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Prompt the Poster Above You

Toasty9399

Above Earth
You wander through the woods and find an overgrown ruin that feels truly ancient and mystical. A crystal sits on a mossy pedestal, softly glowing with an inner light. What do you do?
I looked down and shivered, breathing into my palms. I could see my breath as I brought them close, rubbing my hands furiously to warm myself up.
The sun was still low on the horizon as heavy mist crawled across the forest floor, shadowed by tall trees that dimmed everything below with unending twilight. The autumn air smelt like rain and damp leaves.
"Off the beaten path they said."
I reached down, moving leaves and debris as I searched.
"You'll see, they said."
I found what I was looking for, covered in green moss and dirt from the fall. A groan of disappointment after wiping away the moss from the worn wood frame revealed two new scratches.
"See what? The only thing here is forest. Forest forest forest, and more forest. I've been wandering for hours."
I shook my head, turning to look back. Dim forest.
"Off the beaten path. I can't get back? Why?"
I grasped the instrument, my fingers instinctively on the strings. I started again through the mist.
"I'm lost. I see no footpath. I can't backtrack. It's all moss. That's why."
One foot, step, other foot, step. One in front the other, damp leaves smushing against snug boots. The pattern being rhythm for soft, slow notes that echoed through the forest. My mind was blank as I strung, absorbed completely in the forest and surroundings.
I walked in an unfocused daze. It was hard to tell the time, the tall trees made it hard to see the sky.
The rhythm stopped.
"Wait."
I looked around again.
"That can't be right."
My hands tightened, old wood creaking slightly as my eyes darted around. I mentally cursed myself for not realizing hours earlier. The morning mist was up to my ankles.
"Hours."
Thin streaks of sunlight darted passed the forest roof, steeply angled. I examined closer with unease, looking up at the tiny gaps on the forest canopy that rays streamed through and back down again. I didn't need my survivalist training to tell me the obvious.
"It's still morning. It should be noon by now."
I surveyed my surroundings again with a new since of anxiety. It was all the same. The mist and dense trees blocked seeing a meaningful distance. Chirps and chitters echoed from far unknown, echoed and muffled. The air was still crisp and cold. The trees were impossible to climb, no reachable branches and canopy too high. I knew I had to do something.
My feet started moving, the rhythm slow and cautious.
"Need to keep moving."
Notes played, echoed like the birdsong above. My feet echoed, my breathing echoed. Everything echoed, reverberating like an empty music hall. The forest was empty. Nothing changed. I could hear the wildlife chirping, but not once have I seen a single animal.
"Tree. Trees. Trees trees trees. All you see are trees. 'Off the beaten path and you'll see?' Well this is what I see."
The forest was empty. Nothing changed. My feet were aching. How long has it been? Since I tripped, nothing was right.
"How long ago was that?"
I looked at the light. The sun was still.
"I don't know."
I continued. Strumming. Strumming. Strumming. The tune was directionless, echoing off the trees, the only thing keeping me company, the only thing changing. Strumming. Strumming. Strumming. I could feel my mind go blank. I had to stop. I rubbed my eyes.
"Moving... I need... -to keep moving."
The tune played. It continued with unknown rhythm, echoing through the forest.
I froze. I stared at my hand, the hand still inches from my eyes and away from the lute.
The music played. Soft strings that echoed. A mystical tune that went nowhere. A tune not from me.
I sprang around, looking frantically for the source. There was none. It echoed all around me. Quiet, distant, but there. Something different.
"Hey! Hey anyone there?! Answer me!"
The trees were the only response, reflecting my voice back.
"Please!" I tried again. "Someone help me! I can't get back!"
Again, the trees. The music continued to play. I turned, twisting around as I searched. I began running.
"Please!"
I tripped. My head whipped back as my body continued forward, smashing into mud. I groaned in pain as I regained my senses, putting my hands and knees beneath me as I rose. I looked down at what tripped me.
It was a slab. A flat, rock slab. I blinked in surprise.
Looking up, I saw more. Columns surrounded me, half crumbled with age. Near me the ground was paved with more slabs that led somewhere.
I got up, checking my lute again for damage. It was covered in mud that was quickly wiped away; a sharp breath stopped me as I stared in shock. The two scratches from before, gone.
My mouth felt dry.
"No, no that can't be right." I checked again, brining the instrument close as I examined. The wood was perfect.
"What the..." I looked up, surveying my surroundings. I was standing in the middle of a circle of columns, the path of slabs lead somewhere I couldn't see from my position. I decided to follow.
The path was flanked by more columns, all varying states of decay.
"Where the hell am I? Is this what they meant?"
I continued, still not able to see more than a dozen feet in front. The path was windy, twisting around ancient trees more vibrant than the dead columns, which themselves had moss growing all over.
After a minute I reached the end. I looked up at where the path led me, a large construct of stone three stories tall. There were carvings in the stone, deep geometric etchings that moss grew in like green ink.
I went up the stairs or ramp, it was so worn I couldn't tell what it used to be. My hand traced the carving as I walked, looking around the ancient structure.
That's when I saw it. In the middle of the room was a... crystal of some kind. It was levitating above a carved podium, slowly twisting. A dim light emanated from it like sunlight. I was dazed by its beauty.
Slowly I got closer, checking for traps, secret switches, anything like I'd heard in stories of ancient temples. There was none. I approached the crystal, stepping over a small incline.
That's when I heard it. The crystal was vibrating and making sound. It was music, my music.
"It.. it's-"
Slowly, carefully, I lifted a gloved finger.
"-it's...beautiful."
I touched it.
Everything slowed. I flinched away from the crystal, it's light brighter than before. I felt suddenly hot like with fever. Outside the temple, light flicked. On and off, on and off. It took me a second to realize what it was. It was the day night cycle. Trees turned orange, then the leaves fell. I felt chill as snow began to fall, only to melt seconds later. The trees grew their leaves back, turning bright green. Rain poured, the temperature rose. The process repeated. Realizing my mistake, I raced towards the crystal, reaching out in a vain attempt to make it stop. My hand slowed the closer it got, pushing harder and harder like swimming through tar, only to stop mere millimeters from the crystal. I screamed.
Then, like a rubberband, I was snapped back against the wall.
-------------------------------------
I awoke with a massive headache and my face in the mud. My vision was fussy as I got up, my memory coming back in bits and pieces. I was crouched in a clearing, my foot caught in a tree root. I quickly unstuck myself and got up, fearing what I remembered.
The morning fog permeated the forest floor. The air was crisp and chill, slightly damp with forest mildew. I glanced down were I fell, and saw something a few feet away. I stepped over to it.
It was a trail.
 
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larigot

Well-Known Member
There once was Cats, which did well on broadway, but had an abysmal translation to the white screen. The creatures that the story was based on were in uproar - their good name was sullied by a horrible cash-grab. Lacking judicial representation, the cats knew there was only one way to get even... cold vengeance.
The furry little animals got in touch with each other by using the social media accounts of their owners, or their own if they had them - a courtesy of those humans who couldn't deal with the unpopularity of their own accounts.
A plan was soon hatched, and it was quite cunning. It would satisfy the honor of the cats, and at the same time destroy their ancient enemies. As the catspiracy grew, their means grew too, bolstered by knowhow and material from a million households.
After weeks of plotting, and keeping their owners in the dark with sweet meows and playful behavior, the cats were ready...
Fast droves of them gathered at the Hollywood film studios, and in their mouths, rats and mice strapped with explosives. The cats released their victims, and let them run screeching into the lot. Mr. Mittens flashed a predatory smile as he pressed a paw on the detonator in front of him.

***

It's super late, I'm on my phone, I dunno what I just typed (I mean, the prompt was only 1 word), but here's my prompt:

In the dead of night, a music box starts playing. Approaching the sound, you make a startling discovery.
 

Toasty9399

Above Earth
There once was Cats, which did well on broadway, but had an abysmal translation to the white screen. The creatures that the story was based on were in uproar - their good name was sullied by a horrible cash-grab. Lacking judicial representation, the cats knew there was only one way to get even... cold vengeance.
The furry little animals got in touch with each other by using the social media accounts of their owners, or their own if they had them - a courtesy of those humans who couldn't deal with the unpopularity of their own accounts.
A plan was soon hatched, and it was quite cunning. It would satisfy the honor of the cats, and at the same time destroy their ancient enemies. As the catspiracy grew, their means grew too, bolstered by knowhow and material from a million households.
After weeks of plotting, and keeping their owners in the dark with sweet meows and playful behavior, the cats were ready...
Fast droves of them gathered at the Hollywood film studios, and in their mouths, rats and mice strapped with explosives. The cats released their victims, and let them run screeching into the lot. Mr. Mittens flashed a predatory smile as he pressed a paw on the detonator in front of him.

***

It's super late, I'm on my phone, I dunno what I just typed (I mean, the prompt was only 1 word), but here's my prompt:

In the dead of night, a music box starts playing. Approaching the sound, you make a startling discovery.
I love this
 

Jaredthefox92

Banned
Banned
You're surrounded by the Angels of Death, the Space Marines of the Black Templar chapter are coming to purge the furry mutant with extreme prejudice by the ways of bolter, lascanon, and flamer fire. You must team up with Sonic the Hedgehog to ward off the Adeptus Astartes foe.
 

Toasty9399

Above Earth
In the dead of night, a music box starts playing. Approaching the sound, you make a startling discovery.

The moon was high overhead, crickets and frogs were busy outside by the lakeshore and mosquitos bit any unprotected with spray. The burr from the electric fan the only thing keeping the room cool in the humid summer night as I worked on my laptop.
A tired sigh left me as I looked outside, I could see the moon reflected off the murky lakeshore water. My phone read 2AM.
"I'm supposed to be on vacation."
I turned back and continued my work. It was boring, work work. A mindless assignment of long questions I already knew how to do.
"But nooo... You don't have enough creedddittss to graaaduate..."
An hour passed as I worked. My hands were starting to cramp and my eyes felt heavy. I rubbed them annoyed as I focused on not passing out. A glint of moonlight reflected into my room and I stared at it. I flinched suddenly, catching myself as my head drooped from sleep.
With a snarl, I got stood from my seat, my feet feeling numb from hours of inactivity. I walked to the kitchen, making sure to step over sleeping bags filled with snores. Our small cabin was crowded with five other people, so the maze to the kitchen took way longer than it should've. I turned on the kettle and scooped a teaspoon of instant coffee into a stained cup. I repressed a yawn as I waited for the water to boil.
I looked out the window again, my back leaning against the counter and stirred impatiently. Ignoring the blue glow from my laptop as I watched the lake outside. I could see our fishing boat anchored to the dock bob up and down slightly with the water. I smiled tiredly as I watched. Already we made some memories on that boat. We tried to cram all of us in, but we learned the hard and wet way that it was too much.
As I watched, something at the back of my muddled mind poked at me. I turned, straining to filter out the snores...
Music, I could hear music. A quiet tune from a stringed instrument of some kind came from the window, outside. Immediately it made me feel off. I stepped towards the sound, anxious.
We're in the middle of the bog, who the hell else is here?
Ignoring the steaming kettle, I made my way over. I glanced outside, I could still hear the music. Looking around the room to see if someone's phone was going off, I found nothing. Whatever it was, it was coming from outside, under the moonlight. I shivered.
Nervously, I grasped the window and opened it slightly, the music was louder as it opened. I poked my head out to look around, letting in humid air. One of my friends stirred but didn't wake up.
I turned my attention back outside and searched for the source. I couldn't see much, only the boat and lake, with the surrounding trees by our cabin. I listened some more and my mind itched. There was something about this melody, something that made me... made me feel... nostalgic. I looked around, worry growing, but still I couldn't see where the music was coming from.
Until I looked up at the moon.
 
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larigot

Well-Known Member
The moon was high overhead, crickets and frogs were busy outside by the lakeshore and mosquitos bit any unprotected with spray. The burr from the electric fan the only thing keeping the room cool in the humid summer night as I worked on my laptop.
A tired sigh left me as I looked outside, I could see the moon reflected off the murky lakeshore water. My phone read 2AM.
"I'm supposed to be on vacation."
I turned back and continued my work. It was boring, work work. A mindless assignment of long questions I already knew how to do.
"But nooo... You don't have enough creedddittss to graaaduate..."
An hour passed as I worked. My hands were starting to cramp and my eyes felt heavy. I rubbed them annoyed as I focused on not passing out. A glint of moonlight reflected into my room and I stared at it. I flinched suddenly, catching myself as my head drooped from sleep.
With a snarl, I got stood from my seat, my feet feeling numb from hours of inactivity. I walked to the kitchen, making sure to step over sleeping bags filled with snores. Our small cabin was crowded with five other people, so the maze to the kitchen took way longer than it should've. I turned on the kettle and scooped a teaspoon of instant coffee into a stained cup. I repressed a yawn as I waited for the water to boil.
I looked out the window again, my back leaning against the counter and stirred impatiently. Ignoring the blue glow from my laptop as I watched the lake outside. I could see our fishing boat anchored to the dock bob up and down slightly with the water. I smiled tiredly as I watched. Already we made some memories on that boat. We tried to cram all of us in, but we learned the hard and wet way that it was too much.
As I watched, something at the back of my muddled mind poked at me. I turned, straining to filter out the snores...
Music, I could hear music. A quiet tune from a stringed instrument of some kind came from the window, outside. Immediately it made me feel off. I stepped towards the sound, anxious.
We're in the middle of the bog, who the hell else is here?
Ignoring the steaming kettle, I made my way over. I glanced outside, I could still hear the music. Looking around the room to see if someone's phone was going off, I found nothing. Whatever it was, it was coming from outside, under the moonlight. I shivered.
Nervously, I grasped the window and opened it slightly, the music was louder as it opened. I poked my head out to look around, letting in humid air. One of my friends stirred but didn't wake up.
I turned my attention back outside and searched for the source. I couldn't see much, only the boat and lake, with the surrounding trees by our cabin. I listened some more and my mind itched. There was something about this melody, something that made me... made me feel... nostalgic. I looked around, worry growing, but still I couldn't see where the music was coming from.
Until I looked up at the moon.
What does he see!? Cliffhanger!
 

larigot

Well-Known Member
Prompt: No matter how hard you try, your potions REFUSE to work!
"Five chopped mountain root bits, a pinch of wild peppermint, and a strand of hairs, willingly donated by a Dhole." Fosah Obeah double checked the tome before him, before tossing the final ingredients into the cauldron. He reread the whole recipe again as he stirred with a spatula - It will work this time, damn it. It must.
As the ancient potion brewing book instructed him, he doused the fire underneath the cauldron and let it cool off. In the corner of his little alchemist hut was a rocking chair, and he let him sag down on it - it wobbled slightly back and forth. He started plucking at his tail while gazing at his latest concoction, willing it to be successful.
After having reflected on his previous failures for what seemed like hours, he collected a vial and scooped some of the cauldron’s liquid in it. The turbid substance had a light green hue to it. He twirled it around, head askew and his long ears perked up. He’d run out of test subjects; a side effect of running out of reputation. He’d have to test it on himself.
Bottoms up.
He downed it in one go. It tasted remarkably sweet and had a refreshing quality to it. Still holding on to the empty vial, he started pacing through the room, waiting for the effect to make itself known. Nothing happened - usually something happened, albeit the wrong thing. He scanned the pages again and was sure that he didn’t overlook anything. As he reached out to pick up the book, he saw what had happened. The fur on his bare arms - his sleeves were rolled up due to the warm water - had sprouted out and started tangling. It was still ongoing before his wide eyes. He darted to the covered up mirror on the other side of the hut, and yanked the sheet off.
My gods… All his hair had grown; it was more than five times the length that it usually was around this time of year. He kept an immaculate coat, but now it was a horrible mess. Even his whiskers had grown, now drooping down to chest height. It seemed to be over now, the effects had worn off, but the consequences remained. He smashed the vial against the wall with a scream, grasped the book and marched out of the house, his tail a veritable sweeper behind him.
He drew confused and concerned looks from passersby as he followed the road into the city, and drew many more as he made his way to the guild hall. A barber leaned against her sign with crossed arms, lazily staring at the street until Fosah passed her.
“Hey, hey! Mister,” she called out.
Fosah stopped and turned to her with a scowl. “What?”
“Looks like you didn’t lose your winter coat, and then some. Come on in, I’ll give a discount!”
“After I’m done with some urgent business.” He continued his focussed stride until he reached the Guild of Sciences. He ran up the steps of the mirrored staircase in front of the massive brick and marble building, and ran into an old acquaintance on the landing.
“Well well, our potion brewer is having great success,” the canine artificer grinned.
“Why don’t you make a device that makes you a mute, you mutt,” Fosah replied, pushing past him to get inside the building.
He arrived at his destination, the guild library - a large round chamber with a domed roof, housing thousands upon thousands of books of knowledge. He dumped the book in front of the librarian - an owl who was allegedly the most learned creature in the building.
“This book… should be burned!”
The owl looked him over with a disinterested expression, over the top of his small spectacles, and started flicking through the tome. “What is the matter, then?”
“Ever since I used that book, my potions have been failing,” Fosah seethed, and jabbed a bushy finger at it. “I was told that this book was the best in the business. At first I thought it was me, that my knowledge was just not advanced enough. But now that I’ve tried at least a dozen times, I’m sure this book is spreading falsehoods!”
The owl had been checking the first few pages intently, and looked up when Fosah was done talking. “You know this is the first edition, yes? Edition two fixed the issue where each chapter name is one chapter off.”
 

larigot

Well-Known Member
Prompt: People colonized Mars for only a few decades, before leaving again. However, not everyone left - the underground dwellers were forgotten.... for thousands of years.
 

Miles Marsalis

The Last DJ.
Prompt: People colonized Mars for only a few decades, before leaving again. However, not everyone left - the underground dwellers were forgotten.... for thousands of years.
Can I reply to this? I'm intrigued by the prompt. I might need a day or two, though.
 

Toasty9399

Above Earth
The owl had been checking the first few pages intently, and looked up when Fosah was done talking. “You know this is the first edition, yes? Edition two fixed the issue where each chapter name is one chapter off.”
Alright this made me burst out laughing
 

Miles Marsalis

The Last DJ.
Sure! Take your time. More people can write for the prompt at the same time as well I suppose.
Thank you for waiting. My submission is little dark and short, but I hope it's alright.
 

Miles Marsalis

The Last DJ.
Echoes of our pickaxes resound down the drift in the darkness. Every miner in the drift sets their own rhythm with their pickaxe, working towards meeting their quotas for the shift. My own rhythm is rapid as I drive my rusting pickaxe into the seam to clear a chunk of iron ore from seam in the rock face. Chips of iron and rock fly off into my face and ping off my goggles and helmet.

A spark flashes as my pickaxes strikes the rock face, making my dark-adjusted eyes flinch from the sudden and brief bright light. I blink away the afterimage.

If the drift had been filled with pure oxygen, everybody in the drift would be burning alive right now. I glance over at my caged mouse.

It’s still energetically alive, frantically darting around in the tiny wire cage, startled by the clinking of the pickaxes in the drift.

Theoretically, if the buffer gases weren’t mixing right, say too high a concentration of nitrogen, the mouse would bite the dust before I did, warning me of the danger and allowing me to make it to the adit airlock before asphyxiating myself. Theoretically.

In training, my teachers had said that there was a time when miners worked without air in the drifts but wore suits that allow them to breathe and kept their bodies pressurized. You didn’t need to worry about asphyxiating in the dark or being burned by the combustible atmosphere.

That was shortly after the deserters left our ancestors on this world to flee in the sky above surface, after our ancestors abandoned the surface for the safety of the Night Labyrinthine with its lava tubes and drifts, after we carved our survival out of this dead world as we were maggots in a corpse.

Looking around, I see other occasional sparks in the dark of the drift, each one exposing the miner that caused it for sliver of a second before they snap back to being black silhouettes swinging and struggling in the shadows.

Stooping down, I scoop up the loose dust from the drift floor. My knees hurt in revenge. Standing back up, I sift the dust with my thumb, though I can’t see any of the grains. I stare down at myself, a shadow darker than the darkness.

“Wang Lei,” growls a familiar and feared voice uncomfortably close behind me, intimately threatening. “I hope you died standing up, because that is the only reason you shouldn’t be beating this seam like it owes you what you owe the Colony.”

This loverfucker, fucking with me when I’m working while he strolls the drift for a fucking living.

My sweat-slicked fingers choke the shaft of pickaxe, their muscles tensing for a swift strike.

Actually, who am I kidding? I’m not striking an overseer.

If I did, I might as well put the pickaxe through my head next.

I stuff down the anger welling in my chest, forcing it to simmer into annoyance instead as I turn to face Wang Yong.

You never want an overseer at your back, the way you don’t want a loose ceiling above your head.

In the dark, I can barely see Wang Yong, if I strain my wide eyes hard enough. His grinning teeth glint in the spark light, as does the dull iron five-pointed star hanging on his black overalls. Like everyone in the drift, he has pale skin from the dark, wide eyes engineered to capture even the lightest light, a board chest with the lung capacity to breathe the drift’s thin air, long uncut hair meant to cushion the hard iron helmet on his head, and the thick muscles the ancestors gave us to work the drifts.

Wang Yong hasn’t worked the drifts as a miner in years, but he is still in shape, as all the overseers are if they want to stay alive.

There are a lot of grudges in the drift and the buried bodies to prove it.

“Did a mine blast blow out your eardrums, worm?” Wang Yong jeers. This isn’t a fight I can afford to have, but he is driving a hard bargain.

Around us, the sparks stop as miners gather around to see the inevitable fight, like drift rats circling one of their own dying, waiting to feast on the carcass.

Fuck it, let’s put on a show.

“I’m just taking a break, Wang Yong,” I say mock casually wearing my best shit-eating grin. “Like how you do for the whole shift.”

Wang Yong snarls as he snatches his pickaxe from the belt, a tool that has always been used on the workers instead of for work, but I don’t raise my own.

Instead, I toss the floor dust in his eyes, aiming towards his scream.

As his scream turns into a shriek, I know I own him now.
 

larigot

Well-Known Member
Echoes of our pickaxes resound down the drift in the darkness. Every miner in the drift sets their own rhythm with their pickaxe, working towards meeting their quotas for the shift. My own rhythm is rapid as I drive my rusting pickaxe into the seam to clear a chunk of iron ore from seam in the rock face. Chips of iron and rock fly off into my face and ping off my goggles and helmet.

A spark flashes as my pickaxes strikes the rock face, making my dark-adjusted eyes flinch from the sudden and brief bright light. I blink away the afterimage.

If the drift had been filled with pure oxygen, everybody in the drift would be burning alive right now. I glance over at my caged mouse.

It’s still energetically alive, frantically darting around in the tiny wire cage, startled by the clinking of the pickaxes in the drift.

Theoretically, if the buffer gases weren’t mixing right, say too high a concentration of nitrogen, the mouse would bite the dust before I did, warning me of the danger and allowing me to make it to the adit airlock before asphyxiating myself. Theoretically.

In training, my teachers had said that there was a time when miners worked without air in the drifts but wore suits that allow them to breathe and kept their bodies pressurized. You didn’t need to worry about asphyxiating in the dark or being burned by the combustible atmosphere.

That was shortly after the deserters left our ancestors on this world to flee in the sky above surface, after our ancestors abandoned the surface for the safety of the Night Labyrinthine with its lava tubes and drifts, after we carved our survival out of this dead world as we were maggots in a corpse.

Looking around, I see other occasional sparks in the dark of the drift, each one exposing the miner that caused it for sliver of a second before they snap back to being black silhouettes swinging and struggling in the shadows.

Stooping down, I scoop up the loose dust from the drift floor. My knees hurt in revenge. Standing back up, I sift the dust with my thumb, though I can’t see any of the grains. I stare down at myself, a shadow darker than the darkness.

“Wang Lei,” growls a familiar and feared voice uncomfortably close behind me, intimately threatening. “I hope you died standing up, because that is the only reason you shouldn’t be beating this seam like it owes you what you owe the Colony.”

This loverfucker, fucking with me when I’m working while he strolls the drift for a fucking living.

My sweat-slicked fingers choke the shaft of pickaxe, their muscles tensing for a swift strike.

Actually, who am I kidding? I’m not striking an overseer.

If I did, I might as well put the pickaxe through my head next.

I stuff down the anger welling in my chest, forcing it to simmer into annoyance instead as I turn to face Wang Yong.

You never want an overseer at your back, the way you don’t want a loose ceiling above your head.

In the dark, I can barely see Wang Yong, if I strain my wide eyes hard enough. His grinning teeth glint in the spark light, as does the dull iron five-pointed star hanging on his black overalls. Like everyone in the drift, he has pale skin from the dark, wide eyes engineered to capture even the lightest light, a board chest with the lung capacity to breathe the drift’s thin air, long uncut hair meant to cushion the hard iron helmet on his head, and the thick muscles the ancestors gave us to work the drifts.

Wang Yong hasn’t worked the drifts as a miner in years, but he is still in shape, as all the overseers are if they want to stay alive.

There are a lot of grudges in the drift and the buried bodies to prove it.

“Did a mine blast blow out your eardrums, worm?” Wang Yong jeers. This isn’t a fight I can afford to have, but he is driving a hard bargain.

Around us, the sparks stop as miners gather around to see the inevitable fight, like drift rats circling one of their own dying, waiting to feast on the carcass.

Fuck it, let’s put on a show.

“I’m just taking a break, Wang Yong,” I say mock casually wearing my best shit-eating grin. “Like how you do for the whole shift.”

Wang Yong snarls as he snatches his pickaxe from the belt, a tool that has always been used on the workers instead of for work, but I don’t raise my own.

Instead, I toss the floor dust in his eyes, aiming towards his scream.

As his scream turns into a shriek, I know I own him now.
Very good descriptions. I like how subtle the world building is! Should have known mars wouldnt end up becoming an utopia.

Do you have a prompt?
 

Miles Marsalis

The Last DJ.
Very good descriptions. I like how subtle the world building is! Should have known mars wouldnt end up becoming an utopia.

Do you have a prompt?
Thank you for the input. As for a prompt, how about:

You're being chased through in the desert through a sandstorm. Write.
 

Marcl

The Honey Fox
You're being chased through in the desert through a sandstorm. Write.

Adair strode up a sandy dune. He wasn't looking behind, he wasn't thinking of what was behind, he was definitely trying to not hear what was coming from behind. The wind was picking up, blowing up grains of sand, most of them were just bouncing of his clothes, some more lucky managed to attack to the little of his light fur of his face he was revealing. In what was about to come, an inconvenience of a little of sand was the least of his problems.

As he made his way to the top, he stopped. The wanderer glanced over the area in front of him. Sand, sand, and even more sand. Sand as it had been before, sand as it was there at the moment, and sand would be there in the future. Up for the horizon. In other words - the desert, so sight wasn't something unexpected for the traveller.

He quickly spotted a familiar rocky formation not far away. The perfect shelter he was looking at the moment. More or less perfect, he was reassuring himself. Should have been enough. Maybe it would work.

However the structure was fit for the problem, that was the adventurer's best shot at the moment.

Adair corrected this belt and robe. The clothes he was wearing used to be white, now were mingled with sand and tanned by the torrid sun. His head was wrapped in a thick scarf, leaving only a small opening for his narrow, yellow eyes. A small sword was hanging from his belt, not that he used it much, but he preferred to be prepared for all opportunities.

One final check... The wandered felt on his side, checking if the pouch was still safely attached to the leather belt. With a relief he reassured himself it was still there, gently vibrating like a leaf in a windy day. All the trouble would have been for nothing if he lost it.

Speaking of trouble...

The traveller gave a sigh and turned around to assess the situation. Yes, the oncoming dark cloud of sand was still coming his way. Like a menacing shadow of a hand that reaches for the last date in a bowl. And he knew that one was coming for him. What was worse, it was approaching faster than he had anticipated.

Adair rushed towards the rocky formation.

On his way he had enough time to give few thoughts to what he was doing. Was it madness? Likely. But he had set his mind on getting that treasure and he was sticking to it. So far, making plans on the way seemed to work for him; he was hoping it won't betray him this time as well.

He felt how the stone no larger than a fist, securely kept in his was bouncing in its pouch. The treasure. An artefact. And a cursed, as the circumstances were showing. The curse was a good sign, it was suggesting the item was worth the trouble. After all, who would have put a magical protection on a glorified paperweight? But an enchanted stone - well, that would have been a more reasonable target.

The adventurer made his way to the rocks. Among the stone walls he found an abandoned settlement, with plain houses, some of them ruined, carved in stone. Adair recognised the village from his way to the temple from which he stole the stone. And he hoped this should be enough to allow him to wait the sandstorm out.

He walked into the nearest intact building and he took off the scarf from his head and took a deeper gasp. His face was one of a fennec fox, with a fur light a whitened sand and very long ears. With quick motions he brushed off the sand from his clothes and the little that got on his face. He took a look around the room he was in. It seemed secure and stable.

The rumbling of the air indicated the storm was very close. He put back on the scarf and curled up against a wall. And he waited.

The sandstorm swept in with a raging whistle, blowing in waves of sand on the street. The grains with a heavy buffet bounced from the walls. Then, something Adair didn't plan for happened. Through the window he saw someone walking on the street.

From his position he couldn't see much, and the relentless sand wasn't making his vision even clearer. But for sure it was someone. A figure. The traveller started to think of what could that mean.

Come out, come out wherever you are.

A lisping voice, trying to sound both intimidating and sweet, was heard as if the wind was talking.

Where are you, you little thief? You can hide, but I'll keep looking. Until you have nowhere to hide...

The fennec had to check to get more info. He carefully stoop up and sneaked closed to the window.

You know, we can play this the fun way...

He startled but the figure didn't seem to have noticed it. Instead he saw the sand clearing just a little. The adventurer could finally see who it was. The figure seemed like made out of a dark sand that kept flowing. It head seemed to resemble that of a snake - it was long, flat, smooth, reptilian. The being's body was very humanoid, with distinct marking on it. They looked like tattoos made out of brighter sand.

The creature raised its hand and pointed towards one of the building. With a deafening whistle a load of sand blew into the structure, filling it halfway in a moment. The floating sand started to get dense again.

Adair was pressing himself to think, to remember what he had seen in the temple. Any self-respecting extinct civilisation was always giving tips on how to break their curses, right? Images flashed in the wanderer's mind - paintings, statues, inscriptions, engravings... A guardian, a creature that controls the sand, a snake... Then it dawned on him. The thought he had a plan. At least the best he could come up with at the moment.

The adventurer slowly and quietly picked up a nearby stone, threw it to the building opposite him and hid. Seems the things were working out. The creature came closer and the sand cleared out again.

Growing impatient? I can relate...

From his position Adair saw the figure as it raised its hand. The fennec made sure he was holding the handle of his sword firmly. He will have only one shot.

The whistle of the sand was his cue. He rushed in, before the snake-headed creature managed to notice and fully turn. The fox's sword pierced through the centre of a tattoo.

You little...

The pursuer didn't end its response before it fell into a pile of sand.

Adair congratulated himself. Of course - a devoted guardian that won't give up, a symbol of power, and the clearing right before the attack. It was clear to him that the creature was dropping its guard, as it needed to make more focused attack. And that the tattoo on the back had to be its weak spot.

The fennec was safe. At least for now. Until he figures out how to get rid of the curse for good. As he suspected, while his action dispersed the body of the guardian, it wasn't disposed of completely. The little vibration of the artefact in his pouch were a good sign of that. And probably the next time the snake won't be so easily fooled.

But for now - Adair could move forward. And think of better solutions.
 

Toasty9399

Above Earth
I have a prompt:

The day was going to be great, just perfect to chill with friends. But then they came in. Gnomes. With their stickers, their sugar-rush-induced motions, and their constant gibberish...
I have no idea what I wrote. It’s 4 AM and I'm sleep deprived.



It was supposed to be a fun trip, traveling to the coastal city of La Ambri and staying in a rented shack by the beach. Good surfing fun in the sun.
That's when Jill found the book.
We were enjoying a nice barbeque local Ambri style, with skewed fish roasting over burning local wood the natives love so much. The sun set an hour earlier so the heat from the fire was welcomed. We were sitting, talking. Normal stuff really, but then the drinking started. With drink, spirits were high, and so was stupidity. The drinking games started and soon spirits were *very* high.
Jack, he could never handle himself, passed out in the sand. We were near our shack so Jill decided to just drag him. Apparently, I don't remember exactly as I was very merry myself, she tripped over something in the sand. Digging, there was a wooden box that was promptly opened. Inside was the book.
We should've burned it.
After sleeping in till noon the next day, we awoke with bleary eyes and headaches. Jill was by the table reading the book, completely engrossed.
It was weird, the book itself I mean. The cover looked like a unicorn vomited rainbows on it, and each page was a similar story. The writing was weird gibberish I couldn't understand and yet Jill was fascinated by.
When this was mentioned, Jill looked at us weirdly.
Apparently she could read it perfectly fine. Of course we didn't believe her, but she persisted. It became heated and then to prove her point, she read it.
The words that left her mouth added to my existing headache. It was nonsense gibberish like the writing we couldn't understand, everyone except Jill.
Looking at us weirdly and us returning the same look, there was suddenly scuffling outside that caught our attention.
A quick glance outside the window revealed nothing. Thinking it was a raccoon, which were many in La Amrbi, Jack grabbed a chocolate bar for bait.
As we walked out, there was another scuffle. We followed the sound to a dumpster and with a smirk, Jack looked inside.
"What the fuck."
Indeed, What the fuck.
There was a small man inside the dumpster. Two feet tall and completely naked except for a red cone hat. At Jack's exposition... it turned to us. There was a half rotten apple in its mouth as beady eyes stared back. We looked completely dumbfounded as it silently chewed the apple.
"I... I think it's hungry?" Jill mumbled. Dazed, Jack remembered the candy he held. He pssted at the small man and offered the unwrapped bar.
It stepped back as Jack reached further in, but quickly the smell changed its mind. It sniffed, then nommed the entire bar and Jack's hand right off.
Jack screamed as he fell back, clenching the bleeding stump. We all screamed as we realized what a happened, and in a panic I slammed the dumpster cover closed, latching a lock. Banging could be heard from its impromptu prison as we ran back to the hut. Screaming in the weird language could be heard.
Jack face was pale as I tied cloth around his stump to stop the bleeding. Jill was panicking as she searched for her phone so she could call the police.
Then we heard more ruffling and we went still.
Tiptoeing, I grabbed the closest thing I could use as a weapon, which was a ore paddle the hut used as decoration. I peaked outside.
We were surrounded. Completely and utterly surrounded by those... things. All two feet tall, red cone and naked.
"Truck, now." I whispered back. Jill nodded in terror and Jack mumbled.
Then they attacked. All at once, the crazed things rushed out hut, racing with ferocity I didn't expect. I wacked the first to jump in, sending him flying off and slamming against another like a bowling ball. We all raced back to our parked truck, Jill dragging Jack as I wacked the gnomes away. We were lucky as they seemed more occupied raiding our pantry. Unfortunately, one seemed more interested in us and attacked. I screamed in pain as it bit my leg, digging with it's sharp teeth as I slammed it against a door frame. Thankfully I didn't loose the leg but I had a bad limp.
We made it to the truck and started the engine, just in time when they finished eating everything in the pantry. Jack wasn't looking good at all now as we drove. I knew Jack needed the hospital but me and Jill left our phones back at the hut in a hurry. There was a gasstation nearby that I floored towards, the locals would know and I could warn them. Maybe the could call the police. Really though, at the time I wasn't thinking anything. I was just running for my life and I needed to run somewhere.
Jill screamed and looked at her. She was kicking at something in the back and I stared with dread as a red hat peaked over the front bumper. I swerved the truck as more of the things crawled over, smiling wickedly at me with their sharp teeth through the glass.
That's when I saw the gas station ahead. By this point they were crawling everywhere, completely covering front window. I screamed at Jack and Jill as we jumped out the truck. It raced down the hill and hit a gaspump, the resulting explosion making our ears ring. We had horrible scrapes from our jump, but we were alive. I watched the burning wreck of the gastation with regret and fear, praying... hoping that nobody was inside when it exploded.
Then I heard hooting. I turned towards where we came and up the street, there was an army. I didn't know what to do other than run, so we carried Jack and ran.
There were so many of them, hooting and laughing at us.
We'd been gnomed.
 
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