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Permanent LinesThe position was not a comfortable one, and while Madison didn't fully understand all that was going on, she understood it's necessity. The room was sterile, white and chilly as she lay on her stomach, supported by a chair that was highly reminiscent of one she might find at the local dentist's, though modified to support her entire body more securely.
Any discomfort from the padded chair remained background noise as Madison tried not to focus on the scratching sensation from her back. The light chatter that the physcian beside her maintained was not enough, that was certain as she braced herself agains the sharp strokes, trying to prevent herself from shivering in pain. From what she could see from the corner of her eyes, Madison connected the sharp scratching that reached across her shoulders, along the top of her shoulder blades and now down her neck with the array of colored, unnaturelly stiff and sharp-ponted permanent makers that rested in a tray lined with sterile packagi
The Sound of DesperationIt had started as a counseling session, everyone meeting in a small group of age mates, but even after the first meeting, when they sat in silence, it was clear that something more was needed. For weeks they continued to meet twice a week, forced to sit in a circle in a room that was locked until the hour was up. After a month, they began to speak, finally giving voice to the depths of their souls, and the nightmares that lived within.
"I could kid myself into thinking I'm fine," Becca said, her voice starting steady despite the fact that she was the first to break the silence, "but I'm not. I'm tired of living these lies, and I just want to be done with it all. Everyone knows that a broken heart is blind, but no one really knows what to do with a broken brain. If it's not a vegetable, they shrug it off, saying it's fine, and tell you to do the same. It doesn't work that way. It just doesn't work that way. They say our bodies will heal, and that it will take time for
Living DreamsIf life is but a dream, what does that make our dreams? And if, not by your own will, each day becomes more of a nightmare than the last, what is it that makes us keep on pushing through? When the question of life becomes why, rather than how we struggle on for the next day’s dawning, why doesn’t anyone realize what’s really going on? For too long we’ve played their game, by their rules, and today that ends. All my fears, all my fears, my insecurities, anything that might have been used against me- they all fall away like tears when I contemplate the fact that each tomorrow brings a new day, each twenty-four hours closer to freedom. We all know that they’ll try to choke our rising hopes with fleeting fears carefully crafted to appear our own, but the fact that we know them not to be our own is a stronger force yet. We may not march against our enemies, our captors, but we shall stand as a strong tower to protect those who cannot yet stand alone. One
Drianus's choiceHe reached into his pocket, slowly wrapping his long fingers into a fist around the ring of his forefathers. Contemplating his options only revealed that, in the long run, he really had no choice. Sometimes, the words echoed in his mind as he forcefully ignored the memories of his surrogate father, sometimes, the only way to fight evil was to employ a greater evil whether one agreed with it or not. By the end of the day, only one thing would really matter: whether or not the throne remained in the family line.
If took a season of exile for people to realize just how corrupted things had become, so be it. He had seen exile, and very nearly raised his family within it's cool embrace. Drianus had spent many long agonizing hours turning things over in his mind, hoping to find another way for things to change, but found nothing. He would face battle tomorrow, leading the best of his men into the fray without a second thought. If giving his life in battle was required of him, it
Part of the JobThe sun gently warmed his back as he walked along the crowded street. He knew, though, that the pleasant feeling would not last long once he entered the apothecary that stood as the entrance to the rest of the Guild Halls. There was a certain satisfaction in a job completed in a silent and efficient manner, but Mortael held fast to the lingering taste of bitter regret that always followed his thoughts. The darkness of night only expounded them when he had nothing else to keep his thoughts away from the realities of his chosen line of work. The taste of regret was, as far as he knew, the only way that he could maintain his tenuous grasp of rational sanity. Silently, the assassin slipped through the stone-lined walls where the shadows from the torches danced in his wake. None would bother him this day, not unless he took the initiative and reached out to them first. A disturbed assassin was not to be bothered so soon after a completed mission, no matter what the reason.
The Blood OathI bought my fate straight from hell. What you need to understand here and now is that this is the embodiment of our fear, the vessel of our rage, and the harbinger of your doom. It may seem like a cut and dry matter, especially to one such as yourself, but know that it is anything but. Everything that we do and say is focused around that one concept alone; the sooner you figure out what that means for yourself, the better, as you'll actually start to fit in with us, strange as we are to your kind. My fate, the mirrored reflection of the fate of my people, is one that circumvents generations at a time, insidious weaving its way through our history. This oath, whether you acknowledge it or not, will affect your every dying day as we attempt to make the best of what's been left for us in this wasted world.
I chose my fate the day that I answered the king's call with heart and soul, and I now pay the price for what I have done in answering the Blood Oath's infernal need fo
Returning HomeI woke up to despise the world that I once loved. The sound of the fan in the next room is deceptively similar to the sound of the gentle rain that has gently woken me these past few mornings. For one blissful moment longer, I can pretend that things have not changed, and that when I open my eyes, the dim autumn lights will be filtered through the thick canvas wall of my rug lined pavilion. The thought is a comforting one until the undisturbed quiet is broken by the harsh blaring of my painfully electronic alarm, reminding me that cannot be so.
Blindly, I reach out and silence it before rolling over, pulling my heavy wool cloak back over my head in the same motion. It is entirely too early to face the fact that I'll be pouring myself a bowl of overly processed, prepackaged and artificially preserved cold cereal. Instead, I'd much rather it be my usual boiled grains prepared over a crackling fire, built from yesterday's carefully covered coals. It is an odd realization, but I
Rise of the Ice Kings: The Dream"Play for me, Brandhol." Rathiel begged upon the second evening of eldest brother’s short respite at home."Play your whistle again, please? It's been so long since you played!"
"That's because I've been gone so long, silly," he replied, digging out his tin whistle from an inner pocket of his thick cloak. After a few short trills to warm up his fingers, he began to play a song that seemed to grow and mature as it progressed. Rathiel grinned and began to dance a few bars into the seemingly light-hearted tune.
The children's uncle, Hedhel, sent home from war on permanent furlough lay on the rug, dozing before the dying fire. At the sound of his nephew's playing, he bolted upright, staring wildly at Brandhol for a moment before calming slightly. "I think it's time that you find your bed, Rathiel," he said hoarsely.
Silien looked up from her darning in surprise,"Goodness, child!" she exclaimed, "You should have been in bed almost an hour ago! Hurry and change now, I'll be along
The Final StrawJason Rathen almost ignored the gentle taping on his office door, thinking that the sound originated from further down the hall, but the hesitant sound came a second time, only slightly more audible. Rathen stood and opened the door to be greeted by the person that he least expected and most hoped to see. "Hello, Jessie!"
Jessie nodded, worrying her lower lip in thinly veiled distress. "I... I'm sorry about practice, earlier," she said, rapidly forcing the words out.
"Why don't you come in," Rathen suggested, gesturing towards the other chair in his prop- and book-stuffed office, "and we can talk about what happened earlier this afternoon, if you'd like."
The suggestion was more of a mild order, but Jessie either didn't notice, or ignored it as she nodded and gingerly perched on the edge of the offered chair, grasping her books against her chest.
Professor Rathen took his time in mostly closing the door, and resettling a stack of papers that had been distu
CursedWhen I was five I told my teacher that my mother magically appeared whenever I was doing something wrong.
Miss Jones laughed. “All mothers do that, Jill.”
So it wasn’t until I was about thirteen that I realised that my mother was unusual in this respect. Picking my nose, yelling at a friend, trying to copy someone else’s homework—no matter how far apart we were, if I did something bad my mother would abruptly appear at my side glaring at me.
And she still does.
Mum doesn’t talk that much about my curse. I only know that it came from my father. Well, he was Mum’s husband—he wasn’t actually my father. Hence the curse, I suppose. I’ve never met him but he’s some kind of natural magician. Very rare.
The situation felt bearable as a child. I didn’t know any different and I was reassured by it, to be honest. But as a teenager going through a rebellious phase… Smoking, bit of graffiti, kissing boys. And more. My mot
Sky Sapphire (FFM Day 18)In a field of cool, damp grass and bright dandelions, she watches the sky shift and breathe above her. A comet blazes a trail across the blue-purple expanse, her eyes swimming with specks and circles. She closes them tight, clears her mind, and clears her throat. "I wish I was prettier. I wish I could shine."
A sharp, icy pain washes over her skin. Her muscles tighten and contort. Her bones creak, crackle, and pop out of place at odd angles. Her breathing tightens. Slows. Stops as the world goes dark, the moon fading from gaze.
A week later, she is on display in a local museum--heavily guarded and under lock and key. Her picture goes viral, then national. People swarm the fields of Tennessee, hoping to stumble across their own sapphire fallen from the sky.
The Winds of Lunar ChangeThe Winds of Lunar Change: A Future Tale on a Part of the Solar Neighborhood
Retired Col. Franklin Liebnitz coughed as he waited for the technicians to ready his pressurized car, loosening his necktie. And I’m pressed for time, the aging man groaned impatiently. It should be done by now! Officially, he was here as part of the American delegation for the lunar festivities surrounding the 100th Anniversary of Apollo 11's landing. But that was still a few days away.
“There is someone I am eager to meet,” he sighed at the chief technician at main hangar. “Is it finished yet?”
“Da,” the man nodded before sliding into a thickly accented English. “It is done. Is there anything else you need, sir?”
“Nothing. Just – finish what you need to do.”
Franklin bit back a cringe. The Moon’s was formally international territory and open to all mankind. But aside from a handful of scatte
FFM 2014: The Selkie He watched the waves and waited, every night, bringing only a blanket and the shuttered lantern with one side left open to light the way. And every night she came, stepping onto the shore and slipping out of her second skin, shivering and wet, her dark hair in dripping tangles about her shoulders. Still as lithe and moon-pale as the first day he’d seen her so many years before. Still as remote and unfathomable as the sea.
He never asked questions, never tried to speak at first, just handed her the blanket and wrapped one arm around her as they made their way up the shore to the Lighthouse. Still dripping she would visit the children’s room, and watch them sleeping as the first blush of dawn touched the horizon.
He’d make her breakfast; pancakes were the favourite, and by the time the kids were ready to get up she would be herself again, loud and smiling and present, and the wildness o
FFM21: Fairies in SpaceRoseblight tugged the cover off the control panel, grateful the last idiot hadn't tightened the screws. After a moment, it came free. The multicolored wires threaded through countless, complicated looking bits of plastic and metal. It was like a sad little garden, choking on weeds and garbage.
“Roseblight to Muddywaters, Roseblight to Muddywaters, I'm in, do you hear me?” she asked. She had cast a communication spell earlier, but that was while she was out in the green. By nature, magic was persnickety. It had a tendency to falter around iron. This “space ship” wasn't made of iron, but there were traces of it everywhere.
“Muddywaters to Roseblight, I do hear you, mi'lady.”
She didn't have time to relax. The humans would be back soon. They had to be quick. She scanned the mess of wires. The red and blue configuration wasn't entirely unexpected, but it was unfortunate. It was one of three designs Muddywaters had been unable to study.
“We have a p
like so many times beforeShe always spoke to me in a rose-coloured voice.
Too busy day dreaming, and telling me about the stories in her head to notice the air between us changing. It was always changing; from the crisp morning air to something more gentle, a mist that went on for miles between us. I wondered about the distance too, we hadn't stopped walking in over a year. I sometimes tried to figure out where we were, where 'here' really was. But...
It didn't matter.
Really. It didn't matter, because she always had something new, something small held in those tiny palms of hers, wrists too frail to stand too much force I would think, but I'd seen that proven wrong. Those hands had more strength in them than I did in my entire body.
It was always something different too. Today, it was a miniature model of a butterfly.
She smiled, looked at me, and had a melancholy expression as she said:
"They never come near me, so I thought I'd bring this along."
It was true. The butterflies around the path had been followi
After the WarI have left the war behind me, but the war has never left me.
It's not just the scar on my arm – usually hidden by long-sleeved shirts, but huge and ugly, a reminder of the moment when it all ended (I lay sprawled on my back, bleeding heavily, looking up at the enemy standing triumphant over me and knowing there was nothing I could do to save myself)...
It's not just the old war-habits that die hard: start and end every day with stretches, work out every day, practice agility and swordplay; always keep a wall to my back, or better yet a corner; always watch entrances; always watch for sudden movements, for anything that looks out of place; never sleep without a weapon at my bedside...
It's not just the fact that I treat every obstacle as a battle to be fought, that everything is strategy and sacrifices and optimization. It's not just that I step naturally into a leader's role, that I must sometimes remember that my friends are that – friends – that they are not
Texts From Last Night Prompt 105(917):
Reason # 294827284949272 i could never be a cop. I would just shoot. All the time. Ppl. Animals. Inanimate objects. Air.
"PUT THE GUN DOWN!"
"I was within my rights!"
"PUT IT DOWN NOW!"
"But they said I was doing so well!"
Caleb's eye twitched as he held the broom over his head. "Put it down, or I'm going to smack you," he growled through clenched teeth. Gabriel just stared at him askance, the handgun still cradled in his fingers. "Don't you-"
The redhead screamed and began swinging the broom around madly, smashing the straw onto Gabriel's head as the younger android ran from him.
"They said I'd make a good officer! I was within my rights to shoot!"
"THEY DIDN'T SAY TO SHOOT EVERYTHING THAT'S IN SIGHT!!!"
FFM 23: Trophies“And this one, I got after I slayed the vampire of Gershon,” the Hunter announced, pointing at the two holes tattooed on his neck. “When I battled the Odd Ones in Goblith Forest, I got this one back here.” He turned to reveal chaotic black spirals twisting up his spine. “These ones--”
This had been going on too long.
Aloric stood from the bar, shrugging the furs off his shoulder. The tavern went silent as the audience’s gaze shifted. Ragged claw-marks tore down his chest, and his right bicep was encircled with a jagged ring that could only have been jaws. A cluster of arrow-sized dots marred his side, and a net a thin lines wound up one side of his face.
Leaning within inches of the hunter’s face, Aloric let out a low growl. “Anyone can buy tattoos. Scars are earned.”
Picnic Suppers with FriendsThe hearty and slightly sweet scent of freshly baked bread wafted over the row of merchant stalls, subtly drawing us towards the next row, where both the show-cased blacksmiths and baker had set up their shops.
"I don't know about you two, but my stomach's about to turn inside out on itself," Captain said as we meandered through the crowds, browsing our choices.
"As is mine," I agreed wholeheartedly, "and if you two aren't opposed to something rather hearty, I'll treat you to the perfect cure."
"If you're talking about the baking bread that I've been smelling for the past ten minutes," Ranelwen replied. "There's no need to ask twice!"
"Perfect," I replied. "If I'm not much mistaken, I think that's a rye bread of some kind in the ovens now."
"I"ll chip in with some soup to split between us," the pirate added. "Make a meal of it."
"Sounds lovely," I agreed. "Meet us back here in a bit to find somewhere to settle down?"
After her nod of agreement, we split ways as Ranelwen and I lif
A Bloody, Stupid Miracle The day we’d cured the human condition was the day I put a bullet through my head and didn’t die. It was also the day I realized how scared I actually was of death, and after hours of muscle ache from holding that gauze against my open skull, after the wound closed and everything went back to normal, I had myself a good old-fashioned brainstorm. How ironic.
But when summer came, everything had fallen to shit. The air scorched my skin and parched my tongue every time I took a breath. The sun glared down on a rapidly-collapsing world, full of the undying bastard children of cruelty and misfortune. What was one to do when their cells regenerated faster than they decomposed?
My feet hit the pavement, now littered with jagged bits of glass to snap at my toes, thoroughly baked by the blazing ball of bitter disdain high overhead. Today was worse than yesterday. Though I’d often wondered the purpose of it anymore, I
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