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Writers' Corner - December


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#1 RL666

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 04:23 AM

Hello my lovelies.

This months randomly(ish)-selected inspiration word is: Brains.

I won't make mine about zombies. Promise.

1. One thousand words or less
2. Submission by December 31st or earlier.
3. Votes in by 11.59PM on January 5th, or they're voided.
4. Constructive criticism only.

Go!
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#2 ChrisN

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 04:37 PM

Zombie stories go!
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#3 RL666

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 05:01 PM

Well, I wasn't lying when I said it was semi-randomly-chosen. I opened a random book (The Kraken Wakes, as it happens) and chose the first word I saw which wasn't either a) obviously crap or Bee) something like 'the' or 'and' or whatever. I figured there's quite a lot of meanings for it: it can refer to actual brains, it can refer to intelligence, it can be a nickname for a smart person, it can be a kind of stout, etc.

If people think it's rubbish, we can change it..?

EDIT: Cock piss smiley-code.

EDITEDIT: I've just been looking through some of the older Writers' Corner threads, and the last couple have been severely undersubscribed, haven't they? What's going on, people?
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#4 Rob Rule

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 12:03 AM

No, it's good; keep it.
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#5 bastion

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 10:10 AM

I've been working on ideas but it's a difficult word.
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#6 stan

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 10:50 AM

I've started on something but I don't know how to end it.
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#7 Paradigm

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 12:00 PM

Try a full stop.
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#8 bastion

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 12:25 PM

LOL
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#9 RL666

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 04:08 PM

Fookin' ave it.

London, shortly post-apocalypse.

Humanity’s end had proved to be viral - specifically it had come in the form of BB-4012-96, a viral strain genetically engineered for apocalyptic purposes by one Fergus Matheson, rogue biochemist. Matheson had been a genius, but sadly also a raving nutjob. He’d had a sense of humour though. Nobody without a sense of humour would’ve chosen to end the human race by means of a virus which, by selectively attacking tissues in the skull and brain-stem, caused the victim’s brain to literally fall out of their face.

The first person to die was one Tim Nutkin, Matheson’s co-worker at Myko Biolabs, Toronto. Nutkin had been eating at his dining table one Tuesday evening when, quite without warning, his face had opened up like a set of batwing doors, disgorging his brain. His brain had landed in his soup. The resulting scene had made three experienced police officers vomit uncontrollably.

That was several weeks ago. Now the streets of London are choked with cars, most of them empty. Descending to street-level, we see one which is still occupied - it is a red Corsa. The man inside it is quite dead. His head rests on the steering-wheel, his face a mass of gore, a slimy grey something lying in the footwell between his feet.

There are not many people left alive in London now. But two of the still-living are currently holed up in a University building. Their names are Tom Collins and Terry ‘Tez’ Judge. Their friend James Osbourne died around twenty minutes ago, along with any hope they still had.




‘So… I guess we have it too, then?’ said Terry. His face was ashen, and felt numb. He already knew the answer to his question.

‘Of course we’ve fucking got it’, replied Tom. He tried to sound irritable, but didn’t make a very good fist of it. After all, they were fucked - what was the point in being irritable now? ‘We’ve been with him the whole damn time and it’s crazy infectious. We are dead.’

‘I… I guess.’

Silence. The loudest silence came from the corpse sitting between them. The inside of its skull was wide open to the fresh air. Its brain had landed in its crotch.

‘D’you… think he died instantly? I mean, the brain’s still intact when it comes out, right? Do’you reckon he could still… think? And feel?’

‘Not for more than a few seconds, no.’

‘…Still. It must’ve been… dark. And painful.’

More silence for a time. Terry leaned forward. ‘Christ, it looks so… nude.’

‘What?’

‘His brain. So, y’know… so exposed and fragile. Just this little lump of tissue.’

‘Well, that’s underselling it somewhat. It may be small but it’s still the most complicated thing in the known universe. Amazing stuff happens in amongst dem little crinkles, y’know.’

More silence. Both men were trying not to look at the double-barrel shotgun which lay on the floor between them. It had been their protection during the last few lawless weeks. Now it looked like being their ticket to a less-absurd death.

‘D’you… d’you think our minds are just brains?”

What?’

‘I mean, d’you think… I mean, is it all just physics? I mean, all this amazing shit that we feel… love, rage, the feeling you get when you listen to Wagner, or have a crashing orgasm… can that all be just… electrical pulses travelling between synapses? I… I can’t believe that.’

‘Oh, that. No, I’m a physicalist. I don’t think there’s anything mysterious or supernatural about human consciousness, which is what I think you’re getting at. I don’t believe in souls, or mind-stuff, or anything like that.’

‘Oh.’

Silence.

‘Ah, fuck it,’ said Tom, ‘Are we going to do this or what?’

‘Do what?’

‘Kill ourselves. Come on, you’ve been thinking it too. You don’t have to , but I for one would rather blow my own brain out the back of my head, than have it fall fucking absurdly out the front of it as the result of some insane biochemist’s last, apocalyptic practical-joke.’

Terry released the longest, most dismal sigh that he ever had, or would. ‘I guess.’

‘Look. I know you don’t want to die. Neither do I. If it’s the annihilation of consciousness you’re worried about - and I think you are or you wouldn’t’ve asked me all that stuff just now - then, well, I guess. But it’s not hopeless even if there’s no God, or soul, or afterlife.’

‘No?’

‘No. All our personalities are is data. Information, coded into this little, grey, fantastically complex gobbet of tissue called a brain. And information can be reconstructed. It can live forever.’

‘Huh?’

‘Well, look. Maybe a billion years in the future, the next batch of intelligent creatures to evolve on this shitkicking little planet will develop computers so powerful that they can contain a mind. Or millions of them, or an infinity of them. Maybe this computer will calculate the exact specifications of every human mind which could ever possibly have existed, and instantiate each and every one of them in virtual space. One of them will be you, and one of them will be me. Happy ever after.’

‘You… you think?’

‘Well, y’know, don’t count on it. But it’s possible, in theory. So: you wanna go first?

‘Eh? Oh.’

Tom was holding the shotgun out by the barrel. Terry hesitated.

‘It’s okay,’ said Tom, ‘you can go second.’ He reversed the shotgun. ‘So long, dude. Or, maybe, subjectively I’ll see you again in just a second.’ He put both barrels in his mouth, and gave himself one of them. The shot was incredibly loud in the small room. Terry almost fell of his seat.

After a minute, Terry got up, and took the shotgun from Tom’s limp fingers. He cleaned the spit off the barrel, and sat back down. Then, a small amount of hope beginning to well up in the electrical pathways of his brain, he gave himself the remaining barrel.


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#10 Monkeyboy

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 11:03 PM

I'm writing a little story now but it may slip slightly over 1000 words, maybe by about 50 to a 100 words. Does that make the entry void or is there wriggle room?
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#11 Ravern

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 11:13 PM

I believe convention is to allow a little wriggle room.

EDIT: Basically, common sense. If it's 1200 words, then look to shorten it. But if it's 1020 don't go through it all changing "it is" to "it's".
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#12 Monkeyboy

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 11:57 PM

Well, here it is.

Brains.

"The brain is a wonderful thing," said Doctor Zakenbaffer as he readied his scalpel and licked his lips. "They taste fantastic with chips."

Dave groaned out loud, spittle forming at the corners of his mouth. He was drugged and bound tight onto an operating table, his senses dulled but alive to the fact that he could see the top of his bloodied skull gently rolling to a stop out of the corner of his eye. He was alarmed by the fact that he noticed a bald spot on the skull. He had no idea he was losing his hair!

"Ba..." he said. "Bal..."

"What's that?" said the professor, following the direction of Dave's eyes to the skull top.

"Bald..."

"Bald? Yes, you're going bald. But don't fret. That'll be the least of your worries. Soon, I'll be eating your brain with chips and a side salad and..." He rummaged in his pocket and brought out a plastic tub, shaking it in front of Dave's eyes. "...this! Delicious American Chip Spice. I bought it from Asda this morning. Lovely on chips but on brains? On brains, mmm-mmm-mmmmmm. Exquisite! Now, where was I? Ah yes! Just got to make a few extra cuts and I'll able to scoop the inside of that head spotless. You wouldn't know there had been a brain in there. Of course..." And he had a little laugh and winked. "...some would have said that before I take your brain out."

Dave began to pull at the straps as the doctor loomed over him. He couldn't think straight. The damn drugs had clouded his thoughts. They came quick and randomly and without meaning. But beneath this scrambled mess there was the instinct to survive, to break free and grab the doctor by the throat and squeeze every last drop of life from his bastard veins.

"There," said the doctor. "All done."

Dave stared agog. The doctor cradled his brain gently in both hands and plopped it into a small silver dish, taking great care to slip his fingers out from underneath it. But how was this possible? How could he even be alive and witnessing this?

The doctor turned back and said, "Now, you're not a man of science so I don't expect you to understand this. But once the brain is removed there is a short period where the subject is still alive. It only lasts a few minutes. So I'm going to go into the next room and make myself a cup of tea with a chocolate hob-nob and by the time I get back you will be dead. Ta-ta!"

Dave watched him leave. Minutes. He had literally minutes to live. He had to think fast. The first thing he thought was, "How am I thinking?" His brain wasn't connected to the inside of his head in any way. If this was the case, maybe his brain possessed powers he had been previously unaware of. But the doctor was a man of science and a sick bastard to boot. He had obviously performed this operation many times and knew that the thought processes continued until death despite the absence of a brain.

Or did he?

Maybe his final words before departing for a cup of tea was his last sick little joke. An arrogant riposte to the the dying victim on the operating table. Maybe he didn't expect Dave to comprehend a single word he had said.

But the truth was, he had! And now the fog seemed to lift from his mind and his body tingled with an adrenaline rush. As this happened, the scalpel that had helped cut his brain free, rattled on the table to his right. Amazed, he concentrated harder and the scalpel lifted into the air and hovered for a few seconds before dropping again. He gasped and smiled and laughed out loud.

The door from the next room flew open and the doctor was there, cup of tea in hand. He had a look of horror on his face.

"Good God!" he cried. "This is impossible! Impossible!!"

Dave furrowed his brow as hard as he could, throwing every thought of anger, hate and disgust for the doctor into a tightly knit ball and focusing it on the doctor's hand. The doctor yelled as his fingers tightened involuntarily around his cup of tea. The muscles in his forearm spasmed, flicking the cup upwards and drenching his face in hot liquid.

Screaming and blinded, his flesh burning, he staggered forward, collapsing onto the table near Dave, his hand brushing the metal dish with Dave's brain in it. The dish skidded across the table's surface and balanced precariously, almost tipping onto the floor.

"I'll kill you!" raged the doctor as his hand found the scalpel and raised it blindly into the air, the tip of the blade still wet with Dave's blood and sparkling with fresh intent.

He meant to drive that scalpel into Dave's brain and finish this once and for all!

In that split second, filled with panic, Dave ran through a thousand ways to stop the doctor. In the metal dish, his pink, vulnerable brain sparked and crackled and swelled visibly, alive with possibilities and in that moment he saw the beginning of the universe erupting in the room around him and then dying with a whimper, shriveling away to nothing.

The lightbulb above the doctor's head exploded, showering his head and shoulders with paper thin glass. Dave was no longer fearful. His powers no longer required effort. They came to him like a breeze whispering across the surface of a lake. He yanked the light from from it's housing on the ceiling, drawing a long length of wire free which snaked around the doctor's wrist and squeezed hard, pulling his arm back and throwing the scalpel harmlessly against a wall. More wire spilled from above and Dave wrapped it around the doctor's neck like a noose, coiling it round and round and round until it gripped his throat. The doctor choked and gasped as he felt himself being lifted off his feet, the tips of his shoes scuffing uselessly against the floor.

As he drew his last breath, he uttered one final word of "Impossible..."

***

Dave went on to live a happy life. His brain was reconnected, he married, had kids and when supporting his local football team, casually moved the football into more suitable scoring positions with the power of his mind, all from the comfort of his favourite seat.

He never did get a taste for American Chip Spice.


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#13 stan

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 07:42 AM

Doctor Zakenbaffer.

Winner.
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#14 stan

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 09:10 AM

Brains

"They're called Brains." He says.
I think about this for a moment, then reply.
"Brains? Plural? Would one of these people be called a 'Brain'?"
The man uncrosses his legs and sharpens the end of his cigarette against the rim of the ash tray. I watch him frown behind his spectacles.
"No. Hmmm. I guess you'd refer to just one of these people as 'Brains' too. But they're never referred to individually, just collectively.
"OK, they're called 'Brains'." I casually sum up while scribbling it down on my note pad. "And what do these Brains do?" I glance at him as I spin the pen around my fingers. He studies my hand hypnotically and I wonder if I'm impressing him. My note pad beeps, reminding me its battery is nearly dead. I'm going to have to use my memory soon. Never good. The beep snaps the man out of his temporary day dream. He reaches into the fruit bowel and holds up an orange.
"You see this orange?"
"Yes Sir." I affirm.
"Think about this orange. Think about its texture. Its colour. It's faint smell. Think about gravity holding it down in my hand. Think about the inside, the moisture, the taste. Are you doing that?"
I nod and do what he says. I let my mind be consumed by the details of an orange.
"Now, think about this apple. Try even harder this time. Think about where it came from. How it grew from a seed. Picked from a tree. Sprayed with chemicals. Packed up in a factory. Delivered by truck to this cafe. Unpacked and put on display in this bowl. Think about that and also its texture, colour, taste. Think about the seeds that are inside it and the potential they have for new growth."
"Right." I try but my mind struggles with this task.
"Good. Now think about the orange and the apple and everything I just described at once." As the man says this he holds up both orange and apple next to each other. My eyes start twitching from side to side as my brain refuses to even attempt to think about all that information at once.
"That's a bit tricky." I admit.
"That's right, it is. In simple terms that's what the Brains can do."
"Think of two things at once?"
"Yes, well no. Well, it's much more fantastic than that."
To save battery I doodle a picture of an orange and apple inside an unhappy face.
"Go on." I coax him while tapping the pen against the battery icon with a childish hope of somehow giving it some charge.
"Well, thinking of two things at once is their first step. This grows to three, four, five... ten, one hundred, one thousand things. They become aware of everything they see. This 'awareness' turns into an absolute awareness. They are aware of an objects state even if they are many miles away from it."
The man takes a long pull on his cigarette then stubs it out while exhaling very slowly.
I try to get my head around this strange concept, "So, these 'Brains' are aware of this Orange?"
"Some, yes." He takes out another cigarette from the packet but doesn't light it, "Most Brains are only aware of objects they've come into contact with. Because technically, in your head, nothing exists outside of the world you've come into contact with." He pauses for a moment, "There are a small number of Brains who's awareness grows like a network of roots as the objects they are aware of come into contact with other objects."
My head's beginning to hurt. My note pad beeps one final time and the battery goes dead.
"So what's the point of these Brains then? What do they do?"
"It's what they are doing right now that's most important."
"And what's that?" I desperately turn on my note pad to get a few more seconds out the battery. It doesn't work.
"They've begun a war."


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#15 Harvest Sun O_O

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 04:23 PM

Crap, I missed this. Again!

You've only got three entries in this thread. I could probably think of something and rattle it out before the end of the day, it's only 1'000 words after all...

Would a day late submission be out of the question?
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#16 bastion

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 05:07 PM

I personally wouldn't care about a day. I might join you in that.
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#17 Harvest Sun O_O

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 05:15 PM

Let's do it tonight Adam, instead of wasting our time on other things. Let's see how shit we can make a short story we've only got an evening to work on.

You in?
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#18 bastion

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 05:29 PM

Yep.
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#19 Harvest Sun O_O

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 09:15 PM

Ah, fuck it. I haven't slept in 24 hours, and I'm too tetchy to edit. It's too long. And it's a day late. I put it here in the vain hope you'll get some enjoyment out of it.


Brains


It is late autumn and the night is still. Deadened leaves scratch across the surface of the roadside, a lethargic wind sweeps through the trees like a passing train. A horsedrawn cart travels ponderously down a muddied road, oppressed on all sides by the framed silhouette of the forest. A lone lantern swings precariously from its side whilst casting frenzied shadows through the trees. A drunken tune issues from the driver. His name is Mr Grundy; not much more is remembered of him. Tonight is the night of Mr Grundy's murder. Around the bend a hooded figure stands silently in the road.


Looking back on his day, John Grundy felt good about life. His annual journey to Maintown had been the most profitable yet and his cart swayed heavily with more luxuries than he could ever have imagined returning with. He pictured his wife sitting at home by the fire, worrying at a ball of wool with her slender fingers, awaiting his return on the following morning. He thought to himself what her face might look like when she saw the treasures he had brought back for her and he smiled quietly to himself in reply of it. He wondered whether she would be smiling now, knowing that he were only a day away from being gone so long. His horse snorted in the cold air. The lantern squeaked methodically by his side. He belched, the strong smell of ale and salted meat hanging in the air before settling into the wind. In this contended state he mused wrily for a moment on how his wife might react to the news that he had been drinking. Not well, he knew. But he deserved to celebrate - the trip had been hugely proitable.

The cart turned the bend and came to an almost immediate stop. In the middle of the road lay a small campfire. This puzzled Mr Grundy; it was certainly an odd place to place such a thing. Suspiciously, he cast his heavy eyes around for any actvity, reaching behind him to unhook the lantern. A small animal rustled in the shadowed thickets. A unpleasant sensation crawled over his back and into the back of his mind - the feeling of being watched. The clouds of alcohol drew away in place of creeping fear. The forests were still. He froze for a minute, but no further sounds came from his surroundings save that of the crackling fire up ahead. He knew he'd have to kick the fire out of the road so his horse could pass. His skin prickled against his sleeve. Tensely he stepped down into the mud. The crawling sensation intensified until it covered his skin, but he was a stern man and was not one to be ruled by fear. Slowly, warily, he advanced toward the fire.

The further he advanced the less sure he was that there wasn't someone in the road. Closer now, he stopped as dead as the breath in his throat as the sight of a standing figure emerged from the darkness. He could now see there was somebody by the fire; draped in a black hooded cloak, half shrouded by the illuminated smoke of the fire. His instinct told him it was a man, nothing more. He could see no face, for even though the glow from the fire was bright, a thick shadow hung like a veil inside the hood. It was impossible to see which way the stranger was looking, unnerving him greatly. He rose the lantern up to his own cheek and spoke as confidently as he could muster.
"Friend, I... I need to get past, could you put the fire out?" No reply came, not even the slightest gesture of movement. Mr Grundy blinked in the cold.
"Sir, I need to get through, your fire is blocking the way. Might I pass?"

A shuffle of movement - the stranger sighed. A hollow, lifeless, ghostlike sigh. It is the only way for it to be described for it bears no relative nor witness in the world of words. John Grundy shivered, the sound intolerable, alien to his ears. For some reason it conjured in his mind the thought of breaking bones, cracking teeth, torn nails. He shuddered a further time. A laboured voice wheezed from the depths of the hood.

"Hallo, stranger. you meet me as an misfortuned old man. The means of my existance pain me. Each morning I awake to walk the valley of the shadow of death only to reach it's beginning again. Each night I satisfy my hopeless addiction with the undoing of my soul. Each slumber I dream of a life that consumed me, only to find myself in ways and devices of consuming life. Can you know what I am?

The lantern shook in Mr Grundy's hand, the last of what little warmth in his body remained on that cold night stole away by the devilish atmosphere. His throat was parched, his eyes stung; he couldn't speak. He gasped for moisture from the chill breeze.
"Are you a highwayman?" The fear pulled at his heart like claws at hair. "If so, take it all, take it all, sir, I beg of you! My heart tells me I am no match..." The hooded man chuckled. Mirth had no such sound to it.
"I will not lie to the man who adrressed me so honestly himself. You are right; I shall rob you tonight of your treasures. But the treasures I value are not in the dead meats and fine textiles you carry in your cart."
Without another word he pulled the hood back from his face. It was the face of a young man, stern, sharp-featured, cold. Even in the glow of the flames his skin seemed to hold no warmth, like sunlight through ice. Mr Grundy eyed the man in disbelief. The stranger's blue eyes regarded Mr Grundy with a languid arrogance. Another soulless laugh, as bitter as the mounting wind.

Do not be deceived; I do not lie. I am an old man in a young man's skin. I have gained much knowledge in the world through my designs and have learnt many things. Alll moving things are a being with a limitation, and Time is no exception. We are all imperfect and we all have the cracks to be exploited. It is the structure of the world, the stars and everything they lie in. Enough talk. I have need of your mind."
"My...mind? Do you mean my thoughts? Is it councel you seek?"
"No friend, no. I am in need... of your mind, your brain...literally. There is no way to consume your knowledge other than to consume it in the physical state. It is funny how much of language hides the answers, if only we look at it a little deeper. It is the expression of the mind, after all. But enough.You do not need to know this, for I know it already. You are a means to an end. I am beyond understanding the fear you must feel. It is temporary. This fact may ease your mind."

Before Mr Grundy could quite gather himself from the words the man spoke the stranger's cloak billowed in the wind, cast off in one swift action. The next his attacker was upon him, so fast, tearing at his face and arms with burning fingernails. Mr Grundy closed his eyes in wild panic as he flailed within in the man's tightening limbs that seemed possessed by some otherwordly strength. His face was warm with blood, his murderer hissing through the billowing red clouds that filled his vision. In the same instant he could see no more, dull, deep pains bellowing in his eyesockets - blinded. A moment of stark realisation at his plight struck him, the revelation overthrowing him as his struggle ceased, his strength ebbing away to some unknown place. Movement became an unnatural act, as far away and distant as his dear wife. He wondered how she was, what she was doing right now, whether she wanted to hold him as much as he wanted to hold her. He was glad to be cradled in the arms that supported him, tore at him, broke him. Freed him. As the stranger's hands gouged at his hair, his skin, his skull John Grundy felt only the caress of the wind. The pain had left his body with his eyesight. He was aware of the distant knowledge of his head breaking repeatedly against a faraway object, a surface peeling away into the freshest of airs, and finally the briefest of electrical pains ending him forever.


Total time taken: 3.5 hours.
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#20 bastion

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 01:16 AM

His long hair thrashes behind him like an equine mane as he runs through the streets, the bomb blast still ringing in his ears. Raindrops slowly, patiently freeze his naked skin, leg joints creaking in the cool air. A grimace fixed to his face, he moves his body like a spinning-top, gyrating and weaving as he’d rehearsed it with the lads in CGI. A man behind a green curtain shouts out the cue, and Brian throws himself to the ground, as though he’s been shot by soon-to-be rendered digital assailants.

‘Cut!’ the director screams; ‘that’s great Brian, but we need a little bit more lunacy in your movements. I’m just not seeing the psychopath in you yet. Okay: let’s have lunch. One hour.’

Brian picks himself up off the floor and heads to his trailer. From the corner of his eyes, he sees the director follow him, but doesn’t look back.

He is picking through a plate of sandwiches when the director swings open the trailer door and steps inside.

‘Hey,’ the director mutters, placing a bottle of half-empty Sancerre down on the table next to Brian.

‘Hi Michael,’ Brian says, as he takes two jam sandwiches but leaves the cheese ones behind.

‘Brian, we’ve been friends since we were kids, so I know you’ll appreciate that I’m just trying to get the absolute best out of you.’

‘Of course.’ Brian lies

‘I just don’t feel like you’re getting this character.’

Michael sits himself down on a stool next to a spotless oven.

‘When you sit behind someone, maybe on the bus or in an audience of some kind, do you ever look at the back of their head, and imagine stabbing them to death? In the head, particularly. With a biro. Or maybe a fountain pen.’

He yawns cheerily; and briefly looks up to Brian, unaware of how uncomfortable he makes him; accepts his blushes as signifiers of sanity, borne of a mind not predisposed to murder.

‘Of course you don’t, you boring sod,’ he sups from the bottle, ‘but I know you’ll make this a great movie.’

Brian’s teeth grind, and will do so throughout the rest of the day. By the evening a progressively drunker Michael will say he considers Brian vastly improved.

They meet up later that evening in Michael’s home: a gaudy, eighties-style apartment, meticulously designed to replicate Henry Hill’s fictional home in Goodfellas. Brian’s wife Susie is there when he arrives, empty bottles of wine around her, already slurring her words. She seems unembarrassed at how closely she sits next to Michael, Brian notices. They’re definitely fucking each other, he thinks. He looks over at her cold, impassionate skin; her big, innocent eyes – momentarily leaves the room to a fantasy world of sexual semiotics – her soft, delicate moans; growing louder, drowning out the sounds of talking. He hasn’t had an erection for weeks now, knowing – well, assuming – about how her womb has been soiled by another man’s seed. Louder she moans: screaming, now. In the eyes of the law, or indeed those subservient enough to not question it, the crime of infidelity might not be enough to warrant vengeful murder, right here and now. But the days and nights working on the film while the director is away, while her extravagant wardrobe is paid for, certainly warrants it. She comes.

‘Brian… Brian…’

Susie has work in the morning so she goes to call a taxi and is gone.

They wave her off and move on to the lavish home cinema at the other end of his house. There, they start watching the first film they made together, an amateurish story about a ghost that lives in a guitar. While the films plays, Michael leads the conversation with tales of past holidays, taken with his wealthy family as a child; Brian listens enviously, recalling his considerably poorer situation at the same time, in both wealth and experiences.

Soon he is asleep, probably, Brian assumes, tired after fucking his wife while he was away, and he plucks the glass of Sancerre from his hand, before it spills.

The cat, sat beside him, stirs from his sleep and mews cheerfully, vacating the leather seat with a jump.

As the man snores, Brian moves from his seat, down onto the floor, and kneels in front of him.

He looks at Michael’s sleeping face and admires the contours of his skull. He takes a biro out of his jacket pocket, and plays with it in his hands for a few moments. It has a logo of an animal charity printed on its side; one of those cheap ones you get with begging letters in the post. Without much thought, he slams the pen into Michael’s temple, breaking through skin and brain matter with ease. Michael seems to wake, makes desperate, terrified little moans, but after the second or third stabbing, ceases to move. Blood bubbles over Brian’s cold hands, dripping onto the soft white carpet below. He allows himself a small laugh.

‘The doctor called. Something about a tumour in your brain? Why didn’t you say something, Brian?’

Home, now, and the kitchen light seems brighter than usual: pulsing, splaying its own binary rage over the work top. He recognises the voice as Susie’s, and makes her shape out in front of him; light somehow passing through her, tearing her face into demented configurations.

‘How did I get here?’ Brian slurs.

He looks at the blood covering his sleeves. Has she noticed? She looks worried. Worried? Angry.

She lets out a flurry of orgasmic screams.

‘BRIAN, BRIAN, BRIAN. I’M YOUR LITTLE WHORE. SIT STILL WHILE I FUCK YOUR HEAD, FUCK YOUR HEAD.’

He leaps on to her, and drags her to the floor; feels little resistance from her scrabbling, incandescent little hands. He doesn’t know how long it takes, but as Brian pulls his thumbs out of her eye sockets he sees that she’s stopped moving. But still the screams continue.


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#21

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 10:13 AM

I was really hoping that at the end of RL666's story it would turn out that the virus caused the victim's mind to upload somewhere in the manner the two characters discuss. But it was good anyway.

However my vote is for Fox McCloud!
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#22 bastion

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 02:13 PM

I vote for Harvest. Sure, his piece has some flaws and bits that could be trimmed, but for assuming a difficult style to get right, and producing a truly chilling entry, he is win for me.

I loved Stan's melodramatic ending, though. That was a great story. Everyone's been good this month.
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#23 Harvest Sun O_O

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 04:10 PM

Let's have sex later.

You'll be sorry to hear I'm not usually one to return the favour bastion, but in this instance, I am.

I found yours the most enjoyable to read - it has an optimistic lightheartedness that made it enjoyable, and more importantly, easy to read. It take courage not to try and shove a million messages into stories of a thousand words - they rarely have the capacity to hold them, in my experience. You can tell it doesn't take itself too seriously, and it's pretty infectious.

All were very good (said a lot, but it's true). Two in particular look quite a bit like an elaborated screenplay, and if that's what's being aimed for, it's a snappy style. Not quite to my taste, but it's effectiveness can't be denied.

As for mine, I'm not sure it should be allowed to be voted for - it's far too long. I'll leave it in the hands of the thread starter however.
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#24 Monkeyboy

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 06:53 PM

Well, whether it's too long or not, your story gets my vote, Harvest. I thought the first paragraph was a bit stop-start in feel but considering you wrote it in three and a half hours with little or no editing, it's a great piece. Some effective imagery in there. I thought Grundy's death was nicely handled at the end.

Stan's was good, particularly the last line. Really gave the impression of a bigger story and I wanted to know what could happen next.

As for Bastion's, I found it creeped me out too much. -_-
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#25 Ravern

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 07:04 PM

I vote for Bastion. He always gets me with little things like this:

SIT STILL WHILE I FUCK YOUR HEAD, FUCK YOUR HEAD.


Harvest's was good and well written but I wasn't too keen on the style. And was a little confused about how a wind can be both lethargic and like a train!
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#26 Harvest Sun O_O

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 07:06 PM

Thanks Fox. Unexpected feedback for a piece I am beginning to loathe. I really should have edited it, but alas, fatigue overcame me. It has been hard avoiding that post-edit button, I can tell you!
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#27 Ravern

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 07:08 PM

Yes, edit, good. I should have been more lenient considering. But yes. LETHARGIC?!
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#28 Harvest Sun O_O

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 07:38 PM

Yes, edit, good. I should have been more lenient considering. But yes. LETHARGIC?!


Yes. -_- I remember vaguely trying to say something along the lines of the sound the wind makes resembling that of a roaring train. The word 'sound' seemed so flat in that instance, so I deleted it and clearly didn't go back to it. The motion of the wind itself was lethargic. I tried to give it an 'epic' presence, something so large and expansive that even in its most lethargic of movements it still roars amongst the pines. I failed, abysmally.

Like I said, that edit button has been flirting with me. But she's a whore.

And not at all, we're all judged under the same light. Ultimately I didn't edit and submitted it as it as you see it now. It should of course be judged for what it is.
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#29 RL666

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 11:44 PM

Fox's was delightful - funny and with a mostly clear, confident style. It gets my vote.

Stan's seemed a little underdeveloped, but still had some nice parts and a surprising ending.

Harvest's has a good concept and, as has been said, some lovely imagery. Slightly clumsy in places thanks largely, I imagine, to sleep deprivation and lack of edits.

Bastion's is typically twisted and gnarly. The ending surprised me, and I adored the bit about looking at the backs of people's heads on the bus and imagining stabbing them in the head. Second place.
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#30 alan_cummings

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 11:52 PM

Does anyone know any online writing group things like this which get a bigger audience/ more entries?
I know there are lots of "proper" online critique groups, but I just mean somewhere where they have fun little monthly challenges like these ones?
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