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  • self biased
    replied
    aye. as was the intention. the original premise was that of a ritual gone awry. cory's death, though, needs to be more of a surprise. all i have to do is have her kill him before she explains to him what's going on.

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  • 1889
    replied
    Paragraph five of the first story so far. This story is gross. It has lots of ambiance though, too much really. I think I'll finish reading after I have a shower.

    (later that same night)

    "Small Salvation" produces a very visceral reaction, a sick one. Its almost like the first time I saw "Blair Witch".
    Last edited by 1889; December 2, 2004, 02:42.

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  • Paddy
    replied
    thanks Self Biased

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  • self biased
    replied
    misplaced, 0.2

    October 17, one year previous.

    Jacob swore as he put his Ford Escort into park. The narrow swath of pregnant sky that was visible darkened with moisture. Looking both ways as he exited, he surveyed the scene, and to his amazement he had only missed the telephone pole by four inches, tops. He turned his car, which was stuck in the ditch with mud up over the hubcaps. With a sigh and another curse, Jacob grabbed his keys out of the car, turned on the hazards, and wished like hell he had brought a jacket.

    A chilly wind blew up the mountain road as the sky darkened with the impending storm. It had been unseasonably warm the last few days, and the storm had blown in from seemingly nowhere. Tendrils of mist slowly exuded out for the forest on either side of the road as Jacob considered his options. It was only three miles or so to get back into town, but it would be three miles back as well. The only other option was to truck the four miles up the mountain to Eve’s house. He could call a tow truck from there; she could deposit him back at his car with the remainder of his belongings, and she could be rid of him once and for all.

    Jacob laughed in spite of himself. “This,” he said to nobody in particular as he started up the winding mountain road, “could be the perfect end to the perfect week.” The vapors exiting the woods seemed to agree with him and lazily followed him up the road.

    The usual sounds of the forest were subdued by the rising wind. The sky to the south began to glow a halogen orange as darkness fell over the mountain. The storm announced its presence in the distance with a light roll of thunder, and Jacob’s ears popped as the pressure dropped like a stone. Cursing again, he stepped up to a brisk pace up the mountain. The mist followed cautiously behind him, weaving around trees and the odd traffic sign, possibly to not arouse suspicion.

    Under different circumstances, Jacob might have enjoyed the walk more. Instead, he used the forty-five minute trek to allow his mind wander, occupying the time in transit. His mind was always awash with daydreams, possibilities, and the like. Currently he was examining the recently tumultuous relationship between Eve and himself, with the hollow perplexity of one who cannot understand how or why everything has suddenly gone to ****.

    ‘I can’t believe this… three days, and now this. She was buried yesterday for the love of god, and she couldn’t even be bothered to come to the ****ing funeral. /Oh sure, Eve. Yes, I know you don’t do the whole deathbed scene, or funerals, or even goddamned compassion it seems like at this point, but that woman was the only and final link I had with my family! She had raised me for as far back as I can remember. Did you know that my earliest memories are from my father’s funeral? Yes, you did. You know exactly what happened, and exactly how much Grandma Maiers meant to me. To blow me off for that Todd, or Tim, or Trevor… whatever the **** his name was? That was not only lame, but also pa-****ing-thetic. /’ The voice of Jacob’s mind’s eye had grown almost to a shout, then brought itself to nearly a whisper. ‘/But… but to leave me now for this jack off, when I need you the most? I know you don’t deal well with this sort of ****, but it’s been a rather cold fact for me. Doesn’t make it any easier, but… I’m unraveling. I need you./’

    At about this time, Jacob’s senses interrupted his monologue to inform him that he was soaking wet. The storm had begun to drop its cargo innocently enough at first, with a few random drops. Seeing that nobody was really paying attention, it steadily built itself up to a fair downpour. Jacob gathered his bearings and decided he had maybe ten or fifteen minutes left to go. Shivering, he went back to assessing his speech. He had no idea exactly what he was trying to accomplish with those words that kept stewing in his head. It seemed to fit the occasion, and he felt inspired as if struck by the muse; and his words here were his only way to shine.

    A wave of thunder rolled over the area as Jacob approached the driveway. The rain had intensified and obscured the features of the log cabin-style house just up the incline. Light poured out of the living room window on the left-front corner of the house. He ascended the muddy driveway and paused in the shaft of light to summon what courage he could. A glowing nimbus of played above his head as the rain came down harder still. Looking over his shoulder, he saw that oddly enough, fog was filling up the valley below. A tendril poked its head up the driveway. Shaking from the adrenaline coursing through his veins, he rounded the corner of the house to the side door.

    He knocked soundly, but a blast of thunder covered sound. Jacob let himself in the house, stepping to the kitchen. It was in complete disarray, which was uncharacteristic for Eve. A half-prepared chicken dinner, and the associated articles sat on and near the stove. A soft sobbing was barely audible above the din of the storm. Not seeing anyone anywhere, he took a few steps to get around the counter that looked into the living room. As he strode, glass crunched underfoot. As he reached the end of the counter, he turned to his right and looked into the living room.

    Eve looked up wretchedly from the easy chair on the left. Her mascara was running, and was mingling with blood from a fresh cut on her right cheek. All of the bile and rage Jacob had built up over the course of the walk drained from him as he stepped into view. He was already weary from the walk, cold, wet, and the sudden absence of adrenaline, left his very soul sapped of strength. She stood, and the two met in the center of the living room. Wordlessly, smudged her mascara in a valiant effort to wipe it clean.

    Tears welled up in her eyes again, as she caressed his chin. She moved to embrace him and hesitated. “You’re wet,” she said as she ran her fingers from his chin, down his sleeve, and took his hand. “What happened to you?” Her voice was marginally above a whisper.

    “I could ask the same thing about you, and I’m sure your story is better than mine. Swerved to miss a deer and ended up in a ditch just ahead of the infirmary about an hour,” Jacob glanced at the clock, “****, hour and a half ago. I figured I’d be able to get a lift from you after I called a tow truck.” He squeezed her hand and wiped a tear from her cheek, as she pushed a lock of hair out of his face.

    He motioned to the phone, and she nodded. He picked up the receiver with his free hand and dialed. Apparently, the sheriff had spotted the car fifteen minutes ago, and was already mildly annoyed for having to be standing out in the rain looking for some fool who abandoned his car. Eve drove down the mountain to the flashing lights, amidst the thickening fog. After being admonished for careless driving, and nearly having his car impounded, the tow truck arrived, and the two were soon back at Eve’s house.

    The house had been built by Eve’s stepfather not quite ten years ago, and wasn’t quite finished. It still needed stairs going up to the semi-enclosed front porch. Jacob parked next to Eve in the driveway, and trailed her into the house. Stopping in the kitchen, she regarded the mess with a sigh.

    “****er,” she stated, and squeezed Jacob’s hand. “I’ll be right back,” she reassured him, turned around and headed upstairs. Jacob busied himself by sweeping, and ruminating about the unseasonable thunderstorm. The world suddenly went dark and Jacob felt a pressure on his skull. A giggle came from behind him, and light returned to his eyes as Eve removed the towel and slung it around his shoulder. He chuckled as he turned to face her. She fell into his arms without warning and hugged him so tightly she threatened to squeeze the life out of him.

    “I’m so sorry,” she spoke in his ear. Whispering above the noise of the storm wasn’t an option. She drew him somehow closer. “I…” she began and she withdrew enough to meet his eyes, and studied his countenance. As they stared into each other’s eyes they were communicating in some secret and personal language all to themselves. Her hair was a dark auburn, cut just below her ears, which contrasted her aquamarine eyes and porcelain skin and rose-pink lips nicely. His hair was in his face yet again. It was still at that awkward stage where it was just not long enough to be tied back. His steel blue eyes betrayed his relief.

    They leaned closer in each other, the energy between them palpable. Their passion began to focus itself, as lips met. The energy reached critical mass and hands and fingers began to undo buttons and remove clothing on their own volition. By no small miracle, the pair made it to the couch. Thunder rumbled prophetically as she straddled him. He ran his fingers down her bare side, gliding down her soft skin. She spoke her words in silence, yet he understood them, and repeated them. The lights flickered and then went out in a strobe of phosphorescent light, leaving the lovers to themselves.

    ***

    Jacob looked up out the window from Eve’s bed. The storm had passed hours ago, revealing the moon. It truly was the perfect end to the perfect week. The mist seemed to agree as it slunk down the valley, back to wherever it came from.

    ***
    sort of back-history between jacob and eve, based losely around a similar experience i once had. it's less tenuous, but i had planned for four or five more parts to this. perhaps i'll get bitten by the muse and finish it, but that's unlikely.

    i've also had plans for a fantasy novel, but the details are so sketchy, i've not really begun to hash things out. it's really only a few characters, and a couple of really good descriptive passages in my head at this point.

    thanks for your time...

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  • self biased
    replied
    misplaced

    "Isabel, I am going out of my f*cking mind," came the voice from the answering machine. It belonged to her ex-boyfriend Jacob Maiers. They were practically beset friends, now that the awkwardness of their tepid romance had faded. Isabel frowned. Jacob was usually the Rock of Stability that others clung to during troubled times. That alone made the edge in his voices all the more worrying. "Now, I'm not about to do anything stupid," the machine continued, "but two and two aren't adding up to four at the moment. Give me a call, or stop by my place� I don't think I'm going anywhere for a while."

    Isabel took off her coat and tossed it over the back of a chair. She wandered over to the fridge, retrieved a Mountain Dew, and sat for a moment. Isabel sipped thoughtfully. 'what could have sent him over the edge?' Their romance, if you could call it that, had been over for years. They had both dated other people in the interim to boot as well. As a matter of fact, Jacob and Eve's two-year anniversary had just gone by last week. She kept mentally playing elimination, and came up empty. Not knowing what else to do, Isabel picked up the phone and dialed Jacob's number.

    "Either the world's gone mad or I have. Leave a message at any rate." The machine stated.

    "Jake, it's Isabel" I got your message. I'll be over in a few minutes, but�" she scowled into the phone, remembering the events of the year before, "If Eve has hurt you in any way..."

    "It has nothing to do with her yet, Izzy, Just get over here." And with that, he hung up. Isabel grabbed her jacket and raced for the door.

    During the fifteen-minute drive over to Jacob�s place, Isabel racked her brain for what could be wrong. She stared out into the country road that separated the two towns. The headlights of her car played tricks in the swirls of flurries. The occasional face might appear, or the colors of a particular swirl would fluctuate unnaturally. Isabel wrestled with herself, and managed to be convinced that it was strictly her imagination, nothing more.

    When she arrived at Jacob's, the flurries had mutated into a light storm. Isabel exited the car and started for the front door. Although not unheard-of for the time of year, the air was atypically heavy and bitter cold. She paused at the door, turned, and looked back at the clouds of condensation from her breath. They hung in the air like phantom sentinels, refusing to dissipate. Isabel shivered. The damn things were watching her. She swiveled around to the door, and let herself into the flat.

    Jacob didn't look up when Isabel came in. He was seated in front of the giant chess set that he and Roger built last year. The board itself was over three feet on a side, with four-inch red alabaster and black obsidian squares, trimmed with silver. The pieces were also proportionately large, almost four inches in diameter themselves. The red ones, which were Roger's, were modeled after ancient Roman armies. The rooks were nearly two-foot tall Corinthian pillars, the knights were mounted Centurions, and the pawns were the Roman Phalanx, with their spears pointed menacingly forward. Caesar, of course, was king. Egypt was the theme for the black pieces. Queen Cleopatra oversaw Anubis and Ra, the rooks, the High-Priest bishops, and the Archer pawns.

    The set had taken Roger and Jacob two and a half years to complete, and they didn't even finish the first game. Halfway through, Roger had been murdered during a convenience store robbery while on a beer run the night they sat down to play. Jacob maintained the board, but never touched it otherwise.

    Isabel bung her jacket up, moved behind Jacob, and squeezed his shoulder silently. She didn't know what else to do.

    "Have you ever caught something that you thought was a constant, change? The color of a book or lighter change? Usually something small, right? Take the chess set:" he gestured, �I know every move that was made that night, and this piece," he hefted a Roman bishop from the center of the board, "had never been moved. Salazaar didn't get out and shuffle this solitary piece into place. Eve? Certainly she knows better than to even touch the board, let alone move anything. Izzy, I've been noticing things changing. They've been getting bigger in size, and terrifyingly more frequent."

    "Jacob?!?" Eve scampered in, breathless and panic-stricken. A guilty look had obviously camping on her face. "Oh my god� Jacob, are you okay?" She moved to embrace him, and looked desperately into his eyes. "I came as soon as I got your message, but my phone was turned off and I didn�t realize until-"

    "Ssshhh." Jacob brought up a solitary finger to Eve's lips. "It's only the world that's falling apart. That's all. Just something for me to figure out, okay� Calm down, and breathe." She did so, reluctantly at first. He slid his fingers from her lips, down her arm, and to her hand, which she squeezed tightly.

    "When did you start to notice these changes, Jake?" Frustrated, Isabel paced the room.

    "Tuesday," he began, "I picked up my math textbook, as I was putting it my backpack, it was green instead of it's usual blue. Since then, the **** has been spiraling out of control. Hun, how long has your hair been that particular shade of red?"

    Puzzled, she fretted with her chin length locks, and responded, "About ten months ago� after Roger's funeral I started to-"

    "Dye it black. As I quite clearly remember. But you decided to go with the 'Rusted Roof' didn't you?"

    Eve nodded solemnly. Her boyfriend's mastery of the obvious was indeed staggering, but a horror crept through her. He wasn't crazy. She had very nearly dyed her hair black after the funeral, but she never told him that. Just that she was considering two colors, and one of the was 'Rusted Roof.' Eve swallowed hard, and fought back a tear.

    Jacob twitched as the world began to wash iridescent in his peripheral vision. It slowly crept into his sight, a line of change scouring the walls. A vibrant jungle green was eating the eggshell blue. He remembered the argument that almost ensued over the color of the living room when he and Eve first moved in. The change was gradual, long after the line of change had passed� and the furniture was also rearranging itself as well. Everything seemed like it had always been, only different now. A different throw rug graced the floor as well.

    'The walls,' he croaked. Eve and Isabel regarded him with a certain amount of shock. 'They're green now. And before you ****ing tell me 'Duh, genius,' I remember painting it eggshell blue for you,' he glanced at Eve. She ran a hand through her waist length blonde hair, and returned his gaze, with ample worry. The line of iridescence came back towards him, a maw opening up to swallow him whole.

    Jacob saw shapes in the flurries of the iridescence, and it grew brighter. He saw people. Faces. White noise filled his ears with static and nonsense. Unsaid syllables were disgorged from the aural chaos. The passage of time gradually became indistinguishable. An hour could have been a second, a day, or a year. The iridescence grew brighter; straining his eyes, while the noise painfully babbled semi-coherent thoughts directly into the soft center of his skull.

    Jacob Maiers faded to white after a flash of radiance, and a pop of his ears. He sat dumbfounded, and stared into a familiar lopsided grin. a face faded in from the white chaos. Reality slowly filtered back cautiously, as if the floodgates of iridescent tempests had been closed once again.

    "So," said Roger, smiling against a star filled background. "Are you gonna make a move, or just sit there?"

    **
    very, very early work. based around the idea of deja-vu, or reality changing despite what is distinctly remembered.
    Last edited by self biased; November 17, 2004, 14:45.

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  • self biased
    replied
    ressurection.

    'We all thought you were dead,' had been the general consensus. of course, online, you drop off for a few days, and people start to worry. I had been gone for two thousand one hundred seventy-six hours. just shy of thirteen weeks.

    "not... exactly." i replied. "something magical has happened." i was flooded with questions.

    "how's your girlfriend... erin was her name?" syiubaiana had asked. she at one point had her claws in me, but i'd managed to free myself, and with my current state of affairs, things were out of my hands anyway.

    "Magic You Say? What Manner Of Skullduggery Are You Trying To Pull Here" that was XietyTheDeity. we would chitchat about music and whatnot from time to time.

    "eh. i knew you'd come back. 'They Always Come Back." koshko, a gay ****, and an upstanding one at that. i'd always try to see how many in jokes i could get with him.

    "What happened?" was the post most repeated by Cara, LatinChik007, AutumnKrystals, Beefy_guy, and a rare appearance by DJlemma.

    "she is dead, miss syiubaiana. the ritual required human sacrifice, unfortunately, and she was the only one i could convince to... to... :shakes his head: she wasn't supposed to die, but the strain of childbirth was too much for her. funny how a little cog in the scheme of things goes 'crunch' and everything spirals out of control.

    yes, magic, sir. things might have gone awry, but the spell worked, and as far as i can tell, i did it properly. there'll be no loopholes, no **** ups, no shambling soulless corpses like that poor sap corey. i should never have taught him that ritual in the first place.

    kosko... how ironic it is that i've come to say goodbye...

    you see, i've been to the moon and back. someone leaked top secret documents from the fifties with maps and pictures of an Incan settlement on the moon. i rushed to south america with erin. the amazon tribesmen knew we were coming. there had been a prophecy about a man returning to his home in the stars. they led me to a temple that was carefully guarded. from the outside it looked like a run of the mill cave, easily overlooked by any other scientist. it was beautiful everything was gold. the altar, the channels to carry the blood to the power points, everything."

    cuppb logged on and asked: "so you sacrificed your girlfriend to heathen gods for what end?"

    "she wasn't the intended victim."

    "then who was?" Ti-7, ShwockCityRocker, and Kalessin had joined the fray as well as a host of others. a threadjacking was in progress calling into question my shamanistic ability, and alleging that this was all just a very clever way of gathering attention. people i didn't even know were arguing for and against me, and it was scary to have so many people know who i was, and me clueless as to their existence.

    "our son. the plan was devised on the fly, and the shock that the man who had only recently asked to marry her was also a legendary shaman was a little much for her. she did agree of her own free will after i explained what was up there, and what would happen afterwards. the incas were excellent astronomers and record keepers, and not many know that their calendar counts down to something, and that something had been rapidly approaching. if i had known what i know now, i would have taken my sweet time. what the Incas had built was a teleporter, whose other end was near the crater Copernicus with its unique terraced rim."

    there had been general outrage at my willingness to sacrifice my own flesh and blood for such a thing. the pro shaman crowd had won the argument; i'd done enough 'favors' for friends. heal this one's cancer, retrieve the location of some object from a dead loved one, disturbingly accurate tarot readings, etc. parlor bullshit, but effective nonetheless.

    the thread had over a hundred replies in less than ten minutes. another flurry of questions: "what was up there?" and "what did you know that would make you take your time?" asked by sinkua, and MinorThreat.

    "the calendar was counting down to my arrival on the moon. prophecy had been about as big with the incas as human sacrifice was, damn them. so much of the temple had been ruined.. i would have taken my time if i had known erin was going to die. the death of both erin and our baby had been like adding jet fuel to an elderly go-kart. everything within a three mile radius had been teleported to Copernicus. perhaps it was the potency of the infant's blood, or the fact that it was mother and son, i'm still not sure. i've had to re-learn a lot of things.

    ...as for what was up there?

    a lonely god. Quetzalcoatl. i was its ticket off that miserable rock."

    "So How Did You Get Back, If The Teleporter Was Powered By Human Sacrifice?" asked Xiety.

    "i had been teleported along with a dozen rather startled natives, who knew of another, similar temple two days walk from where the one we went up in was formerly located. meanwhilst we set about exploring the ruins of Quetzalcoatl's lunar temple. i had itched something fearsome, all over. i heard gasps behind me and i came to realize that i had been growing scales on my skin, and my hair had become a mane of feathers. 'your people shall rise again,' i told them in their native tongue, which i had previously not been able to speak.

    the god was weak, and clinging desperately to my soul, a lone worshipper. with all the raw magical energy still left on the moon, i could have forced the god out of me, and it would have stayed confined to its prison, and Quetzalcoatl knew this. it offered a bargain first."

    (get me to earth and i'll make you a king. you'd be the most powerful man on the earth)
    [i already am, and you owe me]
    (it had to be that way)
    [i don't care. you have little to offer me, and your debt is already severe. i should leave you here]
    (no! the solitude is unbearable)
    [that's the funny thing about eternity, isn't it. even if mankind were to come here, this place would be levelled, and then there'd be nobody to remember you. you'd just sit here. alone]
    (what do you want, then?)
    [you. your knowledge. become a part of me, and we'll do things that your people couldn't imagine in their collective lifetimes]
    (conquor the world?) i could tell he was hungry for blood and sacrifice...
    [why stop at just one? there are millions of others out there as well]

    i had my audience rapt. compared to consuming a god's soul, it was a small thrill, but what was mortal in me remembered the sensation fondly. i continued with my speech:

    "what i want every one to do right now is this: go get a candle, come back to your computer, and let me know when you get back. do not light your candles."

    only a dozen or so people had returned out of nearly a hundred people who'd replied to the thread that returned with candles. i lit them one by one with a violet flame.

    "i can keep you safe. these candles will not burn out. bring them, and whatever belongings you can carry to terminal 77 in grand central station in new york city. i'll be there in two weeks to pick everyone up, so put your affairs in order.

    as for the rest of you, this is goodbye. truthfully enough, this place most likely won't be here for much longer. take care, and if you change your mind, all you have to do is pray to me, i'll hear you."

    i closed my account, and shut down the computer. i've got worlds to conquor.

    ***
    this ties in minutely with 'a small salvation. this is possibly a novel caliber idea.
    Last edited by self biased; December 1, 2004, 02:59.

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  • self biased
    replied
    a small salvation

    It was growing light outside again. Cory couldn't remember how many times it had done that. Three? Four? Or was it seven? It didn't matter much at this point. There wasn't going to be anyone coming for him now.

    He looked out the window, and dared the sun to come up. To spite all of his will, a golden orb began to creep up from underneath the horizon. The sky was gray, mostly, with the west a dingy blue-gray and the east a mottled orange-gray, but it was still all gray to Cory's sleep deprived eyes. He took a swig of a water bottle that was at his side. There were things floating in it.

    As the sun crept so painfully into the sky, it cast a meager light into the room. It first shone brightly into Cory’s blood-shot eyes, and worked its way down his thinning face. It had been about a week since he'd shaven, the stubble was fierce, and bits of food were stuck in it. His lips were cracked and bleeding at the corners, and his tongue crept out to moisten them. Continuing to fill the room, the light revealed Cory's hands, and almost shaven scalp. Through his neurosis he had picked a variety of sores on both, but the raking on his head had torn loose larger pieces of skin revealing bone in a few small spots.

    With ever more bravery the light swept into the room, glinting off of a patch of frost that had accumulated on the window. Cory sat in a corner, between a desk heaped with papers and a handful of open jars, mostly empty, but a few filled with fluids of questionable origin, and a blown out La-Z-Boy recliner whose manufactured color had long since been lost. Both the desk and the chair had been pushed several feet from the wall. He himself was dressed in a grubby white t-shirt, stained with blood smeared from his hands, and decrepit denim shorts, also shamefully stained. There was Cory, hugging his knees in the corner, and absent-mindedly trying to claw a hole to his brain.

    There were other items strewn about the floor. They were largely used up sharpie markers, but there was also a small pile of feces, a large kitchen knife stuff tip first a few feet from a circle that was etched into the floor, and various wadded up papers. The circle was seemingly perfect and plain. It had been cut into the wooden planks below the linoleum. In the very center was a tattered picture of a pretty girl with blonde hair and green eyes, smiling.

    The walls were covered in handwriting. It was neat and meticulous in most places, except the bottom left corner of the eastern wall. Cory stood, wobbling significantly, and rummaged around on the desk. Finding what he was looking for, he grabbed a few dozen crinkled sheets of paper and a jar filled with a brownish-red liquid. He looked down into the jar and tried to swirl it around. Cursing, he set the papers in the recliner, delicately, and prodded the congealed surface of the jar's contents with his left index finger. With a barely audible crunch, his finger penetrated the surface and stirred the crunchy stuff into the liquid. Cory withdrew his finger from the mixture with it coated to the second knuckle. Religiously, he swabbed his finger clean in his mouth, savoring the taste.

    "Mmmm... Still good," he spoke. The words were hoarse, and would have echoed, but the room seemed to soak up the sound.

    Taking a conservative sip from the jar, Cory snatched up the papers he left in the chair with something that was almost vigor, and proceeded to stagger across the creaking floor to the north wall. Setting the jar on the floor, he stood on an upturned wastepaper basket and drew himself up towards the ceiling. He placed his finger at what could only be the start of the sprawling work, and began to mumble. The words weren't nonsense. Incoherent babble didn't carry this kind of power. Cory's gaze went rhythmically from the paper to the wall, reading aloud the words he'd written.

    The day wore on, and Cory worked his way from the eastern corner of the north wall, westward. Occasionally he'd sip from the jar. He sighed as he started at the top right of the east wall. The sun had traveled to the other horizon already, and was illuminating the eastern wall. This was the part he hated, and at the same time loved. He looked into the jar with interest; there was more left than he thought there would be. Taking a healthy draught, some of the liquid spilled over his lips and into his beard.

    Invigorated, he began reciting the texts again, with a stronger voice. He glanced down and began to sweat. While still reciting the litany before him, Cory began to fear what might happen when he got to the bottom, where the words started to come alive. He hadn't managed to finish saying them yet; he'd always choke on the last few syllables. Then the sun would go down, and Cory would sit in the corner like the failure he knew he was.

    The sun began to descend to the horizon. Cory quickened his pace as his voice raised a few decibels; he was nearing the end of his recitation, and this time he wouldn't fail her. Giddy, he reached the last three lines of the work, where the writing seemed to writhe. These were words that didn't want to be said. But f*ck that. Cory was gonna say 'em.

    He was shouting now. The words squirmed under the pressure, and refused to be said. Spittle flecked off of Cory's chapped lips, as he began to stutter. The last syllable refused to be said. It hid from him, lurking behind the flaking paint of the walls. Cory drained the last of the jar's contents, dribbling the majority of it on himself. Choking, he spat and covered the wall before him with the rust-colored liquid, and then wiped his mouth with his forearm. Mouth agape, he saw the final word, silhouetted in the ichors he'd spewed. The sun's final rays glinted in Cory's eye as he drew in a breath and screamed the final word. The sun dropped below the horizon, and its last light fell. Cory went back to his corner and waited, hugging his knees and staring out the eastern window.

    The sky went form gray to black, with no avail. Cory hated the dark these days, but when he closed his eyes, there was only more dark for him to see. He shut his eyes tightly and wailed, slamming his fist into his temple repeatedly. He collapsed for a while, spent, and whimpered.

    “Shush,” came a soothing voice.

    Cory opened his weary eyes to a pale blue glow that filled the room. It had worked! She sat there naked, legs crossed, inside the glowing circle. He took in her beauty. She was hairless, which he was told to expect, but he recognized her eyes set up on her angelic cheekbones. Cory let his gaze slide down her body. It crept from the nape of her neck, down her perfect breasts, to the flawless skin of her belly, and to the heaven that was waiting between her legs. She shivered.

    “Come over here where I can see you, Cory,” He stood, and unsteadily made his way to the center of the room, careful not to break the circle. She stood to meet him, and reached out and almost caressed his cheek. “Oh, honey, why did you do this? Did you miss me?”

    He nodded. The circle grew brighter and cast its illumination throughout the room, as she examined the walls from her spot in the circle.

    “It looks like you’ve been busy.”

    Cory nodded again, and appeared to remember something. He went shaking to the desk and flung papers off of it. He came back with a sweater box tied with a white silk ribbon.

    “A gift… For me?”

    He nodded fervently, and fumbled to open it, nearly falling over in the process.

    “No, no… I’ll open it later. Cory?” He gave her an inquisitive look, and the circle began to dim and change to a light purple. “Cory, what did the man say not to do until I showed up?”

    “No go ‘leep?” Cory’s voice was still blown out from the incantation.

    “Yes, Cory, not to go to sleep. You f*cked up, Cory. This is all your fault. Look at me!” she shouted, exasperated, “F*cking look at me!” she brandished the knife that was previously stuck in the floor not far from the circle, which burned a deep magenta at this point. Helpless and panic-stricken, he watched her plunge the knife into her chest starting by the collarbone, and he winced at the sound of the bone cracking. But there was no blood. She continued to saw toward her navel. After setting the knife gently between her feet, she stood facing him and opened her chest to him. “Look, Cory! I’ve got no f*cking heart, Cory. I’ve got no f*cking soul, Cory,” She gestured to a spot in her chest cavity that was vacant.

    “There’s Rules, Cory. You know that. Just because you found a f*cking loophole in the system to bring me back, doesn’t mean you can ignore the Rules. Did you ever think? Huh? Did you think that I just might have been happy where I was, Cory?“ He cowered before her, whimpering. “Will you cut that f*cking noise out? God damn you. How could you be so selfish? How? First you do all this,” she gestured towards the walls, “and then you f*cking fall asleep afterwards? I can’t just go around without a soul, Cory. There’s no f*cking “Souls ‘R’ Us” around the corner!” Her voice came as a whisper: “Do you know where people without a soul go, Cory?”

    He shook his head, terrified.

    “Nowhere, Cory. They don’t go anywhere. I was somewhere wonderful until you had to come drag me the f*ck back to this sh*t hole. But I don’t intend on staying here, Cory.” She closed her ribs as best she could, and stooped down to pick up the knife. She smiled softly, and the circle faded to its original color. ”Come here, honey. There’s a way to work this out.”

    Tears were now flowing from his already dehydrated eyes as he stood. He didn’t really have the energy to even weep right now, but the salty water poured like a fountain down his ravaged face.

    “Come give me one last hug before I go.”

    Cory took a step towards her in his sleep-deprived haze. As he crossed the boundary of the circle, it flashed fiery reddish orange, and she lashed out with the knife. He never saw it coming. She spilled his intestines onto the floor and he slumped into her. Carefully, she slid her hand up the wound in his belly, and rummaged around in the cavity like she was looking for a lost set of keys. Finding what she was looking for, she plucked the bothersome fruit, and examined it. The heart was still beating. Opening her chest, she placed the heart inside her, and shuddered, closing herself back up.

    Holding her chest shut she walked over to the desk, and peered into the last jar of fluid.

    “For f*ck’s sake, this is mine!” she said to herself. “Thought you were being clever, eh?” she asked, looking over to the still twitching body. “Oh, well. No matter now,” She stirred the liquid up with her hand, smeared it over where she had cut herself, and drank the rest. Satisfied that she wouldn’t fall open, she let go of her sternum, and started to look for something to cover herself up with. She spotted the gift box, just to the right of the body. She opened it up and pulled out a delicate black lace teddy.

    “You stupid f*ck,” she spat bitterly, and kicked Cory’s shell. “Nothing like being practical. Hah. At least you can take comfort that I’ll always carry a part of you with me, Cory,” she said, and fled into the night.

    ***
    this story needs to be revised. i need to make the ending more of a surprise, and make the language less awkward in spots.

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  • self biased
    started a topic four random stories.

    four random stories.

    i don't know if these are apropriate for here, but i'll give it a go. i used to write for the spartan chronicles, and hell... maybe the right feedback could get the inspiration to inflate a few things to more grand proportions.

    here they are, apolyton. enjoy.
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