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Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread Here is my April story. 1,500 words exactly, not counting the title, which is:

GOOD DOG

Disclaimer: There are no goats.  ;D

Spoiler for Hiden:
GOOD DOG

Bard is a good dog. Bard does what master says.

When Bard is bad, Bard is punished.

Bard sleeps in master’s room. Master has a big room, and many dogs sleep in the room with master. Shep is a dog. Shep has a nice bed by the fireplace. Bard sleeps by the cold window because one time Bard peed on Shep’s bed. Master made Bard stand in the corner and didn’t give Bard any dinner.

Shep is a very bad dog. When master was traveling, Shep chewed the magic shoes that fly. Shep hid the scraps in Archer's bedding. When master came back, he was very angry at Archer. Master sold Archer to a bad man who hurts doggies.

Bard does not want to be sold to a man who hurts doggies.

Bard would like a nice home, so Bard is good when wealthy people come to buy the doggies.

***

There is a lady guest! Bard likes the lady. The lady smells like lavender and secrets, like home and holidays. All the doggies like the lady, but Bard wishes he could tell her that he is the one she is looking for.

Bard hides outside a doorway and watches the lady and master. They sit at the long table, which is filled with many foods that doggies are not allowed to eat. Except sometimes master throws scraps on the floor, and laughs so hard when the doggies fight for the pieces.

Master says: "I have created so many of these children, and each one can be taught to do whatever you desire."

Lady says: "How can this be possible?"

Master says: "Enchantment is a craft like any other. I am like a potter, who starts from man instead of clay, but makes something much more useful. Or a sculptor, who sees the animal nature inside each and simply brings it forth."

Lady says: "Clay? Nature?"

Master says: "You are shocked at my children. They upset you."

Lady says: "No, no. This is exactly why I came to you. I have come a very long way to find just the right one. I can pay a great deal. When may I see them?"

Master says: "Tomorrow. You have arrived late - an unexpected guest. You must be tired."

Then master sees Bard, and Bard runs away so he will not be punished for listening at doors.

***

There are kitty cats in the cellars. Sometimes master comes to bed smelling of them. When this happens, he leaves the doggies alone. He snores and forgets to lock the door. When this happens, Bard thinks about home and running away.

Tonight, master spends many hours in the cellars. Bard sneaks down the stone steps just far enough to watch master mix the witching wine. Bard remembers the taste of it, but he cannot remember more no matter how he tries. Shep sneaks down too, and we crouch shoulder to shoulder. The kitty cats are gathered around in the candlelight, singing magic into the wine.

"She wants just the right one?" says master. "I know what that woman wants. But we won't let her have him, will we my girls, whichever of my boys it is."

Now master is snoring and the door is not locked. Down the hall goes Bard, sniffing for the lady’s room. Up to her door goes Bard. Scratch, scratch goes Bard, with Bard’s heart pounding.

Lady must be sleeping.

Whine, whine goes Bard. Here is Bard up on his legs, thumping on the door even though he only likes being on all fours. Whine, whine, thump, thump.

Sound! There are footsteps coming to the door! The door opens just a crack, and Bard bursts through!

Lady screams and jumps backward! Bard is sorry! But Lady looks at Bard, and she is happy! She grabs Bard and pulls him close, kissing all over his face.

Lady says: "It's you! Thank God I found you! When you didn't come home for so long, I didn't know what to think. But then I heard you'd stopped to sing at this awful place. Why did you think to come here, you daft man?" Lady is weeping, and Bard is licking her face so she won’t be sad. "Stop that!" she says. Lady looks into Bard's eyes. "Billy, oh Billy," she says. "We have to get out of here."

But that is not my name. My name is Bard. Doggies do not have their old names. Bad people call doggies by their old names, and master's magic says we must hurt bad people.

I punch the bad lady in her face. Lady screams "Stop that! William! What are you doing?" I push her down. "No! Stop!" I want to stop. I cannot stop.

Lady yells: "Bad Dog!"

I stop. I am a bad dog.

"Bad dog," says Lady. Bard wants to climb into the lady's lap, but Bard is too big now. Lady sits on the side of her bed, crying, and shaking, and holding her face in her hands.

"What am I to do?" says Lady. "How do I get through to you?"

***

"Wake up."

Bard wakes from a bad dream. Bard dreamed that master was making the Lady drink the wine with spirits in it. All the kitty cats were watching with their green-glittery eyes. Bard tried to tell lady it was bad wine, but all he could do was bark until master yelled and Shep grabbed him by the neck.

"Wake up, dog" she says. Her voice is low and pained, but she is standing straight and tall over Bard. "I've been thinking and I understand. I mustn't call you by your name, must I, or the enchantment takes control of you. I know you would never hit me. Never."

"Come," she says. We step into the hallway. Lady has a lamp that smells like sunlight and pushes back the night. And there is a kitty cat there, listening. Bard barks and chases, but the kitty runs away. "This place is a nightmare," says the Lady. "Men who think they're dogs. Girls who - oh, I don't even know what they think."

They think they are kitty cats.

Lady looks at Bard with a special secret in her eyes. She holds up a knife. It has spirits in it too. "I spent everything," says Lady. "Everything we had for this. There's more than one wizard in the world, but they all want money. And I don't even know if it will work."

She doesn't know how to find the front door. It is hidden by wizardry, unless you're a doggy.  Left, then right. Left again and down stone steps. Through the wall that isn't a wall.

"Stop," says Lady. "I can’t see you. All I can see is stone." Bard goes back and takes her hand in his mouth and leads her. She is shivering, and Bard can tell how very afraid she is. Bard wants to protect her. From master. From green-glittery cats.

There is light up ahead, and the kitty cat is spying from around a corner. Lady stops, then we go further, but we stop again. If we can see around the corner, they can see us too.  Lady takes a deep breath, then reaches down and pulls me up.

"Stand straight", she says. "You're a man. Hands, feet, the brain you were born with, if you just knew it." Lady reaches up and smooths Bard’s face. "Let's go." She holds up the knife again. "We only use this if we must."

I look at the knife. It is wooden and sharp, with strange letters burned on its blade, and spirits that move and sing to me. They sing of home. My mind clears suddenly and I reach for the knife. From my mother. Her eyes turn bright, and our hands touch as she pushes it into my hand. Together we walk toward freedom, but as we turn the corner a tide of dogs and cats roars over us - punching, tearing, barking, screaming. The master stands at the great iron door, laughing, with Shep by his side.

The kitty cats claw Mother down. She is screaming. I cannot reach her through the crowd of dog-men. I cannot reach the master either. But the power of the knife burns in my hand.

I hurl men and women off me. I yell, "Shep!" and throw him the knife.

Shep catches it and looks at it strangely. The knife sings, and his eyes go wide.  He turns, and with a howl plunges the knife into the master’s neck. The master’s eyes go wide with shock. The kitty cats yowl and spin away from Mother, leaving her broken on the floor. They pull Shep down.

And master pulls the knife from his throat, laughing even while red hot liquid pours from his mouth.

"The heart," whispers mother. "It has to go in the heart, William."

But William is not my name. My name is Bard. Bard is a good dog.


April 07, 2015, 11:55:51 PM
1
Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread I promised, and I have delivered. 1485 words, including the title. Can be found as @Elfy on Twitter occasionally.

It's called Creatures of the Night.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Creatures of the Night

The moon was a silver disk high in the velvet black sky as it hung suspended over the hamlet of Darkwood on a summer night.

In one of the village’s stone houses, a girl awoke in an upstairs bedroom. She rose from her bed, took a blood red cloak from a peg on the wall and wrapped it around herself.  She opened the window, breathing in the fresh night air. She slipped out the window, flowed through the dirt streets, only stopping briefly by one of the cottages near the well, before floating into the forest that gave the little town its name.

                                                                  ****

Cloaked in the shadows thrown by the wall he leant against, Jakob watched the girl disappear amongst the trees. He sighed, spat and settled the rifle slung across one shoulder. He checked that his powder horn was full and that the pouch of musket balls at his side felt fat and heavy. Then he set off in pursuit.

Anna and Stefan had worried Jakob for months now. The three had grown up together, and been close friends for as long as anyone could remember. Anna had always been a pretty girl with rosy cheeks and ready smile, but that had all changed this summer. She never left the house during the day, Jakob had only seen her at the occasional dance, where she sat still and silent by the wall, watching the dancing with pale cheeks and fever bright eyes.

Stefan hadn’t changed as much. He had always been taciturn and prone to dark moods, but this summer that had intensified, and he seemed to actively avoid Jakob, whereas before the two often went hunting and fishing together. He should have been with Jakob, but tonight he was nowhere to be found, as he had been every full moon of late.

Jakob did not know if his friends had anything to do with the rash of livestock deaths that had blighted Darkwood this summer, but he was going to find out, and part of that meant following Anna on her midnight journey. Her crimson cloak made it easy for a skilled tracker like Jakob Hunter to find even in darkness, but it was a clear night, and the moon gave him some light. As Jakob moved silently, making sure that he stayed close enough to keep Anna’s cloak in sight, but far enough away that the girl did not know she was being followed, he reflected on the mysterious deaths. Some of them did look like wolf kills, and that was something that the people of Darkwood were used to living in a forest, but the others, the ones where the blood had been drained, those were not the work of a wolf.

                                                            ****

The old lady’s body lay sprawled untidily next to a neat vegetable patch. She was on her back and her sightless eyes looked up into the night sky. Her stomach had been ripped open, and the blood spreading around the body looked like a patch of night in the moon’s silvery rays.

A large black wolf removed its muzzle from the hole it had torn in the stomach cavity, pushed at the body listlessly with its nose, whined once, then turned and loped towards the stream that ran past the lonely cottage deep in the woods.

The wolf knew it shouldn’t have killed the two legs, but she was there and the silver haired ones could never run fast. A wolf never knew where its next meal was coming from, so it took its chances when it could. Despite that, and its full belly, the wolf still felt troubled by its last kill. However it had an appointment that it knew it had to keep, so it washed its muzzle off in the clear cool water of the stream, watched the crimson blood wash away and then slaked its thirst.

                                                           ****

Anna stopped in the clearing and looked around. When she first left Darkwood she had the feeling that she was being followed, but she had lost whoever it was. Her senses were so much sharper now, and especially on nights of the full moon, when she met Stefan.

The girl lay her burden down and looked at the child’s face. The little blonde boy looked so peaceful, if it weren’t for the twin puncture marks on his neck, and the paleness of his face, she could have imagined him asleep. She knew she really shouldn’t have fed on him, but he was outside at night, and he shouldn’t have been. Plus human blood was so much sweeter than animal blood, even now remembering the taste as it flooded thick and hot into her mouth when she put her fangs to his tender neck, made her salivate. She hoped Stefan didn’t mind that she’d already had a taste.

Lost in her thoughts, Anna didn’t even realize that she was no longer alone. A tall lean boy with tousled dark hair leaned casually against a tree and watched her, a lupine smile playing across his lips. Anna’s eyes travelled up his naked body, lingering at his groin and then she looked into his dark eyes and lost herself in them for a moment. She broke the silence between them by asking, ”Hungry?”

Stefan chuckled. “Looks like you’ve already eaten, Little Red Riding Hood.”

“Don’t call me that!” Anna snapped. “I couldn’t help it, I was hungry, and he was so delicious.”

“We don’t have long,” Stefan said, looking up at the moon through the branches of the trees.

“I wish you didn’t have to change so soon,” Anna pouted, throwing off her cloak and melting into Stefan’s powerful arms.

                                                              ****

The two lay entwined in each other’s arms at the base of the oak, basking in the afterglow of their lovemaking. They knew that their love was forbidden, even though by the terms of what they were they were young. It had been a night like this when Anna and Stefan on their way to this sort of assignation, had crossed paths with a werewolf and a vampire. Stefan still bore the marks of that encounter, the creatures claws and teeth had left deep scars. To look at Anna no one would know that she was dead, save for the deathly pallor where roses had once bloomed, the bruises under her eyes, and the small fact that if she went out in the daylight she would burst into flames.

Anna disentangled herself from Stefan’s arms and put on her cloak again, she stood by and watched the boy change from man to wolf. She whirled as she heard a twig crack behind her, loud in the stillness of the night.

The wolf leapt past her, its hackles up and teeth bared. For a moment Jakob froze, his eyes not believing what they had seen, then a lifetime of training took over. In an instant his rifle was cocked and primed and at his shoulder as he took a bead on the giant wolf in front of the girl in the crimson cloak.

“Jakob, no!” Anna screamed, but it was too late. The lead ball took the wolf in the heart, and in front of Jakob’s stunned eyes, the animal changed from a night time marauder to his lifelong friend Stefan.

Anna let out a choked sob, then she realized that dawn was coming and she turned and fled the clearing.

She couldn’t go home. Darkwood was too far, she’d never make it in time. Her grandmother’s house, that was closer, she could get there before the sun rose.

                                                                 ****

The girl hammered desperately on the door, shouting, “Granny! Granny! It’s me, your granddaughter Anna! Little Red Riding Hood! Let me in, please!”

Had the old woman still been alive she would have heeded her granddaughter’s desperate pleas and opened the door to her, but a wolf had come upon her that night and killed her, her body still lay at the back of her cottage.

Anna’s last word was an anguished shriek as the sun speared through the trees and struck her in the back. In an instant the girl was a flaming pyre, before collapsing as a pile of ashes on the doorstep.

                                                              ****

Jakob buried the body of his friend and the poor unfortunate village child that Anna had killed, he later found the ashes that had once been the laughing girl that dressed in a red cloak, and also buried her grandmother.

The young hunter was shattered by the part he had played in the deaths of his best friends, and so left the place of his birth. He changed his name, married, settled in Hanau and raised a family, amongst his children were two boys named Jacob and Wilhelm, who loved the stories their father told them, especially the one about Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.
                         

April 12, 2015, 01:07:17 AM
1
Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread Okay, here is my tortured piece...
Let it be said that I still consider this an easy PG13, but we french put "The Wolf of Wall st" as PG13 in theatres, so you might better not take my word for it!  8)
It contains references of course to the original april fool subject, as you'll see.

Explicit gore and violence, sexual connotations.  :-X

It comes at 1181 words but is likely to change before the end of the month.

The Wolf.

Spoiler for Hiden:
The smell is pungent. Rank.
The darkest side of organic, decay brought on by violence.
It clings to a wandering anomaly. Death in a drab fur coat, matted with lives long spilled. The wolf hunts with a will unknown to its kind. Possessed, he haunts the forest that birthed him. His fetor spills around him in the night, catching in the boughs and rattling the senses, an olfactory bell ringing a warning. A challenge to those who think of running. The wolf of these woods is a playful creature. Like no animal ever should, he has learned at the table of Man the meaning of pleasure.

The little girl knows not to trust. She has paid the wolf in loss and tears. It is the lot of those who linger at the edge of the forest. A cruel price, but a wise choice. Life is rich here.
Until the wolf feasts.
The trees care nothing for the perversity of the prowling beast and its murder of men. They grow and thrive and deceive, lure the wandering stranger into them.

The little girl realises the danger. She has lost her uncle, her friend, her mother.
Her uncle fought, he was a challenge. Her mother the wolf must have liked, she was never found. But her friend they did recover. Mangled, naked. Clad only in russet ribbons of old blood and peeled skin. Teeth marks like so many bracelets of somber beads, bestowed by too ardent a lover.
She’d been a toy to him.

The little girl has a knife. Her father took her hunting and taught her to kill.
Never look in his eye. Pity is for the weak. Hesitation makes you dead meat.

"Grandmother, do you think I will meet him? I am afraid, but still I long to gut this murderer. To pare his pelt with my own hands and lay in his fur."
But no child could ever kill the wolf. And no child should sleep in his accursed skin. It is whispered that this is how the wolf endures, cloaking their hatred and lust for suffering.
Her grandmother begs her to be at peace. She doesn't want her to be reckless, she doesn't want to live to see the last of her line extinguished. But they know that each time she visits, the little girl gambles her life.

That week she killed a goat. She cures its flesh and fills her basket. She will bring her grandmother food, news and filial love. She has her knife, her hood and her courage. With luck, she will survive once again the forest where death each night lurks.

The wolf knows her. He has smelled her, time and again. He knows them all, his enemies, his playthings, his prey. The men he feeds on, who flee and leave hanging the heady scent of terror, the delight of his nights.

She runs, light and silent, a little red mouse through the mist. She thinks of things to say, news to spread and tasks to be done. She feels her pulse quickening; she relishes the future. She is young – her hatred never leaves her, but she can’t fathom the destiny that is calling her.

The smell swells abruptly around her. It burns her nose, scorches her tongue. It comes from every direction, as if she had waded into a shoreless sea of rot. Her basket lies discarded, her blade, dull in the grey light, trembles in her hand.
He comes forth, velvet paws silent as the fog itself. She sees him, sees his size and wonders.
What had she expected as she dreamt of her knife slicing tendons and those muscles so bent on destruction?
The monster in front of her is no wolf, no child of nature, no animal lost to its pack.

He returns her stare, his eyes level with hers, his haunches quivering with impatience. He recognises the anguish distorting her features. He drinks it in each time, be it in hare or man, this disbelief at his size, his form, his potential.
He circles her, with each step he grows nearer, with each stride the sickening click of his malformed joints grows clearer. He smells through his own stench the sweet perfume of her panic. She stands her ground frozen by terror, and waits.

The force of the impact knocks the wind and the sense out of her. They crash onto the ground, her knife grates his ribs, fails to sink in.
He looms over her. Another blow shatters her scrambling mind. She's on her belly, her blade lost, clothes torn, bleeding. Blood is everywhere. Her blood.

This can't be happening.
But it is.
Pain consumes her senses. The wolf moves slowly; tearing the skin from her neck, sliding into her. He gouges her arms, crushes her, presses her face in the clammy humus. His chest rumbles against her in a sick imitation of laughter.
She feels him everywhere, in all the searing shame and mindless despair of one who thought to conquer and is crushed instead.
She looks into his eyes and sees her death, avid and expectant, laced with lust and glee. Saliva tendrils snap and trail across her virgin flesh. His fangs tease her bleeding throat. He is resisting the natural temptation of an easy kill. Trapped within his jaws she can barely breathe.
Her father's voice is in her ear, murmuring to her as if in a dream.
Don't be a daughter to your mother.
Rather be a good niece to your uncle. Fight.


Fingers meet metal. She whimpers, and tries to pry her hips free of the frantic animal. Succumbing to her ruse, he adjusts his grip. Her freed arm flies upward, fueled by desperation.
Metal meets flesh. He shrieks and pulls off. She sits up and scrambles away, pressing her stained weapon to her breast. The sight of him is ghastly : coiling in the leaves in throes of agony, the wolf moans and yelps as his own blood mixes with hers on the decaying leaves of the rotting forest floor. It oozes, ruby red and thick, from an eye burst to a pulp.

His disappearance is as sudden as his arrival had been, and it leaves her hollowed, defiled, numb.
It has happened. He has come and he is gone. Despite her state, she can count herself lucky. No one has fought the wolf and lived to tell the story. This realisation is what makes her stand then makes her run. She needs to get home. She flees, careless of the noise, pushing the pain, crushing her shame. She needs to reach home.

Finally it is in sight, the safe abode where light pours out in the foggy night. Tears run down her face as she rushes to the door and crashes in her house, sobbing, ready to be comforted and healed.
Yes, her father is here, and turns to her as she enters. He too, is disheveled, his chest bared. Again that night they stare at each other. She gapes at his one eyed, bleeding face.
Blood oozing from an eye burst to a pulp.

If anyone is curious, the two tracks I morbidly listened to as I was writing this were from Converter. It's Industrial techno, so not for everyone. Down There is the true "soundtrack" of the piece I believe :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkDvs5mNTF0
But I wrote a lot while listening to Gateway Rite, same band : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dErAkgHTXrY

Proper spoiler, here is a little picture of one of the many story related doodles I made while struggling with this short. Don't open it till you're done reading. Can't resist sharing it with y'all ^^
Spoiler for Hiden:

April 14, 2015, 03:27:15 PM
1
Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread Hi, everyone, here's my story for April, and my 10th entry into the monthly writing contest. 

Hail to the King, 1491 words

Spoiler for Hiden:
The convention of the Thames Valley Doomsday Preppers was in full swing when Russell got there. He and Amanda had gotten lost on the forest track to the campsite and arrived an hour late, to discover that nearly everyone else had driven there. The main group had made a campfire, while the rest hovered self-consciously about.

Talk had moved onto potential apocalypse scenarios and, inevitably, the conversation had jokingly turned to zombies.

“I’d probably base myself rurally, if it was Zee’s, you know?” said Tim. “There’s less people, and therefore less Zee’s.” The gang around the campfire nodded and murmured sagely.

It’s ‘Zeds’, you dickhead, thought Russell.

“Also,” continued Tim, “you gotta think in terms of potential danger from other survivors, you know? I mean, Zee’s are slow, right? But someone with a knife can kill you just as easily. You’ve gotta make yourself a hard target.” He indicated Russell’s bright red fleece jacket. “Stuff like that will just get you killed, mate. You need to go tactical.” He pointed at his own expensive camo-pattern paintballing jacket.

“Hang on, Tim,” Russell interjected. “What if it isn’t ‘Walking Dead’ zombies? What if it’s ‘28 Days Later’ zombies?”

“What difference does it make?”

“Well, they’re a lot faster, for one. There’s a lot of open space in the countryside for them to run after you.”

Tim nodded. “Granted, Russell. But that doesn’t automatically make living in the city preferable to the countryside.” A few sycophants around the fire made noises of agreement. “Where would you go?”

Russell’s mind raced as he tried to think of a suitable answer. “The sewers,” he finally managed.

The group exploded with laughter.

“The sewers?!” sneered Tim.

Russell felt his face grow hot. “Well, not the sewers, necessarily, but underground. A bunker, or a safe room or something.”

Tim laughed derisively. “Oh, yeah, you can’t move for bunkers round here! They’re like Starbucks!”

The group howled even louder.

“Oh, piss off, Tim,” muttered Russell, stomping away from the group and grabbing a cider from the bag. He noticed Alan staring at him, working up the courage to speak. Russell’s mood darkened. The outcasts had noticed his expulsion from the main group, it seemed, and were taking him for one of their own.

 A slap on the backside distracted him.

“Alright, ninja turtle?” asked Amanda. Russell let his expression reply for him. He cringed as Tim’s group whispered behind him.

“Are you okay?” asked Amanda. “We can go home, if you like. Oh no, wait, we walked here, didn’t we?”

Russell became aware of Alan creeping nervously closer in his peripheral vision, as though about to defuse a pipe-bomb. He swung around on him.

“Yes, Alan?” he snapped.

Alan flinched nervously. “I’ve got a safe room,” he stammered shyly. “I’ll show you if you want to see it.”

Another giggle from the campfire made up Russell’s mind for him.

“Let’s just go.”

————————————————

Amanda hadn’t been drinking, so she drove Alan’s car while he rode shotgun. Russell sat cramped, barely containing his annoyance at Tim’s presence, who had been getting a cider from the bag when Alan made his revelation, and had insisted on coming.

They drove into the city, passing busy restaurants and pubs. There was more movement on the streets than usual, and an ugly charge to the air that made Russell glad he was in a car and not on foot. As they drove past a bar, they saw a man fighting two huge doormen, thrashing against them furiously. As they lifted him into the air, he twisted like a cat and sank his teeth into the cheek of one of them.

“Oh my God!” gasped Amanda. “Did you see that?”

“Just drive on,” said Tim. “The police will deal with it.” Russell had been amused to hear the nervousness in his voice.

Amanda drove them out the other side of the city and into the industrial district.

———————————

Alan told Amanda to park outside a building and they got out of the car.

“This is it?” asked Tim, underwhelmed. For once, Russell agreed. It was a self-storage unit.

Alan nodded. The squat, yellow, corrugated-metal building before them did not scream ‘safe house’.

“It’s a Lok-n-Store,” said Amanda.

Alan nodded again, as if that were, indeed, obvious.

“I think we were all expecting something a little more…” Tim tailed off. “Safe?”

“You can’t get much safer than that,” Alan said. “And I work here, so we’ll have no problem getting in here when there’s Zeds everywhere.”

“Zee's,” corrected Tim, although Alan had already endeared himself to Russell, who put an arm around him.

“Tell you what, mate, why don’t you show us around? Are you coming?” he asked Amanda, pointedly ignoring Tim. She smiled and shook her head.

Looking faintly proud, Alan swiped his card in the door, and he and Russell entered the building.

————————————

They were in the basement.

“So, here, we’ll keep chainsaws and stuff,” Alan was saying, pointing to a locked storage closet. “And here I keep tinned food.” Alan was far less shy when he was discussing the zombie apocalypse.

Russell was starting to regret humouring him. “Look, mate, this place is great, in principle, and I’m really happy you’re enjoying prepping, but there’s a lot more to it than fantasist zombie crap.”

Alan looked at him in vague alarm. “Like what?”

“Well, what if the World Economy collapsed? What if an electromagnetic pulse event took out all the world’s power grids? What if fossil fuels run dry? These are the sort of things preppers should be planning for.” He sighed at Alan’s uncomprehending expression. “Look, I know you probably haven’t seen many preppers yet except for delusional wankers like Tim-” Alan giggled guiltily, “-but Doomsday Preparation is a mature responsibility to ourselves and our families.”

Alan smiled sadly. “I just wanted to be part of a group…”

Russell felt bad for the little man. “You’re part of the group, Alan, and you’re my friend. Now, why don’t we get outside before Tim converts your car into a Mad Max roadster?” They both laughed and headed for the stairs.

————————————

“So how did you get into prepping?” Tim asked Amanda.

She shrugged. “Russell likes it. It’s something we do together.”

 Tim nodded. “My girlfriend used to do it, too, but she reckoned I was too into it so we split up.” He looked around, scanning their surroundings.

“Wow, you’re really… keen,” frowned Amanda.

Tim caught her tone, and shrugged. “When I was in my first year at University, I got beaten up by some guys. One punched me to the floor and his buddies kicked me until my ribs broke and punctured a lung. I was in hospital for seven weeks and I had to retake my first year. I couldn’t leave the house, you see?”

Amanda didn’t know what to say.

“When you’ve seen what people are really like,” murmured Tim, “once you really know; you can’t do anything else with your life other than be ready for the next time.”

Amanda turned to face him. “Tim, I’m sorry…”

He wasn’t listening. A man was at the end of the road, lurching drunkenly under the sodium lights, too far away to make out individual details.

Suddenly, he spotted them, and began to run towards them in a frantic sprint.

“God,” said Amanda, “he’s running really fast.”

“Amanda,” said Tim in a flat, terrified voice. “Get inside.”

——————————————

Russell had his hand on the door-handle when Amanda came crashing through in a state of blind panic. His first thought was that Tim had attacked her, but then Tim came through himself and slammed the door behind him.

“Lock the door!” Tim screamed, pressing his back against it. Russell just stood blankly. Amanda threw herself against it to lend her weight to his. A howling screech came from outside and the door shook under a tremendous impact, almost knocking Tim and Amanda back.

“Help us, you stupid bastard!” shouted Tim. Russell snapped from his daze and leaned his weight against the door.

“What the hell is going on?” he cried.

“He’s dead,” stammered Amanda. “I saw his insides hanging out.”

“What!?”

“She’s right,” said Tim. “No-one like that could be alive.”

The door shook again, jolting the three of them. Russell cursed. “Alan, help!”

Alan had disappeared.

The next impact cracked the wood, straight down its centre. The door folded like a curtain, and the zombie thrashed its way into the corridor in a frenzy, loops of intestine dangling from it’s yawning stomach cavity. It caught sight of Amanda and hissed, crouching ready to spring.

With a boom, it’s head exploded like a pumpkin, spattering brain matter and blood across the corridor. The three turned to see Alan behind them, holding a shotgun.

Screeching came from the street outside. Russell could hear distant sirens.

“Do you know, Alan, we may need your safe room after all,” he said.


April 22, 2015, 10:12:00 PM
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Re: [Apr 2015] - Plot Twist! Werewolf, Vampire, Goat - Submission Thread Finally got around to finishing mine off. And, for the first time, I didn't have to try and shave it down to fit the word limit!

Anyway,coming in at 1333 words is A Twist too Far.

Spoiler for Hiden:
The warehouse was dark. Gloomy. Silent. The only sign of life was the occasional rat or cockroach scattering across the floor, dodging between the many stacked crates littering the room.

A loud clank cut through the silence. The warehouse door creaked open and Welshy Simmons crept in, a flashlight in one hand and a crowbar in the other. He scanned the shadowy room carefully before creeping over to a crate surreptitiously tucked away in a corner. He quietly placed the flashlight down before beginning to pry the crate open.

His heart was beating fast. The detective must’ve been lying. There was no way he could’ve seen Michelle walking around. But if he wasn’t… If that blow to the head hadn’t been fatal…

He finally managed to rip the lid off the crate and peek at the contents. He let out a relieved sigh. She was still there.

“So this is where you hid the body then?”

Welshy spun around at the sound of the voice. Behind him stood Tex Taylor, the private detective who had so rudely stuck his nose into Welshy’s business. The detective had a flashlight of his own and a gun aimed directly at Welshy.

“Put the crowbar down.” Tex said. “It’s all over.”

Welshy did as he was told with a resigned tone.

“This was all a trap wasn’t it?” He said. “You never actually saw Michelle alive.”

Tex nodded. “And I know all about the smuggling operation you ran behind the books. The only thing I needed was for you to expose yourself and show me where you hid her.”

Welshy gave a weary smile. “Looks like you worked it all out then.”

“Almost.” Tex smiled back. “The only thing I couldn’t work out was ‘why?’ What made you decide to kill Michelle? Did she stumble over part of your operation?”

Welshy began to chuckle. “That’s not something I can so easily tell you.” He took a step to the side and gestured to the crate with Michelle’s body in. “Perhaps it would be better to show you instead…”

Suspicious, Tex took a step forward and shined his flashlight into the crate. What he saw shocked him. A mess of slimy purple tentacles. Six black, lifeless eyes. A humanoid form that absolutely could not be human.

"Wha... What is this?"

“I could tell as soon as I saw her.” Welshy slowly let out a low laugh. “That so-called Michelle was none other than a Venusian spy, sent her to foil my dirty deeds! My internal mecha-scanner confirmed she was wearing a fleshsuit!”

Tex could scarcely believe the words coming out his mouth. “She’s an… alien?”

“Not just she…” Welshy reached up to his neck and began to tear away his own skin, revealing a horrific green fleshy substance beneath. “For today, detective, you deal not with a mortal human vagabond.” In a single smooth motion, he ripped off his fleshy outside to reveal a mound of wriggling inhuman tendrils that vaguely consisted a face. “I AM GLARTOK, THE DEVASTATOR!!! VWAHAHAHA!!!!!”

Glartok’s eight glassy eyes focused on the stunned detective as his laugh turned guttural and grating. 

“WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY NOW, TINY HUMAN!!! YOU FACE A BEING FAR BEYOND ANYTHING YOU CAN COMPREHEND!!!”

Tex stared up with his jaw dropped at the humanoid monstrosity, a creature far beyond his own lifespan and comprehending. Then he asked one simple question.

“What the hell do you think you’re playing at?”

Glartok laughed at this. “I AM HERE TO LAY WASTE TO YOUR PALTRY-“

“No, not you.” Tex interrupted. “You. The writer. What do you think you’re playing at?”

Glartok looked confused at the simple human detective. Obviously the shock of meeting a being from another world far beyond his own had-

“Hey, don’t ignore me! I want an answer!”

Wait, are you talking to me?

“Yeah, you.” Tex nodded. He gestured at the confused Glartok. “What the hell is this?”

He’s Glartok the Devastator. A member of an intergalactic race bent on world domination and-

“No, I don’t care about that. What I want to know is what the hell is he doing here?” Tex asked. “This is a detective story, not Battlestar Galactica! Admittedly, it’s not the most original detective story, but at least it was vaguely consistent. Why did you introduce aliens out of nowhere?”

“FOOLISH MORTAL!! GLARTOK COMES WHEREVER HE PLEASES!!”

“Shut up, Glartok!” Tex snapped. “I want an answer!”

Um… I thought it would make a neat twist.

“A neat twist?” Tex gestured to the giant alien. “This guy? Really?”

Well, you didn’t see it coming.

“True, but that doesn’t make it a good twist. If everyone in the world suddenly turned into gummy bears, I wouldn’t have seen that coming. And it would’ve been equally stupid.”

Now you’re just exaggerating. It’s not that bad.

“Really?” Tex raised an eyebrow. “Name one piece of adequate foreshadowing you laid for this scene.”

Er… Well, when you investigated Welshy’s room, he did have that space planet mobile hanging from his chandelier.

“So?” Tex said. “My 5-year old nephew has stars painted on the ceiling of his bedroom! That doesn’t mean I’m expecting him to turn into a crazed Martian in Act 3!”

“ACTUALLY, I’M FROM A SMALLISH PLANETOID ROTATING THE LESSER MOON OF-“

“Nobody cares, Glartok!”

All right, look, you may have a point. But what do you want me to do about it? It’s already happened.

“That’s not my problem.” Tex said. “But you need to fix it and fast.”

“IF IT’S ANY CONSOLATION, I THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD TWIST.”

Shut up, Glartok. Okay, how about this? He’s not an alien, he’s a demon king or ghost or something supernatural. We had some weird cult elements in the first third as a red herring remember?

“OOH! A DEMON KING! I LIKE THE SOUND OF THAT!”

“Hmmm.” Tex thought on this. “It’s better, but it’s still a fairly big shift in tone. We didn’t really have any kind of supernatural elements before.”

How about some kind of powerful hallucinogenic gas?

“What would a petty smuggler be doing with powerful hallucinogenic gas?”

He was… smuggling it?

Tex scratched his chin. “I suppose it could work. The whole Glartok thing still seems a little on the nose, though. Even as a hallucination, it’s impossible to take that walking cliché depository seriously.”

“SNIFF. YOU GUYS ARE HURTING MY FEELINGS.”

Maybe if I made him like an internal reflection of your own latent personality traits? If I throw in some psychology-sounding mumbo-jumbo, people will probably praise it as ‘deep’.

“Do you actually know anything about psychology?”

No.

“Are you just going to use the word ‘Freudian’ a bunch of times?”

A little.

“Then I’m going to pass.”

“WHAT ABOUT A COMPLEX ANALYSIS AND COMPARISON OF BOTH THE ENVIROMENTAL AND BIOLOGICAL FACTORS THAT LED TEX TO BE THE MAN HE WAS TODAY AS A WAY OF EXPLORING THE IDEA OF NATURE VS NURTURE.”

“…”

...

“WHAT? I TOOK AMATEUR PSYCHOLOGY ON GLOVOK IV.”

Okay, this is all getting to be too much of a pain. I know exactly how to sort this.

“Why do I have a bad feeling about-“



Tex woke with a start. He sat up and looked around. He was on his apartment couch. The entire place was quiet except for the dull chatter of the TV in front of him.

“And that concludes this week’s adventures of Glartok the Galactic Conquerer.” The announcer blared. “Please tune in next week where Glartok will-“

Tex switched the TV off and sighed. Obviously he must’ve accidentally fallen asleep on the couch and accidentally dreamt about that TV show. After all, the idea of aliens existing was just silly. Absolutely ridiculous.

But there was no point dwelling on it. For now he was going to have to put his mind back to solving that important case. He lay back on his couch, deep in thought.

Finally, he spoke.

“You know, this is still a fairly cheap twist.”

Bite me.

April 23, 2015, 07:05:27 PM
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Re: Plot structure and pacing
I think the reason that the "three act" thing is so popular is that it highlights two things: at the beginning of the story you need to introduce the character and the world, and there should (usually) be a climax that releases the tension and wraps up the story. I think those are both important lessons to learn
Reminds me of a story Brandon Sanderson told of a student who asked to learn about editing, which almost no writing students ever ask about. And so as an asignment, he had the student go through The Eye of Argon and mark everything that he thought was good and bad. And when they went over his asignment later, the story wasn't actually that terrible. It had an introduction, characters, dialoges, a plot, and a conclusion. Still a terrible story, but it covered all the basics at which apparently plenty of aspiring writers and writing students fail.  :D

I was wrong! All wrong! It wasn't Sanderson at all, it was high school and not university, and actually not a video that I saw but a written article. But here it is: Proofreading The Eye of Argon[url].

April 27, 2015, 02:13:36 PM
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Re: Merits of "Suddenly" i think that suddenly and rarely have migrated into being inside the sentence words.

a thing you can use wioth impunity in the center of a sentence but cannot start a sentence with.

June 19, 2015, 07:35:37 PM
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Re: To Describe or Not To Describe I'd like to throw in my 2 cents by saying the description should be flavored by the character. Joe might see a restaurant as a homey café that makes his favorite dish. Sue may see the same place as a greasy spoon with faded plastic flowers on the table and sticky floors in the ladies room. A cop or an accountant, warrior or royalty will all have their own unique take on something.

Seeing through the character's eyes makes it more interesting. Sue's bloodshot eyes might make Joe worry she'd been out late with another guy, but might tell Mary that Sue's mother is sick again. You can use description to drop backstory breadcrumbs, too. Maybe Sue's bloodshot eyes tells Bob that she's drinking again. Which gives the reader a new take on Mary in one sentence.

July 14, 2015, 08:47:36 PM
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Re: Fantasy Memes and silly stuff about books from the internet
July 28, 2015, 02:56:34 AM
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Twisted Summaries - Spoilers and R-rating (probably) Nora just posted a wonderful twisted summary in the Fantasy Memes thread:

Quote
The Wizard of Oz: Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.

I have no idea who created that, but it's wonderful. 24 words.

So, our mission: to create twisted summaries of anything: SFF books, movies, non-SFF, whatevers.
Nothing is off limits - it just has to be funny (even if in a twisted way).

Let's try a limit of 30 words max.

September 08, 2015, 04:55:17 PM
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