writingprompts

[WP] Mages choose the source of their power. Most pick things like fire, or justice, or love. You picked sarcasm.

[WP] Mages choose the source of their power. Most pick things like fire, or justice, or love. You picked sarcasm.

I'd gotten home earlier than expected, only to find the door of our little house in the country, pried open. Splintered shards of dark wood had been sprayed far into the house.

"Mark?" I said, hurrying inside. "Oh, Jesus." Mark lay on the floor in the living room, blood gurgling out of a jagged wound in his stomach and dyeing the carpet a deep, wine-red. "Oh God, baby," I said, kneeling by his side and taking his hand in mine. I could see that the skin around the wound was black, and the smell of singed skin wafted up my nostrils. "It's- it's going to be okay-"

Mark tried to speak - he tried to tell me that there was a man behind me in the doorway, and that I had to run - but all he managed was a rasp of air.

I screamed as a terrible heat seared my left cheek. The bolt of lightning had just missed me, but had still been near enough to cause a wicked pain and send me sprawling to the floor.

A voice tutted, and I saw a large man with blonde hair stride into the room. "Pity you had to come home, too. I do hate killing people, but..." He smiled and clasped his hands together; a puddle of light began to grow between them. It started as a dim glow, but was becoming more intense with every passing second.

"You- you're so brave," I stuttered, touching my scorched face with a hand, "and you must be so powerful to have beaten my non magical husband."

"Shh," he grinned, as the light continued to grow. He was slowly pulling his hands apart, stretching wide a dancing arc of brilliant light.

I could see he was young and arrogant. I could do this, I just had to concentrate. I had to forget about Mark, at least for now.

"If we met under different circumstances, your incredible magic would have me drooling."

"Oh?" he said. At least he was listening to me.

"Sure, my panties would have been off, like, two minutes ago. You're handsome, too. Your endless acne is like a million beauty spots; your nose, the perfect coat hanger."

"What are you doing?" he asked, scowling. The intensity of the light was waning slightly. I got up onto my knees, encouraged.

"I'm not usually into larger people, but somehow the weight really suits you. You've got this bloated, pale walrus vibe going on, and no woman can resist that. And that chin strap beard, it really frames your face."

"..."

"Not to mention how good you smell! I was wondering, as I was driving home, just what is that wonderfully pungent aroma, hanging over the countryside? Now I know!"

The lightning in his hands was dissipating, and I could feel my own power bubbling up inside my body.

"You're- you're just trying to distract me!" he spat. But it was too late, his power was dying and I understood why.

He tried to shoot the remaining light at me, but it fell like a brick to the floor before reaching me, fizzing into nothing on the frayed carpet. I saw his hands tremble, as red light began to bathe me.

"If you're as good in bed as you are with magic, you must be the world's greatest lover," I said, throwing my arms forward and commanding the red fury to leave my body and latch onto him.

The intruder screamed as the spell ate into him, gnawing at his skin and devouring his eyes like a hungry acid. He tried to run, but the red fury wouldn't leave him. I knew he wouldn't even make it down the drive.

The man's powers had fed off our emotions - of us being scared of him. But I hadn't been frightened enough, and Mark had lost conciousness. I turned to my husband and cradled his head in my arms.

"Honey," I whispered, "It's going to be okay."

Mark didn't respond. He didn't move.

I took a deep breath, as tears trickled down my face. "You're so stupid," I said to him. "Thinking I love you, when really I think you're the worst. The absolute worst. I'm actually extremely happy you're dying on me. I think I can live an amazing life without you. I'd had an absolutely terrible life with you in it, so now - so now, it's going to be brilliant. So much better."

The magic ran through my body once more - I felt it as blue, this time - and I channelled it into him.

"I cheated on you tons, and it was so easy, because everybody loves me and can put up with me. You're not the only person in my life. Uh uh. Nope. If there's one thing I know for sure, I can definitely live without you."

/sub/nickofnight

Nice one Nick! I really liked the way you took the expectation of the prompt and rounded out a full character from it. Of course the protagonist is gong to have more to his/her life than just sarcasm! Wish I'd thought of something like this...

"All this walking makes me super jazzed, you guys. Feet don't hurt at all, no sirree."

Eldrin, the youngest mage of Quelbrig Plains, slumped her shoulders and put her hands in her pockets. She lagged far behind the other three members of the squadron: Lord Eldemere, Ranmalt and Reenma.

Eldemere turned to his two accomplices. "One more moment of this and my patience shall expire."

Reenma sighed. "We must persist over the Western Peak, my Lord. Your patience need last only through the evening."

Eldrin continued to offer commentary from behind. "I love rocks. Don't you? Never get tired of 'em. Glad we took the scenic route, Ranmalt."

After five hours, the quartet reached the other side of the mountain and discovered an open stretch of snow-covered land.

"I gotta take a piss," Eldrin remarked. Before she could take another step, a thunderclap erupted in the night air.

"WELCOME, MAGES OF THE QUELBRIG PLAINS. I CORDIALLY INVITE YOU TO EXPERIENCE ONE ANOTHER'S DEATHS."

"Mmm, nice theatrics, Tralzanar," Eldrin said, slowly clapping her hands.

"I'M SURE YOU'RE ALL THRILLED TO BE HERE. I KNOW I AM. DON'T GET BORED AT ALL UP HERE, NO SIRREE."

Lord Eldemere gazed at his companions in shock. "My God," he cried. "There is another."

Eldrin stepped forward and sat down, crossing her legs nonchalantly. "Please, put me out of my misery."

The voice in the sky chuckled, causing the mountain range in the distance to quiver. "ONLY IF YOU DO FIRST."

"You better show me that pretty face of yours if you're gonna kill me. We all know you hide in the clouds to shield your insecurities, pal."

"WHA--I NEVER--BAH!" A peal of lightning struck a nearby tree. "I WOULDN'T HAVE TO HIDE IN THE CLOUDS IF YOU MAGES WEREN'T SUCH MEANDERING, WHINY ASS--"

"Enough!" Lord Eldemere slammed his staff against the ground. "Witness the powers of fire, wind, and rain! Come, Reenma! Come, Ranmalt!"

Eldrin shook her head. "Haven't seen this before."

Tralzanar chuckled. "I KNOW, RIGHT? EVERY DAMN TIME SOMEONE COMES IN TO KILL ME, IT'S THE SAME GARBAGE."

"Yup." Eldrin started to mimic Lord Eldemere's speech and dramatic gestures as he continued. But just as the three mages readied their staffs --

An enormous blast of light flooded the area, and Eldrin disappeared.

Lord Eldemere fell to his knees. "My God! She--He--He's taken her to the Realm Beyond Realms!" Ranmalt and Reenma ran to comfort him. "It is too late. Eldrin is no more."

*

Eldrin came to her senses in a dark, wooded landscape bathed in purple mist. She wiped her pants and stood up.

"Wow, nice digs you've got here, Tralzanar. Tasteful. Appealing."

Tralzanar approached her, now in his human form and dressed in full Dark Wizard apparel. He cleared his throat, having apparently toned down the booming voice from earlier. "You're serious?"

"Absolutely not. It's hideous."

"Mmm. Well, I made it hideous to compensate for your presence."

"Well, I made sure to look extra ugly today just for you."

"Bah!"

Eldrin and Thalzanar continued their battle of caustic sarcasm for the next five centuries. Even during a bout of silence, their attempts to one-up the other held firm through narrowed eyes and raised eyebrows.

The Quelbrig Plains experienced 500 years of peace, all thanks to a high concentration of snark just beyond the Western Peak.

Mana wiped her brow on her sleeve and put another batch of donuts in the oven. During the summer it got so hot inside the little shop that she could soon bake on the counter. This was the opening day of her store and she was already growing dizzy. She looked over and saw that a customer was waiting.

“Just a minute!” she called out and tried to straighten out her wrinkly apron. “Hi, welcome to Mana & Other Sweet Things! What can I get you?”

The man looked very different from the peasants that had visited her shop earlier. He wore a long black robe, despite the hot weather, and his pale face was partially covered by the shade of a cloak. With a bony hand, he put a white lock of hair behind his ear, revealing three golden hoops in his earlobe.

“I’m looking for something sweet,” he said, “Something to get the necromancy flowing.”

“Well, you’ve come to the right place then!”

“How much does it cost?” he said and fumbled with his gold pouch.

“That depends on what you’d like.”

The man’s forehead rippled in furrows. He touched his chin and sighed.

“Do you have any donuts?” he said, and tilted his head forward, looking at Mana intently.

“Of course,” she chimed. “They’re my specialty.”

“Can I have a taste before I decide?”

“I usually don’t do tastings.”

“Then how can I know if it’s good?”

“I suppose you’re right,” Mana said and cut out a piece of donut and handed it over on a paper plate.

“Oh, yes,” the man said, his gray eyes lighting up. “This is it; this is what I’ve been looking for!”

“I’m glad you liked it,” Mana said, smiling.

“No, you don’t understand,” the man said, flapping his arms. “This is it! This is the one! You are the one!”

“What?” Mana said with a laugh.

She knew her donuts were good, but she had never before seen anyone become so ecstatic.

“You’re the only hope for humanity,” he said sweat dripping down his forehead. “I’ve traveled land and sea to find you.”

“Okay, sir,” Mana said and helped him to a chair. “It’s probably best if you sit down, the heat must’ve gotten to you. Here, have a glass of water.”

The man in the robe drank deeply. “I’m telling you; people will come and when they do you have a choice–”

At that very moment, the doorbell chimed and three other robed figures entered. The tallest one, a man with a beard and round glasses, spoke first.

“We’ve traveled far!”

“Oh, how far we’ve traveled!” the man with the square-shaped glasses muttered without enthusiasm. “Very, very, veeeeeeeeeeery far.”

Mana felt a jolt in her chest. The man in the black robe looked her in the eyes.

“Remember what I told you,” he said and hurried out of the store.

The third of the three, a bearded man with triangular glasses, walked up to the counter and spoke for the first time.

“I’ve never seen such a well-organized pastry shop before…” he said. “Utterly top notch, it’s like I’ve walked into the royal bakery and the king himself had organized it.”

Another jolt surged through Mana’s body. “Yes, I’m sorry – I opened just this morning – I haven’t had time to put prices on everything yet.”

“I’ll have one of those!” the man said and pointed at a carrot-cake cupcake. “That is if I can afford it – who knows, that piece of pastry might be more expensive than Archmage Ruttersmore’s cross-eyed cluck-duck. There’s no real way of knowing, is there?”

“It’s two silver pieces, sir,” Mana said as her face flushed, and newfound power flowed through her.

“Well, I guess they're about the same price…”

If she wanted, she now felt like she had the power to throw these schmucks to the other side of the city. Mana had never wanted to be a big mage – all she wanted to do was bake – so when her time had come, she had picked the most stupid source of power that she could think of. So that she would be left alone.

“We know who you are, Mana. The council sent us here to test your powers. Now if you would be so kind to come with us – you’re the first person to choose sarcasm as their source – and we need to bring you in for…”

“Further experiments,” his companion filled in.

“Well, it’d be such a delight to accompany you, I’ll come right away,” she said and flicked her wrist.

The three wizards landed on their butts on the street outside.

“And I’d just loooove to be experimented on a bit,” she continued. “You’re welcome back anytime you want!”

Her powers at an all-time high, Mana placed the strongest sanctuary spell ever seen in the twelve kingdoms on her little bakery. The wooden walls glowed with magical energy. Spent, she sat down behind the counter. Nobody that she didn’t want inside would able to enter, not even the Archmage’s golden cluck-duck. And to top it off, the sanctuary spell had a built-in AC.

Subscribe to /sub/lilwa_dexel for more stories.

[WP] You set up a sign that says "LEAVE WALLET HERE", as a joke. Much to your surprise, people obey the sign. You wonder what else people would be willing to do.

[WP] You set up a sign that says "LEAVE WALLET HERE", as a joke. Much to your surprise, people obey the sign. You wonder what else people would be willing to do.

Loving the stories guys; You're all awesome people, and you should feel awesome.

“Have you ever wondered if the Nazi’s were any worse than you and me? If we were told to commit a genocide, would we say no?”

That’s the question my professor had posed and the reason I was standing outside the Cinema 8 movie theatre sweating through my tuxedo. Introduction to Psychology was a joke of a class, touting a nearly impressive 23% attendance and 99% passing rate. I, however, was the 1%. After sleeping, avoiding, and texting through every class, I had managed to fail what some considered to be the easiest final ever given at the University of Minnesota.

In a desperate bid to pass, I asked my professor for extra credit and that’s when he pose the question. Apparently, a long time ago, some nutjob decided it’d be fun to test just how willing people were to listen to authority. They gave people a button and asked them to administer lethal amounts of electricity to someone else. And those fuckers did it! Nobody questioned it, they just dialed up the power and pressed the button when told to.

The idiots. That just went to show how backwards things used to be. Though I guess now it was my job to see if we still were idiots or as my professor liked to say, no better than the Nazi’s.

“Excuse me ma’am,” I said and stepped in front of a lady with her two kids. I motioned over to the sign besides me that read Leave Wallet Here. “New policy.”

“What?” the lady shot and brushed past me. “You’re lucky I don’t call the police,” she called after me.

“Enjoy the movie,” I muttered back. I wondered who the idiot really was, the people in the electroshock experiment, or me, standing here with a sign drawn by magic marker and a small wicker basket trying to rob everybody that passed me. I could imagine it already—headlines for the morning newspaper: boy arrested for dumbest crime ever conceived.

I sighed as a short and stocky man approached. “Excuse me, sir,” I called after him.

He took a lasting glance at the sign and then me. “Sorry,” he said and plopped his wallet into my basket.

For a second, I could only stare.

“Are we good?” the man asked.

I snapped out my daze. “Yeah, of course.”

The next lady I approached was halfway to calling the cops until she spotted a wallet already inside the basket. Her eyes widened and her mouth formed a small O. She threw her purse inside. The next man, I didn’t even need to say anything to. I gave him a single glance, a nod to the sign and he did as he was told to. Soon, I had an entire basket full of purses and wallets.

At last, my wicker basket could hold no more.

“What the hell,” I muttered. My professor had been right. We were no better than the Nazi’s. Anyone would do anything as long as a figure of authority told them to.

A smile touched my lips as I retrieved the magic marker pen from my pockets. With but a tux, a sign, and some marker, I could have anything I ever wanted.

NORTH STAR TRIBUNE NEWSPAPER

LOCAL IDIOT TRIES SLEEPING WITH WOMAN ARMED ONLY WITH A TUXEDO, A SIGN, AND A MAGIC MARKER

Sources indicate that an unnamed college student tried getting women to take their clothes off and sleep with him inside a movie theatre. He had a sign saying that all women were required to sleep with him. Eye witnesses claim that he was aghast when they refused and simply pointed to his sign over and over again, screaming about Nazi’s. He has since been admitted into Hopkins Hospital for psychiatric evaluations.

/sub/jraywang for 5+ stories a week and 100+ already written!

I didn't expect people to actually leave their wallets there. I just wrote the sign and went to sleep on the sidewalk. By the time I woke up, there was an overflowing amount of wallets from random strangers. They seemed almost attracted as they would drop off their wallet and disappear. I removed the sign and almost immediately no one paid attention to me. Interesting, I thought.

After a hot meal from the local McDonalds, I began to count my cash. I also withdrew as much from the credit cards as I thought possible into my Bitcoin wallet. I began to stare at the sign I put up: it was a small whiteboard and black marker, all with a kickstand. I erased the message and rewrote another one: "Give me all of your cash." As I placed the whiteboard on the kickstand, people began coming up to me and dropping cash into my Big Mac container. "Hey," I pulled my Big Mac container away. People then just put the cash on the ground. I pulled out one of the wallets and replaced the message: "Put all your cash in this wallet." Soon even the cashiers began emptying out the registers and giving me cash. I was fucking rich. I walked out of the side entrance just as a man in a Rolls-Royce pulled up on the other curb. I began to scribble as I crossed the street. As the driver got out of the car, I flashed the whiteboard in front of him. Soon, I pullet out with a brand new Rolls-fucking-Royce.

The next few days were spent doing some of the dumbest shit I've ever done: causing fights in the middle of the street, getting hot women to undress in public, having jewellers just hand me free jewellery. It was truly a mess. I also tested what caused the epidemic. First I replaced the marker, and it failed miserably. Then I replaced the whiteboard and it also failed. Finally the kickstand didn't help the situation. It was a combination of all three that made it work.

However, the marker began to run dry. Panicking, I needed something that could ensure that I would never need to do anything in my lifetime. I began to plan how I would do this. I has someone set up the tripod and the lighting so I could record the video. I struggled to write down the words but as I finished, I turned them around and flashed the words. I uploaded the unedited video to YouTube. 1 view. Refresh. 3 views. Refresh. 8 views. Refresh. 30 views. The view count grew almost exponentially. I laughed almost maniacally as the video blew up.

And that's how I became ruler of the world.

EDIT: Whoa. This blew up. Thanks everyone!

Wow this is excellent. I especially liked how the way the wallets thing worked felt completely natural - all it took was one guy to believe him and suddenly the scam seems legit. Then the power goes to his head, but since he doesn't actually have magic powers we see the logical conclusion.

Leaving a wallet at a sign was the most retarded thing one could do. Making a sign requesting for wallets was my try-hard response to a practical joke, because I figured if society was so adept at stealing wallets, they would never give them up without reason. But as I strolled back from work, making a detour to take a photo of the empty space by the sign, the pile there struck me. Over a hundred wallets of different sizes, colours and brands, but all filled with money. My buddy couldn't believe it until he went down to see it for himself. But then it still confused me. Did the sign have alluring magical powers? From that, I thought of another way to test this.

A new sign was put where the old was, displaying the want for 10 dollar bills (my buddy gave me that idea again). And, though inexplicably, over 5 hundred bucks in cash was found at the foot of the sign. Once again, this struck me as odd. Reddit didn't tell me anything when I asked /sub/advice, so I only had my wild guesses to back me up. The cash this exploit had given me was certainly welcome though, since I was going through a pretty dark patch of low finances, so money raining from the sky was always a welcome idea. But why? That was a question that haunted me.

This was my last test before I would conclude the presence of paranormal activities. I wrote another message on the sign. "LEAVE SOCIAL SECURITY CARD HERE". Because no neurotypical American would give that up. By the end of the day though, only one was to be seen at the base of the sign. With some disappointment, I walked over to see who the card belonged to.

'Anna Jenkins' was the name. The name of my buddy, my friend, my companion. As I looked up again, the events preceding this one made so much sense. The wallets, the money...she was the only one I told about my finances. And she was the one who suggested me to pull this prank. From the corner of my eye, I saw her peeking at me from behind a tree, waiting for a glimpse of happiness my depression had withheld. I smiled back, the first true smile I'd had in some time.

Was I a sign reading "WASTE YOUR LIFE HERE"? For only one person would obey.

More over at /sub/whale62! Sequels at popular request!

[WP] You stole 10$ from some guys bank and now he's coming after you with everything he's got.

[WP] You stole 10$ from some guys bank and now he's coming after you with everything he's got.

It was just $10.00 and after all, I was hungry. Who would even notice? Who would even care? Turns out I had found the one guy who pored over every facet of his finances and like a dog with a bone, just wouldn't let this go. This was ridiculous.

 

A little over a week had passed since I had found his debit card, with his PIN number so idiotically scribbled on the back, just lying there numbers up in the grass by the sidewalk. I never expected it would work. I walked over to the ATM a block up the road and inserted the card, and typed in the PIN. I checked the account balance. $86,400.00 exactly. This guy was rolling in it. There's no way he would miss just $10.00 so I made my withdrawal, and then stuck the card in the envelope deposit slot as a little good deed.

 

Fast forward to today. I have shut down my Facebook account, Twitter and Instagram too. This guy just kept coming. He had used a bunch of his remaining $86,390.00 on private detectives to run my fingerprints from his card, and video from the ATM. Now he was trying to use my social media accounts to track me down. I'm terrified of what will happen if he actually catches me. Will he kill me? This guy's clearly insane.

 

I see a shadow moving up the sidewalk towards where I am sitting on a bench using a restaurant WiFi. The shape is clearly avoiding stepping into the intermittent pools of light. I can't run anymore. It's just one guy, I can take him. He approaches, "Did you take $10.00 out of my account?" he asked menacingly. "Yes, I did. I was hungry, and I felt like it was a reasonable reward for returning your carelessly lost debit card.", I replied. "Oh. I hadn't thought about it that way. I suppose you're right. I really wish I hadn't spent the rest of my $86,390 trying to get revenge." Then his head and shoulders drooped slightly, and with an air of defeat, he turned around and left.

I love it, All Hail The META

How did I get here?

I asked myself that question as I sat on the street corner, rattling the coins in the tin can. I was wearing rags, whatever I could scrounge out of the dumpster, basically.

I guess it all started when my business was starting to take off. A buddy from college and I had had a fantastic idea that was going to revolutionize the clothing industry. It was so good, I took out a loan for 200,000 dollars to get the company started.

At first, everything came together like magic. I used about 170,000 to get the business off the ground, when everything fell apart. Apparently the bank gave us 2 MILLION dollars instead of 200,000. My back stabbing, scab eating, dirt sniffing scumbag of a partner took the remaining 1,800,000 dollars and ran. The interest payments alone cut way past all the profits that my brand new company was making.

I divorced my wife, so I wouldn't drag her down with me, and cut out everyone close to me so they wouldn't have to witness my shame.

I sat on the street corner, begging for change to be able to buy a meal.

What's this?

Some saint of a person just gave me ten dollars!

Parodied off of this post

/sub/shucklescribbles

critique welcome

https://www.reddit.com/sub/GetMotivated/comments/6nuwcb/text_if_you_had_86400_in_your_bank_and_so...

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[WP] You have $86,400 in your bank and someone steals $10. You spend all the rest of your money trying to get revenge.

[WP] You have $86,400 in your bank and someone steals $10. You spend all the rest of your money trying to get revenge.

"It's not the money, it's the principle."

My father's words. Though I think he was talking about taking a loan, as in principal with an A L, but that doesn't really matter.

It was free to find out who the culprit was, the bank does that for you. Not to help you, but to know who to put on their hit lists, your gain is just an added benefit. But for a petty crime like stealing 10 dollars, the bank does nothing. Apparently their policy only applies to thefts of more than fifty dollars.

So I had to take matters into my own hands.

The bank was kind enough to tell me who the culprit was, though: James Graham. Asshole extraordinaire. The bastard had stolen my lunch every time he was in lunch back in elementary school, which admittedly was not very often considering he had detention almost everyday. But still, having my apple juice carton ripped mercilessly out of my hands and disemboweled by another man is an image that will haunt me forever.

And now, he had the nerve to come back to my life, and steal my money. Hell no. No sir. And so I plotted my revenge. According to Stalkbook, Graham lived in London. Now, I did not have the cash for tomorrow's train fare, so a flight was out of the question, unless I wanted to withdraw from my savings account...which I actually wasn't legally allowed to for ten more years.

So I waited.

I worked extra hours at the StellarDollars, even though my soul withered a little more every moment I stood and smiled at random people who had come to get coffee or milk or whatever the hell. I sacrificed some of my guaranteed interest on the savings account and moved it to an investment variant, where I could chose to invest the money into different stocks or companies.

And I did. I had a plan you see, a plan so grand it would destroy him so utterly, so completely that he would lie broken at my feet, begging for mercy, and I, in my infinite kindness, would deny it. I read online articles, made the correct movements, predicted changes, made gambles. I cried, laughed, and died inside. And through it all only one name filled my mind, one name that fueled my drive, my relentless quest: James Graham: Asshole Extraordinaire.

One day, of no particular import, the call that I knew would come, came.

I stood up in the middle of the conference meeting, and dozens of chairs swiveled around and men in suits stared at me.

"Sir?" One asked, "we have to discuss this quarter's profits..."

I glared at him, and he fell silent. Without another word I stalked out of the meeting room, men and women staring at me as I did, but I paid then no mind. I pulled out my phone and answered.

"Sir, a loan verification from the name of James Graham has come in, asking for 2 hundred thousand," Stephanie said. I'd told her years ago to tell me when this happened. I'd bought out all the other banks in the area. He would have no choice to to borrow from mine, it was just a question of waiting.

And the wait was over.

I grinned. "Stephanie, approve him, but internally make it a loan of two million," I paused, and continued, "and ten - discreetly of course."

Stephanie had known me for years, she didn't ask any questions.

So when Graham got his first payment due he was suitably surprised to find his loan payments about ten times what they had been. He went to the bank enraged, sure there had been an error.

There was no error. The system clearly said he had borrowed 2 million, and now it was time to pay.

Oh and pay he did.

He could only watch as his house was sold, his wife divorced him, his kids hated him, his friends deserted him. I found him on the streets one day, begging with some coins in a cardboard box in front of him. I knelt down, patted him on the back and gave him a ten.

James' eyes widened, and he looked up at me, almost crying. "Th-thank you sir, thank you so, so much!"

I just smiled at him and walked away, whistling a merry tune.

If you enjoyed, check out XcessiveWriting for more of my work

Dang dude he had a family

I love that the main character actually comes out ahead in this story :) And giving him a $10 at the end was just genius!

Jun-18 $10.00 (disputed)- North Hill Cashpoint

Jun-19 $35.99 (card) - Grant's CCTV

Jun-19 $200 (online transaction) - Wiring for beginners E-learning

Jun-20 $140. 50 (card) - Edmund's electrical supplies

Jun-20 $450 (online transaction) - Cloud CCTV storage systems

Jun-20 $1000 (card) - Bennett's Professional PI services

Jun-21 $200 (card) Gate world- Consultation fee

Jun-21 $1200 (card) Gate world- Products and Installation

Jun-22 $5200 (card) Gunz Gunz Gunz

Jun-22 $150 (card) Easthill shooting range

Jun-23 $1000 (card) - Bennett's Professional PI services

Jun-23 $5000 (transfer) Strength Armour vehicle services inc- deposit

Jun-24 $802.99 (online transaction) - Steven's Security- Tracking equipment

Jun-26 $32, 899 (transfer) - Strength Armour vehicle services inc- Remaining balance

Jun-26 $150 (card) - Gunz Gunz Gunz

Jun-27 $500 (card) - Brasenose and Philips lawyers

Jun-27 $120.01 (card) - Pete's Petrol

Jun-27 $5.00 (card) - Southern Phone- North Hill Police station

Jun-27 $5000 (transfer) - Brasenose and Philips

Aug-23 $32, 246.51 (transfer) - Government Victim restitution fund

Aug-24  +$10.00 (transfer) - Northern courts

Aug-30 $10.00 (transfer) - Government Victim restitution fund

Remaining balance- $0.00

Be nice, first writing prompt and I don't know how to format!

[WP] You, a religious person, saved a girl from getting hit by a truck. One day you get killed and instead of Heaven, you wake up in Hell. Satan walks up delighted and says "Welcome to hell and thank you so much for saving my daughter!, Let me know if you need anything!"

[WP] You, a religious person, saved a girl from getting hit by a truck. One day you get killed and instead of Heaven, you wake up in Hell. Satan walks up delighted and says "Welcome to hell and thank you so much for saving my daughter!, Let me know if you need anything!"

Edit: Wow! So many comments! Tonight after work im going to try my hardest to read as many comments as possible!

Ah, I thought, I must be in the hospital.

It wouldn't have been the first time. Once, when I had collapsed from hunger, thirst and a medley of other everyday ailments, a good Samaritan had me checked into a hospital. I couldn't stay long, not when they discovered I had no money, but for a while, I had food, it wasn't too cold, and there was a certain peace which reigned.

Much like now, actually.

"You've made it through, Peter," came the voice. Silky, powerful, the syllables were a joy to experience. I turned to the side, where a tiny lamp did its best to ward off the gloom in the room, towards where the voice came from.

"Hello," I said, as I considered my situation. He was dressed in a dark suit several seasons out of fashion, with his pepper-grey hair slicked backwards. He had the sort of face which made women go weak in the knees, made men glower with envy. "I suppose... I have died?"

"You catch on fast," he said. "I brought you here because you saved my daughter, a long, long time ago. I figured I should return the favour, you know?"

He saw the confusion flash across my face, and he snapped his fingers. A shimmer of smoke, a crackle of light, and a girl's face hung in the air, her features clearer than I expected.

"Clara..."

"Yes, Clara," he said.

I looked down at my arms, and the flesh had healed, with nary a scar. I flexed my legs, and the absence of pain that had been my constant companion was, frankly, disconcerting. I even rooted around my mouth with my tongue - all my teeth were intact.

"I'm rejuvenated," I said. It was hard to keep the wonder out of my voice.

"In my kingdom, I can make you whole again, as you once were," he said.

Like an iceberg, stressed to fracture after relentless global warming, the gears in my mind began to click, to grind, to move. Slowly, not too fast, but better than before.

"You're the Devil, aren't you?"

"Correct," came the reply, "and you saved my daughter."

"Will you answer the questions I put to you?"

"I will," he said, crossing his right leg over his left, "it is the least I could do."

I sat back down on the chaise longue, hands held out behind me for support. "First question. Was... it known to others that when I saved your daughter, I had no idea at all she was of your lineage?"

"No, unfortunately," he said, shaking his head slowly. "Of those who could see, they believed you my agent. They thought you were sent to thwart the heavenly attempt at taking her life, during that brief spell when she was mortal."

"Ah, I see... Well, second question. Did they seek to punish me for my supposed... agency to you?"

"They did," he said.

"And all of them, angels?"

"Yes. Emissaries from the adversary."

"My job? My health? My reputation?" I asked, fearing the answer.

"All them. They tore you down bit by bit. An improbable coincidence here, a spot of rotten luck there, a missed connection elsewhere. They thought they were doing me a disservice, by reducing the influence of my pawn in the mortal realm."

I felt a sudden slickness in my palms, and looked down. I found I had dug my nails so hard in that I was bleeding. Fresh, red blood trickled from my newly-knitted flesh.

"And my family? My dear wife, innocent as the day is bright? My unborn child, who never took a breath of this world?"

He paused for a moment, as if he were choosing his words carefully. "There are rules. They cannot harm the innocent, much less kill them."

"But they are dead all the same, right!" I yelled, pushing myself to a standing position. "The fires were so hot I could not even retrieve their bones for burial!"

"A trick, a loophole, Peter."

"How do you mean?"

He snapped his fingers again, and the image shifted. Clara disappeared, to be replaced by my wife, laughing at a dinner table, surrounded by family. She looked as beautiful as when I had wed her. The years had been kind.

"They took her memory. She remarried, settled down again. She is well. That girl you see by her side? That one is yours. The rest are from her new husband."

"... Is she happy, at least?"

"Yes. Of that I am sure."

I sat back down, buried my face in my hands.

"And all because they thought I had helped you?" I asked.

"I cannot turn back time, Peter. Not if I want to play by the rules. So I'm asking, what can I do for you now?"

I looked back up at him, meeting his dark, soulless eyes. I thought of all the prayers I had uttered on the streets, asking for guidance, for my feet to be moved to where I had to go, for my hands to do the work I needed to do. I never lost faith, because I thought that there was a plan, that there was a reason for it all, for the trials, the tribulations, the sacrifices, the pain.

It seemed, ironically, that my prayers had been answered.

"Will you save me?" I asked. "Take me into your fold, clothe me, sustain me, give me strength to do what I need to do? Guide me, provide for me, and so in return I will do as you wish, as your faithful servant, my Lord?"

He smiled, and as the shadows danced around the room, as his incisors grew impossibly long... I felt peace, for the first time in decades.

"Gladly," he said.

/sub/rarelyfunny

Great story, but the way Peter talks feels wrong. It feels, I don't know, stilted and hollow. Like the words he says aren't appropriate for him to be saying.

Great job though, love your writing overall

The being's eyes were pitiless as Samuel broke down, staring wildly at the hellscape surrounding him. It wasn't quite as he had imagined, no flames, no pitchforks waiting. Just an endless stretch of cracked, dead earth, with no trees in sight, no burbling streams of water, no other people...and yet, and yet, it was the worst place he could imagine.

"Your personal hell," the creature told him, its lipless mouth curling into something that resembled a smile. "You always did love the beauty of nature, did you not?"

Yes, he had loved it, and had always prayed for a heaven filled with trees and rivers, where he would dwell forever with his wife, Alison, when her time came to pass. Had always been so certain he had earned his right to be there, walking at the side of angels, becoming closer to God.

"Why?" he asked, not expecting an answer. But Satan took a step closer and crouched down until he was face to face with Samuel, making him gag as a putrid stench washed over him.

"You saved my daughter, of course," he said. "Dear Lilith. Heaven would not accept you after that, so I got to keep you. Let me take this moment to personally thank you for saving her. Do let me know if you need anything..."

Its voice was heavy with sarcasm, red eyes gleaming with malevolence.

"Lilith," Samuel repeated softly, and remembered.

A beautiful college girl, she had invoked thoughts of lust in him after he had saved her from the truck, hadn't she? He felt a wave of shame for that, but remembered with pride how he had saved himself.

He had resisted the urge to remain in contact, had turned from her subtle flirting in the hospital, where he had visited her, to return to his wife. Over the remaining five decades of his time on Earth, he had led a life of pious devotion. He had helped raise his three sons, and built his own little parish from the ground up. He hadn't thought of Lilith once in those years, with her warm, almond eyes, and skin like cream...

"That's her, the little snake," Satan said, giving a guttural chuckle. Samuel couldn't decide if it that was anger or pride in his voice. "Wearing one of her favoured human guises when she met you. Tried to kill her and drag her back here where she belongs countless times, but she always managed to slither away. Or had fools like you saving her. Wreaking havoc on Earth, trying to take my rightful place in the minds of humans. But I will say this: she truly did love you, as much as she is capable of love."

"You can read my thoughts of her?" Samuel asked, shivering as an ice wind swept through the desert. The cold burned worse than the fire and blood he had been expecting. He had always hated being cold.

"I have many talents," he said, grasping Samuel's hand with a raking claw. "As does my daughter. We can twist memory and life itself, of course, but if I wish...I can return your true memories to you."

He screamed, but it was no use. He was remembering. Alison's broken eyes as he left their home to follow Lilith, his three young children crying and begging him to remain. Years upon years of unspeakable deeds, as she strove to bend the Earth to her will. What had happened? What had he done? Samuel's spine bent as he howled, the memories burning through him.

"That's enough," Satan whispered through his pain, and he was abruptly cold again, shuddering as he lay curled on the ground. "I wanted you to know, before I take you onward. This isn't your final resting place, Samuel Wells. I've made a little deal with someone."

That claw closed around his shoulder, and he was dragged from the desert. When he woke again, warm brown eyes were smiling down on him. The weather was pleasantly mild, luscious trees rising gracefully to the heavens all around them.

"Lilith?" he whispered, and she gave that perfect smile that struck him silent. How had he ever managed to forget it?

"I made you forget," she said, pressing her lips to his forehead. The intoxicating scent of her, honey and spices he could not name, overwhelmed him. "And now, I wished for you to remember, my love. Father granted me that favour."

"You will remain here, now?" something interrupted them, and he looked up to see Satan watching from between two elm trees, his face bathed in shadow. Samuel trembled at the blasphemy of it. It was so wrong for him to be here, in this piece of Heaven.

"Of course, Father, a deal is a deal," Lilith whispered, wrapping Samuel tighter in her arms. "I will not return to Earth, if I can remain here with him."

Soon, they were alone again. He was almost paralyzed with pleasure at the warmth of her touch, the feel of her hand tracing its way down his chest.

"He told me...I will be in my personal Hell," Samuel whispered, anxious to say it before the memory disappeared. He could already feel the details of his time in the desert fading away.

"There are many versions of Hell. This might be it for one aspect of you," she gave a throaty chuckle. "The Samuel you were, before you met me."

For a moment, he remembered the reproachful eyes of his wife. What had her name been? And his sons...he had sons, once...

"But forget that now, my love," Lilith whispered, and he shivered as she lightly traced the outside of his ear with her tongue. "You're here with me. How could that possibly be Hell?"

He allowed the memories to go, relishing her touch upon his chest, right where his heart was beating. He was in the arms of his true love, in a place of warmth and plenty.

Truly, God was good.

Hope you enjoyed my story! You can find more of my work on /sub/inkfinger.

For me it's mostly the last paragraph. I don't know anybody who would talk like that.

[WP] The Elves, Dwarves, and Goblins laughed at humans for not having magic. The humans laughed at the Elves, Dwarves, and Goblins for not having giant robots.

[WP] The Elves, Dwarves, and Goblins laughed at humans for not having magic. The humans laughed at the Elves, Dwarves, and Goblins for not having giant robots.

“How much further?” asked Xylenor, in between ragged breaths.

He didn’t get an answer. The dwarf at his side was less than half his height, reaching only up to his scabbard. That meant that Blomor had to work twice as hard just to keep up at the current pace they were going, as they plunged through the thick undergrowth, plowed through the coarsened vegetation. The inevitable gloom of dusk was also falling across the horizon, signalling the onset of darkness, which was never an ideal condition for fighting, no matter how you cut it.

They reached a fork in the trail, and Blomor gestured to the left. Xylenor fell in line, and briefly hoped that the others would pick up on their trail, scent the waymarks he had been leaving behind at regular intervals.

“Not much further now,” said Blomor, his pace slowing. “When will your reinforcements arrive?”

“Soon,” said Xylenor, hoping that he would not be proven wrong.

“They better. We can’t take them on our own.”

Xylenor’s stomach tightened in knots. He yearned to throw caution to the winds, unleash his magic there and then. A single thunderflare first, which would bathe the forests for miles around with a single peal of light, a flash of sound. That would mark their location, give the patrols a destination to home in on. Then Xylenor would link forces with the dwarf, and together they would marshal the latent energies in the surroundings, tear open a portal at their location, create a forward position from which their brethren could quickly pour forth.

And how easy it would be. The elves were the lynchpin in the Alliance, masters at channelling and processing the raw magic which permeated their world. The dwarves, with their knack for intricate, delicate spellweaving, did wonders with the relatively meagre amounts of magic they dredged up. And the goblins, or at least the last few which still survived, would harmonize the discordant spells unleashed in battle, pluck the stray strands which zipped through the air, and rally it all into a single, living, breathing orchestra of magic.

But Xylenor knew they could afford no such luxury. If they were to meet the challenge lying ahead, they would need every shred of magic at their disposal.

“We’re getting close,” said Blomor.

“Was this where you first came upon them?” asked Xylenor.

“Aye. My partner’s still out there, somewhere, keeping watch. Just a normal routine inspection. The humans have been keeping to their side of the bargain, keeping off our territory. But some of our younglings often cross the border, thinking themselves brave enough to weather whatever’s lying ahead.”

“They were the ones who first alerted you?”

“In a way,” said Blomor. “We found them running back towards our outposts, damn near screaming their heads off in fear.”

“Is it bad?” asked Xylenor.

Blomor nodded. “Very.”

They crested a hill, and then Xylenor saw it for himself. The plumes of smoke against the setting sun seemed like the stormdrakes of old, twisting gently as they stretched out into the heavens. Xylenor counted at least four main conflict points, marked by the scorched earth and shattered trees. He focused, sharpening his senses with a seasoning of magic. The sounds of battle still raged on, but he had trouble making out the dancing giants in the distance.

“Their shields are still up,” said Xylenor.

“Aye. We had trouble sighting them too, what with the cloaking fields they deploy.”

“So do we know what we’re in for?”

Blomor beckoned, and away they went again, streaking down the other side of the hill until they came to a human-made clearing, marked by a giant carcass, rooted into the ground. It still thrummed with life, but just barely, and Xylenor didn’t need magic to tell that the humans within were already dead.

“This is a bloody Dreadnought, for goodness’ sakes,” muttered Xylenor in disbelief.

“From the Emperor’s Command, no less,” said Blomor. He muttered a levitation spell, and was lifted to the side of the fallen giant. His hand caressed the strange materials, feeling the edges where the top half of the Dreadnought had been clipped right off, as if it was a mere chestnut sundered by a blade.

“You think your lightning spells can do this much damage?” asked Blomor. "To shear right through a Dreadnought, how many Circles must work together?"

Xylenor’s face blanched. “You mean…”

Off they went again, quicker this time. Xylenor sensed the forests filling up with the Alliance, which comforted him somewhat. If he was going to die here today, at least he wouldn’t be alone.

They found themselves at yet another hill, and this time they were close enough to see the battle with their own eyes.

On one side were the gleaming legions of the humans. Three to a cell, six to a squad, nine to a contingent, the humans were already in their raging golems, towering beasts of unwavering loyalty. Xylenor recalled an early campaign where the Alliance had resorted to skulduggery, tried to twist the golems to their side. Their very best mages had been stumped, unable to figure out the inner workings of those fearsome monstrosities. Humans on their own were dangerous, but with their golems, an entire village caught unprepared could be razed to the ground.

By Xylenor’s best count, less than a third of the human forces remained. Those which still stood and fought had the trailing black robes of the Command, that elite band of golems which comprised of the most experienced and battle-worn warriors. They were holding their ground, but just barely.

Xylenor was so lost in the spectacle that he gave a start when the human nearby, propped against a tree, coughed. The human had evidently ejected from his golem at the point of complete destruction, and had somehow managed to crawl to relative safety.

For a moment, Xylenor forgot that this was technically still an enemy combatant, and he rushed to the human’s side, pressed his hands against the open wounds, summoning all the healing magic he could muster.

“I’m… sorry,” said the human, too weak to even hold up his head.

“He’s not got long,” said Blomor.

“We should have come earlier… but…”

“Why didn’t you send us a warning earlier?” asked Xylenor, a hard edge creeping into his voice. “You could have told us!”

“The Alliance wouldn’t have believed… us…”

Then, the infernal clacking filled the air, a sound so terrible that it awakened deep-seated, long-buried memories in Xylenor. The goosebumps razed his flesh, his blood ran cold, and he forced himself to look to the other side of the battlefield, athwart the mighty golems.

And there flourished an array of the land’s greatest threats, the enemy they thought finally vanquished. There they stood, risen from the dead, the only thing which could have united the humans and the Alliance, caused them to put aside their petty differences, band together against the common threat. Each double the size of the human golems, stronger, faster, deadlier.

Unrelenting forces of nature, harbingers of doom.

“Believe me now?” asked Blomor grimly.

Xylenor pressed his fingers to his forehead, and thoughtcast the warning back to the elven forces on the way.

“Be advised,” he relayed, “the Orcs with their Giant Enemy Crabs are back.”

/sub/rarelyfunny

The Last Elf

I kneel before the Ancient One in the glow of a pale blue fire. Lovely arcane thing. I love the white-blue it paints the world, but I dread what the fire represents. It was not chosen for aesthetics, but strategy. It too is secretly a thing for war, designed to generate smokeless heat.

We are holed up in an old hunting blind, lying huddled under the stars like mice. The air smells like smoke and raw wood. Far away, I can hear the low moaning screams of those in my tribe who have not been lucky enough to die yet.

The Ancient One's skin was once the deep purple-brown of the elves' native Florin Forest, but in his old age and waning life his skin has faded to a pale pink, like the underbelly of a salmon. He is sleeping now, with wet, shallow gasps. The bandage at his side is black with blood again, but spreading slower.

It will only be a day or two now. Or perhaps better to count it in hours. The Ancient One will die and I, his lone apprentice, will take up the mantle of our gods in his stead. I will be the Ancient One at barely eighty years old, still young enough to be mistaken for a mere sapling of a girl in Florin, in our old home, when my world was new.

It is so wrong, being lone apprentice to the Ancient One. I am the least useful of my dead brothers and sisters. I am no storyteller, no historian. I could build you a boat or carve bone beads or kill a human with my bare aching hands. I am never lost in any wood. I know practical magic, the kind that keeps you warm at night. The kind that cleans your bowls or prepares a perfect stew in moments. My magic is ugly, but it will keep me alive.

But all my people's lovely magic, all our art and stories, will at last die with The Ancient One. Or perhaps they died when the humans first entered our wood with their hulking machines that smelled acrid, like smoke and death, and told us they were claiming our land. That we could give them our trees or let the humans take them by force.

I smooth lavender oil into the cracked and bleeding skin along the pointy tips of the Ancient One's ears. I try not to cry as I remember.

Remember remember remember. All I can do now is remember.

I remember how we laughed at at those weak little humans like they were pale grubs trying on civilization. Like their little metal toys and whirring chainsaws did not concern us. And why would it, when we had three thousand mages in the village alone? Why would we fear our ageless trees would ever topple?

We did not think. How we mocked the humans, but until they brought their fire and steel and hate we did not stop to think: we have no magic without our trees.

And now the forest is dead and burning. I have watched the humans work long into the night, inching closer and closer to my hideout. By dawn, if the Ancient One is dead or not, I will take his holy beads from his neck and take up his raven-skulled walking stick and run for my life.

But tonight I will sit and watch my world burn. I will watch my chief die.

And in the morning, I will begin my hunt for revenge.

/sub/shoringupfragments

So here's this Giant Enemy Crab

They were running out of ressources. Thats the sole reason why they invaded our world.

I was sitting in my mech and looked on the mist that covered the plains before us.

A typical tactic for them. Those elves, dwarfes and goblins think that some mist and creepy sounds would scare us enough to drop our weapons. They laughed at our ambassador for not having any magic right before they decapitated him and put his head on a pike, thinking that we were easy prey.

Little did they know that we never needed any magic.

A warhorn in the distance, followed by cries signaled their attack.

"Get ready boys."

The 2 other mechs and the infantry readied their weapons.

Out of the fog an army appeared. Their silhouettes were shaped like demons. And they were greatb targets.

"Let them come a little bit closer......."

I grinned. This was going to be a fuckfest.

"Fire!!!!! Sick them boys!!!"

All of us opened fire with our automatic weapons. The first ranks of the invading army got completely obliterated, turned into chunks of meat, splintered bones and clouds of blood.

I finished reloading my 90mm machinegun with a HE belt, aimed it at their leader in the center. He summoned a shield, trying to protect his soldiers around him. A futile act, trying to stop 600 rounds per minute with a explosive power of 3kg TNT per round.

Their cavalry started a flanking attack. I switched the rockets on my shoulder launcher from impact to airburst and fired the entire mag on the bulk. The horseman disappeared in a cloud of thick smoke.

The entire plain had been turned into a blazing inferno.

It hasnt even been 4 minutes but the enemy army was starting to run. Some of their mages casted a smokescreen to cover the running soldiers.

They certainly havent heard anything of heat and IR sight.

We still could see them clearly and coninued to mow them down.

Just like a normal day on the shooting range. Only that the targets were moving.

"Infantry mount your IFVs, we are going to pursuit them!"

Oh we were going to fuck up their world as soon we were there with our weapons, our teachnology and our junk food.

[WP] [Harry Potter] You are a non-famous muggle biologist that keeps discovering magical creatures, and right before you announce your discoveries, get your memory erased by the ministry of magic. Then your daughter gets her letter from Hogwarts, and you learn you're famous in the magical world.

[WP] [Harry Potter] You are a non-famous muggle biologist that keeps discovering magical creatures, and right before you announce your discoveries, get your memory erased by the ministry of magic. Then your daughter gets her letter from Hogwarts, and you learn you're famous in the magical world.

Professor Theodore Waxburn had worked in Oxford's biology program for fifteen years but wasn't quite able to show he had been doing much of anything. He remembered working. He had years and years of scribbled notes in his file folders that could prove it. But his major papers seemed to come in spurts; he could only hunt down four publications in his fifteen years of research. Four!

Inexplicable. Inconceivable. Surely he had written more than four papers, surely something had simply slipped his mind, slipped through the cracks.

At the moment, Theodore Waxburn was tearing his home office apart, trying to find evidence to bring to his departmental meeting to show he was an active and useful member of the team. He muttered dark curses under his breath and began thumbing through his filing cabinets, only to find half the pages blank or blacked out.

"Jesus Christ in a bloody handbasket," Theodore muttered to himself.

"Daddy?"

Theodore whipped around to see his red-cheeked daughter Sophie and hoped she had not heard that. "Yes, darling?"

"Is everything quite alright?"

"Don't worry, it's a work... problem." He tried to palm the frustration out of his eyes, went over to his daughter, and hunkered down in front of her. He wondered what time it was, if he'd forgotten to start cooking dinner again. "What is it, my little pumpkin?"

"I got a letter." Sophie held it out to him, shyly.

Theodore plucked the envelope out of her fingers. It was a fine thick vellum and bore the words

Ms. S. Waxburn

The second floor

and then their address in precise green handwriting. It reminded Theodore of his father's old fountain pen. He tore into the envelope, found no knives or funny powder, and so offered it to Sophie.

"Did you and one of your little friends decide to be pen pals?" he asked, distractedly, turning back to his ruined note collection. He tried to remember when he did that, or in god's name why he would ever do that.

"No."

For a moment, the room was quiet as Sophie read and Theodore rummaged.

"Daddy?"

"Yes, darling?"

"This one is for you."

Theodore took the piece of paper Sophie offered him without quite looking at it. She flounced out of the room and was gone several minutes before Theodore paused his searching to look at the paper.

In the same exacting hand, the letter read,

Dear Mr. Theodore Waxburn,

You do not remember it, but you have dedicated most of your career to the discovery and observation of magical creatures. Now that Sophie has been accepted into Hogwarts I feel the freedom to disclose to you the truth of your life.

Your memories, notes, and pertinent publications have been destroyed for the safekeeping of our wizarding society, from its oldest to its youngest members. We have found in the past that we cannot trust the non-magical world to maintain the integrity and agency of our magical beings, human or otherwise. In their greed to understand, muggles tend to destroy, change, and consume. (Please do not take this observation personally.)

I apologize for the professional inconvenience imposed upon you by the demands of our society. You must understand that for the safety of all our citizens we must maintain absolute secrecy and conceal the magic world from humans in its totality.

If it is of any consolation, your findings have been recorded in the Waxburn's Guide to Magical Creatures: A Muggle Reader. Your work has allowed more wizards to realize that the only thing separating wizards from muggles is not intellect or ability, but merely the knowledge of the small magic hiding all around us. Please find a copy enclosed (though do keep it secret--I'm committing a not-so-minor crime sharing it with you).

Theodore read it over and over again, scrambling for a reasonable explanation. Occam's Razor. This was a joke. This was a project from Sophie's school. This was a gift in one of her books or something.

Theodore Waxburn poked his head into the kitchen where his daughter was putting on a kettle for some tea. "Sophie, darling," he said, "what's this?"

"It's your letter. I got one too." Sophie offered him her letter, grinning delightedly. "I get to be a real witch!"

"There's no such thing as a real witch," Theodore chided her, skimming her letter, paling. The same handwriting. Same paper. We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

"The owl has a package for you, outside."

"The owl?"

"Yes, the one who brought the letters," Sophie said, like it should be rather self-explanatory. "It's your package. It can't give it to anyone but you."

Theodore yanked open the door to the back garden to find a huge barn owl sitting on his bird feeder with a paper-covered parcel resting beneath its talons. He crept over to it, slowly, trying not to think about those talons on his head or arms or face.

"Hi, birdy," he said, lamely. "You're rather very big, aren't you."

The owl fixed him with a bright-eyed, eviscerating look, as if mocking him for not knowing how to speak to it, and then spread its enormous wings and took to the sky.

The packaging on the book had the same clear, crisp green handwriting, smudged only a little by the bird's feet. Theodore unwrapped it with shaking hands and stared at the ebony cover for several long, loving seconds.

Despite the impossibility of it all, there it was: Waxburn's Guide to Magical Creatures: A Muggle Reader. A book, a real one, with his name on it. Theodore grinned like a child at Christmas. Perhaps these fifteen years had not been such a waste after all.

After all, he had always wanted to publish a book.

If you liked this, check out my subreddit! /sub/shoringupfragments

ETA: I'm thinking about writing a prequel series about Theodore's forgotten research. If you like stories about an eccentric British man scouring extreme climates for creatures that may or may not be real, I'm going to write that thing! It will be in my subreddit soon(ish)!

P.s. Thank you for your time and kind words everyone. I'm honestly floored.

"Doyle." The tall wizard nodded at the mention of his name. His sober black robes were slightly worn at the edges. He towered over the newcomer.

"Morning Griffin." Doyle welcomed the shorter man. Griffin huffed and settled himself on the garden bench. Deep below London's surface, this botanical room was the perfect place for Ministry workers to spend their lunch. Reaching into a forest green pocket, Griffin pulled out a small paper parcel and began unwrapping the sandwich within. Doyle watched as his companion wolfed down the food in large gulps.

"Long morning?" He asked.

"You have no idea." The other wizard sighed. "I woke to the kids screaming bloody murder. Then I nicked myself shaving. And now I've got a bugger of a headache that won't go away."

"I've got some spare potions back in my office. You can have one for the headache if you'd like." Doyle offered. Griffin waved him off.

"Nah, I'll be fine. Besides, it would only come back again. If people only had the good sense to write a proper address on their envelopes, I wouldn't be stuck with the issue anyways."

Doyle frowned. "Did the owl's deliver the wrong thing again?"

Griffin swallowed. "Worse. The owl mis-delivered, and the sender had no clue of who to send it to. Since it landed on my desk, it's now my problem. I've only just scratched the surface of the issue and already I wish I could strangle the bloody thing."

"The owl?"

"The sender you idiot!" Griffin was quite red in the face at this point. "Some Hogwarts student claiming that a wizard has subjected their father to the Obliviatus charm. Which believe me, no big crime in my books, especially since the student is a muggle born. Maybe their father saw something he shouldn't have. We have to clean up after catastrophes, even small accidents. But the issue is, it's happened since the student entered Hogwarts."

"And that would be why the student knows about the charm." Doyle reasoned.

"Exactly. Now we land in the middle of the question of 'Why?'. It clearly wasn't Ministry folk. And at this point, since their son is at Hogwarts, there's no need for secrecy. So 'Why?' were they subjection to the memory charm, and who did it?" Griffin chewed his lip, clearly uncomfortable with the affair. His hands fidgeted with the paper wrapping of his sandwich, which was now reduced to crumbs. Doyle watched his colleague's agitation.

Doyle sighed. "I take it there's more."

"According to the student, his father is a muggle 'biologist'. Their specialty is studying non magical creatures. He goes out into the wilderness, observes them and then publishes his findings."

"A muggle Newt Scamander." Doyle mused with a small smile. "I hope the muggle version is more sane."

"I wouldn't know." Griffin rubbed at his forehead. "But according to the letter the father has been working on particular creature for the past year and a half and was going to publish in a few months time. Now? The father has no memory of his work, or the creature, and all his notes have gone missing. The only reason the student noticed this, is because he helped his father over the summer months. When he returned for winter break he asked how the research was going and his father had no clue what he was talking about."

Doyle opened his mouth, but Griffin kept talking. The words came out in a rush. "Then, at the end of the holidays the student was at Diagon Alley purchasing some new books for the coming semester. What does he see in the window at Flourish and Blotts? A brand new publication on a new magical beast that looks suspiciously like the one he helped investigate a few short months ago. He buys a copy, reads it, and is now accusing the author of plagiarizing his father's life work! Not only that, he's suggesting we perform a thorough investigation of the author because, and I quote, 'This may not be the first time this author has performed this crime.' "

"On the same muggle? Or to other witches and wizards do you think?" Doyle asked finally. Griffin was now staring morosely at Dirigible Plum bush just off the beaten path.

"They didn't say." Griffin mumbled, reaching one hand to his head again, wishing he could just take a potion to fix his headache.

"But surely you have the wizard author's name?"

Griffin barked out a bitter laugh. "Of course I do. The student wasted no time in pointing a finger at Gilderoy Lockhart. In fact, that was the very first paragraph of the letter!"

But will he get reimbursed for all those royalties he's missed out on? And what would they pay him with? Gallians or pounds?

Time to consult /sub/legaladviceuk. "Hello how do I find a lawyer who specializes in magical copyright law? Preferably accessible via muggle transport?"

[WP] A zombie apocalypse occurs, where people retain characteristics they had while living. You, as the sole survivor, meet a snobby, vegan zombie who turns their nose up at you.

[WP] A zombie apocalypse occurs, where people retain characteristics they had while living. You, as the sole survivor, meet a snobby, vegan zombie who turns their nose up at you.

Only the desperate and the stupid went into the cities anymore. As my truck gave a final dying chortle and the gas light stared back at me like my car saying I told you so, I realized that I had become desperate enough to be stupid.

Already, the zombies were swarming. They crawled over fanged window panes, shuffled out of trash-filled alleys, and stepped out of Toyota Priuses. It was like watching a wall of rotting flesh slowly converge upon me. My chest tightened as I realized that I was stuck. After all, San Francisco had been one of the first cities to fall to the zombies. Rumor had it that its convenience stores were still filled with canned goods and water. Even looters were smart enough to stay away from here.

I stepped out of my car and reached into my trunk for my trusty pistol. It had saved my life many a times before and now, all it had left to offer me was a single final bullet. I stared at the thing and smiled. I flicked its safety one final time.

“You bastards!” I screamed at the encroaching wall of moaning zombies and raised the gun to my temple.

“Woah, woah, one second,” a voice came from the horde of zombies.

I nearly pulled the trigger out of surprise. A talking zombie? There was no way.

A man pushed his way through the zombie wall. He had a scraggly beard that looked more like a lion’s mane and a gut uncharacteristic of a post-apocalyptic survivor.

“How the hell did you do that?” I asked as he yanked his leg out from in between two zombies.

He looked up a bit surprised and then found his poise. “Oh, yeah, you don’t know. These are vegan zombies.”

“Vegan zombies?” My brow shot up.

“Yeah, let me…” The man pushed his hand into a zombie’s mouth.

“Watch out!” I turned my gun towards the zombie, my finger itching on the trigger. But to my surprise, the zombie leaned away with a face indicating that it had just smelled hot garbage. “What the hell?” I muttered.

“Yeah, we ain’t even good enough to eat,” the man said, a pang of sadness in his voice. “Most of these guys are here to shame you about driving gas-guzzling truck.”

My eyes flitted to the crowd and sure-enough, zombies had stopped and were now pointing at me, bellowing vowels. But they didn’t need consonants for me to understand them. I could see it from their faces.

I bet that gets only 20 miles to the gallon.

Don’t you care about our environment?

Wow, a Ford 150 truck? Why do you go back to hick country where zombies actually eat humans?

“Oh fuck you too,” I snapped back at them. Trying to brutally rip me apart and eat my guts was one thing, but now these zombies were going to judge me? “Like you know the shit I’ve been through!”

The closest zombie to me simply grabbed its waist and shook its head.

“Why don’t you try finding a more eco-friendly vehicle in a god damn zombie apocalypse?” And just as the words left my mouth, I realized that there was a hundred Toyota Priuses all lined up down the street.

The zombies simply rolled their eyes. They turned around and started walking off.

“Wait, where are you going?” I called after them. “What, now you’re going to give me the cold shoulder? Hey! Don’t you turn your back on me.”

But it was no use. They simply shuffled back into their alleys, crawled back over broken glass, and got back inside their Toyota Priuses, leaving only me and the fat survivor left in the streets.

“So, you want to meet the other survivors?” the man asked. “We have an entire community here. It’s safe. There’s food and water, we even have electricity.”

I looked back at him, surprised he was still here. “Um… I’m good,” I said. “I’m probably just going to get some gas and get back to the country.”

At the word gas a single zombie stepped out of his Prius to gawk at me. My gun went up and I pulled the trigger. My final bullet exploded his head and he slumped into a mound of decomposed flesh on hot concrete.

That was all the ammo I had left, the final mercy I had given myself if things had gotten too bad. But fuck that zombie.

/sub/jraywang for 5+ stories weekly and a hundred already written!

"Graaaaiiiins..."

I carefully pried off the boards on the delapidated Starbucks. I know what you're thinking, "Who the hell loots a Starbucks after the apocalypse?" Well, sometime, you just need a cuppa, and all the grocery stores have run out.

I slipped in between the boards. The one upside of the scarcity of a post-people society is that you drop extra pounds pretty quick once the hunger and terror-running set in. I'm in the store, with my electric lantern to light the place. It's a rathole, like everywhere else, but the pretentious attitude of the place still seemed to hang in the air, years after any humans abandoned it, as if to say "I was a filthy shithole before is went mainstream." I made my way to the counter and hopped over.

I rooted around underneath the counter to see if I could find any keys. Maybe if I could get into the store room, I could even get enough to trade for stuff. After having no luck finding the key to the back, I stood up and turned around to come face-to-face with one of them.

We called them zombies at first, but then it became quite apparent that these things maintained at least part of their intelligence and personality after changing. Some people still call them zombies, but I prefer the term "revenant." I feel it's more accurate.

So there, not a foot in front of my face, was a revenant, and he didn't look to pleased with me. "Shit, this is it," I said to myself. I'd developed a bad habit of talking to myself.

"What the Hell are you talking about?" The revenant said.

"I, uh, what?" This was a weird situation for me.

"What were you talking about?"

"I, uh, I thought you were going to eat my still-living flesh while I screamed in agony."

The revenant looked at me like I was the weird, gross monster. He paused for a moment to step back and size me up. "...The fuck are you talking about?"

"You're a revenant, right? You're not feeling any cannibalistic urges?"

"Well, unlike other people, I can control myself. I'm a vegan, after all."

I rolled my eyes before I could stop myself, an old reflex from civilization.

"What, you're not?"

"Uh, no. I still eat meat. Just not human meat."

"Psh. Just because you don't eat human meat, doesn't mean you're any better than them. You still buy into the abusive neo-capitalist system that encourages the abuse of animals for profit under the guise of 'nutrition.'"

"Okay, okay, am I being punk'd here? Because this is just getting surreal." I looked around to see if I could spot any cameras that weren't ripped out of the wall.

The revenant sighed. "Okay, I can see you're confused, let me take the high road and start over. My name's Roger, and I'm a vegan zombie."

I sighed in return, and tried to gather myself. "Alright, that I've gathered. But how do you survive? I thought revenants had to eat meat, and had a particular preference for human meat?"

"Nah, that's just what they want you to think. We can live just fine on plant-based protein, and that cannibaliztic drive comes from toxins in the meat you eat. If you switch to a fully vegan diet, you'll see that you'll never want meat of any kind again."

"...Right. Okay, I have a laundry list of questions, but I think the first is what you've been living on?"

"Oh yeah, man. I've been eating mostly beans, nuts, and rice. I used to have these really nice spices, but I ran out."

"And you're telling me you have no urge to consume my warm, pink flesh?"

"Nope, not even a little." A bit of saliva was visible at the corner of his mouth, which he quickly wiped away. I frowned at him.

"Okay, maybe a little bit, fine, but I'm still trying to detox, okay? And I have it under control."

"Alright, well, this has been very...educational. But I'm just gonna get out of your hair." I turned to leave and maybe see if I could find any antipsychotics in a pharmacy in town.

"Wait, man. You came here for coffee, right?"

"...Yeah?"

"If you can bring me some spices, you can have all the coffee you want. Beans and rice gets a little bland after a while."

"Uh...sure, why not? A fetch quest for a vegan zombie, how much weirder could this day get?"

"Alright, catch you later. And if you need to get in, just knock on the back door."

I mentally kicked myself for not checking the back door in the first place, nodded and left. I still didn't trust the guy, but by God, I was going to have my coffee.

EDIT: Hoh-lee shit. I did not expect the kind of response this has gotten. I've been pretty busy lately, but if I can find the time, I'll try to do more. Like wow, guys, you're making me blush.

"You? I only eat vegetables," the horrific undead creature said at first sight. I thought I was a goner for sure, but it seemed that humanity would live on. The zombie was probably vegan when still alive. "I wouldn't eat you even if I was omnivorous," the zombie added, rolling its eyes.

Arrogant too, it seemed.

I smiled at it and attempted to walk away. But the slimy hand grabbed me. "I must bring you to the others. They will appreciate your...flesh far better," it licked its lips as it spoke. I opened my eyes wide as I prepared to make a run for it. "On second thoughts...nah. You're too unappealing anyways," he pushed me down onto the pavement before swaggeringly walking away. I heaved a sigh of relief. I was rather lucky, it seemed.

I walked a few steps forward, only to be touched on the back lightly. I turned around with dread, and a familiar sight greeted me. Jerry, my childhood friend. He waved, and I was tempted to do the same.

But he was a zombie too. And a thought flashed across my mind as he smiled widely at me. Shit, he loves to eat.

More over at /sub/whale62! Sequels at popular request!

[WP] Everyone on Earth was infected with a disease with no cure. The only thing keeping humanity alive is a drug that fights the disease, but can't kill it. When you run out of money to keep buying your daily dose, you notice something. You're not dead.

[WP] Everyone on Earth was infected with a disease with no cure. The only thing keeping humanity alive is a drug that fights the disease, but can't kill it. When you run out of money to keep buying your daily dose, you notice something. You're not dead.

Edit: Woh, this blew up. I wasn't expecting that to happen.

Thanks, Internet.

Twelve hours left. That's all I had as I stared blankly at the wall of my bedroom. It had been decades since someone had come to the virus, and just my luck the next one would be me. I laid back on my bed, contemplating all of the things I hadn't done; marriage, kids, going to an old folk home. Granted some things I was happy I would be missing out on.

Having been at the acceptance stage for a while now I didn't really mind too much that I was reaching the end. I had a fairly good run for a guy in his mid-twenties. As I started to recall the funnier adventures from my youth, a knock came at the door. I didn't know who it could be. I wasn't dating anyone, not for lack of trying, and my parents had passed away years ago. So who could be visiting me?

I got up and answered the door to find two men in black suits. "Mr. Greene?" one of them asked as he flashed a badge. He was from the CDC, which had been given policing rights not too long after the first outbreak. "Can...I help you, gentlemen?" I asked as I moved to let them into my apartment. They walked in without a second thought.

"Yes, sir you can. We understand that you haven't made your payment for your daily treatment. We would like to know why."

I let out a heavy sigh. "I can't afford it. I lost my job last month. The only reason I still have a roof over my head is that I paid this months rent in advance. I guess I'm lucky I won't die in the street." I let out a nervous laugh, which they did not return with so much as a grin.

"I see," the second man said, "May we sit down?" I motioned for them to sit on the couch. I sat in my old, beat arm chair. "Mr. Greene, how have you been feeling?"

I sat back. I hadn't really thought about it. I had been worrying so much about the end 'being nigh' that I hadn't really thought about my health, as strange as the thought was. In all honesty, I felt fine. A little tired from lack of sleep the last few days, but otherwise completely normal.

"I...feel alright I guess. No different than normal." The two men looked at one another and nodded. "Mr. Greene-" the first man spoke up again, "what do you know about the C39 virus?"

"Only what they show on the news-" I began, "The symptoms change from person to person. The only constant is skin sores right before death."

"There is a reason for that," the second man said, "Most of the final symptoms are psychosomatic, people worry that their end is near and so they invent symptoms in their mind. Almost all symptoms are lies made by our minds."

"So if those are fake... What are the real symptoms?"

"There are no real symptoms." The first man said flatly as if it wasn't the biggest news of the millennium.

"But, how can that be? How can something be deadly without causing any havoc on the internal system?"

"Because, Mr. Greene, there is no virus."

I sat there for a moment in total shock. No virus? That isn't possible. So many people had died, how could there be no cause of their deaths?

"How, what, wait a minute. What do you mean there is no virus?" I said, my anger slipping through my voice just a bit.

"Mr. Greene, before this virus the world was in economic collapse. Researchers at the time estimated that we had two decades at most before another world war started, and humanity would not recover."

The second man nodded his head. "So, the leaders of the different superpowers got together and formed a plan to unite all of humanity. Aliens would never work, it would take much more money to fake an alien invasion than was feasible at the time. So they decided on a virus. Something that could be easily faked, just a few million people dead and humanity would have an enemy to unite against."

"What you're saying is... The millions of people who died. The chaos and havoc in the wake of the outbreak. It was all-"

"A hoax, yes. There was never a virus. Just leaders pulling strings to see that everything went smoothly. A controlled demolition of society."

I sat back in my chair, head reeling from the information. My whole life, so many lives, were lies. People lived in fear of a monster that didn't exist. We were being played.

"Then that means the medication that we all take. That the government says keeps the virus at bay-"

"It's a sugar pill, no different from candy. We put a coat over it so that people can't taste the sweetness when they swallow it. Any adverse side effects are all placebo effects"

That made sense, why formulate a pill meant to fight nothing. It would save money in the long run. But there was one last piece, one thing that didn't make sense. And as soon as the question came to me, I saw on their faces that they knew what I had just thought and that they had been waiting for it.

"Why are you telling me this?"

"Because Mr. Greene, people are starting to suspect that the virus isn't real. That is something the CDC can not let happen. The ruin and chaos that would come following that discovery would see to the extinction of the human species. We needed to refresh the peoples' mind's that it is still there, working in the shadows. But for that to happen, someone has to die."

There it was, the final piece. The last bit of information to put the picture into focus. The second man continued on.

"We needed someone unassuming, that most people wouldn't notice until things blew up. So we pulled strings and had you fired from your work. It was pretty easy to do, you didn't have a great work record. Then it was a matter of waiting till your funds ran dry. Which, again, didn't take long."

"So then, the reasons everyone died with different symptoms. It's because no one remembers what to expect."

"Correct, the only thing they know for sure is that the sores before the end. Some even develop them early from fear."

I whipped my cheek on my sleeve and realized I had been crying. They intended to kill me. I was going to die so that people wouldn't freak out. That they would believe in a monster under their bed that never was.

"We know what you're thinking Mr. Greene. It's standard, and understandable, that you would want to run. However, this entire building is full of CDC agents. If you try and run, we will simply knock you out and kill you anyway. If you just cooperate, things will go nice and smooth. You won't feel a thing."

"So what happens now?" I asked quietly, admitting my own defeat but unwilling to say it out loud. The first man produced a vial from his coat and sat it on the table in front of us.

"This is a very powerful sedative. You take it and go back to your room to sleep. Afterward, we will clear out this building and pump chlorine gas in. You will die soon after that."

It made sense now, the reason why there were always sores.

"Seems kind of uneventful," I said with a laugh

"Yes, Mr. Greene. Just like a virus. Just like the public expect."

I nodded and grabbed the vial. "Will you guys stay, until I fall asleep?"

The stood up and nodded. "That's why we are here. to make sure you are fully out before-" the man stopped, and for the first time seemed a bit choked up. "Before it's done." I nodded and went back into my bedroom, popped the small pill into my mouth and laid down to sleep.

Damn dude. The agent's bit of emotion at the end really made it for me. Sad stuff.

Find below the last words of Brian Grayson. Who was the richest window cleaner ever grace the halls of PharmaCorp.

Every day I stared at the numbers on the screen which detailed how little money, and therefore time I had left.

Like most people since The Disease (or TD as it is now commonly called) I worked for PharmaCorp. Pharmaceutical companies had been powerful even before TD hit, but now that life literally dependent on their products they had become central pillars of our new modern society.

Students go to school so they could learn skills that would be useful to PharmaCorp. Even now before having children couples have to petition PharamaCorp HR to do a financial check on whether or not they can afford the medication that would see their child through to adulthood. The cycle starts again when that child can finally start working for PharmaCorp themselves to earn their own medication money. My parents managed to save enough money for me, but I’ve never been able earn enough to raise a family of my own.

In our modern world the only people who get to experience freedom are those related to the PharmaCorp Board of Directors. Who else could afford to? Having a monopoly on the drug which keeps humanity alive means that you can charge whatever you wish for it this means that most of your income is now being spent on simply keeping you alive.

But I finally discovered a way to break the system. What was the point of living a life where I was only making just enough to exist? I was going to sell my family house and live like an executive for as long as I could. I knew it was a death sentence, but for the first time in my life, I finally felt free.

I quit my job and purchased a small boat, claiming to be the cousin of PharmaCorp’s CFO meant that no one was surprised that I had enough money for the small vessel. I stocked it with enough rich food, alcohol to last me… well till the end of my days.

TD was meant to kill me 3 days ago now. I’ve have no idea how to drive a boat back to land in order to get more supplies and I’m down to half a bottle of champagne and three cheese crackers.

To whoever finds this note, I did NOT die of TD. TD is a lie. PharmaCorp is a Lie. Live your life for you! I might have only had a week but I’ve lived more in that last 7 days than in the previous 28.

Brian Grayson

The first symptom that dissappeared was the fog that shrouded Andrew’s mind, that had kept him paralyzed in a constant state of lethargy. It was suddenly easy to put the pieces in place, with his lungs working strongly, his body free of its habitual aches. His mind was racing ahead.

“Stop taking the pills!” he told the crowd gathered around him today. He'd been reduced to preaching on street corners like the doomsday prophets that haunted the big cities, but he didn’t care. People listened to them, didn’t they? Maybe they’d listen to him too.

“It’s a big…scam,” he said, struggling to grasp the right word. ‘Scam’ was too small for the crime, but it would have to do. “The pills are keeping us sick, there is no disease! I bet they kept it quiet that they had cured it, or...or something. Maybe reproduced some symptoms in these pills so they can keep taking your money."

"Nutjob," a thin man with a ravaged, pock marked face snapped.

"No, it's true! Stop taking them, and you will - “

He didn’t see the blow aimed at his head, but dimly saw the crowd scatter as he went down. Before his eyes closed, he saw the boots. Horribly familiar, neon green boots. Disease Control.

A different, smaller crowd was pressed around him when he woke. Fear cluthed at his stomach as he recognised the green clothing, but the Disease Control officials were smiling at him, not dragging him off to quarantine.

“Welcome - Andrew, is it? Sorry for that little bump I had to give you, have to keep up appearances and all. The name’s Danny, by the way,” a large man with a neatly trimmed beard said, consulting a device he hadn’t seen in years: a tablet. And where did the man get time or the tools to trim his beard? Andrew rubbed the wild tangle that covered his own face self-consciously.

Danny laughed at the gesture. “You’ll soon look a bit more civilised, my friend, our little community has every luxury you could wish for. It's amazing, the stuff you can find just lying around out there, waiting to be picked up, once you have the strength to look for it."

“How?” he asked hoarsely, and for the first time noticed no-one in the room was sneezing or coughing, no-one was slumped and shivering with convulsions. He hadn’t seen anything like it before: they were all healthy.

“Why, we’re like you, of course,” a plump woman with a cheerful face blurted out, clear blue eyes widening as if shocked he hadn’t guessed. “Too poor to afford the pills, weren't you? We were all ready to die, too. And then we all figured it out, just like you.”

“Figured what out?” he mumbled, but they were bustling him from the room. He blinked in the bright sunlight, and struggled to understand what he was seeing.

Beautiful, sprawling homes built of solid timber or stone, not a single shack in sight here. Healthy children playing on the streets, shrieking with laughter. And a towering electric fence surrounding everything, a sure sign of a community that had been gated off. A quarantined community, he had always been told, its citizens doomed to death.

“Take a look, Andrew,” Danny said proudly. “We managed to overtake this place years ago, we never have visitors for some reason."

He laughed uproariously.

"We were all poor and desperate once, swallowing the pills," he explained, slapping Andrew on the back. "Well, none of us have had any pills in years, and we've never been better. We’ve even got a collection of Disease Control uniforms, gathered over the years, for when we venture out. No-one bothers Disease Control.”

The others chuckled as if this was a wonderful joke.

“And we got to pretend some symptoms too, if we go out, but that’s just the price of keeping the secret, I always say,” the woman said, and suddenly grasped his hand. “I’m Marnie, by the way. Glad you get to join us, Andy!”

“It’s Andrew,” he said, pulling his hand free and staring at them, his head starting to pound as he tried to make sense of things. “I’m sorry, secret? Why haven’t you told everyone? Why are you keeping this from people? I’ve got to get out, got to find my family. They don’t know, nobody knows…”

There was a moment of silence, Marnie and Danny sharing a quick look that he struggled to understand. Then they smiled and patted his arm reassuringly, drowning his objections as they pulled him along into a small, empty house.

"Sleep on it," Danny said. "You can decide in the morning, okay? Our community is small, and we can always use new people. We'd sure love for you to stay."

"Here's an idea: you can get everyone to join you if you tell people the truth," Andrew said, but they just walked away, some shaking their heads at his suggestion.

"We'll talk again in the morning, alright? Everything will make sense soon, I promise," Danny grinned at him, and gently closed the door after him, leaving Andrew alone.

He tried to summon the energy to leave the village, but a massive bed dominated the room they'd put him in, and his head was still throbbing from where Danny had hit him. He crawled in, sinking into the impossibly soft mattress, and was instantly taken back to his childhood. This was how it had been then - safety and warmth, no illness ravaging people. No illness...

When he stepped outside the next morning, it was pleasantly warm, the sky a deep shade of blue. It suited this place, with the laughing people ambling down the streets. Their eyes bright with health, not fever. He passed them, and a few called greetings - how had they learned his name so quickly? Did they think him a part of their town already? He was oddly touched.

“Slept well? Wonderful beds, right?" a bright voice asked, and he turned to find Marnie grinning at him, wearing casual clothes instead of the green uniform. "Made up your mind?"

"I've...got to go. Have to find my family, they simply have to know," he said, not without regret. It was a hard thing, turning away from this dreamlike town of health and happiness. Maybe he was dreaming, and would forget it all in the morning. He would almost prefer it.

"Meet the others, at least, before you leave,” Marnie insisted, taking his hand again and pointing to a large building in the centre of town. A wave of sound spilled out. “That's our Town Hall, so to speak. They’re all having breakfast. The least we could do is give you a solid meal before you go, bet you haven't had that in a while, eh?”

He was starving, his appetite had roared to life after he stopped taking the pills. He belatedly remembered that he hadn't eaten anything last night, either.

“Yeah, I'm pretty hungry," he muttered, as Marnie laughed and led him inside.

“That’s the spirit, you’ll fit in here in no time, don’t worry,” she said, as if that were his main concern. “Hey, Sophie! Town special for this one, he needs a good pick-me-up.”

A woman with a bob of brown hair gave him a searching look, before nodding slowly. Soon, he had a plate of bacon and eggs in hand. The Disease Control 'officials' he'd met waved from a table, beaming at him. Danny eyed him as he dug into the food, and offered another explanation.

“Don't you see we’re all rich for the first time in our lives, Andrew? Our lives are better,” he said gently. “We’re the only ones with health and the will to rebuild our lives. Think what would happen if the truth spread. We would lose everything, could very well lose our lives. Why, the masses will come for everything we’ve built once they regain their strength, you know they will."

"...bunch of savages," someone muttered, who was nodding along knowingly to Danny's words.

They watched him intently as he ate, as if waiting for his decision.

“Look, this place is amazing,” he said, finishing the food and still longing for more. Danny's wide grin faded as he continued.

“But I can't believe you've kept this to yourselves. It makes no sense, walling yourself from the world. Don’t you know what’s out there, how wrong everything has gone? How can you just sit here and ignore that?”

“Oh, don't look at the world, why would you want to do that? Depressing place. Just look at this amazing town, instead. Everything's right as rain in here, Andy,” Marnie said, sharing another unfathomable look with Danny before handing him a drink. “Juice?”

He drank it in one long gulp, desperately thirsty after the stack of bacon he'd gobbled up.

“No. It’s not right,” he said. “It’s - "

But he never got the words out. He was choking, and they were simply staring at him, Danny continuing to eat his own meal as Andrew began shaking with convulsions.

“Help me!” he gasped. “Can't…breathe...”

“Yes, the original illness does that,” Danny said, studying Andrew with interest as he trembled violently. “Available in drug form, can you believe it? One of their many little experiments. We found samples of it all, over the years, they have everything in the Disease Control centres. Uniforms aren’t the only thing we’ve stockpiled. It’s fairly unpleasent, but quick, if that makes you feel any better. Horrible, of course, but it acts fast. Can be cured quite easily too, as it turns out. I wish you’d have thought it over. Outsiders. So many of you never give this place a chance, and for what? Caught up in morality from a bygone age. Let's-just-tell-everyone, blah, blah, blah...”

“Many of us?” Andrew whispered, before the world went blessedly dark.

Story edited and lengthened to improve pacing.

Hope you enjoyed my story! You can find more of my work on /sub/inkfinger.

[WP] You've been convicted of 1st degree murder, and (as is customary in society) are sentenced to "death by black-hole." You expect death as your capsule approaches the event horizon. After crossing, everything goes silent, until you hear someone say "Sir, I've found another one."

[WP] You've been convicted of 1st degree murder, and (as is customary in society) are sentenced to "death by black-hole." You expect death as your capsule approaches the event horizon. After crossing, everything goes silent, until you hear someone say "Sir, I've found another one."

I didn’t know the man I had murdered, only that he had followed me everywhere. He appeared in pictures I had taken with friends. I caught glimpses of him when I turned corners at night and saw his shadow grasping at me at sunset. In the mornings, I would awaken to the feeling of being watched and I knew exactly who was doing it.

That was why I bought the gun. However, why I pulled the trigger? I didn’t entirely know. I called it instinct. My public defender called it a bad defense, but I didn’t care. My safety had been threatened and I had acted to protect myself. So I had told the truth as it was and pleaded not guilty. The man who had followed me for months appeared in front of me, his mouth open and eyes wide as if he had realized some stark truth. Then, I had shot him through the face.

Unfortunately, the truth only landed me first degree murder and death by black hole.

What a joke. I had once watched the launching of the Justice Pods into black holes on TV. I had once cheered as another murderer was ripped apart by gravity itself. Now, I sat inside one as it slowly made its way into 3C 75, the nearest black hole to our galaxy. Any second now, I would reach its center.

My body itched, like I had gotten a sudden outburst of the Chicken Pox. I watched as my limbs elongated and space itself warped. The capsule’s hull groaned. I held my breath, waiting for the end. Then, it came.

Blackness.

My body burned. I opened my mouth to scream, but found myself unable to. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t hear. I could only feel invisible flames engulfing me whole.

“Sir, I’ve found another one,” a voice said.

A speck of light blinked in the distance and then it swallowed my vision. If I could’ve, I would’ve gasped. I tried so desperately to, but even breathing was impossible, never mind anything else. I heard a raspy inhale and then felt my lungs inflate. The light blinding me slowly faded away until it revealed itself as the sun dangling on a baby blue backdrop of a clear sky.

“It’s another squatter,” the voice continued.

I looked toward it and found a dirty man in overalls. He had on a grey jumpsuit.

“Hey, this ain’t a place for you to sleep,” he said, pointing a wrench my way. “Go find an alley to crawl into. This is private property.”

“Private property?” I asked and paused, surprised to hear the sound of my voice. “What the hell? Where am I?”

The man in the jumpsuit sighed. “Look buddy, I don’t know what the hell you’ve been on, but this is the year 2235 on planet Earth and on this planet, it’s illegal to trespass on private property.”

2235? That was months before my murder. I gasp. Einstein had been right all along. The only logical end to a black hole was a break in time itself—a wormhole. 2235 meant that I could go back and stop myself from murder, from becoming a criminal! But for the life of me I couldn’t remember the exact date I had committed my crime.

No matter. All I had to do was to follow myself around. It would be easy, I already knew all my habits. I could hide behind corners and sneak through alleys. I already knew of a dead-end alley close to my home I could sleep in.

My lips curled up and my fingers tingled with excitement. I would not be a murderer!

I hope you enjoyed that one! /sub/jraywang for over 100 more stories.

I don’t want to kill. I need to.

I really can’t help it, I swear. Most days I’m “good.” I can suppress the urges. But that only lasts a short while before I need to kill something. Animals bored me after a while. My neighbor’s dog didn’t scream like my neighbor did. Now that was a thrill. My only regret is that I’ll never get to experience that thrill again. Cops these days are really good at their job and I was caught in no time. And just as I found what could satisfy my cravings. It’s all a moot point now. I’ll be dead soon. The black hole is steadily getting bigger. I assume it is. I can’t see shit.

I can hear shit, though. I hear pieces of metal getting pulled off the capsule, so it must be close. What ever happens I know it will be unsatisfying. What’s the point of dying if no one can hear your screams? Honestly I hope my death is as unsatisfying for the judge is as it is for me. Dammit I would have loved to kill him.

That sounded like a big piece. Guess the outer hull is gone. Nothing left to do but sit back and wait for the end.

“Sir, I found another one”

“Perfect timing. Get him ready.”

The hell was that? Where the hell am I? And who are these men speaking gibberish in front of me? Everything’s dark. I’m guessing I’m in some sort of jail, what with all the cages. Where are they taking me? Don’t tell me the judge had a change of heart. But this is just weird. Why’s everything made of stone? If this is another punishment this is needlessly complex. And that’s saying something considering my people shoot murderers into a black hole.

Ack. Finally. Let there be light. That’s odd. Only one sun? Why is there a crowd? Why are they giving me a big knife and why does that guy over there have one too?

“Gladiators! Fight!”

And now he’s running at me screaming bloody murder. I guess he’s gonna kill me. Not if I get him first.

Oh.

I get what this is.

This must be heaven.

I love how you tied this one off man!

That’s an amazing take on it.

Try one of these subthreads