorce.

Screaming and shouting. The click of a phone hanging up, cutting free a dead limb from the Doolittle family tree.

(Blasted kids; who did they think they were fooling with that siren?)

More alcohol. Not enough women, though, and Doolittle grumbled about it. He left the bar early.

He had been driving a little fast, come to think of it. Road rage wasn’t smart. Maybe he could...


Well, die.

Oh well. Dying wasn’t that bad. He’d set his priorities in order afterward if he got the chance.


By Nick/Zarayna:

To serve the King

His mace smashed onto the shoulder of yet another enemy, and he smashed his shield into the shocked warrior’s face. The killing blow from his mace came a second later. Raymond paused his fighting, breathing hard. His mail was heavy on his shoulders, and his helm was cast back from his head, exposing shoulder length grey hair. The scene of battle was one of many defiles in the rocky field, a little battlefield in itself, hidden from the rest of the fighting in view, though not in sound. The few remaining foes were retreating, leaving his company to regroup and assess their hurts. His eyes flicked across the ground, noting the mixture of bodies: many were Saracens, but among them were all too common the forms of his own men. Looking at his remaining soldiers, he knew that he could hardly withstand another attack. 

He frowned as he tried to set his mind on a course of action. Defending this area had not been his plan, but had been forced on him. He should not be here. His men might be, but the king had use of him elsewhere, and he knew that a king’s uses for a man went far above the man’s own. When the king wished, you obeyed.

A shout from a hastily appointed lookout alerted him, forcing his hand: battle would soon be joined. He looked around at his men: the eight remaining knights, ranging from freshfaced knights hardly out of the bath to grizzled warriors he had known most his life. The men at arms were not ignored either: he knew some, but not others. Crusaders of varying sorts: perhaps this crossbowman who looked askance at him was only a humble farmer, or maybe he was a wealthy merchant setting everything aside to take up the cross. His soldiers were people, and to recall this made him squirm with what he was about to do.

“We hold here. Defend this until our last breath.”

His men were heartened by his command, but he could not even look them in the eye. Not when battle was joined. Not when he broke away, catching a stray horse and galloping off towards the king’s position. Not when, long after the battle, he saw their bodies lined up in the place they had fallen defending, to their last breath has he had commanded.

The king came first, everything else was second.